Sports | Anorak - Part 72

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.

Clickbait football: Surprising facts about Arsenal for Metro readers

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The “surprising” stat is that Arsenal have won more Premier League games than any other team in 2015. Trouble is that season runs from August to May – so its means nothing.


Posted: 18th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Liverpool balls: stats prove Klopp has Reds playing like Burnley

Klopp Watch: more bilge on the new Liverpool manager in the Metro.

Stats show the Jurgen Klopp effect is already in full flow at Liverpool


Liverpool drew 0-0 away at Spurs in Klopp’s first match in charge. In can be argued that the scoreline is the biggest and most important stat. But the Metro has seen a tweet by data harvesters Opta:


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Gegenpress is Klopp’s preferred method of closing down the opposition – what English types call ‘getting in their faces’ or simply ‘pressing’.

It might be worth looking at the same fixture last season, a game that ended 0-3 in Liverpool’s favour. Or the result in the season before that when Liverpool won 0-5.


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And as for sprints equating to good team play, well, these are three biggest runners from last season:

George Boyd (Burnley) – 2587

Scott Arfield (Burnley) – 2532

Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull) – 2241

Burnley and Hull were relegated.

Such are the stats.


Posted: 18th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Danny Ings turns Klopp is the new Shankly

klopp watch


Klopp Watch: Gary Neville was annoyed by BT Sport’s Klopp cam, a little box in the corner of the screen that kept track of every smile, grin and physical jerk by Liverpool’s new manager Jurgen Klopp.


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Klopp is hailed as that most rare of sporting gems: the likeable German.

In the Mirror, before a ball has been kicked under his guiding smile, the paper told readers:

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp had the air of Bill Shankly about him at first pre-match press conference

Shankly was the manager who inspired Liverpool to greatness.

David Maddock began his article:

If there is one word Jurgen Klopp has used above all others since arriving at Anfield, it is “dream”.

He is living it, he insists, and he wants his players and the Liverpool supporters to do the same. His aim, above all others, is to get his new club dreaming again… There is something of the Shankly about him when he says, calmly, he has always preferred to concentrate on those who are available, rather than worry about the players who aren’t.

That’s pretty much what every manager does, is not, focusing on playing the fit over the ill, in this case not dwelling on injury to striker Danny Ings.

“As a manager, one of the things I learnt first you do not think about the players who are not available at this moment, because there is no chance to get lucky if you do this all of the time,” he explained with a smile… Shankly was famous for refusing to speak to injured players, blanking them as though they didn’t exist until they were fit and useful to him again.

Blimey! It’s the second coming.



Posted: 18th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal chase Isco to beat Chelsea in a game of tabloid tag

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Transfer Balls: The Metro says Arsenal are looking to buy a “world star”. Who he? And what is a “world star”?

Rebecca Coles explains:

Arsenal ready to beat Chelsea to transfer of world-star in January – report

Yes, yes. Who is it? What is it?

Arsenal are to step up their interest in Real Madrid’s Isco after reports Chelsea and Manchester City are also lining a potential transfer for the midfielder. The Gunners are eyeing a £22million deal to sign Isco in the January transfer window, according to Spanish news outlet Fichajes…

Why would Arsenal want hm

…in a bid to improve their chances to win the Premier League title.

No sh*t, Sherlock.

No link to the Fichajes site. But we looked and found:

The Gunners team that has followed him on many occasions, are considering the possibility of disbursing € 30 million to take over its services. The London club would be trying to do everything possible to incorporate into their ranks in the not too distant future, as indicated Caught offside .

Over there we are told:

Arsenal are ready to launch a £22m bid for Real Madrid attacking midfielder Isco in January according to the Daily Mirror.

Liam Corless writes:

Arsenal will attempt to sign Isco from Real Madrid in January, according to reports in Spain.

Can he cite a source?

Fichajes claim the Gunners will lodge a £22m bid for the Spanish starlet when the winter transfer window opens.

It’s another Human Centipede of football reporting.


Posted: 17th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Klopp Watch: Liverpool manager swears at media and binds Reds fans

Klopp Watch – a look at the news Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp in the news. Matt Dickinson tells Times readers he “fears that the charm offensive won’t last”.

Klopp is the current media darling. It used to be Jose Mourinho they loved and before that Harry Redknapp. But Jose is now presented as toxic by the righteous and right-on and Redknapp’s been rumbled.

Says Dickenson:

As José Mourinho finds fresh conflict and conspiracy everywhere he turns, at least there is that lovely Jürgen Klopp to keep us smiling. Ah yes, the “normal one” with his cool jeans-jacket combo, his self-deprecation, the twinkle in his eye and stylish stubble on his rugged chin. Klopp is the future — bright, optimistic — like Mourinho used to be. Or so we like to think.

We then get to realise that anyone who got to the top of German football didn’t do it by grinning alone:

Blaming his woes on referees? Klopp can resort to that cheap tactic along with the worst of them. A check of his misdemeanours shows that he has been sent to the stands at least eight times for volcanic explosions. Patronising to journalists? Klopp can charm but he can also pull off a world-class sneer. You might think that is no bad thing — the media dish it out, we should take it too — but belittling hacks does not tend to play well beyond a club’s supporters.

Nigel Pearson’s belittling played out badly with pretty much everyone. And if Klopp’s words can bind Reds fans, so be it. Maybe he can share a few words with a Sun journalist and really win them over?

How long before Klopp is snapping like he did at Borussia Dortmund in a press conference when it was pointed out by someone from the club’s website that he was on a losing run against Hamburg: “The last thing I need is for you to bring that up, a***hole”.


Make a nice change from Mourinho’s too-clever-by-half rhetoric. Klopp’s “dark side” looks refreshingly normal.

Read it all here.

Posted: 17th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: lose to Bayern Munich and the Premier League goes too (just ask Liverpool)

Arsenal are playing badly in the Champions’ League. With the table reading ‘played 2; lost 2’, Arsene Wenger’s team need a win in their home match with Bayern Munich.

Steve Howard has a theory that you can win when you lose. He writes in the Sun:

Should Arsenal suffer back-to-back defeats against Bayern Munich — P11, W11 and 24 goals in their last six games — they could well finish bottom of the group and not even qualify for the Europa League. Arsenal, free of other distractions, will then never have a better chance of winning their first title since the Invincibles in 2003-04. Just call it forward planning. And they never do anything in the Champions League anyway

Can losing matches help to win matches? What about winning being a habit?

In 2014, Liverpool were pushing to the title. With a home match against Chelsea looming the Daily Mirror asked its writes to take a view:

Will Liverpool win the Premier League title? Our reporters have their say…



Martin Lipton:


…the Anfield clash comes slap in the middle of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final games with Atletico Madrid. That surely gives Liverpool an advantage.

Joe Mewis:


While there’s surely a few twists and turns awaiting us, the fact that the Chelsea game comes in the middle of their Champions League semi-final tips the balance in favour of the Reds for me.

Paul Wilson had more in the Guardian:

There can be no doubt, as Liverpool home in on a possible first title in 24 years, that their chances have been enhanced by non-involvement in Europe.

Managers in the know such as José Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini have been saying all season that it is easier to play once a week, it is clearly less tiring not to have to travel abroad in midweek and you do not run the risk of “hangovers” when disappointing results in Europe affect your confidence in Premier League matches…

The Anfield game falls right between the two legs of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Atlético Madrid. Mourinho’s players will arrive in Liverpool having played in Spain, and have the home leg at Stamford Bridge three days after Anfield. Given that victory over Liverpool will not necessarily confirm Chelsea as English champions – another slip-up by Manchester City will be required for that to happen – it may be the case that European progress is prioritised…


He then adds wryly:

At the very least some seem to feel that if a 24-year gap is closed and Gerrard gets his title wish, an asterisk should accompany the achievement in the record books to denote that Liverpool played fewer games than most of their rivals that season. If Liverpool do win the title and seventh place is established as the ideal launchpad for domestic success, can we expect teams to be fighting to finish outside the European positions from next season onwards? It could be Manchester United have been ahead of the game all along.




There is plenty of room for argument about whether a Championship season is actually easier or less taxing than a Premier League one, but missing from my correspondent’s analysis of the Wembley situation was the consideration that Arsenal, of the Champions League, were nine minutes from being humbled by Wigan, of the Championship. A team that though relegated at the end of last season had gone to Manchester City in the previous round and put out a side that at the time were favourites to win the Premier League title. You can produce statistics to support almost any argument in football, but Danny Blanchflower was right about the game being about glory. If you don’t see that, if you can’t even be a little bit excited about teams upsetting the odds, you might be missing the point.

Liverpool never did win the title that year, losing t0-2 to Chelsea in that home match. Chelsea lost 3-1 to Atletico Madrid.

Does defeat in the Champion’s League help a team win the title? No. It just means you lost.

Posted: 16th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea: jealous Mourinho says FA love money even more then Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Managers Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea clash during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)


Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has been fined £50,000 and threatened with a stadium ban for criticising referees. Yep, just 50 grand. Jose Mourinho is a profitable business for the FA. They must hope he stays in the job and keeps talking and talking. His offence was to say referees are “afraid” to award penalties to his team, following a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton. The FA’s fine system is pretty opaque, but we can reveal that if Mourinho calls the referee a “scaredy-cat” the FA can order new silk carpets for their Zanzibar beach office.

At a press conference to launch his new book, Mourinho invited the media “to get deep” into the workings of the FA disciplinary department.

“You should get deep.You should go. You should be honest. You shouldn’t be afraid to write, you won’t be punished. Every word I say is a risk. I am happy I don’t have an electronic tag. I think it’s not far from that. I also think that £50,000 in the world where we live today is an absolute disgrace. An absolute disgrace. And I also think that the possibility of getting a stadium ban is also something absolutely astonishing. But more difficult for me to understand is when I compare different people with different behaviours or with similar behaviours, with different words or with similar words.”

He means Arsene Wenger, of course, the Arsenal manger who seems to occupy a place deep below Mourinho’s skin. Wenger called Mike Dean “weak and naive” when the weak and confused referee made a complete hash of this season’s  Chelsea v Arsenal match, sending off the wrong player and letting the right player who should have seen red stay on the pitch. No fine for Wenger.  “The difference is £50,000 and one-match stadium ban,” says Mourinho.

“The word ‘afraid’ is a punishment, and a hard punishment. But to say the referee was ‘weak and naive’, referring to one of the top referees in this country and in Europe, we can do. Weak and naive, you can use. And in this country, a word [afraid] is more important than aggression. So now we know. We can push people in the technical area, no problem.”

That’s a reference to when Mourinho and Wenger had a tiff at pitch-side.

We can only wonder what would happen should the FA offer its legal services to hairdressers, tabloid columnists or religionists. As Craig Brown notes:

One of the cattiest memoirs of recent years was the preeningly titled Know The Truth by George Carey, the spud-faced former Archbishop of Canterbury…

Carey took sideways digs at no fewer than three of his fellow Bishops, among them the Bishop of Peterborough (‘popular with the media . . . but he worried me by his tendency to pour doubt on all diocesan efforts to raise funds or enthusiasm’), the Bishop of Durham (‘his concerns were not always grounded in real life’) and the Bishop of Sheffield (‘another whose eloquence was often unintentionally destructive’).

Nor did he withdraw his claws from those of other denominations. At one point, he described a meeting between the Queen, to whom Carey is, of course, always unctuous, and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who had, he noted, a ‘menacing beard’. The Queen, he wrote, ‘patiently endured the Patriarch’s rather lengthy answers’. Miaow!

If the FA ran the Church of England disciplinary committees, a bankrupted Carey would be living off donations.

Posted: 16th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Wenger quits ‘all of a sudden’

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ‘named the date when his career at the Gunners end – the Mirror says it’s June 30 2017:





The Mirror says Wenger will “quit in 19 moths”.

On October 3, the same newspaper said Wenger had no plans to quit:


wenger quits arsenal


Wenger spoke:

“I will retire, don’t worry. But no, I haven’t decided on a plan yet. I think it can be more instinctive and impulsive than that. I’ve heard that so many times, ‘Next year I will retire’ and then they continue, or go somewhere else. I think one thing is for sure that, when I retire, I will really retire.”

And so to today’s scoop:

Gunners boss Wenger’s current £8m-a-deal expires at the end of next season and talked as if he was preparing to leave at the club’s AGM on Thursday

No quitting, then, but reaching the end of his current deal.

He said:

“I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave. That is for me very important that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better. The responsibility on my shoulders is much bigger. I know what it means for people. I know how sad people are when we don’t do well, I know how sad people are when we lose a game.”

So he has not set a date when he will quit. The Mirror’s scoop is balls.

The Times is more circumspect:

Arsène Wenger hints at his Arsenal exit strategy

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has given the first hint he is starting to contemplate his legacy at the Emirates Stadium, suggesting that he is determined to make sure that he leaves the club in such rude health that his successor is more successful than he has been.

Speaking at a stormy annual general meeting, the 65-year-old insisted he is “absolutely committed” to seeing out his contract, which expires in 2017. Sir Chips Keswick, the club’s chairman, also made clear that he and the board remain convinced that Wenger is the “best person to take charge of Arsenal for as long as he feels inclined”.

Said Wenger:

“Looking back, I am proud we have won titles and FA Cups, but the first quality of a club is to be consistent. We have had 18 consecutive years in the Champions League. Only one club — Real Madrid — has done better. I can understand that is not enough. I am the first person to agree that it is not enough. We want more.

Wenger stays!

Posted: 16th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal chase the elusive Michy Batshuayi who wanted to reject them

Arsenal are buying… Michy Batshuayi. Maybe. The Metro has been tracking the story – and has yet to deliver a single cogent fact:

September 15: “Arsenal set to make January transfer bid for Michy Batshuayi”

September 16: “Arsenal transfer news: January move for Michy Batshuayi”

September 20: “Arsenal target Michy Batshuayi could make transfer away from Marseille, admits president”

September 21: “‘Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger asks board to seal Michy Batshuayi transfer – report”

October 14: “Arsenal ready to make Michy Batshuayi transfer move – report”

October 15: “Wenger plots Michy Batshuayi move”



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Followed one day later by:

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Such are the facts…

Spotter: Football 365

Posted: 15th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment

Klopp watching: Liverpool boss implicated in Firmino love photo

Klopping Off

Klopping Off


Klopp Watch: a look at the Liverpool manager in the news. the Daily Mail shoehorns Klopp into a story built around a selfie.

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino all loved up with wife Larissa Pereira…

Rohan Banerjee adds:

…so will new boss Jurgen Klopp take a fancy to him?

File under: threes a crowd.

Posted: 15th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Le Saux says Mourinho is bad for football

Former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux says Jose Mourinho’s row with Dr Eva Carneiro has been bad for football:

“What concerns me most, given the work I’m doing for the FA, is the impact Mourinho’s behaviour may have throughout the whole game.”

Le Saux has a seat on the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board.

“We’re trying to deal with some very sensitive issues and to change the culture of the game. Some good people at the FA have taken a kicking after concluding there was insufficient evidence to charge Mourinho, whilst the whole furore may also deter women from becoming involved in football, as well as discouraging clubs from employing them.”

He had us right up to ‘women’, portrayed by Le Saux as being so weak that a few bitchy barbs from Mourinho and they will rule out a role in professional football.

You can read it all here.

Posted: 15th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comments (3)

Arsenal season ticket costs JUST twice as much as Stoke’s

arsenal season ticket


Arsenal sell British football’s most expensive season ticket. Or as Mirror puts it:


Arsenal fans are forced to pay more than any other Premier League club for match-day and season tickets.

The media has been reviewing the BBC Sport’s annual Price of Football study.

Their most expensive season ticket costs £2,013 – almost SEVEN times the cost of the cheapest season ticket at Stoke, which at £294 is the most affordable in the top-flight.

Why compare the most expensive ticket at one club with the cheapest at another?

Stoke City only offers 300 season tickets at £294. Stoke’s top price ticket is £519. The cheapest season ticket to watch Arsenal cost £1014. Which represents the better value for money is for you to decide. If you think it’s Arsenal, you need to put your name on the waiting list. If you think it’s Stokes, pick your seat…




Posted: 15th, October 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Newcastle United balls: Gutierrez sues club for disability discrimination

Jonas Gutierrez is suing Newcastle for £2million. The Sun says the former Newcastle midfielder is upset at the way the club treated him over his battle with testicular cancer. The paper says he’s claiming disability discrimination by the club.

Gutierrez, 32, was forced to pay for his own treatment after being diagnosed with the illness in October 2013. He recovered and helped ensure Newcastle’s Premier League survival in May — but was then released. The Argentine star, who is now playing for Spanish outfit Deportivo La Coruna, said: “The fact Newcastle did not offer me a new contract could have been interpreted as though I was not well.”

It could have been. Just as it could have been interpreted that Arsenal didn’t offer the often crocked About Diaby a new contract because of his health issues.

The Sun loads the dice:

Gutierrez scored in the final-day win over West Ham, which ensured Newcastle stayed up. But he was then dumped while on a coaching course with team-mate Ryan Taylor.

It is undeniably craven to release a player or any staff member over the phone.

The Sun cites the Equality Act 2010.

The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against workers because of mental or physical disability, and considers diagnosis of cancer as a disability.

Should they have kept him on? Was he good enough to play for one of the Premier League’s worst teams?


Posted: 14th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comment

Manchester United: new adidas retro kit comes with free Chelsea bottoms

Man United chesesa kit


Adidas know their market when it comes to flogging footy gear to the new fans. The firm’s new line of retro Manchester United kit includes the  ‘1985 track jacket’.  For a mere £65 the jacket goes well with the Chelsea sweatpants.




Spotter: Pies

Posted: 13th, October 2015 | In: Chelsea, Fashion, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Spurs chase Moses as Gent suffer shock loss

Keen to hook up with Son

       Danny keen to hook up with Son


Transfer Balls: a look at football reporting in the news. The Mail and Mirror say Spurs are chasing Moses Daddy-Ajala Simon. Compare and contrast the newspapers’ reports.

Daily Mail:


transfer spurs


Tottenham are following Gent winger Moses Simon. Club scouts have been following Gent’s centre forward Laurent Depoitre, who started and scored for Belgium against Andorra. A Nigeria international, Simon scored seven goals last season as Gent finished second in the Belgian Pro League and set up Depoitre for the winning goal in the Belgian Super Cup.

Tottenham and Liverpool wanted to sign Simon when he was a teenager but he opted to train with Ajax instead. Now they are back on his trail after a string of impressive performances. Depoitre scored Belgium’s fourth goal on Saturday night as they sealed their place at next summer’s European Championships with a 4-1 victory over Andorra

Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror:

Tottenham are tracking Gent winger Moses Simon. Spurs are already monitoring the progress of the club’s Belgium forward Laurent Depoitre, who started and scored against Andorra on Saturday. And now they are watching Simon, 20, a Nigeria wideman who scored seven times last season to help Gent win the Belgian Pro League.

‘The North Londoners have been keen on Simon since he was a teenager, but he chose to train with Dutch club Ajax instead. Depoitre, 26, hit the fourth goal in the 4-1 win for Belgium over Andorra that sealed their place at the Euro 2016 Finals’ – Darren Lewis, Mirror Football.

This is last season’s Belgian league table:

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Gent won. But the two papers appear to agree pretty much for for word on everything else.

Posted: 13th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports, Spurs | Comment

Transfer balls: Muller invites Manchester United to show him the money

daily mirror backpageTransfer Balls: Can it be that Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller is on his way to Manchester United?

The Manchester Evening News reports:

Manchester United transfer news: Muller hints at ‘tempting’ MUFC move

What was his hint? He said:


“In the end, we should not forget that playing football is our job. People should accept that wages will always play a role in a player’s decision-making. Of course, the wages that are being paid in the Premier League are very tempting. It would be hypocrisy to deny that.”


“You have to look at the complete package to determine whether something is right for you. What’s good for you one day will not necessarily still be good for you the day after. I know that a lot of German clubs are unhappy with the Premier League clubs’ spending, but I think it is something good for all clubs in the end. It can only be a good thing for football when clubs invest so much money…”

…in Premier League footballers’ wages. Because that’s where the money goes.

In 2014, Muller said:

“[On Manchester United’s multi million euros offer], of course, I was aware that I could theoretically earn more with a transfer. The sums that were standing by foreign clubs in the room were already astronomical. I can only say: For me, a change was never really an issue anyway. FC Bayern is my club.”

Bayern reportedly rejected a £60m bid from Manchester United for Müller last summer.



Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Sam Allardyce invested in Microsoft software but still didn’t get the England job

sam allardyce for England


New Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce wanted to be the England manager. He still wants the job. In the Sun, Allardyce shares with readers why he failed to get the nod in 2005.

“I wanted to do a real knock-your-socks-off interview for the FA, so I put together a PowerPoint presentation which looked at every single detail. There was nothing missing. Nobody but nobody was going to beat it.

“But then Brian Barwick, the chief executive, told me there were no PowerPoint facilities at the interview venue, so I had to print off hard copies for the panel. So much for the progressive FA.”

Next time, Big Same will wow them with Ascii.

Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comment

Klopp watch: the Ulla Sandrock head poncho contest

Ulla Sandrock

You should see the size of the Cups

Klopp Watch: a look at reporting on the Liverpool manager.

Daily Mirror: “Who is Jurgen Klopp’s wife Ulla Sandrock? All you need to know about the Liverpool boss’s other half”

Key facts from the big list:

Ulla Sandrock, who was known as the ‘First Lady of Bundesliga’

That would make the President of the Bundesliga, which is odd given that he works in the Premier League.

Ms Sandrock is well known to the German media and was a regular at Borussia Dortmund games, but is she ready to compete with Merseyside’s finest WAGs?

Compete for what?

The Liverpool Echo adds: “New LFC boss Jurgen Klopp’s wife loves Liverpool fashion”

Jurgen Klopp’s wife is a big fan of Scouse fashion, according to… former Big Brother contestant Rebeckah Vaughan… Rebeckah, from Bidston, said: “My dad is a huge Liverpool fan so I’d heard all about him. We went up to his wife and I asked if she liked Liverpool and she said she did. I offered her a drink but she declined. She had on a lovely poncho so we discussed Scouse fashion…”

The poncho was invented in Toxteth in 1897.

Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Klopp Watch: Liverpool’s new Avram Grant, Sefton Park stalkers and dreaming of Stuttgart

Klopp the Kop


Klopp Watch: Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has been speaking to German newspaper Bild:

“There is no doubt, this is a huge challenge, for me and my coaching team. We knew that full well [when we accepted the job]. Liverpool have not had any success for a long time and they’ve changed the manager all the time. And now they have appointed a German who is no miracle worker. Progress is not possible without a bit of time…

“I spoke to the people in charge of the club at length. [There are no targets for this season], just simply to play football with a recognisable brand…

“Whether there is money to spend in January or not doesn’t interest me. We are only in October and I don’t even know how many games we’ve got until the transfer window opens and therefore we will have a look at the players at our disposal first.”

What about the language?

“We will all have English lessons. I was relieved after the first press conference. I have said some stupid things in my life. But never in English… Did I dream about becoming a Liverpool manager when I was a kid? No, I dreamed about playing for Stuttgart, and that didn’t work out. But I am totally humbled to be here. It is almost a bit bizarre: there have been so many good and successful German managers and yet no one has been here.”

The Mail picks up the story. It also publishes paparazzi photographs of Klopp, his wife, son, son’s girlfriend and dog stood by a wall in Sefton Park. This is the Mail that swore off paparazzi photos after Princess Diana died.  One photo is captioned:

Klopp’s wife Ulla bends down to stroke her pet dog while the Liverpool boss looks on along with his stepson (second left at back) and his girlfriend (third right), his driver (second right) and a club liaison officer (far right)

In another caption, the Mail reads his mind

Klopp will be hoping to be settled in his new apartment before Liverpool’s next match against Tottenham

The Guardian says “Klopp is expected to deliver – and fast“. We hear more from Klopp:

“People should not make me out to be like Jesus, I don’t walk on water.I understand that there are huge expectations surrounding this club, and expectations are important in life, not just football, but I hope no one really thinks I can perform wonders. Of course I cannot. I am not really enjoying all this attention, to be honest. I didn’t ask for it and I am hoping that after the initial big hype we can all cool down a little and get to work.

“I am glad everyone seems happy I am here, but some people seem to think that because Jürgen is here everything will change. I can’t promise that. Some things will change, for sure, and I might be different to other managers in some respects, but we cannot change the whole world in one day. I am sure Liverpool fans are clever enough to understand that we need time. If things need changing I want to do it as soon as possible, but patience is important.”

Paul Wilson adds:

Time is what every manager asks for, with Brendan Rodgers no exception. The trick is to buy it with results, visible improvement and perhaps even silverware. As Klopp attempts to move from trophy manager to manager responsible for trophies, he can be under no illusions that being in charge of Liverpool at the moment is anything other than daunting.

Sky Sports has news of ‘The Normal One’.

Jurgen Klopp had no plans to call himself ‘the Normal One’ before Liverpool unveiling

It too has read the Bild interview:

Speaking to the media for the first time since taking over at Anfield, Klopp was asked about how he compared himself to Jose Mourinho who labelled himself ‘The Special One’ when he became Chelsea manager in 2004.

Klopp delighted reporters with his tongue-in-cheek response, saying: “I’m a very normal guy from the Black Forest. I’m the normal one, maybe.”

But, speaking to German newspaper Bild, Klopp says it was an unplanned remark.

“No, I hadn’t thought about that at all,” Klopp said.

“I was asked and simply answered. Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut – but that is quite difficult at a press conference.”

Not that being the Normal one is original.

The Guardian tells us:

Avram Grant described himself as the “normal” one as he vowed to coach Chelsea in his own way after taking over from ‘the Special One’. Grant was unveiled as first-team coach at Stamford Bridge this evening, taking over from Jose Mourinho following the shock events at the club this week, but he made a less dramatic immediate impact than his predecessor.

More Klopp Watch most days.


Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Liverpool reject Rodgers tipped for Aston Villa job

Transfer Balls:what next for Liverpool reject Brendan Rodgers?

The Sun says Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has a few games to save his job. If he goes Villa will turn to Brendan Rodgers, recently booted from Liverpool. Villa fans should be pleased. Rodgers has vision. Sherwood has a gilet.

Villa fans not all that keen on Rodgers can turn to the Daily Mail and learn that Real Sociedad manager David Moyes is also in the frame. why Moyes wold want the Villa job is a moot point. Surely he’d wait for team higher up the table to offer him a return to English football?


Posted: 12th, October 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

Everton balls: Tim Howard in kiss ‘n’ abort tabloid stinger

tim howardIn “Prem ace made me abort our baby”, the Sun looks at Everton goalkeepers Tim Howard, a divorced father of two and committed Christian, Howard has, reportedly, “got a girlfriend pregnant then urged her to have an abortion”

The story you can read in full on the Sun’s website. But here are some highlights.

The revelations shatter 36-year-old Howard’s image as a family man.

He’s divorced. He has been single since 2010. He met the girlfriend in 2014.

The 32-year-old woman says:

 “He’s a hypocrite and I feel he manipulated me. I feel totally betrayed, a complete fool. I believe he stayed with me to make sure I had an abortion. In the end I made the decision on my own to have the abortion.”

Is she a hypocrite, then?

“I’m so sad I sacrificed a child I wanted to keep. It makes me so mad that he was a faithful Christian and he could behave like this.”

We later learn that she’s a… Catholic. Does that make you mad?

Her next line might be the non-sequitur of the year. She says:

“One of the first things he asked was if I had a phone charger. He didn’t seem like a typical footballer.”

Footballers always carry their own phone chargers, typically.

Tim Howard has Tourette’s. No sniggering now:

When she eventually told him [she was pregnant] over the phone, she was stunned by his response. She said: “His reaction was, ‘F**k that’.”

She then really nails him.

He said he would let me decide but it was clear to me what he wanted. Although we were in the early stages, I believed he was a good Christian and would support me.”

He left it up to her. The cad. The swine.

In messages, she told of her reservations about an abortion saying: “You are blessed with two children. I am killing ours. Eughhhh!!!”

He then told her:

“My logic/reason is . . . it’s clearly not a situation to bring a child into. In terms of us only knowing each other a short period. I’m leaving England in 2 years you know.”

The sensible pig. He then added:

“It happened bc WE were f**n stupid. It’s simple.”

He tells the Press:

“This is a private matter and it is unfortunate that, for whatever reason, the person concerned has chosen to take her version of events public. I have no interest in discussing it further.”

It is private. After all, we don’t get to know her name.

Posted: 11th, October 2015 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Klopp joins the transfer committee he hated

Jurgen Klopp news (again). Those experts in the mainstream media had a few words to say about Liverpool’s new manager:

Joe Bernstein, Mail, 27 September:

Jurgen Klopp would demand the end of Liverpool’s transfer committee if he is to succeed Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager.


Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 13.23.15


Jurgen Klopp join Liverpool. He tells media on October 9,”

“[The transfer committee] was not a problem for 10 seconds. We talked about it. For me it is enough that I have the first and the last words. We only want to discuss about very good players. I’m not a genius, I don’t know more than the rest of the world. I need the people who get the perfect information.”

Well, they did target Luis Suarez…

Posted: 10th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: If Jurgen Klopp is the news Benitez Liverpool will be a lucky flash in the pan

Klopp the Kop


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is just like Rafa Benitez, the Buddha of Anfield who led the Reds to Champions’ League glory. Well so say all the papers.

The Telegraph:

The similarities between Benitez’s appointment and Klopp’s are striking.


Both left their home country having built their reputation slaying their nation’s financial superpowers with clubs of far less resources, utilising the qualities of players they improved rather than paid a fortune for.

In other words Liverpool have invested in a known winner.

Like Benitez, Klopp won two domestic titles before deciding to fulfil the ambition of taking on a Premier League giant in need of revival. He left Borussia Dortmund on his own terms with an emotional goodbye, echoing Benitez’s farewell to Valencia eleven years ago.

Uncanny. It’s almost as if Liverpool have a plan: hire a foreign manager whose made it.

No, says the Metro. This is fate.

Rafael Benitez was the last manager to lead the club to any sort of success and there are spooky similarities between the start of his reign and the start of Klopp’s.

Go on, Will Giles:

Klopp signed his three-year contract in the sixth boardroom of the appropriately named Hope Street Hotel – which is exactly the same place where Benitez signed his in June 2004.


But it doesn’t stop there – Benitez’s first league game in charge of Liverpool was Tottenham away. Klopp’s first game in charge? Tottenham away.

The game ended 1-1.

Benitez also managed to win the Champions League in his first season and while Klopp won’t be able to replicate that success straight away, you can’t deny that the omens look good.

You can. But the Daily Mirror can’t.

The eerie fact that suggests Jurgen Klopp could be as successful at Liverpool as Rafa Benitez

Klopp has promised a trophy within four years at Anfield – but could one arrive even sooner now we’ve discovered this omen?

Good if it does because he’s only on a three-year deal.

Klopp promised a trophy within four years to the Anfield faithful and maybe that’s because he knows his arrival at the club has more than a hint of Rafa Benitez’s. Because Klopp signed his mega-bucks Liverpool contract in the very same room that Benitez did way back in 2004. Both put pen to paper in the sixth boardroom of the Hope Street Hotel.


Oh, good grief.

Benitez won the Champions League in his first season at Liverpool and the FA Cup a year later. He remained a massively popular figure despite no league titles.

Not massively popular with everyone, though. In 2010, with four years of his five-year contract to run, Rafa was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club.

Good lucky, Jurgen. You’re gonna need it.


Posted: 9th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: how much Klopp is now earning at Anfield

Liverpool have appointed affable German Jurgen Klopp and the papers agree that he’s terrific.

But what’s he earning at Liverpool?

Daily TelegraphKlopp signed a three year deal worth £7 million a season.

The Times: £25m for three seasons.




But it’s just £6m for the migrant worker the Mail:




In Bild it’s €10 million-a-year. That’s around £7.4m a season.

But it’s down to £5m in the BBC:


Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 13.37.54


Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Money, Reviews, Sports | Comment