Thursday, December 31, 2020

Football's Fallen of 2020


It was the year of Covid-19 and the world's greatest sport was not immune.

Amid all the madness of a pandemic which saw the European Championship, the Copa America, the African Cup of Nations, the AFC Cup and the Club World Cup, as well as several domestic league and cup competitions, wiped from the diary, football also lost some of its heroes.

Top of the list in 2020's In Memoriam section of course is Diego Armando Maradona. The little Argentine pibe from the Villa Fiorito barrio was not only head and shoulders above his contemporaries but probably the most skilled player of all time. His death leaves a most massive mark.


El Pibe's rags to riches life story, his dark excesses matched with a swashbuckling capture of the ultimate prize and conversion into a demi-god in Naples makes him wholly worthy of those overused terms legend and messiah. Songs and statues, films, and folklore have commemorated his years. In centuries past he would have been canonised. On the field and beyond he certainly transcended the surly bonds of earth to touch the hand of God (apologies to the poet John Gillespie Magee).

January 2020 had started with the news that Hans Tillkowski, best-known as the West German goalkeeper in the 1966 World Cup, had passed away. Although he never accepted Geoff Hurst's crossbar-hitting third strike, he saw the funny side enough in 2009 to unveil a statue in Azerbaijan of Tofiq Bahramov, the 'Russian linesman' who confirmed the goal. 

Before the 1962 finals he smashed up his hotel room a la Paul Gascoigne upon discovering he would be dropped as first-choice custodian. Tillkowski won 39 German caps, played for Westfalia Herne, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt and later managed Nurnberg and Werder Bremen.

The same month Dutch legend Rob Rensenbrink died aged 72. He played mostly in Belgium, most notably for Anderlecht between 1971 and 1980 where he twice won the league championship and European Cup Winners' Cup but also for the Netherlands' magical total football side of 1974. Substituted at half-time in the '74 final, the attacking midfielder would go on to net five at the 1978 World Cup, profiting from the absence of Johann Cruyff. In the final, Rensenbrink struck the Argentine post in the last minute of normal time. Had he found the net he would surely have been Holland's hero forever.


In February, Harry Gregg, a survivor of the infamous Munich air crash where his selfless heroism in the aftermath of the event saved a number of lives, died in his native Northern Ireland aged 87. Voted the best goalkeeper of the 1958 World Cup, Gregg made 210 appearances for Manchester United and managed four clubs between 1968 and 1987.

March saw French legend Michel Hidalgo pass away. A successful player and later manager with Monaco, Hidalgo will forever be remembered for guiding France to their first trophy, Euro '84 with the flamboyant 'three musketeers' midfield of Alain Giresse, Michel Platini and Jean Tigana.

In April, goalkeeper Peter Bonetti died aged 78. The son of Swiss immigrants, 'the cat' played an amazing 600 times for Chelsea and seven times for England. In the heat of Mexico '70, Bonetti replaced the suspiciously-poisoned Gordon Banks for his country's ill-fated quarter-final versus West Germany.

Another former England man Norman Hunter also died in April aged 76, this time a victim of Covid-19. With Jack Charlton, 'Bite Yer Legs' Hunter formed a rock hard centre back pairing in Don Revie's 'Damned United' and was the PFA player of the year in 1974. Like Bonetti, he was a non-playing member of the England '66 squad and played briefly at Mexico '70. Leeds have renamed an Elland Road stand after him.

Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson

Later that month Michael Robinson died aged only 61. Despite 24 caps for Eire, a dozen years in England and a hat-trick of trophies for Liverpool in 1984, Robinson came into his own after retiring in Spain where he ended up becoming the nation's premier TV football presenter. Footballers can rise to the top on the field in another country but no-one has managed to do it in football journalism like Robinson did.

Also in Spain in April another successful immigrant, Raddy Antic, died aged 71. A defender for clubs in his native Serbia, Spain and Turkey, he is idolised by fans of Luton Town for scoring a last-gasp goal to keep them up in 1983, prompting a famous on-field invasion by manager David Pleat. He later coached his country at the 2010 World Cup and remains the only man to have managed Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.


July saw the death at 85 of Jack Charlton, as beloved in England for being part of the 1966 World Cup winning side as he was in Ireland, where he took the Republic to their first European Championship and World Cup finals. Big Jack & Saint Jack, his bluff, no-nonsense style of play and management won him fans on both sides of the Irish Sea so much so that when Eire beat England at Euro '88, English fans still wanted him and his team to advance. Underrated tactically, he was actually ahead of his time in using gegenpressing so successfully with Eire. He was also a one-club man, playing 629 times for Leeds United.

October saw the death at 78 of Nobby Stiles, best-known for his merry dance on the Wembley turf after  the 1966 World Cup. Employed as a midfield disruptor, his nullifying of the great Eusebio in the semi-final was key to England's success that year. He made 311 appearances for Manchester United, with whom he won the European Cup in 1968. His death left only four members of England's '66 eleven living.

In November Ray Clemence left us aged 72. Liverpool's goalkeeper in their golden age had a trophy cabinet stacked with silverware - five league championships, three European Cups, two UEFA Cups, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Super Cup with the Reds. He then went on to win the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Tottenham. He would have won far more than 61 caps with England had Peter Shilton not been his contemporary. Off-field, Clemence was universally praised as a most kind and decent colleague.

The same month, Senegal star Papa Bouba Diop died of motor neurone disease aged only 42. Nicknamed the wardrobe for his almost 2 metre height and muscular physique, Diop played for four English sides as well as in France, Greece and Switzerland and is best known for scoring the winner for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup which beat holders France in their opening match.

Maradona's death overshadowed all others, but news of another World Cup great passing in early December came as a hammer blow. Paolo Rossi, Italian hero of Espana '82, died aged 64. That summer in Spain belonged to him, winning the World Cup, Golden Ball and Golden Boot in one go. Rossi was the world's costliest player when he signed for Juventus in 1976 but was banned from football in 1980 as part of the Totonero betting scandal, only returning to action just before the World Cup, where he arrived less than fully fit. After three sluggish group games, Rossi then exploded. His hat-trick against Brazil in one of the tournament's greatest ever games will live long in the memory. Like Toto Schillaci in Italia '90, his Azzurro star burned short and bright.


Then eleven days before Christmas, another former coach of Les Bleus, Gerard Houllier died aged 73. Enthused by a gap year in Liverpool in 1970, the Frenchman returned as manager of the Reds in 1998 and won them their first European trophy in years, the 2001 UEFA Cup. That year Liverpool also won the FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield, and Super Cup, confirming his Wenger-esque overhaul of the club's practices. He nurtured the talents of Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry, and Michael Owen, won the Ligue 1 title with Lyon and PSG yet failed to make it to USA '94 with France in calamitous fashion, losing their last two home games in the last minute when only needing a point. Houllier famously blamed David Ginola for crossing instead of holding onto the ball.

It has been a sad year for everyone and as we can see, football has had its fair share of tears too. The brightest stars will shine the longest and we should look to them for inspiration. 

Let us salute our fallen heroes therefore and hope for a return to footballing normality and a happier 2021 across the world.

We are a global family after all.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Premier League continues campaign against piracy in Hong Kong

Premier League v Piracy

The Premier League has launched the second phase of its anti-piracy campaign in Hong Kong. The 'Boot Out Piracy' campaign will continue to highlight the dangers that illegal streams pose to fans, from data theft to malicious malware, as well as emphasizing the poor viewing experience through broken links and delays.

No Pop Up Ads

Launching today, 16 December, the campaign will feature images of fan favourites such as Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min and Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, as the Premier League urges consumers to "Go for the Best" and "Bring on the Best Quality" when watching games. 

The anti-piracy message is set to be displayed across digital platforms, with PCCW Group also broadcasting the campaign on Now TV.

The Premier League is committed to tackling piracy and continues to work closely with its official broadcast partner Now TV to educate consumers on the dangers they face when watching illegal streams. 

According to a representative survey of more than 1,000 people in Hong Kong, more than a quarter (26%) of those who had watched pirated material had stopped due to getting a virus or malware on their device.

Across the Southeast Asia region, the Premier League has also been targeting those responsible for operating illegal streams and bringing them to justice through the courts. In addition to successfully blocking multitudes of illegal sites and apps across the region, this also includes criminal actions against the suppliers of illicit streaming devices, which not only provide poor quality content but also create opportunities for cybercriminals to target Premier League fans.

Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: "This campaign is an important part of our education to fans. We will continue working with Now TV to fight piracy and disrupt illegal streams. However, we want to ensure supporters really understand that piracy is not only illegal but also brings with it many risks.

"Illegal streaming also means missing out on watching high-definition games in real-time with expert commentary and insights from players and managers. We want fans to enjoy the best Premier League viewing experience possible via official broadcast channels, not via broken and delayed illegal sources which also bring with them a great risk of malicious malware and ransomware."

Mr. Derek Choi, Head of Pay TV of PCCW Media Limited, said, "With the 2020/21 season already showing such an energetic and exciting start, we want fans across the city to be entertained by their favourite players and teams on matchday without risking their security. Fans can catch all 380 matches for the 2020/21 season live in HD and selected matches in 4K quality on Now TV and Now E."

With millions of football fans in Hong Kong, the Premier League is a member of Asia's Coalition Against Piracy and continues to collaborate with industry organisations to tackle the new challenges faced by broadcasters in wider region.

The campaign was developed with creative agency DDB Worldwide.

Friday, December 25, 2020

LFC and Cadbury team up for Secret Santa campaign

LFC and Cadbury Team Up

Liverpool FC has teamed up with Cadbury to bring Christmas cheer to local residents in Liverpool as part of its Secret Santa campaign.

LFC and Cadbury Team Up

Alongside Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation, Cadbury will be raising awareness for the Trussell Trust - and providing little bit of extra magic for more than 150,000 people supported by its network of foodbanks - by adding a chocolate treat to food parcels this Christmas.

Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation have partnered with Cadbury to help promote the initiative and to provide an additional donation to the North Liverpool and South Liverpool Foodbanks.

Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and LFC legends John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish have all taken part in Cadbury Secret Santa, and John Barnes recently visited the North Liverpool Foodbank to learn more about the important work the Trussell Trust does.

Reds can get involved by sending a Cadbury Secret Santa bar to a loved one this Christmas through the Cadbury online Postal Service.

For every bar sent, Cadbury will also donate a second bar to a foodbank in the Trussell Trust's network to provide a little festive treat to people who might appreciate it. The activity with Cadbury forms part of the Club's Operation Christmas Magic, which sees Liverpool FC's players, partners, staff and community teams come together this Christmas to support their local communities.

As part of Operation Christmas Magic, 1500 food hampers containing Cadbury Secret Santa bars will be sent to families in Liverpool and Knowsley.

Children from local schools will also be provided with 400 Cadbury bars to send to care homes in the L4 area, alongside a personalised, hand-drawn picture from the children to wish the residents a Merry Christmas.

Forbes Duff, Red Neighbours senior manager, said: "This year has been a real challenge for everyone, and Christmas in particular could be a very difficult time for many families in our local area. "We're really pleased to be teaming up with Cadbury to continue our support of the Trussell Trust network, and hopefully bring a little festive cheer to families across the Liverpool City Region this Christmas.

"Sadly, social isolation and food poverty are ongoing issues in our local community - even more so at this time of year - so we're really grateful for Cadbury's valuable support in helping to bring a little bit of extra Christmas magic for people who need to use food banks at this time of year."

Paola Cassinelli, Senior Brand Manager from Cadbury, said: We're delighted to be partnering with LFC to help raise awareness of the important work the Trussell Trust do through our Secret Santa activation. "LFC is a longtime supporter of the Trussell Trust, so they were the perfect fit to help promote the important work the charity does.

Christmas is a time when everyone appreciates a little festive treat - that's why for every Secret Santa bar sent through our online Postal Service, we'll match that with a bar for a food bank in the Trussell Trust's network.

Who better to encourage the nation to get involved than some of Liverpool's best current and past players?"

Fans can get involved in the campaign and send a Secret Santa bar to a loved one here:

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Reds bring Christmas home with its final festive video

The Reds bring Christmas home with its final festive video


Liverpool FC has today revealed its third and final Christmas video, which focuses on tackling the important issue of social isolation during the festive season and bringing the magic of Christmas home to local communities. 
 The story begins just outside Anfield Stadium and follows an elderly gentleman as he reminisces on some of the greatest moments he's enjoyed throughout his life while supporting his favourite team.

Sprinkled with magic throughout, a few famous faces greet the elderly supporter, with Milner giving a gentle nod from a billboard and a Shankly figure coming to life in his house to recite one of his famous speeches. 

However, the video also carries a very important message as Christmas can be a difficult time for some people who may feel isolated or alone - particularly during what has been a difficult year for many - and the importance of looking after our loved ones and neighbours, especially those who may be vulnerable or in need.

The video comes as part of the club's Christmas campaign message 'Bring the magic home' – highlighting the closeness and togetherness of the club and its supporters, particularly at Christmas. LFC hopes the 'magic' in the videos will bring a smile to everyone's face and help make this Christmas a really magical one.

To help tackle the issue of social isolation and food poverty in the build-up to Christmas, the club has launched 'Operation Christmas Magic' - a club-wide community campaign, which is focused on supporting local people in need.

LFC's Red Neighbours team will donate and deliver 1,500 Christmas food hampers to local residents in Anfield and Kirkby. 

The hampers will include fresh food to prepare a turkey roast dinner and a host of festive treats.

LFC Retail has also stepped in and donated 1,000 LFC gifts to Radio City's 'Cash for Kids' Mission Christmas toy appeal so no child wakes up on Christmas morning without a present.

 If you would like to show your support, you can donate to Radio City's 'Cash for Kids' Mission Christmas campaign here. Fans can also support by donating new and unwrapped gifts and dropping them off at collection points located at any Liverpool FC Store in Liverpool, Chester or Ireland.

Alternatively, you can text the word CITY to 70910 to donate £10, or CITY to 70920 to donate £20. 
If you have been affected by any of the themes or issues in this video, or would like to know more about the work that Liverpool Football Club does in the community or to get involved yourself, please visit

Each Christmas video has been revealed separately over the Christmas period, with all three instalments available to view now at
Christmas can be a difficult time for many people.
If you or someone you know needs specialist support, please contact:

Age UK - 0800 678 1602
Samaritans - 116 123
Childline - 0800 1111

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Christmas magic continues with LFC's second festive video

The Christmas magic continues with LFC's second festive video

The Reds are keeping the festive spirit going in the lead up to Christmas, with the launch of their second of three Christmas videos.

The Reds
Focusing on the younger generation of fans, this story shows what it means to be a Red to one young schoolgirl. 

After finishing her usual school day and arriving home to greet her father, the girl spots some unexpected familiar faces around her house. As she goes about her normal evening routine after school, the magic of Christmas brings Mane subtly to life on the back of a newspaper and fans will catch a flash of that famous smile from Firmino as the girl glances up at a poster on her wall.

The video comes as part of the club’s Christmas campaign message ‘Bring the magic home’ – highlighting the closeness and togetherness of the club and its supporters, particularly at Christmas and during what has been a difficult year for many. LFC hopes the ‘magic’ in the videos will bring a smile to everyone’s face and help make this Christmas a really magical one. 

Each Christmas video will be revealed separately over the Christmas period, with the first and second installments available to view now at

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Red Together

Red Together

Red Together

Liverpool FC is launching its new club-wide approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Red Together, which comes following the club's recent achievement in maintaining the Advanced Level of the Premier League's Equality Standard.

The Club, which was the first Premier League Club to achieve the Advanced Level Equality Standard in 2017, was assessed remotely by the Premier League who highlighted the club's ongoing commitment to driving change, as well as its work with the local community.

LFC is committed to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion across everything it does and Red Together will provide a recognisable platform for its work.

To celebrate the launch of Red Together, a series of videos have been produced that celebrate the club's inclusive culture and diverse fanbase.

The Red Together videos showcase five fans' personal stories and their unique relationship with LFC. Some of the star fans include, Sheena-Marie Williams from LFC's LGBT fan group, Kop Outs and Maurice Stewart from LFC fan site, The Anfield Wrap.

There will also be a new, dedicated Red Together area on, which will provide fans with access to key documentation, news and updates on the Reds' equality, diversity and inclusion work.

LFC staff will have access to a wealth of new Red Together educational resources and training opportunities to empower them with knowledge and ensure they keep up to date with the club's ongoing commitments and ambitions around key equality priorities. 

Supporters will also have the opportunity through Red Together to work alongside the Club to deliver key objectives as part of its equality, diversity and inclusion strategy and its race equality charter.

This will help support LFC's ambition to continue to build an inclusive club culture and fan experience, engage fans in promoting equality and positive behaviour, as well as supporting a number of pro-equality campaigns throughout the year.

Members of the equality and diversity fans forum have positively welcomed Red Together and shared their views on how LFC can continue to enhance its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

The club's official charity, LFC Foundation, in line with the unveiling of Red Together, has launched its inclusion strategy for the next three years (2020-2023.) The new inclusion strategy outlines the charity's ambitions for equality, diversity and inclusion across its workforce, programmes and delivery.

LFC Foundation's inclusion strategy can be viewed here

Lynne Stockton Howard, senior vice president, HR, at Liverpool FC, said: "It's really exciting to be able to present Red Together and have it as a clear brand that both our staff and fans can recognise and identify with.

"This important work forms the basis of everything we do at the Club and it's something we are committed to continually improving to ensure that we are as equal, diverse and inclusive as possible.

"We want our staff, players and supporters to be able to easily recognise our work and the new Red Together brand will help us to achieve this and enable us to bring important messaging, achievements and ambitions to the forefront."

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Liverpool FC has got Christmas magic on its mind with video launch

Liverpool FC has got Christmas magic

The Reds are already getting in the festive spirit with the anticipated release of this year's iconic Christmas advert - but this year will see the launch of not just one video, but a hattrick of them! Spelling the start of the festive season, each of the three videos tells a separate story showing what the club means to its supporters, who often have Liverpool FC on their mind, while celebrating the magic of Christmas with plenty of special effects, humour and feel-good moments throughout. 

The Reds

The first video captures a scenario many fans will be familiar with due to the ongoing pandemic, with the new norm of working from home and conducting meetings virtually via video calls. While our supporter is engaged in a video call with colleagues, a few well known Liverpool FC faces distract his attention, suddenly springing to life from his kitchen table. 

This is where the magic happens, with a Jürgen Klopp Bobblehead coming to life before your eyes, along with Salah, Mane and Thiago as SoccerStarz figures, and many more. Each Christmas video will be revealed separately over the Christmas period, with the first instalment available to view now at 

The video comes as part of the club's Christmas campaign message 'Bring the magic home' – highlighting the closeness and togetherness of the club and its supporters, particularly at Christmas and during what has been a difficult year for many. LFC hopes the 'magic' in the videos will bring a smile to everyone's face and help make this Christmas a really magical one. 

 LFC has also revealed its official Christmas gifting range with a selection of exclusive presents for every Reds fan. The range includes hundreds of exclusive LFC gifts for men, women, kids and babies. It won't be hard to find the perfect present for any Red this year, with products like the new Premier League Champions range launched for Christmas, Christmas pyjamas for the whole family, watches and jewellery, winter fashion and Christmas decorations to choose from. 

Also, The Champions Wall, Official Memberships for the whole family, and LFCTV Go subscriptions and Stadium tours are also available. In addition to the Christmas video, LFC has also introduced special promotion discounts for the upcoming "Singles Day" on 11 November. All purchases on LFC online store can enjoy a discount of 30% off (for official members and staff) or 20% off (for non-members), only excluding Nike products, LFC membership purchases, LFC name/number on shirts and all vouchers. The promotion will run from 8:00 on 9th November to 00:00 on 13th November (UK time).




Kitchee confirms the new signing of the La Masia Graduate José Raúl Baena today. The Spanish defensive midfielder Baena will be registered as the "Designated Foreign Player". Baena was brought through the FC Barcelona's esteemed "La Masia" system that produced Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas, etc. In 2007, Baena joined the Barça's neighbor RCD Espanyol and worked with Mauricio Pochettino for 4 Seasons before joining Rayo Vallecano in 2013. 


The Spanish box-to-box midfielder successfully compiled more than 150 appearances in the LaLiga for 8 Seasons. In the 2017/2018 Season, Baena joined Granada CF as Team Captain and transferred to Melbourne Victory on a one-year contract. Baena managed 24 appearances in the A-league, including 3 appearances in the Asian Champions League Group Stage. 


In 2019/2020, Baena moved to Greece and joined Atromitos FC in the Super League. Mr. Alex Chu, Director of Football of Kitchee, has high hope for this Spanish playmaker that he can lead the team to a higher level, "Baena is an experienced box-to-box midfielder who possesses excellent leadership skill and powerful shooting ability. 

The coaching team and I are looking forward to integrating him into the Club. I have great confidence that he, as an example of professionalism, can lead by example and be a vital role model for our young players." 

Baena has arrived in Hong Kong on 25 November and got tested negative for COVID-19 after two weeks of quarantine. He has been incorporating a full-body workout into his quarantine training to keep up his fitness level. "I am delighted to join the Kitchee family and can't wait to train with my new teammates." Baena expressed. 

The La Masia graduate will take on the No.37 jersey and said, "It was the first number that I picked and wore in my professional career, which means a lot to me personally. For this, I would like to express my gratitude to my teammate Connor, who has vacated his number for me." The original No. 37 Connor Tong has switched his to No. 36.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

They Called Me Rossi

They Called Me Rossi

They Called Me Rossi

If you score three goals against Brazil, then you are the king. Such a king was the Italian Paolo Rossi in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, fondly remembered for the quality of the football on show, a view borne out by the 84% passing accuracy registered in Spain, the highest in any Finals tournament between '1966 and '2006 according to the Castrol Index. 

Moreover, if thanks to your goals, the national team becomes the World Cup winner after 44 years, if you are one of the three top scorers of the national team with 9 goals in the World Cup, and after you, the national team cannot beat Brazil, and then you are great. 

They Called Me Rossi

If you were part of the All-Star teams of two World Cup (1978 and 1982), your fame cannot be accidental. Although then you sit on the bench for the entire tournament (1986 FIFA World Cup, like Carlo Ancelotti, Marco Tardelli), this does not decrease your merits. 

In an online poll, conducted by UEFA for its Golden Jubilee in 2004, which honored best European footballers from the fifty previous years, Rossi was ranked 12th among 250 players and it shows the fans' love for him. 

Paolo Rossi

Although already in 2020, he does not make the list of candidates for the Dream Team "France Football".

...When Rossi won the Ballon d'Or in 1982, he got 115 points out of 130 possible (88.46%) for the Award. Only two out of 26 voters did not write his name in their best players list. When I flipped through France Football Magazine from December 28, 1982, from my collection, which contains the results of that election, I saw how the Scottish journalist Alex Gordon justified his not choosing Rossi: "I know Paolo Rossi is considered a great man because he has scored six goals in the World Cup. However succeeding in just three matches in one year, even if it was the year of the World Cup, does not seem to me to deserve a Ballon d'Or, nor even a top five citation." 

What to do, everyone has their own truth. 

But Rossi laid the foundation for his greatness back in the late 70s, and this was reflected in his results in the fight for the European Footballer of the Year - 5th place in 1978 and 6th place in 1979. 

Then he, along with Michel Platini, Zbigniew Boniek and other stars, was a member of Juventus of the first half of the 1980s, which is considered one of the best teams in the history of football. And he was the top scorer of the European Cup in 1982/83... 

 "I didn't start out wanting to be a defender. Who would want to be in the back-line after having watched striker Paolo Rossi scores six goals in the 1982 World Cup?" 
This quote from the 2006 World Cup and Ballon d'Or winner Italian Fabio Cannavaro for The Players' Tribune demonstrates Rossi's power as a forward. 

"A goal, when it comes, is like manna from heaven for a striker. It gives you a whole new lease of life." So said Rossi himself. 

And I have my own little story related to Rossi. When I played football as a child, because of the slight resemblance to my name, my teammates called me Rossi. But did I watch World Cup matches in 1982? I don't even remember, then I was very small. 

Now the world of football is saying goodbye to Paolo Rossi. Those who have not seen him play live will remember him with his charming smile from photos and videos.

By Rasim Movsumzadeh

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Reds announce AXA as Training Centre naming rights partner

Reds announce AXA as Training Centre naming rights partner

Reds announce AXA as Training Centre naming rights partner

Liverpool FC and AXA have expanded their partnership to include the naming rights of the Reds' new Training Centre at Kirkby.

The state-of-the-art facility will be officially known as the 'AXA Training Centre' – it is the club's first training complex naming partner.

The renewed agreement will see AXA expand its original training kit relationship to one focused more holistically on training as a whole and become the club's Official Training Partner, incorporating all LFC training apparel.

Jurgen Klopp's side are preparing to move into the club's new Training Centre in mid-late November, with the finishing touches being made in preparation.

Liverpool Training Ground.

The Reds will move to the facility after bidding a fond farewell to Melwood, which has been the club's historic training ground for seventy years. It marks a new chapter in the club's illustrious history and will see the First Team and youth football operations come together at a combined training facility for the first time in its history.

The new 9,200 sqare meter AXA Training Centre boasts three full-size pitches, goalkeeping, and warm-up areas, and indoor facilities including two gyms, a full-size sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites.

We are Liverpool

Commenting on the announcement, Billy Hogan, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool Football Club, said: "The expansion of AXA's partnership to include the naming rights of the club's new Training Centre makes perfect sense. We have already seen their emphasis on driving health, wellbeing, confidence, and self-belief and so deepening their relationship in the field of training makes this partnership a great fit.

"We're pleased to have AXA on board as we start this new chapter at the club and are proud to expand our relationship with a brand that shares our common values and aspirations both on and off the pitch."

Thomas Buberl, Chief Executive Officer of AXA, added: "We are extremely excited and proud by this landmark step in our partnership with Liverpool Football Club.

"The AXA Training Centre is a world class facility that will forge a pathway of improvement, progress and success throughout the club's First Team and development squads. This culture and belief truly complement our values of helping people to go further through our tagline: 'Know You Can'."

A Planning Application for the addition of sponsor signage to the building has already been submitted to Knowsley Council and, subject to receipt of consent, will be installed later this year.



OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga to Support Development of Future Sports Leaders

OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga

OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga

Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administrations of The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) and LaLiga (through its Educative Department, LaLiga Business School) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today (26 November) to establish collaborations in promoting sports training, research, technical assistance and dissemination projects. 

OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga

The Signing Ceremony took place on OUHK campus. The MOU was signed by the Dean of the School, Prof. Alan Au Kai Ming, and Mr. Eduard Castell, Delegate of LaLiga Global Network Hong Kong SAR. 

Under this partnership, OUHK students will be able to gain knowledge and widen their experience through study tours, seminars and networking events co-organized by the two parties.

"Our School has always valued opportunities for our students to gain global exposure and industry engagement experiences, so we are truly honoured to have an ally as valuable as LaLiga on our side," said Prof. Alan Au.

"This agreement demonstrates our shared vision in the development of future sports leaders. We look forward to learning from LaLiga in sports management education, brand management and more. We also hope to support LaLiga’s conscientious efforts in promoting and professionalizing the sports industry."

OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga

"The aim of this strategic agreement is to establish a mutual collaboration in order to exchange knowledge, as well as to show LaLiga's firm commitment in Hong Kong SAR to training and education, which is an essential step in the professionalization of the industry," said Mr Eduard Castell.

Head of LaLiga Business School Mr José Moya said for LaLiga, education is a key pillar of its philosophy as an Institution. LaLiga is very happy to have the opportunity to continue sharing its expertise in Asia, in this case in Hong Kong SAR.

They are keen on learning from the Open University as its partner. He thinks that the agreement would reassert LaLiga’s commitment to professionalize the sporting sector and, in tune Thursday, 26 November 2020 with its slogan, 'It's not football. It's LaLiga', which puts them at the forefront of all leagues, not just in sporting terms but in educational standards too.

OUHK signs MOU with LaLiga