THE WEEK THAT WAS

Diego tax dodge, Adebayor shoe fetish

September 25, 2009
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

This was the week in which Diego Maradona had his earrings seized by a taxman at fat camp, Emmanuel Adebayor revealed his motive for stamping on Robin van Persie, Jens Lehmann is dropped by Stuttgart for attending a beer festival, Sol Campbell walked out on Notts county after a single game and Fabio Capello was snapped in a just a pair of Speedos.

Maradona has earrings seized at fat camp - Friday, September 18

Diego Maradona
GettyImagesDiego Maradona and his diamond earrings

It was a particularly bad week for Argentina coach Diego Maradona who, after a few humbling defeats earlier in September suffered the personal ignominy of being ridiculed by Pele, being packed off to fat camp and then having his diamond earrings seized by the Italian fraud squad.

After Brazilian nemesis Pele had described Maradona as a player who "could not kick with his right foot" and took a swipe at his Hand of God goal against England by adding "the only time he scored an important goal with his head, it turned out he had used his hand" the Argentinian headed off to a swanky weight-watching retreat in Meriana.

It was while he was at the Henri Chenot diet heaven in Italy, that police swooped in an attempt to recover some of the £28 million Maradona still owes in back taxes from his time at Napoli between 1984 and 1991. Ordered to seize anything "within plain sight" the cops took the star's £3,6000 diamond earrings.

Meanwhile, back in Argentina Maradona still has to face the shame of possibly not qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Adebayor driven by shoe fetish - Saturday, September 19

Emmanuel Adebayor's boot in the face of former Arsenal team-mate Robin van Persie is well documented but what is not so well known is the reason behind the striker's animosity towards his ex-colleague.

According to a report in the UK press over the weekend Adebayor's beef was sparked by an unhealthy obsession with shoes, a fetish and that was also the reason behind his bust-up with Danish international Nicklas Bendtner last season.

Following last term's final match against Stoke City the Togo striker apparently rushed into the Arsenal dressing room, bagged all of the player's boots - including a pair Van Persie had planned to give to friends - and shipped them off to Africa to help some local clubs. This was the driving issues behind the duo's spat at Eastland's last weekend. As for the Bendtner bust up, well the Dane had the audacity to wear shoes.

"There was a rule at Arsenal where no one is allowed to come into the dressing room with trainers or house shoes on. I cannot understand why Nicklas came every day with his shoes on," Adebayor explained. "He never took them off and things started from there. I cannot accept that. Even if that happened tomorrow at City, I would fight with somebody."

It's Fergie time - Sunday, September 20

There is normal time, added time and then there is Fergie time. Manchester City boss Mark Hughes complained bitterly that Michael Owen's 95th minute winner for United in Sunday's Manchester derby came in the latter.

With the match drawing to an end the fifth official held up a board indicating that four minutes of added time would be played at Old Trafford, so how could Owen score after 95 mins and 26 secs? The official line is that referee Martin Atkinson added on an additional 55 seconds for the lengthy celebrations that followed Craig Bellamy's 90th minute equaliser, plus the standard 30 seconds for a substitution when Michael Carrick came on for Anderson.

The more observant amongst you will have already spotted that those additional times add up to only 95 mins and 25 secs, but I think we can forgive the referee one second of inaccuracy.

The time-keeping tiff revived the old chestnut of United being handed extra added-time at Old Trafford and the Guardian ran a feature, based on their own study, entitled "Revealed: Manchester United get more injury time when they need it". However, a quick trawl through the stats in the article revealed that United actually enjoyed less injury time than any of their top four rivals.

"The average stoppage time added at Old Trafford in the period in question is below that given at Anfield, the Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge. United's is 205 seconds, compared to Liverpool's 210sec, Arsenal's 224sec and Chelsea's 229sec."

Oktoberfest shenanigans prove costly for Lehmann - Monday, September 21

Having just suffered the humiliation of a costly error in an early season bottom-of-the-table defeat it is probably not a good idea to be caught out on the town, or worse, at a world famous boozathon.

Unfortunately no-one seems to have told this to Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who was caught living it up at the German Oktoberfest after his side's 2-0 defeat to Koln. The former Arsenal keeper, who was at fault for one of the goals, was promptly dropped by the Bundesliga club despite his claims he was only at the beer festival to do some charity work.

"The visit to [Oktoberfest] was part of a charity event and it had been planned for a long time," Lehmann explained. "However, it was not agreed with the club. Of course I accept the measures taken by the sporting management."

Club officials obviously didn't swallow the excuse and Lehmann was ditched for Stuttgart's clash against Lubeck in the second round of the DFB-Pokal - a match the Bundesliga side won 3-1.

Briatore F1 ban hits QPR sex appeal - Tuesday, September 22

Flavio Briatore and Naomi Campbell
GettyImagesFlavio Briatore and Naomi Campbell at QPR

Slippery, silver-haired lothario Flavio Briatore has been booted out of Formula 1 for instructing a Renault driver to deliberately crash during a race (or cheating) and his exclusion from motor sport could also see him stripped of the ownership of Queens Park Rangers.

The Football League's 'fit and proper person test' stipulates that an owner, co-owner or director of a club should not be "subject to a ban from a sport's governing body relating to the administration of their sport" and that could mean that QPR's long suffering fans will no longer have the beauty of the likes of super-model Naomi Campbell to distract them from the dreary footie.

Briatore, who dated Campbell and Heidi Klum and brought the former along to Loftus Road, is co-owner of QPR along with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Campbell quits Magpies after debut - Wednesday, September 23

The news that Sol Campbell's career at Notts County (The World's Oldest League Club®) lasted just a single game came as less of a shock than his decision to join the League Two side in the first place, but the official reason given for the centre-back's departure remains decidedly dodgy.

The former England international made his debut in the Magpies surprise away defeat to Morecambe in front of 3,335 fans at Christie Park and then decided enough was enough. Apparently, it wasn't the suddenly sobering thought of playing out his career at such a relatively low level that prompted his decision to quit the club but the fact that promises to sign the likes of Benjani Mwaruwari and Freddie Ljungberg were reneged upon.

But as County's executive chairman Peter Trembling said: "The investment project is on track ... but obviously this is a five year project, not a five week one."

However, sources close to Sven Goran Eriksson have disclosed to ESPN Soccernet that Campbell actually suffered "an unpleasant reality check" in his first game. The 35-year-old defender still managed to put on a brave face for the team photo, taken just before he decided to walk out on his new club, though.

Newspapers apologise for Capello beach shots - Thursday, September 24

Quite why a series of national newspapers decided it would be a good idea to impose on the public images of 63-year-old England manager Fabio Capello strutting about on the beach sporting only a pair of Speedos is somewhat bemusing.

Capello himself certainly didn't want the pictures to be made public and the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has taken action against those that did. Despite the Italian's protestations the snaps appeared in both the News of the World and Daily Mail, who later claimed that "internal procedures had failed" and that the pictures were published in error.

Quite how you publish a multi-image picture special by accident is unclear but the duo have since made an apology to Capello and made substantial donations to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

We obviously can't show the pictures, but it wouldn't take a Google super sleuth to find them.