Friday, August 30, 2013

Assou-Ekotto reveals shoe hoard

Tottenham's left back shared this picture of himself gazing lovingly at his stockpile on Twitter on Friday, along with the message: 'Which one for today....? Lol'

Coach celebrates Europa League qualification

Liverpool issue apology after Twitter gaffe appears to mock Munich air disaster

Estonian amateur fans welcome team onto pitch

Torres linked with Liverpool and Arsenal

Fernando Torres could make a last ditch attempt to leave Chelsea after the Blues signed striker Samuel Eto'o and it is believed the club will have no hesitations in letting the Spaniard go.

According to the Mirror, Chelsea are ready to listen to offers for Torres, who would face a tough battle for regular football if he were to stay at Stamford Bridge, with Eto'o joining Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku as challengers for a spot in Mourinho's attack.

Although Ba has been linked with a return to Newcastle, Jose Mourinho is most willing to see Torres go, but it's unlikely that the striker will attract an offer around the £50 million he joined from Liverpool for.

Bale shirts for sale

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sturridge recreates his goal celebration in car park

Spurs consider Gareth Bale fine

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has effectively confirmed Gareth Bale’s departure to Real Madrid, and said the player’s behaviour in refusing to turn up for training has not been "correct".

 Villas-Boas could not confirm when exactly the deal would be finalised, but said it is not dependent on incoming transfers. The Portuguese did state, however, that Bale had said his goodbyes.

"At the moment the two clubs are speaking -- Tottenham and Real Madrid -- to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts and I am not sure how much time it will take," Villas-Boas said.

"It could happen very, very soon. It might not happen so soon so I suppose it could go to the last days or it could happen in the next two days.

"It’s not up to me to finalise the deals. I don’t drag out anything. This is between clubs for one reason or the other. This deal has not happened because it has taken this time.

"You wouldn’t expect the biggest transfer in world football to happen easily. Whenever they get to an agreement, end of story."

When asked whether Bale’s departure was dependent on Tottenham fully replacing him, Villas-Boas said: "I don’t think so. We’ve been very, very active in the market so I don’t think so."

The Spurs boss, however, did intimate criticism at the behaviour of a player he otherwise retains a healthy relationship with.

"I gave the player the weekend off, Monday was a day off for the squad. He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid in the end if it happens, we wish him all the best.

"What he left here is great memories and the fact that he hasn’t turned up, I don't think it's the correct behaviour, but in the end it's a position of pressure and a statement from the player or whatever that means. It's a position they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mata’s dad spotted in the Arsenal director’s box

Higuain Christmas nativity figurines with ‘Facial Injury’ already on sale

Goalkeeper rescues dying fan in the stands

Non-League goalkeeper Ben Scott was sent off at the weekend but still produced the save of his life from the stands.

The Stocksbridge Park Steels stopper had just been shown red for a dangerous tackle in his team’s Evo-Stick League Northern Premier clash at King’s Lynn Town when he answered an emergency call.

‘I started walking off the field, getting a nice bit of abuse as you do, when I noticed a young girl running past me,’ said the keeper, who works as a staff nurse at Doncaster Royal Infirmary,

‘She said, "a gentleman’s died", so I followed her into the crowd and came across the gentleman on the floor. His heart was in an irregular rhythm.’

And Scott’s timely intervention proved a life-saver - he and a St John’s Ambulance crew administered the patient a shock which normalised his heart’s rhythm.

He was taken to hospital but has recovered and is now back home.

‘It was a fantastic bit of teamwork that gave that gentleman a fighting chance,’ Scott added.

‘It does put things into perspective, you do realise that football is only a game.’

Ruiz's penalty that hit the post and went in off the keeper

Yeovil steal free goal to force extra-time

Furious Birmingham manager Lee Clark accused Yeovil of poor sportsmanship after seeing his side book their place in the Capital One Cup third round in bizarre circumstances.

The Blues held their nerve to win 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out at Huish Park after the match finished 3-3 in extra-time.

The flashpoint came in injury time of normal time, as Yeovil defender Byron Webster lashed the ball into an empty net after Birmingham goalkeeper Colin Doyle had kicked the ball out of play following an injury to Blues defender Dan Burn.

That levelled the scores at 2-2, forcing extra-time.

Yeovil went ahead before eventually allowing Birmingham to score to make up for the goal.

Clark was incensed that Yeovil did not give the ball back, and despite the Glovers allowing Lee Novak to equalise unchallenged in extra-time immediately after Luke Ayling put the hosts in front - he said he would be exploring every avenue to complain about the Somerset side's conduct.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saints post hashtag in stadium

Inside the "Bale box" at the Bernabeu

Bolton pomote Sky coverage on Twitter, angry fan replies

GIF : Sandro slaps himself

Barcelona advert for Qatar Airways

Cisse invites Newcastle fans around for BBQ

Over the weekend, Cisse invited a small group of Newcastle fans around to his home in Northumberland for a BBQ in his back garden, though his guests were also given a tour of his house while the younger members of the group also played a bit of pool and FIFA 13 with their No.9 before he surprised them with personalised replica shirts and a kickabout on his lawn.

Sunday league

Monday, August 26, 2013

Burnley FC launch 'i-Pie' app

The Clarets have announced the launch of a new mobile app that allows supporters to place online orders for their half-time pies days before a game, ensuring they neither have to queue nor pay for their snacks on match day.

Developed in partnership with digital tech company Preoday, the "i-Pie" online ordering app (which went live before last weekend's game against Yeovil) was commissioned by Burnley to help "increase food and drink sales and reduce queues during the traditionally frantic half-time service."

Here's how it works, per the instructions on the app installation page ...

"With the app you can place your order where ever and whenever you like. At half-time, look for the designated service point under the stand.

"Take your phone with you to collect your order and show the service staff the verification code on the phone. They will have your order ready for you ... and of course there’s no need for payment at the till."

The app is free and available to download now, though it's simply called "Burnley FC" if you wish to search for it (it's available on both iTunes and Google Play), meaning you need never queue for your "miscellaneous meat and onion" pie at Turf Moor ever again.

Pique gives away shirt

Crystal Palace tweet message of support for opponents

Thrifty Man Utd fans converts Saha shirt into Zaha

Peru striker travels 900km to be immediately substituted

Peruvian player Jahirsino Baylon was forced to travel 900km across Peru to turn out for his former club Universitario in their away match against Melgar in the Primera Division - in which he wasn’t allowed to touch the ball and was immediately substituted.

The original match between the sides had been abandoned in the 82nd minute last month after officials came under attack from Melgar players and staff following a late disallowed goal.

The bust-up resulted in Melgar coach Franco Navarro receiving a 10-match ban, reduced to eight on appeal.

But the Peruvian Football Association ordered the final eight minutes of the fixture needed to be completed and with the same players who had ended the absconded match, resulting in Baylon - now playing for Union Comercio - travelling 900km to be immediately substituted, under the instruction of his new club.

Millwall forced to play in borrowed away strip

Millwall were forced to pull on Sheffield Wednesday’s away kit for their match against the Yorkshire side this weekend – after leaving their kit back in London.

The Lions’ dozy kitman forget to pack the strip as the side travelled north for the clash with Wednesday, only to realise at the last minute.

Steve Lomas’ side, who have been in dreadful form since his appointment, sent out an emergency SOS to Millwall’s training ground, and the club tried to rush the jerseys to Yorkshire before kick-off.

The kit failed to arrive before the match started, meaning Millwall were forced to pull on Wednesday’s yellow away strip from last season.

Di Canio given talked to by police after hotel altercation

Paolo Di Canio and two others involved in a fracas at Sunderland's team hotel the night before their 1-1 draw with Southampton were given a talking to by police.

The fiery Italian was kept up until 2am after he called the police when guests at a wedding reception at the Solent Hotel & Spa, in Whiteley, stopped a lift with him and head coach Fabrizio Piccareta on their way to bed to take pictures.

The three men, described by Di Canio as 'drunk,' were pushed away and then proceeded to verbally abuse the Sunderland boss and his staff and a 20-year-old man from Southampton was left with a cut lip. Police confirmed only three men were spoken to and Di Canio said after the match that two of them had run away.

Bellamy pours bottle of water over referee

Man City consider £9m swoop for Aussie side

Manchester City are considering the possibility of buying out Australian side Western Sydney Wanderers in a deal mooted to be worth £8.7million [$15,000,0000].

The club, owned by Football Federation Australia, was founded in 2012 and won the A-League at the first attempt, with former Crystal Palace defender Tony Popovic managing the side.

The Australian Financial Review report that City, along with one other unnamed Premier League club, are investigating the potential of buying a stake in the Sydney side and are refusing to rule out a complete buy-out.

Australian football's governing body are reportedly keen to move the club into private ownership and have charged investment bank UBS with the responsibility of identifying a buyer before the start of the next A-League season in October.

The firm have put together a 50-page booklet on the recently-founded Wanderers, featuring in-depth information taking in the club's financial situation, commercial partnerships, the playing squad and the coaching staff.

Higuain receives stitches on injured jaw

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has been hospitalised after injuring his jaw on rocks in Capri while on a boating trip, according to reports in Italy.

Higuain is thought to have been relaxing in a boat off the gulf of Naples when he slipped on rocks before hitting his face while in the Marina Piccola.

He was taken to the A&E department of the Capilupi hospital, with Gazzetta dello Sport saying the Argentina international was treated with eight stitches to his jaw area and two to his eyebrow.

Real Madrid erect ‘Galacticos’ presentation stage at bernabeu

Friday, August 23, 2013

AVB header

Wilshere Hijacks His Parents’ BBC Radio Phone-In

Animal rights campaigners appeal to UEFA

Animal rights campaign group PETA has appealed to UEFA president Michel Platini to ban the ritual slaughter of animals in European football.

The call for action follows the killing of a sheep by Kazakh side Shakhter Karagandy before their home Champions League play-off match against Celtic.

On Monday, a day ahead of the Hoops' 2-0 first-leg play-off defeat at the Astana Arena, the animal was sacrificed in the corner of the stadium by the home side before they commenced a training session.

At the pre-match press conference, the Kazakh club's Russian manager Viktor Kumykov acknowledged the 'tradition' but was reluctant to discuss its precise nature. It is understood the same ritual is carried out at the club before all big games.

Shakhter travel to Glasgow to play the second leg next Wednesday night.

In a letter to Platini, PETA points to UEFA's claim to be 'forward-looking' and Platini's own words describing UEFA's 'duty to protect the game, the players and our values' and asks him to use his influence to stop any further slaughter in this season's Champions League and Europa League.

Balotelli kicks team-mate

Arsenal sending letters to angry fans

Arsenal have been responding to fans’ concerns about their lack of signings by sending out letters to reassure them that new players are on the way.

Arsene Wenger has only brought in one so far - young French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer - and several near misses have been well documented.

But as fears grow over their hopes for the season following their opening-day home defeat by Aston Villa, it has emerged the club have responded to each discontented fan with a letter.

The letter, seen by Sportsmail, reads: ‘Many thanks for your email. We understand and share your disappointment that Arsenal Football Club plc have not secured any acquisitions on players for the new season.

‘In terms of our dealings in the transfer market, we can assure you we have been working hard throughout the summer to bring in additional players and this will continue until the end of the transfer window.

‘We are clear that our ambition at Arsenal is to compete for and win trophies. This ambition is shared by our majority owner Stan Kroenke, the board, Arsene Wenger and everyone who works for the Club.

‘I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued and valued support of Arsenal Football Club plc.

‘On Behalf of Arsenal Football Club.’

Arsenal have chased the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez this summer.

Horror tackle - Ukraine v Moldova

Thursday, August 22, 2013

England's forgotten sporting hero


England's first football captain was arguably the greatest sportsman of his - or perhaps any - era.

Cuthbert Ottaway lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket.

His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though.

About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872.

It was reported to have been an exciting match yet, like many an international friendly since, ended in a 0-0 draw.

Farnborough given 14-day deadline

The Football Conference have given Farnborough 14 days to comply with certain conditions before being allowed to start their season.

The Hampshire side had their first two Conference South games of the campaign postponed last Friday after failing to meet the league's criteria.

Boro exited administration last week following a buy-out by a consortium headed by manager Spencer Day.

Until the conditions are met Boro will not be allowed to play any fixtures.

That could see their next three matches, against Maidenhead United, Bath City and Eastbourne Borough, re-arranged.

Farnborough's opening two games were postponed after the Boro FC Ltd consortium, headed by Day and Robert Prince, were not able to meet the Conference's criteria to transfer membership of the league to the new company before a deadline last Friday.

The club were handed with a 14-day deadline at a meeting with representatives of the league in London on Wednesday.

Atletico defender instructs Miranda to target Messi's injured thigh

Barton urges Hodgson to pick Welshman

Striker demands public apology after being called ‘Fat As A Pig’ on live TV

Charleroi striker Harlem Gnohere has sued a Belgian television commentator after he told viewers that the French forward was "fat as a pig" while analyzing the Jupiler Pro League side’s 2-1 defeat against KV Kortrijk last weekend.

Speaking live on air,  Belgacom TV’s Stephane Pauwels claimed that Gnohere was "Fat as a pig," and that "He is 15 kilograms too heavy and going nowhere."

Gnohere - a stocky striker known as "Bison" to the Charleroi fans - wasn’t best pleased with Pauwels’ comments and decided to take legal action against the commentator, seeking a public apology but he also stated that he’d be perfectly willing to drop all the charges if Pauwels agreed to make a charitable donation.

GIF : David Villa volley

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Balotelli walks on water in SI cover

DFB mulls further blood-doping tests

The German Football Association (DFB) will consider the introduction of post-match blood-doping tests, it has confirmed.

After lengthy negotiations, the DFB last week signed an agreement with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to introduce blood-doping tests during training, as had been reported in the media in July.

The agreement will see NADA carry out 500 doping tests, with 85% based on urine samples, as is the current practice. The remainder will be blood-doping tests, totalling 75 across the 36 clubs in Germany’s top two divisions.

However, the DFB was heavily criticised for only introducing tests during training, and for not providing sufficient funding to combat the problem. The governing body’s vice-president, Rainer Koch, has now said further measures are planned.

Guardiola slips into his lederhosen for the first time

World Cup tickets: 1M sold in 7 hours

Fans applied on Tuesday for more than 1 million tickets in just seven hours.

But it will be some time before they know whether they'll be among those lucky enough to get seats to football's signature event. Applicants won't hear back until October, after FIFA holds a random selection draw on all the requests.

More than 163,000 people requested the tickets online in the first seven hours.

At the end of the first day of sales, the website of football's governing body FIFA showed that there were more ticket applications than the number of seats available in all four price categories for 12 of the 64 matches, including the opener in Sao Paulo and the final at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.

Demand was also high in all price categories for the semifinals, and 44 matches had too many requests at least for the cheaper category tickets which are only available for Brazilians.

FIFA said the highest amount of applications so far has come from Brazil, Argentina, the U.S., Chile and England.

Rooney attends David Moyes’ team-building dinner

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was in attendance at a Manchester United team-bonding meal organised by manager David Moyes last night.

Rooney is still being strongly linked with a move to Chelsea before the transfer window closes, but he went along to the function at Deansgate’s Australasia restaurant, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The restaurant put on a four-course tasting meal, including sushi, black cod, beef skewers and honey-glazed duck, for the players and their partners.

But there was no alcohol served and Moyes was reportedly the last person to leave the venue as he kept a close watch to ensure that the event remained a dry one.

Fenerbahce fans swarm outside Arsenal hotel

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SFA charge player with betting against his own team

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) have issued Rangers midfielder Ian Black with a formal notice of complaint after accusing the 28-year-old of betting against his then-registered club on three seperate occasions between March 4th, 2006 and July 28th, 2013.

The former Hearts and Inverness Caledonian Thistle player has also been charged with breaching the SFA’s betting restrictions by betting against his then-registered club, i.e, the club he played for at the time, on 10 further occasions.

In total, the SFA have charged Black with betting on three football matches on then-registered club not to win, betting on a further 10 football matches that involved his then-registered club and betting on a further 147 football matches taking place in competitions in which he was directly involved.

Players booked for celebrating goal with fire helmets

Sunderland suspend Phil Bardsley for laughing at opening day defeat

Player sent off for exposing himself in front of ref

The magic of the FA Cup took a lewd turn during the extra preliminary round on Saturday, when a player was sent off for indecent exposure after being told by the referee to prove he had removed an unlawful pair of cycling shorts.

In a case which left FA historians scratching their heads for precedent, Louis Blake of Croydon Athletic was shown a red card for producing the kind of tackle nobody wants to see on the football field.

His side were already 5-2 down to Colliers Wood when he was given his marching orders, so hardly a decisive factor in the eventual 6-2 defeat, but it angered manager Antony Williams and led to him being sent off too.

Blake had arrived as a substitute midway through the second half wearing black cycling lycra rolled up underneath Croydon’s maroon shorts.

But when they began to fall down the referee noticed and ordered their removal as the colour clash was not allowed.

The player obliged by the touchline but when attempting to return minutes later, the referee asked for proof.

Perhaps irritated by the suggestion, Blake showed a bit too much flesh.

City stars go green in tribute to late Trautmann

Manchester City paid tribute to their former goalkeeper Bert Trautmann during their Premier League clash against Newcastle on Monday night.

Manuel Pellegrini's team wore green jerseys with Trautmann's name on the back for their warm-up and then took part in a minute's applause prior to kick-off.

The programme for Monday night's clash also contained a 16-page supplement as well as a copy of the 1956 FA Cup final.

Trautmann, who made 545 appearances for City between 1949 and 1964, died at the age of 89 in July.

The German became a club hero when he continued to play during the 1956 FA Cup final, despite breaking his neck in a challenge with Birmingham City striker Peter Murphy.

The shirts worn by the players for their warm-up will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Trautmann foundation.

Lazio fans to be punished for alleged racist chanting

The north stand of the Stadio Olimpico will be closed to supporters for the first game of the Serie A season after Lazio fans allegedly directed racist abuse at Juventus players during the Italian Supercoppa, the Lega Serie A has confirmed.

Supporters will be unable to access the area of the stadium typically populated by Lazio’s keenest followers for Sunday’s visit of Udinese after the Lega took issue with chants directed at Paul Pogba, Angelo Ogbonna and Kwadwo Asamoah during the capital club’s 4-0 loss to Juventus at the weekend.

A statement published on the league’s official website read: '(Lazio) are obliged to dispute a game with the ‘Curva Nord’ closed to spectators because fans from the nominated stand directed racially discriminatory chants to three opposition players between the 16th and 28th minutes of the first half and the 20th to 43rd minutes of the second half.'

Monday, August 19, 2013

Maradona hired as 'motivational manager' by Argentine amateur club

Argentine lower league side Deportivo Riestra have taken on Diego Maradona as a "motivational manager" -- a job he plans to do part time while continuing his work as a sports ambassador out in Dubai.

Riestra play in the regional fifth (and bottom) tier of the Argentine football league, specifically in the Buenos Aires-based "Primera D" division.

Maradona reportedly flew back to his homeland earlier this week to pay a visit to the Riestra camp earlier this week, dropping in on a training session and imparting a few choice motivational pearls as well as handing over a signed shirt with the message "Hang on in there Riestra, damn it. Stop messing about and win promotion!" daubed across the front in marker pen.

Newcastle United’s gated wall

GIF: Sagna's horrible landing

Fans cover Balotelli’s ferrari in toilet paper

A group of angry Milan fans covered Mario Balotelli’s Ferrari in toilet paper last week after being refused an autograph by the Rossoneri striker.

Apparently Balotelli arrived in the Swiss town of Lugano on Thursday evening, parked up and then snubbed requests from a group of fans to sign autographs or have his picture taken with them.

Serie B club offer free season tickets to unemployed fans

After clocking up the second lowest average attendance in Italy’s top flight last season, Pescara have come up with a canny way on coaxing their fans back to the Stadio Adriatico following their relegation to Serie B by giving free 2013/14 season tickets to unemployed fans.

Pescara general manager, Danilo Iannascoli, told the club’s website:

"We’re delighted to have made it possible, thanks also to the precious help of the Province, to distribute almost one thousand season tickets to people in difficulty.

"We always want to get closer to our fans and to their demands and give a hand to those who are less fortunate but who, with lots of passion, want to follow our colours."

The club have worked in conjuction with the city’s council and employment office to produce the scheme (the first of its kind in Italian football), with the president of the province of the Province of Pescara, Guerino Testa, saying that he was proud of the inititative as it gives those people who are out of work 90 minutes of enjoyment at the stadium.

Manchester United line-up gaffe

Pellegrini and Moyes pizzas

An enterprising production artist has taken her love of football up a degree, by recreating the faces of two club managers onto pizzas.

Twenty-eight-year-old Manchester City fan Lucy Whitaker initially created the club’s manager Manuel Pellegrini, but in the spirit of diplomacy decided to also create a version for United manager David Moyes.

Whitaker’s creative idea came about after overhearing a manager at an east Manchester Asda talk to a colleague about making City and United Pizzas, then deciding that she, too, wanted a slice of the action.

Taylor accuses car valet of boot theft

Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor has accused a car valet of stealing his boots and selling them on eBay.

Lee Donnelly, 35, was cautioned by police after a holdall of cherished memorabilia was stolen from Taylor’s garage.

The 35-year-old, who runs LJD Valet, has worked for a host of Toon stars and made national news in January when he claimed Demba Ba owed him £40 for work he had done.

Among the stolen haul were the boots Taylor wore when he scored the winner during Newcastle’s 1-0 derby win over Sunderland in 2011 and the boots he wore when he scored for Newcastle in a 2009 Sir Bobby Robson tribute match against Ipswich.

He has since been reunited with his derby-day boots.

Ronaldo nearly boots himself in the face

Di Canio bans players from eating ketchup and mayonnaise

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has drawn up a recipe for success at the Stadium of Light this season - but ketchup, mayonnaise and ice are off the menu for the players.

Di Canio, who took charge of the Black Cats last season and helped them avoid relegation, has spent much of the summer changing almost everything at the club.

As well as ten new signings, the Italian coach has overhauled training and the diet of the players, and has even given his stars a list of things they can and cannot eat.

Top of the list is saucy favourites ketchup and mayonnaise, while having a cheeky ice cube in your drink has also been ruled out.

Di Canio explains that the changes are all about making sure Sunderland enjoy a successful campaign.

Friday, August 16, 2013

One man’s hatred of Man Utd lives on from beyond the grave

Kuyt shows off shiner from De Guzman clash

Property website offers Rooney help on a move

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Footballer tackles the wrong player

Guardiola announced as the official ambassador for Adidas

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has been officially announced as an ambassador for Adidas.

The former Barcelona manager will be the face of this season’s Adidas UEFA Champions League campaign, Gamedayplus.

Strange perspective

Derby County name stand after longest-serving member of staff

Derby County have decided to name a stand after their longest-serving member of staff, 82-year-old kitman Gordon Guthrie MBE, who has worked at the club for over six decades since starting there, initially as a reserve team player, back in 1968.

Derby manager Nigel Clough told BBC Radio Derby: "It is lovely that after all these years that he is recognised like this."

Guthrie, who is currently recovering from illness, is set to have the south west corner stand of Pride Park renamed in his honour, though the actual title of the stand is yet to be announced.

GIF : Rickie Lambert scores with first touch in international football

Moyes forced to watch 'injured' Rooney start for England

David Moyes watched Wayne Rooney, who had been deemed injured and therefore unfit to play in any of Manchester United's pre-season games, start for England from ITV's Wembley studio.

Manchester United's new manager was a pundit for England's clash with Scotland at Wembley on Wednesday night and was asked about Rooney.

The 27-year-old striker missed the Community Shield match on Sunday against Wigan allegedly through injury, but Roy Hodgson pronounced him fit for England just 24 hours later.

The cost of a goal

Scotland fans invade London

Beattie pays Accrington's tax bill

James Beattie has paid Accrington Stanley’s tax bill out of his own pocket to save the League Two club from a transfer embargo.

Accrington have promised to pay Beattie back after he offered to foot the bill which is believed to run into tens of thousands of pounds.

The former England striker took over at the Crown Ground in May.

The FA would have hit Accrington with an embargo if they had failed to pay their debts, but Beattie was able to complete the signing of former Rangers forward Kal Naismith in time for last weekend’s televised game against Portsmouth.

The 35-year-old former Southampton striker, who cost a total of £15million in transfer fees during his career, admitted to cleaning the toilets before Accrington played his old club Everton in a pre-season friendly earlier this month.

Jennifer Aniston becomes a Watford fan

French football sees red over Monaco tax breaks

Being based in the tax haven of Monte Carlo, they are able to offer overseas stars - such as Colombian striker Falcao, a £51m summer signing from Atletico Madrid - massive tax-free salaries, something their 19 French-based league rivals are unable to do.

"The advantage is huge in being able to convince huge players like Falcao to move to the club," says French journalist Cyrille Haddouche of Le Figaro newspaper, who has been watching events closely.

He points out that while these tax rules have always been in place, what is different now is that their effects are being multiplied by "the huge wealth of the Russian owner".

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sky Sports reporter falls over live on air

Jerome fined £50,000 and severely warned over betting on football

Stoke striker Cameron Jerome has been fined £50,000, subject to appeal, and severely warned over future conduct, after admitting breaches of FA betting rules.

The 27-year-old was also warned as to his future conduct after admitting repeat breaches of the regulations. He has the right to appeal against the sanction.

A statement on the FA's website read: 'Stoke City's Cameron Jerome has been fined £50,000, subject to any appeal, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.

Ronaldinho has dental surgery

In a recent interview with French football magazine So Foot, the former Barcelona trickster explained he had no intention of having cosmetic dental surgery as his smile has made him recognisable to millions and is a part of who he is.

However, according to recent reports, it appears the 33-year-old had second thoughts and has undergone surgery to have his teeth straightened and realigned.

It's believed a Brazilian surgeon spent less than an hour carrying out the procedure, with the operation involving the insertion of porcelain veneers and surgery on the gums.

Brazilian newspaper O Globo say the two-time FIFA world player of the year had the work done on Tuesday in the city of Belo Horizonte and trained with his Atletico Mineiro team-mates soon after.

GIF : Scottish U21 ‘keeper miskicks against England

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Farnborough team change names

Following a sponsorship deal with bookmakers Paddy Power, the Farnborough squad and their coaching staff have legally changed their names to that of a legendary footballer in their respective positions.

Goalkeeper Kevin Scriven will line up in the sticks as legendary England stopper Gordon Banks, striker Daniel Bennett becomes Lionel Messi while Spencer Day, the club's manager, will adopt Mourinho's identity.

'Over the summer it looked touch and go whether we’d even start the season, but now we’ve got by far the greatest team the world has ever seen,' said Day, now known as Farnborough's 'Special One'.

'Although it’s not all good news, Pele and Maradona have almost come to blows over who gets to wear the No 10,' he added.

Ranger chooses £5,000 fine over community service

Troubled striker Nile Ranger has agreed to pay a £5,000 fine instead of doing community service because he is too busy finding a new club.

The former Newcastle United man, 22, was ordered to complete 120 hours of community service and nine months supervision by Newcastle Magistrates after admitting common assault in April.

Ranger - who was released by Newcastle in March and is now earning just £30 a day - said he keeps missing probation meetings because he is touring the country meeting football chiefs and agents.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Alvaro Dominguez gives away 2 penalties in 40 seconds

Balotelli unveils new statue

Zidane and Ancelotti keep-ups

World map represents every Premier League player

Time-wasting Peruvian keeper

Valencia ditches no.7 shirt

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dyke calls for Qatar World Cup to be moved to winter

New FA chairman Greg Dyke piled the pressure on FIFA on Friday night by demanding a winter World Cup in Qatar.

Dyke insists the heat in Middle East in the summer is oppressive for the players and claims the supporters will refuse to travel to the tournament in 2022.

His views are on direct opposition to the Barclays Premier League who are demanding that the World Cup takes place in the summer.

The FA chairman, who has replaced David Bernstein in the chair, said: ‘I don’t know how many people have been to Qatar in June but I have and you can’t play a football tournament there even if all the stadiums had air-conditioning, never mind the "green" factor.

‘For the fans it would be impossible to just go out and wander around so my position and I suspect that of the FA is you can’t play it in the summer.

‘FIFA therefore has two choices. They can either move the time of the event or they can move the location.’

High temperatures in June and July in Qatar are around 40 degrees compared to 25-30 degrees between November and March.

Barcelona show off passing in training video

Carroll sued for £200k

West Ham star Andy Carroll is being sued for almost £200,000 over claims that he wrecked his luxury former home.

The 24-year-old striker is said to have left drinks stains on chairs and the ceiling, removed expensive hi-fi equipment and furniture - including treadmills, sofas and a grandfather clock - and caused the 12-metre swimming pool to be infested with algae.

Other damaged items allegedly include a barbecue, a garden lounger and an air hockey table.

Landlords Jeff and Dawn Grant also claim that Carroll owes £68,000 in unpaid rent for the five-bed mansion in Blundellsands, Merseyside.

Carroll lived at the house - in an area popular with Premier League stars - while at former club Liverpool.

Court papers served this week revealed he is being sued for £75,000 for the 'unlawful removal of furniture" and £48,000 for the 'clean-up and repair operation'.

Including the rent, that's a total of £191,000.

Among the areas of the £2m mansion worst affected are said to be the marble-tiled dining room, which leads on to the pool complex and Jacuzzi and contained a considerable amount of antique furniture.

It's claimed that chairs needed to be re-upholstered and mirrors replaced, while smashed glass was found in the swimming pool area.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Macclesfield Town fan pays £10k to play for club, limps off injured after ten mins

The £10k "fan package" offer was quickly snapped up by local businessman James Gorfin, a lifelong Macclesfield fan - though, sadly for him, his dream of playing for his beloved team was over almost as soon as it began.

Having come on as an impact sub in the second half, Gorfin managed a full ten minutes of action before over-stretching to reach a cross into the box and pulling his groin.

He then limped off the field in agony as his wife and two kids applauded him down the tunnel.

Liverpool fan uses duct tape to change shirt from Suarez to Coutinho

Dutch club offer car wash by bikini-clad beauties for man of the match

Eredivise side NEC Nijmegen have offered a novel incentive to get their players up for it next season.

Rather than the usual cash bonus or bottle of champagne, the Dutch club have employed three bikini-clad blonde bombshells to offer a special car wash service to the winner of the man of the match award.

And the first recipient, Victor Palsson, was happy with the result: 'Thanks @NEC_Nijmegen for this MOTM prize after the game vs. Osasuna. The car has never been cleaner'.

Manager dislocates shoulder while giving orders

Balotelli introduces fans to his new pet... 'Super' pig

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Dempsey to be paid more than Beckham

Clint Dempsey's deal with the Seattle Sounders means he will be paid MORE than David Beckham was at LA Galaxy.

He signed a three-and-a-half year deal with an $8million (£5.2m) base salary a year, which also allows him to go on loan during the MLS off-season.

Beckham's base salary was $5.5m (£3.5m) when he signed with LA Galaxy, and later took a pay cut which put him on 'only' $3m (£1.95m) a year.

FK Partizan ultra confiscates captain's armband

Bradford City mascot with diabetes out after 19 years for not being 'portly' enough

After 19 years the man behind Bradford City's "City Gent" mascot is being forced to step down by the League Two club after diabetes caused him to lose too much weight to portray the supposedly portly character to the satisfaction of club officials.

Lifelong Bantams fan Lenny Berry, 59, has been responsible for revving up the crowd as "City Gent" at Bradford games since 1994. Former chairman Geoffrey Richmond spotted him working in the players' bar at the club's ground and deemed him to have the perfect physique for the role -- offering him the job there and then.

But after diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, Lenny has shed over seven stones (almost 100 pounds) and is now a slip of the man he once was. Bradford wrote him a letter, voicing concerns "his appearance no longer matches the original concept" of the rotund City Gent.

Wayne Rooney is a test-tube burger

Chelsea to complete lap of the earth

Chelsea's jet-setting squad will have circumnavigated planet Earth by the time their season starts against Hull on August 18.

Jose Mourinho’s squad will on Wednesday make the 1,848 mile round-trip from their Washington DC base to Miami for the Guinness International Champions Cup Final against Real Madrid during the early hours of Thursday morning.

In total, the Blues will have clocked up a mammoth 24,622 air miles - just short of the world’s circumference, which is commonly identified as 24,901 miles.

Their time spent in the air has been increased by the decision to set up a permanent base in Washington DC for the duration of their trip to the States.

Rather than flying directly to the destination of their next fixture, Chelsea have flown back to DC after matches.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Private Eye sums up the Rooney transfer speculation

Aguero offers to buy five new players for former club

Having watched his former side's plight from afar, it's being reported that former Independiente prodigy Sergio Aguero recently offered to lend a hand by proposing that he buy the club five shiny new players (and pay their wages) in a bid to pad the paper-thin squad out.

However, the Manchester City man was apparently given nothing but short shrift by the team he originally signed for as a nine-year-old back in 1997.

Speaking at an Independiente fans' forum, the City striker's father, Leonel Aguero, revealed that his son had offered to stump up the cash to bring a quintet of new faces into the club, but that he never received a reply from anyone connected to la Rojo.

Brazilian defender's clearance into lineswoman’s face

Futsal El Clasico

Coventry fans to snub first match

Coventry City fans are expected to vote with their feet this Sunday by watching a legends match at the Ricoh Arena rather than making the 35-mile trip to watch the first team play at Northampton.

A team of club legends is set to play a Midlands All Stars XI in aid of Cancer Research and Acorn's Children's Hospice at the Ricoh  at 2pm, while the League One match with Bristol City at Sixfields starts at 3pm.

Thousands are expected to attend the fundraiser at Coventry's rightful ground, while just a few hundred are likely to travel down the M1 to their temporary 'home'.

The charity match, which will see Sky Blues legends take on former players from Aston Villa, Wolves and other Midlands clubs, had been arranged before Coventry were turfed out of their stadium.

It was organised to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the club by the Coventry City Former Players Association.

With Northampton at home to Newport County in a League Two fixture on Saturday, Coventry were forced to move their first 'home' game of the season back 24 hours, causing the clash.

Monday, August 05, 2013

An American coach in London

Friday, August 02, 2013

GIF : Juan Mata is the world’s worst ten-pin bowler

Rivals share a subway train

NBC paid $250million [£165m] for US broadcasting rights to the English top fight and have launched a huge marketing campaign to make sure New Yorkers get the message.

Posters of Tottenham’s Gareth Bale have been seen flying high above Times Square and now the network have added a little rivalry underground to help stir the emotions.

New York subway trains have been kitted out in Manchester United red and Manchester City blue, while seats have been decked out in the colours of north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.

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