Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fabregas is a XBOX fan

No Wonder Cesc Fabregas is having such a great season ... he's getting tons of practice.

The Arsenal midfielder is a massive XBOX fan and has been connecting to the internet and playing football anonymously.

He revealed: "Sometimes I choose Inter Milan and Arsenal as my rivals.

"As you chat with your opponent during the game, if they substitute Fabregas I'll tell them, 'No, man, what are you taking him off for? He's playing so well."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mourinho coverage causes TV row

Coverage of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's arrival in Portugal prompted one of the country's former PMs to walk out of a television interview.

Pedro Santana Lopes was appearing on the SIC channel when the program was interrupted to show Mr Mourinho's arrival at Lisbon airport.

"Do you think this justifies the interruption ?" he asked on air.

"This country is going crazy. I am not going ahead with the interview. People have to learn."

Mr Santana Lopes, the former conservative leader, was appearing on the programme on Wednesday to discuss his Social Democratic Party's election plans.

"I like Mourinho but I won't be interrupted by the arrival of a football coach," he said later.

Owen to have "pre-hernia" procedure

Michael Owen was in Munich yesterday for a consultation with Ulrike Muschaweck, the pioneering hernia specialist who has been booked to operate on the England striker's troublesome groin.

Sam Allardyce, Owen's manager at Newcastle United, says the forward is facing double surgery by Muschaweck, who must repair a tear in his abductor muscle and carry out a "pre-hernia", stomach-strengthening procedure designed to stop the likely development of a full-blown hernia.

Player not worthy of a pub team

Curtis Davies has described his Aston Villa debut during the 1-0 Carling Cup defeat against the visiting Leicester City on Wednesday night as "awful".

"I did everything wrong," he admitted, describing the standard of his play as not worthy of "a pub game".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Beckham flies back to England

David Beckham has flown back to the UK to visit his sick father, who has suffered a heart attack.

The player flew out of Los Angeles on Wednesday and arrived at Heathrow at noon on Thursday. His wife, Victoria, is expected to join him on Friday.

Ted Beckham, 59, was currently "in a stable condition", a hospital trust spokesman said.

A spokesman for the footballer said: "His father has had a heart attack and is currently being treated in hospital.

"His priority is to see his dad and that is his first concern."

Victoria, currently working in Japan, was cutting short her trip to return to the UK on Friday, the couple's spokesman added.

Streaker becomes unofficial mascot

Cheeky Kevin Denny, 31, spurred on Crawley Town to win against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday after he ran naked across the pitch.

He is now the club's unofficial mascot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Avram Grant's wife drinks pee

Chelsea's new manager, Avram Grant, isn't anything like the megalomanical Mourinho, but his wife is a little strange.

Here are just a few of the things she did on TV in Israel:

1. Knocked back a whisky tumbler of her own urine live on air to explore whether or not it had any health benefits.

2. She appeared with a sadomasochist, allowing herself to be spanked and then accepted his invitation to punch him hard in the face.

3. She sat with a male companion in a bath of spaghetti and tomato sauce while wearing a bathing suit, and they toasted each other with red wine.

4. She turned her hand unashamedly to doing raunchy live interviews in a show called Real Time, going to visit reserve soldiers in military outposts and allowing herself to be depicted taking communal showers with them, and even admiring 'girlie' magazines together

Match of the Century

The Professional Footballers Association have announced plans to host a game featuring a host of international and English legends at Eastlands Stadium on December 2.

The game, dubbed `Match of the Century', is part of the PFA's centenary celebrations and will pit a team of international stars, led by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, against a side of domestic legends coached by Steve McClaren's assistant Terry Venables.

The teams are set to be captained by two of the most highly-rated players in Premier League history - Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola.

Husband and wife internationals

Portsmouth defender Hermann Hreidarsson and his wife Ragna Lóa Stefánsdóttir - also a centre-back - both own a fancy collection of Icelandic caps.

"I know some footballers' wives are not very interested in football, but Ragna is different." he said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Juninho hid in the toilet

Lyon skipper Juninho insists the French side won't get caught short by Champions League rivals Rangers next week - despite admitting he hid in a toilet during abust-up with coach Alain Perrin.

Under-fire Perrin carpeted the Brazilian playmaker for walking out of a video re-run of Lyon's 3-0 Group E defeat by Barcelona.

But Juninho said: "There is no problem between me and the coach. I wasn't in the frame of mind to watch all the game so I asked to go to the toilet and didn't return."

Lita and the 'mysterious brunette'

Reading striker Leroy Lita appeared on the front pages of a tabloid this weekend after circulating to friends and colleagues video footage of his antics with a 'mysterious brunette' filmed on his mobile phone.

In confirming that Lita will start up front in Reading's Carling Cup tie against Liverpool tonight, manager Steve Coppell made a Freudian slip when admitting he would talk to the player about the incident.

"I don't know the ins and outs." he said

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shearer saves the Bank of England

The crisis in the City is over ... Alan Shearer has told his local newspaper that he will open an account with Northern Rock because the building society has been great for the North East.

Shearer is worth a few quid, so the Bank of England can breathe a sigh of relief as he raids his piggy bank.

Fans lock team out of dressing room

Morton went to Firs Park to play East Stirling in midweek in the Challenge Cup.

As the players warmed up on the pitch, a desperate female fan was given permission to use their dressing-room toilet.

But the offer backfired when Morton found themselves locked out after a stream of her friends followed her lead.

Boss Jim McInally admits it was all a bit of an inconvenience.

Agger's restaurant

Daniel Agger, Liverpool’s crocked defender, has something to occupy him while he recovers from a broken metatarsal.

The Dane has bought a restaurant, Que Pasa on Lark Lane, for those who fancy a little Scouse cuisine, via Spain and Denmark.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bitchy the hawk

The term "eyes like a hawk" has taken on a whole new meaning at BMO Field, home of MLS team Toronto FC.

Perched high above the field sits TFC's newest member - Bitchy the hawk, named in a poll by fans.

Enlisted to stand guard on match days, Bitchy is trained to protect the BMO Field faithful from seagulls.

The proximity to Lake Ontario and the abundance of food makes the stadium a haven for gulls.

The pesky birds have caused quite the nuisance for players, fans and of course the clean up staff. But that all ends with the presence of Bitchy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mourinho tracked down

A handful of journalists managed to track down the fleeing Jose Mourinho to a harbourside eaterie in west London.

When asked what the official Chelsea statement meant when it stated he left by "mutual consent", Mourinho replied, "look it up in the dictionary".

Ronaldo assault claim

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is at the centre of an official police probe after an Everton fan claimed his arm was stamped on during a match.

Colin Lloyd, who works as a joiner, claims he has been unable to work since the alleged incident.

"I've been in excruciating pain. I don't know if I'll work again any time soon. I couldn't believe what happened. All I was doing was trying to retrieve the ball."

Mr Lloyd alleges the incident happened during the Premier League match between United and Everton as he leaned over the advertising hoardings to retrieve the ball when it went out of play.

Gay World Cup

Latin America will host the gay soccer world cup for the first time in the tournament's 16-year history when the event kicks off this weekend in Buenos Aires.

While some Latin American gay football teams have struggled to get official sponsorship, Argentina's official soccer body, the Argentine Soccer Association, is supporting the annual event and providing facilities for the games.

Twenty-eight teams, many representing cities in Europe, the United States, Australia and Latin America, as opposed to countries, will play in the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association's competition.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Henry unable to perform at his best

Robert Pires, who also plays in Spain for Villarreal, has revealed how Thierry Henry is miserable and unable to perform at his best because he also cannot see his two-year-old daughter Tea.

Henry has so far failed to score a single goal in the Spanish league, although he broke his duck for the club with Barcelona's simple third goal in last night's 3-0 defeat of Lyon.

And he has poured his heart out to Pires, blaming the turmoil of his marriage break-up.

Pires said: “Everyone knows what Henry is like. He is a star.

“What’s happening is that when you change leagues and move country you need time to adapt. I think he’s finding it hard.

“He also has the problem of his divorce and is being affected by it.

8am kickoff

Coventry City (then known as Singer's FC) faced Burton Swifts in a FA Cup match in 1892.

As Burton played in a higher division, they had the right to arrange the game as and when they felt it would least impinge on their league programme.

The match kicked off at 8am.

Dislocated jaw from shouting at team-mates

On 19 August 1975 Alex Stepney, of Manchester United, was taken to hospital during an away game at Birmingham City with a dislocated jaw, apparently sustained by shouting at a team-mate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Porn channel wins soccer rights

A milestone was reached last week in Italy when ContoTV, a hardcore porn channel, outbid other broadcasters to secure the rights to show Fiorentina’s UEFA Cup first-round tie against Groningen on September 20.

Just a publicity stunt? Probably, although ContoTV executives describe it as an attempt to offer their viewers “something different.”

Of course, when the wife sees the credit card charge to the porn channel at the end of the month, the "I was only watching the match" excuse can always come in handy.

U.S. commentators baffle Brits

AMERICAN commentators are baffling Brits tuning in to watch coverage of David Beckham's exploits with LA Galaxy. Some of the terms they use are ...

BULLDOGGING: When a player shows determination to win the ball back.

CHICKEN WING BATTLE: A tussle between players, during which they use their arms and elbows to fight for the ball.

FINAL SIGNAL: The final whistle.

IN THE WHEELHOUSE: Within easy reach of the goalkeeper.

KNOCK LIKE A BEAR KISS: A tackle that is more clumsy than dangerous, but appears to be worse than it actually is.

MATCH UPS: Man marking.

MIDFIELD STRIPE: The halfway line.

ON FRAME: A shot on target.

ON THE DOORSTEP: In front of the goal.

REAL ESTATE: Used to describe the space or lack of space in the penalty area.

ON THE DIAGONAL SURFACE: A cross-field pass

SLOW ROLLER: A weak shot at goal.

SOME WHEELS: A quick turn of pace.

SOUTHPAW: A left-footed player.

STUTTER STEP: A Cristiano Ronaldo style step-over.

TAKEAWAY: An interception or tackle after which the player comes away with the ball.

UPLOAD: To kick the ball with full power.

Forest given 'free goal'

Nottingham Forest were given a 'free goal' but lost their replayed Carling Cup tie with Leicester 3-2.

The original second-round game between the two sides was abandoned with Forest leading 1-0 at half-time after City's Clive Clarke suffered heart failure.

Sportingly, City allowed Forest keeper Paul Smith to score straight from the kick-off to replicate the scoreline.

City chairman Milan Mandaric said: "This will not hurt football, I'm proud of the players and happy we did it."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beckham to play in New Zealand

David Beckham is set to play in New Zealand in December after a deal was struck between his club Los Angeles Galaxy and Wellington Phoenix.

The Phoenix, New Zealand's A-League franchise, and the local council have pledged cash for the exhibition game. But the 32-year-old England midfielder, currently sidelined with a knee injury, must play for at least 55 minutes.

Phoenix owner Terry Serepisos said : "If he is injured prior to the game it will be rescheduled."

LA Galaxy play Sydney FC on 27 November and will extend their mini-tour of Australasia to take on Phoenix.

Serepisos added: "We as the club are bearing most of the costs and it's crucial David Beckham takes the field and plays."

Heinze forced to sell Porsche

Gabriel Heinze was so confident of his move to Liverpool from Manchester United that he celebrated by buying a brand new £74,000 Porsche.

But when the move fell through, Heinze, who eventually joined Real Madrid, was forced to sell it back for a £7,000 loss.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No more boot-kissing celebrations

Hope Powell has torn Kelly Smith off a strip and told her to cut out her “disrespectful” boot-kissing goal celebrations.

The England head coach is fearful that her talisman’s outlandish behaviour will only mark her out as even more of a target for defenders.

Smith, last year voted the fifth-best player in the world, took England to the verge of a memorable victory in Tuesday’s opening group A game when, with the team trailing 1-0 to Japan, she scored two late goals before slipping off her personalised Umbro boots to kiss them in front of the TV cameras.

Electrocution as a training method

In Graeme Le Saux’s book, Left-Field, he recalls that when Gianluca Vialli was manager of Chelsea he introduced a fitness regime straight from his former club Juventus .

One session, which Le Saux claims was performed regularly, involved placing pads on players’ legs, with electric leads attached. A shock was then sent through to the pads, firing the muscles and enabling the players to lift heavier weights than usual.

Moore voted best ever England player

Bobby Moore has been voted England's best ever footballer in a three month-long nationwide survey conducted this summer by leading five-a-side organiser Pitch Invasion.

Votes were received from football fans across the country, and the 1966 World Cup winning captain was joined in the top three by team mates Gordon Banks and Bobby Charlton, who were voted second and third respectively.

Of the current England players, only former captain David Beckham who finished seventh in the poll and present captain John Terry who finished ninth, made the top ten.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Missile technology to track football

Euro 2008 sponsor Castrol, is piloting a cutting edge tracking system, developed by UEFA, to analyse live football action in real time.

The technology, originally used in the aerospace and defence industry and developed to track missile targets, has now been adopted for pitches in Austria and Switzerland at next summer's showpiece tournament.

The Castrol Performance Index will use the data to produce a definitive index of performance that will help fans get under the skin of the game by providing detailed analysis of player and team performance.

In simple terms, two sets of eight cameras are set up three or four hours before the game. They are calibrated to cross each other so that any movement, through image processing, can be picked up on every inch of the pitch. Each individual player is given a code which the cameras can recognise instantly.

Alexandre Fourtoy, UEFA Media Technologies Chief Executive said: "In the old days you had the squeaky pen from the studio analyst, now, within a couple of seconds fans can have access to clear graphics and statistics, letting them make their own mind up on how the game is unravelling."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gillespie row due to other player's passport

Keith Gillespie attacked George McCartney, his Northern Ireland team-mate, on a flight home from Iceland yesterday morning after a row broke out over another player’s passport.

Tempers are thought to have flared when Gillespie took exception to McCartney telling Jonny Evans that Gillespie had hidden the Manchester United defender’s passport.

When Gillespie then began angrily pointing at McCartney, the West Ham left back told him to “stop it”, at which point his team-mate lashed out, landing about half a dozen punches to the West Ham United defender’s face and body.

Beckham won't be a Desperate Housewife

David Beckham will not join the cast of TV show Desperate Housewives, actress Eva Longoria has confirmed.

Rumours circulated last month that the footballer would play one half of a gay couple alongside British pop star Robbie Williams.

"I talked to Victoria [Beckham] the other day," said Longoria, who plays scheming Gabrielle Solis in the show.

"She was laughing," she said. "David had a good laugh out of it. They're not coming on the show."

Oldest living England international

89-year old Phil Taylor is the oldest living England international.

Taylor, who provides the answer to another quiz question (he was Liverpool's manager before Bill Shankly), was born in 1918 and played for Bristol Rovers on 21 occasions, before moving to Liverpool in 1936.

Here he was part of the 1946-47 First Division-winning team and it was in the latter year that he won his three England caps.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spurs star arrested

Tottenham right back Pascal Chimbonda has been revealed as the footballer arrested by police in a hush-hush operation this week as part of their major probe into football corruption.

Chimbonda, 28, was taken into custody on Monday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and bailed until October.

The football investigative team who are part of the 150-strong economic crime unit of the City of London police carried out the questioning which is believed to involve Chimbonda's move from Bastia to Wigan two years ago.

The unit, furnished with the findings of the Lord Stevens report that examined 362 transfers over a 15-month period,wanted to keep the arrest of Chimbonda private.

Both Spurs and Chimbonda's previous club, Wigan, would make no comment yesterday — having received stern police warnings about possibly jeopardising further work on the case.

It is expected that the London police will now move quickly to make other arrests, including high-profile Premiership footballers and well-known football personalities.

The questioning of France international Chimbonda, voted the Premiership's best right back in 2005-06, is understood to involve his transfer from French club Bastia to Wigan for £500,000 in July 2005 as well as his contract renegotiations six months later which contained a £1.5million get-out clause.

Drogba to sing at the Albert Hall

Chelsea star Didier Drogba is to sing at the Royal Albert Hall.

The striker will perform at Football Reaching Out For Africa - a benefit concert to raise awareness of HIV/Aids.

A source at the Albert Hall said: "He has definitely agreed to sing. Apparently he has a good voice."

Didier - currently African Footballer of the Year - has yet to pick a song.

Boney M will perform their 1970s hit Brown Girl In The Ring - the same tune that Blues fans use to sing Drogba's name at Stamford Bridge.

Other footballers expected to attend include England goalkeeper David James, Etame Mayer Lauren and Sean Davis.

The event - organised by singer Patti Boulaye - takes place in 10 days' time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Geezer to buy Villa ?

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler is said to be in talks to buy a chunk of British soccer club Aston Villa.

The star has expressed interest in buying into the Midlands based club, based near to where he originated from, just outside of Birmingham.

"I never miss a game on television in the US where I live and I'm looking into into investing 60 million...of what I can't say." Butler said

Beers before the game

After the Danish fan who attacked Markus Frandel in Copenhagen offered his 15-20 pre-match pints as an explanation, the Finnish tabloids set out to find out what was considered a 'safe' level of intoxication among respectable, football-loving Finns.

Nationalist MP and Millwall fan Timo Soini admitted to three beers before a game. Arto Nyberg, who hosts a chat show on the state broadcaster, also said three beers gets him in the mood for Roy's boys. Mikael Forssell's sister Christina, a footballer herself, claimed not to drink anything.

Support your team and keep fit

New research by has revealed that supporting your football team is the new way to keep fit, burning as many calories as 180 minutes of sex or 40 minutes of running.

The innovative study of football fan celebrations showed that, on average, fans burnt between 1000 and 1145 calories per match supporting their team in the 2006 -2007 season.

This is equivalent to the calories in two Big Macs (1,080), eight 440ml cans of beer (1,267), 220 grams of chocolate (1166), and around half the daily recommended calorie intake for men (2500) and women (2000).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sven's suits need a new home

Sven Goran Eriksson is struggling to find a home big enough for his line up of 150 suits. The new Manchester City boss wants a pad with a large dressing room for his huge collection.

A club source said: “Sven takes pride in his appearance and has a collection of very expensive bespoke suits that he has built up over the years.

“He has kept his England blazer and club colours from all the teams he has managed.

“He is being really picky about his new house. He has very high demands.Swede Sven has been staying in hotels and rented accommodation since moving from his posh London home.

Scots fans can get kilted up

The Tartan Army were last night told they can get kilted up for the Parc des Princes.

As many as 15,000 Scotland fans will be in the Paris venue after 10,000 fans snapped up tickets for the match with France, with the Tartan Army dotted throughout the 48,712 capacity venue.

But while some grounds would refuse entry to away fans in their club or country's colours, France are happy to give their stadium a splash of tartan.

A French Football Federation spokesman said: "As long as the kilts don't provide a security risk, which we don't expect they will do, we don't see any reason why anyone would be denied entry to any part of the ground wearing one.

"We realise how important it is to Scotland fans to wear their national dress."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Real Madrid could have had Ronaldo for free

Real Madrid admit they missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo for free before he joined Manchester United.

The winger was on the verge of signing for Real in 2000, according to a leading Bernabeu director.

Miguel Angel Portugal said: "When Ronaldo was 14 we had the option to do a deal.

"But it was the era of the Galacticos, where we only signed big-name and established players. It was seen as more important to take those names than bet on younger players coming good."

Ronaldo went to Sporting Lisbon and then joined United for £12.6million in 2003. And Portugal admitted he regrets the opportunities that were missed by Madrid.

He added: "We could have had Ronaldo and it was the same with Messi. Unfortunately we are the ones that suffer and we regret we missed out on these players."

Scottish backing for Lithuania

Scotland had the backing of a nation when they played Lithuania yesterday, but a little corner of Lanarkshire reserved a special cheer for the opposition.

George Powtney, brother of the Scottish Lithuanian Cultural and Recreational Social Club vice-president Allan Powtney, said: "I'll be supporting Scotland - I think."

President Alex Paton said: "We've had all sorts of calls from people looking for tickets for the game this week but we didn't have any to give out.

"The club was set up for Lithuanians arriving in this country by the late Joseph Blue who came here after the Second World War.

An estimated 5000-10,000 Lithuanians lived in Lanarkshire at one stage.

Blue's widow Catherine, the club treasurer, said: "The Lithuanian community has been here for years, even from before the First World War.

"Matt Busby was of Lithuanian descent and Billy McNeill's mother was Lithuanian.

"Billy's father and mother used to come to the club until they moved away from the area.

Henry sells 70,000 shirts

HenryThierry Henry may be counting the cost of his divorce - but Barcelona are laughing all the way to the bank after selling £4million worth of shirts on the back of the French striker.

The Catalan club have sold a staggering 70,000 replica shirts all bearing Henry's name and his No.14 number since landing him from Arsenal in a £16.1m deal in June.

Barca expect that figure to smash through the 100,000 barrier by Christmas if Henry can reproduce the form that made him the most feared striker in the world during his time with the Gunners.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lampard feels a bit of a melon

Frank Lampard enjoys a healthy approach to his football, but bites off a bit more than he can chew in his latest TV advert.

The Chelsea midfielder is filmed testing his skills with various supermarket products as part of Tesco's Sport for Schools & Clubs campaign.

But things didn't quite go to plan after he tipped various items of food out of his bag ready to demonstrate his abilities.

Last out was a water melon, which Lampard flicked into the air before it hit the ground, ready to play keepy-uppy.

The melon, however, did not want to play ball and splatted all over the England star's trusty left foot.

After being pipped at the start of filming, Lampard went on to enjoy more success with a bag of flour and a cauliflower.

Germany boss to quiz Chelsea

Joachim Low, Germany's national coach, is to contact Chelsea next week to ask them to explain Michael Ballack's exclusion from their Champions League squad.

The Germany captain is recovering from ankle surgery and does not figure in his club's 23-man squad for the group stages of the competition.

Chelsea insist they took the decision because they could not guarantee Ballack would be fit for the majority of their six group matches. However, Low is confident of having the midfielder back for his side's European Championship qualifiers next month.

"For us, Chelsea's decision is unfounded," Low said. "At the moment, nobody can quite understand it."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Rooney's brother makes big league debut

Wayne Rooney’s little brother is finally making his big league debut — on a celebrity soccer show.

Graham Rooney, 18 made it as far as Everton's youth team but never went professional.

But now he will team up alongside Premiership legends and celebrities after signing up for Sky One’s Premier League All Stars.

Teams will include heroes like Ray Wilkins, Paul Merson and Ruud Gullit who will wear their old clubs’ kits — alongside celebs playing for the side they support.

Bible helps Babel

Ryan Babel last night revealed how reading The Bible has helped him cope with his move to Liverpool.

The Dutch winger, a £11.5million summer buy from Ajax, admitted his strong faith has played a major role in him settling on Merseyside.

Babel said: “The Bible has been my source of inspiration in Liverpool. I read it every day before I go to sleep.

“It makes everything easier. I am alone in England but, in reality, that’s not the case — the Lord is with me all the time.

“I haven’t yet been able to find a church in Liverpool that I’ll go to regularly. There are some things in English that I can’t yet understand, whereas I knew better what they were saying when I went to church in Holland — and that is important.

“I had a religious upbringing and, as I got older, I realised I still had a lot of questions — about life, God and why things happened the way they did.

“I thought about it a lot and looked for answers and God helped me. He showed me the way.”

Friday, September 07, 2007

Teams to relive '86 World Cup quarter-final

England will finally get their chance of revenge against Maradona's Hand of God next month.

The boys of 1986 will face the same Argentina side in a repeat of the World Cup quarter-final.

The two teams will meet in a match at Villa Park on October 14.

Maradona said: “This time when we will come to England there will be no mischief, only great goals. For us this is very serious, we are coming to win.

“It’s a game I still treasure to this day. For the rest of the team and I it was very special and was a great victory on the way to winning the World Cup.

“Everyone talks about the 'Hand of God' from this match, it was a bit of mischief, the goalkeeper had the advantage of grabbing with his hands. It was too high for me and I stuck out my fist.

“After the goal, I was waiting for my team-mates to embrace me and no one came. I told them, come hug me or the referee isn’t going to allow it.”

Kasper the friendly ghoulkeeper

Refs to crack down on wrestling

Referees are to crack down on jostling in the penalty area before free kicks and corners, European soccer's governing body UEFA said on Thursday.

The unwritten practice of kicking the ball out of play when a player is injured and returning it to the team which originally had possession is also to stop, UEFA said following a meeting of referees at its headquarters in Nyon.

According to UEFA, the decisions were made to combat "aspects of the game which are harming its image".

"The penalty area is not a wrestling ring and shirt pulling is not part of football, so as Chairman of the UEFA Referees Committee I will support the referees who have the courage to punish holding and pushing in the penalty area," said UEFA referees committee chairman, Angel María Villar Llona in a statement.

"Referees have been instructed to initially give a verbal warning to players who are using their arms illegally to hold, push, jostle for position and a further infringement...should be punished by a yellow or red card."

The decision to stop a match to allow an injured player to receive treatment will now lie squarely with the referee, UEFA said. Teams should not stop playing or kick the ball out of play unless told to do so by the match official.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Premiership resident magicians

Marvin Berglas began his association with Arsenal in 1993 when he became the Premier League's first-ever resident magician.

Son of the famous illusionist David Berglas, Marvin entertains VIPs and sponsors on match days and even plays in the Gunners' celebrity supporters team.

"I am proud of my close association with Arsenal and of the magicians we provide on match days," he explains.

Not wishing to be outdone by their old rivals, Spurs also have a magician entering his 10th consecutive season at White Hart Lane.

Nicholas Einhorn, who was apparently a conjuring child prodigy, performs in the hospitality suites and private boxes prior to every home game.

Player deliberately misses penalty

Midfielder Morten Wieghorst deliberately fired a spot kick wide while captaining Denmark against Iran at a Carlsberg Cup match in 2003.

Thinking he had heard the referee whistle for half-time, an Iranian defender picked up the ball inside his penalty area; unfortunately the whistle had come from the stands.

"It was unfair to capitalise on that," said Wieghorst, who subsequently consulted with his coach Morten Olsen before firing wide.

Although Denmark subsequently lost 1-0, Wieghorst at least picked up an Olympic Committee fair play award.

Premiership foreign content

76% of the starting 11s that played on the first weekend of the first Premier League season in 1992 were English, only 37% were English on the first weekend of this season

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Okocha takes God's advice to join Hull

Jay-Jay Okocha yesterday joined Hull and insisted his decision to move to Humberside had been guided by God.

The 34-year-old former Bolton and Nigeria captain has joined Phil Brown's team on a 10-month deal, with the option of a further year.

"I always ask God if it is his will, and if so, then let it be," he said.

"Whatever comes out of it I will accept it. That's the message I got and that's why I'm here. My faith comes before anything. It has also taught me to respect and admire people for what they are and who they are. I pray a lot and it has helped me throughout my whole career to stay calm and focused."

Premiership's highest-scoring substitute

It comes as no surprise that the Premiership's most successful sub is Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer has scored 17 league goals after coming off the bench, which puts him comfortably clear of Jermain Defoe, Kanu, Andy Cole and Tore Andre Flo, each of whom have 13.

Hat-trick record holder

England's hat-trick record-holder is Jimmy Greaves.

Greavsie scored six hat-tricks for England between October 1960 and June 1966; the last, against Norway in Oslo, came just before the World Cup campaign that carried such promise for Greaves, and which brought about such regret.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ronaldo unlikely to be fined

Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to be fined by Manchester United after the Portugal winger was accused of organising an orgy with five prostitutes and two team-mates at his house nine days ago.

Juliana Baltrusch, a 24-year-old Brazilian prostitute, who works for Mckenzies escort agency in Leeds, and two of her colleagues have claimed that they attended a party at Ronaldo’s£3 million Cheshire home with Nani and Anderson and two other prostitutes after Manchester United’s 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

Kahn breaks record

Bayern Munich's Oliver Kahn played in a Bundesliga-record 535th game for a goalkeeper Sunday.

The 38-year-old Kahn played against Hamburger SV to move past VfB Stuttgart's Eike Immel by one match.

Kahn has now played the fifth-highest number of games out of all players in the German league. Karl-Heinz Koerbel leads that category with 602 matches.

Kahn plans to retire at the end of the season and coach goalkeepers in Asia.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

John Terry's 50 superstitions

John Terry recently admitted that he has "about 50" superstitions, including using the same spot in the car park, listening to the same CD before games and sitting in the same seat on the team bus, and wearing a pair of shinpads he's had for 10 years.

Toon owner refused entry

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was refused admission to a city nightclub — because he was wearing his black and white shirt.

The supposedly reclusive billionaire went to Blu Bambu in the Bigg Market to celebrate the club's 2-0 win against Barnsley in the Carling Cup on Wednesday — but the bar does not allow football shirts and he was told he could not come in.

Stunned Ashley, the 25th richest man in Britain, was with his chairman Chris Mort.

The sports tycoon was explaining who they were to staff when Mark Johnson, assistant manager of Blu Bambu, recognised the pair and said he would make an exception.

The wealthy duo were so pleased with the match result and the fans' support that they announced their arrival over the PA system, bought everyone a drink and gave the bar staff a £500 tip.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Some teams run around like headless chickens

Inland Revenue drop Leeds United case

The Inland Revenue have dropped their legal challenge to Leeds' administrators KPMG.

HM Revenue and Customs had challenged the way KPMG had guided Leeds out of administration on technical grounds and the case was due to be heard in the High Court on Monday.

But the summer-long saga at Elland Road appears to have finally drawn to a close after the Inland Revenue decided not to pursue the matter, despite being unhappy about the way the club was eventually sold back to chairman Ken Bates.

Bates put Leeds in administration with debts of around £35million on May 4, with the Inland Revenue owed £7.7million.

KPMG immediately sold the club to a new company headed by Bates, but his original 1p-in-the pound offer to pay off creditors, announced at a stormy company voluntary arrangement (CVA) meeting, was legally challenged by the Inland Revenue.

The administrators responded by putting the club back on the market and agreeing to sell it back to Bates again outside the CVA, securing a better 11p-in-the-pound deal for creditors.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?