ENGLAND’S new strip – the first from Nike – ends half a century of involvement with Umbro, the Manchester-based sports manufacturer whose name is synonymous with the Three Lions.
As with all new kits, there has been controversy. The Germans have supposedly complained that England are attempting to copy their success by copying the design of their shirts. However, Gary Lineker’s riposte – “If you can’t beat ‘em…” – ignores the fact that the retro kit most closely resembles the Germans of the sixties, when we were still in the habit of beating the old enemy.
MANCHESTER CITY are soon to be just one outlet of brand City, with a new City branch sceduled to open in New York City. Odd, indeed, that a team owned by Arab Emirates United, formerly United Arab Emirates, should not have bought the other Manchester club, namely Manchester United.
IS triple player of the year Gareth Bale leaving Tottenham Hotspur? Let’s see:
Evening Standard: “Exclusive: Gareth Bale signs £130,000-a-week contract with Spurs … but can leave next summer for £50m.”
The Sun: “HORRIBALE – ‘Spurs fear for the future of their Welsh wizard… Andre Villas-Boas insists it is vital his £60 million-rated prize asset stays at White Hart Lane…
Daily Mail: “BALE BOMBSHELL – Pay me £200,000 a week to stay, star tells Spurs”
The Guardian: “Gareth Bale to sign new Tottenham contract worth £150,000 a week”
No article contains a single word from the player or his agents. (* £160k is the average weekly wage.)
HERE’S one for the file marked National Anthem Disasters. At the 2013 Memorial Cup game between the Portland Winterhawks and the Halifax Mooseheads, singer Alexis Normand was booked to sing the US national anthems. She forgot the words. French-Canadian Normand could made some up in the mode of Ella Fitzgerald’s memorable make-it-up-as-you-go-along version of Mack The Knife (see below). Alas, she didn’t.
FACES of the day: sports bring joy and laughter. It’s not all about winning and money.
Kelsey Lora, from the New York Institute for Special Education, celebrates after winning the 50-yard dash during the 67th annual Eastern Athletic Association for the Blind Track and Field tournament at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., Saturday, May 18, 2013.
FOOTBALL fans can be witty. Reactions to Arsenal’s traditional final day of the Premier League season’s undoing of Tottenham Hotspur have been swift. Spurs boss AVB’s “negative spiral” has been trending on twitter. Other images are proving to be popular:
AS Arsenal take fourth place in the Premier League ahead of arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur, we look back at the words of Spurs’ manager Andre Villas-Boas. Would Spurs undo 17 years of hurts and finally finish the season above Arsenal? Said AVB back in March 2013:
“The difference this year is that we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence whereas they are in a negative spiral and once you get into that negative spiral it’s difficult to get out of it.”
While AVB wonders about his his side’s own negative spiral, we look back at some other comments of Spurs players who saw the rosy-fingered dawn only to realise it was the red of Arsenal disappearing over the horizon:
2013 – Gareth Bale:
“I think now we have overtaken them on the pitch.”
AND so it came to pass that Arsenal did rise to claim to the top four in the Premier League. As tradition dictates, Arsenal won nothing but gained entry to world’s footballer’s top club competition. And as tradition also dictates, Tottenham Hotspur lost out at the death:
PARIS Saint-Germain’s milked every last ounce from being the club for which David Beckham has played his last professional football match. But as the world looked at Becks, we looked at the Ligue One Trophy. No big ears on this monstrosity, just a silvery ball sat on a plinth within a hexagon inside a wheel. It looks not a lot unlike one of the ashtrays that used to sit on the tables at London’s Quaglinos bar and eatery in the 1990s.
Moments of confusion surely even for such a seasoned trophy holder as Becks. Was he meant to hold it aloft of sit back and spit olive stones into it?
SO. David Beckham has retired. How does the Sun salute the great English footballer, a clean-living, team player who despite his off-field branding antics always did his best for club and country? They slap his name and clubs on a bottle of GERMAN beer.
Tabloid rule No. 32: never let anything get in the way of a pun.
This is how you do it:
And the Sun might have gone with these pictures instead. After all, Page 3 is not for everyone:
THE Europa Cup final was vintage Chelsea in the Abramovich era: outplayed for large periods of the match but not out muscled. The Blues beat Benfica 2-1. It wasn’t quite the drama of a year ago when Chelsea snatched victory from an unlucky Bayern Munich to win the Champions League, but it was a late, great win. We’ve got 36 photos of the action and the Chelsea fans in Amsterdam:
HE did it gain. Full-kit man John Terry came down from the stands to celebrate Chelsea’s Europa Cup win, and just as he did when the Blues won the Champions’ League last season, changed from casual clothes into full Chelsea kit. For added hilarity, he positioned his daughter at the very centre of the team photo. In years to come, when memories have faded, JT will be the family man who with his team of Terrios conquered Europe.
Terry’s kits during the match, in which he played no part.
WHEN Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United manager, The Guardian’s Daniel Harris put pen to paper:
…his retirement is a loss not only to those with an affiliation to United, but to almost all who share the football obsession – even supporters of his club’s greatest rivals will feel differently in his absence. This is because Fergie is never boring; he never lets us forget that we’re alive, because he never forgets that he is.
And this gift extends far beyond football. He has a majestic turn of phrase, a wide and deep range of interests, and perhaps the most absorbing, rhapsodic, infectious, enormous smile in the history of faces. No one enjoys joy quite like him, and this, above all else, is his eternal lesson: the buzz of being alive is a good one; be damn sure to make the most of it.
FIGHT! The best unscheduled on-field sports fight I ever saw live was Manchester United v Arsenal in 1990. That was 21-man brawl (only David Seaman stayed clear of the argy-bargy). Compared to this, however, it was child’s play. In the Russian hockey youth match, a fight breaks out. The referee is not a giant. The fighters really are so very small.
LA LAKERS BASKETBALLER Kobe Bryan has posted a photo of surgery on his Achilles injury. The surgery was on April 14. He posted the photo today.
HOW will we remember Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson? Maybe it’ll be for his singing voice? In this clip, the great manager sings I Would Walk 500 Miles:
FAREWELL, Alex Ferguson.The Manchester United manager’s last match for the club at Old Trafford saw the Red Devils secure a late win over Swansea, with Rio Ferdinand smacking home the winning goal on 87 minutes. Would it ever be anything other than late winner to mark Fergie’s last match?
ONCE upon a time, we are always told, the FA Cup Final was one of only two games shown live on television each year. (The other being the England v Scotland fixture in the late and unlamented Home International tournament.)
And in the days before video recorders, there were few opportunities to relive those magical moments.
You could look at your rosette, with its odd-looking cup.
You could read your official match programme, with its pages of Double Diamond ads (and in the case of the 1946 final, the news that, along with their “stockings”, Charlton Athletic wore white knickers, and Derby black).
You could watch a goal again and again by flicking the pages of a flip-book.
You could buy Super-8 films – if you had a projector, and weren’t too bothered about burning the living room curtains as the celluloid caught light.
Or more timid souls might have opted for a souvenir LP of the match commentary.
For most, however, the gift that kept giving was the Cup Final Song, usually sung by the lads themselves and carefully mixed to hide the vocal shortcomings therein. Some made the pop charts; others disappeared into oblivion. Here’s ten of the best.
The Anfield Rap came from left-field before the 1988 FA Cup final against Wimbledon and the only fond memory of that occasion for Reds fans.
9. Stoke City
The Potters’ ponderous We’ll Be With You was the soundtrack for their far-from-ponderous League Cup victory in 1972.
Good Old Arsenal is a strange hybrid. The tune is ‘Rule Britannia’ and the lyrics (such as they are) were penned by Jimmy Hill – a man with no connection to the club.
Plenty of club songs in their locker, including this effort from the sixties.
But their representative here is Here We Go – an interesting take on the theme song from the miners’ strike. In another interesting twist, it was recorded after their 1984 FA Cup win.
6. Leeds United
A-side Leeds United made the charts, but like a Beatles single, it was the B-side (Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! commonly known as Marching On Together) that endured.
The Pensioners’ anthem Blue Is The Colour was recorded not for the famous 1970 FA Cup Final, but for the 1972 League Cup Final, which they lost to Stoke. This video shows the recording session, including a very drunk Alan Hudson, who probably hadn’t recovered in time for the final.
4. West Ham United
A valiant, if somewhat dated, reggae version of the Hammers standard, performed by Bonzo, Sir Trev and pals for the 1975 FA Cup Final against Fulham.
3 Crystal Palace
The Dave Clark Five’s Glad All Over became the Palace anthem during the 1960s, so it was the obvious choice for the team to record for the Wembley debut in the 1990 FA Cup Final.
2 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs had plenty of cup form in the studio. The Cockerel Chorus hit the carts in the early 1970s with Nice One Cyril, and a decade later came Ossie’s Dream, recorded by Chas & Dave with the ‘Tottingham’ squad. The duo would go on to pen two more cup final tunes: Hot Shot Tottenham in 1987 and, best of the lot, Tottenham, Tottenham in 1982. Here it is on Top of the Pops.
Not an obvious choice, perhaps, but a classic nonetheless. Recorded decades before the club’s first FA Cup Final in 2004, Let ’Em Come was the theme tune for the road to Wembley. A rousing tune with pleasingly menacing undertones.
ALL that money and Manchester City couldn’t win the FA Cup. The silver goes to Wigan Athletic, a club that has placed little emphasis on building the global brand and turning their kit into a nylon Mao suit for the throbbing Eastern fan base. Wigan have claimed their first major trophy in their 81-year history. Ben Watson’s last-minute goal won the FA Cup final at Wembley. Wigan goes mad (including the bits clad in ubiquitous Manchester United red). And Manchester City get ready to chuck loads more cash at the project based on vanity. Can City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour (current spend: about 500million), ever be happy? Does he fancy the long attritional fight that wins titles? The club’s manager Roberto Mancini delivered City’s first title for 44 years in thrilling style but he’s on his way. In modern football’s money pit, when fans are over-regulated into wallpaper in a gentrified and commercialised game, it’s heartening that Wigan can win. Of course it it. But ask Wigan fans if they’d like a moneybags Sheikh to buy their club and most would say ‘yes’….
FANS at the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team got more than they bargained for when the kiss cam did the rounds at their stadium.
Normally, when the kiss cam zooms in on two people, they kiss and everyone whoops. It being America, they only look out for straight couples, but you have to give the USA a little leeway, what with it being 10 minutes old compared to the rest of the world.
SO. Why did Sir Alex Ferguson quit as manager of Manchester United? The Mirror was scooped by pretty much every other news organ on Earth – the paper claimed Fergie was looking for a number two as the Telegraph was announcing the manager’s retirement. Today the Mirror will restore it sense of pride by revealing why Ferguson really quit.
The Mirror leads “Married for 47 years, Sir Alex finally quits for the sake of his wife”.
SIR Alex Ferguson has quite as Manchester United’s manager. One of his former players, Steve Bruce, now manger of Hull City, gives his views on the great manager’s retirement:
“I think we’re shocked because nobody has seen it coming… He must have thought long and hard… It’s going to be a big hole to fill.”
Old Mr Anorak’s adolescent son can’t stop sniggering. Can’t think why…
Photo: New Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who will be in charge of the team for the first time at Oxford tomorrow. Date: 07/11/1986
HOW did the papers report the news that Sir Alex Ferguson is quitting Manchester United?
The Sun (back page): “Fergie in quit frenzy”
Daily Mail (back page): “Ferguson to quit rumour rocks United”
The Times (Page 60 of 64): “United plan statement as doubts grow about future of Ferguson – Health issues fuel speculation of Moyes role”
The scoop was with The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden, whose paper led with:
“Fergie Time? Sir Alex considering calling time on United career”
Ferguson’s United future was shrouded in doubt on Tuesday night with the Scot understood to be giving serious consideration to ending his 26-year reign as manager.
And the Daily Mirror?
Alan Marshall wrote:
It has been reported that Fergie is ready to make an SOS call for a new No.2 as he prepares for life after his hip op.
Still, Fergie might be back for a few minutes yet…
SO. Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer manager of Manchester United. Chances are David Moyes soon will be. The current Everton boss has the accent and the drive. But does he have the head for it?