Friday, April 22, 2016

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Roberto Martinez, Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea, Juventus, Tottenham, Marcus Rashford, Jorge Mendes, Barcelona, Crystal Palace, Ramiro Funes Mori, Divock Origi, Gus Poyet and Michael Owen to name but a few!

Chelsea are planning a £90m summer move for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and defender John Stones. Chelsea had three bids for Stones rejected last year, going up to £37m, but are looking to bid £40m this summer - Daily Star

Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko is attracting the interest of AC Milan, with reports suggesting the Frenchman will leave St James’ Park should Newcastle be relegated - (Italian news outlet)

Mats Hummels' father and advisor, Hermann Hummels, has labelled Manchester City as "an interesting option" for the Borussia Dortmund and German international defender, with his contract at the Signal Iduna Park due to expire in the summer of 2017 - SID (German news agency based in Cologne)

Roberto Martinez needs to win the FA Cup to stand any chance of keeping his job as Everton manager - Daily Mirror

Mauricio Pochettino is due a £500,000 bonus if Tottenham overhaul Leicester to win the Premier League title - The Sun

Crystal Palace are considering a move for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, who is on loan at West Ham but not in Slaven Bilic's plans - The Sun and

Marcus Rashford will wait until he has appointed an agent before discussing a new contract at Manchester United. The 18-year-old has reportedly had his business handled by his mother and brothers up to now. His current contract runs until the summer of 2017 - Daily Mail

Jorge Mendes, the agent of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, wants to represent Manchester United's 18-year-old forward Marcus Rashford - The Times

Chelsea are closing on a £35m deal for Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan - Daily Express

Manchester United have made an enquiry for Bordeaux midfielder Adam Ounas. The 19-year-old has played 25 games for the French side this season, scoring six goals.
But AS Monaco are also reportedly interested in the France U20 international - Le10Sport (French daily tabloid)

French international offensive midfielder and winger Hatem Ben Arfa is likely to leave Nice as a free agent this summer with a number of clubs interested in the 29 year-old, most recently AC Milan. The Italian club are determined to win his signature ahead of all other interested parties which include Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool. Meanwhile, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring the situation of the former Newcastle and Olympique Marseille player - RMC Sport (French news outlet)

Southampton are still trying to convince midfielder Victor Wanyama to sign a new contract. The Kenyan's contact runs out in the summer of 2017, and Tottenham have been heavily linked in the British press - Daily Echo

West Ham full-back Aaron Cresswell is being tracked by Liverpool and Chelsea. The 26 year-old currently on a deal with London side until June 2020, is valued in the region of 9 million pounds - Daily Express

Liverpool's Belgium forward Divock Origi, 21, will be out for between four and six weeks with the ankle injury he suffered during Wednesday's win over Everton - RTBF (Belguim broadcasting company)

Everton defender and Argentine international Ramiro Funes Mori has had death threats over his Merseyside derby foul on Divock Origi, despite saying sorry - The Sun

Liverpool and England forward Daniel Sturridge, 26, wants to remain at Anfield and has set his sights on scoring 100 league goals for the Reds - Daily Mail

Aston Villa want to sell defender Joleon Lescott, 33, as part of a post-relegation clearout - Daily Mail

Tottenham are in talks over the use of Wembley Stadium for European games next season while White Hart Lane is renovated - The Times

Juventus are weighing up the chance to try signing Lazio's Italian international goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, 33 as a substitute to Gianluigi Buffon for next season. The player is currently on a deal with the Serie A club until June 2018 -

Liverpool's decision to appoint Michael Owen as a club ambassador has gone down badly with some fans still angry over his time at Manchester United - Daily Mail

Real Sociedad have just submitted an 8 million euros offer to Besiktas for the 23 year-old Turkish international midfielder Oguzhan Özyakup, one of current season's main Süper Lig protagonists. There has also been interest from Inter and West Ham for the Dutch-born player who is currently on a deal with the Istanbul side until June 2018 -

Barcelona, are moving towards signing 21 year-old Uruguayan international centre-back José Gimenez, The player is currently on a deal with Atletico Madrid until June 2018, and has a 65 million euros release clause in his contract - El Mundo Deportivo (Spanish nationwide daily sports newspaper)

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is interested in Nottingham Forest midfielder Oliver Burke. The 19-year-old winger has been on fine form for the Championship club, but agreed a four-and-a-half year deal in February - The Sun

German international winger and forward André Schürrle might return to England next season, with Tottenham an interested party. Currently on a deal with Wolfsburg until June 2019, the former Bayer Leverkusen player might push for a move, although the Bundesliga giants are aware they won't get back anything like the 32 million euros invested in him -

Former Sunderland manager Gus Poyet could return to English football with Nottingham Forest when he leaves AEK Athens at the end of the season - Daily Telegraph

Harry Cornick has put pen to paper on a new contract with Bournemouth until June 2018. The 21-years-old has just came back from loan at Yeovil Town and thanks to his good performances he deserved a new deal with the Cherries -

Matthew Pennington has been recalled from his loan spell at Walsall as Everton battle with a defensive availability crisis -

Reading manager Brian McDermott, 55, does not fear being sacked by the club a second time. The Royals are 15th in the Championship - Reading Chronicle

Leeds United boss Steve Evans, 53, has played down speculation linking him with the Celtic job - Yorkshire Post

Adam Thompson has signed a new contract with Southend, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2017 -

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Most Famous Meltdowns in Sporting History!

There’s a famous saying about sports, that it’s the perfect platform to illustrate the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. That’s a very true statement, and sometimes we forget just how fine a line there really is between those two things. The thrill for one side equals agony for the other, and anyone who has played sports can tell you that losing is never easy. In some cases, the agony of defeat is especially strong.

Jordan Spieth's infamous collapse in the final round of the US Masters on Sunday brings to mind so many others in the world of sports that I thought I'd bring you 10 of my favorite meltdowns and collapses in sporting history, just for fun!

Spieth had a five-stroke lead when he came to the 10th hole on Sunday. But two straight bogeys followed by a disastrous quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th suddenly had him behind by three strokes, a deficit from which he could never recover.

The 22-year-old Texan had been poised to win his second straight Masters and third major in his last five tournaments. Instead, he had to place the green jacket on Yorkshire born winner Danny Willett, who became only the second Englishman ever to win the US Masters at Augusta National.


It was all in the balance when South Africa needed nine to win from the final over of their semi-final against Australia with one wicket remaining. The two men batting for the Proteas could not have been more different. One was Lance Klusener. The burly power hitter who had probably been the player of the tournament up to that point and was sitting on 23 from 12 balls. At the other end was Allan Donald, one of the best fast bowlers to ever play for his country, but who sadly, couldn’t bat to save his life.

Luckily for the Rainbow Nation, the talismanic Klusener was on strike and stroked the first two balls of the over for four, tying the match and making sure South Africa only needed one run from the last four deliveries to make a first World Cup final.

They only lasted two thanks to a hilarious run-out in which Klusener sprinted down the pitch whilst Donald stood his ground, realised what was going on, dropped his bat and trotted down the pitch to be run out by some distance. Match tied, Australia advanced due to a higher finishing position in the previous stage.


With a chance to widen their lead at the top of the table to 11 points with only five games remaining, Manchester United visited a relegation threatened Wigan Athletic side that had only won three of their last 17 games and had lost all 13 matches they had with played with United since their promotion to the Premier League in 2005.

Following Man City's 4–0 win over West Bromwich Albion, United's lead at the top of the table was cut to five points. United rebounded in their following match at Old Trafford, beating Aston Villa 4–0.

United were back at Old Trafford for their next fixture, against mid-table Everton. Despite holding a 3–1 lead and then later a 4–2 lead, United blew the chance to take all three points by conceding two late goals, resulting in their lead at the top of the table being cut to just 3 points heading into the pivotal Manchester derby.

The next game was the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, with the match finishing 1–0 in favour of City. This caused City to lead the table by goal difference, which handed control of the title race over to their “noisy-neighbours.”

In this case however, the champions-elect never showed up and were unable to break Wigan down on their way to a 1-0 defeat. They dropped further points in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Everton having been two goals up with just seven minutes to play. Then United fell to a narrow defeat to at the hands of cross-town rivals City in a match which handed control of the title race over to their 'noisy-neighbours.'

On the final day of the season, Manchester United beat Sunderland and City were trailing 2-1 entering stoppage time against relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers (and needing a victory to win their first league title for 44 years). Edin Dzeko equalized in the 92nd minute and then Sergio Aguero smashed home the winner in the 94th minute to snatch the Barclays Premier League crown from Manchester United's grasp in a quite incredible finale!


Van de Velde was an obscure pro golfer from France, who stormed to a commanding lead in the final round of the Open at Carnoustie in 1999, and strode to the 18th tee needing only a double bogey six, on a par-four closing hole, to win the major, which would have made him the first Frenchman to do so since 1907.

The engraver, thinking that the Open was in the bag, started to inscribe Van de Velde's name on the claret jug. However a series of poor decisions turned a comfortable three-stroke lead into a three-way play-off with Justin Leonard and eventual winner Paul Lawrie.

His choice of a driver off the tee was dubious, but not nearly as poor as the decision to go for the green instead of laying up on his second shot, which ricocheted backward 50 yards off a stone wall into severe rough. From there, he dunked his third shot into the Barry Burn, which he briefly considered trying to play out of before taking a drop (and ensuing penalty) and sending shot No. 5 into a greenside bunker. He wound up with a triple-bogey seven, when a six would have given him the title.

To make this collapse even more cataclysmic, Lawrie was ten shots off the lead at the start of play on that final day – making his victory the biggest comeback in major golf history.

The closest van de Velde ever came to winning a major again was tying for 19th at the Masters the following year and 19th again at the British Open in 2008.


The 34th America's Cup was a series of boat races held on San Francisco Bay between the defender Oracle Team USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Oracle Team USA, with Sir Ben Ainslie on board as tactician, completed one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks of all time, trouncing Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in their winner-takes-all finale in San Francisco. The American defenders came back from an 8-1 deficit to win eight consecutive races and claim victory in the first-to-nine series.

The defeat was all the more galling for New Zealanders because Oracle's skipper Jimmy Spithill hailed from their bitter arch-rivals Australia.

It has been labelled the greatest comeback in the history of sport, matched only by one of sport's greatest chokes!


Most Red Sox fans were of the belief that they’d never see a World Series title, particularly after the gut punch of the 1986 World Series. When the New York Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the 2004 American League Championship Series, Boston fans just chalked it up as yet another disappointment, and Yankee fans were planning on raising yet another banner. And then came Game 4, and Dave Roberts made his mark in baseball lore, sparking what would become the most epic meltdown in baseball history.

The steal by Roberts started the rally that would not only give the Sox a victory in Game Four, but would begin a snowball effect that resulted in four straight wins, including a decimation at Yankee Stadium in which Boston jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and never looked back, on their way to an eventual World Series championship. So, while the Sox have had some historic meltdowns of their own over the years, at least Boston fans can take solace in the fact that they helped their arch rivals achieve arguably the greatest choke job in sports history. Before 2004, no baseball team that led a series 3-0 had ever lost a seven-game series. The Yankees remain the only ones to do so.


Chances are pretty good that, if you enter the final round of a golf tournament boasting a six-stroke lead, you have to like your odds of winning said tournament. Greg Norman probably woke up on Sunday of the 1996 Masters feeling pretty confident for precisely this reason, as he found himself with a score of 13 under par, while the next closest competitor, Nick Faldo, was sitting at seven under.

What unfolded in that fourth and final round of the Masters will live on in infamy, and has forever tainted Norman’s otherwise-stellar career. After shooting an astounding 63 in the opening round, followed by strong rounds of 69 and 71, Norman was on the verge of being a wire-to-wire leader and Masters champion. It looked like Norman would romp to victory. Except Norman was the one getting romped. The Aussie shot a 78 in that final round including three bogeys and two double bogeys in an eight-hole span, while Faldo shot a 67 as the gap between the two swung by a staggering 11 strokes, with Norman going from leading by six strokes to ultimately losing by five.

Faldo won the tournament for the third time. It was the sixth and final major victory of his career.
Norman would finish his career just two major championships, both at the British Open.


With the scores level at 6-6 against England at Murrayfield, and with just 15 minutes of the match remaining Scotland were awarded a penalty inside the England 22, just right of centre. For Hastings this should have been a relatively straightforward penalty attempt, that could have earned Scotland a place in the Rugby World Cup final of 1991.
But the Edinburgh born goal-kicker missed, pushing it wide on the right and the score remained tied until Rob Andrew's late drop goal nicked it for England.

England had reached their first World Cup final, Scotland have never got as close again.


The Queen Mother's horse was only forty yards from the finishing line at Aintree racecourse with a five-length lead on 24th March 1956, when he inexplicably jumped into the air and landed on his stomach. Jockey Dick Francis was unable to make him continue which allowed E.S.B to claim victory. The reason behind Devon Loch's jump is still uncertain to this day. For jockey Dick Francis, his mount's bizarre collapse on the run-in to victory in the world's most famous steeplechase remained a "terrible memory, even after all these years."

Devon Loch's was not the first time a horse had seemed to jump some form of 'ghost fence' on the run in of the National. In 1901, Arthur Nightingall's race was well won on board Grudon when his mount also made to jump a fence that wasn't there. On that occasion the pair recovered and had sufficient time to continue and win the race.

The Queen Mother famously said, “Oh that’s racing.”
Dick Francis retired from the sport the following year and became a crime writer!


Sport's perennial runner-up, 'The Whirlwind' lost all six of his World Championship snooker finals, four of them to his ice-cool nemesis Stephen Hendry.

Among White's more spectacular chokes were losing 18-14 after leading 14-8 in 1992, and missing a routine black at 17-17 in the deciding frame in 1994.


The Leicestershire cricketer was man of the match in the 2001 Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-final, but he made headlines for different reasons in the final against Somerset.

Most cricket fans will remember what happened nest. Many of the rest of you may know about it from YouTube. The video is called "The Worst Over Ever?" Six of his first eight balls were wides. There were, at one point, five in a row, some flew to slip, others flew towards fine leg.
The bemused batsman, Marcus Trescothick, hit a couple of the straighter balls for four. The six ball over lasted 14 balls.

After eventually completing the over Boswell went down to field at fine leg. The ball came his way. "I can dive for this." He did. And he missed it. Worse, he tore up a lump of the Lord's turf. "It landed on my head. So I was lying on the floor and I look up and there are 2,000 people behind me, and I see the ball trickling over the boundary. I have this bleeding lump of turf on my head." I thought: 'Fucking hell. This can't get any worse. Get me off this field.' He froze. Literally. "There was a water bottle five metres away from me. My mouth was so dry. But I couldn't move. I couldn't walk five metres to go and get it." The Somerset fans chanted "Bring on the Boswell! Bring on the Boswell!" That, he says, "haunted me for a couple of years".
and it also ended Boswell's first-class career at just 26 years of age.

Leicester also went on to lose that 2001 final.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Sexy US Olympian and Virgin Lolo Jones

Lori "Lolo" Jones was born on 5th August 1982 in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jones is an American track and field and bobsled athlete. She is of Native American, African, French, and Norwegian descent. She is a devout Christian, and often prays before competitions, and talks about her faith on social media.

She attended eight schools in eight years while her single mother, Lori, often held down two jobs to support her family of six. Jones' father spent most of her childhood in the Air Force and later in state prison.

When her family was about to make another move to Forest City, Iowa, Lolo and her family parted ways, and her mentor, Coach Ferguson, arranged for her to live with four different families during her enrollment at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.

One of those who took Jones in was Janis Caldwell, who had seen Jones compete at Roosevelt. Jones stayed with the Caldwells after her senior year at Roosevelt, while she attended college, trained and worked part-time at the Iowa Bakery Cafe, a local coffee shop.

At Roosevelt, she excelled in the classroom, keeping her grades up and playing the cello in the school orchestra. She was named Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the Year and set a record at the Iowa state track meet with a mark of 13.40 seconds for the 100-meter hurdles. She also played cello in the school's orchestra.

Jones originally intended to enroll at Iowa State University through its Upward Bound/Science Bound program. Instead, she followed the lead of elite hurdler Kim Carson, who was her role model and Caldwell's goddaughter. Carson was an All-American and national champion at Louisiana State University. Like Carson, Jones competed on LSU's track team.

A 2005 graduate of Louisiana State University, Lolo specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles and garnered eleven All-American honors while at Louisiana State University.
She won indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60m hurdles, and won a gold medal at the World Indoor Championship in Valencia, Spain in 2008.

She was favourite to win the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle (below) when leading the race, and finished in seventh place. She did however go on to win silver at the 2008 World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

In 2010 Jones defended her 60m hurdles Indoor World Title in Doha, after finishing with a time of 7.72s a new American record.

Due to there being no major championships for Americans, Jones then traveled to Europe and competed in mainly IAAF Diamond League events. After wins in Doha, Oslo, New York, Gateshead, and Monaco, Jones ended the season in second place in the Diamond League overall standings.

Jones made her 2011 race debut at the Aviva International Match, Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Jones finished the race in fourth place after hitting the third hurdle. A close third-place finish followed in Stuggart but injury and illness forced Jones to miss the rest of the indoor season.

On 23rd June 2012, Jones placed third in the 100m hurdles at the U.S. Olympics trials, qualifying her for a spot on the 2012 Summer Olympics team.

At the London Olympics on 6th August, Jones won her heat in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 12.68s. On 7th August she placed third in the semi-finals of the 100 meter hurdles, gaining progression to the finals. In the finals later that day Jones finished fourth with a time of 12.58s.

In May 2013, Jones earned her first win of the 2013 season at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo.

At the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Jones advanced to the finals. She qualified for the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica. and won the NACAC Championships Women 100 metre hurdles in 12.63, but due to a strong tail wind her time was not considered a world record.

Much of Jones' schedule between 2013 and 2015 was spent concentrating on her 'other' sport and battling injury.

Jones also competes as a brakewoman on the U.S. national bobsled team. Jones was introduced to bobsledding by Elana Meyers. After a disappointing 2008 Olympics campaign where she failed to medal, she took up the sport and gained weight. In October 2012, Jones was named to the U.S. national bobsled team.Jones was one of three track and field Olympians (along with Tianna Madison and Hyleas Fountain) invited to the U.S. women's bobsled push championship by coach Todd Hays. Jones and Madison made the bobsled team, giving them a chance to earn a spot on the bobsled World Cup circuit.

On 9th November 2012, Jones and teammate Jazmine Fenlator placed second in Jones' first career World Cup bobsledding competition. She won a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2013 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
She represented the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, making her one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

On 27th January 2013, Jones won gold in the team event with the U.S. at the FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz.
She was selected for the U.S. bobsled team competing at the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, Russia, as the brakewoman for the USA Team-3 sled, with the team coming eleventh.

On 19th February, 2014, the team placed eleventh, 3.36 seconds behind the gold-medal-winning Canadian team.

Last season was an injury plagued one for Lolo.
Now less than six months since hip surgery and four months before the summer Olympics, she's working had to find her stride. She is currently training for the Rio Olympics, doing the Orange theory fitness workouts, for which she is also a spokesman.

If Jones makes the U.S. team in Rio, it would be her fourth Olympic appearance.

In October 2009, Jones posed semi-nude for The Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine. In 2012 she appeared on the cover of Outside magazine wearing a bathing suit made of strategically placed ribbon.

On 4th August 2012, Jones was heavily criticized by Jeré Longman of The New York Times: "This [media attention paid to her] was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign."

Janice Forsyth, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, compared her to tennis' Anna Kournikova, who had never won a WTA Tour singles tournament but became well-known after appearing in numerous photo shoots and product advertisements. Jones rejected these criticisms, saying that her critics should be "supporting the U.S. Olympic athletes," whereas instead they just "ripped me to shreds."

Jones also stated that The New York Times did not do its research properly, since, unlike Kournikova, she had won several major races, including two world indoor titles and holding the indoor American record.

In a 2012 segment on HBO's Real Sports, Lolo Jones revealed that she is a virgin, dates online, and struggles to maintain her virginity. See that short interview here!

She said: "If there's virgins out there, I'm going to let them know, it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life—harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college, has been to stay a virgin before marriage."

The selection of Jones to the U.S. 2014 Winter Olympics bobsled team was criticised by some American bobsledders as happening due to her fame.

However the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele defended the selection: "I haven't heard anyone making the argument about Lolo not being a better athlete right now, a better brakeman for the team. I don't think I've come across that one time. I've heard a lot about history and all that's nice. But who's going to provide the best results for the U.S. team in Sochi? That's the bottom line. And I'll have that debate with anyone who wants to have it."

Lolo Jones net worth is thought to be in the region of $1.5 Million.

Lolo Jones is the most followed U.S. Track and Field athlete on Twitter (414,000 followers)

Lolo is sponsored by several well known products/brands including Asics, Red Bull and Orange Theory Fitness.

In 2012 The Lolo Jones Foundation was set up. Its mission is to empower and inspire individuals who face the most socio-economical hardships to realise their full potential through engaging community programs and initiatives.

At its core, the Lolo Jones Foundation seeks to help the following demographic(s):

# Single Mothers.
# Families of incarcerated loved ones.
# Poverty stricken communities and youth.

You can follow Lolo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram