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Soccer Report Extra Podcast: Episode 53 – Top 20 Stories Of 2011 (Part 2)

Written by on January 3, 2012 | 5 Comments »
Posted in Soccer Report Extra Podcast

What better way to ring in the New Year, than with a look back at the Top 10 soccer stories from the previous year, in part 2 the the “Top 20 of 2011′. Again, not gonna spoil any the picks, so you’ll have to listen to find out Bobby  & Eoin’s selections for the biggest, most salacious, most outrageous stories from the world of ‘footie’ from the past 12 months. Don’t forget, if you agree or disagree, be sure to leave your comments below… enjoy!

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5 responses to “Soccer Report Extra Podcast: Episode 53 – Top 20 Stories Of 2011 (Part 2)”

  1. Gillian says:

    Can we have a whole pod of just Eoin’s impressions? Pretty please!

  2. Eoin – is that in your multi-year contract?

  3. Here is our picks 11 through 100. Did we miss anything? Overly Euro-centric or did we get the balance about right?

    11. Manchester United wins 19th title and overtakes Liverpool
    12. Andy Gray and Richard Keyes fired by Sky over the Sian Massey incident and more that comes to light.
    13. Uruguay win the Copa America (15th time) in a cup of shocks.
    14. January brings the return of Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool.
    15. Carlos Tevez for assorted reasons.
    16. Season after winning the double Carlo Ancelotti fired by Chelsea – replaced by Andre Villas Boas and then Roberto Di Matteo returns as his assistant
    17. Some enormous last day transfer dealings in the January transfer window including Fernando Torres to Chelsea, and Andy Carroll to Liverpool
    18. Robin Van Persie’s goal scoring and fitness clicks into top gear in 2011
    19. Purchase of PSG by Qatar Investment Authority / Leonardo becomes GM and signs Javier Pastore and Salvatore Sirigu
    20. Manchester City win the FA Cup – first trophy for over three decades
    21. Eric Abidal’s return after a spring cancer fight to help Barcelona win the UEFA Champions League is without a doubt the feel good story of 2011.
    22. Luis Suarez suspension for eight games after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester United set off a furor of debate much of it bringing little credit to the protagonists. Scratch the surface and the average football fan has the moral compass of the Sons of Anarchy when it comes to “their” team.
    23. The Spanish Super Cup brought another el clasico or to be more accurate, two. Barcelona won 5-4 on aggregate (2-2 and 3-2) but the “festivities” really got going when Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho poked Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova in the eye during a melee at the end of the second leg. Mourinho was subsequently handed a two-match ban and were fined €600. Vilanova was banned for a game and fined the same amount for attacking Mourinho’s hand with his eye.
    24. Carlo Ancelotti returns to the game as manager of PSG replacing the unfortunate Antoine Kombouaré a long-time club servant.
    25. Thierry Henry returned to Emirates Stadium to see a statute of his likeness unveiled. He even hung around long enough to sign a short term loan deal with Arsenal.
    26. In Rio de Janeiro the World Cup 2014 qualifying draw takes place with much fanfare and fannying around.
    27. Juventus open their new stadium in Turin.
    28. In November LA Galaxy wins MLS Cup for third time this time beating Houston Dynamo who were also going for a hat trick of wins.
    29. The post-season in MLS brings the departure of long-serving New England Revolution Coach Steve Nicol and Colorado Rapids Gary Smith.
    30. Real Salt Lake’s run to final of the CONCACAF Champions League captures US fans imagination during the spring but success eluded them. After a draw in Monterrey Real Salt Lake lose to a Humberto Suazo goal just on the stroke of half time.
    31. Sir Alex Ferguson completes 25 years in charge of Manchester United and marks his 70th birthday on the last day of the year. Blackburn put a damper on the party.
    32. A certain Manchester United player became the latest high-profile personality to seek a super-injunction from an English court to ban publication of his name by the media after he had been caught being naughty.
    But a Scottish paper took advantage of Scotland’s separate legal system and went ahead and published a likeness that could be no other than Ryan Giggs.
    33. Written off as the underdog to ESPN and NBC Fox secure FIFA World Cup rights for the next 2-cycles in the United States along with Telemundo. The rights flip to Fox and Telemundo with the Women’s World Cup in 2015 in Canada.
    34. The year of Manchester City splashing the cash with big money spent acquiring Aguero, Dzeko, Balotelli and Nasri. It was also the year of a £194M loss for City – a record not surprisingly. By year end Mr. never-satisfied-with-the-size-of-the-squad Roberto Mancini is told that sell before buy is now a requirement with financial fair play.
    35. Juventus turn to former captain Antonio Conte to take over as manager of the club.
    36. For a man supposedly off to PSG tout de suite David Beckham had still not made the move as the bells brought in 2012.
    37. Emirates Stadium is a revolving door at the end of the summer transfer window with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving joining the already departed Gael Clichy. Meanwhile four players arrive on deadline day.
    38. In July Santos win the Copa Libertadores for third time and vow to hold on to young players such as Neymar and Ganso. So far Ganso has not gone gonzo.
    39. This has been very much the year of match-fixing. Rarely has a month passed without another allegation being made or a case proven. There are too many to list but Turkey stands out as perhaps the highest profile case.
    40. A flock of the Mexico national team fail doping tests at the Gold Cup but the initial bans are overturned after it is claimed that the positive tests were caused by additives given to fatten up chickens. On the other hand it was a bit embarrassing to Mexican food authorities who claimed that no such risk existed.
    41. The 2011 Asian Cup is hosted by Qatar and won by Japan after beating Australia in the final 1-0.
    42. Three Portuguese clubs FC Porto, Braga and Benfica make it to the last four of the Europa League with Villarreal the other. However, Porto and Braga do make the final an all-Portuguese affair.
    43. Roma come under new ownership as US businessman Thomas DiBenedetto gains control of the club. At various times during the year the managers char s occupied by Messrs. Ranieri, Montella and now Luis Enrique.
    44. Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala splash the cash for Roberto Carlos (April) and Samuel Eto’o (September) and join Manchester City Chelsea and Real Madrid as the clubs to be most likely to be associated with the stupidest transfer rumours.
    45. Iconic Argentine club River Plate are relegated – maybe not – ok yes they are.
    46. Frank Arnesen leaves his position at Chelsea and joins Hamburg.
    47. Charlie Davies returns to football on loan with DC United after being involved in a horrific car accident in 2010.
    48. Spurs go to the San Siro in the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League and return with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Peter Crouch goal. Nonetheless much of the post game talk was off a dust up between Milan pit bull Gennaro Gattuso and Spurs coach Joe Jordan. The battle of the Toothless and the Brainless.
    49. Kolo Toure thinks he is looking a bit too plump and decides that a pill or two from Mrs. Toure might be a solution to his problem. A failed drug test and extended ban later it did not seem such a good idea after all.
    50. Rogerio Ceni becomes first goalkeeper to score 100 career goals when he scores for Sao Paulo against Corinthians – later in the year the same player made his 1,000th appearance for Sao Paulo since his debut in 1992.
    51. David Villa becomes Spain’s all time leading scorer after scoring twice against Czech Republic to take his total to 46 – two better than Raul’s 44. Unfortunately a leg-break at the FIFA Club World Cup in December placed into doubt when Villa will score his next international goal.
    52. Only the host of a Summer Olympics would build a $700M “temporary” stadium to house Athletics. Turning the stadium into a permanent facility will cost even more but beyond that London 2012 (or the Olympic Legacy board to be more accurate) has got itself embroiled in a fiasco that has yet to conclude over the long-term operators. Undue influence, phone-hacking, private detectives, a decision made only to be revoked and retendered makes it a farce worthy of a west-end run.
    53. After typically long drawn out negotiations Barcelona finally sign Chile international Alex Sanchez from Udinese and Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal.
    54. The UEFA Champions League often throws us an unlikely semi-finalist. In 2011 it was Schalke who despite hovering in the lower reaches of the Bundesliga managed to beat Inter and Valencia before succumbing to Manchester United.
    55. The New York Red Bulls dressing room is a far from happy camp as Rafa Marquez publically criticizes his team mates and subsequently gets a suspension for voicing his opinion.
    56. A day of high-drama as the final day of the 2011 Premier League season focuses on the relegation spots. Things are not finally decided until the last few minutes of the season. When the smoke clears Birmingham and Blackpool are the clubs joining West Ham in the Championship for 2011/12.
    57. The long-standing “drama” of Arsenal’s ownership is settled when USA sports entrepreneur Stan Kroenke takes control of the club.
    58. The two-legged Copa del Rey is decided by an extra-time goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. Later as the victorious squad parades the cup from atop of a bus defender Sergio Ramos shows why he is not a goalkeeper after he drops Spanish Cup from a great height and it then run over by the bus.
    59. West Ham are relegated but the feisty Scott Parker wins Footballer of the Year by English Football Writers Association. Later in the season after signing for Spurs Parker becomes another in a line of “best players ever” to play for Harry Redknapp.
    60. Porto wins Portuguese League without losing a game and they also win the Europa League.
    61. Less than a season after leading Bayern Munich to the 2010 Champions League Final Louis van Gaal is told that he will be allowed to leave at the end of the season. A little later Bayern Munich decide that sooner is better than later and the Dutchman does not see out the season.
    62. England’s captain John Terry is charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Stay tuned for this one being one of the top stories in 2012 when (or if) it goes to court.
    63. With Ukraine co-hosting the Euro 2012 finals the powers that be turn once more to Oleg Blokhin and place him in charge of the national team.
    64. France’s national team Coach Laurent Blanc gets himself mixed up in a controversy over the imposition of quotas based on race for France’s football academy.
    65. Ireland’s all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane signs for the LA Galaxy.
    66. The start of the MLS season is marred by a couple of horrendous challenges. An 8 game suspension is handed to Brian Mullen (Colorado Rapids) for a tackle that left Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders) with a shattered leg and missing an entire season.
    67. There are shocks galore in the African Nations Cup 2012 qualifiers – Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, and South Africa are all eliminated. Embarrassingly South Arica play for a draw in the mistaken belief that it is sufficient to take them through only to find their post-game celebrations doused by the news that they failed on a head-to-head tiebreaker.
    68. Qualifying gets underway for World Cup 2014 when Belize beats Montserrat 5-2
    69. American Samoa finally win a match but alas shortly after their dream of a spot at the World Cup Finals in 2014 ends.
    70. Barcelona convincingly wins the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in two years – this time demolishing Santos 4-0.
    71. The draw for the Euro 2012 finals gives us a mouth-watering group B containing the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark and Germany
    72. Just when qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals look as predictable as transfer rumours in January Estonia and Montenegro make it to the Euro 2012 play offs.
    73. The goal that was seen around the world – a truly spectacular effort from Eric Hassli for the Whitecaps against the Seattle Sounders.
    74. After looking down and out Toronto FC make a remarkable recovery in group play and qualify for CONCACAF Champions League knock out stage
    75. As the Good Shepherd Jurgen Klinsmann encourages his flock to look overseas a number of MLS players head to Europe in the off season for training and in some cases trials.
    76. Shocks of the 2006 Italian match influencing scandal are still felt when the man at the epicenter Luciano Moggi is banned from involvement in the games for life.
    77. In March Ruud Gullit surprises the soccer world by accepting a job as coach of Terek Grozny (July) – the soccer world is underwhelmed when he is fired four months later.
    78. Jose Mourinho wins his power struggle with Jorge Valdano and the former Argentina World Cup winner leaves Real Madrid.
    79. The year of Javier Zanetti – he breaks Giuseppe Bergomi’s record of 756 appearances for Inter and makes his 1,000th competitive appearance in a game against Roma in the Coppa Italia.
    80. Real Madrid’s Ronaldo wins Europe’s Golden Boot as the continent’s top scorer for 2010/11.
    81. Manchester City announced the construction of the Etihad Campus adjacent to their stadium and an associated sponsor deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
    82. Former German international and Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings signed for Toronto FC and became their version of superman.
    83. UEFA Champions League had become a tad predictable but not on match day 6 in 2011. Both Manchester clubs were eliminated and Lyon qualified at the expense of Ajax after a flurry of second half goals.
    84. UEFA Financial Fair Play – never has so much been said and written but so little understood. But finally this year we saw the first buds appearing.
    85. Swiss club FC Sion and their certifiable owner are embroiled in a battle to stay in Europa League after UEFA toss them out of the tournament after they played ineligible players.
    86. After the footballing equivalent of backpacking around Europe for the last few years Freddy Adu returned to MLS signing for the Philadelphia Union.
    87. They tweet him here, they tweet him there – Newcastle then QPR’s Joey Barton was a signal that could not be disconnected in 2011.
    88. Wayne Rooney is sent off for England against Montenegro in the last group game of Euro 2012 qualifying for kicking out at an opponent. On subsequent appeal Rooney’s suspension reduced to two games rather than the expected three.
    89. Asamoah Gyan decided he did not like Sunderland anymore and insists on being sent out on loan to UAE side Al Ain (still don’t believe we have been given the full story).
    90. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is named Europe’s player of the year – not to be confused with Europe’s player of the year trophy which was an award combined with World Player of the Year a couple of years ago.
    91. Real Madrid centre back Ricardo Carvalho calls time on his international career as he walks out on Portugal just before the final stages of qualifying for the 2012 European Championships.
    92. Manchester City Chief Executive Officer Garry Cook resigns after being outed over an offensive e mail and a truly pathetic attempt to cover up his involvement.
    93. The European Court of Justice rules on the legality of an English pub operator Mrs Murphy side-stepping the domestic rights holder of Premier League matches and instead buying from another European Union supplier.
    94. Former Argentina and Chile coach Marcello Bielsa becomes available and finally decides to take over at Athletic Bilbao
    95. Two teams break long runs without a league championship when Dortmund wins the Bundesliga, Lille wins Ligue Un – unfortunately for both clubs they could not make it out of the Champions League group stage.
    96. The 2011/12 season in England starts off with a series of bizarre scorelines – Spurs 1-5 Manchester City; Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal; Spurs 4-0 Liverpool; Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City; Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal.
    97. In a repeat of the 2009 Champions League Final Barcelona again lift Europe’s premier club trophy beating Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley at the end of May
    98. Birmingham won the Carling Cup with a last minute goal from Obafemi Martins against Arsenal at Wembley in February- it was their first trophy for 48 years. Then three months later they were relegated
    99. Napoli sign a lion – Gokhan Inler arrived from Udinese but attended the press conference in disguise wearing a lion mask before being outted.
    100. Ajax and their board room troubles played out in the media and in the court room.

  4. Great list, Bobby. Very thorough. The only thing that I think is missing is that there is no mention of any of the summer youth tournaments. I haven’t listened to the top 10 yet but I imagine Japan winning the Women’s world cup would be in there.

  5. tim says:

    Congrats to Japan WWC team, congrats to Barca for all the trophies, congrats to LA Galaxy for MLS Cup, congrats to Mourinho for being the biggest sore loser. Goodbye 2011

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