FA Cup history set to be made with 22-year-old manager


(Image via BBC.com)

What were you doing when you were 22 years old? Perhaps you were finishing up college, or starting a new job, likely mixing in some partying. Highly unlikely you were coaching a soccer team in England’s FA Cup.

That’s exactly what Romsey Town manager James Phillips is set to do, believed to be making history in England’s storied tournament. Phillips is likely to become the youngest manager in FA Cup history when Romsey Town faces Fareham Town on Saturday. The Football Association confirmed to BBC Sport they were unaware of anyone younger.

The youngster’s story and rise starts out predictably enough. He played a lot of video games in his early days, namely “Championship Manager.”

"I was one of those sad people after school who was sat there for hours playing Championship Manager," he told BBC Sport. "I always used to try and take a really small club up through the leagues."

The game piqued Phillips’ interest in coaching, kick-starting his coaching career at age 16 with Lyndhurst Football Club.

Last season, Phillips took the position of assistant reserve-team manager at Romsey Town before taking over for management duo Carl Bennett and John McFarlane. Phillips continued to impress, and named the first-team manager in April.

His ambition doesn’t stop there, either. “My ultimate aim is to work in the professional game in some capacity, whether that be as a coach or a manager, in the future.”

From playing video games to living them, Phillips has it figured out.

"Now I’m doing it in real life. It’s a little bit different with a bit more pressure."

Making history is just a BIT more pressure? Way to keep it cool, kid.

(h/t BBC Sport)


Wigan’s James McArthur has FA Cup medal, wedding rings stolen


(McArthur, left, in happier times after winning the FA Cup. Image: Getty)

It’s been a rough week for Wigan midfielder James McArthur.

Burglars broke into McArthur’s home sometime between May 20 and 26 and cleaned out the Scotland international’s personal belongings. Among those belongings were his FA Cup winner’s medal from last year and two wedding rings.

"I am devastated, as is my fiancee. The medal is priceless for me and this is a real blow to us to happen just before the wedding. They ripped through the house and took virtually everything of value. – it is very upsetting," McArthur told Wigan’s official website.

What kind of sleazy person steals such personal effects? Police admit that the criminals will probably have a hard time pawning off the medal.

“It is unlikely the offenders will keep hold of the medal and may try to sell it on.  Obviously, it is unusual for such an item to come on the market …” DC Kevin Telford said.
Here’s to hoping the crooks are dumb enough to try and sell the medal and get busted.

(h/t r/soccer)


Lukas Podolski posts photo of Arsenal players sleeping after celebrating

After a lengthy drought, Arsenal was finally able to claim a much-deserved trophy after Saturday’s FA Cup triumph over Hull City. Some Gunners seemed to have celebrated a touch too much:

With a caption of “Hangover 4 - The collapse,” Lukas Podolski posted a photo on Instagram of several teammates all tuckered out from celebrating.

It might be a little embarrassing, but who can blame ‘em?

(h/t 101GG)


It’s been a long time! What happened since Arsenal last won a trophy…

imageArsenal’s trophy case has been collecting only dust for some time now.

Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought is well documented, but do you really understand just how long it’s been?

A lot can happen in football over the course of nine years, more than you’ll remember. Thankfully, the wonderful people over at Football Daily put this video together to paint the complete picture.

The one nugget that stood out immediately? Since the Gunners last lifted a trophy — the 2005 FA Cup — there have been 29 different English sides that have won silverware. Twenty-nine.

Watch the video for more stats that will make Arsenal fans shudder:

H/T 101GG


Arsenal sure seems confident they’ve already won the FA Cup

Sports teams jumping the gun on proclaiming themselves winners certainly isn’t something new, (Yes, we’re looking at you, Matt Hasselbeck), but Arsenal has taken it a step further.

image(Via @WorldSoccerTalk)

Yep, that’s a bus the Gunners have lined up for a victory parade, complete with a “The FA Cup Winners 2014” decal, despite having not yet played Hull City in the final.

How do we know they’re planning a parade?


(via @GaryLDN)

Oh, boy. Arsenal certainly made the transition from confident to cocky with these minor hiccups. Surely all Hull manager Steve Bruce needs to do is pop these images up in the dressing room and his boys will be amped.

Who knows? Maybe the Bruce and the Tigers could even pull off the unthinkable upset, ala Truman over Dewey:


(h/t Hull Daily Mail)


English papers damage trust between clubs and media with sensationalized headlines

imageThe Guardian

Why do managers and football players hate the media? A look at today’s newspapers in England offers a lesson.

A little background: I’ve now spent about ten days in England in now, and seen almost a game a day. That’s a good eight games, between sixteen and twenty press conferences, and more seats built for midgets than I can count. Every day, I’m surprised to open the papers the following morning and find out that I apparently missed the press conferences. The ones I was at bear little relation to those that made it into print.

To wit: a survey of Monday’s Guardian, the Mail, the Telegraph and Sun present a rather different picture of how Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers acted at their press conferences Sunday night.

Most papers led today with a variation on the following: “Rodgers fumes over ‘blatant’ penalty denied by ref Webb” (that’s the Guardian.) Except, Rodgers wasn’t fuming, or raging (the Mail) or doing much else of the kind. Yes, he thought it was a penalty not given and said so. But he was also laughing and joking with the press corps and had the air of professional resignation about him. This, perhaps, was due to the fact that he knew he was lucky to finish with ten men on the field after one of his players unwisely put his hands on the ref’s chest and another committed a second bookable offense.

Then there was Wenger, said to be “furious” over Jose Mourinho’s statements last week. Was he? Maybe, but that’s supposition. He showed signs of it, as he too was joking with the media – even during the one truly uncomfortable part his press conference, when he was forced to address Olivier Giroud’s apparently acknowledged infidelity. (Courteously, the Mail ran a series of photographs of the young woman in question today alongside pictures of Giroud in action.)

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