- FA have issued a long overdue apology to Liverpool football club and its fans
- Michael Owen is ready to make his Stoke debut
- Maicon and Ramirez also expected to make debuts
- Arsene Wenger has denied reports of bringing Drogba back to the Premier League
Football Association chairman David Bernstein has issued an apology for the Hillsborough disaster
After the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report, Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) called on English football’s governing body to say sorry and for once the F.A. acted promptly and swiftly to come up with a long overdue apology. Perhaps, the family of the victims can now find solace after 23 years of gut-wrenching pain and most importantly the process of healing can now begin. It was the F.A. who gave the go-ahead to the game all those years ago at Sheffield despite the fact that it had no safety certificate and had been the scene of potentially dangerous crowd situations in previous years. The apology read:
“We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a stadium the FA selected. This fixture was played in the FA’s own competition, and on behalf of the FA I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected with the city of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club. This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match, and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told.”
Even the Prime Minister David Cameron, in a statement to the House of Commons, apologized to the families of the victims for the injustice they had suffered and said the report showed that the police cover-up, aided and abetted by media coverage – most infamously in the Sun – had resulted in the “denigration of the deceased”.
Michael Owen gears up for Stoke bow
Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United star Michael Owen could possibly line up for Tony Pulis’ Stoke against champions Manchester City this weekend after the veteran Englishman declared himself fit and ready. It will be almost a year since Owen last played a Premier league game and with his fragile nature one can’t be too sure when he will play his next. Nevertheless, the striker is making all the right noises and looks to be ready for his much anticipated return.
“I feel in pretty good condition and I have been working very hard. I know I have missed pre-season, but I have worked hard all summer,” Owen said. “At the moment I am not sure what the manager has got in store for the game. I feel as if I am fit enough to take part in a game and that I can contribute in some way. I’m not quite 100% confident or happy in my general touch and different bits and bobs, but that will come. So we’ll see what the manager has got in mind, but I’d like to think I’ll improve as the weeks go on.”
Could Maicon feature for the Citizens and will Gaston Ramirez save the day for the pointless Saints?
Mancini’s favourite during his Inter days and now a member of the rampaging league champions, Maicon will nevertheless find it hard to cement his place in the starting eleven. Pablo Zabaleta has been phenomenal and Richard isn’t bad either, but Mancini’s willingness to play a three man central defense with wing backs could perhaps favor the Brazilian as he is more suited to the wing back role.
Southampton have blown their transfer record for the services of the Uruguayan and it looks like they desperately need him to come to the party after losing all three of their games so far. Can Ramirez be the star that everyone has billed him to be or would he flounder in his bid to adjust to the frantic pace of the Premier league? Smart money must surely be on the Uruguayan making a huge impact and pulling the Saints out of their mire.
Wenger assures Sagna’s loyalty and denies Drogba link-ups
Sagna told L’Equipe he had been surprised by the club’s decision to sell Alex Song to Barcelona and thus opening a can of worms, driving speculation of the Frenchman thinking of pastures away from the Emirates.
“We expected Robin Van Persie to leave, but not Alex Song … it was a surprise.This is a huge loss for the club. When you see two of the best players from last season leave, you ask a lot of questions. I understand that the fans are upset. I, like them, do not quite understand. [Song] is 24 years old, and he still had three years left on his contract. I don’t understand that at all. You return from holiday, you’re preparing, you see two players leave the club … It’s been like that since I have been at the club. I’m used to it.”
However, Wenger has quickly slammed down such rumors and reassured Gunner faithful of the Frenchman’s stay in North London.
“Bacary’s interview doesn’t reflect the love he has for this club. He has always given full commitment. Bacary loves the club, and I think he will stay here.”
On the subject of Didier Drobga, Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal is not about to offer Didier Drogba an escape route back to England from China. But the Gunner’s boss doesn’t fully rule out the idea as well.
“At the moment no. In my opinion he is not free. He has just left England. I don’t know about the situation because he came out with a completely different statement. You hear he might go to Real Madrid — but then he says ‘I am staying in China’. Is it just because he wants to be paid off? I don’t know.”