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.
ANYONE who saw England play against Denmark last night or, indeed, have ever seen England play in any tournament of any kind, will know that everyone’s going to be treated to some spectacularly dull football.
In Brazil, it is pretty obvious that the English will wilt like old salad in the tropical heat. It’ll be a marvel if they even get out of their group, which features Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, the mighty Italy and Costa Rica.
With England’s Crapenaccio on offer, we need a song that will befit England’s laboured performances.
So step forward Gary Barlow – the dowdiest of popstars – alongside Mel C and Emma Bunton, Kimberley Walsh and Gary Lineker – who together, will record England’s official 2014 FIFA World Cup single.
FOOTBALL flashback to April 29th 1972: Norwich City celebrate winning the Second Division Championship in the dressing room: (l-r) Graham Paddon, trainer, Doug Livermore, Kevin Keelan, Terry Anderson, Duncan Forbes, manager Ron Saunders, Trevor Howard
Paper plate: model’s own.
COMPARE and contrast the wisdom on NEwcastle United manger Alan Pardew (more on him using his head here.)
December, 13, 2013, said Pardew:
“The Europa League is a massive problem to Premier League teams.”
On March 4, 2014, the Newcastle Chronicle reported:
FLASHBACK to 09/02/1968: (L-R) Birmingham City’s George Moore and Tommy Bell prepare to paste up a poster advertising the forthcoming fixtures taking place at St Andrew’s.
ALAN Pardew’s ‘head pushing’ antics raised heckles in some quarters and smiles in others.
Whether it deserves to butt into our arbitrary Ten Great Football Headbutts list is for you to decide. Judge for yourselves, dear readers…
1994: Duncan Ferguson on John McStay
Rangers’ 4-0 victory over Raith Rovers was overshadowed by Big Dunc’s sticking the heid on McStay. The referee didn’t see it, but the police did, and he was eventually convicted of assault.
HIGHLIGHTS from Striking For Soccer, Jimmy Hill’s 1963 book on his part in the end of the maximum wage. In 1961, Hill, the then Professional Football Association chairman, led footballers to victor in the abolition of the maximum wage with the threat of a players’ strike. The top wage a player could legally earn was…£20 a week. Hill’s Fulham teammate Johnny Haynes soon became the first £100-a-week player.
The book was published by The Sportmans Book Club, a members-only, mail-order publisher based in London and Letchworth Garden City.
MANCHESTER United have sent this letter to their fans. It states:
The deadline to buy your seat for Olympiacos FC is Wednesday 26th February 2014 at 8pm. Please note that not buying this ticket will result in your Season Ticket being suspended for the Manchester City game. We look forward to hearing from your shortly.
You’ve got to like the menace of that last line.
Modern football really is all about greed.
SOBS and moans filled the air from Plymouth to Plymouth Rock, from York to New York, from Wales to New South Wales, from Surrey to Salford. Even a few people in the city of Manchester could be heard above the general laughter. So many questions were raised by Manchester United’s performance in Greece this week that we’ll restrict ourselves to just one. Is it the reds’ worst defeat of the modern era?
Here are 11 others that give it a run for its money…
December 1972: Crystal Palace 5-0 Manchester United
Don Rogers ‘did a Pele’; United did something unpleasant in their shorts. But it was Palace themselves who were relegated, and the Red Devils lived to be relegated another day.
April 1974: Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City
That day came at the next available opportunity: the following season, to be precise. Contrary to popular myth, former United legend Denis Law’s back-heeled goal for City didn’t actually send United down –other results meant they would have been relegated anyway. But it became an enduring emblem of the club’s post-Busby demise. United fans invaded the pitch – another symbol of the Red Army at the time.
May 1976: Manchester United 0-1 Southampton
The late Bobby Stokes caused a major FA Cup upset – and won a car – by scoring the Wembley winner for second division Saints, thus depriving United of their first serious silverware of the Seventies.
September 1989: Manchester City 5-1 Manchester United
Chants of ‘Ferguson out’ at the match are often attributed to cheeky City fans, on the grounds that United’s supporters had all left the stadium by then…
The Maine Road Massacre was one of a series of results in the early stages of the season that led the United faithful to lose patience with their as yet unsuccessful manager Alex Ferguson, and prompted the infamous ‘tara’ banner.
September 1990: Liverpool 4-0 Manchester United
Liverpool were reigning champions when they crushed United at Anfield in this early season fixture, and looked likely to continue their dominance. United, by contrast, looked as far from being champions as ever. As it turned out, Liverpool didn’t win the league and haven’t done so since. United, on the other hand, were just three years away from a period of unprecedented success.
January 1992: Manchester United
New Year’s Day brought a result which suggested that United’s 26-year wait for the championship would continue for another season. And so it proved, as Leeds United overhauled their lead in the final season of the old First Division. The Premier League began later that year, and over the next two decades United would make the competition their own.
November 1994: Barcelona 4-0 Manchester United
Group A of the Champions League turned into a nightmare as Romario and Stoichkov tormented United. Keeper Gary Walsh, who remembers being unrecognised by United fans on a coach at the airport afterwards. The result had significant consequences, as United were ultimately eliminated after finishing in third place on goal difference.
May 2002: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal clinch the title at Old Trafford with a goal by Silvain Wiltord (remember him?) back in the days when Arsène Wenger didn’t regard fourth place as a trophy.
March 2009 Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
Losing to their hated rivals is as bad as it gets for United, but this defeat in the run-in proved to be just a blip, and Fergie’s boys went on to clinch their 18th title – thereby finally equaling Liverpool’s tally.
May 2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
The score-line is convincing, yet it doesn’t convey the gulf in class between the two sides on this warm evening at the magnificent new Wembley stadium. Barcelona dominated this Champions League final, and established themselves as the undisputed kings of Europe.
October 2011: Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
The ‘noisy neighbours’ put United firmly n their place with this stunning display at Old Trafford, and the goals tasted extra sweet when they went on to pip them to the title on goal difference in the last seconds of the season. And here are the reactions of a man from the south of England and one from Manchester…
WAS Cassius’s Clay shock victory over Sonny Liston in the heavyweight championship of the world a fix? Clays had been 7-1 to defeat the reigning champion, who was backed by the mob.Ali won by technical knock-out when Liston remained in his corner at the start of the seventh round.
Now we get to read the FBI’s nots on the bout. A 1966 memo written to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI at the time, mentions one Ash Resnick as the organiser of many fixes.
The note alleges that a Barnett Magids believed Resnick and Liston each made $1 million by betting on Clay to win.
“At about noon on the day of the fight, [Magids] reached Resnick again by phone, and at this time, Resnick said for him to not make any bets, but just go watch the fight on pay TV and he would know why and that he could not talk further at that time. Magids did go see the fight on TV and immediately realised that Resnick knew that Liston was going to lose. A week later, there was an article in Sports Illustrated writing up Resnick as a big loser because of his backing of Liston. Later, people ‘in the know’ in Las Vegas told Magids that Resnick and Liston both reportedly made over $1 million betting against Liston on the fight and that the magazine article was a cover for this.”
Resnick and Liston are both dead. Hoover is dead. This site alleges a link between the gamblers and the FBI:
Other information suggests Meyer Lansky obtained hard proof of Edgar’s homosexuality and used it to neutralize the FBI as a threat to his own operations. The first hint came from Irving “Ash” Resnick, the Nevada representative of the Patriarcha family for New England, and an original owner-builder of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. As a high-level mob courier, he traveled extensively. In Miami Beach, his Christmas destination in the fifties, he stayed at the Gulfstream, in a bungalow next to the one used by Edgar and Clyde. “I’d sit with him on the beach ever day,” Resnick remembered. “We were family.”
Another source claims:
Meyer Lansky, a Polish immigrant, was considered the head of the Mafia.
But really, what happened?
Florida State Attorney Richard Gerstein initiated an investigation of the fight to focus on Liston’s shoulder injury, for which he enlisted the services of his office’s medical/legal adviser and the Dade County Medical Examiner. A Florida state law provided for a prison term of up to ten years for anyone found to have fixed or thrown a boxing match.
The boxing commission in Sonny’s home state of Colorado suspended him immediately after the bout. “I’m not gonna look at any medical examination and let that guide me wrongly on account of his being injured,” said one commission member. Some people suggested that Sonny should be barred from the ring for life.
Four weeks after the bout, the results of Gerstein’s investigation confirmed the findings of the eight doctors who had examined Sonny after the fight. “While Liston’s injury is beyond doubt, there is also little doubt that he went into this fight with a sore or lame arm,” stated the report. It also noted that none of the pre-fight information was imparted to the Miami Beach Boxing Commission. That means the commission chose not to mention the fact that they had turned down Sonny’s request for an injury-related postponement. The investigation revealed no evidence that the fight had been fixed, and Gerstein’s office found no fluctuation in the betting odds anywhere in the country.
But the story rumbles on… You can see the fight and the photos from the build up to it here.
FLASHBACK to November 1 1972: Liverpool’s Steve Heighway (left) and Brian Hall (right) read a Greek newspaper in Athens ahead of their UEFA Cup second round second leg match against AEK Athens.
Liverpool won the tie 6-1 on aggregate. They would go on to defeat Spurs in the semi-final and Borussia Mönchengladbach on aggregate to win the cup.
Rebecca Adlington’s Nose Gives The Mail, Sun And Daily Mirror Abuse Amnesia On Fat And Ugly Wayne Rooney
EVERYONE and their dog has been sticking up for Rebecca Adlington. Apparently, she may or may not have had a nose job. It’s her business, her money and she can do as she pleases.
However, that’s not everything cleared up.
You see, everyone now has to fret and fuss, wondering if this is all the result of years of cruel jibes she’s received on Twitter and from comedians like Frankie Boyle.
Of course, the issue of women being pressured to fit a certain look, or be expected to be good looking if they’re going to be successful is a dreadful narrative that has cropped after, at long last, women started to call bullshit on the practice. It’d be wonderful if we lived in a world where we were celebrated for what we could do, rather than how we look.
IN the Daily Mirror, stereotypical shy, conservative Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic is talking about Arsenal, the team he never did sign for:
“England is a very strong league, with three or four of the best teams in Europe – but, if I had played there, I would have destroyed it, like I have everywhere else. Arsenal could have happened, as everybody knows – but I would not do a trial. Who do you think regrets that more, Arsene Wenger or Zlatan?”
HANDS up Manchester United fans who knew where Olympiacos play their home matches? You don’t have to be all the precise, just naming the country will do.
Those of you who get your news from the Daily Express, hard cheese.
VIEWING of the BBC’s Saturday afternoon broadcast of Ross County v St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership was ended when swearing broke out amongst the fans.
Telly watchers hoping to catch the game at 5:30pm were forced to wait until the post-watershed 10:55pm.
Margot McCuaig, managing director of mneTV, which was producing the broadcast for BBC Alba, tweeted:
“Unfortunately @TheStaggies v @saintmirrenfc won’t transmit on #BBCALBA at 5.30pm due to bad language from crowd. Will be on at 11pm. Sorry!”
FLASHBACK to September 30th 1954: – Arsenal players at the Highbury ground, North London.
Centre forward Tommy Lawton tries on a Russian fur hat in the Arsenal dressing room as a preliminary to Sunday’s trip to Dynamo Moscow with the ‘Gunners’. Other Arsenal players are – left to right – Alex Forbes, Walley Barnes and Jack Kelsey.
MOST football fans would like to believe that Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben spat on Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna during their Champions League last-16 tie at the Emirates. It’s not because we dislike the French defender; it’s because we think Robben is an irritating tosser. Being annoying is not an offence worthy of sanction, unlike spitting, say, which is.
A BIG (helping) hand please for the fall guys…
A month of extreme weather and Winter Olympics has brought the downfall of members of the public…
MANCHESTER City Balls: 51 minutes into City’s Champions’ League match against Barcelona, the team’s official twitter feed tweeted:
On 52 minutes, Demichelis was sent off for a foul that also led to a penalty, which Messi scored.
FLASHBACK: Manchester City’s Mike Summerbee demonstrating the built in record player in his new Swedish sports car on 17/03/1967.
WAYNE Rooney is to sing a new contract to play for Manchester United. The Red Devils have touched his heart to such a degree that he will play for them so long as they up his wage packet to £300,000 a week. What say the papers:
Metro: “Wayne Rooney to sign record-breaking £70m deal that will keep him at Manchester United for life”
FINDING the Sochi Winter Olympics a bit dull? What about if cats are added?
EVGENI Plushenko’s Pony Bomb Routine has been remixed to Ginuwine’s Pony. It is unforgettable: