Friday, February 29, 2008

Keane trasfer-lists player for being late

Roy Keane yesterday explained his reasons for putting Liam Miller on Sunderland's transfer list, saying the midfielder's main failing was being late for training.

Despite seeing Miller become one of Sunderland's most important players in their battle against relegation, Keane revealed ahead of tomorrow's crucial game at bottom-of-the-table Derby that he could no longer tolerate the Republic of Ireland international's time-keeping.

In his first season as manager of Sunderland last year, Keane instructed the driver of the team bus to leave without three first-team players before a trip to Barnsley and dropped them from the starting line-up because they were a minute late for the scheduled departure.

But the former Manchester United captain has come down even harder on Miller.

"I don't go around with a stick, threatening people. We have given players the benefit of the doubt but enough is enough. There comes a time when you have to say 'Move on'. Liam is very happy here but if you can't get in on time for training then it doesn't matter if he is happy or unhappy."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

James boosted by psychologist

Portsmouth's in-form England goalkeeper David James reckons his game has improved significantly through the use of psychology.

The 37-year-old said: "I do it in the hotel room before the game, do it on the bus and do it on the pitch.

"I work on every eventuality and hopefully don't get surprised,"

James, who recently regained the England number one spot, employs a personal psychologist, Keith Power.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

De La Hoya to own Dynamo ?

An investor group led by boxer Oscar De La Hoya is negotiating to buy a 50 percent stake of the MLS champion Houston Dynamo, according to broadcast and published reports.

De La Hoya along with Gabriel Brener, a shareholder in the boxer's company, Golden Boy Promotions, are reportedly looking to partner with team investor-operator Anschutz Entertainment Group.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth said that negotiations with the group led by De La Hoya were progressing rapidly.

A deal could be finalized Friday when AEG meets with De La Hoya.

Non-league international

On June 4 1988 England completed their Euro 88 preparations against the reigning Beazer Homes League Premier Division champions Aylesbury United in front of 6,031 at Buckingham Road.

Aylesbury remains the only non-league side to face the national team

Cole bailed over wife 'attack'

Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has been questioned by police after an alleged attack on his wife.

Cole, who is currently on loan to Burnley from Sunderland, was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning at his home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. Cheshire police said they arrested a man aged 36 on suspicion of assault.

A spokesman said: "He was interviewed and released on bail until April pending further inquiries."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Real celebrate too early

They may have won the European Cup nine times but Real Madrid have forgotten one of the golden rules of football - play to the whistle.

The Spanish giants saw their lead at the top of La Liga cut to just two points after delirium got the better of them in Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to Getafe.

Arjen Robben thought he had scored for Real midway through the second half, but as he celebrated by the corner flag with his team-mates he failed to spot the referee disallowing the goal for offside.

While Robben, who hasn't had much to celebrate lately, lapped up the applause, Getafe sneakily took a quick free-kick to launch a four-against-two attack, and striker Ikechukwu Uche tucked the ball home.

Shearer's charity bike ride

Alan Shearer has announced that he will be doing a charity bike ride to raise funds for Sport Relief.

He will be joined by Match of the Day 2 presenter Adrian Chiles and the duo are attempting to ride from Newcastle to London in just two days.

They leave St James' Park on 13 March and aim to pedal into BBC Television Centre in London as part of the live Sport Relief show the following day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nani gets showboating warning

Manchester United winger Nani has revealed that a stern word from manager Sir Alex Ferguson was enough to persuade him not to repeat his on-field juggling antics.

The 21-year-old provoked the fury of several Arsenal players, as well as Ferguson, when he indulged in some `kick-ups' towards the end of last weekend's 4-0 FA Cup thrashing of the Gunners at Old Trafford.

Nani insists he was not being disrespectful and was merely trying to entertain - but has also vowed not to repeat the trick.

'In Portugal I have done this many times but it is only because it is an entertaining spectacle and not because I disrespect my rivals,' he said.

'I am a professional and am always very respectful with all the opposing players, but I do appreciate now that it may have looked bad.

'After the match Ferguson spoke to me and demanded that I do not repeat it in order to avoid problems.

'Obviously, I agreed. I always follow the orders of my coach and am not interested in causing controversy.'

Friday, February 22, 2008

Keegan offers help to his former boot boy Gazza

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan has promised his former boot boy Paul Gascoigne all the help the club can give him in his hour of need.

Keegan revealed he has spoken to the 40-year-old's family in the wake his detention under the Mental Health Act to offer any assistance he can to the former Magpies player.

He said: "It's sad, but maybe what has happened now will be a turning point for him, and instead of looking on it as something that is really bad, this might be the best thing.

"I have talked with his Dad and one of his sisters and I know it looks negative, but I think it is a massive positive for Paul Gascoigne from all the information I have had.

"This is a good thing for him and although in the short term, it does not look that way, in the long term, I think it will prove to be really important in the life of Paul Gascoigne."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Uefa waits for reports on Ronaldo 'laser'

Uefa is awaiting reports from officials before deciding whether to take action after Cristiano Ronaldo was targeted by a laser beam on Wednesday.

The incident in the warm-up before the Champions League tie at Lyon was reported by Manchester United but the winger had no ill effects in the game.

Uefa now wants to see reports from the referee and its own delegate.

Television pictures suggested Ronaldo was also targeted when running with the ball during the first leg of the last-16 clash at Stade Gerland, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that the club had informed Uefa of the initial incident.

"We reported the matter to Uefa before the game," said Ferguson.

"We noticed it in the warm-up and Uefa are aware of it."

Gazza held after hotel incident

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has been detained under the Mental Health Act following an incident at a hotel in Newcastle.

Northumbria Police said a 40-year-old man was detained following a report of disorderly behaviour at the Malmaison Hotel early on Wednesday.

Officers later visited Mr Gascoigne at Gateshead's Hilton Hotel after concerns were raised about his behaviour.

Police said he was not in custody and was now receiving medical treatment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Megson stunned by Atletico security breach

Angry Bolton Wanderers boss Gary Megson has slammed Atletico Madrid over a potential security breach ahead of his side's UEFA Cup return in the Spanish capital on Thursday night.

Bolton officials were stunned to find their entire trip itinerary - including their flight number and arrival time, plus the name of their hotel and training schedule - pasted on Atletico's official website.

The British Embassy in Madrid are looking into the incident with the visitors - who will defend a 1-0 lead following their famous win at the Reebok Stadium last week - fearing their programme could be deliberately disrupted.

Nash in contact with Spurs

Basketball superstar Steve Nash has revealed he is in "casual contact" with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and director of football Damien Comolli but insists he has no immediate intention of getting involved in the club.

Nash, of the Phoenix Suns, is a passionate Spurs fan and has spoken before about his dreams of one day working with the club, possibly as the figurehead of a consortium.

However the former NBA Most Valuable Player insists any involvement at White Hart Lane would come much further down the line.

He said: "I'm completely behind the group that's there now and I love what's going on at Spurs at the moment. But I would definitely love to be part of Spurs once my career is over. I've got plenty on my plate right now and so I can't imagine exactly how it might work but it's a big goal of mine.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ivory Coast's big bottom dance

A national dance craze in Ivory Coast has spawned a black market in treatments claiming to increase one's bottom size.

The dance in question has been inspired by DJ Mix and DJ Eloh's hit song Bobaraba, which means "big bottom" in the local Djoula language.

Even Ivorian footballers have adopted the moves and could be seen wiggling their bottoms in a curious on-pitch dance after each goal scored during the just-ended Africa Nations Cup.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Day football survey

A national survey of football supporters shows that men would put football before love on Valentine's Day :

- 76% would rather lose their girlfriend than their club

- 85% of men would choose to watch their club over a Valentine's date

- 78% would rather score for their club in the cup final than score with their dream woman

- 44% admitted they would knowingly buy their girlfriend counterfeit goods as a present, but 82% would never buy a fake replica football kit for themselves

- Men will spend on average £80.85 watching their team away, but only £51.85 on a date

- 42% would find it more hurtful to watch their club get beaten by their arch rivals in the FA Cup Final than to find out their girlfriend has cheated on them with their best friend

- 42% would never go out with a girl who supports their arch rivals

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pub team gets star treatment

A Birmingham pub team saw their football dreams turn to reality as their Sunday league match was given a taste of the big time and transformed into a game they'll never forget.

Players from Longbridge FC looked on in amazement as more than 200 fans turned up to watch them - accompanied by pre-match pyrotechnics on the pitch, professional PA announcer, introduction music and a rousing version of the national anthem sung by renowned opera singer Kathryn Sayles.

Even film crews and photographers assembled at Senneleys Park for the Birmingham Festival Alliance Division One match with local rivals Hellenic.

The surprise VIP treatment was laid on by Carling as part of its national campaign to make the game better for non league teams all over the nation.

The activity marks the start of a campaign for Carling who will travel the UK celebrating teams who have joined its pub football website -

The site allows players to connect with their team mates through their team forum; share news, fixtures and results and even post video highlights of their games.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sandwich board sponsorship

One women's park football team has apparently ushered in a new era of football kit sponsorship by playing its first match under a new sponsorship deal which requires its players to compete wearing 2-kilo sandwich boards bearing the new of its new sponsor.

Battersea WFC of the London and SE Regional Women's Football League has just played its first match wearing the sponsored boards, at a pitch in Tooting, south London after signing a groundbreaking new sponsorship deal with , the online notice-board and classified ads website.

The double-sided sandwich boards weigh two kilos (4.4. lbs) each and consist of two large display boards (60 x 80 cms), made of 3ml plastic, printed with a football shirt sporting a large logo.

Of course, some of the players found the sandwich boards unwieldy, admits Veena Joory, club secretary of Battersea WFC.

"But on the plus side, the boards did wonders for our defensive walls at free-kicks," she insisted.

"We are thrilled to have struck such an innovative deal," says Jim Buckmaster, CEO of, which is sponsoring the women's club for an undisclosed sum.

Psycho's final game

Who could ever forget Stuart Pearce's tragic final game for Manchester City ?

Pearce played like a man possessed as he tried to find his 100th career goal.

With no luck and time running out, the referee awarded a decidedly dodgy penalty to City in the final minute.

Up stepped Stuart Pearce.

Pompey keeper Dave Beasant flopped to his side, making no attempt to reach the ball whichever way it was struck and Pearce, for his 100th goal, in his final game, in the final minute, of the final match ever at Maine Road ... blasted it high, wide and ugly.

Friday, February 08, 2008

National anthem singer apprehensive

Soprano Natasha Marsh is apprehensive of being abused by Spurs fans when she sings the national anthem before the Carling Cup Final.

Tottenham websites have claimed that she is an Arsenal supporter, following inaccurate information supplied to a newspaper.

Natasha and her family are Watford followers and have no animosity toward Spurs or any other team — apart from Luton.

Fergie back in business with son

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is back in business with his former agent son Jason within Old Trafford — despite the controversy caused by their previous partnership.

This time, Jason's company, Aztec Sports Management, are organising a £120-a-head Audience With Sir Alex Ferguson on April 17 in the Manchester Suite — where yesterday's Munich memorial service was conducted.

It is billed as 'a unique opportunity to spend an evening with the most successful manager in British football'.

There will be surprise, even among club officials, that the latest Fergie & Son initiative is at Old Trafford despite the fall-out which followed revelations that Jason had been acting as agent for a number of United players.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Benjani deal stalled because of nap

The transfer of Benjani Mwaruwari from Portsmouth to Manchester City, which was completed yesterday, stalled at the deadline last Thursday because the player fell asleep at the airport on his way to Manchester, according to Peter Storrie, the Portsmouth chief executive.

City were unable to complete the player’s medical and send in all the required paperwork before the midnight deadline after the Zimbabwe forward failed to arrive at Manchester airport until 10.30pm.

“In his own inevitable, wonderful way – and we all love Benji so much - he falls asleep at the airport and misses two planes,” Storrie said.

“You couldn’t write the script. The next plane at 7 o’clock got cancelled and the 8.30 was delayed. It just made the whole situation a fiasco.”

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Players dislocate shoulders on purpose

Ninety-two current and former South Korean soccer players have been indicted for dodging military service by intentionally dislocating their shoulders to receive medical exemptions, a prosecutor said on Monday.

South Korean men spend up to 24 months in the military as part of mandatory service in the 670,000-strong armed forces, a duty which can hamper the careers of athletes.

The players, including 15 professional K-League players, dislocated their shoulders by methods such as swinging their arms while holding heavy weights or having fellow players jump on their shoulders, the official said.

The majority of the indicted players were in minor, domestic soccer leagues.

Local media said if they are found guilty, they will most likely have to perform community service for two years, but some could be forced into the military or sent to jail.

An orthopaedic surgeon who performed arthroscopic surgery on the players and issued false papers has also been charged, the prosecutor said.

North Korea, with which South Korea remains technically at war, has about 1.2 million troops.

South Korea sometimes grants special exemptions to athletes such as soccer or baseball players whose teams do well in international competition.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mascot is escorted from the pitch

The Fulham mascot certainly made an impression with his dancing moves in the penalty area at half-time in the game against Aston Villa yesterday.

Unfortunately it was only on ref Chris Foy, who escorted him off the pitch because he was holding up the start of the second half.

It’s not the first time Billy’s been in trouble this season as he upset Chelsea boss Avram Grant after hugging him.

Drogba missed award for shunning ceremony

Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba did not win the 2007 African Footballer of the Year award because he refused to attend Friday's ceremony in Lome, his team said on Monday.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had planned to give the award to the Chelsea forward but decided not to after he said he would not travel to the Togolese capital to collect it, Ivory Coast team spokesman Jean-Claude Djacus told Reuters.

Drogba is currently playing in the African Nations Cup in Ghana with Ivory Coast who have reached the semi-finals.

The award went to Mali striker Frederic Kanoute.

"CAF has brought itself into disrepute," Djacus said.

"They called Didier on the eve of the ceremony to tell him they would give the award to Kanoute if he did not come. Didier is now saying that he does not want to be part of the 2008 vote."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Limit foreign footballers say MPs

A group of MPs has called on football clubs to cut the number of foreign players in the English game.

They want the government and football authorities to discourage clubs from recruiting so many overseas players.

A Commons motion, led by Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Bob Russell, has been signed by 23 MPs who believe British players are being held back.

However, Conservative MEP Chris Heaton-Harris said the idea would breach employment legislation.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Maradona says sorry

Diego Maradona last night issued his first ever apology for his infamous Hand of God goal — and insisted: “If I could go back and change history I would.”

Maradona has never before apologised for the strike — which helped Argentina go on to win the 1986 World Cup.

He cheekily claimed it had been netted “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.

Peter Shilton, in goal for England that day, is still fuming ... he said recently: “He has never said sorry. I think for a player with his standing in the game, it was very unsporting.

“Instead of just saying it was the Hand of God, he could have owned up.”

But yesterday Maradona finally did say sorry to England’s success-starved fans.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Keegan's Circus

Kevin Keegan's return to football may be connected to the business accounts of the Newcastle United manager's Soccer Circus.

The figures, published this month, reveal that Keegan has loaned at least £2.37m to the company.

That may be considered an enormous gamble by the former England coach because in the 12 months to April 2007 the start-up made an operating loss of more than £1m.

Soccer Circus runs what it describes as "the world's first interactive football attraction" out of the Xscape sports and leisure centre in the Braehead area of Glasgow.

But to get to its long-awaited opening 16 months ago the company required a massive financial commitment from Keegan.

Five arrested in Serbia over match-fixing

Police have arrested a club president, stadium director and three referees on match-fixing charges in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad.

Ratko Butorovic, the president of Serbian first division side Vojvodina Novi Sad, stadium director Milan Cabric and referees Mihajlo Jeknic, Borislav Kasanski and Goran Kovacevic had been detained on Tuesday, police said.

'Butorovic and Cabric have repeatedly bribed Jeknic and Kasanski through Kovacevic to ensure that Vojvodina take their place in the top half of the first division,' police said in a statement released to the media on Wednesday.

Vojvodina are third in the 12-team Superleague at the winter break, seven points behind leaders Partizan Belgrade and six adrift of champions Red Star Belgrade.

The league is due to resume on March 1.

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