Supporting your team is NOT A CRIME

Supporting your team is NOT A CRIME
Today the organisation Fans Against Criminalisation released an online video, via Vimeo, detailing the damage done by the Scottish Government’s illiberal legislation, the Offensive Behaviour at Football & Threatening Communications Act 2012. The video, called “Guilty: The Story of the Offensive Behaviour Act”, is a must watch. The images you will see are truly shocking. Some of the language used by members of Police Scotland is disturbing. Something I was not aware of until I watched this hour-long movie is that the Scottish National Party received no support by ANY opposition party to apply the legislation which would impact so many people within Scotland.
The terminology of the word ‘offensive’ has given Police Scotland the power to arrest anyone, for anything that an individual officer may deem to be ‘offensive’; the implications of this are catastrophic. Before its inception, the Offensive Behaviour Act trod a very thin line between freedom of expression and authoritarian control; it has long since crossed that line and now we have an environment in which the relationship between football supporters and the Scottish police force is hostile, and almost irreparable.
Instead of giving you a weekly issue I have decided to outline the implications the act has had on me and share my personal experience of it.
I was 17 years old when this law was passed on 19th January 2012. It made me very aware of everything I was doing; what I was saying, what I was wearing, how I walked off the bus, how I walked to the ground, which direction I looked in and who was around me? I was trying my very best not to draw attention to myself, because I didn’t want any trouble.
The OBFA is a disgraceful piece of legislation which should be repealed. A big reason why I stopped following Celtic around Scotland was because I was body searched on multiple occasions and I was worried about being under surveillance which could have implications on, at the time, my education, my job and my voluntary position as a football coach of young kids. Although I knew I was doing nothing wrong, in the eyes of the law I could be arrested, charged and/or held for chanting songs related to my Irish identity, of which myself and others should never be ashamed or guilty of.
I was targeted, I didn’t trust the police (whom I have, and will continue, to show respect to) and I have suffered under this legislation. I was very aware that I was a word away from being swept into the criminal justice system.
Respect to those who have stuck around and endured this frankly, and ironically, offensive act. Men in particular, my hats go off to you, because there is no denying you have by in large been used as cannon fodder by law and government. I have seen brutality first hand. I’ve seen young boys (and I would like to emphasis BOYS) being pinned up against walls and searched. I have witnessed people having cameras shoved in their faces. Watched as people have been pulled out of crowds and forced into the back of police vans. This is all before I’ve even stepped foot inside the ground.
I stopped doing the thing I loved because I was a target. I felt exposed. I could no longer enjoy the thing I once loved without fear of being plucked from a crowd, recorded and/or body searched. It wasn’t worth the hassle and the worry it was causing me so I simply stopped attending Celtic away games, much to my disappointment.
The talk of facial recognition may well have been the last straw for me. In January 2016 there was a proposal made by the Scottish Professional Football League to seek government funding for facial recognition software at Scottish football grounds. It was reported that the new feature would cost £4million of tax payers money.

Although this proposal never came to fruition, it speaks volumes regarding the horrific treatment of football supports. If facial recognition was brought into football grounds, I would give up my season ticket at Parkhead.

Football supporters are people; human beings just like everyone else. We spend our hard-earned money on tickets for the match, a carry-out for the bus and a half-time pie, because that’s what we love! Why did it get to the point where I felt my behaviour as a football supporter was similar to that of a gang member or a murderer? Do the real criminals fall under the same heavy surveillance that I did? I don’t think so.

Travelling to football grounds across Scotland posed a threat to me. Arrest was highly probable, and for those who still follow their team around the country it still is highly probable.

I can’t remember the last away game I went to; it’s been that long (plus I also have a terrible memory). But that isn’t what’s important here. The overriding issue is that I have no interest in returning until this act is binned.

Supporting your team is not a crime. Keep fighting the good fight!

10/11/2017 Issue 34

Celtic Football Club sets a new British record of 63 consecutive games unbeaten in domestic competition. The Bhoys struck four past St Johnstone in Perth to break their own 100 year old record. A birthday present like no other; this week the club was celebrating their 130th year. Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run includes:

  • 63 games
  • 56 wins
  • 7 draws
  • 183 goals scored
  • 35 goals conceded
  • 36 clean sheets

Scotland were beaten by the Netherlands at Pittodrie. Memphis Depay scored the only goal of the game, and Kieran Tierney at 20 years of age was given the arm band for the first time. This season he has captained both club and country, and at such a young age there is no telling what is next for this incredible talent.

James McClean was named the Irish FA Supporters Player of the Year.

Following the incident we reported on last week, Patrice Evra has been released from his contract at French side Marseille with immediate effect.

Brad Fridel, former Spurs and Blackburn Rovers goal keeper, has been named the new manager of the New England Revolution.

German sportswear company

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKbXyth-qD/&#8221; style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@adidasfootball have just killed the game. #adidas #football #futsal #fútbol #fußball #futebol #futbol #fotboll #fodbold #calcio #voetbal #sokker #soccer @adidas</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by Fitbaw Weekly (@fitbawweekly) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-11-06T17:55:28+00:00″>Nov 6, 2017 at 9:55am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Adidas

launched their new World Cup kits and near broke the internet. They have gone for throwback designs of every nations greatest footballing success stories, igniting every football fans passion for the retro kit.

Andrea Pirlo has officially announced his retirement from football. The Italian maestro played 872 games, scored 86 goals, won 18 trophies, scored a World shattering Paneka penalty against England (GET IN!) and is probably the only player who can play for rival teams – Inter Milan, AC Milan & Juventus – and still be loved by all.

Cork City have completed the domestic double, after beating Dundalk on penalties.

St Etienne’s defeat at the hands of Lyon had to be brought to a halt following a pitch invasion and crowd trouble.

Juventus dropped the greatest shirt in recent times to celebrate their 120th anniversary. Another belter from Adidas!

Cedric Bakambu, Villareal striker, completed a hat-trick of offsides. His goal in the 49th, 65th & 85th were deemed offside. Villareal went on to win the game 2-0 but the Congolese player will be less than happy with the decisions. Ye ragin’ mate?

Northern Ireland have to restore a 1-0 deficit in Belfast in Sunday’s World Cup play-off second leg following a controversial penalty that gave the Swiss the lead. Corry Evans, of Blackburn Rovers, was deemed to have handled the ball in the box and Ricardo Rodriguez finished from the spot to give Switzerland a one goal advantage.

Falkirk’s Kevin O’Hara has been given an eight-game ban for taunting Dunfermline midfielder Dean Shiels about him only having one eye.

11/10/2017 Issue 32

Arjen Robben has retired from International football. His decision comes after Holland missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Making his debut in April 2003, Robben has won 96 caps and scored 37 times for his country. Robben narrowly missed out on World Cup glory in 2010 when the Dutch lost in the final by a goal to nil against Spain. Robben played his final game in the famous Oranje against Sweden. He scored 2 goals on the night but it wasn’t enough to take his country to Russia. (His second goal is a peach!)

One man who didn’t miss out on World Cup glory, but who has also chosen to retire from football all together is the one and only Andrew Pirlo. A World Cup winner in 2006, Champions League winner in 2003 & 2007 and a six time Seria A winner; he is considered one of the greatest in the game. The Italian, currently with New York City FC, confirmed on Sunday that he will end his career at the end of the MLS season at the ripe old age of 38. Yet, he still hasn’t ruled out a move to Chelsea with fellow Italian Conte. What a move that would be.

We’re losing a lot of our great legends all at once, and now even the magnifficent Kaka is talking about retirement. But we’ll get over it quick; the magnifficent Paul Merson is to make a comeback for Welsh fourth-tier team Caerau – subject to international clearance of course.

Scotland miss out on another major finals. A draw with Slovenia was not enough to see us through, and our manager made the whole bloody situation worse with reckless and senseless post-game comments. Gordon Strachan, who has left his post as Scotland boss, blamed “genetics” on yet another Scottish failure, claiming that our boys are not tall enough to win headers in the box. The comments were made in reaction to conceding two goals from set pieces. Strachan continued to dig a bigger grave for himself suggesting that we look to selective breeding in order to increase our chances of qualification. I think Olympic gold medalists Katherine Granger, Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy would have something to say about that. A poor excuse for a poor campaign riddled with very questionable team selections, impacted by bad decision making and substandard choices of substitutions.

Lionel Messi may have single-handedly taken Argentina to the World Cup Finals in Russia. The Flea’s 44th career hat-trick against Ecuador ensured Argentina finished within the top-four qualification spots. Prior to the game Argentina were sitting in 6th place. The had a terrible start, conceding inside 38 seconds but the G.O.A.T had other ideas and lead his team to a 3-1 victory and a third place finish, sending them to Moscow next summer. Always under scrutiny from people claiming that he doesn’t do it for the national team where silenced over the course of 90 minutes as a doom and gloom situation was turned on it’s head by one magical man.

Panama qualified for their first World Cup with 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the final game.

The USA missed out for the first time since 1986, they lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago.

Syria’s fairy-tale qualification ends in Australia. Ex-Everton striker Tim Cahill scored a brace, Syria had a man sent off and Australia progressed with a 3-2 aggregate to set-up a play-off against Honduras.

The Republic of Ireland have booked their tickets to Russia after James McLean scores the only goal of the night to beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff.

QUEUE THE THUNDER CLAP as Iceland become the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Remember when this little nation knocked England out of the last 16 of the Euro’s? I certainly do! It’s all us Scots have to live for. Well they’ve found football success again as they become the only country to qualify for a World Cup with a population fewer than one million (335,000). I didn’t buy one for Euro 2016 but I think Iceland blue will do well for me in Russia 2018.

I bet Dennis van Duinen wished someone forgot to press record on the Harkemase Boys TV. The Dutch amateur produced one of the worst open-goal misses you will ever see in your lifetime. Dennis charges through onto an empty goal and still manages to blast the ball over the bar from 10 yards out. At the time his team were 2-0 up, they finished the game in defeat. VW Capelle came away as 3-2 winners. Something tells me he might be dropped for next week’s game.

News of the Week comes from Norway where the Norway Football Association has agreed a deal to pay male and female international footballers equally. It’s the first country in the world to do so. The men’s national team will take a pay cut, while the women’s pay will almost double to ensure both teams are paid equally to represent their country on the international stage.

In other news, Mane is out for 6 weeks and my fantasy fitbaw team is fucked!!

 

ONES TO WATCH/READ

Arjen Robben v Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3nw518DTrg

World Cup 2018, all you need to know: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/0/world-cup-2018-has-qualified-russia-close-could-argentina-actually/

Messi Magic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Syria’s fairy-tale ends in Australia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Wales 0 – 1 Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJbhaN5u9Y

Miss of the season: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41558174

06/10/2017 Issue 31

Kilmarnock FC have sacked manager Lee McCulloch, following their humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ross County. Things aren’t going to get much easier for Killie who will have to contest with three away fixtures on the trot against Thistle, Rangers and Celtic. Their return to Rugby Park is a Halloween Spooktacular against the Hibees, they then return to away duties facing Hearts and Dundee. Killie’s final league game in November is an easy home tie, facing title challengers Aberdeen. Good luck to the poor sod who walks into that job.

Following the Catalonian referendum the talk of FC Barcelona leaving La Liga has once again reached the surface. Catalonian sport minister, Gerard Figueras, has already stated the possibility of Barcelona joining the English Premier League, Franch Ligue 1 and/or Italy’s Seria A. However before you all get too excited it is most likely, despite the volatile relations between Spain and Catalonia, that Spain’s top division will alter the rules to allow Catalan sides – Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona – to remain in Spain’s top flight. They already do this for Andorran clubs – FC Andorra and Andorra CF.

Dilly ding, dilly dong! Could The Tinkerman really pull of mission impossible once more? Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes are unbeaten in six and haven’t lost since a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Marseille on 12 August. And get this, they’ve won by a single goal in their latest run of four wins in a row. Remember when his Leicester side kept 15 clean sheets on their way to lifting the English Premier League title back in 2016? Well his Ligue 1 side have already accumulated five clean sheets in eight games this season. Somebody phone Andrea Bocelli?!

Dunfermline will go ahead with their Championship clash with Falkirk despite missing 5 of their players due to international duties. Club captain, Callum Morris has been called-up to the Northern Ireland squad ahead of their WCQ against Germany and Norway. Last week Fraser Aird has been called to the Canadian national team for their friendly against El Salvador, Ryan Williamson received his Scotland under-21s call-up ahead of their European Championship Qualifiers, Callum Smith and Stuart Morrison both joined up with Scotland under-19s ahead of international friendlies with France.  Above this great success for the individuals and the club, the Pars have to contend with the fact that they are missing a further three players through injury. Falkirk might actually get a win for a change. (Although they did beat Morton at Cappielow last week, who are having a rather inconsistent season)

Speaking of Falkirk, they have also sacked their manager Peter Houston after a dismal start to the season. Paul Hartley has been announced as his replacement.

Jupp Heynckes has been named as the new Bayern Munich manager until end of the season following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.

Livingston are having a season to remember in the Championship. They’ve won 4, drawn 3 and lost 1, giving them a total of 15 points out of the 24 on offer. Livi currently hold the final play-off spot, with a four-point gap between them and closest challengers Queen of the South.

Andreas Iniesta has signed the first-ever ‘lifetime’ contract at FC Barcelona.

Scotland have taken one step closer to Russia 2018. Martin Skrtel bundled the ball into his own net in the 89th minute and Hampden erupted knowing that a win against Slovenia on Sunday would take them into the World Cup play-off.

 

ONES TO WATCH/READ

Barcelona, a game of tug and war: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/catalan-referendum-barcelona-president-josep-maria-bartomeu-leave-la-liga-a7980261.html

https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/09/30/catalan-sport-minister-claims-barcelona-could-choose-premier-league-if-region-gains-independence

For old times’ sake, here’s THAT Ranieri interview: https://youtu.be/hPNzhJQbzJ8

Andrea Bocelli, end of the season party: https://youtu.be/8BK4wy_q7hY

 

 

 

 

The King of Kings

The King of Kings

This morning I was greeted by an old friend; scrolling through my Twitter feed it came to light that ‘On this Day’ in 1995, Henrik Larsson (my hero) signed for Celtic football club and the rest, they say, is history.

Yet again he captured my imagination, I remembered with utter dread the feeling I felt that day on 16th May 2004 when he departed the Hoops and left to join FC Barcelona; a move he thoroughly deserved and one that he could, and should, have made many years previously.

I can never forget the goals he scored in the UEFA Cup final, his first equaliser truly was one of the great European cup final goals; scored from a near impossible angle with the glance of a head. Nor will I forget the goal he scored against Boavista in the semi-final which sent six daft Celts in my Auntie Eleanor’s front room into a tizzy and left Boavista goalkeeper Ricardo in tears as he sent the Bhoys in green to their first European Final since 1970. His chip over Stefan Klos, his touch, his brilliance and class is etched in my memory.

The greatest ever Celt; he understood what it meant to wear those colours, he knew the importance of stopping THEM getting ten in a row and more, he was the one who stopped it with a sweet, curling finish from 20 yards; the crowd going mad. This was just the beginning for The King of Kings.

“CHEERIO, 10 IN A ROW”, cried 50,000 Celts.

The day he cut his dreads made front page news. On our way to the UEFA Cup Final he silenced Souness who declared the first-leg, “men against boys”. Men against the King more like!

Men nil Bhoys two.

The Kings parting words certainly rang true: “This will learn them a lesson, never talk until the game is finished.”

In season 1990-2000 Larsson was gunning to be Scotland’s top scorer with 8 league goals in 9 games. Things were going oh so well until his leg-break against Lyon in the UEFA Cup 1999. Broke in two places, career over? No chance.

The King Returned, and had what was arguably his best season under new manager Martin O’Neill. He formed a formidable partnership with the brilliant Chris Sutton, and over the season Larsson bagged 35 goals in 38 games. That year he was presented with the European Golden Boot and was crowned the SPFL top scorer. Not to mention that Celtic won their first domestic treble since Jock Stein’s Lions in 1967 that same year.

Over 60,000 men, women and children wept as the greatest ever Celt played his final game in Paradise. The sun shone, his boy Jordan smiled on as Dad smashed two past Dundee United and then the legend himself cried as he walked onto the famous turf and said goodbye to his beloved Celtic support. I was there, and I buried my head in my Dad’s shoulder wishing it all away.

I was at Hampden Park a week later when Henrik scored a brace to help Celtic lift the Scottish Cup with a 3-1 victory over Dunfermline Athletic. It remains one of my favourite memories of Hampden to this day.

Purchased for £650,000, it was the best money the club has ever been spent.

In 7 years he made 313 appearances, scored 242 goals, won 4 Scottish Premier League titles, 2 Scottish Cups and 2 Scottish League Cups.

Beyond Celtic he has lifted silverware in England, Spain, Holland and Sweden.

After losing the Champions League final to Barcelona in 2006, Thierry Henry stated that one man made the difference and that man was substitute Henrik Larsson. The King came on in the 61st minute, Barcelona were trailing by a goal and within 4 minutes of play he assisted both the equalising goal and the eventual match winner. WORLD CLASS.

On the international stage, Henrik played his part in getting Sweden to the semi-final of the World Cup against Brazil in 1994. He featured in their third-place play-off against Bulgaria and scored a goal in a 4-0 victory for Sweden. This was Sweden’s best finish in a World Cup since finishing second place in 1958.

The King came out of international retirmenr for Euro 2004. He lead his country to the quarter-final of the tournament, scoring 3 goals in 4 matches. They were beaten in the quarters by the Netherlands in a penalty shoot out. We should note that the King won the best goal of the tournament for his diving header against Bulgaria.

In 16 years he scored 36 goals in 106 appearances for his country.

Henrik Larsson is the King of Kings, and don’t you bloody well forget it!

 

03/03/2017 Issue 8

To begin, we would like to express our sadness in light of the passing of Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell. The news of his passing came on Thursday morning, after a long illness. Considering the 50-year anniversary celebrations set to take place this summer, in celebration of Celtic triumphant European Cup victory in 1967 it makes Gemmell’s passing that bit more sorrowful. Gemmell was integral to Celtic’s progression to the final in 67’, and his equalizer in the final will always be considered as one of, if not the most important goal in Celtic’s history. Celtic played four qualifying rounds before reaching the final in Lisbon. In their first game against Zurich the Scots won 2-0 at home, with Joe McBride and Tommy Gemmell scoring the goals. In the second leg in Switzerland Celtic won 3-0, Gemmell was on the score sheet once again, this time with a brace. The most important goal that Gemmell scored in his entire career was his equalizing goal in the 63rd minute, which cancelled out Sandro Mazolla’s first-half penalty. Stevie Chalmers scored the winner, as Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup – not bad for a 15-man squad who were born within 10 miles of Celtic Park (bar one, Bobby Lennox born in Saltcoats). The left-back had a knack for scoring in European finals; Gemmell also scored in the 1970 European Cup final when Celtic lost 2-1 to Feyenoord. Gemmell was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was awarded 18 caps for his country, scored one goal from the penalty spot in a 8-0 win over Cyprus in 1970 and played in the famous 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967. To the man who made my dreams come true long before I was born. God bless you Tommy Gemmell, may you rest in peace.  

Tommy’s captain, and friend Billy McNeil revealed his on-going battle with dementia this week. His story has been a catalyst for debate and has asked questions of football’s leading authorities who must look to investigate, prevent, and treat the disease. Many of football’s leading commentators have taken a dig at football associations around Britain for “neglecting” the problem and have accused leading football associations of avoiding the discussion surrounding the link between football, specifically heading the football, and the degenerative disease. McNeil’s personal account is part of a campaign to gain funding to be used for research into the cause and effect in regards to football and dementia. Football is falling behind the times in this regard, as research into head injuries in other sports such as Rugby and American Football have already been done.

German International Mario Gotze has been withdrawn from training with Borussia Dortmund after it was discovered that the World Cup winner has a metabolic disorder. Gotze has struggled with muscular injuries on and off over the past 6 months, and when club doctors did some digging they discovered that the underlying cause lies with the player’s metabolism. Gotze has made one appearance in 2017 and has only made 16 in total since returning to the club from Bayern Munich.

Manchester United were crowned EFL Cup winners on Sunday evening. The red devils ran out as 3-2 winners against a spirited Southampton at Wembley. The game was scuppered by some rather poor officiating on the linesman’s part. Southampton, the better side for most of the game, had a goal disallowed early in the first half and fell behind, undeservedly, by two goals scored by on form Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard. The Saints grabbed a goal just before the half through Manolo Gabbiadini as they looked to overturn their misfortunes. Gabbiadini was on target again, when he scored just 7’ minutes into the second half. Manchester United were woeful, Mourinho looked subdued and haunted throughout the 90 minutes as he watched his team sluggishly cross the finishing line. It maybe not fair to say United crossed the finish line, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Zlatan hauled his team over the finish line, yet again. The self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ worked his magic with his Midas touch which turns the most mediocre of performance into pure gold (well a silver trophy). His 26th goal of the season made the difference and robbed Southampton of picking up some silverware.

Despite Mourinho’s glum face, someone in the board room must have been in a good old mood as Manchester United announced they will pay for their travelling fans visa’s when the club fly to Russia to play against FC Rostov in the Europa League. The club will splash out £118.20 a head to cover the cost of the processing fee tied to the visa. This will help around 500 travelling supporters who will be making the 2000-mile trip across Europe. A very nice touch if you ask me!

Mark McGhee has been sacked from Motherwell FC after a poor run of results that has placed Well second from bottom fighting a relegation battle. Motherwell have won just two out of their last 13 league games. The final straw for the board and fan group ‘Well Society’, who had a say in the decision, was Motherwell’s 5-1 defeat at home to Dundee last Saturday.

Two goal keepers were at fault for two of the cheekiest goals scored in the SPFL this week. Moussa Dembelle scored his 30th goal of the season off the back of a Owan Fon Williams mistake on Wednesday night. The Hoops ran out as 4-0 winners against Inverness CT and Dembelle caused quite a stir. The Frenchman took advantage of the keeper’s shocking clearance merely 12 seconds into the second half. Dembelle collected the ball, flicked it over Williams head and tapped the ball into an empty net in front of his travelling support. Rory MacKenzie provided the other cheeky finish in this week’s round-up. His came off the back of a poor clearance from St Johnstone goal keeper, Zander Clark. A poor pass back from Steven Anderson put Clark under-pressure and when his clearance fell to Rory MacKenzie there was only one place that was going – the back of the net! 35-yeards out, 12 minutes into the game and Killie were in the lead. Conor Sammon scored the second and Killie won the game 2-0, they now sit in 8th place.

Mezut Ozil released his autobiography this week. Die Magie de Spiels, or the Magic of the Game, revealed tales of his former manager, Jose Mourinho. In his booked he has claimed that the Special One called him a “coward”. Th encounter between the two is written rather poetically, perhaps ever so slightly over emphasized and has most definitely been drawn up by a ghost writer.

Fernando Torres was stretchered of the pitch on Thursday evening against Deportivo la Coruna after a heavy fall chellenging in the air with Alex Bergantinos. The Atletico Madrid player was taken to hospital and has now been discharged after having tests on the head injury. The club have released an official statement saying that the scans have showed “no traumatic alterations or injuries”. El Nino shared his gratitude via his official Twitter account, and stated that the fall was just a scare. Great t see the medical teams in Spain act so swiftly.

The aid of others saved another life this week. Slovacko striker, Francis Kone saved the unconscious Berkovek who had collided with his team mate. Kone acted quickly reached into the goal keepers mouth to retrieve his tongue.  Both players were taken to hospital, including Berkovek team mate Daniel Krch. The announcer at the game shared the news that both players were well which prompted a round of applause from the stands.

The Bleacher Report has provided us with an idiots’ guide to choosing a Chinese Super League team, based on your English Premier League counterpart. Today marks the beginning of the 14th CSL season, and with all that money spent in January it may be worth a watch. Now I have a soft spot for Liverpool Football Club – you know me, love my history – so according to the Bleacher Report I shall be supporting, Liaoning Whowin, nicknamed the North-East Tigers. Mon the Tigers! Good to know that my team picked up a point today against Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng, who don’t appear to have an English Premier League equivalent – oh well! I’ll take a 1-1 draw away, especially when your down to 10-men. it’s going to be a good old season!

 

LISBON LIONS

Tommy Gemmell 1967 goal: https://twitter.com/PMFA_UTLR/status/837220745231142914

Tommy Gemmell 1970 goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFz0hXtzQj4

Tommy Gemmell kicks Helmut Haller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnja51VticQ

Billy McNeil tribute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuVhndjP5bE

Chris Sutton on Dementia: https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/836841139609174016

 

EFL CUP

Manchester Utd 3 – 2 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjkm17xXQ4

Gabbiadini offside decision, Le Tissier thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hnUDpSpza4         

 

SPFL GOAL CRAZY

Inverness 0 – 4 Celtic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39048195

Saint Johnstone 0 – 2 Kilmarnock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9RQoOLPqzs

 

FERNANDO TORRRES

Official Twitter statement: https://twitter.com/Torres/status/837448156929482752

 

LIFE SAVER

Francis Kone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tBg4fmoUU0

 

CHINSE SUPER LEAGUE

Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfzV7gT9fAc

03/02/2017 Issue 4

A lot has happened in a week. This is less of a wee 1-2, and more of a one on one with the keeper, keeper fouls, ref blows the whistle, penalty given, goalkeeper saves it, crowd goes wild, penalty taker gets subbed off, replacement runs through on goal, plays the 1-2 and…..GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!!!

The point I’m trying to make is that there was a hell of a lot of stories this week, but they were all worth a write up. So, there’s a bit of extra reading but it’s all worth it in the end. Promise!

So, in the last issue (issue 3) we told you that Celtic had equaled a record set by Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions. Well this week, after a 4-0 thrashing of Hearts, Celtic have broken that 50-year-old record. A Callum McGregor opener, Scott Sinclair brace and Paddy Roberts finish dispatched a some-what underachieving Hearts side to take their unbeaten run to 27 games (28 including their Aberdeen win mid-week). Brendan Rodgers side have only dropped 2 points in the entire league campaign, so far, and have fans wondering if they will ever be beaten. The 18th September 2016 was the last time Celtic dropped points; drawing 2-2 with Inverness Caley Thistle. Since then, Celtic have won 17 on the bounce. In fact, make that 18 on the bounce after their 1-0 win against Aberdeen on Wednesday night. Dedryck Boyata came up with the goods yet again, a header in the 57th minute. Celtic now sit at the top of the Scottish Premier League with 67 points, 25 points ahead of their closest challengers Rangers. (The same points difference between 2nd place and last) UNBELIEVABLE. UNDEFEATED.

Hearts handed out their own drubbing of Rangers Football Club on Wednesday night. The Jambo’s demolished the Ibrox side 4-1 at Tynecastle. Aberdeen are now only two points adrift of second place, Rangers, and the Dons have a game in hand. Ian Cathro’s side sit 4th in the league table, 6 points behind Aberdeen and 8 points behind Rangers. Aberdeen meet Rangers on 9th April at Pittodrie.

In other Scottish football news, Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd also broke a record by scoring the fastest Premiership goal. The striker took only 10.4 seconds to break the deadlock against Ross County at Rugby Park. The SPL’s highest goal scorer admits that he doesn’t remember much about the incident, and was sure he was offside.  His side recorded a 3-2 home win against Ross County. Make sure you check out the highlights below – cracking game of fitbaw!

Also for your amusement, there is a rather hilarious video circling the YouTube of former Celtic player and all round good guy, Chris Sutton, attempting to re-create Kris Boyd’s historical goal. Fellow pundit, Terry Butcher, is having none of it and absolutely cements Sutton who charges in on goal. Great watch!

The FA Cup draw has set up a mammoth David v Goliath tie in the fifth-round. Sutton United will face Premier League top 4 regulars, Arsenal, at home. The 12-time winners are in for a bit of a shock at the Gander Green Lane stadium. Sutton’s home ground host’s a 5,000-capacity crowd, a changing room you could barely swing a cat in and a 45-year-old reserve goalkeeper. Arsenal are, of course, the favorites to win the tie but Sutton have knocked out superior competition before. The question is, can David strike again? Bearing in mind Goliath packs a pretty good punch in Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, the Ox, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and even manager, Arsene Wenger, packs a good punch *coughs* push himself. Apart from that, I reckon David’s got a very decent chance. C’mon United! (The game will be shown live on the BBC on Monday 20th February, kick off at 7:55pm)

Football returned to Aleppo for the first time in 5 years. After many years of conflict Aleppo experienced a degree of normality during a 90-minute game of football between local rivals, Al Ittihad and Horiyah. The game was played in an actual bomb-site, in the Ri’ayat al-Shabab stadium. Football in Aleppo has been disbanded over the past 5 years, as the city became a battleground between rebel forces, pro-government forces, Russian airstrikes, and British airstrikes. Al-Ittihad won the game 2-1, in front of a packed stadium. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Battle for Aleppo, perhaps the return of football will come to signify unity, strength, safety and peace in the region. It will hopefully work to gain some level of normality in the Syrian people’s lives.

Barcelona took one step closer to the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night, after beating rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored before the half, but French international Antoine Griezmann clinched an important goal before the end, giving his side some hope for the second leg to be played next Tuesday 7th February at the Nou Camp.

The other semi-final tie ended in a 0-0 draw between Celta Vigo and Alaves. The second leg will be played at the Mendizorrotza next Wednesday (kick off 8pm).  

Last week it was Arsene, this week it’s his old pal Jose.

Yes, the Special One has lost it! He hates EVERYONE! Referees, fourth officials, journalists, and the BBC. After a 0-0 draw with Hull City on Wednesday night, Mr. Mourinho stormed out of an interview with the BBC. The Special One ended the conversation telling interviewer, Martin Fisher:

“If you don’t know football, you shouldn’t have a microphone.”

The Manchester United manager also raged over the vast difference in treatment he receives from the match officials. Mourinho has been keen to point out an incident between fourth official, Neil Swarbrick, and Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday evening. An angry Klopp apologized to Swarbrick who received an ear-full from the German during the second half. Swarbrick response sparked Mourinho’s outrage. The fourth official replied, “No problem, I like your passion.” The Special One isn’t happy, and insists, that for him – everything is different. A big tough titty to you!

Peter Crouch scored his 100th Premier League goal, as Stoke drew 1-1 with Everton. He pulled out ye old Robot celebration, made famous at the 2006 World Cup.

The transfer window has come to an end, and there isn’t much to report really. Payet left, and some West Ham fans were seething, but he has Thierry Henry’s backing so it’s all Va Va Voom. Berahinho made a move away from West Brom, and Stoke City signed a neat little striker for a rather decent £12million fee. Manchester City brought in Gabriel Jesus, who has already made a great impression on the City faithful. West Ham brought in Snoddy and Fonte, which looks like a tasty wee deal, and may take some of the sting from Payet’s departure. You can check out your team’s signing in the link below (JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW – England, how did your club do?).

In Scotland, Stephen Pearson returns to Motherwell for his third spell. Kilmarnock have brought in former striker Conor Sammon on loan and former Celtic player, Kristoffer Ajer, who has made a big impression on the Killie fans already. Ryan Christie has moved to Aberdeen on loan until the end of the season. Celtic have brought in midfielder Eboue Kouassi (leave some vowels for the rest of us big man). Henrik Ojamaa is back in Scotland, and will feature in Paul Hartley’s Dundee side. Niall Keown, son of Martin, has signed a loan deal with Partick Thistle. You can check out your team’s signing in the link below (JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW – Scotland, how did your club do?)

Ex-Chelsea, West Ham, Manchester City, England and New York City player Frank Lampard has retired. On Thursday morning, he broke the news bringing an end to a football career spanning 21 years. Lampard won many honors in this time; lifting the English Premier League title on three occasions (Chelsea 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10); 4 FA Cups; 2 League Cups; 2 FA Community Shields; 1 Champions League trophy (2012) and 1 Europa League trophy (2013). Frank Lampard was awarded 106 caps for England, and appeared at his first major international tournament at the European Champions in 2004. Lampard represented his country at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup Finals. He scored 29 goals for his country and is 1 of only 8 players to have earned 100 England caps.

Egypt will meet Cameroon in the final of the African Cup of Nations this Sunday 5th February (kick off 7pm).

And there you have it; your weekly round-up!  

 

 ONES TO WATCH

RECORD BREAKERS

Celtic 4 – 0 Hearts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38709176

Archie MacPherson comments: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38774708  

 

HEARTS DEMOLISH RANGERS

Match highlights: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38740392

 

KRIS BOYD BREAKS ANOTHER GOAL SCORING RECORD

Fastest goal in Premiership history: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/38791562

Kilmarnock 3 – 2 Ross County: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/38784067

 

THE BATTLE FOR ALEPPO

The first football game in five years: https://www.rt.com/sport/375682-aleppo-first-football-match/

 

MOURINHO HATES EVERYONE

That BBC interview (or lack of): http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38835923

 

CENTENARY BOY

Peter Crouch gets his 100th PL goal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38836342

The Robot: https://youtu.be/Htmj309y4sw

 

JANUARY TRANFER WINDOW

England, how did your club do?: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/01/transfer-window-premier-league-club-by-club

Scotland, how did your club do?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38799105

 

FRANK LAMPARD

Stats and juicy tit bits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37985587

A look back at his career: https://youtu.be/NX6Z6PtCh3s

Disallowed goal v Germany at 2010 World Cup: https://youtu.be/o5QlBHF6ib8

Chelsea Tribute: https://youtu.be/6xhUslfEL3Q

20/01/2017 Issue 2

What a week it’s been!

Pep Guardiola suffered his heaviest ever League defeat as a manager at the hands of Ronald Koeman’s Everton. It was a great day for the Toffees who thrashed Man City 4-0 at Goodison Park. Teenagers Tom Davies, 18, and Ademola Lookman, 19, both got on the scoresheet. The pair grabbed the Monday morning headlines and appear to have a bright future ahead of them. Their mature and clinical performances led to Man City’s 5th league defeat of the season and forced manager, Pep Guardiola, to concede that the Citizens title race was over. Oh dear! Looks like someone might be heading home soon.

Next up! Paul Pogba’s dab earned Liverpool a penalty. The £89 million player entertained the Theater of Dreams with some rather odd dance moves whilst attempting to defend a corner kick, forcing the referee to give a penalty for a hand ball. James Milner scored from the spot, making it a 100% PK record for him (7/7 scored). Prior to the game, Paul Pogba released his own custom made emoji; it’s fair to say he had an absolute nightmare from the first whistle to the last. There’s certainly a few emoji’s I can think of that would describe the Frenchman’s performance. His team however, did manage to salvage a point. Swedish striker, and all round ego maniac, Zlatan Ibrahimovic popped up with a goal late into the second half. The self-proclaimed “God of Manchester”, step aside Liam Gallagher, has now scored 14 goals in 20 league games taking his total to 19. This has come as a bit of a surprise to the Manchester faithful who endured Ibra’s 5-week goal scoring drought earlier in the season.  So after all the blood and thunder of derby day, Liverpool sit 3rd merely 7 points adrift of leaders Chelsea whilst United sit in 6th place, 12 points off the league leaders.

Oh, I should mention that while all this went on Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, stole some poor journalist’s cake.

Louis van Gall has retired. Yes, ex-Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands, AZ, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United manager has retired from coaching, at the age of 65, after a career that spans 26 years. The Dutchman was sacked by Man Utd in May only hours after lifting the FA Cup, and has been unemployed ever since. The announcement came shortly after receiving a rather prestigious lifetime achievement award from the Dutch government. Van Gaal, has had a successful career in football, winning two European finals with Ajax, notably lifting the Champions League with the Dutch side in 1995 and wining the UEFA cup in 1992. His time in England was met with much criticism, and his stint as the Holland manager didn’t do his career many favours either. Van Gaal was at the helm of the Dutch national side when the team failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup; it was the first time they had missed the tournament in 16 years. Alas, with two La Liga titles and one Bundesliga title to his name, Van Gaal, will be remembered fondly by some. Sadly, not all.

Juventus dropped a new logo this week, it’s awful!

Done. Next story.

China v The World. This week the Chinese Super League sent pundits, mangers, players, and fans into mass uproar, confusion and terror. As the January transfer window unfolds a new super power has emerged, and it would seem as though it looks to threaten the allure of some of the biggest leagues in world football. The CSL has hit English Premier League teams hard. This year Oscar made a move away from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG for £52 million. He wasn’t the only one, Ramirez was purchased, Hulk was purchased, Axel Witsel, Teves, Alex Teixeira, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Paulinho and more are being pursued. Diego Costa is the next big target, and this week Yaya Toure reportedly rejected a £520,000-a-week deal from Jiangsu Suning!! Madness. Shockingly, it was also reported this week that Borussia Dortmund had been offered a sickening 135 million for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It’s simply crazy money, and time will tell if it is something that can be sustained. But for now, there are many; players, manager, owners, and Association officials alike, whose heads are being turned by the Chinese purse.

FA Cup upsets; well there were plenty of those this week. Lincoln City FC and Sutton United, both from the fifth tier of English Football, went through to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup beating Ipswich Town (Championship – 14th place) and Wimbledon AFC (League One – 12th place) respectively. Lincoln City, who currently sit top of the National League, scored in injury time to seal a 1-0 victory. This is the first time in 41 years that the Imps have made it to the fourth round, they will face Brighton in the next game. Sutton United stunned 10-man Wimbledon; they scored 3 goals in the 75th, 90th and 96th minute. Their victory set up an FA Cup home tie against Championship side, Leeds United.

Anna Signeul has revealed that she will be stepping down as the Scotland manger after the European Championship in Holland this summer. It is a position Signeul has held for 12 years, and is a role in which she has excelled. The Swede has led Scotland’s women to their first major competition, while spearheading the growth and development of women’s football. Signeul introduced a real professionalism to the women’s game, and her methods have revolutionised the elite development of Scottish women’s football. #pioneer

Now we come to indeed the best and funniest story of the week. To the Eredivisie!

Unhappy with his team’s first half performance, the Heracles Almelo groundskeeper decided to vent his frustrations by leaving a giant snow penis on the pitch!! His side had suffered a disastrous first half against Groningen, conceding 3 goals in 9 minutes. The half time art work did not inspire a second half comeback, rather the visitors pilled on the misery scoring a 4th goal in the second half. The game finished 4-1, with Heracles picking up a consolation goal in the 89th minute. What a huge cock up!

 

ONES TO WATCH  

THE TOFFEES

Everton v Manchester City (post-match interview): https://youtu.be/IS7AQHHlM0A

 

MANCHETER UNITED V LIVERPOOL

Paul Pogba hits the dab: https://youtu.be/BvnhZNR49Wg

 

CONTE TAKES THE CAKE

“I taste a bit?”: https://youtu.be/DU3NE3MidUo

 

LOUIS VAN GAAL RETIRES

That Dive v Arsenal: https://youtu.be/zBmVLpzFhtY

 

JUVENTUS

Black and White and More: https://youtu.be/s26jlK8bUSY

 

CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

From Chelsea to China: https://youtu.be/Y0qwtr5NIXQ

Why CSL?: https://youtu.be/G3t8SYuF1bE  

 

FA CUP UPSETS

Deacon scores and Sutton equalises: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38658274

Fitchett goal seals Sutton victory: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38659079

 

ANNA SIGNEUL

Scotland Qualify for Euro 2017: https://youtu.be/9ePkd1zEi2I

 

HERACLES ALMELO

Groundskeeper leaves giant snow penis on the pitch: https://youtu.be/Bi2VfekdlYM