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.
IS nothing safe: volume 546c:
Highbury Corner magistrates’ calls Paul Lovel. It is alleged that he did try to perform a sexual act on a sheep and encourage it to perform one on him at a place close to Tottenham Hotspurs’ new training ground on Hotspur Way in Enfield.
WHY didn’t Manchester United by a stella name this summer? The club’s only signing was Marouane Fellaini.
United’s director of communications Phil Townsend has written to the fans:
“The club has always backed the manager in the transfer market, as Sir Alex (Ferguson) has said on many occasions and it will continue to do so. The club has demonstrated its belief in, and commitment to, David Moyes through the award of a six-year contract. Allowing him to shape the future Manchester United team is a long-term project not an eight-week panic.”
THE Chelsea manager has been taking about eggs ahead of the Blues Champions’ League match against FC Basel. Matt Barlow cocks an ear:
The last time Jose Mourinho ventured into egg territory, he found out Roman Abramovich was an over-easy kind of guy. Mourinho complained about the eggs and Abramovich told him it was over. Easy.
Turned out the Russian liked his managerial relationships the way he liked his eggs.
Pun-tastic stuff. But what did Mourinho – “Mother Hen” – say of his side that features four players aged 22 and under?
“Beautiful, young eggs. They are eggs that need a mum or, in this case, a dad to take care of them, to keep them warm during the winter, to bring the blanket and work and improve them. One day the moment will arrive when the weather changes, the sun rises, you break the eggs and the eggs are ready to go for life at the top level.”
WAYNE Rooney has now scored 200 goals for Manchester United. Stella stuff from the best English footballer. So. How does the Sun report on that news?
The Telegraph goes for a soaring Rooney, arms outspread and smiling:
Jamie Redknapp: Chelsea’s David Luiz not good enough for Stoke but great for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich
JAMIE Redknapp is the Daily Mail’s worst football pundit. This week, Redknapp told readers:
Jose Mourinho will have sleepless nights about David Luiz’s defending…
Luiz defends for himself with little concern for his partner. He must be a nightmare for John Terry and Gary Cahill…
…in the Premier League he is a liability for his team and too much of a maverick.
FORMER Premier League referee Mark Halsey is selling his life story in the Sun and a book, and working as a rules pundit on BT Sport. Given that refs are routinely called biased and some countries have had issues with officials being bribed, Halsey comes across as bit of a berk. If he had a personal relationship with Chelsea manager Joe Mourinho, as he said, did the manager pick players the ref admires or wants to meet? Will jokes that if “Halsey stays fit United can go the season unbeaten” be rooted in something more sinister than rival fans’ bitterness at a perceived injustice? If there is one thing we at Anorak dislike and distrust more than the official who brings you to book it is the official who wants to be your pal. Matt Dickinson is unimpressed with Halsey, writing in the Times:
It started, as perhaps these things do, with an innocent cup of tea some years ago. Mark Halsey arrived early at Stamford Bridge to officiate at a Chelsea game. José Mourinho invited him in for a chat. A few months later it had developed to full-blown hugging, with Mourinho embracing Halsey after the Community Shield. Halsey delighted in that squeeze and the whispered post-match compliment in his ear. …When Halsey’s wife, Michelle, was found to have myeloid leukaemia, the Portuguese paid out of his own pocket for Halsey and his family to stay at a five-star hotel in the Algarve. “Obviously,” Halsey said, “I wouldn’t have gone if he’d still been at Chelsea. But what can you say? He’s been an absolute inspiration.” How touching. Only a cynic could look at such a close friendship and think it brought into question both men’s professional judgment. Only a nasty sceptic could doubt a referee who thinks it appropriate to accept thousands of pounds’ worth of gifts.
The Sun says Premier League offered referee Mark Halsey hush money: newspaper did not hack his phone
THE Sun is serialising Surviving cancer, death threats and the Premier League, by former Premier League football referee Mark Halsey.
The paper trails the book by telling Sun readers:
LOTS of people say words that make others feel uncomfortable. Look at 99% of every hip hop record made in the last 30 years. People also feel funny when they hear the word ‘vagina’, which is pretty weird.
In football, Tottenham fans have reclaimed the word ‘Yid’ – an antisemetic term that was once the mainstay of rival teams, looking to put the wind up the North London club. Spurs fans now refer to themselves as the Yid Army and sing a number of songs using the Y-bomb.
Real Madrid: media still portrays former Spurs star Gareth Bale of the trademarked fingers a simple lad
AND so it goes on, the media tale that former Spurs and Southampton FC player Gareth Bale – now working as the world’s costliest player at Real Madrid – is a simple lad with simple ways.Today, Oliver Holt tells his Daily Mirror readers:
Bale is not a personality. He gets on with the game. Mostly, he shies away from the circus that surrounds it…
FOOTBALL Balls looks at Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and his former goalkeeper Pepe Reina. You can read what Reina think of his transfer to Napoli here.
Says Brendan Rodgers:
“He had been at the club a number of years and done well but I didn’t do anything underhand. I looked him (Pepe Reina) in the eye and told him I was thinking of bringing in another goalkeeper good enough to be No1. He accepted that at the time. When he decided he wanted to go on loan to Napoli I never got the two No1s I had wanted but I still ended up with a good goalkeeper”
That’s ‘unpatriotic’: Daily Mirror’s Robbie Savage slams paper’s picture of Spurs and England’s Kyle Walker huffing nitrous oxide
WHEN the Mirror posted that image of Spurs and England defender Kyle Walker huffing nitrous oxide on his summer holidays – it was June – we were not alone in wondering if the paper had sat on the story. ‘Footballer gets off face on summer holidays’ is not a big story. But ‘England footballer facing crunch World Cup qualifying match inhales hippy crack’ is.
The Mirror then followed its shocker with a picture of Roy Hodgson looking not enough unlike Psycho Norman Bates.
We wondered is the Daily Mirror was deliberately trying to unsettle Hodgson’s England?
Mirror journalist Dan Silver thought us “idiots“:
Anorak: “You think the photo the Mirror chose is flattering to Hodgson?”
Dan Silver: “you think the Mirror has a campaign to undermine the England team?”
Anorak: “No. But you’re tapping into the fear factor – not quite the achtung! achtung! of old is it…”
In todays Mirror, columnist Robbie Savage notes:
“Kyle Walker was naïve, and plain wrong, to inhale nitrous oxide ‘laughing gas’ from a balloon at a party. He has apologised for his mistake, the Football Association are not taking any action against him, and that should be the end of the matter. But the timing of the photograph – which caught Walker in the act - being leaked left a lot to be desired. It was clearly designed to unsettle him as England prepared for a vital World Cup qualifier in Ukraine, and it clearly affected Walker’s performance on the night… The people who leaked that photo may have had their own motives, but at a time when everyone in England should have been pulling together and hoping for an important result on the road to Brazil, it didn’t look like a patriotic act of unity to me.
So. Did the Mirror sit on the photo or not? And what was the Mirror’s motive?
The Mirror’s editorial meeting should by interesting.
LAST week Spurs and England defender Kyle Walker was the subject of a huge furore about his having huffed laughing gas on his summer holidays. He did nothing illegal. Recreational laughing gas was said to be a killer, but the Daily Mail was only able to back up its claim with very shaky evidence that it was. And other sources said that getting off your noggin on nitrous oxide was no worse than binge drinking – and how many footballer had done that over their summer break?
Still, Darren Lewis writes in the Mirror, which broke the story of Walker’s chemical laugh-in:
Villas -Boas has insisted Kyle Walker IS in the right frame of mind to play against Norwich tomorrow after the controversy surrounding the Nitrous Oxide balloon.
BRITISH racing driver Darren Shepsman offers his post-impact summary on racing his MX5 at Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit:
IS MESUT Özil a sex mad footballer in pursuit of former Miss Venezuela Aida Yespica? In 2007, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told Yespica, “With you, I’d go anywhere.” She did not tell him to go to Hell. Now Yespica has been linked to Arsenal newboy Özil. She says:
“Two years ago we ran into each other at a nightclub in Madrid, but I have nothing to do with his departure from Real. We never had sex. What’s true is that we exchanged phone numbers. Then one night he calls me and tells me: ‘I’m in Milan, I’ll see you?’ So I went to meet him and we went to dinner at one of the most famous clubs of the city, without hiding from the paparazzi.’ We had a fun night together, but then we went our separate ways. Today I know that he is happily engaged, am so am I. Ozil and I just had a beautiful friendship, we never even flirted. He is both younger and smaller than me! I’ve deleted his number, and he doesn’t have my number because I’ve changed it. I expect a denial on his part also: that would be gentlemanly.”
Or as the Daily Mail says:
“He is thought to have forked out £15,000 every couple weeks for a private plane, which would bring him to Yespica. El Mundo reported: ‘The early morning trips, extended to the last minute of passion, led to a down which affected his performances.’”
Did he come up short?
Venezuelan showgirl Aida Yespicasmiles during a press conference in Rome on Jan. 12, 2007. According to reports widely carried in the Italian press on Thursday, Feb, 1, 2007, Yespica is one of the two women who former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's wife Veronica Lario refers to in her open letter published by daily newspaper La Repubblica on Wednesday. Lario wrote the open letter to La Repubblica expressing her anger over her husband's flirtations during a VIP party last week. (AP Photo/Sandro Pace)
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil’s dad will sue Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez over his ‘mad passion’ for Aida Yespica
MESUT Ozil’s father has threatened Real Madrid with legal action as the ugly fallout of his son’s deadline day move to Arsenal continues to stink up the place.
In case you missed it last week, Madrid president Florentino Perez was quoted as saying that Ozil was allowed to leave the club as he “wasn’t a good professional and was obsessed with women and nightlife” and that he developed an unhealthy obsession, or “mad passion” as El Mundo Deportivo put it, with Colombian supermodel Aida Yespica – and sweet Jesus, we can see how that could be an issue (and below) – that distracted him from his professional duties.
ENGLAND needed a draw art worst in the Ukraine to stay top of their World Cup qualifying group, in which they are unbeaten. So far, England have scored 23 goals, letting in just 3 – giving them the best goal difference out of all the NINE qualifying groups. They have two home matches left to be sure of qualification to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil. So. It’s not as disaster. Far from it. Still brickbats have been tossed at Roy Hodgson and his team:
One naysayer is Alan Shearer, who writes in the Sun.
“When was England’s last good performance? I don’t mean result, I mean a performance that really made you sit up and think ‘We have got something good here’. I’ll tell you when it was – September 1, 2001 in Munich, Germany 1 England 5.”
CAN it be true? Arsenal have signed the news Beckham? Yes. And no. They’ve not signed the newest David Beckham progeny: she’s called Harper and she’s very small. The Gunners have taken on David Beckham’s son Romeo on a one-year youth contract.
According to ITV Football, the 10-year-old, who is known to be a big Arsenal fan (he’s been pictured charging around in an Oxlade-Chamberlain shirt during a kickabout with his old man before) has joined the Arsenal youth academy on a development contract.
DID Manchester United’s Japanese star Shinji Kagawa really “hit out at new Manchester United boss David Moyes”?
Is the style of things in Japan to attack your boss in public? The Daily Star says it is. The Metro agrees:
Shinji Kagawa dig at David Moyes bemuses Manchester United
MANCHESTER United’s Japanese player Shinji Kagawa is the subject of a spoof twitter account. The Mirror’s David McDonnell has noticed it:
One of the funniest and most entertaining football parody accounts on Twitter is Evil Kagawa, purporting to be written by the Manchester United midfielder.
Among its 141,000 followers are United trio Rio Ferdinand, Ben Amos and Sam Johnstone, the account having built up a formidable following through the pigeon English of its protagonist and his laugh-out-loud take on his predicament.
Ha-ha. Let’s all laugh at the funny foreigner and his…PIGEON Ingerlish.
Oh, the irony…
FOOTBALL fans are always asked to buy news shirt. One Arsenal fan, however, has updated his old top to reflect the current trend. Gooner John has decided against investing £60 on a new personalised “Özil” replica strip buy adapting the 2003/04 away strip (£1.97)with some black masking tape (price: cheap)…
1. CHEAP TOP
AS England take on the Ukraine in a must-not-lose World Cup qualifying match in Kiev, the domestic Press focus on the manager, Roy Hodgson. The pressure is on. It always is when you’re the England manager. But what can the papers do to get behind their man?
The Sun goes for a pun
ANDY Carroll adds to West Ham United’s £15m summer signing is injured. He could be out of action for four months. The Telegraph says there are “fears Andy Carroll may not play again this year”. Carroll has not played since picking up a heel injury in the final game of last season.
Nitrous Oxide laugh in: Spurs and England’s Kyle Walker is a victim of the Daily Mail’s drugs misinformation policy
SPURS and England defender Kyle Walker has been pictured inhaling laughing gas from a balloon. The picture was taken last June. Is that bad? Well, taking any stimulant is not a healthy option. He won’t be doing it again.
The Sunday Mirror was aghast and thundered:
“This photograph was taken as he was recovering from an injury that forced him to miss England’s friendly double-header against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.”
Injured footballer on holiday inhales nitrous oxide. Is that a big deal? Well, it is if you sit on the picture and wait until the eve of England’s big match in the Ukraine to publish it.
Neil Ashton writes in the Mail:
‘The FA insist that Walker, who has seven caps and is expected to start against Ukraine, has not broken any laws or behaved in a way that affects his standing with the England team.”