Olympic football: The countdown begins

Adapted for Anchorfan.com

Great Britain hasn’t participated in Olympic football for 40 years, the last time Great Britain had any success was 1912.

England famously won the world cup on home ground in 1966 and with the Olympics taking part on British soil perhaps this year, football could be coming home once again.

Stuart Pearce’s team selection was met with a mixed reaction, most notably by staunch Beckham supporters.

Robbie Savage, who played in Manchester United’s youth squad alongside Beckham also joined in the debate that ensued on Twitter.

Goldenballs aside, the three over-23 selections that Pearce made do make sense.

Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) and Micah Richards (Manchester City) were selected for the team.

This North-West footballing trio that stars in Premier League will bring something to each third of the pitch.

As expected, these senior players will be looked to for some deal of leadership and Bellamy is a good choice for somebody to lead the attack having played as Welsh captain for four years.

Giggs will be expected to show the same prowess he has done in midfield over the past season for Manchester United, his creativity and experience will be a great benefit to the squad and he is possibly a good choice for captain having been Bellamy’s predecessor in Welsh football.

As for defensive options, many were surprised when Micah Richards did not travel to Euro 2012 with England but what may have been the three-lions’ loss will certainly be a gain for Team GB, a rock-steady right-back to inspire a fresh, young group of defenders.

The goalkeeping options are representing the Championship – unless they get snapped up by PL clubs anyway.

Jack Butland (Birmingham) is the more likely first choice after his call-up to the England squad in the Euros after John Ruddy’s withdrawal, however Jason Steele (Middlesbrough) will certainly want to prove himself as an Olympian.

Joining them will be: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Neil Taylor (Swansea), James Tomkins (West Ham), Joe Allen (Swansea), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea).

Team GB will meet their first opponents, Brazil, in Middlesbrough at the end of the month for a friendly before the games kick off proper.

Saints’ promotion could bring crime to city

Original Article

Whilst celebrations continue following back-to-back promotions for the Saints, the return to top flight football will bring both positives and negatives.

Southampton FC’s return after relegation and administration has fascinated many fans, and increased business is just one of the benefits of extra interest in the club.

However, figures from a Home Office report suggest the extra supporters could bring an increase in match day crime.

Last season, the Championship welcomed 9.6 million spectators whilst the top flight attracted nearly 4 million more.

The report shows that the Premier League saw over 500 more arrests than the Championship over the course of the season which included a staggering 595 alcohol related offences, 422 more than tier the Saints are leaving.

Public order arrests were also more common as were cases of ticket touting.

In comparison, the average number of arrests per club last season were 31 for the Championship and 76 for the Premier League.

Paul Howlett, a retired Police Chief Superintendent who grew up a Southampton supporter, says there are ‘well established networks’  to manage football matches.

‘If Southampton were playing away, police football intelligence officers would travel and liaise with the home side’s police and if Southampton were at home then the away team would send their intelligence officers.’ Says Howlett, 56.

‘They would be looking to shepherd away supporters to protect them from the home fans whilst looking out for known trouble-makers.’

But Hampshire Constabulary will need to be wary as they have already come under fire for their ‘bubble’ system employed during the South-Coast derby between Southampton and Portsmouth.

Controversy

One of the more controversial issues in policing is paying for police, Howlett raises the question: ‘why should the taxpayer have to fund extra officers just for football?’

The former top-cop says ‘it is often cheaper to have trained stewards to work instead of the police and cooperate with them when necessary.’

Whilst crime is just one of the many challenges that will be faced in this new era for the club, fans are still optimistic for the future.

Lifelong supporter, Michael Bromley calls the back-to-back promotions a ‘great achievement’.

The 25 year old from Dibden Purlieu, near Hythe, says ‘there’s a good vibe.’

‘As with the FA Cup run and finals in 2003, you can see the smiles on people’s faces’.

Bromley, who has been attending matches from a young age believes ‘the publicity from top flight football brings positives for business which would be good for Southampton’s shopping centres and maybe even the tourism industry.’

Southampton will be welcoming the Premier League back into the city and there is no doubt that the club and fans will be eagerly anticipating the next season as well as the challenges it will bring.