All in the game



Last broadcast: Radio reporter banned over racism

Swedish club AIK have banned radio reporter Bo Hansson from working at their games after he was heard on air, during the match against Gefle, muttering about some of the players on the pitch being “darkies”.

“He is no longer allowed into the press box this season, what he has done is contrary to our values – we have zero tolerance for racism,” said Thomas Edselius, the club’s managing director.

So, was Hansson, now 78, full of remorse? Well . . . according to Swedish paper Sportbladet, who sent a reporter to his door, not hugely: “I was talking to myself in my corner. It was never intended to be broadcast. For me, I was not disparaging blacks. I am so old I have a different view of these kind of words. I can say yellow for a Chinese man, I could say ****ing white boy too. For me, it is mostly a description.”

If AIK players such as Kwame Amponsah Karikari and Mohamed Bangura “take offence, what will you do?” “If they do, they do,” said Hansson, “I meant no harm.”

The God delusion: Di Canio is not God after all

“I can improve my players maybe 25 per cent, but I am not God. I am one of the best managers, but I am not God.”

– Who knew Swindon supremo Paolo Di Canio could be so humble?

“Michael Owen will get double figures this season – or at least 10, possibly more.”

– Garth Crooks. Eh?

“It is good walking in to a ground a different way, being a fan, giving abuse like they used to give me.”

– The recently retired Jimmy Bullard loving the supporter’s life

“There is no racism in Spanish football.”

– Spanish football federation president and Fifa executive committee member Ángel María Villar Llona. Look out Peter Kay, you have a rival

“Leeds United are like a young Pamela Anderson – in great shape, with superb assets and a great future ahead of her.”

– David Haigh, deputy chief executive of the consortium closing in on buying the club, which, of course, went bust

Lokomotiv derailed: Managing expectations

Things, it would be accurate enough to say, aren’t going too smoothly at Bulgarian club Lokomotiv Plovdiv this season. Indeed, so poor have the team’s performances and results been, owner Veselin Mareshki ordered his players and coaches to undergo lie detector tests to make sure there wasn’t any funny business going on.

Mareshki, naturally enough, sacked manager Emil Velev and replaced him with Georgi Ivanov.

“I am delighted. I hope he will be here many years,” said Mareshki of the appointment, as quoted by The Observer, Ivanov no less excited about his new job. “I grew up here, I love this club, it is part of me. I’m not worried about what people say about the state it’s in: we’ll show our character.” A day later? Yep. Ivanov resigned, citing “organisational chaos” at the club for his less than lengthy stay.

Mareshki asked him to attend an emergency meeting, to see if they could iron things out, but the gist of Ivanov’s response was “you’re grand, thanks”, and off he went.

The shortest managerial reign ever? Not according to Yahoo’s Rundown blog: Leroy Rosenior’s second spell at Torquay United lasted just the 10 minutes.

News flash: Ronaldo born on Mars, says Mourinho

Ronaldo v Messi, Part 963. The Ballon d’Or, aka the World Player of the Year award, will be presented in Zurich in January, so we’re going to have to endure a bit more of this debate.

Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova, not too surprisingly, reckons Lionel Messi “is the best in the world by a long way”, a declaration that, even less surprisingly, drew a response from José Mourinho: “When some- one with the same responsibility as me comes out and says: ‘Mine is the best on the planet’, then I have to say: ‘Mine was not born in Madeira, he was born on Mars; he is not from planet Earth, he is the best in the universe’. If Messi is the best on the planet, Ronaldo is the best in the universe. It would be a crime if Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d’Or.”

No pressure on the judges, then.

Great Scot: Crooks has Morrison as an English man

Garth Crooks is assigned the task of coming up with a Premier League Team of the Week for the BBC website after every weekend and was mightily impressed recently by James Morrison’s performance for West Brom against Queens Park Rangers.

Football 365, it has to be said, was a little less than impressed with Crooks’ write-up on the player: “His goal against QPR was textbook midfield play.

“Anyone who breaks into the box with such determination to get his head to the ball doesn’t just deserve to score but desperately wants to.

“This is a player Roy Hodgson should now be taking a keen interest in.”


Last week, Morrison won his 24th cap for Scotland, scoring in the 2-1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

We'll meet again: Walters forgets about Germany

Basically, they ran riot.”

– Darren O’Dea summing it up.

“I told them that when you lose, conceding one goal or six goals or three goals, it’s the same.”

– Giovanni Trapattoni to the players after the game. Hmm.

“The result I thought was okay, although 6-1 was maybe a bit high.”

– German manager Joachim Low.

“I’ve never been in a game like that before . . . and hopefully never will be again.”

– Jonathan Walters, forgetting we still have to play Germany away.

“These are the best players that Ireland has. There are no others . . . do you know of any others?”

– Trapattoni, desperately seeking scouts.

Walker's hero: Spurs star eulogises old mate Jagielka

So, who’s Kyle Walker’s footballing hero? Lionel Messi? Andres Iniesta? Or, him being a defender, say, Philipp Lahm? No: Phil Jagielka.

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, Jagielka is “unassuming” and is “renowned for his grounded approach”, so he might well have been rosy-cheeked when he read what the young Spurs player had to say about him.

“To come here and play with him, sit and eat dinner with him is an honour for me,” he said of joining up with Jagielka, both Sheffield United old boys, on England duty. “Sometimes he tries to go and get some soup for me and I say to him, ‘You can’t be getting me that. Let me get you some soup!”

The unassuming Jagielka? A touch mortified, you’d imagine – although at least he’s being served his soup.


“A converted try and Ireland could still win this. #Believe.” – Ross O’Carroll-Kelly

“It’s like watching an Audi racing a donkey.” – Colm Tobin

“First they overheat our economy. Then they browbeat us in to a bailout. Then lend us money at penal rates. And now THIS!!!” – Conor Pope


Most peculiar post-match request of the week: A San Marino player asking Wayne Rooney for his shorts.

Not his shirt, his shorts.

“That was a first. It has certainly never happened before,” said Rooney, naked from the tummy down, as he chatted with the press after

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