Monday, 31 January 2011

Chelsea Sign David Luiz

Chelsea have managed to sign Brazilian international defender David Luiz from Benfica for £21.4m, just in time before the transfer window closed at 11pm tonight.

David Luiz is capable of playing in the centre of defence but he can also as a full-back on either side.

The Brazilian has made 70 appearances for Benfica in the Portuguese Liga this season, scoring four goals, whilst he also has four caps for Brazil.

David Luiz has signed five and a half year deal at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool Bid Accepted For Andy Carroll

Liverpool FC confirmed this afternoon that Newcastle United have accepted a club record transfer offer for Andy Carroll after the striker asked to leave St James Park.

Carroll had been a subject of a failed bid from Tottenham Hotspur last week and if Torres is sold to Chelsea before the end of the transfer deadline it would of left Liverpool short up front without Torres.

Liverpool has been given permission by Newcastle to discuss personal terms with Andy Carroll, who will now travel to Liverpool for a medical with a view to completing the deal today.

Liverpool Manager Kenny Dalglish had stressed the need for a replacement when a player leaves the club. “If someone’s going to go, you’ve got to have a replacement”,

Andy Carroll has signed a 5-and-a-half year deal at Anfield

Kenny Dalglish has been a busy man in the transfer market after Liverpool confirmed the services of another player earlier, Luis Suarez has signed a five-and-half-year contract at Liverpool. The striker moves to Anfield from Ajax in a deal worth 26.5million euros (£22.7m) and Liverpool are also hoping to announce the signing of Blackpool’s Charlie Adam before the end of the day.

Obafemi Martins Joins Birmingham

Birmingham have confirmed the signing of Obafemi Martins, the striker joins the Blues from Rubin Kazan after the player flew into England on Sunday to finalise terms, City has today confirmed that Martins had been granted a work permit for the deal to go through in time before the transfer window closes 11pm tonight.

Blues boss Alex McLeish has been determined to sign a striker with proven Barclays Premier League experience and Martins, who will wear number 17, fits that bill.

Martins had a successful three year spell with Newcastle between 2006-09 season where he scored 39 goals in 105 appearances for the Magpies.

Ian Holloway Signs Duo

Blackpool have secured the services of two players on the final day of the transfer window, Ian Holloway has moved quickly to sign James Beattie on loan until the end of the season & Andy Reid has joined permanently for an undisclosed fee from Sunderland.

Andy Reid transfer to Blackpool could now open the door for Charlie Adam’s departure to Liverpool.

Rangers striker James Beattie joins the Tangerines after only managing just seven appearances for the Ibrox club since joining them in August.

A number of clubs had been linked with the former England striker but the 32-year-old has decided to join Blackpool.

Beattie will hope that an impressive spell at Blackpool will secure a permanent move.

Blackpool are currently lying in 12th spot in the Premier League with 15 games remaining in the season.

Fernando Torres Joins Chelsea


Fernando Torres has joined Chelsea today for a £50m deal from Liverpool breaking the British transfer record after the Reds initially rejected a transfer bid from Chelsea last week.

The striker then subsequently handed in an official transfer request the next day, which was rejected and today Chelsea made an improved offer which Liverpool found head to resist considering the players had already made up his mind that he wanted to leave Anfield.

Fernando Torres joined Liverpool in the 2007 season and made his competitive debut for Liverpool against Aston Villa in a 2–1 win on 11 August 2007.

Torres has since made 142 appearances and scoring 81 times for the club and the 26 year old now seeks a new challenge in hope of winning silverware at Stamford Bridge.

Having completing his transfer to Chelsea, the striker said; "I am very happy with my transfer to Chelsea and I am looking forward very much to helping my new team-mates this season and for many years to come.

"Having played against Chelsea many times since coming to England, and in some very big games I will never forget.

"I know there are many great players here and I will work hard to win a place in the team. I hope I can score some important goals for the supporters to enjoy this season."

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Robbie Keane Joins West Ham

West Ham have signed Robbie Keane on loan until the end of the season after rejecting a bid from Tottenham for Scott Parker. Keane was subjected to a failed bid two weeks ago when Birmingham tried to snap up the striker on a permanent deal.

"We're delighted to sign a world class striker. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy drives a hard bargain but we've got our man," said West Ham chairman David Gold.

Keane will become West Ham's fourth signing of the January transfer window after the arrival of Demba Ba, Wayne Bridge and Gary O'Neil at Upton Park,

David Gold has also assured West Ham fans that Scott Parker is not for sale and that he will resist any future offers for the England international before the transfer window closes.

"Nobody can leave. You can see our situation. We would fight off any club pursuing our players," he said Gold. "The next 14 games will be as important a 14 games as there have been in the history of the football club."

Will West Ham Avoid Relegation?

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sunderland Sign Sulley Muntari

Sunderland have completed a loan deal to land Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari, the Ghana ace has joined the Black Cats until the end of the season and joins fellow countrymen Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah at Sunderland.

Muntari had been plying his trade in the Serie A with current European champions Inter Milan and could make his debut against Stoke next weekend.

Steve Bruce spoke of his delight at landing Muntari with his first signing of the January transfer window.

"Sulley is a fabulous acquisition for the club," Sunderland's manager told his club's official website.

"When the opportunity arises to bring in a player of his ability, even in the short term, you have to take it and I'm delighted we've been able to.

Speaking on Muntari’s ability to adapt to most positions, he added;

"His adaptability is a great asset. He did extremely well at Portsmouth so he knows the Premier League well and you have to be some player to move to Inter Milan for the fee that he did. He's a great addition.

"If you had said to me six months ago that we'd be looking at Sulley Muntari who had just won the Champions League I would have said 'not a chance'.

"This is an ideal opportunity to bring in a top-class midfield player who moved to Inter for about €17m. To bring him in now can only give the club a lift."

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Keys and Gray Saga Continues

Richard Keys, Sky Sports presenter has today resigned form his post after colleague Andy Gray was sacked on Tuesday for indecent behaviour after being caught saying to Charlotte Jackson, 'Can you tuck that down there?' as he prepared to go on air.

He has now been fired from his £1.7million-a-year job.

Both presenters were caught making sexist remarks on TV when Lineswoman Sian Massey was helping to officiate a game on Monday night which was broadcasted live on Sky, although there remarks were not live on TV there microphones were still on and they were unaware the remarks would be picked up.

In his apology, the former Scotland international said: 'I am very sorry that certain comments made by me have caused offence. Such comments were made off-air to work colleagues, and were of course never intended to be broadcast.

'I was very upset when the comments were brought to my attention, and it was my intention to apologise on Monday night when I was back on air for the Bolton v Chelsea game.

'Sadly I was unable to do so as I was suspended from the show by Sky Sports and have now been sacked. Football is my life and I am devastated by losing the job that I love.'

Since then, Richard Keys appeared on Talksport radio today stating that he is undecided on whether to resign from his position and alleged that dark forces were working behind the scenes.

He said that after apologising to Massey on Sunday he had asked if he could publicise that his apology had been made and accepted.

The presenter said: 'I was told no, and 24 hours passed by which time the world had gone mad.

'Now, I don't know why I was told no, I don't know why I was stopped from telling people that that's what I had done.'

Keys insisted he had tried to ring West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady who he also mentioned disparagingly in the off-air conversation with Gray.

He said: 'I tried to ring Karren twice on Sunday night she didn't answer the phone.'

Keys also went on to add; The Sky presenter referred to his position in the past tense during the radio interview – and suggested other members of the presenting team should be implicated in the sexism row.

He also said he ‘could not believe’ the furore that has blown up over his comments about Sian Massey.

‘The clips are fairly selective. They have targeted two individuals it might not be that they are representative of what goes on in the studio which is our dressing room,’ he said on Talksport.

‘All I can do is sit here and apologise. There is no place for what happened in the modern workplace and I am very sorry.

‘I cannot believe the fury that has blown up. If I had been in a position to say sorry on Sunday it would have. I think because no one said anything they thought we were arrogant and dismissive.

‘I’m taking a kicking and I deserve it’.

After fellow presenter Andy Gray was fired on Tuesday as part of the controversy, Keys gave that decision as part of his reason for going.

"I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offence they have caused; it was wrong and should not have happened," Keys said in a statement.

"I have thought long and hard and reached the decision that it is time to move on. Going forward without Andy would have been almost impossible.

"I am and will remain proud of our work with football at Sky Sports and grateful to the many people who have worked with me. I wish Sky Sports continued success in the future."

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sky Discipline Andy Gray & Richard Keys

Sky have disciplined presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys after both of them was caught up in a sexism row when they suggested that female officials have no place in football.

Keys and Gray believed their microphones were turned off and were heard agreeing that Sian Massey and other female assistant referees "did not know the offside rule".

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "Their comments were totally unacceptable."

Keys and Gray have been the face of Sky Sports football coverage since the introduction of English top-flight football matches to satellite broadcaster in 1992.

Speaking before yesterday’s televised game, Keys added: "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her."

Gray quipped: "Women don't know the offside rule."

In a statement on Monday, Francis explained his decision for disciplining the pair.

He said: "I have spoken directly to both Richard Keys and Andy Gray this morning.

"It has been made clear to each of them that their comments were totally unacceptable.

"Those views are inexcusable, entirely inconsistent with our ethos as a business and employer, and will rightly offend many of our customers, our people, and the wider public.

"They are inexcusable from anyone at Sky, regardless of their role or seniority. We have dealt with this matter by taking immediate disciplinary action.

"As with any employee it would not be right to go into detail on those proceedings. However, they have been clearly warned about their behaviour and reminded of their responsibilities.

"In addition, Richard and Andy will not be involved in any way with tonight's live Monday Night Football."

Joey Barton Eager To Extend Contract

Joey Barton has insisted that he would like to see out the rest of his playing career at Newcastle; Barton seems to have settled after three turbulent years at Tyneside.

The midfielder has been in great form for the Magpies this season, helping the club to eighth position in the Premier League.

The 28-year-old has now paid tribute to the club, stating that he is excited about what the future holds at St James' Park and wants to extend his current deal.

"I've started discussions with the club, and everything seems to be going in the right direction. So hopefully we'll get that sorted as soon as possible, and I can just concentrate on doing my utmost for Newcastle United, " he said.

"I want to stay here."

Joey Barton is keen to see Alan Pardew strengthen the squad during the transfer window, adding to the injury-hit squad in order to compete with best teams in the League.

It was disappointing to get knocked out of the FA Cup, but realistically I'm not sure we have the squad to compete on all fronts," he added.

"The pace that the Spurs game was played at was the hardest I've played at for a long time. The body is under a lot of strain.

"Man Utd and Chelsea use the squad rotation system so players can get a breather. We aren't able to do that at the minute until we improve the squad.

"Realistically our goal was to consolidate Premier League status. We're on target to do that if we can win our next two games.

"We've lost Smudge, Tiote is suspended and the big man (Andy Carroll ) is out along with Dan Gosling, who has had a setback.

"We need bodies - we've got 12 or 13 players fit at the moment who have experience.

"If we get injuries in key areas we'll be in trouble, as would any squad."

Blackpool's Charlie Adam Submits Transfer Request

Blackpool’s Charlie Adam has handed in a transfer request in hope of pushing through a move during the January transfer window, Liverpool are likely to submit an improved offer after having a £4m offer rejected last week.

The Scottish international turned in another eye-catching display against Sunderland on Saturday despite the ongoing saga over his future.

The Scotland midfielder scored a penalty in the home defeat.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway insists that Adam should stay put until the summer, but now he has to contend with an official request.

Holloway said: 'Has his head been turned? Yes. It can be turned. He understands Liverpool is huge. With Kenny Dalglish in charge, the club is so stable.

'They have got new owners and they are going to get back to what they were and Charlie deserves to play for them one day.

'But that day, for me, isn't right for this football club at this moment in time. Maybe in the summer because it's a much better time to do business.'

Blackpool have since rejected Charlie Adams's transfer request, with hope of keeping hold of him until the season.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Robbie Savage Turns Down Vancouver MLS Move

Derby County captain Robbie Savage has turned down a chance to move to MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps, the former Welsh international with mulling over a deal offered to him, but he also weighing up his options to continue his media career as a television pundit.

Robbie Savage contract runs out at the end of the season with Derby, has vowed to try and find and new club or continue his TV career in the UK.

"I'm going to stay here," he said on Twitter. "Canada was a great option but it was too big a move for my family."

Robbie Savage admitted he was tempted by the move, but uprooting his family and leaving a media career his has worked hard for proved difficult to do.

"They [Vancouver] are a new team in the MLS, they're moving to a new £300m stadium and they are very ambitious.

"The chance to be part of making soccer popular in America, alongside people like David Beckham and Thierry Henry, is obviously very tempting. But it is up to Derby now, and depending on what they say I will then talk to my family, and to the BBC and ESPN."

On Sunday, the Robbie Savage revealed on his Twitter account that he made his decision to stay in the UK

"So for the first time ever I will be out of contract in the summer," he said. "I'm going to have to be my own agent!"

"It was a massive call, but I've worked hard in the media to get where I am and took good advice off people. It's the right choice."

Do you agree or disagree that Robbie Savage has made the right decision?

Let us now in the comments section below.

Darren Bent Justifies His Price Tag

Darren Bent hit the winner for Aston Villa yesterday against Manchester City.  This was after an eventful week when a feud between Bent’s former manager Steve Bruce and current manager Gerard Houllier had erupted around the sale of Bent's transfer from Sunderland to Aston Villa last week.

Steve Bruce suggested that Aston Villa had approached Darren Bent long before the deal went through and is not happy on how Gerard Houllier went about pursuing Darren Bent after the striker handed in a written transfer request.

Gerard Houllier hailed the striker, scoring on is debut and repaying a slice of 24m Villa paid for his service after media critics were baffled by the move suggesting that he’s not worth that much.

Speaking after the game, Houllier said; "I thought the boy handled the pressure very well."

"The finish was that of a natural-born finisher, something you cannot teach somebody. That is what he is here for."

The England striker hit the only goal of the game yesterday when Manchester City’s Joe Hart could only parry Ashley Young’s shot into the path of Bent, who was on hand to tap in the rebound on his debut.

The striker said; "People questioned why I joined this football club but look at the players around me," said the striker, who was watched at Villa Park by England manager Fabio Capello.

"Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor, Mark Albrighton and Stewart Downing are all players that can create chances out of nothing and as a striker you want that kind of service,"

Do you agree or disagree that Darren Bent is worth £24?

Let us now in the comments section below.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Athletics Boss Questions Olympic Stadium Plans

The head of World Athletics says London will have told a "big lie" to host the 2012 Olympics if the Olympic stadium is converted into a football ground, both Tottenham and West Ham have both expressed their interest in acquiring the stadium which is based in Stratford, East London.

"They'll have made a big lie during their presentation," International Athletics Association Federation chief Lamine Diack said.

"There will be no credibility... of a great country like Britain."

"[There would be] no way to comeback as far as my generation is concerned," he stated.

"You can consider you are dead. You are finished.

"This nation has a number of heroes in athletics. I could spend an hour, listing one by one all those who've achieved fantastic things in athletics. They are still there, involved. And this country, this city saying that I'm not able to have a stadium of athletics?"

Under Tottenham’s plan to take over the Olympic stadium, they have said they would scrap the running track and Lamine Diack has insisted that should the track be removed, Britain's chances of hosting future events would be severely compromised.

"[There would be] no way to comeback as far as my generation is concerned," he stated.

"You can consider you are dead. You are finished.

"This nation has a number of heroes in athletics. I could spend an hour, listing one by one all those who've achieved fantastic things in athletics. They are still there, involved. And this country, this city saying that I'm not able to have a stadium of athletics?"

Blackburn Boss Signs Long-Term Contract

Blackburn owners have awarded caretaker boss Steve Kean a contract extension to keep him in charge at Ewood Park until the summer of 2013, Indian owners decided to sack Allardyce and put Kean in temporary charge in December.

Kean was initially appointed until the end of the season and the owner’s feels he had done enough to be rewarded with an extension.

Kean joined Rovers as first-team coach in 2009 and is relishing the challenge of trying to take the club forward over the next two-and-a-half years.

He told the club's official website: "I am delighted to commit my future to Rovers at the start of what I see as a massively exciting new era for the club.

"The owners have shown great faith in me and I will do all I can to repay them.

"This is a great opportunity for me and I intend to grasp it with both hands."

Venky's chairperson Anuradha Desai fully expects Kean to be successful in the job after being impressed by what she has seen from him so far.

"We have great confidence in Steve, someone who impresses us with his work ethic, enthusiasm, positivity and football philosophy," she said.

"We feel that the playing squad is in very safe and capable hands and we look forward to working with him.

"Stability is very important to us and this contract is further evidence of our desire to achieve such stability at the club."

Gullit Moves to Chechnya – Does a Ruud Awakening Await?

In what some quarters are already calling the worst football transfer in the world, Ex-Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit has been appointed as the new boss of Terek Grozny, the beleaguered Russian region of Chechnya’s top club and 12th in the Russian Premier League.

You could say it is a long way from Chelsea to Chechnya both geographically and in terms of football – and you probably wouldn’t be far wrong.  Yet what people are really scratching their heads about is what exactly Gullit was thinking about when he took the wallet.  The general consensus seems to be his wallet.

His immediate boss will now be Ramzan Kadyrov the President of Chechnya who isn’t exactly one of those cute bears you see as mascots east of what was the Iron Curtain.  If you can think of a human rights abuse, Kadyrov has probably been accused of it, both during his tenure as rebel fighter and now as President of Chechnya.

Mr Kadyrov wants to use football as a way to enhance the image of his country both in the Russian Federation and abroad – even though most people would be happy enough for him to enhance human rights instead.  When Russia received the right to hold the World Cup in 2018 he lost no time in suggesting that Grozny was a perfect host city for some of the matches.

This in a city of 210,720 people – thanks to the war a little more than half of the population a decade before and which is still in the process of rebuilding after many years of carnage and destruction.  Even translated from Russian, the name of the city means variously "fearsome", "menacing", or "terrible".

The British Foreign Office still advises against any travel to Grozny for any reason.  Suicide bombings are not as common as they were but they still happen.  However, kidnap, with its associated torture and murder can be listed in their hundreds over the last few years.

Ruud Gullit has not yet traveled to Chechnya and he may want to google the country and make a few notes before he goes there.  Yet he has signed an 18 month contract sight unseen and has been promised money – lots of it – by President Kadyrov (pictured below) – to build up a team.

Gullit’s appointment comes shortly after the departure of Victor Munoz (who played for Spain and managed several clubs).  Munoz arrived in Grozny last week to take up the position but has since walked out.  Whether that is because of the dry bars, the gangs of youths who roam the streets shooting women who are not wearing Islamic headscarves or the lack of shopping on Putin Avenue (yes you read correctly), the Chechen answer to Carnaby Street, is unknown.

The Terek club has stated that he demanded changes to his contract that they were not willing to make, so perhaps the walkout was over football after all.  Regardless of the reason, it has given Gullit the opportunity to step in to Munoz’ shoes, take the money and stay.

There are no details about just how much money is involved.  However, it is imagined that the sum is considerable.  A Chechen businessman is now funding the club and the financial input is thought to be sufficient for the new manager to buy a number of world class players.  Mr Kadyrov has already demanded that the club finish in the top eight of the Russian premier league next season.  It seems Gullit has his work cut out for him.

Gullit may have to watch his temper when it comes to his Chechen colleagues.

He has something of a history of descending precipitously from his perambulator (one way of saying falling out of his pram) and has in the past walked out of the Dutch national team and argued with the Chelsea chairman.

Yet he also supported Nelson Mandela when the South African statesman was in prison and coined the phrase sexy football which points to a more liberal temperament than perhaps his new paymasters.

It can only be hoped that Gullit is not in for too much of a Ruud awakening.

Image Credits
President Kadyrov
Terek Grozny Logo
Ruud Gullit
President Kadyrov with gun

Steve Bruce Slams Bent & Houllier

Sunderland Manager Steve Bruce has slammed Gerard Houllier over Darren Bent’s move to Aston Villa. Bruce has accused Houllier of approaching the striker long before the deal went through.

Bruce insists a top class manager would have shown respect and called him to say they were interested in the forward but up until this point he still hasn’t received a phone call from the Frenchman.

The Black Cats boss also admitted that Bent want to leave for Turkey last summer but the he managed to convince the England international to stay.

"I would have thought out of respect and a manager of his status, I would have thought maybe a phone call from him to say 'Listen Steve, we're after your centre forward and your striker.'

"I would have thought, maybe that might have been the way forward, it usually is with the great managers I've had the pleasure to deal with in the past, that's usually the case.

"But in this, so the whole thing has disappointed us and I thought we'd averted it last summer - he (Bent) wanted to go to Turkey last summer and we averted it then.

"So, it's the timing for me - if I'd have known four weeks beforehand or five, six weeks beforehand from his agent or Darren that they were unhappy at the club and wanted to move on then I wouldn't be in a position that I'm in now, with ten days before the window ended and with an injury to Danny Welbeck, that's put us in the situation that we're in and it gives you very little time to try and do anything.

"So it's the timing of it and that's the disappointing thing - all Benty's thought of is himself but I suppose that's football and that's the way it is."

"There's a lot of people bitterly upset and disappointed, and rightly so.

"My big disappointment of course is Gerard Houllier too who up until this time now, I still haven't had a phone call from.

Bruce said he was shocked when Darren Bent handed in a written transfer request, just as the club and fans were, "I think what shocked us all was the written transfer request with Benty that it was so brutal, you know.

"And then in my experience with him, what's the point of keeping someone who doesn't really want to be here.

"I have to say in the last few weeks we have all been scratching our heads saying 'has there been something wrong with Benty, he doesn't look himself'.

"But we didn't see it coming and, yes, we were quite within our right to do that, but in my experience of these things, what is the point?"

McCloskey Promoter Rejects Khan's Offer

Barry Hearn has slammed Team Khan's offer to fight Paul McCloskey. The European light-welterweight was favourite to take on Khan in April when he returns to Britain.

McCloskey’s promoter laughed of the offer and admitted the fight is dead and doesn’t look likely to happen unless Khan’s representatives increased the offer.

"The offer was a joke," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "There's no way I'm letting Paul fight for peanuts.

"They made the offer, I rejected it and as far as I can see the fight is dead. We'll certainly not be going back to them to negotiate.

"If they were to come back with a proper offer then of course we would listen but as I expected they wanted to get Paul on the cheap.

"I'm just not interested in that. Paul's got a better record than Khan - he's undefeated and he's never been knocked out like Khan has.

"Nobody has done Paul any favours, he has done everything that has been asked of him and he deserves to be well paid for a fight like this."

Breidis Prescott - the only man to beat the Amir Khan says he would relish a rematch with the Bolton fighter, Michael Katsidis and Victor Ortiz has also been mentioned.

Barry Hearn has warned Team Khan they would need to up the ante if they are to get a meaningful opponent.

"Frankly, I don't know who Khan is going to get to fight for the money he was offering Paul," he said.

"Certainly Victor Ortiz wouldn't and I don't think any quality fighter would allow themselves to box for the money Paul was offered."

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Bruce: Bent Let Club Down


Steve Bruce has admitted that he feels, the club and the fans have been let down by Darren Bent’s decision to leave Sunderland for Aston Villa, Bent joined the Midlands outfit this afternoon in a £18 million deal after he rocked the club by handing in a written transfer request.

"It's hugely disappointing that Darren has decided that his future lies away from Sunderland and the players, our supporters and the club as a whole have every right to feel massively let down," he told the club's official website.

"The timing is especially hard to take, given that we are progressing positively and are in a great position to push on.

"Everyone has been nothing but supportive of Darren in has time at Sunderland but it's obvious he's not been himself in training.

"We've certainly not seen the best of him in games in recent weeks - and we now understand why.

On building the Club, Steve Bruce added; "I've always stated that my aim is to build a talented, young squad for the long-term to help the club achieve sustained success.

"I want Sunderland fans to know that our ambitions haven't changed on that front."

Darren Bent Joins Aston Villa

Aston Villa have today confirmed the signing of Darren Bent from Sunderland for a fee believed to be £18million, the striker has signed up on a four-and-a-half year deal at Villa Park.

Steve Bruce was reluctant to let his star striker leave and the hit man has already bagged eleven goals this season, Bent will be available to make his debut for Gerard Houllier's side in Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Speaking on the Villa’s official website, Darren Bent said; “Aston Villa is a massive club and as soon as I knew they were interested in signing me I wanted to join,"

"The size of the football club and the history of the club are major reasons for me coming here.

"There are some top, top players here too, real quality, and I've been able to speak to the manager and the chairman about their ambitions for the club, so I'm very excited about being a part of what we hope to achieve."

Lewis Moody's Injury Blow

England have been dealt with a huge blow that Captain Lewis Moody has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury.

Moody received the injury against Aironi in Bath’s 55-16 Heineken Cup win on Sunday when he looked to have twisted his knee during a lineout drive.

Bath coach Steve Meehan thought the problem was not serious, but after subsequent tests the club have now confirmed an injury to Moody's medial collateral ligament.

The former Leicester flanker could miss England's opening three RBS 6 Nations games against Wales, Italy and France.

Moody has won 66 England caps and led England to their historic victory over Australia in last year's autumn internationals.

England coach Martin Johnson said: "It is always disappointing to lose a player and leader of Lewis' calibre but as I have consistently said, good teams adapt to injuries and that is what we intend to do.

"While this could still mean Lewis plays a role in the Six Nations, it does mean that another player gets the chance to step up and make it hard for him to get the shirt back."

West Ham's Owners Dramatic U-Turn

West Ham owners have decided to keep Avram Grant on as manager after Martin O’Neill ruled himself out of the position, reports suggested that the former Celtic and Aston Villa boss was set to take over this week, but after mulling over the offer.

The Ulsterman was thought to be unhappy that the news of his possible move to East London was leaked out prior to West Ham's game against Arsenal.

David Gold, David Sullivan and Karen Brady made a dramatic u-turn following Martin O'Neill's decision to pull out of a proposed offer to join the club.

"West Ham United categorically deny the allegations made in today's Daily Mirror with regard to Karren Brady, the club's vice-chairman," read a club statement.

"Karren has worked tirelessly to improve all aspects of the club's operation and is extremely disappointed by the nature of these unfounded allegations.

"West Ham fully intend to identify the source of these unhelpful and untrue comments and remove them from the club.

West Ham have placed the matter immediately in the hands of their lawyers.

"The club are committed to retaining Avram Grant as manager and have identified potential transfer targets to give us the best possible chance of retaining Premier League status."

Monday, 17 January 2011

Darren Bent Hands In Transfer Request

Darren Bent has today rocked Sunderland when the club confirmed that he has handed in a transfer request after Aston Villa reportedly made an offer of £18 million for the striker, the England international travelled to Birmingham today for a medical and to agree personal terms with a move that would smash Villa's transfer record.

Bent, 26, joined the Black Cats for an initial £10m from Tottenham in August 2009 when he signed a four-year deal with the north-east. This will leave a big void in Steve Bruce’s attacking options, Bent scored 25 times last season and has hit the net eleven times so far in the current campaign helping the club to sixth place in the Premier League standings.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Martin O'Neil is the New West Ham Manager

It is official.  Avram Grant is no longer the Manager of West Ham.  He is to be replaced by Martin O'Neill today.   

Martin O'Neill will replace Avram Grant after West Ham's match versus Arsenal, BBC Sports has just announced.

Martin O'Neill, who already has the OBE, was born 1 March 1952 in Kilrea, Northern Ireland.  He is a Northern Irish association football manager and former player. Until resigning the post on 9 August 2010, he was manager of Aston Villa.

Is Martin O'Neil the right man to save West Ham's season and keep them in the Premier League?  Tell us what you think!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Roque Santa-Cruz Rejoins Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers have secured the return of Roque Santa Cruz from Manchester City, the Paraguayan will join the club on loan until the end of the season, the striker netted 23 times from 57 games for Blackburn during the 2007/2009 seasons before signing for Manchester City for 17.5 .

However that 29-year-old has struggled to maintain a first team place and City manager Mancini has happy to let the striker go out on loan, Santa-Cruz is Steve Kean’s newest signing since taking over at Blackburn and he would like to make the move permanent if he impresses.

"Roque had a fantastic time when he was first here and he showed his quality," said Kean. "Hopefully he'll do that again until the end of the season.

"It's massive from his point of view because he doesn't have to settle in at a new club. He's coming back to a place that was special to him and I'm sure he's going to deliver just as good or even better.

"We're trying to speak to Manchester City at the moment regarding an option about signing Roque at the end of the season, so we don't know about that yet.

"It's something we'll ask for, but we don't know if they'll commit to it."

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Chisora Confident On Klitschko Bout

Dereck Chisora says he is looking forward to getting in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko on April 30th, Chisora is delighted to get a second opportunity to fight the Ukrainian after the Champion pulled out of the last fight due to injury and Chisora says he will grap his opportunity with both hands.

WBA title holder David Haye had been tipped to fight IBF and WBO champion Klitschko, but have negotiations stumbled between the two parties, Wladimir decided to re-arrange the bout with Chisora.

"I can't wait to get into the ring and smash the living daylights out of Wladimir," Chisora said.

"He has so many weaknesses. I don't care how many fights I've had. I would have taken him on in my first fight."

Meanwhile Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren insists that the Haye camp are responsible for the break down in negotiating the fight with Wladimir Klitschko, Warren insists that Adam Booth is the hardest man to deal with Boxing.

"The contract between ourselves and Wladimir had a get-out clause in it that said he could fight someone else if he pulled out," Warren said.

"It was no secret that they were talking to Haye but thankfully, true to form, Adam Booth and David Haye made it an easy decision for them.

"I read some of the things that have been said from Adam Booth and David Haye about how difficult the Klitschkos were, but I have dealt with them on two occasions and I can honestly say that Adam Booth is without a doubt the most difficult person I've ever had to deal with in boxing.

"What is he (Haye) doing fighting Audley Harrison when he could have fought Klitschko?

"You have to be an idiot not to know that they (the Klitschkos) want to make the (Haye) fight."

Andrew Sheridan Re-Signs With Sale

Andrew Sheridan has rejected a offer to play in France next season and has re-signed with Sale on a new twelve month deal. The England prop had been linked with a move abroad, but has decided to stay loyal to club he has played for since 2003 when he moved from Bristol.

After announcing Steve Diamond, former Sale player and coach had been revealed as new executive director of sport at the club. Sale wasted no time in announcing that Andrew has decided to stay, Diamond originally signed Sheridan from Bristol and is delighted to team up with the prop once again.

Diamond said: "I am very pleased Andrew has re-signed for the club.

"I remember watching him develop as a player and knew he was going to be one of the best as his career progressed.

"I have followed his progress with interest and am looking to build a team around Sherri and Mark Cueto who has also been a loyal servant to the club down the years."

Wladimir: Haye is a Liar & Loser

Wladimir Klitschko has insisted that he can still fight David Haye on July 2nd following his bout with Derek Chisora on April 30th.

But IBF, IBO AND WBO Champion suggests that he won’t need long to prepare to fight David Haye.

The Ukrainian said, "I don't need a half a year to prepare for Haye.

"Me fighting Chisora first is good promotion for the fight because the guy is also British and very loud."

Haye says he will retire this year, but only having Nikolay Valuev in 2009 & Audley Harrison in the third round in November as his biggest victories in the Heavyweight Division. Haye would like to add either Klitschko’s to that list, but the Britain feels Wladimir won’t fight so soon after the Chisora fight should a date be agreed?

Haye said, "A bout with me is the most lucrative, meaningful and dangerous fight Wladimir's ever had, not some throwaway tune-up," said the Londoner.

"Wladimir won't fight anybody nine weeks after Chisora, let alone me."

But Wladimir Klitschko insists that if David Haye offers his mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev step-aside money, then the Ukrainian would be free to fight Haye.

"I don't take David Haye as a super-special fight. I'm always in shape anyway. He could give Chagaev step-aside money and then I'm going to be there with nobody to fight.

"Because of our history before, I would fight him on 2 July and we would work on the contract, but I would fight Chisora first.

"There have a been a lot of lies from David Haye and [trainer] Adam Booth. We found a date, 2 July, to fight him, but I don't trust these guys any more."

Klitschko feels both David Haye and trainer Adam Booth have been lying and playing the media game.

Haye said last week that if Klitschko did not fight him before he retires, the Ukrainian would be forever linked with a failure to take him on.

Klitschko added, He's telling everyone 'I'm going to retire by the end of the year and I will have my legacy'. He's going to have a legacy for the Audley Harrison fight - the most exciting heavyweight fight in history.

"He has no legacy whatsoever. He has this terrible disease and he has to retire? What is that? This is total nonsense. He is playing the media.

"He will not retire because he's a liar, liar, liar. From the beginning to the end, he's a loser liar. That's the truth about this man.

"David Haye has accomplished nothing in the heavyweight division other than to present himself with his stupid T-shirt and comments.

"This guy will eventually fight me."

Leicester Secures Yakubu Deal

Leicester City have signed Everton striker Yakubu on loan until the end of the season, the Nigerian joins the Championship side in hope of making the move permanently in the summer. Yakubu, who has more then 50 international caps, after an eight-month lay-off with an Achilles injury in 2008 and 2009 the striker has struggled to find his form this season.

Yakubu is surplus to requirements at Goodison Park, having started only eight games this season and David Moyes was happy for the 28-year-old to join the Foxes,

Eriksson confirmed the move on Leicester’s official website, he said; "Yakubu is a tremendous signing. He will bring pace, power and experience.

"He has captained his country, played in major competitions and he is a world-class footballer."

Alonso Aware Of Schumacher Threat

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has suggested that Michael Schumacher could be his biggest rival for the forthcoming season and insist that former Champion could pose the biggest threat for all drivers, despite struggling in the 2010 season.

The seven time World Champion finished ninth in his first season back since retiring in 2006 and Alonso feels the German will bounce back stronger next season, the Spaniard says he has already noticed a different Schumacher who is destined for success this time around.

However Alonso insists; "There will be five world champions on the track and the most dangerous champion for me is always Michael."

Alonso who is away with the Ferrari team on a Ski trip also added,

"Now in January if I have to choose one name I have to say Michael.

"He is seven-times champion. He has nothing to prove. He had a difficult season but he is still a champion.

"He is still super class and if the car is right he will be a contender."

Alonso is also aware that Redbull’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson button will be waiting in the wings to capitalise should any mistakes be made on the circuit.

"No doubt Sebastian will be a contender. He will have experience and will be calm in certain moments. He will drive better than last year and that makes him dangerous to us," Alonso explained.

"McLaren will also be one of the favourites."

Alonso is confident team-mate Felipe Massa will improve on the last seasons sixth place finish, he added; "Hopefully our car is better than the others and my toughest rival next year is Felipe,"

Swann Wants T20 & ODI Success

England spinner Graeme Swann wants England to maintain their winning ways by beating Australia in the upcoming two T20 matches, followed by seven One Day Internationals.

Both sides will be looking to fine-tune their preparations for the forthcoming World Cup which starts in February.

England pulled off an historic win by retaining the Ashes, winning the series in Australia. The first time this has been achieved for twenty four years, the spinner wants to make put the icing on the cake with a winter to remember by winning the T20 and ODI matches.

"It's nice to win the Ashes, I won't lie to you," said Swann.

"It's been a great tour for us so far and the worst thing for us would be if we stuttered and stopped at the end of the tour.

"We want to go home to 50,000 people at Heathrow cheering us which, if we lose the one-dayers, might be down to about 40,000."

He added: "It's important that we show the good one-day form we've shown recently because we want to be number one in all forms.

"Let's face it we were (ranked) number seven or eight not so long ago and we were garbage.

"We've had some very good series results recently. We beat the Australians at home last year and we won the Twenty20 in Barbados to win that World Cup.

"Both teams have changed quite a bit since then so it will be interesting to see how it plays out."

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Wayne Bridge Loaned to West Ham

Wayne Bridge has joined Premiership strugglers West Ham on loan until the end of the season, the left back has immediately set his sights on helping the Hammers avoid relegation from the Premier League, Wayne Bridge joined West Ham this evening after successfully passing a medical at Upton Park earlier in the day.

Bridge, 30 has found is difficult breaking into Mancini’s starting eleven this season after being limited to just nine appearances for City this season. The left back will be hoping feature against Arsenal on Saturday and he said West Ham’s official website;

"I am delighted to sign for West Ham United.

"I am just looking forward to meeting everyone at the training ground, starting work and getting out on the pitch and playing in front of the fans. I am glad the loan is sorted and I'm ready to play.

"It will be great to play a part in helping keep West Ham in the Premier League. It would be a big achievement."

The retired England international has no doubts that he has made the right choice by joining Avram Grant’s team on a six month loan deal, he added; "I know a few of the players from England and I know the physio,"

"I spoke to Scotty Parker and a few people and they told me what a great club it is. That definitely helped me make the decision to come here, said Bridge.

"There is a lot of quality here and I know we can move up the table. The first half on Tuesday was great. There should have been a few more goals and then the team came back with 10 men. If we can play like that every week we'll be fine.”

Bentley Joins Birmingham On-Loan

Birmingham City have taken David Bentley on loan until the end of the season, the wide-man has been out of favour for a while at White Hart Lane and going to St Andrews would be the only way to gain first-team football.

Birmingham City had been linked with Bentley throughout the season and the 26-year-old will hope that the move breathes life into his career, which has stalled after making only three appearances all season.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish said: "We're delighted to have David's services. He is a classy footballer and will enhance the quality of the squad.

"He is a natural footballer capable of top delivery at set-pieces. With the likes of him, (Alexander) Hleb and (Sebastian) Larsson, who has had a great season consistency-wise, we have creative players. Bentley can provide more competition.

"He has had his moments at Spurs, but there is fierce competition for places there.

"They have a glut of superstars at Spurs. With the introduction of people like (Rafael) van der Vaart, players of that ilk, and the rise of (Aaron) Lennon, it has become very difficult for him. The quality is amazing and maybe he can get his career back on track here."

Ian Holloway Fears For King Kenny

Ian Holloway has said that Kenny Dalglish cannot fix Liverpool’s problems overnight and hopes the Scot does not tarnish the reputation he currently has with the Fans. Kenny Dalglish is seen as a Legend at Anfield having achieved much success at the club as a manager and as a player.

Liverpool have slipped way behind the top three in recent weeks and Holloway feels King Kenny will have his hands full in rejuvenating the Reds season in hope the blame won't fall on the Scot should he fail succeed this time around,

Blackpool face Liverpool tonight in which it will be Dalglish’s first league game in charge of Liverpool since he resigned 19 years and 11 months ago after he masterminded three title triumphs and FA Cup successes.

Ian Holloway said; "I hope Kenny does brilliantly - after our sides meet.

"But there are problems at Liverpool and it will take time. What Kenny can't do is carry the can for all this.

"I don't see Kenny as being the great golden saviour. I just see him as someone the fans trust at a time when they need to get some trust back.

"Kenny does not deserve to ruin what he's got with the fans - and football fans can be fickle.

"It's a bit like a painter. Sometimes you aren't appreciated until you're gone. Let's hope Kenny will still be appreciated after this stint."

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lionel Messi Wins Ballon d'or Award

Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the Fifa Ballon d'Or trophy at a ceremony in Zurich tonight.

Messi, 23, won the prize - a combined trophy of the Fifa Player of the Year prize and Ballon d'Or, Messi beat his Barca team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xav to win the award.

"I'm surprised to win but pleased to be here with my friends," said Messi, who won the two separate awards last year.

Jose Mourinho, who won an unprecedented Treble with Inter Milan in 2010, was named the Coach of the Year.

Messi added: "To win it makes it even more special. I want to share it with all of my friends, my family, all the Barcelonistas and the Argentinians."

Paul Jewell Named Ipswich Manager

Paul Jewell has today been confirmed as the new Ipswich Town manager after Roy Keane was sacked on Friday, Jewell has been out for management for two years and has today signed a two-a-half-year deal at Portman Road.

"It's great, I've been out of the game for two years but you're never out of football," said the 46-year-old, who replaces Roy Keane at Portman Road.

"I have had a few opportunities to come back in but this just ticked all the right boxes."

After a run of seven losses in nine games, the board at Ipswich felt a change was needed and they relieved Keane of his responabilites,

"It's great, I've been out of the game for two years but you're never out of football," said the 46-year-old, who replaces Roy Keane at Portman Road.

"I have had a few opportunities to come back in but this just ticked all the right boxes."

Jewell's first game in charge will be against Arsenal in the first leg of Town's League Cup semi-final at Portman Road on Wednesday.

Ipswich owner Marcus Evans told the club's website: "I wanted to appoint a manager with several years of experience behind them who also had a history of promotion and then staying up.

"I have been lucky enough to find a manager in Paul who has done that twice and pertinently with two clubs that have never been in the Premier League.

"It was also important to bring someone to the club who could play the way Ipswich expect the game to be played and who will embrace the club's role in the community."

Thierry Henry Training With Arsenal

Former striker Thierry Henry has begun training the Gunners during the MLS off-season, in which saw David Beckham do the same with Spurs. Henry, who plays for the New York Red Bulls in MLS, is a fans favourite with Gunners fans after scoring 226 goals in a highly successful spell with the club between 1999 and 2007.

A statement on Arsenal's official website read: "Thierry Henry is back at Arsenal.

"The Gunners legend returned to London Colney on Monday to train with Arsene Wenger's squad. The short-term arrangement will help Henry maintain his fitness ahead of the new MLS campaign, which begins in March.

"Henry joined the New York Red Bulls last year and helped them reach the play-offs, where they lost on aggregate to San Jose Earthquakes in November."

Liverpool Appoint First Team Coach

Kenny Dalglish has moved quickly to bring in Steve Clarke as his First Team Coach at Anfield, The Scot was named as temporary manager until the rest of the season after Roy Hodgson was sacked on Saturday.

Kenny has been given to chance to rejuvenate Liverpool’s season after below-par performances so far this campaign, the Reds are currently lying in twelve position in the Premier League and the fans and players are convinced that Kop legend Dalglish is the right man.

"Steve is a great addition to our team and I'm delighted we've been able to bring him in.

"I am looking forward to working with Steve alongside [assistant manager] Sammy Lee and our other staff."

Clarke, who left West Ham by mutual consent in June 2010 when Gianfranco Zola was sacked as manager, Steve was at Liverpool's Melwood training ground on Monday, he was assistant manager at Newcastle and Chelsea previously and has played over 500 senior games for St Mirren and Chelsea.

He left West Ham by mutual consent in June 2010 after Gianfranco Zola was sacked as manager the previous month

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Haye Calls Wlad A Coward & Targets Chagaev

David Haye has called Wladimir Klitschko a “coward” for avoiding a showdown for the WBA Champion and opting to fight Dereck Chrisora instead. All plans were set in stone after Haye agreed to all of Klitschko’s crazy demands.

David Haye still wanted to fight the Ukrainian at all costs and was hoping to be given the opportunity to unify the Heavyweight division should the fight be agreed. Yet now Wladimir has decided to face Chrisora instead for the IBF and WBO which Klitschko currently holds.

Haye said in a statement: "We agreed to a date of July 2 at a venue in Germany with both Sky Sports and RTL and everybody appeared happy with the deal.

"We made a few concessions to remove past stumbling blocks and were happy to do so, as it finally looked like the fight would get made.

"Even through negotiations, though, it was clear Wladimir was looking for the coward's way out. He would often come up with new obstacles and problems to overcome, and I never once sensed he fancied it.

"He refused to come to England, wanted to pick his own gloves, enter the ring second, box out of the red corner and demanded a German doctor.

"He also wanted his name to feature first on any promotional material ahead of the event. We bowed to each and every one of his demands. I didn't want to potentially jeopardise anything this time around."

"Once I retire, people will always ask him 'why did you not fight David Haye?' and he will have to live with that. If it does not happen now, it never will.

"Hopefully he is getting some serious stick, will read what the world is saying about him and think 'okay maybe I will just cancel this fight and do the fight everyone wants to see'.

"It is pretty sad but shows the mindset of Wladimir Klitschko and why he will go down in history as a heavyweight who just fought the worst possible people out there."

David Haye has now set his sights on facing mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev. With Klitschko now agreeing to re-arrange his fight with England's Dereck Chisora for April 30, WBA heavyweight champion Haye must now make the third defence of his title against the German-based Uzbek Chagaev.

Haye believes IBF AND WBO Champ is running scared and that Klitschko really didn't want the fight.

Haye said; "Fight fans just want to see the best against the best - if only it was that simple," Haye said.

"Very rarely in boxing do you get a situation where you have all the pieces of the puzzle, all the politics have been smoothed over?

"Then all of sudden he announces he is fighting Chisora, knowing I have to then fight Chagaev.

"To then fight me after is impossible - it is a shame he has now shown his true colours.

"What is wrong with now? Nothing. It does not make sense, especially after all the public campaign to get me in the ring. This would be a once in a life-time fight.

Cesc Fabregas Clarifies His Future

Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas has again reiterated that he wants to remain at the Emirates at least until he has helped the club win silverware. The Spaniard was at the centre of speculation after last year’s World Cup when reports suggested that he could head home to play for a Spanish side.

"Why would I want to leave? It is fantastic here," Fabregas said. "It would be a dream to lift trophies for Arsenal. It has always been my wish.

"Afterwards you can always be attracted by something else, like a new objective, or new challenges because, for me, life is all about challenges.

"But my real challenge as captain of Arsenal is to bring this football club success. This is the biggest dream I can have. I want to end these five years without a trophy and, hopefully, I can do it this season."

Fabregas was accused of not pulling his weight earlier in the season after the Gunners refused to let him go to Barca last summer.

But the 23-year-old skipper said; "It hurt me a lot to be injured and then hear some things, that my head was not here and my heart was somewhere else.

"I often played when I wasn't 100 per cent and it is painful to hear that kind of thing when you have worked so hard for this club and when you give everything for them."

Ashes Jokes 2011 - The Top Twenty

Say, did you know that the Australian's had lost the Ashes?  Well, just to thank them, we thought we would give you the top twenty Ashes jokes currently doing the rounds on a mobile phone near you!

What do you call an Australian with a champagne bottle in his hand?
A waiter.

Snow White returned to the cottage to find it had burned down. Distraught, she searches for the dwarfs in the forest and hears a lone voice chanting: "The aussies are going to win the ashes, the aussies are going to win the ashes" On hearing this, Snow White gave a little sigh of relief as she knew that at least Dopey was safe! 



What's the difference between Ricky Ponting and a Phoenix?
At the end of The Ashes, the Phoenix still has a future.

Why can no-one drink wine in Australia at the moment? 
They haven't got any openers ...

What do you call an Australian who is good with a bat?
A vet.

Mitchell Johnson  - two minutes after going out to bat..

What do you call an Australian with 100 runs against his name?
A bowler. 

I had to borrow a cup of sugar the other day. I asked Shane Watson - but he had run out.

What’s the difference between Ricky Ponting and a funeral director?
A funeral director doesn’t keep losing the ashes.

What is the main function of the Australia coach?
To transport the team from the hotel to the ground.

The ICC are investigating strange betting patterns on the Sydney test. Someone allegedly put $20 on Australia 

What's the Australian version of LBW?
Lost, Beaten, Walloped.


What’s the height of optimism?
An Aussie batsman putting on sunscreen.

Why don't Aussie fielders need pre-tour travel injections?
Because they never catch anything.


Why is Ricky Ponting cleverer than Houdini?
Because he can get out without even trying.

What did the spectator miss when he went to the toilet?
The entire Australian innings.

 

A phone call comes into the Australian dressing room
‘Is it possible to speak to Mr Ponting please?
‘I’m sorry’ says a voice at the other end, ‘he has, gone out to bat’
‘No problem, I’ll hold the line’

What do you call a cricket field full of Australians ?
A vacant lot.


Who spends the most time on the crease of anyone in the Australian team?
The woman who ironed the cricket whites.

What does an Australian batsman who is playing in The Ashes have in common with Michael Jackson?
They both wore gloves for no apparent reason.

Fernando Torres Calls For Support

Fernando Torres has hit out at claims that he is about to quit Liverpool in the wake of a sacking of another Liverpool manager.  The Spaniard has called for the fans to get behind the team and all pull together.

Roy Hodgson was sacked yesterday after a dismal run in the league. KOP Legend Kenny Dalglish has been put in temporary charge and it was thought that senior players like Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina might look to initiate a move away from Anfield.  It would perhaps only take one player to start this particular stack of dominoes falling.

Yet Torres has made an early intervention to dispel any rumours. Both he and Reina have been linked with a transfer to Manchester United.  However, Torres has categorically rejected any talk of leaving and said, "More than ever, we need to stick together. We must live in the present, from match to match."

In a statement to the press which must have come as a relief to the management of Liverpool, he added: "We need to add more points, win matches and improve our standing in the table. That is our challenge and I demand the total help of our supporters in doing that."

Whether he instigated this public call for support himself or was asked by Dalglish remains unknown.  However, the Spanish player has effectively quashed rumours of his departure from the team.  "My head is in Liverpool and on helping save our season. I am professional and I always fulfil my deals." he said today.

Torres went on to add; "I haven't considered leaving, although in football that depends on the club. Liverpool had a lot of success under Rafa Benitez and that is difficult for anyone to follow. Even if the ball hasn't always dropped our way this season, we have missed out in a lot of matches."

Liverpool remains a team in crisis. However, unless Torres does a Rooney this statement will go a long way to relieving management, players' and fans' fears.

Harry Redknapp: Beckham Deal a "No Goer"

Spurs Manager Harry Redknapp has insisted that David Beckham’s proposed loan deal at White Hart Lane is a “no goer” although he expects the former England captain to train with his side for two months.

Last season when David Beckham went out on loan to Milan, he picked up an Achilles injury. The possible insurance issues has prevented Beckham from playing for Tottenham this time around.

I don't think it's going to happen," Redknapp said.

"I spoke with the chairman and I think there are big problems with insurance issues and everything. He got injured last year at Milan; I think there were issues there with insurance."

However Beckham is likely train with the team, in hope of keeping fit and available for selection for England.

"What's going to happen, David is welcome to come and train here for a month or so, which I think he would like to do and we're pleased to have him come and train".

Redknapp also added; "It will be nice to have him here training with us for a month and I think he'll be great to have around the place and he'll be a good influence on everybody and I look forward to him coming. But I think as far as playing goes it looks like it's a no-goer."

Speaking on the disappointment of not been able to have Beckham available to play, the Spurs boss said; "For sure. It would have been nice. It would have been good to have him here available to play for us. But it couldn't happen, so it's not a problem, you just get on with it."

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Theo Walcott Admits Diving

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has admitted that he dived intentionally to win a penalty in today's FA Cup game against Championship side Leeds United. Theo Walcott’s initial plea for a penalty was waived away.

But moments later Walcott was fouled in the area, which Cesc Fabregas levelled from the spot to equalize squaring the game up at 1-1.

Walcott was quick to apologise for his behaviour after the match. He said; I want to apologise to the managers because I actually dived. I was trying to win the penalty,' the 21-year-old admitted.

'I said to one of their players "would you have done it?" and he said he probably would have. I am not the sort of player to do it but I own up to it and apologise. It is something I don't want to see in my game.'

Walcott added he had even joked with the referee about it being his first dive and asked fans to respect him for having the guts to apologise.

While club-colleague Jack Wilshere has backed Theo’s action and on his twitter page.  'Fair play to Theo for apologising! Takes a Real man to apologise!' the teenager, who was rested for the cup tie, tweeted.
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