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.

Sunderland police and the frenzied search for Adam Johnson

NEWS is that the police have raided the Sunderland dressing room. No, not looking for mogodon or any other drugs that lead to malcoordination and apathy. They were seeking anything that can aid the investigation into claims that Adam Johnson had sexual contact with an underage girl.

The Sun announces:

Adam Johnson cops raid Sunderland dressing rooms


Officers have now scoured for evidence the club’s 49,000-capacity Stadium of Light and its 60-acre Academy of Light.

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Posted: 17th, March 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Embarrassing endorsements: Islamic State’s Jake Bilardi cheers for Chelsea

Jake Bilardi Chelsea ISIS


When 17-year-old Australian Islamic State fighter, Jake Bilardi, died in a suicide bombing attack, we all saw the photo. There was Jake in his Chelsea kit.

Cheslea’s marketing men must have been delighted by the repeated exposure Bilardi has given their brand.

Fans of other clubs can only smirk when they see a miscreant wearing a rival team’s kit.


Craig Meehan Kit


When Craig Meehan was arrested during the Shannon Matthews affair, he was photgpahed in his Manchester United kit. Meehan was subsequently convicted of possessing indecent images of children on a computer found in the home he shared with Karen Matthews.

If you see an embarrassing endorsement, please let us know at @theanorak on twittter.



Posted: 16th, March 2015 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Pogba signs for Manchester United and PSG as Marco Verratti joins and leaves Arsenal

Transfer Balls looks at Paul Pogba news. The Daily Express says Pogba has dealt Cheslea huge “BLOW”.


Paul Pogba chelsea daily express


Charles Perrin has news on Pogba, the Frenchman who, according to the Express was sold to Chelsea for £40m, to Arsenal also for £40m and £80m, for £77m to Manchester United, to Arsenal if Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and PSG don’t want him and has agreed to join PSG.

Says Perrin:

Chelsea and Manchester United have been handed a potential blow in their efforts to sign Paul Pogba.

Not if you ‘ve been reading the Express they haven’t.

The Juventus star has been valued at £77m, but Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti has entertained the idea of a possible swap deal involving the Frenchman… “If PSG were to force me to leave in order to make room for Pogba, then that’s different.”

So. Verratti to Juventus it is. Unless you read the Daily Express, whih says he’s off to Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United.


Marco Verratti Arsenal



And Verratti is not going to Juventus:

Marco Verratti Arsenal Chelsea



No wait a minute, he is:


Marco Verratti Arsenal Chelsea

Such are the facts…

Posted: 16th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Liverpool Balls: Raheem Sterling is off to Bayern Munich in an ‘exclusive’

The Sun has an “exclusive”. News is that Raheem Sterling has yet to sign a deal to prolong his stay at Liverpool.


raheem sterling bayern munich


In September 2014, the Sun had an “EXCLUSIVE” to quicken the hearts of Liverpool FC Fans: “LIVERPOOL are finally ready to open contract talks with Raheem Sterling.” Yeah, finally! The 19-year-old player with three years left to run on his current contract was finally going to have his future sorted out.

QPR-schooled Raheem Sterling was ready to sign a new deal.

But now the Sun says he’s m ioght be off to play for Bayern Munich.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 13th, March 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Revealed: When Manchester United sack Louis Van Gaal

Talking Balls: Is Manchester United manger Louis Van Gaal going to remain at Old Trafford or be sacked?

The media experts have been informing their readers.

David McDonnell tells Daily Mirror readers on March 10:

Louis van Gaal’s fate as Manchester United will be decided in the next month…

Mark Ogden in the Daily Telagraph March 11:

Manchester United have spent too much money and time giving Louis van Gaal everything he has asked for this season to begin to contemplate dispensing with their Dutch manager this summer – even if he fails to achieve the club’s target of Champions League qualification.

Neil Curtis in The Sun, March 11:

LOUIS VAN GAAL’S job is safe even if Manchester United fail to make the Champions League. The board trust in his long-term plan despite the prospect of missing out on the top four.Louis van Gaal’s job is safe even if Manchester United fail to make the Champions League. The board trust in his long-term plan despite the prospect of missing out on the top four. The club do not want another summer of turmoil

Such are the facts…

Posted: 13th, March 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Talking balls: Arsenal war chest swells to £267.55m

Talking Balls: just how large is Arsenal’s “war chest”?

On March 111 2015, Sami Mokbel told Daily Mail readers that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will “target a central defender, a holding midfielder and a goalkeeper this summer with a £50million transfer war chest.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 13th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea balls: Oscar’s studs, Mourinho’s script and media bias turns Diego Costa into the ‘devil’

Chelsea on the train


When Chelsea lost to PSG in a tetchy, dramatic and acrimonious Champions’ League match last night, some of the newspapers picked sides.

The Times not only comes up with the best headline (“Chelsea polished off by Silva” – PSG’s Thiago Silva scored the decisive goal) but also reports that counter much what we read elsewhere.

Readers learn that Zlatan Ibrahimovich was “extermely unfortuante to be sent off” for a foul on Oscar. He was.

Oliver Kay notes that PSG’s Edinson Cavani performed a “blatant trip” on Diego Costa in the box. Result: No penalty.  Matt Dickenson notices David Luiz swing his arm into Costa’s face. It was “disgraceful and blatant”. It “should have been a red card”. Result: no foul. “Devilish” Costa then flew into a “wild challenge” on Thiago Silva. He should have been sent off, says the Times. Was he? No.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 12th, March 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Arsenal ands Liverpool sign Khedira from Bayern Munich and Real Madrid

Transfer Balls catches the Daily Star’s news that Arsenal and Liverpool are all set to sign Sami Khedira.

Paul Brown says Arsenal and Liverpool will both try to sign the German player when his Real Madrid contract ends on June 30. Offering no proof that they will, Brown then says Chelsea could afford to buy him. Why Chelsea would want Khedira and why Kehdira would want Chelsea are not things that bother the writer. And readers can also imagine what other clubs could afford Khedira.

Maybe Bayern Munich can? After all it was the Daily Star that rold us Khedira was heading to the German champions:


Khedira Chelsea


But that would be odd because whilst Brown says Arsenal baulked at Khedira’s wage demands, the, er, Daily Star told us that they didn’t:


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But then came Daily Star news that Khedira had gone back on that Arsenal agreement and agreed to join Bayern Munich:


Khedira agrees


So. He agreed to Arsenal. He agreed to Bayern Munich. Which brings us to the Daily Star’s news that next season Kehedia will be playing for Manchester Untied, Liverprool or Chelsea:


Khedira Liveprool



Such are the facts…



Posted: 12th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Liverpool balls: ‘Disgraceful’ Muslim Reds fans caught praying on unofficial prayer mat

The Asian Age has the story of the Liverpool fan who said two Muslim fans praying during the team’s FA Cup quarter-final clash against Blackburn Rovers were “a disgrace”.


praying liverpool


The paper has the photo. But the tweet has been delated. Stephen Dodd’s tweet went:

“Muslims praying at half time at the match yesterday #DISGRACE.”

Still, it was up long enough to attract a few comments:


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Jesus saves! But Mo hits in the rebound!

Jesus saves! But Mo hits in the rebound!



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One shock is that the fans had waited until half-time to pray in the game that ended 0-0. The other is that the mat is not an offical Liverpool FC prayer mat. Call us Liverpool marketing. We have ideas.



Posted: 11th, March 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United fans cheers for Danny Welbeck as his mis-controls the ball

How football journalism works: the Dail Mail v the Daily Star  Sun. Last night Manchester United lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup. Danny Wellbeck, formerly of United, scored the winning goal.

Neil Ashton is dishing out points in the Daily Mail:

Danny Welbeck: Kept his composure to put Arsenal back in front when her took the ball round De Gea with class and conviction. Good on him for that. 8

That’s the game’s highest score.

In the Daily Star, Jeremy Cross saw a different Wellbeck:

Welbeck struggled to make an impact… The first pass he received  was badly mis-controlled and the same happened the next one he got…

Maybe Neil Ashton is trolling? As he wrote previously:

Life would be easier if I followed the golden rule – give the highest mark to the player who scored the winner, or set it up – and you won’t get clubbed to death on Twitter.

But so good was Wellbeck that all the Manchester United fans cheered him off. Well, so says Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail:

The locals will not begrudge Welbeck his moment either, or resent his celebration. They did not want him to leave and confirmed that support by applauding him all the way to the bench when he was replaced by Olivier Giroud after 72 minutes

Neil Curtis in the Sun heard other noises:

Even the Arsenal fans gave him some generous applaus after initial boos

David McDonell in the Mirror also used two ears:

Welbeck was treated to a mixture of boos and cheers from United fans…

Such are the facts in the tabloids. And in the more high-brow newspapers, the facts are even more challenged. The Times tells us that 8 is better than 7:


Manchester United, The Times, Arsenal, football, FA Cup,


Football used to be just about the scoreline…

Posted: 10th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, manchester united | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The All Hair Hockey Team 2015 are ready to be appraised

The All Hair Hockey Team


The All Hair Hockey Team 2015 are ready to be appraised:


Posted: 10th, March 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United v Arsenal shocker: Ozil scores more but Cazorla wins

No football match is complete without newspapers awarding players a score out of 10. Last night’s match between Manchester United and Arsenal was no different.

The Daily Mail says the game’s best player was Danny Welbeck, who scored 8 out of 10. The Mirror says Francis Coquelin was the best player. He gets a 7 out of 10. And in the Times, the best player was Mesut Ozil, who scores an imprssive 8 out of 10.

But hold on. That same Times column says the game’s best player was Santi Cazorla. He scored 7 out of 10.


Manchester United, The Times,  Arsenal, football, FA Cup,



We know journalists are bad at maths but when seven beats eight it’s time to get the fingers out and get back to school…

Posted: 10th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney teaches dumb foreigners Angel Di Maria and Adnan Januzaj the Great British Dive

Wayne Rooney, dive, diving, football, manchester united

Writing on Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Manchester United, Martin Samuel turns to the matter of diving. Two Manchester United players – Angel Di Maria and Adnan Januzaj (who now has more bookings for diving than goals for Manchester United – five yellow cards for diving; four goals scored) were both yellow carded for cheating.

Samuels is unimpressed, telling his Daily Mail readers diving is not the English way:

“Januzaj has been around the English game long enough  now to know better.”

Is Samuel seriously suggesting that only foreingers dive? That it’s not the English to truy to con the referee? If he is, he could do worse than look at Manchester United and England cpatain Wayne Rooney, who in the previous FA Cup match won a penalty for this tumble:


How we hanker for the good old days when ever sin in the game – and let’s include Team GB’s Olympic tumbling – could be blamed on Liveprool’s Luis Suarez

Posted: 10th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, manchester united | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenals fans learn that Manchester City will sign Jack Wilshere for £30m

Transfer Balls catches sight of the Daily Star’s lead sports story that Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is off to Manchester City for £30m.


wilshere manchester city


This story is billed as an “EXCLUSIVE”.

Paul Hetheington has the exclusive facts:

England ace Wilshere, 23, is one of the potential targets mentioned by Etihad Stadium bosses.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 8th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Paul Pogba joins PSG, woos Barcelona, dreams of Arsenal and rocks Manchester United

Transfer balls: A look at the Daily Star’s scoop that Paul Pogba has “ROCKED” Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea by agreeing to play for…Bournemouth! No, only joking. The Star says Pogba has “agreed” to leave Juventus and plays for PSG.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 17.48.42


You might suppose Manchester United are not all that rocked given that the Star reported recently:


Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 17.59.39


Although a day before that the Metro said Pogba was heading to United and Chelsea:


Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 18.03.32


And the Mirror said Pogba dreams of playing for Arsenal:


Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 18.05.14


The source of this latest story is Pogba’s loquacious agent Mino Raiola, who opines:

Speaking to Le Parisien, he said: “No, Ligue 1 is not too small for Paul Pogba. For Paul, all the big clubs are interesting regardless of which championship they play in. We respect the Spanish championship, the French championship, England, Italy and Germany.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 7th, March 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Alvaro Morata rejoins Arsenal for £35m more than they paid for him

Transfer Balls: a look at rubbish being presented as fact and scoops in the mainstream media.

The Daily Mirror says Alvaro Morata is off to Arsenal. The fee: £60m.

Arsenal news and transfers: Gunners given Alvaro Morata go-ahead – for £60million.

Having produced a sensational headline, the Mirror then defers to The Metro:

The Metro report Arsenal have been given the green light to sign Alvaro Morata with Juventus ready to cash in on his services. Morata, only moved to Juve last summer from Real Madrid and Madrid have a buy-back option to re-sign him at the end of the season, it’s reported they’re willing to pass on that.

The Metro believes that Juve and Real have agreed to let the striker join either Arsenal or Liverpool for £60million instead – and split the cash.

The Metro story has been written by Jamie Sanderson (more of his stella work here). The headlines trills:

Arsenal ‘clear to seal Alvaro Morata transfer, Juventus will accept £60m’

Good of Juventus to accept that. And then the facs:

It’s believed Juve and Real have agreed to let the striker join either Arsenal or Liverpool for £60million instead – and split the cash.

Believed by who? You? Me? Them? Anyone other than Jamie Sanderson, whose story contains no link to any source.

Previously Sanderson has told readers that Morat was worth £25m:


Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 09.43.54


And he’s agreed top join the Gunners.


Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 09.44.00



And his fee was…£15m.

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 09.44.14


Such are the facts…



Posted: 7th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: the Sun shines on Jonny Evans

The tabloids can hardly contains their excitement that Manchester United’s Jonny Evans denies spitting at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse.

Cisse has held his hands up to the offence, apologised and accepted his seven-match ban. But Evans is digging in. The Sun calls his stance “amazing”. Louis Van Gaal, Evans’ manager at Manchester United, has delivered the outstanding defence: “…he was not aware he was spitting.”

As we look for signs of drool from mouth-breather Evans, the tabloids go to work.

The Sun fill up 7 pages in the Evans spit, including its font and back pages:









If you discount the adverts, the Sun’s 68 pages are reduced to around 54 pages. Seven pages deal with Jonny Evans’ drooling – that’s around 13% of the entire paper. And not a single word on Westminster paedos, Iraq, Syria or phone hacking in the Daily Mirror.

To the Sun, ‘Jonny is Evans sent’…


Posted: 6th, March 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Liverpool replace Gerrard with Manchester United and Arsenal’s William Carvalho

Transfer Balls: a look at the nonsense written about William Carvalho, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder.

Yesterday the Daily Mirror told its readers that Carvalho could be on his way to Liverpool.





That will come as some news for Manchester United fans because according to reports in the Daily Mirror, Carvalho plays for the Red Devils, who he joined for £37m before the last World Cup:



Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 06.41.44




News of Carvalho’s move to Manchester United was confirmed by the Daily Express, although there it was for a lower fee:



Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 06.44.26



And there was the earlier news in the Daily Star that Carvalho was on the point of signing for Arsenal:



Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 06.48.27



As for the player himself, well, the Daily Express had news that he doesn’t want to play for Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United.



Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 06.51.21



Such are the facts in the mainstream Press…


Posted: 6th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United’s Johnny Evans and Newcastle Pappis Cissse to get life bans and spitting statue

In the Premier Lesgue match between Newscastle United and Manchester United, Johnny Evans and Pappis Cisse appeared to exchange bodily fluids. No, the players – one white, the other black – did not get off with each other to further please fans looking for evidence of moral enlightenment at the match. It seems that they spat at each other, and not in any way that can be construed as good for the game.

No-one has moved to claim the spitting was rooted in racism. And in the curent climate where racism is sought in a speck of dust, for that we must be thankful.

The referee missed the spitting.

But the papers didn’t. They wade in, telling their readers how long the Evans and Cisse could be banned for:

The Guardian says one-match, maybe:


Screen shot 2015-03-05 at 20.17.53


The BBC looks to recent history: “Last season, George Boyd was given a three-match ban for spitting at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart”.

The Daily Telegraph says: “Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse [are] facing six-match ban after spitting row in Newcastle v Manchester United clash.”

The Daily Mirror wants more: “Papiss Cisse apologises for Jonny Evans spitting storm as he faces SEVEN game ban.

lan McInally: “If you get tackled and somebody injures you, I think you take it. If somebody spits on you, as a footballer player, that’s not happening … maybe six games isn’t enough. If you give them 10 games, they take the wrath of their football club.”

The Times: “Jonny Evans is not that kind of guy,” Paul Scholes, a former team-mate of the Ulsterman, said. “What Papiss Cissé did afterwards is unforgivable.”

Unforgivable. A life ban it is, then.

(Cisse has accepted a seven-match ban. Evans is holding out.)


Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 07.15.00



Is any of it a big deal? Maybe spitting is as much a part of the game as the leg-breaking tackle, verbals, biting or the headbutt? Maybe one day they’ll just make a statue or fountain to spitting, like this tribute to Zinedine Zidane, whose World Cup final red-card earning butt was immortalised in bronze:


Screen shot 2015-03-05 at 20.29.25




Posted: 5th, March 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Revealed: What Manchester United will do to win the Premier League

Football Balls loves those space-filling lists. The Daily Mail delivers news on Manchester United. Mike Keegan lists “10 things Louis van Gaal must fix before next season”.

Here, Sportsmail looks at what Van Gaal needs to do to ensure it is mission accomplished at Old Trafford.

Mission accomplished at Old Trafford is not like George Bush’s famous ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Iraq, where a swift defeat of the less well-armed enemy is followed by grandiose statements, trebles all round and chaos. Manchester United need to win the Premier League and then conquer Europe to accomplish any mission. Anything less for such a rich, free-spending club is failure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 5th, March 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United fans use Sikhs to abuse Chelsea and all other racists

'A round of applause for out ethnic minority fans. Stand up and take a bow, guys"

‘A round of applause for out ethnic minority fans. Stand up and take a bow, guys”


Sky News has been discussing racism. And that always means racism in football, the obvious stuff when white, working class people in man-made fibres are filmed ranting and raving about a soft target.

Eamonn Holmes, the Sky News anchor, was chairing the debate, which quickly turned to Chelsea fans (club owner: Jewish Russian; supstar striker: black African), a few of whom had been filmed behaving badly on the Paris Metro.

Holmes, a Manchester United fan, puffed up, sat up straight and told viewers that things were rosy at Old Trafford, because sat close to the manager’s dug-out are a few obvious ethnic fans. Said Holmes:

“The group of guys in turbans at Manchester United sends out a lovely message.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 4th, March 2015 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Paul Pogba gives Arsenal the eyes

Transfer Balls: Is Paul Pogba heading to Arsenal? Is Paul Pogna, the Juventus and France star, going to pull on the Arsenal strip after an £80m transfer?

Wriing in the Metro, Lee Hurley is disbelieving:

Spending £80million is a lot for a player, any player, even one as good as Paul Pogba. In fact, I roll my eyes every time I see Arsenal linked with him as I think about Arsene Wenger saying to himself ‘I could buy one-fifth of a new stadium for that!’

Yeah, it does sound like utter balls. And good on the Metro’s man in the know to call it. But where could he had read such utter drivel?



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Over to you, Jamie Sanderson…

Posted: 3rd, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Adam Johnson: What is the Sunderland footballer’s ‘mansion’ worth?

As the Press loads the argument against Adam Johnson – guilty of being a Premier League footballer but presumed innocent to sex crimes against a 15-year-old girl – we wondered what his home is worth. It’s a key fact. appearing in every news story on the Sunderland player arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with an underage girl.

The Daily Mirror began the valuations, saying that the property was worth £1.5m.


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Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 3rd, March 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal: Daily Mail sticks the boot into Brooklyn Beckham and his brothers

Any child of David and Victoria Beckham will want for nothing save talent. You can fake it in the world of fashion and pop music, but in sport, there is no auto-tune or PR-wrangling to make the mundane appear masterful.

And the media is watching their every move.

On February 20, the Daily Mail told us just how fantastic the Beckham boys are doing in the Arsenal youth teams:

Brooklyn Beckham is a hot prospect for the Arsenal academy, but brothers Romeo and Cruz could be even better


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And Cruz, age 10, must be brilliant because Brooklyn is ace. As Sami Mokbel told readers:

The teenager has caused quite a stir at Arsenal’s youth HQ over the past few months. At the age of 15, he was named on the bench for last weekend’s Under-18 clash against Leicester, raising hopes that he may well have the substance to back up his name.

A mere five days later, Sami Mokbel had more news:

Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 11.34.49

He wrote:

However, Sportsmail can reveal that Beckham was one of only a few Under 16 and Under 17 players still at the club’s Hale End academy that weekend as the rest travelled to the Al Kass youth tournament in Qatar.

Having ‘revealed’ that Beckham had been called up on merit, the Mail then ‘reveals’ that young Beckham was called up to make up the numbers.

Anyone sane might realise that a teenager minding his own business and doing his best knows that his mates are away on tour. It’s only the Mail that portrayed it as a major news item.
Having set Brooklyn Beckham up for a fall – Mokbel: “Beckham shirt sales at the Emirates Stadium club shop are set to go through the roof” – the Daily Star tells its readers that Romeo Beckham is “brilliant” at tennis.



No pressure, Romeo. But do we detect a touch of snark benath the Star’s photo?





“David and Victoria will be told how good their son it”

And not only by the Press. But what’s this “good” rot? In the media, the Beckhams lads must be nothing short of brilliant let they be gleefully portrayed as failures.


Posted: 3rd, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Celebrities, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Adam Johnson: underage sex, a gun and the tabloids’ invitation to bury a footballer



Adam Johnson has been arrested for “SUSPICION OF HAVING SEX WITH A GIRL OF 15′. It’s the Sun’s big news story. It’s also the front-page story in the Daily Star, Daily Express, and Daily Mirror.

It the lead sports story on the back page of the Express and Mail:




Adam Johnson is 27. The girl he allegedly had a sexual relationship with is below the age of consent. But the key part of the story, the bit that makes it travel, is that Adam Johnson plays football for Sunderland in the Premier League. He has played for England, too, and Manchester City. So. He’s front-page news. And five – yeah, FIVE – plolice cars SWOOPED” (Sun) on his “six-bedroom mansion”.

Who do they think he is, Cliff Richard?

Sunderland have moved quickly to suspend their employee. Is that fair? Or is it just what Sunderland think will play out well with the elite and the public?

It’s worthwhile to look at the law on sex. In England and Wales, the age of sexual consent for women has been set at 16 since 1885, when campaigners fought to raise it from 13 to prevent child prostitution. Key to promoting that law change was the journalist William Thomas Stead. He wrote lurid stories about “The Violation of the Virgins” and “The Confessions of a Brothel Keeper”. Readers lapped them up. Sales of his London newspaper skyrocketed. He helped create the style that would become the tabloid way.

Make it big. Make it loud. Give them a story no-one can ignore.

In 2010, the Chartered Institute of Journalists honoured the man billed as Britain’s first investigative journalist:

William Thomas Stead was acknowledged as Britain’s leading campaigning and investigative journalist in the late 1800s, particularly for his work in exposing the white-slave trade and child sex abuse in London’s brothels by the nation’s upper classes. This resulted in the passing of the Criminal Amendment Act which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16.

As part of his campaign, Stead “bought” a chimney sweep’s 13-year-old daughter (Eliza Armstrong) for £5 which earned him a three-month prison sentence. He continued to edit the Pall Mall Gazette (which later merged into the Evening Standard) from his prison cell.

Journalism matters. Words can shape your views and get things changed. Popular journalism can be dirty, messy and gutteral. And it is powerful. And we love it. Because without the ability to stir things up, make mistakes and dig deep into everyday stories, criminals, banks and matters the elite would rather you ignored there is no freedom of speech.

But sometimes, the innocent get the tabloid treatment.

Back to sex now. But what is sex?

In England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales we have to be 16 or older to have homosexual (gay) or heterosexual (straight) sex. ‘Sex’ means penetrative sex, oral sex or masturbating together.

What happens if you have underage sex?

The law sees it as sexual assault – it’s a criminal offence. This is because in the eyes of the law we are unable to give informed consent to sex when still a child.

A boy/man who has sex with a girl under 16 is breaking the law. Even if she agrees.

If she is 13-15, the boy/man could go to prison for two years.

If she is under 13 he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

A girl age 16 or over who has sex with a boy under 16 can be prosecuted for indecent assault.

The BBC adds:

Everyone is ready for sex at different ages but the law has to generalise. This is to protect those who are most vulnerable, from exploitation.

The law states that a boy or girl under the age of 16 cannot consent in law.

So. Adam Johnson, whose home was “raided”. Three unmarked police cars and, depending on what you read, one or two police vans were on the scene at 9am. We learn that his home is worth £1.85m. It has a games room and a gym. It is “lavish”. The Times counts four police cars and values the home at £1.6m. It also spots a “triple garage”, two acres of land and a loaded gun, legally owned by the footballer.

Adam Johnson is looking like the kind of man the tabloids and police love to get at: rich, talented and obvious.




But then we get a new fact. A “source” is quoted in the Sun:

“There is no suggestions he had full sex with her but ther was other sexual activity. The allegation included the claim that he knew she was 15.”

That this source is unnamed should make us circumspect. It is buried deep in the story, 10 paragraphs down. Its appearance could mean that we check our own prejudices. We may even decide to wait for all the facts to be known before judging Johnson.

But just as your passions cool and reason begin to take hold, the Sun adds that the maximum sentenced for “the offence” is 14 years. That seems a long times espcially when you read of other sentences, like the eight years prison handed to Peter Daly, subject of the Liverpool Echo’s headline “Merseyside paedophile jailed for paying to have children abused by their mothers”.

The Sun is cranking things up.

Worried that the Adam Johnson sex sensation is losing pace and is just a single-thread story, the Sun pads it out with dash of celebrity, telling readers that Johnson grew up in Country Durham close to where Billy Elliot was filmed. He “reportedly had a champange-fueled night out in London with actress Kym Marsh last year”.

Over in the Mirror, we hear from the mother of his girlfriend Stacey Flounders:

“He is a great lad and he has done nothing wrong… He is 100% innocent. He hasn’t been found guilty of anything..”

But is is guilty of being a well-paid footballer. So. Feel free to hate him and rush to judgement.

Some readers might worry Adam Johnson’s well-being. In its report, the Daily Express notes:

Four years ago Johsnon was left devastated when his best friend, former goalkeeper Dale Roebrts, killed himself after plunging into depair when was told his fiancee was having an affair with the brother of Chelsea defender John Terry… Said Johnson: “I’m not sure he could deal with the embarrassmment the story caused him.”

Don’t rush to condemn Adam Johnson. Back of and let the law deal with it. He’s out on police bail. And you can trust the police to be fair and thorough in an investigation into underage sex, can’t you.

Can’t you?


Posted: 3rd, March 2015 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0