Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.
TRANSFER Balls: Willian has signed for Chelsea. It was ever his dream move to play for the Blues.
August 16: Willian loves Liverpool:
“There are conversations, and I am hoping in the next few days for an offer from a club like Liverpool. If it is Liverpool, then they are a great club.”
August 22: Willian has a medical at Tottenham. He passes.
Former Anzhi Makhachkala coach Rene Meulensteen days of his former player:
“He’s very versatile, he can play in different positions, he’s a very creative player and an excellent professional with a very good personality.”
August 28: Willian becomes a Chelsea player:
“It’s been my dream to come to play here. Finally it’s become a reality, and when the offer came I never gave a thought to anybody else, I said to myself that I would run here, and I’m happy to be here now. Chelsea were always my first choice.”
Get a loaf of that personality.
TRANSFERS Balls: Is Yohan Cabeye on his way from Newcastle United to Arsenal? What says the Daily Mirror?
August 30, Daily Mirror:
Alan Pardew has confirmed that he expects Yohan Cabaye to play for Newcastle against Fulham this weekend, that’s good news for the Toon Army. Pards has left Cabaye on the sidelines while Arsenal were sniffing around, and the fact he’s bringing him back might mean that the danger from Arsenal is now over.
August 24,Daily Mirror:
Yohan Cabaye has gone on strike at Newcastle after refusing to play in Toon’s opening matches of the season, writes The Sunday People. Sunday People Sport can reveal that Cabaye was named in the team to face City on Monday but refused to play and returned home to Tyneside instead.
When is a strike not a strike?
IT’S been a busy summer for former Arsenal captain Tony Adams. He’s been talking about Arsenal:
”One hundred per cent I’d like to be Arsenal manager,” Adams told Zapsportz.com. “Of course my heart says ‘yes, yes, yes’, but my head says ‘can I win with this current team?’ My answer is no, I can’t and I am not sure anyone can. I would want assurances if I walk through the door, those assurances meaning I’m given the go ahead to build a new team. I would get my teeth into building a new team but to achieve that, you would need to spend.
But after a penalty shoot-out with fellow north London legends Ian Wright, Ledley King and Les Ferdinand in Trafalgar Square to launch Vodafone’s 4G network, the former England captain took Le Professeur to task…
Adams said: “It’s not Arsene’s style to pay top dollar and gamble huge sums of money on a single player, but my main criticism of him is that I would do things differently…They need someone to lock it up when it breaks down, and I would be scouring Europe for the next Gilberto. I must have been the only person in the country doing somersaults watching Manchester United and Chelsea keeping clean sheets the other night – two fantastic, organised, solid sides giving nothing away. That wasn’t a boring game for me, because I was wishing Arsenal could do that more often.”
The Mirror says Adams is working not only as the boot of a mobile phone company but as a “consultant to Azerbaijan club FC Gabala”.
Tony Adams was the club’s manager. He opined:
“Wherever you take yourself in this world, you’ve got to take yourself with you.”
Arsenal icon Tony Adams has said that the club must stop selling its top players if it is to challenge for trophies, but added that it is impossible to “buy success”.
So says Tony who earlier advised “you would need to spend”. But having told us that you cannot buy success, Adams goes on to say:
“It’s always a risk, however much you pay. You can’t just buy success. I love the policy that Arsenal’s got. We try to give younger players opportunities. It’s a simple philosophy for me. You’ve got a squad of players and if you’ve got players in your youth team or reserves that can come into your first team squad, then great.If you haven’t then you try to recruit from outside. It’s really simple – however much they cost, whether it be £3 million or £30 million, it’s kind of irrelevant.”
The Sun: “TONY ADAMS has revealed how he told Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger NOT to sign Gareth Bale because he wasn’t up to much as a defender.”
So. There you have it Arsenal fans. It could be worse. Tony Adams could be the club’s manager…
TRANSFER Balls: A look at the latest media experts news on which players Arsenal are buying today. Can the experts produce an entire new XI?
Arsenal Insider: “Wenger signs Flamini and plots to capture Guilavogui”
He’s a 22-year-old £8million-rated midfielder at St Etienne.
Transfer (Real) balls: Arsenal sign Angel Di Maria, Manchester United pay £10m too much for Ozil and Benzama’s parting shot
TRANSFER Balls: Are Real Madrid stars Karim Benzama, Angel Di María and Mesut Ozil leaving Real Madrid for Arsenal? Let’s see what the experts in the media have been saying today:
Daily Mirror: “Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil transfer hopes boosted as the Real Madrid star throws a strop - Midfielder tipped to be sold to help pay for Bale storms down tunnel, showers and goes straight to the bus after being subbed” – 27 Aug 2013
Says Ozil on August 28:
“I want to be successful. A lot has been written in the media about other teams, but I have a contract with Real Madrid and I am staying here. I have the coach’s confidence and I feel very good. Also, I have a contract until 2016. I have a very good understanding with all my team-mates and it is a pleasure and an honour to play for Real Madrid. When you play for a team as important as Real Madrid, you have to win titles and we will do everything possible.
“We will work hard. We are a club that has special players and I am convinced that we will win titles this year. We have our aims and each of us has a role and we will try to win all of the titles on offer. That’s one of the big reasons for me being here.”
The Sun, August 28:
“GARETH BALE has told pals his Tottenham career is over – and that is why he failed to turn up at training yesterday.”
That’s an “exclusive”.
The Sun, August 3, 2013:
“SPURS players asked Gareth Bale to autograph their shirts in an emotional farewell.”
So. Bale’s already said goodbye to his teammates a few weeks ago. Was that not a clue that he wouldn’t be training with them again?
Bale missed the friendlies against Monaco and Espanyol. He has also missed Premier league games against Crystal Palace and Swansea,and a Europa League tie against Dinamo Tbilisi. Why? Because he has a bad foot, so they say.
In other news, Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas says he could fine Bale for his no-show:
“He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid and in the end if it happens, we wish him all the best, but the fact that he hasn’t turned up is not the correct behaviour. That is the position [Bale] chose to take and it’s up to the club to decide if it’s a fineable offence. I gave the player the weekend off, Monday was a day off for the squad.”
That from the man who said the Spurs chairman has given him the “guarantee” that Bale would not be sold.
Photo: Bale dresses as a big phallus in Madrid.
TRANSFER Balls: Is Gareth Bale leaving Spurs for Real Madrid? Yes.
The Telegraph says Bale is on his way to Real for £85m.
Barcelona’s manager, Gerardo Martino, says the fee is “a lack of respect to the world in general”.
TRANSFER Balls: Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers does love to talk. And the more he talks the more he seems to tie himself in knots. Mostly, Rogers has been talking about Luis Suarez, the player who is now definitely not heading to Arsenal.
That would be the same Suarez of whom the BBC reported on August 7:
Suarez, 26, plans to submit a transfer request this week if a move to Arsenal is blocked.
Transfer Balls: Moyes says ‘disgusting’ Manchester United are trying to ‘destabilise’ Everton over Baines and Fellaini
TRANSFER Balls: How’s David Moyes getting on at Manchester United? Well, he’s after Everton’s best players. The BBC reports:
Everton have described Manchester United’s £28m joint bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines as “derisory and insulting”.
“Those bids were rejected out of hand as derisory and insulting,” said director of communications Alan Myers.
Not too far back (August 2009), when Moyes was manager of Everton, Manchester City were after the club’s Joleon Lescott:
David Moyes’s irritation with Mark Hughes erupted again yesterday when he accused Manchester City of seeking to destabilise Everton with their “disgusting” pursuit of Joleon Lescott. He also insisted City’s handling of the transfer saga had destroyed any chance they had of signing the England international this summer…
Lescott signed for City, of course.
Moyes has complete control over transfer strategy at Everton and was therefore incensed…
“The dialogue has not taken place with Manchester City and Everton in the way that it is said to be. If it was, the dialogue would come to me,” he said. “There has been no contact with me. I’m the person here who makes the decisions. I’m in control of Everton Football Club. There has not been one call. It’s disappointing. We have got a player who we really value and we want to keep. We think the world of him and he can play two positions. We don’t want to lose him. Yet he is being continually put in a position like he is at this moment in time.
“The way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupted our club.”
The Everton manager admits Lescott’s “head has been twisted” by the prospect of doubling his £40,000-a-week wage at City… Moyes is unhappy with the size of the bids from City and their timing..
Moyes believes City have refused to respect his stance on Lescott in the hope of destabilising Everton…
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls: Arsenal want Defoe from Spurs, Benzema from Real, Manchester City’s Richards and three goalkeepers
TRANSFER Balls: Having told its readers that Arsenal had bought striker Gonzalo Higuain, the Sun was soon proved wrong as the Argentine signed for Napoli. That scoop remains live on the paper’s website. It’s not easy, of course, to identity an Arsenal signing before it happens. This is because Arsenal play their cards close to their chest and seem to have a short list of targets that runs into the low hundreds. A look at this week’s press delivers some scoops.
Before the names, here’s Arsene Wenger:
“Yes, I’m confident that we’ll make the signings we need because of the desire of the players to join us.”
The Top 12 tunes from the Golden Age of Pop that continue to be sung at British football grounds to this day
A NEW season, and a new chant.
Yes, Manchester United supporters have hailed the arrival of the Moyesiah with a new song: “So Come on David Moyes, Play Like Fergie’s Boys. We’ll go wild, wild, wild!”
And where did they get the tune? From Seventies chart giants Slade, and their straight-in-at-number-one-for-the-first-time-since-the-Beatles classic Cum On Feel The Noize…
TRANSFER Balls: Reader comment of the day:
Bold move by Wenger to leave Suarez, Gustavo, Fellaini, Bernard, Cesar, Higuain, Fabregas, and Rooney out of the squad today.
Ha-ha. More media experts views on future Arsenal players every day…
THAT was quick, internet. No sooner has referee Anthony Taylor and his whistle helped Aston Villa record an unlikely win over Arsenal on the Premier League’s opening day than a look a his Wikipedia page turns up some interesting ‘facts’:
IS Luis Suarez heading to an average Arsenal from an average Liverpool?
Arsène Wenger says:
“The issue is that the club sometimes does not want to sell at any price. And in the example of Suárez and you are Liverpool, you have to calculate if you want to get into the Champions League, who are our rivals and do we want to sell to them? Unless they need the money or they have a clause or things like that, things [do not always work] just because you put the money up.”
WHEN David Moyes was announced as the new Manchester United manager, many wondered if he’d be the perfect fit for the club. Thanks to his complaints about an imagined conspiracy against the Red Devils, it is clear that he’s a dream appointment.
Moyes has hit out at United’s opening fixtures, hinting that this is all a deliberate ploy by the Premier League to give them a tough opening.
In amongst their first five games, the champions have to play Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. Of course, they’d have to play them at some point anyway and they should quit whining, but there you go.
RUSSIA’S anti-gay laws are, clearly, bloody preposterous. Quite why Putin & Co would be so worried about who-fancies-who is beyond any logic or reason. Making the whole thing weirder and worse is that small matter of the Sochi Winter Olympics, a tournament steeped in corporate bon homie and a woolly notion of oneness and togetherness.
TALKING Balls with QPR boss Harry Redknapp.
Says Harry of his side’s big match win the Championship against mighty Huddersfield Town:
“Huddersfield are a big club. I remember them being in the top division and doing well.”
PUT a dream football team together and, chances are, a few of the same names will crop up. Pele, Maradona and Messi will inevitably appear as people argue about formations with pepper pots, squabbling about who should sit behind the forwards in a free role and whether or not to play a midfield sweeper.
This isn’t the stuff of fantasy though.
TRANSFER Balls: Is Liverpool’s Luis Suarez going to Arsenal?
The Reds’ owner John W. Henry goes on the record:
“We are not going to sell Luis… “I’m unequivocal that we won’t sell to Arsenal, whatever the bid is.”
The man’s word is his bond. No price is right for loveable Luis.
AS Hawk-Eye is launched at the Emirates, bringing goal-line technology to the Barclays Premier League at last, we look back on ten landmark innovations that have shaped the game we know and love.
Long before jumpers, there were goal posts. Their raison d’être was to indicate where the goal was, but they served another purpose too: a notch was ‘scored’ on them after each goal, hence the phrase ‘score a goal’.
TRANSFER Balls: Eurosport has a question about Liverpool’s loverly Luis Suarez:
Do Arsenal really want a player with a rap sheet as long as Luis Suarez’s? Let’s take a look.
That look features 6 of Suarez’s most heinous acts.
6. Uses his hand to stop a certain goal against Uruguay in the World Cup
Transfer Balls: Arsenal offer £51m for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Brendan Rodgers just won’t shut up
TRANSFER Balls: News of Liverpool’s soon-to-be-former striker in the news media:
The front and back pages:
The i says Liverpool have told Suarez to train with the stiffs. How’s that for building team unity? On a positive note, the reserves will get better results.
TRANSFER Balls: Liverpool and that Luis Suarez saga continues:
Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger has been talking to Al Jazeera Sport:
“At the moment the situation is on standby. I really don’t know what will be decided by Liverpool. I don’t know what has been said, what has been promised and what has been written. That is the story between Suarez and Liverpool. Only Suarez and Liverpool can decide that. It’s nothing to do us. We have been told the player wants to leave Liverpool and that’s why we’ve acted. We try and get what we want, if that doesn’t work we will look somewhere else.”
CRICKETERS are nice aren’t they? Not like those awful footballers with their grotesque wealth, dreadful taste in cars and super-injunctions. They play sports in their sweaters and take breaks for cups of tea and polite applause.
Cricketers are the masters of deception, sledging opponents at the crease, turning up rat-arsed at Downing Street and, in the case of Monty Panesar, urinating on bouncers at a nightclub.
THIS tax story is really getting out of hand: they’re insisting that Real Madrid and Barca are tax scams now:
Those four are Real Madrid and Barcelona, who also take around 50 per cent of La Liga’s total television revenue for themselves, as well as Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna. They have been permitted to retain their status as sports clubs, owned by their members, and to add insult to injury for the rest, the Government refused to disclose how much debt the four owed to the Spanish purse.
As well as being treated as not-for-profit organisations, the four exempted clubs benefit under corporation and property tax laws.
Jeebus. They’re treated as not for profit organisations because they are not for profit organisations. This is pretty simple to understand really.