Marouane Fellaini: Down but not out


Spanish newspaper AS’s decision not to give Marouane Fellaini a rating following Tuesday’s game withBayern Munich was undoubtedly a slightly snide publicity stunt yet the Belgian’s ineffectual performance is quickly becoming symbolic; a tall, microphone-headed indictment of David Moyes’ disheartening first season at the club.

Tuesday’s game was undoubtedly one of Fellaini’s least accomplished so far in a red shirt. The match was a culmination of all the conditions under which he has struggled: a vital game against the strongest of opposition, boasting a midfield characterised by its fast movement and incisive passing, under the pressure of a home crowd under the floodlights at Old Trafford.

And to the stadium’s grim lack of surprise, he once again failed to put in the performance he was purchased for £27.5 million to provide. When he did manage to catch up with play, his contributions were dire: his first touch was heavy, his passing unadventurous and slow paced. He seemed to require three touches to do what each Bayern midfielder could comfortably achieve in one. Continue reading

Have United broken Juan Mata?



Amongst David Moyes’ more unforgivable offences this season has been his inability to get the most out of his sleekest and most accomplished new possession. Juan Mata, Manchester United’s record signing who initially appeared to have breathed a new lease of life into the club’s troubled season upon signing back in January, is not working out as planned.

Instead, United fans have grown depressingly accustomed to an unwanted image of Mata in the iconic red shirt: isolated, bewildered, attempting desperately valiantly to not look entirely disillusioned by the quality of his new teammates. The question rarely seems far from his lips: “what have I got myself in for here?” Continue reading

Off the mark: footballer’s first tweets

Footballers and Twitter, it is well known by now, do not get along together all that well. Some of the Beautiful Game’s most accomplished social media maestros experienced particularly poor starts – here are some of our favourite debuts.

Wayne Rooney

Wazza gets it oh so hilariously wrong first time out.

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The First World War and the culture of historical commemoration


Too much or too little; too left-wing or leaning too far to the right; trying to cover too much new ground or retracing tired theories: marking a notable anniversary of an important historical moment is a near impossible task. Yet failing to honour one correctly can prove disastrous.

Official commemorations are one of the most tangible and influential examples of history directly moulding national identity. They are vital not only in informing a public about an event which directly affected their ancestors, but also for providing a new window through which to assess our fluid and elusive present, indecipherable solely through analysis of current affairs. Continue reading

England’s olden days


In a frighteningly short amount of time, Roy Hodgson will announce the names of the 23 Englishmen who will be asked to push thoughts of a holiday to the back of their minds and turn their attention to a trip to Brazil with their national team.

Dream Team will go to its grave insisting our sophisticated statistical database holds all the answers for managers struggling with selection problems. To prove it, we took a look at the starting XIs chosen by England bosses at the team’s previous efforts at international tournaments, and gave those clueless gaffers a telling off for failing to keep their eye on the Dream Team stat page prior to their big day.

Don’t forget to also check out our assessment of England’s performance against Denmark a few weeks ago, as the run-up to this year’s big tournament continues to hot up deliciously. Continue reading

Innovation trends to help develop your business in 2014

Business is always changing, and in the digital age of the 21st century it can be particularly difficult to keep up, especially if you’re a small businesses or start-up. Luckily, there’s help at hand.

Sage is passionate about innovation in the business community. Recently, we drew up the most important innovation trends to help develop your business in 2014. Read, learn and help your business prosper! Continue reading