Exeter can give Steve Perryman a fitting Wembley send-off | Ben Fisher

Exeter’s director of football grew up in the stadium’s shadow and retires after the League Two play-off final against Coventry

“A40, Hanger Lane, turn left on to the North Circular, past Stonebridge Park and over on my left was Wembley,” says Steve Perryman, recounting his journey from Northolt to training at Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager, a drive he could do with his eyes closed these days. “I would go past it twice a day, there and back, usually sat in traffic, and you conjure up images and think: ‘I hope I play here again.’ And now we are back there with Exeter.”

The League Two play-off final against Coventry City on Monday will be particularly pertinent given it is Perryman’s final match before retiring – after 51 years in the game. He grew up in the shadow of Wembley, going to the dogs on a Friday night with his older brothers and playing on Ealing Common. “It is extraordinary and, if I could have written it, I guess this is how it would have finished,” he says.

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via Football | The Guardian

Goalkeeper falls foul of rules for bizarre League of Ireland goal – video

There was a moment of confusion over the laws of football in the League of Ireland First Division over the weekend. Galway United goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan broke the rules after he placed the ball on the ground only to pick it up again. Cabinteely’s Luke Clucas then quickly took the ball from his grasp and crossed for team-mate Keith Dalton to score. Promotion-chasing Galway still walked away with the win, beating Cabinteely 2-1. Fifa states it is an offence if the keeper ‘handles the ball again after it has been released from his possession and has not touched any other player’

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via Football | The Guardian

Fulham promoted to Premier League after play-off win over Aston Villa

Fulham have been promoted to the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 victory against Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final at Wembley. Tom Cairney scored the goal that returned them to the top flight four seasons after relegation, after 23 minutes, but they had to hold on for 20 minutes with 10 men after Denis Odoi picked up a second yellow card in a match marred by a number of ugly tackles.

Fulham’s Ryan Fredericks was lucky not to be sent off for stamping on Jack Grealish, who had his own escape later, before being the player fouled when Odoi was sent off.

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via Football | The Guardian

Real Madrid v Liverpool: Champions League final 2018 – live!

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the biggest custody battle in Europe. Real Madrid and Liverpool both claim moral ownership of the Champions League. Madrid because they have won it a record 12 times; Liverpool because they have won it five times and experienced a unique range of emotions in the process.

These two are European royalty but that, pretty much, is where the similarities end tonight. This Champions League final offers a mouthwatering contrast: the winning experience of Real against the infectious naivety and devastating speed of Liverpool. Every decent forward line needs an acronym these days, and Liverpool’s sexy MFS could run Madrid’s geriatricos ragged. They are the main reason why Jurgen Klopp’s side are the most exhilarating team in Europe, maybe the world.

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via Football | The Guardian

Aston Villa v Fulham: Championship play-off final – live!

How big is this game? Well, put it this way: Liverpool stand to collect around 90 million euros from winning the Champions League while Wembley’s winner is guaranteed around £160m, and at least £280m if they stay in the Premier League next season. It all seems rather quaint to remember that the winners of 2006’s final, Watford, went home with £40m while Leeds United took the gate receipts of £1.3m.

It is not, of course, all about the money, but the play-off’s unique sliding doors status makes it the highest stakes game in English football, and perhaps a more engaging occasion than the FA Cup final has become. Does it make for a great game? Not for a while, in all truth. Those days of Swindon 4-3 Leicester in 1993, Bolton 4-3 Reading in 1995, and Charlton 4-4 Sunderland in 1998 (one of the greatest matches of all time) are so last century. It has become an occasion where nerves must be held, and a single goal separates the teams. Only Norwich’s 2-0 defeat of Middlesbrough two years bucks the trend since Brendan Rodgers set on the way to be known by his first name with a 4-2 Swansea defeat of Reading in 2011. (As an aside, Reading must hate the play-off final, having lost three of them, including last year’s, on pens to Huddersfield.)

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via Football | The Guardian