Tag: England

Football’s back! Six unmissable storylines to look out for in 2017-18

At last, it’s back! The real football has returned! From now until late May of next year, it’s non-stop, full-on, unadulterated football and we at Icons.com could not be more excited.

After all, this season has the potential to be bigger, better and more exciting than ever. And not just in England. Let’s not forget the thrills that await around the continent; in Spain, Germany, Italy and France, where the best footballers on the planet do battle in front of the biggest crowds for the right to claim the world’s most coveted prizes.

In fact, with so much going on around the world on the opening weekend of the season, you could be forgiven for not knowing where to start or what to look out for. Well, it’s lucky we’re here then, isn’t it? Here are six things you need to keep an eye on this season.

 

1. Bem-vindo Neymar Jr

So, it actually happened. With Neymar Jr’s switch from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222million, world football’s transfer record has been broken by a factor of two. Our office stopped in its tracks to watch – perhaps a little out of disbelief – as the mercurial Brazilian forward was presented in front of the world’s media last week. With a glitzy unveiling in front of a sell-out crowd days later, the Parc de Princes has had more than a little Hollywood about it over the past month.

This season the 25-year-old will surely set his sights not only on a sweep of the domestic titles on offer at his new club but also a shot at one or both of the two individual honours that would certify his superstar status: the Ballon D’or and FIFA’s The Best Award. Will the football gods also write a mouthwatering script that reunites him with Barça in the UEFA Champions League? It may be time to start warming those balls…

 

2. The main event

Speaking of the UEFA Champions League, this season’s race for club football’s most sought-after prize promises to be as thrilling as ever. Real Madrid made history at the end of last season as they became the first team to successfully defend their title but Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t quite content with just two-in-a-row. The Spanish champions have won the famous tournament in three of the last four years and they’ve developed a taste for success.

Meanwhile, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are back, adding three previous winners and two of the competition’s most storied teams to the mix. Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho have a great knack of inspiring magic on European nights but can the trophy really return to the North West as early as this season?

Not if the rest of Europe has something to say about it. A certain aforementioned Brazilian seems dead-set on making his mark at PSG but to get to Kiev they may have to return to the scene of last season’s most remarkable tie: Camp Nou. All this while Carlo Ancelotti plots Bayern Munich’s return to the European throne and Gianluigi Buffon prays for one last shot at the trophy that has always eluded him.

As an official UEFA licensee, Icons.com is the proud home of official UEFA Champions League signed memorabilia.

 

3. A six-horse race

The Premier League is getting stronger in competitive terms, there’s no doubt about that. Almost all of the world’s best managers are taking charge of talented, hungry and exciting teams in England’s topflight and that means the title could go almost anywhere.

In Manchester, Pep Guardiola is building an attack-minded team at City with the signing of Monaco’s Bernardo Silva to add to Sergio Aguero’s goals, while United have a new hitman in the form of Romelu Lukaku. Liverpool are still a side of pure pace up front and should be an entertaining watch considering their attacking prowess.

Meanwhile, in London, Antonio Conte has one of the world’s most exciting attacking midfielders in Eden Hazard and Mauricio Pochettino will just be happy that both Harry Kane and Dele Alli (see below) have gone the summer without their heads being turned. Arch-rivals Arsenal have satisfied the wishes of their fans with the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette and the retention of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil (at the time of writing, anyway). So, who exactly is supposed to be the frontrunner here?

Find out who we fancy to come out on top in our special 2017-18 season predictions blog.

 

4. Dele’s big year

The breakout season is history, the sophomore slump was nowhere to be seen. Now the most exciting young talent at both Tottenham Hotspur and England can stretch his legs and really show us what he’s got. Gunning for a hat-trick of PFA Young Player of the Year awards – and perhaps the main gong too – Dele Alli faces a season of much promise.

Playing in front of potentially 90,000 fans at Spurs’ temporary home of Wembley Stadium won’t faze the England regular, nor will the prospect of a second season in the UEFA Champions League group stages. In fact, knowing the boy-wonder personally from our signing sessions, we’re not sure exactly what could faze him, if anything. Here is a confident 21-year-old who has the world at his feet. Which reminds us, isn’t there some sort of big international tournament coming soon?

We are immensely proud to have an official contract with Tottenham and England sensation Dele Alli. For exclusive signed products, visit Icons.com today.

 

5. All the world’s a stage

Ah, yes, the FIFA World Cup. Next summer sees the return of the biggest football tournament on the planet and with potentially one last chance at winning that most coveted trophy, the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate to deliver glory to their respective countries. Neymar Jr, Philippe Coutinho, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Dele Alli will be among the young but established stars hoping to capture the world’s attention and with the talent on offer it promises to be a tournament full of drama.

Whisper it but England look to be stronger than in recent years with Wayne Rooney surely determined to bow out of international football on a high alongside a stellar mix of young and experienced players mostly plying their trade in the Premier League.

Capture the spirit and excitement of the FIFA World Cup with officially-licensed FIFA World Cup signed memorabilia, exclusive to Icons.com.

 

6. La Liga’s on a knife-edge

Madridistas could be forgiven for still being a little hungover when their domestic season starts with a Supercopa Clasico on Sunday evening. Last season, Real won their first league title since 2012 and became the first team in history to retain the UEFA Champions League. Their supremacy is currently unquestioned but this season their hated rivals will want revenge.

Lionel Messi’s ultra dramatic, last-gasp winner in the sides’ pulsating encounter at the Bernabeu merely fanned the flames that could well spark all-out war this term. Barça haven’t experienced for years the upheaval they’ve suffered over the past few months with Neymar Jr gone and now a new man at the helm. Who knows how Ernesto Valverde plans to stop the Zidane juggernaut?

 

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Icons Announce New Official FA England Memorabilia Licence

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We are today proud to announce a brand new licence with The Football Association to provide Icons.com and The England Store with Official England Licensed Memorabilia.

Adding to official licences for FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA EURO 2016 and Lionel Messi signed products, we are delighted to bring together a brand new range of superb items signed by many of England’s finest ever players both past and present.

Many of the products in our brand new range mark the 50th anniversary of English football’s finest hour: the 1966 FIFA World Cup. We have signed items from the heroes of that legendary team; Sir Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Roger Hunt, George Cohen, Nobby Stiles and Ray Wilson. There are team signed shirts both framed and unframed, signed photos, posters, boots, balls and much more among our wide selection.

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Sir Bobby Charlton holds aloft The Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley Stadium on July 30th, 1966

Each and every product will come with an Official England Licensed Memorabilia Certificate of Authenticity which, where possible, gives details of when and where each item was signed. It’s proof that the product is 100% genuine and 100% official.

So, whether you’re feeling nostalgic about legendary achievements of England’s greatest ever players or excited for a new era of Three Lions football under Sam Allardyce, you’re bound to find an item you’ll treasure.

With exciting new products being added to both sites over the coming weeks and months, keep your eyes peeled for more Official England Licensed Memorabilia from the world’s best. The full range is coming to Icons.com soon but if you can’t wait, check out our products on The England Store today!

For more reasons to buy from Icons.com, visit our Why Buy From Us page.

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Kop Idol Jamie Carragher Signs For Icons

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It’s not hard to see why Jamie Carragher is so beloved by Liverpool fans. A fiercely loyal and remarkably determined competitor, “Carra” played 737 times during a career spanning sixteen seasons and not once did he turn out for a team other than the Reds. His devotion to the Anfield side notwithstanding, Jamie’s often underrated talent, leadership and charming everyman personality elevated him from stalwart central defender to a homegrown hero adored by the Kop.

For all these reasons and more, Icons were eager to meet with the man himself for a private signing session at the office of his charity, the 23 Foundation, on Wednesday January 27th – a mere day before Jamie’s thirty-eighth birthday.

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Lining the walls of the Foundation’s plush yet homely headquarters were a number of photos chronicling Jamie’s distinguished career in professional football. Striking images of a young Jamie sat alongside memories of Liverpool’s celebrated treble-winning season of 2000-01 and, of course, plenty of photos from that famous night in Istanbul.

As the signing began, Jamie happily chatted away about Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out victory over Stoke City in the previous evening’s Capital One Cup semi-final clash at Anfield. While talking up the Reds’ chances of winning the competition at the Wembley final on February 28th, Carra himself appeared on the television behind us. Joking with current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp about injuries, Jamie suggested he could be brought back into the fold to help out the injury-ravaged squad. “I need players who can go for 120 minutes,” Klopp laughed.

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Though these days he may not be able to stay the course of a full match with extra time, Jamie was certainly more than capable of giving his all for 120 minutes – and more – back in his prime. On no occasion was this more true than on May 25th, 2005 in Istanbul. The events of that night, as Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League in the most dramatic style, will live long in the memory of any Red. That’s why we wanted to deliver signed products from Jamie that commemorate that incredible night; products like his front signed Istanbul shirt; the dual signed official programme; and the framed “2005 Champions League Winner” photo.

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With another successful signing winding down, Jamie revealed to us that he was to spend the weekend in Milan, watching the Derby della Madonnina at the San Siro. It came as no surprise that a man who has such an undying passion for football would want to spend the weekend of his birthday watching Inter take on AC in one of the sport’s biggest fixtures.

But what did shock us was the fact that Jamie would be going as a paying punter, a fan in the stands. Here is a man who has won nearly everything there is to win in the club game, has lifted Europe’s biggest trophy and is adored by one of the world’s biggest football clubs. Yet true to his roots, passionate and humble as ever, Carra would be back out on to the stands, watching the game he loves.

For our full range of Jamie Carragher signed products check out icons.com now!

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Memorabilia signed by Jamie Carragher