Wenger believes Palace have lost “a special manager” and he is completely right


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was sad to see Holloway depart Crystal Palace believing him to be an exceptional talent

Ian Holloway was loved by his own fans, other Football fans and fellow managers. It is sad to see him leave Crystal Palace. Firstly because he had done well to continue the good work started by Dougie Freedman and guide Palace into the Premier League. Secondly because he was such an entertaining character. His interviews would never be dour and boring, and along with Paolo Di Canio leaving there now seems to be a big hole in the Premier League.

Arsenal face Palace at Selhurst Park in Saturday’s early kick-off, and Arsene Wenger spoke very highly of Holloway. “I think it is very early to separate with Ian Holloway because I think he has exceptional talent to manage a football team.” Words from such a respected manager are sure to please Ian Holloway, and I’m sure he wont be short of offers to return to the game when he sees fit.

Wenger also went on to say “He is a football man. He has something that belongs to him that is special. You feel there is something in there that can take people on board with him.” It’s hard to disagree with those comments. Holloway is a unique manager. Not many can be compared to him. His exuberance and enthusiasm is admirable, and it is comparable to the football mad kid many of us become when watching a match.

If Ian Holloway and his Crystal Palace side had lost the Championship play-off final to Watford in May, it is fair to say that he would probably still be in the job. Crystal Palace were by no means expected to challenge for promotion last year. Yet they did and this overachievement led to the downfall of the former Blackpool manager. If they had lost then they would probably be performing well in the Championship this year and Holloway would have had minimal problems. The fact that they overachieved brought added pressure. They were in the top flight on view to the world, with more money available and the target to avoid immediate relegation. Managers don’t last long these days, and chairmen can be quick to swing the axe in order to rescue their side. New managers often give a club a new impetus and this can sometimes be enough to reach certain targets. It can be quickly forgotten what managers have done in the past for the club, and they should be given a fair shot at the next challenge. Holloway didn’t get that opportunity and for numerous reasons did not feel himself.


Twitter reacts: Ex Liverpool, City player joins Luton coaching staff


A former England international is to help out with coaching duties at the club he supports whilst studies for his UEFA license

Former England goalkeeper David James is to join John Still’s backroom staff at Luton Town as he pursues his UEFA A coaching license. The 43-year-old has only recently stopped playing football, with his last club being IBV in Iceland managed by former teammate Herman Hreidarsson.
Looking to eventually go into management, for now James will combine coaching at the Skrill Premier side with his TV punditry duties. John Still’s side are currently in 3rd place in the league table with 30 points from 16 games. Still hopes that James’ experience can be of great benefit to the side. It is unsure as to what exactly David James’ role will be, but one would think that they club’s current goalkeepers would enjoy working the former England number one.

James was born in Hertfordshire and grew up as a child supporting Luton Town. He told the club’s website ‘I used to come here from when I was 10. It’s an opportunity to have some involvement which would be productive to my progression as a coach, but also help push the team get the promotion it deserves.’

The reaction to this has been favourable on Twitter with Luton fans glad to see someone of James’ calibre at the club.


Arsenal v Liverpool for Martin Montoya?


Liverpool have now joined the race with Arsenal and many others for the acquisition of a young Spaniard

Barcelona defender Martin Montoya has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp in January. His current contract runs out at the end of the season and reports suggest that the Catalan giants will be willing to part with him in the forthcoming transfer window.

Montoya has featured on a bit-part basis in his career at Barca so far. After failing to cement his place in the side, he is considering possible alternatives. He may have many to ponder over with suitors from all over Europe. He has only made two appearance in the league this year, and shouldn’t cost a great deal if he is sold in January. Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Napoli are rumoured to be monitoring his situation.

Arsenal were linked with the 22-year-old in the summer transfer window. The situation regarding current right-back Bacary Sagna is still up in the air. The Gunners would like the Frenchman to stay but only on a one-year contract extension and on a lower salary. Sagna himself also has a list of potential clubs watching developments closely. Therefore if he were to leave, Montoya would be the perfect replacement. They could now face competition from another English club. Liverpool are said to have joined the race for his signature.

Liverpool’s current right-back is Glen Johnson. Johnson is still only 29 but has been suffering with a few injury problems recently. Stepping in during his absence has been Mamadou Sakho, who is not a natural right back. Liverpool’s current formation has involved wing-backs, making Martin Montoya a suitable addition to the squad. Montoya is said to be open to a move to Anfield according to The Daily Star.

Arsenal may have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to persuading Montoya to join them. Two of his current teammates are Alex Song, and Cesc Fabregas. Both players enjoyed their time at Arsenal, and Wenger could ask them to have a few words with Montoya and nudge him in the right direction.

Former Eagle to fill the Crystal Palace hotseat?


A former Crystal Palace defender is reportedly one of the contenders to replace Ian Holloway as Crystal Palace manager

Tony Popovic is currently the head coach of Western Sydney Warriors, and due to his success there he has been linked with the Crystal Palace job. Popovic was previously the assistant manager at Selhurst Park under Dougie Freedman. He also played for the club in their last Premier League campaign and spent five years in total as a player there.

Numerous managers have been linked with the vacant job with former Stoke manager Tony Pulis seeming to be the favourite. Popovic would be a surprising choice but he has impressed in his short time as manager of Western Sydney Warriors. He was named A-League Coach of the Year last season after guiding his side to the Premier Plate.

Steve Parish has previously stated that they would prefer to have a manager in place that has some experience of managing in the Premier League and this is where Pulis comes into contention. Popovic does not have any managing experience other than at his current club.

The main reason for the departure of Ian Holloway was that he didn’t feel as if there was the same team spirit within the squad that there was last year when they were promoted via the play-offs. Too much was changed and too many players were brought in.

It was surprising to see Ian Holloway cut such a desolate figure after the Fulham game, a far cry from his usual persona. A lot of change was made at the club, and it seems it would be a hard job for anyone to keep The Eagles in the top flight. Tony Popovic would help stamp some pride back into the place, and create more of a team spirit focused around the history and tradition of the club. It was clear from his playing days that he was a leader, and that is needed now more than ever for Crystal Palace.
Who would you like to see replace Ian Holloway? Is it Pulis’ job if he wants it?

5 former memorable Manchester United players: Where are they now?

Dong Fangzhuo signs Manchester United contract

Ever wondered where some of your favourite or even most disliked Manchester United players ended up?

It’s a topic than can be endlessly discussed amongst Football fans. “Oh remember Regi Blinker? What ever happened to him?”. “I wonder what Mustapha Hadji is doing these days“. “I miss seeing Sun Jihai play“.

We’ve all grown up with countless footballers and have some very fond memories of particular players. Unfortunately there are no further appearances from Blinker, Hadji, and Jihai in this article. Though it’s a nice thought to think that they might be playing in a 5-a-side team together somewhere.

Anyway, this focuses on former Manchester United players, and what they got up to after they left the Red Devils. We’ll start off with one that I’m sure everyone remembers. He was so good they named him twice……

Eric Djemba-Djemba – 2003-2005

Djemba-Djemba’s United career was short lived despite the initial excitement at his signing. He was seen as a potential successor to Roy Keane and he marked his debut with a heavy tackle on Sol Campbell which Arsene Wenger marked as “obscene”. Eric made only 20 appearances in the league for United before moving onto spells at Aston Villa and Burnley. He then played for Qatar SC before spells in Denmark at Odense, Israel at Hapeol Tel-Aviv and now finds himself at Serbian side Partizan Belgrade. Now 32 it is safe to say he never really lived up to be a replacement for Roy Keane.

Kleberson – 2003-2005

Kleberson arrived in the same summer as ‘Double D’ and also failed to impress. He arrived with a hefty transfer fee on his shoulders. After impressing at the 2002 World Cup, United paid Atlético Paranaense £6.5 million for his services. Just like Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson only made 20 league appearances in his two years, and in 2005 was sold to Besiktas. After two years in Turkey, Kleberosn returned to Brazil with Flamengo. There were complications with Besiktas though, as he had terminated his own contract after they failed to pay him on time. Kleberson had to fork out a few million to Besiktas because he breached his contract. He settled down for a bit at Flamengo and regained his place in the national squad. He had a loan spell back at his first club and then transferred to Bahia. He is currently out on loan though in USA at Philadelphia Union.

Dong Fangzhuo – 2004-2008

Dong joined United in 2004 for a potential fee of £3.5 million becoming the clubs first East Asian player. The majority of his time was spent at Royal Antwerp in Belgium in order to gain a work permit, where he actually had a decent goalscoring record. He scored 34 goals in 71 games there. Unfortunately Dong Fangzhuo failed to play many games for United and only started the one, against Chelsea. His move was seen by some as a marketing ploy to help promote the club in China. He eventually moved back to China with Dalian, and then played for Legia Warsaw, Portimonense (Portugal), Mika (Armenia), and is now playing in the second tier of Chinese Football for Hunan Billows.

Manucho – 2008-2009

Another just to make the solitary league appearance for Manchester United. Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves, also known as Manucho had impressed in his homeland of Angola at Atlético Petróleos de Luanda. He impressed Sir Alex during a three-week trial and signed a three-year contract. Manucho was initially loaned out to Panathinaikos and scored 4 in 10 to help them qualify for the Champions League. In January of the 2008-2009 season he joined Premier League side Hull City on loan. He scored his first Premier League goal against Fulham which secured a 1-0 victory for Hull. He only scored one other goal in 13 appearances though and at the end of that season was released by Manchester United. He then joined Real Valldolid, and has been in and out of the side whilst also spending time on loan in Turkey. Firstly at Bucaspor and then Manisaspor. He has scored 14 goals in 57 league appearances for Real Valladolid to date and 22 in 47 for Angola.

Massimo Taibi – 1999-2000

In the period when United looked to replace Peter Schmeichel, Massimo Taibi was one of many who was given the opportunity to cement his place as the side’s number one. He joined for £4.5 million but unfortunately his spell was an ill-fated one full of errors. Most famously when he allowed a shot from Matt Le Tissier to go through his legs despite having his hands on the ball. He only made 4 appearances for the side before being allowed to return to Italy. He redeemed himself somewhat in his homeland and actually scored a goal during his time at Reggina. He then played in 131 games for Atlanta, 49 for Torino, and 47 for Ascoli before hanging up his gloves in 2009.

Why a former Red Devil would be a shrewd appointment for Middlesbrough


‘Boro are on the lookout for a new manager after the departure of Tony Mowbray, and a former Manchester United assistant and player could well be a good choice for the club.

Middlesbrough are currently on the lookout for a new manager to guide them up the Championship league table. Club favourite Tony Mowbray departed this week after failing to galvanise the side back up into the Premier League. Another former Middlesbrough player has been linked with the role in the form of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. However I think another man in the running for the job, Mike Phelan could be the perfect appointment for the Championship side.

Mike Phelan has yet to manage a side yet, and has spent his coaching career mainly as an assistant, first to Gary Megson at Norwich City, Blackpool and Stockport County, and then to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Phelan spent 13 years at United working his way up from the head of youth excellence, to first-team coach and then Fergie’s assistant. Having been surrounded by some of the top coaches in world football, Phelan immersed himself in talent and experience. The success of the United side in that period will have rubbed off on Phelan and he is more than ready now to become a manager himself.

In 2010 when Burnley were looking for a manager to replace Owen Coyle, local boy Mike Phelan was on their shortlist. However Phelan told The Telegraph last month that he was never told about any interest from other clubs during his time at Old Trafford. ”When I got told later on that one or two clubs were interested but I was never informed it actually added value to what I had been doing. If I hadn’t been doing my job properly, I would have been on my way“. Now he has since departed Manchester United after David Moyes took over from Sir Alex and is ready to become a manager. During Phelan’s time at Old Trafford as a member of the backroom staff, United won six league titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League. An impressive CV and there would probably be plenty of Football League clubs willing to take a punt on him.

A lot of top managers have often learnt their trade working as coaches and assistants before becoming the main man. Take Jose Mourinho for example. He was not much of a Football player, and had spells as a P.E teacher, a youth team coach, a scout and as an assistant. He worked under Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto,  and Barcelona. Top clubs to gain experience at just like Phelan has done at Manchester United.

In his time off since departing Old Trafford, Phelan has been scouting and taking in a lower league matches to help improve his understanding of that level. I think the Middlesbrough job would be a great starting point for him. He would have a decent budget, and is a good coach so would be able to get the best out of the current players there.

The 5 fastest shots ever recorded in Football


Former Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday, Real Madrid and Juventus players feature in this list of the top five most powerful strikers of the football.

On Tuesday night Zlatan Ibrahimovic again showed why he is one of the best players on this planet.

The Swede is on a great run of form at the moment and is scoring superb goals. Ibra scored four goals as PSG beat Anderlecht 5-0. His third goal rocketed into the top corner and was recorded at 93mph.

Others have hit shots faster than that though. Below are five shots which are believed to be the fastest ever. Obviously it is a hard thing to record and measurements were not taken in the early days of the game.

5. Ritchie Humphreys – Sheffield Wednesday – 1996 95.9 mph This volley from Humphreys gave The Owls an opening day victory over Aston Villa in 1996. It was even more memorable for Humphreys as it was his first-team debut. Skip to 0.55 in the video below.


4. David Trezeguet – AS Monaco – 1998 96 mph

This effort from a young David Trezeguet against Manchester United flew into the goal giving Raimond Van der Gouw no chance. The Monaco side that day also included Fabien Barthez, Willy Sagnol, Ali Bernabia, John Collins and Thierry Henry.


3. David Beckham – Manchester United – 1997 97.9 mph

Goldenballs himself features on this list. I hope it brightens up his week after snippets from Fergie’s book made him out to be someone after stardom rather than a successful Football career. Unfortunately there seems to be no video evidence of this strike. But the record books state that an effort against Chelsea on 27th February 1997 reached 97.9 mph.

2. David Hirst – Sheffield Wednesday – 1996 114 mph

This banger of a shot from David Hirst was unfortunate not to hit the back of the net. Instead it gave the crossbar a good testing. Hirst was famously courted by Sir Alex Ferguson in the early 90’s, but after many bids were rejected United signed Eric Cantona and the rest is history.


Ronny Heberson –Sporting Lisbon – 2006  131mph

Coming in at number one, you may not have heard of him, but Ronny Heberson unleashed such a powerful free-kick that you may have to watch the video quite a few times just to see the ball. It was lucky that the free-kick did end up in the back of the net, and not hitting someone in the wall in a rather unfortunate area.