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.
As he rode the Paris Metro for Chelsea FC’s Champions’ League match, Josh Parsons, 21, was just one of the fans on a night out. Then it happened. A black man named Souleymane S tried to board the train. A few Chelsea fans blocked his path. A few Chelsea fans sang “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” This small moment was captured on camera. The mainstream media picked up the video. And very quickly the shaven-headed and white the fans quickly became the eptiome of racism.
David Cameron said it was “extremely disturbing and very worrying”. In his mind, a nasty moment between a handful of people demanded language more apt for an ISIS snuff movie. Feelings were hurt. Idiots had been caught behaving sadly. But the elite in Westminster and what used to be Fleet Street wanted more. They held the video up as being a sign of much greater ills. And once again football – the great meriticratic melting pot watched by scum fans – was in the dock.
The great moralisers could now bind the nation behind a common enemy. The Chelsea boot boys had heaped shame upon us all. Lessons must be learned. Hang the fact that no-one was physically hurt, that real racism pervades society not from the bottom up, but from the top down: count the number of black faces editing national newspapers; sat on the front benches in Parliament; captaining industry; running the police; owning football clubs or race horses; riding race horses; owning land; dining with the Dons at Oxford; and, well, you name it.
The elite like their racists white, preferably working class and always obvious.
David Cameron should not lamabaste the Chelsea goons – he should write them thank you letters.
And in the centre of this State-led mob justice is Josh Parsons. He could not have realised that his choice to ride that carriage would have an impact on his life. But it soon did.
The Sun led with a picture of Parsons. He wasn’t pictured chanting, shoving or doing anything other than looking. Alongside the photo of him on the Metro, the Sun thought it wise to feature a thumbnail of Parsons open-mouthed – as if chanting – and apparently shirtless. What a hooligan, eh. But Josh Parsons wasn’t undresed or behaving like that on the Paris Metro.
But never mind the facts. The Sun had its target.
And we can have Parsons.
In the race to condemn even the most basic of facts is confused
Parsons, we are told, lives in Dorking, Surrey. (The Times shows us photo of his home.) He is an ex-public schoolboy. On Page 5, the Sun says that the “VILE CHELSEA RACE YOBS” are the subject of an “international hunt”, you know like the White Widow or jihadis are.
And this is because, in the words of the man who filmed the fracas, Chelsea fans were “getting quite agressive”. Mitchell McCoy, who was on the carriage, says the man barred from boarding by the bouncers-on-tour was wearing a PSG scarf, the colours of the club Chelsea were playing. The chant, of course, suggests more sinister motives at play.
We then get more on Parsons. He is a “City high-flyer”. He studied at “30,000-a-year” Millfield school. He works for the Business and Commercial Club in Mayfair. And in case you still can’t find him, the Sun says that Mayfair is in Central London.
Grab your torches! Saddle up! Let’s roll!
And it gets worse.
One day on and the Daily Star leads with Josh Parsons. Three Chelsea fans have been suspended from watching football at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s ground. Parsons isn’t one of them.
And then it gets really odd. The Star tells readers:
“Meanwhile, seson ticket holder Josh Parsons, 21, one of those filmed, is a UKIP supporter who enjoyed a pint with Nigel Farage”.
The Star likes UKIP and its leader, or “UKIP NIGE”, as they dub him. (The Star once supported the EDL.)
Inside the paper, we hear from Parsons’ boss, Miranda Khadr:
“He is very scared and he called me to say he is not coming in today.”
It’s worth pausing to note that Josh Parsons has commited no crime. In a hideous twisting of facts and prejudices, the story of a man barred from riding the Paris Metro has become the story of a man too scared to leave his house. Who needs a Twitter mob when you have the Press to monster you?
And he is being monstered.
The Guardian makes a declaration in the manner of a lawyer revealing his most damning piece of evidence to the jury:
Chelsea fan in Paris Métro video posed in picture with Nigel Farage
To the righteous, that’s enough to bury him.
A mere nine paragraphs into its diatribe, the Guardian thinks it fair to note:
Wearing a black hooded jacket, Parsons can be seen in the Paris video after those around him appear to have chanted: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” It is unclear from the video whether Parsons was among those chanting or remonstrating with a black commuter, who had been earlier pushed from a carriage.
The Times leads with that picture of Josh Parsons and Farage. The word “racism” hangs like dripping poison beneath the photo.
This time, Farage is no “Nige”. He’s the face of Channel 4’s dire docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days, the show that imagined what the country would be like if UKIP won the Election. For those of you who missed it, the upshot is that life would be awful. It would like living in a carriage with Chelsea fans.
And with that Parsons is no longer a football fan on the train, he’s a chimera of UKIP’s middle-class, petit-bourgeois supporters and knuckle-dragging white racists. He’s the embodiment of everything we are told to fear and despise. He ticks every box.
Football fan: Yes.
UKIP supporter: Yes.
Been seen with a St George flag: Yes.
Josh Parsons has become something less than human, a vulgar symbol of everrything the bien pensant love to hate.
The Times picks up its sledgehammer to crack the bad egg. With no proof Parsons has broken a law, the Times investigates his mind. It says Parsons was “banned from playing in a football match when he attended the £30,00-a-year Millfield School in Somerset for after sending an allegedly racist tweet about a black referee.”
Did he? It doesn’t matter.
Like anyone sane, we realise that if the sins of the teenage berk are to used to explain the man, well, we could all be shafted.
We’re told that Parsons “smashed plates” when Chelsea lost a match. He and his brother – get this – Beno (!) “left you with no illusions looking at their social meda that they were a) Chelsea fans and b) UKIP supporters.”
Last time we looked neither hobby was illegal.
But it might as well be. Because alongside a picture of Parsons and news that he is being “probed” by his employers, we hear Souleymane (who says he was on his way home) say “LOCK ‘EM UP.”
We also note that the victim says, “No other passengers defended me, but what could anyone do? When the train left I waited for the next train.”
What could Parsons have done?
You might be now be wondering what Josh Parsons did to becomes public enemy Number 1 and live in fear?
And the simple asnwer is nothing. The more complex answer is that he offended the knowing and right-thinking, who look around for offence as a way of explaining themselves, seeking a salve to their own vanities and a mirror to show that how they live and the decisions they make are the right ones.
If you want to spot real, censorious, bigoted scumbags. There you go.
Transfer Balls – Anorak’s look at bilge being presented as football fact in the mainstream media. The Mirror has beeb rpeorting on Schalke and Germany defender Benedikt Howedes, 26. A target for Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, the Mirror says his “goal” is to play in England.
The Mirror says he “admits it”, as if it were a secret or a crime:
But is it his goal?
He told German’s BILD:
“If I am to leave Schalke one day, I do not want to move clubs within Bundesliga. The club is too close to my heart to do so. I owe Schalke a lot, I have had a great experience during my time here. I really like being at Schalke.”
A man has been barred from riding the Paris Metro by a gaggle of Cheslea fans. The episode is caught on video. The Chelsea fans are white. The man trying to board the train is black. Some Chelsea fans sing about being racist and enjoying it.
And – kaboom! – a small, nasty incident in a foreign city becomes a huge deal. The elite wade in.
The Sun leads with the news:
On Page 5, readers are ordered to “FIND PIGS OF PARIS”. The Sun says “an international hunt” is under way for the dicks who sang “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it” and giving full throat to the refrain “Where were you in World War 2?”
What does a racist look like? The Chelsea fans abusing a black man on the Paris Metro and celebrating their racism fit the bill. They are white, shaven-headed, dressed in man-made fibres and above above all football fans, members of what the elite portray as a race riot waiting to happen.
We love ’em. Proper bigots. Proper racists.
We can have a debate about how football should have stamped out this sort of thing. How Chelsea must punish these pillocks. How football provides role models that bind the nation’s morals. There will be anti-racist T-shirts and armbands and annoucements in the ground. Football is not a hotbed of racism. But the elite believe it is. They are sentitive to racism. They look out for it. So. Listen to the announcement. These Chelsea throwbacks are a rare sight because people have fought real State-sponsored racism. It’s not the racism of now the commentators and politicos will admonish so much as the return of the racism of the past, when white unreconstructed racists spread fear and intolerance.
But Amedy Coulibaly is not a racist. Sure, he murdered four Jews at a kosher deli, but everyone from Barack Obama to the BBC says Coulibaly was not motivated to kill by race.
It’s a pity he wasn’t wearing a replica Chelsea shirt when he murdered four Jews at the shops. If he had been, the British Press and White House could have really gone for him.
And now we see Mahmudul Choudhury. He’s been on view at Bromley Magistrates Court, where he pleaded guilty to posting a pro-Hitler image on Facebook. Hitler was seen telling Choudhary’s Facebook friends:
“Yes man, you were right. I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them. Share this picture to tell the truth a whole world”.
Chelsea fans have been a caught on camera doing their bit for race relations in Paris. In France for Chelsea’s Champions’ League match with PSG, a few fans thought it an idea to stop a black man from baording the train.
And it appears that the man’s skin tones are part of the Chelsea fans’ attitude, as they chant “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”
Stamford Bridge, which nowadays captures the atmosphere of a local library at closing time, was once a vociferous place. The far-right made it a favoured stomping ground. The Bridge could be an intimidating venue for black players.
Are these Chelsea fans of old now all living in France?
Did Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney dive to win a penalty in the FA Cup win over Preston North End? Before we get the experts’ views, let’s hark back to the day when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was “going to ground easily”.
How the Sun and the Mirror cheered the plucky Brits and booed the swathy foreingners.
Arsenal’s Educardo: guilty of being foreign
It looks very much as if – as if! – top English players could do no wrong. There were more examples of double standards, such as when Suarez was vilifed for biting an opponent, whereas England’s Jermain Defoe was “cheeky”. Suarez got counselling. Defoe got off.
“Rooney may have gone down a bit too easily under a challenge from Preston keeper Thorsten Stuckmann, which probably explains why he was only shown a yellow card instead of a red.”
Good old, Rooney. If it wasn’t for his falling over so neatly, Stuckmann would have been sent off.
TheBBC, which broadcast the match, wasn’t bovvered:
“But United made sure of their progress with two minutes to go when Stuckmann sent Rooney tumbling, although there were some suggestions he might have dived, and he stepped up to send his penalty high into his net.”
In December 2014 theDaily Mail was appalled by diving:
Diving is once again a hot topic in the Premier League after three Chelsea players, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Willian, were all booked for simulation this month.
“They even added a third that came wrapped up in controversy involving the England captain and simulation. Wayne Rooney was running into the box when Preston’s keeper, Thorsten Stuckmann, came haring out, sliding in, forcing Rooney to hurdle the challenge which he managed but then elected to fall to earth rather than stay on his feet.”
English players never do dive.
“If I ever saw one of my team-mates diving, I’d definitely have a word” – Steven Gerrard.
Is talking to yourself a sign of madness?
“I can speak about the England lads and I think it is something we don’t do. We’re too honest” – John Terry.
The bouquets are out for Paul Lambert, who was finally sacked from his post as Aston Villa manager.
Alan Shearer tells Sun readers Lambert struggled because:
“They [Aston Villa] have had one of the lowest net spends in the Premier League.”
Did they? In February 2014, this was the net spend of the Premier League tables based on the preceding five seasons:
Spurs, Everton and Newcastle must be hankering for Lambert’s services. Not.
Villa have long been one of the better-funed sides. From 2003 to today, that player investment table looks like this:
Of course Lambert became Villa manager only in 2012. So. We could look only at the net spend over his tenure. In 2012/13, Aston Villa were the sixth highest net spenders in the Premier League.
In season 2013/14, Aston Villa were not bottom of the net spend table:
On September 2, after the summer of 2014 transfers, Aston Villa posted a net spend of £6m.
Arsenal, net spend: £46m; Aston Villa, net spend £6m; Burnley, net spend £8m; Chelsea, net spend £10m; Crystal Palace, net spent £11m; Everton, net spend £33m; Hull City, net spend £25m
Leicester City, net spend £10m; Liverpool, net spend £36m; Manchester City, net spend £32m; Manchester United, net spend £122m; Newcastle United, net spend £25m; Queens Park Rangers, net spend £21m; Southampton, profit £31m; Stoke City, net spend £0.5m; Sunderland, net spend £10m; Swansea City, net spend £1.5m; Tottenham Hotspur, profit £6m; West Bromwich Albion, net spend £13m; and West Ham United, net spend £31m.Aston Villa was one of 9 clubs with a net spend of £10m or less.
Lambert was not unsupported by the Villa owners. He just wasn’t very good at managing what he had.
The Sun has been talking with Chelsea’s former Playstation character* and footballer David Luiz. In readiness for his current club, PSG, Champions’ League match with Chelsea, Luiz has been talking about himself.
(*Sky TV pundit Gary Neville said Luiz moved as if controlled by a sugar-rushing adolescent with his thumb pressed on ‘run’. Luiz was not in full control of his brain, legs or hair. It was not meant as praise.)
PSG, perhaps taking Luiz’s Playstation reputation as a sign the Brazilian could deliver the fabled 10-15-year-old replica kit demographic, paid a ridiculous £50m for his services. Luiz tells theSun the move was of his design:
“I decided to leave after the end of the season. Chelsea offered me a new contract and I said to them ‘I’m not feeling the same thing like I was feeling years ago’… I decided my cycle was finished and I wanted to live a different moment now in my life. I was not playing as much as the previous season but I played all the big games well — in different positions.”
Sometimes in one match.
“People tried to make stories about me and Mourinho but we never had any history. He was the boss and decided who plays and who doesn’t. But many times when he doesn’t put David Luiz in people said there was a problem. But it was natural. I was very happy in Chelsea.”
David Luiz talks of David Luiz in the third person, still unsure if the footballer is a player or an object, an avatar controlled by another’s hand.
Anyhow, the story goes that Luiz (sorry, David Luiz; his name must alway be written and said in full (see: Andros Townsend)) wanted to leave. And Chelsea wanted him to stay. Or it would fact be were it not for the nutzoid £5om on the table, the chance for Chelsea to buy better players and what Luiz says of Jose Mouinho’s reaction to his transfer request:
“I was not feeling good there and I said I wanted to leave. He didn’t try too much because I was in Brazil for the World Cup and we just spoke on the telephone. And he said ‘It’s OK, you can go’.”
Transfer Balls: a look at football nonsense reported as fact in the mainstream media: Today Burnley’s Danny Ings is heading to Liverpool and Real Sociedad.
The Sun leads with news that Burnley’s Danny Ings is heading out to meet David Moyes, the manager of Real Sociedad. With just six months to go on his Burnley contract, Ings will be a frre agent in the summer. The Sun says the 22-year-old fancies Spain – and is ready to sign a £60,000-a-week pre-contract.
Danny Wings in
Odd. Because the BBC’s Ian Dennis said Ings has already signed that contract:
Shouty (surely passionate? -ed) former England and Blackburn Rovers star Tim Sherwood would be manager of QPR, said the Daily Mirror on February 4:
QPR want Tim Sherwood as manager so he can repeat his Tottenham trick of inspiring underachievers
Sherwood has six-months managerial experience under his gilet. And Spurs are not exactly under-funded minnows. So. What is it about Sherwood that sees him linked with top jobs?
Whatever the lack of experience, Sherwood believes that he has no need to hone his talents in the lower leagues. He’s a Premier League boss. No doubt. All top players are. Rich and loved they don’t need to work in the lower leagues.
Sol Campbell is the latest ex-star to consider a Premier League manager’s job:
And the media is lazy. Sherwood is their pet name.
Yesterday the paper led with a question: did Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic bite Everton’s James McCarthy. The paper provided some pictorial evidence to help readers best answer:
No. There was no bite. Only the Mail suggested there had been. The Mail also said Ivanovic had “throttled” McCarthy and possibly headbutted him.
But he didn’t do either of those things, either.
And the Mail, rather than deferring to the FA’s panel of experts (three former referees), calls it a “CHOKE” and states that Ivanocic choked McCarthy, which he didn’t. There was no “throttling”, either.
The Mail’s Neil Ashton uses this as evidence that Chelsea manager “Jose Mourinho has got rivals and game’s rulers on the run…” The Mail declares:” TIME TO STOP JOSE MADNESS.”
There can be little doubt that Mourinho is an irritant. Graceless is victory and snide in defeat, Mourinho cultivates an us-against-the-world philosophy. The professional and low-profile Ivanovic shares nothing of his talented manager’s bitchiness. Conflating the two – seeking punishment for the amiable Serb because the chippy Portuguese has gets up their nose – goes against the rules of fair play.
The Mail omits to mention that Everton provided no evidence of that “bite”.
Meanwhile, over in the Times, there is other news: “Chelsea face more FA woe after scuffle with Everton.”
So. About that Mail news on how Chelsea get away with it. They don’t.
Football Balls: a look at football journalism in the mainstream Press.
The Daily Mail’s Joe Bernstein looks at the Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester City. The Citizens won 4-1. Stoke’s goal was scored by Peter Crouch. In his “MATCH ZONE” column, Bernstein writes:
“Crouch Gem Causes Family Rift”
The story is that Peter Crouch’s mother is a “stuanch Manchester City supportter who is very keen to see them overhaul Chelsea in the title race”.
This is given as the reason she’d have enjoyed Crouch’s goal that tied the scores at 1-1.
The headline-making “FAMILY RIFT” is because “Crouch’s father Bruce is a lifelong fan” of Chelsea – “so would have been firmly behind his son.” It’s more of a bond.
So. That rift is because both Peter Crouch’s parents love it when he scores. So, er, no rift at all, then.
The Daily Mail sinks its sloppy jaws into Chelsea and Everton with a story on Branislav Ivanovic ‘biting’ James McCarthy…
Last night Chelsea beat Everton 1-0 in the Premier League. So. Chelsea stay top of the table. And Everton are becalmed in its middle. And that’s it. Unless you’re the Daily Mail and keen to made a controversy from nothing much at all. The Mail’s sports section leads with a question: ”
“DID HE BITE HIM?”
‘He’ is Branislav Ivanovic, the Chelsea player once nibbled by Luis Suarez. It was the day the Mail says “rocked the football world”. It really was that entertaining. How we loved it.
‘Him’ is Everton’s James McCarthy.
And the answer is , no’. There was no bite. We know that because even the Mail’s photo shows no bite. It was more of a kiss.
Just six months into his time as Manchester United manager, and Louis van Gaal is “under fire”. Reacting to claims that his United are an unattractive long ball team he produced evidence to the contrary. How well did it go down in the Press? In a word: very. They’ve lapped it up. All newspapers lead with LVG’s stats class.
The Times leads it sports coverage with:
Van Gaal looked like a cross between Neville Chamberlain and David Brent as he waved pieces of paper to disprove [Sam] Allardyce’s claims at United’s press conference yesterday. They were lies, damned lies — and Van Gaal had the statistics.
It was a “rant”.
The Sun calls LVG A ‘LAUGHING STOCK”.
The Daily Star calls it “LVG’S LONG BAWL”. It was a “bizarre rant”.
The Mirror leads with news of “LVG’s LONG SHOT”. He “angrily produced a dossier” of “four pages of statistics”.
The Daily Mail is far more circumspect, saying Van Gaal created “an intersting 20 minutes” with his Prozone stats.
And in the Express there are concerns for LVG’s mental wellbeing:
“Louis Van Gaal sparked concerns he is cracking udner the strain of managing Manchester United…”
Van Gaal has been an outstanding coaches for years. But the Times‘ Oliver Kay wonders:
What nags, though, is the feeling that, once you look beyond the Van Gaal aura, there has been remarkably little to admire in his first six months at Old Trafford. As a journalist, you find yourself wanting Van Gaal to live up to a certain reputation — a reputation for tactical brilliance, exciting football and even, a strange admission this, antagonistic behaviour in press conferences. So far, we have seen more of the third than the first two and even that, in truth, has been fairly low-grade.
Well, that’s one thing Van Gaal can do: make an entertaining press conference. And it may yet get better.
Hugo Borst says we can expect more:
“There’s this one time that always cracks me up. He wasn’t happy with us, thought we weren’t training properly. He set up this exercise where I had to be non-responsive as keeper . . . but the crosses were so dodgy I had no choice but to save them, and that was a definite no-go. He had already bollocked me for it once but the second time he comes over and starts screaming at me something fierce and his dentures go flying. Best of it was, he caught them in a single movement, stuffed them back in his mouth and carried right on screaming. And there’s me standing opposite him trying to keep a straight face”.
The football might be dull, but Van Gaal the man is happy to entertain…
And every great entertainer needs a sidekick. Presenting Van Gaal and the Manchester United Press officer, in the style of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom:
To accompany the crack of your knees, the thump of your heart and the panting, you joggers can get ringing. Or a-ringin’. Because Runbell is a the pedestrian early-warning system that alerts walkers, dawdlers and people enjoying the peace and quiet of a park or beach to your presence.
How does it work? Well:
Pedestrians commonly complain about being overtaken by faster runners – instead of yelling out “COMING THROUGH!” or surprising them warn them with the pleasant sound of a brass bell.
Why can’t they just carry a brass bell?
Social lepe coming through
Now they can!
The Runbell ring looks like something a cock might wear because it is something a cock might wear, although not in the sauna.
A sleek, stylish wearable bell for runners, solving the problem of how to courteously warn pedestrians on shared pathways
Nothing says courtesy better than ringing a bell at someone minding their own business. It’s the equivalent of honking a horn as you weave in and out of a traffic jam. It is the guaranteed friend maker.
In other exciting product news, Anorak introduces Walking By, a handy knuckle-worn Runbell responder!