Match fixing trial latest

Former Giresunspor president Olgun Peker, one of the main defendants in Turkey’s match-fixing scandal, has described the charges against him as “despicable” and a “smear”.

Dozens of leading Turkish officials, including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, began their defence at an Istanbul court on Monday, with Peker, labelled as the main ringleader of the match fixing scam.

“Match-fixing is such a despicable allegation, such a smear campaign against me,” Turkish media reported Peker as telling the court.

Peker faces a maximum of 115 years in prison if convicted, although a few words in the right ears and the smart money will be on a suspended jail term.

Thousands of fans gathered outside the court as a show of support for the accused, chanting slogans and singing songs in favour of jailed Fener chairman Aziz Yildirim.

“Nobody can stand up to Fenerbahce,” the fans cheered. “See you at the ballot box,” they chanted, in a reference to Yildirim’s comments to journalists that the case was politically motivated.

Life in a goldfish bowl

Footballers, like many celebrities, have often complained about having to live their lives in a goldfish bowl. Now, former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, has become so accustomed to life under public scrutiny that he has decided to turn his entire house into a giant aquarium.

The New York Red Bulls forward, who has just returned to the United States after completed a brief loan spell with Arsenal, has lodged plans to demolish his north London house and replace it with a larger property – incorporating a 40ft high fish tank that will cost £250,000 to build.

Sir Richard MacCormac, who designed the current building in 1999, said last night: “I don’t think you improve sustainability by demolishing a house which is just 13 years old.

“It surprises me that someone  who can afford to build a new house and who claims to be serious about architecture should not simply build another one elsewhere.”

A sketch of the proposed development can be found here.

Money for nothing

Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that he would play for nothing if he is given a new contract at the San Siro.

The 34-year-old has been out of action for last few months with a serious eye problem, and with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, he is keen to extend his stay with the club. So keen in fact, that he is even prepared to forego a salary.

“I’m ready to play for free even,” Gattuso told Milan Channel.

“I’ve told Adriano Galliani that it’s not a matter of money. I want to return to doing what I love.”

The midfielder is playing his 13th season for Milan, but he doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.

“I live for football…at the age of 34, I have never thought about stopping.”

Ever so painful

Valencia midfielder Ever Banega has nominated himself for this year’s Darwin awards after forgetting to apply the handbrake when he got out of his car.

The vehicle rolled backwards and trapped the player’s ankle against the curb, causing a fractured tibia and fibula in his left foot. As a result he will not play again this season.

Quote of the day

“I love my former sides Internazionale and Chelsea, and their fans as well. I would rather those fans supported their teams and their coaches rather than me. I am their past, and a very good one at that, but I am no longer there. They should fight together instead of thinking about those who are not there any more.”

Jose Mourinho tells disgruntled supporters of two of his former clubs that the relationship is over and it’s time to move on.

Goal of the day

Lecce’s Juan Cuadrado scored a contender for goal of the season in his side’s 4-1 win over Siena. The Colombian won the ball midway through his own half and surged towards the opposing goal where he outwitted two defenders on the edge of the area, before finishing with a deft chip over the keeper’s head.

Own goal of the day

“I watched the goals on the computer. There are a few funny ones in there. They were comic goals. I haven’t spoken to the players about it. There were so many individual mistakes it would take all day.”

So says Brighton boss Gus Poyet after his side’s 6-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool on Sunday

Brighton set an FA Cup record by conceding three own goals in the game. Pick of the bunch was this comic effort from Lewis Dunk.It was looking so good after the first touch as well…

Opening up

Professional footballers are not exactly renowned for admitting to self doubt, not least when quizzed about a cataclysmic loss of form, but Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has spoken candidly about the goal drought that has blighted his time at Stamford Bridge.

The 27-year-old has scored just five in 47 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea since his British transfer record £50million move from Liverpool just over 12 months ago, but none at all in the past 20 games. That’s a total of 21 hours and 39 minutes without a goal. Or to put it in to some kind wider of perspective, Andy Carroll, Torres’ replacement at Anfield and widely regarded as the biggest waste of money in English football since a well known footballer spent a fortune trying to keep his affair with Imogen Thomas out of the tabloids, has managed 3 goals in that period.

“To be honest, after one year I was expecting things would be better than they are now,” Torres told ESPN. “It is a difficult situation because I am happy in my personal life. We really like the club and we’re very happy here to be involved with the staff and the players.

“Personally I have to improve. In my time at Liverpool there were games where I would not be playing well or I would be doing nothing but every time I touched the ball I scored. It’s such a strange feeling now because I am feeling better than ever physically. I am not finding the chances and, when I do find the chances, I cannot score.”

Miss of the day

Another one of those moments where it looked easer to score, saw Gaziantepspor’s Muhammet Demir somehow miss the target from inches out against Orduspor.


Real Madrid  midfielder has expressed his surprise at the arrest of three Tunisian journalists who republished pictures of the footballer and his girlfriend in semi-naked poses.

The Germany midfielder, whose father is Tunisian, posed for the pictures with his girlfriend, Lena Gercke, in GQ magazine, but three journalists from Tunisian newspaper Attounissia have been arrested for republishing the images and charged with offending public morality.

‘‘I heard about the matter on Thursday evening and find it very, very sad and unfortunate that such a thing happened,’’ the 24-year-old Khedira told Bild.

‘‘I respect the different religions that exist and also the faith that people have, but I cannot understand that people cannot express themselves freely.’’

If you really must see the ‘offending’ photo spread of Khedira and his stunning, topless model girlfriend, you can find the images here.