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Premier League football news, photos, rumours, gossip, WAGs, transfers

Retro Football: Sir Bruce Forsyth Entertains Crowd By Scoring At Wembley Before 1974 FA Cup Final (Video):

August 18th, 2017

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Chin chin: Bruce Forsyth compares facial protuberance with Jimmy Hill, 1981 (Photo: REX, via Telegraph)

Sad news is reaching Pies this afternoon that legendary British entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth has passed away at the grand old age of 89.

From game-shows to Royal Variety performances, Brucie pretty much accomplished it all in a long and winding showbiz career that spanned almost 75 years – and he even scored a goal at an FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Specifically, Forsyth emerged from the tunnel to entertain the crowd before the 1974 final between Liverpool and Newcastle and decided the best may to unite the two tribes would be to seize a ball, sprint down the pitch (no mean feat in platform shoes) and whack one into the Liverpool goal…

100,000 burly football fans eating out of the palm of his hand, effortlessly done. As David Coleman puts it in the commentary, the man was a professional entertainer and evidently born so.

Liverpool went onto win the final 3-0, with goals from Kevin Keegan (2) and Steve Heighway.

RIP Sir Bruce Forsyth, 1928-2017

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All At Sea: Walsall Fan Makes Whopping Error While Booking Accommodation For League One Trip To Portsmouth:

August 18th, 2017

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Faced with a 230-mile round trip, one Walsall fan decided to book themselves some cheap accommodation in order to break up the long haul down to the south coast for Saturday’s League One game against Portsmouth.

Alas, in attempting to secure the cheapest possible overnight stop, it would appear that the intrepid Saddlers fan in question dropped a bit of clanger when it came to researching the specific location of their out-of-town hotel…

Entirely unsubstantiated as the tale may be, it made us chortle nonetheless.

For the uninitiated, allow us to illustrate the length and breath of the error involved…

Image: Google Maps

Oopsy daisy.

Oh well, what League One match isn’t enlivened by a short ferry ride beforehand?

Chelsea: Diego Costa Once Again Reiterates He Would Really, Really, Really Like To Return To Atletico Madrid If It’s At All Possible, Thank You:

August 18th, 2017

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Coming precisely one day after Diego Costa confirmed his desire to rejoin former club Atletico Madrid, the AWOL Chelsea striker has re-confirmed his desire to rejoin former club Atletico Madrid.

After being informed via text message a couple of months ago that he was no longer part of Antonio Conte’s plans, Costa has hunkered down in his hometown of Lagarto, Brazil, where he apparently intends to remain until his demands are met.

The 28-year-old striker issued a statement on Thursday outlining his position, declaring that his “destination is already made” and that he “must return to Atletico”.

Friday morning then saw a new Costa screed emerge on the back of an interview with ESPN Brazil.

Chatting to ESPN Brazil’s Joao Castelo-Branco over the phone, Costa said:

I’ve demonstrated I care for Atletico and have interest in playing for them.

But if Atletico and Chelsea don’t come to an agreement and Atletico don’t make a big effort, I can’t keep on wanting to play for a club that isn’t going to make a bigger effort to try and sign me.

I know that this [big effort] will happen, but if it’s to pay the amount that Chelsea want it won’t be possible.

Costa then hinted that Atleti have prepared a provisional offer for him, and that it is higher than the £32million Chelsea originally paid to sign him from the Spanish side in July of 2014.

What I know is that this offer Chelsea will get is bigger than what they paid, so I’ve given them something back in all senses.

Castelo-Branco then asked just how much Chelsea are holding out for, to which Costa replied:

I don’t know, but my agent said that Chelsea want something that Atletico can’t get near.

When we heard that Conte didn’t want me anymore, my agent went to find out if there was interest from Atletico for me coming back.

They showed interest. But they wouldn’t pay a fortune. Atletico is a team growing every year, but they can’t pay an extraordinary amount.

Asked if it would now be impossible to return to Chelsea, Costa revealed just how deep the schism has come to run:

I’ll be honest, I have my agent and none of that [negativity from inside the club] has reached me. People at the club called me before to give me extra holidays to not have contact with the manager.

I was always meant to turn up with the group, but they were already saying that I’m going to have to come back and train with the reserves. I said that this was a lack of respect. We won the league and I haven’t done anything so serious to deserve being treated in that way.

[The relationship between me and Conte] won’t be the same as before, and we don’t know if the fight for the position will be fair.

Because of me having exposed the [text] message I understand that he’ll be annoyed, so if I go back I have to see if things would be clean, just and correct.

That’s how I like things. If I go back now I don’t think it will be a fair situation. It won’t be an honest fight for a place [in the team].

What a dreadful hash Chelsea have made of cutting their first-choice striker adrift.

Of course, we’re only hearing Costa’s ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ version of events and we can’t imagine he’s entirely blameless, but still – you feel this is only going to get messier before the whole sorry palaver is resolved.

Portuguese Club Beira-Mar Attempt To Entice Usain Bolt With Contract Offer Of Free Burgers, Eggs And Beer:

August 18th, 2017

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Photo: Sport Clube Beira-Mar/Facebook

After retiring from athletics at the end of the World Championships in London, Usain Bolt has rather curiously appeared to attain ‘free agent’ status in the world of football.

Of course, it stands to reason that Bolt was immediately linked with a move to Burton Albion, but sadly party-pooper manager Nigel Clough has since laughed off suggestions of the Jamaican sprinter going on trial at the Brewers.

Next in line to try their luck are Portuguese club Sport Clube Beira-Mar, who are based by the beach in Aveiro and have cobbled together a tantalising contract offer and submitted it to Bolt via their official Facebook page.

Allow us to translate Beira-Mar’s speculative offer in its entirety:

Being Sport Clube Beira-Mar, a club where dreams come true, we announce that we are available to fulfil the dream of one of the best athletes of all time!

Usain Bolt, come fulfil your dream. Come play soccer by the seaside! 💛

We are aware of the importance of this step [in your career] and so we risked everything to offer you the best of contracts.

Here are the conditions we have for you:

– The honour of wearing our jersey.

– The best fans in the world.

– Three bifanas (pork sandwiches) and three burgers from local restaurants (with the right to sauce, but without french fries)

– 12 Ovos Moles (a local egg-based confectionery) per day, if nobody eats them in the morning in the locker room.

– One case of Imperial beer per week.

– A selfie stick (for your photos, to tell the whole world that Venice is the Aveiro of Italy!)

– A telephone with Portuguese contacts: President Marcelo (who will greet you when you arrive) and numbers for organising parties.

– All the beer you can drink at the stadium bar.

PS: Training has already begun and your gold medals will not serve you much when called-up.

Quite honestly, we’d have bitten their hands off at the first mention of bifanas.

We’re talking God-tier sandwiches here folks.

Impact Stub: Bayern Munich’s New Sporting Director Has Banned Carlo Ancelotti From Smoking On The Job:

August 18th, 2017

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Photo via Goal.com

Bayern Munich recently appointed Hasan Salihamidzic as their new sporting director and the former Champions League-winning midfielder’s first order of business was a decidedly risky one.

In an effort to promote a more wholesome, healthy image, Salihamidzic approached head coach Carlo Ancelotti and asked him to stop smoking on club premises, be that sneaking out for a ciggie during training sessions or enjoying a crafty bifter round the back of the bins at the Allianz Arena on matchdays.

Salihamidzic told Sky Germany (via ESPN FC):

I asked Carlo Ancelotti not smoke at the club. Of course he accepts that — he is a true professional.

Since the ban became enforced, Bayern have lifted the Super Cup and walloped minnows Chemnitz in the opening round of the DFB Pokal, leading Ancelotti to remark:

This is good for my health, my wife is delighted.

May we suggest that Ancelotti’s punishment for breaching the ban should be the same as that metered out to Robert Lewandowski during his years as a teenage tearaway?

As revealed in his autobiography, the Bayern striker was once caught huffing away on a cigarette during a football training camp in Poland only to receive a brutally literal sanction from the camp supervisors.

“I had to take care of a fire extinguisher for half-a-year,” Lewa reminisced, mangled translation notwithstanding.

Think on, Carlo. Think on.

West Brom: Tony Pulis Confirms Man City Will Have To Make ‘A Very, Very Good Offer’ If They Want To Sign Jonny Evans:

August 18th, 2017

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Tony Pulis has confirmed that West Brom have knocked back an opening offer from Man City as the latter continue to canvass Jonny Evans.

It’s being reported that City began the bidding at £18million, only to be unceremoniously rebuffed by the Baggies, who have no intention of selling their man.

Speaking during his Friday press conference, Pulis was asked to clarify the Evans situation, to which he replied…

It’s now being mooted that City plan to return to the table with a £22million offer, which the Baggies are also likely to reject.

You may snort with derision when it comes to Evans, but we happen to think he’s quite possibly one of the Top Three best defensive players in the Premier League – and still only 29 to boot.

Still, we never thought we’d live in a world where he’s a £22million-plus player.


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Schalke 04 Celebrate First Bundesliga Game Of Season By Offering Every Fan (Over 16) Free Beer On The House:

August 17th, 2017

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Schalke 04 are planning to celebrate the start of the new season by buying what they’re calling the biggest round of drinks in Bundesliga history!

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the club’s association with the local C. & A. Veltins brewery, Schalke are planning to ply every single fan (over the age of 16) that attends this Saturday’s opening match against RB Leipzig with a free beer.

Schalke fans will receive a complimentary voucher with their match ticket that will entitle them to redeem it for a Veltins product of their choice on matchday – namely a refreshing glug of the local tipple.

With an average attendance of around 60,000 last season, that all adds up to one hell of a round.


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Barcelona: Paulinho Makes Shocking Hash Of Basic Keepy-Uppies At Camp Nou Unveiling (Video):

August 17th, 2017

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It’s fairly safe to say that the majority of Barcelona fans are ever so slightly underwhelmed about their club decision to spend €40million of The Neymar Money™ on bringing in his compatriot, Paulinho, from China.

After leaving Tottenham under a cloud, the midfielder spent two years looking comparatively godly in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande before sealing a shock move to Barca last week.

Sadly, the Culos’ fears were hardly allayed when he attempted to dazzle them with his keepy-uppie prowess at his grand Camp Nou unveiling today…

Bugger. Nearly broke his own record there but the sixth juggle just got away from him.

Nothing like starting how you mean to go on, eh?

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‘I Must Return To Atletico Madrid’ – AWOL Diego Costa Releases Statement Confirming He Won’t Play For Chelsea Again:

August 17th, 2017

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Diego Costa has gone on record as saying he has no intention of returning to Chelsea and is instead hell-bent on rejoining former club Atletico Madrid at the nearest available juncture.

Despite the season starting a fortnight ago, Costa steadfastly failed to report back and is currently training privately in his hometown of Lagarto, Brazil.

Atleti are currently under transfer embargo until January, but Costa doesn’t care one iota. He’s aching to get back to Spain.

Indeed, the Daily Mail doorstepped the 28-year-old at his home on Sunday and remarkably found themselves invited in for an impromptu interview, during which the AWOL striker claimed he’s being treated “like a criminal” by Antonio Conte.

I’ve said ‘If the manager doesn’t want me, the team I want to go to is Atletico Madrid.

Of course, this being the same manager who infamously sent a text message to Costa at the tail end of last season to inform him that his services were no longer required.

Sure enough, Costa has followed up on his informal chat with the Mail by releasing a statement to the press on Thursday to solidify his stance (via the Telegraph):

My destination is already made. I must return to Atletico Madrid.

It turns out that there is the impasse that Chelsea does not want to release me. But I believe that this situation will be resolved now on my return to Spain.

I have rejected other offers. They want to sell me to China or other teams.

If I’m off, I’m going to the club I want to go to – not the club that’s paying the most.

I want the deal with Atletico resolved this month. My idea would be to go to Madrid, train there, get in the best physical shape and be ready to fire ahead of the World Cup.

Call it a hunch, but something about all this hints to us that Diego Costa really wants to return to Atletico Madrid.

While we’re loathe to defend a player for downing tools, Chelsea really deserve every minute of misery Costa causes them given the ugly, callous way they attempted to discard him – their top goalscorer in a title-winning season.

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Mistaken Identity: Liverpool Stalwart Jamie Carragher Fooled By Old Photo Of Himself Posing Alongside ‘Trent Alexander-Arnold’ In 2009:

August 17th, 2017

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Trent Alexander-Arnold’s star is on the rise at the moment, especially in the wake of the teenage full-back’s superb freekick goal against Hoffenheim earlier in the week.

Ex-Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher heralded his young successor’s efforts directly after the match, sharing on social media what he thought was a photo of the pair together back in 2009, when Alexander-Arnold was a mere 10-year-old slip of a lad.

The picture, which was originally circulated by Sky Sports when Alexander-Arnold first crept into the first-team frame last year, supposedly shows the youngster serving as Carragher’s matchday mascot before a League Cup tie against Leeds at Elland Road.

However, 19,000 retweets later and the Liverpool Echo have gone and debunked the image entirely.

Indeed, the newspaper have done a little digging and found that – surprise, surprise – the lad in the photo isn’t the same boy that tucked a curling effort inside Hoffenheim’s post on Tuesday evening.

The boy acting as Carra’s player escort is in fact 19-year-old Reds fan Dion Simpson, who has no earthly idea why Sky Sports and the internet at large keep attempting to pass him off as Alexander-Arnold.

I was a mascot back in 2009 against Leeds away, which is my hometown.

And then last year Sky put some footage out on Sky Sports News which they thought was Trent, just before the recent EFL Cup game against Leeds last year.

Then it went viral all last year – and now Carra has brought it back up again!

The big Twitter accounts and newspaper accounts were posting it around on Facebook and Twitter, and it just kept going on for months.

It’s only just died down, but now it’s gone even worse because Carra has posted the picture.

Turns out Alexander-Arnold himself is also fairly bamboozled by the whole escapade, with Carragher revealing the following text exchange that appears to have leaked directly out of the Liverpool dressing room…

The jig is up Carra. Time to turn yourself in at your local constabulary.

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