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THE Ched Evans case has been an incredibly emotive case, where people have tried to defend the convicted rapist and, horrifyingly, chased after the victim, presumably believing that she’s stitched an honest lad up.
Model, Nicola McLean, defended Evans and his potential move to Oldham Athletic (which has fallen through) on Twitter, saying: “OK let me get this right! After you leave prison are you not allowed to get a job? Or is that rule reserved only if you kick a ball?”
“Mike Tyson 3 years for rape went straight back to boxing and a movie star rolemodel ? and he maintains his innocence.” “Luke McCormick killed two brothers while drink driving and was later appointed captain of Plymouth argyle so is he ok to be a role model?” she added.
In opposition, there’s a petition, signed by over 20,000 and counting, addressed to Oldham Athletic, which reads: “We do believe he [Ched Evans] has the right to work. We believe that it does not have to be in a role where he influences views about sexual violence, and his presence on your pitch will do this.”
It is all incredibly messy, so what’s needed are some cold, non-shrieking facts about this, to help you make your mind up and nix some of the misconceptions about the whole case.
HE’S INNOCENT! SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT!
Factually speaking, Ched Evans is not innocent, regardless of what you think. A court and jury found him guilty of raping a woman. Evans is appealing against the decision, but that doesn’t mean he’s innocent. The outcome of the appeal may be more damaging to him.
The issue of consent is a hugely emotive thing. As far as the law was concerned, the victim in this was not able to give consent. She’d had a lot to drink, which still doesn’t equate to saying ‘yes’. More to the point, the court heard about what happened, which paints a grim picture.
On 30th May 2011, Evans received a text from Clayton McDonald who said he’d “got a bird”. Now, the woman in question, according to the courts, doesn’t remember getting to the hotel. Evans is on record as saying that he got a taxi to the hotel, let himself in to watch his friend have sex with the woman and then “got involved” while his brother and another friend spied on them through a window and tried to film it on their mobiles.
The fact remains that a jury found these actions to be that of a rapist. Ched Evans remains a rapist until the law says otherwise.
HOW CAN CHED HAVE BEEN A RAPIST BUT THE OTHER GUY WASN’T? SHE MUST’VE KNOWN!
Okay, look at this as a scenario, unrelated to this case. A girl gets incredibly drunk and goes back to a hotel, willingly, with a guy, and has sex. She falls asleep and wakes up with a second person having sex with her. With regards to the second man, he did not get consent so he raped her.
In another case, a woman willingly goes back to a hotel with a man to carry on drinking, however, date-rape drugs are used and the man has sex with her, and then invites his friends to do the same. The victim will wake up with no memory of the assault, but again, it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t raped.
Of course, we’re not implying that the examples above are what happened on that night, but rape cases aren’t ever as simple as simply saying “she was asking for it.”
Clayton McDonald, the other man accused, according to a jury was deemed to have been in a situation where he was likely to think he had consent. Legally, he’s not a rapist. Legally, what happened after that with Ched Evans, makes him a convicted rapist.
HE’S PAID BACK TO SOCIETY BY SERVING HIS TIME!
Legally speaking, Ched Evans has not served his time. Evans has been released from prison under license, which means that his sentence isn’t actually finished. Only the custodial element of his punishment has been served. So if you think that Ched Evans should go back to work because ‘he’s served his time’, technically, you’re wrong.
JUST BECAUSE HE’S DONE SOMETHING WRONG, DOESN’T MEAN HE SHOULDN’T WORK AGAIN!
No-one is saying Ched Evans shouldn’t work again. However, whether he should be a footballer again is another matter. While Evans keeps a toe in the public eye, he’s an exceptional case.
If Evans doesn’t play professional football again, he can still live a relatively normal life, like anyone who has a criminal record. However, in this instance, the victim has had to move home five times under new identities because of people ‘outing’ her. For this reason alone, Evans’ continued presence in the limelight is making the victim – the person the law is protecting – suffer further.
On the employment front, shrieking “HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK AGAIN!” isn’t strictly true. Convicted rapists are prevented from doing a number of jobs, such as being a doctor, a teacher or a police officer. As a footballer who is a convicted rapist, would parents be happy to see the children who are mascots on the same pitch as someone the law has decreed a rapist? Football clubs do a lot of work in the community, so would any club that pays a wage to a rapist be able to do that with a clear conscience? Would any club who has fans who have been subject to sexual assaults be able to have a player who is guilty, by law, of exactly that? It is for these reasons that Ched Evans isn’t a normal case and shouldn’t be treated as one. That said, it is a matter of opinion, rather than a matter of law.
WELL! OTHER SPORTS STARS HAVE DONE BAD THINGS! WHY SINGLE CHED EVANS OUT?
Of course, there have been other convicted criminals doing high profile jobs. However, those decisions may have been wrong, which means that the bad decision of yesterday don’t give a green light to do them now. Again, if Evans’ appeal is successful, then there’s a different conversation to be had.
EITHER WAY! I BELIEVE IN REHABILITATING CRIMINALS – DON’T YOU?
Ched Evans has consistently not shown any remorse for what has happened. There’s a website that is hounding the victim, which Evans has failed to condemn. Rehabilitation starts with the criminal realising what they’ve done and/or admitting guilt. Let us assume Ched Evans didn’t think he’d done anything wrong and then realises that, actually, he did. That’s when rehabilitation starts. You don’t just do a course and get to be a professional footballer again.
The fact is, the law found him guilty and he need to take some responsibility for what he’s done and, for some of the things his fans have done. He’s shown zero understanding of the situation and, until he does, then we can start looking at what he can do with his life next. More to the point, rehabilitation doesn’t mean that you get to carry on as normal, like you did before. Evans could be rehabilitated and never play professional football again, because rehabilitation isn’t about getting you back into your old job. Until he’s been rehabilitated, there’s a chance he could re-offend. So, until he’s learned about consent, the weight of his actions and what he’s actually been charged of by a court and a jury, only then can he start thinking about what job he’d like to do.
Saying sorry isn’t enough.
THE LAW IS AN ASS!
The jury found Ched Evans guilty of rape. That’s all we have. Whether or not you agree with the British legal system is a different debate to the one regarding Ched Evans playing professional football again. A jury heard the full details of what happened and the verdict was that Ched Evans raped a woman. If you have reached a different verdict, that is irrelevant. Many people defending him have an axe to grind, when the fact is, they inevitably wouldn’t be happy working with a convicted rapist or if a convicted rapist worked with one of their loved-ones. Concerning the latter, that is what is being debated here.
When he came to pass sentence the judge said: “…. [the complainant] was in no position to form a capacity to consent to sexual intercourse, and you [Evans], when you arrived, must have realised that.”
The court papers say: “That accurately reflected the way in which the verdict should be interpreted. No force had been used on the complainant and no injury had been caused in the course of the rape. But the long-term psychological consequences to her could not be ignored. The judge took the view that they were not lessened by the fact that she had no direct recollection of the events.”
On Pies: 18 Cracking Photos Of An FA Cup Institution: The Tin-Foil FA Cup:
It was most pleasing to see a healthy smattering of tin-foil FA Cups in the terraces this past third round weekend, proving that the FA Cup as a footballing folklore institution is not quite dead on its feet yet.
We love ourselves a good cardboard FA Cup effigy – it soothes our mortal souls – so lets get started with what might just be the first ever documented appearance…
Seven minutes into Manchester City’s FA Cup tie with Sheffiueld Wednesday, former England footballer Trevor Sinclair told BBC viewers:
“It’s refreshing to hear a foreign manager like Manuel Pellegrini say he wants to win the FA Cup. You look at the depth of City’s squad and it would be rude for them not to take it seriously. If City are mentally right then they will get through this tie.”
Oh, those funny foreigners. Let’s see if they care about winning the FA Cup:
2000 Gianluca Vialli Italy Chelsea
2001 Gérard Houllier France
2002 Arsène Wenger France
2003 Arsène Wenger France
2004 Alex Ferguson Scotland
2005 Arsène Wenger France
2006 Rafael Benítez Spain
2007 José Mourinho Portugal
2008 Harry Redknapp England
2009 Guus Hiddink Netherlands
2010 Carlo Ancelotti Italy
2011 Roberto Mancini Italy
2012 Roberto Di Matteo Italy
2013 Roberto Martínez Spain
2014 Arsène Wenger France
Scots teams aren’t involved in the FA Cup. So. Only one Englishman has ‘bothered’ to win the thing this Century.
PS: This past weekend, Premier League managers Harry Redknapp (QPR) and Steve Bruce (Hull) fielded weakened sides. Both lost. Both Bruce and Redknapp are English.
Transfer Balls looks at players being linked to Manchester City in the January sale season. Rumour, speculation and downright balls are presented as fact by the mainstream media. So far this January, the media experts have told us that following players are all on their way to City:
Ross Barkley could be about to light up the January transfer window and become the record English signing in the process, according to reports. It is understood that Everton are willing to consider selling their star, possibly for as much as £60m, in order to fund a general strengthening of their squad. According to reports, Roberto Martinez is willing to listen to offers over £45m for Barkley, as he looks to avoid slipping down the table and into a relegation battle.
Links to said “reports”: zero.
Daily Star: “Man City remain hopeful of beating Chelsea to Lionel Messi in INCREDIBLE £200m deal”
The Sun: “Manchester City are plotting a swoop for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, 24”
Lacazette and Fekir:
Daily Express: “Man City plot DOUBLE SWOOP to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to Lyon stars Lacazette and Fekir MANCHESTER CITY are looking to beat Liverpool to Alexandre Lacazette and Arsenal to Nabil Fekir.”
The Guardian: “Levski Sofia’s Bozhidar Kraev arrives for Manchester City trial”
Daily Mail: “Manchester City are eying a deal for Anderlecht midfielder Dennis Praet, 20”
Daily Mail: “Manchester City join Chelsea in race to sign £8m Argentina midfielder Joaquin Correa”
Daily Mirror: “Manchester City eye transfer of Swansea’s Wilfried Bony for a bumper £25million fee”
Daily Star: “City are reportedly leading the £20m chase for Bony’s signature, but may face competition from current league leaders Chelsea, who are also keeping tabs on him.”
Daily Star: “Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini wants to sign Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler, although the German side want £25m for the 21-year-old.”
Daily Mail: “Manchester City will NOT be adding to their squad in January due to Financial Fair Play sanctions, says Manuel Pellegrini”
Running total: players in: 8.
Chelsea Transfer Balls: Raphael Varne for £20m, Pogba and Messi for £277 and more desperate reporting
Chelsea Transfer Balls: a look at players being linked to Chelsea in the media. Facts don’t matter. This is about the rumour and utter balls being presented as fact:
Daily Express: “Chelsea and Manchester United have been told they will have to pay £20m if they want to sign Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, 21.”
Number of quotes from player, agent or club: zero.
Daily Star: “Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, 26, is set to disappoint Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United by signing a new deal with the Spanish side.”
Number of quotes from Chelsea now or ever expressing an interest in Buquets: zero.
Daily Star: “Chelsea are set to complete the £4m signing of Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric from HNK Rijeka.”
Number of quotes from Chelsea: zero.
Daily Express: “Chelsea Transfer News: £277m DOUBLE bid for Messi and Pogba,”
Paul Pogba should have his own rumour mill.
Number of quotes from Cheslea: zero.
Running total: Add them to these five new faces, and Chelsea sign 8 players in the Transfer Window.
The Sun leads its sports sections with an exclusive. No, make that an hyperbolic “Mega Exclusive”. Spurs are selling their best player:
It’s the January transfer window. So. Hugo Lloris, for it is he, is off this month?
TOTTENHAM are set to cash in on £25million-rated Hugo Lloris. The French No 1 will be allowed to leave for a Champions League club in the summer — even if Spurs seal a top-four spot of their own.
Transfer Balls – a regular look at footballers being linked to the big clubs. There is rumour of Juventus and France star Paul Pogba.
The Daily Express says Pogba is hgeaidng to Manchester United. The fee… £77m!
Paul Pogba heading to Man Utd for £77m as Juventus find replacement in Marco Verratti
The Daily Star says Pogba is worth £70m. And he’s heading to all of the five richest English clubs. It’s a Transfer Balls Full House:
Several sources in Italy have suggested Premier League giants Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are eager to snap up the 21-year-old, who joined the Old Lady in 2012.
Transfer Balls – Manchester United: a look at players being linked by rumour, speculation and not a single shred of fact to Manchester United. As told by the mainstream media today:
Mats Hummels and Benedikt Howedes
Daily Express: “Manchester United could bolster their defence with a double swoop for German pair Mats Hummels and Benedikt Howedes.”
Daily Star: “Bayern Munich will attempt to persuade Arjen Robben, 30, to turn down a move to Manchester United by offering the Dutch winger a new deal in excess of the £180,000-a-week contract he signed last year. ”
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Transfers Balls: Arsenal – a look at rumour and speculation presented as fact in the mainstream media. So. What players are heading to Arsenal today…?
The Guardian: “He’ll [Arsene Wenger] hand him a five-year deal worth £1.4m per season too. Did you see that one coming?”
Number of quotes from Arsenal, Casillas and Real Madrid: none.
Daily Star: “ARSENE WENGER is ready to step up his pursuit of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech after another horror show from Wojciech Szczesny.”
Daily Star: “Arsenal are losing the race to sign Paris St Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.”
Indy: “Newcastle will reject a £9m bid for the club’s French midfielder Moussa Sissoko”
Stephan El Shaarawy:
Daily Express: “AC Milan have told Arsenal and Liverpool that striker Stephan El Shaarawy, 22, will cost £11.5m if they want to sign him in January.”
Daily Star: “The Gunners have had a £5m bid for Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic rejected by Dinamo Zagreb”
Daily Telegrpah: “The Gunners have had a bid for 16-year-old Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik rejected by Legia Warsaw.”
Mats Hummels and Benedikt Howedes:
Daily Express: “The Borussia Dortmund and Schalke stars could cost United a whopping £60m in the summer transfer window, and are also being chased by Arsenal.”
Daily Mirror says the Southampton player is on the radar.
Daily Star: Yep, Arsenal want him. As does everyone else, apparently.
Daily Star: “Man Utd set to sacrifice striker in shock swap deal for Arsenal target Adil Rami”
The Guardian: “It’s Paul Pogba! This is great news. At long last, there is going to be something there. Paul Pogba, heading to Arsenal, for £40m. This is a game-changer.”
Sebastian Lichtsteiner, Morgan Schneiderlin and Winston Reid.
The Guardian links al three players to Arsenal.
Final scores: Players in: 16.
Running total: 23 new signings in January!
Chelsea Transfer Balls: a look at players being linked to Chelsea in the media. Facts don’t mater. This is about the rumour and utter balls being presented as fact:
Daily Express: Breaking news in the Express is that Chelsea will not buy Gareth Bale. Look out for Express’ exclusive news that the Blues are not buying Lionel Messi.
Daily Express: “Chelsea Transfer News: Abramovich WANTS £200m Messi”
CHELSEA owner Roman Abramovich is looking to sign Barcelona star Lionel Messi next summer.
Daily Express: “Borussia Dortmund are ready to listen to offers for Manchester United target Ilkay Gundogan, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool also interested in the 24-year-old midfielder.”
Daily Express: “Chelsea have been handed a boost in their £20m pursuit of Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi, with the Serie A outfit looking at possible replacements.”
Daily Mirror: “Dinamo Zagreb executive director Zdravko Mamic claims move for striker poised to join Blues for £7.5m”
Daily Mail: “Chelsea sent their chief scout to watch Wilfried Bony against Liverpool… so are they plotting a January bid for striker?”
Final scores: players in: 5;
Manchester United ball: a look at players linked to United in the media. Not a single story is supported by a quote from the club or the player. It is Transfer Balls season:
Daily Mirror: “Dani Alves says he won’t sign new Barcelona contract before it expires, alerting Man United”
Daily Star: “Manchester United will make Paul Pogba their top target”
Daily Express: “Manchester United wil bid £77m for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba”
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Liverpool Transfer Balls: a look at footballer being linked to Liverpool in today’s media. Facts are thinner than Bruce Grobbelaar’s rat’s tail:
They’re ready to move on and it will be Stevie Who? once they sign Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri. Internazionale and Juventus are interested in the Swiss winger but Liverpool are the only club who have shown a willingness to sign him on a permanent basis.
The Sun: “West Brom are looking to sell striker Saido Berahino for £20m, with Tottenham and Liverpool both interested in the 21-year-old.”
The Mirror: Liveprool will pay £25m for Berahino.
The Mirror: Bony’s off to Anfield. Maybe.
Daily Telegrpah: “Liverpool have been offered the chance to sign Toronto striker Jermain Defoe, 32”
The Guardian: “Liverpool are also after a new striker and have identified Villarreal’s Luciano Vietto as The One”
Daily Telegrpah: “Liverpool are already considering re-signing captain Steven Gerrard, 34, on loan next January after the end of the Major League Soccer season. ”
Transfer Balls – Arsenal: a look at footaballrs linked with the Gunners in today’s newspapers. The facts behind each story are thinner than Arsene Wenger’s ankles:
Daily Telegarph: “Sanogo is off to Bordeaux on loan”
Daily Star: “Yaya Sanogo is off to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace or Sunderland”
Daily Mirror: Yaya Sanogo in January is off to Aston Villa
The Guardian: Sanogo is off to Palace
Daily Star: “The Gunners are submitting a £25.5m bid for 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho”
Irish Indy: Arsene Wenger wants Everton midfielder James McCarthy
Podolski takes the selfie to Milan:
Daily Telegraph: “Lukas Podolski will join Inter Milan on loan in the next couple of days”
Suarez – finally!
Daily Telegraph: “Arsenal close in on Atletico Madrid’s Mario Suarez”
Edinson Cavani (yeah, as if):
Daily Telegraph: “Gunners lead chase for Edinson Cavani”
Daily Express: “Edinson Cavani looks set to move to England at the end of the season. Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal are hoping to land him for £62m.”
Daily Mirror: “Arsenal are lining up a bid for young German keeper Loris Karius from Mainz”
Daily Express: “BORUSSIA DORTMUND are ready to listen to offers for Manchester United target Ilkay Gundogan, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool also interested.”
The Sun: “Arsenal are set to pip Manchester United to Ipswich’s £10m-rated 18-year-old midfielder Teddy Bishop.”
Today’s Transfer Balls count: Players in – 7; Players out – 2.
THIS weekend sees one of the most fun weekends of English football – the magical THIRD ROUND!
The big boys of the Premier League and Championship enter the fray, taking on the lower and non-league teams, which means fancy arse teams playing at brilliantly pokey grounds that look like they’re make out of scaffolding and potato hash.
Naturally, with smaller grounds, the pitches and facilities can’t rival that of the Premier League teams. That’s a good thing as millionaire footballers can come a cropper and the glamorous sides are knocked out by teams made up of people who will be calling into work sick on the Monday morning.
Remember who won when the Cavaliers took on the Roundheads.
There’s been many great giantkillings in the FA Cup and we’re going to look at some of the best of them now, to really get us in the mood. Of course, most of the big shocks happen in the third round, when the big boys enter the competition, but there’s still loads to enjoy in the first round proper.
Vauxhall Motors beat QPR
Vauxhall Motors are one of the best teams to see in the classified results because, mainly, they’re a work’s team. Of course, they’re a bit more fancy than an office’s 5-a-side outfit, but nevertheless, that’s basically what they are. Unfathomably, they managed to beat a decent QPR team in the FA Cup and, to paraphrase Jeff Stelling, they went crazy on the streets of Vauxhall Motors.
Altrincham knock out Birmingham
Altrincham gave a number of league sides a rough ride in the ’80s, but their greatest moment came against Birmingham. Brum were a decent team back then and Altrincham were one of non-league’s finest. They beat The Blues with a reasonable amount of swagger. Check out the video below with a lovely interview with Altrincham’s goalkeeper who is sat in bed.
Rioch’s Bolton Wanderers
Bolton sank from the top flight to the old Fourth Division and, on their way back up, Bruce Rioch masterminded a number of cup runs. One of the most loved victories in Bolton fans hearts is the midweek replay against Liverpool at Anfield in 1993. Liverpool, not too long ago, were winning everything they could get their hands on, but they were no match for David Lee’s heroics. White hot indeed!
Colchester spank Leeds
In the late ’60s/early ’70s, the cream of the English footballing crop was Don Revie’s Leeds. They visited Colchester United in a bid to fight on one of the many fronts they found themselves in. The U’s were in the Fourth Division and managed by one of Revie’s old mates, Dick Graham. 16,000 crammed into Layer Road and Colchester played Leeds at their own robust game and won.
Wycombe’s Amazing FA Cup run
In the Noughties, Wycombe’s FA Cup run was a sight to behold! Sitting in the lower echelons of the Football League, Laurie Sanchez somehow managed to take Wycombe to the semi-final of the cup. Quite remarkable.
Sutton United send everyone back to Coventry
Not long after winning the FA Cup and a side in the top flight for over 20 years, Coventry City played Sutton United from the Conference. The Sky Blues may have been enjoying one of their best seasons in the First Division, but it was at Gander Green Lane it all went wrong. Matthew Hanlon volley flew past Steve Ogrizovic and a giant killer was born.
Wrexham rocket past Arsenal
George Graham’s Arsenal romped to the title in the 1990-91 season. The season after, they took on Wrexham who were the bottom club of the whole Football League. The Gunners scored and it all looked over. However, veteran midfielder Mickey Thomas rattled a peach of a freekick in (not bad for someone who got stabbed in the arse for having it away with someone he shouldn’t have been) and Steve Watkin grabbed the winner. One of the greatest giant killings in FA Cup history.
Luton beat Norwich
Luton were once in the top flight with a decent side, but after that, they sank into the Conference. While in the lower reaches, they took on Premier League Norwich and… well… you know how it goes, what with this being a piece about giant killing.
Ronnie Radford defines the FA Cup
Hereford United v Newcastle United: third round 1971-72. It doesn’t look much written down, but it features the most memorable FA Cup giant killing of them all. The pitch is a quagmire pitch, there’s fans up trees, it was one of John Motson’s first games as a commentator and featured a brilliant Newcastle team and… of course… an absolute rocket from Ronnie Radford which became the defining image of the FA Cup. It is only right we finish with this one.
To every player who has kissed the badge and pledged lasting love and undying loyalty to their club and then agitated for a move away and played against them, Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard has something to say:
“I’m going to carry on playing and although I can’t confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool – that is something I could never contemplate.”
Few top players in the modern era are forever tied to one club by anything other than massive amounts of cash.
Steven Gerrard is the captain ever team wishes they had…
Let us be in no doubt that Major League Soccer, the United States football league, is rubbish.
Frank Lampard was excited to sign for New York City FC. And then he joined Manchester City until January 1 2015. Frank has now decided to remain at Manchester City for the duration of the Premier League season.
The Third Rail fan group respond:
We would like to publicly denounce City Football Group’s and Frank Lampard’s decision. Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team, committed to season tickets, and bought merchandise under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club, not Manchester City. Many of those fans are rightly outraged by this decision, and we support any course of action they take to voice their discontent over this decision. We reject out of hand any suggestion that NYCFC is in any way secondary to Manchester City FC, regardless of the source, and are disappointed that City Football Group would give such an appearance.
Great stuff by the fans of a football club that hasn’t played a single game, currently has a grand total of 15 senior players on their books and, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t really exist properly yet.
Trasnfger balls: who is Arsenal’s No.1 priority this January?
Daily Star: “Arsenal eye Man Utd target Aymeric Laporte as an alternative to Mats Hummels… a new defender the number one priority in January”
The Guardian: “Arsène Wenger to make Arsenal midfield a priority in transfer window”
Daily Mirror: “Arsenal’s priority is a defender with Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk and Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar also on their watch list.”
Irish Indy: “Arsene Wenger is actively trying to sign a new centre-back for Arsenal early in the January transfer window, with Saint Etienne captain Loic Perrin having emerged as a viable option… Central midfield is less of a priority”
The Mail says Wenger is to bid £20 for Portugal midfielder William Carvalho. And the Indy says £20m is the Gunners’ entire budget. So. Cue the Daily Star:
Arsene Wenger discusses Arsenal’s £62m BID for Liverpool and Man Utd target Edinson Cavani
Such are the facts…
AS everyone knows, Chelsea FC are hilarious. If it wasn’t for Newcastle United, they’d be the funniest football team in the Premier League. Their owner is batshit mental, they hire crazy managers and half of their players are lunatics. And who can forget John Terry putting a full kit on and lifting a trophy in a match he didn’t play in?
They’re absolutely insane.
And now, Jose Mourinho is talking like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now!, thinking that everyone is out to get them, thanks to a secret campaign against the club. Obviously, everyone in football meets up in a secret volcano lair once a month to discuss who the campaign against Chelsea will play out.
DURING his time at St James’ Park/Sports Direct Arena/TK Maxx Enormodome/Whatever It Is Called Now, Alan Pardew has had a fraught time of it. Fans wanted him sacked, then he took his side on a decent run and fickle Geordies got off his back, and now, it looks like Pardew has had enough.
He’s been granted permission to talk to Crystal Palace about their vacancy, after Neil Warnock got the chop. It might seem like a strange move, but let us look at it this way – Pardew might get to be Palace’s manager for the next 3 or 4 years if he does well. Can you imagine him still being in the Newcastle hotseat in 3 or 4 years time?
So while Pardew looks after his own neck, there’s the small matter of who might take his job in the North East. More pertinently, who is crackers enough to work for Mike Ashley, with a load of mental fans, at a club that is notoriously laughed-at by the rest of the league for being such a consistent pantomime?
Well, let us look at some of the likely names.
Hull manager Steve Bruce is a favourite to take the job. For a start, he’s a Newcastle fan. The fact he managed Sunderland won’t mean much to most Magpies. He’s also currently working for a chairman who is more unstable than Mike Ashley (Assem Allam, who wants to rename Hull City, Hull Tigers, even though almost all the fans hate the idea). With Bruce, Hull got to the FA Cup final last season and, with Hull struggling in the Barclays Premier League, it’d be a good time for Newcastle to lure him away.
The Argentinian defender is a bizarre favourite with the bookies to take the Newcastle job and the fans seem to like the idea too, even though Jamie Carragher burst out laughing on television when he was asked about it. Even the Independent think that he’s all set to take the job. Having been at the club since 2008, he certainly knows how things are.
The laughable Tim Sherwood will be linked to all manner of jobs for the foreseeable future, mainly because he’s ranty enough for the press to like and of course, wears a lovely quilted gilet. Sacked at Spurs last May, he’s highly thought of in certain circles and is inevitably ready to take on a new job after some time out.
It’d be stupid to not mention Kevie Keegle because Newcastle fans love him so very, very much. While he would be a potentially disastrous appointment, it would be a very Newcastle thing to do and, most importantly, be very fun for everyone looking on. Just imagine the 8-5 scorelines and Keegan playing Newcastle sides with 7 strikers. It’d be marvellous. We’d love it. Absolutely love it.
Pulis has done sterling work at Stoke and Crystal Palace and would provide a no-nonsense stability that Newcastle, as a club, sorely need. Although, with Pulis falling out with the Eagles co-chairman Steve Parish over transfers, Pulis would need certain financial guarantees from Mike Ashley if he was going to take the job.
FRANK DE BOER
After being courted by Tottenham last year, Frank De Boer is another of the Barcelona alumni who will be drawn to the Premier League (others include Mourinho, Luis Van Gaal and Ronald Koeman). Currently at Ajax, the money and glamour of the English top-flight could see him fancying the Newcastle job. However, at Ajax, he’s got a family of people around him that will be tough to drag him away from.
Eddie Howe is one of the brightest young English managers in the game, currently doing incredible things at Bournemouth. It is inevitable that a bigger club will snap him up soon, so the current Newcastle job would be a decent punt for those who like an outside bet. Whether Ashley is willing to give a veritable rookie a shot is another matter, but Howe is very highly rated and the chairman has to stick-or-twist on him before someone else lures him away.
Transfer Balls: it’s been a busy few days for Chelsea FC’s Fernando Torres.
Liverpool finalising bid to re-sign Chelsea flop Fernando Torres
Atlético Madrid are close to tying up a deal for the Spain forward Fernando Torres to return to his boyhood club on loan from Chelsea
Fernando Torres set to rejoin beloved Atletico Madrid after failing at AC Milan
Striker who cost Chelsea £50m set to break off Milan loan to return to his first club for next year-and-a-half
Transfer Balls: a look at football rumour and speculation being passed off as fact.
The Mail leads with news that Arsenal are to bid £20m for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho.
All remarkable stuff given than the Mirror reported Carvalho had agreed to join Manchester United for £37m.
A few weeks later, Carvalho’s price had dropped in the Express:
TalkSport broke the news:
So. Carvalho to Arsenal.
You read it in the tabloids…
This transfer season, we’ll keep track of how many players have been linked to the top Premier League teams over January. Well forcus on the two most shamless exponents of Bullshit.com, the Daily Express and Daily Mirror.
Mediawatch has starrted early:
Here, for your perusal and amusement, are the players linked to a few clubs by the Express since Thursday evening. It includes only players rumoured to be arriving, not leaving:
Manchester United (15) – Mats Hummels, Gareth Bale, Fabio Coentrao, Victor Valdes, Sergio Busquets, Kevin Strootman, Marco Reus, Gabriel Barbosa, Malcom Silva, Diego Godin, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Enzo Perez, Nicolas Gaitan, Lucas Silva and Paul Pogba.
Arsenal (16) – Moussa Sissoko, Nabil Fekir, Fabio Coentrao, Nemanja Vidic, Sergio Busquets, Lucas Silva, Marco Reus, Stephan El Shaarawy, Matt Targett, Sebastian Giovinco, Nikola Vlasic, Krystian Bielik, Marcelo Brozovic, Virgil van Dijk, Gabriel Barbosa and Malcolm Silva.
Liverpool (12): Gonzalo Higuain, Fabio Coentrao, Marco Reus, Stephan El Shaarawy, Matt Targett, Sebastian Giovinco, Victor Valdes, Divock Origi, Guillermo Ochoa, Xherdan Shaqiri, Christian Eriksen, Martin Montoya.
Stick a question mark after each of those names, and you have the Daily Mirror’s transfer scoops…
Lance Armstrong, the spectacular cheat who harnsssed the power of lab technology and a good backstory to win seven Tour de France titles, says he draws the line at cheating at…golf, telling Golf Digest:
GOLF IS DIFFERENT from the culture of cycling when I was competing, and that’s putting it mildly. Cycling, it was the Wild West. Nobody considered doping cheating. It was an arms race where absolutely anything went, and it was every man for himself. You might consider me the last guy to have anything to say about cheating, but golf is different. I love adhering to a code of honor that we in cycling didn’t have. If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn’t just regret it, I’d be heartbroken forever. When I think about reform in cycling, I think about golf.
Golf on gin or golf on drugs – which is better?
And Lance wasn’t cheating at cycling until he got caught.
When I first read his line I thought he was swearing off cheating at golf. But looking at it again, Armstrong seems to be saying he’d just be very upset to get caught cheating at golf…
THERE’S something near-admirable about the way Sepp Blatter runs FIFA. He clearly couldn’t give the slightest of tosses about people knowing what he’s been up to. He’s got the crooked swagger of Emperor Palpatine, cackling his way around the corridors of power, cackling ‘really though, what are you going to do about it?’
You suspect that he’s got a room filled with folders, with the most unspeakably awful dirt on some of his colleagues who are brave enough to challenge him.
Matt Hughes and Tony Barrett explain the Liverpool transfer policy, one dictated by committee. Having missed out on the wonderful Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool looked around for a player:
The oddity is that, given that a player of Sánchez’s style is so fundamental to the way Rodgers wants his team to play, Liverpool’s response to missing out was the move for Loïc Rémy, a different type of forward altogether. That they ended up feeling the need to sign Mario Balotelli, even though he certainly does not fit the profile that Rodgers was looking for, was also bizarre, providing another indication of an inadequate strategy. These failings have been undermining Liverpool ever since, and even if they pull off a morale-boosting win this afternoon, these are unlikely to go away…