Premiership weekend (finally!) and a quick look at what you should be reading right now:
1. Word from BBC on losing the FA Cup and England games contract to ITV/Setanta.
2. Chelsea winger Arjen Robben is set to miss the rest of the season – but the upshot for Chelsea is that Joe Cole may be coming back soon.
3. Greece have suspended all pro-sports for two weeks after a fan was stabbed to death during clashes between rival hooligans before a women’s volleyball match.
One fan was stabbed and run over by a car, at least six people were injured, one of whom was in critical condition and police made 13 arrests following the 20-minute battle.
Greece sports will be back on their feet, but what will worry UEFA is that Athens will the stage for the Champions League final on 23rd May and fan safety will become a major issue for Greece then.
4. Paul Jewell expresses an opinion many of us have silently have – that fans are jealous of the riches and success of the big stars, and that jealously showed in the anger vented towards England midweek.
Personally I agree that footballers’ riches contribute to the situation – the common complaint hurled at footballers is that they are paid so much money and yet they still manage not to perform. Should performances be solely judged on how much the players are paid though?
5. David Healy did 2 good things yesterday. First, his goals helped Leeds to a 2-1 win and gave them some hope of escaping relegation. Also, Leeds beat Preston, which now means that Sunderland are unchallenged at #3 and have a good chance of securing automatic promotion (Preston, with a win, would have gone a point ahead of Sunderland).
6. Alan Pardew’s success in putting Charlton in a position to escape relegation was expected according to the Charlton management.
7. Newcastle have recouped 3.3m in insurance and compensation for Michael Owen’s injury but they still want more – or at least the rest of the 7m they wanted at the start.
8. Bellamy gives part of his fine (for the golf club / Riise / Portugal incident) to Wrexham (second bottom in League Two) and helps them bring 3 players in on loan.
9. Eric Abidal’s agent looks set to lead his client out of Lyon and to a ‘bigger’ club. Barcelona seems top of the list.
While we’re on the topic…why is Abidal so hated by Premiership fans?
10. Gerrard talks to UEFA magazine. This gem from his interview:
“Since I’ve been in the team, we’ve been a fantastic cup side. The next challenge is to improve domestically, in the league, and try to get involved in the title race.”
Yes, but that requires Rafa to change tactics Stevie. Is that going to happen?
11. Morten Gamst Pederson interview in the Guardian, where he talks about NLP, his life in Manchester, and more.
Blackburn are lucky to have two quality midfielders in Bentley and Pederson, and I’d think that those two would be near the top of shopping lists in England this summer.
Phew…if you still want more (you must be crazy!) hit the main page and see today’s top stories.