Over to you Manchester City

Hello and good afternoon sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. Just when some might have thought the title race in England’s Premier League might have been over, second place Liverpool reminded Man City that they’re not ready to give up of their fight for Premier League glory, just yet.

The Reds brilliantly over came Aston Villa 2-1 in last nights game, after falling behind to Douglas Luiz’s third minute goal. After Saturday’s potentially morale draining draw with Tottenham, this win at Villa park was gutsy, battling and a demonstration of real resilience as the Premier League season gets to the business end.

Football purists, no doubt would demand sparkling champagne football every game, especially with Liverpool’s stellar attacking line, but the cold facts are that results are much more important that results.

To further prove the point that he has been a superb January signing, Luis Diaz would set up Sadio Mane for the winner, which puts Liverpool level on points with the champions City, but Pep’s men do have a better goal difference.

For this game The Reds, rested five players and for manager Jurgen Klopp he will be relieved that after this fixture against Aston Villa that Liverpool have kept their quadruple hopes alive. The only negative is that key midfielder Fabinho went off injured during the game.

Manchester City will now need to travel to tonight’s Gam with Wolves needing a result. It’s not an easy place to visit that’s for sure and Wolves traditionally don’t concede too many goals. Although it only showed in the semi-final loss to Real Madrid, it’s games like this which could put the topic of City’s lack of genuine centre-forward to the core.

Personally we think Manchester City will edge tonight’s game at Molineux 1-0, but this is a genuine banana skin for City. Liverpool will be praying that this will be a banana skin, that makes City slip.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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My thoughts on why Manchester City can’t crack Europe

Hello and good evening sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. In the football it’s one of the biggest conundrums, why Manchester City despite wiping the proverbial floor clean domestically, in Europe how ever club football’s top prize the UEFA Champions League continues to elude them.

After Liverpool drawing 1-1 with Tottenham, that opened a three point gap between The Reds and Manchester City, who ruthlessly demolished in-form Newcastle 5-0, City look all but set to win their fourth Premier League crown in five seasons.

Amazingly The Cityzens appear to be finding different ways to get eliminated from the top table of Europe’s premier club competition. Losses to Lyon, Liverpool and Tottenham showed naivety, but this loss to Real Madrid worryingly showed a lack of cutting edge.

That’s quite something that City, who have been scoring freely in the Premier League, lacked a cutting edge in the semi-final first leg, despite scoring four times. Real Madrid have their premier marksman in Karim Benzema, and the Frenchman now has 40 goals in all competition this year.

Man City have been able to spread their goals, but players like Mahrez, Grealish and Jesus for example are brilliant players, but a strikers instinct can never be understated. Jack Grealish missed some guilt edged chances in the second leg, we can’t help but think if this was a striker with the pedigree of Aguero/Benzema would have at least converted one of those chances.

With many respectable new sources reporting that Manchester City have won the race for Erljng Haaland, then arguably The Blues should be winning next seasons Champions League right? Well, nothing is guaranteed.

In tournament football, the margins for error are smaller. Unfortunately City have been making errors at the wrong times. The usually impenetrable Ruben Diaz was at fault for one of Rodrygo’s goals.

The Portuguese youngster has been superb and has even help John Stones regain his best form. It’s not ideal at all, that Man City have spent over £1 billion on players, but if we’re not mistaken Manchester United won the Champions League title in the 1998/99 season and that was some eight seasons after United first got into tournament under Sir Alex.

The Red half of Manchester too spent a lot of money, but that’s not a narrative often told. What also hasn’t helped is Pep Guardiola being a bit too tactically flexible, yes we’re talking about last seasons final against Chelsea.

Even with the signing of Haaland, Manchester City need to plug the massive hole that will be left when club legend Fernandinho departs Manchester City. That signing might be more important than that of Erling Haaland.

Famous last words, but if City don’t win the Champion League within two seasons, I will eat my hat. Yes it seems so far, but City fans your team is close. Just a little more patience and that patience will reap rewards.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon beloved sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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The ‘Open Heart Surgery’ needed at Man United examined

In a season that has seen many lows and maybe just two highs (Ronaldo’s goal scoring achievements and David DeGea returning to form), the team here at The Sports Buff want to weigh into a debate, that’s been brewing ever since interim manager Ralf Ragnick made, the now infamous assessment of the state of affairs at Manchester United.

This slump, it arguably is a slump that Man United are currently enduring, especially since winning the Premier League in 2013 their 20th League crown, with a squad that was past it’s sell by date, The Red Devils have not added a domestic league title since.

That means since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired after 27 successful seasons, United’s trophy cabinet has only seen an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Europa League added to it. For other sides, with the greatest respect, that wouldn’t be a terrible trophy count.

But a club that boasted it won’t make the same mistakes as Liverpool (who saw a legendary manager leave and taking time to replace and replicate his success there after ), it’s ironic that Man United are making these very same mistakes.

Sir Alex Ferguson has retired, but the ghost of Fergie still looms. The Red Devils are a lost soul, clearly. Yes, we are fans of Manchester United and no we’re not from London, but with our analytical and journalistic observations, we play Dr and look to operate on our patient, Manchester United.

Defence

So nurse, please bring the defence. The defence, it doesn’t take rocket science to work out, has been a mess. A combination of different centre backs whether that be Maguire or Varanne, One thing is for certain United have not been able to find the right balance.

If you thought the centre back so bad, full backs haven’t been much better. Luke Shaw, Alex Telles as well as Aaron Wan Bissaka and Digo Dalot have all underwhelmed.

The form of Harry Maguire has been the most alarming. United skipper Maguire, last season was superb and he was also excellent in the Euros too. The former Hull man was named in the Euros team of the tournament after all.

This season, unfortunately the 28-year old Maguire has found different ways to make costly errors. So what’s the solution, drop him or even sell him? Yes it could be, with Eric Bailly stepping in to partner Varanne and maybe United could sign Pau Torres.

As much as we like the Villareal man and were impressed by him in last season’s Europa League final, we also feel there’s a need to coach Harry Maguire into Erik Ten Haag’s system. Daley Blind, who formerly was of Manchester United of course has been a mainstay in the former Ajax boss’ team when he was in charge at the Johan Cryuff arena.

There is a for and against for either argument, the cold fact is football doesn’t have sentiments. Sentiments in regards to Maguire shouldn’t just be kept in the team purely because he is the captain or the world’s most expensive defender.

What we are adamant on is, especially in today’s era, the need for a good midfield is necessary for the defence to function. Luke Shaw has had a poor season by his standards, but like Harry Maguire he too has taken his game to a higher level in the past, there’s no reason why shouldn’t be able to do so now.

A good solid right-back is needed. Roben Goosens and Demzel Dumfries, although both at Inter as a player we rate both highly as well as Di Lorenzo of Napoli. Every player has his price, but unlike what they did with Maguire, United need to be shrewd when signing a player in this position.

Any of these three would be speculative signings, but good signings and an upgrade on the right-backs they have at the club. Max Aarons although a left-field shout somewhat is another we rate highly.

Football fans, you might be surprised for us to not have included Sergino Dest. The American who plays for Barcelona these days, we think would be better suited there, but if Ten Haag decides for a reunion and Barca being cash-strapped, then never say never.

A good defence is only good with a good midfield. Nurse, you’re needed please! We now need to operate on the midfield part of the heart.

Midfield

To say that United’s midfield is in disarray is under statement of the century. Pogba, who is arguably one of the biggest stars in midfield, has been injured for large parts of the season and arguably getting his head swayed by reported bids from ‘bigger clubs’.

This diverted attention theme does appear to resonate across the attacking players contingent at The Red Devils. If reports are to be believed, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and of course Pogba are counting the seconds, minutes and days to exit the Old Trafford door.

With Matic leaving too, this part of the heart needs the most work. Nurse, please cancel my evening appointments. We suggest that Mamadou Diarra of Leipzig be signed and not Declan Rice or Wilfred Ndidi. Both Rice and Ndidi are good player but will come at a premium.

How about Youri Tielemans? The Belgian who has been superb for Leicester, is coming to the last 12 months of his deal and will no doubt be available for a cut price fee. There is of course James Ward-Prowse and Aurelien Tchouameni, but there is a but with both.

With Monaco’s Tchouameni we actually he would be brilliant, but with Real Madrid and many of Europe’s elite in the race for the young Frenchman too, it will be a hard sell, but The Reds will surely be able to make him the centre of the team.

This would help Bruno Fernandes, who I am sure is (he clearly looks it), tired from carrying Manchester United. There is of course Aboubacar Kamara of Marseille or Calvin Stengs and Teun Koopmeiners of Atalanta.

Long story short in what is a very important position in the modern day game, Man United do have options. How could we forget Ryan Gravenberch? The tall Ajax youngster has been likened to Paul Pogba, and this is something the United midfield has been crying out for.

We think Man United should sign at least two players in midfield and give the returning James Garner a chance to shine in the middle of the park. Let’s face it, Fred and Scott McTominay have been poor on the whole, the Nottingham Forest loanee won’t be worse than either of them.

Are we seeing signs of life nurse? No? Please bring me the strikers!

Strikers

The fact we have to cover this point is quite something. Manchester United in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, were well stocked in this area, but now all of a sudden when talisman Ronaldo will retire within the next two seasons, United look thin on the ground.

Anthony Martial, looks certain to leave, Marcus Rashford looks like he’s been stuck on a school playground somewhere serving someone school dinners and Lingard Id dabbing his way out of the exit door.

Man U do have Sancho and Elanga, not forgetting to mention Shola Shoretire, a player who unfortunately has been on the periphery, even though The Red Devils’ goal return has been so low despite Ronaldo single handily keeping Manchester United in the hunt for any form of European football.

To remedy this, we suggest they need to sign Christopher Nkunku at all costs. The Leipzig man has shown he’s the all round package, get him before other clubs sniff around. There is of course Laturo Martinez, who is a brilliant player, but maybe a player who could be too expensive for their budget.

Jonathan David, Sebastian Haller, Paulo Dybala are other players mentioned too. In the case of the Argentine Dybala, we watched him live, and we will never forget how much he terrorised United’s defence on the day.

It would be his goal that helped Juventus leave Manchester with all three points in a Champions League group game a few seasons back. Haller, would be an interesting option and is a player Ten Haag knows well having worked with the Frenchman at FC Utrecht as well as Ajax.

Jonathan David however is a good player, but we’re not convinced that the Canadian can stay injury free, he will also command a ridiculous transfer fee, which is the reason why Victor Osmimhen is a no no.

So we suggest United should sign Haller if Ten Haag can get a system that play to the former West Ham man’s strengths and also Paulo Dybala too. Man United do have Thaith Chong to come back. The Birmingham loanee has shown glimpses of his undoubted talent whilst at St Andrews.

Although we don’t know too much about him, maybe try to give Alejandro Garnacho a go? Man United are in such depths of oblivion, things can only get better. Surely 20-time League winners Manchester United can’t go any lower?

Any signs of a healthy heart nurse? Nearly? Ok then please bring me the conclusion/loan or fringe players.

Second chances

With the new manager, old players get new beginnings. Axel Tuanzebe, Donny Van De Beek, Amad Diallo, Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri are those hoping to benefit from a new manager.

The quintet, play in positions where United do need to address,so before Ten Haag opts to open the cheque book, then the need to hold the horses is needed?

Andreas Perreira, I am afraid for the sake of his own career needs to move on. Nurse, any signs of a beating heart? Yes, if they follow this advice? Well, that’s a relief.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company. https://www.shirtclubjersey.com/

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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The day that ended the title race?

Good evening sports fans, I hope you’re well , looking after yourselves and are in good health. Let’s talk, in particular let’s talk football. It’s been quite some season. In England’s Premier League and in Italy’s Serie A there’s been a hotly contested title race.

In Italy Milan rivals continue to go to toe. Milan winning 3-1 this evening, cancelling out Inter’s impressive 4-2 win two nights before (Friday). In Italy for a good part of the season, it appeared that the tussle for the title, will be battled three ways, but Napoli’s bad form of late, realistically has put an end to that talk.

With the slump of Luciano’s Spelleti’s men, Italy’s title race, just like last season will be contested by the same two teams, but not for the slightest would we say that it’s predictable in the Italian top flight.

If we were betting people (that we are not), then we would back AC Milan to bring the title home to the Red and White side of the City, which is something that they haven’t done since the mid noughties.

Just like in England, it’s far from a forgone conclusion.

To move across the continent, we will have a look at England’s Premier League. In the last three seasons at least, Manchester City and Liverpool have been battling out for England’s top domestic honor. Chelsea tried, just like Napoli to make the Premier League a three-way tussle, but failed like the Naples side side

In the Premier League battles of recent memory Man City and Liverpool have pushed each other to unhuman levels, something reminiscent to how a peak Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would do to each other. This season, it’s been no different, but with Liverpool drawing with Tottenham and Manchester City thrashing Newcastle, maybe this epic tussle, is coming to an end?

Well, before researching the fixture list, we thought so. But, both sides have difficult away games. Manchester City will need to travel to The London stadium and take on West Ham, and Liverpool travel to Villa Park and look to defeat their former captain Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.

In fact it looks like The Villains might have a say of the destination of this year’s Premier League title. With Villa, comfortably in mid table and not having to worry about getting dragged into a relegation dogfight, Aston Villa can approach both the Liverpool game and Manchester City arguably game with no pressure.

That’s not something both Man City or Liverpool can afford to do. The Cityzens Manchester City have the points on the board and Liverpool will need to catch them, but if Liverpool do their side of the bargain and beat Aston Villa in their next league game on 10th May, all of a sudden Manchester City’s tricky trip to Wolves a day later , gets all the more trickier.

Looking at the fixture list, after initially thinking the title race is all but over, we feel there’s more twists and turns to come, but do you agree?

We think Liverpool could over take City, but We won’t put our neck on the line.

Thanks to our partner and sponsor shirtclubjersey.com

Hi guys, football fans, lover of retro shirts… look no further! You can get some of the most iconic shirts in European football! From that Ronaldinho Barcelona kit famously wore against Chelsea or other European iconic jerseys, look no further than shirtclubjersey.com!

Because I love you guys. Use this code 5q8sjr3f at the check out and guess what? I have only gone and helped you guys get 10% off! And it gets better with free world wide shipping!

Or check their sister site t-shirtsoccer.com, where you can get all the kits of all your favourite teams.

Thank me later and be sure to check out this gem of a company.

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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This is why they call it the beautiful game

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and keeping safe in these times. Boy and girls, ladies and gents … We need to talk, football! Football, a sport that’s arguably the biggest in the UK/England, is known across the world as ‘the beautiful game’.

The memories it provokes and the emotions too, there’s nothing quite like it. Cricket, is beautiful, but it’s more of a thinkers game. Field placings, outwitting opponents … football, that’s more emotions.

If cricket you think with your head, football is with heart and that’s what leads to the beauty of it. This weeks European football semi-final ties, were of pure and sheer excitement. I am am man of 35 years of age, and I can say I have only cried tears of joy once, after a football game, Manchester City vs Tottenham from a few seasons back (Champions League quarter-final).

The matches this week, were all emotion filled, Liverpool on the brink of getting rattled and maybe dumped out of the tournament, to become mentality monsters and cruelly sink the Yellow Submarine Villareal (who won the Europa League last year) out of the tournament.

Talking about cruelly going out of the tournament, Manchester City’s wait for an elusive first Champions League crown, continues after self destructing in the second leg of their game against Real Madrid at the Bernabeau.

Logic, (with two minutes to go I should add), dictated that Real the 13-time Champions League winners were going to be knocked out of this years tournament, but someone tell that to Rodrygo.

The young Brazilian Rodrygo, didn’t get that memo and it was his two goals, which ultimately won the tie, as City appeared defeated and deflated too at that point, before Benzema would score the goal that would actually dump them out . In the Europa League West Ham’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt may have been easy to a point for the Germans, but Rangers who were also against German opposition (Leipzig) to a man were superb in an emotion packed Ibrox.

It’s just a game they tell you, tell that someone else, we don’t believe that here at the sports buff .

Support The Sports Buff

Hello, good morning beloved Beards. I hope you’re well. We hear at ayyazmalik.com love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for over six years and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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When you know it’s summer (in the sporting sense)

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. As discussed in previous articles, we here at The Sports Buff, want to look at sports, but through a different lens if you like.

We have spoke about school cricket, back garden cricket and football, but here we want to talk about when sporting wise, you know it’s summer. The obvious sign is when your local park is full, people getting their exercise and they’re running and building a sweat.

In the summer on the whole, you will see people driving with their convertible roofs down, in the case of most with music full blast, is what some of us do, yours truly included, but not the music part.

As mentioned in the previous blog about football, in the back garden and cricket too, is of course sensical as the weather would be too warm to stay inside. Me and the kids of today, are a different era, I am not so sure if it’s a thing of today, but we as kids would run around chasing the neighbours kids as part of play time.

Then, we would see that as fun time, now though, yes it’s fun time, but it’s good cardio! Not all, but most kids would be hard pushed to get off their consoles. The consoles aren’t actually all bad, like the Nintendo Wii, but nothing beats some crisp air or the warm sunshine.

Water fights, used to be the order of the day in the afternoon for us kids. Water guns, chasing after each other, dodging your opponent who was trying to soak you with water gun shots, caution needed indeed.

I have a question, is this a thing anymore? Hope so, really do. Outdoor activities is naturally something which you will do when the sun is out, o water about volley ball at the beach and actually getting good exercise by going on a long walk along the beach.

Sports fans, hopefully we have given a lot of examples here, but is there anything we might have missed? Let us know in the comments. Thanks to our partner Fragrance one, who have kindly given us a discount code, that you can benefit from.

Hey! You can use my code F30SPORTSBUFF2 at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

Support for The Sports Buff

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at The Sports Buff love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for a year and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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When you go back to an ex

Hello, good evening sports fans, I pray you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. Ladies and gents, the ex. Whether that be an ex-wife, ex-girlfriend (or of course the other way round), the ex divides opinion.

They were good to me, I shouldn’t have left, or they were worse and more contagious from their BS than the plague itself! But here at The Sports Buff, we of course want to bring the concept of getting back with the ex, from a sporting status.

So, think of Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl. Former world number one, got to those dizzy heights with Lendl in his company, but when they parted, Murray hasn’t been the same player since.

Yes injury played a massive part in that, but as Barney from How I Met Your Mother would say, “Ok” with that stern look too.

Maybe this will change, now both are looking to rekindle, their sporting love for one another? I will get the candles, and the bubbly (sparkling water). What about Chelsea, David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and even Jose Mourinho!

Sorry but, can’t help but think Chelsea are being a bit Narcissistic in their behaviour, how so? Well Jose left, (sacked) and with the example of the players, all were sold and came back like life is a bed of roses.

As Romelu is currently with the club, he has of course not left, yet … that’s if that flirtation with Inter Milan in the Autumn was anything to go by. To keep it football related, Peterborough are similar to Chelsea, but with their managers.

Messer’s McCann and Ferguson have had more than one spell with the club. Yes Grant McCann has only been reappointed boss after his sacking at Hull, but in the case of Darren Ferguson, he’s been back to his footballing ex, four times!

Former Doncaster Rovers boss Ferguson, of course left his post in the month or so, but one can’t help but feel, he will answer the call of The Posh. These are the most obvious examples of going back to the ex, are there any examples that we might have missed?

Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to our partner fragrance one for giving our readers a discount!

You can use my code F30SPORTSBUFF1 at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

The Sports Buff Support

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at The Sports Buff love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for a year and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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Shane Warne, the man,the legend

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, praying you’re well, looking after yourselves and in good health. As promised, we want to pay our own tribute to Shane Warne. Shane Keith Warne, the 52-year old leg-spinner who passed away with a suspected heart attack was more than just a spin-bowler, he was an icon.

The blonde hair the good looks and the sun cream on the mouth and face, Shane Warne was a distinctive warrior. A lion on the pitch, a fierce competitor who loved the competitive/sledging side of the game.

Off the pitch, you had some one who was kind, a good friend to many and it became clear why many fans, in their millions, multi-millions adored this man. A Victorian native, but which ever club side he went to around the world, he took them to their hearts and they did him too.

At Hampshire he was captain and hugely adored, the same at Rajasthan Royals, who he captained to the inaugural IPL title. Warnie also played for the Melbourne Stars too in his native Australia.

Critics will say, he was larger than life got involved in some misdemeanours , which to a point he did, but so were many others. Shane Warne, was a one of a generation kind of player, he made leg-spin cool. Players who were starting out in cricket (bowlers) , were aiming to replicate, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Curtley Ambrose.

There’s not many who would have chosen a spinner as someone they aspire to be like, to bowl like. But Shane Warne changed all of that. The 52-year old Victorian got 700 wickets and 291 One-day International scalps, very impressive indeed.

Yes, he will be remembered for being a superb bowler, but he more then held his own in the slip-cordon and was a very gutsy batsmen too. One blot on an illustrious career, Shane Warne will go down as the highest run scorer of a man, who would not get a test century in his career.

A stain on his record, that maybe, but sports fans let’s salute a legend an icon! On the field and off the field as a coach and commentator, Shane Keith Warne, rest in peace, you will be missed.

The pros and cons of five-a-side

Hello, and good afternoon, sports fans it’s me The Sports Buff. Hope you’re well and looking after yourselves. Ladies and gents, I want to talk about an issue that’s relevant in the world of sports, today’s issue is the topic of five-a-side football.

Ahh, five-a-side, the format where everyone is a striker and everyone is a defender. 4-3-2-1, 4-4-2? No, no the athletic ones go up front and the unfit ones (err herm, me) tend to stay back in defence.

Football in the modern form, relies on the high press, over lapping full backs-etc. But five a side, you run forward and pray to God someone is defending! Running up the field, no problem! Tracking back? Sorry, can you speak English? No idea what you’re talking about! Even Ronaldinho doesn’t do that.

I could only track back in three working days. I don’t do an Amazon Prime service sorry. N’Golo Kante I am not. I can defend and tackle and convert some tap-ins.

Yours truly would be good at staying forward and getting through balls from the younger, the fitter ones who would run around the pitch. Thankfully, I would bury some of the chances that were given to me.

I won’t get too excited, it’s five-a-side, with the greatest respect it’s not Jan Oblak I am facing as a goal-keeper . Most of the time, the guy in goal doesn’t even want to be there and woops, he ‘slipped’.

Simply put, amazingly in three shots, the keeper has conceded two goals, the two goals that means he has been liberated from the goal-keeper dungeon. But in their defence (some of the goal-keepers) don’t have gloves, just like the 60’s and 70’s.

Maybe our generation are soft. Some Sunday League football rules is what is needed. Some of the tackles in that format, is the quality of tackling of Joey Barton or Lee Catermole, but the referee? He looks like he has clearly left his cards at home.

Back to five-a-side though, to organise the thing … mini nightmare! I feel sorry for the person who is in charge of booking the pitch and getting the money for the session. Book keeping skills is needed, has he paid, or hasn’t he ?

Then you have the issue of having 12 people ready to play when it’s only 10 that can play (five-a-side). The next week, true to form, you can only get seven players who are free to play, there’s never a middle ground!

Finally, one of the best things about five-a-side is the great goals you score! Yes, the sessions maybe an hour, more than an hour if you can get some minutes before the staff turn the pitch lights off.

In that hour, you live the dream, the net bulge and seeing the goal-keeper despairingly trying to save one of the shots. To keep it fair for goalies, the feeling of seeing the penalty saved, a one-step penalty – which I think is a brilliant rule.

So there you have it, those are the pros and cons of five-a-side. Is there is any, I might have missed?

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The world of cricket is changing but is it for the better?

Hello, and good afternoon sports fans, I pray you’re well and looking after yourselves. Sports fans, we have spoke about sports, but when we were kids. I want to keep the theme going from the last article.

If you didn’t read it, worry not; it’s here: https://the-sports-buff.com/2022/03/01/when-you-wish-change-wasnt-always-embraced/ . Here we spoke about football and the changes that have been made in the sport, to the detriment of fan entertainment and excitement.

There have been changes in cricket, many changes, but to the betterment of the sport? If you play, play ground cricket then welcome to the concept of six and out. Six and out is, you hit a six (how you hit a six, over the boundary rope or flat on the makeshift boundary rope with out a bounce).

In actual cricket, this can’t happen, but in school cricket if you hit the six and then catch it after it’s bounced on the wall, you catch it one handed, then it’s out, in real life cricket such a rule doesn’t exist.

Rules such as no-balls, a rule which the umpire had to check the bowler didn’t fall foul of, has now been passed over to the third umpire, this is a good change. Other positive changes I think are DRS and snickometer.

Here is a positive influence that changes have had in sport. The free-hit from the no-ball is another positive change, it adds to fan excitement and if the bowler gets a dot ball the next ball, that’s brilliant from the bowler and if the batsmen hits a six, then it’s superb from the batsmen. In both cases the cricket fan is the winner.

Some not so good changes, the runner. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think any form of cricket has runner. For those of you who are too young, a runner would not be allowed to bat, but he would run for a batsmen who was injured and couldn’t run.

This scenario, would leave to some comical run outs, tough look if the injured batsmen is well set and loses his wicket in unfortunate circumstances. Concussion substitutes is another positive change. So if a player gets a head injury, a player could be replaced by a substitute.

Sports fans, there you have it, just some of the examples of cricket embracing change, with the majority of it for the better. Do you agree with my points?Let me know in the comments.

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Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at The Sports Buff love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for a year and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support

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