Manchester City once made a $58 million bid for Barcelona's Lionel Messi in 2009 by accident due to bad phone reception.

Revealed in a recent book by former chief executive Garry Cook, City officials were finalising Sheikh Mansour's takeover plans of the club by telephone when the communication breakdown occurred.

Mansour, who paid 210m for the current champions, was talking about the difficult takeover proceedings saying "it's all getting messy". Somehow that was translated to "get Messi" so the club made a bid for the Argentine star. It was rejected and they spent 32m on Brazilian Robinho instead, who was sold for 15m a year later. Whoops.

39,880 short of a sell-out
A friendly soccer match between Jamaica and Kenya was cancelled because of poor ticket sales - which might be the understatement of the year.


Samuel Sampson, a spokesman for Singapore-based promoter Ricky Swen and his company, Swen Labels International, said only 120 tickets were sold for the match. The game was to take place this weekend at the 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.

It's the second time this summer Swen has cancelled a friendly at the stadium. A planned July 28 match between Liberia and Jamaica was called off after Swen failed to secure agreements from both teams and the US Soccer Federation.

Kenya was brought in as a replacement and the match rescheduled. Sampson said his group is still talking to both teams to see if they can reschedule the match for another date - and maybe a smaller ground or local park.

Adding spice to dinner
It's not just the England cricket team who are suffering internal bickering. There was also tension in the Indian dressing room as they prepared for the first test against New Zealand which began overnight.

Recently retired batsman VVS Laxman created a furore when he didn't invite MS Dhoni to a dinner party. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir all attended the feast but, as the Times of India points out, Dhoni was a shock omission. Dhoni "clearly seemed ill at ease while answering questions" on the party the next day the paper reported.

Even more shocking was that Laxman didn't serve dessert! "On our way back to the hotel a quick stop to have minus 4 ice-cream, was a true delight :-)," Tendulkar tweeted.

You cannot be serious!
A female line umpire who has judged at the US Open for the past 37 years was arrested on Wednesday for the death of her 80-year-old husband - who was reportedly killed by a coffee mug. Lois Goodman, 70, who has mixed it up with John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer and the Williams sisters was set to judge the US Open again next week.

Her husband passed away in April and Goodman told police it appeared to have been an accident as she had been out all day refereeing a tennis match.


However investigators noticed the Goodman's husband had multiple sharp force injuries on and around his head that were inconsistent with her explanation.

Caddie's big pay day
Amateur caddie David Faircloth could be around $110,000 richer after being a late call-up to help out Sergio Garcia at last week's Wyndham Championship. The local caddie arrived at the tournament to help out in the pro-am and was asked to step in to assist the Spaniard after he axed his former bagman a week earlier.

The duo must have instantly clicked as Garcia went on to win his first PGA Tour event since 2008. Along with the victory was a $1.1m winner's check from which Faircloth would likely pocket the customary 10 per cent caddie's cut. Or so you'd think. Only if multi-millionaire Garcia feels generous enough.

"I'll have to look at it," he told media after the victory. "Obviously he's not going to get what a normal caddie would get because his job was fairly easy."

They said it
"I'm not even the second-best batsman in my team."
- Hashim Amla is sceptical about his ranking as the world's best test batsman.

"I listened to the little boy inside me ... that boy was screaming for Man United."
- Robin van Persie endears himself to his new fans; maybe not so much the Arsenal fans who once idolised him.

"Pietersen and Strauss could have gone down to the pub, and had a beer and feed, and if they had to punch the absolute whatever out of each other, then so be it ... then come back and put your arm around each other and walk out and play together."
- The Shane Warne guide to sorting out team issues.

"Gav has had three or four years of fannying around and not being serious about his rugby."
- London Welsh coach Lyn Jones' pithy assessment of the charms of former Lions midfield back Gavin Henson.

"I'm looking forward to a really good coffee and maybe some Burger Fuel."
- Olympic gold medal-winning kayaker Lisa Carrington on the simple things in EnZed life.

"I definitely prefer drunk vomiting over sober vomiting any day - a lot less traumatic."
- North Harbour's favourite son Luke McAlister, via Twitter, after battling sickness.