The story of Leicester City is a unique one. It is a story of determination, hard work, and the ability to keep dreaming. This is a story that is going to be told again and again for ages – a story you wouldn’t have believed had you not witnessed it yourself. It has all the essential ingredients for a blockbuster story. A manager who was described as ‘one who cannot win any trophy’. A factory worker. A player who played in the second division of the French league. A Ligue 1 player who the world hadn’t even heard about. One team with 5000 to 1 odds of winning the title. Their jubilant supporters who never gave up. A million fans of all other teams willing them on. Finally the struggle of Leicester has come to fruition. The celebrations have begun. A million hearts dancing with joy irrespective of the team they support. Finally, football defeated money. They won the title with no expensive signings. They didnt waste money on famous players. They did it by sheer determination and team work. They defeated giant teams onr by one but never lost their humility. They played keeping their motto in mind – Foxes never quit. I have seen many teams lift the coveted trophy but none like this. And next weekend, the reigning champions Chelsea will give the guard of honour to Leicester. What a fitting end! We bow to you, Sir Claudio Ranieri. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy – Pure class. Suffice to say, there wont be another Leicester for years to come. What they have done is a mammoth job. We thank you Leicester City for the memories you have given us! They will be cherished for a long time. Some day after seeing photos and articles about Leicester City, our grandchildren will ask about this year and this season. And that day, we all got a fantastic story to tell them. Thank you for the happiness. Thank you for a highly entertaining season of football. We hope to see you back in the title race next season. And yes, see you in the Champions League.
I first started following basketball because of the Black Mamba or the dynamic Kobe. He was and will be one of the greatest players to grace this game. The Lakers dream team dominated the NBA. But as is law of nature every state is temporary, and thus even their downfall began. Heat, Spurs won the titles and Lakers were having their worst seasons.
And then suddenly came along a 6’3 boy and took the world by a storm. He wasnt even selected in any major college basketball team. But he skipped his final year and enrolled for the biggest stage, NBA.
In the 2009 NBA draft, in the 7th pick the Golden State Warriors selected Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry II. Curry was a 6-foot-3 kid with other teams claiming that he lacked the required strength to compete in the NBA.
Wardell Stephen “Dell” Curry, Steph’s dad was also a NBA player. Steph didnt get to attend the college his dad attended, but was selected by Davidson college. And he lit the college basketball atmosphere on fire. His last moment go ahead 3 pointers were becoming a trademark.
Taking note of this GSW selected him and Klay and the duo has gone on to become the most feared pair of guards aptly named as Splash brothers for their ability to splash the net from wherever on the court. It has now been a daily sight to see Curry attempt a 3 pointer from the halfway line at the end of each quarter. And mind you, he doesnt just attempt but scores from that sort of range.
Buoyed by the Splash brothers and Draymond Green, the Warriors are now 59-6 with 22 games left. They have surpassed the Bull’s record of 44 straight home wins (they have 47 and counting) and are 30-0 at home from the start of the season. After many years does any team have a realistic chance of breaking the all time record of 72-10 set by the Bulls.
As for individual records, in the top 6 nba record for 3 pointers in a single season, Steph has 4 records out of 6 including the first two. The top record was 286 and this season with 18 games remaining, he has 308. He won the 2015 all star 3 point competition and also the 2009 all star skills challenge. Klay won the 2016 all star 3 point competition beating Curry by 4 points. He is tied record holder of most 3 pointers in a season.
At pregame practices, his workout has been viral on the internet. The way he does unimaginable things during his pregame routine are just amazingly inexplicable.
At games of Golden State Warriors, there’s the same atmosphere during each game. A crescendo tears through the crowd when Steph Curry swings his right arm up through his shooting holster, readying to unleash the most beautiful, and accurate, shot in the history of basketball. When it cleanly rips through the chords, the masses erupt in a sort of delirium reserved for thirsty ancient Roman crowds. If by some ungodly chance, it falls by the wayside, the ensuing groans resemble those of a missed game-winning jumper at the buzzer of the NBA finals. That’s every single Stephen Curry 3-point attempt, causing a suspended rush of adrenaline buoyed by the result. And as the crowd goes haywire after the last moment go ahead clutch 3 pointers that win games, Steph curry celebrates with them with his usual charisma.
During the NBA Finals, Nick U’Ren unveiled a lineup that became famous for its effectiveness in essentially turning the series on its head and winning Golden State Warriors the championship. Throughout last season, the “small” lineup with Draymond Green at center and Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala (now Andrew Bogut starts in place of Andre), and Harrison Barnes stocked around him torched teams with no mercy. This season, however, with its ridiculous 30-0 start and 59-6 record overall, has fully thrown this death lineup, nuclear lineup, smallball lineup, whatever you want to name it, into the limelight. We just hope that they do indeed surpass the Bull’s record and Steph Curry keeps on making new records.
My respects to this great player who has indeed waltzed the world by his talent. We are lucky to live in a golden generation who have witnessed the end of Shaq and Magic Johnson, the whole career of Kobe, the ruthlessness of LeBron, the swiftness of Westbrook, the one man showmanship of KD and all the other players who have made this game a special one for us. But whatever people may argue, in my opinion, the Greatest shooter of all time is that 2014-15 MVP Steph Curry. May he be blessed with a wonderful life ahead!
From the time i used to play tennis, rather from the time i started following tennis, you have been the best. And you will continue to be the best. Watching your play is like an addiction. Whatever the scores may say or the stats may tell, even if you lose every game, you will still be the best. For us, its not about how many games or matches someone wins, its about how they win. And in this category, nobody comes even close to you. Not even Novak.
You are an inspiration to many. Even after marriage, after embracing parenthood, you are still at the top of your game which is commendable. With every small thing you do, lots of lessons are being learnt by us.
You have always been about precision and smart play rather than pounding your way through like Rafa. You are now the living embodiment of precision.
Nowadays, i see many RF fans saying that you should retire and that you are past your prime. They will talk all sorts of things about you. They will ask you to retire. They will tell you to take your leave with your head held high. They will say they cannot bear to see you lose. Ignore them. They are fair weather friends. They value only victory. And you are better off not listening to those who value only victory. They cannot see the purity of your play in your loss, oh that ever so sweet and delicate backhand to the ferocious SABR shot!
They say you are being defeated in straight sets and the score is too humiliating. The score? Its just numbers on a board. It doesnt tell you the gameplay. It doesnt tell you how mindblowingly you have played. It doesnt tell you the grace of your backhand, the innate curve of your slice, the uncoiling of your service action, that ingeniously disguised smash, those on-the-line winners, your trademark ‘between-the-legs shot’ or the gentle caress of your drop shot. These are just too awesome. The funny thing is that people think sport is only about winning. Sport. Its not just about winning. It is about being there. It is about nobility, history, glory, determination and honour. It is about playing fair, doing your best and most importantly having fun. The day you lose these, step away instantly. Till then, dont hesitate to take your place in the starting lineup. But until that moment, keep on doing what you love. Keep on giving pure joy to fans like us. We dont care if you win or lose now, we just want to watch you play more and more. As they say, Form is temporary and Class is permanent.
So please, do not listen to those vile people giving unasked advice. Keep on playing till your heart is in the game.
Hey, Roger? Stay Roger.
A fan who is head over heels in love with you.
When you hear ‘Manchester United’, one name pops instantly in your head. Not Cantona, not Beckham, not Giggs, not Ronaldo. It is a name well known even in the chasms of the earth where football isnt followed regularly. It is a name which makes us feel small: intimidates us. Such is the beauty of its enormousness. Just the name is capable of awing everyone. And it has indeed awed millions. Literally millions. You must have realized it by now. It is a name which comes before Sir Alexander Nobel, Sir Alexander Fleming, and many more Sirs in the Google search prompt list. Its a simple name and yet the person is mindblowingly intricate. Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson. Or as he is generally adressed Sir Alex Ferguson.
I myself am a huge fan of football and after my maiden article on the game, it is only befitting to write about the person who has contributed the most to this game. The marvellous story that is going to unfold before you is one of grit, determination and sheer hard work. It is literally unparalleled in all senses.
Alexander Chapman Ferguson was born on 31st Dec, 1941 to a simple plater’s helper in the shipbuilding industry by the name of Alexander Deaton Ferguson and his wife Elizabeth. The saying “Poverty maketh a man” is more than apt in this case. From the moment he first touched the ball to the moment he retired from Manchester United, football has got enriched from this man. Such is his legacy.
He played for many clubs. But he didnt stay at any club for more than 3 years and nowhere could he command a place in the starting 11. Dont be mistaken; his form was top notch. He scored 41 goals in 51 matches at a point in his career. Was it bad luck or fate i dont know but he couldnt command a regular place in any team making his career an average one. When you look at it now its ironic. He ended his playing career when he was 32 : Most footballers are at the peak of their game at 32. But young Alex decided to end it – It was as if even destiny couldnt wait to see his managerial charisma start.
Meanwhile, he married Cathy Holding. She was a devout catholic. And in her, finally, Alex saw what he was waiting for : The calm serenity and the long awaited stability. It was as if a fresh breath of air had rejuvenated and invigorated his tired body. And rising to the occasion, she did play an important part in years to come.
With her by his side, the way Brutus stood behind Julius Caesar (though Brutus betrayed Julius in the end; but before that his loyalty to Caesar knew no bounds which prompted me to give his example), Alex took the decision of becoming a manager. Because he was a fantastic player, everything about football was mapped in his brain, in his eyes which incidentally is arguably the most important pre-requisite for becoming a good manager. And he was a man of high morals and conviction and nothing could shake him. During his early managerial days, when he was managing Aberdeen, the players played their worst football in the last match. They won the league that season and after that last match everyone – the players, the fans, the staff, everyone was in a frenzied state – Shouting hallelujah, dancing, enjoying their victory. But Ferguson was seen livid with rage. After being asked by the media, he said that such poor play is not expected from his team. Such was his resolve. Instead of basking in the glory, he was mad at his team because they hadnt performed upto the mark. And this is a rare quality which helped him become the Legend he is. After managing various small clubs, he finally agreed to manage Manchester United. Ron Atkinson was sacked by the Glazers and Ferguson was brought in as his replacement. Ferguson had carved out some fame for himself – Winning league titles i Scotland and even the European Super Cup with Aberdeen.
In his first press conference, he clearly stated that “United needed a man who didnt take decisions which would be popular among fans, but did what was right for the club even though it maybe critisized”. When he took charge, United were languishing in the table; they were second last. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Fergie to the rescue. After the first season in his charge, they finished 11th and after 2 seasons, they finished 2nd; just two points behind winners Liverpool. At that time, Liverpool were giants in English football. They had amassed 18 titles. United had just 8 english titles in their cabinet. This was to change over time. It needed to be changed. After the first 3 seasons, Ferguson started signing players; players who were not very well known but went on to become legends. He had a keen eye of judging players’ potential. Just by observing a single attack, he would know which players had the talent to surpass others. And he was proved right each time. In came Wallace, Ince, Pallister, Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes, McClair. Utd won few, lost many. Utd started losing more and more. “Three years of excuses and hope and it’s still crap … ta-ra Fergie” was displayed at Old Trafford. Journalists called for him to be sacked. Ferguson even acknowledged that it was the ‘darkest period ever’. But with grit and unwavering support from his better half, he started afresh. Built the whole damn team once again. Worked hard. And what was formed was a team of invincibles. The first best ever team. That team went on to scale heights of glory that no one had even thought about. Eric Cantona, the king of Utd, arrived. Another young lad by the name of Paul Scholes was signed. A 14 year boy was given a surprise visit by Ferguson on his birthday and he signed on that day. Ferguson described him in these words – ‘When he dribbles the ball, its like he is floating in air and unstoppable’. His name was Ryan Giggs. Neville brothers, Solskjaer, Cole, Schmeichel, Van Visterlooy, Beckham, Veron, ‘the best ever duo’ of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole followed suit and what became was the second best ever Utd team famously dubbed as The Class of ’92. And from 1990 to 2000, in ten seasons, Utd won 8 Premier League titles, 4 FA cups and a Champions League. In 1999 Utd famously won the treble. No English team has managed to repeat this feat till date. English football was never dominated this way before. Probably nor will it be. And as much as the players must be given credit, a major part of the credit goes to Sir Alex. He shouldered the responsibility. And results were there to be seen. Suddenly, United became a force to reckon with. They kept on winning titles. A young boy who was dubbed ‘The white Pele’ was signed. Wayne Rooney had arrived. With a hattrick in his debut game in the Champions League he was off to a fine start. Ronaldo was signed. The world didnt know him that much. And he learnt from Fergie and the rest is history. People have started worshipping him. He is currently the best player on this planet (Yes, not Messi but Ronaldo).The Scousers were scared, the Invincible Arsenal beaten. Even Man City with its arab cash couldnt do anything. A new style of football was developed. Counter attack became the new Tiki Taka. And Fergie worked hard. If the players didnt have the required work rate, they would be a victim of the legendary ‘Hairdryer’. And becoming a victim to his rage was like walking in the den of a lion who is ready to devour you. If you are having a hard time believing, ask Beckham who was unfortunately the innocent victim of the famous ‘Kicked Shoe’ (which later Fergie revealed was an accident). A lady reporter who was pestering Fergie got shouted in the face and Fergie dropped the F-bomb 5 times in one sentence. But as he was short tempered, he had the most patient and kind heart. And he was the most chivalrous gentleman. Such was his persona. Whatever the scenario, Fergie had an apt response to it.
Utd won the 2008 Champions League beating local rivals Chelsea in a tense penalty shootout. This was the third best ever team comprising of Van Der Sar, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Tevez, Giggs, Scholesy, Berbatov, Hargreaves, Rooney and Ronaldo. Ronaldo won the Ballon D’or that season (Third Utd player to do so after Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best) and was named the Player of the year for his 42 goals in the season. United just kept winning and winning and suddenly they had amassed 18 titles. The story behind this is that when Liverpool won 18 titles, during a Utd vs Liv match, a banner was shown by Scousers saying: ‘Au Revoiur Cantona and Man United. Come back when you have 18’. Utd had 8 titles at that time. When Ferguson was appointed as manager, his job description was : To knock Liverpool off their fu**ing perch. When Utd reached 18, Livpool were still on 18. And Utd won one more. Then the next season, Man City won the title on goal difference from Utd courtesy of two late goals from Aguero. Ferguson promised that such a thing was never gonna happen again. And true to his word, Utd won again. And they currently have 20 titles against Liverpool’s 18. This sounds as if it is straight out of a fictional movie but it is not. This is history. This is legacy. This is determination and the passion. This is how accurately Sir Alex carried out his job. Alex was the man who taught the Theatre of Dreams to dream. Took him 26 years to build three world class teams and to reach unassailable heights. He didnt resign. Not one single day. Patiently he worked hard. In 1999, he was knighted by the Queen on her birthday. And boy was he humble! Never bragged. He was the kind of man whom even an arrogant man like Jose Mourinho called ‘The Boss’. And this came from Jose, a man so egoist that he calls himself ‘The Special One’. Such was his fame. He truly changed the way people looked at United. And his pep-talks were totally motivating and mesmerizing. Even a pessimist would turn optimistic if he heard one of the pep-talks. And his quotes were witty, apt and just perfect. Never hurt anyone. And that motivation helped the team enormously. United have comeback from conceding goals to winning matches so often, they are now known as Comeback kings. The biggest comeback was the 1999 champions league final. Bayern Munchen, the German giants led 1-0 courtesy of a free kick from Mario Basler. And after 90 min, they still led 1-0. 3 min of injury time was added. And Sheringham and Solskjaer, two second half substitutes scored in the 91st and 92nd min to hand Utd a 2-1 win. After the match, Ferguson just said, ‘Football, Bloody Hell’. And this was all he could say. When you google ‘Comeback Kings’, it gives a prompt saying ‘Did you mean Manchester United? ‘. This cannot have been achieved overnight. They have done it so often that you wonder if its supernatural. And in most of the comebacks, the goals have been scored in the extra time of the match. So many extra time goals have been scored that, that time is now known as ‘Fergie time’. It wasnt just his will to win, but the will to prepare to win that made a difference. And he didnt have enmity against any club (except possibly Liverpool). And they deserved his wrath. Finally after winning the 20th league title, and being the most decorated manager in England, and after setting innumerable records, he decided to hang his managerial cap. He said its beacuse of family priorities and that his wife and children now needed him the most. And his farewell speech was summation of his career and it was sooo emotional, the whole world wept. #ThankYouSirAlex was started by the club and it became the most used hashtag on twitter surpassing Obama’s. But he is still a member of the Utd board and attends all matches regularly. A stand in the Old Trafford is named after him. At the entrance, along with Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best, a fourth independent statue was installed of Sir Alex. And nothing has come close to repaying what Sir Alex has given us. If we really want to repay him, we should follow him, embed his qualities amongst us and become selfless, on and off the field. He was that kind of a man – Fierce, ruthless, self-motivated, with a big heart, workaholic, immensely intelligent, family person, loyal and passionate. He is one of the select few men at that level whose career is not stained by even one scandal. The most decent human being. Most of all he was a gem of a person.I had initiated to write this to narrate, besides being a hardworking sportsman, how great a human being he was. But alas! I have now realized that English has not advanced that much that it will capture the true essence of his soul in words. And therefore the article cannot illuminate the full import of his spirit. He was truly an inspirational figure – On and Off the pitch. To me, he will always be ‘The Boss who inspired me and made the whole world proud of him’. You can hate him or love him, you just cant ignore him. And you just have to respect this man. People say that this generation is a golden one to have witnessed Ronaldo and Messi but I say its golden because it has witnessed a great entity named Sir Alex Ferguson. Players come and go, managers like this are rare. Maybe one day, there will be another Ronaldo or another Messi but there sure as hell aint gonna be another Ferguson. As Sir Bobby Charlton precisely put it, “When Alex is leading your team, you wake up to a wonderful sensation every morning. You just cant see how your team can lose.”
Most of Ferguson’s successful teams have been built on the raw ingredients of hard work, loyalty, the will to win and passion. Tremendously gifted players have come and gone during his time in charge, but Ferguson’s talent has always been there to instill his personal toughness into his teams and make them want to play to win. Being able to say exactly the right thing, at exactly the right moment, is a talent that only a few managers possess; but being able to gist the lessons of an entire ingenious concept into a single droplet of philosophical teaching is what sets Ferguson apart as a truly unique manager.
His intelligent and ruthlessly dominating football personality also sets the tone for the dynamics between the other teams in the league, not just United. Ferguson’s uniqueness is part of its cherished and much loved character; his irreplaceability is part of its unspoken problem. When he left, that generation of fans (including me) knew only success. His departure had an impact, not just on Old Trafford, but on English football in general. And nobody can predict how long it will last, and how this enormous gap left is going to be bridged. They say the best come once in a lifetime and i am honoured that Sir Alex came during my lifetime! He built a trust in his players and trust like that cant be bought. He built the club with kindred spirits. He was truly a father figure, a confidante, a winner. The fans, the players, the staff, even the Theatre of Dreams is going to miss this man for decades. May his life be blessed as much as the lives of the people he changed!
Football. It is regarded as one of the finest and fastest games ever. This is an article from a player of this game – who is in love with it. Football is a game of precision. One touch of a maestro. Thats what is needed to set the two teams apart. Just one moment. And the opponents – You have to take them all the way down, grind them and see what comes back. The true test of a hero is not how many people he can lay down, its when confronted with their darkest fears, when they are taken all the way to the edge, what do they do and how they come back. The fear of death gives a reason to live, a reason to fight.
What matters is You, Your history, Your traditions, Your courage, Your desire, Your hunger, Your glory and most imp – Your Belief. You have to decide how you are gonna walk out of the game when it is all said and done. There are no second chances. There is just this moment and the next one. If u see an opening, tear into it. If u see a shot at victory, make damn sure you take it. Carpe Diem – Sieze the moment. The only thing between making history and being history, the only thing u can count on at any given moment is YOU. Dont be champions because you win, win because you are champions.
And as much as I love playing this game, I also love to watch it. And the biggest stage, the most talked about tournament, the best freaking League in the world – The Premier League.
The quest to win this magnificent trophy is breathtaking. Its that time of the year again. The start of the Premier League. The lust of success, the fear of failure, the racing hearts that seethe with passion. You can see the crowd flex its muscle like one great beast. This is what football is. Wrapped in ur beloved colours, pulse throbbing, eyes glistening. Conflict, commitment and love – Oh, who can resist this? And even when you think you know the outcome, wait, prepare to be amazed.
The first move requires no pieces, it is the look in the eyes of ur opponent – The iron gaze of a warrior, the first stare of a man possessed. It is the piercing glare of a champion. Feel his hunger, hope, trifles and triumphs. Search his heart for fear. But no single piece can win the match. Combine several and behold a synchronized symphony of the world’s most beautiful game. When you see one avenue close, another opens. Be mindful of the time, but do not let it cloud your reason. This is the game of kings, a ballet choreographed by the players where only ultimate glory is accepted as a prize. Winning and losing are black and white. Master this and after all have fallen, you will stand – Victorious – with your crown intact.
And if by chance you lose, dont give up. The greatest glory does not lie in not falling, but in rising each time you fall. Its all about responding to the critics – The people who weigh you down. You just gotta respond to defeats. Here is the thing that makes life interesting – The theory of evolution claims only the strong shall survive. Maybe so. But the theory of football says that just because they are strong and you have lost before doesnt mean they cant get their asses kicked. The other team may be favourites, maybe stronger than yours, and even if the odds are stacked against you, what the odds dont know is that this isnt a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. This is a test where passion has a funny way of trumping logic. When you are playing on the field, all bets are off. Flip the script and suddenly as the old saying goes, you got yourself a game.
At the end, i just got two things to say:Be true to your philosophy and Joga Bonito-Play beautiful.