Category Archives: football

English Football

iStock_000013741498_LargeUnquestionably, the national sport and social mainstay in England is association football and it has been so since 1863, with the kind of rules and structures that we still know and respect today. But the concept of kicking a ball around for fun in England is one that reaches back to the 13th century. Everything, from a reflection on football as an evil in society to understanding it as a healthy alternative to masturbation for young men, was raised in the messy collaboration that over the centuries yielded today’s football rules, codes of conduct and structures that define play.

A Pyramid of Leagues

Association football is premised on the existence of the football clubs themselves, which annually take part in a league. With over 7,000 different teams in the United Kingdom, a pyramidal hierarchy was formed, which effectively gives even the most obscure and least known clubs the chance to work itself through the system, if it is strong enough.

It’s Not All About Talent

Ascending through that pyramid is not just about scoring goals, however. A team can be promoted to the championship of the Premier League through meeting criteria set by the league and this can include having the appropriate funding or facilities, over and above the talent and scores.

Who’s on Top?

The pyramid of league football in England has a single division of the Premier League at its apex, a development to the notion of league football that was formalized in 1992. This cream of the football crop comprises 20 clubs who vie against one another for the winning position over a ten month season each year. The Premier League season this year ends in May 2017. The 20 competing clubs are the top 17 of the previous year’s league, plus the top three from the Championship, which is the next rung down from the Premier League.

Evolution of Football

Yian-Football-Evolution-black-WhiteToday more than 240-million people regularly play, watch or gamble over football: boys and girls, men and women; recreationally and professionally, in leagues and in clubs, in casinos and online.

The stakes are high, the money spent is astronomical and the industries that support the game are prominent. But the idea of dribbling and kicking an animal’s bladder that had been filled with air is a culture that has roots in the ancient Far East.

Off With His Head!

There are even some bizarre anecdotes that the notion of a football game evolved from warfare and that the first ‘ball’ used was indeed not an animal’s bladder at all, but the severed head of the victim in a war. And if this was the case, the kicking, biting, gouging and punching that the game was known for, and for which it was actually banned in the 14th century, was simply commonplace. Football was also understood to incite masses and an emotional match could well have started a mob pillaging its way down the cobbled streets of medieval England.

Rules, Rules, Rules

What were known as the Cambridge rules for the game tidied it up considerably and by 1815, football shifted from mob shenanigans and entered into the schools and universities of England. In short, it became not only teachable and governable but also… Respectable. By the 1860s, the touching of the ball with the hands during play became strictly forbidden and a schism in rulings gave birth to the game of rugby.

Coke and Football Forever

These established rules of play were effectively what turned football into kind of an international passport, and it caught on like wildfire, through the European continent, the Americas, Africa, Australia and the East. It has become a lifestyle brand that is as recognisable, as friendly and as universal as Coca-Cola.

Football: The World’s Most Popular Sport

300px-Football_iu_1996But what, really, is the secret behind football? Why is it so very popular? Sports blogger Doug Sibor argues that it is not the money or the superstars, the hype or the seasons that make this game hold it all together: it’s its elegant simplicity.

A 90-Minute Amnesty

When there’s an important football match in the world or when a country is a host to a World Cup tournament that brings millions of people under the spell of a game, traditional adversaries forget their political differences, their biases and their hostilities, and they’ll share a beer and a table as they watch a match that matters to both of them. They’ll even kiss and hug when their team scores. And after the game’s 90 minutes are up, they’ll get back to being acrimonious and hateful to each other again.

Stars in the Bleachers

Top football at its ultimate best is about forging heroes both on and off the field, and important political figures and icons of popular culture, from Germany’s Angela Merkel to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, with lots of important characters in between, have been known to be ardent fans of the game, and thus instrumental in forging ties and building bridges between cultures and their own fans.

You Can Do it Anywhere

And if you think about it, that notion that a simple elegant game can reach smoothly from the dusty street of a poor rural village in Nigeria that operates as a football field, to the robust and verdant stadiums of central London, without materially changing its identity, has also to do with the basic nature of the tools you need to play a decent game: a smooth and flat terrain and a ball. All the expensive boots and specialised uniforms are just frills on the basic bottom line necessities of an impressive and timeless classic.

FIFA World Cup

2238772_big-lndEvery four years since 1930 (with the exception of the war years in the 1940s), the world’s biggest international association football competition, under the umbrella of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has enthralled football fans all over the world. Each season, the World Cup is traditionally hosted in a different country, which bids for the privilege and the commitment. And to date, it is understood to be considerably more popular than the Olympic Games.

Where to, Next?

Over the competition’s 20 seasons, so far, 16 countries have been host to it, and deciding on the host has traditionally been a controversial business, particularly in the early days when transport was an issue and it became prohibitive for some countries to attend and participate. These days, an elaborate ballot system is used to elect a host for the year ahead. The next FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Russia in 2018.

The Kings of FIFA

Eight national teams have dominated, during the life of the FIFA World Cup organisation as winners. They are Brazil, who has won five times (and who has played in every tournament since 1930); Germany and Italy, who have won four titles each; Argentina and Uruguay, who have each won twice; and England, France, and Spain, who have each bagged this prestigious title once.

Full Houses

When it’s World Cup season, the world becomes a completely different place, certainly a more friendly one, and one in which a country’s national colours are proudly on display. It’s been calculated that some 715-million people take the time to watch the final match of each FIFA season, either by traveling to the game itself, or through their TV sets: that’s a ninth of the world’s population. The question is, what are the other eight-ninths doing, while the world’s most important game is underway?

Betting on Football

12312Not only is competitive football something that will get your adrenalin flowing powerfully, even if you’re participating in spirit watching it while you’re lying prone on your couch and the game’s on television. Football also has a whole sub-culture of betting, hanging on it. In fact, it’s estimated to be having a worth of something like $500-billion. Whether you’re hedging your bets from within a bookie’s office or dealing with an online casino, betting on football is nearly as old as the game itself.

What’re The Odds?

So, what are the odds that you will make a mint betting on football? Not that great, actually. Many bettors are in it for the fun, but it always enhances it quite a bit if you stand to make some more money. Next time you’re betting on the soccer, try the Accumulator Generator. This betting system software considers the bookies’ refund offers on accumulator bets and you can win even if your team loses.

Who’s Your Tipster?

When you’re seriously in the betting game, you need to have a football tipster you can trust. What’s a tipster? In short, it’s a guy so seasoned in the specialisation of football betting that he really knows how to trust his own instincts – and you can, too. But you need to shop around to discover your own gem of a tipster whose wagers will turn to gold every time.

Going it Alone

If you feel then you have your own instincts and relish studying the details of the game, the new players and their managers, the patterns and scores achieved in the past and all the other variables that can make a team win or lose, the thrill of gambling is heightened several folds. If your winning bets are supported by your own research and guesstimates, effectively you will find out that you’ve won twice.

Youth Football

11970109012011041409 (1)One of the best values that football (or American soccer) brings to the world is the understanding of a hero, particularly to very young people. But that’s not all: children love to play football and it’s really good for them: it’s a healthy social activity, it enables them to perfect physical skills and there are few self-esteem boosts as fabulous as playing in a real team.

Why, Really, Do Children Love Soccer?

While child psychologists, sports gurus, and paediatricians might give you a whole range of academic and solemn explanations as to the do’s and don’ts of having your child play football, the main reason they love it, is because… It’s fun. And arguably, not even artificial trophies such as gold stars are a substitute for doing something that you really love. This is also the best way to develop real skills.

Fun and Instincts All The Way!

Manchester United Academy’s Tom Statham says that there’s one basic difference between adult football players and very young ones and that is love. Kids’ football is about experimenting and testing possibilities. It’s about copying what others are doing, and dribbling and shooting for all you’re worth, regardless of whether you’re facing the wrong direction or miss the goal posts entirely. Grown up football is all about the stakes and the results. Do you agree?

Who’s The Best Teacher of Them All?

In many respects, if you have children or coach children in youth football, a sage piece of advice is to let the game itself be the teacher. What we mean is you should focus less on the strategy and the what ifs of the game and let them just go ahead and play. Children like a page full of words even less than adults do. And there’s no better way of suffocating a young person’s enthusiasm for a thing than with overkill and too much information.

Best Football Players in the World

How are the international football playing fields evened? With a series of big internationally watched competitions, which traditionally and annually sort the men from the boys, looking at the world’s most significant football clubs. The three finest football players in the world are men with their names on everyone’s lips: Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi

0810188001464286617_filepickerOver the last eight years, Messi’s skill and pace have been part of what has mesmerized audiences and team players alike. He’s been considered the best player on the planet for five years running. But he didn’t have an easy start. As a child, he was diagnosed with a hormonal growth problem and seemed to be accident prone as a youngster. He made his professional debut in 2004, and since then, it’s like this small Argentinian has simply had the football glued to his foot.

Luis Suárez

One of the most expensive football players in the history of the game, Luis Suárez moved from Liverpool to Barcelona in 2014 for a fee of a whopping £64.98-million. He hasn’t been immune from controversy, however, and the Uruguay-born footballer who currently plays for the Barcelona football club has been accused of racism and of biting people during the heat of a game. He debuted professionally in 2003 and will turn 30 in January of this year..

Cristiano Ronaldo

A footballer from his childhood, Cristiano Ronaldo is today Portugal’s most decorated sportsman.. He has scored over 500 goals in his career and his first paid gig was as a 12-year old. He conquered a problem with his heart as a teenager and went on to be considered one of the fastest players in the world. Right-footed, he’s a versatile Real Madrid player who can take up virtually any position with equal professionalism, fierceness, and effectiveness.

Top Teams in Premier League

Premier_League_Rebrands_DesignStudio_02This year sees the 25th season of the Premier League from the English Association Football, which sees the cream of football talent grace the fields. According to specialised blogger Christopher Harris, the top three predictions for this season, which he posted in August 2016, when the league began, are as follows:

Tottenham Hotspurs

Formed by boys at grammar-school in the Bible class of All Hallows Church in 1882, Tottenham Hotspurs is today earmarked to be this year’s Premier League winner. It is managed by Mauricio Pochettino since 2014, who has expressed a bid to bring in young soccer talent. In the 2014 league, critics and fans observed that under Pochettino, Spurs’s premier league team was the youngest, ever with the average age being around 22. Will this be the year when all this young soccer talent comes of age professionally?

Manchester United

Also known as the Red Devils, Manchester United is this year 112 years old, and from 1910, they’ve called the Old Trafford stadium where they are based, the “Theatre of Dreams”. With the start of the Premier League in 1992, Man United has been synonymous with iconic football players such as Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Bryan Robson and more. Since 2014, Louis van Gaal has been the football club’s manager, and he comes with a string of credentials that attests to his sterling management of top level European football.

Arsenal

It was a group of men employed by an armaments factory in 1886 who decided to get together and form a football team that sowed the seeds for what is today Arsenal Football Club. For the last 20 years, Arsène Wenger, fondly known as The Professor, has been the manager of Arsenal. He has seen the team through some astonishing successes and seems to be one of its magic ingredients if you look at the winning streaks it has enjoyed since 2004.