Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Jumpers for Goalposts – Episode 3: I’d 8 2 be an Arsenal fan

Stu Martinez takes over hosting duties for this weeks show.

Joining him in the studio is pod veterans Elliot Busby and Ewan McQueen, whilst we extend a warm welcome to Peter McVitie, who’s making his pod debut.

Issues discussed this week include Arsenal’s humiliation at Old Trafford, Man City’s destruction of sorry Spurs, an assessment of the SPL big guns exit from Europe and we look forward to Sky’s Jim White shouting and slavering his way through all tonights deadline day action.

To listen click below, OR subscribe to us on iTunes by searching ‘Champions Chat’.


Jim White and Neil McCann gie it YALDI!


McQueen’s Championship

Regular Jumpers for Goalposts pundit Ewan McQueen takes you to the world of the Championship on his own blog and of course Champions Chat. Enjoy!

Last season’s second tier of English football gripped me as always. There was the usual mountain of goals, thrilling end to end games and many players who simply lit up the league.

However, one of the key elements of any Championship season is the quality of the managers and how they handle the uniqueness of the league. Neil Warnock with Queens Park Rangers, Paul Lambert with Norwich and Brendan Rogers with Swansea City, proved themselves as the best of a very good bunch by getting their sides promoted to the Premiership.

This season promises to be no different as 24 managers fight for glory. The standard of managers is just getting better every season, in my opinion.

West Ham should never have been relegated from the Premiership. The way Avram Grant failed to motivate a squad full of England internationals such as Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Rob Green along with other quality players such as Mark Noble, Robbie Keane and Demba Ba was disgraceful. However, Grant’s replacement has all the attributes to get West Ham promoted straight back up to the Premiership.

The style of football that Sam Allardyce has promoted throughout his managerial career isn’t pretty but it’s extremely effective and I fully expect the usual gritty performances at Upton Park in this upcoming Championship season. Allardyce has already shown his intentions by securing the signing of Kevin Nolan from his previous club Newcastle United, who ironically enough was his former captain at Bolton.

West Ham are still a big club, who can attract big names but the appointment of Allardyce was still a coup. Many managers seem unwilling to touch this club with a bargepole, but Allardyce was different. The two David’s Gold and Sullivan and Karren Brady have appointed a man who transformed Bolton from a Division One club (as it was known then), into a team who consistently finished in the top half of the Premiership and he also led the Wanderers into the Uefa Cup group stages and the Carling Cup Final in 2004, where they lost to Middlesbrough.

After the 2006 World Cup, Allardyce was heavily touted as the next English manager, before losing out to Steve McClaren.  I accept West Ham are probably not a Championship club, but to have a man who was regarded as one of the best English managers around from the period of 2003-2006,shows the power of the Championship.

However two clubs have gazumped West Ham in their managerial appointments. On Monday, sleeping giants Nottingham Forest appointed former England manager Steve McClaren as the man to guide them back to the big time.

Only days earlier McClaren was on his way for an interview with Aston Villa, who then decided they didn’t want him; I found Villa’s stance utterly baffling. Despite failing as England manager, this is a man who took Middlesbrough of all clubs to a Uefa Cup final, beating teams such asBasel and Steaua Bucharest along the way.

He also led them to the 2004 Carling Cup and also a seventh place finish in the league and attracted players such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Michael Reiziger to the North East.

After the England failure, McClaren took a brave step to reinvent himself and promptly won the Dutch league title with the unfashionable Fc Twente, whom he also led to the Dutch Cup Final. And let’s not forget McClaren was the man who was by Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at Manchester United as the Old Trafford Club went and won their historic treble in 1999.

McClaren’s CV rivals just about any manager and despite another blip at Wolfsburg, I am delighted Forest has given him the chance to prove himself again in English football and the Championship is considerably stronger with his presence.

McClaren won’t be the only former England manager to be managing in the Championship in the upcoming season. At Leicester Sven Goran Eriksson will also be looking to get back into the Premiership.

Despite agreeing with many football fans and other media commentators that Eriksson would now take a job anywhere, I do find it incredible that a man who has won trophies all around Europe, including league championships in Italy, Portugal and Sweden plus also leading Lazio to the Uefa Cup Winners Cup in 1999 and he also led them, plus Benfica and Goteborg to Uefa Cup Finals, winning with Goteborg in 1982.

He also led England in three major finals, where on every occasion he was knocked out in the quarter finals, although taking a closer look at each game, he was very unlucky. Against Brazil, David Seaman was inexplicably beaten by Ronaldinho and against Portugal in both Euro 2004 and the World Cup of 2006 England were beaten on penalties.

Sven also had short other spells as manager of both Mexico and Ivory Coast, showing how varied his career has been. For someone who has been a manager at 3 world cups, plus won a Serie A title, to be managing in the second tier of English football is simply incredible.

Those three managers probably stand out, but some other impressive managers will also be in the hunt this season. How can I not mention the irreplaceable Ian Holloway at Blackpool, who despite all his brilliant sound-bites, also proved how good a manager he is by leading Blackpoolto the Premiership and almost keeping them there.

Two sons will be looking to follow in their fathers’ giants shadows as they manage Derby Countyand Peterborough respectively. Whilst Nigel Clough at Derby and Darren Ferguson may never match their fathers incredible achievements, they serve as a timely reminder that great mangers including their fathers both started off small.

At Middlesbrough Tony Mowbray will be determined to build on last season’s strong finish. Despite failing at Celtic, he is still managed to find himself a big club and it was a bit of a coup to convince Mowbray to come back to the Riverside after he was sacked from Parkhead.

Right now, one of the main contenders for promotion Birmingham lie in limbo regards their manager, with Alex Mcleish having gone to bitter rivals Aston Villa on Friday. However, the quality of names being linked is nothing short of spectacular.

Names such as Chris Hughton who got Newcastle promoted two seasons ago, Dave Jones who managed Cardiff to a FA Cup final and consecutive play-off appearances and Billy Davies, who got Derby, promoted and also ledNottingham Forest to consecutive play off appearances before being sacked two weeks ago have already been banded about.

The managerial talent in the Championship this season is simply mesmerising and once again, I am predicting another fierce battle, possibly involving former international managers and who have managed in the Premiership.

Jumpers for Goalposts, The Grand Season Finale

The podcast comes to an emotional end as the boys retire for the summer. Stef is joined by Ewan, Sahil, Colin and Elliot on a bumper show to draw the curtains on an eventful campaign. There’s revelations and commiserations, and listen out for a special musical number at the end.

Enjoy, and see you next season!

Jumpers for Goalposts – 17/5/11

The original podcast quartet of Stef, Stu, Colin and Elliot return this week to soothe and caress the eardrums of the pod land listeners.

This week’s topics include the Premiership relegation battle, the FA Cup, the Championship play-offs, what to do with Neil Lennon and the “Italian Job” antics of some Manchester United fans.

Also, stay tuned after the end of the podcast for some ridiculous tom-foolery courtesy of our very own Mr. Busby.

This is also the penultimate episode of the podcast before summer. Sad times.

Jumpers for Goalposts – May 5th

The boys are back and better than ever!

In a week that saw racism rows, a gun-wielding mascot, and diving Tom Daley would be proud of, a few games of football broke out!!

Join Sahil Jaidka, Colin Stone and Ewan McQueen as they are steered, somewhat carelessly, through the murky waters of British and European football by host Stef Meens.

As always, we’re also available on iTunes.

Jumpers for Goalposts – 19/04/2011

Stu Martinez is in charge for this weeks show and is joined in the studio by Elliot Busby, Ewan McQueen and Colin Stone.

Topics debated include Man City’s FA cup triumph, Stoke’s demolition of dismal Bolton, yet another Arsenal capitulation and a preview of this Sunday’s crucial Old Firm derby.

Don’t worry people, Stef Meens will be returning to the show soon.

Jumpers for Goalposts – (12/04/11)

JFG is back with strong opinions and misled, ill-informed football banter.

Stef is back in the hot seat and is joined in Jumpers for Goalposts HQ by Elliot Busby, Stu Martinez and Ewan McQueen.

Also listen out for a cameo from our roaming European reporter Colin Stone, who has taken a tactical trip to Gelsenkirchen to take in the Schalke vs Inter game.

Up for discussion are the PFA awards nominees, Super Mario Balotelli (as usual) and Europe’s finest teams in the Champions League.

We also have a quick trip around Europe visiting the Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga as the season hits the business end.

Hit us up on Facebook and/or Twitter, and remember to subscribe on iTunes.

The BlogCast – Premiere

The BlogCast is Champions Chat’s newest podcast in which sports journo Paul Barnes takes the reigns to discuss all that matters in this packed week of sports.

He’s joined in the studio by Lyall Stuart and David Waddell.

Stuart comes packed with some unmissable hard hitting opinions on everything from under fire-football managers to the glorious traditions of The Masters.

David Waddell likes to keep a close eye on all sports but is particularly well versed in tennis. David is also our resident bookmaker and will be giving you the best tips for this weeks sporting action.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the BlogCast’s company for the next 45 minutes.

Jumpers For Goalposts (5/04/2011)

Here’s this week’s episode of JfG.

Elliot Busby takes over the hosting duties in the absence of Stef. Joining Elliot in the studio are Colin Stone, Ewan McQueen and Sahil Jaidka.

Topics include the weekend’s games, the Champions League matches to come, as well as a European round-up and the St Pauli beer-throwing incident.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes!

MJ takes his rightful place at Craven Cottage

Jumpers for Goalposts – Episode 9 (29/03/11)

Stef Meens and his unruly mob discuss this past weekend’s international fixtures.

Joining him in the studio are Stu Martinez, Ewan McQueen and the returning Colin Stone.

Topics debated include the English media’s frenzied response to victory over the mighty Wales, all jumping aboard Neymar’s Brazilian banana boat, the continuation of the Mario Balotelli soap opera and a fascinating insight into the world of Paul Merson.

Kudos to Elliot Busby, our lurking in the shadows producer for the day.

Possibly the banana thrown at Neymar, probably not...

Remember we’re available on iTunes too.

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