Tag Archives: Premier League

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal

David Luiz received a straight red card in the 87th minute for Chelsea

David Luiz was sent off late on for Chelsea as Arsenal earn a deserved point against the champions.

Defender Luiz received a straight red card for a late challenge on Sead Kolasinac in the 87th minute after the Gunners had earlier had Shkodran Mustafi’s headed goal disallowed.

The Blues’ best chance came from Pedro, who poked wide in the first half.

The result ended Arsenal’s five-match losing streak in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

More to follow.


Ex-footballer Clarke Carlisle ‘missing’ from Manchester

clarke carlisle
Image caption Clarke Carlisle played for teams including Burnley and Leeds United

The family of former footballer Clarke Carlisle have said they are concerned for his welfare after being unable to contact him.

His wife Carrie tweeted he was last seen in Manchester city centre at 06:00 BST.

Carlisle, who has previously spoken of his mental health issues, spent six weeks in a psychiatric unit after he was hit by a lorry in 2014.

The 37-year-old has played for Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United.

He was also chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association and remarried earlier this year.

Mental health charity

He has spoken previously about attempting to take his own life in his 20s and also when he was hit by a lorry near York shortly before Christmas in 2014.

A year later, he launched a mental health charity called the Clarke Carlisle Foundation for Dual Diagnosis – a condition that has been described as “mental health problems co-occurring with drug or alcohol misuse”.

Image copyright Michael McKinlay
Image caption Clarke Carlisle has spoken about mental health issues to raise awareness of the condition

The father-of-three said earlier this summer the worst of his mental health problems were behind him after years of working with psychiatrists, counsellors and family but there were still “bad days“.

Carlisle made more than 500 appearances for nine clubs during his 16-year career

The Preston-born player, who started his career with Blackpool, helped Burnley win promotion to the Premier League in 2009 and also played for Northampton Town.

Arsenal game delayed by crowd trouble

Alexis Sanchez scored his first goal of the season for Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez scored a stunning goal as Arsenal came from behind to beat Cologne in a Europa League match delayed for an hour following crowd trouble.

Chilean Sanchez, who nearly left the club to join Manchester City on transfer deadline day, picked the ball up outside the area and curled a shot past keeper Timo Horn.

The game did not begin until 21:05 BST as thousands of visiting supporters arrived at the ground without tickets and then clashed with stewards inside the Emirates Stadium.

When the match did get under way, Cologne took the lead in spectacular fashion as Jhon Cordoba lobbed fellow Colombian David Ospina from 40 yards.

Striker Olivier Giroud planted a header wide of goal from six yards for the much-changed home side, who were booed at the half-time whistle.

But substitute Sead Kolasinac equalised with a thumping volley before Sanchez struck, and Hector Bellerin then added the third from close range, as midfielder Jack Wilshere made his first appearance for the club since August 2016.

In Group H’s other game, Red Star Belgrade drew 1-1 against BATE Borisov.

How FC Cologne fans (briefly) took over London

The importance of Alexis

Forward Sanchez scored 30 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season as they won the FA Cup.

But in August, he almost joined former boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for £60m, but the Gunners pulled out of the deal after failing to find a replacement.

Sanchez made his second start of the season in an impressive showing, capping his performance with a sublime effort in the second half – his first goal of the season against the Bundesliga’s bottom side.

He could have scored another two, but struck a free-kick straight at Horn and shanked wide from inside the area.

Forgotten man Wilshere, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth before suffering a broken leg, came on for Alex Iwobi on 68 minutes, and the England international’s clever dummy was instrumental in the lead-up to Bellerin’s goal.

20,000 does not fit into 2,900

Cologne, like Arsenal, finished fifth in their domestic league last season, achieving European football for the first time in 25 years.

The Bundesliga club’s return to European competition, though, was one tainted by controversy.

There were indications on Thursday afternoon that problems may occur, with more than 20,000 fans arriving from Germany, despite the visitors receiving an allocation of 2,900 tickets.

Videos emerged on social media of the German side’s support briefly bringing parts of central London to a standstill as they threw bottles and let off flares while making their way to the ground.

The kick-off was then put back, after which skirmishes between fans and stewards took place, while many had entered the ground into the home end, climbing barriers to get into the away section.

A number of Arsenal fans inside texted BBC Football, with one supporter reporting that they felt “intimidated by the horrible, tense atmosphere”, another that they were “ashamed of Arsenal for not seeing the warning signs” and a third describing it as “the worst feeling at football in 40 years of watching”.

It remains to be seen whether Uefa charges are brought against one or both sides.

Thursday night fright

Jhon Cordoba (right) scored from around 40-yards out

Arsenal had finished in the Premier League‘s top four in each of Arsene Wenger’s 20 seasons in charge of the club until last term.

May’s fifth-place finish meant missing out of Europe‘s elite club competition and an entry into the secondary tier, where they have not played since 2000.

On that occasion, after finishing third in their Champions League group, they made it all the way to the Uefa Cup final before being beaten by Turkish side Galatasaray on penalties in Copenhagen.

French boss Wenger said finishing in the Premier League‘s top four was their best route of getting back into the Champions League and so he left out many of his first-team players for the game against Cologne, instead giving those on the fringes an opportunity.

But goalkeeper Ospina suffered a dreadful start, rushing off his line and failing to get distance on a clearance which fell to the feet of Leonardo Bittencourt, who laid it off to Cordoba.

The striker took a touch, spun and curled a sublime, long-range effort over the head of Ospina and into the net.

Petr Cech’s understudy made up for his error by saving well off Cordoba low down in the second half and collecting a vicious drive from Milos Jojic as his side turned the game around.

Man of the match – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Sanchez scored his first goal in the Europa League… and what a goal it was

No hierarchy in the squad – Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, speaking to BT Sport: “We had a slow start and there was accidental goal. After that, it was important not to concede and panic and put more pace into our game. From then. we controlled the game and won convincingly in the end.

“I think Sanchez is still running after his best form. He is a fantastic football player but physically he has just come back. But he has it in his locker to do something special, which he did.

“We want to do well in all the best competitions and I had an experienced team today, even though I made nine changes. They are all top-class players. There is no hierarchy in the squad.”

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin: “It is a new competition for us so we had to set the tone. We think we are one of the best teams in the competition so we have to show that on the pitch.

“I am very happy with the victory. We were ready to play at 20:05 BST but these things happen. We started a bit with cold feet but after that it just worked.”

What next?

Arsenal face London rivals and Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday (kick-off 13:30 BST), while Cologne will look to pick up their first points in the Bundesliga when they travel to Borussia Dortmund on the same day (kick-off 17:00 BST).

Classy Kolasinac – the stats

  • This was Arsenal’s first European match outside of the Champions League (including qualifiers) since May 2000 – 17 years and 120 days ago.
  • Cologne lost a competitive game that they were winning at half-time for the first time since December 2014 (1-2 v Augsburg).
  • Arsene Wenger has registered a win over 57 different clubs during his tenure as Arsenal manager (from 64 teams faced).
  • Alexis Sanchez has scored seven goals in his last eight competitive appearances for Arsenal.
  • Hector Bellerin scored his first European goal in his 16th appearance in European competition.
  • Sead Kolasinac has played a part in four goals (two goals, two assists) in five appearances for Arsenal (including Community Shield).
  • Kolasinac’s goal was the 200th scored at home in European competition under Wenger – 125 scored at the Emirates, 69 at Highbury and eight at Wembley.

Europa League: Arsenal v Cologne delayed by an hour at Emirates Stadium

Cologne had a ticket allocation of 2,900 but 20,000 turned up in London

Arsenal’s Europa League game against Cologne at Emirates Stadium has been delayed by an hour “in the interests of crowd safety”, and will now kick off at 21:05 BST.

Thousands of ticketless away fans turned up outside the ground and no supporters were allowed in.

German side Cologne had only been given a ticket allocation of 2,900, but around 20,000 of their fans brought central London to a standstill earlier in the afternoon.

Police said flares were let off but reported “no significant disorder”.

Cologne are returning to European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Arsenal have not played in the Europa League since 2000. They missed out on Champions League football by finishing fifth in the Premier League last season.

The Germans are playing Arsenal in the Europa League
The delayed kick-off was relayed inside an empty Emirates Stadium

Kane gets Spurs off to winning start

Harry Kane has now scored 28 goals in his last 22 games for club and country

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund to get their Champions League campaign off to a positive start and end their winless run at Wembley.

Kane’s instinct in front of goal was the difference as Spurs were largely forced on the back foot by an impressive German side who dominated territory and possession.

His first goal – a rising angled finish following a determined run down the left – capped a frantic opening 15 minutes in which Son Heung-min’s opener from an angle was cancelled out by a superb curling finish from Dortmund’s Andriy Yarmolenko.

The England forward’s second was a low finish inside the far post on the hour mark to give his side the edge they needed as they overcame the threat of their dangerous and relentless opponent.

However, the home side ended the game with 10 men as defender Jan Vertonghen was shown a second yellow card for catching Dortmund substitute Mario Gotze with a swinging arm.

The visitors can point an accusing finger at the officials, who ruled out a perfectly good goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for offside.

This is just the second win of Tottenham’s tenancy at Wembley, which includes all of last season’s home Champions League group stage games and two Premier League matches this campaign.

It leaves them second in Group H behind Real Madrid, who beat Apoel Nicosia 3-0 in Spain.

Kane proving himself on European stage

Before Wednesday’s game, Kane spoke of his desire to break into the “world-class bracket” by adding goals in European competition to his impressive domestic haul.

The 24-year-old has scored more than 20 goals in each of the past three Premier League campaigns and opened his account for this season with his 100th and 101st Tottenham goals in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Everton.

Both of his goals against Dortmund were world class; showcasing not only his ruthless ability to finish chances but also his determination and ability to fashion opportunities for himself.

Kane also illustrated the creative aspect of his game, setting up Son for what should have been the second goal of this industrious display as deputy to the suspended Dele Alli.

And Kane should have had a hat-trick but dragged another shot wide of the far post following a headed pass from the busy Christian Eriksen.

He was withdrawn to a standing ovation, allowing Fernando Llorente his Spurs debut and taking with him a record that now reads 28 goals in his past 22 games for club and country.

Dortmund play their part

The average positions of each team’s players illustrates how much Tottenham (left) were on the back foot for much of Wednesday’s game

Dortmund are a modern marvel of a club – repeatedly churning out highly competitive, fluent young sides.

They arrived in London as joint leaders of the Bundesliga but seemingly handicapped by an injury crisis that denied them the use of a number of key first-team players, including Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle and captain Marcel Schmelzer.

But such is the ability of their squad and the nous of new manager Peter Bosz [formerly of Ajax], they were able to produce a highly impressive display that would have ripped apart a side less defensively adept than Spurs. And they could have yielded at least a point but for an error from the officials.

Aubameyang thought he had made it 2-2 with a brilliant finish on the half-volley near the back post but was denied by the assistant’s flag, lifted in response to a group of retreating team-mates, not the Gabon forward.

Aubamayeng also had a low shot from inside the box saved by Lloris and Christian Pulisic slid an effort wide for Dortmund, who claimed 67% of possession but came away with no points.

Man of the match – Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane is the first Englishman since Wayne Rooney in 2010 to score in three consecutive Champions League appearances

‘Sometimes you have to play a different way’ – What they said…

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on BT Sport: “It was so important to win, we are so happy. It was so important to start well in a tough game. Dortmund played really well, they dominated the first half. We increased our level in the second half and we were very clinical in front of goal.

“It is more than three points. At half-time we fixed some problems and modified the position of some players. The tempo of the game decreased which was better for us. Dortmund are a very aggressive team, we struggled a little to pass the ball quickly.

“Sometimes you can’t dominate, you have to play a different way and the team is more mature now. We can learn a lot from this game.

“Harry Kane was fantastic.”

Harry Kane on BT Sport: “It’s a massive win. Nights like this at Wembley, we have to take advantage of it. Last season our downfall was the games at home. It was a more experienced performance from us tonight.

“In the Champions League you have to be smart. You can’t always press teams on a big pitch. We took advantage on the counter-attack and exploited the space they left in behind.”

Son haunts Dortmund again – the stats you need to know

  • Son Heung-min has scored seven goals in nine competitive games against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Tottenham have recorded just their second win in their past 12 games at Wembley (D3 L7), with their other win coming against CSKA Moscow in last season’s Champions League group stage.
  • Borussia Dortmund have lost on seven of their past 10 visits to England (W2 D1); including a 2-1 Champions League final defeat at Wembley in 2013.
  • Tottenham have received red cards in two of their past four home games played at Wembley, including in each of their past two European games.
  • Spurs have not kept a clean sheet in their past 11 games at Wembley, since a goalless draw against Man Utd in the 2009 League Cup final.
  • Christian Eriksen has provided 20 assists in all competitions in 2017; seven more than any other player in the big five European leagues.
  • Harry Kane has been directly involved in five of Tottenham’s six goals in September [four goals, one assist], after no goal contributions in August.

Premier League: Transfer window will close before start of season

Renato Sanches, Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were each a focus of the summer transfer window

Premier League clubs have voted to close next summer’s transfer window before the season starts.

Managers have complained that the ability for players to move when the season is under way causes disruption to their squads and preparations.

From next season, the window will close at 17:00 BST on the Thursday before the Premier League season begins.

The vote was not unanimous and clubs will still be able to sell players until the end of the normal window.

The window across Europe runs until 31 August. The Premier League’s move means that while clubs will be able to sell until that date, buying activity will cease on 9 August for the 2018-19 season.

European leagues will still be able to buy and sell until 31 August, while the Football League‘s window also remains unaltered.

Football League bosses have indicated they could follow the Premier League’s move but require further dialogue with stakeholders before a decision is made.

The number of Premier League clubs who wanted the change is not yet clear but at least 14 of the 20 must have voted for the move in order for a change to take place.

The right way to do business?

Arsene Wenger faced questions over the future of Alexis Sanchez until the end of the summer transfer window

In August, Tottenham striker Harry Kane said closing the window early would allow players to concentrate.

His views were repeated by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Friday, who stated players need “clarity”.

“It’s important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts,” said Wenger. “Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It’s not the way to work.”

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also said the window should be closed early when he was asked about Barcelona’s bids for Liverpool‘s Philippe Coutinho.

Speaking before Thursday’s announcement, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he hoped the rest of Europe would follow the move.

“If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don’t do this, still we have a problem,” said Koeman. “The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it’s very silly.”

But current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho stressed the fact European clubs would have a wider opportunity to do business would not be a disadvantage for English clubs.

“The risk is minimal and even those powerful clubs have to know if we can’t buy players we’re not going to sell,” said Mourinho.

The Groundhopper

Anders JohansenImage copyright Jake Whiteley
Image caption Anders Johansen prefers watching lower-league football – such as at eighth-tier Spalding United in Lincolnshire

In a modest County Durham football ground, a cross-country summer adventure will end tonight.

The match, between Darlington Railway Athletic and Tow Law Town, takes place in Northern League Division Two.

It is the tenth tier of English football, where games are sometimes still played on mud patches and the players smell of Deep Heat.

The crowd will be 100, at most. If it rains, it will be half that. But among them, come rain or shine, will be Anders Johansen.

Anders, 44, is from Norway. This match will be the 27th he has seen in Britain in 24 days.

While some people seek out the sun, Anders has spent his summer holiday watching teams such as Llandrindod Wells, Quorn, and Percy Main Amateurs.

“My friends think I’m mad,” he admits.

In total, Anders has seen matches at 445 grounds in England, most in the past few years (two years ago, he saw 117 games in one season).

He’s also been to 18 grounds in Scotland, three in Wales, and two in Northern Ireland.

In short, he is a groundhopper. While others collect stamps, Anders collects football grounds.

Groundhoppers: A field guide

  • Groundhoppers collect football grounds, as well as supporting their own team
  • Some watch more than 200 matches a season
  • Tony Incenzo, a QPR fan, has visited more than 2,000 grounds in total
  • John Stancombe, who is blind, has been to more than 1,600 grounds
  • Some leagues hold groundhopping weekends to enable people to visit new grounds

Anders grew up watching English football. In Norway, First Division matches were broadcast live on Saturday afternoons, and a whole generation was hooked.

In the early 1990s, an English friend introduced Anders to Reading FC. Anders became a fan, travelling from Norway a couple of times a season to watch matches.

But, by 2010, he was “falling out of love” with the club. Reading were in a golden era – spending two seasons in the Premier League from 2006 to 2008 – but Anders was disillusioned.

“I always wanted Reading to reach the Premier League,” he says. “But when we got there I found it boring.

“I don’t like the top level any more. It’s not for me. It’s been reduced to business. It’s all about money – foreign owners, foreign managers, foreign players.

“And I don’t like the new grounds. They all look the same. Plastic bowls.”

During one visit to England, in between Reading games, Anders went to a non-league match (in England, non-league means anything below the top four divisions of the Premier League and Football League).

“I fell in love again,” he says.

“At the top level, you’re just a customer. A number. In non-league, you always get a welcome.”

Image copyright Anders Johansen
Image caption Anders at Pollok FC in Glasgow

Anders has been welcomed in every corner of Britain: from Falmouth Town (Cornwall) to Forres Mechanics (near Inverness).

In Shildon, County Durham, where he visited on August Bank Holiday Monday, he got a full English – and a pint – in the clubhouse before the game.

At Sheringham, Norfolk, which he visited on 18 August, he got a club shirt and a lift back to the station.

“Things like that are typical,” says Anders. “People are kind.”

And the hospitality goes both ways.

At Horden Colliery Welfare, Anders won the raffle not once, but twice. Both times, the prizes – a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates – were given back to the club.

Image copyright Anders Johansen
Image caption Horden Colliery Welfare in County Durham, where Anders won the raffle – twice

It is the community, as much as the football, that keeps Anders flying over the North Sea.

Although he does visit bigger clubs – he has been to Sunderland and Tranmere Rovers this summer – Anders enjoys the grassroots grounds the most.

“In Norway, below the top two or three divisions, most football grounds are very boring,” he says.

“They are council-owned plastic pitch complexes. A number of teams groundshare. It is no-one’s home.

“They are not allowed to sell alcohol, so people come a minute before kick-off and leave at the final whistle.

“But in Britain, most teams have a clubhouse. People get there early. The football clubs are like a little community hub.”

After visiting more than 450 British grounds, Anders is well known in non-league football – “I often see a friendly face,” he says – but he prefers to travel alone.

“That way I can go where I want.”

He uses a rail pass to keep costs down and stays in budget hotels and B&Bs, or with friends.

Anders, who’s from Drobak, a town 20 miles south of Oslo, used to work in warehousing but quit to follow his passion. He now earns money writing guides to English football.

“So far it’s been okay,” he says. “But I am considering finding another job.”

Image copyright Anders Johansen
Image caption One of Anders’ favourite grounds: Salts FC in West Yorkshire

After tonight’s match in Darlington, Anders will fly home on Friday.

He is due back in England on Boxing Day. How long he stays depends on how much money he saves before then.

But what about when the grounds run out? What will he do when there are no more worlds to conquer?

“There are always new grounds to visit,” he says, laughing.

“And in the last year or two, I’ve taken a liking to Scottish grounds.”

Wayne Rooney arrested on suspicion of drink-driving

Wayne RooneyImage copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Wayne Rooney announced his international retirement last week, after 53 goals for his country

Everton striker Wayne Rooney has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, the BBC understands.

England‘s all-time record scorer was stopped by police near his home in Cheshire on Thursday night.

Rooney, 31, announced his international retirement last week, after 53 goals for his country in 119 appearances.

He rejoined his boyhood club Everton in the summer and scored in each of his opening two Premier League games.

PERRY AUSTIN-CLARKE: Putting battle to beat disease on front foot

IT’S GREAT to see that a group of former Bradford City players, led by current manager Stuart McCall, will be joining the Memory Walk to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society next month.

Several past Bantams stars, including Paul Jewell, Ian Ormondroyd, John Hendrie, Peter Litchfield, Billy Legg and Peter Jackson are among those signed up for the 5k walk on Sunday, September 10, at Lister Park.

The walk is being organised by Christine Gilliver, the wife and carer of former City player Alan – or “Gilly” to all who know him – who has vascular dementia and degenerative Alzheimer’s Disease.

Stuart McCall’s father has dementia and City’s CEO, James Mason, who will also join the walk, has close family members affected by the condition.

I watched the middle of my three sisters waste away to a premature death at just 62 with this horribly pernicious condition.

Once thought of as a disease of old age, it is remarkable nowadays just how many people have been touched by dementia-related tragedy. And all of them will share the same anger and frustration at their inability to help their loved ones as they watch them fade.

Christine Gilliver put it very eloquently: “It is such a cruel disease; it robs you of your future. You become a carer for the person you love, even if they no longer realise it. You live with a sense of grief daily but you’re grieving for a person who is still there. So much more needs to be done to try and find a cure.”

The Alzheimer’s Society says there are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. It mainly affects people over the age of 65 and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, there are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics last year showed that, for the first time, dementia was the leading cause of death for England and Wales. Of the 529,655 deaths registered during 2015, dementia accounted for 61,686 (11.6 per cent).

And a recent study analysing mortality rates suggested that the number of people who die from dementia will quadruple over the next 20-30 years.

Christine believes her husband’s condition is due to him heading footballs during his 16-year playing career.

It is a belief echoed by Dawn Astle, the daughter of former West Brom and England striker, Jeff, who died of a degenerative brain condition in 2002, aged 59, with a coroner describing his illness as an “industrial disease”, following years of headers on the pitch.

Ms Astle called for a small percentage of the wages of Premier League footballers to go towards funding dementia care for former players.

She said: “Our dream was to have a series of care homes to provide respite or long-term care. A one per cent levy on the wages of Premier League players would raise millions to do that.

“Surely today’s players, who have so much money, wouldn’t begrudge that, so those who laid the ­foundations for ­everything they have can be looked after.”

It’s a laudable aim and no-one would begrudge those former players the care they need but why restrict it to former players?

Assuming that the intention was already to cater for those from the lower leagues as well as the top flight, what about all those non-league players who suffer dementia?

And all those fans who paid substantial sums of money to watch their highly-paid heroes across the years?

Christine Gilliver has also called for the Football Association to support former players suffering from dementia but there is no suggestion that those taking part in the Memory Walk, or others like it across the country, should be raising money for anything other than the greater good.

Dementia is a cruel disease and the greatest of levellers: it doesn’t care who it affects and our priority must surely be to find a cure for everyone’s benefit.

Donations can be made at or by e-mailing


IT HAS taken a long time to get there but calls by the Local Government Association to modernise the laws surrounding taxis and private hire vehicles are very welcome.

Some of them date back to 1847. The fact that, in these days of Uber and mobile phone apps, the statute books still call vehicles licensed to ply for hire “Hackney Carriages” speaks for itself.

The current system is rife with abuse and extremely difficult and costly to manage and control. Let’s hope the Government takes the initiative to improve passenger safety soon.

These online ‘trolls’ are aiming their bile at the wrong targets

THERE were some ridiculous comments, along the lines of “well, what do you expect”, made online following the report that a young pregnant woman’s car was broken into while she attended an appointment at BRI last week.

The suggestion was that it was her own fault for parking there and not realising her car was likely to be attacked and her property stolen.

Naturally enough, the NHS Trust says it does monitor and patrol car parks and works with police to tackle any incidents but it can’t monitor all its 200 CCTV cameras across all its hospital sites all the time.

That, however, does not justify the abuse aimed at the defenceless young victim. Surely the vitriol and bile would have been better directed at the disgusting, callous, opportunist criminals who caused all the distress, damage and inconvenience in the first place?

Andy Carroll watch robbery accused ‘hid under mattress’

Andy CarrollImage copyright PA
Image caption The West Ham striker previously told the court he hit about 10 cars in his effort to get away

A man accused of attempting to rob Premier League footballer Andy Carroll of his £22,000 watch hid under a mattress when police arrived to arrest him, a court has heard.

The West Ham player, who has nine England caps, told Basildon Crown Court he was returning home from training when he was chased by two motorcyclists on 2 November 2016.

Jack O’Brien, 22, was arrested 10 days after the alleged attempted robbery.

Mr O’Brien denies attempted robbery.

Prosecutor Simon Gladwell said police arrested Mr O’Brien at a house in Dagenham, where they found him in the front bedroom “hiding in the bed frame under the mattress”.

Mr Gladwell said police seized a crash helmet and Ducati jacket at the east London property and a Suzuki motorbike was seized from the back garden.

“The motorcycle used in the alleged attempted robbery was the same motorcycle that was seized at the time of Jack O’Brien’s arrest,” he added.

‘Same motorcycle’

The court heard that the rider of the bike used in the alleged attempted robbery wore the same crash helmet and jacket seized at the time of Mr O’Brien’s arrest.

Mr Gladwell said Mr O’Brien had pleaded guilty to a string of burglaries in October and November 2016 in April, in which items including jewellery, watches and cash were stolen.

“At the time of each of the burglaries Jack O’Brien used the same motorcycle that was used in the attempted robbery of Andy Carroll,” said Mr Gladwell.

He added that in each of the burglaries Mr O’Brien also used the same crash helmet and jacket worn by the biker in the attempted robbery of Mr Carroll.

Michael Edmonds, defending, said Mr O’Brien, of Navarre Gardens, Romford, east London, was not the biker.

He said Mr O’Brien had used the motorcycle, jacket and helmet for crime before, but that it was he was not using the bike on that occasion.

The trial continues.