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.
Steven Gerrard will not play for Liverpool in the MLS off-season. Well, maybe. MLS Commissioner Don Garber goes on the record:
“I don’t think so. And I had not heard that was something that was being contemplated…”
Garber recalled when David Beckham joined AC Milan from LA Galaxy in 2009:
“And people in our country said: ‘what? he plays for two teams? and you are trying to build a sport’. It was a challenge getting people to understand that. You then realise if he is playing for the Galaxy and Milan what a great thing that says about your league…
“(But) I don’t believe we are going to see many more off-season loans happening in our league particularly at what I would call the high-level designated players. It’s been a couple of years (since it has happened). I don’t remember the last one we have had – Robbie Keane with (Aston) Villa, (Thierry) Henry with Arsenal (both 2012).”
He went on to trail a competition where the Premier League winners and the FA Cup winners would take on their MLS equivalents in a mini-tournament.
“I would love to find a way that we could play our FA Cup champion and our league champion against an FA Cup and league champion tournament and play it in New York City every year. I would love to do that. If not every year, then every four years because I know they have other places that they want to go to grow their brands. Overall there is no doubt that there are opportunities for the MLS and Premier League to work more closely together on either a tournament or some other type of activity, but that (an idea) is about as far as it has gone.”
The “brand”. One day footballers will be ‘brand ambassadors’. Something to look forward to, there…
News is that Gareth Bale is not being transferred to Manchester United.
The Daily Star hears from the player’s Mr 10-15% Jonathan Barnett. “It was stupid paper talk both in and out of the transfer window,” Barnett says. “He is very happy at Real Madrid and hopefully he’ll spend the rest of his career there. He’s loving it there.”
This will come as news to readers of the, er, Daily Star, which thundered:
Chelsea club doctor Eva Carneiro is to sue the club, says the Sun. On what charge? What’s the crime?
Neil Curtis explains:
It is understood Carneiro could claim sexism in part of her case, alleging that Mourinho referred to her as ‘a secretary’.
Mourinho belittled her in public. It was pathetic. But surely a man can be a secretary? Alan Shaw is company secretary at Chelsea Football Club. John Alexander is Man United’s club secretary.
This is Arsenal club secretary David Miles:
Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Non-Executive Director of Manchester City, is Under Secretary to the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court. The board at Tottenham includes Kevan Watts, who spent seven years at H M Treasury which included two years as Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary.
So much for secretaries. In fact, we demand that more secretaries in football are women. Dr Carneiro could sue.
The Sun hears from Mary O’Rourke, a QC and medical expert, who opines:
“Ninety five per cent of secretaries are women. Everyone listening would have taken it as a comment that women don’t know anything about football. I have interpreted it as disrespectful to women supporters and women working in football.”
It was crass. It was dismissive and high-handed. It was very possibly a sexist slur. But in a court of law, it’s surely bunkum.
So much for the case. What of the facts? Well, the Sun’s report contains not a single word from Dr Carneiro, nor from a lawyer representing her.
The football pundits and journalists in the mainstream media love to make a Premier League prediction. On the Manchester City forums, west didsblue has collated all the tips.
Henry Winter: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Liverpool
Jeremy Wilson: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Paul Hayward: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Alan Smith: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Matt Law: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Jason Burt: Manchester United Manchester City Chelsea Asenal
Mark Ogden: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Chris Bascombe: Chelsea Manchester City Liverpool Arsenal
John Percy: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal
Daniel Taylor: Manchester City
Barney Ronay: Manchester City
Simon Burnton: Chelsea
Paul Doyle: Arsenal
Dominic Fifield: Chelsea
Andy Hunter: Chelsea
David Hytner: Chelsea
Jamie Jackson: Chelsea
Jacob Steinberg: Chelsea
Louise Taylor: Arsenal
Paul Wilson: Chelsea
JAMIE REDKNAPP: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
JAMIE CARRAGHER: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
LEE CLAYTON Chelsea: Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
JEFF POWELL: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
OLIVER HOLT: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
IAN LADYMAN: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
DOMINIC KING: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
ROB DRAPER: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
RIATH AL-SAMARRAI: Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City Arsenal
MIKE KEEGAN: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
LAURIE WHITWELL: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
JOE BERNSTEIN: Manchester City Chelsea Arsenal Liverpool
CRAIG HOPE: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
SAM CUNNINGHAM: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
MATT LAWTON: Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City Arsenal
CHRIS WHEELER: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal
MATT BARLOW Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Dave Kidd: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
John Cross: Manchester City Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal
Simon Bird: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal
David Maddock: Chelsea Manchester United Liverpool Arsenal
James Nursey: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Liverpool
David McDonnell: Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City Arsenal
Adrian Kajumba: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
Darren Lewis: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Mike Walters: Arsenal Manchester United Chelsea Manchester City
Neil McLeman: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Robbie Savage: Manchester United Arsenal Chelsea Liverpool Manchester City
David James: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Liverpool Manchester City
Michael Owen: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Liverpool
Alan Shearer: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Ruud Gullit: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Jason Roberts: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Jacqui Oatley: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Steve Bower: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Rachel Brown-Finnis: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Jermaine Jenas: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Kevin Kilbane: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Jonathan Pearce: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Ian Dennis Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Alistair Bruce-Ball: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Gary Lineker: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Mark Lawrenson: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
John Hartson: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Chris Sutton: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Graeme Le Saux: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Conor McNamara: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Pat Nevin: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
Guy Mowbray: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
Dan Walker: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
Danny Mills: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
John Murray: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
Ian Wright: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
Gabby Logan: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
Didi Hamann: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
Trevor Sinclair: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United
Dion Dublin: Manchester United Chelsea Arsenal Liverpool
Steve Wilson: Manchester United Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City
Chris Waddle: Manchester City Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United
Alistair Mann; Manchester City Manchester United Chelsea Arsenal
Matt Le Tissier: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Paul Merson: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Liverpool
Charlie Nicholas: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester United Manchester City
Phil Thompson: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Graeme Souness: Manchester City Chelsea Arsenal Liverpool
Martin Keown: Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City Manchester United
Danny Higginbotham: Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City
Alan Brazil: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Micky Gray: Manchester United Chelsea Arsenal Manchester City
Ray Parlour: Arsenal Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United
Danny Murphy: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Stan Collymore: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
Jeremy Cross: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal
David Woods: Manchester City Chelsea Arsenal Liverpool
Chris McKenna: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal
Ian Murtagh: Arsenal Manchester United Chelsea Manchester City
Dave Armitage Chelsea Arsenal Manchester United Manchester City
Paul Brown: Chelsea Manchester City Arsenal Manchester United
As David De Gea wonders about love and loss, one other Manchester United goalkeeper is upbeat. Sergio Romero has been talking to the media:
“Playing for United is a dream and if God helps me this dream will never end. As I have been saying: I have to thank Van Gaal for trusting me. But let me tell you, I don’t think that the goalkeeper spot in United is already mine. I do know that I have a huge support from Van Gaal and his staff.”
Other Man United goalkeepers – Victor Valdes and Sam Johnson – might roll their eyes.
“Although I had not done a pre-season, I started playing for the biggest club in the world. It’s important for a goalkeeper to have this support. That is because there is no rotation between goalkeepers — a goalkeeper starts or he is benched. They are the only two choices — there is not a third one. And Van Gaal has given me his trust.”
Romero must be pretty amazed to be first choice Old Trafford. The former Sampdoria player adds: “Although I played in the World Cup and Copa America, it was difficult for me to find a new club.”
But is he going to play all that much for United now that De Gea is not off to Real Madrid? The Times says he isn’t:
Van Gaal is thought to be prepared to throw De Gea into action against Liverpool, despite the goalkeeper’s rustiness and concerns about his focus, in much the same way as Sergio Romero was thrust into the United first team against Tottenham even though the Argentina goalkeeper had barely trained after signing on a free transfer 12 days earlier.
Romero is keeping the shirt warm. He’s not as good as De Gea, for whom one good game for United against Liverpool will have the fans begging for more.
Manchester United’s Dutch forward Memphis Depay is a heartless swine. Well, that’s we anyone sensible can deduce from the Sun’s story:
Memphis, I miss you – EXCLUSIVE: The real reason £25m Man Utd star drops ‘Depay’ from shirt
The reason Memphis dropped Depay from his shirt is something the player commented on in 2013, telling Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant:
“You get reactions like: ‘What’s that boy thinking? That he’s a star?’But those people don’t know what’s going on. It’s very tricky for me, because you’d prefer to play with your last name on your jersey, like everybody. But the rift with my father is irreparable. I don’t speak to him. I have no contact with family on my father’s side. And I never will again.”
Now the Sun tells us:
THE heartbroken father of Manchester United ace Memphis Depay has begged his son to heal their bitter rift. In an exclusive interview with the Sun on Sunday, Dennis Depay reveals for the first time how Memphis has shunned him, his half-brother and half-sister since becoming a star footballer.
Nothing heals a rift faster than speaking to the Sun about the child who “shunned” you. In the list of ways to heel a rift, the top five are:
5. Washing your dirty linen in public
4. Calling them a ‘slag’ on Jeremy Kyle
3. A televised fight with Ricky Gervais
2. A tabloid rift ‘n’ tell
The Sun says:
The 21-year-old Dutch winger even refuses to have his surname Depay on the back of his shirt, using his first name instead, because he claims his father abandoned him at the age of four.
Devastated Dennis, 50, said: “Saying that I didn’t see him after he was four is a lie. It is unbelievable, it is not nice. He is my son and I love him. I am the man who gave him his first ball. He was not abandoned by me. That is not true. I was always there for him. I saw him on YouTube talking about his dad, saying he didn’t want to put my name on his back. It made me feel terrible. I would love to be back in touch with him. I miss him so much.”
Dad Dennis, who lives in a “modest home in a rundown suburb of Amsterdam” adds:
“We used to do so much together when he was young. I loved him so much. He loved swimming, but he loved football more. I bought him his first football and you could see he was talented. He was so strong. We even played inside the house because the living room was so big. When we went swimming we would take a ball and play outside on the grass afterwards. Everywhere he went he had to take a ball. When we went to church he would take a ball with him. He was crazy about football from an early age, you could see this was a boy who loved football.”
Pro footballers loved playing football when he was kid. Who knew?
When Memphis was 4, Dennis split from the boy’s mother Cora:
“There was no problem with access. I could see Memphis whenever I wanted. He stayed with me lots of times and I’d buy him clothes — and footballs. I was always visiting him and they know it.”
Having established the link between himself and the boy’s football career, Dennis says Cora moved in with father-of-ten who hit him.
“One day Memphis arrived at my home and had brought all his things. He said, ‘I don’t want to live with my mum any more, I want to live with you’. I called his mum, who was crying. She only had one child, so he returned home.”
In 2012, Memphis signed for the once mighty PSV Eindhoven. Dennis has a theory:
“His family said I would be after his money and to leave me alone, that I will take his money to Africa. But I don’t need his money. I have been working all this time. That’s when the problems started…. Everything they have said is a lie.”
Dennis, who has not been paid for this interview, said: … “The family is enjoying the success but that is not for me. I am happy with what I have. I don’t want money but I would like to have contact with him. I hope that one day this will sort itself out. I love my son and he knows it. He knows the truth. I miss him so much, what is happening is miserable, not nice. The family know I have done a lot for them but then money comes along and they ruined my name. It is crazy.”
The Sun says England manager Roy Hodgson has issued a “warning” to injured strikers Danny Wellbeck and Daniel Sturridge.
HODGSON has warned Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge that time is running out.
Arsenal’s Welbeck is injured; Liverpool’s Sturridge is returning from a long injury-enforced layoff. Was Hodgson so crass as to “warn” the players of anything? Wouldn’t he better served encouraging them?
Hodgson says Welbeck will not return to action for another six months, as opposed to Arsenal’s view that it will be a three-month absence.
What Hodgson also said was:
“I can only hope that Danny recovers a bit quicker and then hits the ground running as soon as he does return. Daniel Sturridge is a bit the same. It’s a year since he played for me. The two of them are always in my thoughts because I think they are very good players and they did extremely well for the national team when I was coaching.”
Not a warning of any sort, then.
In the Indy, the talk is of “a Plan B for if they are without Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck”. Says Hodgson:
“I’ve got to make certain that there are a few Vardys and Kanes and Walcotts and that because we can’t keep going around talking about the ones who aren’t there.”
“We’ve got to be quite sanguine about it and we mustn’t start thinking ‘When this one comes back, we’ll be better still.’ We can’t do that. We’ve got to make sure we’re good with the ones who are playing.”
Hodgson makes entirely sensible comment. Read all about it.
A lifelong Liverpool FC fan who overcame his disabilities to become a club charity coach has been recognised by the Prime Minister. John Smith, from Croxteth, was presented with a Point of Light award at Liverpool FC’s match against Bournemouth for his commitment to teaching wheelchair football to people with severe disabilities.
Prime Minister David Cameron was full of praise for the 39-year-old:
“For many people conquering disability to play wheelchair football would be enough of a challenge, but John has gone so much further. Through his key role in Liverpool’s Respect 4 All programme, he is sharing his wheelchair football skills with others and helping to make football more accessible for disabled people. What John is doing at Liverpool is inspirational and I am delighted to recognise him as the UK’s 317th Point of Light.”
John Smith features on the Number 10 official Facebook page.
A disabled football coach has been recognised by the prime minister with a national volunteering award, even though that work is threatened by a legal battle over the “bedroom tax” with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith…
Because he lives alone in social housing, in a two-bedroom adapted bungalow, he was forced to find an extra £12 a week towards his housing costs after he was told he was not entitled to a second bedroom because of the government’s “spare room subsidy removal policy”, also known as the bedroom tax.
This meant that Smith had to cut down on his spending on food while fighting the decision through the tribunal process, a battle which he said caused him to feel “very stressed”.
Last September, he won an initial appeal, on the grounds that he needed his spare room to store essential independent living aids, including his second wheelchair and a bath chair, as well as equipment he uses to play and coach wheelchair football, boxes of specialist powdered food, a bag of swimming equipment, and a punch-bag he uses to keep fit.
The room is also used to store a table football game that he plays with friends.
But after his initial victory, the work and pensions secretary appealed against the tribunal’s ruling, putting at risk all of Smith’s volunteering work and social and community links.
Now he is having to await the result of test cases in the Supreme Court, in which the bedroom tax will be challenged on the grounds that it discriminates against disabled adults like him.
Below the photo of the young Syrian would-be refugee and the story of escaping death, The People leads with the news that we have 72 hours to “save” Jimmy Greaves. The first thought is ‘for the nation’?
Inside we learn:
Jimmy Greaves is struggling to raise £30k he needs to walk again – and there’s just 72 hours to get the money
Jimmy Greaves is one of the best footballers ever to have pulled on an England shirt. Famous for scoring 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances, missing the 1966 World Cup final – his place taken by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst – and fronting the excellent footy telly show Saint & Greavsie, the former Tottenham Hotspur’s star is ill. And the paper knows who to blame for his predicament:
Soccer should hang its head in shame today as the Sunday People urges the moneybags sport: Be a Saint for Greavsie
Should football teams club together to help the former player? Should they help him any more than any other outfit that’s employed Sir James, like ITV (as well as S&G he captained a team on the broadcaster’s Sporting Triangles) or the Sun, the Mirror’s great tabloid rival, which employed Jimmy as a columnist? Or maybe – get this – the Sunday People should dig deep and help out because Jimmy wrote a column for it, too. The People is published by the Trinity Mirror Group, which when it’s not hacking phones made a profit of £12.1m during the first six months of 2015.
No word of any of that in Matt Sprake’s article, which thunders:
A record £870million has just been spent by clubs on player transfers – but Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s greatest ever players, is struggling to raise £30,000 he needs to walk again.
But the paper wants to use Greavsie’s illness to bash football not beat itself up. After all, it helped one other well refreshed former England and Spurs legend – Paul Gascoigne – with a tidy £188,250, albeit a ‘donation‘ enforced by law because Mirror Group journalists hacked his phone.
England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for ‘The People’ newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.
Greavsie, 75, has just three days left to get the money – less than many Premier League stars earn in a week – to pay for intensive physio following a devastating stroke in May. A fund is due to close in 72 hours and last night was well short of the target reports the Sunday People.
But the fact such a legendary figure should be in such a position at all has sparked anger.
Why doesn’t the NHS step in to help an England sporting great? It turns out that the physio is wanted in addition to NHS care.
George Cohen, one of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side and Jimmy’s close friend, urged football to act: “Someone in football could easily give Jimmy the full £30,000 in one go. I’d do it immediately if I had the money.”
George Cohen is well. But should he fall ill, would any club help him?
Greavsie missed out on big money soccer. He played for Chelsea, Tottenham and AC Milan… he was on just £8 a week when he signed for Chelsea in 1957.
Greaves did earn healthy signing-on fees. But compared to today’s massive wages, his pay packet was feathery light.
In 1961, Greaves opined:
“I’ve got to look to the future. I’d be a fool if I didn’t want to make as good money as I can while I can. Football’s all I’m good at. What I want is security for when I retire.”
He told the Observer:
“There are these reports that Bologna would pay £70,000 to Chelsea for me if the foreign player ban ever came off,” says Jimmy, who is earning £20 a week for his scintillating performances. “One report said that would mean I’d collect a £20,000 signing-on fee. It’s all right playing for Chelsea. But I’d like much better playing for a world-class club that paid real money.
“One thing, I never get butterflies before a match,” Jimmy goes on. “And after, if I’ve done well or badly, I always remember there’s a next time. Smoking helps me relax. About 10 a day, but they don’t affect my fitness. I like the odd drink, too.”
In 1961, Greaves joined AC Milan for £80,000. Later that same year he joined Spurs for £99,999. In 1961, the average house price was £2,770 and a litre of four-star petrol cost 5p. The average price of a home today is £200,280. There was big money. But back then then clubs and not the players got the bulk of it. Today Greaves would earn a fortune.
But would he look after it? The booze caught Greaves, who retired age 30.
“I lost the 70s completely,” he says. “They passed me by. I was drunk from 1972 to 1977. I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world. I’d been living in it, but I hadn’t been aware of it.”
“Let’s make no bones about it. I wish I was playing today. Some of the players get half a dozen goals a year and earn a fortune. I look back at my Chelsea days when you had to fight to get £8 a week in the winter and £7 a week in the summer, and now there are players who haven’t even played in the first team on 40 grand a week.”
Greaves missed the Premier League. But is football really ignoring one of its greats? At the bottom of the People’s article, we learn:
Tottenham Tribute Trust [TTT], a football charity set up to aid ex-players, has been helping Jimmy adapt his home. They have also helped fund some of the early treatment he required.
TTT “was set up in 2002 to help people connected with Spurs who have fallen on difficult times.” On its website, we learn:
TTT is bound by confidentiality and so never comments on the support we have provided (nor who we have provided it to) without the consent of our beneficiaries, for whom our help is often a deeply private matter.
The Mirror adds:
The Professional Footballers Association has also vowed to assist. Football Association chiefs have been in contact with JustGiving, who run Greavsie’s fundraising page, to seek further ways of boosting funds. Chairman Greg Dyke has made a donation, understood to be in four-figures. But the rest of the football world seems to have forgotten Jimmy.
It’s clear that the ‘football world’ has not forgotten Jimmy Greaves. And neither has the tabloid media. Maybe together they can dig deep and help him out…?
PS: On Greaves’ website, we learn:
Jimmy needs at least a year of physio and because his income has all but disappeared because of the stroke, we have set up a just giving page to try and raise £30,000 towards the cost. We have already raised around £15k with the people and Freda & my company A1 Sporting Speakers helping out , but this £30k extra could help Jimmy to make more of a recovery. He has a long hard road ahead but we would love to see him back somewhere near his old self. Here’s a link to the donations page. Every little helps. Thanks to everyone who donates a little bit. Every pledge is received with gratefullness and love. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/JimmyGreaves
And over there we learn that the 30k has nearly been raised. He’s not “struggled” to raise it at all.
The Mirror’s story of 72 hours to save Greaves unless £30k is raised is total balls. He needs under £3k. People have been generous. Football has not ignored his plight.
The word from within Old Trafford is that Van Gaal and Woodward are content with their summer transfer business. Content that United, after five transfer windows post-Ferguson, have still not signed a top-class central defender? Content that, among their attacking options, Wayne Rooney and, at a push, James Wilson and Martial, are the only ones who can play through the middle? Content that they have three international goalkeepers but only one specialist right back, one specialist left back and a variety of injury-prone central defenders?…
Whether on the pitch or in the transfer market, very little of what United have done post-Ferguson — under Moyes or Van Gaal — has been impressive. Their most dramatic, eye-catching, headline-grabbing deals (the signings of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata under Moyes, the enormous new contract for Wayne Rooney, the signings of Ángel Di María, Radamel Falcao and now Martial under Van Gaal) all reflected desperation and, in many cases, a lack of joined-up thinking…
According to Vadim Vasilyev, the Monaco vice-president, United opened discussions over Martial a week before the transfer deadline, starting out at £21.6 million and hiking their offer in increments of roughly £8 million before ending up at a projected — and frankly absurd — £57.6 million.
Premier League teams are locked in a mad arms race based on greed, greed and did we mention greed. The whole thing is utterly soulless.
Manchester United offered £60m for Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller. According to the Sun, it was only when the bid was rejected that the Red Devils turned to Anthony Martial, the 19-year-old they lashed out £36m on (rising to 57.6m with add-ons).
Bayern President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has “revealed“:
“I’m talking about figures which were very high. If I were a bank manager I’d have had to accept it. But as a club we allowed ourselves to close the door on it, and this door is remaining closed. I can promise that. But one thing is for certain, in view of the increased TV money in England things are not going to get any easier for Bayern in the future.”
Manchester United have made a £60m bid for Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller, according to reports in Germany. Sport Bild are reporting United have offered the German champions €85m – nearly £60m – for the forward.
Sir Alex Ferguson has new a book out. Titled Leading and featuring a cover photo of Sir Alex looking more business than sporting, the tome is “an inspirational guide to great leadership”.
It sounds like a self-help book. But what’s inside?
“People will give a manager plenty of opportunities to crack the whip so it’s best to pick and choose your moments. You don’t have to dish out a punishment very often before everyone gets the message.
“I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles. But if I had to repeat things I’d do it precisely the same because discipline has to come before anything else. Discipline was drummed into me from an early age. On school days my dad would alwas shake my leg promptly at 6am. Maybe that’s why, a couple of decades later as manager, I got into the habit of appearing for work before the milkman arrived.”
The Metro’s Jamie Sanderson plugs into his click-o-rama and says “David De Gea to sign new Manchester United contract with Real Madrid transfer interest dead”.
De Gea wants to stay at United? We thought he was mad keen to play for Real Madrid, his move to Spain having been scuppered at the very last moment by shoddy admin. De Gea’s transfer to Madrid missed the deadline by a couple of minutes.
Over in the Sun, we read “Man Useless Real chief raps Woodward”.
Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez points the finger at Ed Woodward, United’s chief deal maker. He says:
“Those who are running United lack experience. What happened was a disgrace… What is shocking is that if someone wants to do a deal they decide to do it 12 hours before the deadline. I was telling people this won’t happen. Because I knew the lack of experience of their managing team. I think they lack experience because the same happened to us last year with Fabio Coentrao. With Manchester United exactly the same. And it happened with Athletic Bilbao with Ander Herrera. I know United very well. I had worked with them for many years, with Peter Kenyon and David Gill…
“United always told us he was not for sale until midday Monday. We could have said we’re no longer interested but we thought we had the obligation to try and do a deal. United told us the contracts had been sent before midnight so we thought there might be a chance but then we saw the screen and it was past the deadline.”
And what about the deal being dead and De Gea loving Man United anew?
“I haven’t spoken to him. Jose Angel Sanchez has. He told me that he was very affected because it was his dream to play for Real Madrid.”
De Gea has 10 months left on his United deal and the club’s offer of a new £200,000-a-week agreement remains on the table. However United do not expect De Gea to have a change of heart and pledge his future to Old Trafford when he is so keen to return to his native Madrid.
The Times says De Gea is “Stuck at Old Trafford”, waiting for “his dream move to Real”. The player is “distraught”.
More hangover balls from the summer transfer season in the Mail. As the rumour mill stopped churning on September 1, the Mail’s Chris Wheeler told readers that Man Uniyed had shopped badly:
Confirmation of the collapse of De Gea’s move came hours before United confirmed the signing of little-known French teenager Anthony Martial from Monaco in a staggering deal that could be worth up to £58m, despite assertions from Van Gaal that they would not panic buy. Both issues have left United and their chief executive Ed Woodward facing serious questions – and not for the first time in the two years since he took over the role vacated by David Gill
One day on and Wheeler went on a flight of fantasy:
By all accounts, Louis van Gaal toasted the close of the transfer window with a large glass of red wine at his holiday home in the Algarve. All in all, Van Gaal had every reason to be pleased with himself as he enjoyed his view over the Atlantic.
Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck has had knee surgery. He won’t play again until Christmas, says the BBC.
The Gunners are the only club from the top five European leagues not to sign an outfield player during the summer. Rumours were that they would buy a striker on deadline day – as they had bought Welbeck from Manchester United a year ago. They didn’t.
And just two days after the transfer window shut, Arsenal admit they are a striker down.
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust are unhappy:
“No-one wants Arsenal to buy players just for the sake of it, but we do want to see the money being invested to make the club stronger.”
Arsenal issue a statement:
Danny Welbeck has undergone surgery on his left knee after being unable to sufficiently step up his rehabilitation work. The striker has been working throughout the summer to recover from the injury sustained at the end of April.
Surgery in April would have been a better idea, no?
It had been hoped he would avoid surgery but after increasing his training workload, the injury to his cartilage did not respond as well as hoped and the decision was taken last week for him to undergo surgery by a leading specialist in the field. Danny is now expected to be out for a period of months and everyone at Arsenal wishes him well.
Whereas Anthony Martial’s £36million deadline day move to Manchester United caught most people on the hop, it would appear that all over United’s summer transfers were centuries in the making, having been predicted by none other than Nostradamus himself.
Recognising a distinct pattern emerging in United’s transfer dealings, Reddit user GrabbingTheBrassRing had a flick through Nostradamus’s 1555 tome ‘The Prophecies’ and was astonished to find that most of the club’s key ins and outs had been foreseen some 460 years ago.
We challenge even the most sceptical among you to find fault with this empirical evidence…
Perhaps the finest of them all…
Uncanny isn’t it? Nigh-on indisputable.
Weirdly enough, it seems Arsenal’s summer transfer dealings, or lack thereof, were also predicted by a historic piece of literature too…
Manchester United: a round-up of Man United news in the Press.
The Times: “Family’s fears at ‘crazy fee’ for Anthony Martial”.
United have signed 19-year-old Anthony Martial for £58.8 million (£22m uyp-front plus £14.3 million spread over four years to follow and £22.5 million in performance-related payments). It’s madness. Martial says it is only “quite crazy” to have become the most expensive teenager in world football.
“My family are very happy for me. They are a bit frightened because of the amount of money [involved] but I stay in my bubble. I just want to prove my value to Manchester United. I have been told since I was very young that I have the characteristics to play in England. I am in a hurry to get better and show my worth. I don’t know if I am worth €80 million. I am only going for the sporting side. It is quite crazy for a player of my age, but that is the market. It is my job to show what I can do. I do not feel any particular pressure.
“I will have more visibility at United and if I play like I know I can, I do not see any reason why it should go badly. It is a challenge for me, but I think I am ready.”
Martial adds on the news that Wayne Rooney had never heard of him.
“It is normal he [Rooney] does not know me. I have not played a lot in Ligue 1 and not at all for the national team.”
The Guardian: “Monaco helpless against Manchester United in Anthony Martial sale”
Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev admits the “unprecedented resources” of English clubs means selling players like Anthony Martial is unavoidable…
“We really wanted to keep [Martial] on the team but Manchester has made an incredible offer, almost the close of the market, an offer that neither the club nor the player could refuse. That’s football. It is evident that certain clubs – especially the British – have unprecedented resources and it is hard to resist.
“Of course I’d like to keep our players for longer but we must be realistic about the power of these clubs.”
The Sun: “Farce ‘n furious De Gea slams United for collapse of Real deal”
DAVID DE GEA is blaming Manchester United for the collapse of his dream move to Real Madrid. The Spain keeper believed the £29million deal was effectively sealed on Monday afternoon before it fell apart at the eleventh hour amid a series of claims and counter-accusations between the two clubs.
We don’t hear from the player.
Friends of De Gea have branded United’s conduct as “catastrophic” and “unbelieveable” although the player accepts Real’s efforts at brinkmanship were also elements in the debacle. La Liga chief Javier Tebas said: “I am a lawyer and I know in these cases there are three or four different versions. From what I know, what happened is closer to the version of Real Madrid.”
Well, he would say that.
De Gea, 24, was yesterday named in United’s 25-man Champions League squad and if he plays it will mean he would be cup-tied for the Spanish giants, potentially scuppering a January switch.
BBC: “David De Gea: Man Utd keeper calm and relaxed – Juan Mata”
“It’s been a manic few days for him, he’s my friend and I’m there for him for whatever he needs. Right now he’s focused on the two upcoming games for the national team; being here will do him good and he’s going to be as professional as he has been throughout his career.
“His personality will help him. He manages to play even better in moments of maximum pressure and stress. His personality will help him on and off the pitch. We all know what a great goalkeeper he is and he would make any team in the world better. The fans will get behind him and so will the team.”
United winger Ashley Young told BBC Sport:
“De Gea is a professional player, always has been, always will be.”
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque said De Gea’s Euro 2016 finals spot is at risk:
“If he doesn’t play it will be very difficult for him to come. He needs to be professional and move on from this episode. I hope that he starts playing again and is happy, and if he plays well we can bring him along.”
Daily Mail: “Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal won’t lose sleep over his lack of popularity… and the Dutchman will feel it has been a good summer for the club”
By all accounts, Louis van Gaal toasted the close of the transfer window with a large glass of red wine at his holiday home in the Algarve. ‘My paradise in Portugal,’ as he likes to call it.
The Dutchman and his employers at Manchester United clearly feel it has been a good summer for the club. Six new signings will be the exception rather than the norm from now on, and the world-record deal for teenager Anthony Martial pushed United’s spending well north of the £100million mark for the second year in a row.
Surely United fans would swap all those new faces for one genuine superstar?
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has been talking about the nutzoid transfer business. He mentions Manchester United’s huge fee paid for Anthony Martial (who he?).
“What happened last night with Monaco, who sold Martial to Manchester United for €80 million (£58m), I’ve heard. Martial scored 11 goals in the French championship – that sums it up well. That means it’s not the money that’s missing at the moment, it’s not the desire of investment that is missing, it’s the number of players available who can strengthen the big clubs.
“The problem at the moment is finding the players that guarantees you are a better team after, and that example last night shows you very well. Martial is a huge talent – he’s 19 years old. The investment is absolutely huge as well. It shows you that there’s not many players in the world who can strengthen these teams.”
He also talks of the weak Financial Fair Play rules.
“If you ask me what is the real significance of Financial Fair Play I cannot give you the answer. It is too complicated to be efficient, and too complicated for everybody to understand the rules. That’s why I think there is a need to simplify the whole process.”
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) have demanded that an inquiry be launched into the club’s transfer strategy after seeing the summer transfer window come and go with just a single Petr Cech to show for it.
It’s not hard to sympathise, is it? After all, the £10million signing of a new, world class goalkeeper just isn’t enough for a club of Arsenal’s grandeur.
Anyway, the AST have released a statement in which they voice their discontent with Arsene Wenger’s frugal ‘cost benefit analysis’ approach after watching their side end the transfer window as the only club in the top five European leagues to not sign a single outfield player.
The statement reads:
Arsenal are in a very strong financial position thanks and it is of course disappointing that the transfer window has closed with just the signing of Petr Cech.
Arsenal have built a strong squad and just one or two more good additions would have strengthened the chances of winning a first title in 11 years. No one wants Arsenal to buy players just for the sake of it, but we do want to see the money being invested to make the club stronger.
This isn’t an issue that affects just one transfer window and seems to indicate a wider structural issue. In recent years Arsenal have overhauled both their Academy and their medical set-up.
We urge the board to now open a full review into its arrangements for scouting and purchasing players. A review of this type is a good governance practice and can only help Arsenal to become a stronger club. The AST will be raising this with the Arsenal board.
Now that the window is closed the squad is as it is. Arsenal have a strong squad that has recently won silverware and we urge all fans to get behind the team over the rest of the season.
Of course, how they plan to launch an inquiry into “Wenger couldn’t find a player he fancied at a price he was willing to pay” is anybody’s guess.
The fervour for new faces was further stoked in July by Arsenal director Lord Harris kindly telling all and sundry that the club were sitting on £200million in disposable funds and that they were now in a position to “buy any player in the world” – well, apart from the “half a dozen who are un-buyable” that is.
But in cold, hard reality, the Karim Benzema link was a fabrication of the press and was never actually on the cards for a second, whereas PSG reportedly wanted £50-odd million for a 28-year-old, off-the-boil Edinson Cavani.
That’s zilch value for money in anyone’s book, let alone Wenger’s.
Anyway, we find it incredibly hard to empathise when the dreadfully depleted team you’re having to watch scrape by every week already contains the likes of Cech, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla et al.
Come back to us when Brighton “striker” Chris O’Grady (three goals in the last 14 months) is your only deadline day signing of note.
Spoiled buggers and self-entitled nonsense. Football’s full of it these days.