Tag Archives: jimmy

Juan Mata is like return of Gianfranco Zola to Chelsea

Mata isn't Juan of a kind… Chelsea star is closest to second coming of King Zola

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UPDATED:

11:27 GMT, 29 December 2012

Chelsea are not a team many people wish well, bar their own supporters. The club's players are even less popular.

John Terry and Ashley Cole regularly come in for dogs' abuse from the terraces, and the likes of Didier Drogba and Dennis Wise also drew ire with ease from opposition fans.

So when people found a diamond in what was widely perceived to be the rough, it was a shock. But lo and behold, Gianfranco Zola arrived from Parma in 1996 and delighted fans of all clubs week in, week out.

Mata of fact: The Spaniard has been in scintillating form this season

Mata of fact: The Spaniard has been in scintillating form this season

When he left SW6 in 2003 at the same time Roman Abramovich arrived, football fans in England were sad. Zola's expression on the pitch, his joy and skill and smile all drew much admiration, with little venom in response.

If a football player becomes extremely popular there is often a backlash from people who become fed up of hearing about them. See Jimmy Bullard and Mario Balotelli for details. Even Premier League legends like Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry have their detractors.

Zola didn't, and seemed like he was one of a kind. But then in the summer of 2011, while Chelsea was under the stewardship of Andre Villas-Boas, a young man by the name of Juan Mata arrived.

Much of the talk around Stamford Bridge was concerned with how, where and if Mata would fit in. If he would be strong enough or quick enough for English football. If this 23-and-a-half-year-old was worth the same number in millions of pounds which Chelsea paid for him.

Were the goals he scored for Valencia all he offered Videos on the internet suggested he had an eye for a pass and could whip a ball in. But then if you flicked through the right collection of YouTube clips you could wind up convinced that Jesper Gronkjaer was one of the finest crossers of the ball the top flight has ever seen.

Return of the King Zola spent seven years at Stamford Bridge

Return of the King Zola spent seven years at Stamford Bridge

Return of the King Zola spent seven years at Stamford Bridge

However, Mata made an instant impact
at the Bridge by scoring in his first match after coming on as a
substitute and his career has taken an upward trajectory ever since.

He soon became the key – and often
even the only – creative outlet to Villas-Boas' side. Mata forged
chance after chance for Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, while colleagues Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou floundered.

Mata consistently took the plaudits even as the team lost momentum and form, leading to Villas-Boas’ dismissal. Roberto Di Matteo took the reins but the Spaniard did not bat an eyelid, continuing as impressively as before.

He helped Chelsea earn the FA Cup and Champions League trophies in a successful albeit unorthodox year at the club. Across the board he was picking up nods and mentions, and, like Zola before him, rarely attracted a mean-spirited comment.

Five for free on Mata

1. It's not just on the pitch he's smart. Mata is studying for two degrees, one in marketing and one in sports science.

2. He is a home town hero. In Oviedo, Spain, they have opened 'Juan Mata Park' and his youth team decided to rename their stadium after him.

3. Mata runs his own social media accounts, including his Twitter feed, his Instagram account and his blog.

4. He rose to the fore at Valencia after current Manchester City star David Silva left.

5. Real Madrid allowed Mata to leave on a free transfer at the age of 19.

And the comparisons to Zola started
to gather pace. Even visually Mata, at 5ft 7, is only one inch taller
than the Italian and both players had heads which appear fractionally
too big for their diminutive frames.

Mata also plays with a smile – and
some of the artistry he is responsible for could only have been conjured
by someone with a deep love for the game.

As well as enjoying taking to the field, Mata watches a lot of football at home too – especially La Liga. He writes about it on his blog, ‘One Hour Behind’ – in Spanish and then again in near perfect English.

And if you read the comment section below each entry, you will discover the blog is a rare section of the internet which has avoided the usual mudslinging. It is hard to imagine another footballer who would receive such solely positive feedback.

But then Mata does little to enrage opponents or fans. Unlike many players of a creative disposition and slight build, he does not dive and often attempts to stay on his feet despite being pulled back.

During the year-and-a-half which has passed since Mata signed for Chelsea, he has virtually been playing non-stop, so there’s been plenty of opportunity to expose him as ‘one of those diving foreign types’.

But between August 2011, via the Champions League run, Euro 2012, the Olympics and the new Premier League season, until today, Mata has only brought delight to football fans.

From the preciseness of his passing, to its scope and incisiveness, to some of the strikes he has to his name, here is a rare thing. A footballer as superb as he is likeable.

And this season he can lay claim to being the finest in the top flight. When he returned from the Olympics he was visibly tired and was sent on a two week break. After he returned, he has been unstoppable.

All action: Mata followed Champions League glory with victory at the Euros

All action: Mata followed Champions League glory with victory at the Euros

All action: Mata followed Champions League glory with victory at the Euros

'It was just common sense to give him
a break and the way he’s performing suggests it was very welcome by his
body and his mind,’ said Di Matteo.

'Juan Mata is a very intelligent man and I talked to him about this idea; he bought into it and saw the benefits of it.'

His poise and balance are as good as they have always been, but what has really improved is his eye for goal (see below to find out why).

Mata already has 13 goals and 14 assists this term in 28 games, compared to 12 and 20 in 54 respectively last year, in all competitions for Chelsea. Essentially that means he has made a key contribution to a goal in every single one of his matches this season, bar one.

Mata stats… 2011-12

Games played: 54

Minutes played: 4075

Goals: 12

Minutes per goal: 339.6

Total shots: 82

Shots on target: 44

Shot conversion: 15%

Assists: 20

Yellow cards: 3

Red cards : 0

Mata stats 2012-13

Games played: 28

Minutes played: 2201

Goals: 13

Minutes per goal: 169.3

Total shots: 43

Shots on target: 24

Shot conversion: 30%

Assists: 14

Yellow cards: 1

Red cards:0

And he has adapted seamlessly to life under Rafael Benitez. His superb goal against Norwich on Boxing Day was yet another flash of magic which won Chelsea a match.

He has even praised Chelsea's interim coach without drawing fire from sceptical Blues fans who remain at loggerheads with the club over his appointment.

Ask fans at Carrow Road who the best player on the pitch was at the weekend, and they will tell you the answer was Juan Mata. Visit any of the stadiums Chelsea have played at this season, ask the same question, and you're likely to receive the same response.

Chelsea were blessed with one outstanding – and widely appreciated – talent in Zola. Mata is well on his way to emulating the little magician. Quite a few Chelsea fans will tell you he’s done it already.

How has Mata's productivity increased so significantly this year

Mata described Drogba’s departure from Chelsea as an electric shock and said the club have had to work hard to adapt to life without the talismanic striker. Mata’s game has certainly adapted.

In 2011-12 he was often deployed in attacking position on the left, to supply the ball aerially for the Ivorian. This meant Mata was not always in a useful position to add to his own goal tally. But when Di Matteo took over from Villas-Boas he began to play Mata more centrally, where he improved.

At the start of this season Mata was picked by Di Matteo on the right, with Oscar in the middle and Eden Hazard on the left. This gave him the chance to cut inside and shoot from a central position with his favoured left-foot, as well as supplying through-balls to Fernando Torres.

Man of the moment: Mata scored a stunner in the victory over Norwich

Man of the moment: Mata scored a stunner in the victory over Norwich

Since Benitez has arrived he has selected Victor Moses on the right wing and pushed Mata into the middle again, where he is arguably at his most effective and creative. His goals against West Ham and Norwich came as Mata sprang from this area of the pitch.

Frank Lampard’s incredible goal-hauls for the Blues have often led people to believe his eventual departure will be a massive blow for Chelsea. While he will be missed, Mata’s contribution will ensure it is only for sentimental reasons.

Jimmy Anderson joins Ian Botham on 528 wickets

Anderson joins the greats with wicket No 528 pegging him level with Botham

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UPDATED:

22:25 GMT, 15 December 2012

If Jimmy Anderson could have chosen the perfect delivery with which to grab his personal share of England’s sporting history, this would have been close to it, and his reaction showed he thought so, too.

Standing one wicket shy of Sir Ian Botham’s record number of wickets in all international cricket for his country, the 30-year-old roared in to bowl the last ball of his 14th over of a long and thus far fruitless day.

Finding the swing and seam movement with which he had run through the Indian top order on Friday but only been able to tap into sporadically on Saturday, he speared an absolute snorter into the pads of left-hander Ravindra Jadeja and wheeled round just in time to see umpire Kumar Dharmasena raise a finger.

Achievement: Jimmy Anderson made his mark in the record books when he took his 528th wicket

Achievement: Jimmy Anderson made his mark in the record books when he took his 528th wicket

A leap in the air, followed by a punch of his clenched right fist and a howl of joy, Anderson was engulfed by his team-mates. No wonder.

At one stage it looked probable that England might go wicketless all day for only the fourth time ever, but that strike was Anderson’s fourth of the innings for 68 runs in 26 overs as India ended the third day on 297-8 in response to England’s 330.

In terms of the series, it was his 12th wicket at an average of 29.16, which includes the record ninth Test dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar. It was also his 46th strike of 2012, confirming him as the leading wicket-taker among the world’s pacemen since January 1. And it was his 288th Test wicket, bringing him well in range of England’s all-time top four — Botham (383), Bob Willis (325), Fred Trueman (307) and Derek Underwood (297).

Legend: Ian Botham also scored an impressive 5,200 Test runs

Legend: Ian Botham also scored an impressive 5,200 Test runs

His international career began 10 years ago on Saturday, on December 15, 2002, in a one-dayer against Australia in Melbourne. He has since added 222 one-day international wickets and 18 Twenty20 scalps, putting him level pegging with Botham on 528 wickets in all cricket for England, with power to add.

Most importantly for him and his colleagues and their efforts to cross the ‘final frontier’ of success in the sub-continent, in taking himself to the brink of greatness — at least statistically — Anderson improved the chances of rewriting an unwanted record by becoming the first England team to win in India for 27 years.

And how they needed it. Where Anderson had made England look almost unstoppable in rifling out Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir on day two as India slid to 71-4 overnight and a deficit of 243, they had made just one breakthrough before Anderson intervened.

In a painstaking fifth-wicket stand, Virat Kohli and skipper MS Dhoni dug in a pitch deader than the dodo and, with less than an hour left, it seemed India might bat all day without losing a wicket, a feat last achieved against England by Australia at Trent Bridge in 1989.

Kohli’s 343 minutes of resistance ended when he played outside a rare turning ball from Graeme Swann which would have clipped leg stump, and England celebrated as though as they had won the series there and then.

You could hardly blame them, because they had waited 84 overs for something to shout about.

Tale of the day

Dhoni has 99 problems
MS Dhoni became the 15th player to be run out on 99 in Tests and the first captain. Michael Atherton, before he was England skipper, knows how Dhoni feels, having been dismissed the same way against Australia at Lord’s in 1993 (right), slipping after being sent back by Mike Gatting.

Bresnan on a dry run
At the close yesterday, Tim Bresnan had not taken a Test wicket in 74 overs. His last success was at Headingley in August, when he dismissed South Africa captain Graeme Smith. After going wicketless in games at Lord’s and Ahmedabad he toiled away for 26 overs in Nagpur without joy.

Kohli grinds it out
Until now, century-maker Virat Kohli had endured a shocking series, failing to score above 20 in his first six innings in the series. The 295 balls he faced in scoring 103 in Nagpur beat the total of 240 he had encountered in the rest of the series put together.

Gower’s mark is safe
As England took drinks after a fruitless 76 overs, they must have thought they might go a day without a wicket. It has happened three times to them; in 1960 against West Indies in Bridgetown, 1982 against India in Chennai and under David Gower in 1989 against Australia at Trent Bridge.

Then, after Anderson dismissed Jadeja at 288-6 to ensure Dhoni now had to shoulder even more of the burden of dragging his side into a first-innings lead, up stepped captain Alastair Cook to set them alight.

In his first series as full-time captain, Cook has already done more than enough with the bat, of course, but he may look back on the brilliant direct hit with which he ran out Dhoni on 99 by no more than an inch with as much satisfaction as he feels for any of his three centuries.

Dhoni had been stuck in the nineties for 17 overs and the best part of an hour when he pushed a ball from Anderson to the right of Cook at midwicket.

He might have thought, wrongly, that, as Cook bats left-handed, the ball had gone towards his weaker arm.

More likely, though, is that he was
desperate for a single to take him to the century that would have been
the perfect response to those critics calling for his head. He probably
wasn’t thinking of anything much else as he set off, before veering
slightly to avoid the bowler.

When
Cook’s throw hit the target from side-on and Dharmasena called for the
television umpire to judge the call, the cheers of the crowd turned
instantly to stunned silence. Not bad for a man whose appointment as
one-day captain prompted former England skipper Mike Atherton to object
on the grounds that he was a ‘donkey’ in the field.

When
replays showed the airborne bat had come to ground on the line rather
than over it as the ball struck, all the noise was coming from the Barmy
Army.

And they hit the roof
when Swann fizzed one past Piyush Chawla’s outside edge into off stump
to leave India on 297-8 at the close. That meant that England were still
33 runs ahead and just two days of solid cricket away from crossing
what Cook calls the ‘final frontier’.

If they manage it, after having being so badly pummeled in the first Test in Ahmedabad, this team will feel it may be the start of something big.

For Anderson, the record-equalling wicket was the continuation of something that could end up being huge.

New records to come

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Nasser Hussain: Little Master has no answer to the immaculate Anderson

Little Master has no answer to the immaculate Anderson

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UPDATED:

02:18 GMT, 15 December 2012

Just look at the names of the three
players Jimmy Anderson dismissed yesterday: Sehwag, Tendulkar and
Gambhir. That is the sort of treble that Alastair Cook could only dream
about when he threw him the ball.

Anderson was outstanding again. His
control of length and line was immaculate from beginning to end. Piyush
Chawla may have ended up with four wickets for India but Anderson was
unquestionably the bowler of the day.

Out again: Tendulkar has fallen to Anderson nine times in Tests

Out again: Tendulkar has fallen to Anderson nine times in Tests

On an up-and-down pitch like that a captain will tell his seamers to bowl straight with a split field but the danger, as Ishant Sharma discovered when he was clipped to the leg side by Kevin Pietersen, is that they will stray to a line around middle and leg. Where Anderson was different is that he never strayed from around off and middle.

It was said that the ball which did for Tendulkar kept low but it was no lower than the bulk of the others in the context of this game. It was late movement that did for Sachin, as it did for Sehwag.

That is the ninth time Anderson has dismissed Tendulkar and I think it is getting a bit psychological with the Little Master now. Monty Panesar is all over him at one end and Anderson at the other. If one of them doesn't get him, the other will. We had no-one who could master him in my day!

Anderson just works Tendulkar over now. No-one has been better at working bowlers out than Sachin over the years but he just cannot work Jimmy out. He doesn't know which way the ball will swing.

Tendulkar now has one innings left in this series to get it right, but one thing I will say is that it is not for me to say when he should retire.

He has been the greatest player I played against and have seen and he has earned the right to decide when the best time is to go. I just hope he is able to go out on a high.

Lawrence Booth: England show more resolve and nous than India at key moments

Lawrence Booth: England show more resolve and nous than India at key moments of Test

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UPDATED:

11:23 GMT, 14 December 2012

These are heady times for England. Already 2-1 up in a series they were widely tipped to lose, they have now taken control of a Test which yesterday looked as if it might descend into a bar-room brawl.

For the third Test in a row, England have shown more resolve and nous at the crucial moments than India. At 139 for 5, and then 242 for 7, their first innings was in the balance – or worse.

But Joe Root added his name to a list of heroes that has grown beyond England’s wildest dreams since Ahmedabad, and Graeme Swann proved he can still construct an innings worthy of his ability.

Playing his part: Graeme Swann chipped in with 56 runs with the bat as well as a wicket

Playing his part: Graeme Swann chipped in with 56 runs with the bat as well as a wicket

Then Jimmy Anderson, who came alive when he found reverse-swing in Kolkata, took charge, bowling Virender Sehwag and the hapless Sachin Tendulkar, and forcing a loose drive out of Gautam Gambhir, a combative cricketer England take special delight in seeing the back of.

It was high-class stuff from a bowler who was questioned in some quarters during England’s defeat to South Africa in the summer. Then, he was made to look ordinary by the big beasts of South Africa’s top order. Now, a combination of his own skill and India’s pussy-cat willingness to have their tummies tickled, has turned him into a match-winner.

In between, Swann accounted for Cheteshwar Pujara, whose star has waned since the first innings at Mumbai, a time when England did not appear to know how to get him out.

Getting his man: James Anderson took the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for the ninth time

Getting his man: James Anderson took the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for the ninth time

The shame was that Pujara should not have been sent on his way by Rod Tucker, caught at short leg by Ian Bell off forearm rather than glove.

But the point has been made so many times in this error-ridden series that it barely needs repeating now: India’s distrust of ball-tracking technology has persuaded them to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Every mistake that goes against them merely highlights their stubbornness. When, you wonder, will they learn

Getting it right: Alastair Cook has guided England to the brink of a series win

Getting it right: Alastair Cook has guided England to the brink of a series win

If England had been unsure where their first-innings 330 stood in the scheme of things, they were reassured by the instant removal of Virender Sehwag, who looked off the pace in losing his middle stump to Anderson.

And yet some fluent drives from Gambhir and Pujara suggested strokeplay was possible. England still had work to do.

What has become clear since their first-innings surrender at Ahmedabad is that they keep finding someone for the job. It is a conviction perhaps borne of adversity: they were rightly rounded upon after the whitewash in the UAE, then needed some sensible batting from Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, plus Kevin Pietersen’s pyrotechnics, to salvage a series draw in Sri Lanka.

After the home defeat to South Africa – their first in four years – they took a young squad to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and came badly unstuck. Then there was Ahmedabad, after which Cook made the point to his players that the rot had to stop, and it had to stop in the next game at Mumbai.

England’s response, whether the rest of the world likes it or not, has been one of the cricket stories of the year. What happened today felt like part of the narrative.

Tribute to Gerd Muller after Lionel Messi breaks his goalscoring record

Our tribute to Gerd Muller, the 'complete centre forward' whose goalscoring record Messi has just surpassed

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UPDATED:

21:23 GMT, 9 December 2012

If Lionel Messi is the new Maradona then Gerd Muller was the German Jimmy Greaves.

Where Messi is the complete forward, able to play in any attacking position and create as well as finish moves, the man whose record for goals scored in a calendar year he is on the verge of breaking was a pure striker.

Like Greaves, Muller was the arch poacher but there was an added dimension to his game which built an astonishing career tally of goals which surpassed even the Spurs and England legend.

Scroll down for video of Muller in action

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

Clash of eras: Messi (top) has broken the record set by Bayern Munich and West Germany striker Gerd Muller set in 1972 (bottom)

It also gave Muller the World Cup fulfilment and the showcases of glittering prizes which eluded our Jimmy.

The key to his extraordinary facility in the penalty box was hidden in the first nickname bestowed upon him, a rather less flattering one than the pseudonym Der Bomber by which he was to become feted.

When he first appeared as a teenager for his home-town club Nordingen the coach referred to him as ‘The Short Fat Muller’ and the description stuck with him until he was bought by Bayern Munich.

Muller admitted to feeling insulted at first but came to understand that his somewhat stunted, stocky build was to be the making of him. In addition to the slide-rule precision with which Greaves ‘rolled the ball over the goal-line,’ Muller could score ugly.

Man for the big occasion: Muller scores against Holland in the 1974 World Cup final as West Germany came from behind to win

Man for the big occasion: Muller scores against Holland in the 1974 World Cup final as West Germany came from behind to win

Final say: Muller celebrates scoring his second, West Germany's third, in the 1972 European Championship final with the Soviet Union in Brussels

Final say: Muller celebrates scoring his second, West Germany's third, in the 1972 European Championship final with the Soviet Union in Brussels

That low centre of gravity and short turning circle enabled him to twist and contort himself into scoring from the most awkward and unlikely positions. A whole generation of world-class defenders despaired at the way Muller could squeeze the ball into the net when they were convinced they had him closed down.

One such hooked effort dealt the killer blow to England in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final, after Sir Alf Ramsey’s unwise substitution of Bobby Charlton freed Franz Beckenbauer, Der Kaiser, to launch the West German fight back from two down and into extra time.

The impossibility of containing Muller shines out at us from the statistics. He scored at the astounding ratio of more than a goal a game for Germany… 68 in 62 international appearances. He amassed 365 goals in 422 Bundesliga matches for Bayern and netted 66 times for his club in 74 games in European competition.

Red all over: Muller in action for his club, Bayern Munich, in 1976

Red all over: Muller in action for his club, Bayern Munich, in 1976

Bavarian beast: Muller slots the ball through the legs of Hannover goalkeeper Horst Podlasly in a 1965 Bundesliga match which Bayern won 4-3

Bavarian beast: Muller slots the ball through the legs of Hannover goalkeeper Horst Podlasly in a 1965 Bundesliga match which Bayern won 4-3

Given that deadliest of weapons at centre-forward, it was hardly surprising that Bayern stock-piled three European Cups, four Bundesliga titles and four German cups in the Muller era.

Even so, it is said that during one key game when they were under pressure the Kaiser asked the Bomber if he could lend a hand with the defending, to which Muller replied: ‘When you all join me in the goal-scoring I’ll come back and help you out.’

And so said Greaves, on more than one occasion when chastised about his low work-rate.

There is no denying that Messi, with his magical skill, electric acceleration and darting versatility, is the superior footballer. Yet on the grandest stage of all Muller remains his master, at least for the moment.

It took 32 years – and Ronaldo the Brazilian phenomenon – to surpass Muller’s old record of 14 goals in World Cup Final tournaments. There were two hat-tricks in Mexico ’70 – against Peru and Bulgaria – and after knocking out England he scored twice against Italy, only for West Germany to lose that semi-final 4-3.

Rising high: Muller scores the third and final West Germany goal against Australia in the 1974 World Cup group stages

Rising high: Muller scores the third and final West Germany goal against Australia in the 1974 World Cup group stages

Time to celebrate: Muller (left) with teammate Paul Breitner after West Germany won the 1974 World Cup in Munich

Time to celebrate: Muller (left) with teammate Paul Breitner after West Germany won the 1974 World Cup in Munich

So the finest moment of all had to wait four years. When it came, it provided the perfect climax. Germany were the hosts in 1974 and Muller’s last goal for his country – in Munich – was the winner against Holland in the Final.

Messi has yet to deliver fully for Argentina in the World Cup, Perhaps his finest hour will come in Brazil 2014.

Greaves, who Muller most closely resembled, saw his Germany counterpart cement his legacy eight years after he was left out of the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley….when he had to watch Geoff Hurst score his historic hat-trick.

But the parallel resumed after the Bomber retired. Like Greaves, Muller took heavily to drink to fill the void after football. Like Greaves, he eventually defeated those demons.

Euro star: Muller finds the net from an acute angle for Bayern Munich in the 1974 European Cup final replay against Atletico Madrid

Euro star: Muller finds the net from an acute angle for Bayern Munich in the 1974 European Cup final replay against Atletico Madrid

On the ball: Muller in all-white for Bayern in a 1973 Bundesliga game

On the ball: Muller in all-white for Bayern in a 1973 Bundesliga game

Beckenbauer was among the galaxy of Bayern team-mates who rallied round Muller in the depth of his crisis, persuading him to go into rehab and spending valuable time with him thereafter.

Unlike Spurs, Muller’s clubs were hugely supportive.

Nordingen re-named their stadium after him. Bayern, who have an admirable history of keeping their heroes involved after they hang up the boots, re-employed Muller as a coach.

He holds that position to this day….even though they all know that his genius for scoring goals is something that simply cannot be taught.

No more than any youngster can be told to go out and play like Messi.

Muller's goals at the World Cup

Tribute to Muller's ability

Bobby Moore beat testicular cancer before 1966 World Cup win

Revealed: Legend Moore beat cancer before leading England to 1966 World Cup

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UPDATED:

13:24 GMT, 23 November 2012

Sports writer Norman Giller has written a book that reveals Bobby Moore survived testicular cancer two years before he won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966.

The book, called Bobby Moore The Master, follows this golden era of English football and tracks every one of the 108 England matches in which Moore played – with exclusive comments on each by the man himself.

Author Giller told the Sports Journalists’ Association: 'Amazingly, Bobby survived testicular cancer two years before he collected the World Cup.

On top of the world: Bobby Moore led England to victory at Wembley in 1966

On top of the world: Bobby Moore led England to victory at Wembley in 1966

'I was among a small clique of Fleet Street sportswriters who hushed up the fact that he’d had a testicle surgically removed.

'In those uneducated days people kept secret the curse of cancer as if it was almost something of which to be ashamed.

‘Covering up a story of such weight today would, quite rightly, get the reporter the sack. But back in the 1960s cancer was a word to be whispered, and euphemistically dismissed with a Les Dawson-style mime as ‘the Big C.’

Bobby Moore The Master by Norman Giller

‘Can you imagine the hero he would have become had the nation realised the agony and torture he had been through before his World Cup triumph

'Knowing that, perhaps you agree with me that his statue at Wembley should be twice as high.’

All profits from the sales of the book will not go to the author but to the Bobby Moore Fund to help raise cancer research money.

The fund was launched in 1993 by Bobby’s widow, Stephanie, following his death from bowel cancer, and the book is being published to mark the 20-year anniversary of Bobby’s passing (and the fund’s birth) in February.

This is Giller’s 94th book — 20 of them were written in collaboration with Jimmy Greaves, who was one of Moore’s best friends.

To order a copy of the book, visit www.normangillerbooks.com

India v England: Cheteshwar Pujara denies Monty Panesar on day one of second Test in Mumbai

Pujara denies Monty a Bollywood ending… but Panesar is in desperate need of help from rest of England's attack

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UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 23 November 2012

India v England: second Test, day one

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar marked his Test return with four wickets but could find no way past Cheteshwar Pujara as the tireless India number three once again confounded England.

Click here to read the full report.

How do you solve a problem like Pujara If the question is an obvious one, the answer remains elusive. And that elusiveness could well cost England this series.

For about two-thirds of today’s play in Mumbai, the story belonged to Monty Panesar. Mistakenly overlooked for the first Test, he was bowling with his old verve and accuracy, and when he removed MS Dhoni in the second over after tea to leave India 169 for 6, Panesar had four of India’s wickets.

Impenetrable defence: Cheteshwar Pujara

Impenetrable defence: Cheteshwar Pujara

But Cheteshwar Pujara had 77 of those runs, which – as we learned at Ahmedabad – is the kind of score he regards merely as a basis for negotiation. And while he was still there, on a Wankhede pitch already offering the spinners assistance, India refused to panic.

/11/23/article-2237321-142802FF000005DC-478_468x311.jpg” width=”468″ height=”311″ alt=”Tough day: Graeme Swann could only take the wicket of Yuvraj on day one” class=”blkBorder” />

Tough day: Graeme Swann could only take the wicket of Yuvraj on day one

Yet where was Panesar’s support Graeme Swann cleaned up Yuvraj Singh with his first ball to him, but otherwise offered little more than thrift. Jimmy Anderson went wicketless after curling the second ball of the day into Gautam Gambhir’s pads. And Stuart Broad looked, well, mundane.

Of course, England are not out of this, so long as they conjure up the spirit of their second innings at Ahmedabad rather than their first. But India have chosen to bat first in 13 Tests here and lost only two, one of them when Ian Botham produced one of his tours de force in the Golden Jubilee Test in 1979-80.

Anything less than a first-innings lead of approaching three figures will probably leave England with too much to do. Stuff it up tomorrow, and the dream of a first series win in India for nearly three decades will evaporate into the Mumbai evening air.

Bumble at the Test: England finally wake up and join the Test

Bumble's Test diary: England finally wake up and join the Test series

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UPDATED:

12:34 GMT, 18 November 2012

England have joined the tour. Abysmal in the first innings but they have finally entered the series, and Alastair Cook has been outstanding, while Matt Prior’s knock was fantastic. All we have heard is 'England’s batsmen can’t play spin', but these two have put that to bed. And they can definitely get something out of this game today…

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Welcome to the tour: Alastair Cook got England up and running in India

Captain Cook stays cool under pressure

It’s the captain Cook show. He has already batted longer than any other England player in a follow-on situation and has also now made more centuries on the subcontinent (five) than any other Englishman. And it’s no sweat for him. He doesn’t perspire and never changes his gloves. Magnificent.

KP looks out of sorts as England's batsmen struggle

However, the lack of runs from other big names in the top six (Trott, Pietersen and Bell) is a worry. Pietersen looks out of sorts generally, and against left-arm spin in particular. Bell of course flies home now for the birth of his child and Jonny Bairstow should replace him for the second Test

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen has not been at his best in the two innings so far

England must admit they got it wrong… and turn to Monty

The nailed-on bowling change for Mumbai is Monty Panesar for Tim Bresnan because the pitch will spin and England do not need three seamers. They must admit they picked the wrong side. England should also consider bringing in Steven Finn, but this would be at the expense of Jimmy Anderson or Stuart Broad, so I don’t see it happening, even though the latter has struggled lately.

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

The time is now: England need to call up Monty Panesar for the second Test

Ojha leaves Ashwin in the shade

Monty and Graeme Swann lose nothing in comparison with Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. Ashwin is supposedly India’s star spinner but he has now gone an eternity without taking a wicket.

Fire alarm broke my sleep pattern

My sleeping patterns are all over the place! After my oversleeping episode on Friday, I was hit by a double whammy last night…the fire alarm went off in the hotel and there was a wedding reception! I need to get my head down…

David Lloyd misses Emmerdale star Chas Dingle – Bumble"s Test diary

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: England have picked the wrong team… but why I'm in a tizz over Chas

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 15 November 2012

MONTY, WHERE FOR ART THOU, MONTY

England have picked the wrong team. Monty Panesar should be playing. It’s crying out for two specialist spinners. Samit Patel bowled 14 overs but he is only a supplementary option. Monty is the man for these conditions. England picked three seamers but conditions were against them, and Tim Bresnan only bowled 10 overs. India always play two seamers and two specialist spinners at home and England should have followed suit.

Watching brief: England's Monty Panesar during a nets practice session at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad yesterday

Watching brief: England's Monty Panesar during a nets practice session at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad yesterday

SWANN BESTA

Saying that, Graeme Swann has been exceptional. He is in exalted company now after overtaking one of the all-time greats yesterday, Jim Laker.

Swann is right up there, make no mistake. Some say Swann has picked up plenty of wickets because of DRS, but I'd counter that by pointing out that Laker played on uncovered pitches.

Fitness permitting, Swann will pass Deadly Derek Underwood and reach 300 Test wickets.

DROPPED CATCHES LOSE MATCHES

England can’t afford to keep dropping catches. Four chances were missed. I put it down to psychological pressure. It was the same against South Africa and the likes of Hashim Amla (in particular), Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. The fielding mindset is ‘I can’t afford to drop this class of player’ and you find yourself snatching at chances or going with hard hands. Also, the continuity in fielding positions has not been there. England miss Paul Collingwood. Jimmy Anderson has had a go in the slips and now Jonathan Trott.

Another brick in the wall: Mumbai A's Cheteshwar Pujara earlier this month during England's tour

Another brick in the wall: Mumbai A's Cheteshwar Pujara earlier this month during England's tour

UH-OH THE INDIANS HAVE BUILT ANOTHER WALLL

If Virender Sehwag had a wish list, in first place would be ‘this pitch’. There is no movement, little pace or bounce and he’s just stood there and thought: ‘I’ll smash it everywhere.’

Conditions are 100 per cent in his favour. England will be relieved he ‘only’ got 117.

A quick word about this lad Cheteshwar Pujara, who has replaced Rahul Dravid at No 3. He’s controlled, careful and watchful – oh no, he's a ‘Junior Wall’!

/11/15/article-2233465-160C2F28000005DC-564_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle…: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie” class=”blkBorder” />

No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle...: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie

No wonder, Bumble misses Chas Dingle…: Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter poses in her lingerie

Chastity Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) panics when she wakes up next to Colin McFarlane (Michael Melia) and discovers he's dead

Chastity Dingle

Just not cricket: Chastity Dingle (Lucy Pargeter,) panics when she wakes up next to Colin McFarlane (Michael Melia) and discovers he's dead (left) and posing all demurely (right)

EARLY START MEANS BEEFY'S FULL OF BULL

As you’d imagine, I had a full English (in a plastic carton) which was very nice. As I said, I woke up at 2am but I didn’t get my breakfast till 5.30am – that’s when the rest of the staff come in.

Sir Beefy took a different approach – he just had an inordinate amount of Red Bull!

AND WHILE I'M AT IT…

Petula Clark was 80 yeterday. I was a big fan back in the day. All together now: 'Downtown…'Finally, I read the other day that Frankel’s stud fee has been set at 125,000. Nice work if you can get it…

Petula Clark

Jockey Tom Queally kisses race horse Frankel, following the Champion Stakes (Class 1), British Champions Middle Distance race at Ascot, England on October 20, 2012

Star-studded: Happy 80th birthday Petula Clark (left), while Frankel (right) has has his stud fee set at 125,000

Follow Bumble on Twitter @BumbleCricket

Patrick Collins: Why do we put up with these obscenities just because it"s football?

Why do we put up with these obscenities just because it's football

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UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 11 November 2012

Their team had just dropped two points at Swansea and they were no longer top of the Premier League.

Yet the Chelsea fans were in high spirits as they boarded the 19.28 to Paddington last Saturday.

For there were songs to sing, drinks to drink and tales to tell on the long journey home.

Boorish behaviour: Chelsea fans caused train consternation

Boorish behaviour: Chelsea fans caused train consternation

A young woman sat in a seat by a window. She was surrounded by a party of 15 portly, middle-aged fans.

The man next to her, already stupid
with booze, started to swallow cans of strong cider. The others, equally
thirsty, exchanged crude, raucous jokes; most concerning Jimmy Savile,
all featuring the c-word, over and over again.

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

As the drink slurped down, they bellowed a ditty about the Welsh abusing sheep. More cackling, more profanity.

Along the carriage sat a mother, anxiously nursing a baby and a toddler.

Other 'civilians' boarded the train at Cardiff, including a nervous, elderly couple who were visiting relations in London.

All were forced to endure the singing and the swearing.

/11/10/article-2231159-0B5874E4000005DC-805_224x423.jpg” width=”224″ height=”423″ alt=”Facing flack: Dave Jones” class=”blkBorder” />

Facing Flack: Arsene Wenger

Under fire from morons: Dave Jones (left) and Arsene Wenger

Then there are the songs about Auschwitz, heard on certain London grounds and intended to taunt the followers of Tottenham.

It is impossible to imagine the mind capable of conceiving a song about a death camp.

In fairness, it is equally impossible to comprehend the Spurs supporters who, despite being overwhelmingly non-Jewish, have cast themselves as the 'Yid Army'.

With its overtones of Oswald Mosley and his vile slogans of the Thirties, it is a term fit to keep squalid company with the n-word.

And yet it is regularly sung at White Hart Lane, in an apparent attempt to appear ironic.

They are, it seems, 'reclaiming' the calumny, 'embracing' the slur.

The club explain: 'Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to deflect anti-Semitic abuse. They do not use the term to cause any offence, they use it as a chant among themselves.'

Thus do Tottenham render themselves pathetic in their desire to pander to dullards.

And so the game, the national game, flounders in a moral swamp.

Songs about Auschwitz, wickedly baseless accusations of paedophilia; ordinary people would deem them unthinkable but football dismisses them as merely 'tribal', robust examples of what it is pleased to call 'banter'.

Pandering to dullards: Spurs fans proud to be a 'Yid Army'

Pandering to dullards: Spurs fans proud to be a 'Yid Army'

Sanitised by Sky and protected by the brazen self-interest of the Premier League, it exists in its own bubble, observes its own code.

Those of us who had hoped that football might be impressed by the civilised example of the London Olympic crowds were swiftly disabused.

Athletics, cycling, swimming: who's interested Where's the passion No, mate; football could buy and sell that lot.

You see, football really matters.

And it is that charmless arrogance which inspires moronic delusions.

We'll sing what we like. We'll say what we choose. We'll stand unsafely, by the tens of thousands, in grounds designed for sitting.

Sure, young children will be unable to see, their parents and grandparents will be upset and affronted. So what We're football. We're way above the usual rules.

Which leads us back to the 19.28 to Paddington, with its foul language, its offensive chants, its debris of fast food and its cowed, intimidated passengers.

At some stage, somebody would have had to clean those carriages; a menial, deeply unpleasant task made necessary by the animal excesses of ignorant oafs.

But who knows Who cares For this is Saturday, this is football. We know what we are, we do what we want. And we take a game, a beautiful, much-loved game, and reduce it to an anti-social charade, fit for cider-swilling dolts.

Milne's pay slip shows what a difference half-a-century makes

Fifty years ago this weekend, Manchester United and Liverpool played a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford.

They were two fine sides. United offered players like Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Johnny Giles and Denis Law, while Liverpool fielded the likes of Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt, Ian St John and an outstanding wing-half called Gordon Milne.

Milne was to feature in 236 games for Bill Shankly's team, as well as winning 14 full England caps.

On this weekend in the old First Division, before a crowd of 43,810, he played a prominent role in his team's excellent result.

'It was always a tough place to get anything from,' he recalls. 'But we deserved the point that day.'

The good old days: Ron Yeats and Gordon Milne hold the FA Cup aloft after Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 at Wembley in 1965

The good old days: Ron Yeats and Gordon Milne hold the FA Cup aloft after Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 at Wembley in 1965

Recently, the 75-year-old Milne was turning out his attic. /11/10/article-2231159-0486D7EC0000044D-226_468x309.jpg” width=”468″ height=”309″ alt=”Money-spinner: Steven Gerrard holds aloft the FA Cup after Liverpool beat West Ham on penalties in 2006″ class=”blkBorder” />

Money-spinner: Steven Gerrard holds aloft the FA Cup after Liverpool beat West Ham on penalties in 2006

Captain of Liverpool, he sets the tone and the tempo in his club's midfield.

For this, he is paid around 140,000 every week. If we subtract, say, half of that amount in deductions, he is left with 70,000 a week, or 10,000 a day, or around 7 per minute.

In other words, it would take Gerrard slightly less than five minutes to earn what Milne used to earn in a week.

'No complaints,' says Gordon Milne. 'I don't begrudge the modern players a penny.

'I loved every minute of my time. We were all paid the same and we were glad of it. That's the way things were.'

Half a century ago. Another age, another world…

PS

Following Roberto Mancini's absurd rant at a Champions League referee, Manchester City put up David Platt to support his boss.

'He's fine,' said Platt. 'People make a great deal out of it but it's not the first time he has reacted that way. He wears his heart on his sleeve. If he has something to say, he'll go and say it.'

It was the most hilariously inept defence since Lieutenant George spoke up for Edmund Blackadder after the slaying of the pigeon named Speckled Jim.

We must hear much more of Platt. And rather less of Mancini.

Rant: Roberto Mancini protests to referee Peter Rasmussen

Rant: Roberto Mancini protests to referee Peter Rasmussen

PPS

They tell us that Scottish football is galloping to the graveyard. The game which gave us gods like Law, Stein, Dalglish and the rest is now a misty-eyed memory.

Yet, once in a wonderful while, the gallop pauses and glory raises its voice.

Celtic 2, FC Barcelona 1. And the gods were smiling.