Romelu Lukaku abuse: ‘It boils my blood’ – Clinton Morrison furious Cagliari have escaped punishment for racist chants

18 Sep

A furious Clinton Morrison has blasted ‘disgraceful’ Italian football chiefs after Cagliari were cleared of racist chanting towards Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku.

Cagliari supporters racially abused Lukaku as he stepped up to take a match-winning penalty in Inter’s 2-1 victory at the Sardegna Arena on September 1.

Romelu Lukaku is the latest high-profile footballer to suffer racial abuse in Italy
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But the Serie A club will face no punishment for their fans’ actions after a sports judge acting on behalf of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ruled there was not enough evidence for any sanctions.

It’s the third time the Sardinian club has been investigated for racist abuse in the last two years, following cases involving now-Everton striker Moise Kean and his former Juventus team-mate Blaise Matuidi – no action was taken on any of those occasions either.

Cagliari have, however, been fined €5,000 for their fans throwing plastic bottles onto the pitch during Sunday’s clash at Parma.

And that enraged Morrison when he learned the news on Wednesday’s talkSPORT show with Jim White.

He fumed: “How can you get fined €5000 for throwing plastic bottles on the pitch, but get cleared of racial abusing Romelu Lukaku? I don’t get it.

“It’s embarrassing, the Italian authorities are totally embarrassing. It’s a disgrace.

“This boils my blood. I only saw this news a few minutes ago and I was not prepared for it.

“It’s the biggest disrespect I’ve seen in football at the moment. I’m really upset about it.”

Speaking on talkSPORT earlier this month, Morrison urged Lukaku to consider leaving Inter just four weeks after joining them from Manchester United over the abuse he faced.

He also advised black footballers against moving to Italy, with former Chelsea striker Demba Ba doing the same, after a group of Inter Milan fans defended Cagliari supporters and insisted their monkey chants towards Lukaku were not racist.

Romelu Lukaku joined Inter Milan this summer in a £74million move from Manchester United
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This incident, followed by another which saw Raheem Sterling racially abused by a Bulgaria fan over the international break, also sparked the latest debate over whether players should leave the field if they are subjected to racial chanting.

And Morrison says he would have no hesitation in refusing to play if he suffered such abuse.

Asked if he feels offended for Lukaku, he replied: “I feel offended myself, personally!

“And yes I do feel offended for Romelu Lukaku, and for every black player out there getting racially abused in Italy, I am. It’s a disgrace. More has to be done.

“I’d walk off the pitch if it happened to me. I’d tell the manager to take me off, I wouldn’t play in that country.

“Everyone is different, I can’t speak for Lukaku or any of the other black players, but I would not play if the fans racially abused me.

“They’re not doing anything about it, that’s the problem and that’s what’s hurting most black players at the moment, that’s why so many people are speaking out about it.”

Watch a clip of Clinton Morrison on talkSPORT above

Tyson Fury EXCLUSIVE: Trainer Ben Davison responds to John Fury’s criticism: ‘We saved Tyson’s career and potentially his life’

17 Sep

Tyson Fury’s trainer, Ben Davison, has defended his handling of the heavyweight boxer and insists the Brit is lucky to have the training team he does.

After Fury’s tense victory over Otto Wallin in Las Vegas on Saturday night, John had plenty to say about his son’s performance and blamed his support team, led by Davison, for the lethargic display.

Tyson Fury has been trained by Ben Davison since his comeback

The Brit was badly cut above his right eye by Otto Wallin but rallied to win via a unanimous decision victory.

“Whatever’s gone wrong in that camp, which it has gone wrong, somebody’s to blame and he just to me looked like he didn’t have any strength from the off,” John said on the BT Sport broadcast afterwards.

“If I had my say, the lot would be gone. Looking at that there, if he keeps hold of that team, they’re gonna cost him his career, I’ll say it live on TV.

“The team being what’s around him now, Ben Davison, whatever he’s got there in charge of the business needs to have a look in the mirror and say, ‘Not good enough at a high level.’ It’s proved it tonight.”

However, Davison, who has guided Fury since he ended a three-and-a-half year hiatus from the ring in 2018, responded to the criticism by claiming Fury owes his career and potentially his life to his coaching and support team.

Speaking exclusively to Jim White on talkSPORT, he said: “I spoke to Tyson about this right away. He is Tyson’s father, you have to respect that. I fully understand that he is worried for his son. It was a nasty cut and he is not able to be there to make sure that everything is OK and that his son is OK.

“Emotions run high at these times, I fully understand that. But to say that this team could cost him his career, I have got to say that I disagree.

“Like Tyson has said previously, he wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for this team and he potentially wouldn’t have a life. He has said that was on the verge of suicide. It is a shame that these things can be easily forgotten but I fully understand that emotions run high and I care for the family like they are my own. It is one of these things.”

After the fight, Fury went straight to hospital and had 40 stitches put in to his cut eye by a surgeon in Vegas.

“Of course we are concerned. He had surgery on it that night,” Davison revealed.

“We all went to the hospital with him. It was a terrible cut but these things happen – this is boxing. It is not a movie script.

Fury was forced to go the distance with Wallin
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“Everybody seems to think it is a given that Tyson is going to win and it will happen like it is already set out but each fight is a real fight and at this level, there are no easy fights. Even when you make it look easy, it is not easy because there have been hard training camps, hard preparations. Tyson showed he has the heart and character.

“I’m not a surgeon, I’m not an expert on the area so I wouldn’t make too many comments on that area because to be honest I would be out of my depth in that situation.”

Fury was hit 127 times by Wallin, the highest number of punches landed on him in a 12-round fight in his entire career, showing just how badly the cut he suffered affected him.

“Everybody knew there was a terrible cut that took place in the third round that worsened throughout the fight before the cut happened,” Davison added.

“The fight was going pretty much how I anticipated. I made no bones about the fact that Otto would ask questions.

“The plan was to let Tyson find his rhythm, find his distance. We  knew that with Otto being a six foot fix southpaw, Tyson was going to have to try some things, find what works, find what doesn’t work. In the second round, I felt like Tyson just started landing some telling shots.

“That followed through into the third round and then Tyson got cut. It was about making the decision on when then right time was to close that gap up.

“I knew the vision was impaired so it was a bit safer to be inside but I also knew that too much inside work with the rubbing of the heads is going to worsen the cut. It was just about timing and I feel like we got the right decision.”

Kevin McCabe EXCLUSIVE: Outgoing Sheffield United owner ‘concerned about the future of Chris Wilder’ after losing legal battle with Prince Abdullah

17 Sep

Kevin McCabe has told talkSPORT he is ‘concerned’ about the future of Sheffield United and their manager Chris Wilder after losing his ownership battle with Saudi Prince Abdullah.

Outgoing owner McCabe has been ordered to sell his 50 per cent stake in the Blades to his fellow co-owner, after a long-standing legal battle following a falling out between the pair.

McCabe and Prince Abdullah have been locked in a battle over ownership of Sheffield United

The 70-year-old, who has a long association with Sheffield United and has put over £100million into his boyhood club, said following Monday’s High Court ruling that he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ and ‘heartbroken’ by the outcome and is considering lodging an appeal.

However, it has also been claimed the lifelong fan has been told to ‘stay away’ from Bramall Lane if he fights the decision.

McCabe has revealed he has ‘many misgivings’ about Prince Abdullah – the grandson of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz – taking control of the Premier League side.

And he has told talkSPORT he fears for the future of manager and ‘true friend’ Wilder after being forced out of Sheffield United.

Asked about his future plans following the ruling, McCabe said in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT host Jim White: “I suppose it’s just looking at what’s to be done now to ensure my football club is properly run and managed in future years.

“I’ve many misgivings over the suitability of Prince Abdullah being in control of Sheffield United.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

“I’m the longest-ever serving director, chairman or owner of Sheffield United in a history which stretched back to the roots of Bramall Lane in 1855.

“So I care enough to ensure that whatever I do now is to benefit one organisation alone, and that’s Sheffield United.

“We’re a great community and family club that has evolved in a peculiar way over the last 25 years since the McCabe’s have been in charge.

Bramall Lane is the oldest major stadium in the world still to be hosting professional football matches

“We have invested heavily in Sheffield United, we have revamped, recreated, updated and extended the stadium – the world’s oldest – and built an academy. It’s fact not fiction. We’ve devoted a lot of time and financial resources to achieve that because of one’s love for the club.

“And I want desperately to ensure that is maintained rather than ruined by people who may not understand the importance of this institution to the city of Sheffield.

“The future of the club, the future of Chris Wilder, the future of season ticket holders, I have hesitation and concern about all of those aspects of Sheffield United.

Chris Wilder is much loved by Sheffield United fans and his players – but could he leave under the club’s new ownership?

“Sheffield United means an awful lot to me. I was born across the street and I have no interest in any other football club bar the Blades.

“I really want someone to take over who understands what Sheffield United means to the supporters and the city, and I question as to whether Prince Abdullah has the suitability to be leading as the owner of Sheffield United.”

Watch Kevin McCabe’s interview with talkSPORT, in full, above…

Liverpool vs Manchester City: Anyone claiming Premier League title race is already over ‘should be put back in the asylum’, says Danny Murphy

16 Sep

Danny Murphy believes anyone claiming the Premier League title race between Liverpool and Manchester City is already over should be ‘put back in the asylum’.

The Reds went five points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday, as they continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a 3-1 win over Newcastle.

Sadio Mane scored a fine brace in Liverpool’s win over Newcastle at Anfield
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Defending champions City, meanwhile, endured a nightmare weekend as they suffered a shock defeat to Norwich City that leaves them a little behind in second place.

Following the game, Pep Guardiola joked ‘congratulations to champions Liverpool’ and insisted any talk of his side being out of the title race is premature.

But that didn’t stop some from saying exactly that, with even Ian Holloway telling talkSPORT on Monday morning that he ‘just can’t see Liverpool slipping up’ this term given their remarkable run of form.

The win over Newcastle was Jurgen Klopp’s side’s 14thin a row – a run which stretches back way into last term.

But Murphy insists anyone suggesting the Reds have already won the title after just five games is insane and has a very short memory.

“You can put them back in the asylum, those people,” the former Liverpool midfielder told Jim White.

“In January last year Liverpool were six points clear, so let’s not get carried away.”


Murphy also insists you can’t count out champions City just because of the injury to top centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who has been ruled out for FOUR MONTHS with a serious knee injury.

Asked if City can win the title with the same back-four that conceded three goals against Norwich, he added: “Yes, I think City can still win the title.

“I’ve tipped Liverpool, but City can mix it up. I know they’ve got injuries, but they could put Fernandinho at centre-half, they could put Kyle Walker at centre-half.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Norwich at the weekend

“They could change it tomorrow and go on a ten game winning run, they’ve got that much quality [in their squad].

“Yes, there were some silly mistakes from City against Norwich, but let’s not write them off – we’re not even out of September!”

Norwich 3-2 Man City: Canaries owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones reveal ‘a lot of alcohol was consumed’ after stunning win

16 Sep

Delia Smith has told talkSPORT the booze was flowing in the Norwich City boardroom after the club’s spectacular 3-2 victory over Manchester City.

The Premier League champions were stunned by the plucky, injury-hit Canaries on Saturday as they suffered their first loss of the season at Carrow Road.

It was a typically passionate and dogged performance from last season’s Championship winners, who have been transformed by manager Daniel Farke.

Norwich claimed the most stunning of wins over Manchester City
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The magnitude of their triumph was highlighted by the differences between the two line-ups; Norwich’s starting XI cost a total of £6.45million, while City’s was worth a massive £406.1m.

Following the match, the German boss paid a special tribute to majority shareholders Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones, saying the win was for the couple who ‘lead this club with so much passion’.

Smith and Wynn-Jones have been board directors at the Norfolk club for 23 years, and this was surely one of their most memorable victories.

The owners spoke talkSPORT host Jim White on Monday to reflect on the match and, asked how they celebrated, Delia said: “It was incredible… a lot of alcohol was consumed.”

To which her husband replied: “Did it? I don’t remember that!

“The end was a little bit panicky – the added time was six of the longest minutes I can remember.”

“It’s just incredible,” Smith added.

“We are totally overwhelmed. I don’t think we could move yesterday, we were so tired.

“Yesterday our head of recruitment was at the match with us, so I was getting down on my knees and bowing down to him! I mean, we got [Teemu] Pukki on a free – a really good striker on a free!”

Norwich star Teemu Pukki has started the new season in fine form – with six goals and two assists in five games
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The chef and British broadcasting icon ensured she returned the favour to manager Farke, hailing the ‘humble’ German.

And Smith also sent another passionate message to the Norwich supporters for making her ‘let’s be havin’ you’ wishes come true.

Responding to Farke’s praise of their ownership, she said: “We both had tears in our eyes when he said that, it was just very moving.

“We have a great deal of confidence in Daniel. When I first met him and first shook his hand I had an instinct, I could tell straight away he was a humble man, not an ego.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke has been hailed by owner Delia Smith

“Then you can go anywhere, can’t you, because it’s the ego that gets in the way.

“I know Daniel has paid tribute to us, but we want to pay tribute to him and to everyone else. In all the years we’ve been board directors, I think we now have a really good spirit in the football club, a spirit of oneness, of all being together, and it’s come about with supporters as well. I’ve never seen that before.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

“It’s just wonderful that the supporters are just there along with it. And of course the whole world knows that’s what I’ve always wanted!

“If you’re all one you can do anything, you can go anywhere – that’s about life, not just about football, and that’s what we’re working hard for.

“We do have, as I said on that famous night, the best supporters in the world.”

Listen back to Norwich owners Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones on talkSPORT above

Arsenal’s Invincibles are the best Premier League team of all time – ‘They could have won in any era’, says Martin Keown

13 Sep

Martin Keown believes Arsenal’s Invincibles top Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City as the best Premier League team in HISTORY.

Arsene Wenger‘s 2003/04 Gunners remain the only club in English football to end a 38-game league season without a single defeat – lifting the title with a tally of 90 points.

Can Liverpool emulate Arsenal’s famous ‘Invincibles’ team?

A number of teams have finished the campaign with more points, with City smashing that total by breaking the 100 barrier two seasons’ ago.

But Keown believes no side beats his famous Invincibles for style AND substance in the Premier League era with the world-class stars they had at their disposal.

The Arsenal legend told talkSPORT host Jim White: “Of course they were the best!

“I’m not messing about, that team could have won in any era.

“I saw them develop from young men, I was the senior figure then and they matured into a fantastic group of players, they were world class.

Thierry Henry was like an international sprinter with football boots instead of spikes. Dennis Bergkamp with his vision, it was unbelievable. Watching him perform was like watching ballet.

“Robert Pires on the left and Freddie Ljungberg on the right, he doesn’t get enough plaudits.

“Then that midfield; Gilberto Silva, a World Cup winner, and Patrick Vieira alongside him, another World Cup winner.

Keown believes the Invincibles were the most talented team the Premier League has ever seen

“Then there’s Sol Campbell at his absolute peak at the back.”

But Martin, are they really better than Jose Mourinho’s back-to-back title winners at Chelsea? Better than Pep’s City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool?

He added: “I think the only team that comes close is Manchester United’s treble-winning 1999 team, I think that would have been the big play-off.”

Liverpool transfer news: ‘Adam Lallana should look for another club in January’, says Martin Keown

13 Sep

Adam Lallana should push to leave Liverpool in the next transfer window if he continues to be overlooked by Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, Martin Keown believes.

The midfielder has battled back to fitness after a long on-and-off injury struggle, which has seen him make just 31 appearances in all competitions over the last two seasons.

Ahead of the new campaign the 31-year-old was described as ‘like a new signing’ by an Anfield legend, and Klopp suggested he could be moved into a deeper midfield role to get more minutes.

Lallana appeared regularly throughout Liverpool’s pre-season preparations but has featured just once off the bench since the campaign started
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But Lallana has played just four minutes of action in the Premier League after four games, coming on as a late substitute in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

This week the Reds star even revealed his surprise that he didn’t get a place on the bench for their Premier League opener against Norwich, calling it ‘an eye-opener’.

Arsenal legend Keown is a big admirer of the former Southampton man and believes he deserves to play more.

And he says Lallana should consider LEAVING the Reds if his game time does not improve.

Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, the former defender said: “I’m a massive fan of Lallana, and England manager Gareth Southgate really likes him too

“He’s a player that’s really suffered with injury and he’s hit the buffers because he is simply not fit enough often enough to play for Liverpool.

“He’s only played a handful of matches over the last couple of seasons, but he’s got a clean bill of health now – can he get back into that Liverpool team? Can he fit into it?

“If he’s now fit again he has to have a conversation with the manager, because it hurts you to the core every Saturday when your name is not on that list. What on earth are you there for otherwise?

“He may have to move on if he doesn’t get into that team within the next four or five months.

“There are an awful lot of games coming up with the Champions League and cup competitions, and if he doesn’t play he’ll be seriously considering moving to another club.”


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Derby vs Cardiff (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Liverpool vs Newcastle (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Fulham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Barnsley vs Leeds (Sunday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT

The former Gunners star also suggests Lallana has become too comfortable at Anfield and must look to get more game time elsewhere if he is to resurrect his England career.

The midfielder was one of his country’s most consistent performers before his persistent injury troubles started, and Keown would love to see him back in a Three Lions shirt.

“If he can’t get into the Liverpool team he can’t even thinking about the international team,” the ex-England centre-back added.

“He was on his way to becoming an outstanding talent for England but he’s hit a brick wall. He has to have a sustained period of playing football before he can consider England again.

3. Adam Lallana
Adam Lallana’s last England appearances was in March 2018

“He’s good enough to be playing, he’s certainly good enough to be playing for England and Gareth Southgate wants him playing every week.

“I think players can lose direction, get into that comfort zone. They come detached from the group. They’re injured… there’s a lifestyle that comforts them and the money that surrounds them and it makes them feel a little bit better.

“But you’re there to make something happen, to make your mark, to create history at that football club and you need to be on the pitch to do that.”

Listen back to a clip of Martin Keown on talkSPORT

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – including Liverpool vs Newcastle this weekend.

Derby County owner Mel Morris hits back at Middlesbrough and insists Rams have ‘done nothing wrong’ in Pride Park stadium sale

13 Sep

Chairman Mel Morris insists Derby County have done ‘nothing wrong’ and are ‘very comfortable’ with their deal to sell Pride Park to a company also under his ownership.

The Rams boss joined talkSPORT on Friday to respond to claims Championship rivals Middlesbrough are threatening to sue the English Football League over the £80million deal made earlier this year.

Boro claim the League failed to enforce its own financial rules when Derby sold Pride Park to a sister company owned by Morris, who now lease it back to the club.

Pride Park is now owned by Morris and leased back to the club
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The Rams beat the Teesside outfit to a top six finish by one point last season, and Boro allege the stadium deal which rescued Derby’s finances effectively cost them a place in last season’s play-offs, and the chance of securing Premier League promotion and a potential £180m windfall that goes with it.

Derby have been accused by rivals of exploiting a loophole in EFL rules that allows owners to buy their own stadium to make the club financially compliant.

Morris joined talkSPORT host Jim White to respond to those accusations on Friday, and he insisted everything was done above board and no loopholes were exploited.

And he also sent a message to Boro chairman Steve Gibson, telling the chief to stop moaning about the rules and personally call him if he has a problem.

The chairman said: “We’ve done nothing wrong. We’re very comfortable with what we’ve done. The valuation, in our opinion, was fair and reasonable.

“We didn’t use a loophole. Let’s be very clear on this, there is no loophole here. The rules are extremely specific on this, that the sale of a fixed asset is allowable. It’s a single sentence. It is allowable.

“The bottom line is we’ve approached this very professionally. It was nearly 18 months ago now when we looked about utilising the stadium for other purposes during the season, that was the genesis of it.”

Asked if the club would have been in breach of Financial Fair Play regulations had they not completed the stadium sale, Morris also insisted there was nothing unusual about the deal.

“You plan your whole finances around the pieces that are moving,” he explained.

“If you sell a player for £50m and you utilise the funds of that to fund the purchase of another year, is it any different? If you sell the stadium of course you’re going to utilise that, which is what we did.”

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is not happy with Derby County

Morris revealed he invited Gibson to take a look at Derby’s financial records to see for himself that the deal was lawful, but he declined the offer.

He also accused the chairman of double standards, pointing out that Boro would have lost out and Derby benefited if the EFL nullified Bolton’s results when they were placed into administration last season – and the Rams didn’t moan when they weren’t.

“It’s entirely down to Steve what he does,” added Morris. “If he feels he’s got a case than he needs to pursue that, which is fine.

“We offered for Steve to come and take a look at our books, but he declined to take us up on that.

“At the end of the day, it’s in the rules. If the rules are there for a purpose, that’s fine. If you don’t like the rules, change them, but don’t moan.

“When Bolton were going through their troubles, if the rule book had been followed then Bolton would have had their results expunged for the season.

Morris insists Derby have done nothing wrong and have followed EFL rules closely

“If it had happened, the biggest beneficiary of the clubs in contention for the top six would have been Derby and the biggest losers would have been Middlesbrough because they beat them in both legs.

“But did we moan? Did we moan to the EFL to say it’s unfair and you should be getting rid of Bolton because we would benefit from it? No!

“What we said was, ‘God bless you for doing that and whatever you need to do to keep these clubs going, I support’.

“Steve is a great owner and deserves a lot of applause for what he’s done with Boro. I don’t know what’s got his goat with this, but he can always pick the phone up and talk to me.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Derby County owner Mel Morris IN FULL above

Unai Emery MUST find space for ‘genius’ Mesut Ozil in his Arsenal team, says Glen Johnson

13 Sep

Mesut Ozil remains one of the Premier League’s best players and MUST be found a role in the Arsenal team, believes Glen Johnson.

The German playmaker is yet to play in the Premier League this season following a disrupted start to the campaign.

Glen Johnson has urged to give Mesut Ozil a place in this starting XI

Ozil missed the Gunners’ opener against Newcastle over concerns for his security, was ruled out of games against Burnley and Liverpool with illness and was then included in the matchday squad for the north London derby against Tottenham, but was left on the bench by Unai Emery.

The 30-year-old doesn’t appear to be in the manager’s good books, having been in and out of the Arsenal team throughout the Spaniard’s first campaign in charge at the Emirates.

But Johnson believes Ozil is a ‘genius’ player and has urged Emery to resolve his issues with the midfielder and find a place for him in the starting XI.

“He’s one of the best players in the Premier League, I really believe that,” the former Liverpool and England defender told talkSPORT host Jim White.

“He’s a genius.

“He’s clearly got issues with something within the club, whether it’s the manager or even something else behind the scenes, I don’t know.

“But, for me, they’ve got to do what they can to resolve the issue and try and get him in the team.”

Johnson was reacting to talkSPORT’s exclusive interview with former Gunners skipper Per Mertesacker, who challenged old friend Ozil to ‘step up and deliver’ for the club this season.

Per Mertesacker sent a strong word to his former Arsenal, German and Werder Bremen team-mate Mesut Ozil on talkSPORT

“We need players who step up on the field and show what they’ve capable of, and Mesut needs to, there’s no doubt about that,” the German told talkSPORT’s James Savundra.

“He needs to play at this best. He has this magic touch no one also has in the squad and we really need that.

“I want him to be as fit as possible and the manager to get the best out of him by putting him in the number ten position, because that’s him playing him at his best.

“But the manager has requirements for that to happen. So I wish that Mesut puts a shift in, gets fit as quickly as possible and blows everyone away again.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Per Mertesacker IN FULL here

UEFA and FIFA told to act to help stop racist abuse at football games – ‘It shouldn’t be down to the players’, says Glen Johnson

12 Sep

Former England international Glen Johnson has urged FIFA and UEFA to act to help stop racist abuse of players at football games.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the ex-Liverpool defender insisted it should not be left to the stars themselves to decide whether to leave the pitch or not if they hear abusive language, and says the authorities should make that decision instead.

Johnson was reacting to the news that Raheem Sterling was the targeted with racist heckles during England’s 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

A fan was kicked out of Wembley on Saturday after a steward heard him directing racial abuse at Raheem Sterling
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The back pages on Thursday morning were splashed with stories claiming the Three Lions team are set for discussions about walking off the pitch in defiance if they hear any abuse in their return trip to Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Football Association fear their players could face similar treatment to the abuse they suffered when they faced Montenegro earlier this year, when Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi were the subject of chanting from home fans.

Johnson says he wouldn’t leave the field as he believes that would ‘let the racists win’, although said he would support his other team-mates if they wanted to.

But he believes players shouldn’t even have to make that decision if abuse from the crowd is so obvious.

Speaking to talkSPORT hosts Jim White and Natalie Sawyer, he said: “A fan got chucked out for racially abusing Raheem and I think a few guys are expecting something similar in the next game.

“There’s a lot of talk now about whether the lads are going to walk off the pitch, but to be honest I don’t think the players should have to make that decision.

“I personally wouldn’t want to walk off, because at the end of the day you want to do your job and play the game. By walking off you are kind of letting them win, because all they’re trying to do is get to you.

Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson says he wouldn’t walk off the pitch if he heard racist abuse, as he wouldn’t want to let the abusers win

“But if my team-mates did, I would support them and we would all walk off together.

“The point is, the players should still be protected. Somebody else should make that decision, because if Raheem can hear it, everyone can hear it.

“But I think it should be someone above, maybe someone from UEFA. If anyone can hear that sort of abuse, they should be the ones to stop the game and usher the lads off the pitch, so that the pressure is not on the players to make that decision.

“You know what it’s like, if they do walk off half the people out there are going to criticise them and the other half will support what they’ve done, so either way they’re not going to really win.

“I just think the pressure should be taken away from them, that if anyone hears it then somebody above can make the call to stop the game and take the heat off the lads a little bit.

“At the end of the day, all they want is to play football and if the lads can hear it, the officials can hear it. It’s as simple as that.”

Listen back to a clip of Glen Johnson on talkSPORT above