Ballsy Banter Roll Of Honour 2012: One To Watch in 2013

December 19, 2012 in Awards

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Day three of Ballsy Banter’s Roll Of Honour sees our panel look to the future and discuss the stars of tomorrow. Who has shown sparks of genius that could turn into blazes of genius in the following year? The Ballsy Banter team looks at our latest category - The ‘One to Watch’ in 2013.

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Manchester City: down and out in Europe

December 5, 2012 in Europe

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Before the game had started, for a lot of City fans, this game was a dead rubber. It is fair to say that this season, as with the last, the Champions League has not gone well for Manchester City or their manager Roberto Mancini. With the team already out of the main European competition, all that was left to play for was the Europa League place, in a straightforward race between themselves and Ajax. If Ajax lost (which they did), then all City had to do was win to guarantee some level of European respectability. Draw or lose, and not only would they be out of Europe altogether, but they would have the dubious title of first English team not to win a group stage game of the Champions League (that includes Blackburn in the 95 season, by the way). If only someone had told that to the City players - then maybe this game would have been more interesting.

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How do UEFA solve a problem like Europe?

December 3, 2012 in Europe

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The Champions League is arguably the greatest club competition in the world; a tournament steeped in history, graced by the world’s best players from years gone by, and has offered up some truly memorable games in its 57-year history, if we count the European Cup. It still offers that today, despite being bloated by the group stage. The Europa League, in comparison, has always been the problem child, the one who has not achieved the dizzy heights of its brother, and instead of being loved, it’s seen as a waste of time by both managers and fans. Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, has seemingly noticed this and has had some thoughts about the future of both competitions and has mooted the possibility of combining the two. Is this a good idea? And what else could they do to shake things up a bit?

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Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Strike 2 for Mancini

November 22, 2012 in Europe

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The anger will be more subdued amongst City fans. There was no defeat to Madrid tonight, no embarrassing scoreline. Hell, even City’s woefully misleading 19 home game unbeaten run in Europe remains intact for another year. Many City fans may even have enjoyed the nights out in Spain, Germany and Holland, and will go home with a smile on their face, thinking “maybe next year”. The more level-headed ones will ask themselves why, in 11 games of Champions League football, City have yet to put in anything above a functional performance, but have managed many poor performances, and even a couple of woeful ones. They’ll ask why the champions of England sit bottom of their (admittedly difficult) group with three points, eliminated with a game to spare, and with but a slim hope of even making the Europa League.

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Dortmund and Bayern lead the way for stylish German teams

November 21, 2012 in Bundesliga

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Berlin might be the place for hipster-hangouts, all-weekend parties and truly brilliant vegan pizza, but it is also the only European capital city not to boast top flight football. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs, yet for a city so full of surprises it sort of makes sense. Berlin has a bizarre, makeshift environment which is as beautiful as it is ugly.

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