My eye was caught by former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas’ visit to the Houses of Parliament this week to launch a bid for homophobic chanting at football matches to be made illegal. He is seeking an amendment that would make chanting or gesturing of an indecent nature which refers to sexual orientation or gender identity against the law. The current law states that “it is an offence to engage or take part in chanting of an indecent or racialist nature at a designated football match”. At the moment there is no definition of what is “indecent”, so determining whether something is indecent is considered on a case-by-case basis. Firstly I want to say I support that motion. Homophobic chanting should be dealt with the same way as any racist or unacceptable chanting. I think that would be a good thing. Homophobic or racial abuse should be dealt with accordingly and got out of the game because we don’t need it. I don’t think you hear homophobic … [Read more...] about Fans make the difference on homophobia
Make the difference
‘You’ve got to make sure players come here for footballing reasons’ – they were the words of Stags boss David Flitcroft this week as Mansfield Town’s squad of 20 returned for pre-season training. Comparing the two close-season activities between Flitcroft and his predecessor, I can’t help but put another tick in the box of positives for the Stags manager heading into the new campaign.Only two new additions were made by Flitcroft during the period of boredom for football fans, whereas by this stage last season, Steve Evans pretty much had all deals signed sealed and delivered. But which approach is best?Whilst we may be frustrated at a perceived lack of action from Flitcroft, he appears to me to be taking his time over signings and not dishing out big money deals, admitting he’s met with a number of players who have looked at Mansfield Town FC as a big paying team, wanting to sign for that reason rather than footballing ambition.Evans, in … [Read more...] about It’s what we can’t see that will make the difference for Stags!
Ronaldo Nazario: It's time for Brazil to win the World Cup again Former Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari has claimed that despite all of the attacking stars his country has, it is midfield enforcer Casemiro who makes them tick. The last time the Selecao won the tournament in 2002, it was Scolari who was in charge, as he was in 2014 when they were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-final. Looking at the current team, it is the Real Madrid midfielder who stands out most to him. "The player who makes the difference in Brazil is Casemiro, he gives balance to the national team's game," said Scolari. "He allows Marcelo, Neymar and the other attacking players to have more freedom." During his coaching career, Scolari has also enjoyed a lengthy spell with Portugal and outlined what he expects from them in Brazil. "It is a World Cup in which collective work will prevail and Cristiano Ronaldo is part of a Portuguese team that works very well under Fernando Santos," he added. "They are the … [Read more...] about Scolari: Casemiro is the man who makes the difference for Brazil
Shaqiri celebrates after scoring against Poland during the Euro 2016 round of sixteen match. Photo: AFP One of the more impressive performers for Stoke City in a season that ended in relegation from the Premier League, Xherdan Shaqiri is hoping to do his unquestionable talent justice at what represents a third World Cup for the Switzerland star. The stocky, Kosovo-born winger faces an uncertain club future but a breakout performance in Russia would leave the former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan man with no shortage of suitors. Blessed with a magnificent left foot and ample creativity, Shaqiri became just the second Swiss player to score a World Cup hat-trick in a 3-0 victory over Honduras in Manaus four years ago. His penchant for the spectacular surfaced again at Euro 2016 with a stunning overhead scissor kick against Poland, in a last-16 game his side would eventually lose on penalties. But while a regular in the national … [Read more...] about World Cup: can mercurial Shaqiri make the difference for Switzerland?
Nottingham Forest will look to exploit the loan market again this summer, but Aitor Karanka says the club must be patient and ‘intelligent’ with the business they do. Jack Colback, Costel Pantilimon and Lee Tomlin all made a big impact after joining the Reds in January, while Kieran Dowell’s goals in the first half of the campaign ended up being a vital contribution. Karanka wants to make as many as ten new additions this summer as he looks to continue restructuring his squad, in an effort to build one capable of challenging for a top six finish. Forest are keen to bring Colback, Pantilimon and Tomlin back to the City Ground on a permanent basis. But Karanka says the club will again also look to exploit the loan market, as he believes it could be a useful source of talent. “It is a market we will use, yes. It is important to have players like that,” said Karanka. “But those players have to be players who can make the difference, just as they did in … [Read more...] about ‘They must be players who can make the difference, just as they did in January’