Back pages | Anorak - Part 63

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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich And Rolling Stones

RUSSIAN oligarch and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has decided to build a live music venue underneath Stamford Bridge, all for a cool £7million.

The venue will only hold 400 to 500 people and will not be open to the public.

The Rolling Stones are rumoured to be pencilled in for a spectacular Christmas launch. Looks like the billionaire is getting tired of football.

And with Chelsea hardly the most attractive side in the world, who can blame him?

Posted: 25th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)

David Beckham’s Strings Suri Along

katie-holmes-first-david-beckham-game.jpgIT was the untapped market waiting to be prized open. But now David Beckham promises to conquer it. Laydees’n’gentalmen, we give you’re the Beckham shoelace. No, not Victoria Beckham. This is String‘Ems.

The Mail looks on as Beckham takes to the pitch for his LA Galaxy debut. Resplendent in box-fresh white shirt, shorts and socks, all with canary yellow trim and lacy blue piping, Beckham makes ready to unveil his new trick.

It is 78 minutes into the game. The crowd at the Home Depot Centre, a 27,000 full–house of which at least a dozen are not journalists or celebrities, have been softened up by Chelsea, good living and hype.

Beckham is on the pitch for 12 minutes. He touches the ball ten times. He makes one tackle, says the Times. The Mail spots 16 minutes and 19 seconds of play and 12 touches.

“It has been amazing,” says David in the Express (“It’s Hollywood united”). “It was nice to get out there and kick a soccer ball again.”

But it is not yet sensational. Before that, Beckham has to show us something new. The Mail looks on as Beckham bends over. Using a trademarked combination of right and left hand, Becks ties his shoelaces.

The Mail hears a “wild cheer of relief”. Longoria, Schwarzenegger, Winstone, Holmes and Cruise are wowed. Brooklyn grins at Suri. Suri looks deep into her eyes. What is she thinking? Tell us.

And the crowd go home with joy in their hearts and an urge to buy the String’Em – works with boots and shoes. Use it as a hair band. Also available in red for Kabbalah enthusiasts.

Go Beckham! Get them while he’s still hot…

Posted: 23rd, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (11)

Big Brother’s Jade Goody Snaps

jade-goody.jpgLIKE a trickle of last night’s kebab in curry jus on the mini cab’s velour cushion covers, Jade Goody is hard to shift.

The Sun features the Big Brother bigot and bully in its TV pages. In “JADE: I WANTED TO DIE AFTER BIG BROTHER”, readers lean of Jade’s post-Brother syndrome.

In conversation with Piers Morgan for the show You Can’t Fire Me I’m Famous, Jade says: “I had bad depression. I was on sleeping pills and on suicide watch.”

Depression is, of course, the celebrity sickness du jour. Many have it, the illness striking when their careers hit the wet patch, when the celebrity has been exposed as a talentless nasty piece of work.

To those non-celebs who are truly sick, depression is an illness, controllable, perhaps, but not always curable. To celebrities, depression is a handful of headache tablets and a bout of self-pity. Depression is hard-to-knot silk sheets with matching pillow cases and complementary robe in a reassuringly expensive private clinic.

“It’s the worst thing a mother can say, ‘There’s no hope’. But I snapped out of that quickly because I’ve got kids and they are my life,” says Jade.

Good that Jade snapped out of her depression and her suicidal tendencies. If only other depressives can copy Jade’s fine example and just snap out of it.

It’s so depressing…

Posted: 23rd, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)

Players And Gentlemen’s Agreements: Gary Player’s Open Book And Carlos Tevez

tevez.jpg“I KNOW for a fact – that there are golfers, whether it’s HGH (human growth hormone), creatine or steroids, that are doing it,” says 71-year-old golfer Gary Player.

“And the greatest thing that the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club), the USGA (United States Golf Association) and the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) can do is have tests at random. It’s absolutely essential that we do that. We’re dreaming if we think it’s not going to come into golf.”

One look at England’s Justin Rose does not suggest a man on steroids, more a concoction of tea and scones, perhaps.

If any drug in being taken by the players on the eve of The Open at Carnoustie it is a tincture of Scotch whisky and water. And then only by the more sociable European players; the American players are a sober bunch of loners. Of course, that could be the side-effects of taking human growth hormone. Drugs change people.

But Player is adamant. In “DRUGS CHEATS RUINING GOLF” (Express’) Player tells us: “The players have told me that they are taking human growth hormone. One guy told me what he did and I could see a massive change in him. I won’t tell you who because I took an oath prior to him telling me.”

If Player really thinks drugs will destroy golf he should put his oath to one side and tell all he knows. It is only in naming names and shaming wrongdoers that anything will come of this.

And it is wrong. As Lynne Truss writes in the Times: Players “forget Henry Longhurst’s excellent advice that if you call on God to improve the result of a shot while the ball is in motion, you are using ‘an outside agency’ and are therefore subject to appropriate penalties under the rules.” You cannot use God. You cannot use drugs. All outside agencies out banned.

Cheating is cheating. Unless it’s a gentleman’s agreement in football, in which case it is grey area.

In “TWO-FACED”, Mirror readers see Carlos Tevez and hear his “representative” Kia Joorabchian say: “West Ham have consistently provided private assurances while at the same time making contradictory statements.”

Joorabchian wants his man to make the big money move to Manchester United. But West Ham are in the way. Joorabchian owns what the Sun calls Tevez’s “economic rights”. West Ham say the striker is registered with them.

“We see no alternative but to bring the true circumstances to the attention of a higher authority to aid a rapid conclusion to this issue,” says Joorabchian.

“True circumstances”. What are they? In the blur of rule breaking, loan deals and “gentleman’s agreements” that sounds like the threat of truth.

And in sport, who dares speak that?

Posted: 19th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Why-ay Man:Bianca Gascoigne Takes After Her Dad

bianca-gazza.pngBIANCA Gascoigne is tuning 21, and with her coming of age comes the traditional key.

Posing on the Star’s cover in a red bikini, Bianca hopes this key will fit the lock at Messers Nip ‘n’ Tucks enhancement studio.

“I think they need a little lifting and filling out but I don’t want Jordan’s 30DD dimensions,” says Bianca, who, as the Star says, is “looking swell”.

Bianca weighs nine stone. She needs to avoid her body falling into a Christmas tree formation. With two bigger strikers up front, Bianca will possess the kind of forthrightness her talent as Paul Gascoigne’s step-daughter warrants.

“Now I’m back in shape,” says Bianca, “I’ve noticed that my bust doesn’t look as big.”

That Bianca is a young girl approaching her second breast enlargement operation will have nodding heads wondering why.

Is she like her mum Sheryl, who after having her breasts implanted received flowers from Paul addressed to ‘Dolly Parton’?

Or is she showing the affect of growing up with a man who celebrated his new-found hero status after flying home from Italia 90 by wearing a huge pair of fake plastic boobs and stomach bearing the legend ‘Gazza’?

And can Gazza save his daughter time and pain and just lend his fake chest to her?

Posted: 18th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

BT Target Mid-Table Security To Undermine Premier League Sky

stamp450.jpgWHILE Sky Sports will no doubt focus their live football coverage on those sides fighting for the Premiership title, BT has decided to target the fans of those less glamorous clubs. (Pic: Beau Bo d’Or)

The telecoms company is offering football fans the chance to watch live Premiership games for as little as £9.99 a month in a move set to put pressure on Sky who currently charge £34 a month for its sports channels.

While BT’s coverage will be more limited than Sky’s, the fact that the smaller sides in the top division will be better covered than on Sky could prove to be an offer many of the nation’s football fans cannot refuse.

BT’s head of television, Dan Marks, says: “We feel that at £3 a week we will be the new home for the football homeless.”

Three packages will be available: the £4 a month deal broadcasts 242 Premiership games at 10pm on the same day as they were played; the £9.99 per month deal provides 46 live Premiership games and 60 Scottish Premier League games; and the most expensive £12 a month deal gives viewers 46 live games and 242 “near live” matches, none of which include the live games which Sky have the rights to.

However, as always, there is a catch – customers will already have to be signed up to BT’s broadband service, which costs £17.99 a month plus £10.50 line rental. While an additional £30 connection fee will also have to paid.

Still, anything is better than having to listen to Sky pundit Andy “sex machine” Gray shout his way through 90 minutes.

Posted: 17th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Thierry Henry Loves And Kisses: An Arsenal And Barcelona Career In Quotes

henry-barca.jpgTHIERRY Henry loves Arsenal. He will be a Gunner for life. He kisses the badge. He requests a transfer. He signs for Barcelona. Thierry Henry loves Barcelona. He kisses the badge.

“I said I was going to be a Gunner for life and I didn’t lie because once you are a Gunner you will always be a Gunner,” says Thierry Henry.

“I had to get away from everything English…including my wife,” says Thierry Henry. The Sun has a front-page exclusive. So too the Mail. Henry has walked out on his English wife Claire. They will divorce.

“Thierry splits from English bride,” says the Mail’s front-page.

Thierry Henry is smiling broadly. Va-va-voom. He is in a black shirt and satin tie. Claire wears a black dress with diamante rikrak.

“It’s a very sad time for all of us, but you’ve got to know when to move on,” says Henry.

Thierry Henry signs a marriage contract. He kisses his wife. He kisses his daughter. He packs his bags and moves to Barcelona. They play beautiful football. It’s a fresh challenge. It’s not London. It’s not with his wife.

Says Thierry Henry: “People in France and some over here are still saying I am going to leave. I am not going to leave. Never. I am staying here for life. I have no intention of walking out on this club, whatever the situation is. At no stage this season have I ever thought about leaving. I love the club, I love the fans and I am 100% behind the boss.”

“Nights of girls, parties and casinos,” says the Sun.

“Thierry Henry is extremely saddened by the breakdown of his marriage,” says the official statement. He moved to Barcelona for “entirely footballing reasons”.

Says Henry: “I didn’t really want to leave Arsenal – they’re my favourite club and I loved playing for them.”

Thierry Henry kisses the badge. Kisses his wife. Thierry Henry signs for Barcelona.

The Sun talks of “secret texts and pictures found by Claire on the footballer’s mobile phone”.

“I’ve never played in Spain and never will,” says Thierry Henry.

Thierry Henry loves Arsenal. He will be a Gunner for life. He kisses the badge. He requests a transfer. He signs for Barcelona. Thierry Henry loves Barcelona. He kisses the badge.

Posted: 16th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (10)

Roman Lives In A Midget Submarine: Chelsea’s Abramovich Dives Like Robben

robben.jpgHE may have decided to keep a closer eye on the purse strings when it comes to his Chelsea FC plaything, but billionaire Roman Abramovich is still splashing the cash, this time on three mini-submarines.

The so-called midget subs cost around £80,000 each and the 40-year-old Russian has decided to kit out each of his three luxury yachts with one of the crafts to help him escape a terrorist attack in true James Bond style.

Abramovich has even taken lessons in how to operate the subs, which can dive to a depth of around 30 metres.

Following the death of ex-KGB Colonel Alexei Litvinenko, the Chelsea owner has become fearful for his safety, hiring the man who headed the reinvestigation into the death of Princess Diana, Det Chief Supt David Douglas, to act as his own personal security advisor. Douglas will receive a rather handsome £150,000 a year salary for his troubles.

However, if Chelsea fail to win the Premiership again this year, it may be Jose Mourinho who needs one of the subs to make a quick getaway.

Dive! Dive! Dive! As Arjen Robben knows how…

Posted: 13th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (11)

Loyalists For Global Warming: Burning Passions In Northern Ireland

1.jpgGLOBAL warming has nothing on the heat of passion that beats within loyalist breasts.

As part of Northern Ireland’s loyalist celebrations on the Ballycraig estate, Antrim, a fire is being built.

On the eve of the Battle of the Boyne, at which the Protestant King William of Orange defeated the Catholic King James, locals will set the pile alight, possibly with a flaming Vauxhall Nova.

Twice the height of nearby houses, this toxic cake of wooden pallets interlaced with rubber tyres dominates the skyline. On its top sits an Irish tricolour, ready to burn.

Hardline Islamists can only look on in envy – while they burn the Union Jack with handheld lighters and matches, Northern Ireland’s loyalists construct a towering inferno and cover it in petrol.

But what of the damage, you ask?

Councillor Drew Ritchie, leader of the town’s bonfire committee, says: “I don’t think it would be practical to say there were would be no tyres this year in Ballycraigy.

“We will be re-constituting our committee again in September and we will be working hard to try to ensure that next year, we have a better and safer environment.”

The SDLP’s Thomas Burns says the mountain is extremely dangerous “not only for those in its immediate vicinity but also for the environment”.

By better environment the councillors mean not the removal of Catholics from the Province (at least we think not) but the air.

For reason of global warming, the region’s Stoneyford fire has been replaced by a medieval-style beacon. A certain Mark Harbinson calls this a “genuine attempt to move away from the traditional bonfire”.

Says he: “It’s the only one in Northern Ireland at the moment but I’m hoping the idea will spread in coming years.”

Spread like wildfire and fanned by the Pope who says, via the Mail, that “Protestants aren’t proper Christians”. All branches of Christianity that split with Rome after the Reformation cannot be called churches “in the proper sense”, says Benedict XVI.

Paddy. Proddy, Big Ears. Noddy. Why bother with the pallets and tyres and not just set fire to the churches?

Posted: 11th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (18)

Coleen McLoughlin In Wonderland: The Perfume

coleen-mcloughlin.jpgTHE year’s Wag making the perfume-related headlines is Coleen McLoughlin.

The perfume Coleen X is “created by Robertet with input from Coleen”. Novel indeed for Coleen to squeeze her post-workout leotard into the heady brew.

Noses may pick up the scent of Coleen’s native smell amid the “top note of sweet orange with a heart of marine accords and patchouli and a base of vanilla, amber and musk”.

Hearts beat that much faster to think if Coleen has been getting close to her footballer Wayne Rooney and if his smell has made its way into the blend. Look out for combinations of chewed leather, massage parlour and Portuguese fish hitting you right between the legs.

But the Mail is less concerned with the smell than the look, as it takes a gander at Coleen’s advertising.

Coleen has what her people call “curves”. All well and good. But in the perfume publicity shot, Coleen seems less inclined to advertise the seductive qualities of her scent than its slimming properties.

The message is to dab Coleen X behind the ears and on your tongue to create a slimmer and curve-free you.

Or drink the whole bottle and shrink like Coleen in Wonderland…

Posted: 11th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Frank Lampard’s Tour De Force

dranklampard.jpgWITH no football on the telly the mind wanders. Even the producers of the Tour de France are unsure what they are meant to do and make a turn into the Kent countryside before heading to Belgium.

How we came to cheer the cyclists on. Standing six deep by the grass verge, British football fans waved flags, honked hooters and realised there is fun to be had playing chicken with teams of Italian men with shaved legs.

Sadly, France arrived on the A28 to Canterbury too late for Timothy Smith. As football fans need no reminding Smith was the Spurs fan arrested as Chelsea celebrated their 2-1 win at White Hart Lane on 19 March. He swung a punch at Frank Lampard.

For a man ridiculed for being “big fat Frank”, Lampard moved with no little lithe grace to avoid Smith’s fist.

Frank’s a wily character when the mood takes him; something that may well impact upon his love life.

With the Tour de France gone, and the Wimbledon tombola packed up for another season, minds return to footballers. And the Mirror spots Frank not out with his fiancee Elen Rives.

Stood outside the couple’s London home, Rives is seen wearing a baby tied to her neck and no engagement ring.

The Mirror talks of Lampard being “locked away” with a mystery brunette in Las Vegas at the weekend. Lampard denies any wrongdoing. “Nothing happened, OK?” he says into his mobile phone.

But the ring. No ring. “Lamp Chop?” asks the Mirror’s headline. Maybe. Or maybe Rives has removed her ring for it to be customised with more diamonds.

People will talk. And they will talk about footballers until the season starts again. The cycle of football…

Posted: 10th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (3)

Lewis Hamilton’s Orange Glow For Big Brother’s Danielle Lloyd

danilloydjpg.jpg“DEAR Anorak, I read your site every day without fail and but still waiting for you to deal sympathetically with minority groups.

No-one is above ridicule and lampooning on Anorak but I am waiting for you to write with sensitivity on the role of Wags and the wearing of orange skin and exposed knickers.

Incidentally, as told to the New Huddlines, my colleague Judge Peregrine Tossing-Knightly is still eagerly awaiting your “sensitive, yet humourous sketch” on spanking choirboys.”

In response, we bring news of Danielle Lloyd. In “DANI AND F1 LEWIS: THE TRUTH”, Danielle Lloyd, Big Brother bully emeritus and former lover to former England footballer Teddy Sheringham speaks of her “relationship” with Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton.

“It was love at first sight,” says Danielle of that meeting five years ago. “’We’re great mates,” says Danielle. We’ve supported each other in our careers since we first met, so I texted him ‘All the best’.”

“You’ll always be a winner, Dani,” say the words encased in a speech bubble emerging from Hamilton’s head. “I only came third.”

Hamilton finished third in the British Grand Prix. But Danielle doesn’t mind. She’ll support the hottest property in British sport whatever.

(How’s that? Fetch the choirboys…)

Posted: 9th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (5)

Hooray for Murray (J): We Win Wimbledon

murray.jpgHOORAY for Murray (J)!!

A “BRIT WINS WIMBELDON,” says the Mirror’s front page. Hooray. Our plan to have Roger Federer repatriated has worked. Well, down Roger. The golden cup is yours, so too the “Federer Facilities” potable male and female conveniences by Henman Hill.

But this good news is accompanies by still more good news that Murray (J) has taken top spot in the mixed doubles.

Partnered by migrant worker Jelena Jankovic (Serb), 21-year-old Jamie Murray says: “It was destiny.”

There’s Murray (J) on the Mail’s cover page – “Our first Wimbledon champ for 20 years.”

Murray (J) and his au pair beat Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman and Australia’s Alicia Molik in three sets of unisex tennis.

“She’s good fun, that’s all I can say,” says Murray (J) of his partner. “We seem to get along pretty well. I haven’t quite got the ring yet.”

But the village church has. Ring the bells! Ring them out loud. And make mine a mixed double…

Hooray for Murray (J), the tonic to our gin…

Posted: 9th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (3)

Two Minutes And A Crucifixion: Hugh Grant And Divine Brown’s Movie

grant0.jpg_761874_divine_brown150.jpgYOU join us on the set of Two Minutes And A Crucifixion, the story of Hugh Grant’s romance with Divine Brown.

Ms Brown is playing herself.

Pictured in the Star dressed in a white dress split to the buttock and pulled down at the front, Brown is ready for her close up.

To date, Brown’s dalliance with Grant has earned her £1million, says the Star.

How she has reaped such an income for her endeavours is not detailed. And those of us who have watched Liz Hurley, another of Grant’s conquests, earn much more will wonder where Brown went wrong. Is her dress too demure?

But Brown is keen to get her dues and the film will surely make her one of Hollywood’s leading in-car actors.

The only thing that remains to be confirmed is which of Hollywood’s leading men will reprise the role of Hugh.

And if a wooden broom handle tied to a mop of hair will be too life like…

Posted: 6th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Leeds United On Edge Of Abyss

jcharles2.jpgFOOTBALL’S very own Bad Santa, Ken Bates, has warned that the end could well be nigh for Leeds United if a new legal challenge by the taxman proves successful.

The famous club was put into administration by Chelsea’s agent Bates on May 4 with relegation to League One already a formality.

The chairman then formed a new company in order to buy Leeds back. While creditors did accept Bate’s offer of one penny in the pound last month, the spectre of a new legal challenge by Revenue and Customs could scupper Bates’ plans.

Revenue and Customs are still owed £7.7million in unpaid taxes by the club and decided to take up the option of appealing on the last of the 28 days available.

A spokesman for the club’s administrator, KPMG, says: “We are reviewing the notification of appeal and considering our response. Leeds United is not in liquidation and the status quo remains. We are in control of the company because the CVA [Company Voluntary Agreement] has been considered and approved.”

The case may end up in the High Court and even if it doesn’t, any protracted action could severely scupper Leeds’ chances of regrouping and mounting a serious promotion challenge next season.

Former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale said “We lived the dream”. And then the reality dawned…

Posted: 4th, July 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Women Players At Wimbledon Earn More Than Men

annwiddecombe.jpgNOT content with leaving Wimbledon’s female tennis stars to enjoy their hard-fought equal pay packets, the Mail has decided to reopen the debate by claiming that the women are now actually earning more than the men.

Researchers at the paper broke the Wimbledon pay down game by game and found, much to their apparent horror, that the stars of the women’s game are being paid almost twice as much as their male counterparts, on an average-per-game basis.

The ladies now receive an average of £481.93 a game compared to the £284.70 the men take home. Obviously this discrepancy is due to the fact that women only play the best of three sets compared to the men’s best of five while women’s games also tend to be shorter than men’s.

The Mail even breaks things down to a pounds-per-minute basis, with the women’s banking £1.97 per minute compared to £1.29 for the men.

Famed feminist and friend of the downtrodden, Ann Widdecombe, says: “I don’t think it’s fair. As far as I am concerned, women’s matches are not the same as men’s. It seems, therefore, perfectly fair for two different rates of pay. I agree that there should be equal pay for equal work, but I do not think that there is a case for equal pay when you have games with different lengths.”

I pay Anne Widdecombe triple the going rate to see her in a pair of red knickers and white skirt, chasing after a serve from Serena Williams.

Posted: 29th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)

Henman’s Wimbledon Ends In Golovin And Sharapova’s Knickers

tatiana-golovin.jpgTIM Henman is out. “14 YEARS OF HURT,” says the Mail. “HOW WIMBLEDON ALWAYS ENDS IN TEARS FOR TIGER TIM.”

Come on, Tim. Come on! Chin up. There’s always next year. Lucky 15 as they say. But Tim isn’t listening.

The Mail shows Tim’s expression unchanged since 1994. Disappointment is etched on his face. The moans and groans pervade Henman Hill like an element.

“I think for years we’ve been far too accepting of mediocrity,” says Tim. “You’re a load of waters,” says the Mail’s headline. Tim thinks we should tray harder to target younger tennis players.

Such is the demographic at Wimbledon talk of the Young Ones is less a call to arms than musak to watch the tennis go by.

henman.jpg“PANTS!” says the Sun. Oh, come on, he tries his best. Earlier in the week, the Sun was issuing an apology: “The Sun may in the past have given the impression that Tim was a gutless loser who embarrasses the nation. After his first round victory over Carlos Moya we would like to make it clear that he is in fact the best tennis payer in the entire universe (apart from Andy Murray).”

“PANTS!” says the Sun once more. And we look. And we see Tatiana Golovin showing us her red knickers. Ana Ivanovic’s are white, so too Maria Sharapova’s and Agnes Szavay’s.

Sun readers would usually expect to see so much East European flesh only on a Stag weekend to Prague. But here it is at Wimbledon.

Thankfully, gangs of partying lads prefer the cricket to the tennis and it’s unlikely anyone will become disorientated and stuff money in one of the girl’s gussets.

Game! Set! And matching knickers…

Posted: 29th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (4)

Come On, Tim: Henman Carries The Hopes Of All England On His Wimbledon Spoon

lleyton-hewitt-tim-henman.jpgWIMBLEDON is upon us and that means an audience with Tim Henman.

“We should all rally behind Tim, not smash him out of court,” says the Mirror’s Oliver Holt.

So I want you all to take a moment to breathe in and then give full throat to a lusty “Come on, Tim”.

Holt says Wimbledon fans issue the cry because they know it will raise a titter, they can “get an easy laugh out of Henman’s Englishness”.

He’s wrong. The kind of people who queue up to watch Henman play say “Come on, Tim” because they think it’s what people do at sporting events. They think it will inspire Tim. They think it displays their passion. They find it daring to shout out in public. The umpire tells them “Quiet please”. “Shhhhhh!” they say in louder voices.

For TV viewers, who make up the vast majority of the Wimbledon audience, the call sounds provincial, the kind of thing the Famous Five would shout on Billycock Hill.

Reared on football’s passions and fans screaming for blood and often death to the enemy, “Come on, Tim” or its more exotic variant “Come on, Timbo” conjures up images of ‘our Tim’ at the school sports day’s egg and spoon race.

Bra-vo Timbo!

And he’s still there. Tim’s into the second round. Bigger spoon. Bigger egg.

katieo_brien.jpgAnd bigger bra for the UK’s number 1 women star Katie O’Brien. “BRTIS BOUNCE BACK,” says the Sun, as it spots Katie looking “fit to bust” as she thrills the fans. And Tim’s through too.

And now an apology: “The Sun may in the past have given the impression that Tim was a gutless loser who embarrasses the nation. After his first round victory over Carlos Moya we would like to make it clear that he is in fact the best tennis payer in the entire universe (apart from Andy Murray).”

Come on, Tim. Shhhhhhhh…

Posted: 27th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (4)

Elton John’s Moving Statues

elton_john.jpgWE’VE all done it – been for lunch with Gianni Versace in Paris (before he got shot), and then after bidding our flamboyant friend goodbye, sauntered off to an antique store near the restaurant to pick up four statues of Olympian gods for £180,000.

Nothing strange or startling there. Except in poor old Elton John’s case, the marble sculptures were, in fact, fakes. Quelle Horreur!

The iconic British songwriter, well know for his penchant for splashing the cash, only realised the statues were fakes when experts evaluated his art collection, five years later.

While the pieces all bore the signature of 18th century Italian sculptor Luigi Grossi, they were, in fact, 20th century copies made in China and worth no more than £10,000. And so began an 11-year legal battle. A battle which has now ended.

Judge Claude Grellier, of the Premier Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Paris, has ordered that Sir Elton should receive £180,000 in compensation plus interest, £25,600 in damages and £52,500 in costs. While antique dealer, Jean Renoncourt, also faces the significant cost of having the statues shipped back to his shop in Paris.

According to Simon Yates, an expert who carried out the original evaluation: “’It was immediately clear to me that something wasn’t right. The statue showing Hercules has him hoisting a maiden who is actually bigger than him.”

And wearing oversized glasses, an “I rocked the funeral” badge and Tintin’s hair…

Posted: 27th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (3)

Tiger Tim Henman And Roger Rabbit Federer Come Home To Wimbledon

henman-federer.jpgTIM Henman is really putting the “RAIN OF TERROR” (Sun) in perspective.

If Tim can just hang on in there until the rain stops he might win the top prize. But how to keep it raining?

“Timbo fires up Wimbo,” says the Sun as “HENMAN SHREDS OUR NEVER AGAIN”. “Nailbiter!” says the Mail’s front page as Tim makes heavy weather of trying to defeat Spain’s Carolos Moya in fading light.

If Tim is to make it 38th time lucky, he needs help. Tim’s fans can make ‘rain shakers’ by pouring their medication into empty tennis ball tubes and sabotage the sprinkler system. But can they keep it up for the entire Wimbledon fortnight?

We wish them well. But the Sun has already given up. “FORGET that Timbo won’t win,” says the paper, the words hanging like an epitaph over a picture of our Timmy stretching for glory.

But we will have our hero. And know that Roger Federer is “A BRIT”. Oh happy day. What joy indeed to discover that the top player is as British a chicken tikka masala, Her Majesty The Queen and the Nissan Micra.

Roger’s mum and grand mother were born in South Africa but Roger’s great, great grandma Mabel Chamberlain was born in England. What more noble and trusted English name than Chamberlain?

Says Lynette: “We’ve always thought there was a British ancestor somewhere along the family tree.”

The hunch, moreover dream, was right. And the Sun is already applying for British citizen ship on Roger’s half.

We hope it goes to plan and Roger takes on his new national identity with gusto.

And that very soon he is struggling in the opening rounds at Wimbledon before succumbing at the death as changing women draped in Union Jacks swoon at his name and the papers hymn his praise with headlines such a “Roger The Bodger”, “Fed Up With Your Losing” and “You Swiss B*stard”.

Of course, when the tennis fails Rogo can always become a tennis personality by placing his arm around ball girl’s shoulder, kicking a ball over the net or offering his racket to a member of the crowd.

Come of Roggy… Grrr!

Posted: 26th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (5)

Coleen McGloughlin And Wags’ Mid-Season Sail

ashley-cole-cheryl.jpgLIKE you, we’ve been wondering what the Wags are doing in the short summer break between season end and season start.

And if they do the same as usual only with euros and dollars?

Helping us to find out is the Mirror, which spots Cheryl Cole and her footballer in Barbados.

Good news for Chelsea fans is that the footballer is not in the Sandy Lane hotel conference facility breaking ginger snaps with Inter Milan’s management team. He’s in the pool. And Cheryl is on the beach talking on her mobile.

The Sun also spots Cheryl in this pose. Readers see the seaweed stuck to the top of her right leg. And her footballer’s tattoos, three Chinese symbols which, until we are corrected, translate into plain England as “He who pays the most, I play the most”.

But it’s not all Cheryl. And back in the Mirror, Coleen McLoughlin and her footballer are in Las Vegas. The footballer is drinking beer from a bottle as he luxuriates in the pool. Coleen holds a bottle of water. Her hue is of raw sienna (Pantone 17-1436). The footballer has opted for a livid pink.

Although he might be dressed in his Manchester United replica kit…

Posted: 26th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

The Bald Truth for Big Brother’s Charley Uchea

charley-uchea.jpg“BIG BROTHER CHARLEY IS BALD.” Or to put it another way: “Posing Big Brother babe Charley Uchea is a secret slaphead.”

In “WIG BRO” the Star uses it artistic might to imagine what Charley would look like without her pet hair.

Such is the texture of Charley’s mane that Anorak thinks it will have a more than decent career leading greyhounds in the chase around Walthamstow Stadium.

Charley should start planning for life on her own. And the Star helps her on her way by getting her in vogue.

Says a pal: “Her hair fell out and went patchy about a year ago when she tried to go blonde… She went mad about it.”

Of course, Charley goes mad about pretty much anything. Going mad is normal for her.

Charley applied the chemicals to her head. And: “But when she brushed it the next day it all started coming out in clumps… All of the hair at the front fell out and she was bald all around the side.”

Charley had a topknot, like Katharine Hepburn, a Sumo Wrestler’s chonmage and The Fimbles.

Says the insider: “She always wears headbands or headscarves and I think she’s even got a wig.”

A wig..?

Charley is favourite to leave the house. Take the bet.

Posted: 26th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (8)

Wimbledon: Andy Murray Out, Timmy Henman In, Cliff Richard On

cliff_richard_tim-henman.pngGRAB your HRT pot shaker, golf umbrella and copy of sing-along-a Cliff Richard for today is the first day of Wimbledon.

And, as the Express announces on its front page: “TODAY IS WETTEST DAY FOR 50 YEARS.”

There are weather warnings. The weather will be “exceptional” and “horrendous.” Rivers are “saturated and swollen”. Joe Giacomelli, of the Environment Agency says: “It has been raining solidly for ten days and everywhere is saturated, so further rainfall will lead to problems.”

Not least of all for Wimbledon fans forced to endure the breaks in play and living in hope that the sniper on the apartment block roof can demist his gun sight (Look Out Sir Cliff: There’s A Sniper On The Roof) before Cliff can croon “Beware the devil woman/ She’s gonna get you from behind.”

“WIMBLEDROWN,” says the Star. “Fans face a washout at tennis.” Of course, fans of British players always face washout. And this year will be no different as the great white hope, Andy Murray, prepares to mark the Grand Slam tournament by catching up on his daytime telly viewing.

Murray is out. And more news in the Sun as the fans learn that security guards at the All England Club are to cack down on fancy dress and slogans. A selection of “wacky outfits and hats” will be banned, so too some chants.

This is a relief to one and all, not least of all the Henmaniacs who have been seeking a way out, a dignified exit from front-line Tim Henman support for years. Too bad they can’t sing “Ti-meee” over and over and on the command “Go Tim!” rattle their medication.

And with Murray also out, British tennis fans can sit well back in their seats and enjoy the spectacle.

And look. Here comes Cliff now. Shoulder umbrellas. Serve at will…

Posted: 25th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (5)

Middle England Does Glastonbury

glastonbury1.jpgTHE Daily Mail is at Glastonbury. This is a sure sign that any rebellious teenager or astral surfer worth their salt should not be.

The Mail’s reproter tells us: “I am one of the lucky 177,500 people who managed to get tickets for the mother of British music festivals – three days of music, eating, drinking, dancing and a lot of mud on Michael Eavis’s 900-acre site.”

Tickets are about £150 a pop. Food is extra. So are the drugs, which to this reporter at least are optional. No getting lost and not finding your tent…ever. No head lice. Remove the mud and Glastonbury could be a university reunion at Rupert and Mandy’s house.

The Mail spots Hatty Murray and Lindsey Rose rolling about in the mud. No sight of Swampy in a jester’s hat dancing to the inner rave. Just Hatty and Lindsey rolling about on the hockey pitch.

“The Glastonbury crowd are an eclectic bunch,” observes the Mail’s girl on the scene. “There are hand-holding middle aged couples with neat hair, anoraks and hiking boots…Then there are the posh students – arguing loudly and ostentatiously about how much weed they smoked last night before passing out.”

Mail readers and Mail writers. We’ve got them where we want them…

Posted: 23rd, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (5)

Look Out Sir Cliff: There’s A Sniper On The Roof At Wimbledon

wimbledon.jpg“WIMBLEDON SNIPER FEAR,” says the front page of London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

A gun sight is trained not on Tim Henman, nor his dreaded band of HRT-infused Henmaniacs, but the Royal Box. The very real fear is that someone is going to take out Sir Cliff Richard.

At once the headline looks less like a warning than a call to arms. But there are others in the best seats. And the paper says that a gunman could shoot the likes of the Duke of Kent and the Duchess of Gloucester.

Before we go on we need to say that the gunman is not sat in the crowd. Waiting to gain entry to Wimbledon is, for the masses, a laborious process and it is believed any terrorist wishing to put into practise his training will lose the drive during the wait. Nor will the ball boys and girls go equipped with a rifle, although there is the thrilling prospect of one of them replacing a ball with a grenade and with the cry “Yours!” rolling it towards the baseline referee.

Of course, any public event carries a degree of risk and we cannot vouch for John McEnroe.

The Grassy Tower Block

Fears are that someone will again access to Burleigh House or the adjacent Somerset House, two 12-story blocks of flats with unbroken views to the Royal Box, and fire.

The roof on Centre Court has been removed and you can now see right in.

A resident of one block, tells us: “A policeman told me a sniper would have no problem up there.”

This is an interesting thing. The police are now going about informing residents that they could, should the mood take them, open their toilet window and shoot Olympic chief Jacques Rogger in the head.

Readers learn that the roof is accessed via a padlocked door. And that Billie-Jean King plans to stay in one of the blocks and Greg Rusedski has rented a room there.

These are the facts. The forecast is foreboding. And for rain. And look out – it’s Cliff…


Sweet merciful death…

Posted: 22nd, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)