Tag Archives: everton

Will Martinez get the most out of Aiden McGeady?

Everton boss Roberto Martinez had his eye on Aiden McGeady for quite some time even going back to when the Spaniard was the gaffer at Wigan. Now he finally got his man.

Indeed the 27-year-old winger has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal after signing from Spartak Moscow for an undisclosed fee. But one would wonder how the former Celtic star will fare at Goodison Park.

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It’s fair to say that McGeady is somewhat inconsistent. Anyone who goes to the Aviva Stadium can second that. His form in Russia was good – he scored 13 goals in 93 games and played a key role in helping Spartak finish in 2nd place in 2012.

Though improving, Russia may not be the highest level in Europe yet Martinez definitely sees something in the Ireland international. Certainly enough to bring him to the Premier League and into an Everton side that is playing great football as of late with one eye firmly on a top four finish.

I believe that Roberto Martinez may be just the right man to get the most out of McGeady. He’s not just a squad player. He’ll be joining nternational team-mates Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Darron Gibson in the squad. And given how Martinez has done with the other players this season so far, it’s make-or-break for Everton’s new boy.

 

How do you think Aiden McGeady will fare at Everton? Let Rob Smith know on Twitter (@robsmithireland)

Deulofeu: future superstar and current heartbreaker for Arsenal fans

Back in 2003, when a nine-year-old boy named Gerard Deulofeu turned up at the FC Barcelona offices, an hour south from his tiny village of Riudarenes, he arrived as a kid with great promise. Like many in Barça’s youth academy, known as La Masia, the club were taking on a great talent. As the years passed, Deulofeu was constantly making a name for himself more and more and in 2011, he was called up the Barcelona’s B team.

Usually the Catalan sports press are Barça-mad, with very little written about their B side. However, like Messi and Pedro before him, Deulofeu’s name would be creeping into the likes of newspaper Sport frequently. “Who is this kid? Is he any good?”. The answer was an unmistakable yes!

As well as playing as a striker, Deulofeu caused opposition serious damage when fielded as a right-winger. Plenty could see the similarities between himself and World Cup winner and former-Barça B star Pedro (or Pedrito – little Pedro – as he was known in those days.)

Having played with Spain’s youth teams since 2009, Deulofeu was drafted into the squad for the under-19’s European Championship in July 2012. A competition they won. And guess who got player of the tournament? Correct!

Of course, that wasn’t his first honour. He won the same tournament the year before again with the under-19’s ( including scoring against Ireland in a 5-0 thrashing en route to the final).

Having made two senior appearances for Barcelona, his 2012-13 was incredible for the reserve side and many had predicted him to progress into Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s side permanently. However, with the purchase of Brazilian superstar Neymar as well as more established youth players in the senior side such as Isaac Cuenca and the hugely talented Cristian Tello, it was decided that, rather than just selling him and cashing in, a loan-move would be best for Deulofeu.

Everton snapped him up.

After his wonderful goal for Everton against Arsenal at the Emirates, the 19-year old will become the talk of Monday morning’s back pages. As Stuart Clark of this parish commented on Twitter: “We’re seeing the emergence of a world class player”. Indeed. It’s very hard not to agree. Sunday evening’s performance was merely the tip of the iceberg for what this kid can be capable of.

 

Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)

The Fergie era ends as Moyes' first task is to try hang on to Rooney

On Tuesday night, the rumours filtered through via social media that something big was happening at Old Trafford. The speculation was almost immediate that Sir Alex Ferguson make a statement regarding his position at Manchester United. It was not until 9.15am the following morning that the 71-year old Scot indeed announced his retirement from the club. The first question on everyone’s mind was this: who is going to take over this huge club?

Manchester United had been incredibly stable under the authority of Fergie. Lots of people – pundits and fans – suggested Jurgen Klopp and José Mourinho. Two big names for a big club. Two names that could steer the club in the same direction that Fergie had taken them on. However, and at time of writing has yet to be officially announced, many sources name Everton boss David Moyes as his successor.

Moyes is, to some, certainly a surprise choice. He has no Champions League experience for starters. What experience did Pep Guardiola have when he took over Barcelona in 2008? Good players and the right philosophy will always go far some will always say.

Fergie had said in his statement yesterday that when he arrived at Old Trafford in 1986, Sir Bobby Charlton gave him “the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team”. The 71-year old, who will continue on as director and ambassador the club, perhaps now sees himself playing a similar role to Moyes what Bobby Charlton was to him a quarter of a century ago.

There’s also now rumours that Wayne Rooney apparently wants a move away from the Red Devils as reported by some well-sourced journalists. He held talks with Fergie a fortnight ago claiming he needed “a fresh start”. Bayern Munich are more than happy to take the Liverpudlian to Bavaria. Boss-to-be Pep Guardiola made no secrets of his admiration for the striker, as indeed did Bayern star Bastian Schweinsteiger and club honorary president Franz Beckenbauer.

Will the lure of an all-star Bayern Munich side, led by Pep Guardiola, be enough to tempt Wayne Rooney away from a Fergie-less Old Trafford? Either way, it seems David Moyes’ very first challenge will be try persuade the 27-year-old to stay put. Interesting times at Old Trafford this summer.

But, Sir Alex Ferguson, in the off-chance you’re reading this: this blog salutes you for everything you’ve done for our beautiful game.

 

What do you think of Sir Alex’s retirement? And will Wayne Rooney stay put? Let Rob Smith know on Twitter (@robsmithireland) and be sure to check us out on Facebook (/FootballElMundo)

Footy travels #6: Liverpool

The great city of Liverpool is one of enormous cultural heritage and was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture back in 2008. Apart from being the birthplace of all four Beatles, Cilla Black, Wayne Rooney, Elvis Costello and Ricky Tomlinson, it is also birthplace of some of Britain’s most famous – and hugely successful – football teams.

How do I get in?  Liverpool John Lennon Airport is about 12km to the south of the city centre. Ryanair fly daily from Dublin and Cork while EasyJet services the Belfast route. If you time it right, you can pay as little as €25 for a return flight.

What teams can I watch?  The city’s big two – Liverpool and Everton dominate football in this city. The Merseyside derby has always been a heated contest. Everton claim to be the “people’s club” of the city while Liverpool have long been the more successful side. Meanwhile across the water in Birkenhead, Tranmere Rovers ply their trade in League One.

How do I get to the stadium?  Seperating Everton’s Goodison Park and Liverpool’s Anfield is 110 acres of land called Stanley Park. Taxis and buses are the best way to get to either stadia from the city centre. A stadium tour of either ground is worth the trip alone. If you want to go to Tranmere’s Prenton Park, this is the an ideal opportunity to take the famous ferry ‘cross the Mersey.

How do I get tickets?  Depending on the game, as some will sell out, tickets can be harder to come by for either Liverpool team than say a club in mainland Europe, as members usually get first pick. But tickets do go on general sale for games. Check either Liverpool’s or Everton’s website for this. Tranmere would be cheaper and easier to come by.

What else is there to do?  Well apart from the fact that Liverpool has the largest national museum collection in Britain outside of London, there’s always the city’s Liverpool One shopping district and The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock. Not to mention Liverpool is home to Europe’s oldest Chinatown as well as the Grand National race. You won’t be short of options for a pre and post-match beer neither.

Transfer deadline day chaos (or the lack of it)

Ah, the last day of January. A day many spend the evening by staring at Jim White and his colleagues on Sky Sports News for the usual drama of transfer deadline day. Last year Andy Carroll joined Liverpool for an astonishing £35 million and Fernando Torres joined Chelsea for £50 million. Social networks went crazy that night. What could happen tonight? Will Chelsea make another massive signing? Could Gerard Pique (and girlfriend Shakira) make Manchester their new home? Could Carlos Tevez join Liverpool and then Everton only moments later? Will it be the most exciting day in footballing transfer history?

The answer is…no. The day hadn’t quite the excitement as last year’s for the average footie fan. But it did have some interesting moves that will no doubt make an impact at certain clubs. One of these clubs is of course QPR. Having already captured Nedum Onuoha (Man Citeh) and Taye Taiwo (AC Milan), they signed Bobby Zamora (Fulham) and Djibril Cissé (Lazio) to strengthen Mark Hughes’ side. Throughout January, they more or less bought half a team.

Zamora joins the R's

Meanwhile ‘Arry Redknapp (who is not a “wheeler-dealer”) brought Everton’s Louis Saha to White Hart Lane on loan for the rest of the season with Steven Pienaar going back to his former club also on loan.  Everton did also complete the £5.5m signing of Nikica Jelavic from Rangers. Speaking of Spurs, their out-of-favour striker Roman Pavlyuchenko left to join Lokomotiv Moscow in his native land. Elsewhere, Man City landed Chile midfielder David Pizarro on loan from Roma for the rest of the season as did West Brom, for our very own Keith Andrews from Blackburn.

There was some interesting moves elsewhere in Europe such as this and this, but overall it could be considered a fairly quiet one – certainly by English standards with “only” £55.1 million spent by Premier League clubs this deadline day. Last year it was £215 million. Maybe at the next transfer deadline day, on the last day of August, it might be even less? Who am I kidding…Man City and Chelsea are still around, aren’t they?

Anyway, throughout the entire month of January, some of the best signings in my opinion have been:

  • Thierry Henry – New York Red Bulls to Arsenal (loan)
  • Carlos Kameni – Espanyol to Malaga (free)
  • Maxi Lopez – Catania to AC Milan (loan)
  • Gary Cahill – Bolton to Chelsea (£7 mil)
  • José Antonio Reyes – Athletico Madrid to Sevilla (€3.5 mil)
  • Moussa Sow – Lille to Fenerbahce (€15 mil)
  • Nicolas Anelka – Chelsea to Shanghai Shenhua (undisclosed)
  • Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy to Aston Villa (loan)
  • Amauri – Juventus to Fiorentina (€500k)
  • Alex – Chelsea to PSG (€5 mil)

Any other good transfers missed this month that is worth mentioning? Leave a comment or hit me up on twitter.

Tim Howard: Not the first goalscoring 'keeper

On Wednesday evening, I noticed on my twitter timeline that Everton ‘keeper Tim Howard was trending. I wasn’t watching the Everton v Bolton game as I was gearing up for Barcelona’s Copa Del Rey match against Osasuna, but a quick search showed that the American ‘keeper scored a goal. Nice! The wind and a freak bounce played a massive part in his goal, but it’s still a feat worthy of an applause from me. However, as you may well know, he ain’t the first ‘keeper to score in the opposing goal.

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Probably, the most famous goalscoring goalkeeper is Sao Paolo’s 38-year old Rogério Ceni. Not only is he been the club’s no.1 player since 1990, but he has also scored an unusual amount of goals for a ‘keeper. 103 to be exact. Yes…one hundred and three. Many of you dear readers will remember his 100th from this blog twelve months ago.

Paraguay’s Jose Luis Chilavert has banged in a few in his time. His career tally is 44 professional goals. He’s a bit of a nutter at the best of time and is known within the sport for being “loco”, but he also scores and there’s a fine line between genius and insanity – just like this.

And of course, nobody will forget Mexico’s Jorge Campos. Mainly due to his colourful jerseys, but also for his knack of scoring the odd goal. 31 of his 34 goals throughout his career was scored whilst he was playing for his beloved Pumas FC.

Shay Given for a hat-trick in the Euros against Spain? Go for it, Shay!

 

Top 5 worst football jerseys ever!

I recently witnessed a man walking down Grafton Street sporting this season’s Everton goalkeeper jersey. Yes, that camouflage one. It might work if you are in armed combat or if you happen to be Ian Brown. It’s just a bit wrong for a goalkeeper jersey. For me it’s the worst football jersey in the last year.

Here’s my top 5 worst football jerseys.

5. Mexico. The much-praised Jorge Campos used to design his own jersey when on international duty for Mexico. I’m not sure if he could be praised for what he designed though.

4. Chelsea. Orange and grey. Oh dear.

3. Exeter City. I presume it was designed by Timmy Mallet?

2. Crystal Palace. Christmas wrapping paper is never a good jersey design.

1. Caribous of Colorado. Yes, a team actually wore this for an entire season in 1978.

Know of any more disaster designs? Let me know or hit me up on Twitter.