18
Apr

Wolves win over Rotherham nearly abandoned because of pitch invasions

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Perhaps Wolverhampton fans should take lessons from Brentford fans on how to properly invade the pitch, because on Friday they almost cost their club the match for spending too much time on the field.

The Wolves defeated Rotherham in a wild 6-4 victory, but it wasn’t without frequent interruption.

The invasions started small…

…but slowly got more and more out of hand, and eventually resulted in two huge invasions in the final minutes of the match:

Luckily for the club and that obnoxious group of fans, the referee was incredibly patient, because the madness could have cost them the match.

Wolves have said they expect a fine, and condemned the fans, but let’s be honest: they’re just as excited as everyone who ran onto the pitch on Friday. After all, they’re going back to the Championship!

(H/T SB Nation)

18
Apr

Brentford gain promotion to Championship, both fans and players go nuts

League One side Brentford FC needed all the stars to align to secure promotion to the Championship on Friday.

First, they had to beat Preston North End. Check:

Next, they needed both Leyton Orient and Rotherham to lose. Orient’s match ended just before the Bees won, so that result was secure.

But could Wolverhampton beat Rotherham? This video contains that answer pretty definitively:

And of course, no promotion would be complete without emotional fans letting it all out on the pitch:

Finally, after all was said and done in the Bees’ 2013-14 season, the players went down to the pub to celebrate with their loyal supporters. Party on, y’all. You deserve it!

Congratulations Brentford. It’s been a long time since you’ve been in the Championship — more than two decades — so enjoy while it lasts.

23
Jan

Middlesbrough’s hot streak credited to lucky hamster

imagePhoto: Action Images

For all of you Championship followers, Middlesbrough has made a vicious assault on the rest of the English second division, going undefeated in their past six games (winning five) and jumping from 19th up to 9th place. Now just five points shy of a place in the top six, Boro are vying for a surprise spot in the promotion playoffs.

Now, to most observers it’s been the play of the defense, in particular goalkeeper Shay Given, that has been the catalyst to Boro’s rise. Given posted six clean sheets in ten games since coming on loan from Aston Villa. But if you listen to the 37-year-old, the Teessiders’ luck has changed thanks to a new team mascot — Holly the Hamster.

Indeed, Boro are unbeaten in the Championship since Holly scurried into the training ground “thanks to a secret Santa team-bonding game at Christmas,” whatever that means.

Given told the Daily Star:

“She seems to be our lucky mascot at the moment.

She came into the training ground over Christmas as a bit of a joke from one of the lads, but we’re unbeaten since, so we’re all taking looking after her very seriously now.

She’s got a nice home in with us at the training ground, and we’re making sure we feed and water her every day. She’s got an unbeaten record so far, so we’ll make sure she stays happy and keeps working her magic.”

If Middlesbrough can keep their hot streak going all the way to the Premier League, hopefully we can turn this into a movie or something.

Next stop: Holly-wood?

H/T Dirty Tackle

19
Oct

Harry Redknapp gets hit in head with ball, QPR promptly concedes equalizer

Poor Harry. He just can’t stay out of the way from comical incidents at his expense.

On Saturday, with his QPR side up 2-1 at Millwall, a fan tried to throw a ball back onto the pitch, but hit Redknapp in the head instead. As you can see, Harry was none too pleased about this stunt, and began cursing out the fan.

Those sly Millwall hooligans, always up to some mischief! They must’ve known how much I hate getting hit by balls

Compounding Harry’s headache, QPR promptly conceded the slim lead just seconds later (while Redknapp was still giving it to the fan), and in stoppage time no less.

He shouldn’t stay too mad for too long, considering QPR are still unbeaten in Championship play. Let’s just hope the knock to the head doesn’t stop Harry from churning out his next autobiography.

H/T 101GG

2
Oct

DC United upsets RSL, wins third Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

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DC United entered Tuesday’s night Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final at Real Salt Lake with a clear and concise game plan honed by heavy underdogs the world over.

Keep it tight. Prevent the opposition from playing. Wait for the right time to snatch the winner.

United — holder of three meager wins in MLS play this season and pursuer of a fourth in Open Cup competition on this night — executed Ben Olsen’s instructions doggedly and produced a resolute performance worthy of its 1-0 victory to complete the 100th edition of this competition.

Lewis Neal scored the winning goal shortly before the interval with a first-time effort, but the difference between failure and triumph on this evening hinged with United’s commitment to its defiant and organized work inside its own half.

Real Salt Lake enjoyed plenty of possession without testing United nearly often enough before the frantic late stages. United’s ability to retain its 4-4-2 shape against RSL’s extensive, if somewhat lackluster, work on the ball heaped pressure on the home side to engineer a breakthrough. RSL mined its preferred route between the center backs and the fullbacks — all in a bid to either create numbers out wide to play behind the fullbacks or use the fissures to slot players directly through the line — often enough in a bid to crack apart the United rearguard.

Olsen trusted his central core – defenders Dejan Jakovic and Ethan White, midfielders Perry Kitchen and John Thorrington — prevent RSL from combining deftly in the final third and producing chances in more dangerous areas. Those four players justified that faith and stymied RSL in the process. Their success in the middle of United’s two banks of four forced RSL’s fullbacks forward (they often join in support anyways) to provide hopeful service from the wide areas and left room for United to counter on those rare forays into opposition territory.

It only takes one goal to validate the thought process behind such a display. Neal (an astute selection in midfield in place of Luis Silva due to his considerable work rate) supplied the winner moments before the break after good work from Thorrington down the left created modest chaos inside the RSL penalty area. RSL couldn’t hack clear after shifting somewhat aggressively to halt Thorrington’s run and watched Neal slot home first time for the only goal of the game.

United conceded most of the play on the night and soaked up a furious late siege from RSL with help from Bill Hamid and the goal frame, but the final whistle made the toil worthwhile. United has endured a wretched season in league play. This achievement — fueled by grit and organization — at least provides some tangible relief ahead of the extensive rebuilding project ahead during the winter.

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Images: Jim Urquhart / USA Today Sports

24
Aug

Millwall forgets to pack, has to wear Sheffield Wednesday’s old kits

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Championship side Sheffield Wednesday must have been quite confused while playing Millwall today. After all, their opponents were also clad in Wednesday’s kits!

After Millwall’s kit man forgot to pack the one thing he’s supposed to make sure show up at a match — the kits —the Lions were forced to wear Wednesday’s away yellows from last season. Millwall did somehow manage to get their alternate kits to the stadium for the start of the second half, but it was too late to prevent a thoroughly embarrassing situation:

This, of course, is just as hilarious as when Crystal Palace had to loan their away kits to Barnsley last year after the visitors brought the wrong-colored shirts. That match ended up resembling a preseason intra-squad scrimmage:

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(H/T Daily Mail)

15
Aug

Support a small soccer club? So does Jennifer Aniston

Following up on an adorable interview in which he invited movie star Mila Kunis to a local soccer match, amateur interviewer Chris Stark once again defaulted to talking about soccer when confronted by an intimidating interview.

Sitting down with the world famous Jennifer Aniston, Chris was supposed to focus on the actress’ new film, but very quickly turned to a comfortable topic: soccer. 

Handing Aniston a personalized Watford jersey, Chris tried to convince her to support his local club before admitting that Watford are "only a small club…they’re in the Championship." For her part, the actress was gracious, and promised to wear the jersey when flying out of the country. 

Based on their start-studded list of supporters, it seems that you could say that Watford are very quickly becoming the Los Angeles Lakers of English soccer; well, minus the success and all.

5
Aug

The Championship play-off final is sometimes referred to as the most valuable game in soccer for the windfall that teams enjoy once they make it to the Premier League. While that’s a justifiable perspective, it also overlooks the purity of what fans experience as they support their teams in the lowest dredges of the English soccer pyramid.

From the lowest of the lows, to grinding through the Championship, the path to the Premier League is a difficult one, and one that relies on a long-term commitment from a club’s supporters.

That experience can be difficult to explain to fans outside of English soccer, but this video, which chronicles last season’s Championship play-off final between Watford and Crystal Palace, makes a good attempt. From the pre-match nerves, to the stress that both fans and players alike feel in the stands during the match, to the simultaneous eruptions of joy and sorrow once the final whistle blows, this is the Championship experience.

It captures the drama of promotion like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

1
Aug

One Direction star signs contract with pro soccer team. No, really.

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Image via: doncasterroversfc.co.uk

More like New Direction.

Louis Tomlinson of the popular English-Irish boy band One Direction has officially signed on as a non-contract player with Championship side Doncaster Rovers. This is not a joke.

Tomlinson, who gained fame with his bandmates on the British TV singing competition The X-Factor and then signed with Simon Cowell’s record company (we can only guess what Simon thinks about this), joined the club as a way to raise money for Bluebell Wood charity.

The 21-year-old, who hasn’t played at any level higher than Sunday League, will appear for the club’s reserve squad at some point this season and wear jersey number 28 (ladies, don’t get this kit for your boyfriends). There’s practically no chance he will feature for the first team, as Doncaster would probably rather not risk their status as a Championship side after gaining promotion just this past season. Still, the Doncaster native said the opportunity has been “a dream come true” for him.

No, girls, he will not be leaving the band because of this. You can all relax now. But let’s just hope that this goes a lot better than Justin Bieber’s foray into professional hockey.