Tag Archives: lineker

FA Cup semi-finals: Phone camera photographers given same accreditation as professionals

Think you can do better than this Prove it! Smartphone snappers get FA Cup chance at Wembley

By
Alex Horlock

PUBLISHED:

10:11 GMT, 10 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 10 April 2013

A Newcastle fan tweeted a snap of Papiss Cisse leaping into the stands to celebrate his stoppage-time winner against Fulham on Sunday which eased the Toon Army’s relegation fears.

Jonny Robson, from South Shields, has received praise galore on Twitter after taking the extraordinary photo of the wild scenes at St James’ Park – and has even been messaged by Cisse himself and Gary Lineker.

But it may just be the first of many. Smartphones will battle with long lenses at The FA Cup this weekend as, for the first time, some of the web’s best amateur photographers are given the same level of accreditation as their professional counterparts.

Amateur This photograph of Papiss Cisse was tweeted by a Newcastle fan after his last-minute winner

Amateur This photograph of Papiss Cisse was tweeted by a Newcastle fan after his last-minute winner

Winner: Cisse struck late in the game to sink Fulham at St James' Park at the weekend

Winner: Cisse struck late in the game to sink Fulham at St James' Park at the weekend

Impressed: Cisse tweeted about the picture after seeing it on the social networking site

Impressed: Cisse tweeted about the picture after seeing it on the social networking site

FA Cup sponsor Budweiser will select 'Phoneographers' – amateur photographers who shoot solely on smartphones – to become the tournament’s first official social reporters capturing, editing and sharing all the action from the semi-finals.

The lucky Phoneographers will shoot pitch-side alongside professional sports photographers, getting a perspective of the game that an amateur photographer can only dream about.

The Phoneographer’s images will be shared on Twitter under the hashtag #tothedream.

Stiff competition: There have been some stunning pictures in this season's FA Cup, including Demba Ba's goal

Stiff competition: There have been some stunning pictures in this season's FA Cup, including Demba Ba's goal

In focus: The 'phoneographers' will get the chance to capture images of the likes of Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

In focus: The 'phoneographers' will get the chance to capture images of the likes of Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

Iain Newell, Budweiser’s UK Marketing Director, said: ‘We’re thrilled to be bringing these avid football and photography fans closer to the game they love in a way they can share with other fans in stadium and at home.

It reflects the changing way people get their football updates and our desire to bring the magic of The FA Cup even closer to the fans, which social media certainly has the potential to do.’

Gary Mabbutt rushed to hospital after circulation blockage in left leg

Former Spurs skipper Mabbutt rushed to hospital after circulation blockage in leg

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

12:59 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:05 GMT, 21 March 2013

Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Mabbutt was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation on a circulation blockage in his left leg.

The former captain was omitted to King's College Hospital, London, where he had a successful peripheral artery bypass operation. He will remain in hospital for two weeks while he recovers.

In a statement Tottenham said: 'The club are delighted to report that Gary Mabbutt is now making a successful recovery from an emergency operation to cure a circulation blockage in his left leg.

Crowning moment: Gary Mabbutt lifts the FA Cup in 1991

Crowning moment: Gary Mabbutt lifts the FA Cup in 1991

Everybody at the club would like to wish him a full and speedy recovery, while Gary himself would like to thank his dedicated medical team and staff at King's College.'

Mabbutt, who started his career at Bristol Rovers in 1979, spent 16 years at Tottenham between 1982 and 1998.

At the north London club he won the 1984 UEFA Cup and lifted the FA Cup as captain in 1991.

Concern: Mabbutt was rushed to hospital after a circulation blockage

Concern: Mabbutt was rushed to hospital after a circulation blockage

He made more than 450 appearances for Spurs and also won 16 caps for England.

The 51-year-old broke his leg in the opening game of the 1996-97 season, did not play again that year and decided to retire from the game at the end of the following campaign.

In his last match for the club he was made captain for the final nine minutes.

At the time of his retirement, aged 37, he was the longest-serving player at Tottenham.

Former Spurs team-mate Gary Lineker added on Twitter: 'Gary Mabbutt has had emergency surgery. Don't know details, but I do know there is no man more gutsy than Mabbs. Get well soon.'

Gary Lineker and Arsenal fans fury at Arsene Wenger dropping players

It's a disgrace! Fans join Lineker in condemning Wenger's decision to rest key players for crunch Munich clash

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 13 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 13 March 2013

Gary Lineker has slammed Arsene Wenger’s decision to rest several key players for tonight’s Champions League last-16 second leg tie at Bayern Munich.

With the Gunners 3-1 down after the first leg at the Emirates and needing at least three goals in the Allianz Arena to progress to the quarter-finals the Arsenal boss has left first-team regulars Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker in England.

With Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Lukas Podolski already missing through injury Wenger has effectively thrown in the towel, despite the club being out of the FA Cup and 24 points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Scroll down for video of Arsene Wenger's press conference

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger has left several players in London

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger has left several players in London

Arsenal players warm-up during a training session

Arsene Wenger talks ahead of Champions League clash with Bayern…

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The Match of the Day presenter and former England striker tweeted: ‘They have no other cup competitions to worry about, why on earth would he feel the need to rest players’

One argument is that Arsenal need to rest players as they push for fourth place and Champions League qualification for next season, but Lineker dismissed that.

He tweeted: ‘Who he plays tonight will have no baring on where they finish in the league. Rotation is a myth.’

Left behind: Santi Cazorla (above) and Theo Walcott are missing in Munich

Left behind: Santi Cazorla (above) and Theo Walcott are missing in Munich

Theo Walcott

Another tweet read: ‘If they are injured, that’s a different matter. Top players rarely need a rest.’

Many Arsenal fans are furious with Wenger’s decision after they had already paid for the trip to Munich and tickets to the game.

One disrgruntled Gunner, Ken Barkway, tweeted: ‘Its a disgrace really. It is the final proof that the club is little more than a cash cow. Glory clearly no place in the agenda.’

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John Murray wanted by BT Sport

BT want Murray to follow Humphrey as new boys plan second raid on BBC for Premier League coverage

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

14:19 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:55 GMT, 29 January 2013

BT Sport are understood to be looking to the BBC for their main commentator after persuading Jake Humphrey to front their Barclays Premier League coverage.

Humphrey was the BBC's Formula One host last season but has signed a four-year deal with the new venture.

Radio 5 Live’s excellent John
Murray, who has the lead microphone role for the main radio football
match on the flagship Saturday programme, could be set to join Humphrey.

New recruit: Jake Humphrey has already signed his deal with BT

New recruit: Jake Humphrey has already signed his deal with BT

Let us know what you think….

Who
should BT Sport bring in for their Premier League coverage Tell us by
clicking on the comments section at the bottom of this article

Murray is high on the wishlist of BT,
who last summer won the rights to show 38 live games a season for three
years, including 18 first-choice matches.

They are paying 738million over three seasons while Sky are paying 2.28billion for their rights.

One man set to stay at the BBC is Gary Lineker. The Match of the Day presenter is expected to sign a new contract.

Microphone man: BBC Radio Five Live's John Murray is also wanted by BT Sport

Microphone man: BBC Radio Five Live's John Murray is also wanted by BT Sport

But it was announced last week that Colin Murray is to be dropped as the Match of the Day 2 frontman next season.

Murray, who has anchored the Sunday
highlights show for two years since Adrian Chiles moved to ITV, is to be
replaced by rising BBC star Mark Chapman.

Gary Lineker deleted Twitter to spend more time with family

Twitter was taking over my life, admits Lineker after deciding to say goodbye to his 1.3m followers

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:16 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:35 GMT, 20 January 2013

Gary Lineker left Twitter because the social networking site had begun to ‘take over’.

The Match of the Day presenter had stated that he had deleted his account for ‘personal reasons’ last week.

But the former England striker has elaborated on his reasons for leaving Twitter, and said that he would like to spend more time with his family.

Quit: Gary Lineker left Twitter to spend more time with his family

Quit: Gary Lineker left Twitter to spend more time with his family

The 51-year-old told The Sun: ‘I left twitter because it tends to take over and I thought I would try life without it. There is absolutely nothing sinister about the decision at all.'

Lineker had become one of the most followed users in Britain – with 1.3million fans – since he started tweeting last year.

However the ex-Tottenham hitman was targeted by one internet troll last year, who joked about his son George’s battle with leukaemia. Lineker later said the disgusting taunts made him feel ‘physically sick’.

Lineker has four sons with his ex-wife and is now married to former model Danielle Bux, who has a daughter from a previous relationship.

The TV pundit’s final tweet – posted on Friday – said: ‘I’m leaving Twitter for personal reasons . Thanks all.’

They think it's all over... it is now for Gary Lineker with this final message

They think it's all over… it is now for Gary Lineker with this final message

Bend it like Beckham, having a Walters and doing a Klinsmann: Sportsmail"s football name game

The name game: Having a Walters, doing a Klinsmann, bending it like Beckham and a bit of Fergie time – the language of football

shootout against England) but players can look a bit foolish when it doesn't (we're referring to you here, Mr Lineker).

VIDEO: The Panenka penalty

The Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann was known as someone who liked to take a tumble whenever possible, whether there was contact or not.

So, when he came to Tottenham in 1994, English crowds expected to see him dive – but not in the way he did. After scoring on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, the striker sent up his reputation by diving across the turf in celebration.

And a craze was born.

Flying start: Klinsmann celebrates his goal on debut for Tottenham

Flying start: Klinsmann celebrates his goal on debut for Tottenham

Bend it like Beckham

OK, this came from a film title. You've got us. But the movie would not have got its name had it not been for Beckham's ability to hit stunning free-kicks and the term has entered the language of football.

The way the former England captain takes set-pieces is unique, running up to the ball at a 90-degree angle and hitting the ball with pace and swerve, often into the top corner of the goal or on to the head of a team-mate.

There is nobody else who can quite bend it like Beckham.

VIDEO: THAT free-kick against Greece

Grobbelaar legs

A goalkeeper known for his eccentricites – even among a section of football commonly referred to as mad – Bruce Grobbelaar's finest hour came in the 1984 European Cup final.

The game had gone to a penalty shootout and the Liverpool keeper decided to psyche out the Roma kick takers by 'wobbling' his legs on the line.

It worked and Liverpool won the European Cup. Twenty one years later Jerzy Dudek tried it and Liverpool won again. Maybe you have to play for Liverpool for it to work…

VIDEO: See Roma wobble as Grobbelaar does his 'spaghetti legs'

The Higuita

From one eccentric goalkeeper to another. This is also known as the Scorpion kick and Colombia's Rene Higuita lit up Wembley when he pulled it off in 1995.

A cross by Jamie Redknapp (now better known to you all as a Sportsmail columnist) was looping harmlessly towards the goal and Higuita thought 'It's a friendly, let's liven it up a bit', jumped, arced his feet behind his back and backheeled the ball while in mid air.

It was an astonishing piece of skill and led to a number of people needing hospital treatment after injuring themselves trying to replicate it.

VIDEO: Higuita's amazing Scorpion kick

The Zidane turn

Also known as the Marseille turn, the great Frenchman was a regular exponent of the move and left many a defender bamboozled as he glided past them.

It is more of a pirouette, in truth, and Zidane would drag the ball from the sole of one boot to the other in order to beat the defender.

That was the beautiful side of his game, the other side we witnessed at the 2006 World Cup final…

Turn for the better: Zidane pirouettes past Francesco Totti at Euro 2000

Turn for the better: Zidane pirouettes past Italy's Francesco Totti at Euro 2000

Yeboah volley

This one came on the back of a stupendous goal by Tony Yeboah for Leeds against Liverpool and the Sky commentator's cry of 'Yeboaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah' as the striker's volley crashed in off the bar and into the net.

For weeks after, if anybody in the playground or in an amateur game scored any type of volley, someone would inevitably echo the commentary and the Ghanaian's name entered the football dictionary.

VIDEO: Yeboah's screamer

We were going to stop there but the board has been raised and we're into…

Fergie time

The Manchester United manager's famous look at his watch is an integral part of football. It helps, of course, that his side score so regularly once the clock has ticked past 90 minutes.

This has led to the perception that, should United be losing as the game enters its final exchanges, Ferguson looking at his wrist will lead to more added time being played and a goal being scored.

This may or may not be true but the Old Trafford faithful gleefully sing about 'Fergie time' to rile opposition fans who complain about the referee 'playing until United score'.

Watch and learn: Ferguson points to his wrist in a game against Blackburn in 2004

Watch and learn: Ferguson points to his wrist in a game against Blackburn in 2004

Now give us your thoughts on who else should be in football's name game

Michu bargain of the century? Football"s best ever buys

Is Michu the bargain of the century Sportsmail gives its verdict on the players to rival him for the title

PUBLISHED:

14:57 GMT, 10 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 10 January 2013

His manager Michael Laudrup called him the ‘bargain of the season’ but Gary Lineker has hailed Swansea star Michu as the ‘bargain of the century’.

The Spaniard has been the surprise star of the Premier League since his 2.2million move from Rayo Vallecano.

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

Bargain buy: Michu has had a big impact for Swansea this season following his 2.2m summer move

MICHU'S GOAL CELEBRATION

Michu’s goal celebration, in which he ‘turns up the volume’ next to his ear, has been the talk of Swansea since he moved to Wales in the summer. He first did the action to Granada fans to let them know he couldn’t hear them after he scored for Celta Vigo. Cheeky.

He scored 15 goals for the Spanish strugglers from midfield last season, helping them survive on the last day of the season.

This season he has already scored 13 for Swansea in the Premier League — does it make him the bargain of the century

We asked our team of writers to pick their best bargain of this century. Who is your pick Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

Finding the net: Michu scored the opening goal in Swansea's Capital One Cup victory over Chelsea

MATT BARLOW
Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal, 2.75m, 2004)

Arsenal got him for 2.75million. Once he got over his injuries and attitude problems he proved to be genuine world-class talent. Sold for nearly 10 times as much and still getting better.

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

Doing the business: Robin van Persie signed for Arsenal from Feyenoord

ALEX KAY
Lionel Messi (Newell's Old Boys to Barcelona, Free, 2000)

The best player in the world… for almost nothing. So impressed were Barcelona with a young Lionel Messi they offered him a contract on a paper napkin and offered to pay for the boy’s medical bills if he moved from Argentina. The 11-year-old had been diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Luckily for Barca, he turned out all right.

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

Simply the best: Lionel Messi joined Barcelona for free as a teenager

SAMI MOKBEL
Edwin van der Sar (Fulham to Manchester United, 2m, 2005)

Sir Alex Ferguson fired plenty of blanks in his attempts to replace Peter Schmeichel. Massimo Taibi and Mark Bosnich, for instance, just could not cut the mustard. Enter Van der Sar. A colossus for United in his six years at Old Trafford.

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

Safe hands: Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United late in his career but had a big impact at Old Trafford

JOHN EDWARDS
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

It’s probably fair to describe Sir Alex Ferguson’s transfer dealings that summer as varied, until he struck gold with Ronaldo. Up to then, he had recruited David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tim Howard and Kleberson. Howard apart, it was hardly an array of new talent destined to take the Barclays Premier League by storm. Ronaldo, on the other hand, drew comparisons with some of the all-time greats to don a United shirt and had completed a clean sweep of club and individual honours by the time he joined Real Madrid for 80million on July 1, 2009. If we are analysing value, a profit of 68m surely takes some beating.

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

Making his mark: Cristiano Ronaldo would become the best player in the Premier League

SAM CUNNINGHAM
Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, 12.2m, 2003)

Six seasons at the club returned three consecutive league titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, one Community Shield, a Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. So that cost them roughly 2m per season, or 1.4m per trophy. Then they made 68m profit on him. Bargain.

LAURIE WHITWELL
Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara to Manchester United, 7m, 2010)

A relative unknown when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him before the 2010 World Cup. A handful of sparkling displays in South Africa later and 7m already looked a snip. Hernandez stormed the Premier League in his debut season, scoring 20 goals in all competitions as United won the title and made the Champions League final. His place came under threat last term but he has come again, netting 12 times this season despite the arrival of Robin van Persie meaning limited game time. A firebox character and a joy to watch. United can depend on him from the start or from the bench.

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

Super sub: Javier Hernandez hit the ground running following his move to Manchester United

JAMES ANDREW
Louis Saha (Metz to Fulham, 2.1m, 2000)

When Jean Tigana arrived at Fulham in 2000 one of the first things he did was sell Geoff Horsfield to Birmingham for 2.25m and then bought Saha for 2.1m. It proved to be a masterstroke as the Frenchman went on to score 27 goals in Division One (now the Championship) and fire Fulham into the Premier League. While his years in the top flight were blighted by injury he rediscovered his goalscoring touch again in 2003-04 when he netted 15 goals in 22 games before a 12.4m move to Manchester United. A 10m profit and Premier League football is not a bad deal.

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

Saha so good: Louis Saha helped gain Fulham promotion to the Premier League in 2001

MIKE ANSTEAD

Vincent Kompany (Hamburg to Man City, 6m, 2008)

In among all Manchester City's eye-watering signings, there is Vincent Kompany. An exceptional defender, a leader on and off the pitch and an all-round good guy. Oh, and he became the first City captain to lift the league trophy in 44 years. Not bad for 6million…

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

Flying start: Vincent Kompany takes on the FC Copenhagen defence in a 2009 UEFA Cup tie

MARK ALFORD
Gareth Bale (Southampton to Tottenham, 7m, 2007)

Shrewd business by Tottenham – no not selling Berbatov to United for 30milllion – but buying Gareth Bale for an initial 5m fee from Southampton in 2007. That figure was set to rise to 10m depending on honours and appearances but Spurs struck another shrewd deal with the Saints, agreeing an early settlement so the total bill was 7m. The Welsh wizard is coveted by the world’s finest football clubs now and it’ll take 50m to prise him away from White Hart Lane. Kerrching.

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

Spur of the moment: A youthful Gareth Bale scoring for Tottenham against Middlesbrough

PHIL GRADWELL
Jay Jay Okocha (PSG to Bolton, free, 2002)

So good they named him twice – and he didn’t cost a penny. Okocha’s brilliance kept Bolton in the Premier League in 2003 and he scored a stupendous free-kick to help them to the Carling Cup final in 2004. Was made club captain by Sam Allardyce and dazzled the Reebok with his tricks, the best of which was an outrageous flick over Ray Parlour’s head.

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

Scorcher: Darren Anderton looks on in awe as Jay Jay Okocha unleashes a shot

CHRIS CUTMORE
Joe Hart (Shrewsbury to Man City, 100,000*, 2006)

Every great team needs a huge presence between the sticks – think Banks, Schmeichel or Casillas – and it cannot be questioned that Hart was a major force behind City’s Premier League title triumph last season. Roberto Mancini’s men saw off local rivals United on goal difference alone and Hart marshalled by far the stingiest defence in the league. His mistakes this season have shocked all the more because of his consistent brilliance previously. But don’t expect the dip in form to last long, or Hart’s Premier League medal to be his last.

*according to City deputy chairman John Wardle

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for the bargain price of 100,000 in 2006

Young at Hart: Joe joined Man City from Shrewsbury for a bargain 100,000 in 2006

LUKE BENEDICT
Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid to Liverpool, 21m, 2007)

To get 65 goals out of a player and then make a near 30million profit is pretty good business. In fact, it surely ranks as the bargain of the century. Aged 23, El Nino took a pay cut to move to Liverpool for 21m from Atletico Madrid. He scored more than 60 goals in a 102 games. Then Chelsea infamously paid 50m for him and he’s scored only 26 in his first 100 games at Stamford Bridge. That’s an awful lot of profit for a striker who can hardly score.

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

Hit the ground running: Fernando Torres scores one of his first goals in Liverpool colours

Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero pose with Tour de France shirt

Thieves! Kompany and Aguero get their hands on Wiggo's treasures

|

UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 16 December 2012

Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero borrowed two famous pieces of sports memorabilia at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

As they entered the stage with last season's Premier League trophy. the city duo were met with the entire audience, including eventual runner-up Jessica Ennis, doing the 'Poznan'.

The Manchester City pair posted a snap on Twitter posing with eventual winner Bradley Wiggins' yellow jersey and his Olympic Medal, although the Belgian defender's grip on the mannequin's neck was a cause for concern.

Kompany, who had earlier brought last season's Premier League trophy on stage with the Argentine striker posted on his twitter page @VincentKompany: 'Me & @aguerosergiokun borrowed something backstage. Let’s hope Mr. Wiggins won’t mind.’

Pose: Sergio Aguero (left) and Vincent Kompany get to grips with Wiggo's Tour de France jersey and Olympic gold, as well as a slightly firm hand around the mannequin's neck

Pose: Sergio Aguero (left) and Vincent Kompany get to grips with Wiggo's Tour de France jersey and Olympic gold, as well as a slightly firm hand around the mannequin's neck

SPOTY: Aguero and Kompany had earlier joined Gary Lineker on stage with the Premier League trophy

SPOTY: Aguero and Kompany had earlier joined Gary Lineker on stage with the Premier League trophy

Poznan: members of the audience, including runner up Jessica Ennis (red dress) took part in City's famous celebration, the Poznan

Poznan: members of the audience, including runner-up Jessica Ennis (red dress) took part in City's famous celebration, the Poznan

Gary Lineker calls for football fans to end the violence

End this hatred! Lineker calls for football fans to stop violence and abuse after the mayhem in Manchester

|

UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 11 December 2012

Gary Lineker has urged football fans to bring an end to the hatred contaminating English football.

In a series of messages posted to his 1.2million followers on Twitter, the former England captain said: ‘Come on football fans everywhere; it’s time to take the hatred out of your love for the game.

'The violence around football has depressed me my entire sporting life. Love don’t loathe, humour don’t hate, spectate don’t spoil.’

It has gone too far: Joe Hart prevents a fan from getting to Rio Ferdinand

It has gone too far: Joe Hart prevents a fan from getting to Rio Ferdinand

Lineker is concerned by the growing amount of violence and anger which has become increasingly prevalent in English football in the last twelve months, with a series of incidents of racism dominating the headlines.

More recently, West Ham fans have been guilty of singing sickening anti-sematic chants about the Holocaust against Tottenham Hotspurs fans, who are recognised as having a strong Jewish following.

Nasty cut: Rio Ferdinand show his scar after being hit by a coin

Nasty cut: Rio Ferdinand show his scar after being hit by a coin

On Sunday, events took another damaging turn as Manchester United players celebrating Robin van Persie’s injury time winner in the Manchester derby were pelted with coins by City fans, with Rio Ferdinand receiving a nasty cut to his face, which left him with blood streaming down from above his eye.

Ferdinand has since allegedly received tweets containing racist abuse, and a 15 year old boy has today been arrested for sending the messages.

Boiling over: Manchester City fans are forced back by Police as they are taunted by Manchester United fans

Boiling over: Manchester City fans are forced back by Police as they are taunted by Manchester United fans

And Lineker, who scored 48 goals for England, is desperate for English football to clean up its act, comparing the disease spreading through our national game to the nasty stomach bug called ‘Norovirus’ which is particularly potent at this time of year, saying: ‘There’s actually more bile induced by football than the norovirus!'

Time to stop: Gary Lineker took to Twitter to call for an end to the violence at football

Time to stop: Gary Lineker took to Twitter to call for an end to the violence at football

Lineker was, however, at pains to stress that it is very much a minority of football fans who are to blame for the distressing episodes that have taken place recently.

He stated: 'Important to point out that the vast majority of football fans are sensible, passionate, law abiding citizens.'

Match of the Day is an old boys" club – Laura Williamson

Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good

|

UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 9 December 2012

The BBC website features a page called ‘How to watch Match of the Day’. Increasingly, however, the answer is quite simple.

Record it and fast-forward past the ‘analysis’ between games or risk water intoxication (or a nasty hangover) by putting the kettle on or topping up your wine glass every time the Three Wise Men come on to your screen in their smart-casual, open-necked shirts.

On Saturday night, for example, Alan Hansen delivered the following gems during the 15 minutes we were not watching match action or plugs for Sports Personality of the Year.

Old boys club: (from left-right) Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson

Old boys club: (from left-right) Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson

More from Laura Williamson…

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Sunderland ‘have got to stop leaking bad goals early’, three defeats in a row for West Brom is ‘enough’ and, my personal favourite, QPR ‘have got to get victories’. Funny that, as they are bottom of the table having just set a record for the longest winless Premier League start.

Hansen, though, delivers these insightful nuggets with the explicit authority of a father talking down to his eight-year-old son. ‘How are babies made, dad’ ‘They just are.’ End of conversation.

On the rare occasions host Gary Lineker deigns to probe his pal a little further, Hansen frowns and squirms in his seat, visibly affronted. There was a similar, almost embarrassed, reaction from Lineker after reporter Damian Johnson asked Martin O’Neill about self-doubt after Sunderland had slipped into the bottom three.

Ah, those pesky journalists asking former footballers questions. How dare they

Match of the Day too often seems like the comfy old boys’ club we should be honoured to visit for 80 minutes every Saturday night. Relaxed and matey is fine, but it is not conducive to forthright opinions or illuminating punditry.

Dan Walker, who will present next week’s show in Lineker’s absence, may help here. The programme has also tried, to its credit, to shake things up by including current players such as Vincent Kompany and Phil Neville in recent weeks.

It is a very difficult ask, however, for an active footballer to be anything other than diplomatic — particularly when three ex-pros are fawning over your every word.

The programme misses Lee Dixon, while Mark Lawrenson is infinitely better on the radio. Alan Shearer was perfectly fine on Saturday, although he got himself in a twist trying to explain how Chelsea are playing more to Fernando Torres’s strengths.

Effort: Vincent Kompany (right) appeared on the show - but there was only so much he could say

Effort: Vincent Kompany (right) appeared on the show – but there was only so much he could say

Missed: Lee Dixon (right) added something to the show when he was there

Missed: Lee Dixon (right) added something to the show when he was there

But at least Shearer had a go; at least he was enthusiastic and animated. Hansen was also right to highlight Jack Wilshere’s display for Arsenal against West Brom but he simply talked us through what happened and not how or why.

What did Arsene Wenger’s side do differently to their 2-0 defeat by Swansea City And what about Santi Cazorla’s blatant dive to win Arsenal’s first penalty

Little evolution: Lineker (centre) with Hansen and Lawrenson in 2001 and below in 2006

Little evolution: Lineker (centre) with Hansen and Lawrenson in 2001 and below in 2006

Familiar faces: Lawrenson, Lineker and Hansen

Familiar faces: Lawrenson, Lineker and Hansen

Oh, they all had a good laugh about that one, while singularly failing to discuss or expand on one of the main talking points. Are foreign players more culpable than home-grown ones How do we stamp it out Alan, did you ever dive to win a penalty

This is the main problem with the modern Match of the Day. There were highlights of six matches delivered from the shiny new set in Salford on Saturday, not one definitive game.

But then Match of the Day is not definitive any more. That happens on a Monday night on Sky with Gary Neville and his interactive white board. MotD is now occupying a beige middle ground of irrelevancy.

Is it a light entertainment show or a sports programme

It needs to make up its mind before a much-loved television institution is fast-forwarded out of existence.

Blast from the past: Lineker took over hosting duties of the show in 1999

Blast from the past: Lineker took over hosting duties of the show in 1999

What they said

Harry Redknapp teed up his first meeting with QPR chairman Tony Fernandes by announcing: ‘I’ve said it a million times that they’re nice people. I’m not saying that because I need the job. If I thought they were tossers I would say so.’

I wonder if January transfer targets will be on the agenda

Not tossers: Harry Redknapp defended his new bosses

Not tossers: Harry Redknapp defended his new bosses

…And this is what I've been doing this week

In Athens with Arsenal on Monday, Arsene Wenger was noticeably disdainful of any suggestion his club are experiencing a crisis. The admirable belief in his principles is nothing new, but the scornful tone felt different and unnecessary from a manager who has achieved as much as Wenger.

Arsenal are not a club in meltdown — they are still fighting in all competitions, after all — but they are certainly not one in ‘fantastic shape’, whatever the Frenchman may say.

Balance: Arsenal are not falling to pieces, but nor are they in fantastic shape

Balance: Arsenal are not falling to pieces, but nor are they in fantastic shape

Meeting new UK Athletics coaches Rana Reider and Terrence Mahon at Loughborough University, both of whom are American. We Brits have a tendency to self-deprecate, but the way the pair talked up our funding system, personnel and facilities suggested we are doing something right. It also means, of course, there are no excuses for athletes who fail to deliver.

Impressed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s easy, eloquent manner at the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards on Thursday. The Arsenal midfielder picked up the Best International Newcomer award and quipped: ‘Thank you, it’s nice to win something.’