Choose your Ultimate Saints XI

From The Dell to St Mary’s, there have been many greats to have worn the red and white stripes – but who would be in your Ultimate Saints XI?

That’s the question Southampton fans are being asked, ahead of a major exhibition about the club that will open at SeaCity Museum next year.

An independent panel of supporters and club historians have created a short-list of Saints legends for fans to choose from, with the vote now open.

To qualify, players need to have represented the club after 1945 and have made 150 or more appearances, unless they are deemed to have made a particularly special contribution or significant impact during their time with Saints. Current players are not included in the vote.

The supporters’ all-time XI and manager will be revealed as part of the special exhibition at SeaCity Museum, which is due to open on 29th March 2018.

To submit your Fans’ Ultimate XI, simply select your choices here.

Everyone who enters will be in with a chance of winning one of five pairs of tickets to the VIP exhibition launch on 28th March 2018.

Please note that voting closes at 8pm on Sunday 5th November.

The all-time Premier League table

The Premier League celebrates its 25-year anniversary this summer and what a quarter-century of action it has been in the top flight, with six different champions, countless fortunes spent and a whopping 76 sides relegated.

But what would happen if all 25 Premier League seasons thus far were put together in one glorious table separating the greats from the greatest and the worse from the worst? Who’d take pole position, who’d be stuck at the bottom and who’d find a comfortable place somewhere in between?

Let’s take a look…

Liverpool FC squad play Last Man Standing – Keepy-Up Challenge

The Liverpool squad’s latest challenge on tour sees the players battle each other in a keepy-up competition.

James Milner again assumes the role of adjudicator in Hong Kong as three qualifiers whittle down the contenders to a final three – who then face off to be the winner.

Small-size balls add difficulty to the task and contact is not only allowed but encouraged by Milner, meaning many attempts to bring down a teammate in the quest to be victorious.

Watch how the challenge unfolded below…

Paulo Dybala scores free kick even with 20 men on the goal line!

Paulo Dybala took part in a charity football match in his hometown of Laguna Larga on Saturday.  During the course of the proceedings he eventually was awarded a free kick from the edge of the area.

The opposition, well aware of the fact that he had scored 19 goals last season,decided to play it safe by putting the entire team on the goal line.
Some friendly passers by were also roped in to act as reinforcements to further strengthen the wall.

When it was finished it was a thing of some magnificence.  How could anyone score a goal through a wall of bodies like that?

But Dybala did!

He found a gap in that 20 man wall and scored!

 

Six people charged with criminal offences over Hillsborough disaster

Liverpool City Council light up 96 lanterns and illuminate St Georgeís Hall on Lime Street in red along with a banner which names those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough Disaster .(Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Match commander David Duckenfield and Norman Bettison are among six people charged with criminal offences over the Hillsborough disaster.

The Crown Prosecution Service revealed its intentions in a meeting with the victims relatives at 11am this morning.

Last year it was concluded that the 96 fans that lost their lives at Hillsborough in the 1989 stadium disaster had been unlawfully killed.

Following a six month investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, today six people have been charged for their roles in the Hillsborough disaster, including match commander David Duckenfield and Norman Bettison, who was heavily involved with coordinating the response of the South Yorkshire Police following the dissaster.

Others charged are Graham Henry Mackrell, Sheffield Wednesday’s safety officer; Peter Metcalf, a South Yorkshire Police solicitor; and Donald Denton and Alan Foster, both members of the South Yorkshire Police at the time of the disaster.

 

Head of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and CounterTerrorism Division, Sue Hemming, announced the charges in relation to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster.

 

125 years of Liverpool FC in 125 seconds

As the celebrations of Liverpool FC’s 125th anniversary begin, see the club’s unique story retold in fast-paced fashion in a fittingly timed 125-second clip:

From humble beginnings to kings of Europe, through triumph and tragedy along the way – the Reds have been on an incredible journey over the last century and a quarter.

Out now: Get LFC’s brand new home kit and training range

Liverpool FC’s brand new home kit for 2017-18 has been released and is now available to purchase in club stores and online.

The New Balance strip celebrates the club’s 125th anniversary year with its retro style, returning to a rich, darker red with tonal pin stripes, a white v-neck collar and the commemorative Liver bird crest.

Supporters can get their hands on the shirt, shorts and socks for next season right now, either by visiting any club store or clicking here to buy online.

Phase one of the club’s new training kit range for 2017-18 – featuring shirts, polos, jackets, performance wear and more – has also been released after its reveal earlier this month.

Browse the New Balance collection by clicking here.

Leaked Arsenal kit for 2017-2018 season

Arsenal fans are likely to already be dreaming of the 2017/18 season after seeing their hopes for this campaign dashed before the end of February, with back-to-back Premier League defeats against Watford and Chelsea accompanied by a drubbing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League- ending any chance of success in either competition/

Big changes could occur behind the scenes this summer as question marks remain regarding the future of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, whilst the Gunners also face the risk of losing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil- both of whom enter the final 12 months of their contracts this summer.

Arsenal’s changes could also occur on the field too, specifically regarding the playing kits, as leaked images circulated on social media this week that suggest a major kit change will occur for the 2017/18 season.

The Gunners home strip remains largely unchanged, excluding a smart-looking trim to the collar, but the choice of turquoise for the away jersey will certainly raise some eyebrows- as it’s a far-cry from the usual blue or yellow colours for Arsenal’s travelling strip.

There’s also the small matter of the black and pink combo of the third kit shown in the image, with it not being clear as to whether that jersey would be the alternate option for the Gunners or the goalkeeping shirt.

Either way, the changes are unlikely to go down well with a large majority of supporters.

Bournemouth deserved their win over Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, showed true class by praising Bournemouth following their victory over Liverpool.

After the match Klopp could be seen congratulating the Bournemouth coaching staff and players. He was full of praise for the tenacity shown by the Cherries, and thought the win was completely deserved.

“I think for a long part of the game we were the better side and we would have deserved to win, but in the decisive moment we gave the game away to Bournemouth. We opened the door and they ran through with all their heads.”

Losing a game that your side led twice by two goals is not a good feeling, but Klopp saw what all of us saw: a side that just wasn’t playing, first at 2-0 up, and again at 3-1 up. Even before our opening scores, he wasn’t happy with the passing and movement of the squad, but he thinks this could prove an important lesson going forward.

“Of course it can [help]. No way is without rocks and stones. All the time you have to jump over hurdles and things like this. I didn’t need this today. But now we have it and we strike back.”

A big part of Jürgen’s personality is his deep love for football. You might even call him a football romantic. This was what led him to take the reins of Liverpool, and today, to appreciate what Bournemouth did to his side in the closing stages of the match.

“Oh, I like these stories in football. I like it more when I’m involved in the positive side, and I even can respect it when I’m involved on the other side. Jordan Ibe as a little bit of the game changer. When he came in he did really well. He’s still a little bit our boy even if he’s a Bournemouth player now. Of course I can give credit for it, that’s not problem.”

Very classy from the Liverpool boss. I certainly think that Liverpool have no reason to panic after seeing their 15-game unbeaten run end at Bournemouth – the key is the work done on the training ground this week.

Wales and their team photo formations

Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Anyone passing a glance over Wales’s pre-match team photos in recent months would notice there’s something just not quite right about them.

From the numbers not stacking up (four at the back, seven at the front anyone?) to the lopsided nature of the players’ arrangement when a more traditional six-plus-five formation is put into practice, it would appear members of the Welsh national team have a curiously skewed idea of what symmetry is.  Then again, it’s more likely that they’re just having a bit a team in-joke.

 

The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images
Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images
Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Man United break another record… their squad is worth 100% more than Liverpool’s

CIES Football Observatory revealing that they have the most valuable squad of players in world football.

cies-football-squads

As their research into Europe’s top five leagues shows, Man United’s first-team squad cost €718m (£628m) to assemble, putting them ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Interestingly, Liverpool’s €356m (£311m) is less than half of Man United’s outlay, while title-winning Leicester have a squad worth just 18% of the Manchester rivals’ ranks.

Total football, total Church

I love this blog post on Total football, total Church by the Threads team.  Check out this snippet:

This European Championships will be the first to take place after the untimely death of football’s great philosopher-king, Johan Cruyff. While sadly Johan himself will not be present, Cruyff’s legacy will very much be felt at Euro 2016.

Cruyff is regarded as the pioneer of ‘Total Football’, a way of playing football in which players were free to respond to the demands of the game without traditional positional constraints. Players rotated, swapped positions and moved around the field; it is remarkable and sometimes disorienting to watch. The system relied on a strong understanding between players, effective on-pitch communication and a willingness to sacrifice individual self for the sake of the team’s collective success …

Like Total Football, the Church depends on its members working in unison to achieve an outcome that no one individual could muster alone. Each member has a role – a preferred position, if you will – and where we are able we should fulfil the role given to us (1 Corinthians 12:18). You can move around to fill the needs of your context, and sometimes you’ll feel out of position, but if your teammates (‘fellow workers’ to use a biblical term) are on the same wavelength, then you’ll be covered (Galations 6:2).

Cruyff’s disciples wholly bought into his way of playing and thinking about football. Ronald Koeman (Southampton FC manager) said, after Cruyff death: “Johan walks through my life.”

You’re a disciple of Christ? To what extent does Jesus Christ “walk through your life”? How is his presence felt in the way you perceive the role(s) you’ve been asked to play?

You don’t get to rewrite the rules of Christian discipleship, you’ve not be asked to move the goalposts, and you’ve definitely been given a position to play. But you do get to do everything in your power to play that position as intelligently and selflessly as you can. These are the tactics that have been given to us by our very own Philosopher-King.