Alexis Sanchez out of North London derby due to altercation with butterfly

Arsenal have suffered a major injury blow on the eve of the North London derby with the news that Alexis Sanchez is likely to be out following an altercation with a butterfly in training.

It is believed an insect that escaped from the butterfly house in London Zoo attacked while the Gunners trained a day after beating Leicester 1-0.

The butterfly flew into the Chilean attackers’ chest and left Sanchez holding his head and writhing on the ground in agony.

Sanchez later posted a photo on Instagram that showed him bleeding profusely while club doctors worked to resuscitate him.

Arsene Wenger defended Sanchez, saying he did not see the incident but there was no need for the butterfly to fly into Sanchez unprovoked, adding that there is no way it could have mistook a red Arsenal shirt for a flower.

In more bad news for Arsenal fans, Mesut Ozil is also a doubt for Sunday’s clash with Tottenham due to the shock of witnessing the incident.

Image courtesy of joshjdss via Wikimedia Commons

FA: “Gambling is naughty, which is why we have only one official betting sponsor”

The FA has clarified its policy on gambling, saying that it discourages it at all times – and this is the reason it only has one betting sponsor, or to use the FA’s term, exclusive “official betting partner“.

FA spokesperson Tom Wilson says: “As an organisation we pride ourselves on the strong stance we take against problems like gambling, which is why we turned down all the other betting companies who’d love to also give us cash to do an exclusive deal with the highest bidder.

“In order to discourage this kind of activity you can only bet with this one bookmaker inside Wembley at the Emirates FA Cup Final – which by the way if Arsenal win at 3/1 I’ll personally refund your first goalscorer bet.

“We do a lot of work on this important issue. For instance, we turned down a company who wanted to hide a meatball in the hat for the FA Cup Fourth Round Draw and pay Martin Keown to eat it at odds of 50/1.

“I think a lot of people were expecting us to agree to that – but it shows how passionately we feel.

“We also ask all the clubs in the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship to raise awareness of how gambling addictions can wreck lives.

“A lot of stadiums have followed us in only allowing one exclusive betting provider – I think the Bet 365 Stadium is one.”

‘Our signings aren’t dodgy, they’re just shit’ say West Ham

West Ham have gone on the defensive after their offices were raided as part of a tax fraud investigation that might concern their transfer activities.

David Gold, the club’s chairman, says that all the club’s signings have been “100% legit.”

While eyebrows have been raised at how West Ham have signed 32 strikers in the past seven years and are still left permanently sweating on the fitness of Andy Carroll, Gold is clear that no dodgy business has occurred.

Gold says: “We’ve only ever been signing top-notch genuine footballers, and none of them have ever fallen off the back of a lorry – not even Frédéric Piquionne.

“They’re all real quality players before we sign them – just look at Robert Snodgrass.

“A lot of them do well again after they leave us too, like Simone Zaza.

“Of course there’s been a few dozen players we’ve signed in recent years that haven’t lived up to expectations, but we’ve never ever bought any knock-off players – not deliberately, anyway.”

Image courtesy of John Seb Barber via Flickr


Swindon Town delete past 23 years of history on club website

Swindon Town have erased the past 23 years of history from their club website in order to present a more positive image.

The Robins made headlines in recent days by forgetting to mention their relegation to League Two in their website’s report of the match that sent them down.

The club has now gone one step further by deleting everything from March 1994 on the history section of its website.

After a 3000 word summary of the club’s 1969 League Cup win, the page now finishes by stating:

“Following Glen Hoddle’s departure, the Robins have been battling to keep their top-flight status against the odds under John Gorman.

“With Jan Age Fjortoft in fine scoring form, can Swindon stay up and emerge as one of the powers of the new Premier League?

“The league has been far from easy, as Swindon are competing against great players like Eric Cantona and Tim Sherwood, an incredible young midfielder who has inspired Blackburn to second in the table.”

There is no mention of the club’s countless relegations since then.

A section entitled “Hope returns then dies”, which summarised Paulo Di Canio’s time at the club and the subsequent lost League One play-off final in 2014/15, has also been deleted – as has a section called ‘Oh shit!’ covering the current season.

Image courtesy of P L Chadwick via Wikimedia Commons

Error in Premier League table sees Watford wrongly included in top half

A glaring error in the Premier League table has seen Watford included in the top half in tenth place, just three positions behind Arsenal.

An eagle-eye viewer of Match of the Day noticed the mistake following the Hornets’ 2-0 defeat to ten-man Hull City on Saturday and sent an email to the Premier League to complain.

Tom Wilson, a spokesman for the Premier League, confirmed that Watford’s series of unmemorable performances and defeats to relegation contenders should logically mean they are not in the top half.

Wilson said: “We’re looking into what happened. We know Troy Deeney pops up with a goal every few weeks, but there must have been some kind of miscalculation along the way.

“I know they beat Man Utd early in the season – maybe they claimed 20 points for that by mistake. They won at Arsenal too, did they? Wow, that’s impressive! Only kidding.

“We’re going to conduct a full investigation with someone going through their results with a marker pen and then we’ll move them where they should be – which I presume is closer to the relegation zone.”

Walter Mazzarri’s translator said: “We’re in the top half? You’ve got to be kidding me!

“It’s nothing to do with Walter, I swear.

“He’s tried to resign four times already this season, but I’m not allowed into the chairman’s office and once he gets past ‘Hello Mr Chairman’ his English lets him down and he leaves.”

Image courtesy of Ben Sutherland via Wikimedia Commons

Future Clasicos to be paused to allow legal reviews of contentious decisions

Future editions of El Clasico are to allow breaks for Barcelona and Real Madrid to make legal challenges of refereeing decisions.

The move follows Barcelona making pillocks of themselves ahead of the latest encounter of the Spanish giants by threatening until the day of match to pick Neymar despite his suspension for the match – even launching a last-minute legal appeal to try to overturn his ban.

Tomas Yualsono, who heads Barcelona’s legal department – which is housed in a skyscraper overlooking the Nou Camp, said:

“Our analysis of recent Clasicos shows Luis Suarez should have been awarded 17 penalties alone each match on average.

“This failure of justice just cannot continue, and we are happy that the Spanish football federation have agreed to our idea to introduce legal reviews of decisions.”

The new system will see judges raise a gavel on the sideline to stop play following a contentious decision – at which point Barca’s and Real’s lawyers will debate the call at specially convened courts by the stadiums.

Once a jury has then voted on the decision the match can resume, pending an appeal. By streamlining the process of justice with the special courts, the clubs are optimistic that no match should last longer than six months.

Barcelona are confident that their formidable line-up of three star South American QCs will see them win most of the legal battles.

Cristiano Ronaldo is to represent Real Madrid in the courtroom.

Image courtesy of Jan SOLO via Wikimedia Commons

Nation divided over whether Marcus Rashford is good, incredible or totally amazing

An opinion poll of football followers’ views of Marcus Rashford has found a deeply divided nation.

34% of people say Manchester United’s 19-year-old attacker is good, 36% say he is incredible and 30% say he is totally amazing.

Conflicting opinions of exactly how good Rashford is, or will become, have led to a fierce debate being played out on social media – and occasionally other places such as between drunks in pub toilets.

Tom Wilson, who thinks Rashford is good, and tweets under the name of @iknowfootballme says: “You get all these complete idiots who go crazy when he scores and aren’t looking at all the chances he misses – how many of those were there in the Europa League the other night?”

His brother Jim, who finds Rashford totally amazing, and uses @iknowfootballbetter on Twitter, says: “I just can’t stand morons who can’t get excited by an amazing talent when they see one.

“Look at the boy’s pace! And his desire! Are these doubters blind?

“And he’s only 19! Imagine how good he’s going to be in four or five years’ time.”

The two then had to be separated as a debate over whether Rashford is better than Monaco’s Klyian Mbappe threatened to turn violent – after the brothers had sent highly offensive Tweets to each other on their phones from opposite ends of the sofa.

The brothers were able to agree that no matter how fierce the dispute over Rashford’s talent can be, they can’t stand the small minority of people who say they just want to enjoy watching Rashford and wait until he proves exactly how good he is.

“There’s just no need for that – if you seriously don’t have an opinion about how good a young talent nobody has seen all that much of yet is, just make an opinion up and stick with it!” said one.

Image courtesy of Ardfern via Wikimedia Commons



Football hipsters in awkward train encounter with Neil Warnock

A group of football hipsters had an awkward encounter with Neil Warnock on a train over Easter.

The group were taking a train back from Huddersfield on Good Friday – after seeing David Wagner’s side beat Preston – and were watching all the day’s obscure continental action on a tablet when Warnock approached them.

Tom Wilson, one of the group, explains what happened:

“The train was packed and I noticed this portly guy in a tracksuit in the aisle. He looked over to us and asked ‘What are you watching?’

“I explained quietly it was the Eredivise highlights and he just kind of tutted.

“Then he asked if we wouldn’t mind squeezing up to let him sit with us, but there wasn’t a lot of space – we all had americanos on the table, and there were a couple of chargers poking out between the seats as one of the lads was following Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich on Twitter.

“I apologised. Then I started to wonder, is that Warnock?

“It wasn’t clear at first as his glasses were steamed up – I don’t know if he was angry that Cardiff had lost, it had been raining on the platform or whether he was pissed at finding out a Saturday Saver ticket isn’t valid on a bank holiday – it looked like all three.

“My mate Fabio then gave me a nudge, and I could see he’d twigged that it was Warnock.

“Then I heard him mutter in the aisle ‘Nobody interested in real men’s football any more’

“Fabio was gesturing to me and sent me a WhatsApp message saying ‘Shouldn’t we at least ask him for a photo for our Instagram?’

“I told him we really shouldn’t – I just didn’t want to bother him at this stage.

“To be honest for the rest of the journey, whenever the train stopped, I was spending a lot of time looking at Warnock out of the corner of my eye, hoping he’d get off.

“It was tough to concentrate on watching football on the tablet and our phone with the knowledge he was over our shoulders looking.

“We have a private WhatsApp group where we vote for the best rabona of the week, and it’s a bit of an in joke among the lads to make woofing noises when we see a really tasty rabona, but none of us were in the mood for that.”

Image courtesy of Pgcedave111 via Wikimedia Commons



Total horror as big club on wrong end of dodgy offside call

There has been complete horror among European football followers this week after a dodgy offside call played a part in a big club getting knocked out of a competition.

Tom Willsein, a fan of the unnamed German club, said: “Okay, mistakes can happen from time to time, but why does it have to happen to the rich and powerful ones?

“It’ so unfair! If it’s a team in danger of going down to the second Bundesliga or something, ja, who cares?

“But in a Champions League quarter-final? This is an outrage!”

The fan says he supports his players’ and manager’s calls for video or robot referees to be immediately deployed.

Many journalists have echoed the fans’ view, while others have been quite happy to easily create eye-catching articles by compiling quotes of famous players mouthing off the official at the centre of the controversy.

“I can only hope that when we are in the Champions League quarter-final next year we have more of an even playing field,” said the fan.

Image courtesy of Marco Verch via Flickr

Dortmund make semis as lost UEFA rule says surviving bombs worth even more than away goals

Dortmund have been declared winners of their Champions League quarter-final against Monaco following the discovery of a ‘lost’ UEFA rule that says goals scored by a team surviving a bomb blast are worth even more than away goals.

The rule says that should a team narrowly avoid being blown up on the way to a match, their goals are worth triple.

Dortmund’s 2-3 defeat to Monaco in the first leg has therefore been upgraded to a 6-3 win, meaning they progress 7-6 on aggregate.

The rule appears to have been written in the 1950s for the then European Cup in an effort to ensure matches were still played should the Cold War have descended into a nuclear holocaust.

UEFA spokesperson Tom Wilson said: “You can tell this rule is really old as it doesn’t even mention consulting the sponsors about what to do in this scenario.

“We’re checking with our lawyers but it seems to be a valid rule still in the Champions League so we’re happy to put Dortmund through.”

Monaco have already lodged an appeal over the decision, arguing they were rightful winners of the tie, and the French press are outraged at the ruling.

UEFA is understood to be working on a possible compromise solution that would see both Monaco and Borussia Dortmund play semi-finals against Real Madrid, to be televised on alternating weeks, before Real make the final.

Image courtesy of Christopher Neundorf via Wikimedia Commons