Sunday, December 21, 2008


Today is a very proud day indeed for me and for the legions of Man Utd fans around the world: Manchester United have been crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS after winning the Club World Cup! 

This secures all three prestigious awards:
- May: Champions of England;
- May: Champions of Europe;
- December: Champions of the world!

Those Merseyside scousers are fucking dead. Enjoy your time in the top spot punks. It won't last. Just ask Rooney (Player of the Tournament AND FIFA Player of the Match!)!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

New blog dedicated just for my gaming rants etc - Roo's Gaming Goodness


Sorry for that but I won't keep posting all my gaming sh!t here. I've started a new blog just for that. It's better for GoNintendo readers as well as all the other. Hope you enjoy!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Wii can look forward to in 2009!

Well 2008 is practially over so what do Wii [see what I did there?! Twice too! =)] have to look forward to next year? Plenty actually and I'm going to list the very best right here followed by video footage. After a disappointing 2008, 2009 is looking magnificent.


1. MadWorld

Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Sega

What makes it so special? 
The visuals. What you think a Wii game can't look good? This looks magnificent! The style is out of this world plus the gameplay looks like tons of fun. Just watch for yourself. 

2. Sin & Punishment 2

Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Nintendo

What makes it so special?
This one is truly a surprise and a present so-to-speak from Nintendo. The first one was released on the N64 in Japan only and just recently released worldwide on the Wii's Virtual Console. It's an on-rails shoot with over the top combat and impossibly large boss battles. Utilising the Wii's pointer for the obvious this is sure to be a big hit.

3. Monster Hunter 3

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

What makes it so special?
A montser hunting [duh!] RPG that has proved time and time again that it's a system seller in Japan. The rest of the world has since been left out but fans of the series as well as R
PG lovers are begging Capcom to release it WW. Hope we see it here in Europe as well.

4. Another Code 2 (Trace Memory R)

Developer: Cing Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo

What makes it so special?
This one is more of a fan favourite and a personal favourite of mine. The original Another Code was a first generation release on the Nintendo DS. AC was point-and-click adventure which rejuvinated the dead genre. The new one looks better than ever and I'm psyched for the sequel. I couldn't find a trailer for this game so sorry for that. I have a lovely pic for you though!

5. Fragile

Developer: tri-Crescendo
Publisher: BandaiNamco

What makes it so special?
Another JRPG for Wii owners worldwide. This one promises to thread on the survival-horror genre as well. Here's a direct quote from it's Wiki page:
Fragile is set in a post-apocalyptic near future world that has lost its light and is covered in a dense fog. Almost all the world's population has vanished, and the cities have been left abandoned. The game places the player in the shoes of Seto, a young boy.
Seto wanders the world, searching for survivors and the answers behind the disappearance of everyone else. Seto also searches for a mysterious girl named "Ren." In his quest he must deal with ghosts and demons that lurk within the ruins of the abandoned cities. Despite this, the producer of the game insists that Fragile is not a survival horror in the same vein as Silent Hill, rather it will focus on "human drama".
The world of Fragile will be filled with objects, sketches and short stories for the player to examine. Each artifact holds the memories of its former owner, and offers back story and hints to the player. A competition will be held where readers of gaming magazines can send in their own sketches and short stories to be included in the game.

6. The Conduit

Developer: High Voltage Software
Publisher: Sega

What makes it so special?
Personally this is the game I'm most looking forward to in 2009. It's a FPS-(Wii owner)-fan's wet dream. Promising to be the best looking game on Wii (and from trailers I have to agree), supporting 16-player online matches, WiiSpeak and WiiMotion+. I love it so much that I'm going to post two trailers for it!

7. Wii Sports: Resort

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

What makes it so special?
Wii Sports came packaged with the Wii and although it was fun for a while I doubt anyone is still playing it solo. The sequel promises to be much better plus it will be packaged with the WiiMotion+. The WM+ is a tiny "chip" that plugs in the WiiRemote to give it true 1:1 motion. Honestly, the WiiRemote should have come packaged with this from the very beginning. Anyway better late than never.

8. Sonic & The Black Knight

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega

What makes it so special?
Sequel to the warmly received Sonic & the Secret Rings, S&TBK promises to eclipse it's predecessor in everything. Gorgeous settings, interesting gameplay and an intriguing story this Sonic outing will be a blast!

9. No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle

Developer: Grasshopper
Publisher: Ubisoft

What makes it so special?
Another favourite of mine NMH:DS is a sequel to one of Wii's best games to date, No More Heroes. Travis Touchdown is back to his badass self ready to kill whatever comes in his path. DS will have better stylised visual than it's predecessor plus Sude51 promised a darker, more mature storyline. I just HOPE Travis doesn't loose his over-the-top humour in DS.

10. Fatal Frame 4

Developer(s): Temco/Grasshopper/Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

What makes it so special?
Just look at the developer(s)! This game gets an automatic AAA-status. The forth enty in the popular horror series Fatal Frame will surly benefit from the Wii's motion controls (WiiRemote+Nunchuck combo). Plus it's being released here in Europe before America!!

11. Punch-Out!! (Wii)

Developer: Next Level Games
Publisher: Nintendo

What makes it so special?
This is pure fan-service from Nintendo. The original Punch-Out!! was released on the NES in 1987 and fans of the series (a lot) have been crying for a sequel ever since. Well, Nintendo's delivering and it definitely looks interesting! 


Honourable Mentions:
Click on each title for it's trailer and/or screenshot. Thanks to Devil_Rising from GoNintendo for the list that follows!

A fun-looking strategy game - a mesh of Pikmin and World of Warcraft if you will!

I have no idea how I missed it. A beautiful epic adventure in the style of the PS2's Shadow of the Colossus - my personal favourite PS2 game ever. Definitely a must see. But will it come to Europe or even America?

A mature on rails shooter promising some very good visuals. Plus this is a prequel to the first game in the sequel for fans of the series.  And guess what? This is Sega's third game on the list. They are seriously publishing/developing some of Wii's best of 2009!

A 2D action-RPG from the makers of Odin Sphere. What more could you want? Plus look at the visuals. Quite beautiful if you ask me!

Another traditional JRPG will be hitting the Wii next year developed by Imageepoch. I am a fan of traditional RPGs so the more the merrier!


RPG fanatics may notice that Square Enix are missing from the list. Not that they don't have any games in development but I just don't think any of them will be released in 2009. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers hopefully will see the light of day in 2009. The newly announced Dragon Quest X won't for sure be released in 2009 because Dragon Quest IX still has to be released for the DS!! 


Bring on 2009 (and beyond!).


Sunday, November 30, 2008

In a mood for a [MASSIVE] rant!


First I want to get one thing clear: if you have an iPod and even have the slightest liking of rock music you should instantly get Nickelback's Dark Horse. It is by far the Canadian rockers' best yet and that's saying something because All The Right Reasons was phenomenal. I have to say that Nickelback are the most dynamic rock band I have ever heard. They are so inconsistent with their style of music. Silver Side Up, which made them famous through How Do You Remind Me, was the perfect example of progressive rock. Catchy riffs, melodic vocals and so on; never threading on non-progressive territory. The Long Road, which to me was mediocre compared to their previous compilation, went from strictly progressive to mainly monotonous crap; except maybe Someday. All The Right Reasons stuck all the right chords. All of the songs were singles-worthy and Nickelback knew this because they released six singles from the album! In this one they opened up their boundaries to more solid, heavier rock. Just listen to the intro to the first song and you wouldn't believe you're hearing from the creators of How You Remind Me.  Now after the astronomical success of ATRR Nickelback weren't afraid to change their sound again. They are oozing confidence and it shows because Dark Hose couldn't have been better. Their new sound has become darker and I am sure that through this Nickelback can catch heavy metal fan as well as the progressive modern rocker that has been following them since their beginning. Buy it NOW. No don't download it, buy it. It's well worth the price. Unlike Chinese Democracy... but that's for another rant.

Games (full of F-bombs):
Why are the so called 'hardcore' gamers so anti-Wii? Seriously. In every Wii-related article there will be comments from 360/PS3 owners claiming that their Wii is gathering dust somewhere. No. You're lying. You don't have a Wii and all you seem to like to do in your pathetic miserable and outright boring life is to bash your console's competitors to justify your purchase. Oh and one more thing: the Wii has more that just "Zelda, MP3, Super Mario Galaxy, Brawl and Kart" for the hardcore. Believe it or not there is a thing called third-party support! Yeah dude. So grab a Wii remote, buy de Blob/Okami/Boom Blox/Tauma Centre etc. and treat yourself to something other than a fucking shooter. 

Yeah I agree the Wii does have an overwhelming ammount of completely horrible minigame compilations. But I'll say just one thing: who the fuck cares. Simple: DON'T BUY THEM YOU FUCKING DUMBASS.  If you have a Wii it doesn't mean that you have to buy and play this shit. This year was the year of sleeper hits: we got Fire Emblem, de Blob, Okami and Boom Blox. Plus so much awesomeness from the WiiWare titles World of Goo, Lost Winds and the rest of top quality software available only on the Wii's downloadable service. 

This goes for the other consoles as well. The awesome Playstation 3 does not only have Metal Gear Solid 4 and Resistance. Those who only own those two only are failures in life. The Xbox 360 doesn't only have "Gears and Gaylo". Stop the god damn hate and be true gamers.

For a gamer there is only games. I am mainly a Nintendo gamer. Their games speak to me like no other but that doesn't mean that I don't like or play games on other systems. Nintonysoft FTW!

Other random shit:

A new mall just opened, The Duke, and I've noticed two very peculiar things:

- No Nike seller to be found. Just addidas with a huge Steven Gerrard poster and a Liverpool FC shirt on display. Fail. Epic Fail. 
- There is a Toshiba shop; mostly HDTVs. And how do you advertise an HDTV? By plugging a Wii in the set of course! To add insult to injury it was plugged through an RGB cable not component plus is was only showing the system menu. Why bother putting the Mario Kart disk in and letting the game loop the opening cinematic just for looks? Here's a little tip: plug the PS3 that's tanding next to the Wii. It can show 1080p. Or at least for fuck's sake put in Mario Kart and let the game loop.  Some people are just plain stupid.

Important Reminder:

Today - @ 2:30pm -  Man Utd vs Man City at the City of Manchester Stadium.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Androo's Random Rant: I'm sick, bored and helpless - play time then!!

Yes I am sick. So sick in fact that I had to make a mature decision - I decided to stay at home instead of going to lectures and such at University today to get better. I like making mature decisions; so much so that I'll probably make one again tomorrow!

Anyway since I am stuck here I thought it would be a good idea to pop out The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess [GameCube version] again since I haven't completed it once. I completed the Wii version twice but not the GC version. I honestly cannot believe how much this game is standing the test of time. It still plays, looks and feels so epic that I felt as if I was transported back in time, to Christmas '06, when I first fired it up and just stood there amazed at this fantastic piece of software.

I am currently at the beginning of the water temple - my least favourite of the nine temples in the game. I actually cannot wait to complete it; what follows is truly spectacular and worth watching. I'll link a video of the cutscene after the 4th temple [the turning point in the game] for those who care.

So many things have been done right in this game that I cannot phantom how Nintendo will improve upon the Zelda series. There are a few things I would like to see in the next LoZ game though:
- Voice overs [except Link];
- New items;
- Different level design: as in, change the normal mini-boss > new item > boss > kill boss with new item > cutscene etc etc;
- A deeper, darker storyline: TP has probably the best story of all Zeldas yet I'd love to see Nintendo go more into the RPG realm story-wise with the next one;
- Of course better visuals: push the Wii to the limit. If Galaxy is any indication the Wii can do so much that I'm dying to see how the next Zelda looks!

The series can benefit a lot if the story is deeper and the visuals are better. TP was a big step for the LoZ series. The [proper] Wii iteration, which supposedly has been in development since 2006, will blow our brains out I'm sure of that just like TP did in 2004 [look below - unbelievable].


Well, I'm waiting.


Friday, November 21, 2008

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: HBC successfully installed!

After exactly 17 attemps I have been able to install the Hombrew Channel via the Twlight Hack. I absolutely couldn't install it. Whatever I did, what ever I tried the Wii usually froze right before the "Install" screen appeared. Ultimately I found out that the SD card was the problem. Message to Ascer: YOU FUCKING SUCK! 

How to install and a demonstration of the HBC:

Anyway now that I have the HBC here is a little list of what I can actually do with the device:
- Homebrew apps/games;
- Play mp3/wma/ogg files;
- Play PS1/SNES/NES/N64 (as well as many others) ROMs completely free - goodbye Virtual Console;
- Manage files directly from my computer to my Wii;
- Without any hardware modifications I can actually play backups;
- many many many more applications that I cannot bother list.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Santa needs a big sack for me this year!

Here's the tiny list of the things I will be opening on the 25th of the coming month:

- Super VGA cable;
- Component cable for Wii;
- Loads of clothes for my wearing pleasure!!

I can add two other things there but that would be unfair because they will be downloaded not opened: WiiWare titles - World of Goo and T_t__s P_r_y. The last one I will be buying and downloading specifically to play with my girlfriend! Hence my desire to not reveal the name.

~ If you're a curious cat CLICK ON THE ITEMS you'd like to know more about!! Some of them pictures/videos/info linked to them. 


*     Already opened.
**   I'm hopeful...
*** Hopefully one or the other.

Friday, November 14, 2008

*UPDATE* October sales data are in: Wii shatters records once again!

Just before the official sales estimates (for America) were released Reggie Fils-Anime, President of Nintendo of America, predicted that the Wii would have sold around 450k in October. That is already quite a heafty number - extremely high expectations? Not quite. More like - way off the mark because the real figure is almost DOUBLE that. Un-farking-believable. Look:

Ninetendo Wii: 803,000;
Nintendo DS: 491,000;
Xbox 360: 371,000;
Sony PSP: 193,000;
PS3: 190,000;
PS2: 136,000.

Combined, both Nintendo devices on the market have sold 1.29 million units in October alone... in America alone. The PS2 - the best selling console EVER, didn't ever have this momentum. Very healthy for Nintendo. Software estimates have also been released with Fallout 3, for the Xbox 360, taking the top spot and deservedly so. Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit as well as Wii Play are still occupying top spots from the top ten list! I am amazed at the shelf life of these games. Wii Play is probably selling because of the Wii Remote packaged with it - which is cheaper that then stand-alone controller. *WTF?!*

UPDATE: Nintendo have released an official statement in reaction to the October NPD sales data:

Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ topped the U.S. sales charts and combined to sell more than 1.29 million units in October. Nintendo sold 803,210 Wii consoles and 491,176 Nintendo DS systems in October, according to the independent NPD Group, which tracks video game sales in the United States. These figures bring the lifetime U.S. sales for Wii to more than 13.35 million and Nintendo DS to more than 23.02 million, extending their leads as the best-selling hardware of this generation.

Nintendo’s total hardware unit sales represent a 25.7 percent increase over October 2007. They also account for 59.3 percent of the industry’s total hardware unit sales.

Wii Fit™, the game that combines fun and fitness, sold nearly half a million copies in the United States in October, six months after it launched. The lifetime U.S. sales for Wii Fit now total more than 2.83 million.

“Nintendo provides consumers with the best value not only among video games, but also among most entertainment options,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Nintendo also provides an incomparable range of experiences that everyone can enjoy, whether you’ve been playing for years or are just getting into video games.”

Three games made for Nintendo systems placed in the top five best-selling games of the month, including Wii Fit™ at No. 2 with 487,234 copies sold, Mario Kart Wii™ at No. 4 with 289,869 copies sold and Wii Play™ at No. 5 with 281,844 copies sold.


The world is currently deep in recession, especially America, and still the gaming market is shattering record after record. This must be one of the heathiest markets in the world. Brilliant!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Champions League Update 06/11/09

How English Clubs faired in Europe:

- Manchester United got a late equaliser through a Giggs header at Celtic Park.

- Arsenal were held to a goal-less draw by Fenerbache. The Gunners are struggling.

- Chelsea lost 3-1 to struggling Roma. Shameful.

- Liverpool, again, equalised by a scrupulous move by Gerrard and a clearly empty-headed referee which resulted in a penalty in injury time.

Surprises of the week:

- Juventus shamed Real Madrid with a 2-0 victory on Spanish turf.

- Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Basel.


A Nintendo themed Christmas

I want to take this opportunity to share with you why Nintendo is, for me, the best videogames company out there: honest-to-God fun. Whether it is their consoles or their games I always plan to get a Nintendo-developed something to open on Christmas morning, right after midnight mass. And I'm 19 years old.

The story begins during the turn of the century: Christmas 1999. I was only 10 years old back then and still without a videogame system even though I had been begging since 1997 when my friend got his PlayStation! My parents decided that I was mature enough to own one (read: I bore the hell out of them with endless rants on how, if they buy me a PlayStation, my school marks will magically skyrocket...). So long story short, I got my first console then and boy was I happy playing endlessly Crash Team Racing! Then, to coincide with my new console, I bought a videogame magazine and what do I read? That my favourite game of all time (from my limited memory of just 3 back then) was a "cheap imitation of Mario Kart 64" said this magazine. How dare they say that such brilliance in the form of CTR was a copy... a CHEAP one at that... or Mario Kart 64. I mean, Mario was for babies. Us, Sony gamers, had outgrown Mario (even though I hadn't played a Mario game in my life... yet)! I declared war.

Until, that is, March 2000 when I was given a Gameboy Colour - coupled with Pokemon Blue. I loved it. Adored it. Cherished it with all the love I could give it yet all this time feeling that subtle, humble anger that I had been cultivating since Christmas before. I DIDN'T want to love it, yet the simple charm of the handheld and the game made it impossible for me to hate. Anyway my PlayStation-owning friends all had a Gameboy so I wasn't a traitor right?

I bought another magazine. This time it had a list of the best 100 games of all time, of course released until then. And the first three spots where given to:

#3: Super Metroid [SNES];
#2: Super Mario 64 [N64];
#1: The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina of Time [N64];

I was stunned. Plus I also started to wonder whether my Nintendo-is-for-kids mentality was unfounded. After all, I was actually still a kid. Slowly I was being dragged over to the wonderful world of Nintendo but, stubborn as I was, I didn't buy the Nintendo 64. Then news hit that the next generation of consoles where on the horizon and I was psyched! The PlayStation 2 was hyped to astronomical levels while the GameCube, because of Nintendo's honesty, was dubbed as an inferior purple-lunchbox! Everyone was talking about the PS2 and the Nintendo GameCube was completely wiped out of my mind.

In 2003 I took the plunge and bought a PS2. I was in seventh heaven - especially after playing FIFA03. Being quite a football fan myself I was completely blown away by the incredible visuals the PS2 could offer. I mean... I could actually see David Beckham in all his free-kick-kicking(?) glory not a pixelated monster with a head, two arms and two legs! After I got bored of FIFA I wanted to broaden my collection with the PS2 iterations of my PS1 heroes - mainly the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon series. This is when, I believe, was the turning point in my gaming life. Both Naughty Dog and Insoniac, developers of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro respectively, had sold their franchises in order to develop more, ahem, 'mature' titles for the PS2's cool teen audience. In defense of Insomniac, Rachet & Clank was and still is a far better offering than Spyro [PS1] ever was but Naughty Dog's Jak & Daxter left me wanting. Gone were the days of simple platforming and now Jak had a gun and was fighting the system.

Why Naughty Dog? Why? This trend has apparently gripped ND because with the PS3 they have apparently abandoned the J&D series in favour or a Lara Croft-style adventure but instead with a male protagonist - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Again, why? This is not to say that they're not good. By far J&D is one of PS2's greatest ever games plus Uncharted was voted one of the best games of last year.

Yet the clumsy cheerfulness of the PS1 days, the very x-factor that made me love videogames so much, was missing. I was left empty.

To counter this I bought the Gameboy Advance. The system had incredible graphics coupled with, what I believe, is the very best RPG game(s) of all time: Golden Sun and it's sequel Golden Sun: The Lost Age. Plus Crash Bandicoot's GBA appearances were far better than the PS2 ones and I loved them. Guess what? I was getting my fix from a Nintendo console. Unbelievable.

Still though, something was clearly missing. One day, when visiting I didn't click on the IGN-PS2/GBA channel like always. Oh no. I clicked on the GameCube channel. I was sinning!! There was my fresh new copy of Final Fantasy X [PS2] waiting to be played and loved and there was I, stepping onto the world of the enemy. But I didn't care. I downloaded a video of Super Mario Sunshine and I was completely hooked. THIS is what I was searching for. That colourful cheesiness which made me so content during the PS1 days. This is what makes videogames such a beautiful hobby. If I were sad all I had to do, back in 1999, was fire up my PlayStation and play some cheerful Spyro the Dragon. All my sadness was wiped away in an instant! And that was it.

I wanted a GameCube. I wanted a Nintendo console. I wanted fun. Goodbye old friend. I hadn't outgrown the PS2, instead the PS2 had, for purposes I cannot even phantom today, outgrown me.

Yet again, before I bought my first Nintendo console, I bought my third Nintendo handheld: the incredible Nintendo DS. Christmas 2004 was a very bright one. I bought it, coupled with Super Mario 64 DS what a blast it was. For one thing I was played what many regarded as the best game of all time on a new Nintendo handheld. This was proof that I was a dedicated Nintendo fan. Why? I got it before it actually launched in Europe. A trend had started.

Christmas 2005 (yes I know... very late) was a landmark year in me. I bought the Nintendo CameCube, with it The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Super Mario Strikers and Killer 7. Add to that the Nintendo DS iteration of Mario Kart and I can safely say that it was the best Christmas I ever had. This was my world, this was me.

Christmas 2006 was a bit disappointing. Mainly because I couldn't find a Wii through any online retailer anywhere and eBay prices where sky high. Yet there was still New Super Mario Bros., arguable the best Nintendo DS game ever, and the almighty The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. It wasn't such a bad Christmas after all!

I got the Wii in February of the following year which made Christmas 2007 all the better because I bought the two greatest games I ever played - ever. One of them demolishing anything in it's best-game-ever path: Super Mario Galaxy, the other being Metroid Prime 3. SMG is the best Mario game ever developed, the best Wii game and the best game on all consoles period. The gameplay was so fresh that I couldn't believe my eyes. Plus this game looked magnificent. Metroid Prime 3 is truly the best ending to an incredible trilogy a fan could hope for. Samus truly left with a bang!

So what's for Christmas 2008? Mario Kart Wii. I am a hardcore fan of Mairo Kart having bought all available iterations except the SNES version because it hasn't been released for the Virtual Console yet. I wanted to buy MKWii since its launch in April but I cancelled my order three times because of several reasons, one of them to keep it for Christmas. Even better - my girlfriend is getting it for me! 

Seriously, I cannot imagine a Christmas without Mario and co., without Nintendo. Thank you Nintendo, from the bottom of my heart.

Your diehard fan,

PS: I'm sure many of you guys out there feel like me. Share your experiences in the comments section below. I'll try to make a seperate post with your stories once I get a significat amount of feedback!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Report: Man Utd 4, Hull City 3 - Old Trafford stunned, Rooney frustrated, Sir Alex fumes despite win!

"If there was an abiding memory from this match, it was not the sight of Hull City making such a dramatic late fight of it, as plucky as it may have been; Dimitar Berbatov bamboozling his markers, as good as he was; or Manchester United missing a mind-boggling number of chances, as has often been the case this season. Rather it was Wayne Rooney, the embodiment of frustration, charging around like a madman.

Opposing teams tend to know when they have United rattled – when steam starts coming out of Rooney’s ears and the brilliant forward suddenly resembles a bull in a china shop. And so it proved, the moment that Geovanni scored from the penalty spot for Hull to leave hanging in the balance a match that the Barclays Premier League champions should have had sewn up long before.

Rooney has delivered some of the best football of his career for club and country this season, but just as he possesses an ability to excite and enthral, so his occasional recklessness can make supporters wince and cringe – and for two of United’s past three league matches this side of Rooney’s character has manifested itself. Can it be any coincidence that he has not scored in those games?

Anonymous away to Everton the previous weekend, Rooney was substituted for his own good by Sir Alex Ferguson when, having just been booked against his former club and with the score at 1-1, the 23-year-old was spotted kissing the badge on his shirt as his exasperation got the better of him. Ferguson did not take the same drastic action against Hull on Saturday, but he should have done.

The United manager complained – rightly – that Michael Turner, the Hull defender, who had already been cautioned, should have been shown at least a second yellow card for fouling Michael Carrick on the edge of the penalty area, but Ferguson might count himself fortunate that Rooney was not dismissed two minutes after Geovanni had made it 4-3.

Nothing went Rooney’s way against Hull, which is saying something given United’s dominance, and it showed. Contesting a drop-ball with George Boateng, the Hull captain in the absence of the suspended Ian Ashbee, Rooney launched in with both feet. It was nasty and dangerous, but Mike Dean, the referee, barely had time to blow his whistle when the ball ricocheted into the path of Andy Dawson and Rooney flew in with an equally reckless challenge.

If Rooney was lucky to escape with a booking, it was a wonder that he was allowed to stay on the pitch after directing a volley of abuse at one of Dean’s assistants, then the fourth official.

Phil Brown, the Hull manager, attempted to defend Rooney by saying that “maybe we need to look at that and instil that kind of anger, that drive and desire to win, in our players”. But watching the forward blow his shaven-headed top like that, it is hard to escape the feeling that such behaviour is detrimental to the team, especially on occasions such as these, when cool heads are required.

“The referee didn’t know who should have possession so I said give it to United and let them give it back to our goalkeeper, but Rooney didn’t want that – he wanted to compete for it [and take a drop-ball],” Boateng said. “I said, ‘Fine, let’s do it’ and then he lost it a bit. He’s a temperamental player, one who plays from the heart. He is an outstanding footballer, but he gets frustrated when things aren’t going right.

“You can’t take that out of him because it’s part of what makes him so determined to win – he’s got fire. But that’s when they realised they had a game on their hands. We had them rocking in the last ten minutes.”

They did, but how United found themselves in such an “embarrassing situation”, as Ferguson described it, was mystifying and a little worrying.

As inspired as Bernard Mendy’s introduction was – the Hull substitute capitalised on a poor back-header from Patrice Evra to make it 4-2 and won the penalty, after being upended by Rio Ferdinand, from which Geovanni scored – United’s failure to put the game to bed was a source of frustration for Ferguson for the third match running.Despite battering Everton during the first half at Goodison Park, United had only a one-goal lead to show for their supremacy and were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw, while Ferguson was critical of his players for taking their foot off the pedal against West Ham United in midweek and not adding to their two first-half goals.

It would be churlish to be too critical of a team who scored four times against Hull, but their profligacy was marked – Ferguson was not guilty of exaggeration when he said that the game could have finished 10-1 – and with Chelsea already boasting a goal difference that is more than double that of the champions, the United manager will hope such wastefulness does not come back to haunt his side.

On the plus side, Cristiano Ronaldo plundered another two goals to take his tally for the season to seven in 11 matches, even if the Portugal winger might have had five, Carrick impressed on his first start for seven weeks and Berbatov produced his best performance in a United shirt, one that left Brown purring. “That’s why the saga [with Tottenham Hotspur over the forward’s transfer] went on so long and United ended up having to pay over £30 million for him,” the Hull manager said.

What the Premier League’s surprise package lack in skill, they more than make up for in character and pride. They were the first team to score three goals at Old Trafford since Chelsea 3½ years ago, but Hull are likely to get under the skin of plenty more teams this season. Just ask Rooney." - James Ducker,


Side note: This was really a football fan's match to see. The European Champions were almost embarrassed by Premier League newcomers in the Theatre of Dreams! Hull City are here to stay and thank God for that. They are a team worthy of the EPL status.

Also in the League Liverpool (aka the scousers) lost to bottom of the table Tottenham Hotspur which saw them loose their first place seat to Chelsea. Liverpool to win the EPL? People talked WAY too soon. Liverpool are on one leg just by loosing Torres. No depth in squad = no PL trophies!

Britain has a new F1 champion in Hamiltom! he almost lost it but the lad came fifth in the final corner of the track. Incredible last moments of the race. Congrats to him!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A star is born: Wayne Rooney!

Against Everton Wayne Rooney could grab his 100th club goal - 17 of which came from his time at Goodison. Here, we track his path to Old Trafford...

Amid the pandemonium at Goodison Park, Clive Tyldsley bellowed: "Remember the name, Wayne Rooney." Moments earlier, the 16-year-old had announced himself to the football world by hammering a 30-yard injury-time winner against champions Arsenal.

Thirty-five miles down the East Lancs Road, knowing looks were exchanged. Master Rooney had surfaced on United's radar long before making a mug of David Seaman. He'd done the same to United's Schmeichel - Kasper Schmeichel, that is - at Littleton Road, against a United Under-9s side playing their first ever match.

“We hadn’t played any games before, the boys had just been training together,” recalls Paul McGuinness, now manager of United’s U18s. “We didn’t even have a goalkeeper, so Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper played for us. He was the only kid we knew who played in goal! The Everton boys had been playing together for at least a year in a league beforehand, so they were used to playing games. You could tell, because they absolutely hammered us."

It wasn't just the scoreline (12-2) which stuck in the memory. All the talk was of a stunning goal from Rooney. “He scored a few (six to be exact), but there was one goal that stood out. It was basically the classic overhead kick, the perfect bicycle kick, which for a kid of eight or nine years old was really something special.”

“We were all wondering who this kid was,” recalls McGuinness. “It transpired that he was from a tough, boxing background, a sporting family and he was a diehard Everton fan. At that time you didn’t really get any kids crossing over to Manchester from Liverpool. We looked at it behind the scenes, but he was too fixated on Everton to contemplate leaving them.”

Keen to put a positive spin on the news that the new U9s had taken a double-digit hammering, McGuinness informed Sir Alex Ferguson about the 9-year-old talent that had done all the damage. “I remember coming back saying that we’d been beaten by 10 goals," he recalls. "You don’t generally want to advertise that fact to the manager - but I did mention that we’d seen a kid who had done very well."

*The goal that put Rooney onto the radar! Pure classic.*

Rooney continued his fast-track ascension through Everton’s ranks. The double hat-tricks and overhead kicks were harder to come by, but the competitive streak was even sharper.

“When we were playing for the U13s against Everton, me, Adam Eckersley and Mark Howard, who’s now left the club, played against him,” recalls United goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

“I think it was a 1-1 draw, and Mark and Wayne actually had an altercation which ended up with them both being sent off. That was pretty unheard of that level, usually it’s just a word to the managers asking if the offenders can be subbed off, but these were straight reds!”

Heaton would get several close-up glimpses of Rooney in action down the years, with one particular encounter at Altrincham’s Moss Lane in 2000 persuading United’s coaches that the Everton striker was realising his massive potential.

Tommy Martin, manager of United’s U15s, can vividly remember Everton’s number nine terrorising the Reds’ backline. “Overall we were too strong for them but he stood out on their side,” he smiles. “Wayne gave our defence a really tough time. After 10 or 15 minutes, you knew he was on the pitch because he was really upsetting our defenders. His pace always made him a handful.

“He was a winner back then – you could tell. He has changed in some respects, obviously, but even back then he was going back and tackling. He's always been in love with the game of football. For all the attention, fame and wealth it brings, I still see him as a kid in love with playing football.”

“I remember sitting with Jim Ryan watching him at Altrincham,” concurs Paul McGuinness. “We won the game 5-1, but I remember Jim saying ‘look at their number nine, he’s keeping at it and going all the time.’ He was running around after the ball and trying shots, and he really stood out in that game. We started following him closely from that point.”

One of United’s subsequent scouting missions, at Everton’s U19s clash with Bolton, yielded a breathtaking encapsulation of Rooney’s capacity for the incredible. Now the ripe old age of 15, he brought down a hoofed clearance from Bolton’s goalkeeper with his first touch and, still inside his own half, with his second lashed the ball back from whence it came. The helpless Trotters keeper could only watch as the ball sailed over his head, against the crossbar and back into his arms.

According to United’s chief recruitment officer Geoff Watson, however, the Reds’ keen interest wasn’t always fuelled by what they saw of Rooney in action – more Everton’s total assurance that they had a nailed-on player on their hands. 

“He invariably scored a couple of goals, but sometimes you'd go and watch Wayne and he wouldn’t do an awful lot,” says Watson. “The important thing that struck me was that when you spoke to the Everton people they were always so confident that they had a star in the making. They were so convinced about Wayne's ability.

“It was obvious he was a special talent. So many people went to watch Wayne Rooney that it was easy to get an opinion about him, there was a big buzz about him. Everton knew what they'd got from an early age.

“Obviously we weren't always privilege to that – one thing you learn in this business is that the club always know better about their own player than anyone else. They see him every day, while scouts from other clubs only have 90 minutes during a match to judge him on.

“Scouts will tell you there were games they went to and he hardly did anything. Scouts can only report what they see – they can't dream. To be honest, I think Wayne was always waiting for the bigger stage.”

Progress couldn’t come quickly enough for the young Rooney. Having raced up through Everton’s youth ranks, he went on to star for the Toffees’ Reserves, while also playing an integral part in the U18s’ run to the 2002 FA Youth Cup final, scoring eight goals in as many games.

Just over five months after the young Blues had slipped to a two-legged defeat against Aston Villa, and still five days shy of his 17th birthday, Rooney acquired hero status at Goodison Park with his unbelievable maiden strike against Arsenal.

As the ball cannoned in off the crossbar at the Park End, some 200 miles away Sir Alex Ferguson was making his way to the Loftus Park dressing rooms, having watched United endure a frustrating 1-1 draw with Fulham.

As news filtered through of Arsenal’s defeat at Goodison, however, Sir Alex could reflect on the day with renewed positivity. Especially after discovering the identity of the scorer, a name with which he had long since been very familiar.


- I got the above article from;
- Pictures from all over the internet;
- Video from Youtube.

Let's FIFA 09!

This is EA's lastest advert to promote their latest installment in the FIFA franchise. I have to admit... what a stunner! See for yourself below. 

The video above was aired during the half time of the Man Utd vs Chelsea game. Smart aren't they?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Report: Man Utd 3, Celtic 0 - Unbeaten home record stretched to 17!

Wayne Rooney was hailed as “unplayable” last night as normal service was resumed with a vengeance at Old Trafford. Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 victory over Celtic in their all-British clash, a result that stretched their unbeaten home record in the Champions League to 17 matches and confirmed that their England forward is in the best goalscoring form of his career.

The first two goals came from Dimitar Berbatov — who has scored four in two European appearances for his new club and five in total this season — although on each occasion he appeared to be offside. However, Celtic’s displeasure was downplayed by Gordon Strachan. “I’m not going to sit here and scream about offside,” the manager said. “I’m a football man and I know when I’m beaten — and well beaten.”

In 19 away games in the present guise of the competition, Celtic have failed to muster a single victory and that sequence rarely looked in danger on their latest excursion south of the border. While their spirit could not be questioned, particularly in the opening half, United’s superiority told, with Rooney and Berbatov the key figures.

Rooney has mustered nine goals in his past seven appearances for club and country, a tally that exceeds the eight in seven he scored 12 months ago. “I’ve always said that Wayne’s goalscoring goes in spurts,” Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said. “His goalscoring performances will even out as he gets older, we’ve no worries about that. I just hope the spurt he’s on lasts for a few more games.”

Strachan, the former United midfield player, was effusive, however. “I just think he’s unplayable,” he said of Rooney. “We tried different shapes and tactics, but he turns this way and that and then turns up somewhere else. When you see players like that you have to hold your hands up and say you’ve seen one world-class player backed up by a couple more, and then other international-class players.”

Strachan described United’s performance as “one of the best I’ve ever come across watching European football” and “better than anybody since I’ve been at Celtic”. That may have been excessive, but Ferguson’s players have served notice on their rivals in England and abroad that they remain a force to be reckoned with, keeping five clean sheets in succession and scoring 14 times in the process.

“We’re in a good bit of form at the moment and have terrific momentum,” Ferguson said. “I’m very pleased with the performance.” He has targeted ten points to qualify for the knockout stages — they have seven with three games to play, including Aalborg at home — but is intent on leaving group E as winners.

Ferguson also paid tribute to Berbatov. “Dimitar showed some fantastic pieces of football,” he said of the Bulgaria forward, who was slow to shine after his £30.75 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer. “The rest of the team are beginning to understand the type of player he is and he can always produce a pass that will mean something. Some of his passing was absolutely superb.”

Berbatov was substituted with a hip injury, but Ferguson insisted that he and Cristiano Ronaldo, who took a knock to a kneecap, should be available to play away to Everton on Saturday. The manager had said that he would consider resting Ronaldo against Celtic, but said that the player “demanded to play this morning”. Rio Ferdinand was absent after sustaining a minor knee injury in training. - George Caulkin,


Monday, October 20, 2008

Manchester United slaughter WBA 4-0!!

IF MANCHESTER UNITED have been less than convincing in the early stages of their defence of the Premier League title, this performance provided promise of the strength and style still to come.

Wayne Rooney was brilliant, delivering a world-class goal that finally broke the deadlock in the second half and setting up Cristiano Ronaldo and substitute Nani for two more, with Dimitar Berbatov scoring his first Premier League goal for the club in between. It was almost vintage stuff.

Yet the game presented a microcosm of United’s season so far, for they were flat and anxious for much of the first half before Ronaldo and Rooney combined effectively on the edge of the area and Rooney fired a low shot past Scott Carson, the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper. Referee Mark Halsey penalised Rooney for the manner in which he challenged Gianni Zuiverloon before setting up his strike, which seemed to ignite Rooney and his teammates. The longer the match went on the better they became, which Sir Alex Ferguson is sure will be the story of the season.

“The players have now got the legs to play 90 minutes and the rhythm and tempo as well. The speed of our game was terrific today,” said the Manchester United manager. “That was our best 90 minutes of the season. I reckon we are back on track and playing more like the real Manchester United.”

With free-scoring Chelsea having thrown down the gauntlet early in the day and Liverpool rising to the challenge against Wigan, it was imperative for United to demonstrate their ability and willingness to join the fight. They struggled early on, Ronaldo remaining a marginal influence until the second half and Berbatov unable to make any real impact before his pass sent Rooney on his way for the opening goal. The way he held up the ball before laying it off to Rooney, who crossed to Nani for the final goal, emphasised his class and it is a matter of time before the Bulgarian becomes a more consistently effective threat.

With Carlos Tevez and Anderson omitted Ferguson deployed a fluid and attacking midfield in support of the two strikers. Ronaldo and Park Ji-Sung switched flanks seamlessly and took up positions as part of a front four as frequently as they operated in midfield. But with Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson absent, United appeared to lack solidity in midfield in the opening skirmishes, leaving themselves exposed to West Brom’s counter-attacks. When Darren Fletcher missed a tackle, allowing Robert Koren to set up Chris Brunt for a long-range shot, this became apparent, but Brunt’s effort was too close to Edwin van der Sar. Alas, it was as close as West Brom would come to springing an upset.

Inevitably, United’s movement and passing improved. Ronaldo manoeuvred his way through on the left side of the box to strike a shot that Carson saved and the Baggies keeper had to be alert again when Ryan Giggs’s free kick into the near post was headed goalwards by Rooney, Carson managing to parry the ball away.

*Please note that the above video does NOT feature the goals against WBA. This is because YouTube is disallowing anyone to upload any direct-from-tv videos due to copyright reasons. To watch the goals click HERE.

Increasingly, the visitors found themselves pinned in their own half. A strong shout for a penalty was dismissed by referee Mark Halsey when Paul Robinson appeared to handle the ball but, from the resultant corner by Rooney, Nemanja Vidic’s header was saved by Carson’s legs.

West Brom rarely troubled their hosts but they worked hard and their defenders, especially Robinson and Jonas Olsson, were brave and obstinate, while Carson performed admirably. But Rooney, who has scored eight goals for club and country in his past six games, would not be denied and his goal, when it finally arrived, would have been worthy of winning the game.

He collected Berbatov’s pass, checked his run superbly when he entered the penalty box and cut inside to beat Ryan Donk before shooting past Carson into the bottom right corner. It signalled the end of West Brom’s resistance. Ronaldo and Berbatov were able to make them pay as United went some way towards addressing their goal difference behind Chelsea.

Rooney released Ronaldo on the edge of the area the Portuguese coolly stroked the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs. Two minutes later Nani crossed from the left and Berbatov met the ball with a sublime right-footed volley. Nani scored a fourth goal with a good finish from a ball supplied by the man of the moment.

“They paid £30m for Rooney but what is he worth now? £100m? I don’t know,” said Tony Mowbray, the West Brom manager. - Brian Doogan,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rooney shines, Gerrard answer his critics and England look set to qualify for the 2010 World Cup

Fabio Capello, the England manager, goes into a World Cup hiatus having made history, revived a broken team and breathed life into dying men. Not a bad two months, then. The most eye-catching fact is that this was England’s fourth consecutive group six win, which represents the best start the national team have made in the qualifying stage of this competition, but bald statistics cannot express the extent to which the Italian has transformed English football, or the way he has contrived to do it with so little fuss.

Capello has made a prolific goalscorer of Wayne Rooney again, brought harmony to the heart of midfield, emboldened a protégé in Theo Walcott and found a line-leading centre forward in Emile Heskey where it was previously considered none existed. He has turned a group of players who staggered from their last campaign, shell-shocked like war veterans, and made them the epitome of calm, battle-hardened efficiency. In adversity here, they did not panic. Under incredible pressure in Zagreb, they rose to the challenge. It is like watching a different team, yet the personnel has barely changed.

Capello said he wished to be judged only when the competitive games began, and his self-belief was justified. The stuttering England witnessed in his friendly games is a distant memory now, a childish doodle, an early work, crude and unformed. This is the real deal. Maybe this England will be, too.

Credit is due to all who have played a part in carrying out Capello’s instructions with such assuredness, but, in Minsk, it was down to three in particular: Rooney and Steven Gerrard, the match-winners, and Heskey, whose selfless efforts have turned England into prolific goalscorers, with 14 in four competitive matches (and only two of those in the turkey shoot of Andorra). Heskey’s name rarely appears on the scoresheet but his aura does, it is what has turned Rooney into the confident, world-class forward who has been missing since the European Championship finals in 2004.

The days of trial and error are over. Capello knows Rooney’s best position for certain now and it is behind a target man-striker. It will take exceptional circumstances for him to be moved again. Together, Heskey and Rooney put in football’s equivalent of a double weekend shift and then some in Minsk, always available, always providing an option for a midfield that needed to move the ball on quickly under pressure from a youthful Belarus team. With the scores level at 1-1, Heskey and Rooney combined for a goal that illustrated perfectly why their partnership is such a success. Heskey battled his way down the left flank, shrugging off the attention of defenders, looking up for a quick cross only to see Rooney having problems holding the line and half a yard offside. He delayed, rode another challenge, waited until Rooney was in the perfect position to receive and slipped him the ball, the striker opening his body to steer it past Yury Zhevnov in the Belarus goal. Together, they made it look so simple; in reality, it was far from that.

Yet England are making a lot look simple these days. This was a tough game and Belarus are difficult opponents, capable of messing up superior opposition the way the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia did Steve McClaren’s England when drawing at Old Trafford. By the end, though, England were in complete control in a way that surpassed even the teams managed by serial qualifier Sven-Göran Eriksson. Rooney’s second put air into the scoreline, and what a beauty it was. Rooney dummied a pass 35 yards out but continued his run towards goal, at which point he was picked out perfectly by Gerrard.

As Belarus hit the panic switch, Rooney dribbled around one desperate tackle before finishing high into the net from eight yards out. It was a goal that spoke for England’s rebuilt confidence and of one man in particular. Capello is starting to get a higher level of performance out of Rooney than any other manager in recent years; perhaps even Sir Alex Ferguson.

Had Gerrard not hit a post with an open goal beckoning after going round a defender and the goalkeeper, the scoreline would have matched the victory in Zagreb, but it would be churlish to make this miss — although it was a howler — too much of an issue; especially as Gerrard did Capello’s bidding by starting on the left and got the goal that eased the pressure on England and put the team on their way.

It came after just 11 minutes. Frank Lampard won a tackle in midfield, the ball ran loose, Rooney scuffled for it, found Gerrard and he steered a sublime curling shot out of the reach of Zhevnov and into the far corner. He has now scored twice in the past three games in which he has started left of the midfield four. Perhaps that debate can be laid to rest, too, now?

What Capello also got right, though, was his assessment of the technical ability of the Belarus team, with his comparison to the nimble, shortpassing game of Arsenal. Those who believed the England manager was indulging in hyperbole and perhaps a little self-preservation by talking up the difficulty of the opposition were quickly dissuaded from this hopeful fantasy by the Belarus response to England’s first goal. Far from being stunned or subdued by Gerrard’s early intervention, they used it as the motivation to play to their attacking strengths and came at England, initially overrunning the midfield with quick, imaginative passing interchanges and movement.

David James, the England goalkeeper, was not looking convincing and when Pavel Sitko — a 22-year-old left-sided player who will surely not remain at his club, Vitebsk, for long — tested him with a shot from 20 yards, it took James two attempts to bring the ball under control. Not a good sign. There were more worrying developments on the flanks, where Wes Brown and Wayne Bridge were getting little protection and the Belarussians were looking increasingly dangerous.

Igor Stasevich, a 22-year-old right-sided player with BATE Borisov, the first Belarussian team to make the group stage of the Champions League, was causing Bridge particular problems and it was no surprise that the equalising goal should be his creation. If this underplays the contribution of his team-mates it is only because there were too many involved to list by name, the goal coming at the end of 23 passes in a manner that made Capello’s reference to Arsenal seem remarkably prescient.

Cutting to the chase, though, Stasevich dummied a cross, Bridge did not so much buy it as have the damn thing nationalised and Sitko stole in behind Brown at the far post so that when the ball did arrive, he stooped low unmarked with only James to beat.

On another night, under another manager, there might have been darting eyes and nervous glances. Instead, Capello gave his players the hard stare and they continued executing the plan as directed. It sounds so straightforward, this new thinking, maybe even a little dull. It is not. For this team, it is revolution writ large, although Capello will make it look and sound easy, like so much of what he does. - Martin Samuel,