Real Slim not shady

Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, has taken control of struggling Spanish club Real Oviedo.

Slim, estimated to be worth $69 billion – give or take a few billion - agreed to invest €2 million for a majority stake in the third division club, which had been facing bankruptcy before a fundraising effort from fans generated more than €1.5 million in the space of two weeks. For a man of his means, €2 million is just loose change.

Oviedo confirmed on Saturday that Slim had decided to become the new majority shareholder because of the club’s “history in Spanish professional football and above all for the extraordinary support of its fans”.

The club added: “This challenge and ambition is strictly a sports investment and one that looks to benefit the club and its fans. [The investment] will try to support Oviedo’s players so they can reach their goals and the club can reach the division that corresponds to its history and values.”

The club statement added that Slim plans to use the club “to create synergies and exchanges between Spanish, Mexican and Latin American football”.

Arturo Elias Ayub, director of strategic alliances at Slim’s Carso and Telmex groups, said that interest in Oviedo had been sparked by the fans’ efforts to save their club.

“We have been following the movement (to save) Oviedo, which I would say has been global, and we thought it would be interesting to join in,” he told AS.

Which should act as an inspiration to supporters of imperilled clubs.

Death threat

Police are investigating allegations of death threats being made to Sunderland midfielder James McClean.

The Derry-born was criticised for not wearing a poppy – the symbol commemorating British war dead – on his shirt during Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat to Everton last weekend.

Booed by a number of Sunderland fans when he came on as a substitute in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Fulham, McClean has also been subjected to death threats via social media.

Cody Lachey, a 29-year-old bouncer from Manchester who claims to have served in the army posted bullets on the player’s Twitter page and wrote to Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht, saying “he deserves to be shot dead and + body dragged past the cenotaph.”

Which, even by the neanderthal standards of people who talk the language of the death threat, seems a little extreme for something that isn’t even a crime.

“I wanted him dead,” said Lachey, as reported by the Derry Journal. “But there’s no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can’t be held responsible for what other people may do.”

“I think he’s [McClean] a f***ing disgrace. I know I’ll end up in trouble and maybe in prison over this but I’m willing to go to court, that’s how strongly I feel.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill said his player would not be put off by the booing.

“James will deal with it”. ONeill said. “It’s a free choice. James has lived with a lot of things, and he’s getting death threats now, which doesn’t help.”

Quote of the day

“We are not a team yet. We have to change something, and I will do. The attitude of the players will change. I am very annoyed. We’ve just lost two games at home and this is not possible for a team that wants to win the title. I’m not afraid to say we’re in crisis. We have to get out of it quickly.” 

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti is unhappy with his players after seeing his PSG suffer a 2-1 home defeat to 9-man Rennes.

Eye of the storm

Remarkable footage has emerged of a tornado ripping off roof and destroying the Estadio Dr. Francisco Vieira, home to Portuguese minnows Silves.

Eight people were hurt and hundreds left homeless when the tornado hit the Algarve coast.

Of course, anyone who had the misfortune to have watched football at Sunderland’s former ground, Roker Park, will dismiss this as a light squall.

Goal of the day

Stunning shot on the turn by Bologna’s Alberto Gilardino against Palermo.

Miss of the day

Diego Milito somehow missed this sitter from close range against Cagliari.

Shevvy cuts to the chase

Former Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko has turned down an offer to manage the national team.

“I believe that today leading the national team of Ukraine is a somewhat premature step for me,” Shevchenko, the leading scorer for his country with 48 goals in 111 appearances, said in a statement published on the Ukrainian Football Federation’s web site.

“I hope the leadership of the Football Federation will understand my decision,” he added.

Shevchenko, 36, who played for Milan and Chelsea as well as Dynamo Kiev, retired after his country’s exit from the Euro 2012 tournament which they co-hosted in June.

He was offered the national coaching job a week ago. The post became vacant when Oleg Blokhin, the previous coach, accepted an offer from Dynamo Kiev.

Snoop Around

Rod Stewart could soon face competition for his place as Celtic’s leading celebrity supporter. US rapper Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion) was so impressed with the Scottish champions victory over Barcelona that he has decided that he wants to invest in them.

“I got a lot of interest in soccer,” Snoop told the Daily Record. “It’s not a new thing for hip-hop stars to invest in sports teams, but it is a new thing for hip-hop stars to invest in soccer teams.

“I didn’t catch the whole Barcelona game, but I watched the highlights. I know Barcelona are a big deal, and it shows Celtic are a big deal as well.

“I see how passionate Celtic fans are about their team, and I could see myself making an investment if any of the board wanted to sell.

“I haven’t really thought how much. I don’t need to run a soccer club but enough of a percentage to get me on the board so I can be heard.

“I want to bring a bit of Snoop to things.”

The rapper then added that one of the first things he would do as a member of the Celtic board would be to sign his friend David Beckham “for a season.”

Trouble in paradise

As German football continues to enjoy increased attendances, greater financial prosperity and enhanced global appeal, figures released by the local police show that it also faces a growing hooligan problem.

The police report said the 2011-12 season had the highest number of criminal proceedings in 12 years, almost double the amount of injured fans and a more than 20 percent rise in police work hours compared to the previous season.

Moreover, there appears no sign that the problem has peaked, with the number of violent incidents appearing to be increasing exponentially.

A total of 8,143 criminal proceedings against individuals were launched during the last season compared to 5,818 the previous one while the number of injuries almost doubled from 843 in 2010-11 to 1,142.

“There is nothing to indicate that there is a turning point and a decrease of violence-ready potential within fan groups from Bundesliga to the regional division clubs,” the report of the police’s central information point for the deployment in sport (ZIS) said.

“For criminal proceedings, injuries and work hours these are the highest figures in 12 years. On top of that criminal proceedings were up 70 percent, work hours up 40 percent and injuries up 120 percent from the 12-year average.”

The German football league (DFL) came up with its “secure stadium experience” concept recommending tougher entry checks but the proposals were immediately rejected by  some fan clubs last month, who said fans were not consulted in the process. Cue a DFL U-turn and a promise to seek fan input before re-submitting a proposal next month.

Finally…

Former Manchester United player Kenny Morgans has died at the age of 73.

The Welshman, a survivor of the Munich air disaster of 1958, died in hospital over the weekend after becoming ill on Saturday.

Morgans made his debut for United at the age of 18 and travelled to Belgrade for the ill-fated European Cup trip two months later.

He was found among the wreckage of the aircraft by two journalists, five hours after the official search had been called off.

Morgan recovered from his injuries and went on to resume his playing career, although he left Old Trafford in 1961 and spend the remainder of his career in Wales with Swansea City and later Newport County.

 

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