Rosiest cheeks of the week


ALL IN THE GAME: They possibly belong to the Daily Mirror’s Martin Lipton who had a chat with Swedish channel TV4 before the friendly against England.

Asked for his thoughts on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lipton said: “As far as England are concerned, he’s a nobody. No one in England actually thinks he can play.”


The headline on the poor fella’s match report? “Take Zlat! World-class Ibrahimovic scores four to upstage Steven Gerrard’s big night.”

“The truth is that friendlies are just that – experiments, nights of discovery,” he wrote.

True enough, for those (of us) who reckoned the Ibrahimovic lad wasn’t half as useful as he reckons he is, it was indeed a night of discovery.

Hibs fail to have a heart for Docherty

The people behind the ‘Bring Back Willie Docherty’ Facebook campaign pointed out an interesting statistic that could yet persuade Hibernian to reinstate their stadium announcer after sacking him. Since his departure, Hibs have not won a game.
Granted, they’ve only played one since he left, Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Dundee, but still.

The club said they showed Willie the door after he chose to “wilfully disregard specific instructions” given to him before the game against Dundee United.

“[The club] has specific guidelines in place . . . these reflect the values and behaviours the club and its supporters believe Hibernian FC should stand for. The individual concerned has admitted that he deliberately breached the terms of the instructions . . . the club was left with no option but to take the course of action it did,” read their statement.

What did he do? Shoot someone? No, for a giggle at the expense of beloved neighbours Hearts, who are in deep financial do-do thanks to an unpaid VAT bill, he played Taxman by the Beatles at half-time.

“This is not an issue about having or not having a sense of humour,” insisted the club.


Hot blog provides lasting memories

Yahoo’s rather fabulous Dirty Tackle blog can, we’ve mentioned before, be a bit rascal-ish, occasionally publishing wacky made-up stories that are, alas, sometimes reported as fact by other sites. In that sense, it’s the Onion of the football world.

So, when they claimed last week that the Fulham online store was selling Mohamed Al Fayed USB sticks, gnomes and postcards with his head “photoshopped onto the body of a muscular man wearing a Speedo with a Fulham boxing glove covering his junk under the words “Full Mo-nty!”, we thought: “Ha, good one!”

But it’s true.

The Fulham chairman does indeed star in the club’s online store, and, yes, you can buy a Mohamed Al Fayed USB stick, gnome and that postcard.

In fairness, proceeds from the card go to Prostate Cancer Research, but as Dirty Tackle put it, the image will “burn itself into your memory forever and ever”.

More quotes of the week

“If one day there is an opportunity? Why not. Like diving from here to the sea, watching, speaking to the fish, octopus, crabs and journalists.”

– Steve Bruce on the possibility of him one day becoming Manchester United manager. Kidding: it was Eric Cantona. Of course.

“He jumps like a kangaroo.”

– Giovanni Trapattoni on Shane “Skippy” Long.

“Unless I’m looking at Ronaldo or Messi, I’d never look at someone else and think he’s better than me.”

– Zlatan Ibrahimovic? No, England new-boy Wilfried Zaha (of Crystal Palace).

“There are magazines, letters, pictures, clothes, creams, everything, he cannot open the door.”

– Fernando Torres on the joys of sharing a room with Juan Mata.

“Ramires – he’s involved in everything he does”

– Graeme Le Saux, as heard by a puzzled Private Eye reader.

Glass craic all right

You might have noticed that football has become a touch commercialised, there’s hardly a thing in the game that doesn’t have a brand name slapped on it. Still, though, it’d be hard to top the press release issued last week on behalf of Japanese glassmaker Asahi, as revealed by yesterday’s Observer:

The company has become Brazil 2014’s “official licensed glass roof for the players’ benches provider.”

Congratulations to all concerned.

Car of the week?

Mario Balotelli’s Bentley (and his gold-plated Range Rover).

The people at RushLane, home of daily auto news, though, were not impressed, but some folk have no taste.

“He recently unveiled his new £160,000 Bentley Continental GT in army camouflage vinyl wrap . . . [while] the paint job may have cost Balotelli quite a bomb, its end results do not seem to be as appealing, in fact these two vehicles are bordering on absurd.”

A Bentley in “army camouflage vinyl wrap”?

Absurd?! Sublime.

Baby, he's grown

Word of a call-up to the Brazilian under-20 squad for a particular young fella.

Who? Well, if you’re ancient enough, you might remember that famous 1994 World Cup goal celebration, when Bebeto, assisted by Romario and Mazinho, rocked a baby. Not a real one, mind, an imaginary version of his son Mattheus who had been born two days earlier.

Yes, as you feared: Mattheus, who plays for his Da’s old club Flamengo, has indeed been called up to the Brazilian Under-20 squad.

Truly, time’s zooming by.

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