Category Archives: Football

Paint the town blue: Amazing pictures as 100,000 turn out for City’s Premier League trophy parade

“I’m still in a bit of shock, we all are,” said James Milner

Blue moon rising: players and fans celebrate in style

Blue moon rising: players and fans celebrate in style

Ecstatic Manchester City players hailed their fans yesterday for turning out to celebrate – and for their backing throughout the season.

Around 100,000 lined the streets for the ­champions’ victory parade and City keeper Joe Hart said: “Sunday was an ­incredible day but the support we’ve seen here on the streets almost matches it. The fans are brilliant.

“I’m just going to enjoy today as much as I can and then we’ll begin again next season.

Gareth Barry added: “Days like these are why we came to City and it’s just fantastic. Our fans have always been amazing and they’re showing it here today. I’ve memories I’ll treasure for the rest of my career.”

Vincent Kompany lifts the trophy for the second time in two days

Vincent Kompany lifts the trophy for the second time in two days

James Milner was also overwhelmed – and yet to come to terms with being a title-winner.

“I’m still in a bit of shock, we all are,” he said.

“It’s still hard to believe we were 2-1 down going into injury time so it’s going to take a while to sink in.”

Boss Roberto Mancini had the final word: “I love our supporters – they’re incredible and that’s who we won it for.”

‘RIP Fergie’: Watch video of Carlos Tevez’s controversial banner held up during Manchester City bus parade

General view of Manchester City fans gathering in Albert Square before the parade

General view of Manchester City fans gathering in Albert Square before the parade

Manchester City fans wear shirts displaying the messages "Champions" and "Noisy Neighbour" as they look on in front of Manchester Town Hall

Manchester City fans wear shirts displaying the messages “Champions” and “Noisy Neighbour” as they look on in front of Manchester Town Hall

Fans gather as players and staff of Manchester City prepare to parade the English Premier League Trophy through the city centre from an open-top bus

Fans gather as players and staff of Manchester City prepare to parade the English Premier League Trophy through the city centre from an open-top bus

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[mirror.co.uk]

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The Liver Bird is back! Liverpool’s new kit nods to golden era

Anfield side unveil their first Warrior Sports strip

Golden boy: Steven Gerrard in the new Liverpool kit

Golden boy: Steven Gerrard in the new Liverpool kit

Liverpool’s new kit has an old look – with a return for the Liver Bird club crest from their glory days.

Manufacturers Warrior Sports, who have paid the Anfield club an incredible £25m per season, have gone back to the classic badge and dumped the newer version, which featured an image of the Shankly Gates, the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ motto and two Justice flames honouring the Hillsborough campaign.

Flying home: The gold Liver bird is back on Liverpool's shirts

Flying home: The gold Liver bird is back on Liverpool’s shirts

Sock it to 'em: The rest of the kit taks a classic approach

Sock it to ’em: The rest of the kit taks a classic approach

Photos credit to > Liverpool FC

The club’s publicity campaign for the new look claims: “It’s inspired by greatness. It’s modern tradition. It’s unapologetically Liverpool FC. It will make you feel 7ft tall.”

The kit is the first collaboration with Boston-based company Warrior Sports, a £25m-a-year partnership which broke British records when its was announced last year.

Old look: The badge has been replaced

Old look: The badge has been replaced

They expect to sell over 900,000 new shirts – making Liverpool’s kit the fourth-biggest seller in world football behind Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The kit can be preordered on Liverpool’s website.

Dalglish stays: Liverpool boss won’t be axed… but his budget will

[mirror.co.uk]


Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United: Blue Moon rises to the top of the table

Vincent Kompany’s header settles titanic derby to hand title advantage to Mancini’s men

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany scores & celebrates

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany scores & celebrates

The blue moon has risen. The new order is upon us.

And as the Achilles Heel that Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to acknowledge all season brought about United’s downfall and City’s triumph last night, there could be no Old Trafford complaints.

Fergie’s faith in David De Gea has been steadfast but when it mattered more than ever, the Spaniard capsized United’s title ship.

Deep into first half stoppage time as David Silva prepared to deliver a corner, De Gea was so obsessed with Carlos Tevez that, when Vincent Kompany lost marker Chris Smalling, the Spanish keeper was powerless to prevent the City skipper scoring the one goal that surpassed, in meaning, all six City claimed in October.

Driven on by the remarkable Yaya Toure, the side that was written off by most, including Roberto Mancini just a few weeks ago, are now just two games, 13 days, from ending the 34-year wait and being crowned the best in the country.

Of course, it is not done and dusted yet. Not by a long chalk.

Yet United did not have a shot worthy of the name. Only the most red-eyed of watchers could deny City deserved their victory, are rightly top of the pile, justifiably masters of their own destiny.

It was always likely to be nervous and twitchy but while Ferguson’s selection of Park Ji-Sung in a five-man midfield, with Rooney alone up front, might have ceded the advantage, City initially struggled to take it.

A dodgy punch by Joe Hart from Nani’s deflected cross inside 70 seconds only added to the palpable tension, City relieved that Michael Carrick’s drive thumped into Kompany.

Slowly, though, City were able to get Samir Nasri, Silva, Sergio Aguero and Tevez into the game, sniping runs that asked more serious questions of Rio Ferdinand and Co and Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry took more of a grip.

Not that either keeper was really tested in the opening spell, the highlights of which were a sliding Ferdinand clearance after Tevez briefly escaped down the right and Kompany’s soft booking for making contact with Rooney after the ball had gone.

City’s first shot took 25 minutes to come, Rooney’s attempted clearance ballooning high into the air with Joleon Lescott flicking back into the danger area but Aguero blazing high and wide of David De Gea’s goal.

Rooney was starting to get irritated as City, Nasri to the fore, threatened.

Aguero, twisting inside the box, could not find sufficient purchase on his shot after Nasri teased the ball in from the right before Pablo Zabaleta, who walked through Patrice Evra, swung a weak left foot as the ball was set to fall onto Aguero’s right.

Rooney retrieved Nani’s deep cross but there was nobody there to apply the finishing touch before Park smashed a clever short-corner move miles too high.

And then, in stoppage time, the red line was breached.

Nasri’s cross was turned behind. Silva swung in the corner, De Gea stayed on his line and with Chris Smalling caught under the ball, Kompany’s header ripped into the back of the net to send the Etihad into meltdown.

United, struggling all game down their left as Nasri and Zabaleta linked, needed to change things.

But while Hart fumbled a speculative Nani shot, City were more poised in possession, more potent in attack.

Nasri, fed by Barry, turned to shoot wide before Ferguson acted, though sending Danny Welbeck on for Park before the hour seemed an admission of a tactical and strategic error.

At least, for the first time, Rooney had company against Kompany yet United lacked any precision in their final ball and City remained in charge, De Gea kicking away Toure’s left-wing cross.

Mancini hooked Tevez, sending on Nigel De Jong to reinforce midfield, another bulwark against a late siege although Toure, a force of nature, was twice so close after trademark runs and 25-yarders that fizzed past the frame of the goal.

De Jong’s foul on Welbeck saw Fergie and Mancini going toe to toe, hammer and tongs, with fourth official Mike Jones intervening between the pair before each was dragged away.

City kept coming, De Gea foiling Gael Clichy, Nasri denied as he tried to walk the ball in.

Not even five minutes of “Fergie time” could alter this one. City are within touching distance of glory.

A Manchester City fan enjoys the pre match atmosphere with a Manchester United fan prior to the Barclays Premier League match

A Manchester City fan enjoys the pre match atmosphere with a Manchester United fan prior to the Barclays Premier League match

Vincent Kompany (C) scores the first goal for Manchester City

Vincent Kompany (C) scores the first goal for Manchester City

Man City's Vincent Kompany scores their first goal

Man City's Vincent Kompany scores their first goal

Diego Maradona watches the action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United

Diego Maradona watches the action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United

Wayne Rooney lies on the floor holding his ankle

Wayne Rooney lies on the floor holding his ankle

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[mirror.co.uk]


The Madchester derby! Watch the Top 20 moments from great City vs United clashes

From beautiful goals to horrific tackles, re-live the best moments from past Manchester derbies in our video special

20 amazing Manchester derby moments

20 amazing Manchester derby moments

All eyes will be on Old Trafford this weekend for the Manchester derby, with City looking to consolidate their position above cross-town rivals United at the top of the Premier League table.

The atmosphere will be electric, and the players usually deliver on the pitch, too. Here’s our rundown of the top 20 Manchester derby moments…

20) September 14 1985 was a bad day for the Blue half of Manchester. A suspiciously large number of United fans managed to grab tickets in the City end – you can see them being led to safety in this clip – and Billy McNeill’s newly-promoted side were hammered on the way back down.

19) The events of the final Maine Road meeting of the sides, on 9/11/2002, are commemorated in the splendid poem which begins: “Derby day, the scores were level. Then the Goat was fed by Neville”

18) Newly promoted to the Premier League officials list, George-out-of-George-And-Mildred lookalike Alan Wiley made a name for himself in a 1995 FA Cup derby when, with City deservedly leading 1-0 just before halftime, he turned the game with possibly the worst refereeing decision ever seen at Old Trafford. Which, to be fair, is saying something.

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[mirror.co.uk]


It’s Roy: FA to name Hodgson as England boss in amazing snub to fans’ favourite Redknapp

West Brom have given permission for the the FA to speak to Roy Hodgson about the vacant manager’s position

Top job: Roy Hodgson was considered second favourite behind Harry Redknapp to become next England manager

Top job: Roy Hodgson was considered second favourite behind Harry Redknapp to become next England manager

Roy Hodgson is set to become the new England manager.

Football Association chiefs were tonight granted permission by West Brom to speak to Hodgson, they have already held talks and they hope to have a deal wrapped up within 72 hours.

It will come as an amazing snub to Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp who is the people’s choice for the job and has always been the bookies’ odds-on favourite.

Spurs are also understood to be furious that the FA have dragged out the process while their results have gone through the floor and the uncertainty surrounding Redknapp has jeopardised their whole season.

But Mirror Sport understands that the FA do not intend to even speak to Redknapp as they see Hodgson as a “better fit” for the job, especially as they believe he will embrace the development side of the role at their St George’s Park HQ in Burton.

Former Switzerland boss Hodgson also boasts international experience on his CV and that is believed to be another key reason as to why the FA went for him ahead of Redknapp.

West Brom’s technical director Dan Ashworth is also a leading candidate to be appointed as the FA’s new technical director and move across with Hodgson.

Redknapp has also confided in friends that he has been left feeling shattered, in need of a break and had reservations about the Burton set-up.

No contact: Spurs' Harry Redknapp hasn't been approached

No contact: Spurs' Harry Redknapp hasn't been approached

But the FA will now have to brace themselves for a backlash for not going for the popular choice of Redknapp.

The speculation over Redknapp has also coincided with Tottenham’s season falling apart and they are now battling for fourth place having been title contenders before the clamour for him to succeed Fabio Capello who quit in February.

Hodgson has already admitted publicly he wants the England job and it seems certain that he will be appointed in time for the Euros and to pick the squad for the tournament.

Hodgson will also be cheaper than Redknapp as his contract expires at the end of June and has yet to agree a new deal with West Brom.

FA chairman Bernstein said: “Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out.

“Further conversations will now take place with Roy.”

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said: “Roy has done a fantastic job over the past 15 months and the fact the FA wants to discuss the England role with him is testament to that.

“Roy is a proud Englishman and we can understand why he wants to speak to the FA about this highly prestigious managerial position.

“However, we have emphasised to Roy how much we would like him to remain as our head coach and continue his major contribution to our project at the Hawthorns as we look to establish ourselves as a Premier League club.

“Everyone here has an excellent working relationship with him and he is immensely popular with our supporters.”

Who would be your choice for England manager?


Swede dreams: Liverpool enter chase for goal scoring AZ midfielder

Rasmus Elm has scored 12 league goals in the Dutch league to attract attention from a host of Premier League, Italian and Spanish clubs

Stevie plan B? Rasmus Elm has been compared to Liverpool captain Gerrard

Stevie plan B? Rasmus Elm has been compared to Liverpool captain Gerrard

Rasmus Elm is the man Liverpool believe can deliver the goal power to boost their title chances next season.

The 24-year-old AZ Alkmaar midfielder, who will represent Sweden at Euro 2012, is in the form of his life. He has scored 12 league goals this season and been watched by all the top Premier League, Italian and Spanish clubs.

Before being ditched as Liverpool’s director of football a fortnight ago, Damien Commoli had compiled an extensive dossier on Elm.

Kenny Dalglish is well aware of Elm’s ­power-packed ability and will finalise his summer recruitment drive with his club’s owners, the Fenway Group, at the end of the season.

Clearly, Liverpool have been stung by ­criticism that they paid over the odds last ­summer to sign three Englishmen in Andy ­Carroll, ­Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing for a combined fee of around £75million.

The good news about Elm, who resembles Anfield skipper Steven ­Gerrard with his ­shooting power at set-pieces, is that, with only one year to go on his current contract, he can be lured away for around £8m.

[mirror.co.uk]


Last chance: Mancini warns Balotelli to shape up or ship out

City manager is under pressure from senior players and the club’s Abu Dhabi owners over the friction caused by the controversial Italian striker

Player power: Senior City stars have tired of Mario Balotelli's antics this season

Player power: Senior City stars have tired of Mario Balotelli's antics this season

Player power has prompted Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini to warn Mario Balotelli that he must mend his ways or face being booted out of the Etihad.

Balotelli is once again available for selection for tomorrow night’s make-or-break Manchester derby with United after serving a ­three-match ban for his red card in the defeat at Arsenal.

And Sunday Mirror Sport understands that Balotelli has been left in no doubt by both his teammates and his manager that this is his last chance to save his City career.

Several senior City players have told Mancini that the Italian’s ­behaviour is causing friction in the dressing room. They feel that the Blues’ boss has indulged ­Balotelli to the point where it is damaging both the player and the team.

Mancini is also coming under pressure from City’s Abu Dhabi owners to get the 21-year-old to clean up his act.

He has now given Balotelli an ultimatum – and so far it seems to be working. Mancini said: “Maybe I am the only man in football who trusts Mario. But in this game I think, yes, you can trust him.

“Mario as usual is training well.

“In one game he can score two or three goals – this is the manager’s problem. Mario has apologised to me for the red card at Arsenal, yes. He has been training well.”

Mancini’s belief that the young Italian has learned some vital ­lessons is confirmed by another City insider who said: “There has been a noticeable change in ­Balotelli since his sending off at Arsenal.

“He has settled right down and seems to be focused on his job, which hasn’t always been the case since he came to the club.

“A number of players have made their feelings clear to both Balotelli and Roberto Mancini that they felt one player was being given too much freedom.

“It was beginning to cause ­problems in the dressing room and was also damaging Mancini ­because to some extent he has staked his reputation on Balotelli.” The striker began his penance by issuing an apology for his second red card of the season.

During his ban, he has watched Carlos Tevez strike up a devastating partnership with Sergio Aguero.

Balotelli has scored 17 goals this season, but some team-mates felt he wasn’t doing enough on the pitch to justify the special treatment being ­lavished on him.

The insider added: “All top players are given some ­concessions. That doesn’t cause any problems as long as they are delivering on the pitch. The feeling was that Balotelli was not doing enough to be considered a special case.”

Controversy has followed the former Inter Milan forward throughout his career. But the negative headlines have gone into overdrive since ­Mancini persuaded City to pay £24million 18 months ago for a player described as ­‘unmanageable’ by Jose Mourinho.

That has not gone down well in image-conscious Abu Dhabi. And some of City’s fans are beginning to give up on a maverick who is something of a cult hero because of his ability to go from the sublime to the ridiculous on and off the pitch.

Mancini will once again trust in the Tevez-Aguero axis for tomorrow night’s crunch derby. But Balotelli terrorised United in City’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October, scoring twice and will be ready to emerge from the substitutes’ bench if he is needed to make an impact.

[mirror.co.uk]


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