Manchester United and Liverpool ticket prices a rip-off compared to Bundesliga bargains
Settle yourself down for some adventures in Bundesliga.
Settle yourself down for some adventures in Bundesliga.
Other than being sacked within 48 hours of each other, former West Brom boss Steve Clarke and the now ex-Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas have something else in common – they both served their apprenticeship under Jose Mourinho while at Chelsea.
Linfield manager David Jeffrey was in apologetic mood at the weekend and no wonder.
Manuel Pellegrini will be hailed across Europe tonight if he can guide Manchester City to a high-scoring victory over Bayern Munich.
Jose Mourinho talks of a Portuguese saying "dying on the beach".. the story of the swimmer who puts everything into reaching safety only to perish from the effort.
If I lean back on my chair and get my neck to settle to the right, there it is – a book called, 'The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw.'
Let's get a bit of perspective going here. When Rory uttered the remark, it was at a Press conference. In Sydney, Australia. A few days after a crushing Ashes victory for the Aussies over their old enemy.
A man so used to winning is going to have to settle for second place when the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is presented next month.
Funny how you can mistake people. Pascal McConnell was one of those players you thought might prove difficult to interview. On the pitch he used his huge frame to intimidate rivals, and his remorseless pokerface reminded you of the Ivan Drago character in Rocky IV.
I accept a majority of people in the UK supported the war in Iraq and the one still going on in Afghanistan.
Forgive me – just this once – but I have to say 'I told you so'. Roberto Mancini's job wouldn't have been saved if Manchester City had won the FA Cup, a fact confirmed by the club's chief executive Ferran Soriano, and it didn't matter that Stoke avoided relegation: Tony Pulis was going anyway.
Now that really was a proper game of football on Saturday night, wasn't it? How often do you see that kind of intensity and fitness in the Premier League, with so much goalmouth incident and goalkeeping brilliance? Not very often, I'd bet.
When I left the DW Stadium this day last week -- how vain is it to lead 'your' team out at Wembley and name the stadium after yourself? -- I really didn't give Dave Whelan (pictured) and his Wigan side the remotest chance of winning the FA Cup. They'd been shocking against Swansea. Just goes to show what I know ...
There is no need to put on dark glasses. I’m going to disappoint any readers of the column expecting a tirade of abuse from me about Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sometimes, I really don't get Chelsea fans. Last Thursday night, as their team reached the Europa League Final, the popular song around Stamford Bridge was 'Jose's Coming Home', a cute variation of that 1996 hit 'Football's Coming Home' ... to England for the European Championship of that year.
At different stages over the course of the summer, Tyrone in particular have been accused of actually coaching cynical play.
The officers in all four provincial Councils remind us from time to time of their heavy work-load, particularly in areas relating to the promotion of football and hurling at grassroots level.
There is growing concern within the GAA over the implications of long-term injuries which players sustain on an ongoing basis.
Let's cut to the chase here. All the refereeing inadequacies which have blighted the championship season appeared to be encompassed in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final between Tyrone and Mayo.
Some county championships may be still in their infancy but already it would seem that a number of the traditional big guns are destined to sample more success in their respective counties.
When, oh when, are we going to get consistency in the administration of discipline within the GAA?
The wheels certainly came off the Donegal wagon in dramatic fashion on Sunday.
The loss of Jamie Clarke is undoubtedly a big blow to Crossmaglen Rangers in their bid to remain as Armagh champions – and that's just for starters.
There is a theory doing the rounds that Dublin manager Jim Gavin is rubbing his hands in advance of what is suggested as being a trouble-free run-in to the All-Ireland title.
How much sleep do you think Rory Best got last Saturday night? Part of it may have been the adrenalin of a final; it is always difficult to settle after a big game particularly when you have come so close to winning.
Yes, it was so disappointing but there was absolutely no shame in Ulster's performance at the RDS.
It must have been something in my waters when I wrote last week that I thought Jonny Wilkinson's boot would play a key role in a Toulon victory in the Heineken Cup final.
Given the ups and downs throughout a season there must be a real sense of satisfaction when you see your team standing tall on top of the league.
Wow. Warren Gatland has always had the ability to shock and surprise, and his Lions squad is no different.
As soon as Joe Schmidt threw his hat in the ring for the Ireland job, there was no need for headhunters or Keith Wood on the interview panel. The job was his.
So it looks like Leinster coach Joe Schmidt is the clear favourite for the Ireland job.
it is hard to describe the level of disappointment at Ulster's loss at the weekend to Saracens.
There are iconic images in sport that are a photographer's, television producer's or viewer's delight.
Nico Mawhinney has been awarded the prestigious Bertie Mann Award for his achievements in 2013 – winning both the Irish and Ulster Superbike titles at just 20 years of age.
Santa and his elves stole the Freestyle show during yesterday's Arenacross launch at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, but the big event news is that three time British Champion and popular double winner at the Queen's Quay venue, Gordon Crockard – will lead the Irish charge on January 17 & 18 at the seven round British championship curtain raiser.
Ian Hutchinson's majestic win at last month's Macau Grand Prix, on his return from injury and 29 intrusive operations, has been diluted by the shocking news that his Milwaukee Yamaha team are considering a withdrawal from next year's Isle of Man TT.
Lisburn's David Haire, who clinched this season's Irish Championship and Adelaide Masters' Supersport titles, is gunning for a return to the British Superbike paddock in 2014, and is currently on the hunt for support to fulfil his dream.
Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar is currently putting together the blueprint for his KMR Racing Team for 2014, but insists that he will not be looking to add to his own tally of 337 career wins between the hedges, when the season gets underway next April.
Despite increased speculation that he would make the switch to MotoGP next season, Monaco-based Ulsterman Eugene Laverty – who finished second in this season's World Superbike Championship – has been confirmed as Crescent Suzuki's number one rider for the 2014 WSB campaign.
Toomebridge brothers Eugene and Michael Laverty could both be competing on Aprilia bikes next year -- albeit in different championships.
Bike racing's renowned Dromara Destroyers are being put out to grass - in the nicest possible way.
It's the beginning of the silly season with more talk of 'who will ride where' in 2014 than reflecting on another superb year for Northern Ireland riders and teams.
Match-fixing dominates the headlines again, but the real surprise is anyone's surprise that 'spot-fixing' continues.
No European nation has won football's World Cup in South America and it's foolhardy to expect that to end in Brazil next summer.
Flemenstar takes another step towards rebuilding his chasing reputation by contesting Sunday's John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown which he won last year.
Just as the Premier League, which resumes this weekend, is shaping up for a tight title battle, so too is the race for the Golden Boot which goes to the top goalscorer.
Sebastian Vettel will enter the pantheon of all-time F1 greats if winning the last Grand Prix event of the season in Brazil on Sunday.
Sizing Europe has to be opposed as he bids to land the JNwine.com Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival today.
Luis Suarez brought some extra bite back to the Liverpool attack – in the right way – in the 3-1 defeat over Sunderland, giving them their best start to a season in years which sees them second behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.
All eyes will be on Paris tomorrow as the Arc dominates the racing programme.
Chelsea, despite that penalty shoot-out defeat by Bayern Munich in the Super Cup, showed that they will not be easily beaten in the Champions League – never mind on the home front – and make plenty of appeal at 11/1 to repeat their Euro success of two years ago.
They may be singular men but Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane have, of course, been shaped by rather more than the impetus of their own fierce natures.
If we still had a sliver of doubt, Alex Ferguson has been kind enough to remove it. He has told us, by the somewhat dismissive route of going on American public television, what it's all been about. Guess what? It's all been about Alex Ferguson.
In so many ways the FAI are damned whatever they do in the wake of Old Trap. But then they might just do something which from time to time redeems the most desperate of situations.
There was always a point when the grumpy posturing of Wayne Rooney was going to lapse into the grotesque and the absurd.
Already the rave reviews are tumbling in for David Peace's latest football confection, Red or Dead, a version of Bill Shankly's life, and one of the most fulsome of them concludes: "This isn't a book about the way things were or the way things are. This is about the way things should be."
Let's get this straight, Pepe. If Barcelona had confirmed the rumour of their interest so hungrily seized upon by you and your agent you would have beaten your pal Luis Suarez out of Anfield faster than Speedy Gonzales.
However the affair progresses, Gareth Bale will do us an immense favour if he refrains from dressing up his impending move to Real Madrid as anything other than the seizing of a quite spectacular main chance.
Not for the first time we have to ask a classic question of the manager of Arsenal. However, this time we cannot anticipate, almost word for word, the answer from the man with the furrowed brow and the haunted expression.
It was supposed to be the day Rory McIlroy re-announced himself as one of the greatest – and freest – of golf talents but the more he played, the more he sank into a horror that he could not snap, the clearer it was he needed help.
You can almost touch the band of anger around the young golfer who so recently captivated the world. In the politest way Rory McIlroy makes his point as precisely as he might drill, on one of the better days he is so desperate to rekindle here at the 142nd Open, a perfect drive into the heart of the fairway.
The power to shock has dwindled somewhat since that grey, milky dawn in Seoul in 1988 when we learned that Ben Johnson, having carried us to the stars, had just 48 hours later left us scrabbling in the dirt.
Caroline Garcia, a 19-year from Lyon, was playing the kind of tennis which persuaded Andy Murray that one day she will be the world's No 1.
Ah, the good old US of A, big, brash, loud and still just not getting football right.
IF the magic of the FA Cup is still very much alive and well according to ITV, then why can it not make Adrian Chiles disappear?
I have it on good authority that I hid behind the settee when the Daleks first appeared on my TV screen but that was nothing compared to when Roy Keane let out a cackle that made by blood curdle on Tuesday night.
It was rather fitting that on the weekend when 10 wannabes were taking their first tentative steps in the Australia jungle, a mob of wallabies from that neck of the woods was wreaking havoc in Dublin.
I had no real desire to tune in to see England take on Germany B on Tuesday night but after Adrian Chiles' outburst against Polish builders recently, I just had to see how he'd treat the old enemy.
"We're off to Spain for the final live MotoGP of the season," said the announcer on BBC1 and then forgot to add "and the last time for the foreseeable future as BT Sport have nipped in again while we weren't looking."
So, the domestic Scottish football season came to an end on Sunday with Celtic winning the Scottish Cup to land them a double, which was widely expected prior to the final.
Jon Daly has become the first Irish Catholic to sign for Rangers.
With this being my last column of the season, now is the time to name my highlight - it was the return of the mercurial James McFadden to the SPL.
Reading the tributes and listening to people tell their tales of Sir Alex Ferguson over the past week has been inspiring to say the least.
The victory for Hibs in the Edinburgh derby on Sunday was only their second SPL win of the calendar year.
Picking a Manager of the Year this season has been very difficult as so many have had outstanding campaigns.
Lenny v Kenny sounds more like a boxing match than two SPL managers squabbling in the Scottish media about who should be the Player and Manager of the Year.
Af celebrating winning successive SPL titles on Sunday as Celtic manager, Neil Lennon's focus now turns towards the Scottish Cup final and into next season.
Charles Green arrived in a blaze of publicity last May as his consortium bought an ailing Glasgow Rangers, but last Friday his controversial spell as chief executive came to an abrupt end.
It's unfortunate that we have to analyse the theme, but the content of Fermanagh county board chairman Patsy Dolan's recent address to the county convention is another example of head-in-the-sand, blame-the-media laziness that has come to characterise these events.
At the foundation of the GAA in Hayes' Hotel, Thurles, 1884, Michael Cusack and others gathered to form a sporting body. Among their number was a John McKay, originally from Downpatrick, who was at the time a journalist with the Belfast Morning News.
Run it by me once more? Cavan or Antrim, as the lowest-placed Ulster teams in the National League, will play an Ulster preliminary round.
Around this time of year, when the action finally finds some reprieve at the fag-end of the club season, the GAA will go into hibernation and navel-gazing mode.
How much of sport is truly the entertainment industry?
Another November, another underwhelming GAA documentary from RTÉ, with 'Skin In The Game', screened last week.
Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry is steeling himself for the biggest test of his motivational powers since his inspirational rhetoric snatched the most unlikely of victories for Armagh against Fermanagh 20 years ago.
'The one thing we all struggled to cope with was Dad's assessment of our performances.
So what do you do on a Wednesday night? Do you go to a leisure centre for a swim or the gym or is your evening dominated by getting the kids' homework done and bedtime, eating dinner, preparing for the next day before flopping onto the couch for a few minutes of Champions League highlights before your eyelids become heavy.
Finally it looks like Stephen Ireland is getting his career back on track after a difficult few years. The Corkman (27), hasn't helped himself at times, but scored a beauty and provided an assist for Oussama Assaidi's stunning winner against Chelsea in Stoke's shock 3-2 victory. New Republic boss Martin O'Neill might be in touch to offer Ireland an international return. He hasn't played at that level since 2007!
The World Cup draw is tomorrow. Apparently that evil French genius Michel Platini has been over in Rio all week plotting the demise of English football!
I don't know about you, but when I think of Wigan in a sporting context, rugby league springs to mind.
We all know big time footballers are paid too much money, but what about the stars of basketball in America? Kobe Bryant has just signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers worth a mind boggling $48.5million (£29.8m) over the next two years.
Saturday will provide the biggest game of the season so far in the Irish League when Linfield travel to Cliftonville.
Can you believe it is two years since news broke that Gary Speed was dead, having taken his own life?
Lawrie Sanchez. Remember him? Well, the former Northern Ireland boss is back in management after being out of work for a year and a half.
Look out Linfield and Crusaders.... with panto season coming... they're behind you. Cliftonville, that is.
By the time you read this, the opening day of the first Ashes Test will be over.