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Sport Academy review 2004: Football
Around the Academy:

Greece celebrate their Euro 2004 victory
Greece championed the underdogs in 2004
We asked you to review the year's sporting events.

And our fab football reviewer is Alex, 16, from Aylesbury.


How did you get interested in football?

When I was five years old my dad took me to my first training session to play in the village team. My interest was furthered by supporting my favourite club, Manchester United. Watching the best team in the world can only increase your enjoyment!

How often do you play?

I started off playing for Tring Tornadoes and then my local team, Cheddington. Unfortunately I can no longer play due to a severe knee injury which I'm waiting to have an operation on. Hopefully one day I'll be able to play again - or even manage a club!

Which team do you support?

As you've probably already gathered, I support the mighty Red Devils, Man Utd! It's been an eventful year, what with the Wayne Rooney saga and the team's erratic form. I can't wait to see them when they play well throughout an entire season.

However, coming from Nottingham, I also have to say that I support Nottingham Forest who unfortunately seem to be going in the wrong direction in the Coca-Cola Championship.

What did you think of Euro 2004?

The underdogs, Greece, pulled off the most astonishing victory by winning Euro 2004, and it wasn't as if they had an easy run to do it!

It was truly memorable, not only for the Greeks, but also the world of football which finally witnessed the possibility that any team, given the correct teamwork and belief, can achieve anything.

Any other highlights?

Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira lifts the Premiership trophy
No one could stop Arsenal

As much as it pains me to say it, Arsenal achieved what can only be described as a simply perfect season, going through all 38 games unbeaten and then extending that to 49 until they were beaten by Man Utd in October. This amazing feat is unlikely to be repeated within my lifetime, and in my opinion much longer than that.

Did anything disappoint you about football this year?

The lowest point came in November, when England's international friendly with Spain was marred by racist chanting from the Spanish crowd. The abuse could never be justified and I think Spain should have been punished more harshly.

On the pitch, England's exit from Euro 2004 was a huge disappointment. Once again the team was beaten on what can only be described as our jinx - a penalty shoot-out.

What should Sven Goran-Eriksson's New Year's resolution be?

To resign!! No, only joking. Although some people think he should.

I think his New Year's resolution should be to drop not only the captain (especially when it's David Beckham) when he's playing badly, but any player who's performance is under par.

Shaun Wright-Phillips made his England debut in 2004
Wright-Phillips made his England debut

I'd also like to see Sven allowing younger players the opportunity to play such as the incredibly gifted pairing of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stuart Downing. This will encourage other youngsters to work hard to gain an England call-up.

If you could buy a Christmas gift for any Premiership player, what would it be and why?

If I could be Santa I think I would give a barn door to both Emile Heskey and Nwankwo Kanu. This would allow them to narrow their target down!

Who's going to win the Premiership, and who do you reckon will be relegated?

This year will be closer than any. However I feel it's finally the turn of Chelsea. Unfortunately, I feel West Brom are going to struggle and are likely to return back to the Coca-Cola.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

First that Man Utd win the treble again, and Nottingham Forest to avoid relegation. If both those happen, then the Gods are definitely shining on me!

Finger crossed Alex! Thanks for all your wonderful thoughts.



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2004's winners
European Championship: Greece
Premiership: Arsenal
FA Cup: Manchester United
Champions League: Porto
Uefa Cup: Valencia

Academy football reviewer
Name: Alex
Age: 16
From: Aylesbury
Fave player: Ryan Giggs - always has been, and always will be!



FROM THE BBC >>
:: BBC Sport's football review
:: Euro 2004
:: BBC Football news



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