Reasons for sports fans to stay positive: Chelsea’s generosity, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s nose and more

Luke Brown

Wednesday’s round-up of positive sports news stories during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

While Tottenham Hotspur have been busy putting their ground staff to work on Daniel Levy’s private estate, illicitly training their players in public parks and generally attempting to solidify their newfound status as the world’s most evil football club, some of their Premier League rivals have been winning praise for their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two Manchester clubs have announced that they will not be placing staff on furlough. Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Everton and West Ham have all been phoning at-risk supporters. And Chelsea have opened up Stamford Bridge to help local NHS workers working shifts throughout the pandemic.

The Blues had already announced that they would be providing free accommodation at their on-site Millennium Hotel to hospital staff working near the stadium. And now they have gone one step further, by providing meals at their corporate restaurants for those who are travelling to and from work to treat those affected.

The club are also exploring the possibility of creating a temporary car park for NHS staff to use in front of the stadium, according to The Sun. Football clubs have to remember that they are social institutions, with social responsibilities. They have moral responsibilities in unprecedented times like these, whether they like it or not. As a sports fan, it is good to see so many stepping up to the plate.

Zlatan’s vandalised nose is now a necklace

And now to the weirdest story of the day, week, month: the nose from Zlatan Ibrahimović’s vandalised statue in Malmö, Sweden is now being worn as a necklace.

Sawn-off noses, very much in vogue right now (Getty)

In case you had forgotten, last October Malmö honoured their favourite son with a disturbingly Christ-esque statue outside their stadium, only for the big man to then invest in their arch-enemies Hammarby the very next month.

Naturally, Malmö’s supporters felt decidedly mugged off and retaliated by attempting to set fire to the statue, in the absence of Ibrahimović himself. And, after quickly realising how difficult it is to set a 500k pure bronze statue on fire, they resorted to hacking the hooter off and pulling it down, Saddam style.

What happened to the nose? Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet got the scoop. “I would like to point out that I do not support vandalising public art; at the same time I understand why they did it,” Malmö fan John Taylor told them. “But I also know where Zlatan’s nose is. I can say that. I know it is in Malmo.

“I’m a person away from that nose. I don’t know where it is right now, but I know it was seen at a party around New Year. I know that it is in Malmo and that it is around someone’s neck.

“Well, it’s a necklace now.”

Good eggs of the day

A round of applause please for the Wales lacrosse internationals who were supposed to have played England, Scotland and Czech Republic last weekend, but instead were working on the coronavirus pandemic frontline.

Captain Eleanor Gaastra, Emma Hawkins and Ros Lloyd Rout all work as NHS doctors and are playing invaluable roles in our fight against the disease. “My skills from lacrosse – quick decision making, leading by example and communication skills – are key at the moment in emergency situations that we deal with in the intensive care unit,” Gaastra told the BBC.

Look at this nice thing

The likes of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel García Márquez all warned against the pitfalls of nostalgia in their greatest works. But those lads never had the pleasure of seeing yesterday’s Inter Milan 2020/21 alternate kit leak:

Shut up and take our money, etc (FootyHeadlines / Getty)

One word: Ronaldo. It is impossible to look at this grey and black thing of wonder without reminiscing on the brilliance of the buck-toothed Brazilian, who wore the original Umbro strip in 1997/98 alongside the likes of Javier Zanetti, Diego Simeone, Nicola Berti and … Nwankwo Kanu. Il Duomo di Milano. Sforzesco Castle. Il Teatro alla Scala. This is more beautiful than them all.

Watch this fun thing

Joseph Parker, the New Zealand heavyweight who lost points decisions to both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, reenacting the Grease classic You’re the One That I Want with his partner.

Is it the naffest thing we have seen on the internet this morning. Yes. Would we say that to his face? Absolutely not.

Things to do

Read this: Miguel Delaney driving himself mad over who would win a structuralist Champions League

And this: Giri Nathan speaks to World No 225 Noah Rubin on the existential crisis facing professional tennis players

And this: Charlie Eccleshare on naughty Tottenham

Yesterday’s column

On Danny Rose hitting up Domino’s, Jos Buttler’s World Cup shirt and Warren Gatland dancing.

Days to go until Euro 2020…

398!

Reasons for sports fans to stay positive

These are extraordinarily difficult times and, as a sports fan, it can be particularly tough to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the postponement or cancellation of almost every major sporting event, from the Premier League to the Gallagher Premiership, from The Masters at Augusta to the Wimbledon Championships.

But that doesn’t mean the sporting world has completely ground to a halt. And that doesn’t mean that there are no uplifting sports stories to raise everybody’s spirits.

So, here is a dedicated space for the day’s positive sports stories, whether big or small. If you find yourself in need of some positivity to reaffirm your faith in humanity and increase your anticipation for the return of professional sport, read on.