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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.

Arsenal: Gazidis outlines his vision for life after Wenger; he hasn’t got one

Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal CEO, has a few words to say on the identify of the next Arsenal manager. He’s no idea who it’ll be. He’s had few years to be bold, identify a target and get his man. But instead Gazidis has sat on his wallet and lazily rewarded Arsene Wenger’s decline with new contracts and empty talk of sticking with the same old representing a “catalyst for change”. Wenger has a year left on his current deal. Season tickets are to be renewed soon. Arsenal fear apathy and fans not coughing up. Empty seats don’t sell food and drinks on match day.

Says Gazidis on being asked who the next manager will be: “Someone who plays exciting and progressive football. But I think there is also a significant thing at Arsenal in how the candidate represents the club. We need to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values.”

Balls, of course. The only thing Arsenal’s hierarchy value is money. The next manger will be expected to secure one thing above all else: income that comes with Champion’s League football and a full ground.

Does any Arsenal fan think Gazidis has the nous to appoint a manager of vision, one for the long-term? “This has been an emotional day for all involved at the club,” Gazidis adds, “his achievements are extraordinary… there’s an affection for him across the whole sphere of football. Arsene changed the game, he set a totally new standard, to make art out of football.”

Art? Has he been watching the last few seasons. Unless Gazidis means that functional, boring art of the type that fails to inspire, the stuff used to hide a stain on the wall? What tosh.

Blessedly, Gazidis and the club’s absentee American owner Stan Kroenke have recruited promisingly. Gazidis adds:

“We have a tremendous amount of experience at the football club. [Head of football relations] Raul Sannlehhi has seen several Barcelona coaching changes and [head of recruitment] Sven Mislintat has been at Borussia Dortmund for changes while on the board we have those who have been around for long enough to see even changes at Arsenal. That said, no one here has been through a coaching change like this.”

The best thing about it all is that now Arsenal fans can say farewell to Wenger in style. The bad news is that the money men who have overseen the decline are still in charge.

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


Arsenal finally get shot of Arsene Wenger

Rejoice, Gooners! Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of this season. He was fantastic for Arsenal, who before his arrival were moribund. But now he too is stalled and out of ideas. It’s been like that for years.

The 68-year-old Frenchman will leave in May after 22 years at the club – 12 months before his latest contract was due to end. His record is impressive: three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, the Double in 1998 and 2002 – and runners up in the: Champions League, Uefa Cup, FA Cup (all once), the Premier League (6 tim3s) and League Cup (3). And who can forget that entire league season without defeat. Just incredible.

Wenger changed everything. Out went the booze and the late nights. In came diet, data, athleticism and belief.

The hope must be that the flaky team galvanise to give the manger a great send off and win the Europa League, and with it qualify for next season’s champions League. Don’t bet on it. The current Arsenal side is weak, lazy and slipshod.

The fact remains: Wenger should have gone years ago. His tenure has been endured and endorsed by absentee owners and a palsied board grown fat and rich on the back of Wenger’s uncanny ability to make Arsenal into perennial Champions’ League also-rans. When that cash ended with failure to qualify last season, the owner opened an eye and ran his his tongue over it. This is about money and greed.

Arsenal are now slow. Their recruitment policy is deeply flawed – what price now Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi, two big money buys who look short on skill, aggression, ability and desire. they are a club lacking cohesion. And for that the remote and money-mad owners must share a large slice of blame.

What next? Who cares? It can only be more interesting. Arsenal under Wenger have been treading water for years. He’s going. Good. Rejoice!

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | 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 City in marketing horror show: two videos reveal the fantasy of being a fan of ‘the project’

Manchester City have won the Premier League. In case you haven’t seen these two videos, they provide a sobering contrast between fantasy and reality. Enjoy!

 

The Fantasy of Manchester City:

 

 

 

The Reality of Manchester City:

 

If you’re celebrating now, clap your hands – (who says that?)

If you’re extras for the UAE, say ‘Mike Summerbee?’

If you think modern football’s rubbish, shrug your shoulders.

If you pity Man City, pity Man City, if you pity Man City, well, you’re only jealous…

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United Transfers: Paul Pogba touted to Manchester City and, well, anyone

Paul Pogba was going to be the world’s greatest midfielder when he re-signed for Manchester United. He’d become the pulsating heart of United’s post-Ferguson return to the top. Former United star Rio Ferdinand told us Pogba was “on the right track ” to becoming the best player on the planet.

“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to,” said Pogba in 2016. Pogba, who left United for free in 2012 – joining Juventus, where he won four league titles – was coming ‘home’. United manager Jose Mourinho told us Pogba could be “the heart of the club for the next decade and beyond”.

The money was huge. Pogba was recruited for £89m. The Times heard that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, was taking £41million from the deal. The same paper claimed Pogba was being paid an initial £165,588 a week by United, with an additional payment of £2.87 million for image rights. Reportedly, this season his salary was enlarged with a “loyalty bonus” of £3.46 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | 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


Arsenal’s Elneny has red card revoked

The FA does not agree with Mark Hughes, the red-card hungry Southampton manager, nor the referee for Arsenal’s 3-2 Premier League over The Saints last weekend: Mohamed Elneny’s red card has been revoked. The Egyptian was sent off in the game’s dying moments.

Hughes put on the blinkers and opined after defeat to Arsenal: “Elneny has raised a hand to Cedric’s face. That’s a sending off clearly.” Hughes it not alone is being unaware where the face ends and body begins. Referee Andre Marriner also thought a powder puff push on Cedric Soares’ shoulder worthy of a straight red.

The FA statement tells us: “Mohamed Elneny will be available for Arsenal’s next three games after an Independent Regulatory Commission accepted that he was wrongly dismissed for violent conduct against Southampton on Sunday, April 8, 2018.”

 

 

But still Hughes can’t work out where the face is. He moans: “Elneny raised his hands to an opposition player’s face. In the letter of the law he should have gone.” No he did not. That was not his face.

“For them to appeal that and it to be rescinded surprised me to be perfectly honest.” Honest?

“There were other incidents as well where there needs to be continuity and consistency with the referee’s decision making and it seems to be at odds with what you would expect in certain situations.”

It’s hard to be consistent and honest when one of us seems unaware what the face is and isn’t.

Hughes is the proverbial broken record. Having supported the case for Elneny’s red card and called for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere to be sent off for ‘moving his knee‘, this was Hughes when his Stoke City side drew with Southampton in December 2016:

“The ref wasn’t great on the night. He missed a number of decisions and clearly missed an elbow from Shane Long on Bruno Martins Indi. That needs looking at again. If you’re going to make game-changing decisions like that, then all the other key moments and decisions he has to get right too.”

He’s been moaning for years. This was Hughes in 2012, when he was at QPR:

“The key thing from my point of view is you have to be 100% right to give the decisions and at the moment I think people are guessing and hoping that they get decisions correct.

“Listen, it’s difficult. I’m not here to castigate the referee. All we want is referees and officials to get the big decisions right and unfortunately this weekend they haven’t covered themselves in glory… these are massive decisions affecting people’s livelihoods.

“I think the [decisions] this weekend are certainly down to the competence of the referee and his performance level. They don’t mean [to get it wrong] but surely the level needs to be higher than it is at the moment. They are a professional body now and they have the opportunity to review performances. I just think at the moment it’s a numbers game and possibly they haven’t got enough numbers of the right quality.”

And till he gets hired. Why?

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


The Sun finds drink-driving ‘amusing’

Is driving over the speed limit a lark? Government figures tells us that in 2013, “3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor”. Adding: “The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph.”

 

the sun jon boon

 

So here’s the Sun to deliver: “SPEED DEMONS – Footballers speeding: Mario Balotelli, Roberto Firmino and Yaya Toure are just some of the names caught by cops for driving offences.”

The sorry feature begins: “If you’ve got a fast car, you’re always going to want to test the brakes, right?” No. Wrong.

In the recent aftermath of Lee Catermole getting a driving ban for accumulating too many points on his license, join SunSport in sharing other offenders.

License? In the UK, it’s a driving licence. You are licensed to dive. But the Sun isn’t listening. “[Nathan] Redmond was officially clocked at driving 71mph in his £80,000 Range Rover and given a £1,000 fine,” we’re told. “However, he escaped with six points in his license and his license wasn’t suspended.” Anyone else remember when the Sun was the apogee of the sub-editor’s craft?

 

the sun jon boon

 

But that’s not the worst of it. The Sun adds:

Amusingly enough, some of these lads aren’t best known for their pace on the pitch…

 

the sun drink driving

Drink-driving kills – but it an be “amusing”

 

drink driving the sun

“Amusing”?

 

Speeding is amusing? Driving over the speed limit is funny? What about drink-driving? Is that good for a joke? The Sun notes:

Yaya Toure
Talk about being made an example of.

The Man City midfield stroller/player was handed the biggest driving fine ever – £54,000 – for drink driving in 2016.

You can’t blame Facebook for everything wrong in journalism.  Dire. Truly dire stuff from the Sun.

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Sports, Tabloids | 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


Arsenal cheats inspired by Mark Hughes’ noble Southampton

A pattern has set in with Mark Hughes. The Southampton manager reacted to defeat at Arsenal by arguing that his side had been short-changed by the referee. Southampton’s Jack Stephens was sent off in the 93rd minute for shoving Jack Wilshere, who’d ripped his shirt. Moments later, Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny was sent off for a mild shove on Cédric Soares. Hughes wanted three red cards – two was not enough.

“I think there should have been another one. I think Wilshere should have been sent off,” opined the manager possessed of a remarkable ability to survive in the Premier League – Southampton is the fifth Premier League club Hughes has managed on the spin. Having produced teams routinely bereft of guile, style and hope, chairmen can press f9 on the emergency keyboard and hire Hughes.  “If you look at it again, Jack Stephens has obviously reacted to being pulled back for about 20 yards, which is understandable,” he went on. “It’s not correct, but it’s understandable to a certain extent. But I felt, well, if you’re going to send Jack off, you have to send Wilshere off for bouncing up. I thought I saw a definite movement with his knee towards Jack, so the referee should have just seen that [and] should have sent them both off.”

A move of the knee is a red card?

He then aded: “Elneny has raised a hand to Cédric’s face, so that’s a sending off, clearly. So maybe there should have been three.”

Hughes likes the opposition to be sent off. He wants more of it. This is what he’s said this season:

“The referee has made a call on Alonso. He could have been sent off” – Mark Hughes following Stoke City’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.

“I don’t see why he should be refereeing this weekend” – Mark Hughes wanted Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet to have been sent off in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Stoke. Fair-minded Hughes also wanted ref Martin Atkinson taken off a Premier League game by way of punishment.

It’ll only be right and proper when team facing Hughes’ noble toilers start two men down and have to earn extra players for displays of virtue. The man’s commitment to fairness is an inspiration.

Posted: 9th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, 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


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


Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri blames his team-mates for relegation woes

With relegation looming, Stoke City need a galvanising force to stir team. Stoke are currently 19th in Premier League. They are circling the Premier League plug hole. So step forward, Stoke’s Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri to tell his team-amter how rubbish they are.  The 26-year-old (!) attacking midfielder told Swiss magazine Sport:

The feeling that even a Ronaldinho could do little in this team is sobering.

I had to realise that it’s a bit different when you have players like (Franck) Ribery and Thiago (Alcantara) at Bayern or (Mauro) Icardi and (Mateo) Kovacic at Inter.

Here at Stoke I can not exert too much influence, simply because there is a lack of quality around me.

I can not just Löffel verwerfen (down tools) but it would take something extreme for Stoke in the transfer market this summer to revive my enthusiasm.

It’s not me. It’s them. What a great bloke.

Some stats on the player’s PL season to date:

Matches played: 29
Goals: 7
Shooting accuracy: 47%
Big chances missed: 2
Passes Per Match: 29.93
Duels Won: 93
Duels Lost: 124
Aerial Battles Won: 5
Aerial Battles Lost: 14

Shaqiri the Legend – the movie will be great.

Posted: 1st, April 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Ray Wilkins: Chelsea to the core

Ray Wilkins, the former England captain who played for Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, Ranger, QPR, Crystal Palace and Chelsea (debut at 17 and club captain a year later; assistant manager at Chelsea under no fewer than four different managers; two terms as caretaker manager), is unwell. Wilkins is in a London hospital. He is critically ill. His wife says things are “very bad” with the 61-year-old.

‘Butch’ Wilkins, a media mainstay, has been a favourite ever since when he explained his love for football as being payed to do his hobby.

Until his sacking in 2013, Wilkins represented continuity at Chelsea, a rare quality for club that treat staff as sundries.

 

 

 

And not forgetting this:

Get well soon, Ray.

Posted: 31st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Steve Smith quits Australia cricket captaincy role

Smith Smith is no longer captain of the Australian cricket team. His deputy David Warner has also stepped down. Both players cheated and got found out. Smith admitted that the team’s “leadership group” had discussed a plot to tamper with the ball in the Test series against South Africa. Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera on the third day of the third Test between in Cape Town taking a yellow tape from his pocket before rubbing the ball. Aware he;d been spotted, he then stuffed the tape down his trousers.

 

Down Under Press

 

“We had a discussion during the [lunch] break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition,” said Bancroft. “It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t change the ball. Once I was sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that’s why I shoved it [a piece of sticky tape] down my trousers.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was upset. “I am shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa,” said Turnbull. “It seems beyond belief the Australian cricket team have been involved in cheating. Our cricketers are role models and cricket is synonymous with fair play. How can our team be engaged in cheating like this? It beggars belief.”

Role models. Haha. No. They’re not. But they are cheats.

Posted: 25th, March 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Zlatan Ibrahimovich hails his move from Manchester United to LA Galaxy with full-page ad in LA Times newspaper

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has paid for a full-page advert in today’s LA Times newspaper to hail his arrival in the US of A. Earlier this week, Manchester United ripped up Zlatan’s contract, allowing him to sign a two-year deal with LA Galaxy. He’s still’s full of swagger, but is the 36-year-old Ibra worth it?

 

Zlatan-la-times-advert-galaxy

 

He might well be. With 33 top trophies in his cabinet, Ibrahimovic has aged well. Since his 30th birthday, Zlatan has scored – get his – 251 goals. Didier Drogba scored 141. Teddy Sheringham scored 124. Before turning 30, he scored 232. Ibrahimovic has scored ten or more league goals in every season from 2006/07 to 2016/17.

All hail, Zlatan, then.

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: James Milner tweets his ironing

James Milner, the Liverpool player, has tweeted a photo of himself doing a very James Miler thing: he’s ironing a T-shirt. It really is James Milner and not the famous joke Twitter account “Boring James Milner” that updates its hundreds of thousands of followers with news of him sorting his cupboards, lining up his socks and, yep, ironing.

 

 

Looks like Milner, the super-focused footballer has a sense of humour.

He’s also a lesson in now drive and ultra-professionalism can take a player to the top of the game. Here are few words from people who’ve worked with ‘boring” James Milner:

Roy Hodgson: ”We know what James will do. James isn’t and doesn’t pretend to be as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.”

Steven Weeks, who taught Milner at school: ”James is still exactly the same really nice, calm, quiet, totally unassuming, popular lad he was at school but I always thought that, inside, he had the sort of controlled aggression that takes people to the very top.”

Glenn Roeder: “James can seem a goody two shoes but he deserves every bit of success going. Unlike the vast majority of professional footballers he works to his maximum and extracts every last ounce of ability.”

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal told Jack Wilshere he could leave last summer

Jack Wilshere has still not committed his future to Arsenal, the club he joined at age nine. Wilshere, 26, will be out of contract at the end of the current season, in which he has made 31 appearances to date – the most in a season since 2013-14. The Gunners have offered him a new deal on reduced terms – he’ll have to accept a pay cut on his £120,000-a-week salary. He wants a better deal. And he wants to stay.

“I have got three months left on my contract,” he says. “Ideally, yes, I want it sorted as soon as possible. I want to go to the World Cup and enjoy it but we have three months until then and a lot can happen. Ideally from my point of view and the club’s point of view, they will probably want it sorted.”

 

jack wilshere

 

He might have left the club last summer.

“He [Arsene Wenger] gave me the opportunity [to leave] with three or four weeks left in the transfer window,” says Wilshere from the England team base. It will be Wilshere’s first outing for England since that 1-0 defeat to Iceland in Euro 2016.

“I did not find anything that I wanted and at the same time I was not really fit, so I decided that I wanted to stay and build up my fitness. It was an honest conversation. We have known each other long enough where we can have that relationship where we are honest with each other. It was boiling up for a while because everybody knew I had a year left on my deal and I had been out on loan, got injured, and wasn’t really in his plans. He said, ‘I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go’. Obviously I was not happy with that, but at the same time I was happy he was being honest.”

Determined and cock-sure, Wilshere is the kind of player Arsenal need more of.

 

Posted: 22nd, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


The greatest dive in football: Jean Meneses hits invisible force field

To Chile, where Universidad de Concepcion forward Jean Meneses is taking an interesting tumble in the box, having encountered an invisible force field. He does not go to ground easily. He opts for complexity.

Let’s set the scene. The game between Universidad de Concepcion and Colo Colo is 1-1. Five minutes normal time. Meneses, 25, is inside the Colo Colo box. He has the ball. And then he does not. Here it is:

 

 

Penalty! Seriously. The referee awarded a penalty kick. Fernando Manriquez scored it. Universidad de Concepcion win the match 2-1.

Says Jean Meneses: “One has to take advantage of the fact that the forwards can not touch attackers inside the area. So I played a little bit with the vividness and I let myself fall.”

File unser: when gravity attacks!

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


It’s quiet at Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea because football fans are being controlled

Manchester United’s Old Trafford is a quiet ground. It’s not alone. The quiet at the Emirates is more obvious than a dead nun on a snow-covered hillside. Stamford Bridge is quiet enough for rare newts to breed and raise their young in The Shed end.  But help is afoot. United are looking at ways to bring back the noise. Things under consideration: fans with megaphones; song sheets; the return to standing and a reduction in ticket prices, meaning fans can turn up on a whim and not have to book seats well in advance, pay though the noes and sit among strangers. Only one part of that list was made up. The last part.

 

 

There will be no standing.

Football as we know it changed on 15 April 1989, when 96 blameless Liverpool fans who “neither caused nor contributed to the deaths” lost their lives at Hillsborough in a “failure of police control” and “multiple failures in other organisations”. The police lied and lied and lied. The victims still await justice. But rather than address why fans were caged and police sent for attack dogs when people were losing their lives, Hillsborough was used an excuse to control football supporters – what the Sunday Times called “slum people, who deter decent folk from turning up“.

The mood against football fans was hostile. And then came the 1990 Taylor Report. The fences were torn down. In their the place came all-seater stadia. The ID card scheme never took off – the Tory government wanted football fans to carry compulsory identity cards at matches. But now all fans did get a number, a booking reference and their bank details taken. New forms of control took hold. Spontaneity was out. Chants and language were policed.

So why is there a palpable lack of atmosphere at the football? Because the fans are shackled, treated as problem to manage and control.

Hillsborough: 96 Liverpool Fans Killed By ‘A Slum Sport Watched By Slum People In Slum Stadiums’

 

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool will sell Salah for a fortune and Chelsea are the biggest losers

Spare a thought for Chelsea fans forced to look on as club rejects Kevin Bruyne and Mohamed Salah light up the Premier League for Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively. Both players sold under Jose Mourinho’s regime are shining. Given Mourinho’s narcissism, he’s most likely try to pass his errors off as part of a cunning ploy to leave his former employer’s pained. But if he had foresight, Mourinho would have sold them to Manchester United, pushing Old Trafford towards investment in the coming force rather than selfish Alexis Sanchez – made to look better than he was by playing for a palsied Arsenal team – and the vastly overrated Paul Pogba.

News across the media is that Real Madrid rather like Salah. Those Spanish talent spotters have noted that the Egyptian scores lots of goals and looks a joy to be around. So excited are they by their discovery in the Premier League backwaters that Real will invest up to £200m in Salah. But news from Anfield is that Liverpool will spurn any moves for their star turn. They won’t, of course. Every player has a price. And £200m for Salah is an absurd sum  for a £34million summer signing from Roma.

The problem for Liverpool is that Salah is the star of a team which will probably win nothing.

 

 

 

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Spurs Harry Kane is worth more than Barcelona’s Messi

The CIES Football Observatory has crunched the data and concluded that Spurs striker Harry Kane is worth more in the transfer market than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Total balls.

No disrespect to Kane, but how many football fans will boast “I saw Harry Kane”? To see Messi in the flesh is to witness something extraordinary, a player who lifts the spirits. A friend from Napoli interjected a pub debate on which top player we’d all enjoyed watching live. Names poured out: Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Johan Cruyff, Franco Baresi, Ziendine Zidane and Franz Beckenbauer. He raised his hands and if spelling out a neon sign above the door to the star attraction, move them from left to right as he declared: “I saw Maradona.”

Messi is better. He is also, as one sports writer notes, the cure: “Some weeks especially we need to plunge head-first into the joys of sport after fretting about the contents of a Jiffy bag or whether England fans will be targeted by thugs in Russia or if a pundit should be sacked for gobbing at a fan…Messi is the best antidote to any creep of dissatisfaction.”

But away from the thrill of live action, in an office block in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the boffins at CIES have calculated not only Messi’s monetary value but how he ranks against other players in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. The challenge is to decide which player represents the best investment for their current club. Kane, who cost Spurs nothing to recruit, is worth £173m (€198.2m); Messi, who joined Barcelona as as child, is worth £172m (€196.8m).

CIES explains its method:

The estimated values are calculated using an exclusive algorithm conceived by the CIES Football Observatory research team. An increasing number of professional clubs and football intermediaries have recourse to the approach developed for transfer negotiations and litigation. The estimations for all big-5 league players are available here.

Here’s the list of talent;

 

best players europe money

best players europe money

best players europe money

 

So Kane is worth more than Messi – but only if you reduce football to a sport best watched via screens, accessed through a betting app and broken down to the raw data, reducing every aspect of humanity into quantifiable, anodyne chunks. One day they’ll bring all the greats back to their pomp with a new software package, and show us if Bobby Charlton and Pele were better than Ronaldo and Messi. The fans, meanwhile, should save up for something far more vital: a ticket to see Messi play live.

 

 

Posted: 20th, March 2018 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Activists says PE and team sports are racist colonialism

The latest from the grievance studies industry is that team sports – those English things like football, rugby, cricket – are racist. Further, that we only let the rest of the world play them so they could beat us as an act of colonialism. The problem with this being not the basic facts at issue. For the English, perhaps the British, did indeed invent many of the sports which are now played globally. And there was most certainly an element of exporting the games as a part of civilising the savage natives of other lands. You know, like teaching the French rugby will make them gentlemen. Teaching the Welsh the game will make them something even if not gentlemen.

The problem with the idea though is that it’s entirely missed the proper, Marxist, interpretation of what happened:

Analyses of curricula in a range of countries show how they tend to reinforce, rather than challenge, popular theories of racism. To date, we know little about the contribution of physical education (PE) curriculum policy to the overall policy landscape. This paper examines the construction of race and racism in two national contexts (Norway and England) as a means of putting race and anti-racism on the PE policy research agenda. It adopts a critical whiteness perspective to analyse how whiteness, as a system of privilege, contributes to the racialisation of valued knowledge in PE and asks, who potentially benefits and/or is marginalised within the learning spaces available in the texts? The discourse analysis reveals that two discursive techniques of whiteness combine to privilege white, Eurocentric knowledge content.

Yeah, yeah, we know how that ends, Whitey’s a Bad Boy and a colonialist to boot. Tsk.

But that is to use today’s unthinking Marxism – the identifying feature of which is not to think and not to use actual Marx – to explain matters, rather than actual Marx and or thinking.

Marx himself said two things which explains matters here. The first is that the mode of production determines social relations. How what is produced tells us a great deal about how the society is going to be organised. The second is that capitalism, as harnessed by the bourgeoisie, was the most productive economic system as yet used.

It’s not a big step and it’s most certainly a usefully Marxist one to go on to say that the much greater productivity of the capitalist economy was going to change the society. Which, of course, it did. One of the most obvious ways it did was to make the workers rich enough that they didn’t have to work every moment of every day in order to just stay alive. That Industrial Revolution is what brought us the concept of leisure. An example of which is why football matches start at 3 pm on a Saturday. Because it was still into hte working lives of those living today that Saturdays were a half day up in those Satanic Mills.

All of which tells us why it was those White Victorians who invented most of the games. They were the first people to live in a society which had the time – and thus the inclination – to actually have regular games. Either to play or to spectate. And that’s really it.

As to the exportation, we did export that Industrial Revolution which created that leisure. And the wealth which the industrialisation creates. It’s really not a surprise that as places got rich enough to have the time for sports then they adopted those sports that were already played in the richer places.

So, yes, many sports are British in origin. But not because of racism or even colonialism. Purely and simply because Britain was the first place to be rich enough to have large scale organised sports. As other places got richer they copied the sports as well as the methods of getting rich. No racism nor colonialism involved.

Posted: 20th, March 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment