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The Woolster

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  1. I wouldn't say a particularly interesting article, but good to see Robbie's still got his enthusiasm.


    BBC News - Thai football club hopes for Fowler power


    Thai football club hopes for Fowler powerBy Guy Delauney


    "Fowler to United." Even in a summer of intriguing transfers, this was one move which was bound to raise eyebrows.


    But when the United in question turned out to be Muang Thong rather than Manchester, heads were scratched, brows furrowed and Wikipedia hurriedly consulted.


    Robbie Fowler is one of the most prolific strikers of the past 20 years, standing at number four on the list of the English Premier League's all-time leading goal-scorers.


    Almost 200 goals came over two spells at Liverpool - and there were dozens more for Leeds United and Manchester City.


    But now, nearing the end of his playing career, his latest move finds him in Thailand's Premier League.


    "I just love playing," says Fowler, 36, sitting barefoot in his yellow training kit at the back of the main stand of the Yamaha Stadium on the outskirts of Bangkok.


    "I've always loved the game, regardless of where I've been. And it's the same here in Thailand - I thought: Why not give it a shot? The kids will enjoy it when they come over here, and I certainly will."


    "I'm seeing new things in my life other than football, which I might never have seen."


    Pulling Power


    Thailand is far from the most obvious destination for a striker still deified by Liverpool fans who, to this day, refer to him by the simple nickname "God".


    Ambitious, developing leagues from the United States to the United Arab Emirates offer star names of a certain age lucrative contracts to add a little of their quality - and pulling power. Fowler himself played two seasons in Australia's A-League.


    But Thailand has never been known for big-money deals nor, indeed, the quality of its football. The national side has never qualified for the World Cup, and slipped as low as 137th in FIFA's rankings as recently as 2006.


    Meanwhile the domestic competitions and the clubs which compete in them have long suffered from widespread apathy because of Thai fans' enthusiasm for the English Premier League.


    But things are changing in Thai football - and Muang Thong United are at the vanguard. They were languishing in the second division as recently as four years ago.


    But following successive promotions, the club won Thailand's premier league in each of the past two seasons, regularly drawing crowds of more than 10,000.


    Bringing in foreign expertise has been part of the game plan: First came coaching staff - including the current head coach Henrique Calisto, a Portuguese veteran poached from Vietnam's national side.


    Players followed, including another with English Premier League experience - the former Fulham defender and Bradford City captain Zesh Rehman.


    "The first thing that's evident is the passion for football - it's immense," says Rehman. "Once you come and see it for yourself, it opens your eyes."


    "When you see people trying to develop their game and drag it up to the next level, and they want you to be a part of that, for me that's a privilege."


    For the other English player on Muang Thong's books, Thailand presents an opportunity for a fresh start.


    By his own admission, 21-year-old winger Romone Rose did not make the grade at Queens Park Rangers - but he thinks playing in Thailand will help to improve his prospects.


    "Instead of dropping down the leagues in England you can come somewhere else," says Rose.


    "The standard of football here is somewhere between the [English] Championship and Premiership - it's a lot better for me than playing in League One or League Two."


    Cost covered


    All of this is music to the ears of Muang Thong's genial general manager, Ronnarit Seu-vaja.


    He says his club are on a mission to pull Thailand into the elite level of Asian football, alongside Japan and South Korea. And he believes that signing Robbie Fowler will help them on several levels.


    Most obviously, there is box office appeal. With so many Liverpool fans in Thailand, covering the striker's financial demands was never likely to be an issue. "We sold 10,000 Robbie Fowler jerseys in the week after he signed," grins Mr Seu-vaja.


    He hopes that having a senior professional on the books who has played at the highest levels in Europe will provide an inspiring - and educational - example to the young Thai players who make up the bulk of Muang Thong's squad.


    But it seems that the former Liverpool favourite's contacts book was perhaps the greatest prize.


    "We now have more connections with European football, particularly in England," he said.


    "He has contacted many professionals who could come and work in Thailand - fitness coaches, physios or even players who didn't have knowledge of Thai football before. So we're going to gain a lot of returns from Robbie Fowler."


    For Fowler himself, an adventure in Thailand is a chance to keep playing and - as he puts it - "to win something for once".


    "I still want to score goals," he says. "It sounds stupid, but I still want to be the best - although I know that's never going to be the case now."


    "But I still have ambitions - I still want to win things - and I'm certainly not coming over here just for a holiday, because I want to do well for myself as well."


    With the Thai Premier League entering its final stretch, that is great news for Muang Thong United fans - but not so good for their opponents.

  2. I believe in him, I think he can become a good box to box midfielder like Gerrard was in his early days. But Kenny clearly doesn't agree, he's been playing as a winger most of the time, a decision I'm baffled with as he has nothing in his locker that would make him a top winger bar a decent cross.


    Still it's early days and we'll see how it works.


    Perhaps he's the next Beckham!

  3. Very happy about this. I hope Stevie gives him set pieces though, the crossed ones anyway. Will be worth 3 or 4 goals easy for Carroll


    As long as the Downing move comes off, then I think all we will need is a quality left back (not sure that is Enrique though), and we will be fine for top 4. We will actually have a strong squad then and our bench won't make me feel scared when it gets shown before a games starts.


    For a proper title challenge, I do think we need another game changer (eg Mata/Hazard) who can play in a forward 3 or on the wing if needed, then we will be able to rotate, cover for injuries, and have the options we need.


    Then add a quality CB who will hopefully be a clear first choice and not just added competition (dunno who), and maybe a 4th choice striker, just in case of injuries, but they just need to be decent, not top class, and our summer will have been as good as it could realistically get.


    Even if we were just to get another winger, in addition to Downing, who isn't top class but can do a job when called upon (so not first XI) and give us options for 442 if we wanted (ideally an N'zogbia type, but maybe a Jarvis), a CB who is not stand out but is added competition (say a Dann type), then the summer will still have been really good.


    I'm very optimistic now. There is plenty of time to get the 3 or 4 transfers we need, the quality winger/attacker and LB will be key though.

  4. Sziget in Budapest is Awesome. It is twice the size of Glastonbury I think (about 400k people), and lasts a full week. Due to the size there is so much going on and a massive mix of music to enjoy. I've not been to Glasto, have been to V festival and Bestival recently and a few others back in the day, and whilst they were really good (particularly Bestival), Sziget was a hell of a lot better, can't recommend it highly enough.


    Budapest in the summer is a great place to be. It is about takes about 30 minutes to get there from central Budapest, so if you are so inclined you don't have to sleep in a tent either. I know for many that is half the fun, but it is great to have a bed to sleep in, a proper shower, and a nice breaksfast after the the first couple of days. Its relatively cheap (couple of quid for a beer even in the festival), food is great, and then there are the thermal spas to enjoy. As the site is used all year by the general public there are proper toilets / facilities as well.

  5. Don't see the point of buying Wickham when we have Morgan and Ngoo who are about the same age, so he will just be blocking them. He may well be better than them at this point, but not significantly. And its not like Suarez and Carroll are so old that they will need replacing soon either.


    If we are after a striker would prefer some experience, and a bit cheaper as they will just be back up. Klose is on a free I think, Carroll could learn a lot from someone like him

  6. I still think next season it will be a whole new ballgame in terms of pressure.


    You're also pretty much assuming that we'll be the only team to improve our squad. Chelsea and City will spend big again. Arsenal might strengthen and make some good defensive signings. United will definitely strengthen.


    Point is, if this is the kind of summer's business we're going to have (signing bucketloads of average British talent from mid table-bottom sides), I can't see us having a squad anywhere near as good as those 4. And then it's just unfair on Kenny to expect him to get it to 4th, it's unfair to expect him to work magic with a mediocre squad again.


    Barnes (Watford), Beardlsey (Newcastle), Aldridge (Oxford), and Houghton (Oxford) didn't turn out too badly.

  7. I think we had an option, but there has been no information that it has been exercised. I could be wrong of course.


    I don't think it was an option for us from what I remember reading. It was in place as a carrot to him, prove you are good enough and play 20 odd games, and you get the extension. So the option is with him.


    Anyway, I am sure that a Greek side would be interested, especially with Liverpool on his CV, and this way we could get a small fee for him. Every little helps.

  8. I think we would do really well to get £5M for Ngog. I suppose if you start at £8M then you end up around half that for the actual figure would be about right. Any chance we could get club-buster 'Arry interested?



    Perhaps we are bumping his price up to be used as a makeweight in a deal with Wigan for McCarthy/N'Zog, or Newcastle for Enrique? Both are need of strikers I think

  9. I don't get this "no chance of top four if we improve four positions in our team and deepen the squad" business.


    If Kenny had been in charge last summer we would have had top four this season, with this squad. His results since taking over prove it.


    Put your trust in the second most successful living manager in English football. He will not let us down.


    Anyway, as I said earlier, anyone thinking the new owners won't want to make at least one huge signing in their first summer is dreaming.


    My thoughts exactly

  10. Fair enough, I probably shouldn't let it bother me. If people want to get their hopes up about us signing players that about 15 other top clubs are in for then it's not really my business. I just don't want to have to read the shit-storm of negativity on here when they go elsewhere. I'll be as happy as anyone if we sign someone like Mata, but I think the more likely scenario is that we'll get Downing and Marveaux. I'm okay with that personally because I believe that they will strengthen us, and I believe that it would be very difficult for us to get better players under the circumstances. Some people definitely won't be though, and I can just hear the moaning coming from miles off as their unrealistic expectations are dashed.


    Also fair enough. The marquee signing I mention could well be Downing if we don't get one of the 'bigger' names, and he may not be as exciting, but he would definately improve us. My preference would be for Adam Johnson or N'Zogbia if we can't get a star name, but either way, if we buy 2 wingers/wide forwards, as well as a CM, we will have enough room for them all in the squad, which was my point in response to your post I quoted.

  11. Well, it's very difficult to predict how we're going to line up next season if we buy a new left winger (or two) and a new central midfielder. We already have about five central midfielders, so something's got to give. Say we buy Mata and Adam, for example. How do we then line up? If it's effectively a 4-4-2 then that only leaves room for Gerrard and one more in the centre. If it's a kind of 4-3-3 then a left winger isn't really what we need as Suarez would have to play that role, with maybe Adam, Lucas and Gerrard in the centre. Or do we drop Dirk and play Suarez on the right side and someone like Mata on the left? That looks the strongest option on paper to me, but the point is that it's all speculation, and the people shouting for us to sign all these players don't seem to be taking into account how the fuck we're going to fit them all into the team.



    Its called having options isn't it?


    I think our preferred option next season will be 4-3-3, with a new marquee signing who can play either in a 3 or as a winger (Mata, Hazard, Sanchez, AN Other). As back up for the players in this formation we have Kuyt, Maxi, and perhaps another new signing who is more of a winger but could also play in this formation (Downing, N'Zogbia, Jarvis, AN Other).


    In the midfield 3 we will have Lucas (or a new signing) holding and Gerrard (with Spearing backing up Lucas), and then one of Meireles or new signing (Adam, McCarthy, AN Other) playing alongside them, and backing up you have Maxi and Shelvey if he is not on loan. You've got to remember that Gerrard's fitness record isn't great, so often it could be 2 those.


    However, perhaps depending on the oppo, or if we are chasing a game, we may want to go 4-4-2 using Carroll's aerial presence, as it would be mad not to take advantage of it in certain situations. Then the marquee signing moves out wide, the 2nd new attacking signing (the winger already mentioned) plays on the other side, and then Lucas and Gerrard, or Gerrard and one of Meireles or new midifled signing, with Gerrard the holding player in the middle.


    With a bit of rotation and undoubted injuries that will be picked up along the way, everyone should get a good amount of game time.

  12. Seen some shit about this 'stunt.' Was one newspaper running the line today that mancs set the stunt up even down to quick 'getaway' cars. Really? Like anyone near Anfield on matchday's can get a car right up to Anny Road then, make a 'quick' getaway what with all the traffic, fans walking in the road etc, etc.


    I see there's talk that now city have won something they have to take the banner but something else will go up in its place.


    Now, I just wonder what that is going to be?


    I didn't want to start a new thread for this article, but thought this thread was appropriate. And I think it follows this post quite well.


    Item number 3,782,587 proving what deluded, hypocritical whoppers they are



    BBC News - Fans' City taunt banner to return at Old Trafford



    Manchester City's long-suffering fans waited 35 years to get the monkey off their back.


    But, just when they thought it was all over, it's revealed that United's infamous "ticker banner" is to taunt them one final time.


    Having mocked City's lack of silverware for more than a decade, the "35 years" banner disappeared following City's FA Cup win - much to the delight of Blues fans.


    But Stretford End Flags, the independent supporters' group behind the banner, have said United fans will have the last laugh when it returns for the final game of the season.


    Spokesman Andrew Kilduff said: "The banner's going back up in some form or another for the Blackpool game.


    "What goes up is open to interpretation - it's going to be the same banner but it will just have something else on it," he said secretively.


    They think they are being really cunning don't they, of course no one can guess what it is likely to say...


    "We've had suggestions to turn it to 43 which is how long since City last won the league.


    "But if we do that it would just give City the motivation to win it again - and it would look a bit petty really."


    Are you saying it would be petty to put up a vairation of a flag you have had at every game for years, but that it wasn't petty in the first place?


    Focus on the banner has grown since Manchester City's sale in 2008 to billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour and its move into the higher echelons of the Premier League.


    Their manager Roberto Mancini was aware of its significance, urging his players to "take off this banner" in the build-up to the Wembley final.


    At the final whistle, exultant City players even unfurled their own ticker banner on the Wembley pitch, reset to "00".


    "It clearly struck a nerve," said Mr Kilduff, 35, from Runcorn.


    "There were City fans outside Wembley screaming into the TV cameras, calling for it to come down.


    "To me if you're in the FA Cup Final, you've won the cup. It's not about taking a banner down at a rival football ground."


    Bet you had a proper chuckle about the banner at Anfield that went up the next day though didn't you?


    But, after a decade of winding up their Manchester rivals, are United fans disappointed the joke's over?


    "To be honest, it didn't bother us because my focus was on Manchester United winning the 19th title," said Mr Kilduff.


    "That's more important than anything because the rivalry with Liverpool [over the number of titles] was always bigger than that."


    Err, you just said that City fans should just enjoy winning the cup and not think about their rivals, why don't you just enjoy winning the League?


    Museum piece

    According to Mr Kilduff, the banner was conceived in the early 1990s by Manchester United's away fans who wanted to taunt City fans over their lack of success.


    In 2000, a United fan had the first ticker banner made up which he displayed on the Stretford End before turning his back on the club in 2005 following the Glazer takeover - and taking his banner with him.


    A Utd fan with moral fortitude :wow:


    Soon after, Stretford End Flags was formed to create eye-catching banners and crowd mosaic displays at Old Trafford.


    "We were inundated with fans' requests asking if it could go back up," he said. "So we actually got it remade and it's been up there ever since."


    A mock-up of the banner was even taken to the City of Manchester stadium on 28 February this year - the 35th anniversary of City's League Cup win in 1976.


    According to Mr Kilduff, the banner may now have a future in the new National Football Museum, due to open in Manchester in 2012.


    "We've been in touch with them about using it in a display about football rivalry which is probably the right place for it now," he said.


    "It's a tiny banner which is about a tenth of the size of banners we put up on the Stretford End.


    "We've got huge banners of Ryan Giggs, George Best, Sir Matt Busby. And we're looking for ideas for a new banner to mark the 19th title.


    "To be honest, that's what it's all about - the history and tradition of Manchester United.


    If its all about Manchester United, why are you having banners mocking your rivals?


    "Now the ticker's gone, we can focus on that."





    I don't have a problem with the banner so much, we would be lapping it up if it was the other way around.

  13. i've been speaking spanish for about 26 years, on and off, and I like to think I'm relatively fluent. I've spoken Spanish in at least 10 regions of Spain and in 4 or 5 altogether separate spanish speaking countries.

    In all those parts of Spain and in all those countries, without exception, it has always been CHU REETH O.


    And not because of some regional quirk of dialect, it's just because that's what it's called!!


    See also - Moet & Chandon.

    apart from being a distinctly average and grossly over priced Champagne, it's pronounced Mow-et, and absolutely not Mow-ey as every wannabe Delboy would like you to believe.


    Hijo de puta!


    If you say it that way whilst speaking Spanish, that is fine, but if you say it whilst speaking English, you are either a hooray henry or Australian and you also say parsta.


    Should we call you Henry from now on?

  14. Love the stuff. There's always a whole chorizo sausage in my fridge.


    In other news - Anyone who pronounces it chu-reez-o or even worse, chur-itz-o, is a cunt.


    It's pronounced chu-reeth-o, and nothing else will suffice.

    Thanks for listening.


    Anyone who says Chu-reeth-o whilst speaking English (unless they are Spanish) just sounds like a complete idiot. Much the same as anyone who does not pronounce the s in Paris whilst speaking in English sounds like a complete idiot.


    And if your arguement is thats how they say it is Spain, well, it is not all of Spain that say it like that anyway as, surprise surprise, they have different accents, so in some parts of Spain (as well as practically all of Latin America) they say Cho-reez-o


    Anyone who says chur-itz-o is just a fucktard who has confused Italian with Spanish.

  15. Italian BMT or meatball marinara sandwiches from Subway. I might treat myself to one at the weekend.



    Meatball Marinara is Sub of the Day on a Tuesday, and Italian BMT is Sub of the Day on a Thursday, otherwise they will be more expensive.


    Saturday is Ham, which is pretty rubbish, but if you go Sunday, you could get the Spicy Italian, which is not far off the Italian BMT.


    I only ever go on a Thursday