Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.
TOM Daley is gay. You might have read the news that Olympic diver Tom Daley is gay on the front pages of the national Press, or heard it on the national news bulletins.
Daley made his announcement because the caring Sun was about to out him as being a hypocrite or in denial, or whatever a 19-year-old can be when he’s growing up.
GARTH Crooks, the most earnest man in sport, for whom every comment is weighed with the wisdom of Solomon and the pressed palms of a Saint contemplating the spiritual meaning of a John Terry header. And then he pauses. As if deep in thought. And then speaks slowly in short sentences, so that scribes may best be able to jot down his words exactly. He picks. His team. Of the week. For the BBC. It’s not a team, of course. It’s just XI names who have done well over the previous Premier League weekend. This week he made his choices.
Garth gaze upon Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey:
I don’t think there can be any greater accolade than when a former player acknowledges respect for his former club by not celebrating a goal.
IN this video a Spurs fans frots Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, who is doing his infamous impression of a lap-dancer:
TOM Daley the London 2012 bronze-medal winning diver is gay. Yep, finally, Tom has cottoned on to the news that everyone else new. Keeping it a secret from him was getting hard.
The Sun, leads with the news, as do most papers. And the pretty much explains why Daley chose to come out of the closet on YouTube last night.
Tom’s big night OUT - Olympic diving star at gay club hours before coming out on YouTube
He spiked the newspaper’s scoop.
PAUL Scholes misses the old days when he used to amble about on a football pitch, scoring some goals and scything other humans down who wanted to have a go with the ball.
He misses them so much that he still likes a kickabout. Of course, while all his Man Utd mates are doing really exciting things – The Neville Brothers and Nicky Butt are all coaching, David Beckham is stupidly famous and Ryan Giggs is [comment redacted thanks to injunction] – leaving ol’ Scholesy to wander around Oldham like he’s on the dole.
SIR Bradley Wiggins has apologised after cracking an unfortunate joke at the Firecracker Ball in aid of Barnado’s.
Wiggo had donated a signed shirt and when his face appeared on the giant screen he turned to auctioneer Jon Hammond, and said: “You’ve got a posh voice, I like posh voices. Suck me off.”
DOES Andre Villas-Boas read Anorak? Maybe. The Spurs manager used part of his post-match press conference to criticise Daily Mail journalist Neil Ashton. Following a lively 2-2 draw with Manchester United – in which Spurs gave away two soft goals – AVB eyed Aston. He said: “A couple of people insult my integrity, my human values, my professionalism and one of these people is sitting over here. It insults the success that I have achieved in other clubs and I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s a lack of respect and an attack on a person’s integrity.”
Ashton asked what he though was “personal” about the recent criticism of his team.
THERE has been alleged match-fixing in English football. Singapore national Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, a UK national from Singapore, have been charged with conspiracy to “defraud bookmakers by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon” between 1 November and 26 November this year.
The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years in prison, the National Crime Agency said. Four other arrest have been made. They are three former lower-league footballers plus a former Premier League player who is now an agent. None have been charged.
GRAEME Souness is still talking about Spurs in his dire Sunday Times column. This is the same Souness who opined on August 31:
Spurs raise stakes and shame Wenger
WE HAVE had two ends of the spectrum on summer transfers over the past few months from Tottenham and Arsenal: how to do it and how not to. The difference could prove the key to deciding which of them finishes fourth this season to secure the coveted pathway to Champions League football.
He now writes:
Spurs must wish they could borrow some creative midfielders from Arsenal…
Andre Villas-Boas lacks such range and quality….
Their central midfielders are too similar…
And on he goes.until eventually he arrives at Manchester United:
If they want to see how quickly and simply a ball can be fed through midfield to make chances and goals, then I refer them to the masterclass Ryan Giggs gave against a woeful Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday…
You may recall that Souness used his expertise to tell us before United’s tonked Bayer 5-0:
“They will go to Germany with the mindset of not getting beat – and that’s a strange attitude for Manchester United because their approach under Sir Alex Ferguson was to try to win every game…”
Would a 40-year-old get in Barcelona’s midfield? In Bayern Munich’s? In Real Madrid’s? No, no and no.
Is he saying those clubs are ageist because they don’t have the remarkable Giggs? Dunno. But soon he’s back to talking down Spurs:
Bale does get in Real’s midfield and he has a star quality Tottenham’s recruits don’t possess.
Or as he said at the season’s star:
…Spurs have raised the stakes with their signings and I think the challenge to finish fourth will be greater than it was last season.
Tottenham are not going to make fourth this time…
And asking, as all pundit must:
Are they stronger group than they were with Harry?
COMPARE and contrast the world of Gareth Bale, formerly of Spurs and now knocking them in for Real Madrid:
When the final whistle went Bale collected the match ball and took it to the centre circle, holding it aloft to salute the Madrid supporter. - Sunday Times, December 1, 2013
“He’s not an over-ambitious lad” – Harry Redknapp, June 9, 2013
”I think he’s a little bit young to go abroad. I doubt he’d find it easy” – David Pleat, July 30, 2013
“I don’t think Gareth Bale wants to leave yet – unless it was to one of the Manchester clubs. He’s had a new baby and I’m not sure if he’s ready for a move abroad. You have to be settled off the pitch before you get your form on it” – Glenn Hoddle, June 16, 2013
SO. Arsenal’s feisty midfield Mathieu Flamini will abide by the club’s shirt-sleeve rule that states all players must wear the same shirt as the captain – long sleeves or shot sleeves. Flamini, a Frenchman, is not cut from the same satin-lined cloth as compatriot and former Gunner Samir Nasri who has favoured the snood and gloves ensemble.
Flamini is a man for short sleeves in all weathers. Before Arsenal’s games against Manchester United and his native Marseilles, Flamini broke the club rule by cutting the long sleeves off (see above).
Today he went with the rule book and opted for long sleeves rolled up. And he duly scored against Cardiff City.
Were the sleeves lucky for Flamini? Maybe. What is certain is that this Arsenal tradition is bunkum. Gunnersaurus wears short sleeves. And he’s 120million years old. Short sleeves it is and should be. Always.
THE Daily Mirror’s Derek McGovern has moved on from the gays in sport to focus his appraising eye on women in sport.
William Hill bookmakers sticks its logo on that sexist bilge.
And this is the same Mirror – now self-billed as “the intelligent tabloid” – that castigates David Cameron for “The streak of sexism running through the Conservative party”.
PST! Fancy seeing the Class of ’92, the film about Fergie’s Fledglings at Manchester United? The kids will soon be aping Scholsey, Giggsy and Butt as they go on jinking runs to the ice-cream stand. They might even do a Beckham and jizz on a photo of Manchester United’s Clayton Blackmore (pictured with shaggy perm above).
AND on it goes, the daily tabloid grind blaming Andre Villas-Boas for not being Harry Redknapp, the great Spurs manger who won NOTHING at Spurs and presided over a spectacular Champions’ League collapse. Today Robbie Savage has to-deadline thoughts he wants to share with his Mirror readers:
Boring, boring Tottenham. There you go – someone needed to say it, so it might as well be me.
Actually, lots of Spurs face have been saying it. Maybe you’re just following them, Robbie?
If Andre Villas-Boas wants to know why his job suddenly came under such heavy scrutiny this week, it wasn’t just about the six-goal hammering Spurs took at Manchester City.
HAVING dealt with Arsenal being the inferior of Spurs, Liverpool legend and football expert head Graeme Souness turned his attention to Manchester United’s Champions’ League match against Bayer Leverkusen:
“They will go to Germany with the mindset of not getting beat – and that’s a strange attitude for Manchester United because their approach under Sir Alex Ferguson was to try to win every game. I expect them to be cute and cagey against a Leverkusen team who are second in the Bundesliga after beating Hertha Berlin at the weekend. This will not be an easy game for Man United and I am very interested to see their mental approach.”
Manchester Untied won 5-0.
SPURS Balls: Helping us to decided which team is better than another are goals and league tables. Mindful of that we read Oliver Holt in the Daily Mirror:
“WHEN Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid for £86million, most people said it was a no-brainer. Tottenham had to take the money, they said. A few, including Gary Lineker, suggested it was never a good thing to sell your best player. Spurs’ current woes seem to be proving him right.”
SPURS Watch, with Andre Villas-Boas. Today the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel castigates the Tottenham manager: “What’s the beauty of being Villas-Boas? It’s always someone else’s fault”:
Andre Villas-Boas used to watch the game by crouching down on his haunches near the touchline. And then he stopped doing it. Isn’t that strange? People were making fun of him, but even so. If he thought it was the way to get the greatest insight, why would he change?
Sciatica? Getting older? Dunno. You, Martin?
Unless it was an affectation. A quirk, a gimmick to make him look brighter than he is.
IN 1972, Joanna Lumley made the Australian touring Ashes team feel right at home by wearing a bikini in a meet ‘n’ greet. Tim Blair says it’s a “promo” picture but not what it’s promoting. It might be cigarettes or Zoro.
ON August 31, Graeme Souness told Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that football is “not rocket science”. The Gunners need not shoot for the moon. The former Liverpool tough nut wrote in the Sunday Times:
Once again, Arsenal have neglected to bolster the spine of their faltering team as rivals Spurs stock up on talent
Spurs raise stakes and shame Wenger
WHAT facts do we have about Spurs boss Andrew Villas-Boas, whose biggest crime is not being Harry Redknapp? Tottenham lost 6-0 to Manchester City. But it’s not the end of the world. The season is not over – it’s not even half-way through. But the media experts deal in facts. So. Let’s hear some from today’s experts:
“£111m down the drain!” – The Sun
“Tottenham’s total spend surpassed a whopping £110 million this summer” – GiveMeSport
“AVB told to spend AGAIN! After £108m summer spree” – Daily Mail
“Tottenham’s expensively assembled dream team is fast turning into a nightmare at White Hart Lane. This was supposed to be the season that Spurs challenged for the title after re-investing the world record transfer fee they received for Gareth Bale on a £107 million summer spending spree“- The Daily Mail
“Spurs spend close to £100 million” – Telegraph
LIVERPOOL’S Daniel Sturridge only made it onto Everton’s pitch in the 79th minute of last weekend’s derby match. The reason was that he’d been less than sparkling in training. Brendan Rodgers says: “If you want to be a champions, you have to be ready. For this game, I just felt Daniel wasn’t ready.” Daniel went on to score in the 88th minute.
Sturridge had spent the week before the match playing 90 minutes for England against Germany. He said:
“For me, regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by the manager of England you go out there and do the best you can, regardless of whether you are injured or not. The manager gave me that opportunity and it was a pleasure to put the England shirt on. Fit or not fit, you go out and do your best.”
JOSE Mourinho cuts his own hair. He used Fernando Torres’ Remington clippers. With the tune One Man Went To Mow on his lips, Jose went to work.
Speaking at his pre-Basel press conference, Mourinho responded:
“Some people can’t do what I did. In a couple of months I’ll have hair again. Some other people cannot do it. I decided to do it. I asked Fernando to give me his machine and I did it myself in front of the mirror. It’s nice and cheap. Mrs Mourinho? I sent her a picture before I arrived at home to see if I could go in the house… Yes, no problem.”
AND the world’s most hardcore Manchester United fan is…
COMPARE and contrast: Jamie Redknapp on Spurs’s new recruits:
JAMIE Redknapp in the Daily Mail: “Who chose the targets for the Bale money to be spent on? Roberto Soldado is another Jermain Defoe, Etienne Capoue is another Sandro, and do you need Lamela when you have Andros Townsend? Was it Andre Villas-Boas or was it director of football Franco Baldini?” - November 25, 2013
Maybe Jamie should read his own paper:
HOW well are Arsenal doing with Olivier Giroud in attack? John Cross knows. He writes in the Mirror:
Giroud may not be Suarez but he is a key reason why Arsenal are top of the Premier League.
No “may” about it. He isn’t. He’s Olivier Giroud. He “leaves the critics on their knees”.