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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

Ascot Ticket Sales Plummet

DEAR old Royal Ascot, as much a part of the fabric of this great nation as the Queen’s Christmas Day speech, dogging or a drunken brawl on a Saturday night.

But all is not well in the sport of kings. It seems that despite the building of a new £210million grandstand, the famous race meet is somewhat losing its shine.

Tickets for the famous occasion are down by 15,000 on last year, plunging to a ten-year low which could result in takings dropping by a whopping £2million.

The Queen, Prince Phillip, Charles and Camilla were greeted by the embarrassing sight of empty chairs and empty spaces as they arrived in their traditional coach and horses. A source at the Berkshire course tells the Sun: “This is a potential disaster. Everyone’s panicking about why the crowds are staying away.”

Possible explanations for the dismal attendance figures include the fall out from a fight last year, the high costs of up to £740 for a meal and widespread complaints about the expensive new stand which has already been called a “cheap copy” of Stansted Airport. And then there’s the ever-present threat of Danielle Lloyd.

Alice Pettigrew from Marlow in Buckinghamshire, who is attending the event, says: “Something has happened to the atmosphere. There is more of a buzz at my neighbour’s garden party”.

Maybe they should move the whole event there then? I hope the garden’s big enough for the horses. And the hats…

Posted: 21st, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Highway To Hell: Pope Issues Jade Goody With Road Code

pope.jpg JADE Goody has passed her driving test, says the Sun. And the Pope has issued his “POPE ROAD RAGE RULES”.

The Pope, whose customised meals-on-wheels van does a top speed of 5mp and can keep hot things hot and cold things cold, has been pontificating on matters of highway safety, for it is written.

The 58-page Vatican document, entitled Guidelines for Pastoral Care of the Road, is a guide to avoiding road rage. You should respect the rights of pedestrians. And in a twist on the catechism ‘mirror-signal-manoeuvre’ the driver should make the sign of the cross before setting off.

The Ten Commandments Of The Highway To Heaven (to be printed on tea towels, dashboards and bumper stickers):

1 You shall not kill

2 The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm

3 Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you to deal with unforeseen events

4 Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents

5 Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination or an occasion for sin

6 Charitably convince the young and not-so-young not to drive when they are not in a fit condition

7 Support the families of accident victims

8 Bring guilty motorists and their victims together so they can experience forgiveness

9 On the road, protect the more vulnerable party

10 Feel responsible towards others

And hooting will only cause the Pope Mobile to go so much slower…

Amen (I brake for nuns).

Posted: 20th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)


Sharking For Boys And Girls With Big Brother Seány

seany1.jpg“I REALISED pal was gay as she tried to snog me,” comes the Sun’s news on Big Brother housemate Seány, 8/11 on to be evicted on Friday night.

Solomon Ojapah, 26, tells the paper: “One night he lunged at me and tried to kiss me – I had no idea he was gay. I thought he was messing around. Then he said he’d prove it by snogging a bloke he had been seeing.”

Soloman says he and Timmy Mallet’s stylist would go our together sharking for girls.

And that included Seány taking Soloman’s girlfriend out for dinner. Soloman tells us: “He told her that I shouldn’t be going out with her and that I should be going out with black girl.” (Soloman is black.)

Happily enough, Seány, who has turned his hand to Islam, Jacksonism and heterosexuality, fancied a go at being a Nubian princess.

But Soloman was unimpressed. “I soon found out he fancied me and he was jealous of her and had been getting close to me because he wanted me,” he says.

“I never thought someone who appeared that straight-acting could be gay.” Or just trying to increase their chances of pulling…

Posted: 20th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Teddy Sheringham And The ‘West Ham Cam Scam’

danielle_lloyd-zamora.jpg“TEDDY NICKED,” says the front-page headline. Last week, Sheringham was awarded an MBE for services to football and reality TV. Now he is under arrest.

The Sun talks of a scam involving three West Ham players. The club’s Bobby Zamora has been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice – “When you’re sat in row Z and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora.”

Only it might be Sheringham pretending to be Zamora. This is the “WEST HAM ‘CAM SCAM’” in which Sheringham, Zamora and Shaun Newton are accused of accepting driving licence penalty points for each other.

The allegation is that when one of the trio was snapped by a Gatso speed camera, which would have resulted in a driving ban, another stepped in to take the rap.

As a source says: “It would be naive of someone in such a position to expect they would not be recognised. An image of the driver is taken every time a camera is set off for travelling over the speed limit.”

Now police are investigating. And the Sun is telling us that that the maximum penalty for perverting the course of juice is “LIFE”.

But West Ham fans should not lay down their hard hats and celebrate just yet. No crime has been proven. And if the team are to successfully impersonate Thierry Henry, they’ll need to exchange their supercars for a nippy hatchback…

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


Caption This: Gaza Calling…

caption-this.jpg

THE lunatics have taken over the asylum in Gaza. Wonder what would happen if the Israelis didn’t take a tough line with this lot? Keep up to date with breaking news on Anorak’s Twitterings. Caption it:


Posted: 15th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (29)


The Queen’s ‘Mighty Beefy Sword’ Awaits Ian Botham And David Beckham

botham-boycott.jpgDAVID Beckham has not walked the length of the country for charity. David Beckham has not advertised a breakfast cereal on the telly. David Beckham has not put his hair in a “finger perm”.

David Beckham is not Ian Botham, soon to be Sir Ian Botham. As the Mail says in “Arise England’s great sporting knight (er, not so fast David”), Botham is to be knighted.

The Mail finds it tempting to compare the English sportsmen, to the detriment of Beckham.

Beckham Didn’t

So we remind you that Davis Beckham has not been suspended from his national side for smoking cannabis.

David Beckham did not cause Lindy Field, a Miss Barbados emeritus, to sell a story of cocaine nights and broken beds. Bend it like Beckham. Mend it like Botham.

David Beckham did not send, allegedly, Australian waitress Kylie Verrells the email: “Babe, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The mighty Beefy sword awaits … and that’s just for starters.”

botham-ashes.jpgBecks would never cheat on his wife, with whom is very much in love and one would hazard, awe. Beckham has yet to send an email, although he did allegedly send Rebecca Loos a text message, a Bext.

The Mail can compare and contrast all it likes. Botham’s elevation to the knights of the realm has nothing to do with Beckham.

Botham Didn’t

True enough Beckham has never led England to World Cup victory, a fact the Mail points out to its readers interested enough in sport to read the Botham article but unaware that the England football team has not won anything since 1966.

The Mail omits to mention that Botham did nor win the World Cup either. Readers of the article may leave unaware that Botham’s captaincy of England was a disaster.

Beckham has yet to spend his summer sitting on a sun lounger commentating on David Gower’s “he loves me, he loves me not” dandelion hair for Sky TV and the viewers back home.

No need to mention the players in the same breath, unless the Mail seeks to thumbs its nose at Beckham. Both sportsmen have brought delight to millions.

The Legend of Bournemouth Beach

As for Botham, he deserves it. In 1981 Botham became a legend. Anyone who saw his display at Headingley, or as Anorak did, heard it on Test Match Special sat amid a growing crowd on a Dorset beach, will never forget.

Botham should have been knighted years ago…

Posted: 15th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)


Joey Barton Bags £300,000 Pay-Off From Manchester City To Newcastle United

barton.jpgTHAT misbehaving cheeky-chappy Joey Barton has no excuse to punch someone in the face today after he finally pocketed a hard-fought £300,000 from Manchester City.

The controversial midfielder had agreed to join Newcastle United from City last week but the deal had stalled after Barton claimed that he was still due the large “loyalty payment” from his Man City deal. (This is not a joke.)

Aware that West Ham United could try to hijack the deal and bring Barton to Upton Park, new Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, along with chairman Freddy Shepherd, decided to pay the outstanding cash themselves, thus upping their bid for the combative player to £5.8milllion.

Barton leaves behind him a trail of controversial incidents at City which included him hospitalising a team-mate in training with a venomous right-hook, stubbing out a cigar on a youth-team player’s face, assaulting a child and mooning at opposition fans.

If Barton can add brawling with Kieran Dyer on the pitch to his considerable talents, he should fit right in…

Posted: 15th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)


Danielle Lloyd On Big Brother ‘Prostitutes’ Charley And Chanelle

danielle-shilpa.jpg“DANIELLE ON BIG BROTHER.”

Danielle Lloyd, for it is she, is wearing a spotty bikini. At last we hope it’s a bikini with spots on. Danielle’s health problems are well documented and there is no small chance that this is not a top but her new naked breasts.

Inside the magazine and Danielle is in a shower, pouring champagne over herself. The astringent properties of alcohol are well documented and looking on we can see that Danielle’s top half has become rid of spots, although it is now covered in a black and white leaf pattern.

Whatever the look, Danielle is back from Miami, where she’s been wearing a bikini with her footballer, Marcus Bent.

Danielle then talks about her footballer, how he’s not like her old footballer and how footballers are just, at the end of the day, 110 per cent men really.

And how women who date footballers because they are footballers, like Big Brother’s Charley, are “prostitutes”. People like Charley and Chanelle Hayes are “pathetic”, says Danielle. “They make people like me look bad.”

Not everyone can date a footballer by pure chance. And then find another one. But Danielle is made of sterner stuff, particularly her new breasts which have now taken on a metallic coating.

She then goes on to say how she had “no idea” who Charley is. And has not seen the picture of them together. “She’s just downgrading herself by saying she wants to go out with a footballer,” says Danielle. “Who is their right mind will date her now?”

Maybe the same kind of footballer that dates Danielle. After all, they are just men.

And what of Emily Parr, who used the word “nigger” on Big Brother? Take a deep breath. Deeper. Exhale. Now take a really deep one. And read: “If someone had used a racist comment while we were in the house, they should have been thrown out too.”

Hold it in…

“I think Emily should have learnt from what happened to me and the others in the house,” says Danielle.

Breathe.

Expect to see Emily with false breasts, orange skin and dating a footballer any day soon. Or at least trying to…

Posted: 13th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (4)


Lewis Hamilton Speeds Towards £50million-A-Year, Police Alerted

lewis-hamilton.jpgAT last, a new golden boy of British sport who actually wins things.

Formula One rookie Lewis Hamilton has made an almighty splash in the motor racing world this season and with a Grand Prix victory already under his belt, the affable 22-year-old could become Britain’s first £50million-a-year sportsman.

According to the Mirror, within three years, Hamilton could see his income soar to over £1million for every racing day he is in the car. Presuming he wins the Drivers’ Championship, that is.

A not inconsiderable £5million has been invested in Hamilton’s development over the years and now team bosses Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh are reaping the rewards of their costly gamble.

While Hamilton’s own predicted rewards could see him joining the likes of Tiger Woods in the superstar stratosphere.

The youngster, who is currently earning a paltry £250,000 in his debut season, is set to appear in a new Abbey television commercial with his picture appearing in all 750 UK branches.

And Hamilton’s picture should appear in more places than that. Hamilton is the first ever Formula One driver of Afro-Caribbean descent, and we urge police to familiarise themselves with the likeness lest they mistakenly pull him over on suspicion of committing the crime of Driving While Black…

Posted: 12th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (99)


Manchester United Ticket Prices Rise 44%

MANCHESTER United are to celebrate their Premiership success by raising ticket prices by 13 per cent in a move which has angered the Old Trafford faithful.

With a number of clubs deciding to freeze ticket prices for next season as a gesture of goodwill to their fans (and because they can do it and still making a killing), news that the Red Devils are set to increase their prices has infuriated supporters.

Colin Hendrie (presumably not the ex-Scottish international with the dodgy mullet), spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association, is livid. Says he: “United are pricing traditional supporters out of the game. The last two years have seen double-digit price rises here. Since the Glazer family took over the club, ticket prices have become 44 per cent more expensive. A season ticket that cost £400 in 1995 could now be more than £1,000 in the end.”

Chairman of the supporters’ group, Mark Longden, predicts that United may even find it a struggle to fill the 76,212 seats at Old Trafford next season. “I do not believe they will fill it with these price rises,” he says. “There’s absolutely no justification. It flies in the face of thinking all over the country.”

Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham supporters are also facing the possibility of price increases.

Self-proclaimed socialist Sir Alex Ferguson was unavailable for comment.

Posted: 11th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (3)


Alan Sugar Sells Stake In Spurs

venables-sugar.jpgSIR Alan Sugar, currently entertaining the great British public with his hammy performance in BBC 1’s top-rated soap opera The Apprentice, has decided to sell his stake in Tottenham Hotspur for a reported £25million to sports and media group ENIC International.

The multi-millionaire made his fortune with the electronics company Amstrad, which he founded way back in 1968.

He turned his attention to Spurs in the nineties, taking control of the north London club from 1991 to 2001, a period which he has since described as “a waste of my life”.

Once the deal has been finalised, ENIC will have increased its stake in Tottenham to 66% and while City rules require the company to make an offer for the remaining 34% of the club, ENIC intends to maintain the club’s AIM listed status.

Now that Sir Alan has completely washed his hands of Spurs, he can presumably spend more time focusing on his burgeoning TV career.

Maybe he could swap shows with Graham Norton and host Any Dream Will Do? A song close to the hearts of many Spurs fans…

Posted: 7th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


London 2012 Olympic Logo Sucks: Says Wistful Piper Lisa Simpson

olympics-2012.png“OLYMPICS LOGO TRIGGERS EPILEPSY,” announces the Sun’s front page.

Olympic logos are like World Cup songs and official mascots, the marketing department’s way of leaving their soggy imprint on sporting events; something that should not offend the corporate partners.

The only people who buy official logo-endorsed mascots are parents of small children at motorway service stations. (The word “official” suggest something routinely anodyne and overstuffed. It rarely disappoints.)

The London 21012 Olympic logo will be easy to forget. Although Anorak reader Laurence Lemon observes this latest design by committee resembles Lisa Simpson giving oral relief. Not a pleasant image but, nonetheless, a statement. Not for nothing is the logo named The Wistful Piper.

As such, it’s not the kind of thing you want impressionable children to see, nor an epilepsy sufferer. You see this logo is not like all other logo because it flashes on an off.

1976summerolympicslogo.pngIt’s not enough to have London host the world’s biggest sporting event, what’s really needed to enliven the thing is a spot of strobing, a logo that will speak to people in America, Romania and Angola.

But there is trouble. The Sun reports that people afflicted with the photosensitive form of epilepsy are collapsing after viewing the logo on the internet and television. So the animated version has been removed.

And now the Mail says the static version should also be consigned in the same bin as Olympic mascots Izzy (Atlanta 1996), Millie the echidna (Sydney 2000) and logos like the Barcelona cow lick (1988) and the Montreal clenched fist (1976).

In “THE OLYMPIC LOGO REVOLT”, the Mail hears Tory MP Philip Davies say that he plans to table a Parliamentary motion calling for the Lisa Simpson Whistle to be scrapped.

Says he: “It is incredible that someone has been paid £400,000 to come up with this load of garbage.”

Indeed. It sounds unreassuringly cheap. The Millennium Dome cost £789million. Davies is right – let’s get the politicians onto it. If money needs to be wasted on official rubbish, the least we can do it make is spectacular…

Posted: 6th, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (11)


Bob Woolmer Murder: Told You I Was Ill

bob-woolmer.jpgBOB Woolmer was murdered.

Woolmer was killed by an ancient poison called anconite. He was killed by al-Qaeda, the Mafia, a deranged fan, a member of the Pakistan team, snake venom and a poisoned drink. Bob Woolmer was William Wallace in whites, hung, drawn, quartered and scattered to the winds.

Woolmer was the victim of a game of Corridor Cricket, in which an unnamed batsman did strike with deadly force the stale bread roll ball hurled down the corridor at the Pegasus Hotel, Jamaica, by an unnamed bowler. It was Woolmer’s lot to open his bedroom door as the missile was hit for “six” and the cry “Heads!” went up.

But now we learn via the Mail’s front page that Bob Woolmer was not killed. As the headline screams: “IT WASN’T MURDER.”

It now seems that the Pakistan cricket coach was not in the best of health at the time of his death. Such is the strength of the detective work in Jamaica that next week the world will learn that at the time of his death Woolmer was not feeling all that well.

Beneath a picture of Bob Woolmer, the Mail offers the caption: “Bob Woolmer: He was not a well man.”

As the Mail reminds us, “the 58-year- old former England batsman was found dead on March 18 in his suite at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, hours after Pakistan crashed to a shock defeat against rank outsiders Ireland in the World Cup.”

Mark Shields, a former Scotland Yard detective now operating as Deputy Commissioner in the Jamaican force told us he was “100 per cent certain” that Woolmer had been murdered.

flintoff.jpgThe Mail says that these “bombshell comments effectively wrecked the tournament”. Only they didn’t. The Cricket World Cup was wrecked, for England at least, when Andrew Flintoff set out to invade America on pedalo, the final finished in almost total darkness and Bob Willis, the third stump of Sky TV’s coverage, was bitten by a mosquito.

But to the Mail the game was up when Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room.
The world looked on in horror at the World Cup Murder Mystery. And now we hear a source tell us: “”Mr Woolmer was not a well man. It is now accepted that he died of natural causes.”

A colleague of Mark Shields’ says: “The knives are out for Mark. It’s enormously embarrassing . . . there’s blood on the carpet in the Jamaican police.”

Or it might be cranberry juice. Forensic report to follow…

Posted: 2nd, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)


Premiership Wages Hit £1billion

ashley-cole.JPGWHAT a hard life those footballers have – the adulation, the glamour, a never-ending supply of orange woman, and of course the massive pay packet.

According to a new report from Deloitte, those enormous wages will add up to a whopping £1billion in total next season as basic salaries and bonuses increase and the new £1.7billion television deal comes into effect.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, is understandably livid. Says he: “Fans are sick of the way the game is being run, the way that is all about money. They hate to see players who do nothing all season getting paid so much. The clubs should be pumping more money in to the lower leagues and reducing prices”.

The annual review from the accounting firm also showed that in the 2005/06 season, wages rose by 9 per cent to £854 with the Roman Abramovich bankrolled Chelsea paying its players an incredible £114million.

The Premiership was also the top-earning league in the world with £1.4billion generated in turnover, significantly more than the likes of Serie A of the Bundesliga.

Beats working. Now all I need is to find a gay footballer…

Posted: 31st, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Maria Sharapova’s Grunt

sharapova.jpgEOOUGH!

Hark. Do you hear? Why, it’s the first stains of female tennis players striking ball with bat.

PHWOAARR!

And the Mail spots one blonde player. It’s “Russian beauty” Maria Sharapova. Now that Anna Phwoarnikova has hung up her grunt, we study the form of Sharapova.

The Mail looks at the Sharapova forearms and the Sharapova legs as the tennis star grunts her way to victory in the women’s single’s in the French Open.

It is terrific stuff.

The Mail makes no mention of the score, but does deliver some vital statistics, telling us that Sharapova is 6ft 2in and weighs 130lbs. She has “tanned limbs” and can be seen clad in a “tight-fitting blue dress and knee-length leggings”.

How times have changed. The Mail produces a shot of Sharapova dressed in short white shorts and shorter white vest. Never mind the length, feel the grunt.

And look forward to a summer of serious sport at this year’s Wimbledon.

Posted: 31st, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Mamma Mia! Nancy Dell’Olio Shows Us Sven Goran Eriksson

sven.jpgIT was at last summer’s World Cup that England fans realised Sven Goran Eriksson had sold them a dummy.

Distracted by Nancy Dell’Olio, tales of secretary keepie-uppy in the Football Association’s offices and orange-skinned Wags, fans had largely overlooked the fact that Eriksson’s England team were devoid of direction, guile, skill, ability, teamwork, excitement and cohesion.

But that was then. And who knew that shorn of Eriksson, England supporters would hanker for those halcyon days of prosaic football and so much fake bake.

So in celebration of the time when fame was all and talent was wearing heavy make-up in a Baden-Baden boutique, Sven’s main strike partner Nancy Dell’Olio has written a book.

My Beautiful Game will tell the world about Sven and Nancy, as serialised in the Mail.

sven-nancy.jpgToday Nancy tells us how Sven won her heart. “Even now, I have no explanation for the love affair that changed my life,” writes Nancy. And we are hooked. Who knew that Nancy would share so much with David Copperfield’s bildungsroman?

One of us is crying
One of us is lying

“I was content in my marriage and had no flirtations or extra-marital interest of any kind. The idea of an affair was something I discussed with my husband Giancarlo as a thing that happened to other people. But then it happened to me,” writes Nancy.

Love happened when Nancy happened upon the “vaguely academic and inscrutable” looking Sven. Meeting one was in a Rome restaurant. The second meeting was in a club.

They passed me by, all of those great romances
You were, I felt, robbing me of my rightful chances

Writes Nancy “Again I felt those ice-blue Nordic eyes lock on to me. I noticed a look of shock mixed with desire, which came across as shy over-attentiveness verging on obsession.”

sven-goran_eriksson.jpgEngland fans may well agree. This was the look on Sven’s face when David Beckham scored that goal against the Greeks that clinched 2002 World Cup finals qualification. The look when Sven to talked to the media. The look when Sven saw England defeated by Northern Ireland. The look when Sven saw Faria Alam. The look when Sven emptied the dishwasher.

Nancy tells of the “white-hot laser of his stare”. Who needs Alex Ferguson’s hair-dryer when your eyes can melt flesh?

And: “For my part, I felt the magnetic curiosity of a woman who knows she has ignited the passion of an exceptional man.”

Wishing she was somewhere else instead

And then his first words in camera: “After a few mumbled pleasantries-I heard myself ask: ‘Would you like to have lunch sometime?”

They lunched. An affair began.

“I had loathed living a lie. Now there was no way out without telling my husband and causing him intense suffering. But Sven and I were also in pain, and I could not bear the thought of losing him.

“I kept thinking of the legend of King Arthur, whose queen, Guinevere, fell in love with Sir Lancelot. I felt we were a trapped triangle. I knew both men loved me and that only I could make the choice.”

But Nancy was disappointed. “My Sir Lancelot had given in to doubts about his Guinevere, and instead of riding in on his charger and carrying me off had held back and sulked,” says she.

Waiting for a call
Sorry for herself, feeling stupid feeling small
Wishing she had never left at all

But eventually Sven called. Nancy got the nod. And it was on with the show…

Posted: 28th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Champions’ League Tears: Gerrard’s Liverpool Was Robbed

gerrard.jpgNO little lachrymosity on the Sun’s front page as Liverpool FC’s Steven Gerrard, his face contorted in “gutted” grief and suffering, illustrates the headline: “MERSEY CRIED.”

Liverpudlians are among Britain’s most emotive tribes, crying when their boys win, weeping as they board the plane to the match and weeping with joy or sorrow all the way home. There are stories aplenty of wet-eyed, whale-voiced men living nomadic existences in Paris, Istanbul and Rome.

Chins Up High 

Liverpool fans weep. And they weep when they are robbed.

“ROBBED by the hand of Zag,” says the Mirror’s front page. “THE HANDBALL THAT WON IT.”

Those among you who viewed the Champions’ League final may have missed this telling moment in which the traditionally cheating foreigners stole the silverware from brave Gerrard and his gutsy native and adopted British teammates.

So here it is. Look closely. See the ball. Note AC Milan’s Posh Spice look-alike Filippo Inzaghi (and he is just as likeable) close his eyes as the heavily struck ball approaches. Look as he twists, attempting to get out of the way. See the ball run off his chest and into the Liverpool goal. 1-0. Tears.

Did you see the handball?

“Kop’s hopes of sixth Euro cup is crushed by a handball goal,” says the Mirror. But the game finished 2-1.And, though the Mirror produces no pictures, the solitary Liverpool goal was scored from an offside position.

But no matter. This is cheating. Foreigners cheat. They are dirty, cheating foreigners. And we are the noble English who take life’s injustices squarely on the chin, with a stiff upper lip and the command “We will say no more about it.”

And It Burns, Burns, Burns 

But the lip is quivering. The lip is coated in salty tears of bitter pain. The lip is shaping words that cannot be repeated in a family arena.

Let them have their win. What is it without glory? In any case, Liverpool fans have their tears.

The Mirror spots one of the Red faction “distraught” at Liverpool airport. He and around a further 150 Liverpool fans had tickets for the match. They were on the plane. They were doubtless giving full throat to Ring of Fire, the Johnny Cash staple adopted by the supporters as they travelled across Europe en route to the unforgettable 2005 UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul.

And then the pilot comes over the Tannoy. The plane is unwell. The plane must stay on the ground. The plane cannot drive to Athens for the final, there isn’t time. So will all supporters please vacate the plane?

So to the command “Come ‘ed!” they storm the cockpit, take over the controls and in the finest traditions of heroic endeavour say to a man: “If any of should not make it, so be it. There’s a game to get to. And it is our duty to be there. Start the engine. Chocks away. We take our chance to say ‘I was there’. La.”

Or, rather, they all troop dutifully off the plane and sit in the airport, forlorn figures, the saddest people on the planet. Robbed. And we feel for them.

And they cry.

And cry…

And cry…

Posted: 24th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (6)


The King Of Torquay: Leroy Rosenior’s Ten Minute Teaser

leroy_rosenior.jpgMAGIC hats off to Leroy Rosenior. The former West ham and Fulham player has just been made manager of Torquay United.

Journalists are at the press conference. Rosenior is paraded before the leading lights of the local papers. He will put Torquay on the map. He will make them great, or at least better than those Exeter losers. Forward with Rosenior.

Rosenior has the right stuff. As the Sun says, Rosenior was “once tipped to be the first black England manager”. And sure he was – just as all black managers are so tipped.

The show finishes at 3:30pm.

At 3:40pm, club chairman Mike Bateson announces that he has sold 51 per cent of the club to a new consortium. The new brooms appreciate Rosenior’s hard work but feel that the club and manager want different things and it is time for a parting of the ways.

Rosenior is sacked. Rosenior has been the manager for ten minutes.

He tells us: “Obviously they thought I had done a fantastic job after ten minutes so let me go.” Adding:” I wish them the very best of luck. They are going to sort me out a bit of compensation.”

Although you’d have thought not managing Torquay was reward enough…

Posted: 22nd, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


Miss Great Britain: The Wag Factor

michelle_marsh.jpgNO small thrills in the world of the Wag as Miss Great Britain looms.

As the Star reports, the contest will feature Michelle Marsh, fiancée to Oldham Athletic “star” Will Haining. And Nicola Tappenden, aka Nicola T, former Wag to West Ham striker Bobby Zamora.

Nicola will be sporting the Croydon sash.

Says an insider in the Star: “Having two Wags in the competition is certain to raise its profile. These girls have a lot to prove – and won’t be taking any prisoners.”

First things first. Is it a case of once a Wag, always a Wag? Is Nicola T the eternal Wag? And what is Wag without a footballer? It’s a huge issue that needs more thought than we can give it here.

The other point is on prisoners and their taking. One wonders what format the beauty show now takes? Are beauty queens required to shoot on sight, realising that their traditional dream of world peace cannot be achieved without shock and awe? Is this what chimes with the judging panel?

The competition is certainly fierce. And the organisers will be keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s contest in which Danielle Lloyd was stripped of her crown amid allegations that she was Wagging it with the show’s judge, footballer Teddy Sheringham.

And so to this year’s agonists. We have seen Nicola and Michelle. What are they up against? We look over some of the 50 competitors (details from the official Miss GB website):

Cary Baker (Wimbledon)
Achievement: Record Deal with BMG Records, touring with Five, Lionel Richie and Westlife
WF: Hammerette’s lead vocalist

Melissa Baxter (Bournemouth)
Ach: Representing Britain in Miss Tourism International in Sri Lanka
WF: French footballer whose name escapes us

Fay Bevan (Newport)
Ach: Was member of girl band Candy rivals of Kandifloss (Chantelle from celeb Big Brother’s band). Finalist in Max Power 2006 Babe competition. Covergirl for Sheffield Wednesday Football Club calendar
WF: Sheffield Wednesday merchandising manager

Clair Cooper (Westminster)
Ach: In the short term to make all Gingers proud as I am the only Redheaded Miss GB finalist this year.
WF: Paul Scholes

Sara Louise Hempel (Blackpool)
Ach: I am currently Miss Blackpool 2006 which I am very proud of, I’ve also been crowned Miss Poulton and Miss Brannigans.
WF: Half-time snacks

Stay tuned…

Posted: 21st, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)


Top Sporting Sex Scandals: Cristiano Ronaldo And John Terry Go To Pot

cristiano-ronaldo.jpgIN readiness for tomorrow’s FA Cup final, the Daily Sport pits Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo against Chelsea’s John Terry.

In this football smackdown the paper asks: “Who wins in the sack? We ask the girls who know.”

In the interests of fair play it might be best for Ronaldo to get into bed with Terry. But what need to push back the envelope of sporting endeavour when you have such willing and able pundits as Emma Kearney.

Said to have fronted TV show Nice House, Shame About The Garden, Kearney tells us how she gave Terry oral relief in his Porsche.

As the report says, Terry was so keen to have his way with the Australian glamour model he issued the rallying cry, “Let’s f***, I want to f*** you.”

Football fans cannot help but wonder what effect a similar call to arms would have on the Wembley turf if aimed at Ryan Giggs. And whether, if successful, England captain Terry should use the tactic in a national capacity.

For now, we hear of Terry scoring, and with a trademark headed goal.

But is he better than Ronaldo? To help us appraise the situation, Julie Hawkins arrives on the sofa.

Readers and Ronaldo’s Manchester United teammates learn how the player likes to have sex in the shower. Says Julie: “He scored a hatrick with me – and I’m not talking about goals.”

Impressive stuff, perhaps, But readers brought up on stories of five times a night romps may be disappointed by talk of triple plays.

Anorak recalls some sporting endeavours that make Ronaldo and Terry’s exploits look Championship material:

Steve Davis: Back in 1999, Snooker’s Mr Interesting cheated on his wife Judith with 19-year-old Cheree Palla. The talk was of seven-times-a-night. “He was the best lover I’d ever had,” she confided in the Mirror. “He did things to me I didn’t even know you could do.”

Ian Botham: Having denied breaking the bed with Miss Barbados Lindy Field, married Botham became entangled with Australian waitress Kylie Verrells. She claimed Beefy saw the value of email and wrote her: “Babe, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The mighty Beefy sword awaits … and that’s just for starters.”

Stan Collymore: Dogger. And friend to Kristy Gallagher: “She did things with chocolate fingers that have stopped me looking at them in the same way since.”

Sven Goran Eriksson: Emptying the dishwasher as foreplay. Cuban heels. Ulrika Jonsson (“There was no sense of hesitation about him, just a calm, gentle loving”). Faria Alam (“It was beautiful. He didn’t use a condom, he was not concerned about me getting pregnant. Then he pulled on some cotton pyjama bottoms before returning to bed.”)

Boris Becker: Nobu restaurant. A broom cupboard. Angela Ermakowa in the Mail: “To stop him when he was so excited was as impossible as stopping a high-speed train,’ she confided, exclusively, in the Daily Mail. “I felt like Cinderella… Boris was like a radiant German knight.” Boom. Boom.

In the pantheon of sporting kiss ‘n’ tells, Ronaldo and Terry and Emma and Julie hardly score…

Posted: 18th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (4)


Gemma Atkinson Keeps Them Crossed For Manchester United’s Ronaldo

gemma_atkinson.jpgINTERESTING to read on the front page of the Star that Gemma Atkinson is still stepping out with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pictured with a sheet held to her high-pressured bosom, Gemma is here to tell us that she is “up for the cups”.

Tomorrow is FA Cup final day and any self-respecting Wag will be applying the wood stain in earnest.

Though the action on the pitch will be keen, experience tells us that the cameramen will punctuate lapses in play with shots of the crowd. And that mean focusing on the Wags.

But what’s this? We read that Gemma will not be there. Gemma, now dressed in a blue bikini was given a pair of tickets by a “special friend”.

But she gave them to her parents.

So instead of going to the Wag-fest, Gemma will be at home watching the match on her sofa. A source tells the Star: “Gemma has got everything crossed that United will do the Cup and League double and bring home some silverware this season.”

Everything crossed. Surely not…

Posted: 18th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (19)


Would Jew Believe It: Chelsea Fans Call Gary Lineker A ‘Yid’

whitehartlane4.jpg“LINEKER is target of race hate,” says the Mirror. The paper looks on as former England footballer Gary Lineker walks to the stage. He is to present an award at Chelsea FC’s £135-a-head Player Of The Year dinner.

The crowd show their appreciation for Linker by chanting “yiddo, yiddo”.

“It was appalling,” says one fan. “And it wasn’t a couple of people. I’d say at least 100 people joined in. It was embarrassing.”

The shame heaped upon Chelsea is compounded when the Mirror notes that among the Chelsea faithful are sat ex-England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio and Lord Attenborough.

“You wouldn’t expect anything else,” says Lineker.

It is thought Linker was not making reference to Chelsea FC’s history as a club whose fans revel in a thuggish, neo-Nazi reputation, but the fact that Lineker played for Spurs.

Any visitor to Spurs’ White Hart Lane ground will be met with the sound of a drum being hit, the final beat punctuated by the collective shout “Yids!” And this from the Tottenham fans. Fans may also note the chant of “Yid Army”, unfurled Star of David flags and Tottenham yamulkas.

There is no other club in English football with such a tight affinity with one racial group.

The Mirror is, nonetheless, shocked and saddened. And notes how earlier this season Chelsea fans were politely requested from making noises mimicking the Nazi gas chambers as their boys took on Spurs.

Of course, this is all too funny. The new Chelsea fans are not a patch on the old diehards, who have been softened up by success, seating and the sheer cost of watching their team play.

You know, those Chelsea fans who cheer on a team owned by Roman Abramovich, a, er, Yiddo…

Posted: 17th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)


Stumped: Bob Woolmer Was Not Murdered

woolmer_bob.jpgBOB Woolmer was not murdered.

Woolmer was not struck a fatal blow by a cricket ball as he and the Pakistani team played a game of corridor cricket.

Woolmer was not killed by poison, a deranged lover, al-Qaeda, drink, upset fans, a carton of mango and carrot juice, or the mafia. Bob Woolmer died of natural causes.

That, at least, is what the Express is reporting in “Woolmer police rule out murder”.

Of course, the Jamaican police have not ruled out murder. But they might. The news is that officers on the case “hope toxicology reports will show the Pakistan coach was the victim of a ‘sudden unexplained death’”.

Cynics may well say that this sudden unexplained death pretty much sums up the police progress so far. Woolmer’s death was sudden. And it is unexplained. Job done. Case closed.

But this new line focuses on death by natural causes. A Jamaican police source tells the Express how his country’s Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields has journeyed to South Africa to speak with Woolmer’s widow. Says the insider: “He was going to talk to her in terms of ‘sudden unexplained death’ rather than murder.”

This is the cue for conspiracy theorists to get to work. A man is dead. Police fail to catch the killer or killers. And now the case approaches an altogether unsatisfactory conclusion.

What price a welter of books on the matter and the story turned into a made-for-TV movie?

It’s cricket’s most enduring whodunit since Shane Warne appeared in public with a fuller, shaggier and more highlighted head of hair.

And everyone and no-one is a suspect…

Posted: 14th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment


£9.3 Billion London Olympics Of No Benefit To UK

london-olympics.gifWE all remember their faces – has-been athletes such as Steve Cram and Kelly Holmes, not to mention Lord Sebastian of Coe, erupting with joy as the decision to award the 2012 Olympic games to London was made. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or.)
Yet while these ex-Olympians celebrated the undoubted extra media work they’d get over the next seven years, and London property developers danced in the street, the reality for ordinary Britons was less certain.

Now, in a new report for the Greater London Assembly, researchers claim the 2012 games – the cost has quadrupled to a staggering £9.3 billion – will struggle to create a boom in jobs, sport and even housing.

In looking at the impact of the games on former hosts Athens, Sydney, Atlanta and Barcelona, the authors of the report found that the cites all struggled to benefit from the event, with Greece even losing 70,000 jobs just after the 2004 games.

Increased participation in sports also failed to rise significantly after the event while infrastructure improvements mainly benefited international residents and those lovely property developers.

Expect to see a herd of White Elephants rampaging around the East End after 2012.

Posted: 14th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)


Manchester United: Alex Ferguson Going Nowhere

_42786021_fergie203.jpgNINE Premiership titles in 15 seasons is something even Chelsea’s self-anointed ‘Special One’ would be proud of, but triumphant red-faced Sir Alex of Ferguson has no plans to quit while he is ahead.

With the 10-man Blues putting on a memorable and surprisingly entertaining show at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, but failing to beat Arsenal and keep their titles ambitions alive, United’s Scottish king could drink from the time-honoured ‘flute’ of champagne in celebration and look to the future.

“Why should I give up?” asks Ferguson, “I feel invigorated by the young players at the club and players like Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes turning out every week for me. I don’t know how long I will last now but I am enjoying it”.

His charges can now bask in the glory of a Chelsea guard of honour in the now-meaningless mid-week clash at Stamford Bridge.

Fergie’s success this season, which could run to a league and cup double, is all the more worthy considering the mediocre likes of Fletcher, O’Shea and Brown in his ranks. For that and that alone he deserves another knighthood. And another ‘flute’ of champagne.

Posted: 7th, May 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment