Tag Archives: monday

Samir Nasri calls Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini a liar

You're a liar! Nasri hits back at Mancini and praises former manager Wenger as his best-ever boss in further snub

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

22:29 GMT, 1 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:56 GMT, 2 April 2013

Samir Nasri has labelled manager Roberto Mancini a liar after the Italian questioned his 24million man’s efforts in training.

The Frenchman has endured a difficult campaign with the Premier League champions, and was damned with faint praise by Mancini after his impressive showing against Newcastle on Saturday.

Nasri turned in a man of the match performance in City’s 4-0 win and the manager joked that he ‘wanted to give him a punch’ for only showing his best form it fits and bursts.

False accusations: Samir Nasri, who shone against Newcastle, has hit back at manager Roberto Mancini

False accusations: Samir Nasri, who shone against Newcastle, has hit back at manager Roberto Mancini

False accusations: Nasri (right), celebrating with Carlos Tevez against Newcastle, has hit back at Mancini

‘I don’t know what the difference was
today,’ Mancini said. ‘I can’t understand sometimes a player with his
quality doesn’t play like today every game. I think that the second year
is always difficult to win again. And sometimes a player can think it
is enough to play 50 per cent. Probably we had this problem this year.’

But speaking on French television channel beIN Sport on Monday night, Nasri hit back.

He
said: ‘I am aware that I have not had a good season. There are many
reasons for this. But when Mancini said that I’m training at 50 per
cent, this is not true.’

Swipe: Mancini had blasted Nasri for only putting '50 per cent' effort in in training

Swipe: Mancini had blasted Nasri for only putting '50 per cent' effort in in training

In
another thinly veiled swipe at Mancini, Nasri heaped praise on former
boss Arsene Wenger, under whom he was first given a chance in the
Premier League when he signed for Arsenal in 2008.

The
France international spent three years at the Emirates Stadium, but
left in 2011, a decision which continues to sit uncomfortably with
Gunners fans.

But the
25-year-old says he has no regrets about the decision to turn his back
on ‘the greatest coach he ever worked with’, insisting his decision to
move north was not based on money.

In action: Nasri put in an impressive display in City's ruthless 4-0 demolition of Newcastle on Saturday

In action: Nasri put in an impressive display in City's ruthless 4-0 demolition of Newcastle on Saturday

nasri

He
added: ‘Arsene Wenger is the greatest coach I have worked with. He is
the one who understands me the most, he made me realise my potential. I
am grateful to him for the role he played in my career. I only regret
not having more discussions with him when I left.

‘I
do not have other regrets. I do not regret joining Manchester City. I
want to play and perform, and my departure from Arsenal is purely for
sporting reasons.

‘When you
compare Arsenal and City, it’s not the same. With City I’m playing in a
better team, I won the title, and Arsenal fight to qualify for the
Champions League. I didn’t leave for money.

Mentor: Nasri said Arsene Wenger, watching Arsenal's win over Reading, was his best-ever manager

Mentor: Nasri said Arsene Wenger, watching Arsenal's win over Reading, was his best-ever manager

‘Even when I left, I was in training well. All went well with the manager because he knows I showed professionalism.’

And
in a move which likely enrage fans even further, Nasri claims he was
forced out of the club because unpopular owner Stan Kroenke wanted to
cash in a player who had one year left on his deal.

The real story: Nasri claimed he was forced out of Arsenal by billionaire owner Stan Kroenke

The real story: Nasri claimed he was forced out of Arsenal by billionaire owner Stan Kroenke

‘Cesc
[Fabregas, who quit for Barcelona the same summer] or me were supposed
to leave,’ he explained. ‘Arsene told me that if Cesc would leave, I
would stay. ‘But Kroenke could not ignore the transfer fee.’

Nasri also dismissed speculation linking him with a move away from England this summer, despite interest from his homeland.

‘There is nothing going on with Monaco, nor with PSG,’ he concluded.

PFA boss Gordon Taylor wants retrospective action on divers and reckless tackles

PFA boss Taylor wants retrospective action on divers and reckless tackles

By
Martyn Ziegler, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:11 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:11 GMT, 25 March 2013

Players’ chief Gordon Taylor will argue for rules on retrospective action to be widened to allow both diving and dangerous tackles to be dealt with at English footballer’s stakeholders’ annual meeting this summer.

The Football Association is going to look at the issue surrounding retrospective action again after the furore that followed the decision to take no action against Wigan’s Callum McManaman for his tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has said the incident should have been regarded as 'exceptional' which would allow retrospective action to be taken and Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Taylor agrees – but wants to go still further.

Horrendous: Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara which caused so much controversy

Horrendous: Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara which caused so much controversy

Aftermath: Taylor wants players to be banned after games when time has been taken to consider the decisions

Aftermath: Taylor wants players to be banned after games when time has been taken to consider the decisions

Taylor said: 'We are not saying matches should be re-refereed on a Monday morning but my feeling is there has got to be room to review such incidents.

'If there is a high-profile incident and the referee has not seen it and the referee’s assistant has not seen it clearly then that should be dealt with.

'We could have a review panel made up of experienced people from within the game and it could also look at incidents of simulation, which I feel is another big problem in the game.

Tempers: McManaman's tackle created ugly scenes at half-time as Newcastle's John Carver was distraught

Tempers: McManaman's tackle created ugly scenes at half-time as Newcastle's John Carver was distraught

'If we are not careful we will get into areas of ambiguity and saying a dangerous tackle is ''not exceptional enough''.

'If there is any doubt for such incidents, for red cards that are being challenged and for simulation there is no reason why they shouldn’t be looked at.'

The FA is keen to look at the issues again, while Scudamore believes the rules do not need to be changed, but that incidents such as McManaman’s tackle should be regarded as exceptional.

The Football League may prove the sticking point however as it is understood it was the body most opposed to any move to review more incidents after matches.

Cheating Gareth Bale has been booked three times for diving so far this season

Cheating Gareth Bale has been booked three times for diving so far this season

Authority: PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor (left) prior to the Football League Awards

Authority: PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor (left) prior to the Football League Awards

Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup replay on Easter Monday, April 1

April duel day: Chelsea and United will replay FA Cup tie on Easter Monday (and both teams will play twice in 48 HOURS)

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

14:58 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:33 GMT, 13 March 2013

Manchester United and Chelsea will replay their FA Cup tie at 12.30pm on Easter Monday, April 1 at Stamford Bridge.

It means Chelsea's Barclays Premier League game against Southampton, scheduled for Easter Sunday, has been moved forward a day to Saturday March 30, kick-off 3pm.

This means Chelsea and United will play two games within the space of 48 hours as the Premier League leaders are playing at Sunderland at 12.45pm on the Saturday.

To be announced: Eden Hazard (left) celebrates on his way to earning Chelsea the replay causing the chaos

To be announced: Eden Hazard (left) celebrates on his way to earning Chelsea the replay causing the chaos

RE-ARRANGED DATES

Southampton v Chelsea, Saturday March 30, 3pm

West Ham v Manchester United, Wednesday April 17, 7.45pm

The replay date will play havoc with TV schedules because Chelsea's game at Southampton was meant to be live.

A statement from the FA said: 'Following consultation with all relevant stakeholders, The FA can confirm that The FA Cup with Budweiser Sixth Round Proper Replay between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge will take place on Easter Monday 1 April, live on ITV. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.'

The winners will face Manchester City in the semi-finals.

Easter weekend was always the most likely time for the replay to be take place.

The two-week international break
starting next Monday meant there were not many opportunities to fit the game
in before the Wembley semi-final weekend on April 13 and 14.

UEFA rules that forbid domestic games
taking place on the same night as Champions League or Europa League
games are only served to complicate the matter.

The decision means Chelsea's Barclays
Premier League fixture with Southampton, which had been due to take
place on Easter Sunday, will now take place a day earlier and with a 3pm
kick-off.

Close-run: United's Wayne Rooney (left) and Chelsea midfielder Ramires do battle the first time around

Close-run: United's Wayne Rooney (left) and Chelsea midfielder Ramires do battle the first time around

Chelsea's fixture pile-up

March 14 (h) v Steaua Bucharest (Europa League)
March 17 (h) v West Ham (Premier League)
March 18-27 international break
March 30 (a) v Southampton (Premier League)
April 1 (h) v Manchester United (FA Cup quarter-final replay)
April 4 (TBC) Europa League quarter-final first leg.
April 6/7 (h) v Sunderland (Premier League)
April 11 (TBC) Europa League quarter-final second leg.
April 13 & 14 FA Cup semi-final weekend.

Finding a suitable date for the fixture proved challenging due to Chelsea's involvement in the Europa League and the confirmed FA Cup semi-final dates of April 13 and 14.

It had been expected the FA would wait to see if Chelsea advance in the Europa League tomorrow before determining a date.

They must overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to the Romanians to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

The rescheduling means Chelsea and Manchester United, who visit Sunderland on March 30, play their Premier League matches on the same day, but has irked Southampton.

A statement on Southampton's official website read: 'The game had already been moved once for the purposes of live Sky TV coverage – to Sunday, March 31 – however, the Premier League have deemed it acceptable to move the fixture once more.

'The club is extremely disappointed that this decision has been taken; not least because of the significant inconvenience a second change to the fixture will cause our supporters.'

Jessica Ennis wants to keep Toni Minichiello at any cost

Ennis willing to pay to keep Minichiello after UK Athletics restructure sees him axed as Olympic coach

, has lost his job as an Olympic coach, becoming a high-profile casualty of UK Athletics' restructuring plan around a single High Performance Institute in Loughborough.

Ennis wants to keep training in her home city of Sheffield – potentially at a redeveloped Woodbourn Road Stadium with her current training base at Don Valley to be demolished – and Minichiello plans to stay with her.

He has no other Olympic or world medallists in his training group, meaning he will not be due a full-time UK Athletics salary.

Minichiello
had been in talks with the governing body, and it was thought he would
be offered a new consultancy role on reduced terms to work specifically
with Ennis, but it seems he will not be taking up any such offer.

Asked
on Monday about the possibility of helping fund Minichiello, Ennis
said: 'We have had a chat and if that is what it comes down to, then of
course I will just support him where I can, and we will just carry on.'

Award winning: Ennis was given the Laureus Sportswomen of the Year trophy on Monday night

Award winning: Ennis was given the Laureus Sportswomen of the Year trophy on Monday night

She added: 'There is not going to be any change – a lot of people have said, “Are you moving to another coach”

'No, everything is going to stay the same, but we just need to find a way of funding it.'

Ennis
was speaking in Rio de Janeiro, where she was yesterday named Laureus
World Sportswoman of the Year in recognition of her heptathlon triumph
in London, achieved with a British record score of 6,955 points.

She has been keen to emphasise the part played by Minichiello in that success.

And while sure her coach can fight his own corner well enough, Ennis has also made it clear that she is there for him.

'I will obviously support Toni as much as I can, and I am there for him, because we are a team, but I do have to let him fight his own battles and get on with it,' Ennis said.

Support: The gold-medal winning athlete Ennis pledged Minichiello her backing

Support: The gold-medal winning athlete Ennis pledged Minichiello her backing

'But I do feel that we had such a great year together – it wasn't just me that performed, it was both of us who worked really hard for that performance in London.

'So it is just not a nice position to be in when you have done something so special, and then you find yourself in a really difficult situation after.'

Several of Ennis' fellow Britons also picked up awards at Monday night's Laureus ceremony, with Andy Murray claiming the World Breakthrough of the Year gong having followed up his own medal success at the Olympics – gold in the singles and silver in the mixed doubles – by winning his first grand slam title at the US Open.

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the organising committee for London 2012, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and there was further recognition of a memorable year for British sport as the European Ryder Cup squad, which featured seven UK golfers, were named World Team of the Year after their 'Miracle of Medinah' comeback triumph over the United States.

Among the other winners was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, named World Sportsman of the Year for a third time after he claimed a treble of gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in London, repeating the hat-trick he pulled off at Beijing 2008.

Burnley 0 Hull City 1 – match report

Burnley 0 Hull City 1: Quinn fires Tigers into second as Bruce ploy pays off

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

22:17 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:55 GMT, 12 March 2013

Steve Bruce had good cause for a jubilant two-fisted salute after his double substitution helped lift Hull into second place in the Championship at Turf Moor on Monday night.

In a game where quality was as low as the sub-zero temperature, little had gone right for Hull prior to Bruce sending on Jay Simpson and Robert Koren in an attack-minded change in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, Simpson controlled a Koren pass with his back to goal and quickly relayed it to Stephen Quinn, whose unerring left-foot volley flew low past Lee Grant on its way into the net.

Flying high: Quinn celebrates the winning strike

Flying high: Quinn celebrates the winning strike

Upward force: Stephen Quinn hit a rocket against Burnley to send the Tigers into second place

Upward force: Stephen Quinn hit a rocket against Burnley to send the Tigers into second place

Championship table

It was enough to lift Hull above
Watford into second, and a relieved Bruce could afford to smile as he
said: ‘It was a great result that puts us in a great frame of mind for
the weekend, but I think Sky viewers might have been switching over to
the History Channel long before the end.

‘If you lot managed to scribble
anything worthwhile from that, then good luck to you. ‘It was never
going to be pretty on a horrible night, and it was a case of battling
for everything we got. I felt we had to try and win the match with the
substitutions, but I didn’t expect it to happen inside two minutes.

‘This is a crazy league, with nothing
much between top and bottom, but we have given ourselves a wonderful
chance of going up. We’ve got Watford at home in a couple of weeks and
we are really looking forward to the challenge.’

In a first half full of misplaced
passes, Burnley carved out the only semblance of a goal threat when Ross
Wallace went on a purposeful run and let fly with a 25-yard drive that
had keeper David Stockdale stretching to tip over.

Taking a tumble: Charlie Austin collides with Hull's Paul McShane at a snowy Turf Moor

Taking a tumble: Charlie Austin collides with Hull's Paul McShane at a snowy Turf Moor

There were few signs of improvement in
the second half, though Grant was finally extended in the 52nd minute
when George Boyd set up Gedo for an angled drive that was pushed round
the post by the diving Burnley keeper.

Bruce decided it was time for a change
and he can scarcely have made many better judgments as Hull manager as
his two substitutes combined to set up Quinn for the cleanest of
strikes.

Charlie Austin headed narrowly wide in
the last minute of added time to leave Burnley manager Sean Dyche
admitting: ‘It was nearly but not quite, and we are paying the price for
playing with fear.

‘Too many are not playing with the freedom and effervescence you need to affect games.

‘There is an expectation level, but I have told the players they have to deal with that.’

On the ball: Alex Bruce (left) gets a foot in against Burnley's Keith Treacy

On the ball: Alex Bruce (left) gets a foot in against Burnley's Keith Treacy

Gedo handed Grant a more thorough examination in the 53rd minute, drawing a sharp near-post stop after Boyd rode a couple of challenges in midfield to play him through.

In response Dyche sent on Vokes in place of Treacy and the Wales international striker almost made an immediate impact when he looped a glancing header from Charlie Austin's right-wing cross past the far post.

Steve Bruce went one better in the 64th minute with a double change, Koren and Jay Simpson replacing Bruce Jnr and Gedo, that paid instant dividends.

Dejected: Burnley manager Sean Dyche walks off after his side's defeat to Hull

Dejected: Burnley manager Sean Dyche walks off after his side's defeat to Hull

Koren drifted into space on the right and his cross found Simpson, whose calmly rolled pass teed-up Quinn to finish clinically.

Burnley failed to mount a sustained response, Vokes seeing a first-time effort deflected behind by Chester in the 75th minute, and when Austin hesitated in a promising attacking position by turning back and hitting a pass out of play the locals showed their displeasure.

The 26-goal striker has scored his side's only two goals in the past six games and might have levelled late on had he not misjudged a header from Vokes' centre.

Paolo Di Canio has resigned as Swindon manager after his position became "untenable"

Di Canio resigns as Swindon manager after his position became 'untenable'

By
Joe Ridge and Ralph Ellis

PUBLISHED:

19:28 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 18 February 2013


Gone: Paulo Di Canio

Gone: Paulo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio’s turbulent 18 months as manager of Swindon came to an end on Monday night when the fiery Italian walked out.

Di Canio, who won promotion in his first season, revealed he had resigned a week ago but gave the club’s prospective new owners seven days to get the green light from the Football League for their takeover.

When a 5pm deadline came and went last night with the deal — lined up to prevent the club going into administration — still uncertain, Di Canio decided it was time to go.

The 44-year-old had been threatening to walk out for more than a fortnight after star midfielder Matt Ritchie was sold to Bournemouth for 500,000 without his approval.

The statement said: 'In my previous press statement on 1st
February, I said that I was considering my future, as my position with
the club had become untenable, after I found out that Matt Ritchie had
been sold without my consent.

'As I had previously stated, there
have been a number of broken promises made by the club over the time
that I have been Manager of Swindon Town. Despite these problems, I have
delivered everything and more that was asked of me, by achieving
promotion last year as Champions and competing this season for promotion
to the Championship and being just 3 points from top place a year
earlier than expected.

'I did not resign immediately, nor
publicise my resignation after I had formally confirmed it, as I did not
want to jeopardise the negotiations for the sale of the club and I
wanted to listen to what the proposed new owners plans were.'

Hero: Swindon fans had done everything they could to keep Di Canio

Hero: Swindon fans had done everything they could to keep Di Canio

Di Canio won 44 of the 75 league games he was in charge at Swindon, and his resignation will spark interest from bigger clubs who are looking for a new manager.

The statement continued: 'Following discussions, my representatives put forward a proposal that
would secure my future at the club until at least the end of the season
and quite possibly beyond as well. This proposal actually reduced the
Clubs contractual liabilities to me in the interest of saving Swindon
Town FC. At a meeting last Friday the proposed new owners accepted and
said they were very happy with the new terms.

'I entered into a temporary arrangement with the proposed new owners
to continue in my role as Manager but all this was agreed subject to
Football League approval for the purchase of the Club being granted by
5:00pm on Monday 18th February.

Money: Off-field financial problems have begun to dog Swindon

Money: Off-field financial problems have begun to dog Swindon

'At the time of issuing this statement, I have had no further contact
from the proposed new owners and I have been told that unfortunately
Football League approval has not been granted yet and therefore my
temporary arrangement has ended and my resignation stands.

'This is all I wish to say for the time being other than to thank my
Technical Staff and the players for their fantastic professional
behaviour and attitude in achieving what they have done up to today,
also thanks to the Swindon Town supporters for the incredible support
they have shown me and the team throughout my time as Manager.

'I wish the best of luck to the supporters, the players and my Technical Staff for the future.'

Undermined: Di Canio felt the sale of Matt Richie was the last straw

Undermined: Di Canio felt the sale of Matt Richie was the last straw

Swindon currently sit sixth in League
One, just two points off the automatic promotion places — but Di Canio
wanted more backing to reach the Championship. Instead, he lost his top
player and his plans to recruit more were shelved.

Swindon’s owners put the club up for
sale in mid-January, revealing they had debts of around 13million and
warning they might have to go into administration.

That fear was eased when a consortium
agreed a deal to take over, but so far its leader, Oxford-based
businessman Jed McCrory, who bought Southern League club Banbury Town
six months ago, does not have Football League backing for his plans.

Di Canio’s position will be of
interest to West Ham, where he is the fans’ favourite to take over if
the club fail to agree a contract with Sam Allardyce when his deal runs
out in June.

Liverpool will wear charity sponsor for West Brom game

Gerrard delight as Liverpool stick charity sponsor on shirts for West Brom clash

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

10:26 GMT, 11 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 11 February 2013

Liverpool will wear a charity logo on their shirts for their clash with West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.

Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard and Co will have the 'Seeing is Believing' logo on their chests, rather than the usual 'Standard Chartered'. The shirts will be signed by the players after the game and then auctioned off.

Among other Reds stars, Gerrard took part in some events to support the charity and was happy to be involved with the charity which tries to tackle avoidable blindness in developing countries.

Scroll down for video

Positive contribution: Lucas Leiva models the shirt with the charity sponsor

Positive contribution: Lucas Leiva models the shirt with the charity sponsor

He said: 'You realise at the time how difficult it is without your sight. Especially doing activities. We were involved in a penalty shoot-out using a blindfold and it's so difficult.

'It was really enjoyable to take part and very important for myself and the club as well to play our part and try to help these people.'

Liverpool wore shirts with the same logo on last season in their final home match, against Chelsea, and the cash went to supporting the Standard Chartered charitable initiative.

Taking part: Steven Gerrard joined in with some events put on by the charity

Taking part: Steven Gerrard joined in with some events put on by the charity

On the ball: Gerrard plays keepie-uppie

They raised over 86,000 last time around and managing director Ian Ayre was glad to be able to try and do the same again.

He said: 'We’re once again proud to display the Seeing is Believing logo on our home shirt.

'Since Standard Chartered became the club’s shirt sponsor, we’ve worked closely with them to raise awareness for Seeing is Believing, both in the developing world and here in the UK.

'It’s a fantastic initiative and we hope
to raise as much as possible from the shirts to cure avoidable blindness
in developing countries.'

Throwback: Liverpool used the sponsor last season, here on Andy Carroll (centre) and Maxi Rodriguez (right)

Throwback: Liverpool used the sponsor last season, here on Andy Carroll (centre) and Maxi Rodriguez (right)

The Baggies will go into this evening's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on the back of five defeats in their last six games.

Skipper Chris Brunt is convinced his side will emerge from their current slump now they face a less demanding schedule for the remainder of the campaign.

Brunt said: 'We are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment but, for a club our size and for the money we've got and spent, we are still ninth in the league, 34 points.

'We are moving in the right direction but the last few weeks we haven't been great. We know that ourselves and know where we've got to improve to get it right.

Happy memories: Last time Liverpool wore the sponsor they smashed Chelsea at Anfield

Happy memories: Last time Liverpool wore the sponsor they smashed Chelsea at Anfield

'December and January is a pretty hectic period and it's one where we have tended to struggle a bit in the last few seasons and then picked up in February.

'Hopefully that will be the case again – starting on Monday. Our squad has been really stretched over the last few months, a lot of games and a few injuries have really hurt us.

'The boys have just had to play through it or play out of position because we don't have the luxury of rotating the team other clubs can to keep players fresher.'

VIDEO: Gerrard speaks about Seeing is Believing

If you want to bid for the shirts after the game, head to www.ebay.co.uk/perfectmatch.

Henning Berg storms out of Christmas party over Michael Jackson wig

I didn't want to do it, admits Berg after storming out of Blackburn's Christmas party because he was asked to wear a stocking on his head and a Michael Jackson wig

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 19 December 2012

Furious Blackburn manager Henning Berg stormed out of the club’s Christmas party after he was made to wear a stocking on his head and dance on stage.

The humiliating incident on Monday night is bound to cast more doubt over Berg’s future at Ewood Park just seven weeks after he returned as manager.

Blackburn have recorded only one win from nine games under Berg, leading to speculation he could be sacked by Indian owners Venky’s if results do not improve dramatically.

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

It was hoped the party for the players and more than 200 staff in a suite at Ewood would lift morale but it backfired spectacularly.

When the DJ decided to play some games, one of the club’s executives volunteered Berg to go up on stage.

The 43-year-old Norwegian reluctantly wore the Christmas stocking but grew visibly angry and uncomfortable when he was made to dance as well.

The final straw came when someone attempted to put a Michael Jackson wig on his head. Berg ripped off the stocking and left the stage.

He then made his excuses to guests at his table before making an early exit. Berg, who won the Premier League and League Cup in two spells at Blackburn, is understood to have become increasingly disillusioned with the job he has taken on.

In a statement, Berg said: 'On Monday evening, the club arranged its official Christmas Party for all employees and staff.

'We have many hard-working employees and this was an opportunity for them to relax and enjoy themselves after what has been a difficult year.

'After the dinner I was asked to go to the stage, which I was happy to do, believing I would be asked a few questions or maybe judge a competition.

Wacko over Jacko: The final straw for Berg came after someone attempted to put a Michael Jackson wig on his head

Wacko over Jacko: The final straw for Berg came after someone attempted to put a Michael Jackson wig on his head

'Instead I was asked to do things
which were not the right things for me to do as the manager, considering
our league position and form.

'I did not want to do it and went back
to my table. Later, I left the event at around 9.30pm, as planned, and
drove home. The players left straight after dinner and no alcohol was
consumed.'

On the day he was appointed, it was
revealed the ex-Manchester United defender would be sacked if he failed
to win promotion back to the Premier League this season.

However, after picking up just six points from nine games, Blackburn have slumped to 15th and face a battle to even make the play-offs.

No home comforts: Defeat to Cardiff at home left Ewood fans reeling

No home comforts: Defeat to Cardiff at home left Ewood fans reeling

Last week Berg was told to find an
entire new backroom team, although it has since emerged that his
assistant, Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping
coach Bobby Mimms may be given a stay of execution due to problems
bringing in replacements.

There were suggestions of outside
interference when he dropped former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson at
Blackpool on Saturday, when his side suffered a fourth defeat in five
games.

Robinson is one of several players expected to leave in January, with Tottenham’s Brad Friedel lined up to replace him.

Venky’s invested heavily in the summer, making Blackburn the highest-paid team in the Championship, and sources say failure to return to the Premier League at the first attempt would be a financial catastrophe.

The question is how long they will give Berg to turn the club round, though he may quit first.

VIDEO: At least he didn't blame it on the boogie…

Blackburn boss Henning Berg storms out of club Christmas party

Bah humbug! Berg storms out of Blackburn's Christmas bash after being made to dance with a stocking on his head

|

UPDATED:

22:58 GMT, 18 December 2012

Furious Blackburn manager Henning Berg stormed out of the club’s Christmas party after he was made to wear a stocking on his head and dance on stage.

The humiliating incident on Monday night is bound to cast more doubt over Berg’s future at Ewood Park just seven weeks after he returned as manager.

Blackburn have recorded only one win from nine games under Berg, leading to speculation he could be sacked by Indian owners Venky’s if results do not improve dramatically.

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

Struggles: Blackburn have dropped to 15th since Henning Berg took over

It was hoped the party for the players and more than 200 staff in a suite at Ewood would lift morale but it backfired spectacularly.

When the DJ decided to play some games, one of the club’s executives volunteered Berg to go up on stage. The 43-year-old Norwegian reluctantly wore the Christmas stocking but grew visibly angry and uncomfortable when he was made to dance as well.

The final straw came when someone attempted to put a Michael Jackson wig on his head. Berg ripped off the stocking and left the stage.

He then made his excuses to guests at his table before making an early exit. Berg, who won the Premier League and League Cup in two spells at Blackburn, is understood to have become increasingly disillusioned with the job he has taken on.

On the day he was appointed, it was revealed the ex-Manchester United defender would be sacked if he failed to win promotion back to the Premier League this season.

However, after picking up just six points from nine games, Blackburn have slumped to 15th and face a battle to even make the play-offs.

Last week Berg was told to find an entire new backroom team, although it has since emerged that his assistant, Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms may be given a stay of execution due to problems bringing in replacements.

No home comforts: Defeat to Cardiff at home left Ewood fans reeling

No home comforts: Defeat to Cardiff at home left Ewood fans reeling

There were suggestions of outside interference when he dropped former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson at Blackpool on Saturday, when his side suffered a fourth defeat in five games.

Robinson is one of several players expected to leave in January, with Tottenham’s Brad Friedel lined up to replace him.

Venky’s invested heavily in the summer, making Blackburn the highest-paid team in the Champ-ionship, and sources say failure to return to the Premier League at the first attempt would be a financial catastrophe.

The question is how long they will give Berg to turn the club round, though he may quit first.

Theo Walcott is invaluable and Arsenal must keep him, says Thomas Vermaelen

Walcott is invaluable and dangerous… we must keep him at Arsenal, says Vermaelen

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UPDATED:

16:08 GMT, 18 December 2012

Thomas Vermaelen feels Theo Walcott is invaluable to Arsenal – but accepts there is little his team-mates can do to stop the England forward walking away at the end of the season.

Walcott was deployed in his preferred central striker's role at Reading, where he netted the final goal in a 5-2 win which lifted the Gunners back up to within two points of fourth place.

The 23-year-old is currently in negotiations over a contract extension with the club. However, as the January transfer window looms, there is little indication of a swift conclusion.

On target: Walcott scored in the win over Reading on Monday night

On target: Walcott scored in the win over Reading on Monday night

Having seen close friend and former skipper Robin van Persie leave last summer when he could not agree a new deal, Vermaelen admits no matter how key a player may be, the rest of the squad have to remain focused on the here and now.

'Of course we want him to stay, but that is something that is going on between the player and the club. I don't know what is going on behind the scenes – we don't talk about it, because that is going on in football all the time,' Vermaelen said.

'It happened last time with Robin in the summer. It's the job of the board and the club what they are going to do with it so we can't do anything about it.'

Centre-half Vermaelen added: 'Theo has been invaluable for us when he played this year. He is dangerous for us, can stretch a team with his pace and I hope he could stay this year.'

Theo Walcott

Main man: Walcott led the line for Arsenal in their win at the Madejski

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger felt his team answered their critics in the best way possible at the Madejski Stadium last night, where a hat-trick from Santi Cazorla saw them race into a 4-0 lead before any threat of a fightback was eventually extinguished by Walcott's late strike.

It was a missed penalty from Vermaelen which saw Arsenal lose their Capital One Cup shoot-out at Bradford.

The Belgian defender, however, maintains the squad were determined to put that bitter disappointment behind them as soon as possible.

'You can't stand still too long with a defeat like that – you just learn from it and move on,' he said.

In the spotlight: Walcott could yet leave the Emirates next month

In the spotlight: Walcott could yet leave the Emirates next month

'We had a lot to prove. A lot of people questioned us and maybe that's normal, but we wanted to perform against Reading and we did that.'

Despite all of the headlines of a club in crisis with broken cannon motifs on the back pages, all is not yet lost for the Gunners, who will discover their opponents in the last 16 of the Champions League on Thursday morning.

Indeed, should Arsenal win their lunchtime kick-off at struggling Wigan on Saturday, then they would, temporarily at least, leapfrog over Tottenham and back up into the top four.

'If you play for a team like Arsenal, there are always going to be people outside you who are going to question the manager and the team,' Vermaelen said.

'The thing is, you have to stay united and work hard on the training pitch because we are the only ones who know what's going on in the team. What people say outside is just part of the job.'