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.
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.
Yesterday at Wembley Chelsea defeated Spurs 2-0 to win the Capital One Cup. But more importantly there was NO race riot. No white men in manmade fibres stopped a black man from boarding the Tube nor did they brawl with the self-styled ‘Yid Army’.
Police did make five arrests on the day. But none was for racist chanting.
To go with the police threats that they “may” arrest fans for racist chanting was Paddy Power offering football fans the opportunity to “PROVE YOU’RE NOT RACIST”.
We had hoped this was a lampooning of the police and the shrill and censorious anti-racsim outfit Kick It Out whose leader had called for Wembley to be “swamped” with moralising police officers, as if merely being a football fan made you a suspected Nazi (or vice versa).
But it was not. It really was the chance to be an un-racist, to publicly showcase that you were one of the enlightened, like David Cameron, every national newspaper editor, the Royal Family, the Metropolitan Police Force and pretty much everywhere else where a dark face is not a stain on the cue balls but a sign of the white leader’s moral goodness.
Said Paddy Power:
Chelsea fans were invited to ‘prove they’re not prejudiced’ before today’s Capital One Cup final – by having their photo taken with a Sikh, a Muslim woman in a burka, a black man and a woman in a wheelchair. The diversity-laden Kodak moment was designed to give the majority of Chelsea fans the chance to show that they don’t have an irresistible urge to racially abuse a black man when they see one – and to encourage fellow fans to ‘prove they’re not prejudiced’.
Why not a Sikh man in a burqa, a black man in a skirt and Hassidic Jew hat, a Muslim woman dressed as a glamour model and a woman in full Nazi regalia sat in a wheelchair? Come on. If you’re going to counter stereotypes, think a little.
Having branded all Chelsea fans as racists – and it is tempting for all football fans to now sing that song heard on the Paris Metro and wave a verbal two-fingers at the anti-football bigots ( ‘We‘re racist, we‘re racist, and that’s the way we like it, we like it, we like it‘) – we cast a glance at Paddy Power’s ‘bloggers’.
The writer in the bottom right corner could be black, as could the two albinos. Two out of the 24 appear to be women. But it doesn’t look all that diverse, even if you count the man with the ‘revese burqa’ across his eyes.
A look at Paddy Power’s board of directors reveals one woman from 11 members. No brown faces. No Asian, Muslim or Jewish names. But one is French.
And, unforgivably, none of this all-white board is hugging a black man.
And that’s racist!
Transfer Balls brings you news from the murky zone where football news and football drivel collide. Today the Daily Express says Alvaro Morata is off to Arsenal. Not Liverpool. Not Manchester United. The Express backs this up zero facts.
But, then, it has brought readers a welter of Morata news.
On February 23, the Express said Morata was on his way to Liveprool.
That followed the earlier news that Morata was heading to Real Madrid, meaning Arsenal and Liverpool and Manchester United would miss out:
Towards the end of last year, the Express said Morata has turned down offers to play for Arsenal and Manchester United.
Anthony Chapman’s story contained not a single word from Morata on either club. All Morata said was:
“I had offers from England, but in difficult times you have to put your faith in those you can trust. Juventus directors had literally been to my house telling me they wanted to sign me, so [moving to Juventus] was a decision made out of loyalty. I feel a kind of responsibility to do well. Not because of how much I cost, but because I came here having hardly played for Real. A lot of people advised me against this move. They told me to go to a mid-table team. I don’t think I made the wrong choice.”
So much for the “snub”.
But it would have been a shock to Daily Express readers that Morata signed for Juventus. The Express said Morata was heading to Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs.
And there was the stella news that Arsenal had signed Morata:
But they never did.
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls: The Daily Express is the apogee of all football drivel. Today the paper links Cheslea with Lionel Messi, the Barcalona megastar. The headline declares:
You never know! Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho talks £200m Lionel Messi bid
But hold on. What did Mourinho actually say? Before we get to know, the Express tells readers:
The Argentina international was linked with a £200m switch to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City also keen on securing his services.
Chief among news sources linking Messi to Cheslea was the Daily Express, with no fewer than four more stories on that £200m move:
After five £200m stories – that’s a £1bn Transfer – finally, we get to hear what Mourinho said on Italian TV:
“I think it’s difficult [for Messi to leave]. I have a feeling that Messi will always be Barca. I may be wrong, in football you never know what will happen tomorrow, but I do not see a player of this size out of that club.
Such are the facts…
“But, as I say, I may be wrong.”
To Wembley Stadium for the Capital One Cup Final between Chelsea and Spurs. The once “institutionally racist” Met police have erected an electronic sign to educate the mob:
To the polcie all Spurs and Chesla fans are racists in waiting. Unless the police, those great moralisers, are there to observe, listen, record and threaten football fans will race riot.
They “may” arrest you. Or they “may” not for saying things.
What utter self-serving, moralising, top down balls.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard apepars on the Daily Star cover. The story is is of a “troll’s sick post” about his daughter:
What did this sicko say to warrant front-page exposure?
The Rochdale youth player posted the vile remarks under an online snap of the Liverpool captain with his youngest girl Lourdes. Reds ace Gerrard captioned the Instagram picture: “My World.”
But the young footballer then wrote: “I’d bang your girl Stevie.”
Yeah. But what did the “sick troll” say? Oh, that was it.
The comment provoked uproar from fans who branded the youth – a rising star tipped for the top – a paedophile.
This youth player is a teenager. And, you know, teenagers says stupid things. They say things that they hope will cause offence. But in these offence-seeking times teenager’s quip is a police matter:
Police were also called but said they could take no action unless Gerrard reported the incident. The troll, who we cannot name for legal reasons, removed the taunt but his club are close to showing him the exit door.
Wow! Just wow!
A source at Rochdale said: “He’s landed himself in hot water as his comments have brought the club into disrepute. A fair few people were appalled and reacted angrily by ringing the club. There were calls for him to be kicked out but that hasn’t happened yet. He may escape with a suspension and a fine but he’ll be a lucky boy if he does.”
Yeah. Lucky boy. Next time just scrawl it on the toilet wall…
A spot of nominative determinism now, readers, as we spot Joe Head, 11, whose was rusticated for wearing his hair in a short ponytail in tribute to Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović. Young Head’s school, Pope Paul Catholic Primary in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, wrote to his parents. The letter called the hairstyle “unsuitable” and “associated with drug-taking”.
The letter was from the headmistress, Helen Lines.
Joe’s Mum, Mandy Head tells the media:
“I became upset that she could associate drug-taking and my son in the same letter and it became offensive. I’m not aware of any rules for hair at the school. We will discuss it with them, but they didn’t have to add drug-taking into the letter.”
Joe’s error seems to have been in picking which sporting hero to emulate. If you really wants to be associated with drugs, we’d suggest cool kids eschew the blameless Zlatan and aim higher, perhaps piling their mop on top of their heads and spraying it bullet hard.
Transfer balls: did you know that James Milner is desperate to join Liverpool. The Daily Express has an “exclusive”:
EXCLUSIVE: James Milner warned by Liverpool to drop wage demands to seal free transfer
James Milner, the Manchester City tyro – still wanted by perennial Premier League title contenders and super-rich club Manchester City – has been “warned” that he could miss out on playing for Liverpool?
John Richardson tells his readers:
The 29-year-old midfielder sees his Etihad contract, worth around £120,000 a week, run down [sic] at the end of the season, making him a free agent.
Talks are at an advanced stage to allow Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, whose side face Milner’s Manchester City today, to add him to his squad next season but the Anfield club have made it clear that they won’t shatter their wage structure to accommodate the former Leeds United, Newcastle and Aston Villa man.
Shatter? This is the same Liverpool who signed Mario Balotelli for £16m and pay him £125,000-a-week:
“I think we have done a really smart piece of business here,” said Reds boss Brendan Rodgers. “This transfer represents outstanding value for the club.”
We’re sure Milner’s agents are worried sick about breaking that Liverpool wage structure. If they don’t where on erath will England internatioanl James Milner find work?
If he is prepared to take a pay cut then a deal could be sealed at the end of the season.
Football balls: whan a player is injured the media goes into overdrive. They love it. Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie has poorly ankle. But how long will be out for?
BBC: Van Persie is out for up to two weeks.
The Express says it’s at least two weeks:
The Mail says RVP is out for 3 weeks:
The Mirror says RVP is out for “at least a month“:
The Sun says he’s out for “four games” , which is five weeks.
It’s as if the media take the most basic fact and spin it until the actual news is lost in the fog of sensation…
Robbie Savage, the Match of the Day pundit – your tax pounds at work, readers – has escaped a driving ban.
Savage was recorded rocketing along the A1 in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, at 99mph.
The Sun reports:
“His lawyer Philip Morris begged for him to be spared a ban, saying: ‘When you are in the public eye and have to offer opinion on people’s football teams you are regularly accosted out in public. Someone once described him as being like Marmite — you either love him or hate him.’”
Chris at Pies takes up the story:
According to The Sun’s report, Savage told the court that he is already regularly heckled in the street by football fans and that his Bentley is one of the few “safe havens” he has left in this world. Yes, the kind of “safe haven” that’s capable of barrelling along at 99mph without a care for anyone or anything outside it.
Anyway, the defence was miraculously successful and Savage escaped with a £600 fine and three points on his licence.
This is Savage who saw Luis Suarez nibble a Serb and opined:
“We were watching in disbelief. The red mist came down and to do that to a fellow professional is shocking and disgraceful. I’ve defended Luis Suarez at times but you cannot defend that. The evidence is conclusive…”
That was indefensible, according to Savage.
Maybe Suarez should have argued that the great unwashed made him do it.
Why do they stare, Robbie? Why?
TRANSFER Balls: a lolok at utter drivel being presented as football fact in the mainstream mdia. Today we look at the Daily Express’ story of “Arsenal’s £50m spree”.
Wenger will have a £50m transfer budget this summer to address the failings in his squad… the Arsenal boss will move for Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, another centre-back and possibly a goalkeeper.
To which Arsenal fans who read the Daily Express will says, ‘Is that all?’ Becasue not to long ago the Daily Express told Arsenal fans that the Gunners were goiung to invest £80m in Paul Pogba.
Over in the Telegraph Jeremy Wilson reports:
Wenger will have a transfer budget this summer that is estimated to be around £50 million.
His first priority is in central midfield and a deal in excess of £20 million for Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is a distinct possibility. Another centre-back is also on the agenda, even after the signing of Gabriel from Villarreal. With David Opsina and Wojciech Szczesny both struggling to convince, their options in goal also remains an issue.
But Wilson is right here. It’s about tactics:
The bottom line, though, is that Wenger basically does now have the squad that he wants and Arsenal’s success or otherwise will essentially come down to his selection, tactics and work on the training ground.
Such are the facts…
Transfer Balls catches news of Wolfsburg winger Kevin De Bruyne, 23. The BBC notes that the former Chelsea player “says he would be open to a Premier League return”.
One game we play is to see if the media can link a player with all five of the big clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
The BBC says “with Manchester United mulling over a £30m bid for the former Chelsea player”.
The BBC delivers this as fact. Only at the end does it say the source for the scoop is the Daily Express.
Over there, the paper reports:
How badly does Kevin De Bruyne want to play for Manchester United? He’s quoted:
“I feel very much at home with VfL Wolfsburg in this very moment. I am able to sign a new contract with Wolfsburg. Life in football can be fast moving. Football is much about money. Wolfsburg is not yet like Bayern Munich, of course. And my biggest ambition is to come out for a big European club. One I can win trophies with. As much trophies as possible.”
The Daily Star then spins the balls to take in Chelsea and Arsenal.
Oh. And Manchester City:
And over in the Sun, the news is that De Bruyne is a…Liverpool fan.
It’s a Full House of Balls.
Such are the facts.
In readiness for Arsenal’s Champions’ League match against Monaco, fans buying the official matchday programme got a free gift: a press out and keep Arsene Wenger figurine.
You might call it a table topper, but that would be ironic given that the Gunners currently occupy third place in the Premier League and just got beaten 3-1 by Monaco.
Transfer Balls: the Daily Express has news on Arsenal, Chelsea and Sami Khedira.
Arsenal and Chelsea have been joined by Schalke in the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira.
So. Khedira, curently at Real Madrid, is off to either Arsenal, Chelsea or Schalke.
It’s just that the Daily Express told us that Khedira was off to Manchester United:
And there was Bayen Munich, who wanted the player:
And signed the player:
But let’s see what Bild, source of the Express’ latest scoop, has to say:
Two weeks ago, in turn, the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser had reported that Khedira has already agreed to a Bundesliga. Perhaps it involves the FC Schalke …
Such are the facts…
The Daily Telegraph likes ‘Five Things…”. It tops and tails most big football matches with a routine ‘Five Things We Learned About…” story. This week it’s been writing about Barcelona before and after the Catalans’ Champions’ League match with Manchester City.
Before the game, Richard Martin was being schooled at Barcelona’s game with Malaga:
After telling class that “City have no reason to fear Barcelona (1.) and Daniel Alves is “sad” (2.) we learn:
3. Luis Suarez is far from the goal machine he was at Liverpool
4. Lionel Messi can be tamed with the right tactics
5. Barcelona’s midfield is not what it was
Suarez scored both goals in a comfortable 2-1 win, which would have been 3-1 had Lionel Messi not missed yet another penalty and prevented Suarez lashing in the rebound.
After the game, Mark Ogden had “Five Things…
1. Kompany is not brilliant; 2. 4-4-2 didn’t work; Agüero is really good; City fans don’t sing and dance all that much when they team are being beaten; and – gawd…. he must get to five. So, here goes nothing:
5: Barcelona playing in “ridiculous” yellow was “another low”.
Talking of lows, the Telegraph used to be the best newspaper. Not any more it isn’t…
ITV watchced last night Champions’ League match between Barcelona and Manchester City. It spotted Luis Suarez, the wonderfully talented striker once of Liverpool and now with the Spanish side. He scored both of Barcelona’s goals in a 2-1 win, and would have had a third has Lionel Messi not gotten in the way of a rebound from his saved penalty kick.
But ITV isn’t intersted in Suarez’s sublime skills. It asks a question:
“Did Luis Suarez have a little nibble on Martin Demichelis last night?”
ITV then answers its own question:
ITV places ‘nibbles’ in inverted commas, suggesting that he didn’t bite the City defender at all, or maybe munched him or ate him while and raw in one gulp.
It’s really is pathetic non-news journalism to look for sensation and crimes to sell a football a match that was blessed with skill, pace and excitement.
The story oozes bullshit from every word:
Watch the former Liverpool man, now playing for Barcelona, run alongside Demichelis on the edge of the area in the video above, where he appears to move his mouth in the direction of the Argentine’s hand.
The Urguguayan was handed a four month ban from football after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during last summer’s World Cup, and has been also caught up in biting controversies during his time at Liverpool and Ajax.
Watch a zoomed in version of last night’s incident below.
No. There was no incident. Nothing happened. All we see is Suarez chase a ball and Demichelis attempt to block him by spreading his arms wide at shoulder height.
Suarez never did bite the finger and reduce Demichelis’ digits to nine in number. But Suarez does wear the number ‘9’ shirt. So. We cannot rule out the dawning of a the ‘nine’ cult in which Suarez’s opponents are left with a constant numerical reminder of his presence…
Transfer balls: where rumour meets utter nonsense. The Independent is reporting that Manchester United are to sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. The fee: £30m.
The Express says it Lewandowski for Manchester United. The paper says “Louis van Gaal will undoubtedly be in the market for a world class striker to partner Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney”.
That’s odd because the London Evening Standard has told us that Van Peris will leave Old Trafford in the summer:
Lewandowski shows no signs of leaving Bayern. But he has, of course, already signed for Arsenal, Manchester Unirtd, Chelsea, Liverpool etc. As we read in the Daily Star:
Of course that was utter balls. Because one years earlier he joined Manchester United for £12m:
Such are the facts…
No longer cheering for the Black Shirts, the Daily Mail is now on the side of the anti-racists. And it is disgusted and dismayed at the sight of Chelsea fans abusing a black man on the Paris Metro. The paper’s Neil Ashton laments:
“There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past.”
Is there a culture of racism among football supporters? In the 1980s there was, when black players had banana skins tossed at them and were targetted by monkey noises. But back then the police were shamelessly racist, too, as Mick Hume recalls:
Living in Moss Side, Manchester during the 1981 riots, I remember police vans cruising the streets while riot cops beat their batons on the side and chanted ‘Niggers, niggers, niggers – out, out, out!’. A veteran comrade of mine recalls being arrested in east London around the same time while carrying some Workers Against Racism pamphlets, and being repeatedly asked by the police ‘Do you like monkeys?’ and ‘Why do you live in a monkey cage?’
Racism was open. And it was delivered from the top to the masses below. Demonising blacks and Asians would bind the nation. And now the message from above is of anti-racism. And there is no better way to showcase your anti-racist credentials than by slamming football.
The Mail (number of black faces on the editorial board: nil) reports that any West Ham United fans caught singing nasty songs about Jews on the way to their side’s match at White Hart Lane will be dealt with:
West Ham vow life bans for any fans that ‘behaved in an inappropriate way’ after video emerges of anti-Semitic chant on train
No. Not illegal. No even racist. Inappropriate. When did Mary Whitehouse start running football?
You can see the video here. It’s a few men singing about their penises in public. It’s a bonding ritual, possibly homoerotic. And it is undeniably offensive.
Sam Cunningham and Christian Gysin press f9 on their keyboards and hear from Lord Ouseley, Chairman of anti-racism in football organisation Kick It Out:
“What would have happened if we hadn’t seen this footage or it hadn’t been reported?”
At I guess, I’d say ‘nothing’. Unless any victim would have complained of being abused. But they didn’t. So. Nothing would have happened.
“We need to give people the confidence to challenge discriminatory and abusive behaviour, and this can only be reinforced by action being taken by police and within football by clubs and authorities. ‘Anti-Semitism must be tackled with the same vigour as all other forms of discrimination.’”
Do we allow for context? Do we allow for the West Ham fans to argue that they were insulting Jews and not blacks or browns because Spurs are supported by the Yid Army? If they really hated Jews and not just Spurs fan Jews, would these West Ham fans support a club owned by David Gold, whose father was an East End Jew? Would they not discriminate against them?
Can it be that the elite are wrong and words do not always equate to deeds? You can think evil and not carry out evil deeds?
Of course, the song is insulting. Of course it is racist. And it’s vile. It’s meant to be. Just as chants about Victoria Beckham’s sexual preferences, the referee’s onanism, anti-gayly serenading Brighton fans with the chants “Stand up, cos you can’t sit down”, “10 German bombers” and that tune about the Munich air disaster are meant to be. They are designed to hurt.
And this song, sung by Spurs fans at Sol Campbell who moved to local rivals Arsenal, pretty much ticked every box of bigotry:
Sol, Sol, wherever you may be,
You’re on the verge of lunacy,
And we don’t give a fuck if you’re hanging from a tree,
You’re a Judas c*nt with HIV.
Did you ever hear the ditty ‘Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz’?
It’s vile. It’s ugly. But it should be legal. Because when you start banning what people can say, you also ban the ability to debate ideas publicly, like adults should do. You ban words and you end the opportunity to hold them up to scrutiny and mockery. If you ban words you let the bansturbators in – and once they stat they can’t stop.
The aim is not to say no evil – it is to think no evil. In the language of the age, you are downloading the songs onto your mind. The Chelsea fans on the carriage who did not sing a celebration of their racism have been condemned for just being there. For looking. For downloading wtong things. Their crime was having racism on their mind. Maybe.
On one football board, a Spurs fan asks for fans to stop referring to West Ham supporters as “pikeys”. After a brief debate about gypsies, travellers and race, one fan sums things up neatly, advising:
Just stick to calling people cu*ts. It’s the safest option.
Or maybe not (NSFW):
Did you laugh at that?
Were you offended?
Did you feel like calling the police?
As Lord Ouseley said:
“What can seem like harmless comments can be deemed offensive by others and lead to unwittingly reinforcing negative stereotyping, including racist ones. We will work with all our partners to ensure that education on what is and isn’t unacceptable behaviour is ongoing.”
And he wanted the police to stop Spurs fans calling themselves Yids. He knew best.
The Association of Chief Police Officers/ Crown Prosecution Service guidance tells us:
As well as tackling violence, disorder and criminal damage we will deal robustly with offences of racist and homophobic and discriminatory chanting and abuse and other types of hate crime. We recognise, as do the overwhelming majority of decent fans, that there is a place for humour in football but where the line between humour and offensive behaviour is crossed then positive action will be taken.
Who decides what is and what is not funny? Lord Ouseley?
When West Ham United fans were told not to chant that Hitler was coming to gas the Spurs fans, they responded by chanting:
“He’s coming for you, you know who is coming for you”.
Of course it is utterly offensive. But it is also witty. But is it funny?
What about the chant directed at Andy Goram, who had been the subejct of a newspaper article suggesting he was possibly suffering from schizophrenia. To the tune of Guantanamera, opposing fans sang:
Two Andy Gorams
There’s only two Andy Gorams
Short List says that is the funniest chant ever.
But when West Ham fans sang that Spurs striker “Harry Kane talks like a mong and plays like one”, BBC pundit Kevin Kilblane complained to the FA. It is a lead sports story:
That’s not a funny song. It’s weak. It’s offensive. It’s witless. But it can’t be crime. That would be madness. Becaue while I think it’s not funny, others without a sense of humour might disagree.
But we won’t get to choose wbhat we say because the elite will tell us what is and what is not funny and the police will enforce their ruling.
I’ll let John Barnes, seen in the lead photo having a banana thrown at him when he played for Liverpool in the 1980s, end this:
“Football can do nothing about getting rid of racism. Society has to [do it], through education and people understanding why they feel the way they do. Prejudice is a problem all over the world. I’m surprised when I see black people in the higher echelons of society. I know the most powerful man in the world is black [Barack Obama] but 400 years of indoctrination into thinking about a group of people as inferior is not going to change overnight. There was the human rights movement in the 1960s and yet 20 years ago we were still being racially abused – and it was accepted.”
It’s not football that’s racist. That’s just what the illiberal elite want you to believe…
Transfer balls: Arsenal are the subject of some utter rot in the Daily Express.
One story is that “Arsenal star Theo Walcott SIGNS news deal with rivals”
Can it be that Walcott has left Arsenal. Has he singed for Spurs?
No. He’s now wearing adidas boots.
The other scoop is that Porto have “agreed to sell Jackson Martinez to Arsenal for £30m”.
Have they? No.
More utter balls from the Daily Express football team every day…
Transfer Balls: a look at utter drivel presented as football news in the mainstream media. Today the Express says Liverpool are set to sign Raheem Sterling on a new contract, Arsenal are still going to bid for Paul Pogba, Incardi is off to Chelsea and there is some stuff about Manchester United.
David Wright reports:
Raheem Sterling admits he’s close to putting pen to paper on a new deal at Liverpool, worth a reported £100,000-a-week.
The Express links to the Mail, which reports:
The England star, who is being monitored by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, is yet to commit his future to the Reds despite months of talks between the club and his representatives.
Over in the Liverpool Echo, Sterling is quoted:
“We’re working on it and hopefully it will be sorted soon.”
So. No news, then.
As for Paul Pogba to Arsenal, we’re told:
Arsenal are expected to step up their interest in Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, who is valued at around £80m by the Serie A giants.
Expected by whom? Wright fails to say.
And Incardi? Well, that sgtpory is sourced in the Metro, which notes:
Chelsea are still in pole position to sign Mauro Icardi despite the striker holding contract talks with Inter Milan.
And now for that Manchester United news:
Manchester United are in talks with Fiorentina over a deal for former Manchester City flop Stefan Savic.
That story is soruced in the Daily Star, which reports:
Sport claims United were close to sealing a deal in January before Savic penned fresh terms with La Viola.
So, er, not close at all, then.
More no news in the Daily Express every day…
Fans of Chelsea and Spurs are racist. All of them. Every single one of them is a suspected racist. The Express, Mirror and Sun all lead with the news that Spurs and Chelsea fans are suspects in race crimes. Lord Herman Ouseley, the man the Sun labels the “Race chief” calls for police to “swamp” Wembley when Chelsea and Spurs contest this Sunday’s Capitol One Cup Final.
This week we saw a video of a few West Ham fans giving full throat to their foreskins on the way to play Spurs, a club gamely supported by their vocal and self-styled Yid Army. The Mail calls them “alleged” West Ham fans in language that makes us wonder if being a football fan is now a crime.
Paul Pogba Watch: a look at the lazy media obsession with finding the ‘new’ versions of existing top footballers. Today we learn of the new Paul Pogba, which is very off when you consider that the real Paul Pogba – the old one – is 21 years old.
Today the Daily Mirror brigns news of Baubacar Djalo. He’s 18. He plays for Sporting Lisbon’s Under-19 side. Not good enough for the Sporting first team, Bubacar is, nonetheless, good enough for Spurs.
And he is… the “NEW PAUL POGBA”.
Previously in the Mirror (Jan 6 2015), we met another New Pogba:
Transfer Balls: a look at the ridiculous world of newspaper reporting on football transfers. Today the Daily Express has news that Arsenal are going to buy Paul Pogba for £80m.
Bruce Archer writes: “Arsene Wenger is ready to launch an £80m bid for Paul Pogba.”
The story links to the Daily Mirror. We click. And we read Liam Corless, who writes:
Arsenal are ready to smash their transfer record to bring Paul Pogba back to England, according to the Express.
It’s a perpetual circle of bullshit.com.
The Express has a scoop that Pogba is ehading to Arsenal for £80m. It says it read it in the Mirror, wherein we lean that Pogba is heading to Arsenal for £80m because they read it in the Express.
We’ve been tracking Transfer Balls for a few season now but this is the most blatant case of Bullshit Tennis we’ve enountered do far.
Meet Richard Barklie, 50, of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, who was on the Paris Metro when a black man was barred from boarding the train.
Barklie is a former Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer,. He now works as a director of World Human Rights Forum.
To unite the human rights activists and organizations around the globe to protect and to promote human rights, values and global well being necessary for the creation of a better world order.
He’s one of the directors:
Belfast solicitor Kevin Winters speaks on Barklie’s behalf. He says his client did not sing racist chants. He says his client is not a racist:
“As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India, he can point to a CV in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist.”
And, well, we didn’t see him singing anything in the video. And since when is singing a crime?
The full statement runs:
“We act on behalf of Mr Barklie identified as one of the people sought by authorities investigating an incident on the Paris Metro on 16/2/15 . We contacted London Metropolitan Police today to advise that our client is happy to assist with inquiries. Pending formal engagement with police, our client is anxious to put on record his total abhorrence for racism and any activity associated with it.
”As someone who has spent years working with disadvantaged communities in Africa and India he can point to a cv in human rights work which undermines any suggestion he is racist.
”Today a senior official in the World Human Rights Forum confirmed their support for him.
”Mr Barklie is a Chelsea season ticket holder and has travelled to matches for over 20 years now without incident
”He travelled alone to the Paris St Germain match and has no knowledge whatsoever of the identities of the other people depicted in recent YouTube video releases. He wants to stress that he was not and never has been part of any group or faction of Chelsea supporters.
”He did not participate in racist chanting and singing and condemns any behaviour supporting that.
”He accepts he was involved in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S was unable to enter a part of the train.
”He has an account to give to police which will explain the context and circumstances as they prevailed at that particular time.
”In the meantime pending that, he wants to put on record his sincerest apologies for the trauma and stress suffered by Mr Souleymane.
”He readily acknowledges that any judgement on the integrity of his apology will be kept in abeyance pending the outworkings of the investigation.
”Given the extremely sensitive nature of the issues engaged we urge upon all media outlets to exercise as much restraint as possible when commenting on the case.
”We accept on behalf of our client that public interest demands nothing but total indignation and condemnation from all media reporting but such reporting ought not to persist at the expense of undermining Mr Barklie’s right to a fair trial
”Tonight London Met confirmed with us that arrangements were in hand to take the investigation to the next stage.”
Or as the Sunday World put it:
Was it a “secret life”? Once upon a time a secret life would have meant you working as a spy, being gay or murdering womenm in Yorkshire. Now the guilty is secret is that you watch football.
And meanwhile…on the train to Spurs with the West Ham United fans:
But what’s odd about the Daily Mail’s take on that chanting is the headline:
Yeah. Not alleged anti-semites. But “alleged West Ham fans” – as if being a West Ham United fan is a crime; just like being a Chelsea supporter is a “secret life”.
It’s not so much racism the papers hate – it’s football fans…
Joe Mourinho, Chelsea’s egotistical, talented and erudite manager, feels his side are the victims of a conspiracy to defraud them of the Premier League title. He says that to compound poor decisions that go against them, Chelsea don’t get a fair press.
Sat on the Sky Sports sofas, Mourinho pointed the finger at Sky (prop. R Murdoch). He asked them why if a red card-worthy foul by Chelsea’s Diego Costa was a “crime”, a bad foul on a Chelsea player by Burnley striker Ashley Barnes was brushed over?
And as if to prove the point that the Press is unfair to Chelsea, the Sun (prop. R Murdoch) reports on Mourinho ‘s reasoned remarks thus:
A “33 minute rant”. No. It wasn’t. It was bit whinny, a tad self-indulgent, a little monocular and self-serving (what of Chelsea defender Gary Cahill’s dive in the box against Hull city, or Cesc Fabregas’ handball in the box against Arsenal – both unpunished?), but it was not a rant.
And it was entertaining. It would have been much more saw had Mourinho not been sat by the face of corporate telly, Ben Shepherd, a man whose presenting skills appear to have been honed at a call centre briefing for new staff, and the witless and shouty Chris Kamara, a figure possessed by the ability to retell what viwers have just seen in the manner of an amazed puppy seeing a shoe for the first time.
We’d have preferred to see Mourinho sat before Manuel Pelligrini or another of his rivals and a Premier League referee. A good journalist to wrangle them would be an added bonus. It would look a lot like this: