Daniel Astilleta poses with his one mont

The Lead

Hey guys! Did you hear? Manchester United is playing Real Madrid in the Champions League tonight! If you want to join in on the massive media hype machine, please enjoy!

So there, sorted.

Now, today is also Ash Wednesday, which presumably means the Santiago Bernebeu will be half empty as everyone will be in church. Now, I’m of no clique or religion (I’m a Church of Maradona agnostic), but as a self-improvement addict, I’ve always liked the idea of Lent. Giving something up, something you generally quite enjoy but have taken for granted, can yield some pretty hefty benefits. It’s all about renewal.

So here is my challenge to you. On the podcast this week, the Three-Man Independent Panel discussed what we could possibly enjoy with at least three of the European title races already essentially decided, in Germany, Spain and England. I raised the possibility of following another league you don’t know that well.

And so I’m going to use Lent as an excuse to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going Dutch. For the next Forty Days and Forty Nights (excluding Sundays and feast days, as is kosher), I’m going to exclusively watch the Eredivisie. I’ll be writing about it on this blog. I’m going to sell it. And maybe at the end I’ll stick with it, who knows? Always good to have another niche.

Perhaps you’ll want to do the same. If so, let me know, and we’ll post up the best comments and insights in some as yet-unnamed future post. As someone who’s watched football for a long time, I heartily recommend it. Everyone needs a break from the Massive Hype Machine once in a while.


Whitecaps player says depression more common among footballers than people believe.


Celtic’s Kris Commons turns on players, ‘there are certain individuals who let the team down’.

One Millwall fan arrested after Leeds striker Diouf racially abused.

SAF believes in De Gea, will support his development.

Wanyama on Arsenal’s radar.


Mancini eyeing Sampdoria forward Mauro Icardi for the summer.

Buffon says Celtic game a lot closer than the score suggests.

La Liga

Athletic Bilbao’s Muniain will begin rehab on his knee.


Hoffenheim fine two players after indecent behaviour at a party.

Dortmund will be without Guendogan and Grosskreutz in last 16 first leg tie.

Bit and Bobs

World Anti-Doping Agency wants football to introduce biological passports and test more for drugs.

Anelka reaches Ibrahimovic record, has represented six different clubs in the CL.

Fake scouting report appears in the Daily Mail.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.