For most people life is full of little moments that make everything worthwhile. It could be a homemade Sunday dinner with the family. Maybe it’s a cold pint after long day at work but for me its going to watch live football on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you just can’t be beat.

The main goal of Yorkshire Football Weekends was always to visit as many of the different grounds around the Yorkshire area as possible. During the week I was offered the chance to visit Hillsborough again to watch Sheffield Wednesday v Stoke City in the comforts of the press box. It would just be rude to say no wouldn’t it?

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So the the news out of Brazil last night was all about Ronaldo’s pending retirement. I thought out writing a fitting tribute to one of my favourite players of all time, but then I looked at my good friend Scott’s site and he had already captured everything I wanted to say.

So go to his site and read a wonderful tribute.

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I have spent my afternoon watching the first half of the Total Larsson DVD. If it isn’t obvious it’s a DVD that shows you nearly every goal Henrik Larsson scored for Helsingborg, Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. It is an absolute pleasure to watch the man in his prime.

Something occurred to me while enjoying some of his best goals and I feel very very lucky. Although I had already been to Celtic Park on many an occasion I finally purchased my first season ticket in the same season that for a measly £650,000 Celtic secured the signature of Henrik Larsson from Dutch giants Feyenoord.

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When Samir Nasri moved from Marseille to Arsenal people knowing that I had a penchant for Ligue 1 and all things French came to me asking how good he was, obviously following his time at Marseille I had only good things to say about Samir.

His partnership with Ribery was fantastic, he wasn’t a goal scorer and he didn’t really get many direct assists but anyone that had watched Marseille for the three years he was in the team could see that Nasri was a quality player.

His first season at the Emirates went relatively well six goals a couple of assists the people that I had given my guarantee of quality were pretty pleased with the Frenchman, the difficult second season followed, five assists but only two goals and it seemed questions were being asked.

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This week saw my debut post on the very popular website In Bed With Maradona, a collection of some of the best football bloggers out there, very honoured to be part of the site, I will be contributing a piece every month, and look forward to scouring the depths of World Football for interesting stories.

Please have a look at my first contribution featuring the Ukrainian striker Vasiliy Sachko, on a scoring streak with FC Vorskla.

Hope you enjoy the piece, let me know what you think?

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Now that there is some free time inbetween games, gonna get some videos made of the World Cup, but since FIFA block anyone making a harmless video and putting it on YouTube I guess I shall use my website as my outlet.

Here is the first video I made, the best goals from the first stage of games, enjoy!

World Cup 2010 – Goals of the Group Stage – Part One

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A lot of the discussions at work this week have got me thinking, What makes a great striker? After a few conversations about Arsenal’s Niclas Bendtner to varying opinions it got me thinking, how do you class a great striker, then my mind wandered to what players right now would be classed as GREAT, does the conventional idea of the striker still exist or has the role changed to suit the modern game.

I have also had the opinion that to be class as a great striker there are two targets you have to reach, for your club you must average a goal every two games, and for your country 1 in 3 is fine, is that enough of a system to define greatness, right now I am questioning my own system in this Wikipedia driven time, it is far too easy to pick a player, lets go with Adrian Mutu (picked by a colleague) a player with a very chequered past, has played for numerous teams, first came to my attention playing for Verona, then the 21 year old managed 16 goals in 57 games roughly 1 in 4. Fast forward now to his time in Florence, 50 goals in 91 games for Fiorentina better than 1 in 2, in his whole club career he’s played 329 games and scored 130 goals that’s 0.40 goals per game, a pretty good record 29 goals in 67 games, this would put Mutu in my bracket as a great striker, however I wouldn’t put him in the GREAT bracket, he’s a talented player that’s no doubt, however greatness is not a word I would choose to describe him.

My quick method is clearly flawed then players can hit these targets and still not be seen as the greatest strikers around, growing up the first strikers I was drawn to were the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Gary Lineker, and Romario, then getting older Ronaldo, Gabriel Batistuta and going to watch Henrik Larsson for Celtic all 6 players to me can be classed as GREAT, the one thought that combines all of these players is finishing, given 5 chances they would score at least 4, and could conjeur a goal out of less than half a chance, how many of the modern day players can you say the same for.

Throughout Europe these days the players scoring the goals aren’t the out and out strikers, players like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrei Arshavin more of a support striker or winger, these players over the past few years have scored a lot of goals between them, Ronaldo’s 42 goals in the Premiership is unheard of for someone playing as a winger, I think the game is changing and allowing these type of players to be more dangerous in or around the goal area, and on first thought how many penalty box strikers can you think of playing at the top end of European football.

The modern day strikers the likes of Drogba, Eto’o, Villa, Torres, Tevez, Luis Fabiano, all 6 players spanning the global game all very prone to missing chances, I would say out of 5 chances, they would score 2 or 3, most Liverpool fans will be upset with me including Torres in that bracket however before his Liverpool days Torres never scored more than 20 goals in a La Liga season, his first season in England really was his break out year, I have managed to dig up some OPTA stats from May 2008 and from Fernando’s 96 shots on goal he scored 33 goals, this proves my thinking, works out in 5 attempts on goal Torres would score 1.7 goals.

Stats can do a lot to prove and disprove various thoughts, I’m sure I could have found some stats that make an player the greatest striker ever, the hard truth is stats are only worth the paper they are printed on. The real way to judge a players ability is to watch them over a vast number of games and then decide on the quality of the player, usually once his career ends, 2 examples spring to mind almost instantly, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Fowler, Roman came to England after an impressive record in the Russian League, however at Euro 2008 for Russia his performance weren’t as good as previous season had promised, so Spurs and English fans didn’t think much to the latest recruit to White Hart Lane and then a few weeks into the season he was already classed as a dud, I have had the privlidge of watching quite a few Spartak Moscow games 2/3 years before his move, and also the Champions League qualifier against Celtic in 2007, Roman was a constant threat, scoring at Celtic Park, a very opportunist goal pouncing on a defensive mistake, he looked a very talented player, this made me not jump on the bandwagon of doubters after his slow start to his English career which is now showing signs of promise a goal machine of late, he is causing the normal fan to think twice on his opinion and hopefully can keep his place at the London club.

The other example is Robbie Fowler, started out as a 17 year old wonderkid for Liverpool, scoring goals by the bucketload the world was his oyster 173 goals in 236 games for Liverpool is a fantastic record, I still remember the TV pundits swooning over his ability quotes like “If he’s this good at 21, imagine how good he’ll be at 28 in his prime”. The hard truth is when he was 28 he was playing for Manchester City and managed 10 goals that season, only 1 goal the season after, Robbie’s career was plagued with injury from 2002 onwards, and after leaving Liverpool in 2001 he never really reached the same level of success, it is impossible to forget the great results he had at Anfield at the time he was classed as one of the greatest finishers in England, but outside of Anfield the same cannot be said, and at International level again his record is less than impressive, with Robbie for 8 years you could easily class him as a GREAT striker, but after this, Average is the best way to describe him, so how do you classify his career as a whole, impossible really.

Personally I try not to define a player by their “Stats” but in what I’ve seen of the player, a striker could easily have  a 1 in 2 record but when you watch them they need 4 or 5 chances to get 1 goal, or some else with the same record however that players had half as many chances, I know which players I would have in my side, in this world of Sky Sports News and super fast broadband it is very easy for people to take opinions from what they hear around them without judging  the player on what they actually see, this brings me back to the first point.

Nicklas Bendtner scored a hat-trick last night in the Champions League game against Porto, what could be classed as 2 tap in and a penalty, but still 3 goals, his record in Europe this season is 4 goals in 3 games, now if that’s all you look at, then yeah Bendtner looks fantastic, however if you  have actually watched the game or the game  against Burnley, you would not think he was as impressive as his record, the boy is still young, only 22 so he still has time to improve and become a great striker, right now though, no matter what the stats say I cannot put him in this group.

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