One on One with: Michael Ball

We are back with an all new interview, this time with former Everton, Rangers, Man City and England left back Michael Ball. Bursting onto the scene in the 1996/97 season with Everton, Ball quickly became a mainstay in that side despite his young years. It was a difficult period for the Blues with off field financial issues often dampening the aspirations of the die hard fans. But with the promotion of Ball and others (such as Richard Dunne, Francis Jeffers and Leon Osman) from the 1997 FA Youth Cup win, the club looked set for a bright future. It would be short lived and Ball like many other stars were sold to balance the books.

We caught up with him recently to chat his career including switching from Liverpool to Everton in his youth, his time in Scotland including that Old Firm game, marking the Romford Pele and winning so few caps for England.

Back Of The Net: Who was your idol growing up? What influence did they have on your career?

Michael Ball: Mostly any Everton player on the ’80’s – I used to love being big Neville (Southall) in goal but also try to score diving headers like Andy Gray & shoot like Kevin Sheedy.

BOTN: As a schoolboy you traded the red half of Liverpool for the blue half by joining Everton from Liverpool’s youth system. How did that come about? 

MB: I was lucky enough to have the son of a Liverpool academy coach Hughie McCauley in my local side. He invited me to a training session when I was around seven years old which continued until just before my 14th birthday. McCauley, Dave Shannon & Stevie Heighway were 3 fantastic coaches.

BOTN: Let’s talk about Everton and making your breakthrough at 17 under the legendary Howard Kendall. How did it feel to pull on that jersey for your debut against Spurs?  

MB: It was a fantastic unbelievable feeling and one I’d been dreaming & focusing on doing all my life.

Ball gets the better of Vegard Heggem in the Merseyside derby (Image from Tumblr)

Ball gets the better of Vegard Heggem in the Merseyside derby (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: Financial issues at Everton led to a move north of the border to Rangers. It was either Rangers or Middlesborough correct? Looking back now, do you think that was the right move to make at that early stage in your career?  

MB: I was crushed when I wasn’t going to be offered a new deal at Everton. They apparently accepted offers from Liverpool, Middlesborough and Rangers.  I was hoping to stay & prove the manager wrong but after being told I would rot in the reserves a move had to happen sadly.

BOTN: You have played in the Old Firm derby (Glasgow Rangers vs Glasgow Celtic) and the Merseyside one (Liverpool vs Everton). How do they compare? 

MB: Both games are fantastic, obviously being a local blue I know the feeling of winning but also losing these games. The Old Firm was no different just media build up beforehand was a lot more.

BOTN: What happened in your Old firm debut when you were substituted? 

MB: The disagreement (between Ball and Rangers manager Dick Advocaat) was just myself showing frustration in the wrong way to the manager at the time. I reacted because I just wanted to keep playing and gets us back into the game.

 

Rangers beat several offers to land Ball (Image from Tumblr)

Rangers beat several offers to land Ball (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: It was in Scotland that you suffered your first major injury, damaging your medial ligament which would keep you out for the better part of two seasons. Mentally and emotionally that must have been tough. How did you cope with that injury and were there times where you thought you wouldn’t bounce back? 

MB: It was a really difficult time for myself and the club who invested a lot to bring me in. For me, it was an injury I had been carrying for over a season and thought I’d got over it. Unfortunately after a game my patella tendinitis (an overuse injury of the tendon that straightens the knee) came back and an operation was the only way forward. Dr Steadman was in shock at the state of my tendon but also reassured me I’ll be back playing once rehab was complete.

BOTN: Rumour has it your move to PSV Eindhoven came as a result of a recommendation by Ronald Waterreus (former Rangers goalkeeper) to then manager Guus Hiddink. You were all set to sign for Birmingham but instead signed for PSV. What changed your mind? 

MB: That’s true I think. Ronald came from & lived in Eindhoven. As a PSV legend he also went into the training ground when he could. After a successful year including reaching the semi final of the Champions League, they sold their left back Yeong-pyo Lee to Spurs. Ronald said there’s a guy at Rangers worth looking at. Birmingham had been in talks for few weeks offering a three year deal, but then went silent for a long period when I wanted to sign. Birmingham finally came back on deadline day but changed their offer to only one year.  On way to the airport Guss Hiddink called said all the right things & it was only one choice to go, compete in the Champions League & for titles.

BOTN: After PSV, you joined Manchester City as part of their evolution under Sven Goran Eriksson. Was that your most enjoyable time as a player? Was it good to reunited with Sven who gave you your England debut?

MB: It felt great to back to the U.K. & to be coached by Sven. I felt it was the fittest I’d been for a long time and I was hoping success would soon follow with Sven’s ambitions for the club.

 

 

Michael returned to England to sign for Man City following his spell in Holland (Image from Tumblr)

Michael returned to England to sign for Man City following his spell in Holland (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: Eriksson signed you later on for Leicester, right? Is he the manager you liked playing for the most? 

MB: Sven tried to sign me while he was manager at Notts Country.  I think he liked my attitude in how approached the game and in training as a lot of his session where defensive focused which I enjoyed a lot.

BOTN: Many people (myself included) are surprised by the fact that you only earned one cap for England during your career but It would appear as though injuries and unfortunate timing in a sense that England had an abundance of options at left back at the time (Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge etc.) played a role. Would you agree? Is that your biggest regret? 

MB: I had my eye on that role coming through the youth yanks and also being selected a few times before my debut happen but it’s not a regret as I couldn’t do too much about it. The timing of my injury was the biggest let down for my England career as unfortunately for myself Cole and Bridge had established themselves in the squad. I still hoped even though it would be difficult that I could find a way back in.

Its surprising to many that Ball only has one England cap to his name (Image from Tumblr)

It’s surprising to many that Ball only has one England cap to his name (Image from Tumblr)

 

BOTN: Recently we have seen wingers like Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia converted into full backs. What are your thoughts on this? Do you see any positional issues with this?

MB: It seems to be the going trend in modern football. I get it. As most full backs in the game one day probably started as a winger.  My worry is like most they aren’t natural defenders and that art of defending is dying out. They react to situations instead of pre-emptying it.

BOTN: So, what’s next for Michael Ball? Tell us more about two companies you are involved in – Sports Company & Crafted Society? 

MB: Since retired I’ve being struggling into what next –  Coaching / manager etc. That was the obvious choice but the coaching badge courses weren’t for me. My phone kept ringing from ex-teammates, parents and kids who were all asking for my advice & guidance which I’ve now continued doing so with my own sports agency business that keeps me busy and learning. Crafted Society is a fantastic company based in Amsterdam founded by my good friends Mart & Lise, who both have huge experiences in this field and it’s a joy to see them create hand crafted items around the world but also giving back to charities.

BOTN: Finally, a few quick hits please. hardest opponent to mark? 

MB: I played against a lot of world class players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo etc but when i was coming through at Everton, Ray Parlour (Arsenal midfielder) was difficult to mark.

The Romford Pele - Ray Parlour (Image from Tumblr)

The Romford Pele – Ray Parlour (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: Best player played with?

MB: Too hard so many. It would be unfair to name just one.

BOTN: Proudest moment as a player? 

MB: Again, too many. Everton debut, first goal, England appearance, first medals etc. All of it.

BOTN: And how do you think Everton will get on this coming season. 

MB: With Carlo at the club, I’m hoping now Everton will start the journey of success. It will take time but with a winner like Carlo, I am excited to see what the next few seasons as a blue will be.

BOTN: That will indeed be interesting to see. Thank You Michael.

If you are a player, coach or parent who need any guidance from Michael, please reach out to him directly via Twitter or Linkedin.

Share your thoughts now and follow us now on FacebookTwitter Instagram

 

The Uninspiring Italian Hired As Leicester Boss

Claudio Ranieri's appointment was so uninspiring that they even announce his hiring with him sitting down  (Image from Getty)Former England striker Gary Lineker is never short of an opinion about anything these days. The BT Sport host uses the marvels of social media and his uncanny ability to be wherever a TV camera or radio mic happens to be when something occurs in football. He has become the medias go to man for comments, one liners and headline grabbers. So when Leicester City, one of Linekers former clubs announced the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as their new manager, there was only ever going to be one man who the media called. And once again Lineker delivered calling the well-travelled Italian “an uninspiring choice” and an indication of a growing problem in football which sees the same group of old tired managers clambering for all managerial appointments that become available. For once he may have a point but we hesitate to admit that just in case it goes to Linekers already swollen head.

Always with an opinion - Gary Lineker  (Image from AFP)

Always with an opinion – Gary Lineker
(Image from AFP)

After the sacking of the ostrich quoting former manager Nigel Pearson, speculation over who would take over the foxes went into overdrive with the British press and football gossip blogs wetting the bed in excitement. They threw the usual set of candidates into the mix:  a former player (Neil Lennon), a former manager (Martin O’Neill), a current player with no managerial experience (Esteban Cambiasso) and a well-traveled British steward of the managerial game (Sam Alladyce). They even did some back of a napkin math figuring out that Guus Hiddink’s departure from the Dutch national team meant only one thing; that he was bound for Leicester. There was no way that Hiddink’s failure in recent months to inspire the Dutch to qualification wins had anything to do with it nor his intention to step away from the game the moment he left the Holland job. Including Hiddink’s name gave the media what they wanted – a name to play on, a big star who would excite the foxes fans enough that they part with their hard-earned cash in order to buy their newspaper for the exclusive details behind his imminent arrival.

One for the fans - Guus Hiddink  (Image from PA)

One for the fans – Guus Hiddink
(Image from PA)

But in the end the Leicester board pulled a fast one, appointing “a highly respected coach with both club and international experience”. The well-traveled Italian has managed primarily in Italy (Cagliari, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, Parma, Roma and Inter) and Spain (Atletico Madrid, Valencia twice) as well as stints as boss of Chelsea, Monaco and Greece along the way. The perfect fit for Leicester it would seem apart from a few minor details. Firstly Ranieri’s success at the various clubs he has been limited to say the least and his international experience is less than impressive having been sacked by Greece after failing to win a single game. At club level, the last trophy Ranieri picked up was the French Ligue 2 title with Monaco back in 2012 which was his first trophy since 2004. Managers should be judged on their success and for Ranieri the judges are still very much in debate chamber. He has won 9 trophies in a 27 year managerial career but most are lower league titles: 1 each from the Italian Serie B and C leagues and that French Ligue 2 crown with Monaco. He did find some success early on in his career at Fiorentina and Valencia (during his first stint in charge) securing the Copa and Supercopa Italia titles and the Copa Del Rey, Intertoto Cup and Super Cup respectively. But apart from this, Ranieri has fallen short on a too frequent basis.

Monaco under Ranieri seal the Ligue 2 title (Image from Getty)

Monaco under Ranieri seal the Ligue 2 title
(Image from Getty)

His success at Monaco was expected given that the team was funded by a billionaire and had a squad that was earning ten times what their nearest league rivals were making.  It’s a familiarly story throughout Ranieri’s managerial career with the Italian lucky on more than one occasion; inheriting a good squad but failing to move it forward. His time at Chelsea for instance coincided with a change in their financial fortunes with Roman Abramovich rolling into town, bulging suitcases of money firmly under both arms. After failing to impress the Russian, he left to re-join the then reigning La Liga and UEFA Cup champions Valencia but couldn’t inspire his talented side to perform and was sacked eight months later. Spells at Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan followed, all of which had strong enough squads to challenge but in typical Ranieri style, he fell short on all three occasions. Escaping to the south of France was supposed to repair Ranieri’s damaged reputation and things looked good for the Italian as he guided them back to Ligue 1. But the jump appeared to be too hard to cope with and again Ranieri was sacked after failing to make the grade.

Ranieri has failed to win anything since 2012  (Image from PA)

Ranieri has failed to win anything since 2012
(Image from PA)

Then came a switch to national football with the surprise appointment to the Greek national team managers position. Greece were on a high after reaching the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup, narrowly missing out on a quarter-final spot thanks to an agonizing penalty shoot out defeat to Costa Rica. Ranieri’s arrival heralded a different approach and one that the Greeks believed would take them to the next level by sailing through qualification for Euro 2016 but instead the country slid backwards. His strange tactical alterations and lack of ability to speak the language lead to confusion among the players who looked like an amateur team in an already weak qualification group. Defeats to Romania, Northern Ireland and the lowly Faroe Islands was enough to end Greece’s hopes of qualifying and with it led to his sacking for which Hellenic Football Federation’s president, Giorgos Sarris publicly apologized for his “unfortunate selection of manager”.

Confusion reigned during Ranieri's spell in charge of Greece  (Image from Getty)

Confusion reigned during Ranieri’s spell in charge of Greece
(Image from Getty)

Ranieri’s reputation is in tatters which makes his appointment at Leicester so baffling. Leicester’s survival last year was down to consistency under Pearson who found a tactic and team mid way through the season that worked and stuck with it. That resulted in the most dramatic of turnarounds which saw Leicester fly up the table to safety. But now in his place the board has hired a man known ironically as the Tinkerman due to his constant need to alter tactics and team selection making consistency almost impossible. Hardly what Leicester needs going into the new season. Ranieri is dramatically different from Pearson which is maybe why the board selected him. He is quiet, reserved and polite unlike Pearson who made a name for himself last year with his brash, bully like approach. Quite simply he is vanilla, plain and simple which by itself is very uninspiring so perhaps Lineker was right after all.

If you liked this post, please repost or retweet. Share your thoughts now on Facebook: https://facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog  or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog

World Cup Hangover Hands Hope To Europe’s Smaller Nations

Three games played and maximum points obtained for Northern Ireland and Iceland has placed them in a good position in their quest to end their respective hiatuses from international competitions. Having never qualified for the European Championships and possessing only limited exposure at World Cups (Northern Ireland have qualified three times – 1958, 1982 and 1986 whilst Iceland have never made it) both nations are desperate to qualify for France 2016. The startling improvements in both sides over recent years have given hope to their legions of fans who are praying that this is the time that they will make it. Having suffered heartbreak during the last World Cup qualifying campaign by narrowly missing out thanks to a playoff defeat by Croatia, Iceland have once again stepped up and are showcasing  the talents of what many are describing as a new golden generation. Convincing wins over Turkey and Latvia were swiftly followed by a shock 2-0 win over Holland on Monday past that has left Lars Lagerbeck’s side top of Group A, level on points with the Czech Republic. To suggest Holland were off the pace would be accurate with their World Cup heroic’s still heavy on their legs but credit must be given to Iceland who battled hard and created several good chances throughout the game and deserved the points. Whilst Holland licks their wounds under new coach Guus Hiddink, Iceland can prepare for their next game against the Czech’s safe in the knowledge that significant progress has been made in their bid to qualify for France.

Iceland continue to show improvements with a well fought 2-0 win over Holland (Image from Getty)

Iceland continue to show improvements with a well fought 2-0 win over Holland
(Image from Getty)

In Group F, Northern Ireland gave their chances a dramatic boost with three stunning wins over the Faroe Islands, Hungary and Greece putting them top of the pile. Norwich striker Kyle Lafferty has been in exceptional form scoring in all three games but it’s at the back that Northern Ireland have looked so impressive. Roy Carroll has rolled back the years with a series of fine performances in goal whilst Aaron Hughes and Gareth McAuley have marshaled the defense against some top opposition. In the last game against Greece in particular, the Northern Irish backline stifled attack after attack by the Greeks who like Holland have failed to spark under a new manager, Claudio Ranieri. The group is far from over for Northern Ireland with a long way still to go including tough matches against Finland, Romania and Greece to come but manager Michael O’Neill will take much optimism from the performances of his team in their opening few games which has left his side with a strong chance of qualification.

Lafferty sinks Greece (Image from Getty)

Lafferty sinks Greece
(Image from Getty)

The World Cup hangover appears to have affected several of Europe’s top nations including its current world champions. Having gone all the way in Brazil, Germany looked odds on favourites to top their group and progress to the European Championships in France for a shot at winning an historic double. But it would appear that the hangover from the party following their World Cup win has not yet subsided after three below par performances. One win, a draw and a shock defeat to Poland has Joachim Low’s team lying in third place in the group on four points with it all to do. After the retirement of the influential defensive pair of Philip Lahm and Per Mertesacker, Germany have looked less than convincing at the back. Manager Joachim Low has drafted in several potential solutions but none look as convincing as the exiting duo. Germany’s problems are not just limited to the back either with issues upfront as well. With Miroslav Klose finally calling time on his international career and an injury to Chelsea’s Andreas Schurrle, the World champions have struggled to convert the simplest of chances in their last three games. In total Germany created 35 chances in their opening group games against Scotland, Poland and Republic of Ireland converting only three of them. Borussia Monchengladbach striker Max Kruse has been identified as the successor to Klose’s crown but has yet to replicate his goal scoring club form on the international stage.

Kruse has yet to replicate his club form for Germany (Image from PA)

Kruse has yet to replicate his club form for Germany
(Image from PA)

Scotland’s chances of reaching their first international tournament in over 16 years stayed on track with a well fought 2-2 draw with Poland. After losing to Germany in game one and then beating Georgia at Ibrox on Saturday by a single goal, Gordon Strachan’s team travelled to Warsaw to face a buoyant Poland, who had surprised many with their 2-0 win over Germany. The game was ninety minutes full of end to end action with neither team willing to walk away with nothing. In the end a draw was a fair result and leaves both teams in contention for qualification. Next up for Strachan and Scotland is a home match against Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland with both managers knowing that only three points will do in what is becoming an increasingly open group. Having held Germany to a 1-1 draw in their last match (thanks to a 94th minute equalizer by John O’Shea), the Republic travel to Glasgow next month with seven points from a possible nine. After collecting maximum points against Georgia and Gibraltar in the first two matches, the hard fought point against an arguably tougher foe in Germany will give the Republic of Ireland belief that they can beat Scotland in their own back yard. With all time leading goal scorer Robbie Keane back firing at all cylinders, the Scots will need to be cautious next month if they are to gain any points.

John O'Shea scores a last minute equalizer against Germany (Image from BPI/Kieran McManus)

John O’Shea scores a last minute equalizer against Germany
(Image from BPI/Kieran McManus)

Wales too are playing a cautious game after an impressive start to their qualifying campaign. Wins over Andorra and Cyprus plus a 0-0 draw with Bosnia has put Wales top of the group but with a series of difficult matches ahead against Belgium and Israel, Wales are taking nothing for granted. Led by the talents of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, this youthful looking Welsh side hold strong belief that they can reach France 2016 and end the welsh fans misery. Having only ever reached one World Cup (1958) and one European Championship (1976), the welsh fans have been starved of competitive international tournaments for too long and are now looking towards manager Chris Coleman and his new batch of players to correct this problem. Hope is high in the welsh valleys but like the Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Scotland there is still a long way to go.

Share your thoughts with us now on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog

Billionaire Dream In Tatters As Platini Clamps Down On Finances

Changes ahead for Kerimov (Image from Business Insider)It was a project constructed to fail from the start but the decline of Anzhi Makhachkala has happened not because its wealthy owner has lost interest, but UEFA is forcing its hand as the governing body tries to grab back control of the game. Over the past decade, money (in particular from Russia and foreign shores) has threatened to tear apart the infrastructure of the game in Europe by the creation of uber wealthy clubs who can monopolize the transfer market. Chelsea were the first team to start to see this influence when Roman Abramovich took control in 2003 but many have followed with clubs across Europe benefiting from an influx of cash and increased spending power. It has become a billionaire’s playground with clubs like Manchester City, PSG, Monaco, Zenit St Petersburg and Liverpool all being purchased as investment opportunities with the scope of creating world dominating teams through heavy spending and marketing initiatives. Anzhi’s owner Suleyman Kerimov too dreamed of creating the world’s greatest team that would rule Russia as well as Europe but UEFA’s recently introduced financial regulations look to have pulled the plug on his ambitions plans.

Anzhi Makhachkala squad  (Image from BBC)

Anzhi Makhachkala squad
(Image from BBC)

The brainchild of UEFA president Michel Platini, who upset at what he defined as exuberant spending by clubs (ironically in reference to Anzhi as well as Manchester City and PSG), introduced new guidelines prohibiting clubs from living beyond their means, capping their spending power in line with their profit margin. In other words, as of 2015 clubs will be restricted from spending more money than they can generate from player sales, ticket sales, merchandising and other cleared revenue sources. Clubs found guilty of spending above these limits will be fined and banned from European club competitions, potentially including the league that they currently play in. This would have devastating effects on clubs so most are looking at ways to fall in line with the new guidelines before the start of next season.

After the announcement, Platini spoke about his reasoning’s on why this move was so significant to the long term health of football across Europe:

“Fifty per cent of clubs are losing money and this is an increasing trend. We needed to stop this downward spiral. They have spent more than they have earned in the past and haven’t paid their debts. We don’t want to kill or hurt the clubs; on the contrary, we want to help them in the market. The teams who play in our tournaments have unanimously agreed to our principles…living within your means is the basis of accounting but it hasn’t been the basis of football for years now. The owners are asking for rules because they can’t implement them themselves – many of them have had it with shoveling money into clubs and the more money you put into clubs, the harder it is to sell at a profit”

Not impressed - Platini  (Image from AFP)

Not impressed – Platini
(Image from AFP)

Anzhi knows that with current costs per season sitting at $180million and revenue potential at between $50-70million, they have a long way to go to be compliant with the new regulations. That has forced Anzhi boss, Suleyman Kerimov into making some rapid changes including a fire sale of his expensively acquired squad. Top of the list is star striker, Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, who is on a whopping $350k per week at the club. Bought in 2011 shortly after Kerimov took control of the club, the sale of the now 32 year old Eto’o would shave a massive $20million off of the current costs but with only a collection of clubs able to afford his wages and all of them looking at making financial savings, it may not be as easy to get the striker off the books. More likely will be the departure of key players like Christopher Samba (yes, he returned to Anzhi after only 6 months at QPR for $12million), Brazilian trio Willian, Ewerton and Jucilei as well as Moroccan Mbark Boussoufa and Ivory Coast striker, Lacina Traoré, all of which are on high weekly wages. The vultures are already circling about Makhachkala, keen to pick up a bargain or two but with Kerimov keen to get as much value as possible for his stars and still retain a squad capable of competing, these players will not be allowed to depart for cheap. Kerimov has looked at other ways to slice costs and has already made several changes including two managerial adjustments. The sudden departure of Dutch legend Guus Hiddink in June is now starting to make a lot of sense, as it cancels his $6million a year contract. In his place, former Manchester United coach René Meulensteen was appointed but he lasted only 16 days before being axed in favour of Russian Gadzhi Gadzhiev, presumably as he is more likely to follow the orders of Kerimov and club chairman, Konstantin Remchukov who has been given the unenviable task of overseeing the reduction of the wage bill. In a series of tweets, Remchukov has eluded that his mandate is to adjust the makeup of the club to secure its long term future whilst maintaining a squad capable of competing. No statement was made about Meulensteen’s departure but many suspects that the new manager is on considerably less than the departing Dutchman.

For Sale - Samuel Eto'o (Image from PA)

For Sale – Samuel Eto’o (Image from PA)

It’s hardly surprising that the club finds itself in this situation after three years of exuberant spending and trying to build something that wasn’t sustainable. Before the purchase in 2011, Anzhi was a struggling team in the Russian leagues, playing their home matches in the war torn region of Dagestan. Geographically removed (it’s a two and a half hour flight to Moscow) and with a population of just over 500,000, creating a footballing dynasty in this small pocket of the former Soviet Union was never going to be easy. Despite paying very little for the club (reportedly only $1.6million), the revenue potential was always going to be restricted due to the reluctance of people moving to the region. In addition, the continuing war meant that the team could not reside in Dagestan, instead having to live in Moscow and commute on match days for home games, under heavily armed guards of course. As Kerimov’s home town, it is understandable why he chose to invest in Anzhi but as a business, it made very little sense. Now his dream is falling apart as he strips back his team to the bare bones in order to comply with the rules. It’s surely only a matter of time before he does become bored of playing with his expensive toy and drops the club, spinning it into further peril. The club won’t comment on how many players will leave at this time but if Kerimov interest does start to dwell, Anzhi could see all its players leave as the club folds under pressure from UEFA’s mighty hand.

Share your thoughts now on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog