Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beckham dons Posh t-shirt

David Beckham showed his wife remains close to his heart by donning the singer's new charity t-shirt.

Beckham was spotted wearing the Marc Jacobs creation during a trip to Brazil where he has opened his latest Football Academy.

Victoria posed nude for the T-shirt for a campaign to highlight the dangers of skin cancer.

She is featured covering her modesty with her hands alongside a caption which reads, "Protect the skin you're in".

The sure-to-be cult item is a bid to support The Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group.

Although it is sure to gain the campaign column inches and a significant following, using perma-tanned Posh could be seen as a bit of an odd choice to be the face of such a cause.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Premiership clubs failing to provide enough disabled space

Just two Premier League clubs provide enough spaces for disabled fans, according to a survey by the National Association of Disabled Supporters.

Only Bolton and Blackburn meet the recommended spacing requirements outlined by the association, although Arsenal come close with 96%.

Tottenham, Portsmouth and Fulham fall short with less than a third of the required space at their grounds.

It is estimated 30,000 disabled fans regularly attend matches in England.

The National Association of Disabled Supporters (Nads) laid out their recommendations in their Accessible Stadia Guide in 2003, which was endorsed by the Premier League and the Football Association.

However, the majority of top-flight clubs are failing to meet the required wheelchair spaces four years on.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Balloons knock Man City out

Manchester City crashed out of the FA Cup after fans threw blue and white balloons into City’s goalmouth before kick-off.

They caused 12th-minute chaos as a cross deflected off a balloon, Michael Ball miskicked, and Luton Shelton scored.

City boss Sven Goran Eriksson, whose players and staff also lost £2,000 in a dressing-room robbery, said: “My coaches asked the fourth official to get referee Alan Wiley to stop the game for one minute so we could clear the balloons off the pitch.

“The referee got the message but did not stop the game. I find that a bit strange.

“A lot of the time, you see three or four balloons on the pitch.

"This time there were lots and that’s why we put in our request.”

City’s defeat made the message on the balloons look a total joke ... they said: “Just like watching Brazil.”

Sven linked to "white magic"

Sven-Göran Eriksson has been linked to an Italian faith healer, exorcist and “practitioner of white magic”.

On Tuesday, the self-described “Baroness” Clara Romano was placed under house arrest by police in the Italian port city of Ancona. She faces accusations of fraud and tax evasion.

According to ANSA, the Italian press agency, investigators found an uncashed cheque made out to her from Eriksson, which she allegedly kept “as a souvenir”.

The Manchester City manager and former England head coach may unwittingly have been drawn into the situation as Romano is known to have been in contact with numerous figures in Italian football, particularly at Lazio when the Swede was in charge in the late 1990s.

Massimo Moratti, the Inter Milan president, admitted in 2006 to having been among her clients.

An Italian television programme, filmed with a hidden camera, showed her taking credit for uncovering Serie A’s Calciopoli [match-fixing] scandal, which led authorities to strip Juventus of the 2005-06 title and award it to Inter.

“I made Inter win the title [by exposing the Calciopoli scandal through magic],” she said on the programme.

“And I told Moratti that I would help them win the scudetto if he supported my charitable project, a retirement community, the ‘City of the Aged’. I wasn’t asking for a lot, five or six million euros [about £4.5 million] ”

Moratti said that he never paid Romano such a large sum of money, though he did say that he would be willing to “contribute” to the project.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sven is Dick Dastardly

Manchester City players have started calling Sven Goran Eriksson Dick Dastardly because he drives around the training complex in Carrington in a golf buggy.

Personalised with an SGE1 number plate, it's like something out of Wacky Races.

Rooney voted the worst looking player

A massive 33 per cent of the 2,500 women polled by, named Wayne Rooney the worst looking player in the sport.

Second place went to Ronaldinho, while Rooney's strike partner Carlos Tevez was named the third ugliest.

Gangly Liverpool striker Peter Crouch's height might make him a winner on the pitch but he was voted a loser with the ladies as they voted him into fourth place.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Beckham May Have The Largest Carbon Footprint In History

According to Carbon Trust, a private company set up by Government in response to the threat of climate change, David Beckham’s extensive air travel for matches and endorsement obligations, along with his fleet of cars and homes have all added up to record numbers.

From the article: “The former England captain logged over 250,000 miles last year as he flew back and forth between the U.S. and Europe for England’s European Championship qualifiers, while also participating in a Galaxy tour of Oceania in the latter part of the year. Beckham and his wife Victoria also collected over 50,000 frequent flyer miles for advertising obligations around the globe. At home, Beckham owns a fleet of 15 cars, including a Porsche, a Hummer and a Lincoln Navigator.”

This all adds up to about 163 tons of carbon dioxide yearly.

To put that in perspective, the average Englishman contributes about 9.4 tons. The average American generates about 7.8 tons.

Said a Carbon Trust spokesperson, “With all his money he should be using it at least to reduce his own footprint. He has more freedom of choice when it comes to methods of traveling. He could also choose greener cars.”

Friday, January 25, 2008

Arsenal bust-up

Emmanuel Adebayor sparked the amazing Arsenal butting row by calling Nicklas Bendtner ‘s**t’.

The Carling Cup bust-up at Spurs was the result of a long-running feud between the strikers.

A source said: “The first thing Adebayor said to Bendtner was ‘I’m only on because you are so s**t!’

"He has been on Bendtner’s case for a long time.

“The pair do not get on and it finally boiled over on Tuesday night when Adebayor came on as a sub with the team 4-0 down.

“Bendtner ignored him — but when Adebayor said the same thing again later on, Nicklas gave Manny the finger and it all kicked off.”

The warring team-mates had to be pulled apart as Adebayor nutted Bendtner in the face.

Wnger escapes bubbly attack

Arsene Wenger narrowly missed a White Hart Lane soaking to complete his Tottenham misery.

The Arsenal boss was waiting to be interviewed by TV when celebrating Spurs players burst in and sprayed the room with champagne.

The semi-naked players, thought to include Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov, were watching Spurs No 2 Gus Poyet on the dressing-room TV set.

They mistakenly believed he was still talking live to the cameras.

But the interview had been recorded and Poyet had left the room when the players launched their bubbly attack.

Fortunately for a bemused Wenger, the champagne missed him and the laughing Spurs stars beat a hasty retreat after offering their apologies.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walcott to be sent out on loan ?

Arsene Wenger will consider sending Theo Walcott out on loan as the fall-out from Tuesday's 5-1 mauling by Tottenham continues.

A number of Barclays Premier League clubs were contacted yesterday about the prospect of taking the 18-year-old until the end of the season.

Arsenal boss Wenger claimed his side's Carling Cup defeat had shown him 'who was not ready for the first team' and Walcott could be one of the casualties before the transfer window closes.

Although Wenger maintains that Walcott, who cost £13million as a 16-year-old, can still develop into a top-class striker, his patience snapped after he failed to make an impression in the semi-final second leg at White Hart Lane.

Walcott had scored in the Emirates leg, but defender Ledley King subdued him in the return and he was finally substituted in the 65th minute.

Shearer: I could coach elsewhere

Alan Shearer has admitted he could work for a football club other than his beloved Newcastle.

Shearer and Kevin Keegan have spoken about working together as the new Newcastle boss attempts to lift the club from Sam Allardyce's brief but unsatisfactory stint.

But Shearer said: "Why would I say that Newcastle will be the only club for me? Yes, they are my club and I love them but it doesn't mean I could never work for anyone else."

Shearer continued: "I couldn't see myself working at a League Two club.

"But you can never rule anything in or out for good and you can never predict what will happen next in football.

"This time last week we wouldn't have been discussing Kevin Keegan as Newcastle manager."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Swedish fans

The U.S national team played Sweden in a friendly last weekend.

The game was played in Carson, California, and was the home country's 500th international match

I have no interest at all in the match, but it gives the perfect opportunity to post a picture of some lovely Swedish fans.

No, I don't know who the lucky guy is behind them, and no, I don't know what the score was.

To tell the truth, I don't really care.

Shearer scores !

Newcastle and England legend Alan Shearer rolled back the years on Monday as he took part in an impromptu match on a visit to Africa for Sport Relief.

The former striker teamed up with youngsters for a 30-minute game and, true to form, bagged a brace in the match in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Taking a break from filming for the upcoming Sport Relief campaign, the 37-year-old had a ball as he showed children from the KCCC project some of the old magic.

The icing on the cake came as one of the boys revealed he was wearing a Newcastle shirt under his training bib.

Speaking after the game Shearer said: "Most of these lads have lost parents through HIV/Aids and its fantastic that Sport Relief can help them to get back on track.

"It's been a while since I've kicked a ball in anger and I enjoyed every minute of that - especially scoring the goals, of course," he said.

"And as for the Newcastle fan - what can I say, the lad's got good taste!"

Reds defend Saudi trip

Manchester United have defended their trip to Saudi Arabia where they will play a full-strength side in a testimonial match on Tuesday.

It is believed the exhibition game, which is being played to pay tribute to former Saudi skipper Sami Al-Jaber, will earn United £1m.

But chief executive David Gill insists the club's financial interests are not being put before those of the team.

He said: "We get lots of opportunities to play overseas. I always discuss them with Alex and if it didn't work out with the football side, we wouldn't do it."

Ferguson has, however, already complained about a crowded fixture list and admitted that the trip could be detrimental.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ferguson's "up yours" gesture

Sir Alex Ferguson faces an FA probe after allegedly making obscene gestures at Reading fans in Manchester United's 2-0 away win.

Ferguson, furious with referee Steve Bennett for signalling four minutes' injury time as United held on to a 1-0 lead, made the fist-pumping gesture when Cristiano Ronaldo scored the late second goal after a touchline run-in with Reading coach Wally Downes.

The FA confirmed they will study video evidence of the incident and ask Ferguson to explain his actions.

He is just back from a touchline ban after being fined £5,000 for using 'foul and abusive language' at Bolton.

Fiji suspends players for five years

Eight members of Fiji's Olympic team have been suspended from representing the national team for five years for drinking alcohol during a training camp, the Oceania Football Confederation said on its Web site.

The eight players were kicked out of the training camp and fined after they returned to their base following their boozy night.

"We spend all this money to train these players, put them in the academy and pay them allowances. If they are going to pay us back this way then Fiji FA will not tolerate it anymore. It's very sad," said Muhammad Shams-Ud Dean Sahu Kahn, the president of the Fijian Football Association.

Ashley trades shirt

On Saturday, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley traded his 'Smith 17' shirt for one that read 'King Kev 1'.

Even for Keegan, such adoration is unusual.

"He asked me to sign his shirt and I refused," he said.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coco rumours

Ex-Italy star Francesco Coco says he's 'sad' about media speculation over his friendship with gay Italian celeb Alessandro Cecchi Paone.

'He's a superb human,' says Coco, after the pair met on Italy's I'm a Celebrity... Get me out of here!

'There's feeling between us. He's a sensitive person and I don't care that people make fun about our friendship.'

Last year Coco admitted paying a paparazzo not to publish pictures of him and a male friend on a boat, or other photos of him with four naked men.

'I don't accept how the papers portray me. Everyone thinks I am a drugged-up gay who lives in nightclubs. I need to get away.'

Murty gets shirty

Graeme Murty, the Reading captain, is fuming.

Not over losing at home to Manchester United on Saturday nor the cruel manner of the defeat, inflicted by late goals from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Murty’s Ronaldo shirt, a memento of the Portugal winger’s brilliance, had gone missing and the culprit faced a grisly fate.

“Someone’s had it away and when I find out who it is, it’s going to be bloody,” Murty said.

“There’s going to be legs broken.

“I had a shower, came out and it was gone. It’s a player, an apprentice or a member of staff. I know my list of suspects, but I’m not telling you because that might give them a warning. It’s not going to be pretty.”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Air Jordan is a Havant fan

Basketball legend Michael Jordan saw Havant & Waterlooville's 4-2 FA Cup victory over Swansea from his holiday home in the Bahamas, while sitting next to one of the club's directors.

Havant now plan to send new fan Jordan an extra-large club t-shirt.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Havant and Waterlooville windfall

Havant and Waterlooville will pick up £40,000 in prize-money from the 4-2 FA Cup third-round replay victory over Swansea.

£18,000 came from television highlights and they will also get half the gate receipts from the visit to Liverpool, which could amount to £350,000.

Add it to the £100,000 odd already earned from the Cup run and income from new sponsors and the part-timers from the Blue Square South can expect the windfall to exceed £500,000.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Postma in graphic video

Stefan Postma's impending move from Den Haag to QPR is big news in Holland.

The 31-year-old former Aston Villa goalkeeper is a celebrity in his homeland following his appearance in an X-rated video, which his ex-girlfriend posted on the internet. The video contains graphic scenes of Postma and his strapon-wearing girlfriend.

Loftus Road stewards will be hoping there is no repeat of scenes at several Dutch grounds last season when opposition fans bombarded Postma's penalty box with sex aids.

Postma's agent Pietr Buter said: "This would not happen in Holland, but in England it is different. Stefan had a girlfriend who was not the right choice but we hope it is all behind us now."

Man Utd fans searched for drugs

Manchester United fans have slammed Reading plans to search them for drugs when the teams play at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Drug detection search dog teams are targeting supporters as part of a pilot project, with Reading aiming to deter drug use in and around the ground.

But Mark Longden, from the Manchester United Independent Supporters' Association, said: "It sends out entirely the wrong message about the kind of person Manchester United are taking to games."

Sniffer dogs will screen cars coming into the stadium and they will also police toilets and other undisclosed target areas for the presence of illegal substances.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Barton flying to training

Newcastle United's Joey Barton is being transported to and from training by private jet.

The midfielder, who faces another court appearance in Liverpool today on an assault charge, is subject to strict bail conditions.

He was given bail on condition he remained in the care of the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire.

He is being treated for behavioural problems and must observe a strict curfew, entailing him being inside its boundaries between early evening and breakfast time.

Gordon Banks statue

England World Cup winner Gordon Banks is still No1 after plans were revealed for a bronze stature of the goalkeeper.

The 70-year-old is set to be immortalized in two different goalkeeping poses making legendary saves on raised plinths and a third of him holding the World Cup.

The third figure will be at ground level at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium for fans to have the opportunity to their photographs taken with.

Don Mullan, author of Gordon Banks – A Hero Who Could Fly, has launched a fund-raising campaign for the statue, which has been designed and will be cast by Andy Edwards a local sculptor who has also sculpted statues of other football legends such as Sir Stanley Matthews.

It would be the first statue of a goalkeeper in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Football alternative to Second Life

A footballing alternative to Second Life is being created, called Football Superstars, which will be a Massively Multi-Player Online Game (or MMOG for short) dedidated to the beautiful game.

The idea is that each person who logs into the game will be able to play a role in the virtual football world, including the players, shop owners and even journalists.

Here's what the makers say it will be like: "Football Superstars is the first fully immersive world where you get the opportunity to live life as an aspiring professional footballer. The highly realistic football engine gives you all the on the pitch action and off the pitch you'll bask in your celebrity status whilst exploring a rich, utopian world.

"However, no footballer would be famous without a trick or two up their sleeve. Show your skill and talent and prove yourself on the pitch before you get the opportunity to wear those top designer threads and be harassed by eager paparazzi. Only then can you hang out with celebrities in glitzy nightclubs. In order to help you climb the ladder, Football Superstars provides a diverse system that allows each individual to improve their skills and learn special tricks, giving the player total control of their character's advancement as they progress through the game."

Benitez may sue Hicks

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is considering taking legal action against the club's co-owner Tom Hicks for constructive dismissal.

Benitez thinks he may have a case for suing the American after the billionaire admitted trying to line up Jurgen Klinsmann to replace him.

Hicks insisted the move was an "insurance policy" in case Benitez walked out but the Spaniard has made it clear he will not give up the possibility of a £6million pay-off for the remaining two years of his contract.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Carragher defends his actions

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has defended his actions after confronting Luton supporters after last week's FA Cup draw at Kenilworth Road.

Carragher climbed a fence to argue with fans who he claimed swore and threw beer at him as he left the field.

No action was taken against the 30-year-old after neither the Football Association nor the police received any complaints.

Carragher said: 'A few words were said and someone threw a glass of beer over me, so it wasn't the end of the world but you react in that split second.

'No-one spat at me - I want to put that straight. I don't want whoever did it getting more criticism than necessary.

'I just reacted. People from Liverpool have got something about them and if they're not happy about something they let people know.'

Kaka questioned

Kaka, the Fifa World Player of the Year, has been asked by Brazilian authorities to explain his link with leaders of an evangelical church who have pleaded guilty to money smuggling, a news magazine reported.

A judge wants to know what connection the Milan playmaker has to the Brazilian couple who were sentenced last year to nearly five months in prison after pleading guilty to smuggling more than $56,000 (£28,500) into the United States.

No accusations have been made against Kaka.

The deeply religious Kaka has said previously he makes annual donations to the church, estimated to reach about $1m.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fart football

There is a pro women's soccer team in Norway whose official name is Fart.

As you can tell by their logo, they've been around a long time.

I'm told they play silent, but deadly.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Umbrellas for Christmas

Former England manager Steve McClaren has revealed that mickey-taking friends bombarded him with umbrellas for Christmas.

He claims to have hundreds in his house.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kezman wants to be a monk

Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman has revealed he wants to become a monk.

He says he spends as much time thinking about God as he can and claims that his only vice is tattoos, but is becoming less obsessed with them thanks to the Lord's help.

Pope backs the Beautiful Game

Pope Benedict XVI, not normally thought of as a football fan, has said that the Beautiful Game can teach young people important lessons for life.

Speaking to Giancarlo Abete, head of the Italian football league, and a delegation from Serie D clubs, the Pope said at his weekly audience that despite corruption scandals and hooliganism, football could "increasingly be the vehicle of the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity''.

William Punghellini, spokesman for the 162 Serie D clubs, said the league's work with youth teams helped to foster the values praised by the Pope.

The clubs donated to the Vatican money they had saved by a decision not to buy Christmas presents. Vatican officials said it would go to help Bangladeshi flood victims.

The late Pope John Paul II was an ardent football fan who as a young man played in goal in his native Poland.

Pope Benedict is not known to have played the game, but has encouraged a Vatican football tournament called the Clericus Cup and is said to support Bayern Munich, the leading team in his native Bavaria.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Beckham meets the Prime Minister

David Beckham had some kind words for Prime Minister Gordon Brown following a private meeting at Downing Street.

He said that Mr Brown was doing "a very good job".

They had discussed Beckham's soccer academy and how it might become involved with schools in the UK.

There has been speculation that Beckham might become a World Cup ambassador for England, but he would only say "we will have to see what the future holds".

Pregnant captain

Kristine Lilly, captain of the U.S. women's national team for the past three years, is expecting her first child and will miss the Olympics.

Lilly, who has been part of all eight U.S. Women's World Cup and Olympics teams, said she will not play any international soccer in 2008.

In April, the team will try to qualify for the Beijing games.

The 36-year-old Lilly holds the world record for caps and has scored 129 career international goals, second in women's soccer history to Mia Hamm (158).

Lilly said she is open to playing again in the future."I'm not closing any doors as far as soccer," said Lilly, who has played 340 games for the U.S.

"But for now, I'm focusing on becoming a mom for the first time and everything that goes with that experience."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Owl named Resident Of The Year

When the Finnish city of Helsinki let their journalists' association select the Resident Of The Year, the winner was an eagle owl named Bubi, who became famous when it caused a Euro 2008 qualifer between Finland and Belgium to be halted for six minutes after it landed on the crossbar.

Finland won the game and Bubi was hailed as a lucky mascot, with his failure to appear at subsequent matches resulting in their failure to qualify for this summer's tournament.

Fulham outnumbered by away fans

Fulham were embarrassed on and off the field by Bristol Rovers as the League One side not only earned a fully deserved FA Cup third round replay but brought enough fans to Craven Cottage to outnumber the home crowd.

They confirmed that demand from the west country was so large that they issued extra tickets to the away side, bringing the Rovers travelling contingent to more than 7,000, while Fulham's fans largely stayed away to leave the official attendance at just 13,634.

Barnes loses £100

Derby midfielder Giles Barnes was challenged to a race by boss Paul Jewell :

"I raced him for £100 and he lost," Jewell explained.

"I said to him: 'Listen Giles, this is where you have to learn the game, so I will race you for £100 over 100 yards and I'll give you a 20-yard start.

' We shook hands and we raced, but I never said I would beat him. I said I would race him for £100, so he has to pay up. I'm still waiting for my money, and he won't be getting a move unless he pays me."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wigan's poker ace

Ryan Taylor, Wigan’s ace when it comes to free-kicks, is also eyeing up a future career as a professional poker player.

Taylor, who has put two long-term injuries behind him to start earning a reputation as a free-kick expert, isn’t bad at catching people out on the card table, either.

He admitted: “I’m getting into poker in a big way. If there is a game on with the lads I’ll always join in.

"I’d even think of trying to make a career out of it if anything happened football-wise or at the end of my career.”

Rangers to rebuild Ibrox ?

Rangers have revealed they could rebuild Ibrox in an ambitious project to increase capacity and regenerate the area around the stadium.

The club may seek to expand their home to a 70,000-capacity arena, according to reports.

In a statement, Rangers confirmed: 'The club would like to inform its fans that it is currently assessing a number of proposals for the development and regeneration around Ibrox.

'At present we are analysing three strategies which would enhance the development of the existing outline planning proposals for the Hinshelwood area to the south of the stadium.

'One of the strategies includes the total rebuilding of Ibrox Stadium while retaining the brick facade, the tradition and the integrity of the Bill Struth Main Stand.

'The club stresses that at this time it is assessing these proposals and no decisions will be reached imminently.

'Further details will be announced at the appropriate time.'

Ibrox could overtake Celtic Park and Hampden to become Scotland's largest stadium, and increase Rangers' potential revenue.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chasetown chases FA Cup glory

Chasetown boss Charlie Blakemore hopes his side can take inspiration from FA Cup folklore when they host Cardiff on Saturday but remains cautious over their chances of another giantkilling act.

The British Gas Business Division One Midlands side are the lowest ranked side to ever reach the third round after shocking Coca-Cola League One Port Vale with an 89th-minute winner in their replay.

They now face an even more daunting task against a Bluebirds side six divisions above them in the Championship and who have won five of their last seven games.

Rooney's Man City guitar

Noel Gallagher gave Wayne Rooney you a guitar for his birthday, sprayed in Man City colours, with the lyrics to Blue Moon written on it.

There were some reports that suggested he'd given it away, but Rooney said : "Of course I'm going to keep it! It's a birthday present and I keep all my birthday presents."

"At the end of the day it's unique"

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Upson saved by Yellow Pages

Matthew Upson found the answer to his injury hell inside the Yellow Pages telephone directory.

The West Ham defender was told he needed surgery to solve a calf problem — the latest in a long line of injuries he has suffered.

But Upson refused to go under the knife and found a medical expert who told him to stuff torn-up phone book pages into his boots.

The centre-half played just 41 minutes of football after a £8million move from Birmingham last January.

But he is the only Hammer to appear in every game this season.

Upson spent hours on the internet in search of a surgery-free solution and found Ron Holder, a South African who has helped a host of sportsmen.

Upson explains: “I’d had various treatments on the calf which had all failed.

“But Ronald specialises in kinesiology, applying it to sports medicine.

“He is fantastic and the best person I have ever worked with.

“Kinesiology is to do in part with the feet and how all different parts of your feet relate to different parts of your body.”

Upson was ‘cured’ after a two-hour consultation with Holder — paid for out of his own pocket.

He added: “As your body adjusts, he’ll take the papers out bit by bit from my boots.

“I wear them inside my trainers, in my normal shoes and even if I am wearing flip flops.”

Wise interviewed by police after stone-throwing clash with youth

Leeds United manager Dennis Wise has been interviewed by police after he chased a youth who allegedly threw stones at his family car on New Year's Day.

The 41-year-old was driving his car in north Leeds after enjoying a meal with his family in the city centre when his vehicle came under attack by youths.

Wise jumped out of his car at about 1am and chased a teenager, but he was unable to hold on to him.

West Yorkshire Police said a 41-year-old man and a 13-year-old youth had been interviewed in connection with the incident.

A police spokeswoman said there had been no arrests and no charges.

The spokeswoman said police were investigating criminal damage to a car and also an allegation of assault by a 13-year-old boy.

"Inquiries are ongoing," she added.

TV presenter demands payment for glowing coverage

Horia Ivanovici, a Romanian TV presenter and editor of Fanatik, a football weekly, stands accused of demanding money from players and managers in return for glowing coverage - and the man who has taken him to court is none other than Victor Piturca, the coach of Romania’s national team.

Piturca claims that Ivanovici asked for tens of thousands of euros to give him an easy ride after his appointment to the Romania job.

He allegedly invited him to be a regular guest on his television programme and promised positive coverage of his coaching tenure.

When Piturca refused, it is alleged that Ivanovici threatened to lambast him on a weekly basis in his magazine and on television.

Piturca has called dozens of players and managers as witnesses, most of whom have testified that Ivanovici asked them for money.

Cristian Chivu, the Inter Milan defender, claimed that since turning down Ivanovici’s request for a €1000 (about £740) “contribution” when he was at Ajax five years ago, he has been criticised in print and over the air waves.

The trial is pending, but it highlights how incestuous the relationship between the media and the people they cover can be.

And while Romania may be an extreme case, the situation is not dissimilar from other European nations, including England - the difference is the currency: instead of euros, some players and managers offer access, which is often just as precious.

Posh gets a book for Christmas

David Beckham has bought wife Victoria a book for Christmas and, surprise surprise, it’s not War And Peace.

But it’s not the average stocking filler either - as it cost a whopping £750.

David splashed out on a limited edition signed Valentino fashion tome.

It is one of just 2,000 copies of Valentino Garavani: First Name in Fashion.

The book features pictures from the career of one of Posh’s favourite designers and commentary from leading fashion writers.

Back in 2005 Posh famously admitted she’d never read a book.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The 'A' celebration

The 'A' celebration that is sweeping across football is based on the A-Star scheme to be launched this summer, which is aimed at encouraging young people to be inspired by role models who do not 'glamourise crime, guns or drugs'.

This project — motto 'if you dream it, you can achieve it' — is aimed at opening pathways into employment through sport by offering young people the chance to showcase their talents.

Co-founder Fitz Hall, the Wigan defender said: 'This is a great chance for professional footballers to truly give something back.'

England's Andrew Johnson, Micah Richards and Emile Heskey are among those involved.

The project statement says they are 'committed to working with young people and making a difference'.

Gerrard hires ex-SAS to guard home

England star Steven Gerrard has hired a crack team of former SAS soldiers to protect his family after a terrifying raid.

The 27-year-old Liverpool captain took drastic action after his wife Alex Curran was threatened at their £4.5million home while he was playing in France.

The security men, whose regimental motto was Who Dares Wins, are now guarding Gerrard's home around the clock.

Gerrard was told of the robbery at the end of a Champions League game against Marseille.
Alex, 25, was still in a state of shock when her husband arrived back home in the early hours.

The player was clearly upset the next day when he talked about his wife's ordeal.

He said he was just relieved that no one was hurt but friends said he was angry his home had been raided while he was away.

Sven learning the the accordion

Sven Goran Eriksson is learning the accordion.

His former England assistant manager Tord Grip is a big fan of the instrument, it seems, and he's been giving Sven some lessons.

A source said: "Tord has secretly played the accordion for years. He brings it out for special dinners and entertains his chums at dinner parties. Sven has always talked about taking it up and has had his first few lessons. He has found it really relaxing and is keen to take it further."

Every player scores

Hutton Cranswick United U-13s recently lost 24-0 to Bridlington Rangers Blue in the Hull Boys Sunday League.

However, it wasn't the scoreline that made the game noteworthy, it was the scorers.

Every player in Bridlington's 12-man squad got on the scoresheet, including the goalkeeper, who scored a hat-trick!

They managed this by rotating their players around, with manager Ian Steward saying: "From the start we dominated and the goals just kept coming. Whenever the goalkeeper kicked out the ball, one of our players managed to snaffle it. The defence had very little to do so at half-time we brought our keeper out and changed a few other positions."

Bridlington actually broke an FA record with football's governing body revealing: "The most scorers we have on record is from an FA Cup game in 1887, when Preston North End beat Hyde United 26-0. There were eight different scorers."

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