Tag Archive | "Manchester City"

Did I Do That?



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FAMILY MATTERS

Do you remember the early 90s sitcom Family Matters? You probably remember it as the Steve Urkel show. And you may remember his catch phrase ‘Did I do that?’ Well, that’s what’s the news is like today, a bunch of people making some bad decisions.

French club Rennes has been charged with poaching teenager Tongo Hamed Doumbia from Châteauroux, a Ligue 2 side. It wouldn’t be so funny if they hadn’t accused Manchester City of doing the same thing to them. Maybe someone needs to translate the old adage about people in glass houses into French.

It looks like there’s been a little bust-up at Aston Villa between manager Martin O’Neill and disgruntled midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. Some reports say that Reo-Coker got physical and pushed and choked O’Neill. The manager denies Reo-Coker went all Latrell Spreewell, but he did give the hot-headed midfielder the weekend off.

Liverpool may be sitting in fifth place and seven points behind BPL leaders Chelsea, but that doesn’t worry Steven Gerrard. Captain Liverpool feels the club is starting to heat up and that the African Cup of Nations will work in the Reds favor. There’s nothing like back-to-back victories over powerhouses Burnley and Debrecen to fill up one’s cup of confidence.

Arsene Wenger might want to move on from ‘Manu-Gate,’ but it’s still fresh in Cesc Fabregas’ mind. The Arsenal captain claims the out-of-control Adebayor made a reckless tackle that left him with stud marks and a three inch gash on his shin. I don’t think this story will ever die—unfortunately.

On the subject of hot-heads, the real reason for Wayne Rooney’s temper tantrum after being substituted during Manchester United’s 1-0 win at Besiktas mid-week has been revealed. Apparently he was spat on by some Besiktas fans. It’s a good thing we’ve nipped this potential ‘Gate’ in the bud.

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Place Your Bets



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bettingwindow

Thank G*d! After weeks of the new season being dominated by the various ‘Gates’, we’ve got stories of all varieties today. People leaving, people throwing tantrums and some people’s deity status in decline. It’s like a great episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta or at least Real Housewives of Orange County.

Let’s start in Argentina where the national team and its legendary coach Diego Maradona are in more than crisis mode. Juan Sebastian Veron, he of the red card in last Wednesday’s loss to Paraguay, has sounded off against Maradona, blaming him for Argentina’s struggles. Meanwhile, it seems the stress is getting to the 1986 World Cup hero, reports have Maradona checking into a weight loss clinic in Italy. Why do I get the feeling that Maradona won’t be in charge of the Albicelestes for the last two qualifying matches?

Don’t expect Liverpool to go all Manchester City with their newfound shirt sponsor riches (surprising, eh?). Owner Tom Hicks claims that, financially, ‘they have never been stronger.’ He also calls City’s method of operation unsustainable. That might be true if they weren’t backed by an oil sheik, and I don’t see him running out of money any time soon. Unless, of course, everyone starts driving solar cars in the next ten years (sound of muffled laughter).

In other Liverpool news, UK betting house Paddy Power has scrapped a plan to place odds on which Reds’ house will be broken into next. Just in case you care (and I know you do), Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were the favorites at 12/1 odds.

It looks like Hull City’s in serious financial trouble. And it not just the cost of Phil Brown’s spray-on tan that’s to blame. Of course the club denies it. But we did see chairman Paul Duffen slipping into a Paddy Power and placing ten grand on Steven Gerrard.

On the subject of betting, German betting site mybet.de has released its Bundesliga managerial hot seat oddsFIVE WEEKS INTO THE SEASON! It wouldn’t be so sad and funny if two managers haven’t already left their clubs. Talk about results now.

I was beginning to think he had mellowed since moving to Italy, but Jose Mourinho is back (unfortunately Special 1 TV isn’t). The Special One has told England national team manager Fabio Capello he ‘knows nothing about football.’ If only we could see them fight it out in puppet form.

Let’s give the Harraby Athletic under-14 squad a big round of applause. The youngsters beat the Edenvale Hawks 3-2 to put an end to a small 90 game losing streak they’ve been on. No word if Alan Pardew was managing the club during the streak.

In some other feel good news, 24-year-old Danish footballer Christian Nielsen has quit football to travel the world and work in an orphanage. The life change came after witnessing teammate Jonathan Richter struck by lightning during a match in July. I wish him luck for such a bold move.

It’s Dr. Paul Morris, of the University of Portsmouth, to the rescue. The good doctor is an expert on the embodiment of emotions and intentions and claims to know when a foul is a foul and a dive is a dive. He calls the number one tell the ‘Archer’s Bow.’ Well now that that’s been settled, I’m sure we won’t see another dive in a competitive match.

And yes, we will end with the latest coming out of ‘Manu-Gate.’ Arsene Wenger continues to rip Mark Hughes for defending Adebayor. I find this hilarious considering the Frenchman has been known to vigorously defend his own players, sometimes even going as far as claiming temporary blindness.

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‘Manu-Gate’ Part 2: Enough Already



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On a day we should be excited that the Champions League group stage is underway, the news is still dominated by ‘Manu-Gate.’ Have people become overly sensitive? I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be punished for stomping on Robin Van Persie’s head, but people act like it’s the first time a player wildly celebrated after scoring against his former team. Now we have Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, claiming that Adebayor has damaged the League’s image. Are you f*cking kidding me? I’m sure people will stop watching because one player got a little over-exuberant. If that’s the case, I’m surprised the Champions League is being played after Chelsea’s actions in their semi-final loss to Barcelona in the last competition. And now, for some reason, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is getting involved and defending the Manchester City striker. Why is he involved? Who asked him? Can’t we just suspend him his three games and get on with it?

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The Latest In Controversy Is ‘Manu-Gate’



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emmanueladeboyorcelebrate

As we discussed last week, this young season has been full of controversy. First, we had ‘Eduardo-gate’ (now resolved), then ‘Kiddie-gate’, and now ‘Manu-gate’. Yes, I am over-using the ‘Gate’ thing, but can you over-do something that’s so overdone? And if you can, I don’t care, adding ‘Gate’ to things is fun to me.

In case you didn’t notice this weekend, ex-Arsenal and current Manchester City ‘star’ Emmanuel Adebayor took on his former team. And let’s just say that he had a full game. He scored a goal, kicked ex-teammate Robin Van Persie in the face and taunted the Arsenal fans with his goal celebration. And for all of this, he’s facing some serious suspensions. This story has it all, Adebayor is confused by all of the furor over his actions, manager Mark Hughes defends his player’s actions, Van Persie doesn’t accept Manu’s apology and even Roy Keane has given his two cents. La Liga might have the world’s top players, but the BPL has all of the drama. F*ck the new Melrose Place, this is must see TV.

In non-face stomping Arsenal news, Andrei Arshavin has put a gag order on his wife’s loose lips. Just thought you’d like to know.

Good news for Liverpool fans. After reporting on Liverpool ending their sponsorship agreement with Carlsberg, the club has reached an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for an astounding £80m for four years. Word is the deal will enable the club to build their long rumored new stadium and even buy a player or two. Why do I think neither of these things will happen? Oh, right because it’s the Hicks and Gillett run Liverpool.

Roman Abromovich isn’t one known to be shy to splash the cash, but apparently all the money in the world won’t help you tackle Mount Kilimanjaro. After reportedly suffering from altitude related sickness, Chelsea has released a statement refuting that. Why they felt the need to do so, I have no idea. But in a world of 24-hour news coverage, ‘Altitude-gate’ is a story.

In some more money-related news, English clubs have pocketed nearly twice as much Champions League money as Spanish sides over the past six seasons. In fact England’s ‘Big Four’ hold the top four places among all Champions League clubs. Now those are some figures to make one dizzy, and then distribute a press release saying that you weren’t.

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Thank God That’s Over



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jonhheitinga

Everton's big signing?

In a rather unexciting end to the summer transfer season (Johnny Heitinga to Everton!) it only seems proper that today’s news is a little lacking in excitement as well. But it’s the news roundup and it’s what we do at Natural Hat Trick. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to get more of our wonderful ramblings.

In the great diving case of 2009, Arsenal vow to appeal striker Eduardo’s two match Champions League ban. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’ve spent the better part of a week saying that they would. The real shocker here is that Scotland and Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon says diving is worth it if it can advance you in a major tournament. Maybe Arsene Wenger should take Gordon with him to the UEFA offices when they go for their appeal. And I’m sure Mr. Gordon has endeared himself to his fellow keepers with those remarks.

On the subject of goalkeepers, David James, the only decent Portsmouth player not allowed to leave the club, is worried that playing for relegation fodder Pompey will hurt his chances of being England’s number one keeper in South Africa. In a move that I can only believe will make James feel worse, chief executive Peter Storrie has told James that instead of worrying about England, there’s plenty of competition at Pompey he has to worry about. I’ll bet that James won’t take it too kindly that the competition he should be worried about is Asmir Begovic, Antti Niemi and Jamie Ashdown. I can see David shaking in his boots as we speak.

One Portsmouth player who did manage to escape the sinking ship, Niko Kranjcar, has announced he is not at Tottenham to replace the injured Luka Modric. That’s strange since no one mentioned him going to Spurs until after Modric broke his leg.

In other overconfident news, newly acquired Sylvinho has announced that Manchester City teammate Robinho is one of the five best players in the world. He claims that City’s summer signings have surrounded the striker with better players that will help him shine. Funny, I thought the Real Madrid team that Robinho was forced out of had some fairly decent players.

And we end with some ‘where are they now’ news. Former Paris-Saint-Germain and Newcastle star David Ginola has been charged with being a deadbeat father in France. He’s facing hefty fines and a two year prison sentence. He, of course, denies the allegations. Looks like he better hope they make a Finding Nemo 2 so he can make a little extra cash.

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End Of Summer



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endofsummer

We hoped you missed us and we apologize for the delayed summer vacation. But quite frankly the transfer season bores the hell out of us. My daily dose of where will David Bentley end up lobotomized me into a drooling stupor. I admit that Real Madrid’s Galacticos Part Deux and Manchester City’s attempt to buy their way into the big boys club in the BPL definitely piqued my interest. But since those were the two biggest stories of the summer, we figured you had heard enough about them. Plus there will be plenty of time to talk about them, and besides, we’re really lazy bastards during the summer. But now that the season’s back, so are we. So please continue to compulsively check us out and you can now even follow us on Twitter. So thanks for your patience and let’s get to the juicy business of football.

Nothing says the start of the football season like controversy. And I’m not talking about a certain French manager who coaches a team in England and who has an issue with UEFA and a team from England bossed by a certain Scottish fellow (although we will get to that in a minute). No, we’re actually going to start in the Bundesliga, where perhaps the only big name player Real Madrid didn’t buy, Franck Ribery, isn’t getting along with new Bayern manager Louis van Gaal. But then it seems as if the Dutch manager isn’t even that chummy with his own family.

Meanwhile the Croatian FA has gone all conspiracy theory on us. After Lee Bowyer broke Luka Modric’s leg this past weekend, FA president Vlatko Markovic wonders if it was really an accident. After losing Arsenal youngster Eduardo to a broken leg last season against Birmingham, Vlatko wonders if the Blues are out to get them. Of course Birmingham is aghast at the allegation. Of course with England set to play Croatia in a World Cup Qualifying match next week, it does make you wonder (cue X-Files theme song).

Speaking of Eduardo, the ‘light of constitution’ striker has been handed a two game ban for his theatrics against Celtic in last week’s Champions League match.

Manchester United’s economical striker is in ‘awe’ of the talent surrounding him at the club. He says he sees his teammates do things in training that he wouldn’t even attempt. That should certainly come as a shock to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who isn’t a big fan of United’s playing style.

In case you care…David Bentley has been loaned to Burnley.

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Ronaldo Upgrades



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ronaldospainhome

'La Finca' is a stinka.

Looks like Cristiano Ronaldo has put the £220,000 a week Real Madrid is paying to not so good use. The £80m man has splashed out a reported £8m for the hideous 36-room mansion–called ‘La Finca’–that resembles an elementary school. While not pleasing to my eye, the extra space should ensure that his many female conquests won’t have to run into each other on the way to the bathroom at night. Meanwhile, back in England, new Manchester City mercenary Emmanuel Adebayor bought Ronaldo’s old house for £5.5m—which is £1.65m more than the Petulant Portugueser paid just last February. Adebayor beat out fellow money-chasers teammates Kolo Toure, Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez for the right to find Ronaldo’s old Speedos in the closet. Now who says there’s a housing crisis?

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Manchester United’s Got Seoul



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In yet another attempt by Manchester United to convince Asians that they should root for them and not Real Madrid or Manchester City, United have produced these two thought provoking commercials to promote their upcoming Asia Tour 2009.

The first spot is just plain unfunny or maybe it’s because I don’t understand Malaysian humor that I don’t find it humorous. Either way, in just thirty seconds it leaves me with so many questions. Why is Wayne Rooney laughing? Is he making fun of the Malaysian language? Is Manchester United mocking Malaysians while asking them to give them money? Why is Michael Carrick included in the spot? Do Malaysians love Michael Carrick? Watch and see if you don’t think about these things.

The second one asks the players what they think about the city of Seoul. The most entertaining part of the entire ad is how little the players want to be a part of it. It’s like they caught them on their way to their cars after training and forced them to shoot a commercial. Watch how quickly Ryan Giggs runs off after he’s done. But it’s always fun to see Nemanja Vidic speak. One question: Why is Park Ji Sung speaking in English? Even if it is for the English market, it’s about Korea. They could have sub-titled it. I don’t know, just seems strange to me.

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What’s This Shirt Worth?



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schalke04shirt2Now that Manchester United has secured the richest shirt sponsorship known to mankind, we thought that we would give you the most lucrative shirt sponsorships in the world. There aren’t many surprises, but we thought it was interesting nonetheless.

Second on the rich list is recent title holder, Bayern München.  They receive £17m a year from telecom giant T-Home, but apparently it’s still not enough to keep Franck Ribery.

Next up is Spanish runners-up Real Madrid. They’re deal is with Bwin. The Austrian-based gaming company shells out £15m a year for the right to be shown during a Champions League quarter-final loss.

Bwin is also the shirt sponsor of AC Milan. But the company apparently thinks their shirts aren’t worth as much as Madrid’s and only pays Milan £10.22m. Of course if David Beckham plays all of next season, who knows how much more Milan could squeeze out of them.

Lord knows they don’t need the money, but Chelsea is next on the list with a £10m deal with Korean electronics giant Samsung. If any club should donate their shirt space to charity, don’t you think it should be Chelsea?

Who knows why or how it happened but next on the rich list is Schalke 04. Finishing in eight-place in the Bundesliga this year isn’t stopping them from making £10m from Russian natural gas company Gazprom.

It’s a fact that Liverpool collects £8m from long time sponsor Carlsberg. Yet another reason why, I’m sure Rafa Benitez will tell you, that Liverpool can’t monetarily compete with the other ‘big four’ of the BPL.

Another team that doesn’t need the sponsorship money, Manchester City, just signed an £8m deal with Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad. I’m sure their billionaire sheik owner had nothing to do with this deal.

And finally, a shout out to newly crowned European champions Barcelona. Not only does the club wear children’s charity UNICEF on their chest, they pay UNICEF £1.5m a year to do so. Now that’s a fantastic shirt deal.

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Managerial Tales



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arsenealex

Football managers are special people. One moment they’re defending a completely shitty striker, the next they’re complaining how the schedule is unfair to their club. Basically they’ll say whatever’s necessary to deflect criticism from themselves and their teams. And with this being a Champions League week and the announcement of the PFA awards in England, mangers are double-talking out of both sides of their mouths at a furious rate.

Arsene Wenger is so adept at finding slights around every corner, he should really become a professor and teach a class on the subject. After hearing that five out of the six finalists for the PFA Player of the Year are from Manchester United, the Arsenal gaffer believes that the voting comes too early in the season.  He claims it only rewards those that play well early in the season, and not down the stretch when it matters. That must be the reason why his astonishing young Gooners weren’t nominated for anything. But the old guy isn’t done. He also demands that Arsenal supporters get off their duffs and make the Emirates a fortress. A man can dream can’t he?

Longtime nemesis Alex Ferguson doesn’t necessarily disagree with the Professor’s assertion that the PFA voting may come a tad early. But that doesn’t prevent him from naming Nemanja Vidic his choice for the award and taking a shot at the Frenchman. But Arsene shouldn’t be upset at the dig, Fergie also dished out a little friendly reminder to Cristiano Ronaldo to play better.

What’s that? That’s the sound of another old man from Real Madrid claiming that a secret deal is completed to bring Ronaldo to the Bernabéu. I may not be Spanish but I thought a secret is when not everyone knows something and you don’t hold a press conference to announce it. But that’s just me.

What isn’t a secret is that Newcastle’s nightmare of Championship football is closer to becoming a reality. Ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given thinks that Alan Shearer’s the man to keep them up, but fears he won’t have enough time to save them. I’m sure that the fans are happy to hear that you’re rooting for them after you ran away to Manchester City.

Whatever happens in Newcastle won’t affect Shearer’s legend status. Too bad Bayern München manager Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t getting the same support in Germany.

It you can’t beat ‘em, have ‘em overturn the result. Realizing that they’re probably never going to play in Europe again, Leeds United are asking UEFA to overturn their 1973 European Cup Winners’ Cup final loss to AC Milan. Leeds claims the match was fixed. There’s only one thing to say to that: Get over it, you sad bastards.

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