Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.
Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus (or rather the guy who wears the suit, aka Jerry Quy) has been ‘let go’. Arsenal, owned by multi-billionaire absentee landlord Stan Kroenke, thinks hiring a man to play the role of the club’s oldest fan is too expensive. But thanks to his £350,000 weekly wage, Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil can afford to pay Gunnersaurus’s wages.
That Ozil chose to showcase his generosity on social media is grandstanding – and it runs the risk of antagonising his bosses. Arsenal have been trying to get shot of Ozil for ages. Will they now seek to end his tenure at the club in a get one get two out deal? Look out for Ozil and Gunnersaurus heading into the sunset for a new life together in Major League Soccer.
Stop Press: Arsenal say Gunnersaurus will now stay at the club. But Jerry Quy may not. Will Jerry shorn of his green furry suit hold the same attraction for Ozil? Is Jerry’s future brighter than Ozil’s? Will Mrs Ozil look as good in the massive green suit? Many questions. And as yet, not many answers.
Farewell, Gunnersaurus, we fear we shall never see your like again – well, not until Arsenal move stadium once more, downsizing to something more in keeping with the Covid-19 era, a large suburban garden, perhaps, or Prince Harry’s second lounge, and discover another ancient dinosaur egg buried under the patio. Arsenal have sacked Gunnersaurus, the giant green lunk. The man inside the suit has been told to get thee hence. His role will not be reprised by benched player Mesut Ozil nor Josh Kroenke, the club’s chairman and all round ‘You da man! Soccerball!! WOOP!’ sort of guy. Why Josh and his fellow beancounters did it, is impossible to fathom for many Gooners.
Manchester United 1 – Spurs 6. To reuse a quote by former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, one he used to dismiss the potency and threat of his side’s opposition: “Lads, it’s Spurs.” In this post, we’ll take a look at reporting on the match. With United trailing 2-1, United’s Anthony Martial was sent off in the 29th minute after an off-the-ball incident involving Erik Lamela.
The Manchester Evening Post says the incident “saw the Spurs player drop to the deck despite having instigated the altercation himself”. The altercation says Lemala aim an elbow at Martial, who responded with a tetchy brush of Lemala’s next. Lemala went down in stages. He then got up and sank to the floor again. To many observers it was an egregious act of playacting.
The Spurs website reports the mater thus:
Then came the sending-off incident in the 28th minute, Martial raising his hands into the face of Lamela and the referee awarded a straight red card to the United man.
No word on any altercation, of what went before.
Has Lucas Torreira left Arsenal for a new dawn in Spain with Atletico Madrid? The Mirror says he has:
After the Google bots have picked up the Mirror’s story, the paper writes:
Arsenal have reportedly agreed a loan deal with Atletico Madrid for Lucas Torreira.
Says the Mirror:
La Liga giants Atletico moved to the front of the queue to sign the midfielder for the season, and according to Spanish publication AS, have now agreed a deal with Arsenal.
We click the Mirror’s link and head over to AS. We read:
Lucas Torreira, a punto
El centrocampista uruguayo está muy cerca de convertirse en nuevo jugador del Atleti. Sin embargo, la operación está sujeta a salida de Herrera.
Which translates as:
The Uruguayan midfielder is very close to becoming a new Atleti player. However, the operation is subject to Herrera’s departure…for the signing to take place, Hector Herrera’s exit must first be closed.
So AS has not reported the deal is done. The Mirror is talking rubbish. But the Googl bots like it so lots of easy traffic for the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.
When Eric Died dashed from the pitch during Spurs Carabao Cup match with Chelsea, his manger, Jose Mourinho, was in hot pursuit. Dier needed the toilet.
The Standard’s James Olley was at the press conference:
Mourinho on Dier: “With Eric you can imagine what happened. I knew it, I was just pushing him to come back as soon as possible because [we had] no more changes and one player less. It was the consequence of something not human that he did [playing dehydrated & tired].”
Imagine getting man managed whilst taking a dump? From Special One to Number 2.
West Ham United manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen have tested positive for Covid-19. All were banned from playing in West Ham’s Carabao Cup tie against Hull City tonight at the London Stadium. They must now self-isolate for 14 days. And that means big problems for the club third from bottom in the Premier League with no points from two matches played. And it means problems for their last PL opponents Arsenal, who played them just three days ago. Diop played the full 90 minutes. Moyes was in the dugout. This football season has a long way to go. And it might not make it to the end.
“Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Tottenham on Wednesday night in a move that was driven by Jose Mourinho.” So declares the Daily Mail in a story that in the Express is reduced to the status of strong rumour.
The Express says Bale joining Spurs for £20m (the Mail says the loan fee from Real Madrid is £13m) completes the “jigsaw” and makes Spurs complete. The Star agrees that Bale is the “final piece” in the jigsaw. There’s Bale just slotting in below Spurs and England player Deli Alli – the player the Mail says is to leave the club.
And in the Guardian, there’s Bale looking up as Alli departs, doubtless wondering how Jose Mourinho will react to discover someone has removed a big bit of his jigsaw:
Such are the facts.
Who made the call that 31-year-old Gareth Bale should go back and play for Spurs? His agent, Jonathan Barnett, who tells the BBC: “Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years”? Was it Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, who now presides over a club £1bn in debt for a stadium emptied of fans; a team that looked bereft of direction in an opening day defeat to Everton; a transfer policy that failed to buy Jack Grealish from Aston Villa; and who could be blinded by the sun glinting off the trophies won by local rivals Arsenal? Or how about Jose Mourinho, the manager who is at pains to make himself the centre of the story of Bale to Spurs? Get a load of this self-aggrandising guff when Mourinho was asked about signing Bale:
“He is a Real Madrid player and I don’t comment on players from other clubs. I have to respect that. It’s better not to speak.”
Better, yes. But not what Mourinho chooses to do:
“I tried to sign him for Real Madrid, which was not possible to do during my time there. But the president followed my instinct and my knowledge and the season I left he brought Gareth to the club. It’s not a secret, even Gareth knows that. A squad is a puzzle and when a new signing completes the puzzle it’s great for the team.”
Only Jose Mourinho can save you from Jose Mourinho. Remember when he was using his influence to et Bale to play for Manchester United?
Such are the facts.
Jack Grealish has signed a new five-year contract to remain at Aston Villa. That should come as something of a shock to Spurs fans who get there news from the Bleacher Report:
…the club is set to make a bid the Villans will be unable to turn down, according to the Mirror’s James Nursey.
And according to Nursey: “Tottenham have won the race for Jack Grealish.” And according to an expert the Standard considers in the know, Grealish to Spurs is still on – it’s his “only” option:
Spurs bid £25m for Grealish, says the Mail. Although some reports suggest the opening bid was £3m, rising to £6m before Spurs pulled it back to £4m at the 11th hour. Villa wanted closer to £40m. Whatever the value the Spurs bid was or wasn’t, Villa rejected it.
“It was really close,” Grealish told the BBC at Bodymoor Heath in 2019. “I thought the Hull City game was going to be my last game [for Villa] but one thing led to another and I didn’t end up going.”
So much for Spurs having “won the race” for Grealish.
Having splurged £230m on lots of new players, Chelsea have a new shirt for fans to pull on and dress like their heroes. It’s a “new legacy,” guffs the marketing drivel. “One for the sneakerheads, inspired by the 1990s Ultramarine Air Max 180,” continues to blurb. (No, me neither.) “The 20/21 Nike Third kit is here!” “Finally!” yells Wayne in Surrey. The long wait is over. Although Wayne and his Home Counties Chelsea-supporting pals could have just bought a Crystal Palace kit.
Chelsea FC – they used to be a football club.
Dani Ceballos is all set to rejoin Arsenal for a second season-long loan from Real Madrid. The Guardian says Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta called the player to convince him to play for the Gunners once more. So much for The Metro’s news that Ceballos “snubbed a potential return to Arsenal and has told Real Madrid that he wants to join Real Betis”. He hasn’t. He didn’t. The Mail said he “asked Real Madrid to return to his boyhood club”. That too is balls. Mundo Deportivo, the Spanish site, told us that Ceballos has “made his decision clear” – it is Betis or nothing. As ever, we can read the Spanish news through the Google Translate mangle:
…his participation in the next European Championship could be a chimera, so he wants go to a team in which he can play regularly and Real Betis is his favorite, as he has made known in the offices of Concha Espina in the event of being on loan again.
In other news: Gabriel Magalhães is soon to arrive at Arsenal from Lille.
Sports Movies: The Top 3 Comedy Films
The unpredictable nature of sports undoubtedly makes it the perfect vehicle for the Hollywood movie industry to work with.
If you throw some comedy into the mix you are likely to be onto a winner, particularly if the back story is one that audiences can identify with.
Betting firm Betway recently studied the sports movie genre and suggested that for a film to be great the viewer must be able to fully buy-in to what they are watching on screen.
With humour playing an important role in daily life it comes as no surprise to find that there are some truly memorable sports movies with a comedic twist. Here’s three of our favourites.
The Big Lebowski
This Coen Brothers classic is rated by IMDb.com as one of the most popular sports movies of all-time and it is easy to why.
The movie focuses on the exploits of Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), an unemployed layabout who is better known as ‘The Dude’.
He spends his days sipping White Russians and night-time at the bowling alley, while his mind spends most of its time reminiscing about Woodstock.
With John Goodman, Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi amongst a superb supporting cast, The Big Lebowski is an absolute joy to behold.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
White Goodman (Ben Stiller), the founder of Globo Gym, is a fitness freak who wants to expand his empire by buying Average Joe’s Gymnasium.
Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) doesn’t want to lose his gym to Goodman, but he needs to raise $50,000 to fend off the hostile takeover.
LaFleur and his pals decide to enter a dodgeball tournament, but Goodman hits back by forming his own team to try and scupper their chances.
With the help of dodgeball legend Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), LaFleur’s team set about trying to save Average Joe’s. Will they succeed? Watch the movie to find out!
Slap Shot was first released more than 40 years ago, but audiences and critics were not enamoured with the bawdy humour and violence contained in the movie.
However, it has since been acknowledged as one of the greatest sports movies ever made, with viewers finally wising up to how perfectly it encapsulated many aspects of the 1970s.
Starring Paul Newman as player/coach Reggie Dunlop, the film focuses on the trials and tribulations of the Charlestown Chiefs – a club in danger of going out of business.
Dunlop spices things up by signing the child-like Hanson Brothers – a trio of hockey goons who help to transform the team’s fortunes in hilarious fashion.
Leeds United have invested a club-record fee of £26m in former Bolton Wanderers hopeful Rodrigo. The Brazil-born Spanish international, 29, joins Leeds from Valencia on a four-year contract. The signing breaks Leeds’ previous record transfer – the £18m they paid West Ham for Rio Ferdinand in 2000.
Rodrigo’s arrival is what pundits call ‘a statement of intent’ – the intent being not be relegated from the Premier League having spent 16 seasons trying to get back into it. Leeds were by far and away the best side in the Championship for the past two seasons, contriving to miss promotion two years ago but securing it last season. Marcelo Bielsa has moulded an exiting team. But up front they need help. Patrick Bamford is a talented player but lacks the pace and guile to regularly challenge top-flight defences. Rodrigo it is, then. He should be enough to keep them above fellow promoted sides, Fulham and West Brom, both decent bets for relegation.
Harry Maguire, the Manchester United, has been found guilty in a Greek court of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult. United say he will remain their captain. Maguire says he’s innocent and will appeal the sentence of 21 months, 10 days in prison, suspended for three years. What was a minor incident on a Greek island is all over the news because Maguire is famous. And for that reason Greek lawyer Dr Ioannis Paradissis is invited to address the nation via BBC Radio 4. The prosecutor representing Maguire’s apparent victims tells the Today Programme:
“…[my clients] told me they are still waiting for an apology and they haven’t heard any and this is what I find quite shocking and quite unsportsmanlike, because fair play means when I’ve done something wrong, I apologise.”
It’s personal, no? Maguire might well be a berk, but when the prosecutor goes on the radio and alludes to the famous face’s job as playing some part in the incident, things look a bit odd, unfair even. Why should Maguire be “sportsmanlike” in a criminal court? It’s not sport. He’s not contesting the ref’s decision. He’s appealing a serious criminal conviction.
On becoming the world’s costliest footballer in 2016, Paul Pogba told us “the time is right to go back to Old Trafford”. Pogba left Manchester United in 2012 for £1.5m, flourished at Juventus and rejoined the Premier League club for £89m. Four years on and which club got the better side of the deal is plain to all but the deliberate controversialist.
The huge fee surpassed the sum Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale. The Welshman is pretty much surplus to requirements at Real and keen to tell the club where they rank in his affections – remember his banner: ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order’. But Madrid fans would be hard-pressed to claim Bale has not been worth the money. Bale’s breathtaking overhead volley in the 2018 Champions’ League final was the stuff of dreams. When and where he scored it elevates the goal and the player to the greats. Now to Pogba…
Can you recall a moment when the Frenchman starred in a big match? Unveiled at United in a glitzy marketing-led promo video, a red devil marked into his hair, Pogba’s best moment in a United shirt was signing the contract that marked his return.
His current deal haas two years left to run, if United trigger a 12-month option next year,. Rather than waving at Real Madrid, Mina Raiola, the player’s agent, has told Sky Italia that his client will be staying at Manchester United. “Pogba is staying at Manchester United and I think they want to extend his contract,” said Raiola. “He is at the centre of an important project, they will not accept any bid for him this summer.”
In short: In light of the Pandemic, Real Madrid cannot afford Pogba. So let’s see if United will panic and keep their overrated player at the club at all costs.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been spending part of his summer hols in a police station on the Greek island of Syros. United say Maguire is “fully co-operating with the Greek authorities” following an “alleged incident” on the neighbouring island of Mykonos. The Greek authorities claim Maguire was one of “three foreigners” arrested after an altercation with police officers.
The Sun says Maguire reports the allegation that on “a boozy break” to a “flash” resort, Maguire “punched a cop and tried to bribe officers in a bust-up in Mykonos”.
We hear from Mykonos Police spokesman Petros Vassilakis:
“All of the three were arrested but during the effort to do so, the other two, including the football player, got violent also. They threw down at least two policemen, hit them with their fists and kicked them.
“I can’t tell you what they were telling us. All English swear words against the authorities and against the work of the police.”
The Mail’s report has the Greek police spokesman talking about swings and roundabouts:
Maguire is to appear before a local prosecutor Saturday morning at 11.00am. Maguire’s lawyer said he denies all wrongdoing.
Arsenal are “closer than ever” to agreeing a deal with Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes, 22, says the BBC. The source for this story is L’Equipe. The website offers no source for its information, stating only that the “southpaw and the Gunners have never been so close to an agreement, which is due in the coming hours.’ How may hours is unspecified. and that’s just as well for the Sun which is playing both sides of the story.
On the blue bit of North London, Spurs are looking to re-sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, says the BBC.
Or as the Manchester Evening News put it on March 8 2019:
Gareth Bale has reportedly bought a house in Manchester and agreed personal terms with Manchester United ahead of a potential transfer this summer.
And in May 2018 the Daily Express told us of a bold “claim” – presented as an SEO-friendly fact:
And as the sun out it in January 2020:
Bale has not agree to rejoin Spurs. He also hasn’t agreed to join Manchester United, Liverpool or Yeovil. Yet.
It’s enjoyably odd that the better bits of the video launched to herald the arrival of a new Arsenal kit features a former player with no kit on – a naked David Seaman – and a current player Kieran Tierney with a plastic shopping bag.
Arsenal have sacked Raul Sanllehi from his job as – get his – “head of football”. The new head of football is managing director Vinai Venkatesham, who used to work as an oil trader. “Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future,” says Sanllehi, who arrived from Barcelona three years ago. “I’m proud and pleased with my contribution over the past three years.”
He joined Arsenal in November 2017, a replacement for the terrible Ivan Gazidis, the American whose talk of leading a “catalyst of change” under the god-awful Kroenkes saw the post-Wenger Arsenal tumble down the Premier League table.
Sanllehi’s departure coincides with the club’s internal investigation into how and why they signed Nicolas Pepe, 25, from Lille for £72m. Sanllehi was part of the key team that recruited the hapless but likeable Unai Emery. Arsenal have demolished their scouting network and turned for help in recruitment matters to agents. What could possibly go wrong?
Jadon Sancho will not join Manchester United this summer, says the BBC. He will remain a Borussia Dortmund player. The German club’s sporting director Michael Zorc tells everyone: “We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season. The decision is final. I think that answers all our questions.”
Or as the papers put it: the deal is on! But how much is the transfer fee? And how much will Sancho earn at Manchester United? The papers have all the facts:
Such are the facts.
You know the routine by now, of course. The newspapers report that a A-list player (Reus / Benzema / Zaha) is on his way to Arsenal for a huge fee. We reached peak balls with the Sun’s story that Arsenal had actually signed Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid. It was utter tosh. The story is still live on the Sun’s website. The papers are shameless in their pursuit of clicks. Bad reporting – fake news – is part of the process. Shout out enough rumours as fact and eventually you should be right once. You can then advertise yourself as the paper with the inside track on transfers. You read it here first. So to the news that Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal is done! He has agreed.
The papers say Coutinho has “agreed” terms to join Arsenal from Barcelona. The Mirror, Sun and talkSport agree on news of his agreement.
And having said Coutinho has agreed to be a Gunner, the Mirror invites Matin Keown to tells readers his “three reasons why Arsenal are making correct Philippe Coutinho decision”. That decision is explained: “Mirror Sport understands Arsenal have opted to sign only the latter as soon as his contract at Chelsea expires at the end of the month.” What readers can “understands” from reading the Mirror is that you can say pretty much anything and pass it off as fact.
The nonsense is so ripe that if you can play Google, you can pass off a fake photo of Coutinho in the Gunners kit as fact and shout, “Philippe Coutinho – Welcome to Arsenal 2020”. Such an image is one of the key search results for ‘Coutinho Arsenal’ on Google:
And in place of no news, other news sources can say because Coutinho has not signed, any deal has been cancelled. Get this in the Mail:
On August 8, the Mail said Arsenal have ended their interest in Coutinho. The same day as the Sun was reporting: “The £145m former Liverpool star will arrive at The Emirates in a season-long loan deal – after a whistle-stop tour of their training ground.”
Such are the facts.
It’s transfer season and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho wants to be with people who love him. “Everyone knows there is a very strong rapport between [Juventus manager Maurizio] Sarri and Jorginho after five years working together, I’d be a hypocrite to deny that,” the players’a agent, João Santos, tells the Telegraph. “But I also want to remind you that Jorginho has three years left on his Chelsea contract.” Thanks for reminding us.
Declan Rice’s agent has yet to go public with how many years are left on the player’s contract at West Ham (it’s 4), or that he is on the relatively miserly sum of £30,000 a week. But Chelsea and their manager, former Hammer Frank Lampard, want the player and will need to offer around £60m to get him.
That a footballer on the kind of weekly wage some Chelsea players earn in a day can command such a huge transfer fee will surely not have escaped Rice’s agent. Another four years at West Ham would potentially cost his man a fortune. The transfer season is not just about the players – it’s that time when players look at what other players are getting and wonder about getting a new agent.
Rice may well flutter his eyelashes at Willian’s Mr 10%. The brilliant Chelsea and Brazil winger, 31, has agreed a three-year deal with Arsenal worth £100,000 per week, says ESPN. That’s not too shabby. You could get around 55 non-playing staff for that mind of money.
Thursday nights remain good telly night for Arsenal fans thanks to the club winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Europa League. When you’re holding the Cup all the suffering doesn’t quite go away because Arsenal finished 8th in the Premier League. And they’re looking to bolster their strange squad – how many average centre backs can one team have? – by recruiting Chelsea’s brilliant winger Willian, 31, Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, 28, and Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Thomas Partey, 27.
As Arsenal fans dream of replacing the irritating Matteo Guendouzi, expensive Mesut Ozil, limited Sead Kolasinac, likeable Sokratis Papastathopoulos and plodding Shkodran Mustafi, team captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tells Le10 Sport he’d like to play alongside Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele, 23. So you can add Alexandre Lacazette to the fire sale.
The obvious need for a towering, fast centre back means the Gunners are looking to recruit Sevilla’s Diego Carlos. Here’s Carlos, then with Nantes, keeping his cool as the referee loses the plot:
Media Bias: A look at biased football reporting. Arsenal won their 14th FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Chelsea. The game featured a penalty (VAR approved) and a red card, both given in Arsenal’s favour. What say the clubs’ websites.
Chelsea: “a good Arsenal pass from the back sent Aubameyang away behind the Chelsea defence and onside this time. Azpilicueta gave chase but was judged to have fouled the Arsenal skipper as he entered the box and a penalty was awarded.”
Arsenal: “Kieran Tierney put Aubameyang away with a fine ball up the left. The Gabon international was hauled down by Cesar Azpilicueta in the box – penalty.”
The Red Card:
Chelsea: “Our Cup final prospects took another blow soon after when Kovacic was booked for a second time and was therefore sent-off. It was hugely debatable whether his contact with Xhaka’s foot warranted a yellow.”
Arsenal: “Matteo Kovacic was sent off for a second bookable offence”
The Hot Debate
Chelsea: “Another question was whether the Arsenal keeper later handled the ball outside of his penalty area when claiming a ball during the second half. He went unpenalised.”
Arsenal goalkeeper Martinez did not handle outside the area – which is why it wasn’t penalised.
Such are the facts.
Let’s kick off this morning look at football transfer news in the media with the BBC’s ‘Gossip’ page. The State broadcaster’s headline is clear: “Transfer rumours: Sancho, Costa, Jimenez, Ceballos, Harrison, Aubameyang.” Before the rumours the fact: the name of Arsenal’s stellar striker, Aubameyang, appears in the headline only.
The striker is nearing the final year of his current Arsenal deal. Will be stay on? He’s 31 and looking for a three-year deal. He’ll get it. But the stories of any departure and interest from Juventus, Barcelona, Manchester City and more will keep the clicks coming. Why does the BBC need to do this? The BBC website hurts local news sites and now seems to want to take the traffic from football blogs and clickbait farms. The BBC is funded by a tax. Is this value for money? An attempt to be all things to all people?
The newspapers need clicks. Traffic is up but ad revenues are down. The Mirror says Borussia Dortmund’s England winger Jadon Sancho, 20, “may” have to instigate a move to Manchester United. Or he may not. The Star syas because Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz, 33, was terrific against Manchester City in the Gunners’ 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win, manager Mikel Arteta “could” decide not to try to sign a brilliant, young, fast, reliable and strong centre half. Or he coild wait a few moments, look on as Luiz makes a hash of a routine clearance and realise he should buy urgently.
Oh, and Dani Ceballos wants to stay at the club. The Spaniard is playing lovely football in the sun. But British football is mostly played under rain and cloud, conditions in which Ceballos has shone less brightly. Buyer beware.