NEAR POST – CHRISTMAS PARTY HIGH-JINKS

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Where’s Barry?

Due to the ubiquity of camera phones and social media, plus the Press lying in wait to pap snap any footballer who even suggests being the worse for wear by shutting his eyes, football club Christmas parties are now quiet, sober affairs, if the parties take place at all.

They weren’t always like that though, with the “win or lose we’ll have some booze” culture of the 60s, 70s and 80s, and even the post-EPL 90s and 2000s, “throwing up” many examples of having too much Christmas spirit.

Whereas journalist’s knew which side their Christmas Pudding was brandy buttered on in the 60s and 70s and collaborated with football clubs to keep the worst player excesses out of the papers, come the 80s every tabloid journalist was looking for the next high-profile footballer faux pas and was willing and able to splash it across the front page quicker than a pissed-up player could splash sick on a bouncer’s shoes.

Here are some of the worst cases of Football Club Christmas party “high jinks”.

Foxe gets his tail out and makes a splash

It’s fair to say that flame-haired defender Hayden Foxe didn’t really make a huge impression on the pitch during his time in English football, but the Australian certainly entertained at the 2001 West Ham Christmas Party!

After running up a reported £2000 drinks bill in the VIP area of the Sugar Loaf club in London, Foxe thought he would liven up proceedings further by climbing on the bar and unleashing a killer dance routine, one that culminated in him pissing on the bar. Unsurprisingly, he and the rest of the Hammers party were asked to leave soon afterwards.

Scroogey Redknapp

Harry Redknapp quite cheerfully accepted accusations of being a Scrooge at Christmas when he was manager at Spurs. For Harry, Christmas and Christmas parties just didn’t exist, as he thinks alcohol is harmful for injured players, and he claimed that most of the Spurs players wouldn’t even be interested if a Christmas party was suggested anyway.

Redknapp is still scarred by the Tottenham secret Christmas bash in 2009, when he thought that the players were having a golf day. Instead, they splashed out £2,000 a man in a Dublin bar and nightclub!

Tottenham’s Giovani Dos Santos was also pap snapped being dragged into a taxi by bouncers after throwing up outside the Taman Gang Club in Marble Arch on the club’s 2008 Christmas do.

Last December, with Harry at QPR, he cancelled the Rangers’ planned Christmas party because they just didn’t deserve to have one due to performing so poorly. “I’m not a fan of Christmas parties and we’ve got nothing to celebrate,” he said.

Current QPR player Joey Barton also has previous involving Christmas parties, fancy dress and lit cigars, so his moratorium on parties is probably for the best.

Redknapp isn’t alone in this. Sir Alex Ferguson always reserved the right to ban Manchester United’s festivities at the eleventh hour, because of the events of the infamous 2007 Manchester United Christmas Party. A 15-hour drinking marathon culminated in orgies at a Manchester hotel and allegations of rape were made, although no charges were ever brought.

However, Andre Villas-Boas is the anti-Scrooge, as he said that Tottenham’s players should have had two or even three nights out!

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Copping a feel at the Christmas Party

In December 2012, West Ham’s Andy Carroll was accused of assaulting a photographer on the club’s festive jaunt to Dublin.

The not very Christmassy Carroll had been accused of gouging and attempting to bite Paddy Cummins, as he photographed the player leaving a Dublin nightclub.

Carroll’s team-mates all vouched for him when he was questioned by club officials about the incident, however. The players insisted that the striker was provoked, and that he wasn’t aggressive towards the photographer.

Celtic try to keep it low-key

Celtic thought that they could keep things low-key and avoid bad press by having their Christmas party in another city at the Sizzlers steakhouse in Glasgow, but the evening climaxed with Neil Lennon passing out on the pavement and smashing his head on the kerb on the way down.

In 2002, they could get away with more if they left Glasgow so went to Newcastle instead, in what a spokeswoman confirmed was “an effort to avoid attention”. However, the party of well-oiled Bhoys washed-up at the glamorous-sounding Buffalo Joe’s American themed bar in Gateshead, only to be met by a gaggle of waiting photographers. One ‘incident’ later, and four of them – Neil Lennon, Bobby Petta, Johan Mjallby and Joos Valgaeren – were spending the rest of the night in police cells.

Babes in the hood

David O’Leary’s team of ‘babes’ were less than angelic on and off the pitch.

December 2001 saw a Wild West-themed fancy dress pub crawl for the Christmas Party, involving 10 solid hours of banter and boozing. What could go possibly wrong? Everything, which is why the club appointed five security guards to follow the 30 or so players around the city of Leeds in an attempt to babysit the young starlets and prevent trouble.

Despite being chaperoned, Robbie Fowler still managed to wind up in the Millgarth police cells after an altercation with photographer Ben Lack ended up in Lack’s camera being hurled to the unforgiving concrete of a garage forecourt.

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I’m the Stig

Former cult player for my team Bolton Wanderers, midfielder Stig Tofting, had his AGF Arhus career quickly curtailed after he punched out four team-mates at the team’s Christmas party. Why? Because they’d torn Tofting’s shirt.

Stig looked more like a Rugby League player than a footballer, so I assume that some “Dutch courage” had been partaken of when they decided to mess with his attire.

Roy Carroll at Christmas

Another Christmas Carroll – Roy this time – as he and Ryan Giggs had to be forcibly separated after the pair was seen going “nose to nose and swearing at each other”. A bystander was quoted as saying:

“It was all pretty nasty but they didn’t actually come to blows. I think drink had played its part.”

One not-so Wise man and an ignoble Savage

Invite Dennis Wise and Robbie Savage to a party and you’re asking for trouble.

The atmosphere at Leicester’s 2001 Christmas bash took a scatological and violent turn for the worse when Wise gave Savage a teddy bear impaled on a dildo and reportedly told him:

“Take this, because you’re the only prick in a Leicester shirt at the moment.”

Savage retaliated by smearing chocolate on Wise’s face and mocking his relationship with old Wimbledon pal Dave Bassett.

Violence ensued.

Former Bolton starlet Delroy Facey named’ among six arrested by police over ‘international illegal betting syndicate’

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Bolton flop Delroy Facey, currently plying his trade for Albion Sports Football Club, a team in the Northern Counties East Football League

Reports emerging today have claimed that former Bolton Wanderers striker Delroy Facey is the ex Premier League player involved in breaking news about match fixing allegations.

Six people have been arrested by police investigating a “suspected international illegal betting syndicate” involved in the fixing of English football games.

The Independent reported that:

“Along with Facey, three current players were also detained.

“A spokesman for the NCA said: “Six men have been arrested across the country as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into alleged football match fixing. The focus of the operation is a suspected international illegal betting syndicate.

“The NCA is working closely with the Gambling Commission and the Football Association. This is an active investigation and we are unable to provide further detail at this time.”

“Facey played just 14 games for Bolton during a time when they were a Premier League club. His spell at the Wanderers, for whom he scored two goals after joining in 2002, was one of 14 different clubs the striker played for over a 16-year career.”

NEAR POST – FOOTBALL AID

ImageHow would you like to Live the Dream of running out alongside a Club Legend and taking part in a 90 minute match on your team’s hallowed turf?

Since forming in 2001, Football Aid have allowed over 14,000 football fans the chance to Live the Dream in more than 535 charity football matches all over the UK, and over £2M has been paid out or designated as payable to charities in the 13 years since.

The unique concept was the brainchild of businessman and Football Aid Chairman, Craig Paterson.

Funds raised from our events always benefit the work of a charitable project nominated by our partner clubs, as well as projects nominated by Football Aid’s parent charity Field of Dreams.

Football Aid – Player Stories 2001 – 2013

Arsenal: Roy Talbot, the 68 year old former Sunday League player from Welwyn Garden City who hung up his boots for the last time, making his final appearance between the sticks at The Emirates for Arsenal in 2011. Roy was lucky enough to have his grandson as mascot as well.

Blackburn Rovers: Eric Lamb, a Melbourne, Australia based fireman makes the 10,500 miles pilgrimage to play for his hometown club Blackburn Rovers most years. He even scored with a stunning 30 yard strike that flew into the top corner & made our Goal of the Season 2011 shortlist.

Play at Ewood Park

Bolton Wanderers: Maurice Lawson continues to trot out at The Reebok most years; he’s our eldest player at the tender age of 70 years young!

comp pictureBolton Wanderers: Howard Fox flew all the way from Australia to play in goal at Bolton Wanderers in 2009 – he was rewarded for his efforts with the Man of the Match award!

Celtic: David and Paul Walker Lived the Dream in unique style at Celtic Park in 2007, playing with their other Brother, former pro Andy, who starred as a Striker for Celtic, Bolton & Scotland!

ImageEverton: Father and Son Dave and Mike O’Reilly, originally from Liverpool, who have flown over from Orange County, California to play together at Goodison Park 3 years running from 2010-2012. This year their impressive Away team won 8-3!

Liverpool: Nick Carter, a Liverpool fan from Carmarthen, Wales returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan only days before the 2011 game to play alongside his boyhood hero John Barnes at Anfield.

Liverpool: Liverpool fan Paul Hewson played in a match at Anfield in 2013 and recounted his experience after the event:

“You’ve all seen it on telly, maybe lucky enough to see it from the stands but until you have experienced walking down the famous tunnel, touching the “This is Anfield” sign and walking out onto the pitch as a player, only then will you ever come close to the feeling the players get when they play their first game on Anfield [turf].”

Manchester City: Diego Ponzé, a Milan, Italy based Sky Sport 24 journalist, flew over with his own cameraman to film a video diary of his experience in 2011. The 8 min video diary was shown on Italian TV and featured an impromptu interview with former City legend and Football Aid Patron Denis Law!

ManUtdTunnelManchester United: A group of 9 x Italian players celebrated their Stag Party or “Addio Al Celibato” in style by playing together for Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2012.

Tottenham Hotspur: Three London born brothers, Chris, Paul and Matthew Shelley who all played together at White Hart Lane for the 2nd time in 2011 and had the privilege of being managed by Spurs great Ossie Ardiles as well!

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Mark Everiss played 11 consecutive years at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux Stadium from 2001 – 2011.

Football Aid 2014

Football Aid is back for another season, and you can experience a matchday in the same way as your heroes do every week, in a way that even a club tour can’t match, plus do your bit for charity.

Players gain exclusive access to the pitch and tunnel areas, pull on their own personalised shirt in the official changing rooms, walk down the tunnel to the sound of a cheering crowd and step out onto the hallowed turf, before taking part in a never to be forgotten 90 minute game of football!

82editMatches have been supported by a host of fantastic Football Legends in recent years, with the likes of Denis Law (Football Aid Patron), Danny McGrain (Football Aid Vice Patron), John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, Pat Nevin, Neil Lennon, Ally McCoist, Graeme Le Saux, Ricky Villa, Gary McAllister, Denis Irwin, Ozzie Ardiles, Gary Mabbutt, Teddy Sheringham and many more lending their extra special support by playing alongside or managing the fan teams on their big day.

To secure your place in a 2014 team, visit www.footballaid.com and register.

You can also follow Football Aid on Twitter – @FootballAid

And on Facebook – www.facebook.com/footballaid

Other Links:

NEAR POST – Mário Lard-el

MarioJardel Brazilian Mário Jardel de Almeida Ribeiro, or ‘Mário Lardel’ as he was known during his time at Bolton, was a legend for Grêmio, being a major player in the squad that won the 1995 Copa Libertadores. Renowned for his exceptional positioning ability, he was one of Europe’s most prolific strikers during his time at FC Porto, Galatasaray, and Sporting CP, scoring 266 goals in 274 games for those clubs. Jardel made his debut for the Brazil national football team in 1996, making a total of 10 appearances and being selected for the 2001 Copa America.

While the 2001–02 season was arguably the pinnacle of Jardel’s career, the next season proved to be the beginning of the end.

A reported move to Real Madrid fell through, and Jardel suffered from depression as a result of this and a failing marriage, which led to him turning to drink and drugs to cope.

Jardel subsequently told an interviewer:

“I only consumed one drug, cocaine, but not while I was playing. I only took it during vacations.

“It all started with bad friendships. Then came my divorce, depression and drugs. This happens a lot in football, but I can’t talk about it.”

Left out of the Brazilian national team for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, despite his prolific goal-scoring abilities, he was unfit at the start of the season and spent the most of it on the injury list. During the Christmas break, he returned to his native Fortaleza, where he injured his knee in a swimming pool fall. He went on to score only nine goals that season.

Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce had the knack of signing fading galacticos and coaxing one or two seasons more of quality football out of them. World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff and Jay-Jay Okocha were a massive success at Bolton, coming in on frees, and money floating around the Reebok paid the stellar name’s wages. This tactic also paid off with ‘Le Sulk’ Nicolas Anelka, Ivan Campo and Fernando Hierro.

mario_jardelJardel moved to England in August 2003.

This from “Mario Jardel – from European Golden Shoe to Bolton Mediocrity”, by Chris Manning from @LionOfViennaSte:

“Jardel’s Bolton Wanderers career was to prove a disappointment. He was half the player that he had been in the early 2000s – though in some respects he was twice the player. Injury troubles and fitness concerns led to the gaining of an unfortunate nickname ‘Lardel’ being a pun on his apparent weight problems. Off the pitch he was known as a quiet and unassuming character, on the pitch he was similarly quiet. His time at the club is best remembered for two moments. A brilliant headed goal against Liverpool at Anfield helped Wanderers on the way to the Carling Cup Final that year, which compared with an incredible miss against Gillingham in an earlier round showed the frustration that the fans felt. Clearly he was a top striker, but his troubles had caught up with him.”

Fat, unfit and unhappy, Bolton loaned Jardel out to Italian side Ancona, who sent him back. He was eventually picked up by Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina on a free from the Wanderers. Subsequent clubs included Goiás Esporte Clube, Beira Mar, Anorthosis Famagusta, St. Mirren, Newcastle United Jets, Criciúma, Ferroviário,  América de Fortaleza,  Esporte Clube Flamengo and Bulgarian club Cherno More Varna. It was reported in November 2010 that Jardel had left Cherno More due to concerns pertaining to the cold weather conditions in Bulgaria.

Jardel seems to blame everyone but himself, however, saying:

“”When I went to some smaller teams, how could I score if there were no players that could put the ball at my feet? It all got worse and the problems snowballed.”

Top Ten Least Hipster Football Teams

  1. Man United
  2. Man Citeh
  3. Millwall
  4. Stoke City
  5. West Ham United
  6. Bolton Wanderers (my own team)
  7. Blackburn
  8. Wolves
  9. St. Johnstone
  10. Carlisle United

Bubbling under:

Falkirk/Dundee/Dundee United/Alloa Athletic/Bury/Rotherham/Huddersfield Town/Rochdale