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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Aaron Ramsey transfer balls: Everton ready to trump Liverpool and Man United for Arsenal player

Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.

The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.

Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.

 

ITV News also broadcast a rumour based on nothing but guesswork

 

Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.

What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Everton and Liverpool both boast the Premier League’s best goalkeeper

How football journalism works: No.9: be all things to all fans. The Liverpool Echo published two stories on goalkeepers: one on how much better than the rest the Liverpool ‘keeper is; one on how much better than the rest the Everton ‘keeper is.

“Alisson Becker is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and we have the stats to prove it.”

 

liverpool echo liverpool everton

 

“Jordan Pickford’s distribution is better than that of Premier League rivals Alisson and Ederson…”

 

liverpool echo liverpool everton

 

The Pickford story is clickbait all the way. The entire thing is baed on the opinion of former England and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. He opines: “In the Premier League, you’ve got three guys who are really good when it comes to their distribution. You’ve got the two Brazilian keepers – Ederson at Manchester City and Alisson at Liverpool – but they’re not as good as Jordan is with his long passes out of his hands.” Pickford is better at “long passes out of his hands” than all the others, says former goalie.

Next week, why Tranmere Rovers’ ‘keeper is the best in the land…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Terry Butcher on England: ‘surgical .. incisive and deadly’

Former England stalwart Terry Butcher’s love for football is medicine’s loss. After England beat Spain 3-2, Butcher took to twitter:

 

 

When surgery is “incisive and deadly”, it’s more akin to murder.

As Butcher falls victim to nominative determinism, here he is in happier times:

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Saudi Arabia to buy Manchester United – good press guaranteed

Interesting news that Manchester United is to be bought by Saudi Arabia boss crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Not only will the purchase turn Manchester into a proxy Middle East war zone, what with Saudi Arabia’s enemies owning Manchester City, but it should pave the way for an end to that irritating habit footballers have to talking into their hands. Disappoint the prince and – et voila! – no hands!

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Journalists should also take care, perhaps take to travelling to press conferences in twos and politely declining the offer of tea and electrodes at the embassy. Look out for lots of favourable match reports, with heavy focus on the prince’s dashing looks and support for his brave decision to permit women to speak in public, albeit after first raising a hand and submitting their words for official review a week in advance.

No deal to buy the club is agreed, of course. Manchester United have rejected suggestions the Glazer family are ready to put the club up for sale even if Saudi Arabia offer, say, $4bn… $5bn…$5 and a bit billion and a province in Yemen?

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea in a ‘bidding war’ for Ake

Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are all in for Netherlands international Nathan Ake, 23. Well, so says the BBC. And United and Spurs “will have to wait” to see if Chelsea want to re-sign the player they sold to Bournemouth. So that’s three top clubs who all want Ake in a story that has taken on a life of its own.

Over in the Telegraph we learn that as part of Ake’s £20 million transfer to Bournemouth, Chelsea negotiated “a gentleman’s agreement that would allow them to re-sign him for a fee of around £40m”. What utter tosh. Football club’s do not employ lawyers on multi-million pound deals to work with a handshake. And then this:

There has not yet been any sign that Chelsea are ready to try to take Ake back to Stamford Bridge and any move to re-sign him would have to be agreed by the player. But a summer bid from either Spurs or United would force Bournemouth to offer Chelsea the opportunity to make a move and leave the other two clubs sweating.

This transfer news is tosh. But that doesn’t top the Express from milking the balls to produce the gem: “Man Utd news: Nathan Ake transfer battle takes fresh twist, Chelsea hold the key.”

When asked if he’d read the story of his transfer to Spurs, Ake told Football Oranje: “I’ve also seen it pass by, but of course it’s rumours. At the moment I play everything at Bournemouth and that goes well, so I focus on that. If I’ve already signed in London? No, certainly not. This does not say much about my status yet, they are rumours that come on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” The story on the Dutch website was titled: “Ake to Tottenham: its only rumours.”

Mentions of Manchester United: nil. The story is about interest from Spurs. But the Daily Star hears the same words and manages to report:”NATHAN AKE has addressed the rumours surrounding his future amid reported interest from Manchester United.” In The Metro it’s: “Nathan Ake speaks out on Manchester United transfer speculation.” “Nathan Ake breaks silence on Manchester United speculation as Bournemouth defender addresses future,” chimes the Mirror.

All newspapers connive to omit the part where Ake says he’s not signed “in London“. Worse still, the Metro thunders: “Man Utd transfer news: Nathan Ake responds to Jose Mourinho interest.” Words from Mourinho: zero. But as the Mail says in a story about a “bidding war” for Ake, “Jose Mourinho, who worked with Ake at Chelsea, wants to revamp his defence with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof failing to impress the Portuguese tactician.”

Ake did play for Chelsea nine times. But he was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. Aké made his Premier League debut on 26 December 2012 – when Rafa Benitez was Chelsea manager. Under Mourinho, Ake only made one league appearance, as a substitute in a 3–0 loss at West Bromwich Albion on 18 May.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Woman born a man sets world record in first race at world cycling championships

Congratulation to Canadian Rachel McKinnon for winning the women’s sprint 35-39 age bracket at yesterday’s world cycling championship in Los Angeles. Rachel is a natural, tweeting: “I broke the 200m WORLD RECORD this morning. It was my first indoor 200m…” Imagine how much faster Rachel, who was born a man and also holds a PhD in philosophy and focuses on gender studies, would go than the other women if she practiced?

And think how much better the England women’s rugby team could be with few trans players in it – we’d annihilate the opposition, literally. England’s current second row features Rowena Burnfield (5ft 10ins; 77kg); the men’s game boasts Joe Launchberry (6ft 4 inches; 118kg).

Rachel tweeted again, this time with the medal around her neck, hailing herself as the “First transgender woman world champion…ever.”

Plaudits came thick and fast on twitter. “Those poor women who trained so hard only to have this done to them,” said @stringfella_.

@Hitkicker noted: “Amazing! I was so enthused at reading this, I went out and challenged two 8 year olds to a 100m race. Guess what, I ONLY WENT AND FUCKING WON. First time running in a 8 year old’s race too!”

McKinnon was touched:

Which women is moot point?

 

 

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Liverpool fans Sean Cox remain in a ‘dire’ state as man accused of attack stands trial

Let’s spare a thought for Sean Cox, the Liverpool fan attacked before his club faced Roma in the Champions League. The 53-year-old was badly beaten in an unprovoked attack. After a major operation to stem bleeding on the brain, medics placed Mr Cox into an induced coma. Now conscious, he cannot sit on his own. His situation is “dire”. His brother Martin Cox, who was with him at the game, told Preston Cron Court. “He can’t talk, he just whispers.”

Also in the court is one Filippo Lombardi, 21. The Italian Roma fan has admitted the offence of violent disorder but denies wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Martin Cox told the jury: “We heard some noises, not good noises – we just sensed there was something not right. At that time people come across us in dark clothes, chanting. I turned to Sean as if to say ‘Let’s get out of here’. But as I turned, Sean was lying on the ground… I just froze for a second, just in complete shock. My next instinct was to go straight down to Sean to see if he was OK… I bent down to Sean and, as I was bent over, I could feel a kick on the back and I lost balance, stumbled a bit, but I didn’t look up, I just gathered myself around Sean.”

The trial continues, as does Mr Cox’s ordeal.

Posted: 13th, October 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Chelsea offer fans free trips to Auschwitz

Chelsea are to send their racist fans on a free holiday to Auschwitz instead of banning them. In the 1980s, that would have meant a large group booking. But the days when Chelsea was a recruiting round for the NF are long past. The few remaining goons and would-be gassers able to afford tickets to a club owned by a Russian Jew are being addressed by Chelsea’s chairman, Bruce Buck, who says educating racists by way of visits to a Nazi death camp can “make them want to behave better”.

 

chelsea thugs

We’ve come a long way, baby

 

“If you just ban people, you will never change their behaviour,” says Buck in the Sun. “This policy gives them the chance to realise what they have done, to make them want to behave better. In the past we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years. Now we say: ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong.’

Ban me. Ban me now! Are the fans singing nasty songs all bigots, or are they just letting off steam and trying to wind up the opposition, most notably the self-styled ‘Yid Army’ who follow Spurs? Context matters. Don’t real racists boycott clubs owned by Jews and staffed by players from all over the world, many of whom are black?

No-one sane goes to the football to be re-educated. But Chelsea have a cause. Last week, the Blues showed a new film at the Houses of Parliament, which featured offensive chants, social media posts and images from the Holocaust. Said Buck: “We are just trying to make a dent in the antisemitism in this world. Over time we hope to make a real contribution for good to society.”

And you thought football was just a fun leisure activity.

Posted: 12th, October 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


A swearing ban on England footballers: oh, piss off…

It’s Croatia versus England in the Nations League. No fans will be in the ground, save for the BBC’s Ian Wright, perhaps, and the talk is of microphones picking up players swearing in the all-but silent stadium. With little else to talk abut, the media want to talk about protecting viewers at home and at the pub – the ones screaming “Why are England so f***ing s***? at the telly. The BBC reports, “England manager Gareth Southgate says he will have no problem with his players swearing”. But the Mail says Southgate is fearful:

 

England swearing

 

Which is it? What Southgate said was: “We’ve spent two years encouraging them to speak, so to stop them speaking now would be slightly against what we’ve been trying to work on. It’s for the television companies to decide where they put their microphones.”

Or broadcast the game after the watershed. Of course, if you can’t say “twat” during a football match, when can you say it?

Posted: 12th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: maths say Gunners will be champions and Ramsey will score 20 goals

We do all love the hyberbolic rantings of football pundits. Right now they’re raving about Arsenal. Stan Collymore uses his tired Daily Mirror column to tell readers Arsenal “will win 90 per cent of their games and lose the other fixtures they’re expected to lose, that means no titles”. It does? Since when have Arsenal ever won 90% of their matches over a season? Since Stan Collymore made it up.

If Arsenal win 90 of their Premiere League matches, they most likely win the title. Last season, Manchester City scored  records number of points by winning a mere 84% of their PL matches. In the Europa League, you can win the trophy by winning just 8 of 15 matches – that’s 53%.

Over on Sky Sports, Ian Wright is backing Arenal in their stance over Aaron Ramsey. Say Wright: “We’ve seen him [Ramsey] in the Euros dominating when he was absolutely fantastic, we’ve seen the season [2013-14] he has with Arsenal scoring 20-plus goals and was amazing, we’ve seen he can score in big games, winning cup finals.” Ramey has never scored 20-plus goals in a season. In the Mirror, John Cross also thinks Ramsey can be relived upon to score, noting:

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

Ramsey has scored once season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? Does he get 20 goals season? No. In season 2013-14, Ramsey scored 13 goals.

But let’s spare some sympathy for the pundits. It’s not as though there’s an easy resource you tap into to access a myriad facts in seconds. And until there is, guesswork will triumph over homework.

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transer balls: Liverpool and Manchester United fight for Arsenal’s Ramsey

Having scored his regulation one goal of the season, low-scoringinjury prone midfielder Aaron Ramsey is hot property. The BBC says that with the Arsenal player’s contract coming to an end this summer, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United are thinking about buying him in the January transfer window.

Ramsey can’t stay at Arsenal, of course. His agent explained all in a now deleted tweet: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” Reports suggest the poor, suffering agent thinks his client is worth £250,000-a-week in wages for the next four years. Arsenal don’t.

The Indy reports that Ramsey’s rep was talking to foreign clubs last January about his client leaving leaving Arsenal on a free. So he can go.

Arsenal don’t seem too fussed about what the Press term ‘losing’ Ramsey. They’ve already lined up his replacement, a hard working tacking midfielder called Miguel Almiron.

All good, then. The Gunners will get some cash for a player who though skilful and capable, is slower than most, doesn’t score as many goals as pundits think he does and spends chunks of the season in the treatment room; Ramsey cashes in; a young Arsenal player gets the chance to move up the pecking order in Unai Emery’s energetic team; and desperate Manchester United sign a player who will surely make Alexis Sanchez shine…

 

 

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


West Ham player who wants to fight pundit told to watch Richard Keys on BeIn Sports

West Ham United’s Andriy Yarmolenko wants to fight pundit and commentator Wladimir Kobelkov. The Ukrainian journalist has been critical of Yarmolenko’s form. Speaking to Ukrainian broadcasters Xsport, Yarmolenko opined:

“In my youth, I fought a lot. There was wins and there were losses. It’s normal for a boy, for a man. I want to announce my next fight. I don’t want to listen to that Kobelkov any longer. I want to call him out for a fight and get my revenge on all those things he’s said on air. I’m waiting for an answer.”

Yarmolenko thinks he’s on safe ground as a professional athlete with some fight experience. And it’s a pretty safe bet that Wladimir Kobelkov is no Wladimirowitsch Klitschko.

But the idea is not without merit. And any thinner-skinned footballers who fancy themselves over 2 minutes in the carpark can tune into lots of telly, not forgetting Richard Keys on BeIn Sports.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs want £200m for Kane and Hazard has a dream

Real Madrid want to sign Spurs and England striker Harry Kane. But the BBC says that the richest club in the world “may be put off by the 25-year-old’s £200m price tag”. To which the response must be: what price tag? Is there a tag visible when Kane puts his shirt on inside out? And why stop at £200m when you can conjure any figure – why not 300m? As far as we can tell, Kane’s not for sale and is perfectly happy at Spurs.

The cited source is El Confidencial, a Spanish site, which opines: “Real Madrid (after a new crash) wants to sign a goal for now.” Google Translate continues to be gift to comedy. It also tells us that the BBC’s story is utter tosh. Here we go – take it away, Google language bots:

The Real Madrid plumbs the market ahead of the winter window. Aware of his erroneous planning of the squad last summer, which was reflected again this Saturday in the disastrous defeat in Vitoria against Alavés (1-0) , Florentino Perez has given order to comb the market in search of a pair of players that reinforce the template for this winter…

The priority, as seems obvious, is to reinforce the team’s lead with a contrasted goalscorer who adds a goal to a squad that has lost a lot of punch with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo…

In that list will appear young players like the forward of the RB Leipzig, Timo Werner…

Another profile that is handled is that of the veteran striker who without becoming a star of the first level could complete the Real Madrid goal and add those goals that the team is missing… The perfect example is that of ‘Manolito’ Adebayor , the forward who came from Tottenham to Real Madrid in winter and added eight goals leaving a good taste in the Bernabéu.

And the third way is to bet on the signing of a ‘galactic’ as they could be Eden Hazard or Harry Kane…

So Real are looking to recruit any half decent striker who could be available in January, maybe. As for Kane being worth £200m and it being too rich for Real, the BBC just made that up – just as El Confidencial plucked Kane’s name from the air as a possible big name signing. The actual story is that Hazard says Real are the world’s biggest club and it’s been a childhood dream to play for them. What his price tag is, we’re not told. But it could be ‘lots’..

Posted: 9th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to replace Ramsey with Almiron

Transfer news: Arsenal are all set to sign Paraguay “striker” (BBC) or “midfielder” (Sky) Miguel Almiron, 24, for £15m (Mirror) or £11m (Sun) in the January transfer window.

Almiron plays for MLS side Atlanta United. And you kind of wonder how 12 goals this season in the US soccer league makes him a candidate for Arsenal in the Premier League. And then you wonder if Arsenal know more about him than the British media, who can’t even agree what position he plays in.

The story is rooted in Atlanta president Darren Eales, who told one and all: “Almiron’s future is already decided and he will go to England in the European winter market.”

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martinez says Almiron has a “commitment to winning the ball back, pressing, he’s a player that’s always working.” He’s a player very much in the Unai Emery mould, then. “He’s an atypical No 10. Because he gives you everything that a No 10 gives you and he probably dispossesses players like a defensive midfielder.”

Adios, Ramsey?

 

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba saves sacked Mourinho

Can the Daily Mirror reassess the quality of its “Manchester United” insiders” who were “convinced” Jose Mourinho was going to be sacked last weekend? The paper leads with United’s 3-2 win over an average Newcastle side lacking in top talent, hailing it as a “stay of execution”.  The comeback from 0-2 down “papered over the cracks”.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

David McDonnell saw United play for 70 minutes “without spark or purpose”. They were “abject”. But “from somewhere deep within themselves”, the players stirred for a “staggering Fergie-like 20-minute comeback”. It was a “miracle”. No word on Mourinho’s role in the resurgence. Not a peep about what the manager might have done at half-time to reform his side trialing by two goals. And nothing said on the Mirror’s story, as told by one David McDonell, that Mourinho is today looking for a new job.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

As the Mirror memory holes the words “Mourinho Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle”, the Sun has its own exclusive. The Sun is the paper that has cheered longest and loudest for Mourinho. The team might be dull, but to the Sun it’s all part of the “RED-OLUTION”.

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

The Sun loves Jose

 

And so to the day’s scoop: “HOW POGBA SAVED JOSE”. The want-away midfielder saved Mourinho, how? “He told boss best way to spark fightback.” Pogba Tip 1: Tell Juan Mata to score direct from a free kick. Mata scores! The trust is less poetic. We hear that Mourinho listened to his players at half time. Pogba suggested a “deeper role for himself and brining on Fellaini”. Genius. Bring on the hairy elbow and lob it up into the mixer.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

Mourinho tells everyone that he and the team chatted for 10 minutes about this and that at half time.  To seasoned Mourinho watchers this might look like the manager trying to exculpate himself from the mess. But to the Sun’s it’s honest Jose binding the team and securing victory. It “showed how they could all work together”. It also showed that Newcastle United – six defeats from eight played; two draws – can’t hang on to a two goal lead.

But as Jose and Pog hug in the Sun, the Mail says Pogba wants to leave regardless of Mourinho’s future. Looks like the miracle will only last if plucky minnows United can play huge-spending Newcastle at home every week…

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho ‘sacked today’ as board back their man

Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho today. As the Mirror told readers yesterday: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” So much for the thrilling comeback from 0-2 down against Newcastle. Indeed, the Mirror’s match report calls the match thrilling. It cocks an ear as “Old Trafford erupted and Mourinho’s name rang out once again”. But today he gets the sack.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

The Mirror even had a live blog. As Alexis Sanchez scored the winner, it piped:

GOOOALLLL!!!! Young whipped the ball into Martial, who had drawn the attention of the defenders, but it makes it past them and Sanchez heads it in at the back post! Has that goal saved Jose Mourinho’s job?! Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle.

Has it saved his job? No. Because the Mirror said he’s getting sacked today.

Elsewhere in today’s  in-the-know Mirror, we read that Manchester United bosses have “urged Zinedine Zidane not to consider any other managerial vacancies” because they are deciding on the future of manager Jose Mourinho. We also learn that Manchester United “could have to pay £29m to Mourinho if they sack the Portuguese”. But if United fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, the bill is £10m.

Meanwhile, the Times tells us the Manchester United board texted Mourinho their support before yesterday’s match. Which, as the Mirror know, means he’s getting sacked…

 

Posted: 7th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Mourinho sacked today, tomorrow or the next day

After the the ‘ifs’ and ‘coulds’, news is that  Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho will be sacked after today’s match with Newcastle. the BBC has the scoop, although it’s one founded in the Mirror’s story: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” Win 19-0 in a match that will reverberate through time and Mourinho will be sacked. Play out a thrilling encounter, as Mourinho unleashes Sanchez, Pogba and Martial with the command ‘express yourselves’ and still be sacked. How can the Mirror be certain? After all, this is the paper that told us Arsenal Wenger had ‘set the date’ to leave Arsenal on June 30 2017. He was sacked a year later.

 

mourinho sacked

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

 

David McDonnell writes: “Jose Mourinho has lost the confidence of the Manchester United board and is set to be sacked this weekend.” And replaced by? Dunno. We also don’t know the identities of the “senior United sources” who gave the Mirror its story.  We’re told Mourinho has “alienated players, fans and staff at Old Trafford”. And Mourinho “appeared resigned to his fate” in the pre-match press conference.

We’re then told that Man United chief executive Ed Woodward “is believed to have lost his patience in Mourinho”. Since when ie believing something a fact? We do know that those “senior” United insiders don’t include the most senior, nor the Glazers, who own the club. It’s all very woolly. And as for the all-important bottom line, Bloomberg notes:

Even though the club’s shares have slumped 17 percent since reaching a record high on the last day of August, they’re up 27 percent since the Portuguese manager took over in May 2016.

Mourinho the manager is damaged goods; but Mourinho the brand is doing ok.

And then we get more hunches: “Ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to succeed Mourinho, who is set to receive compensation of around £20million. Michael Carrick could be put in temporary charge.” United fans want Carrick as manager? And sd a £20m goodbye a reason for Mourinho to look “sullen”? Yes, he’s rich but you could always use a few million more, right.

 

Mourinho newspapers Manchester United

The Mirror says Jose will be at United for a decade

 

the sun mourinho jose Manchester United Neil Curtis

The Sun loves Jose – and all the access loving him might gt to other of Jorge Menze’z starry clients

 

 

 

Meanwhile, talkSport hears “United sources” say Mourinho won’t be sacked. The Indy agrees. Woodward is “keen to give the manager more time”. The Guardian says: “Manchester United have no plans to remove Mourinho.” And that’s how journalism works – one source makes a bold claim based on nameless sources; and the rest either repeat it or get their scoop by screaming”Nothing Will Happen!”

But it might happen one day. Mourinho will be sacked! You read it everywhere first…

Posted: 6th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Anyone lose a pink dildo at the Brighton v West Ham match?

Good on twitter for making an amusing story more suggestive. During Brighton’s home win over West Ham in the Premier League, the Sun tweets: “Brighton’s win over West Ham interrupted by ref picking up sex toy.” 30,000 people look on as the the old “w**ker in the back” blows his whistle to signal a break in play fore hailing a taxi to the local ‘marital aides shop’, or maybe picked something up online?

 

 

The story is less bizarre, as ref Kevin Friend picked up a neat, pink set of plastic cock and balls lobbed on to the pitch by a fan in the throes of ecstasy.

 

dildo football

 

They do get so very excited:

 

Posted: 6th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Manchester City: Phil Foden shames ‘obscene’ Raheem Sterling

When 21-year-old Raheem Sterling bought his mum a house the Daily Mail was unimpressed. Sterling was the “£180,000-a-week England flop” showing off a “blinging house he bought for his mum… hours after flying home in disgrace from Euro 2016.” Disgrace? Surely the Mail means disappointment at getting knocked out of the tournament only monocular die-hards thought England would win?

 

obscene raheem the sun

The Sun also saw the house

 

Fast forward two years and another Manchester City player is buying his dear old ma a house – cost: £2m. It’s 18-year-old Phil Foden. The teenager has yet to play for the full England team. And until he does he will be the great white hope. He’s only played 8 times for City in the Premier League. The Mail will surely goggle at the obscenity of it all. Or not:

The 18-year-old’s parents, Phil and Claire, are thought to have been involved in choosing the house and he is determined to keep the close-knit family together despite his emergence as one of England’s outstanding talents.

We never were told if Raheem’s mum, who raised him in less than salubrious surrounds, helped chose the bricks and furnishings for her “obscene” home (price: £3.5m), nor how the new home kept the pair together. But for Phil it’s all terrific:

The move is likely to change little for the player who has always lived at home, doesn’t drink and doesn’t yet drive. He takes cash, rather than cards, on nights out and is thought to have taken out a substantial mortgage on the new house.

Cash is king – he’s not in the least bit obscene.

 

More in how it different for Raheem Sterling here, here, here and here.

Posted: 5th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked when noodle deal goes cold

That the Press have no idea what Manchester United’s moneymen will do about Jose Mourinho is no clearer than in the BBC’s news that the club “could” sack the draining Portuguese “if his side lose to Newcastle United on Saturday”. Could and if are not news. But the Sun goes further. It says senior boardroom figures have lost faith in Mourinho. No names are revealed. No boardroom suit has given the rumours of top-level discord a face.

Are they upset by Mourinho’s dire man-management of Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Eric Bailly? Before he criticised those current members of the United squad in public, Mourinho sniped at Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although of the later he did say, “He’s in the category of players that I feel sorry for something I did to him.”

Or are the suits voicing dissent over the dull style of play and poor results? Most likely they’re fretting about sponsors. Under the Glazers, United are a brand for hire. Mourinho, like Pogba, was recruited for his market appeal. Mourinho’s the man with a range of perfumes, whose name was licensed for Jose Mourinho briefcases and umbrellas. Jaguar and Hublot have paid big money for Mourinho to advertise their stuff. As one Times writer notes, the Glazers’ yes man, Ed Woodward, “can nail a noodle deal but not provide any heavyweight footballing guidance or astute succession planning.”

If Mourinho is deemed to have lost his cache in the luxury goods arena, he’s toast. If it’s all abut football, why did United ever hire the man whose teams are set out to pinch a goal and hang on? Sack the suits, right, for neglecting Manchester United’s footballing history.

 

spurs

 

But who if not Mourinho?

The BBC says Mauricio Pochettino is “Manchester United owner Ed Woodward’s preferred candidate”. The reporting is shockingly bad.

And over in the Manchester Evening News, we learn that when Zinedine Zidane was at Real Madrid, he was an admirer of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. So much did he admire them that moneybags Real never recruited any of the trio. But they all play for United and Zidane’s between jobs, so the story must be that the great Frenchman wants to take over at United – noodle deal permitting.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: Naby Keita’s back injury was not a heart attack

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita was stretched off the pitch in the Reds’ 1-0 Champions League defeat by Napoli. Keita was taken to hospital in Naples. He “underwent a number of precautionary health checks”, says the Liverpool official website. So what’s wrong with Keita? “It is his back,” says Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager.

And then the speculation began. Liverpool fans’ website Empire of the Kop says “Keita might have paid the price” for Napoli’s pitch, which they say was “really poor and nowhere close to being appropriate for a top-level game”. The Mirror says he “caught” his foot on the “rough” playing surface. But Keita has a history of back problems, having missed some of Liverpool’s pre-season tour to the United States last July after aggravating an existing back problem on a flight. Why blame Napoli?

But for top-level speculation, website Football Italia wins. “Sky Sport Italia and Radio Marte both confirm he was rushed to the Cardarelli hospital for tests on his heart,” says the site. No links to Sky Sport Italia is provided. But another Liverpool fan site does have links. It ups the ante, screaming:  “According to confirmed reports, the Guinean felt faint and there were concerns within the medics that he was suffering a heart attack.” Confirmed reports? No. A single tweet:

 

 

 

Any concerns over Keita’s heart were routine. Medics most likely also checked his breathing, blood and urine. Look out for headlines telling of “Keita Kidney Scare”, “Keita Lung Horror” and “Keita Mystery Virus”. The Sky Sports Italia website makes no mention of any heart issues. The mention was made by Gianluca Di Marzio, a reporter for Sky Italia, who tweeted the above: “#Liverpool, Naby #Keita trasportato d’urgenza in ospedale: scongiurati problemi cardiaci, gli aggiornamenti.” Which simply says, there were no heart problems. put that through the SEO blender and the Bleacher Report can thunder: “Jurgen Klopp: Naby Keita Has Back Injury After Heart Scare Initially Feared.”

Another tweeter adds:

 

One moment you’ve a bad back, the next they’re carrying you off to the morgue. Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Aaron Ramsey’s massive wage demands are not his fault

It’s Aaron Ramsey and Avid Sports & Entertainment Group versus the forces of nature. Responding to news that Ramsey will be leaving Arsenal at the season’s end when his current deal expires, Avid reportedly tweeted: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” We can’t find the tweet. It appears to have been deleted. But if true it’s refreshing to realise that football is not the agent-drive football market in greed we’ve held it to be, but an exercise in existential laissez-faire.

Arsenal’s decision was not to offer the low-scoring, injury prone midfielder Ramsey a four-year contract worth up to £250,000 a week.  His agent’s decision was to lower their client’s fee and realise that the £140,000-a-week Arsenal were reportedly prepared to invest in Ramsey was absurdly good money. No. Of course not.

 

 

Fans comments are not all pro Ramsey:

I know his agent is making it sound like Aaron has been totally shafted by the club but if you’re going to run down your contract for big money you run a risk…

Exactly what I was thinking as I was reading that “we had no choice” crap. They had plenty of chance for a long time to sign a contract and show some loyalty but it wasn’t enough and now Arsenal is like the Ex who doesn’t want to put up with your shit anymore.

Life goes on and I’m sure Ramsey will be looking at how life has gone on for Alexis Sanchez elsewhere. You don’t realise what you have at Arsenal until you’re 10 months into it and haven’t scored more than twice.

Life goes on, her, for the poor, selfless, sainted agents, who looked on helplessly as their player lost track of time and forgot to tell them his contract was running out and then asked for £13m a year to live his dream.

In other agent news, humble, down-to-earth Ramsey is an “ambassador” for a company that rents out private jets:

 

 

Oh, and here’s the chance to win one of Ramsey’s old shirts – no doubt with pre-kissed badge:

 

Modern footballers. They really are above the rest of us…

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United captain apologises for calling for Mourinho to be sacked

Antonio Valencia, the Manchester United captain, liked an Instagram post declaring “time for Mourinho to go”. Valencia, one of the many United players said to have fallen out with the draining Portuguese manager, liked a photo of himself which carried the caption: “It’s time for Mourinho to go”.

 

Valencia sack Mourinho

 

When others noticed, Valencia backtracked. “These are not my views and I apologise for this,” said Valencia on Twitter. “I am fully supportive of the manager and my team-mates. We are all giving our everything to improve the results.”

Put it down to narcissism. At least Valencia and his manager share something in common.

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


England players admits getting sent off to avoid playing away from home

So worried was Joe Marler about playing for England and being away from his family, he tried to avoid the call by getting himself sent off in club matches thus earning a ban. Marler, now retired from international rugby at just 28 and with 58 caps, told The Rugby Pod about the stress of playing top-level sport:

“The anxiety I would get about having to leave and go away again would manifest itself in giving away more dull penalties and looking for outs, looking for a yellow card, looking for a red card. If I could pick up a ban, that’s an easy way out without actually pulling the trigger…”

But doesn’t the club suffer? And what the other players on the receiving end of a red card offence?

“I played like an absolute helmet, which often happened around England time. That mindset manifested itself. After that game, I said, ‘I can’t keep doing this. It’s not fair on my family, it’s not fair on the club.’ ”

Marler is not a slab of rampaging kitted-out meat. He says his behaviour was “irrational”:

“I have never deliberately done anything on a rugby pitch – or off it – to get a ban. I was simply reflecting on my occasional irrational behaviour when England camps were looming and trying to understand my actions a little better.”

It’s easy to understand. Marler says when he had children his priorities “flipped”. Which reminds me of an old boss in The City who used to command workers to stay late and arrive early. The ones with a loving family were hit hard. He, a single blade, thought them fools. But when he had children, things altered. He realised he’d behaved like a “dick”.  The one difference is that unlike Marler’s story, no married broker struck their manager in the head with an elbow. Opportunities missed…

Here’s Marler:

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: Sports | Comment