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  1. Wales manager Ryan Giggs has described Gareth Bale as a "star among his ranks" ahead of their UEFA Nations League opener. Giggs will be in charge of his first competitive match as Dragons boss since taking over from Chris Coleman. The former Manchester United midfielder, who faced criticism while at United for missing a number of Wales friendlies, said he understood Bale's situation of being at a top club. Speaking to Sky Sports, Giggs said: "The thing about Gareth is he's a superstar but he is also one of the lads and that's great to see. "You know the lads take the mick out of him but you also recognise you have got a star within your ranks. "He's not only a great player but a really good bloke as well. With myself at United and Gareth at Real Madrid, you get that pressure week in, week out so you are sort of used to it. "But as you have seen over the last few years it doesn't affect him, he relishes more pressure. Bigger the situation, the better he does. "He started where he finished off last season with that fantastic goal in the Champions League final and even before that the form that he showed up until then. "So yeah, it's great. It's great when the players are doing well for their club, they come to you full of confidence and are fit. That is always a bonus for a national team manager." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Wales midfielder Joe Allen has signed a new four-year contract with Stoke City despite their relegation to the Championship. The 28-year-old was two years into the five-year deal he signed when he joined the Potters from Liverpool for £13m in 2016. Allen spent four seasons at Anfield after signing in 2012 from Swansea City, who first tried to buy him back in 2016 and were again linked with him last summer. "Tony Scholes made it very clear the club weren't interested in selling me," Allen told the club website. "That stance from the club, coupled with how settled I am here, how happy I am and how much I've enjoyed it, made it pretty straightforward for me." Stoke boss Gary Rowett added: "I'm delighted. "He's exactly the type of player we need because he's got Premier League quality and he's also got the mentality to handle life in the Championship in my opinion." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Sunderland owner Ellis Short has agreed to sell the club to a group led by Stewart Donald, the chairman of National League side Eastleigh, the Wearside club have announced. The Black Cats, who will play in League One next season, have also released manager Chris Coleman and assistant Kit Symons from their contracts. Coleman, 47, left his role as Wales national team boss to succeed Simon Grayson at the Stadium of Light last November but could not keep the Mackems up during his five months in charge. "Sunderland AFC announces that manager Chris Coleman and his assistant Kit Symons have been released from their contracts," a statement on the club website read. "The club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Chris and Kit for their tireless efforts in what has been a hugely disappointing season for everyone involved with the club. "The club is unable to make further comment at this time." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Gareth Bale has claimed that becoming Wales' all-time record goalscorer could be "the best achievement" of his career. The Real Madrid star's hat-trick in Wales' 6-0 win over China in the China Cup saw him reach 29 international goals, one more than Liverpool legend Ian Rush. When asked by BBC Sport where the record ranks in his illustrious career, Bale said: "It is right up there, maybe as the best. "I suppose when I was a little boy I never dreamed of being a record-breaker for Wales. It is a massive honour. "I was not thinking about it, but now it has come it's an incredible honour and one of the best things I've achieved in my career. "On a personal note it's great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my team-mates." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Following Chris Coleman's departure as Wales manager, the nation's football fans were understandably sad but comprehensive of his decision to seek pastures new (and more dosh, perhaps). Then all thoughts turned to who should replace Coleman as manager, and a number of candidates were touted. Craig Bellamy, Osian Roberts, Tony Pulis, Mark Bowen and Nathan Jones were just a few. Of course, in terms of footballing CV and star value, there was just one name on the list - Ryan Giggs, one of the most trophy-laden players in English football history. But Manchester United Giggs and Wales Giggs are two different beasts. Whilst United Giggs gave his all for his club, Wales Giggs was seen as blase and uncommitted to his nation. Some number-crunching from BBC Sport showed that, out of Giggs's 64 Dragons caps, just 10 came in friendlies, the player missing another 30 and failing to make a single appearance in a friendly match from 1991 to 2000. And of course, there were questions regarding certain aspects of his private life, which have left a sizeable amount of Wales fans objecting to his appointment on moral grounds. As a result, the #anyonebutgiggs hashtag began trending back in December, but to no avail, because the Football Association of Wales opted for Giggs as manager anyway. Cue a huge backlash regarding his experience, his commitment to Wales, his Welshness and his character. If we're looking at experience, Giggs - with his caretaker tenure at Manchester United - is just one of many Wales managers who have taken the job as novices or with little experience. Indeed, we can go back to the 1970s, when Mike Smith's first managerial job was the Wales national team in 1974. Likewise with Mike England in 1979. Then Mark Hughes in 1999. The Dragons have also appointed managers who may have had just one managerial job beforehand. Terry Yorath had managed Swansea City for just a few years before becoming Wales boss in 1988. Gary Speed was at Sheffield United for a matter of months. In fact, Chris Coleman is one of the more experienced managers to have been given the job, with four years at Fulham and stints at Real Sociedad, Coventry City and AEL - but his appointment wasn't particularly well-received either, given how his stock had fallen following the latter three jobs. So if we're looking at experience, then Giggs shouldn't be discounted for his lack thereof - having a young manager who can grow and develop alongside the team seems to have worked with Coleman. Now, the point about Giggs's commitment to the team. BBC Sport quoted Clayton Blackmore as saying the following: "I need to put something to rest that everybody is going on about, 'he didn't turn up for friendlies'. He didn't have much choice with that. "I was there when Sir Alex told me and Mark Hughes 'yous two can go, but Ryan's not going' because he's got to look after him. He was a young lad and in friendlies you never use him. We were happy with that. We needed him for the big tournament games. "I'm disappointed that we're even arguing about Ryan Giggs, whether fans want him or not. Because the simple fact is he's a man that loves Welsh football. "Of course there's a stigma against him saying he didn't turn up for friendlies, but if I had been a former player in a dressing room and Ryan Giggs hadn't turned up for friendlies, it wouldn't bother me one bit. He's turned up for the most important games." Then there is the issue about his Welshness, but as everybody knows, his captaincy of England at Under-15s level was because he went to school there, having left the Pentrebane area of Cardiff for Manchester at age five as his father moved to play for rugby league side Widnes. The final gripe seems to be about his personal life, and yes, I disapprove of what the various things he's done which have seen him in the front pages of the papers. The reality, however, is that many people in the footballing world have done things which, though not illegal, are definitely immoral, but if they don't infringe on any aspect of their footballing career, then can people - many of whom will also have "sinned" - really take the moral high ground? And if Giggs goes on to have success, will it all be conveniently glossed over? True, the role of Wales manager is that of role model. But I trust that the majority of up-and-coming Welsh youngsters will see him as one of the greatest British players of all time and a legend of the game, a star quality which will spur them on, rather than just have it in the back of their mind that he's an adulterer. In a nutshell, the main things that Ryan Giggs should be judged on are his managerial exploits. Wales have struck gold with several managers in the past, so I trust the new man at the helm should be given a chance to impress. Share your thoughts about this opinion article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. New Wales manager Ryan Giggs has pledged to use his fitness expertise to help improve Gareth Bale's injury record. The Real Madrid attacker has suffered 18 separate muscular problems since signing for the Spanish giants for a then world record deal five years ago. The 28-year-old has made just seven La Liga starts and also missed Wales' final two World Cup Qualifiers as they missed out on this summer's finals in Russia. Giggs, who turned to yoga as he prolonged his career at Manchester United beyond his 40th birthday, told reporters: "It's about passing on your knowledge that you experienced as a player. "I've got plenty of that obviously - the different things you will come up against. "So that might be a conversation because everyone wants a fit Gareth Bale, and everyone wants a fit Welsh national team so you have your best players to pick from." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Wales have announced the appointment of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs as their new manager on a four-year contract. The 44-year-old will be taking on his first major managerial role, his only experience so far having come in a four-game stint in interim charge of United after David Moyes was sacked. Giggs, capped 64 times by Wales in his 24-year professional career, takes over from Chris Coleman, who left the role in November to take over as manager of Championship side Sunderland. The former winger told reporters: "I am so proud to have been given the honour of managing the national team. "The challenges that we have ahead of us with the Nations League and qualification for Euro 2020 excite me a great deal. "I can't wait to start working with the players as we prepare for those crucial games later in the year. "I know that the criticism is going to come and the way to combat that is to win games and give it my all, which I'll do. "I'm just itching to get back into football, because that's where I feel comfortable, that's where I belong. "So many times it's been said that a good career as a player doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a good manager. But I think that's down to the individual. "I'll do exactly what I did when I was a player - be professional, give it my all and enjoy it." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. The Football Association of Wales has confirmed that its chief executive Jonathan Ford will face no disciplinary action over comments made about the next Wales manager. Ford appeared to rule English managers out of the running to replace former Dragons boss Chris Coleman, who left his role with the national side to join Sunderland in November. "We have always favoured Welsh people because arguably the passion is there," Ford was quoted as saying. "Somebody said this earlier, Welsh most definitely, foreign possibly but definitely not English." However, after meeting with Ford the FAW has accepted his comments were taken out of context and has decided to draw a line under the matter. A FAW statement read: "The CEO has clarified comments made in a media interview, where he repeated details of a previous conversation, in which a third party stated that the search for a National Team Manager should preclude an English applicant. "Following the discussions today, it was accepted that the documented comments were taken out of context and not in the manner in which they were intended. "The FAW and CEO will conduct a search for the new manager in an open and objective fashion, the appointee will be the best person for the role. "The CEO has apologised for the statement and the FAW officers, having reviewed the situation, do not propose to take the matter any further. "The Officers of the Association fully support the CEO Jonathan Ford, acknowledge the significant achievements in taking Welsh football forward over the last eight years and look forward to continue to work together in the future." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Sunderland have confirmed the appointment of Chris Coleman as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal. The 47-year-old, who resigned as Wales manager on Friday, met the Black Cats players on Sunday morning and led the team's training session. Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and on Saturday became the first team in English football to fail to win in 20 successive home games in all competitions after drawing 2-2 with Millwall. Coleman told the club's website: "It's an honour to be appointed the manager of Sunderland AFC and I'm over the moon that the club believes I am the right man. "The club worked incredibly hard to make sure we were a good fit and to show me the potential that can be achieved here. "I believe that every person at this football club, every player and every supporter has a part to play in getting us back to where we belong." Coleman will take charge of his first match at home to Aston Villa on Tuesday night. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Gareth Bale's return from injury has been delayed further after the Real Madrid forward sustained a thigh injury just days after returning to training. A calf problem has kept the 28-year-old out since September but the Spanish club confirmed a fibrillar rupture to his left abductor on Thursday. Although Los Blancos have not provided an estimated return time, the injury usually takes two to six weeks to heal. A club statement read: "Our player Gareth Bale, who felt some discomfort in his left leg at the end of Thursday's training session, today underwent various tests carried out by the Real Madrid Sanitas medical team. "He has been diagnosed with a strain to the middle third of the adductor longus muscle in his left leg. "His recovery will continue to be assessed." Real boss Zinedine Zidane had asked Bale not to link up with Wales for friendlies against France and Panama. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. Liverpool and Wales forward Ben Woodburn has signed a new long term deal at Anfield. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever Reds scorer when he netted in the League Cup win over Leeds United last season and also notched a goal on his international debut for Wales in September. "This is the club I want to stay at and be here as long as possible," Woodburn, whose contract length has not been disclosed, told the official Liverpool site. "When I was told, all I wanted to do was sign the contract. It feels good. Now I just want to carry on and hopefully show the manager what I can do. "I think there is loads of room for improvement. I've just got to keep working and trying in training every day and hopefully I will improve." Klopp, meanwhile, told the site: “This is brilliant news, although without sounding complacent about it, it is absolutely not a surprise. “Ben knows how committed we are to him and he and his family know this is the best environment for him to grow, learn more and become even better and better. “What a talent this young man is. We don’t call him the Prince of Wales for nothing, although judging by his facial expression when we do he would probably be happy if we stopped with this! “Ben is that perfect balance of talent and attitude. One of either is okay - to fulfil your potential at the very highest level you need to have the maximum of both. “I like that he is prepared to be patient. He has already had some big playing moments, for Liverpool and of course Wales. "But when we ask him to go to the Academy and do things like play for Stevie’s [Gerrard] U19s in the UEFA Youth League, on nights we play Champions League football, he approaches it so well. “Alex Inglethorpe and all the staff at Kirkby should be very, very proud of the contribution they make to these young players’ progress. It’s a brilliant environment and culture for an ambitious young player." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Chris Coleman has confirmed that he will assess his future as Wales manager in due course. The 47-year-old has been in charge of the Dragons since 2012 and guided the nation to an historic semi-final place at Euro 2016 last year. The team will not compete in Russia next summer at the World Cup, however, as they failed to grab a playoff spot due to a 1-0 defeat against the Republic of Ireland. After the final whistle in Cardiff, Coleman told Sky Sports News: "Right now all I can think about, picture in my mind, is the faces of the players in the dressing room and the disappointment. "They are inconsolable at the moment but they should feel very proud. That's all I can think about. "I know I'm going to be asked about my situation but I won't think about that right now. I'll take some time to let the dust settle and then I'm sure we'll have a sit down and have a chat and we'll take it from there." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Wales manager Chris Coleman is confident his side can win their four remaining World Cup qualifiers and reach next summer's finals in Russia. The Dragons are currently four points behind leaders Serbia and Republic of Ireland in Group D, meaning a crucial three points are a necessity in Saturday's game against Austria. Coleman, who led his team to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last summer, is aware of the uphill task he faces but is adamant Wales are up to the challenge, despite being without a win in their last five qualifying games. "We can do it [win the last four games] and that's no disrespect to Austria, Moldova, Georgia and the Republic of Ireland," Coleman said. "I know this is a statement, but I'll say it - it could be Brazil, Spain and Germany. "I have that much confidence in our players and in our team, especially here in this [Cardiff City] stadium when it's full. "These last four games are like a mini-tournament. They're do-or-die, depending on what the other results are. "One of us could be dropping out if it's a negative result, so I don't think either team is going into the game looking for a draw." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. Wales manager Chris Coleman has revealed that his side's 6-1 defeat in Serbia in 2012 will always haunt him. The 47-year-old guided the Dragons to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and has high hopes of leading the national side to the World Cup too. Coleman leads his side in a Group D qualifier in Belgrade this weekend, but admits painful memories of the country already came flooding back when he returned there earlier this year. "As soon as I got off the plane I felt it," Coleman told Sky Sports. "It was only a reccie but I had butterflies in my stomach. I thought 'Here we go again, I remember this place'. "I can't say this is another game in the group because it's not for more than one reason. And one of the reasons is that. "I suffered there, we suffered there - and it was my fault. That will never leave me. "I think it would be like that if I went back to Belgrade with my wife for the weekend!" Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. So we've finally made it to the day of the biggest match in world club football. The Welsh capital city of Cardiff will tonight play host to the Champions League final, where two of the greatest football teams of all time face off in a bid to lay their hands on the illustrious trophy. The Spanish giants of Real Madrid have excelled in this competition in recent years, having won the trophy in 2014 and 2016 - indeed, they will be hoping to become the first team to retain the cup in the modern format. But of all the opposition teams to stand in the way of Los Blancos, there is arguably no meaner feat than a Juventus side which has just sealed its sixth consecutive Serie A championship and is hoping to seal a Treble - as well as football immortality - by winning the biggest club competition of all. Team news The only major selection issue for Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is whether he will select Gareth Bale in his starting XI, or pick Isco instead. The Welshman, for whom an appearance tonight would be an emotional occasion as it's in his home town, has not played since April 23 but is now fully fit, but Isco is in form, having scored five goals in his last eight games. Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri also has a fully fit squad to choose from, with former Real man Sami Khedira expected to feature having recently recovered from injury. Another narrative of this match will be that of Gianluigi Buffon, arguably the greatest goalkeeper of the last 20 years, if not of all time - will the 39-year-old World Cup winner be able to add the greatest club football prize to his illustrious CV? Road to the final Named in Group F alongside Borussia Dortmund, Legia Warsaw and Sporting Lisbon, Real Madrid had an easy time in their group, finishing eight points ahead of third-placed Legia, but behind Dortmund. They were given a relatively easy last-16 draw and indeed beat Napoli 6-2 on aggregate before vanquishing Bayern Munich 6-3 on aggregate in the quarters, before getting the better of city rivals Atletico Madrid for the third time in four seasons. Juventus topped Group H ahead of Sevilla, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb before making light work of Porto in the last 16, winning 3-0 on aggregate, and then faced the mighty Barcelona - and came out on top with another 3-0 aggregate scoreline. It didn't get any easier in the semi-finals, with a highly impressive AS Monaco side brimming with young world-class talent, but the Bianconeri made light work of them too, beating them 4-1 on aggregate to make the final in Cardiff. Head to head This is the 19th encounter between Juventus and Real Madrid - all in the European Cup/Champions League, making this the second-most played fixture in the history of the tournament after Bayern Munich v Real Madrid (24). Juventus and Real Madrid have eight wins each and two draws. However, their only previous meeting in the Champions League final saw Real Madrid win 1-0 in 1998 thanks to a Predrag Mijatovic goal. Real Madrid have reached the European Cup/Champions League final for the 15th time, four more than any other club (AC Milan have reached 11). They've won 11 of the previous 14 - again more than any other team in history. Juventus have won only two of their eight European Cup/Champions League finals. They've lost their last four - in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2015. Real Madrid are attempting to become the first team since AC Milan (1989, 1990) to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League trophies. Real Madrid have reached the final for the third time in four seasons. Score prediction A side excelling in attack against one of the finest defences in the world - I can see this match going all the way to penalties, where Gianluigi Buffon will be the hero and see the Bianconeri clinch the trophy that's eluded them for over 20 years. My guess before then in terms of goalscorers would be Cristiano Ronaldo opening the scoring for Los Blancos in the first half before Paulo Dybala draws Juve level in the second half. Share your thoughts about this feature on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. Newcastle United defender Paul Dummett has ruled himself unavailable to play for Wales. The 25-year-old, who is yet to play in a competitive international, has won two caps, both in friendly matches against the Netherlands. Wales manager Chris Coleman said: "He doesn't want to play international football, which is a disappointment from our point of view, but he's made that decision, and we have to abide by that." "We'll get on with the squad of players, the squad who want to play and represent Wales." "There's nothing we can do with Paul, who's decided that international football is not the path he wants to go down." Coleman added. "Sometimes you have to be patient especially because the team we have at the moment has been hugely successful, It's a shame because he's a good player. I haven't spoken to Paul. His agent rang me up to give me the news." "I was disappointed, but if he doesn't want to persevere with it then that's his choice. We've got to look after the players who want to play for us." Wales are third in World Cup qualifying group D, four points behind leaders Serbia. The Newcastle-born has been included in a pre-Euro 2016 training camp but was not selected in the squad for the tournament in France. He has not featured at all during the current World Cup qualification games.
  17. Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has confirmed that Seamus Coleman suffered a broken leg during their World Cup qualifying clash with Wales. The Dragons were reduced to 10 men in the second half when defender Neil Taylor lunged on Coleman, leaving the full-back having to be removed by stretcher after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch. "It's a bad break. He's a fantastic player and character. It's a major blow for the lad, his club and us," O'Neill told Sky Sports News. "Apparently it wasn't the best challenge in the world – I haven't seen it. He's gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn't look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn't look good. "We had a few things to overcome this week. We have a really great spirit. Seamus is a major blow - at the end of it all the most important thing is Seamus' health." Wales boss Chris Coleman added: "Neil Taylor is devastated. It’s not going to make Seamus feel any better but Neil is not that type of player. "I’ve not seen the challenge but I’ve seen the outcome. It’s a bad one for Seamus and that’s a shame. "He’s someone I respect, I think he’s one of the best full-backs in the Premier League so I hope he’s not out for too long.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  18. FIFA has fined all four home nations for displaying poppies during World Cup qualifiers around Armistice Day. England and Scotland players wore armbands featuring the symbol when they met at Wembley on 11 November. Wales and Northern Ireland's respective games, meanwhile, featured displays on the pitch or in the stands to mark the event. England have been fined 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,311), Scotland and Wales 20,000 Sfr (£15,694) and Northern Ireland 15,000 Sfr (£11,770). FIFA disciplinary committee chairman Claudio Sulser said he "fully respected" the commemorations but stressed the rules "need to be applied to all member associations". "The display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited," he added. "In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else." According to the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB), players cannot wear "political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images". Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  19. Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale will be out for up to four months as he requires surgery on an ankle injury. The Wales international suffered the blow during the Spanish giants' 2-1 victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Madrid confirmed yesterday that Bale had damaged a tendon in his right ankle, and now the decision has been made to schedule surgery for the 27-year-old. A statement from the La Liga club read: "Gareth Bale will undergo an operation following the traumatic dislocation of the peroneal tendons of his right ankle. "The operation will take place at King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday 29th November by doctor James Calder, under the supervision of the club doctors Jesus Olmo and Mikel Aramberri." The length of Bale's absence has not been confirmed, but widespread reports in the British media have claimed that Madrid will be without their star player for four months. The former Tottenham Hotspur player, who has scored seven goals in all competitions this season, will miss next month's El Clasico against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  20. The Irish and Welsh Football Associations have been told that they will face a FIFA investigation after poppies were visibly on display in their most recent international fixtures. The showing of poppy symbols has been a hot topic of debate, with England and Scotland both wearing the Remembrance Day tributes in their World Cup qualifier on November 11, despite being warned against it by FIFA. It was later revealed that the two nations would face disciplinary proceedings, and world football's governing body has followed suit with both Northern Ireland and Wales. A day after England's clash with Scotland, poppy symbols were on display during Northern Ireland's clash with Azerbaijan. The same occurred during Wales's contest with Serbia, with both sets of supporters forming a poppy mosaic in the stands. Like England and Scotland, both football associations must now wait to see if any sanctions are imposed ahead of the next batch of World Cup qualifying matches. The FAW said the incidents being investigated include "fans in the stands wearing the poppy" and the presence of "a member of the armed forces holding a bunch of poppies at the exit of the tunnel". Chief executive Jonathan Ford said the FAW is "disappointed and surprised" and will "strongly contest the charges". "Our intention was to show respect on Armistice weekend which we feel we did in the right and proper way," he said. "We also adhered to the rules and regulations of the competition and the communication from Fifa prohibiting the FAW request for the players to wear the poppy symbol on the armbands or the field of play. "We are particularly disappointed that one of the charges relates to supporters in the stands wearing poppies." The Irish FA said it "will robustly defend the disciplinary charges". Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  21. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey may be attracting interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid, according to reports. The welsh born midfielder, 25-years old is attracting interest from the La Liga club who is currently serving a Fifa-imposed transfer ban until January 2018 but they have appealed the decision with the Court of Arbitration of Sport. It is suggested by The Sun, Real will move for Ramsey should they be successful in overturning their suspension as French born manager Zinedine Zidane looks to bolster his midfield options at the Bernabeu. The potential bid could be within the region of 25m for the Welshman, while also offering him an increase in wages compared to what he currently earns within the Premier League with the Gunners. Ramsey has been with Arsenal since 2008 but while he is regarded as a first-choice player at the Emirates Stadium, he has continually struggled with injury.
  22. Ryan Giggs has confirmed that he held talks with Swansea City about the manager's role before Bob Bradley replaced Francesco Guidolin. The Manchester United and Wales legend says he met with the Swans, but said the club's ambition did not match his. "I was enjoying a bit of travelling and I got a call off Swansea and I met them a couple of times," he told ITV Sport. "But in the end it was just mixed messages really from the football side and the ownership side of the club and I felt their ambitions didn't really match mine so it didn't quite work out." Giggs was interim manager at Old Trafford and was assistant to Louis van Gaal before parting company with the club after a 29-year association following the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  23. Ben Davies has claimed that the next few games are crucial for Wales in order to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The Welsh full-back believes that his home-nation stand a good chance of achieving qualification, building on the success of Chris Coleman's side upset after reaching the semi-finals of the European Championships in France during the summer. They got off to a good start in their World Cup qualifying campaign in the same vein by sealing a 4-0 triumph over Moldova last month. This week, Wales will face Austria away on Thursday before welcoming Georgia to home soil on Sunday. Davies told reporters today: "You always look at starts in groups to give you a good basis from which to kick on for the rest of it." "We're looking at the next few games as very important. If we can put ourselves in a good position in this group it definitely gives us a good platform to play confidently and try to get through to the World Cup." "This (Austria game) is definitely one of the hardest games. We were surprised they didn't do very well at the Euro's, but that doesn't mean so much over the course of three games." "They're playing at home and it's going to be a tough game, but we did so well over the summer that we are hungry for more success. You've got to have those expectations to push yourself as far as you can go. If we can get something against Austria it will definitely put us in a good place in the group. Getting the advantage early on it's always a positive." Wales have won five and lost just two times in their last seven competitive fixtures.
  24. Wales boss Chris Coleman has admitted that he is "really disappointed" for Sam Allardyce after he left his position as manager of England earlier this week. On Monday night, The Telegraph published footage of Allardyce appearing to advise fictitious investors of ways to "get around" third-party ownership, which is banned by the Football Association. Less than 24 hours later, it was revealed that Allardyce had left the role after just one game and Coleman has admitted that he was "gutted" for the former Three Lions boss. The 46-year-old told reporters: "I'm really disappointed for Sam. I was with him last week at a coaches' conference in Paris and I know he will be absolutely devastated. "I've known Sam for a long time and I know how much he wanted the job and how proud he was to get it. So I'm gutted for him that he has lost it through events off the pitch rather than on it. "He has made a mistake and admitted that. It's a shame that someone of his experience let their guard down for five minutes and lost their job over it." However, Coleman made sure to rule himself out of the running, adding: "Why should England look further afield? Are they going to be with Gareth (Southgate), Brucey (Steve Bruce) or whoever they are going to go with? That's where they should be looking. "Certainly not a Welshman. Well, not this Welshman, anyway. England should look at what they've got. There are good English managers there, and that is where they should be looking." Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  25. Wales have risen above Spain in the FIFA world rankings following their 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Moldova. The Dragons sit 10th in the world, one place above the 2010 World Cup winners, while England are up one place to 12th after beating Slovakia 1-0. Scotland's 5-1 triumph in Malta means they are the biggest climbers among the home nations, up seven spots to 44th. However, after their 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland are down two slots to 30th, a place above the Republic of Ireland. Wales went into the top 10 for the first time in July 2015 and reached a record eighth in October that year. In August 2011, Wales were ranked 117th in the world. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.

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