Bullet Header. The Salvador Cabanas story.

After a brief hiatus due to exams, I’m back, and what a way to come back with this remarkable story.

I was in my local newsagents and a bright yellow Neymar-covered issue of FourFourTwo attracted my attention. I picked the magazine up and flicked randomly. The page my finger fell on was a truly mesmeric story of Salvador Cabanas.

Cabanas is of Paraguayan origin and plied his trade in the Mexican leagues with some top clubs including perenial powerhouse Club America. He earned this move through a prolific spell with Jaguares de Chipas, a club dwelling deep in the Mexican Apertura, finishing 18th. Cabanas, a big bustling striker, remains their top scorer since the club’s inception in 2002. He ripped the net 59 times for Jaguares in 103 appearances, well over a goal every two games.

His form continued when he joined Club America, notching up 66 goals in 115 games, maintaining his goal every two games tally. On (the )25th January 2010, whilst out at a bar, cleverly called ‘Bar Bar’, Cabanas was shot in the head. Cabanas did not die. He was rushed to hospital in Mexico City, and it was decided the bullet was not to be extracted from his skull. He was said to be shot by drug lord José Balderas Garza (pseudonym JJ).

Amazingly in Feburary the same year Cabanas left intensive care, immediately aiming to book his place in South Africa with eventual quarter-finalists Paraguay. However Cabanas was not selected and didn’t play for another two years before signing for Mexican third divison outfit 12 de Octubre, where his career began.

Now with just one apperance of 40 minutes for his new club, a bullet header could kill the prolific Paraguayan. No one was willing to take a gamble on Cabanas, but this really is a good thing to happen to football amist the controversy and tragic deaths.

A truly remarkable story.

 

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End of Season Precitions Part 4: League 2

League 2: the depths of the football league, it name tag doesn’t look particularly pretty at all, but don’t judge a book from it’s cover and all that, League 2 has argueably the most exciting promotion race known to man, 3 automatic promotion places, 4 playoff places and only 2 relegation places. League 2 has heralded some hot names including the likes of Adam Le Fondre, who is spearheading Reading’s title charge with two goals from the bench against closest rivals Southampton, and some of their players were playing in the lower reaches of the english proffessional game not too long ago. It’s all hotting up!

The Automatic Promotion Contendors.

Paulo Di Canio’s Swindon look home and dry and need just a point tonight against Aldershot to book their place in League 1 next season, just a year after loosing their status in the third tier. I was one of many to think that Di Canio would cause mischief and havoc, and we were right, remember Leon Clarke?, start to the season and a massive bust up, he’s been at 3 different clubs since September notching up 9 goals in a spell with Chesterfield, then a disastrous move to Charlton and now he’s at Crawley who sit 4th, 12 points off Swindon. I bet Leon feels like a right mug now, he could’ve had a title and a winners medal dangling around his neck. Paulo has in truth been a breath of fresh air this year and his unique managerial style has complemented League 2 well, expect big things from the once West Ham striker!

Shrewsbury, Torquay and Crawley are going to battle it out for the 2 remaining automatic promotion spaces, the one who looses out will be devastated. Shrewsbury have been hanging around the summit of League 2 for years, and this could be the year for Graham Turner’s men, the Shrews currently have 3 players in double figures in terms of scoring, most notable the 15 times James Collins has found the net. Anything other than automatic promotion would be a failure for Shrewsbury. Torquay, who were last year’s beaten playoff finalists will also see anything other than automatic promotion as failure, but a good run of form has seen them rise to 3rd in the League duly aided by the goals of Rene Howe. However promotion may be more assured for Torquay who sit 3 points above Crawley Town as Steve Evans left Crawley for 10th placed Rotherham, strange move? Crawley lost potent finishers Tyrone Barnett and last years 40-goal-man Matt Tubbs to Peterborough and Bourenmouth respectivley. This has dented their promotion tilt, as Leon Clarke is yet to find scoring form. Steve Coppell has taken the ‘director of football’ post, but is it too late to save Crawley?. Either way it’s going to be very close.

Playoff Pushers

Paul Sturrocks Southend look settled in a playoff position with their centre back Bilel Mohsni banging in 9 goals, impressive. Their playoff place looks almost assured with just a couple of positive results to keep them there. Cheltenham also look comfertable as their mesmeric season looks to end well despite some poor performances of late as manager Yates makes the most of non-league players. Oxford and a youthful Crewe side look to battle it out for the last remaining spot, and I wouldn’t yet rule out Gillingham or Rotherham, but I’m backing Crewe to knab the last playoff place.

The Relegation battle

It’s brilliant to see Plymouth almost reatining their football league status, after many tipped them to drop. It’s been a brilliant season for Carl Fletcher’s motley crew, safety is almost definatley on the cards. Meanwhile 3 teams (Hereford, Barnet and Macclesfield) are battling to stay in League 2, Barnet have the edge with a 3 point gap above both of the other clubs. They also boast Izale McLeod, their twenty two goal striker, its a known fact that scoring goals at a bottom club is very hard, and McLeod progress is slightly reminiscent of Andy Johnson at Crystal Palace a few seasons ago as he scored 21 goals for the London outfit. Hereford and Macclesfield have been pretty poor all season and I tip both of them to go down.

Predicted Final League 2 Table

1 Swindon Town

2 Shrewsbury Town

3 Torquay United

4 Crawley Town

5 Cheltenham Town

6 Southend United

7 Crewe Alexandra

8 Oxford United

9 Rotherham United

10 Gillingham

11 Bristol Rovers

12 Accrington

13 Aldershot

14 Port Vale

15 Morecambe

16 Wimbledon

17 Burton Albion

18 Northampton Town

19 Dagenham and Redbridge

20 Bradford

21 Plymouth

22 Barnet

23 Hereford

24 Macclesfield

End of Season Predictions Part 3: League One

Many will say League 1? Why are you writing about that? Well I’ll tell you. It’s a very exciting League, possibly more so than the Championship, there’s 4 relegations for a start, making the race to hang on to the League One tag all the more exciting. Recently League One has spawned Premier League suprise package Norwich and Championship title chasers Southampton, as well as the likes of Gus Poyet’s Brighton. The League also boast goalscoring machines Jordan Rhodes and Ched Evans, the end to the League One season looks truly truly remarkable.

The Promotion Pushers

Charlton look all but set to reatin their Championship status and you never know they could possibly do a ‘Norwich’ or ‘Southampton’ a team formerly Premier League mainstays dropping down two divisions before making a unexpected yet highly mesmeric rise back to the top tier of English football. The goals of former Plymouth man Bradley Wright-Phillips and creativity of dead-ball maestro Johnnie Jackson have spearheaded their title charge under Chris Powell, after a massivley dissapointing season last year. Sheffield United sit just two point above city rivals Wednesday in 3rd place. Danny Wilson has brought the best out of £3 million Welsh striker Ched Evans, with 34 goals to his name. Across the Steel City Gary Megson’s Sheffield Wednesday have looked impressive especially with a number of signing’s bedding in, and to top it off they have claimed the derby credits for the next year thanks to a 73rd minute Chris O’Grady goal. Huddersfield under Simon Grayson sit 9 points adrift of Wednesday with 4 games to go, they safe with a playoff place, once again. However they do boast Jordan Rhodes in their ranks with 37 goals to his name this season, a remarkable tally the great Alan Shearer would be envious of. MK Dons boast a manager who is as old as half his players, Karl Robinson at the tender age of 31 can boast the likes of Bamber Bridge and Prescot Cables to his illustriast playing career. Many tipped the Dons for automatic promtion, but a playoff place was always the realistic option.

Playoff Contendors

4 clubs look to battle for the last remaining promotion place, however MK Dons are stil not safe. Carlisle occupy seventh place after a great run of form thanks to the goals of Francois Zoko. Notts County sit in 6th place currently level on points with Carlisle with for West Brom striker Lee Hughes still banging in the goals. Its definatly going to go down to ther wire as Brentford sit in 8th with 63 points and a definate shout at the playoff, I wouldn’t yet rule out Stevenge with 60 points in 9th place and a game in hand, they have hit a bit of a snag in terms of form, but I can definatly see them sneak into a playoff place, but even if they reach that stage I can’t see Graham Westley’s side snatching a thrid straight promotion, that stuff only happens on football manager.

The Battle to beat the drop

Rochdale and Chesterfield look down and out, a poor season from last years League 2 winners, despite Craig Westcarr’s 11 goals. Rochdale completly lost it since Keith Hill took up the vacant manager’s post at Barnsley. I still think Exeter have a chance at survival but it’s going to be tough for Paul Tisdale’s men as Jamie Cureton can’t rekindle his goalscoring form of last season for the Grecians. I don’t give Wycombe much of a shot though. Orient’s poor start to the season may have cost them dear as they struggle for survival along with Walsall who have drawn 19 times this season! Oldham, Bury and a very lacklustre Preston may still find themselves in League 2 next season. And you still can’t rule out Scunthorpe who formerly had a stint in the Championship. It’s definatly going to go down to the wire at both ends of the table!

Predicted Final League 1 Table

1 Charlton

2 Sheffield Wednesday

3 Sheffield United

4 MK Dons

5 Huddersfield

6 Carlisle

7 Notts County

8 Stevenage

9 Brentford

10 Bourenmouth

11 Hartlepool

12 Colchester

13 Scunthorpe

14 Tranmere

15 Preston

16 Bury

17 Walsall

18 Oldham

19 Yeovil

20 Leyont Orient

21 Exeter

22 Wycombe

23 Rochdale

24 Chesterfield

End of season Predictions Part 2: The Championship

It’s all hotting up in the fourth most watched League in the world! Yes you read this right, England’s second tier is infact the fourth most watched League in the world, and you can see why.

Automatic Promotion and the inconsistent Hammers

Southampton under the management of former physio Nigel Adkins are effectivley doing a ‘Norwich’, and might even go one better, on course to clinch the title and automatic promotion, this is down to the talismanic 30 goal striker Ricky Lambert, added by young gun Adam Lallana who has 12 goals to his name as well. 2nd place is currently held by a ressurgent Reading, who only a few years ago sat eighth in the Premier League in their inaugral season. Now Brian McDermott has helped his Reading side storm into the automatic promotion places, this is especially comendable after that playoff lose to Swansea last season. These two who are level on points look almost cert for automatic promotion, with West Ham 6 points away with 4 games to go. The title, however, may be decided when Reading and Southampton face up St Mary’s on Friday night.

In a way I’m glad West Ham have faultered, many tipped them for straight automatic promotion, and it’s nice to see big Sam hasn’t been able to navigate his West Ham side around the Championship as well as expected this season. A wealth of Premier League talent inhabits the Hammers squad with the likes of Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan not exactly firing on all cilinders this season. However, automatic promotion is still in reach for the Hammers who are relying on the Saints and Reading to slip up in the following weeks, it’s all getting quite exciting.

The Playoff Hopefuls

Now this is the really exciting stage of the season. Mathematically any team from 16th place can clinch a playoff spot, given none of these teams play each other and they all loose. The 16th placed team being Crystal Palace on 54 points and Cardiff clinging onto 6th with 65. West Ham look a cert to clinch at least a playoff spot while Chris Hughton’s Birmingham City have to well to sustain the effort after their European exploits, I expect them also to clinch a playoff spot. Ian Holloway still has the magic touch and his Blackpool sit 5th. He’s replaced the goals and creativity of DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam with 38 year old Kevin Phillips who has notched up an impressive 18 goals in not too many more starts. Gus Poyet’s exceptional Brighton side look to nab sixth place off playoff stalwarts Cardiff, who have been more than resurgent under Malkay Mackay. Moneybags Leicester are making a late playoff surge after many expected an automatic promotion charge from them, expecially with that hot bed of talent Nigel Pearson’s side boast down at The King Power Stadium. Nigel has done well there especially after being sacked, and returning 17 months later from playoff rivals Hull, who in all honestly still have a shot at the playoffs, but have struggled to score as the goals have dried up for Matty Fryatt and Aaron McLean. Tony Mowbray’s Middlesbrough look well within a shout of the playoffs sitting just two points outside. And you still can rule Derby, Burnley or Watford out just yet. While at Leeds it all gone wrong since Grayson left, Warnock is a stellar manager at this level and has added some experienced heads to the Elland Road dressing room, they’ll have to try their hand next year which could be a good year for Leeds.

The Relegation Battle

Donny look to have finally kicked the boot at this level, despite Sean O’Driscoll’s best efforts to keep to once playoff contenders heads above the water, one positive is the ressurected career of El Hadji-Douif at the Keepmoat. Portsmouth too unfortunatley look dead and buried thanks to their finacial woes, despite some cracking performances of late. Peterborough, Millwall and Barnsley look all but safe, but you never know what’s going to happen. For example, towards the mid point in the season Barnsley looked a completly different team under former Rochdale manager Keith Hill, and then Ricardo Vaz Te left for West Ham and it’s all gone pair-shaped for the northerners. Coventry don’t look out of it despite occupying the last remaning relegation place, some resurgent performaces of late have lead Andy Thorn’s men to believe survival is possible thanks to the goals of Gary McSheffrey, but the loose of Lukas Jutkiewicz in January has really hindered their survival surge. Former playoff contenders Birstol City sit only four points outside the drop zone and their Championship status is still not secured.

Predicted Final Championship Table

1 Reading

2 Southampton

———————-

3 West Ham

4 Blackpool

5 Birmingham City

6 Leicester City

———————-

7 Brighton

8 Cardiff

9 Middlesbrough

10 Burnley

11 Derby

12 Ipswich

13 Crystal Palace

14 Hull

15 Leeds

16 Peterborough

17 Watford

18 Nottm Forst

19 Barnsley

20 Coventry

21 Millwall

———————-

22 Portsmouth

23 Bristol City

24 Doncaster Rovers

End of season Predictions Part 1: Premier League

What a time to start writing a blog, eh? When the English football season reaches its peak, relegation stares straight into faces of many. While other will be pushing for promotion whether it’s the sweet bliss of an automatic promotion place or the treacherous climb of the playoffs. And so it begins….

The Premier League

The race for fourth place

It’s certain that the title will be returning the red half of Manchester, as per usual, its often them against whoever is bothered to turn up. And it looked so good for City when they beat United to a pulp with that six one drubbing earlier in the season. However its classic Fergie as his Premier League stalwarts look to cruise to another (20th) Premier League title with an 8 point gap over their nearest rivals City.

7 years ago one of my favourite films came out about a Mexican immigrant living in L.A, it name was simple: GOAL! The story followed a young lad called Santiago Munez who has loved and played football all his life, a goal scoring forward, he gets spotted by a former Toon legend who also runs a car repair store. Santiago make the flight to Newcastle and despite a few problems impresses in the reserves. An injury hit Newcastle team allow ‘Santi’ to score in the dying seconds of their crucnh match with Liverpool, as they nab a Champions League place from the Scousers and Chelsea. Sounds sort of familiar right? Demba Papis Cisse; a goal scoring forward from Sengal, brought from Freiburg (it’s in Germany) for £9.5 million, and his 10 goals in 9 starts has rocketed Newcastle to fifth and challenging for a Champions League place. And I’d love to see it happen.

How it stands Predicted Top 6

1 Manchester United 1 Macnhester United

2 Manchester City 2 Manchester City

3 Arsenal 3 Arsenal

4 Tottenham Hotspur 4 Newcastle United

5 Newcastle United 5 Chelsea

6 Chelsea 6 Tottenham Hotspur

I liked Di Matteo at West Brom and he looks to have his big shot at Chelsea after leading them to 9 wins in his 10 in charge including setting up a Champions League semi with Spanish perrenial powerhouse Barcelona. Tottenham have lost thier form at the wrong time, and with the added pressure of the England job calling on Harry Redknapp, they’d do well to even hang on to the 5th place. Alan Pardew has forever been an underestimated manager and he deserves all the credit, everyone thought his french revoltion would lead to him getting the chop, but the likes of Cabaye and his Senegalese (french speacking country) strike partners Ba and Cisse have excited the UK into submission. I’d like to see them grab fourth spot. Wenger should be handed some credit after inevatbley nabing 3rd despite losing Fabregas and Nasri.

The relegation battle

I think any decent human being wants to see Owen Coyle and his Bolton side survive, with Fabrice Muamba retuning to health it’d be the perfect welcome home present. I do think they will survive but there have been 2 reasons why their season hasn’t been brilliant, the first being no consistent goal scorer after the departure of Johan Elmander and Daniel Sturridge’s return to Chelsea at the end of last season. Croat Ivan Klasnic heads the list with 9- most of these have come from the bench. It’s almost a fact that Wolves are down and I can’t see them winning a game for the remainder of the season. And it’s a straight out battle between the rest with just a point separating 19th to 16th, Villa need to watch their back too.

As it stands Predicted Bottom 6

15 Aston Villa 15 Aston Villa

16 Bolton 16 QPR

17 QPR 17 Bolton

18 Blackburn 18 Wigan

19 Wigan 19 Blackburn

20 Wolves 20 Wolves

Wigan have been stupidly unlucky with a number of refereeing decisions, maybe their luck has finally run out, but that debate is for another day, Yakubu is a fantastic finisher in the box, and has been brilliant for Blackburn, but even his goals won’t save them.

Predicted Final Premier League Table

1 Manchester United

2 Manchester City

3 Arsenal

4 Newcastle United

5 Chelsea

6 Tottenham Hotspur

7 Everton

8 Fulham

9 Liverpool

10 Norwich

11 Swansea

12 Stoke

13 West Brom

14 Sunderland

15 Aston Villa

16 QPR

17 Bolton

18 Wigan

19 Blackburn

20 Wolves

Luke Lon.

Alright?

I’m a 15 year old, typical lad, love my rugby, football, basketball and a bit of cricket. I pretty much live for sports, play with my heart on my sleeve.

My dream is to one day present a Sports TV show, I’m not like normal football fans, I’m good on my stats, quick on my toes, and my general knowledge on the beautiful game is, I’d say, pretty good.

 I’m Albion through and through, I’m taking this seriously, a no-nonsense blog.

If you really don’t like it, you can stick it, but please any helpful criticism is welcome, I’m always eager to learn.

Cheers, Lads/Ladies alike

Luke.