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Spurs | Anorak - Part 4

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Spurs: Pochettino is right, Alli’s cheating is just part of the game

Watching live sport is thrilling. TV does not come close to capturing the experience of being there. TV offers new and multiple angles of the game, but it’s a directed, edited, desk-based view that comes loaded with problems. When a player cheats, in the ground it’s a trigger for outrage and a vociferous celebration of values that the injured party’s side is essentially nobler than the opposition. The atmosphere builds. We love it. But on the telly it’s a catalyst for debate, none of which shines the merest glimmer of light on anything but the pundit’s vanity.

When Liverpool took on Spurs at Anfield, the visitor’s Dele Alli dived in the box. He wanted to trick the referee into awarding him a penalty. Cheating. It was blatant and punished – Alli got a yellow card and cemented his reputation as a nasty so-and-so. That Spurs did get two penalties during the match, neither of which was clear cut, only added to the spectacle. The post-game chatter contributes nothing.

And three days after the match, the hollow debate guffs on. The Mail leads with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has had the temerity to say that footballers should “congratulate the player when he tricks the referee…. Football is about tying to trick your opponent. Yes or no? The problem is that we are too sensitive about the situation… It was a yellow card, the referee was right…. If you dive and the referee saw you, you are punished and he deserves it. But don’t go more crazy.”

Spot on. Sport is about rules. You know them by pushing them to the limit and breaking them. Some rules are more rigorously enforced than others. For example, in how many games does the goalkeeper handle the ball when kicking from hands? Lots of them. But the goalkeeper still handles outside the area because he can get away with it. In December 2016, following another fall by the slippery shoed Alli, Pochettino said, “when I was a player always it was part of training to try to cheat. At Newell’s, many, many years ago it was part of practice.”

Pushing the rules is all part of the cut and thrust of a live game. It’s only in the TV studio where every 90-minute match must produce 24-hours of deathless rolling-news that every trick, feint, dive, offside and foul is forensically examined until all the fun, drama and spontaneity have been sucked out of it.

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Referees confused over Liverpool v Spurs penalties prove VAR is rubbish

More reaction to Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Spurs. No VAR was used in the match, which featured two penalties for Spurs. It might have been three pens had the referee not spotted that Dele Alli dived. Liverpool were aggrieved by the decisions. Spurs were elated. Would VAR have helped? Well, that depends on which referee is sat in a sealed box reviewing the action on the telly.

NO pens says retired ref Mark Halsey in the Sun:

“HARRY KANE was in an offside position for the first penalty. Yes, the ball has come off Dejan Lovren before falling to Kane, but the Liverpool defender has tried to clear the ball knowing that Kane is behind him – and not knowing if the Spurs striker is offside or not. So Kane has clearly impacted on the Liverpool man, thus interfering with an opponent. The assistant should have flagged at this point so the Loris Karius foul is immaterial.”

YES pens says former ref Graham Poll in the Mail: “Assistant Eddie Smart got Tottenham’s penalty decisions spot-on… it topped a good afternoon for referee Jon Moss and his officials at Liverpool.”

Well done Eddie Smart. The assistant got involved in both penalty decisions and he was right to do so. For the first penalty, he called for Jon Moss because Harry Kane was in an offside position and Smart could not be clear whether a Liverpool player had touched the ball before the Tottenham striker was fouled.

They discussed the situation and Moss decided that Dejan Lovren had played the ball, which meant Kane was onside before being taken down by Loris Karius…

And then Smart persuaded the referee, deep into stoppage time, to award the second penalty to Spurs.

To the naked eye it looked as if Erik Lamela had dived. People who had seen it numerous times on TV replays could not be sure, but Smart was. And he was right.

YES pens says former ref Dermot Gallagher on Sky:

“In the debrief after the game, they’ll be told that they made the big, match-changing decisions correct on the day.”

NO pens says ref Mark Clattenburg on the Times:First penalty

Pen 1. Was it offside?
This should not have been a penalty because it was offside….Second penalty

Pen 2.

This a tough decision. I believe that there is a suspicion of offside in the build up to the penalty. The ball is touched by Fernando Llorente and into Érik Lamela, who is fractionally offside in my opinion. As we have seen with VAR now, offside is a matter of fact and no benefit is given to the attacking team. Therefore, the penalty should not have been allowed. Once the offside is missed, It looks as though Virgil van Dijk goes to kick the ball and then tries to pull away his leg, but there is a still a bit of contact. It is a soft penalty, but not definitely a wrong call.

Clear as mud, then. Just the way we like it.

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Biased Balls: Spurs and Liverpool club websites at odds over penalties in 2-2 draw

Liverpool and Spurs drew 2-2 in a vibrant Premier League match in which the Londoner were awarded two penalties, scoring one in the 95th minute. shold they ahve been given? Let’;s see what the locals papers and clueb’s webiste says of things:

Liverpool FC:

First, Kane was felled in the area by Karius before Liverpool’s goalkeeper read the striker’s intention to put the resulting spot-kick down the middle and palmed it away.

Kane was fouled for the first penalty, which he missed, says the official Liverpool website. What about the second, which he scored from?

….Kane converted his second penalty of the match – given after Van Dijk had been adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela – deep into added time to earn a point for Spurs.

Not so clear that time, then. Although one opinion on the Liverpool website – the only one – says Liverpool were robbed:

Here’s what ex-Red John Aldridge made of an incredible game at Anfield – he was on co-commentary duties for us at Anfied today.

“An unbelievable ending and, for me, that is never a penalty, so it’s a hard one to take.

And in the live blog:

Lamela goes down in the box and linesman awards a penalty to Spurs. That looked soft, you have to say.

Tottenham Hotspur FC:

…when Kane was tripped by Loris Karius and referee Jon Moss awarded us a penalty, even after extensive consultation with his linesman, the striker looked odds-on to score his 100th Premier League goal and give us a rare win at Anfield.

Karius saved it, though…

First penalty: nailed on.

But you can never write off this team! We kept pushing and after Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Erik Lamela was spotted by the assistant referee

Second penalty: also nailed on.

What about the clubs’ local papers?

Liverpool Echo:

Eyebrows were raised when Kane was given a penalty late on, despite appearing to be in an offside position

Eyebrows? Spurs fans were surely rising hands and fists.

Virgil van Dijk was judged to have upended Erik Lamela in the fifth minute of injury time after initially seeing the appeals waved away by Jon Moss.

So much for the judgement. What about the first Spurs penalty?

That was incident [sic] wasn’t the first controversial one of the day however after Spurs were given a penalty minutes earlier with the game finely poised at 1-1.

Kane was in an offside position as he latched on to a through ball from Dele Alli before going down under a challenge from Loris Karius inside the area.

The paper then notes that because of the rules – those pesky rules – Kane wasn’t offside.

London Evening Standard:

Penalty 1:

Kane was…brought down in the box by Karius.

The Tottenham and Wood Green Independent:

Van Dijk caught Lamela with an attempted clearance

Bias? Yes. and no VAR, which would have made the decisions no clearer.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United balls: Marouane Fellaini ’embarrassed’ by injury and ‘bizarre’ Mourinho as Spurs get lucky

When Manchester United lost 2-0 at Spurs to an offside goal and an own-goal, Marouane Fellaini came on as a substitute only to be substituted after just seven minutes playing time. Why? Well, the obvious guess would be injury to the big Belgian. “He came off because he had something in his knee,” Jose Mourinho told media after the match. “Unlucky for him and unlucky for me. He came on with enthusiasm, but he has an injury in his ligament.”

But the media loves sensation. And Fellaini’s knee is not newsy enough in the race of clicks.

 

fellaini mail daily manchester united

 

“Fellaini appeared angry as he took off his shirt as he made his way to the bench,” says the Mail beneath the headline: “Horror show for Mourinho as Eriksen scores after 11 SECONDS to spark easy victory for Spurs that blows top-four race wide open; From super sub to super snub! Fellaini hauled off just SEVEN MINUTES after being sent on to rescue United at Wembley.”

The Sun has a dig at both “bizarre” Mourinho and Fellaini, who was “embarrassed ” by getting injured:

 

fellaini the sun manchester united

 

Get well soon, Fellaini.

 

Posted: 1st, February 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sell Giroud to Chelsea for less than agreed price

Arsenal have yet to hand over the £60m it’ll take for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join them. The BBC says the move “hinges” on two other transfers:  Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Dortmund.

We’re told Arsenal want £35, for Giroud, 31.

 

 

No they don’t, says The Metro, which declares: “Chelsea agree to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £15m.”

They have? No. Of course not. That’s the dire Metro, which can’t even get Giroud’s age right:

 

 

 

Football365 then gets itself in a mess over what words mean. Can you “give” a man to another – slavery? – and get £15m in return?

 

 

The Daily Express is also confused. It’s not “agreed” if it’s in ‘inverted commas’. But it is agreed if the story states: “Chelsea have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Oliver Giroud.”

 

 

The source for every one of these scoops seems to be Gianlica Dimario. Who he and why is his word taken as fact? He says he’s a “journalist registered with the Court of Milan”. On his website, we read (through the wonder of Google Translate):

With Dzeko, Chelsea has identified a new target for the attack. This is Olivier Giroud , for whom the Blues have found an agreement with Arsenal on the basis of 15 million pounds plus bonuses. The negotiation will be defined as soon as Wenger’s team will define every detail with Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund will have found a substitute for Gabonese, which could be Batshuayi.

 

The utter balls is underlined by the Express, which on the same page as its report that Giroud to Chelsea for £15m is a done deal, declares this morning:

Giroud crunch talks
06.15: Chelsea are expected to re-open negotiations with Arsenal today regarding the sale Olivier Giroud, according to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague.

Balague says that Chelsea had an initial offer of £20million turned down by the Gunners.

“I read Giroud could go to Chelsea for £15m but I believe #CFC last offer was £20m and was rejected by #AFC,” Balague wrote on Twitter.

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

To recap: Giroud has joined Chelsea for £5m less than a bid Arsenal rejected?

Oh, and in the Sun we read that Chelsea are targeting Tottenham’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, 32.

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.

 

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: Mauricio Pochettino to join Real Madrid and understanding the expert

No sooner has Mauricio Pochettino been linked with the Real Madrid manager’s job then the BBC says the Spanish giants have made a move for him. This might be some news from Zinedine Zidane, the current boss of Real Madrid, who led them to back-to-back Champions’ League triumphs in the past two seasons. Real are having a poor season by their high standards, fourth in La Liga, a whopping 19 points shy of leaders Barcelona.

Inevitably talk turns to who next at Real. And for reasons not all that clear, Real apparently like the Spurs manager, who’s never won anything meaningful as a coach (four manager of the month awards is the total haul). Spurs are fifth in the Premier League. They are in the Champions League, their path to a Round of 16 tie with Juventus is decorated with a 3-1 home win over Real. There should be Rule for when bigger clubs approach the manager of a small club they’ve just lost to. (Maybe The Anorak Rule? The Sorene Rule?)

As for the facts “revealed” in the Mail’s report, well, get a load of this line:

Sportsmail understands that initial contact has been made between Real Madrid officials and associates of Pochettino. Sources in Spain believe he is tempted by the possibility of working at Real Madrid.

Not exactly replete with definites is it. But “Real have made Pochettino their first-choice target…. It is understood that Madrid would not want Pochettino to replace Zidane mid-season… Pochettino would be handed a significant transfer budget as the club attempt to return to the pinnacle of Spanish football.”

I was in agreement with all those believes and maybes until I read that part about Real Madrid spending big to secure success. Nah! Not Real with all those homegrown players and commitment to locality.

Helping us work out if Real really are going to make moves for Pochettino is Sky, which notes: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.” He’s the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Transfer balls: Pochettinho from Spurs to Real Madrid is pie in the sky

Funny, no, how in demand Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to be? The BBC says the manager whose CV highlight reads ‘Premier League runners-up’ “would rather work on a farm than manage Arsenal or Barcelona”. It’s worth noting that neither club has made any approach to recruit the Argentine whose Spurs side are currently the fifth best side in the Premier League.

Over in the Express, the news is echoed: “Mauricio Pochettino hints at Real Madrid move before INSULTING Arsenal and Barcelona – TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid.”

Very good of him not to discount moving to the world’s biggest and most successful football club. No word on whether or not Real want the 45-year-old. But they might. “You never know what will happen in football,” said Pochettinho when asked about coaching Real.

And what of that “insult”?

I am so clear,” Pochettino said. “I am never going to be manager of Barcelona or Arsenal because I am so identified with Tottenham and Espanyol. I grew up in Newell’s Old Boys and will never manage Rosario Central. That is my decision because I prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than in some places.”

Not “a farm”, as in ‘I’d rather muck out pigs than manage Arsenal or Barcelona.’ He says he’s rather retire to his farm than take a job with a big city rival.  He adds:

“But my commitment is massive in this club. I am working like I am going to be here forever. But in the end, it is like the players, you never know what is going to happen in football. It is a lot of rumours about this, about that. Tomorrow [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy could have a bad night and say, ‘Oh I am going to sack Mauricio’. And then I look stupid saying I am not going to work in one place or another or another. You never know in football. That is the problem. It is a very unstable situation.”

So much for the insult. Put his words through the churnaliser and the Express might just as well thunder: “Pochettino admits he could manage Chelsea or Arsenal.”

 

And then it’s back to Real Madrid. The Express says “current boss Zineidne Zidane [sic] is currently under heavy pressure at the Bernabeu…the Frenchman has admitted he will be sacked if Real lose to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.”

Will Zidane (check spelling) get caught in all those currents? Did he says he will be sacked? In another story on bullshit.com, the Express states: “Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane reveals when he will be SACKED.” He did? No. H didn’t. Asked by a journalist whether his job tenure could be decided by the match with PSG, Zidane said: “Of course.” Not will be sacked. Might be sacked. Which surely is just another way of saying the same as Pochettinho: football management is not a stable job.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


If Harry Kane is worth 194.7m why is he playing for Spurs?

The facts are in and it’s clear: Spurs striker Harry Kane,24, is the third most valuable player in the world. Well, he is according to CIES’ Football Observatory, which calculates that Kane is worth 194.7m euros. Ahead of him are Paris St-Germain’s forward Neymar, 25, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, 30.

In euros, this is the Top Ten:

1. Neymar (PSG) – 213m
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
5. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
6. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – 171.3m
7. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – 167.8m
8. Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) – 164.8m
9. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) – 150.2m
10. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) – 147.5m

The most valuable Arsenal player is Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – 97.6m. Which pretty much sums it up. As Arsenal tie themselves in knots over Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, the clear message is that both wantaway players should have been sold the start of the season. The Gunners rejected Manchester City’s £60m in the summer. Since then Sanchez has been average and Arsenal are now trying to offload him for £40m, which in the inflated world of football transfers equates to one uninspiring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain . Ozil has said to be winding down his contract and thinking of joining Manchester United.

But as Arsenal’s palsied board, absentee owner and spent manager make a mess of things, Spurs fans should contain their delight. Harry Kane knows his value. His wages of £100,000-a-week are roughly a third what he over-hyped Paul Pogba gets at Manchester United. And Spurs win nothing. As Kane says, “I’ve always said, just keep progressing, keep getting better. We want to start winning trophies so that’s the aim. As long as the club keeps doing that then I’m happy here.”

But other clubs are winning trophies. And each week Kane  and his agent know how much money he’s forgoing to remain at Spurs. “If a player wants to go then why would you stop him?” Kane adds. “He’s not going to be at the club, he’s not going to want to play every game, he’s not going to put his heart on the line.” See Ozil and Sanchez. And if he has a decent World Cup. next year it’ll be Kane…

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Money, Sports, Spurs | Comments (4)


Media bias: sorry Swansea lose to a ‘pinpoint’ offside Spurs goal

When Spurs visited Swansea in the Premier League, the game’s opening goal in a 2-0 win for the Londoners should have been ruled out for offside. New Swansea coach Carlos Carvalhal says assistant referee Marc Perry apologised to his error.

But how does the Spurs website report on the controversy?

The former Swansea City target man marked his maiden Premier League start in our colours following his summer move from south Wales with an early breakthrough from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.

It was also the Spaniard’s first domestic goal for us and came amid a spell of intense first-half pressure in the driving rain, but it took until the 89th minute for us to find a second through Dele Alli.

Adding:

Christian Eriksen delivered the set piece and Llorente shook off his marker to glance in a header at the near post.

No word at all on the offside there. No word that the ‘marker’ had stepped up to play Llorente offside. But on the Swansea City website it’s a different story. The match report begins thus:

Liberty old boy Fernando Llorente set Spurs on the path to victory with an early header which should have been disallowed for offside.

And in the fourth paragraph, there it is again:

Tottenham took the lead on 12 minutes as Llorente headed home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but the Swans felt hard done by as replays showed the Spaniard was a yard offside.

What about local media?

The London Evening Standard describes the goal thus: “Tottenham old boy Tom Carroll felled Son Heung-min near the touchline and Eriksen’s trademark delivery quality picked out the head of Llorente in the penalty box.”

He picked out an offisde player.

And in the South Wales Echo: “…it was more the errors from referee Bobby Madley than anything else that contributed to this two-goal defeat in a middle of a torrential downpour… Tottenham’s key first goal was clearly offside. And long before Dele Alli sealed the game in the 89 minute, Spurs should have been reduced to ten men as Davinson Sanchez avoided an obvious second yellow card.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs balls: Mauricio Pochettino’s Brave New World falls apart

As Tottenham slip to 7th place in the Premier League, the Sun elbows its way to front of the queue to bash team manager Mauricio Pochettino. In “Chapter And Worse”, the paper wonders, “Is Posh book to blame for Spurs’ Real Shocker?” The answer is, of course, no.

In case you missed Pochettino’s book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs “reveals secrets behind his success”. He reveals: he likes eating crisps; “Whenever I am slightly down, I like to smell Argentinian wine”; “Poch is very keen on building-up an unbreakable team, spirit”; “the ever-professional Poch…likes to quiz his stars on selected topics from their most recent team meeting if he bumps into them in the corridors… just to make sure they were listening”; and he “once dropped a player for eating LASAGNE”. All those killer facts are in the Sun’s review of the book in an article dated October 27.

One month on and, according to the Sun, the book that told of Poch’s “success” and his skill for building team spirit is the catalyst for disaster.

In the online version of the story of the cursed book, the Sun answers its own question with a ‘YES’:

The Spurs boss’ book, Brave New World, appears to have jinxed his title-chasing side since it reached shelves on October 26.

In the paper version (pages 56 and 57), the story begins by answering that same question with a ‘NO’:

It is surely coincidence that since the story of Mauricio Pochettino’s ‘Brave New World’ was published, Spurs’ title dream has died.’

Mark Irwin tells us that five games ago, Spurs were “Manchester City’s most likely challenges”. Fourteen matches into the season, Spurs are seventh. After nine matches played, Spurs were in third place, five points behind Manchester City. Manchester United were second, surely making them the side most likely to topple City.

Reading on we learn that the book “has not gone down well with certain players, who are uncomfortable with some of the manager’s revelations”. The crisps, right? Or was it how he likes to pick the washing powder for the team’s kit?

This is the same Pochettino who was subject to the Sun’s story of September 23 2017, which focused on his talent for team bonding:

MAURICIO POCHETTINO took his Tottenham stars and Daniel Levy out to dinner this week – at a cost of £7,000. The generous Spurs boss picked up the whopping tab after inviting FIFTY of his club colleagues, including chairman Levy, to his team-bonding get-together at posh West End diner Beast on Wednesday night.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, December 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arsenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

Come On Effzeh! The Daily Mirror trolls Arenal and Spurs fans by misreporting FC Cologne song

 

At last night Europa League match between Cologne and Arsenal (-0 to the Germans), the Daily Mirror heard fans offering some tag-team anti-Spurs abuse. The headline is unequivocal: ‘”Tottenham are s***!” Arsenal and Cologne fans “join forces to troll Spurs” during Europa League tie”.

 

 

They did? No, of course they didn’t. The Mirror is trolling Arsenal and Spurs fans. But Mark Jones is hearing what he wants to, telling Mirror readers:

Arsenal fans seemingly joined forces with their counterparts from Cologne to troll Tottenham Hotspur during their Europa League tie in Germany on Thursday night… the two sets of fans linked up in perfect harmony at the RheinEnergieStadion, although Spurs fans won’t want to hear it.

Wrong. The Cologne fans chant “Come on FC!” or “Come on Effzeh!” over and over and over at every match. Cologne fans are not trolling Spurs fans. They don’t give a s*** about Spurs fans. But the Mirror’s advertising clicks do.

 

 

Spotter: 365

Posted: 24th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


North London Derby bias: slick Arsenal get lucky, Spurs bemoan the referee and Ozil looks ready to stay

Arsenal 2. Tottenham Hotspur 0. The Premier League match between North London’s biggest football clubs ended in favour of the Gunners, who were feisty, bright, quick, slick and aggressive throughout. The BBC says Arsenal secured a “comfortable north London derby victory”.

As ever, though, the game hinged on moments of controversy. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says, “The free-kick for the first goal and the first goal was obvious offside, maybe the second was too.”

Is he right? What say the clubs respective websites?

Spurs: “Davinson Sanchez looked harshly judged to have fouled Alexis Sanchez on the left, Ozil curled in the free-kick and Mustafi rose highest to plant a header home off the far post, opening the scoring.”

No word on any offside, let alone an “obvious” one. But some comment on the foul that gave Arsenal the chance to launch a set piece. The Spurs report is remarkably even-handed.

Arsenal: “We kept knocking on the door though and eventually we made the breakthrough, Ozil curling in a free kick that Mustafi headed across goal and in via the far post.”

No word on the foul that led to the free kick at all. And, again, no word on any offside.

The neutral view is provided by the Times:

Tottenham’s anger was that Mustafi, by a tiny margin, seemed offside when Ozil delivered and that free kick had been awarded dubiously when Alexis Sanchez sprawled as Davinson Sanchez nicked the ball away from him: a clean tackle but Dean judged the Spurs man had tugged his namesake’s jersey before sliding in.

The Arsenal website is notable for one other item: Mesut Ozil is all over it. This is the homepage following that 2-0 win:

 

 

Followed by:

 

 

Ozil and more Ozil, runs the story. It seem pretty clear that Arsenal are at pains to make Ozil feel wanted. After the game, the German said he “really enjoyed” playing up front with Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette. “We have good quality and they are both very dangerous,” said Ozil. “Today Alexis showed his quality and I am really happy for him.”

Sanchez was a whir of buzz an brilliance. But surely Arsenal cannot hang on to the Chilean. Manchester City want him. And they have money to burn. But Ozil… Well, signs are that he will stay.

Arsene Wenger gave fans the chance to salute the German by substituting him in the 84 minute. The fans stood and cheered. Oil felt the love. Like Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal’s other stand-out performer on the day, Ozil is entering the final six months of his contract. He is free to talk to foreign clubs from January onwards. Arsenal clearly want him to stay. And Ozil seems happy with his lot.

Posted: 18th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Media bias: Spurs beat Real Madrid with a vanishing offside goal

In this edition of biased football reporting, we look at Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Real Madrid 3-1 in the Champions League. Spanish newspaper Marca describes the game’;s crucial opening goal:

Replays showed that Tripper was in an offside position when he received the ball, but there was no call from the linesman and the goal stood.

Now rod of any offside in the official Spurs website’s report:

Dele got the ball rolling in the 27th minute when he tucked home Kieran Trippier’s cross from close range

And the BBC:

Dele Alli gave Spurs the lead after 27 minutes when he turned in Kieran Trippier’s cross from close range

 

Not much bias, as it turns out. A 3-1 defeat for Real Madrid tells its own story. And, well, you make your own luck in a sport where luck plays a role:

 

 

Posted: 1st, November 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Spurs fan throws cup of wee at West Ham fans

Who threw the urine? Stories abound that a fan of Tottenham Hotspur allegedly threw a cup of urine during Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham.

This video has been doing the rounds.

 

 

A Spurs spokesperson tells everyone: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable. We are currently investigating and working to identify the individual.”

How hard can it be?

You can profile the man using this colour chart favoured by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who evaluates the chracter of his players based on their urine.

 

 

Turns out he’s a ‘champion’…

Posted: 26th, October 2017 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)


Transfer Balls: Spurs Harry Kane to Manchester United says one source and £170m

Huge news for Manchester Untied and Spurs fans. The Sun says “MANCHESTER UNITED boss Jose Mourinho is eyeing a record £170m swoop for Tottenham star Harry Kane’”.

The story of how United will recruit a rival club’s best player is rooted in a nameless “Old Trafford source”. And in between the headline and the readers’ poll (“Should Spurs cash on on £170 Harry Kane?”, Daniel Cutts delivers his “exclusive”: Jose Mourinho thinks Kane is good at football. And that’s it.

Cutts does note that it’s “understood” Spurs will “offer Kane a new contract next summer, upping his wages to around £150,000-a-week to keep him at White Hart Lane.” Kane is currently on just under £100,000-a-week.

It’s an easy story to reveal that a rich club that pays wages of £250,000-a-week plus will try to entice Kane. So easy isnit that thewher one tabloid leads, the rst dutifully follow:

“Manchester United plotting £170m swoop for Tottenham’s talisman Harry Kane” – The Metro

“Manchester United prepared to rival Real Madrid with £170m transfer bid for Tottenham striker Harry Kane” – Daily Mail

“Man Utd news: Jose Mourinho plots £170m bid for Tottenham star Harry Kane” – Daily Express

“Jose Mourinho wants Harry Kane in £170m deal to partner Romelu Lukaku at Man Utd – report” – Daily Star.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 12th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Spurs | Comments (2)


Arse v Spuds battle of the rappaz: Arsenal and Spurs fans in excruciating music fight

Steel yourselves, readers, for this epic battle between fans of Arenal and Spurs.

First up: the Selly Oak Crew with You Just Got Kaned. With sincere apologies to Chas ‘n’ Dave, mum, dad, musicians and every poor sod who supported Spurs when they could have opted for the Arsenal.

 

 

But Spuds toughs don’t have it all their own way in North London. Here are the Away Boyz. proving that even with a bigger budget you can still come across as utterly ridiculous.

 

 

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Yid Army: Spurs fans should rejoice at Chelsea stupidity

spurs yids

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Sing What We Want

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

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

 

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


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

yid army Morata Chelsea Spurs

 

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

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

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

Chelsea have issued a statement:

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

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

Good-oh.

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


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

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

 

dele alli england finger

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

dele alli finger england

 

dele alli finger england

 

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

 

Dele Alli salute

Not Dele Alli

 

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

 

 

Offensive? Nah.

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


Spurs balls: Dele Alli and the missing finger

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

Skysports.com has a go, sort of:

 

dele alli england finger

 

Perfect.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humility, thy name is Eric Dier.

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


Malta equal Spurs striker Harry Kane’s haul of Cup Finals

“Any time we play a team like Malta,” says Spurs and England striker Harry Kane, “it’s their Cup Final. They’re going to want to win, going to want to surprise the world.”

Number of Cup Finals Kane has been in: one – the League Cup final. And in that his Tottenham Hotspur side lost to Chelsea.

And this is the same Harry Kane who played the full 90 minutes when plucky England lost 2-1 to mighty Iceland at the European Championships in June 2016.

England losing to Malta would not surprise the world. It would surprise only Harry Kane – who given his record in Cup Finals, suggests that the Spurs star is a man as lacking in humility as he is in winner’s medals.

 

england iceland harry kane

 

In case Harry Kane is still grandstanding, these are highlights from the Guardian’s live blog from when England treated Iceland – the smallest nation ever to grace a major tournament – to a Cup Final:

66 mins: “England win a free-kick from about 30 yards and Harry Kane’s effort is appalling.”

83 mins: “Now it’s Harry Kane’s turn to miscontrol a simple pass and gift possession to Iceland.”

87 mins: “Harry Kane takes it and sends the ball soaring over the penalty area and straight out of play. That is absolutely pathetic.”

 

england iceland malta

 

Good luck in all those Cup Finals, Harry!

Posted: 3rd, September 2017 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Spurs balls: Levy puts Dele Alli in the shop window

In the mad world of football transfers, what is Tottenham and Spurs’ talented irritant Dele Alli worth? Helpfully the BBC says he’s worth £150m. Its story is rooted in the Sun’s “exclusive”, which says Dele Alli won’t be sold to Manchester City or Barcelona “even for £150million”.

 

levy dele alli spurs

 

The article adds that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy “has made it clear 21-year-old Alli is not for sale at any price”. In other words, anyone who wants to buy the player can start the bidding at £150m. As the story adds:

And with Neymar moving to PSG for £198m and Kylian Mbappe expected to follow him for £160m, Levy sees no reason why Alli should not be in a similar bracket.

Levy’s dangling Alli in the water and is waiting to see if any oil-soaked fish is mad enough to bite. And as Levy sticks Alli in a basque and suspenders and puts him in the store window, the pretence continues that he’s anything but waiting for a massive bid. “Levy has made it clear his future is at White Hart Lane,” adds the Sun blithely.

The really odd thing about the Sun’s scoop is that it contains not one quote from Levy. His “warning” to the world that only £150m-ish will get Alli contains not a word that can be attributed to him irrefutably and directly. If the Spurs chairman won’t go on the record, why is news of Alli’s non sale news at all?

When did the Sun become Tottenham’s salesroom?

Posted: 17th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Spurs balls: Gareth Bale’s return would be a badge of lunacy

Tottenham fans looking for their club to boost the Premier League’s second best side last term with new players are addressed by the Sun’s Paul Jiggins. Just as pressing f8 on the keyboard has for years given the Sun stories of Cristiano Ronaldo’s imminent return to Manchester United, we now get news of Gareth Bale’s Spurs homecoming:

With Spurs suddenly looking vulnerable, Levy needs to do more than merely ensuring the current playing squad is retained. He needs to make a statement. And there would be no bigger one than taking up the first option Tottenham have on buying back Gareth Bale if and when he becomes available.

‘If’ and ‘when’ might well be words familiar to Spurs fan whose side have one a single trophy this century, but they aren’t exactly the way a savvy operator like Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman, is likely to dwell on.

 

bale yid

 

As for buying Bale, perhaps Jiggins could suggest a fee? He continues:

Levy still wears the £86m sale of the Welsh wizard to Real Madrid four years ago as a badge of honour. Buying Bale back would be an even greater one.

Why stop there? Why not get more badges and buy back Luca Modric from Real or get Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal? Well, one issue might be the money. Take Danny Rose, the Tottenham and England defender on £65,000-a-week. Rose watched Kyle Walker leave Spurs for around £50m and secure a £180,000-a-week deal at Manchester City. Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is on around £50,000-a-week. The only way Bale will rejoin Spurs is if all parties lose the plot.

PS: Spurs fans I know aren’t overly bothered about who the club didn’t buy. But they are impressed by who they didn’t sell.

Posted: 11th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Spurs balls: a ‘top-four struggle’, Kane’s ‘very happy’ and corrupting Jenas

Spurs News, as supplied by the Independent Clickbait Factory. “Tottenham Hotspur could struggle to finish in the top four next season, says Jermaine Jenas”, runs the headline in the once proud newspaper.

 

spurs clickbait indepedent

 

BBC TV pundit Jemain Jenas “thinks that the move to Wembley Stadium, a lack of activity in the transfer market and the strengthening of their rivals could see Spurs struggle”.

But he doesn’t. At least he’s saying nothing of the sort to Kishan Vaghela, who reiterates the story’s thrust in the opining paragraphs:

Jermaine Jenas believes his former club Tottenham Hotspur could find themselves crowded out of the top four next season…

Jenas, who played for Tottenham between 2005-2013, is a huge fan of manager Mauricio Pochettino. But he has identified the temporary move to Wembley Stadium, Daniel Levy’s lack of activity in the summer transfer market and the strengthening of their rivals as significant factors as to why they might struggle next season.

Jenas does says selling Kyle walker to Manchester City “has massively strengthened a competitor for that Premier League title”, but he adds:

“From the club’s perspective they should trust the manager… If it was his decision to sell Kyle then I’m sure he has a plan in place.”

As for Spurs “struggling” and other sales, well, no:

“Tottenham have got a younger squad, players such as Dele (Alli), Harry Kane and Eric Dier are younger players with time on their hands and on good money. So I think the majority of the players there are content as long as the club is seen to be trying to win trophies. The moment Spurs start settling for getting into the top four is when they will start to encounter problems.

“I just don’t see Harry Kane leaving any time soon. I think he is very happy at Spurs and they are showing enough ambition, they’ve reached the Champions League for the last three years.

Far from struggling, Jenas sees problems should Spurs “settle” for a top-four finish – and Kane is “very happy”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)