WHO IS YOUR SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR?

bet365 are taking bets on who will win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2010 and Football Shorts is ready to give you the official lowdown.

The trophy was first awarded in 1954 to the sportsperson ‘whose actions most captured the public’s imagination’. In 2010, no British footballer has captivated audiences more than Wayne Rooney and it is no surprise to see the cheeky striker joint-favourite at 4/1. In the wake of Christiano Ronaldo’s departure, he has led the line at Manchester United with aplomb. Rooney is surely well-priced to make 2010 the Year of the Header.

The highest odds are reserved for David Beckham at 80/1 and Theo Walcott at 50/1. Perhaps the most unlikely candidate to win however is John Terry. The former England captain has had a season to forget and bet365 have him down at 40/1 to finish it as the winner of the BBC’s coveted prize. For Terry to win, a minor miracle needs to take place between now and December.

It would be a tale of Hollywood proportion and would (probably) go something like this:

Terry lifts the Premiership title on May 9th as Chelsea captain. Fast forward to June 12th and the centre-back clears one off the line and makes a goal-saving, last-ditch tackle on Landon Donovan en route to picking up the man of the match bubbly. He follows this up with solid performances against both Algeria and Slovenia. After Serbia win Group C, England face Germany in the last 16 and after 89 tense, goalless minutes, Terry buries a bullet header, kisses the England badge and sprints into the crowd. Quarter-final and semi-final opponents Argentina and Spain are powerless to find a way past Terry; even in the final ten minutes of the semi when JT has to go in goal after David James’ braids come loose and Capello realises he didn’t name a substitute goalie, Terry saves at the feet of David Villa to keep the dream alive. 11th July, 8.30pm, Johannesburg – England v Brazil, the Final. After seventy minutes it’s 1-1 and England have a free-kick on the right hand touchline, Terry steps up and spots Cesar off his line. He lobs the ball over the despairing Inter keeper, into the far top corner of the net, runs to the corner flag, points at the nearest TV camera and lifts up his shirt to reveal a white Umbro vest, on which is scrawled the words ‘That’s for you Wayne, sorry mate.’ Half an hour later, JT waits in line for the Cup, then kisses the solid-gold trophy and lifts her high into the sky. Five months after that Terry kisses Sue Barker, as she announces the bad-boy-done-good as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2010.

And six months after that? Matt Damon stars as John Terry in the Oscar-nominated blockbuster Super JT: Tale of a 40/1 Hero.

MAGPIES RETURN TO THE TOP-FLIGHT

Newcastle United will play Premiership football next season, after a disappointing result for Nottingham Forest, guaranteed the Magpies’ return to the top-flight before a ball had even been kicked at St James’ Park tonight.

Had Notts Forest beaten Cardiff in today’s 17.15 fixture, Newcastle would have had to have beatean Sheffield United to clinch promotion. Instead, a 0-0 draw at the City Ground rendered the game to some extent irrelevant and Newcastle – much to the relief of their army of fans – were up. Win, lose or draw, the Toon’s place amongst the big boys for next year was ensured.

Fittingly, Newcastle treated the 48,270 attendants to a display of attacking and well-constructed football. The home side showed grit, enthusiasm, flair (in places) and above all, a high work rate. The performance encaptured many of the qualities they have shown in the 2009/2010 season and Football Shorts congratulates NUFC. They went down and quietly went about restoring the faith, pride and loyalty of a quite unique city, a city for which football is everything, pain, agony, joy and wonder.

Under trying circumstances, Chris Hughton has managed success and in an uncertain financial climate, Mike Ashley has not walked away from the Toon. It is time now, for both of those men to get the praise they deserve.

ANOTHER EASTER TIP

Monday 5th April – a day to both work off the Easter egg fat from yesterday and win lots of money through gambling. It’s what Jesus would have done, I promise.

Look no further than small, manageable combo bets today.

Normally on this blog, you’ll find a tip or two to tempt you into putting your stake on a big old sixfold or sometimes even a seven or eightfold. Not today my friends. The real value is in trebles and fourfolds.

Here’s a few combinations, well worth considering before your head to the bookies this afternoon:

Combo 1:

Newcastle v Sheffield United – 1, home win
Southampton v Leyton Orient – 1, home win
Northampton v Torquay – 1, home

odds – 3.28.

Combo 2:

Newcastle v Sheffield United – 1, home win
Watford v West Brom – 2, away win
Southampton v Leyton Orient – 1, home win

odds – 3.76

Combo 3:

Southampton v Leyton Orient – 1, home win
Norwich v Stockport – 1, home win
Luton v Grays - 1, home win
Northampton v Torquay – 1, home win

odds – 3.03

Combo 4: 

Accrington Stanley v Grimsby – 1, home win
Southampton v Leyton Orient – 1, home win
Walsall v Wycombe – 1, home win
Norwich v Stockport – 1, home win

Odds – 5.73

Work those eggs off, get on the sit-ups and take those bookies’ money!

be lucky, 

by Ross A. Fox

AN EASTER TIP

It’s the first Friday of the month tomorrow and while it wasn’t such a Good day for Jesus, it can be a great day for you if put your money on the right Football teams. So, whether you are planning on devouring chocolate eggs or staying in and watching bank holiday repeats of Only Fools and Horses, follow the advice of Football Shorts and you might just have an Easter to remember!

West Brom v Leicester – over 1.5 goals @ 1/4
Tranmere v Norwich City – away win
Carlisle v Bristol Rovers – over 1.5 goals @ 1/4
Rushden & Diamonds v Crawley Town – home win

Have a very Good Friday,

be lucky,

By Ross A. Fox

ONE QUARTER FINAL NIGHT, TWO CONTRASTING TEAMS

If, eight months ago, somebody had declared that there would be two English clubs left in the Quarter Finals of the Europa League come 1st April, most people would have presumed those two sides to be Aston Villa and Everton. But no, the two teams left fighting out what used to be the UEFA Cup, are Liverpool and Fulham. Honestly, no April Fools!

Liverpool started the season in the main draw of the Champions League but were suprisingly knocked out of a first-round group which included Debrecen, Lyon and Fiorentina. As a result, they were sidetracked/demoted/drafted into the Europa League. Fulham meanwhile, have played every single round of Europe’s second biggest club competition, no failure, no demotion, just raw progress. The Cottagers had two two-legged premliminary rounds just to get into the main draw for the group stages of the Europa League and when the draw for Group E was announced as comprising FC Basel, CSKA Sofia and Roma, few backed the boys in black and white to progress any further.

The two teams’ paths to the quarter finals have contrasted totally this season, as has the public’s perception of the clubs’ managers. Rafa Benitez started the season confident that his side could mount a genuine challenge for the Premiership table. After a shocking first half of the 09/10 season and the aforementioned premature Champions League exit, the Spaniard was being tipped for the chop, but remained bullishly optimistic regarding his team’s hopes of a top-four finish (and top flight European football the following year). Thankfully for Benitez, results have picked up in 2010, but Liverpool remain sixth in the table and four points off Tottenham in fourth. As the season has drawn out, rumours of him leaving in the summer for Juventus, la Vecchia Signora, have escalated considerably.

On the other hand, Roy Hodgson at Fulham can do no wrong. When he took charge of Fulham, the club seemed destined for relegation to the Championship, but two seasons and a new-look squad later, the West London side are sitting pretty in the Europa League with Hodgson having masterminded their way past Roma, reigning-holders Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus already. In the Premiership, his team have guaranteed their top-flight status and have never looked in danger of dropping into the relegation dogfight.

Neither of these two old English clubs are by any means certain to progress to the semi-finals. Liverpool face Benfica and Fulham contest German champions Wolfsburg. One gets the impression that no matter what the result by the end of the second leg, Hodgson will be revered by Fulham fans for years to come. Benitez, in contrast, will be feeling the heat, the weight of expectation and just about any other cliche used to describe the feeling of having to manage a team to victory in a climate of impending doom. A sixth placed Premiership finish and a loss in the quarter finals of the Champions Europa League, would surely not be enough of a return for Liverpool’s American owners.

Liverpool Football Club will forever have European football in the blood. Fulham are new to it all and have a squad which is worth a fraction of that of the Merseysiders’. Will Fulham and Roy Hodgson be feeling the pressure tonight, in unfamiliar, unchartered quarter-final waters? Maybe. But, for other reasons entirely, the situation up north is far more tense.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE WEEKENDER 26/03/10

I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week:

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Hull City could well be worth taking a look at before this weekend. They are 7/5 to win and they could well give you a good return on your money. Their opponents Fulham have played a lot of games lately in an extremely short period of time, including crunch ties against Juventus and Tottenham in the Europa League and FA Cup respectively. I wonder if Dowie’s men might just work a little harder than Hodgson’s tomorrow. If you don’t fancy them for the win, try Hull with a Double Chance bet at 1/3, that way they can either win or draw and you’re quids in. (DOUBLE CHANCE – HULL AND DRAW)

Tottenham v Portsmouth screams home win. Despite Spurs playing in mid-week, without Defoe & Co., I make them big favourites because Pompey also played on Wednesday and ended up on the wrong side of a 5 nil-er. (HOME WIN)

At the Reebok Stadium, my money is going to be on there being under 3.5 goals, a gamble with odds of 5/11. Bolton, now with Owen Coyle in charge, should be a lot more competitive on Saturday, than they were against Manchester United when Gary Megson was at the helm. (UNDER 3.5 GOALS)

CHAMPIONSHIP:

When Reading and West Brom played each other in the FA Cup there were goals in abundance. Stick your money on there being over 2.5 goals in Saturday’s game between these two teams, at odds of 8/11.  (OVER 2.5 GOALS)

LEAGUE ONE:

Norwich City v Leeds United      (HOME WIN)
Millwall v Stockport            (HOME WIN)
Colchester v Wycombe      (HOME WIN)
Brighton v Tranmere         (HOME WIN)

LEAGUE TWO:

Chesterfield v Hereford     (HOME WIN)
Rochdale v Grimsby         (HOME WIN)
 

The rest is up to you!

Be lucky,

 

By Ross A. Fox

 

A MIDWEEK TIP

It’s Tuesday 23rd March, the daffs are blooming and the days are getting shorter. What’s more, there’s money to be made tonight.

Sometimes the bookies invite punters into their warm embrace with oddly-generous looking odds and if you are someone who likes to have a few quid on the football results, you have to have your wits about you at all times. Sometimes though, you see something, a price, a punt, and it is just feels right.

Tonight there is a full card of Serie B fixtures from Italy and two fixtures stand out from a punters perspective. They are Empoli v Mantova and Ancona v Reggina. If you don’t know your Serie B from your Serena Williams, then check out the league standings through the link below:

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/tables?league=ita.2&cc=5739

As you can see from the league table, in Empoli and Ancona we have two teams awful on the road, but brilliant at home. Given that these two teams are the only two sides in Serie B to still be undefeated at home, it is perhaps suprising that Paddypower has priced them at 5/6 and 10/11 respectively. Put together in a Double bet, you can expect odds of around 2.5/1, which means if you stick a quid on, you will get £3.50 in return if both Empoli and Ancona win.

If you prefer your betting slip to have more names on it, then take a look at the following:

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace         (HOME WIN)
QPR v Derby              (HOME WIN)
Southampton v Hartlepool           (HOME WIN)
Accrington Stanley v Burton Albion          (HOME WIN)
AFC Wimbledon v Barrow            (HOME WIN)
Sevilla v Xerex                (HOME WIN)

You might also want to have a look into Middlesborough, Colchester, Ipswich and Newcastle, all of whom will be fancying their chances of picking up three valuable points tonight.

So there you have it, a sneaky couple from Serie B, one from La Liga and a few from olde England.

Have a Tuesday to remember,

be lucky.

 

By Ross A. Fox