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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 | 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:

 

wayne-rooney-fat

Fat-rooney

 

rooney

 

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


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho’s deconstructive criticism

Compare and contrast Jose Mourinho’s views on criticism. The Manchester United manager says critics have hurt Wayne Rooney. Mourinho says Rooney has been damaged by reactions to England’s 1-0 victory in Slovakia on September 4.

“I think there was a Wayne before the Slovakia, and a Wayne after the Slovakia,” says Mourinho. “I am not blaming Sam [Allardyce, the England manager], not at all. I am blaming the people that after the Slovakia game were, in my opinion, too strong with somebody that is a very important player in the history of English football, is the captain of England, has the record number of goals and almost has the record of matches.”

Criticism can hurt a player. So says Mourinho, the United manager who has this season publicly criticised Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Of that he has a different view.

“It’s a learning process,” Mourinho says. “You make a mistake, especially the kind of individual mistake, you have to learn with what that means for the team, a team that works during the week on a gameplan. The critique is part of the evolution, the critique is part of the process, the critique helps people to learn how to cope with critics. It’s their life.”

And so today’s United match: Mourinho has dropped Rooney. And it’s your fault.

Posted: 24th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United drop ‘rubbish’ Rooney

How rubbish is Manchester and England captain Wayne Rooney? Rooney has heard the barbs. The 30-year-old player (where does he play?) is on the front foot. “I listen to my coaches and my teammates, the people around me, and I don’t really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.”

He’s bullish. But the Mirror hears those words and says he’s “broken” by his critics:

 

Mirror manchester united

 

In the Times, Tony Cascarino says Wayne Rooney “may want to be dropped… It would be a relief for him to be taken out of the firing line.”

Balls. Rooney’s the captain. He;s been a battler his entire career. If Rooney’s not up for it then he should quit the game not breathe a sigh of relief at not having to face Leicester.

So what next? Rooney said of Jose Mourinho’s view of him: “I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I’ll play up front or in the No. 10 role and that’s where he sees me playing.”

But not now.

In today’s Daily Mirror we also read that Mourinho says he is “prepared to drop captain Wayne Rooney to the substitutes bench”.

Prepared to. And done. Today’s Manchester United v Leicester City match features Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard either side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Juan Mata in the number 10 role.

Is Rooney on the slide? Yes. Is he better than Rashford and Lingard? Yes. He’ll be back.

Posted: 24th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal’s Wenger puts Mourinho in his place

Having piggybacked on Arsene Wenger’s 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager to promote a new book on Jose Mourinho by Rob Beasley, the Daily Mail has triggered a news flurry.

You can read how, while working at Chelsea, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho threatened Wenger – a pensioner! – and told Beasley that he would break Wenger’s face. Now the BBC reports: “Arsene Wenger: Arsenal boss ‘will not read’ book about Jose Mourinho.”

What did Wenger say? Sky Sports reports he said nothing: “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refuses to comment on Jose Mourinho book claims.”

Nonsense. No comment is always a comment. Wenger responded. “I talk about football – that’s all I do,” he said. “I’m not in a destructive mode, never. I’m more constructive. I am focused on Saturday’s game against Chelsea.”

The Guardian is more circumspect, telling its readers that “Arsène Wenger refuses to enter into war of words with José Mourinho”. And that’s about right. But will Mourinho like being dismissed by the man the Mail says he ‘hates’?  Will his “bitterness (Times) be abated by Wenger saying Mourinho is unworthy of attention? The Times says Wenger “shrugged” off the nastiness.

“For me it was always just a big game and the personal rivalry was never a big concern,” the Arsenal manger told the Press. “I have no personal problem with anyone, I respect everyone in the game.”

No word from Mourinho yet, but the dark part of the street by Wenger’s home has bad phone reception.

PS: For those who missed it, Mourinho apparently said of Wenger: “I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.” The spoils go to the agonist who keeps his cool. Wenger wins.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jose Mourinho invited Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger to fight him in the street and ‘break his face’

Manchester United’s unlikeable manager Jose Mourinho says he would “break” Arsene Wenger’s face. So claims the Daily Mail, which says the Portuguese was so angered with the Arsenal manager he vowed to “break his face”.

 

Mourinho wenger

 

 

The Daily Mail has an extract from JOSE MOURINHO: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL by Robert Beasley. The story goes:

When you publicly denounce someone as a ‘specialist in failure’ and a ‘voyeur’, it is abundantly clear you don’t like them much.

What must Jose Mourinho’s views on Arsene Wenger be like away from the cameras and microphones? Unsurprisingly, they’re even more damning and the gloves have been well and truly off whenever the matter of Monsieur Wenger has been raised.  A couple of times Jose even talked about wanting to physically fight the Frenchman. That’s how bitter and basic their rivalry has become over the years.

Jose Mourinho in a physical fight? Would the opponent be allowed to see him coming?

 

 

The book continues, focusing on the managers’ tiff when the sides met on October 5, 2014.

I asked Jose what had happened and he revealed: ‘He was asking for a red card and pressing the ref in my technical area. I told him to go back to his area. He pushed me.
‘I told him, “Here you do that, you know I can’t react, but I will meet you one day in the street”.’

Just you watch it, Arsene, next time he’ll get you. If Jose ever sees you wandering about his Belgravia manor, it’ll be the worst for you.

You can call Jose sexist but he’s not ageist. He will break a pensioner’s face.

Keep up the charm offensive, Jose.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer balls: Manchester Untied swoop for another reject

Transfer balls: Manchester United are waiting to spend £30m on Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater in January, reports the Sun.

Manchester-born Drinkwater could be making a return to the club that sold him for a nominal fee in 2012, following loan spells with Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City, Watford and Barnsley.

The Guardian says after Manchester United bought back Paul Pogba, the club will “continue their policy of spending vast amounts of money on players they previously had on their books” with a winter window move for Drinkwater, who only recently signed a new five-year deal at Leicester.

“I’m very surprised because it often happens a month before the open of the market, not now,” said Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri. “He signed a new contract and everything is normal. “But it’s good for him, for us, when I have players who a lot of big teams want. It means we’re working very well. Sometimes I think, maybe the newspapers don’t have enough news and they write some. It’s okay. One year ago, nobody was asking about our players.”

In other United news, the BBC says The Red Devils will compete with AC Milan for Real Madrid midfielder Isco, 24.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jose Mourinho opens Manchester United’s school of science

Jose Mourinho says the world is full of football Einsteins. No, not Socrates. Einsteins. Following Manchester United’s defeat of Northampton in the League Cup, Mourinho shared with MUTV his thoughts on the brains trust who analyse his skills:

“I know that some football Einsteins – football is full of Einsteins – I know that they tried to delete 16 years of my career. They tried to delete an unbelievable history of Man United football club and to focus on a bad week with three bad results. But that’s the new football – it’s full of Einsteins.”

The obvious thought is that Mourinho is being sarcastic in calling pundits who say his United are not all that good Einsteins. But he might also be spot on, given that Albert Einstein knew nothing of Wayne Rooney. That might be, you say, because Rooney was alive after Einstein was dead, but in the space-time continuum where E=mc2, can we be certain of that, or if Rooney is worth his place anywhere in the United starting XI, relatively speaking? And that’s the Rooney who was educated at Everton, The School of Science.

 

science everton

 

Mourinho loves to snipe and attack anyone who dares who disagree with him. Last season at Chelsea he told the Press: “In football I’m ready to be criticised, even the stupid ones (sic). Private life, stupid things you bring to light, I don’t like it. So we go to a different level of professional relations.”

He has already spent a portion of this season moaning about referees, criticising his players in public and being every bit as joyless and pouty as he was during his final months at Chelsea.

Mourinho should belt up, stop blaming everyone else and realise that the buck stops with him.

Posted: 22nd, September 2016 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho’s double ‘Red-olution’

It’s been a topsy-turvy season for Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Of course the Premier League season is just a few weeks old – but in the Sun it’s been a few weeks of shocks and revolutions.

On 6th September 2016, the paper’s 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,” cooed Curtis. Mourinho has “lifted the clouds” at United. “Mourinho is trusting the players abilities, letting them breathe.”

Adding: “From the moment he arrived, the message has been positive… Nothing on philosophies or things taking time.”

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

 

The man has cracked it. He’s no Louis Van Gaal. Mourinho has made United the top club again. No he hasn’t – says the Sun, which has also reported – and these just a few of the paper’s barrage of Mourinho stories:

Sept 18 – Geoff Sweet: “LVG V MOU Fact: Louis Van Gaal was a much better Manchester United manager than Jose Mourinho”

Sept 18: Sam Peoples: “‘EMBARRASSING’ Manchester United news: Jose Mourinho has no idea what his best XI is…and Paul Pogba was very muted yet again”

Sept 19 – Neil Ashton: “The Special One’s story is already unravelling at Old Trafford”

Sept 19 – Danny Higginbotham: “ROUND POGS, SQUARE HOLES Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho’s tactics just aren’t working – but how can he fix them?

Sept 19 – Ian Wright: “LAST CHANCE SALOON Jose Mourinho: Manchester United boss could be facing last chance at a top club, says Arsenal legend Ian Wright”

Sept 20 – Neil Ashton: “MOUR MISERY Jose Mourinho win record: Manchester United manager has a worse win percentage than Slaven Bilic and Francesco Guidolin since start of last season”

Sept 2 – Alec Shilton: “MOUR MISERY Jose Mourinho win record: Manchester United manager has a worse win percentage than Slaven Bilic and Francesco Guidolin since start of last season”

It’s been a revolution – twice!

 

Posted: 21st, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Mourinho publicly slams injured Luke Shaw as fear factor returns to Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho continues to win hearts and minds. The Times says United defender Luke Shaw, 21,  was suffering from a groin injury during his side’s defeat at Watford. He was playing through the pain.

Shaw made an error that allowed Watford to score their second goal in a 3-1 victory. Mourinho, as ever, points the finger:

“I knew I had a task. But the first Man City goal [during the 2-1 defeat last weekend] and this second goal, you can find incredible similarity. [Aleksandar] Kolarov has the ball in a difficult situation in the corner and my player instead of going up and pressing decides to give him space. Today for the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres.

“But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait. This is a tactical but also a mental attitude. In a couple of weeks, everything like this becomes perfect. That’s my job.”

The defeat was not Mourinho’s fault. Blame Shaw. But when it is “perfect”, it will be Mourinho’s doing. Got it? When United win a match, Shaw should write his manager a letter of thanks.

Of course, Shaw has history with Mourinho. In 2014, Mourinho, the then Chelsea manager, said Shaw’s excessive wage demands put him off signing the 19-year-old from Southampton. The Star added:

The Special One didn’t make a good impression with Shaw’s family and the player felt intimidated, according to The Sun.

The Sun claimed:

LUKE SHAW felt intimidated by Louis van Gaal and he will be entitled to feel apprehensive about Jose Mourinho’s arrival. The Special One did not leave a favourable impression on Shaw’s family when they met for talks during his second spell at Stamford Bridge.

Shaw, 20, a Chelsea fan as a kid, had his heart set on a move from Southampton. But he changed his mind and opted to join United after meeting with Mourinho.

Two minutes after Watford’s second went in, Shaw was substituted two minutes later by Mourinho. Did the chippy Portuguese manager know Shaw was carrying an injury when he criticised the player to the Press?

The Times recalls that Shaw has already suffered many hamstring and groin-related injuries and suffered an horrific broken leg at the start of last season. Readers learn that he has had “regular sessions with a sports psychologist after admitting to struggling with the pressure of playing for United.”

Cue Mourinho.

Former Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce is unimpressed. “He blamed Luke Shaw for the second goal [against Watford],” Pearce told Sky Sports. “You think he’s probably better off not having a pop at the youngsters. What he needs to do is probably pull [Shaw] aside, get him in front of a video and educate him on how to play the game. It’s difficult for me to tell Mourinho how to coach and educate – he’s the best in the world at it.”

He is? If he is, then expect lots of film nights at Old Trafford. United have lost their last three matches.

Movie Night with referee Michael Oliver (Defeat 3): “The referee’s and the linesman’s mistake is not under my control.”

Movie Night with referee Jesus Gil Manzano (Defeat 2): “Feyenoord you know that goal was in an offside position, we are punished by these mistakes.’

Movie Night with Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mhkhitaryan (Manchester City):  Mourinho was talking about “some really poor individual performances” after their 2-1 derby defeat.

But with the right money spent and lots of hard work, United will give Mourinho reason to rejoice in his own abilities. The fear factor is back at Old Trafford – the fear of being singled out for blame.

Posted: 19th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United endorse Michael Oliver’s magic foam party

Enjoy the game, then? We watched mediocre Watford take on gilded Manchester United in hope that the hubris that pricked so many Premier League egos last season would continue. We were not disappointed. Moneyed Jose Mourinho’s ‘galaticos’ were defeated. Seeing Mourinho beaten is delectable. The ‘One’s’ ties to branded watches, executive cars, endorsed teas and official casino chains were a little loosened by Troy Deeney, a man unlikely to seduce punters to dress in his line of lingerie.

Of course, everything in the Premier League is now gold covered in more gold – the aforesaid Deeney is on £100,00 a week.

And what, then, of Michael Oliver, the match referee, a budding personality surely desirous of the now traditional post-match career as a media expert employed to run the rule over working refs? No referee has secured a job as front-line pundit sat by an illuminated coffee table on the main TV panel, but it can only be a matter of time before one does.

Signs are that Oliver is positioning himself as the fun one, the bubbly Ian Wright figure to Mark Clattenburg’s egotistical Gary Neville and Graham Poll’s hyperbolic Robbie Savage. As Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his way into the United wall, Oliver, doubtless realising he was in the presence of the TV cameraman’s go-to figure, squirted the vanishing foam into his own face.

Brilliant. The Gillette contract is his to own, as is a role as the official face of the Ibiza Foam Party industry:

 

Posted: 19th, September 2016 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


How Chelsea’s Conte and Manchester United’s Mourinho manage failure

blame mourinhoFollowing Chelsea’s home defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League, the BBC says Blues’ manager Antonio Conte “subjected his players to an angry dressing-down”. Conte “accused his players of failing to play as a team.”

The Times says Conte read the “riot act to his players after the Liverpool loss”. He and the team took part in “an animated post-match exchange in the dressing room”.

But Conte is no Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea coach who explained his Manchester Untied’s 3-1 defeat to Watford by blaming the players publicly. “Some individuals probably feel the pressure and responsibility too much,” said Mourinho. We started the season very well…  I was completely aware that we were not perfect, with lots of players who are not end products and can make their own mistakes.”

And after Manchester United lost to Manchester City, Mourinho was pointing the finger:

“I had two or three players in the first half that, if I know what is going to happen, I don’t play them. This is football, though, and sometimes players disappoint managers.”

Compare and contrast to Conte who told the Chelsea FC website:

“I’m guilty because I’m the coach and it means I have to work more. We must feel the danger in every single moment of the game if we want to win and think like a great team. We must pay attention and be focused.”

Is it better to criticise your team in public or in private?

Matthew Syed notes:

“When pilots experience a near-miss with another aircraft, or have been flying at the wrong altitude, they file a report.  Providing that it is submitted within 10 days, they enjoy immunity…Openness and learning rather than blaming is the instinctive response – and system safety has been the greatest beneficiary.”

Conte the pilot?

“Contrast that with the healthcare scene, in which mistakes are very threatening to surgeons who have big egos, and the culture is very litigious – preventable medical error is now the third-biggest killer in western countries.”

Mourinho the surgeon?

Syed concludes:

“We love to think of ourselves as smart people, so we find mistakes, failure and sub-optimal outcomes challenging to our egos.”

We love to look around for someone else to blame. But the smart listen to advice, look at the data and learn not to repeat mistakes.

Posted: 19th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United earned £515.3m in 2015-16

Ker-ching! Manchester United earned £515.3m in 2015-16. They are the only British club to break half a billion quid.

On the other side of the accounts, there is net debt of £260.9m.

As an aside, Louis van Gaal and his coaching staff were paid a fortune to leave the place –  £8.4m in compensation.

The club also wrote off £6.7m because Schweinsteiger is no longer a first team player.

Profit: £36m

@JakeFCohen looks at the band: “Football still comparatively small business – Manchester United’s annual earnings amounts to 8 days of Nike earnings.”

Posted: 12th, September 2016 | In: manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea Star calls Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho ‘The Gifted One’

One Watch: a look at Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s branding. The Sun calls him ‘The Gifted One’.

THE SPECIAL SCHLONG Jose Mourinho has a big tackle… in his trousers, says Jamie Redknapp on Manchester United manager

Adding that Redknapp heard the news from his cousin Frank Lampard, who player for Mourinho at Chelsea. The Sun then coins a new ‘One’.

United boss is nicknamed The ‘Gifted One’ by his players for being so well-endowed

The Sun then adds:

Jose Mourinho reportedly is the Special One in more ways than one

Add it to the list.

The Nervous One.

The Generous One

The Right One 

The Impatient One 

The Hungry One

The Happy One

The Obsessed One

The Tamer One

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


Transfer balls: Chelsea and Manchester United delight Griezmann’s agent

Transfer balls: how much is Atletico Madrid’s France striker Antoine Griezmann worth? The BBC says Chelsea manager Antonio Conte “wants the club to sanction a world-record bid” for Griezmann.

As negotiating tactics go, telling Atletico they should expect no less than the £89.3m Manchester Untied paid for Paul Pogba – and you are willing to pay it – is not exactly canny.

The Sunday Express says “Conte is ready to go above the £86million release clause in Griezmann’s contract to head off interest from Manchester United.”

Of course, it’s not Conte’s money. And as for release clauses, well, are they rally worth their salt? And there is another factor. On September 8, the BBC reported:

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have lost appeals against Fifa bans on signing players in the next two transfer windows. The clubs contested a decision by world football’s governing body to punish them for breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under 18…

“Both clubs are to serve a transfer ban that prevents them from registering any players at national and international level for the next two complete and consecutive registration periods,” said a Fifa statement.

The Spanish sides will now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If that fails, will Atletico sell the France international who signed a new five-year contract with Atletico in June 2016?

These bans have form. In 2014, Barcelona were banned from signing any players in 2015 after their appeal against a transfer ban was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Barcelona were, like Real and Atletico, found guilty of breaching Fifa’s rules on the transfer of players aged under 18.

Of course, there are ways:

Barca went on a summer spending spree this year while the suspension went on hold during the appeals process, splashing out more than 150m euros (£117.5m) on Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Alen Halilovic.

If you drag any appeal out until the next transfer window opens, look out for Atletico not selling big but buying bigger.

The Manchester Evening News says Chelsea will get no clear run at splurging massive amounts of cash on one player.

M.E.N. Sport understands United have earmarked Atletico Madrid goalscorer Griezmann, 25, as their primary target for the 2017 summer transfer window.

Griezmann’s agent must be delighted.

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


Manchester United and Manchester City create an instant Classico

The Manchester Derby was a cracker. Writing in the Sunday Times, Jonathan Northcroft muses: “An instant Clasico? It felt that way… For once, in our overhyped world, an event lived up to its billing.”

There was interest all over the pitch:

Bravo – deemed to be much better than England’s Joe Hart – dropping the ball to give Zlatan Ibrahimovic a well-taken goal.

Bravo taking a poor touch with his fabled feet before flying into Wayne Rooney and getting away with it. It looked a clear penalty.

Marouane Fellaini giving Aleksandar Kolarov a reminder of the day by knocking his tooth out.

Referee Mark Clattenburg having the biggest ego on the pitch.

Kevin de Bruyne playing superbly well.

And then there was the “WAR” between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. That never came. The two men high-fived and hugged one another.

After the match, Mourinho was reflective and finger pointing:

“I had two or three players in the first half that, if I know what is going to happen, I don’t play them. This is football, though, and sometimes players disappoint managers. It’s my fault because I’m the manager and it’s always my fault because it’s my choice.”

Adding:

“The two halves were completely different. In the first half we were below the level to play this match. You have to be completely ready in terms of the speed of your thinking and decision-making. The second half was completely different. We were a team that had the courage and honesty and dignity to chase with pride the result which I think we deserved – we deserved a goal in the second half.”

Nothing out of the ordinary there, then. Mourinho did not rant and rave. He thought his team deserved two penalty kicks, neither of which was given. His skill is in galvanising players to want to join him in giving it all for the cause. The “aggressive” approach he takes towards winning gives fans reason to believe.

The Telegraph says Mourinho branded his players “bottlers”.

 

Mourinho b

 

The Express says Mourinho is “moaning”. It might have said that the referee made a crucial error.

 

Mourinho a

 

Anyone who enjoys football will look forward to February 25, when these clubs are scheduled to meet again. The media has a few months to whip the match into a war.

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


Watch Ibrahimovich score for Manchester United after Claudio Bravo clanger (Video)

After all the hype, Manchester untied and Manchester City eventually played the world’s richest ever football match. With City 0-2 ahead, the Citizens’ news goalkeeper Claudio Bravo dropped the ball. Zaltan Ibrahimovich pounced to make it 1-2.

On Sky, Gary Neville (formerly Manchester United), lays into Bravo, who was making is United debut.

Barry Glendenning ‏tweets:

Gary Neville slaughtering Claudio Bravo on Sky, much like he did with David De Gea when he arrived. Joe Hart generally got a free pass

Joe Hart, or course, was shunted out of Manchester City. The thinking is that he’s now laughing his socks off. Claudio Bravo has a reputation as being a keeper with reliably nimble feet but how good is he with his hands?

What next for Bravo? Well, if it means anything, there players all made their debuts in the United – City derby:

 

debut

Ah…

Posted: 10th, September 2016 | In: Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Peace breaks out before Manchester United and Manchester City war

It’s Manchester Untied v Manchester City in the Premier League. It’s WAR! It is. The media has told us as much.

In the Mail Jose Mourinho tells Pep Guardiola “WE’RE READY TO RUMBLE”.

 

Manchester United fight

 

It’s WAR says the Sun:

 

Man United Man City the sun

 

 

The Week sums up: “Man Utd vs Man City: Mourinho and Guardiola prepare for war”

Or as the Express puts it:

 

Manchester derby

 

And Henry winter writes in the Times:

Such was the public love-in of Mourinho and Guardiola yesterday — and the Premier League insists that no missive was launched from London demanding common courtesy — that it would be little surprise to find half-and-half scarves featuring the pair for sale outside Old Trafford.

It’s PEACE before the WAR.

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


Transfer Balls: Real Madrid resign four Manchester United players in clickbait frenzy

The BBC says Real Madrid players Cristiano Ronaldo, 31, Gareth Bale, 27, midfielders Toni Kroos, 26, and Luka Modric, 30, are all on course to extend their contracts with Real Madrid.

The Daily Mirror agrees.

 

daily mirror football

 

That’s the Mirror that just two days ago thundered: “Manchester United have made a staggering wage offer to Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale in a bid to lure the Welshman away from the Bernabeu.”

The Mirror that reported in the summer of 2015: “Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to return to Manchester United... Sunday Mirror Sport understands that Ronaldo is excited by the prospect of once again wearing United’s red shirt… Madrid know that the world player of the year will seek a new challenge next summer.”

The Mirror that reported in December 2015: “Manchester United on alert as Toni Kroos seeks Real Madrid exit.” Adding in April 2016: “Manchester City set for transfer battle with rivals United for Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos.”

The Mirror that reported in 2013: “Luka Modric still has his heart set on a move to Old Trafford this summer, after he has struggled for first team action at Real Madrid.”

Manchester United never did sign any of them.

Posted: 9th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United v Manchester City: war points to a bore draw

It’s Manchester United v Manchester City. It’s the game between Pep Guardiola v  Jose Mourinho, what the Guardian calls a “poisonous rivalry”.

The media is awash with hype and hoopla. The game will be cagey, and very probably not all that thrilling. But to the Sun it is “WAR”.

 

Man United Man City the sun

 

As Zlatan “swipes” Maroune Fellaini sharpens his elbows. “It will be a war, with a lot of intensity,” says the big Belgian. “I expect it will be a beautiful match in a special atmosphere. I do not dare speak out about who will win. It’s really 50-50.”

Not exactly Churchillian, eh. We will fight them on the beaches and, at the end of the day, it will be 50-50.

The Guardian leads with the handbags:

war football manchester

 

Paul Hayward writes in the Daily Telegraph.

“The United-City duel arrives without the political intensity of the Clasico, but a league which feeds on personality clashes was never going to pass up the chance to frame Saturday’s protagonists as two warring princes who moved their battleground to England.”

Oliver Kay hones in on the money in The Times.

“In the land where cash is king, prepare for the ultimate demonstration of the Premier League’s wealth and power. For all the inevitable focus on the geniuses in direct conflict in the respective dugouts, the one record that Saturday’s Manchester derby is certain to break is for the two most expensive starting line-ups, which at a total of just under £600m are set to make it the most expensive match in history.”

As for the actual football, Jonathan Wilson has insight:

If both managers go in as they have until now, it will be United’s 4-2-3-1 against 4‑1‑4‑1, two shapes that match up straightforwardly for marking purposes…

It’ll be a thriller, then.

Posted: 9th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United’s Academy is full of soft lads, says Nicky Butt

Former Manchester United stalwart Nicky Butt is talking to Henry Winter in the Times. Butt is now runs the Manchester United academy. It;s a good read, but the pick is what Butt has to say about today’s youth, schooled by helicopter parents and indoor sports:

“I see players in our academy and they can’t move. Our lads don’t know how to fall, roll, and you should see the amount of injuries we get from popped shoulders or their arms. I probably fell out of a tree 15 times and never hurt myself. I don’t think my son’s ever climbed a tree.

“Body mechanics lose so much when you’re not climbing trees, not playing basketball, cricket, rugby. I played rugby, cricket, football, basketball…

“I’m a softie parent. I don’t let my kids go anywhere. My daughter’s 12, I don’t think she’d be able to cross a road. The whole life now is middle class: all kids have iPads and PlayStations. Social media’s a massive problem. We had a player who put his address on Facebook and gets a knock at the door from people asking why he’s chatting up this girlfriend. We reiterate to them every six weeks about what to do and not do on social media.

“They’re not streetwise. We’re looking for leaders on the pitch, so when you’re down, they fight back, somebody like [Paul] Scholes who was playing football on the streets at 12 and knocking around the park at 15. They get a lot of street knowledge through that.”

Is it because these children see football mainly as a way to riches, not as a sport to play for fun?

Former United youth player Danny Higginbotham:

I learned so much from the responsibilities I had as an apprentice at Manchester United. I made the orange squash for the players and was anxious watching Peter Schmeichel take his first sip in case it was too weak or too strong. I had the privilege of cleaning the boots of Roy Keane and Brian McClair. I was so proud of it that I would tell all my mates. I would be pleased when the pitch was especially muddy because it meant that I could do an even better job. It meant the world to me.

If I had done a good job, the first-team players would be grateful, and we would be given a bit of cash – just £10 or £20 – at Christmas, and at the end of the season. If we had not done a good job we would know about it too.

This mattered, first, because it taught us apprentices – players like Wes Brown and Jonathan Greening – about the importance of responsibility. But it also mattered because it was a shared rite of passage between us and the senior pros…

That does not happen in football any more. That old bond is broken…

The fact is that young players today do not need to do that sort of thing. When I was an apprentice at United I was paid £40 per week. When I played for the A and B teams we got a £4 win bonus and £2 if we drew. That was only 20 years ago.

Teenage players at top clubs can now hope to earn £20,000 per week before they’ve even made themselves noticed in the first team.

That sounds a tad cynical. Academy players are not all on great salaries:

How many new young players does a club like Liverpool or Arsenal sign every season? The answer is very few. The fact is that most trainees will never make the grade.

Trainees released from scholarship schemes are put into a central pool which allows other interested clubs to come in for them. And former Fulham scout Roger Skyrme believes there’s nothing wrong with lowering your standards. “Never lose faith in your ability, but do be prepared to move down a level,” Roger told BBC Sport.

Your parents can take you there and keep you in a cosy bubble, but they cannot make you want it and go for it.

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


Arsenal’s Wenger unseats Manchester United’s Mourinho in ‘raging battle’

At a coaching conference in Switzerland, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho were both in attendance.

Spanish newspaper Marca recalls the following exchange as Sir Alex Ferguson is scheduled to speak.

Mourinho: Can I sit next here?

Wenger: “No, it is not possible.”

And how does the Press reports on that?

Daily Express: “Arsene Wenger owns Jose Mourinho in latest bust-up at coaches conference – ARSENE WENGER and Jose Mourinho have reportedly clashed yet again.”

Mourinho reportedly wanted to sit next to Paris Saint-Germain’s Unai Emery and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane for Sir Alex Ferguson’s opening speech, with Wenger close by.

Metro: “Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger told Jose Mourinho he can’t sit next to him at coaches conference”

Daily Mail: “Arsene Wenger’s feud with Jose Mourinho rages on as ‘Arsenal boss refuses to let Manchester United manager sit next to him at conference”

And in Marca, the root of a story that sounds like it began as a joke: “Wenger wins latest battle against Mourinho”

Next week: It’s WAR as Jose serves Arsene green jelly at his party.

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


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