Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 30

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.

Arsenal versus Cologne balls: German ‘army invades’ London and media prays for blood

Good fun in Soho as a large contingent of Cologne fans marched along singing their songs. The police didn’t kettle them, send for the attack dogs nor smash their heads in. And so about 20,000 Cologne fans clutching 2,900 tickets between them arrived at The Emirates for the club’s match with Arsenal.

They can’t all get in. So the match has been delayed.

Has there been any bother, then? Lots of fighting and broken class? Patio furniture tossed about the place and blood on the pavement?

A Met Police spokesman tells us: “At around 15:00hrs on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street, W1. The group were at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.  They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests. The group has now left the area.”

Bit of a laugh, then. A few berks throw bottles but that’s about it. No more  (surely much less  – ed) than the high spirits you see at rugby matches.

So how does the Daily Mail report on the joyful rowdiness?

Germans invade London: Fights break out as an army of 20,000 Cologne football fans march through centre of the capital as kick-off of Europa League match with Arsenal is DELAYED for ‘crowd safety’

An invading army! The Mail’s ‘Crime Correspondent’ begins his report thus:

Violence erupted onto the streets of London after an army of German football fans marched through the centre of the capital.

Carnage! Or as the small print notes: “footage later emerged of two men being punched and kicked in a street during clashes.” Two men fighting. Call of the RAF. Stand down the nuclear submarine. The war might over as soon as the Hans and Jurgen tire.

At the Ground.

Well, a load of Cologne fans seems to be in the Arsenal end. Good-oh. Lots of atmosphere for a change.

 

And finally… get his down to forensics!

PS – Arsenal fans are flogging their tickets to Cologne fans.

PPS: Reports that Cologne fans arrived yesterday to reserve their sets with towels as yet unproven.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Conte walks, counting your roosting chickens and the sack race

Chelsea are playing with power and pace. Undefeated since the Premier League’s opening day – and with every game since a victory – the champions are looking strong. The Daily Mirror’s Darren Lewis has noticed:

Chelsea’s critics were at it on Deadline Day. Never mind that boss Antonio Conte had proved them wrong before, by turning Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses and David Luiz into title winners.

A pox on those clueless critics. Like the wally who on August 13 wrote:

The trouble this time is that the chickens are coming home to roost after Antonio Conte ’s champions failed to build from a position of strength… Someone, somewhere has dropped the ball. As it stands, Chelsea have now been beaten in three ­official games since winning the title last season: the FA Cup final, the Community Shield and now this.

On August 17 some knee-jerker wrote:

It is a continuing crisis for a man knee-deep in it this summer:

Cost was on his way out the door:

The biggest fear is that the man who did so well to win so many people over in his debut campaign last season, could walk away…

All Darren Lewis, of course, who get a sympathetic ear at the Mirror, which seems to have it in for the likeable Conte. On August 6, John Cross warned Conte:

Antonio Conte should fear the Community Shield curse after vulnerable Chelsea’s Wembley defeat to Arsenal. The Wembley curse is hanging dangerously for a third year running with Antonio Conte fearing he could become the latest victim.

The last two managers – Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho – to win the title were both sacked midway through the following season after also losing the Community Shield.

And on August 14, Matt Lawless added:

Antonio Conte won title – and could now win sack race! Bookmakers think Chelsea boss will be axed first

“Antonio Conte is already clinging to his job,” opined one caption.

It’s almost as if you can’t judge an entire season on one performance.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


From Real Madrid to Liverpool: Marco Asensio’s pimple and the steady emasculation of footballers

Real Madrid began their Champions League title defence with a routine win over APOEL. And they did it without Marco Asensio, 21, who has a pimple on his leg. Asensio’s manager Zinedine Zidane told media: “[Marco has] a pimple… which stopped him pulling up his socks.”

Asensio’s pimple, says local Madrid press, is a result of his shaving his legs.

Marco Asensio missing a match because a pimple got infected whilst shaving his legs might well be the most modern football story ever. We only hope it doesn’t get worse for Asensio when his teammates find out:

 

asensio pimple nivea

 

Footballers live on a diet of creams, depilated, patent skin and self-tanning unguents. Liverpool FC’s players don’t take two bottles into the shower, most likely preferring to take about ten into the almond milk bath before air drying in a wind of imported Fiji Breeze and enrobing their skin and hair in liquidised baby foreskins.

 

 

But it’s not just footballers. Man is falling in that most hairy-knuckled of spots: rugby. Gone are the days when the best you could hope for in a rugby union changing room was a bar of coal tar soap and a turd in your kit bag. Now you are more likely to find a range of hair and skin care products.

 

nivea real madrid leinster

 

O tempora, o mores!

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Crystal Palace balls: Sam Allardyce gets a call

The Sun has big news for fans of Crystal Palace, the goal-shy Premier League team. Frank de Boer has been sacked. His managerial record at Palace reads: played – 4; lost – 4; goals scored – nil.

But who will replace Mr 100%. Well, it’s Roy Hodgson, the former England manager, who yesterday joined Palace on a two-year contract. The Sun suggests that Roy got the job only after Palace had offered it to one of their former mangers, Sam Allardyce.

 

the sun sam allardyce crustal palace

 

Says the paper:

Sam Allardyce reveals he has received a phone call about taking over at Crystal Palace

He did? No. He didn’t. Click the link and readers are transported to the paper’s story, which informs them:

Allardyce took a phone call from Palace chairman Steve Parish… seeking his thoughts on what the club should do next.

The former England boss was not offered the job, but Parish was quick to seek advice from the 62-year-old when the position became vacant.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil leaves on a free having ‘signed a new deal’ in August

Time for a spot of transfer balls – our look at rubbish football reporting. The Sun says Mesut Ozil  is “set to leave Arsenal next summer on [a] free”. He “will NOT sign [a] new contract”. Well, so say “reports in Germany”. We can find only one of those reports, and it’s in Bild, the German tabloid. We’ve put the story through Google Translate and can now let you know:

The future of national player Mesut Özil is still unresolved.

So, Ozil might stay at Arsenal, then. It continues:

According to information from SPORTBILD, since February 2017 there has been no negotiations with the “Gunners” over an extension of the end of the season ending contract.

At that time they talked about a new working paper with a higher salary (estimated currently: 9 million euros), then Arsenal broke the talks off. Background: Arsène Wenger had contact with PSG at that time. The Londoners lacked the planning certainty, as it was not clear how the coach would go on.

Since then, no longer talked about an extension with Ozil. The fact that a new contract with a basic salary of 280,000 euros per week, as is reported, is not true.

Contract talks were postponed in February because Wenger had yet to commit to a new deal. And Ozil was not offered €280,000 a week to stay at Arsenal.

Which rather makes you wonder if either Bild or the Sun can be believed. After all, according to the Sun, Ozil signed a new deal in August:

 

the sun ozil

 

In fact, he signed a new Arsenal deal in 2016:

 

ozil agrees the sun

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Yid Army: Spurs fans should rejoice at Chelsea stupidity

spurs yids

 

So terrible was the sound of Chelsea fans hailing (surely heil-ing? – ed) new striker Alvaro Morata with a song about him hating “The Yids” that the Football Association is launching an investigation. How it means to investigate the chant directed at Spurs and its self-styled ‘Yid Army’ is unsaid. But reports abound that the FA contacted Chelsea in an effort to identify the individuals singing the song. The Telegraph adds that the FA is also expected to seek talks with “other authorities”, such as the Church of England, perhaps, the UN and the thought police.

 

 

It had all been looking so promising. Chelsea appealed for their fans to stop singing the song because it upset Morata. “We’ve spoken to Alvaro after the game,” said Chelsea’s spokesman. “He does not want to be connected with that song in any way and both the club and the player request the supporters stop singing that song with immediate effect.”

This was grown-up stuff. No need for the police to get involved.

Chelsea appeared to recognise that fans create their own rules and solidarities. Some Tottenham Hotspur supporters formed the Yid Army, a group proud of the club’s large contingent of Jewish fans in an historically Jewish area using ‘Yids’ and ‘Yiddos’ to empower. I know of a fair few Jews who having faced real and violent anti-Semitism find the punchy sounds of ‘Yid Army’ and the rolling ‘We are the Yids/ We are the Yids / We are the Yids are we’ enjoyable. Some Chelsea fans joined the National Front, hurled abuse at black footballers and sang songs about gassing Jews. You pick your side and go with it.

And here’s the thing: not every Chelsea fan who says Morata hates the Yids is a full-on Nazi. They are most likely not anti-Semitic, either. In the context of football rivalry the Chelsea fan seething about ‘Yiddish scum‘ is not doing so because he’s a white supremacist, jihadi or far-Left activist calling for the systematic extermination of world Jewry. What drives the vast majority of Chelsea fans hymning Morata is the heartfelt desire to see Spurs fail.

Deprived of a proper local rival, Chelsea fans have scouted around other London teams and found Spurs to their liking. It is Spurs’ fellow North Londoners Arsenal, of course, who are the Lilywhites true rivals, and it’s largely down to Chelsea’s Jewish owner Roman Abramovich’s billions that the Blues have escaped those traditional big derby days with Fulham.

Sing What We Want

Football chants have meaning in the context of the game. Banning chants – censoring words; arresting people for saying them – is the stuff of loons. People will always find a way to insult each other through language.

In 2013 the FA and anti-racist campaigners commanded Spurs fans to stop singing about ‘Yids’. Spurs fans responded by declaring “We’ll sing what we want to”. All fans should rejoice in that. Sing what you want. And if Chelsea fans want to upset their star player and their club by labelling Morata an anti-Semite, Spurs fans should only smile at his pain.

 

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United balls: star fan Kim John-Un makes third visit

Huge news. Huge! The Sun has the scoop: “Kim Jong-un is a Manchester United fan who believes North Korean footballers will eventually be flooding to the Premier League.”

Of course, what hereditary despot Mr Kim believes might be lot more terrifying than his dream of cheering on North Koreans in Manchester United colours.

But there it is. If North Korea wants it badly enough, exporting footballing talent might well be its biggest source of income. But, like you, we wonder how the Sun came by this “exclusive”? Putting North Korea and Manchester United into one headline is sure to attract clicks. But is it true?

 

the sun North Korea Manchester United

 

The story continues:

A close friend of the nuclear tyrant revealed to SunSport how he loves the beautiful game and never misses a major football tournament.

Tyrant’s pal calls British tabloid to talk foot.

Italian senator Antonio Razzi confirmed the crackpot dictator had told him during private conversations of his love for the Red Devils.

But when asked if Kim compared himself to any United heroes such as Eric Cantona or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Razzi told The Sun: “No, Kim is Kim — he is the only one.”

So Ibra it is, then.

And be in no doubt that news of Kim’s love for Manchester United is an exclusive, and as such should not be confused with the Mirror’s August 2014 story: “Kim Jong-Un is Manchester United fan”.

 

 

And:

 

You heard it there first!

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City balls: soft Ederson shows us his stitches

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is soft. Having been kicked hard in the face by Liverpool’s Saido Mane, who has apologised, the Brazilian stayed on the turf for 10 minutes. TV pundit Tony Gale was aghast, telling Sky Sports News on Monday that Ederson isn’t a “proper man”. He’s not like Burnley’s British goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who dislocated his shoulder against Crystal Palace the following day and walked off the pitch with a cheery wave.

 

We’ve got no photo of Heaton’s shoulder, but we can share this image of Ederson’s face:

 

Something narcissistic and the antithesis of stoic about showing the world your wound, but it does look very nasty. But it is to his face and not his hands, which in Tony Gale’s book means Ederson could have carried on playing. After all, it is only a flesh wound.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Manchester United wanted Arsenal’s Wenger but ended up with Mourinho and his questionable values

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned down the role at Manchester United. According to former Man United chairman Martin Edwards, the Red Devils approached Wenger to manage the club when Sir Alex Ferguson announced his intention to retire. On May 18 2001, Ferguson told MUTV: “I will be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season and that is it.” In 2016, Ferguson called the decision his “biggest mistake”. He changed his mind in January 2002.

That was a blow to Sven Goran-Eriksson, the former England manager who has said that he signed a deal in 2002 to replace Ferguson. In Sven: My Story, Eriksson notes: “I knew it would be tricky. I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticised if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United.
A contract was signed — I was United’s new manager.”

In his autobiography, Fergusson admits as much. “The head-hunters were due to meet a candidate to succeed me the following week,” wrote Ferguson. “Sven-Goran Eriksson was to be the new United manager, I believe. That was my interpretation, anyway.”

But this is about Wenger, who says he didn’t move to Old Trafford because he was happy at Arsenal. “I love the values of this club,” says Wenger, “and a club is about values first.”

….

Meanwhile, in Harrod’s department store, London, current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has bumped into TV presenter Piers Morgan, who reports their conversation. “How the hell is Arsene still in his job?” asks Morgan. “No idea,” says Mourinho, whose family live in London, “but I hope she stays for a long time.”

Clubs can pick a manager but they can’t pick their fans.

 

Posted: 11th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Chelsea asks fans to police themselves but abusing Spurs is all part of the game

yid army Morata Chelsea Spurs

 

Chelsea want their fans to stop hailing new striker Alvaro Mora with the song: “He came from Real Madrid he fucking hates the Yids.” ‘The Yids’ is, for those of not au fait with footballing abuse, a reference to Tottenham Hotspur football club. The rich irony being, of course, that Chelsea are owned by Roman Abramovich, a Jew. Mr Abramovich is Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. This might be a shock to the Chelsea goon who in the early 1980s sniffed my friend and hymned: “Fe-fi-fo-fum, I smell Yiddish scum.”

In blood, Abramovich is more of a yid than Spurs’ Harry Kane. But this isn’t really about racism. This is about finding ways to insult the opposition and upset their fans.

Most Spurs fans couldn’t give a toss about the song. The club’s self-styled Yid Army demand to sing what they want to, and good on them. The press ridiculously call it “The Y-word” (Daily Mail), fetishising the word through censorship, making it all the more exciting and daring to say aloud.

Chelsea have issued a statement:

“The club and the players appreciate the fans passionate support away from home, of course, but the language in that song is not acceptable at all.  We’ve spoken to Alvaro after the game and he does not want to be connected to that song in any way and both the player and the club request that the supporters stop singing that song with immediate effect.”

That’s a rather clever twist on the usual ham-fisted demands for football fans to stop saying things or else. If Chelsea fans are annoying their own new star turn, then surely they’ll stop singing the song. It’s progress. Chelsea are not threatening fans with the police or lifetime expulsion from watching the team for the crime of singing songs. They’re politely asking for the fans to sort it out amongst themselves.

Good-oh.

Posted: 10th, September 2017 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (13)


Bias balls: Liverpool robbed by Sadio Mane red card as ref favours Manchester City

Media Bias: Manchester City annihilated Liverpool 5-0 in the Premiere League. A goal down, Liverpool’s cause was not helped when in the 37th minute their striker Sadio Mane was red cared after his raised foot “collided with the face” (BBC) of City keeper Ederson.

City were the better side. But should Mane have been sent off? What say the clubs’ respective websites and local newspapers? The bias is best summed up by the Manchester Evening News, which reports:

Mane was shown a straight red, to the fury of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and the visiting fans. But City supporters were left in no doubt that the forward had to go.

Manchester City official website: “Mane definitely catches Ederson with a high foot. Dangerous play and the correct decision.”

Manchester Evening News: “…he cannot go into a challenge with a boot that high. It was dangerous, although without violent intent, and for that alone he had to walk.”

Manchester is united. Mane had to go. Referee Jon Moss was spot on.

But in Liverpool…

Liverpool FC official site: “Mane is sent off for a high foot on Ederson. The No.19 was attempting to get on the end of Matip’s long ball – Ederson beat him to it by a fraction and Mane’s boot connected with the City ‘keeper. There was certainly nothing intentional there, but referee Jon Moss has adjudged it to be dangerous play and Liverpool are down to 10 men.”

Liverpool Echo: “Jon Moss has managed to completely ruin what could have been a very good game of football. Presumably a decision for dangerous play for the high foot but ball was there for both to go for.”

Liverpool says: ‘It’s not as if Mane could expect the goalkeeper to be there.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, September 2017 | In: Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Arsenal ‘sign’ Lemar but only in the Sun

Illustrating just how bad Arsenal are at transfers, news reaches us that Monaco and France star Thomas Lemar “agrees £250,000-a-week five-year Gunners deal”. The Sun delivers this news in a big, bold headline. Arsenal, eh. The transfer window closed at the end of August, lads. Rubbish.

Of course, the story is total balls. Having delivered the apparent fact of Lemar’s recruitment to the Arsenal cause, we’re soon told the Gunners “are confident Thomas Lemar will arrive at the Emirates in a £92million move from Monaco in January”.

lemar arsenal

 

Nothing has been agreed. Although the Daily Star, which the Sun cites as the single source for its clickbait, claims “a deal has been agreed in principle”. Which means absolutely nothing.

Indeed, even the hyperbolic Star makes a less bold statement than the Sun, noting: “EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal confident they can rekindle £92m deal for Thomas Lemar in January.”

The Star cites no source in its report, leading readers to wonder how one paper’s claim that Arsenal will look to sign Lemar in January became news that Lemar had agreed to join Arsenal in another?

No facts. But lots of exclusives and duped readers.

Posted: 9th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez ‘will’ sign a new contract if you twist Wenger’s words

Was the Sun’s Neil Ashton in the room when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke to media on Thursday? Ashton has big news on the press conference:

Arsene Wenger has launched a passionate defence of his disastrous deadline-day dealings. In a remarkable outburst, the Arsenal boss claimed wantaway Alexis Sanchez is “happy” at the Emirates and will sign a new contract.

Is that what he said? Did the usually circumspect Wenger actually say Sanchez would sign a deal to remain at Arsenal? On Arsenal’s official website you can read what he said in full:

on considering selling Alexis…

I didn’t want him to leave unless you bring somebody else in with similar quality – then you can defend it. Then you have a player with a four or five-year contract in front of them who is young. But overall, I didn’t want to lose him without having any replacement. Every decision you make can be interpreted in both ways. As long as you have the quality on the pitch for the club, that’s the one thing that matters. I didn’t want him to leave, it’s true. I didn’t want him to leave and in the end he didn’t leave.

on the chance of Alexis staying beyond next summer…

Yes, there is a chance, yes. You just said he is committed and focused on Arsenal. That’s what makes me believe it. At the end of the day, he is 29 years old in December, he knows his football years are counted at that level, especially with the evolution of the game now, so you have to enjoy every minute.

You can even watch the meeting online:

 

 

So no “outburst” and no claim that Sanchez “will” sign a new deal. Other than that the story was, er, correct.

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Wenger on the legends, Liverpool and Thursday nights

Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal press conference revealed that he can talk about what might have been just as well on a Thursday as he can do on a Friday. Moving his usual press conference a day forward could be part of the club’s general shift towards Thursday night activities, such as the demand of the Europa League dictate. It’s about re-establishing body lock rhythms. Whereas once Thursday night meant a light supper in a Hertfordshire bistro and Bake Off on catch-up,Wenger is now faced with the tricky prospect of finding BATE Borisov on the SatNav and airplane snacks.

Ahead of the latest must-win game, this one against Bournemouth at the Emirates, where Arsenal boast an impeccable 100% win record this season (they’ve only played one match – ed), Wenger did his usual thing of reminding fans how close the club came to singing the cream of French footballing talent. None arrived, but it’s good for the Arsenal fanbase to know that the very best players have heard of Arsenal. Could the same be said of Hull, say, or Cheltenham?

Wenger than called for the transfer window to shut before the Premier League season begins. This, he reasoned, keeps players focused on their club. It might also stop managers selecting want-away footballers from playing the very team they are about to be flogged to, as Wenger did when he picked the anodyne Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to face Liverpool  hours before he joined them for an inflated £35m.

Wenger then turned his mind to those Arsenal ‘legends” grabbing the arms of BBC office furniture and sniping at the current crop. “I always have problems understanding what a legend is and what a legend isn’t,” said Wenger. “I’ve had all the players here and we speak about today but they all had their weaknesses, as well, don’t worry about that. They had their weak games and their weak behaviours. Nobody was perfect.”

Although they did win the Premier League. They did have that, Arsene.

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool can still win the league by letting in loadsa goals

Some Liverpool balls from ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce. The former England manager has been talking to talkSPORT. He knows why Liverpool will not win the Premier League title:

“The game is played two ways: one is played in possession and one is played out of it. You have got to be masters of both of those if you are going to win the Premier League.”

But usually you need the ball to score, right, Sam. He adds:

“The Premier League is generally won – certainly over the last ten, 15 years – by the team with the best defensive record.”

If we go by goals conceded, then:

 

2006-2007 – Nope. Chelsea came second with the least goals conceded.

2007-2008 – Yep. Manchester United.

2008-2009 – Yep. Manchester United

2009-2010 – Nope. Manchester United came second with least goals conceded.

2010-2011 – Nope. Chelsea and Manchester City came second and third respectively.

2011-2012 – Yep. Manchester City.

2012 – 2013 – Nope. Manchester City came second.

2013-2014 – Nope. Chelsea came third.

2014-2015 – Yep. Chelsea

2015-2016 – Nope. Spurs came third.

2016-2017 – Nope. Spurs came second.

Four titles from the last 11 seasons have been won by the side conceding the fewest goals.  Looks like Liverpool are still in it. The trick of winning, as Sam knows, is to score more goal than your opponents.

Posted: 7th, September 2017 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Everton star Wayne Rooney’s holiday romance – and Gary Neville’s advice to Coleen

Rooney laura simpson

 

For those of you wondering how Wayne Rooney and the lovely Coleen are getting along, the Daily Star has front-page news: “ROONEY GIRL TRACKED COLEEN.” The Rooney girl is his could-have-been-shag Laura Simpson, who had been “tracking Coleen for six weeks” before having what says was a “kiss and a cuddle” with the married footballer.

Laura “knew when Coleen was on holiday”. How so? Did she bug the house? Stick a tracker on her car? Hack her phone? No. The devious Laura FOLLOWED Coleen on twitter and “RETWEETED” Coleen’s message: “So basically…yes on holiday again.” Coleen also “revealed” – not boasted? – she was on holiday again in another message on August 26. Just two nights later, Wayne was on the lash and driving Laura’s car when he was pulled over by the fuzz for alleged drink driving.

It’s a no-shag ‘n’ retweet story, a far cry for the 1980s, when footballers and even snooker players were making headlines five-times-a-night.

But what about those holidays? Laura’s not the only one watching Coleen testing sun creams. The Mail says  “Already this year she has visited Amsterdam, Madrid, Mallorca, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Barbados and Portugal.” And this is relevant, apparently, because the Sun reports on its front page: “Drink-drive footie ace Wayne Rooney gives wife Coleen an ultimatum ‘You quit the holidays and I’ll quit the boozing’.”

And the chauffeur service, Wayne, let’s not forget about that.

But we’ll end with some advice from Gary Neville, Wayne’s former Manchester United teammate. “Look at Wayne Rooney there,” said Neville, spotting the striker in the tunnel before a match. “Old-school, looking forward, not hugging, kissing.” Wise words that Wayne and Coleen – but especially Wayne – can hang on to.

 

Posted: 7th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Alexis Sanchez calls Arsenal his ‘home’ and vows to focus

A busy week at the tabloids, as writers think hard about how to fill in the blank pages over the international break. The Sun overlooks doodles of knobs and photos of Paul Gascoigne putting the bins out in favour of pressing f6 on the keyboard and going studs up on Alexis Sanchez. The Sun says Arsenal players wanted the club to flog Alexis Sanchez over the summer. Well, so says the paper, which talks of “fear” in the Arsenal squad that the “moody” Chilean’s return will “sap” the team’s moral.

The Sun’s story is supported by neither evidence nor quote. It exists in headline form only.

Undeterred by the fact that Sanchez has always given his all for Arsenal, Neil Ashton says he “pulled every trick in the book to get away”. That book presumably including a chapter on playing for the team, albeit in a palsied performance at Liverpool in which Arsenal, Sanchez and all, were thrashed 4-0.

Ashton says Sanchez “barely lifted a leg” as the Gunners went down. Well, the same could be said for pretty much every Arsenal player in what was an abject performance, and Sanchez’s first of the season.

Ashton ends his page filler saying Sanchez was “made to play against his will” at Anfield, which rather counters the idea that the Chilean is difficult to manage.

After so much blah-blah, the Sun then delivers the results of a poll in which readers were invited to consider whether or not Sanchez should play for Arsenal. Shock of shocks, most Arsenal fans who respond to polls think playing the club’s best player a good idea. Only 15% of all fans think Sanchez should be put in a wood-chipper and scattered to the winds.

In the Mirror, Sanchez is “fit for nothing”, not even as fertiliser. A former coach of Chile’s Under-20s side, says Sanchez is “fatter than normal”. Chile lost two World Cup qualifiers in the international break. And Sanchez wasn’t at his best. But fat? Bit bitchy of the coach, no, to resort to body shaming. Next they’ll be saying Sanchez’s legs are too hairy and he’s only wearing one bottle of gel in his hair.

As the tabloids wade in on Sanchez, one of the Premier League’s best players, we wonder what the player makes of it all. On Instagram he explains:

 

instagram alexis sanchez arsenal

 

He’s back ‘home” at Arsenal and trying to “focus”.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 7th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Spurs Balls: Dele Alli’s finger is rushed down to forensics (and it stinks of Nazis)

When Spurs footballer Dele Alli raised a middle finger on international duty, the media went into overdrive. So bad was it that Sky Sports produced this hilarious illustration:

 

dele alli england finger

 

‘Player Swears On Pitch’ is not all that big news. In any case, Alli says he was swearing at his former Spurs team-mate Kyle Walker, not at the referee. FIFA is not investigating. And that is that. Or you’d think it would be but in the Sun, Dave Kidd has two pages of intense investigation into what will very possibly be dubbed finger-gate.

He begins his long look at Alli’s finger by stating:

“It was when they showed the widescreen shot of Dele Alli appearing to raise his middle finger in the direction of Kyle Walker, rather than the referee, that you began to worry. That sick feeling you get in your stomach when you suspect we’re going to be hearing far too much about the precise angle of intention of a raised digit… And then you’ll just want to scream out: ‘Aaaarrrrggghhh! Why can’t it just be about the football?'”

Why, indeed. That question can be aimed at the Sun, which produces not only Kidd’s long story – “FICKLE FINGER OF FATE” – but also ‘DELE VISIONS”, a graphic to help us decide if Alli is a liar.

 

 

Having concluded that he might not be, the Sun produces “6 Other Rude Boys”, a look at other unsavoury gestures on the field of play. It kicks off with Nicholas Anelka doing the notorious quenelle salute, made famous by his comedian friend Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala. And there’s Mark Bosnich, then at Aston Villa, giving Spurs fans the Nazi salute. Bit much, no, to liken Alli’s digital ‘fuck off’ with the horrors of Nazi-led anti-Semitism. And there’s Paul Gascoigne’s 1998 flute-playing celebration in front of Celtic fans that earned him a £20,000 fine and a series of death threats. He claimed not to have realized the symbolic significance of his antics – an excuse that would be preposterous coming from anyone else, but which is just about plausible in Gazza’s case.

 

dele alli finger england

 

dele alli finger england

 

Of course, the idea behind this forensic examination of Alli’s raised finger is that the Spurs man has sullied the shirt. Which makes us wonder why the Sun didn’t mention this salute the England team once gave in Berlin:

 

Dele Alli salute

Not Dele Alli

 

Over the page, Ian Wright wonders is “maybe it wasn’t a nasty, malicious gesture”. Wright then tells us what it was: “naive and daft.” He’s “off the hook,” say the Mail in a three-page story on the finger. The paper invites – get this – the “three wise men” to look at “The Devil in Dele”. One of these sages is Jamie Redknapp, who says Alli is “a lovely kid”; another is Martin Keown. Yeah, him:

 

 

Offensive? Nah.

Posted: 6th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: shameless Ian Wright joins the Get Ozil bandwagon

Arsenal great Ian Wright has responded unkindly to Mesut Ozil’s polite request that former Gunners “stop talking and start supporting” the team. The much maligned Ozil – often unfairly criticised (see here, here and here) – posted a message on Facebook. He wants the clubs, former players working in the media and its fans to get together.

 

 

The bit of Ozil’s message that irked Wright and his fellow to-deadline media whores was:

Personally I’ve had to accept a lot of criticism during my time in London. ‘Too expensive, too greedy, bad body language, and lacking fight’ – this is what people have said about me.

Some of these comments are made by those who do not know me, some are made by former players – both successful and unsuccessful during their time here at the club.

Although criticism is something that all football players have to deal with, I nevertheless expected legends to behave like legends – my advice to these former Gunners: stop talking and start supporting!

Wright careered onto BBC Radio 5 Live to rant:

Sign a contract if you feel that strongly about people criticising the team because you’re somebody who is integral to Arsenal’s success.

You’re not signing a deal and you’re probably going to continue to hide behind the fact that (Alexis) Sanchez is the one that everybody’s going to say, “Is he going to go?”.

Why haven’t you signed yet? That’s what I would say to you. If you feel that strongly, why haven’t you signed yet?

A player that is not actually performing on the pitch is coming out, calling people out and he’s not signing a contract.

It’s laughable.

Ozil must wonder what he ever did wrong to end up Arsenal.

 

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Laura Simpson on Everton’s Wayne Rooney: ‘we would have ended up shagging’

Former Manchester Untied and England footballer Wayne Rooney, now back playing for his boyhood club Everton, has been caught drink-driving in a car belonging to pneumatic single mum Laura Simpson. She says they shared a kiss and a cuddle. She says married Wayne, whose pregnant wife Coleen Rooney was on holiday at the time, ogled her breasts. She also says:

“I can understand [Coleen] being mad with him over the arrest, that was stupid and on reflection he should never have driven my car but he didn’t seem to be over the limit.

“But she can’t blame him for anything that happened with me because nothing did really, although we would have ended up shagging no doubt.”

No doubt…

It all used to be so much simpler.

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Dele Alli and the missing finger

Tottenham, Hotspur and England footballer Dele Alli is winning hearts and minds in the shirt. At one point in last night England’s win over the mighty Slovenia, Dele Alli appeared to give the referee The Bird. So how does the media report on Alli’s swearing without repeating it?

Skysports.com has a go, sort of:

 

dele alli england finger

 

Perfect.

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comments (2)


Daily Mail gives Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs an unwarranted kick

Giving footballers a kicking is lazy. Take the Mail’s treatment of former Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, who was in Malta for England’s World Cup Qualifying match on Friday 1 September. The game kicked off at 19:45. Around 2 hours later, Giggs was wrapping things up and heading back to the hotel.

As McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football, Giggs had to get some sleep before heading home to present the Welsh Community Football Awards “to recognise those who dedicate their time, effort and hard work into grassroots football throughout Wales”. The ceremony was set for September 2 at the Cardiff City Stadium, where Giggs’ Wales were taking on Austria in their own World Cup qualifier.

Giggs is working hard

But this is how the Mail reported things:

Ryan Giggs is well known in Malta due to the time he has spent on the island, starting from his early days at Manchester United. He also invested in a hotel group there with Gary Neville.

Nevertheless Giggs, along with ITV colleagues Paul Ince, Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle, chose to return home from Malta as soon as possible after the game on Friday – even if it meant a 5.30am exit from their hotel on Saturday.

Task! And after all Malta has done for him…

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Lukaku and Rashford as good as Rooney and Berbatov

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United’s Lukaku/Ibrahimovic/Martial/Rashford are every bit as good as United’s 2007-2009 vintage of Rooney/Ronaldo/Tevez/Berbatov. The paper tells readers:

Rashford and Martial offer lightning pace, skill and a decent chance conversion rate, while Ibrahimovic really needs no introduction.

A decent conversion rate of shots to goals? Not really. Marcus Rashford has nine shots for Manchester United this season and one goal. As for Lukaku being equal to Rooney in his prime and Ibrahimovic, 35, being as exciting as the 23-year-old Ronaldo, well, no, they’re not.

 

Posted: 4th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Tabloids | Comment


Dear Coleen: Wayne Rooney tips and where you can find Laura Simpson

laura simpson

 

Everton’s former Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney only had a “kiss and a cuddle” with Laura Simpson, 29, whose car he was driving when police nicked him for drink driving. All the tabloids wonder what this means for his marriage to Coleen Rooney. The Mirror says she’s fearful for the couple’s three children, “worried about playground taunts” because kids can be cruel.

Coleen, we learn, is also worried about media intrusion. Which is presumably why she, as the Sun reports, uploaded photos of her boys on Instagram and wrote: “No matter where I am they always follow me, and I hope that last forever.” No, not a coded message to the paparazzi, marketeers and celebrity magazines. That was a “heavy hint that she would keep the kids with her if Wayne and she split”.

 

laura simpson

 

By now you’re itching to know more about pneumatic Laura Simpson, who “boasts” (Mirror) of having 32E breasts, which Wayne “ogled”, hair extensions, false eyelashes, Botox and lip enhancers. Unlike Wayne, she does not smoke and have a spouse, but she does have a child.

The Sun then pinpoints the single mother struggling to make a living, helping anyone who wants to bounce into and off of Laura find her. We learn that she works at a lettings agency (wages: £38,000 a year); once went on two trips to Dubai in one month; is “cash-strapped”; and lives in a “terraced house in Irlam, Greater Manchester”. If you can’t find her there, maybe you can reach her on the sugar daddy website, where the Sun says she functions under the name “Lolaura”.

 

laura simpson

 

As journalists and pornographers stampede to Laura’s door, the kindness of strangers kicks in. In “Dear Coleen”, Coleen Nolan, writes an open letter to her namesake. “Oh love, my heart ached for you yesterday,” says Coleen, to say nothing of her mouth and she dictated 300 words of to-deadline advice. “Back from holiday, piles of washing to sort, school uniforms to get ready,” says Nolan, proving she has the inside track on the life of a woman who counts her millions by the dozen. “Whenever anyone askw me for advice,” says Nolan, “my first tip is…” Call my agent? “…never, ever, make life-changing decisions when emotions are high.” Coleen’s life is far from over because as Nolan reminds her, she too has been cheated on by a wayward and well-known husband, and had her private life scrutinised in the national press. She moved on, forging a new life as the Woman Whose Famous Husband Cheated On Her And Had Her Life Scrutinised In The Press in the Mirror and on TV’s Loose Women. Hang in there, Coleen. There’s a multifaceted career in this, maybe.

More advice for Coleen in the Mail, where Bel Mooney has “inimitable advice” for the Rooney. “Dear Coleen,” begins the heartfelt advice once more, it being a well-established fact that Coleen is a dear and likes to surround herself with dear things, some very dear, some very, very dear. “Bloody men, eh,” says Bel. “At it again!” As with Nolan, Mooney presents herself as Coleen’s kindred spirit. Coleen was born in Liverpool and so too was Mooney. Wayne was boozing with Laura in Alderley Edge’s Bubble Room.”My best friend lives in Alderly Edge,” says Money, “and I’ve been to  those upmarket joints, Piccolino’s and  the Bubble Room”.

“Good luck, Bel,” says Mooney, which sounds a bit like Rooney, and a bit self-obsessed.

Good luck, Coleen!

 

Gina McCarrick

Picture 1 of 4

In a Sunday Mirror exclusive, 37-year-old brunette Gina McCarrick, dressed in her favoured cowgirl outfit, said: 'Wayne didn't turn me on at all. He was ugly. He had a face like a smacked arse.' Rooney later confessed to having visted the den around 10 times.

Posted: 4th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: ‘Gifted’ Eric Dier says he’s a role model

Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Eric Dier has been talking about the astronomical amount of money paid in salaries and transfers. “It’s a very difficult situation,” said Dier. “People don’t realise how difficult it is for us to handle. It isn’t easy.”

It isn’t easy being young, rich, healthy and celebrated? Is it easier than other things, say, being old, ill, poor and frustrated?

He goes on: “I read something that Jamie Carragher wrote last year, talking about psychologists. He said we are extremely gifted footballers, not humans, or something along those lines. And I think people need to remember that sometimes. We’re normal human beings with a gift so it’s very difficult to handle all of those situations that happen in football with money and fame, etc.”

Make that gifted, young, rich, healthy and famous. To say nothing of humble. It’s tough. Dier is referring to a story former Liverpool player Carragher, now working as a TV pundit, wrote in the Daily Mail.

That brings me back to something Bill [Bill Beswick, a sports psychologist] told me. He said: “The normal man on the street thinks, because you are famous, you are an extraordinary person. You’re not. You’re an ordinary person with an extraordinary talent.”

And that is the point: we are all the same. We all have the same doubts, anxieties and insecurities. More than anything, we all know life isn’t easy.

Not gifted. Ordinary. But better than most at playing football.

“As for the money,” Dier goes on, “that’s the world we live in and it’s a business. If another sport was gaining that revenue all over the world its people would be earning similar amounts of money. I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying that’s where the industry is at. It’s not Dembele’s fault that he’s good at football and someone is willing to pay £140m for him, it’s where the industry’s at and footballers are the last people to blame for someone wanting to pay that much money for them. They have no say in that.”

Footballers are the last people to blame for greed and high wages. It’s not them who agree to move clubs and sign the contracts?

“We could talk about this issue all day,” added Dier. “It’s so complex. Nowadays with social media up there and mobile phones, it’s constant. It’s 24/7 really. As footballers it’s extremely important because everyone knows we are role models…”

No, Eric, you’re not a role model. You’re a bloke who gets absurdly well paid for doing something many of us can only dream of doing for a living. A role model is a father, a mother, a guardian, a brother, sister and someone with whom you interact directly. A footballer on the telly is no more a role model than than a politician is. A footballer behaving well has no more effect on us than a football behaving badly – well, not unless you view the fans as suggestible dolts and thugs-in-waiting, which is how politicians and advertisers view them. Dier is not working for Public Health England.

He adds: “…we need to try to carry ourselves in the right way because thousands or millions of kids are looking up to you in a sense. I think every footballer takes that very seriously, their image from that point of view, and rightly so. But if you were to follow any 21-year-old or 22-year-old boy around for six months I’m sure you’d see a lot of bad stuff. So I think everyone has to realise that at the end of the day we are just young boys.”

No. You’re a grown man who wears shorts at work.

And then he just talks marketing tosh: “In football at 25 you are seen as being in the middle or your career but from a life point of view you are still a young boy so boys are going to make mistakes. So it’s how people handle that which is the real show of their character. But I think footballers in general as role models are really fantastic.”

Humility, thy name is Eric Dier.

Posted: 3rd, September 2017 | In: Money, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)