Shorts: Injury Crisis; Transfer Rumours; Terry ‘One Hell of a Footballer’; Dirtiest Players; Sky Sports for £6 a Month

I’ve recovered sufficiently from a bout of suspected swine man flu to drag my emaciated (yeah right) carcass to the computer to see what I have missed in the last few days.

Here’s a lengthy selection of links for your clicking pleasure.


Injuries. Frank Lampard tore the outside of the thigh muscle on his left leg while training with England in Doha on Thursday and is expected to be out for three weeks. That would rule him out of the Premier League games with Wolves and Arsenal, the Champions League tie at Porto and the Carling Cup quarter-final at Blackburn Rovers in the first week in December.

Also while on England duty, John Terry suffered swelling to his ankle after blocking a shot from Jermaine Jenas in training. He hopes to be fit to play against Wolves on Saturday, “fingers crossed.”

Ashley Cole has a depressed fracture of the tibia, which he aggravated in the win over Manchester United. It is unclear how long he will be sidelined for.

Jose Bosingwa has been ruled out for around three months after undergoing surgery on his left knee.

Didier Drogba withdrew from the Ivory Coast’s final World Cup qualifier with a chest injury, the result of Jonny Evans’ kung fu kick.

I think that’s it.


Following England’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Saturday, Terry claimed Brazil are nothing for England to fear.

“I don’t think Brazil are anything to really worry about. They are a very good side, I am not saying they are not. We have to look at our own strengths and qualities and I think we can mix it with the best sides in the world. Listen, they’ve got their weaknesses, like we have.”

Hmm… I would fear any team if I had the likes of Wes Brown and Jermaine Jenas in my squad.

In the Guardian, a look back through the decades at the past meetings between Engalnd and Brazil.

The ten best England v. Brazil matches.


After our win against United, Martin Samuel waxed lyrical about Terry in his Daily Mail column.

Here is a man who rises above adversity. Here is a man who overcomes. Here is a man who would have studied a seedy tale about his father selling cheap cocaine in an Essex public house, before going out and doing his job superlatively, winning a crucial match for his team.


World Cup grass isn’t green enough.

“The World Cup is a jamboree which will make money for a few South Africans who are rich already. It serves purely to show the Europeans that the natives are still here to service their playground. Taking our grass away is the biggest insult to date.”


Ashes and World Cup qualifiers should go free-to-air, says review.

A long-awaited independent review has today recommended that Ashes cricket, international football World Cup and European Championship qualifying matches, Wimbledon tennis, the Open golf, the Rugby World Cup and rugby union internationals in Wales be added to the list of events protected for live broadcast on free to air television [in the UK].

TV ‘crown jewels’ plan draws backlash from governing bodies.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has claimed plans to add Ashes cricket, home and away international football qualifiers, Wimbledon and Open golf to the list of events reserved for live broadcast on free-to-air TV will have a “disastrous impact” on grassroots funding for every sport.

The Guardian’s David Donn says the decision to strengthen the crown jewels is a bold one.

Personally, I would love to see the Ashes and every England World Cup qualifier back on terrestrial TV, but losing the Winter Olympics to pay-per-view channels would be disappointing. I rarely get enthused ahead of time about either the summer or winter Olympics but always end up watching every minute of TV coverage that I can.


Kerching! When sport sold out.


The Daily Mail reports that the Carling Cup Final, Community Shield and other showpiece matches may be taken abroad.

“I can envisage that a cup game will travel one day – the Community Shield or the Carling Cup Final. The Italian Super Cup [Italy’s Community Shield] was played in Beijing this year. It is a better way not to destroy integrity and tradition.”

I guess it’s better than a “39th game”, but still.


With January approaching, and the transfer ban temporarily lifted, rumours have started in earnest.

Everton turn down £14m Chelsea bid to lure rising star Rodwell.

Manchester United are also reported to be interested in Rodwell.

In the last week, we’ve also been linked with Wanderson, Franck Ribery, Sergio Aguero, Marouane Chamakh, Pato and Angel di Maria.

Watch the best YouTube moments from Sergio Aguero.


James Corrigan in the Independent says that Gael Kakuta is an innocent victim of the Lens transfer saga and should not be punished.

Kakuta should never have been punished. In society, we don’t punish children in the same manner in which we punish adults, and there’s a very good reason for that. Their crimes are unwitting, they are not premeditated, they are not understood. All three apply to Kakuta in one sense, but palpably don’t in another. Because Kakuta never signed anything personally. Minor or not, he did nothing at all wrong. But then, someone might have. So go ahead Fifa, make an example of the case, of the agent, of the football club. But do not make an example of the player. He was just a boy who wanted to play football. What are Fifa there for if not to help boys play football? They have acted contrary to the premise for their very existence.


Cristiano Ronaldo has named Ashley Cole as the toughest opponent he played against in the Premier League.

Who can forget Ashley’s “I’ve got him in my pocket” motion to the Old Trafford crowd a couple of seasons back.


Didier Drogba is donating the £3m fee he will receive for becoming the new face of Pepsi to charity to help build a hospital in his homeland, the Ivory Coast.

Drogba says his son helped him change his attitude on the pitch.

Michael Essien is setting up a Foundation to help the village where he grew up in Ghana.

What a bunch of mercenaries Premier League footballers are.


Nicolas Anelka put in a Man of the Match performance and scored the only goal of the game as France dashed Irish hopes of reaching the World Cup.

Anelka was France’s guiding light in a roaming role that saw him drift back to the halfway line, around the right flank, and up to the fringes of the box. When he was in possession there was a palpable sense that the Irish defence were on edge. Anelka relished possession, enjoyed teasing anyone who tried to take the ball off him and time and again waltzed into space with an almost invisible dip of the shoulder. It was a sign of his menace that, when Robbie Keane chased him like a puppy and eventually came away with his prize, the crowd were overjoyed.


Michael Ballack – “Style: Right foot – typically ruthless German engineering” – and Gianfranco Zola – “Style: Right foot – never used explosive power, just relied on unerring accuracy” are listed at numbers 46 and 42 in the Daily Mail’s greatest penalty kings top 50. Frank Lampard – “Style: Right foot – four, maybe five steps and then low to the left or right corner – always with real power” – is at number six.


Carlo Cudicini is making a good recovery following surgery on injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.

The Daily Mail has pictures of the scene of the accident.

I’m sure we all wish Carlo well.


Jose Mourinho says Chelsea lacked stability and is eyeing a return to the Premier League.

“I always knew Chelsea lacked the normal English culture of stability. I was never under any illusions. I understood the personality of Roman Abramovich and the culture of the people around him. I knew it was not a job for 10 years.”


I’m sure you’ve all seen the Elizabeth Lambert YouTube video by now. In light of Lambert’s own take on the dark arts of defending, the Independent lists the dirtiest players in football. Unsurprisingly, Chopper Harris is included.

Ron Harris: The Chelsea defender’s reputation as a dirty player isn’t helped by his nickname Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris. His most notorious display came in the 1970 FA Cup Final, a game that has gone down in legend as one of the most physical of all time. The game went to a replay and Harris’ tackle on Eddie Gray after just eight minutes left the Leeds playmaker a virtual passenger for the rest of the match – which Chelsea would go on to win 2-1.


In Saudi Arabia last weekend, Al Hilal’s Nawaf Al Abed scored what is reputed to be the world’s fastest goal – in two seconds.


Mullery, Dalglish, Ball, Jennings, Lineker… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the old Home International tournament.


Alex Ferguson will be forced to speak to the BBC under new Premier League rules.

Something to look forward to.


Last but not least, the best news of the week – if you’re a UK iPhone owner who doesn’t subscribe to Sky Sports. Sky launched their Sky Mobile TV News and Sports app for the iPhone at the end of October, which allows you to watch Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra as well as ESPN live on your iPhone for the princely sum of £6 a month. The equivalent Sky TV/Sky Player Online package costs £43.00 a month.

Watching live football on a screen the size of a large matchbox might not appeal to everyone. But if you’re like me and refuse to pay the Dirty Digger’s extortionate prices to watch a handful of football matches every month, choosing instead to watch them either in the pub or online in applications like SopCast, then the new app is nothing short of brilliant – and it costs less than the price of two pints of lager every month.

I watched Time of Our Lives with Ron Harris, David Webb and Peter Bonetti in the app in bed last week, and the Republic of Ireland v. France World Cup qualifier on Saturday. The quality is great – compared to SopCast it’s like watching high definition TV – and if you’re one of the first 150,000 people to sign up you get the first three months free. What’s not to like?