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Back pages | Anorak - Part 68

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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

Carly Zucker’s “Sexercises”

IT’S Carly Zucker.

She’s in a swimming pool with her lover Joe Cole. The pair are at the Miami Beach Hotel, relaxing in the sun after spending a summer kicking a ball in the sun and watching people kick a ball in the sun, respectively.

The Star looks on as Carly points to her chin. She and Joe are cuddling in the pool. And it looks like she wants Joe to stick one on her.

No kiss is forthcoming. But Carly needs to be ready for when it does arrive and she is soon wearing a tiger-print bikini and warming up for it.

Over five pictures, Sun readers see Carly go through her “sexercises”. Carly is a 24-year-old personal trainer and she seems keen to bring her keep-fit regime to the world’s attention.

She rubs her belly; she thrusts her elbows out; she stretches up high; she pushes he arms out wide; and she gazes to the skies.

And Carly’s mission to get Britain fit is working as the Mirror takes a keen interest in her keep-fit regime.

The Mirror says this could almost be a rehearsal for a new fitness DVD, and surely it could.

Indeed, it cannot be too long before we are able to watch Wag-tastic Carly go about her moves in the privacy and comfort of our own armchair.

Get ready with the super slo-mo button…

Posted: 21st, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)


Coleen McLoughlin Watches Wayne Rooney Caged

WHAT’S this? Wayne Rooney behind bars in France. How can it be?

The Sun calms our fears that young Wayne has been pinched by the Gendarmerie as he holidays in the South of France. It correctly realises that even in the La Belle Republique police rarely if ever wear fluorescent stockings and suspenders outside the station.

What we are seeing is Wayne at the Palais Nightclub in Cannes. Wayne, Coleen McLoughlin and their pals were in the VIP area drinking champagne and cocktails and generally bringing a bit of Baden-Baden to the French Riviera.

A song came on and it was time to dance. A source explains more: “While the girls were throwing shapes, Wayne couldn’t help but stand and ogle a go-go dancer who was putting on a show in a cage.”

While Coleen formed herself into a triangle, then a square, all the while building up to the thrilling finale when she and three friends form a perfect tetrahedron, Wayne gawped.

“The dancer clocked Wayne looking at her and started beckoning seductively with her finger for him to join,” says the source. He even took his shirt off.

“He latched on to her like he’d been given a decent through-ball,” says this insider. But, just like at the world Cup, Wayne did not score.

Sure, the dancer is rumoured to have been an active 59-year-old grandma, but Wayne is beyond that sort of thing.

Besides, Coleen was watching…

Posted: 18th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Cheryl Tweedy & Her Footballer

WITH less than 24 hours for our fake bake orange tan to dry, the pressure of getting ready for Cheryl Tweedy and Ashley Cole’s wedding is mounting.

Like you, we are deeply excited about the do at Highclere Castle, Berkshire. Yes, that was the venue where just last year Jordan said “I do” to OK! magazine and Peter Andre.

Not that Cheryl and her footballer’s wedding will be like that tacky affair. For one thing, Cheryl is believed to have had one of her tattoos removed. For another, thing… Well, there are too many things to mention.

And while we reread our suede invitation, and sign the enclosed form that stipulates that we are not allowed to ask any of Cheryl and her footballer’s famous pals for their autographs, we search our pockets for a few coins.

Rather than give presents, Cheryl and her footballer want their guests to make donations to the children’s charity run by their good pals and templates David and Victoria Beckham.

And thank good news for that. We’d have never made it to the shops in time. Our tan has yet to dry – and the forecast is for rain…

Posted: 14th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)


Grin It To Win It

NOT a day goes by when Cheryl Tweedy is not talking about her footballer or showing us her footballer.

Today Cheryl and her footballer are promoting an advert for the National Lottery’s new game.

For a mere £1, punters stand a chance of winning up to £500,000.

Just imagine what you could do with all that money. You can buy a watch, a ring or a football season’s worth of fake bake. You could even secure your own booth at Garibaldi’s bar and spit roast in downtown Baden-Baden.

And even if you don’t win, a portion of your investment goes towards London’s 2012 Olympics. And that’s just marvelous.

And here’s Cheryl to tell us just how marvelous it all is. “I’ve found my dream match,” says she. “Ashley is one in a million.” Says the footballer: “It’s great that there’s another big game to watch.”

It sure is. And right now thousands of England fans are excitedly queuing up to buy their tickets.

Ashley has his fingers crossed. And Cheryl has her hands on her hips. So come on England, get a load of this pair and give it yet best shot!

Posted: 12th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


“The Morning Dafter Pill”

Puns Of The Day

“The XL factor” (Star) – Reality TV pop singer Shayne Ward says his penis is twice the size of football Freddie Ljungberg’s. Although Freddie is the better singer.

“The morning dafter pill” (Star) – Parents unhappy at schools’ plan to hand out morning-after pills to underage girls

“It’s the Ender Pauline” (Star) – EastEnders character Pauline Fowler must die
“Ender an era” (Sun) – More of Pauline’s imminent death

“Why ZZ blew his top” (Mirror) – France footballer Zinedine Zidane and that headbutt

“Mother of all insults” (Mirror) – Italy’s Macro Materazzi accused of racist slur on Zindane and calling his mother a whore

“Soph’s all washed up” (Sun) – Mo-del Sophie Anderton whips off her top on a beach

“Jolly teen giant” (Sun) – Paul Sturgess, 18, is 7ft 5ins – and still growing

Posted: 11th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


“Eeyore Beautiful

“In sarnie-ty – Cop chiefs ban ham butties for PCs at Muslim do” (Sun) – Chief inspectors ban policemen and women from eating bacon butties at the Islam Expo even in London

Tot Noodle” (Sun) – Pregnant Jacky hardy ate a Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle and gave went into labour half an hour late

“Merry St Edmonds” (Mail) – Residents of Bury St Edmonds live longest

“A good old Pyrenees-up” (Mail) – More form Tony Hawks travel book

“Primarktic monkeys” (Sun) – Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner shops in Primark

“A gottle of Gere please” (Star) – Richard Gere is opening an inn and restaurant in New York

“Eeyore beautiful” (Sun) – James Blunt buys a Spanish retreat, near the donkeys

“It’s Zid Vicious” (Sun) – France’s Zinedine Zidane is sent off in World Cup final

“The Iron Lady” (Mirror) – Charlotte Church irons for the cameras

“Bug Bug me do” (Mirror) – Heather Mills McCartney plays Paul McCartney a tape of the singer and his daughter Stella talking on the phone

Posted: 10th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Dial M For Marriage

SHORT of marrying her footballer Ashley Cole in Namibia it’s hard to know what else Cheryl Tweedy could do to deflect unwelcome attention away from her impending nuptials.

Having already told us, via the gilded pages of OK!, that she and her footballer are not your typical wife and footballer, Cheryl is now keen to keep her wedding guests under wraps.

Cheryl has banned her less famous wedding guests from approaching any of her showbiz chums and asking them for autographs. To ensure that they obey her wishes, down-to-earth Cheryl has insisted that every guest signs a confidentiality agreement.

Failure to do so will lead to the invitation being rescinded. And news is that the restraining order extends to Cheryl and her footballer’s families.

What is more, to avoid unwelcome attention, to enable the day to pass off unnoticed and without any kind of fuss, guests will not be told the venue until two days prior to the do.

Then they will dial a special hotline. A voice will come on and thank them for voting for Cheryl in Pop Idol. They will then redial, taking care to use the correct number, and hear details of the rendezvous.

At which point all guests deemed not famous enough will arrive at the Travelodge by Chieveley services off the M4, leaving Cheryl, her footballer and her pals to party the night away in rare African splendour.

Posted: 10th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Old Lady Luck

Quotes Of The Day

“Lucky? I lost Totti three months before the World Cup. I have had Zambrotta, Gattuso and Nesta injured. We have had players sent off,. And we have a football scandal to deal with. You call this lucky? Oh yes, how f****** lucky I have been” – Marcello Lippi 

“I didn’t see the usual England spirit, the lions out there on the pitch, and I didn’t know why. Maybe Eriksson was too claim” – Claudio Ranieri wants more tears

“Plainly, he’s very good at taking free kicks. But what, exactly, does he do for the rest of the time? Is he at the hairdresser’s?” – Jeremy Clarkson asks the questions

“There’s a real international flavour to their World Cup” – Jimmy Armfield is not wrong

“Ballack’s feet aren’t working properly beneath his frame” – A Peter Drury-ism

Puns Of The Day

“He shoots..she scores” (NOTW) – Peter Crouch’s lover Abi Clancy pictured taking cocaine and in the company of another man

“Roo’s taken a dive” (NOTW) – Wayne Rooney gets over the pain of it all by diving from a big yacht into the warm waters off the island of Capri

“You only wink when you’re sinning (NOTW) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal lose 3-1 to Germany in third-place play-off

“Zidane: My final dream” (Mail) – Zinedine Zidane says the World Cup final is his last ever professional game

“Fears of a clown” (Times) – Will Fabien Barthez drop a clanger?

Posted: 9th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


The End

Winners

Put your money on France. In 32 matches between Italy and France, the Italians have won 17; the French have won just 7. But in the past nine meetings, France have won five and Italy only one.

England will play a key part in the final. Hurrah! Alan Cairncross, the Scots heads groundsman at the Berlin Olympic Stadium, is using two 30-year-old English-made Ransomes Mastiff lawnmowers to trim the turf. “The mowers are almost as good now as when they were new,” says Carincross. Hurrah!

John Terry has made it into the World Cup team of the tournament. Other players who have graced the English game and feature in the elite group are: Maniche and Carvalho (Portugal), Vieira and Henry (France) and Crespo (Argentina).

Joe Cole is to marry Carly Zucker, the Wag who got up Victoria Beckham’s nose.

Ashley Cole has been on a £35,000 stag do in Marbella. Ashley eased the pain of England’s limp performances in the World Cup by going lap-dancing and drinking.

Losers

His brains are in his feet. France’s Franck Ribery was kicked out of Lille’s youth scheme because he failed to make the grade academically.

Should we feel sorry for Frank Lampard? Having seen his stock fall faster than Ronaldo in the penalty box, the Chelsea player has been getting away from it all on a luxury yacht – the one with a Portugal flag fluttering off the stern.

Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s diminutive president, says that when young he used to dive a bit. “I tried to get some advantages by falling down and saying ‘but he touched me’,” says Blatter. Blatter is Swiss, not Portuguese.

You can now buy an England flag at Tesco for 1p.

Posted: 9th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Shop Window

Football Gossip

Chelsea will sign Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro final (Mail)

Newcastle are to offer £7m for Werder Bremen and Germany striker Miroslav Klose (Mirror)

Chelsea will offer £15m offer for Argentina forward Carlos Tevez (People)

Tottenham want Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Express)

Arsenal will sign Lilian Thuram (People)

Cristiano Ronaldo will remain at Manchester United (Mail)

Ruud van Nistelrooy will be sold to Real Madrid (Mail)

Bobby Zamora will leave West Ham (Various)

Middlesbrough have made a move for France’s Sidney Govou (NOTW)

Arjen Robben is not going to Real Madrid (NOTW)

Posted: 9th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Round The Sven-d

“LATER he picked up a handful of pebbles…and began talking to them.”

“You,” he says, “are my defensive rock.” He then smacks his lips and with a self-satisfied smirk addresses the rest of the little stones in the manner of Steve McClaren.

In truth, we don’t know what Sven Goran Eriksson, for it is he, says to his pebbly pals as he wanders in the grounds of his £2milion lakeside retreat in Sweden. We only know what the News of the World tells us. We only know that “Sven’s Goran insane!”.

“Eriksson gibbering and raving after Cup flop,” says the headline. Above a montage of five pictures of Sven, the NOTW says: “OFF ME HEAD 2: YOU ALWAYS SUSPECTED IT, BUT NOW HERE’S THE HILARIOUS PROOF.”

We are then invited to laugh loud and heartily at Sven’s anguish. Speech bubbles have Sven saying: “They hate me in England…thank God I’ve still got you, my invisible friend”; “Where’s that little pixie I put up front?”; “98, 99, 100…coming ready or not, Napoleon.”

While Sven talks to himself, and his strike partner Nancy Dell’Olio tells a pal that since England’s failure to win the World Cup “I’ve cried every single day”, we turn to the Mail’s back page and read a little about Portugal’s Ronaldo.

The pantomime villain whose wink cost England World Cup glory is going nowhere. No, he’s not been rendered immobile by a meeting with Wayne Rooney down a dark alley in Liverpool; he’s just staying at Manchester United.

This is great news for British football. Not only is Ronaldo a terrific player, but he gives everyone who does not support Manchester United (and some that do) a fresh reason to dislike the Red Devils.

Perhaps if we all can boo and hiss and threaten to split him in two enough times, we’ll turn his wink into a nervous tick. You wanna wink, Ronaldo, we’ll make you wink so much you don’t know how to stop.

Why, we’ll make you as mad Sven, or as mentally troubled as Sol Campbell. News is that the man who had some kind of mental crisis in the middle of an Arsenal match against West Ham last season has quit the Gunners. And he has become “obsessed with the pursuit of a Hollywood lifestyle”.

The News of the World says Sol was “bitten by the acting bug” when he appeared on the TV show Footballers’ Wives. So he’s signed up with a showbiz agent, the same one who represents Robert De Niro.

And we wish Sol well. But remind him that the show must always go on, and that walking out halfway through a performance to get your head straight is considered bad form.

And that’s it. Sure the Sunday Times has a few words to say about some foreign football match in Germany, but it matters not. In England, football is about money, fame and scandal.

Just get a load of those pictures of Peter Crouch’s girlfriend Abi Clancy snorting a lump of what is said to be cocaine. She’s a “coke-snorting love cheat,” says the NOTW.

It’s the kind of story that’s got the football world talking – and buzzing again…

Posted: 9th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Off The Rack

Winners

Sir Clive Woodward, the former England rugby coach, says footballers should work on their penalty taking. He wants penalty shoot-outs at the end of every match.

Academics at the Cass Business School have come up with a formula to determine how well a nation should perform at a World Cup. Taking into account key factors – the number of internationals who play abroad, the number of men who play football regularly, climate and the number of years the nation have been a member of Fifa – England should be the fourth best team in the world. Scotland the 34th best, Wales 37th and Northern Ireland 48th. Brazil came in at 18th.

Losers

There’s no room on Fifa’s Golden Ball awards for England players. Fifa’s technical study group have selected the ten players from which the tournament’s most valuable player will be selected. The finalists are: Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo, Ginluca Zambrotta (all Italy), Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack, Miroslav Klose (Germany) and Portugal’s Maniche.

A Manchester United fan has put Cristiano Ronaldo up for sale on eBay. The ad reads: "Cristiano Ronaldo cheating goofy England hating portugezer, requesting first class ticket out of England. Unfortunately not welcome within 120 miles of Manchester. Requires good accommodation with torture chamber and enjoys 23.5 hours a day on the rack. Will never be allowed access to the UK ever again so if purchased, a holiday to England is out of the question. If you are the unfortunate successful bidder your life will not be worth living…….we will find you!!!!"

Italy’s Alessandro Del Piero has told his friend Liam Gallagher, of pop band Oasis, to wear exactly the same clothes he was wearing for the semi-final win against Germany.

Posted: 8th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Bronzed Off

Quotes Of The Day

“The thing must now be looked at after the match with a view to taking retrospective action. The trouble is a generation of players has grown up with Maradona’s Hand of God as an example” – Arsene Wenger wants divers punished

“The penalty was an error of mine. Yes, I touched Henry, but it was one of those incidents which the referee could’ve ignored and let play continue” – Ricardo Carvalho dreams on

"The decisive mistake for me was that the players didn’t shoot at the goal" – Franz Beckenbauer wonders why there were so few goals

"Any referee in the world would have given that red card to Rooney in that situation," – Luiz Felipe Scolari says Ronaldo is not to blame for Rooney’s red card

On our side of the fence, this game represents suffering, rather than a match you are happy to take part in" – Scolari is less than excited about the third-place play-off

Puns Of The Day

“Swotty Motty’s a record breaker” (Mirror) – BBC’s John Motson to be become first British broadcaster to commentate of six finals

“Sven sent Rooney loony” (Sun) – Michael Owen says Rooney should never have been playing as a lone striker

“Thierry is facing his final reckoning” (Mail) – Thierry Henry is in another final

Posted: 8th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Ruud Boys

Newcastle want to sign Manchester United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Mail)

Bayern Munich also want Van Nistelrooy (Times)

Manchester United will bid for Spain’s Fernando Torres (Times)

Arsenal want to buy Kolo Tore’s brother Yaya from Olympiakos (Daily Mirror)

Portsmouth are to take Nicolas Anelka on from Fenerbahce (Mirror)

Fulham, Watford and Charlton are chasing Leyton Orient’s Gabriel Zakuani (Mirror)

David Beckham is on the verge of signing a new deal with Real Madrid (Various)

Watford will offer £500,000 for Aston Villa’s Lee Hendrie (Mirror)

Posted: 8th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Not Wright

“I’M not happy this morning.” What’s wrong, Ian? It’s Ian Wright, and when Ian’s not happy something must be badly wrong with the world.

 “I should be glad to be at home but I’m not and you all know where I’d rather be.”

 This is not exactly the kind of thing Mrs Ian Wright and the couple’s assorted little Ian Wrights will be happy to hear. No sooner has husband and father returned from wearing pressed shirts in Germany than he’s telling Sun readers that he’d rather be somewhere else.

 And, no, he wouldn’t rather be in eating a hot jacket potato in his local Spud U Like. He’d rather be in Germany, standing in Berlin with a red and white plastic bowler hat on his head, an inflatable Spitfire in his hand and cheering the England team on to certain victory.

 Sadly, it was not meant to be. But even an unhappy Ian remains hopeful. His thoughts turn to Euro 2008. Ian has picked his team for the next tournament. And at its helm is Shaun Wright-Philips, his son.

 But Ian will not be picking the team in any official capacity. As England’s cheerleader-in-chief, Ian will be watching England play from the BBC’s sofa.

 The man in charge of team selection will be Steve McClaren. And the Mirror’s Brian Reade says he’s not up to it. McClaren’s appointment has “locked England into a foolish strait-jacket”. He is Sven Goran Eriksson’s “equally culpable deputy”.

 This McClaren is just another Sven, albeit with better teeth and a big smile – even if it is a syrupy smile of smug self-satisfaction.

 But before we get too deeply immersed in the drive to destroy McClaren – let’s no peak too nearly – and start blaming his ginger hair for England’s failure, the Guardian reminds us that even with England out, the game must go on.

 Sure, the main attraction has been struck down. England, the team a hobbling Michael Owen says was “the best” in the tournament are out. And a world weeps. But the game goes on.

 But it’s not use pretending. The World Cup final is nothing without England. Better to just read the Mail and its leading story that Newcastle want to buy Ruud van Nistelrooy.

 It’s the big news in football. And it’s got England, and Ian Wright, buzzing again…

Posted: 8th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Toonward-Boond

“UNDER federal law, German businesses are obliged to remain closed on Sundays,” begins George Caulkin of The Times, writing in Baden-Baden.

All very interesting, Mr Caulkin, but why is this item not nestling in the business pages, among the latest news of Ottaker’s and Peugot?

Ah, here’s the clever bit. The story is about Sunday’s World Cup final, which is, in footballing parlance, a “shop window”. Of course, the whole World Cup is a shop window, but Sunday takes on a particular significance, because the spectacle of a bunch of Italian players with uncertain club futures will create a feeding frenzy for football agents, who will, depending on your view, either gather like vultures, or circle like sharks, or swarm like bees, or skip straight-legged with their chests puffed up like frill-necked lizards.

Come August, some of these Italians could well pitch up in the Premiership, but until they are signed to English clubs they will have to wait for their day in the Sun – or the Star or the Mirror.

The English papers are focussed, as ever, on all things English, and that means domestic transfer news. The Mirror’s back page hails “HESKEY’S £5.5M MOVE” which has “smashed Wigan’s transfer record”. The Telegraph tells of Bruno N’Gotty’s move from Bolton to Birmingham on a free, and Reading’s failure to tie down Steve Sidwell – “reportedly the subject of a £2 million offer from Manchester City, whose manager, Stuart Pearce, yesterday reiterated his desire to keep midfielder Joey Barton at Eastlands.”

All good stuff, yet nothing compared to the Sun’s story that Marcello Lippi is set to work alongside his “longstanding friend” Alex Ferguson at Manchester United – who also, if reports are true, intends to hang onto his winking winger.

Yet the biggest news concerns an Old Trafford old boy and another United whose supporters believe it to be one of the four biggest clubs in the world. The United whose most recent trophy was the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969, and whose last domestic honour was the FA Cup, more than half a century ago.

Yes, it’s Newcastle United. They’ll be a-greetin’ down the Gallageet when they read the Star’s back page (“OWEN OUT FOR A YEAR”). But then they’ll wipe away the tears as they turn to the Daily Mail (“Newcastle go for Beckham”).
Yesterday we were told that Real Madrid were keen to tie Becks to a new three-year deal worth £75million.

Yet today the Mail publishes pictures of Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd and singing sensation Victoria Beckham emerging from Claridges. Discounting the more likely explanation (they were indulging in an illicit tryst), the paper concludes that David is Toonward-boond for 100 poond a week, a crate of Broon and a bottle of perfume for the weef.

The paper contrasts Beckham’s arrival in Madrid to the crowds at St James’s Park for the unveiling of Alan Shearer and Michael Owen. It concludes that the north-east has the edge. And there’s plenty there for “Posh Lass” too, with the Metro centre (Europe’s largest shopping complex) offering a choice to rival Madrid’s Calle Serrano.

Yes, it looks like Mr Football’s coming home. A season ends and a new one begins, and the Premiership is the place to be.

But what’s this? Theo Walcott pictured wearing a Brazil shirt? Well, with England on fire and ferocious competition for places, it’s probably the lad’s best chance of getting a game.

Posted: 7th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


The Number Of The Beast

Quotes Of The Day

“It was very bitter to get eliminated like that, one minute from time, but not undeserved. The Italians had better chances in extra time” – Germany’s Michael Ballack loses with good grace

“You are wondering how many people are watching this in how many pubs, clubs and houses and what will the manager think if I miss?” – Michael Owen explains what happens in the moments leading up to taking a penalty. (Perhaps England players should worry less about missing and imagine the thrill of scoring from the spot?)

“English players look at me and see the Devil” – Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo

“I’ve got the passion, but no idea of tactics. I’d be like a black Kevin Keegan” – Ian Wright considers the England job

"Zidane is probably the best player there has been in the past 20 years" – Italy coach Marcello Lippi works out how old the French star must now be

Puns Of The Day

“Fergie gets Lippi” (Sun) – Italy coach Marcello Lippi will join Manchester United’s coaching staff

“Look out for Theo Walnutt” (Sun) – Theo Walcott spotted in a Brazil shirt

“Fergie’s staying power” (Star) – Ronaldo will stay at United

“Roo row ref in final insult” (Mirror) – Horacio Elizondo, the referee who sent off Wayne Rooney, will officiate at the final

Posted: 7th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


United We Stand

Winners

Tony Blair thinks there should be a Great Britain football team at the London 20102 Olympics. “I think it would be a good idea,” says Tony. The England and Northern Ireland football federations support the idea, but Wales and Scotland do not.

England have a player in the World Cup final. Hurrah! AC Roma’s Simone Perrotta, who featured in Italy’s win over Germany, was born in Ashton-Under-Lyne, near Manchester. His parents, Francesco and Anna Maria, arrived in Lancashire in the mid-1970s to run a bar. So come on, Simone, it’s time to end 40 years of hurt.

The orange-coloured Wags are to get their own TV show. They will be challenged to open their own shops see who can take – not spend – the most money.

Losers

PR guru Max Clifford claims four leading Premiership players – one of whom is rumoured to be an international player – broke FA rules by betting on their own clubs last season.

How did Zinedine Zidane – three-time World Player of the Year – prepare for the semi-final against Portugal? By meditating? No. With yoga? No. By smoking a cigarette? Er…

A statue of Ronaldinho, erected in the south Brazilian town of Chapeio, has been burnt do the ground. Upset at their team’s defeat to France, vandals set fire to the 22-ft monument. “All that is left is twisted metal,” says a spokesman from the local town hall.

Posted: 7th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Becks Home

Football Gossip

Newcastle are interested in signing David Beckham for £120,000-a-week (Mail)

Marcello Lippi will become a coach at Manchester Utd (Sun)

Real Madrid are willing to pay £22m for Cristiano Ronaldo (Various)

Manchester City are prepared to offloads Joey Barton (Mail)

Italy’s Rino Gattuso wants to join Manchester United (Sun)

Birmingham have accepted a £5.5millin offer from Wigan for Emile Heskey (Mail)

Porstmouth and Sheffield United want Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Mail)

Reading’s Steve Sidwell is set for a move to Charlton in a £2.1m (Mirror)

Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse will sign for Marseille (Times)

Nicolas Anelka is interested in playing for Newcastle (Times)

Posted: 7th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Spot On

Quotes Of The Day

“I will never understand why Wayne Rooney was left to play up front on his own. To leave him without any support was asking too much” – Pele

“I have always said the presidents of each football association should take them [penalties] because the responsibility is so great” – Pele

"It’s lovely to see two strikers playing with each other" – David Pleat enjoys Germany’s Klose and Podolski partership.

“I have a dreaded feeling that we’re not gong to win the World Cup again” – Graham Taylor (and, no, he hasn’t applied for his old England manager’s job)

“We did everything possible but if you don’t score you don’t win the game" – Luiz Felipe Scolari accepts the simple truth of football

Puns Of The Day

“You’re not winking any more” (Mirror, Sun) – Ronaldo’s Portugal crash out

“Nice and ZZ does it” (Mirror) – Zinedine Zidane scores the penalty to take France into the final

“Zid’s spot prize” (Star)

“Zidane claims the spot prize” (Mail)

“ZZ top of the world” (Star)

“Simply Ze best” (Sun)

“We’re glad to see the bag of you” (Sun) – Sven Goran Eriksson jets off to Sweden

“On me dread” (Sun) – Jamaica want Sven as their new manager

Posted: 6th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Write On

Winners

Sepp Blatter, president of Fifa, has revealed three measures that he believes could improve refereeing standards at the World Cup. They include an amnesty on yellow cards after the quarter-finals, computer chips in the balls to determine if they cross the line and the introduction of two referees.

Coleen McLoughlin is getting over the disappointment of Wayne Rooney’s red card by doing what she does best: shopping. She was spotted in London’s Harvey Nichols department store investing £2,500 in a green snakeskin handbag.

Losers

Reports are that Steve McClaren’s staff have prepared a dossier for journalists. The hacks are divided into “pros”, “antis” and “don’t knows”. We are unsure how this will help England. Ideas in the form of a scribbled note to the usual address.

England were the only team in Germany that did not have sponsored training tops. Which is a scandal. Isn’t it?

David Beckham is no longer England’s skipper. And that could be bad news for the FA’s sponsorship department. Branding experts say the absence of the marketable one could cost the FA up to £20million.

Joe Cole burst into tears on a night out in London. While having a quiet drink in Faces club, in Gants Hill, Cole was approached by England fans keen to speak to him. He is said to have answered their questions politely but things soon became too much for him to handle. And he cried.

Posted: 6th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Harry’s Big Business

Anorak Gossip

Real Madrid say Roman Abramovich allowed them to discuss signing Dutch winger Arjen Robben (Sun)

Arsenal will secure the services of Argentine striker Javier Saviola for just £2m (Sun)

Arsenal are keen on Ghana’s Stephen Appiah (Express)

Spurs boss Martin Jol will offer £7.5m for Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing (Mirror)

Harry Redknapp’s Portsmouth will offer £13million for PSV Eindhoven’s Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan (Mirror)

David Beckham could well be offered a new three-year contract at Real Madrid (Sun)

Robbie Savage does not want to join Wigan (Sun)

Wigan want Birmingham’s Emile Heskey (Mail)

Hernan Crepso is in talks to join AC Milan (Mirror)

Kanu will quit West Brom (Mirror)

Shaka Hislop has joined FC (Dallas)

Posted: 6th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


England Expectorates

“YOU’RE NOT WINKING ANY MORE,” jeers the Daily Mirror, while the Sun, in similar vein but with a more restrained lower-case typeface, opts for “You’re not winking any more”.

Both appear above the predictably tearful Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured after Portugal’s defeat to football’s equivalent of the Rolling Stones – a French side who groaned “Start me up!” and roused themselves from retirement for one more tour.

It was Ronaldo’s misfortune to play last night’s match in front of a large contingent of England fans who had booked semi-final tickets in the hope that “The Boys of 06” would be appearing. They showed their appreciation for the tricky winking winger by booing and whistling every time he touched the ball, but this seemed to spur Ronaldo on, and he turned in a tremendous performance full of direct attacking play and imaginative athletic diving. Did it get him the man-of-the-match award in the English papers? Take a wild guess.

So the stage is set for a dramatic final between those two historical enemies, France and England. Yes, that’s right, it’s Zidane and Co versus Simone Perrotta’s boys. Perrotta, as we informed you the other day, hails from
Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, which also happens to be the birthplace of hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

“Englishman makes the World Cup FINAL,” announces the Sun. “Perrotta a Lancs lad.” We see pictures of “HIS HOUSE” (caption: “Humble beginnings”) and “DAD’S PUB” (caption: “The old Yates Wine Lodge”). The Lancs lad, whose family returned to Italy when he was six, reckons he still has “a little bit of England in me” (probably a piece of undigested gristle from a school dinner) and holds fond memories of a place where “it was always grey and raining”.

Simone reveals that he was eligible to play for England, but chose Italy. Did his Italian parents influence his decision? No – apparently his friends and family were happy for him to don the three lions. Yet “there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to play for Italy”. Looking at England’s current golden generation, he probably made the right choice, as it would have been unrealistic in the extreme to expect a place in the present squad.

How is Ashton-under-Lyne preparing for the final? Has the Coronation bunting been retrieved from the old biscuit tin and hung proudly aloft? Will there be street parties? “Sales of Italy shirts have been ‘nothing to shout about’,” says The Times, rather missing the point that Perrotta is ENGLISH, and that ENGLAND shirts have been selling rather well.

The paper spoke to the mayor of Tameside, councillor Margaret Sidebottom (crazy name, sensible lady), who says that if Italy win, the council might consider commemorating the contribution of The Man With the English Gristle Lodged in his Digestive Tract. “We’re proud of all our citizens, whoever they represent,’ avows Sidebottom. “I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the final and cheering him on.”

There might be a few more English citizens considering switching their football allegiances if the Mirror’s “GRIM VERDICT ON OUR FUTURE HOPES” is anything to go by. Former England supremo Graham Taylor reckons that England will emulate Scotland and regularly fail to qualify for tournaments. Of course, England didn’t regularly fail to qualify for the World Cup under Taylor – his impressive 100-per-cent failure rate was achieved through just one solitary attempt.

But he knows what he’s talking about. “I’m a very depressed Englishman at the moment,” he admits. “I have a dreaded feeling that perhaps we are not going to win the World Cup again.”

Come off it, chum! With the golden generation hitched to Steve “Magic” McClaren’s bandwagon, we predict nothing less than triumph in South Africa 2010. You read it here first.

Posted: 6th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


United They’re Not

Red-card fool Wayne Rooney faces a possible five-match ban from Fifa if he fails to apologise for his inexcusable sending off in the quarter-finale against Portugal (Mirror)

Liverpool remain interested in Birmingham’s Jermaine Pennant (Sun)

Cristiano Ronaldo has no intention of playing for Manchester United again (Mail)

West Ham will make a move for Chelsea’s Carlton Cole (Star)

Manchester City and Bolton want Liverpool’s Didi Hamann (Star)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been released by Middlesbrough; Celtic are interested is signing him (Mirror)

Martin O’Neill could be next coach of Australia (Star)

Cesc Fabregas wants to join Real Madrid (Mirror)

Reading are in for Ghana’s John Mensah (Mirror)

Posted: 5th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Losing It

Quotes Of The Day

“I’ve seen the video and it doesn’t look like Graham Poll refereeing. Any supporters, if they watch the last 10 minutes, would say it doesn’t look like Graham Poll referring, that’s true” – Graham Poll looks at that other Graham Poll, the fool who gave a player three yellow cards

“We had played quite a lot of the game with 10 men and I think we took the penalties in a tired way” – Peter Crouch explains why England had trouble hitting a ball 12 yards into a net

“Wayne will get some sort of revenge in training. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson will then say ‘you’re all square – get on with it’" – ex-Everton player Nigel Martyn looks at the Ronaldo-Rooney spat

“To win in their own backyard – there aren’t any words that describe what I’m feeling right now” – Italy’s Alessandro Del Piero enjoys beating the Germans

“A big compliment too to Italy, they are in the final and good luck to them" – Germany’s Juergen Klinsmann takes defeat with good grace

Puns Of The Day

“Roo la la!” (Star) – Back France to beat Ronaldo and those Portuguese

“Here oui go!” (Star) – More of the same

“Grosso is the bosso” (Star) – Italy’s Fabio Grosso scores the goal that matters

“Del boy’s joy” (Mirror) – Luverly jubberly for Italy’s Alessandro Del Piero

Posted: 5th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment