Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 10

Sports Category

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.

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

 

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

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

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

He insists. He will not be swayed.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Sun teaches football fans how to look like fools

The Sun’s website continues to break new ground. A series of articles by By Shiela Subyr teachers readers how to look like a young multi-millionaire seeking new ways to spunk his cash.

The other day, Neymar, the PSG star, “paired his snakeskin biker jacket with skintight leather trousers complete with racy lace-up sides.” Shiela tells readers where they can how much for get the look and how much for in the paper’s ‘Sports’ section.

 

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

An there’s more. Lots more. And when Sheila’s gone through the wardrobe’s of player who look like extras from Rich Kids of Instagram, she’ll doubtless work down the leagues until we find out what Barnet’s substitute ‘keeper is wearing.

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

By Shiela Subyr the sun fashion football

 

In other sports news: Arsene Wenger’s jacket unzips.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Fashion, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Olympics balls: BBC says Elise Christie is ‘one of the bravest people ever’

At a time when everyone’s a hero, the BBC watches speed skater Elise Christie crash out of a final and declares: “In the face of Olympic heartbreak, Elise Christie is one of the bravest people we’ve ever seen
#WinterOlympics2018 #bbcolympics.”

 

 

The BBC needs to see more people.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Arsenal sink as Spurs became the new Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anti-Semitism expert Jeremy Corbyn wants to ban Spurs Yid Army

spurs yids

 

Jeremy Corbyn is something of an expert on anti-Semitism – which given his role as leader of the Labour Party, ‘friend’ of Hamas and a former presenter on Iran’s Press TV is no great shock. Corbyn has spotted something anti-Jewish in the ranks of Tottenham Hotspur fans. No, he’s not swapping allegiances from Arsenal to Spurs. He wants Spurs fans to sing what he tells them to and stop cheering for the ‘Yid Army’.

He told the Guardian before Spurs and Arsenal played each other yesterday: “There has been racist abuse at past matches between Arsenal and Spurs – instances of antisemitism and homophobia. Yes, football fans get very passionate but that is not acceptable and not allowed.”

“Yid chants are unacceptable,” adds Corbyn. “It plays into something that’s not very good and we should be saying: ‘We’re the Spurs’ or ‘We’re the Arsenal’. Stick to your club; it’s your club that unites you. The idea of adopting a term to neutralise it doesn’t really work because it is identifying a club by an ethnic group or faith, whereas you should be identifying clubs through supporters.”

You might at this point suppose the Guardian has been duped by an arch-satirist. You’re looking for Shami Chakrabarti to pop up and say that she’s never heard a thing – and for Corbyn to nationalise Tottenham and install Dame Shami as the club’s new striker. But the real Corbyn is no fan of Yid Armies, so it is very probably him doing his bit for his core electorate.

Image: A Labour campaign slogan?

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Politicians, Sports, Spurs | Comment


KFC ‘wanker’ exposed and possibly inspired

NT news australia wanker tosser front page

 

Basil Corrigan, 47, the masturbator who “fell asleep mid-wank” on the lawn beside the KFC eatery on Trower Rd in Casuarina in Australia’s Northern Territory has earned the front-page screamer in his local paper: “WANKER GETS OFF LIGHTLY.”  Corrigan gave “a cheery thumbs up” when the judge set him free on account of time served waiting for trial.

 

NT news australia wanker tosser front page

 

Corrigan seems happy enough. And you wonder what being branded a “wanker” will do to his vigour.

Australians were fond of calling one New Zealand cricketer, the great all-rounder Sir Richard Hadlee, a “wanker”, often giving full throat to “Hadlee’s a wanker” during the match. When Hadlee was knighted in 1990, Australian cricket star Sir Don Bradman sent him a letter of congratulations and a cartoon of an Australian fan yelling “Hadlee’s a wanker” from the stands. Hadlee was pictured replying: “It’s Sir Wanker to you.” Greg Chappell, another Aussie cricketer, told Hadlee the chant was “a mark of respect. The people here rate you and fear you”.

Corrigan may embrace his fame as enthusiastically as he embraces his knob. Watch this space – and grassy knoll by the KFC.

Posted: 11th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Manchester United’s Sanchez accepts a 16-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud

How’s Alexis Sanchez fitting in at Manchester United? Pretty good. The new Manchester United striker has accepted a 16-month suspended jail sentence for alleged tax fraud. This means he’ll avoid a trial. He will repay the full amount plus interest.

The BBC:

The ex-Barcelona player faced going to trial in Spain over unpaid taxes amounting to around 1m euro (£886,000). The unpaid taxes derive from image rights deals in 2012 and 2013. When Sanchez, 29, was first accused in 2016, his agent said the Chile forward had “fully obeyed” laws and his image rights income “has been declared”.

Sanchez now earns £14m a year after tax. United pay his tax bill so any future alleged miscalculations might be best avoided.

You wonder how playing a man with such a record impacts on Manchester United’s brand values. We looked up what those values are. On the always entertaining Red Cafe, a conversation headlined “What are Manchester United’s ‘values’?” tells us:

Personally for me it’s hard to look at the modern iteration of United without seeing commercialism written all over it. They must be the only club in the world with an “official noodle partner” for Christ’s sake.

This idea of United being “different” is a bit pretentious for me given they are probably the most commercial football club in the world and commercialism is seen by many as the biggest issue in football behind corruption.

Agree with the OP that the club is entirely about profit and it will remain that way I’m afraid.

We are different because of our history. From Munich to the Busby Babes, to the 70s and 80s of the club. Then the 26 years of SAF. We are a unique club. We have done things differently with our attacking football, our breading of youth, which has continued with the call up of Lingard into the squad. We do have ethical values. We won’t sack LVG if we feel he is doing a good job just because a shiny new manager (Ancelotti/ Pep in this case) has come along. We really tried with Moyes even though after just a few months we all knew he was out his depth. That season could have been saved but we stuck to our guns and kept faith in him.

Now we have coaching staff with Giggs and Butt in it. We have ambassadors such as Charlton, SAF, Robson, Cole. We have kept with traditions and have tried to maintain the culture throughout the club.

It’s what makes me proud to be United.

That was then. But it’s something to hold on to next time the ‘keeper bypasses the defence and smacks it long to the front players. For many people, football’s all about the money. Now pass the official prawn sandwiches round…

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Referees confused over Liverpool v Spurs penalties prove VAR is rubbish

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

NO pens says retired ref Mark Halsey in the Sun:

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

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

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

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

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

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

YES pens says former ref Dermot Gallagher on Sky:

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

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

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

Pen 2.

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

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

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


Why Sanchez gets kicked at Manchester United but not at Arsenal

Redknapp jamie man united

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redknapp then gets tautological:

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

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

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

 

Redknapp’s not finished:

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

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

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

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

 

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


Biased Balls: Spurs and Liverpool club websites at odds over penalties in 2-2 draw

Liverpool and Spurs drew 2-2 in a vibrant Premier League match in which the Londoner were awarded two penalties, scoring one in the 95th minute. shold they ahve been given? Let’;s see what the locals papers and clueb’s webiste says of things:

Liverpool FC:

First, Kane was felled in the area by Karius before Liverpool’s goalkeeper read the striker’s intention to put the resulting spot-kick down the middle and palmed it away.

Kane was fouled for the first penalty, which he missed, says the official Liverpool website. What about the second, which he scored from?

….Kane converted his second penalty of the match – given after Van Dijk had been adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela – deep into added time to earn a point for Spurs.

Not so clear that time, then. Although one opinion on the Liverpool website – the only one – says Liverpool were robbed:

Here’s what ex-Red John Aldridge made of an incredible game at Anfield – he was on co-commentary duties for us at Anfied today.

“An unbelievable ending and, for me, that is never a penalty, so it’s a hard one to take.

And in the live blog:

Lamela goes down in the box and linesman awards a penalty to Spurs. That looked soft, you have to say.

Tottenham Hotspur FC:

…when Kane was tripped by Loris Karius and referee Jon Moss awarded us a penalty, even after extensive consultation with his linesman, the striker looked odds-on to score his 100th Premier League goal and give us a rare win at Anfield.

Karius saved it, though…

First penalty: nailed on.

But you can never write off this team! We kept pushing and after Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Erik Lamela was spotted by the assistant referee

Second penalty: also nailed on.

What about the clubs’ local papers?

Liverpool Echo:

Eyebrows were raised when Kane was given a penalty late on, despite appearing to be in an offside position

Eyebrows? Spurs fans were surely rising hands and fists.

Virgil van Dijk was judged to have upended Erik Lamela in the fifth minute of injury time after initially seeing the appeals waved away by Jon Moss.

So much for the judgement. What about the first Spurs penalty?

That was incident [sic] wasn’t the first controversial one of the day however after Spurs were given a penalty minutes earlier with the game finely poised at 1-1.

Kane was in an offside position as he latched on to a through ball from Dele Alli before going down under a challenge from Loris Karius inside the area.

The paper then notes that because of the rules – those pesky rules – Kane wasn’t offside.

London Evening Standard:

Penalty 1:

Kane was…brought down in the box by Karius.

The Tottenham and Wood Green Independent:

Van Dijk caught Lamela with an attempted clearance

Bias? Yes. and no VAR, which would have made the decisions no clearer.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Conte laughably calls for ‘patience’ as Chelsea line up Luis Enrique

Antonio Conte is on his way out of Chelsea, if reports are to believed. The bouncy Italian will be jettisoned just a season after winning the Premier League at his first attempt. Ridiculous, of course, but, then, this is Chelsea, the club that goes through managers in less time than it takes Cesc Fabregas to read the loyalty clause in his new contract. Chelsea have had 11 managers in 15 years. In terms of silverware won, high turnover of coaching staff has been no barrier to success. The Blues have won 14 major trophies under Roman Abramovich’s. So long as Abramovich keeps investing in his club (the Russian’s loan to the Blues is £1bn and counting), his way will continue. Keep recruiting the new and vibrant and never stop to work out why you never did Pepe Guardiola?

So Luis Enrique is being made ready for the job.He and his family should see their time in London as a very well-paid busman’s holiday. Conte’s deal has 18 months to run. It’ll cost Chelsea a fortune to sack him. (Under Abramovich, Chelsea have paid out £71m severance pay to sacked managers).

“We must understand our level,” says Conte. “Now we struggle for a Champions League place. We must accept this situation. In the future you have to buy two or three players — not eight. Don’t forget, this summer we brought in eight [counting Christensen’s return from loan] and spent a lot less than other teams… We have to build something important. To do this, you must have 15 or 16 players. In the summer we changed eight players. That means you don’t have a basis, a great foundation. We lost strong, experienced players in the last few years so we must have patience.”

Patience? Not at Roman’s Chelsea.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Slow-Motion concussion in the NFL – a painful video

 

Josh Begley has complied a video of NFL players getting concussed during this season’s games.It’s ugly viewing. What should be a leisure pursuit becomes a high risk activity.

 

 

Greg Dorsainville adds:

If it was in forwards it would be like any big hits package you see in an espn highlight show where we celebrate the football and hit and not mourn the result of the moment: a human in pain, disorientation, and slowly killing themselves.

It used to be worse. In 1905:

Like the recent Time magazine cover featuring a 16-year-old who died playing the game, Americans are starting to ask, “Is football worth it?” Football has been here before, at a time when it was actually much more vicious. In 1905, 19 college football players died from injuries sustained while playing the sport; with five times as many college players participating today, the modern equivalent would be 95 on-field deaths. The San Francisco Call listed off the year’s fatalities: “Body blows, producing internal injuries, were responsible for four deaths, concussions of the brain claimed six victims, injuries to the spine resulted fatally in three cases, blood poisoning carried off two gridiron warriors, and other injuries caused four deaths.”

 

Spotter: @harmancipants, Kottke

Posted: 3rd, February 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Swansea City’s Sam Clucas didn’t realise adult website featured porn

Adding to the sense that porn is everywhere is Sam Clucas’s goal celebrations for Swansea City. Having scored twice in Swansea’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal, the midfielder made a monocle/ spyglass hand gesture. We now know it to be the symbol of the adult site Simply LoveLeh Brotherhood, which reportedly shows hardcore porn videos narrated by Yorkshire accents.

 

sam lucas porn swansea

It’ll make you go blind

 

A spokesperson for Swansea goes on the record:

As a club we were unaware of any links to the Internet group in question and disappointed to learn of the association as it does not reflect the values of Swansea City nor our strong commitment to equality.

We wholeheartedly condemn the degradation of women and believe everyone’s rights, dignity and individual worth is to be respected.

Do those Swansea values include gambling and boozing, because betting and drinks companies sponsor the club?

And as @harryhpalmer tweets: “No mention of the fact that Southampton’s Charlie Austin and Jack Stevens both used the SAME celebration in December, and nothing was said or done by the FA?”

What says Sam?

Having spoken to Sam, he was not fully aware of the pornographic sections of this Internet group and at no time intended to cause offence which he apologises for.

He didn’t know it was porn? Maybe the FA will have more luck when they “investigate” the matter. There’s porno images on the site’s twitter pages and a link to a website full of videos of, well, porn. Hold onto your blazers, chaps. There’s also endorsements for the site from Ricky Hatton, the former boxer, and snooker’s Jimmy White.

Still, this is modern life and modern football. And if there’s a new symbol for onanism, then so long as its directed at the referee, no harm done…

Posted: 2nd, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


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

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

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

 

fellaini mail daily manchester united

 

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

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

 

fellaini the sun manchester united

 

Get well soon, Fellaini.

 

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


Arsenal’s Bellerin to address Oxford Union

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin will address the Oxford Union in lugubrious Oxfordshire on February 5. Bellerin, who has a degree in marketing (yes, that’s a genuine qualification), will chair a debate not on Wenger In / Wenger Out, but on what it takes to become an elite athlete. His Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil will address the Union on 20th February. It’s not hard to imagine Arsenal Wenger, the Arsenal manager nicknamed The Professor, enjoying his players’ stretching their intellectual muscles.

Says the Union:

A Spanish professional footballer who plays as a right-back for English club Arsenal and Spain, Bellerin is known for his speed and pace, and has been considered to be one of the fastest footballers in the world. He started his career in the youth teams of Barcelona, moving to Arsenal in 2011. He is also known for his philanthropic work, having famously donated £50 for every minute he played at the Under-21 Euros to the victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Bellerin follows in the footsteps of likes of Diego Maradona, Sepp Blatter, Paul Gascoigne, Rio Ferdinand, Tony Pulis and Joey Barton on the roll of past speakers.

 

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


Well-paid BBC women are not thick as mince Grid Girl women

Spot the differences between the “BBC women on the march” for equal pay and ‘Grid Girls’ women being told they can’t work at Formula One events. Clue: age and class.

First up, the women who know what’s best for themselves and all women. The women taking a stand for equal rights, more money, opportunity and the sisterhood:

 

 

The women told they don’t know what’s best for themselves and who don’t know their own minds, being presumably too thick and infected by misogyny to earn an honest living of their choosing. Thankfully, more intelligent and higher ranking women are here to lend these losers a steer.

 

pit babes grid babes bbc sexism pay pit babes grid babes bbc sexism pay pit babes grid babes bbc sexism pay

 

And then this, in which the female expert in all things female schools two grown women no longer working the darts circuit in the right and wrong way to dress, earn money and conduct themselves. (Neither group is from the 70s – that’s the 1970s for the ‘babes’ and the 1870s for the bluestocking.)

 

Posted: 1st, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, News, Sports, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Unemployment now! Women rejoice as all F1 babes are sacked

F1 will no longer feature female models – Grid Girls – in the pits. Women won’t be in the cars, either. That tradition stays. Says Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations:

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

The BBC spoke with one of the newly sacked: Charlotte Gash:

“It’s upsetting and I’m rather disgusted that F1 have given in to the minority to be politically correct…. I know the grid girls are there to look pretty when they’re out on the grid but my role was interacting with the crowd and we were there as an advertisement for the sponsors. We love doing it we don’t want it taken away from us.”

 

charlotte gash

 

Charlotte Gash, there.

Men, start your engines…

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Arsenal rejoice! Ozil signs new long-term contract

Mesut Ozil has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract extension at Arsenal. Having lost Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United earlier this month, the good news for Arsenal fans is that Ozil will not be making the same journey north.

Ozil is not just staying out of love. He’ll be on £350k per week before tax.

To say this is good news for Arsenal fans would be an understatement.

Anyhow, here’s what the experts in the press have been saying:

 

Mirror ozil leaves

Such are the facts…

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang watches Arsenal lose and decides to join them

 named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world.

 

Much has been said about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s temperament. The player named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world in December 2016 has  joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for over £56m.

“Our second signing of the January transfer window, the 28-year-old is one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers. He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund [97 from inside the area] and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” oozes Arsenal. “That works out at an average of 96 minutes per goal or assist. Auba is the Gabon captain and all-time top goalscorer, and became the first Gabonese winner of the African Footballer of the Year award in 2015.”

That Auba, as he is now called in official despatches – Arsenal eschewing cash from all those extra letters on replica tops in preference to snappier global branding – should join Arsenal after their comically bad 1-3 defeat to a vibrant Swansea City can only be explained by his having agreed to sign a big money contract before the debacle and correctly realising that standards at the club are now so reduced that getting a shot on target represents improvement.

So what next for Arsenal? According to the SAM (Sports Analytics Machine), a computer built by Ian McHale, professor of sports analytics at the University of Liverpool, Aubameyang will “increase Arsenal’s probability of finishing in the top four by 2% (up to 20%) and bring an expected increase in points of around 0.6.”

Thrilling.

 

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


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

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

 

Klopp was happy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

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

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

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.

 

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


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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

tackle leroy sane

 

Other papers lead with the nasty foul:

tackle leroy sane tackle leroy sane

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

Cardiff City official website: not a single word.

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

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

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


Transfer balls: Benzema joins Arsenal for the umpteenth time

Karim Benzema is on his way to the Emirates. Yeah, really. Sports Illustrated announces: “Arsenal Strikes Deal to Bring Karim Benzema to the Emirates.” We’ve been here before. Many times. And before we turn to the Daily Mirror, the source of the SI’s scoop, a look at what we wrote in April 2017:

“Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to be Alexis Sanchez replacement,” thundered the Daily Mirror.

Newspaper readers will know that Benzema joined Liverpool in 2014 (Daily Star) and Arsenal in 2015 (MetroDaily Star (twice), Daily TelegraphThe Sydney Morning Heraldand again in 2017 (The Sun). He never left Real Madrid. And today the papers are having another crack at the Benzema to Arsenal story.

And so to today’s Mirror: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreement with Arsene Wenger to join Arsenal but Gunners must improve bid.” And: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreed to join Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, according to reports.” What reports? “The 30-year-old would be welcomed at the Emirates and reports from Spain now suggest he has an agreement with Wenger.”

No link to any report and suggestions coming out of Spain. But the Express, however, does, linking to Diario Gol. Slap it through Google translate and you get:

On the sidelines, his immediate step points to London: as Diario Gol has learned, the player’s agreement with his compatriot / friend, Arsène Wenger , who wants him at Arsenal next summer, is total. The only problem is the figures of the transfer: the club ‘gunner’ does not exceed 40 million between fixed and variable Karim to maintain the cache. While Real Madrid requires a minimum of 60 ‘kilos’.

There’s not a single source for the story. But one orphaned report on a Spanish website enough for it to become a big story in the British mainstream media. And this in the Star:

 

 

And this from the Express:

 

“Karim Benzema has agreed to leave Real Madrid for Arsenal, according to reports,” says talkSport. Not so. It’s one claim reported on many times.

Benzema to Arsenal. We’ve heard it all before.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment