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: Moyes claims credit for Adnan Januzaj and says all Manchester City fans dream of playing for United
IS Manchester United’s 18-year-old legend -in-the-making Adnan Januzaj English? The Telegraph and Express lead with news that Roy Hodgson, the England manger, wants Adnan to play for the Three Lions.
The Mirror notes:
FIFA red tape means there would be a five-year wait, but the 18-year-old has several options having never been called up for Belgium
So. If the hotshot wants to play for mighty England he can wait until he’s 23. Think he will? The FA rules are that any player not born here must play continuously in England for five years from their 18th birthday. Adnan’s Manchester United contract expires at the season’s end. He might not even be he after that.
Young Adnan was born in Brussels, Belgium. He’s never represented them. So. He could play for England.
Says United manger David Moyes:
“The English FA have made their interest in Adnan known. I think he has a choice of three or four countries he can play for. Belgium have already tried to call him up, Albania and Croatia too. I think he would be able to play for England because of residency in five years.”
MANCHESTER UNITED defeated Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of light. Was it easy for Moyes’ marvels. Or were the Black Cats unlucky? Let’s see what the newspaperd said:
Craig Gardner’s early strike gave Sunderland a thoroughly deserved half-time advantage against the reigning Premier League champions and the lead could have been more handsome.
Emanuele Giaccherini was denied by a magnificent save from David De Gea before the Italian spurned another golden opportunity from eight yards out…
Sunderland got off to a dream start after getting their noses in front in the fifth minute. Emanuele Giaccherini’s cross from the right cannoned off Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic into the path of Gardner who rifled the ball into the far bottom corner.
WHEN Keegan Bradley hits spectator on the head with wayward tee shot at Presidents Cup 2013, no-one laughed. And then the “donk” was added and, well, we’re not proud of ourselves…
THIS afternoon Manchester CIty beat Everton 3-1. The match reports were filed. The media went home. But how different are the views offered to readers of the teams’ respective local newspapers? let’s see in Local News Match:
Man City 3 Everton 1 – Blues unbeaten record ends
A controversial 69th-minute penalty awarded for a foul by Seamus Coleman on Pablo Zabaleta allowed City to seal victory, although Aguero’s penalty was ultimately credited as an own goal by Tim Howard.
THANKS to Lord Leveson’s report on the media, footballer kiss ‘n’ tells have been thinner than Victoria Beckham’s smile. But today the Sun makes a fist at one:
Liverpool boss’s secret visits to love split mum
Secret? Well, not that secret, not if the Sun saw him.
The story is brought to readers by RUTH WARRENDER, STEPHEN MOYES and LAUREN VEEVERS. Yes, just three reporters works on this scoop.
FOOTIE boss Brendan Rodgers has befriended a mum in the middle of a split from her Liverpool fan husband.
Watch Manchester United legend Eric Cantona play The Stallion in erotic French comedy Les Rencontres d’après Minuit
AFTER mucking about playing himself and “a man at a bar” in the likes of Looking for Eric and Jack Says over the years, Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has finally landed the role he was born to play!
Cantona has reportedly been cast as a bearded Gallic lothario, known simply as “The Stallion”, in an erotic French comedy titled Les Rencontres d’après Minuit (which translates as “Meetings After Midnight”).
Smoking footballers photos: Revie’s Leeds United, Bolton’s Lofthouse, Norwich City and Manchester United give Bobby Charlton a cigarette case
SMOKING footballers: A quick look some who took a puff.
Leeds United - 28/04/1969:
Leeds United players celebrate with champagne and cigars in the dressing room after drawing 0-0 with Liverpool, a result which wrapped up Leeds’ first Division One Championship title: (back row, l-r) Mick Jones, Jack Charlton, Paul Reaney, Gary Sprake, Johnny Giles, Paul Madeley; (front row, l-r) manager Don Revie, Peter Lorimer, Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray
ARSENAL star and English football’s great white hope Jack Wilshere has been pictured smoking what looks like a humble cigarette. Bit of a berk smoking a fag when you’re a professional athlete paid a fortune do a job that others would pay to do but he’s an adult and it’s his life. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says:
“I disagree completely with that behaviour. I need to have a chat with him about that. You don’t do what damages your health as a footballer. You damage your reputation when you do that in public.”
It’s not just the smoking; it’s the opinion of smokers:
“In England especially you don’t need to convince me, because I tried it as a footballer on coaches after a game when you didn’t see each other, there was so much smoke on the coach. But times have changed. And English society is very sensitive to smoking, much more than France, than southern countries, so it’s a bit more shocking here than somewhere else.”
THE Daily Mail states:
Spurs and West Ham fans warned they will be arrested if they use the ‘Y’ word at Sunday’s derby
The Y-word is Yids. It is not a taboo. It is a word you can use and explain.
The Mail adds:
The Metropolitan Police have warned Tottenham and West Ham fans they face arrest if they use the ‘Y’ word during Sunday’s London derby at White Hart Lane.
WHAT can Qatar do make the place look in tip-top shape for the World Cup Finals? Air-conditioning the stadia would be a start. But before that fans of the beautiful game have erected a five-meter Zidane ‘head-butt’ statue on Qatar’s Corniche.
The 16-foot high monster depicts “two fighting footballers”. Called Coup de Tête, the Glasgow Kiss is the work of Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed. It captures the moment when Frenchman Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final. ZouZou was sent off. Italy won. And Materazzi is still laughing.
The statue used to be an eyesore by the Pompidou centre in Paris. Then Qatar bought it. Jean Paul Engelen, QMA’s director of Public Art, told Doha News:
“Yes, we expect a lot of people to want to take photos with it, and of it. It’s an impressive piece. It’s a huge sculpture, and it’s done in the same style as Greek Mythological statues, but this glorifies human defects instead. It shows that although we sometimes treat footballers like gods, they’re not – they’re just human beings.”
Other unedifying football statues to consider for Qatar:
MANCHESTER United Watch: The non-story of the day is found in the Daily Star:
Wilfried Zaha: I was not caught in bed with David Moyes’ daughter, HONEST!
Says the Star:
MANCHESTER UNITED ace Wilfried Zaha has lashed out at claims he was dropped for bedding boss David Moyes’ daughter.
Midway through the first half Pep Guardiola withdrew a notebook from the breast pocket of his classic, threequarter-length navy jacket… [he]looks like a man who has just walked off the set of a fashion shoot for GQ magazine.
Guardiola, a refugee from a Hugo Boss campaign…
He’s stylish. Or as the Daily Mirror see it:
“With his slate-grey woolly jumper and matching regulation drainpipes, Pep Guardiola looks all the world a bemused teacher on a school outing”
Such are teh facts…
HOW well did Manchester United do in securing a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk?
The Sun’s Neil Curtis writes:
No English team has ever won in the Donbass Arena.
True. But, then, the Donbass opened on 29 August 2009. Before United visited, Shaktar had beaten Arsenal in 2010 and Chelsea last season.
For ever need not be all that long…
Manchester City: Bayern Munich destroy the team and their fans give a masterclass in taking the mick
ONE problem of playing German sides is that their fans speak good English. They can torment the English fans with strains of “You’re not very good” and memorably at one Arsenal match “Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur”. Last night., Bayern Munich’s Intelligentsia mocked Manchester City’s Poznan celebration as their team won 1-3 in the Champions’ League.
SKY Sports reports that a “30-strong mob of Italian football fans have stormed into a restaurant used by Arsenal supporters, smashing windows, breaking chairs and injuring at least one person.”
Witnesses described how the men, described as Napoli fans, had team scarves tied round their faces and started shouting in Italian at those inside the busy restaurant. One worker at the Piebury Corner eatery described how they had to duck for cover and how one customer had been attacked with a belt leaving “blood all over the floor”…
The gang attacked ahead of the Champions League clash between Arsenal and Napoli at the Emirates Stadium.
The Piebury Corner is on Holloway Road.
So. what happened?
The Mirror sees more:
Up to 100 Italian thugs tore through Piebury Corner restaurant on Holloway Road near Arsenal’s stadium in scenes Tim’s pal Richard Morey described as being like something out of the early 80s
TOM Cowan and Robbie Fowler are the latest pundits to find that a casual remark or a casual prejudice can get you into hot water.
‘Banter’ is no longer an acceptable excuse for inappropriate sentiments however lightly expressed, and woe betide anyone who steps over the line into heartfelt abusive opinion.
BBC pundit Cowan’s crime was to make disparaging comments about women’s football in a column for the Daily Record, headed ‘And Now A Message From the Dark Ages’. In it, he remarked that “Fir Park should have been torched on Thursday in order to cleanse the stadium after it played host to women’s football”.For this, he has been suspended by the Beeb.
When you look at it objectively, there’s nothing earth-shattering about a video game company (EA) releasing their annual ‘upgrade’ of one of their most famous gaming franchises albeit one they didn’t care about at the start. As long as they can reasonably improve and refresh the game to make it interesting to spend your free time on, it comes down to brand loyalty.
WHAT was the secret of Manchester United’s success under Sir Alex Ferguson? Well, Fergie has told the Charlie Rose Show on PBS:
“…never hold a grudge – it’s very important”
MANCHESTER United Watch: Manchester United: David Moyes sees shades of Preston in his United team
“I’ve been in situations very similar to this at my old clubs Everton and Preston North End”
So says Moyes on the eve of inconsistent United’s Champions’ League match.
United are arguably biggest club in world football, with millions 0f fans and a pressure to win that would turn a lump of coal into a diamond. Preston are not…
YOU want more harmony than David Cameron puts in his hair? Against Steaua last night, Chelsea defensive pillars John Terry and David Luiz performed a synchronised little jump together. It really is quite mesmerising
Arsenal: ‘Arsene Who?’ and what else they said of the man who came from nowhere to take over at Highbury
ARSENE Wenger marked 17 years as Arsenal manager with a Champions’ League win over Napoli. When he arrived at Highbury in in 1996 a few eyebrows were raised and nails bitten at the man from Japan:
“I remember when Bruce Rioch was sacked, one of the papers had three or four names. It was Terry Venables, Johan Cruyff and then, at the end, Arsène Wenger. I remember thinking as a fan, I bet it’s fu*king Arsène Wenger, because I haven’t heard of him and I’ve heard of the other two. Trust Arsenal to appoint the boring one that you haven’t heard of.”
LAST night Newcastle United lost to Everton. The Magpies featured no English players in their starting XI. No big deal, there. Many other teams have done the same. But hen Arsenal became the first team to do it, Alan Pardew was upset:
“I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain. I kind of wondered where that British involvement actually was when I looked at their team. It’s important that top clubs don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s the English Premier League and English players should be involved. Foreign players have been fantastic. We have learned from them and from foreign coaches. But, to some extent, we could lose the soul of British football – the English player.”
C’est la vie, Alain Pardieu.
FORMER Labour party leader Neil Kinnock, now working as Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty is, allegedly, a football hooligan. Kinnock was was reportedly kicked out of his seat while watching Cardiff City play Fulham at Craven Cottage this weekend after upsetting home fans by “wildly celebrating” his side’s goals.
According to the Telegraph, Kinnock provoked “angry responses” from the Fulham fans sitting around him by jumping up and down following Steve Caulker’s 12th-minute opener and was then seen again “going bonkers” – having already been escorted (along with his two grandchildren) to a different part of the stadium – when Jordon Mutch scored his sublime 90th-minute winner.
Manchester United watch: Moyes is King of the Nowhere Men, Ander Herrera is exposed and the Glazers’ pain
MANCHESTER United watch: an at-a-glance look at United in today’s news:
The Times: “American owners ready to fund manager’s call for world-class players”
Why didn’t they buy Gareth Bale?
David Moyes will be given substantial funds to reshape his Manchester United squad with the Glazer family recognising that the manager requires world-class reinforcements to help to maintain Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy of success.
The United manager is expected to make a foray into the transfer market in January providing leading targets become available as the Barclays Premier League champions look to put the frustrations of a miserable summer behind them…
The Glazers are thought to share Moyes’s view that the squad needs strengthening in key areas and will not balk at spending well in excess of £100 million to ensure they remain successful in the coming years.
Who do they buy?
United continue to keep tabs on Ander Herrera, whom they have been monitoring for 2½ years, but the £25.6 million bid they had rejected for the Spain Under-23 midfielder last month was at the upper limit of their valuation. As such, it seems unlikely at this stage that the club would be prepared to meet the €36 million (£30.2 million) release clause in his contract with Athletic Bilbao.
Andrés Iniesta’s situation at Barcelona is being watched from a distance but there is little expectation of the Spain midfielder leaving the Nou Camp. Ilkay Gundogan, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, also has his admirers among United’s coaching staff.
It remains to be seen whether United make a renewed effort to buy Leighton Baines or Fabio Coentrão, the Everton and Real Madrid left backs for whom they had bids rejected in the summer, or pursue a younger target, such as Luke Shaw, of Southampton.
Eliaquim Mangala, the highly regarded Porto centre half, is regarded as a potential successor to Ferdinand, although Moyes faces competition from Chelsea, City and several leading European clubs for the 22-year-old, who has a reported €45 million release clause in his contract.
Matt Dickinson says it’s more complicated than that. He looks at how Moyes traded players at Everton:
…chronicled in detail by Michael Calvin in The Nowhere Men, his original book about the scouting business. It is a fascinating glimpse into Moyes’s methods and how Everton used scouting to punch above their weight.
The book takes us behind the locked doors of Everton’s recruitment room under Moyes… Every manager collects scouting data, but none with the zeal of Moyes, whose head of technical scouting, James Smith… kept a database of thousands of reports on the abilities of more than 1,000 players. The long wall in this office was covered in an array of whiteboards, detailing targets, positions, ages, contracts and ratings; hundreds of players listed in various different inks from foreigners under review to “live” targets under constant monitoring. Another board showed the ideal Premier League choices, all aged under 26, with votes from scouts to establish which was top choice; another had a list of players under 23 in English lower leagues.
There was a board of those players Moyes was actively seeking to sign next to another showing how the manager envisaged the development of the first team, with players phased out and how new recruits would come in (which is why the room was strictly off limits to his squad).
This dazzling detail was merely an easy checklist. The real data was kept on computer in the vast bank of reports and profiles. Moyes would demand an “MOT test” for serious targets, with up to 50 reports compiled by as many scouts and coaches on a single player — on top of his own trips.
How does that prudence and intelligent buying fit with spending massive sums at United?
At United there is regret, for example, that they did not bid £50 million for Cesc Fàbregas to see if Barcelona could have been persuaded to negotiate. Moyes, understandably in his first window, was cautious. They wonder now whether they should have closed the deal for Thiago Alcantara instead of allowing the Barcelona schemer to slip away to Bayern Munich. Moyes, though, wanted to stay true to his habits of amassing multiple reports. Without those, he was not sure.
Now they agonise over Ander Herrera, the target at Athletic Bilbao, but must do so without enjoying the secrecy of the recruitment room.
It’s not Everton:
Tony Evans in the Times:
Moyes was bequeathed the worst United squad since his predecessor broke the club’s 26-year title drought in 1993… United should have the fiscal firepower to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe. Yet since the Glazer takeover, too much of the prodigious income that flows into Old Trafford has been diverted to pay interest fees, debt repayments and bank charges. In the accounts released this month, there were £71 million outgoing in financial costs. That knocks a severe hole even in a business that generated an income of £363 million.
Ferguson’s management masked the poisonous impact of the leveraged takeover. The Americans borrowed £525 million to buy United. They have spent £680 million servicing the debt. The former manager’s brilliance meant the impact of this drain on club cash was barely noticed. Until now.
Ferguson’s departure may have been the eye of a perfect storm that began forming in 2005 . Moyes may not be the man to ride it out.
Mark Ogden in the Telegraph looks at the weakened Moyes:
The narrative of the season so far from Moyes has been one of lowering expectations. The squad, he insists, is not strong enough in key areas and the Scot even suggested in the wake of the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City last week, which he described as “embarrassing”, that he required two new players to go straight into his starting 11.
Moyes is undoubtedly correct in his assessment, United do lack quality, particularly in midfield, but there is a danger that he is giving his players an excuse for failure by repeatedly highlighting their frailties.
Ferguson, in contrast, would never talk his team down. He would often exaggerate the potential of his players simply to instil the belief that they could achieve great things.
Phil McNulty tells BBC readers:
It is unlikely Ferguson would have talked down Champions League expectations but this is the different world Moyes now occupies and even his fiercest critics must accept he will take time to fully acclimatise.
One thing is certain: Moyes has the most exciting and toughest job in club football. How does he follow Ferguson?
Photo: English Premier League soccer team Everton’s new signings, John Heitinga, left, Sylvain Distin, second left, and Dinijar Bilyaletdinov, right, pose for photos with team manager David Moyes, second right, at the Everton training ground, Liverpool, England, Friday Sept. 11, 2009.
POPE wears funny hat! Katie Price sleeps on back! And now in other news to shock and amaze: Phil Neville says Manchester United players Roy Keane, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes used to kick lumps out of the best players. The actual shocker is that they used to practice ‘Plan B’ by hacking away at Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking to ITV reporter Gabriel Clarke as part of an imminent Ronaldo documentary, Neville Bites Yer Legs says:
“[Ronaldo] dived a lot. He tried to buy fouls and he came in for a lot of criticism. The boys [at Man Utd] were hard on him for his diving and it was putting us under pressure. I’d say the first 12 months there was a massive toughening up process. In training at the time you had Keane, Butt, Scholes, and every time he got the ball they kicked him and they kicked him – not just once, they kicked him every day, every week, all season.”