Terry vows to defend himself

John Terry has vowed to clear his name after being charged with racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.

“I’ll fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence,” said the Chelsea defender.

“I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible.

“I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.”

That old chestnut.

The England skipper was defended by his manager Andre Villas-Boas who, by issuing a character reference on behalf of his player, demonstrated that he still has a lot to learn about life in England.

‘The only thing I know is that I will be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome,’ said Villas-Boas.

‘He has my full support, he has the club’s full support. We know exactly his human values and personality. They are never in doubt.”

Words fail.

Suarez as innocent victim

Liverpool’s players and manager demonstrated their solidarity with Luis Suarez by wearing shirts bearing his image before Tuesday’s goalless draw against Wigan. In the immediate aftermath of their team-mate being found guilty of racially abusing an opponent, was this really an appropriate response? Suarez also donned the shirt, which added a surreal twist to an already bizarre situation.

The players also issued a statement offering their support to the Uruguayan.

“Luis Suarez is our teammate and our friend and as a group of players we are shocked and angered that he has been found guilty by the FA.

“We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that. We know he is not racist.

“We are a squad of many different nationalities and backgrounds. All of us support the Club’s commitment to fighting racism. All of us accept there is no place in the game for any form of discrimination. As a group of players we totally support the Kick it Out Campaign.

“We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don’t recognise the way he has been portrayed. We will continue to support Luis through this difficult period, and as a popular and respected friend of all his teammates, he will not walk alone.”

Lest we forget, Suárez was not convicted of being a racist. He was convicted of insulting Evra during a heated exchange and admitted to using the word “negro”.

Further proof that Suarez is assuming victim status came with the backing he received from his fellow countrymen.

“I can’t believe it. They are making a big mistake. It’s obvious that in England they have a racism problem which they are trying to address, and it’s okay, but here they don’t have solid evidence. Luis is a victim. I can’t believe that a player like Evra can do this. He is breaking all the ethics of soccer,” declared Uruguay captain Diego Lugano.

Even the Uruguayan government has become involved as the issue threatens to become a diplomatic incident.

“This leaves us with a disagreeable feeling,” Uruguay’s National Sports Director Ernesto Irureta told the Montevideo newspaper Ultimas Noticias.

“A sanction like this is absurd, out of place and absolutely exaggerated.”

And yet, until the FA publish their report on the incident, no one really knows what convinced them to hand out an 8-match ban. Perhaps, until the facts have been established, it would be best for everyone to let the matter lie.

Slip of the tongue

Alan Hansen has apologised for using the word “coloured” to describe black footballers on Match of the Day on Wednesday evening when discussing the current John Terry and Luis Suárez racism cases.

The former Liverpool defender, turned TV pundit, said: “I unreservedly apologise for any offence caused – this was never my intention and I deeply regret the use of the word.”

The former Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts, now with Shamrock Rovers, tweeted: “Is this Alan Hansen guy taking the f****** piss?? I’m not coloured??? He is part of the problem when using that word. We are BLACK Alan! [sic].”

“Alan Hansen is more coloured than a black person. But still we would not call him or another white man coloured.”

According to the Sun, the former England international Stan Collymore said: “Coloured? What colour would that be? Blue? Green? Orange?”

Ajax apologise for fan

Ajax have issued an apology after a fan of the club ran onto the pitch at the Amsterdam ArenA and attacked AZ Alkmaar keeper Esteban Alvarado.

Ajax director Jeroen Slop told the club’s official website: “This was a terrible incident and we deeply regret it and offer our sincere apologies.

“The supporter has been handed over to the police. It was a 19-year-old man who was probably under the influence of alcohol. He said he hated the AZ goalkeeper and had therefore attacked him.”

The fan got more than he bargained for and was laid out by Alvarado. The follow-up kicks at the prostrate supporter were probably unnecessary, and led to Costa Rican keeper being sent for violent conduct.

After the incident Gert Jan Verbeek, the AZ coach, took his players off the pitch and despite being offered assurances by Ajax officials, refused to return and the game was abandoned.

Goal of the day

The 20,000 goal since the creation of the Premier League was scored by Aston Villa’s Marc Albrighton in their 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal.

Coincidentally, the Guardian polled their football writers to determine the best goal of the Premeir League era, and the consensus was that it was this beauty from Dennis Bergkamp.

Fastest goal of the day

Benjamin Mokulu Tembe equalled the record for the fasted goal ever scored in Belgium when he opened the scoring for Lokeren in their Belgian Cup game against Gent. Just 11 seconds elapsed from the kick-off to the ball crossing the line.

Players banned for drinking

Chile have banned five players from playing for the national team for 10 matches each after they reported back drunk following time off while on international duty.

The five, Arturo Vidal, Carlos Carmona, Jorge Valdivia, Jean Beausejour and Gonzalo Jara, had been part of the squad preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay on 11 and 15 November respectively.

But during an afternoon off, they attended celebrations for the baptism of Valdivia’s son, and then reported back to the team’s hotel drunk.

Villarreal fire coach

Juan Carlos Garrido’s reign  in charge of Villarreal has come to an end as his team suffered an embarrassing Spanish Cup exit at the hands of Segunda B outfit Mirandés at El Madrigal.

The 42-year-old saw his side go down 2-0 but refused to blame his players for the poor results this season that have seen the Yellow Submarine hovering just above the relegation zone.

“I have been very happy at Villarreal,” he said. “but it is my fault that our results have been mediocre. I take full responsibility as the leader of the group and it wasn’t a surprise it has ended like this. It was something I saw coming because of the way things are, but I accept it as the Coach is always the one who is mainly to blame.”

Garrido took charge of Villarreal in February, 2010, although he has been at the club in charge of the various youth teams since 1999.

Napoli to sign Vargas

Serie A outfit Napoli have seen off competition from some of Europe’s biggest clubs by winning the race for Eduardo Vargas’ signature. The Chile international set to complete a move to Italy in the January transfer window.

He will finish Universidad de Chile’s domestic campaign before officially making a switch to Italy.

“Our doctor is going to Chile to carry out medical checks and then he will sign the contract,” said Napoli’s sporting director Riccardo Bigon.

The striker, who was the star of Universidad’s triumphant 2011 Copa Sudamericana campaign, will be eligible to represent Napoli in this season’s Champions League.


Portugal and Benfica legend Eusébio has been admitted to hospital suffering from bronchial pneumonia. The 69-year-old is in the care of doctors at the Hospital da Luz in Lisbon but his condition is not thought to be life-threatening.

Eusebio made over 600 appearances for Benfica between 1960 and 1975, and the Lisbon giants have sent well wishes to their club icon.

“Benfica wish a speedy recovery to the Black Panther,” a statement on their website reads.

Born in Mozambique, Eusébio was eligible to play for Portugal. He scored 41 goals in 64 international appearances between 1961 and 1973 and finished as the top scorer at the 1966 World Cup with nine goals.