Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

Sports Category

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

Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba’s hair goes it alone

When Denmark’s football coach Åge Hareide talked about facing France in the World Cup and mentioned one of their players, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, the Press mangled his words. Hareide was speaking with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper headlined the story: “Åge Hareide designates the Danish World Cup quarterfinals as a target.” The full story is behind a paywall. But the Mirror has read it, apparently, and tells its readers:

“Man United star Paul Pogba slammed by national team boss – ‘Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance’ – Denmark boss Age Hareide has stuck the boot into the French international midfielder

The story tells us:

Paul Pogba has been mocked by Denmark’s coach before they meet in the World Cup next month. And Age Hareide claimed Didier Deschamps’ team are not “anything special” with no outstanding players… Hareide, who will face the French in Moscow on June 26, claimed the Manchester United midfielder is not a leader – and is obsessed with flashy haircuts. “He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he’ll have it red and white to play us,” said the 64-year-old.. “Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance…”

That what he said? Not quite.

What he said was – and this through Google Traanslate:

“One day he [Pogba] is good, another bad. He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed in blue and white, maybe he’s red and white when he meets us.
Does he just think of his hairstyles?”

In other news from the Premier League football season just gone:

“Paul Pogba reveals latest haircut” – August 23 2017

“Garth Crooks took aim at Paul Pogba’s haircut” – September 11 2017

“Paul Pogba has unveiled another crazy hairstyle as he eyes a return to action” – Sep 26, 2017

“BBC pundit Garth Crooks has a weird obsession with footballers haircuts” – Nov 20, 2017

“‘Hair is burning!'” Paul Pogba shows off new outrageous hairdo” – December 15 2017

“Paul Pogba shows off striking new haircut” – February 26 2018

“Manchester United supporters slam Paul Pogba after he takes to Instagram to post picture of his new hairstyle” –  March 19 2018

“Paul Pogba’s latest haircut provokes priceless reaction from Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud” – March 28 2018

‘”It’s ridiculous” – Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for dying his hair”‘ – April 7 2018

You can read all those stories in the Daily Mirror. Damn it – they care so much about his appearance!

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Costa’s £39m reasons to join Manchester United

Douglas costa bayern manchester united

 

Did you know Manchester United are “willing” to splurge £79m on Douglas Costa, the Bayern Munich forward? The BBC says they are. That’s a lot of money for a player Bayern farmed out on loan to Juventus last season. When Costa joined the Italians on a season-long loan last July, terms of the deal were written across the newswires. Juventus would pay Bayern €6m (£5.3m). There was an additional €1m (£885,000) in performance-related add-ons. Crucially, there was an option to buy Costa outright for a further €40m (£35.4m).

So Costa would cost Juventus around £40m were they to sign up. But Manchester United are “willing” to pay £79m for the same player. Really?

Over in the Sun Manchester United are “ready” to pay £79million for Costa. In the insane world of football transfers – and the twilight world of football reporting – Juventus would buy Costa for £40m and the next day be able to sell him to Manchester United for double that. Agree to give Costa two signing-on fees, and the Brazilian and his agent are happy.

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Sun

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Daily Star

 

The tin lid is places on this absurd story when the Sun tells its readers :”Presently, the chances of Costa ending up at Old Trafford stand at 40 per cent.”  Says who? Dunno. The Sun doesn’t bother to show us the maths. But it works at 1% for every million a desperate United will are ready and willing to pay over the odds to get their man.

Of course, it’s all true. And United had best move quickly. That fee for Costa rising fast. Just two days ago, United were ready and willing to pay £40m to get Costa, said the Mirror:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

 

Of course, if you believe everything in the papers and on the BBC, Douglas Costa joined Chelsea in 2015:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

Daily Star: Costa to Chelsea. It was Costa’s “dream move”. “I’ve realised a dream,:” said Costa when he signed for Bayern Munich for £21m.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Emery appointment in keeping with Arsenal tradition

More insight on new Arsenal manager Unai Emery from the Daily Mirror’s John Cross, who tweets: “It does feel like a departure for Arsenal. In new stadium with new manager with no club connection. Different times for a club based upon and proud of its tradition and history.”

Do Arsenal always recruit from the Both Room, then, or pick an old player to manage? No.

Thomas Brown Mitchell was Arsenal’s first professional manager, joining the club in 1897. Mitchell moved to Arsenal from his native Scotland in 1867. He resigned the post in March 1898. In 1919 Arsenal appointed Leslie Knighton as manager. In 1913, Arsenal had relocated from South London to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London. Knighton got the job after stints as assistant manager at Huddersfield Town and Manchester City.

In 1925, Knighton was sacked. Herbert Chapman, who’d managed at Leeds City and Huddersfield Town, arrived. He’d played at: Kiveton Park, Ashton North End, Stalybridge Rovers, Rochdale, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town, Sheppey United, Worksop Town, Northampton Town, Sheffield United, Notts County, Northampton Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

The next time Arsenal moved stadium, they were led by Arsene Wenger, who’d joined the club in 1996. Like his aforesaid predecessors, Wenger had no links to Arsenal whatsoever.

Wenger’s immediate predecessor was Bruce Rioch. He’d been a player at: Luton Town, Aston Villa, Derby County, Everton 30, Birmingham City, Sheffield United, Seattle Sounders and Torquay United. Before Arsenal, Rioch managed: Torquay United, Seattle Storm, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Bolton Wanderers.

Arsenal have recruited from within, of course: Bertie Mee, who led Arsenal to their first Double in 1971, had been an Arsenal physio before getting the top job; Don Howe, George Graham, Jack Crayston, George Swindin and Terry Neill all played for Arsenal before taking over as manager. But to argue that Emery represents a departure from Arsenal’s tradition and history is absurd.

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Barcelona break contract for life as Andres Iniesta joins Vissell Kobe

Andres Iniesta has left Barcelona to play for Vissel Kobe. The Japanese club is owned by the Crimson Group.

On October 6 2017, Barcelona gave Iniesta a contract for life, stating:

Andrés Iniesta signed a lifetime contract with FC Barcelona on Friday, in a deal that will keep him at the Club for the rest of his career…

The signing was followed by a press conference, where a beaming Bartomeu [FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu] told listeners that “the club has grown through this agreement because after 118 years of history it’s the first time we have ever offered a footballer a lifelong contract. This is a reward for Andrés’ exceptional career.”

Iniesta’s reward is to be farmed out to the poor J1 league. Crimson Group runs online merchant Rakuten – it pays a fortune to stick its logo across Barcelona shirts ( £47m a year for four years). Iniesta has made the move from great player in a great team to a marketing gimmick in footballing backwater. Sad stuff. For over 100 years Barcelona refused to have a sponsor. When That changed in 2006, when the shits carried the Unicef logo – the club reportedly paid the global children’s charity £1m for the honour.

And now… They’re no longer more than a club.

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Fred agrees Manchester City move and will sign for Manchester United

More transfer balls from journalism’s twilight zone of fake news, guesswork and clickbait as the BBC says Manchester United are “close to signing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred”. United “hope to complete a deal for the Brazil international next week”. The BBC links to a story in the Manchester Evening NewsOver there, readers are told that Fred “could complete his transfer to Old Trafford from Shakhtar next month”.

Well, he could. And  then again, he might not. But if it’s facts you want, the paper tells us that Fred and the rest of the Brazil squad are “travelling to Europe next week for the national team’s friendly with Croatia at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium”. So…? Well, Fred “could finalise his move to United during his stay in the north-west of England. Anfield is only 29 miles away from United’s Carrington training complex”. It’s also not that far from where Manchester City trains. It’s even closer to Liverpool.

It was a different story back in February, when the MEN told us on February 11: “Man City agree £50m deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.”

Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Fred in the summer transfer market, according to a report. According to The Mirror a £50m deal has been provisionally agreed with Shakhtar Donetsk for the end of the season.

Like the MEN, the Mirror is owned by Trinity Mirror. The Mirror’s report told readers:

Man City steal a march on rivals United after agreeing £44.5m fee in principle to sign Shakhtar star Fred

It’s £44.5m for Fred to Man City in the Mirror but £50m in the MEN. Reading on, we’re told:

Pep Guardiola will not have to wait long to get his hands on the former Internacional star… The 24-year-old has also been linked with Manchester United, but unlike Alexis Sanchez, the Blues appear set to win out in this transfer battle.

The source for this news is Goal.com. Yeah – the same Goal.com that us a few days ago told us that Mikel Arteta was the new Arsenal manager. As every newspaper echoed Goal’s fact, Arsenal were busy offering the job to Unai Emery. So what did Goal says about Fred on Feb 9? “Man City agree £44.5m deal in principle to sign Fred this summer,” said Goal. “Sources” say Fred is “determined” to join Manchester City this summer”. Goal “understands” Fred and his club have “reached an agreement” with City, “which will come into effect this summer.”

Despite the lack of facts, Goal.com is seen as a source of facts from which reputable newspapers and the BBC can pluck scoops. No sooner had Goal said Fred to City was on than the Express was telling its readers on February 9:

Man Utd target Fred will join Man City after a £44.5m agreement

There was much speculation throughout January that Fred would be moving to the Premier League and now his fate looks to be sealed as league leaders City have agreed a £44.5m deal, according to Goal.

 

fred the metro manchester city

 

fred man city arab news

 

 

Not that there aren’t other top sources for Fred transfer news. On January 23, The Metro told us: “Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred agrees to join Manchester City after Manchester United interest.”

Pep Guardiola is a known admirer of the 24-year-old, however, and will win the race to secure his signature in a deal worth £35million, according to Arab News. It is claimed the move is now a matter of when rather than if.

Duncan Castles told Arab News readers:

Brazil midfielder Fred has agreed to join Manchester City, with negotiations between the Premier League club and Shakhtar Donetsk now centered upon the timing of the transfer

Manchester United also explored the possibility of bringing Fred to England in the current transfer window as Jose Mourinho sought to restructure a midfield that has been persistently weakened by player unavailability this season. Unlike their successful head-to-head battle to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, however, United have accepted that the versatile midfielder is destined for their rivals.

Someone also called Duncan Castles tells Yahoo! readers on May 15:

fred manchester united

 

Fred to PSG it is, then.

PS:  Why do United want Fred?

 

fred pogba

 

“Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk as a replacement for Paul Pogba” – BBC, April 18, 2018.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Unai Emery commits Arsenal to aggressive, entertaining football

Unai emery twitter

 

The Guardian was live blogging Unai Emery’s fire press conference as Arsenal manager. Arenal fans were invited to watch it via the club’s website. But the paper can add a bit of bite and humour with a running commentary. Our narrator tells us: “Emery’s range of expression in English isn’t great, you might discern, but he’s giving it a go.” A bit like the paper. Highlights are:

Emery: “My English is not the very best now and I want to make an effort to speak with you to explain my ambition.”

Guardian (typos: paper’s own):

Ivan Gazidis: “I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new ehad coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t spek and those who speak won’t know… “

Their English is not the best.

As for the recruitment process, Gazidis told a packed press conference that Emery was on an eight-man shortlist. We’re not told who the eight were.

“I’m really delighted and excited to announce the new head coach. I know that came as a bit of a surprise, perhaops there were one or two rewrites necessary. But those who know won’t speak and those who speak won’t know. I’ll give you a little insight into the process. We formed a three-person committee of me, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. We had some clear criteria: aggressive, entertaining football; personality that fitted with Arsenal’s values; also a record of developing players through detailed tactical instruction and also cultural demand, pushing players.

“We looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don’t believe any position in world football is more attractive. We created an eight-person longlist. All of them were interested and took part in extensive, in-person interviews. None of them at any stage withdrew their interest. So we were in a fortunate position to make our first choice, and that’s what we did. Our first interviewee was conducted on 25th April, our last was conducted on 15th May and we interviewed Unai on 10th May.”

Emery was the right fit. Arteta never was fist choice. “The thing that distinguished him above all that was the chemistry between us and the feeling for football in the room, Gazidis added. “He has a feeling and competitive energy and it is this passion, love for football and will to win that made us feel it as exactly right for Arsenal.”

“Success next season would be developing, but how?” asked Emery. The question was rhetorical.”By battling for every title. It’s very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work to be the best team in the Premier League and also in the world That’s in Arsenal’s and my history.”

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal turn up the heat for Seri and his ingrown toenails

Transfer news in the shape of the BBC’s tory that Arsenal are in for Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri. Negotiations won’t be simple. In 2017,  Seri was off to Barcelona, having agreed a 4-year-deal. Barcelona’s Josep Maria Bartomeu and Nice’s Jean-Pierre Rivere then tried to explain why the deal collapsed. “Julien Fournier, the general manager [Nice], called me early on Wednesday [August 23], at about 9am and said: ‘Jean-Pierre, I do not understand, I received a call from Barcelona and they told me to stop the Seri transfer’. In the afternoon, Bartomeu called me, a little embarrassed, and said to me: ‘This is the first time that it has happened to us. Our staff have decided not to sign Seri, but it is not a financial issue’.”

Or as Seri put it: “Nice did not deliver on their promises, I’m very hurt. I’m not going to lie – I feel awful. I did not play for Nice this weekend because football should be about joy and I did not feel this. My dream of joining Barcelona has been broken and this is terrible for me… From what I understand, the deal did not go through because of financial reasons and that makes me very sad. I was stunned to hear negotiations had broken down after my talk with Barcelona officials the previous evening, I was shattered. It was incomprehensible to me so the next day I went to the offices at Nice and I exploded with anger, honestly, the walls were trembling! The leaders of my club could not tell me anything, they could not even look me in the eye. I played against Napoli out of loyalty to my teammates, this was not their fault but honestly I don’t know what will happen now.”

So, er, how about joining Arsenal?

“I have ingrown toenails and when it’s cold I need special treatment,” Seri reportedly told Le Point. “I don’t see myself playing in a country where it’s cold. I hurt everywhere and I struggle to train.”

They have undersoil heating at The Emirates.

The Mail says Seri’s contract allows him to leave if Nice receive an offer of £35million. Arsenal should make their move ahead of Liverpool, who are said to be in for Seri, too. For one thing, unlike so many of the current Arsenal squad, Seri is vocal:

“Even though it’s Barcelona, I don’t want to play second fiddle. I know what I’m capable of on a football pitch and I think I’ve shown that I have quality,” says Seri (via Sport). If they choose me, I want them to treat me well, to make me a priority, not a complement. That’s why my head is focused on football. I dreamed of playing for Barça, but the message was clear. Many would have waited longer. Some would have spoken with the media. For me, a player speaks on the pitch, not in the media. Those that speak in the media are mediocre players, who need to be known. On the one side, there was a club for whom I was not a priority, and on the other side, a club that wanted me. It would have been stupid to get angry over a club that didn’t want you over one that gives you everything and loves you.”

Good job he’s over it.

Posted: 23rd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Emery to Arsenal is like when AVB went to Chelsea

Behold! Unai Emery is at Arsenal and every football hack worth his mince is parroting the same old guff about this being a selection from “left field” (Guardian). It’s an appointment so lacking in direction that “a little bit of Arsenal dies” (John Cross, Daily Mirror). Emery, serial winner – three European titles in four seasons; Arsenal 2 in 50 – caught the nodding heads cold. Arsenal have form here: the Press never saw Ozil, Wenger and Sanchez coming to Arsenal. And Cross, well, he knew Wenger was leaving – it’s just his timing that was off:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017…

 

The Sun has its own news on Emery:

SunSport understands Emery blew Arsenal’s recruitment team away with a stunning presentation a fortnight ago. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis along with head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat were staggered by the forensic analysis of every player in Arsenal’s squad and his exact plans on how he would improve them.

Yeah. That’s what I thought: it’s too much like Andre Villas-Boas, the manager who had lots and lots and lots and lots of facts at his fingertips when in charge at Chelsea and then Spurs. If you wanted a top-notch powerpoint presentation, AVB was yer man. In 2011, The Telegraph said of AVB:

Football consumed him. He started on the ‘gateway drugs’ football magazines and Panini stickers before slipping down the slope into full-blown Championship Manager addiction. This computer game, with its endless statistics, simulated being a football manager and destroyed the social lives of a generation of football geeks.

Villas-Boas was hooked. He used to carry notebooks around with him, in which he scribbled tactical ideas and stats about players and every Monday, the normally reserved ‘Cenourinho’ (Baby Carrot, because of his red hair) would debate with his friends the weekend’s games. “I remember for one school project he handed in an exhaustive report on Porto and their tactics and substitutions with lots of statistics,” said Eiro, his PE teacher.

The Sun continues – and, yes, of course it’s padding, but this is wonderfully enjoyable balls:

A source told TheSun: “He knew more about the Arsenal squad and every relevant detail about their career path and injury histories than people who had been at the club for years. They’d no idea where he had gathered his information but they were mesmerised by the vision he put before them.”

If only there was something where anyone could call up all manner of facts and data on a footballer – you know, a big book stuffed with information you could cross-reference with a variety of sources; or a magic telly that plays old clips on a device held in the palm of your hand. Until then, how Emery knew anything about the Arsenal side can only be put down to his obsessive attention to detail, spying, an insider and the supernatural.

Emery as AVB II, then? When Owen Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, Villas-Boas wanted the job. He gave the bosses a hi-tech presentation. In Magical: A Life In Football, former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher tells all:

“Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect. He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and Powerpoint presentation were amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn’t understand. Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation. The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it. Would Burnley players have ever understood what he wanted if he’d told them to ‘solidificate’ or some of his other terms?”

Will Emery solidificate Arsenal?

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal becomes Emery’s illness

News of Unai Emery’s appointment as Arsenal manager has amazed and astounded former Gunners striker Ian Wright. “What’s going on at Arsenal? Where’s Unai Emery come from? I can’t get it out of my head.” Poor, Wright, labouring under the impression the media know what they’re talking about. Nothing is ever done until the contract is signed and the new man is kissing the badge. “You’d have thought that by now they would have known exactly what’s going on,” continues Wight.

It’s the Press that are clueless. As Emery was being fitted for his blazer, the Times reported yesterday:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri… Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist…Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery, an experienced winner who cuts an animated figure on the touchline and measured presence in press conferences. “He’s obsessed by football, it’s practically an illness,” said former player Joaquín of the Spaniard.“When I look back at winning the Europa League, the real pleasure and the success was the road that led us there,” he said in 2016. “Constructing your team, going through difficult moments, seeing the team getting better step by step: this is the beauty. Not the final. It’s the day by day work that renders happiness.”

Emery has won five major trophies in 3 years at PSG; he has 3 European trophies in the last 4 years – Arenal have won two in 50 years. He’s 46. – the same age as Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose won nothing as a manager. In the 2016 Europa League final, Emery tinkered the formation, turning a 1-0 half-time deficit for Sevilla into a 3-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s side. His meticulous attention to detail paid off. And he’s streetwise. At Valencia – who between 2010 and 2012 he led to three third-place finishes in La Liga – Emery produced videos for his player to watch at home.  “Did you watch it?” Emery asked of one player he thought had not been watching the videos. “Yes, don’t worry boss,” came the reply.

At Arsenal he’ll find a more compliant and willing squad then the bunch of egoists at PSG who play for the brand but not the fans. Arsenal fans should be excited. A winner’s arrived…

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s new manager is Unai Emery

The new Arsenal manager is Unai Emery. Is is not going to be Mikel Arteta, the former Arsenal player and Manchester City coach who was for six seasons part of the leaderless drift in the second part of Arsene Wenger’s 22 seasons at the Gunners. Arsenal need a leader. Arteta was never all that vocal on the pitch. How would cope as manager?

Emery, the 46-year-old Spaniard, is available without compensation after leaving Paris St-Germain where he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups in two seasons. Before that he was mighty at Sevilla, leading them to three consecutive Europa League wins between 2014 and 2016.

Not that everyone saw Emery coming. Just today the Sun screamed:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Metro:

 

emery footballarsenal

 

And the Times reports today:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Anyone else in the frame?

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri but the Italian said that he is committed to Juventus for another season. Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist but the former Barcelona coach’s wage demands were too high and Löw extended his contract with Germany. Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery. Emery it is, then.

UNAI WHO?

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United fans in Mourinho Instagram time warp

Manchester United manger Jose Mourinho was so upset following his side’s defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final that he deleted his Instagram account. Well, so say the papers. The Daily Mirror reports: “Jose Mourinho ‘deletes’ Instagram after abusive comments as Man United lose FA Cup final against Chelsea’.” The Sun says Jose “has deleted his Instagram account after copping a load of online abuse following yesterday’s FA Cup final defeat”.

 

And more: “Jose Mourinho deleted Instagram account after Man United’s FA Cup final defeat” – Irish Independent

 

mourinho instagram

 

mourinho instagram

Pesky fact: Jose Mourinho deleted his Instagram account on the Thursday BEFORE the Cup Final.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Chelsea owner Abramovich is not dead

CHELSEA FC owner Roman Abramovich is “BANNED FROM UK”. Well, so says the Daily Star. And it’s wrong. He’s just “faced delays in renewing his UK visa” the BBC “understands”. No that the Beeb knows much about the Russian billionaire who wasn’t at Wembley to see his investment win the FA Cup. This is its story in a nutshell:

Asked about the visa, Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.” Mr Abramovich’s office said it does not discuss personal matters with the media. Reports suggest his investor visa expired three weeks ago.

 

roman abramovich visa

 

Apropos of nothing much, the BBC then adds: “He is believed to be close to current Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Whatever anyone suggests and believes, the Star is happy to go out on a limb and scream on Page 7: “ROMAN TOLD: YOU’RE NOT WELCOME ANY MORE.” But just one line in and the bold statement is undone as the Star says Abramovich’s visa has “reportedly run out”.

It all promised so much. What football fan was not smirking and mentally counting the seasons as Chelsea, shawn of Russian money, slide to those pre-Roman days of lower-league football and in-fighting. Not that a club’s overseas-domiciled owner needs to be a fan nor show up to games – see Man City, Man United, Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool. But Chelsea is Roman’s alone. It’s a one-man empire. “What happens if he suddenly dropped dead, as Russian oligarchs have been known to do?” muses the Daily Mail. Dunno. Maybe a family man wily enough to be a billionaire has thought about that made plans?

 

roman abramovich visa

 

roman abramovich visa

 

He’s not dead. He’s “stranded in Russia,” says the Express. It adds that Roman “could become the first major casualty of the tensions since the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.” Of maybe, you know, he could not.

The Sun makes the link between poison and footy overt in its headline: “Chelsea owner stuck in Moscow after poison row.” But there’s no link between the two things. The headline might just as easily say: “Chelsea owner escapes Wembley bore-fest.”

It’s “Roman’s own goal” in the Mirror. Roman news shares a page with the story “Cut off dirty money, MPs plead” – “Fresh sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s cronies will be urged today to stem ‘dirty money’ harming UK security.” No suggestion whatsoever Abramovich has down anything wrong – other than fund Chelsea, the club that since his investment in 2003 have won 15 trophies. And that’s unforgivable, of course. Still, if could have been worse: he could have bought Spurs.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City want Hazard; Chelsea star ‘agrees’ Real Madrid move with mind

Pick a top player. Any player. And then say Manchester City want him. The BBC says Manchester City are “planning” a £100m deal for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Pep Guardiola has earmarked the 27-year-old Belgium forward as “his top transfer target”. Over in the Daily Star, we get not only the same peak at City’s summer spending plan but also an insight into Pep’s head. News is that he’s “confident” of getting Hazard. And – get this – Hazard is “aware” that City like him.

The Daily Star can read minds. But it can’t conjure a quote of single fact to support its scoop – and neither can the BBC.

It might be worth have a look at what other Eden Hazard headlines the tabloids have provided us with:

Chelsea may offer Eden Hazard in a swap deal for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele – Daily Star, Jan 21 2018

Eden Hazard AGREES Real Madrid move after snubbing Chelsea contract offer – Daily Express, Jan 10, 2018

EDEN TO REAL Eden Hazard agrees deal to join Real Madrid with Alvaro Morata moving the other way to Chelsea – The Sun, Jul 10, 2017

Eden Hazard reaches agreement with Real Madrid after secret transfer talks – The Metro, April 26, 2017

Hazard has done all that by communicating telepathically. Fact.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


English fans told not to celebrate St George at World Cup

The police are telling England fans that they shouldn’t try to fly St George’s Cross – you know, the national flag of England – at the World Cup in Russia this summer. Because it’s colonialism or something. Locals, Russians, will be so outraged that something or other might happen.

Well, no, not really:

England fans are being urged by police not to display St George’s flag at the World Cup in Russia because it could bee seen as ‘imperialistic’ and ‘antagonistic’.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the head of football policing, said the flags were the trophies of choice for hooligans from rival countries.

It comes after Russian hooligans attacked England fans in 2016 and posted pictures of dozens of ‘captured’ St George’s flags.

That one group of fans might try to take and make off with the treasured flag of another group is obviously entirely possible. But it’s not going to be because it’s St George and England and not because of anything about patriotism, colonialism, imperialism or anything like that.

For St George isn’t in fact just the patron saint of England, he spreads his favours rather more widely than that. Bits and pieces of Northern Italy for example, and they use the cross itself as well. The Republic of Georgia in fact, what used to be a bit of the Soviet Union. Even, the city of Moscow – although unlike Georgia they don’t use the cross on their flag.

Yes, quite, the police are arguing that English fans should not, when in Moscow, display the flag of St George when St George is the patron saint of Moscow. Because imperialism.

If only the police had a clue, eh?

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United found and mislaid the ‘new Duncan Edwards’

When Phil Jones gave way the penalty that Eden Hzaard scored to give Chelsea 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final, he looked both slow and clumsy. It was all so different, of course, when the hype machine hailed Jones’  £16.5m 2011 transfer from Blackburn Rovers.

 

phil jones duncan edwards

 

The Manchester Evening News hailed Jones as the “Reds’ latest teenage wonderkid”. He was ‘the new Duncan Edwards’. The paper added that he might be a reincarnation:

In an amazing coincidence, Jones was born on February 21 – the day United legend died as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster.

How good was Edwards? Former United great Wilf McGuinness told us: “To me he was like Roy Keane, Bryan Robson and Steve Gerrard rolled into one.” That’s how good Jones was.

So who said Jones was the new Edwards? No-one. The hype came from one quote. “If you talk to Bobby Charlton,” said Paddy Crerand, Bobby Charlton’s team-mate in United’s 1968 European Cup winning team, “Phil Jones reminds him of Duncan Edwards with his power and build.” And that was it.

“Phil Jones destined for Manchester United folklore,” said the BBC.

That was then…

Posted: 20th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Arteta accepts the manager’s job

In the rush to say they got the scoop, the BBC declares: “Ex-Arsenal and Spain midfielder Mikel Arteta has agreed to become the club’s new manager.” He has? Because elsewhere on the BBC we can read: “Should Manchester City assistant Arteta leave Etihad Stadium to move to the Gunners, City boss Pep Guardiola’s preference is to bring in 34-year-old Spain and former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as player-coach.” But Arteta to Arsenal is “agreed”. We read it on the BBC.

And as for Iniesta joining Man City, well, Iniesta said in April this year: “I will make a decision to stay at Barcelona or go to China before April 30. I have to assess what is best for me and it will be the most honest for the club.” The BBC reported that.

And then Man City manager Pep Guardiola went on the record: “There is a lot of fake news about the transfers… Andres had to decide his own future and he has decided to go to China to play there. He is going to finish there and after, he has to come back to Barcelona for the next generations, to help us be the club we are. We cannot offer him what he had in Barcelona here. He decided for other reasons, not just football terms.”

On May 9, Iniesta added: “I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open. They said I’m not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I’ve also heard Australia.”

The BBC is wrong. Iniesta is not heading to Man City. So what’s the source of the Arteta to Arsenal story? It’s Goal.com.

 

arteta

 

As soon as someone shouts ‘first’, the rest pile in:

 

arteta arsenal

 

arsenal arteta manager

FIRE!

 

Goal thunders:

The former Gunners midfielder’s return to the club is set to be announced in the coming days as he prepares to replace Arsene Wenger. Mikel Arteta has agreed in principle to replace Arsene Wenger and become the new manager at Arsenal.

In principle? Coming days? Any more facts?

Goal understands that, while no contract has yet been signed, the announcement of Arteta’s return to the Emirates Stadium will be made in the coming days.

Utter guesswork, then. But – yep – Arteta’s looks like the only name on the list (and he’s relatively cheap!).

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Mertesacker outlines his Arsenal vision

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s new academy manager, is the German known as the ‘BFG’. He’s written a book. In it he advocates yoga and using both eyes.

…I was a big fan of yoga from the beginning because I had seen that it improved stability and flexibility.

Even at the age of 33 I was one of the most flexible at Arsenal when it came to my back muscles. Hardly anyone came to the yoga sessions that the club offered. Often there were only four of us: Héctor Bellerín, Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky.

The youth players who were promoted to the first team smiled at these exercises. They thought we were meditating. They were happy with the ball at their feet but for everything else there was a lack of desire. “I play football and go to training. That’s enough.”

But no, it isn’t enough when you want to maintain a certain level for a long time or want to improve.

Either you are learning from scratch, from your parents and the teachers and coaches around you, to take responsibility, or you don’t do it at all. This is the kind of dumbing down we must fight against.

The well-rounded Per:

When I injured myself against Sunderland [in the 2011-12 season] I started working with Lars Lienhard. A former athlete, he is a sports scientist as well as a pioneer when it comes to neurally controlled training.

Working with him was a huge success. We always assume that we can run and see properly because nothing hurts. But that is a mistake. Lars showed me that our eyes are a big factor in everything, above all when it comes to our timing.

On my right side my timing was super but I had the feeling my left eye was not really up for it. Why was that? And was it possible to train and improve [the left eye] so that I didn’t have to turn my whole body in order to look left? It all meant that in 50% of the times the ball came towards me my brain said: “Hey, I can’t really see that ball so I’m not going to jump for it.”

And as my left eye was not really looking at the ball I was always twisting my neck to use my dominant right eye.

Football doesn’t really deal with those things, despite the fact they can be decisive. Players would rather lift weights, stand on their own with their dumbbells – but how does that help me on the pitch?

During the exercises with Lars one could see quite clearly that my eyes were moving differently when an object was approaching me. My left eye always remained in the middle rather than focusing on the object.

He showed me how to make my left eye stronger. I had a patch on my right eye, forcing my left eye to focus on the objects. And after a few weeks I could really notice the difference in games. If there was a high ball from the left I had a much better feeling for where it would end up.

With Lars’s help I stayed injury-free for four and a half years. Meeting him changed my life as a footballer.

 

The important thing was to do exercises myself before games as well to adjust the eyes. One example was a kind of push-up for the eyes. You bring a pencil in towards your nose and force your eyes towards the middle. When you do that at the training ground a lot of people think: “What is he doing now? Is he completely stupid?”

Mainly I was doing it at home or in the hotel room. I had six or seven exercises that I did, sometimes just before kick-off in the dressing room. I didn’t care what the others thought or if they laughed. But you saw again that something new, something unknown, led to laughter rather than people asking: “What are you doing there?”

The Idlers:

Footballers are used to working only three hours a day. And out of the three hours they are at the training ground they are on their mobiles for half of that.

We have all the money in the world but do not realise how important the body is. A player on average has a seven‑year professional career, 10-15 if everything goes right. You have to do everything possible to be at your maximum.

Weltmeister ohne Talent by Per Mertesacker. Via: Guardian.

Posted: 19th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Books, Sports | Comment


Everton disgust Big Sam with £6m pay-off for dull football

Everton have “disgusted” Sam Allardyce. The manager, who left his job as England head coach after a whopping 67 days in the job clutching over £1m in compensation, is available for panto. Allardyce was caught on camera in a Telegraph sting discussing what he thought was a £400,000 deal to give speeches in the Far East and allegedly advising supposed investors in how to circumvent Football Association rules on third-party ownership. He joined Crystal Palace in December 2017, leaving the following May. Last November, Allardyce was made Ronald Koeman’s replacement at Everton. He signed an 18-month contract. Today he was sacked.

“I’m shocked, disappointed and disgusted that the football club didn’t have the decency to tell me, my Director of Football and my staff about the changes,” says Allardyce. “They must have been in the pipeline for a considerable time but no-one thought to tell me and my staff. I’m pretty disgusted. I came into the football club with the team struggling and we have finished eighth in the table. I’m more than happy with what myself, my staff and the players have achieved from when I came in.”

The problem with ‘ big Sam; is that you hope that after years managing top-flight teams they’d play with a muon of elegance. But stiff percentage play and hoof is a decent earner. The sack pays well. Everton are liable for £6million to cover the final year of Allardyce’s contract. The favourite to replace him is Marco Silva. The Portuguese thinks he is owed six months’ salary from his time at Watford. That works out at £750,000. Allardyce was being paid four times more that Silva. The Sun says early termination over a long career has earned Allardyce £13.5 million in pay-offs.

How does he do it? Why is Allardyce one of the names in football’s spin drier, recycled whenever a job comes up – see David Moyes, Mark Hughes and Tony Pulis? They’re managers whose success rests on not yielding to total failure.

 

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


Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere seeks mates in Zante

Arsenal’s centre-line to edge of the box give-and-goer Jack Wilshere has not made it into the England squad for this summer’s World Cup. He’s been in the Arsenal side a lot this season – the same Arsenal side that finished sixth in the league table, more than 30 points behind winners Manchester City. Wilshere has prodded and probed in matches but offers little evidence of an end product. It’s all bits and bobs delivered a few steps off the pace needed to penetrate a tight defence.

Arsenal have offered the oft-injured midfielder around £100,000-a week to sign a new deal. That’s what Harry Kane gets to play at Spurs. Wilshere should bite their arm off. But he’s not yet signed. Arsenal have no need to panic. Everton want him. Arsenal should not regret his leaving.

And signs are that Wilshere is not all that bothered. He’s making alternate plans for the summer after accepting an invitation to join a random lads’ holiday to Zante on Twitter.

Will Palacios tweets: @JackWilshere oright lad i know you’re not off world cup so fancy coming Zante with me and the lads let me know sound x

@JackWilshere
🤣🤣 let me know the dates and I’m in

He might be only half joking…

Posted: 16th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Spurs went from ‘Busby Babes’ to grating flops

Spurs win nothing. Again. As usual. Their fans call it all very ‘Spursy’ when they flatter to deceive. On February 12 2017, Neil Ashton is story no longer live on the Sun’s website said Spurs were the new greatest team in English football. Just get a load of this – written after Spurs had defeated a moribund Arsenal 1-0 and were fifth in the league table:. Eatching Spurs was like watching… Barcelona (albeit a Barca side that win nothing and finish as also-rans):

Every once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

No. They won’t. They will say they saw Manchester City, who finished a mere 23 points ahead of Spurs to win the title. (If you think Spurs will win the title next season – and best of luck with that – www.allascasino.com/nya-casinon is a good place to clean up.)

And Ashton has changed his tune, writing on May 15:

Everybody admires Spurs’ pretty football — but Pochettino knows the pressure is now on to start landing some silverware. The nearly-man tag, the reminders he has yet to win a trophy at Tottenham, are starting to grate

But at least we got to watch Tottenham live in February – when no cups are handed out.

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal make Arteta their first choice

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke (born 1980) wants Mikel Arteta (born 1982) – a former Arsenal player and current first team coach at Manchester City – to be the club’s next manager. In 2013, Kroenke’s father, Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s majority shareholder, gave his son a seat on the board. Josh made a statement at the time:

“It is an honour to join the board of Arsenal. This reaffirms our family’s long-term commitment to the club. Arsenal is in a strong position on and off the pitch. We are enjoying a period of growth for Arsenal and the Premier League. We look forward to an exciting future that includes winning trophies, increasing our already impressive support around the globe and extending our commercial opportunities. We strongly feel our experience in sports management, marketing and broadcast will be an asset to an already impressive board.”

It’s all about business. But that’s not to say Josh doesn’t want to win. It’s far easier to build the brand and cement your standing at the club when you’re on the TV celebrating victory, and the winning manager is a figure to whom you relate and have nailed your reputation. Josh thinks Arteta’s the one to help the investment pay off. Arsenal fans should hear him out, not least of all when they know that Mauricio Pochettino wanted to take his former teammate at PSG to Tottenham Hotspur when Arteta retired from playing in 2016.

The question must be why Arsenal didn’t see Arteta’s potential two years ago? Pep Guardiola was calling, and it can be argued that Arteta has augmented his skills working with the former Barcelona manager – just as he did when he joined Rangers from Barcelona in 2002, opining: “Scottish football was tough, really tough. It was really physical, people got at you and I had to improve on that a lot. I think I did that to get to the level that the Premier League required of me.” It worked. In the 2005–06 Premier League season, Arteta was voted Everton Fans’ Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season awards. In 2008 he was the Liverpool Echo’s Sports Personality of the Year.

If Kroenke see the future in Arteta, it’s good news for the Gunners. The absentee owner and palsied board have guidance and a plan. Arteta it is, then.

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Pochettino knows debt and history make Spurs a selling club

Another season with no silverware for Spurs. They’ve won nothing since 2008 – and then it was only the League Cup. But current manager Mauricio Pochettino has a plan. He wants chairman Daniel Levy to “take risks” to improve the side.

“If we want to be real contenders for big, big trophies, we need to review a little,” says Pochettino. “First of all, I need to speak with Daniel [Levy; the club’s chief executive], then we will know what we are going to do. I think it’s a moment the club needs to take risks and if possible work harder than the previous season to be competitive again.”

Work harder? Or just spend bigger?

Pochettino, 46, has been successful at Spurs. Since arriving at the club in 2014, Tottenham has finished fifth, third, second and third in the Premier League. Where next? It would take a revolution in Abu Dhabi for Spurs to make up the 23-point gap on Manchester City. The smarter money is on Pochettino leaving for Real Madrid. Pochettino, who has three years to run on his current deal, hinted at an early exit after his side’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United, opining that the club “need more time with me or another”.

Now he adds: “I think I have a very clear idea what we need to do; I don’t know if the club will be agreeing with me or not. But we are going to talk, next week, to create the new project, or what I think what we need to do, together again, to try to improve. That is a little bit up to Daniel of course, to the club, to be happy with us, because after four years I think we need to assess that period. I think Daniel is going to listen to me. But you know me and sometimes I have some crazy ideas. In this type of situation, with a club with our unbelievable fans, being brave is the most important, and to take risks.”

And then there’s that new ground, which has risen in cost from £400m to £750m to £850m and now to – and this is according to the Daily Mail – almost £1bn. The new municipal 61,000-seat stadium will host football and NFL matches with two sliding pitches, ‘extra changing rooms’ and tailgate parties. It sounds awful. Three banks have approved five-year loans of £350m. Any outstanding debt after the five-year period will be refinanced or placed into bonds.

And on top of that the manager wants big money for big names. He wants be be able to outbid Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. When Spurs move in to their sponsored stadium, “It would be the time to say: ‘Now, we will win the title’,” said Pochettino last December. Fast forward to April and the manager had changed his tune. “The move to the new stadium is not suddenly going to change everything and millions of pounds will rain from the sky,” Pochettino said. “You have to manage and know exactly the expectations. It will be important to review and set the principles again – how it will be with the team once we move.”

Now he wants the owners to take “risks”.

Pochettino knows Spurs will have go sell if they want to buy. And those wages? Levy earns £115,000-a-week at Spurs – more than the club’s best-paid player, whose wages are capped at £100,000-a-week. Spurs have been linked with a move for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who earns more than £120,000 a week at the Eagles. How long will Harry Kane be content playing for a third of what he could earn at Manchester United, say, where he’d stand better chance of winning things?

Spurs have a plan. But they’re playing catch-up – and their bigger rivals all have a head start…

Posted: 14th, May 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: The 9 clear favourites to replace Wenger

A quick catch-up on the inside story on who will be the next Arsenal manger. All these picks come to use via the fake-news busting BBC.

Unai Emery, who will be leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of the season, has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.

Or:

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, who has also been linked strongly with the Arsenal role, wants a £200m transfer kitty if he is to become the new boss.

Emery sounds cheap. Go for Emery.

Elsewhere, more news on the new boss:

The Sun says Arsenal are targeting Carlo Ancelotti.

The Express states: “Brighton manager Chris Hughton would be the perfect man to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal – if he did not play for Tottenham.”

Note: he’s so good that Tottenham didn’t want him. And he doesn’t play for Spurs. He manages Brighton.

The Express tops that ball by noting – get this – “ARSENAL’s next manager could lead the club to a Premier League title challenge next season.” Well, they could. Or maybe he won’t. Discuss.

And it also states: “PATRICK VIEIRA has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.”

The Metro reasons: “Why Arsenal would prefer to appoint Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira as Arsene Wenger’s successor.”

Why? Because they are “young”. The Metro says only four names being considered, Allegiri and:

Manchester City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta, as well as Patrick Vieira and Julian Nagelsmann, whose Hoffenheim side secured Champions League football for the first time in their history by finishing third in the Bundesliga, are the three other names on the Arsenal shortlist.

So much for Emry being the “clear favourite”.

The Indy then makes a statement: “Next Arsenal manager: Mikel Arteta first choice to take over from Arsene Wenger as Max Allegri eyes Juventus stay.”

Or as TalkSport put it: “Arsenal favourites to appoint former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique“.

And as The Week puts it: “Zeljko Buvac is favourite to replace Wenger.”

They don’t have the foggiest.

 

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal star defies the experts and plays again

Mohamed Elneny is back in the Arsenal first team for their match at Huddersfield. It’s a miracle. Well, it is if you read the hyperbolic bilge written when he was stretchered off at West Ham late last month. Peak balls arrived in the Sun, which spoke of the Egyptian missing the World Cup, repackaged a kick to the foot as a “freak injury” and talked of possible “broken limbs”. It was “Injury El”.

Three days after that tosh, the Sun opined: “It’s good news for Arsenal who will hope to have Elneny fit for the Premier League run-in and potentially the Europa League final… many believing his season was over.”

Why many believed that was not started – but it might be because they read it in the Sun.

No European final for El Neny and Arsenal, of course, just a chance to end their losing streak of 7 Premier League away games on Arsenal Wenger’s final game as the club’s manager. No exactly leaving Arsenal on a high, is he…

Au revoir-  shut the door on the way out.

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Everton were lucky to have Wayne Rooney for an extra season

Good news Everton fans – Wayne Rooney will stay at the club if Sam Allardyce leaves it. ‘Big Sam’ leaves and you get to watch Rooney  (£300,000 a week!) for another season  Or Rooney goes and you get to watch a season of the kind of hoof-ball top mangers call ‘Plan C’.

Allardye, says the Mirror, doesn’t see Rooney figuring in the first team next season. Everton’s owners says Rooney can go to talk to other clubs. MLS side DC Untied wanted him. But apparently other Everton director thinks Rooney has links with the fans and should stay. They also think Allardyce, who remains unpopular with the fans, should be given the boot; and that the new manager will benefit from having Rooney around, presumably to talk about how great things were at Manchester United, who still fork out a big chunk of his massive wage packet.

Rooney – 253 goals for Man United: five Premier League titles, a Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and three League Cups. Rooney at Everton – zilch. Although he did burst on to the scene by scoring the winning goal for Everton to end Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten run in October 2002. Rooney was just 16 years old when he beat England goalkeeper David Season with a sublime shot from 30 yards. This season the 32-year-old is Everton’s top scorer on 11 goals, playing under 3 different mangers.

Oh, what might have been had the Everton fan stayed at his boyhood club.

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