Omar Riza Orient Manager

Omar Riza is the current Leyton Orient manager and was the 5th manager in a turbulent 2016/2017 season for Orient as the club were relegated out of the League for the first time in their history dropping down from League 2 to the National League.

After 112 years of league football Riza was in a no win no win situation with the club already as good as relegated following the departure of Danny Webb on 30th March 2017. Riza was seemingly a shock choice to replace Webb with no managerial experience whatsoever but promoted from his position at Orient as assistant. It could be seen to be a last ditch attempt try something different by the Italian owners of the club although the majority of the clubs fans saw it as throwing in the towel on league survival before the inevitable was to happen.

There is no way Omar Riza could be blamed for this scenario and he took the team to the end of the season where they finished bottom of the division League 2 and therefore bottom of the whole 92 football club league and ultimate relegation.

Riza was born in Edmonton, London however he did play for the Turkish national B-Team. In the media he is widely regarded as ‘ex Arsenal man Omar Riza yet the relative truth was that he never even played for the Gunners first team in the Premiership. In fact his transfer from Arsenal to West Ham was seen as stepping stone to playing regular first team football for the Hammers but again Riza never played a single first team game for the club either.

Whilst at Arsenal he was loaned out to ADO Den Haag in thee Netherlands where he saw a little bit of action starting 11 games and scoring 3 goals.

He did at least make his debut debut on 2 November 1998 against Derby County in the League Cup and as a substitute he also travelled with the team on away fixtures against Dynamo Kiev and in Greece against Panathanaikos in the Champions league.

With few first team opportunities at Arsenal his signing to West Ham was heralded as a positive move but again Riza was unable to break into the first team. He went on loan to lower league teams Barnet and Cambridge United and signed a permanent deal with the latter in 2002. During the 2002/03 season he at last showed his potential as he scored 17 goals for United, which prompted a move to Turkish side Denizlispor during the 2003 close season. In January 2006, he signed for major Turkish team Trabzonspor, however In January 2008 Rıza walked out of the club claiming he had not been paid something he was to find at Leyton Orient 9 years later.

In February 2009 Rıza returned to English football with a trial at Shrewsbury Town then in League 2.and impressed manager Paul Simpson the man who was to win the World Cup with England Under 20’s as manager in June 2017. However, Rıza could not take part in any official matches due to the ban imposed upon him by the TFF after he walked out on Trabzonspur. The players legal representatives submitted a case to football’s World governing body FIFA I in early April 2009, from which a Swiss judge over-ruled the TFF decision, on 17 April, that Rıza shall be allowed to compete in English football. Rıza made his debut for Shrewsbury Town as a second-half substitute against the mighty Rotherham United the following day.

On 22 January 2010, he left Shrewsbury Town after struggling to break into the first team during the first half of the season, with Rıza and the club coming to an agreement regarding paying off the rest of his contract. On 25 February he joined Aldershot Town until the end of the season. Rıza then joined Histon on a non-contract basis and made his debut against Kettering.He scored his first goal for Histon when he scored a penalty in their league match against Hayes and Yeading United, which turned out to be the winning goal. Due to the financial cost of his wages, Histon released Rıza in January 2012, giving him seven days notice to leave the club.

In February 2012 Rıza signed for Boreham Wood scoring on his debut in a 3–0 win against Maidenhead United On 28 January 2013 he signed for Chelmsford City and scored on his debut on the same day against Dorchester Town in a 4–0 win. He was also named man of the match.

As you can see Omer Riza’s life as a player was colourful with a lot of frustrations and a few high points something that his Orient career as a manager he has replicated in just a few games. He is only 37 and should be given a chance. His passion is certainly there as In his first game as manager, on 1 April, Orient lost 0-2 to Wycombe Wanderersand Rıza was sent to the stands for verbally abusing referee Charles Brakespear. Not the most audacious start to his managerial career but at least it showed his heart is there that others at the club certainly do not have. On 22 April 2017, after losing to Crewe Alexandra, Orient was relegated to the National League however he had managed to steer Orient to surviving over the Easter period with a draw and a win for what was basically an academy team.

He has only managed Leyton Orient for 7 games with 5 defeats and the Easter lifeline of a win and a draw but he at least deserves a chance. Whether he gets one or not under Italian owner Bellotti is another thing.

Who Needs a Genie when You’ve Won €50K?

Here at EnergyCasino, we’ve just witnessed another incredible life changing win! Yes, on the 13th June one of our lucky slot players rubbed the Golden Lamp and, instead of a genie appearing, almost €50,000 materialised!

So, how did this tale of good fortune unfold? Well, it was all down to a maximum stake of just €50 and a Free Spins bonanza! You see, our determined player placed a bet which resulted in ten Free Spins which, in turn, resulted in another ten Free Spins… and it was during these twenty Free Spins that he won €50,000!

The game that made his wishes come true was Golden Lamp, from BF Games; a magical Aladdin-style adventure set in the near east, featuring flying carpets, golden lamps, genies and beautiful Persian princesses. In fact, our lucky player seems to have developed quite a taste for BF Games titles, as he also indulged in sessions on Stunning Hot and Royal Crown! EnergyCasino is one of only a handful of casinos that currently offer BF Games, and judging from this account, they are clearly worth playing!

The EnergyCasino team was even more delighted when we found out who the winner was, because he’s a long-time player who had joined us for the Germany v Poland game at Euro 2016 – it’s always nice when something like this happens to someone we can put a face to!

As for the winner himself, well, it’s probably going to take a while for the full scale of the win to sink in, and all he could manage when we talked to him was “I am extremely happy, when I saw all the winnings symbols and big win notification, I was in utter shock! I’m not sure what I will do with my winnings yet, I’m still totally speechless.”

All we can say is a massive “well done” and “thank you” – we think you deserve to celebrate for a while, and we hope to see you again soon!

Have you tried our new BF Games range yet?

Too Clever & Too Naughty

Though casinos often benefit from the publicity of high-profile celebrity clientele, there are some big names they would rather keep out. The reasons are as different as the celebrities, as you’ll see.

Too Clever

First off, and quite understandably, casinos aren’t keen on British illusionist Derren Brown. Anyone who’s seen any of his incredible mind-bending TV or stage shows will understand why. Derren’s tricks are so slick and sophisticated that you could be forgiven for believing him to be a magician. Of course, Derren himself always stresses they are mere illusions, and often carefully explains each trick afterwards. Still, his prowess with a deck of cards has casinos spooked, and according to reports, he finds it almost impossible to get into any gambling establishment. Judging by Derren Brown’s casino experiences, we’d also hazard a guess that Steven Frayne, better known as ‘Dynamo’, would be ‘politely asked to leave’ casinos too – his insane tricks and illusions being every bit as impressive, if not more so, than Derren’s.

Derren Brown cheats a casino

Derren Brown turns someone into a poker genius in a week

Dynamo stuns at a casino

Too Naughty

Of course, casinos don’t just ban celebrities for outsmarting them, nope, there’s also a list of celebs who aren’t welcome simply because they are too much trouble.

Take, for example, former Philadelphia shooting guard, Allen Iverson. Despite being a highly-respected NBA player, his bad boy antics off court have led to a bunch of run-ins with the law, and especially with casinos! Apparently, he’s currently banned from pretty much every single gambling venue in Detroit, because he has a tendency to chuck chips at dealers, let rip into other players, has a potty mouth and wouldn’t return $10k of overpaid chips. Very classy Allen, very classy.

Talking of naughty boys, One Direction, the cheesy British boy band, have also been escorted out of a casino in Las Vegas, but perhaps their offence was more forgivable. They had, apparently forgotten about the higher legal gambling age in Nevada compared with their native England, and being under 21 were technically breaking the law. Tut tut boys.

Rap star Lil’ Wayne is, apparently, banned from the Wynn Casino in Vegas, though the exact reasons are unclear. But, when you consider he’s also banned from drinking alcohol in the neighbouring state of Arizona, we think we’ve got a fair idea it may be drink-related!

But, it’s hats off to the ever-entertaining Paris Hilton, for getting chucked out of a casino owned by the group that carries her own name! Yes, Paris got banned from a Hilton group casino for losing a £175,000 Bentley in a poker game. Worse still, it’s not the first time she’s been barred from casinos! I mean, doesn’t she have anything better to do with her time than cause trouble in casinos? Oh, hang on a minute…

England Salvage Point In Mad Last 6 Minutes

 

Harry Kane scored a dramatic goal in the last minute of stoppage time as England carved out a 2-2 draw against the Old Enemy Scotland at Hampden Park.

Three goals in the last 6 minutes ensured this was a match no-one was going to forget in a while as two Leigh Griffiths free kicks gave Scotland an unexpected lead going into injury time after a game where the first 70 minutes were ultimately a bit dull.

The last 20 minutes turned out to be fascinating as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave England a lead they deserved as Scotland had about as much bite as a goldfish for the majority of the match. How Leigh Griffiths the Celtic star was to turn the whole game on it’s head with two sublime free kicks that left England keeper Joe Hart flapping at air in just three minutes.

Scotland fans couldn’t believe what was going on, actually I don’t think anybody could believe what was going on and then with just seconds left that man Harry Kane popped up to head home and give England a deserved equalizer and heavily dent Scotlands hopes of World Cup qualification for yet another campaign.

The game had looked destined for a fairly dour 0-0 draw when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the beneficiary of poor goalkeeping from Craig Gordon with 20 minutes remaining shoving England into a 1-0 lead they just about deserved.

Then the drama showed up as Hampden Park erupted in the 87th minute when Leigh Griffiths curled home a 25-yard free-kick for his first international goal, before lightning struck twice in the final minute of normal time as another set-piece from the Celtic star put Scotland on the brink of a famous Group F victory. Two cracking free kicks which will put question marks over Joe Hart’s time in the England goal with Fraser Forster creeping up behind him.

However there was more drama than a weeks worth of Eastenders and Coronation Street combined  as Kane – wearing the armband in place of the absent Wayne Rooney met Raheem Sterling’s swinging cross to silence the home fans.

A draw means Gareth Southgate’s men have left the chasing pack an opportunity to gain ground, with Slovenia three points back in second, while Slovakia will close within two by beating Lithuania.

For Scotland, the late heartbreak means their chances of automatic qualification remain remote at best with the gap to England at six, while they are three points off second.

Hart was largely a bystander in the England goal, though, with Griffiths’ tame 20-yard effort easily held. England initially struggled for fluency until Kane expertly took down Eric Dier’s long pass and lashed a half-volley over the crossbar.

Shortly after, Kane failed to sort out his feet after Adam Lallana brilliantly weaved his way into the area to set up the Tottenham striker and then Scotland almost shot themselves in the foot when Gordon rushed off his line and the goalkeeper’s poor header fell to Kane, whose lob was nodded away by Kieran Tierney and Marcus Rashford’s follow-up was deflected wide.

Scotland had a lucky escape shortly after the restart when Jake Livermore’s strike deflected off Charlie Mulgrew and struck the post but England made the breakthrough with 20 minutes remaining.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been on the pitch just five minutes, brilliantly waltzed into the area from the right and struck a left-foot shot at an unsighted Gordon, who could only palm the effort into the top-right corner. It was a great mazy run and it looked for all the world that Gareth Southgate had made a superb tactical move bringing the Arsenal man into the game.

Then came an incredible end to the match. Griffiths levelled the scores with a brilliantly executed free-kick that beat Hart to his left, the first time that England have conceded on the road to Russia. A second Griffiths set-piece three minutes later then sailed past Hart at the other side of the goal. There were just two minutes and 58 seconds between Griffiths’ first and second direct free-kick strikes for Scotland and Scottish voices were at full volume, but England silenced the home fans.

Dier’s free-kick was well saved, but the ball was recycled and substitute Sterling’s brilliant cross from the left was side-footed home on the volley by Kane, with Gordon left flat-footed.

Two goals from England, one from one sub and an assist from the other and Harry Kane’s equaliser was his first goal for England since May 2016 vs Turkey, ending a run of 575 minutes without one.

For England they are now unbeaten in 35 qualifying games, since a defeat at Ukraine in October 2009 (W26 D9).

So England’s lead is cut to two point over Slovakia whilst Scotland lie in 4th position, 3 points behind Slovenia and 4 behind Slovakia with their hopes of qualification receding by the game.

New Microgaming Slots at EnergyCasino

It’s an exciting month for Microgaming fans at EnergyCasino, with two new games going live! So let’s take a look at what’s in store!

First up is the brand-new Beautiful Bones – a visually rich Day of the Dead inspired treat, with reels packed full of sugar skull masked men and women! It’s a five-reel slot with 243 paylines and comes complete with a catchy Mexican soundtrack to add plenty of atmosphere. As to be expected from a Microgaming creation, Beautiful Bones isn’t lacking in extras, with a Wild Spin Again feature, where any three identical symbols linked either horizontally or vertically, result in an extra free spin, and also the unique Sugar Skull Collection Mechanic. Whenever a scatter lands on reels one or five, a sugar skull is added to the special meter. When you’ve stacked up ten or twenty sugar skulls, you can choose whether to carry on collecting, going for the target of thirty to trigger the top tier free spin bonus (18 free spins with x5 multiplier), or to immediately enter free spins.

Next up is Double Wammy; a 3-reel, single payline slot with oodles of retro charm! The reels feature traditional symbols like cherries, bars and 7’s, and the gameplay keeps things classically simple, with just a wild feature that can double or quadruple your win. Though there aren’t any visual surprises with Double Wammy, the option of playing with one, two or three coins on the single payline can be interesting – is it worth playing 3 coins as opposed to 1, for example, considering the prizes are proportional to bets placed, except when the Double Wammy symbol appears? It’s an interesting conundrum, and certainly adds some interest to this seemingly simple slot!

So, there you have it, two very different games from one of our favourite developers! And remember, we’ve got a large range of other top Microgaming titles to play too.

EnergyBet Goes Biker

EnergyBet, as you probably already know, is based on the sunny Mediterranean island of Malta – and that’s fantastic, apart from one thing. Traffic. Yes, despite measuring barely 25 x 11 km, the Maltese love their cars, and with over half-a-million people crammed into an area smaller than the Isle of Wight, coupled with many ancient, narrow streets, it leads to traffic nightmares. But one plucky EnergyBet team member hit on a two-wheeled solution!

Yes, CRM Executive Tomasz Sikora, a proud Pole, hightailed it back to Bojanowo in Greater Poland and purchased a rather swish black Yamaha FZ6, before setting out on an epic overland and oversea trip back to Malta. The route, including the ferry crossing to Sicily, and several ‘accidental detours’ (EnergyBet crew never get ‘lost’) covered over 2,000km, crossed Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Italy, and took five days.

So, what did our trans-continental outrider get up to on his European road trip? At Energy HQ we followed every move, expecting Tomasz to post updates with beautiful blonde German hitchhikers riding pillion as he sped along the autobahn, or maybe his Kawasaki going head-to-head with a Ducati or two on winding Alpine roads! What we actually got, however, were reports about going several days without washing due to austere German accommodation just outside Ulm, and a nausea inducing incident involving a small ferry cabin and an emotional Italian guy with festering feet.

But, on the plus side Tomasz did enjoy the Swiss Alps, claiming them to be “absolutely all fluffy and magical” and making him feel as if he was “riding on road made from frozen chocolate while passing through clouds made of sweet, pink candyfloss, with diamonds sparkling all around” – we’re just putting it all down to lack of oxygen at high altitude. Though we think the “saw-toothed furry, horned 20m long salamander” that was chasing him as he crossed the Italian frontier was more likely down to the dozens of EnergyBet energy drinks he’d consumed on the ride.

Still, we’re proud that he made it back in one piece, and didn’t get into trouble along the way. We are a little suspicious of the claim that he “popped into CERN” and “sorted out the problems with quantum superposition” along the way. Well, that and the thing about rescuing a panda from a forest fire near Turin, but hey, as long as he had fun.

Right now, Tomasz’s shiny Yamaha is parked outside Energy HQ and his commute time has been dramatically reduced. The question now remains, which biker gang will he be joining, or should Energy establish our own? Hmmm……

 

 

Orient Legends – John Chiedozie

John Chiedozie was a fast, nippy winger who played on the right flank for Leyton Orient between 1977 and 1981.

 He was Nigerian and was born in 1960 in Owerri. He represented Nigeria at international level on nine occasions, eight of them whilst at Orient and scored twice for his country.

He was only 16 when he joined Orient and he was later to play for Notts County, Spurs, Derby County and Chesterfield.

Chiedozie initially joined Orient as an apprentice in April 1977 where he went on to make 145 appearances scoring 20 goals. In August 1981 he joined Notts County for the first time in a £600,000 transfer deal. The sale of Chiedozie to County was for the O’s a then record £600,000 in August 1981 and this is the record transfer fee received by Orient even now 36 years later!

An incredible fact!

For Notts County Chiedozie featured in 111 matches scoring on 15 occasions. Tottenham paid £375,000 for his services in August 1984. In his career at the club, much of it disrupted through injury, he played in 75 matches, including 11 as substitute, scoring 14 goals in all competitions.

Derby County was his next club, which he joined on a free transfer in August 1988, where he completed only two games in his time at the Baseball Ground. A second spell at Notts County began in January 1990, which resulted in just one substitute appearance, before joining Chesterfield in March 1990 where he featured in seven matches, including five as sub. Chiedozie ended his career in Hampshire playing for non-league side Bashley, and retired from competitive football in 1992.

In 2002, he was honoured with the title of Officer of the Order of Niger by Olusegun Obasanjo the President of Nigeria for his contribution to Nigerian football.

In a game featuring West Ham United and Orient at Upton Park, Chiedozie was giving the Irons’ defence a torrid time with his lightning pace down the flank, he received the ball and started another run down the right wing. As he shaped to go past his marker, he pushed the ball past Frank Lampard senior. As he started to run and got level with the veteran defender, he suffered a tackle that nearly took Chiedozie’s leg off at the knee.  For a youngster, such as the pacy Nigerian, to cause such a panic in an experienced player showed how his talents could be harnessed.

Despite Spurs being interested when Orient initially sold him, he went North to Notts. County, who had just been promoted to the old First Division. He spent three years there, before they dropped back into Division Two. While at Meadow Lane, he took the headlines more often than not, including a sparkling performance in a 3-0 thrashing Tottenham suffered away from home in 1983.

When he left the Midlands club, he was much sought after, but Peter Shreeve’s £375,000 bid brought him to White Hart Lane. It was the start of a new team at Tottenham, with Clive Allen joining from QPR that same summer as a replacement for the Barcelona bound Steve Archibald which itself was an inspired acquisition by Shreeve who always looked like a Geography Teacher.

With Allen the predator, it was obvious that Chiedozie was brought in as the supplier and boy did he supply. His pace certainly was an asset that would prove useful, but his delivery often left a little to be desired at times. Quite regularly, he would speed away from his opponent, only to get near the by-line and fire a cross over the heads of the incoming strikers or over the bar. It was as frustrating for the crowd, as it must have been for the forwards. But he started really well for Spurs. His goal in the first League match, away to Everton was part of a marvellous performance in beating the FA Cup holders. Chiedozie was also instrumental in the making of one of Clive Allen’s goals too.

He chipped in with five goals in his first season; all scored before mid November and included a cracking shot to give Spurs a 1-0 win at Aston Villa. His pace and a fierce shot contributed to his goalscoring ability, where he could coolly coast home a chance and this brought him seven goals to his credit in his second term for Spurs. Chiedozie helped Spurs to a thumping 4-1 win over Chelsea with one of the goals and another two in a 5-1 mauling of Newcastle United. The winger had five by November and this time continued through to the end of the season, with two league goals after Christmas and two FA Cup goals too. One saved Spurs from going down to Oxford United at the Manor Ground in the rain and then another in the net against his old side Notts. County as Spurs went on to win 5-0 in the 4th round replay.

John only played once in his final season with Tottenham. Sadly the injuries that struck him down restricted him to only 64 league games and 14 goals in a Spurs shirt and struck again when he moved on to Derby County where he hardly got a look in as he was always on the sidelines. He returned to Notts. County and then on to Chesterfield but his games were very limited. Chiedozie then dropped into non-league football with Banks of Barking and Bashley. The blistering pace he possessed meant that the only way for him to be stopped quite often was to be kicked out of the game. Still he became a fans favourite at three clubs in Orient, Notts County and Spurs and should have had more games to his name when he hung up his boots.

It says something when you are replaced at Spurs by one Mr Chris Waddle.

 

After football

Today, Chiedozie runs a children’s soft play equipment business in the New Forest area of Hampshire.[5]

His son Jordan, also a winger, was with the A.F.C. Bournemouth academy.[2] As of, 2016, he plays for Boreham Wood.[6]

Real Topple Italian Giants With Star Show

 

Real Madrid won their third Champions League crown in 4 years with an emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

That man Cristiano Ronaldo notched a double as Real Madrid defeated 10-man Juventus to retain their Champions League crown and 12th win altogether including the old European Cup.

The Old Lady as Juventus are known appeared to prefer knitting over football as they conceded more goals in the Millennium Stadium in 90 minutes than in their entire campaign as veteran Italian keeper Buffon went home with hiss team destroyed.

You have to feel a bit sorry for him as two of those goals were cruel deflections as Ronaldo carried on his Roy of the Rovers exploits to gain another winners medal.

It was a cracking game in a first half that saw Ronaldo put Madrid ahead, becoming the first player to score in three different Champions League finals in the process and a lovely goal it was too. He rifled the ball past Buffon from 15 metres after a gorgeous 1-2 move, sadly for the Italian legend between the sticks it took a nasty deflection and Buffon had no chance..

Mario Mandzukic equalised for Juventus with a spectacular overhead kick that no-one will forget in a hurry.

Real Madrid dominated the second half as Juve fell part at the seams, Casemiro scoring with the help of another horrid deflection before Ronaldo made sure of the victory from close-range nipping in between two defenders and shooting in from 6 metres, ensuring he finishes above Lionel Messi as the competition’s top scorer this season.

Juventus substitute Juan Cuadrado was sent off 18 minutes after coming on, the winger receiving a second yellow card for a clash with Sergio Ramos, before Madrid substitute Marco Asensio put the icing on the cake in the last minute. Cuadrado sending off was a bit harsh for the ex Chelsea man as the Old Lady’s hopes went up in smoke.

Having also secured LaLiga glory, the win seals a famous double for Zinedine Zidane in his first full season at the helm, with Madrid the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to win back-to-back European crowns.

As for Juventus, who had been seeking a treble after winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia, have now lost five straight finals since last tasting continental success back in 1996, including two of the last three, having also lost to Barcelona in Berlin two years ago.

Former Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain tested Keylor Navas early on with a 25-yard drive, before the goalkeeper had to make a terrific one-handed save to keep out a powerful Miralem Pjanic strike from a similar distance.

Real Madrid took the lead though as Ronaldo capping a slick passing move. Karim Benzema and Ronaldo were both involved in the build-up before Dani Carvajal’s cut-back led to the Portugal international producing an impressive first-time finish, finding the far corner from the edge of the area with the help of a deflection off Leonardo Bonucci.

However the game swung back to Juve just seven minutes later. Bonucci’s pass from defence was helped on by both Alex Sandro and Higuain to set up Mandzukic and the Croatia international took one touch and unfurled a magnificent overhead kick into the top corner, with Navas not close to it. Talk about a beauty!

Ronaldo had a chance to hit back, but he misjudged an attempted diving header from Isco’s cross as an entertaining first half ended level at 1-1.

Luka Modric tested Gianluigi Buffon with a left-footed strike from outside the box as Madrid made a faster start to the second half.

And Zidane’s men retook the lead just after the hour mark when Toni Kroos had a shot blocked and Casemiro latched on to the loose ball 35 yards out, firing in a shot which took a huge deflection off Sami Khedira to deceive Buffon.

With Juve shell-shocked, Madrid struck again just three minutes later. Modric played a one-two with Carvajal, latching on to the full-back’s return pass down the right and digging out a superb cross, allowing Ronaldo to nip ahead of a stationary Bonucci and prod in from inside the six-yard box.

Juve brought on Cuadrado, Mario Lemina and Claudio Marchisio as they attempted to reverse the momentum, while Gareth Bale was introduced for Madrid in his home city.

The Italian champions needed a superb intervention from Bonucci to stop Bale from tapping in a Ronaldo cross, before coming close themselves when Alex Sandro’s glancing header fell just wide from Dani Alves’ free-kick.

Then we hit pantomime season as a bad night for Juve got worse with six minutes to go when Cuadrado, already booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo, saw red after Ramos went down like Emile Heskey doing a paper round., the Colombia international having lightly pushed him and made minimal contact with his foot. Ramos will later receive a BAFTA award for overacting.

Madrid wrapped up a famous triumph in the final minute when Asensio – eight minutes after coming on – slotted in left-footed from eight yards after superb work from Marcelo down the left in an emphatic triumph for Zidane.

The plaudits will no doubt go to Mr Ronaldo who has now scored at least twice as many Champions League goals as any other player in the quarter-final stage (20), semi-final stage (13) and final of the competition (4).

So Real Madrid were worthy winners but Juve will feel hard done by thanks to two large defections and a sending off that never should have been.

Gianluigi Buffon was the third oldest player to feature in a European Cup final (39y 126d) after Dino Zoff and Edwin van der Sar but his dream turned into a nightmare as the Old Lady had her zimmer frame taken from beneath her by the Spanish giants.

Congratulations Real Madrid.

The Relegated Teams

18th to 20th Positions – The Relegated Teams, those teams who will play in the Championship next season.

18th place. Hull City. 4 and a half out of 10. Manager Mike Phelan was named the new manager in August after Steve Bruce left a calamitous situation (that was none of his fault) weeks previously with no money for players and City down to the bare bones. What the owners were up to is anyone’s guess. Surprisingly under Phelan Hull started magnificently going top of the Premiership early on and Phelan was Premiership manager of the month for August, after that Hull didn’t win a thing and Phelan was sacked in early winter. Mario Silva came in just after Christmas and Hull looked like they might survive after he found 4 or 5 members of a possible Hull cavalry in the transfer window. This was despite losing their best player in the January transfer window in Robert Snodgrass who was still leading scorer 5 months later with 7 goals. Silva led the Tigers to a number of huge results but Hull just couldn’t survive the drop as teams above them equally found good if not better form. They scored 37 goals but let in 80 with a goal difference of minus 43 so maybe they deserved relegation. Although in their defence of what their was they were the only team of the bottom 3 who gave it some wellie as they battled hard for survival. Mario Silva resigned to the dismay of many fans and Hull City are back to the Championship and back to square one.

 

19th place. Middlesbrough. 2 out of 10. You have to feel sorry for the north-east fans and you have to feel sorry for Chairman Steve Gibson who seems to have given his all to the club. Unfortunately Boro were awful in the season. I blame the manager Aitor Karanka who was sacked late in the campaign, but he’d already done the damage by deriding the fans, picking the wrong team, relying on the defence too much, failing in the transfer market and having about as much awareness of the Premiership as a fart in a trance. The fans will not be sorry to see him go and Steve Agnew was left to pick up the pieces for the final few matches with Middlesbrough’s dreaded fate out of his hands. Boro will regroup I’m sure under Gibson’s guidance although Gibson might be more aware of who he brings in this time around. Just 5 wins all season from 38 games paints it’s own depressing picture but only 27 goals scored, ouch, that was two less than Harry Kane on his tod. Yup just 0.7 goals per game. Gibson says he will make big changes and I expect him to do so.

 

20th place. Sunderland. 1 out of 10. You have to feel sorry for the north-east fans. Unfortunately Sunderland were beyond awful this season. I blame the manager, hang on are we talking Middlesbrough or Sunderland. Well in this case Sunderland this time around. You know you are going to have an uphill battle all season when your manager in this case David Moyes announces in August he expects his team to be in a relegation fight. Oh the fans must have been joyous of those pearls of wisdom so early on. The truth was Sunderland didn’t even put up a fight going down like flys in a vacuum cleaner. They were atrocious. Only two players came out with any pride in tact, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who was outstanding, mind you he had a hell of a lot to do. While frontman Jermaine Defoe was magnificent once again scoring a brilliant 15 goals for the bottom club and getting back into the England team (and scoring). Defoe kept them in the Premiership last year with his goals as Sam Allardyce saved Sunderland from the drop but although he again had a great campaign Defoe couldn’t keep Sunderland up twice. Sunderland’s second top scorer had 3 goals. Moyes resigned at the last death throes of the season and that was probably the best news Sunderland had all season as Defoe said goodbye by switching to Bournemouth. Moyes told a female reporter she should get a slap that got him into trouble with the FA during the season but the slap in the face for the Stadium of Light fans was Moyes darkness and negativity through the 9 months. For Moyes his CV is now in shreds, one success, keeping Everton in 7th place for more years than you can think of and 3 failures at Manchester United, in Spain for Real Sociedad and now at Sunderland. David take a break, get some positivity back, and maybe go travelling. I hear Sam Allardyce is looking for a trekking buddy in Nepal.

Premiership Review Part 4 Season 2016 – 2017

15th to 17th Position

 

In our ongoing review of the Premiership which finished in a blaze of goals last week, we are reviewing by giving marks out of ten to how each team did in the league over the course of the season. Here are the teams that staved off relegation but have heaps of work to do for next season.

  

15th place. Swansea City. 7 out of 10. Odds on to go down after Christmasby which time they would have been reviewed with a 4 out of 10, the board decided things must change and out went Bob Bradley the American manager who really wasn’t given a fair crack of the whip. In came manager number 3 for the season Paul Clement, a rather surprising choice who surprised us all nonetheless by putting a bit of steel into a back line that previously a trout could have found the net with. Clement bought a bit more effort into the team aided by a couple of January transfer window buys and through a bit of toil, acres of hard work and a different attitude changed the mindset of the team and got them out of the bottom three. Even as the season was nearing it’s conclusion it was always going to be either Swansea or Hull City that was going to go down however 4 wins from the final 5 games and the other a draw ensured safety with two games to play and a solid base to improve on for next season. Llorente looked head and shoulders above anyone else in the team and will no doubt move on. He scored 15 of their goals and the only player to come close to him was Sigurdsson in terms of both goals and quality as the Icelandic diamond finished with 9 goals for the season. Swansea can learn a lot from this season and when or if Llorente is sold they should invest the money wisely, rumours are that Chelsea fancy the Swansea talisman. The defence missed Ashley Williams big time this season as they let in a staggering 70 goals and with a goal difference of -25, that really tells it’s own story. Changes in players are required and the board will be pleased that their gamble of installing Clement worked wonders. Swansea are the first team to have three managers in one season and still survive relegation and in Clement it seems they have a shrewd man and fans will be pleased to know Claude Makelele has signed a new extension deal this week on the coaching staff. Despite reverberations from Paul Clement that Swansea don’t have to sell in the summer it would be beneficial to rake in some cash so they can assemble a proper team rather than 2 or 3 good players in an OK side.

 

16th place. Burnley. 6 out of 10. Sean Dych’s men had a pretty decent season and ended up on the magic 40 points, the alleged safety point that if you reach it you shouldn’t be relegated, in theory. Burnley with their limited resources were a few places better than 16th though and never appeared to be in any danger of being relegated. Dych is in command of a good ship although one of their Captains Joey Barton won’t be there after placing 12 million bets on a ball boy to score the opening goal of next season for Crystal Palace against Barcelona. Barton’s 18 month ban for illegal betting means understandably the 34 year old has been released by Burnley so Dych needs to be clever in the transfer market. Wouldn’t John Terry be ideal as a replacement although Terry would probably go to West Ham if given the chance. The defence funnily enough hasn’t been the problem this season, it’s scoring goals that is the problem. Only 39 goals scored in 38 games isn’t enough to get them to proper mid table so another striker is needed. Sam Vokes did fine with his 10 goals but they need an out and out goalscorer and although Gray chipped in with 9 goals Dych should be looking at a renowned goalscorer possibly from the lower leagues.

 

17th place. Watford. 5 out of 10. Watford started the season so well and then just plummeted. One place above the relegation zone looks bad but again in reality just like Burnley, they never looked in any trouble to ever face the prospect of relegation. Their position looks worse due to Swansea and Palace having great runs at the end of the season and overtaking them. The manager Walter Mazzarri quit before the last home game but still oversaw it and looked a pained figure as Watford went down 5-0 to Manchester City and it seems the Watford fans were more than happy to see him go. Mazzarri didn’t help himself though, particularly as he kept Hornet’s legend Troy Deeney on the sidelines for half the season and Deeney still got into double figures! Take away Deeney and Watford would have been in even more deep water with Capoue the next highest scorer with a paltry 7 goals over the term. From 7th position on December 5th to 17th on the last day of the season the Vicarage Road outfit will be massively disappointed. A new manager and a new start for Watford one would think and as I write this incredibly Marco Silva the former Hull boss has just been named as the new man. Not the worst choice Watford could have made.

 

 



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