Europe’s most expensive football squads revealed

A new study has revealed the most expensive squads across Europe’s top five leagues and one of the eye-catching statistics is the fact Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool squad cost more than German champions and European titans Bayern Munich, according to the Football Observatory. 

The Reds splashed out a hefty amount of money this summer with eight players coming to Anfield in the form of Christian Benteke, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.

Meanwhile, Bayern were also busy with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal amongst those to come in, but it seems as though the Bavarian giants could do with giving Rodgers some advice on how to conduct shrewd transfer business.

The aforementioned study reveals that Liverpool’s squad costs €344 million – the fourth most expensive in the Premier League – whilst Bayern’s is €337 million – the most in Germany, but seven million less than the Reds.

Football Squads

Meanwhile, the study also confirms – not much of a surprise – that Manchester City have assembled the most expensive squad in England, after bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne this summer.

Rafa Benitez will have to cope with severe pressure this season after it was also revealed his squad is nearly €200 million more than rivals Barcelona, whilst the gulf in class is evident in Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s closest rivals Monaco have a squad which is nearly €400 million cheaper.

Top 20 most expensive squads in Europe:

1. Real Madrid (€587m)
2. Manchester City (€560m)
3. Manchester United (€533m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain (€525m)
5. Chelsea (€407m)
6. Barcelona (€396m)
7. Liverpool (€344m)
8. Bayern Munich (€337m)
9. Arsenal (€305m)
10. Juventus (€301m)
11. Tottenham Hotspur (€231m)
12. Valencia (€226m)
13. Inter Milan (€212m)
14. Napoli (€185m)
15. Southampton (€182m)
16. Atlético Madrid (€180m)
17. Wolfsburg (€163m)
18. AS Roma (€160m
19. Newcastle United (€157m)
20. AS Monaco (€152m)

Advice on how to deal with Sexting & Nude Selfies


A great little message from Hampshire Constabulary to teenagers on dealing with sexting and nude selfies:

Is someone you’re speaking to online asking you to send nude selfies or sexual pics, or asking you to do things you feel uncomfortable to do? Pressuring, threatening or pushing someone to send sexual pics online is wrong!!

Did you know?  It is an offence for any person to take, share or possess any sexual or nude image of a person U18

So what if you are U18?

  • U18 and taking nude/sexual pics of yourself = offence
  • U18 and having nude/sexual pics of yourself or others U18 on your phone/device = offence
  • U18 and sending or sharing nude/sexual pics of yourslf or others U18 = offence

Remember: You don’t need to be an adult to commit sexual offences online – a criminal record can impact your future employment and freedom to travel abroad

Think before you take or send nude pics … why not send something else? Download the Zipit or Send this Instead app!!  Each app gives you killer comebacks and top tips to help stay in control online!!


One minute time-lapse of London

‘London Minute’, A Short Time-Lapse That Encompasses Some of the Most Iconic Sights of London

Zoom from the London Eye to Big Ben, coast over the River Thames and Piccadilly Circus and quickly take in the beauty the city has to offer.

Archbishop of Canterbury on the refugee crisis

In a statement on the refugee crisis facing Europe and the Middle East, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:

Justin Welby

“This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis that underlines our human frailty and the fragility of our political systems. My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution.

“There are no easy answers and my prayers are with those who find themselves fleeing persecution, as well as those who are struggling under immense pressure to develop an effective and equitable response. Now, perhaps more than ever in post-war Europe, we need to commit to joint action across Europe, acknowledging our common responsibility and our common humanity.

“As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today.

“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly.

“I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs. These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve.

“We need a holistic response to this crisis that meets immediate humanitarian need while tackling itsunderlying drivers. I commend the UK Government for its strong commitment to the world’s poorest people through the delivery of the aid budget. It has shown global leadership by providing £900 million in aid since 2012 to the crisis in Syria. It has also shown moral leadership in using Royal Navy ships to save the lives of hundreds who have tried to make the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean.

“I hold in my heart particularly those who are most vulnerable in conflict, and those who we have a special duty to protect. In the past, the Government has rightly sought to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied children, women and those who have been victims of, or are at risk of, sexual violence. I welcome this, while urging a renewed commitment to taking in the most vulnerable.

“The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with. I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love.

“The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter and refuge, going back centuries – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many more.

“It has always been controversial at the time it happened, always been seen as too difficult. Yet each time we have risen to the challenge and our country has been blessed by the result.

“We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion. But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response – which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help.”

Listen to Archbishop Justin Welby speaking to the BBC about the refugee crisis

The 5 Types of Work that Fill Your Day

5 Types of Work

How much of your workday is spent reacting to events that happen over the hours you spend at the office?  How much is spent on planning and strategy?  Finally, ask yourself how much time is spent towards real problem solving, or getting to the root problems of the issues you spent the other few hours reacting to?

If you can sit down and successfully audit the amount of time you spend on a given day doing what kind of work, you’ll have a better idea of where you should put your efforts, and what you can expect your average day to look like.

Scott Belsky writes a great post on this at the 99U. The five types he discusses are:

  1. Reactionary work
  2. Planning work
  3. Procedural work
  4. Insecurity work
  5. Problem-solving work

Attending church is the key to good mental health among older Europeans – study finds


A press release from the LSE reports new research showing that attending church is the key to good mental health among older Europeans

A study of depression among older Europeans has found that joining a religious organisation is more beneficial than charity work, sport or education in improving their mental health.

The surprising findings from a study by the Erasmus MC and the London School of Economics and Political Science also reveal that political and community organisations actually have a detrimental impact on the mental health of older Europeans on a long term basis.

In a study of 9000 Europeans aged 50+ over a four-year period, researchers at Erasmus MC and LSE looked at different levels of social activity and how they influenced people’s moods.

LSE epidemiologist Dr Mauricio Avendano said the only activity associated with sustained happiness was attending a church, synagogue or mosque.

“The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life. It is not clear to us how much this is about religion per se, or whether it may be about the sense of belonging and not being socially isolated,” he said.

The study showed that joining political and community organisations only provides short-term benefits in terms of mental health and seems, in fact, to lead to an increase in depressive symptoms longer term.

“Participants receive a higher sense of reward when they first join an organisation but if it involves a lot of effort and they don’t get much in return, the benefits may wear off after some time,” he said.

Similarly, the study did not find any short-term benefits from sports and participation in other social activities.

According to the recent Global Burden of Disease study, the incidence of depression among older Europeans ranges from 18 per cent in Denmark to 37 per cent in Spain.

While the sample sizes were small, the study by Dr Simone Croezen from Erasmus MC, Dr Avendano and colleagues also threw up some unusual findings:

  • Southern Europeans (Italy and Spain) have higher rates of depression than older people who live in the Scandinavian countries (Sweden and Denmark) or western Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands);
  • Depression may have less to do with the weather and more with other determinants, such as economic wellbeing or social relationships;
  • Northern Europeans are more likely to play sport than their southern counterparts;
  • Southern Europeans do not tend to socialise beyond their family networks and less than 10 per cent take part in either voluntary work or educational/training courses.

Previous studies have found that people who are involved in the church, clubs, sport, political groups and voluntary activities enjoy better mental health than the rest of the population. However, little research has been done on whether any of these activities in themselves actually cause happiness or whether people who are happy to begin with are more likely to engage in these activities.

“Our findings suggest that different types of social activities have an impact on mental health among older people, but the strength and direction of this effect varies according to the activity,” Dr Avendano said.

“One of the most puzzling findings is that although healthier people are more likely to volunteer, we found no evidence that volunteering actually leads to better mental health. It may be that any benefits are outweighed by other negative impacts of volunteering, such as stress.”

Social participation and depression in old age is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It is authored by Dr Simone Croezen (University Medical Centre Rotterdam), Dr Mauricio Avendano (LSE Health and Social Care), and Dr Alex Burdorf and Dr Frank van Lenthe (Erasmus MC).

The paper will be available here.

Diocese of Winchester appoints new Diocesan Youth Adviser

It’s great to hear that Sarah has been appointed to be the new Diocesan Youth Adviser – I’m looking forward to working with her over the coming months and years:

Sarah Long

We’re pleased to confirm that Sarah Long has been appointed Youth Adviser in the School of Mission, and will start work on 7 September 2015.

Sarah has been working most recently with Romance Academy, a national charity that helps young people both inside and outside the church to explore how to build healthy relationships. In addition to engaging directly with young people, she has had the pleasure of working with youth workers and parents across the UK to tackle tricky topics well with their teenagers.

Prior to this she was Youth director at St Paul’s Church, Camberley, heading up youth work in line with their vision “Living Christ in Camberley”.

Sarah says:

“It’s a real privilege to be joining the diocese and the School of Mission. I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with all those involved in youth ministry, as we begin to discover together what the 4 Strategic Priorities look like amongst the young people of the Winchester diocese.”

Growing Messy Leaders training day


CPAS brings their extensive experience of growing leaders in churches to help Messy Churches. BRF’s Messy Church team and CPAS are working together to help Messy Church team members and leaders of all ages become better leaders through team-building work and leadership theory and reflective practice. These hands-on, fun, fast-moving and action-packed training days will give to those aged 9-99 (and older if required) the opportunity to understand more of the practicalities of leading a Messy Church, develop their teamwork and reflect on their inner relationship with God and those around them.

Take your Messy team to a different level. Come as a team! Bring your leaders young and old! A fun, inspirational, useful and paradigm-shifting all-age training day.

When? Saturday 14 November 2015
Where? St Paul’s Church, Oak Rd, Bursledon, Southampton, Hampshire SO31 8DT
Cost? £10 per adult, children 9-16 free.

Click here for full details on the Messy Church website

Miscommunication, empathy and email


This is a great post at the 99U. It starts:

When speaking face-to-face, it’s the verbal and nonverbal social cues that allow us to gauge the best way to arrange our wording in order to get our point across clearly. In email, we don’t get such real-time feedback. Once our message is in the hand of the recipient, we’ve lost all control.

This, of course, often leads to miscommunications, guessed intentions, and a total unawareness of whether an email was typed in red-faced anger or while sipping a martini by a pool. What really leads to those miscommunications is a lack of empathy….

“The most important thing is understanding each other’s language,” founder Drew D’Agostino said. “It’s not me completely adapting the way I communicate with you, but being aware and considerate of how you communicate best. Everybody’s different, and if we can just learn to recognize the communication styles of each other we can create much clearer interactions and productive communications.”

So how do we write emails that enable empathy—especially with people we might have never met in person before? And how can we be more empathetic when reading the emails of others? We asked D’Agostino to share Crystal’s best tips on how to bring more empathy to emails; both in the ones we receive and in the ones we send.

Read the whole thing here.

Getting stuck between social care and CAMHS


The UK has a world-class public sector, education is good, and the NHS is outstanding. But one area that consistently seems to let young people down is those who get stuck in-between social care and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).


In our austerity climate there have been cuts to both children’s social and the CAMHS service. In addition both services are locally using more agency staff to cover the current gaps they have within their teams. This certainly provides a lack of consistency for young people and their families, but I believe that the problem is not solved by more money, and capacity staffing. Simply pouring additional resource into a dysfunctional system would not automatically produce the best results for our vulnerable children and young people. Instead it is time to consider a radical overhaul of how, when and by whom child protection and statutory mental health services are provided.


Too often when a child is suspected of having mental health concerns such as depression, suicide, ADHD, on the ASD spectrum then social care, often believe it is the responsibility of CAMHS to take the lead with the family. Yet CAMHS, often rightly, will point out that whilst the mental health concerns has a significant impact there are other major factors at play in the life of the young person. Instead of two agencies working together to support a young person and their family they spend their time blaming cuts on the lack of staff and resources and spend meetings with other professionals passing the buck as to why they can not help the young person.


All this does is lead to a situation where a young person who is on the border of a Tier 2 to 3 threshold is propelled to the top end of Tier 3 if not into Tier 4 as no agency takes responsibility to support and invest in the young person and their family.


I can think of several families that I’ve worked with for whom this tension between social care and CAMHS has actually worsened the situation, and certainly not helped the young person.


I sit in meetings where I want to stop and shout: “Enough is enough!” Surely we can find a way to do something between us to support this young person and their family.


As is often the case though in a large organisation the staff at the meetings don’t have the power to be able to change the situation – what we need is county managers and health commissioners working together for the benefit of young people and their families and enabling their staff to do the same.