The secret footballer undercover,buddhist meditation stories,flowers in secret garden book - Step 3

05.05.2014
There have not been many occasions over the past decade where a side positioned above the Premier League champions, in this case Chelsea, have discussed replacing their manager.
But that is exactly the prospect facing Garry Monk, whose Swansea City side linger in 14th place – two rungs higher up the ladder than the miserable Blues. The South Wales club’s hierarchy has reportedly been less than pleased with their erratic start to the season and it speaks volumes about the progress made at the Liberty Stadium in recent years that they expect better. Monk replaced Michael Laudrup at Swansea in February last year, first as temporary head coach, after persistent speculation regarding the Dane’s future led to the club terminating his contract. At that time, Swansea were lying in 12th place in what was their third top-flight season after promotion in 2011.
As it stands, Monk’s side have picked up just 13 points from their opening 12 games this season and have won only once since their 2-1 home victory over Manchester United in August. That victory, alongside an opening-day 2-2 draw against champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, had raised expectations for the season ahead. But the horrid run of form that has seen them slide into mid-table, after an excellent start to the campaign, has caused a spike in speculation that the 36-year-old is destined for the sack.
It would be a strange move for Swansea, given that Monk, with his relative inexperience, still broke the club’s record for Premier League points, with 56, in his first full season in charge.
Monk has brought in some wonderful players during his tenure, too – Jefferson Montero, from Morelia, and Andre Ayew, from Marseille. However, it is arguably a significant flaw in the Englishman that he has failed to gel these skilful players into a fluid and dynamic outfit that can pick up points consistently. Swansea’s plight ordinarily would not be cause for concern but their string of poor results has been. They have fallen victim to Norwich City and Watford and only managed to beat hapless Newcastle United and an Aston Villa side that had serious problems to be addressed. Swansea have a record of just more than one point per game so far and if they keep that up, they will barely secure survival. Both manager and club will be eyeing greater targets and clearly, if things have failed to improve at a later stage, they should look at replacing the man at the helm. Former Manchester United manager and Real Sociedad coach David Moyes has been touted but his style of football is hardly compatible with the slick, possession-based flow that we have become accustomed to from Swansea. History suggests that a hasty decision and a wrong appointment at this pivotal moment in the season could prove the difference between a decent campaign and one ending in relegation. Last season while not playing fluently, and mainly due to other clubs ineptitude, resulted in a higher table place then results should have obtained. This season Monk has carried on where Laudrup led and jettisoned the smooth passing high tempo game for a lethargic, longer ball, more static game.
Depending on other inept teams the Swans could be a genuine outside bet for the first time in the PL to fall into relegation trouble and who knows if they could get out of it. A new poll will be available later today with all of the current leading and possible candidates listed. Another tick in the box for the perma-crocked, perma-tanned and perma-poor ex Boro man Gary O’Neill. Do you not think that the Guardian sports ed might not tweak a bit of background info to throw everyone off the scent of TSF? Is it just me, or does anyone else think that authorship of TSF is shared by a group of players? My money is on bullard or dyer anyone who goes on im a celeb and does them trials for a bit of money would have no problem bringing out a book in secret for money !
I know he misses a few of the criteria but any consideration given to it being Jamie O’Hara? He has won (club, not FA) player of the year 2 years in a row, but he does not state that these award were won with same club, or whilst playing in the Premiership. I think it’s Jimmy Bullard played lower league football, was briefly with west ham when di canio was there. Whether innocent or guilty, Terry has a remarkable knack of leaving both team-mates and opponents in unsavoury and very public situations. Not too long ago I was part of a very successful team that had more than its fair share of resentment among players. In the case of Terry, those around him once again find themselves in a position that they’d rather not be. Every high-five, handshake, hug, goal celebration or verbal exchange that involves Terry and any other member of the England team or staff will be forensically examined. With no Fabio Capello, it seems inevitable the Football Association will turn to Harry Redknapp, which can only be a good thing because the Tottenham manager has a track record of improving the fortunes of average teams and getting everyone pulling in the same direction. In the year 2015, Marty McFly meets his father’s nemesis, Biff, who by now is an old man.
He was banned for one competitive international game and fined ?80,000 after the Uefa control and disciplinary body found him guilty of advertising.
I played against Bendtner when he was in the first throes of a career that, at one stage, some people in the game were saying would rival the trajectory of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. As somebody who probably has more Scandinavian friends than British friends and who goes on holiday to various parts of Scandinavia at least once a year and who is godfather to several Scandinavian kids, I know what I’m talking about. My first introduction to Scandinavian tradition was when a team-mate of mine and his wife invited us to their house on the day they brought their new-born son home from hospital. After a lot of pictures, my friend’s wife took the baby, wrapped it in more blankets than I’ve ever seen in my life, opened the front door and placed the baby on the door step, where he stayed until morning.
It turned out to be a tradition that goes along the line of: if baby is still there in the morning, fit and healthy, then he will be a strong man who is capable of working on the family farm. And on a pre-season tour to the States, a Scandinavian team-mate hired us a rickshaw to a 24-hour pub and proceeded to whip the rider from one side of the town to the other. The truth is that Bendter is symptomatic of a player who says all the right things in order to cover for the fact that, deep down, he is scared shitless of stepping up to the plate and being the striker on whom a team can look to for inspiration. During an Arsenal press conference this week, a journalist asked Arsene Wenger whether his one-time starlet had finally run out of last chances. Wenger may be done with him but to let him walk on a Bosman is true madness and I think a ploy for contract negotiations. The invitation to take part came from an old friend of mine Andrea Dulio who used to work for Sony Italy whom I knew throughout the Oasis era.
I’m not sure what was said at half time as I was on the piss around that time as I was substituted 20 minutes into the game much to my delight as I was fucked – ha ha. However, it was an honour to be asked to play, as it was such a great cause and Juventus stadium is nearly as good as MCFC’s.
Son of Margaret, brother, DJ, writer, juicer, blogger, football lover and Irish sports fanatic.
Perhaps I was played out of position or perhaps football had simply moved on and I had failed to adapt.
Signing for a new club is a nerve-racking experience, especially if you happen to be a big money signing. Notwithstanding one or two individuals (that shall remain nameless) holding a metaphorical gun to my head, the move was my fault. Aside from all the things that I could have done to prevent the move, I do wish that I’d been more vocal as to why things were not going to plan. It wouldn’t have taken a lot, a carefully worded sentence to the right journalist would at least have provided a footballing reason for my slow start.


I have said more often than I care to remember that football at the top level, that is to say the Champions League and International competition, will only be won for the foreseeable future by teams that are prepared to abandon conventional formations (442, 433 etc.). Typing that again now feels almost like a waste of time, so obvious is movement and ball retention to the fortunes of many teams. Perhaps his reaction was less to do with what I know about football and more to do with the fact that at the time only Barcelona could claim to employ anything near the concept of six inter changeable attacking players.
The latest ‘word’ to come out of Barcelona is that the conventional centre half will follow the conventional forward in being will be the next major change in top-level football. Watching the game at Wembley last night, I felt that England actually had a great opportunity to break the mould for a change, rather than follow the herd. I was struck at how little in the way of football intelligence was on show during the game, despite playing the worst team in the world. The ball should be moved high up the pitch as quickly as possible, from side to side and inside full backs until an opposition player can’t recover his position. In five or six years time when Tom Cleverly and Jack Wilshere (ed: corrected) are hopefully able to step in to England’s midfield on a regular basis, we will perhaps begin to see the fruits of what we have learnt from the very best teams. The second half of the story is that TSK was played as an understudy target man rather than in a creative role, and his game fell apart as a result. It is encouraging to see that the FA is taking an unaccustomed initiative and instigating some essential medical guidelines in dealing with head injury in games.
During the World Cup finals in Brazil, we saw three clear examples of poor medical management after players had clearly sustained concussion but remained on the pitch. Together with situations such as the Hugo Lloris incident at Tottenham last season, we now have clear guidelines preventing players and managers overruling the medical staff’s decision.
In the Premier league, it is now the team doctor who has the final say on whether the player is fit to continue.
An additional doctor, with specialist skills, will now be present, whose responsibility is to continually reassess and monitor the player after the incident. Many teams already have a “tunnel doctor” present to manage head injuries, cuts, serious trauma and to liaise with the emergency services if necessary.
This allows the team doctor to carry on covering the ongoing game if further medical problems arise.
What I also liked when I read the guidelines is that there is also the capacity to view TV footage of an incident, to review the mechanism and if the player had or had not lost consciousness (LOC).
Transient or brief LOC is, at times, very difficult for us medics pitchside to see, so additional information is extremely useful to make a quick and accurate diagnosis and plan the most effective management plan.
We played a pre-season game at a League 1 club a few weeks ago and our team doc was the only doctor available at the game. At smaller clubs, the person sufficiently qualified to manage these situations is usually the physio as doctors aren’t always present.
Again, the FA is getting its act together when it comes to high-level education of medical staff. At the mandatory Advanced Resuscitation and Emergency Aid 1-2 annual course this year, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many doctors and physios from teams outside the Premier League were present. I have been working in professional football for more than 15 years, operating at the highest level in the Premier League and experiencing the excitement of European nights. The Secret Footballer columnists go head to head in attempting to predict how the Premier League fixtures will end up.
The future of Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has come into question in recent days in regards as to whether he’ll be offered a new contract to stay at Old Trafford beyond 2016.
Van Persie has said that he is unsure if he’ll be offered a new deal and is waiting to see what happens over the forthcoming months.
At present, van Persie has 18 months left on his deal, which he signed after joining from Premier League rivals Arsenal for ?24 million back in 2012. Van Persie was vital in United’s pursuit of the Premier League trophy in the 2012-13 season, firing in 26 league goals and clinching the title with a hat-trick against Aston Villa, including that memorable volley.
In an injury ravaged 2013-14 season, under new manager David Moyes and a loss of form for the whole team, van Persie managed only 21 league games but still had an impressive 12 goals to his name. This season, under Louis van Gaal, van Persie has registered only eight goals in 21 games in all competitions, an unimpressive tally and one that he knows has to be improved.
A lot will also depend on the future of Radamel Falcao and whether his loan from AS Monaco becomes permanent at the end of the season, which has also been a hot topic for debate in recent weeks. United will no doubt be looking to strengthen their striking options in the next couple of years, anyway, with only Wayne Rooney and James Wilson looking like mainstays of the first team. With van Persie also set to receive a ?10 million loyalty fee if he completes his four-year contract in 2016, United and van Gaal have got a big decision to make with regards to his future. With this in mind, they may be looking to get rid of him sooner than the 18 months in order to get some sort of transfer fee and not have to pay the hefty loyalty bonus. His second season was interrupted by injuries but van Persie still managed a respectable tally of 18 goals in a campaign that saw David Moyes fail to continue Sir Alex’s winning tradition at Old Trafford. Before the tournament, fellow countryman and boss of the Dutch national squad Louis van Gaal agreed to become the new United manager for the coming season on the completion of the World Cup. Van Persie has managed a mere eight goals this term and fellow forward and big summer loan signing Radamel Falcao has also struggled to recapture his world-class form from 2012.
This has seen United struggle for goals but they do sit a respectable fourth in the Premier League table. And with other attacking talents such as Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria also fighting for a starting place, van Persie may wish to move on to avoid finishing his playing days on the bench. Gareth Bale and Juan Cuadrado have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford recently, which could see RvP become surplus to requirements. On his day, van Persie is up there with the best in the world but he may have to go elsewhere to prove he still has what it takes to compete with the best.
If the Dutchman does decide to leave, a move to Serie A seems most likely – where he would follow former United team-mates Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, after they moved last summer to Inter Milan and Juventus respectively. For now, at least van Persie has the rest of this season to impress and earn a new contract at United.
Has he played with a striker who refused to move unless the pass went exactly where he wanted it? Did he play a match at some point towards the end of March or first few days of April 2011? She’s famous of her own right (that must narrow it down?) and the hubby went on to be an England International (ie: he was not at the time, he may no longer be?) Maybe the wife of a very tall ex-Pompey and Spurs striker? I felt he went quiet when he should have been vocal and was lairy at times when a more subtle approach was required.
The football landscape is littered with fractured relationships of players who, on the surface at least, appear to be the best of friends. On other occasions it might be organised as a last-ditch attempt to arrest a dreadful run of results.
Indeed, if there is one thing that the England team do not need before a major tournament it is the uncomfortable pressures of heightened media scrutiny and that is exactly what will now happen. My anonymity let’s me tell you how it is, from inside the game without the shackles of pre-conception or fan bias. Biff recognises Marty but mistakes him for Marty’s own son, who is something of a drop out, and he begins to taunt him. The 26-year-old was found to have been in Copenhagen, without permission from his club, where he became embroiled in a situation that led to accusations that the Arsenal striker had unbuttoned his trousers in public before whipping a taxi with his belt, rubbing himself against it and engaging in threatening behaviour towards the driver.


While on loan at Sunderland, he took the decision to climb up and over a line of parked cars in Newcastle city centre, causing a fair amount of damage as he went.
And before those of you who love a rant on a Saturday morning start reaching for the Twitter icon on your phones to complain, I do, of course, mean that in an affectionate way. Within the game, Bendtner is known as a super confident, bordering on arrogant, footballer, but there are many of us who have adopted the same tactic for a time to see us through a rough patch. Life has treated Nicklas too well and he has paid it back by acting like a whining, overpaid, drunken, violent overgrown baby.
Bendtner is struggling with injuries really for the first time and needs good physios and inspired leadership.
Supporter of Manchester City, Celtic and Ireland, two of the greatest club sides ever, and a country that is second to none and known for its passion and grace albeit, in recent times, in defeat. Whatever the truth (and a huge amount has been written on it) I will always maintain that I was played out of position. I knew I was a good player but the change was simply too much to take all in one go, not least for my wife and, perhaps inevitably, I ended up parting ways with the club on less than amicable terms while my wife and I attempted to make sense of the wreckage that we had once called our marriage. I gambled the happiness and the wellbeing of the people I love the most for the possibility of a few more people singing my name for a few more years and for a few more quid. But when you are at a new club and you don’t really know the motives of the people around you, the whole thing can become a lonely and depressing saga. Instead there is a crucial need to adopt a more fluid brand of football where attacking the opponent is concerned.
But when I proposed that very idea no more than 6 or 7 years ago, I was laughed out of the coach’s office.
They fielded a combination of Edmilson, Ronaldinho, Deco, Xavi, Iniesta, Guily, Larsson and, at times, a very young Lionel Messi.
Javier Mascherano has already proved that a midfield player that is comfortable on the ball can play at centre half, and if you think about it, a centre back is very often the starting point of a team’s attack. How refreshing it would have been to see two ball playing centre midfielders playing at centre half, players that could have brought the ball out of defence with a purpose and genuinely contribute to the attacks, upping the tempo when required. The media were dreaming if they thought that by listing England’s previous highest scoring games, they were going to get anything other than the thoroughly predictable. If a team are setting themselves up not to get beat, then why try to play straight through the middle of them by way of stupid little flicks and blind ‘round the corner’ passes? I was waiting to hear about what happened at the club but somehow it segued into a discussion of last night’s match. I suspect when you are writing there must be the thought that no-one really gives a shit about a bleating rich footballer. A column on reactions of previous players you’ve played with when they have been forced to play in a different position would be interesting and how managers deal with it would be great. There is still a problem in the lower leagues, where qualified medical staff are few and far between. I even attended a player with a head injury after he had had a car accident while driving from the training ground to the stadium.
I've had both the pleasure and pain of working with various managers, coaches and players, all with their own ideas and philosophies. The rules are simple: three points for the correct scoreline, one point for the correct result. I like opinionated people who tell it like it is and hope you enjoy reading my honest views on the main talking points of the weekend here every Monday. By no means past it but undeniably in the twilight of his career at the top as a regular first-team striker. Sir Alex Ferguson beat neighbours Manchester City to the Dutchman’s signature for ?24 million in the summer of 2012. The Dutch finished an impressive third and RvP scored one of the goals of the finals – a sublime lobbed, diving header against the holders Spain. Van Persie’s contract has just 18 months to run, which means that he will be able to talk to clubs this time next year about a potential move during the summer of 2016. There are a few assumptions on the clues list I dont agree with, but couldnt find a spot to explain why.
Did he play for one manager for a considerable amount of time who was great before losing it?
And you could certainly be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that a disjointed changing room, together with the absence of a captain and the resignation of the manager, is an ominous sign for what the rest of us can expect from England at the European Championship this season, especially given the squad’s exceptional record of imploding either just before or during major tournaments. The biggest obstacle, though, to any kind of reconciliation was the fact that we both harboured gravity-defying egos.
While waiting to make his debut for England as a replacement for Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole was so incensed at not receiving some words of encouragement or a handshake from his fellow frontman that the pair became entrenched in a bitter stand-off that, as far as I am aware, still exists to this day.
Quite how go-karting, high-wire walks, paintballing or, in the case of Phil Brown, talking imaginary women out of jumping off the Humber bridge inspire team spirit is beyond me, although at one casino-themed night I did have the good fortune to see a team-mate I didn’t get on with lose ?15,000 on the turn of a card. I’d say that I have never been out for lunch or a drink with two thirds of every squad I have ever been involved in, barring official club engagements. He certainly doesn’t give the impression that he’s too fussed and that is the really sad part about his career to date. And worse, he’ll have that sinking feeling that I have from time to time, that he is utterly powerless to do anything about it. In fact I can remember the first team coach saying to me; ‘you really don’t know a lot about football do you?’ This was a man that failed dismally as a manager in his own right in a previous life. But at that time even Barcelona were starting most matches with a recognized centre forward in Samuel Eto’o. Now that Alex Song has signed from Arsenal, don’t be surprised to see the Barcelona team of the future line up with two former centre midfielders as their recognized centre back pairing. It was an opportunity missed and, perhaps sadder still, one that probably never even found its way in to Roy Hodgson’s thoughts. It describes how the Central European countries will always be ahead of England as we are far from the core of footballing knowledge, this is a perfect example of the arrogance shown by managers which is also presented in the book, that is that the English game is full of head figures who are very adverse to new thinking and ways of playing! His club history, personal history, outlook compared with TSF’s writings perfectly syncronise. Yet strangely, because of all the animosity and personal grudges, there lies the potential to achieve great things. Furthermore, I couldn’t tell you where those same players lived, the name of their wife or girlfriend or how many kids they might have.
My take is that money and Fame corrupted him at a Young age and that his Golden contract with Arsenal Got him to not Care about further succes by hard work. You should always strive for the best and learn from the best… Surely other people will notice that every player must be a total footballer soon. Conversely, I have also played in teams where it could be argued that some players were too close to each other and so were unable to really deliver a bollocking when the situation called for it. I believe he is not even allowed to spend time alone with he son, something the sons mother Got away with, go figure why.



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