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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


The Top Stories of 2011 – 31 to 40

Written by on January 2, 2012 | 33 Comments »
Posted in General

On the December 27 and January 3 podcasts Eoin and I offer up out biggest twenty soccer stories of 2011. Over the next few days the blog will bring you another eighty stories that just failed to make into the top twenty. 

31.     Sir Alex Ferguson completes 25 years in charge of Manchester United and marks his 70th birthday on the last day of the year.

32.     A certain Manchester United player became the latest high-profile personality to seek a super-injunction from an English court to ban publication of his name by the media after he had been caught being naughty.

But a Scottish paper took advantage of Scotland’s separate legal system and went ahead and published a likeness that could be no other than Ryan Giggs.

33.     Written off as the underdog to ESPN and NBC Fox secure FIFA World Cup rights for the next 2-cycles in the United States along with Telemundo. The rights flip to Fox and Telemundo with the Women’s World Cup in 2015 in Canada.

34.     The year of Manchester City splashing the cash with big money spent acquiring Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri. It was also the year of a £194M loss for City – a record not surprisingly. By year-end Mr. never-satisfied-with-the-size-of-the-squad Roberto Mancini is told that sell before buy is now a requirement with financial fair play.  

35.     Juventus turn to former captain Antonio Conte to take over as manager of the club.

36.     For a man supposedly off to PSG tout de suite David Beckham had still not made the move as the bells brought in 2012.

37.     Emirates Stadium is a revolving door at the end of the summer transfer window with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving joining the already departed Gael Clichy. Meanwhile four players arrive on deadline day. 

38.     In July Santos win the Copa Libertadores for third time and vow to hold on to young players such as Neymar and Ganso. So far Ganso has not gone gonzo.

39.     This has been very much the year of match-fixing. Rarely has a month passed without another allegation being made or a case proven. There are too many to list but Turkey stands out as perhaps the highest profile case.

40.     A flock of the Mexico national team fail doping tests at the Gold Cup but the initial bans are overturned after it is claimed that the positive tests were caused by additives given to fatten up chickens. On the other hand it was a tad embarrassing to Mexican food authorities who claimed that no such risk existed.

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33 responses to “The Top Stories of 2011 – 31 to 40”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Tim “The Legendino” Vickery thinks Suarez paying too heavy a penalty:

  2. I have read most of the judgment and I don’t think he has much to complain about.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    Unfortunately for Suarez he was taught this sociopolitical and cultural lesson by the FA, when it really should have been a social factor initially advised by his teammates and club upon his arrival to England…. a year ago!

  4. Gus Keri says:

    There is a huge similarity between the Suarez/Evra and the Materazzi/Zidane (2006 WC) incidents.

    Defenders (the evil ones, that is) always look for whatever possible way to get the major threat of the opposing team sent off. They study what make them tick off. They resort to the most sensetive cultural issues.

    The Europeans know that in some part of the world, certain insult can be a huge trigger in upsetting a person. The same insult would mean nothing to them, so if that person use similar insult they would laugh at it.

    Insulting one’s sister or mother is looked upon as worse than racism in some areas of the world, while in Europe, it wouldn’t have a similarly stronge negative feeling.

    Why would a great player like Zidane, at a very important game, headbutt Materazzi if he wasn’t deeply offended? Similarly, why would Suarez use a racial word if he wasn’t deeply offended?

    FIFA and the FA define cultural sensetivity and what is right and wrong based on their own (Euroepan) criteria.

    How about the rest of the world?

    Insulting one’s sister or mother should be conisdered as offensive as a verbal racial abuse.

    Evra should be found as guilty as Suarez. the punishment should be split between the two players. Each should be banned 4 games for use of inappropraite language.

  5. Alberta Gooner says:

    The list of people who have embarrassed themselves over the Suarez incident continues to grow.

  6. My understanding is that Suarez doesn’t have a sister – one of seven brothers. Or should players also be punished for insulting relatives that don’t exist?

  7. Soccerlogical says:

    Wow Gus… really?

    So the notion that Suarez was trying to wind up Evra to get the better of him in attack (unsuccessfully) like Matterazzi incited Zizou doesn’t even cross your mind?

    I don’t know which is more frightening, your Liverpool bias or AG’s blind faith in Arsene “Jim Jones” Wenger?

  8. Al Harris says:

    I’m curious why the FA has taken no action on the Terry incident. Is it because it’s sub judice in the English legal system…or is it what the rest of the world thinks, double standard for Brits and foreigners? Certainly they have been handled differently. I am aware that England used to have very restrictive laws about what could be published once a case went to the courts so perhaps that’s it. Any thoughts, Bobby?

  9. Gus Keri says:

    The question should be: Why would Evra (like Materazzi) use this insult if he didn’t know it would offend Suarez? He even said it in Spanish to make sure that Saurez understood it perfectly.

    I am not justifying Suarez or Zidans’s reactions. I am criticizing FIFA and the FA for not penalizing the offenders, too, and not making this (cultural) insult as forbidden as verbal racial abuse.

    Does Evra have the right to insult his opponents as he wishes and get away with it?

    When it comes to a cultural differences, FIFA and the FA should take into consideration other cultures, too. What is offensive to other cultures should be banned from the ground.

  10. Gus – when you are in a hole it is normally a good idea to stop digging.

  11. Al Harris – the Terry file is still active with the FA pending the outcome of the criminal charge.

  12. Gus Keri says:


    Who started the winding up first?

    It’s not a pro-Liveprool bias.
    I was also very upset at Materazzi’s successful attempt at getting Zidane sent off. And at that time also, I called for FIFA to forbid this specific insult.

    This is the second high profile case and I am sure it’s going on all the time. Let’s wait and see what they will do about it.

    Suarez should be punished but what I find evidence of a strong bias against Liveprool is the fact that he was chosen to be the escape goat to teach the rest of the league, that is plagued with racism, a lesson and what a pricy lesson it was (8 games).

    Just to use Balotelli’s famous quote: “Why always Liveprool?”

    Every team in the EPL overpaid for some player, yet, only Liveprool looks stupid for overpaying for Carroll.

    I am not as biased to Liveprool as much as the rest of you are biased agianst it.

  13. Gus Keri says:


    I am not in a hole. I know exactly what I am saying.

    Just to clear certain points:

    1- Suarez is guilty of using racial words
    2- He should be punished for it
    3- the 8 games Punishement is excessive
    4- Evra is as guilty for insulting an oppopnent
    5- Evra should be punished
    6- The FA should conduct a course for cultural sensetivity that include all the players (British and non-British) to teach them about racial and other cultural insults.

    Let me know which one of the above items you don’t agree with.

  14. Soccerlogical says:

    Gus – “Who started the winding up first?”

    We will never know, coulda been Evra by calllin Suarez buck tooth or coulda been Suarez by tellin Evra he smells.

    Point is that Suarez took it too far and has now learned the “lay of the land” in England. Something he shoulda already been told by friends, teammates and coaches…. let alone all the anti racist campaigns and captain speeches before almost every high profile match.

    *Even if Evra instigates by calling me an “Ugly American” on the pitch, I know better than to respond with “Chill mah Ni@&* or I’ll send you back to Africa to pimp hoes”… even if I use those remarks with my black friends and it’s in all our rap lyrics in America.

  15. Gus Keri says:

    Is my English that bad that I am not able to get my point across? Or are you all just fixated at one point (the guilt of Suarez).

    I am argueing the severity of the punishment and the guilt of Evra that went unpunished.

    I predict that this kind of (family) insult will increase in the near future, especially against players of certain background, and we will see more high profile cases involved unless FIFA and the FA do something about it.

  16. redfan says:

    For my two penneth worth, the FA do need a programme of eduction on the issue of racial abuse as no such programme exists and it would be folly to allow the clubs, all 92 of them, to individually interpret what is essentially encased in British law. They have clearly failed to do this yet assume that two foreign players should be up to speed on what they expect.
    Culture no doubt plays a part in all this and I am astonished at how the FA have handled this matter from start to finish, especially when one remembers that Suarez has a black grandfather. No doubt the FA deam Suarez to be in breach of what they expect, but their failure, the latest one, to properly legislate and provide the education required leaves me wondering how they can wield such a heavy axe. Eight games could affect Liverpool’s season in many more ways than it should and I can see this being reduced on appeal, if for no other reason than the police did not touch it, unlike the Chelsea incident.
    If the case is not prosecutable in law then what grounds do the FA have for doing so heavy handed? Then there is the question of balance. We know that Evra has admitted abusing Suarez so it begs the question why he has not been charged too and this unballanced reaction could bring the matter to court, never mind an FA appeal.

    As for the judgement in iteself, a four match ban would have been reasonable, but I still struggle with this when I recall the Rooney case where he deliberately stamped on a player and only got 3 games banned, reduced to two on appeal.

    I hope reason prevails and that two things happen quickly. Firstly, that the FA develop a training and education policy to deal with racism throughout football in the UK and, secondly, that this 8 game ban be reduced to 3 or 4 with no suspensions, on the basis if no other, that it was not taken up by the police or the CPS, nor did Evra take it to court.

    That is my tuppence worth. Happy new year everyone.

  17. fabr04 says:

    I’m neither a MU or a Pool fan (if anything I’m ABU so lean toward Pool), but I think the FA got this decision exactly right. I suppose they could have given Suarez 5 games with 3 suspended or something, but racial slurs are in a completely different category from slurs on hypothetical relatives. I’m astounded that anyone would argue otherwise.

    IMHO, the commission were angry at Pool because (1) as I understand it, both Kuyt and Comolli changed their stories (to synch with Suarez’s) after their initial statements, while Evra’s story did not change, and (2) Suarez’s claim that he defuses arguments by pinching people is just too stupid for words. That’s not just lying, it’s insulting the intelligence and integrity of the commission members. Not a good strategy.

    Anybody have opinions on Joey Barton’s headbutt today? I felt it was probably not a headbutt…but Barton was stupid to get drawn into the situation, and it’s sweet revenge for what he did to Gervinho. In any event, Barton is the second-to-last person for whom I’d shed a tear in this game (#1 being Neil Warnock), so it’s all good with me.

  18. Gus – 3, 4 and 5.

  19. Gus Keri says:


    “racial slurs are in a completely different category from slurs on hypothetical relatives. I’m astounded that anyone would argue otherwise.”

    Here where I disagree with you and the others.

    Racial insults is significant only in certain areas (like Europe and North Ameirca) because of the long ugly history of slavery.

    In other part of the world, where slavery was not an issue, historically, there are other types of insults which are as bad if not worse than the racial ones.

    Dealing with cultural differences is like opening a can of worm.

    I remember when I started a job in South Bronx, an area with a lot of minorities of different racial and ethnic origins. We had to deal with Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Middle Eastern, South Asian and others.

    Within weeks of my start, I attended a cultural sensetivity class on how to deal with each race or ethnic group. And let me tell you this, there is so much that we don’t know about many of these cultures.

    So, if you want to be sensetive to the Blacks, you have to be sensetive to the South American and the Middle Eastern and so on.

    I am against all kind of insult that is based on cultural difference. It’s not what you think of the insult that matters, It’s what the person, whom it is directed to, think of it.

    By the way, you can still use the “F” word as mnay times as you like. Ask Rooney. Why didn’t Evra use this word instead? Because he knew it would not hurt Suarez like the others.

  20. Gus Keri says:


    This is your opinion and I respect that, although I disagree with you completely.

  21. Russell Berrisford says:

    The difference between racial slurs and other kinds of insults is that racial slurs have been used as the cornerstone of persecuting millions of people throughout history (and still are).

    If a governing body don’t clamp down on that then what kind of message does it send?

    Incidentally racial slurs in youth soccer in Vancouver have increased dramatically in the last 3 months (I wrote about it here)

    and I wonder what kind of message these kids will get when they see so many people effectively defending Suarez and blaming Evra?

    Suarez has been my favourite player to watch this season but he (and Liverpool) need to hold up their hands and admit that he strayed beyond what was permissible and accept the punishment with grace.

  22. Russell Berrisford says:

    Gus- I don’t think that we are ever going to agree on this- but the remarks to to Evra weren’t based on “cultural difference” they were solely about using the colour of his skin as an insult.

  23. Gus Keri says:


    If you read my comments carefully, you will see that I condemned Suarez’s use of racial words.

    But what pissed me off is the fact that Evra intentially insulted Suarez using a (cultural) insult that is very offensive in Suarez’s mind and in his country, and even more, he said it in Spanish to make sure Suarez understood it, and yet, I hear no one, on this website at least, condemning him.

    I know that there is too much bias against Liveprool among the visitors of this site but there is a limit.

    Sometime it feels like the American Congress debating certain issue. You either Democratic or Republican. You either 100% with or 100% against.

  24. Soccerlogical says:

    Gus – But the report found NO proof of Evra even addressing Suarez as “South American” while Suarez admitted to using “Negro” seven times as the least of the “exchange”.

    So, WHAT IS YOUR POINT ON THIS AGAIN… you rude New Yorker ya! 🙂

  25. Gus Keri says:


    So, you don’t know the exact words Evra said to Suarez?
    Why are you defending him so strongly, then?

  26. Gillian says:

    What’s going to become of Samir Nasri in the City squad…

  27. Soccerlogical says:

    Gus – I am going based on presented evidence and the FACT that Suarez “accused” Evra of calling him a “South American” (to which there seems no proof) YET Suarez ADMIT using the word “negro” seven times.

    You do the math:
    Questionable accusation of calling said player a South American OR admittance of using the word “negro” 7 times?

    Simply based on lack of proof against Evra and Suarez’ own admission of remarks.. there is no logical and proven reason to punish Evra. Conjecture and speculation mean shite… proof and admission decide verdicts.

  28. Gus Keri says:


    I am not going to write what Evra said in Spanish.
    If there is any Spanish speaking person reading this and who wants to write it, let him go ahead.

    The report said: “We remind ourselves that Mr Evra started the conversation with an offensive phrase. Although the literal translation is particularly offensive, Mr Evra’s use of the phrase should be understood in the sense of “f***ing hell” or “you SOB”, as the Spanish language experts suggest”

    Of course, you are not going to agree, but I will tell you how offensive this insult is.

    think of Zidane as one of the biggest stars of the game and one of the most respected people in the soccer world today.
    It has been 5 and a half year since that headbutt incidence and Zidane is still refusing to forgive Materazzi and make peace with him.

    If you want to understand more about how offensive this insult, I think you should go to one of those cultural sensetivity courses.

    The fact that the commettee didn’t consider this insult in their decision making suggests that they themselves don’t understand these cultural differences.

    Now, let’s have some fun, shall we?

    Imagine yourself travelling to the Sahara and there you meet a man on his camel and for some reason you refer to his color as black. he will laugh at you and say: “So what?”
    But, on the other hand, if you ask him: “How is your mother?” with a wink and a smile, guess what will happen to you? You probably will disappear in the closest quicksand.

  29. fabr04 says:

    This thread might be dead, so I’ll keep this short:

    Gus, I don’t agree that racial slurs are “significant only in certain areas (like Europe and North Ameirca)” — I encourage you to run that theory past any Brazilian — but even if you’re right, Suarez chooses to play in England, and therefore the onus is on him to abide by English laws and customs. If he’s too dull-witted and/or stubborn to learn what he can and can’t say, that’s his own fault.

    Again, racial insults are in a whole different class of insults. If you can’t understand that…well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, but I’m glad that a lot more people agree with me than with you.

  30. Ed Gomes says:

    Let me first say that I’m a Man United fan and despise Liverpool.
    That being said, it has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    I understand what Gus is trying to say. I revert back to an interview I watched where a black Frenchman was asked why he threw a banana at a fellow black player. The Frenchman answered that he was French not black.
    You can call a Central or South American a “n****” and he’ll most likely get pissed. If you tell him his wife is sleeping with other men, he’ll most likely punch you in he face. If you call his mom a prostitute he’ll kill you.

    All this doesn’t excuse what Suarez did or diminish the punishment. What I think Gus is trying to say is that Suarez might have been insulted in a way that we don’t deem serious, yet he does. Hence him retaliating the most vicious way he saw fit.

    I’ve seen plenty of fights started due to less and I’ve seen people walk away from each other for far more.
    I get the FA making an example of Suarez and agree with the decision. But that doesn’t mean Evra should get a pass, just because the insult throw at him is looked upon being more vicious.

    Since it was brought up, Barton is an idiot and deserves no benefit of the doubt. He should always be deemed guilty for stupidity. How’s that for unfair.

  31. Soccerlogical says:

    ED & Gus – Sorry but that is absolute BS. If you guys watch La Liga or the South American leagues then you will hear phrases like “puta”, “puta madre”, “piss off” and “SOB” thrown around constantly (even at the refs) with no offense taken whatsoever.

  32. Ed Gomes says:

    SL you’re wrong. When p*** is thrown around in those games its never directly at a players face. It’s like some here yelling the F bomb or SOB.

  33. Soccerlogical says:

    ED – Are you serious?

    Please do some lip reading during La Liga and S. American matches. After a hard tackle or bust up, the words puta, puto and puta madre are constantly thrown around at one another without any bans, racial retaliation or fistacuffs.

    Even the hair model Beckham use the word towards a ref and only got carded!
    Medina Cantalejo sent Beckham off for two bookable offences in a Copa del Rey clash with Valencia in January 2004 and Beckham was also given his marching orders during the penultimate match of the season against Murcia in May 2004, when he called the linesman a “hijo de puta” (son of a bitch).

    So if Beckham didn’t get some kind of Spanish FA ban or burning at the stake for using that against a ref…. WHY SHOULD EVRA (especially as there is lack of proof)?

    And if as Gus claims, Evra said something the likes of F-Off or F-in Hell.. then so what.. even puta is thrown around constantly on any pitch in the world.

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