Tag Archives: blind

Tottenham v Inter Milan: Ref sent blind man"s stick by angry fans

Tottenham's ref is getting some stick! Angry Croatian fans send match official a white cane after he admits high-profile mistake… and he's in charge for Spurs match at Inter

John Drayton


15:15 GMT, 13 March 2013



17:53 GMT, 13 March 2013

The referee of Thursday's Europa League match between Tottenham and Inter Milan has been sent a blind man's white stick by fans of Croatian side Hajduk Split after they were enraged by a contentious decision.

Ivan Bebek's call in a recent game between Split and Dinamo Zagreb frustrated supporters so much they sent a package to the Croatian Football Federation for the ref which included the white stick, a jersey and a Dinamo scarf.

The fans' club issued a statement saying: 'We apologise to blind people, we do not want to offend anyone, but just want to help the referee Ivan Bebek ahead of the game.'

Provocative: But the fan club insisted they did not wish to offend anyone

Provocative: But the fan club insisted they did not wish to offend anyone

Bebek admitted after the game on his Facebook profile that in hindsight he failed to call a clear penalty in favour of Hajduk Split.

The frustrated Split fans have now also forwarded on pictures of the package to Tottenham as a warning to them about the ref ahead of their crunch Europa League game.

Trusted: Ivan Bebek will overlook Spurs v Inter

Trusted: Ivan Bebek will overlook Spurs v Inter

Comfortable lead: Tottenham are 3-0 up to the third leg, in which Jan Vertonghen headed their third goal

Comfortable lead: Tottenham are 3-0 up to the third leg, in which Jan Vertonghen headed their third goal

Controversial Given the difficulty that can be involved in refereeing Gareth Bale, Ivan Bebek may be relieved he is suspended

Controversial Given the difficulty that can be involved in refereeing Gareth Bale, Ivan Bebek may be relieved he is suspended

From the spot: Steven Gerrard's penalty gave Liverpool victory over Tottenham on Sunday

From the spot: Steven Gerrard's penalty gave Liverpool victory over Tottenham on Sunday

Anders Lindegaard says football needs a "gay hero"

Football needs a gay hero, insists Lindegaard in battle with homophobia



14:50 GMT, 27 November 2012

Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has criticised football fans for being 'stuck in a time of intolerance' and spoken about the need for a 'gay hero' in the game.

Lindegaard, a Danish international who has played seven games for United this season, wrote in his blog: 'As a footballer I think first and foremost that a homosexual colleague is afraid of the reception he could get from the fans.

'My impression is that the players would not have a problem accepting a homosexual.

Speaking out: Anders Lindegaard says fans are 'stuck in a time of intolerance'

Speaking out: Anders Lindegaard says fans are 'stuck in a time of intolerance'

'Homosexuality in football is a taboo subject. The atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands is tough. The mechanisms are primitive, and it is often expressed through a classic stereotype that a real man should be brave, strong and aggressive. And it is not the image that a football fan associates with a gay person.

'The problem for me is that a lot of football fans are stuck in a time of intolerance that does not deserve to be compared with modern society's development in the last decades.

'While the rest of the world has been more liberal, civilised and less prejudiced, the world of football remains stuck in the past when it comes to tolerance.'

The United keeper reveals he discussed whether he should write and publish the blog with his girlfriend Misse Beqiri before deciding to do so.

'To turn a blind eye only indicates that one is not recognising that there is a problem. Of course there is a problem if young homosexuals, who love football, have to quit the sport because they feel excluded.

'That is in every way an unpleasant trend that does not belong in a modern and liberal society. Any discrimination towards people is and should be totally unacceptable, whether it is about skin colour, religion, sexuality etc.

Time for a change: Lindegaard reckons football needs a 'gay hero'

Time for a change: Lindegaard reckons football needs a 'gay hero'

'Homosexuals are in need of a hero. They are in need of someone who dares to stand up for their sexuality.'

Since Justin Fashanu in 1990, no top-flight footballer has come out in the 22 years since.

Anton Hysen, son of former Liverpool defender Glenn, who plays in Sweden's fourth division, came out last year.

Paul Lambert feels the heat after Aston Villa"s worst start since 1970

The Doc's spectre looms large over Lambert as Villa stumble to worst start since 1970



22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

First, the good news for Aston Villa’s supporters.

Following the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 43 years, they cannot be relegated to the third tier of English football, a fate suffered by Tommy Docherty and Vic Crowe’s crop in 1970.

Christian Benteke shows promise. Ron Vlaar is a resolute addition to the ranks. And Matthew Lowton efficiently goes about his business.

And here is the bad.

Home keeper Brad Guzan was rightly named man of the match by Villa’s matchday sponsors. That should be an adequate pointer.

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

The long walk: Tommy Docherty quits Villa in 1970

The long walk: Tommy Docherty after quitting Villa in 1970

Norwich boss Chris Hughton ditched his normal conservative press conference style to claim without hesitation that the Canaries had dropped two points. He was right, too.

Out of their nine matches so far, Villa have played just one team who finished in the top four last season — Tottenham — and have fixtures to come in the next four weeks that include Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

What’s more, against those teams last term they picked up not one solitary point.

Manager Paul Lambert appears to have over-estimated the quality of Villa’s playing staff. His brave policy of buying largely untried Premier League players appears flawed. Frankly, their midfield is the weakest in the division.

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

What’s more, the Scot is struggling to come up with any plausible way forward, apart from blind faith.

What is becoming clearer by the day is that a promising win over Swansea City was a false dawn and the sooner the whole club appreciates the gravity of this situation, the better.

The whole club — from the boardroom to the terraces — wants Lambert to succeed. But something needs to change. Villa are a quarter of the way through the season and boast six points.

Norwich, on the other hand, appear a far more organised outfit than the one who were spectacularly demolished by Liverpool last month.

Sebastien Bassong is a defender of Premier League class whom Hughton will need to keep on the pitch.Having seen the new Carrow Road chief organise a Birmingham City team that threatened to implode, he is whipping the Canaries into shape.

This is obviously where his reputation as a coach of substance comes from.

As for Villa, I’ll leave you with a little teaser. Who said the following

‘The new players have not performed as well as I anticipated,’ said this Scottish boss, ‘but I have complete faith and confidence in all of my players and in my own ability.’

The answer

Tommy Docherty. Twenty-four hours later, he was sacked. Four months after that, Villa were relegated.

Widnes 14 Warrington 52: Rampant Wolves run riot

Widnes 14 Warrington 52: Vikings ripped to shreds by rampant Wolves



16:37 GMT, 9 September 2012

Widnes ended up with the wooden spoon in their first season back in Super League after a thumping derby defeat to Warrington.

The Vikings needed a shock win over the Challenge Cup winners to climb above Castleford but were outplayed after being level 6-6 midway through the first half.

Warrington scored 10 tries and the winning margin would have been even more convincing had they not missed four first-half conversion attempts.

Mauling: Paul Wood celebrates after scoring try No 10

Mauling: Paul Wood celebrates after scoring try No 10

Chris Riley and Mickey Higham each grabbed a brace of touchdowns for the Wolves who host St Helens on Saturday in the play-offs.

Widnes, who had conceded 114 points in two previous defeats by Warrington this season, went into the clash without Hep Cahill following shoulder surgery.

Shaun Briscoe and Danny Craven were left out with Jack Owens, Macgraff Leuluai, Chris Dean and Joe Mellor returning.

Warrington, fresh from a 54-6 romp over Huddersfield, rested skipper Brett Hodgson, Garreth Carvell, Trent Waterhouse and brothers Michael and Joel Monaghan with Ben Westwood still out with after a knee injury sustained in the cup final win over Leeds a fortnight ago.

Chris Riley, David Solomona and Tyrone McCarthy were back as Warrington aimed for their seventh win in the last eight Super League matches.

Widnes had won only one of their last five games – against Hull three weeks ago – but made a flying start with Frank Winterstein going over in the corner after four minutes from Jon Clarke's short pass on the blind-side.

Rhys Hanbury booted the touchline conversion but Warrington were back on level terms after 10 minutes when Higham burrowed over from dummy half and Lee Briers tagged on the goal.

The Vikings, who had lost all five derby meetings since 2004, were certainly not overawed although Paddy Flynn was forced to pull off try-saving tackles on Stefan Ratchford and Riley in quick succession.

But Briers' long pass to Simon Grix allowed Chris Bridge to hand Rhys Williams a walk-in try midway through the first half to open up a 10-6 advantage.

Widnes faced a bigger task after inspirational play from Ratchford who burst onto a pass and then kicked ahead for Riley to touchdown after 28 minutes for the 100th try of his career.

Ratchford was in top form and extended the lead when he raced onto an inside pass from Solomona to cross. Briers, after two misses from three goal attempts, handed over the duties to Ratchford who was narrowly off-target aiming to convert his own try.

Solomona added Warrington's fifth try just before the break to make it 22-6 at half-time with Riley supporting Matty Blythe's break straight after the restart to bag his second try with Briers booting the goal.

Blythe was a half-time replacement for the impressive Ratchford who had linked up superbly from full-back.

Paul McShane notched the Vikings' second try but was injured in the process and forced to hobble off with a leg injury.

Higham collected his second touchdown from a Williams kick after 66 minutes to make it 40-10.

Widnes refused to throw in the towel with Ben Davies held close before Rhys Hanbury went over for a deserved effort in front of a 8,617 crowd – the Vikings' biggest of the season.

Warrington wrapped up the convincing win with late tries from Ryan Atkins and Paul Wood – his first of the season – with Solomona booting the final conversion.

Referees are in a no win situation – Graham Poll

Referees are in a no win situation… but they must stay strong and earn respect



00:05 GMT, 27 August 2012

Referees can’t win; that much we know. If they apply the laws then they are seen as pedants who need to use their common sense. When they show empathy they are accused of inconsistency. The problem is that common sense and consistency cannot work in tandem.

So referees are currently trying to follow the instruction of low involvement, only punishing the serious offences and particularly those which threaten the safety of opponents while turning a blind eye to the technical offences which, if applied, disrupt the flow of play and annoy players and spectators.

This attitude occasionally causes more problems than it solves and Mark Cattenburg fell foul of that at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Good save: John Ruddy denied Djibril Cisse from the penalty spot

Good save: John Ruddy denied Djibril Cisse from the penalty spot

After awarding a harsh but technically correct penalty to Queens Park Rangers he then turned a blind eye to encroachment at the taking of the penalty kick by at least seven players.

Usually when encroachment occurs it has no affect. Either the penalty is scored or the keeper saves and the ball is cleared. So why bother with the technicality of encroachment

The reason became clear at Norwich when one of the players who encroached, Bobby Zamora, scored from the rebound. A goal was scored which should not have been allowed.

Going in: Bobby Zamora scored the follow up for QPR but it should have been disallowed due to encroachment in the area

Going in: Bobby Zamora scored the follow up for QPR but it should have been disallowed due to encroachment in the area

More from Graham Poll…

Graham Poll: Moving ball is making it tough for goalkeepers – and it needs to be looked at to make it fair

Graham Poll: Rodallega was wearing traditional studs not blades

Graham Poll: Pardew can't be compared with Di Canio… but he must be punished

Graham Poll: Ronaldo penalty gaffe could easily have been avoided

Graham Poll: Italy have taken full advantage of weak refereeing

Graham Poll: England's lucky break will ensure goalline technology gets go-ahead

Graham Poll: England ref Rizzoli lacked fairness and balance despite Serie A experience

Graham Poll: Champions League final ref Proenca will show his softer side


At this point let’s clarify law; if a defender or defenders encroach and a goal is scored it is allowed – if not then the penalty must be retaken.

The reverse applies if one or more attackers encroaches.

When a players from both sides encroach then irrespective of the penalty kicks outcome the kick must be retaken.

Referees are encouraged to stand a couple of yards inside the penalty area watching the ball and the penalty taker. If any players encroach far enough into the area to go past them then they act and if not they turn a blind eye.

Such slack application of law leads to just such incidents as seen on Saturday.

It was interesting to hear that the Football League chairmen have asked referees to be more vigilant with certain technical offences as they believe that ignoring them has affected the image of the game.

Allowing players to steal too many yards at throw-ins, standing on the ball to prevent free kicks being taken as well as diving were highlighted as offences that Chairmen no longer wanted ignored.

To have club chairmen telling you to tighten up your game is a sure sign that referees have allowed the pendulum to swing too far in the direction of tolerance and understanding.

Respect must be earned and strength is the only way to get it. Otherwise we all need to get used to the slack application of law that the 2012 Olympic final referee allowed at Norwich – and was not discouraged from doing so.


…Michael Oliver who continues to impress and correctly dismissed Ciaran Clark for the denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Sure, the game looked over but law was applied as it should be. I told you common sense and consistency don’t go together and the referee should be right and not popular.


…West Ham United’s Ricardo Vaz Te who was caught on video blatantly diving at Swansea to win West Ham United a free kick and get opponent Jose ‘Chico’ Flores cautioned. Why can’t retrospective action be taken to help the fight against the cheats And why don’t MOTD highlight and shame the culprits

Widnes Vikings 26 Hull KR 32

Widnes Vikings 26 Hull KR 32: KR Losing streak over as Vikings are slain



16:54 GMT, 29 July 2012

Hull KR justified the changes made by coach Craig Sandercock by ending their four-match losing run with victory in a pulsating 11-try Stobart Super League encounter at Widnes.

Rovers fell behind to a Joe Mellor try after 90 seconds but recovered to lead 18-8 at the interval through scores from Michael Dobson, Ryan O'Hara and David Hodgson before Stefan Marsh crossed for the hosts to round off the first-half scoring.

Kurt Haggerty and Danny Craven added second-half tries for Widnes, but they were cancelled out by Ben Galea and Graeme Horne and then Louis Sheriff's late try put the result beyond doubt after Rhys Hanbury's converted try had got the Vikings to within two points of the Robins.

Widnes were without former Wigan and Hull prop Eamon O'Carroll, who broke an arm on his third appearance for the club in last Friday's win over Salford.

He joined skipper Jon Clarke and vice-captain Shaun Briscoe on the sidelines, with Jack Owens having his third outing of the season in place of Cameron Phelps at full-back.

Chris Heil and sub George Griffin made their Super League debuts in a much-changed Rovers line-up after their 32-18 home derby defeat by Hull.

Injuries ruled out Shannon McDonnell and Con Mika, who was also suspended, with Sam Latus and Scott Taylor dropped. In came winger Liam Salter, loose forward Dave Petersen and full-back Sheriff.

Widnes, hammered 36-0 at Craven Park in March, were in confident mood after wins over Castleford and Salford in their last three matches – sandwiched by a one-point loss against St Helens.

The Vikings made a flying start after Joel Clinton conceded an early penalty for a high tackle, and Mellor took Marsh's pass to surge over.

But Rovers hit back immediately, with Dobson working the blind-side to take a return pass from Hodgson and crossing to fire his side into a 6-4 lead.

Widnes lost Ben Cross and try-scorer Mellor with injuries in the first 12 minutes and Rovers grabbed their second try when O'Hara crashed over from Galea's pass to score near the posts.

Josh Hodgson added to the Vikings' problems by going over close to the line after 26 minutes, with Dobson's third conversion making it 18-4.

It would have been worse for Widnes had Marsh raced back to catch David Hodgson after the Rovers winger intercepted a stray pass and looked a certain scorer.

Dobson and Blake Green created havoc for the Vikings' defence but Widnes kept themselves in the hunt when Owens cleverly worked a pass to Marsh, who went over in the corner to cut the interval gap to 18-8.

Hull KR lost the influential Green at half-time and then Sheriff gifted Widnes a try four minutes after the restart when his wild pass was snapped up by Haggerty.

The Widnes substitute gleefully waltzed over under the posts and Hanbury landed his first conversion after two earlier misses.

Rovers skipper Galea halted the Widnes fightback by notching their fourth try to make it 22-14, but Widnes – with David Allen outstanding – cut the gap to two points when Craven collected Willie Isa's speculative kick on the last tackle and Hanbury booted the touchline conversion.

Dobson's 40-20 set up the chance for Horne to respond for Hull KR, who led 28-20 after 62 minutes.

Widnes refused to concede defeat and were back in contention when Hanbury chased Patrick Ah Van's clever kick to win the race to score and convert his own try to reduce the arrears back to two points with seven minutes left.

But Rovers could finally breathe easy when Sheriff went over three minutes from time to settle the contest.

Glen Johnson says England can beat anybody

'We can beat anybody', says Johnson as he fires warning to England's rivals



10:02 GMT, 29 March 2012

Glen Johnson has backed England to challenge for the Euro 2012 crown by claiming that they are capable of beating any of their rivals.

The Liverpool and Three Lions right back remains optimistic of success in Poland and the Ukraine despite England not currently having a manager or captain installed less than three months before the start of the tournament.

Despite all the distractions, Johnson told the Daily Star that England's stars are fully focused on the task at hand.

Eyes on the prize: Johnson says England are fully focused on the task at hand

Eyes on the prize: Johnson says England are fully focused on the task at hand

'There is always something going on, always issues,' he said.

'But you don’t get to this level of football without going through some crazy times.

'The lads learn to deal with hard moments, turn a blind eye to things and just get on with what they do best, which is play football.'

Johnson collected four of his 35 caps at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where England came up badly short. But the 27-year-old claims things will different this time around.

'In a one-off game we can beat anybody,' he added.

'So if we can put it together and get it right on the day we have a good chance.

In trouble: England have no captain or manager

In trouble: England have no captain or manager

'The lads believe in themselves. We have got some great players, a good squad and good backroom staff.

'At that level it’s the finer details, the inches that make the difference. Look at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago.

'Of course we went out earlier than expected but, if you look at the fine details, Frank Lampard scored and if that goal is given it’s a different ball game.

'I know there is no point going over it now but you never know, we could have gone on and won that game.

'Once we were chasing the game we had to play differently, which left holes for Germany to get the third and fourth.'

Blind footballer David Clarke focused on Paralympic after showing David Beckham the ropes

EXCLUSIVE: Dave Clarke has scored 124 goals for England and can bend it with Becks

David Clarke has scored 124 goals in 131 appearances for England, won five European Golden Boots and played alongside David Beckham. Why might you not have heard of him Because David Clarke is blind.

At 41, Clarke has become a legend of blind football, representing his country across the world in the five-a-side format, scoring goals for fun.

But, with London 2012 fast approaching, there is one final fling on the cards before he hangs up his boots.

That is why he and his guide dog, Ned, were photographed for Sportsmail as part of the class of 2012 and why he spent a day teaching Beckham what it is like to be a blind footballer.

Blind ambition: David Clarke in his Olympic tracksuit

Blind ambition: David Clarke in his Olympic tracksuit

Keepers are fully sighted.
The balls have ballbearings in them.
Each team have a guide behind the goal, restricted to a metre either side of the posts and two metres behind the goal line.
The guides are allowed to coach only in their own third of the pitch.
The middle third is coached by the overall team coach. This split is to avoid too many voices shouting at once.
There’s rolling substitutes with a squad of 10.

‘I was asked by the FA if I was available for certain dates but was then kept very much in the dark — excuse the pun — until the very last minute,’ Clarke, a senior partner at Clydesdale Bank, tells me as we meet at his office in St Albans.

‘We had fun. He is absolutely, genuinely normal and decent. I spent about three hours with him, of which an hour was spent just the two of us chatting. If I was as famous as he is, I’m not sure I’d be as level-headed. He is a genuine football person, loves the banter and loves to talk about the game.

‘We’ve both got kids, so we talked about that, too. He was interested in blind football, too, and seemed a little in awe of it.’

Watch blind football at the highest level and you’d be in awe of it, too — the skills are still dazzling and the finishing lethal. ‘The key to it all is spatial awareness,’ says Clarke, who navigates himself around his office easily without a cane or dog. ‘I can tell the size of a room just by listening. We have a 40m x 20m pitch with boards down the side so you’re using the sound of the boards to gauge where you are.

‘There is also a guide behind each goal and their job is to tell you how far away you are from the goal and, more importantly, to give you technical information about defender and goalkeeper positions. It’s not good enough to know where the goal is — you have to aim for the corner because the goals are small and the keepers are fully sighted and very good.’

Star attraction: Clarke showed former England captain David Beckham how to play blind football

Star attraction: Clarke showed former England captain David Beckham how to play blind football

Clarke was born in Wigan but spent the early part of his life travelling back and forth to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to try to restrict the damage caused by congenital glaucoma. He could see colours at first but his sight gradually disappeared completely, meaning he went to specialist blind schools. Not that his parents treated him any differently because of his disability.

‘My parents didn’t pour my cornflakes for me because they knew at some point I’d have to do it myself,’ adds Clarke, a Liverpool fan but a Wigan season ticket holder. ‘At school we had to do our own ironing and washing from 14 and I lived in a flat at 16.

We were often more independent than the guys who could see. One blind guy from my school fixed a washing machine for a fully sighted friend.’

Independent: Clarke learnt to live with his disability from an early age

Independent: Clarke learnt to live with his disability from an early age

Not that there were never moments when life was difficult. ‘I used to come home from school and run upstairs and all over the place, jumping on top of my mum and dad’s bed. But one time when I was nine I sprinted up and went to jump on their bed but they hadn’t told me they had switched the room round so I landed on the dressing table.

You’ve got to laugh. So it’s nice if things stay where they are but life doesn’t always work like that.

‘I have a very strong belief in specialist education because, from a sporting perspective, I was playing against people on a similar playing field to me. So leaving that for sixth form or university is the right time as kids can be quite cruel before that.’

Clarke did move on, going to university in Manchester, doing a Masters in Lancaster and then joining Clydesdale. But it was only in 1994 that blind football took off in the UK. Until then, Clarke just played for fun with friends.

‘I was born to two Scousers so you don’t get much choice about football — you either love it or leave. I was kicking a ball on the driveway for as long as I can remember.

The ball will ring: Clarke describes the introduction of ballbearings as a

The ball will ring: Clarke describes the introduction of ballbearings as a “revelation”

When I went to secondary school and they had balls with ballbearings in them so I could hear it, it was a revelation. I played all the time but went off the boil a bit at university because there wasn’t yet a standardised version of the game.

‘Everyone had different balls, different rules, different numbers. Then around 1994, they started selecting an English team for the first time.

‘The sport then built up and up and, in 2000, the FA got involved for the first time and realised they had to make a commitment to disability football. It became a paralympic sport in 2004. The big shame is that I was formally coached to play football only at 25 years old. But now the same pathway is available for blind kids as my kids.’

Equally frustrating was the Specsavers advert, where one blind player accidentally kicks a cat instead of the ball, something Clarke feels gave completely the wrong impression of his sport. ‘I didn’t like it,’ he says, his cheerful tone becoming more serious for the first time in the interview.

Ready: Clarke is looking forward to the start of the Paralympic Games next year

Ready: Clarke is looking forward to the start of the Paralympic Games next year

‘I didn’t think it was appropriate. It didn’t do our sport any good at all — it made it look a shambles. I suppose the one thing it did do was make people aware that blind people do play football. But when I went to football matches and it came on the big screen at half-time, I cringed. So much work has gone in to London 2012 on our side and that advert didn’t help.’

Clarke goes to football a lot — he was at Wigan’s match against his beloved Liverpool last week — using the sway of the crowd to follow what is happening. But it is the Olympic Park hockey centre rather than Anfield or the DW Stadium that will be his main focus in 2012 as he prepares to defy the odds and win a medal for Britain in the five-a-side tournament.

‘I’ll be staying in the village. I scored four goals in the last Paralympics, including one that won us fifth place. We believe we can win gold. It’s full of talent but teams we can beat. It’s about how well we want to do it. You have to believe it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be going.’

In the stands: Clarke was at the DW Stadium for Wigan

In the stands: Clarke was at the DW Stadium for Wigan”s goalless draw against Liverpool

Then two days after the September 9 final, Clarke turns 42. He’ll hang up his boots, spend some quality time at last with his wife and two children and do some coaching on the side. He’ll probably have another Golden Boot to put on display, too.

Dave Clarke is a senior partner working across Clydesdale Bank’s Hertfordshire Financial Solutions Centres.