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.
MIDDLESBROUGH FC fans Julie Phillips, 50 and Gemma Parkin, 18, travelled to see their club play Birmingham City at St Andrew’s on December 7, 2013. They went equipped with a copy of the Koran, not to hold in prayer as they willed their team to score. Julie, a Middlesbrough Council employee, ripped pages from the religious text and distributed them to other fans to shred.
The pair ended up at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, where they claimed they had no idea the book in their hands was the Koran. Parkin said she’d been handed it at a Birmingham market. They claimed they were simply “making confetti”.
Only – get this – they had told a steward they were ripping up a copy of the Koran. Oops. That’s idiots for you.
Steward Matthew Corns told the court he heard chants about Muslims and the Koran as the book was passed around and ripped up.
“I was mortified. Very ashamed and disgusted in myself. It was just a book of some sort, I can’t remember if the cover was on. It was just white paper.”
BACK in December 2013, after Chelsea lost to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup quarter-final, a pouting Jose Mourinho told the media:
“We may have to take a step back in order to be more consistent at the back. It’s something I don’t want to do, to play more counter-attacking, but I’m giving it serious thought. If I want to win 1-0, I think I can, as I think it’s one of the easiest things in football. It’s not so difficult, as you don’t give players the chance to express themselves.”
Last night, Jose’s joyless Chelsea were 1-0 up away to Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions’ League. They then let in three without further troubling the scorers.
To think, they used to call him The Special One.
Never go back….
FLASHBACK to April 29, 1950: Arsenal take on Liverpool in the FA Cup final:
London’s April downpour couldn’t damp the enthusiasm of these Liverpool girls, garlanded with the colours their team and ringing a hand-bell, as they toured the city before going to Wembley Stadium
DID you look at the kit Arsenal and England’s David Seaman wore at Euro ’96 and think ‘I want me one of those’?
His second kit was little better.
Joel did. He looked at strip of man-made vomit fibres and thought it a good look.
But when Joel looked for “Euro 96 England goalkeeper kit” on the web, he found nothing.
And then – a mere ten years of searching later – Joel posted the following photo to his Facebook page.
Now Joel never leaves home without it:
Talking Point: The Gilt-Edge Chance.
CHELSEA are playing in the semi-final of the Champions’ League. They are 1-2 down, needing two goals to progress to the final. They can give up because the BBC says the game is already over:
Sage-like wisdom from the Beeb:
EPISODE 2 of what the experts said when David Moyes was made Manchester United manager:
This is why the emphasis at Old Trafford is on continuity rather than revolution, with Moyes as Bob Paisley and Scotland as some giant, rugged Anfield boot-room. Ferguson’s potency must be bestowed, a hereditary successor appointed. If there could be a son selected from those available it would not be Darren Ferguson schooled at The Posh but David Moyes, stern and stoic, hewn if not from the same DNA, then the same rock, the same nation, the same mythic paradigm. Sir Alex has urged his followers not to call him Boss, to reserve that moniker for Moyes. He has appointed and anointed, given unto them his son, if not his flesh, his likeness.
Ferguson when he was asked to nominate a successor, the nearest approximation of an Anfield boot-room appointment considered instead to be the translucent Moyes, a pale imitation of himself, so pale in fact his impotent palpitations could be witnessed on a vascular level as United throbbed to a final flaccid loss at Goodison Park. Moyes, a pale imitation of himself, so pale in fact his impotent palpitations could be witnessed on a vascular level as United throbbed to a final flaccid loss at Goodison Park.
EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United boss David Moyes will not be leaving Old Trafford – DAVID MOYES will not be sacked as Manchester United boss – despite mounting speculation that he is set to leave Old Trafford.
The Sun, May 10, 2013:
The passion and determination that were the hallmarks of Moyes’s 11 years at Everton make him the outstanding candidate”
And the pick of the bunch:
“And yet for all this Moyes is an excellent manager who could probably succeed anywhere with the right backing. He can even afford to tread water a little while he finds his voice…”
Farewell, then, David Moyes. You made some mistakes as Manchester United manager. But none of them, let’s face it, as gapingly inept as the decision to appoint you Manchester United manager in the first place… In the end Moyes’s greatest failing during the last 10 months was simply to walk into Old Trafford and act like David Moyes…
Norwich City Balls: Carlo Nash Is The Fans Player Of the Year And Has Yet To Play A Match This Season
AND the man on track to be Norwich City fans player of the year 2013-2014 is… Carlo Nash.
Nash is the 40-year-old third-choice goalkeeper who has yet to make a single first-team appearance this season.
IT has to be said that Donald Sterling, the owner of the Clippers basketball team, doesn’t sound like the very brightest of bunnies. He’s a billionaire, self-made, so obviously he has some brains. But if you had fairly racist views would you really go into a business where you’re going to end up paying black men tens of millions of dollars a year? Which is pretty much that the owner of a basketball team in the US NBA does end up doing.
Spurs Balls: Hoddle, Sherwood And De Boer Miss Out As Louis van Gaal Gets Manger’s Job (Say Experts)
WHO will be the next manager at Tottenham Hotspur? The current incumbent is Tim Sherwood. He feels unsettled:
“Every Press conference I do it’s ‘this manager’s coming in… Van Gaal, then Hoddle, this one and that one. Some of these managers are actually touting themselves for my job and I don’t think that’s right. If anyone asks me about another job I just tell them they’ve got a manager. Until they haven’t got a manager and I haven’t got a job, say nothing.”
Anyone think Sherwood will retire gracefully back to his former job as reserve team coach?
IN last night’s Champions’ League semi-final – in which Bayern Munich were thrashed 5-0 by Real Madrid – the Spanish team’s Pepe squirted snot at Thomas Muller. These were not trailing streamers of snot, dribbling from Pepe’s face in the emotion of victory. This was Pepe jetting snot from his nose as the side prepared for a free kick.
Revolting stuff. But Muller seems unfazed by the contagious microbe. No, not Pepe. Well, okay, yep, him, too.
Looks like Madrid really are Bayern’s – ahem – bogey team.
WHEN Villarreal fans taunted Barcelona’s Dani Alves by throwing him a banana, it was not entirely surprising.
Spain does, after all, have a history of this kind of racist goading, including such notable incidents as the monkey chanting directed at England players during the 2004 international in Madrid….
Arsenal Balls: On The 19th Annual St. Totteringham’s Day We Recall Who Said Spurs Would Top The Gunners
ON the 19th annual St. Totteringham’s Day – when Arsenal finish above Spurs in the Premier League – Lukas Podolski identified himself as a fan favourite:
Let’s review what the experts said:
Gary Lineker: “I think they’ll probably finish above Arsenal. Well, the interesting thing is that normally clubs… if they sell a huge player, they always say, oh, we’ll spend the money, we’ll put it back in the team but they invariably don’t, whereas at least you can say for Spurs they’ve had a plan and they’ve spent that money – and they’ve spent it actually before they got it really – so I think actually they’ve bought pretty well on the whole.”
IN an incredible, worldwide show of support for Dani Alves and the exemplary, “no f**ks given” way in which he reacted to a banana-throwing incident at Villarreal (who have subsequently banned the fan responsible for life) over the weekend, scores of footballers and other personalities have posted photos on social media of them eating bananas, along with the tag-line “we are all monkeys”.
Look who joined in. It’s none other then anti-racism champion Luis Suarez:
No picture, yet, of Chelsea John Terry doing the same…
No photo, either, of Suarez eating one of these.
IT’S hard work being a football writer for the dead tree press, hitting an opinion to deadline. Take the usually excellent Michael Calvin, writing in the Indy the day before Chelsea won 2-0 at Anfield and upset Liverpool’s Premier League victory parade:
Jose Mourinho, Enemy of Football. The long-standing slur might be excessive and ultimately meaningless, but the status is irresistibly melodramatic. It conjures images of intrigue, a plotter’s face captured for an instant in the beam of a spotlight, shone into shadow.
CHUCKING banana skins and grunting like a monkey are things of history in British football. Over in Spain, racism is more prevalent. Last night, Barcelona’s Dani Alves fielded a banana tossed from the crowd at Villarreal’s Estadio El Madrigal and ate it.
He didn’t even pick off the black and stringy bits. He just peeled and ate it, in a move that mocked both the mentally negligible fool who’d tossed it and the threat of indigestion.
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
REDEMPTION is easy if you’re brilliant at your job. Luis Suarez, once British football’s racist, diving, biting pariah has been voted the PFA Player of the Year.
He took his big cup at the awards do at the Grosvenor Hotel, London.
Suarez has been English and Welsh football’s most entertaining player (and we include the biting incident, which – let’s face it – we all loved. However, the laws of football journalism command me to say that Suarez is a role model whose nibbling of Branislav Ivanovic exposed raw Serbs to bouts of playground cannibalism and was further evidence that he was a cheating foreigner who wanted schooling in the British traditions of fair play, meat paste and honest-to-goodness over the ball leg-breaking challenges.)
Well done, Luis. Enjoy your dinner…
WHEN Liverpool’s premature victory parade was derailed by Chelsea winning 2-0 at Anfield, the internet reacted:
CHELSEA beat Liverprool 2-0 at Anfield to throw the Premier League title race open. And one Reds’ fan pops home to get some petrol and a match:
Spotter: Mike Kritharis
THE wags from a betting firm erected a stature to forcibly retired Manchester United manager David Moyes outside Liverpool’s Anfield ground.
Unless it is The Chosen One touting for spare change as a living statue?
Anyhow, United have moved on. Louis Van Gaal is now the name on fans’ lips:
“Come on Louis Van Gaal, play like Moyes’ gals”
FLASHBACK to August 28th 1937:
Football League Division One: Chelsea v Liverpool at Stamford Bridge
Liverpool goalkeeper Arthur Riley (r) saves, watched by teammate Matt Busby (second l) and Chelsea’s Harry Burgess (l) and Jimmy Argue (c)
Matt Busby… Whatever happened to him..?
RYAN Giggs is the manager of Manchester United. What say the fans of the lothario (surely sick love rat? – ed) now at the helm?
Wear the mask and pull the birds
Manchester United Balls: Louis van Gaal Signs 3-Year Deal At Manchester United Without United Knowing
HAVE Manchester United made Louis van Gaal the new manager?
The De Telegraaf newspaper in Holland claim the man has singed a three-year deal. And Patrick Kluivert will be his assistant.
The British Press then report the news:
LIVERPOOL have not won the Premier League. It looks like they will. But if 1989 and all that teaches the Reds’ fans anything, it is that nothing is won (yet). So. What true Liverpool fan would buy one of the ‘Liverpool Premier League Champions 2013/14′ T-shirts on sale in Ireland?
LUKAS Podolski’s 19 goals and 11 assists in his Arsenal career give him the third best minutes per goals ratio in Premier Leauge history, bettered only by Thierry Henry and Kun Aguero.