British football faced the latest in a line of unsavoury incidents after Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was attacked by a fan during the Owls’s hosting of Leeds in the Championship last night. The 31 year old was pushed in the face and sent sprawling to the ground towards the end of last night’s Yorkshire Derby and required extensive treatment from the physio. Sky Sports News later reported that Kirkland ‘left the ground in tears’ after the match, not doing a whole lot for that reputation as a hard man he didn’t have anyway.
Luckily the wheels of e-vigilantism move incredibly quickly and within minutes the alleged culprit’s name, Facebook page, phone number and favourite breakfast cereal were all freely available on Twitter. The Paddy Power Blog will refrain from repeating the name of the accused for fear that the hot-headed online vigilantes may not be the most reliable when it comes to double and triple checking their sources.
Despite having a open goal of a PR opportunity, Leeds manager, Neil Warnock almost put it into row Z. For some reason, the gruff northerner pointed out Kirkland ‘went down like a tonne of bricks’ before realising that had f-all to do with anything and condemnation of the assailant was the order of the evening.
Prior to the incident, fans had exchanged ‘banter’ in the form of chants about Jimmy Saville, the murder of Leeds fans in Turkey and the accusations of child abuse that Wednesday manager, Dave Jones went on trial for in 2000. The Liverpool native was later acquitted with the judge noting ‘no wrongdoing whatsoever on your part has been established’. Still, never let a not guilty verdict get in the way of a good chant. There were also reports of Leeds fans ripping up seats in their section of the stadium.
The incident comes at a bad time for the British game, particularly for those trying to claim the moral high ground after events in Serbia. Although this has little to do with racism and on-pitch brawls, it’s an indication that British stadiums are still far from the family entertainment utopia painted by some during the week.
Frankel is set to take his place in the Qipco Champion Stakes this afternoon, but it’ll be in conditions far from ideal. There were fears that the wonderhorse would miss his own retirement party due to the heavy ground, but last night it was confirmed by his racing manager, that he would go to post.
A dry night looks to have confirmed that course of action, but the betting market isn’t so confident and he has drifted slightly to 2/7 after before 1/4 earlier.
Tottenham and Chelsea get the weekend’s Premier League programme at lunchtime today and there’s no shortage of tedious subplots to keep us occupied until then. Chelsea have confirmed that John Terry will remain as club captain, despite the continuing fallout from the incident involving Anton Ferdinand and the use of some ill-advised words.
Terry will miss the game due to the suspension, but Andre Villas-Boas will be there, crouching on the sideline no doubt. The Spurs manager insists revenge isn’t on his mind after getting sacked from the Pensioners last season and in fact, he has a lot of people to thank at the club for his development as a manager.
“I’m going to see people who mean a lot to me, people who are part of my development as a coach. I certainly feel I have become a better coach because of them. They have helped me a lot on my development of career,” he said with commendable if slightly implausible grace.
At 13/8, AVB’s new team are slight favourites to get the better of the current league leaders, but there’s little to separate the two. It will be close and here’s an interesting look at why it’ll be so close.