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Rooney leaves Manchester United for football’s Chinese mission

Manchester United will finally get shot of Wayne Rooney when he moves to China and learns the Chinese for ‘**** ***!’.  Of course it’s good news – one in the eye for those who say English footballers are too thick, greedy, cosseted, aloof and superficial to play abroad. Rooney, who will earn £750,000-a-week, is expanding his cultural horizons, and instead of swapping chapped thighs and being called a lump for a seat by one of TV-land’s illuminated coffee tables, he’ll take his Premier League nous to football’s Chinese mission.

He goes too with Coleen Rooney, who would be well advised to note that not every Hermes bag is the genuine article in the Far East. She runs the risk of pushing a trolley-load of over-priced fakes towards the airport’s Duty Free zone.

 

Rooney ugly

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

The Sun salutes the captain

 

rooney united

 

wayne rooney sex

 

Rooney will be missed, of course, not least of all by the media, which has mocked, ridiculed, insulted and sneered at the best English footballer of his generation for years. Rather than see Rooney as the best part of a poor side, they fetishised his presence so that every match was about him. The same media that called Rooney an idiot now deride his likely choice to play in China, a place portrayed as holding less cultural appeal than a wet weekend in his native Croxteth.

 

Posted: 22nd, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: Spurs fans should be wary of Wenger’s hounding

It’s been a few days since Arsenal lot to the world’s third best side in Munich. Experts cited the 5-1 drubbing to Bayern as a sign that Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger had to go. Arsenal were woeful in Germany, a side devoid of guile, diligence, spirit, cohesion and drive surrendered meekly, albeit to stella opponents.Whereas once the Gunner would have sought continuity, a handing of the baton from Wenger to his successor in style and spirit, the only way forward was to trigger wholesale change.

But the clamour for Wenger to do the decent thing and leave at the season’s end, if not immediately, has been hasty and delusional. England club sides to not rule in Europe. Placed in context, Arenal’s thrashing was more of the same, rather than a sudden downward turn. Did any Arsenal fans believe the Gunners were on track to win the Champions’ League? Coming top four in the Premier League is not a passport to the last four of Europeans football’s biggest club competition.

To further realise how palsied the PL has become, you need only look at what happened one night after Arsenal’s undoing. Spurs fans revelling in Arenal’s failure watched their team lose to the mighty Gent, a team sat in mid-table in Belgian’s Division A. Losing to Bayern in Munich or losing to Gent in Belgian – which is worse result? Add to that Spurs early demise in the Champions’ League and Arsenal coming top of  group containing Paris Saint Germain and are things so very bleak at The Emirates?

Of course, it’s Sutton in the FA Cup tonight. Lost that and, well, the ground’s not all that far from Gatwick Airport. Taxi for Wenger!

 

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Talking balls: Wenger stays at Arsenal for four more years and leaves in the summer

Arsene Wenger will remain Arsenal manager for the next four years. Arsenal have offered Wenger a two-year extension on his current deal, which expires in the summer. So how does the Daily Star know Wenger will sign a four-year deal?

‘Arsene Wenger wants to stay at Arsenal for four more years,’ says the paper.

And what of that growing list of names lined up to replace Wenger when this season ends?

 

wenger daily star arsenal

 

The story is based on a comment Wenger made when asked to compare his career to that of Sir Alex Ferguson. Said Wenger: “Ferguson has some other interests in life and he was older than I am today. He was four years older, he retired at 71 and I’m 67.”

So will Wenger continue to manager beyond 71? “Maybe more, maybe less, I don’t know,” he said.

Stick that through the spin machine and the Star says Wenger will be Arsenal boss until he’s 71.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

The Guardian hears that and thunders: ‘Arsène Wenger hints he could stay at Arsenal for at least four more years.’

The Mirror interprets the same Wenger line to mean: ‘Arsene Wenger will carry on managing for another four years – even if he leaves Arsenal this summer.’

If he leaves this summer? The Mirror said he was going.

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Such are the facts in the post-truth media.

Posted: 19th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


How Deli Alli escaped Manchester United and QPR to sign for Spurs

By now you’ll be wondering what Harry Redknapp has been up to? The resting manager is talking abut Spurs on BT Sport. Redknapp is aghast that now-one came in for Dele Alli when he was at Milton Keynes Dons. Why did it take so long for Spurs to sign the tyro for £5m?

“Can you tell me how all those scouts failed to spot him when he was playing for MK Dons every week?” asks Redknapp. “How did they end up waiting until Tottenham came in for him?”

Spurs were not the only club to take a look at Alli. In fact, one club was managed by – get this – Harry Redknapp. Ten months ago, Redknapp opined: “I scouted Dele Alli several times as did a lot of other clubs but with a view to the future.”

Redknapp cites the moment when all the clubs should have got Alli. “Didn’t he play for MK Dons against Manchester United when they beat them 4-0 in the League Cup?” he asks. “United should have signed him there and then.”

That was August 26 2014 – when Redknapp was manger of QPR, then of the Premier League. Presumably the player Redknapp values at £100m wasn’t good enough for QPR.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 17th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal remain hopeful of beating Bayern

Arsenal were thrashed in the Champions’ League. Again. Tonked 5-1 by a lively Bayern Munich side, Arsenal were limper than a post-coitus slug. The reporting has been fierce, with much of the chatter concerned with the timing of Arsene Wenger’s departure. The Arsenal manager’s inability to inspire his side is clear.

 

arsenal lose

 

But Wenger remains the Arsenal owners’ dream man. He delivers big cash pay outs and high returns for the money men that run the club. In the boardroom everything is fine, a mood reflected in the match report on the Arsenal website, which begins thus:

We are facing a mammoth task to turn around our Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich after conceding four times in a disappointing second half in Bavaria.

Arsenal conceded five times in total. The Pollyanna-ish notion that Arsenal will some how ‘turn things round’ is laughable. It was not ‘disappointing’. It was terrible.

 

bayern arsenal

 

The site adds:

Laurent Koscielny’s injury at the start of the second half seemed to disrupt us, and we conceded twice in the space of six minutes.

When Koscielny went off, the entire defence wilted. Kieran Gibbs was made captain. A player with marginally less presence than the sixth official was picked to galvanise the team and keep the defence tight.

 

arsenal bad

 

And a word on Bayern:

Bayern, meanwhile, were without Franck Ribery and Jerome Boateng, but fielded a star-studded team containing the likes of Lewandowski, Douglas Costa and Robben.

Arsenal fielded the likes of Ozil (£41m), Sanchez (£35m) and two players bought in the summer for in excess of £30m each. Aren’t Arsenal now also star-studded? None of the three Bayern players name-checked cost more than £20m.

So how does Bayern Munich report on the match that Arsenal were ‘disappointing’ in? Their official website tells us:

On-fire Bayern thrash outclassed Gunners

The five goals ‘handed the German record champions a near-unassailable advantage in the first knockout round tie’.

The Gunners’ goal came after a penalty. The Arsenal website says Koscielny was ‘tripped’ . The Bayern site calls it a ‘debatable penalty’.

The other debate is on Wenger. Will he now leave Arsenal – after all, it looks like the players have already left him?

Posted: 16th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Clickbait Balls: The Daily Mirror Arsenal spin machine

Clickbait: a look at the death of journalism in the national Press. The Daily Mirror has adopted the Daily Telegraph policy of making news out of  TV listings. In readiness for Arsenal’s Champions’ League match against Germany’s Bayern Munich the Mirror has produced the following ‘stories’. All were written today:

Scoop 1! ‘What time is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash

Scoop 2: ‘What channel is Bayern Munich vs Arsenal on? All you need to know ahead of Champions League clash

That could be one story, no?

Scoop 3: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal LIVE: All the build-up ahead of the Champions League clash in Germany’

Scoop 4: ‘Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: 11 things you need to know ahead of the Champions League clash

The list is great.

1. When is the match and how can I watch it?

Scoop 5: ‘7 things Arsene Wenger could learn from Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Bayern Munich v Arsenal’

Ready?

Number 1: ‘Winning the Champions League helps your reputation’

Scoop 6: ‘Arsene Wenger is 50/50 over Arsenal stay – the Bayern Munich result could decide his future’

Well, it could do. And, on the other hand, it could not do. Or as the Mirror puts it:

 

wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Scoop 7; ‘9 funniest reactions to Arsenal fans watching long-time target Julian Draxler destroy Barcelona’

It really is that bad.

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Martial to Spurs and Griezmann goes cold on Manchester United

Is Anthony Martial all set to make the move from Manchester United to Spurs? The Mirror says Martial is on course to become the first player to make the move from Manchester United to Spurs since Teddy Sheringham sealed the lid on his medal cabinet and returned to White Hart Lane on a free transfer in 2001.

Spurs are on the up, but however large their stadium gets and their squad swells they will always be a smaller club than Manchester United and win less, if anything. Add the lack to gongs to a reduction in wages and the Mirror’s story is absurd.

Staying with Manchester United and the Mirror, news is that Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, 25, is having “doubts” about moving the England. Not that the France forward ever said he was keen to leave Spain in the first place. Greizmann told French radio:

“With Real Sociedad, I felt that I needed to leave. For the moment, I do not know where that desire came from. Who knows how the season will finish. If it finishes badly, maybe I will ask myself the question. For the moment, it is not relevant…

“Aside from that, I am asking myself where I could go. In Spain, there is Barcelona and Real Madrid. Barcelona have the three up top. Real Madrid, that is impossible because of the club I am at. I think that between them, there is a pact.

“Germany, the league does not attract me much. France, not for the moment. And England, I have a lot of doubts about my private life. Everything like rain, bad weather… I need to feel happy outside.”

What’s wrong with rain, low skies, having the Press label your lover a ‘WAG’ , making the obligatory trip to Wing’s Chinese eatery in the full glare of the cameras and living in a mock Tudor mansion behind huge gates on a footballer-friendly estate in the provinces? Where’s his sense of romance?

Last up in this Manchester United round-up is David de Gea. On the heels of news that the former Atletico Madrid ‘keeper is  in line for a move to Real Madrid – so much for any transfer between the two big Madrid clubs being “impossible” – are reports that he wants a big hike in his £200,000-a-week pay packet, asking for £300,000-a-week.

Expect to read that a Chinese club you’ve never hear of are offering him more.

 

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: every one of Arsene Wenger’s replacements

What names are on the ‘shortlist of managers’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? The Mirror says there are four names vying to be the next Arsenal manager. They are: Thomas Tuchel of Borussia Dortmund, Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim.

But others have been to the job in the past 12 months. They are:

Eddie Howe: ‘ED HUNTED Eddie Howe being lined up by Arsenal to replace manager Arsene Wenger with Frenchman’s contract set to expire in summer’ (The Sun).

Roberto Martinez: ‘His team to play the sort of passing style that Arsene Wenger has established as Arsenal’s identity and conducts himself with the sort of style and dignity that very much fits with what directors would call the Arsenal way (Daily Telegraph)

Rafa Benitez: ‘Rafa Benitez on Arsenal shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger if he goes – and Spaniard would bring in Thierry Henry.’ (Daily Mirror)

Dennis Bergkamp, Diego Simeone and more possible Arsene Wenger replacements. (TalkSport)

Patrick Vieira: A candidate embedded in the supposed Arsenal Way. Like Bergkamp, his arrival back at the club would be enthusiastically welcomed by supporters.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘A surprise candidate, Hasenhuttl hinted recently that Arsenal had spoken to him about the big job at the Emirates.’ (The Independent)

Ha. This is absolute tosh. When asked is he was heading to Arsenal, Hasenhuttl said: “I have certainly heard of far worse fates than to be lined up as the successor to the longest-serving coach in England.”

Steve Bould: ‘Knows the players and club inside out. Won various trophies, including the Premier League, during his playing career with Arsenal.’ (Daily Mirror)

Joachim Lowe: ‘Proven winner. Led the German side to World Cup glory in 2014 after impressive showings at the Euros two years earlier.’ (Daily Mirror)

‘Arsenal want Manuel Pellegrini to replace Arsene Wenger’. (Metro)

Ronald Koeman ‘is the surprise name topping Arsenal’s list of potential successors to Arsene Wenger’. (The Sun)

Laurent Blanc ‘to replace his compatriot at Arsenal’ (TalkSport)

Brendan Rodgers: ‘His work at Swansea has greatly impressed and is also committed to the sort of football that Wenger has overseen at Arsenal.’ (Daily Telegraph)

Jorge Sampaoli: Chile’s Copa America winning coash signed a two-year deal with Sevilla last years but Arsenal should be able to extricate him for it” – (The Times)

Mauricio Pochettino: ‘The Spurs manger would spend more then Wenger has bene willing to but not more than the club could handle’ (The Times)

Sean Dyche: ‘As the great debacle rages about who will eventually replace Arsene Wenger, it’s amazing that one boss keeps getting overlooked.’ It’s Dyche.

So to that list. What says the Number 1 choice, Thomas Tuchel? It’s “completely fictional”, says the German club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke (Sun).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media Bias: Arsenal hand it to their fans as sorry Hull get unlucky

Media Bias: Arsenal beat Hull City 2-0 in the Premier League. The first Arsenal goal went in off Alexis Sanchez’s hand. The second was from the penalty spot – Hull City’s Sam Clucas was sent off for a handball on the line from Lucas Perez’s header.

In another incident, debate raged over whether or not Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs have been sent off?

What says the media? Is there any noticeable bias in the reporting?

The Goal:

Hull defender Andrew Robertson tells Sky Sports: “The referee apologised to us after half-time and said it was a handball. He obviously realises he was in the wrong.”

BBC website:

It’s been coming, Arsenal deserve it, but it’s handball…. As Sanchez goes in for the ball with Eldin Jakupovic, it bounces up and hits the Arsenal man on the hand, then goes in. Not noticeable at first glance, but clear as day on the replay.

Shamoon Hafez for the BBC:

Sanchez did not look like he purposefully pushed the ball into the net and he had little time to move out of the way after the ball came off Jakupovic.

After consultation with his assistant, referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the goal, but prior to that in the first half, Theo Walcott had a shot blocked by the hand of Clucas inside the area, for which no penalty was given.

Do two wrongs make a right?

Arsenal website:

Kieran Gibbs saw his low shot cleared off the line, but Alexis tucked home from close range, even if it did appear to bounce in off his hand.

Well, that’s how it ‘appeared’. The Arsenal website does not mention the ref’s apology.

Hull City website:

Report: Key Decisions Go Against Tigers In Defeat At Arsenal

No word on the Walcott handball. But the goal is described thus: “…a fortunate rebound fell to Sanchez and he managed to bundle the ball into the net although replays appeared to show the final touch was with his hand.”

The ref’s apology is mentioned.

Hull Daily Mail:

Arsenal’s heavy pressure resumed after the half-hour mark with Walcott blocked by Sam Clucas, but the visitors’ dam eventually broke in the 34th minute as the Gunners benefitted from a huge slice of fortune.

Not handball as the BBC said of Walcott’s shot, but ‘blocked’. As for the goal:

Panic stations in the City box saw Andy Robertson clear off the line to deny Kieran Gibbs but when Sanchez was initially denied by Jakupovic’s block, the ball bounced up and deflected in off the Chilean’s hand. Mark Clattenburg consulted with his assistant only to inexplicably deem the handball had been accidental.

The Red Card That Wasn’t:

Peter Swan, Hull City defender on BBC Radio Humberside: “Referee! What a dreadful decision! Kieran Gibbs was the last man, no-one near him, and he’s brought Lazar Markovic down. It’s a sending off, simple as. And Mark Clattenburg has recently been voted the best referee in the world? What?”

Hull Daily Mail:

Markovic was a regular nuisance for the Gunners defence and City were again ruing Clattenburg when a run clear on goal was curtailed by Gibbs 35 yards out. A yellow card for the Arsenal full-back was another mystifying call.

Hull Daily Mail:

Arsenal should also have been reduced to 10 men when Lazar Markovic was brought down by Kieran Gibbs as he burst through on goal in a second half controlled by the Tigers

The Arsenal website:

Gibbs followed him [Walcott] into the book after hauling back the breaking Lazar Markovic. The two incidents brought the Emirates crowd to life, and Arsenal responded.

No word on any red card as the official Arsenal website puts a positive spin on the action. Hull were not robbed so much as Arsenal fans were roused.

The red card that was:

Well, he had to go. All news sources agree. But Hull were hard done by.

Posted: 11th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool balls: ‘Dropped’ Adam Lallana Rises For Spurs Match

As Liverpool prepare to host Spurs in the Premier League’s one-horse race – Chelsea are miles ahead – the Sun brings news that Liverpool player Adam Lallana is ‘set to miss crunch clash with Spurs after being left out of tactical training drills’. He’s been ‘dropped’.

 

Liverpool the sun

 

Do any Liverpool fans read the Sun online? That headline news sure is tempting. But we’ll save you the pain. The story is that ‘Lifelong Reds fan’ Micky Quinn told TalkSport listeners Lallana ‘was not involved in drills this week by Jurgen Klopp’.

Has he been dropped. Is he being rested? Is Quinn talking balls? The very next line tells us:

ADAM LALLANA looks set to miss Liverpool’s crunch clash with Tottenham this weekend after claims he has been left out of some tactical training sessions.

And as Quinn says, deep into the story: “…whether he’s going to dropped, I’m not too sure.”

 

Or as The Liverpool Echo puts it:

Lallana, meanwhile, was left out of training on Thursday as a precaution due to a tight muscle, but the Reds hope he will respond well to treatment and take his place in the side this weekend.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Cech’s days as the Arsenal Number 1 ‘are coming to an end’ as Gunners eye Joe Hart

Transfer balls: the Mail reports that Arsenal are eyeing Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper. Hart, a man with of all the cool of a wasabi enema, is tempting Arsenal because at 29 he’s five years young than Petr Cech, the current Arsenal Number 1. Hart is playing in Turin, having been loaned out by Manchester City.

But why wold Arsenal be looking to replace Cech, let alone with Hart? The Mail says Cech’s days as the Arsenal Number 1 ‘are coming to an end’. But this looks a lot like guesswork based on his age and nothing else.

Cech joined Arsenal on a “long-term contract” in June 2015.

Last season, the Mail was telling its readers, ‘Petr Cech in line to be next Arsenal captain after making huge impact in his first season following summer switch from Chelsea.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: Mourinho’s run brings back Ferguson’s glory days

The Sun continues to work as an extension of Jose Mourinho Inc., telling readers: ‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is bringing back the glory days after matching a record last achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson.’

Still in his first season at Man United, Jose’s yet to win anything. United are sixth in the Premier League. Given the vast sums lashed out on ‘the brand’ which now values stars over continuity, you wonder what the Sun are driving at. And then it comes: the glory days amount to Manchester United going more than ten league games unbeaten, something David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to achieve in the post-Ferguson era.

Under the peerless Ferguson, Manchester United twice managed to go 29 league games without defeat. That was a record. Mourinho’s recent run isn’t.

The Sun then adds a dig at Van Gaal:

…the Dutch legend could do nothing to stem the tide, with United consistently churning out a display or dreary performances across his two terms, finishing well adrift of the leading pack in both.

Van Gaal was no great success, but in two seasons at the club his Manchester sides qualified for the Champions League once and missed out on goal difference once. Under Van Gaal, United finished 17 points and 15 points behind the PL champions, respectively. Under Mourinho, United are 14 points behind the current leaders.

The glory days are back, indeed.

Posted: 9th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Sun’s Dave Kidd joins Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in a Post Truth pogo

dave kidd the sunWriting about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in the Sun, Dave Kidd, the paper’s chief sports writer, is waiting for the Frenchman to make a dignified exit.

Kidd says that following Arsenal’s limp defeat to table-topping Chelsea, Wenger was complaining about the Blues’ first goal. He said it was dangerous play and the goal should not have stood. Kidd thinks Wenger’s operating ‘on Trump-style alternative facts’.

Marcos Alonso, says Kidd, ‘leaped like a normal person rather than pogo-ing with his arms by his side, like us Sex Pistols fans were doing at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in 1976‘.

Really?

In October 2016,  Sports Journalists, the website of the Sports Journalists’ Association, noted Kidd’s arrival at the Sun, ‘a return to where his national career started as a freelance 20 years ago.’

“It’s a great honour to follow them,” said Kidd. “My predecessor told me I was only the fourth chief sports writer on the paper and two of them, Steve Howard and John Sadler, were hugely encouraging when I was a rookie. I’m delighted to be going back to the paper where my national career started as a 22-year-old.”

If in 1996, Kidd was 22 in 1976 he’d have been a very young Sex Pistols fan.

Maybe it’s not only Wenger living in a post-Truth world?

 

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Antoine Griezmann moves to Manchester United for the branding opportunities

The Sun continues to link Antoine Griezmann with a move to Manchester United. In ‘MAD FOR IT’, the paper’s lead sports story is that Atletico Madrid’s star striker ‘wants to be the new Becks’. Griezmann has ‘dropped a hint’ he wants to play for Man United.

He did? No. The only person talking is Griezmann’s ‘image advisor’ Sebastien Bellencontre, who, according to the Sun ,’says Griezmann wants to follow hero David Beckham by wearing the iconic No7 shirt at the Theatre of Drams.’ He doesn’t want to follow his hero (?) Beckham to Real Madrid, PSG or LA Galaxy. The Frenchman wants to be Beckham II at Old Trafford.

In the fifth paragraph of the story continued four pages inside the Sun, readers get to hear what the marketing man actually said. Bellencontre told So Foot magazine: “When I read articles about  a hypothetical transfer to Manchester United I think it would be the ideal commercial scenario.”

Feel the passion, United fans. But not everyone will be non-plussed. Whereas Ferguson went for continuity, the current Manchester United hierarchy wants only to buy big, buy bigger and buy biggest.  Bellencontre is talking their language. “I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on the [Ballon d’Or shortlist],” said Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward. “We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us.” Not the best team. The players with the biggest public profiles. The players who can flog stuff best.

 

griezmann

 

What the Sun doesn’t report is that Bellencontre also said (and this via Google translate):

“He would play club Beckham, his idol, with the same legendary number 7 in the back … Still without any consideration sport, PSG would be interesting to Franco-French level, but it has already happened to International …  ”

So he quite fancies PSG, then.

Le Figaro has more from Bellencontre (again via Google translate):

“The model would be a mixture of Beckham and Zidane. Beckham because it is his idol, but also because I would like to make it a fashion icon that survives his career. Zidane for French DNA, simplicity, family values, fidelity too … We want Antoine to finish his career at Puma for example. (…) For the Beckham card, the young European blonde, tattooed, talented. (…)

On ESPN, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s ‘former image consultant’. Although on his company website and twitter bio, Bellencontre is billed as Griezmann’s branding guru.

The upshot is that is should United opt to throw the best part of £100m at Griezmann, they won’t just get a striker, they will get a striker with Zidane’s hair and fashion nouse, and Beckham’s fidelity and French DNA. Or something like that. Anyhow, it will be totally amazing and ensure another season of great business in the United soccer superstore.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Wenger wants love as the Gunners as two more years of torpor looms

Arsene Wenger will remain at Arsenal for another two years if the fans show him ‘love’. Wenger’s current deal expires at the season’s end, and there is talk of a new two-year contract on the table, says the Mirror. And that’s odd because it wasn’t all that long ago the Mirror and its writer John Cross were telling readers that Wenger was leaving Arsenal in June. He had ‘set the date’.

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Now over two pages, Cross says the Arsenal board and Wenger are ‘privately mystified’ why fans are unhappy that their team lost to Watford earlier this week. The Gunners had the chance to close the gap with table-topping Chelsea to 6 points but blew it. So limp was Arsenal’s performance that the Sun says Wenger gave his players’ two days off to recover.

 

arsenal watford the sun

 

Cross says that’s untrue. The players ‘did not have two days off after the game’. But they did have 45 minutes off during it. The first half was dire.

Over in the Express, Matthew Dunn says Arenal are ‘soft’ in the centre. The bad news for Gunners fans is that at Chelsea this weekend they will most likely field Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield, one of the game’s politest tacklers.

Since last winning the title, Arsenal have finished an average of 13 point behind the Premier League winners. Lose to Chelsea and they will 12 points behind.

Plus ca change, as they say at the Emirates, where board members made rich and lazy by Wenger’s top-four finishes continue to duck the kind of brave decision that gave brought the Frenchman to the club all those years ago.

 

Posted: 3rd, February 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: good guy Mourinho blows his top

mourinho-daily-mail

 

Last night Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was ‘furious’, says the Daily Mail. His side had drawn 0-0 with Hull City. Mourinho ‘blows his top on TV’, says the paper. The ‘irate’ Manchester United boss ‘stormed out of a TV interview’.

How does the Sun cover the Manchester United boss’s latest hissy fit? It doesn’t. Nowhere in its reports on the match does the Sun mention Mourinho’s moodiness and ‘his hasty exit at the first opportunity just 90 seconds into his post-match interview’ (BBC).

Is the Sun a tad biased in Jose’s favour? After all, on January 26, the paper was sure Jose was on the up. His hair spoke volumes:

NEIL ASHTON – Jose Mourinho is back: Back to his old self. Back in the hunt for trophies. Back to his devilish, mischievous best

And on it went:

Jose Mourinho, what with his latest grade-one haircut from the Lowry Hotel barber, is looking razor sharp again. The good behaviour bond is almost into a third month, trouble-free after serving a one-match ban for booting a water bottle when he had a wobbly against West Ham.

Focused, and firmly in control again, Mourinho is on to something good.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, February 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Chelsea’s deadline day frenzy leaves Sky wanting

How was transfer deadline day for your team?

It’s a big day of telly as Sky Sports News’s reporter stand in football ground car parks countrywide, check their anoraks for stains and the area for football fans likely to lurk into view holding a sex toy (see 2014) before delivering to camera the latest rumours. The lynchpin for the drama is Jim White, who is now available in a multimedia format, being as he is on Sky Sports NewstalkSport radio and in the Sun, wherein he was forecasting the big moves.

Said the paper’s headline on January 31:

‘DEADLINE DAY GURU – Jim White backs Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Leonardo Ulloa and Scott Hogan all to move with Chelsea also spending big’

What sayeth the sage of Sky?

‘What makes it a special day is getting that piece of information that other people have not got and breaking it live on air. Being first is key, and making sure it is accurate…’

Jim gets the news on the nod. His sources are top notch. Says Jim:

‘Agents drop me messages trying to get airtime for their clients and saying their players might being going here or there. I also speak to managers and also chairman. I speak to them a lot. They tell me what direction the deals are going.’

So here are the man in the know’s ‘TOP FIVE DEADLINE DAY DEALS’.

Ashley Young to West Brom
Wilfried Zaha to Tottenham
Leonardo Ulloa to Sunderland
Scott Hogan to West Ham
Chelsea to spend big

How big? Big, says Jim:

‘Chelsea will bring in this lad from Schalke. He is a full-back and is more than decent. Sead Kolasinac. He will replace Branislav Ivanovic. I also think they will get Craig Gordon from Celtic, which will allow Asmir Begovic to go to Bournemouth.’

One day and the with the transfer window shut, was the guru right? First up is Chelsea.

In: Nathan Aké Bournemouth loan recall; Charles Musonda Real Betis loan recall

Chelsea spent nothing.

And none of the players tipped by White to move clubs did.

Transfer Deadline Day is getting tired. Time to give it a mid-season break?

 

Posted: 1st, February 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: what did Bastian Schweinsteiger’s celebration really mean?

Media balls: why did Manchester United’s Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrate a goal against Wigan Athletic by pretending to play tennis (or was it squash)? His bespoke goal celebration is causing the Press to wonder why he did and what it all meant.

It would be easier, of course, if the German could be more precise. An overheard serve and loud grunt would have dismissed the squash interpretation, and the donning of an headband (removed from a sleeve or sock) or skirt (ditto) helped further still. As it was Bastian played two air shots, and any offence to Jeremy Bates or Tim Henman, two nearly men of British tennis, is regrettable.

On the plus side, when lining up his forehand, Schweinsteiger did not hit a teammate dashing in to celebrate his goal nor deliver a backhand cuff to the unmentionables. Although had he done the headlines – ‘New balls, please’ – write themselves.

Anyhow, to the Press.

The Daily Express knows why he did it:

‘The 32-year-old German then stole the show with a celebration in tribute to Australian Open champion Roger Federer, who beat Rafael Nadal in five sets earlier during the day’

The Daily Mail knows:

‘Schweinsteiger stuck the ball in the net and then celebrated with a swing of an imaginary racquet in front of his wife, retired tennis star Ana Ivanovic’

The Daily Star knows:

Schweinsteiger, a keen tennis fan and husband of Ana Ivanovic, celebrated his goal with a nod to Australian Open champ Roger Federer.

The Guardian knows:

Schweinsteiger celebrates by playing a tennis forehand and backhand, which is either a tribute to his wife Ana Ivanonic or Roger Federer, or both.

In conclusion: more practice in front of the wardrobe mirror, Bastian.

Posted: 31st, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Benzema takes his crack to Arsenal, Chelsea and France

Transfer balls: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has seen enough of Karim Benzema. He wants one of Arsenal, Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain to buy the Frenchman. Well, so say “reports from Spain” (Guardian). Which reports we’re not told. We could only find one. And it contains not a single quote or fact to support the story.

But the Telegraph’s man -in-the-yellow-tie has heard enough.The paper thunders:

Live Arsenal transfer news and rumours live updates: Arsene Wenger responds to suggestions Karim Benzema will sign

What did he say?

Wenger responds to Benzema rumours
The Arsenal manager was asked this morning why he is so often linked with a move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. He responded: “Because he is French?”

Cryptic stuff from Arsene.

Not cryptic at all. Just factual.

As for the root of this story, we turn to Diario Gol, the single source, which reports via the wonders of automated internet translation:

Florentino Perez places a Real Madrid crack in the showcase 24 hours after falling in the Copa del Rey

Calling Benzema a “crack” is a bit off. What else?

The president puts foot and a half of a footballer in the street…

And then:

The footballer is unofficially on sale, but the phone is already on fire. The first offers were soon to arrive.

From who?

The season was not good for the player. The patience of Florentino ended with the elimination of the team Zinedine Zidane at the hands of Celtic in the Cup .

Much more was expected of the striker. Give the team what is claimed. But he disappeared. It was a drag rather than a help and the leader got tired of the situation.

In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo occupy the position of ‘9’ uro sooner or later, and the club does not want the overbooking in the position of striker cause a problem to the team. And it is clear that in the Santiago Bernabeu prefer to stay with CR7 .

But who wants ‘le crack”? Who made an offer for him?

The Paris Saint Germain is the best club positioned to gain the services of Karim Benzema for next season. The white president stepped up negotiations with the French entity. It is one of the few that could take over his card and at the same time pay a transfer.

Next season PSG might want him. So why is this news in the current transfer window?

But PSG is the eternal rival Olympique of Lyon in Ligue 1 , the computer on which the French became a global crack. Respect for his followers could put an end to the transfer.

So Florentino opened other ways. Arsenal and Chelsea are the candidates. If the operation with the Parisian team is not successful, the president already has the alternative. Be that as it may, Karim can not continue in Real Madrid.

Put that utter balls through the Daily Mirror’s Transfer Balls Translator and you get:”Karim Benzema offered to Arsenal and Chelsea?”

That question mark fails to show up on Google News. So the story of a player on his way out of Spain and most likely returning to France is all about Arsenal and Chelsea.

Previously:

 

Karim Benzema arsenal move transfer

 

Benzema deal is on: best offer is from Arsenal, £45mln. They will take a decision soon. He wants to reach Wenger.

 

Screen shot 2015-07-17 at 08.35.21

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 30th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Greed wins as Payet leaves West Ham for Marseilles’ American project

After much pain – not least of all to Dimitri Payet’s poor back – West Ham have sold the Frenchman back to Marseilles. The player hymned by the fans – to the tune of Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, “We’ve got Payet, Dimitri Payet / I just don’t think you understand / He’s Super Slav’s man, he’s better than Zidane /We’ve got Dimtri Payet” – and of whom his manager said “I have to get poetry lessons to describe his importance to us” took the money and ran ‘home’ to Marseilles.

Joint-chairman David Sullivan has issued a statement to West Ham fans.

The club would like to place on record its sincere disappointment that Dimitri Payet did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him, particularly when it rewarded him with a lucrative new five-and-a-half-year deal only last year.

West Ham signed Payet from Marseilles for £10.75m in June 2015. In February 2016, he signed a new deal, extending his contract until 2021. He was on around £125,000-a-week. At the time, Payet said:

“For me it’s a big step, an enormous show of faith, particularly from the Chairman [David] Sullivan and from the manager. I thank them for that, and I am proud and I’m happy to prolong the adventure with West Ham.

“I’ve said it several times, I feel good here, everyone’s done all that they can to make me feel good. I want to help West Ham grow and, once again, this new contract shows my desire and motivation to fulfil those objectives.”

In October 2016, Payet received a £1m loyalty payment.

Sullivan continues:

“I would like to make it clear that we have no financial need to sell our best players and that the decision to allow Payet to leave was in accordance with the wishes of the manager and the interests of squad unity. To be frank, my board and I would have preferred for him to have stayed in order to make an example of him, as no player is bigger than the club.”

So why didn’t they make Payet stay? Does money talks louder than principles. No need to answer.  “We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us,” Slaven Bilic said in January. “We are not going to sell him.”

Payet didn’t come to the Premier League for the love of it. When it looked like he was heading to London, Marseilles lambasted Payet and his agent’s “reckless demands”. The club expressed “surprise that negotiations with another club had been opened”. It can be argued West Ham reaped what they sewed.

Payet had form. As Oliver Kay noted in the Times:

…look back to January 2011, when Paris Saint-Germain were thinking of signing Payet from Saint-Étienne. Sensing that negotiations were not progressing quickly enough as the transfer deadline loomed, the France forward skipped training two days running in the hope of forcing the issue, declaring: “My decision is taken. I think only of Paris.” To prove it, he travelled to the capital on deadline day to try to secure a deal — a move that, in England, we know as “doing an Odemwingie”. Saint-Étienne stood firm, PSG’s interest faded and Payet went back with his tail between his legs.

Now he’s left West Ham to play again for Marseilles, the club funded by new American owner Frank H. McCourt Jr, a man rich enough to pay Payet more than West Ham were giving him. To get £25m for a 29-year-old whose in it for the money represents good business for West Ham. The test will be who they bring in to replace their most exciting player.

Posted: 30th, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Arsenal outbid Chelsea for Manchester United-bound Griezmann and Sanchez ‘escapes’

Transfer balls: a look at bad football reporting. Having been told for ages that Antoine Griezmann tops Manchester United’s list of transfer targets – and that Chelsea were buying the French striker for £40m and then £50m – the BBC reports that Arsenal will try to get him for £85m.

The BBC’s source is the Mail on Sunday. But its report is very light on facts. Readers are told that Manchester United “believe they are in pole position to land Antoine Griezmann”. Arsenal “are expected” to bid for the Atletico Madrid star. It is “widely expected” rich clubs will bid for Griezmann this summer.

The Sun expands on the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ by saying that should Griezmann leave, Atletico will buy Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. This will be – get his – Sanchez’s “escape route” out of Arsenal.

So will Sanchez from part of a cash and flesh deal for Griezmann? No, says the Sun. “The Spaniards are resigned to losing Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United this summer.”

The Sun says Atletico will offer Sanchez £220,000 a week. That’s much better than the “£160,000- a-week deal currently on offer for Sanchez to sign a new contract with the Gunners”.

But Sun told readers back in November that Arsenal will have to “stump up £200,000-a-week each if they want Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to sign new deals with the club.” That’s a lot of money – but less than the £250,000-a-week the Express reported Sanchez was seeking in October.

In December, the Mail told its readers, “Sanchez wants £250,000 per week, while Arsenal’s current offer is £180,000”. That was Arsenal’s “opening offer”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal v Manchester United: Wenger and Mourinho on new FA panel show

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to be banned. “Jose call for Wenger ban,” announces the Star’s back-page headline.

Wenger is waiting to learn what punishment the FA will deliver for his sending off last weekend. Rather than vanishing down the tunnel, as he should have done, Wenger dallied by the pitch and then shoved the fourth official.

But did Mourinho, a man known for run-ins with officialdom and his dislike of Wenger, really add his opinion that his rival should be banned? No. He didn’t. What happened was that at the Manchester United press conference ahead of their EFL Cup semi-final tie with Hull City, a journalist asked him about Wenger. Should Wenger be banned? Mourinho replied: “I have no idea.”

 

wenger-mourinho

 

Over in the Mail, there’s a different twist on the same no-news story. “As Jose heads for Hull all eyes are on the FA…Can Mourinho keep his cool over Wenger?” asks the headline. We know the League Cup is no great shakes but when it takes second billing to a disciplinary hearing, you’re in trouble. Marketing departments would be better served adding company logos to the FA’s judgements and the leave the un-loved tin-pot alone.

If the Supreme Court can be televised, why not he FA’s? Slap it on the telly and you’ve got must-see TV.

Call me, the FA, I have ideas.

 

Posted: 26th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal’s race row is a hate storm in a tea cup

In tabloid-ville there are two strains of racism: would like the “Race Storm” or the “Race Row”? The Star leads it’s sport coverage with a “Race Row”, as does the Mail, reporting on Arsenal FC’s Granit Xhaka. Having left the field early during last Saturday’s Arsenal match with Burnley on account of yet another red card for another stupid foul, Xhaka beat the traffic and ended up at Heathrow Airport.

He wasn’t there for some ghastly tie-in with Arsenal’s Emirates Airline sponsors – ‘Give The Daily Grind A Red Card and Jet Off With Emirates’ – rather to drop off his lover’s brother who was flying home. But oddly for man known for getting away early (two red cards this season already), Xhaka arrived too late. The boarding gate had closed and, as the story goes, the normally cool and calm Swiss became upset and allegedly called a member of British Airways staff a “f******* white bitch”. His English isn’t so good, so he said it in German.

Inside the paper, on Page 76, it’s a “RACE STORM”.

He’s not been arrested. Yeah, the police were called, which seems pretty remarkable in itself. Xhaka went to the station and has been helping police with their enquiries. The Sun (“RACE STORM”) says he was interviewed under caution. What’s the crime, officer? Being a cretin? Being a racist? Is this a – dread phrase – hate crime?

It’s all unpleasant and deeply pathetic. Add in the fact Xhaka is white and it looks a little odd. To brand someone a racist is no small deal.

Posted: 25th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: Wenger’s ‘six match’ ban delivered in a laundry basket

When Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called referee Jon Moss a “f****ing cheat” as his side toiled to a very late win over Burnley, he was sent off. Stood in the tunnel, Wenger was regaled with the cry heard at all-seater stadia to “Sit Down!” He refused. The fourth official insisted. So Wenger shoved Anthony Taylor, for it was he.

For his pains, Wenger’s been charged with misconduct by the FA.

Wenger now faces a “massive ban” says the Sun. The Mirror agrees. How big? Two matches and £20,000, says the Sun. The FA must be delighted. Twenty grand for the kind of aggro that was more purse than handbags.

Wenger apologised. “I regret everything,” he says,” I should have shut up, gone in and gone home.” And thereby beat the traffic, we might add.

Nonetheless, Dave Kidd wants Wenger “hit with a lengthy stadium ban”. The FA must send out message that “you must not manhandle referees”.

The Mail says a touchline ban is the most likely outcome. The paper’s tame referee Graham Poll wants Wenger banned for six matches.

The Mirror wants three.

Whatever it is, it’ll be good news of the Wenger Out camp, who will get to watch the match without their target in sight.

What it amounts to is not all that much. The manager coaches his team before the match. There are also mobile phones through which he can talk to his assistants as he watches the game on the telly. And then there was baskets. In 2005, Jose Mourinho circumvented a stadium ban by clambered into a laundry skip to gain entry to the Chelsea dressing room. Ten minutes before the end he was wheeled away to Stamford Bridge leisure club  where, according to reports, he spent the night.

Wenger might try a similar move. Although he’ll need a bigger basket. Or there’s always a loud hailor. The Emirates could do with someone making some noise.

Posted: 24th, January 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Media Bias: Chelsea website continues to deliver post-truth match reports as Hull are robbed

Media Bias: Chelsea beat Hull City 2-0 today in the Premier League. With the score at 1-0 to Chelsea, a Hull player tumbled in the home side’s penalty area. Should a penalty have been given? Let’s see what the reporters say:

The Hull City website says they were robbed:

Hernandez should have been awarded a penalty early in the second half when he was tripped by Marcos Alonso inside the box, but again appeals fell on deaf ears.

What about Hull’s local newspaper?

The Hull Daily Mail appraises Abel Hernandez’s performance:

The isolated front man at the tip of City’s attack but got no favours from the officials. Denied a foul in the build-up to Chelsea’s opener and then a clear-cut penalty in the second half.

The Guardian says: “That was a clear penalty, a clumsy foul by Alonso on Hernandez. He was beaten to the ball on the edge of the area and kicked Hernandez’s heel.”

Get West London says Hull  “were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after the break when Marcos Alonso brought down Abel Hernandez”.

The London Evening Standard says: “Somehow Hull not awarded a penalty for a blatant foul by Alonso on Hernandez.”

The Telegraph: “Chelsea were even more fortunate that a penalty was not awarded against them four minutes after the restart when Alonso clearly clipped the heel of Hernandez.”

And on the Chelsea website, football’s version of Pravda? Nothing. The official Chelsea website makes no mention of either ‘foul’.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, January 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0