English Premier League

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Louis Van Gaal: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Van Gaal makes some hair-raising comments.

What he said:

“When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that’s a penalty. Shall I grab you by your hair? What is your reaction when I grab your hair? Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but, when I do that, what are you doing then? It’s a reaction. Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They did it. They did it several times I think.”

Manchester United’s manager Louis Van Gaal can be quite surreal with his statements to the English press.

The Dutchman defended Marouane Fellaini’s elbowing of Leicester’s Robert Huth during their 1-1 draw on Sunday with the above statements moving to pull the questioning journalist’s hair.

What he really meant:

“Hair-pulling is quite a provocative act. A footballer who pulls his opponent’s hair deserves to be elbowed. I’d like to see you elbow me when I pull yours. Isn’t that bloody natural?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“That was the Hair of God and God’s elbow!”

Leicester on course for first ever EPL title


Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is proving to be a fairy tale finish for last year’s almost-relegated Leicester City in the English Premier League (EPL).

Even a 1-1 draw against Manchester United last evening couldn’t dim the jubilation in their joyous fans.

And it’s not just their die-hard fans who are celebrating.

The mid-level club has made fans all over the world with their glorious run to the title this season in an unlikely topsy-turvy EPL season.

Defending champions Chelsea are nowhere in the top four and will not qualify for next year’s Champions League.

They still lurk as potential spoilers for both title aspirants. Tottenham Hotspurs play them this evening and Chelsea encounter Leicester in their final game next week.

Should the Spurs drop any points to Chelsea, Leicester will be home and dry with two games in hand.

Should Chelsea lose, a win against Everton at home should suffice for the Foxes.

Either way, it’s looking very rosy for Claudio Ranieri’s men and the Italian manager will be looking forward to a two million pound bonus in his burgeoning kitty.

A couple of years ago, it was Atletico Madrid who made believers of sceptics knocking out Barcelona and Real Madrid on its way to its first La Liga title since 1996.

Atletico are in the running this year as well— a three-way race including Barcelona and Real Madrid.

It is always gratifying to see the small guy win and as this writer put it in his mid-season piece, “It’s not about whether you play as well as you can, it’s about simply doing better than the rest.”

That happens to be the story of this year’s EPL. None of the former champion sides could lift their standards high enough to take the fight to giant-slayers Leicester.

Leicester are deserving victors unless there’s an unlikely, nasty twist in the tale.

Former doubters disbelieve no more.

Michael Chopra, Neil Taylor and Yan Dhanda: Multiplicity in EPL?


Yan Dhanda may be the latest footballer of Indian-origin to sign up for a English Premier League side but he’s not the first.

Michael Chopra and Neil Taylor have been there and done that before.

Chopra featured in the inaugural version of the Indian Soccer League in 2014 turning out for Kerala Blasters.

The former Newcastle United and Sunderland player has even expressed a desire to play for India. That will however be possible only if the former Magpie renounces his British passport as current Indian rules prevent persons of Indian origin (PIOs) from representing the country unless they have an Indian passport. The government has not yet delivered on its promise of allowing dual citizenship for Indians everywhere.

This would not be a first.

Arata Izumi gave up his Japanese citizenship in January, 2013 and became the first foreign-born player to play for the Blue Tigers, by adopting Indian citizenship. The Pune FC midfielder has represented  India several times since.

In June last year, Chopra spoke of his wish to become eligible to play for India.

He said:

“I was going to play for them four years ago. But at that time I was only 26 and I was too young to give up my British passport and travel around the world at that age. I just had a little boy that was born and things like that, so it would have been difficult. My boy is six now and he has grown up and understands what his dad has got to do. So I plan to move to India and give up my British citizenship and get an Indian passport to play for the national team and take them forward.”

‘Rocky’ Chopra currently plays for Alloa Athletic, a Scottish championship club.

Chopra’s father is Indian and that makes him eligible to play for India as long as he surrenders his British passport in exchange for an Indian one.

Rocky is considered unlucky to be part of a NewCastle United line-up that included the likes of Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Patrick Kluivert.

Chopra harboured ambitions of managing and coaching his current side, Alloa Athletic, after the departure of Danny Lennon.

English: Photo of footballer Michael Chopra

Photo of footballer Michael Chopra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Michael joined Alloa, he said:

‘I remember when I was at Newcastle and I was a young boy, I was playing with Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Patrick Kluivert and they gave me the best experience possible.

They made me the player I am today and I’ll be looking to try and help all the young boys at the club and passing my experience on.

I will stay up here a lot of the time, although I’m going back to Newcastle this weekend because my son plays football and I can’t miss his game!

Otherwise, I will be up here training and playing, and I’m hoping to be able to train with St Mirren on a Friday if that can be finalised.

I’m also going to be coaching the kids on a Wednesday night. I want to put something back in and community coaching will be good.”

About his time at Kerala Blasters where he spent most of the time on the bench, Chopra said:

“That was a great experience. My dad is Indian, so that made it more interesting as well. Unfortunately I suffered a hamstring injury early on and then I ruptured my ankle ligaments, but it was still great seeing it all.”

Michael did not get the job. Jack Ross is his new manager.

Michael Chopra. Image cropped from original at...

Michael Chopra. Image cropped from original at flickr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Taylor is another Indian-origin player participating in the Premier League.

He is Welsh and turns out for Swansea and the national side.

Taylor has been capped more than 25 times for Wales and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

Taylor’s mother hails from Kolkata.

Speaking to Goal.com in 2012, Neil said:

“My mother comes from Calcutta and I have close family both there and in Delhi. I have visited my aunts, uncles and cousin several times when growing up and love the country.
Since I turned professional as a footballer at 16 I haven’t been able to visit India but it is a place I will return whenever I get the chance.
I think India would be a great place to stage the football World Cup. Football is a growing sport there, the Indian public is so passionate about sport (that I think) it would be an absolute winner.
It would bring football in India along in leaps and bounds; a bit like the 1994 World Cup has done for the USA.

There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a World Cup in India – if Qatar can stage it so can India.
Football in India is becoming much more developed and the vivid colours and culture of the country would make for a really distinctive event.
It is a country with the infrastructure to support a World Cup as it has proven with cricket.
Football in India is growing and improving and I think that is proved by the Venky family buying Blackburn Rovers.
The Premier League in England is the toughest and best league in the world, I think that is why it is attracting owners from around the globe.
So many of the clubs are now owned by people from other countries it really is a global brand.”

Speaking to the Independent a year later, the mixed-parentage soccer player speaking about the lack of Indian soccer players added:

“I want to know whether it is that they are not encouraged by their parents. Do they prefer a different sport? From what I remember from India, and what a lot of people say about the Indian people, it could be that a lot of the young people are encouraged to be doctors, surgeons and get pushed down the education route. I just wanted to know, is there more talent out there?

There are more Korean and Japanese players through the British leagues now but there are over a billion people in India, you know, and there’s an incredible density to the place. What I remembered of the country was that it is just cricket-mad. But when I went out this time I saw the change. It was monsoon time and you couldn’t even take your feet out of the grass. Sopping! But all the young people were playing football.

They knew Swansea and the way we played. India is perhaps the only part of the footballing world that is not tapped into. This was about finding out. For years, people didn’t know what origin I was. I’ve thought about it all. That’s all it really is.”

In June last year, Taylor renewed his contract with Swansea City signing a new four-year deal.

Later in November, Taylor whose father is English once again expounded on why he was the only British Asian player in the league.

“Well what’s the barrier? Growing up, and from what I know, for people of Indian origin, education is the number one priority.

All parents will drill their kids to be education-based, with your dreams put to one side to what will get you through life and get you a career.

The obvious question is why aren’t there any already.

I think it’s one of them things which has got a stigma attached to it and maybe players believe that they won’t get the opportunity, or that people (coaches) aren’t seeing them.

All these different types of things need to change.

I went out to India – I wanted to work with a charity along with finding if there were any players out there.

You know, there must be at least one! Looking at the amount of people out there, there’s got to be players who can play at a high level.

People say to me, athleticism. Does that come into it ? I said, I don’t think so.

I mean of course you look at the Olympics and you don’t see it littered with athletes from that part of the world. I think when I looked at it, I thought it can’t be.

People didn’t realise that I was Indian, it’s as simple as that – (from my name ) you wouldn’t know that I was Indian.

When I went to Kolkata and did a press conference, the next day, I got it. It was nice, people were saying welcome to our country, we’re glad people are coming out here.

People were then turning up to stadiums to see me after games and saying, ‘We didn’t know you’re Indian!’ It was great!

I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for my parents! Every footballer you ask that plays on the pitch is unlikely to make it if their parents didn’t play a part in their making it to be a professional footballer. So you need that as well, from an early age.

My dad was big on education as well. I couldn’t go to football if I didn’t [complete] my education properly. It should be like that for everybody, unfortunately it’s not.

Everyone should get their education, everyone has got their own story, but I think that if you really believe that you can, and that’s what you want to do, then parents should always back their children to do that while still having education as a back-up if it doesn’t go how you want it to.”

Yan Dhanda is the latest to join the bandwagon(?) of Indian players in the Premier League.

The 17-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Liverpool .

It has been his dream to become of part of the Reds since he was 14.

Dhanda’s set-piece free kick against Manchester City in an Under-18 game has drawn over 72K views on YouTube.

 

 

‘Run, Leicester, run,’ says Italian coach Claudio Ranieri


Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Claudio Ranieri is a smart man.

He must be.

He’s a crowd-pleaser.

And he knows how to grab the headlines.

The Italian manager of the English Premier League leader Leicester City had journalists in a tizzy with his statement comparing his giant-killing squad to a lovable, fictional movie character, Forrest Gump.

English: Tom Hanks as the title character on t...

Tom Hanks as the title character on the film set of Forrest Gump. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His team is Gumpish and intends to ‘Run, Run, Run’ all the way to the title.

Ranieri said:

“Look, I am very confident because if Leicester last season saved themselves in the last two months that means the stamina is fantastic. Why can’t we continue to run, run, run? We are like Forrest Gump. Leicester is Forrest Gump. I give you the headline there.”

For a team that was almost relegated last season, this year’s tilt at the championship has been nothing short of a fairy-tale.

Everyone loves an underdog especially when it seems too good to be true. We’re all suckers for a good story.

I don’t watch the English Premier League anymore. I used to a long time ago but not anymore.

But I still follow the championships through news reports.

This year has been fascinating reading.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have been models of inconsistency.

While a side that was not given a ghost of a chance has continued to mock the pundits and poke a hole in any theories propounded by soccer fans.

The Christmas break is that time of the EPL season when it becomes evident whether the leaders are going to stand their scorching pace or fall by the wayside. The change in inclement weather seems to mark a change in fortunes of  sides. Some teams are just better suited to take on their opponents in the wintry months.

Can Leicester City be the Christmas miracle fans need?

We shall soon know when they take on Liverpool and Manchester City in the space of days.

James Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were relative unknowns until four months ago, Hell, I never heard of them until Leicester started winning.

Now, they’re household names all across the globe.

Claudio Ranieri insists that he can make Leicester ‘Maximum City’.

Leicester have never won the EPL title. Ever.

The fairy-tale seems unlikely to go on.

Vardy and Mahrez have not been rested this season.

Their replacements Leonardo Ulloa and Nathan Dyer may just not have the same impact.

But with other sides such as Chelsea, Manchester City and United struggling to get their act together, it may just be possible for Leicester to run along.

Sometimes, it’s not necessary to be your best. Just better than the rest.

Jose Mourinho cleared: Eva Carneiro has no say in verdict


de: Jose Mourinho, Fußballtrainer - Inter Mail...

de: Jose Mourinho, Fußballtrainer – Inter Mailand en: Jose Mourinho, Football-Manager – F.C. Internazionale Milano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To be downgraded—an euphemism for ‘fired’—for simply doing your job on the field is egregious enough.

To be completely ignored during a so-called ‘investigation’ into the incident that led to your demotion is simply adding insult to injury.

Eva Carneiro must be wondering what hit her when the wrath of Jose Mourinho in all its ‘special’ splendor erupted on her when she treated Eden Hazard during a Chelsea game a couple of months ago.

She was labelled ‘naive’ then by the club boss; she must certainly feel that way now that she’s no longer part of the club.

Carneiro refused to accept a shunting to the backstage preferring to tender her resignation instead.

The medic is also considering legal action against her erstwhile employers.

Mourinho is alleged to have called the doctor a ‘filha da puta (daughter of a whore)’.

The allegations were denied by the ‘Special One’. He said he had actually yelled ‘filho da puta’ (son of a bitch)’.

The Chelsea honcho has since been let off by the testimony of a Portuguese lip-reader.

Carrneiro was scathing in her response:

“I was surprised to learn that the FA was allegedly investigating the incident of 8th of August via the press. I was at no stage requested by the FA to make a statement.

I wonder whether this might be the only formal investigation in this country where the evidence of the individuals involved in the incident was not considered relevant. Choosing to ignore some of the evidence will surely influence the outcome of the findings.

Last season I had a similar experience at a game at West Ham FC, where I was subject to verbal abuse. Following complaints by the public, the FA produced a communication to the press saying there had been no sexist chanting during this game. At no time was I approached for a statement despite the fact that vile, unacceptable, sexually explicit abuse was clearly heard.

It is incidents such as these and the lack of support from the football authorities that make it so difficult for women in the game.”

Football Association board member Heather Rabbatt was sympathetic to Carneiro’s cause despite Mourinho being cleared of the charge of discriminatory comments by the FA’s investigating committee.

The FA, in a released statement, claimed that they were  “satisfied that the words used do not constitute discriminatory language under FA Rules.”

It added:

“Furthermore, both the words used… and the video evidence, do not support the conclusion that the words were directed at any person in particular. Consequently…the FA will take no further action in relation to this matter.”

Women In Football were not so conciliatory.

They said:

“We believe it is appalling that her professionalism and understanding of football were subsequently called into question by manager Jose Mourinho and it threatened to undermine her professional reputation.

We also believe that Dr Carneiro’s treatment and ultimate departure from Chelsea FC sends out a worrying and alienating message to the already small numbers of female medical staff working in the national game.”

Rabbatts, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said:

“I have spoken to her in the last few days. She felt she had support and it’s very important; as you can imagine this is a terrible time for her.

Up until 8 August she was one of the most highly respected medics in her profession and at the moment she is out of the game she’s loved. I hope, with all of us learning lessons around these issues, that she will come back to the game in future.

I can’t go into what her ambitions and aspirations are but I know how much she loved her job and cares for the players. Becoming a highly-qualified doctor takes years of training, she was years at Chelsea, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to be lost to the game.

And we don’t want to lose her from the game. There are so few women in these professions that when people like her leave the game, it’s a real loss to so many other women and girls who aspire to play a role.

As I said in my statement, I was disappointed by how it was handled and I hope there are lessons for the future in how these very significant issues that affect the whole game are tackled.

There is something broader here. There must be really enforceable guidance so that no medic feels there can be any interference when they are called onto the field of play.

Remember, Dr Eva Carneiro did nothing wrong – in fact, if she had not gone onto the field of play, she would have been in breach of her own [General Medical Council] guidance.

We love the game for the strong passions but when that tips over into abusing somebody, ridiculing them, referencing them as a ‘secretary’, I do not believe that’s acceptable.”

Rabbatts’ publicly aired opinion triggered a response from FA chairman Greg Dyke.

Writing to the FA Council members, Dyke said:

“There have been some well-documented issues of late around equality and inclusion in the game, an issue where it is vital we continue to show clear leadership.

I felt the handling of the case of the Chelsea doctor, Eva Carneiro, was a good example of this. We supported Heather Rabbatts’ strong statement on the matter earlier in the month.

Personally I don’t think Mr Mourinho comes well out of the whole saga – he clearly made a mistake in the heat of a game, and should have said so and apologised.

Instead he has said very little and Miss Carneiro has lost her job.

Our regulatory team have investigated this and whilst Mr Mourinho has breached no rules it was clearly a failure of his personal judgement and public behaviour. This should be seen as such by the game.”

The FA, on their part, claim that they contacted  Carneiro’s lawyers for a statement. Carneiro was still with Chelsea at the time.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said:

“We have never received any information or complaint from Dr Carneiro.

Including in written correspondence with her lawyers, it has been made explicitly clear that if Dr Carneiro had evidence to provide or wished to make a complaint she was more than welcome to do so. That route remains open.”

Mourinho was uncharacteristically reticent at his weekly press conference.

He said:

“For the past two months I didn’t open my mouth and I’m going to keep it like this. One day I will speak and I will choose a day.

I’m quiet about it for a long time. I read and I listen and I watch and I’m quiet. My time to speak will arrive when I decide.”

Jose Mourinho makes Eva Carneiro the best known name in the EPL this week. How and why?


“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow. I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not,’ nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery. I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God. I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick. I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”

The above text is the Hippocratic oath—the modern version—as transcribed by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University in 1964.

Will someone bother to inform Jose Mourinho, arguably the most powerful soccer manager in the world, in his own words, ‘The Special One’ that his players’ well-being comes first and then his side’s winning chances?

Eva Carneiro, the Chelsea team doctor and Gibraltarian sports medicine specialist of British and Spanish parentage, together with head physiotherapist Jon Fearn, rushed to treat Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s game against Swansea last Saturday reducing the number of players on the field to nine. This did not go down well with Mourinho who publicly rebuked them.

The temperamental coach criticised his medical staff as being “impulsive and naive” and displaying a lack of knowledge of the game.

Some might say the same of the Portuguese national’s remarks and actions being indicative of his lack of awareness of medical ethics.

While his castigation of  Carneiro may not be sexist, it certainly is cause for concern as it shows a disturbing trend wherein players’ welfare is put after the club’s.

Peter Brukner, formerly Liverpool’s head of sports medicine and sports science and Australia cricket team doctor, said:

“I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager. He has a player who has gone down, who has remained down and the referee obviously considered it serious enough to summon on the doctor and the physio. They went on as they must do when they are summoned on and the player is down, and as a result the player had to come off the ground. What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on? Maybe he should be criticising his player for staying down, rather than the medical staff. The medical staff were only responding to the referee’s instruction to come and treat the player, who was on the ground. So then to criticise the medical staff publicly in the way that he did was absolutely appalling behaviour. The medical staff deserve a public apology and I’m very disappointed that the club hasn’t come out and done something to support them – they were just doing their job. Our first priority as doctors and physios is the health and safety of the individual player, and that’s what they were attending to. They were doing their job and they’ve been criticised very publicly for doing the job. I think that’s a very disappointing result.”

Carneiro has been with Chelsea since  February 2009. She was previously with the British Olympic Medical Institute and with England Women’s Football and UK Athletics.

The Chelsea boss insists that the medical duo will not attend at this Sunday’s derby game against Manchester City.

Carneiro alienated Mourinho further by posting a ‘Thank you’ note on her Facebook account.

Ralph Rogers, a former team doctor for Chelsea under Carlo Ancelotti, criticised his contemporary.

He said:

“You are support staff. You’re not one of the stars. There’s almost a slap in the face to the manager.

Why would she go to social media? It’s something we, as a profession, ethically should not be doing.”

The Premier League Doctors’ Group though supported Carneiro.

Their prepared statement read:

“Dr Carneiro has universal and total support from her medical colleagues at the Premier League Doctors’ Group. It is also of great concern that at a time when the both the Premier League and the Premier League Doctors’ Group are intensifying efforts to safeguard player welfare, the precedent set by this incident demonstrates that the medical care of players appears to be secondary to the result of the game.

The Premier League Doctors’ Group considers that removing Dr Carneiro from the Chelsea team bench for their next match is unjust in the extreme. In the publicised incident in last Saturday’s game against Swansea, the Chelsea medical staff were clearly summoned on to the field of play by the match referee to attend to a player. A refusal to run on to the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.

It is a huge concern that Dr Carneiro has been subjected to unprecedented media scrutiny and a change in her professional role, merely because she adhered to her code of professional conduct and did her job properly.”

So what will it be?

Will the Chelsea supremo back down and accept his fault? The man demands total loyalty from his staff and considers himself a benevolent dictator.

Or will Eva Carneiro be reduced to backend support and, perhaps, an eventual exit?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Lukas Podolski: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Lukas Podolski did not even get a kiss goodbye.

What he said:

“He [Wenger] said nothing to me. He did not call me or say goodbye. I don’t need flowers or a kiss from him. But it is about respect, about saying goodbye. For me respect is important. Maybe he had other problems with me.”

Arsenal forward and German international Lukas Podolski leaves for Inter Milan—on loan from Arsenal—on a sour note accusing manager Arsene Wenger of disrespecting him during his stay at the club.

Podolski has never had a regular place in the starting line-up since arriving there in 2012. His 60 appearances for the North London side bagged him 19 goals.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and in the backg...

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and in the background, Arsenal first team coach Boro Primorac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wenger responded:

“I had many conversations with him, he had my agreement to go on loan. I deny that completely but I knew he did not get enough opportunities. We have many players, when a player of his quality doesn’t get enough games you can understand he is frustrated.

At some stage too many players is detrimental to the confidence. You need the right numbers. It had nothing to do with his quality. It is just a loan without an option to buy – that means he is back at the end of the season.”

Podolski told the Sun:

“If I had been given a run of five or 10 games and played really s—, then I could say: ‘Fair enough, I am not good enough.'”

What he really meant:

“Ouch! What a nasty break-up! And my manager cannot even see me to the airport with flowers, kisses and chocolates. Woo hoo!”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Now you know what it means to be Podolskied.”

Alex Ferguson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Alex Ferguson waxes effusive on  Jose Mourinho.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now. But I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can.”

Former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson showers praise on current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in an interview to Clare Balding for a BT Sport documentary to be broadcast on Boxing Day.

Ferguson added:

“He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time.He [Mourinho] has got a determination, he wants to be a coach.He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it.
Then he goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan. That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to.”

Português: O treinador de futebol português Jo...

Português: O treinador de futebol português José Mourinho. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blues coach Mourinho reciprocated the Scot’s approval with similar acclaim (on the same show).

The Portuguese said that he always ordered the same bottle of wine whenever United played them at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho said:

“It was Chelsea Football Club catering that bought the wine, and obviously the wine was not the top quality that the boss deserves. It was quite funny but disappointing. 

So the next time we play against each other, I called a friend and I told him, the best I want the best. 

And from that moment always the same bottle when I play against the boss.”

He added:

“Everything, his talent, the time he put his talent at the service of Manchester United and football in general. The passion that he has put in to everything, and after that in private moments, obviously, a good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much. Now and again I’ve had questions to put to him and the way he has answered to me was always magnificent and a great support.”

What Ferguson really meant:

“He’s better looking than me plus he can travel all over Europe with his facility for picking up new languages. Imagine he can coach in five different tongues and claim he’s the ‘Chosen One’ in each of them too.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“He (Mourinho) would make a great travelling salesman, wouldn’t he?”

Gary Neville: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Gary Neville pub-crawls back and froth from The Dog and Duck to The Red Lion.

What he said:

“It’s the Dog and Duck versus The Red Lion.”

Former Manchester United player and skipper Gary Neville likens the upcoming match-up between Liverpool and Manchester United to a game between two pub sides.

Neville was commenting on United’s poor show against Southampton where they won 2-1 and had them sitting pretty at third spot in the English Premier League standings on the back of five consecutive wins.

Neville said:

“United got away with murder tonight. They look shot of confidence. United will be delighted to sit third and think they will get better.”

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United manager Louis Van Gaal warned Neville to “pay attention to his words”.

The Dutchman said:

“He can say everything because he is an ex-legend. But as an ex-legend … or as a legend, you have to know what you are saying. You can interpret that [as you like]. It’s not difficult. He has to pay attention to his words.”

Van Gaal singled out fellow countryman Robin Van Persie for praise following his brace against Southampton but conceded that United were not up to par.

Van Gaal said:

“He was one of the three players on the pitch of Manchester United who were good or maybe very good. He had a great influence on the result. Very positive.

Until now it was his best performance. I hope but I have to say I was very pleased with his performance and also his goals. His second was not so easy because the ball was coming towards his right foot and he connected with his left. A nice touch. Normally you have six, seven, eight players who are good. But today there were too many not good, I believe.”

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Neville really meant:

 “If that’s the level of play Liverpool and United are going to bring to the table, I’d be better off catching up with some Sunday League game instead or playing in one myself.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “You do know that the Dog and Duck and The Red Lion are two of my favourite sports bars, right? That’s where we should watch Sunday soccer, not in some bloody sanitised studio. Soak up the atmosphere, eh?”

 

Dave Whelan: What he said


Dave Whelan shouts Chinese whispers.

What he said:

“When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese ‘chingalings’. We weren’t being disrespected [sic]. We used to say: ‘We’re going to eat in chingalings.’ The Chinese weren’t offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called it [the first Chinese cafe in Wigan].”

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan puts his other foot in his mouth with his comments regarding the Chinese community in England.

It was only last month that Whelan told the Guardian that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else”.

The resulting storm saw the club lose two of its sponsors, Premier Range and Ipro.

Whelan defended his remarks thus:

“It’s telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money.”

Whelan was then defending his hiring of Malky Mackay as Wigan’s manager.

Mackay was under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racism and anti-Semitism over his email and text exchanges while in charge of Cardiff City.

One of Mackay’s texts or emails described Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a chink.

Another referred to the Jewish football agent, Phil Smith, as “a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”

Whelan also said:

“If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.”

Simon Johnson, chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, said:

“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of anti-Semitism and stereotyping of Jewish people. Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype.”

Wong, director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, said:

“I remember at school in the 70s a skinhead kicking me, calling me ‘chinky, chinky,’. It has stopped now; things have changed for the better. We have legal protection against racism and that is important; it is not political correctness. As a football manager, this man should not have said it.”

The British Chinese Project termed Whelan’s latest comments highly offensive.

A statement read:

“Once again, Mr Whelan, rather distressingly, believes he can speak on behalf of Chinese people. His comments are extremely unhelpful in our fight to end discrimination and racism against Chinese people in the UK. Once more, he is using a public platform to tell a wide audience what Chinese people find offensive.

Contrary to what Mr Whelan may believe, the vast majority of our community deem the terms ‘chink’ and ‘chingaling’ highly offensive. For many in the Chinese community these words hold deep emotional resonance, as they are often used in conjunction with racial violence, harassment and hate crimes.

Therefore, to say that ‘there is nothing wrong’ with using such terms or that Chinese people ‘aren’t offended’ by their use, demonstrates a dangerous level of ignorance. We have noticed that Mr Whelan has truly gone out of his way to apologise to the Jewish community, it is a shame that the same level of apology hasn’t been extended to the Chinese community. We can assure him that we are just as angry and just as offended as the Jewish community.”

Wigan, meanwhile, responded on-line saying:

“Wigan Athletic are reminding supporters that it is illegal to swear or use racist, homophobic or sexist language. The club has a zero tolerance on this and any supporter found to be using inappropriate language runs the risk of being ejected from the match.”

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