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Spurs balls: £120m on five new players and just one out

No soon do we read in the Telegraph that Mauricio Pochettino has “hinted” at his imminent departure from Spurs – which he sort of did and sort of didn’t – than the Independent says his club will spend – get his – “at least £120m” on new players this summer.

The player the Indy “understands” Sours will buy are Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and West Brom pair Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez. All are being “considered”. And where are they all going to play, then? This is utter guff from the Indy, which cites not a single source for its story.

The Indy reasons that Spurs will balance he books with the sale of Toby Alderweireld.

The Indy’s shameless clickbaiting is lampooned by its own lay-out: Zaha stays!

 

independent clickbait spurs

 

 

Says Zaha:

“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else. I am enjoying my football here and just focused on us being a stable club and not having to listen to all the speculation about us getting relegated.”

Words on Spurs:  none.

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal: Wenger gives a ‘heavy hint’ he’ll stay

The Daily Mirror has been guessing about the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal for so long, the feeling was that eventually the paper would get it right. The “WE told you so!” headlines would mask the myriad times when the paper got it utterly wrong.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

So how did the ‘intelligent tabloid” report on Wenger and Arsenal on the very day when he announced his departure at his season’s end?’ Well, like this:

Wenger gave a further heavy hint he will still be at the Emirates next season when he insisted there were no issues with the Arsenal crowd, despite fans staying away in their droves from recent home matches

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

Daily Mirror fails to nail it – again

 

Ah:

 

arsene wenger daily mirror

In the Mirror on the day Wenger announced his Arsenal departure

 

Oh dear. Even a stopped watch is right twice a day…

 

 

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: Harry Kane is ‘greedy’ and ‘self-serving’ for telling the truth

“Harry Kane strikes to put Tottenham in front,” says NBC, which broadcast Premier League “soccer” to a US audience. The story continues: “Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son walks the tight rope on the endline [touchline] and lays the ball off to Harry Kane who smashes a shot into the goal to make it 1-0 against Brighton.”

But the need for controversy is all powerful. And so it is that the Sun can watches the same goal and cry on its back page: “Harry Kane claimed another goal in his hunt for the golden boot – despite not getting the final touch.”

 

the sun harry kane

 

What about smashing it in?

The Sun’;s scoop is based not on the goal but on Spurs’ April win over Stoke, which featured a disagreement over the game’;s deceive goal. The BBC reported:

Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been awarded Spurs’ second goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Stoke after a successful appeal. The Premier League goals accreditation panel had initially given it to Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen.

It said the decision had been reversed “after taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage”.

England striker Kane’s tally for the season is now 25 – four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

So when Kane scored in his next match, the Sun wanted to keep alive the controversy. The story is ridiculous:

His untypically underwhelming performances have suggested he has rushed back too soon from an injury.

Or as the Sun put it on April 2: “Tottenham star Harry Kane reveals he is fitter and fresher than ever after his cameo appearance in 3-1 Chelsea win.”

Back to the Sun’s story of April 19, in which Kane has been expressing a “downbeat demeanour” since his return from injury.

And that goal he claimed – the one the FA agreed should have been credited to him:

England’s star striker, football’s one bastion of decency with no skeletons in his closet and who is revered by housewives and vicars all over the country for being all about the beautiful game, is just like the rest of his greedy, self-serving contemporaries.

So let’s see the Brighton goal – the one Kane didn’t get the final touch on, says the Sun – the implication being that never did scored it:

 


 

Kane;s goal all the way. Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

PHEW! For a while it looked as if Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, was going to be given time to develop as a top-flight England footballer. But the Sun has reached for the hatchet, just as it did in 2017, when apropos of nothing it told readers about the “£30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance” and how he “splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday”.

One year on and in “Manchester United star Marcus Rashford needs a reality check… he has the car, the gold and even the dog but is still just a substitute”, we get more spite.

The story begins: “NO wonder Marcus Rashford is confused.” No, he’s not confused because he thought making a career from a leisure pursuit was living the dream. This is all about the marketing, the hype machine that has turned footballers into ‘legends’, ‘icons’ and  – dread phrase – ‘role models’. So wrapped about a few photos and a video of Rashford advertising Nike tat, the Sun constructs the story of a man in moral decline:

They dunked the kid in gold paint, dangling a pair of their latest boots around his neck as part of another extravagant advertising campaign to promote their glamorous range.

Rashford’s presented as a slack-jawed, mentally negligible clothes horse. And he’s guilty. He’s guilty of not being the best footballer in the world and playing for Real Madrid:

This is not Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his 11th successive Champions League match with Real Madrid’s last-minute penalty against Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

No. It’s Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford wearing “glamorous” man-made fibres.

When Rashford returned to the day job at Old Trafford, he was still a Manchester United substitute. He is living in a bubble, a cosseted world that will seem pretty cool to a kid who grew up in Wythenshawe… Nike are taking full advantage of that innocence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Manchester Untied fans are not wild about Depay

Clickbait time now, as we read in the Manchester Evening News about Memphis Depay, the Dutch footballer who joined Manchester United for €35,000,000 in June 2015 and on January 20 2017 moved to Olympique Lyonnais for €18.5million. News is that Memphis has been on the phone, a happening retold in the MEN story: “Manchester United fans sent wild after Memphis Depay’s cryptic Instagram post.”

Wild! Well, he is the new Paul Pogba:

Eager to avoid a Pogba-like scenario, when a young talent goes on to flourish elsewhere, United included a buy-back clause in the £22m deal that took Memphis to Lyon in January, 2017.

Why United wold want him is moot. Depay plays on the left of a front three or as a central striker. Where would he play at United? And talk of his United return is astonishing guesswork. The entire story is based around an Instagram post. Memphis is seen walking by a plane. He is on the phone. He writes: “Touch down in….? on the phone with…?”

Is the answer, Syria and Vladimir Putin? Or how about, Orlando and Mickey Mouse? Or how about the guess by ‘Georgeshap’, who noted: “Back in Manchester to get things back on track with United.”

And from that the MEN has its story.

And is buy-back clause is not as the MEN described it when he left for Lyons. Back then the paper told its readers:

It will mean a loss for the Reds who paid PSV Eindhoven £26.3m to take him to Old Trafford in 2015. Because of that United have insisted on a first-refusal buy-back clause and a sell-on clause should they choose to let him go elsewhere.

It’s not him United want. It’s a chance to mitigate the financial loss.

 

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Pep Guardiola is nicking a living at Manchester City

Manchester City were a little unlucky to lose 5-1 to Liverpool in the Champions’ League. Raheem Sterling should have been awarded a penalty in the first game; and City should have been just 3-2 down when the referee wrongly disallowed a goal that had gone in off Liverpool’s James Milner. But to Stan Collymore, a Cup result was all about puncturing the Pep Guardiola bubble:

Tweeting under @StanCollymore, the former Liverpool player notes:

“Changed the game”
“Never seen anything like this ”
“Revolutionary”
“Favourites for the quadruple ”
“Greatest team ever in English football ”

Not one or two, the most sycophantic press pack ever towards one man, desperate for the exclusive 1 on 1 sit down.

Sycophantic cobblers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 11th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Pray 4 Henrikh Mkhitaryan; Arsenal star will play again

In the over-heated,  clickbait-heavy world of online football journalism, any injury is potentially cataclysmic. And so it was when Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured his knee in the Gunners’ 4-1 Europa League win over CSKA Moscow. Newspapers’ websites were full of news that the Armenian “could” miss the rest of the season. And that was before he’d even had a scan. Many wondered if Mkhitaryan would ever play again. We thought he’d be back in a couple of weeks. But the narrative was very much on the side of doom:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

A few days on and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tells media: “He’s got knee ligament damage. He will not be available for Thursday and not for Newcastle and certainly not for the week after, when we play West Ham. I think he will miss these games for sure, but he could still play at the end of the season.”

And how did the newspapers broadcast this update? Well, the Mirror and Telegraph said not a word. Bad news is so much more clickable.

But the London Standard notes:

Initial fears had Mkhitaryan out for the remainder of the term after limping out of the Europa League quarter-final first leg on the hour mark, with scans revealing ligament damage to his knee.

However Wenger, who had expressed concern that the Armenian could be sidelined for “several weeks”, now expects Mkhitaryan to only miss Arsenal’s next three games.

That’s quite a change from the paper’s earlier news: “Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger.”

He confirmed nothing of the sort – how can you confirm something that only could or could not happen?

Anyhow, it;s good news. Mkhitaryan walks! It’s a miracle. #pray4Miki

Posted: 8th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan ‘could’ return in 2 weeks

Injury forced Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan to come off early during the Gunners’ 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow. Facing the media after that Europa Cup quarter-final tie, in which Arsenal were sensational in attack and shaky at the back  – better shooting from CSKa would have have hurt them – Arsene Wenger talked of the Armenian international.

This is the full text of that he said about Mkhitaryan:

Micki came off and he will be out for Sunday. He has a scan and the fear is that his medial knee ligament has been touched. We’ll know more about that soon. For how long he will be out, I don’t know.

When pressed if he thought Mkhitaryan could be out for a number of weeks, Wenger told Sky Sports News: “I fear this. I hope I’m wrong.”

Cue the doom-mongers and what “could” happen (none of it’s good):

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of Arsenal season with knee injury – Daily Telegraph

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could miss rest of the season after fears of knee ligament damage – Daily Mirror

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan could face several weeks on sidelines, confirms Arsene Wenger – Evening Standard

Or else he, you know, could not.

The big fixture for Arsenal is the Europe League semi-final, scheduled to be played on the 26/04/18 and 03/05/18.

And what if it is medial ligament damages, brought about by a clash of knees, as happened to Mkhitaryan? The BBC tells us:

Return?
You can have a minor pull which heals within a few weeks, or a major pull which takes between one and three months.

If it is a medial ligament issue, all could be well in a few weeks.

If it is completely torn you could be out for a year.

It’s not.

Treatment
Most cases do not require operations, but occasionally people run into major trouble.

The medial ligament is linked to the cartilage so further problems can result.

Physiotherapy is used as the medial ligament, being outside the joint, heals more easily than the internal cruciate ligaments.

Not so bad, then.

Cruciate injuries, however, require surgery to repair the damaged ligament and several hundred such operations are carried out on sports stars each year.

By way of comparisons, Manchester City’s damaged his medial collateral ligament on New Year’s Eve. He next played for City’s first team on February 25.

And the NHS tells us: “Most simple MCL sprains will recover in 2-4 weeks”.

So Mkhitaryan could be back in two weeks.

Posted: 6th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool and the Moses Simon rumour

The BBC gossip page continues to be a haven for fake news and transfer balls. Today the BBC tells us: “Liverpool are considering a move for Gent’s £13m-rated Moses Simon, 22, with Newcastle and Brighton also interested in the Nigeria winger.” Who is Mosses Simon? And why would Liverpool want him?

The source for the Beeb’s story is “HLN – in Dutch”.  I don’t speak Dutch – not even as badly as him – so this is the story put though the Google Translate mincer:

 

moses simon liverpool ball

 

 

Newcastle is interested in Simon

Newcastle has Moses Simon on his wish list. The ‘Magpies’ sent scouts to Nigeria-Serbia, but in that game Simon only started after 77 minutes. On Sunday, Newcastle was present at the Astridpark, where Simon impressed for the rest. Newcastle seems to be cut to size for the 22-year-old Nigerian winger, who last week in an interview with this newspaper said he wants to go to a Premier League club where he is more or less certain that he will play. Simon is aware of the interest. AA Gent is prepared to work on a transfer this summer “at the right price”. (RN / NP)

Mentions of Liverpool: none.

 

liverpool balls

 

Undeterred by the nonsense, the Mirror repeats the story:

Liverpool are said to be considering a move for Nigerian star Moses Simon.

Who says?

Simon is thought to be on the radar of Newcastle and Brighton but Liverpool have now entered the running. Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws claim the Premier League trio are all monitoring the winger, who could make Nigeria’s World Cup squad.

Simon is likely to cost around £13million, should he move on.

Nope. The Mirror links to the story on HLN – the same story we can see above. HLN makes no such claim.

Total balls, then.

 

Moses Simon balls

 

But here it is again in the Sun. The paper’s source? The same HLN article that makes no mention of Liverpool.

And the nonsense spins and spins. Website HITC notes:

Why Moses Simon would benefit from choosing Newcastle over Liverpool

He’s wanted by Liverpool? Says who?

Although, after claims made by the Sun, this could happen anyway. Because it is understood that Liverpool are also very interested in a player who could provide a test of Mike Ashley’s ambition due to his £13 million price-tag.

A link directs readers to the Sun’s article – the one based on the non-existent story on HLN.

And here’s the same balls on ESPN:

 

Moses SImon transfer liverpool

On ESPN

 

 

And apart from the bit about the report on Het Laatste Niews linking Moses to Liverpool, it’s all true.

And here’s the same balls on teamTalk:

 

liverpool trasnfers

 

And website The Sport Review adds:

Belgian outfit Het Laatste Nieuws, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, is reporting that Liverpool FC are one of a number of Premier League clubs interested in Simon.

But HLN never said anything about Moses Simon joining Liverpool. The Mirror’s story is bogus.

But never minds the facts – get a load of the clicks.

Posted: 5th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling v The Sun: Manchester City and England star attacked

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is “obscene”. Well, so the Sun told us. The same paper wants us to know: “RAHEEM STERLING has urged England fans to ‘give love’ and cut out the negativity.” England fans, like, the Sun?

The plea for unity continues: “The Manchester City star was battered by Three Lions fans at Euro 2016 – there was even an internet hate campaign to bring him home early from the tournament.” And it wasn’t just on the Internet where the former Liverpool player was getting attacked.

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

To the Sun, Raheem Sterling was a”hate figure”. The paper went studs up on the young athlete. “England failure steps off plane and insults fans by showing off blinging house,” thundered the paper.” Leave House & Garden and Hello! stuff for the newspaper editors end media barons, Sterling. Know thy place! And unnamed “source” opined: “Any normal person would hang their heads in shame after how they performed in France but these guys come home and show off about how rich they are.” He’s abnormal.

A “friend of Sterling” told the MEN newspaper:

“Raheem and his family are really upset that the fact he’s bought a nice house for his mum is being used to hammer him by the media and make him the scapegoat for England’s failure… He bought her the house as a thank you for all her support and help. Now to have his mum’s private life and house being mocked and thrown into the public spotlight has left him furious and frustrated.”

Law-abiding, tough, resilient, hard-working, talented athlete buys mum hard times who knew house. The basta…

And it got worse. Much worse. In 2016, the Sun – yep – told readers:

FOOTIE DRUG DEALER Semi-professional footballer turned to drug dealing so he could match the salaries of Prem stars

Which Premier League star do you think the Sun used to illustrate the story of an idiot, who lives in Bristol? We’ll give you a clue: the player is not mentioned once in the story. Yep, it’s Raheem Sterling.

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity

 

What is it about Raheem Sterling that annoys them so?

Here’s what Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity. I’d love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them. Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head knowing everyone is behind them and, trust me, you would see a better England. If we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that would boost their confidence. It’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback but it’s what the fans want — to see you perform well.”

He’s right.

Posted: 3rd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United are not getting rid of 10 players this summer

Fancy making a guess at how many players are heading out of Manchester United this summer? The BBC says it’s ’10’. the source for the Beeb’s news of this mass exodus of talent is the ever-trusty Daily Express. The Express, of course, is riding high on the back of its scoop that this winter would feature cold weather and snow. Sure enough, the UK was gipped by the ‘Beast from the East’. Yes, the paper forecasts bad weather on its front page around twice a week but this time it was right. It might well be right again – Madeleine McCann will be found; dementia will be cured with rhubarb; the summer will bring a heatwave; and ten footballers will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

The Express lists the players heading to the exit: Luke Shaw, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It then tells us that the ten will be replaced with just five: Gareth Bale, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Willian and Fred. Will that happen? Reason says no. But we did have that snow…

 

daily express clickbait manchester united

 

Of course, in the clickbait world of online journalism, pretty much any claim, however outlandish, can be countered by another outlandish claim, So here’s the Metro to tell us that Fred has already agreed to join Manchester City:

 

fred manchester city

 

And if you don’t believe the Metro, well, you know who else told us Fred is on his way to City? Yep. The Express:

 

Daily Express, Feb 9 1018

 

The Express offers no source for its story of ten players leaving United. But over in the Sun, we read: “Manchester United reportedly set for summer clear out with Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial among NINE facing axe’”. The Sun does cite a source: the Daily Mail. And it reports:

Luke Shaw may as well start planning a joint leaving-do with Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind this summer…

Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling are among those who cannot guarantee they will be at Old Trafford beyond this summer, when United will also have to replace Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.

And from that the Express got its scoop of ten players leaving Manchester United.

Now… anyone know if it’s going to be sunny this July?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Danny Welbeck has now dived for Arsenal and Manchester United – now for England

‘The dive gets a big fat 0. Nothing can excuse it, embarrassing,” wrote the Daily Mirror’s John Cross in his awarding of player scores at the end of Arsenal’s Europa League victory over AC Milan. The Sun gave Welbeck 9/10, not mentioning what Cross called Welbeck’s “blatant dive to win a penalty”. Italy’s Corriere della Sera delivered its match verdict: “Affondati da un tuffo” (“Sunk by a dive”).

Welbeck will discover tomorrow whether he will face any retrospective action for that alleged dive. Uefa hold an option to act if the match referee or delegate raise concerns. But there is no word that anyone has done. The Football Association has the power to review the cheating and ban divers for two games. More power to the FA. But they matter not in this instance.

It’s all rather dispiriting. England players diving is all the rage. Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad features the following forwards: persistant diver Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling (“We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well” – Arsene Wenger), Danny Welbeck, slippery-booted Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.

As Daniel Taylor notes: “Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy have made an art form of initiating contact with the defender and then going down in the penalty area. Marcus Rashford’s dive to win a penalty against Swansea last season was one of the reasons why the FA beefed up its rules.”

Here’s Welbeck playing for Manchester United against Wigan in 2012:

 

 

Diving is a horror. But not enough is being done to end it. The players don’t care. The media admires it – Corriere dello Sport actually made Welbeck man of the match. And the clubs just see it as a marketing opportunity:

 

 

Carry on diving, then.

 

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: no comment from United Nations On Carragher spit – yet

The Daily Mirror leads with a photo of former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher gobbing at a 14-year -old Manchester United fan. And it will not rest until every molecule of water in Carragher’s spit has earned its own headline on the paper’s clickbait-heavy website. There are 1.674 x 1021 molecules of water in a drop of water. That’s a lot. But the Mirror has embarked on its mission with gusto.

There is no word on the incident – yet – from the UN, the Pope, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Prince William and other great moralisers on how Carragher’s flob epitomises the great societal ills at the heart of football, the working-class people who still follow the game and society. But when they do comment, the Mirror will top and tail the words into sensation.

The following news stories have been broken on the Mirror’s website:

Sky Sports to hold talks with Jamie Carragher after Liverpool legend’s “unacceptable behaviour” in spit storm

”Inexcusable!” – Liverpool fans condemn Jamie Carragher after Reds legend caught up in spitting storm

”Vile and disgusting” Jamie Carragher’s previous comments about spitting come back to haunt him after incident with Man United fan

Spit row pundit Jamie Carragher needs to learn that with great privilege comes great responsibility, says Alison Phillips

Lorraine Kelly slams ‘horrible’ Jamie Carragher after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old football fan: “It’s not acceptable”

Jamie Carragher breaks cover for first time since spit storm as he prepares for showdown talks with Sky Sports

“Filth!” Vinnie Jones wants Jamie Carragher sacked and reveals what he’d have done if he spat at his daughter

“I didn’t see her”: Jamie Carragher claims girl was out of sight after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old and her dad

Jamie Carragher backed by former Liverpool team-mate after spitting at Manchester United fan and young daughter

“You couldn’t make it up!” Football fans take aim at Joey Barton as he hits out at Jamie Carragher for spitting at fan

Danny Murphy reveals conversation with Jamie Carragher following Liverpool legend’s spitting storm

Richard Keys reacts to Jamie Carragher spit storm after former Sky Sports anchor was sacked for sexist remarks

Jamie Carragher arrives in London ahead of Sky Sports showdown talks after spitting at fan and 14-year-old daughter

Big debate: Who should replace Jamie Carragher as MNF pundit if he gets the boot after his spitting shame?

Jamie Carragher is removed from first TV pundit role after spitting at Manchester United fan and 14-year-old daughter

Billy Joe Saunders blasts Jamie Carragher for spit shame, branding former Liverpool star a “sick w*****”

Jamie Carragher fans trying to justify his spitting are the worst sort of football supporters – you can’t excuse the inexcusable

Gary Neville backs Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher after spitting shame and insists it “shouldn’t stop us working together”

Jamie Carragher forced to watch moment he spat at football fan and 14-year-old girl during Sky interview

Jamie Carragher suspended by Sky Sports after spitting at football fan and 14-year-old daughter

Manchester United fans make brilliant Michael Carrick suggestion as Jamie Carragher is suspended by Sky Sports

Jamie Carragher apology: Full transcript as Sky Sports pundit admits ‘disgust’ with himself over spit shame

Why Sky Sports have cut Monday Night Football by half an hour after Jamie Carragher spit storm

Monday Night Football without Jamie Carragher – live updates as Sky Sports suspend pundit following spitting video

Police to quiz father of Jamie Carragher spitting victim because he filmed football pundit while driving

Sky Sports presenter Dave Jones’ cheeky last remark as MNF FINALLY reference Jamie Carragher spit storm

Gary Lineker’s Jamie Carragher tweet sparks row with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves

Body language expert analyses Jamie Carragher’s live TV apology following spit shame

Jamie Carragher spits at football fan and his 14-year-old daughter in shocking video following Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United

Jamie Carragher’s former Liverpool teammate hints at personal turmoil behind spitting shame

John Arne Riise urges people to “move on” following Jamie Carragher’s spit shame

Spotter: Football 365

Posted: 13th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ramsey ready for Carabao Cup final

The Daily Express has news form the twilight zone of spots journalism: “Aaron Ramsey to miss Man City Carabao Cup final because of Arsene Wenger.” Jack Otway has news on just what Wenger has done to Ramsay, dealing a “hammer blow” to Arsenal’s chances of winning the trophy.

Reading on and we discover that Wenger has done…nothing. But we do get this:

The Sun say Arsene Wenger has already decided Ramsey will not be risked against Guardiola’s men.

Over in the Sun, then, for news of the “RAMBLOW”. Ramsey is “set miss Carabao Cup Final”. It’s an “exclusive”.

So Ramsay is out. But, hold on. Whose that training with the Gunners?  The Express identifies him:

 

Spotted? The Express is happy to quote the Sun’s “exclusive” that Ramsay is out – defo – but forgot to mention the bit where the Sun says: “And though he has been working hard in training to prove his fitness for Wembley, boss Arsene Wenger is unwilling to gamble on the Welsh star.”

As the Express mines two clickbait stories from one Sun “exclusive”, Wenger tells media: “Ramsey is not in the squad for tomorrow [Arsenal’s Europa League Cup match]. He had a good training session but he is short for tomorrow. We will see how his evolution goes now until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet. It depends how well he can improve the intensity of training.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal want Fekir now before he realises his ‘dream’ and plays in Spain

Transfer balls: The BBC says Arsenal have “identified” Lyon’s Nabil Fekir as their “number one summer target”. The bad news for Gunners fans who want Arsene Wenger to be replaced as club manager this summer is that it’s Wenger who has picked the player.

This news is echoed by the Mail, which says Wenger “wants a deal agreed before Fekir reports for World Cup duty”. The story is backed by not a single source nor quote. It just is. We’re also told that the Lyon “midfielder” has been “compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff”. By whom? Dunno. But in the Sun, we read: “The Gunners chief has been keeping tabs on the Lyon forward, who has been compared to France legend Youri Djorkaeff.”

At least the papers can agree on who Fekir reminds someone of, if not what position he plays.

The Sun then pads out a story based on nothing with this:

Djorkaeff inspired his nation on home soil in 1998 and won the European Championships two years later And Fekir will be hoping to do the same in Russia.

You think?

And why Arsenal? Well, Fekir’s father did say in 2015: “If he leaves, it will be for Arsenal. It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.”

Does he still think that? We can’t be sure because in 2017, Fekir told RTL his “dream” is to play in… Spain. He also said Manchester City interests him.

In other words: get your wallets out.

 

Posted: 17th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United and Manchester City fans duped by Owen on de Bruyne and Scholes

 

Kevin de Bruyne is a terrific player. Watching the Chelsea reject play so well at Manchester City is Michael Owen, the former Manchester United and Liverpool striker, and sometime pilot. The Manchester Evening News picks up his thoughts and thunders: “Kevin de Bruyne has surpassed Manchester United greats, insists Michael Owen.”

Better than Best, Edwards, Law and Giggs? De Bruyne’s good, but is he that good? The story continues:

Michael Owen insists Kevin de Bruyne has surpassed Manchester United legends Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.

He insists. He will not be swayed.

One day on and the MEN has a follow-up scoop, thundering: “Manchester United fans blast Michael Owen over Paul Scholes claims.”

Paul Scholes is hailed by many as the best passer there has ever been.

Barcelona legend Xavi described him as the finest central midfielder he had ever seen – and many a former teammate has praised his pinpoint accuracy. But, Michael Owen has other ideas.

United’s former No.7 claims Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is a level above the United great.

Controversial stuff – and it would have been had Owen said it. Over on the Premier League’s official website, Owen says de Bruyne is not the best passer but the best at “assists”. The MEN’s story is utter bunkum.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Real Madrid move for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba

Doubltess inspired by Paul Pogba’s ability on the ball, match-winning performances and the remorseless marketing campaign that turned a Manchester United reject dreaming of a lucrative return ‘home’ to the club that recruited him from Le Havre in 2009 into the world’s greatest midfielder, Real Madrid are going to try to sign the Frenchman in the summer.

Well, so says the Sun, which says Pogba is part of the Real “plan” to rescue Pogba from the “field of broken dreams”. When Pogba signed for Juventus in 2012, the then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: “I don’t think he showed us any respect at all so, to be honest, I’m quite happy.”

A more desperate less assured United were later “happy” to spunk £89m on the player they thought not worth the £30,000-a-week he was seeking in a new United contract in 2012.  In any case, United say they have “no intention” of selling their priciest player – although the Sun says £120m should seal the deal. And the Mirror leads with news that Pogba is at “war” with the club.

Why would Real Madrid pay a fortune for a player whose not performed all that well? And what of all that guff Pogba spouted when he signed his new super-lucrative deal.

“I came here because I have targets, it’s a big challenge for me,” Pogba said. “I could have also gone to Real Madrid or Barcelona, they were interested. I chose to return, because I had that in my heart. It was my feeling that brought me here. I want to win with Manchester United, I’ve never won with them. I had always said that I would return – I didn’t know when – because it’s a club that I like a lot. I hadn’t finished, I left because I wanted to play. I hadn’t done what I had wanted to do here. I want United to become the great United again. That’s my challenge here.”

The feeling is that United will only flog Pogba should his marketing powers wane. Manchester United are a voracious money-making machine. According to Sports Direct, the three biggest selling shirts this year are: Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United; Paul Pogba – Manchester United; Harry Kane – Tottenham. Pogba leaving only work is United can replace him with bigger star. And you’ve got to wonder Harry Kane would chose to leave Spurs to join Jose Mourinho’s underwhelming United…

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Arsenal sink as Spurs became the new Barcelona

Spurs fans rejoicing after their 1-0 victory over Arsenal are further buoyed by the fact their their club’s rise is coinciding with the Gunners’ fall. But Spurs fans must surely realise that lying fifth in the Premier League, and a whopping 20 points behind Manchester City, is not the mark of champions. Well, not unless you read the Sun it isn’t.

Either Neil Ashton is a work of parody or else he’s lost the plot. The story begins:

Tottenham were so much better than Arsenal it was like watching Barcelona vs Espanyol

It is if you know nothing of Barcelona – top of Spain’s La Liga and with a packed trophy cabinet – and Espanyol – 15th in the table, who drew 1-1 with Barcelona in February, beat them 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey in January and got tonked 5-0 in September; have never won La Liga; but have, like Spurs, won one major trophy this Century.

A derby, yes, but all a bit manufactured, given the dominance and superiority enjoyed by Barca down the years.

Is he saying that Spurs have enjoyed dominance over Arsenal down the years?

Wenger, the man who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, is now out of tricks. He is also behind the times.

All true. Wenger must go. He inspires neither players nor fans.

A young and vibrant Tottenham have finally caught them up, overtaking them on Saturday with a polished performance at the national stadium.

Arsenal are sixth. They were first three times under Wenger. Spurs have not been first since 1961. Spurs have risen. But it is Arsenal who have dropped.

PS: Football 365 report that Ashton’s column once said:

EVERY once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

Where were you when Harry Kane scored in a 1-0 in over a sub-standard Arsenal side?

Posted: 13th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs: Pochettino is right, Alli’s cheating is just part of the game

Watching live sport is thrilling. TV does not come close to capturing the experience of being there. TV offers new and multiple angles of the game, but it’s a directed, edited, desk-based view that comes loaded with problems. When a player cheats, in the ground it’s a trigger for outrage and a vociferous celebration of values that the injured party’s side is essentially nobler than the opposition. The atmosphere builds. We love it. But on the telly it’s a catalyst for debate, none of which shines the merest glimmer of light on anything but the pundit’s vanity.

When Liverpool took on Spurs at Anfield, the visitor’s Dele Alli dived in the box. He wanted to trick the referee into awarding him a penalty. Cheating. It was blatant and punished – Alli got a yellow card and cemented his reputation as a nasty so-and-so. That Spurs did get two penalties during the match, neither of which was clear cut, only added to the spectacle. The post-game chatter contributes nothing.

And three days after the match, the hollow debate guffs on. The Mail leads with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has had the temerity to say that footballers should “congratulate the player when he tricks the referee…. Football is about tying to trick your opponent. Yes or no? The problem is that we are too sensitive about the situation… It was a yellow card, the referee was right…. If you dive and the referee saw you, you are punished and he deserves it. But don’t go more crazy.”

Spot on. Sport is about rules. You know them by pushing them to the limit and breaking them. Some rules are more rigorously enforced than others. For example, in how many games does the goalkeeper handle the ball when kicking from hands? Lots of them. But the goalkeeper still handles outside the area because he can get away with it. In December 2016, following another fall by the slippery shoed Alli, Pochettino said, “when I was a player always it was part of training to try to cheat. At Newell’s, many, many years ago it was part of practice.”

Pushing the rules is all part of the cut and thrust of a live game. It’s only in the TV studio where every 90-minute match must produce 24-hours of deathless rolling-news that every trick, feint, dive, offside and foul is forensically examined until all the fun, drama and spontaneity have been sucked out of it.

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Referees confused over Liverpool v Spurs penalties prove VAR is rubbish

More reaction to Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Spurs. No VAR was used in the match, which featured two penalties for Spurs. It might have been three pens had the referee not spotted that Dele Alli dived. Liverpool were aggrieved by the decisions. Spurs were elated. Would VAR have helped? Well, that depends on which referee is sat in a sealed box reviewing the action on the telly.

NO pens says retired ref Mark Halsey in the Sun:

“HARRY KANE was in an offside position for the first penalty. Yes, the ball has come off Dejan Lovren before falling to Kane, but the Liverpool defender has tried to clear the ball knowing that Kane is behind him – and not knowing if the Spurs striker is offside or not. So Kane has clearly impacted on the Liverpool man, thus interfering with an opponent. The assistant should have flagged at this point so the Loris Karius foul is immaterial.”

YES pens says former ref Graham Poll in the Mail: “Assistant Eddie Smart got Tottenham’s penalty decisions spot-on… it topped a good afternoon for referee Jon Moss and his officials at Liverpool.”

Well done Eddie Smart. The assistant got involved in both penalty decisions and he was right to do so. For the first penalty, he called for Jon Moss because Harry Kane was in an offside position and Smart could not be clear whether a Liverpool player had touched the ball before the Tottenham striker was fouled.

They discussed the situation and Moss decided that Dejan Lovren had played the ball, which meant Kane was onside before being taken down by Loris Karius…

And then Smart persuaded the referee, deep into stoppage time, to award the second penalty to Spurs.

To the naked eye it looked as if Erik Lamela had dived. People who had seen it numerous times on TV replays could not be sure, but Smart was. And he was right.

YES pens says former ref Dermot Gallagher on Sky:

“In the debrief after the game, they’ll be told that they made the big, match-changing decisions correct on the day.”

NO pens says ref Mark Clattenburg on the Times:First penalty

Pen 1. Was it offside?
This should not have been a penalty because it was offside….Second penalty

Pen 2.

This a tough decision. I believe that there is a suspicion of offside in the build up to the penalty. The ball is touched by Fernando Llorente and into Érik Lamela, who is fractionally offside in my opinion. As we have seen with VAR now, offside is a matter of fact and no benefit is given to the attacking team. Therefore, the penalty should not have been allowed. Once the offside is missed, It looks as though Virgil van Dijk goes to kick the ball and then tries to pull away his leg, but there is a still a bit of contact. It is a soft penalty, but not definitely a wrong call.

Clear as mud, then. Just the way we like it.

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Why Sanchez gets kicked at Manchester United but not at Arsenal

Redknapp jamie man united

 

Jamie Redknapp tells his Daily Mail readers that Alexis Sanchez “was born to play for Manchester United”. After that kind of guff, you know you’re in for a cavalcade of nonsense. And in “kicking little devil Sachez is the only way to stop him!” we get it in spades.

Sanchez is, you will recall, the player so good that he was let got by Barcelona, joining Arsenal, where he thrived, earning plaudits for his dynamism and skill. Now aged 29 and apparently reborn three matches into his new career at Man United, Redknapp is seeking signs of messianic homecoming.

Redknapp says Sanchez has been fouled “15 times” during his United career. That, we’re told, is a foul every 17 minutes. “Against Huddersfield alone he was fouled seven times, the most for a single player in a Premier League game this season.”

Or as the ,er, Daily Mail note in January:

Seven against Crystal Palace, four against West Brom, then three against Chelsea – Jack Wilshere knows how to draw a foul.

But never mind the facts because Redknapp has a to-deadline point to make, asking:

“Are opponents deliberately targeting the Premier League’s best-paid player?”

No, not Wilshere. He’s talking about Sanchez.

Figures have been updated, and Sanchez is now the PL’s fourth most-fouled player (56 times fouled), one ahead of Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace; £60,00-a-week) and behind Watford’s Richarlison (Watford; 1st place; £22,000-a-week), Dele Alli (2nd place: Spurs; £50,000-a-week); and Jordan Ayew (3rd place; Swansea City; £50,000-a-week).

Redknapp then gets tautological:

“Players are not going out to kick Sanchez because he earns £350,000 a week. It is simply because nobody can get near enough to get the ball off him!”

But they do get near him. You have to be very near a player to foul someone (unless you’re Dele Alli).

And foul’s only occur when Sanchez isn’t being fairly dispossessed:

 

Redknapp’s not finished:

“It is no coincidence that Sanchez was fouled just four times in his last three games for Arsenal. His head was turned by the prospect of a move and he lacked the desire to get on the ball”

Arsenal’s farewell performance came as a 66th minute substitute (Chelsea away). The two matches before that he played the full 90 minutes in each (West Brom away and Chelsea at home). Did he lack desire? Sky, which also employs Redknapp, says he was Arsenal’s most vibrant and best player during the Chelsea game. The Mirror says Sanchez “looked dangerous” throughout when Arsenal took on West Brom.

Other highlights from Redknapp’s insightful column: Arsenal need to “build a team who can deliver these wonderful performances every week.” You think?

“Eddie Howe ticks every box” for “any owner” of a top 6 side looking for a manager. Although the boxes marked ‘Big Cups Won” and “Availability” do look a little empty.

 

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (4)


Manchester United balls: Marouane Fellaini ’embarrassed’ by injury and ‘bizarre’ Mourinho as Spurs get lucky

When Manchester United lost 2-0 at Spurs to an offside goal and an own-goal, Marouane Fellaini came on as a substitute only to be substituted after just seven minutes playing time. Why? Well, the obvious guess would be injury to the big Belgian. “He came off because he had something in his knee,” Jose Mourinho told media after the match. “Unlucky for him and unlucky for me. He came on with enthusiasm, but he has an injury in his ligament.”

But the media loves sensation. And Fellaini’s knee is not newsy enough in the race of clicks.

 

fellaini mail daily manchester united

 

“Fellaini appeared angry as he took off his shirt as he made his way to the bench,” says the Mail beneath the headline: “Horror show for Mourinho as Eriksen scores after 11 SECONDS to spark easy victory for Spurs that blows top-four race wide open; From super sub to super snub! Fellaini hauled off just SEVEN MINUTES after being sent on to rescue United at Wembley.”

The Sun has a dig at both “bizarre” Mourinho and Fellaini, who was “embarrassed ” by getting injured:

 

fellaini the sun manchester united

 

Get well soon, Fellaini.

 

Posted: 1st, February 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


BT Sport dismisses Jurgen Klopp’s latest excuse for a Liverpool defeat

When Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Bromwich Albion, the game was marred by referee Craig Pawson pausing the the action several times to ask the video assistant to investigate a number of decisions. The first half lasted 50 minutes (BBC). Pawson did his best to stymie all the verve and drama of a Cup tie by taking “three minutes and 53 seconds” (Guardian) / “almost 3 minutes” (BBC) /  “well over 3 minutes (Telegraph) ‘ “four minutes” (Times) to award Liverpool a penalty. It was awful.

 

Klopp was happy:

“Is it nice that West Brom celebrate a goal then somebody tells them it’s not a goal? No, but I think it’s important if a goal needs to be disallowed, it is disallowed. Normally after a game I have to explain to you a defeat which was not deserved because we didn’t get a penalty or they scored another goal.”

So he was not going to moan. Until he did. Klopp was unhappy, accusing broadcaster BT Sports of pressuring the officials to reduce injury time. Klopp told media:

What I heard was that the actual extra-time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it (can’t be) longer than four minutes.

Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don’t know what was afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say it’s now a little bit too long.

BT Sport host Jake Humphrey called Klopp’s claim “laughable”. BT Sport’senior director Simon Hughes added:

I directed the match and I can categorically state that at no point did I (can add ‘have I’ or ‘would I’ to that) ever try to influence the officials, including the allocation of stoppage time. Not only would it be unprofessional, it would also be utterly futile…

So far this season, Klopp has attributed disappointing Liverpool results to the wind, a dry pitch and a midweek tactical session being skipped due to illness.

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sell Giroud to Chelsea for less than agreed price

Arsenal have yet to hand over the £60m it’ll take for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join them. The BBC says the move “hinges” on two other transfers:  Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Dortmund.

We’re told Arsenal want £35, for Giroud, 31.

 

 

No they don’t, says The Metro, which declares: “Chelsea agree to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £15m.”

They have? No. Of course not. That’s the dire Metro, which can’t even get Giroud’s age right:

 

 

 

Football365 then gets itself in a mess over what words mean. Can you “give” a man to another – slavery? – and get £15m in return?

 

 

The Daily Express is also confused. It’s not “agreed” if it’s in ‘inverted commas’. But it is agreed if the story states: “Chelsea have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Oliver Giroud.”

 

 

The source for every one of these scoops seems to be Gianlica Dimario. Who he and why is his word taken as fact? He says he’s a “journalist registered with the Court of Milan”. On his website, we read (through the wonder of Google Translate):

With Dzeko, Chelsea has identified a new target for the attack. This is Olivier Giroud , for whom the Blues have found an agreement with Arsenal on the basis of 15 million pounds plus bonuses. The negotiation will be defined as soon as Wenger’s team will define every detail with Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund will have found a substitute for Gabonese, which could be Batshuayi.

 

The utter balls is underlined by the Express, which on the same page as its report that Giroud to Chelsea for £15m is a done deal, declares this morning:

Giroud crunch talks
06.15: Chelsea are expected to re-open negotiations with Arsenal today regarding the sale Olivier Giroud, according to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague.

Balague says that Chelsea had an initial offer of £20million turned down by the Gunners.

“I read Giroud could go to Chelsea for £15m but I believe #CFC last offer was £20m and was rejected by #AFC,” Balague wrote on Twitter.

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

To recap: Giroud has joined Chelsea for £5m less than a bid Arsenal rejected?

Oh, and in the Sun we read that Chelsea are targeting Tottenham’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, 32.

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.

 

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City’s artists, Leroy Sane’s leg and Neil Warnock’s ‘broken leg’

It should have been a red card. Joe Bennett’s nasty foul on Leroy Sane during Cardiff City’s 0-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup earned him just a yellow card (he’d go on to foul again, get a second yellow and be dismissed). Bennett, the Cardiff full-back, has apologised for the foul that could costs City Sane’s presence on the pitch for a month or more.

“For football in general players are the artists. The only thing they can do is protect them,” says City manger Pep Guardiola after the game. “Referees have to protect – not just mine, all players. Sane will be out for a while. Maybe two or three weeks, or a month, we will see tomorrow. It’s his ankle.”

 

 

 

 

The Bluebirds committed 14 fouls in the match, just two more than the Premier League leaders.

“Did I fear serious injuries?,” continues Guardiola. “Of course. Every team can play how they want. If they decide to play in that way, perfect. But there is one man, in black, and he has to decide what is correct and incorrect. When you say: ‘Why don’t you win the four titles?’ I need the players to win the four titles.”

Cardiff manager, Neil Warnock, replies: “City dished out a bit, as well. He [Guardiola] is in England. What do you expect? I suppose when you’re like that you want everything to be nice and pretty but you don’t get that in England. You get different challenges, don’t you?”

Double standards much. Is the Cardiff manager any relation to the Neil Warnock who after his Crystal Palace side lost to Chelsea opined: “I thought he was influenced by one or two things. John Terry’s (non) booking – if that’s one of my players, it’s a booking. I don’t understand why it’s not an even platform.”

And the Neil Warnock who this season observed: “That’s three or four games where we’ve had crucial decisions go against us. Those are the decisions you want the officials to get right and at the moment they’re getting most of them wrong. It’s scandalous at the moment. I’ve never known it as poor, the officials.”

And what about this in Seeing Red by former referee Graham Poll:

Warnock constantly belittled officials and by doing so and getting away with it he encouraged the climate of abuse and insults which every referee has to suffer.

Everyone who pulls on a referee’s shirt knows criticism is part of the deal but that does not mean it has to be encouraged. By letting the Warnocks of football get away with repeatedly chipping away at referees, the authorities fail in their duty of care…

In Europe, UEFA take a much tougher line with managers and so, in European games, managers and coaches have a less aggressive attitude. They know that if they step out of line UEFA will hammer them. Similarly, UEFA punish any manager who criticises an official through the media. But in England, it is always open season on referees.

Warnock and those like him routinely carp at match officials, their level of performance and even their neutrality. So I hoped he would |be taught a lesson – not for my benefit but for the good of the game. Yet when he was charged with misconduct, he remained unrepentant.

In fact, he said he did not want Premier League officials in charge of his games. He got his way for a few years, because his team lost in the promotion play-off final that season and so stayed in the Football League. Inevitably, he blamed the referee, Steve Bennett, for losing to Wolves in the play-off final.

And so, in August 2003, Warnock was handed a four-game touchline ban and fined &300 – that’s 300 whole pounds – for two misconduct charges. One related to his comments about me; the other was for insulting Steve Bennett during the play-off final.

Fast-forward three years and Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League. Their next match was against local rivals Leeds United who were pushing for a play-off place. Their manager was Kevin Blackwell who had been Warnock’s assistant at Sheffield United and the manner of his ‘defection’ had angered Warnock.

Blackwell and Leeds coach John Carver were aggressively vocal in the other dug- out but Warnock behaved himself until just before half-time when Craig Short of Sheffield United and Leeds’ Gary Kelly went for a 50-50 ball. Paul Robinson, the fourth official, called me over and reported that Warnock had shouted: ‘Next time I hope he (Kelly) breaks his f***ing leg.’

What a viciously spiteful thing to say about any player. I sent Warnock to the stand – one of the easiest decisions I had to make in 27 years – but he complained that the fourth official had it in for him and refused to go. He was out of control.

Guardiola’s response to a nasty foul on one of his star players is measured. He wants all players to be protected. But when put through the tabloid mincer, the Spaniard comes across like a wally:

According to the Mail, Guardiola flounced and screamed: “Leave My Artists Alone.”

 

tackle leroy sane

 

Other papers lead with the nasty foul:

tackle leroy sane tackle leroy sane

As for the tackle, let’s see how the clubs’ websites report it:

Cardiff City official website: not a single word.

Manchester City FC: “Just before the break a rapid Sane counter attacked was ended by Joe Bennett’s poor foul, and the German was replaced at the break by Sergio Aguero.” Plus a story entitled: “PEP CALLS FOR MORE PROTECTION AFTER SANE FOUL ​”

Bias in abundance, then. Which is why the referee is so vital.

Posted: 29th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment