Saturday, April 4, 2009

Liam Neeson--Scouser

Spotted today at Craven Cottage.

via ONTD.

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UF Special Report: Wanda Nara

Here it is Saturday afternoon, my wife is out helping a friend with wedding dress shopping, Liverpool just pulled of an injury time winner against Fulham, and it just so happens to sunny and nice outside. So, what do I decide to do? To provide UF with my special report on Argentine WAG extraordinaire Wanda Nara. The lovely lass you see up top and will see more of, a lot more of her, after the jump. In fact, let's just make this a preemptive NSFW warning for all pics after the jump and all links.

Who is Wanda Nara (NSFW Google Image search)?

She just so happens to be the new baby mama of former Barca and current Gremio striker Maxi Lopez, which is really just exhibit 89283 demonstrating professional athletes really punch above their weight in this aspect of life. Unfortunately for Maxi, Wanda's been drawing more attention than his play.

Him? Really?

But, there is more. Wanda also proclaimed she hand been touched (NSFW) by the Hand of God, but that she wouldn't be pressing charges. Diego Maradona denied the rumors.

Are those regulation size?

Channeling my best Billy Mays, but wait there's even more!!! She has a sex tape! Nara has definitely been taking notes in Paris Hilton Marketing 101.

She handles the trident well.

If you click now, I'll even throw in this odd video I just found. FOR FREE!! I'm not sure what it says, but I am pretty sure it is not very flattering of Ms. Nara. If any of you Spanish speakers wish to provide a translation in the comments it would be much appreciated.

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The Bootroom: The Return of Club Play

Will Sven Goran also mark his return to the Premier League?

Finally, after two weeks of mostly shoddy international matches club play returns to ease my case of footie blueballs. Seriously, leagues were just starting to get interesting and then the break came to halt all momentum. ManU was on a two game slump, down to a 1 point lead (with a game in hand), Liverpool was streaking towards the top having outscored opponents 15-1 in March. The top four teams in the Bundesliga are separated by one point total. La Liga and Serie A are not as close but Real Madrid is still making a push. Then, mid-week we have CL quarterfinals.

That's not to say there weren't great moments during the week. Ballack, three times. Jozy, three times as well. Then, Sven Goran Eriksson gets canned. Now it's merely a question of which Premiership squad wants to take a chance on the Swede.

All of this great, but I'm just glad to resume the battles, select games after the jump, and join us in the bootroom, but no booting allowed.


7:45 ET Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur
10:00 ET Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough
10:00 ET Arsenal v Manchester City
10:00 ET Hull City v Portsmouth Kingston
10:00 ET Newcastle United v Chelsea
10:00 ET West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City
10:00 ET West Ham United v Sunderland
12:30 ET Fulham v Liverpool

10:00 ET Everton v Wigan Athletic
11:00 ET Manchester United v Aston Villa

La Liga

14:00 ET Recreativo Huelva v Sevilla FC
14:00 ET Athletic Bilbao v Mallorca
14:00 ET Valladolid v Barcelona
14:00 ET Almeria v Villarreal
14:00 ET Real Betis v Numancia
16:00 ET Málaga v Real Madrid

11:00 ET Espanyol v Deportivo La Coruña
11:00 ET Atlético Madrid v Osasuna
13:00 ET Valencia v Getafe
15:00 ET Sporting Gijon v Racing Santander


9:30 ET Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund
9:30 ET Hamburg SV v TSG Hoffenheim
9:30 ET VfL Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich
9:30 ET VfL Bochum v VfB Stuttgart
9:30 ET Eintracht Frankfurt v Energie Cottbus

11:00 ET Werder Bremen v Hannover 96
11:00 ET Karlsruhe v Borussia Monchengladbach
11:00 ET FC Cologne v Bayer Leverkusen

Serie A

7:00 ET Atalanta v Fiorentina
9:00 ET Reggina v Genoa
9:00 ET AS Roma v Bologna
9:00 ET Cagliari v Catania
9:00 ET Juventus v Chievo Verona
9:00 ET Siena v Lazio
9:00 ET Sampdoria v Napoli
9:00 ET Palermo v Torino
13:00 ET Udinese v Internazionale
15:00 ET AC Milan v Lecce

Championship (I have fired TFA, how dare he not include the Colaship)


10.00am ET Barnsley v Nottm Forest
10.00am ET Blackpool v Plymouth
12.20pm ET Bristol City v Preston
10.00am ET Coventry v Reading
10.00am ET Derby v Burnley
10.00am ET Doncaster v Watford
10.00am ET Norwich v Sheff Wed
10.00am ET QPR v Crystal Palace
10.00am ET Sheff Utd v Ipswich
10.00am ET Southampton v Charlton

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Backpasses: He would love it

What to read while all of our stories get recycled and claimed by others. (Every single one of those words could be considered NSFW, alright?)

Shearer wants to make sure no Scots sully his new team [Daily Mail]
Trezegoal shows Barry Ferguson that all inappropriate hand gestures are not career-ending [The Offside]
Valencia found some money to pay people With. For now [Fox Soccer]

Podolski put a few bob into a fair play fund for slapping Ballack. Can I give the same percentage of my yearly take to do the same? [Fox Soccer]
Wayne Rooney does his best Keegan-style jinx on Man U's title hopes [The Sun]
Becks' tats show how insecure he is [Telegraph]

Hat tricks so far in World Cup qualifying [The Best Eleven]

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You Lucky B@stards: A Treat For Monday.

You lucky, lucky people. Another exclusive UF interview is coming on Monday. Stevenage's Wembley bound keeper Chris Day. I know, I know, this is cruelty. I have teased you! Well here is a tid bit to keep you happy.

BD: What was it like playing at Anfield with Watford?

CD: Playing and winning at Anfield with Watford is probably my best result in football and to be given a standing ovation as a team by the kop for our efforts is what you dream about when you are growing up.

BD: Many players have strange pre-game routines and believe in superstitions and lucky charms. Do you have any rituals or habits on a match day before taking to the pitch?

CD: I wouldn't say we have too many rituals or superstitions amongst the camp but there are a few heads which have grown hair and stubble whilst on the run , a cd which we always play and I am wearing a pair of socks which have holes in the toes which I will not be changing, hopefully, for a while yet!

The whole interview will be up at 10 am on Monday.


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Quick Throw: Hicks Defaults on Loans

Developing... Conflicting reports indicate Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks may have defaulted on some of the loans secured by his sports franchises. It is not clear whether these are loans secured by Hicks' interest in Liverpool FC. Hicks denies the default or at least that the banks may soon own the clubs.

All of this may explain the earlier reports that Hicks was seeking buyers for a minority interest in the Texas Rangers baseball team he owns.

UPDATE: This report indicates the loans where an interest payment has not been paid are not connected to Liverpool FC. It is also said that Hicks is attempting to renegotiate terms on these non-Liverpool loans. This does not mean it does not affect Hicks' financing of the Liverpool debt as the debt still needs to be serviced and a default could crimp his cash flow. I really wish I knew what I was talking about.

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Norwichomon. Saturday: LB

Day 1: Beers, Shots, Relegation Fights, Curry Pies and Pain

The first night, I barely remember. RZM, The Turk, Lumberjack and myself loitered at some "traditional" English pub near Liverpool Street Station, lost in a blur of bitters, Fuller's London Pride, tequila and whiskey that meshed nicely with the jetlag and general confusion.

An eight-hour flight led to an hour-long tube ride, which in turn led to a 20-minute walk to our hotel, and from there, we spilled out into Holborn like Amy Winehouse, disoriented, under the influence, and most unphotogenic.

The pub was warm and packed with Aussies, which makes perfect sense if you've ever spent time in London. The capital is packed with blonde, tanned Antipodeans, tending bar, collecting pint glasses and giving false hope to those drunk financiers who'd clocked off at 5pm from their cushy Royal Bank of Scotland offices across the street to spend what little money the company had left on round after round of vodka tonics.

We laughed, joked, ridiculed everyone in sight (including ourselves) before stumbling home around midnight. A hotel bed never felt so sweet.

That morning, it was an early start to make the trip to Norwich where Bigus was waiting with family and Canaries old boys to get the day's plans started. Lumberjack had booked a mini-van to shuttle us around, and we had the misfortune in the neanderthal who would be doing the driving. I forget his name, but it certainly rhymed with "cunt"; he drove from Dover to pick us up, loaded our bags, and then told us we had a 45-minute break because he can only drive so long in one sitting according to employment rules.

And so, he scarfed down a sausage roll and a packet of crisps (impressive for 8.30am in the morning), and we collapsed in the hotel lobby, unable to get things moving.

Once he finally did put pedal to metal, he got us lost several times, taking us on a scenic tour of Greater London with a broken GPS in his van. His bright idea? To fix the GPS once we got to Norwich, although his plan failed on one basic, crucial point: HE COULDN'T GET US TO FUCKING NORWICH.

A couple of u-turns, a dodgy roadside bacon n' egg breakfast, and a wonderful detour through what appeared to be the outskirts of Ipswich -- raw sewage and despair as far as the eye could see -- and we finally arrived at the rendez-vous, an hour later than scheduled.

Bigus was waiting, anxious at the late start, but beers were distributed and suddenly, everything got a lot calmer. We chugged a few more in the hospitality lounge before wandering down to our seats.

But wait -- first, former NCFC legend Jeremy Goss dragged Bigus and Kopper up on stage for a bit of Q&A about the NY Canaries and their allegiances to the club. Exciting stuff indeed, although I hear RZM killed it the season before with his Spurs jokes.

And then, undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend for young Bigus: DELIA SMITH. Yes, the cook sought out our traveling party and posed for pictures and a couple of questions with the lads, thanking them for their support and effort to come and support the team in their hour of need. Kopper wet himself, and Bigus nearly took her eye out with his knob!

Sure, I make fun, but I've never met Rafa Benitez, and I'll certainly never meet Hicks or Gillett which, in retrospect, is probably a very good thing indeed lest I get blood on my hands amid all the punching and stabbing.

After the hubbub died down and Kopper changed his underwear, it was almost kick-off. Down the stairs and out into the brisk Norwich air and around to our seats. Before getting there, a pitstop at the concession stand for more beer, and the most divine English export since Keira Knightley: the meat pie.

God's gift to us mortals

No, it's not a euphemism for anal sex or anything, but exactly as it sounds: a flaky, crumbly pie crust containing warm meat of some indeterminate origin, some gravy, too much salt, and all in all, it's God's snack. I'd rank the scotch egg a close second, but Delia's pies were divine. Chicken balti was the Match Pie, and nary a better morsel of food would pass my lips until the following day at Wembley. (what? I'm fat. I remember these things!)

The seats beckoned, and it was mere minutes to kick-off. Norwich City v. Coventry City. The first of many six-pointers for the Canaries.

Behold, the majesty of Carrow Road!

Call me arrogant or sheltered, but it's some wonder that I've never experienced the grit or weekly hurt of a relegation battle. Every game on the fixture list becomes a mile marker, a microcosm of a season spent yo-yoing between good form and ineptitude, between hope and despair.

Through no minor miracle, Liverpool has shielded me from the angst like a parent covering their child's eyes when something questionable pops up on the TV, and it's safe to say that the mood around Carrow Road was something decidedly R-rated. After all, it's not every day that Coventry City come to town.

The ground was brilliant, the support strong with barely an empty seat in sight, and yet the collective experience of those 94 minutes was enough to kill off any optimism. In short, the Canaries simply didn't have it, despite several agonizingly close chances, a miraculous equalizer, and then a capitulation of the highest order that gifted the visitors a fine away win.

This lad, Leon Best, was pretty awful up front, but you have to appreciate the facemask

Whether it was deserved or not is another story; to leave the opponent's left back all alone on the right edge of the box, free with time and space to bamboozle his marker, the 6-foot-5 striker who can't jump, several times over before curling it in off the far post, was inexcusable, and pointed to the core of why Norwich are where they are.

The midfield was static and unable to gear any form of attack when in possession, and the contrast with Coventry was clear every time their Icelandic #12 picked up the ball in his own half and sprinted toward goal like a greyhound in heat chasing a potential fuck toy.

The away fans were in full song throughout, even during the second half when Norwich piled on enough pressure to get an equalizer, but woeful finishing prevented further goals.

Around us, the majority of Canaries fans were frozen in an anxious stasis, stares glued to the game, faces wrought with concern, afraid to look away yet almost certain of what was coming next.

Bigus' dad left immediately at full-time, bitterly disappointed. We all followed. 2-1 Sky Blues, and plenty of reason to panic.

(Granted, now they're looking a lot more comfortable, but shit, they were struggling back then.)


Upstairs, our hosts gamely tried to keep us entertained. RZM and I were repulsed by Lumberjack, who indulged in the playground game of "Fart and Move" from one end of the room to the other, carefree as Chelsea had won, Norwich, Liverpool and Spurs had all shat the bed, and he wore his smugness as long as the night would allow.

Fans and season ticket holders sat at tables watching rugby, or crowded near the bar to get as many pints in as possible before heading home to bed. We mingled with former Canaries, including Mike Milligan and Jeremy Goss, and drank in a funereal atmosphere as hospitality prepped all their obligations for the corporate sponsors.

The Norwich City Man of the Match soon emerged, defender Gary Doherty, and Goss asked him a couple of questions on-stage before bringing up that week's Special Fan, presumably sponsored by someone or something, to ask a question of his own. Now, in normal fan/athlete interactions, you expect the regular Joe Schmo to be so enthralled by his being in the company of a player/idol that he tosses him a softball question, something along the lines of "what's your favourite food?" before running away giggling like a pre-teen girl at a Hannah Montana concert.

And yet, much to my surprise, Super Fan #99 offered Doherty a tougher question than anything scribbled on Goss' cue cards! I forget the exact wording, but it was something like "You're shit and the team is shit? Thoughts?" To his credit, Doherty gave a very composed, bland response about needing to try harder and still plenty of time left, but it still stood out as a reminder of just what was going on at Carrow Road: a fucking relegation fight! There's no time for Men of the Match when you've just lost the game!

More beer followed, and then all the sponsors came up and posed with Doherty, who wore a forced smile and looked for all the money in the world that he'd rather be somewhere else. He even posed with our lot before hastily darting out to his car.

Then, it was off for curries with a slew of old Norwichians, at which point I was ambushed with that fucking David Beckham shirt. Let the record show I still hate the man, but well played to those who set everything up, even if I never, ever, ever, ever forgive any of you for doing it. For anyone concerned, that shirt now has pride of place under the bathroom sink, where I keep it between toilet cleanings.

I barely recall what happened after that thanks to all the drinks, music and questionably-dressed women around town, but in a way, it brings the first full day of Norwichomon around full circle. I began Friday night with no clue of my surroundings, and I fell asleep Saturday night in much the same state of mind.

In-between, some other stuff happened that I'm saving for later. The following morning, we'd drag our bloated corpses from the hotel and back into the mini-van, with the trip to Wembley on the horizon.


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Norwichomon: Saturday: Bigus.

[Ed. Note: reposted as we're actually gonna finish this thing shortly!]

Well we are back from an epic weekend. We took in 2 matches and drank enough bitter to float a battle ship in. In fact, its taken me until today to recover enough to write this. My body was so bloated by beautiful meat products such as chicken balti, steak and mushroom pies and scotch eggs, that I couldn't reach the keyboard with my arms until now. But never fear, I'm back in shape and ready to detail my trip to Norwich and day out at Wembley with Lingering Bursitis, Relegation Zone Mikey, Kopper, Lumberjack and his man-slave 'The Turk'.

My liver is out of the washing machine and my memory has returned. Lets go...

Saturday 28th Feb 2009

My day started rather differently than the rest of the boys. While they nursed hang-overs from an evening that Lingering will describe in detail in his blog, yours truly had a nice relaxing evening with my folks. Followed by the sleep of a thousand sleepy sleepers. Just what the doctor ordered ahead of a day in Norwich to be followed by a mammoth evening of fun. I headed to Norwich with my dad while the others had the pleasure of being driven from London in a coach that Lumberjack had hired. What transpired on THAT journey nearly lead Kopper's brain to explode, but again, that's one for Lingering to tell as I heard it second hand.

I checked into the hotel at the greatest ground on earth at noon. The Holiday Inn Carrow road is situated between the Barclay stand and the Jarrold. It offers some lucky buggers a view of the glorious pitch as they awake from their slumbers. Not me however. My morning view was the tire shop across the street. Anyway, I digress. The lads were late, but I was already in the bar with a pint in hand by noon.

But while the boys and their 'genius' of a driver wound their way down narrow c roads to Norwich I was having pre-game beers with Ex Norwich midfielder Mike Milligan and my mate (Norwich Academy coach) John Revell.

The lads arrived and after they had bitched about the driver, we all made our way to the Gunn club whicj is housed in the Barclay stand. After a couple of beers, the NY Canary members of the crew (myself and Kopper) were asked questions (in front of the Gunn clubs audience) by Norwich legend Jeremy Goss. Kopper was asked how a yank could become a Norwich fan and I explained how the NY Canaries came to be.

Kopper and Jeremy Goss.

The mention of the great Gossy gives me the perfect excuse to share this....


Get in Gossy! Now those are two truly super strikes!

After our turn on the mic, the queen of Carrow Road herself came to find us. For those of you who have never heard of Delia Smith, I will briefly explain. Delia is England's Martha Stewart but just for cooking. Best selling books and TV shows have made her a household name. A lifelong City fan, Delia and her Husband are majority shareholders of Norwich City.

Kopper tells Delia where she can get a good steak in NYC.

To say I was excited to meet the great lady is an understatement. Kopper and I presented her with an NY Canaries t-shirt, and Kopper suggested some restaurants she might enjoy in New York. Glad he spoke up, I'd probably send her to hooters.

Now those of you who DO remember Delia and read this site will no doubt remember a certain incident that was played to death by the media. A certain incident from a certain Premiership game and a half-time plea for noise. I won't be sharing that video. But for those in the dark, this was a sketch by soccer am I found amusing, based on 'that' incident. If you cant laugh at yerself then theres no hope I say!

Right, back to business, where were we? Ahh the game itself. Hmmm, well, after meeting Delia AND Captain Canary (see below). Norwich took to the field in a crucial home game with Coventry. Not a great game at all, as like much of this season we failed to take the chances we created. Jordan Hendersen gave Coventry the lead on 19 minutes when he arrived at the far stick to hit home a cross from former Norwich player David Bell. Carrow Road was nervy and quiet. I've never known it to be so well, morbid in atmosphere. Rattling chains would not have sounded out of place. It was as if we have already accepted relegation. The half-time pie hit the spot but I wasn't happy. 3,500 miles to watch Carl Cort 'not bother' to try to win headers was depressing.

Kopper with Captain Canary. That's Kopper on the right if you were wondering.

A first half corner comes to nothing.

The second half started much better. Otsemobor created a chance for Cureton, but the luckless striker missed a sitter with the goal gaping from 6 yards (and has since been dropped). Cureton is a confidence player, when he is on form he is great but when he stinks? Well, boy does he stink. The effort is always there with him but he misses open goals and simple tap ins.

The good spell continued and following a corner and a scramble in the box, Grounds hit the ball through a crowd of players and equalized on 53 mins. Carrow Road errupted and finally the crowd perked up. Soon after Norwich were denied a blatant penalty when Corts marker jumped with him and handled the ball as it looked set to arrive at the big mans head. Cort was much better in the second half, his movement was good and he challenged for the ball. One can only think that Bryan Gunn had a word in his ear over a half-time cup of tea.

On 71 minutes the game was decided and we were all dealt a kick in the nuts as we watched a super player score a super goal. But not for us. Daniel Fox turned Carl Cort 3 times from just inside the box on the right and then picked his spot with a left footed shot into the top corner. It was frustrating to see no one move to help Cort as Fox took his sweet time. What was even more frustrating was to see our captain Mark Fotheringham slowly walk back to the box casual as can be, watching this event unfold 6 yards away in front of him. With effort like that we don't stand a chance of staying up. Fotheringham was replaced soon after and stormed off down the tunnel. He hasn't played since. Nor will he again I hope! Russell and Pattison are far more committed and better players in my opinion. Fotheringham has never really wanted to be here and only signed a one year deal. Which screams of the desire needed to be made captain right? Glenn Roeder thought so. Fotheringham also talks a great game in the press. Always the first to scream a war cry in papers and the last to close someone down.

Fotheringham. Talks a good game.

Chris Coleman's Coventry looked very balanced and he is building a nice team there. Daniel Fox is superb and 19 year old Aron Gunnarsson didnt stop running all day. He is a star of the future for sure. He looked like he was going to create a chance everytime he touched the ball.

After 4 mins of stopage time the final whistle blew. The boos echoed around the ground and we all sulked, shrugged, shook heads on the way back to the Gunn club. I didnt see enough commitment and desire to stay up to be honest. Since our trip City won at QPR but lost on Saturday in a crucial 6 pointer to Blackpool.

Staying up will be a mammoth task now. But one that is only achieveable with wholesale changes to the starting line up. We have nothing to lose at this point. Our relegation rivals have hit form and some of our players look as if they have thrown in the towel. I would like to see Cody McDonald, David Carney and maybe a couple of the youth kids get a run out. Players who will be here next season and have something to fight for.


I scribbled that last paragraph YESTERDAY. The glass was half empty. But today? The glass is half full. Last night Norwich beat Cardiff 2-0! Cue the woo girls and the marching band. Cue the flag waving midgets. Cue the clinking of beer glasses throughout the canary kingdom. We are Alive....ALIVE.

Not only did we win but results have gone our way elsewhere in the contradictory Colaship. We now face our biggest game in 50 years this weekend as Plymouth (4 points ahead) visit Carrow Road for what could be the mother of all Norwich victories? I will pray every day from now until Saturday.

I will also evoke the magical powers of the 1973 canaries! It worked yesterday. No really! I had to leave the office and my trusty BBC Norfolk audio feed just before half-time. Armed with instant messaging buddies and the humble refresh feature on my blackberry browser, I finished the game in a frenzy of communication.

On the train I decided that maybe listening to the Wembley 73 song "The Canaries" may help me 'will' a victory. It was working, we scored. 5 times in a row, the trumpets of the cheesy football number played as I was glued to the bbc results page. Shoot, the results started to go against us. But wait..The song had stopped again and I had forgotten to start it up. Back on it went, along with the repeat button. The results started to go our way. The instant messages brought news of Derby equalizers and a goal from former Norwich loanee Martin Taylor. A Swansea winner. And then it happened...We scored again! I have vowed that this weekend, that song will be be playing continuessley as we take on Plymouth. Want to hear the magical number? Of course you do...

It's the song what done it!

Of course, the result it had nothing to do with outstanding debut perfomances from McDonald, Mooney and a blinder from Alan Gow! Incidentily, Mcdonald was working as a scaffolder on the London Underground just a few weeks ago. Gunn had decided to freshen things up with some new faces, hungry players. Players who hadn't quit yet. Mooney had never played at this level either. Both Mooney and McDonald took their goals like they had been playing at Championship level for years. No fear, just confidence. Get In!

I will now return you to a Saturday in Norwich.

Back in the Gunn club, man of the match Gary Doherty looked like a rabbit in the headlights as he had to answer some tough questions about City's performance and spend 30 mins shaking hands and smiling for pictures when I am sure he would have rather been banging his head against a wall somewhere else. Like a dissapointed child I asked him to keep us up, as if the man known as 'Ginger Pele' holds the keys to survival.

The lads with Gary Doherty, John Revell and Dick Mills.

After a few more beers and some tears in those beers, I had a chat with former manager Dave Stringer to see what he thought of the game and of the current situation at Carrow Road. After that I really needed a drink! It was back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes and then out for a curry.

The day and evening was all set up by my mate John Revell. The Rev is a top bloke, Norwich academy coach and a real character. He parties with the best of them and has no idea of his age, except for that he thinks he is 21. Now that's the way to be! Top man. Talking of being 21. John Jr WAS 21 on this very day. He is the tall lad on the left in the black shirt. Oh to be 21 again....

The Rev, his boys and their mates.

There were 40 of us at Spiceland in Norwich for a ruby, and I thought this was the ideal time to settle a little bit of UF business. A while back Lingering had made (and lost) a bet with The Fans Attic. Now, if you read this site a lot (or a little) you will know that Lingering Bursitis has a deep, deep hatred for David Beckham. It's completely unnatural and unexplainable. Ask "what did David do to you Lingering?" and he will reply "he lives". Bizzare and weird I know. I mean...Who could possibly hate David Beckham? It's like hating small kittens or Bruce Forsythe. Just weird. Anyway, the bet was lost and the punishment must be issued! Lingering would have to wear a Beckham shirt in a public place causing a damaging amount of embarrassment to his self esteem and his anti-Beckham rhetoric.

Well, little did Lingering know but a Beckham shirt was with me and Saturday night in Norwich, in frint of a full restaurant was the night. After a brief explanation and a round of applause, out it popped. BBC commentator, ex-Norwich player and top bloke Neil Adams presented the shirt to Lingering as he turned the color of a his favorite Liverpool Jersey. After the horror of the moment subsided, he bowed his head, slipped it on and took his medicine. Fair play to the lad, it stayed on all through dinner.

Lingering B stands at the top of the table as everyone has a good giggle at his distressed mug.

LB starts to lighten up and see the funny side.

As dinner came to a close, Neil Adam's cell phone rang, except it wasn't for him. He passed me the phone to me and said "it's Gunny for you". Gunny for me? I said? Wowzer...I'd met Gunny on a few occassions but thats one bloke who meets more people a week than the toilets at Penn station, surely he didn't remember?

He did you know, what a fantastic surprise. Bryan Gunn had called to acknowledge that we had flown 3500 miles to see us lose and to have a quick chat. He told me he was doing the best he could to keep us up and they were all working very hard to do so. How about that? This wouldn't happen at any other football club. I don't remember hearing about Rafa calling Lingering, or Relegation Zone Mikey getting a ring from 'Arry after the Cup final. Wonder if Precious Roy ever got a call from Wenger? " Hallo Roy, if youz writez one more ting about Eboue, ve are done!

Norwich Manager Bryan Gunn: I added the phone headset for this realistic 'Crimewatch' style reconstruction of the phone call.

This kind of effort is what sets Norwich City football club and it's people well above any other club. Bryan Gunn had bothered to make my night after a dissapointing result when I am sure he had plenty on his mind and better things to do. Top man.

Well. After the Curry we all hit the local night spots for beer, shots, lots of chat and more shots. And If you think I'm telling you all about that you can think again!

'Norwichomon' part two will be all about the Carling Cup final. Watch out for that shortly.


Read more on "Norwichomon: Saturday: Bigus."...

Taxman Cometh for Diego... kinda

Photo credit to Bigus

Tax watchdogs in Italy have put the screws to Diego Maradona over a reported $50+ million in decades-old excise debt. Maradona played for Napoli from 1984-1991, during which time one might recall his imploring the Neapolitan fans to support Argentina over Italy during the 1990 World Cup. Well, it seems you just can't satisfy some [slow-thinking Italian] people.

(Pssss... Best part after the jump!)

More! Per the AFP:

According to tax website, Maradona has still only paid 42,000 euros ($66,1500) of what he owes, as well as handing over two luxury watches.

Around 23.5 million euros of his debt is accounted for by interest on his original tax debt.

The real madness of the story lay not with Diego, oddly enough. The mystery here, for me at least, centers on Italian tax office. Who's running this place? Bookman? I'm going to go out on a weak, swaying, jounced limb and predict Naples won't see more than few thousand more dollars and another vinatge timepiece 'er two.

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Scottish players shamed and suspended **Updated**

So it has come to this. If you are Scottish and a football player, you are not allowed to binge drink after getting outclassed on the pitch. Well, at least not if you play for Rangers.

Last Saturday, Scotland lost at Netherlands 3-0 and were pretty much run off the pitch. Barry Ferguson was the team captain and Allan McGregor started in the goal, deputizing for the normal number 1, Craig Gordon. The team reconvened that night at their usual Scottish haunt, Cameron House on Loch Lomond. Here's a picture, it's pretty swell. It's supposed to be an out of the way place where the Scots can relax while preparing for upcoming home games. Unfortunately, a Scot's way of relaxing is consuming alcohol in copious amounts, something manager George Burley took exception to.

The story that leaked out of camp was that Ferguson and McGregor had gone too far and had been kicked off the team by Wednesday morning. By afternoon, however, Burley had relented and had only relegated the duo to the bench. A bruising blow to the ego for the two in question, but nothing with long-term implications, or so it seemed.

The Scottish FA wedged itself into the mix yesterday, saying that it did not back Burley's decision to bench the two and that it would have to perform its own investigation into the mess before it was decided what should have been done. Great job there fellas.

Then some other news started to make the rounds, as much as you can trust The Sun to be actual news, at least. Now there were seven players said to be involved in the late night to early morning booze up. Perhaps the inequity in punishment got to Mr. Ferguson, because at the Iceland game, he gave the press an indication of what he thought about them.

As the above article mentions, Walter Smith--previous manager of Scotland and current Rangers boss--was livid at the actions of his players and especially ticked off with that picture making the rounds. Apparently, making such a gesture in Scotland colors really sent Smith off the deep end. How deep is pretty amazing. Rangers have suspended both players, fined them two weeks' wages, stripped Ferguson of his captaincy, and some are reporting that both have been transfer-listed.

The SFA seems to have made up its mind as well. Today the association announced that Ferguson and McGregor will no longer be considered for a Scotland call up.

Wow. Just, wow. If you ever wanted to see an athlete's career go up in flames, here it is. Maurice Clarett is looking at these guys and saying "What the **** were they thinking?" On the upside, two more players with international experience just became available for MLS duty. As long as these Huns don't end up at DC United, I think I would be OK with that.

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Do They Have Nice Jails in Seattle?

The Seattle P-I (which I believe is now an online-only daily newspaper) is reporting that Seattle Sounders FC wunderkind Freddy Montero is being accused of stalking and sexual assault.

"According to a law enforcement report about the incident, the 23-year-old woman told police on March 31 that she saw Montero in a car near her home in Sammamish. The report stated that she feared for her safety because Montero allegedly had sexually assaulted her in Bellevue the week before on March 22, which she had reported to the Bellevue Police Department."

Umm, yeah. That doesn't sound too good.

Montero, who had 3 goals in his first 2 matches, did not travel with Seattle for the their match tomorrow against Toronto. A spokesperson for the team stated this is due only to the fact that Freddy has the flu, and that while they are aware of the allegations they support their budding star and will have no comments on an ongoing police investigation.

Both the Bellevue PD and the King's County Sheriff's Office have declined to comment, although the former have admitted that they are investigating a sexual assault that took place on March 22, 2009. The Seattle P-I noted that no charges have as yet been filed against Montero, and there is no record of an arrest by either law enforcement agency. In addition, the Sheriff's Office has stated that a brief investigation concluded that no crime had been committed on March 31st (the date of the alleged stalking offense).

So what is really going on here? The Sounders' first match was against the NY Red Bull on March 19th and was held in Seattle, so Freddy was almost certainly in town on March 22nd (which was a Sunday). Perhaps Freddy was out celebrating his brace and met the young woman in question? The Sounders' next match, against Real Salt Lake on March 28th, was also held in Seattle. So again, Freddy was most likely still in town on March 31st (this past Tuesday). Maybe he thought he would drive over and see if he could recapture the romance?

Obviously, these are still just allegations, and as with any case involving high-profile (alright, semi-profile) athletes we may never know the truth. There will be some who insist that this young woman chased after Freddy to "bed a star" (if any sexual contact even occurred) and then regretted her choice, while others will insist that Freddy's ego got the best of him and he wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. The fact that Freddy seems to have been cleared of the stalking charge does not mean that the allegation of sexual assault is false. But unfortunately the fact that a sexual assault has been alleged does mean that the allegation is true.

One thing is for certain - this story will definitely get bigger over the next few days.

Added bonus: Freddy Montero's father was apparently a police officer in Colombia.

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Amr Zaki Cares Not for Your Rules

Every season, a few players come out of nowhere (or, in this case, Egypt) and become the "Hot New Thing." This year it's Amr Zaki, the on-loan striker who has made a splash at Wigan. But Zaki hasn't scored a goal since December and seems destined to ply his trade for the highest bidder this summer.

And maybe Zaki has been reading his own press clippings lately. How else could you explain the fact that he returned late from international duty for the fourth time this season. To be fair, this time Zaki came with a doctor's note -- from the Egyptian physios, that wasn't backed up with the requisite scans. And, it appears that Zaki still has not turned up at Wigan.

Zaki is set to be fined two weeks' wages and, more hilariously, Steve Bruce unleashed the following diatribe on Wigan's official website:

"I really am at the end of my tether with him. Before this latest incident, Zaki had already been fined considerably more than the average person in Britain earns in a year and he will now face another heavy fine."

"I just feel it's time that we went public on just what a nightmare he has been to deal with because I can honestly say that in all my time in football I have never worked with someone as unprofessional.

"This is the fourth time he has not reported back on time from international training.

"I have already fined him the maximum allowed but this just seems to have no effect. I am now fearful that if I don't take firm action, it will disrupt the rest of my squad, who - to a man - behave totally professionally.

"I am right behind my players representing their countries, it is a tremendous honour for the club. This is not the issue here.

"But my South American players, for instance, have to go much longer distances but I have never had a problem with any of them.

"In Zaki's case, it really defies belief from a player who is on loan and trying to earn himself a long-term contract."

Bruce added that he feels personally let down after the effort that he made to clinch his signature in the first place, and for the way the club has behaved towards him.

"When his daughter was ill before Christmas, I gave him extra time off, while I know my staff have worked very hard to help him settle in England.

"I'm sick of answering questions about Zaki's whereabouts and I don't want anything to distract the players from preparing for another massive game for us on Sunday against Everton.

"Zaki's behaviour has shown total disrespect to the club who pays him a very good wage and equally as importantly, to the fans who sing his name from the stands. I think it's time for them to know the truth about the man.

"This situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible and I don't feel it's appropriate to say anything more at this stage, apart from how let down I feel, personally and professionally."

I'm on Steve Bruce's side here, the club comes before any player, especially when that player has one foot out the door. Next year he'll be someone else's problem, let's say, oh, Harry Redknapp.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Backpasses: Believe it or not/I'm walking on air

A couple of quick links to peruse while you also consider just how much a certain Columbus Crew forward resembles The Greatest American Hero.

There will be no Tatas on Man U shirts next season [Daily Express]
Some suggestions for unofficial FCNY nicknames [NY Mag]
Owner of Detroit's XSL club (Ignition represent!) wants to convert open parcels of land in Detroit--about 40 square miles are available--into farm land [Detroit Free Press]

Canadian PM Stephen Harper looks like Pat Kiernan. Oh, and he pissed off lots of Canuck soccer fans by posing with the traitorous Owen Hargreaves []

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UF Quick Throw: Adios Sven Goran!

That was fast. Sven Goran Eriksson has been sacked as Mexico coach.


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Parent Move A Lowe Blow.

When a team goes into administration, they get to back away from the debts they have assumed and start again. Poor management, bad decisions at every level. It doesn't matter. Debts are restructured/wiped out and the way is made clear for a new investor to roll into town and start again. Acquiring the team at a snip of the previous value. The punishment for shafting your debtors and getting to start again is a ten point deduction from the league. However, Southampton and their bungling money man Rupert Lowe have discovered a way to avoid that. Blame your Parents.

Southampton Leisure Holdings own Southampton football club. Making them a 'parent' company. Southampton Leisure Holdings went bust yesterday. Rupert Lowe, SLH's chairman and former Saints chairman, resigned from his position and so did current Saints Chairman Michael Wilde. Today the administrators rolled in. However, Southampton Football Club could avoid a points deduction from the Football League as it was their parent company that went belly up, and not them.

The problem is that they are both the same thing really. Southampton Leisure holdings amassed huge debts, over 27 million quid worth from the football club, including the building of St Mary's Stadium. The club's failure to fill St Mary's and the money the club has swallowed led to this situation.

Fry: Looking for a quick sale.

Administrator Mark Fry took questions on the Southampton FC official website earlier today and detailed his urgent need to find a buyer for the club as soon as possible.

The decision to put the business into administration was taken because it was clear that the business was insolvent. We have to find a buyer before the end of the season because there is not sufficient cash in the football club to support it's ongoing trading beyond that time. - Mark Fry.

While this sounds cruel, in the interest of fairness, Southampton FC must be docked points. To not do so would just tell every club in the country to form a parent company and encourage irresponsible financial management. It would surely also lead to appeals from Luton, Leeds, Bournemouth and others whose failings were rewarded with point deductions. In Luton's case, they are likely to drop out of the Football League all together after falling into administration. The League will have a tough decision to make, as this case will set a precedent in football. League officials have suggested that a deduction is still possible regardless of the 'parent' trap.

Assets for sale. Andrew Surman will likely be sold.

St. Mary's was an ambitious move for Southampton. They moved there from the Dell back in 2001 and have never really established the support needed to justify such a grand arena. A huge leap from the 15,000 who enjoyed the football of Le Tissier and Mick Channon at the Dell. This season's support has been pretty poor and inconsistent. Southampton have drawn as few as 14,000 for home games. Terrible for a club who live in a stadium that accommodates over twice that number. Today Southampton have slashed ticket prices for their last few games in an attempt to get bums on seats for the run-in. A run-in that could see Southampton relegated regardless of any point deductions.

It's not just the club that will be sold. Southampton have some good young players at the moment. Players like Adam Lallana and Andrew Surman. They will have to be flogged this summer. The writing has been on the wall all season and it was no secret that Southampton were struggling. To add to their woes, the team has been awful. Jan Porrtvliet was the wrong man to hire as manager and his naive 'total football' approach to the Colaship made his Saints a pushover.

Football can be cruel off the pitch as well as on it, and I feel for Southampton, I really do. The stadium is great and Saints fans are a good bunch. I've always enjoyed going there and I feel sorry for the supporters who will now suffer because of the ineptitude of Rupert Lowe and his cronies. But rules are rules and to change them now because of one shady man who thought he could play the system would be wrong.

Southampton Leisure Holdings ARE Southampton Football Club and must be treated as such.


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Fox Sports Makes Its Official Announcement Regarding Champions League Rights

As we have been predicting for some time now, today Fox Sports officially announced that it has won the rights to show the Champions League in the United States for the 2009/10 through 2011/12 seasons. We've got the official press release for your reading pleasure after the jump.

And, your intrepid reporter (heh) participated in a conference call this afternoon with David Sternberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Fox Sports International, and Roger Hall, CEO of Setanta North America.

Here are the highlights of the deal:

  • Fox Soccer will broadcast both Tuesday and Wednesday games throughout the tournament across FSC, FSN, Fox Sports en Espanol and FX.
  • There will be prime-time rebroadcasts of CL matches (nice for those of us at work during the week).
  • Setanta will get second choice on a bunch of CL matches.

And here are the highlights of the conference call with Fox Sports and Setanta:

  • Games will be split between FSC, FSN, en Espanol & final match on FX (Saturday game in HD). The exact split has not not been determined yet.
  • There will be broadband video highlights on Fox Soccer's website, but Setanta will have full games on a ppv/tourny ticket basis. will relaunch in May 2009
  • Did not divulge financial info.
  • All FSN games will be in HD, and FSC HD will launch at end of 2009.
  • No decisions on talent for production, but most likely it will be the on-site international commentary provided by UEFA. This is identical to the way that FSC broadcasts EPL games, where the feed comes directly from the EPL.
  • Pre and post-game shows will be in LA, staffed with "the best talent available."
  • Idea with the final on FX is to broaden appeal
  • There is a good working relationship between Fox and Setanta, with joint programming acquisition, buying and selling of programming from/to each other.
  • Fox Sports is closely connected with bSkyb, license and recruit personnel, communicate to find ways to coordinate. But rights to EPL games is separate process, so there is really no collaboration with bSkyb.
  • Fox Sports is "very confident" on the next round of EPL rights acquisition. But, the current package extends through 2010 so bidding process will not begin until summer at the earliest.
  • As far as expanding access to Fox Sports channels, the answer is essentially that they would love to get into as many homes as possible (the current number is around 40 million).

And here is the official press release:

Fox CL Rights PR

I guess all we can say now is kudos to Fox Sports for solidifying their role as the leading source for footy broadcasting in the United States. Now, please just don't screw it up!

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Football follows futbol

The Seattle Seahawks unveiled their new third jerseys yesterday. Why do we care? No, this is not the start of a second day of alternate sports here on UF. We care because it seems that the Seahawks have decided to follow the lead of the most successful (winning percentage-wise) franchise in city history--Seattle Sounders FC.

Initially, I was a little skeptical over these new pictures, simply because of the date that they were leaked out. But hell, everyone else online seems to think they are legit, so we will just go with it. Shield your eyes, here it comes.

Wouldja look at that? That is a mighty funny looking soccer shirt. What with the numbers on the front and all.

Except that it isn't a soccer shirt of course. This is the top of the local soccer club.

Yes, Seattle Sounders FC--a club that has all of two official matches in its history--has influenced the local American Football team enough to adopt its colors.

Now, this could be a cross-marketing promotion. Both teams are owned by Paul Allen, Chairman of Charter Communications. (He also had something to do with Microsoft, I think.) Can't you just see a weekend where the city goes green? Some environmental rally followed by a doubleheader of sorts--Sounders game on Saturday, Seahawks on Sunday. The NFL has not released a schedule yet, but look for this to happen either on the weekend of September 19 or October 24, since those are the last two home dates for the Sounders this season.

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2666? El Pánico de Mexico

Even the prescient Bolaño could never have seen this coming!

The Mexican national team is edging closer to mayhem today as El Tri and still-manager Sven Goran Eriksson return home from Honduras after getting handled by Wilson Palacios & Co.

The loss leaves the Mexicans tied on points for the last automatic qualification spot in their CONCACAF group, but more importantly, in a whole heaping shite of trouble with their supporters... and presumably, the vicious and bloodthirsty drug mafia that's pushed parts of the state into martial law.

Roberto Bolaño told-- and foretold-- of this social breakdown in his epic 2666... even pin-pointing Ciudad Juarez as the blood meridian. But could the brilliant (and sadly, dead) Chilean have EVER seen this coming???

More time to spend with Nancy?

It was, by all accounts, a summary beatdown last night for the Mexicans, who were without Rafa Marquez (red card-- kicking Tim Howard) and Ip Ip Tp Town loanee Giovani dos Santos (unfit... physically). Still, Omar Bravo was healthy and started along with Carlos Vela.

The late addition of Nery Castillo, for Bravo in the 69th minute, was too late. Castillo pulled one back on a PK in the 89th, but by then half the Hondurans (the players) were already, mentally at least, in the locker room feasting on chayotes.

For Honduras, highlights included rising star Wilson "The Mad Honduran" Palacios guarding the backline, marauding from box to box... by all accounts his standard performance at home and abroad, for club and country. The goals came from Bongo's own Carlos Costly-- he had two-- and Mexico's old bogeyman, Carlos Pavon. Weighing in at about a quarter ton, aged 34, The Turkey Man almost added a fourth at the end.

So how's the Mexican press handling all this? I scrambled through some half-reputable papers this morning... and there's something of a common theme.

Select headlines (tanslated too, for you bruto americanos!)

Diario 21 -- Otra decepción... (Betrayed Again!)

Diario de Juarez -- ¡De pesadilla! (Nightmare!)

La Cronica de Hoy -- “Seguir en el Tri no depende de mí”: Eriksson (Sven says soemthing to effect of "My tactics were solid, these morons need to execute." Later in the article he also promises that Mexico will qualify. Bold!)

And here, if you think I've made all this stuff up, are the highlights-- the goals at least-- from the match.

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Dios Mio, Diego

For those who enjoy schadenfreude, peep the latest chapter in Diego Maradona's managerial adventures: a 6-1 defeat in Bolivia, their worst defeat since a 5-0 pasting to the Colombians back in 1993.

On the bright side, at least no-one got hurt, right?

Vids and more after the jump.

1st Half

2nd Half

It was an ugly game for the Argies, who clearly failed to adjust to both the stifling thin air up there in La Paz, but to the new formation Maradona's been trying recently.

As Tim Vickery gushed over at the BBC, Diego's got the Albicelestes trying to run a 3-4-3 in a bid to keep all his strikers and attacking midfielders happy. When you're blessed with a front line of Tevez, Diego's son-in-law Aguero, and Messi, you do what you need to do. Add to that the raw talents of Ezequiel Lavezzi, and there's a logjam of strikers.

Against Bolivia, he ran a limp 4-4-2, changing everything entirely from the win over Venezuela; with the creaking veteran duo of Zanetti and Heinze at the back with newcomer Emiliano Papa comically holding down the middle (I'd mention Demichelis, but what's the point?), they got stomped.

It didn't matter that Gago and Mascherano both started in central midfield and tried to assert their good cop/bad cop routine (one leadeth the attack, the other taketh away), for they were overrun from the get-go. The goalie is new, the formations are new, and they're at a crossroads.

With all the changes and tactical "innovations", it all comes back to one thing: Maradona is about as good at managing a soccer team as he is at managing his drug addictions and violent temper.

They're lacking an identity and a style, looking more like a haphazard collective of individuals than anything remotely resembling a team, and it comes down to Maradona's inability to forge some continuity from the many talents his country is producing.

Said the tubby one, in typical florid style: "I suffered with them. Every Bolivia goal was a stab in my heart. If we had dreamed this was going to happen before the game, we would have thought it was impossible."

Sincere or not, something needs to change. For those of us that enjoy seeing the Argies falter, let's hope things stay just the way they are.

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Alan Shearer as Manager? NOT an April Fool.

If I was a betting man, and I might just be, I'd call his move desperate and expect him not to be in charge next season. As Newcastle bring in their 4th manager of the 2008/09 season, and arguably their most folkloric hero and footballing icon, one wonders just how long the novelty and magic will lock in place.

With Shearer, an uninteresting, media-friendly pundit with no managerial experience, now in charge, the "New Manager Effect" faces its strongest challenge to date.

First, to lay out the terms:

- He's back for 8 games aka until the end of the season
- His wage? 100k per game
- 2m incentive bonus should Newcastle United avoid the drop

Not a bad deal really, although if Joe Kinnear was taking a gamble on his reputation when he turned up, Alan certainly is now.

The hero factor is unquestionable; he's their prolific scorer, an England hero, an all-round likeable guy, and now he's being asked to rescue his club from the grim reality of relegation. Dennis Wise, their rather awful Director of Football, has left the club, and Shearer has no plans of bringing in another middleman to replace him. If this ship is going down, Alan wants no buffer between him and the skittish Mike Ashley.

He did bring in Iain Dowie, who presumably brings all the managerial experience that Shearer will need to do his job. It looks, at face value, as a savvy move; Shearer is the good luck charm, the talisman, the fountain of positivity, whereas Dowie will do the bulk of the dirty work considering he knows that side of the game.

And, like Bryan Gunn at Norwich, the same situation exists: if he succeeds, it's another feather in the cap of his already-epic image with the fans. If he fails, then at least they did it the right way with their hometown boy in charge.

Being cynical, I'd say that Ashley doesn't exactly feel optimistic about their chances, and sought to buffer himself from the pitchforked masses in the summertime by pulling a glorious PR move right before the Grim Reaper turns up with Colaship parachute money.

Let's hope Alan is aware of how quickly idol worship can fade when the results don't come.

So... the big question: will it succeed? Will Newcastle avoid the plunge with their Golden Boy in charge, or is this another PR disaster for a club in dire straits?

[Already, Michael Owen has said he'll re-sign with the Magpies if Shearer stays on. I'll leave that as a separate discussion topic.]

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Agger To Do A Liverpool Tattoo?

Daniel Agger is offering to tattoo all of his mates if Liverpool win the Premier League. "What an offer" you say. A footballer wielding a needle filled with ink. "I'm in!" Carragher will scream. "Yes please". Actually I am sure it will be alright, Agger is a trained tattoo artist. Gerrard and Torres need not worry I suspect. I can't see Liverpool winning this season.

Some UFer's reckon this story is a subtle April fool, but after the jump, pictures of Agger in tattoo action. Would be a crap April fool considering the guy is a trained tattoo artist. You decide.

And there...What do you think?

Yeah Daniel, I just see a pool of blood mate.

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Why Would You Boo Danny Glover?

Port Vale fans have been booing Danny Glover. I know. What has Danny freakin Glover ever done to them? I doubt he has ever been to Stoke on Trent. What's worse is that they are doing it to get to his dad!

OK. It's not THAT Danny Glover, but Port Vale's 19 year old striker Danny Glover. Son of Port Vale boss Dean Glover. Why would you call your son Danny if your surname is Glover? Why would you do that to the poor kid. I digressed. Sorry. Anyway. Back to the booing. Port Vale are currently 18th in League 2 and although they look safe from the clutches of non-league football, Vale fans are a little upset at the current standing and especially with Vale gaffer Dean Glover. What better way is there to show the manager how you feel about him, than to boo his son.

Danny Glover and ginger too. Life can be cruel.

It's sad. Unfortunately they're getting to him to get through to me, the son-father relationship is difficult in the workplace anyway when things aren't going right. They're baying for my head but they're getting to Dan as well, which is wrong really." -Port Vale manager Dean Glover.

Poor Danny. Boo's can be such a lethal weapon. Maybe he should have quit football and gone fishin'.


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Obama Is An Eastbourne Fool.

Obama: Fantasy fan.

U.S President Barack Obama is an Eastbourne Fan. How is this possible you cry. Well, Mr Obama's cousin Achtog Laprifolo plays for Eastbourne and according to the Blue square Premier League official site, and to Eastbourne's official site, The President is going to be at Priory Lane this Saturday for the game vs Ebbsfleet.

Wowser, oh wait, yeah, I geddit!

Achtog Laprifolo That's an anagram of 'April Fool Gotcha'. The sites mentioned above yanked their prank early after a phone call from someone representing the President one suspects.

Mr Obama is currently in England for the G20 summit.

UF and Eastbourne FC were not the only ones playing tricks yesterday. After the jump, some more footy April fools from around the leagues.

Capello also requested that the badge on the new England shirt be put higher than usual to avoid rubbing on players' nipples. (Daily Star)

Port Vale are to change their name to Burslem Port Vale next season, and have unveiled a new badge suspiciously similar in outline to rivals Stoke's. (Port Vale official website)

Several clubs have revealed new shirts today - such as York's one-off purple shirt to be worn at the FA Trophy final, Lewes's one-off green and black shirt to mark the announcement of the South Downs as a National Park, a new pink home shirt for Crewe and Wigan's switch to red and white halves next season to reflect a kit worn in 1932.

Bury are to raise some much-needed revenue by staging a Monster Truck racing weekend on their Gigg Lane pitch, where the trucks will go head-to-head with the groundsman's tractor. (Bury official website)

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey is in talks to star in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, alongside Hungarian sensation Lora Pliof. (Wolves official website)

Barnsley will pioneer a Football League initiative whereby their players and managers will wear microphones wired up to the Oakwell PA system as part of an anti-swearing campaign. (Barnsley official website)

Accrington Stanley have offered former Premier League referee Jeff Winter the role of stadium development manager, after he recently criticised the facilities at their ground. (Accrington official website)

And finally... injuries, suspensions and illness are causing several managers and coaches to come out of retirement for this weekend's games - including Swansea manager Roberto Martinez, Walsall assistant manager Martin O'Connor and Barnsley coach Kelham O'Hanlon.

All of these pranks were highlighted by the BBC yesterday.


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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Backpasses: Viva Honduras!

Has SGE been fired yet?

While we thank you for indulging us on this silliest of days, we want you to know there is a payoff coming. Friday, just two short days from now, Norwichomon will be released in its entirety. No Duke Nukem Forever here, folks. It's really happening.

Podolski slaps Ballack. Ballack responds by scoring a goal. Hope no one at Chelsea saw this [Dirty Tackle]
Luca Toni is proud of his package and is willing to show it off [The Spoiler]
Alright, you may not know what XSL is Judging from this post no one knows what XSL is [Kenn]
It's not often Jan Tomaszewski say the same thing, so you know it must be right [The Spoiler]
Life-size (maybe) Carlos Puyol cake [ONTD]

I found this funny. The parents did not [The New Republic]
USL coming to LI, NYC. Enough acronyms for you? [NYT]
Racist announcers unsurprisingly popular in Argentina [NYT Goal]
Cool video to watch. 2 kids play pickup soccer around the world. Plus, the girl is kinda hot [TOR]
Tottenham reaaallly want anyone to buy the name of their new stadium, still [The Run of Play]
Some background on why Kissinger got involved in US Soccer bid for the World Cup [NYT (again?)]
Linesman pulls out a gun for his own protection [The Spoiler]
Take a day or two off, and another blog kills you. WAG gets a lot less than planned from eBay sale [The Spoiler]
Central Michigan U agrees to pay $450K settlement to two former soccer players who filed sexual harassment suit against former coach [Detroit Free Press]

Finally (finally):
Scouse nightmare fuel [The Offside Rules]

Pic from Football Fashion. Thanks.

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