LIMERICK CITY are a team that seem to be in the tabloid papers everyday at present. I have to admit that they had slipped under my radar, but seemed to be linked with a very high profile manager as they prepare for a return to premiership football.
People say Limerick needs to have a competitive soccer team and I'm sure they will. I can't see them enticing the crowds in what is a rugby mad area. Limerick is extremely strong in junior soccer with Pike Rovers probably the most widely known name, but the senior team has always struggled to establish itself. The financial side doesn't seem an issue and with two ex-internationals and some multiple league winners in their squad they will add to what in my opinion could be the most competitive league in recent years.
One interesting link to the job is an Irish great, Kevin Kilbane. I know a lot of people will never consider Kilbane an Irish legend, but here is a guy who never let his country down, wore the Irish jersey 110 times. The esteem he was held in by his fellow pros and his teammates shows the character of the man. Kevin retired last week and I think a man like him would bring positivity and professionalism to our league.
It's been a crazy week in world football, but without doubt, the story of the week was Lionel Messi breaking Gerd Muller's calendar year goal record. Messi is a mind blowing player and never have I seen a guy make the game look so easy. I appreciate he is playing in arguably the greatest team of all time with some of the greatest players we may have seen. I don't envisage his record ever being surpassed and for a guy who is in his early twenties, its frightening to see what he yet may achieve. I love Messi, but my favourite all time player is still Diego Maradona.
As a lifelong Arsenal fan, last week's defeat to Bradford was the final straw and it's time for an Arsenal icon to move on. Arsene Wenger revolutionised English football and brought some amazing football players to the north side of London. He also brought success to the club with countless trophies and Wenger will go down as the shrewdest manager in the transfer market. I think body language from a manager can influence young players and to see the great man on his knees portrayed a fallen man to me.
It's hard to believe that the Rovers lads are less than a month away from pre-season. I know we are in the midst of the festive season, but some players will be beginning to prepare slowly for the middle of January. With Christmas upon us, the transfer market has come to a near complete standstill. It was encouraging to read of Ian Baraclough attending numerous games throughout the UK and hopefully a few will have caught his eye. There are a lot of rumours circulating regarding Danny Ventre as he has been training with Chesterfield and Tranmere. He is a player I would not like to see leave, so let's hope he remains in the Showgrounds.
The under 19s were beaten on Saturday in an eventful game in the Showgrounds. The game had everything with the Rovers penalty miss a turning point in the game.
These young lads will have more positive days ahead and its their response after a loss which will make them stronger as players.
If anyone is buying Christmas presents for a loved one or friend who follows the Rovers, then, a season ticket, the champions dvd or the 2013 calendar would fill many a Rovers' fan christmas stocking.
Happy christmas and a prosperous new year and let's hope for the same success we had in 2012!