Who Ate All the Pies Archives for January 2010

Photos: Giovani Dos Santos Unveiled At Galatasaray

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By Ollie Irish

It's the weekend, so I can't be arsed to write a whole load of words sorry about that. What I can be arsed to do is post up a fresh gallery of little Gio doing all that stuff footballers do when they join a new club wear a string vest (see below), kiss the team's flag etc.

Arsenal Made To Wait For Loic Remy and Marouane Chamakh, Birmingham Pull Out Of Dindane Deal

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By Chris Wright

I'll be your private dancer, dancing for rumours. Here's the round up...

Loic would be a 'Nice' addition to the Arsenal squad

Rumour No. 1: Arsenal are going to have to wait until the summer if they want to sign £13m-rated Nice striker Loic Remy.

Snapshot Classic: John Terry And Wayne Bridge Train Together For England, October 2006

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By Ollie Irish

"Wahay! Bridgey, look at you and me, playing for England together! This is ace!"

It's lovely to see team-mates and friends play nice.

Apropos of nothing, let me also throw in this bonus piccy of JT & Bridgey's WAGs, hanging out together at the 2006 World Cup in Germany:

(Terry's WAG, Toni, is the blonde on the left.

Breaking News: John Terry Named In Gagging Order Case

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By Ollie Irish

The Guardian has just revealed the identity of the player who obtained a gagging order in a bid to prevent a Sunday newspaper the News of the World, according to reports from printing allegations about his private life. It's ... John Terry, England's upstanding captain.

Tiziano Crudeli Doesn’t Like Losing The Milan Derby (With Video)

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By Ollie Irish

Ah, more Crudeli goodness...

Nope, still not bored of No.1 Milan fan Tiziano Crudeli. His stonefaced reaction whenever Inter score cracks me up.

And never let it be said that Italians don't know how to win with grace and humility.

Man City’s Bid Accepted For Kenyan Star Mariga

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By Chris Wright.

I dare say McDonald will be heart broken to leave this stunning strip behind

Manchester City have seen their €10 million bid for Parma's McDonald Mariga accepted according to Il Corriere Dello Sport.

Rio Ferdinand Mocks Carlos Tevez, Newcastle Want Victor Moses, Ashley Cole Hit With Driving Ban, Garry Cook Is A Muppet

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By Ollie Irish

Links!

Rio Ferdinand mocks Carlos Tevez's goal celebration after Man Utd's League Cup win. Braaaap! [Republik Of Mancunia]

Still on Rio he's set to appeal against his four-match ban [BBC]

Ashley Cole banned from driving for four months, after driving very fast to get away from paparazzi.

Man Utd Fans’ Green-And-Gold Anti-Glazer Protest – Nice Idea But It Won’t Work

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By Ollie Irish

No, Norwich City fans have not taken over at Old Trafford. Disgruntled Man Utd fans have adopted their club's original, Newton Heath colours green and gold as a way of protesting against Malcom Glazer's debt-happy ownership.

It's a high-visibility strategy, but let's be honest, not one that is likely to make much of an impact.

Snapshot: Rangers Train In The Snow At Murray Park

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By Ollie Irish

David Weir, Lee McCulloch and Steven Smith train in the snow at Murray Park, the club's training ground on the outskirts of Glasgow (Auchenhowie, to be precise). No leggings for Smith good lad, Smithy, although you let yourself down by wearing gloves.

‘Man Utd Is A Devil-Worshipping Club’, Claims Man With Full Retardation

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By Ollie Irish

Enlightening stuff, if your brand of enlightenment consists of listening to a literal-minded Tim Howard lookalike with no imagination, no personality and full retardation. He bangs on for way too long about devils fair play if you make it to the end of his dribbling monologue.

The Football WAG Index No.23: Charlotte Mears

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By Ollie Irish

Like many impressionable young blondes, Charlotte Mears used to date miniature lothario Jermain Defoe. As a result, she is now a D-list celebrity. And she tends to use the same expression in photos, as our Mearsy gallery shows:

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MORE WAGS

Robinho Finally Joins Santos, Tottenham In Talks With Portsmouth Duo

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By Chris Wright

Rumours are the opiate of the people. Here's the round up...

Â

Most City fans are glad to see the back of him

Rumour No. 1: It is now official that Manchester City's thumb-sucking weakling Robinho has completed his six month loan switch to Santos.

Video: David Attenborough Vs Premier League Footballers

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By Ollie Irish

Excellent work again by the folk at talkSPORT.

And check out their online footie magazine.

Football Mysteries: Why Is Denilson’s Head So Small?

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By Ollie Irish

Denilson has the smallest head of any Premier League footballer. That's a cold, hard fact.

But why? I reckon it's because he was deprived of key nutrients whilst growing up in the poverty-stricken favelas of Sao Paulo.

Man Utd To Swap Anderson For Lyon’s Hugo Lloris?

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By Chris Wright

Shouldn't you be at training sunshine?

Olympique Lyonnais are apparently ready to offer Anderson a route out of Manchester United as the Brazilian seeks to escape his current woes in England.

Football Video: Rene Higuita Recreates ‘Scorpion Kick’

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By Ollie Irish

Rene Higuita recreated his famous Scorpion Kick in his final match as a pro, in his hometown of Medellin, Colombia hey, that kick made his name, and will no doubt feature in the title of his autobigraphy. Rene also scored from a free-kick (he does this all the time) or, more accurately, was allowed to score from a free-kick as he retired at the grand age of 43.

African Cup Of Nations: Ghana 1-0 Nigeria – Gyan Header Fires Black Stars Into Final

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By Ollie Irish

Even without talisman Michael Essien, Ghana were plenty good enough to squeak past Nigeria without having to play their best. A header by Asamoah Gyan in the 21st minute did the damage. In truth though, this was a dreadful semi final, desperately short of quality and ambition, and long on the sort of basic errors that typified African football for so long.

Birmingham Nearing £15m Double Striker Swoop

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By Chris Wright

Don't stare directly into it, you'll go blind

Birmingham are close to agreeing an £11 million deal with Estudiantes for their prolific Argentinian striker Mauro Boselli. Half of the fee will go to Boselli's former club (Boca Juniors) due to a clause in the 24 year old's contract, so Estudiantes are holding out for as big a fee as possible.

Giovani Dos Santos Receives Traditional Hero’s Welcome At Galatasaray

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By Ollie Irish

"Sir, please take off your shoes, your belt and your many scarves... oh, and the rest of your clothes too... now bend over."

Gio dos Santos was welcomed to new club Galatasaray like a hero, as seems to be the way in Turkish football.

Photos: Everton 2-0 Sunderland – Landon Donovan Scores First Premier League Goal, Made To Feel ‘Normal’ By Phil Neville

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By Ollie Irish

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Everton's Philippe Senderos takes part in the pre-match warm up

By thunder, Sunderland's season is going down the toilet.

Spot The Baller: 28 January 2010

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By Ollie Irish

Who's stuck in the middle with Rio, Edwin, Robin and Johan?

Previous answer: Big Phil Senderos

Spotter's badges: Beastisita (first), Jesus, Davy, Adam, Eamogomez (sound like a decent five-aside team)

Adrian Mutu Fails Drugs Test, Stephen Ireland’s WAG Is Touchy, Rio Ferdinand Hit With Four-Match Ban, Nani Is Well-Muscled

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By Ollie Irish

Links!

Adrian Mutu has tested positive for banned substance sibutramine (it's an appetite suppressant), according to reports in the Italian media. Adrian Mutu had better look for a new career... [FourFourTwo]

Stephen Ireland's blonde WAG doesn't like being called a WAG [The Sun]

Rio Ferdinand hit with four-match ban after "frivolous" appeal [BBC]

Umbro's world-beating team of musical footballers, starring Les Paul Parker and Kevin Kilbanjo [Umbro]

The BBC spent £250,000 building a TV studio in Vienna for its Euro 2008 coverage.

Photos: Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal – Wenger Accuses O’Neill Of ‘Long Ball’ Tactics

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By Ollie Irish

"F**k me, Villa are worse than Stoke."

How to annoy Martin O'Neill? Accuse his team of playing long-ball football, that's how. Here's Arsene Wenger in his post-match interview:

"We wanted three points, we got one. Maybe we dropped two.

British Tabloid Mocks Germany’s ‘Nazi-Style Black Shirts’

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By Paul Sorene

"Is this cool?"

It's almost half a year until the World Cup in South Africa, but already one British tabloid has kicked off with the anti-German bullscheiße. The Daily Star's first German-bashing headline of the season:

"RETURN OF ZE BLACK SHIRTS"

Ja, fussbull fanz, apparently "Germany is set to kick up a Reich stink at the World Cup by playing in Nazi-style black shirts.

World Cup Flashback: Diego Maradona Torments England, 1986 World Cup Quarter-Final

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By Ollie Irish

Diego Maradona, in his genius prime, prepares to dribble past Big Terry Butcher and then Little Kenny Sansom during Argentina's infamous 2-1 win over England at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico, aka the 'Hand of God' match. Inspired by their brilliant captain, Argentina went on to win the tournament, beating Belgium 2-0 in their semi final (Maradona scored both goals) and West Germany 3-2 in the final.

Football Video: Man Utd 3-1 Man City, League Cup Semi-Final

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By Ollie Irish

It seems that to pronouce British footballers' names in Italian, all you need to do is add an 'a'. For example: Giggsa, Carricka, Richardsa etc. And wave your arms around enthusiastically. Simple.

Lovely finish by Michael Carricka, btw much more difficult than it looked.

League Cup Photos: Man Utd 3-1 Man City – Red Still Rules In Manchester… Just

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By Ollie Irish

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Manchester City's Micah Richards (right) and Manchester United's Ryan Giggs (left) battle for the ball

The BBC couldn't show highlights of this game before Prem highlights, for contractual reasons, but if you didn't see it live, then they were worth staying up late for.

How World-Class Is Wayne Rooney?

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By Ollie Irish

Yes, as Wayne Rooney once told his England team-mates, the big man is back. Not that he ever went away, but this season is turning out to be a watershed campaign for Wazza, as he makes the transformation from Cristiano Ronaldo's wingman to the man at Old Trafford.

Premier League Photos: Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham – ‘Lampard Is The Best Running Midfielder In The World’

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By Ollie Irish

An evening stroll for Chelsea, this. They brushed aside in-form Birmingham like Roger Federer crushes unseeded players in the first round of majors, i.e. with disdain and efficiency. Frank Lampard scored twice clinical strikes, both after Florent Malouda had put Chelsea in front with a routine header in the fifth minute.

Thomas Vermaelen Breaks Leg (Maybe), Kills My Fantasy Football Team

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By Ollie Irish

Looks very much like Thomas Vermaelen might have fractured his fibula (lower leg) against Villa last night. Arsene Wenger revealed: "The news is not good. [Vermaelen] will have an X-ray on Thursday morning. He is on crutches.

Man City Bid For England U21 Star, Tottenham Target Keeper Trio

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By Chris Wright

Rumours, like the corners of my mind. Here's the round up...

Rumour No. 1:Manchester City have seen their latest bid for Middlesbrough winglet (winger + starlet) Adam Johnson turned down as the England U21 man has apparently vowed to stay at 'Boro and help get them back into the Premier League.

Eidur Gudjohnsen To Choose Tottenham

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By Chris Wright

Eidur's in a dilly of a pickle

Tottenham Hotspur now look favourites to sign Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen from AS Monaco. 'Guddy' was within hours of becoming a West Ham player yesterday, but an identical bid - lodged late in the day - from Spurs left the former Barcelona man with a straight choice between the two clubs, and it now seems that he favours a move to North over East London.

SPL Photos: Celtic 1-2 Hibernian – Tony Mowbray, Rubbish Or What?

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By Ollie Irish

So Tony Mowbray, rubbish or what? (That's the sort of incisive football analysis you get at Pies.) And the answer is... half-hearted drum roll... yes, he is a bit rubbish, and obviously out of his depth at a big club like Celtic.

Shit Lookalikes: Ruud Van Nistelrooy & Brüno

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By Ollie Irish

"Do you think if house music was around in the Thirties, World War II would have even happened?"

One is a camp European with massive, horselike teeth. The other is... Ruud van Nistelrooy. Ah-ha! You see what I did there? I subverted an old joke structure, to little effect.

Two Hot Prospects To Leave Barcelona For The Prem?

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By Chris Wright

A host of Prem teams are following yonder starlets

Spanish giants Barcelona may have a fight on their hands to keep two of their most promising young stars at the Camp Nou. It has emerged that both Jeffren Suarez and Gai Assulin are being coveted by a flock of Premier League teams.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy Unveiled At Hamburg (With Photos)

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By Ollie Irish

Ruud van Nistelrooy turned down potential moves to West Ham and Spurs, among others, to pen an 18-month contract with Hamburg. The Dutch striker joined on a free transfer from Real Madrid.

Ruud's reason for leaving Madrid? He craved regular first-team football, telling Spanish publication Marca: "Saying goodbye to Real Madrid is very difficult.

Rotherham Top Pie-Eating League, Eidur Gudjohnsen to Spurs, Rio Ferdinand Charged With Violent Conduct, Gago To Man City?

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By Ollie Irish

Links!

Who ate all the pies? Rotherham fans, that's who [Guardian]

Some bloke broke the keepy-up world record [BBC]

Rio Ferdinand charged with violent conduct [FourFourTwo]

Spurs try to gazump West Ham for Eidur Gudjohnsen [Mail]

Roberto Mancini channels Oasis.

Premier League Photos: Bolton 1-0 Burnley – Owen Coyle Laughs Off ‘Judas’ Abuse

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By Ollie Irish

Which manager fills you with confidence? Clue: it's not the man who looks like an insurance salesman

Burnley fans gave Owen Coyle a predictably 'Judasy' reception at the Reebok, but for all the banners and pantomime jeering, it was Coyle and his new team that laughed last.

Premier League Photos: Wolves 0-0 Liverpool – Steven Gerrard Returns, Fails To Spark

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By Ollie Irish

Rafa Benitez called this a "fair result" it's not something you hear him say often. But after the encouraging win over Spurs, this was a fairly turgid performance by Liverpool against a spirited Wolves side. Still, a point away from home in the Prem isn't such a terrible result.

Man City Chase Trio Of Serie A Stars? West Ham To Rescue David Bentley?

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By Chris Wright

I am the Rumourrection and I am the life. Here's the round up...

Has Antonio had his head turned by City?

Rumour No. 1: Roberto Mancini is reportedly planning a sensational shopping trip around the upper echelons of Serie A with Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano said to be the Manchester City manager's top target.

2010 World Cup Kits: Germany Adidas Black Away Kit Leaked (With Photo)

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By Ollie Irish

"You know I said I'd kill you last? I lied."

Here's a first look at Germany's new away kit, which they will wear at the 2010 World Cup this summer. Black, red and gold that's one kick-arsch colour combination.

As with Germany's new home kit, this oozes class, proving once again that Adidas makes its best kits for its own country.

Premier League Photos: Tottenham 2-0 Fulham – Remember David Bentley?

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By Ollie Irish

A straightforward victory for Spurs, with Fulham offering very little in attack; the Cottagers don't travel well, even on cross-London journeys. The Yids' goals were scored by a couple of unfashionable Englishmen: Peter Crouch, who pounced from close range midway through the first half, and then David Bentley you might recall the name.

Harry Redknapp Is The Master Of Sarcasm (With Video Evidence)

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By Ollie Irish

When a hack asked Arry if he was frustrated that Tottenham had to play an FA Cup replay at Leeds United, the Spurs gaffer replied with cheerful sarcasm:

Ask a stupid question etc.

Premier League Photos: Portsmouth 1-1 West Ham – Danny Webber Rescues Point For Pompey

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By Ollie Irish

Brrr. On a cold night in Pompey, both teams did their best to warm up the crowd, but this was a match lacking in real quality (Rafa: kwality). West Ham might have won easily, but Asmir Begovic was in cracking form in the home goal, denying Frank Nouble, Jack Collison and Alessandro Diamanti with excellent saves.

West Ham Nearing Double Striker Swoop

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By Chris Wright

 Benni and Guddy: West Ham's new look front line?

West Ham stand to be two strikers to the good by this time tomorrow, as it is believed that both Benni McCarthy and Eidur Gudjohnsen have agreed terms with The Hammers.

Anderson Puts His Man Utd Future In Doubt

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By Chris Wright

"I missed the bus Guv, honest!"

The Sun is reporting today that Anderson may have put his long-term future at Manchester United in jeopardy after failing to report to training yesterday. The former Porto man has been struggling for starts of late and United are now ready to cut their losses on the floundering Brazilian.

West Ham Bid For Benni McCarthy, Man Utd Join The Race For Fulham’s Chris Smalling

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By Chris Wright

Everybody be cool, this is a rumoury! Here's today's round up...

Why do birds suddenly appear...

Rumour No. 1: West Ham have made a good old-fashioned written bid for Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy.

Rafa Benitez To Take Juventus Escape Route? Guus Hiddink To Liverpool

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By Ollie Irish

What craftsmanship!

Juventus want Rafa Benitez to replace current gaffer Ciro Ferrara (Ferrara was a great foot soldier in his playing career but he has been found wanting as a head coach). Rafa's agent, Manuel Quilon, refused to rule out a move to Italy for his client:

"Benitez to Juventus?

Snapshot: America Fans Hold Vigil For Salvador Cabanas

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By Ollie Irish

A tearful America supporter sits outside Angeles Hospital, awaiting news of star player Salvador Cabanas, who was shot in the head in a Mexico City bar in the early hours of Monday morning.

Cabanas, who was a reported transfer target of Sunderland, is in a critical but stable condition after undergoing seven hours of emergency surgery.

Arsenal Want Milan Star To Replace Van Persie

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By Ollie Irish

This morning's most interesting rumour claims that Arsenal are back in the race to sign Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on loan, although apparently Arsene Wenger isn't prepared to match the Dutchman's £65,000-a-week wages.

The Case For Video Technology In Football, No.3,468: Egypt Score Phantom Goal Vs Cameroon In African Cup Of Nations

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By Ollie Irish

Egypt would almost certainly have beaten Cameroon in their ACN quarter-final without the help of an officiating f**k-up, but Ahmed Hassan's free-kick, which made the score 3-1 to the holders, was NOT a goal, clearly:

Terrible decision imagine the fallout if the score had been 1-1 at the time.

Russian WAGs Pose In Bikinis For Calendar, Cristiano Ronaldo Sent Off, Steven Gerrard To Face Wolves, Sunderland Target Shot In Head

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By Ollie Irish

Today's spiciest footie links:

Roman Pavlyuchenko's missus Larisa (pictured above) poses for Russian WAGs calendar, along with Arshavin's wife and more [Mail]

C-Ron slammed by Spanish media after being sent off for violent conduct.

Inter Coach Jose Mourinho: ‘We Would Have Won Milan Derby With Seven Men’

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By Ollie Irish

Quote of the day, not for the first time, goes to Inter boss Jose Mourinho, who, after his side's 2-0 win in the Milan derby, boasted that his team would have won the match even with seven men; as it was, they ended up keeping Ronaldinho, Beckham and co.

Video: Marco Materazzi Wears Silvio Berlusconi Mask To Celebrate Inter’s Milan Derby Win

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By Ollie Irish

You take on Silvio Berlusconi at your peril he runs Italy, after all but clearly The Matrix doesn't care about offending his nation's leader, as he pulled on a Berlusconi mask after Inter's 2-0 win over Milan:

Ballsy. Just watch as Marco has a nasty moped 'accident' this summer.

Philippe Senderos Seals Everton Switch

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By Chris Wright

One for the ladies

It has just been announced on both the Arsenal and Everton official websites that out-of-favour defender Philippe Senderos has completed a loan switch between the two clubs.

The Swiss centre has been seen his role reduced to that of a reserve at The Gunners this season and the 24 year old will be moving to Goodison Park until the end of the season in the hope of playing enough first team football to guarantee his place in Switzerland's World Cup squad.

FA Cup Photos: Scunthorpe 2-4 Man City – Robinho Plays Last Game For City?

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By Ollie Irish

Forget the Robinho sub-plot for a second above all, this was a terrific Cup tie; City were good value for their win, and Scunthorpe emerged with great credit too, having pushed the Prem club all the way. As long as the FA Cup throws up games like this, it has a great future, albeit perhaps not quite as great as its past.

Gianluigi Buffon Has ‘Had Enough’ Of Juventus

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By Chris Wright

He doesn't look mad does he?

Some decidedly spurious rumour-mongering here, so prepare yourself.

After Juventus suffered their third straight loss (2-1 at home to Roma) on Saturday, a journalist or two allegedly overheard Juve 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon muttering that he 'couldn't take it anymore' as he trudged off down the tunnel at The Stadio Olimpico.

FA Cup Photos: Stoke 3-1 Arsenal – Ricardo Fuller ruins Sol Campbell’s day

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By Ollie Irish

Whisper it, but now that Arsenal have more than a sniff of the Premier League title, I don't think Arsene Wenger will be too dismayed to be out of the FA Cup. He won't be dancing a jig either, but his selection of a less-than-full-strength starting XI for this match showed clearly where his priorities lie: with the Prem and the Champions League.

John Arne Riise Scores Late Winner For Roma v Juventus, Commentator Goes Nuts (With Video)

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By Ollie Irish

It's fair to say that Italian commentator Carlo Zampa enjoyed JA Riise's late winner against Juventus:

God love mental Italian commentators, although Zampa is a tad hysterical for my tastes I prefer the work of Tiziano Crudeli.

It's also fair to say that Roma coach Claudio Ranieri will have relished this dramatic win against the club that sacked him (rather unfairly in my view).

Liverpool Move For Milan Jovanovic, Man Utd’s Danny Welbeck Joins Preston

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By Chris Wright

Today's rumours are highly contagious. Here's the round up...

There's that winning smile we all know and love

Rumour No. 1: According to The Daily Express, Liverpool have offered a three year deal (with the option of a one year extension) to Standard Liege striker Milan Jovanovic as they hope to tie up a free transfer for the Serbian.

Robinho ‘90% Certain’ To Leave Man City

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By Chris Wright

"Leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again"

Brazilian club Santos are reportedly close to agreeing a loan deal with Manchester City which will see Robinho move back to his former club. I think it's fair to say that the winger has been fairly pathetic (for the most part) during his stint in the Premier League and is now looking to move on to a club where idolisation may come a little easier.

Man Utd Offer Wayne Rooney Huge £40m Contract

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By Chris Wright

"I heard you only managed four mate? Shame!"

After yet another match-winning performance against Hull City on Saturday, Wayne Rooney is now set to become the highest paid player at Manchester United. The club are keen to reflect Rooney's continually growing influence at Old Trafford by offering the 24 year old striker a bumper contract to match.

Steven Pienaar To Replace Ribery At Bayern Munich? Van Nistelrooy Joins Hamburg

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By Chris Wright

And on the seventh day, he created rumours. Here's the round up...

"Feeeeel the burn"

Rumour No. 1: With Frank Ribery looking set to join Real Madrid in the summer, Bayern Munich have drawn up a list of possible replacements for the French ace.

Man Utd Table £18m Sissoko Bid? Robinho To Return To Santos?

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By Chris Wright

Rumour, rumour, rumour, rumour, rumour chameleon. Here lies today's round up...

Don't worry, it's not that Sissoko

Rumour No. 1: The Daily Mail is reporting today that Manchester United are preparing a huge £18 million bid for Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

Celeb Balls: Stacy Keibler Plays In Charity Football Match

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By Ollie Irish

Here are a few pics of popular internet babe Stacy Keibler playing soccerball in the States, in a charity game in LA hosted by US women's soccer legend Mia Hamm. Btw, I had no idea who Stacy Keibler was until I Googled her. I've since discovered that her favourite type of clothing is underwear.

The Fiendish Friday Football Shirt Quiz

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By Ollie Irish

More difficult than a job as Carlos Tevez's English teacher. Away you go...

Let's have it...

The Brilliance Of Andriy Voronin (With Video Evidence)

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By Ollie Irish

A simple comic device, but I laughed...

Thanks to Pies reader Stacy for the spot.

Man City’s Vladimir Weiss Joins Bolton On Loan

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By Chris Wright

Weiss he on the toilet?

It has just been made official that Manchester City's Slovakian starlet Vladimir Weiss has joined Bolton Wanderers on loan for the rest of the season.

The 20 year old winger has struggled to force his way into the first team at Eastlands this season despite some decent performances in The Carling Cup, and has been sent out on loan to keep sharp with the World Cup in mind.

Top Six Football Podcasts

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By Ollie Irish

Football Weekly
The Guardian's footie podcast offers the ideal mix of professional opinion (professionally recorded too, in a proper studio, with big headphones) and risky pub banter. It also boasts the best host of any footie podcast, in the small, hairless form of James Richardson.

Arsenal Target ‘Not Allowed To Leave’ Toulouse, David James To Finalise Stoke Move

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By Chris Wright

All quiet of the rumour front this morning but here's the round up anyway...

Gignac hasn't been the same since getting this close to Ribery's face

Rumour No. 1: Reported Arsenal target Andre-Pierre Gignac has been told by his current club Toulouse that he will 'not be allowed' to leave during January.

Manchester City Target £20m Midfield Pair

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By Chris Wright

Who could leave this kind of love behind?

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has reportedly targeted two more midfielders that he wishes to sign before the transfer window shuts One being West Ham's Valon Behrami, and the other being Middlesbrough's Adam Johnson.

Umbro Reveal New England Away Kit Detail

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By Ollie Irish

This is a close-up of Umbro's new England Away Kit. I have tried, using the power of my mind, to imagine what it might look like in full, but your guess is as good no, better, probably than mine.

However, seeing that vivid red with the Three Lions crest obviously puts one in mind of 1966:

I wonder how similar the new kit will be to the classic sported by Bobby Moore et al more than 40 years ago?

Ruud Van Nistelrooy Snubs West Ham’s Huge Wage Offer

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By Chris Wright

Give him a sugar lump and he's happy as Larry

West Ham have seen their huge £100,000-a-week wage offer to Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy turned down as the Dutchman isn't keen on returning to The Premier League.

Sunderland Sign Matt Kilgallon From Sheffield Utd

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By Chris Wright

Hands up anyone who wants to leave?

Sunderland have confirmed their capture of Sheffield United defender Matthew Kilgallon last night for an undisclosed fee (believed to be in the £2 million region). The 26 year old has joined The Black Cats on a three-and-a-half year contract after snubbing interest from Burnley and Everton.

Shit Lookalikes: Xabi Alonso and Jason Bateman

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By Ollie Irish

Aw, men with ginger beards. They'll never find love. Except... Xabi seems to be one of the most fancied men in football. Ask the Kickette girls they'll tell you. Ginger cats, though people love ginger cats. My family had a ginger cat one.

Carlos Tevez: ‘Gary Neville Is A Boot-Licking Moron’

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By Ollie Irish

At last, a player comes out and says what so many fans have been thinking for almost 20 years.

Carlos Tevez called Gary Neville a "boot-licker" and a "moron" in a radio interview with ESPN Argentina:

"My celebration was directed at Gary Neville.

Jo Leaves Everton And Joins Galatasaray On Loan

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By Chris Wright

"Airport please! And step on it!"

It has been confirmed that Jo has left Everton and joined Galatasary S.K on loan until the end of the season. It was first reported that the Brazilian had been released from his temporary contract at Goodison Park and had returned to parent club Manchester City then, barely an hour later, the striker's switch to the Turkish giants was officially announced.

Video: Female TV Presenter Grabs David Beckham’s Golden Balls… And His Golden Penis

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By Ollie Irish

The royal penis is clean, er, perhaps not as big as those ads had led us to believe...

If your Italian is not so good, the story is as follows: Elena Di Cioccio, a reporter for Silvio Berlusconi's Uno station (yes, Berlusconi also owns AC Milan, Beckham's current home), wanted to see if Becks was really packing Dirk Diggler-heat downstairs, as all those pants ads suggest.

World Cup Horror Hair: Leonel Alvaraz, Colombia

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By Ollie Irish

Beneath that frankly disgraceful hairstyle I've named it 'The Poodle Roadkill' there lies one of the hardest midfielders ever to play in a World Cup finals. Leonel Alvarez played for Colombia at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and remains a cult figure in his nation's football history, with 101 international caps to his name only former team-mate Carlos Valderrama (a Horror Hair legend) has more.

Premier League Photos: Arsenal 4-2 Bolton – Gunners Go Top, Gallas Goes Over The Top

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By Ollie Irish

Boo!

Arsenal are top of the league. There, I said it. That wasn't easy. I'm off for a hot shower, using a wire brush to clean myself...

... Okay, I'm back. As I said, Arsenal are top of the Prem. What does this mean?

Man City & Liverpool Chase Spanish Prodigy, John O’Shea Out For Season, Man Utd Want Chiellini, Michael Dawson Exposed

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By Ollie Irish

Today's links:

Man Utd are very interested in no-nonsense Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini. He's rated at £25m, which is ridiculously high, but he's just the sort of uncompromising centre-back United could use, especially if Nemanja Vidic's wife finally convinces her bloke to move to Barcelona.

Kris Boyd Holding Talks With Aston Villa

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By Chris Wright

When winter's drawing in, try a gentleman's all-in-one body stocking!

Breaking news from the Aston Villa camp this afternoon is that Glasgow Rangers striker Kris Boyd has held talks with the club over a possible move south of the border.

Premier League Photos: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham – Kuyt Double Sinks Sorry Spurs

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By Ollie Irish

With my Spurs hat on: Damn. Damn and blast. This wasn't supposed to happen. I don't know what was supposed to happen Rafa's head exploding, Stevie G the sniper in the Kop? but I do know that this wasn't it. Very disappointing.

Armchair Pundit: Where Will Liverpool Finish In The League?

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By Ollie Irish

Rafa Benitez has promised on more than one occasion that Liverpool will finish in the top four this season. Last night's impressive 2-0 win over Spurs adds weight to the Spaniard's bold promise.

Inter To Bid Again For Jermaine Jenas?

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By Chris Wright

Hands, knees, sneeze!

Following initial interest in the summer, Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho is reportedly preparing a fresh €11.5 million bid for Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas. 'The Special One' may also opt to offer Spurs a cash-plus-player deal with Sulley Muntari being used as aggregate.

League Cup Photos: Aston Villa 6-4 Blackburn – Villa Survive Ten-Goal Thriller

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By Ollie Irish

Just what Big Sam's dodgy ticker needed a ten-goal nerve shredder.

Who saw this coming though? I thought it might be 0-0 or 1-0 to Villa, but it was one of those rare matches where the players become so engrossed in the match that they play without any inhibition.

Manchester City To Go Gago, Liverpool Will (won’t) Sign Kenwyne Jones

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By Chris Wright

Some people call me The Gangster of Rumours, some people call me Maurice... Â

...Here's the round up.

Could be Gago, could be a tiny Argentinian girl

Rumour No. 1: Manchester City are to sign Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago aswell as Mathieu Flamini.

Man Utd Are Now A One-Man Team

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By Ollie Irish

Man Utd's lone star lacks a strong supporting cast

Forget Liverpool's two-man team it appears than Manchester United have become a one-man team. (And unless that one man is a 1986 vintage Diego Maradona, it's a dangerous situation.

Stoke and Portsmouth re-open David James talks

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By Chris Wright

Pretty in pink

Stoke City have reignited negotiations with Portsmouth regarding veteran 'keeper David James' on-off loan move to The Britannia. Initial talks fell through last Friday as the two teams could not agree over how much of James' £40,000-a-week wages Stoke would have to contribute.

Leaked: New Bayern Munich Adidas Kits For 2010/11 Season?

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By Ollie Irish

You're looking at a leaked design sheet for Bayern Munich's new Adidas kits for next season. Two words: tiny socks.

The home kit sees a switch to red-and-white vertical stripes their home kit this season features an all-red shirt whilst the away kit sees another change of colour scheme (I've lost count of the different away kits sported by Bayern), with horizontal white-and-sky blue stripes.

League One Photos: Oldham Athletic 0-0 Tranmere Rovers

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Not a game that will live long in anyone's memory, but it's nice to feature teams outside the Prem and the Championship for once. The stalemate result means both sides remain in the relegation zone in League One. Of the two, Tranmere look in worse trouble, some four points from safety and with a -22 goal difference only Wycombe and Stockport, the two sides below Rovers in the table, have a worse goal difference.

Shit Lookalikes: Gareth Bale & Sid, The Evil Kid From ‘Toy Story’

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By Ollie Irish

Many thanks to Mackers for sending this in. A fine spot it's all in the slack mouth.

Got a shitter lookalike for Pies? Email ollie@anorak.co.uk with your suggestions.

Football Video: Teacher Sets New Long Throw-In World Record

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By Ollie Irish

"They call it soccer out in America, don't they? Full of shit."

Here's Danny Brooks, a 28-year-old PE teacher from West Yorskshire, setting a new long throw-in world record, with a mark of 49.78m (163ft).

West Ham still on the striker trail

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By Chris Wright

Benni gets ready to hug Chris Samba

After seeing their enquiries into Bobby Zamora's availability roundly quashed yesterday, West Ham have turned their sights elsewhere. Co-owner David Gold has admitted that the club are now interested in taking Benni McCarthy off Blackburn's hands.

WAG Watch: Milan Striker Marco Borriello Dating Brazilian Supermodel

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By Ollie Irish

The Italian gossip rags claim that Italian striker Marco Borriello who is in the form of his life for club Milan is dating Brazilian model Analu Campos. She looks like this:

Do all Brazilian models actually have Brazilians?

Which Man City Player Winds You Up The Most?

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By Ollie Irish

So far this season, Pies has asked you Which Chelsea player winds you up the most? You voted for Didier Drogba. Then we asked you the same question of Man Utd. You voted for Comrade Gary Neville excellent choice, sir/madam. Then came Arsenal. You went for charming Emmanuel Eboue.

World Cup Flashback: Ian Wright And Gazza Train In The Inglorious Mud

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By Ollie Irish

England's Ian Wright and Paul Gascoigne mess about in the mud during a training session ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Turkey in March 1993. England beat the Turks 2-0 but still failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals in America.

League Cup Photos: Man City 2-1 Man Utd – The Sweet Revenge Of Carlos Tevez

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There were 22 men on the pitch at Eastlands last night, but only one mattered: Carlos Tevez, whose two goals capped a man-of-the-match performance that was the perfect riposte to the club that discarded him. United's loss is City's obvious gain. At least the Prem champions still have the magnificent Wayne Rooney, who very nearly scored an equaliser in the final minutes, and was a cut above his team-mates throughout.

Real Madrid to swoop for defensive duo? Tottenham want Younes Kaboul back?

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By Chris Wright

Here's Wednesday's gossip round up, and what a round up it is!

Without doubt, the most common sight in Serie A

Rumour No. 1: Real Madrid are keen to add some defensive muscle to their ranks as the new wave of Galacticos continue to leak soft goals.

Tiziano Crudeli Is The Greatest Football Commentator In The World (With More Video Evidence)

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A couple of months ago, Pies discovered Tiziano Crudeli, an Italian football commentator/pundit/journalist/mentalist who supports Milan and makes no secret of it.

Crudeli is the least neutral man on the planet. His emotional support of his beloved Rossoneri is a thrilling and joyful thing.

Gary Neville flips the bird at Carlos Tevez (with photo)

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The chain of events in full:

1. Gary Neville is born, to Neville Neville

2. Gary Neville grows up to be a total dickface

3. Carlos Tevez leaves Man Utd, feeling unwanted, signing for local rivals Man City

4.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar wants Milan exit – but which Premier League club will sign him?

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By Chris Wright

That's a Klaas-y jacket

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have all had their ears pricked up by the news that AC Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is seeking a loan move away from the San Siro.

Jermaine Beckford to join Everton this summer?

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By Ollie Irish

Leeds United manager Simon Grayson claimed today that star striker Jermaine Beckford has agreed to join Everton at the end of the current season.

Beckford, whose Leeds contract expires this summer, recently withdrew a request to leave Elland Road in the January transfer window, perhaps because he realised that leaving a promotion-chasing club mid-term is not a good look.

Steven Gerrard: ‘Daft’ rumours of bust-up with Rafa make me laugh

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By Ollie Irish

Steven Gerrard has spoken out to deny what he describes as "daft" rumours about his relationship with gaffer Rafa Benitez.

Many different rumours have emerged since the Reds' FA Cup defeat by Reading, with the general gist being that Stevie G fell out with his manager at half-time.

West Ham target Zamora return

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By Chris Wright

Bobby's in the dark about his future

After taking the helm at West Ham yesterday, David Sullivan and David Gold have already set their sights on bringing Bobby Zamora back to Upton Park, just 18 months after the striker left for Fulham.

Shit Lookalikes: Clive Tyldesley and Meat Loaf

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By Ollie Irish

"I would do anything... to be Alex Ferguson's friend."

Thanks to Gary Andrews (host of the excellent Twofootedtackle podcast) for the tip.

Got a Shit Lookalike for us? Email your tips to ollie@anorak.co.uk

Clint Dempsey may miss 2010 World Cup, Fernando Torres on skimpy skirts, Landon Donovan’s Blue Army, Arjen Robben loses cool in training

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By Ollie Irish

Links for you to snack on:

Clint Dempsey, Fulham's best player this season, suffered cruciate knee damage at Blackburn on Sunday and may struggle not only to return for the Cottagers this season but also to be fit in time for the World Cup in South Africa.

Wolves enter talks to sign Stoke’s James Beattie

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By Chris Wright

Could this be the 'bust up' in question?

Wolverhampton Wanderers have entered into negotiations with Stoke City after having a £3 million bid accepted for striker James Beattie. The former England man has not been enjoying life at The Britannia recently after struggling to recapture the form he showed after joining the club from Sheffield United last January.

The Football Hard Men Index No.3: Brian McBride

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By Ollie Irish

Name: Brian McBride

Nationality: American

Position: Centre-forward

Why so hard? Not all football hard men are also dirty players, McBride being perhaps the best example I can think of.

The 10 Greatest Premier League Goals of the Decade No.6: Paul Scholes, Man Utd v Boro, 2000

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By Ollie Irish

This is the second wonder goal by The Ginger Ninja in this list (he also scored No.9 see link below), and what a stupendous, gobsmacker of a strike it is (apologies for crap video quality)...

Pick. That. Out.

As several YouTube commenters have pointed out, this must rank as one of the 'truest' strikes ever seen.

Everton’s Mikel Arteta closing in on comeback

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By Chris Wright

No wonder his knees are knackered

Some fantastic news coming through today if you're an Everton fan or just a fan of talented footballers in general. After nearly a year out with a cruciate ligament injury, Mikel Arteta has finally restarted training on a full time basis and is edging closer and closer to a full team comeback.

The Black-and-White Years: George Best on the ball, Man Utd v Man City, 1968

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Man Utd legend George Best on the ball during a Division One match against Man City at Old Trafford in March 1968. Best ended up on the losing side though, as the visitors won the match 3-1. [Photo: PA]

Right-click on the image to enlarge.

MORE NOSTALGIA

West Ham Photos: The two Davids, Gold & Sullivan, complete Hammers takeover

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By Ollie Irish

No income tax, no VAT
No money back, no guarantee
Claret and blue, rich or broke
We'll cut prices at a stroke

God bless David Gold
Vi-va Sullivan...

Just in case you didn't get the message that Gold & Sullivan have taken over at West Ham (with a 50% holding), Sullivan and sidekick Karren Brady both wore claret as they strolled into Upton Park:

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Nice jacket, Mr Sullivan.

Birmingham linked with five players, Tottenham linked with a horse

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By Chris Wright

Today's batch of hot tasty rumours have a distinctive Black Country flavour. Here's Tuesday's round up:

Ryan had taken to wearing body armour whilst out and about in Liverpool

Rumours No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5: Birmingham City are probably regretting revealing their transfer budget to all and sundry in December as not a day goes by when they're not linked with someone or other.

Spot the Baller: 19 January, 2010

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By Ollie Irish

Can you name this ball-headed Arsenal player? Let's ave it...

Previous answer: Mark Hughes

Yep, it was Sparky and his bow legs, after a snowy Cup Winners' Cup game at Tromso in 1997.

Spotter's badges: Chringle and Davy

David Beckham: Man City will NEVER be bigger than Man Utd

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By Ollie Irish

Beckstasy

In an interview with the Mirror published today, David Beckham kicked out slyly at the new ambition of cash-rich Man City (much like he did to Diego Simeone at the 1998 World Cup). He also pledged that he would never, EVER sign for Citeh, no matter how much cash they offered him:

"I would never sign for Manchester City.

Lionel Messi scores 101 goals for Barcelona (with video of EVERY goal)

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By Ollie Irish

People complained that our 'Spot the Genius' competition was too easy

Lionel Messi last week became the youngest player in Barcelona's history to score 100 goals for the club. He then bagged his 101st goal, in the same game, namely Barca's 4-0 demolition of Sevilla.

Arsenal defender to Celtic on loan?

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By Ollie Irish

Swiss Phil not good enough for Arsenal

Philippe Senderos has welcomed talk of a loan move to Celtic.

The unsettled Arsenal defender, apparently less useful to Arsene Wenger than a 58-year-old Sol Campbell and a 42-year-old Mikel Silvestre, said:

"I am very honoured that a big club like Celtic are interested in me and a loan deal right now would suit me perfectly.

Championship Photos: Newcastle 2-2 West Brom – Lovenkrands earns point for leaders

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The Baggies just about deserved to win this gripping top-of-the-table clash, as they repeatedly exposed Newcastle's hitherto solid defence on the counter-attack. The Toon twice came back from being a goal down, with Danny Guthrie's excellent free-kick and then a Peter Lovenkrands header replying to goals by the impressive Jonas Olsson and Roman Bednar; Lovenkrands dedicated the goal to his late father, who died last week.

Mathieu Flamini to join Manchester City on loan

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By Chris Wright

It's always pleasing to finish a Sudoku

Manchester City are edging towards securing a loan deal for AC Milan midfielder Mathieu Flamini according to reports this morning. City boss Roberto Mancini is a keen admirer of the Frenchman and is keen to bring him back to the Premier League.

Barcelona make Wayne Rooney their top target

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By Chris Wright

£140k buys you a lot of Lynx

In a story that has presumably just been picked from the footballing ether, The Daily Star are today reporting that Barcelona have stepped up their bid to take Wayne Rooney to the Camp Nou.

SPL Photos: Celtic 1-1 Falkirk – Hoops lose more ground on Rangers

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So Celtic couldn't beat the SPL's bottom-placed team, and not for the first time this season. The Hoops may still be second in the table, but these are grim times at Parkhead, with fans voicing their disapproval of, er, everyone from majority shareholder Dermot Desmond to gaffer Tony Mowbray.

Miss of the Season? Real Betis striker Dani versus open goal (with video evidence)

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By Ollie Irish

What's the Spanish for "Please direct me to the nearest tall building and I will jump off it, head first"? I don't know, but anyway, please sit back and enjoy Dani's humiliating miss, which happened against Salamanca on Saturday in Spain's second division:

Zoinks!

Inter ‘working to sign Steven Gerrard’

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By Ollie Irish

Ollie's Photoshop skills = almost as bad as Liverpool's form this season

"Inter are working to sign Steven Gerrard [this summer], given that Liverpool are in economic difficulty," an Inter source has told Corriere dello Sport.

Top 10 Premier League Photos: 16-17 January

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By Ollie Irish

The best pics of the weekend's action, courtesy of PA, and starring Boaz Myhill, Chris Samba and Dimitar Berbatov:

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Stoke City's Robert Huth celebrates scoring against Liverpool

Premier League Photos: Bolton 0-2 Arsenal – Cesc Fabregas runs the show

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By Ollie Irish

We'll call this The Cesc Fabregas Show. He's played better games for Arsenal, scored better goals than the one he scored at the Reebok although it was a gem but there was something about his performance that seemed to signal a coming of age for the 22-year-old midfielder.

Hull City sign Amr Zaki on loan

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By Chris Wright

Reports that Zaki received 'special treatment' at Wigan were unfounded

Hull City have just announced the news that they have completed the loan signing of Amr Zaki from Zamalek on a six month deal. Manager Phil Brown has bought in the striker to strengthen his attacking options as The Tigers look to push their way out of the relegation places over the remainder of the season.

Landon Donovan surprised by atmosphere at Goodison Park

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By Ollie Irish

"Man on? I thought you said 'Mandon'?"

Landon Donovan, who has impressed in his two games so far for Everton, has in return been more than impressed by how vocal footie fans are in England. After his new team's 2-0 win against Man City, the MLS star said:

"The atmosphere completely surpassed what I thought.

Play of the Week: Marouane Fellaini vs Craig Bellamy

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By Ollie Irish

Things You Would Never See Alan Shearer Do, No.1,068: The Zidane Roulette

I laughed out loud with simple delight at the sight of Angry Craig Bellamy ah, what better victim!? chasing thin air.

Thing is, this particular trick, as perfected by Zinedine Zidane, is not so difficult to perform (I'm sure many of you have tried it and got it right), but whereas most examples look laboured, this happened in a joyous instant, as quickly as the great Zizou even, eliciting the inevitable "Quick feet for a big man" praise.

Robbie Savage hit in the face by football, karma (with video)

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By Ollie Irish

After Robbie Savage's memorable rant at a BBC Derby hack last week, he might have guessed that the Angry Gods of Journalism would come back to bite him on the arse, or whack him in the face...

Nice that Savage's co-commentator was so concerned about his colleague.

Arsenal target £7m Fulham defender, but not the one you’d expect

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By Chris Wright

Chris has enjoyed every minute of his Fulham career

Arsene Wenger has made Fulham's talented young centre back, Chris Smalling one of his top targets during the January window. The Arsenal boss has been impressed by Smalling's assured performances at the heart of Fulham's defence recently and is willing to offer £7 million to lure the England U21 international across London.

Liverpool’s approach for Kenwyne Jones rejected, Nolberto Solano to re-rejoin Newcastle United?

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By Chris Wright

Rumoursville is a little quiet this morning, here's the round up...

Kenwyne just laughed off the rumours

Rumour No. 1: Liverpool have had a loan approach for Kenwyne Jones rebuffed this morning as Sunderland have again insisted that the striker is not for sale.

Man City give up on Robinho, Joe Cole in as his replacement?

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By Chris Wright

Ah! Sunday, the day of rest. But the gossip columns wait for no man...

"Can a Mr De Souza please return to the sidelines"

Rumour No. 1: Despite being reassured by manager Roberto Mancini that he does have a future at Manchester City, struggling winger Robinho is once more being linked with a move away from Eastlands.

Steven Gerrard to leave Liverpool? Amr Zaki in talks with Hull City

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By Chris Wright

Here's the hottest transfer gossip to dribble off presses this morning...

Gerrard catches up on a little light Reading

Rumour No. 1: One of those 'sources close to/someone in our office reckons' stories has surfaced this morning as, according to The Daily Star, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has one eye on the exit door at Anfield.

Liverpool Photos: Rafa Benitez poses at Melwood with new signing Maxi Rodriguez

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Rafa and Maxi, a couple of ships in the night or set for great things together? Since I saw Maxi described recently as "like a slow, one-footed Craig Bellamy", maybe not.

A few pics of Maxi and Rafa together at Melwood:

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How does this thing work?

Prem Picks: 16-17 January

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Our predictions for this weekend's Premier League fixtures:

Lawro says: Chelsea 2-0 Chelsea's opponents (always)

Pies says:

Stoke 1-1 Liverpool
Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland
Man Utd 2-0 Burnley
Portsmouth 1-1 Birmingham
Tottenham 2-1 Hull
Wolves 1-2 Wigan
Everton 1-1 Man City
Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham
Blackburn 1-0 Fulham
Bolton 0-1 Arsenal

Please add your picks in a comment and see how you stack up against Pies' so-called experts (ahem), and Lawro.

African Cup of Nations Photos: Angola 2-0 Malawi – Manucho seals first win for hosts

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After the horror! the horror! of Angola's first ever ACN match as hosts, in which they let a 4-0 lead over Mali slip with barely more than ten minutes to go (photos of that incredible match here), this win over a toothless Malawi is just the result the team and the tournament as a whole needed.

Maxi Rodriguez set for Liverpool debut, Bayern Munich chase Arsenal star, Tevez explains his new dance, Rafa says sorry

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By Ollie Irish

Some links to brighten up your Friday:

Carlos Tevez explains the origin of his new 'Tevez' dance [MCFC]

Maxi Rodriguez in Liverpool's squad to face Stoke this weekend no doubt he'll start on the bench though [This Is Anfield]

Bayern Munich and others join the race to sign Arsenal's unwanted defender Philippe Senderos [Mirror]

Rafa Benitez says sorry for Liverpool's recent form [BBC]

Six memorable League Cup semi-finals [Guardian]

Guus Hiddink wants to dance on Rafa's grave [Mail]

Historial WAG Moment: Victoria Beckham Hides From Paparazzi [Kickette]

More Benitez, with added satire: Rafa admits 'Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup were not the priority this season' [Back of the Net]

Two more players added to the US Soccer Hall of Fame.

World Cup Flashback: Carlos Valderrama’s hair attack!

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By Ollie Irish

Carlos Valderrama's hair the defining hairstyle in recent World Cup history attacks Romania's Constantin Galca during a Group G game (England's group) at the 1998 World Cup in France. [Photo: PA]

Let the record state that Romania won 1-0 with a goal by Adrian Ilie.

Paul Hart out the door at QPR after just five games

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By Chris Wright

"Good luck mate here's to the next five!"

The revolving door on the manager's office at Loftus Road has struck another unlucky schmuck on the backside this morning as Queens Park Rangers have confirmed that Paul Hart has left the club after just five games in charge.

Victoria Beckham flops as American Idol judge

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Ollie Irish

A few of the reviews on Victoria Beckham's debut as a judge on American Idol. Not good reading for ex-Posh Spice...

"Most of La Beckham's comments were bland and unimaginative and she watched proceedings with the demeanour of a cat showing off its poise.

Stoke pull out of move for David James

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By Chris Wright

David 'The Cat' James resorts to washing his kit in the only way he knows how

The 'BREAKING NEWS' ticker on Sky Sports News has farted into action this afternoon to confirm that Stoke City have pulled out of their shock loan move for Portsmouth goalkeeper David James.

David Beckham helps his kids with their homework on Skype

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By Ollie Irish

"Mum, you look ridiculous."

As the headline says, news reaches Pies that David Beckham helps his kids with their homework on Skype... Or is it the other way around? Not sure.

Anyway, Vic-Becks has endorsed her fella's paternal credentials.

Top six crazy African Cup of Nations goalkeeper kits

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Kit designers always go a bit nuts when it comes to goalkeeper kits. In Africa, more so all the 'wild Africa' clichés really came to the fore here.

Introducing our favourite goalie kits in African Cup of Nations history:

Ivory Coast, 1992
Nice collar.

Marseille want Ryan Babel if Mancini deal falls through, Everton to rescue Senderos?

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By Chris Wright

I hope, for his mother's sake, that Mancini was a C-Section

Rumour No. 1: If their loan deal for Inter Milan's lightbulb-headed winger Mancini falls through, Olympique Marseille will look to Liverpool's Ryan Babel as a direct alternative.

The Fiendish Friday Football Shirt Quiz: African special

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An African-themed shirt quiz today and not an easy one at that.

So, all of these footie shirts have been worn by African nations. Simply name them, feel great about yourself...

Good luck with those. As I said, not easy so many green kits in Africa.

Fernando Torres stars in ridiculous Pepsi ad

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Leave poor Nando alone he's not David Beckham, he's not C-Ron; he's a simple boy who happens to a) look like a wonder horse, and b) be a world-class striker. Let him get on with his job. Oh... what's that? He's injured. Again!? Sorry. As you were...

Mental! But at the end of the day, Brian, Coke still pisses on Pepsi.

Man Utd bid for Porto centre-back Jorge Rolando

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By Chris Wright

Rolando couldn't resist a mid-game fiddle

According to The Daily Mail, Manchester United are ready to make F.C Porto's centre back Jorge Rolandotheir first acquisition of the transfer window after making an £18 million bid for the Portuguese international (which actually falls quite a long way short of the Dragões completely ridiculous £28 million valuation for the 6′ 3" defender).

League Cup Photos: Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Aston Villa, semi final first leg

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Villa really should be going into the second leg with more than a one-goal lead, as they pissed all over Rovers' chips in the first half, and should have added to James Milner's fine counter-attack goal, especially from the penalty spot they had two good shouts for pens turned down by Mark 'Mr Vain' Clattenburg.

Birmingham try again for Celtic’s Aiden McGeady

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By Chris Wright

Aiden spots Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor in the crowd

After already having a £10 million bid rejected by Celtic, Birmingham have returned with a substantial £14 million offer for winger Aiden McGeady.

Chelsea face huge payout for Daniel Sturridge

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By Chris Wright

Nasty blisters have blighted Sturridge throughout his career

An independent tribunal set up by the Premier League has, this morning, concluded that Chelsea are to pay Manchester City an initial fee of £3.5 million for their young striker Daniel Sturridge who moved between the clubs last July.

‘Bored’ Hull City say Stephen Hunt is NOT for sale

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By Ollie Irish

Stephen Hunt is not going anywhere...

... Because his horse ran off.

No, seriously, Hunt is not going anywhere because Hull City don't want him to. Indeed, Hull are "bored" by all the talk linking the Irish midfielder with bigger and better clubs:

"The club is now becoming bored of continual speculation within the local media surrounding his future and would like to place on the record that the player is not for sale," an official statement said.

England stab vest on sale for 2010 World Cup, Adebayor ‘can’t eat’ after Togo ambush, Man City’s new Italian menu

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By Ollie Irish

Get yer England stab vest only $69.95. A must for any self-respecting fan this summer in knife-happy South Africa [The Offside]

Emmanuel Adebayor losing weight after trauma of seeing one of the victims of the Togo bus tragedy die in his arms [Guardian]

The Top 15 Leagues in Europe [Soccerlens]

Liverpool interested in Reading keeper Adam Federici.

FA Cup Photos: Liverpool 1-2 Reading (aet) – Rafa Royally embarrassed… again

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By Ollie Irish

Question: How many more shots of Jamie Carragher looking dejected at full-time Stevie G and Fernando Torres are usually in the dressing room by then must Liverpool fans cope with?

Answer: a few more, at least until Rafa does the decent thing and resigns

Massive credit to Reading for keeping their heads up after going 1-0 down to a deflected Stevie G shot just before half-time.

Rafa Benitez must resign after destroying Liverpool

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By Ollie Irish

"How do you control this thing?"

"Que?"

That's it then. All of the goodwill earned by Rafa Benitez with the Champions League win in Istanbul in 2005 has now run out there's not a drop left.

After Liverpool lost to Reading at Anfield last night, time is surely up for the Horizontally Challenged Spanish Waiter.

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is a wanted man, Inter Milan hunt ‘The Beast’ Baptista

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By Chris Wright

Lots of lovely rumouration (definitely a word) this morning, here's the Euro-tinged round up...

Jack and Theo on work experience at the Path Lab

Rumour No. 1: A couple of teams are lining up loan moves for precocious Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere.

Everton’s Lucas Neill signs for Galatasaray

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By Chris Wright

Misty water-coloured memories...

After devoting three-and-a-half long and glorious months to Everton, Lucas Neill is moving on to pastures new. He is set to finalise a deal with Galatasaray today and join up with his new team mates (including compatriot Harry Kewell) on Sunday.

Liverpool Photos: Maxi Rodriguez unveiled at Anfield

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By Ollie Irish

More on Rafa and Liverpool's shock FA Cup defeat by Reading later. For now, Liverpool fans can forget the pain by staring lovingly at these pics of new recruit Maxi Rodriguez being paraded at Anfield last night. (Can't wait to buy the 'Maxi stripy scarf' from Liverpool's club shop, a la Mancini)

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African Cup of Nations Photos: Cameroon 0-1 Gabon – Daniel Cousin tames Lions

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By Ollie Irish

This game saw the biggest shock of the ACN so far, with Hull City striker Daniel Cousin's goal proving enough for Gabon to claim a famous win over Cameroon's not-so-Indomitable Lions.

The trend so far: the teams in Angola that have also qualified for this summer's World Cup don't seem to be giving their all, which is entirely understandable given the size of the prize in South Africa.

Shit Lookalikes: Fernando Torres and Johnny Lawrence, Karate Kid villain

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By Ollie Irish

Johnny: "Yeah! Okay Nando, here's your first lesson: how to take a FALL!"

Nando: "Ees okay Johnny Rafa already taught me how to do that."

Hearty thanks to Nef for the suggestion. That's the second first-class Torres lookalike in one week (even if Shadowfax still rules in my book).

Mathieu Flamini reminds Arsenal fans of his quality with wonder goal for Milan

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By Ollie Irish

As a Spurs fan, of course I always love it when former Arsenal players remind Gooners of their quality especially the ones, like Flamini, who were let go in their prime (before it, even).

So here's 'Flammers', or whatever nickname he was given by the Arsenal-supporting, espresso-sipping Justins who dwell in Islington ('Matty' is more likely), scoring a rather fine strike for Milan against lowly Novara a third division side in the Coppa Italia:

Nice.

Stoke City plan shock move for David James

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By Chris Wright

Like a kitten with a ball of wool...

There are a number of reports this morning suggesting that David James could be on the verge of making a surprise loan switch to Stoke City. The Portsmouth keeper is eager to play regularly to secure a place in England's World Cup squad and Pompey are desperate to partially remove James from their wage bill as the financial crisis at the club deepens.

FA Cup Photos: Newcastle United 3-0 Plymouth Argyle – Lovenkrands hat-trick sinks Mariner’s Green Army

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By Ollie Irish

A wholly predictable result given the venue and the respective positions of the two clubs. Argyle, currently trapped in the Championship's relegation zone, were comfortably beaten by the table-topping Geordies. Peter Lovenkrands showed his class with a well-taken hat-trick.

Snapshot: Brian Laws unveiled as Burnley manager – will he keep the Clarets in the Premier League?

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By Ollie Irish

Burnley's new gaffer, Brian Laws, surveys one corner of his new domain, aka Turf Moor. [Photo: PA]

Many Burnley fans seem to be wholly unimpressed with Laws' appointment, but consider that he did a very good job at Sheffield Wednesday, on very limited resources; he deserves his chance to take the hot seat at a Prem club.

Cristiano Ronaldo models Armani pants, Adebayor back in Arsenal colours, Liverpool want French winger

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By Ollie Irish

Some of the most clickworthy footie links I saw on this snowy London Wednesday...

Inevitable Cristiano Ronaldo news: C-Ron does a Beckham, models in his pants for cash homoerotic rating off the charts [Kickette]

Emmanuel Adebayor spotted wearing Arsenal shirt?

Wigan confirm the signing of Gary Caldwell

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By Chris Wright

Gary Caldwell left Celtic after being forced to live in a tree for two weeks

Wigan Athletic have announced that the transfer of Gary Caldwell from Celtic (where he may or may not have been forced to live in a tree) has gone through today.

Football Comedy: Stewart Lee on Ron Atkinson, racism and Jimmy Hill’s chin

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By Ollie Irish

Two glorious words: chinny reckon.

Brilliant stand-up by Lee, especially in describing Gary Lineker as a "velvet owl".

African Cup of Nations Photos: Egypt 3-1 Nigeria

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Entertaining game, this, featuring two of the best teams on show in Angola. Chinedu Obasi put Nigeria in front after 12 minutes, but Egypt equalised when a goalkeeping error let Emad Moteab poke the ball into an empty net. A deflected Ahmed Hassan shot put the holders ahead, before a fine long-range strike from sub Gedo Nagy completed the comeback.

Football Fashion: Man City to sell Roberto Mancini designer scarf

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Crafty work by Man City's merchandise department, which has rebranded a traditional stripy scarf as 'Roberto Mancini's designer Italian bar scarf'. Which means the club can charge £8 for it, rather than a fiver. Opportunism ahoy!

Pre-order it from City's online shop here, but be warned that wearing it won't suddenly turn you into a silver charmer like Mancini, nor a top-class football manager.

FA Cup Photos: Coventry City 1-2 Portsmouth – Stephen Wright own goal costs City

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Tough on Coventry, who led through Leon Best's wonder goal, but were pegged back, first through a Stephen Wright own goal in the final minute of normal time, then when Aaron Mokoena scored the winner with a fine header in the dying seconds of extra time.

Coventry were much the better side in normal time, before Pompey dominated extra time it's a much-needed win for the south coast club, who will find out later today if they will receive £7m in TV money and have their transfer embargo lifted.

Photos: Sol Campbell in action for Arsenal Reserves against West Ham

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Sol Campbell is set to make a shock re-signing for Arsenal this week after he played 45 minutes for their reserves against West Ham last night - that was the plan, according to Neil Banfield, manager of Arsenal's reserves. After the match, Banfield hailed Campbell as a "first-class professional".

The 10 Greatest Premier League Goals of the Decade: No.7 – Shaun Bartlett, Charlton v Leicester, 2001

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"Remember me?"

Reminiscent of Paolo di Canio's more esteemed volley from a narrow angle (which may or may not appear higher up this list), Bartlett's strike is just perfect the long, diagonal pass followed by the sweetest volley you'd ever wish to see. Anyone who has ever played football will know how difficult it is to hit a ball that's dropping out of the sky from 50 yards away this well.

The Black-and-White Years: Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town, The Valley, 1947

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Huddersfield Town's Alf Whittingham (left) takes on Charlton Athletic's Jock Campbell at a muddy Valley Stadium, during a Division One fixture in March 1947. Back in the day, the Valley was one of the biggest stadia in Britain, with a capacity of more than 70,000 (!!), thanks mainly to its huge East stand.

World Cup Flashback: England fans cheer Captain Marvel at the 1982 World Cup in Spain

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By Ollie Irish

"Inger-land, Inger-land!"

Ouch, that is a truly disgraceful shiner. Sorry, can't type much more tears of pride filling my eyes.

This photo was taken at the '82 World Cup finals in sunny Espana, during England's opening group game against France you remember, the one in which Bryan Robson scored after a matter of seconds (27 seconds, to be exact).

FA Cup Photos: Birmingham City 1-0 Nottingham Forest – plus new signing Michel unveiled at St Andrews

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Big Eck's in-form Blues unbeaten in 14 games now edged out Forest in a very tight game, which the visitors in decent form themselves dominated for long periods, in terms of possession at least. But Joe Hart was in fine form again.

Barry Ferguson's second-half goal, his first for the club, was enough to see Birmingham progress to the next round, but credit to Forest, who showed that if they are promoted this season, under Billy Davies they would have a good chance of staying in the Prem in 10/11.

Shit Lookalikes: Dave Jones and Darth Vader

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By Ollie Irish

Nice harmonica, Darth

This is VERY shit, isn't it? That's why I like it so much.

Spotted by me, whilst checking out pics of Bristol City's 1-1 draw with Cardiff in the FA Cup last night.

Think you can do shitter?

Roman Pavlyuchenko finally on his way out of Tottenham, back to Russia?

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By Chris Wright

Knowing he wasn't likely to play, Roman took to turning up in his pyjamas

In even more Spurs news, The Mirror reports that Tottenham outcast Roman Pavlyuchenko is on the brink of securing his long-awaited move away from White Hart Lane, with Zenit St.

FA Cup Photos: Bristol City 1-1 Cardiff City – Gavin Williams rescues the Robins in the snow

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In freezing conditions, and with fresh snow falling before kick-off, this fixture was almost called off. But credit to Bristol City's groundstaff, who did a terrific job in turning out a playable pitch.

Credit too to the players, who worked their socks off in very difficult conditions Cardiff did just enough to leave Ashton Gate with the win, but Gavin Williams' injury-time equaliser forced a replay that no one could deny the home side earned; ironically, Williams is a lifelong Bluebirds fan.

Lucas Neill to leave Everton already? Pippo Inzaghi on the verge of Milan exit

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By Chris Wright

This has got to be the quietest day, rumour-wise, of the window so far! Anywho here's the gossip round up...

Lucas plays 'the waiting game'

Rumour No. 1: Galatasaray have tabled an £800,000 bid for Lucas Neill despite the Australian full back having only joined Everton a few months ago.

Tottenham to sign midfield trio?

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By Chris Wright

Big chair or tiny man? You decide...

Tottenham are featuring heavily in today's transfer gossip with news that they are to bring in a pair of defensive midfielders to increase their options in the middle of the pitch.

A £6 million deal for long term target Sandro looks to be nearing completion with the Internacional man having agreed personal terms with Spurs 'in principle'.

Liverpool’s new midfield star flies to England for medical

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By Ollie Irish

Maxi Rodriguez, South America's favourite panty liner, is set to hop on a plane tomorrow morning and fly to the north-west for his medical with Liverpool, ahead of a cut-price £1m-£1.5m move from Atletico Madrid.

This could turn out to be a VERY good bit of business for not only Atletico who want the high-earning Argentine off their wage bill but also for Liverpool, who get a proven international for less than the price of a Championship player (salary not withstanding).

Has Sol Campbell really signed for Arsenal again?

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By Ollie Irish

According to Arsenal's official website, Sol Campbell has re-signed for the club, and is set to make his second debut tonight for the Gunners' reserves at West Ham.

However, the statement has since been removed from the website, prompting confusion and suggestions that it was simply a mistake.

The Football WAG Index No.22: Alex Curran – Steven Gerrard’s WAG

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By Ollie Irish

From humble nail technician to uber-WAG, model and Mirror columnist. It's been a wild ride for Mrs Stevie G, and she's certainly glammed up since she first started dating Liverpool's skipper. Bumper gallery below:

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The Great Football Song Library No.4: ‘The Footie Song’ by Adam and Joe

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The Footie Song Unplugged:

Devastating lyrics there I believe I detect a little irony behind the catchy chorus. And check out the original on the YouTubes: LINK

Got a song you'd like to nominate for the library? Let us know...

MORE

No.

Premier League Photos: Man City 4-1 Blackburn – Carlos Tevez hat-trick ruins Rovers

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City go fourth after this comprehensive win against a Blackburn side that was, especially in the first half, shamefully devoid of ambition.

City can't win the Premier League, though that's still the general view, but with neither Chelsea, Man Utd or Arsenal looking like world beaters, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if they did kick on and surprise us all after all, it's not like they don't have the money to strengthen what is already a pretty solid squad in the winter transfer window.

Premier League Team of the Season… So Far

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By Ollie Irish

Pies cordially invites you to check out our Prem Team of the Season So Far...

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Joe Hart (Birmingham City) - Quickly playing his way into the No.

Man Utd chase Real Madrid midfielder, Marouane Fellaini to Chelsea?

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By Chris Wright

Not much in the way of what the Germans call 'Das Tittle Tattle' this morning but here's the round up...

Nothing beats a good frolic just ask Momo

Rumour No. 1: Manchester United are tracking the least talented of Real Madrid's Diarras - Mahamadou - with the intention of the Malian international replacing Anderson in the centre of United's midfield.

World Cup Formbook: Joe Hart makes strong case to be England’s No.1 goalkeeper

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Fabio Capello's main headache is the lack of good English goalkeepers. Of the current top ten clubs in the Premier League table, the only Englishman between the sticks is Birmingham City's Joe Hart and he's only playing for Birmingham because he couldn't get a game for Man City.

Football Video: Carlos Tevez scores hat-trick against Blackburn – Man Utd fans, miss him?

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By Ollie Irish

Hey, you know who could use a little Tevez Magic right now? Man Utd. Oh...

The first goal wasn't much to look at, but Tevez's second and third strikes were very cool finishes.

Regrets, Fergie's had a few. Indeed, if I was a Man Utd fan, I'd find it hard not to resent my gaffer for the ham-fisted, pig-headed way he forced Carlito out of Old Trafford; Rooney and Tevez certainly trumps Rooney and Berbatov, Rooney and Owen.

African Cup of Nations Photos: Malawi 3-0 Algeria – England, please ignore this result

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By Ollie Irish

In front of, er, not very many fans at all, Malawi recorded their first ever win in the African Cup of Nations. And utterly deserved it was too, as Algeria one of England's group rivals at the 2010 World Cup were worse than rubbish, particularly at the back.

Sergio Canales wondergoal sparks Chelsea interest

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Easy as pie-naar

A two goal, match winning, performance from Racing Santander wonderkid Sergio Canales has moved him up a few places on Chelsea's wanted list. Canales has become big news in La Liga recently after some eye catching displays, including four goals in his last three games, and his impudent chipped finish against Sevilla has convinced Carlo Ancelotti that the young midfielder has the potential to make it at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal to ease striker woes with Louis Saha?

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By Chris Wright

Could Saha handle it at Arsenal? Apparently not

Louis Saha's future at Everton has come under speculation recently after his contract negotiations with the Toffees have stalled. It is thought that the French striker's wage demands (£60,000-a-week) have become a sticking point as the Goodison club try to redefine the terms of Saha's current pay-as-you-play deal.

Shit Lookalikes: Fernando Torres and Shadowfax (the horse from Lord of the Rings)

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By Ollie Irish

An early contender for best lookalike of 2010, methinks, and one of my favourites of all time. Big love to Guy Gorman for sending it in. Torres is indeed the Shadowfax of the Premier League fleet of foot, noble, flighty, a pure thoroughbred.

Championship Photos: West Brom 1-3 Nottm Forest – Forest surge into second

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By Ollie Irish

Brilliant result for Forest at the Hawthorns and one that really backs up their promotion credentials; Billy Davies is doing a terrific job and I really hope he takes them back to the Prem it's been far too long since Forest were in the top flight.

Lionel Messi slaps fan for making too much noise during game (with video)

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Want to tell an annoyingly vociferous fan to pipe down? A casual slap in the back of the head will suffice.

WARNING: This tactic may only work if you're one of the most famous players in the world.

The shocked fan's reply appears to have been along the lines of: "Hey Messi, I've paid for my ticket, I can say what the hell I want!

The WAGs of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho clashes with journalist (again), Essien flies into the ‘death zone’, Arsene Wenger sanctions cheating

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A handy, cut-out-and-keep record of all of C-Ron's WAGs, including many, many skanks and the not-so-skanky Gemma Atkinson (pictured) [Uncoached]

Jose Mourinho faces another slap on the wrists after reported clash with Italian journalist. The Special One has admitted he abused the hack, but denied 'gripping his forearms' [FourFourTwo]

Umbro's excellent blog examines the world of rare footy shirts [Umbro]

Tom Hicks Jr forced out of Liverpool after calling fan ‘Poo-Brains' and ‘Mr Wanky'.

African Cup of Nations Photos: Angola 4-4 Mali – Togo tragedy overshadows miracle comeback

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The 2010 African Cup of Nations (ACN) couldn't possibly have had a more turbulent start, what with the Togo bus tragedy and then one of the most bonkers games in the tournament's history.

Firstly, a few words about the shocking attack on Togo's team coach, which killed three people and injured eight more, including goalkeeper Dodji Obilale; Obilale is currently in a stable condition in a South African hospital, having been shot in the back.

GIF of the Day: Micah Richards slams snowball in Robinho’s face

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Robinho looked very pleased with the size of his snowball, until Man City team-mate Micah Richards launched a brilliant sneak attack:

If only Micah could play as well on the pitch, eh.

MORE GIFS

Photos: Birmingham 1-1 Man Utd, Premier League – Blues hold champions

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The best photos from St Andrews below:

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Despite the freezing conditions Manchester United fans stand up and chant in the stands shirtless - daft sods

Fletch says:

"Cocks.

First Photos! Owen Coyle unveiled as Bolton manager

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Piping hot pics of Owen Coyle taking a bow at the Reebok:

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Painful viewing for Burnley fans, I'm sure.

Photos: Arsenal 2-2 Everton, Premier League – Landon Donovan looks good on debut

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Mini match report: This was one of only two Prem matches to survive the cold weather, and what a fine match it was, with plenty of entertaining, end-to-end play. The only predictable thing about it was that Arsenal would somehow get out of jail with a late equaliser. And so it proved, with Tomas Rosicky firing in off Lucas Neill, their second deflected goal of the game.

Spot the Baller: 11 January, 2010

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Who dis? Pies wants your guesses educated or not NOW!

Previous answer: Gareth Southgate

Spotter's badges: Er, no one this time. Except Chris from TwoFootedTackle, who did get it right via Pies' Twitter feed.

Man Utd draw up keeper wishlist

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The pose that is now known as 'The Foster'

Manchester United have drawn up a stellar list of goalkeepers of whom they are to track as possible replacements for Edwin Van Der Sar and Ben Foster.

Fiorentina's Sebastian Frey, Lyon's Hugo Lloris, Schalke 04's Manuel Neuer, Celtic's Artur Boruc and Inter Milan's Julio Cesar make up the five man shortlist with French shot stopper 'extraordinaire' Lloris said to be at the man at the top of the pile.

Man City and Nottingham Forest duke it out for Victor Moses, Fulham close to Okaka loan deal

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"Let my people go!"

Rumour No. 1: Crystal Palace prodigy Victor Moses is a wanted man. His name has been continually linked with a host of teams over the past few weeks, with Barcelona, Hoffenheim, Tottenham and Liverpool all being touted as possible destinations, but it now appears a firm bid (or two) has been made for the striker.

Tom Hicks Jr resigns after sending abusive email to Liverpool fan

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Tom Hicks Jr and missus they look like fun dinner party guests

Tom Hicks Junior has bowed to intense pressure notably from the ever-active Spirit of Shankly supporters' group to resign from the Liverpool FC board following his abusive email to a fan in an argument over Rafael Benitez's transfer budget (or lack of it).

Premier League Player of the Season: The half-term shortlist

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Last week, Pies posted mid-season reports and grades on each of the Premier League clubs. Now we turn our attention to individual players.

If the Player of the Season voting was to take place now, based on the first half of the 09/10 campaign, here, in alphabetical order, are the six players I'd have on my shortlist:

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Ashley Cole (Chelsea) - Having his best ever season, winning over many neutral fans, me included.

Liverpool complete ‘Operation Deadwood’ with the sale of Andriy Voronin

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Voronin sums up his Liverpool career in one facial expression

Liverpool fans will be celebrating the most successful period in their club's recent history today after it has been announced that Andriy Voronin has signed for Russian Premier League side Dinamo Moscow this morning.

Man Utd’s sensational £80m clear out, Man City want Younes Kaboul

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Dimitar sulked after the kitman refused to sew pockets into his shorts

Rumour No.1: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to put a number of his star players up for sale in an attempt to rejuvenate his squad in the wake of a number of stale performances this season, not least the toothless outing against Leeds last week.

Chelsea plan huge bid for Edin Dzeko, Sunderland target Tottenham duo

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Edin takes the Women's Singles title at Wimbledon

Rumour No.1: Despite Carlo Ancelotti's repeated protestations that Chelsea will remain dormant during the transfer window, The Daily Mirror are today reporting that The Blues are preparing a huge bid to trigger the buy-out clause in Edin Dzeko's contract with his current club Wolfsburg.

Chelsea plan huge bid for Edin Dzeko, Sunderland target Tottenham Duo

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Edin takes the Women's Singles title at Wimbledon

Rumour No.1: Despite Carlo Ancelotti's repeated protestations that Chelsea will remain dormant during the transfer window, The Daily Mirror are today reporting that The Blues are preparing a huge bid to trigger the buy-out clause in Edin Dzeko's contract with his current club Wolfsburg.

Exclusive Photos! Patrick Vieira poses at Eastlands with Man City shirt

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Piping hot pics of Paddy at Eastlands, looking very pleased with himself and his bumper new contract:

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Hmm, can't help but feel this is a bad move for both parties.

More photos of Landon Donovan in Everton blue

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Like the headline says, more pics of Landycakes/Mandon posing in Everton blue (first batch here) at the club's Finch Farm training complex:

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The Fiendish Friday Football Shirt Quiz

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You know the drill by now. Simply name the six clubs from their shirt detail. Away you go...

Answers/wild guesses in the usual place, por favor...

Liverpool finally sell their worst player

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I really am so truly truly sorry

You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from Merseyside as the news filters through that Andrea Dossena will finally sign for Napoli in a £4.5 million/four and a half year deal after the final details are hammered out later today.

Premier League half-term reports: Sunderland, Spurs, West Ham, Wigan, Wolves

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The fourth and final bunch of mid-season reports and grades features Sunderland, Spurs, West Ham, Wigan and Wolves:

SUNDERLAND (11th, 23 points from 20 games)

Made a storming start to the campaign but an injury to key midfielder Lee Cattermole in October took the wind completely out of their sails.

Cristian Ansaldi on the verge of signing for Man City, Emmanuel Pogatetz unlikely to join Panathinaikos

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Slim pickings for the rumour round-up this morning. Quantity isn't the issue here, but quality most definitely is...

Eye've heard he can't wait to join City

Rumour No.1: Manchester City are on the verge of securing the services of Rubin Kazan's versatile full-back Cristian Ansaldi.

Michel will be a Birmingham City player for ‘now and the future’ – Alex Mcleish

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Michel, soon to sign for Birmingham, on the heels of soon-to-be team-mate Seb Larsson during a friendly in August '09

Birmingham City gaffer Alex McLeish claims that imminent new signing Michel will be "a player for now and the future".

Michel, a central midfielder for Sporting de Gijon in Spain, is expected to complete a £3million move to St Andrews in the next couple of days, subject to passing a medical.

The Black-and-White Years: Archie Gemmill scores wonder goal for Scotland against Holland, 1978 World Cup

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Kenny Dalglish (right) watch on as teammate Archie Gemmill dribbles into the penalty area, before scoring one of the great World Cup goals, against the Netherlands at the 1978 World Cup. Photo: PA

And thanks to YouTube, you can watch it below:

The goal was also used, to great effect, in the movie Trainspotting:

Arsenal to smash transfer record for Mauro Zarate, Sol Campbell in for Senderos?

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Suspicions arose that Mauro just wasn't trying anymore

Rumour No.1: Hot off the press this morning is the rumour that Arsene Wenger is reportedly set to blow the lion's share, if not all, of his January budget on a £35 million swoop for Lazio talisman Mauro Zarate.

Shit Lookalikes: Heurelho Gomes and He Pingping (aka the world’s shortest man)

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He Pingping is from China and is officially the shortest man in the world, at a miniscule 2ft 5in. That's almost four feet shorter than Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.

Thanks to Tom P for this brilliant spot. Love it, Tom.

Think you can do shitter? Email your football lookalikes to ollie@anorak.

Liverpool to tie down Marouane Chamakh?

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Marouane made the mistake of asking the barber for a 'K.D Lang'

Liverpool have attempted to steal a march on their rivals by offering a pre-contract agreement to Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh, who has found himself to be somewhat of a hot property of late.

Video Nasty: Inter defender Cristian Chivu fractures skull, similar injury to Petr Cech

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Like the headline says, ouch. OUCH. This is actually painful to watch, though nowhere near as painful as it was for Christian Chivu, who came off much worse after a brutal clash of heads with Chievo forward Sergio Pellissier during a recent Serie A clash match:

The desription of the injury suffered by Chivu, found on Inter's official website (Spotter's badge: 101GreatGoals), is equally painful to read:

"The player [Cristian Chivu] sustained a trauma to the right side of the cranium and it provoked some fractures with the collapse of the structure and some blood, but the bruising was contained.

Eidur Gudjohnsen wants Prem return with Blackburn

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The secret to Eidur's success? Ostrich knees.

Eidur Gudjohnsen is seriously considering a return to the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers said to be keen to acquire the services of the former Barcelona man, according to his father and agent, Arnor Gudjohnsen.

Photos: David Beckham stars on second AC Milan debut (5-2 win against Genoa)

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Becks looked pretty sprightly on his second debut for AC Milan, helping his side to a 5-2 win against Genoa at the San Siro and in front of England head coach Fabio Capello, who is currently chillin' at his Italian home.

Becks even played in an advanced forward role, before dropping back to a more familiar midfield position, and looked in fine form, showing the vision and work rate that has made him a big hit with Milan supporters.

America hearts Clint Dempsey’s wonder goal against Stoke

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No less a publication than the New York Times took note of Deuce's wonder goal against Stoke earlier this week (watch it here), a small but sure sign that there is a growing appetite for football/soccer in the States.

The NYTÂ ran a blog post yesterday titled "Spectacular Dempsey Goal Raises Eyebrows, and His Reputation".

Ryan Giggs receives the Freedom of Salford (with photos)

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On top of his BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, Ryan Giggs was today given the Freedom of the City of Salford. And quite right too. The Manchester United winger joins previous recipients of the honour such as Nelson Mandela, LS Lowry and David Lloyd George. A few photos of Giggsy getting his medal and big certificate below:

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Football pranks: Who put a snowman in Scott Carson’s car?

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I lost count of the number of snow-related puns in this Sky report from West Brom's training ground. But, ah, with japes like these, what fun it must be to be a professional footballer.

Photo gallery: Footballers in the snow

Premier League half-term reports: Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Portsmouth, Stoke

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The third of our four half-term report cards (check out the first and second parts) for the 09/10 Premier League season features some big names:

LIVERPOOL (7th, 33 points from 20 games)

An unforeseen season horribilis for Liverpool in the making nothing has gone right for Rafa Benitez, from the injury woes of Fernando Torres to the poor form of captain Steven Gerrard and key defender Jamie Carragher.

WAG Cheryl Cole proud to lose virginity at 15

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Cheryl Cole has revealed that she lost her virginity at the age of 15:

"I was 15 when I lost my virginity, but I made my boyfriend wait three months, so I am really proud of myself for that."

Three whole months!? Yeah Cheryl, that's worthy of pride waiting until you're 15 to pop your cherry is a mark of real class.

Indonesian pitch invader dribbles 30 yards, fails to score (with video)

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It's no fun supporting the Indonesian national team, who rarely win.

During a recent loss at home to the mighty Oman, one Indonesian man ran onto the pitch and tried to be a literal 12th man for his useless side. Decent dribble especially with no boots but poor finish. Who knows, perhaps after he's been released from solitary confinement, he'll be selected for his country?

Chelsea track Vincenzo Iaquinta, Adrian Mutu to West Ham?

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Today's transfer rumour round up is a bumper crop indeed. First off the bat is the news that Chelsea are tracking this man...

Iaquinta is sidelined... literally

Rumour No.1: Chelsea are keeping tabs on crocked Juventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Patrick Vieira confirms Manchester City move will boost his World Cup chances

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Straight from the horse's mouth, this is what Vieira told Eurosport today:

"I set myself an objective, I want to go to the World Cup.

"The important thing for me is to go to Manchester City and to show the coach [Roberto Mancini] I'm the same player than when he was in charge of Inter.

Which Liverpool player winds you up the most?

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Already this season, Pies has asked you Which Chelsea player winds you up the most? You voted for Didier Drogba. Then we asked you the same question of Man Utd. You voted for Comrade Gary Neville. Then came Arsenal. You went for Emmanuel Eboue.

Today it's the turn of... you guessed it.

Jermaine Beckford: Judas or simply ambitious?

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A statement on Leeds United's official website confirms that star striker Jermaine Beckford wants away:

"Leeds United can confirm that Jermaine Beckford has handed in a transfer request.

"The transfer request was handed in on December 30.

"By handing in a transfer request it clearly indicates that the player wants to leave Leeds United.

Man Utd target trio of defenders

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Vidic has been a roaring success at Man Utd

In the wake of the stories linking Nemanja Vidic with a move to Real Madrid, Manchester United have apparently targeted a hat-trick of centre backs to replace the seemingly outbound Serbian. Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini, Palermo's Simon Kjaer and Bolton's Gary Cahill are all reported to be on the Old Trafford clubs wish list.

The 10 Greatest Premier League Goals of the Decade: No.8 – Robert Pires, Aston Villa v Arsenal, 2002

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This goal sums up the casual brilliance of Pires. First there is the wrong-footing flick, reminiscent of Gazza's set-up for his goal against Scotland at Euro '96, followed by an impudent lobbed finish over the head of none other than Peter Schmeichel, a keeper who had foiled the Gunners in a Man Utd shirt on many occasions.

World Cup Flashback: Gary Lineker and John Barnes soak up the sun at Mexico ‘86

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Club Tropicana, drinks are free...

The official PA caption for this photograph reads: "England's John Barnes and Gary Lineker top up their tans by the pool after training."

Hmmm. I think it's safe to say that JB's tan was fairly well topped-up already. And note the bandage on Lineker's left forearm, an iconic accessory that instantly brings memories flooding back of his poacher's hat-trick against Poland in the group stage, a match England had to win to progress.

Spurs to offer Robbie Keane for John Carew?

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Apologies for the lack of photos, having a bit of technical trouble.

There's a slight feeling of deja-vu about this story but according to one of Britain's last bastions of truth, The Daily Star, Spurs are willing to cut their losses and let Robbie Keane join Aston Villa if the West Midlands club stump up £5m plus John Carew.

Birmingham want Kenwyne Jones, Sunderland have already lined up his replacement

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Lady in red, is dancing with me...

Bit of a double-barreller to get us off the mark this morning.

It seems that Birmingham are going to be a bit of a staple in this months transfer speculation after Blues chairman Carson Yeung's strange decision to announce to all and sundry that they have a shed load of cash to burn.

Photo gallery: Footballers in the snow

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As I type, it's snowing hard in south London real snow, not the rubbish wet stuff you usually get in England. A good day to work at home, for sure.

Continuing on the snowy theme, check out Pies' tremendous gallery of footballers in the snow, featuring Eric Cantona on a snowmobile, Barry Fry with some huskies, and Neil Warnock on a sled.

Argentina international to Liverpool for bargain fee, 10 footballers who will define the next decade, the 2010 World Cup in 3D

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Liverpool very close to wrapping up £1.5m deal for Atletico Madrid winger Maxi Rodriguez. The experienced Argentine would offer excellent cover for Dirk Kuyt on the right wing, even allowing Rafa Benitez to play Kuyt up front if necessary [Caught Offside]

10 Footballers Who Will Define The Next Decade [The Offside]

ESPN will show the 2010 World Cup opener between hosts South Africa and Mexico in 3D.

Freddy Adu signs for Aris Thessaloniki on 18-month loan deal

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Freddy Adu's less-than-convincing career took an unexpected turn today, with the news revealed by Adu himself on his Twitter page that he is to join Aris FC of Greece on an 18-month loan deal from current club Benfica. It's his third loan spell since the summer of 2008, when he was farmed out to Monaco.

Premier League half-term reports: Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Hull

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The second of our four half-term report cards (check out the first part here) for the 09/10 Premier League season features Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham and Hull City:

BURNLEY (14th, 20 points from 20 games)

It's a breeze to sum up the Clarets' season so far: excellent at Fortress Turf Moor, lamentable away from Fortress Turf Moor; Burnley have failed to win any of their ten games on the road, with just one draw and nine defeats.

Spot the Baller: 6 January, 2010

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Can you use your footy knowledge to identify this Aston Villa player? Leave a comment with your shout.

Previous answer: Nigel Winterburn

Spotter's badge: David Allison was first out of the traps with the only correct answer.

Liverpool star to Birmingham, Spurs in for Miguel Veloso?

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Plenty of rumour-tism this morning so here's a quick round up of the most prominent.

A Babel in it's natural habitat

Rumour No. 1: Birmingham have inquired about the availability of Liverpool winger Ryan Babel. There is rumoured to have been a £9 million bid on the table from Brum but it fell some way short of the £12 million that Liverpool have the gall to value the Dutchman at.

Top 10 awesome footballers’ names

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For the record, we've only included footballers who are currently active, so Socrates clearly the most awesome name of all time is not eligible. In order of personal preference, counting down from No.10, we present:

10. Hulk

OK, Hulk is only a nickname his real name is Givanildo Vieira de Souza but the Porto striker qualifies because he does play with the name on the back of his shirt.

Roberto Mancini: We will make Man Utd remove the Stretford End clock banner

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Bobby Mancini has promised his Man City side will beat Man Utd in the League Cup semi final, then go on to win the trophy, thereby forcing United fans to take down the mocking 'clock' banner on the Stretford End, which constantly reminds City fans how long it is since they last won silverware (1976).

Arsenal to swoop for Carlton Cole?

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Marlon Harewood? Seriously?

Rumours in the papers this morning suggest that Arsenal will turn to West Ham forward Carlton Cole in a £9 million deal to solve their current striker deficiency, only if Nicklas Bendtner fails a fitness test on Friday.

The Football Mascot Index No.4: Junter, Borussia Monchengladbach

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Name: Jünter the foal

Mascot of: Borussia Mönchengladbach, since 1965 Jünter's name and the number 10 on the back of his shirt are references to Günter Netzer, one of the greatest players in the club's history

Distinguishing features: White mohican, big teeth, large cock

Jünter (a local dialect form of Günter) hit the headlines in 2005 when he was abused by Borussia's then-goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Photos: Stoke City 3-2 Fulham, Premier League – Clint Dempsey wonder goal not enough for Cottagers

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This was a stonking midweek game of two halves to warm all our frozen hearts.

The undoubted highlight was Deuce Dempsey's wonder volley with five minutes left (see clip, above), which gave Fulham some hope of salvaging a draw. But Stoke hung on to claim a much-needed win (they had been 3-0 up after 37 minutes), their first in six games.

Juan Sebastion Veron mulls over Man City move

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Mull mull mull...

What a good samaritan Juan Sebastion Veron is. It is alleged that the ex-Man Utd, Chelsea and Inter star had initially turned down a £7 million move to Man City earlier in the week but has been forced to reassess his snub because the fee involved is so high it would pay for a new stadium for his current club Estudiantes.

Aquilani’s WAG hot in green, Victoria Beckham scary in white, Patrick Vieira to Man City, Vidic to Real Madrid

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You can see other people. It's fine with me. This relationship is open, I understand that...

Alberto Aquailani's WAG looks hot in green [Kickette]

David Beckham's WAG looks scary in white [Kickette]

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira will join Man City on loan next week from Inter Milan [Mail]

Man Utd set to lose Nemanja Vidic to Real Madrid?

Photos: Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United, FA Cup – Beckford stuns Old Trafford

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Late on this, I know, but I only got back to the UK yesterday from my Xmas holiday in Montreal London needs more poutine and better bagels, btw and everyone is still talking about the Leeds giant-killing, not to mention another time-related moan by Alex Ferguson. Only five minutes!? Tssk, disgraceful.

Premier League half-term reports: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton

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The first of four half-term report cards for the Premier League features Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn and Bolton:

ARSENAL (3rd, 41 points from 19 games)

With a fully fit squad, Wenger's young and exciting side have, at times, looked against the pre-season odds like real title contenders.

Landon Donovan unveiled at Everton (with photos)

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Pies has got its greasy hands on some exclusive pics of Everton's new loan signing Landon Donovan being welcomed at Goodison, after the Toffees' FA Cup win against Carlisle...

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I'm very interested in seeing how this move pans out.

‘Mister’ by KARA – South Korean girl group proclaims love for ‘chubby’ Frank Lampard

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KARA are a popular girl group from South Korea. Their song 'Mister', which they performed here at a footy game (in Korea?), features a lot of suggestive butt dancing. Good.

As for the subtitled lyrics, although the English translation makes perfect sense, especially the line about "cute chubby Frank mister", I strongly suspect 'tis a piss-take.

The Black-and-White Years: Alex Ferguson and Jim Baxter train with Rangers, 1969

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Rangers stars Alex Ferguson and Jim Baxter, sentenced to a session of long, hard skipping during a training session in July 1969.

Fergie left Ibrox a couple of months after this photo was taken, having been blamed for a costly mistake against Old Firm rivals Celtic in the 1969 Scottish Cup final.

The Football WAG Index No.21: Catrinel Menghia – Romania’s hottest WAG

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Catrinel Menghia is a lingerie model from Romania. She currently lives in Italy with her fella Massimo Brambati, a former journeyman defender for the likes of Torino, Bari, Palermo and Empoli.

Dare we say it, but Brambati is punching way above his weight Menghia is insanely hawt, as our bumper gallery shows (right-click each image to see the large version).

Dave Kitson keen on Celtic loan deal

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What a dashing young man

Reports in the papers today suggest that Celtic manager Tony Mowbray is lining up a loan move for Stoke striker Dave Kitson, which would see the player move north of the border until the end of the season.

The striker moved from Reading to Stoke in 2008 for a club record fee of £5.

Arsenal and Man Utd to move for Hulk?

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Hulk smash, Hulk score

Reports today suggest that two of the Premier League big guns will move for 23-year-old Porto striker Hulk. The Brazilian forward has a rumoured release clause of nearly €100 million but a more realistic sum of £15-20 million would surely tempt Porto to sell.

Michael Owen advised to try Feng Shui to revive international career

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Geoffrey Boycott: professional Yorkshireman, professional women's hat wearer, professional nut job

'Boycs', the former England opening batsman who dwells in a "corridor of uncertainty", has written to Little Michael Owen, urging the misfiring striker to try Feng Shui:

"Michael is struggling with his scoring and obviously wants to get back in the England team for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Manchester United = not the only United in English football

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Clive Tyldesley: bullied at school?

Hello and welcome to pedants' corner. Or should that be pedant's corner? Is it a corner for pedants or a pedant?

Anyway... You know what grinds the crap out of my gears? When football commentators/journalists etc. refer to Manchester United as simply 'United'.

Photos: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal, FA Cup – Ramsey and Eduardo to the rescue

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Boooooof!

Mini match report:Â The FA Cup represents by far the Gunners' best chance of winning silverware this season, but they almost didn't make it past the plucky Irons who outplayed the visitors for much of the game at Upton Park on Sunday. But late goals by Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo earned Wenger's boys a fourth-round tie against Stoke City.

Arsenal stunned as starlet signs five-year deal with Atletico Madrid

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Hello 2010. Hello readers. Pies is back in the saddle, a couple of pounds heavier (thanks poutine) but no less motivated. So, no messing, first up this year we have some breaky news for you. Arsenal fans, prepare to weep into your Fair Trade muesli...

My Spanish is sketchy at best I can say "Dos cervezas por favor" in a reasonably convincing accent but even I can understand the latest headline in Spanish rag AS, which announces with some confidence that Arsenal midfield starlet Fran Merida has signed for Atletico Madrid (the club he supported as a kid).