Joey Barton moves to Rangers on two-year deal

Joey Barton completes move to Rangers on two-year deal

Rangers have completed the signing of Joey Barton on a two-year deal.

Barton, 33, will join the club officially on July 1 on a free transfer after rejecting a new one-year contract from Burnley, where he was named player of the year after helping them win promotion to the Premier League

The midfielder, who has one England cap to his name, visited Rangers’ training ground nine days ago and spoke with manager Mark Warburton.

He becomes Rangers’ fourth summer signing, joining Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks as well as former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Rossiter.


“When I first found out there was potentially the opportunity to come up here, from that moment on the blood got pumping,” he told the club’s website.

“I’m fully aware of the situation that this club has been in in the few years, but to be part of a group that is going to put this football club back where it belongs was an opportunity that if I didn’t take, I would have regretted for the rest of my life.

“The gaffer and players here have made incredible progress in the last 12 months. When given the opportunity, I was mindful that the club had a huge game in the Cup Final at the weekend, and I didn’t really want anything to distract from that.

“I also wanted to speak to my friends and family, but I knew instantly that I was going to come here. Once I had walked into the building and seen what this club is about, I knew it would fit perfectly with what I wanted.

“I knew it was a place that offered me an incredible challenge and an incredible opportunity, and I am so grateful and so happy to finally be a Rangers player, and I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.” SOURCE: SKYSPORTS



Jose Mourinho won’t stay at Man United for long – Phil Neville

Jose Mourinho will last only two or three years at Manchester United but can bring success back to Old Trafford, according to former Red Devils defender Phil Neville.

Mourinho has agreed a deal to become United’s next manager, sources close to the deal have told ESPN FC, and is expected to be officially confirmed by the club early next week.

This season, United finished fifth in the Premier League and missed out on the Champions League under current boss Louis van Gaal.

United beat Crystal Palace at Wembley on Saturday to win the FA Cup but the victory is not expected to save Van Gaal, who has failed to produce either a Premier League title challenge or brand of football in line with the club’s traditions.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after a miserable start to the season. Despite widespread success in his career, the Portuguese has never managed a club for longer than the three years and three months he spent at Chelsea in his first spell.

“I can’t see him staying too long at Man United, maybe two or three years, that seems to be his shelf life at a football club,” Neville told BBC Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“When Jose finishes at a club it tends to be a pattern where he falls out with a few players, he gets disgruntled and the team dips.

“It happened at Chelsea, it certainly happened at Real Madrid where there were rumours he fell out with a few players.

“It’s a pattern with Jose, he comes into a club, he gets success but he doesn’t stay for too long.”

United have now failed to finish higher than fourth in any of the three seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Mourinho has a proven track record in England, having won the title three times with Chelsea, and Neville believes the former Madrid boss will already have a plan to achieve success again.

“He’s a proven winner, a proven champion. United fans want a team that will challenge for the league title, not a team that finishes seventh or fifth, and Jose is probably the man for the job,” Neville said.

“Knowing Jose as I do, I think he will have done his homework and he’s meticulous in his planning.

“Don’t be surprised if United in the next month, and particularly before the Euros, sign three or four players and when he gets to pre-season he has his squad already in place.

“He knows who he wants and at the start he will demand United sign those players for United to become championship challengers again.”


Euro 2016 will proceed in France despite ISIS threats

  • France has suffered a horrid 16 months, with two brazen terrorist attacks plunging it into a prolonged state of emergency and possible terrorism eyed in the crash of an EgyptAir jet that took off from Paris.But in just three weeks’ time, the country will host one of world’s biggest sporting events.

    Some 2.5 million fans — most of them foreigners — will pack into stadiums across the country for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Essentially a pared-down World Cup, it features 24 teams from across the continent.


  • But with preparations in the final stages, France’s spy chief warned that ISIS is plotting more misery on the country’s soil.

    “We know that [ISIS] is planning more attacks … and that France is clearly a target,” Patrick Calvar, head of the DGSI intelligence agency, told the French parliament’s defense committee on Thursday.

    He did not mention Euro 2016 by name, but said security services “may be coming face to face with a new type of attack — a terrorist campaign characterized by planting explosive devices where large crowds are gathered … to create as much panic as possible.”

    He added: “The question, when it comes to the threat, is not ‘if,’ but ‘when’ and ‘where.'”

    France remains entrenched in an official state of emergency, with security services performing thousands of raids and making hundreds of arrests across the country.

    Despite such fears and warnings, authorities have refused to postpone or relocate the tournament — which will feature games in 10 cities.

    Euro 2016 will see some of the most intense security measures ever conceived for any event of its size.

    However, organizers are palpably aware that they cannot guarantee fans’ safety.

    “We are doing our best to make sure everything is done [properly] and nothing is left to chance,” Ziad Khoury, head of security for the Euro 2016 tournament, told NBC News in a telephone interview this week. “But when you speak about security you cannot be serious and say that you are on 100 percent probability. It’s impossible. Even now, I’m talking to you, something could happen in my building.”

  • Khoury said last year’s Paris attacks have had a marked effect on planning for the the event. There will be an 8 percent increase in the number of private security contractors, bring the total to between 650 and 1,300 at every game.This year will also be the first major event where anti-drone technology will be deployed across the 10 stadiums involved, according to Khoury. He said that any device that flies within several designated no-fly zones will in effect be hacked into by security officials and flown to a safe area.

    “If you compare these Euros to the last one in France — the last one was in 1984 — there were no social networks, no cybercrime, no drones etc.,” said Khoury, whose country also hosted the World Cup in 1998. “So that’s why we have worked on all the scenarios, and drones are one of them.”

    While the number of reinforcements has increased, Khoury said his team’s overall strategy has remained the same.

    “Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Of course it has taken a new shape with 2015, but before there were threats or even terrorist attacks,” he said.

    An attack by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics left 11 Israelis, five Palestinians and a German police officer dead. A bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, which killed one person and injured 11 others.   Read More


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    Man U Man U- FA finals highlights video

    A brilliant strike from JESSE LINGARD took MANCHESTER UNITED to their first silverware in almost three years, as the Red Devils triumphed 2-1 over CRYSTAL PALACE in the FA CUP FINAL 2016..

    A turgid match was suddenly turned on its head after 78 minutes, when Jason Puncheon struck first for Palace.
    The lead was short-lived, however, as Juan Mata drilled home just three minutes later, and Lingard capped 10-man United’s comeback with a memorable effort to give Louis van Gaal his maiden trophy at Old Trafford.

    Scores / Goal : Jason Puncheon, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard
    # Man Utd vs C Palace 2-1 All Goal
    # Man United vs Crystal Palace 2-1 Highlights
    # Manchester United vs Crystal Palace 2-1 All Goal
    # Manchester United vs Crystal Palace 2-1 Highlights
    # Manchester United vs Crystal Palace Final FA CUP 2016
    # Crystal Palace vs Manchester United 1-2 All Goals Highlights



    Bubble Football leaves player severely injured

    Bubble soccer ends with brain injury for high school soccer captain
    A Cobb County high school senior was hospitalized with a brain injury after a game of bubble soccer last Friday.

    bubblesoccerSalvador “Chava” Reyes was celebrating the end of the Campbell High School soccer season with his teammates when he collided with another player, causing the traumatic head injury, according to Channel 2 Action News.

    Reyes was in the Critical Care Unit at WellStar Kennestone Hospital facing a long road to recovery early Thursday. In bubble soccer, players wear inflatable bubbles and run into each other.

    Reyes, who was captain of the Spartan’s boys soccer team, was going up for a header when he collided with another player and flew back onto the ground.

    “His forehead just immediately shattered internally and he had some bleeding in his brain,” his sister, Ruby Reyes, told Channel 2.

    The injured teen was just two weeks from graduation when the accident happened.

    “He was counting down for it,” Ruby Reyes said.

    She says her brother was getting ready to try out for a professional soccer team in Mexico after his graduation.

    Now, doctors are waiting for swelling to go down before they perform a reconstructive surgery on Salvador Reyes.

    One of his coaches, Pierina Anderson, told Channel 2 his teammates are distraught and they are pulling together to help him.

    “He had a future for him and we just need all help we can to help the family,” Anderson said.

    Several charity soccer games have been scheduled to help raise money for the teen’s medical bills, and a GoFundMe page for Reyes had earned more than $11,600 as of 6:40 a.m. Thursday.



    Can Rooney End The FA Cup Drought

    Hey Rooney fans!  There is talk swirling about the ‘old’ Rooney and the ‘new’ Rooney.  Richard Prolly is of the view that

    Wayne Rooney can end his long wait for an FA Cup win with Man United.

    Towards the end of his reign as Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson took to marvelling that Rio Ferdinand had never won the FA Cup. He neglected to mention one major reason — that the defender was serving an eight-month ban for missing a drug test when United triumphed in 2004 — but, three years after the Scot’s retirement, there is a more glaring omission from any list of the oldest cup competition’s success stories.

    Wayne Rooney has never won the FA Cup. That could, perhaps should, change on Saturday when he captains United against Crystal Palace at Wembley. Victory would end a 14-season quest and give him the only major domestic medal he lacks. It would also alter the impression that, as far as the FA Cup is concerned, Rooney has tended to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    He was born in 1985, five months after his two clubs, Everton and Manchester United, contested the final. He was at Wembley a decade later for their final rematch, a cheering Evertonian when Paul Rideout scored the goal that secured the Goodison Park club’s last major trophy. He joined United in 2004, three months after their 11th and most recent FA Cup win.

    Rooney signed for a club that, at that time, had won record number of FA Cups, including eight in the previous 28 seasons and five in the last 14. The last dozen have brought none. It is a sign of several things: Of Ferguson’s shifting priorities when United were genuine contenders to win the Champions League, of their decline since his exit, of personal misfortune and penalty shootout disappointments.

    Rooney has become both the exception and the epitome. He has played 519 times for United. No one else has made as many appearances without winning the FA Cup. Yet, since Darren Fletcher’s January 2015 move to West Bromwich Albion, no one in the squad at Old Trafford has lifted the Cup in their colours. Robin van Persie won it against United in 2005. His departure last summer to Fenerbahce left Juan Mata, a 2012 victor with Chelsea, as the lone winner.

    Rooney stands out among his peers. It is notable how many of England’s so-called “Golden Generation” not only won the FA Cup but, in the case of their more attacking members, scored crucial goals in finals: Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all did, but not Rooney. Ashley Cole won the FA Cup a record seven times. That is seven more than Rooney, who has won 12 trophies of varying significance, but no FA Cup.

    That has probably assumed more importance as lifting other silverware has become less feasible, especially since every United club captain since Ray Wilkins had a brief spell in the armband in 1982 has led the club to at least one honour. After two seasons as the senior figure on the playing staff, Rooney is yet to open his account.

    The temptation is to say that Rooney’s FA Cup career began terribly and scarcely improved. His debut in the competition came in 2003 when Everton were beaten by a Shrewsbury side that would be relegated from the Football League at the end of the same season.

    He also played in United’s 2006 0-0 draw with non-league Burton and, four years later, the 1-0 defeat to League One Leeds United. Yet Rooney’s goal-per-start ratio for United in the FA Cup — 21 in 30, or 0.7 per game — is actually superior to his record in other competitions.

    And United’s failure in the FA Cup is not Rooney’s. He has only played in two losses in the last eight years; that upset to Leeds and last season’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal; even then he scored. He was injured when they exited the competition in 2012 to Liverpool, in 2013 against Chelsea and in 2014 when Swansea won at Old Trafford.

    He was controversially suspended in 2011 for swearing into a television camera at Upton Park, meaning he missed the semifinal loss to Manchester City. Two years before that, he was rested for a semifinal against Everton, when a quadruple-chasing Ferguson fielded a weakened team and went out as Dimitar Berbatov and Ferdinand missed spot kicks after a 0-0 draw.

    In both 2009 and 2008, when Portsmouth won at Old Trafford, United had grievances about the officiating. They may have hard-luck tales but the fact remains that this is their first final in nine years. Rooney played in the competition’s showpiece in two of his first three seasons at Old Trafford, a start that lent a feeling of inevitability that he would go on and secure a winner’s medal.

    If he was subdued in the 2007 final, which Chelsea won 1-0, he excelled against Arsenal in 2005, playing with verve, striking the post and winning the man-of-the-match award. He also scored his penalty after the game finished 0-0 but Jens Lehmann had already saved from Scholes and that proved decisive. Eleven years on, Rooney’s long wait might finally end.

    Richard Jolly is a football writer for ESPN, The Guardian, The National, The Observer, the Straits Times and the Sunday Express.


    Nashville awarded United Soccer League franchise

    News emerging out of The Tennessean: A group of Nashville investors has been awarded a new expansion professional soccer franchise by the United Soccer League, a potential major first step toward soccer becoming Nashville’s next professional sport.

    But Metro and the ownership team would first need to secure a plan for a stadium for the club.

    Meanwhile, the North American Soccer League — which is one tier above the USL in North America’s professional soccer pyramid — remains interested in Nashville.

    The USL, which is two tiers below Major League Soccer, the highest level of pro soccer in the United States, has awarded a franchise to a Nashville-based ownership team that calls itself DMD Soccer.

    The group consists of David Dill, president and chief operating officer of LifePoint Health; Christopher Redhage, co-founder of ProviderTrust, a health care software company, and a former pro soccer player; and Marcus Whitney, president of Jumpstart Foundry, a health care innovation fund, and chairman of Nashville FC, the city’s existing amateur team.

    Their hope is to begin USL play in 2018. A club name has not been decided, nor have the owners publicly identified possible sites where they would play.


    Aston Villa bought by Chinese Mogul

    CNN Money has dropped news that Aston Villa is being bought by a Chinese business man!!

    A Chinese businessman is buying up a storied English soccer team that’s fallen on hard times.

    Tony Jiantong Xia’s Recon Group is taking control of Aston Villa, a 140-year-old club, from American tycoon Randy Lerner, the former owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

     It’s the latest high-profile move by a Chinese investor to put money into European soccer. Recent investments have included elite clubs like Spain’s Atletico Madrid and the U.K.’s Manchester City.

    But Xia is buying into a very different proposition with Birmingham-based Aston Villa. The team has a rich history of winning top trophies in the past, but it was recently relegated from England’s lucrative Premier League after a disastrous season.

    The drop into the second-tier division is expected to cost the club tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, as it will miss out on a massive increase in the Premier League’s domestic TV deal.

    A fan of Aston Villa for “many years,” Xia has grand plans for returning it to its glory days, according to a statement on the club’s website announcing the deal. He’s aiming to steer the team back into the Premier League and then to finish among the top six teams.

    “He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base,” the statement said.

    It didn’t say how much Xia was spending to buy the team or how much he plans to invest to turn it around. The deal requires approval from soccer authorities in the U.K.

    Xia’s private holding company owns businesses involved in range of industries, including technology, energy, financial services, sports and tourism, according to a profile posted on the club’s website.

    His investment comes amid a push spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to boost China’s standing on the global soccer stage. The country has plans to build thousands of soccer schools, and its leading clubs have been splashing out huge sums in the transfer market.

    Two of China’s richest men — Alibaba founder Jack Ma and real estate mogul Wang Jianlin — have both pumped money into clubs. Alibaba bought a 50% stake in top Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande in 2014, and Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group took a 20% stake in Spain’s Atletico Madrid last year.


    Liverpool Shell Shocked by first goal

    Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool shocked by Sevilla equaliser and never recovered

    Manager says his side will learn from Europa League final defeat
    German not happy with key refereeing decisions made in final

    Jürgen Klopp vowed Liverpool would learn the lessons of a painful defeat in theEuropa League final as he blamed their “shocked” second-half display, plus the referee, for a comprehensive loss to Sevilla.
    Liverpool held a deserved half-time lead in Basel thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s exquisite finish only to collapse against a rejuvenated Sevilla side who scored three times in 25 second-half minutes. The captain, Coke, scored twice before lifting the team’s third consecutive Europa League trophy but it was Kévin Gameiro’s equaliser, 20 seconds after the restart, following poor defending by theLiverpool left-back and former Sevilla player Alberto Moreno, that Klopp identified as the turning point.

    “Obviously the first goal had a big influence on our game,” said the Liverpool manager, who has now lost his last five cup finals and will be without European football at Anfield next season. “At this moment we lost faith in our style of play, we changed from passing quick and simple to complicated and lost our formation. It was not compact any more. I’ve had this problem one or two times with this situation. The first half was ok, we deserved the 1-0, Sevilla played a lot of long balls to avoid our pressing game. We were not as good as we can be but everyone told me there were two handballs in the first half. There were some obvious decisions which went against us. In a final when it is close you need a bit of luck even when we hadn’t had any.

    “We are disappointed and frustrated 100% but tomorrow or later in the week we will see it a little bit more clearly and we will use this experience, that is what we have to do. It is clear we are not in a European tournament next year so we don’t have football on Wednesday or Thursday, so we will have time to train and we will, for sure, come back stronger.

    “We had a few moments where we have performed but then to have this consistency you need a bit more time. They are still young, the players’ first big final, but unfortunately it is the second time this season. We will use this experience together and then some day everyone will say Basel was a very decisive moment in the future of Liverpool.”

    Liverpool had several chances to extend their lead before the break but were powerless to prevent Sevilla becoming the first team since Bayern Munich in the mid-1970s to win three consecutive Uefa titles. “I tried to change it but you could see the team was shocked, maybe the crowd was shocked too,” said Klopp. “Everything changed in this moment as we had a wonderful atmosphere until we conceded to make it 1-1. Sevilla took the game and we defended not good. It is not good to concede a goal straight after half-time but you have 44 minutes to strike back. The reaction was the problem. We have to learn to react better in situations like this.”

    Liverpool had two penalty appeals for handball dismissed by the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson in the first half. The official also correctly disallowed a Dejan Lovren header for offside against Daniel Sturridge, and allowed Coke’s third to stand after spotting that, although offside, the Sevilla captain had received the ball via two Liverpool players. An assistant raised his flag before being overruled by the referee, and Klopp said: “I have been around the block and this is not a situation I have seen many times for the ref to overrule the assistant. There are a number of people who will say it was perfectly accurate, but I have lost a couple of finals and never have I had a bad decision made in my favour. I would hope for that to change.

    “There were two decisions against us when there was handball and a goal which was disallowed and one allowed against us. All these situations don’t lead to me saying we had a great match. The first thing you have to do when you look at the man in the mirror is criticise yourself.”

    The Sevilla coach, Unai Emery, maintained his record of never having lost a Europa League tie and attempted to absolve Moreno of blame for his team’s crucial equaliser. “Alberto Moreno is playing a great season for Liverpool and, from what I have seen, he is playing at a level that he can go back to the Spanish national team,” Emery said. “I always see the glass half-full because Mariano has a great offensive ability and I see him as a great offensive player rather than it being poor defending.”

    He added: “We have the Copa del Rey on Sunday against Barcelona and we have to prepare thoroughly for the challenge. We will celebrate this tonight but we will be careful.”