Archive for EPL

The Suarez saga: Biters of the world unite

mtyson

Birds of a feather flock together. So when Luis Suarez became a twitter celebrity for biting Branislav Ivanonovic, he gained himself a new twitter friend.

This new follower is none other than the world’s most famous professional athlete to have bitten an opponent, Mike Tyson. Tyson reached worldwide ‘biting fame’ when he chewed a chunk off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match in 1997.

When asked about his decision to extend this almost virtual pat on the head to Suarez, Tyson said (audio here) :

“I just sort of got on the the Twitter thing and I said hey, um, this is an interesting guy, let me follow him, check him out, see what his journey’s all about. You know, he bit somebody, you know s*** happens, you know what I mean? I’m sure he made amends with his guy, I made amends with Evander, and we go on with our lives.”

It is unclear whether Suarez and Ivanovic have made amends. Suarez says that Ivanovic has accepted his apology but the Guardian claims Ivanovic has rejected it.

But as Tyson says, s*** happens. May be the boxer can tweet Suarez a few tips on how to stop the cannibal jokes.

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Patrice Evra bites back

patriceevra

Patrice Evra is a not a man who forgets. He showed this by biting into a fake arm while celebrating his team’s utter domination of the Premier League.

Manchester United won their 20th top-ranked title after brushing aside relegation threatened Aston Villa 3-0 at Old Trafford.

After the match, Manchester United players and staff celebrated their title clinching win with all the excitement of a yearly free trip around the sun.

To liven things up, a smiling Patrice Evra picked up and pretended to bite a fake severed arm thrown onto the pitch by a fan.

It appeared to be an attempt to mock Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s who recently  just had to have a bite of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovich.

Suarez was infamously banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra.

The French full-back just couldn’t help having a dig at his old foe as he tasted title glory for the fifth time with Manchester United.

Either that or it was a homage to some strange magic that has brought Alex Ferguson and Manchester United their success.

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David Beckham and the transfer window 2013: Signings

mariobecks

The transfer window deadline day has come and gone. As one circus leaves the UK another one comes rushing in to take its place. Mario Balotelli and his antics will henceforth be reported from Milan where the striker has gone on a £17m deal. Fear not though Posh and the kids are back in the UK while David Beckham is just across the channel in Paris plying his trade at Paris Saint Germain.The Parisian club and David Beckham do have the makings of a match made in  heaven. Becks has announced that he will be donating all his PSG wages. So not only is David Beckham back in Europe, he is back with an absolute PR bang. Welcome back Becks, we’ve missed you. Here are the other confirmed transfer deals.

Permanent deals

  • Mario Balotelli:  Manchester City to Milan – £17m, plus £5m add-ons
  • Christopher Samba:  Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR – £12.5m
  • Danny Graham:  Swansea City to Sunderland – £5m
  • John Stones:  Barnsley to Everton – £3m
  • Brek Shea:  FC Dallas to Stoke City – £2.5m
  • Yacouba Sylla:  Clermont Foot to Aston Villa – £2m
  • Kevin Mbabu:  Servette to Newcastle – £1m
  • David Beckham:  Free agent to Paris St-Germain
  • Luciano Becchio:  Leeds United to Norwich City – swap deal
  • Steve Morison:   Norwich City to Leeds United – swap deal
  • Godsway Donyoh:  Right to Dream Academy to Manchester City – undisclosed
  • Alexander Doni:  Liverpool to Botafogo
  • Stephen Warnock:  Aston Villa to Leeds United
  • Nacho Monreal:  Málaga to Arsenal – £8.5m
  • Jack Butland:  Birmingham to Stoke City – £4m
  • Jermaine Jenas:  Tottenham to QPR – undisclosed

Loans

  • Alou Diarra:  West Ham to Stade Rennais
  • Paul Scharner:  Hamburg to Wigan – until end of season
  • Urby Emanuelson:  Milan to Fulham – end of season
  • Stanislav Manolev:  PSV Eindhoven to Fulham – end of season
  • Alejandro Faurlín:  QPR to Palermo – end of season
  • Dani Pacheco:  Liverpool to SD Huesca – end of season
  • Rory Delap:  Stoke to Barnsley – end of season
  • Chris O’Grady:  Sheffield Wednesday to Barnsley – end of season
  • Heurelho Gomes:  Spurs to Hoffenheim – end of season
  • Asa Hall:  Shrewsbury to Aldershot – end of season
  • Ahmed Elmohamady:  Sunderland to Hull – end of season
  • Gedo:  Al Ahly to Hull – end of season
  • Ahmed Fathi:  Al Ahly to Hull – end of season
  • Patrick Bamford:  Chelsea to MK Dons – end of season
  • David Morgan:  Nottingham Forest to Dundee – end of season
  • Anton Robinson:  Huddersfield to Gillingham – end of season
  • Jordan Obita:  Reading to Oldham – one month
  • Godsway Donyoh:  Manchester City to Djurgardens – rest of year
  • Matthew Upson:  Stoke City to Brighton – end of season
  • Eyong Enoh:  Ajax to Fulham – end of season
  • Andros Townsend:  Tottenham to QPR – end of season

Released

  • Louis Saha:  Sunderland
  • Lorenzo Davids:  Bournemouth

Did your club sign that game-changing player?

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Blackburn Rovers: Fowl play

Although Blackburn lost 1-0 to Wigan and are now certain to be relegated this season. They won big points on the creative protests scale.

In November, they showed their arts and crafts abilities by rendering a protest ban completely useless.

Then their weapon of choice was an airplane which had been instructed to fly over the stadium during the game with the fans’ current mantra ‘Kean Out’ attached to it.

Yesterday, a live chicken was their weapon of choice. Wearing the  Blackburn flag as a cape, the proud fowl invaded the pitch early in the first half of  Blackburn’s relegation battle again Wigan.

He succeeded to stop the game until he was caught in the Wigan goal net by the Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and Blackburn’s Yakubu.

The chicken was released as a protest against Blackburn’s unpopular owners, the Indian poultry giants, Venkys. Thus answering the age old question of ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’

Move over Anfield cat, there is a new animal hero in the premier league — The Blackburn chicken.

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Tables turned: Skysports apologises to John Terry

Photo by: Александр Мысякин.

‘I am too lazy for revenge, I just wait for karma to kick in’ could have been John Terry’s facebook status today.

Karma really is shinning down on JT who has often been the victim of unfair media coverage. In February last year, media organisations the world over scrambled to publish details about John Terry’s alleged affair with ex-teammate John Bridge’s former wife.

These alleged revelations splashed on front pages of publications all over the world lead to the footballer losing the England captaincy and almost/ nearly ended his marriage.

Leading the brigade was New of the World. The 168-year old tabloid was forced to shut-down after a Guardian investigation revealed a shocking, soul-less culture and turned the tables on the dirt-digging publication.

Today, Sky Sports apologised for misquoting John Terry in an interview about Tottenham midfielder Luca Modric. I suspect, John Terry and most celebs can look forward to deluge of apologies coming their way in the following weeks as media organisations go into a NOTW spurred extra-cautious mode.

Photo by: Gene Hunt.

Although, the NOTW revelations make it impossible to argue in the tabloid’s favour. Romantics among us might have felt some remorse for a 168-year old establishment to have come to such a terrible and bitter end. Others who remember times when tabloids were publications that got some of the best scoops and set the tone for political debate and weren’t synonymous with dirty, sensationalist, (and now criminal) news reporting might go further and blame Rupert Murdoch for ruining a British tabloid.

But, there is no denying that the tabloid culture and the news culture as a whole needs to change. If a sesquicentennial publication has to die to set this change in motion, so be it.

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Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent

Liverpool FC have announced that Rafael Benitez has left the club by mutual consent. The Spaniard succeeded Gerard Houllier at the english premier league club 6 years ago in June 2004. In 2005, his very first season at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez lead the club to Champions League success followed by an FA cup in 2006. He became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to win major trophies in his first 2 seasons. American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillette took over the club in 2007 marking a new era for Liverpool FC and Benitez. The new owners were quick to back Benitez and Liverpool returned to the finals of the Champions League in 2007 but this time lost to AC Milan.

The fans however were getting impatient and wanted desperately to win the Premier League title back from their fierce rivals Manchester United. The owners made funds available for Benitez so he could deliver the Premier League. A record £26.5m pounds were spent to bring spanish striker Fernando Torres to the club but the premier league title eluded the Anfield faithful.

Last season Liverpool went out in the group stages of the Champions League and finished 7th in the league table, denying them Champions League football this season. Benitez’s tactics on the field as well as his transfer dealings including the £20m spent on the rarely used Robbie Keane and £20m on an injured Alberto Aquilani started to frustrate the fans and friction between the owners and Benitez became more and more public. However, it seems that falling out of the top 4 is what ultimately caused Benitez to lose his job.

Benitez, who had four years left of his five year contract to run, resigned after accepting a severance payment said that he was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club. The former Valencia manager had in the recent months been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid.  The posts at both these clubs have been recently filled since and it seems likely that Rafael Benitez might fill the spot left vacant by Jose Mourinho at at this year’s European Champions Inter Milan.

Liverpool FC which in debt to the tune of £351m and was put up on sale by it owners now focuses on finding a successor to Rafael Benitez. Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson as well as former Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink have all been linked with the job. The search for a new manager however could be hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the Liverpool FC’s future ownership and its precarious financial condition.

Article first published as Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent on Technorati.

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Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager

West Ham United have appointed Avram Grant as the club’s new manager. The Israeli signed a four-year deal which is subject to him being granted a work-permit. The former Portsmouth manager succeeds Gianfranco Zola who was sacked after the Hammers finished 17th in last season’s league.

Avram Grant who is a personal friend of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, shot into the limelight when he was appointed the  manager of Chelsea FC following the abrupt departure of the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Chelsea fans were shocked by Jose Mourinho’s sacking and livid at the owner’s choice of ‘The Special One’s’ successor sparking a series of protests, some of racial and anti semantic nature. They felt he lacked the expertise to manage at the highest level. UEFA didn’t make things easier for Avram Grant either, with the governing body threatening to put an end to his long-term future at Chelsea FC since he did not possess the UEFA Pro License required under the Premier League rules by anyone wishing to manage a top-flight club on a permanent basis i.e. longer than 12 weeks.Despite all the chaos surrounding his appointment, Avram Grant kept his head and led Chelsea FC to a second place finish in the Premier League, to the Champions League Final, the League Cup Final and the FA Cup final.

Avram Grant’s contract was terminated by Chelsea FC at the end of the season and he moved to Portsmouth FC.

During his tenure at Portsmouth, they suffered a 9-point deduction owing to their financial meltdown and became the first top-flight club to go into administration. Avram Grant however, motivated his players who had not been paid on several occasions to give it their best every time they went on to the pitch. He galvanized the team and Portsmouth fought till the very end. Grant quite brilliantly, through sheer grit, determination and belief managed to take the most-obvious relegation candidates to England’s most coveted Cup Final, the FA Cup Final. Even though Portsmouth lost to Chelsea in the final, their fans continued to sing past the final whistle, still believing in their club. Last season truly was one of Avram Grant’s best, silencing critics once and for all.

Avram Grant’s time in England with Chelsea and Portsmouth leaves no doubt about his managerial abilities. No one would argue with West Ham’s co-owner David Gold who felt Avram Grant’s appointment as West Ham manager brings “stability and experience” to the club. Avram Grant who will be officially unveiled this month said, “I am proud and honoured to be the manager of West Ham”.

It seems only fair that a club supported by an impressive fanbase including the likes of Elton John, Rod Stewart, Russell Brand, Alfred Hitchcock, Sebastian Faulks, Nicolas Cage and the President of the United States, Barack Obama is managed by the very impressive Avram Grant.

Article first published as Avram Grant Named New West Ham Manager on Technorati.

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