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FA Cup over Top Four?

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic would rather win the FA Cup than qualify for the Champions League.    

Bilic made the claim ahead of the Hammers' third round clash with Sky Bet Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Boleyn Ground. 

His statement of intent will be music to the ears of West Ham supporters, who were angry when previous manager Sam Allardyce fielded a team of youngsters in a 5-0 third round defeat at Nottingham Forest two years ago.

Allardyce was concentrating his resources on a relegation battle but, with West Ham currently sixth in the Premier League, Bilic can turn his attentions to bringing a first FA Cup in 36 years to east London.

Asked if he would rather finish in the top four or lift the famous old trophy, Bilic said: "I would like to win the cup. Of course.

Koeman blasts Southampton academy

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has taken aim at the club's academy after being unimpressed at a recent under-21s fixture.   

The Dutchman has been forced to sell some of his biggest stars in recent seasons, and could be set for another difficult off-season with the likes of Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama rumoured to be on their way out.

Southampton have produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana in recent times, and Koeman has expressed concerns over the next crop of young players coming through.

The 52-year-old has publicly said Southampton need to be ambitious to keep him on board at the end of the season, but a recent under-21s fixture did not help their cause.

"I wasn’t impressed," Koeman said. "I look to the development of young players and they still have a lot to learn and they are still not on the level that is needed for the Premier League.

"It is more difficult to get into the first team of Southampton than it was four years ago.

"For some of them it is a long way, maybe too long. Only Matt Targett is ready for the first team. Harry Reed is also close, but the rest not so much."

Spotlight: Jean-Yves Poame @SunderlandAFC

Published: 07 January, 2016 by Sam Lightle

Irishman takes to the spotlight in the first feature of 2016.

With high hopes of becoming a professional footballer after putting pen to paper on a two-year scholarship deal, Jean-Yves Poame suffered the terrible news that he would not be able to play football for a year.

After undergoing a routine heart scan before pre-season, Poame revealed that something irregular flagged up on the system that caught the eye of Sunderland’s medical staff.

At the time the Irishman was a first year scholar, however the devastating news meant he would be ruled out of action for up to a year.

Of course, it was always going to be hard to take, especially for a youngster who has always been so used to the freedom of being able to get up and just play football.

“I had two options,” Poame revealed. “To have surgery or not play sport any more. The decision was hard but I always wanted to play sport all my life so I had to have the surgery.

“I was going to say no at first but the doctor at Sunderland told me if I don’t have this operation then not just for football but for the rest of my life I wouldn’t be allowed to run or be able to do anything at all, so it was important for me to have the operation.”

Following the operation which was successful, Poame began his road to recovery but there were no shortcuts and the process was a long and tiresome one as he couldn’t do anything for six months until his scar had healed.

“Being out for so long was hard but since I have come back I have been thrilled, just running and doing the simple things.

“It’s important now to get back on my horse now and do well.”

Many of Poame’s team-mates are in the second year of their scholarship and fighting to earn themselves a professional contract at the end of the season.

However for Poame, he has been granted special leave which means he has started the scholarship process again and that decision has left him incredibly grateful.

“The club’s decision (to let me start again) helped a lot because I was out all year with the surgery and then my scar so the club have given me a fresh start so it was really kind for them to do that for me.”

Will Ferrell: Actor is co-owner of Los Angeles FC in MLS

American comedy actor Will Ferrell has been named as a co-owner of new Major League Soccer franchise Los Angeles FC.

 

The 48-year-old is part of a 26-strong ownership group that also includes basketball legend Magic Johnson and former USA women's striker Mia Hamm.

 

QPR director Ruben Gnanalingam and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan are also involved.

 

The franchise will enter the MLS from 2018 and will be the city's second club, competing with LA Galaxy.

 

Ferrell, best known for comedy films such as Elf and Anchorman, said: "This is not a joke. I'm actually a member of this fine ownership group and it's very exciting."

 

He added his three sons play the game and his wife played at Pomona College.

 

Managing partner Henry Nguyen acknowledged the ownership group may seem "cumbersome".

 

But he added: "It's a joy to have such a collection of incredibly successful, experienced, talented people contributing their ideas."

 

LAFC will play in a purpose-built 22,000-seat stadium in the south of the city, adjacent to the University of South California's American football stadium.

Grass Roots and Non-League Bloggers/Reporters wanted

 

Grass Roots and Non-League Bloggers/Reporters wanted.

 

Get your team and mates involved building the biggest football community.

 

Got a goal to show, a story to share about football then join us and start posting!

 

Have it! No Have your moment in the spotlight and share your exploits and achievements, highs and lows.

 

PHIL Male has called on the Tividale players to start picking up points in 2016
PHIL Male has called on the Tividale players to start picking up points in 2016 ahead of Saturday’s EVO-STIK Northern Premier League, First Division South fixture at Belper Town.

Coincidentally, Dale’s last league victory was against their Derbyshire counterparts back in September, a 4-2 victory at The Beeches.

And the 36-year-old, who will take charge of his second fixture in sole charge of the Black Country outfit insists his side must start picking up points in the new year to raise confidence levels within the camp.

“We have to start winning – it’s as simple as that,” said the former Sutton Coldfield Town defender.

“On far too many occasions so far this season we have let leads slip away, particularly in the closing stages of games.

“It’s not a new problem, either. It happened on the very first day of the season against Shaw Lane Aquaforce. 

“We could have feasibly had double the amount of points we currently have in my opinion, and that’s what is the most disappointing aspect for everyone concerned with Tividale at this moment.”

Tivi will start 2016 bottom of First Division South table with a sizeable gap to their nearest rivals but Male believes all is not lost if his players can cut out the silly mistakes of 2015.

“I think individual errors have cost us all season long. In general, our play hasn’t been too bad, but we have shown naivety too many times, and it needs to be addressed.

“We have good players. Chris Sterling has 14 goals to his name. Farquharson, Rabone, Mark Danks and Demetri Brown are all good attacking options but we do need to improve defensively.

“I believe we can do it. Everyone at the Club is working tremendously hard and hopefully our luck will turn to a certain degree, too.”

Tividale FC Official Club Statement

TIVIDALE are delighted to announce several new appointments following a management restructure at The Beeches. 

A FULL STATEMENT READS: 

Following the resignation of Leon Murray from the Club’s committee last month, the Tividale Football & Social Club committee felt it was the necessary time to re-evaluate their respective structure.

As a result of the process, current Head of Communications, Steven Beech, has been appointed to the newly created role Head of Football Operations, with Murray agreeing to take the position of Football Secretary.

Dale have appointed Mick Preston as Assistant Head of Football Operations, having held the role of Match Day Secretary.

Recently appointed committee member, Dave Bates, will become Social Club Secretary with immediate effect following the resignation of Murray from that particular position upon resigning from the committee.

On being appointed to the position of Head of Football Operations, Beech, 28, said he was looking forward to getting stuck in to his new role.

“I’m delighted and privileged to have been offered the role, and being trusted by the committee to undertake the responsibilities that have been handed to me,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed a terrific working relationship with Leon since officially joining the Club in November 2014, and I expect that these new specific roles will further enhance that relationship we have.

“We’re not in the position we’d like to be in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League, First Division South table at the moment – I think that’s quite clear for all to see.

“We need to work hard, stick together, try to get some points in the coming games and hopefully enjoy a good festive period from a form perspective with the primary target of retaining our league status.

“The aforementioned hard work starts tomorrow against Lincoln United here at The Beeches, and I believe it’s a game we need to be targeting to gain all three points.”

New Social Club Secretary Bates has been involved in several successful charity events organised by the Club over the course of the past 12 months and believes the Club need to enhance their relationship with its loyal members.

“First and foremost, I’m delighted to have been offered the role of Social Club Secretary by Tividale Football Club.

“I intend to work hard, to communicate with the members to analyse what they would like from their experience of Tividale Football & Social Club.

“The newly designed structure will allow each individual concentrate on their designated responsibilities and that can only be a positive for all concerned, both from a social perspective and on the football pitch.”

Meanwhile, Beech will retain responsibility of the Head of Communications role until the ideal candidate has been identified.

Who’s Who at Tividale Football & Social Club?: 
  • Chairman: David Evans
  • Treasurer: Richard Harrison
  • Social Club Secretary: Dave Bates
  • Bar Manager: Sally Webb

 

  • Head of Football Operations: Steven Beech
  • Football Secretary: Leon Murray
  • Assistant Head of Football Operations: Mick Preston

 

  • Head of Communications: Steven Beech (Interim)
  • Head of Creativity: Caroline Wells

 

Committee Members: Dave Evans, Richard Harrison, Dave Bates, Sally Webb, Steven Beech, Caroline Wells, Chris Dudley, Mick Preston.

End of Statement.
Jeff Stelling's Scunthorpe showdown with Scunthorpe Chairman.

Peter Swann Scunthorpe ChairmanAfter Jeff Stelling called the sacking of Russ Wilcox 'shameful', Scunthorpe chairman Peter Swann challenged the Soccer Saturday presenter live on air.

Watch it by clicking on link below:

http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/9512962/stelling's-scunthorpe-showdown#ooid=xlcG4xcTqzlXALXkq8eYfD7Bz339E_Bm

Jeff Stelling says managers need time, following Russ Wilcox's Scunthorpe sacking

'Chairmen hit the panic button too soon'

MK Dons boss Karl Robinson and Notts County manager Shaun Derry are among the guests on Soccer Saturday this weekend – but I don’t know how they sleep at night.

Sometimes decisions about managers stagger me so much. The most astonishing one this season has come this week: Scunthorpe’s shameful decision to get rid of Russ Wilcox.

Join in our comments section and give us your view.

 

Southgate says Three Lions are 'ready' for Euro play-off

Gareth Southgate says his side are ready to take on this week’s Euro play-off challenge against Croatia.

The Three Lions face the first of their two legs with home advantage at Molineux and after nine wins from ten games in the group qualifiers, can approach the tie with confidence.

But Southgate and his squad know that Croatia, who also topped their own qualifying group, will offer a much sterner test than England's former group rivals with a place in next summer’s Euro Finals at stake.

"They’re ready for it," revealed Southgate.

"We’ve made certain that it’s been exactly the same as a normal week and there’s no need to tell them that it’s a game with more riding on it.

"Our preparation has been exactly the same and we’ve covered what we feel we need to cover.

"We’ve focused on what we need to do and it’s been a little bit difficult to piece together what the Croatian team will look like but it will definitely be a better test than what we’ve had in our group.

"We’ve shown them what we expect the challenge to be and I think they’re ready.

"I’m confident about the players that we’ve got and they’ll look forward to it because of the way we’ve played throughout the group.

"There is a bit more attention on the game, but for me it’s about the performance and if we transfer the way we train every day, which is what they’ve done in the campaign so far, then they’ll be fine."

Southgate believes that the games his squad faced against the likes of Brazil and Portugal in the Toulon Tournament earlier this year will have helped ready the players for the next two games.

But the amount of attention and pressure on the squad will be something many of them will not have experienced in their international careers so far.

"In terms of the on-field challenge, the games in the summer were good preparation for this because I think Brazil might have been a level higher [than Croatia]," added the head coach.

"But what surrounds the game is different for them so that’s the interesting one, seeing how they cope with the different focus that is on them.

"It’s not something I need to build up for them, they just need to focus on their individual and collective jobs really.

"If we take away the focus, then that adds un-necessary pressure."

One area in which Southgate knows his side won’t be lacking is in their team spirit and togetherness.

The core group has remained solid throughout the last 13 months of qualifying and has resulted in what Southgate describes as a "special bond."

And he believes that mentality could prove important over the next two games, with the return fixture taking place in Vinkovci next Tuesday.

"It is a special bond and I think they’ll look back on this in the future," he revealed.

"They are really close and they all mix with each other. They’ll be sitting with someone at breakfast and then playing table tennis with someone else later, the interaction has been brilliant and that’s been powerful.

"The three or four players who aren’t here with injury have been sending messages and phoning.

"That gives you a chance and it’s something that we’ve tried to create and cultivate, with the characters we’ve picked.

"These are the intangibles that help to get you results, running that extra five yards for your mate to help get that block in.

"They’ve exhibited this over a period of time. It isn’t everything, but it gives you a chance and they enjoy being together.

"International sport shouldn’t be a cosy environment, but if you’re all of a like mind and pulling in the right direction, then it helps."

Tickets for Friday’s game cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 0871 222 1877 for more details on how you can be there to cheer on the Three Lions.

Read more at The F.A.

 England U21s v Croatia U21s

UEFA Euro U21 Championship Play-off first leg 5.45pm, Friday 10 October 2014 Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers Live on BT Sport Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets