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My Group Stage Scouting Report featured on UEFA.COM

Hi Guys,

Just a quick update, you can find my scouting report on this season’s UEFA Champions League Group Stage available online at UEFA.com as well as in the print copy of Champions Matchday for January 2015.

Here is the link- http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=2202605.html , any feedback would be more than welcome.

Chris

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Manchester United and Chevrolet Team Up to Auction Exclusive Fan Experiences‏

July 16, 2014 1 comment

Written by Chris Winterburn

Louis van Gaal touched down in Manchester early this morning to officially begin life as Manchester United manager. The experienced Dutchman comes to Old Trafford fresh from a wonderful World Cup campaign with the Dutch national team where he guided a team, not blessed with the masses of quality Dutch sides of the Cruyff, de Boer and Van Nistelrooy eras had at their disposal, to the semi-final of the competition. united chevrolet charity

Manchester United supporters eagerly anticipate the impact Van Gaal will have on the team’s fortunes with speculation surrounding moves in the transfer market likely to intensify following Van Gaal’s arrival at the AON Training Complex. 

Van Gaal himself is eager to start work as soon as possible, not even having a holiday following his adventure in Brazil and he will join Manchester United as the club fly out to America on Friday to begin the club’s pre-season tour.

Manchester United and Chevrolet are teaming up alongside ‘Charitybuzz.com‘ a charity auction site to give six lucky Manchester United supporters the opportunity to bid for exclusive fan experience packages for Manchester United’s pre-season tour match with Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium on August 2.

The auction is to support ‘United Way’ in Southeastern Michigan, an organisation which strives to improve lives by mobilising the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.

Here are details of the auction and how you can get involved:


Chevrolet Offers Ultimate Manchester United Experience
Proceeds of ticket packages auctioned for Manchester United-Real Madrid match to benefit United Way for Southeastern Michigan

July 8, 2014 — Chevrolet will offer six exclusive ticket packages for auction, including a once-in-a-lifetime “Ultimate Manchester United Fan Experience” for the highly anticipated match against Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium as part of the Guinness International Champions Cup (ICC) .

Proceeds from the auction hosted at Charitybuzz.com will benefit United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Soccer fans can place bids now through July 22 for a chance to win one of six ticket packages that include four tickets to the match, hospitality, pre-game access and more. Complete auction details are available at Charitybuzz.com/ManchesterUnited .

As the Official Shirt Sponsor of Manchester United, the team will wear Chevrolet-branded shirts during the Aug. 2 match that also feature a commemorative United Way badge. Each auction winner will receive one of the game-worn shirts from the team’s new kit, which debuted earlier this week.

“Like the athletes who give their all on the field and the lifelong fans who go the distance to support them, Chevrolet wants to connect everyone with the spirit that makes soccer the world’s favourite sport,” said General Motors President Dan Ammann, chair for the 2014-15 United Way for Southeastern Michigan Workplace Campaign. “From backyards to the ‘Big House,’ Chevrolet is proud to support our local communities and United Way.”

The auction extends GM’s and the GM Foundation’s ongoing support of United Way and its mission to improve communities and individual lives by focusing on education, financial stability and such basic needs as food and shelter.

In 2010, the GM Foundation pledged its largest grant ever – $27.1 million to United Way for Southeastern Michigan to establish a “Network of Excellence” in seven Detroit-area high schools. The grant is also helping to advance early childhood education in the area. Over the last two years, GM employees and retirees have contributed more than $11 million through the company’s United Way campaign, and have donated more than 7,200 hours of volunteer service at the Network of Excellence schools since 2011.

“United Way for Southeastern Michigan is honored to partner with Chevrolet for the Manchester United auction packages — these are two of the most storied and beloved brands in the world,” said Michael J. Brennan, president & CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “With the same spirit that soccer fans unite to support their team, we are committed to uniting the community in support of making Greater Detroit one of the best places to live and work. We are deeply grateful to GM for their partnership and for this exciting opportunity to move our mission forward.”

The Manchester United ticket packages available for auction include:

Ultimate Package Four (4) VIP tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt – Signed
Meet & Greet with Manchester United Players
On-field Mascot escorting player on field (7-13 year old)
Attend Open Training Session
Four (4) tickets to a match at Old Trafford Stadium

VIP Package Four (4) VIP tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt
Four (4) tickets to a match at Old Trafford Stadium

Executive Package Four (4) VIP tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt – Signed
Meet & Greet with Manchester United Players

Fred the Red Package Four (4) VIP tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt
On-field Mascot escorting player on field (7-13 year old)

Super Fan Package Four (4) VIP tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt

Red Devil Package Four (4) tickets (8/2: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid)
Pre-Game pitchside walk
Game Worn Shirt
Attend Open Training Session

Head over to www.Charitybuzz.com/ManchesterUnited in order to take part in this auction for a what is a fantastic cause, and you may be lucky enough to win one of the aforementioned Manchester United exclusive fan experience packages.

Twitter and the Transfer Window

The transfer window, the three month period where a football team has the opportunity to add to, take away from or even slightly develop their squad, be that through the removal of the so called ‘dead wood’ or the arrival of a megastar on a multi million pound contract in order to just propel said club into a title winning position.

The transfer saga involving Thiago Alcantara and the way it appeared to change so quickly resulted in many troll like responses to Football Writers.

The transfer saga involving Thiago Alcantara and the way it appeared to change so quickly resulted in many troll like responses to Football Writers.

The transfer window was once a place of rather secretive dealings, almost like the Speakeasies of prohibition filled 1920’s America with nobody quite knowing who was going to be sold where or who was unhappy at a club aside from the parties directly involved, i.e. the two clubs and the player himself. Nowadays we are in a time when we as a society find ourselves enslaved to social media, I make no bones about the fact I too fall into this category and to a certain degree there is little wrong with this, moving forward and keeping up with the times is a necessity if one desires to progress. However one common, widespread gripe with social media is the sense of freedom in creates within the everyday human being.

Since the introduction of Twitter we have seen an emotive new term created by the media to categorise those who perceive a sense of freedom within social media and then abuse said freedom, this term is the ‘Twitter Troll.’ A Twitter Troll is no different to the definition of an actual mythical troll, something which seeks to harass or disturb only via the new technology involved in social media and with Twitter in particular, they can harass or disturb on a very public platform.

Just, for example, take the events of last summer, Tom Daley had just missed out on an Olympic medal in the Synchronised men’s 10m diving event and immediately received a Tweet from an individual who I probably cannot name  suggesting that Daley had let his deceased father down by not winning a medal. Now this is not somebody who knows Tom Daley personally, this is not somebody whom Daley has ever come into contact with, no it is an individual sat behind a computer, tablet or mobile phone screen on the other side of the country who is seeking to bring attention to themselves by harassing an individual who is well within the scope of the public eye, simply because they can.

This moves me onto my next point, the as ever useful ‘Urban Dictionary’ has a definition of their own for the term/act of ‘Trolling’ and it is one that describes the crux of the problem with freedom on social media in under ten words, Being a prick on the internet because you can.” Just look at those last three words for a moment, people gain some sort of self justification for their actions simply because there is no means in place to either prohibit them from doing so or punishing them after. Yes methods have been brought in over the past two years to counteract the ‘Trolling’ of celebrities and public figures on Twitter with several high profile cases, including the aforementioned Tom Daley incident leading to an arrest. However it is still going on.

Just last week we have seen a high profile incident of Twitter trolling which specifically targeted women. Female MP Stella Creasy and Female Historian Mary Beard were threatened with rape due to their public backing of a campaign headed by Caroline Criado-Perez which lobbied for banknotes to feature the faces of women and not just men. This is an individual sending a threat of one of the most violent and life damaging acts that can happen to anyone just because they have the freedom to do so, and what did it lead to? Yet an ever fiercer battle held within Twitter with certain users of the social media website taking part in a twenty four hour boycott of the social media site entitled ‘Twitter Silence’ to essentially make a stand against such public and abusive ‘trolling.’ This was then met by a backlash from individuals who felt it was ‘shirking’ the problem or a pointless act to gain attention, yet again the troll had got what it wanted, attention and on a sizeable scale.

Now, after reading the title of this piece you are probably wondering what on earth all of the above and the serious nature of those examples have to do with the transfer window, well I will attempt to clarify that now. With the freedom that has come with having your own social media profile on Twitter or Facebook there is also a degree of entitlement that comes with it, to the end which people think they are owed information by certain individuals who also share Twitter space. Football is known to be one of the most tribal sports with every match being a direct battle between two sides so to speak, you are either with one side or you are against one side. This tribalism mixed with a sort of freedom of speech if you will that is provided by social media creates a rather newfound drama surrounding the Transfer window.

Football writers have, as the media has grown in importance to football, long been fed snippets of information by clubs during the transfer window and this information was relayed to the public via a newspaper article or interview. As social media has developed however these snippets of information have become much more readily available to the public via the single touch of a button and this allows supporters to be constantly kept in the loop and updated as events occur.

We see it every summer, a transfer saga involving usually one of England’s bigger clubs as in my experience supporters of non English teams tend not to get too involved in transfer tittle tattle on Twitter, however these sagas are usually started by a report in a newspaper which is probably based on a reliable tip they have received, however what happens now and what didn’t before Twitter is these reports are almost instantly passed on and twisted by people, almost like a much wider scale game of Chinese whispers and before you know it football writers find their personal Twitter feeds inundated with questions like ‘Is Thiago going to sign for United?’, ‘How close is Isco to Manchester City?’ and my own personal favourite ‘Why did Sir Alex Ferguson lie about Wayne Rooney’s transfer request?’

The majority of football writers to their credit attempt to answer these questions, some feel it is part of their job whilst others enjoy dispersing the information they have at their disposal.  This information is then lapped up by supporters and is yet again passed on and twisted  before the transfer saga eventually comes to an end with a different outcome to the one stated by a particular football writer. The aforementioned football writer then finds his Twitter feed littered with abuse and personal attacks which I find completely unnecessarily and in as serious and pitiful a way as possible, rather laughable.

The supporters who target football writers with abuse when a transfer deal doesn’t go the way they want it to are those who yet again act by the unwritten rule I previously alluded to in those three words, ‘Because you can.’ They feel the freedom given to them by social media websites propels them to a state of entitlement to information, they feel as though they are entitled to be given information on transfers by football writers when it actual fact they aren’t and never have been before.

Transfer negotiations are no business of anybody but the two clubs involved, the player and unfortunately in the modern game, the player’s agent. It wasn’t so long ago that supporters knew nothing of transfers until a player was picture on the back page of their local paper holding up the club’s new shirt, everything before the internet and particularly high speed broadband took off was much more secretive and whilst many yearn to return to this era you can’t, you have to move forward with the times.

The advancement in media coverage of football has been excellent for supporters, we can now be kept abreast of rumours involving our club’s negotiations as they are happening and the introduction of Twitter has opened up even more positive avenues for both news reporting and discussion. You ask most football writers and they will tell you the discussions they have with fans on Twitter are on the whole something they enjoy and welcome, it is this link between the media and the supporters that in a way brings the supporters closer to the club which is what we have always wanted, however it is something which must not be taken for granted by supporters and must not lead to a feeling of entitlement which eventually leads to trolling simply because you have the free platform upon which to do so.

Technology is going to keep advancing, we are going to be given even more information about transfers as the years go on and that is excellent but don’t let that ‘power’ lead to feelings of entitlement, just embrace it, trust you own judgement on how to differentiate fact from fiction in transfer stories, don’t target football writers who are attempting to do their job and you will end up enjoying the transfer window a whole host more. The less of a whirlwind created by people’s reactions to transfers then the less falsities will be put out by people, no reaction means no attention and no attention means for the troll no reason to do it.

Written by Chris Winterburn

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4

Ever wanted to be a Football Chairman? Well now you can with a brand new app

Have you ever fancied yourself as someone who could sack more managers than Roman Abramovich? Have you ever had the desire to be as ruthless a negotiator as Daniel Levy? Well a brand new app created by the folks at ‘Freaky Robot’ gives you the opportunity to chance your arm at being a Chairman of a football club.

The main game hub, be careful to keep track of your finances and the fan approval of yourself and the manager.

The main game hub, be careful to keep track of your finances and the fan approval of yourself and the manager.

After founding your new club you begin in the lower echelons of the English footballing pyramid hoping to use your financial mind and negotiating nous in order to bring in the right manager and the right players in order to make it to the Premier League, but beware this will come at a cost and should you go over the allocated overdraft limit then your club will be no more. The manager will often come to you requesting you sign players he has pinpointed as individuals who would improve the squad and you have to make the decision either to spend the big money or allow the player to slip through your fingers and risk upsetting the gaffer.

The simplicity of this game is what makes it so enjoyable, seasons are finished very quickly so you aren’t sat slaving away for hours building a team and going through matches. The smallest quirks such as your manager resigning if you don’t sign enough of the players he asks for, keep the game interesting and the quest for numerous promotions is something that can be achieved providing you manage your club sensibly.

As with any modern football club it is the supporters who pay their money and keep the club going so make decisions that turn the fans against you at both your and the club’s peril. If the fans aren’t happy with the team’s performances they will let you know by booing the manager and calling for him to be sacked, it is then firmly on your shoulders to decide whether or not to bow to the fan pressure and dismiss the manager or give the coach time to turn the team’s fortunes around.

Finally for the less patient amongst us, of whom there are many, there are in-game purchases which provide your club with a significant cash injection which will aid your push for glory significantly. Ranging from £50k to £50million cash injections the benefits for your club are sizeable and you then have to make the decision whether or not to invest a small onetime fee in order to sign that thirty goal a season striker who will propel your club to the title.

Football Chairman is currently a Lite edition available for iPod/iPhone and most recently iPad, via the Apple store-https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id652860066?mt=8&affId=1860684 however in the future should the game garner enough interest then a full version will be released with cup competitions, media interactions and the ability to found a club in another country. So it is up to you to get downloading and telling your friends in order to make that happen.

Keep up to date with the development of Football Chairman on the developer’s official website-http://www.football-chairman.com/ and get in touch with them on their Twitter page @F_Chairman

Written by Chris Winterburn

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4

David Beckham Retires

article-1241289-0137490200001005-288_634x461David Beckham the original Modern Day celebrity footballer has called time on his playing career at the age of thirty eight. The former Manchester United wide man has made the decision to end his illustrious career after discussions with his current employers, newly crowned French Champions Paris Saint Germain ended with Beckham rejected the Parisians’ offer of a new deal. Beckham ends his career after making 718 club appearances spanning across a career two decades in length with particular highlights being winning the treble with Manchester United in 1999, the La Liga title with Real Madrid in his final year in Spain and finally leading his LA Galaxy side to two consecutive MLS Cup triumphs.

Beckham has given the reason for his sudden retirement as wanting to bow out at the highest level “I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level” and there is little argument that playing for the French champions and one of the richest clubs in world football falls under the highest level bracket. Unlike fellow members of Manchester United’s illustrious class of 92, David Beckham according to Gary Neville was always interested and destined to travel and showcase his football in other top European countries and this is exactly what he did, the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee enjoyed spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Los Angeles Galaxy and finally Paris Saint Germain, a fantastic array of top clubs with high or burgeoning worldwide reputations.

Beckham was the original modern day ‘celebrity footballer’ with his wife, Victoria, often taking up many more newspaper headlines than his football, however despite all this there can be no argument that David Beckham in the pomp of his career flew the flag for English football. Just like figures such as Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker of the past and now Wayne Rooney have done, wherever English football was mentioned, David Beckham was the first name to spring to mind. His sponsorship with Pepsi around the time of the 2002 World Cup in Asia sent his popularity in the Far East through the roof with fans across the continent idolising Beckham in a way only Manchester United supporters had previously done. Beckham was the first to take the now synonymous image of a footballer, he was flash, he idolised media attention very much like Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic does in the current era however this image did not always reflect positively on Beckham’s career with it arguably leading to his exit from Manchester United.

The 2002-2003 season was to be Beckham’s last with Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side as the pair’s relationship reached an unworkable level following a disagreement following an FA Cup tie against West Ham United when Sir Alex verbally berated Beckham leading the Leytonstone born midfielder to feel singled out at the club. Tensions were exacerbated further following an FA Cup tie with Arsenal when Sir Alex Ferguson was rumoured to have kicked a stray boot in the dressing room which struck David Beckham above the left eye with the England international requiring stitches. This signalled the end of Manchester United and David Beckham with Real Madrid being rumoured to be interested in bringing Beckham in as one of their first English Galácticos and the writing was on the wall for Beckham when he was left on the substitutes bench for a European Cup quarter final tie with Real Madrid at Old Trafford and where have we seen that this season?

Beckham’s move to Real Madrid continued his superstardom yet further however success did not immediately follow with Beckham’s time at the Bernabeu coinciding with Real Madrid’s worst ever extended period in the European Cup with the club having still not got their hands on the famous trophy since 2002. Beckham did however take to football in Spain with the English midfielder displaying exactly why on a regular basis he had cost Real Madrid 35 Million Euros, notable memories include free kicks against Villarreal and the league title in his final season at the club. Beckham’s final season despite seeing him lift the coveted La Liga crown was blighted by Beckham’s long disagreement with manager Fabio Capello with the Italian saying Beckham had played his last game for the club in January 2007, whilst club president Ramon Calderon being quoted as saying “he [Beckham] is going to Hollywood to be half a film star”, when it was announced Beckham had agree to join LA Galaxy at the end of the season once his contract expired. The pair would later go on to forge an amicable working relationship within the English national team set up.

Beckham’s time in America was largely successful with Beckham certainly being one of the first big name European players going over to join the expanding project that was the MLS, notable names such as Thierry Henry, Torsten Frings and Robbie Keane have gone on to follow him to the States. The MLS has certainly grown in stature since Beckham entered in 2007, there is a much wider base of interest in the League with European sports news outlets now taking the time to report on the MLS due to the fact they had to initially in order to satisfy the demand for ‘Beckham’ on European television screens, this has allowed fans of European football to see the excellent work being put in by coaching staff in the MLS which is improving the image of football in that part of the globe. The United States’ bid to host a second World Cup was in no small part down to the impact Beckham’s name had indeed had on the name of football in America.

Beckham’s final career move was one of great surprise, PSG one of the richest teams in the world who could have their pick of any of Europe’s top talents chose Beckham to be one of their January signings with the deal being announced on the closing day of the winter window. Beckham has had a reasonably successful spell in France picking up a Ligue 1 winners medal and his decision to donate all of his club salary to a local Parisian children’s charity was an act fitting with Beckham’s character. Underneath all the glamour of his and his wife’s lifestyle there was a genuine football man, a man who would put in endless extra hours of effort in training as a youngster to perfect his free kicks, his corners and his crossing, with AC Milan’s legendary Paulo Maldini complimenting Beckham’s incredibly high work ethic which matched his own during his loan spell at AC Milan.

Beckham’s impact on the English national team will be remembered forever, the free kick against Greece to send England to the World Cup finals in Japan and Korea, his penalty to give the Three Lions a historic victory over Argentina and his iconic 100th cap gained against France in Paris in 2008 are among the most memorable moments of his career with England. Beckham proved a vital member of the dressing room in the tenures of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello. Beckham would go onto to form part of the coaching staff for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa following his Achilles injury ruled him out of playing in the tournament. Beckham the second highest ever appearance maker for the England national team also earned the honour of captaining his country in the 2006 World Cup with the midfielder showing his passion for his Nation by resigning from his role of captain following an unsuccessful campaign in Germany.

Beckham will be remembered as a ‘celebrity footballer’ within some circles however the football fraternity committed to the game will remember Beckham for his incredible work ethic which enabled him to reach such lofty heights in his career, the boy who at just twenty years old audaciously chipped Neil Sullivan in the Wimbledon goal from inside his own half, the boy who following a disastrous exit from the 1998 World Cup in France had to face torrents and torrents of abuse from fans up and down the country, week in and week out yet still aided Manchester United to their success on three fronts yet David Beckham will be remembered most of all for being one of the few memorable characters who well and truly helped put English football on the map, and keep it there.

Written by Chris Winterburn @Chriswin4

Chris Winterburn’s Blog

Welcome to the newly created blog of football writer Chris Winterburn. Chris will be updating this blog regularly with detailed articles about all things European Football with the occasional South American twist. Chris has a wealth of experience in sports writing having contributed to several footballing websites and even appeared on World Football Daily as a guest expert to speak about the Sweden squad before the recent European Championships in Ukraine and Poland.

Enjoy the blog.

Chris Winterburn

Categories: Uncategorized