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Emmanuel Adebayor’s 80-metre Usain Bolt impression and Christlike genuflection in front of the visiting supporters at Eastlands in ‘that’ game was all the fault of the nasty Arsenal fans, apparently. The FA reckon their name calling aimed at the big Manchester City mischief left him with no option and have handed him a two-match suspended sentence and fined him an afternoon’s wages.
Fernando Torres is no fool. Offered the chance to share the love with his adoring Liverpool public, the Spaniard took the opportunity as easily he would a sitter from 10 yards against Hull City. “I can understand the feelings between Man United and Liverpool,” he said, while dismissing the notion he might one day play for another English club. It’s nice to nice, eh?
Torres’ Liverpool team-mate Ryan Babel, on the other hand, just can’t help winding people up the wrong way. Liverpool fans will be happy to learn that the Dutch disappointment is going to buck his ideas up and try that bit harder for the club this season – so that he can go to South Africa with the Dutch squad for the World Cup.
“There’s a World Cup at the end of the season and my position for the Holland national team is in danger. For the first time in 33 games, I wasn’t called up for the national team last month,” he spat, ya get me? “Not being called up has definitely scared me into doing something.”
WELCOME TO THE CHEAP SEATS
It hasn’t been the best of starts to the Champions League for Atletico Madrid. One point from their opening fixtures against Apoel Nicosia and FC Porto has left them bottom of Chelsea’s group and in need of a couple of positive results against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
And now to add the most damning of insults to their already injured pride, they have been deemed about as big an attraction in West London as Bolton, Blackburn and a stage musical staring some bloke who used to be in EastEnders.
Well, maybe not the latter, but the first two are bad enough. And that’s the kind of regard in which Chelsea and, by extension, their fans hold the Spanish club.
Blame the credit crunch. Blame the congested fixture list. Blame Diego Forlan. Whatever, Chelsea have slashed prices for their ‘prawn sandwich’ package for their three forthcoming matches by a whopping £126.
Which means you can go to one of the Premier League, Champions League or Carling Cup matches, have a slap up three-course feed, snacks while the game is one, arrive before and leave after the rest of the unwashed prols and walk away with a match programme and printed team-sheet all for the princely sum of just £99. Bargain!
With some standard tickets for games costing the thick end of £65, take up for matches has surprisingly been on the wane of late, with discounted tickets for the Porto match this season of £25.50 still only swelling the crowd to 39,500 – roughly equivalent to Leeds’ better home gates for their League One matches this term.
The Chelsea bean counters are worried. Hence the sort of revised pricing business model pioneered by DFS.
But what of those mugs who paid full whack ahead of time and will now have to share their silver service banquet with punters who have paid less than half the face value?
In a bid to pretend no one has lost out, Chelsea have farmed out the selling of knock down tickets to online travel company Travel Zoo, who are more accustomed to hawking heavily discounted cruises and whale watching jaunts to Norway than they are shifting football tickets.
That way, you see, the packages sold will be differentiated, so those who bought their tickets from the club can feel better about themselves, see?
No, me either.
MUST READ: Any Arsenal fan frustrated at Arsène Wenger’s lack of silverware in recent times would do well to remember the ‘meat-and-two-veg’ football they were served up before his arrival, says Kevin Garside.
MUST WATCH: Franck Ribery not-quite-but-nearly scored one of the greatest goals of all time this week. The good folk at TheOffside have collected the 12 best examples of ones that got away for your viewing pleasure.
BET OF THE DAY: Bolton to beat Spurs tomorrow @ 3/1
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You put one fire out and another starts up in the corner. But you can spit your dummy out and throw your toys out of the pram, or take it as another fire, put it out and get going again. It has been a particularly interesting day – nothing I can tell you about. But you have choices. You either stick together and get through it or stamp your feet.” Paul Hart tries to stamp out a toy-dummy-pram blaze at Fratton Park as best he can (which isn’t very well).