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.
Transfer Balls Full House: Marco Reus Joins Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool And Man City
TRANSFER Balls: A regular look at rumour and speculation being passed off as fact in the media. So, is Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus heading to the Premier League? As ever, the media contest is to link every top player with every top English club.
Manchester United target Marco Reus will cost £40m… Midfielder Reus had a £29.4m buy-out clause in his contract at Borussia Dortmund. But it is understood the situation has changed since Bayern Munich activated a similar clause to snatch Mario Gotze last summer.
TRANSFER Balls: A regular look at rumour and utter balls being passed off as breaking football news in the media. Today we look at news on Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
Sami Khedira is still hopeful of sealing a move to Arsenal this summer despite suggestions that the Gunners have given up trying to sign him.
The Metro does not say how it knows Khedira is hopeful, only that he is. The paper’s ability to read minds is famed.
But over in the Express, the German’s hopes of playing for the Gunners turn to disappointment:
Arsene Wenger is ready to abandon his pursuit of Sami Khedira, Morgan Schneiderlin and Lars Bender. The Arsenal boss is considering deploying Jack Wilshere in a midfield holding role next season.
IS Sami Khedira leaving Real Madrid to play for Arsenal? Transfer Balls – Anorak’s look at utter bilge presented as fact to news-hungry football fans - spots news on the website CaugthtOffside. It is an “EXCLUSIVE”:
The new Arsenal player is World Cup winner Sami Khedira.
TRANSFER Balls: Who is heading to Chelsea?
Today the Daily Star has an “EXCLUSIVE”.
CHELSEA are in talks over a £20m bid for Atletico Madrid defender Joao Miranda…
…sources close to the player insist he would be interested in joining Chelsea.
Number of sources named: nil.
Number of links in story to sources: nil.
In other news, Sky Sports reports, also today:
Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea have completed their transfer business for the summer…”I have to say my club did a fantastic job, and not just because of what we bought, but because we did it in almost record time. The transfer market closes 31 August and we close our market on July 19. We finished the market today.”
The Golden Turd has yet to be awarded for the most fanciful transfer story, but the Star is straining to win it…
JOSE Mourinho says Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is setting children a bad example. The Chelsea manager notes:
“What football players do, millions and millions are watching, lots of kids are watching.”
Well, no. Wilshere was in a hotel pool in Las Vegas. Millions of kids were not watching. One adult paparazzo lens leering at the footballer in his swimmers was.
Mourinho adds that the kids looking in will start thinking…
“…if a top football player can smoke then I can smoke and it is not a problem.”
THE Daily Mail’s Adrian Durham continues his routine attack on Arsenal with a tour de force. Ignoring facts – many of which are stated in his own paper – Durham focuses on three Arsenal players involved for Germany in the World Cup final. Rumours that Durham rehearses his columns by sitting in the shopping precinct and shouting them at pigeons cannot be ruled out.
This week’s highlights are:
The FA Cup gave the fans a great day out, but seeing Arsenal players win the World Cup is a reality check for Gooners who are letting Wenger get away with it.
After waiting all this time they should demand more. And in fairness to Gooners they do want more. In fact they are so desperate for more, they have hijacked Germany’s World Cup success as some sort of trophy for Arsenal.
TRANSFER Balls: What news in the mainstream media of Real Madrid’s German midfielder Sami Khedira? Let’s look at the Daily Express’ reporting on the player’s move to Arsenal.
Daily Express, June 16 – and Khedira is a Gunner:
TRANSFER Balls: Let’s see how the Press deal with Arturo Vidal.
Is Chilean heading to Manchester United?
No, says the Daily Mail.
But the Daily Mirror says:
United will look to bring in Arturo Vidal from Juventus.
The powerhouse Chilean who starred in Brazil is up for a big move and with United having already been in conversation with the Italian club over Patrice Evra’s move to Serie A the signs are good that Vidal will pump much needed strength into the Reds’ engine room next season.
Daily Mail Attacks Manchester City’s Joe Hart And Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere For Following Its Health Tips
HOW football journalism works, with the Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton. Before the World Cup, on May 20, 2014, England were at the Grove Hotel for the Lions and Roses dinner. The charity event hosted by the England Footballers Foundation “raised £362,000 in a night for charity… and even Premier League stars were surprised at that amount of money!”
One bidder paid £10,000 for a round of golf with Manchester City’s Joe Hart and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Ashton notes:
In an era when it is so easy to casually criticise the players, this event, in football parlance, could be described as ‘a leveller’. Every member of that squad, from captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Frank Lampard to Southampton trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw, understood their roles and responsibilities.
ARSENAL’S Jack Wilshere has been spotted smoking…again.
Jack Wilshere – England’s future… pic.twitter.com/9nZ65CsNPR
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) July 14, 2014
That is Manchester City’s Joe Hart in the Las Vegas bubble bath. And just out of shot it James Milner.
NORTH Korea have made it to the World Cup final. The Metro reports:
“North Korea’s state controlled media is brazenly telling the country’s football fans that the national team have reached the World Cup final in Brazil… In a report posted on YouTube, the media have been caught broadcasting that North Korea are on course to win the biggest prize in football, despite not actually qualifying for the World Cup.”
TRANSFER Balls: Is Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira heading from Real Madrid to Arsenal?
The Daily Star manages to link the player with four of the biggest English clubs:
Liverpool and Man United join Arsenal and Chelsea in four-way £24m fight for Sami Khedira
Jack Wilson is in full Balls mode:
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked with moves for the 27-year-old Real Madrid midfielder.
Linked by whom? Jack doesn’t say. Instead he just speculates to deadline:
But their attempts to sign him could be hit by their Premier League rivals… Manchester United were after Khedira last summer and ready to try and snap him up again. Liverpool could also reportedly move for the German.
WITH the Tour De France in full swing, nearly killing riders with wet cobbles and craft ale enthusiasts thrilling at the warring riders like teenage Hollyoaks fans, it got us thinking about cycling music.
Of course, the great music to cycle to is anything Kosmiche from Germany. Neu! albums are pretty much designed to sound like streamlined engineering, powered by human muscle.
However, we’re not talking about the things you’d listen to while powering your pedals (besides, you might not want to ride around with earbuds in, for fear of being hit by a combine harvester or something), but rather, the songs dedicated to those that cycle and the magnificent machines themselves!
There’s surprisingly few songs about bikes (seeing as they’ve been around for so much longer than cars and planes, which have endless ditties in their honour), but we’ve waded through them, missed off ‘Daisy Bell’ and the terrible Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Katie Melua numbers, and found some gems!
Have a listen and do add your own in the comments.
Tomorrow ‘My White Bicycle’
Ace British psychedelic band, Tomorrow, made one album and saw their guitarist running off to form Yes. However, while they were around, they made this tribute to the free bicycle movement that took place in Holland in the ’60s. Please note the cute bell ringing sound effect.
Kraftwerk ‘Tour De France’
The greatest tribute to cycling comes from Kraftwerk, and Ralf und Florian are total and utter cycling nuts. During one Manchester show at the Velodrome, when they played ‘Tour De France’, the Team GB cyclists appeared and everyone got a bit emotional.
Pink Floyd ‘Bike’
The Syd-era of The Floyd loved whimsy with an edge. They took mundane things and made them B-movie. ‘Gnome’ should be nice and it isn’t and, likewise, ‘Bike’ is a pleasant ditty with a knife between its teeth. Please don’t ride a bike with a machete in your gob, thanks.
Tom Waits ‘Broken Bicycles’
Rainsoaked Tom wouldn’t write a song about a perfectly functional working bicycle he’d just bought for loads of money from Evans, which leaves us with this dollop of pathos.
Junior Reid ‘Poor Man Transportation’
Junior Reid is one of the finest voices in reggae and provides this lovely paean to the prole’s best vehicle.
Vivian Stanshall ‘Terry Keeps His Clips On’
When Stanshall wasn’t causing mayhem in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, he was… well… causing havoc all by himself. And here, we have the wonderful nonsense of ‘Terry Keeps His Clips On’.
Deerhoof ‘Midnight Bicycle Mystery’
One of the more unusual bike songs, but that’s Deerhoof in a nutshell. They’re mental. And we should cheer from the rooftops about bands like this because we need their shade in the light of commercial rock.
Ballboy ‘Olympic Cyclist’
This song does exactly what it says on the tin and is wonderful for it.
Livingston Taylor ‘Bicycle’
This is the most straightforward bicycle song in music history, even down to the cutely dull description of what his helmet is made of.
The Bouncing Souls ‘BMX Song’
Bicycle songs aren’t all commuting and aerodynamism – The Bouncing Souls were all about popping wheelies and buying bikes that are less practical and more fun.
Julie Doiron ‘When The Breaks Get Wet’
A lovely, plaintive song which paints a picture of riding through drizzle. A wonderful snapshot.
Dukes of the Stratosphear ‘Bike Ride To The Moon’
Neo-psychists, Dukes of the Stratosphear were XTC in disguise where they got to play with the dressing up box. Here, they ape Floyd and take a bike ride to the moon. Worth checking those guys out.
TRANSFER Balls: Is Santi Cazorla leaving Arsenal?
Metro, June 13: “Santi Cazorla has told Arsenal he wants to quit the club and join Atletico Madrid this summer”
The Herts&Essex Observer added: “Arsenal rocked as star demands to return home”
SPAIN midfielder Santi Cazorla wants to return to play in his home country and leave Arsenal this summer.
ESPN had more news:
Cazorla is quoted as having told a man who told a man who told the papers:
Everyone tells me [Atletico] is a good club, Koke and Juanfran are there as well [as David Villa]. But I do not know anything. Until after the World Cup I do not want to know.”
This site had a fact:
And then… Arsenal put Cazorla in the shop window, literally.
And the Arsenal bought Alexis Sanchez, as told by the Guardian:
A measure of the stature of the signing is that Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Flaimini and Mikel Arteta all cheered when they were told the news at yesterday’sThursday’s official unveiling of their new Puma kit.
The Mail was there (as were we):
Arsenal fans that queued outside Puma’s flagship store for hours enjoyed their first glimpse of the club’s new kits as Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini stepped into the front window of the shop wearing the home, away and cup strips…
Cazorla, Arteta and Flamini were all present at a glitzy unveiling at the Puma store in Carnaby Street, before Arsenal spectacularly unveiled the kits to the public via a 20m high water projection visible from the North Bank of the River Thames, right in front of the London Eye.
And ESPN, which talked up Cazorla’s move away from the Emirates:
…Cazorla, whose superb free-kick in the FA Cup victory against Hull helped Arsenal end their nine-year wait for a trophy, was equally impressed with their new signing and believes Sanchez will help the club challenge for top honours. “He’s a fantastic player and a first class player,” Cazorla said [of Sanchez]. “He will bring even more quality to the side which is why we’re all very happy about it. We can focus on the new season and try to win the Premier League. The FA Cup win took a lot of pressure off us so it was great to end nine years without a trophy, it was very big. We will now go into the new season and try to achieve the same again.”
About that sale..
THE Cambridge University Press has been studying millions of words used to describe each of the 32 nations competing at the 2014 World Cup.
What is your national team’s reputation in the world.
Uruguay’s entry is hilarious..
A RUSSIAN priest has claimed that he is “glad” Russia’s players failed to make any progress at the World Cup as the coloured boots they wore were an affront to God – a “homosexual abomination” if you will.
Writing in his column for Christian website Russian People’s Line, priest Alexander Shumsky claimed that by wearing green, yellow, pink and blue boots, the Russia players were promoting the “gay rainbow” in Brazil, hence their failure.
TRANSFER Balls: Matt Hummels is “exclusive” to Manchester United in the scoop-tastic Daily Star:
EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United step up pursuit of Mats Hummels - MANCHESTER UNITED have stepped up their pursuit of £20m Mats Hummels.
Adrian Kajumba and Chris McKenna have the “exclusive” story. Yep, no fewer that TWO journalists cracked this one:
United have sounded out the Borussia Dortmund centre-half’s camp to see if he would be interested in a switch to Old Trafford.
Sadly no sources are quoted. But one of them may be the IBTimes, which on July 2, reported:
Any sources there?
Manchester United are reportedly set to make a £20m offer for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, according to the Express.
That would be the same Daily Express that shares offices with the trusty Star?
THINKING outside the (penalty) box: tackling the ‘professional’ foul
WITH the World Cup semi-finals upon us, it’s as good a time as any to remember Laurent Blanc, the French captain who received a red card – the only one of his entire career – in the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup, and missed the final thanks to Slaven Bilic’s theatrics.
There were no Gazza tears, just Gallic stoicism. He said he had only himself to blame for raising his hand.
Blanc shared the presentation of the cup with Didier Deschamps, and avoided any John Terry-style ridicule for doing so in his team shirt, but it must have been a bitter pill to swallow all the same.
In recent years, FIFA have addressed the problem of accumulated yellow cards, thus making career-ruining suspensions less likely for finals – although a red in a semi will still see you banned.
But what of the other side of the coin? What of the teams who are knocked out of the tournament because of cynical, calculated ‘professional’ fouls which deny them a crucial goal?
These days, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity is supposed to be punished by a straight red. Sometimes it is punished by both a red card and a penalty.
GOOD news, Liverpool FC fans. Luis Suarez can be replaced. Who says? Why, Tita Camara, that’s who:
When Liverpool sold Titi to West Ham United in 2000, there was much weeping and wailing. But the Reds muddled on. But they pulled themselves together, won the FA Cup, the League Cup and finished third in the League table…
TRANSFER Balls: A regular look at rumour, speculation and opinion backed by anonymous sources presented as ‘news’ in today’s mainstream media. The focus is on Luis Suarez:
Daily Mail: “Liverpool are holding out for £75million but Barcelona are hoping to make the payment in stages, with part based on performances.”
And shirt sales. As the Indy notes:
Luis Suarez is yet to complete his £63m move to Barcelona, but that hasn’t stopped one merchandiser in Spain pre-empting the Uruguayan’s arrival.
Can that £12m shortfall be made up by Suarez merchandise sales?
TOUR de France 2014: Stage Three – Cambridge to London…
AWKWARD Tour de France Vine of the day:
TRANSFER Balls has a quick look at the kind of to-deadline exclusive churned out by the Daily Mirror:
Andy Dunn has words of doom and gloom to Arsenal fans:
TRANSFER Balls – Anorak’s regular look at speculation and rumour being presented as fact in the mainstream press. Today the Daily Mail leads with news that Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Arsenal.
Simon Jones writes:
Arsenal have agreed a £34million deal in principle with Barcelona for Chile international forward Alexis Sanchez but Barcelona are waiting to see if Juventus can match the offer.
The Metro has similar news, only it does that neat trick of altering the fee to stand out as a unique story on the search engines:
The Mirror reads the round-up of figures and opts for the more circumspect:
Mirror Sport understands a deal hasn’t been completed yet, but the Gunners are working to agree a fee with Barcelona.
So. The consensus is that Sanchez is a Gooner.
Well, not quite.
On July 2, the Express told us:
Liverpool to bank Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona jet in for Luis Suarez deal
And on June 25, the Express reported:
LIVERPOOL have already completed the signing of Chile’s Barcelona star, and Arsenal and Manchester United target, Alexis Sanchez…
So said Phil Thompson, who told one and all:
“Just yesterday I heard things from people, newspaper guys who are very close to the ground at Liverpool, saying that the Sanchez deal was actually done.”
Oh, and in case any Arsenal fans are feeling happy at the news, the Independent notes:
So. No deal done…yet…
Such are the facts…
TRANSFER Balls: a look at the media rpeorting on Alexis Sanchez, the Barcelaona player wanted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United (among others). Today the Sunday People (prop. Trinity Mirror) notes:
Liverpool are refusing to give up the chase for Alexis Sanchez – with manager Brendan Rodgers on standby to meet the Barcelona striker. Rodgers believes he could at least persuade the 25-year-old to consider joining the Reds – if he got the chance to talk to him.
Believes. Could. Consider.