Off The Bar: Arise King Didier, Rodgers now only 100% confident

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Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has been accidentally coronated as the King of England.

In the leaving party stakes, Didier Drogba’s send off was head and shoulders above the final day swansongs of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. As part of his substitution, the big Ivorian was lifted up and carried off by his teammates — both a lovely sign of appreciation for Drogba’s second coming at Stamford Bridge as well as some crucial early pre-season training for the lightweight Juan Cuadrado and Willian. The Chelsea teammates had recreated a ‘King’s Chair’ on which to carry their hero and this nod to royalty manifested itself in the trophy celebrations too – with Jose Mourinho placing the trophy crown on top of the striker’s head.

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Politicians, historians and English constitution experts are currently in lock down talks on whether Drogba has in fact been accidentally coronated as the King of England. Fingers crossed it’s legally binding, in the absence of the ageing 6ft 2 Prince Phillip, the Royal Family’s 5-a-side team has lacked an aerial presence for far too long, and Didier would look simply sublime in royal robes. He’s certainly got the Blue blood for the job.

LAST-MINUTE REVISION SAVES NEWCASTLE

Jonas Gutierrez's late strike secured Premier League safety for Newcastle.

They say ‘the table never lies’ but we’re not so sure anymore. Channelling Jack Bauer’s school of gentle questioning, we’d quite like to march the hand-cuffed Premier League table into a dimly lit room, rig up a lie detector test and aggressively demand to know if Newcastle United really have done enough to remain in the Premier League.

Despite going into the final game with a reprehensible one point from 10 games, the Magpies somehow pulled out a commendable performance at the 11th hour – achieving a 2-0 win over West Ham to secure their Premier League status. It was the equivalent of a University student snoozing through 9 months of lectures, selling off their best textbooks and refusing to replace any of them, and then forgetting the actual basics of writing words — all before suddenly embarking on an angst-ridden Red Bull-fuelled all-nighter to scrape a scrappy pass.

CUP FINAL GLORY FOR CARVER

For all his flaws, John Carver’s desire to galvanise his team by depicting the do-or-die game as something prestigious was a remarkable thing to behold. On the eve of the big game, he teed up the fixture as “the Cup final we’ve all been taking about.” We’ve not checked yet, but we hope Carver and his squad made good on Cup final traditions, perhaps recording a riotous song to rival the Anfield Rap, as well as inspecting the pitch in their bespoke Cup final suits ahead of the match. If you’re in the Newcastle city centre area today, keep a look out for an open-top bus with Jack Colback proudly holding up a Champagne-soaked fax print out officially confirming Newcastle’s presence in next season’s Premier League. That will look stunning in a trophy cabinet that has become so beset with cobwebs it has become the focus of several arachnid-based nature documentaries.

TIGERS’ FIGHT LACKED BITE

Alas, there had to be someone ruthlessly dropped through the relegation trapdoor and into the abyss of Championship football and that someone was Hull City. The 0-0 scoreline against Manchester United was entirely apt. Steve Bruce’s side have failed to score in 17 of their 38 games this season. Too often their frontline have undergone dry spells that make the Atacama desert look a fine destination for your birthday pool party. A lack of killer instinct proved crucial in the end. Hull have so often had big spells of pressure but failed to keep their foot on the opponent’s neck – instead they have tended to take that foot off, apologise, pick up their opponent, pour them a lovely cup of tea and show them though their beloved family albums.

PRESENTATION ADVICE FOR RODGERS

After shipping five goals to Stoke City in the space of 25 minutes, it seems clear that Brendan Rodgers has completely lost the dressing room, perhaps to a literal extent – his team looked as though they had received no contact, instruction or guidance from Rodgers before stepping out at the Britannia. Liverpool players were on a beach of sorts, a beach comprised entirely of quick sand. 

On Friday, the manager said he was ‘150 percent’ sure that he was the right man to stop Liverpool being sucked into obscurity for another year. After the crushing and humiliating 6-1 defeat Rodgers will have to humbly reduce that outlook to a mere 100 percent. That utter crisis of confidence comes at an inopportune time for Brendan, with the 42-year-old being summoned to present the Liverpool owners with a review of the club’s season next week. We’ve had to make some tough PowerPoint presentations in the past, but he has really drawn the short straw here.

If you’re reading this Brendan, we suggest including the mid-season unbeaten run, but probably best to pad the remainder of the slides out with perplexing Joe Allen pass completion pie charts and in-depth data reports on the performance of sprinklers at Anfield, plus a browse through your favourite funny YouTube cat videos of the year if necessary. If you get any tough questions about rubbish signings and poor results quickly subdue them with an emotionally hypnotic montage of Steven Gerrard Liverpool goals, set to a Nessun Dorma soundtrack. Use that valuable time to discreetly back out of the room.

FAREWELL FORENSICS

With a bundle of Manchester United players looking ripe for leaving – Radamel Falcao, David De Gea and Angel Di Maria – Off The Bar was on ‘wave watch’ at the KC Stadium. Yes, it’s that time of the season where the world’s media forensically analyses the waves of any players with question marks over their future. Waving for any longer than five seconds with a rotation of the wrist for five times or more – all combined with a grimaced smile – are key indicators that a player is considering leaving. If they repeat this pattern three times it means the player is a confirmed goner – he’s already wrapped up his finest china in bubble wrap and he’s got the removal van on speed dial. (Incidentally, Danny Ings absolutely nailed this sequence after the final whistle against Aston Villa – emotionally solemn and technically sound, his wave was a thing of real beauty).

Set to leave: Radamel Falcao, David De Gea and Angel Di Maria.

Sadly, with De Gea and Falcao not present in the squad and Di Maria forced off through injury, we were robbed of the chance to decipher the goodbye codes of United’s big name wantaways. Instead, we re-calibrated our hand reflex fascination to Victor Valdes. Although the Spaniard pulled off some excellent reflex saves, he was decidedly suspect at coming for crosses. For eternity humans have dreamed of flying, but ruled it out on the grounds of anatomical impossibility – but Valdes should give us all room for hope. Yesterday, in the pursuit of the aerial ball, his arms and hands flapped with such regularity, speed and ferocity it seemed an inevitability that he would levitate off the Hull turf, fly off to the local park, bathe in a pond and snack on stale breadcrumbs. While Manchester United will have to fight mighty hard to stop De Gea moving to Real Madrid, they may have to scrap equally hard this summer to stop Valdes accidentally tagging on to a flock of Geese on the migratory trail to North America – a touching and unprecedented piece of wildlife in action but a real nightmare for pre-season preparation.

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Bayern Munich parade 25th Bundesliga trophy

niall 13:45 25/05/2015
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Bayern Munich celebrated its mens and womens Bundesliga titles in front of 15-thousand fans in the centre of the city on Sunday.









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UEFA president Michel Platini backs Prince Ali to unseat Sepp Blatter

Sport360 staff 13:30 25/05/2015
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Sepp Blatter and Prince Ali will contest the FIFA Presidency election on Friday.

UEFA president Michel Platini has thrown his weight behind Jordan's Prince Ali bin al Hussein in his bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as the head of football's world governing body FIFA.

In an interview on Monday with L'Equipe newspaper, the French midfield legend turned football administrator said that Blatter had lied to him four years ago when saying that his current fourth mandate would be his last.

– #360DEBATE: Should Carlo Ancelotti be sacked as Real Madrid head coach?

– LA LIGA: Reflections on the contrasting fortunes of the season's final day

"He asked us face to face to support him for what would be his last mandate," said Platini, a former ally of Blatter who has increasingly turned against the Swiss chief.

"I have the disagreeable feeling of having preferred my support on the basis of a lie.

"You have to be capable of handing over the levers of power at the right time and not be guilty of holding on to it at any cost.

"He (Blatter) is not staying on because he has a job to complete or because he still has some big projects to carry out for FIFA. No, he simply is scared of what the future holds for him having consecrated his life to FIFA to the point that he identifies himself totally with it."

Platini said that he believed that it was the right time for new blood to be brought in and that Prince Ali was the best man for the job.

The Jordanian is the sole remaining candidate left in the contest for the FIFA presidency, which will be decided in Zurich on Friday following last week's withdrawals of Portugal great Luis Figo and Dutch administrator Michael van Praag.

He has garnered support from several quarters, but Blatter is still seen as a strong favourite to win a fifth term despite growing reservations about his way of running one of the most powerful bodies in world sport.

The election takes place at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on Friday, with the winner needing a majority from FIFA's 209 member federations.

Blatter has received strong public backing from nearly every regional confederation except UEFA in Europe.

But the football strongman's fourth term has been overshadowed by controversy, not least over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, drawing cries of protest from various people.

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