West Ham legend Billy Bonds has claimed the club’s new London Stadium “isn’t a football ground”.

The Hammers moved into the former 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford ahead of the new season, but there have been a number of problems since the switch from Upton Park.

Bonds, who played for West Ham for 20 years and managed the club from 1990 to 1994, said: “I don’t think it’s a football ground.

“It seems strange. Slaven Bilic has to walk 20-odd yards to get to the edge of pitch and when you’re sitting up high you can see a big trench where they’ve moved the seats.

“Arsenal built a new stadium but they’re two yards away from the playing surface.”

Homophobic abuse

Nearly three quarters of British fans have heard homophobic abuse at a match during the last five years, according to new research from LGBT equality charity Stonewall.

The research revealed that 18- to 24-year-olds are twice as likely as the overall group to say they would be embarrassed if their favourite player came out as gay.

As well as the survey’s key finding that 72 per cent of fans have witnessed homophobic abuse at games, it also more encouragingly found that nine in 10 fans would either be ‘proud’ or ‘neutral’ if their favourite player came out as gay.

It also showed that six in 10 fans think anti-LGBT language is a problem in sport.

Gus Poyet ‘sick’ of refereeing errors

Gus Poyet said he was “sick” of refereeing errors after his Real Betis side had a perfectly good goal ruled out in the 1-0 derby upset at Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Poyet said: “In a game of this nature these decisions are key.

“When a decision is tight I am always on the side of the referee, but when it is clear (a mistake has been made), then no.

“We have had five games now and I am sick of it. In the end I am responsible but this has to stop. There are too many mistakes.”

Didavi lay-off

Daniel Didavi faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after aggravating a knee injury during Wolfsburg’s 5-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old played – and scored – despite not being match fit, and his coach Dieter Hecking confirmed he will pay the price with surgery in the coming days.

Hecking said: “We knew prior to the game that there was a risk, but he wanted to play.”

Didavi, a summer recruit from Stuttgart, is no stranger to the treatment room having spent over a year on the sidelines due to a knee injury and a further four months out in the 2014/15 campaign with another knee problem.

Gary Medel facing Chile suspension

Gary Medel could be slapped with a long ban by FIFA following his red card in Chile’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay for disparaging comments to the match official.

Chile lost the match 2-1 with Medel shouting insults to the Argentine referee on his way to an early shower late on.

Reports said the ref dismissed Medel, the Inter midfielder, for ‘abusive language’ as he shouted – ‘Argentines… sons of whores’.

A player can receive a four-match ban for such conduct.

However, if FIFA take into account that Medel reportedly singled out the referee’s nationality, he could be banned for more matches for his country.

Naismith ovation

Everton’s League Cup upset at the hands of second tier Norwich City on Tuesday was overshadowed by the rare sight of the Goodison Park faithful giving a standing ovation to an opposing striker scoring against the home side.

Steven Naismith, who netted the opener in the 2-0 win, spent four years at the Merseyside club before he moved to Norwich in January but he remains a fan-favourite at Everton thanks to his industrious displays on the pitch and social conscience off it.

The 30-year-old regularly bought tickets for Everton home games to donate to unemployed people across Liverpool during his time at Goodison Park.

“The reaction sums this club up. Everton is a magnificent club with great fans,” Naismith said.

Defender Brown joins Blackburn

Former Sunderland defender Wes Brown has joined Blackburn until the end of the season.

The 36-year-old has been training with Rovers since leaving the Black Cats in the summer.

A deal had been delayed by a calf injury Brown suffered during pre-season. The former England international will also spend time coaching the Rovers’ U-23 side.

Blackburn boss Owen Coyle praised Brown’s attitude during training, saying: “He’s been outstanding. He’s a constant professional – his attitude has been exemplary around the training ground with the young players, helping and encouraging them.”

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us