- The Upshot
- It’s a madhouse
It’s a madhouse
Ainsley Harriott's football riot
💬 Quote of the day
“The first time I dropped acid, I was told you have to do it in a place you feel comfortable, so I went to Loftus Road. I saw the pitch rolling up like a wave." - QPR fan Pete Doherty.
🏝️ All the journalists are so friendly here
When Neymar’s family jetted out to Riyadh to inspect their son’s new digs, they were filled with wide-eyed wonder at the exotic gulf state.
Uncle João loved the home-baked mammoul, his mum cooed at the sedated tiger cubs, and his father innocently inquired whether people still have harems in the Middle East.
But Neymar’s sister Rafaella was drawn to another of the Kingdom’s eccentric customs: its unique cocktail of low taxes and bloodthirsty state repression.
And now, back in Brazil, she’s been blamed for an attempted coup which tried to reinstate strongman ex-president Jair Bolsonaro.
Investigators claim Rafaella wired money to the plotters behind the failed power grab, along with another famous footballing name: Rivaldo.
But you already knew he was a wrong’un…
🫑 Grab your knuckledusters lads, the green peppers are here
There are plenty of softly spoken Ottolenghi-lovers who slip on a Stone Island jacket, neck a couple of Stellas and adopt a geezer accent for a Saturday afternoon down the footy.
And it turns out beloved TV chef Ainsley Harriott is no different.
The former Ready Steady Cook host was caught up in a “football riot” after heading to the Istanbul derby between hated rivals Besiktas and Fenerbache in search of some Turkish street food.
“It’s a mad'ouse here, don’t get this down the Emirates,” Ainsley exclaimed, dropping his trademark teddy bear chuckle for the Silk Cut growl of a battleaxe pub landlady.
Although Ains couldn’t help slipping back into his camp BBC persona: “I can’t even see all the lovely food”.
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🍷 Red devil
For a generation of managers, a visit from Man United raised a daunting prospect: choosing a bottle to impress wine-loving Sir Alex Ferguson at his traditional post-match drink.
And while Harry Redknapp got away with serving him Blue Nun, Fergie could be brutal.
When new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho uncorked a bottle of plonk in 2004, Sir Alex chastised him for serving "paint stripper". The next week a horrified Roman Abramovich sent Sir Alex a case of Tignanello, a big name Tuscan red.
But we can't all raid an embarrassed oligarch's cellar to satisfy our wine-buying needs.
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🏆 One hand on the trophy
Burglars broke into the South Africa rugby HQ this week, nicking a load of laptops, signed shirts and whiskey but leaving behind the World Cup trophy.
Although perhaps they were on to something - apparently the cup would only be worth a couple of grand melted down.
💸 Salt Bae will see you now, Mr Kakuta
When you’re scraping a living as a non league footballer, mucking out the rancid bogs in the away end, it’s easy to fantasise about the high-flying life of a Premier League star.
And Corby Town midfielder Medi Abalimba lived that dream, posing as Chelsea bench warmer Gaël Kakuta to rack up £163,000 in credit card bills on luxury hotels, chauffeur driven Bentleys and helicopter flights over London.
He was eventually jailed, but already had his next scam lined up: he wooed Thierry Henry’s ex-wife Claire Merry, and phoned her every day from Wormwood Scrubs prison, telling her he was in Kuwait on military service.
Claire later told a court she could hear sounds “consistent with a military operation”, presumably some unfortunate inmate getting a sharpened toothbrush up the arris.
After his “return from duty”, Medi took Claire out to fancy restaurants, before she spotted a mysterious fifty grand transaction out of her bank account.
And if you’re wondering what Abalimba is up to now, he’s serving a four stretch in the slammer after convincing a chauffeur to pay off his £100,000 bills by telling him he was Diana Ross’ godson.
Still, beats East Thurrock away on a wet Tuesday night.
🤦 Cam on you Hammers
As David Cameron gets his trotters under the desk at the Foreign Office, he’ll be longing for the simpler times of the early 2010s, when his toughest diplomatic assignment was convincing Xi Jinping to pose for a selfie with Sergio Aguero.
But before Dave drags Zelensky and Putin to Soho Farmhouse, he might want a quick refresher on which side he supports.
While Prime Minister, Cameron always claimed to be a “lifelong” Aston Villa fan.
Until he gave a speech on multiculturalism and praised Britain as a country "where you can support Man Utd, the Windies and Team GB at the same time. Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham.”
He later confirmed he was a Villa fan and blamed his mistake on a "brain fade".
🎙️ Weed, wickets and waitresses
These days, most people know Ian Botham for that horrible photo of a flaccid knob which appeared on his Twitter profile.
But did you know he was a handy cricketer too?
We’re joined by Trigger Happy TV creator Dom Joly to discuss Beefy’s fights, flings and 45 year feuds.
From smoking spliffs to shagging waitresses, this is the story of England’s stoner superstar…
💉 Quick hits
☄️ After the David Beckham Netflix documentary, there was an 6.4% increase in long shots in the Premier League.
🇫🇷 AS Pirae are making a 31,690km round-trip from Tahiti to play in the French Cup tomorrow.
🏴 The Scottish FA are trying to convince Anthony Gordon to switch his international allegiance from England.
💍 Boxer Carl Froch took his wife to a strip club on their first date.
🍑 Caught behind
That's it for today. Thanks to Woody.
Still want more?
🎙️ From smoking spliffs to punching coppers, meet England’s stoner superstar, Ian Botham on The Upshot podcast.
🍷 And what better way to enjoy it than with a glass of Beefy’s favourite red? Get £75 off a case of top-notch bottles with Naked Wines.
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