Friday, July 22, 2011
Neuer's code of conduct
Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.
This week, Bayern's ultra's issue Manuel Neuer with a restraining order, Thiyab Awana scores the best penalty of all time, Sepp Blatter is voted the "worst villain" of the last decade, a Malaysian Manchester United fan is stripped by Liverpool supporters and Newcastle's new signing Yohan Cabaye is kicked in the teeth.
Ultra's give Neuer code of conduct
When the Bayern Munich's ultras greeted new signing Manuel Neuer with a banner that read 'you can save as many balls as you like but we will never accept you in our shirt' the goalkeeper knew he was in for a rough ride.
And despite keeping a cleansheet during his Bayern debut - a 15-0 victory in a pre-season friendly - the furious fans have stepped up their protests and issued the Germany No.1 with a strict code of conduct, that includes a restraining order.
According to Bild, the five point-plan is as follows: 1) Neuer will never be allowed to sing fan chants through their megaphone; 2) He will never be allowed to kneel in front of the team and sing the 'Humba' song; 3) He will never be allowed to go near the Sudtribune, where the ultras stand; 4) He will never be allowed to throw his shirt into the crowd; 5) He will never be allowed to kiss the Bayern badge on his shirt
Neuer's crime? Well not only is he a self-confessed fan of arch-rivals Schalke, for whom he used to play, but several years ago he also had the audacity to mock Bayern Munich legend Oliver Kahn.
Awana scores 'best ever penalty'
If Thiyab Awana were Brazilian, his amazing back-heel penalty would have been lauded as genius - and the Samba Boys may not have missed all four spot-kicks in their humiliating quarter-final defeat to Paraguay - but he isn't and it wasn't.
No. Diab is from the UAE and his party piece, heralded as the "best and the most innovative penalty ever" in some quarters, didn't go down too well at all.
With his side leading 5-2 against Lebanon, the precocious 21-year-old ran up to take the penalty like any other but at the last moment he spun around and back-heeled his shot past goalkeeper Hassan Moghnieh to secure an emphatic 6-2 victory.
But his celebrations never really got started as he was booked for unsportsmanlike behaviour and was substituted by UAE coach Srecko Katanec, who had only just put him on, for showing a "lack of respect".
Blatter scoops "worst villain" title
He may be no Magneto or Professor Moriarty but tarnished football chief Sepp Blatter has finally been voted the biggest "celebrity villain" of the past decade.
The under-fire FIFA president, who stood unopposed for a fourth term, has seen world football's governing body embroiled in corruption allegations and met ever popular Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe earlier this month, even beat tabloid-targets Ashley Cole and Ryan Giggs to the number one spot.
In a poll of 2,000 people, commissioned by SyFy to coincide with the launch of superhero series The Cape, Blatter took 9.2% of the vote, ahead of former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin (8.2%), with Cole third and Giggs seventh.
David 'Golden Balls; Beckham was runner-up in the heroes category, behind USA president Barack Obama.
Rooney hails stripped Man Utd fan
It's never a good idea to turn up to a Liverpool match wearing a Manchester United shirt, as one Malaysian fan discovered this week when he was forced to strip and made to wear the shirt of United's arch-rivals .
The brave, or foolhardy, United fan turned up to a game during Liverpool's Asian tour with the name of Kop hate figure Wayne Rooney on his back, but it didn't stay there for long as he eventually succumbed to volatile shouts of 'buka, buka' to take it off.
However, when the Liverpool fans draped their team's colours over his shoulders it proved far too much and the man made a quick exit.
The story does have a happy twists in the tail though. Wayne Rooney himself saw incident on YouTube and branded the fan a 'legend' on Twitter. So maybe it was worth it after all.
Cabaye can't get teeth into Toon
Yohan Cabaye's fledgling Newcastle career received a real kick in the teeth this week when the France midfielder was refused an entry visa for the Magpie's USA tour due to an unpaid dentistry bill.
The £4.8 million summer signing from Lille became the third Newcastle player to be denied entry into America, but while midfielder Joey Barton and young striker Nile Ranger both failed to get visas due to previous criminal convictions, Cabaye's failure was down to disagreement.
"It was a minor incident involving a bill. He claims he paid it and they claim he didn't," manager Alan Pardew explained. "It's one of those things but it became very frustrating. "There was no talking them around and, unfortunately, the process was too long for us to rectify it."
Cabaye, who will have to join the development squad training camp in the Netherlands, must now wait until the end of the US tour to integrate with his new team-mates, but at least he will be champing at the bit.
Video of the week
This week's offering is something a little different. It's a time-lapse video of one of Poland's Euro 2012 stadiums, the PGE Gdansk Arena, emerging from the dust. A build of over two years is squeezed into 60 seconds. Click here to watch footageMore than words...