Its only early days within the 2016 sporting calendar, but it’s not been uneventful. The Courier’s own Alex Hendley, Lewis Bedford and Calum Wilson give you their favourite cock-ups, laughs and down-right shameful occurrences of the year so far.
Divock Origi, scores a worldie
Last week, couples up and down the country celebrated Valentine’s Day, as showing your love for someone clearly isn’t necessary the other 364 days of the year. Maybe Christmas, at a push. For some, however, el día de San Valentín was nothing more than an excuse to sit in the living room watching Sky’s super Sunday for an entire afternoon, perhaps nipping to the corner shop at half time to buy a Kinder Bueno and a bag of Doritos (Chilli Heatwave, obviously).
And what an afternoon it was. Danny Welbeck wrote himself into Arsenal folklore with a last minute header against Claudio Ranieri’s band of title-crashing hooligans, before Spurs’ Premier League bandwagon picked up enough speed to enter hyperspace with a win at the Etihad. The results were, perhaps, unexpected. But what no-one had bargained for happened down at Villa Park. If you’d told me Kolo Toure scoring wasn’t going to be the most unusual thing that was going to happen during the game I’d have proverbially laughed in your proverbial face, but the moment of sexual tension that Liverpool striker Divock Origi shared with one of the travelling fans was simply extraordinary.
“Scenes this erotic haven’t been seen since Tony Pulis headbutted James Beattie bollock naked”
Having come on just a minute earlier, the Belgian put goal pie all over the goalkeeper’s shirt to make the scoreline 4-0 to the boys from Merseyside, and in his delight the poor sod ran to celebrate with his adoring fans. Embraced, smothered, lost in the moment, Divock Origi kissed a fan. As a side note, shout out to the bloke wearing a Bayer Leverkusen cap while celebrating the goal like he’d rather die than wear anything other than Liverpool FC merchandise. Whether it was against Origi’s free will, it remains unclear. Video footage would suggest there was quite a lot of struggling involved, and a worrying amount of effort from the overly-keen Scouser to get his tongue down the striker’s throat, however in post-kiss-gate interviews, old Div has actually admitted to enjoying the occurrence.
Scenes this erotic haven’t been seen since Tony Pulis headbutted James Beattie bollock naked, after the player had criticised the gaffer’s decision to cancel the Christmas party. One can only imagine the tension as the room as two fully grown naked men stare stiffly into each other’s eyes, wondering how, why and what just happened. In truth, Tony Pulis was the first to implement the ‘chat shit get banged’ policy that Jamie Vardy has made so famous.
Van de Driessche, taking the pissche
Cyclists have perfected the art of injecting power-enhancing shit into their arms, legs, and whatever-else. Somehow they manage to maintain a pretty convincing no-drug policy on the camera, and all the while remaining under the UCI’s drug-dar by only injecting a lil’ bit here and there. Even if you’re not a fan of watching lycra-clad perfectly shaped glutes’ sway in unison up a very large hill, everyone is aware that there are pinker-eyes in the Tour de France than at Cosmic Ballroom on a Tuesday night. If anything, Lance Armstrong should be commended for managing to stay upright on two wheels in the state he was.
What is even more of an embarrassment however, is what the cycling world have coined ‘mechanical doping’. It really means what it says on the tin: a bit of motorized help to level the playing field. I imagine someone thought, “you know what would be great: if I could slip a little motor in the seat tube of my bike and just pretend to spin my legs”. Of course, this was really only a matter of time; indeed, its kinda’ odd that cyclists didn’t think of this sooner.
“If anything, Lance Armstrong should be commended for managing to stay upright on two wheels in the state he was”
2016 saw the first proven case of ‘mechanical doping’. Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche had her bike confiscated by the UCI during the Cyclocross World Championships, late January this year. Van den Driessche has responded with quite an elaborate story, denying any knowledge of the presumably quite powerful motor, strong enough to give some kind of competitive advantage. Essentially, Van de Driessche claims she had previously sold the bike to a friend, who had turned up on the day to watch the race. The team mechanic recognized the bike, gave it a quick rinse, and popped it on the rack. Presumably, next minute, Van de Driessche looked down half way through the race to notice something was not quite right. I figure it was a lot like trying to get into a similar looking car in a very big car park; but by this point she was halfway up the M1.
On a serious note, the proverbial shit has really hit the proverbial fan. Van de Driessche’s case has gone right up to the Disciplinary Commission, and she could face a quite lengthy ban. Perhaps worse is the effect it has had on her reputation. Van de Driessche is undoubtedly a strong rider; but the allegations have called into question whether she really is worthy of the under twenty-three Belgian champion title.
In other news, whilst training in Spain, a British woman plowed into six sportsmen from the Giant-Alpecin professional team. A few were rushed off to hospital, one having to be airlifted out. Its not been a great year for cycling.
Neville Neville, your team is a mess
The infamous Liverpudlian adaptation of a David Bowie classic goes, ‘Neville Neville your face is a mess’. Well now Gary, so is your team. Since taking charge of Valencia in early December, the former Manchester United full back has watched his credibility as a manager disappear faster than Kanye West’s bank balance.
Gary Neville’s disastrous spell in charge of Valencia C.F is best described through a series of acronyms. On the news that he’d been appointed: WTF? Go nine games without a win in La Liga: OMG! Thrashed 7-0 by Barcelona: LOL! Poor old Gary is now a bit of a laughing stock.
When the news broke that Gary Neville would be jetting over to sunny Spain to manage the mighty Valencia, most of the nation waved him off onto his bright orange Easy Jet plane with a fond farewell. Thanks for the memories; we will never forget your goalgasm when Torres put Chelsea into the Champions League, good luck G.Nev.
“On the news that he’d been appointed: WTF? Go nine games without a win in La Liga: OMG! Thrashed 7-0 by Barcelona: LOL! Poor old Gary is now a bit of a laughing stock”
It was, nonetheless, a huge shock to see our beloved Sky Sports pundit given such a huge job. Even though his C.V. boasts being England’s Assistant Manager, that’s not exactly something to brag about. But I suppose someone has to tell Roy Hodgson to stop picking Andros Townsend.
Gary Neville was the first of the ‘Class of 92’ to enter into the lion-pit of management, perhaps unsurprisingly given his academic potential. That said, it was only an honorary degree from the University of Bolton. Yes you read that correctly, Bolton has a university.
Following closely in his managerial footsteps was Ryan Giggs. The Welshman’s iconic status at United has earned him a spot next to Louis Van Gaal in the dugout, although I’d definitely rather be losing in Spain than getting wet in the Manchester rain.
Meanwhile, having a bit more fun in the sun is David Beckham. Becks’ latest impressive project is to set up his very own football club, funded by the equally impressively named, Miami Beckham United. Take that Gary, golden balls even has his own franchise with a kickass name.
Even Phil, Gary’s younger and arguably less famous brother, has begun his coaching career with his reputation intact, albeit in the number two position. Now that the siblings have teamed up at Valencia, their brotherly love is not quite being replicated onto the pitch.
Sister Tracey got in on the act last year. The former Netball star was appointed as England Netball’s interim coach and made an immediate impact, leading her team to a bronze medal at the World Cup. Managerial ability clearly runs in the Neville blood, it just hasn’t started flowing for Gary yet.
Back in the Sky Sports studio, the hole that was left when Neville joined Valencia has been suitably filled by the king of cool, Thierry Henry. Gary’s goalgasms have been replaced Henry’s leg-touching and stylish suits. Sorry Gaz, Sky Sports have moved on and maybe you should to? You could always go and manage Salford City I suppose.