Sports | Anorak - Part 74

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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.

Wayne Rooney: the Daily Mirror didn’t hack the ‘thick’ Manchester United star’s phone out of respect

rooneyBrian Reade has penned a defence of Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney.

Class snobs who try to keep council-estate-kid sports stars down and revel in their failings at it again before a new documentary on the striker, says Brian Reade

Class snobs? Would this be the same Brian Reade who said of the white-working class:

Welcome to the Brook Estate in Eltham, south east London. The breeding ground of four of the five men accused of stabbing Stephen Lawrence to death as he waited for a bus a short walk away on the eve of St George’s Day six years ago.

Five products of a twisted philosophy drummed into them from birth. “If they’re black, stab ’em in the back.”…

A way of life passed down from father to son. You see the link emerge in the fading white graffiti sprayed 30 years ago on the walls of the old railway bridges around the estate, written by the last generation of Eltham Boyz. In three feet high letters: “SKINHEADS.”…

Give me the father and I’ll give you the son who will give you the son who will abuse, persecute and even kill another human being for committing the heinous crime of not being born white.

Racism was inherited. Get the killers and purge the land.

This is White Man’s Gulch… This is E-reg Escort-land.

So much for the snobbery. What else does Reade know about Rooney?

Gary Lineker is letting it be known that next Monday’s documentary on Wayne Rooney is so touching it will radically change the nation’s perception of him. That’s why the BBC released previews about how Rooney is a sensitive soul who writes poetry for his wife.

Cue would-be satirists’ rhyming couplets running over as they imagine the literary outpourings of someone it has been assumed can barely write a cheque.

Would-be satirists like the, er, Daily Mirror’s Polly Hudson, who opines:

Depriving the public of enjoying these Rooney masterpieces is ­basically a crime… so it’s lucky that I’ve managed to get my hands on Wayne’s notebook…

Have snarked at Rooney, Hudson offers:

By Wayne Rooney, age 29 and 7/8

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

You are well hot.

So you’re probably more like a summer’s day  abroad then,

Cos the weather here is usually rubbish.

So much for the satire.

Reade adds:

It’s not that he’s a multi-title winner with a century of caps who has broken England’s all-time goalscoring record and become an extremely wealthy man. It’s that he has survived, and flourished, against all the odds in a class-obsessed country which loves nothing better than seeing council-estate kids who make good, very publicly self-destruct.

We get examples:

Think of George Best, Paul Gascoigne and Alex Higgins and how certain sections of our society have taken pleasure in pointing at them in the gutter and warning other working-class talents that serious life-enhancement should be left to their betters.

Would that be the same Paul Gascoigne whose phone the Daily Mirror hacked? Gazza told the High Court:

“I knew I was getting hacked by the Mirror. This continued for ages. Phone calls to my father and family were getting blocked so I changed my mobile. It happened again so I kept on changing mobiles, five or six times a month… I couldn’t speak to anybody, I was scared to speak to anybody… my parents, my family and kids, it was just horrendous. And people can’t understand why I became an alcoholic…. At the time I was going through a bad time because I knew I was getting hacked, 110 per cent. Of course (people) wouldn’t believe it – my family and Mr McKeown (therapist Johnny McKeown). As I was speaking to him on the phone, it clicked again. He told me I was paranoid, I was going through a mental disorder. I said ‘No, there’s fuck-all wrong with me’. I knew, I knew. I put the phone down… I’ve never told a lie, nothing to lie about, nothing. Disgusting. Crap… I have waited 15 years to be sat here so I am disgusted, really. I would like to trade my mobile phone in for a coffin because these guys have ruined my life. I have no life.”

In May the ex-England footballer was awarded £188,250 in damages.

Back to Reade:

Rooney came up across horrendous snobbery right from the off.

And back to Polly Hudson in the Mirror:

As celebrity adulteries go, this one is particularly bad, even by footballers’ standards. Coleen was pregnant at the time. But the only reason Wayne and his hooker didn’t get it on at the Rooney marital home was because SHE thought it out of order. When a prostitute has better morals than you, it’s probably time to worry.

Wayne may be known for being completely thick but his recent actions still beggar belief.

And Fiona Phillips in the Mirror:

Almost overnight, Coleen the innocent A-level student disappeared and Coleen the Queen of Chav arrived. It was disappointing

Chav? Yeah, that’s what the Mirror has called Coleen over and over

THE style bible of the fashionistas, Vogue, has asked Coleen McLoughlin to be a cover girl.

I don’t know what thrills me more. The idea of the curvy, chav girlfriend of Wayne Rooney on the cover of the world’s poshest magazine. Or the thought of Victoria Beckham’s face when she heard the news.

The Mirror told readers what a chav is:

YOU may know them as Kevs, Slappers, Neds, Townies or Scallies – but a new Internet website has branded them Chavs, from an old gypsy word for child…

Female Chav: When not wearing her baseball cap, you will notice her DIY facelift: badly-dyed hair scraped back into the tightest bun possible. She loves denim and shops at New Look, Pilot or her local market stall. Top Shop is too sophisticated. The classy female Chav wears t-shirts with slogans she finds witty – “Friendly when drunk”, French Connection’s FCUK or the “F*** You” one Britney Spears made famous. Her skirt is more like a belt, barely covering her mottled blue thighs and flabby midriff.

And they are thick:

For most of us cinema is an art form which enriches our lives. For Chavs it’s the place to text your mate and snog your bint. They love sequels because an original idea is something to be feared. Any flicks with an R&B star such as 50 cent, Aaliyah or Ice T is almost enough to make a Chav wet their pants in excitement. A good example is Romeo Must Die featuring Aaliyah and DMX. Don’t try telling them the plot is influenced by Romeo and Juliet. You’ll get a blank look.

Oh, and Wayne is also a chav:

For girls it’s Chelsea, Chardonnay, Kayleigh, Crystal or Britney. Boys are Jay, Wayne, Jake, Romeo or Dean.

But Reade makes no mention of his own paper in any of this snobbery. He just points the finger at a rival:

In a Daily Mail article which suggested he could be Gazza Mark II, a leading commentator asked: “Is there some hidden vice, some secret in Rooney’s psyche, which is yet to emerge? Drink, drugs, wife-beating?” It was a perfect summation of a country which judges people on their accent and background without getting to know their character.”

Meanwhile….in white man’s gulch…


Posted: 1st, October 2015 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: football genius picks Neymar over Ings

Banteriser Jimmy Bullard has a plan to make Liverpool great. Jimmy, last seen being irritating (surely, engaging in hilarious bantz – ed) in the I’m A Celebrity jungle has been talking to the Express.

Bullard has been hired by Ladbrokes Rugby’s ‘Who’s Got The Balls’ campaign, a truly dire marketing strategy in which punters are invited to see if Bullard or Austin Healey (Strictly Come Dancing, Hole In The Wall, The Weakest Link, Pointless Celebrities and more) can decide “once and for all” if celebrity footballers or rugby players are tougher.

One test of fortitude would be to see how long anyone can spend in room with Bullard before begging for mercy. But while Ladbroke’s make ready the punishment room, Bullard turns his mind to Liverpool.

“They haven’t bought enough. They bought ok, but Roberto Firmino has not produced. They got rid of top quality and they haven’t got that back. With the likes of Suarez going and not getting world quality, for me as a fan I want to see a world-class striker join. I wanted to see a Neymar or someone to replace Suarez. They took a risk with signing Danny Ings from Burnley.”

But Neymar! Had only Brendan Rogers the wit to have bought Brazil’s brightest star from Barcelona.

Posted: 1st, October 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Football balls: Bournemouth fans get more extra-tribal sex than Chelsea and Manchester United supporters

Fans of Manchester United and Chelsea are the ugliest faces in the Premier League. Dating service asked 1000 which supporters were the least shagable.

If you are looking for meaningful love, the tip is to say you support The Cherries. If you’re looking for casual sex, it’s best to state a preference for tennis; if it’s dogging you’re after, that’s golf:

Most Fanciable (aka Least Hateful)

AFC Bournemouth
Norwich City
Manchester City
Swansea City
Newcastle United
Aston Villa
Leicester City
West Ham United
West Bromwich Albion
Crystal Palace
Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City
Manchester United

Another question asked ‘Which supporters are fellow fans most likely to shun in the dating game?’ Shock of shock, it tuns out the biggest clubs with the most supporters and rivalries come top:

Manchester United
Newcastle United

In other news. NORWICH is an acronym for (K)nickers Off Ready When I Come Home.


Posted: 1st, October 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

Marquee Watch: Arsenal sent Cech a signal of in tent

marqueeMarquee Watch: a look at newspapers referring to a footballer as a “marquee”. Today Arsenal’s Petr Cech is one.

The Guardian:

Arsenal had to beat Olympiakos – Wenger had described the tie as must-win – and it made no sense to overlook Cech, his No1 goalkeeper and the one marquee signing that the club had made last summer to make the difference.

Cech is the only signing Arsenal made over the summer.

The low-water mark for this Marquee Balls is in the Derby Telegraph, which told its readers:

Premier League champions Chelsea take on Arsenal in the day’s marquee game

Dictionary definition of marquee:

noun mar·quee \mär-ˈkē\
: a covered structure over the entrance to a building (such as a hotel or theater)

: a sign over the entrance to a theater that shows the name of the show, movie, play, etc., and the names of the main performers

: a large tent that is set up for an outdoor event (such as a party)

Posted: 30th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Mata to Liverpool, Ronaldo to Manchester United and Guillem Balague on The Metro’s speed dial

Transfer balls: The Metro’s Will Giles says Manchester United will sign Cristiano Ronaldo and pay him £1.2m a month.

WOW! Manchester United will pay Ronaldo less than Wayne Rooney, who earns up to £300,000 a week?! Ronaldo must be chomping at the bit to rejoin United.

Of course, Ronaldo can get a gigantic signing-on fee, too. Giles adds:

Manchester United will bid £92.5million next summer in an attempt to prise Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid…

Ronaldo leaving Madrid this summer is a more realistic proposition than ever before, with Spanish expert Guillem Balague claiming that the 30-year-old will have to seriously consider his future at the end of the season.

Guillem Balague… who he? Well, he’s on the Metro’s internet speed dial:

September 2014: Balague is quoted:

‘I have a pretty good idea of when he wants to go. It won’t be this month or next month, but he wants to go back to Manchester United and everything is in place for him to return to Old Trafford.’

February 2015: “Arsenal transfer target Sami Khedira ‘will sign for Bayern Munich’”

…respected journalist Guillem Balague was asked where he thinks the in-demand midfielder will be playing his football next season…. Balague suggested his team-mates at the Bernabeu are of the opinion Khadira will return to his native Germany and join Bayern Munich.

Khedira signed for Juventus.

February 2015: “Atletico Madrid ‘confident’ of sealing transfer deal for Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla as talks begin”

Atletico Madrid ARE in talks to sign Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and are confident of signing the player, La Liga expert Guillem Balague has confirmed.

In July, Cazorla signed a new deal, extending his terms for another two years.

May 2011: “Liverpool make Juan Mata a ‘£20m priority’ for summer”

Says you know who…


Posted: 30th, September 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Backpages: Arsenal ‘Greeced’ by ‘Oopspina’ and Chelsea lose ‘Capital’ in night of ‘Fawlty Powers’

The newspapers lead with Arsenal and Chelsea’s woes in the Champions’ League. A slapdash Arsenal were beaten 2-3 by Olympiakos. Chelsea’ lost 1-2 in Porto.









Verdict: The Daily Mirror wins the pun wars. ‘Oopspina’ nails Arsenal goalkeeeper David Ospina for his own goal.

Posted: 30th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Aston Villa: Ireland’s Jack Grealish picked England for ‘commercial reasons’

JAck Grealish commercial reasons


Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has opted to play for England, the country of his birth. Solihull-born to English parents, Grealish has declined the option of taking up the grandparents’ rule and playing for the Republic of Ireland.

Easy. But the troubling thing is that Grealish has already played for the Republic of Ireland, winning caps from under-15 to under-21 level. So it was bit of a blow to the Irish when he tweeted: “It was not an easy decision to make as Ireland has a special place to me through my family. However, I have decided to represent the country of my birth.”

So why did he play for the Republic, then?


The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards says Grealish picked England for another reason. He has it on “good authority” that Grealish picked the red rose for “commercial reasons”.


Now kiss the badge and play the game.

Posted: 29th, September 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Wenger explains why he didn’t bring Anthony Martial to Arsenal

Transfer Balls: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants to explain why he din’t buy Anthony Martial. The Daily Star has “the real reason why I didn’t make a bid for Man United star Anthony Martial.”

Says Wenger:

“He was more a winger in his whole career and he played the final part of the season last year as striker. But Monaco’s statement was always that the two players that would not move were Martial and [Layvin] Kurzawa, so I thought they would maintain that. But in the end both of them moved.”

It’s amazing what £36m did Monaco’s resolve.


Posted: 29th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment (1)

Chelsea balls: Mourinho wants to be more like Wenger and Arsenal

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 08.00.44


Jose Mourinho is the subject of a Sun story that hangs from a pun, as obvious as a ball of mucus from a runny nose:


The Sun’s story is just that: football manager wants his team to win more matches.

Mourinho will be delighted that he is the both the title and subject for a Chelsea story. It is, after all, all about him. He says:

“In this club, we have 25 champions from last year — but how many serial champions do we have in the squad? There are two sorts of champions. There are champions who win something and there are lots of them around. But there are the others who during their career win one, two, three, four, five, 10 or 20 titles. Mentally, I can say I am a serial champion. This is the problem we have at this moment. We have champions — but not serial champions.”

Has he just noticed that Chelsea are not Real Madrid?

But has the Sun been a tad selective in editing Mourinho’s quotes before Chelsea’s Champions’ League match with Porto? These are the same words in more context:

“There are two sorts of champions. There are those who win something, and there are lots of them. But there are the other champions who, during their career, win one, two, three, four, five, 10 or 20 titles. In this club we have 25 champions from last year, but serial champions in this squad? John Terry, Jon Mikel [Obi] and [Branislav] Ivanovic are serial champions. Almost every season they have something in the pocket. But how many other serial champions do we have?

“Last year we were champions, but the point for me is are we serial champions? Of course it’s very difficult to win every season, but you can be a serial champion in your approach and your attitude. If we fight every minute of every game and in the end someone has two more points, then we don’t go from champions to losers. Not at all. If you lose the Champions League final to Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich you are not a loser. Mentally I can say I am a serial champion. I can be five or 10 years without winning a title, but I will still be a serial champion in my approach and my attitude. This is the problem we have at this moment. We have champions, but not serial champions.

“Nobody understood it but when the Arsenal fans were singing against Chelsea last week and I was tapping my arm, I was saying: ‘Look at the shirts.’ We have the [golden] Premier League badge on our shirts because we’re champions. But one thing is to be champion once and another is the mentality. I don’t demand that they’re champions every season. In England that’s impossible, especially at Chelsea because when we win the title it’s the end of the world and nobody [outside the club] is happy. But you can be a serial champion in your attitude. And for me that’s the point.”

Is Mourinho obsessed by Arsenal, softening his attitude to the Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger, for whom he told us going ten years without winning the title – finishing runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions’ League final –  is not a sign of a “winning mentality”, but of being a “specialist in failure”? Is Jose now envious of Wenger?

More Mourinho news in the Mail, which thunders: Chelsea players must improve or I’ll play the kids, insists Jose Mourinho.” Can it be that having attacked Wenger, referees, the club doctor and The Press, Mourinho has turned on his team?

No. Of course not. What he said was:

“…if the season becomes ‘closed’ and we can’t win trophies, I will go just with the kids instead. It makes no sense to play the older players when you have nothing to win. There can be a moment where I will look to the kids and say: ‘Let’s go, non-stop.’ I am ruthless. But at the moment, everything is open.”

Mourinho is not a manger known for giving the kids a chance. But you know who is…

Posted: 29th, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1)

Liverpool: Klopp says ‘come and get me’ but only if you change

klopp liverpool


Is the next Liverpool manager to be Jurgen Klopp? If it is then changes will need to be made says the Daily Mail:

Klopp will only take Liverpool job if transfer committee is scrapped

Joe Bernstein writes:

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

That’s not exactly new news is it. Back in May, the Metro said the same thing:

The German would demand FSG remove the current four-man committee that decide which players Liverpool decide to buy or sell, leaving Klopp himself to have more influence on the club’s transfer targets.

But is that even correct? In August Klopp said he wasn’t keen on doing transfers:


“The Premier League is very exciting. And we do not only think about the top four because there are some other great clubs below them. In Germany there is a clear separation between manager and sporting director and I think in principle this is very good. Jürgen does not like to speak to players’ agents or to carry out a transfer. So we have to see which is the most useful arrangement.”

But none of it matters because Liverpool don’t want Klopp. talkSport told us that:

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.23.20


Such are the facts in the mainstream media.


Posted: 28th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea: Garth Crooks, Juan Mata’s Manchester United magic, Mourinho’s shame

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 14.05.28


In the haste to pile in on Chelsea, BBC pundit Garth Crooks salutes Manchester United’s Juan Mata. He’s the Spaniard United bought from Chelsea for a then club record fee of £37.1 million in January 2014. For that much cash, it should not come as too much of a shock to realise that Mata is pretty good at football. And he’s been pretty good for some time – Chelsea signed him from Valencia for £23.5 million in August 2011.

Here’s Crooks:

It is with some irony that I find Chelsea struggling at one end of the table and Manchester United on top.


It would be remiss of me not to mention Juan Mata at this point; the man who Mourinho couldn’t wait to get out of the revolving door at Stamford Bridge.

The man they sold for a record fee.

It has been Mata’s consistent performances for the Red Devils under Louis van Gaal that have helped transform their season. Mata was instrumental in United’s victory over Sunderland and should they win the title, his departure could prove to be Mourinho’s final embarrassment.

Er, Garth, mate, Chelsea won the Premier League title last year. Mata’s United finished fourth. the year before, United finished in seventh with Chelsea in third.



Posted: 28th, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, manchester united | Comment

Arsenal: new chant of the year hymns Laurent Koscielny

araenal Chaka Khan


Arsenal fans have a new chant for Laurent Koscielny, the club’s French defender.

To the tune of Rufus and Chaka Khan hit Ain’t Nobody:

Ain’t nobody
Makes me happy
Makes me feel this way


Posted: 28th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment

Chelsea: Diego Costa dreams of being a Welsh rugby player

Compare and contrast the Daily Mirror’s reporting on Chelsea FC’s Diego Costa and his on-field battle with Arsenal to the England v Wales game at the rugby World Cup:

Costa is a “CON MAN”, who got away with argy-bargy because the referee failed to spot the obvious and then sent off Arsenal’s Gabriel for the miniscule. Costa, says the Mirror, is a “cheat”:




A few days later and England take on Wales at the rugby World Cup. The match momentarily boils over. Collars are lifted. Bodies pile in. But this is not cheating. This is passion and desire to win.




Didn’t Diego Costa also just want to win?

Posted: 28th, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: Rodgers senses ‘hysteria’, 33 new players and Manchester United move miles ahead

The Sunday Times says “Liverpool as far from the top as they’ve ever been”. Is Brendan Rodgers’ side that bad?

Jonathan Northcroft:

Rodgers surely also knew, from last year, that when you churn playing staff in the summer it is hard to find consistency. His latest spree, featuring eight arrivals, was lauded by supporters seeking change — but after 33 signings, for £292m, in three years, is it not stability that Liverpool need?

Recruitment defines most reigns. It is likely to do so with Rodgers. The 33 have been an unbalanced crew, including five No 10s, 10 strikers and only two wingers…

There is another five-year anniversary approaching, of John W Henry’s takeover in 2010. The pledge was “to first focus on stability rather than change”. Can Rodgers weather trouble and finally get a restless club to settle?

Another noble Henry 2010 objective was to “return Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successfully competing for and winning trophies”. But look through the squad. How many would get in the first teams of Liverpool’s rivals in England — let alone Europe?

Look at the economics: in 2010, Liverpool’s wage bill topped Arsenal’s and was just £10m behind United’s and £12m behind Manchester City’s. Now it’s £71.5m behind United’s, £62.5m behind City’s, £23m behind Arsenal’s. Liverpool have never seemed further from Henry’s goal and for reasons neither he nor Rodgers fully control.

Says Rodgers:

“There’s a hysteria around the club. We’ve lost fewer games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in all competitions – two. It’s a huge club, a worldwide, iconic club, so the scrutiny on it is huge. It doesn’t affect us. We’re working hard and trying to integrate players back into the team….There is a group of people that don’t want me here. Myself and the players stay very calm and work very hard.”

But it’s about belief. City and Arsenal have lost in the Champions’ League. Can Liverpool even get there?



Posted: 27th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Transfer Balls: Chelsea will lose Eden to Real Madrid and Barcelona want Coutinho from Liverpool

The Premier League bloats whilst La Liga gloats. News via the Sunday Times is that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho are “wanted in Spain”. That pretty much means Real Madrid and Barcelona are eyeing the players.

Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, says Hazard is the man to ignite Real. The 24-year-old is the current Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. He’s the best the PL has to offer. But the feeling is that should Real come knocking Hazard will want out of Stamford Bridge.

Coutinho, Liverpool’s club’s sole representative in the PFA Team of the Year, is being watched by Barcelona. Surely the Nou Camp holds more attraction than being the brightest light in a Brendan Rodger’s team that seems to make it up as it goes along.


Posted: 27th, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Liverpool: since March Rodgers’ Reds haven’t beaten a team higher than 16th in the Premier League

Liverpool are not all that good. For a club that has spent vast sums of cash, Brendan Rodgers team are pretty dire. The current league positions of the past five team Liverpool FC have defeated since mid-March are:

Bournemouth – 16th (and they were very, very lucky to beat them)

Stoke – 17th

Aston Villa – 18th

Newcastle – 19th

QPR – relegated.

Surely Brendan Rodgers is doomed.

Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Reviews, Sports | Comments (4)

Arsenal balls: FA fine Gabriel for agreeing with them

Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista should not have been sent off against Chelsea last weekend. The FA rescinded the red card. When he was wrongly sent off, the Brazilian complained bitterly, as all he might have. So the FA have now him £10,000 for “improper conduct” in failing to accept a decision they say was wrong.


Mike Dean, the referee who made the errors, has not been fined.


Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment

Liverpool balls: Rodgers gets the ‘axe’ and refuses to ‘quit’

Is Brendan Rodgers heading out of Liverpool FC? The Sun and the Daily Mirror each have a take on the story.

David Maddock, the Daily Mirror, September 25:

The Liverpool manager retains the support of his club’s American owners, for now. The 42-year-old is pragmatic enough to know the backing that came – surprisingly strongly – from the other side of the Atlantic this week will not endure unless there is a seismic shift in performance 

Ken Lawrence, The Sun, September 25:

His [Rodgers] language — in terms of what he says as well as his body — suggests he now thinks it inevitable Fenway Sports Group will get rid of him. Rodgers might have been referring to a statement prepared AFTER the American owners had ended his three–year tenure when he declared: “I know I’ve given it everything.”

And in a second story also from September 25 by Ken Lawrence:

BRENDAN RODGERS’ biggest fight is against the enemy within — not the critics determined to see him sacked. They say you never walk alone at Anfield but the Liverpool boss is becoming isolated from his Fenway Sports Group employers. Ahead of tomorrow’s must–win clash at home to struggling Aston Villa, the sound of silence from principle owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner is deafening.

Have Fenway Sports Group backed him or not? The Mirror says ‘yes’ the Sun says ‘no’.

One day on and the Mirror declares that “defiant” Rodgers “shrugs off critics”:


Or as the Sun puts it – Rodgers “looks resigned to the Liverpool axe”:


Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 06.36.56


Rodgers is defiant and resigned?

Such are the facts.


Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)

Manchester United balls: a critis at Old Trafford Sunderland can only dream of



Manchester United are in “crisis“. Well, that’s what the Daily Mirror says in its report on United’s build up to a home match against Sunderland. Man United are second in the Premier League. Sunderland are bottom.


Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 06.13.23


The “crisis” at Old Trafford is that Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo are both injured, leaving United with “one fit left-footed defender” in the shape of Danny Blind.


If that’s a crisis, what are Sunderland suffering?

Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat sets the tone:

“If you have a draw there [Old Trafford], you have a great result… Normally United would beat us but we can give them a really tough time. That will happen, you will see.”

Crisis? No. This is normal service.

Posted: 26th, September 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Daily Mail uses Arsene Wenger’s divorce to explain his mood over the last 19 years

daily mail


The Daily Mail was keen to reveal that Arsene Wenger has split from his wife, the lovely Annie. According to the paper, the divorce explains why Wenger looked a tad pained watching Arsenal take on Tottenham.

Showing the strain: Arsene Wenger looks serious as Arsenal boss takes to the bench for the first time since separation from his wife was revealed


Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 18.09.19



You might suppose his serious expression was down to concerns that defeat against Arsenal’s local rivals would mean a third-straight defeat for his side. You might also supposes – rightly – that the Mail had selected images to support the headline.

They could have chosen these images instead:



And this one from the day before the game:



Here’s Wenger today:



Oh, and here’s Arsene Wenger not longer after he arrived at Arenal:



He’s not changed a bit.

PS: What does the Daily Mail have against football?

Posted: 25th, September 2015 | In: Sports | Comment

‘Rampaging’ Arsenal balls: The Sun and Mail’s story on Spurs ‘shame’ show how much they hate football fans

The Press love to present any rowdiness at the football as a terrible thing. Last night Arsenal fans in the ‘away’ section were kept behind at Tottenham’s ground. These police-induced lock-ins are not supposed to be cause for merriment. They are moments when the police lock innocent people in/up for crimes not yet committed. A few Arsenal fans thought it a fun idea to reach over the barriers and peel off the sad mottos that puncture the Spurs concrete, messages like ‘Come On you Spurs’, ‘The Game Is About Glory’ and ‘To Dare Is to Do’.


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The Sun says the “yobs” have “shamed” football.

ARSENAL face another FA charge after their supporters ripped up perimeter stadium signs and HURLED them at Spurs fans.

No. The signs were not hurled. No Spurs fans were injured because the signs were hanging over the heads of other Arsenal fans, who were cheering. And most Spurs fans had already left the ground.

Arsenal got 3,000 tickets for the match – the same allocation they always get. This is the lay-out:




ESPN saw the came thing:

Kept behind after the game, some away fans pulled away parts of the “This Is Our Club” boards on the first tier of the Park Lane stand at Spurs.

Although it too slips into hyperbole. Miguel Delaney rebrands the Spurs ground White Hart Lane as ‘White Hate Lane’:


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Undaunted by facts, the Sun ploughs on:

The disgraceful scenes marred the double of hero Mathieu Flamini which sunk their bitter rivals.

No. They didn’t.

These were “shocking incidents”.

No. They were not.

But the Mail demands more.

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Rampaging‘ fans?

Sami Mokbel at least gets one fact right:

The signs hurtled down towards the lower tier where other fellow Arsenal supporters were located.

What utter balls.



Posted: 24th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comments (2)

Tottenham: Spurs invite Wayne Gretzky to Arsenal match, spell his name wrong on shirt

spurs wayne gretzkyHaving moved to woo the US market with a new stadium geared to American football, Tottenham invited legendary ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky to see them take on Arsenal in the League Cup.
Generous to a fault, Spurs gave the Canadian a club shit with his name on the back. Well, it had someone’s name on it. Instead of Gretzky, the shirt said ‘Gretsky’.
Who he? 


Posted: 24th, September 2015 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment

Transfer Balls: Manchester United make inflated Muller bid on Metro’s template

Will Giles Metro news


Transfer Balls: Anorak’s search for the most clickbait football news story takes us, as ever, to the Metro, where Will Giles has news for Manchester United fans:

Manchester United made £120million worth of transfer bids to sign Thomas Muller – report

What Giles does it tot up the bids United apparently made for Bayern Munich’s German star Muller – £55m and £65m, according to Bild – and came up with a new story.

It’s a marvellously contrived story that SEOs must admire.

And, accordingly, we can expect more of the same vein. Look out for:

* Chelsea made £76million worth of transfer bids to sign John Stones – report
* Spurs made £62million worth of transfer bids to sign Saido Berahino – report
* *** made *** worth of transfer bids to sign **** **** – report


Posted: 24th, September 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Benzema Joins Arsenal Again But For More Money

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Transfer balls: the Metro days Arsenal have been “told” to increase their “bid” for Karim Benzema bid.

Told by whom? Sean Kearns writes:

They failed to get him in the summer but Arsene Wenger’s side has been told a significant increase in their bid for Benzema will see the Frenchman ending up at the Emirates.

Kearns links to a second Metro story. So we click. And there we learn:

 Gunners could land Benzema if a significant offer is lodged, according to Spanish news outlet Fichajes.

We click again. And on that site we’re told:

The club’s intention is not to leave, but it depends on the offers

The story is, then. that Real Madrid COULD sell Benzema should any club offer them massive sum of money.

Posted: 24th, September 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment

Chelsea v Dr Carnerio: Mourinho refused to apologise

eva-carneiro-chelseaAs you’re no doubt aware, it was announced yesterday that Dr Eva Carneiro has decided to leave Chelsea some six weeks after being publicly barracked by Jose Mourinho for having the temerity to run onto the pitch to treat an injured (in the most tenuous sense of the word) Eden Hazard.

For her crimes, Dr Carneiro saw her role as club doctor downgraded by Mourinho, as she was told to not attend training sessions, competitive games and/or the Chelsea team hotel in the immediate aftermath.

In the intervening period, Chelsea asked Dr Carniero to return to work but she decided not to while she considered her legal position. Indeed, theGuardian are reporting that she is currently preparing to sue her former employers over her “public humiliation”.

Not that it needed to get to this point. In fact, according to the Evening Standard, Dr Carniero would have been perfectly willing to return to her post had she received a “simple apology” from Mourinho.

The Standard also have word from Anna Kessel, co-founder and chair of the Women in Football, an organisation that has been offering Carniero support and guidance for the past few weeks.

Kessel states that she backed Carniero’s decision to quit and feels that the entire mess surrounding the incident is entirely of Mourinho’s own making.

Doctor Carneiro did nothing wrong. She should have been straight back at work, with an apology from Mourinho and the whole thing would have blown over very quickly.

It’s quite obvious. Doctor Carneiro fulfilled her duties that day. Had she followed Mourinho’s advice and not treated Eden Hazard, she would have been in breach of general medical guidelines. She did the right thing.

She was subsequently demoted by the club and her position became untenable.

How many of us could go back to a lesser job with hugely reduced duties having done nothing wrong and with no apology from the club, no retraction or acknowledgement that a huge error had been made by Mr Mourinho?

Quite so. What a ridiculously unnecessary nonsense this has become, and all due entirely to Mourinho’s unapologetic, nigh-on messianic ego.

Posted: 23rd, September 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment