So Serbian football fans have been getting a lot of bad press lately thanks to the fans of Red Star Belgrade running riot in Italy, and their not so subtle connection to war crimes committed during the Balkan Wars. Milan Mandaric is an example of the exact opposite, loves football, and has spend the last 9 years of his life trying to pull the smaller club that bind the fabric of English football together back from the brink.
Mardaric is an interesting character, and loves football above all else. Before he was forced to flee the then Communist state of Yugoslavia in 1969, he played for F.C. Lika in the city of Novi Sad and worked as business man. After fleeing to the US, having left most of his fortune and family behind, he worked in the up and coming tech industry in Silicon Valley. He prospered, and once again began to invest in his passion, football. He started several teams in the United States, and was involved wit the ill-fated NASL, hoping to bring soccer to the masses. While it never worked out for him in the US, he turned his focus to Europe, owning several forgettable Belgian and French clubs before finally buying Portsmouth in 1998.
While in charge, he help steer them back to the top and into the Premiership by appointing Harry Redknapp as the manager. Never afraid to invest, but not quick to squander, he sold his remaining share of Portsmouth to Gaydamak, but stayed on as a figurehead in his role as non-executive chairman. Mandari? resigned as chairman of Portsmouth on 21 September 2006. Since then, Portsmouth appeared to prosper, with successive top-10 Premier League finishes and an FA Cup win in 2008; however, the club was relegated in 2010. Regardless, he pulled the club back from the brink of obscurity, and will be forever remembered fondly by the Portsmouth faithful.
Following his departure from Portsmouth, in 2007 Mandaric took over the troubled club, Leicester City. Having fallen on hard times, a new owner was need to steady the ship and reinvigorate the club. Again he was successful, with club nearly achieving promotion through two leagues in two consecutive seasons. He sold the club to a wealthy Thai consortium last year, and they are still going strong, despite some management issues of late. Regardless, Mandaric saved the club from collapse, and managed to save it for the city of Leicester.
There’s a pattern here, where Mandaric buys a small club, cleverly invest money, hires the right people, and drags the club back into the light. Much is made of the great football managers in the modern game, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez, but little is said of the greatness of owners. Maybe its because their are more of Malcolm Glazer’s ilk crawling forth from the primordial gutter ooze, but Mandaric deserves credit for his commitment to saving struggling second tier clubs, not just buying up the successful ones. I’ve always believed something built is better than something bought, it seems Mandaric agrees. The recent rumors linking him with Sheffield Wednesday can only lead to great things for the club if he does go through with a takeover, and I for one look forward to seeing them survive their recent financial troubles.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
The Predator line and its variations from Adidas has been one of my favorites on the market for about the last eight years or so. My opinion hasn’t changed with the Adidas Predator X, David Beckham edition, shoe. I love the fact that Adidas has maintained a full calf grain leather shoe for the Beckham’s because I know it’s going to be a durable and lasting boot. It’s not going to tear or rip like a synthetic shoe, and it’s going to expand and contract to fit my foot, which has always been high on the priority list for me.
Furthermore, the double stitching provides even more durability, so I’m not going to have to purchase several pairs of shoes to get through a season. As with many other Adidas soccer shoes, Traxion technology is in full force, providing excellent grip and comfort on any firm, natural surfaces. Sure, the touch on the ball may not be as great compared to synthetics, but I think the plethora of other features far outweigh the negligible difference in touch. While wearing the shoes, I felt I had superb touch with perfect fit around my foot. It felt like a glove. With that said, the shoes don’t necessarily slip on and slip off, but that’s a good thing.
You don’t play the game in sandals (at least competitively…), so why should your boots fit like sandals? The lacing and striking surface, to me, are also outstanding. The off centered laces take up a minimal amount of space, leaving a huge striking surface, and the tongue…what tongue? Adidas has developed a tongue that slides into the inside of the shoe, so they’ve minimized the chances for an awkward kick from a pesky wayward tongue. Oh and there’s that little thing called the Powerspine.
I know it seems gimmicky, but I definitely felt the support in the balls of my feet. I think it will definitely serve its purpose, which is to provide strength in shots and crosses by reducing the amount the foot bends during contact. The other feature I’m big on is the amazing heel support. Everybody who has ever played the game knows how painful a kick to the heel is, and the Predator X shoes pretty much wipe that worry away. Alright, one last note and I swear I’ll get to the style of the boot. The cleat pattern remains the same as other Predator models, with minimal cleats in the middle of the foot, save the couple adding support on the Powerspine, and with angled cleats running around the sides of the foot. The cleats are angled in a logical manner to provide proper stability and traction while reducing friction on natural surfaces.
In short, you won’t have problems getting up to top speed and making cuts with these shoes.
Okay, time for me to tell you how cool this shoe looks. The instep design has a sweet red flame design that I think trumps the star design of the Champions League Predators. I also like the white and red color scheme. It’s a little flashy, but it’s still classy. What I think makes the shoe, though, is stripe pattern and the heel design. On the inside of the foot, the classic 3-stripe design has been modified to look as if it’s coming out from under the foot with a kind of ribbed pattern to it. The outside of the foot has a modified 3-stripe pattern that looks super sleek and has a nice gray border that has “thermoform” stamped into it.
Man, I just can’t get over the design of the heel. It just looks super sturdy. The grooves in the casing show you how thick it is, and “Predator” is stamped on the outside of the heel on a silver band. It definitely looks like it means business.
Overall, The Predator X David Beckham’s are a highly protective, comfortable modern looking shoe that doesn’t sacrifice much in the way of touch, feel or speed. They’re a little pricey at $169.99 right now, but hey, they’re worth every penny in my opinion. You can spend just as much on another shoe that will last half as long and provide half the protection for your feet. Well done, Adidas.
Written by: Kristopher Dyer from soccerpro.com
20% off Licensed Jerseys at SoccerPro (using coupon code “boxfort”) until Midnight on Friday, November 12th
It’s true. The guys at the corporate office of SoccerPro just posted this sweet deal. Use coupon code “boxfort” and you’ll score 20% off licensed jerseys. Hit up this link for details. Remember, deal ends Midnight on Friday, November 12th. No charge for awesomeness at SoccerPro. True that.
SoccerPro gave us another Box Fort video…Timmy’s riding his bike through Box Fort! What could be better than a whimsical boy on a little girl’s bike through 450 boxes? Not much.
If you are looking for a quality turf shoe but have a limited budget, The Nike 5 Bomba Pro should be right up your alley.
The upper is made of natural leather with lacing down the lateral side for optimal ball-striking area. The leather material also make the shoe durable for a considerably lengthy period of time as well as quite comfortable on your feet. Foam pads along the instep also increase comfort for players and help guide the ball to exactly where the player desires the ball to go. Comfort is increased even further with match after match with the die-cut EVA sock-liner adding cushion in the forefoot and heel. In short, putting on the Bomba feels like putting one’s feet in a sea of pillows (It’s a glorious feeling, if you were wondering). The shoe itself is quite light, however does sacrifice the Nike “Kanga-Lite” material used in the Bomba Finale, a relative disappointment. Considering the price difference, Nike had to make sacrifices somewhere and this is a fair compromise for a great deal on the shoe.
The bottom of the shoe is quite unique for a turf shoe but in a great way. The turf design is relatively standard on the black portions of the shoe. Superior traction and ball control come from an artificial grass TPU design and rubber placed in the midfoot. However, Nike highlights it’s best feature with its pink turf studs. The pink studs help significantly with gripping corners and navigating play in tight space. The cuts felt smooth, natural, and precise through testing . This feature is identical to the older brother of this shoe, the Nike 5 Bomba Finale.
The look of this shoe may be “plain-Jane” for some people, with only blacks and pinks used throughout the shoe. However, the shoe does sport a unique feel with it’s instep side, comparable to the predator style look and feel of the Adidas Predator X. The instep design helps increase ball control. Plus, the instep just plain looks unique and cool. If you’re looking for a quality turf shoe that has excellent control and great comfort, the Nike 5 Bomba Pro will definitely fit your needs without breaking your bank account.
It seems the upcoming Manchester derby will more unpredictable than most as a virus has swept through the Manchester United training ground, and Manchester City’s newest acquisition is suspended for today’s derby. I’m stil picking United for the victory.
Manchester City’s run of success has come to end of late and they are looking to restore the momentum behind their Premiership campaign. However, with Adebayor and Balotelli both unavailable due to injury and suspension, it seems they will be sort of attacking players out front. This will make hard for them to avoid consecutive defeats in the the league. While they may have more first team players fit than United, it is a measure of how far they have yet to go to equal the Red Devil’s power that they cannot be confident of victory for the Manchester city jersey.
Carlos Tevez bears some responsibility for this as his constant cries of homesickness surely must be beginning to grate on the ears of his teammates as much as they annoy the rest of us. I have little sympathy for a man making his salary and living in a posh Chelsea townhouse who sheds crocodile tears over his sad life in England. He complains about everything, even the weather. In the words of Jeremy Paxman of BBC Newsnight once said, “its England in winter…what do you expect?” But Tevez’s sunny Uruguayan delusions aside, City will have a tough time finding openings and without regular options up front will need all of their creativity to pull out three points.
While the strangest infectious disease news this week has to be Drogba’s bout of malaria, for the men in Manchester United jerseys, it seems a case of the flu has struck down Scholes, Anderson, Berbatov, Vidic, and Evra. With Giggs, Hargreaves, Rooney, Owen, Valencia, and Nani all out with injuries it seems Sir Alex will be forced to dip deep into his reverse to find a striker. For the time being, the burden rest squarely on Bebe’s and Chicharito’s shoulders. The question is, can these two play the full 90.
Chicharito has momentum be hind to be sure. but he has yet to play a full game for United, and questions remain about his fitness level.
The same question can be asked of Bebe. While Chicharito was at least playing at a top flight club in the Mexican league, and coming off the World Cup when he joined United, Bebe was playing in the Portuguese 2nd division. Nothing against the Portuguese 2nd Division, but I seriously doubt a player of his quality had to maintain much in the way of fitness to score goals. He is a clever player, and certainly has it all to play for, but I’m not sure if he will make it to the second half without needing a sub.
United have made a business in recent years of playing to the top with less than a full team thanks to their youth players and Obertan should be able to handle any gaps that may arise in the midfield. But upfront, United will be dipping very deep into thier pool indeed to find someone who is fit enough to replace Berbatov or Nani.
Overall, I’d tip United to win an ugly affair marked by dirty challenges and Nigel De Jong being sent off. City lack the commitment to each other needed to generate any creativity or passion. United, for all their injuries, remain the only undefeated team in the Premiership, and have made a habit of working through adversity.
Prediction: Man Utd 1 – 0 Man City
Written by Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
Our friends over at soccerpro.com gave us another awesome “Box Fort Vs.”. This time, the box fort takes on a sumo. Well, a girl in a sumo costume. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?
The Adidas Liverpool Track Top is a classic full-zip jacket that combines the quality materials of Adidas with the storied history of Liverpool for a warm wear during practices and warm-ups.
Adidas has produced a 100% cotton scarlet track top that exemplifies a professional look and feel while you are warming up for your big game. The coat may appear light, however the material keeps you quite warm in relatively cold conditions. So if you feel like you need anything more than a jersey to put underneath the track top, you probably will not. The coat has a couple features which will make you feel even warmer, too. When slipping on this jacket, you’ll notice the two pockets in the front of the track top so you can keep your hands warm if you don’t own field gloves, a nice feature. The arms also get smaller in width so the material feels tighter toward your hand. This helps keep the cold winter breezes away. Finally, the track top is full zip so a player can zip up all the way to the chin, a surprisingly popular feature of track tops today.
The coat itself is classic and relatively plain, something players may or may not appreciate depending on their respective flashy styles. The classic three white stripes line the arms and work well with scarlet red color used throughout the rest of the jacket. A small Adidas logo is stitched to the left side of the the zipper so it appears on the player’s chest. On the right side, the coat dons the Liverpool liver bird logo (part of the club’s crest since 1901, although not incorporated into gear until 1955, with the lettering “L.F.C.” directly underneath (for Liverpool Football Club). The work on this looks professional and clean. The zipper also looks great too, a feature a player normally couldn’t care less about. The Liverpool liver bird along with the LFC lettering underneath is imprinted onto the zipper, along with the club’s famous slogan: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Overall, a surprising and intricate bonus for the jacket.
The Liverpool Track Top may be plain but it has plenty of redeeming features, such as its surprising warm features and attention to details (such as the intricate zipper). Overall, it’s a solid purchase, especially now that Liverpool have finally decided to start playing some great football (win against Chelsea, hooray!)
So you heard it here first. Soccerprose understands through a highly placed source that the successor to the hugely popular Predator line of Adidas soccer shoes line will not be called the Adisonic. It seems the name was judged to be a bad choice for the new line, and I couldn’t agree more. “Predator” evokes the violence of a strikers boots hit the ball and driving it past the goal keeper into the net, Adisonic sounds like some thing you’d listen to easy listening music on.
Although we do know what this new boots name will be, we can’t relased it yet, but you can be sure it evokes the same energy and power of the previous title.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com