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Pochettinho: ‘Tottenham needs more time – with me or another manager’

Hard cheese on Spurs, then, losing their 8th FA Cup semi-final in a row. Their last victory at that stage of the FA Cup came 27 years ago. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has now presided over two semi-final defeats in consecutive seasons. After the match he said “to create that [success] doesn’t take a few years, Tottenham needs more time – with me or another [manager].”

Is he thinking of leaving the club? Pochettino is contracted to Spurs until 2021. He told BeIn Sports:

“To compete in this type of game, I think we are ready to compete – but win is different. The most important [thing] is that we are in this process, that after four years we can compete and that is fantastic. But the disappointment and frustration is that we are close but we cannot reach. I told your colleague before that with me or another coaching staff the club needs to push on, working in this direction and will be fantastic one day for Tottenham to reach the same level as the clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City. But a long way to work to arrive at this next level.”

Dele Alli, who scored the opening goal at a time when Spurs looked to be in control of the match and were well on top of Man United, summed up his feelings to the BBC:

“We let ourselves down, it’s very disappointing. We have to try and pick ourselves up and finish the season strongly. You can’t go 1-0 up and then 2-1 down against a team like Manchester United. We can’t put ourselves in that situation. We were dominant from the first minute and it only looked to be going one way. Everyone talks. We want to win trophies, we have the staff that want to win. We can’t keep doing this. We can’t throw it away. We have got to improve.”

But how can they?

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


FA Cup fail: BBC announce Manchester United to play Chelsea and Spurs

And to the live draw for the FA Cup semi-final. Lynsey Hipgrave is the designated BBC blonde sports presenter tasked with announcing the matches. The balls are pulled from U-bend beneath the FA Cup plug hole by Gianfranco Zola and Petr Cech.

The numbers in the hat are – and if anyone knows the method behind the numbering, do tell:

1 – Tottenham
2 – Manchester United
3 – Chelsea
4 – Southampton

They come out in order: 2, 1, 3, 4.

It’s Manchester United v Tottenham. It’s Chelsea v Southampton. Or as Hipgrave puts it: it’s Spurs v Southampton. It’s Man United v Chelsea.

 

 

You had one job.

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Wigan beating Manchester City is football at its chaotic best

The Manchester City website leads with a photo of referee Anthony Taylor showing City defender Fabian Delph a red card following the England man’s foul on Wigan Athletic’s Max Power. City says the “red seemed harsh”. The Wigan website doesn’t agree. Over there,Delph was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Power”. No controversy.

Wigan’s manger Paul Cook offers his take: “The dismissal gave us a massive lift. It was a huge factor in the game and I thought the referee got it right.”

The game ended 1-0 to Wigan. The dismissal surely help Wigan’s cause. But Man City failed to score. “Undoubtedly the decision to send Fabian Delph for an early bath was the game’s key moment,” says City. But surely the biggest moment was Will Grigg’s goal.

Pep Guardiola was more circumspect than his club’s press office. He didn’t claim the dismissal had been a decisive factor. “I don’t think it was,” he said. “We played well in the second half. We created more than enough chances to go through but in the end the result speaks for itself. We didn’t score any goals and Wigan did.”

What it all  as, of course, was a stirring reminder of how chaotic and brilliant football is. Away from all the post-match guff, analytics and leading edge software packages operated by IT-illiterate ex-pros, the most expensive squad in football was turned over by a team in which Will Grigg is the Latics’ most expensive player at £1.3m.

Grigg – the best thing to have come out of Wigan since Limahl.

 

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Rochdale defy Alli’s dive to earn FA Cup replay with Spurs

Delight for Rochdale as the latest of late goals secured a 2-2 draw with Spurs in the FA Cup. Rochdale fell behind when Harry Kane converted a penalty ‘won’ by the slippery-shoed Dele Alli.

The midfielder has form when it comes to tumbling in the box.

Alli has been booked three times for diving. His is the worst record in the Premiership. He is a persistent cheat. But what about other players not booked for diving outside the box? Pretty much every match features moments when the lightest physical contact sees a player fall theatrically to the ground. Is it fair to pick out Alli?

When Alli burst into Rochdale’a penalty area there was an inevitability about him ending up on his backside. Was it a foul? Should this have been given? Get a load of his legs as he falls over.

 

 

Rochdale manager Keith Hill says Alli was “looking for” the penalty.

“I’m led to believe he [Alli] was looking for it, but why not?” Hill opined. “If players feel there is an opportunity to be gained then brilliant, I don’t hold it against him. I don’t blame him and I don’t have a problem with it. Whether it’s him, Harry Kane or (Rochdale striker) Ian Henderson, it doesn’t matter who does it. If he does that for England in the World Cup this summer then I will definitely be supporting him.”

How times change, eh. There used to be pride in staying on your feet.

The odd thing is that if you cheat and the penalty is given, the FA can ban you for two matches. But the result secured by a converted penalty kick unfairly earned stands. Cheat and fail, and you get a yellow card. Chris Sutton muses: “There are two many players who are looking for contact. Alli is one, Wilfried Zaha is another. They need to be fearful of what punishment they will face.”

So what punishment fits the crime? A red card? A penalty for the other team? Points deducted?

Posted: 18th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Chelsea and Manchester United robbed of excitement by fourth official

Pity that fourth official Mike Jones stepped between Manchester United’s sulky manager Jose Mourinho and nylon-haired Chelsea boss Antonio Conte? If two grown men want to have a row on the touchline, then let them. Sneaky Mourinho, all sly digs and bitchiness in a well-padded jacket; raging Conte puffing out his chest and testing the buttons on his shrink-to-fit suit. All of us watching at home would have loved it. The fans calling Mourinho “Judas” would have been delighted. The Sun says Jones ‘had to step in to separate the warring managers’. But he didn’t. He just wanted to.

In the age of ‘You can’t say that’, officials are swarming over football. The Sun employs former referee Mark Halsey to tell us if the game’s actual ref got the big decisions right. The biggest of which was referee Michael Oliver sending off United’s Ander Herrera. Halsey says Herrera’s first yellow-card foul on Hazard was merited. It was a ‘clear barge into the body’. The Spaniard’s second yellow for fouling Hazard was ‘not a cautionable offence’.

The Mail’s former referee, Graham Poll, aka ‘The Thing from Tring’, says United set out to commit ‘team fouls’, taking turns to take out Hazard. He points to this being part of the Mourinho game plan, which if true, makes the the new United boss very much Alex Ferguson’s heir.

But the policy of kicking Hazard out of the game backfired when Oliver noticed it, telling United captain Christ Smalling to cut it out or else. Poll was ‘amazed that, within seconds [of speaking to Smalling], Herrerra fouled Hazard again. He could have been cautioned for stupidity.’ Oliver was ‘spot on’.

The upshot is that down to 10 men, United looked even less potent than they did with 11. The game’s best player, N’Golo Kante, scored the winner, and Manchester United were out of the FA Cup, so depriving Mourinho another ‘title’ (the desperate Portuguese loves to bill everything he wins as a ‘title’, including, laughably, the Community Shield charity match) and setting Chelsea on course for a semi-final with Spurs at Wembley.

It promises to be a thrilling encounter – and a great chance for celebrity officials to raise their profiles.

Posted: 14th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester City throw the FA Cup for England as Chelsea march on

The newspapers are torn: did Manchester City throw their FA Cup tie against Chelsea, losing the match 5-1? The Telegraph says Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field a greatly inexperienced side “backfired”. The inference is that the City manager thought an experimental City youth side could defeat the Chelsea first team at Stamford Bridge. Surely not. City came to chance their arm and gain experience for their young players.

Chelsea v City was scheduled for late yesterday, before the Manchester side play Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. Then City play Liverpool in the Capital One next Sunday.

City have higher priorities.

 

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The Mirror accuses City of being the “Cup Killers”.

 

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Pelligrini has hammered another nail into the demise of football’s oldest Cup, says the Mirror. Says Pellegrini:

“We were forced to select that team, we couldn’t play another day and didn’t have any more fit players. We knew it was a difficult chance to carry on in the FA Cup. We cannot do anything more. If we play on Saturday, it is better for us, then we play in the Champions League for England. We have six players injured and cannot take any more risks. We played against a very good team and that’s why they won.”

The Sun mocks Pelligrini’s claim that city did it for England:

 

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Is Pelligrini wrong to claim England came first? Not entirely, no.

The Barclays Premier League claims four spots in the Champions League. Italy’s Serie A has three. That could change. Slots are allocated according to how well a nation’s sides fare in both European competitions. The Uefa club association co-efficients are:

1 Spain 85.142
2. Germany 66.749
3. England 65.034
4. Italy 60.605
5. Portugal 44.582
(Top three associations currently have four Champions League places)

The Times notes:

The Italians cut the deficit by more than half last season, thanks to Juventus reaching the Champions League final and a strong showing by Napoli and Fiorentina in the Europa League.

Should England’s representatives struggle again this year, it is conceivable that Italy might catch them at the end of the campaign – meaning England would only be able to send three teams to the Champions League in 2017/18 – though the following season is more likely.

So, Pelligrini might not be “kidding”, as the Sun puts it.

Meanwhile, Chelsea move on, travelling to Everton on March 12 – three days after they play PSG in the Champions’ League.

Posted: 22nd, February 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


FA Cup Balls: Liverpool’s ‘lucky’ Coutinho Was better than 8 Aston Villa players

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Aston Villa beat Liverpool 2-1 in an entertaining FA Cup semi-final. But what were the important scores, the ones newspapers award players?

Martin Samuel says Liverpool’s one goal was lucky. The Daily Mail writer says Philippe Coutinho’s shot went in via a “fortuitous deflection”.

 

 

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But one page on, the Mail’s Laurie Whitwell says of Coutinho:

“Super run and finish.”

From lucky to super in a page.

The Mail awards Coutinho a score of 7 our of 10. That makes him better than 8 Aston Villa players. But the Daily Mirror says every Villa player was better than every Liverpool player.

 

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Such are the facts…

Posted: 20th, April 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Posted: 10th, March 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


18 Cracking Photos Of An FA Cup Institution: The Tin-Foil FA Cup

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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…

Read on…

Posted: 5th, January 2015 | In: Sports | Comment


FA Cup’s Greatest Giantkillings!

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.

Posted: 2nd, January 2015 | In: Sports | Comment


When Arsenal Broke Hull City Hearts In The 1930 FA Cup

ON the way to their first FA Cup win in 1930, Arsenal defeated Hull City.

The first semi-final at Elland Road, Leeds, finished  2–2. The Gunners had been two down at half-time. An upset was on. Arsenal were to emerge as the country’s top side; Hull were bottom of the second division.The replay at Villa Park, Birmingham, ended 1-0 to the Arsenal. David Jack scored the winner after a red card had reduced Hull to ten men.

The Hull local paper was noble in defeat.

 

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Posted: 17th, May 2014 | In: Arsenal, Flashback, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: You’ll Never Guess Who Else Is Planning An FA Cup Victory Parade

THE Sun picks up on the Yorkshire Post’s story that Arsenal have already prepared for victory in the FA Cup Final.

 

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It says that the “Gunners are so very sure they will beat Hull…. a victory parade is planned.”

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Hull Plan To Copy Gunners Victory Parade

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THOSE arrogant Southern sods at Arsenal have only gone and planned an FA Cup victory parade before the match has even kicked off.

The Yorkshire Post says this cockiness will inspire plucky Hull:

Tigers ready to snarl as Arsenal 
plan victory parade before final

ARSENAL have had to wait almost ten years since they last celebrated winning a major trophy. But now the Gunners have caused a stir by planning a party for an FA Cup final triumph – before the match against Hull City has even been played.

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


West Ham United Inside the Chelsea Dressing Room After The 1975 FA Cup Semi-Final

FLASHBACK to April 9th 1975:

A cause for dressing room celebration at Stamford Bridge by West Ham United players after they defeated Ipswich Town. (Left to right) Trevor Brookings, Pat Holland, goalscorer Alan Taylor, Bobby Gould (behind scorer), unidentified player with towel, Graham Paddon (dressed) and John McDowell.

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Posted: 6th, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Sports | Comment (1)


Liverpool Balls: ‘Girls’ Ring The Bell In London As Arsenal take on Liverpool in The FA Cup Final

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

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Posted: 1st, May 2014 | In: Flashback, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


1970-1975: The FA Cup Third Place Playoff Experiment

BACK in the Pre-Premier League days, the losing FA Cup semi-finalists competed to see which one of them qualified for a non-existent bronze medal and the other nothing. The match lasted just five years, played between 1970 and 1975.

Initially, the game was played at a neutral ground, lending it the aura of a real Cup Final. At the inaugural Cup, played one day before Chelsea and Leeds United contested the final at Wembley, Manchester United beat Watford 2-1 at Highbury. The crowd was 15,105.

Was that encouraging? Footballfansite has transcribed the Arsenal programme notes from that, which explain how the match came to happen:

THIS is the eleventh occasion we have staged a match for the Football Association on the eve of the F.A. Cup Final, and this time the fixture takes a new form. The idea of a match on this particular date on the football calendar first came about in 1954, it being felt that with people descending in thousands on London en route to Wembley the following day, many of them would welcome a game at which to spend the eve of the Final.

So, 16 years ago, England met Young England here on this corresponding night, and a crowd of 43,000 gave full justification to the experiment. The following year the title was changed to Old England v Young England (the old ‘uns cheered to a 5-0 victory by 38,000), but except for 1963 when the match was styled England v The Football League the fixture became permanently one between England and Young England. On five occasions it switched to Stamford bridge, but otherwise it remained at Highbury.

Inevitably what was basically a friendly representative match could not retain all its early novelty appeal, and after last season’s 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, watched by just over 18,000 spectators, the F.A. decided the time had come to change the style of the fixture. Among suggestions thrown up was a North v South match – that particular argument seems to have been going on among football fans since the game began! – but the idea to gain favour was to stage a “play-off” to decide third and fourth places between the two beaten F.A. Cup semi-finalists.

Tonight’s game is the first such fixture, and with it we have, in any case, a North v South clash, just as there will be another at Wembley tomorrow between Leeds United and Chelsea. Whether this becomes a regular fixture will, presumably, how well the fans turn out to support it……

 

 

Everton's Alan Whittle (r) beats Stoke City's goalkeeper Gordon Banks (l) to score Everton's first goal of the night. Stoke City went on to win the match 3-2 in front of just over 5,000 fans.

Everton’s Alan Whittle (r) beats Stoke City’s goalkeeper Gordon Banks (l) to score Everton’s first goal of the night. Stoke City went on to win the match 3-2 in front of just over 5,000 fans.

 

One year on and Stoke took on Everton. To further entice paying punters, the game was played one day before Arsenal played Liverpool on May 8. The footy-starved neutral and fans of the two finalists would surely lap it up. Well, that was the plan. But only 5,031 turned watched the game at Selhurst Park.

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Posted: 18th, April 2014 | In: Flashback, Sports | Comment


The 1989 FA Cup Final: After Hillsborough The Media Portrayed Liverpool Fans As Scum

AFTER Hillsborough and the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final, the Reds played the final. They won, beating Everton 3-2 in extra time at Wembley Stadium.

After the horrors of Hillsborough, the cage around Wembley had been removed. When Everton scored their equaliser with virtually the last kick of normal time, Blues fans celebrated by running onto the pitch.

 

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Posted: 15th, April 2014 | In: Arsenal, Flashback, Sports | Comment


1933: Everton’s Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean Holds Up The FA Cup As The Team Emerge Onto Lime Street, Liverpool

FLASHBACK to May 1 1933:

Everton’s Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean holds up the FA Cup as the team emerge onto Lime Street, Liverpool.

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Posted: 5th, April 2014 | In: Flashback, Sports | Comments (2)


1984: Everton Fans Invade The Arsenal Pitch As Southampton Are Beaten In The FA Cup

FLASHBACK to 14/04/1984:

Police officers battle with rival soccer fans at the end of the FA Cup semi final between Everton and Southampton at Highbury, London. At least 80 people were said to be arrested.

 

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Posted: 5th, April 2014 | In: Flashback, Sports | Comment (1)


In photos: Wigan reach their first FA Cup Final with 2-0 win over Millwall

IN photos: FA Cup – Semi Final – Millwall v Wigan Athletic – Wembley Stadium. Wigan are in their first FA Cup final.  Wigan, who have qualified for next season’s Europa League. Magic stuff. Less magic was the fighting in the stands between Millwall fans. No-one like them, says the song. But everyone should like Wigan:

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A young Millwall fan in the stands

Posted: 13th, April 2013 | In: Sports | Comment


Liverpool beat Everton to reach FA Cup final – photos

LIVERPOOL beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final. Lovely Luis Suarez scored one Andy Carroll got the winner. Earlier in the week, Liverpool sacked Damien Comolli, the former Spurs scout who agreed that £35 million fee with Newcastle United for Carroll. Also, which idiots at the over-represented FA decide to stage an all-Merseyside semi-final at Wembley on a Saturday lunchtime?  Everton and Liverpool were given 63,456 tickets for their fans. The rest of the 90,000 seats are occupied by sponsors, Club Wembley suits and corporations. If Comolli’s looking for a new job the FA might be a safe bet…

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Liverpool fans gather in front of the Bobby Moore statue outside Wembley Stadium before the game

Posted: 14th, April 2012 | In: Sports | Comments (9)


Why did Liverpool fans boo Manchester United’s Patrice Evra? -Photos

DID the Liverpool fans boo Manchester United’s Patrice Evra because he was the victim of racism or because he waved the imaginary yellow card, going to the referee after the match to complain that Luis Suarez had repeatedly called him “negro“?

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Posted: 28th, January 2012 | In: Sports | Comments (12)


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