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.
WHEN Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson in 1977:
NICOLAS Anelka’s controversial celebration after scoring for West Brom at Upton Park – the notorious quenelle salute, made famous by his comedian friend Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala – will be debated for weeks to come.
But he is by no means the first footballer to find himself in hot water following an impetuous or ill-judged gesture…
During his time at Lazio, Paolo Di Canio is alleged to have said he was a fascist, and he certainly did nothing to dispel this impression with his salutes. When appointed manager of Sunderland he apologised for any offence caused by the gesture and said that comments about his political beliefs had been taken out of context.
And just to even things up, here once again is the England team in Berlin….
Flicking the Vs
Now sadly dying out, the ‘V-sign’ (meaning ‘fu*k off’) was once the most offensive gesture available to native Britons.
In 1971 it briefly became known as ‘doing a Harvey Smith’ after the pugnacious Yorkshire show jumper greeted the judges with said sign after winning the British Show Jumping Derby. He was fined his entire winnings (two grand) for his troubles.
Footballers were partial to it too. That is to say, bad boys like boozing, smoking, womanising, drug-taking lower-league legend Robin Friday…
As was Charlie George, whose 1972 effort at Derby was dismissed by Arsenal team-mate Alan Ball as ‘a bit of devilment’, which is ‘part and parcel of the game’. Ball said Charlie had learned his lesson, but he was up to his old tricks at his next club (Derby County, ironically) in 1975…
In more recent times, Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were banned from playing for Scotland on account of this gesture at team officials, committed while relegated to the bench for turning up drunk at a training session…
Another good old British tradition, kept alive by a Frenchman. David Ginola, who did the ‘wanker’ gesture at BT Sport host Jake Humphrey, who was oblivious to the insult, but later apologised on air.
Unfortunately German football journalist Raphael Honigstein repeated the gesture on another BT Sport show shortly afterwards. He claimed afterwards that he didn’t realise they were on air…
Jack Wilshere found himself in trouble recently after giving the finger to Manchester city fans, whom he accused of insulting his children. ‘Shouldn’t of [sic] reacted the way I did but I know all you dads out there love your kids the way I do…’ he tweeted later.
Here’s Becks doing the same to England fans at the Euro 2000…
The dark side of the moon
Robbie Fowler’s baiting of Graham Le Saux was widely assumed to be anti-gay in intent, as he repeatedly bent over and proffered his backside to the Chelsea defender.
And the light side…
Where else to turn but to ARSEnal’s Sammy Nelson? The popular defender famously dropped his shorts at Highbury having netted for both sides during the Gunners’ game against Coventry in 1979.
Not to be sniffed at
Robbie Fowler had a few run-ins with authority, but the only other time he got into trouble for a shirt-lifting-related incident, it was for lifting his team jersey to reveal a t-shirt supporting the striking Liverpool dockers, who had been sold out and abandoned by their union.
On a less serious note, his ‘coke’ celebration, in which he snorted the goal line, remains a classic.
Tim Cahill ‘did the handcuffs’ for his goal brother Sean, who was in jail for GBH at the time.
… while Ipswich’s Norris did the same for former team-mate Luke McCormick, who was doing time for killing people in a car crash.
And finally, the most incendiary of the lot…
Paul Gascoigne’s 1998 celebration in front of Celtic fans earned him a £20,000 fine and a series of death threats. He claimed not to have realized the symbolic significance of his antics – an excuse that would be preposterous coming from anyone else, but which is just about plausible in Gazza’s case…
WHEN West Bromwich Albion footballer Nicholas Anelka scored in Saturday’s draw with West Ham he preformed a “reverse Nazi salute”. Oddly, the reverse Nazi is not an anti-racism statement. It’s one steeped in anti-Semitism. After thousands of years of persecution, Anelka’s friend, Dieudonne M’balla M’balla, created a new way to insult Jews. It might even be trademarked.
The gesture is called the “quenelle”. It’s big in France. French media have published a photo of a man performing it outside the Toulouse school where four Jews were murdered.
France’s Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron has condemned Anelka son Twitter calling it a “shocking provocation”. And it is to those it’s meant to hurt.
COMPARE and contrast the Sun’s treatment of foreign villains. The Sun is owned By Rupert Murdoch:
* “HOME Secretary Charles Clarke was in the firing line last night after it was revealed HUNDREDS of evil foreign criminals are on the loose in Britain” – The Sun, August, 2007
ON Australia’s The Cricket Show. Piers Morgan faced Brett Lee. There was nowhere to hide:
The Tao of David Coleman
He was born at Alderley Edge, the place now famous as the luxury location of choice for the gated homes of multi-millionaire footballers. But Coleman is a man synonymous with the blurred black-and-white ‘soccer’ of a more simple, if not innocent era.
GOING into Chelsea’s away match against Arsenal, Blues’ manager Jose Mourinho told one and all: “It’s not me against Wenger.”
Was Jose a tad worried that his team would lose? Was he looking to spread the blame should Chelsea be defeated?
DOES the media love New Spurs manager Tim Sherwood?
Matt Barlow (Daily Mail):
“A wet and windy night at White Hart Lane was no place for the sharp suit and tie combo always favoured by AVB. Sherwood stayed true to his coaching status with a club tracksuit under a big blue bench coat and a pair of white trainers.”
NEWS for Spurs fans:
“Zapsportz.com understands that Hoddle will certainly help if the club makes an approach.”
That’s Glenn Hoddle, the Queen of Golders Green. But how trusty a source is Zappsort?
Welcome to ZAPSPORTZ.COM, a brilliant new website for all sports fans ….especially those of you who love to get out and play or compete in your favourite sports. ZAPSPORTZ is co-founded by football great Glenn Hoddle, the legendary Spurs and England midfielder and the national side’s World Cup manager in 1998 and he is passionate about helping to improve the next generation of sportsmen and women.
REMEMBER when Michel Platini was nothing more than a wonderful, wonderful footballer? Those were great times. Platini would grace matches and do wonderful things and then he’d disappear until the next match.
Then, he became the president of UEFA and everything went wrong. Instead of stroking a football around and making grown adults weep with joy with 5 yard passes, Platini now talks a lot and doesn’t seem to ever want to fine teams for being racist in favour of crackpot ideas about… well… EVERYTHING.
HARRY REDKNAPP says Spurs should make Tim Sherwood their next manager.
“Tim should get the job permanently and work alongside Les Ferdinand.”
Are they any good?
“Together, they are old-school Spurs and would do a tremendous job.”
ANDRW Villas Boas has been sacked. The Times produces the juxtaposition of the day:
FIFA have long promised to get tough on racism and for the most part, failed miserably. However, things appear to be changing for the better as Croatian international Josip Simunic has been suspended for ten official matches, banned from entering the confines of the stadiums for those ten matches and fined CHF 30,000.
That happens to include the World Cup finals.
The Croatian FA and Simunic have been notified of the sanctions imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee after the player displayed discriminatory behaviour in interaction with the Croatian supporters.
As the video shows, Simunic got on the microphone and shouted to supporters: “For the homeland!” with fans replying with “Ready!” The chant was used by the Croatian pro-Nazi fascist “Ustaše” movement that ruled the state during the second world war.
ARSENAL’S Jack Wilshere is innocent. Sure, it looked as if he was giving Manchester City fans the finger at the Etihad.
HOW football pundits work, with the Daily Mirror’s Robbie Savage:
Robbie Savage’s Premier League predictions: Find out his picks for the title, Europe and relegation..
8) Everton. I wish him all the best, but Roberto Martinez will find David Moyes a hard act to follow. Defensively, his Wigan side were poor and Goodison fans are not used to seeing their team spring leaks at the back. Martinez has plenty to prove.
THE Daily Robbie Savage: Today Savage uses his insight to tell Daily Mirror readers what David Moyes need do to make Manchester United great:
Why David Moyes must rip up this team and sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Buy the Swede as a new Cantona plus Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw, tie down Wayne Rooney and build the back four around Phil Jones.
MUCH chat over QPR’s new 40,000 all-seater mega-ground a mile or so from their Loftus Road home. The drawings look just great. Anorak eagerly awaits the move, and has picked out the best seat just behind the massive JumboTron in the ground’s top-right-hand corner.
The hope is that it matches the view we got last week when the Super Hoops took on and defeated Bournemouth 3-0.
JOHN Dillon says Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini “realises being cool doesn’t count if you can’t add up”. Had City scored more they would have topped their Champions League group. This, it turns out, is a sign of foreign stupidity.
Here’s something that English coaches can do which apparently not all of their highly exalted foreign rivals can manage. They can count.
If Pellegrini’s oversight is a sign of foreign idiocy are Alan “exciting” Shearer’s bon mots symbols of English brain power?
Pelligrini might look like an accountant, but it turns out he’s not all that good with numbers.
Pellegrini, however, belied his suave, refined image and miscalculated… The fashion during the last decade or so has been for imported bosses. They are seen as more sophisticated, cooler, more advanced and more tactically inventive and flexible than their British counterparts.
THE Football Association are very disappointed that numbers of people taking up football are dwindling. It seems less kids want to run around in dreadful weather, getting lumps kicked out of them and paying their subs for the privilege.
In completely unrelated news, football took over Twitter in 2013 and dominated the spikes of activity the site had.
HOW bad or good were Arsenal in last night’ Champions League defeat to Napoli? The Gunners qualified the contest’s knock-out stages in second place.
Daily Mail: “Napoli 2 Arsenal 0: Slack Gunners are let off the hook after Higuain and Callejon bag a goal apiece as Arteta sees red”
Arsenal had looked so assured, so accomplished as they saw off the threat of Napoli’s braying mob up in the stands and the willing figures doing the running for them on the field. Then it went wrong — badly wrong. Gonzalo Higuain scored for Napoli after 73 minutes and Mikel Arteta was sent off two minutes later for a second booking. As captain of Arsenal he ought to know better.
The Serie A side began brightly, but were restricted to few opportunities by a resilient Arsenal defence in the first-half…
Arsenal started to become more of a threat and in-form striker Olivier Giroud had a superb chance to silence the home fans, but saw his shot stopped by Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral. As the first-half went on the Gunners continued to frustrate and restricted the home side to few clear cut chances.
As the match entered the final 18 minutes, Arsenal began to unravel slightly as Higuain turned Metesacker and struck a low effort into the bottom corner to give Napoli the lead. Only three minutes later Arteta, already on a booking, brought down Callejon and was given his marching orders by referee Viktor Kassai.
Arsène Wenger’s team are in the knockout phase of the Champions League for the 14th season in succession and, in truth, their progress was never in doubt…
Arteta and Flamini exerted their influence, Santi Cazorla delighted in little bursts and Laurent Koscielny showed his composure on the ball, Arsenal gained control…
Arsenal kept their composure and, although Callejón went through to lob Szczesny, the die was cast.
Arsenal stood firm early on. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were stoic in central defence, while Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky marshalled the midfield with quiet defiance.
Or as the Mirror puts it: Arsenal were “dire” and have suffered a “devastating” set back”.
If you want to see just how devastating it all was for Arsenal, look at Gonzalo Higuain weeping in the above photos. And, of course, as the Sun tells us, Gonzalo is a Gunzalo the Gooner…
NELSON Mandela Balls: Golf 365 talks about golf:
The great man who was Nelson Mandela strongly believed that sport could be one of the most inspirational unifiers of a nation and so it may be more than a mere coincidence that the Nelson Mandela Championship, presented by ISPS Handa, is set to be played this week.
HOW was Manchester United’s match at Old Trafford last night? Well, the Red Devils won their Champions’ League match. Shakhtar Donetsk
United’s supporters continue to give Moyes their full backing, both vocally and with banners such as the one that read: “Believe in yourself Moyes, the rest will follow.” The manager was also backed by a rendition of “Come on David Moyes, play like Fergie’s boys” and “David Moyes’s red and white army”. He can at least count on the fans as he attempts to arrest United’s slump.
WHY was Chelsea’s John Terry shopping in Poundland?
JT is not with Oscar, the Brazilian wonder, but 17-year-old Knaphill Atheltic winger and Chelsea fan Jack Jeffrey, who tells Get Surrey:
“My mate asked him if it was OK to have a picture. He was happy to let us. It was weird just walking in there and seeing him. He had a lot of stuff in his basket but I didn’t really see what it was. When I told my friends they were shocked and wished they had met him as well. He’s probably one of my favourite players.”
TRANSFER Balls: Did Manchester Untied get snubbed by Brazilian wonderkid (it says here) Bruno Gomes? The Daily Mail seems to think so. Hell, it says so:
He’s met Fergie and the players, taken a tour of Old Trafford and posed wearing the shirt… but Brazilian teenager Bruno Gomes is the latest star to snub United move
The silly sod. United are huge. Adam Crafton (as in craft on a story to a headline or photo) adds:
Manchester United have missed out on signing long-term target Bruno Gomes, after the striker declared that he has agreed to join Internacional.