Football

English football should snap out of its obsession with February chill

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 14:30
Cold has always been a huge part of football in a country where winter is still seen as the game’s pure founding state but the idea of a defining winter-football gene has aways seemed a little bogus Continue reading...






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Arsène Wenger: Jack Wilshere is a professional – video

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 14:12
Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, defends Jack Wilshere after a photograph of the midfielder emerged, allegedly showing him smoking a shisha pipe. Wenger says Wilshere is a serious player and a hard worker, adding that one photograph cannot not define his life. The manager also looks ahead to the London Derby match against Tottenham Hotspur Continue reading...






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Racism charge against Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci ‘not proven’

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:59
• Italian had been charged with misconduct by FA
The FA statement on Giuseppe Bellusci in full

The Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci has had an FA charge against him found not proven by an independent regulatory commission.

Bellusci had been charged with misconduct by the Football Association in December for allegedly using racist language towards the Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome.

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West Ham announce record £20m shirt sponsorship deal with Betway

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:30
• West Ham welcome ‘biggest-ever commercial deal’
• New sponsor to be on shirt for Sunday’s game with Man Utd
Liverpool announce New Balance as new kit manufacturer Continue reading...






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Equatorial Guinea fans’ violence: ‘I was choking … my eyes started burning’

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:19
Gary Al-Smith, a Ghanaian journalist, was in the Estadio de Malabo when visiting supporters were attacked by Equatorial Guinea fans during the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final
• Ghana players and fans pelted with missiles

The louspeaker crackled to life. “This is the minister of sport of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea,” a disembodied voice said. “I want to urge you all to calm down and cooperate with the police. We are sending a poor image about our country …” The crowd responded with boos and whistles. Another warning from the PA – and then the police moved in.

Smoke bombs flew. A chopper appeared, lowering its rotors to scatter fans as police brandished batons and Tasers. For a brief moment, there was a rush as supporters made for the exits, all played out to a global audience.

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Alisher Usmanov steps in to pay Fabio Capello £3.9m in owed Russia wages

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 13:10
• ‘It’s an embarrassment,’ says Arsenal’s second-largest shareholder
• Usmanov gives money to crisis-hit Russian Football Union for second time
• Capello last received his wages from employers in June

The Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has stepped in with an emergency loan so that Russia can pay national team coach Fabio Capello 400 million roubles (£3.9m) in back wages.

The country’s richest man, a mining magnate who is worth an estimated $14bn according to Forbes and is the second-largest shareholder in Arsenal, announced late on Thursday that he was giving the Russian Football Union a 400-million-rouble loan on preferential terms, and the first payment was made later that night. Usmanov made the loan at the request of the sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, who said on Thursday that the back wages would be paid over the course of two days.

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Police contain crowd trouble at Africa Cup of Nations semi-final – video

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:56
Riot police enter the Nuevo Estadío de Malabo in Equatorial Guinea to contain a pitch invasion after Ghana beat Equatorial Guinea 3-0 in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Thursday night. Ghana scored two late goals in the first half of the match, leading to Equatorial Guinea fans pelting them with bottles, before unrest escalated as the match was suspended and eventually concluded five minutes before full-time Continue reading...






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The making of Chelsea’s Juan Cuadrado: from struggle and trauma to triumph

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:37
Chelsea’s Colombian winger lost his father when he was four in frightening circumstances. But ‘Shorty’ was desperate to be a footballer – despite the efforts of his exasperated grandmother
• Chelsea sign £27m Juan Cuadrado as Wolfsburg get Schürrle

Perched on Colombia’s northern coast, Necoclí is an idyllic paradise fringed with palm trees, deep blue Caribbean waters and a lush tropical rainforest that tumbles from the mountains into unspoilt golden sands.

But over the last few decades this haven of serenity and natural beauty has been trapped under a dark cloud of unimaginable horror. It has kept the tourists away and left 70% of the town’s population victims of violence. Few have been spared, not even Necoclí’s most famous son, the new Chelsea winger Juan Guillermo Cuadrado.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Everton v Liverpool: match preview

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:20

Brendan Rodgers’ jaw almost hit the floor when it was put to him that both Merseyside rivals head in to the 224th derby in a good run of form. Liverpool have won eight of their past 14 matches, Everton two in 14. Hence his astonishment. Everton team did collect a crucial first win of 2015 at Crystal Palace last Saturday and will need to maintain the dogged defending of Selhurst Park as Steven Gerrard looks to bow out of this historic fixture emphatically. Andy Hunter

Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm

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Ghana call for action against Equatorial Guinea after fan injuries

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:19
• Confederation of African Football to meet on Friday
• ‘We need to see stiff action’ says Ghana FA president
• Ghana players, fans pelted with missiles
• In pictures: helicopters, riot police and chaos
• Referee banned for controversial penalty

Ghana have called for stiff action against the African Cup of Nations hosts, Equatorial Guinea, after Ghanaian supporters were injured in attacks by home fans during Thursday’s semi-final between the two countries.

“It’s a pity that this dark cloud overshadows our success and we really need to see some stiff action taken by the Confederation of African Football,” said Kwesi Nyantakyi, the president of the Ghana Football Association and who is also a senior Caf executive.

Related: Ghana 3-0 Equatorial Guinea | Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match report

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Union Berlin extend contract of cancer sufferer Benjamin Köhler

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 11:32
• 34-year-old diagnosed with rare type of stomach cancer
• ‘We are all certain that Benny will again wear the Union shirt. He is a fighter’
• Club known for independent spirit and loyalty to fans and players

The second division German club Union Berlin have extended the contract of Benjamin Köhler by a year after he was diagnosed with a rare type of stomach cancer.

“I’m going to fight it,” said Köhler. “It’s a massive blow for my family and I – first I’ve got to process it, but then I’m going to fight it with everything I’ve got. We’ll be seeing each other again for sure.”

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Gareth Bale: Bernabéu booing not as deafening as debate that has followed

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 11:23
As a foreigner, Bale is an easy target but the booing of the Welshman by Real Madrid fans has been greatly exaggerated. Alfredo Di Stéfano and Zinedine Zidane were whistled too
• Bale jeered again during win over Real Sociedad

You might have heard that Gareth Bale has been whistled by the Real Madrid fans recently. You might have heard it a little less if you had actually been at the Santiago Bernabéu. At the stadium where they whistled Alfredo Di Stéfano and where they whistled Zinedine Zidane they have whistled the Welshman too but not as loudly, as incessantly or as unanimously as you might have heard.

“I don’t think Gareth heard whistles,” Carlo Ancelotti insisted this week and he was probably right too. The noise from the supporters has not been as deafening as the debate that has emerged, a debate that at times seems plain bizarre.

Related: Atlético Madrid v Real Madrid: which players make our combined XI?

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Andrej Kramaric: the man Leicester City are leaning on to keep them up

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:30
He may be only two appearances into his new career at Leicester, but the pressure is already on the club’s record signing to live up to his £9.7m price tag
• Match report: Manchester United 3 Leicester City 1
• Nigel Pearson hails new signing Kramaric

Andrej Kramaric was six years old when his father, Josip, first took him to Dinamo Zagreb’s training ground. The boy had been complaining that he had no one to play football with any more: all of his friends had started school and Andrej was stuck in nursery for one more year.

“One day, Dad put me in the car and didn’t say where we were going,” Leicester City’s record signing remembers. As it turned out, they stopped just down the road, five tram stops from their home in Zagreb’s Subiceva street. Initially, the Dinamo youth coaches told him to go away and “grow up a bit” as he was much smaller than the other kids but Josip managed to persuade them to let him join in and it did not take long before they realised that while he was small for his age, he was faster than anyone else there and possessed a technique well beyond his age.

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The sports quiz of the week: Super Bowl, Six Nations and deadline day

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:19
Featuring Tom Brady's record, durability at the Australian Open, big-money moves, innovation in Scotland and a casino man Continue reading...






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Golden goal: Liam Coyle for Derry City v Athlone Town (1995)

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:15
Our series remembering special goals recalls the moment that, arguably, one of the greatest players you have never heard of gave Derry City supporters brief thoughts of a League of Ireland title triumph

My dad died last year. Cancer. He was diagnosed in May, he was dead by August. Those three months were punctuated by tear-stained trips back home and awkward phone calls early each morning. “Just wanted to let you know I am still alive,” he would say. You could almost hear him trying to put a smile on a brave face. But what do you say in that situation? How are you? How do you feel today? Has the doctor been in? Does he think the chemo is working? Do you think the chemo is working? It’s hard and many fall silent. Luckily we always had football – and we always had Liam Coyle.

Liam Coyle may sound like a local butcher, the place where your mother used to buy the good meat when the relatives came over, but he is one of the greatest players you have probably never heard of. For those of us who followed Derry City, he was a footballing god amongst leaden-footed mortals. He was strong, his touch was silken and, on the mud-plagued pitches of the oft-drab League of Ireland, his skills shone with the force of a trillion watts. He was a brilliant goalscorer, too, from any angle, from any range, from any part of his body. To top it all off, he also had this preternatural ability to read the game and see moves and moves ahead, like a Russian super grandmaster.

Related: Golden goal: Fabio Grosso for Italy v Germany (2006) | Nick Miller

Related: Golden goal: Matt Le Tissier for Southampton v Newcastle (1993)

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Jack Wilshere is ‘not a smoker’, insists Arsène Wenger after shisha pipe picture

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:03

• ‘A photo shows one second of your life. It doesn’t define who you are’
• Wilshere posted video on Instagram highlighting his professionalism
• Alexis Sánchez still has a chance of featuring against Tottenham Hotspur

Arsène Wenger has told Jack Wilshere that it is “down to him to master his life,” as he sought to draw a line under the furore of his latest smoking incident. The Arsenal manager said that Wilshere was sorry for being photographed holding a shisha pipe during a night out in London last Sunday.

But Wenger, who suggested that Alexis Sánchez still had a chance of featuring against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday, also made the point very strongly that he did not doubt Wilshere’s commitment.

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You are the Ref No319: Steve McClaren

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 09:30

Click to enlarge, and debate the strip below the line. Keith Hackett's verdict appears in Sunday's Observer and here from Monday.

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Football transfer rumours: Manchester United to sign Radja Nainggolan?

Guardian Football News - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 09:21
Today’s whispers have forgotten all about Kevin Strootman Continue reading...






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