Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

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.

Media bias: Bournemouth robbed as Leicester’s Simpson tucks his hands onto his arms

When Bournemouth hosted Leicester City in the Premier League, the Cherries were hard down by when a clear handball by the Foxes’ Danny Simpson in his own area went unpunished.

The official Leicester FC website reports on that early goalmouth action:

Defoe connects with a King cross and turns his effort onto the underneath of the bar. Pugh’s follow up is deflected wide and City clear the corner.

No word on how the shot was deflected wide.

Leicester says the game’s “major moment” was Shinji Okazaki missing a good chance –  not the handball.

Over on the Bournemouth FC website, it’s a different story:

Within three minutes there was high drama. Joshua King’s low cross was directed onto the crossbar by Defoe, and as the ball rattled loose Marc Pugh’s close-range shot was deflected wide by the hand of Danny Simpson.
Pugh’s shouts for a penalty were sustained, but referee Graham Scott was unmoved in signalling for just a corner.

Let’s see if a local newspaper can give us the facts?

The Leicester Mercury reports:

The tone was set in the third minute when a sweeping move carved City open and Jermaine Defoe struck the underside of the bar form close range and Marc Pugh struck Danny Simpson’s arm with the follow-up.

As Simpson nurses his arm and #pray4Danny trends in Leicester, we see what the BBC made of it:

The home side dominated the game and will feel they should have had an early penalty when Leicester defender Danny Simpson appeared to handle inside the box.

Can you handle something with your arm? No. The Times explains:

Early on, Defoe exchanged passes with the impressive Josh King whose low cross was turned against the bar by the England striker. Marc Pugh looked certain to score from the rebound, but his effort was deflected wide by the palm of Danny Simpson.

Handball, then. Bournemouth were robbed. But not if you get your news from Leicester, in which case we wish Danny Simpson well.

Posted: 30th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Ben Stokes reminds the country that people still play cricket

England cricketer Ben Stokes has been making news ever since he was arrested following a bout of alleged fisticuffs with Ryan Hale, a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, on a night out in Bristol.

Everything about Stoke’s life to date is being examined for signs of mania. He wore comfi-Slax and a jumper for his interview for the England captaincy; the winner, Joe Root, wore a suit and tie, and most likely tucked his vest into his Y-fronts. He did an impression of Katie Price’s disabled son Harvey, which someone filmed. In 2011, Stokes was arrested and cautioned for obstructing the police. He’s ginger. He was rusticated from a tour of Australia for boozing. He achieved four speeding offences in one month.

 

 

The big shock, of course, is that a cricket should be on the front pages at all. Cricket usually attracts less media attention than Wayne Rooney’s urine; it’s f7 on the keyboard when there’s no football on. And that’s the international stuff. Cricket at country level has less pull than Ann Widdecombe in a moist tent.

 

 

The MCC, ECB and all other cricket boards should write a letter to Stokes thanking him for making cricketers and cricket worthy of our attention. Cricket needs exposure even more than the aforementioned Katie Price and her Jordans.

As for Stokes, a player who often eschews the cloying professionalism in favour of the amateur spirit, we,, he should save his aggression for the match.

 

Posted: 30th, September 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal riot, stroll and stumble at BATE Borisov

Arsenal ran out pretty easy winners in their Europa League match against BATE Borisov, winning 4-2, having been 3-0 up after 25 minutes. Arsenal are the first team to beat Bate on their own patch in European competition since Barcelona defeated them in 2015 – a run of seven games.

What do the newspapers have to say about the match?

EASY!

The Daily Mail calls it an “Arsenal stroll”. The Sun agrees that it was a “stroll”. The Gunners, boasting a squad of nine players aged 20 or younger, “ran riot”. The Express saw Arsenal “picking apart the BATE defence at will”. The Daily Star says it was “stunning stuff from Arsenal”.

HARD!

The Daily Mirror says it “wasn’t an easy ride” for the Gunners in Belarus.

And the Times:

Times Arsenal

 

One man’s stroll is another reporter’s stumble.

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester City star Aguero fractures rib in car accident

Manchester City’s Argentinean star Sergio Aguero has been injured in a car accident in Amsterdam. The 29-year-old fractured a rib when the taxi he was taking to the airport struck a lamp post. Aguero was in Holland to watch a concert by Colombian singer Maluma.

Reports in Argentina estimate Aguero will be out of action “for at least three months”, noting that the “seat belt saved his life”. The Sun calls it a “horror smash” and says he “cheated death”.
 

 

It could have been worse, then. We wish Aguero well, of course. But look out for fans of rival clubs being delighted.
 


 

And let’s not forget the jokes:
 

 

But don’t worry City:

 

Ooer.

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea balls: Diego Costa’s writes an open letter to the fans

So farewell, Diego Costa, who has left Chelsea to rejoin Atletico Madrid for £57 million. By way of goodbye, Costa has penned a letter to Chelsea fans. It asserts that he will never get dementia and that his life works to cycles, much like a spin dryer or a giant panda’s genitals. Costa writes on his Facebook page:

Some cycles begin while others end. My cycle at Chelsea began three years ago – three remarkable years in all aspects – and I will never forget it.

Two championship titles, a Community Shield, 120 matches, 59 goals and 24 assists later this cycle has ended. Not the way I would have wanted – far from it – but the best way possible.

The wonderful fans of such an equally admirable club and all my team-mates, as well as all clinical, administrative and logistics staff will remain forever in my mind and in my heart.

I will bring them with me with the certainty that I will always be by their side as well, and I’m sure they will understand the reason why this cycle of mine has now ended – because I could not lose faith in myself.

Thank you Chelsea for everything!

God bless the logistics staff – professional football’s perennially unsung heroes.

And God bless Diego, for now his cycle begins anew.

Posted: 27th, September 2017 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Manchester United park the bus and Chelsea never lose

Arsenal are on the up. With four wins and one draw from their past five games, and with just one goal conceded in that period, Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered from their early season defeats to Stoke (in which they were unlucky and robbed by poor refereeing) and Liverpool (where they got the thrashing their abject performance deserved). It also behoves a mention to note that following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over a spark West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners have won eight consecutive home games in the Premier League.

But in the Sun, the forecast at The Emirates remains grim. Therein they are “FALTERING Arsenal”. You “could not disguise just how far the Gunners are falling behind their major rivals. While City, United and Chelsea are brushing opponents aside with contemptuous ease, Arsene Wenger’s team are labouring to see off even the most unambitious of rivals.”

 

Arsenal table

Arsenal “far behind” at one point away from third sport

 

Arsenal drew 0-0 at Chelsea in a game they could well have won, hitting the post and missing an open goal from inside six yards. And that’s the same Chelsea who lost at home to the mighty Burnley. Manchester City were flukey away to Bournemouth, scoring a very late goal courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s boot and a massive deflection, and drew 1-1 with Everton. Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Stoke, and last weekend beat Southampton 0-1. Of that match the Sun’s sister paper, the Times, called United’s performance “strangely lethargic”. Adding:

Given the lead by Lukaku, United went into abject retreat in the second half when Southampton had the bulk of possession and most of the chances. At the final whistle, United had six defenders on the pitch, while the home side brought on two attackers, a fair reflection of the balance of power.

Manchester United parked the bus. So much for “brushing aside opponents with contemptuous ease”. United and City have yet to play any of their title rivals.

And what of West Bromwich Albion being unambitious? The Evening Standard reports:

Pulis had employed a more ambitious West Brom lineup than might have been expected, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez making for a mobile, high-pressing front two.

It’s hardly perfect at Arsenal, but to ignore the facts and stick to a bogus narrative is poor reporting.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bias balls: Arenal mistime a tackle as West Bromwich Albion howl for a penalty

Media bias: a look at biased football reporting. Last night Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the Premier League. Tired at 0-0, Arsenal Shkodran Mustafi appeared to bring down West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez with a sliding challenge in the box. No penalty was given. Rodriguez got back to his feet and curled a shot at goal, hich Petr Cech did well to save, pushing the ball onto a post. What do the clubs say:

Arsenal official website:

…we survived two huge let offs along the way. Petr Cech made a excellent fingertip save and Nacho Monreal cleared off the line – both from Jay Rodriguez – during an eventful first half.

Is the penalty appeal mentioned at all?

Shkodran Mustafi mistimed his tackle on Rodriguez inside the area, but rather than give the penalty, the referee allowed play on…

Not  foul, then. It was a “mistimed tackle”.

West Bromwich Albion official website:

The forward used his pace to burst past Mustafi into the area, cut inside and appear [sic] to be brought down by the Gunners defender. Rodriguez quickly stood up and subsequently saw his shot tipped on to the far post by Petr Cech…

What about the managers?

Tony Pulis (WBA manager): “I think the challenge on Jay is a penalty and a red card.”

Arena Wenger (Aresnal manager): “The referee left the advantage and they nearly scored from that, they hit the post and I think the decision is defendable on both sides had he given a penalty or not. He left the advantage, if he gives a penalty and doesn’t give the advantage and they miss the penalty then you say why did he not leave the advantage, it’s this kind of situation.”

And the local papers?

Islington Gazette (Arsenal): “Tony Pulis and his men could feel aggrieved by referee Bobby Madley turning down a cast-iron penalty for the Baggies in the first half …”

Verdict: It should have been a penalty – but not if you’re on the Arsenal website.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Poppy monoculture: a draconian silence falls over Wembley

Without any hint of irony the Daily Telegraph hears that England – the national football side rebranded ‘The Three Lions’ – are allowed to wear pictures of poppies on their shirts and calls it a “major victory for the British game”. England might not win many meaningful football matches but when it comes to decorating our tops, decades of hurt have been undone. On November 10, England will wear poppies on their shirts as they play – get this – Germany at Wembley.

Before last year’s Armistice Day, FIFA banned England and Scotland — as well as Wales and Northern Ireland — from wearing the poppy, the symbol of remembrance, for matches on that day. FIFA says “political, religious or personal” designs should no infect the national shirts. But England and Scotland players wore them anyhow, albeit as black armbands with a poppy motif.  Odd, no? Football is about rules. It’s all about rules. Without rules there is no sport. Flouting the rules is no small deal.

Rory Smith notes that “Until 2009, it was rare for British club teams to display a poppy on their uniforms at this time of year… A campaign led by the Daily Mail that year changed all that. The intention, of course, is an admirable and honorable one: to show that football, as the slogan goes, remembers. That is not, however, necessarily the effect. Wearing a poppy is designed as an individual act; when it becomes compulsory, it loses not just much of its impact, but some of its meaning.”

An act of remembering in a minute’s contemplative silence became enforced duty. And it became political. Theresa May called it was “utterly outrageous” that FIFA should rule on poppies. The FA says “common sense” has won. The Sun calls it “VICTORY – Poppy ban KO-d as FIFA sees sense”.  “POPPY VICTORY,” declares the Express. “POPPY POWER,” hails the Mail. “Sportsmail ran a successful campaign in 2009 for all Premier League clubs to have the poppy emblem on their shirts, which is now commonplace.” No. It’s compulsory. And anyone who objects is portrayed as morally repugnant.

In 2010, Celtic fans protested a decision for their club’s shirt to feature the poppy. Their banner declared: “Your deeds they would shame all the devils in hell. Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan. No blood-stained poppy on our hoops.” Celtic vowed to ban he protestors. The Sun called them “hate mobs”. Don’t sing sectarian chants about past battles and loss, goes the top-down directive, but you must wear the poppy.

This is not about heartfelt remembrance, giving private thanks to the sacrifices of so many for our freedom (to choose) and supporting the armed forces; it’s about public displays of group think and compliance.

 

Posted: 25th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Sanchez leaves Higuain and joins Manchester United

Hard luck on Arsenal fans: Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Manchester United. The Sun has the scoop, leading with the “TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE”.

 

SAnchez arsenal manchester united

 

No word on whence the story emerged. No source quoted. Just the simple fact that Manchester United want Alexis Sanchez, and he’s on his way for a £25m signing-on fee.

Readers might be little more circumspect.  This is the Sun, after all, the paper that told us Gonzalo Higuain joined Arsenal in 2013.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Undeterred by fact – he never joined – the Sun continues to publish the story on its website. Although it was “Updated: 5th April 2016, 7:12 am” to now read:

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain…Wenger believes that the capture of Higuain will convince other world-class stars to join.

This is despite Higuain telling the Times in December 2013:

“I did not speak to them [Arsenal]. They said Arsenal wanted to sign me, that they were there negotiating [with Real Madrid], but it was Napoli who came and bought me.”

As for Alexis Sanchez, well, he plays for Manchester City. We read that fact in the Sun.

 

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

In another exclusive, readers learn:

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

Sanchez never did join Man chester City.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: what Maja Nilsson didn’t say about executive boxes

Seats are pricey at Manchester United. Even a footballer on astronomical wages is upset at the cost of watching the Red Devils. The Daily Mirror says Victor Lindelof’s fiancee “blasts” Man United over “‘disgusting £82,000 cost for Old Trafford executive boxes'”.

And where one tabloid leads, another dutifully follows – although in the Sun, Maja Nilsson, for that is she, is reduce to a “WAG”:

 

manchester united  Victor Lindelof’s fiancee

 

The story tells readers:

“Jose Mourinho’s squad can hire the luxury suites for their family and friends at home games with prices ranging from £24,000 to £81,600.”

So the top price is just under £82,000. And what did she say? This:

“Players have the option to rent a box,” Nilsson said on her podcast, called Livet På Läktaren (Life in the Stands). “I’m not even going to tell you for how much, but a disgusting amount. If you don’t buy one you’re considered a loser. But having a box is wonderful. You get your own waiter.”

The story has been removed from both the Sun and Mirror’s websites.

Posted: 21st, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool regrets: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays and Arsenal fans laugh

Don’t panic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Arsenal player who left the club for Liverpool in a £40m transfer. Four matches into his rosy-fingered dawn and ‘The Ox’ has yet to be on the winning side.

No need to panic, though.

When Gareth Bale was at Spurs, it took 25 matches (!) for him to be on the winning team. The Sun’s Pat Sheehan covered Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Everton on 30 November, 2008, writing: “One glance at the score and any Spurs fan will tell you without looking at the line-up that Gareth Bale must have played.” Bale went on to be brilliant.

Of course, the problem is that Oxlade-Chamberlain is nowhere near as good as Bale. He’s a mediocre player who went for a stupid amount of money. Arsenal did very well in getting shot of the nice middle class boy in the final year of his Arsenal contract. ESPN says Arsenal had a “disastrous” transfer window. Balls. They hung on to Alexis Sanchez – their best player – and waved goodbye to the player who has always promised much and delivered less than a geriatric Deliveroo cyclist.

Last night Liverpool were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester City. And Oxlade-Chamberlain was every bit as ineffective as he was at Arsenal.  Someone has produced this damning compilation of his night’s work:

This is the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who left Arsenal because he wants to play centrally, rather than waste his talents at wing-back.

Well played, Arsenal. Well played.

Posted: 20th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


‘Piss Off Fatso’: When Thompson and Lillee wreaked havoc

 

The Ashes are coming. A friend tells me with no little boasting, “I watched Thompson and Lillee on ‘The Hill’.” That was the 1974-1975 Ashes, when Geoff Thompson and Dennis Lillee were on a mission.

As Lillee put it: “I’m trying to scare him, trying to hurt him, perhaps in the ribs or leg or something so that he at least knows you’re around.”

And the crowd? Well, they loved it. “Lillee! Lillee! Kill! Kill! Kill!”

 

 

And Thompson and Lillee really hated the English. The 1974-75 Athes series was brutal:

England were surprised when Thomson was included in the Australian side for the opening Test in Brisbane. “We never thought they’d pick Jeff,” recalled David Lloyd. “We thought it was a different Thomson… Froggy, who played for Victoria.”

In the days before the Test, Thomson upped the hype in a TV interview when he said: “I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch.”

The night before the match Lillee came across Thomson in the bar drinking scotch. “When I go out to bowl I want a hangover from hell,” Thomson explained. “I bowl really well when I’ve got a headache.”

When the game got underway Australia batted first, leaving Thomson in the pavilion to nurse his hangover. Towards the end of their innings Tony Greig, who could bowl briskly and generated significant lift from his 6ft 7in frame to trouble decent batsmen, bounced Lillee. The ball reared at his head and he could do no more than glove it to Alan Knott. “Just you remember who started this,” muttered Lillee as he trooped off.

“When I batted at Perth I didn’t even wear a cap,” said Lloyd. “All I had was an apology for a thigh pad.” It was in that Test that Thomson struck Lloyd so hard in the groin that his protective box was turned inside out. “You didn’t feel fear,” he added, “but you did feel a hopelessness at times, a feeling that you couldn’t cope.”

Mike Denness noted Lloyd’s reaction when he returned to the dressing room after one innings. “Within seconds his body was quivering. His neck and the top half of his body in particular were shaking. He was shell-shocked.”

Here’s a fun anecdote from the Perth Test:

“Good morning, my name’s Cowdrey,” he said. Thomson has told the story so often, with ribald twists introduced depending on the audience, that it is hard to know precisely what he said in response but his latest account, gives a flavour: “As I handed my hat to the umpire, I was revved up and just wanted to kill somebody and Kipper walked all the way up to me and said: ‘Mr Thomson I believe. It’s so good to meet you.’ And I said: ‘That’s not going to help you, Fatso, now piss off.'”

Did it hurt? David Lloyd tells us:

After making a heroic 49 in his first knock, Lloyd was making dogged progress in the second innings when Thomson caught him ‘full on’ in the most tender part of the anatomy.
“We wore little pink plastic boxes at the time which were totally unsuitable for the job,” he explained. “It cracked open and what I had inside fired through before the box snapped shut again like a guillotine coming down. Even after 32 years, I lose my voice just thinking about it. There’s retired hurt and then there’s retired hurt…”

For your diaries:

23-27 November 2017 – First Test, Gabba.
2-6 December 2017 – Second Test, Adelaide Oval (Day-Night)
14-18 December 2017 – Third Test, Perth (venue TBC)
26-30 December 2017 – Fourth Test, MCG.
4-8 January 2018 – Fifth Test, SCG.

Posted: 19th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jeremy Corbyn’s wife shuts down Arsenal fan Piers Morgan

When Piers Morgan spotted Jeremy Corbyn chatting with Arsenal’s Spanish defender Hector Bellerin, he tried to butt in. Mrs Corbyn shut the boorish TV presenter down in the best way:

 

piers morgan corbynbellerinarsenal

 

Spotter: Tony Gray

Posted: 19th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Celebrities, Politicians, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea balls: Gus Hiddink never did cry

The Sun enjoys the “Crying Dutchman” pun, using it to describe Dutch football managers who aren’t ever crying. In May 2016, the Sun said “Crying Dutchman Louis van Gaal” was “disappointed” at being sacked by Manchester United. But the hammer-headed Dutchman today returns to the Sun in a feature entitled “The Crying Dutchmen”.

With Ronald Koeman mired at Everton and Frank de Boer already sacked by trigger-happy Crystal Palace with a 100% record of played 4, lost 4, Dutch managers in the Premier League are an endangered species. Both men feature on the Sun’s story on Dutch managers who”‘struggle to set the English top flight alight”.

You could, of course, make a longer list of English manger who have failed to shine in the PL – an English manager has yet to win the Premier League. But it’s the Dutch in the crosshairs. And overlooking Martin Jol, who did pretty well at Spurs (2004-2007), notably becoming the first Spurs manager since Keith Burkinshaw (Spurs manger 1976-1984) to qualify for European football in successive seasons, the paper spots Guus Hiddink.

That’s the same Gus Hiddink who while still managing Russia was appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager in 2009, leading them to the FA Cup. The Sun says he “came back in 2015 after Jose Mourinho was axed but the Blues toiled to finish tenth”.

Toiled?

Hiddink rejoined Chelsea on 19 December 2015, with the club in 16th place. Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea has lost nine out of sixteen league games. Hiddink set a new record for the longest unbeaten streak by a new manager in Premier League history with 12 games unbeaten. Under Hiddick, Chelsea lost just two more league matches.

Crying? No. Far from it. He was very good.

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Garth Crooks dumps Chelsea Nazis on Sead Kolasinac’s brick toilet

On Monday, BBC pundit Garth Crooks delivers his Premier League team of the week. This week Crooks has selected Sead Kolasinac, who played well in Arsenal’s draw against Chelsea on Sunday, during which he was kicked hard by “silly” David Luiz. Indeed, it was being kicked that earned Kolasinac Crook’s admiration. Crooks writes:

Sead Kolasinac is built like one of those North London brick toilets that withstood bombing raids during the Second World War.

Ah, yes, those famous Nazi-proof brick toilets. Bit cold to the touch, and they left a dusty circle on your bum, but nostalgia, eh. And if Kolasinac is the Great British brick toilet, who is the Nazi bomber?

Even after the most awful tackle by my defender of the year last season, David Luiz, he rose to his feet determined to finish the game. The way Luiz overran the ball in an attempt to draw Kolasinac into the challenge left me in no doubt that the Chelsea defender knew exactly what he was doing. In my view, he wanted a piece of Kolasinac.

David ‘doodlebug’ Luiz.

In my playing days, both men would have received a standing ovation for a tackle like that – Luiz for throwing down the gauntlet and Kolasinac for accepting it.

Yeah, you always applauded the footballer who got a kicking. For every Norman ‘Bites yer legs’ Hunter there was a Howard Kendall, accepting the noble gauntlet right in the shins. The Corinthian spirit shone though those magic moments.

 

 

History lesson over, Crooks adds:

Even though the Arsenal defender came off worst, the impressive Bosnia-Herzegovina international finished the game and with it earned a moral victory.

Well done for not getting your leg broken, Kolasinac, you paragon of virtue.

Cheers, Garth:

 

 

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Chelsea website offers Luiz an excuse for his red card

Chelsea drew 0-0 with Arsenal in today’s Premier League match. Arsenal hit the post and missed an open goal; Chelsea had a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. The game was pretty even. But towards the end David Luiz received a straight red card for a nasty foul on Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac.

Any biased reporting?

The Chelsea FC website reports it thus:

David Luiz, earlier booked, was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Kolasinac in front of the dugouts, although it looked like Sanchez had fouled him in the build-up to it.

But no sign of any excuse on the Arsenal website:

There was a flashpoint in the final few minutes, when David Luiz was shown a straight red card when lunging in dangerously on Sead Kolasinac.

What about the fans?

Arseblog:

On the touchline Luiz flew over the ball and connected with Kolasinac’s ankle leaving the Bosnian in a crumpled heap.

We Aint’ Got No History (Chelsea):

…another silly red card for Chelsea, this time to David Luiz.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Blitzkrieg: Arsenal fans beyond parody as German ‘Nazis’ invade from Cologne

At last night’s Arsenal v Cologne match in the Europa League, things did not go smoothly. Fans behaved as football fans used to, arriving at the stadium without tickets and in high spirits. Around 20,000 fans of FC Koln arrived with just under 3000 tickets between them.

The sensible move would be to flog tickets on the gate, letting fans be with their mates and follow their side without need to register with clubs, load up credit card details and be processed in a way the Stasi would find a bit much. But no. Everyones needs a seat. And with a seat comes a number. And with that number comes control.

(Cologne’s 50,000 capacity: 50,000 has space for 8,175 standing fans.)

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

And so it is that 20,000 Germans football fans in London for their side’s first European match since 1992 are portrayed as an army of Nazis. “Thug urinate in street, make Nazi salutes and storm the turnstiles,” says the Mail. If pissing in the street makes you a thug, well, we’re all doomed. The definition of ‘thug’ according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a brutal ruffian or assassin: gangster, tough.” Hold the prison tats, knives, guns and bare-knuckle fighting. You just need a full bladder and a lack of public loos to be a thug.

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

CARNGE!

And what of the Germans being Nazis? Well, for that there is but one source. “ITV political editor Robert Peston reported Nazi salutes and ‘peeing on doorsteps’.” Jim White on talkSPORT (“FANTASTIC! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MY FRIEND THANK YOU FANTASTIC! etc…”) introduced “highly respected Arsenal fan Robert Peston”, who complained that the Germans “made a terrible mess” by dropping litter and urinating – “and I’ve got a few mates who live near the ground”.

Deary dear, eh. But Peston’s not alone is being upset. On the BBC website, the corporation has collected a narrow range of views, which were it not for any knowledge of what football now represents – moralising, family-friendly entertainment for a TV audience – we’d think the work of a parodist.

Rachel: “In the Emirates as a home fan. Ashamed of Arsenal right now. All the warnings about turning away fans away and they’ve done nothing. No stewards to be seen. Feeling so intimidated.”

Ade: “Currently inside the Emirates, thousands upon thousands of German fans everywhere around us. Horrible tense atmosphere. Tens of thousands of fans being made to feel very unsafe, including very young children.

Foz: “Got to my usual seats in Club level with my 11-year-old son. Surrounded by Cologne fans. So unsafe we have been moved to the other side of the ground. Worst feeling at football in 40 years of watching home and away.”

Chris: “Currently in the home end at Emirates – away section (corner) full and in full voice. Hundreds of people joining in the singing in the adjacent section behind the goal that should be for Arsenal supporters. Can only assume they are Cologne fans.”

Steve: “Don’t feel safe inside and won’t feel safe outside. Should be called off and the Cologne fans sent packing. Arsenal fans who sold their tickets should be banned.”

All pitiful stuff. But at least in the Sun, Dave Kidd does note:

But this did not feel like the bad old days of hooliganism…. A walk around the outside of the Emirates shortly before the original kick-off time, before the turnstiles finally opened, simply showed thousands of English and German supporters shrugging their shoulders and asking each other politely what the hell was going on.

Blitzkrieg! We march at dawn.

 

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arse v Spuds battle of the rappaz: Arsenal and Spurs fans in excruciating music fight

Steel yourselves, readers, for this epic battle between fans of Arenal and Spurs.

First up: the Selly Oak Crew with You Just Got Kaned. With sincere apologies to Chas ‘n’ Dave, mum, dad, musicians and every poor sod who supported Spurs when they could have opted for the Arsenal.

 

 

But Spuds toughs don’t have it all their own way in North London. Here are the Away Boyz. proving that even with a bigger budget you can still come across as utterly ridiculous.

 

 

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Spurs | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fans booted out of Boston’s Fenway Park for waving accidentally racist banner

Hard luck on the four fans expelled from Boston’s Fenway Park during a baseball game yesterday after waving a banner carrying the legend: “Racism Is As American As Baseball.” Ambiguous much? One of the banned banners tells us:

“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area. Mostly groups that affiliate with racial justice causes. And the banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway. But overall, we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”

Here’s the banner:

 

RAcism is as american as baseball

 

The Boston Red Sox make a statement:

“During the fourth inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark. The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”

Spotter: Bleacher Report

Previously:

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal versus Cologne balls: German ‘army invades’ London and media prays for blood

Good fun in Soho as a large contingent of Cologne fans marched along singing their songs. The police didn’t kettle them, send for the attack dogs nor smash their heads in. And so about 20,000 Cologne fans clutching 2,900 tickets between them arrived at The Emirates for the club’s match with Arsenal.

They can’t all get in. So the match has been delayed.

Has there been any bother, then? Lots of fighting and broken class? Patio furniture tossed about the place and blood on the pavement?

A Met Police spokesman tells us: “At around 15:00hrs on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street, W1. The group were at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.  They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests. The group has now left the area.”

Bit of a laugh, then. A few berks throw bottles but that’s about it. No more  (surely much less  – ed) than the high spirits you see at rugby matches.

So how does the Daily Mail report on the joyful rowdiness?

Germans invade London: Fights break out as an army of 20,000 Cologne football fans march through centre of the capital as kick-off of Europa League match with Arsenal is DELAYED for ‘crowd safety’

An invading army! The Mail’s ‘Crime Correspondent’ begins his report thus:

Violence erupted onto the streets of London after an army of German football fans marched through the centre of the capital.

Carnage! Or as the small print notes: “footage later emerged of two men being punched and kicked in a street during clashes.” Two men fighting. Call of the RAF. Stand down the nuclear submarine. The war might over as soon as the Hans and Jurgen tire.

At the Ground.

Well, a load of Cologne fans seems to be in the Arsenal end. Good-oh. Lots of atmosphere for a change.

 

And finally… get his down to forensics!

PS – Arsenal fans are flogging their tickets to Cologne fans.

PPS: Reports that Cologne fans arrived yesterday to reserve their sets with towels as yet unproven.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea balls: Conte walks, counting your roosting chickens and the sack race

Chelsea are playing with power and pace. Undefeated since the Premier League’s opening day – and with every game since a victory – the champions are looking strong. The Daily Mirror’s Darren Lewis has noticed:

Chelsea’s critics were at it on Deadline Day. Never mind that boss Antonio Conte had proved them wrong before, by turning Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses and David Luiz into title winners.

A pox on those clueless critics. Like the wally who on August 13 wrote:

The trouble this time is that the chickens are coming home to roost after Antonio Conte ’s champions failed to build from a position of strength… Someone, somewhere has dropped the ball. As it stands, Chelsea have now been beaten in three ­official games since winning the title last season: the FA Cup final, the Community Shield and now this.

On August 17 some knee-jerker wrote:

It is a continuing crisis for a man knee-deep in it this summer:

Cost was on his way out the door:

The biggest fear is that the man who did so well to win so many people over in his debut campaign last season, could walk away…

All Darren Lewis, of course, who get a sympathetic ear at the Mirror, which seems to have it in for the likeable Conte. On August 6, John Cross warned Conte:

Antonio Conte should fear the Community Shield curse after vulnerable Chelsea’s Wembley defeat to Arsenal. The Wembley curse is hanging dangerously for a third year running with Antonio Conte fearing he could become the latest victim.

The last two managers – Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho – to win the title were both sacked midway through the following season after also losing the Community Shield.

And on August 14, Matt Lawless added:

Antonio Conte won title – and could now win sack race! Bookmakers think Chelsea boss will be axed first

“Antonio Conte is already clinging to his job,” opined one caption.

It’s almost as if you can’t judge an entire season on one performance.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


From Real Madrid to Liverpool: Marco Asensio’s pimple and the steady emasculation of footballers

Real Madrid began their Champions League title defence with a routine win over APOEL. And they did it without Marco Asensio, 21, who has a pimple on his leg. Asensio’s manager Zinedine Zidane told media: “[Marco has] a pimple… which stopped him pulling up his socks.”

Asensio’s pimple, says local Madrid press, is a result of his shaving his legs.

Marco Asensio missing a match because a pimple got infected whilst shaving his legs might well be the most modern football story ever. We only hope it doesn’t get worse for Asensio when his teammates find out:

 

asensio pimple nivea

 

Footballers live on a diet of creams, depilated, patent skin and self-tanning unguents. Liverpool FC’s players don’t take two bottles into the shower, most likely preferring to take about ten into the almond milk bath before air drying in a wind of imported Fiji Breeze and enrobing their skin and hair in liquidised baby foreskins.

 

 

But it’s not just footballers. Man is falling in that most hairy-knuckled of spots: rugby. Gone are the days when the best you could hope for in a rugby union changing room was a bar of coal tar soap and a turd in your kit bag. Now you are more likely to find a range of hair and skin care products.

 

nivea real madrid leinster

 

O tempora, o mores!

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Crystal Palace balls: Sam Allardyce gets a call

The Sun has big news for fans of Crystal Palace, the goal-shy Premier League team. Frank de Boer has been sacked. His managerial record at Palace reads: played – 4; lost – 4; goals scored – nil.

But who will replace Mr 100%. Well, it’s Roy Hodgson, the former England manager, who yesterday joined Palace on a two-year contract. The Sun suggests that Roy got the job only after Palace had offered it to one of their former mangers, Sam Allardyce.

 

the sun sam allardyce crustal palace

 

Says the paper:

Sam Allardyce reveals he has received a phone call about taking over at Crystal Palace

He did? No. He didn’t. Click the link and readers are transported to the paper’s story, which informs them:

Allardyce took a phone call from Palace chairman Steve Parish… seeking his thoughts on what the club should do next.

The former England boss was not offered the job, but Parish was quick to seek advice from the 62-year-old when the position became vacant.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Ozil leaves on a free having ‘signed a new deal’ in August

Time for a spot of transfer balls – our look at rubbish football reporting. The Sun says Mesut Ozil  is “set to leave Arsenal next summer on [a] free”. He “will NOT sign [a] new contract”. Well, so say “reports in Germany”. We can find only one of those reports, and it’s in Bild, the German tabloid. We’ve put the story through Google Translate and can now let you know:

The future of national player Mesut Özil is still unresolved.

So, Ozil might stay at Arsenal, then. It continues:

According to information from SPORTBILD, since February 2017 there has been no negotiations with the “Gunners” over an extension of the end of the season ending contract.

At that time they talked about a new working paper with a higher salary (estimated currently: 9 million euros), then Arsenal broke the talks off. Background: Arsène Wenger had contact with PSG at that time. The Londoners lacked the planning certainty, as it was not clear how the coach would go on.

Since then, no longer talked about an extension with Ozil. The fact that a new contract with a basic salary of 280,000 euros per week, as is reported, is not true.

Contract talks were postponed in February because Wenger had yet to commit to a new deal. And Ozil was not offered €280,000 a week to stay at Arsenal.

Which rather makes you wonder if either Bild or the Sun can be believed. After all, according to the Sun, Ozil signed a new deal in August:

 

the sun ozil

 

In fact, he signed a new Arsenal deal in 2016:

 

ozil agrees the sun

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Yid Army: Spurs fans should rejoice at Chelsea stupidity

spurs yids

 

So terrible was the sound of Chelsea fans hailing (surely heil-ing? – ed) new striker Alvaro Morata with a song about him hating “The Yids” that the Football Association is launching an investigation. How it means to investigate the chant directed at Spurs and its self-styled ‘Yid Army’ is unsaid. But reports abound that the FA contacted Chelsea in an effort to identify the individuals singing the song. The Telegraph adds that the FA is also expected to seek talks with “other authorities”, such as the Church of England, perhaps, the UN and the thought police.

 

 

It had all been looking so promising. Chelsea appealed for their fans to stop singing the song because it upset Morata. “We’ve spoken to Alvaro after the game,” said Chelsea’s spokesman. “He does not want to be connected with that song in any way and both the club and the player request the supporters stop singing that song with immediate effect.”

This was grown-up stuff. No need for the police to get involved.

Chelsea appeared to recognise that fans create their own rules and solidarities. Some Tottenham Hotspur supporters formed the Yid Army, a group proud of the club’s large contingent of Jewish fans in an historically Jewish area using ‘Yids’ and ‘Yiddos’ to empower. I know of a fair few Jews who having faced real and violent anti-Semitism find the punchy sounds of ‘Yid Army’ and the rolling ‘We are the Yids/ We are the Yids / We are the Yids are we’ enjoyable. Some Chelsea fans joined the National Front, hurled abuse at black footballers and sang songs about gassing Jews. You pick your side and go with it.

And here’s the thing: not every Chelsea fan who says Morata hates the Yids is a full-on Nazi. They are most likely not anti-Semitic, either. In the context of football rivalry the Chelsea fan seething about ‘Yiddish scum‘ is not doing so because he’s a white supremacist, jihadi or far-Left activist calling for the systematic extermination of world Jewry. What drives the vast majority of Chelsea fans hymning Morata is the heartfelt desire to see Spurs fail.

Deprived of a proper local rival, Chelsea fans have scouted around other London teams and found Spurs to their liking. It is Spurs’ fellow North Londoners Arsenal, of course, who are the Lilywhites true rivals, and it’s largely down to Chelsea’s Jewish owner Roman Abramovich’s billions that the Blues have escaped those traditional big derby days with Fulham.

Sing What We Want

Football chants have meaning in the context of the game. Banning chants – censoring words; arresting people for saying them – is the stuff of loons. People will always find a way to insult each other through language.

In 2013 the FA and anti-racist campaigners commanded Spurs fans to stop singing about ‘Yids’. Spurs fans responded by declaring “We’ll sing what we want to”. All fans should rejoice in that. Sing what you want. And if Chelsea fans want to upset their star player and their club by labelling Morata an anti-Semite, Spurs fans should only smile at his pain.

 

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Spurs | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0