March 2008


Which is better, The Premiership or the Coca-Cola Championship?

The rich and glamourous Premiership appeals to many fans due to the influx of world class stars, this year alone has seen the arrival of Liverpool’s Fernando Torres, Manchester City’s Elano and Manchester United’s Owen Hargreaves. Whilst Championship sides are signing the likes of Stern John and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who are leading the scoring charts for their clubs.

The obvious differences between to two leagues is the players, however a key difference is investment. The Premiership gains a lot more investment via Television deals for example. However, does investment bring entertainment?

As entertaining as it is to watch the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, i believe the Championship brings more exciting and passionate football than the Premiership. This year’s Championship has seen a fantastic battle at either ends of the table, whereas the Premiership has seen the same four teams competing for the top spot once again. With three promotion places up for grabs in the Championship, there is potentially 11 teams who could make the top 6 and fight for promotion. Along with perhaps 9 clubs struggling against relegation, it creates a fantastic league.

The battles at either end of the championship are not only entertaining and thrilling for the fans but without a doubt interesting for the neutral. With teams like Leicester currently in the bottom 6 beating teams like West Bromich Albion (top 3 for most of the season) 4-1, this sort of surpise result is a real possibility in all championship games. How many times do the bottom 6 teams in the Premiership beats the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool? Once in a blue moon!

The host of young talent on show in the championship is blatent, with many of the young stars being poached to the big Premiership sides (proving their talent), a shame for the Championship, but a gain for the Premiership! Players like Gareth Bale, 18, Theo Walcott, 19, who moved to Premier League clubs in the past two seasons from Championship club Southampton, and Dan Gosling, 18, moving from Plymouth to Everton. Also Cardiff’s young starlet, Aaron Ramsey, 17, is rumoured to have attracted attention from Newcastle and Manchester United.

The opposite seems to happen for players in the Premier League, with older stars dropping down a league. Teddy Sheringham, 41,  dropped from West Ham to Colchester, Jason Euell, 31,  from Middlesborough to Southampton and Andy Griffin, 29, moving from Derby to Stoke when Derby achieved promotion to the Premier League.

As a Southampton fan obviously I’d love Southampton to gain promotion to the Premier League, due to the financial benefits that come with it and the type of player Saints could attract due to playing in the top English League, but for those reasons alone. However, at the moment I’d rather watch Saints fight it out in the Championship, going into everything game with a good chance, instead of being like Derby County this year in the Premiership struggling to beat anybody.

The Premiership is a fantastic league, without a doubt, but as a Championship Club supporter I thoroughly enjoy watching the entertaining, competitive football it brings every week. All Championship clubs are fighting for promotion to the top league, however life in the Championship (with the exception of the money worries it brings for most clubs) isn’t as bad as some think.

If the Championship had the money of the Premiership, would it be recognised more for being the fantastic league that it is? Or would it still be looked upon as a weaker league in comparison?

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A Hampshire taxi driver has been robbed of his nights takings, at gunpoint.

The incident occurred during the early hours of yesterday morning in Whiteley after leaving a Portsmouth nightclub around 4.05 a.m.

When the cabbie made it to the destination in Thyme Avenue, one man got out of the Citroen C8, whilst the other moved to the seat behind the driver. Upon turning round to tell the passenger the fare, the driver described seeing a small black gun.

The two men ran away with the taxi driver’s money bag, however the police are not releasing how much money they got away with.

The Police are calling for help to catch the pair, Detective Sergeant Chris Buse said: “This is of course a very distressing incident for the taxi driver.”

“This type of crime is not common but it is a very serious incident and we would like the public’s help in identifying those responsible.

One man is described as white, in his early 30s, about six feet tall with dark hair and wearing a blue striped shirt and jeans. The second man, also white, arond 25 years old, five feet ten inches tall and of slim build.

Detective Sergeant Buse is urging anybody who recognises the descriptions to come forward and help the investigation.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged for a closer relationship between France and the UK, ahead of his first state visit to the UK.

He has urged Britain and France to trust each other and work together more. Mr Sarkozy will be in the UK for two days, where he be a guest of the Queen at Windsor Castle and will address both Houses of Parliament.

He and Gordon Brown will have a meeting where they will discuss a variety of issues, including Afghanistan. They are also expected to announce new co-operation on illegal immigration and nuclear energy.

The French President will arrive with his model wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and his mother. During an interview with Radio four’s Today Programme, Sarkozy spoke about the importance of the UK in Europe and of Britain’s relationship with the US, he said:

“I perfectly understand that Britain should wish to keep its special relationship with the US, but that doesn’t stop Britain from taking its rightful place in Europe,”

He also spoke of the importance of Britain’s language, strong economy and defence to Europe. To those British people calling for a referendum on the European treaty, he said: “We need you, the British, within Europe.”

“This treaty respects differences – no-one is asking Britain to change its real identity. Keep your language, your culture, your interests,” he said.

His key points were for France and the UK to “move from being cordial to being friendly”. Whilst calling for a new “Franco-British brotherhood.”

His visit to the UK will raise many issues ranging from sending more French troops to Afghanistan to improving relations between the two countries. However Sarkozy is expected to use his visit to project a more statesmanlike image, in an attempt to repair his reputation and damaged poll ratings since his marriage to Ms. Bruni.

Following their recent 2-0 win against Romsey Town F.C, AFC Totton are sitting top of the Wessex Premier League this week.

Having finished as runners-up last year, this season really could be Totton’s year. Currently 9 points clear of 2nd place Wimborne Town, however Wimborne do have 3 games in hand.

Totton have picked up a maximum of 9 points in their last three games, whereas Wimborne have only picked up 7 from 9 following a 1-1 draw with 7th placed Brockenhurst last weekend.

Providing AFC Totton’s ground and finances meet the requirements, the Stags could be playing their football in the British Gas Southern League or Ryman Football League, depending on geographical location, if they manage to hold onto their 9 point lead.

Totton’s remaining four games are againsts Lymington, Christchurch, Brockenhurst and VTFC, whereas Wimborne will face Bournemouth, Fareham Town, Poole Town, Moneyfields, VTFC and a finally Downton.

Wimborne have a slightly better goal difference than the Stags which could prove to crucial if they win their 3 games in hand. However with Totton in pole position for the time being, the battle for promotion could go down to the wire.

For more information on fixtures, results, the league table and information about the clubs log on to www.wessexleague.co.uk

Tiger Woods’ remarkable winning streak came to an end on Monday, to the hands of Australian Geoff Ogilvy.

Ogilvy won the WGC-CA Championship in Miami by one stroke to break Tiger’s 6 month winning streak. Unbeaten in the last 7 tournaments, Tiger had to settle for fifth place.

The WGC-CA Championship win for Ogilvy marks his first win since the 2006 US open. He carded a one-under-par 71 to finish with a 17-under total of 271, one shot clear of Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk.

Ogilvy parred his final 9 holes, including a crucial chip-in on the 13th. He said: “It was a pretty stellar-looking leaderboard over those last nine holes, so it was very satisfying to beat those players and to win a big one,”

Speaking after his first defeat since last September’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, Woods said: “I made too many mistakes. I had four three-putts this week,”

“All in all, to only finish two back with all of that was a great sign. You want to win all of them – I just have to get ready for the next one.”

This win for Ogilvy makes him the third player to have won a WGC event more than once, joining Tiger Woods (15) and Darren Clarke (2).

The loss proves Tiger is mortal after all and now he must prepare for his next month’s US Masters.

The U.S. death toll became 4,000 as 4 U.S. soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Southern Baghdad, late on Sunday evening.

As the Iraq war heads into it’s sixth year and the death toll continues to rise, President George W. Bush insists “lives were not lost in vain” and pledges to make sure of this.

He pledged to ensure “an outcome that will merit the sacrifice” of those who have died whilst serving in Iraq. Following a two hour briefing on U.S. diplomatic strategy around the world, President Bush said: “One day, people will look back at this moment in history and say, ‘Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve because they laid the foundation for peace for generations to come,’”

Milestones of this nature usually go unnoticed, however Bush decided to briefly comment on the losses albeit without taking questions from reporters.

As the Iraq war heads into another year and another milestone, President Bush is determined to prove the lives were not lost in vain and continues to insist upon its importance to America and the world.

A Robbie Keane rocket gave Tottenham a point against their London rivals Chelsea, last night.

Typically, Didier Drogba headed Chelsea ahead on the third minute, however in form Jonathan Woodgate equalised with a header shortly after.

Chelsea then went on to take a 3-1 lead through Michael Essien and the impressive Joe Cole who looked to have won it for the blues. They were then once again pegged back by spurs. Dimitar Berbatov’s header made it 3-2 and a good strike by Tom Huddlestone levelled it at 3-3.

Joe Cole once again looked as though he had won it for Chelsea, until Robbie Keane’s brilliant goal completed the eight goal thriller in the 88th minute.

Robbie Keane salutes the Spurs fans after his late goal against Chelsea

However the match was overshadowed by an ugly tackle from Ashley Cole on Tottenham full back Alan Hutton. Cole launched himself into Hutton with a high and late tackle, worthy of a red card. Unsurprisingly, Chelsea players surrounded the referee, Mike Riley, led by England captain John Terry.

Cole continued to show Riley a lack of respect, refusing to come over to him and then refusing to turn around and face the premier league referee. Cole escaped with a yellow card, which could and perhaps should have been a red card.

Ashley Cole caught Alan Hutton with a late and high challenge

With the match finishing 4-4, Chelsea missed the opportunity to draw level on points with Arsenal and to pressure Man United at the top of the table. Chelsea now lie in 3rd place with Tottenham in 11th after a thrilling London derby.

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