Archive for the ‘John Gubba’ Category
Do your homework and sports betting will add an extra layer of enjoyment to the thrill of picking a winner
I will never forget the excitement of watching Red Rum beat Crisp in one of the most thrilling races ever to win the Aintree classic for the first time in 1973. Knowing that dad had placed a sizeable bet at favourable odds six months before the race, after McCain had urged him to back his horse, was my first taste of what it’s like to back a winner because I had also secretly gambled my pocket money.
Luckily for me, because I have never had the time to study the form, I did not get hooked on gambling on the horses. My weakness has always been football. And as a passionate fan I must confess I have been tempted to take a punt on my team from time to time. As any sports fan will concur there is nothing to match the thrill of watching your heroes triumph knowing that you have also hit the jackpot.
For some it is all about the adrenalin rush of winning and it does not matter what they bet on. Many sports fans I have met even back against their favourite team or individual occasionally to soften the blow of losing. While others are addicted to the thrill of in-play betting. We all like to predict what will happen next and the satisfaction of putting your money where your mouth is will definitely give you a buzz when you get it right.
However knowledgeable you are about horse racing – you can bet on the Aintree classic at Grand National betting – my advice is never gamble money that you can not afford to lose. Treat gambling as a purchase rather than an investment and you will never fail to enrich your sporting experience.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, dad’s winning bet on Red Rum paid for a whole year’s school fees. So do your homework and, you never know, you could be celebrating all the way to the bookmakers.
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Nani red card disgrace Real insult: Curse of anti-British referees ruining Champions League and threatens EPL quota
The history books will show that a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford earned Real Madrid victory over Manchester United and a place in the Champions League quarter-final. But anyone who watched this epic clash of the giants of world football can have no doubt that a Turkish referee tipped the balance in favour of a Spanish side that was second best over both legs.
The harsh reality is that a hugely controversial red card for Nani has destroyed United’s hopes of emulating the glorious Treble triumph of 1999. And this is not the first time the conspiracy theorists can point to what looks like a blatant case of anti-British refereeing.
Only last month Celtic were on the receiving end of a shocking display by the match official that contributed to their crippling 3-nil home defeat by Juventus. Who can forget the outrageous Rob van Persie sending off in 2011 when he planted the ball in the net for Arsenal against Barcelona a millisecond after the ref had blown for offside. And we all remember the way Chelsea were refused a succession of blatant penalties in their 2009 semi-final against the Catalans.
This time it is United’s players and global following who are left shattered, inconsolable and feeling deprived of the chance of glory in a match that will forever be remembered for one of the worst refereeing decisions in the history of the Champions League. It is always a huge disappointment when a major football match is decided by a controversial decision by a match official. But never has this been more blatantly the case than Madrid’s ref assisted win in Manchester.
The full extent of the damage to English football may ultimately be felt by the whole of the Premier League. UEFA are looking for any excuse to reduce the EPL from four to three qualifiers for future competitions and with no qualifiers for this year’s quarter-finals because Arsenal are already dead and buried in their tie against Bayern Munich, this has been a disastrous season for English clubs.
Former skipper Roy Keane mischievously argued that the red card was justified in a blatant attempt to wind up his former employers and shamelessly gratify anti-United viewers on ITV. But any rational football fan will agree with Sir Alex Ferguson who furiously protested from the touchline over Nani’s dismissal.
There was no doubt that Nani only had eyes on the ball when he attempted to make contact with the ball in the middle of the park. But Cuneyt Cakir waved a red card in the face of the Portuguese winger after his acrobatic attempt to win the ball resulted in a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa. The Spaniard theatrically rolled along the turf and the Turk stunned a worldwide audience by reducing United to 10-men.
Not only was it a shocking decision that robbed United of a victory that was firmly in their grasp at a time when they were firmly in control of the match, leading 1-nil with 56 minutes on the clock, it destroyed a beautiful game of football. Even though he refused to be drawn on whther or not the referee had got it hopelessly wrong Jose Mourinho admitted:”The best team lost.” And there can be no more honest assessment by a winning manager than that, even if he does have one eye on the ultimate prize of one day replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the king’s throne at the Theatre of Dreams.
United fans will not forget Mourinho’s humility when it comes to winning the public vote to become Fergie’s successor. Equally, supporters will respect the way former idol Ronaldo was equally apologetic when he struck the decisive blow after an outstanding equaliser by Luka Modric cancelled out the opening goal turned into his own net by Sergio Ramos after a telling ball in by Nani.
All this on the night Ryan Giggs celebrated his historic milestone of 1,000 career appearances with yet another outstanding performance at the heart of United’s midfield. And Wayne Rooney was left on the bench as Fergie pulled off a tactical masterstroke and nullified Madrid with a classic counter attacking display that worked perfectly until Nani unjustly received his marching orders.
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Below: No penalty: Did the ref ignore Ramos clearly holding back Danny Welbeck in the box?
All hail the Geordie dream team! Goal-den boy Papiss Demba Cisse has fired Newcastle into Champions League contention
It is about time Newcastle United and manager Alan Pardew started getting the credit they deserve for challenging the Premier League’s top clubs for a place in the Champions League – and pulling off another spectacular success on the transfer market.
Papiss Demba Cisse was snapped up in the January transfer window for an estimated £10 million pound from German side Freiburg. And the Senegal striker has been a roariong success with this afternoon’s double at Swansea taking his tally to nine goals in eight games.
The 2-0 win put Pardew’s men within two points of Arsenal and Spurs who share third place and takes them above Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification. On this form you have to say that if the FA are looking for an English born manager and they fail to sign up Harry Redknapp, then the Newcastle manager must be a strong candidate.
It is an extraordinary effort by the club in only their second season back in the Premier League. And whatever you think of owner Mike Ashley, who has been guilty of alienating the fans with some massive PR blunders, in chairman Derek Llambias and manager Pardew he has picked a winning team to guide the Magpies soaring to dizzy heights against rival’s with much bigger spending power .
Cisse is probably the signing of the season. It’s another remarkable success following the capture of Demba Ba who was voted signing of the season by the Premier League managers last term.
I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: Newcastle United are a bigger club than Chelsea – but it will still be a remarkable achievement if the Geordies can finish above the Blues when you consider the riches of the West Londoners’ billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
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Revenge? Roberto Di Matteo has restored lost pride – but Barcelona too good for Chelsea . . . and so are Real Madrid & Bayern Munich!
Winning the Champions League has become an obsession for Roman Abramovich and Roberto Di Matteo has kept the Russian’s dream alive against all the odds by guiding Chelsea into a semi-final showdown with defending champions Barcelona. But the harsh reality is that the Blues are unlikely to feature in next season’s competition unless they go on to win the tournament – and in the final four they are the rank outsiders.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all have a touch of class a cut above the men from Stamford Bridge. Barca, in the semi-finals for the fifth successive season, are bidding to become the first side to successfully defend the European Cup since AC Milan in 1990 – and if they achieve that goal it will add weight to the argument that this is the greatest club side the beautiful game has ever seen.
But the beauty of the world’s most popular sport is you can never take anything for granted. And that is what makes Chelsea’s semi-final with the favourites so fascinating. It is a scenario that suits interim manager Di Matteo because the experts all agree they are the weakest team left in the competition, despite beating Benfica in both legs of their quarter-final.
No one expects Chelsea to go any further and that is what gives them a fighter’s chance of pulling off a shock because they have nothing to lose. The Blues will also remember how they took Barca to the brink the last time they met at this stage in 2009 and the Catalans were rescued by a last gasp winner after surviving a remarkable number of strong penalty appeals.
I still expect Lionel Messi and his team-mates to progress to the final. But do not be surprised if Di Matteo’s men push Barcelona all the way in their two-legged contest for the right to play Real or Bayern in the Final in Munich’s Allianz Arena on 19 May.
FLASHBACK: Arguably Chelsea’s greatest European triumph came against Barcelona in 2005 when John Terry’s header sealed a 5-4 aggregate win and sent the Blues into the last eight of the Champions League. It was the night. Chelsea raced into a three-goal lead in 19 minutes, with Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff on target for Jose Mourinho’s side. Barca pulled two goals back before half-time, Ronaldinho scoring from the spot after Paolo Ferreira handled. Then Ronaldinho scored a stunning second. But Terry’s 75th minutes strike made it a decisive 4-2 win on the night.
You’ve got to admire Di Matteo – but success for Abramovich’s sack the manager policy would be bad for football
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How Torvill and Dean still continue to inspire the nation and turn Dancing On Ice celebrities into genuine sports stars is remarkable
When showbusiness, entertainment and sport morph into one and produce a spectacular show as brilliant as last night’s extraordinary Dancing on Ice Final it is absolutely breathtaking.
It is 28 years since I sat mesmerised along with the rest of the world and watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean deliver their flawless interpretation of Bolero in an intoxicating Olympic Gold medal winning display of pure genius that was quite simply poetry in motion.
For the Nottingham duo to keep that love affair with ice skating alive three decades later and inspire the nation with a blockbuster show on ITV that is one of the most popular programmes on British television is another extraordinary feat.
Never has the sport been more popular. And its popularity will surely grow even more after watching celebrities Matthew Wolfenden, Jorgi Porter and Chico Slimani each hit the heights of perfection during an absorbing contest that had all the drama of any major sporting occasion.
It was no exaggeration when judge Katarina Witt, the former Olympic champion from Germany, told winner Wolfenden after he danced the Balero with Nina Ulanova: “I just can not imagine what kind of a world class skater you would have become if you had started (ice skating) as a boy.”
The Emmerdale star was out of this world. But so too were Hollyoaks beauty Jorgi Porter, the runner up with Matt Evers, and X Factor singer Chico Slimani, the superfit 40 year-old who bounced back with three perfect 10s after dropping his partner Jodeyne Higgins in his opening routine. All three skaters delivered one flawless performance that scored 30 and the standard of every single ice dance was so extraordinary it was easy to forget these are celebrities who were all ice skating beginners six months ago.
You can say what you like about Dancing On Ice being nothing more than a popularity contest. This was ice skating of the highest calibre and a sporting duel that truly pushed the finalists to the heights of a competition professionals would have been proud of.
FOOTNOTE: It is criminal that ice rinks like Slough – one of the practice venues for Dancing On Ice celebrities – deny the public the chance to emulate our ice skating heroes by restricting time on the ice to just one night a week. Monday is the only day of the week when you can skate after 6pm at Slough. Absolutely Ice, the owners, should be ashamed of themselves for such a pathetic contribution to the sport that Torvill and Dean made into a Great British love affair.
Last laugh is on Premier League boss Sir Dave Richards after embarrassing fall from grace and his “FIFA stole our game” jibe
It is hard to take Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards seriously, not just because he is shockingly naive for a man who represents the most successful domestic football competition on the planet, but because he has the aura of a real-life Mr Bean.
For anyone with a sense of humour it was deliciously poetic that the blundering buffoon was caught on film when he tripped into a water feature on his way to dinner in Qatar after insulting the rest of the world with his comments that FIFA and UEFA had “stolen football” from England.
Richards claimed his comments were misunderstood and he has issued a public apology. But the joke was on him at the International Sport Security Conference when he fell onto his hands and knees in a fountain pool. Richards, who denied he had been drinking, also warned his hosts that football fans from England and Germany visiting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “have a culture and we call it ‘we would like to go for a pint’.”
“My comments on the heritage of the game were intended to be light-hearted,” insists Richards. “They clearly have not come across in that way and I sincerely regret making them and any resulting negativity that may have been interpreted towards Fifa and Uefa. I will be writing to both organisations in these terms.”
Speaking at the conference in Doha, Qatar, Richards said: “England gave the world football. It gave the best legacy anyone could give. We gave them the game.
“Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said, you’re liars, and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA.
“Fifty years later, another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more.”
Richards’ views were challenged by FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Hussein, who suggested that the Chinese invented football.
British Olympic Association right to ban drug cheats Dwain Chambers and David Millar from London 2012
Daley Thompson was absolutely right when he attacked the “failings” of the World Anti-Doping Agency and declared “Keep these drug cheats away from our Games.”
Whatever you may say about re-habilitation or restraint of trade, the thought of sprinter Dwain Chambers or cyclist David Millar competing for Britain at London 2012 is a non-starter because it would send out the wrong message.
Thompson, the Olympic decathlon legend Thompson summed it up perfectly when he wrote in his Sportsmail column: ‘I don’t see why we should be dragged down by the rest of the world, who impose a maximum two-year ban on even the most motivated cheaters.
‘If we want high standards in this country then we should be entitled to them. If the rest of the world don’t share our standards or can’t enforce them why should we have to kowtow?’
Dwain Chambers may be the fastest man in Britain and David Millar, who has become an outspoken advocate for clean sport, would clearly be a key member of the cycling team aiming for Gold in London. But the BOA have the support of over 90% of British athletes for their rule of a lifetime Olympic ban for drug cheats and they know what is best for sport.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport today began their hearing into whether or not the BOA’s Olympic ban on drug cheats should be upheld following a challenge by WADA. But even if the BOA lose, in my opinion they must remain free to select whichever athletes they deem fit to represent GB and that must not include Chambers or Millar at London 2012.
For Chambers, who finished with a bronze in the 60 metres behind gold medallist Justin Gatlin at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul at the weekend, that may seem like double standards. Gatlin, banned in 2006 after testing positive for excessive testosterone, is free to compete for America in London. Chambers, banned in 2003 for taking steroids, is not because the BOA now impose the only lifetime ban in world sport.
But the Olympics are special and only by the rest of the world agreeing with the BOA’s tough stand will the Games’ idealistic principles be preserved.
Britain’s greatest ever sprinter Linford Christie – who won 100 metres Gold at the 1992 Olympics four years after being beaten by drug cheat Ben Johnson – made his feelings known in Fitness video the S Plan when he declared: “I take it more personally when people I’m competing against cheat because they’re robbing me of something that (is) rightly mine.
“I’ve got to work hard for it. I’ve got to suffer through injury and everything else so why should they come along and get it so easy.”
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Sack Fabio Capello – and appoint English-born manager to ditch John Terry and re-call Paul Scholes: FA’s chance to unite nation
The men in suits forever ridiculed by critics as the ‘jokers’ who run the game but ‘don’t know what they’re doing’ have a unique opportunity to make all the doubters eat their words.
There is a lot of absolute rubbish being written and said by so-called experts who have defended Fabio Capello’s ill-advised decision to take on the Football Association over their decision to strip John Terry of the captains armband.
The reality is the FA’s only mistake was not taking this action months ago when the crown prosecution charged Terry with racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
Forget innocent until proven guilty. That is irrelevant. Terry will get the chance to clear his name in July. But it is inconceivable that England can go into a major tournament led by a skipper charged with being a racist.
Not only to protect England, but – whether he likes it or not -this is in the best interests of Terry. Can you imagine the controversy that would have engulfed England at Euro 2012 with Terry facing the world’s media and constantly being reminded about his racism charge.
The FA have been world leaders in their campaign to kick racism out of football. But the possibility that their skipper could become a convicted racist within days of the tournament ending would have made England a laughing stock.
In any other walk of life anyone in Terry’s position would be suspended and removed from the firing line until after their court case.
For Capello to gamble his career by taking on his employers and so publicly supporting Terry is a shockingly poor decision for so many reasons. It is such a bad call one suspects the Italian secretly wants to be fired so he can walk away from an England job he has never mastered.
The reality is that Capello has made his position as manager untenable. Not just by challenging the FA’s authority but by inexcusably creating problems in the England dressing room
By making it public knowledge that his captain will no longer be his first choice undermines what already appears to be a fragile relationship with his players – who already know he is walking away when his contract expires in the summer.
By quickly ruling himself out of being re-instated as captain, Rio Ferdinand confirmed his lack of respect for Capello. And I am absolutely certain he is not the only one doubting the Italian’s ability to learn from his mistakes during and since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Imagine how the atmosphere would change if the FA have the balls to sack Capello and give the fans what they really want . . . an English-born manager.
Imagine if that man was Harry Redknapp after he successfully defends his Court case and kicks into touch those charges of alleged tax evasion.
And imagine if the new English manager leaves Terry out of his Euro 2012 squad altogether and successfully persuades this nation’s best midfielder Paul Scholes to make a sensational comeback.
There is no doubt in my mind Scholes will accept the challenge if he his given the respect he deserves and gets the call from a manager who wants his team to play a passing game.
The ginger haired genius has already publicly stated he wishes he had played at the last World Cup and Scholes is universally recognised as the best England player of his generation.
There is also no doubt that Redknapp will come to England’s rescue if he gets the call. But even if that is not possible there are several other Englishmen who could do better than Capello.
My message to FA chairman David Bernstein is simple. Step up and become the leader the English game needs by giving Capello the boot, ditch Terry altogether and appoint an English manager who will build his Euro 2012 team around Scholes.
Fortune favours the bold as Manchester United’s comeback kings peg back Chelsea and win a new legion of fans on planet football
In the great history of Manchester United comebacks the fightback from 3-nil down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was right up there with the best of them.
A penalty double from man-of-the-match Wayne Rooney and a point saving header from sub Javier Hernandez served up by the ageless Ryan Giggs crowned this latest escape by the comeback kings.
So irresistible was United’s recovery to finish all-square at 3-3, I would not be surprised if the Red Devils picked up another million followers around the world, such is the remarkable global reach of the Premier League.
While that parochial affair the Super Bowl gets excited about attracting a TV audience of over 100 million once a year, Premier League games are viewed in 643 million homes around the planet.
Officially the world’s No.1 league with an annual audience of 4.7 billion, it is matches like this epic showdown between the two teams who between them have won the Premier League for the last seven seasons that makes it top of the TV viewing figures.
Without England trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, the Blues – fortunate to lead 1-0 at half-time courtesy of a Jonny Evans own goal – thought they had the match won when took a 3-0 lead. A stunning Juan Mata volley 24 seconds after the re-start and a David Luiz header deflected home by Rio Ferdinand left United with a mountain to climb.
But the champions bravely rolled the dice when Sir Alex Ferguson sent on subs Hernandez and Paul Scholes and went for broke risking a repeat of that 6-1 thumping by title rivals City. This time the gamble paid off and fortune favoured the bold as United survived a wasted opportunity by Fernando Torres.
Denied two strong penalty appeals in the first half, United got what they deserved when Howard Webb twice pointed to the spot and Rooney planted both spot kicks past Petr Cech. When Hernandez headed the equaliser six minutes from time United sensed a winner but in the end were thankful for a superb fingertip save by David de Gea from Mata.
“That game today epitomises what English football is about,” said Ferguson, who typically was disappointed to see his side drop two points in the chase of League leaders Manchester City.
FA Cup is still the greatest domestic cup competition in the world – and United hungry to take the trophy off City
The media are constantly telling us that the FA Cup no longer has the status it used to have – but take it from me it is still the trophy all players want to win.
When Manchester United visit City tomorrow they will be motivated not just by the burning desire to knock their noisy neighbours off their perch.
Ryan Giggs and the resting Darren Fletcher are the only players at Old Trafford who have won the cup. And there is no greater motivation than that for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Luis Nani.
The bookmakers have Cup holders City as odds on favourites. But mark my words this is the best time to pile your money on United and after the week he’s just had I’m tipping Rooney to stand up and make the difference.