Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 8

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.

Bob Marley features on League of Ireland side Bohemians’ new kit

bohemians-bob-marley-kit

 

The new away kit of the League of Ireland side Bohemians features a big photo of Bob Marley along with Rasta-styled trim. It looks a bit naff, a T-shirt version of those coffee bars in Amsterdam that play Bob Marley songs on loop in the hope that priapic Stag dos and goofed teens ignore the freezing winds and think they’re fighting for freedom in Jamaica. But the Bohs want to explain why they chose Marley and not Che Guevara or some other cultural totem turned by marketing ninnies into a hackneyed teen icon. Bob Marley played a gig at their Dalymount ground on 6 July 1980. The stadium has “special place in the hearts of football and music fans”. So Marley is on the shirt.

Denis Buckley was at that show. “Inside the dilapidated ground the facilities were woeful,” he recalled in an article for The Journal:

The national press pondered pompously on whether he should be allowed to bring his weed into the country. It was tempered by the prevailing belief that despite the epidemic of alcohol abuse throughout the county allowing this “Rastafarian” to bring marijuana into Ireland would be the gates opening on something far more damaging than the public brawling and domestic violence visible on every street.

The music itself was perfect for political messaging. The rhythm section was serious and adult. Dancing Queen it was not. Marley put a speech by Haile Selassie over a dub: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and totally abandoned, everywhere is war.” Right time, right place.

The Boomtown Rats also played at Dalymount in the 1970s, but for some reason the club didn’t feel a large graphic of Bob Geldof would have the same impact.

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Music, Sports | Comment


Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Chelsea’s Ross Barkley gets rid of his tattoos

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley says he got his tattoos removed because he “got them at a young age and sometimes when you are young you do stupid things and not think about it. But I went into it too quick and over the years I felt I wanted to get them removed, so I went through the process in the last couple of years.”

 

Barkley got his first cry for help and sign of low-self esteem, sorry, tattoo, when he was 14. He just kept filling in the gaps with crosses, words, faces, stars and swirls until his armed looked as confusing and unnecessary as a Where’s Wally cartoon, only without the purpose.

But not of that lasering and scabbing off means Ross is off tatts forever. “I would never rule out getting another,” he says, “maybe when I have kids I might have something done to go with that. I don’t know.”

Whereas once we had the high-street portrait photographer to serve up awkward family photos, we now have the inkologists who can draw the face of your beloved nipper on your arms, back, chest or, well, face, leading to the full meta line, “He looks just like his dad.”

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Koulibaly, Arsenal take Malcolm on loan from Arsenal and Chelsea underpay Hazard

Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.

 

daily express sanchez

Daily Express facts by Dany Wilson October 2 2018

 

As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.

Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.

More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United sale to Saudi Arabia is on-ish

The sale of Manchester United is on! Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man riding high on the news cycle for exercising an attitude to journalists that even Sir Alex Ferguson would consider a bit much, is “hoping” to meet Manchester United owners the Glazer family and buy the club for £4bn (Mirror) or £3bn (Sun). The Mirror confirms the story punched out by the trusty Daily Star last week. That scoop was based on“web football forums and Twitter”. So it’s a dead cert to be true.

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Now the no less trusty Mirror takes up the news cudgel. If it’s facts you want, the paper says Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is worth £850bn. Sorry, fact. That’s the only one, and even it’s a guess. The Mirror says the Prince is “hoping” to meet United owners Joel and Avram Glazer in the ­Middle East in the next couple of weeks. Progress, eh. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia banned Jews from entering the country. Now they let them in. If they they let then out again in one piece, we’ll see.

Indeed, as the Mirror notes: “United’s co-owners know that they will have to tread carefully as the Crown Prince is embroiled in a tense diplomatic row over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Saudis say Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was killed in a fight at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It’s unlikely the row was about United’s decision to offer Luke Shaw a new contract, but nothing is being ruled out.

But will the Saudis really buy United? On the back of this rumour, which the Mirror can’t substantiate with a single quote or fact, shares in the club traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose by over 5% to $27.65. Such is the power of the red-tops that when they spread a baseless rumour, City traders go ballistic.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, local journalists deliver the scores from last weekend’s matches: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 27.

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United feared losing Luke Shaw on a free

Now Luke Shaw is a committed Manchester United player for the next five seasons, what the experts said and now make of it is news. Shaw signed a deal that gives him £160,000 a week until 2023.

It all looked unlikely when his manager Jose Mourinho was belittling him in public. The Times says Mourinho “pulverised Shaw’s confidence with a series of put-downs”. Even when Shaw played well, he was little more than a video game avatar or brainless robot. “He [Shaw] had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain,” Mourinho said. “He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.”

But as Shaw’s current deal ran down – it was due to finish at this season’s end –  Mourinho softened. He sent Shaw a text in the summer saying: “I know what you can do. You can be the best but you’ve just got to work on a couple of things.” Was Mourinho just protecting a company asset?

Last week, the Mail “understood the England defender has no intention of signing a new one if Mourinho is still in charge”. Shaw added: “If you look at my situation in the last year and a bit, you’d have thought this could have been impossible. ”

And having mocked the player in public, Mourinho now tells us:

“Luke fully deserves this contract. He understood his development process, he has worked really hard at every level and he always believes in himself which is a great attribute to have.

“Luke is still young and is improving all the time and he must feel very proud of himself. I am delighted that we are keeping such a talented young English player with a bright future ahead of him.”

To say nothing of resale value for a player who was once the most expensive teenager in world football – a title taken by Anthony Martial when he joined Manchester United. Martial’s contract expires at the season’s end. He wants to leave the club on a free. He should expect a supportive text message from Mourinho very soon…

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Hazard to Manchester United because he loves Chelsea

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea for Manchester United? Surely not. But the Manchester Evening News implies that United is on the brilliant Belgian’s radar. The Twitter feed for the Manchester Evening News dedicated to Manchester United news – “Manchester United Football Club news from the Manchester Evening News” – tweets a photo of Hazard and a link to a story on the paper’s site. In anyone still can’t understand the story that Hazard is looking at his “future plans” which seem to included a move to Manchester United, the paper includes the tag ‘#mufc”.

 

eden hazard manchester united

hazard mufc

 

Taking the bait, we click the link and are told:

 

hazard cheslea

 

Words form Hazard on playing for Manchester United: nil. In fact, the MEN merely ping readers a post by Sky Sports, in which Hazard says he loves Chelsea and could end his playing days there:

 

hazard chelsea

 

So what is the story on Hazard that will be of interest to Manchester United fans? Oh:

Eden Hazard reveals his future plans
The Chelsea superstar previously revealed he would love to work with Jose Mourinho again, but that’s not going to happen unless the United boss ends up back at Stamford Bridge for a THIRD spell it seems:

Total tosh from the trusty MEN.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


New Spurs stadium Daniel Levy suite and NFL shop almost ready to open

Don’t worry, Spurs fans,  the new multi-sports stadium is on track to open sometime soon. The first part opening for business is the club shop. this Saturday, Spurs will open their new megastore this weekend. Spurs say the club shop is the largest retail space of any European football club in Europe. Lots of shoulder room for American Football fans to get official merchandise, watch “appearances from NFL legends”, play “interactive NFL activities” and dine on a “selection of the best American-style food” at their official away ground.

Better yet, some of the executive suites, including The Daniel Levy suite, named after the club’s chairman, are, reportedly, close to being fully operational. The actual sport can wait a while.

Use the hashtag #Priorities to keep abreast of all Spurs stadium news.

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Aaron Ramsey transfer balls: Everton ready to trump Liverpool and Man United for Arsenal player

Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.

The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.

Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.

 

ITV News also broadcast a rumour based on nothing but guesswork

 

Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.

What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Everton and Liverpool both boast the Premier League’s best goalkeeper

How football journalism works: No.9: be all things to all fans. The Liverpool Echo published two stories on goalkeepers: one on how much better than the rest the Liverpool ‘keeper is; one on how much better than the rest the Everton ‘keeper is.

“Alisson Becker is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and we have the stats to prove it.”

 

liverpool echo liverpool everton

 

“Jordan Pickford’s distribution is better than that of Premier League rivals Alisson and Ederson…”

 

liverpool echo liverpool everton

 

The Pickford story is clickbait all the way. The entire thing is baed on the opinion of former England and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. He opines: “In the Premier League, you’ve got three guys who are really good when it comes to their distribution. You’ve got the two Brazilian keepers – Ederson at Manchester City and Alisson at Liverpool – but they’re not as good as Jordan is with his long passes out of his hands.” Pickford is better at “long passes out of his hands” than all the others, says former goalie.

Next week, why Tranmere Rovers’ ‘keeper is the best in the land…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Terry Butcher on England: ‘surgical .. incisive and deadly’

Former England stalwart Terry Butcher’s love for football is medicine’s loss. After England beat Spain 3-2, Butcher took to twitter:

 

 

When surgery is “incisive and deadly”, it’s more akin to murder.

As Butcher falls victim to nominative determinism, here he is in happier times:

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Saudi Arabia to buy Manchester United – good press guaranteed

Interesting news that Manchester United is to be bought by Saudi Arabia boss crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Not only will the purchase turn Manchester into a proxy Middle East war zone, what with Saudi Arabia’s enemies owning Manchester City, but it should pave the way for an end to that irritating habit footballers have to talking into their hands. Disappoint the prince and – et voila! – no hands!

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Journalists should also take care, perhaps take to travelling to press conferences in twos and politely declining the offer of tea and electrodes at the embassy. Look out for lots of favourable match reports, with heavy focus on the prince’s dashing looks and support for his brave decision to permit women to speak in public, albeit after first raising a hand and submitting their words for official review a week in advance.

No deal to buy the club is agreed, of course. Manchester United have rejected suggestions the Glazer family are ready to put the club up for sale even if Saudi Arabia offer, say, $4bn… $5bn…$5 and a bit billion and a province in Yemen?

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea in a ‘bidding war’ for Ake

Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are all in for Netherlands international Nathan Ake, 23. Well, so says the BBC. And United and Spurs “will have to wait” to see if Chelsea want to re-sign the player they sold to Bournemouth. So that’s three top clubs who all want Ake in a story that has taken on a life of its own.

Over in the Telegraph we learn that as part of Ake’s £20 million transfer to Bournemouth, Chelsea negotiated “a gentleman’s agreement that would allow them to re-sign him for a fee of around £40m”. What utter tosh. Football club’s do not employ lawyers on multi-million pound deals to work with a handshake. And then this:

There has not yet been any sign that Chelsea are ready to try to take Ake back to Stamford Bridge and any move to re-sign him would have to be agreed by the player. But a summer bid from either Spurs or United would force Bournemouth to offer Chelsea the opportunity to make a move and leave the other two clubs sweating.

This transfer news is tosh. But that doesn’t top the Express from milking the balls to produce the gem: “Man Utd news: Nathan Ake transfer battle takes fresh twist, Chelsea hold the key.”

When asked if he’d read the story of his transfer to Spurs, Ake told Football Oranje: “I’ve also seen it pass by, but of course it’s rumours. At the moment I play everything at Bournemouth and that goes well, so I focus on that. If I’ve already signed in London? No, certainly not. This does not say much about my status yet, they are rumours that come on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” The story on the Dutch website was titled: “Ake to Tottenham: its only rumours.”

Mentions of Manchester United: nil. The story is about interest from Spurs. But the Daily Star hears the same words and manages to report:”NATHAN AKE has addressed the rumours surrounding his future amid reported interest from Manchester United.” In The Metro it’s: “Nathan Ake speaks out on Manchester United transfer speculation.” “Nathan Ake breaks silence on Manchester United speculation as Bournemouth defender addresses future,” chimes the Mirror.

All newspapers connive to omit the part where Ake says he’s not signed “in London“. Worse still, the Metro thunders: “Man Utd transfer news: Nathan Ake responds to Jose Mourinho interest.” Words from Mourinho: zero. But as the Mail says in a story about a “bidding war” for Ake, “Jose Mourinho, who worked with Ake at Chelsea, wants to revamp his defence with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof failing to impress the Portuguese tactician.”

Ake did play for Chelsea nine times. But he was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. Aké made his Premier League debut on 26 December 2012 – when Rafa Benitez was Chelsea manager. Under Mourinho, Ake only made one league appearance, as a substitute in a 3–0 loss at West Bromwich Albion on 18 May.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Woman born a man sets world record in first race at world cycling championships

Congratulation to Canadian Rachel McKinnon for winning the women’s sprint 35-39 age bracket at yesterday’s world cycling championship in Los Angeles. Rachel is a natural, tweeting: “I broke the 200m WORLD RECORD this morning. It was my first indoor 200m…” Imagine how much faster Rachel, who was born a man and also holds a PhD in philosophy and focuses on gender studies, would go than the other women if she practiced?

And think how much better the England women’s rugby team could be with few trans players in it – we’d annihilate the opposition, literally. England’s current second row features Rowena Burnfield (5ft 10ins; 77kg); the men’s game boasts Joe Launchberry (6ft 4 inches; 118kg).

Rachel tweeted again, this time with the medal around her neck, hailing herself as the “First transgender woman world champion…ever.”

Plaudits came thick and fast on twitter. “Those poor women who trained so hard only to have this done to them,” said @stringfella_.

@Hitkicker noted: “Amazing! I was so enthused at reading this, I went out and challenged two 8 year olds to a 100m race. Guess what, I ONLY WENT AND FUCKING WON. First time running in a 8 year old’s race too!”

McKinnon was touched:

Which women is moot point?

 

 

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Liverpool fans Sean Cox remain in a ‘dire’ state as man accused of attack stands trial

Let’s spare a thought for Sean Cox, the Liverpool fan attacked before his club faced Roma in the Champions League. The 53-year-old was badly beaten in an unprovoked attack. After a major operation to stem bleeding on the brain, medics placed Mr Cox into an induced coma. Now conscious, he cannot sit on his own. His situation is “dire”. His brother Martin Cox, who was with him at the game, told Preston Cron Court. “He can’t talk, he just whispers.”

Also in the court is one Filippo Lombardi, 21. The Italian Roma fan has admitted the offence of violent disorder but denies wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Martin Cox told the jury: “We heard some noises, not good noises – we just sensed there was something not right. At that time people come across us in dark clothes, chanting. I turned to Sean as if to say ‘Let’s get out of here’. But as I turned, Sean was lying on the ground… I just froze for a second, just in complete shock. My next instinct was to go straight down to Sean to see if he was OK… I bent down to Sean and, as I was bent over, I could feel a kick on the back and I lost balance, stumbled a bit, but I didn’t look up, I just gathered myself around Sean.”

The trial continues, as does Mr Cox’s ordeal.

Posted: 13th, October 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Chelsea offer fans free trips to Auschwitz

Chelsea are to send their racist fans on a free holiday to Auschwitz instead of banning them. In the 1980s, that would have meant a large group booking. But the days when Chelsea was a recruiting round for the NF are long past. The few remaining goons and would-be gassers able to afford tickets to a club owned by a Russian Jew are being addressed by Chelsea’s chairman, Bruce Buck, who says educating racists by way of visits to a Nazi death camp can “make them want to behave better”.

 

chelsea thugs

We’ve come a long way, baby

 

“If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour,” says Buck in the Sun. “This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better. In the past we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years. Now we say: ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong.’

Ban me. Ban me now! Are the fans singing nasty songs all bigots, or are they just letting off steam and trying to wind up the opposition, most notably the self-styled ‘Yid Army’ who follow Spurs? Context matters. Don’t real racists boycott clubs owned by Jews and staffed by players from all over the world, many of whom are black?

No-one sane goes to the football to be re-educated. But Chelsea have a cause. Last week, the Blues showed a new film at the Houses of Parliament, which featured offensive chants, social media posts and images from the Holocaust. Said Buck: “We are just trying to make a dent in the antisemitism in this world. Over time we hope to make a real contribution for good to society.”

And you thought football was just a fun leisure activity.

Posted: 12th, October 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


A swearing ban on England footballers: oh, piss off…

It’s Croatia versus England in the Nations League. No fans will be in the ground, save for the BBC’s Ian Wright, perhaps, and the talk is of microphones picking up players swearing in the all-but silent stadium. With little else to talk abut, the media want to talk about protecting viewers at home and at the pub – the ones screaming “Why are England so f***ing s***? at the telly. The BBC reports, “England manager Gareth Southgate says he will have no problem with his players swearing”. But the Mail says Southgate is fearful:

 

England swearing

 

Which is it? What Southgate said was: “We’ve spent two years encouraging them to speak, so to stop them speaking now would be slightly against what we’ve been trying to work on. It’s for the television companies to decide where they put their microphones.”

Or broadcast the game after the watershed. Of course, if you can’t say “twat” during a football match, when can you say it?

Posted: 12th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: maths say Gunners will be champions and Ramsey will score 20 goals

We do all love the hyberbolic rantings of football pundits. Right now they’re raving about Arsenal. Stan Collymore uses his tired Daily Mirror column to tell readers Arsenal “will win 90 per cent of their games and lose the other fixtures they’re expected to lose, that means no titles”. It does? Since when have Arsenal ever won 90% of their matches over a season? Since Stan Collymore made it up.

If Arsenal win 90 of their Premiere League matches, they most likely win the title. Last season, Manchester City scored  records number of points by winning a mere 84% of their PL matches. In the Europa League, you can win the trophy by winning just 8 of 15 matches – that’s 53%.

Over on Sky Sports, Ian Wright is backing Arenal in their stance over Aaron Ramsey. Say Wright: “We’ve seen him [Ramsey] in the Euros dominating when he was absolutely fantastic, we’ve seen the season [2013-14] he has with Arsenal scoring 20-plus goals and was amazing, we’ve seen he can score in big games, winning cup finals.” Ramey has never scored 20-plus goals in a season. In the Mirror, John Cross also thinks Ramsey can be relived upon to score, noting:

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

Ramsey has scored once season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? Does he get 20 goals season? No. In season 2013-14, Ramsey scored 13 goals.

But let’s spare some sympathy for the pundits. It’s not as though there’s an easy resource you tap into to access a myriad facts in seconds. And until there is, guesswork will triumph over homework.

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transer balls: Liverpool and Manchester United fight for Arsenal’s Ramsey

Having scored his regulation one goal of the season, low-scoringinjury prone midfielder Aaron Ramsey is hot property. The BBC says that with the Arsenal player’s contract coming to an end this summer, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United are thinking about buying him in the January transfer window.

Ramsey can’t stay at Arsenal, of course. His agent explained all in a now deleted tweet: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” Reports suggest the poor, suffering agent thinks his client is worth £250,000-a-week in wages for the next four years. Arsenal don’t.

The Indy reports that Ramsey’s rep was talking to foreign clubs last January about his client leaving leaving Arsenal on a free. So he can go.

Arsenal don’t seem too fussed about what the Press term ‘losing’ Ramsey. They’ve already lined up his replacement, a hard working tacking midfielder called Miguel Almiron.

All good, then. The Gunners will get some cash for a player who though skilful and capable, is slower than most, doesn’t score as many goals as pundits think he does and spends chunks of the season in the treatment room; Ramsey cashes in; a young Arsenal player gets the chance to move up the pecking order in Unai Emery’s energetic team; and desperate Manchester United sign a player who will surely make Alexis Sanchez shine…

 

 

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


West Ham player who wants to fight pundit told to watch Richard Keys on BeIn Sports

West Ham United’s Andriy Yarmolenko wants to fight pundit and commentator Wladimir Kobelkov. The Ukrainian journalist has been critical of Yarmolenko’s form. Speaking to Ukrainian broadcasters Xsport, Yarmolenko opined:

“In my youth, I fought a lot. There was wins and there were losses. It’s normal for a boy, for a man. I want to announce my next fight. I don’t want to listen to that Kobelkov any longer. I want to call him out for a fight and get my revenge on all those things he’s said on air. I’m waiting for an answer.”

Yarmolenko thinks he’s on safe ground as a professional athlete with some fight experience. And it’s a pretty safe bet that Wladimir Kobelkov is no Wladimirowitsch Klitschko.

But the idea is not without merit. And any thinner-skinned footballers who fancy themselves over 2 minutes in the carpark can tune into lots of telly, not forgetting Richard Keys on BeIn Sports.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs want £200m for Kane and Hazard has a dream

Real Madrid want to sign Spurs and England striker Harry Kane. But the BBC says that the richest club in the world “may be put off by the 25-year-old’s £200m price tag”. To which the response must be: what price tag? Is there a tag visible when Kane puts his shirt on inside out? And why stop at £200m when you can conjure any figure – why not 300m? As far as we can tell, Kane’s not for sale and is perfectly happy at Spurs.

The cited source is El Confidencial, a Spanish site, which opines: “Real Madrid (after a new crash) wants to sign a goal for now.” Google Translate continues to be gift to comedy. It also tells us that the BBC’s story is utter tosh. Here we go – take it away, Google language bots:

The Real Madrid plumbs the market ahead of the winter window. Aware of his erroneous planning of the squad last summer, which was reflected again this Saturday in the disastrous defeat in Vitoria against Alavés (1-0) , Florentino Perez has given order to comb the market in search of a pair of players that reinforce the template for this winter…

The priority, as seems obvious, is to reinforce the team’s lead with a contrasted goalscorer who adds a goal to a squad that has lost a lot of punch with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo…

In that list will appear young players like the forward of the RB Leipzig, Timo Werner…

Another profile that is handled is that of the veteran striker who without becoming a star of the first level could complete the Real Madrid goal and add those goals that the team is missing… The perfect example is that of ‘Manolito’ Adebayor , the forward who came from Tottenham to Real Madrid in winter and added eight goals leaving a good taste in the Bernabéu.

And the third way is to bet on the signing of a ‘galactic’ as they could be Eden Hazard or Harry Kane…

So Real are looking to recruit any half decent striker who could be available in January, maybe. As for Kane being worth £200m and it being too rich for Real, the BBC just made that up – just as El Confidencial plucked Kane’s name from the air as a possible big name signing. The actual story is that Hazard says Real are the world’s biggest club and it’s been a childhood dream to play for them. What his price tag is, we’re not told. But it could be ‘lots’..

Posted: 9th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to replace Ramsey with Almiron

Transfer news: Arsenal are all set to sign Paraguay “striker” (BBC) or “midfielder” (Sky) Miguel Almiron, 24, for £15m (Mirror) or £11m (Sun) in the January transfer window.

Almiron plays for MLS side Atlanta United. And you kind of wonder how 12 goals this season in the US soccer league makes him a candidate for Arsenal in the Premier League. And then you wonder if Arsenal know more about him than the British media, who can’t even agree what position he plays in.

The story is rooted in Atlanta president Darren Eales, who told one and all: “Almiron’s future is already decided and he will go to England in the European winter market.”

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martinez says Almiron has a “commitment to winning the ball back, pressing, he’s a player that’s always working.” He’s a player very much in the Unai Emery mould, then. “He’s an atypical No 10. Because he gives you everything that a No 10 gives you and he probably dispossesses players like a defensive midfielder.”

Adios, Ramsey?

 

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba saves sacked Mourinho

Can the Daily Mirror reassess the quality of its “Manchester United” insiders” who were “convinced” Jose Mourinho was going to be sacked last weekend? The paper leads with United’s 3-2 win over an average Newcastle side lacking in top talent, hailing it as a “stay of execution”.  The comeback from 0-2 down “papered over the cracks”.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

David McDonnell saw United play for 70 minutes “without spark or purpose”. They were “abject”. But “from somewhere deep within themselves”, the players stirred for a “staggering Fergie-like 20-minute comeback”. It was a “miracle”. No word on Mourinho’s role in the resurgence. Not a peep about what the manager might have done at half-time to reform his side trialing by two goals. And nothing said on the Mirror’s story, as told by one David McDonell, that Mourinho is today looking for a new job.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

As the Mirror memory holes the words “Mourinho Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle”, the Sun has its own exclusive. The Sun is the paper that has cheered longest and loudest for Mourinho. The team might be dull, but to the Sun it’s all part of the “RED-OLUTION”.

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

The Sun loves Jose

 

And so to the day’s scoop: “HOW POGBA SAVED JOSE”. The want-away midfielder saved Mourinho, how? “He told boss best way to spark fightback.” Pogba Tip 1: Tell Juan Mata to score direct from a free kick. Mata scores! The trust is less poetic. We hear that Mourinho listened to his players at half time. Pogba suggested a “deeper role for himself and brining on Fellaini”. Genius. Bring on the hairy elbow and lob it up into the mixer.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

Mourinho tells everyone that he and the team chatted for 10 minutes about this and that at half time.  To seasoned Mourinho watchers this might look like the manager trying to exculpate himself from the mess. But to the Sun’s it’s honest Jose binding the team and securing victory. It “showed how they could all work together”. It also showed that Newcastle United – six defeats from eight played; two draws – can’t hang on to a two goal lead.

But as Jose and Pog hug in the Sun, the Mail says Pogba wants to leave regardless of Mourinho’s future. Looks like the miracle will only last if plucky minnows United can play huge-spending Newcastle at home every week…

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment