Tag Archives: supporters

Sunderland is a graveyard for players and managers – Kevin Kilbane

Sunderland is a graveyard for players and for managers too

By
Kevin Kilbane

PUBLISHED:

22:21 GMT, 31 March 2013

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UPDATED:

07:03 GMT, 1 April 2013

It feels as if Sunderland owner Ellis Short has flipped a coin. And now he hopes and prays he has made the right choice.

Sacking Martin O’Neill and appointing Paolo Di Canio is a massive gamble by the club.

I just hope it doesn’t return to haunt them, and they end up back in the Championship. They cannot afford to go there again.

Paolo Di Canio

Martin O'Neill

Comings and goings: Paolo Di Canio (left) has replaced Martin O'Neill (right) as Sunderland manager

With seven games to go, I thought Martin would see them over the line and start to build for next season. Unlike the new man, he knows everything about the players so I cannot see the point of sacking him now.

I’m sorry, but Sunderland were never going to beat Manchester United. They will be Premier League champions, possibly with the highest points total ever. Mr Short sees things differently.

I have been a huge admirer of Martin O’Neill for years. Although Sunderland supporters, who all seemed to want him in the first place, have told me the football has been poor, which is reflected in the results, I always felt he was the right fit for Sunderland.

Not going to plan: Danny Graham has failed to score since his 5m move

Not going to plan: Danny Graham has failed to score since his 5m move

He has been successful at his other clubs, built good teams, and it seems wrong to me that he wasn’t given proper time to do that on Wearside.

Sunderland has become a graveyard for managers, and players. Martin O’Neill had a 29 per cent success rate and was the second most successful Sunderland manager in the Premier League, behind Peter Reid on 33 per cent. And I was there when Reidy was hounded out.

Steve Bruce, Mick McCarthy and Martin O’Neill don’t become bad managers overnight, but they all found it tough going in the Premier League with Sunderland.

Club hero: Kevin Kilbane spent four years at Sunderland

Club hero: Kevin Kilbane spent four years at Sunderland

Now, my own time there was not the happiest of my career and my relationship with some fans is well documented. It can’t help that my best spell in 100-plus games was the season we were relegated.

But I wasn’t the only one among team-mates to suffer. I found that unless the team made a blazing start to every home game, the fans would get frustrated quickly, and volubly. And I look at Adam Johnson and James McClean and I don’t see international wingers — I see nervous boys struggling to cope with the pressure.

And when you are by the touchline getting pelted, you want to try harder when the ball comes to you. And when things don’t come off, as they don’t when you try too hard, the stick gets even worse. I always wanted to play, prove people wrong; it was a tough time.

O'Neill

Premier League Table

Of course, fans around the country look at Sunderland and can’t work out why there is such massive expectations for a club that has won nothing for 40 years.

The expectation at Sunderland is massive. And that’s where it matters; that’s where players have to handle the pressure.

And the manager. I just hope, for Sunderland’s sake, that Paolo Di Canio can handle it and steer them away from trouble.

Newcastle

Sunderland

Wigan

Aston Villa

QPR

Reading

Premier League dog football fans: Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel from Mitcham, Surrey

Hit the paws button… meet Max the mongrel from Mitcham, a barking mad Chelsea fan

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

13:15 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 11 March 2013


Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel could receive a prize that most Blues fans would bite your hand off for… a season ticket at Stamford Bridge.

The barking mad Blues supporter was nominated in Britain’s first ever canine footballer supporter competition launched by sports website TVBet.co.uk to find the most devoted dog football fan.

Max is glued to the television every time Chelsea come on and he even predicts the score by barking before kick-off.

Like many other Chelsea fans, Max barks when he sees Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger on screen but he goes crazy when celebrating a goal.

Max’s owner Terri Crockett said: 'Max loves the Blues and his favourite players are Frank Lampard and John Terry.

'He loves watching the game on the telly and even predicts the scores by barking before the kick off.

'He’s not always spot on, he does tend to be a bit optimistic before a game and usually predicts we will win six-nil.'

The competition has already received dozens of entries after promising a season ticket for the winning dog – as well as one human.

A spokesman for TVBet.co.uk said:
'This contest has lifted the lid on the phenomena of the dog football
fan. We knew there were a lot of doggie football supporters out there
but in all honesty we had no idea how many.

'But
if the response to our contest is anything to go by there must be
hundreds if not thousands of dedicated canine football fans out there.
Many of them as devoted to their teams as their owners are.'

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

He added: 'Our
contest is the first ever to celebrate Britain’s secret army of doggie
football fans. From now on our furry fans no longer have to cower in the
shadows. They can get right out onto the pitch where they belong.

'Everyone
has a Tintin and Snowy story, or maybe a Dorothy and Toto tale. This
contest proves that the love between one man and his dog can only be
strengthened by their shared devotion to a football team. It’s a
beautiful thing to behold.'

Aston Villa fan Luna Davies, whose owner Rob is now based in Holland, is another dog fan entered in the competition.

Luna's owner said: 'She’s got claret and blue running through her veins. It’d mean a lot to her to be able to visit Villa Park. She lives for the Villa.

'I’d love it if they made Luna their lucky mascot. Lord knows they need a bit of luck this year. She’s well trained and wouldn’t foul the hallowed Villa Park turf before a match.'

Arsenal may be enduring a tough season, but six-year-old border terrier Ginny Smith still loves to watch the Gunners play.

Ginny's owner Sharon said: 'Ginny loves her footy and is glued to the telly every time Arsenal are on.

'She has always growled when Alex Ferguson comes on the screen and she also turns her nose up at Tottenham.'

But, unlike Ginny, Arsenal fan Lenny, a five-year-old Dachshund, prefers watching international football.

Lenny's owner James said: 'Lenny loves to sit on the armchair and watch his beloved Arsenal. But when it comes to international matches he reverts back to his ancestral home and supports Germany. He gets very grumpy if they ever lose.'

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

To enter the contest send a photo of your football fan dog and their name and age along with contact details to [email protected]

Roberto Di Matteo airbushed from Chelsea history – club remove Champions League picture

Di Matteo airbrushed from Chelsea history as club remove Champions League picture featuring former boss

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

22:58 GMT, 26 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:13 GMT, 27 February 2013

Before: This picture featuring Roberto Di Matteo has been replaced

Before: This picture featuring Roberto Di Matteo has been replaced

Roberto di Matteo has been airbrushed out of Chelsea’s Champions League history after the club replaced his image on an iconic wall at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s history-making manager, sacked last November by owner Roman Abramovich, was pictured on the West Stand wall with the rest of the squad and their trophies at the start of the season.

Di Matteo has now been replaced by a huge image of Chelsea’s players and coaching staff — minus the manager — celebrating the club’s first European Cup triumph in the Allianz Arena.

And Chelsea supporters, who often take souvenir pictures next to the giant poster, have been left stunned by the decision.

The
new image is one of the few in existence with the team and coaching
staff celebrating their triumph without Di Matteo present.

The
popular Italian led Chelsea to their first European Cup last May, but
was brutally axed following a 3-0 defeat at Juventus in November.

The original picture of the squad was in
place at the start of the season, but Di Matteo has only just been
removed.

After: This is the picture which you can find at Stamford Bridge now, not featuring the former manager

After: This is the picture which you can find at Stamford Bridge now, not featuring the former manager

Gone and forgotten: Di Matteo led the Blues to double cup success before being ousted

Gone and forgotten: Di Matteo led the Blues to double cup success before being ousted

Gone and forgotten: Di Matteo led the Blues to double cup success before being ousted

He was still in place when Chelsea played Wigan at Stamford
Bridge on February 9, but had gone by the time they faced Brentford in
an FA Cup fourth-round replay on February 17.

Although the club insist the change was made because Di Matteo is no longer Chelsea manager, they are still using pictures of other departed stars in the new image outside Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba, who struck the winning penalty against Bayern Munich last May, is in the front row with Chelsea’s players.

Troubled times: Interim boss Benitez has failed to lift the gloom at Stamford Bridge

Troubled times: Interim boss Benitez has failed to lift the gloom at Stamford Bridge

Troubled times: Interim boss Benitez has failed to lift the gloom at Stamford Bridge

Florent Malouda, banished to training with the academy players in his final year and told he will never play for Chelsea again, is also in the frame.

Jose Bosingwa, who joined QPR in the summer on a free transfer, is another former player captured on the image, which has a prominent place just by the stadium’s entrance.

Chelsea last night pointed out that Di Matteo is pictured with the FA Cup in another area of the concourse.

Arsenal financial figures show 123m in the bank after 17m six-month profit

Arsenal fans up in arms about unspent 123m cashpot while rivals leave them in the dust

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Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

Protests: Arsenal fans have grown frustrated with a lack of spending compared with high ticket prices

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) said
the figures highlighted the need for the club to spend more money on
team strengthening.

An AST spokesman said: 'These figures
contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit
from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash
reserves.

'Arsenal fans have contributed to this financial health through paying some of the highest ticket prices in world football. A further improvement in the club's financial strength is expected when new TV monies and commercial deals come on stream in 2013 and 2014. AST members want to see this money used for more, and better, investment in the team'

'The results also show the club does spend considerable money on wages, approximately 150m per annum. But the football decisions made on player investment, player selection and player wage levels are not delivering a more competitive team.

'The AST believes the club are financially well set to improve on the decline of the last few seasons. The remaining question is whether it has the boardroom leadership and football decision making expertise to make the money count.'

Arsenal home tickets for Manchester City priced up to 126

How much Arsenal charge up to 126 for City clash… and the cheapest tickets are still 62

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:59 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 9 January 2013

Arsenal fans have had to pay up to 126 for the privilege of watching their team in action against Manchester City this weekend, with away fans and those seeking entry at the cheap end of the scale still asked to stump up 62.

The astonishing prices, by far the most expensive in the Premier League, have sparked a furious reaction up and down the country.

Fans who wanted to attend the match are already voting with their feet after it emerged the opponents had returned almost a third of their allocation.

I wouldn't pay to be here: Man City lost on their last visit to Arsenal

I wouldn't pay to be here: Man City lost on their last visit to Arsenal

City supporters slammed the costs as 'ridiculous' after shunning 900 of the 3,000 away seats.

Kevin Parker of the City Supporters' Group said: 'In 2009 a ticket to Arsenal was 32.50, so in under four years they have gone up by almost 30 and now they're the most expensive in English football. It seems a ridiculous amount of money.

'Some fans are saying, “I'm not paying 62 whether I can afford it or not because I've got to draw a line somewhere”, while others can't afford to pay 62. We play Southampton on February 9 and they are charging 38 a ticket.

'But we go to QPR on January 29 and they are charging 55 a ticket. I think some clubs are losing touch with the ordinary man.'

For home fans, the 126 ticket would get them an upper tier spot near to the halfway line, while lower tier corner tickets – like those in the away section – are marginally under half that figure.

Arsenal are not the only club to have been criticised for expensive tickets but they were revealed to be the hosts of English football's most expensive day out by a BBC survey in October.

Money talks: Home fans have been asked to pay up to 126 for a ticket

Money talks: Home fans have been asked to pay up to 126 for a ticket

FIVE MOST EXPENSIVE AWAY DAYS

Arsenal, Emirates Stadium 62

Chelsea, Stamford Bridge 59

QPR, Loftus Road 55

Tottenham, White Hart Lane 54

Manchester City, Etihad Stadium 51

Football Supporters' Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke said: '62 is almost obscene. This is an industry with eye-watering amounts of money coming into the Premier League. It's time fans got more benefits of that.

'You would expect Manchester City against Arsenal to be a guaranteed sell-out but if City are sending 900 tickets back then that speaks volumes.

'They have a reputation for being some of the most loyal fans in the country. In the economic circumstances, straight after Christmas, this is an outrage.'

Sunderland to consider loan move out Ji-Dong Won, the first hero of 2012

Whatever happened to Sunderland's first hero of 2012, Ji the City slayer

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Ji Dong-won may have been forgiven for believing that his dramatic late winner against Manchester City would kick-start his Sunderland career.

But while Martin O’Neill leapt high into the air when the South Korea striker bundled the ball round Joe Hart on the first day of 2012, the Sunderland manager has barely played him since.

Good old days: Ji Dong-Won's Sunderland career has failed to take off since his memorable goal against Manchester City on the first day of 2012

Good old days: Ji Dong-Won's Sunderland career has failed to take off since his memorable goal against Manchester City on the first day of 2012

The 21-year-old, who was signed by
Steve Bruce from Chunnam Dragons 18 months ago, played only six games
after New Year’s Day and has yet to feature at all this season.

Hundreds of Korean visitors still go
to the Stadium of Light hoping to see the South Korea Olympic squad
member, only to find him forlornly sitting in the stands in his club
suit and tie.

Ji, who is also a cult figure with
Sunderland supporters, has been linked with a move back to Chunnam
Dragons and O’Neill admitted the striker may have to go out on loan to
revive his Sunderland career.

O’Neill said: ‘It has been tough for
him. He has had a difficult time trying to learn his trade and I have
to look at that, realise how young he is and how far away from home he
is but he has the makings of a player.

‘He has found it difficult to cope with the physical aspect but he has natural talent and it is really up to him.

‘There have been a number of inquiries about our players and all I can say is that it has been a frustrating time for him.

‘He played in the Olympics, didn’t always start the games but he perhaps thought after that goal it would be lift-off time.

‘If there was a possibility of a loan
spell I would give it some consideration, although I can’t at the minute
while we consider in-coming players.’

Sunderland fans spur on manager Martin O"Neill

Sunderland faithful spur on manager O'Neill as 2,000 fans make trip to Southampton

PUBLISHED:

22:17 GMT, 21 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 21 December 2012

More than 2,000 Sunderland supporters will make the 300-plus mile trip to Southampton on Saturday.

The away allocation is sold out and
manager Martin O'Neill says such commitment to the club's cause, just
three days before Christmas, is one reason why he is desperate to
succeed for the club.

Focused: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill

Focused: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill

O'Neill said: 'That really sums it up. Last year we went down and played Tottenham and then a couple of days later we played at QPR a couple of days before Christmas and we filled the stand behind the goal which is absolutely remarkable support.

'They're travelling down to Southampton in their numbers three or four days before Christmas shows you all you need to know about this club. It's great motivation for us to achieve something for the club.

'You work every single day to try and put a mark on the club and try and improve results and it's for people like that who're the heart and soul of the football club.'

Sunderland have recalled Republic of Ireland international David Meyler from his loan spell at Hull City.

The midfielder has scored twice in a successful month at the Championship club with former manager Steve Bruce.

O'Neill added: 'At least if he gets on the field of play with us, which I imagine he will, his fitness levels won't worry me as much as it might have done before.'

Leeds v Chelsea classic clashes: It"s the neutrals" nightmare… but tonight"s tie is set to be another belter

Classic Leeds-Chelsea clashes: It's the neutrals' nightmare… but tonight's tie is set to be another belter

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UPDATED:

13:49 GMT, 19 December 2012

No one likes them, but we don't care… on this evidence tonight's clash between bitter rivals Leeds and Chelsea is set to be a classic.

It's a fixture which can lay claim to being a neutral's nightmare – you don't know who you'd rather see lose – but down the years these two titans have produced some memorable moments on the field.

Here Sportsmail picks some of our favourite moments between the Whites and the Blues, they're not necessarily the best matches but we defy you to not come over all misty-eyed at the nostalgia…

1970 – Chelsea 2-5 Leeds: 'Terry Cooper starts the goal riot'

Don Revie's famous Leeds United were 2-1 down at half-time but scored three goals in seven minutes in a remarkable turnaround that commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme described as a 'truly wonderful victory' which began when Terry Cooper started the 'goal riot'.

Check out the pitch and this rather special punditry from Johnny Giles and Sir Bobby Charlton…

1970 – FA Cup Final: Chelsea 2-2 Leeds… Replay: Chelsea 2-1 Leeds watched by 28million

It takes a special kind of fan – but most Leeds and Chelsea supporters – to appreciate the on-field brutality of the replay at Old Trafford, which was watched by a TV audience of 28 million.

Referee Eric Jennings let so much go that Hugh McIlvanney wrote: ‘At
times, it appeared that Mr Jennings would give a free-kick only on
production of a death certificate.’ There was one booking. David Elleray ‘re-refereed’ the game years later and said there should have been six reds and 20 yellows.

The Leeds great, Peter Lorimer, remarked that Chelsea ‘kicked everything above grass’. No foul was given for Eddie McCreadie’s kung-fu kick on Billy Bremner’s head. ‘It was just the way the game was played back then,’ Paul Madeley said on Monday, from Yorkshire. Fantastic stuff.

Winner: David Webb (left) heads home to win the 1970 FA Cup for Chelsea in the re0play at Old Trafford against Leeds as Terry Cooper (No 3) attempts to challenge

Winner: David Webb (left) heads home to win the 1970 FA Cup for Chelsea in the re0play at Old Trafford against Leeds as Terry Cooper (No 3) attempts to challenge

1972 – Chelsea 4-0 Leeds… but only because Lorimer was in goal

Way before the days teams could call a multi-million-pound goalkeeper off the bench, Leeds' David Harvey had to go off injured. Peter Lorimer left his right-wing posting to put the No 1 jersey on and Chelsea made hay.

It was very much a case of 'first-half good, second half not so good' for Hot-Shot Lorimer, who came over all Gary Sprake near the end.

Keep a special eye out for Peter Osgood's simply amazing sideburns – eat your heart out Bradley Wiggins – and the famous Leeds sock tassels. Classic.

Tassels and tussles: Leeds captain Billy Bremner tackles Chelsea's Steve Kember during the 1972 clash at Stamford Bridge as Johnny Giles looks on

Tassels and tussles: Leeds captain Billy Bremner tackles Chelsea's Steve Kember during the 1972 clash at Stamford Bridge as Johnny Giles looks on

1994 – Leeds 2-3 Chelsea… Whelan scores with a bicycle kick… yes, really… And Lukic gifts Chelsea win with a clanger… yes, again!

John Spencer, remember him He won this thriller for Chelsea at a sold-out Elland Road. The match had everything: A masterly performance from Gary McAllister, a Noel Whelan overhead kick, another John Lukic howler and some grand old names from the past: Philemon Masinga, Dmitri Kharine anyone

JOHN LUKIC

JOHN SPENCER

Long Johns: John Lukic (left) made a mistake in 1994 to allow John Spencer (right) to pounce for Chelsea

Bonus goals… Viduka (2008) Gudjohnsen (2003)

VIDEO: Top-class Mark Viduka finish (but take note of John Terry's awful positioning)…

MARK VIDUKA

Eidur Gudjohnsen

Goal-getters: Mark Viduka (left) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (right) became cult heroes at their clubs

Wowsers, Gudjohnsen's sensational overhead kick in January 2003 – it's no Ibra effort…

Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs and now Lionel Messi: Sportsmail tribute to one-club men

As Messi and Xavi join Gerrard, Giggs, Armfield and Le Tissier, we pay tribute to football's one-club men

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 18 December 2012

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol have signed contract extensions that will keep them at the Nou Camp for the rest of their glittering careers.

They are the ultimate one-club men, having progressed from Barca’s fabled La Masia Academy.

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans - Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans – Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Messi, Xavi and Puyol, though, are not alone in dedicating their careers to a single team.

Here Sportsmail pays tribute to 10 men who epitomise football loyalty.

TONY ADAMS (Arsenal 1983 – 2002)

How Arsenal could do with someone like him now. A no-nonsense defender, who inspired all around him, Adams became club captain in his early 20s and led the Gunners through one of the greatest periods in their history. In total he played 668 games and collected 13 major honours.

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

RYAN GIGGS (Manchester United 1991 – present)

Some day in the future, Giggs will call time on the most remarkable career and when he goes, the Barclays Premier League will have a gap that cannot be filled. He has made 921 appearances, scored 165 goals and won all there is to win twice over. The moniker ‘legend’ fits easily alongside him.

PAUL SCHOLES (Manchester United 1995 – present)

He
has been described by many, including Xavi, as the finest English
midfielder of the last two decades and it is hard to pick holes in that
argument. Blessed with wonderful passing and a keen eye for goal,
Scholes has eschewed the trappings of fame. All he has wanted to do is
play for United.

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

MATTHEW LE TISSIER (Southampton 1986 – 2002)

If
ever there was a talent who did not get his full rewards, it was Le
Tissier. A mercurial playmaker, who scored phenomenal goals and barely
missed a penalty, he kept Southampton in the Premier League almost
single-handedly at times. But he never won a major honour and was only
capped eight times by England.

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

JAMIE CARRAGHER (Liverpool 1997 – present)

It wasn’t easy for Carragher when he first broke into Liverpool’s team as a teenager but, through sheer force of will and talent, he has had an outstanding career. You don’t play for Liverpool 716 times if you haven’t got something special and the defender has earned every accolade.

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool 1998 – present)

Though it is true Gerrard twice came close to leaving Liverpool, his commitment to the club and efforts through three decades are indisputable. He has just passed 600 appearances at Anfield and boasts a trophy cabinet in keeping with his standing as one of the best midfielders of his generation.

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

LEON OSMAN (Everton 2002 – present)

Osman might not have a burgeoning trophy cabinet nor is he a name that will be discussed frequently up and down the land but he represents old-fashioned values and Everton are all the better for it. He, along with Tony Hibbert, fought his way through the youth ranks and kept trying to force his way into David Moyes’ team. A decade’s efforts were rewarded last month when he was capped by England.

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

DEREK FAZACKERLEY (Blackburn Rovers 1969 – 1987)

If his coaching career has been nomadic – see spells at Newcastle, Manchester City, Birmingham, Huddersfield and England, amongst others – Fazackerley’s playing days were spent solely at Ewood Park. He made a record-breaking 671 appearances for Blackburn and that total will never be passed.

JIMMY ARMFIELD (Blackpool 1954 – 1971)

To many he will be the softly-spoken expert analyst on Radio Five Live but as a player Armfield was the archetypal one-club man. Loyal, professional, conscientious and talented, Armfield was a classy right-back who made 627 appearances for Blackpool. He also won the World Cup in 1966.

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

And one from abroad we can't ignore… PAOLO MALDINI (AC Milan 1985 – 2009)

From the moment Maldini made his debut as a 16-year-old against Udinese,
he was destined for greatness. His name will stand the test of time, a
defender who oozed class, skill and dedication. His 902 appearances for Il
Rossoneri and five Champions League winners’ medals are extraordinary
statistics.

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Manchester City want to trial standing area

Champions City plan standing trial as campaign for terracing return gathers momentum

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UPDATED:

13:29 GMT, 17 December 2012

Manchester City want to spearhead the campaign to bring safe standing to the Premier League.

The champions are planning to trial a return to terracing but need the backing of the Football Association.

Aston Villa and West Ham are the only other top-flight clubs to openly back the initiative.

Plans: Manchester City want to introduce safe standing to the Etihad Stadium

Plans: Manchester City want to introduce safe standing to the Etihad Stadium

'Manchester City Football Club is supportive of
initiatives to enhance safely, our fans’ matchday experience if
supported by the appropriate football authorities,' a spokesman told the Manchester Evening News.

Standing was banned in the top two divisions following the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough Disaster.

A total of 96 Liverpool fans were killed in 1989 but the Hillsborough Independent Panel recently placed the blame for the tragedy at the door of South Yorkshire Police.

That was a boost to the campaign to bring safe standing back to the Premier League.

Campaign: Support is growing for standing areas like those in Germany (below)

Campaign: Support is growing for standing areas like those in Germany (below)

Campaign: Support is growing for standing areas like those in Germany (below)

National fans group the Football Supporters Federation believe the introduction of 'rail seat' zones, which are present in Germany's Bundesliga, would improve the atmosphere in English grounds.

They took their campaign to Parliament earlier this month and were backed by 13 clubs, including Villa.

But City's bitter rivals Manchester United oppose the idea.

A source told the MEN that OId Trafford would be 'incapable' of supporting standing sections.