Football

Melosport’s round-up of the week

Hillsborough Files released

23 years after the Hillsborough tragedy where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives for the crime of attending a football match (the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest), a near 400 page thorough and independent report was released this week exonerating the fans of any blame. In the aftermath of Hillsborough, The Sun newspaper was quick to publish a story with the headline ‘The Truth’ detailing how fans had urinated and pickpocketed from the dead, amongst other unfounded claims, alleged to be based on police evidence. Wednesday’s findings ruled that the crowd’s safety was compromised at every level and that 41 of the dead had the potential to have been saved. In addition, and scarcely believable, over 100 police statements were found to have been altered in order to lay the blame with the fans. The report unmasking this cover-up has resulted in public, unreserved and full apologies starting from the Prime Minister, The Sun newspaper, working its way through to the Football Association. Now that the grieving families have, at long last, the truth, the quest for justice is a highly probable reality with the high chance of criminal investigations within the negligent South Yorkshire Police Force.

Sagna gives Arsene another headache

If Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thought normal service was resumed after the Gunners won 2-0 away to Liverpool, Bacary Sagna gave unforgiving French journalists a penny for his thoughts, expressing his ‘surprise’ that Arsenal’s best two players from last season (Robin Van Persie and Alex Song) had been allowed to leave the Emirates. He was given a dressing down by the unequivocal Wenger “I believe any player or any employee always has to defend the company he works for and if he is not completely happy with it, then he has to go somewhere else. That is basically what I think. That is what I say to everybody.” In spite of this, Wenger has reiterated that he wants Sagna to extend his contract, which ends June 2014. Meanwhile, Theo Walcott could continue the notorious Emirates exodus, walking away for nothing next June as a free agent. As things stand he can sign a contract with new employers in January. Wenger, calmness personified, remains unruffled and is confident that with the introduction of Financial Fair Play, Arsenal fans will realise that the club has played it right as they will be in a dominant position compared to other clubs. Very questionable Arsene.

Jarstein the Viking

Rune Jarstein is making headlines in his native Norway after he lost his cool with reporters following his country’s 2-1 win against Slovenia in their World Cup qualifying campaign. Jarstein spilled a free-kick in the first half allowing Slovenia to take the lead and when he was questioned, post-match, as to whether he should have done better, the big Norwegian walked out of the interview and threw away a headset in anger. The following day there were no signs of him cooling down as he threatened to punch a member of the paparazzi who took his photo whilst he was leaving at the national team’s hotel in Oslo.

Wave goodbye to Van Commenee

Charles Van Commenee resigned in his role this week as UK athletics head coach. Despite a successful Team GB reaching third place in the medals table at the London 2012 Games, only six medals, albeit four golds, were won in track and field – compared to the target of eight set by Van Commenee himself. He famously said to reporters that they could wave him goodbye at Heathrow if the target was not achieved. True to his word, Van Commenee has quit but will remain in the role until a successor has been appointed – “Targets are a serious issue, it is daily business. I was trying to imagine how it would look for me and the programme would I have stayed. For me, those conversations would have been so incredibly difficult because every time I would talk about it [with athletes, with media], it would be: what does it actually mean, what are the consequences? So I had no choice. For the programme, it’s the best thing. It’s best that someone else takes over.” In reality, Van Commenee certainly has not failed UK athletics as the Dutchman is widely recognised as the catalyst which transformed sub-standard performances to very high Olympic levels.

Biggest arms in the world

Finally, to the nothing short of hideous. Egyptian Mustafa Ismail shows off his 31 inch (79cm) arms for a Guinness World Record. Congratulations Mustafa, very useful. I have seen similar arms on 80 year-old Greek grandmothers who do not need to get through a daily diet which includes three litres of liquid protein powder for the privilege.

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