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A Game Apart

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A Game Apart


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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

And then there were five Chelsea lovers. But Vanessa denies it all.

French model Vanessa Perroncel today dismissed claims in the Sun newspaper suggesting she has erm... enjoyed the company of FIVE Chelsea players.
Amid rumours of another big name conquest, the undeniably attractive underwear model is now alleged to have slept with Romanian striker Adrian Mutu and Iceland's Eidur Gudjohnsen before her having a child with Wayne Bridge and an abortion after her affair with Bridge's former team-mate and England captain John Terry.
Now it really is getting seedy. But what do you expect when you hire Max Clifford to help you with publicity? Apparently Clifford and Perroncel are on the verge of agreeing a £250,000 deal with a Sunday newspaper (either the News of the Screws or the Male on Sunday) where, doubtless, she will reveal the name of her fifth Blue move.
I said it on Sky News twice last night and I'll say it again tomorrow morning on their Sunrise programme - sometimes you have to consider the role of the woman in these scenarios. For every afffair these immoral footballers have, there is a woman. And Vanessa (above) is all woman, though she denies this morning's "five-a-side" splash in the Sun as "nonsense".
Whatever she might think and however Bridge, now at Manchester City, might feel, the latest allegations ease the pressure on Terry as England boss Fabio Capello prepares to return to England from his Swiss chalet in the morning.
The FA's Lord Triesman has said he will leave Terry's fate in the hands of his "Generalissimo" and despite Capello's devout Catholic views, he is now expected to leave the Chelsea man in charge after a stern warning about his future conduct. Or so I am led to believe.
Quite what we do about the mystery fifth Chelsea player - who must be sweating buckets at the moment - I'm not sure.
But when Manchester City take on Chelsea on February 27, Bridge may find himself outnumbered. And when England pick their side for the March 3 Wembley friendly against three-time African champions Egypt on March 1, expect Terry to have the capital C after his name. That's C for captain of course.
Terry, who had an injunction on the story over-turned last Friday, remains silent on the whole topic. He scored the winner against Burnley last Saturday despite the lurid headlines and was the best defender on display in the 1-1 draw at Hull last night.
Booed with every touch and cheered only when he received a yellow card, Terry appears capable of playing under extreme pressure. In fact he appears to thrive on it.
He scored against Manchester United the day his mother and mother-in-law were arrested for shop-lifting and captained his country at Wembley after his father was exposed in a video dealing drugs last year.
Capello may yet shock us all and behead Terry before the clash with managerless Egypt, but he should know this: If Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard get the captain's armband, they'll be put under huge scrutiny by the Sunday tabloids, who put circulation ahead of patriotism.
Terry stands four months short of becoming a potential Bobby Moore character in the nation's sporting history. His England team-mates apparently consider the possibility of ending our 44 years of footballing hurt of far greater importance than any hurt suffered by Mr Bridge-too-far.
According to Ian McGarry in The Sun, 13 of the 16 England players asked said they would stand by Terry. Three said it was none of their business. And my old paper, the London Evening Standard, reckon Gerrard, Lamps and Rooney are all reluctant to take the armband from Terry under these circumstances.
Have a stern word, Fabio. But don't ruin our World Cup preparation. Wintertime in South Africa, with a Group C line-up consisting of the USA, Algeria and Slovenia means we have never had a better chance of emerging as world champions in the last 40 years.
That should be the priority. Judgement day for Terry will come. But not until long after he's hung up his football boots.

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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Tiger Woods: He's let his wife down, his family down (and his pants down)

THE Sun's front page splash today sums it up rather neatly. "I've let my wife down, I've let my family down (and he's let his trousers down)".
The Daily Mail, joining in the gleeful coverage of an icon's downfall, picture all three alleged holes in one: New York events planner Rachel Uchitel, 34 (who denies everything), Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, 24 (who has a voicemail to back her story) and marketing manager Kalika Moquin, 27 (who says it's "not appropriate to comment").
So do we exult in the denouement of the world's top golfer now he's been exposed, less than a week after the mysterious 2.25am car crash outside his Florida home? Do we say "told you so" when he released a statement yesterday saying: "I regret those transgressions with all my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behaviour my family deserves"?
No, we should be saddened by it. Distressed when a role model falls so heavily from grace. Sympathetic about the fact that, when you are forced by your talent to live in the public eye, the pain is all the greater. And all the man wants to do is hit a golf ball a very, very long way towards a flag.
Sometimes the media gets blamed for the downfall of icons like Woods, the first sportsman to earn $1billion. On this occasion, it's hard to argue that. Nobody could have kept a lid on what was going on for long. And clearly, when wife Elin got wind of her husband's alleged indiscretions, she reacted and, despite Woods slamming the "malicious rumours", we are finally getting close to what really happened that morning. A Japanese television station have issued a virtual version of what they think happened, featuring Elin running along, smashing his windows. That may not be factual, but it's what people conjured up when they haven't got the truth.
Of course it was impossible for Tiger to come out immediately and admit to what was going on. Instead, he disappeared for 12 hours into the bowels of a local hospital, refused to see the police four times when he got home and was finally given a paltry slap on the wrist for his sins.
The real cost to Tiger? About £5,000 in damage to his Cadillac Escapade, £99 for "careless driving" and £2,000 to fix the fire hydrant he crashed into.
Then there's the facial injuries we still haven't seen... and this week's Tiger-sponsored US tour event will have to do without their star name amid promises to refund disappointed spectators.
And then we begin to move into the real high-cost areas. If Elin, mother of his two children, sues for divorce - and she appears to have every cause - it may just be the world's biggest ever settlement.
Then there are the sponsors. Gillette's discomfort has already been heavily publicised. Tiger, Thierry Henry and Roger Federer are all pictured together (above) in their latest campaign, now all three appear to be on the slide. Henry for his handball for France against Ireland, Federer for not making the final at the London Arena last week and Tiger for what he calls "personal sins".
Woods earns £6m a year from the razor makers, £12m from Nike, £12m from sports drink Gatorade, £5m from EA Sports video games, £3m from telephone providers AT&T, £3m from watch-makers Tag Heuer and £2m from General Mills. But the image they buy has been tarnished forever.
He will pay the price. And the stories will continue for weeks yet, with his reappearance set to reignite the whole situation. We have to ask: will he ever be the same again? Does he deserve all this? Will he be scarred for life, physically or psychologically?
That is our job, asking questions like that. But in truth the best sign off to this sorry tale belongs to Woods and what he said in his statement yesterday. Let's leave it there:
"Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. For the last week my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives.
"For me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family.
"I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves."

Labels: accident, , car crash, chevron, elin, facial injuries, Tiger Woods, wife, world No1 golfer