english premier league fixture 2013/14

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Richard Scudamore: Premier League strength can help youth development

02 July 2013 23:13:55 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

• Poor displays by young England sides 'not our responsibility' • 'More English-qualified people are coming through academies' Richard Scudamore has insisted that England's miserable performances at youth level this summer are not a consequence of the top flight's success. The Premier League chief executive, speaking on Tuesday as Sport England and the league announced a partnership worth £16.8m, said the strength of the league should benefit English youngsters during their development. England Under-21s lost every match at the European Championship in Israel before the Under-20s were held by Iraq and Chile and defeated by Egypt to exit their World Cup last weekend. Earlier this year the Under-17s failed to qualify for the European Championship. "That's not our responsibility," Scudamore said. "Our responsibility is to make sure the youth development systems in this country are as good as they can be. "There were 210 players qualified to play for England playing in the Premier League last year. We ought to be able to find 11 to take the field to do well. Those players are playing week in, week out against the world's best talent. There are other factors at play, which are not our responsibility. "We're starting to see more English-qualified people coming through the academies, we're starting to see more take part in first teams. Last season more English players were being registered. That's a tide that's turning and, therefore, our youth development systems are beginning to work even better. Our responsibility ends once those players go off and are selected." Roy Hodgson, the England manager, was frustrated when the Premier League fixture list came out last month as a request to play no high-profile matches before his team's World Cup qualification double-header in September was ignored. England play Moldova at Wembley on Friday 6 September before travelling to Kiev the following Tuesday to play Ukraine. The Premier League has opted to stage Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal v Tottenham the weekend before, with at least one of those games expected to be moved to the Sunday for TV coverage. "I haven't spoken to Mr Hodgson," Scudamore said. "At the end of the day the fixture list is a hugely complex affair. But we do fully respect the call-up periods." The Premier League and Sport England partnership is aimed at increasing sports participation for young people over three years. Two community programmes, Premier League 4 Sport and Kickz, will receive significant funding, creating 270 new sports clubs and targeting 30,000 youngsters in underprivileged areas. "There is no other company in this country that gives away more than we give away," Scudamore said. "We will give away next year more than £260m." The former England left-back Graeme Le Saux, who praised the Premier League's financial backing for community sports, believes a lot needs to be done to improve on a "disappointing" summer for the international youth sides. "There's got to be pride," he said. "I never felt more proud than playing for the Under-21s because that was the best level I'd got to. "Their weekly salary will probably be more than what they get to play for England Under-21s but the significance of playing for your country is so important. We've got to reconnect that. "It's also important that the players respect the competitions and that they value the international competitions that they play in. We need to create that through the FA." Premier League England Under-21s James Riach guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time02 July 2013 23:13:55


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Richard Scudamore: Premier League strength can help youth development

02 July 2013 23:02:34 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

• Poor displays by young England sides 'not our responsibility' • 'More English-qualified people are coming through academies' Richard Scudamore has insisted that England's miserable performances at youth level this summer are not a consequence of the top flight's success. The Premier League chief executive, speaking on Tuesday as Sport England and the league announced a partnership worth £16.8m, said the strength of the league should benefit English youngsters during their development. England Under-21s lost every match at the European Championship in Israel before the Under-20s were held by Iraq and Chile and defeated by Egypt to exit their World Cup last weekend. Earlier this year the Under-17s failed to qualify for the European Championship. "That's not our responsibility," Scudamore said. "Our responsibility is to make sure the youth development systems in this country are as good as they can be. "There were 210 players qualified to play for England playing in the Premier League last year. We ought to be able to find 11 to take the field to do well. Those players are playing week in, week out against the world's best talent. There are other factors at play, which are not our responsibility. "We're starting to see more English-qualified people coming through the academies, we're starting to see more take part in first teams. Last season more English players were being registered. That's a tide that's turning and, therefore, our youth development systems are beginning to work even better. Our responsibility ends once those players go off and are selected." Roy Hodgson, the England manager, was frustrated when the Premier League fixture list came out last month as a request to play no high-profile matches before his team's World Cup qualification double-header in September was ignored. England play Moldova at Wembley on Friday 6 September before travelling to Kiev the following Tuesday to play Ukraine. The Premier League has opted to stage Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal v Tottenham the weekend before, with at least one of those games expected to be moved to the Sunday for TV coverage. "I haven't spoken to Mr Hodgson," Scudamore said. "At the end of the day the fixture list is a hugely complex affair. But we do fully respect the call-up periods." The Premier League and Sport England partnership is aimed at increasing sports participation for young people over three years. Two community programmes, Premier League 4 Sport and Kickz, will receive significant funding, creating 270 new sports clubs and targeting 30,000 youngsters in underprivileged areas. "There is no other company in this country that gives away more than we give away," Scudamore said. "We will give away next year more than £260m." The former England left-back Graeme Le Saux, who praised the Premier League's financial backing for community sports, believes a lot needs to be done to improve on a "disappointing" summer for the international youth sides. "There's got to be pride," he said. "I never felt more proud than playing for the Under-21s because that was the best level I'd got to. "Their weekly salary will probably be more than what they get to play for England Under-21s but the significance of playing for your country is so important. We've got to reconnect that. "It's also important that the players respect the competitions and that they value the international competitions that they play in. We need to create that through the FA." Premier League England Under-21s James Riach guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time02 July 2013 23:02:34


Premier League Fixtures 2013-14: All the fixtures and reaction as it happened

19 June 2013 16:13:30 mirror - Sport

A recap of all the analysis and reaction from the release of the fixtures list from the people that mater

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 16:13:30


Premier League fixtures 2013-14: New Man United boss Moyes starts with Swansea, Chelsea and Liverpool

19 June 2013 11:08:10 mirror - Sport

FIXTURES! FIXTURES! Get your steaming hot fixtures right here for EVERY Premier League team...

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 11:08:10


Premier League 2013-14 fixtures: the complete list

19 June 2013 11:06:41 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

• All the fixtures for the 2013-14 Premier League season • Moyes to make Old Trafford bow against Chelsea • Manchester City v Liverpool the Boxing Day pick Click on a header to sort the table. Premier League guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 11:06:41


Premier League 2013-14 fixtures - by team

19 June 2013 11:05:15 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

David Moyes has been handed a baptism of fire in next David Moyes has been handed a baptism of fire in next year's fixture list, coming up against José Mourinho in only the second game of the new season. Find the individual fixtures for your team across the 2013-14 season by clicking on the link Arsenal Aston Villa Crystal Palace Cardiff City Chelsea Everton Fulham Hull City Liverpool Man City Man Utd Newcastle United Norwich Newcastle United Queens Park Rangers Reading Southampton Spurs Stoke Sunderland Swansea West Brom West Ham Wigan Premier League guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 11:05:15


Premier League 2013-14 fixtures: the complete list

19 June 2013 11:05:15 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

• All the fixtures for the 2013-14 Premier League season • Moyes to make Old Trafford bow against Chelsea • Manchester City v Liverpool the Boxing Day pick Click on a header to sort the table. Premier League guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 11:05:15


Premier League 2013-14 fixtures - by team

19 June 2013 10:56:23 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

David Moyes has been handed a baptism of fire in next David Moyes has been handed a baptism of fire in next year's fixture list, coming up against José Mourinho in only the second game of the new season. Find the individual fixtures for your team across the 2013-14 season by clicking on the link Arsenal Aston Villa Crystal Palace Cardiff City Chelsea Everton Fulham Hull City Liverpool Man City Man Utd Man Utd Newcastle United Norwich Newcastle United Queens Park Rangers Reading Southampton Spurs Stoke Sunderland Swansea West Brom West Ham Wigan Premier League guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 10:56:23


Football fixtures 2013-14 announced

19 June 2013 10:42:51 BBC News - UK

New Man Utd boss David Moyes faces a trip to Swansea as the 2013-14 Premier League fixtures are announced.

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 10:42:51


Celtic fixtures 2013/14 and Scottish Premier League fixtures

19 June 2013 10:27:02 Football | Mail Online

Scottish champions Celtic start their title defence against Ross County. See all the fixtures for the 2013/14 SPL season here....

Vice Football Time19 June 2013 10:27:02


League Two fixtures 2013/14

19 June 2013 10:27:02 Football | Mail Online

Portsmouth begin life in League Two at home to Oxford United as newly-promoted Newport County get started against Accrington. Find out the rest of the 2013-14 fixtures here...

Vice Football Time19 June 2013 10:27:02


Celtic fixtures 2013/14 and Scottish Premier League fixtures

19 June 2013 10:20:07 Sport | Mail Online

Scottish champions Celtic start their title defence against Ross County. See all the fixtures for the 2013/14 SPL season here....

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:20:07


League Two fixtures 2013/14

19 June 2013 10:20:07 Sport | Mail Online

Portsmouth begin life in League Two at home to Oxford United as newly-promoted Newport County get started against Accrington. Find out the rest of the 2013-14 fixtures here...

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:20:07


Premier League fixtures 2013/14: David Moyes first Old Trafford game v Chelsea

19 June 2013 10:20:07 Sport | Mail Online

David Moyes' first home game as the new Manchester United manager will be against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. Find out all the fixtures for the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season here.

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:20:07


Norwich City Premier League fixtures 2013-14: Canaries start with Everton

19 June 2013 10:15:39 mirror - Sport

Find out who the Canaries will face in the 2013-2014 Premier League season

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:15:39


Everton Premier League fixtures 2013-14: Toffees start with Norwich away

19 June 2013 10:15:39 mirror - Sport

Find out who Roberto Martinez faces in his first season as Everton boss in the 2013-14 Premier League season

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:15:39


Premier League fixtures 2013-14: Full details of all the games for every top flight club

19 June 2013 10:15:39 mirror - Sport

FIXTURES! FIXTURES! Get your steaming hot fixtures right here for EVERY Premier League team...

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:15:39


Premier League fixtures 2013/14

19 June 2013 10:09:23 Sport | Mail Online

David Moyes' first home game as the new Manchester United manager will be against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. Find out all the fixtures for the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season here.

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 10:09:23


Premier League Fixtures 2013-14: Live reaction and updates

19 June 2013 09:43:53 mirror - Sport

It's fixtures day! We'll be getting reaction from the people that matter and dissecting where the Premier League will be won and lost

Vice Sport Time19 June 2013 09:43:53


Rupert Murdoch plans summer contest for football's top clubs

14 June 2013 21:07:20 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

16 teams from European leagues would play in cities around the world under plans by tycoon's global broadcasting company Rupert Murdoch's global broadcasting company is exploring an ambitious plan to create a summer football competition featuring Europe's top clubs, including English Premier League sides, with matches to be played in cities from Los Angeles to Shanghai. Leading clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea would be invited to participate, should the tournament come to fruition, competing with the biggest clubs from Europe's other top leagues – the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The idea would see a 16-team competition run for 10 years with a potential start date of 2015 in the close season when clubs traditionally play exhibition matches. Matches would be aired on Sky and by Murdoch's other broadcasters worldwide. The mogul's 21st Century Fox company – being separated from publishing business News Corporation later this month – also owns broadcasters in Italy, Germany, Asia and the United States. One source described the plan as akin to the "Formula One-isation of football", with cities from Europe, Asia and the Americas bidding to host tournament matches. The Guardian understands that approaches have been made to a number of cities by executives from Murdoch subsidiary Fox International to explore partnerships to host the exhibition-style tournament matches. But the proposal is at its early stages. "One of the major issues is if it gets to the stage of trying to pull the empire together and paying what they think is a fair share," said a second source. With more than half of the clubs in the Premier League in the hands of overseas owners, and five of those now owned by Americans including Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, the desire to go global has increased. Manchester United, third behind Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of overall revenues, have shown the way in commercialising their overseas fanbase, vastly increasing their income by tapping into international sponsorship markets. As such, plans for overseas tours in the close season have also become increasingly ambitious. Chelsea, for example, headed to the US to play Manchester City as soon as their marathon season finished and will head to Thailand, Malaysia, India and back to America before the start of the 2013-14 season. Manchester United will go to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong. It is in that context that Fox International executives have drawn up their plan, but they will have to convince club owners it represents a better bet than forging their own path. The Guinness International Cup, featuring eight clubs including Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus and LA Galaxy would appear to be a dry run for the more ambitious scheme. Early rounds will take place in Europe, with the finals in Miami in August. The thinking may also be influenced by the fact that Fox has lost the rights to live Premier League football in the US to NBC for the next three seasons. In what is expected to be a watershed moment for the appeal of football in the US, NBC will show every match live including 20 on its main network. Murdoch has made several attempts to shake up sports – in the 1990s News Corp set up its own rugby Super League in Australia, forcing the sport's national governing body to partner to create the National Rugby League competition. Earlier this year it emerged that BSkyB and News Corp were interested in creating a new world series of cycling – while in 2011 Murdoch's media group made an unsuccessful attempt to take control of Formula One . Plans for a European Super League have been proposed with various degrees of seriousness several times in the past decade. There was a detailed plan doing the rounds in 2009 and again in 2011, but the Uefa president, Michel Platini, has been alive to the threat and sealed a deal in 2012 with the European Clubs Association, representing 137 of the biggest clubs, that will hold until 2018 and should keep them within the Uefa fold. With the idea of playing regular season games abroad torpedoed in the short term by the negative reaction to the Premier League's unusually half-baked "39th game" plan in 2008, attention has turned to the close season. News Corp and BSkyB declined to comment. Drawing up ambitious plans for a close season tournament would allow the clubs involved to avoid clashing with their domestic leagues and the existing European club competitions, although Fifa and Uefa may have concerns over what is becoming an increasingly cluttered summer football calendar. The fixture list has become a battleground for the ongoing political battles between the clubs, leagues and governing bodies jostling for control of the calendar. Rupert Murdoch Fox News Corporation Television industry Premier League La Liga European club football US television industry Media business BSkyB BSkyB Mark Sweney Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice Bussines Time14 June 2013 21:07:20


Rupert Murdoch plans summer contest for football's top clubs

14 June 2013 20:57:39 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

16 teams from European leagues would play in cities around the world under plans by tycoon's global broadcasting company Rupert Murdoch's global broadcasting company is exploring an ambitious plan to create a summer football competition featuring Europe's top clubs, including English Premier League sides, with matches to be played in cities from Los Angeles to Shanghai. Leading clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea would be invited to participate, should the tournament come to fruition, competing with the biggest clubs from Europe's other top leagues – the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The idea would see a 16-team competition run for 10 years with a potential start date of 2015 in the close season when clubs traditionally play exhibition matches. Matches would be aired on Sky and by Murdoch's other broadcasters worldwide. The mogul's 21st Century Fox company – being separated from publishing business News Corporation later this month – also owns broadcasters in Italy, Germany, Asia and the United States. One source described the plan as akin to the "Formula One-isation of football", with cities from Europe, Asia and the Americas bidding to host tournament matches. The Guardian understands that approaches have been made to a number of cities by executives from Murdoch subsidiary Fox International to explore partnerships to host the exhibition-style tournament matches. But the proposal is at its early stages. "One of the major issues is if it gets to the stage of trying to pull the empire together and paying what they think is a fair share," said a second source. With more than half of the clubs in the Premier League in the hands of overseas owners, and five of those now owned by Americans including Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, the desire to go global has increased. Manchester United, third behind Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of overall revenues, have shown the way in commercialising their overseas fanbase, vastly increasing their income by tapping into international sponsorship markets. As such, plans for overseas tours in the close season have also become increasingly ambitious. Chelsea, for example, headed to the US to play Manchester City as soon as their marathon season finished and will head to Thailand, Malaysia, India and back to America before the start of the 2013-14 season. Manchester United will go to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong. It is in that context that Fox International executives have drawn up their plan, but they will have to convince club owners it represents a better bet than forging their own path. The Guinness International Cup, featuring eight clubs including Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus and LA Galaxy would appear to be a dry run for the more ambitious scheme. Early rounds will take place in Europe, with the finals in Miami in August. The thinking may also be influenced by the fact that Fox has lost the rights to live Premier League football in the US to NBC for the next three seasons. In what is expected to be a watershed moment for the appeal of football in the US, NBC will show every match live including 20 on its main network. Murdoch has made several attempts to shake up sports – in the 1990s News Corp set up its own rugby Super League in Australia, forcing the sport's national governing body to partner to create the National Rugby League competition. Earlier this year it emerged that BSkyB and News Corp were interested in creating a new world series of cycling – while in 2011 Murdoch's media group made an unsuccessful attempt to take control of Formula One . Plans for a European Super League have been proposed with various degrees of seriousness several times in the past decade. There was a detailed plan doing the rounds in 2009 and again in 2011, but the Uefa president, Michel Platini, has been alive to the threat and sealed a deal in 2012 with the European Clubs Association, representing 137 of the biggest clubs, that will hold until 2018 and should keep them within the Uefa fold. With the idea of playing regular season games abroad torpedoed in the short term by the negative reaction to the Premier League's unusually half-baked "39th game" plan in 2008, attention has turned to the close season. News Corp and BSkyB declined to comment. Drawing up ambitious plans for a close season tournament would allow the clubs involved to avoid clashing with their domestic leagues and the existing European club competitions, although Fifa and Uefa may have concerns over what is becoming an increasingly cluttered summer football calendar. The fixture list has become a battleground for the ongoing political battles between the clubs, leagues and governing bodies jostling for control of the calendar. Rupert Murdoch Fox News Corporation Television industry Premier League La Liga European club football US television industry Media business BSkyB BSkyB Mark Sweney Owen Gibson guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice Bussines Time14 June 2013 20:57:39


High time Premier League clubs began listening to long-suffering fans | Sean Ingle

10 June 2013 00:21:36 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Everton and Bolton supporters have achieved small victories in recent days, but the battle over ticket prices has still to be won Imagine living in a parallel universe. One where Premier League clubs looked at the £5.5bn global TV rights deal for 2013–16 and said: you know what, times are tough for the average supporter – let's make do with £3.4bn and use the rest to cut ticket prices. Take a guess at how much the price of every ticket would fall? Keep going. And don't stop until you reach £51.30. Yes, in this fantasy land, ticket prices would be reduced by £51.30 for every Premier League match for the next three years. (£51.30 is 2.1bn divided by 40,932,408 – the 2012-13 aggregate attendance of 13,644,136 multiplied by three). Given that the highest ticket price at 10 of the 20 Premier League clubs last season was £50 or less, it puts what could be done into sharp focus. Most fans would get in free. And proposals such as the Football Supporters' Federation's Twenty's Plenty campaign , which aims to cap ticket prices at £20 for away fans, would be a drop in the ocean. Yet we know where much of the money will end up. In players' pockets. As the football finance review by Deloitte for 2011-12 reported last week, the revenue-to-wages ratio average in the Premier League is 70%, compared to 51% in the Bundesliga. You can't blame players for taking the cash, but imagine the reaction if a single big-name footballer showed the wage restraint the rest of the nation is being asked to? Meanwhile, fans still lap up the product. Remember the protests of Manchester City fans after being asked to pay £62 at the Emirates in January, and the militant talk that followed? Even in the teeth of the bitterest recession in recent memory and a midwinter that lasted until April, average attendances went up 3.6% in 2012-13 to 35,906 – the second highest in Premier League history. Of course, supporters' issues are aired. It's just that clubs often ignore them. It perhaps doesn't help that, as my colleague Barry Glendenning points out, many fans' protests consist of marching from the pub they were going to be in anyway to the match they were going to attend anyway. Most, but not all. On Wednesday 19 June, the day the 2013-14 season fixtures are published, a group of supporters will protest outside the headquarters of the Premier League and Football League . Their grievances are lengthy, but the spiralling cost of attending matches and the refusal to address fans' concerns top the list. As James McKenna of Spirit of Shankly, the Liverpool supporters' group who have organised the demonstration, explains: "Clubs know they have got people. But at a time when football is making more money than ever, we want them to give something back." McKenna claims that Spirit of Shankly has had meetings attended by Manchester United, Everton and Tranmere fans who feel the same way. Supporters from Arsenal and Spurs have also pledged to join them. "Change isn't going to happen overnight," he admits, "but we have to try." You might argue that when it comes to complaining about ticket prices, the horse has not only bolted but been put out to stud, died of old age and ended up in a beefburger. You might also smell the pungent whiff of a publicity stunt. Arguably the target is a little scattergun, too: the Premier League does not set ticket prices, clubs do. Even so, it is no bad thing to remind the game's powers of a fundamental truth: that while fans need their football clubs – often to an unhealthy, addictive degree – clubs need fans, too. It is a symbiotic relationship, but hardly a fair one. It is clearly more beneficial to one party than the other. Sometimes it strays near to parasitism. Without supporters putting bums on seats the product loses some of its lustre. The atmosphere generated by fans stirring the pot would decline further. Overseas TV rights might not be so lucrative. And many clubs' balance sheets, which are unhealthy even with all the money sloshing around, would be on life support. Yet how many Premier League clubs have supporters on their boards? Or regularly address the concerns of fans? Too often there is the illusion of participation. Dave Boyle, the former chief executive of Supporters' Direct, equates it to a parent allowing a child to pick between a banana or an apple for pudding after a day of parentally dictated activities. A demonstration on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-June won't have thousands marching on Gloucester Place. It inevitably leaves fans open to the charge of 'Is this all you have got'? It's hardly Borussia Dortmund fans boycotting their derby at Schalke en masse to protest at a rise in prices, as they did in 2010, either. Still, look at the small victories of recent days: Everton apologising for not consulting their fans after infantilising their crest when 22,500 complained , Bolton's rapid U-turn away from a sponsorship deal with the pay-day loan company QuickQuid. It shows what can be done. The Premier League says it will invite a group of next week's demonstrators to come into their offices "should they so wish" and pass on their comments to clubs. Let's hope those clubs listen rather than pay lip-service; and supporters become more emboldened too. Premier League Finances Business Sean Ingle guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds  

Vice Bussines Time10 June 2013 00:21:36


High time Premier League clubs began listening to long-suffering fans | Sean Ingle

10 June 2013 00:10:52 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

Everton and Bolton supporters have achieved small victories in recent days, but the battle over ticket prices has still to be won Imagine living in a parallel universe. One where Premier League clubs looked at the £5.5bn global TV rights deal for 2013–16 and said: you know what, times are tough for the average supporter – let's make do with £3.4bn and use the rest to cut ticket prices. Take a guess at how much the price of every ticket would fall? Keep going. And don't stop until you reach £51.30. Yes, in this fantasy land, ticket prices would be reduced by £51.30 for every Premier League match for the next three years. (£51.30 is 2.1bn divided by 40,932,408 – the 2012-13 aggregate attendance of 13,644,136 multiplied by three). Given that the highest ticket price at 10 of the 20 Premier League clubs last season was £50 or less, it puts what could be done into sharp focus. Most fans would get in free. And proposals such as the Football Supporters' Federation's Twenty's Plenty campaign , which aims to cap ticket prices at £20 for away fans, would be a drop in the ocean. Yet we know where much of the money will end up. In players' pockets. As the football finance review by Deloitte for 2011-12 reported last week, the revenue-to-wages ratio average in the Premier League is 70%, compared to 51% in the Bundesliga. You can't blame players for taking the cash, but imagine the reaction if a single big-name footballer showed the wage restraint the rest of the nation is being asked to? Meanwhile, fans still lap up the product. Remember the protests of Manchester City fans after being asked to pay £62 at the Emirates in January, and the militant talk that followed? Even in the teeth of the bitterest recession in recent memory and a midwinter that lasted until April, average attendances went up 3.6% in 2012-13 to 35,906 – the second highest in Premier League history. Of course, supporters' issues are aired. It's just that clubs often ignore them. It perhaps doesn't help that, as my colleague Barry Glendenning points out, many fans' protests consist of marching from the pub they were going to be in anyway to the match they were going to attend anyway. Most, but not all. On Wednesday 19 June, the day the 2013-14 season fixtures are published, a group of supporters will protest outside the headquarters of the Premier League and Football League . Their grievances are lengthy, but the spiralling cost of attending matches and the refusal to address fans' concerns top the list. As James McKenna of Spirit of Shankly, the Liverpool supporters' group who have organised the demonstration, explains: "Clubs know they have got people. But at a time when football is making more money than ever, we want them to give something back." McKenna claims that Spirit of Shankly has had meetings attended by Manchester United, Everton and Tranmere fans who feel the same way. Supporters from Arsenal and Spurs have also pledged to join them. "Change isn't going to happen overnight," he admits, "but we have to try." You might argue that when it comes to complaining about ticket prices, the horse has not only bolted but been put out to stud, died of old age and ended up in a beefburger. You might also smell the pungent whiff of a publicity stunt. Arguably the target is a little scattergun, too: the Premier League does not set ticket prices, clubs do. Even so, it is no bad thing to remind the game's powers of a fundamental truth: that while fans need their football clubs – often to an unhealthy, addictive degree – clubs need fans, too. It is a symbiotic relationship, but hardly a fair one. It is clearly more beneficial to one party than the other. Sometimes it strays near to parasitism. Without supporters putting bums on seats the product loses some of its lustre. The atmosphere generated by fans stirring the pot would decline further. Overseas TV rights might not be so lucrative. And many clubs' balance sheets, which are unhealthy even with all the money sloshing around, would be on life support. Yet how many Premier League clubs have supporters on their boards? Or regularly address the concerns of fans? Too often there is the illusion of participation. Dave Boyle, the former chief executive of Supporters' Direct, equates it to a parent allowing a child to pick between a banana or an apple for pudding after a day of parentally dictated activities. A demonstration on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-June won't have thousands marching on Gloucester Place. It inevitably leaves fans open to the charge of 'Is this all you have got'? It's hardly Borussia Dortmund fans boycotting their derby at Schalke en masse to protest at a rise in prices, as they did in 2010, either. Still, look at the small victories of recent days: Everton apologising for not consulting their fans after infantilising their crest when 22,500 complained , Bolton's rapid U-turn away from a sponsorship deal with the pay-day loan company QuickQuid. It shows what can be done. The Premier League says it will invite a group of next week's demonstrators to come into their offices "should they so wish" and pass on their comments to clubs. Let's hope those clubs listen rather than pay lip-service; and supporters become more emboldened too. Premier League Finances Business Sean Ingle guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds  

Vice Bussines Time10 June 2013 00:10:52


Our series continues with Liverpool

23 May 2013 21:55:41 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

In the fourth of our six-part series, we look back at Istanbul's 'miracle', double delight in Rome and being the best of British They won it five times, you know. Now that Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United have overhauled most of the other Liverpool claims to fame, the Reds' record in the European Cup seems likely to be the club's proudest boast for some time to come. It is worth remembering too that but for the tragic events surrounding the 1985 final in Brussels, and the subsequent ban on English clubs in Europe post-Heysel, the dominance Liverpool had achieved by the mid-eighties could easily have seen the trophy return to Merseyside on one or two more occasions. Uninterrupted by events away from the pitch, Liverpool might be up there with Madrid and Milan by now. There is no doubt which was the most dramatic of the five finals. Liverpool's incredible comeback against Milan in Istanbul in 2005 was arguably the greatest feat of all, since the old competition for title winners had now been reorganised into the Champions League, and in the knockout stages alone Rafa Benítez's team had to account for teams of the stature of Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea. Now the biggest teams in Europe compete against each other every year the going is tougher than it used to be, though it could be said that winning the English title was the toughest test of all. Liverpool would not even have been in the 2005 tournament under the old rules, since Arsenal were the 2004 English champions. Either way, the miracle of Istanbul stands apart from the years when Liverpool first began to use Europe as a playground. Not only did they win the European Cup four times between 1977 and 1984, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa joined in on the act, so that in the eight-year period immediately prior to the Heysel ban, only Hamburg in 1983 managed to interrupt a golden period for English football. Liverpool led the way in every sense, becoming only the second English side to lift the European Cup in Rome in 1977, repeating the achievement at Wembley a year later, and reaching the final on three more occasions in the next seven years. The first success was probably the sweetest, and Liverpool players as well as supporters still have imperishable memories of the army of fans that accompanied the team to Rome and vastly outnumbered the Borussia Mönchengladbach support inside the Olympic stadium. Intoxicated by the part they played in the uniquely memorable third round second leg against St Etienne at Anfield, a pulsating 3-1 victory sealed by a vital late goal from "supersub" David Fairclough, Liverpool supporters had got behind their side's European adventure in a manner rarely seen either before or since. Mönchengladbach were a decent team in 1977, studded with prominent German internationals such as Berti Vogts, Rainer Bonhof, Uli Stielike and Jupp Heynckes, but they seemed unsettled by either the occasion or Liverpool's fervent support, and though Allan Simonsen cancelled out Terry McDermott's opening goal just after the interval, they had no comeback once one of Anfield's best-loved characters met a Steve Heighway corner with an unanswerable header. Fans in the stadium went nuts, television viewers back home, and in those days that meant practically the whole country, savoured one of Barry Davies's finest commentary moments. "It's Tommy Smith! Oh what an end to a career." Liverpool played such a perfect game in 1977 that Bob Paisley never had to turn to Fairclough, never even made a substitution. It was that kind of day. It is debatable whether that was their greatest team, however, as when Liverpool returned the following season to beat FC Bruges at Wembley after defeating Mönchengladbach again in the semi-final, they had made the notable additions of Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen and Phil Thompson to the side. People thought that Liverpool would never be the same again once Kevin Keegan packed his bags for a new challenge at Hamburg, and they weren't. They were considerably better. While Paisley acted decisively in spending the Keegan money to bring in Dalglish, who scored the neatest of goals to secure victory at Wembley, around that keynote signing a whole new side was taking shape. Now with two Kennedys – Alan as well as Ray – the 1978-79 edition was not quite good enough to get past Nottingham Forest when the two English hopes were paired together in the first round, but once Liverpool had returned to the top of the domestic league, they returned to the European Cup final in 1981 with a new striker just beginning to make a name for himself. Ian Rush did not play in Paris against Real Madrid, where a single goal from the unlikely source of Alan Kennedy was enough to secure a third triumph, though he was a fixture in the side by the time Liverpool went back to Rome in 1984. Never mind the fact that Liverpool beat Roma on penalties, with Bruce Grobbelaar claiming his first winner's medal by virtue of his famous spaghetti legs routine, consider the team Joe Fagan was able to put out that day. Grobbelaar; Phil Neal, Mark Lawrensen, Hansen, Alan Kennedy; Sammy Lee, Craig Johnston, Souness, Ronnie Whelan; Dalglish, Rush. Paisley had stepped down, Fagan promoted from within in the usual Anfield tradition, and once Roma had been beaten on their own ground by what many regard as the best of Liverpool's European Cup sides it appeared the club was set fair for a few more trophies if not another decade of glory. Nothing happened in the run to the 1985 final to contradict that impression, with Liverpool coping with the loss of Souness to Italian football just as comfortably as they had survived losing Keegan to Germany, though if anyone at the club thought European Cup finals would keep coming along, and possibly getting easier with more experience, they were wrong. Heysel came as a terrible shock, to Fagan, to Liverpool, and to the English game. Everton were among the first to feel the impact, winning the league in 1985 and 1987 but having nowhere to go as champions, and though many a Blue still feels bitter at missing out, it is possible that the Dalglish teams of the late 1980s, now boasting John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Jan Molby and John Aldridge, would have done at least as well in Europe as their illustrious predecessors. For quite a while in the 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool appeared to have found the secret of success, a bit like Barcelona two or three years ago. Just keep the game simple, pass and move, and always release the ball to a team-mate in a better position. Promote managers and coaches from inside the club so that they have grown up with the philosophy, and only buy players who will fit the way of playing so that the faces change, but the system remains the same. What could possibly go wrong? On the pitch, almost nothing. Unfortunately the terraces of Heysel and Hillsborough were about to tell another story. English football, or at least British football, the game we used to play before the Premier League became an expensive contest to import talent from abroad, would never be quite the same again. Quite literally, because Hillsborough ushered in all-seater stadiums, price hikes and the spendthrift Premier League, and suddenly clubs began to think less in terms of conquering Europe than assimilating it. In Rome in 1977, Liverpool's squad of 16 players comprised 14 Englishmen, plus Heigh

Vice All News Time23 May 2013 21:55:41


Premier League pre-season fixtures and results 2013

22 May 2013 20:26:53 Football | Mail Online

Sportsmail gives you the lowdown on all the pre-season fixtures and results for the Premier League teams ahead of the start of the new 2013/14 campaign.

Vice Football Time22 May 2013 20:26:53


Premier League pre-season fixtures and results 2013

22 May 2013 14:33:34 Sport | Mail Online

Sportsmail gives you the lowdown on all the pre-season fixtures and results for the Premier League teams ahead of the start of the new 2013/14 campaign.

Vice Sport Time22 May 2013 14:33:34


Tottenham's André Villas-Boas in search of historic triumph at Chelsea | Dominic Fifield

06 May 2013 18:47:23 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Spurs manager returns to Chelsea seeking desperately needed points but can also settle old score with former club It was in a hallway outside the media suite at White Hart Lane, as satisfied home supporters were still drifting out on to Bill Nicholson Way and the High Road beyond, that André Villas-Boas was asked about the reception awaiting him back at Stamford Bridge. "I have no idea," he offered, all weary unease as if it was outlandish his acrimonious divorce from Chelsea a little over a year ago might have returned to the news agenda ahead of a first return. "Hopefully the home fans are respectful but, if not, it's fine too. It makes no difference to me." It is safe to assume the locals will have two managers upon which to pour scorn on what could prove to be a defining evening for Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League pursuit. Spurs travel across the capital on Wednesday two points adrift of Arsenal in fourth as the teams that currently hem in Arsène Wenger's side play out their game in hand. Ferocious rivalry ensures Chelsea will not want to yield an inch to their visitors even though Sunday's eye-catching success at Old Trafford has actually afforded them a hint of breathing space. Yet, for Tottenham, this is a crunch occasion. Anything other than victory would surrender the initiative to those currently gracing the top four places with time ticking down on the campaign and very little room for recovery. There is a delicious irony that it has come to this. Rewind a little over 14 months and Villas-Boas's reputation was apparently in tatters. He had overseen training at Cobham on a Sunday morning in early March, still groggy from defeat at West Bromwich Albion the previous day, only to be summoned into a meeting by the Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay. He must have realised what was to follow as soon as he found Roman Abramovich, the director Eugene Tenenbaum and the technical director, Michael Emenalo, waiting for him, the hierarchy having already clicked into dismissal mode. The club's owner and his board were unanimous in their assessment that the team were heading only one way. There had been only five wins in 16 matches in all competitions. Chelsea loitered three points outside the top four and had been saddled with a two-goal deficit from the chaotic first leg of their Champions League knockout tie against Napoli. Abramovich predicted that, while the Portuguese was in charge, the club's place in Europe's elite competition was under considerable threat. The 35-year-old makes his first return this week hoping to see that prophecy come to pass. How Villas-Boas would love to complete his rehabilitation in English football back on the stage where his career appeared to have been prematurely derailed. Chelsea will find him rather changed from the fresh-faced, clipboard-wielding bright young thing who had cost £13.4m in compensation to prise from Porto. He claims to have learned "a great lesson" from that chastening 256-day tenure back at the club he had previously graced as José Mourinho's opposition scout. The fall-out from those spats with senior players in a hierarchical dressing room, and a refusal to deviate from the methods that had proved so successful in Portugal, was an education. The setup at Spurs seems more receptive. His principles may remain intact – he still encourages that patient, possession-based style on the pitch – but there is more flexibility to his approach these days, and more maturity to his dealings with key personnel. Admittedly, he has not had to contend with the same kind of egos at White Hart Lane. He had inherited a squad at Chelsea that had claimed a league and cup double 12 months earlier and could argue their trusted methods would eventually achieve success. But his current players have bought into his ideas more readily, accepting the meritocracy he promotes for the benefit of the collective. His enthusiasm and drive have rubbed off at Spurs where, across town, many merely doubted his credentials to lead. Now, though, he must oversee a victory that would buck a long-established trend. It is more than 23 years since Gary Lineker, in between centre-halves at the far post from Nayim's delivery, nodded an 88th-minute winner past Dave Beasant to secure Spurs' last victory at Stamford Bridge. To put that into some context, that was the weekend when Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson and, more pertinently, Nelson Mandela walked free from Victor Verster prison. They have secured nine draws from the 25 visits in all competitions since. A win would feel historic. That is what the manager is targeting, hopeful perhaps that Gareth Bale has saved one last flash of jaw-dropping quality for the biggest game yet of this campaign. The optimist in Villas-Boas will stress that, if Chelsea, Stoke and Sunderland are beaten, Champions League football will be assured. He will place equal importance on each of those fixtures. And yet Wednesday is the contest with the subplot. He may be uncomfortable in the spotlight, but this is the Portuguese's moment. André Villas-Boas Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Dominic Fifield guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time06 May 2013 18:47:23


Tottenham's André Villas-Boas in search of historic triumph at Chelsea | Dominic Fifield

06 May 2013 18:39:00 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

Spurs manager returns to Chelsea seeking desperately needed points but can also settle old score with former club It was in a hallway outside the media suite at White Hart Lane, as satisfied home supporters were still drifting out on to Bill Nicholson Way and the High Road beyond, that André Villas-Boas was asked about the reception awaiting him back at Stamford Bridge. "I have no idea," he offered, all weary unease as if it was outlandish his acrimonious divorce from Chelsea a little over a year ago might have returned to the news agenda ahead of a first return. "Hopefully the home fans are respectful but, if not, it's fine too. It makes no difference to me." It is safe to assume the locals will have two managers upon which to pour scorn on what could prove to be a defining evening for Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League pursuit. Spurs travel across the capital on Wednesday two points adrift of Arsenal in fourth as the teams that currently hem in Arsène Wenger's side play out their game in hand. Ferocious rivalry ensures Chelsea will not want to yield an inch to their visitors even though Sunday's eye-catching success at Old Trafford has actually afforded them a hint of breathing space. Yet, for Tottenham, this is a crunch occasion. Anything other than victory would surrender the initiative to those currently gracing the top four places with time ticking down on the campaign and very little room for recovery. There is a delicious irony that it has come to this. Rewind a little over 14 months and Villas-Boas's reputation was apparently in tatters. He had overseen training at Cobham on a Sunday morning in early March, still groggy from defeat at West Bromwich Albion the previous day, only to be summoned into a meeting by the Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay. He must have realised what was to follow as soon as he found Roman Abramovich, the director Eugene Tenenbaum and the technical director, Michael Emenalo, waiting for him, the hierarchy having already clicked into dismissal mode. The club's owner and his board were unanimous in their assessment that the team were heading only one way. There had been only five wins in 16 matches in all competitions. Chelsea loitered three points outside the top four and had been saddled with a two-goal deficit from the chaotic first leg of their Champions League knockout tie against Napoli. Abramovich predicted that, while the Portuguese was in charge, the club's place in Europe's elite competition was under considerable threat. The 35-year-old makes his first return this week hoping to see that prophecy come to pass. How Villas-Boas would love to complete his rehabilitation in English football back on the stage where his career appeared to have been prematurely derailed. Chelsea will find him rather changed from the fresh-faced, clipboard-wielding bright young thing who had cost £13.4m in compensation to prise from Porto. He claims to have learned "a great lesson" from that chastening 256-day tenure back at the club he had previously graced as José Mourinho's opposition scout. The fall-out from those spats with senior players in a hierarchical dressing room, and a refusal to deviate from the methods that had proved so successful in Portugal, was an education. The setup at Spurs seems more receptive. His principles may remain intact – he still encourages that patient, possession-based style on the pitch – but there is more flexibility to his approach these days, and more maturity to his dealings with key personnel. Admittedly, he has not had to contend with the same kind of egos at White Hart Lane. He had inherited a squad at Chelsea that had claimed a league and cup double 12 months earlier and could argue their trusted methods would eventually achieve success. But his current players have bought into his ideas more readily, accepting the meritocracy he promotes for the benefit of the collective. His enthusiasm and drive have rubbed off at Spurs where, across town, many merely doubted his credentials to lead. Now, though, he must oversee a victory that would buck a long-established trend. It is more than 23 years since Gary Lineker, in between centre-halves at the far post from Nayim's delivery, nodded an 88th-minute winner past Dave Beasant to secure Spurs' last victory at Stamford Bridge. To put that into some context, that was the weekend when Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson and, more pertinently, Nelson Mandela walked free from Victor Verster prison. They have secured nine draws from the 25 visits in all competitions since. A win would feel historic. That is what the manager is targeting, hopeful perhaps that Gareth Bale has saved one last flash of jaw-dropping quality for the biggest game yet of this campaign. The optimist in Villas-Boas will stress that, if Chelsea, Stoke and Sunderland are beaten, Champions League football will be assured. He will place equal importance on each of those fixtures. And yet Wednesday is the contest with the subplot. He may be uncomfortable in the spotlight, but this is the Portuguese's moment. André Villas-Boas Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Dominic Fifield guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds      

Vice All News Time06 May 2013 18:39:00


Tim Krul eager to feel rush of the daddy of derbies against Sunderland

14 April 2013 00:13:53 Sport news, comment and results | theguardian.com

Eight years at St James' Park have led to Newcastle's Dutch goalkeeper developing an obsession with beating Sunderland Tim Krul glances out of the window, admiring the carpet of white cloud beneath the wings. In the background, the steady drone of the Boeing 737's engines suggest it has reached cruising altitude. "It's great to be back travelling with the team again," says Newcastle United's goalkeeper, his imposing frame filling the business class seat he occupies alongside his friend and team-mate Steven Taylor. Alan Pardew's squad are flying to Lisbon for their Europa League quarter-final first leg against Benfica. Krul is set to make an impressive comeback following five weeks spent recovering from ankle ligament damage but a big part of his mind seems preoccupied by forthcoming events in north-east England. The Tyne-Wear derby is looming and thoughts of most other things, even Krul's hopes of being Holland's first-choice goalkeeper during next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, have been placed on hold. "Newcastle-Sunderland is one of the games you live for, one of the reasons why you're a footballer" says the 25-year-old. "It's so special. For me, it's the game of the season." The one on Sunday will be spiced by real tension. While Sunderland remain embroiled in a relegation struggle, safety is not quite assured for Newcastle as they prepare to meet opponents now under Paolo Di Canio's controversial, colourful and, very possibly, cleverly calculating management. "This one was going to be a really interesting derby but now it's really massive," Krul says. "And we need three points." In the course of eight years at St James' Park, playing under eight managers, the former Den Haag junior has developed an obsession with beating Sunderland akin to that harboured by the locally reared Taylor and Shola Ameobi. Sitting across the aisle wearing glasses and quietly reading a book, Ameobi does not quite look the part of his alter ego, "the Mackem Slayer" – a soubriquet bestowed in recognition of his penchant for scoring against the Wearsiders – but Krul confirms this fixture has a transformative effect. "It does something to you," he says. "When you walk out on to the pitch against Sunderland, in front of 52,000 people, in front of all that black and white, it takes you to a different place, puts you on to a different level. You can never block out the noise, the crowd. The intensity is amazing. It's so exciting. It's the best." Behind him the air is filled with the sound of young men speaking French. Alan Pardew's squad contains 14 Francophone players and for the five January signings from Ligue 1 – Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haïdara – Sunday's game will represent quite a culture shock. "We're explaining the derby to them," says Krul as Taylor smiles. "But they'll love it, they've adapted to English football incredibly quickly and become incredibly important to us." That January influx almost certainly saved an injury ravaged Newcastle from a much more serious dalliance with relegation while also prolonging their interest in the Europa League. "Usually it takes even very good players two or three months to adapt properly," says Krul, who has "a bit of French" to complement his fluent Dutch and English and decent German. "But I think it helped that we already had quite a few French speaking players here already. He dismisses notions that the dressing room could be in danger of dividing down linguistic lines. "No, there's definitely not a problem at all, we don't have too many players from France," Krul says. "The new boys are all willing to try to learn English really quickly but, with the quality they've brought to the club, I don't care what language they speak. "What matters is that they're fantastic players. We don't really socialise off the pitch – we've had too many games for that – but we're a really tight group. We all know that Newcastle United has massive potential. If everyone's fit we've got a fantastic side. We belong among the top teams in the Premier League but, right now, we've got to prove it. "I think we've been unlucky this season though, we've had a lot of injuries – I've had a few myself – and the Europa League has had a massive impact on results. Playing Thursday and Sunday has been the hardest things but it's also been great experience." Newcastle are a radically different club from the one Krul, whose typical excellence could not prevent Benfica progressing into the semi-finals , joined. At the training ground where party animals and vanity signings once nursed hangovers and dialled agents, Pardew's seven Muslim players worship in a newly constructed multifaith prayer room. The influential Yohan Cabaye regards a trip to the cinema accompanied by a bottle of sparkling mineral water or a Newcastle University advanced English evening class as a good night out. "It's changed a lot over eight years," says Krul, with some understatement. "I've seen a lot and learnt a lot. Having a lot of managers has taught me loads." Signed by Graeme Souness, he made his debut at 18 in a Uefa Cup tie against Palermo in Sicily under Glenn Roeder. "That was a special trust," he says. "Glenn was a massive influence on me. I was very lucky Glenn gave me that chance. "Sam Allardyce was great with me, too, then came Kevin Keegan, a true legend. Joe Kinnear had a very different view of the game, he was a bit unusual but I learnt things from him. Then Alan Shearer took over. He was fantastic. I loved Shearer. Such a nice guy and really honest. It's such a shame it didn't work out for him here. I think he could be a really good manager somewhere." The pain of Shearer's post-relegation departure was eased by Chris Hughton's installation. "I really love Chris," he says. "He's a very good manager." So, too is Pardew, the man who made him the first-choice goalkeeper after so many years spent understudying Shay Given and Steve Harper. "Alan Pardew's brought stability to Newcastle, which is really important," Krul says. "He's got the players' trust, which is vital. He's our leader. It's good to know the manager is going to be here for the next few years at least. Everyone can concentrate on their jobs and not wonder what's going to happen next all the time." During the turbulent times Krul always felt reassured by the presence of Given and Harper. "They were fantastic," he says. "I was always waving my arms about by my sides instead of holding them in front of me, ready for a shot, so one day Shay and Steve tied my wrists together. I got the message. They were like big brothers." They say goalkeepers are different and, as an only child, Krul probably always possessed the independence and self-reliance required to occupy football's loneliest role, even if he fell into it by accident. "I was a left- winger, tricky, speedy, think Gareth Bale," he jokes. "Then, when I was 10, our goalkeeper moved away and I filled in. Straightaway, I knew it was meant to be. Six months later I was scouted by Den Haag." Next Newcastle representatives turned up at his parents' home in The Hague and demanded the family make an emotionally tough decision. "As an only child coming to England at 17 it was hard for me and hard for my parents," Krul says. "You don't really know your way a

Vice All News Time14 April 2013 00:13:53


Tim Krul eager to feel rush of the daddy of derbies against Sunderland

14 April 2013 00:08:27 Football news, match reports and fixtures | theguardian.com

Eight years at St James' Park have led to Newcastle's Dutch goalkeeper developing an obsession with beating Sunderland Tim Krul glances out of the window, admiring the carpet of white cloud beneath the wings. In the background, the steady drone of the Boeing 737's engines suggest it has reached cruising altitude. "It's great to be back travelling with the team again," says Newcastle United's goalkeeper, his imposing frame filling the business class seat he occupies alongside his friend and team-mate Steven Taylor. Alan Pardew's squad are flying to Lisbon for their Europa League quarter-final first leg against Benfica. Krul is set to make an impressive comeback following five weeks spent recovering from ankle ligament damage but a big part of his mind seems preoccupied by forthcoming events in north-east England. The Tyne-Wear derby is looming and thoughts of most other things, even Krul's hopes of being Holland's first-choice goalkeeper during next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, have been placed on hold. "Newcastle-Sunderland is one of the games you live for, one of the reasons why you're a footballer" says the 25-year-old. "It's so special. For me, it's the game of the season." The one on Sunday will be spiced by real tension. While Sunderland remain embroiled in a relegation struggle, safety is not quite assured for Newcastle as they prepare to meet opponents now under Paolo Di Canio's controversial, colourful and, very possibly, cleverly calculating management. "This one was going to be a really interesting derby but now it's really massive," Krul says. "And we need three points." In the course of eight years at St James' Park, playing under eight managers, the former Den Haag junior has developed an obsession with beating Sunderland akin to that harboured by the locally reared Taylor and Shola Ameobi. Sitting across the aisle wearing glasses and quietly reading a book, Ameobi does not quite look the part of his alter ego, "the Mackem Slayer" – a soubriquet bestowed in recognition of his penchant for scoring against the Wearsiders – but Krul confirms this fixture has a transformative effect. "It does something to you," he says. "When you walk out on to the pitch against Sunderland, in front of 52,000 people, in front of all that black and white, it takes you to a different place, puts you on to a different level. You can never block out the noise, the crowd. The intensity is amazing. It's so exciting. It's the best." Behind him the air is filled with the sound of young men speaking French. Alan Pardew's squad contains 14 Francophone players and for the five January signings from Ligue 1 – Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haïdara – Sunday's game will represent quite a culture shock. "We're explaining the derby to them," says Krul as Taylor smiles. "But they'll love it, they've adapted to English football incredibly quickly and become incredibly important to us." That January influx almost certainly saved an injury ravaged Newcastle from a much more serious dalliance with relegation while also prolonging their interest in the Europa League. "Usually it takes even very good players two or three months to adapt properly," says Krul, who has "a bit of French" to complement his fluent Dutch and English and decent German. "But I think it helped that we already had quite a few French speaking players here already. He dismisses notions that the dressing room could be in danger of dividing down linguistic lines. "No, there's definitely not a problem at all, we don't have too many players from France," Krul says. "The new boys are all willing to try to learn English really quickly but, with the quality they've brought to the club, I don't care what language they speak. "What matters is that they're fantastic players. We don't really socialise off the pitch – we've had too many games for that – but we're a really tight group. We all know that Newcastle United has massive potential. If everyone's fit we've got a fantastic side. We belong among the top teams in the Premier League but, right now, we've got to prove it. "I think we've been unlucky this season though, we've had a lot of injuries – I've had a few myself – and the Europa League has had a massive impact on results. Playing Thursday and Sunday has been the hardest things but it's also been great experience." Newcastle are a radically different club from the one Krul, whose typical excellence could not prevent Benfica progressing into the semi-finals , joined. At the training ground where party animals and vanity signings once nursed hangovers and dialled agents, Pardew's seven Muslim players worship in a newly constructed multifaith prayer room. The influential Yohan Cabaye regards a trip to the cinema accompanied by a bottle of sparkling mineral water or a Newcastle University advanced English evening class as a good night out. "It's changed a lot over eight years," says Krul, with some understatement. "I've seen a lot and learnt a lot. Having a lot of managers has taught me loads." Signed by Graeme Souness, he made his debut at 18 in a Uefa Cup tie against Palermo in Sicily under Glenn Roeder. "That was a special trust," he says. "Glenn was a massive influence on me. I was very lucky Glenn gave me that chance. "Sam Allardyce was great with me, too, then came Kevin Keegan, a true legend. Joe Kinnear had a very different view of the game, he was a bit unusual but I learnt things from him. Then Alan Shearer took over. He was fantastic. I loved Shearer. Such a nice guy and really honest. It's such a shame it didn't work out for him here. I think he could be a really good manager somewhere." The pain of Shearer's post-relegation departure was eased by Chris Hughton's installation. "I really love Chris," he says. "He's a very good manager." So, too is Pardew, the man who made him the first-choice goalkeeper after so many years spent understudying Shay Given and Steve Harper. "Alan Pardew's brought stability to Newcastle, which is really important," Krul says. "He's got the players' trust, which is vital. He's our leader. It's good to know the manager is going to be here for the next few years at least. Everyone can concentrate on their jobs and not wonder what's going to happen next all the time." During the turbulent times Krul always felt reassured by the presence of Given and Harper. "They were fantastic," he says. "I was always waving my arms about by my sides instead of holding them in front of me, ready for a shot, so one day Shay and Steve tied my wrists together. I got the message. They were like big brothers." They say goalkeepers are different and, as an only child, Krul probably always possessed the independence and self-reliance required to occupy football's loneliest role, even if he fell into it by accident. "I was a left- winger, tricky, speedy, think Gareth Bale," he jokes. "Then, when I was 10, our goalkeeper moved away and I filled in. Straightaway, I knew it was meant to be. Six months later I was scouted by Den Haag." Next Newcastle representatives turned up at his parents' home in The Hague and demanded the family make an emotionally tough decision. "As an only child coming to England at 17 it was hard for me and hard for my parents," Krul says. "You don't really know your way aro

Vice All News Time14 April 2013 00:08:27