Back pages | Anorak - Part 64

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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

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)

South West Trains Discover A Way To Make Passengers Feel Worse

THERE is something annoying about ticket inspectors on trains.

They make you rifle through your bags and pockets to find the ticket you have already put through a ticket barrier. And then they tick it with a pen, like a teacher scoring your efforts.

Well, now things are set to get a lot worse for commuters who use South West train services as a leaked memo reveals that guards are to be judged according to the amount of money they collect in penalties.

The memo which is headed “commercially sensitive, please do not circulate” tells inspectors to treat passengers as fare dodgers even if they approach the guard on the train and ask to buy a ticket. Guards are also advised to sell the most expensive peak ticket and give no rail discounts, which could mean that passengers will be paying over double the normal price.

Inspectors will also be held accountable if they accept any explanations by passengers, even if the passenger was unable to buy a ticket at a machine due to long queues.

One South West guard tells the Times: “We are in the horrible position of having to enforce a policy we know to be unfair, or risk losing our jobs.”

South West is reported to be making profits of more than £1million a week. Yet apparently that’s not enough to afford more ticket machines. Those machines must be mighty expensive.

Posted: 22nd, June 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)

Glastonbury Is The Music Festivals’ Green Zone


First up, don’t panic.

Unlike McNab, you cannot get lost behind enemy lines at the country’s biggest music festival. Although the perils of wandering into the Spiritual Support tent are self-evident.

The perimeter fence insures that you remain within the compound, safe from crusty insurgents in jester hats and anyone unable to afford the £145 weekend ticket (plays £5 handling fee for telephone sales).

Glastonbury is the ravers Green Zone, an enclave where mum and dad can bring the kids, visitors can buy official merchandise and listen to the BBC issuing a rebel yell in a received English accent.

McNab should save himself the bother of talking about what kit to take, yomping and the need for shelter and just deliver a single gem of cover-all advice: take your credit card.

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

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…


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.


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


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


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