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The A to Z of 2009 in Sport

img01  20 years ago was the Hillsborough Disaster, which saw 96 Liverpool fans perish. It's twenty year anniversary was witnessed at Anfield in a home match with Blackburn Rovers. Ex-Liverpool player and Liverpool born Stephen Warnock laid a wreath in front of the Kop.


img1 Andre Aggasi's revelations that he lied to the tennis authorities to escape a ban for taking hard drugs. The American, one of the finest players to grace the game, tested positive for the highly addictive drug, crystal methamphetamine, and then duped the ATP into believing he had taken it by accident.

Also in his autobiography ‘Open' the tennis ace admitted to wearing a hairpiece stapled to his headband and said he was so destracted by thoughts of the hairpiece falling off and causing him huge embarrassment during his first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 1990, that he lost the match. When you look and think back now, it's all so obvious and I can never remember personally wondering why all of a sudden, he was bald as a coot!??!


img2 Arturo Gatti. On July 11, 2009, Gatti was found dead in a hotel in Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil, where Gatti was on vacation with his Brazilian wife, Amanda Rodrigues, and their 10 month old son. Gatti's widow was charged with first degree murder after the strap of her purse was found stained with blood. Rodrigues could not explain how she spent more than 10 hours in the hotel room without realizing Gatti was dead. On July 30, 2009, it was reported that the Brazilian police ruled Gatti's death as a suicide and his widow was released. However, on July 31, 2009, it was announced that the Canadian government would be seeking more information from Brazilian authorities on Gatti's death. Gatti's family has also confirmed that there will be a second autopsy done in Quebec. On August 1, a pathologist hired by the ex-boxing champ's family said Brazilian authorities overlooked bruises on Gatti's body in the initial autopsy. Montreal medical examiners will perform further toxicology tests in Canada and are also awaiting more information on the scene of death from investigators in Brazil. "There were definite injuries that had not been seen by Brazilian authorities," Baden said.


img3 British Lions toured South Africa and played some of the best and bravest rugby ever played by the pride of the United Kingdom. Although they lost the test series 2-1, they were extremely unlucky and faced some very dodgy decisions and a brutal Springboks side.


img10 Bastareaud, the French rugby union centre, problems worsened when his club president Max Guazzini revealed that he had been hospitalised suffering from serious psychological problems.....basically a French rugby player is a nutter....no shock there then! The 20-year-old Stade Francais star and cousin of William Gallas, had previously admitted that he had invented a story about being assaulted outside his hotel in Wellington, New Zealand, following the 14-10 second test defeat to the All Blacks at the start of the year.


img2 Cricket's oldest rivals were reacquainted once more in the summer, and the hosts England were victorious in regaining the Ashes from the Aussies. Captain Andrew Strauss with the bat, and spinner Graeme Swann with the ball, were the standout heroes.


img2 Carl Froch holds the WBC Super Middleweight title, after two very couragious victories in 2009, keeping hold of his belt for dear life.


img10 Diego Maradona scraped Argentina into the World Cup using heaps and heaps of different players, sometimes bizarre tactics and sometimes no tactics at all. When gaining the all important 4th qualification spot, Maradona celebrated by abusing the press, telling them to suck his balls and keep sucking! FIFA banned him from turning up at the World Cup draw....


img3 Dundee Utd's new signing, Slovakian goalkeeper Dusan Pernis, was interviewed upon signing for the club, but it was all lost in translation somewhat and soon became a web favourite: 



img04 Espanyol's captain Daniel Jarque died of a heart attack during a pre-season training season.


img21 England U21's made it all the way to the European Championship Final, but fell at the final hurdle against the olde foe Germany 4-1. Matters were'nt helped with the suspension of keeper Joe Hart for the final.


img32 FC Barcelona beat all before them in 2009, winning the La Liga, Copa del Rey, Uefa Champions League, Supercopa de Espana, Uefa Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Championship.


img2 Fabio Capello made the whole of England forget about the wally with the brolly, as the Italian brought discipline, respect, performances and results to the England team, in one of the most impressive World Cup Qualifying campaigns in the national team's history.


img200 Glasgow Rangers duo Barry Ferguson and Alan McGregor were caught having a late night bender while on Scotland duty, and were benched for the following game days later, amd made their feeling clear to the Scottish press, Both were suspended by Rangers and banned indefinately from representing their country.


img6  Gareth Thomas, the ex-Wales and Lions skipper, came out of the closet and admitted he was a gaylord, and who are we to argue with him! He is always brave on the pitch and now he was extremely brave in public. We expect he's been holding off men, left, right and centre.


img2 Hugo Sanchez says a freak rainstorm during Almeria's 4-1 home defeat by Athletic Bilbao helped to see him on his way from the Spanish strugglers. The Mexican goalscoring legend was sacked as Almeria coach after Sunday's 2-0 loss at Espanyol in La Liga.

"I had bad luck," Sanchez told sports newspaper Marca. "For example, it never rains here and the day of the Athletic match it was bucketing down. "They put three past us from set-pieces and we lost badly."

Former Mexico manager Sanchez may have a point as the average rainfall in the Andalucian city is only 184mm (seven inches). The province of Almeria is so dry that it has served as the location for numerous spaghetti westerns.


img07 Headbutts from club managers were all the rage in December dressing rooms, as Jim Magilton at QPR and Tony Pulis at Stoke, tried to lay one on star players Akos Buzsaky and James Beattie respectively, which saw Magilton lose his job at Loftus Road over the incident.


img8 Injuries and operations (some quite bizzare), were seen on the pro tennis circuit. Simona Halapaya went and had a breast reduction, while American and World No.25 Sam Querrey, severely lacerated his forearm when sitting on a coffee table and falling through it, while at the Thailand Open.


img67 Ivorian striker Didier Drogba completely lost it at the final whistle with the referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, after Chelsea's Champions League Semi-Final defeat to Barcelona, swearing at him and calling him a cheat in complete earshot of the TV mics and the whole of the world watching. He was fined and banned from the start of the 09/10 Champions League season.


img09 Jenson Button won the Formula One Driver's Championship and also helped the Braun Team win the Constructors' Championship in it's maiden season.


img12 Jessica Ennis returned to competitive athletics after a 12 month injury lay-off and became the Heptathlon World Champion at the Berlin Games.


img2 Kim Christensen literally moved the goalsposts! That is the accusation facing a goalkeeper for the top-flight Swedish team IFK Gothenburg, who has been caught on camera committing perhaps the perfect footballing crime: literally moving the two posts a few inches closer together. In a bid to defeat opponents Örebro in a Swedish top-division match, Kim Christensen was pictured nudging the goalposts out of position before the game to make his goal less than the regulation eight yards in width. It seems Christensen made a habit of this unusual tactic, which had gone unnoticed for some time.

"I got the tip from a goalkeeping friend a few years ago, and since then I have done it from time to time," he told the Aftonbladet newspaper. In Swedish football, goalposts rest on top of the playing field, making them prime targets for cheaters. The referee, Stefan Johansson, noticed the irregularity and moved the goalposts back to their positions, but Christensen was allowed to continue playing because his guilt had not been discovered. Had Johansson noticed at the time, the correct procedure would have been to offer a penalty kick to Örebro, who finished the game with a 0-0 draw.


IMG338  Kris Boyd won his first Scottish Premier League title and another Scottish Cup at the end of the 08/09 season. He also finished as top scorer again for Rangers with 31 goals in all competitions, his highest total yet, and was awarded the club's first Sam English Bowl for top Rangers scorer in a season. Then on 30 December 2009 Boyd scored five goals in a 7-1 victory over Dundee United, and in doing so, he passed Henrik Larsson as the all-time leading goalscorer in the SPL.


img09 Lens kicked up a stink when Chelsea 'stole' their wonderkid Gael Kakuta. In September 09' it was announced by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, that the player would be banned for four months and be fined €780,000 due to a breach of contract with his old club RC Lens in the summer of 2007. Chelsea were also be banned from signing any players in the next two transfer windows due to their involvement in inducing the player to break his contract at RC Lens, meaning they won't be able to trade until January 2011. Further to this they received a €130,000 fine, payable to RC Lens.


img140 Lanky striker Emmanuel Adebayor, endeared himself to his new fans at Man City and completely severed all ties with his old Arsenal fans, when firstly stamping on ex-teammate Robin Van Persie's face, and then secondly running the length of the pitch to celebrate his goal gloatingly in front of the Gunners' away fans, in Man City's 4-2 win at Eastlands.


img11 Michael Stewart of Hearts was having a bad day as it was after being harshly sent-off at Hamilton, but things got worse as he made his way up the tunnel....



img0 Marlon King was sent down for ABH after attacking a woman in a nightclub. His club Wigan immediately cancelled his contract.


img12 Notts County had their world turned upside down when mysterious Arab businessmen bought the oldest league club in the world and talked about pumping money into it. Almost immediately Sven Goran Eriksson turned up as Director of Football, as did Sol Campbell to bring a touch of experience and class to the defence. But almost immediately Campbell left after only one game, citing broken promises of purchasing the likes of Roberto Carlos and Benjani, manager Ian McParland was sacked and replaced by experienced coach Hans Backe, but then he resigned after just nine games. Then the Arabs sold-up and the only person left from the summer revolution...good old Sven, and we know he loves a good compensation package, so he won't be leaving anytime soon!


img2 Nat Myles, the Australian and Queensland rugby league star, was caught with his pants down, when blind drunk in a Sydney hotel. Naked and desperate for a poo when coming around in the hotel corridor, he wildly banged on guests doors to let him in, but when no one obliged, he basically did a massive shit on the hotel's carpet. He was fined and suspended by the NRL.


img0 OLDHAM Athletic were in the news after a team bonding session turned into a boozy night out, and then ended in complete mayhem. Boss John Sheridan and some of his players were involved in a number of drunken incidents on the `team building' night at Belle Vue dog track. They included allegations that Sheridan scuffled with controversial striker Lee Hughes, who joined the club after serving half a six-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. Sheridan is said to have squared up to Hughes before the striker put him in a headlock. Club captain Sean Gregan is said to have lunged at young winger Chris Taylor and also allegedly exposed himself. Sheridan and players also allegedly rowed with staff at Belle Vue, which sponsors the club and paid for their free night out. Most of this was in front of supporters of the club. Despite the incidents, Sheridan remained with the club for the next game, a 6-2 loss to Milton Keynes Dons. The following day, following a talk between Sheridan and Oldham managing director Simon Corney, Sheridan agreed to leave the club.


img113 Outside bet, Mon Mome sensationaly won the 2009 Grand National at Aintree at an incredible 100/1 !


img92 Phil 'The Power' Taylor wins his 14th PDC World Title by defeating Raymond van Barneveld 7-1.


img10 Portsmouth FC have turned from a top 8 side and Fa Cup winners, to the league's laughing stock and completely broke in the space of a year. Of the squad that won the cup, only three players are left. In the summer the club was bought by Al Fahim, only for him to realise he didn't actually have any money, so he sold on after a couple of months to another Arab, Al Faraj, for a few quid, only for this new fella to never set foot in the country, fail to pay the players and staff monthly salaries three times out of five, and steer the club into an inevitable administration. In fact, know one can actually claim to have met Al Faraj! Pompey owe creditors £20m, HM Revenues & Customs £30m, and Spurs, Chelsea and RC Lens £10m for unpaid transfer fees, which has seen a transfer embargo placed on the club.


img4 Queensland won the State of Origin Series 2-1; a record fourth year on the trot.


img02 Queens Park Rangers have had five managers in 2009 under the chairmanship of flamboyant and all-round cheat, Flavio Briatore; also the disgraced former boss of Formula 1 Renault. The fifth manager Paul Hart, has just walked out after just five games due to interference from Briatore into team and squad selection.


img02  Robert Enke, the Germany and Hannover 96 goalkeeper became clinically depressed and committed suicide by throwing himself under a train.


img02 Rafa Benitez started the year with a press conference rant at Manchester Utd's Sir Alex Ferguson, his influence with referees and the fixture list, and a general bad feeling between the clubs. Then Rafa ended the year with a very strange press conference after a defeat at Portsmouth that saw Javier Mascherano sent-off and Fernando Torres in a strop the whole game:

With a section of the Liverpool away fans joining in the Fratton Park chants of, "You're getting sacked in the morning," after their embarrassing defeat, Rafa was already prickly.

Immediately after the game the Liverpool manager, who only last week had assured fans of a top-four finish, was tight-lipped. "I'm worried about winning the next game," he said, with a face like an undertaker.

Benitez then gave a bizarre performance in the post-match press conference, appearing to blame the referee, Lee Mason, for the defeat by repeatedly labelling the official's performance "perfect" - the word enunciated with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

Benítez claimed that Javier Mascherano should not have been sent off - a decision that, he felt, turned the game.

Benítez: "I have seen the replay and for me it is not a sending-off, but anyway the referee was perfect. He didn't make any mistakes. Now Javier is injured, and I will say again the referee didn't make any mistake."

Press: "We don't understand? You say the referee didn't make a mistake?"

Benítez: "No he was perfect. Perfect. He was perfect."

Press: "So why was it not a sending-off?"

Benítez: "I have seen the replay, for me it's not a sending-off, but anyway. Perfect."

Press: "Was there any particular reason why players like Gerrard or Torres couldn't get it together and perform?"

Benítez: "No, the referee was perfect so Torres, he didn't have any problems."

Press: "You were a goal down before the sending-off, the average observer wouldn't say you were controlling the game at half-time. Why do you say it turned the game when you were a goal down already?"

Benítez: "If you see we created a couple of chances and we have plenty of possession in the first half I was convinced we could change the game."

Press: "Can you just explain what you said about the referee?"

Benítez: "Perfect. No mistakes."

Press: "But you say he made a mistake with the sending-off."

Benítez: "Perfect."

Press: "Don't you think Torres was fortunate to escape being penalised for that elbow?"

Benítez: "The referee was perfect."

Earlier this season Benitez was found guilty of misconduct but escaped FA punishment when he mimed removing his glasses to criticise another referee's performance.


Sgorio, a Welsh language TV show in the UK has been left red-faced after viewing figures showed that not a single person tuned in to watch it. Sgorio, a late night football show, attracted an audience of zero people when it aired at 11:30pm on December 14. UK ratings are based on the viewing habits of 11,300 sample people, none of whom turned on the show, which broadcast on the free-to-air channel S4C. The episode of Sgorio covered highlights of the week for the German, Italian and Spanish football leagues, something of apparently little appeal to Welsh audiences. The lack of any audience will put pressure on S4C, which is subsidised by British taxpayers. Figures usually indicate that Sgorio receives thousands of viewers but the December 14 show represents a new low for the program, which has been on TV since 1988.


img09 Spurs players organised a secret Christmas party in Dublin behind the back of manager Harry Redknapp. Sixteen first-team stars coughed up £2,000 each to party organiser Robbie Keane for the wild night out after Redknapp had allowed them to go on what he was told and believed to be just a golf trip. But the shamed players abused that privilege, with six of them even hiring a private jet to fly there and back. They arrived in Dublin on the Tuesday and spent the night partying in a bar and a nightclub before flying back the following day. The party came just four days before Champions League-chasing Spurs lost 1-0 at home to struggling Wolves and is a major embarrassment to Redknapp, who only days previously insisted there would be no Christmas party for his players.


img05 Tiger Woods, the world's greatest and wealthiest golfer, was caught by his stunning wife, to have several bits on the side and be a serial shagger, which saw Woods' flee the family home, only to crash the car into a water-hydrant and injure his arm. But it was more than his arm that was injured, as loose women came out of the woodwork to claim all kinds of sordid sexual encounters with the Tiger. Through all of these bombshells, the previously squeeky clean megastar, lost all of his lucrative sponsorships and has yet to pick up his drivers in anger and definately not his wood!


img12 Thierry Henry spoiled his decent reputation by deliberately handling the ball in the build-up to France's equaliser in Paris and not putting his hand-up to the crime, which subsiquently knocked the Republic of Ireland going to the World Cup. With Tiger Woods' dalliances, it was also a bad month for Gillette!!


img209 Usain Bolt broke both the World Records in 100m and 200m in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.


img09 Uzbekistan is where you will find ex-Chelsea, Portugal and Brazil manager, Big Phil Scolari. Scolari is curently managing club side and reigning champs Bunyodkor, who also have Rivaldo playing for them. Scolari was expected to make a success of his time at Stamford Bridge, but a poor run of form for Chelsea saw him sacked in Feb 09'.


img293 Virender Sehwag scored 293 in the 3rd and final Test against Sri Lanka in a winning innings of sheer speed and finesse.


img2 Velez Sarsfield won the 2009 Argentine Premier/Clausura Championship.


img09 Wimbledon saw a mammoth and thrilling Mens Final for the second year running, with Roger Federer beating Andy Roddick in a third Wimbledon Final. Federer had now won Wimbledon for a sixth time, but even though losing, Roddick also set a record by winning 39 games in a Mens Final.


img201 Welsh wing wizard Ryan Giggs had a memorable 2009, winning the PFA Player of the Year, the Premier League with Man U, playing his 800th game for Utd, scored his 100th Premier League goal (and owns the record for scoring in every season the Premier League has been going), and topped it off with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.


img24 Xavi Hernandez proved himself in our eyes, to be the best allround player in the world.


img14 Xabi Alonso, teammate of Xavi with Spain, left Liverpool in the summer for Real Madrid, after understandibly getting the hump with Rafa Benitez's obsession to purchase Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.


img200   Younis Khan led his Pakistan team, including a brilliant Shahid Afridi, to a 2009 ICC Twenty20 World Cup win, beating Sri Lanka at Lords. However, later in the year, things turned sour when Khan resigned as captain on October 13, 2009 due to a parliamentary investigation into match fixing that was alleged to have taken place during his reign. Despite being cleared in the investigation, Khan said "Yes I have submitted my resignation because I am disgusted by these match-fixing allegations made against me and the team."


img2 Young British boxers (well young in the fight game) ruled the world, in the shape of Amir Khan, David Haye and Carl Froch, and would hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.


img2 Zenyatta, named after the 1980 album "Zenyatta Mondata" by The Police, won the Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita. It was the first time in the race's 26-year history that a female had triumphed. Not only that, but the impressive mare also set a record of 14 straight wins. The daughter of Street Cry produced a sensational performance to win the Breeders' Cup Classic last year, with jockey Mike Smith proclaiming her as "the horse of the decade by far".


img26  Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the 08/09 Serie A title with Inter Milan, and then in the close season went to Barcelona in a swap deal with Samuel Eto'o and a fistfull of Euros. Many sceptics thought he might take time to setlle at the Nou Camp, but the tall Swede hit the ground running.