(Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, left, squaring off with Wigan’s Damien Francis)
Wigan were about 40 seconds shy of an improbable opening day draw with title-holders Chelsea when the latter’s Hernan Crespo connected with a curled, left-footed blast from 18 yards out to secure the 3 points. Prior to that, the Blues had been stymied all afternon by an uncommonly poised Lactics side making their Premiership debut.
In the Coca Cola Championship, it is never too early for QPR to exhult at being top of the league, not after defeating previously unbeaten Sheffield United at Loftus Road yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that Rangers director Gianni Paladini (above) was accosted by several armed men during yesterday’s match. Paladini, a former player agent who has handled stars such as Fabrizio Ravanelli and Benito Carbone, was previously linked to a takeover attempt at Port Vale.
I realize a lot of people are upset about the Sellotape logo on the back of the new shirts, but this really seems like an overreaction.
(ADDENDUM : The Times’ Brendan Bourne has further details on the incident :
An armed gang held a gun to the head of a director of Queen™s Park Rangers football club outside the club™s boardroom as the match was about to kick off yesterday afternoon.
Gianni Paladini, 58, the Championship club™s majority shareholder, was reportedly kicked, beaten and threatened unless he agreed to resign from the board.
Eleven men were later arrested in and around the west London club™s Loftus Road ground on suspicion of conspiracy to commit blackmail. Last night they were being questioned at west London police stations. )
Paladini, a former Italian international, whose club career included spells at Juventus and Napoli, has been a controversial figure at QPR since buying a reported 22.1% share for £600,000 in May last year.
He complained that existing board members shunned him and that his questions into a £10m loan from a Panama based bank, which incurs annual interest payments of £1m, were unwelcome.
Paladini told the News of the World that he was with fellow director Dave Morris when five black men burst from his office minutes before kick off against Sheffield United.
œOne of them was holding my wrists and another was pointing a gun, he said. œThey shouted at me to sign a piece of paper resigning from the board. Of course I signed it but I have no intention of leaving the club.
œThey tried to push me out of the ground but I managed to break clear and run into the boardroom, shouting for help.
Armed police rushed to the ground where they made some arrests as well as in the nearby Uxbridge and South Africa Roads. )