Tag Archives: Football

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Wonderful Year

Wolverhampton Wanderers take the lead
Source: globallinksnow.com

Watching the Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C, also known as Wolves, has been nothing short of inspirational lately. The team has had one of the most incredible seasons in recent memory, culminating with them being promoted to the Premier League. The astonishing success can almost be likened to a sports film about an underdog team, somehow managing to defy all odds and prove that they can overcome any obstacle put in their path.

How has this incredible success been achieved? Furthermore, is the controversy around the success warranted, given that many are calling foul, and claiming that the team has improved leaps and bounds due to methods that are unfair.

Let’s take a closer look at the amazing success story of the Wolves football team.

What Turned The Tables?

There are many opinions as to what makes a football team stand apart from the rest. Amazing players, some will say. Others will say that a team can have the best players in the world, and still fall short. What it really comes down to is a sound tactical approach.

This brings us to Nuno Santo. When he was first introduced as the new head coach of Wolves, many would have been scratching their heads, asking who exactly he was. But in the course of a single year, Nuno played his part in transforming Wolves into a force to be reckoned with.

Once a goalkeeper for Portugal, Nuno stepped in, took control, and silenced every mouth that had doubted him. If anything, the naysayers are now likely hitting the online gambling NZ sites, and putting bets on the team to come up champions in the Premier League.

Tactical Genius

Nuno Santo
Source: Sports Mancs

The key to his success? Simple; he is an incredible organiser. Wolves have stuck to an extremely rigid play style, which perhaps isn’t too adventurous, but gets the job done when it needs to be. Of that there can be no question. Every player in the 3-4-3 formation knew their position, and played it like the back of their hand. When a replacement was needed, that player likewise knew the position they would be taking, and how to make the best of it.

Though, Nuno is not just a professional at organising, he is also one of the best at managing players. Combine these two strengths, apply them to an eager team, and the results speak for themselves. Simply put; there are few teams that resemble a well-oiled machine more than Wolves right now.

The Controversy

But there is more to this story than Nuno and his excellent work. Wolves have not had an amazing season without a bit of controversy. The team were bought for a cool £45 million in July 2016 by Fosun International, a Chinese international conglomerate and investment company. It then became apparent that the new chairman, Jeff Shi, appointed on behalf of Fosun, was getting advice from Jorge Mendes. Mendes is the so-called “super-agent” whose clients include Cristiano Ronaldo, and the man has not been without previous controversy.

Andrea Radrizzani, chairman of Leeds, called the connection between Shi and Mendes highly questionable and unfair. This was echoed by Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce, who drew attention to the many big money deals the Wolves had made for star players, calling for more scrutiny on the team’s system. In short, Bruce wanted to know if it fell within the established rules.

The response from Shi has been, of course, that everything has been done within the rules. Still, many are not satisfied, and perhaps think the success of Wolverhampton Wanderers is a little too good to be true. Either way, with their promotion to the Premier League, the world will be seeing a great deal more of this now world-class football team.

The Best Bargains in Football Transfer History

At no time is football more in focus than during the much-publicised transfer windows. During this period of sporting insanity, the game of football turns away from the pitch and sales obsessed clubs throw millions at players, all in the hope of injecting a bit of new blood into their teams. The results of these financial offers often end up in the tabloids, as player’s names are linked to unbelievable sums. The massive amounts paid for players are legendary, but for a bit of fun we thought we’d take a look at transfers that could well be considered the best bargains in the history of football transfers.

Robin van Persie – £2.7m

Robin van Persie Arsenal
Source: Goal.com

First up on the list is Robin van Persie. Back in 2004, Feyenoord was asking around £5 million for the Dutch star, but Arsenal nabbed him for a paltry £2.7 million, just over half the asking price. Not only did he go on to be one of their most prized assets, his transfer to Manchester United netted the club £22.5 million, plus an extra £1.5 for leading Man United to their Premier League Championship title!

Raúl – Free

Raúl Real Madrid
Source: YouTube

In 1992, the club president of Atletico Madrid was under financial pressure and decided to close the club’s youth academy. What he failed to see was the talent that was about to blossom from a 15-year-old named Raúl González Blanco. Two years later, the enigmatic 17-year-old made his debut for Real Madrid’s first team. In his career with Los Blancos, Raúl would become a club legend. Listed as one of the all-time greats, he scored a total of 323 goals and helped Real Madrid to six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. Clearly Real Madrid loves a good bargain just as much as we love a casino bonus, as there’s nothing more rewarding than getting something for nothing!

Eric Cantona – £1.2m

Eric Cantona joins United
Source: Pinterest

Also in 1992, Eric Cantona helped Leeds defeat Manchester United. Not satisfied with their team, they wanted to buy back Denis Irwin to boost their defence. During the transfer window, they lost out on the move, and at the same time lost their star man. Sir Alex Ferguson managed to nab Cantona for just £1.2. The charismatic Frenchman went on to become the club’s first superstar, helping the club earn four league titles and two FA Cup titles in his time there. To date, they have not had any player who has gifted them with such skill for so little a price.

Riyad Mahrez – £400k

Riyad Mahrez leicester
Source: thenff

After striker Ryan Mendes was passed over, Leicester City scouts ended up finding winger Riyad Mahrez running the pitch at Le Havre in 2014. Signing him for an insignificant £400,000, the club made one of the best deals in their history. In the 2014/2015 season he played a key role in promoting the team from Championship to Premier league status, and helped them escape from relegation. In the 2015/2016 season, the Algerian was the creative force that ultimately saw Leicester City pull off football’s greatest underdog performance, winning the Premier League.

Andrea Pirlo – Free

Andrea Pirlo
Source: IBTimes UK

In 2011, Andrea Pirlo had been playing for AC Milan for over a decade. In his time, he contributed to two series A wins and two Champions League titles. Still, club bosses decided that he was not needed anymore. Juventus boss at the time, Antonio Conte, who has managed Chelsea, nabbed the out of contract player without a second thought. In his time at Juventus, Pirlo would go on to help the team win the league title every year for four successive years and become a superstar. Creating magic from the midfield, Pirlo was touted as one of the transfers of the century!