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Author Topic: nce rearview mirror...a tasty appetizer to the World Cup final a day later. [url  (Read 35 times)
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zhanjiao1212
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« on: February 13, 2019, 08:35:18 AM »

A hundred years ago, the small north east town of Sunderland was booming. Kennys Vargas Jersey . On the football pitch they were the best team in England, securing the First Division crown for a fifth time in their already illustrious history. One goal was all that separated them from a unique league and cup double in 1913, as they narrowly lost the FA Cup final to Aston Villa 1-0. It would be the closest they would ever come to such a feat, but for the town of less than 40,000 people there was little time to be upset as they watched their beloved boys lift the league championship the following weekend. Off the pitch, more than a third of the towns population worked at the local shipyards, owned by local families, which was known at the time as the largest shipbuilding town in the world. Like any industry, the ship building trade had its ups and downs but thrived in the early 1900s and would go on to produce more than a quarter of the nations total weight of merchant and naval ships for World War II. As the country prepared for war for a second time, Sunderland AFC, playing with a black ship on their crest, found their glory days once again in the thirties, winning the First Division for a sixth (and last) time in 1936 and the FA Cup in 1937. Following the war, the shipyards and the club saw a downturn in fortune and once the 1970s arrived the future of the dockyards, which had significantly raised the towns population and trade in other areas, was in danger. On the field, Sunderland, stuck in the Second Division after being relegated in 1970, gave the locals a release from their worries with an improbable FA Cup in 1973. Forced into replays in rounds 3, 4 and 5, the red and whites defeated Luton Town in the quarter final and the mighty Arsenal in the semis to reach the even mightier Leeds United at Wembley for the final. With no one giving them a chance, Bob Stokoes upstarts beat Don Revies giants by a single goal to nil, shocking the football world. It remains Sunderlands last major trophy. Four years on from that historic day at Wembley, Sunderlands dockyards were no longer run by Sunderland people as the industry was nationalized in an attempt to fight off the fierce competition generated by Japan and Korea. By 1988 they had lost the battle and the final shipyards closed for good. Four years later, as the town was officially granted city status, on the field the club, again back in the second flight, reached Wembley for a date with Liverpool in the FA Cup. They would lose 2-0 but talk to any Sunderland fan who was there that day and theyll tell you just how dominant their team was in the first half. If only John Byrne had taken his volley properly it could have been 1973 all over again. In 1997, the club ended their 99 year run at the famous Roker Park ground and moved to their current home, the Stadium of Light. A new home meant a new club crest, sadly with a ship no longer on it. Now a city thats home to over 170,000 people, many who are incredibly passionate about the club, Sunderland were an ideal model to represent the growing brand of the Premier League. However, things didnt go that smoothly in the last 20 years, as Sunderland have been promoted four times to the top flight and relegated on three different occasions. Last May it was so nearly a fourth time but Paolo Di Canios arrival as manager steered the ship to 8pts in the final seven games to ensure a 17th place finish and survival. The hiring of the Italian was a brave one by club owner Ellis Short, not only because of Di Canios lack of experience as a manager, but also because of how late it came in the season. Di Canios passion and bravado lifted his players to a memorable 3-0 win at hated rivals Newcastle, and as he gathered his players in front of the jubilant away fans that day, it appeared stability had finally been found. However, in a city of change, we should have known better. Di Canio, who publicly said he felt Sunderland would have been relegated if he hadnt have taken over from Martin ONeill, went about making the team his own, bringing in an incredible fourteen new players during the summer transfer window. The overall re-structuring of the club continued with the hiring of a former agent, Roberto De Fanti, to be the clubs first Director of Football and former Inter Milan scout Victor Angeloni becoming their new chief scout. The overall new direction of the club is bold, but also extremely risky. With so many new players, the team has struggled to gel at the start of the season, with many experiencing English football for the first time. Eighteen players have already played in the three matches so far, which has resulted in just one point, and the controversial Di Canio has publicly already shown signs of lack of patience. After the loss at home to Fulham he told reporters post match his players need to listen to him more about learning how to defend against set pieces. He echoed these thoughts when they conceded a late equalizer, again from a dead ball situation, at Southampton. Last time out at Crystal Palace, Di Canio was at it again. "I cannot change the heart of my players," he said. Later he gave us all insight into what was on the minds of players heading into an international break, explaining: "Even today, (players are) talking which flight can I get, when can I come back, and they dont focus attention on the game, which is more important because we have to work hard for the club, for the fans who travel and spend a fortune to follow us." He is, of course, right. However, such things happen in the game all the time and no successful manager tells the media about it. Publicly stating such matters will win him no friends inside the dressing room. Already during his time at the club he has told reporters that he threatened to cut short the summer break for players who werent trying hard enough, fined them for not fulfilling contract obligations such as signing shirts, and sold arguably one of their best players, Stephane Sessegnon, after he was arrested and charged for a drink-driving offence. Worryingly, these are all actions from Di Canio at a happy stage, enjoying a honeymoon period as manager. What will come out of his mouth when he isnt happy? He talks about loving his time as a Premier League manager but so far his team has shown very little signs that they will once again not be in a relegation fight this season. Ellis Short has not bankrolled these signings and approved a complete change in direction for this ship to see it sunk come May. And that is what makes the all-in attitude with Di Canio even more of a mystery. He may well turn out to be an excellent manager but publicly calling out your players, and failing to keep such things inside the changing room, usually sends a ship heading towards an iceberg and what becomes of all the new employees then? Sunderlands next seven home games before Christmas week are against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. If Di Canio was frustrated in the opening three weeks of the season, what can we expect him to say about his players after these games? He has managed less than a dozen Premier League games, yet captain Di Canio has been allowed to pick those who are onboard with him for this journey through to May 11th, the final day of the season. Between now and then it is clear some will be thrown over board by the leader of the ship. What is far from clear is whether Sunderland will be above water come then, and whether or not Di Canio will still be behind the wheel. The more things change, the more they stay the same in Sunderland. You can watch Sunderand take on Mesut Ozil and Arsenal this Saturday live on TSN. Join me at 9.50am et as we get you set for the match. Kirby Puckett Jersey . I wondered how NHL coaches would feel about a playoff schedule that allowed them to open a best-of-seven series on the road, which many claim to favour, yet still gave them the precious home-ice edge for a seventh game. Matt Belisle Jersey . HEROES Alex Ovechkin – Scored a pair of goals in Washington’s 4-0 win over Pittsburgh. With 13 goals in the past 13 games, Ovechkin now has 29 goals on the season to lead the league. http://www.authentictwinsgear.com/twins-tony-oliva-jersey/ . His right arm rested in a sling and was encased in a cast from above the elbow to his hand. "Im excited," Fernandez said with a grin.If youve been revelling in the glorious feast of World Cup action like me, you will have noticed a distinct difference between the tempo and excitement of the round robin phase versus the careful and more conservative approaches in the knockout rounds. The group stage of Brazil 2014 may never be equalled in terms of entertainment and production.  Goals were flying in, teams were in the mood to attack and managers seemingly took the shackles off their players.  Not unlike the pre-World Cup Vancouver Whitecaps who scored nine goals in three games leading into the MLS-imposed break. But once the knockout stages in Brazil took hold and the stakes became infinitely higher, the games changed.  No less drama, but certainly less expanse, far less risk and fewer goals.  Saturday night at BC Place, the Whitecaps took an early lead, did create some opportunities to stretch their advantage, but ultimately provided a performance that felt very World Cup quarterfinals-like.  Germany scored first against France, Argentina tallied in the eighth minute against Belgium and Brazil got an early goal against Columbia.  We could be forgiven for thinking those goals would have opened the games up and led to more of what we saw in the group stage.  Instead, those matches became very well managed.  Brazil did get the benefit of a David Luiz howitzer to briefly make it comfortable for the hosts, but the hallmarks of those three quarterfinals were very similar; the team with the lead wasnt going to be left exposed and wasnt going to give away possession cheaply. At BC Place, Erik Hurtado had a chance to seal the game thanks to a brilliantly weighted, defence-splitting ball from the best player on the park, PPedro Morales, but beyond that, the Whitecaps looked like a side that was committed to keeping what they had, rather than adding to it. Miguel Sano Jersey. And the stakes were certainly higher than during the World Cup break run-in.  Winless in three and coming off two listless performances, Vancouver needed maximum points at home and especially against a Western rival that was missing arguably its best five players. After the season opening New York victory, coach Carl Robinson shared one particular philosophy during his post game address;  the best way to kill off a game is to keep attacking, which on that occasion, Vancouver did. But instead of introducing a fresh-legged Darren Mattocks to run at a tired Seattle back line Saturday, Robinson took the advice of his assistants (Gordon Forrest and Martyn Pert) and subbed Nigel Reo-Coker on for Kekuta Manneh at the 68-minute mark. The savvy Englishman rarely gave the ball away after that.  The Whitecaps, as a group, strung minutes-worth of passes together, all on the heels of Seattles best spell of the match.  It was a mature coaching decision that changed the momentum back in Vancouvers favour and it was a sage, professionally executed performance by the younger team on the field.  While the Whitecaps didnt reach a World Cup semi-final with the win, they did end a mini-slide, improved their league and Cascadia Cup prospects, while proving to themselves that theyre capable of grinding out a result.  Something tells me theyll need the same nerve this Saturday when they host a Chivas USA side thats won three in a row, and is starting to appear in the Western Conference rearview mirror...a tasty appetizer to the World Cup final a day later. 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