Southampton's Ted Bates statue fiasco

50bates452021full This is our favourite story of the week, no question:

An 11-foot bronze statue of Southampton legend Ted Bates, erected last week outside St Mary's stadium will now be taken down after fans branded it a 'joke'. Saints' supporters are livid that the statue of Bates, who played for, coached and served on the board at Southampton between 1937 and 2003, was put up with legs the same length as its arms (see photo - it's true!), and a grinning face that bears an uncanny resemblance to former Porstmouth chairman Milan Mandaric (again, I can see their point).

BREAKING NEWS: In fact, it seems the statue was taken down earlier today.

13262780 The statue cost £112,000 to make, half of which was raised by fans through the Ted Bates Trust, the other half coming from the club. Members of the Trust were shown pictures of the sculpture before it went up, but insisted that the version they saw was a more accurate likeness.

I'm really trying very hard to sympathise with Saints' fans on this – Bates was a great man and a great servant to the club – but that picture does make me giggle like a little girl.

March 21, 2007 in Funny old game, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (5)

THE VOTE Is David Nugent ready for an England call-up?

NugentMany of this morning's newspapers are reporting that Preston North End striker David Nugent is to be called up to the England squad to face Israel and Andorra later this month. The 21-year-old has been named in the under-21 squad to face Italy at Wembley, but he is expected to be promoted to the senior squad when Steve McClaren announces his squad tomorrow. Is the young forward ready to make the step up to international football, Pies fans?

March 15, 2007 in International football, The Championship, Vote | Permalink | Comments (6)

Football League to scrap draws?


The Football League board is to consider a proposal to scrap draws and decide matches by penalty shoot-outs according to the BBC. Obviously they've gone completely mental. The idea will be discussed by Football League chairmen and chief executives at a board meeting on Thursday. There is no indication as to when this could happen if it ever gets the green light. Gunners gaffer Arsene Wenger said: "I saw this in my first year managing in Japan - it did not have spectacular results." He added: "In extra-time they played a sudden death goal and if no-one scored they had penalties. The draw is part of the culture of the game and I would not like that to disappear."

The idea was originally put forward in the recent Football League Fans Survey. There are currently two proposals to be considered - a traditional penalty shoot-out or where a player would have eight seconds to try and score after receiving the ball on the half-way line... a bit like the penalty shoot outs in Ice Hockey. Bournemouth boss Kevin Bond told the Daily Echo newspaper said: "Why can't we just have a draw? I don't agree with it because I think it's too much of a radical change. I'm very open-minded and I think certain laws of the game need to move with the times but that would be too much of a drastic measure."

What do you think? Brilliant idea or complete guff? [Mof Gimmers]

March 14, 2007 in League One, League Two, News balls, Rumours & gossip, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (3)

HolloWatch: Go green for Ollie

103895100_21 Plymouth boss Ian Holloway - Pies favourite football manager in the whole world, ever - is urging the nation to go green. No, Ollie's not jumped on the climate change bandwagon, he just wants everyone to wear green to support his side in the FA Cup this weekend.

Plymouth face Watford on Sunday, and you won't be surprised to find out that Ollie is up for the occasion. In his regular BBC column, he said: "It will be a momentous occasion for us. We're at home and we've sold out all our tickets, which is fantastic, and the town's gone absolutely mental. I'm asking everyone to wear something green on Sunday, whether it's their Argyle shirts, socks or even their underpants. Even those people who don't support Plymouth but are watching the game on TV and rooting for us should wear something green." [Via BBC Sport, Rob Parker]

March 9, 2007 in Funny old game, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Gazza to star in horror flick

Gazza, G8, Paul Gascoigne... whatever you call him these days... has apparently agreed to appear in and turn his hand to producing new movie Final Run. Gazza will make his big-screen debut as a survivor of an alien invasion alongside the oh so very lovely Lois Winstone (daughter of Ray). According to production company SjB Imperial Film Ltd, he will play a character "forced to choose between his own survival and that of the human race." The company added: "As a part of the key creative team, Paul’s input into the script and vision are invaluable. Gascoigne, a lifelong genre fan, lends his considerable expertise as both producer and feature actor." Let's hope he's half as good on the big screen as he was on the pitch eh?

February 22, 2007 in Cult Heroes, Newcastle United, News balls, Scotland, The Championship, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cult Hero - Steve Bull

Bully_2 As a youth, Steve Bull was the bane of my life. Back in the old 4th division, I recall Steve Bull (and his striking partner Andy Mutch) tearing my beloved Bolton Wanderers apart with poise and, pardon the pun, bullishness and great tenacity. He is one of England's greatest ever strikers.

He signed for Wolves in 1986 for a measly £65,000 and remained there until the end of his professional career in 1999. His 13 years at Wolves, The Tipton Terrier broke no less than four of the club's goalscoring records and became their all-time leading goalscorer with 306 goals in competitive games (250 of them in the Football League, also a club record) and became their highest goalscorer in a single season when he scored a total of 52 goals in competitive games during the 1987-88 season. He also scored a club record of 18 hat-tricks. It's little wonder that Bully is regarded as such a legend at the club that one of the main stands at their football ground, the Molineux, is named after him. He also scored 4 goals in 13 games for England which is not a bad return for someone who never played in the English top-flight. Click over to see Bully's cracker for the England side.

February 21, 2007 in Classic Moments, Cult Heroes, The Championship, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (1)

Milan goes to Leicester

Milan_mandaric After a certain amount of dilly-dallying, Milan Mandaric has finally completed his takeover of Leicester City, following shareholders' acceptance of his offer. Mandaric's bid is believed to be in the region of £25m. Having seen what Mandaric did during his time as Portsmouth chairman (take them into the Premiership, for one thing), I can't imagine that there are too many Foxes fans who aren't hugely chuffed to hear this news.

Reports have suggested that Mandaric is keen to acquire the managerial services of Ian Dowie, although Mandaric himself has given the dreaded vote of confidence to current boss Rob Kelly.

February 13, 2007 in News balls, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (0)

One to watch: Dan Gosling

GoslingYoung Plymouth Argyle right-back Dan Gosling has made the papers this morning amid rumours that Jose Mourinho is staring longingly towards Home Park and wishing he could sneak the transfer window back open.

Gosling signed his first professional contract earlier this month when he turned 17, which - as the mathematicians among you will have worked out - means he is a professional footballer born in the 1990s. Scary!

One to watch: Dan Gosling continued

His boss at Plymouth, Ian Holloway, is trying to keep his young charge's feet on the ground. In a relatively sober quote, he said: "It's the first rung on the ladder that we hope he will climb all the way to the top. If he keeps working hard, he has got a real chance of being a Premiership player. I am really looking forward to working with him and helping him get there - but he's done nothing yet."

Gosling fancies himself as a midfielder in the style of Roy Keane, although I don't suppose he would mind the opportunity to play at right-back for the Premier League champions! [Rob Parker]

February 13, 2007 in HolloWatch, Players to watch, Rumours & gossip, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (3)

One to watch: David Nugent, Preston North End

It's easy to see why so many clubs are reportedly keen to buy Preston striker David Nugent. He scored a cracking goal – great run and a composed finish – at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday, which you can watch below…

Hard to believe Nugent is only 21 - he looks a lot older. Nugent is also a lifelong Everton fan, so I imagine David Moyes would love to bring him to Goodison. However, it now looks like Nugent will stay at Preston, at least until the end of the season.

January 29, 2007 in Players to watch, The Championship, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Micah Richards and Gareth Bale go head-to-head

103895100_9 Although - as we predicted - the transfer window gossip has been dominated by the big clubs making cooing noises towards Micah Richards and Gareth Bale, both have stayed put so far. That means that the two young full-backs will go head-to-head in tomorrow's FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Southampton.

The BBC has put together a nice feature comparing the two to decide who earns the title Best Young Defender In Britain. Click here to read it. [Rob Parker]

January 26, 2007 in Manchester City, Players to watch, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (0)