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Manchester United toilets go down a bomb with kak-handed Manchester City fans

Much talk of football returning to the 1980s. As West Ham and Chelsea fans clashed last night – aggro that included a nasty twist on donating to good causes by throwing coins with malice at disabled children – up in Manchester fans of Manchester City reacted badly to defeat in the League Cup at Manchester United by breaking sinks.


The Sun reminds us that earlier this season Rangers fans broke toilets after defeat to Celtic.


Smashing up toilets and sinks used by your own fans is a bit odd, no? How else will fans be able to wash their hands after going? Football is now so sanitised it’s not far-fetched to think of stewards checking hands for germs before allowing fans inside the ground.

And tempting, perhaps, for United to leave the away fans’ Old Trafford bogs like that and pass the destruction off as an oversight. In May 2016, United managed to miss a fake bomb tied to a toilet door.

If all this argy-bargy marks a return to the 1980s, fans unable to find a toilet or sink to urinate in will doubtless be using the old method of wazzing in the pocket of the fan in front.

Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho joins the sack race

So here is its. Just two months into the new Premier League season and there’s the first talk of Manchester United sacking Jose Mourinho. Days after we all learned that Mourinho’s best team is Chelsea – the Blues thrashed United 4-0; and that Paul Pogba, the world’s costliest player, has all the abilities of a solid £25m buy – the BBC alludes to Jose’s defenestration.

The Beeb says “former Paris St-Germain manager Laurent Blanc is stalling on signing an agreement to replace Frank de Boer at Inter, because he believes he could replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United”.

The Sun has more on what Blanc apparently believes.

“LAUR NEXT, ” puns the paper. “Ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc holds off Inter Milan talks as he waits to Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford tenure to unravel.”

The story runs:

The Serie A giants are eyeing the Frenchman to replace under-fire manager Frank De Boer who is on the verge of the sack at the San Siro club.

Two says ago, the Sun told its readers: “Inter close to sacking Frank de Boer with Diego Simeone and even Francesco Guidolin all in the frame.” No mention of Blanc then. But today it’s all about Blanc because, well, doing so enables the paper to engage in the thing it loves most: talking about Mourinho.

The Sun adds:

Blanc is in no rush for a new role after spending three years at PSG and following United’s stuttering start to the season, he wants to see how Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford pans out.

It’s panning out like this:

The Portuguese boss is under increasing pressure after matching David Moyes’ record after nine matches. Mourinho shares exactly the same point tally but Moyes’ side had scored one goal more.

Lest anyone think that United under Mourinho are dull – they are – Sir Alex Ferguson takes time out from blathering about management techniques to tell everyone: “The rivalry and the experience of Guardiola and Mourinho makes for an exciting competition.”

In short: Don’t watch United; keep your eye on Mourinho. It’s the way he likes it.

Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: injured Eric Bailly finds God’s unwilling to save his 2016

Manchester United fans can read in the Mirror that their team’s defender Eric Bailly is injured and will not play again in 2016. Readers are told: “MANCHESTER UNITED are on red alert with the fear of Eric Bailly being out for the rest of the year.”

It’s an “exclusive” story.

It should not be confused with the non-exclusive story reported by the Mail, Evening Standard, the BBC and more that Bailly will miss the next two months. The Guardian notes: “Manchester United’s Eric Bailly out until Christmas with knee injury.”

Having added another week onto Bailly’s estimated rehabilitation schedule and presented it as an “exclusive”, the Mirror goes for the bonus balls by thundering: “Eric Bailly hopes to play for Manchester United before year’s end despite knee ligament injury.” Hope if swiftly followed by pragmatism: “Manchester United are preparing to be without their star centre-back for the rest of 2016 following his second-half injury against Chelsea.”

That comes after Bailly tweeted: “I hope to be able to play again for United and The Elephants before 2 months, God willing. Thanks for always being there!”

Look out for the Mirror’s next big news story: “EXCLUSIVE: BAILLY says only god can save his 2016.”


Posted: 26th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Rodrigo Bentancur is the Uruguayan Manchester United missed

Transfer balls: the saw Rodrigo Bentancur, 19, is not heading to Manchester United. The Uruguayan is off to Juventus, who bought half his rights for £6.7m.

The Sun says the Italians got fist dibs on the “Argentine player” when they sold Carlos Tevez to Boca Juniors in 2015.  The paper says Juventus are “at the front of the queue for Boca players until April 2017”.



the sun Bentancur


Juventus wanted Bentancur included in a swap deal for Tevez. But Juve settled on first-refusal.

Boca president Daniel Angelici told TyC Sports: “It is already signed. When I was in Switzerland recently Juventus informed me that they were going to activate the option so I will travel to Turin soon in order to complete the deal. I think it’s very good business for Boca. Juventus will pay £6.7m for 50 per cent of his rights… He must have something because there were a lot of clubs interested. Real Madrid made a proposal, Manchester [United] also came and Milan made a €14m formal offer to sign him.”

In January, the Mail told its readers Bentacur was off to Real Madrid. He never did go.

Interestingly, 442 magazine reported: “Jorge Mendes is interested in buying his [Bentacur’s] economic rights before loaning him to a European club.” That’s the same Jorge Mendes who manages Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manger.

Football transfers really are very peculiar business.

Posted: 20th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United’s Anthony Martial says he didn’t refer to ‘Anthony Martial’ in ‘fake’ Daily Mirror interview

Did you see the Anthony Martial interview in the Daily Mirror? The Manchester United player did, tweeting:


anthony martial daily mirror


In “Anthony Martial insists Manchester United fans haven’t seen him at his best yet”, the Mirror’s Chris Hatherall shares Martial’s words. No sources are cited. As for the player’s comments, well the highlight is when he talks of himself in the third person: “I don’t think you have seen the true Martial at Man United yet. I know I can perform better, I know I can do more.”


anthony martial daily mirror


That line is repeated in the Sun:

Martial told the Mirror: “It’s a big season for me and I want to be better than last year. I don’t think you have seen the true Martial at Man United yet. I know I can perform better, I know I can do more.

“But I’m convinced this season can be my year. It’s a feeling I have.”

Maybe another Anthony Martial spoke to the Mirror?


Posted: 18th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United bore Liverpool with Mourinho’s media ‘masterclass’

Last night Liverpool and Manchester United bored the watching public to their second 0-0 on Premier League history. Manchester United were unambitious, carrying 35% possession, their lowest total in a Premier League match since Opta began recording this data in 2003-04.

Jose Mourinho side have won their lowest points total after his first eight league games with a new club since his time with Uniao de Leiria (10 points).

The BBC say the game was “rubbish”.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says: “No one will show this game in 10 or 20 years.”

Chris Crocker adds: “Reality is if Van Gaal’s team had played like that every ‘expert’ would be slating him for weeks. Jose does it he is a genius.”

Not everyone. But some, yes.


Jose wins


Jose Mourinho cat


This is what Neil Curtis said in the Sun on the morning of the big match:

JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era. That is why he will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’…

Mourinho is up for another tactical masterclass just like he delivered two years ago…

The Portuguese said: “Last season Liverpool vs United and Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one and the result was 0-1. I don’t think that is going to happen again.”

It didn’t. Last night United had one shot on target and failed to score. Under Van Gaal United player Liverpool four times in the Premier League. They won them all.


Manchester United


It’s all about Mourinho in the media. The BBC holds a debate on the United manager with itself:


Vintage Jose Mourinho


“Is this a new United way?” asks the BBC. Yes there is, says the BBC.


Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 09.32.07


How United fans will be thrilled by supporting a pragmatic team.

Says Jose Mourinho:

“I think was a positive performance. If you analyse the game see the reason why did it, playing Young and Fellaini. We had control of the game – there were two amazing saves by David de Gea it’s true but they were out of context. The reaction from their crowd was permanent disappointment. People expected us to come here and be really in trouble, which we were not.”

To recap: United were boring when they won at Liverpool with a philosophy; United are exciting and new when they draw 0-0 with a “masterclass” and a “new way”.

Still, at least Jose has won over the media. Van Gaal never did.

Posted: 18th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Rewriting history of make Mourinho the scourge of Liverpool

In readiness for Liverpool v Manchester United – now horribly billed ‘El Classico UK’ – the Sun’s Man Neil Custis is here to praise United boss Jose Mourinho.

‘JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era.”

He is? Under Van Gaal. United did pretty well against the Reds.

On the match Liverpool 1 – Manchester United 2, for example, Alan Shearer noted on Match of the Day: “United moved the ball quickly and they passed it well too – their one or two-touch football has clearly improved massively of late. But the most impressive part of their performance in the first 45 minutes at Anfield was their intensity when they did not have possession.”

Van Gaal’s record against Liverpool:

December 14th 2014
Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool
Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie

March 22nd 2015
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United
Juan Mata x 2

September 12th 2015
Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool
Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial.

January 17th 2016
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

United: W4 D0 L0 GF9 GA2
Liverpool: W0 D0 L4 GF2 GA9

The BBC said of the last encounter:

This was every inch a game between sides sitting sixth and ninth in the Premier League before kick-off.

This time round, Liverpool are fourth and United are seventh. But free football maestro Mourinho is here to enliven and thrill.

Curtis adds:

“That is why he [Mourinho] will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’.”

This is what Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has to say in the Times about when Mourinho’s Chelsea came to Anfield on April 27, 2014.

“I will never forget the way they played the game. It was very slow, they sat in. It was difficult to watch. Throw-ins, goal kicks, they were taking forever and that got everyone worked up in the stadium and it worked to their advantage because they got the result they came for — one that had a big impact on us not winning the league.

“It wasn’t a nice game to watch…”

Not boring. Just awful. Still, a win’s a win, right?


Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United’s Mourinho insults Liverpool boss Klopp and makes it all about him

Ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United the temperature is being cranked up. In the Times, we read “Klopp antics are mocked by Mourinho”.  The paper says United manager Jose Mourinho has “ridiculed” Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

“I’m on the touchline to try to coach,” says Mourinho, who “then waved his arms in the air, mimicking Klopp”. “I’m not on the touchline . . . [doing this].”

This is Mourinho, of course, who makes a big play of not commenting on other teams and only ever talking about his players (Anorak ad passim).

Mourinho added to his pre-mach snark by wondering aloud if the game’s referee, Anthony Taylor, who lives a few miles from Old Trafford, would have a “a very good performance”. “I think Mr Taylor is a very good referee,” judged Mourinho, “but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.”

In other ‘Look at me’ news, Mourinho manager talked about one of his player, albeit to blame the Press for Wayne Rooney’s poor form. “I think what hurt you could do, you did already,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think you can do more than what you did, so I think in this moment it is time for him to recover from what was done to him and the best place for him to do that is feeling like he feels at home here.”

All typical siege mentality stuff from Jose: insult your rival; question the referee’s abilities; blame everyone else.

And the Press love it.

Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool


One paper does lead with Klopp. The Star has the Liverpool manger sticking up for Mourinho.




It’s not hard to see which of Mourinho or Klopp is more worried.

Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: The Sun creates a Gareth Bale to Manchester United out of nothing

Is Gareth Bale moving to Manchester United? No. We told you he was staying at Real Madrid. Every story you ever read about Bale wanting to join Man United is wrong. Stories like these from the Sun in recent days:

28 Aug 2016 – MANCHESTER UNITED are plotting an audacious £100million move for Real Madrid’s Welsh wizard Gareth Bale.

23 Sep 2016 – Gareth Bale to Manchester United: Real Madrid star wants to leave Bernabeu with Old Trafford preferred destination.”

And so to today’s Sun news that Bale is not going to play for any club other than Real Madrid. He does not want to leave the Bernabeu.

And how does the Sun present this story. Yes, as a story about Manchester United story:

Gareth Bale to Manchester United: Real Madrid superstar to sign new contract at the Bernabeu until 2022

In tomorrows news: “Manchester United: Ronaldo not signing for Man United either.”

Posted: 13th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United prepare to sell Wayne Rooney – the symbol of ineffectual English football

Much chatter over Wayne Rooney’s future. The BBC says, Manchester United “could look to offload captain Wayne Rooney, 30, in the summer”. They could. Or they could not.

The BBC adds that getting rid of Rooney “may” mean United paying him the 20 months of his £300,000-a-week contract.

The Mirror adds that this is United’s £26m dilemma.

Eh? United will either pay Rooney and maybe let him play or pay Rooney and sell him to another team. Is that a dilemma?

Over in the Sun we hear from “CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”, former United and England captain Bryan Robson. He says: “At least United fans will show him the love and respect he deserves. Wayne’s always given everything for England… and that should always be appreciated. He doesn’t deserve to be booed like he was against Malta and one thing I do know is that the United supporters will stick by him. Wayne will know that the next time he pulls on a United shirt the fans will be right behind him – as they should be.”

United fans support the club they have seen reach the heights and raise the heart rate. When Rooney goes, other gilded stars will replace him. Manchester United fans expect the next best thing to arrive at any moment.

England fans expect nothing but more dross.

They did have the young Rooney, a lightning rod of hope and expectation. He was England’s Roy of the Rovers, a winner in a sea of mediocrity. “Our country love it, creating a drama around one player,” said Gary Neville. “I’ve never known there not be an obsession around one player. It was Gascoigne from 1996 to 1998, Beckham from 2000 to 2006. From 2006, it was Rooney and Beckham. Now it’s Rooney to 2014. Unfortunately – or fortunately, because he is a big player – this time it’s Wayne Rooney.”

We put him on a pedestal. And now we’re hacking away at the legs.

England fans crave more. But all they see is an underachieving team of pampered individuals get outplayed by Iceland. This shambolic England team is currently managed by Gareth Southgate. The FA are paying him £500,000 to manage four England internationals, including matches against – deep breath – Malta, Slovenia and Scotland. In the greedy, overpaid world of football that’s not a lot when compared to the £400,000 his predecessor Sam Allardyce thought a speaking engagement was worth.

See anything to cheer about? No, not you, Gareth and Sam, rather the fans who watch the team of overpaid solo acts?

So, there’s the captain, the ineffectual Wayne Rooney, who no longer a striker sits marooned in England’s midfield. Rooney hasn’t played well in a tournament for England since 2004, when he was sensational. His presence reminds us of all the false dawns and hype that surrounds the now dubbed ‘Three Lions’. He is yesterday’s great hope in a team that holds no promise of a bright future. Fans can boo him because his declining form represents failure. And, besides, anyone mad enough to pay to watch this current England team in the flesh needs to make their own entertainment.


Posted: 13th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

List: every Premier League manager’s favourite team

Much hoo-ha over the appointment of Manchester-based referee Anthony Taylor for the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United. The idea is, presumably, that Taylor will favour Man United over their rivals? Or maybe he’s a diehard United loyalist who hates the club owning Glazers and wants their version of United to fail and will favour Liverpool? Or maybe his loved ones support Manchester City or Everton and to keep them happy Taylor will go studs-up on United’s David De Gea and red card Paul Pogba for having non-regulation hair?

Twitter user @TheLFCPoll investigates another options: “Manchester born referee Anthony Taylor will be in charge of the Manchester United game. His wife is a Manchester United fan. Seems neutral.”


Manchester United referee Taylor


Taylor doesn’t support Manchester United, preferring the allure of non-league Altrincham. The rules state that referees can only be barred from officiating matches featuring a club they support.

So what of the criticism of Taylor? Former referee Keith Hackett says Taylor’s treatment has been “grossly unfair”. Ex-ref Graham Poll says Taylor “should certainly not raise any eyebrows despite him living and working in the Manchester area”.

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was fined in January 2014 for pointing the finger at Bolton-based referee Lee Mason and his officiating of the Reds’ 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad. “I was surprised that we are playing in Manchester and we had a referee from Greater Manchester,” Rodgers said. “Hopefully we won’t have a Greater Manchester referee with Liverpool-Manchester games in future. We had nothing that went our way at all. I never go on about officials but I thought they were horrendous.”

A referee’s address is not a factor in selecting them for matches.

Keith Hackett explains more:

“At the beginning of every season the referees’ background information is audited. They complete a form that includes who they support, the history of if they’ve played the game and with the addresses where they are residing. That gives you a picture that comes into use when you’re appointing.”

Anyhow, if you want to know which ref supports which team, here you are:

Mark Clattenburg (County Durham): Newcastle

Mike Dean (Wirral): Tranmere

Roger East (Wiltshire): Unknown

Kevin Friend (Bristol): Bristol City

Simon Hooper (Wiltshire): Swindon

Mike Jones (Chester): Chester

Robert Madley (Wakefield): Huddersfield

Andre Marriner (Birmingham): Aston Villa

Lee Mason (Bolton): Bolton

Jon Moss (Sunderland): Sunderland

Michael Oliver (Ashington): Newcastle

Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire): Sheffield United

Graham Scott (Oxford): Swindon

Keith Stroud (Dorset): Luton

Neil Swarbrick (Preston): Preston

Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe): Altrincham

Paul Tierney (Wigan): Wigan

Conclusion: If you want to be a top-flight referee, the advice is to support a team that is either never there or one prone to relegation.

Posted: 12th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Agent Pogba fails to land Griezmann and Memphis Depay rejected croissants

Manchester United fans looking for news have been treated to a welter of clickbait balls today. We’ll round-up a few gems – and save our favourite for the end.

Metro: “Agent Pogba: Man Utd fans get excited as star is snapped with TWO top targets.”

Neyma? Ronaldo? George Bellshaw dishes the goods:

Every time Paul Pogba goes on international duty, he seems to be snapped with Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann, which sends Red Devils fans into a frenzy.

Raphaël Varane took a selfie in the changing room following France’s 0-1 over holland. Pogba and Grteizman are in the background. The contracts are being drawn up as we speak.

No wait!

Metro: “Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann admits he could join Paris Saint-Germain ‘someday’”

Daily Express: “Manchester United midfielder makes unexpected return to former club.”

Who left?

Mata started his youth career with the Spanish second-tier side before being snapped up by Real Madrid in 2006. And it seems the 28-year-old hasn’t forgotten his roots and made a return to Oviedo on Sunday during the international break.

Yeah, Mata went on holiday to see his old club play.

And now the top story:

Daily Mail: “Paul Pogba danced on a plane while Memphis Depay rejected croissants as the Manchester United duo prepared to meet in Holland vs France showdown.”

After the international break, the Premier League begins again very soon. The Press cannot wait.


Posted: 11th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: BBC clickbaits Manchester United fans with moves for ‘Manchester City’s’ Isco

More BBC Transfer Balls as the State broadcaster tells readers to its website – and why doesn’t the BBC just publish a newspaper?  – “Manchester United target Isco has hinted he may leave Real Madrid at the end of the season.”

Hinted. May.

With not a single fact to support its headline news, we follow a link to the Manchester Evening Post, which declares: “Manchester United get Isco boost as he explains Real Madrid situation.” What said the player who started one league match for Real last season? “If I’ve still only made a few appearances by the end of the season, I’ll look elsewhere,” says Isco. “At 24 years of age I have to right to better myself.”

Over on TalkSport that becomes: “Tottenham transfer news: Top target Isco admits he could leave Real Madrid if his situation doesn’t change.”

May. If.

The Metro is less precise, saying all top-flight clubs are in for the players: “Isco puts Premier League clubs on red alert by revealing he could leave Real Madrid.”

Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea have heard Isco’s words and sounded the klaxon.

Is Isco really leaving Real? The Press hasn’t got the foggiest.

The Mail told us on October 6: “Real Madrid midfielder Isco ‘is primary transfer target for Juventus’.”

That followed the Express’s news of 19 Sep 2016: “JUVENTUS are not interested in signing Tottenham target Isco from Real Madrid.”

In June, El Confidential reported that Isco had agreed to join Manchester City 25 million euros.

In March, the Metro had other news: “Isco is a priority for Guardiola, with City now seemingly ready to beat the Gunners to his signature.”

They didn’t. Isco stayed at Real Madrid.

Time, then, to hear from the player himself. On October 5, Sky Sports told us: “Isco determined to fight for Real Madrid place under Zinedine Zidane.”

Asked by Marca if he considered an exit, Isco said: “Not really, I have two years left on my Real contract, the club said nothing and I never looked for anything to leave… In the end, if I’m not the star man with (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Rafa) Benitez or Zidane, I will not be foolish and look for problems where there are none. In the end, I’m responsible and that’s where I must improve. There are ups and downs and I won’t give up, I fight to the end and want to prove that I’m fit for Madrid.”

Turn the red alert off. He’s going nowhere.


Posted: 11th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls: Arsenal’s Granit is better than Man United’s Rooney but not a ‘capable’ as Southampton’s Steven Davis

Who are “The 50 best players in the Premier League”? You could decide this with transfer fees, goals scored, goals conceded, where a player polled in the PFA awards and the Football writers’ awards, FIFA 17 ranking and any number of statistics betting shops and fantasy leagues use to gage players.

The Mirror has opted for with guessing. Lowlights are:

48: “He’s still trying to find his feet at the Emirates, but there have already been signs – notably his goal at Hull – that the quality he has could lead him to be a top-15 player on lists such as this in future.”

Fingers crossed Granit makes 15. Will he be happy with a Top 20 spot?

We also learn that Anthony Martial (46 – Manchester United) is better than Wayne Rooney (50 – Manchester United).

Others are capable:

Steve Davis (47 – Southampton): “Capable in a variety of roles.”

Martial (as above): “He’s capable of beating a man to tee up a teammate or score himself.”

Ross Barkley (45 – Everton): “He’s capable of running a game from midfield.”

And on it goes. Over the next few days the Mirror will continue its countdown.

PS: For those of you who can’t wait to see who is top of the heap, in September 2016 the Mirror said the best player in the Premier League is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s a capable lad.

Posted: 10th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Chelsea want to sell Hazard, Manchester United offered £170m for Neymar, Arsenal re-buy Higuain

Transfer balls: a look at football reporting. The BBC says Chelsea are looking to cash in on Eden Hazard, the player once billed as the “new Lionel Messi”. The BBC says Chelsea will tie a big bag of cash to the 25-year-old Belgium and offer to swap the lot for Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29.

The Sun says Juventus don’t want Hazard. They want Cesc Fabregas and an even bigger bag of cash – £50m – for Bonucci.

In other Chelsea news, the Star  says the blues are keen on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Manchester City also want him. Aubameyang doesn’t want to play for either of them, preferring a move to Real Madrid.

City have loads of cash. Will they outbid Real? News is that last summer they offered £170m for Barcelona’s Neymar. The Citizens thought they’d get their man. Mundo Deportivo says Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain matched that bid. And all failed. Odd, indeed, that no other news sources got wind of these bids.

Maybe City will have better luck with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, 21. Marca says Barcelona head the queue for the Arsenal flyer, who is happy at the Emirates.

As for the Gunners, well, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis says Arsenal made a good offer for striker Gonzalo Higuain over the summer. “We received a request from Arsenal,” he told the Evening Standard. “Personally I also received a request from Atletico Madrid but they didn’t put enough money on the table. We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale.”

He was for sale. Higuain went to Juventus for £75.3m.

Of course, Sun readers know that Higuain joined the Gunners years ago:


higuain arsenal


And Manchester United a few years later:


Higuain Manchester United


Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester United should have no regrets over Burnley’s Mike Keane heading to Chelsea

The BBC says Manchester United are “kicking themselves”. No, not because one of their myriad sponsors has slapped own a big wad of cash and told them to. They are kicking themselves, says the BBC, because they failed to add a sell-on clause to Burnley defender Michael Keane’s contract.

Keane, 23, joined Burnley from United for £2.5m in 2015. He is now being eyed by Chelsea. And in the mad world of football transfers, Keane is worth £25m.

Given that one other option is for Chelsea to give Juventus Cesc Fabregas plus £50m for Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29, (source: BBC), Keane’s fee looks a little more reasonable.

The Sun picks up the story of Keane to Chelsea and that sell-on clause. It says “United are believed to have not been able to get Burnley to agree to deal which means they will receive cash if he moves to another club.” Believed. In other words, the Sun and the BBC don’t know.

The M.E.N. says there is no sell-on clause.

If Keane is so good, why don’t United buy him? The Sun confronts that: “It is not known whether United have first-option to buy-back Keane if a fee is agreed.”

The BBC and Sun’s story add up to a lot of nothing – unless:

a) You’re a rival news organ keen not to miss out on a non-story. “Man United gossip: Red Devils having huge regrets over Michael Keane sale,” says the Mirror.  “Michael Keane’s emergence is another indictment of the Louis van Gaal reign at Manchester United,” says EuroSport. Which makes you wonder what EuroSport has to say about Paul Pogba, a player overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson who rejoined United for a king’s ransom.

Having been loaned out to Leicester, Derby and Blackburn, on 2 September 2014, Keane was loaned to Burnley. On 8 January 2015, Keane joined Burnley on a permanent deal. Van Gaal replaced David Moyes as the new Manchester United boss on 19 May 2014, managing his first game on 24 July. The hammer-headed Dutchman was not a raving success at United but the club was hardly fighting to keep Keane, let alone make him a Premier League starter.

b) You’re a Burnley fan facing the prospect of losing one of their best players in January – a player who has improved under the excellent Sean Dyche. As Keane has said, “Burnley gave me the platform to showcase myself and show my talents in the first place.”

Manchester United have no regrets. They wouldn’t have picked him.


Posted: 8th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Gareth Bale gets £91m to ‘snub’ Manchester United

Gareth Bale is not heading to Manchester United. The BBC says Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have agreed new contracts to remain at Real Madrid. Bale has been offered £91m to keep playing for Real and reject Manchester United’s advances.

The Express says the BBC is correct. Bale will remain at Real Madrid and get a ton of cash to “snub” Manchester United next summer.

The source for all this is Spanish radio station Cope. It says  Ronaldo, 31, has signed a new deal until 2021. It says Bale has agreed to stay in Spain until 2022. But there is no word of that bumper pay packet. Only the Express has news on that, reporting: “Bale’s admirers at Old Trafford will have to accept the 27-year-old is staying in Spain after agreeing a six-year deal worth around £350,000 a week.”

Unless, of course, United offer a massive pile of cash of cash for the star. After all, Bale wants to come to the Premier League. We read that in the Daily Express.


bale man united


And in the BBC, which on 11 Jun 2016 reported: “Manchester United are confident of signing Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, 26, for a world-record £94.6m fee.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Goncalo Guedes – the fourth ‘new Ronaldo’

guedes ronaldoTransfer balls: Manchester United are ready to buy the “new Cristiano Ronaldo'” says the BBC. This new Ronaldo is 19-year-old Goncalo Guedes.

The Mirror picks up the balls, saying that the winger, represented by the ubiquitous agent Jorge Mendes, plays for Benfica. He is “one of the most highly-rated prospects in Portuguese football right now.” Wow, indeed. Portuguese football is in a healthy state. The new Ronaldo is only one of the players tipped for greatness.

The paper says United scouts are pushed up against reps from Juventus, Valencia, Osasuna and Middlesbrough. All were there to watch Guedes play in Benfica’s 4-0 win over Feirense.

The BBC first featured Guedes in November 2015. Then we were told that Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City “are also linked with a £40m move for a winger dubbed the new Ronaldo”. The Beeb added that Arsenal and Barcelona had been to see him.

Back in November 2014, the Daily Mail said: “Arsenal in the hunt for Goncalo Guedes (the new Cristiano Ronaldo) – but 17-year-old Benfica starlet could cost Gunners £40m.”

At least his price isn’t going up.

Also that month, The Week said Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were eyeing ‘New Ronaldo’ Guedes.

Guedes is not the first Ronaldo. Even Ronaldo is not the first superstar Ronaldo, that honour going to the former Brazilian striker. But Cristiano Ronaldo was the first Ronaldo to play for Manchester United. Since then there have been others.

November 2014, Daily Star: “Sunderland are winning the race to sign Galatasaray winger Bruma, who has been dubbed the ‘new Ronaldo’… Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United are all chasing the 20-year-old.”

August 2013, Daily Mail: “Januzaj can become the next Ronaldo.”

April 2009, Telegraph: “Manchester United’s Federico Macheda hailed as the new Cristiano Ronaldo”

Bruma never joined United. Januzaj is now on loan at Sunderland. Macheda is now a free agent. Bruma remains on Galatasaray’s books.

Such are the facgts.


Posted: 5th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho never criticises players for missing chances (except when he does)

It’s tempting to think that there are two sides to Jose Mourinho: the bitchy, pouting manager who delivers barbs and criticism to the media and the man who rouses a side to give their all for him and charms owners of big clubs.

After Manchester United drew 1-1 with Stoke, Mourinho was stood in front of the Press pack. Would be once more be pointing fingers?

“I never criticise my players for missing chances,” he said. “Their goalkeeper is the Man of the Match and deservedly so. We had some open chances where we could do better but I am never critical of my players for this. I can be critical of the attitude, with the quality of performance and for naive mistakes sometimes, but not in front of goal.”

Really? On 14 Sep 2013, after Chelsea had lost 1-0 to Everton, Mourinho told media: “We were the best team because we played the best football, because we dominated the whole game, because we had 21 shots. But by the other way, a team who has 21 shots – some easy, in easy situations – and made a mistake at the end of the first half, maybe I should say we deserved to lose.”

Also in 2013, he said: “Missing goals. It’s always the same words. It’s unbelievable. Even on the bench, I feel every time we miss a chance and the score is 0-0, 1-0, 2-1, 1-1, I feel the pressure. I feel that missing the chances, maybe later you are punished. We have this problem.”

And in December 2015: “The only time we had a contact with the ball (in the box) was the Matic one but it was difficult for him with his mask. It was also difficult because the cross was really fast, which made it difficult for him to react and to give direction to the ball. I know the goal was empty but that one was difficult. The other ones, short and low crosses, if you are in the box you tap the ball in.”

Such are the facts.


Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United Balls: Toni Kroos ‘joins’ but will consider offers from Manchester City

Transfer balls – a look at dire football reporting. The BBC says Manchester City and Manchester United are chasing Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, 26. Spanish TV  show El Chiringuito and the Metro free newspaper agree.

The Metro ups the ante by saying City and United will go to “War” over Kroos. War was declared by Spanish journalist Pipe Estrada on El Chiringuito. “A war of two great coaches of international prestige, Guardiola and Mourinho, for a player, a player of Real Madrid: Toni Kroos,” says Estrada. “The two managers believe that he may be key to their future because of his tactical position on the field and because he is vital for the continuity of their projects.”

The Manchester Evening News adds: “Manchester United and Man City to go to war over Real Madrid midfielder Kroos.”

The Sun thunders: “ROOSING FOR A BRUISING Manchester United transfer news: Jose Mourinho and Manchester City boss to battle it out for Real Madrid star Toni Kroos.”

One Spanish journalist speaks and the British Press repeat his claim verbatim.

But how right is he?

In June 2016, the Express said: “Jose Mourinho has reportedly told the board to do whatever it takes to bring the German World Cup winner to Old Trafford.”

In March 2016, the Metro told its readers: “Manchester United transfer news: Gonzalo Higuain deal agreed, Toni Kroos available…”


Higuain Manchester United


Higuain never did agree to join Man United. He joined Juventus.

And neither did Kroos. In May 2014, the Daily Mail said Kroos had joined Man United.


Kroos United Manchester


Other news sources also agree that Kroos had signed for Manchester United.

In other transfer news, the BBC says Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been told “he must sell a player before moving for Southampton’s £10m-rated defender Jose Fonte, 32.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls: Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovich beats Zorya Luhansk on his holiday

Yesterday the Mirror reported that Zlatan Ibrahimovich had left Manchester United for a holiday. The Mirror said the “holiday” would mean Ibrahimovich missing Manchester United’s Europa League match with the mighty Zorya Luhansk.

The Sun agreed: “Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to miss Thursday night match vs Zorya as he holidays in Milan.”


zlatan europa manchester


So what did Zlatan do on his holiday? Well, he played for Manchester United in the Europa League and scored the winner.


zlatan man united


Update: The Mirror has now changed its story to read: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns for Manchester United’s clash with Zorya Luhansk after holiday in Italy.”

Update 2:  When the big media speaks the websites follow. Get a load of this terrible reporting on Sports Mole.


media balls


Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Zlatan’s finger food

Are footballers indulged? The Daily Mirror says Manchester United have allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to go on “holiday”. Six Premier League matches into the season and Zlatan is off to work on his tattoos.

Ibrahimovic has travelled to Milan. The Mirror repeats a Gazzetta story. The Italian organ says that on September 25th Zlatan ate at the city’s Finger’s Garden restaurant. The Mirror says this ‘holiday’ (aka meal) means Zlatan will miss Man United’s Europa League match against Zorya Luhansk.

Two things about this story stand out. Who calls their restaurant Fingers Garden? It sounds like a Buzzfeed-style website. A quick look around the internet reveals it to be a Japanese restaurant. Do the Japanese eat fingers? The Yakuza engage in Yubitsume – amputating bits of fingers to atone for indiscretions.

Secondly, is Zlatan really on holiday? The Sun wonders, “Why does the 34-year-old need a rest with the upcoming international break coming up?”

You can fly to Milan in a few hours from Manchester. What a man who earns over £200,000-a-week did was go out for dinner in a foreign country. It’s the kind of thing minted footballers do.

Now stop biting your nails, Zlatan, the main course is coming…

Posted: 28th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: what Manchester United understand about selling Juan Mata

Transfer Ball – Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is “desperate” to stay at Old Trafford, says the BBC.

The Sun says the likeable 28-year-old, who has two years left on his  “£130,000-a-week contract”, wants Jose Mourinho to sanction a new deal. We know this because an unnamed “United source” says “Juan is still in the dark over his future at the club”.

Why would a source at the club speak up on behalf of one player? this story has the player’s agent’s fingers all over it.

It was only back in July, we read: “Daley Blind and Juan Mata will be high-profile victims of Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United this summer, Sky Sports News HQ understands.”

Sky Sports was wrong. It understood nothing. Blind is key part of Mourinho’s team. Mata is playing well. But it went on. Sky “understood Mourinho would approve the sale of both players this summer”.

Also in July, the Sun told its readers: “ose Mourinho tells ex-Chelsea outcast Juan Mata he can stay at Manchester United – but will only play one in three matches.”  The paper said Mata would be sold to Spain but “La Liga sides do not have the money to match his £150,000- a-week wages”.

As the Sun works out how much Mata earns and listens to understanding sources, the player took a moment to explain what’s going on to a young Untied fan. His advice: “Don’t believe the media.”


Posted: 27th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal

Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.

Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.

In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.

Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.

Manchester City win the title.


daily express premier predictor league


Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.


Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Fat, thick and ugly: the Sun wil miss Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney

What next for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney? The Sun has often seen the footballer as figure of fun, an Aunt Sally to knock and deride. Below are a few ways the Sun has dressed up and insulted the cut-put-and-keep Rooney doll:







Fat. Thick. Ugly. All charming stuff.

Dropped to the bench for Manchester United’s victory over Leicester City yesterday, the Sun says Rooney will have fight to win his place in the starting XI. Jose Mourinho pointed to Rooney’s lack of pace as reason for his relegation: “When our main striker is Zlatan, we need fast people around him. Against Leicester that was the best solution for us.”

Later that night, Rooney went to see boxer Anthony Crolla in world title defence against Jorge Linares. Crolla lost. But the Sun wasn’t watching the fight. It was watching Rooney watching the fight. He was, says the paper, “stern faced.” But the picture shows that he wasn’t.


Rooney dumb


Indeed, the Sun tells readers that “stern-faced” Rooney and his wife “were later joined by United team-mate Michael Carrick, with the two footballers sharing a laugh and a joke.”

You wonder what the Sun will do when Rooney becomes marooned on a golf course or an ITV studio panel and is no longer a player. The Sun will miss Wayne Rooney when he’s gone. The next England captain will have to up his game.


Posted: 25th, September 2016 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0