Tag Archive: Gareth Bale


The most expensive man in football - but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

The most expensive man in football – but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

It has to be said – we are all relieved that the football season is now back in action. A lot of transfers have occurred this summer with a lot of teams willing to spend immense sums, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona (on Gareth Bale and Neymar respectively), and others choosing not to break the bank such as Manchester United.

The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the big 3 in Europe and offer predictions of who will be league champions in their respective countries.

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Premier League 2012/13: Team of the year

With the 2012/13 Premier League season over, a campaign in which Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as Manchester United manager and Wigan Athletic triumphed in the FA Cup at Wembley, but still went down, here is the team of the year.

WORDS | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea during a campaign dogged by uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Safe pair of hands | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea amid many changes and continual uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Goalkeeper | Petr Čech (Chelsea)

It appeared that Petr Čech would never be the same after his horrific collision with Steven Hunt back in 2006. However, he has gradually regained some of his best form, and while not the most eye-catching goalkeeper of the season, Čech been the most consistent.

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How, you may ask, does the violent murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, South East London, last week, connect with the world of sport.

Abuse | Vile Shaun Tuck. (Image | Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser)

Tuck shopped | The non-league footballer could be prosecuted by police for his Twitter rant. (Image | Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser)

One of the most disconcerting and predictable elements of the fallout from the tragic events has been verbal attacks and vicious reprisals against non-whites, particularly Muslims.

Part of this prejudice has come from non-league footballer, Shaun Tuck, whose Twitter feed revealed an alarming amount of his unsavoury views on non-footballing matters before it was taken down.

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In case any of you were too busy watching the relegation battles on Tuesday night, you may have missed the news that, after three straight years of play-off heartache, Cardiff City were promoted to the Premier League after a 50-year absence from the top flight.

Vincent Tan, Malaysia's ninth richest man, celebrated his club's promotion along with Cardiff fans at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday (Image | football365.com)

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan celebrated his club’s promotion along with fans at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday (Image | football365.com)

The achievement has been heralded as a landmark moment in the history of Welsh football. Ten percent of next year’s Premier League teams will be Welsh… but is there really much that Welsh footballers stand to gain?

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Few things are more infuriating in football that dangerous tackling. Even more enraging, however, is seeing such conduct go unpunished.

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Like so many in the game, the decision by the Football Association not to take retrospective action against Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic, for his egregious challenge on Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara, left me disgusted.

Personally, I feel the criticism being aimed towards McManaman should focus solely on his challenge. One should look at what the player did, rather than make judgements on him as an individual.

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New Wales manager Chris Coleman (right) watched the Gary Speed Memorial match with Costa Rica alongside Speed's mother and father (Press Association)

Wales’ defeat to Costa Rica in the Gary Speed Memorial game Wednesday was a wonderful and emotionally charged occasion – the score excepted – in which Welsh football paid its last respects to a man who over the past twelve months had transformed the fortunes of the Wales national side. The maturity of Speed’s sons, 14-year-old Ed and his brother, 13-year-old Tommy, was moving to witness and personified the class and dignity of their father, who tragically took his own life last November.

In his post-game press conference, new manager Chris Coleman, who attended this game as an observer to the Welsh squad following his appointment last month, spoke equally touchingly of Ed’s addresses to the Wales players and to an assembled audience of more than 400 of Speed’s former footballing friends, colleagues and mentors.

The whole event served as a fine and fitting occasion on which Welsh football can begin to draw a line under the Speed tragedy and move forward in its ambitions to continue its climb under the rankings and get back to pushing for qualification to major tournaments.

The problem is, Coleman may well find that progress difficult to sustain.

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