It’s nothing short of a mystery, but football clubs the length and breadth of the English pyramid seem to keep passing up on the opportunity to appoint Sol Campbell as their manager.
The former England defender, 43, recently applied for the vacant Oxford United job but it looks like the League One club are about to give the role to the similarly green Craig Bellamy.
As quoted by the Oxford Mail, this was Campbell’s typically humble response to his U’s rejection:
I did go (for the job) and they didn’t accept me. Maybe it was a lack of experience things like that, blah blah blah – but it’s a full circle.
Experience? How do I get experience when I need a job to get experience?
I don’t want to go too low that it’s a struggle and I don’t want to go too low that I’m under someone and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’
I would rather be managing a club myself.
I’m confident and it’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club especially when you get to that level.
If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon within two or three games what the team needs training wise to survive in that league, to get better, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.
And then it came: the precise reason nobody is willing to touch Sol Campbell with a ten-foot barge pole:
I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life.
I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much.
First of all, we’ve never once heard the expression “fox and dog pitch” used before and secondly, what a berk.
Has anybody ever held themselves in higher regard than our Sol? One of the greatest minds in football? Puh-lease.
If the latest batch of leaked snippets are to be believed, Liverpool are going to look like a bunch of dandy Bobby Dazzlers when they take to the road next season.
According to Footy Headlines, the following images reveal the Reds’ new home kit for 2018/19 will be… well, red – “Viper Red” to be specific, the exact same hue as the current strip being worn this year…
While the finer point of the design are unknown, it would appear that the fundamentals won’t be altering much – other than the removal of the 125th anniversary crest, for obvious reasons.
The away and third strips? Well that’s a different story entirely.
Indeed, the leaked previews show that New Balance are cooking up a neon onslaught for the accompanying away and third outfield kits, with “Deep Violet” and “Grey Violet” providing the base palette (along with ‘toxic sludge green’ and ‘Molly Ringwald pink’ trim respectively)…
Images: Footy Headlines
The goalkeeper kits are no less garish, with retina-bothering “Vivid Cactus” and “Pink Glow” offerings for the away and third strips…
Images: Footy Headlines
If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to drop acid in the highlighter section at Rymans, then wonder no longer.
Independiente Del Valle of Ecuador booked themselves a place in the final of the Under-20 Copa Libertadores with a 3-2 win over Club Atletico River Plate (of Uruguay) in the semi-finals on Wednesday night.
As well as the flood of goals, the match was also notable for an incident that saw one of Independiente’s players, Angelo Preciado, going rogue with a corner flag in order to protect himself from the entire River team, who appeared to all be baying for his blood for reasons unknown…
¡Surrealista! Tras caer eliminados ante Independiente Del Valle, los jugadores de River Plate fueron a por Preciado, jugador rival, el cual se vio acorralado y usó el banderín de córner para defenderse. Sucedió en la Copa Libertadores sub-20.
Queen of the South have been plunged into a goalkeeping injury crisis after seeing their reserve stopper succumb to a farmyard calamity.
Indeed, the Queens may well be unable to include a substitute ‘keeper on their bench for Saturday’s Scottish Championship match against Dunfermline after back-up Sam Henderson was clouted by a rampaging cow at the weekend.
Henderson, 19, was on the bench for Queens’ last match against Morton while Jack Leighfield, also 19, deputised for first-choice Alan Martin, who is currently sidelined.
However, the club have since reported that Henderson is now a major doubt for the Dunfermline game after he injured a shoulder when he was buffeted by a marauding moo at his father’s farm.
Manchester United were left owing yet another debt of gratitude to their brilliant goalkeeper after squeezing a laboured goalless draw out of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla.
With the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in fine voice, the match ebbed and flowed without either team really seizing the initiative in what was essentially rather dull fare.
Paul Pogba started on the bench for United after being struck down by illness on Monday, but the groggy French midfielder was introduced much earlier than planned when Ander Herrera limped off with just 16 minutes gone.
Not that Pogba’s premature introduction made much in the way of tangible impact on a night where Jose Mourinho’s side, obviously under instruction to keep things conservative away from home, mustered just one solitary effort on target.
Indeed, it was David De Gea who provided the sole memorable moment of the match, pulling off one of his signature reflex saves to swat away Luis Muriel’s close-range header in first-half stoppage time…
De Gea’s importance to United really cannot be understated. The Spaniard has made more saves than any first-choice ‘keeper in the Premier League this season, which is remarkable when you twig that he plays for the team sitting in second place.
Imagine just how dreary United’s season might look without the uber-reliable De Gea and his immense contribution to keeping their results respectable.
Back in Andalusia, Romelu Lukaku did force a shot over the Sevilla line in the 83rd minute, but only after blatantly catching the ball in the build-up.
That was about it from United’s attack, despite Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial all getting a run out.
Enzo Francescoli is unquestionably one of the most refined players to have ever graced a football pitch, and yet his name is rarely mentioned in relevant discussions.
This may be because El Principe (‘The Prince’) did his finest work at River Plate and for the Uruguayan national side, far away from European eyes, in an era when cross-continental coverage was nowhere near as immediate and accessible as it is today.
Francescoli did make the move to Europe in the mid-1980s, first with Racing Paris and Marseille in France and then Cagliari and Torino in Italy, but it’s probably fair to say that he never *quite* made it to the apex on this side of the Atlantic (though he did win a league title with L’OM in 1989/90).
Indeed, it was his two, three-year stints at River (1983-86 and 1994-97, thus book-ending his mid-career adventures in Ligue 1 and Serie A) where Francescoli attained an air of true godliness.
This was apparent when, 18 months after his final competitive match for Los Millonarios, the Uruguyan maestro, aged 37, was invited back to El Monumental for one last stand: a farewell exhibition match against the team he supported as a boy, Penarol, in front of 65,000 adoring fans.
The presidents of both Argentina and Uruguay were in the crowd as Francescoli emerged out into the deafening drone amid a cascade of ticker tape.
The match was kicked off by 72-year-old Walter Gomez, a fellow Uruguayan striker who won three league titles with River during the early 1950s.
Francescoli’s team featured a raft of big names in Roberto Ayala, Pablo Aimar and Marcelo Salas (with wee Javier Saviola on the bench), pitted against a Penarol team led by Pablo Bengoechea and Walter ‘The Rifle’ Pandiani.
The full live match broadcast is available to watch here should you have an entire afternoon you wish to surrender.
River Plate won the match 4-0, not that it really counted for much. The only thing that mattered was that the fans of both clubs were able to thank El Principe for his efforts over the years, with celebrations continuing on the Monumental pitch long after the final whistle.
Perhaps Francescoli’s most enduring legacy will be the effect he had on a young Zinedine Zidane during the latter’s formative years.
When I saw Francescoli play, he was the player I wanted to be. He was fantastic, his moves were marvellous and he was the player that I saw and admired at Olympique de Marseille, my idol when I played against him when I was at Juventus.
Enzo is like a god.
Zizou then went on to name his first-born child after his footballing idol. That’s quite a tribute in anybody’s book.
Watching Francescoli is an almost hypnotic pleasure, like a fine mist drifting effortlessly over the turf.
RB Leipzig have gone to great lengths to accommodate Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri ahead of the Europa League last-32 encounter between the two sides later this week.
The German side have created a special ‘smoking room’ at the Red Bull Arena by installing a temporary partition in the away dressing room that will allow Sarri – who smokes like a forest fire – to chuff away in peace before and after the match.
At the eighth time of trying, Lionel Messi was finally able to cast off the shackles and prove himself a semi-decent prospect by scoring his very first goal against Chelsea when Barcelona rolled into town on Tuesday night.
The two sides offered up an entertaining 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last-16 showpiece.
It wasn’t a classic to sit alongside the crackling 2009 semi-final or the Helm’s Deep-style (28% possession!) ransack of the Camp Nou in 2012, but it certainly had its charm.
Chelsea, playing without a recognised striker on the pitch, did a fine job of stifling Barca throughout a goalless first half before taking a deserved lead on the hour.
After hitting either post with a couple of near-identical sighters earlier in the match, Willian finally got the goal his performance had warranted, using a crowded penalty area to smuggle a low shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen…
However, after successfully limiting their visitors to a smattering of paltry half-chances, the Blues were ahead for precisely 13 minutes before their sole defensive lapse of the evening gifted Barca an equaliser.
After surviving a penalty call when Antonio Rudiger tangled with Luis Suarez underneath a long ball, Andreas Christensen swept up the loose ends only to send an overly ambitious pass trundling across his own 18-yard box – a pass which ended up at the feet of Andres Iniesta, who wasted no time in teeing up you-know-who…
So that’s 546 career goals for Messi, with one against Chelsea to add to the 545 he’s scored against absolutely everybody else.
And so the game ended much in the same vein it began, with Antonio Conte’s men matching Barca stride-for-stride (Cesc Fabregas in particular putting in a selfless defensive shift) without either side really dominating the occasion.
It should be enough to give the Blues hope of escaping the Camp Nou with the aggregate spoils when the two teams meet again for the second leg next month.
The Argentinian side are hoping that Manuel can work his magic and give them a little extra luck in what is sure to be a tight, tense encounter.
According to Globo Esporte, Manuel attended last year’s Copa Sudamericana final against Flamengo which Independiente won 3-2 on aggregate – the wizard spending the entire game in the dugout alongside coach Ariel Holan.
He was also hired by the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) to help Lionel Messi and his compatriots successfully secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup in their final match against Ecuador.
To put it simply, there’s no way Independiente can lose.