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.
Is Pep Guardiola heading to become the next manager of Manchester City? The Sun has been relating the story.
On Friday May 8, curent Manchester City boss Manuel Pelligrini was “sweating”. He would learn his fate when he meets the club owners later this month.
By May 11, Pelligrini was “cool”.
Transfer Balls spots Paul Pogba news. Manchester City are celebrating a Tory win in the General Election by offering Paul Pogba £250,000 per week – net – to pick them (top rate of tax: 40%), Real Madrid (tax optional, allegedly), Chelsea, Barcelona (tax?) Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain (top rate: 75%)
But Real might pull out because “they are concerned about his private life”. Well, so say the Express, which adds:
“Until a year ago [Pogba] lived with his mother, he doesn’t come out at night and yes, he’s very religious,” Real chief Florentino Perez is quoted as saying by football news outlet Football Espana.
Real are concerned he’s not getting out enough?
The Express is such an bizarre news source, unable to explain even its own headlines. The facts are, as ever, thin.
And fans of clubs other than Manchester City should realise that until Pogba signs, nothing is done. After all, as Sky Sports told us in 2012, Pogba had committed his future to Manchester United.
And then he left.
Transfer Balls spots this gem in the Daily Express: “CONFIRMED: Arsene Wenger reveals the THREE players joining Arsenal this summer.”
Can it be that after playing his cards so close to his chest for years, the Arsenal boss has taken to advertising his intentions in the transfer market before the summer has even begun? Has Bruce Archer the scoop of scoops?
No. The entire story runs like this:
Wenger insists he will not be making any big signings but his three loanees will return when the season is over.
Transfer Balls hears that stylish Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, 44, has decided that Manchester City will be his next job. Well, so reports Qatari-owned BeIn Sports.
The Manchester Evening News relays the tweet that created the news:
“Urgent – sources beIN SPORTS: Manchester City reached a tentative agreement with Bayern Munich coach Guardiola to train the team for next season.”
How tentative will be tested by AC Milan, who also fancy Guardiola and have offered the Spaniard their manager’s job, reports the Sunday Times.
With facts thinner than an Ed Balls smile, the MEN turns to that font of knowledge, Richard Keyes, who coughs up his own tweet:
Richard ‘understands’. You can take the man out of Sky Sports but you cannot take Sky Sports out of the man. ‘Sky Sports understands…’ has been the prelude to more balls than a rugby club dinner.
Transfer Balls: a look at reporting on Paul Pogba in the tabloid press. The good news is that Manchester City are looking to bring talented French Paul Pogba to the Premier League. The bad news is that the price rises and falls faster than Nigel Farage’s blood pressure:
It’s going to be busy summer of Balls…
Transfer Balls: A look at football reporting in the tabloids. Today the Daily Mail says Gareth Bale is not heading to Manchester United. In “LEAVE BALE ALONE”, we hear Carlos Ancelotti, the Madrid manager, saying “Bale should not be sold under any circumstances” – “his faith in Bale remains absolute.”
Inside, across two pages, the Mail leaves Bale alone by saying the player is enduring a “nightmare”. Pete Jenson says that “if” Manchester United were to bid for Bale and “if” the Madrid fans wanted Bale out, then maybe Bale will be forced to leave.
Now for a spot of AFC Bournemouth bashing in the Daily Mail. The Premier League’s newest club are the subject of a story that – get this – winning the Championship cost money. Matt Lawton says Bournemouth’s Lazarus-like rise from near death to the uppermost tier of English football is a “familiar football story of cash-driven success”.
Indeed, not a season goes by without the usual tale of how a club living off the smell of old 50 pence pieces and spam made it to the big time.
The Mail looks at the club’s owner, Maxim Denim, who had the temerity to loan £25m of his own money on the club. That’s less than it cost Spurs to buy Roberto Soldado.
On the same page, the Mail has it both ways in story about Eddie How, – “the brightest young manger in England” – and the club’s sunshine-lit “staggeringly swift” rise to the top flight.
Next week in the Mail: Bournemouth players refuse to play for free.
Transfer balls: The Metro has news on Manchester United and Radamel Falcao:
Manchester United preparing £43.2million permanent transfer for Monaco’s Radamel Falcao
Tom Olver reports:
Louis van Gaal, however, may be willing to spend £43.2million to buy him outright in the summer, after Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev revealed United have not ruled out the transfer.
Transfer Balls: The Mirror says that Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson “tops Spurs wishlist”. The Cherries’ striker is, apparently, heading to Spurs for £12m. Well, maybe.
The tabloids love to talk of transfer lists. In recent times, the tabloids have told us other player who sat atop The Tottenham list:
The Metro in 2010: “Croatian Lionel Messi’ Mateo Kovacic on Spurs’ transfer wish-list”. (He was Mateo Kovacic – he still is).
Daily Mirror: “Yevhen Konoplyanka, who is one of the hottest properties in Ukraine football” was at the top of the list.
Transfer Balls: a look at players linked to Chelsea FC in today’s tabloids.
The Daily Mirror says Jose Mourinho is considering buying Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert. The paper adds that Spurs’ Emmanual Adebayor is also at the “top” of Jose’s list.
Facts to support the stories: zero. But the Mirror says Lambert was watched as Liverpool took on QPR. So, presumably, the Chelsea scout was also watching every other player on show, particularly QPR’s Charlie Austin or the much-coveted Raheem Sterling?
The Daily Mail says Mourinho wants Roman Abramovich to “bankroll another summer trasnfger spree”. The Mail says Chelsea are looking to sign QPR’s Robert Green (see above). Also, Oscar is looking to leave the club so Chelsea will consider moving for Raheem Sterling. Other players namechecked in the Mail’s story are:
Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane
Atletico Marid’s Antoine Griezmann
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Douglas Costa
The Daily Express says Chelsea are in talks to sigs Atletico Madris’s Spain midfielder Koke for £30m. The Blues also want Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi and West Ham United’s Aaron Cresswell.
That’s just 10 new players, then.
This is a statistic to make you take notice: Manchester United’s most expensive player, Angel Di Maria, has only played 113 matches. No. Not 113 matches for Real Madrid or Manchester United. He’s only played 113 first team matches since July 1 2007, when he joined Benfica.
And in 38 of those matches Di Maria came on as a substitute.
Di Maria is 27, cost £60m and is showing signs of fatigue….
Transfer Balls: it’s going to be busy summer of chatter for Juventus star Paul Pogba, 22.
The Mirror says Manchester City and Manchester United will have to create a new British transfer record if they want to sign Pogba. This isn’t simply Pogba’s agent talking up his client; it’s a a fact because the Mirror says Paris St-Germain have offered £60m for the France international. And that’s more than the £59.7m Manchester United paid for Angel di Maria.
And then there are the wages. The Mirror says PSG have offered Pogba £320,000-a-week.
The Mirror then says that Manchester United don’t want Pogba. They’re after Gareth Bale and “ready to tempt Real Madrid with a £100m offer”.
Can Arsenal win the Premier League next season? In short: can they beat Chelsea, this season’s best?
Jose Mourinho, never one to miss a chance to salute his own genius, says:
“The titles at Chelsea [in his first tenure in charge] were fantastic, becasue it was the beginning of the Mr Abramovich era, no title before that.”
Well, not quite. Chelsea had been champions of the old first division in 1983–84, 1988–89. They had last won the top tier in 1954–55 – the only time they had done so until Roman arrived.
So. Money won it? No, says Jose:
“But now it’s a great feeling because it’s my club, because of the [strength] of the league, because we are not the any more the rich club.”
Chelsea’s finances are sound. Sure, Chelsea’s parent company owes Abramovich £958million, but he’s not sent any final demands yet.
But Chelsea are rich.
Chelsea are within a whisker of winning the Premier League. Mourinho’s masters are just three 0-0 draws away from the title. In the Times, Steve Clarke recalls what it was like winning the Premier League in 2005 – Chelsea’s first top tier championship in 50 years.
The aftermath was quite strange really. It had been such a long time and we’d been engaged in a relentless pursuit, but there were no real celebrations. Normally after winning the league for the first time in 50 years you’d party for a week, but we had to play Liverpool a few days later. It was absolute madness for an hour, but then we just went back to the hotel for a quiet dinner and the players had a massage. It was very, very José, whose attitude was “Win it, enjoy it for an hour, that’s the job done and move on to the next game.” It summed him up perfectly.
It’s all about next season. As Mourinho says:
“In relation to the Premier League, when the season starts if you want to be champions you also have the risk to finish fifth. Next season will be the same.”
It might be that Jose Mourinho doesn’t get the credit he deserves. After all, next season Chelsea retained the title…
Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech is heading out of Stamford Bridge. Arsenal are keen to land him; and Cech would be happy to remain in London.
But according to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal should be wary. The paper says that Chech “hopes Mourinho’s Chelsea…rule England football for a decade.”
But is that really what he said? No. What he said was:
“The last title we won was in 2010, so it has been a long time. This one is hopefully the start of a new era, another generation of players. There is only me, Didier and JT who have been here for the last decade. You can say this is a new generation of Chelsea, hopefully we will confirm the title on Sunday and this team will continue on. You can be a great player, but these moments to play difficult games under pressure, being champions, gives you another step, another dimension. You can see in difficult moments this season, this team has a lot of experience to overcome them. That is why we are in the position we are. The new players came in already with experience, winning the title elsewhere, which is important and why everything clicked quite quickly.”
Pretty clear. But to the Mirror’s Mike Waters, this is Cech saysing Cheslea are at “the dawn of another dynasty swathed in triumph”.
Unless he heads to Arsenal and helps them win…
Who said that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was a genius? Says Rodgers…
“Three months ago I was a tactical genius, performing to a good level.”
Former Liverpool great Steve Nicol tells the Daily Mail:
“I’d love to know who was calling him a ‘tactical genius’, Brendan. When was he a tactical genius? When was he a tactical genius against Ludogorets, against Real Madrid, against Basel? When was he a tactical genius against Aston Villa in the FA Cup? I mean, come on.”
What kind of wally would have called Rodgers a genius? Well, Nichol might not be a Daily Mail reader because it was that paper’s Adrian Durham who opined:
“Rodgers did the legwork, learned his trade, soaked up knowledge and look where he is now. Tactical genius. That’s what Brendan Rodgers is.”
He wasn’t the only one:
Peter Fraser on Sky: “Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers should be considered a managerial genius whatever happens”
Of course, Rodgers has mentioned his genius before. This is from 2014:
“I know how it goes. Six or seven months ago I was the manager of the year and I was going to be this and that, tactically this and tactically that, and now, because we have lost two world-class players, I am useless. But I accept that. I must have just dreamt that about Liverpool playing 3-4-3 in the last game [the Capital One Cup victory at Bournemouth]. What do people think that was, a bit of luck? A British coach playing 3-4-3? A foreign coach doing that would be a tactical genius. I imagine people think I fell into that system through a stroke of luck or something.”
So. Who called Rodgers a tactical genius? Well, Rodgers did…
The mother of Arsenal youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles has reportedly been banned from entering the club’s training ground after scuffling with a member of the Gunners’ back-room staff during a recent Under-21 game.
Police were called to London Colney during the U21 fixture with Aston Villa on March 20th and arrested a woman, reported to be the mother of 17-year-old Maitland-Niles on suspicion of assaulting two people, one of them being Arsenal club negotiator Dick Law.
Trasnfer balls: Manchester United keep and lose de Gea to Real Madrid as Casillas stays to play for Arsenal
Transfer balls: The Sun says Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, 33, wants to join Arsenal this summer. That move would mean Madrid buying David De Gea from Manchester United.
We know this because the Sun has heard from “top sources in Spain”. The facta only get more factual when the Sun presses caps lock:
And it means Real WILL swoop for Manchester United star David De Gea, who is still stalling on a new deal at Old Trafford.
Transfer Balls: Is Barcelona’s Pedro heading to Arsenal? The Daily Express says he is. It’s an “exclusive”:
Pedro’s a top player. Arsenal fans will be happy he’ll be playing for them next season. Of course, this is the Daily Express, which told its readers Pedro had agreed to play for Inter Milan:
Arsenal had best hurry up because early this week, Pedro was worth £22m to Chelsea…
Uttrer balls everyday in the newspapers…
Barring a disaster (or miracle if you support Middlesbrough, who will be promoted if they win their final game of the season and Bournemouth lose – and there’s a 19-goal swing in ‘Boro’s favour), AFC Bournemouth will be in the Premier League next season.
The big questiosn occupying media minds is what promotion if worth. Only Bournemouth fans in the expesnsive seats will care about the money, of course. This is about glory. Still, what say the experts?
BBC: “Bournemouth effectively sealed a £100m promotion to the Premier League just seven years after the south-coast club almost went out of business”
Daily Star: “How Cherries Ed-in to £120m Prem dream”
Clegg’s Arsenal, Cameron’s Aston Villa or Miliband’s Leeds United: the General Election vote for football fans
Political football is a game of own-goals. Just as a leading Aston Villa, Arsenal or Leeds United fan…
David Cameron is the latest (but probably not the last) politician to learn that football, when used as a political football, can result in an own goal.
In football parlance, it was the day the Conservatives’ gaffer became the gaffe-er. During an election meeting, the Prime Minister described our great country as a place, ‘Where you can be Welsh and Hindu and British, Northern Irish and Jewish and British, where you can wear a kilt and a turban, where you can wear a hijab covered in poppies. Where you can support Man United, the Windies and Team GB all at the same time.’
Chelsea captain John Terry is a great footballer. Saying that is hardly going out on a limb. He has been terrific for Chelsea.
But in the Sun, Steven Howard sees Terry as a victim:
“Here was another immense performance. One of the many that a lot of us feel should have earned him and not player Hazard the PFA Player of The Year award. That he was not even nominated by his fellow players shows there are other reasons behind his ommission.”
What reasons? Howard does not say.
The PFA player of the season featured these six contenders: Diego Costa, Philippe Coutinho, David De Gea, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Alexis Sánchez. Are they all better than Terry? No. They’re not. If you want to win prizes, you’d pick Terry over Countinho every time.
So. Does Howard have a point? Yes say some other journalists.
Floyd Mayweather Jr is a role model. Well, so says a voice on ESPN’s program Outside the Lines, which looked at the talented, driven, money-mad boxer ahead of his fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather being a role model is good news for those parents who tell help their toddlers reach a fighting weight, and who do the school run in a fleet of white supercars (drop off) and black super cars (pick up).
Should he have been? Is boxing a special case? Is he above the law? If he were a footballer, says, would Mayweather be so loved? And sicne when is boxing a branch of Public Women’s Rights And Justice USA?
Let’s hear what the man himself thinks of it?
Spurs and England footballer Kyle Walker is in the news for something he didn’t do. Someone told someone who told us that Kyle Walker was in the news. So. We looked at Google. And this is what we saw…
The video being shared on social media features, we’re told, a dog, a woman and a bed. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Walker. But a few bellends on twitter, reportedly, have tried to insult the Spurs defender by linking him to the video. Of course, they are wrong. Their claims as false as they are ridiculous. They should be easy to ignore or mock.
But Walker thinks it a good idea to respond, writing on Facebook:
I wasn’t going to comment on the rumours going around about myself and my family but as people are still talking about them, I feel I need to set the record straight. I am aware of a video being shared on social media and am disgusted by the suggestion that it’s anything to do with us. With so many young people on social media I am horrified that content of that nature has been shared so many times. My legal team are monitoring the activity surrounding this.
And with that the story is amplified and internet is full of headlines about Kyle Walker and a sick video. A few oddities who get their kicks from watching something the sane would find unplesant and others who just want to make a dumb adolescent joke about a footballer, who most likely plays for a team they don’t support, are now being ‘monitored’ by a legal team.
What they going to monitor next, claims that the referee is a w*nker?
The best reponse is from one wag who replies: “Hope his legal team are better at defending him than he is lloris”
Lloris is Hugo Lloris , the Spurs goalkeeper. And he’s not the video, either…
Jordan Henderson has penned a new five-year deal to play for Liverpool. Good news for Liverpool fans. And at £100,0o0-a-week, it’s good news for Henderson, who will just be able to afford a season ticket at top-flight boxing. (Tickets for the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao’s fight are yours for £100,000 each. It makes £60 to watch your team play Arsenal at the Emirates look like a steal.)
Writing in the Times, Giles Smith wonders if Henderson is going to re-sign for another of his clients: Nivea.
…a deal that has already yielded comedy gold. Indeed, if there was a Bafta for Best Look To Camera By A Footballer In A Narrative-Based Commercial (and now there should be), Henderson would have swept it away for a lifetime.
It is a cracker:
But what does it all mean for men? It’s the decline of man: the steady emasculation of our role models.