Funny Old Game
Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis was famous in England for getting rid of managers but he's got nothing on the board at Brazil's Fluminense, who are on to their fifth coach - this year. Fluminense's players were introduced to their latest boss, Antonio Lopes, when he took charge of his first training session on Thursday. Lopes replaced Josue Teixeira, who was fired minutes after a 3-0 defeat by Palmeiras in the Brazilian championship the day before. Teixeira had been in charge for four games. 'Fluminense's problems are normal,' said Lopes with a straight face. 'You'll find them in every team in Brazil.'
If you construct an all-time points table from the English top flight, who would top it? If you guessed Manchester United you would be wrong. And as for you Liverpool fans, calm down, calm down; it's not the Reds either. The all-time leaders are Everton. In 102 seasons in the top flight (before this one), the Toffees played 3,986 matches and totalled 4,223 points (based on the old system of two points for a win). Liverpool are second on 4,192 and Arsenal third on 4,116. Aston Villa are fourth (3,879) and United fifth (3,774).
A group of pub landlords in Portsmouth have found a clever way of showing live Premiership matches at knock-down prices, according to The Guardian. They are taking broadcasts from Osama bin Laden's favourite channel, Al-Jazeera, whose Sports Plus channel costs only GBP300 (HK$4,400) a year compared to the #6,000 that some pubs in Britain pay for Rupert Murdoch's Sky Sports. The only downside for punters is that the commentary is in Arabic. Can't be any worse than Andy Gray can it?
The incredible sulk has returned. Nicolas Anelka has joined Bolton from Turkey's Fenerbahce in an GBP8 million (HK$118 million) deal. 'Nicolas is a player with an amazing track record in the Premiership,' said Bolton boss Sam Allardyce. Amazing is the word. He left Arsenal after an acrimonious transfer engineered by his brothers. Within weeks of joining Real Madrid, he was travelling to away matches in a separate part of the plane from his teammates, none of whom could stand him. An unhappy spell at Paris St-Germain was followed by a loan spell at Liverpool, who didn't sign him because of his excessive wage demands. He did well at Manchester City but was soon on his way to Fenerbahce. According to the man himself, everything's Gerard Houllier's fault. 'Gerard Houllier is responsible for what happened to me. If he had not snubbed me at Liverpool I would not have had to play with minor clubs for the past four years.' Isn't it great to have him back?
Jose Mourinho is fed up with William Gallas agitating for a move away from Chelsea and has confined him to the reserves for the season. Gallas needs to show respect for the team, according to the Special One. It's a bit rich coming from Mourinho, who respected Porto so much that he walked out on them in the middle of his contract. Over at Arsenal, Ashley Cole also wants out, due in no small measure to tempting (and illegal) offers from Mourinho's Chelsea. It must be a foreign thing. Can you imagine Alex Ferguson complaining about, say, Real Madrid trying to lure Cristiano Ronaldo, while at the same time trying to poach Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich?
South Africa's government says it is going to sort out the country's terrifying crime problems in time for the 2010 World Cup, Agence France-Presse reported. According to national crime statistics, nearly 19,000 murders and 55,000 rapes were reported in the country last year. During a parliamentary briefing on plans for the tournament, deputy minister for tourism Patrick Matlou said the government was concerned that people 'feel safe when they come here'. South Africans would be entitled to ask why the government hasn't shown similar concern for the people that actually live there.