The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Football Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 John Terry’s image appears as part of anti-smoking campaign in India Tue, 03 Jan 2012 17:49:30 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Can John Terry’s image get any worse?

Powered by article titled “John Terry’s image appears as part of anti-smoking campaign in India” was written by Rob Smyth, for on Tuesday 3rd January 2012 12.05 UTC

John Terry has a problem with his image. This much we know. But the nature of that problem may come as a surprise. Terry’s tortured season took a surreal twist on Tuesday when a blurry image resembling him appeared on cigarette packets in India. The banner at Stamford Bridge may need upgrading. Captain. Leader. Legend. Unwitting anti-smoking campaigner.

The Terry likeness appears on packets of Gold Flake cigarettes, right above the “smoking kills” warning. Terry’s representatives are taking legal advice. “It would seem that the picture is of him and he has not posed for anything like this,” said Keith Cousins of the Elite Management agency. “We don’t know where the image is taken from, but he has not given his consent for this,” he said. “We have consulted solicitors in London and India to investigate the matter and take appropriate action.”

There is no suggestion that Terry has been driven to a debilitating 90-a-day habit by the stress of playing alongside David Luiz, and the England captain’s representative said he is a non-smoker. The image was produced by the Directorate of Visual Publicity, whose additional director general, KS Dhatwalia, said it is “not clear” why the image had been used. “We sent the creative to the health ministry and they then cleared it and circulated it,” he said. “But how Terry’s picture got to be used is not clear.”

Nor is it clear why they used that particular image, which shows a posturing man, oozing virility, rather than somebody whose insides have been ravaged by tobacco. Surely the cheap symbolism of Terry weeping in the rain after the 2008 Champions League final or wheezing in the slipstream of Robin van Persie earlier this season would have been more appropriate.

Another official from the Directorate later told Reuters that the advert had “nothing do with John Terry. It was purely a piece of artistic imagination and I don’t know why an issue is being created”.

It is not the first time government departments in India have had problems with images. In 2010 an advertising campaign newspaper for the Commonwealth Games in India became a source of embarrassment. Images of the athletes were set against a backdrop of planes apparently emitting orange, white and green vapours to represent the Indian national colours. In fact the planes were Italian and the smoke was the red, white and green of Italy.

In the same year, the state of Meghalaya confiscated school textbooks that featured pictures of Jesus Christ holding a a can of beer and a cigarette. If the same fate befalls the Gold Flake cigarettes: John Terry special edition, they will at least became one of football’s more peculiar collectors’ items. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The Joy of Six: football unbeaten runs Fri, 02 Dec 2011 09:13:59 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Unbeaten Runs by Football teams, is your team in there?

Powered by article titled “The Joy of Six: football unbeaten runs” was written by Scott Murray, for on Friday 2nd December 2011 08.43 UTC

1) Perugia (Serie A, 37 games, May 1978 to October 1979)

Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan side are more iconic than the later Fabio Capello version but surely not as good. Sacchi’s side won two European Cups but only one Serie A title; Capello led Milan to three titles in four years, plus one Champions League, the latter with the only performance in a final seriously to rival the one given by Real Madrid in 1960. Capello went his first season, and the best part of the following one, unbeaten. The run stretched for 58 matches, an Italian record.

But in many ways it is not an Italian record. Having already won the 1991-92 title, Milan’s last-day celebrations in Foggia were an eye-opener; they were 2-1 down at half-time, only to prevail 8-2. During their run they had put four past Roma, Ascoli, Cagliari and Verona, five past Napoli and Sampdoria. The following season they won 5-4 at Pescara, 5-1 at Napoli, 5-3 at home to Lazio and 7-3 at Fiorentina. No, it is not a very Italian record at all.

Compare and contrast with the only other team to go unbeaten all season in Serie A during the modern era: Perugia. They remained undefeated during the 1978-79 season, which had begun with a fortune teller who lived a couple of streets away from the stadium declaring that Perugia would win the scudetto. Her reasoning was that they played in red and white, which happened to be the national colours of the fresh-from-the-box pope.

Sadly this papal blessing proved to be a lot of bull. Though Perugia went through the entire campaign unsullied by defeat, they recorded only 11 wins out of 30, drawing the other 19 games. Nearly a quarter of their games – seven – ended in goalless draws – none more Latin. They were notorious for keeping possession well enough but doing little with the ball. They had the best defence in the league, built around the captain, Pierluigi Frosio, which conceded only 16 goals. But their main striker, Walter Speggiorin, scored only nine, a fairly poor return even for Serie A back in the day. The right-winger Salvatore Bagni managed eight.

With six matches to play, Perugia trailed the leaders, Milan, by two points. They could manage only a draw against Milan in Perugia, the first of four in their last six. They ended the season in second, three points behind Nils Liedholm’s side, for whom Gianni Rivera enjoyed a scudetto-winning swansong as another legend in the making, Franco Baresi, made his debut. Perugia’s unbeaten stretch lasted seven games into the following season, until Torino turned them over at home 2-0. It would be the first of nine league defeats, as they ended mid-table, the aura resolutely gone.

2) Celtic (Scottish First Division, 62 games, November 1915 to April 1917)

Only two clubs have gone through an entire Scottish top-flight season unbeaten. No prizes are on offer. But you will be pleased to hear the relentless sitcom-style one-upmanship of the Old Firm has been in evidence since the early days. In 1897 Celtic appointed the 29-year-old Willie Maley as manager. He won the title in his first season, the team unbeaten in all 18 games, winning 15 and drawing three, as they ran rings round opponents in their then green-and-white vertical stripes and black shorts.

Sure enough, the next year Rangers had to go one better. They too had a young boss – the 33-year-old match secretary and future manager William Wilton, who had been running the team at Ibrox since the age of 26 – and now they had an unbeaten season to match. Unlike Celtic, they did not drop a point, winning all 18 games and scoring 78 goals in the process.

The nearest either team has come since to an unbeaten season was Rangers’s near miss of 1967-68. Davie White’s team’s only defeat of the season came in their last match, at home against Aberdeen, a 3-2 reverse that saw them hand the title to Jock Stein’s Celtic. After the game the Rangers striker Alex Ferguson – the club’s leading scorer that season with 23 goals – was approached by a frustrated fan who toe-punted him viciously in the shin before wandering off. “I couldn’t really blame him,” said Ferguson. “I felt as sick as he did.”

Celtic too have nearly, but not quite, gone through an entire campaign unbeaten, though despite falling two hurdles from home, at least they won the league that season. It was also the end of a Homeric unbeaten run that stands as a record in Scotland today.

The Scottish First Division was not suspended for hostilities during the Great War. They won four titles in a row under a middle-aged Maley between 1914 and 1917. The 1915-16 and 1916-17 seasons were the peak for a legendary team featuring the playmaker Jimmy McMenemy and the goalscorer Jimmy Quinn. They lost three times in the first 12 games of the 1915-16 season, then not again in the league until Kilmarnock beat them in the second-last game of the following season. Two titles were in the bag, but perhaps the 62-game unbeaten run has more resonance. No mean feat, especially when, on 15 April 1916, they had to play two games in one day, winning 3-1 at Motherwell before heading back to Parkhead to tank Raith Rovers 6-0.

3) Preston North End (FA Cup and friendlies, 42 games, 1887 to 1888)

Arsenal hold the English league record for going unbeaten, their brilliant side of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires sashaying through the 2003-04 campaign unscathed, a run that had begun with a 6-1 win at home to Southampton in the penultimate game of the previous season and continued until they lost 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 to Wayne Rooney’s saucy triple salchow and pike at Old Trafford in the 10th game of the 2004-05 season. At 49 games the run was a magnificent achievement, albeit one tinged with the bittersweet pain of falling one match short of an historic half- century not out, and to a dodgy penalty to boot. However, any sympathy soon evaporated with the side’s graceless reaction to their first taste of league defeat in 17 months, an unnamed Gunner throwing a pizza-and-soup meal-deal combo in the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson in the tunnel after the game. A monstrous sulk lasting a month ensued; by the time they came round, they had won only one of five league matches and José Mourinho was disappearing into the distance, flicking Vs into the rear-view mirror.

For their unbeaten Premiership efforts in 2003-04 that Arsenal team were crowned the Invincibles. It is a monicker that has failed to catch on outside the red-and-white half of north London, however, and here is why. Elsewhere during that season Arsène Wenger’s side lost: the opening game of the campaign, the Community Shield against Manchester United, on penalties; an FA Cup semi to the same opposition; a League Cup fixture against Middlesbrough; and Champions League matches against Internazionale, Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea. Only a churl would attempt to demean their stunning efforts in the league by bringing other competitions into the discussion but then, if anyone is going to start bandying terms like Invincibles about, well, the churl will not be the one who has started the row.

The thing is, precedents have been set, and there are only one true Invincibles in English football: the Preston North End side of 1888-89, who romped the first season of the Football League, finishing 11 points ahead of Aston Villa after winning 18 of their games, drawing the other four and scoring 74 goals. It is fair to point out that Preston had only 22 league matches to play, as opposed to Arsenal’s 38. And Wenger’s side had five competitions to contest, not two. On the other hand, you can only beat what is put in front of you and Preston did not lose a single competitive match that season; they also won the FA Cup, keeping a clean sheet in every game in their run. Now that is invincible. (In the interests of balance, Arsenal fans irritated with any Preston one-upmanship may like to point out that Tom Watson’s Sunderland side thrashed North End 4-1 in a friendly during their so-called Invincible year.)

And yet arguably Preston’s grandest achievement came the season before, with a barely believable 42-game run of consecutive wins. Sadly, William Sudell’s team bridled at the very last jump, the 1888 FA Cup final against West Bromwich Albion. Having beaten Hyde 26-0 along the way to the final – a score that is still an English record – they were so confident of winning that they requested a photo of themselves taken with the trophy. Before the match had started. “Hadn’t you better win it first?” asked the referee. Good call, ref! George Woodhall’s goal 13 minutes from time gave WBA a 2-1 win and ensured Preston were sent back to Lancashire to think on. Which, in fairness, they clearly did.

4) Hungary (Friendlies, Olympic Games, Central European International Cup, World Cup, 30 games, June 1950 to July 1954)

Spain hold the record for the longest unbeaten run in the international arena, a stretch which began after a 1-0 friendly defeat by Romania in Cadiz, took in their victorious 2008 European Championship campaign and ended with a surprisingly comprehensive 2-0 defeat by the USA in the semi-finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup. But nobody really remembers any of this. In a strange quirk of a sport which has been going for the best part of a century and a half, there is only one unbeaten international run with any real historical or emotional heft: the 30-game pomp of the golden Hungarian team of the early 1950s.

Those 30 games were actually 32: a 7-1 win over Turkey in the 1952 Olympics and a 5-0 thrashing of East Germany are matches which do not seem to count, for strange bureaucratic reasons that fly over the Joy of Six’s simple head. But 30 it officially is, and what a run in any case, starting with a 5-2 win in Poland in June 1950, taking in the gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics – chiefly memorable to Jeno Buzanszky for the kiss he got off Miss World at the medal ceremony – and Hungary’s famed 6-3 and 7-1 eviscerations of England in late 1953 and early 1954.

The run also took in some of the most famous matches of all time at the 1954 World Cup: an 8-3 skelping of West Germany; a hard-fought 4-2 win over Brazil (after which Ferenc Puskas hit Pinheiro upside the head with a broken bottle during a dressing-room brawl that lasted over 10 minutes); a sparkling skillfest against Uruguay (which nevertheless contained the best card-marking reducer in the entire history of football); and the run-ending defeat by West Germany, with a little help from linesman Sandy Griffiths, who controversially flagged Puskas offside late in the final.

Unlike Arsenal at the Battle of the Buffet, Puskas was philosophical in the wake of defeat. “To take defeats with the same dignity as we accepted triumphs must be our aim,” he mused. Although like Arsenal, food was on the mind of the player later christened by Alfredo di Stefano as the Galloping Gut: “Had we been offered the role of runners-up before the series started, we might have accepted gladly. But then the appetite for success grows as one eats.”

Hungary immediately went on another unbeaten run after their shock defeat in Berne, another 18 matches, giving them a total of one defeat in 49 games between June 1950 and February 1956. The team, however, was starting to break up as players fled for the west.

5) England (Friendlies, World Cup qualifiers, September 1988 to May 1990)

And the award for the longest unbeaten international run by any of the home nations goes to … Scotland. Between 1879 and 1888, the Scots went 22 matches without defeat, a run which included 13 straight wins, only two draws, and wins over England by 5-4, 6-1 and 5-1. On the flip side the only other teams Scotland played over the nine-year period were a not particularly good Wales and an equally dismal Ireland. And the run was bookended by defeats by England; 5-4 in London in 1879, a 5-0 humiliation in Glasgow in 1888.

(That run of 13 wins, incidentally, has been bettered only by Spain, Brazil, France and Australia, the last for the most part swatting aside nonentities such as Tahiti and the Solomon Islands.)

England’s best run of results – statistically speaking – were between 1890 and 1896, a 20-game unbeaten stretch. This time it was Scotland’s turn to bookend a run of fixtures which generally turned out to be one-sided wallopings of the Welsh and Irish. Their post-war record is a much more impressive 19, between October 1965 and April 1967, taking in as it does the winning of the World Cup in 1966. Two 3-2 Wembley defeats propped up either end of this golden era: Austria coming back from 2-1 down with 17 minutes to play in 1965, half the Scotland team messing around with ball tricks in the 1967 Home Championship while Denis Law had the funk on because he wanted to rattle in more goals.

Often forgotten now, though, because of what immediately followed it, is England’s staunch run after Euro 88 under Bobby Robson. England’s stock had rarely been lower after losing all three games in Germany that summer but, though they went home with their tails between their legs, they also took back the knowledge that they had for the most part matched the new European champions, Holland, in an undeserved 3-1 defeat.

It was not always smooth. England stuttered to a lucky 1-1 draw in Saudi Arabia late in 1988, causing the Daily Mirror to pen the headline GO, IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, GO, which, while being slightly unfair on Robson, may well be the last time a British tabloid has shown any form of thought, reverence or respect to Islam. England mooched with some uncertainty through their World Cup qualifying group. But they made it through unbeaten and in the run-up to Italia 90 form began to pick up, with a 1-0 win over Brazil at Wembley, followed by Paul Gascoigne’s greatest display, that daft-as-a-brush 4-2 win over Czechoslovakia.

The 17-game run was ended in May 1990, when Uruguay won England’s World Cup send-off at Wembley 2-1, Peter Shilton letting a José Perdomo free-kick through his hands, which were flapping like the doors of a haunted saloon in the wind. Robson announced his relief at the end of the run – better a defeat when it did not matter than at the World Cup finals. That long period unbeaten would stand England in good stead: they escaped defeat in their final warm-up match against Tunisia with a last-minute Steve Bull goal, then grimly battled their way to that night in Turin.

England went 12 games unbeaten at the start of Graham Taylor’s reign, too, before Germany turned up at Wembley. But let us not go anywhere near there.

6) Sparta Prague (51 games, Central Bohemian league, 1920 to 1923)

Only three teams have put together a longer unbeaten run in the league than the aforementioned Celtic team of the world war one. Al Ahly of Egypt remained undefeated between May 2004 and January 2007, a run of 70 games. Steaua Bucharest and Ceausescu’s goons helped themselves to a tainted 104-game run in Romania between August 1986 and September 1989 (though their European Cup win of 1986 and appearance in the 1988 final shows there really was little need to load the dice). The world record is held by ASEC Abidjan of the Cote d’Ivoire, a 108-match combination between December 1989 and 1994.

But here is the one: between 1920 and 1923, before the advent of a national Czechoslovakian league, Sparta Prague won all four of the regional titles on offer. They played 51 times during those four campaigns – and won all 51 matches. Which is truly ridiculous, even before you tot up the goals for and against: 237 to 40. And people say modern football is an uncompetitive nonsense.

Many thanks to Cris Freddi and Rob Smyth © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Scottish Football team win the World Cup Mon, 29 Aug 2011 10:58:32 +0000 Ewan 4-3 victory over Mexico in the Homeless World Cup, and Tartan Army victorious.

That’s the simple phrase this Monday morning as the 2011 Homeless World Cup comes to a close, and of the 64 national teams that entered, Scotland have lifted the trophy.

Overcoming Romania (7-0) and Germany (15-2) in the opening games, they faced a nail biter with Poland in the quarter finals, finally winning 9-8. A Semi-final against Kenya (5-3) and the path to the final was open.

Mexico stood in the way of glory, but nothing would stop the boys in blue, and a push to victory

Oh and England? Lost 10-4 to Ireland, Lost 5-4 to Russia (but they did beat Lithuania 9-4).

More at, picture by Esme Deacon (Flickr)

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FIFA12 announces the commentating team and drops Andy Gray Thu, 30 Jun 2011 15:06:01 +0000 Ewan Fallout from the former Sky Sports pundit’s view on female referees continues as his digital voice duty stops at 11.

Sitting alongside Martin Tyler in a recording studio for three weeks will be Alan Smith, taking up the seat of Andy Gray – promptly followed by those sound samples being chopped up to amuse everyone as they play FIFA 12 later in the year.

Joining them will be a second team, with Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend popping up for alternative matches.

FIFA 12 is of course the "must have update to FIFA 11, 10, 09, 08, etc" and regarded as a tent-pole game in the calendar. It’ll be available at the end of September.

Hat tip to Digital Spy.

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Football transfer rumours: Tottenham Hotspur to have a spending spree? Thu, 26 May 2011 08:27:39 +0000 The DailyDust reporter

Powered by article titled “Football transfer rumours: Tottenham Hotspur to have a spending spree?” was written by Paul Doyle, for on Thursday 26th May 2011 07.46 UTC

If you thought classic BBC sitcom Terry and June was a non-stop rollercoaster of laughs, tears and thought-provoking plots, wait until you see Harry and June because as soon as the transfer window gets into gear Harry Redknapp intends to keep us as entertained as any TV show featuring a bungling middle-class fire extinguisher salesman and his patient wife. And that’s saying something.

What it’s saying is this: Redknapp is going to revamp his team, starting with the goalkeeper. That entails tussling with Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion for the services of Brad Friedel, or perhaps trying to convince Shay Given to turn down Celtic and possibly liberating Ben Foster from Birmingham City. Redknapp wants to buy a couple of players from Birmingham, which may be why Spurs were so determined to relegate them on the season’s last day: Roger Johnson could be on his way to White Hart Lane. Wolverhampton Wanderers, meanwhile, are testing Craig Gardner‘s loyalty to his boyhood club.

St Andrew has been the patron saint of boring football this season, which may be why the other Birmingham players attracting interest from Premier League clubs are:

One player definitely on his way out of Tottenham this summer is Niko Kranjcar, who may be on his way to Wolfsburg. The Bundesliga club want the Croatian to replace their schemer Diego, who’s heading to either Liverpool or Chelsea, depending on which paper he reads. Sunderland are preparing a £10m bid for Peter Crouch – someone at the Stadium of Light clearly has a deep love of beanpole strikers but the Mill can’t quite figure out who that could be. Perhaps we should repeatedly launch the question at the club’s chairman from 80 yards?

Tottenham also want the Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones, the Lille forward Eden Hazard, the other Lille forward Gervinho, relegated midfielder scurrier Scott Parker … and by now you have probably figured out that the Mill could meet its word quota every day for the next three months solely by speculating about Spurs activity, so let’s all move on, shall we?

Chelsea. They have no manager but they do have a player wish list and we are told that at the top of that there list are the two most talked-about Belgian teenagers of our times. Given that neither Hazard nor Tintin are teenagers (actually, can we be sure of that? What age is the intrepid boy reporter?) the Mill reasons that Roman Abramovich is preparing swoops for Anderlecht phenomenon Romelu Lukaku and the Genk striker Kevin De Bruyne.

Former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, will be invited to shuffle sideways in geographical terms but several floors downwards in football terms by taking up the reins of Queens Park Rangers. That spells bad news for Neil Warnock on the one hand, but on the other it’ll give him something else to moan about so he’ll probably be happy.

Liverpool, in addition to attempting to gazump most of Tottenham’s would-be signings, are going to lock horns with neighbours Everton over the signature of powerful Auxerre attacking midfielder Delvin Ndinga. Liverpool are also contemplating trying to revive the career of Lyon enigma Yoann Gourcuff, who fluctuates puzzlingly from being the new Zinédine Zidane to the new Bruno Cheyrou.

Finally, the Sun claims it knows the line-up that Sir Alex Ferguson will order to run around after Barcelona on Saturday. Apparently it’ll be the same one that started in Schalke, which notably means that Fabio will be chosen ahead of his brother Rafael. But who, really, will know? © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Glazers give Manchester United’s manager green light for summer spree Wed, 25 May 2011 17:51:29 +0000 The DailyDust reporter

Powered by article titled “Glazers give Manchester United’s manager green light for summer spree” was written by Owen Gibson, for The Guardian on Wednesday 25th May 2011 17.17 UTC

Manchester United’s owners have made it clear to Sir Alex Ferguson that he has a substantial transfer budget at his disposal for big-name targets during a summer in which the club’s bank account is expected to swell to more than £160m.

The £17m signing of the Atlético Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea will not be the last big signing during a close season in which the club will spend more than in recent years, and Ferguson has been given the green light to target the best players in the world.

The Glazers have consistently maintained that the manager has funds to spend, but fans have questioned the club’s ability to compete for the biggest names in recent years, amid concern at the club’s debt levels and interest commitments.

Having smashed the pay ceiling to give Wayne Rooney a contract worth around £200,000 a week in the wake of his threat to leave, the owners are said to be relaxed about the prospect of Ferguson breaking the bank to sign a marquee name.

It was the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m in 2009, followed by the departure of Carlos Tevez to Manchester City weeks later, that raised concerns among Manchester United fans worried that the demands of servicing the loans loaded on to the club had left it unable to compete for the best players.

Club insiders say that any acquisitions will have to fit the template followed by Manchester United under the Glazers, with an emphasis on younger players who will retain value. The club has bought one player in the past 14 years who was over 27 and cost more than £3m – Dimitar Berbatov for £31m.

According to Manchester United’s most recent accounts, the club have £113m in the bank. That has fuelled suspicions that the owners will withdraw some of it in dividends but insiders claim it is there for transfers and to guard against unforeseen events.

That figure is expected to rise to more than £160m by the end of the summer, if it follows the pattern of previous seasons, once season-ticket revenue for the coming season is banked. Despite racking up a record pre-tax loss of £109m last year, much of that was attributable to one-off costs associated with a £500m bond issue.

The chief executive, David Gill, has repeatedly stated that the club will comfortably be able to pay the £45m annual interest on those bonds, especially as it bought back £26m itself, and still has about £60m in cash every year thanks to global growth in commercial and TV revenues. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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It’s True, Jens Lehmann Is Coming Back To Arsenal Mon, 14 Mar 2011 16:22:57 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Breaking news : Arsenal are on the verge of handing retired German goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann an extraordinary comeback.

Lehmann, 41, retired at the end of last season but he is ready to return to the game to solve the Gunners’ goalkeeping crisis.

Below is exactly what Arsenal have been missing from the big 41 year old, will it help them win the league title?  It will certainly provide some entertainment..

What do you think Arsenal fans, good move?

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How to speak Scottish, by Gennaro Gattuso Wed, 16 Feb 2011 14:45:51 +0000 Ewan Touchline bust up in Italy has shades of Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday.

You don’t head butt an opposing coach after a game of Football, even if you are in the San Siro and AC Milan just lost to Tottenham Hotspur. But that’s exactly what captain Gennaro Gattuso decided to to to Joe Jordan.

As he explained to the BBC:

"I lost control. There is no excuse for what I did. I take my responsibilities for that," the Milan captain, 33, said.

"I was nervous. We were both speaking Scottish, something that I learned when I played in his home city of Glasgow, but I can’t tell you what we said.

And as anyone knows, the head butt in Glasgow is nothing more than a full stop. Never heard it described as a new language before, but I do wonder what Jordan would have used as a comma?

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So why did Boris cancel the FIFA Hotel for the Olypmics? Tue, 07 Dec 2010 17:12:00 +0000 Ewan By deciding to declare war on a small country – or cancelling a hotel booking.

Good old Boris Johnson. He’s now explained why he made the popular move of removing the free hotel booking of FIFA during the 2012 World Cup (without of course mentioning why they were given what appears to be a subtle bribe in the first place). It was because David Cameron wouldn;t go to war:

I was so furious at the lies and the graft — and the bland complacency with which the world’s self-styled football authority had ignored the excellent claims of the England bid — that my first instinct was to go for the military option.

What we needed, I felt, was a quick and popular Falklands-style conflict with one of the countries whose mendacious representatives had shafted England — just to clear the air.

I think I even vaguely suggested the idea to the Prime Minister, and he was sensible enough to rule it out.

His ultimate solution though seems no less impossible… to just go and win the 2018 World Cup anyway.


More on Boris’ Blog.

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When will our leaders return to lead on the field of battle? Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:40:15 +0000 Ewan We need our leaders to get into international sports, just like Iran.

In the olden days, when there was a problem between countries, a was usually sorted it out. Given that the leaders of the countries usuallly fought on the front lines, this happened les often than you might think – leaders usually like to stay in power rather than be buried six foot under.

We’ve lost that little touch of diplomacy in recent times, but I think some people are trying to bring it back, as Mahoud Ahmadinejad and Evo Morales squared up to each other at an Iran v Boliva football match last week (reports the BBC).

With the 2012 Olympics coming up, Boris Johnson can do more than wave the flag. Shall we let him loose with a Javelin? And if Nick Clegg is a demon footballer, that might explain the coalition with David Cameron and the 2014 World Cup.

Which sports do you think need to have their leaders at the front with the Captain’s armband?

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Why sport should embrace the illegal stream Fri, 22 Oct 2010 09:11:01 +0000 Ewan Here’s a simple question. If you’re a fan of a sport, and you want to watch it online, you’re going to watch it, no matter the source.

If there’s an easy to find official way to watch online, then that’s going to be the first port of call. What the sports industry needs to make sure is that when people look online, they (a) find the stream they want and (b) the industry is getting something from that view, be it a small subscription fee or in-vision advertising.

What the industry need to watch out for is to not make the mistakes that other areas of the media have done and ignore the issue till the viewers are trained to “find free"– the genie is already out of the bottle and more people every day are finding free content of their favourite sport.

By protecting the income from the TV Fees from players such as Sky in the UK, the different sporting regulators are still gorging themselves, but all that cash is suddenly going to disappear in the future as viewing figures switch to online sources. When Sky and their ilk realise they have to get into the online subscription game, the users are not going to be expecting to pay, and they’ll stay on the illegal streams.

What UK sport needs to do is look at how Baseball in the US has a full online subscription service, airing every match, at, even though Baseball is a huge draw on TV. Because if they go the legal route and slap down a few people, the majority of people will never experience a problem, and the same problem the music and film industry is in now will happen to sport.

Hat tip to the BBC.

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Roberto Carlos Wonder Goal Doesn’t Defy The Laws Of Physics Thu, 02 Sep 2010 08:41:41 +0000 Admin1 Brazilian Roberto Carlos’s 1997 free-kick against France was referred to as “the goal that defied physics”.  The ball curved so sharply that it left goalkeeper Fabian Barthez standing still.

Now, a French team of scientists have discovered the trajectory of the goal and developed an equation to describe it.

They say it could be repeated if a ball was kicked hard enough, with the appropriate spin and, crucially, the kick was taken sufficiently far from goal.

“We have shown that the path of a sphere when it spins is a spiral,” lead researcher Christophe Clanet from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris told BBC News.

And there we have it, it’s all in the spiral..Watch the wonder goal below.

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Are you wearing your football shirt to work today? Tue, 24 Aug 2010 07:32:36 +0000 Ewan Boris Johnson has asked you nicely, as it will help the 2018 World Cup bid.

In one of his more sensible ideas, Mayor Boris Johnson is getting behind the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup by encouraging a groundswell of public support while the FIFA examiners are in London.

The results of the hosting competition will be announced in 100 days (on December 2nd) but Johnson reckons that the love of Football that could be put on display by Londoners could tip the balance:

In one hundred days time we could all be World Cup winners and surely nowhere in the world could host a better World Cup Final than our great capital. So whoever you support I’m urging you to get your kit on and back the bid."

Rumours that Scottish workers in the capital have donned T-shirts proclaiming their love of Jimmy Hill are, currently, unsubstantiated.

More at the London Gov website.

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Beckham Will Fight His Way Back To The England Line-up Fri, 13 Aug 2010 10:07:51 +0000 The DailyDust reporter David Beckham – capped 115 times for England heard that Capello had dropped him after getting a call from the Managers right-hand man Franco Baldini on Monday to explain his boss had made some “comments” in a TV interview.

Capello said to ITV after the match “David knows that he has no future with the national team because we have to change. He will play one friendly to say bye bye.”


An England insider told the Sun “Maybe the World Cup knocked the stuffing out of him or maybe he just can’t speak the language. Quite frankly, they think he’s becoming a bit of a weirdo, who is just going through the motions like his heart’s not in it any more.”

At the DailyDust we think Beckham will play again for England, the team needs his passion and he will get fit enough to work his way back, what he needs is to join a Premiership club as soon as possible.  As athlete Merlene Ottey has shown, at 50 years old, she can still sprint at a world class level, no reason why Beck’s can’t still play at the highest level.

Image: sachab

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The vuvuzelas is now banned in England Wed, 21 Jul 2010 12:24:40 +0000 Simon Tingle Surely the news every British football fan wanted to hear as a number of English clubs have banned fans from bringing vuvuzelas to their grounds. The trumpets were an ever present, and very noisy, feature at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

While the South Africans may love to watch football to the sounds of a traffic jam, it appears the English crowds are not so keen. So far Tottenham, Arsenal, Birmingham, Everton, Fulham and West Ham have all banned vuvuzelas from their Premiership grounds.

A number of Football League clubs have also followed suit by banning the trumpets, that make the noise of a swarm of bees crossed with a car horn when blown.

It seems that the majority of British football fans favour chants from the crowd over the noise created by the vuvuzelas. An Everton statement read: “In the wake of the World Cup in South Africa we have received many emails from our supporters asking that we ban vuvuzelas on the grounds that they are simply irritating – but none urging us to permit their use at first-team fixtures.”

A West Ham Statement read: “The club wish at all times to ensure that all supporters are allowed to enjoy the game they are watching and prides itself on the passionate, loud and robust support from our fans at all matches at Upton Park.”

Where do you stand on the vuvuzelas debate – are they noisy and irritating or do they add to the atmosphere? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Heskey announces International retirement Thu, 15 Jul 2010 19:34:53 +0000 Nigel Slater Emile Heskey has today confirmed his retirement from international football. The news comes after England’s very disappointing performance in this summer’s World Cup Finals held in South Africa.

Heskey made 62 caps for his country and will be most remembered for scoring England’s fifth goal at Munich in their thrilling 5 – 1 win over Germany in the World Cup Qualification campaign under manager Sven Goran Eriksson.

But his retirement comes as Three Lions boss Fabio Capello looks very likely to introduce many young players into his team. 

The Aston Villa striker said: “I have enjoyed every moment of my England career and have worn the shirt with pride. I would like to thank every manager I have played under, everyone at the FA and the fans for all their support over the years.

“I wish the management team and the playing squad all the best for the future.” 

As well as this summer’s campaign, Heskey was involved in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the European Championships of 2000 and 2004.

Though only scoring seven goals for England, his ability to create goals and link up well with his striking partners made him a good choice for England managers and caused headache’s for many international defenders.

Also announcing his international retirement today was French footballer and former Arsenal ace Thierry Henry. His departure from the France team comes only a day after he signed a multi-million pound year contract with the New York Red Bulls.

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Bale Rejects £20m Move To Inter Tue, 06 Jul 2010 12:25:50 +0000 Simon Tingle Bale Raw

Tottenham’s Gareth Bale says he’s staying at White Hart Lane

The Spurs full-back has gained high praise after an impressive second half of the season at Tottenham.

The Welsh international helped to guide Harry Redknapp’s side to a Champions League spot with some crucial goals and great performances.

It seems his form has not gone unnoticed, with new Inter Milan boss, Rafael Benitez, tabling a £20m bid to try and tempt the 20-year-old to the San Siro.

Bale appears to have rejected the offer though and pledged his future to Tottenham.

The Spurs full-back said:  ”I have just signed a new contract until 2014 and I am very happy at Spurs.

“We have a very bright future here and I want to be part of it.”

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Newcastle ‘Perch’ up defence Mon, 05 Jul 2010 13:14:59 +0000 Nigel Slater James_Perch version

Premier League newcomers Newcastle United have boosted their defence ahead of the new season with the signing of James Perch from Nottingham Forest.

The Magpies have secured the services of the 24-year-old on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Perch impressed last season for Nottingham Forest, who finished in third place but lost to Blackpool in the play-off semi-final, which ended their chances of promotion.

The opportunity of playing Premier League football proved to be too good to turn down for the Mansfield-born star, who can play anywhere at the back or central midfield.

Nottingham Forest chief-executive Mark Arthur said: “James has been a marvellous servant for us. He made it clear that the propect of a move into the Premier League with Newcastle appealed to him and we couldn’t stand in his way.”

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FA: Capello to remain England manager Mon, 05 Jul 2010 12:38:57 +0000 Nigel Slater capello version

The Football Association have confirmed that Fabio Capello will stay on as England manager despite their recent humiliating World Cup exit in South Africa.

Less than a week after England’s dreadful 4 – 1 loss to Germany in Bloemfontein, the FA have responded in favour of the Italian.  

Sir David Richards, chairman of Club England said: “We remain convinced that Fabio is the best man for the job.”

Capello, reportedly on a deal worth £6m a year, knows himself he has a tough job in winning back the supporters ahead of the Euro 2012 qualification campaign.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid boss said: “I can assure the fans I am now fully focussed on our European qualifying fixtures, starting with the friendly against Hungary in August.

“We will look to introduce new players to give the team new energy and I will use all my experience to take England forward. I am determined to succeed.”

With this in mind, current key players including the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard could be given the chop as Capello looks to freshen a battered and bruised England.

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City complete Yaya Toure swoop Mon, 05 Jul 2010 11:50:53 +0000 Nigel Slater yayatoure version

Manchester City have made a second big signing within a week after Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure sealed a move to the Premier League club.

The Ivory Coast star has been purchased from the La Liga champions in a deal reportedly worth £24m and will join his younger brother and central defender Kolo Toure at Eastlands. 

Yaya, who recently represented his country in the World Cup, was told by Barcelona that he was surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was delighted to capture the midfielder’s signature.

He said: “This is another fantastic signing for Manchester City. Everyone knows Yaya is a player we have admired for a long time.

“He has played at the top level with Barcelona and I am sure his experience and ability will be very important for us.”

The news comes just days after the club announced the signing of Spanish winger David Silva from Valencia.

Earlier this summer, the club confirmed they had signed Germany defender Jerome Boateng, who currently has put in impressive performances for Germany in their World Cup campaign in South Africa.

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All those Steven Gerrard Rumours from Twitter Fri, 02 Jul 2010 07:24:05 +0000 Ewan image

What is up with England and Liverpool Captain?

For some reason, Twitter yesterday was full of rumours about a certain English footballer. And we’re pretty sure that some of the following might have been embellished slightly. In any case here’s the Top Ten rumours of the Englishman who went to the World Cup and did an impression of Scotland…

@the_original_PD Steven Gerrard wanted to vote LibDem but his crosses kept missing the box.

@AFCTweets Steven Gerrard is actually the banker from Deal or No Deal.

@duckorange Steve Gerrard thinks Expecto Patronum is the new Reasonably Priced Car on Top Gear

@shabouwcawSteven Gerrard once punch a man in Reno just to watch him cry.

@matpayne It’s Steven Gerrard that Carly Simon is referring to in that song.

@loveandgarbage When appearing on TV’s Going for Gold Gerrard replied “Henry Kelly” when the host began a question by asking “Who am I?

@Jason_Cobb After the defeat in Bloemfontein, Steven Gerrard briefly considered standing as an independent in the Tulse Hill by-election.

@MoreUtterPiffle The confusion as to whether Jaffa Cakes are cakes or biscuits stems from when Steven Gerrard stacked shelves in Kwik Save.

@Loveandgarbage #GerrardRumorus was Steven Gerrard’s unsuccessful album of Fleetwood Mac covers.

@WFv2 Steven Gerrard owns the copyright to millions of recycled Chuck Norris jokes.

Tread carefully, but have you got any more?

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Hodgson confirmed as new Liverpool boss Thu, 01 Jul 2010 12:21:50 +0000 Nigel Slater roy hodgson version
As expected, Roy Hodgson has been officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager and has signed a three-year deal.

He joins the Merseyside club after a successful spell in charge at Fulham where he recently guided the West London club to runners-up of the UEFA Europa Cup.

Yesterday, The Daily Dust reported the Swiss coach was close to signing up a deal with the Anfield club after both Liverpool and Fulham reportedly had agreed a compensation fee for his services.

Hodgson takes over the hot seat from Rafael Benitez who left the club last month by mutual consent and since that time has been appointed the new boss of European cup winners Inter Milan.

The former Fulham, Blackburn and Switzerland coach told the club’s website: “This is the biggest job in club football and I am honoured to be taking on the role of manager of Britain’s most successful football club.

“I look forward to meeting the players and the supporters and getting down to work at Melwood.”

Liverpool club skipper Steven Gerrard welcomed Hodgson’s appointment and is excited about the change.

He said: “I think it’s been worth the wait and I’m sure now he’s just keen on get on with it and start to quickly put in place his plans for the new season.”

Fulham say they look to appoint a new manager for at least the middle of July after Hodgson’s exit.

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Hodgson lined up to be new Liverpool boss Wed, 30 Jun 2010 11:59:02 +0000 Nigel Slater roy hodgson version

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is set to be announced as the new Liverpool head coach – according to reports.

The Swiss legend was voted League Managers Association (LMA) manager of the year last season after guiding the London club to the UEFA Europa League final.

Liverpool were granted permission to speak to the 62-year-old two weeks ago and it seems a deal has or is very close to being reached.

However, a stumbling block could rise with Hodgson likely to be a main contender for the England position – should the FA decide to sack current boss Fabio Capello after their dismal World Cup campaign in South Africa.

If the former Switzerland and Inter Milan boss were to accept the switch to Liverpool, he would be the replacement of Rafael Benitez, who left the club last month after a disappointing season in which the club significantly underacheived.

Reports claim the two clubs (Liverpool and Fulham) have agreed a compensation fee of around £2.5m, so if England want Hodgson they must act now before it is too late.

If he is announced as new boss, his first job will be to persuade the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to stay at the Anfield club, who may feel like moving elsewhere in a bid to win silverware.

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Pearson becomes new Hull boss Wed, 30 Jun 2010 11:14:27 +0000 Nigel Slater nigel-pearson version

Nigel Pearson has left his position at Leicester City to become the new manager of Hull City.

The 46-year-old, takes over from caretaker boss Iain Dowie, who was not given an extended contract  after the club were relegated from the Premier League last season.

While at Leicester, Pearson secured promotion back into the Championship and in their first season back in the second tier of English football they surprised the whole division by reaching the play-offs and a top five finish.

But a cruel penalty shoot out  loss to Cardiff City ended any hopes of returning to the Premier League.

Hull City’s head of football operatons Adam Pearson was pleased to capture the Leicester manager on a three-year deal.

He said: “We are delighted to welcome a manager of Nigel’s experience and calibre to the club.

“We feel it is a real coup for Hull City and that Nigel is the best man to mould the existing squad into a competitive Championship squad.”

The deal now means Leicester City are now searching for a new manager with former Hull boss Phil Brown being heavily linked to the position.

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Blatter issues apology over disallowed goal Tue, 29 Jun 2010 10:02:53 +0000 Nigel Slater blatter version

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologised to the Football Association for Frank Lampard’s ruled out effort against Germany in the crucial last 16 World Cup tie.

With England traling 2 – 1, the midfielder’s looping shot fell back off the crossbar and TV replays quickly showed the ball had crossed the line by approximately a foot. But the officials did not give the ‘goal’ and play continued with Germany in possession.

That incredible moment was to be a big turning point as Joachim Loew’s side cruised to a 4 – 1 win in Bloemfontein last Sunday. Had Lampard’s strike been given, the game at 2 – 2 would have been nicely in the balance going into the second half.   

Instead England were still chasing the game after half-time but despite early pressure Germany made them suffer on the counter attack to reach the Quarter-Finals.

Blatter, today, has reacted for the first time since the incident and has promised to raise up the debate about goal-line technology being used in the modern game.

The FIFA president has also apologised to the Mexico, who were outraged when an ‘offside’ Carlos Tevez gave Argentina the lead against them in their second round encounter.

He said: “The only thing I can do is yesterday I have spoken to the two federations directly concerned by refereeing mistakes.

“I have expressed to them apologies and I understand they are not happy and that people are criticising.

“It is obvious that after the experiences so far at this World Cup it would be a nonsense not to re-open the file on goal-line technology.

“We will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and have the first opportunity in July at the business meeting.”

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