Tag Archives: tastic

Leon Osman escapes grumpy old men at Everton to fulfil England dream

Osman escapes grumpy old men at Everton to fulfil England dream in Sweden

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 12 November 2012

Leon Osman normally spends international week trying to cheer up Everton’s version of the grumpy old men.

‘There’s usually four or five of us left behind,’ said Osman. ‘There’s me, Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar, now he’s retired from international football.

‘There’s not much you can do. It’s usually running. I’m a lot happier to be here, I can tell you. I’m sure they’ll miss me. I’m the lively one.’

Tache-tastic: Osman has been called up for the first time at the age of 31

Tache-tastic: Osman has been called up for the first time at the age of 31

On Wednesday, Osman will be in Sweden with England, called into the senior team for the first time at the age of 31, and it was a popular choice by Roy Hodgson.

‘We were out on the training pitch when I saw more staff than usual by the side of the pitch,’ said Osman. ‘I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Then the manager called us together in a circle and announced I was in the squad.

‘There was a lot of hair ruffling and kidney punching and the child-like stuff that comes with it. All the staff were cheering. It was a great moment.’

Osman went home and put on Sky Sports News, sat his sons Cole and Deacon in front of the screen and watched as his eldest Cole, aged seven, worked it out. ‘It was a great moment,’ said Osman.

Fine form: The midfielder has helped Everton into fourth place

Fine form: The midfielder has helped Everton into fourth place

‘There was a confused look on his face and I said, “That’s our name, you know”. When he realised, he was made up. I’m sure he’ll be allowed to stay up and watch.

‘When England play, I’m usually screaming at the telly with my scarf in my hand. I wouldn’t say I’d given up. It was looking more and more unlikely but, as an English lad, I’d never say never.

‘It’s fantastic to be here. If it’s a one-off that’s great but, being the character I am, if I get in the squad I want a cap and if I get one cap I’ll want two. I don’t think I’ll settle for anything but if it turns out to be one cap I’ll be delighted.’

Mario Balotelli Time Magazine interview says racists will never change

Stupid racists will never change, says Balotelli in Time Magazine interview

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UPDATED:

16:46 GMT, 2 November 2012

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli believes that nothing can be done to change the ways of racist people because they are inherently stupid.

In an interview with America's iconic Time Magazine the Italian international born to Ghanaian parents spoke frankly about the racist abuse he has suffered during his football career.

The 22-year-old was on the receiving end of racist chants while playing for Inter Milan in Italy and he believes the problem is far worse in his homeland than in England.

Cover star: Balotelli spoke to Time Magazine about racism among other things

Cover star: Balotelli spoke to Time Magazine about racism among other things

'Racist people are few and you can do nothing against [to change] them,' said Balotelli.

'You can talk, you can do what you want, but you can't do anything because they are just stupid people.

'When I wasn't famous, I had a lot of friends, almost all of them Italian,' he says. 'The racism only started when I started to play football.

Training day: City face West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday evening

Training day: City face West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday evening

'But me, personally, I hope I can help Italy to be a modern country like England or America.'

Balotelli also discussed his admiration of US President Barack Obama, revealing: 'I was really happy to see a black man be the chief [commander-in-chief]. I would like to meet him.'

Fang-tastic: Balotelli with Man City captain Vincent Kompany on Friday

Fang-tastic: Balotelli with Man City captain Vincent Kompany on Friday

Balotelli has endured a rocky relationship with City manager Roberto Mancini at times, but he told Time that he sees his countryman as a father figure.

'My relationship with Mancini is really important,' added Balotelli. 'He's known me since I was young and he's like a father to me. 'I used to play with the young children at Inter Milan, so I know him very well and I can tell him anything.'

Newcastle fans celebrate as St James" Park sign is restored

Out with the new and in with the old! Toon fans pop their corks as St James' Park sign is restored to Newcastle's famous home

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UPDATED:

14:34 GMT, 17 October 2012

Newcastle fans celebrated in style outside St James' Park after finally being allowed to call the famous old stadium by it's original name once again.

Members of the Toon Army knocked back the champagne as the Sports Direct signs were taken away and the old name was officially unveiled.

There was outrage when the club announced a sponsorship deal with owner Mike Ashley's sportswear retailer last season which included the naming rights to the stadium to end 119 years of history in the city.

Let's get fizzy-cal: Newcastle supporters celebrate the stadium name changing back to St James' Park

Let's get fizzy-cal: Newcastle supporters celebrate the stadium name changing back to St James' Park

But the Magpies have now signed a 32million shirt and stadium sponsorship deal with short-term loans company Wonga.com for the next four years.

It does does kick in until next season but the club moved quickly to get their name back and a few fans were there to mark the occasion.

The rest of the Magpies faithful, most of whom refused to acknowledge the change to the Sports Direct Arena, will be able to celebrate this victory at next home game, in the Europa League against Club Brugge.

The boss: Magpies manager Alan Pardew said last week he welcomed the change back to St James' Park

The boss: Magpies manager Alan Pardew said last week he welcomed the change back to St James' Park

So everything's good again on Tyneside Not quite. Supporters are furious with plans to have Wonga emblazoned on the front of the famous black and white stripes.

The company, already sponsors of Championship club Blackpool and top Scottish side Hearts, have been labelled a 'legal loan shark company' for offering short-term loans at an APR of 4,214 per cent.

Fan-tastic: Newcastle supporter Ian Davison was a happy man outside St James' Park

Fan-tastic: Newcastle supporter Ian Davison was a happy man outside St James' Park

Everton 1 Manchester United 0: Robin van Persie loses on debut

Everton 1 Manchester United 0: Fellaini on fire as Toffees ruin Van Persie's big night

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UPDATED:

20:52 GMT, 20 August 2012

Robin van Persie had a Manchester United debut to forget as Everton's Marouane Fellaini stole the show at Goodison Park.

Fellaini capped a superb individual performance with the only goal of the game in the second half.

Van Persie, United's new 24million signing, came off the bench but, like the rest of his team-mates, could not cope with David Moyes' men.

Jump for joy: Marouane Fellaini gets up to head the ball past United keeper David De Gea

Jump for joy: Marouane Fellaini gets up to head the ball past United keeper David De Gea

David De Gea had to be at his best in the first half, saving from Leon Osman and then keeping out a free-kick from Leighton Baines.

Wayne Rooney had a couple of chances for the visitors but it was the home side, with Fellaini making them tick, who bossed the opening 45 minutes.

Osman then smashed an effort off the crossbar shortly after the restart and Everton kept up the pressure until Fellaini powered home a header just short of the hour mark.

Van Persie left the bench to warm up just after the goal and was on the pitch in place of Danny Welbeck 10 minutes later.

But Everton kept him quiet and deserved the three points.

Full report to follow…

And we're off: Fellaini sprints away to celebrate after scoring for Everton

And we're off: Fellaini sprints away to celebrate after scoring for Everton

Fan-tastic: Marouane Fellaini celebrates his goal with Nikica Jelavic in front of the Everton supporters

Fan-tastic: Marouane Fellaini celebrates his goal with Nikica Jelavic in front of the Everton supporters

No fear: Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea clears under pressure

No fear: Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea clears under pressure

No holding back: Everton left-back Leighton Baines and United winger Nani get stuck in

No holding back: Everton left-back Leighton Baines and United winger Nani get stuck in

Welcome to the Premier League: Shinji Kagawa was named in the Manchester United starting XI

Welcome to the Premier League: Shinji Kagawa was named in the Manchester United starting XI

On the ball: Robin van Persie warmed up before taking his place on the Manchester United bench

On the ball: Robin van Persie warmed up before taking his place on the Manchester United bench


Game for a laugh: Van Persie shares a joke with new team-mate Anderson as he watches the first half

Game for a laugh: Van Persie shares a joke with new team-mate Anderson as he watches the first half

Worth a try: Leon Osman has a go as United skipper Nemanja Vidic keeps a close eye on him

Worth a try: Leon Osman has a go as United skipper Nemanja Vidic keeps a close eye on him


Going it alone: Marouane Fellaini hit the post from a tight angle early in the first half

Going it alone: Marouane Fellaini hit the post from a tight angle early in the first half

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes tries to get Manchester United going

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes tries to get Manchester United going

Hard to handle: Everton striker Nikica Jelavic tries to get away from Patrice Evra (left) and Tom Cleverley

Hard to handle: Everton striker Nikica Jelavic tries to get away from Patrice Evra (left) and Tom Cleverley

Another new recruit: Kevin Mirallas is introduced to the Everton supporters before the kick-off

Another new recruit: Kevin Mirallas is introduced to the Everton supporters before the kick-off

Star man: Marouane Fellaini caused Manchester United plenty of problems

Star man: Marouane Fellaini caused Manchester United plenty of problems

United fans the most generous in the country… no, this isn"t a joke

United fans are the most generous in the Premier League… and no, that's not a joke!

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 18 August 2012

Manchester United fans don't always receive a positive press, but they certainly will do here after topping a 'League of Giving' for football supporters.

United fans have been revealed to be the most generous in the Premier League, giving an average 30.03 to charity a month.

Fan-tastic: United supporters celebrate the club's 19th league title last year

Fan-tastic: United supporters celebrate the club's 19th league title last year

Overall, fans gave an average of 15 a month, according to a survey of more than 1,000 supporters conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation.

Richard Harrison, CAF director of research, said: 'The fact that
football fans give 15 a month to good causes is excellent news for
charity.

'While all the pre-season talk has been about huge transfer fees and
mammoth wages, it's great to know that fans care about good causes as
well as the action on the pitch.'

The league of giving…

1 Manchester United 30.03
2 Manchester City 27.78
3 Tottenham 22.77
4 Newcastle 20.99
5 Southampton 16.86
6 Aston Villa 16.76
7 Liverpool 16.07
8 Fulham 15.83
9 Chelsea 15.51
10 West Brom 14.17

11 Norwich 13.98
12 Sunderland 12.66
13 Wigan 12.58
14 Reading 10.55
15 West Ham 10.49
16 Queens Park Rangers 10.48
17 Everton 9.62
18 Arsenal 9.45
19 Swansea 8.96
20 Stoke 6.53

* Market research firms Research Now and Lake questioned 1,067 football supporters between July 31 and August 12

Roebrto Mancini hails Manchester City title win

Mancini hails 'crazy' finish to season as City land first title for 44 years

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UPDATED:

17:16 GMT, 13 May 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted it has been a 'crazy season' after his side pipped Manchester United to the Barclays Premier League title with a last-gasp 3-2 victory over QPR.

The Blues looked set to endure a awful afternoon when Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie overturned Pablo Zabaleta's first-half strike in between Joey Barton getting sent off.

Champions: Vincent Kompany lifts the title on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium

Champions: Vincent Kompany lifts the title on the pitch at the Etihad Stadium

Crazy: Mancini goes wild at the final whistle

Crazy: Mancini goes wild at the final whistle

Crazy: Mancini goes wild at the final whistle

But Edin Dzeko rose to give the Blues fresh hope before Sergio Aguero drove home the goal that turned City into champions for the first time since 1968.

Mancini told Sky Sports 1: 'It was incredible – they deserved this. To win it like this is incredible. I don't think I've ever seen a finale like this.

Magic moment: Sergio Aguero scores the winner

Magic moment: Sergio Aguero scores the winner

Magic moment: Sergio Aguero scores the winner

'We didn't deserve to lose, we had a lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and championship.

'It's fantastic for the club and the supporters after 44 years. It's been a crazy season and a crazy last minute.'

The Italian added: 'Five minutes from the end, I didn't think we'd win this game. But we deserved to win this and deserved to win the title. We were on top for 20 games.

Fan-tastic: The City faithful celebrate their first title in 44 years

Fan-tastic: The City faithful celebrate their first title in 44 years

Fan-tastic: The City faithful celebrate their first title in 44 years

Fan-tastic: The City faithful celebrate their first title in 44 years

'I think for us it was really important to start winning this championship, Manchester City can have a big future now.'

City captain Vincent Kompany admitted the dramatic ending was almost too much for him.

'You want to say it's the best moment of your life but, if I'm honest, please never again this way.

'Even though the first half was really good we just couldn't get through.'

Kompany insists he never lost faith, though.

Blue moon: City's players celebrate at the final whistle

Blue moon: City's players celebrate at the final whistle

Blue moon: City's players celebrate at the final whistle

Blue moon: City's players celebrate at the final whistle

'I never stopped believing,' he said. 'When Edin scored that goal, it reminded me of so many other moments during the season when we've done this before. There was no reason not to believe.

'It's not sunk in yet. I don't know what happened at the end, it was just a huge mess.

'I'm so happy for the guys cos they've given so much this season. We've dreamed of this all our lives and now we're champions. See the fans and how happy they are – unbelievable.'

Samir Nasri, a summer signing from Arsenal, was thrilled to taste league success in his first season at the Etihad.

'It's the first time in my life I've won something like this – to be losing 2-1, to come back and score the winning goal to give us the title,' he said.

Champions: Mancini's squad revel in the glory

Champions: Mancini's squad revel in the glory

Champions: Mancini's squad revel in the glory

'It's amazing and I'm really happy. I knew I made the right decision (coming here) and tonight I want to celebrate with all our fans, my family and my friends.'

Goalscorer Pablo Zabaleta added: 'I thought when we were losing 2-1, I thought “we'll score one goal and we're still going to lose”.

'I don't want to wake up from this. You just look at the players and the fans, everybody deserves this.

'The most important thing for any team is when you believe. If you believe in yourself you win. We believed until the last minute.'

Goalkeeper Joe Hart hopes it is the first league title of many for City.

Pandemonium: Fans invade the pitch at the final whistle

Pandemonium: Fans invade the pitch at the final whistle

Pandemonium: Fans invade the pitch at the final whistle

'I'm proud to play for Man City and I'm proud to play with these boys,' he said.

'It means the world to these fans – we need to do it again now, let's do it again.'
City's controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who came off the bench with the team 2-1 behind, used the occasion to take a swipe at his critics.

He said: 'We are the best and that's why we won.

'We didn't play very well in a few games but the rest of season we played very well so we deserved to win.

Double joy: QPR celebrate their escape from relegation

Double joy: QPR celebrate their escape from relegation

Double joy: QPR celebrate their escape from relegation

'Personally I think too many people talked and too many people said bad things about me, and now they have just to shut up.'

And the Italian forward insisted his future is at the Etihad Stadium, saying: 'Manchester City is a great club, a great team, I have great team-mates.

'I don't see my future far from here so I think I want to be here.'

City legends Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee, who were part of the City side which won their last league title in 1968, were at the Etihad Stadium to witness the latest success.

'It was real Roy of the Rovers stuff,' said Lee. 'To come back with five minutes to go and score twice, it was unbelievable.

Oh, brother: City fans turn the Etihad blue

Oh, brother: City fans turn the Etihad blue

'As I said last week, if your name's on it, your name's on it. If your luck's going to go against you, it will do.

'They've got a very strong team and the will to go forward now, very good footballers, great backing, a top drawer manager. Let's hope they can carry it on.'

Summerbee admitted he thought the club's title chances had disappeared as the final whistle approached.

'I thought we were out of it completely,' he said.

'I can't handle a situation like this, going through things like this at my age.

'To be honest I'm a bit speechless, but this is brilliant and a fantastic occasion for the club.'