Thoughts On Michael Owen: My Story.

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In case you haven’t noticed (or you’re new to this blog), I am and forever will be a Michael Owen fan. Let’s just get that out of the way already.

Despite having read his autobiography Off The Record, I’m still very much interested in anything Owen-related, so of course it was a much pleasant surprise when I found out that LFC TV has produced an interview/documentary entitled Michael Owen: My Story. It’s about time!

It was not easy for me as an overseas fan with no access to LFC TV content to see it, but I finally got hold of it from a fellow LFC fan who kindly uploaded it for me (you know who you are and you’re awesome!).

So where do I even begin?

What stands out about Michael Owen was just how confident he was (and still is, I suppose) about his talents and abilities not just as a football player but as a person. Money, image, fame and the like never factored into his journey—for him it was all about playing football and scoring goals. That clinical, almost single-minded approach earned him equal parts admiration and derision. But really, that’s just the way he was as a player, and I’m glad that up to now he stays true to himself and makes no apologies for it.

The first half discussed his humble beginnings, his meteoric rise to the Liverpool and England Senior Squad, as well as that extraordinary 2001 Treble Year that he was a part of. It was amusing how even winning the European Football Player of the Year 2001 wasn’t that much of a big deal to him (at that time), and the gravity of it only sank into him a few years later. Seeing snippets of his goals as a Liverpool player made me feel as if I’m a teenager again, and that nothing mattered but the beautiful game that is Football.

To be honest, most of it was perfectly straightforward, nothing that a longtime Liverpool or Owen fan doesn’t already know, and although ex-teammates were mentioned in passing, only Carra’s name cropped up a lot. I know Michael and Jamie are still good mates until this very day, but what I really wanted the interviewer to touch on is how Michael and Steven Gerrard’s relationship are these days. I know Stevie wasn’t particularly happy when Michael signed for rivals Manchester United, and although they have crossed paths a number of times in Anfield, I have not heard of them interacting together like the old friends they once were. Am I being paranoid or are my suspicions valid? Anyway, the Owen-Gerrard rift (or lack thereof) shall have to remain a mystery for now.

And then things got really interesting.

“…Liverpool is in my heart…”

So that move to Real Madrid was finally brought up: Ten years may have passed (dear me, has it really been that long?!) but I still feel a knot in my stomach every time he talks about it.

And boy, did he talk about it. For the first time in years, the usually calm Owen surprisingly displayed a bevy of emotions as he discussed leaving Liverpool for Real Madrid, being denied a return by Newcastle and then making the decision to play for blood rivals Manchester United.

He still looks visibly hurt when he talked about being twice denied the opportunity to return to Liverpool, which he fondly called “his first love”, as well as being booed on his Anfield return and the strain in his relationship with some LFC fans. I just wanted to reach out and hug the screen because he sure looked like he needed a big one. (cue Take That’s “Back For Good”)

Saint Michael, The Wonderboy: He is human, after all. You never really forget or get over your first love.

The atmosphere was mostly relaxed, there was never a hint of sensationalism nor forced controversy. Overall, it was candid, earnest, at times heartbreaking and bittersweet.

Haters: All your arguments have been proven invalid.

Although some questions have been answered, I still have a hundred more unanswered ones. I’m still hoping that at some point in time, Michael will update his autobiography one more time to expound on his adventures. I feel like he has so much more to say. Forty-six minutes just weren’t enough—I want more of that emotionally-charged last 10 (or so) minutes!

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Tales Of Footballmania: How I (Finally) Met Michael Owen.

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To the future children I may or may not have,

Here is the story of how I finally met my favourite football player of all time*, Mr. Michael James Owen.

(*Before anything else, allow me to state my long-standing belief that I AM his biggest fan in the Philippines. From the time he broke out as a young Liverpool star up to his last English Premier League match with Stoke City, I was there for him. I accepted everything, the highs, the lows, questionable professional decisions and all. No, seriously, I challenge anyone to find a bigger Michael Owen fan in my country. You won’t.)

One nondescript May evening, I was lounging in bed, lazily browsing the web on my mobile phone when I chanced upon an article on Facebook announcing that Michael Owen was coming to Singapore in June for a football-related event hosted by the shopping mall Wisma Atria. To say that my pulse quickened and my breathing became shallow would be an understatement: Singapore is merely 3 hours away from where I live. My schedule was pretty much clear for that weekend. Carpe bloody diem. I have to go. I shan’t forgive myself if I dare missed this opportunity.

After going on Viber and freaking out to my closest childhood friends about it, I started researching flight schedules and accommodations. Just when I thought that I was going to have to make the trip alone, one of my bestest friends, HM, confirmed that she was willing to tag along (I need reinforcement just in case I faint or do something embarrassing). Hooray! We got our flights and hotels booked in a flash, so all I had to do was wait.

And wait I did. My birthday came and went, World Cup 2014 got underway, and suddenly it was just a few days before that big trip.

Apart from my childhood friends, nobody really knew that I was making that trip to see Michael Owen. I told my family that I was going to Singapore for a post-birthday holiday and to see my friend J and her family there. Weird as it may sound, I didn’t want to jinx anything just in case I don’t end up seeing MO. Yeah, I’m superstitious like that. Looking back, I’ve realized that from the moment I decided I was going on that trip, everything seemed to fall into place. It’s as if the universe really did conspire with me to make good things happen. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We arrived on a Friday, went around the Bugis area, and then returned to the hotel late at night, exhausted but full of excitement for the weekend ahead. I kept checking his Twitter account @themichaelowen but there was no trace there that he was coming to Singapore. Where was he?! A small part of me was getting worried, especially since I haven’t even scoped out the venue and the event was hours away. A bigger part of me though was super Zen, and it kept assuring the worried part that everything will be alright. Ommmm….

Saturday came and it was only when HM and I were having lunch that nerves started to kick in. Hard. My stomach was in absolute knots. In just a few hours, I may or may not see and meet Michael Owen, just the main reason for this trip. My worries from the night before were obliterated as we came closer to Wisma Atria: It was Footballmania over there! There’s no way you would miss him—Michael Owen was plastered everywhere! We couldn’t resist doing the touristy thing and proceeded to take photos with every MO advert we saw, as well as the giant foosball table right smack along Orchard Road. I needed to distract myself, things were starting to get real.

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Move over, Iker Casillas!

Move over, Iker Casillas!

Owen sandwich

Owen sandwich

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We came inside and saw that the event setup was already in place. We were a couple of hours early but we headed down to the atrium anyway to check it out. I asked a girl from the registration desk how the event would play out, and more important, would MO be able to meet the public? She patiently explained to me that the priority for the meet and greet would be in the order of: Fan Club members, the competition winners and those who spent a certain amount of money in the mall. If Michael has enough time, the rest of the public would be allowed to join the queue. Challenge accepted, then. I didn’t want to risk it so I promptly told the girl that I was willing to wait and that I would start the public queue, which was met by a surprised laugh and a “Good luck!”. Just watch the expert in action, girl.

It wasn’t long before people started noticing the event area, and more and more people started joining the public queue. We could only look on in jealousy at all the people wielding the “magic tickets” that allowed them access to the priority queues, but generally, we were all in a hopeful mood that we’d be let in. The line may be long but it was not overwhelmingly long. MO wouldn’t leave us hanging, would he?!

The madness. Pic vis the Wisma Atria Instagram Page.

The madness. Pic via the Wisma Atria Instagram Page.

There were Liverpool fans, Manchester United fans, England fans, Newcastle fans and even fans of different worldwide clubs and nations in the queue. Fans young and old alike all wore the same expressions on their faces: I am so fricking excited to see Michael Owen. Even fathers were sacrificing having their children join them (1 person per ticket only, la) and sending them off to their mums instead just to have the chance to meet that footballer that lit up their TV screens as a youngster.

After what seemed like an eternity, the event host finally announced his arrival. With astounding speed and precision, everyone raised their mobile phones and cameras, eager to capture the moment. And there I was, still as a statue, ready and yet so very unprepared.

Michael Owen came out on stage. I felt everything and nothing at the same time. It was surreal. The very player that got me hooked on football and the one I watched and followed for nearly two bloody decades was standing mere meters away. That smile. That accent. Heaven help me.

What I'm feeling internally as he came out on stage.

What I’m feeling internally as he came out on stage.

The best pic my friend could take amidst the madness. I was too busy staring at him!

The best pic my friend could take amidst the madness. I was too busy staring at him!

They proceeded with the penalty shootout simulator game, the presentation of Michael’s signed Euro 2004 England Shirt to the Singapore Community Chest and the mini Q&A portion* that covered his return to Singapore after more than a decade, the Premier League, World Cup, and of course, the controversial player Luis Suarez.

But hang on, just when everything was going quite smoothly, a lady of a certain age from our part of the queue suddenly went up to the front (near the barrier) and confronted the two young organizers standing guard nearby. At first. she was only asking when they will allow the rest of the public to meet Michael, and when she wasn’t given a definite answer, she proceeded to go ballistic on them and went on an almighty rant about how long she’s been standing there and waiting to meet him. To make things juicier, she made them call their manager and also gave the poor woman quite a dressing down in front of a bemused/disbelieving crowd. Whoa, lady. Calm down. My friend and I have been standing in line longer than she was and yet we wouldn’t have dreamed of complaining or raising hell. Anyway, I suppose I just have to give her props for her passion and eagerness to meet MO.

A few minutes later, the organizers opened the barrier and let the rest of us non-special people/non-ticket holders in the queue. This is it! I couldn’t help but do a happy jig as I finally entered hallowed ground. The host was constantly reminding the crowd that we could only have one photo with him and one item signed by Michael. Yes, yes, we heard you. But I still have no bloody idea what I was going to do or say to him.

(a) Do I go the fangirl route and say, “I love youuuu, Michael!!”?

Nah, too predictable. And if I didn’t do that in front of the Michael Schumacher, I sure as heck wouldn’t do that to Michael Owen. Besides, he might get scared.

(b) Do I go the serious football fan route and say, “I wish you never left Liverpool!”?

Nah, what’s the purpose? It’s all in the past now, and I don’t want to spoil his mood.

(c) Do I tell him he was the one who got me into football and that he changed my life and even though football nearly ruined it I wouldn’t have changed any bloody thing in the world?

Nah, I’m not the rambling, overly-sharing type. Why are you snickering?!

See, before his arrival, my friend and I were discussing what would probably be my reaction upon finally seeing him, and although we made ourselves laugh with exaggerated impressions of myself doing the craziest, most embarrassing things, I knew within myself that no matter what, I would be calm, cool and collected. I may have the tendency to be starstruck but I’m not the crazy fan type. Then again, there’s a first time for everything…

Finally, it was my turn. *insert internal excited screaming here* I handed my camera to one of the organizers and as I turned to step up to the platform, I had the surprise of seeing Michael was already looking at me, smiling–and good heavens, time stopped. Here is the part where I shall unapologetically wax poetic about his eyes, because they’re the kindest, nicest, sparkliest shade of hazel I’ve seen in my entire life. Yes, photos and videos do not do them justice. And the fact that those special pair of eyes were looking only at me is just the craziest, most awesome thing ever. Anyway, I managed to say, “Hi, Michael!” as I approached him (and I immediately judged myself because it was too high-pitched for my liking. Ugh), and Michael responded with a cheerful “Hello!”.

So far, so good. No fainting, no crazy antics, no scaring Michael off.

Quite possibly what I looked like when I saw him up close.

Quite possibly what I looked like when I saw him up close.

As the organizers were preparing to take our lone photo, I sneakily placed my mobile phone face down on the table and pushed it towards Michael:

Me: *mutters under my breath while maintaining my smile* “Michael, could you sign this, please?”

MO: *Looks at my phone* “This? Oh, sure.” *signs the back of my phone*

Our photo was then taken and Michael signed the photo provided by the organizers. I heard the security guy hurrying me along, but I needed to have one more exchange with him:

Me: *collects my stuff* “Thank you, Michael!”

MO: “You’re welcome.”

Me: “You know what, you should come to the Philippines, Michael. We love you there!”

MO: *gives me a surprised smile that may have possibly reduced my heart to smithereens* “Okay!”

Right. I don't like posting personal photos in my blog but just to prove that I really did meet MO!

Right. I don’t like posting personal photos in my blog but just to prove that I really did meet MO!

I waited for my friend HM to finish her turn, and the funny thing was she managed to tell Michael that we flew all the way from the Philippines just to meet him, which was again rewarded by that signature boyish smile. She also got him to sign my England badge. What one item only rule? That’s what friendship is truly about.

After we exited the meet and greet area, we went up one level to simply stare at him as he went on with the autograph signing and photo-taking event. We marveled at the quality of merchandise that some fans have brought with them (One had a replica of his shirt when he helped Liverpool win the 2001 FA Cup! Another girl had a pinup of him from the British magazine Smash Hits which was published in 1998! Loads brought hardbound books of him that I only saw just now!), but to be honest, we mostly marveled at how bloody good-looking he is in person. Not in a David Beckham-metrosexual-I-need-hours-to-get-ready kind of way but in a wholesome, boy-next-door, best-of-British sort of way. The type you would definitely want your parents to meet. Before I go into 50 Shades of Fangirl territory, the organizers then announced that Michael had to leave, but that instead of meeting fans one by one, he would go around the barriers and sign for the rest of them. He finished signing everything (even autographed a dress of a sleeping toddler, as requested by the father!) and then exited the area via the glass elevator. My friend and I managed to shout a cheeky “We love you, Michael!” as he passed us in the elevator. In the blink of an eye, he was whisked away by a Range Rover and out of our sight.

Just like that, it was over and I was left reeling. In the best possible way.

The rest of the trip went by in a blur. Absolutely nothing dampened my mood and all I could think about was that encounter. Sometimes, you really have to take life by the balls and just go for what you want. Life is too short to not celebrate your passions.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Michael James Owen—and screw that cliché about not meeting your heroes because they might disappoint you—I would gladly go through that over and over again.

And just in case I’ve not made it crystal clear: Yes, he was absolutely worth the 17-year wait.

MeMOrabilia. :)

MeMOrabilia. 🙂

Me after the event.

Me after the event.

Footnotes:

  1. The dress I wore when I met Michael Owen was the same dress I wore when I met Michael Schumacher. Coincidence? Luck? Or is that dress some sort of a “Michael Magnet”?
  2. I was supposed to be named Michael had I been born a boy. Perhaps that partly explains my fascination with Michaels.
  3. In case you were wondering, Michael’s bet to win the World Cup is Argentina.
  4. I have a brief video of Michael during the Q&A portion, but it’s shaky as heck, so I shan’t subject you to that.
  5. To view decent-quality photos of the event, here is the link to the Facebook page of Wisma Atria.

101 Random And (May Not Be) Obscure Football Trivia, Part 2.

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I never expected the first part of this to be one of the most popular and most-viewed articles on my blog, and so without further ado, I shall give the public what they want–More football trivia to get your geek on:

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Show-Offs and Bragging Right-Holders.

In Premier League history, the only player to have scored 3 perfect hat-tricks (1 header, 1 from right foot, 1 from left) is Robbie Fowler.

Players with the most number of hattricks in the Premier League: Alan Shearer (11); Robbie Fowler (9); Thierry Henry (8); Michael Owen (8); Wayne Rooney (6).

Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel holds the Premier League record of scoring the fastest brace by a defender (9 minutes and 28 seconds).

Dani Alves is currently the La Liga player with the most wins over Real Madrid: 13 (8 with Barcelona and 5 with Sevilla).

The partnership of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley during the 1993-1994 season for Newcastle has produced the most number of goals at 55, followed by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard for Chelsea (51 during 2009-2010) and Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn (49 during 1994-1995).

Four players who’ve all played in the Liverpool and Manchester Derbies, as well as Spain’s El Clasico: Nicolas Anelka, Mark Hughes, Steve McManaman and Michael Owen.

Both Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen have scored goals in all of them too.

5 Goalkeepers who have scored a goal (or more) in the Premier League: Peter Schmeichel, Brad Friedel, Paul Robinson, Tim Howard and Asmir Begovic.

Ryan Giggs has won more trophies (34) since 1991 than the whole of Manchester City FC (14) since 1889.

Luis Suarez now holds the record for scoring the most goals in a Premier League season (excluding penalties).

Jari Litmanen was voted Finnish Footballer of the Year for seven consecutive years (1992-1998).

David Beckham has scored the most direct free kicks in the history of the English Premier League (15).

Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet can speak 4 languages (English, French, German and Dutch) and has a degree in Political Science.

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Bad Boys, Bad Boys… 

Joey Barton was made to serve 200 hours of community service in 2009 as punishment for beating up his teammate Ousmane Dabo during training.

Robin van Persie was accused of rape in 2005 and was held in jail for 14 days. These allegations have never been proven true and were dismissed.

On January 1991, then-Sheffield United player Vinnie Jones was booked within 5 seconds of play vs Manchester City. He beat his own record a year later, when as a Chelsea player, he was booked after 3 seconds, while the ball was still in the center circle.

Eric Cantona was banned from the French National Team in 1988 after he described his manager Henri Michel “a sack of shit”.

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The Strange, the Curious and the WTF-worthy.

Michael Owen has taken 21 penalties in the Premier league, but has only converted 14 of them. So far, Wayne Rooney has the same record.

Technically, Juan Pablo Angel has the worst penalty conversion rate in the Premier League, having only scored 50% of the penalties he has taken.

Which team has been awarded the most number of penalties in Premier League history? Liverpool FC with 119 (as of January 2014).

Robert Lewandowski was supposed to fly to England for a £3 million move to Blackburn in 2008, but a volcanic ash cloud prevented him from completing the move in time.

Cristiano Ronaldo was once told by his school teacher to forget about football as there’s “no money to be made there”.

Famous chef Gordon Ramsay’s hopes of becoming a professional footballer was ended by a knee injury.

Spanish TV presenter Sara Carbonero, the girlfriend of Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas (as well as the baby momma of his son Martin), is an Atletico Madrid supporter.

Fernando Torres has his name tattooed in Tengwar, the script from Lord of the Rings.

India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup in protest at the rule that requires players to wear boots.

The 1981 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs ended in a 1-1 draw, with Man City’s Tom Hutchinson scoring both goals.

An England centre-forward during the 1890s called G.O. Smith had an unusual quirk for his position: he refused to head the ball. He believed that the ball should stay on the ground and that the forwards who needed to use their head were not playing the game correctly.

In the run-up to the 15th World Cup, held in USA in 1994, Macau played 6 games in the Asian group, lost all 6, scored zero goals and conceded 46.

Jose Mourinho is the first manager to lose in 4 UEFA Champions League Semifinals. He’s lost 6 in total.

Since the Premiership replaced the old First Division in 1992-1993, no English manager has succeeded in winning it.

Cesc Fabregas is afraid of mushrooms.

Kaka was a virgin when he got married.

David Batty was once sidelined for 3 weeks after his child ran over his ankle with a tricycle.

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Quote Them On That

Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy once told Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain that “Goals are like ketchup, you keep hitting the bottle and eventually plenty comes out”!

Andrei Arshavin once said, “I started off playing checkers. When I realized that I won’t be able to become an International Grand Master, I had to leave it for football.”

“The natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.” –Nick Hornby

“All I know for certain about the morality and the obligations of men is that I owe it to football.” –Albert Camus

“Ryan Giggs is one of those rare players who could play football in a phone box and find the door no matter how many players were in there with him.” –Carlos Queiroz

“I took a whack on my left ankle, but something told me it was my right.” –Lee Hendrie

“My wife often complains about my tactics. She tells me to stick with the players who won the last match.” –Pep Guardiola

“He’s a specialist in failure. I am not.” Jose Mourinho on Arsene Wenger.

“They taught us at school that family is the most important thing for a human. Roma is my family. Have you ever heard of someone who left his poor parents to live with rich strangers?” –Francesco Totti when asked why he refused to join Real Madrid back in 2006.

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Milestones and History Lessons

The 700th goal scored in the Premier League was by Tomas Rosicky of Arsenal vs Sunderland (February 2014).

Lionel Messi became the youngest player ever to play 400 matches for FC Barcelona at 26 years and 7 months, beating his teammate Andres Iniesta’s record (he was 27 years and 11 months old at the time).

Statistically speaking, Arsene Wenger is more successful during his first 1000 matches with Arsenal compared to how Sir Alex Ferguson did during his first 1000 matches with Manchester United.

Fabrice (at 16 years and 98 days old) is currently the youngest player to score in La Liga history.

Ryan Giggs (at 40 years and 110 days old) currently holds the record for the oldest outfield player to play in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

The goal scored by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) after just 44 seconds is the fastest goal scored by an away team at Old Trafford in Premier League history.

Fernando Torres became the youngest captain of Atletico Madrid at 19 years old.

Bryan Robson’s netted strike vs then-Yugoslavia (December 13, 1989) after 38 seconds was the fastest goal scored in Wembley.

The Hall of Fame was created at the National Football Museum in Preston in 2002, and 29 people who were deemed to have made an ‘outstanding and lasting contribution to English Football’ were inducted into the roll of honour.

The governing body of Football, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA to you and me), was founded at the rear of the HQ of the Union Francaise de Sports Athletiques in Paris on May 21, 1904. The English Football Association—the oldest in the world—refused to join until April 1905.

Football was introduced into Moscow by an English mill owner, Clem Charnock, who showed the game to his Russian workers in 1887.

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The First, The Last, The Everything…

Fernando Llorente is the first player from Athletic Bilbao to represent Spain when he was called up in 2002. He also plays the clarinet.

Sergio Ramos is the first defender to score 2 goals in a UEFA Champions League semifinal.

Karim Benzema is not only the first Frenchman to score a brace vs FC Barcelona since Thierry Henry, he’s also the first to score a brace against them at the Bernabeu since Raul.

Scott Parker is the first player to be signed for 5 London clubs (Charlton, Chelsea, West Ham, Tottenham, and Fulham) in his Premier League career.

Borussia Dortmund were the first-ever German side to win a European trophy in 1966, beating Liverpool 2-1 after extra time in the final of the Cup Winners Cup.

Only 15 teams took part in the first-ever FA Cup, and 13 of them were from London. The other 2 were Donington School from Lincolnshire and Queen’s Park from Scotland.

Ian Rush is the last Liverpool player to score 30 goals in a season, setting that record in 1986-1987.

Kevin Phillips is the last Englishman to win the Premier League Golden Boot back in the 1999-2000 season.

Everton FC were the first football club to play in Anfield.

On April 23, 1927 (also known as St. George’s Day), the first radio commentary of a football match was broadcast in the United Kingdom. The commentator on the Arsenal-Cardiff City match was George Allinson, and his assistant was Derek McCulloch.

Blackpool first wore their distinctive tangerine strip in the 1923-24 season. The colour was suggested by a club director named Albert Hargreaves, who was inspired by the Dutch national team and thought that orange would help Blackpool stand out among fellow English clubs.

The first indoor arena used in a World Cup was the Pontiac Silverdrome in the United States city of Detroit, which was one of the venues for the 1994 World Cup.

The first recipient of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year Award was Stanley Matthews of Blackpool in 1948.

In 1888, while still having the name Small Heath Alliance, Birmingham City was the first club to adopt limited liability. The share capital of the club was £650.

The first team to win the FA Cup three times in a row were the Wanderers. They won 3 finals from 1876-1878 beating Old Etonians, Oxford University and Royal Engineers.

The first player to be capped by England while playing for a foreign team was Gerry Hitchens. The former Aston Villa player played for Inter Milan and a number of Italian clubs between 1961-1970.

The first major football tournament won on penalties was the 1976 European Championship. Czechoslovakia beat West Germany.

The Mitropa Cup was the first major international cup for club teams. The name Mitropa is an abbreviation of Mitteleuropa which means Middle or Central Europe. The competition began in 1927 originally with 2 teams each from Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

Arthur Wharton was the first black professional footballer in Britain. Born in Ghana in 1865, he played in goal for a number of clubs including Preston North End and Sheffield United.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player to break the 15 goals-in-a-season tally in the UEFA Champions League during the 2013-2014 season.

Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid is the first Uruguayan to score in an UEFA Champions League Final (2014 vs Real Madrid).

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I Didn’t Know That

4x Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s favourite team is Eintracht Frankfurt.

Football commentator Martin Tyler reportedly lives in a house called Squirrels Leap.

Jamie Carragher started his career with England as a striker.

Fernando Torres started playing football as a goalkeeper.

Gerard Pique’s girlfriend, famous popstar Shakira, is a MENSA member.

Aaron Ramsey was actually approached to play rugby when he was younger but was already signed to Cardiff City’s youth team.

John Terry started out as a Manchester United supporter.

Sergio “Kun” Aguero is Diego Maradonna’s son-in-law.

As a youngster, Michael Schumacher’s hero was Toni Schumacher (no relation), Cologne and West Germany’s goalkeeper.

The goal net was patented by J.A. Brodie of Liverpool in 1890.

Two-handed throw-ins were made mandatory in 1882.

What is The Acme Thunderer? It is a brand of whistle invented by Birmingham toolmaker Joseph Hudson in 1884, and is still used to this day in football.

It was only in 1891 that penalties were introduced.

A match that is brought to a halt before the end of the full 90 minutes is classified as “abandoned”.

The Italian system of play called catenaccio literally means “door bolt” and describes the defensive wall approach used in Italy. The system involves 4 markers at the back with a player (a sweeper) behind them—a door bolt.

Peter Corr, an ex-Ireland and Everton player, is the paternal uncle of the Irish siblings/musicians The Corrs.

There has never been a knockout tie in the UEFA Champions League that has ended on 0-0 aggregate.

The Mexico vs Bulgaria match during the 1994 World Cup was held up for 15 minutes due to one of the goals collapsing.

The full and formal name of FC Barcelona’s home stadium is El Nou Estadi del Futbol Club Barcelona.

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What’s In A Name?

Manchester United’s original name was Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Newton Heath. It was then shortened to Newton Heath before becoming Manchester United FC in 1902.

There are 20 top-flight British clubs that have the word ‘United’ in their name: Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Scunthorpe United, West Ham United, Manchester United, Carlisle United, Southend United, Hartlepool United, Ayr United, Leeds United, Dundee United, Torquay United, Hereford United, Rotheram United, Boston United, Peterborough United, Colchester United, Cambridge United, Oxford United, Airdrie United.

Founded in 1891, the Uruguayan club of Peñarol was then known as The Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club.

The Czech club Sparta Prague was originally called King’s Vineyard when it was founded in 1893.

Manchester City’s first name was West Gordon St. Marks when they were founded in 1880. It changed to Ardwick FC in 1887 before becoming Manchester City in 1894.

81 The Finnish team FC Jazz was founded in 1934 under the name Porin Pallo-Toveritand. Their current name comes from the fact that they are based in Pori, the home to an annual jazz festival.

The Mexican club Atlante once called themselves U-53 in honour of a German U-boat.

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Until the next installment! Stay bouncebackable!

 

No Regrets: Confessions Of An Owenite*

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*I chanced upon this term during a Site and Urban Planning Lecture. Free association naturally directed me to football, which led me towards writing this piece. You have been warned.

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You know that certain cliche “I don’t remember what life was like before (insert applicable term here)”? I can relate to that whenever I think of how long I have watched and supported that certain football player named Michael Owen.

This year marked the milestone of my being able to say that I’ve followed him for half of my life now, and even though it’s been one heck of an emotional roller-coaster ride, there’s no way in hell I am getting off my seat.

There are moments when I think of my first year of watching football, when I was initially torn between two Northern England clubs and I reached a point of no return (i.e. choosing just 1 club to permanently support) after a seasoned fan told me bluntly that it’s simply not possible for me to support both clubs, unless I want to be forever branded as a “glory hunter scum” (among other unsavory terms, a fate far worse than death). Had I chosen that other Red club, my football life would have been, in a way, easier, but I just didn’t feel that “spark” for them and Liverpool FC had my heart from the first match I watched on the telly one fateful day in 1997. Proof that some things are really just meant to be.

Even though I still harbour that unshakeable and unextinguishable hope for his Anfield return, I am thankful that I got to have seven glorious years of him proudly wearing that Red shirt, scoring the goals like nobody else and being a bright spot in times of strife, confusion and agony. Seven years may not seem a lot, but the lessons and emotions from them are forever woven in my memory.

I didn’t always agree with his professional choices, but my faith in his talent enabled me to look past my personal biases and somehow believe that everything will turn out for the best.

Incidentally, I randomly ranted about his contract renewal to an old friend (who’s well aware of my Owenmania) a year ago, and her reply through SMS was short but spoke volumes: “Maybe he’s happy where he is.” That’s when I realized that in the bigger of scheme of things, all is not lost–I will get to see him play for at least one more season, and he is in a club where he seems content and well taken care of. Always look on the bright side of life, yeah?

And now, that chapter of his life has been put to a close. Uncertain times lie ahead yet again.

I don’t claim to know him (although of course, it would be awesome if I do), but I’ve a feeling that his story is far from over yet. The off-season will be long, and full of talks and rumours and speculations, and of course his absence from the England Euro 2012 squad will only add salt to my wounds, but I will patiently wait for his next move. After all, what is a true supporter left to do but to cross their fingers and toes and hope for the absolute best?

I suppose to put it in the simplest way possible–He makes me believe. Sometimes, that is more than enough for me to get by.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I truly don’t remember what my life was like before Michael Owen.

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Football Incident of the Day: From Fairnando to FernanD’oh.

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Bitchface + Facepalm. Not a good combination.

The still very-much-controversial 50 million pound-striker Fernando Torres had hoped to redeem himself to Chelsea fans by helping his team triumph against their strongest rivals, Manchester United. Alas, fate had a different script in mind and what transpired instead was a miss that would be played and replayed over and over again until the next football weekend:

To his credit, he did score Chelsea’s lone goal. However,  knowing the harsh reality in football, it’s his spectacular miss that will surely be all over the news, forums and social networking sites for the rest of the week.

Chin up, hombre. At the very least you’ll earn a spot in the Premier League 2011-2012 Season Highlights DVD under the “Incredible Misses” category. Until then, pray that Ashley Cole or another teammate cooks up another controversy to deflect the limelight from you.

Haiku no. 20: Let’s Not Call It An Anticlimax.

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Opening weekend:
Top teams stutter, minnows pounced.
Keep calm. It’s Game On!

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You Can’t Win The Title In August: My English Premier League 2011-2012 Season Predictions Poem.

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The Lion has returned and it’s ready to Roar.

It’s that time of the year
That I hold so very dear
It’s the Return of the English Premier League.
I’m too lazy to write an essay
So I am choosing to relay
My predictions in the form of a poem.

This I say without a trace of glee
But the champs will still be MUFC
How it’ll hurt to see them win number 20.
Their runners-up will be Chelsea
Lately have been quiet but still deadly
Especially with AVB as the new gaffer.

My Liverpool will take the 3rd spot
And be led by King Kenny, the great Scot
To a triumphant return to Europe.
4th is a bit tough to figure out
Man City may give Arsenal a big clout
Knock them off the Big 4 perch they’ve been hogging.

As for the much-coveted fifth
Tottenham Hotspurs will be swift
And continue their progress under ‘Arry.
The Golden Boot’s also tricky
So many strikers who are quality
But I’ve a feeling young Chicharito will nick it.

Now on to the Relegation Fight,
The test of each club’s collective might
And the desire to slug it out with the Big Fish.
The unlucky clubs which I predict
To have a sad end-of-season verdict
Are QPR, Norwich and Swansea (Sorry, lads!).

Now, these are my thoughts only
Struggling to be expressed ably
Then again, in football, does sense really matter?
So let’s see by the mid-of-May
If I shall wince or laugh away
At how the ball bounced on this crazy old game.

101 Random And (May Not Be) Obscure Football Trivia.

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Let’s face it, the Off-Season is hard. And long. Still, it does not mean that we football fans can allow ourselves to stagnate whilst our favorite players are off lounging and tanning themselves somewhere sunny and expensive.

So whether you’re merely passing time, simply bored or you’re genuinely open to the possibility of learning something new football-wise, have a look at the list below and consider yourself schooled (or maybe not).

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Ground-ed.

* Stamford Bridge, home ground of Chelsea, was originally offered to Fulham, who turned it down.

* In 2004, FC Porto was the only club in the whole world to have 2 operating grounds: Antas and Dragon Stadion (Dragão). Due to problems with the grass on the new ground, the team regularly changed grounds between games.

* Villa Park’s dressing rooms were used as bomb shelters in WW2.

* Before the demise of the Wembley Stadium in 2000, the last time England played a tournament match home fixture away from Wembley was in 1966 for the World Cup Quarter Final against Poland at Goodison Park.

* In 1956, Portsmouth’s homeground Fratton Park staged the first ever floodlit Football League match (against Newcastle United).

* The stand redevelopment of Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park has created the largest cantilever structure in Europe.

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Girl Power.

* The last time the Queen attended the FA Cup Final was in 1976.

* Karren Brady is known as the “First Lady of Football”. Oh, and she has also sold her footballer husband, Paul Peschisolido, twice. Ruthless.

* Milene Domingues, the ex-wife of Ronaldo, is the female world record holder for keepie-uppie: She kept the ball up in 9 hours and 6 minutes in 55,188 touches.

* Patsy Kensit brought up son Lennon as a Manchester United fan to spite his Manchester City-supporting father and her ex-partner, (ex?) Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher.

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Famous Fanatics.

* Current Agent 007 (James Bond to you and I) Daniel Craig is a Liverpool FC supporter.

* Future England Monarch and England FA Head Prince William is an Aston Villa supporter.

* The spare heir Prince Harry, however, is an Arsenal supporter.

* Mick Hucknall named his band “Simply Red” in honor of his beloved club, Manchester United.

* King of Tweens Justin Bieber recently aligned himself with FC Barcelona.

* Scottish tennis player Andy Murray did not endear himself to the English crowd in Wimbledon when he was seen wearing a Portugal NT shirt during a match warmup, prior to the England v Portugal WC 2006 Quarterfinal match.

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It Figures.

* Only 7 teams have competed in all Premiership seasons: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs.

* 7 Managers who have played football on the same side as David Beckham: Mark Hughes, Gareth Southgate, Steve Bruce, Stuart Pearce, Paul Ince, Roy Keane and David Moyes, who played for Preston North End when Beckham was on loan to them!

* Portsmouth and Huddersfield were the first two teams to wear shirts numbered 1-11 in a club match, in their FA Cup semi-final encounter at Highbury in 1939.

* Shirt numbers were first worn as an experiment in the 1933 FA Cup Final when Everton beat Manchester City 3-0.

* Scientists have measured data that records a 20 percent drop in testosterone levels in supporters following a match defeat, and a converse increase for the winners.

* Oldham suffered the heaviest defeat in League history losing 13-4 on Boxing Day 1935 to Tranmere Rovers.

* Crystal Palace is the English club that sent the most men to service during World War II  (98).

* In 1998, Jose Camacho was sacked from his managerial position at Real Madrid after just 23 days, and without taking charge of a single match. He returned to the position in 2004, lasting 115 days before being fired for the second time.

* It took a triple bypass heart surgery to get Dutch legend Johan Cruyff to finally stop smoking.

* In 1999, a research by New Scientist found that footballers are especially susceptible to a condition called SARA: Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis, which causes inflammation in different parts of the body at different times.

* Leicester City have appeared in the most FA Cup Finals without winning the trophy (4).

* The Azteca Stadium in Mexico City stands at 7000 feet above sea level.

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The Cup Of Life.

* The unenvied record of most games without a win belongs to Bulgaria, who went on a streak of 17 winless matches in tournaments from 1962-1974, 1986 and 1994.

* Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is the only captain to lose 2 World Cup Finals: 1982 and 1986.

* No Team Captain has held the World Cup trophy aloft more than once.

* The first player to be sent off in a World Cup match was Peruvian Mario de Las Casas against Romania in 1930.

* Alfredo di Stefano was capped 6 times for Argentina but then went on and moved to the National Team of Spain, where he was capped 31 times.

* The World Cup mascot was introduced during the 1966 World Cup in England. It was a happy, football-playing lion named World Cup Willie.

* The mascot for France ’98, a smiling cockerel, was named Footix.

* The yellow Brazil shirt worn by Pele in the 1970 World Cup Final was sold at a Christie’s auction for 157,750 pounds, a record for a football shirt at an auction.

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Monickers.

* The first “Red Devils” were Salford Rugby League Club.

* The Bournemouth FC from England are nicknamed “The Cherries”.

* Dundee United from Scotland are known as “The Arabs”.

* A little-known nickname of Chelsea FC is “The Pensioners”.

* “The Robins” is used by 5 British clubs: Bristol City, Cheltenham, Charlton, Swindon, and Wrexham.

* Ten Players with only 4-Letter Names: Pele, Deco, Xavi, Dani, Cafu, Didi, Kaka, Alex, Zico, Mido.

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Quote Them On That.

* When Wimbledon stunned Liverpool to win the 1988 FA Cup final, commentator John Motson described it as “A victory for the Crazy Gang over the Culture Club”.

* Football demigod Pele was once quoted as saying that “A penalty is a cowardly way to score.”

* Jose Mourinho calling Arsene Wenger a “voyeur” in an interview sparked a big row between the two back in October 2005.

Time out for bickering toddlers…er, managers Arsene and Jose.

* Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola on ex-teammate Dennis Wise: “Ninety-five percent of my language problems are the fault of that stupid little midget.”

* In 1997, Sepp Blatter proposed outlawing sliding tackles, saying they are “too dangerous and were not allowing skillful footballers to show their true style.”

* While in April 2004, his new idea was to eradicate dull draws from football, telling a German journalist: “Every game should have a winner. When you play cards or any other game, there’s always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football.”

The strange logic Mr. Sepp Blatter.

* “There are three things in life where you do not need a common language– football, music and sex.” Turkish footballer Rustu Recber turns into a philosopher.

* In 1997, Barcelona Vice-President Joan Gaspart further inflamed tensions between his club and Real Madrid by saying, “The most educated person at Real Madrid is the woman who cleans the toilets.”

* “If brains were chocolate, he wouldn’t have enough to fill a Smartie.” Ex-player Alan Birchenall sums up the infamous Robbie Savage.

* “Maybe because he is blond and pretty, referees are capable of sending him off for that” Uruguayan Pablo Garcia offers an explanation on why Real Madrid teammate David Beckham was sent off (it was actually for ironic applause directed at an official).

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Show-offs.

* Arthur Friedenreich, half-German and half-Brasilian player, is the King of Brasilian football. He scored 1329 goals throughout his 26-year career.

* Which Englishman has played the most games under Sven Goran-Eriksson? Des Walker.

* The one player to have played in the Manchester, Merseyside and Glasgow Derbies? Andrei Kanchelskis.

* Scott Parker starred in a McDonald’s advert, playing keepy-uppy, when he was just 13 years old.

Aw, bless Scotty’s little cotton socks.

* Nicky Byrne of Westlife once tried out as a goalkeeper for Leeds United.

* Rosenborg was the Norwegian League Champions from 1992 to 2004 (Yes, that’s 12 seasons in a row). In 2005, Valerenga finally broke their streak and became new champs.

* Jose Luis Chilavert became the first goalkeeper to score a hat-trick in the history of football, for Velez Sarsfield against Ferro Carril Oeste in 1999.

* The “Great Dane”, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel scored 13 goals, including an International goal for Denmark, in his long and distinguished career history.

* Birmingham City were the first English club to tour China, back in 1979.

* Milan is the only city to have won the Champions’ League with two different teams– Inter and AC.

* Five clubs have been awarded the Champions’ League trophy permanently: Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool.

* The first winner of the European Football Player of the Year award, or Ballon D’Or, is then-Blackpool player Stanley Matthews (1956).

* Liverpool is the only city – through Everton or Liverpool – to have staged top-flight football in every League season since 1888.

* Fabio Cannavaro was one of the ballboys during the 1990 World Cup held in Italy.

* In 1992, Denmark, a late replacement for the banned Yugoslovia, went on to win the European Championships by beating Germany 2-0.

* Daniel Agger is a certified Tattoo Artist.

* Clarence Seedorf is the only player to have won the Champions’ League with 3 different clubs: Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998) and AC Milan (2003).

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Swots.

* Arsene Wenger has a degree in Economics.

* Steven Harper was all set to study at Liverpool’s John Moore University, until Newcastle United offered him a contract as a goalkeeper.

* Famous existentialist Albert Camus was a goalkeeper for the University of Algiers.

* Iain Dowie has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

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That Round Thing They Play With.

* The English FA did not stipulate the exact size of the football until 1872.

* In the first World Cup Final of 1930, a different ball was used in each half after a
dispute between Uruguay and Argentina.

* The first World Cup Final played with a synthetic ball was in 1986.

* Footballs were once brown and tanned, or orange in the memorable case of the 1966 World Cup Final.

* Law Two of the FA rules states that the referee must check the ball for weight (410-450 grams), size (68-70 cms circumference), shape (spherical), pressure (0.6-1.1 atmospheres) and material (leather or other approved material).

*  In leagues for the partially sighted, 150 ball bearings are placed inside a standard football to create a ball that you can hear coming.

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We Are Family.

* Harry Redknapp and Frank Lampard Sr. are brothers-in-law (which of course makes Jamie Redknapp and Frank Lampard Jr. cousins).

* Former Liverpool player Richie Partridge married the younger sister of his ex-teammate, Michael Owen.

* The younger brother and only sibling of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Unai, is a lifelong Barcelona supporter.

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What’s In A Name?

* Italy’s oldest football club, Genoa, founded by Englishmen in 1893, have opted to keep their “English” name and have rejected a change of name to the city’s Italian name, Genova.

* Iker Casillas would have been called Ainhoa if he was born a girl.

* Arsenal is one of two teams to not be named after a place, the other being Port Vale.

* Arsenal were once known as Dial Square FC.

* West Ham United were once known as Thames Iron Works FC.

* Manchester City were once known as Ardwick FC.

* Dennis Bergkamp was named after Scottish football legend Denis Law, but his parents changed the spelling because Denis is a girl’s name in Holland.

* The famous Buenos Aires club River Plate adopted the anglicised name rather than the Spanish Rio de la Plata, after some of the founders spotted the name on a ship’s container down by the docks.

* West Ham United once had a player named “Marco Boogers” in their books, during the 1995 season.

* The 6 Confederations of FIFA are: 1. Asian Football Confederation (AFC); 2. Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF); 2. Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); 4. Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CSF); 5. Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and 6. Union des Associations Europeennes de Football (UEFA).

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W.T.F?

* Michael Owen once jokingly signed a photo commemorating one of the international records Wayne Rooney broke with, “Stop stealing my records, you ugly arse!”

* Francesco Totti once celebrated a goal by assuming the position of a woman giving birth.

Not your most flattering angle, Mr. Totti.

* Norwegian Svein Grondalen had to withdraw from an international match during the 1970s after colliding with a moose while out jogging.

* Kasey Keller knocked out his front teeth in 1998 while pulling his golf clubs out of the boot of his car.

* Brazilians Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, and Robinho once rolled on their backs and wiggled their arms and legs to celebrate a goal against Alaves, interpreted by many as doing “The Cockroach”. The complains from the Alaves Chairman fell on deaf ears.

* Paul Gascoigne (Gazza to the adoring masses) once walked into the Middlebrough canteen and ordered lunch wearing nothing but his training socks.

* Argentinian Carlos Roa refused to discuss a new contract with his then-club Real Mallorca, for he was a member of a religious sect that believed the world will end in the year 2000.

* In 2005, Robert Pires was fined 35,000 pounds by the French FA for giving an interview while wearing a Puma shirt. His national team was sponsored by Adidas.

* Middlebrough supporter Adrian Carr was arrested by the stadium police for falling asleep during a match in 2003.

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There you have it. Hopefully you are now armed with some delightfully-meaningless information which you can either use to impress your friends or to win a couple of quid in a pub quiz somewhere. Sorry, I cannot give you back the minutes you’ve lost while reading this. I never promised you satisfaction, (you fickle-minded football fan) did I?

If You Can’t Beat Them, Tweet Them: Footballers on Twitter.

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Image via memegenerator.net

From the famous to the infamous to the downright inconspicuous (on and off the pitch), the Twitterverse has now been invaded by football players of all colors, shapes and sizes. They are here to stay, so go on, and don’t fight the urge to send them your best bit of banter/adulation in the space of 140 characters.

Why did I compile their accounts? So you didn’t have to.

Active Players:

A

Mehdi Abeid- http://twitter.com/reelM_abeid

Charlie Adam- http://twitter.com/Charlie26Adam

Freddy Adu- http://twitter.com/FreddyAdu11

Sergio Aguero- http://twitter.com/aguerosergiokun

Marc Albrighton- http://twitter.com/12Albrighton

Paco Alcacer- http://twitter.com/paco_alcacer

Thiago Alcantara- http://twitter.com/Thi_Alcantara91

Diego Alonso- http://twitter.com/TornadoOfficial

Marcus Alonso- http://twitter.com/marcosalonso28

Mikel Alonso- http://twitter.com/alonsomik

Xabi Alonso- http://twitter.com/XabiAlonso

Dani Alves- http://twitter.com/daniAlvesd2

Fernando Amorebieta- http://twitter.com/la_grulla5

Bruno Andrade- http://twitter.com/Brunsky36

Nicolas Anelka- http://twitter.com/anelkaofficiel

Juan Pablo Angel- http://twitter.com/JUANPABLOANGEL

Nadine Angerer- http://twitter.com/NAngerer

Cesar Arzo- https://twitter.com/carzo4

Alvaro Arbeloa- http://twitter.com/aarbeloa17

Gai Asulin- http://twitter.com/GaiAsulin

Peter Aylmer- http://twitter.com/Peter_Aylmer94

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B

Ryan Babel- http://twitter.com/RyanBabel

Edgar Badia- http://twitter.com/edgarbadia

Javier Balboa- http://twitter.com/javibalboa85

Ever Banega- http://twitter.com/Ever21Banega

Elyaniv Barda- https://twitter.com/ElyanivBarda

Karen Bardsley- http://twitter.com/klbardsley

Joey Barton- http://twitter.com/Joey7Barton

Sebastien Bassong- http://twitter.com/BassongOfficiel

James Beattie- http://twitter.com/JSBeattie

Alejandro Bedoya- http://twitter.com/AleBedoya17

Yossi Benyaoun- https://twitter.com/YossiBenayoun15

Darren Bent- http://twitter.com/DBTT39

Ryan Bertrand- http://twitter.com/RyanBertrand3

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov- http://twitter.com/Bilyaletdinov_7

Dexter Blackstock- http://twitter.com/dexblackstock23

Carlos Bocanegra- http://twitter.com/BocaBoca3

Veronica Boquete- http://twitter.com/VeroBoquete

Aly Borromeo- http://twitter.com/alybor11

John Bostock- http://twitter.com/johnbostock1

Bobby Boswell- http://twitter.com/bobbyboswell

Reece Brown- http://twitter.com/ReeceBrown1991

Titus Bramble- http://twitter.com/19tmb

Alex Bruno- http://twitter.com/alexbruno34

Edson Buddle- http://twitter.com/EdsonBuddle

Nacho Buenache- http://twitter.com/NachitoBF

Diego Buonanotte- http://twitter.com/Diego_Buona

Maor Buzaglo- https://twitter.com/maorbuzaglo

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C

Yohan Cabaye- http://twitter.com/ycabayeofficiel

Tim Cahill- http://twitter.com/Tim_Cahill

Sergio Canales- http://twitter.com/_SergioCanales

Fabio Cannavaro- http://twitter.com/FabioCanna17

Joaquin Cañas- http://twitter.com/joaquincg3

Nacho Cases- http://twitter.com/NachoCases

Joan Capdevilla-  http://twitter.com/capde11

Juan Carlos- http://twitter.com/1uancarlos

Roberto Carlos- http://twitter.com/Oficial_RC3

Jose Maria Cases- http://twitter.com/jmcases

Andre Castro- http://twitter.com/AndreCastro16

Julio Cesar- http://twitter.com/JulioCesarGol

Giorgio Chiellini- http://twitter.com/chiellini

Simon Church- http://twitter.com/churchy18

Tom Cleverley- http://twitter.com/tomclevz23

Billy Clifford- http://twitter.com/Bclifford47

Jordi Codina-http://twitter.com/codina13

Carlton Cole- http://twitter.com/Carlton9Cole

Tino Costa- http://twitter.com/tinocostalf

Lee Croft- http://twitter.com/croft7

Carlos Cuellar- http://twitter.com/Cuellar24

Ivan Cuellar- http://twitter.com/PichuCuellar13

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D

Stephen Darby- http://twitter.com/Stephen_Darby_

Jesse Darko- http://twitter.com/Jesse_Darko

Charlie Davies- http://twitter.com/CharlieDavies9

Curtis Davies- http://twitter.com/thecurtisdavies

Kevin Davies- http://twitter.com/kevindaviesbwfc

Scott Davies- http://twitter.com/scottd888

David Davis- http://twitter.com/Ddavis0121

Jermaine Defoe- http://twitter.com/IAmJermainDefoe

David De Gea-  http://twitter.com/D_DeGea

Alessandro Del Piero- http://twitter.com/delpieroale

Denilson- http://twitter.com/_denilson15

Lisa Devanna- http://twitter.com/L_Devanna11

Sylvain Distin- http://twitter.com/sylvaind15tin

Dwayne De Rosario- http://twitter.com/dwaynederosario

Alejandro Dominguez- http://twitter.com/Chori1708

Alvaro Dominguez- http://twitter.com/adominguez18

Maribel Dominguez- http://twitter.com/MaribelD9

Ryan Donk- http://twitter.com/Ryan_Donk18

Landon Donovan- http://twitter.com/landondonovan

Michael Doughty- http://twitter.com/mdoughty92

Shane Duffy- http://twitter.com/ShaneDuffy34

Ed Dzeko- http://twitter.com/EdDzeko

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E

Robert Earnshaw- http://twitter.com/RobertEarnshaw

Emmanuel Eboue- http://twitter.com/Official_Eboue

Nathan Eccleston- http://twitter.com/NathanEccleston

Maurice Edu- http://twitter.com/MauriceEdu

Neil Etheridge- http://twitter.com/Neil38Etheridge

Jose Enrique- http://twitter.com/J_Enrique3

Jonny Evans- http://twitter.com/j23evans

Patrice Evra- http://twitter.com/patriceevra6

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F

Luis Fabiano- http://twitter.com/luis_fabuloso

Cesc Fabregas-  http://twitter.com/cesc4official

Ibrahim Farah- https://twitter.com/Ibby_Farah

Anton Ferdinand- http://twitter.com/anton_ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand-  http://twitter.com/rioferdy5

Suso Fernandez- http://twitter.com/suso30fernandez

Jon Flanagan- http://twitter.com/jon_flan93

Steven Fletcher- http://twitter.com/stevenfletch10

Andreu Fontas- http://twitter.com/afontas26

Diego Forlan- http://twitter.com/DiegoForlan7

Jake Forster-Caskey- http://twitter.com/JakeCaskey28

Robbie Fowler- http://twitter.com/robbie9fowler

Ryan Fredericks- http://twitter.com/RyanFredericks_

Emmanuel Frimpong- http://twitter.com/Frimpong26AFC

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G

Daniel Leon Gabbidon- http://twitter.com/DGabsey

Sam Gainford- http://twitter.com/samgainford

Jorge Garcia Torre- http://twitter.com/jgtorre

Gary Gardner- http://twitter.com/Gards38

Shay Given- http://twitter.com/no1shaygiven

Diego Godin- http://twitter.com/DGodinOfficial

Henok Goitom- http://twitter.com/Henok_Goitom

Daniel Gomez- http://twitter.com/danidanigomez

Hercules Gomez- http://twitter.com/herculezg

Jonas Gonçalves- http://twitter.com/oficialJonas07

Grafite- http://twitter.com/graffa23

Esteban Granero-  http://twitter.com/eGranero11

John Guidetti- http://twitter.com/superguidetti

Chris Gunter- http://twitter.com/Chrisgunter16

Guti-  http://twitter.com/Guti_SER

Brad Guzan- http://twitter.com/bguzan

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H

John Heitinga- http://twitter.com/Johnheitinga

Marcel Henry-Francis- http://twitter.com/_MHenryFrancis

Pablo Hernandez- http://twitter.com/phernandez19

Ander Herrera- http://twitter.com/anderherrera8

Gonzalo Higuain- http://twitter.com/G_Higuain

Scott Hircombe- http://twitter.com/ScottHircombe

Stuart Holden- http://twitter.com/stuholden

Matt Holland- http://twitter.com/mattholland8

Aaron Holloway- http://twitter.com/AaronHollz

Tom Huddlestone- http://twitter.com/TomHuddlestone6

Nacho Huertas- http://twitter.com/NachoHuertas10

David Hunt- http://twitter.com/DavidJHunt

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I

Andres Iniesta-  http://twitter.com/andresiniesta8

Emiliano Insua- http://twitter.com/EmilianoInsua

.

J

Jordan Jackson- http://twitter.com/JordzOfficial

Nathaniel Jarvis- http://twitter.com/N_Jarvis

Frankie Jay- http://twitter.com/FrankieJay_

Jermaine Jenas- http://twitter.com/jjenas8

Raul Jimenez- http://twitter.com/Raul_Jimenez47

Miles John- http://twitter.com/Milesjohn95

Adam Johnson- http://twitter.com/AJohno_11

Gethin Jones- http://twitter.com/GethinJones8

Glen Johnson- http://twitter.com/glen_johnson

Brad Jones- http://twitter.com/Brad_Jones1

Jake Jones- http://twitter.com/jakejonesofcl

Rafa Jorda- http://twitter.com/RafaJorda

Bojan Jorgacevic- http://twitter.com/BojanJorgacevic

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K

Tasha Kai- http://twitter.com/tasha_kai00

Kaka- http://twitter.com/KAKA

Kei Kamara- http://twitter.com/keikamara

Dekel Keinan- https://twitter.com/DekelKeinan

Martin Kelly- http://twitter.com/MartinKelly1990

Harry Kewell- http://twitter.com/Hkewell10

Joshua King- http://twitter.com/joshuaking92

Sacha Kljestan- http://twitter.com/SachaKljestan

Vincent Kompany- http://twitter.com/VincentKompany

Leon Knight- http://twitter.com/leonknight82

Bojan Krkic-http://twitter.com/BoKrkic

Dirk Kuyt- http://twitter.com/Dirk_18_Kuyt

.

L

Eric Lamela- http://twitter.com/Coco_Lamela

Lucas Leiva- http://twitter.com/LucasLeiva87

Aaron Lennon- http://twitter.com/AaronLennonpsl

Aaron Lescott- http://twitter.com/aaronlescott

Fernando Llorente-  http://twitter.com/llorentefer19

Angel Lopez- http://twitter.com/AngelLopez6

David Lopez- http://twitter.com/David_Lopez_7

Alberto Lora- http://twitter.com/AlbertoLora11

Lee Lucas- http://twitter.com/leelucas31

David Luiz- http://twitter.com/DavidLuiz_4

Jordan Lussey- http://twitter.com/jordanlussey

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M

Shaun MacDonald- http://twitter.com/ShaunMac20

Michel Macedo- http://twitter.com/Michelmacedo16

Florent Malouda- http://twitter.com/realflorentm

Ivan Marcano- http://twitter.com/Marcano_23

Eric Martin- http://twitter.com/Eric18Martin

Javier Martinez- http://twitter.com/Javi24kikiteam

Sergio Martinez- http://twitter.com/MantecaOfficial

Juan Mata- http://twitter.com/juanmata10

Chris Mavinga- http://twitter.com/Chris_Mavinga

Jay McEveley- http://twitter.com/jaymcev03

Steven McGarry- http://twitter.com/stevenmcgarry

John Meades- https://twitter.com/JMeadesy

Neil Mellor- http://twitter.com/NeilMellor33

Felipe Melo- http://twitter.com/_FelipeMelo_

Alvaro Morata- http://twitter.com/AlvaroMorata

Adam Morgan- https//twitter.com/AMorgan94

Bryn Morris- http://twitter.com/BrynMorris1

Fabrice Muamba- http://twitter.com/fmuamba

Iker Muniain- http://twitter.com/IkerMuniain27

.

N

Nani- http://twitter.com/luisnani

Samir Nasri- http://twitter.com/nanas08

Louisa Necib- http://twitter.com/LNecib10

Gary Neville- http://twitter.com/GNev2

Phil Neville- http://twitter.com/fizzer18

Lee Nguyen- http://twitter.com/LeeNguyen24

Nacho Novo- http://twitter.com/nnovo1010

.

O

Marvin Ogunjimi- https://twitter.com/Marvinogunjimi

Jamie O’Hara- http://twitter.com/mrjamieohara

Alberto Olmedo- http://twitter.com/alberolmedo1

Oguchi Onyewu- http://twitter.com/OguchiOnyewu5

Tommy O’Sullivan- http://twitter.com/tomosullivan10

Michael Owen-  http://twitter.com/themichaelowen

.

P

Dani Pacheco- http://twitter.com/dani37pacheco

Fernando Pacheco- http://twitter.com/92pacheco

Dani Parejo- http://twitter.com/DaniParejo

Jamie Paterson- http://twitter.com/jamiepaterson12

Marc Pelosi- http://twitter.com/marcPelosi

Kris Penny- http://twitter.com/krispence95

Kristoffer Peterson- http://twitter.com/KrisPeterson7

Steven Pienaar- http://twitter.com/therealstevenpi

Kevin Pietersen- http://twitter.com/kevinpp24

Gerard Pique-  http://twitter.com/3gerardpique

Robert Pires- http://twitter.com/piresrobert7

Lukas Podolski- http://twitter.com/Podolski10

Chris Pontius- http://twitter.com/ChrisPontius13

James Poole- http://twitter.com/jpoole1990

Darren Purse- http://twitter.com/darrenpurse4

Carles Puyol-  http://twitter.com/Carles5puyol

.

Q

.

R

Sergio Ramos- http://twitter.com/SergioRamos

Aaron Ramsey-  http://twitter.com/aaronjramsey

Pepe Reina- http://twitter.com/reina_official

Koke Resurreccion- http://twitter.com/KOKE_32

Jose Antonio Reyes- http://twitter.com/JoseReyes_19

Micah Richards- http://twitter.com/OfficialMR2

Rohan Ricketts- http://twitter.com/RohanRicketts

Ali Riley- http://twitter.com/RileyThree

John Arne Riise- http://twitter.com/RealJohnARiise3

Hector Rodas- http://twitter.com/hectorrodas4

Jadson Rodrigues- http://twitter.com/jadson_8

Alejandro Rodriguez- http://twitter.com/AlejandroRod10

Pedro Rodriguez- http://twitter.com/_Pedro17_

Toni Rodriguez- http://twitter.com/toni_rodrguez

Jack Rodwell- http://twitter.com/JackRodwell26

Ronaldinho- http://twitter.com/10Ronaldinho

Cristiano Ronaldo- http://twitter.com/Cristiano

Wayne Rooney- http://twitter.com/WayneRooney

Manuel Rosales- http://twitter.com/mrosales21

Danny Rose- http://twitter.com/Danny_Rose25

Tomas Rosicky- http://twitter.com/rosicky_tomas7

Giuseppe Rossi- http://twitter.com/GiusepeRossi22

Rufo- http://twitter.com/rufinho9

.

S

Louis Saha- http://twitter.com/louissaha08

Bruno Saltor- http://twitter.com/brunosaltor2

Toto Salvio- http://twitter.com/totosalvio14

Jordan Santiago- http://twitter.com/jordansantiag0

CJ Sapong- http://twitter.com/BigAfrika88

Jonathan dos Santos- http://twitter.com/jona2santos

Robbie Savage- http://twitter.com/RobbieSavage8

Lotta Schelin- http://twitter.com/L8schelin

Kasper Schmeichel- http://twitter.com/kpschmeichel1

Alex Scott- http://twitter.com/Alexscott2

Caroline Seger- http://twitter.com/Cseger9

Gilverto Silva- http://twitter.com/GilbertoSilva15

Danny Simpson- http://twitter.com/dannysimpson12

Bradley Simmonds- http://twitter.com/Bradley_Simmo

Christine Sinclair- http://twitter.com/sincy12

Kelly Smith- http://twitter.com/kjs8eng

Wesley Sneijder- http://twitter.com/sneijder101010

Kike Sola- http://twitter.com/kike_sola

Roberto Soldado- http://twitter.com/R9Soldado

Raheem Sterling- http://twitter.com/sterling31

Jordan Stewart- http://twitter.com/jordanstewart3

Wojciech Szczesny- http://twitter.com/53Szczesny53

Luis Suarez- http://twitter.com/luis16suarez

.

T

Kevin Thomson- http://twitter.com/k33vvt8

Fernando Torres- http://twitter.com/torres

Miguel Torres- http://twitter.com/MiguelTorres24

Roger Torres- http://twitter.com/Rogertorres_20

Sean Tse- http://twitter.com/skktse

Matt Tubbs- http://twitter.com/MattTubbs

Blair Turgott- http://twitter.com/blairturgott

.

U

.

V

Victor Valdes- http://twitter.com/1victorvaldes

Antonio Valencia- http://twitter.com/AntoV25

Rafael Van der Vaart- http://twitter.com/rafvdvaart

Gregory Van der Wiel-  http://twitter.com/Gvanderwiel

Ruud Van Nistelroy- http://twitter.com/RvN1776

Robin Van Persie- http://twitter.com/Persie_Official

James Vaughan- http://twitter.com/vaughany08

Alvaro Vazquez- http://twitter.com/AlvaroVazquez8

Frederic Veseli- http://twitter.com/fredericveseli

Thomas Vermaelen- https://twitter.com/T_Vermaelen05

David Villa- http://twitter.com/guaje7villa

.

W

Reece Wabara- http://twitter.com/ReeceWabara

Stephen Warnock- http://twitter.com/StephenWarnock3

Vladimir Weiss- http://twitter.com/VladiW7

John Welsh- http://twitter.com/jwelsh08

Theo Wharton- http://twitter.com/theojw1

Ellen White- http://twitter.com/ellsbells89

Faye White- http://twitter.com/faye_white

Alex Whittle- http://twitter.com/AliWhitts

Ashley Williams- http://twitter.com/AshWills84

Jack Wilshere- http://twitter.com/jack_wilshere

Michael Wilson- http://twitter.com/MikeWilson95

Luke Woodland- http://twitter.com/Woodyluke

.

X

.

Y

Josh Yorwerth- http://twitter.com/JoshYorwerth

James Younghusband- http://twitter.com/JYH53

Phil Younghusband- http://twitter.com/PhilYHusband

.

Z

Pablo Zabaleta- http://twitter.com/pablo_zabaleta

.

.

Retired Players:

John Aldridge- http://twitter.com/realjohnaldo

Mark Bosnich- http://twitter.com/TheRealBozza

Mark Bright- http://twitter.com/Mark__Bright

Santiago Cañizares- http://twitter.com/santicanizares

Stan Collymore- http://twitter.com/TSCollymore

Kenny Dalglish- http://twitter.com/kennethdalglish

Paul Dalglish- http://twitter.com/pauldalglish

Lee Dixon- http://twitter.com/LeeDixon2

Iain Dowie- http://twitter.com/MrIainDowie

Jason Euell- http://twitter.com/#!/jasoneuell

John Hartson- http://twitter.com/#!/JohnHartson10

Shaka Hislop- http://twitter.com/ShakaHislop

Chris Kamara- http://twitter.com/chris_kammy

Nigel Martyn- https://twitter.com/nmartyn25

Neil Mellor- http://twitter.com/NeilMellor33

Pedro Nieto- http://twitter.com/Pedronieto23

Richie Partridge- http://twitter.com/rpart1

Pele- http://twitter.com/Pele

Mick Rathbone- http://twitter.com/MickRathbone

Jamie Redknapp- http://twitter.com/JRedknapp_SS

Mark Robinson- http://twitter.com/robboma3

Ronaldo- http://twitter.com/ClaroRonaldo

Peter Schmeichel- http://twitter.com/Pschmeichel1

David Seaman- http://twitter.com/thedavidseaman

Gareth Southgate- http://twitter.com/GarethSouthgate

Ian Taylor- http://twitter.com/IanTaylor7

Phil Thompson- http://twitter.com/Phil_Thompson4

.

.

Did I miss anyone? Leave a comment and I’ll update the list as soon as possible. Thanks!