Barca v Man City
Barca v Man City
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Tensions reached an all-time high in Greece’s premier football rivalry as Panathinaikos dashed Olympiakos’ dream of becoming only the second team to win the Greek league undefeated. (Panathinaikos were the first to do so). The visitors’ 3-0 victory in what is dubbed the “Derby of the Eternal Enemies” ended Olympiakos’ 27-game unbeaten run, but was marred by chaos during and after the match.
In the second half, with the game well in hand for the visitors, Olympiakos fans grew more restless by the second. With riot police entering the grounds, the home supporters began chucking objects down onto the pitch, including a full cup of Coca-Cola that hit Panathinaikos manager Yannis Anastasiou in the face:
Hey, at least it wasn’t Pepsi.
Anastasiou wasn’t seriously hurt, but after the match Olympiakos fans continued to take their frustration out on the police outside the grounds. According to AFP, a total of eleven arrests were made.
In a separate incident, Olympiakos striker Michael Olaitan collapsed on the pitch without contact due to what doctors later deemed viral myocarditis. Olaitan was transported to a nearby hospital and is now in stable condition.
Green Street, the approach to the Boleyn Ground at Upton Park, has a famous clock outside the Tube station. The message is grim: it reads “DON’T KILL YOUR WIFE/LET US DO IT.” It’s for a launderette, and it’s sold with typical East London humor.
There’s a lot of that around here, and the area needs it: Upton Park is in a ragged part of London, clogged with shops offering mobile phone unlocking, open-air fish markets and halal eateries. And the football here’s not offering much relief.
West Ham is an immensely proud club, fallen on some difficult times. Nearly 120 years old, they have bounced back and forth between the Premier League and the Championship in recent years and are currently locked in a fierce relegation battle. Tuesday night, they were in a classic six-pointer against an equally poor Norwich side, hoping to put a bit more distance between themselves and the drop.
Off the field, the Hammers have been a bit more successful. Owned by two veterans of London’s now-faded pornography industry, David Gold and David Sullivan, West Ham have inked a sweet deal to move out of their aging ground and take over the Olympic Stadium in nearby Stratford. For a mere $26 million, they will get to take over a stadium that is expected to cost nearly $310 million to retrofit for football. In addition, they announced on Monday that they will sell their old grounds here to a private developer, in a deal that has been reported as worth nearly $120m. Not a bad bit of business.
Not everyone is happy about that, mind you. Tiny Leyton Orient, currently trying to clamber out of the third division, sits in the Olympic Stadium’s shadow. They fear their tiny stadium on Brisbane Road simply won’t be able to compete, and they have a point, but they have lost several legal challenges to West Ham’s tenancy there, and as it stands, the matter is settled.
The funny thing is that West Ham might not be far apart from Leyton in the tables next season. Their fabled “Academy of Football” is referenced with heavy irony these days and with just seven points separating the eleven teams trying to stay in the top-flight, they have a brutal run-in ahead of them. In the final weeks, the Hammers will play both Manchester sides, Liverpool and three London derbies (against Palace, Arsenal and Spurs). They are currently 4-1 to go down the chute.
Leyton, on the other hand, sit in third in League One and have a realistic chance of going into the Championship. They are hardly world-beaters and rely too much on a single player — defender Romain Vincelot, a steely defender who begins most of their play out of the back — but they aren’t half bad, either.
The fact that these two clubs on opposite trajectories — one wealthy but always soggy; another plucky but well-scrubbed — might meet next year is a bit of an irony. What would be even better is if the two were in the same division come 2016. One will be playing in a taught ground that barely seats 10,000. The other might be rattling in around a 54,000 seat stadium. And both are likely to be far away from the top-flight.
This story will not make Warren Barton happy.
A 65-year-old disabled grandmother and lifelong Newcastle United fan had her season ticket pulled from the club after missing her first match in more than 13 years!
Lilian Held, who lives just a few blocks from St. James Park, had given her ticket to Newcastle’s December fixture against Southampton to her son while she went on vacation. That way, she thought, her two granddaughters, who usually accompany her to the games, would still be able to attend with adult supervision.
Wait, it gets worse.
Midway through the first half of that game, stewards threw Lillian’s 29-year-old son out of the stadium for wrongly being in the seat designated for disabled fans, leaving his 14-year-old twin nieces all alone in the stadium!
OK, surely it can’t get any worse, right?
Upon returning from vacation, Lillian immediately attempted to retrieve her seized season ticket, only to be informed weeks later that her ticket had been sold to another fan. She could pay for a new one next season.
Appalled, Lilian told her story to local paper The Chronicle:
“I have sat in that seat for years. I’m a lifelong fan of Newcastle United and I worked for the club in the 1990s where I had my picture taken with Kevin Keegan.
“Going to the match is the only bit of social time I get. I live for those home. Taking my ticket from me and selling my seat without giving me the right to even argue my case has completely ruined my year.”
After being bombarded with phone calls and messages after the newspaper ran the story on Thursday, Newcastle felt “compelled” to respond.
This is the club’s statement:
Mrs Held’s subsidized disabled season ticket was cancelled and a pro rata refund given for remaining games of the 2013/14 season following reports of alleged misuse and a subsequent investigation.
As part of this investigation, it was found that Mrs Held’s disabled season ticket seat was being used by an able-bodied supporter during the Newcastle United v Southampton fixture, which is against the terms and conditions agreed at sale.
Mrs Held remains welcome at St James’ Park and can reapply for a concessionary season ticket next season.
Really? There was no better way to settle this?
Well done, Newcastle. *Sarcastic applause*
Real Madrid v Atletico
Some lights have gone out at the emirates. Emergency back up from thousands of camera phones. pic.twitter.com/niab4wqxLL— Amy Lawrence (@amylawrence71)January 24, 2014
During Friday’s fourth round FA Cup match between Arsenal and Coventry City, several of the light fixtures at the Emirates Stadium suddenly went out, prompting fans to chant “Arsenal, pay the bill.”
Luckily, plenty of fans from both sides apparently had the Flashlight app on their smartphones and provided some timely backup:
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal)January 24, 2014
Andrew Ryan from Manchester United YouTube channel “Full Time Devils” stopped a handful of gullible Chelsea fans outside of Stamford Bridge and put their knowledge of the Blues’ transfer dealings to the test. The results will make you want to smash your head against the desk. Or simply laugh your tail off.
Ryan asked fans for their opinions on some of the club’s rumored January transfer targets, but here’s the twist: none of the players actually exist!
Playing right into the prankster’s hands, the clueless fans happily offered their scouting reports on the likes of Liam Ying (an anagram of “I am lying”), Lugi Bull (“gullible”), and Win Nowt (“win nothing”).
Oh, what fans will do to prove their footy intelligence, especially once the cameras are on.
Do you live and die for Barcelona?
Well, now you can make certain that you’re Blaugrana from the cradle to the grave — literally. Barcelona have built a mausoleum for fans who will pay to have their remains stored at the Camp Now forever and always — or at least for 50 to 99 years.
Currently, there is only space for 500 urns at the Les Corts cemetery — which lies adjacent to the Camp Nou — but the plan is to build a whole mausoleum underneath the stadium, with room for around 30,000 urns, once the Camp Nou is modernized or built anew. Interested fans will then be able to purchase large, Barca-decorated ceramic slabs, behind which family members’ ashes can be stored.
The price is steep, however, and apparently the urns would not be able to remain there forever, which we thought was the whole point.
From The Guardian:
"Memorial Space FC Barcelona aims to be a link with the club forever, a tribute to those who wish to be bound forever to the club," said Santi Bach, the chief executive officer of Giem Sports, who are partners in the project.
Prices range from €3,000 (£2,480) to €6,000 to buy a space for 50 to 99 years.
Photo via Getty Images
2014 NWSL Draft
No one will ever question Sylvester Stallone’s toughness on the silver screen. Stallone’s most painful moment during his blockbuster movie career, though, might come as a bit of a shock.
During a recent promotional interview for ‘Grudge Match’ with the BBC, the Hollywood legend recalled a humbling experience while filming the 1981 classic ‘Victory.’ In the film, Stallone played the role as an American POW goalkeeper, starring alongside soccer greats Bobby Moore, John Wark, Ossie Ardiles and Pele:
Stallone told the BBC:
"That was one of the low points of my life. What a butt-kicking I got! I still have a broken finger from trying to block a penalty by Pele.
"He put on a pair of World War II shoes which were steel-tipped, and the ball was like a cannonball - it was twice as thick and heavy as footballs are today. He was telling me he was going to take a shot and I thought ‘It’s soccer, what’s the big deal? It’s easy.’
"He came to take one penalty shot and he told me exactly where he was going to put it, so I stood there but the ball still flew past me before I could move.
"He put it literally right where he had said. He did it again, and it ripped through the back of the net and broke a window in the barracks where we were filming. I went ‘Are you kidding me?’ I found a new kind of respect."
Sounds painful. Then again, what did Sly expect when attempting to stop the greatest player of all-time from scoring?
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