Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Exclusive Sports News In Brief

Sadly, this is not about female - or even male, for that matter - athletes in their underwear. Instead, it's a weekly (bi-weekly/whenever I can be bothered) round-up of all of the best little titbits in the world of Sport. And it's exclusive, obviously.

Sotherton's Javelin Woe Continues

Despite the lack of baps, I would

Doable British Heptahlete Kelly Sotherton's season has yet again stagnated due to her inability to throw a javelin further than a kitten or a male member of Belle & Sebastien might hurl it. Sotherton's coach, ex-Olympian and all round good guy though not as good as Steve Backley, Mick Hill said "Kelly's problem is that she acts like a girl, is a girl and, most importantly, throws like a girl". Hill says that he intends rectifying Sotherton's problem by "either doping her up to the eyeballs or by giving her a full sex change", but added "I quite fancy Kelly as it is, so I'd rather her be a loser than engage in a transexual relationship with her". Having conducted an epic internet search I can confirm that Ms. Sotherton is heterosexual. Yay!

Broad Eyes "Exciting" Test Debut

He looks excited here, too

Leicestershire quickie Stuart Broad has cast his beady eye on making his test debut at Lords on Thursday as a replacement for the injured, but pretty wayward, bowler Steve Harmison. Broad, son of ex-England test opener, and a pretty good player from what I can remember, Chris Broad, is rumoured to be "excited". When asked at a finger buffet held in my honour at Lords today, Broad junior (although he's really tall) said "Yeah, I'm excited. If selected, it will be exciting". And what of chucking a few down to the likes of Dravid and Tendulkar? "Yeah, that's exciting". Speaking to his father in the queue for the little boys room, Broad senior said of his son's upcoming test debut "I'm nearly as excited as he is! That's why I'm in the queue here, I can't contain my excitement". Recently installed England coach Peter Moores is also rumoured to be excited with the lanky fast bowlers potential.

Dour Foulds Vows To Continue

Foulds reacting angrily to criticism

Dreary snooker 'star' Neal Foulds has vowed to continue with his professional snooker career despite protests on an internet site about his dull play, looks and personality. A thread on musical pop band Razorlight's unofficial site contained three posts of which all were critical of the Perivale born player. Poster #1 (rzrsnker: 312 posts) said "hes so fkn borin!!1! wrst.playa.evr.". The two following posts (jonnyishott: 13 posts and dickiedavieseyes: 9872347 posts) added "lol" and "who cares?" respectively. In reply to this accusation, Foulds replied via pm to rzrsnker with "fk u im guna carie on plyin. wen waz teh last tyme u bet eddy charltons?". Ex-player Tony Meo speaking at a pub I happened to be in said "What the fuck is Foulds doing on the internet? Boring cunt".

Kwikfire Kwestions

In an attempt to make Exclusive Sports News look edgy (I've used a 'k' instead of a 'q') and to appeal to younger readers whose attention spans are poor, this week we introduce the brand-new-never-seen-before-and-not-even-in-a-similar-format quickfire quiz to our chosen sports star. This week we see how quickly Peterborough United player Dean Keates can spit back his replies to our vomited questions.

Dean 'The Gob' Keates in action

Where were you born? Walsall
Do you like it there? Nice place? Dunno. S'ok I s'pose.
What clubs have you played for in your career? Walsall, Hull, Kidderminster, Lincoln, Walsall again and now Peterborough.
Best moment in your career? Dunno really. I just like playing football.
Married or Single? Married.
Children? Yeah.
How many? Two.
Boys? Girls? One of each? Yeah.
What? One of each.
Favourite film? Dunno. Saw Die Hard 4 the other day.
Any good? S'ok.
Favourite music? Any really. Whatever's on Radio 1.
Favourite Holiday Destination? Florida.
What will you do when you finish playing? Dunno yet.
Thank you Dean! Can I go now?

Another Exclusive: One on One with John (talks a load of) 'Tosh' Toshack

by Harry Exclusive

A new and exclusive regular segment to Exclusive Sports News. Each week I, Harry Exclusive, go one on one with some of the biggest names in the world of Sport. It'll be no-holds-barred as I ask the questions that other interviewers are too scared to ask.

In yet another worldwide exclusive, last week I sat down with deluded Wales manager John Toshack and chewed the fat about Giggs, Wales, his time in Spain and if his daughter might like me over three bottles of Tesco Value Dry Cider. Frankly, I was shocked, appalled and totally bemused with pretty much everything the controversial manager said. Herein follows a full, blow-by-blow transcription of that beautiful, drunken evening.

Toshack, drunk and angry

So, John, the question on everyone's lips: How are you going to cope with the loss of Ryan Giggs due to his retirement from international football?

Well, I'm not worried about replacing him. We have a long history of producing world-class players here in Wales. Sometimes we have almost too many options. I'm sure that whoever I choose to replace him will be of the highest quality.

So, who is favourite to replace him? I can't think of a single other left-sided attacking midfielder who is Welsh. No-one who's any cop, at least.

(Winks) That's for me to know and you to find out, Harry. I've got a few irons in the fire, a few aces up my sleeve.

That's not really answering the question, John.

Ok, let's put it this way; remember when I was at Deportivo La Coruña? Which left-sided attacking midfielder did I sign? Yeah, that's right, Rivaldo.

John, he's Brazilian. And besides, you can't sign players for an international team.

What? You can't?! Aww, for fuck's sake! Why didn't anyone tell me? When I took this job I was told that resources were thin. I took that to mean that there would be no money for the first few seasons and I'd have to pick shithouses like Carl Fletcher, useless cunt that he is. So, I'm not allowed to pick any foreigners? Really? Shit. How else are we supposed to qualify for the World Cup? I'm beginning to regret taking this job.

Well, you could always go the Australian route. They've joined the Asian federation to make it easier for them to qualify for the World Cup.

Can I do that? That would make things a lot easier, just think if ....

No, John. I was joking. Wales is in Europe, there is no way you'd be allowed to do that.

Then I'm fucked! What am I going to do?! (starts to shake uncontrollably)

Calm down, John. Here, have some more of this cider. Have you tried looking for some players with Welsh roots? Y'know, Patagonia? There are some very talented Argentinians about. You have South American contacts, right?

Fucking good thinking, Harry. I'll be sending a few quid your way if I can pull this off. Jesus, fill my glass up again. Right, first thing tomorrow we'll get on a plane to Buenos Aires, don't worry about the cost, the FAW will pay. Then - after we've had a steak and a couple of bottles of wine - we'll get the bus down to Patagonia, turn up at the first club we find and sign as many players as we can. We'll get them all on long term contracts, I don't want to lose the fuckers on a Bosman.

John, I keep telling you, you can't sign players!

(Now visibly agitated) Can't? I can! Just watch me! No-one knows the South American market like I do! No-one! I'm going to come back to Cardiff with the best young players in the world to lead Wales to the World Cup. Now, are you in or are you out?

Ok, John, ok. I'm in. I'll go to Argentina with you. Ok, let's change the subject here. Tell me about your time in Spain. You had a fairly successful time over there, managed some big clubs: Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruña, Real Sociedad ...

Yeah, I'm a legend over there, they all love me. I still spend more time in San Sebastien than I do in Wales. Just between you and me, I can't stand Wales. Do you know who got Chrissie Coleman a job in Spain? Yeah, me? Who signed Rivaldo? Me. Who made Xabi Alonso captain of Sociedad? Me. I tell you, I'm great. And another good thing about me is that I don't care what you or anyone else says.

Yes, but you weren't massively successful. Only one league title to your name, which you could hardly fail to win when you have players like Butragueño, Hugo Sanchez, Michael Laudrup etc. Hell, even I could have won the league with them!

You're always belittling me, Harry. (Begins to sob gently) You've never been a true believer in Tosh, have you?

Come on now, John. This is just the cider taking over. Don't get upset.

(Still sobbing) Do you ... Do you like me?

Er, yeah, sure. Well, I like your daughter. How old is she?

Nineteen. Why?

Just curious. Do you think she might like me?

What?! Why the hell are you asking all this?

Um ... no reason. Anyway, back to football. John ... John, are you falling asleep? Do you want me to go?

(Now heavily slurring and barely able to keep his eyes open) You can stay here. Spare room is next to my daughters room.

Sweet! Er .. I think I'll go to bed now. You'll be okay on the sofa, yeah?

Yeah, but don't forget we've got to get up early to go to Batagonia. They is Welsh in Batagonia, y'know.

Of course they are. Tell you what, you go on ahead without me and I'll get a later flight. I have a couple of things to take care of first.

Ok, Harry. I'll see you in the mañana por la mañana.

No problem. I'm off to bed. Night!

Toshack's daughter, Helen (from my private collection)

Worried that John might have developed a drinking problem, I went to speak to his daughter in her room to ask her opinion of the great man. Unfortunately, due to legal reasons, I am unable to publish the transcription of my interview with her.


John Toshack returned home from Argentina four days later without any new players. He has since left several threatening messages on my answerphone (re: his daughter) since.

England Favourites To Retain World Cup

by Harry Exclusive

"Feckin' ruined"

Paddypower Managing Director Reilly O'Reilly in his work clothes

England have been made the bookmakers favourite to retain the Rugby World Cup, which they won in Australia 4 years ago, being held in France - and due to a little palm greasing, Wales, Scotland & Ireland - this autumn. Paddypower managing director Reilly O'Reilly (pictured above) spoke to me exclusively via googlemail earlier this week. "Ah, sure to be sure, Harry, there's been some dicking about going on. I reckon it's the bloody Kiwis and the Welsh on the wind up. Apparently, they've got the entire population of both countries - that's about tree million each - to put a fiver on England to win in Paris. So, that's about turty million pounds they've put on England. It's pushed the odds of the All Blacks right out to 20-1. We could be feckin' ruined if they don't choke like they usually do this year."

Piss Poor

Ashton tries to convince Robinson to not give Dallaglio his pocket money

England coach, Brian Ashton, said "I assume all these people putting money on us are having a laugh? Have they seen us play this year?! Piss poor in Dublin and even lamer in Cardiff. Yeah, and don't even mention South Africa. To be honest, we haven't got a hope in hell. Thank fuck we have an easy draw, imagine if we'd been drawn with Argentina as the third seeds in our group!".

Moon Bastards

A 'moon bastard', yesterday

However, not all Englishmen share Ashton's defeatism. Back from the wilderness because the coaching staff are clutching at straws ex-skipper Lawrence Dallaglio believes England fully deserve their favourites tag. In a worldwide exclusive to this newspaper, he told BBC Sport earlier this week "Look, we won it 4 years ago and we'll win it again. Now, you can say that we've lost a lot of world-class players: Johnson, Hill, Dawson, Greenwood etc. and that Kay, Robinson, Tindall, Wilkinson etc. have all gone downhill, but I'm back in the team so we're bound to win. I'm amazing. Did you see me against Bay of Plenty before I got injured on the Lions tour? I was amazing! For 20 minutes. Plus we've been training with the Marines and they keep telling us we're the best and you don't want to argue with them!". Then why don't you put your money where your mouth is? Put a few quid on yourselves to win it? "Already done, Harry. I managed to convince all the squad, all the coaching staff - with the exception of Brian Ashton - and the entire British Armed Forces to put their annual salary on us to win it; it's about £30 million pounds in total. If we win, I mean when we win, we'll be raking it in. I've already booked a seat on Dickie Branson's flight to the moon so we can show those moon bastards that England are not only the best on the earth, but the best on the earth and the satellite that goes round it. The earth, that is".


Henry looking away whilst Richie McCaw gets away with murder, again

I attempted to contact All Blacks coach Graham Henry for his opinion on this story. Unfortunately, due to me getting confused because of the time zones - are they 12 hours ahead or behind? I can never tell - I was unable to speak with him. Although he did leave me an e-mail message which consisted only of the internet acronym 'LOL'.

Look out for my preview of the Rugby World Cup coming soon, where I'll correctly predict the victors in 90% of the matches. Another exclusive. Remember, you read it here first.

Burley's Italian Influence

by Harry Exclusive

Burley still has his old club car

Saints manager George Burley says that he will give the Championship side a strong Italian influence this season. So what are the chances of seeing Andrea Pirlo or Luca Toni playing down at St. Mary's? "Och no, nothing like that. I got the idea last week when I was eating alphabetti spaghetti. What I'm looking to do is bring in players so that we have a strong squad here. Everyone who follows this league knows that you aren't going anywhere unless you have a large squad. I was thinking 26 players should be ideal; 3 'keepers, 4 full-backs, 4 centre-halves, 5 central midfielders, 4 wingers and probably 6 strikers 'cause you need to score goals at this level." And where does the Italian influence come into this? Are you going to plunder Serie B for some bargains? "Och no, like I was saying - alphabetti spaghetti. How many letters are there in the alphabet? 26, aye? Well, that's the numbers side sorted out, now all I need to do is get 26 players whose surname represents each letter of the alphabet".

Ox-bow Lakes

Doesn't look much like a lake, more like a river

To help him search for players with surnames that aren't typical in the British game, Burley has enlisted the help of Southampton University Geography lecturer Kenneth Millet. Burley's reasoning was "you don't get many 'Z's or 'X's in this country so I thought I'd ask someone who knew a bit about the world. Y'know, he knows where people have the right foreign names". Millet said "I don't know what the man is on, to be honest. He overheard me in MFI talking to the sales clerk - who is also one of my students - about my job as a geography lecturer. He rushed straight up to me and said 'Geography? So you know capital cities and stuff, aye? Only I'm looking for foreigners with 'X' and 'Z' at the start of their surname'. I think he's a little confused. I did try telling him that I only lectured on physical geography, but he looked blankly at me. I mentioned ox-bow lakes, but he got even more confused and said 'Is he the Colombian fella, plays for Deportivo Cali? I reckon you can get these South Americans dirt cheap. Can't always get a work permit for the poor bastards, though. Has he played in 75% of Colombia's internationals in the last 2 years?'. Anyway, I know nothing about football really, so I went on Wikipedia and sent George the names of a handful of players. I don't know what I'm doing but I'm getting paid a grand a week for larking about on the internet. Happy days, eh?"

Autistic C(o)unt

Former Steaua Bucharest 'keeper, Tibor 'The Count' Contcescau

Burley's obsession with letters and numbers appears to have taken a new twist. When I tried contacting him through his secretary last week she said that he was "doing his times-tables, he's beginning to freak me out". However, the club released a press statement saying that they have hired Sesame Street's autistic vampire and ex-Steaua Bucharest goalkeeper, The Count, to do some consultancy work for them. Apparently, Burley has asked The Count to select the squad numbers for the Saints for this upcoming season. When I contacted The Count yesterday he declined to speak to me in person. He did, however, promise to leave me an answer machine message. When I received the message last night I was shocked and startled to hear of the decisions he'd made. A full transcription follows:

Count: Hello, Harry. Here is my selection, a little sneak preview for you, ha ha ha. Davis: one, ha ha ha. Ostlund: two, ha ha ha. Pelé: three, ha ha ha. Saganowski: four, ha ha ha. Lundekvam: five, ha ha ha. I haven't got a six yet, ha ha ha. Skacel: seven, ha ha ha. That's all you're getting for now, Harry, ha ha ha. I've got to go, I have to go and count the pixels on my TV, I may be a while, ha ha ha. Take care, ha ha ha.

Abel fucking Xavier

Abel Xavier during his ban for substance abuse

When I spoke to Burley yesterday to ask how he was getting on, he told me "Not too great, Harry. I'm really struggling looking for an 'X'. Turns out that Colombian player couldn't get a work permit, mainly because he doesn't exist. I've sacked that geography twat now, so I've asked Iñigo Idiakez to ask around if any of his Basque mates have a surname that begins with 'X'. I fucking hope so, or else I'm going to have to sign Abel Xavier at this rate. And no-one wants to do that, do they? Anyway, can't stop, Harry. I've got George Weah on the other line, I think he might have a 'Q' for me, with a bit of luck, eh?!"

George Burley is 51 years old.

Lewis-Francis in sub-10 seconds claim

by Harry Exclusive

Instead of dropping batons, Lewis-Francis intends on dropping weight


Olympic gold medal winning yet hapless British sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis has claimed that his strict new training regime, along with a change in his dietary habits, has resulted in him consistently posting sub-10 second times for the 100 metres. The underachieving athlete said "I've been running really fast in training, under 10 seconds every day this week". As far as his dietary changes he said "Basically, I've knocked the pies on the head as I was putting on weight, I'm on the curry!".

Homemade curries

Mark's Mother, and new trainer, Mary, takes up the story. "Mark has never been one for training very hard, he's a lazy bugger. And he's reknowned for his love of the pie. What I've done is get him onto some nice homemade curries. I'll do a chicken one on Monday, veggie on Tuesday, lamb on Wednesday, king prawn on Thursday and on the weekend we just get takeaways 'cause I can't be arsed to cook for the hefferlump. Like I said, Mark loves his food, but with all the pies he was eating he was putting on weight. I started thinking that if I could get him off the pies and onto curry then he might lose some weight. I mean, he still eats like a pig, but with a curry you're more likely to shit it out, yeah? The only bad thing about this is that I can't show my face down the local Greggs anymore. They used to love me down there, what with all the money lardarse was spending there, but now they look at me like I'm some dogshit stuck to the spikes of Mark's best daps."


And what of Mark's claims of running under 10 seconds in training? "Bless him, every morning I send him down the corner shop to get a pint of milk and my crossword magazines, I always say 'Go on, Mark, run, I'll time you'. He hasn't got a very good sense of direction, and even though the shop is right at the end of the street he always gets lost on his way there and his way back; we even had to call the coastguard out for him once. Invariably, he'll take an age and he always comes in with his little tongue hanging out, puffing and panting like he's ran 12 miles. And he probably has, the daft twat. The first thing he always asks me is 'What time did I run today?'. I always say '9.87 seconds', and he says 'Wow, I'm as fast as Linford Christie!'. Then I make him a milkshake and he goes to play on his Wii."

Lewis-Francis is considered one of Britain's best hopes at this years World Championships and hotly tipped for a quarter-final exit.