Tag Archives: dealing

Arsene Wenger chants: Idiots should be banned

Clubs must ban these idiots responsible for Wenger chants



22:44 GMT, 4 November 2012

Vile chants: Wenger was on the receiving end

Vile chants: Wenger was on the receiving end

We’ve seen a lot of progress dealing with racism in this country but the vile obscenities Arsene Wenger has had to put up with are unacceptable.

Wenger is one of the nicest men on the planet and the accusation that he is a paedophile is, of course, absurd. It’s an embarrassment.

Like most players and managers who are abused, Wenger ignores it and remains professional but it is not easy. I know from being the subject of chants that inside your blood is boiling, you are seething, but you have to get on with it. I used it as motivation to make sure the opposition didn’t score against me, but what can Wenger do

He’s standing on the touchline with no-one to turn to. It has an impact on your family too. They have to sit through it while people are giggling. It is demeaning. There are lots of good people out there but there are idiots too. That kind of abuse makes you question your belief in the human race.

Mr Nice Guy: Wenger is one of the most respected men in football

Mr Nice Guy: Wenger is one of the most respected men in football

What can be done It’s difficult as Sir Alex Ferguson has been commendable in writing to Manchester United fans in the past but it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect. Most United fans – and those at West Ham a month ago – must have felt embarrassed listening to those around them.

It is time to ban offenders. Clubs should encourage people to hit back in a calm way by taking seat numbers and contacting the club. The FA should look at ways to combat the problem – even if it means banning fans en masse.

Paolo Di Canio: Doing this job is crazy, but it can be beautiful too

Di Canio: Doing this job is crazy, but it can be beautiful too



21:30 GMT, 8 September 2012

Paolo Di Canio leapt out of the swivel chair in his Swindon Town manager’s office and paced the windowless room like a caged lion, searching for the right words to describe the difficulty dealing with today’s younger players.

‘It’s our fault,’ he said, gesticulating. ‘We give children of 10 a mobile phone. We give them technology and put them in a room, not communicating with them. When they grow up and something goes wrong, they are not strong enough, not tough enough.

‘I have noticed the changes in football, It used to be work, work, work. Now, for some players, the priority is the gold watch,’ added the Italian, tapping his wrist for emphasis.

At 44, Di Canio is a managerial tour de force like no other. He took up his first managerial post 16 months ago when Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray was left uninspired by the original list of applicants following the club’s relegation to League Two.

‘A high-wire act, but worthwhile,’ is Wray’s description of his relationship with his maverick manager. And no wonder. The former Lazio, AC Milan, Celtic and West Ham player — once banned for 11 games at Sheffield Wednesday for pushing referee Paul Alcock — has led a mini-revolution in Wiltshire, with his team dubbed the Barcelona of League One.

Bossing it: Paolo Di Canio talks passionately about the game he loves

Bossing it: Paolo Di Canio talks passionately about the game he loves

They won promotion last season with 93 points, reached Wembley in the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and have already defeated two Premier League clubs, including a 4-3 win at Stoke City in the Capital One Cup less than fortnight ago.

But controversy is never far away. Last Sunday, he substituted 21-year-old goalkeeper Wes Foderingham after 21 minutes of a League One game at Preston, then denounced him as ‘arrogant’ when the player kicked a water bottle on his way to the dressing room instead of sitting on the bench with his team-mates.

Di Canio is baffled at the personal criticism he received for what he considers a good managerial decision. He insists Foderingham was not substituted as punishment for a fourth-minute mistake that gave Preston a goal, but because the player had continued arguing with team-mates while the game, which Preston won 4-1, continued. Foderingham has since been restored to the side.

‘His head was blurry,’ said Di Canio. ‘That is why he came off. Otherwise we would have lost the game 8-0 and I would have been called a donkey manager of a donkey team. I am a foreigner trying to instil English discipline and rules. And the English people are saying “No, no, you mustn’t upset players”.

‘I read a tweet from Rio Ferdinand. He is my friend, but Rio was saying: “Oh no, Di Canio was too tough. I hope this goalkeeper doesn’t have a big problem mentally now.” I want to say to you, my friend Rio, I know in the last two years I’ve seen you more on Twitter than on the pitch.’

The gafffer: Paolo Di Canio looks out over Swindon's County Ground

The gafffer: Paolo Di Canio looks out over Swindon's County Ground

Di Canio admits he is ‘obsessed’ with the job as he chases a second successive promotion and develops players like midfielder Matt Ritchie, once loaned out by Portsmouth to Dagenham & Redbridge and Notts County but now valued at 1million-plus.

‘I am not like many people who think it’s enough to do 90 minutes in training and then switch off,’ he said. ‘I’ll be in Waitrose shopping for pasta and tomatoes and my mind is thinking about the next day’s session. People think I can’t find the right food because I stand there staring, thinking about football.

‘It’s not been easy. I played in Serie A and the Premier League so I used to get frustrated in training with my players, less so now. I would explain an easy drill. “Understand guys” “Yes”. One second later they have forgotten, they don’t move. It drove me crazy but we joke about it now.

‘They aren’t bad professionals, the brain makes the difference. If something takes time, I have to put a frog in my throat and push it down. I know one day it will be different. I want to be the best so I have to go through this.

‘I look after the players like my brothers. It’s my natural way to speak out if someone makes a mistake. If it was my brother, I’d say “I want to punch your face because I know your potential”. The players know me after 16 months. I can start gentle but, at a certain point, they have to deal with the pressure. It’s kill or cure.’

Getting his point across: Di Canio talks to the fourth official during the 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient

Getting his point across: Di Canio talks
to the fourth official during the 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient

Ideally, Di Canio would like to be a combination of Fabio Capello, who used to bellow at him on the touchline at AC Milan, where he played alongside superstars like Marco van Basten and Paolo Maldini, and Harry Redknapp at West Ham.

‘Harry isn’t a coach but he’s very intelligent, a clever fox,’ said Di Canio. ‘Some days, he’d let me rush out of the training ground because he knew I’d go crazy if he spoke to me.

‘He’d wait 24 hours until I was calm, wag his finger gently and say: “Paolo, you know I was unhappy yesterday”. He knew my commitment. He said I’d be the first player he’d want in his five-a-side team. You can argue if I was the best technically but, for my passion, I’d love a hundred Di Canio’s at Swindon.’

The root to Di Canio’s personality lies with his family. His parents, who have both died within the last 12 months, struggled financially to raise four sons in a tough part of Rome.

‘My dad (Ignazio) was a brickie, he’d leave the house at five in the morning to catch a bus to work. My mother was at home bringing up four boys and we all lived on 250 a month. At 17, I realised I had an ability for football and promised always, always to use it to give my best and help my family.

‘At Lazio, I was an idol in half of Rome but I still lived at home for 18 months, to give my parents all my money. I didn’t even keep enough to buy a car for the first year.

‘My dad gave me the best lesson in life. I was 25, a top player with Napoli and a husband and father. I was angry that Italy had not picked me for the 1994 World Cup and I answered my mother in a rude way at the table. In front of everyone, including my wife and daughter, my father got up and slapped me. Poom! I deserved it, I had been arrogant and stupid.’

There have been moments in Di Canio’s career that cannot be brushed over. As well as the push on Alcock, there were fascist salutes to Lazio fans, which Di Canio maintains was a cultural gesture rather than a political one.

He was also reported to the FA this year over an allegation that he had made a racial slur towards a former Swindon player. Di Canio has always strenuously denied the allegation and has not been charged. He believes he will be given a chance to manage at the top level and characteristically is setting his long-term goals high.

Strong characters: Harry Redknapp and Di Canio during their West Ham days

Strong characters: Harry Redknapp and Di Canio during their West Ham days

‘At 32, I didn’t think I would be a manager. But the game is like a drug. It is a mission for me,’ he said.

‘I am thinking two or three more years at Swindon, then go to the Premier League for 10 years. After that, the England national team for four years, take this nation to a World Cup final. And, when we have all become heroes, I will retire to Piedmont to look after my restaurants and my wine business full-time.’

Some chairmen would prefer to put needles in their eyes than have a colourful manager like Di Canio, who picked up his League Two manager of the year award last May with the line: ‘Winning is better than sex with Madonna’.

But Di Canio believes there will be at least one other owner with the vision of Wray, who can see immense managerial talent behind the emotional rollercoaster.

‘Mourinho has done strong things. He made a handcuff sign to the referee at Inter Milan,’ said Di Canio. ‘I am not saying my record is like Mourinho’s but why should I not have a chance if I continue to win I work every hour, study every opposition player to give my team the right details to win.

‘You can’t save your energy if you want to reach the top. I don’t know if I will get there but it is my dream. This job drives you crazy but it is beautiful.’

London 2012 Olympics Des Kelly wears Pepsi T-shirt

Olympic daily: There's a real fizz in this fab fortnight



22:34 GMT, 8 August 2012

This was a different kind of Pepsi Challenge. Before the London Olympics, Lord Coe declared that anyone turning up in a Pepsi T-shirt risked being turned away at the gate.

Quizzed on BBC Radio 4 about the Draconian protection of the Games’ main sponsors, Today presenter Evan Davies wondered if ticket-holders would be allowed to wear clothing that conflicted with those big-money deals.

‘Are people wearing Nike trainers allowed in even though rival adidas is a sponsor he asked.
Coe replied: ‘I think you probably could…’ Pressed again, Coe continued: ‘Let’s put some reality in this. You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers. Does that satisfy you’ Davies said: ‘Would I be allowed in wearing a Pepsi T-shirt’

Coe replied: ‘No, you probably wouldn’t be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they have put millions of pounds into this project — but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect these sponsors.’

Off to a T: Our man sports his illicit shirt

Off to a T: Our man sports his illicit shirt

To adapt a phrase from the old advert, this seemed ‘gob-smacking, joy quenching, unforgiving, foul tasting, bad buzzing, cash talking, double dealing, embezzling … insert the name of a certain soft drink here.

So I wore a Pepsi T-Shirt to the Olympics. Not on purpose, you understand. After 12 days of duty in a hotel, the supply of clean clothes runs low and all I had left at the bottom of the suitcase was this old thing you see here.

Yes, it had the dreaded ‘Pepsi’ name on the front, but it was the only option. This might sound as convincing as an Algerian middle distance runner’s sicknote, but legal advisors will confirm this if my accreditation suddenly beeps ‘invalid’ at the gate.

More from Des Kelly…

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Des Kelly: Let's not forget to celebrate spirit of a Sundial Sprinter

Des Kelly's Olympic Diary: Say it loud and clear, we're on crest of a wave

Des Kelly: Cheating It's all foreign to us

Des Kelly's Olympic Diary: Saudi girl's courage is pure gold

Des Kelly: Welcome to the people's sport (As long as the people are millionaires)

Des Kelly: Perdue, the bin girl who's far from rubbish

Olympic diary: It's all for one… but none for all as GB's Musketeers flop


Nobody threw me out, though. Not at the security gates; not walking through the Park. Nobody ordered that I cover up this unofficial brand on the concourse, the food hall, the press box, or the media mixed zone.

None of the ‘brand police’ that stalked Britain’s high streets before the Olympic torch passed through, demanding displays of bagels or flowers arranged in the shape of the five rings be removed, pounced on me.

A couple of journalists took pictures and chuckled at the joke. I was even sat behind the finish line and might have popped up as a pixel or two in the background of a television shot.

But the common sense view was that Coca-Cola’s enormous multi-billion pound global marketing campaign could probably withstand little me wearing a tatty top in an 80,000-seater stadium. The London Organising Committee had previously confirmed this after Coe’s off-guard remark.

Coca-Cola are just one of 11 global Olympic sponsors, including Visa, McDonald’s and Omega, who jointly paid the International Olympic Committee 612million for exclusive rights.

Another 42 companies, such as British Airways, BT and BMW, contribute 700m more in hard cash and services to the 2012 organisers for the privilege of having their stamp on the Games.

But beyond the logos, the meanings of words begin to blur. One of the great contradictions of modern sport is that it embraces the purveyors of fatty, processed foods and sugary fizzy drinks.

Coca-Cola and McDonald’s tip money into the pockets of sport because it is a stupendous public relations exercise. The idea is for people to make an automatic, often unconscious, link between gold medals and the golden arches of a burger bar.

Food for thought: Olympic athletes queue up inside the Athletes' Village

Food for thought: Olympic athletes queue up inside the Athletes' Village

But if London is to ‘Inspire A Generation’, herding them towards the largest fast-food outlet in the world for a Big Mac, Coke and fries might not be ideal, unless we’re inspiring them to get a bit fatter.
One in four children is overweight and there are many reasons for that, but a diet of processed food is chief among them. One day we will regard these deals with the same disdain we have for the tobacco industry’s previous ties with sport. But right now we’re too busy counting out the shiny medals.

To be fair to London 2012, there are vast swathes of the Olympic Park that carry very little branding. The big corporations have their temples, which are as unsubtle as you might expect for the mega-millions they have paid.

impossible not to love.

Magic Mo: Farah wins GB's third track gold on Saturday night

Magic Mo: Farah wins GB's third track gold on Saturday night

When people who have paid a fortune for tickets grumble the food in the park is too expensive and empty their wallets for a small pie that cost 8 or 10 pieces of sushi and one drink at 22.50, they console themselves with the reality that this is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’.

And of course it is. Truly. An incredible one, too. I’d just like to know where all this money goes The IOC claims to be a ‘non-profit organisation’. If so, someone’s doing the books incorrectly or some staggering expense accounts are being covered. The IOC state 92 per cent of their income is used to support the staging of the Games (I thought taxpayers did that) or promote the worldwide development of sport. They say they keep eight per cent to cover their own costs.

The Romans used to keep the masses happy with ‘bread and circuses’. I’m afraid there’s no free bread here, but if you are prepared to queue, a Big Mac is 2.69 and a 500ml Coke is 2.30.

Charles Green blanks calls to sell Rangers to Walter Smith consortium

Not for sale! Green blanks calls to sell Rangers to Smith consortium



23:43 GMT, 14 June 2012

Charles Green has vowed to resist
mounting pressure to sell Rangers after a dramatic 11th-hour bid from a
consortium fronted by club legend Walter Smith.

On the day Rangers were formally
liquidated, the Yorkshireman transferred the old club’s assets over to a
newco for 5.5million and completed his takeover.

We've won: Charles Green says he has bought Rangers

We've won: Charles Green says he has bought Rangers

Denying reports he intends to ditch
manager Ally McCoist, Green set out his long-term plans by appointing
himself chief executive, naming a new board of directors and
identifying his investors.

In the process, Green doused
supporter hopes that he might accept the 6m offer from the Smith
consortium — also featuring multi-millionaire businessmen Jim McColl and
Douglas Park — to walk away.

‘I’m not surprised that anyone has an interest in buying Rangers because it’s such a great institution,’ said Green. ‘What I am surprised about is why people would come in on the day that everyone knows is completion day and think that they could buy it.

‘Walter stated that he was looking to negotiate to buy the club — well, no one’s rung me. I’ve never spoken to Jim McColl or Walter in my life. I’ve said from May 13, anybody can come to this club and join my team. Unless the money is from prostitution, drug dealing or child trafficking then I’ll take the money.’

Green was responding to a shock statement from Smith earlier in the afternoon which prompted excitement amongst supporters.
It read: ‘I can today confirm that, following talks over the last few weeks, I am leading a new bid for Rangers Football Club.

‘I have been assisted by Jim McColl, Douglas Park and other prominent Scottish businessmen with a shared objective — that Rangers Football Club should be in the hands of Rangers people, who will stabilise the club and protect it from future situations like we find ourselves in today.

‘With this in mind, representatives have, on behalf of my group, made representations to BDO, Duff & Phelps and, indeed, Charles Green, notifying them of our willingness to offer on the newco basis on which Mr Green is proceeding.

‘We would call on Mr Green to step aside and allow us to proceed with our deal, which is in the best interests of the creditors, the employees, the fans and the various other stakeholders of Rangers Football Club.

End of the road Rangers boss Ally McCoist leaves Ibrox on Thursday morning

End of the road Rangers boss Ally McCoist leaves Ibrox on Thursday morning

‘None of our group has any desire to own Rangers FC but we have put this deal in place to save the club.

‘However, our overriding objective is to ensure that the stadium, the
history and everything else magical about Rangers is protected and
nurtured back to good health and provide a platform for Rangers for
generations to come.’

And last night businessman McColl, who is reported to be worth 800m,
added in his own statement: ‘I would like to issue a public appeal to
Charles Green to strongly consider selling the club to the Walter Smith

‘This would be in the best interests of Rangers FC, the fans and all of
Scottish football. Mr Green does not have the backing of the Rangers
support and the longer he delays, the harder the situation will become.’

The opportunity remains for the Smith consortium to make Green and his
investors an offer they cannot refuse, amid fears supporters will
abstain from buying season tickets under the new regime.

Ruling out a future sale, however, Green added: ‘I’ve got a fiduciary
duty to report back to investors any offer that is made for the club but
I’ve also bought shares and put my own cash in. So would I sell my
shares No — because I believe this is a great club and it’ll go

‘To come in and suggest we’ll make a quick buck — I can assure you there
are easier ways to make a quick buck than I have experienced in the
four months we’ve been involved in it, with late nights, hard work, the
legal fees and hours that have been put in.

‘I actually get insulted by that because if someone wanted this club
they should have bought it. I got criticised for being the last one in.

End of an era: Rangers will be forced to reform as a new co after liquidation

End of an era: Rangers will be forced to reform as a newco after liquidation

‘It was: “Where did he come from Nobody knows about him. He can’t be
serious”. Every single thing I’ve done I’ve been criticised for and
every single thing I’ve promised, I’ve delivered.

‘I don’t have a problem with them — whether it’s Ally, Jim McColl or
Walter. We’ve said since the first day that people who want to buy
shares can buy shares.’

Green also trained his sights on former director Dave King, suggesting
the South African-based businessman was working to destabilise the new
regime by telling McCoist he is about to be sacked.

The Ibrox manager had spent yesterday considering his future after being
informed by a third party he was to be axed. Green denies that,
accusing King — a vocal opponent of his takeover — of spreading

Sources close to McCoist, meanwhile, say he will only go if he is sacked and handed a 1.5m pay-off.

‘If I was getting rid of Ally, I would say to him, face to face: ‘Ally —
I’m sacking you’. That’s never happened,’ Green insisted. ‘In fact, the
second meeting I ever had with Ally was in the office here at Ibrox
where I said to him: “I’m quite happy to put a clause in my contract
that says the day you get sacked” — because inevitably it would be me
doing it — “I leave, too”.

‘That was so Ally knew and understood it wouldn’t help me one iota for
him to fail and that he had my support. Ally will confirm that.’


Following the formal decision of the creditors' meeting at Ibrox Stadium today, the consortium I represent has fulfilled its agreement with the administrators and has completed the acquisition of the business and assets of The Rangers Football Club plc.

The transfer of the business and assets to a new company structure has taken effect immediately and the new company is The Rangers Football Club.

An application has already been made by the company to register with the Scottish Football Association and to participate in the SPL.

These applications will be considered over the next few weeks and I will continue to have discussions with the football authorities in relation to the club's position.

This day is bitter-sweet for the consortium I represent. From our first involvement we made it clear we would have preferred to acquire this great club through a CVA.

The decision by HMRC to vote against the proposal was, in my view, counter productive and did nothing but visit the sins of the past on the owners of the future and indeed the supporters who care so much for Rangers and deserve better.

It was however prudent for us to prepare for this outcome and we are proud and honoured to acquire Rangers and begin a new chapter in its illustrious history.

These are early days and there is a huge amount of hard work to be done to rebuild Rangers.

It will take time and effort, passion and commitment. Rangers will rise again and that journey began in earnest at Ibrox today.

First I must address the issue of the Manager's position at the club. Our consortium wants Ally McCoist to remain as Manager and we firmly believe he is the man to take Rangers forward.

He embodies everything that is great about the club and without question we want him to continue as the Rangers manager.

I fully understand that other people have courted Ally who do not wish to see my consortium succeed however, I believe time for decision and rancour is over now that the club has been sold and everyone with the interests of Rangers at heart should unite.

The rebuilding of the club will happen from today.

As I have stated previously, it is our intention that no single investor or institution will own more than 10-15% of the shareholding.

One of the saddest aspects of the refusal by HMRC to support a CVA is that small shareholders have lost their shares in The Rangers Football Club plc.

However, supporters and shareholders will have the opportunity to invest in the new company.

My consortium has been determined from the outset that from now on Rangers will be run to the highest standards of corporate governance.

To that end, the club will have two boards in the future – a company or plc board and a football board with appointments announced in due course.

In terms of investors in the company, to date our investors include Chris Morgan, a UK-based businessman representing family trusts; Glenmuir, the renowned Scottish clothing company; Ian Hart a Glasgow-based businessman; Alessandro Celano of Blue Pitch Holdings and Zeus Capital.

We are looking to expand that investor base and are in discussions with a number of interested parties.

I have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm investors have shown and their belief that Rangers can have a great future. I believe that too and I, along with everyone at the club, will work tirelessly to make it happen.