IPL Cricket

Indian Premier League (IPL) is a 20-20 cricket tournament which is being played between eight Indian city franchises. The IPL cricket matches were first started on April 18 at Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. The concept of the Indian Premier League is a newfound dynamism in the cricketing world. Many companies are betting on twenty20 cricket to attract a whole new generation as well as the exorbitant money that is associated with it.

It is one of the most ambitious and brilliant ventures that has taken off in the history of Indian cricket, changing the course of the game.

These matches are live. The Teams are attempting their best to emerge the winner and the players are competent and are ensuring team spirit that is positive and co-operative.

Chennai Super Kings started brilliantly but ended up on a bad note. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the captain of the team and they are putting up their best to showcase a good match.

Rajasthan Royals has been performing well as they won five matches at a go. Shane Warne is the captain and is leading his pack really well.

Delhi Daredevils are looking strong and their team of Asif, McGrath, Sehwag and Gambhir is consistently performing.

Kings XI Punjab is doing well with Yuvraj Singh as the captain. The team has all its hopes pinned on such players as Sangakkara, Hopes and Sarwan. Irfan Pathan is doing well behind the stumps.

Kolkata Knight Riders are working their way to the top. After their dismal performances, they are trying their best to put up good performances. Saurav Ganguly is leading the team and one is anxious to look forward to their winning performances.

The Mumbai Indians have bounced back and are going in for some great performances after a slump.

The Deccan Chargers are yet to revive their glory after a series of dismal performances. So one needs to wait and watch if they bring much acclaim to IPL.

Yuvraj Singh of Punjab XI Kings has scored six sixes in an over. This has made him the only player in international cricket to make the fastest fifty in Twenty20.

Sohail Tanvir has taken six wickets against Chennai Super Kings. The Rajasthan Royals, thereby bringing them to the forefront of the IPL T20 matches.

These cricket matches have caused a lot of excitement as enthusiasts await the result of the teams but still is it a money making business or people are really liking this concept?

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Simple Theory for Soccer Betting

Why is soccer betting popular?

If we were to compare other sports with soccer, soccer has the highest occurrences for weak team to beat a strong team down especially in English Premier League. Let’s turn back the clock; can any of you recall the UEFA Championship final?? Clashed between Man.Utd and Bayern Munich in 1999 where Man.Utd successfully won Bayern Munich by 2 goals during 2 minutes injury time. For those who bet on Bayern Munich, how hard for punters to accept this, unfortunately this is the FACT. Well, as you can see, this is the most interesting part in soccer betting. There is a saying, «a football is round, therefore it might have unpredictable ending».

What is the simple theory in betting world?

Everything in the world is sharing the same natural concept and also follows the same trend. There is no exception for soccer betting. The theory is simple. When a graph makes an incline, of course the line will keep climbing and stop at a stage. No matter how high it reaches or how low it drops, there is always a stop to it. I would confidently say that only in minor cases, the graph will move up and down continuously within a short period of time. As example, you could notice that most market share will always have gradual incline and then follow by long dropping line repeatedly. You could also notice that the rich gets richer and poor gets poorer. In sports betting, I believe some of you did experience before winning streaks which you kept winning non-stop even though you simply put your bet. In contrast when encounter down period, even if you work hard to make analysis or follow the bet of your lucky friends but finally lose too. Why? The only answer is natural concept and trend. We must agree and follow the trend.

How betting trend works in soccer betting?

The rule of thumb is do not be stubborn to confidently place bets on teams that continuously lost and have the thinking that they would make a come back. This is totally wrong. Maybe you will win at the end by follow this type of betting strategy but how much capital you need to have and how much you need to lose before you can win the bet. Based on the trend concept, if a team is keep losing, the graph for them is dropping, we should bet against them until the graph reach a pit stop. In contrast, if a team turnover from lose to win, we should start chase the team to win until stop stage. How simple is it? Win keeps winning and lose keeps losing.

Which team to bet from among of uncountable matches?

When using the trend concept in soccer betting, it is safer if we use it to bet on strong team and only focus on climbing graph. Meanwhile, we put our bet only on strong team when they are in win stage. The reason to choose strong team is they need points to secure their position at the top of the league table. In addition, strong team with higher strength could easily win if victory is a must.

The last but not the least, I am sure you will have doubts on my simple theory – trend. I could tell you that my theory has been proven. I have been using the betting strategy for 2 consecutive years and it really works for me. From my bet statistics, it hits more than 75% accuracy.

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More Comebacks Than Rocky

Having won 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Champions League titles and five FA Community Shields, Paul Scholes’s passion for Manchester United is unequivocal. He made a winning return to the side last season but will his decision to put his boots back on prove to be the right one? Let’s look at other athletes that have made comebacks with contrasting fortunes…

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan retired from basketball in 1993. Whilst he cited lack of desire and ambition after leading the Chicago Bulls to three championship titles, it was suggested that the decision was based on the recent murder of his father. Jordan returned to basketball in 1995 and led the Chicago Bulls to three more championship titles. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2009 with its website declaring him «… the greatest basketball player of all time.»

Lance Armstrong

Cycling legend, Lance Armstrong, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 aged only 25, with a chance of survival at less than 40%. However, two years later he returned to the sport and went on to claim seven Tour de France titles, creating a rivalry with Jan Ullrich that is viewed as one of the greatest conflicts in sporting history.

Kim Clijsters

At 24 Kim Clijsters retired from professional tennis in 2007 having won three Grand Slams and been runner up in four more. She stated that her health and private family life were more important to her as she was constantly beset by injuries. After becoming a mother in 2008 she returned to the sport the very next year winning The US Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open title in 2011. She now boasts a total tournament tally of 41 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles and is the only mother to have won a major title since Yvonne Goolagong in 1980.

Michael Schumacher

Few people have dominated their sport in the way Michael Schumacher did. Not only did Schumacher win the World Championship an unprecedented seven times, he continues to hold many driver records including most race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season (13). He became the only driver in Formula One history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. Having retired in 2007, two years later he made a comeback with Team Sauber Mercedes but his former success has eluded him. Last season he failed to register a podium place and finished 316 points behind eventual winner, Sebastian Vettel.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson burst into boxing by becoming the youngest boxer to conquer the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. His sporting career halted in 1992 when, following a very high profile trial, he served three years in prison for rape. Tyson made a series of comebacks but lost his heavyweight crowns to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Despite earning over £300 million dollars during his boxing career he was declared bankrupt in 2003.

So was Paul Scholes’s decision the right one? As a Football PR agency we would love to hear your thoughts – tweet us @ENSLtdsportPR

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How to Predict the Outcome of a Soccer Match

There are some people who are very good at predicting the outcome of sporting events. Professional gamblers can do it and can make a good living from it. Team managers to some extent need to do this in order to plan a team’s season, knowing which games to focus on and which ones to leave more to hope. Some sports journalists also have the knack of getting it right more often than not. To some it may seem like guess work or going on gut feeling but there is a science to sport and if you know what factors are important you too can be successful at predicting match results.

League position

The first and most obvious thing to look at when deciding who’s most likely to win a game is the relative position of the teams in the league table. If there are a number of places separating the two teams then the higher team is most often going to win and if the teams are close together then a draw is the probable result. You can do this by rule of thumb or it is possible to be more methodical by going back through the records and quantifying just how much of an advantage the league position is. Over the last five years in the English Premier League for example, when the two teams are within 6 places a draw is on average the most likely result. Different leagues will vary depending on how competitive they are and it will also vary at different points in the season. League position is less effective a predictor at the start of the season when there aren’t enough results to make a reliable prediction; and also at the end of the season when teams (particularly the more successful ones) are tired!

Home or away

The next most important factor to consider is whether a team is playing at home or away. In some leagues away victories are relatively rare. The main reason for this is the influence of the crowd. For teams that have a long way to travel and few supporting fans the opposition stadium can be a hostile environment. Also (although of course it shouldn’t happen) the crowd can have an influence on the referee. Refereeing is full of marginal decisions, and the presence of a large crowd of jeering supporters can effect the referee’s judgement. This effect of ‘home bias’ by referees has been scientifically tested by analyzing match videos, and has been shown to be a genuine phenomena – not just a frustration in the minds of the disappointed away fans! Because of this home advantage teams will often have two configurations: one for home and one for away. Away teams will often be more cautious and play a defensive mid-fielder in place of one of the strikers, making an away victory even less likely. It’s easy to quantify the home advantage in a league by adding up all the home wins over a season and comparing it with the number of away wins. The ratio is typically around 2 to 1 in favor of the home team.

Who’s playing?

A key decider is the team announcement. When the line up of the teams is announced, usually twenty minutes before kick-off, this gives a big indication of how the game will go. The team sheet will tell you two things: firstly whether the manager is playing his best team (e.g. are there players out through injury? Or is he saving players for a more important match?). Secondly it will tell you the likely formations. If a team has no recognized striker then they are probably going to be playing a more defensive formation. However, if there are a number of strikers on the substitutes’ bench then it is likely the coach will be putting them on the pitch at a later stage in the game and thus is not settling for a draw. Also look out for players just coming back from injury. Such a player may have a good first game but performances may then dip as fitness becomes an issue. Typically it takes 5 games for a player to get back to full match fitness.

Who’s on a roll?

As with many sports, confidence is a huge factor. Teams can get into cycles where bad results leads to bad confidence which in turn leads to worse performances. The same is true when a team’s confidence spirals upwards. It is for this reason that teams tend to go through good and bad patches. When a team is on a winning streak there is a strong likelihood they will continue winning, even against better teams. Look out for runs in a team’s recent matches: e.g. how many games have they gone without a victory? Although they won’t often admit it players are acutely aware of these statistics and it does play on their minds. Other runs to look out for are:

  • Games without scoring a goal
  • Number of clean sheets (no goals against)
  • Consecutive away wins
  • Number of games unbeaten
  • Number of games played

This last point is an important one. Tiredness is an important factor in determining a team’s chances of winning. A player should normally be able to play 2 games a week but this is hard to sustain over a number of months, especially if there is a lot of traveling and the games are very competitive. A team that has not played for 7 days has a significant advantage over one which has played in the last 3 or 4 days.

Derbies and rivalries

Some matches have a special significance for supporters and players alike. Derby games, where the two teams are local to each other, can throw up unexpected results. Part of the reason for this is that the away supporters don’t have far to travel and so can be in the stadium in equal numbers to the home fans. This can create an unusually vibrant atmosphere which can make players more nervous and accident prone. The intense rivalry between such teams can produce special performances from some teams. This all makes it hard to predict the outcome of such games. There can be other team rivalries that one should also be aware of: for instance teams that have a history of victories over one another in important competitions; and teams that have an equal number of trophies.

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Sports and Hobbies in Portugal

Called The Beautiful Game, the Portuguese are ardent futebol fans. From club matches to the national team, everyone has a favorite player and team that they follow with great devotion.

Futebol

The game requires speed, dexterity, endurance and strategy. Portugal’s Cristiano Renaldo is arguably the best player in the world and José Marinho is widely recognized as a gifted manager.

For pro players, making the national team is the pinnacle of success. Many professional footballers play internationally for other teams; for example Renaldo plays for Real Madrid. As qualifying for the quadrennial World Cup approaches, players are named for the national team. Below the national team is club play. Premeira Liga, with 14 teams, is the premier league and the Segunda Ligafields 22 teams.

Every town and region has a host of amateur leagues, as well as college and school teams ranging from five-a-side to full teams. Naturally you can find a group of kids (or adults) kicking the ball around wherever there’s a bit of open space.

Futsal

Futsal, 5-a-side indoor football, is played on a hard surface. There are several leagues divided into divisions. 1a Divisão is the top league.

All the rest

  • Athletics: Portugal has a number of top long-distance runners and has done well at recent Olympic Games in London and Beijing; there are also a number of top cross-country runners from Portugal
  • Canoeing: Portugal has many top Olympians in this sport; kayaking and canoeing are popular sports for tourists and locals alike
  • Cycling: Volta a Portugal is the annual professional long-distance race; cycling tours and mountain bike trails are widely available in all regions
  • Martial arts: Jogo do Pau is a traditional stick fighting martial art dating from the Middle Ages (fencing and judo are also popular)
  • Motorsports: Rallying, motorcycle racing and A1 Grand Prix are popular spectator sports with some races (Rally Madeira and Lisboa-Dakar) receiving international attention
  • Bullfights: Portuguese bullfights differ in style from the Spanish customs, notably the bull is not killed in the ring; running with the bulls, as in Pamplona, Spain, is popular in the Azores
  • Golf: the Algarve has great courses and many of Portugal’s top pros play in the region
  • Airsoft: known as paint ball in the U.S., the game is popular around the country
  • Watersports: surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing are all popular, especially in the Algarve
  • Portugal is considered to have some of the best waves in Europe, most notably around the central coastal town of Peniche. Recently, the largest wave ever surfed was recorded in Nazaré, about 30 minutes north of Peniche.

Hobbies

Textiles

Portugal’s traditional needlework and fiber arts began in nunneries and as cottage industries. The fine linens, rugs, lacework provided a livelihood for many families and grew to be celebrated for craftsmanship. Portuguese textiles are well known the world over.

  • Embroidery: Portuguese embroidery is highly sought after with its intricate stiches and rich colors; styles vary by region, with the best known examples coming from Madeira and Castelo Branco; white embroidery (white thread on white cloth) is also popular with modern needle workers
  • Rug making/tapestry: Arraiolos in southern Portugal is famous for its pure wool carpets; designs are similar in motif and style to Persian rugs; Portalegre is well known for its finely detailed tapestry with as many as 25,000 stitches per square meter
  • Knitting: Portuguese knitting is popular with knitters everywhere; also known as continental knitting
  • Crocheting/lacemaking: fine thread crochet lace and bobbin lace making developed as another way to make ends meet in poorer families; well known styles include secret, love secret and Loulé lace
  • Weaving: the region of Serra da Estrela is well known for its thick, dense waterproof blankets (mantas); 100% wool, the blankets are dye and chemical free

Folk dancing

Traditional Portuguese folk dances, typically slower-paced than those of their Spanish neighbors, reflect the courtship and marriage customs of their native regions. Well-known dances include: fandango, vira, corrinhdo, chula and viranda. To dance well, time, practice, stamina and instruction are needed.

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Sporting Venues in London

Here’s a look at some of the venues for sport in London, including a look ahead to the 2012 Olympic venues and other popular spectator sports in and around the city of London.

Londoners have a ravenous appetite for sports, football in particular. London boasts six teams playing in the Premiership and ten other teams in lower divisions of professional football.

The most successful or at least the most popular teams are Chelsea, champions of the English Premier League, and Arsenal.

The Arsenal museum near the current stadium tells of munitions workers who had to take up a collection to purchase the club’s first football in 1886. The timeline runs through 2002 when Arsenal won the FA cup and the Premier League, with the entire history of the club sandwiched in between.

Arsenal is in the process of building a new stadium in Ash Burton Grove that will cost nearly three quarters of a billion U.S. dollars. Chelsea completed renovations to their 42,000 seat stadium in 2001, costing an estimated two hundred million dollars. The new stadium will offer some 4,000 more seats than old Arsenal Stadium. The record attendance of an Arsenal game was in 1935 when 73,000 fans saw Arsenal play to a 0-0 tie with Sunderland FC. The old stadium is a listed building because of its Art Deco style.

Chelsea has been playing football for over a hundred years. Their winning ways started after the 1955 season when they won the league for the first time. Chelsea has been popular all along, but their fan base seems to grow larger every year. Chelsea’s stadium was renovated in 2001 at a cost of nearly two hundred million dollars. Their home at Stamford Bridge was constructed in 1877. The origins of its name are from a creek that flows near the stadium, called «Stamford Creek», and a bridge called «Little Chelsea Bridge». Over time it has just been called «Stamford Bridge». The only part of the original stadium is the east stand. An overly ambitious project, the renovations of the 1970’s nearly bankrupt the team, and forced them to liquidate star players to stay afloat financially. The current «Stamford Bridge Stadium» has been totally updated in the past two decades. It houses two 4 star hotels, five restaurants, underground parking, a health club, business center, retail outlets, and a museum of sorts that chronicles the history of Chelsea FC with interactive activities for fans on its twelve and a half acre grounds.

Tickets to either Chelsea FC or Arsenal FC matches are quite expensive and some of the other eleven professional teams within London make going to a match more affordable. Barnet, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leyton Orient, Milwall, Queens Park, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, and West Ham United are all professional football clubs in the London Area. That makes more professional teams than any other city in the world.

Even with football as the main course, London’s ravenous appetite for sports still has room for other sports. The first written records of Cricket being played in London go back to 1680, but it is thought by many to have been played in the city prior to that. The main venues for Cricket in London are The Oval, Kennington, and Lords Cricket Grounds. While most Cricket Clubs around London use amateur players it is still quite popular as a spectator sport.

Rugby was developed at Rugby School in Rugby Warwickshire in England. A plaque at the school commemorates the invention of Rugby by William Webb Ellis, and his total disregard for the rules of football became the game of Rugby when he picked the ball up and ran with it. Rugby is currently played in over 100 countries world wide. England has four national rugby teams currently that compete in the World Cup, and other Championship events. Twickenham is the reigning world championship venue for rugby.

With the exception of Wimbledon, tennis is not a great spectator sport. A lot of junior tennis is played in London, and some world class junior tournaments are held there. Sport England is a board that encourages grass roots participation in sport. With the Olympics coming in 2012 the London branch has decided to make a push for youngsters to play serious tennis. Since Wimbledon is held in London they want to get more kids interested in tennis and hopefully some to represent London during the championships.

London has been officially named the host of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. While that seems like a lot of time to prepare, it really isn’t. London already has many world class venues that will be used with little improvement. Other facilities need to be built. The Olympic Village will be constructed in East London. Swimming, hockey, rowing, football, and equestrian events will all need special venues. The Olympic Village is being built in Olympic Park so that seventy-five percent of the athletes will be able to compete within 20 minutes of their events. The diversity of the city insures fans for all sports, and all national teams at the Olympics. The staff for the 2012 Olympics will be about 3,000 plus an additional 70,000 volunteers by the time the games commence. Putting these games on will be both a challenge and an honour, and will serve as a testament to Londoners’ love of sport.

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7 Undisclosed Tips to Never Lose Your Bet

Yes, you’re reading it right, you can always become a Winner no matter how bad your winning rate is, what sports you bet on, or what bookmakers you join.

Are you saying, «It’s IMPOSSIBLE!!» ??

Ok, here is the reality…

You may end up with some really bad losing strike one day. Every tipster, even the professional ones have their own terrible day when every single bets they placed are going to the wrong side. However, surprisingly, they still manage to collect some profits at the end of the day.

Here are the 7 secrets that will open your horizon in sports betting:

1. Knowledge is power! Read the form statistics, past records, head to head, injury lists, team fixtures, psychological situation of the players or even tradition each team has. Analyse every single aspects of a team carefully before placing your bets and keep yourself updated with the latest news. That’s the key to successful betting.

2. Keep your winning… Once you hit your winning goal, cash them in! Do not be greedy! Withdraw your winnings before placing anymore bets is always a good idea. Enjoy your hard earned winnings! Don’t keep spending your winning money on subsequent bets just because it’s your luckiest day in your life. That will prevent you from losing some of them (if not ALL) back to the bookmakers.

3. Budgeting… A good money management is important. Set your daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly budget, which is maximum amount of money you are prepared to lose. Take control of your finances and that will make your loses will not become a big problem because you have budgeted them in advance.

4. Avoid Difficult Bet… Try to avoid such bets like «Man of the Match», «First Goal Scorer», «To Win Premier League», «Exact Scores», and some sort of things. You may say that the odds look really tempting, but, it’s almost impossible to grab a long-term winning with this kind of play.

5. Follow the game Closely… Most of bookmakers offer what we call «In Running» or «Live» bets. That means, you can place bets whilst a match is in progress. Use this feature to make your bet a «risk free» bet.

See this example: You placed a $100 bet at -1/4 for a Chelsea to win over Liverpool. During the game, the odds change drastically and now the odds become -1/4 for Liverpool. This means, something is happening on the pitch which gives Liverpool a greater chance to win. With In-running bets, you can place an opposite bet to back up Liverpool.

With this simple example, you can NOT lose (even though you will also not win big), but the important point is you manage to save your $100 for a better match with higher winning chance.

6. Search for the Hottie! This may lead a controversy for some of you, since looking for this ‘Hottie’ will make your betting life even more difficult. However, if you carefully follow your favourite sports or betting forum, you must be having an idea someone who currently has a fortune goddess walking around him. Send me email for the updated list of the hottest tipsters who consistently perform above average…

7. Finally… Engage A WINNING SYSTEM. The last one is my most important secret to make money at sports betting, you need a good system. Without a proven betting system, all of above points will become less usable and that means you can not maximise your winning. This is whereBookie Buster is specializing in. Bookie Buster’s system tells you exactly how to ALWAYS WIN in sports betting. Even with disappointing 33% winning rate (which means only 3 wins in 10 bets or in more extreme calculation, 30 wins in 100 bets!!), you will end up with a huge profits in your bankroll! Something that you WILL NOT find in traditional betting system. Imagine how much you can win if you have a better soccer tipsters who can give you free tips to follow with, or you follow your favourite sports closely enough to consistently pick over 50% winners. To learn how to use Bookie Buster’s services, just drop me email.

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The Oldest International Stadium in Football – The Racecourse Ground

The Racecourse Ground: Wrexham

The Racecourse ground situated in Wrexham, North East Wales is the oldest International Football Stadium in the World and has been the venue for some of British Football’s most historic memories. The following article details the fascinating history of the stadium.

The Racecourse Ground («Y Cae Ras» in Welsh language) is the long term home of Wrexham Football Club who currently ply their trade in the Blue Square Premier league, the Racecourse is the largest stadium in this league with a capacity of 15,000, however this is currently reduced to 10,500 due to the kop stand being closed awaiting renovation to take the ground to being an all seater venue. In early 2010 Super League (Rugby League) side The Crusaders relocated to Wrexham and now use The Racecourse Ground as their home base.

In the 1800’s the Ground was owned by Wrexham Cricket Club and was a venue for Cricket and Horse Racing (hence the grounds name). In 1872 Wrexham Football Club was born and thus the ground became a football stadium. In those days however it was less of a «stadium» due to the lack of facilities. The first stand to be built was the kop terracing in the 1950’s whch is the oldest remaining part of the gound. The current away supporters stand (Eric Roberts Builders Stand) was built in 1978 following Wrexham’s most successful period on the pitch. By this time floodlights had already long been installed. In 1999 the ground was brought to it’s current standards with the completion of a 3500 capacity, modern designed stand including restaurant and bar facilities. The current capacity of 15000 is dwarfed by the record recorded attendance of amlost 35,000 people to witness an FA Cup tie against Manchester United in the 1950’s

The Racecourse Ground’s most distinguishing fact is that it is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as being the oldest International Football Stadium in current use. Over the years it has hosted many Wales International matches meaning the roll call of world greats to have graced the Racecourse changing rooms is long and distinguished. The Raceourse ground was the venue when Wales beat England 4-1 in the then Home Nations Tournament, a game still oft referred to and featured on television programmes. Similarly the Racecourse ground is featured annually on the weekend of the FA Cup third round having been the venue for the greatest FA Cup giant killing of all time when Wrexham beat current league champions Arsenal 2-1 in 1990.

The ground is no stranger to club level European football either, Wrexham enjoyed many ventures in the European Cup Winners cup and in recent years Welsh sides Bangor City and Total Network Solutions have used the venue for their European ties.

The Racecourse ground is also a favourite rugby venture. Currently the home of Rugby league team «The Crusaders» it has also been used by Rugby Union region «The Scarlets» as well as playing host to World Cup Rugby League and International Rugby Union matches.

The future of the Racecourse ground is that Wrexham Football Clubs owners plan to redevelop land behind the top end of the ground into student accommodation whilst rebuilding the kop stand into a multi purpose stand. The future may be different from the past but it is certain that the history and memories of the ground will live forever.

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Fallen Heroes in the Annals of Nigeria Football History

Professional football as a competitive sport has had its unfair share of tragedies over the years. It is both entertaining and dangerous especially on the field of play. The Nigerian sporting family witnessed one of the most horrific football tragedies on the 23rd of December 2008, when nine female amateur footballers and two coaches were burnt beyond recognition in an auto crash on their way from Jos, Plateau state.

The tears of sorrow had hardly dried up, when 15 members of an amateur side, F.C Jimeta from Adamawa state, Nigeria, died in another auto crash on the 26th of January 2009. Twelve of the dead were players, while the remaining three were trainers.

The tragedy that took place on the 26th of January 2009 had hardly subsided when another devastating incident occurred on the 21st of February 2009. In a single swoop, 13 Football supporters of Nigeria Premier League side Ocean Boys F.C of Yenegoa were killed by persons suspected to be cultist, on their way to attending a premier league match involving their team and Bayelsa United at the Ughelli Township Stadium in Delta State, Nigeria.

Nigerian footballers have also had their fair share of tragedies on and off the field of play. Below is a list of some of the players who have braved all odds to bring joy to football loving Nigerians but later succumbed to the cold hand of death.

  • Samuel Okwaraji

Nigeria enterprising midfielder Samuel Tochukwuma Okwaraji slumped and died on August 12, 1989 during a World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola. He died of a heart related ailment.

  • Amir Angwe

Amir Angwe died on the field of play while starring for Julius Berger F.C on October 29th 1995. It was later discovered that he died of a heart attack.

  • George Igenewari

The younger brother to Nigerian former international- George Finidi was slain by the bullet of rival supporters during an F.A Cup match involving his club- Rangers F.C and Stationary Stores of Lagos in 1995.

  • Tunde Charity

He was a member of the Flying Eagles team that participated in the 1989 U-20 World Championship held in Saudi Arabia. He died of a head injury sustained in the playing field while featuring for Bendel Insurance F.C in a league match in 1997.

  • Boniface Danjuma

This Plateau united player died on August 12, 2006 after he slumped and was confirmed dead 13 minutes into the second half of his team tie with city rival JUTH of Jos at Nassarawa stadium, Keffi.

  • Orobosa Adun

He was the first choice goalkeeper of Warri Wolves F.C of Warri Delta State. Slumped and died on May 26th 2009 during training as a result of injury sustained when he was attacked by thugs of Rangers international of Enugu.

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Team Spirit – What Causes It?

Watching the matches in the FIFA world cup, I notice that the national line-ups apparently vary as to team spirit. You might wonder why this matters. Why is team spirit important? What brings it about? And what hinders it?

Sweden’s team spirit

After eliminating very good teams, Holland and Italy in qualifying, Sweden played their part, in sending defending champions Germany home early, by topping Group F. They lack individual talented players, but as a team with a collective spirit they’ve got heart and stand up to the challenge. They do well through determination and organisation.

«Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.» (Helen Keller, deaf/blind political activist)

In keeping with his no-frills squad, the manager had not picked Sweden’s all-time top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The player had angered many of his former fans with what were seen as characteristically self-obsessed comments.

«As a team, we play as a collective, all the players together. With Zlatan, as a person, as a player, he’s an individualist, and the play goes around him. Instead, now, we play more the team all together.» (goalkeeper, Karl-Johan Johnsson).

Every single player has bought into the idea of working hard for each other and having fun together as a bigger group outside the pitch.

Leicester City’s team spirit

Winning the English Premier league, Leicester City is another football team whose performance has exceeded what might have been expected from the sum of its parts.

Leicester had some good players, but looking at the whole squad and comparing it to the so-called «top» clubs, it’s easy to see why they were such long shots to lift the title.

«You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.» – (Babe Ruth, baseball player)

Pundits spotted the players’ sense of team identity as a crucial factor in their success. The squad knew the manager would be there the following season. He persisted with most of the first team players he inherited. This continuity built on the legacy of the club, another cornerstone of a strong team identity.

Team spirit was also helped by the players viewing the objective of the club (i.e. avoid relegation) as one they were capable of achieving. So there was no fear of failure.

Many technical sides defend by playing lots of safe passes and so not letting the opposition have the ball. However, possession makes for a poor predictor of team performance. City were not afraid to play three misplaced passes if the forth move led to a goal. Team members felt positive and proud to be part of a group playing a successful fast-paced counter-attacking brand of football.

Other football teams

Boys playing football need to learn to pass the ball unselfishly rather than dribble past opponent after opponent until they lose the ball. They need to be a team player and not purely an individualist. Some flair adult players have been encouraged to succeed at the expense of collaboration when it is needed.

Professional football squads in England include highly rated players from other countries. These tend to have dissimilar languages, cultures, values and problem-solving approaches to difficulties. This can hamper the growth of team spirit.

Most football managers realise that team spirit can be hindered by voicing criticism of players in public. However leaders vary in their team building skills.

Trade Unions

Without any emerging team spirit within a trades union, industrial disputes would fail. Unity is strength. Members need to identity with the cause and trust each other to sacrifice short-term income. Then they have a chance to negotiate from strength and gain better working conditions and pay in the future.

Personal services

Worker’s morale is important in all walks of life. For example in many organisations dealing with human troubles and personal change – like educational, health and social services, or those to do with spirituality – team spirit can be fragile when one is faced with difficult-to-succeed-with-clients.

Many of these organisations use teams of workers with different types of professional training who may not see eye to eye. Dealing with complex and highly personal matters raises matters of deep principle. This can mean that people can be unwilling to modify how they approach things, leading to a degree of inflexibility. Leaders can help by team building encouraging the giving and receiving of support, communication and sharing. Without this, mixed groups tend to show disharmony as well as collaboration.

«Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.» (Patrick Lencioni, business management writer)

Unpaid volunteers tend to want to carry out their responsibilities on their own terms. With volunteers doing only short hours, team spirit suffers if members have little opportunity all to meet together to resolve different viewpoints.

Heavenly community spirit

When we make friends, we tend to do so with people who share our interests and values. With them we often feel most at home and free to be ourselves. It may be hard to imagine such a sphere where community spirit prevails. Emanuel Swedenborg painted such a picture of heavenly community. In such a scenario there are no rows about how things get done. No egos wanting their own way. People joining together in the right spirit. Only wanting what is best for each other and for the team and community as a whole.

«None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.» (Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun)

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