Hugh Larkin

Tuesday, 09 April 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Sheffield Wednesday win a six pointer and Crewe love Wembley

Sheffield Wednesday against Blackburn Rovers was always the proverbial six pointer and it was the Yorkshire side who emerged with the vital win. The result puts Rovers into the bottom three for the first time and their slide continues. Typically, Rovers raised the hopes of their long-suffering fans...


Wednesday, 03 April 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Erratic Hull still have Premier League in their sights but Mansfield are cruising

As usual Easter weekend proved to be frantic and potentially decisive in promotion and relegation battles. While Wolves took a massive step towards survival by netting six points, Hull City were able to cling on to second spot in the Championship. The race for promotion has reached that stage where...


Monday, 25 March 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Tranmere add to Stevenage woes and York City are in trouble

With international matches on the go, this weekend had a truncated Football League programme which was reduced even further by the dreadfulMarch weather. The snow proved to be especially troublesome for Sheffield United and Brentford who would have taken top billing on Sky. Bournemouth and Donc...


Tuesday, 05 March 2013

Championship: Can Wolves beat the drop?

Of all the clubs in the Premier and Football Leagues none is sitting in a more surprising position that Wolverhampton Wanderers. Last season Wolves were a Premier League outfit - in two months time they may well be plying their trade in League One. For Molineux fans of a certain age this is a parti...


Monday, 04 March 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Middlesbrough peg back Cardiff and Hull City take advantage

Just when it seemed that Cardiff were beginning to set the seal on a successful promotion campaign Middlesbrough spoilt the party on Saturday and revived their own flagging hopes into the bargain. When confidence is low sometimes it takes an addition from outside the dressing room to cut through ...


Monday, 25 February 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Bolton finally hit form and its a blanket race In the Conference

Bolton Wanderers hammered promotion-chasing Hull City 4-1 on Saturday and established a modest unbeaten run of four games. This is how Trotters fans hoped things would be from the start of the campaign but it seems the improvement has come too late. Even with the departures fro the squad after ...


Monday, 18 February 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Shrewsbury surprise Tranmere, Cardiff win again and Burton Albion make a move

Tranmere Rovers were hoping to steal a march on their promotion rivals with their game with Shrewsbury Town staged on Friday night. Unfortunately, Ronnie Moores side had one of those nights and the Shrews went away with three vital - and unexpected - points. Rovers were down to 10 men very earl...


Monday, 04 February 2013

The View Outside The Premier League: Concern builds at Nottingham Forest and Wolves but Sheffield Wednesday are buoyant

Nottingham Forest took a big gamble when they ejected Sean ODriscoll with the club on the edge of the play-offs and playing in a settled style - and Saturdays defeat by Birmingham City will have added to the concerns of Forest fans. The club are now in 11th spot and the 2-1 defeat at St Andrews c...


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The View Outside The Premier League- Luton Stun Norwich, Stead Boosts Bristol City And Liverpool Fall At Icy Oldham

In ornithological terms Luton Town made the Canaries as sick as parrots but the Robins (Bristol City) went bob-bobbing along thanks to Jonathan Stead. The weekend saw FA Cup and league action mixed together and the biggest story was in Norfolk. The stat that Luton Town are the first non-leaguer...


Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Who will be the next Blackburn Rovers manager?

So who wants to be next into the Blackburn Rovers hot seat? Which manager wants to operate with global adviser Shebby Singh in the background and Venkys based in India and seemingly detached from the day to day realities of the Premier League. Well actually quite a lot of managers would take the ro...


Wednesday, 02 January 2013

The View Outside The Premier League - No happy New Year for Huddersfield or Portsmouth

New Years Day saw a full programme of League football with some fans enjoying a wonderful start to 2013 - but there was little to revel about in one part of West Yorkshire. Huddersfield Town are in the throes of a horrendous run of form; and its now just five points from the last 30 in the Cham...


Monday, 24 December 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Becchio bags a Boro brace and Brandy butters Saddlers

We had the usual rash of Christmas postponements but not for the traditional reasons. This time waterlogged pitches caused the problems rather than frost and snow. Very few lower division games survived but there was a near full programme in the Championship. Leeds United got off to the perfect s...


Friday, 14 December 2012

Arsenal: Spend big or accept fourth or worse

There are two ways of looking at Arsenals current predicament and after being dumped out of the Capital One Cup by League Two Bradford City, those two views are in even sharper contrast. View One - Sensible, morally acceptable and the long game Under Arsene Wenger Arsenal have managed to reloc...


Monday, 26 November 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Leeds impress the new owners and Doncaster find some home form

Leeds United marked the clubs sale to new owners by ending the excellent run of high-flying Crystal Palace. It was a much-needed boost for boss Neil Warnock who knows well enough that new men in charge often want to make changes. He will be only too aware that the club are no further on than wh...


Monday, 19 November 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Wolves On The Slide And Hartlepool Fall Flat

Watford beat Wolves 2-1 on Saturday to send the visitors down to 16th place in the table and the Midlanders have now gone seven matches without a victory. This bad run has revived all the concerns about Stale Solbakkens appointment and the loss of key players as the campaign started. There wasnt ...


Friday, 16 November 2012

FA Cup: MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon is on

Dust off those cliches about the lure of the FA Cup and the ability of the competition to write unlikely scenarios. Two replays on successive nights hasmade the potentialthe tie of this years Second Round a reality - AFC Wimbledon travelling to MK Dons. An overseas visitor unfamiliar to the English...


Five reasons why Spurs will beat Arsenal this weekend

Forget the Old Firm derby and El Classico, there is only one derby that matters to people in north London and its happening for the first time this season at the Emirates this Saturday lunchtime. As with all good rivalries, there is no love loss between Arsenal and Spurs. However, over the past...


Monday, 12 November 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Dons end Blades' run and Appleton arrives at Blackpool

League One saw a meeting between the two pre-season favourites for promotion and MK Dons were able to end Sheffield Uniteds unbeaten start to the season. It took a last-minute penalty to send the game the way of the home side and Blades boss Danny Wilson was livid with the decision. Its been a st...


Wednesday, 07 November 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Ollie gets a Palace welcome and it could be Dons v Dons in the cup

Its a truism of football that managers usually take over teams when they are in trouble and the last incumbent has resigned or been sacked. Thats certainly not the case at Crystal Palace though, where Ian Holloway has inherited a bunch of players full of confidence and fairly fizzing on the park...


Monday, 29 October 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Palace Show Resilience and the Gills Are On A Roll

It proved to be a weekend of quiet satisfaction for Crystal Palace fans. Despite Dougie Freedmans decision to join Bolton the Eagles produced the performance of the day to end Leicester Citys unbeaten home record. And for good measure, Bolton lost at Middlesbrough. Because of his past service t...


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Middlesbrough enjoy another away day and Bournemouth down Tranmere

Saturday proved to be one of strange results in the Championship, as most of the frontrunners fluffed their lines. But Middlesbrough once again demonstrated their talent for getting a result playing away from the Riverside. Their 1-0 win at Brighton delivered a fourth successive away win for To...


Monday, 15 October 2012

Stoke City: Early season report - Steady as she goes

There is very little to choose between Stoke Citys currentposition in the Premier League table and their status at the same point in 2011. Superficially Stoke are worse off in 12th after seven games this season compared to 8th in 2011 but they only have one point fewer. In 2011 the Potters had ...


Thursday, 11 October 2012

QPR: Early season report - Hughes must do better

Acomparison between the first seven matches of QPRs 2012/13 campaign and the same number from 2011/12 makes for very uncomfortable reading for Tony Fernandes and Mark Hughes. The current Rangers squad are sitting rock bottom with just two draws to show for their efforts. At the same point in 2011/1...


Tuesday, 09 October 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Helguson boosts Cardiff and Stevenage go second

There are exciting strikers who score spectacular goals and there are strikers who are efficient and score goals that wont appear in compilation videos. Heidar Helguson is very much the latterkind of player, but Cardiff City were grateful for his efforts at Ipswich on Saturday evening. The Icelan...


Monday, 01 October 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Blackburn start life post-Kean and Walsall hit the heights

And so it finally happened. Blackburn Rovers went into Saturdays encounter with Charlton without Steve Kean at the helm. The Scot resigned this week - was it before he was pushed? - much to the relief of Ewood Park fans. Unfortunately for the supporters Venkys didnt go with him but you cant hav...


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Liverpool: If you don't like referees, do it yourself

It was Bill Shankly who supposedly uttered the famous quotation about football being more important than life or death. Whether he said it or not, its a fair bet that a man from his hard background in the coalfields didnt mean it to be taken literally. Unfortunately, in modern football, some so-call...


Monday, 24 September 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Wolves pile misery on Posh, Tranmere score for fun

Saturday proved to be another miserable one for fans of Peterborough United as visitors Wolves claimed the points and left Darren Fergusons side still without a point this campaign. The match was a delight for Wolves fans though and the Molineux club have now slipped quietly into one of the play-...


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Manchester City: Joe Hart Tells It Like It Is And Gets a Rap

So youve just played a blinder in a Champions League match in the Bernabeu and still seen your team leak two goals in the last five minutes to lose. Now theres a bloke from ITV pushing a microphone at you - not likely to say too many positive things are you? This morning Roberto Mancini has repor...


Monday, 17 September 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Bellamy Sparks Cardiff And Tubbs Strikes For Bournemouth

Will this finally be Cardiff Citys year? After multiple play-off disappointments the level of investment at the club this season indicates that the aim is to put promotion beyond doubt and grab an automatic place. One of the big signings, Cardiff supporter Craig Bellamy, repaid some of the faith ...


Monday, 03 September 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Mackail-Smith double sinks Burnley

Craig Mackail-Smith is an unusual name for a Scotland striker but the Brighton player showed his international pedigree at Turf Moor on Saturday with two quality strikes, one of which would grace a goal of the season compilation. The striker made the difference in a 3-1 win which didnt flatter th...


Fulham: Jol looks for water cooler moments from Berbatov

Of all the major transfers taking place in the hurly-burly of deadline day, the potentially most entertaining is Dimitar Berbatovs move to Fulham. For the neutral fan the Bulgarian is the sort of player you want to see on the park rather than languishing on the bench. The £30 million move to Manche...


Saturday, 01 September 2012

QPR: Joey Barton's loan move to Marseille is a last chance

The news that QPRs controversial midfielder Joey Barton has moved to Marseille on loan is both a surprise and a shock rolled into one. No surprise that QPR might want rid of a troublesome asset, but a shock that the French club want to take him. Whatever else is true of Joey Barton his career has...


Friday, 31 August 2012

Champions League Draw: Man City face Ronaldo and Celtic take on Messi

Its become one of the big rituals of the modern football season - the draw for the Champions League group stage. Yesterday five British clubs were in the hat (glass bowls really, but it doesnt soundright). Three clubs - Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United- were seeded to the first pot. Ironical...


Monday, 27 August 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Wycombe washed out but its raining goals in Blackpool

Saturdays games saw the rare occurrence of amatch being abandoned due to health and safety reasons. With thunderous clouds overhead and lightning flashing, Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers were called off well into the second half of their League Two contest. Rovers were the most aggrieved by...


Friday, 24 August 2012

Blackpool hit the ground running

After Tuesdays programme of matches in the Championship the only team left with a 100 per cent record is Blackpool. Yet again Ian Holloways team has startled the rest of the division. Though Blackpool are remembered - and celebrated for it - by many fans for their dramatic season as a Premier Leagu...


Monday, 20 August 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Fleetwood fire blanks and Pompey players get to know each other

A new football season always throws up some unusual stories on day one but there can have been few beginnings to a campaign quite like Portsmouths. Amazingly Pompey came away with a point from their first League One encounter despite sending out a whole team of debutants. Before he joined the sou...


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Southampton and Reading favourites to go straight down but market is tight

Last season saw a strong performance from the the three promoted clubs which consigned Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wolves to the drop. But this season the bookmakers are not expecting the same collective result from Reading, Southampton and West Ham. The layers appear to have faith in Sa...


Bookies believe Premier League title will stay in Manchester

The bookmakers are finding it hard to look beyondtheteams that finished in the top two places last season for the 2012/13 Premier League winners. The last-minute recruitment of Robin Van Persie hasnt shaken their conviction that Manchester City start as favourites to defend their title - despite th...


Friday, 17 August 2012

Manchester United: Can Van Persie help Sir Alex reclaim the title?

By common consent Sir Alex Ferguson has done good business to get Robin Van Persie to come to Old Trafford even though the fee is high for a 29 year old. Though United only missed the title last year by the slimmest of margins, the United boss hasnt been fooled. Although they pushed Manchester Ci...


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Scott Parker's career carries a warning for Jack Rodwell

When I heard the news that Jack Rodwell had committed to leaving Everton for a berth at Manchester City, the news gave that odd feeling of deja vu. Pondering for a few minutes I realised why - Rodwell in 2012 has clear echoes of Scott Parker in 2004. In 2004 Parker was a very talented, young Engl...


Friday, 03 August 2012

Team GB: Four positives but one big negative

Stuart Pearces scratch squad made it through to the group stages of the Olympic football tournament by beating Uruguay on Wednesday night. Its not quite the same as watching England or Wales, but the crowds have turned out in their droves and there are certainly some positives to be taken from the e...


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Olympics Betting: Tough Ask For GB Women

While the field for the Olympics is considerably weaker than fora Womens World Cup there are still some powerhouse squads for Great Britains womens squad to contend with. The qualifiers left less teams from strong areas such as Scandinavia for instance - and amazingly Germany are absent. But the US...


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Spurs: Modric goes the Tevez route encouraged by Real Madrid

Every summer football forces its way back to the forefront of the back pages with a contract rowcaused bya talented player at a top club who has spotted an even bigger club who want to offer him a better chance to win trophies. This year its Luka Modric of Tottenham who recently refused to train ...


Olympics Betting: Brazil and Spain head the market

Two big names are expected to be the dominant forces in the Mens Olympic Football tournament, with the bookmakers favouring Brazil or Spain to come out on top. Despite Spains scintillating run in recent tournaments, on this occasion its the Brazilians who head the betting. Its no surprise though, b...


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Newcastle United: Andy Carroll - Does a return to former clubs work?

Newcastle Uniteds pursuit of their former striker Andy Carroll still seems to be on-going but no-one really knows what the player himself thinks of the idea. The record shows that players going back to the scenes of former glories have a mixed experience. So much changes at a club in just a couple ...


Thursday, 12 July 2012

AC Milan: Is Andy Carroll The New Mark Hateley?

Heres the scenario - young English centre-forward, great in the air but still learning the game scores a goal during a summer international that makes clubs around the world sit up and take notice. Result? Fast track to one of Europes elite club. That was the story for Portsmouths Mark Hateley in 1...


Friday, 06 July 2012

Arsenal: Is Usmanov Right About Arsenal's Ambitions?

No sooner had Robin Van Persie refused to sign a new contract than one of Arsenals biggest shareholders weighed in with a statement criticising the running of the club. His thesis is that on the level of investment currently, Arsenal are losing their best players and effectively limiting their amb...


Wednesday, 04 July 2012

Swansea style receives Olympic approval

Rewind seven years to 2005 when London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. Soon after, it dawned on many football followers that there would be a Great Britain squad for the first time in living memory. Theres been a lot of arguing since the Games award; the Celtic FAs still want nothing to do...


Tuesday, 03 July 2012

Team GB: Pearce selects an English-Welsh mix

So after all the speculation we finally have Stuart Pearces squad for the tilt at the Olympic title. Its not quite the squad it could have been but there are certainly talking points and the team should at least be a good bet to reach the knockouts. First the absentees. David Beckhams omission has ...


Saturday, 30 June 2012

Euro 2012 - Team Of The Tournament

With just the final to go its time to decide which players made the most impact in Poland and Ukraine. In recent years FIFAand UEFA have picked a squad of the top performers at tournaments but wheres the fun in that? Very few fans come up with the same eleven and thats when it gets interesting, so h...



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