Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mexico '86 chant

One Gary Stevens replaced another England right-back in Mexico '86.

The chant from the England fans was ...

'There's only two Gary Stevens'.

Most moves without a transfer fee

Sulzeer Jeremiah Campbell played for five clubs - Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal (twice), Portsmouth, Notts County and Newcastle United - without ever commanding a fee."

In a career spanning almost two decades, Campbell played more than 500 club games in English football without ever having had a price tag.

Premiership goals scored by time period

Cardiff City's new head of recruitment has wrong visa

Alisher Apsalyamov has been removed from his post as Cardiff City head of recruitment just weeks after he took up the role.

Cardiff City shocked fans last month when they sacked their head of recruitment Iain Moody in favour of a 23-year-old Kazakh who had been painting the walls of the stadium during the summer.

Alisher Apsalyamov is good friends with Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan's son, and was put in charge of bringing new players into Cardiff City.

But WalesOnline have exclusively revealed that Apsalyamov's visa only covers him to work in the UK on the basis of a 12-month internship, and that the club is working with the Home Office to ensure the youngster can stay in the country.

Though in the latest twist in an embarrassing saga for the Bluebirds, Apsalyamov has been removed from his post until the correct visa is procured.

The news comes ahead of the first South Wales derby in Premier League history this weekend between Cardiff City and Swansea City, a match steeped in bitter history.

Iain Moody's sacking was the catalyst for a number of meetings between the club's directors and manager Malky Mackay, with owner Vincent Tan reportedly unhappy at the amount of money spent during the summer transfer window.

Tan has since given Malky Mackay his backing, and the club are also confident that they will be able to resolve issues with Alisher Apsalyamov's visa.

Iain Moody has since been linked with a move to Derby County, where he could take up a role as technical director.

Sacked on holiday

Chippenham boss Steve Winter has been sacked on his 40th birthday - while on a surprise celebratory holiday.

Winter received the bad news after his side were beaten 9-0 at home to Stourbridge with the club languishing fourth from bottom in the Southern League Premier Division.

He had only been in the job six weeks after stepping up from assistant following Nathan Rudge's exit just two games into the season.

Winter's wife arranged with the club for him to have time off during the season only for the Bluebirds to suffer a humiliating defeat.

Chippenham chairman Neil Blackmore told the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: 'The club has been absolutely slaughtered online and in the media after the 9-0 drubbing - and rightly so - and we as a club had to be seen to be doing something about it. That's why we decided to relieve Steve and Adam of their duties with immediate effect.'

Blackmore added on BBC Wiltshire: 'I spoke to Steve last night so he was aware of what went on at the game and what happened (at a board meeting). He was a complete gentleman as I expected him to be.

'He said he understood where I was coming from and what the board had to do. He's accepted the decision.

'We felt we had to do what was right for the club but it was made so much harder because I really do like Steve.'

GIF : Don't mess with the hair

Arshavin says Arsenal's fans are too quiet

Andrey Arshavin believes Arsenal's fans are too quiet - and said playing at the Emirates was like a visit to the theatre.

The Russian midfielder, who quit the Gunners after four years at the end of last season, also claimed the atmosphere at the ground was so bad there was "no advantage" in playing at home.

Arshavin, 32, now back at Zenit St Petersburg, told The Sun: "It felt like the crowd was at the theatre - good seats, expensive tickets and they wanted to see a show, not to support the team.

"It was like there was no advantage in playing at home.

"Many of the players - the leaders that were left from the club's time at Highbury - often complained that the atmosphere in the stands was so bad."

Best substitution ever

GIF : Essien shanks a shot

Italian giants could land Blackpool ace for just £155,000

Blackpool could lose Thomas Ince for as little as £155,000 as he considers a move abroad.

The 21-year-old winger, rated at £8million, is a free agent in the summer but Blackpool can still expect considerable compensation should he move to another English club.

However, Ince is free to talk to foreign clubs in January and is attracting interest from Ajax and Inter Milan, one of his father Paul’s former sides.

Ince, who has scored six goals for his club this season to follow up his 18 last term, is warming to the idea of such a move to improve his education in the game but that would deliver a crushing blow to Blackpool’s finances.

FIFA regulations state any ‘cross-border’ transfer for a player of Ince’s age will result in compensation of around only  £155,000.

Liverpool are due 35 per cent of any transfer fee under the agreement in place when they allowed Ince to join Blackpool three years ago but that clause does not apply to compensation.

Vinnie Jones carved on a pumpkin

Cardiff police on red alert for Welsh derby

Swansea fans will be bussed to the Cardiff City Stadium ahead of Sunday’s South Wales derby, while British Transport Police wearing body cameras will patrol trains and stations as security measures are increased ahead of the Welsh clubs’ first Premier League meeting.

Transport police will man every stop between Carmarthen and Cardiff and use the cameras to film supporters at locations where there is no CCTV in place.

Plain-clothed and uniformed officers will also travel on train services between Swansea and Cardiff to record and monitor any clashes between rival fans.

Swansea supporters will leave the Liberty Stadium at 12.30pm on free buses provided by the club and will travel to Cardiff under police protection.

The away fans will not be able to receive their match tickets unless they take advantage of this service.

Crystal Palace player to pay fines by direct debit

A Crystal Palace player was apparently so determined to continue his persistent breaking of club rules that he asked to pay his fines by direct debit.

The Eagles star took exception to a ban on using his mobile phone in the treatment room.

Having being hit with another £50 fine for breaking the rule, the player is said to have touted the idea of a direct debit payment for his fines.

When former manager Ian Holloway was told about the situation, he approved the idea and allow the direct debit system to start.

Giggs and Neville open football-themed restaurant

Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are opening a restaurant with a football-themed menu.

The former Manchester United team-mates are launching Cafe Football in London’s Westfield Stratford shopping centre in December.

The menu is said to be "inspired by the game". It includes the Café Football burger and a gourmet chicken and mushroom "pot noodle".

For dessert, you can choose from Half-time Orange (parfait and cream with orange cocoa butter and green marzipan, giving the appearance of a real citrus fruit), Pistachio Turf (pistachio sponge and chocolate in the form of a football pitch), and Melting Chocolate Football.

Giggs and Neville have teamed up with two-Michelin-starred Michael Wignall and executive chef Brendan Fyldes for the project.

Giggs said: "The food at Café Football will be a unique take on all of the traditional matchday favourites. We want it to be the place where guests can enjoy themselves while eating classic football dishes with a modern twist. There is a real sense of community within fans and we want that fun atmosphere to spread to Café Football - it will be a place that reflects the spirit of fans coming together after a match."

Neville added: "Opening a restaurant is a huge step away from our lives on the pitch, but we are going to apply the same levels of enthusiasm and passion to try and make Café Football a success.

"We have a team of industry experts working with us, whose knowledge and skillset will make sure every element is a fun experience."

Maradona blasts Aguero after split from his daughter

A furious Diego Maradona has labelled Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero ‘a wimp’ on the day the controversial ‘Hand of God’ forward turned 53.

Aguero was married to Giannina, Maradona’s daughter, for four years and has a son, Benjamin, with her, but the two split earlier this year.

However it seems that his former father-in-law is in no mood to forgive him.

'He’s a wimp, who I don’t even want to name," Maradona told Argentine radio.

The legendary World Cup winner pulled no punches in his explosive radio rant, vowing to stand by his daughter’s side in any potential future legal battles.

'In my daughter’s next meeting with a lawyer, I want to be by her side. We’ll see who can talk,' he said.

'The next time I want to be there to see if he (Aguero) says anything.'

Statue of Zidane headbutt pulled down

A statue immortalising Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in the World Cup final has been shown the red card by locals in Qatar.

The bronze artwork - capturing the moment the France star was sent off for his assault on Italy’s Marco Materazzi - was only unveiled in the host country of the 2022 tournament earlier this month.

But now it has been removed having triggered an angry reaction on social media.

According to reports, statues of human beings are prohibited under Islamic law to avoid the possibility of idolisation.

Van Persie is the Countdown conundrum

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beckham wanted Fergie as manager

CSKA hit with stadium closure penalty

UEFA has imposed a partial stadium closure on CSKA Moscow following the racist behaviour of their fans against Manchester City.

The Russian club were charged after apparent monkey noises were aimed at City midfielder Yaya Toure during last week's Champions League game between the two clubs at the Arena Khimki.

The sanction will apply to CSKA's next home match in the competition, against Bayern Munich on November 27.

Burnley mascot escapes punishment

Bertie Bee has escaped punishment after the Football League decided not to pursue any action against the Burnley mascot for being sent off during the Championship clash against QPR.

League officials have spoken to the club to reiterate the boundaries of acceptable behaviour as far as mascots are concerned.

Bertie had the crowd in stitches with his cheeky gesture just 15 minutes into Saturday's 2-0 win as he attempted to hand a pair of glasses to the linesman.

However, the referee failed to see the funny side and sent him to the stands.

Toure joins UN campaign to save elephants

Yaya Toure has joined a UN campaign against poaching, warning the slaughter of elephants threatens their existence.

Mr Toure said there were only 800 of the "magnificent creatures" left in his country, Ivory Coast, whose national team is known as "The Elephants".

He has been appointed a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years, fuelled by Asian demand.

Elephant tusks are used to make ornaments and rhino horns for traditional medicine.

"Poaching threatens the very existence of the African elephant and if we do not act now, we could be looking at a future in which this iconic species is wiped out," the Ivorian footballer said at a press conference in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

"Ivory Coast's national team is named 'The Elephants' after these magnificent creatures that are so full of power and grace, yet in my country alone there may be as few as 800 individuals left," he added.

Ferguson autobiography breaks record

Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography has become the UK's quickest-selling non-fiction book since records began in 1998, shifting 115,547 in its first few days of sale.

According to The Bookseller, the former Manchester United boss 's book pips previous record holder Delia Smith, whose 1999 cooking book sold 112,000 copies in its first week.

And his tome also beats the autobiography of friend and former prime minister Tony Blair, whose memoirs - published in 2010 - shifted 92,000 copies in its first week.

Indeed, figures reveal an enormous £1.4million was spent on Fergie's book last week out of £30.7million in total book spending in the UK across that time - around five pence in every pound.

It's another success for the 71-year-old who is currently on a theatre tour to discuss his career and 27 years in charge at Old Trafford.

Liverpool announce academy in China

Liverpool have launched a full-time football academy in China with the creation of the Guilin International Football Academy.

The Reds have linked up with Guilin Kingsborn to operate a purpose-built complex featuring full-size pitches, practice areas, classrooms, changing rooms, lecture theatres and medical facilities.

The academy, set in Guilin City and based in the Guangxi Zhuang region of southern China, is the second such international academy opened in Asia by the club, having announced a similar set-up in India recently.

Coaches from Liverpool will work within the frameworks of the project, looking to recruit and train local coaches as the club looks to improve football standards within the region and also looking to develop young players.

Moyes photobombs fan's picture

Ex-player's head sent to wife

A former Brazilian footballer was killed and his decapitated head delivered to his widow by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night.

Joao Rodrigo Silva Santo, 35, who played for Bangu, Olimpia, Nacional and Swedish club Oster during his career, was kidnapped after leaving the local food store he owned in the district of Realengo.

The next morning, his wife, an officer with Rio's Police Pacification Units (UPPS), found his backpack containing his severed head outside their house, with G1 Globo website reporting his eyes and tongue had been cut out.

"He was a good family man. He lived for football and played until recently," Bruno Santos, a friend of the victim told the site.  "He had no enemies."

The UPPS has been cracking down on Rio’s drug gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Earlier this month, over 1,000 police stormed some of Rio’s poorest favelas in a bid to regain control back from the gangs.

Howard credits penalty save to his beard

Everton and US goalkeeper Tim Howard has paid tribute to his beard following the club's 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Blues scored two second half goals at Villa Park, with Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman finding the net but they could have been behind had it not been for Howard's first-half heroics.

The American stopper denied Christian Benteke from the penalty spot with a fine save before keeping out Andy Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

And Howard told Everton's official website how his facial hair had a part to play in the penalty save, before offering a more serious account.

He joked: "I think I've gained most of my strength from the beard."

"If I'm honest it was lucky. I thought Benteke would go to the right. He is a very powerful boy and for a right-footer, that's his power side.

"I didn't get it quite right as he went high but I got a little bit of luck, reacted and kept it out."

Arsenal ‘to warn’ Emmanuel Frimpong after racism row

Arsenal plan to remind Emmanuel Frimpong of his ‘responsibilities when using social media’.

The Gunners midfielder sparked a racism row after appearing to suggest that he had been left out of the squad to face Chelsea in last night’s Capital One Cup tie because of the colour of his skin.

Asked why he wasn’t named in the squad, he replied: "LOL I wanna laugh."

He then wrote: "Sometimes I wish I was white and English."

While he later denied that he was still referring to his non-selection, the Standard plans to warn the Ghana international about his conduct.

However, it is not believed any disciplinary action will be taken against the youngster.

Manager Arsene Wenger had previously told the club’s website that Frimpong would not feature because "he is still short of competition".

Veracruz build giant ‘Shark Mouth’ entrance to stadium

Leeds don't even have a scout

Once upon a time they were the champions of England - on three occasions no less - Champions League semi-finalists and even set a new British transfer record when they splashed out £18million on a defender.

Today, Leeds United don’t even have a scout.

Their regression has, of course, been well documented but the revelation of manager Brian McDermott that the club do not boast a single talent-spotter will surely arrive as a shock to supporters

McDermott has been in his post since April but, only now, is he able to lay down plans for the implementation of a scouting network.

Speaking on Sky’s Footballers’ Football Show, a clearly frustrated McDermott, when pressed on the importance of scouting, said: ‘That’s an interesting subject at Leeds, because we certainty need to improve what we’ve got.

‘I wouldn’t say we have a scouting structure per se. We are just in the process of getting a scout, a chief scout, who is going to put together a scouting programme, which I’ll do with him.

Liverpool sign Miss World to front LFC TV

Former Miss World Rosanna Davison has been signed up as a presenter for Liverpool's official television channel, LFC TV.

The 29-year-old model, the daughter of Lady in Red singer Chris de Burgh, is a popular figure in Ireland but her job for Liverpool is her first in broadcasting outside of her home country.

Davison has already shot two 30-minute programmes for Liverpool, to document the club's greatest-ever Irish and international, players. Both are expected to air in 2013.

United official betting partner offer bet for Fergie to return

Manchester United’s own sponsors have caused some angst within Old Trafford by offering a betting market on Sir Alex Ferguson returning as manager by the start of next season.

Online firm bwin, who are the champions' official gaming and betting partner, are quoting odds of 11-2 on Fergie’s return ‘given United’s slower than usual start to the Premier League’.

United insiders have described bwin’s PR promotion as ‘crass and totally inappropriate’, though a club spokesman said: ‘Bwin are our partners rather than a subsidiary company and we have no influence on their markets.

'But Sir Alex has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions recently that he has no intention of coming back into football management.’

A bwin PR spokesman said: ‘You never know what is going to happen in football. We have a selection of Ferguson betting opportunities  following his book release.’

Bwin are in the second season of a wide-ranging, three-year agreement with United that was launched by Ferguson in August 2012.

England women's football team to-do list

Mourinho gets Ozil's shirt

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rooney's birthday cake

Germany eye Dortmund boss

Jurgen Klopp has moved even further out of reach for his Barclays Premier League admirers after emerging as Germany’s top choice to succeed Joachim Low as national coach.

The German Federation appeared to give Low a resounding vote of confidence last week, when they announced they had reached agreement with him for a new contract until 2016.

But they are already looking ahead and have pencilled in in-demand Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp as their next manager.

Low’s new deal expire at exactly the same time as Klopp’s, it also contains exit clauses that could curtail his reign, should he fail to meet the Federations’s expectations.

Low admitted as much, as he looked forward to next summer’s World Cup, and said: 'I welcome the new agreement, but I know the reality. If I don’t at least get us through the group stage in Brazil, I won’t be able to carry on.'

Should the worst happen next summer, Dortmund will fight tooth and nail to keep Klopp from the Federation's clutches.

But while they were always confident he would resist overtures from Premier League clubs, they accept that managing his country would be a different proposition and that he is likely to take over from Low in 2016, when he becomes a free agent.

Jones is demoted after wrongly ruling out Fer's unsporting 'goal'

Mike Jones has been taken off Premier League refereeing duties this weekend after ruling out Leroy Fer’s ‘goal’ against Cardiff.

Jones will instead be fourth official for the top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal and Liverpool.

Jones was criticised for appearing to contravene the laws of the game.

Pictures showed Jones signalling with his arm for Norwich to take a throw-in that came when Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall rolled the ball out after injury to Alex Tettey.

But when Fer hit the ball into an empty net, sparking angry scenes between the teams, Jones claimed he had not indicated for play  to recommence and insisted the throw be retaken.

Townsend tweets apology to cameraman

Watford goal disallowed

Ronaldo hits back at Blatter

Cristiano Ronaldo has bitten back at Sepp Blatter with a remarkable sarcastic post on Facebook after the FIFA president impersonated the Real Madrid star in a speech to the Oxford Students Union.

During a discussion in which Blatter said he preferred Lionel Messi, the FIFA president got out of his chair to do an impersonation of Ronaldo. Blatter also seems to have a dig at the Madrid forward, saying that 'one has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other'.

But Ronaldo said on his Facebook page: 'This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that FIFA has for me, for my club and my country.

'Much is explained now. I wish Mr. Blatter health and a long life, with the certainty that he will continue to witness, as he deserves, the successes of his favourite teams and players.'

Frimpong sparks race tweet row

Emmanuel Frimpong has suggested that the reason he isn't in Arsenal's squad to play Chelsea in the Capital One Cup is because of his race.

When asked on Twitter why he hadn't been picked for Tuesday's match, Frimpong replied: 'Lol I wanna laugh.

'Sometimes I wish I was white and English #realtalk.'

He swiftly deleted his remark and added ‘not every tweet is football related’ but some fans responded by suggesting his career at the club may be over.

Later the 21-year-old added: 'Look what ever you read tomorrow has majorly been twisted. Is a joke what people will do to start controversy goodnight people.'

Ferguson event sells out in four minutes

After the book came Sir Alex Ferguson ‘live in conversation’ on Monday night, the former Manchester United manager making the first of five stops around the UK and Ireland.

It was, as you would imagine, a far from hostile audience that awaited him, with the 1,700 people at the Lowry Theatre in Salford paying upwards of £40 each for 75 minutes of Fergie and a signed copy of his new autobiography.

It sold out in four minutes. ‘Faster than Morrissey,’ declared BBC presenter Dan Walker, who joined  him on stage to ask the questions.

Pellegrini told to join golf club waiting list

Keen golfer Pellegrini, who is said to check out local golf courses as one of his first moves on changing clubs, wants to join the exclusive nine-hole Hale club close to where he’s planning to set up home outside Manchester.

And the Chilean, who has enjoyed rounds as a guest at Hale, was expecting to receive membership straight away due to his high position in football, especially as the joining fee of £1,245 and annual subscription of £925 is hardly an issue.

But Pellegrini was told that he would have to join the waiting list, just as everybody else, before being considered for membership.

A City spokeswoman said Pellegrini wanted to show his wife Carmen, who also plays golf, the Hale set-up before committing to joining.

GIF : Leroy Fer’s cheeky disallowed goal

Real Madrid demand Blatter apology

Real Madrid have written to FIFA asking Sepp Blatter to apologise for comments he made about Cristiano Ronaldo in a speech to the Oxford Students Union.

During a discussion in which Blatter said he preferred Lionel Messi, the FIFA president got out of his chair to do an impersonation of Ronaldo.

Blatter also seems to have a dig at the Madrid forward, saying that 'one has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other'.

In his press conference ahead of Wednesday's game against Sevilla, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said: 'The president [Florentino Perez] has sent a letter to Fifa asking Blatter to rectify his comments that showed a lack of respect to Cristiano.'

Tiote admits fake licence

Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote admitted buying a fake Belgian licence for 15,000 euros (£12,800).

Tony Hawks, prosecuting, said Tiote tried to use the fake document to apply for a UK driving licence from the DVLA.

At Newcastle Crown Court, he was handed a seven-month sentence suspended for 18 months and 180 hours of unpaid work.

"The licence was a very good forgery but there were a number of features that showed it was a forgery," said Mr Hawks.

Judge James Goss QC told the Ivory Coast international that his guilty plea had "saved him from an immediate prison sentence".

He added: "In that way you will be punished and I have no doubt that, using your considerable talent, you will be able to assist others in the community by encouraging them and passing on your skills that way."

Tiote also received a fine of £600 and six points on his licence after he admitted driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence in February.

Lucky escape for Ajax squad

Ajax coach Frank de Boer and his players had a lucky escape as they prepared for Tuesday's KNVB Beker Cup tie with amateur side ASWH.

De Boer and his side were preparing for the home tie when they decided to leave the temporary building they were training in only for it to blow down later in high winds.

De Boer was worried by the strength of the winds and decided to take his players out of the inflatable structure which later collapsed under the barrage.

The coach told the club website: "This was a good choice (to leave the building). A storm is the worst circumstance in which to train."

On his decision to leave the structure, he added: "We found the risk too great."

FIFA announce 23-man Ballon d’Or shortlist

Gareth Bale

Edinson Cavani

Radamel Falcao

Eden Hazard

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Andres Iniesta

Philipp Lahm

Robert Lewandowski

Lionel Messi

Thomas Muller

Manuel Neuer


Mesut Ozil

Andrea Pirlo

Franck Ribery

Arjen Robben

Cristiano Ronaldo

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Luis Suarez

Thiago Silva

Yaya Toure

Robin van Persie


Two years since they scored from a corner

When it comes to flag-kick failure, Newcastle United have got it cornered.

October 1, 2011, Molineux. On a freakishly warm, autumn afternoon, an equally freakish occurrence unfolded - the Magpies scored from a corner-kick.

Yohan Cabaye floated to the near post where Demba Ba nicked in to head home.

It set the visitors on their way to a 2-1 victory over Wolves, who, incidentally, now reside in League One.

Fast forward more than two years, 78 matches and 375 corners, and the Toon Army are still waiting.

The secret to Beckham's free kick success

David Beckham has revealed the secret to his free kick success was kicking the Care Bears in his sister's bedroom.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder was known for his dead ball ability and scored one of England's most important ever goals from a free kick.

His strike against Greece in 2001 which sent England to the 2002 World Cup has gone down in the country's footballing history and in a Times extract from his new illustrated book, David Beckham, the icon explained how he came to specialise in those situations.

'I must have taken tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands [of free kicks]. I would go to the local park, place the ball on the ground and aim at the wire meshing over the window of a small community hut.'

'I would carry on playing when I got home. I wasn't allowed a football in the house so I would practice by kicking the Care Bears in my sister's bedroom. My mum thought it was funny but is showed how much I loved football. I couldn't get enough of it.'

Barthez swaps goalkeeping for racing

Former Manchester United and France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez has been crowned champion of France’s GT motorsport series.

Barthez and Sofrev ASP team-mate Morgan Moullin-Traffort finished fifth and eighth in the last two races of the series' final weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit to claim victory in a field featuring nine-time world rally championship winner Sebastien Loeb.

Barthez and Moullin-Traffort won four races in the 2013 series in their Ferrari 458 Italia GT - which can travel up to 200mph - and stood on seven podiums.

The Ferrari is a similar model to the one driven by the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard around the streets of London.

Barthez, 42, only began a career in motorsport in 2008 after retiring from football a year earlier.

The 87-cap international told Le Mans live: ‘I have always been fascinated by motorsport, even when I was playing football. It always intrigued me.

‘I wanted to understand what it felt like being in a car. I had to wait until the end of my pro career to try it.

'That said, it’s not like football: you can still be good even when you are 35, which was my age when I stopped playing.’

Monday, October 28, 2013

Birthday boy Rooney gets special present

Manchester United team mates have clubbed together to buy Wayne Rooney a special present for his 28th birthday on Thursday

They got him former manager Alex Ferguson's autobiography, which criticises the forward for being a slow learner with fitness problems.

Ferguson’s new book upsets Roy Keane’s mum

The former Manchester United manager has pulled no punches in his tell-all tome as he lifts the lid on life running one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

One ex-player to feel the force of  Fergie’s wrath is former United captain Roy Keane.

Now Roy’s mum Marie has joined in the argument revealing that she is unhappy with Ferguson’s comments about her boy.

In an interview in the Irish Sun, Mrs Keane said: ‘God Almighty, I can’t believe Sir Alex would say such things about Roy.

‘I can’t believe it. I would never have thought he would do something like this.

‘He’s our son and he has a wife and children and it’s not nice for any of us to be hearing someone run a loved one down like that.

‘It’s all very nasty what he said. It’s nasty really. It’s terrible and I’m very upset.’

One goal conceded from 107 shots

Roma have conceded just one goal so far this season

The Serie A side have done so despite allowing opponents to have 107 shots on their goal, all the while preserving a 100 per cent start to their league campaign.

Terrible trick penalty attempt

Adidas launch new limited edition boots

These are the new, limited edition F50s which have been designed for Adidas by acclaimed Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto and are to be worn this weekend by the likes of David Alaba and Lucas Moura among others.

Limited to a run of 2,000 pairs, Yamamoto’s design features an "imperial lion-dog", which were said to guard Japanese emperors back in days of yore.

The traditional design has been placed in the context of Japan’s modern sci-fi culture creating a spiritual connection between the past and the future.

If you fancy a pair, they’re going to set you back over £200.

Allardyce laughs in Chico Flores’ face after dive

Player tries to distract keeper

Απίστευτο "τρολάρισμα" Τραπ σε Βελλίδη by kokoretsi

Platini calls for World Cup to be expanded to 40 teams

UEFA president Michel Platini has called for the World Cup to be expanded from 32 to 40 teams.

The Frenchman - who could rival current president Sepp Blatter for the top job at FIFA - believes increasing the number of teams in the tournament is the right move going forward.

Blatter feels that African nations in particular are under-represented at the game's showpiece event but Platini favours expansion rather than taking any spots away from Europe, who currently have 13 participants.

"It's good for everybody," Platini told the Times. "I totally agree with Mr Blatter that we need more African and Asian (countries).

"But instead of taking away some European, we have to go to 40 teams in the World Cup.

"We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American and one from Europe. I support this idea totally."

Platini believes the growth of FIFA - and the world game as a whole - in recent decades justifies a bigger World Cup.

"Football is changing and now we have 209 associations," he said. "There are more countries so why reduce? Forty is not so bad."

Shawcross booked in the dressing room

Robin van Persie had a verbal bust-up with Ryan Shawcross following Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Stoke.

They were involved in a tussle just before the interval, when Stoke defender Shawcross appeared to grab United striker Van Persie around the neck at a corner.

Shawcross then barged into the Dutchman as the two sides left the pitch at the break, with the pair continuing their verbal exchange in the tunnel.

Ref Lee Mason booked the Potters' star in the dressing room at half-time, but the feud carried on after the final whistle.

Van Persie is alleged to have said something under his breath to Shawcross as the Englishman was giving a post-match interview.

Shawcross twice asked him to repeat what he said, but witnesses said the former Arsenal star ignored him.

Klopp volleys ball onto fourth official's head

Toure meets with FIFA over racist abuse

Yaya Toure has had a meeting with the FIFA’s anti-racism chief to discuss events in Russia last week when he was allegedly racially abused by some CSKA Moscow supporters.

The Manchester City midfielder spoke to Jeffrey Webb, the head of FIFA’s anti-racism task force, on Sunday after his club’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

Webb had said he wanted to hear about Toure’s experience of being abused after the BBC reported they had "a good conversation" and that the former Barcelona player agreed to help Webb’s task force "in any way".

Webb also met Piara Powar, the executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), in London on Saturday to talk about the incident in Moscow.

UEFA is conducting an inquiry to discover why, after Toure reported the abuse to Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan, the official did not follow new guidelines and halt the game so spectators could be told to stop.

PSV keeper knocks himself out

Sunderland fans support punched police horse

Despite being bottom of the Premier League, Sunderland fans showed they still have a sense of humour by supporting Bud the police horse with masks, outfits and t-shirts ahead of Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby.

Bud, who was punched in the face by a Newcastle fan after last season's Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park, was back on duty for the visit of Alan Pardew's side to the Stadium of Light.

And a section of Black Cats supporters took the opportunity to welcome him back by wearing horse masks and full outfits ahead of Sunday's clash.

Townsend collides with cameraman

Drogba helping Liverpool’s excellent start to the season

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has revealed the role played by his former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba in the Reds’ promising start to the campaign.

The England international says a chat with the Blues legend over the summer has helped him fire Brendan Rodgers’ side to third in the table.

He told the Sunday Times: "I saw Didier in Miami this summer.

"He said the strongest thing an individual can have is the mental strength.

"He told me, ‘It’s not about the tactical, it’s not about the technical, it’s not about the physical. If you believe in yourself, that will set you apart.’"

Baby stunned by Ronaldo goal

GIF : Aaron Ramsey’s battle with Palace’s corner flag

Manchester United apologises over 'swastika' logo

Manchester United has apologised after a 'swastika-style' logo was sent out to fans in a newsletter alongside the Nazi affiliated title "New Order".

The similarities between the logo, which spelt out the letters MUFC, and the Nazi symbol were pointed out after United Uncovered was issued via email.

Manchester United said any offence caused was "entirely unintended".

It said the title related to the band New Order, and that the feature was about the club's young players.

The statement, which was emailed to fans, said: "In this week's United Uncovered email newsletter, a graphic spelling the letters MUFC ran alongside a feature about Manchester United's younger squad members entitled New Order.

"While the headline was intended to reference the band of the same name, it has been pointed out that the graphic had design similarities to a swastika which, combined with other connotations of the phrase 'new order', has caused offence which was entirely unintended.

"For this, United Uncovered unreservedly apologises."

The club's head of media David Sternberg responded to a number of complaints over Twitter.

He tweeted: "The creative is completely inappropriate; we apologise unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Referee fights back

Taylor banned from wearing "Stamp Collector" boots

Newcastle centre-half Steven Taylor has been banned from wearing a pair of specially-made boots with "The Stamp Collector" stitched on them for Sunday’s North-east derby clash against Sunderland over fears they may incite the ire of the Black Cats faithful.

The personalised message is a reference to Taylor’s admission in the build-up to last season’s Newcastle-Sunderland derby that he "would rather be a stamp collector" than watch Sunderland play.

Taylor had hoped to wear the boots at the Stadium of Light tomorrow but has been banned by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, fearing that the defender - who is already despised by Mackem fans for his resolutely pro-Geordie attitude - may provoke Sunderland fans into actually following up on one of their favourite terrace chants: "We hope you die Steven Taylor!"

Power soccer

Friday, October 25, 2013

'Pyro' dogs to search for smoke bombs

Police dogs will search fans for flares and smoke bombs at Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland and Newcastle fans have been warned that anyone carrying such devices to the game will be arrested.

Sunderland security manager Paul Weir said: "Police will have pyro-detecting dogs and queuing fans will be checked outside the stadium, and on entry."

Assistant referee David Bryan was hit by a flare during Sunday's match between Aston Villa and Tottenham.

On Friday it was announced that Fifa has started disciplinary proceedings against the English and Polish football associations after flares were lit during October's World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Mr Weir added: "We will be searching all the away fans and certain sections of our crowd where there is potential for these things to go off.

"There is always going to be the possibility that people will smuggle in smoke grenades and flares."

Black players could boycott 2018 Russia World Cup, warns Toure

Yaya Toure has warned Russia they face a World Cup boycott by black players unless more is done to combat racist abuse.

Still seething at his treatment at the Khimki Arena on Wednesday, the Manchester City midfielder delivered his stark message as UEFA announced they were investigating CSKA Moscow over the racist behaviour of their fans.

With even a state-owned news agency admitting racist chanting was common at Russian league games, Toure spelled out the consequences of failing to clamp down.

Speaking after being subjected to monkey chants in City’s Champions League win, the Ivory Coast midfielder said: ‘It is a real problem here, something that happens all the time, and of course they need to sort it out before the World Cup. Otherwise, if we are not confident coming to the World Cup in Russia, we don’t come.’

Is the Pope a Mackem ?

Run of scorers from same country

Such is the influence of Newcastle United’s French legion these days, they have just carved their names in the Premier League record books.

A run of 13 Gallic goals is the longest ever by foreign scorers in top-flight history :

Yoan Gouffran - West Brom A 1-1
Hatem Ben Arfa & Yoan Gouffran - QPR A 2-1
Hatem Ben Arfa - Fulham H 1-0
Hatem Ben Arfa & Yoan Gouffran - Aston Villa A 2-1
Loic Remy (2) - Hull H 2-3
Yohan Cabaye & Loic Remy - Everton A 2-3
Loic Remy (2) - Cardiff A 2-1 Remy (2)
Yohan Cabaye - Liverpool H 2-2 Cabaye

The most expensive match ever

The priciest 22 players ever to take the field, with a combined cost of £417million, will play in El Clasico this weekend when Barcelona host Real Madrid.

That's gotta hurt


Ibra's 30-yard goal vs. Anderlecht clocked at 122 km/h

Manchester United set to sign world record kit deal

Manchester United are poised to announce a world record £300million deal with American sportswear giants Nike.

The negotiations were first revealed by Charles Sale's Sports Agenda at the start of September.

And the five year-deal, which The Sun report is set to be announced on Friday, will more than triple the annual amount they receive under their current contract.

It is almost double the current most lucrative deal - Real Madrid's £31m-a-year tie-up with adidas.

United have also reportedly been granted sales rights for their kits, which could be worth another £15m per year, which could see the five-year deal worth a total of £375m.

The current Nike deal was reported at £303m for the 13 years, and with this extension which will run for five-years reported at £300m, should it end up running for the same amount of time, it could bring the club close to £1 billion in revenue.

At the start of next season, United will change shirt sponsors from AON to American car giant Chevrolet, which will be worth £357m and due to run to 2021.

United's massive commercial arm, which will shortly boast an office in New York, in addition to the one that was opened in Hong Kong last year, now represents 42 per cent of total revenue, with sponsorship deals alone in 2012 amounting to £90.9m, a rise of 44.1 per cent.

Player trips himself up, and appeals for penalty

Bale and Co juggle squash balls and rugby balls

Ince could watch Blackburn match in the back of a van

Blackpool are weighing up whether to hire a broadcasting truck to stream their game against Blackburn Rovers for suspended manager Paul Ince.

The Seasiders take on their Lancashire rivals at Bloomfield Road on Saturday but Ince won’t be there.

Ince is serving the second of his five-match stadium ban for violent conduct towards a fourth official at Bournemouth on September 14.

Ince said Blackpool are considering two options which would allow him to watch the game in full and feed coaching staff with relevant titbits throughout.

That’s exactly what happened against Wigan Athletic last weekend, although the operation proved far easier given the 1-0 win was live on Sky Sports.

Blackpool aren’t afforded such luxuries this time around, and are debating whether to stream the match at Ince’s home or send the boss to a studio in Cheshire.

London shopping centre rebrands after visit from Ozil

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gallas joins the A-League

Perth Glory have confirmed the signing of former Chelsea and Arsenal defender William Gallas after the Frenchman agreed to join the Australian club on a one-year deal.

The 36-year-old will become Glory's international marquee player and will join the likes of Emile Heskey and Alessandro Del Piero in the Hyundai A-League.

Speaking via his agent, Gallas said: 'After speaking to Alistair Edwards (Head Coach) and Jason Brewer (CEO), the passion and ambition in the voices of both gentlemen enticed me to this new challenge in Australia. I look forward to wearing with pride the jersey of Perth Glory for this season.

A-League teams are allowed to sign one 'international marquee player' who they can offer a slightly larger wage outside of the team's set wage cap.

They can also sign an 'Australian designated player' and a 'junior marquee player'.

These rulings are designed to help clubs acquire quality players whilst preventing bidding wars that can put them in financial danger before the season is underway.

City subs bundle up in Russia

FC United finally granted 5,000-capacity stadium

Non-league side FC United's own 5,000-capacity stadium should be finished in August after a lease was signed with Manchester council following years of plans.

The news marks a momentous day for the club, who were formed in 2005 by Manchester United supporters opposed to American businessman Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover of the club.

The supporters own the club and vote on how the club is run, and the new stadium news puts an end to a controversial saga.

fought a lengthy legal battle with a section of residents opposed to the stadium - which is expected to cost around £5.5m to build.

They have played at Bury's Gigg Lane since 2005, and will now be situated in Moston, just over three miles from Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Lampard claims women will one day play alongside men

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has claimed that women will soon play football in the men's game.

Lampard was promoting his new children's book when he said that he thought women are capable of playing alongside men.

When asked if he thought this would ever happen, he responded:

"I see no reason why not, how the game has developed in women's football in the last five to 10 years has been amazing.

"We were [previously] dinosaurs in the dressing room, it was a man's game, but now we appreciate the skill in women's football."

In 2003, Italian club Perugia made moves to sign Swedish forward Hanna Ljungberg, in a move that would have made her the first female footballer to play alongside men in the professional men's game.

The charismatic president of the club Luciano Gaucci, who was responsible for signing Colonel Gaddafi's son, claimed at the time that there were no rules in Italian football to prevent women from playing alongside men.

But the deal fell through and Hanna Ljungberg never made the move to the men's game.

Neymar swaps shirts with idol Robinho midway through Champions League clash

Despite being international team-mates, Robinho remains one of Neymar's biggest heroes and the pair exchanged shirts as the referee blew for the interval.

Playing career ended by a cat

CSKA Moscow manager Leonid Slutsky had his playing career ended at just 19.

He retired due to a knee injury sustained after falling out of a tree to rescue a neighbour's cat.

Russian TV station confuses Manchester City with Manchester United

Ronaldo left red-faced after pants tweet

Homer Simpson to become World Cup 2014 referee

Homer Simpson is set to become a referee at next summer’s World Cup in Brazil - as part of a new Simpsons episode.

The cartoon legend will briefly put down his beloved doughnuts and pick up a whistle in the episode set to be screened next year.

As an error-prone buffoon who often makes calamitous decisions, being a referee might appear to be the perfect choice for Homer.

But broadcasters Fox say the Springfield-based ace will have to deal with South American gangsters who try and influence him to fix World Cup matches.

‘The episode follows Springfield’s most famous family as it journeys to Brazil, only to find Homer’s honesty put to the test by one of the slickest South American gangsters in the soccer match-bribing business,’ read a statement.

The plot line might be an uncomfortable one for Fifa, who have been dogged by corruption claims, but Fox actually hope it will help plug football (or ever soccer) in America.

GIF : Angry fan

Painting the pitch green for Champions League tie

CSKA Moscow have left Manchester City bristling with indignation by painting their pitch to try and conceal huge bare patches.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini condemned the Khimki Arena surface as unfit for Champions’ League action, after branding it unacceptable and calling it ‘unbelievable’ that UEFA bosses had given it the go-ahead after inspecting it last week.

In an attempt to deflect some of the criticism, CSKA officials ordered their groundsman to spray a green, paint-based substance on the pitch, prior to television beaming pictures of it round the world.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini had voiced his amazement on Tuesday that UEFA have given the green light for the match with CSKA Moscow to take place on the worn-out Khimki Arena surface.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GIF : Kasami volley

Ronaldo buys a Criosauna

Cristiano Ronaldo has come up with a cool way of avoiding injury - by installing a £45,000 Criosauna in his house.

The superstar forward, who has a vital few months ahead of him, is under pressure to deliver for both club and country.

Real Madrid are fighting Barcelona for the La Liga title, while Portugal must beat Sweden for a place at the World Cup in their crunch play-off game.

Ronaldo is integral in both situations and he is doing all he can to make sure he stays in peak condition - and does not get injured.

According to reports in Spain, the former Manchester United man installed a Criosauna, essentially a huge ice box, in his La Finca mansion this week - at a cost of £45,000.

The equipment uses cryotherapy to freeze muscles at temperatures of -200°C, in a bid to help accelerate their recovery.

The practice is becoming increasingly popular in modern sport, although most athletes have to hire a chamber from a specialist company.

FC Twente boss has tooth knocked out by assistant

Michel Jansen, manager of Dutch side Twente Enschede, needed an unexpected trip to the dentist after one of his assistants knocked his tooth out on Saturday.

The pair were both on the bench for Twente’s encounter with champions Ajax at the weekend when the incident happened.

All had been going well until Luc Castaignos opened the scoring for the hosts.

Excited to see the ball hit the back of the net Jensen’s assistant, Youri Mulder, jumped from his seat while performing a manic fist pump and duly landed a stinging uppercut right in the chops of his boss.

‘Youri celebrated rather too excitedly,’ Jansen said before rushing off get his missing molar replaced.

The day, sadly, didn’t get any better for Jansen who saw his side miss out on all three points when Ajax bagged a late equaliser.

Anti-racism solidarity in the worst way possible

Having recently seen Togolese midfielder Teibou Koura sent off during a game against Lizzano for hitting out at an opponent who called him the 'N' word, Italian amateur club Rioveggio decided to present a united front against racism in their game in pretty much the worst way possible - by all turning up for their next game against Casalecchio in black face.

To make matters worse, the Rioveggio team then played the entire game made up like that.

Things that have more points than Sunderland

John Terry's new mansion

Nestling behind a massive man-made lake, the new house dwarfs Terry’s old house, which he reportedly had to re-mortgage four times.

Three years after he first tried to sell the red-brick nine-bedroom Surrey mansion, it has been sold for £5.25million.

In 2010 the former England captain was advised to drop the asking price by £750,000.

However, helped by the current burgeoning property market, he has finally sold it for more than the £5m asking price.

The sale will help the 32-year-old finance the new mansion which he has had built in his back garden - a short drive from Chelsea's training ground in Cobham.

Constructed at the end of a private road, the huge new home, which he shares with wife Toni, is hidden away from prying eyes and is only clearly visible from the air.

It comprises eight dressing and bathrooms, nine bedrooms, a swimming pool and sauna.

The mansion even has its own private cinema.

Santa Fe forget kit for Colombian league match

As happens from time to time, Independiente Santa Fe travelled 90-odd miles across up the road for their recent Colombian Primera Division A game against Boyaca Chico having forgotten to pack their away strip.

Thankfully, their kitman had been able to source a team’s worth of counterfeit Santa Fe replica shirts from the local market in Tunja during the first 45 minutes of the game, buying 10 knock-off jerseys at 12,000 pesos (about £4) a piece along with one big, red, chisel-tip marker to scrawl the players’ numbers on the back.

Townsend shows off his hidden talent

49ers join Spurs stars

Tottenham welcomed the San Francisco 49ers into their training headquarters on Monday for a community event for young children.

The 49ers landed in England earlier in the day ahead of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley this weekend

British Olympian Lawrence Okoye, who is currently with the San Francisco 49ers, was also in attendance on Monday.

He said: ‘This is a good opportunity for me to come back and see everybody. I’m a United fan even though I’m from London - most of our fans live in London anyway. I wanted to meet Bale, but he’s gone to Madrid now.’

The 49ers flew to Heathrow straight from Tennessee, where they beat the Titans 31-17 on Sunday, rather than heading home to the West Coast first.

Their opponents at Wembley on Sunday, the Jaguars, arrive in England on Tuesday morning.

Manager sacked after punching fan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Longest build-ups of the season

GIF : Tottenham fan hits linesman with smoke grenade

Never criticise Ginola's taste in fashion on live TV

Chelsea fan becomes Twitter sensation for posting 'selfie' with Mourinho

Wolves legend surprises fan

A die-hard Wolves fan who was forced to miss his first home game since 1976 due to a family wedding had a huge surprise when club legend Steve Bull made an appearance at the ceremony.

56-year-old Peter Abbott said he was astonished when the Wolves record scorer turned up as part of a surprise arranged by the League One club to show their appreciation for Abbott's loyal support.

Speaking of the surprise, Abbott said: 'They were doing photos and I was called over and all of a sudden one of the chaps with his back to me turned around and it was Bully.

'The club arranged for him to be there as a big surprise - he's a legend.

'We talked about the old days and where the club is now - a fan's conversation really.'

The Wolves super-fan grew up in east London and has been making the 330-mile round trip to Molinuex ever since he fell in love with the club in 1970.

Abbott claims that the last home match he missed was against Tottenham on 16 March 1976 and only missed their 1-1 draw with Coventry City to attend his stepdaughter's wedding.

Soccer IPL

Fresh from the success of cricket's Indian Premier League, it seems that a new franchise is being set up in the country especially for footballers.

Arsenal legends Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg have agreed to take part in the tournament, due to start in January, while former Manchester United and Chelsea stars Peter Schmeichel and Marcel Desailly will manage one of the eight teams each.

Similarly to the IPL, clubs will bid for the services of players next month, with several other ex-Premier League stars being lined up.

David Beckham has been linked with the first-of-its-kind division, likely to be called the Indian Super League in the past, while Michael Owen and Thierry Henry are also in talks according to the Times of India.

Louis Saha is another who could feature, as well as former Argentina striker  Hernan Crespo.

Business giants IMG and Reliance are putting the money behind the project, along with Indian media company Star.

Uday Shankar, the CEO of Star India, said: 'India is hungry for its second sport. For far too long, the Indian sports fan has waited for this revolution.

'Our objective is nothing short of creating a movement around football in India. We want to put India on the global map.'

Average number of passes leading to a goal

Footballer has spleen removed after freak injury

A footballer had to have his spleen removed after a freak accident during a match - after his elbow went into his side as he landed awkwardly from a header.

Corey Holder spoke of the terrifying moment he was told he could have died following the horror incident in an innocuous challenge while playing for non-league Kent side Chatham Town.

The 22-year-old defender won a header and landed awkwardly on his left elbow during the Ryman League clash at Romford on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I was in excruciating pain around my stomach are which would not go away. I had never felt pain like it before.

'It was like a winding pain, a stitch and a stomach cramp all rolled into one.'

The JD Sports worker from Camberwell Green in south London was taken to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent where he had X-rays to check if he had broken his ribs.

It was only when he had an MRI scan the extent of the injury was discovered.

He said: 'All this time I had lost two litres of blood from my spleen.

'The doctor said if I would have gone home I would have died in my sleep.'

Holder had to undergo an operation to remove his spleen.

The qualified football coach’s mum, auntie and girlfriend rushed to hospital to join his two best mates who kept a bedside vigil.

Holder, who will have to take medication every day for the rest of his life, can’t wait to get back on the football pitch.

'I’ve been told I should be back playing in about three months. It’s just a case of waiting for the injury to heel.

'It hasn’t put me off football.

'If I would do it another 100 times it wouldn’t happen again. It was just a freak accident.'

Daily Mail future England team from 2007

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