Tag Archives: monkeys

Chelsea are an utter disgrace after Mark Clattenburg non apology – Des Kelly

I'm sorry, but Chelsea are an utter disgrace

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UPDATED:

00:30 GMT, 24 November 2012

Chelsea claimed it had all been done in 'good faith'. Amazingly, the Football Association nodded in agreement. Rarely has the English language been mangled quite so abhorrently.

For a start, there was not a word of apology from the club. Not a single, solitary one. As expected, the FA threw out the spurious and damaging accusation of racism that Chelsea levelled against referee Mark Clattenburg.

But even then Chelsea could not summon up the decency or class to utter ‘sorry’ to the man. Good faith obviously has a different meaning in the corridors of Stamford Bridge.

Disgrace: Chelsea have refused to apologise after accusing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing John Obi Mikel

Disgrace: Chelsea have refused to apologise after accusing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing John Obi Mikel

More from Des Kelly…

Des Kelly: Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored
16/11/12

Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode
09/11/12

Des Kelly: No Chelsea player heard Terry abuse Ferdinand… now they're blessed with the hearing of a piano tuner
02/11/12

Des Kelly: The finger of blame will only point at you, Roberto
26/10/12

Des Kelly: Now it is time for football's three monkeys to wise up
19/10/12

Des Kelly: Really, what are these people who support Armstrong on
12/10/12

Des Kelly: Terry affair must not derail battle to defeat racism… so let's stop the schism
28/09/12

Des Kelly: Forget the badge… it might have been you on that tragic day at Hillsborough
14/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

What a ghastly week this has been for them. What a horrible stain they have left on the season. Putrid doesn’t quite cover their behaviour. Throw in despicable and it might.

Chelsea have displayed such an arrogant, pig-headed disregard for decency with their allegations against Clattenburg that someone in a position of authority deserves to lose their job.

This is a club that sacks managers and coaches on a whim, even if they collect the European Cup. As far as they are concerned, experienced football men are simply dispensable.

But the relatively anonymous boardroom suits that served up this unpleasant smear to the public are now supposed to be allowed to just walk away from this mess without accepting responsibility I think not.

To implicate a referee in a racism row based on evidence so flimsy it turned out to be non-existent was a truly shocking misjudgment by the decision-makers at the club.

Clattenburg has been hounded for weeks because of their actions. He has been accused, investigated and quizzed. He had his character impugned, he was forced to forgo his job while the storm raged, ordered to bite his lip and hide away from the world as he saw his name repeatedly linked with the horrible slur of being a ‘racist’.

So it must be sickening for Clattenburg to see the FA sugar-coat their dismissal of Chelsea’s laughable case.

‘Good faith’ Not for Clattenburg it wasn’t. Not for referees, who will now tape every conversation they have with players on the pitch, such is their level of distrust.

Bad times: Clattenburg's name was dragged through the mud

Bad times: Clattenburg's name was dragged through the mud

Having done absolutely nothing wrong, having been exonerated, he is also effectively prevented from taking charge of any match at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future. More ‘good faith’, I assume.

Ignore the public-relations froth in the prepared statements. Ignore the legalese. Ignore, too, Chelsea’s post-rationalisation of events and the risible claim they had to go public on the night, long before all the information had been properly gathered and assessed.

Here are the facts…

Chelsea accused Clattenburg of being a racist.They were horribly wrong.No credible evidence was produced.The club have refused to apologise.

Why hasn’t someone at Chelsea resigned this morning At the BBC, bosses were clearing their desks when one politician was falsely accused of a repugnant crime.

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Over at ITV, a presenter was
grovelling and his bosses paying out damages after he waved about a list
of alleged criminals he had lifted from the internet.

Or
is it OK to say a professional match official is a racist — and then
shrug and say ‘Oops’ when the charge is exposed as complete trash No
doubt a lawyer suggested Chelsea should avoid any apology for fear it
might ‘compromise their legal position’. I wonder if it was the same
lawyer who suggested they might have a case in the first place

Amazing, too, that the judgment broke as new manager Rafa Benitez was being wheeled in for his inaugural press conference. A good day to try to bury bad news, perhaps I wouldn’t put it past this lot.

Chelsea are a club run by an easily bored oligarch with no regard for careers or reputations. I often look at Roman Abramovich’s vacant, thousand-yard stare and wonder what he is thinking. Or even, if.

The chances that he might publicly account for his actions at the club are as remote as his home in Siberia.

But it makes my stomach turn to now read someone at Stamford Bridge claim they had a ‘duty of care’ to Ramires, as if that makes it all ok.

They also had a duty of care to the game, to the reputation of our officials, to the ‘Respect’ tags they dare to wear on their kits. They also had a duty of care to the man they accused of being a racist without any plausible proof.

Overheard: Ramires thought he heard a racial slur

Overheard: Ramires thought he heard a racial slur

This isn’t being wise after the event. This isn’t slating Chelsea for the sake of it, although heaven knows they make it easy. The FA verdict was a foregone conclusion even after the most cursory inspection of the so-called ‘evidence’ — and I have said as much on these pages before.

Chelsea could have looked into the complaint and followed it through without rushing into public with their nasty smear. And considering the astonishing lack of ‘evidence’, it is also a mystery why the FA moved to deliver their verdict as slowly as insurance loss adjusters.

That ‘good faith’ remark smacks of days of draft statements knocking back and forth between expensive lawyers. It reeks of a ‘we-won’t-say-this-if-you-don’t-say-that’ trade-off. The referee was put through the mangle on the word of one player — Ramires, a Portuguese-speaking Brazilian who struggles to communicate in English.

A gaggle of players were closer to the supposed incident and heard nothing, including Ashley Cole and John Mikel Obi.

There was no audio or video evidence, nor confirmation from officials on the touchline. But Chelsea pressed on, having been backed into a corner by their own eagerness to point an accusing finger.

Centre of the storm: Mikel was proven NOT to have been called a monkey

Centre of the storm: Mikel was proven NOT to have been called a monkey

Did you note that Ramires took 15 days to pinpoint the moment he believed he had heard a ‘racist’ remark Until then, he had been unable to remember when this extraordinary insult was actually uttered. Does that sound like a credible witness to you No, nor me. Nor the Metropolitan Police. Nor the FA, for that matter.

Chelsea went to make a point of saying they ‘provided 11 witness statements’. How comprehensive of them.

Unfortunately, that appears to have boiled down to 10 people saying ‘Nope — I didn’t hear any such thing’ and one bloke from Brazil saying he definitely might have heard the word ‘monkey’.

The improbable idiocy of it all didn’t stop someone associated with Chelsea briefing the media within two hours of the final whistle with claims the referee may have made racist remarks. It was running on Sky Sports by 8pm. The club knew what the consequences would be.

So it was galling to read this in Chelsea’s statement: ‘All those directly involved have been subjected to scrutiny over the last weeks. Chelsea FC now hopes that all concerned can continue to carry out their duties without prejudice.’

Back to duty: Clattenburg says he hopes no ref has to go through this in the future

Back to duty: Clattenburg says he hopes no ref has to go through this in the future

Oh, you do, do you Only one man has been accused of ‘prejudice’. Only one man has really been under scrutiny. Only one man has been fighting for his job. But now the tables are turned, just look at Chelsea trying to wriggle away from the mess they created.

There is the one comment amid all of this that truly matters. It is from Clattenburg himself, who is thankfully returning to duty.

‘There are processes that should be adhered to in order that any investigation can be carried out in a manner that is fair,’ he said.

‘I know first-hand the ramifications of allegations of this nature being placed into the public domain ahead of a formal process and investigation. I hope no referee has to go through this in the future.’

Damn right. I would add my own hope that Clattenburg and the referees’ union succeed in their bid to take Chelsea to the cleaners in court.

Even if they can’t bring themselves to say it, I hope Chelsea are made to feel sorry.

Rafa's luck is pants

Chelsea's future former manager, Rafa Benitez, wears lucky underpants.

Whenever the Spanish boss requires the intervention of fate, he pulls on a red pair of budgie-smugglers adorned with a picture of a Tasmanian devil.

It paid off when he led Valencia to the Spanish title and the UEFA Cup. He wore them for every European game in his first year at Liverpool, too, and picked up the 2005 Champions League trophy.

Lucky pants: Rafael Benitez will neet more than underwear to get the best out of Fernando Torres

Lucky pants: Rafael Benitez will neet more than underwear to get the best out of Fernando Torres

But Benitez might need more than lucky pants at Chelsea after being handed the interim job on one promise; the belief that he can sort out Fernando Torres.

The 50million striker is not the man Benitez remembers at Anfield. He has lost the explosive pace that was his greatest weapon.

Maybe Benitez can restore some of the old magic. But the overriding suspicion is Torres is beyond saving at the very highest level. I’d never dare suggest he might even be a bit pants these days — because he’s not that lucky.

Tony looks a Twit

Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes should sack himself. From Twitter.

The knee-jerk social media forum has been nothing but a curse for Fernandes. His wish to communicate with fans is admirable, but he has to be smart enough to know when to leave the iPhone alone, rather than make himself a hostage to fortune.

On Friday, QPR dispensed with Mark Hughes just seven days after Fernandes declared: ‘It won’t be happening — for the millionth time, ha ha.’

Axed: Mark Hughes was sacked despite Tony Fernandes claiming he wouldn't be

Axed: Mark Hughes was sacked despite Tony Fernandes claiming he wouldn't be

We laughed, too. Not with Fernandes, but at his naivety. Now it looks as if Fernandes was forced to wield the axe only after a rift with other key directors. His Twitter feed definitely supports that view.

On October 27, he insisted: ‘We have one of the best managers in the Premier League. We’re in this for the long term.’

I suppose that three-and-a-half weeks is regarded as ‘long term’ in football these days.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic"s goal was not greatest ever scored – Des Kelly

Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored

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UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 16 November 2012

It certainly ranks among the most spectacular. It is undoubtedly one of the more acrobatic. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic's overhead kick isn't the 'greatest ever goal', not if we test it with any genuine measure of greatness.

No matter how loudly knees jerk on the underside of tables in the novelty of the moment, no matter how fast enthusiasts stampede on to social media websites to post their OMGs and little rows of exclamation marks, some perspective is always useful in these situations.

Which is why I was hugely surprised to see former England centre forward Alan Shearer and experienced commentator John Motson join the hysteria by committing themselves to the assertion that Ibrahimovic's goal deserved to be acclaimed as the No 1 international goal of all time.

Swede dreams: Zlatan's stunning 'propeller' kick heads goalwards during the friendly with England

Swede dreams: Zlatan's stunning 'propeller' kick heads goalwards during the friendly with England

More from Des Kelly…

Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode
09/11/12

Des Kelly: No Chelsea player heard Terry abuse Ferdinand… now they're blessed with the hearing of a piano tuner
02/11/12

Des Kelly: The finger of blame will only point at you, Roberto
26/10/12

Des Kelly: Now it is time for football's three monkeys to wise up
19/10/12

Des Kelly: Really, what are these people who support Armstrong on
12/10/12

Des Kelly: Terry affair must not derail battle to defeat racism… so let's stop the schism
28/09/12

Des Kelly: Forget the badge… it might have been you on that tragic day at Hillsborough
14/09/12

Des Kelly: These real diamonds can shine brightly on any stage
08/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

These are two experienced football men. One has played at the highest level. The other has seen three-and-a-half decades of top-flight football at close quarters.

Yet they still chose to raise Ibrahimovic above all others — and said so in print. Obviously, the pair's opinions are entirely subjective and, in these circumstances, who can say whether their verdicts are right or wrong

Me. And I say they are both horribly wrong.

For starters, we suspect Shearer might not be telling the complete truth in his newspaper column when he claims: 'I was sat watching the match with friends up in Scotland and as soon as the goal went in we all stood up and applauded. I have never seen anything like it.’

Oh really We're supposed to believe Scots just clapped their hands when Ibrahimovic's fourth went in

I have seen friends in Scotland who will give the TV a standing ovation if an England player merely lets the ball bobble over the touchline to concede a throw.

When an opposition striker does something monumental like actually scoring against the Auld Enemy they don't so much offer a smattering of applause, as light beacons on the surrounding hills, smear themselves in woad and march south to point pale Caledonian buttocks in the general direction of the lions in Trafalgar Square.

Shearer goes on to add: 'Can you imagine what people would have been saying if Ibrahimovic had got it wrong'

Yes, let's imagine. I'd say the remarks would have been along the lines of:

'Who cares, the bloke's already scored a hat-trick.''It's the last minute of injury time and it’s only a friendly.' Or,'Ibrahimovic was being marked by Ryan Shawcross at the end. I'm surprised he didn't shoot every time he touched the ball.'

That is not to say Ibrahimovic's goal was anything other than wonderful. I was watching with my brother in the local pub when the Swedish striker's effort set off on its unerring arc into the net. We let out a yelp of astonishment and then laughed at the sheer audacity of it all.

But lest anyone persist with the tedious idea that we had all witnessed The Greatest Goal Ever Seen (copyright all newspapers), perhaps we might recall where the goalkeeper was when this drama unfolded.

I'll give you a clue. He wasn't too far from where I was standing on the night. He certainly wasn't where he should have been.

The goalkeeper was not keeping goal, as his job title might suggest. Joe Hart was standing outside the penalty area, looking foolish when the ball flew in. All Hart was 'keeping' was his defenders' company, having made a complete hash of a headed clearance. The fact that Ibrahimovic took advantage of this with such invention is to be commended, but it detracts from the 'greatness' somewhat.

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

There is also a more important asterisk to add when people start throwing accolades around with the kind of reckless abandon usually reserved for Katie Price's wedding confetti.

Ibrahimovic's goal does not belong among the truly great goals for one obvious reason. It didn't really matter.

Legendary goals illuminate major tournaments, like Diego Maradona's scintillating run against England at the 1986 World Cup, Marco van Basten's volley against the Soviet Union at the 1988 European Championship, Dennis Bergkamp's brilliance against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup and Carlos Alberto's strike for Brazil in 1970.

These weren't instances of hopeful showboating at the end of a kickabout friendly. They were not scored against an array of stand-ins and international wannabes. They were sublime acts of genius produced under intense pressure at the very highest level of competition.

If Roger Federer plays an outrageous service return through his legs at an exhibition match, he receives a round of applause for his daring. But he doesn't often try it during a Grand Slam final.

Equally, Kobe Bryant might elect to fire at the hoop from the halfway line in a regular season romp, but he won't often take the risk in an NBA finals clincher.

Greatest Bergkamp's strike against Argentina deserves to be considered as one the best ever

Greatest Bergkamp's strike against Argentina deserves to be considered as one the best ever

He might. True greats can produce that when it matters. But Ibrahimovic’s goal was scored in the luxury of knowing that whether or not he succeeded, it was going to be ornamental garnish on a ceremonial occasion.

So yes, it was good. Beautiful, even. But it was for show, not substance. And since we spend most of our time saying international friendlies are essentially meaningless affairs, it seems contradictory to now place great significance on what actually occurs during one.

That goal was only ‘The Greatest’ in the same way Simon Cowell would tell an X Factor dullard their Beatles cover was ‘the greatest’ he’d heard — in that series.

In fact we use the word ‘great’ so often we strip away it’s meaning. But it is still possible to enjoy Ibrahimovic’s magnificence without joining the clamour to declare it must be the very best.

Particularly as it clearly was not.

Frankel's getting juicy

What is the most expensive liquid in the world

It's not petrol, although it might feel that way every time you pull into the garage forecourt. It's not crude oil, either. The most exquisite perfume doesn’t even come close.

Many believe it is printer ink since a basic 10ml cartridge costs about 40, which works out at around 7,000 a gallon.

But then I heard that the stud fees of superhorse Frankel would be 125,000 a time. That is a seriously expensive fluid.

Hey, stud! Frankel's fortunes will be made off the track, not on it

Hey, stud! Frankel's fortunes will be made off the track, not on it

With 100 mares to 'cover' each year, the unbeaten thoroughbred's efforts should bring a return of more than 12million per annum.

On the grounds of good taste, I won't go into all of the calculations, but this means Frankel's contribution to the equine gene pool works out at approximately 5.6m per gallon.

I believe the figure is right, but I can't guarantee it as I began to feel somewhat queasy halfway through doing the maths.

RVP's motor mistake

When John Terry parked his Bentley in a disabled bay and headed off to a pizza restaurant, he was derided as an ignorant, inconsiderate, arrogant oaf and held up as epitomising all that was negative about the attitude of the modern footballer.

So Robin van Persie cannot escape similar criticism after he dumped his Audi in a blue badge bay at Manchester airport for two days.

We were told Van Persie had made a 'mistake'. Indeed he had, although it cannot have been an accidental one, since there were plenty of signs and yellow warning boxes surrounding the bays.

Van Persie could not have missed all the paraphernalia. Amazingly, RVP (Rude Vehicle Parked) wasn't given a ticket, clamped or towed like any other member of the public would undoubtedly have been. It's a badge of dishonour for the player and Manchester Airport.

Crazy Gang should revel in rise

In years past I spent a few formative years covering the Crazy Gang's mad exploits and still bear some of the scars. I'll save the worst tales for my autobiography.

So I understand the deep significance of the FA Cup grudge match between the Milton Keynes Dons 'franchise' and the AFC Wimbledon outfit that angry fans created to fill the void left by their displaced club.

On course for revenge: AFC Wimbledon face MK Dons in the FA Cup

On course for revenge: AFC Wimbledon face MK Dons in the FA Cup

They meet in a fortnight in the second round and already MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has said AFC don't have any right to the FA Cup Wimbledon won in 1988 — just to make the MK Dons appear more unpopular, perhaps.

Some AFC fans are considering a boycott to show their enduring disgust at the manner in which they were betrayed eight years ago. That would be foolish. Far better to revel in the rise of their reformed club. And who knows They might exact the sweetest revenge of all.

Meddling lawyer has made a right Herbert of himself

Did you see it fly over everyone’s head No, not that goal. I'm referring to the complaint made to the Metropolitan Police by Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers.

The Met kicked his protest out of the park. What a humiliation it was for Herbert, who is so keen to be taken seriously yet seems to leave an overwhelming impression that he is undermining his cause with frivolous meddling.

Herbert's decision to report an allegation that referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused a Chelsea player, even though he hadn't been present, heard nothing and possessed no additional information, was dismissed as expected.

Scotland Yard announced 'no action would be taken — because no victims came forward'.

Herbert took his slapdown with a notable lack of grace. 'It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA,' he said.

No case to answer: Police have dropped the investigation into Clattenburg

No case to answer: Police have dropped the investigation into Clattenburg

That will be the same 'cosy little agreement' that saw the FA punish the Chelsea captain for his racist remarks, when a courtroom full of highly paid lawyers couldn't make any charge stick.

Herbert went on to insist the FA were 'institutionally racist' and said he would go crying to the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, instead.

With crashing understatement, FA chairman David Bernstein responded by calling Herbert's comments 'ill-informed and unhelpful'.

Quite. Perhaps the FA could establish whether Herbert might be sued for that 'racist' smear, as well as the suggestion of a cover-up Clattenburg could also have reason to pursue some action, with possible charges relating to the filing of a malicious allegation to consider.

Herbert appears very keen to keep the lawyers busy. It might not be quite as he envisaged, but it seems he could get his wish.

Leave it out, Lance

Lance Armstrong posed provocatively for a photo sprawled out beneath seven yellow Tour de France winners' jerseys, the symbols of his victories now struck from the record books.

The drug cheat tweeted a caption with it that said: 'Just layin' around'. 'Just lying,' would have covered it.

Just lyin' around: Armstrong with six of his seven Yellow Jerseys

Just lyin' around: Armstrong with six of his seven Yellow Jerseys

Asian Football Confederation issues apology to UAE after "Sand Monkeys" clanger

Asian Football Confederation issues apology to UAE after 'Sand Monkeys' gaffe

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UPDATED:

14:12 GMT, 15 October 2012

The Asian Football Confederation has apologised for mistakenly referring to the United Arab Emirates national team as the 'Sand Monkeys'.

The mistake in an article on the AFC website set off a storm of criticism in the Gulf country.

The UAE Football Association's Yousuf Abdulla demanded an apology and called the wording an 'unfortunate affair' which 'revealed some racist acts by some AFC officials.'

Error: The AFC has apologised for referring to the UAE as the 'Sand Monkeys'

Error: The AFC has apologised for referring to the UAE as the 'Sand Monkeys'

The AFC said it wanted to 'apologise for any hurt this might have caused to the UAE Football Association and UAE football fans.'

The AFC called it a 'genuine mistake' inserted by a new writer who saw 'Sand Monkeys' wrongly listed as the team's nickname on its Wikipedia page.

The team's actual nickname is Al Abyad, or The White, and the Wikipedia page has been corrected.

Chelsea give up in hunt for fan who allegedly racially abused Sturridge in Genk

Chelsea give up in hunt for fan who allegedly racially abused Sturridge in Genk

Chelsea have confirmed they had been unable to prove one of their own fans racially abused striker Daniel Sturridge during the club”s Champions League game at Genk.

The Blues launched an investigation into claims Sturridge was called a “monkey” as he came on as a substitute in last month”s 1-1 draw in Belgium following a complaint from another supporter.

The fan accused of racism – who was sat in the Cristal Arena”s exclusive 100-euro-a-seat section – was alleged to have shouted: “They are bringing on the monkeys.”

Centre of attention: Daniel Sturridge in action against Genk

Centre of attention: Daniel Sturridge in action against Genk

However, none of the 16 supporters Chelsea interviewed during their investigation was able to corroborate the accusation.

A club statement read: “Following the UEFA match in Genk, Belgium, the club received a report from an executive club member that another supporter had used racially-discriminatory language during the match.

“This was said to have been directed at Daniel Sturridge, who came on as a substitute in the second half.

“As with all such reports, the club takes such issues very seriously and has conducted a thorough and detailed investigation.

“This has involved interviewing 16 supporters who, according to the seating plan, were sat in the area of the stadium concerned. A formal statement was also taken from the complainant.

“In spite of the very lengthy enquiries, the evidence did not identify conclusively any individual as being responsible for making the comments. No other witnesses reported having heard the alleged comments or anything similar.

On going: Chelsea are waiting to hear news on the allegations of racist abuse from John Terry at Anton Ferdinand

On going: Chelsea are waiting to hear news on the allegations of racist abuse from John Terry at Anton Ferdinand

“In the absence of clear evidence, it is not possible to reach any conclusion on which to pursue the complaint further. For these reasons, the club is unable to take any further action.

“We should stress that the club welcomes the diligence of all supporters to report any behaviour which is offensive and unacceptable and will always treat any such complaint seriously.”

The accused fan was also alleged to have joined in the abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during the Genk game, something which began in the away section.

The club are still trying to identify those heard to chant “Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are” in apparent support for Chelsea captain John Terry, who is waiting to learn whether he faces criminal charges over claims he used a racial slur against Ferdinand. Terry categorically denies the allegation.