Football Boots :: Blades or Studs

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September comes and the football season is well and truly under way, with a variety of leagues from the Premiership, to local grassroots football competing on a Saturday afternoon for varying degrees of honours.

With the new season usually comes new kit, and for most a new pair of football boots is on the shopping list. This was true for my summer shopping list, but this year I was caught weighing up the pros and cons between the current blade and stud offerings. This has been an ongoing debate at the top of the game for some time. Do blades cause more injuries to players due to the way they grip the turf?

The argument is that a once a blade has gripped, it cannot swivel as freely as a stud whilst in the ground. This therefore could leave your foot embedded in the turf whilst your body countermeasures and impact from a tackle or fall. There is also the concern over the harm they can do to other players in tackles.

It is true that bladed boots have become less commonplace in the top leagues, and although not confirmed to cause more injuries than their stud counterpart, this surely is not a vote of confidence for the design.

With the most common football injuries affecting the lower extremities, including hamstring strains, sprained ankles, knee cartilage tear, hernia and cruciate ligament, the impact a boot could have in preventing such injuries cannot be over looked. I looked back at my own personal experience, and growing up playing football I had never obtained a serious injury until I adopted blades. In three seasons since I have pulled knee ligaments twice and sprained two ankles. A coincidence?

I don’t wish to make assumptions, and the in my opinion bladed boots are in fact more comfortable due to the increased surface area to distribute impact over. They also remain the dominant model manufactured by Adidas as well as many other leading brands.

Although companies like Nike tend to stick to studs, there is also criticism over the protection offered in such boots as the Total 90 model. The argument here is the increased flexibility of newer, lighter boots compromises its overall protection.

‘The metatarsal injury was unheard of years ago, now with modern lightweight football boots its responsible for 30% of long term injuries.’

Either way, the fact remains that there are over 240million registered players worldwide and both boots are readily available to kids and adults who play the game. The fact that some models are not used by certain professional leagues sends a range of mixed messages, and I for one would like some professional conclusions drawn up so people can make informed decisions on which boot to purchase.

Opening Day Thoughts

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It has seemed a long summer as an avid spurs fan, and as previous posts have detailed their has been an air of optimism quietly building as the squad has been added to prepare sufficiently for an assault on a top four finish this year.

This optimism was still lingering with our first trip away to Sunderland, and although we have never been our best on the road over the last two seasons, I still found my self believing this year we would be off to the flying start we have needed last year.

After seven wins out of as many games preseason I felt this optimism was justified, but was sorely brought down to earth with a bump after watching the first 45 minutes of the opening fixture of the season. Not an ideal advert for the most exciting league in the world I am afraid!

With the second half much the same, Sunderland added to the disappointment by nicking a late 94th minute winner when there was only 3 additional minutes to be played. *First gripe of the 2007-08 season*

Overall I am not that worried, I didn’t expect too much from this fixture and in fact bet on the draw, but home to Everton tomorrow is a different matter. I expect nothing other than three points from the fortress that is The Lane to put us in good stead for my own trip to The Lane this Saturday to watch our match up with another newly promoted side – Derby.

We will need the points over these next two outings with both Man UTD and Arsenal in our next three games, closely followed by both Liverpool and Newcastle who are also hoping to have promising seasons after a busy summer period.

Spurs Transfer Activity

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It isn’t news to many that Tottenham have been fairly active in the transfer market throughout this year’s pre season. After the strain last season’s cup runs put on the squad, it was clear both strength and depth needed to be added in order to make an assault on the top four a realistic ambition during the 2007-08 season.

The major summer signing comes in the form of Darren Bent, signed from Charlton for 17million pounds. Overpriced in my opinion but his quality is undoubted, and should provide additional firepower to the already impressive attacking options of Keane, Berbatov and Defoe who combined netted more than 60 times last year!

With news of the sale of Mido for six million released today that should balance the inflated price tag paid for bent, and IMO is a player we won’t miss. He seemed an inadequate back up for last season’s arrival of Berbatov, and failed to impress me after his loan deal at the lane.

One area in where a need for improvement was emphasized during last season’s campaign was our left flank. The lack of naturally left sided players at times made the team look unbalanced, and should have been a priority signing for us before the 17 million pound signing of Bent. With the arrival of Bale for 10 million we have a natural left footer, who can play full back, or push up to the wing in times of need. Also arriving this summer is Adel Taarabt who can push out to a wide left position also.

One other consideration last term was the long term availably of King. Over the worst now *touches head* he should be back before long, but cover cost us points last year, and could have cost us even more had it not been for the performances of my player of the season Dawson.

Our signing of Younes Kaboul from Auxerre will provide more than adequate cover, and I’m sure the French U21 international will be looking to break into the first team before long.

These four signings have added the quality required for a top four assault, and with the potential signings of Kevin-Prince Boateng, German under 21 young player of the year, and Wright-Philips providing additional wide options, the face of the Spurs squad could change even more by the time August the 31st roles around.

EX-ET-TER!

Authors Thoughts, Football, Travel No Comments »

So Exeter city have reached a final at Wembley. For a long time people from in and around Exeter have dreamt of hearing that, and although it is not the illustrious FA cup final, it is the Vauxhall conference playoff final with the prize to the winner being football league status.

The performance that put city through away at oxford last Tuesday seems to have got the city believing that this year is the year that city reinstate themselves. After over turning a 0-1 deficit in the first leg, city drew 2-2 over the two legs and went through on the resulting penalty shootout.

Now we have a situation where after consistent demand, over 30,000 tickets have been sold, with over 100 official coaches making the eight hour round trip to the capital. One thing is for sure, regardless of the result, Exeter have shown that they have the fan base to justify football league status.

Spurs Turmoil

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Seeing as these are thoughts from The Shelf, it would seem inappropriate not to post about the actions of UEFA this week in kicking Feyenoord out of the UEFA cup for crowd violence. After numerous warnings, and already playing behind closed doors at home, more crowd trouble occurred resulting in the last 16 match up with Tottenham being thrust into turmoil.

After recently purchasing tickets for the home leg, I was understandably disappointed to find out that Feyenoord had in fact been kicked out of the competition. Now we are either left with a rematch against the unglamorous Wisla Krakov who finished FORTH in the UEFA cup qualifying group, or a bye to the next round.

It has been widely rumoured that the board want Wisla Krakov to be reinstated to make up for the loss in gate receipts, although as Spurs remain in all four competitions in January, the manager Martin Jol would understandably take the bye and a much needed free fixture.

We will just have to wait until Thursday 25th to see how UEFA decide to deal with Spurs, and consequently my dream tickets.

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