Tag Archives: overtones

Gareth Bale has banana thrown at him – police to investigate

Police hunt for supporter who threw banana at Bale during Tottenham's win over Arsenal

Laurie Whitwell


12:07 GMT, 4 March 2013



14:03 GMT, 4 March 2013

Police have launched an investigation after a banana was thrown at Gareth Bale during the north London derby.

Officers are working with Tottenham staff and reviewing CCTV to establish the identity of the supporter who launched the fruit at Bale from the Arsenal section as the forward attempted to take a corner in the 27th minute.

Assistant referee Darren Cann picked up the banana and removed it from the pitch but no further action appeared to be taken at the time.

Incident: The assistant referee holds the banana thrown at Gareth Bale as he went to take the corner

Incident: The assistant referee holds the banana thrown at Gareth Bale as he went to take the corner

Bale and the banana incident

Bale and the banana incident

Targeted: Ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor (right) was also a target for abuse from Gunners fans

Targeted: Ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor (right) was also a target for abuse from Gunners fans

The Metropolitan Police will prosecute the person responsible if located, given it is an offence to throw an object on to a football pitch.

Usually such action carries racist overtones, as when Mario Balotelli was taunted with inflatable bananas during the recent Milan derby, but in this case the yob supporter seemed to be mocking Bale’s appearance.

Those with Arsenal allegiances flocked to Twitter to give misguided congratulations to the culprit.

User ‏@jackAFCmartin posted: ‘The best moment of the match. When an Arsenal fan threw the banana skin at Gareth Bale #Chimp’

Happy days: Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor as Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane

Happy days: Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor as Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane

Danny O’Reagan wrote: ‘Whoever threw that banana at Gareth Bale is a legend.’

But Robin Bylund provided a reasoned voice when he replied sarcastically: ‘Arsenal “fans” throwing a banana towards Gareth Bale. How classy…’

The FA say they are awaiting a report from their crowd control adviser, who is likely to have noted down the incident, and will make every effort to identify the person responsible.

The act somewhat marred a thrilling game, which Spurs won 2-1, with striker Emmanuel Adebayor also taunted over the horrific shootings in Angola while on international duty with Togo in 2010.

Football fans treated terribly at Christmas again – Patrick Collins

So this is how football gets into the spirit of Christmas! Fans are once again taken for granted during festive season



00:07 GMT, 23 December 2012

Football fans have had a terrible
year. There was aggravation at Anfield, offensive chanting at Chelsea
and all manner of unsavoury capers from Luton to Leeds. Add the sombre
overtones of racism and the disturbing threat of sporadic violence and
we see how ancient stereotypes have been miserably reinforced. Yet there
is another side to the story and it reveals itself once again this

For those fans are routinely taken
for granted. They are what an old fighter once described as ‘prawns in
the game’, faceless legions who can be shunted around the country at the
whim of a lazy fixture scheduler or an arrogant television executive.

Their convenience is irrelevant and
their loyalty crassly exploited. They are victims of their own
allegiances, condemned to tour the nation’s motorways in the worst of
the weather and the height of the holiday season.

What about the fans Southampton played Sunderland on Saturday

What about the fans Southampton played Sunderland on Saturday

More from Patrick Collins…

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Patrick Collins: The anti-Wenger mob should be careful what they wish for

Patrick Collins: England's sensational miracle workers have everyone believing again

Patrick Collins: Captain Cook must stand the test of time before he can join the greats

Patrick Collins: Football's silent majority must set the tone, not the bigots who just want to be noticed

Patrick Collins: Richie McCaw, Dan Carter… your boys took one hell of a beating!

Patrick Collins: Tears follow tragic mistake that turned into an ordeal for brave Hatton

Patrick Collins: Let's hope Pep has the right answers when Roman comes calling


As you might expect, the Premier
League are the most cynical culprits. Their fixtures are designed for
those who are more at ease with a remote control than a Satnav.
Saturday offered several harrowing examples. Sunderland played at
Southampton. According to my AA Route Planner, it involved a journey of
318 miles, taking 5hr 58min to complete. In total, the Saturday trip
covered around 640 miles in 12 hours’ driving, with congestion, floods
and the search for a parking place no more than occupational hazards.

QPR were at Newcastle, some 564 miles
in 10hr 20min. Fulham fans travelled to Liverpool, a round trip of 440
miles in 8hr 12min. Which sounds considerably more comfortable, until we
remember that, courtesy of a television contract, the match kicked off
at 5.30pm.

The followers of Manchester United
will make a similar journey to and from Swansea on Sunday — eight hours,
440 miles. While next weekend Arsenal supporters will go to Newcastle
(10hr 20min, 560 miles), while Spurs visit distant Sunderland (same
time, same distance).

/12/22/article-0-16A04F13000005DC-679_634x421.jpg” width=”634″ height=”421″ alt=”What Christmas cheer Fulham fans went all the way to Anfield to see their team thrashed” class=”blkBorder” />

What Christmas cheer Fulham fans went all the way to Anfield to see their team thrashed

Now neutrals/civilians/the
indifferent and uncommitted might observe that nobody is forcing all
those people to make all those exhausting, expensive, environmentally
damaging and essentially unnecessary journeys. And they would have a
point. Yet they make no allowance for the obsessive, the fanatical, the
blindly loyal and those for whom such journeys are not trials to be
endured but challenges to be embraced.

These people are football’s poor
bloody infantry, cannon fodder for sellers of expensive seats and
inferior catering. Their views are unsolicited because they are
unwanted. They exist as little more than a television producer’s sound
effects; a cheery chant, a sigh of despair, the roar that signifies a
goal or a victory.

Nobody consults a chant or seeks the
opinion of a sigh and so they are seen as optional extras, their value
is diminishing year upon year. Yet, for all their occasional excesses,
they are the lifeblood of the game, the people who love it most dearly.

Players are bought and sold, managers
come and go, owners hang around in the hope of an oligarch’s cheque or a
sheik’s largesse. Yet the fans are saddled with their fate, lumbered
with their first love. And so they undertake extraordinary journeys,
peering painfully through the motorway murk for 12 hours and 640 miles
on the Saturday before Christmas.

Except, they do not regard it as
extraordinary. Instead, they see it as a kind of secular vocation, a way
of life which they freely chose and fiercely cherish, despite the
sacrifices it entails.

They know they are being used, they
are aware that those sacrifices are routinely derided by the people who
control the game, but they also know they have neither power nor voice.

There is something faintly daft in
such devotion but there is also something rather wonderful. For they
will be there when all the freeloaders and the corporates, the social
networkers and the fly-by-night proprietors have left the building.

Without them, there is no game. From time to time, we do well to recognise their contribution.

A 201,000 bonus for the boss of the 'useless' LTA

Baroness Billingham has a gift for plain speaking and last week she used it to full effect.

‘The Lawn Tennis Association are one of the wealthiest sporting organisations in the country,’ she said. ‘And it’s my honest and genuine opinion that they are useless.’

As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Tennis Group, the noble lady knows her subject. And the facts support her argument.

Tennis is funded on a lavish scale. The LTA receive around 30million every year from Wimbledon’s profits. In addition, the funding body, Sport England, awarded them 24.5m over a four-year span, with the object of increasing grassroots participation. And what has happened

Participation has fallen from 487,500 in 2008 to 445,100 in 2012. This at a time when Andy Murray’s success has given the sport a profile it has never before enjoyed. ‘Useless’ is almost an understatement.

LTA chief executive Roger Draper has come under fire

LTA chief executive Roger Draper has come under fire

Incidentally, it should be noted that Murray’s eminence, in common with the impressive British women, Heather Watson and Laura Robson, owes nothing to the LTA, since all three followed an independent path in the game.

So the LTA are feeble among the grassroots and irrelevant among the elite.

Sport England have, therefore, quite properly, decided to cut the funding from 24.5m to 17.4m. For the first year it will hold back 10.3m of that reduced total until the LTA have proved that they can deliver.

As Jennie Price, the Sport England chief executive, said: ‘Their plan simply wasn’t strong enough to justify the four-year investment.’ Thus we have an organisation that are not only ‘useless’ but officially incompetent.

And what would you do with the chief executive of such a body Well, if you were the LTA, you’d award him a bonus. Of 201,000. Along with his basic wage of 394,000 and his pension contribution of 45,000, it brings his total salary up to 640,000. This represents an increase of 42,000 on his package for 2011.

Which makes us wonder what Roger Draper might have earned had he been even remotely successful.

Sadly, Draper has not been around to defend his position. Instead, the LTA put up somebody called Simon from the commercial department to flannel a few cliches. Outrageously, nobody was prepared to explain the 201,000 bonus.

So what will be the fate of the visionary who announced: ‘I want to make tennis the No 2 sport after football’

The question answers itself. The statistics are devastating and Draper’s position is untenable. For British tennis could do very much better. Indeed, as the plain-spoken Baroness Billingham will tell you, it could scarcely do worse.

PS… It is reported that the Stoke manager Tony Pulis has officially complained about the three-match suspension of Everton’s Marouane Fellaini. The ban was imposed for Fellaini’s headbutting of Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. Mysteriously, Pulis suggests that one of his players would have received something far more punitive. This is the same Pulis who, three years ago, saw the tackle which Shawcross flung at Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, shattering his leg and putting him out of the game for almost a year. Shawcross was banned for three matches. I can’t recall Pulis complaining about his man’s lenient sentence but I’m sure he must have done. Otherwise he would now risk appearing both absurd and hypocritical.

Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis

Patrick Collins: Taking Terry to the Euros isn"t worth the risk, Roy

Taking Terry to the Euros isn't worth the risk, Roy



01:35 GMT, 20 May 2012

Theo Walcott’s family were confronted by a cruelly difficult decision. On the one hand, they desperately wanted to see the player represent his country at Euro 2012. On the other, they were aware of the threat posed by gangs of racist thugs in Kiev and Donetsk.

In the end, they decided not to travel. As Theo’s brother, Ashley, explained: ‘Some things aren’t worth risking.’

Since there are eight black players among the 23 members of the England squad, we must assume that other families are facing a similar decision. Roy Hodgson understands.

‘There’s no doubt that the issue of racism and violence in the Ukraine is a concern to us all,’ he says. ‘Not least those supporters who’ll go over there and maybe risk getting beaten up if they don’t happen to be white.’

Civilised: Roy Hodgson

Civilised: Roy Hodgson

Now, the sincerity of England’s new manager is not in question, since he is a man of civilised instincts. As such, he recognises the sinister overtones of this particular tournament and the need to tread a sensitive path between giving entirely avoidable offence and picking a team fit to represent England.

Yet still he selects John Terry.

Terry, as the world knows, is to face trial on a charge of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and his trial takes place in the week beginning July 9.

It would have started a good deal earlier but Chelsea asked for a postponement as their players were inconveniently involved in the football season. Remarkably, the request was granted. The result is that the trial will now be held after the Euros.

With the England squad together for up to six weeks, the potential for damaging and disruptive speculation is self-evident.

Flashpoint: Terry and Ferdinand at Loftus Road

Flashpoint: Terry and Ferdinand at Loftus Road

As we are constantly reminded, by eminent lawyers moonlighting as football pundits, Terry is innocent until proven guilty. Which is not only true but clumpingly obvious. And yet, by successfully pushing back the trial date, Terry inadvertently landed Hodgson with a significant challenge. And, sadly, the new man fluffed it.

Asked to defend his choice of Terry, he waffled. He took refuge in ‘football reasons’ for preferring Terry to Anton’s brother, Rio. Hodgson knows a great deal more than I do about the respective professional virtues of Terry and Ferdinand. That is how he makes his living. But while his judgment is rightly respected, it is not beyond challenge.

More from Patrick Collins…

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Patrick Collins: Hodgson has spent his career becoming perfect for England

Patrick Collins: Pep leaves a huge void but who will really miss Terry

Patrick Collins: Cole's sheer brilliance shows he's more than just a love rat

Blunderman milks it as he keeps Kenny in a job with FA Cup semi-final winner

Patrick Collins: Formula One should forget the money and pull out of Bahrain

Patrick Collins: Clubs like Pompey must belong to the fans, not the money men


Recall Chelsea’s most recent engagement with Liverpool, when Terry spent the match being outwitted by Luis Suarez and out-muscled by Andy Carroll. Remember the World Cup finals of 2010, when he passed a humiliating afternoon giving unproductive chase to fleet-footed Germans. Reflect on that recent semi-final in Barcelona, when he was dismissed for a ludicrously irresponsible assault which condemned his team to a 10-man struggle for 53 minutes.

So the football case for Terry is less than conclusive but that is only part of the story. You see, by repeatedly reciting ‘football reasons’, Hodgson presents himself as a ‘football man’. It is an overblown, overused term, designed to convey an elevated commitment to professional values. Ethics Morality These are the mundane concerns of little people. The football man lives by different rules, in a world bounded by white lines.

When Hodgson announces ‘I hope his [Terry’s] performances on the field will give the team a better chance of getting a result than if he wasn’t there’, he is acting the football man, parroting a pragmatic script.

Consider again that World Cup of 2010 and especially Terry’s infamous press conference when, with Fabio Capello at his lowest ebb, he boasted of how the England players were effectively taking control, of how he had discussed events with ‘Lamps, Wazza, Aaron Lennon, Jamo, Crouchy, Johnno, Jamie Carragher, Stevie, probably a couple more’, of how he did not fear his manager’s reaction: ‘If it upsets him [Capello] then I’m on the verge of just saying, “You know what So what, I’m here to win it for England”.’

And his risible conclusion: ‘I was born to do stuff like this.’ Of course, he was swiftly and savagely disowned by all and sundry but, by then, the damage was done.

Risible: John Terry in South Africa

Risible: John Terry in South Africa

Somebody recently, and quite brilliantly, described Terry as ‘self-mythologising’. Certainly Capello’s failure to understand this aspect of Terry ultimately cost him his own job. But the authorities have played their flaccid part in the ongoing fiasco.

Some of us have never understood why the FA, having properly asserted his unfitness to captain England, did not pursue their own logic by refusing him the chance to represent his country in any capacity until his trial is over.

But the buck was passed, the deed was done, and Roy Hodgson was left to struggle with a wretched situation. When he managed West Bromwich, his actions merited only minor attention outside the West Midlands. But the decisions he takes in the England job carry national resonance.

And if he truly believes that Terry’s presence will cause no division inside and outside the camp, then he is surely mistaken.

It is an enormous pity because the man is clearly far better than this wretched choice suggests. ‘That’s the decision I’ve made and that’s the decision I shall live with,’ says Hodgson, but his defiance is unconvincing.

For we remember the words of Ashley Walcott, spoken in a different context, yet strangely appropriate. ‘Some things aren’t worth risking,’ he said. And he was right.

A kicking too far for Kenny

The eulogies for Kenny Dalglish were notably restrained. True, there was a small effusion of tearful Twittering on Merseyside but no flowers were laid nor silences observed.

This was partly due to his record, which involved spending tens of millions of pounds in order to win the Carling Cup. Then there were his surly public relations.

When we think of the Dalglish tenure at Liverpool, the most prominent images involve crass T-shirts and a series of tetchy collisions with hapless interviewers. So sympathy was hard to come by.

Sorry season: Dalglish

Sorry season: Dalglish

But here’s a strange thing: one man who has dodged the Anfield bullets is the little-known managing director, Ian Ayre. And he seemed curiously eager to announce the reasons for the manager’s departure.

‘It was always about taking stock of the season in full,’ he declared.

‘It’s a very simple decision based on results and do you believe that that’s going to change Thirty seven points off the winners, 17 points off fourth place and 14 losses, that was the measurement on which the owners made their decision.’

It was almost as if he felt that trampling on the manager’s reputation might enhance his own status.

If so, it didn’t work. Dalglish may well have damaged his reputation by his charmless public performances. But, unlike Mr Ayre, at least he has a reputation to damage.


The clouds were grey and the day was chill, yet still the Lord’s Test brought the best from the commentators.

Michael Holding, liquid vowels and lightly-worn wisdom, found instant line and length. Michael Atherton was magisterial.

But the pick of my week was the exchange between Jonathan Agnew and Phil Tufnell on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special. They were discussing Tufnell’s new horse.

Tufnell: ‘I’ve named her after the wife.’ Agnew: ‘Not all of them’ Tufnell: ‘Current one, Aggers, bleeding long name otherwise.’ Cricket is back and it was never more welcome.


Which Manchester City player said: ‘I did my best to give my last grain of sand to help them win this title’

The answer, it may surprise you to learn, is Carlos Tevez.

He was speaking from Argentina, the country where he spent the best part of six months in a protracted sulk while his colleagues were toiling towards that title.

Once again, the dim little chap gives self-delusion a bad name. It will take much swallowing of pride and much frittering of money but how I hope that City’s sheik sends him packing.

Deluded: Tevez

Deluded: Tevez