Roy Hodgson & England deserve every ounce of criticism they get

The world of football was sent reeling into chaos on Monday evening as Euro 2016 minnows Iceland unceremoniously dumped England out of tournament, marking yet another disastrous campaign for Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson and his backroom staff. Upsets in football happen more regularly than you might think, but few could argue that Iceland did not deserve their victory. Despite being awarded and converting a penalty just four minutes into the tie – England fell off the side of a cliff. What was about to unravel – starting just 70 seconds later – will forever be remembered in European Championship history.

Goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson & Kolbeinn Sigthorsson helped Iceland into a 2-1 lead that they never looked like giving up. Make no mistake, Iceland deserved to progress. Even as the game entered the latter stages, the underdogs were passing the ball the right way, looking to venture forward and score a third. They weren’t daunted by the supposed ‘plethora of talent’ that Hodgson fired at them. They outworked, out-passed, out-classed England in every department. However, they didn’t execute anything different from what they had deployed all through qualifying, making defeat for one of the tournament favourites even more shameful.

While the manner of England’s exit may surprise somewhat – the writing was on the wall early on. Worryingly, the man down the pub could see what was wrong with the whole setup. Hodgson had no plan, no tactics to deploy, no core of a squad that could progress through the finals. In fact, it’s utterly bizarre that he was allowed so much time in the job given his failures in management before taking the gig, and during it – most notably England’s pitiful 2014 World Cup campaign where they failed to even progress from Continue reading Roy Hodgson & England deserve every ounce of criticism they get

Newcastle United would be foolish to flog Papiss Cissé

Words by Kevin Doocey – follow me on Twitter @KevinDoocey. Written for NUFC360 – a new brand aiming to bring you all things Newcastle United. Be sure to follow for updates.

I’ll admit – I’ve always been a fan of Papiss Demba Cissé. When he arrived from Freiburg in January 2012 it didn’t take us long to see what a goalscorer he really is. His debut was one to remember as he fired in an absolute beauty to secure all three points against Aston Villa. However, that was only the start as the Senegalese forward went on to score 13 goals in 14 games in his first season in the Premier League – an incredible feat. The decision to hand him the famous #9 jersey looked like a masterstroke from all involved at Newcastle United as the club steamrolled their way to a remarkable 5th place finish thanks to a big goal haul from both Papiss and Demba Ba throughout the season. The following campaign saw European football return to St. James’ Park and as per usual, domestic form suffered, almost ending in another relegation. Although Papiss hit another 13 goals that term, it marked a disappointing return for both the forward and supporters as a whole.

The 2013/14 season saw the arrival of Loic Rémy from QPR on a season-long loan and the Frenchman enjoyed a fine spell on Tyneside firing in 14 goals in 26 appearances, helping Newcastle United finish in the all-glorious 10th position in the Premier League. Papiss, however, through injury and a lack of playing time managed just four goals in Black and White. His time in the North East looked to be coming to an end.

Fastforward to September 2014 and Cissé is about to make his first appearance since April. Trailing 0-2 at home to Hull City Cissé arrived off the bench and quickly found his goalscoring form by scoring twice in 15 minutes to salvage a point for a struggling Newcastle United. He then carried on with another brace away at Swansea City, a crucial effort at Burnley, another two goals at home to Chelsea, one against Continue reading Newcastle United would be foolish to flog Papiss Cissé

Newcastle United supporters are a fickle old bunch…

….is the opinion of a football fan that hasn’t a clue of the true goings on at St. James’ Park. If you firmly believe Newcastle United fans are a fickle bunch of noisy Northerners then I feel embarrassed for you. Either you’ve been trapped under a stone for the past 50 years, or you don’t actually follow much of what happens at St. James’ Park, bar a quick watch of Match of the Day. Either way – do you have the right to cast a blunt, uneducated opinion on the club’s loyal followers? Being honest, I couldn’t be more disconnected from the current ‘sporting organisation’ then I am now. Any hope, excitement, life has been drained since Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007. I’m tired of Newcastle United and I’m not the only one. Recent attendances will suggest exactly that.

Since Mr. Ashley gained control of Newcastle, the club has stooped to incredible lows, both on the pitch and off it. He arrived with little to no knowledge of how football works, and it soon told with the carnage that was to unfold in the 2008/09 Premier League season. Long story short, the club was relegated for the first time in 16 years.

A swift return to the top flight ensued, as Chris Hughton led NUFC back in historic style. Then after a decent start to life in the Premier League, Hughton was sacked for reasons that are still unknown. He was replaced with an unemployed Alan Pardew, who had been sacked by then League 1 outfit Southampton. The mind boggles Continue reading Newcastle United supporters are a fickle old bunch…

John Terry’s exclusion from England squad shouldn’t be questioned

John Terry in action for ChelseaThe 2014 World Cup marked a too familiar story for England and their fans. An opening loss to Italy dealt the nation with an irreparable blow that ultimately saw their exit from the worlds biggest sporting tournament.
Although remnants of hope remained as Roy Hodgson’s men prepared to face a poorly Uruguay outfit, the South Americans – aided by the return of a potent Luis Suarez – showed a desire to win that their opponents, England, have not mustered up for quite a few decades. Condemned to two losses and an early exit from the group stage, the English media Continue reading John Terry’s exclusion from England squad shouldn’t be questioned

Poised to drop? Premier League relegation candidates examined

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on as Cardiff City boss

It’s that time of the season again, right? Battles begin to form at either end of the table, with the most worried supporters finding their team at the base of the Premier League. Fulham, Cardiff City, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Norwich City, and indeed Swansea City all figure in perilous situations.
With April fast approaching, the remaining two game weeks of March could go a long way in defining who will remain England’s top division for the 2014/15 season. While Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool battle it out to be crowned the league’s elite, a handful of teams sweat it out in Continue reading Poised to drop? Premier League relegation candidates examined