Tag Archives: vaart

Rafael Van der Vaart admits diving to get Robert Lewandowski sent off

Video: Former Spurs ace Van der Vaart admits diving to ensure Lewandowski sees red after wild kick

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

17:53 GMT, 10 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 10 February 2013

Rafael van der Vaart has admitted that he dived to ensure Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski was sent off after he aimed a wild kick at his teammate.

Play was stopped after Lewandowski followed through on Per Skejbred when aggressively challenging for a bouncing ball.

In the aftermath, the Netherlands midfielder went down after confronting Lewandowski, with the Poland international then given his marching orders.

Scroll down for video

Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

Target: Dortmund fans were unhappy with Rafael van der Vaart after an earlier incident involving Sebastian Kehl

'It was a fiery match,' Van der Vaart said. 'In the scene with
Lewandowski I had to do a bit of theatre.

'I had the feeling that he
would not otherwise have been sent off. It was a clear red card,' he
told reporters.

Hamburg were 2-1 up when Lewandowski was dismissed, and went on to win
4-1, but Van der Vaart dismissed the idea that the red card was key to
the victory.

'Ultimately we won the game because we were better,' he stated.

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

Boiling point: Vander Vaart squares up to Robert Lewendowski

The former Tottenham man was instrumental in the victory, with the HSV’s
sporting director Frank Arnesen singling him out for praise after the
match.

'You saw again today how important he is to our team. He had an excellent game.'

He drew the ire of Dortmund fans,
however, and was hit on the head with an object thrown from the stands
when he was taking a corner. Van der Vaart was unhurt.

Video: Lewandowski's wild kick

Everton"s 8.6m Leroy Fer deal in jeopardy

Everton's 8.6m Fer deal in jeopardy after medical reveals knee injury problems

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

22:27 GMT, 29 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 29 January 2013

Everton's bid to sign Leroy Fer has been plunged into doubt after a problem emerged following the midfielder's medical.

The Holland international had been on the brink of becoming David Moyes' first January signing after he flew in from Rotterdam on Monday night but significant doubts emerged yesterday following stringent tests at the club's Finch Farm training base.

It prompted Everton to enter into further negotiations with FC Twente over the structure of the 8.6million deal, given that Fer had serious knee injury last year, but the Dutch club are unhappy with what has been offered

On the rocks: Fer had flown in to complete his deal, which has hit a snag

On the rocks: Fer had flown in to complete his deal, which has hit a snag

Chairman Joop Munsterman said:
'Everton have demanded additional conditions for the transfer of Leroy.
They want to pay in separate instalments. We can't agree with that. We
need to buy a replacement.'

Everton remained tight-lipped over the
problem but there is no question that David Moyes is still eager to
bring the highly-rated Fer to Goodison Park, if negotiations can be
completed to their satisfaction.

Fer, who had travelled to Merseyside
with his girlfriend Xenia and agent, Rob Jansen, had been shown around
Finch Farm yesterday and had made a positive impression on all those
with whom he had dealings. He had also agreed a four-and-a-half year
contract.

So highly thought of is the
23-year-old in Holland that he is expected to star his country's next
friendly in midfield ahead of Wesley Sneijder and Rafa van der Vaart, as
Louis van Gaal picks a squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Moyes was reticent to talk about Fer
at his press conference yesterday afternoon but the most telling thing
he said was describing suggestions the 23-year-old was being brought in
to replace Marouane Fellaini as 'a load of tosh'.

Fellaini's future has been a source of great speculation but Moyes has no intentions of selling the influential Belgian.

Moyes, whose side face West Brom at
Goodison Park tonight, said: ‘I read something like that (about Fellaini
being sold) and that is the biggest load of tosh i have heard.

Down and out Fer's move could be off

Down and out Fer's move could be off

'That is nonsense whoever wrote or
said it. They are different types of players. No, that is not the reason
for bringing (Fer) in, that is for sure.’

Everton’s squad has been hit by
injuries to key figures in recent weeks and, aware that sustaining any
more would prove detrimental to what has been an encouraging season,
Moyes admitted freshening his group up during the window was vital.

Explaining why he moved for Fer, Moyes
said: 'I felt that we are in a really strong position and could we try
and strengthen that position and stay there if we can.

'I would hate to look back and think i
hadn't given that a go or made any attempt to do that. The squad needs
help. I think the squad has done brilliant to get where it has got but
it could do with one or two additions.'

Clint Dempsey settling in to Rafael van der Vaart role

'Frustrated' Dempsey finally ready to fill void left by Van der Vaart at Tottenham

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UPDATED:

17:02 GMT, 26 November 2012

Tottenham forward Clint Dempsey thinks he is finally ready to fill the giant void left by Rafael van der Vaart’s departure.

Van der Vaart scored 28 goals and provided many more assists during a two-year spell at White Hart Lane before he returned to Hamburg this summer.

Andre Villas-Boas signed Dempsey to fill the No 10 role Van der Vaart performed so well in even though the American was used to operating off the left flank.

Frustrated: Clint Dempsey (left) believes he is doing a better job at Tottenham now

Frustrated: Clint Dempsey (left) believes he is doing a better job at Tottenham now

Dempsey scored a whopping 23 goals from Fulham last season, but he struggled initially to settle in to the more central role required of him at Spurs this season.

Dempsey has scored only twice in Tottenham colours, but he combined well with Jermain Defoe against West Ham yesterday, and the 29-year-old thinks he is finally becoming accustomed to his new position.

'I’ve been frustrated with not getting on the ball, being in the game or affecting games, but I think I’m now starting to do a better job,' Dempsey said after the 3-1 win.

'I thought I was good against West Ham. I was able to get a little bit more on the angle, be able to drive with the ball a bit more, take more shots and create chances for other people.

'It was good to play a part in two of the goals and I was unlucky to hit the post but I enjoyed the game.'

Part of Dempsey’s initial struggle to fit in to the Tottenham team can be put down to what was a tumultuous summer for the 29-year-old.

Dempsey thought he would secure a dream move to Liverpool that he had hankered for all summer when Brendan Rodgers made an enquiry for the forward, but the Merseysiders failed to follow it up with a bid.

Instrumental: Dempsey set up Gareth Bale's goal in the 3-1 victory over West Ham

Instrumental: Dempsey set up Gareth Bale's goal in the 3-1 victory over West Ham

Martin Jol left Dempsey out of his Fulham squad at the start of the season before Tottenham ended the forward’s nightmare summer by meeting the 6million asking price that Liverpool were unwilling to match.

'It was a difficult August for me. I didn’t have a pre-season with Tottenham or anybody, so I’m trying to play catch-up a little bit and trying to adjust to this team and the style they play,” said Dempsey, who supplied Gareth Bale for Tottenham’s second with a clever chip pass.

Playing catch-up: Dempsey signed for Tottenham on transfer deadline day

Playing catch-up: Dempsey signed for Tottenham on transfer deadline day

'I’ve been looking at videos and trying to figure out a way to make an impact and help the team.

'I’m traditionally used to playing in a 4-4-2 where I’m the guy on the left but I’m not an out-and-out winger.

'I come inside and I’m more like an attacking inside-left, so being more central is good, but it’s about getting on the ball and making the right movements, and I’m starting to do a better job in that respect.'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic"s best goals

Reckon the propeller kick is special It might not even be Ibrahimovic's best goal… check out his greatest hits

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 15 November 2012

It was immediately dubbed the ‘greatest goal ever’ and why not

A quite sublime piece of audacity from Zlatan Ibrahimovic set the seal on an outstanding four-goal performance as Sweden beat England 4-2 in Stockholm last night.

It was the perfect riposte to those who have called him ‘overrated’ and those cheeky England fans who thought him inferior to Andy Carroll.

For Zlatan, though, it was also the latest masterpiece to add to an impressive collection of breath-taking goals. Enjoy some of his best here.

Watch Ibrahimovic's goals from last night here

Special: Ibrahimovic soaks up the acclaim of his home crowd after yet another spectacular goal against England last night

Special: Ibrahimovic soaks up the acclaim of his home crowd after yet another spectacular goal against England last night

Tying opposition defences in knots for Ajax

Ibrahimovic was a long way short of the finished product we see today when at Ajax, but his stock was rising with each of his 48 goals in 110 appearances.

The pick came in his final season with the Dutch club, against NAC Breda in 2004, when he tied the opposition in knots with a mazy run, beating the same players two or three times each.

At the time, Zlatan was in a feud with Rafael Van Der Vaart, who claimed that Ibra deliberately injured him in training. After the wondergoal, the camera cuts to an ashen-faced VVD in the stands. Ibra didn’t care, he signed for Juventus the following day.

A flick in the knick of time for Sweden

Euro 2004 and things are looking bleak for Sweden, trailing Italy in their second group match with the clock ticking down. A corner sparks pandemonium in the Italian defence and, with a moment of sheer improvisation, Ibra comes up with a kind of looping back heel which has just enough elevation and dip to evade the Christian Vieri on the post.

Paying back his transfer fee for Juve

Ibrahimovic had plenty to prove after making the 16m euro (12.8m) switch to Juventus and started to repay his transfer fee with strikes like this against Benfica.

Marauding down the left channel, there didn’t seem a lot on but utilising the element of surprise to devastating effect, Ibra launched a powerful, dipping shot inside the near post.

A chance from nothing against Roma

Another excellent illustration of Ibra’s ability to create something out of nothing. Surrounded by Roma defenders, and near the half-way line, he looked very isolated when the ball comes across.

But a flick of genius sends him spinning away from the defender, his pace carries him clear and a clinical finish doubles Juve’s lead.

67mph free-kick against Fiorentina

After Juventus came a 24.8m euro (20m) switch to Internazionale and a flurry of spectacular goals. The pick may well be this one – a stunning 32-metre free-kick at the San Siro against Fiorentina in 2009 which reached 67mph as it flew past the goalkeeper and crashed in off the bar.

More set-piece magic for Barcelona

Another outstanding free-kick, this time in the colours of Barcelona, whom Ibra joined in a megabucks move in 2009. Things didn’t transpire too well in Catalonia but he did grab 22 goals in 46 matches – including this marvellous Nou Camp set-piece against Real Zaragoza.

Loopy goal against Lecce

After spending the 2010-2011 season on loan at AC Milan, the move was soon made permanent. More comfortable to be playing back in Italy, it wasn’t long before Ibra was indulging in the spectacular again.

In this goal against Lecce, lashed in from a good 30 yards, it looks as though the Swede isn’t even looking at where the goal is.

Acrobatics for Milan against Fiorentina

In all, Ibra scored 56 goals in 85 games for Milan, an impressive tally, and he clearly revelled in inflicting pain on Fiorentina. Not a free-kick this time, but a piece of acrobatic trickery in the penalty area.

He pinches the ball from between the legs of the defender, a keepie uppie and then, while falling backwards, a scissor kick.

Holland 0 Germany 0

Holland 0 Germany 0: Bore draw as clash of the titans fails to live up to expectations

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 15 November 2012

It's supposed to be one of the biggest rivalries in world football.

But Holland versus Germany turned out to be a 90 minute snoozefest in Amsterdam last night as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw.

Maybe both sets of players had their weekend domestic fixtures on their minds – but if ever there was a clear illustration of why so many feel international friendliest are pointless exercises, this was it.

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Germany tried to impose their smooth passing style on the hosts – who honoured former internationals Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy before kick off.

In particular, Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Mario Goetze, the man Arsene Wenger dreams of signing, was enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening 15 minutes.

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

However, despite the wealth of
attacking talent on show at the Amsterdam Arena, former Liverpool
forward Dirk Kuyt mustered up the first opportunity of any real note
with a tame sliding effort in the 20th minute.

Everton defender John Heitinga did well to keep the shackles on Goetze a minute later as the 20-year-old tried to conjure up a yard of space to unleash an effort on goal deep inside the Dutch box before blocking Lewis Holtby's low goalbound effort from Benedikt Howedes' excellent cut-back soon after.

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Arjen Robben wasted a golden opportunity to give Holland a 30th minute lead when he was sent clear through by Ibrahim Afellay – but the former Chelsea winger failed to squeeze his shot in after rounding German keeper Manuel Neuer.

Howedes and Marxo Reus both had chances to put Joachim Low's side ahead before Heitinga was forced into a superb goalline clearance from Ilkay Gundogan's low shot with the final kick of the opening half.

The second half started with the same pedestrian pace as the first, with neither side eager to impose themselves.

And no amount of encouragement from supporters spark any sort of tempo or urgency to this drabbest of matches.

In fact the first worthy attempt on goal in the second half came in the 77th minute when Neuer produced a brilliant stop low to his left, denying Dutch substitute Daryl Janmaat's low effort from the edge of the box after Kuyt's lay-off.

Eljero Elia flashed an angled effort from 16 yards wide moments later as Holland finally showed signs of life.

But it was merely a flash of entertainment as the clash ended goalless.

World Cup qualifying round-up: Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Edin Dzeko

Van Persie, Suarez and Dzeko all on target as internationals go goal crazy

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 16 October 2012

On a thrilling night of international action Premier League marksmen led the goal rush with Robin van Persie, Edin Dzeko and Luis Suarez all on target.

Holland assumed control of Group D with a thumping 4-1 win of Romania in their top-of-the-table clash in Bucharest.

Romania had not conceded a goal in their opening three wins, but their perfect record was in ruins within the opening 45 minutes as Jeremain Lens, Bruno Martins Indi and Rafael van der Vaart all found the target.

Dutch delight: Robin van Persie capped a dominant Holland performance with the last of four goals

Dutch delight: Robin van Persie capped a dominant Holland performance with the last of four goals

Dutch delight: Robin van Persie capped a dominant Holland performance with the last of four goals

Robin van Persie then completed the rout four minutes from the end with Romania's consolation coming from a fine Ciprian Marica goal when they were 2-0 down.

Three points behind Holland in Group D are Hungary, who went behind to Mevlut Erdinc goal against Turkey but hit back to claim a 3-1 win thanks to efforts from Vladimir Koman, Adam Szalai and a penalty from West Brom's Zoltan Gera.

Elsewhere, Switzerland defeated Iceland 2-0 away from home with second-half goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and Mario Gavranovic and they remain three points clear of Norway at the top of Group E.

Norway trailed to a 42nd-minute Efstathios Aloneftis goal against Cyprus but recovered to win 3-1 with Brede Hangeland (45), Tarik Elyounoussi (81, penalty) and Manchester United's Joshua King (83) on the scoresheet.

Group F leaders Russia continued their 100 per cent start with a 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan, although they needed an 84th-minute Roman Shirokov penalty to claim a fourth win out of four.

City slicker: Edin Dzeko underlined his importance to Bosnia and Herzegovina with a well taken goal

City slicker: Edin Dzeko underlined his importance to Bosnia and Herzegovina with a well taken goal

City slicker: Edin Dzeko underlined his importance to Bosnia and Herzegovina with a well taken goal

In Group G Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece lead the way with 10 points.

Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Lithuania 3-0 with goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Manchester City striker Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic while Greece ended Slovakia's unbeaten start thanks to a Dimitris Salpingidis goal.

The pick of the games in Europe, though, came from Germany were the hosts threw away a 4-0 lead in the final half an hour against Sweden.

Germany, fresh from their 6-1 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland on Friday, looked set for another big win as a brace from Miroslav Klose and further goals from Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil saw the hosts 4-0 up inside an hour.

Thrashed: Luis Suarez's Uruguay were humbled in Bolivia, despite his late strike

Thrashed: Luis Suarez's Uruguay were humbled in Bolivia, despite his late strike

Thrashed: Luis Suarez's Uruguay were humbled in Bolivia, despite his late strike

However, hopes of a fourth successive win in Group C suddenly looked in doubt as Sweden, who had won both their opening qualifiers, pulled three goals back in a 14-minute spell through Zlatan Ibrahimovic (62), Mikael Lustig (64) and Johan Elmander (76).

The home side looked to have weathered that fightback, though, as the game entered injury time with them still holding on to a narrow lead, but in the third minute of added time Sweden stunned their opponents when Rasmus Elm made it 4-4.

And in South America, Suarez hit an 81st-minute consolation as Uruguay were thrashed 4-1 by Bolivia, the hosts' Carlos Saucedo netting a hat-trick to add to Gualberto Mojica's strike.

Patrick Collins: Big-spending elite must heed Wenger"s demand for sanity

Big-spending elite must heed Wenger's demand for sanity

By
Patrick Collins

PUBLISHED:

21:37 GMT, 1 September 2012

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UPDATED:

23:28 GMT, 1 September 2012

The late summer sun was shining but
there was a chill in the air, and the reporters shivered gently as they
stood outside the nation’s training grounds and gabbled their stirring
snippets. ‘Charlie Adam is having a medical at Stoke … Rafael van der
Vaart has just left in a chauffeured four-wheel drive … Dimitar Berbatov
could — massive could — be on his way to Tottenham.’

Back in the studio, a blonde in a blue
dress informed us that precisely 11 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds
remained of this momentous day. Then we broke for an advertisement,
which invited us to apply for large and instant sums of money at an APR
of 1,734 per cent. Thus did the crack troops of Sky Sports News bring us
the deathless details of transfer deadline day.

So much froth, so much nonsense; there
is a whiff of high camp about the preposterous ceremonial. It is an
orgy of conspicuous consumption, a brash brandishing of banknotes.

No fee is too high, no salary too
gross. Figures recently published by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group
reveal that, even before the latest burst of excess, Premier League
clubs have spent more than 4.4bn on transfer fees since January 2003.
This takes no account of wages, which have continued to soar with
successive television deals.

Big money: Javi Garcia was the flagship signing on a busy transfer deadline day, joining Manchester for 16million from Benfica

Big money: Javi Garcia was the flagship signing on a busy transfer deadline day, joining Manchester for 16million from Benfica

The fact most of those clubs are
desperately in debt is no more than an irritation. It’s trebles all
round and there’s more where that came from. This is the Premier League
we’re talking about, this is the place where tomorrow never comes.

It is an unattractive attitude at the
best of times but, in an age of bleak recession, it becomes actively
offensive. Arsene Wenger understands. A prudent, reflective man in a
sport which sets little store by such virtues, he believes that tough
times will hasten reform.

‘I’m convinced that, basically, society will force football to become more reasonable,’ he says. ‘The
standard of living is dropping, and you cannot imagine that will happen
in society on one side while, on the other side, football continues to
push up with inflation. That cannot work together.’

More from Patrick Collins…

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Patrick Collins: Venomous and vacuous footballers are their own worst enemies
18/08/12

Trust the politicians to try to grab a share of Olympic glory
11/08/12

Patrick Collins: Trust the politicians to try to grab a share of Olympic glory
11/08/12

Patrick Collins: London's joyful Games prove there is life on Planet Olympics
04/08/12

Patrick Collins: Olympic lesson in pride and prejudice
28/07/12

Patrick Collins: Wiggins is a name to go with Bannister and Perry
21/07/12

Patrick Collins: After our diet of fish fingers, this was proper cricket
21/07/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The Arsenal manager speaks with the
authority of one who has built and financed one of England’s finest
stadiums, produced an immoderate harvest of outstanding players and
qualified for the Champions League for the past 15 seasons while making
his club a profit every year. And all without the intercession of a
sheik or an oligarch, the kind of benefactors for whom money is not a
limitation, nor even a consideration. Inevitably, his prudence renders
him vulnerable to the shallow clamour of those who demand cups and
trophies, short-term prizes delivered by the power of the purse. When he
loses a Fabregas, a Nasri, most damagingly a Van Persie, then his
philosophy is put to the test.

We can sense his anguish on watching
Robin van Persie celebrate scoring for Manchester United against Fulham:
‘I was thinking, “He has the wrong shirt on. Why does he jump around
like that in that shirt I don’t know at all”. Deep down I knew but I
didn’t like it too much, you know’ But he accepts principles carry a
price. A dim-witted minority of Arsenal followers insist Wenger is out
of touch with their version of reality. Short cuts are the order of the
day; pay the price, buy the results, let tomorrow take care of itself.
You know it makes sense.

Wenger listens and smiles. He bides
his time and places his faith in UEFA’s tritely mocked yet essentially
admirable attempts to create a level playing field. He believes in
sanity.

‘I think Financial Fair Play will come
through because big clubs who have been spending a lot of money are
worrying about it now. They ignored it until now, but finally we see
they are getting concerned,’ he says. ‘All the clubs are struggling and
we find ourselves a little in the situation of Germany in Europe.’

Arsene Wenger as Angela Merkel; some will dismiss it as an impertinent delusion, others will recognise the analogy. When such an eminent man pursues his convictions with such tenacity, he wants to be certain that others are playing to the same rules. If Financial Fair Play can be equitably enforced, then Wenger will receive his just rewards and the game he serves will be placed upon a saner, fairer footing.

Financially prudent: Arsene Wenger wants to see clubs on a fairer footing

Financially prudent: Arsene Wenger wants to see clubs on a fairer footing

The alternative is miserably depressing. It involves a tiny number of elite teams exercising financial muscle and flaunting all the trophies that money can secure, while less privileged clubs tug their forelocks, give thanks for their loan players and generally make up the numbers.

What was once a league would become a kind of touring company, with two or three stars and a gaggle of bit-part performers. And that chill in the air which set the reporters shivering would take on darker, more sinister overtones.

Unless Wenger’s ideals prevail, then the unthinkable would swiftly become the inevitable. For all its faults and all its failings, football deserves better than that.

Sensitive Allardyce and the West Ham family values

Sam Allardyce, or so his friends tell us, has a thin skin. Bluff of manner and brusque of tongue, the West Ham manager can be easily hurt by a harsh word. For years, this sensitive soul has endured the smear that his sophisticated tactics amount to little more than kick-and-chase. Now he is suffering taunts and innuendoes over the extraordinary influence of his agent.

Happy family: Sam Allardyce

Happy family: Sam Allardyce

Mark Curtis, himself no stranger to controversy, has long enjoyed a lucrative relationship with Allardyce. By happy chance, he also represents Kevin Nolan, who played for Allardyce at Bolton and Newcastle, and now captains West Ham. By still happier chance, he also acts for Matt Jarvis, who West Ham have just signed for a club record 10.75million and who is apparently paying the agent five per cent of his substantial salary for the next five years.

When West Ham wanted a prolific centre-forward to round off their silky approach play, they turned to Liverpool goal machine Andy Carroll. Who is, wouldn’t you know, represented by the fortunate Mr Curtis.

Now you may see absolutely no conflict of interest in the same agent representing manager, captain and the two most significant players, along with other members of the first–team squad.

Indeed, you will be heartened by the reassuring words of David Sullivan, the club chairman and erstwhile pornography baron, who says: ‘I do not believe there is any skulduggery at West Ham.’

Yet still the Twitterati and the message boards are unconvinced. Ribs are nudged, noses are tapped, there are dark suggestions of an unhealthy monopoly.

Such fears are surely baseless. For those of us who have known the place down the decades will testify that there was always a distinctive West Ham way of doing things, right back to the days when men such as Ron Greenwood and John Lyall created a family club, with civilised standards of play and behaviour.

The cast has changed, but under the resourceful leadership of Big Sam and his chum Mark, Upton Park remains one big, happy, enormously wealthy family. With its own, distinctive way of doing things.

PS

So, farewell Andrew Strauss. The career was glittering, the captaincy exemplary and the going was timely and graceful.

Strauss was one of those precious few sportsmen who exuded an air of something akin to nobility and we understood why those he led would have followed him to the ends of the earth. Well, there was one exception, but he may be swiftly discounted.

History will record that Kevin Pietersen was a superior batsman to Strauss. But as a man, he is not to be mentioned in the same breath.

Hamburg keen to sign Rafael van der Vaart from Spurs

Hamburg will fight to re-sign Spurs midfielder Van der Vaart

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 29 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Hamburg insist they will do ‘everything they can’ to sign Rafael van der Vaart from Tottenham before tomorrow night’s transfer deadline.

The German club have already had a 8million bid turned down by Spurs for the 29-year-old but are confident a deal can be concluded.

Van der Vaart has already shown a willingness to return to his former club but the fee remains a problem.

Old pals: Rafael van der Vaart (left) is wanted back at former club Hamburg

Old pals: Rafael van der Vaart (left) is wanted back at former club Hamburg

Spurs want 14m for the Dutch forward
but Hamburg will attempt to find a compromise before the window closes,
offering around 12m.

Hamburg chairman Carl-Edgar Jarchow said: ‘There is not a lot of time — it is really up to Tottenham Hotspur.

‘If we have a chance to sign him, we will do everything we can to make that happen.’

Signing on: Mousa Dembele completed his move to Tottenham on Wednesday

Signing on: Mousa Dembele completed his move to Tottenham on Wednesday

Midfielder Mousa Dembele, whose move
to Spurs was confirmed on Wednesday, said on his Twitter page: ‘Happy to
confirm I signed a new contract with Tottenham FC.

‘I would like to thank all the Fulham fans for their support. You were amazing.’

Rafael van der Vaart wanted by Hamburg while Spurs suffer setback in Willian chase

Hamburg vow to re-sign Van der Vaart while Spurs suffer setback in Willian chase

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UPDATED:

15:15 GMT, 29 August 2012

Hamburg have vowed to do everything possible to re-sign Rafael van der Vaart from Tottenham before the transfer window closes.

Van der Vaart has been strongly linked with a return to his former club but the Bundesliga side's chairman, Carl-Edgar Jarchow, has admitted time is running out to convince Spurs to sell.

'There is not a lot of time – it is really up to Tottenham Hotspur,' he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 'If we have a chance to sign him, we will do everything we can to make that happen.'

Old pals: Rafael van der Vaart (left) is wanted back at former club Hamburg

Old pals: Rafael van der Vaart (left) is wanted back at former club Hamburg

That opportunity could present itself if Tottenham complete the signing of some of their own targets during what looks set to be another frantic final 48 hours of a summer transfer window at White Hart Lane.

Moussa Dembele is on the brink of sealing a move from Fulham after Spurs triggered a 15million release clause.

New manager Andre Villas-Boas has also renewed the interest he showed while Chelsea boss in Shakhtar Donetsk forward Willian, who could fill the void left by the departure of Luka Modric.

Shakhtar chief executive Sergei Palkin has claimed he had rejected a bid of just under 12million for the Brazilian and that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy had also made an inquiry about two other players.

No go: Shakhtar Donetsk have turned down Spurs' latest bid for Willian (top)

No go: Shakhtar Donetsk have turned down Spurs' latest bid for Willian (top)

'Mr Levy, the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC, personally flew to Donetsk to negotiate over Willian,' Palkin told his club's official website. 'But his latest offer was 15 million euros, which we, of course, did not accept.

'Levy, by the way, hinted that besides Willian, Villas-Boas was interested in Douglas Costa and Fernandinho, but he mentioned that just casually, without any specifics.'

Spurs have been heavily linked for some time with France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and there are reports they could be on the brink of agreeing a deal with Lyon in the region of 13m.

Van der Vaart is said to be valued at around 14million by Daniel Levy, almost more than double the Tottenham chairman paid Real Madrid for the 29-year-old two years ago.

The Holland star joined Real from Hamburg, where he became a cult hero during his three-year spell at the club, while his wife, Sylvie, still works in Germany.

Spurs have also been linked with Internacional striker Leandro Damiao and Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila but the chances of them moving to White Hart Lane appear to have receded.

Time is also running out for Villas-Boas to offload players, with doubt having reportedly been cast on the futures of several names including Michael Dawson, Jermaine Jenas, Aaron Lennon, David Bentley, Heurelho Gomes, Giovani dos Santos and Jermain Defoe.

Tom Huddlestone appeared to have completed a loan move to Stoke, although that has been complicated by a medical that prompted concern over the player's long-standing ankle problems.

Rafael van der Vaart to sign for Hamburg from Tottenham

Hamburg set to seal 9m move for Van der Vaart as AVB's clear-out continues

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UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 28 August 2012

Hamburg hope an offer of around 9million will be enough to
tempt Tottenham to sell midfielder Rafael van der Vaart this week.

The Germans
will offer the 29-year-old Holland player a three-year deal.

Wanted: Rafael van der Vaart looks set to return to Hamburg

Wanted: Rafael van der Vaart looks set to return to Hamburg