HARDLINE boss Sir Alex Ferguson has banned his Man Utd stars from wearing trendy snoods - declaring: "They're for powder puffs."
The iron-fisted Scot, 68, instructed the squad to brave the cold without the circular scarfs.
He told them: "Real men don't wear things like that. Get 'em off."
The garment has become increasingly popular in British football during the cold snap, especially with foreign players.
Snood wearers include Man City's Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli. Arsenal's Samir Nasri and Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina are also fans.
But United defender Rio Ferdinand, 32, wrote online: "You won't see a Man Utd player wearing a snood."
Ex-Leeds United hardman Norman Hunter, 67, added: "Fergie's of the old guard that wouldn't want players running out in that.
"They just look uncomfortable. If anybody grabbed you from behind, they could almost throttle you."
He added: "We didn't even wear gloves. We played in a lot worse conditions than they play in now - ice, snow, mud, everything.
"Nowadays players go out with body and leg warmers and this thing on their neck. We used to rub Algipan oil all over. That kept us warm."
England skipper Rio was riled by rival supporters after his snood post.
He then wrote: "A lot of hostility from other teams' fans... I don't care if your players do or don't wear snoods.
"I just said WE won't be, so pipe down!"
• Sir Alex Ferguson praises form of defence and Park Ji-sung
Wenger refused to answer when he was asked to explain why Arsenal found it so difficult to win against their main title rivals. Instead he blamed his team's lack of penetration against United on a "very bad" pitch.
When the subject returned to Arsenal's results in the big matches the Frenchman was visibly annoyed. "Why do we always seem to lose these big games? If you are a football specialist I leave this analysis to you," he replied, his voice laced with sarcasm. "Why do you ask me when you know everything? I believe we are here to analyse one game – the game of tonight. I know your job is to get to conclusions but I leave that to you.
"I've spoken about the game tonight. You have to be calm and be realistic and objective. United won the game tonight and you don't necessarily have to go to big conclusions. Be calm."
Wenger was aggrieved that "the technical quality of the game was very average on both sides". The match, he said, had been a "big disappointment and a big frustration" but he argued there were mitigating circumstances, namely the "bouncy and slippery" playing surface.
"The pitch was so poor in my opinion and the game suffered a lot from it," he said. "I ask you, 'Do you want a good pitch or a bad pitch?' What do you say?"
Park Ji-sung's winning goal, four minutes before half-time, moved United two points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand. It also established a club record, with Sir Alex Ferguson's side now having gone 16 games unbeaten since the start of the season, beating the previous best, 15, which was set by Ron Atkinson's team in 1985-86.
"I hope we can make it 17," Ferguson said, looking forward to Sunday's game at Chelsea. "That's a very important game now and we are starting to get there in terms of our form. It's improving and, if the back four continue to play like that, it will give us a great chance.
Somewhere in one of the bigger European leagues is a gay footballer: a wonderfully gifted player, popular with his club's supporters, an international who has appeared in World Cups and is at an age when the best years of his career almost certainly still lie ahead of him. But, of course, his sexuality remains a secret to the world at large.
Not, however, to team‑mates past and present. And although at the moment he seems to be functioning effectively in a civilised environment, at one of his previous clubs he became the object of sly dressing-room homophobia dressed up as laddish wit. In public, too, aspersions were cast on his ability to fit in with the way the team went about their business; the remarks were in a sort of code, although probably none of those involved meant any real harm. Like Joey Barton's obscene gesture to Fernando Torres at the weekend, which in its ignorance and stupidity recalled Robbie Fowler's altercation with Graeme Le Saux almost a dozen years ago, they were the horrible product of an age-old dressing-room culture of empty machismo.
The player concerned – and you will have to take it from me that he really does exist – has it in his power to change all this. His prominence means that were he to speak publicly about his sexuality, notice would be taken around the world. And we would all, I believe, be surprised by the results.
It is almost exactly a year since Gareth Thomas – the first Welsh rugby union player to win 100 international caps, the second highest try scorer in the country's history, and a former British and Irish Lions captain – took the massive step of declaring his homosexuality. Driven by the agony of deception, Thomas clearly believed that the potential reward, or at least the relief, was worth the great risk, and how magnificently he was rewarded.
Rest of the article here: www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/de
O okay, Mr. Journalist.
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How gay slurs almost wrecked my career
Exclusive extracts from Graeme Le Saux's autobiography reveals that taunts over his sexuality, which began as a dressing-room joke, nearly drove him out of the game
For 14 years I had to listen to that suggestion repeated in vivid and forthright terms from thousands of voices in the stands. It was a lie. I am not gay and never have been, yet I became a victim of English football’s last taboo.
The homophobic taunting and bullying left me close to walking away from football. I went through times that were like depression. I did not know where I was going. I would get up in the morning and would not feel good and by the time I got into training I would be so nervous that I felt sick. I dreaded going in. I was like a bullied kid on his way to school to face his tormentors.
It started in the summer of 1991, in my first spell at Chelsea. We had what is known as “a strong dressing-room” –a euphemism for a group of players who are very good at dishing out stick. It was not a place for shrinking violets and in the first few days of preseason training, when the banter flies around more than ever, there was a lot of talk about where people had been for their holidays.
I had had a good summer. I was 22 and had just broken into the first team. Over the previous 18 months I had become friends with two of the forerunners of Chelsea’s foreign legion: Ken Monkou and Erland Johnsen. Erland invited us to visit him in Norway. When the season finished, I took Ken to Jersey, where I’d grown up, and then we drove up through France, Belgium and the Netherlands and flew to see Erland.
We had a good time. When the trip was over, Ken headed back to London, Erland went on honeymoon to the Caribbean and I went on holiday with my girlfriend. When I got back to Chelsea and the boys asked me where I had been, I told them. Somebody – I cannot remember who – said: “Oh, so you went camping with Ken.”
There was a bit of chortling and sniggering. It got to me straight away. I told them we had not gone camping, we had been staying in hotels. But it stuck. It became a running gag. And soon, to my horror, it was on the grapevine that Ken and I were an item.
I was sensitive and pretty naive and took things more seriously than I should have done. I reacted to gibes when I should have laughed them off. By the time I changed my approach it was too late. Training became an ordeal. Everybody regarded me as an outsider. I was an easy target because I did not fit in. The only people I knew in London were students, so I turned up at training with my student look: jeans rolled up, Pringle socks and my rucksack with The Guardian in it. For much of my career, reading The Guardian was used as one of the most powerful symbols of how I was supposed to be weirdly different. Pathetic, really. It gave substance to the gossip that I was homosexual: Guardian reader equals gay boy. Some people really thought that added up.
Andy Townsend got on the bus to a game and saw me reading the paper, picked it up and said he wanted to look at the sport. He threw it back down a couple of seconds later. “There’s no f***ing sport in here,” he said. The rest of the lads laughed.
They had already pigeonholed me as a loner. But I was not a loner. Away from football I was pretty sociable. It was just that because of my background, I was not what footballers regarded as typical. I got the impression they had not come across anyone like me before and the rumours that I was gay stemmed from not fitting in. I became the target of day-to-day ribbing, which got worse and worse. I had never had any problem with bullying before. Being a pariah was new to me.
The more successful I got, the more it became an issue. In those days, if anyone thought you were even slightly effeminate, you were in trouble. I already felt as if the odds were stacked against me, without being pitched into a world of double entendres, nudging and winking.
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So girls, I'm not really sure about this to be here or maybe in rc_homophobia. This emerged as a consequence of the last theme (the guardian article). I just got curious about the Fowler-Le Saux incident, and I found this. I think that this really touches the heart of the theme, because is not an outsider opinion, not an ardinary article, is a story in first person.
Anyway, if this is not in the right place, you admins delete it ;)
Baden Baden was all about the Wags, but the World Cup in South Africa was about the managers. Germany’s Joachim Low is a connoisseur of fine-weave knitwear and knows how to loop a scarf. Hair that was made to be raked sexily on the sidelines at moments of high drama.
Spanish daily newspaper Sport have sensationally claimed that Carlos Tevez's transfer request at Manchester City has been instigated by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in an attempt to engineer a move for the striker.
Perez has used similar tactics in the past to ensure he signs the biggest talents in world football such as Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane.
Sport quote a "senior Manchester City executive" as saying: "I do not know for sure that Madrid are after him, but we have a well-founded suspicion."
This claim follows contrasting reports in The Guardian that Real Madrid were very unlikely to move for Tevez as they cannot afford the £30 million asking price following recent spending on players.
Jose Mourinho has admitted he could do with added striking options to help out Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema and is a fan of Tevez, but finances are said to be ruling Madrid out of a move.