Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

Sports Category

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.

Spurs relinquish title of world’s greediest football club

Tottenham will not be milking the State, taking advantage of the government’s furlough scheme for some non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis. Following Liverpool’s belated relation that a corporation, sorry, football club, owned by a billionaire that makes millions in profits should not be seen to be so greedy, Spurs have seen the light. Says the Spurs chairman (pay: £7m a year):

“We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club.”

More marketing guff dressed up as sport every day….

As for what the new Spurs stadium will be without football, how about a toilet paper silo?

Posted: 13th, April 2020 | In: Money, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United plan to use coronavirus to get players on the cheap

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  coronavirus

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems like a decent bloke. But today the Mail tells us that the Manchester United manager has promised to behave with all the morals of, well, Spurs. “Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns rivals that Manchester United will ‘exploit’ the coronavirus mayhem to poach top stars when football returns, with Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish firmly in his sights,” says the Mail. In times of crisis the richest clean up. The story beings:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident Manchester United can ‘exploit’ the mayhem caused by coronavirus to secure their summer transfer targets. The United manager believes some clubs need to offload players after taking a financial hit during the crisis and it could work in their favour.

Here’s what he told Sky Sports (which might like to refund their customers a few quid owing to the lack of football):

“Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it’s very important we’re ready when that happens. We want to be the best at everything, and of course now is a chance to spend more time, you discuss players, discuss plans, we’ve evaluated what we need, of course with the coaching staff we’ve looked at games, evaluated games, discussing on video calls like this.” Asked whether United can exploit the market when football returns, Solskjaer said: “Then, the market, who knows how the market is going to react to this? Who knows which clubs need to sell players? There might be just a situation there where you can exploit, and I know that we at Man United, we are one of the biggest, and financially well off. I’m sure we are capable, when we get back to normality, that we can do the business that we want to.”

Charming. So much for the ‘football family’. Manchester United is just another big business driven by greed.

Posted: 8th, April 2020 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Matt Hancock wants us to hate footballers not him

UK health secretary Matt Hancock wants us to stop looking at him and look instead at footballers, those self-made, young athletes largely from working-class backgrounds. Says Matt Hancock: “Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I think the first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part”. Take a pay cut and pay less in taxes? Is that really going to work, Matt? And, Matt, mate, your colleagues are in the Tory Party and government not the NHS. You’re not a nurse or a hospital porter. Tucking your tie into your shirt does not make you a medical man.

Matt then went on the telly to add that “footballers [should] club together and support our hospices and support the national effort we’re all in”. Billionaire owners of football clubs, hedge fund managers and minted Tories can carry on regardless. It’s the footballers who need to dig deep and give until it hurts.

Like so many politicians before him, Hancock wants to portray footballers as role models and so deflect attention from his own worth. Some of the more slack-jawed players buy into the myth. Brighter players call it out for the utter tosh it is.

We call on poshos like the Matt Hancock family to take a pay cut, also: members of the royal family, everyone on the board of a FTSE 500 company and for our Olympic ‘heroes’ to sell their medals for the NHS. Anything less is treason.

Posted: 7th, April 2020 | In: Politicians, Sports | Comment


Liverpool back down leaving Spurs to win title of world’s greediest football club

Liverpool have listened to the fans and media who decried their decision to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave and take advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme to let the taxpayer pay 80% of their wages. Liverpool – owned by a billionaire and posting profits last season of £43m – will muddle along some how. Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Norwich City are sticking with their plans to furlough some non-playing staff. Bournemouth and Norwich are not big clubs. Newcastle are a basket case. But Spurs with that swanky new stadium and billionaire owner can afford it, surely? With Liverpool no longer doing the wrong thing, Spurs might be the world’s greediest football club. Finally, they win something.

Posted: 7th, April 2020 | In: Liverpool, Money, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is not a role model – he’s just a gilded bellend

Kyle Walker

“I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week,” says Manchester City and England footballer Kyle Walker. “I understand that my ­position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model.” No, Kyle, it really doesn’t. Your responsibility is to your employer and maybe your children, more of whom later.

Walker guffed out that apology after the Sun reported he’d allegedly hired two prostitutes to service him and a pal in his rented home a day before telling others how to fight the coronavirus. “Stay indoors, keep washing your hands, keep following the protocols and just protect the NHS,” said Walker. “It’s been tough, but first and foremost, we have to think about other people’s health and protecting the elderly and family members that can spread it.”

If Kyle is the role model he claims to be, right now thousands of his fans are pulling on gold-coloured Shine condoms and paying £2,200 in cash for on-the-clock sex with “classy” escort Louise McNamara, 21, and “a 24-year-old ­Brazilian call girl”. Although prices for both might have increased now they have scored a celebrity endorsement, men who wash their hands like Kyle and look to him for moral and medical guidance will be cracking open their piggybanks and gilding their knobs. Says Louise: “I didn’t know who he was at the time. But I took a few photos of him.” Thoughtfully, she shares them in the Sun.

Other things you can do to be like “role model” Kyle Walker, are, as the Sun also reports, to “split from long-term girlfriend Annie Kilner” after getting “model Lauryn Goodman pregnant”. Kyle is father to Annie’s three sons. He’s their role model.

Posted: 5th, April 2020 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs and Liverpool compete to be world’s greediest football clubs

Who decides on your pay cut to help the struggle against the coronavirus? Your employer? You? If you’re a professional footballer should it be up to The Professional Footballers’ Union, the players’ trade body led by the absurdly well-paid chief executive Gordon Taylor? The Premier League wants elite players to take 30 per cent reduction in wages. For the same reason that politicians call footballers role models, health secretary Matt Hancock wants top footballers to “take a cut and play their part”. Why? And why them and not, say, firefighters, teachers at private schools or Matt Hancock?

The PFA says:

“The proposed 30 per cent salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to the government. What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for the NHS? Was this considered in the Premier League proposal and did the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock factor this in when asking players to take a salary cut?”

Clubs like Norwich, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Spurs and Liverpool have applied to use the UK government’s furlough scheme to fund the wages of non-playing staff, without having first agreed cuts with their high-earning footballers.

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, is not impressed. “The public rightly expect highly paid footballers at top clubs to be asked to shoulder the burden of football clubs’ financial losses over the coming months, ” he says, “rather than those on modest salaries in cleaning, catering or security having to be supported by the taxpayer.”

Spurs and Liverpool are owned by billionaires. The Spurs owner is, as the Sun bills him, “the billionaire Spurs owner that lives on a boat worth £112m, gave The Nolans their first ever gig and counts Tiger Woods and Sean Connery as mates.” He needs your help to pay the bills. Liverpool owner John W. Henry is also a billionaire.

Meanwhile… Her Majesty the Queen (worth: lots) says we’re all in it together. Maybe her grandson, Prince William, chairman of the FA, can chip in to the football clubs’ fighting fund?

Posted: 5th, April 2020 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Ben Stokes and a cat called Loki in The Ashes at Headingley 2019

Adrian Mirfakhrai (@AdyMirf) has put his Covid-19 times to fine use with this video of Loki the cat and Ben Stokes playing The Ashes at Headingley in 2019.

Posted: 2nd, April 2020 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Rashford puts together a decent and dependable plan to get Jadon Sancho to Manchester United

Jadon Sancho Manchester United

England striker Marcus Rashford says he is “desperate” to play with Borussia Dortmund’s English forward Jadon Sancho, 20, at Manchester United next season. So says the BBC. The source for news of Rashford’s desperation is the Sun, which conjures the absurd headline: “Marcus Rashford desperate for Man Utd transfer target Jadon Sancho to form dream trio with him and Anthony Martial.” Apparently Rashford made a “plea” to play with Sancho.

What did Rashford actually say? Well, a fan asked him if he’d like to play with Sancho. Rashford answered:

“It would be good, Sancho’s a great player and he’s like a new generation player. It’s definitely exciting to watch him become the player he’s become. Hopefully we can all play together, that would be good. He plays off the cuff, he’s creative and imaginative, these are the things you need to be world class.”

The BBC and Sun’s stories are utter balls, then. Much like the earlier message about what Rashford told the Manchester United management. The Irish Independent claims Rashford told Solskjaer that Sancho is “decent, dependable and very much likes the idea of what the manager has been putting together”.

More utter balls as the papers try to keep their desperate organs alive every day…

Posted: 2nd, April 2020 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal ‘delight’ at Upamecano talk gets lost in translation

Upamecano

A bit of Arsenal transfer news in the BBC. The Gunners are “on course” to recruit Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig”. The 21-year-old French defender is “keen to move on this summer”. Well, if the BBC says he is, he must be. The source for the Beeb’s news is the Daily Star. “Arsenal target Dayot Upamecano informs RB Leipzig of transfer decision,” says the Star. And the decision will “delight” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The Star’s story is very short on facts. But it does cite its source, which is German newspaper Bild. “So Upamecano is planning his summer change,” says Bild, guessing that the Frenchman could head to Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Arsenal. And what did he say? “I will now focus first on RB Leipzig and then on what I want to do afterwards. But there are some clubs that like me. I will talk to my advisor and my parents about it at the end of the season. We will make the right choice.”

Bild’s source is Spanish site Mundo Deportivo. Its story was published on February 18. It took over a month to reach the Star. And MD’s story was based on something Upamecano told French radio station RMC on February 17. Mentions of Arsenal that will “delight” Arteta: nil. In fact Upamecano was invited by the journalist to talk about his future and merely said he was flattered to be linked to other clubs as happy at Leipzig. Listen to it here.

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Araenal ‘want’ £50m for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

No football. No problem. The BBC will continue to bring you football news. Today’s news is for all Arsenal fans because the Gunners are “resigned to losing striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30, this summer”. They are? The striker is of contract at the end of next season. Some reports say he wants £300,000-a-week to stay the club. The BBC’s news is that Arsenal want £50.7m for the Gabon international. Oh, and apparently only Barcelona are interested. Odd because just five days ago, the BBC reported: “Barcelona are preparing to end their interest in Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30.”

Might be an idea to check the sources of the BBC’s news. ‘Aubameyang stays’ is linked to the Express. In a story billed as an “EXCLUSIVE”, readers were told: “Barcelona are ready to end Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s dreams of swapping London for Catalonia this summer.” Is it his dream? Says who? Not the player. The paper adds: “Barca have told Aubameyang that he isn’t their priority with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez and a return of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain higher on their shopping list.”

Now the BBC’s source for ‘he’s leaving’. It’s Spanish website Sport. And like the Express its news is low on facts:

Barcelona met with Auba’s people in January to speak about his signing after they found out how long Luis Suarez would be out for.

Arsenal did not want to negotiate a figure and said the striker was not transferrable. His closest people were open to forcing a way out but Barca didn’t have the money for it at the time.

Now the message from Auba is the same. If they want him, they will have to push Arsenal to drive the price down. The English club do want to sell if he won’t stay, to stop him leaving for free in 2021.

They are unlikely to get in the Champions League so selling Aubameyang would be a lucrative business.

Arsenal spent 63 million euros on him in 2018, the most expensive player in their history. He has excelled there.

He’s isn’t. Arsenal bought Pepe for £72m. And here’s Auba last month: “I would also like to react to some of the rumours that are going around about me in the media. People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in! I am the Arsenal captain. I love this club. I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Coronavirus Cup bias: Liverpool to be awarded PL title and West Ham stay up

With top-flight football banned until April 4 at the earliest as the coronavirus bites, fair minds have been pushing their agendas. West Ham United’s vice-chairman Karren Brady insists that the Premier League season has to be declared void if no more fixtures are possible. “Sorry Liverpool,” says the woman to the table toppers and whose club is only out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference. “As games in both the PL and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void,” says Brady in her Sun column. “Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?” Can we guess? It is, she concedes, “A huge blow to Liverpool who might be robbed of their first title in 30 years.” But robbery is fine so long as it’s “fair and reasonable”.

But over in the Telegraph, we learn: “Liverpool are still likely to be crowned Premier League champions, even if the coronavirus crisis causes the season to be abandoned… a senior club executive revealed on Friday night that there was little ­opposition to awarding Jurgen Klopp’s men their first English title for 30 years following what threatened to be the longest suspension of the professional game since the Second World War.” An unnamed senior Liverpool FC executive says the Reds win the title because it seems likely they would have won it anyhow. Sport isn’t unpredictable. Liverpool won’t do a Devon Lock. Liverpool get the the Coronavirus Cup and the other teams get… Well, what? To applaud from their sick beds?

There are, of course, financial implications, wages and transfer debts must be paid and there is lost broadcast revenue,” says Brady, “lost matchday income but this pales into insignificance as the health and well-being of everyone must come first.” To say nothing of the cost of West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League, which she doesn’t.

Posted: 14th, March 2020 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal boss Arteta survives Coronavirus virus and has a Partey for £45m; Chelsea and Spurs resume Willian fight

Good news for Arsenal fans. Firstly, the Premier League looks like being cancelled. Having grossly underachieved this season under the likeable but hapless Unai Emery. Secondly, new manager Mikel Arteta says he’s “feeling better already” after contracting Coronavirus. And lastly, Arsenal are preparing to invest £45m for Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, 26. The Gunners will also try to nab Chelsea forward Willian. Spurs also want him. In 2013, the Brazilian looked set for Spurs until Chslea hijacked the deal. This is hiw the Guarfdian repor6ted gthe move:

José Mourinho made little attempt to hide his delight at hijacking Tottenham Hotspur’s move for Willian as the north London club raged behind the scenes about Chelsea’s £32m capture of the Anzhi Makhachkala forward representing a vendetta against them…

Mourinho’s gloating will have done little to soothe Tottenham’s anger. Rather than apologise for disrupting their plans, he revelled in snatching Willian from under their noses. He was initially vague, simply saying that he believed that the player had made his decision but when he was asked if that meant that Willian had chosen Chelsea, he made no effort to keep up the pretence. Instead he laughed and nodded…

“The best thing you can do is do the medical in secret” [said Mourinho].

The former Real Madrid manager was unable to resist one last dig at Tottenham. Asked whether he expected the deal to be completed without any complications, a mischievous grin spread across his face. “We have to do a medical,” he said.

Jose Mourinho is now manager at Spurs.

Posted: 13th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arteta and Arsenal catch Coronavirus: West Ham, Leicester, Portsmouth and Manchester City in turmoil; Liverpool doomed

Now that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus, surely the football season is over. Arsenal have closed their training ground and Arteta and all members of the first team squad have gone into isolation. Chances are that Arteta caught the virus when Arsenal played Olympiakos two weeks ago – Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has coronavirus, met a number of Arsenal players and staff after the match. Since then Arsenal have played West Ham and Portsmouth. What price their staff have also contacted the illness? On top of that, Leicester City players have gone into isolation, Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of his family was admitted to hospital displaying symptoms of coronavirus and Arsenal’s training ground is adjacent to Watford’s practice pitches. And what of all the media who cover the matches, attend press conferences and post-match interviews? The Premier League season must be cancelled. Hard luck on Liverpool, who lead the table, and sides vying for promotion in the Championship, but needs must.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Premier League: suspend season as Leicester players catch Coronavirus

After the N.B.A. suspended its season on Wednesday after one Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League is under pressure to call off the current football season as three Leicester City players get the bug. In Spain, La Liga has been suspended for “at least the next two rounds of matches” because the entire Real Madrid squad is into quarantine because of coronavirus.

“We had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs,” said Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers. “It would be a shame if the Watford game were postponed], but the public’s health is the most important in all of this. The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it’s obviously not the same.”

Time to call the season off. Hard cheese, Liverpool.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


The (Non) Fighting Cock: Eric Dier launches one man stands invasion at Spurs

Eric Dier crowd

Not long after Spurs lost at home to Norwich in the FA Cup, Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier dashed into the stands to confront a member of the self-described ‘Yid Army’ who he felt had “insulted” him. (No – he’s wasn’t going to fetch the ball after teammate Erik Lamela’s missed penalty.) Aside from the obvious point that few Spurs fans knew the big lummox could act with such pace and passion, what happened next was every bit as forgettable as a Dier performance on the pitch. A few videos of the moment appeared over Twitter. But aside from Dier moving forwards and fans moving sidewards to get a closer look, nothing occurred. Cantona’s kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace reminds the unsullied benchmark of ad-libbed pro-fan interaction.

Spurs’ thin-skinned manager Jose Mourinho was moved to tell media: “I think Eric did what we professionals cannot do but probably every one of us would do.”

Minds turn to Mourinho’s snide poke in the eye of an opposing coach when boss at Real Madrid match and being menaced by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Mourinho’s fighting prowess is pretty much on a par with players and fans of his latest club:

For those of who missed Eric’s moment of nothingness, here it is:

And for those of you want to see another Eric at it, here that is.

The Football Association and Tottenham are investigating the incident. Others are working out of Cantona (85) is still faster than Eric Dier (8).

Posted: 5th, March 2020 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal: Torreira is fine after Mike Dean says bad Portsmouth tackle was fair

Arsenal have suggested that Torreira wasn’t too badly hurt as the Gunners took on Portsmouth in the FA Cup. “Reports said he did not require a hospital visit,” says NBC. ESPN says Torreira told his father: “I wanted to tap it and grabbed my ankle on the outside. It twisted me, but I can move it. I’m fine.” Or as a website called the The Miracle Tech puts it via Google News: “The Miracle – Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira suffered a terrible injury during the first half of Arsenal’s match against Portsmouth.” Another site calls it a “horror injury”:

Torreira was taken off the pitch on a stretcher following a strong challenge from Portsmouth’s James Bolton. Was it a foul? Did Bolton use excessive force endangering the safety of an opponent? The Guardian called it “bad challenge”. Portsmouth FC called it “robust”. Referee Mike Dean gave no foul. The most pedantic ref in England thought it fair.

The Rules state:

The FA Rules

PLAYING IN A DANGEROUS MANNER

Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player themself) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.

The BBC notes:

A tackle happens in a blink of an eye and in that second, the referee must consider lots of factors. Was it careless? Did the player show a lack of regard for his opponent’s safety? Or did he use excessive force? There is also the state of the pitch, the conditions and the state of the game.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 2nd, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Mustafi will walk again

Mustafi injured
Tosh.com

When Shkodran Mustafi was substituted as Arsenal toiled to eventual Europa League defeat at the hand of Olympiacos, the vultures reported on his “hamstring injury”. The Arseblog blog saw a “hamstring strain”. The Evening Standard saw Mustafi depart the pitch with a “hamstring complaint”. The BBC said “Arsenal also lost defender Shkodran Mustafi to a hamstring problem”. Kenya’s The Star says “he did his hamstring”.

The Mirror milks it

The pick of the medial minds comes in the Mirror which reported on the injury “blow” and very soon after the injury “boost”. Yes. Mustafi is fine. He had cramp.

PS: No journalists behind the health bulletins are thought to have treated Mustafi.

Posted: 1st, March 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Jadon Sancho to Liverpool or Manchester United says clickbait insider

jadon sancho

Sky Sports says its reporter Kaveh Solhekol has the inside line” on Jadon Sancho’s future. Sky tweets: “@SkyKaveh has the inside line on Jadon Sancho’s future.” And the future is linking him with move to Liverpool. So what is the ‘inside line” from “The Insider”?

It is difficult to say where Jadon Sancho will be playing next season because so many clubs want him…

But The Insider knows:

Manchester United are confident they can get Sancho in the summer…

Bayern Munich would love to keep him in the Bundesliga…

…I was a betting man my money would be on Liverpool.

The inside line is that the insider doesn’t know where Sancho will be playing next season, but if he does leave Dortmund it will be very possibly for a big club with lots of money. You heard it here second, folks. And you can read it all over Google, too, where the thoughts of a man who doesn’t know are big news:

jadon sancho

Such are the facts…

Posted: 21st, February 2020 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Male and female football fans unite in demand an end to all-seater stadia

Safe Standing

With the Premier League now a made-for-TV sport, fans who actually bother to go to matches crave the noise, fun and camaraderie of what’s been lost. And that goes for women and men. Emily Broome, vice chair of the Huddersfield Town Supporters Association, puts the case for standing at the game.

Says @StandUpForTown: “When the powers that be were running out of arguments, they suggested that #safestanding areas would discourage women & girls from attending matches.  Here’s @embr00me asking them to drag themselves into the 21st century.”

“Safe standing”, or “standing” as it was called before football was repurposed as a problem, went out after the Hillsborough disaster. In 1989 the police and State colluded to falsely blame the 96 people who lost their lives. When the fans trapped behind the fences called for help, police called in the dogs. They tested bodies in the morgue for alcohol. Disgusting. Shameful. It wasn’t the victims. It wasn’t the survivors and the people who lost friends and loved ones that dreadful day. It was the presentation from the top of football as a “slum sport for slum people“. It was treating football fans as a problem, criminals-in-waiting and deserving of punishment. It was the State’s lust for control.

Now we want our game back. We want to stand if we want to.

Posted: 19th, February 2020 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: New Chelsea signing dreams of playing for Arsenal and picked Bayern Munich over Liverpool

“Well, I have two clubs. They are Arsenal and Barcelona. That is my ultimate dream.” So said Hakim Ziyech, the Ajax wing whose just agreed to join Chelsea for (£33.3m).

That’s not to say Ziyech won’t one day live his dream – nor is it to suggest that reporting on the Moroccan players is of any use. Here are some other things we’ve read about Ziyech in the trusty media:

“Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech has an agreement to leave the club this summer amid links to Everton and Liverpool” – HITC.com, 2018

“Liverpool boosted following Hakim Ziyech transfer revelation – Liverpool target Hakim Ziyech has agreed to leave Ajax for an unnamed club” – The Metro, July 2018

“Hakim Ziyech Agrees Personal Terms With Bayern Munich” – 90minutes.com, May 2019

“Ajax sensation Hakim Ziyech available for £25m as Moroccan star reveals move to Arsenal is his ‘ultimate dream’ so he can link up with idol Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mail, May 2019

“Ajax confirm Hakim Ziyech to leave” – May 2019, The Official Liverpool FC website

“Ajax boss confirms Roma will sign Hakim Ziyech” – Calciomercato.com, June 2019, –

“Hakim Ziyech Signs Ajax Contract Extension Amid Bayern Munich Transfer Rumours” – Bleacher Report, August 2019

February 2020 – Hakim Ziyech signs for Chelsea. Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: OEDS recasts Gooners and all Jewish football fans as ‘Yids’

kids spurs

A ‘Yid’ is a “supporter or player for Tottenham Hotspur” says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). That’s tough luck on Jews who support other clubs or don’t support football at all. We’re all ‘Yids’ now.

Spurs fans can call themselves what they like. They can sing what they want to. But for the rest of us Jews, it’s a bit odd, especially for us nice yiddisher Gooners. “Fee, fi, fo fun,” oozed the Chelsea fans in my ear once upon a time, “I smell Yiddish scum.” Now I understand the OED afficianado thought I was a Spurs fan – yeah, at the Chelsea v Arsenal game. What are the odds?

The OED, says ‘Yid’ or ‘Yiddo’ can refer to “a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur football club (traditionally associated with the Jewish community in north and east London).” The words are “originally and frequently derogatory and offensive, though also often as a self-designation.”

kids spurs

Spurs, aka ‘The Yids’, tell the Guardian: “As a club we have never accommodated the use of the Y-word on any club channels or in club stores and have always been clear that our fans (both Jewish and gentile) have never used the term with any intent to cause offence. We find the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word misleading given it fails to distinguish context, and welcome their clarification.”

Gooners regret the error. Non Spurs-supporting Jews await the hail, ‘Oi, Yid!’ – followed by the soon-be-routine explainer, ‘Sorry mate, thought you were a Spurs fan.”

Posted: 13th, February 2020 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United takes on the Sun – Liverpool fans nod

Manchester united the sun woodward

Loathed in Liverpool for its reporting on the Hillsborough disaster which saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives, could the Sun be about to lose Manchester, too? Manchester United have accused the Sun of receiving advanced notice of last month’s attack on the house of the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. “A smoke bomb and fireworks” were thrown towards his home and there were chants that he was “going to die”, reported the Sun. They were “disgusting scenes”.

United allege the Presence of a reporter “both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators”. Manchester United think the Sun had advanced notice of the attack. Say United:

“The Club believes that the Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.”

Incredible stuff.

Posted: 7th, February 2020 | In: manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The haunting opening credits to the Jimmy Greaves chat show (1988)

In 1988, Central TV hired former England footballer Jimmy Greaves to front a chatshow. The intro was interesting:

Jimmy featured “surprise guests” and a weekly progress report from Frank Bruno’s training camp. In February 1989, Bruno challenged Mike Tyson for the undisputed world heavyweight title. Bruno lost in three rounds. Jimmy lasted not much longer.

Posted: 6th, February 2020 | In: Celebrities, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Chelsea Transfer balls: a BBC masterclass in bullshit.com

Signs the BBC’s football ‘Gossip’ page writer has had enough of working at bullshit.com. Today’s rumour mill dust is an exercise in ‘question asked / question answered’.

In other words: nothing happened. There is no news.

Posted: 31st, January 2020 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal save £59m on Thomas Lemar

Arsenal have signed Spanish defender Pablo Mari for £7.5m from Brazilian club Flamengo. And now news is that they’ll follow that with the recruitment of nippy French winger Thomas Lemar. You may recall how on August 31 2017, Arsenal bid £92m for Lemar, then at Monaco. He never came.

Thomas Lemar Arsenal
Daily Express scoop!

But undaunted, the following month the Sun announced, the Gunners “are confident Thomas Lemar will arrive at the Emirates in a £92million move from Monaco in January”. That confidence was misplaced. He didn’t go anywhere. But Lemar did move the following summer, heading to Atletico Madrid for €60 million.

lemar Arsenal

And now news in the Mirror is that he’s going to join the Gunners for £33m – a mere £52m less than Arsenal agreed to sign him for in 2017.

Or not:

Lemar arsenal

Or yes:

Lemar Arsenal

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, January 2020 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment