manchester united Category
Transfer Balls: the Sun leads with Manchester United’s summer bid for Monaco’s Portuguese “ace” Bernardo Silva. On top of the £85m Man United have earmarked for Antoine Griezmann’s signature is £70m for Silva.
Is it true? A year ago, the Express said Barcelona and Chelsea were looking at Bernardo. Have they gone cold on the midfielder?
Silva is managed by – yep – Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes, a man routinely billed as “super-agent”, who vies with Super Banker for the title of World’s Least Admirable Super Hero.
What truth there is in the story of Silva to Manchester United is hard to ascertain because the Sun produces not a single quote to support is claim. Still, it must be great for Mendes to know how much 10% of £70m is and for Silva, worth €15.75 million one year ago, to be linked with a big money move to the Premier League.
Bernardo Mota Veiga de Carvalho e Silva is contracted to Monaco until 30 June 2019.
The Manchester United v Liverpool match was memorable for a number of things, according to the clickbait-mad Press.
The Mirror’s football expert learned “five things” from watching the game, one of which is that Paul Pogba’s “handball handed Liverpool the early advantage”. That was the handball that gave Liverpool a penalty kick, from which they scored their only goal of the game. David McDonnell leaned that. He also learned that Wayne Rooney got a yellow card and “Ibrahimovic keeps on scoring”, which he did when he scored United’s equaliser.
The Express also learned five things, one of which is, “Simon Mignolet put on a solid display.”
Coincidentally, the Sun also learned five things. Fred Nathan delivers his fistful of insight. He watched Pogba give away a penalty and learned that he “must not let silly mistakes creep into his game”.
In the Indy, which didn’t make enough money to remain as proper paper so went web only, there are just four things learned. But Fox News, which has oodles of money, learned seven things. Ryan Rosenblatt learned that when United and Liverpool drop points, their rivals are pleased. The other top sides “love this result” he learned.
But the prize for the biggest Clickbait Balls goes to the dire Daily Telegraph. The once great newspaper is now a clickbait factory. “Martin Tyler accused of ‘bias’ following Manchester United vs Liverpool commentary,” says the headline. It also says just that in the URL for the story:
So who accused Sky TV’s commentator of bias? Liverpool boss Jugen Klopp? Manchester Untied manager Jose Mourinho? Well, no. A clue to how the story was the product of the paper’s clickbait factory is in the now revised headline: “Liverpool fans round on Martin Tyler following Manchester United’s last minute equaliser at Old Trafford.”
They “rounded on” Tyler on Twitter. The Telegraph picks three tweets to back up its story, which beings: “Paranoid Liverpool fans are becomingly increasingly convinced that SkySports’ Martin Tyler is a secret Manchester United fan.”
Martin Tyler just called Zlatan: “THE TOWER OF POWER!” #MUNLIV
Still coming to terms with the fact Martin Tyler just called Zlatan the ‘Tower of Power’, since when has that been a thing?
Lest you think those “paranoid” Liverpool fans are just having a laugh and mocking Tyler’s absurd phrase, @Footy Humour tweets the third piece of evidence.
Martin Tyler: “Rooney here. Is it in the script? Is it in the stars?”
*Rooney gives away posession*
Martin Tyler: *silence*
The troubling thing is that the clickbait works. The story even the Telegraph recognised as bad enough to warrant a chance of headline (but not a change of URL) is the second biggest story on the paper’s website:
Such are the facts.
The Mirror leads with news that Liverpool have no intention of selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £60m. “NOU CHANCE,” puns the paper.” Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp says “no amount of money” will force him to sell his star player.
Wishful thinking, of course. Every player has their price. After all on December 26, the Mirror reported: “Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Paris Saint-Germain plotting £40million Philippe Coutinho swoop.” Putting a price alongside a player’s name is simple.
Over in the Sun, the figure of £60m also figures large on the back page. This time it’s the sum Manchester United are willing to invest in Spurs full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. But United won’t have it easy. The paper adds that Manchester City will fight United for the England players.
Walker and Rose each earn around £70,000-a-week at Spurs. Given that Spurs are better than United and outplayed City this season, it’s surely only money that will make either of them move.
Mark Irwin tells Spurs fans to expect the worst. Needing money for their new £750m stadium, Spurs will cash on on their star turns. Irwin notes that Rose, Walker and other young Spurs players, like Dele Alli Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen, know they could earn far more at Chelsea, Arsenal or either of the Manchester clubs.
Transfer balls: Manchester United are trying to offload Morgan Schneiderlin, 27. In July 2015, the Frenchman joined Manchester United for £25m rising to £27 million. The 25-year-old midfielder signed a four-year contract with the option to extend it by a further year. He’s paid £100,000 a week.
And now United want him out. According to the Daily Mail, United have told Everton they will have to pay more than £20m for Schneiderlin. The Indy says the Toffees will offer £22m. Other sources say they want the full sum the player has cost them.
Schneiderlin is costing United a fortune and not playing. Every week, his value is going down.
He joined Southampton for £1.2 million in 2008. He was tremendous, topping the Premier League’s rankings in 2013 for both interceptions (he ended up with 139) and tackles (146). So what’s gone wrong? Manchester United erred. They saw the man at the top of the list for tackles and thought he’d do the same for them. Stats were all that mattered to United’s scouts. United lacked vision. A club whose recruitment policy is now driven by box office appeal just tossed money at the problem of how to get the club back on top. Schneiderlin didn’t get worse. United bought the wrong player.
In 2013, Ed Woodward, the United dealmaker, told United We Stand, the United fanzine, how the club targets players in the post-Ferguson era: “I don’t like the fact that there are consistently more players from Spain on the [Ballon d’Or shortlist]. We as a club should be aspiring to have the best players playing for us.”
As Oliver Kay nots in the Times: ‘Under Woodward, it has always seemed more about “the best players” than creating “the best team”.’
Arriving as a teenager, Schneiderlin thrived at Southampton, a club that invests in young talent. The Saints have produced since 2000 – deep breath – Adam Lallana, Gareth Bale, Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Luke Shaw. What price United nurturing young players to rise through the ranks to form a team under Jose Mourinho?
Media Balls: West Ham United were beaten 0-2 by Manchester United in today’s Premier League game. The match went badly for the Hammers when Feghouli was sent off after just 14 minutes. The official West Ham website says the Algerian was “desperately unlucky to receive a red card following a challenge with United defender Phil Jones”.
Manchester United “make extra man count” laments the headline atop the Hammer’s official match report. “The decision changed the course of the game.”
Or as the Manchester Evening Post calls it: “FINALLY get refereeing decision after Feghouli tackle on Jones.”
Darmian should have earned a second yellow card when United player Arsenal. In its match report the Sun called the player “a walking red card”. Against Crystal Palace, Zlatan Ibrahimovich admitted to using his hand in his pass that set up Paul Pogba to score one of United’s goals in a 1-2 win.
And as the Mirror notes, “for those of you with short memories, Manchester United defender Rojo got away with two different two-footers in December. First, there was this bone-cruncher on Everton’s Idrissa Gueye. Then, just ten days later, he gave us this ankle-weakener, on Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.”
Finally United get a refereeing decision? Or usually?
Ciaran Kelly, whose memory might be shorter than his Man United blinkers, reports for the MEN:
Manchester United received an early boost in their teatime clash with West Ham after Sofiane Feghouli was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Phil Jones .
Not exactly. This is now the BBC saw it:
Referee Mike Dean showed Feghouli a straight red card after the midfielder’s 15th-minute challenge on Phil Jones.
Replays showed it was more of a coming together between two players committed to winning the ball than a reckless tackle meant to cause harm.
Still, it’s good to know Manchester United and the fearless local paper are on the same side and singing from the same hymn sheet. “I don’t feel sorry for West Ham – I didn’t watch the decisions. I think if you talk about decisions, we are the champions of bad decisions,” says Jose Mourinho after the match.
United have benefitted hugely from poor refereeing. They might even top the table at it.
Never mind that Antoine Griezmann says he’s happy in Madrid with his new baby and wonderful life, the British Press have him packed and ready to join the Premier League very soon. France’s footballer of the year is on his way to, well, all the top clubs. Manchester United have £60m and Chelsea £50m and £90m for Atletico Madrid’s super striker, whose new contract set his transfer fee at a minimum of £86m.
News in the Guardian is that Manchester City also quite like Griezmann – and so do Arsenal. The BBC and Telegraph say that if Mesut Özil or Alexis Sánchez fail to get the £200,000 a week they each want to extend their current contracts and leave the Gunners, Arsenal will swoop for Griezmann by offering him less than the £200,000-a-week City, Chelsea or United would pay.
Should that cunning plan fail, Arsenal will go for Marco Reus or Julian Draxler, although the taller German (Draxler) has apparently agreed to join PSG in France’s Ligue 1. That doesn’t stop the Daily Star says Draxler is on his way to Liverpool.
The tin lid is placed on this Transfer Balls by news that the source for the BBC, Telegraph, Independent and Guardian scoop on Griezmann and Reus being watched by Arsenal is Squawka, a blog whereon we read not a single fact to support the story that Arsenal want either player.
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: Manchester United’s Rashford To West Ham; Payet to Arsenal; Draxler to Liverpool; Virgil to Manchester City?
West Ham United are, says the Daily Telegraph, keen to transfer Manchester United squad members Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford to their goal-shy team. It’s an “ambitious” bid, says the paper. No kidding.
Failure to lure either of them to London will mean West Ham turning to – deep breath – Sassuolo’s Grégoire Defrel, Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi and Porto’s Laurent Depoitre. Yeah, pretty much anyone who can score a goal is on West Ham’s radar.
The Express says West Ham will make space for any of the above by getting shot of six players, including loan strikers Simon Zaza (loaned from Juventus) and Ashley Fletcher (Manchester United). One player not leaving is Dimitri Payet. Or as the Star puts it: “JOSE’S PAYET RAID – United boss in fight with old foe Wenger”. Will Payet leave West Ham for Arsenal or head to Manchester United in a deal involving Marital or Rashford?
In other Manchester United transfer news, the Mirror says Benfica’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelof could be heading to Old Trafford for £37.8million. If he arrives, Chris Smalling will leave United, says the Express. Smalling will be beaten to the United exit by Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Scheweinsteiger.
Away from United, the Guardian says Arsenal are keen on Valencia’s super-fast left-back José Gaya.
The Mirror says Liverpool are looking to sign Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart. The Times says the Reds are also keen on Wolfsburg’s Germany midfielder Julian Draxler but face competition from PSG and, of course, Arsenal, who seem to have been chasing the player for every one of his 23 years.
The Mail says Manchester City will offer £50m for Southampton Virgil van Dijk. There have been “discreet talks” between the clubs, says the Mail all over its back page. The Dutchman is “aware of City’s interest”.
The Mirror says Manchester United want Jose Mourinho to remain at Old Trafford for ‘TEN MOUR YEARS”. United want Jose to “stay for the next decade”. Given that Mourinho has never remained at any club for longer than three years, you might suppose the United headhunters are hopeful, ignorant of what happened with Jose at Chelsea, desperate or a combination of all three.
It’s “Jose’s Big Deal”, agrees the Star. “United want boss to stay for eight more seasons”. They “want him til 2025”. A decade is nine years? Journalists never were much cop at maths.
Nor are they much cop at predictions. On November 9 the Star told readers, “Jose Mourinho is facing the sack from Man United.”
Reading on, the Star says:
“But despite struggling to make a huge impact since replacing Louis van Gaal, club bosses have been so impressed with him that handing him another long-term contract is already on their minds.”
And as the Mirror puts it:
“But United officials have been so impressed with the elf-styled Special One…there is talk of him staying beyond his current deal:
Mourinho’s erratic behaviour on the touchline and in press conferences has been a concern to United bosses, as exclusively revealed in Starsport… United also accept the ranting and raving comes with him being one of the world’s ‘box office’ managers.
And the Mirror:
“The hierarchy accept he will often find himself in hot water with the authorities because of his demonstrative nature”
The two stories are remarkably similar. And you won’t be surprised to know that neither story names it source. Wonder if the insider who loves Jose is someone at United or a mole in the office at Jose’s agent?
Transfer balls: The Sun leads with news of Manchester United’s £60m bid for Atletico Madrid’s Antione Griezman. It’s an exclusive. But we’ve read of Grizeman heading to United before: here, here and here.
The Press have also told us Griezman was joining Chelsea for £50m.
They told us he rejected a move to Arsenal and declared that he’d never play in England, not even for £80m. Griezmann “was settled in Spain and would not consider a move to England”, said the Indy.
On June 23, the Sun reported: “GRIEZ STAYING – Antoine Griezmann will STAY at Atletico Madrid after signing a new five-year contract.”
The Sun also told readers that Griezmann, 25, was looking at a release clause worth “£78m”.
On September 11 this year the Express reported:
“EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea to make record bid for Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann. ANTONIO CONTE has asked Chelsea’s power brokers to sanction a world-record bid for Atletico Madrid hitman Antoine Griezmann next summer…
That release clause, the one worth £78m?
Conte is ready to go above the £86million release clause in Griezmann’s contract to head off interest from Manchester United. And that means splashing out more than the £89m that United paid Juventus to take Griezmann’s close pal Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford.”
And just yesterday the Standard reported:
“For Arsenal, he [Koscielny] speaks to me about them often,” he told France Football. “But I feel good at Madrid. I do not want to leave. I feel calm here. The little one [his daughter] has just arrived, I am playing matches, I feel good. Sorry, I am going to stay. But Arsenal is a wonderful team. They play great with the ball.”
And today the Daily Star says:
Starsport understand that both Manchester giants as well as Chelsea and Arsenal are all interested in signing Griezmann in the summer. The France international is one of the finest players in the world and valued at around £80m but that would not put off any of England’s top sides.
And so the Sun’s exclusive::
Griezmann has a contract with Atletico until 2021 but his relationship with the club and coach Diego Simeone has soured this season. After losing the Champions League final to city rivals Real twice in the last three years, Atletico look like a team which has peaked.
From feeling calm yesterday (in his own words) to feeling sour today (in the Sun’s words) it’s been a busy few days for the Frenchman.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says it’s thanks to him that a few Manchester United fans who made the trip to West Bromwich Albion’s The Hawthorns ground went home wearing an extra layer of clothing. Jose says of the shirts his players tossed into the stands,”I told them to do that. It is Christmas time”.
Indeed, it’s wintry December when watching football can be at its most testing, not least of all in Ukraine, where Mourinho complained about the “near-freezing temperatures” for United’s Europa League match. Accused of being soft, Mourinho might have used the Midlands to harden his players. First The Hawthorns in December, then Hull in January before United launch a full assault on the Arctic tundra in March dressed in shorts and Alice bands.
So Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford all took their shirts off and threw them into the happy throng after the game had ended in United’s favour.
Mourinho kept his shirt on, moreover his thick coat, sensible shoes, socks and vest. “A shirt for a fan coming directly from the game with sweat means a lot,” added Mourinho. “It is a pity that not everyone can get one but for the ones that can get it, it is a great feeling.”
It feels clammy to wet, mostly, although in Rooney’s case, given the man’s recent athleticism, box fresh.
More on cheating footballers in the form of Zlatan Ibramovich, who in Manchester United’s Premier League match at Crystal Palace handled the ball in the build up to the visitors’ first goal. Having pushed the ball towards Paul Pogba in the Palace box, who duly scored with the next touch, the Swede said post-match: “I think it touched my hand a little bit, then my stomach.”
As with Robert Snodgrass, the Hull City player who dived to win a penalty against the luckless Palace, Zlatan is at pains to construct a sympathetic back story for his offence. We see his hand move towards the ball, but Zlatan presents his body as the benign victim of a molesting force, which only touched his hand a little.
“The situation went fast,” he continues. “I tried to forward the ball to Paul because I saw he was free.”
This plea for understanding can make you hanker for the days of the straightforward denial. But Zlatan’s use of the dramatic-reconstruction-admission is very much in vogue. As Chis Ayres notes, “This uses Hollywood plotting techniques to combine a low-level acceptance of guilt with a backstory and a motive — thus making the acceptance of guilt look unnecessary, and therefore needlessly gracious.”
And just like in Hollywood, Zlatan has his people to protect him. Compare and contrast these match reports.
Matta clipped it into the area where Ibrahimovic, with a hint of handball, used his torso to nudge the ball onto Pogba, who despite being slightly offside was allowed to continue his celebrations after he poked it past Hennessey from close-range.
With just seconds remaining before the break, the Reds’ patience finally paid off, as Ibrahimovic chested Mata’s free-kick into Pogba’s path, allowing the Frenchman the easiest of finishes from six yards.
Such are the facts.
More on the news that when a Manchester United fan who hates Liverpool lays into a Liverpool player as part of his job as a Sky TV pundit, the Liverpool manager might get a tad miffed. And so it is that Jurgen Klopp thinks Gary Neville is a bit of a wally in his harsh criticism of Reds’ goalkeeper Loris Karius. For good measure, Gary’s brother Phil opined from the BBC sofas that Karius, who had spoken to the Press about Gary’s criticism, should “keep his mouth shut and do his job”.
“I don’t care what Gary Neville says,” said Karius in reply to a question from Mail journalist Ian Ladyman. “He was a top player, then was a manager for a short bit and now he is back to being an expert again.” Karius was making reference to Gary Neville’s failure as manager of Valencia, a team owned by the former Manchester United man’s mate.
Ladyman says Karius was “not animated or emotional”. He was “just being gown up”. Agreed. He came across well, refusing to hide after his howler had given Bournemouth victory over his side. Phil Neville was not neither measured nor insightful in his response. He simply told Karius to “shut up”. As punditry goes, Phil is very much in Gary’s shadow. Working in the media is about taking part in a conversation. Phil is advised to keep the chat alive rather than putting it in a bland box and sitting on the lid.
Says Klopp, “[Gary Neville] is not interested in helping a Liverpool player, I can imagine, but that makes the things he says not make more sense. He showed he struggled with the job to judge players when he was manager, so why do we let him talk about players on television? I don’t listen to them. Obviously the Neville brothers don’t like Liverpool, I have no problem with that and if they can cause bigger problems than we have already they have tried.”
The Press laps it up, making the row the lead sports story. “YOU FAILED SO SHUT IT,” thunders the Mirror’s back page. “KLOPP has POP,” puns the Mail’s. “Klopp has launched a double-blast at the Neville brothers,” says the Sun. “Angry Klopp blasts Neville,” says the Star.
And all the while the BBC and Sky celebrate good old fashioned journalism. “I am absolutely not interested in creating headlines so you can write what you want,” said Klopp. He isn’t. But Gary Neville is. And he’s making a grand job of it.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville – “I suppose it came from jealousy through my childhood – jealousy, hatred, passion for your own club. You don’t want them [Liverpool] to win anything” – has been criticising Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper. Neville – “I can’t stand Liverpool and everything to do with them” – says Karius “transmits anxiety”. According to Neville – in October 2006, he celebrated a Man United goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford by running up towards the away fans to celebrate wildly on his own – Karius is untrustworthy and unreliable. “Karius] isn’t good enough,” says Gary Neville.
Karius heard the attack and thought it unfair. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Karius said of Neville: “He was a top player, then he was a manager for a short bit and now he is back to being an expert again… But he is always very critical. I think he does it to everyone. I just hope that when I do well he will comment on that. We will see in the future.”
Compared to Neville’s diatribe, Karius comes across as sober. But Neville can’t leave it there. He tweets: “My sincere apologies Karius. You’re right. A failed manager hasn’t a clue. I won’t copy your great fan, pundit and club legend again. ”
The “club legend” is Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher, who has also been critical of Karius, albeit in more measured tones. The difference between Carragher and Neville is that one pundit wants the best for Liverpool and one does not.
Karius’s errors are inevitable. The trick is to focus on what went wrong and seek to improve. Neville’s criticism comes across as kneejerk. It offers no scope for improvement only a wall of negativity. Neville has been a fine pundit, but might his dislike of Liverpool have clouded his view of the Liverpool goalkeeper to a degree that rather than investigating the cause he’s simply taking pleasure in the player’s mistakes and nerves? His sarcastic response to Karius’ response suggests as much.
One Watch: a look at media corruptions of Jose Mourinho’s self-billing as The Special One. Yesterday, Mourinho’s Manchester United were in Ukraine for a Europe League match they won 2-0.
Chris Wheeler begins his report for the Daily Mail: “On a night when Jose Mourinho became the ‘Frozen One’.”
Later we lean that Mourinho wasn’t all that cold, “beating the chill by being lively on the touchline.”
Anyhow, add ‘The Frozen One’ to the list.
Manchester United players show Daily Mirror readers “the most modern football thing you’ll see today”. More modern than Atletico Madrid’s new stadium being named after a chain of Chinese cinemas? The new gin bar at Fulham? The clickbait balls that mean all newspapers now look the same?
No. The most modern football thing you’ll see today are, as the Daily Mail exclaims, “Manchester United’s tired stars arrive back from Ukraine at 2.30am… with their own club-branded neck pillows!”
Is this a “a step too far?” wonders the Mirror.
No. It’s a pillow. It suggests the onboard flight is not as comfortable as it might be for elite athletes returning from a Europa League match. It was different back then, of course, when United players rested their heads on blocks of wood and coal dust.
In “MANCS FOR NOTHING”, the Mirror’s Dave Kidd looks at how Manchester United and Manchester City have failed to live up to the hype.
“Remember all that Pep Guardiola v Jose Mourinho hype,” he begins. We do.
“Remember how Manchester became the undisputed centre of the football universe?” We do.
Kidd then tells us who we can blame for all that balls. “Maybe we were all sucked in by the famously agenda-driven Manchester-centric media, led by Salford- based BBC Sport, who persuaded us to ignore poor unfashionable London”.
Kidd tell us that the biased media ignored Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, whose side are top of the Premier League.
To which we ask one question of our own: is the Mirror part of the Manchester-centric media?
September 5 2016: The Mirror asked: “Jose and Pep are set to renew acquaintances… but is the Manchester derby the world’s biggest?
September 8: “It’s his first Manchester derby, and even at this early stage it’s a game that could have a bearing on the outcome of the Premier League.”
September 8: “Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have made Manchester derby even bigger.”
September 9: “Clash of the titans: Pep vs Mou XVII.”
With just over 24 hours now until kick-off, Mourinho and Guardiola clash once again in one of modern football’s most engrossing rivalries in recent times.
Throughout the rest of the day we will be reminding you of the past encounters between the Special One and the master of tiki-taka as they bid for supremacy in both Manchester and the Premier League.
September 10: “Manchester City’s derby display proved why we are so lucky to have bewitching Pep Guardiola in English football.”
September 16: “I believe City are English football’s best hope of winning the Champions League this season – that’s mainly because of the Pep factor.”
Expect more hype as soon as City and United start winning matches again.
Jose Mourinho is “the rich one” in the Sunday Times’ look at the Manchester United manger’s financial affairs. The allegation is that “a complex offshore structure” has allowed Mourinho “to dodge tax on his image rights income”.
Is it all legal? We should suppose it is. But after the words “criminal investigation”, the paper looks at the cash – pots of it. The paper says since arriving in the UK in 2004 Mourinho has been paid – get his – £120m in salary. Much of that cash came from Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea. Perhaps the paper would be best served looking at the owner’s sources of income. In 2015, the Times‘ Matthew Syed was scathing of the Russian:
The money that has bankrolled Chelsea these past 12 years, which has brought multiple trophies while sanitising the image of one of the most dubious individuals ever associated with British sport, was corruptly amassed
Back to the Mourinho, then, and his cash:
An investigation by The Sunday Times has found evidence suggesting that the Manchester United boss’s advisers misled the tax authorities in Britain and Spain during inquiries into more than £10m in earnings hidden through a Caribbean tax haven.
In an attempt to reduce his tax bill, Mourinho’s advisers appear to have fabricated more than £1m in costs run up by a British Virgin Islands shell company with no employees.
They also withheld from the tax inspectors the fact that Mourinho’s family were the true owners of the shell company.
The story is based on a “1.9-terabyte cache of data was originally handed to Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, by a whistleblower who does not wish to be named”. We are told why he’s leaked the data. “It is time to finally clean up football,” he says. “The fans have to understand that with every ticket, every jersey they buy and with every television subscription, they are feeding an extremely corrupt system that is only in it for itself.”
As is the way with big scoops of the past years – politicians’ expenses; the US embassy cables; Hillary Clinton’ emails – the source is huge wad of data dropped on the media’s mat. It;s quickly packaged up as story of bad versus good. But how many of us see the Tax Man as a force for righteousness?
The paper notes:
It shows how the super-rich can employ highly paid advisers and lawyers to shield them from the tax laws that apply to everyone else. The public rarely gets a glimpse into this world. Until now.
Of course it all boils down to one thing: greed. But let’s not too be hard on Mourinho. Football relies on talent. The more talented the football name the more more they get. Revenues run to the workers. Jeremy Corbyn should enjoy that.
Whether or not Mourinho is overpaid or underpaid is neither here nor there. You could defend Mourinho by looking at the vast amounts of tax he has paid. You could say that a foreigner deciding to spend and invest his cash overseas is to be expected. You could see the taxman as an arbitrary force of state power.
What makes us curious is the power Mourinho enjoys. If the man who was indulged at Chelsea so long as he was winning – witness his hideous treatment of referees and Dr Eva Carneiro – is mired, it is not so much down to him as it is the clubs that stuck him on a pedestal and ignored and deflected criticism of odious behaviour that in any other industry would get him sectioned.
Mourinho’s people say they and he have done nothing wrong. But if he has cheated, the clubs that poo-pooed criticism of his antics and in so doing encouraged belief that he is free to exist outside the laws of acceptable behaviour, need to answer questions, too.
“What wrong at Old Trafford,” asks the Sun’s Neil Curtis? Nothing. Manchester United are in great shape. This we know because on 6th September 2016 Neil Curtis told us about the “RED-OLUTION” at Old Trafford. “Jose Mourinho has turned Manchester United around to become the force of old in just three months,” said Curtis. Mourinho has “lifted the clouds” at United. “Mourinho is trusting the players abilities, letting them breathe.”
Today Curtis tells us that Manchester United have had their “worst start to a season in 27 years”. Why? Well, it’s not because Jose Mourinho is failing. It’s about him “unpicking Louis Van Gaal’s philosophy”. That would be Van Gaal who unpicked David Moyes’ philosophy. (You can read more about Jose’s philosophy here.)
Curtis adds that United have “NO TOP-CLASS STRIKER”. Really. Because Curtis wrote:
In his £250m splurge, LVG made two that excited but could not get the best out of either in Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay. Mourinho has made four and so far Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly have been immediate hits.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has got his Manchester United career off to a blistering start
Another reasons: “NEW SIGNINGS STRUGGLING.” So much for Mourinho’s “immediate hits”.
And finally, lest you think Curtis will blame Mourinho, he asks himself: “Have they got the right manager?” “In my opinion,” says Curtis, “most definitely they have.”
Next question is one of ours: Would Manchester United fans prefer to have signed Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola instead of the chippy Mourinho?
Over in the Mail, you can read: “Inside the troubled World of Mourinho – An obsessive man at odds with himself and his players.” So much for the RED-VOLUTION.
Media Balls: Was it right that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was red carded as his side fought back to secure a 1-1 draw with West Ham United? Can we know what’s what from reading the experts?
The BBC: “Off to the stands! He aims an almighty kick at a drinks bottle down on the touchline in anger at a booking for Paul Pogba – who looked to be jumping to avoiding getting clattered – and is directed from the touchline by Jonathan Moss.”
Pogba was avoiding a clattering and jumped. It was self-preservation. The referee got it wrong. Jose just reacted to the poor decision.
Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria: “I think there was frustration from Jose after the yellow card for Pogba. It should be a foul for us but the referee understood it in another way.”
United were robbed.
Saj Choudry (BBC): “The Portuguese boss kicked a water bottle in reaction to referee Jon Moss showing Paul Pogba a yellow card for diving. Replays showed West Ham’s Mark Noble did not make contact with the France midfielder.”
Pogba dived. The referee was correct – he did fool for the player’s cheating. Jose Mourinho did make contact with the water bottle.
The West Ham website: “The Frenchman, falling after going past Mark Noble, was correctly booked for diving, prompting the explosive bottle-kicking moment from his boss.
The Manchester United website: “Mourinho was then sent to the stands after he reacted furiously to referee Jonathon Moss’ decision to book Pogba for an apparent dive.”
An apparent dive?
Manchester Evening News: “He [Pogba] appeared to dive over Mark Noble’s challenge and was booked by Jonathan Moss. Mourinho… kicked a water bottle in frustration and was sent to the stands.”
He appeared to dive. Jose was not poorly behaved and wrong. He was frustrated.
The paper does find lots of room for the thoughts of journalist Duncan Castles:
Picking that apart. The slight on Louis Van Gaal is odd given that the hammer-headed Dutchman was pretty animated:
And as for any other manager not being sent off for kicking a water bottle, well, the Arsenal manager was:
For Jose Mourinho, well, it wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the fact that his old club Chelsea – the one he left spent and in mid-table – are top of the league under their new manager.
PS: Manchester United have failed to win four league games in a row at Old Trafford for the first time since February 1990. And they have drawn four consecutive league games at their place for the first time since December 1980. Yeah. it’s time for Fergie all over again. Oh for a manager who intimidates referees, fails to talk to the BBC and fosters a siege mentality. On second thoughts, as you were Jose…
Who more than Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho sets the news agenda? The Times leads with Mourinho’s words on Anthony Martial. “You have one opportunity, you have two, you have three,” said the Portuguese to media. “If you don’t bite then somebody comes and takes the bait.”
The Times says, “how Martial reacts to the coded message from Mourinho will define the next stage of his career.”
Of course, this is Mourinho who no sooner comments in pubic on one of his team’s players than he moves to ensure the dialogue is all about him. His then issues a dig at Louis Van Gaal, his predecessor:
“First of all the teams are very different. The way the team played last season — I’m not saying better or worse, just different – was probably more adaptive to Anthony. He was probably more comfortable playing that way, at that intensity, at that rate of ball possession and ball circulation.”
He’s not saying it’s better or course to be less intense – which of course he is. “Anthony Martial struggling with Manchester United pace, says Mourinho,” declares the Guardian’s headline.
He then picks up his trumpet and blows hard:
“When I won the last title [with Chelsea] 18 years ago – sorry, 18 months ago – I had ten points advantage and then, in one month, I had the same points as Man City. We lost 10 points in one month. I think it was the end of December or the beginning of January and we’d lost 10 points. Then we recovered and won that title 18 years ago – sorry, 18 months ago. You can recover points. Others can lose points.”
When you lose, it’s you. When you win, it’s him.
In the Indy, we get an angle that maybe Martial’s dip in form is down to Mourinho’s love for Zlatan:
Martial’s form is believed to be down to a number of circumstances, including problems in his personal life and having a lack of a summer break after his efforts with France at Euro 2016.
He is also believed to be disappointed with United moving him from the No 9 shirt to the No 11 shirt in the wake of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival just as he launched the trademark ‘Martial9’.
At United, it’s so much about the marketing. Brand Jose always wins. It says so on the label:
Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho adapts the Chelsea philosophy to be more and less like Van Gaal
How are things going for Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho? “From the moment he arrived, the message has been positive, about winning the title. Nothing on philosophies or things taking time,” said the Sun’s Neil Curtis on 6th September 2016. Philosophy is for losers, like Louis Van Gaal, Jose’s predecessor at United, whose “attempts to reprogramme everyone with his much-vaunted ‘philosophy’ succeeded only in inhibiting all their natural instincts”.
Philosophy is balls.
Unless it isn’t. On November 15 the Sun thought philosophy and football were a good blend. “Johan Cruyff’s debut 52 years ago today: Inventor of Total Football whose philosophy influenced Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola,” chimed the headline.
On November 22, the Manchester Evening News agreed, reporting: “Daley Blind’s view on Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho’s philosophy.” Said Blind of Mourinho: “He is pretty similar to Van Gaal when it comes to their commitment to the team. They used to work together so I reckon that is no coincidence.” He adds: “…his philosophy is slightly different to that of Van Gaal. He is very direct, it is all about winning.”
And as Jose Mourinho put it in 2013: “You need stability in methods, in philosophy within the club. With FFP [Financial Fair Play], and Chelsea wants to go in that direction, you also need stability. You cannot change manager and philosophy every few years.”
So much for much-vaunted philosophy.
Media Balls: a look at reporting on Manchester Untied v Arsenal in the Premier League. In the first half ManchesterUnited had a shout for a penalty. It wasn’t given. Was that the right decision? Let’s see what the not-at-all-biased experts in the media say:
Mark Lawrenson – the former Liverpool defender was talking on BBC Radio 5 live: “I think it’s good refereeing from Andre Marriner with the penalty appeal – it’s borderline and he’s reffed the game trying to let the teams play.”
Phil McNulty – BBC Sport chief football writer at Old Trafford: “Jose Mourinho had every right to be aggrieved at that penalty refusal. Clumsy from Nacho Monreal in a very dangerous position.”
Phil Neville – ex Man United player on twitter: “It’s a rugby tackle”
Gary Nevill – ex Man United: “I don’t think it’s a penalty, I wouldn’t be comfortable with it”
The Arsenal website: “Valencia had a big shout for a penalty turned down after getting in a tangle with Monreal”
The Manchester Untied website: “Then came the big talking point of the first half as Valencia, who was making his first appearance since braking his arm in the EFL Cup win over Manchester City, seemed to be clearly pulled down by Nacho Monreal in the penalty area, but referee Marriner said waved his arms in disapproval of United’s claims. ”
The Guardian: “And although Jose Mourinho jigs around on the touchline, holding his head in theatrical exasperation, it’s probably a good decision having seen the replay.”
Manchester Evening News: “Andre Marriner was booed as he headed down the tunnel and it was deserved. United have suffered some terrible non-decisions against them this season: Bravo on Rooney, the foul on Martial at Watford in the build-up to their goal, Luiz’s challenge on Fellaini, the non-penalty after Flanagan clipped Darmian and now today’s. Mourinho might be talking about another ‘campaign’ later.”
London Evening Standard: “Penalty surely? Valencia goes down under contract from Monreal, Mourinho is livid as Marriner gives nothing! Replays suggest the referee may just have got that spot on, the attacker was already on his way down when he connected with Arsenal’s left-back.”
Mark Lawrenson (again):”No, I have to say in that position, it’s quite natural. No penalty.”
And one other decision – one not mentioned by the Manchester Evening News at all:
BBC live blog: “Matteo Darmian was unlucky to be booked earlier but he’s perhaps even luckier now to still be on the field. He catches Carl Jenkinson high and late and should get a second yellow. Referee Andre Marriner has let him off the hook there.”
Such are the facts.
How the Sun will miss Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney when he’s gone. This week the Sun spotted the England captain enjoying a drink at a Watford hotel as a wedding party made merry. It was “ROO’S BIG FAT TIPSY WEDDING”.
Lest anyone think that mere pun on the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which spawned TV’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, we refer you to past comments made by the Sun’s on Wayne Rooney’s girth and looks.
As for the news of Rooney’s drinking, the report shares the best eye-witness quote of the week, “He was shit-faced”. Wedding guest said – get this – “Wayne was “not a petty sight”.
How they’ll miss Rooney when he’s gone.
Transfer balls: Antoine Griezmann wants to join Paul Pogba at Manchester United, PSG, Atletico Madrid or somewhere else
Transfer balls: France and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, 25, says he “would like to play alongside Manchester United midfielder and France team-mate Paul Pogba, 23, at club level”. So says the BBC.
Which club, Griezmann doesn’t day. But the media klaxon has been sounded. The Daily Star has Griezmann playing at Manchester United.
The Indy says, “Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has talked up a potential move to Manchester United.”
Over on Sky Sports, we hear what Griezmann said in reply to a journalist asking him about Man United:
“I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure. I ask Paul about some of the players, and if they’re really that good, or if Jose Mourinho is really that good.
“You hear a lot of things [speculation] about Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain but right now I don’t see me moving to a new club. But it would be awesome to play alongside Paul one day.”
Adding via the Star:
“A future transfer depends on how I feel. Right now, I’m a father and moving to another city would the right thing. I’ll see If want to do something else in the future, but right now I’m very happy with Atletico Madrid and I still want to win trophies with this club.”
Pogba to Atletico Madrid it is, then.
In today’s episode of Jose Mourinho’s life, the Sun has an exclusive on the Manchester United manager:
Jose Mourinho: Manchester United stars backing boss over incredible bust-up with Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling
Mourinho picked out the England players for his “slurs”, as the Times calls them. They are “bewildered” by his attack on their professionalism.
As it his style, Mourinho builds a siege mentality and invites players to prove their loyalty to him through unstinting effort. After a couple of seasons of believing and running til empty for Mourinho, the team is covered in glory but spent, and Jose moves on.
Neil Ashton writes: “Senior players have accepted that the only way to succeed under the Special One is to accept his ruthless regime. Incredibly, they supported his public attack on Shaw and Smalling, who insisted they were not fit to play in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Swansea.”
Were they fit? “Both have played with pain-killing injections this season but boss Mourinho claims that is common practice for a top-level footballer.”
You run and run and run for Jose. And then you collapse.
The Special One said they refused to be in the match-day squad and had betrayed United’s “culture”.
United culture, or Jose’s way?
In other news the Sun notes:
Manchester United transfer news: Jose Mourinho to axe Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw after bust-up
Mourinho said of the duo: “I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me when he remembered more the times he plays with pain than the times he plays without pain. To compete you have to go to the limit. It is cultural for some – and that is not my culture. More than me, it is Man United. We have players with ‘problems’. At every sport – and I know because I have friends in others sports and they play at the highest level in their sport, and how many times they play when you are not 100 per cent.”
And so it is, as ever it was, that Jose Mourinho divides to conquer. Do you believe in Jose? Is he the one, as the United banner declared on his first day as manager? If you don’t believe utterly in his, it’ll be your fault when it fails.
PS: Shaw and Smalling have been left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
When asked whether he thought Smalling and Shaw were “flaky”, Southgate said: “That wouldn’t be my impression, having worked with Chris, and I know Luke well. He’s had a really tough injury.”
Is Luke Shaw Mourinho’s scapegoat, or the guinea pig on whom the manager can test out his abrasive style of man management?