The musings of a Mancunian sport loving Muslimah

Category Archives: Football

Nathan Ellington on Islam and Football

Former Premier League footballer, Nathan Ellington speaks on Islam, football and a new foundation he has helped set up

By the will of Allah, Sporty Muslimah brings you a blog post with former Premier League footballer, currently plying his trade with Championship side Ipswich Town, Nathan Ellington.

The blog focuses on Nathan’s thoughts on football, Islam and a new foundation that he has set up.

Nathan Ellington began his career in the non-league at 16 years of age, playing regularly for Tooting & Mitcham United.  Having moved to Bristol Rovers several years later, he was part of the team that became the first third division side to beat a Premier League side, winning an FA Cup game against Derby County, where he scored a hat trick in a 3-1 win and subsequently etched his name into the history books, also being a part of the Division 3 Team of the Season in 2001-2002.

Since then, Nathan has played for Wigan Athletic, West Brom, Watford (something with the W’s?) and now at Ipswich Town, with various loan signings in-between.

Apart from making huge strides in football, Nathan has also been on a personal journey since becoming a professional football player.  I very much appreciate the time taken to answer a few questions, and an insight into the affectionately known, ‘Duke’.

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The Not So Beautiful Game

Racism rears its ugly head.

Over the course of the past several weeks, I’ve read and heard several arguments regarding the ongoing cases of alleged racism against Evra, Ferdinand and Kanoute, with Suarez, John Terry (not JT!) and Cesc Fabregas involved.  Astonishingly, it seems in these instances, the claims of racism have been made where fellow professionals are trying to derail an opponent, for a subsequent advantage for their team.

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A Star in the Making

Introducing Zach Shaikh and his story on his journey to become a professional footballer

As a Muslim born and bred in Britain and someone fascinated with sport, it has always intrigued me to learn and find out about those who are trying to break barriers and become professional stars within mainstream sport.

With this in mind, I have a first interview lined up with Zachariah Shaikh, you can find him on Twitter @ZizziShaikh

Zach currently resides in North Carolina, America where he moved in order to pursue his footballing career.  Being the only child and born to Muslim parents in the UK, he has always had their support and blessing to become the best he can be.  Blessed with natural talent and a desire to compete at the highest level possible, Zach answers a few questions and tells of his journey to become a professional footballer.

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Asian Footballers, a generation to come.

I don’t consider this to be the million dollar question, however having recently joined Twitter, I have realised more than I ever thought, the number of Asian Muslims who enjoy watching football.  I say Asian Muslims, because being one myself, I find this area the easiest one to talk about.

I would just like to pre-warn, that all of this is based on experiences, a lot of it won’t be politically correct but it is what I have found as I was growing up.  Some maybe generalisations, for which I apologise.

Ask a male white child what/who they want to be when they grow older, “Wayne Rooney”, “Steven Gerrard”, “Lionel Messi” and similar names will roll of their tongues.

Ask a male Asian Muslim child what they want to be, “Doctor”, “Accountant”, “Engineer” and similar occupations will roll of their tongues.

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The New Young United Side – The Possibilities

Ever since the pre-season games, the influx of youth, the rise of the reserves and youth teams and the scintillating start to the season, comparisons are already being drawn to the 1992 youth and questions being asked as to just how good this United side can be.
Drawing up a like for like comparison with each player from both generations could well be easy, however I don’t believe that’s the way to compare. The one thing that stands out is the mentality of the two sides, the team ethic and above all the desire and self belief they have. Both teams constantly live the United mantra of ‘attack, attack, attack’. Previously we were crucified for our over reliance on Ronaldo and Rooney, for not having a consistent midfield and for supposedly flukey wins and Championship trophies as our football didn’t match the tiki-taka Barcelona style.
The one thing I love about both United sides is that we have our own style, every single player seems to be ingrained with a belief of playing together as a squad, fighting for one another and above all, playing for the shirt and the fans. We just never give up.

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It’s not about the money, money, money….

Football and Money

Does money make football go round?

Football isn’t the same anymore.  Football fans are fickle.  Armchair fans who don’t attend games and know very little.  Footballers aren’t the same anymore.  There is no loyalty.  There is no allegiance and they are just money grabbing mercenary happy to sit on the bench.

We’ve all heard these eloquent quotes from footballing connoisseurs.  Now, we are seeing what they mean by the argument regarding lack of player loyalty.  In the good old days, when a player kissed a badge he meant it.  When he signed a contract, it meant something, it meant more than finances because it was something they truly wanted.

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Appreciating players from the opposition.

So, we welcome another footballing season. And undoubtedly a lot of the same points, arguments and cases will be made across the land and on the interwebs, not least via various social media networks and blogs/forums.

As football fans, we are sometimes unwittingly and subconciously told who we can and cannot like.  Players often become the flavoured ‘Villain of the Week’, and anyone who dares to disagree with the general consensus is seen as somewhat as an outcast.

The same it seems applies to those fans who appreciate a player from the opposition.  Why is this seen as such a bad thing?  Surely, we are first and foremost football fans and we can put aside our allegiance in appreciation for a wonderful footballer who has peformed outstandingly in what may have been difficult circumstances for his team otherwise.

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