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Manchester United balls: Neville blames everyone but Mourinho for Manchester City’s rise

On Twitter, Gary Neville, Sky Sports’ one-man schedule filler, has been talking about how Manchester United’s dullsville team are not of football mercenary Jose Mourinho’s making. When not winning friends with his warm smile and gallant sportsmanship – Mourinho recently aimed his trademark bitchiness at United great Paul Scholes, opining, “It’s not Paul’s [Pogba’s] fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes” – Mourinho is making do with an under-powered squad, says Gary Neville:

 

 

On United. We should be closer to City irrespective of their incredible run but City did have a better squad than United when Jose came in. The recruitment under LVG / DM all over the place. The club should be signing players that suit the values not being taken from one extreme to another by managers with differing principles. It’s a very costly exercise and means the waste is huge. The players signed by Jose are much better and more aligned to the club’s values. He should be supported in the TM with more players that meet the club ethic.

Compare and contrast those comments with what Neville told Sky Sports on August 14 2017:

You can’t just drop your expectation because they haven’t won it for a couple of years. They have to win the league. Mourinho has to win the league here. The money that’s been spent, his own personal expectations and what he’s always delivered has been titles, so I would say United have to approach this season to win the league.

I don’t think it’s good enough to say ‘they’re going to get back into fourth’. That isn’t an ambition when you’ve spent the money that’s been spent and amassed the players that Mourinho has now amassed.”

There is no excuse for Manchester United not to challenge for the league. That’s not putting pressure on the players or Jose Mourinho, but they have to challenge with the money that has been spent and the players that have been brought in.

The club’s values? Does anyone believe United under Mourinho are a swashbuckling, attacking side of verve and character – or ever will be?

Posted: 2nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comments (3)


Manchester United balls: Marcus Rashford’s silver hatchet

Does the Sun like Manchester United and England’s Marcus Rashford? Compare and contrast the following words from the Sun’s Neil Ashton:

September 6:

They do the right thing at Manchester United. Nobody gets big-headed, nobody is allowed to get carried away with little bit of success. That is the way they bring them through and Marcus Rashford is no exception.

October 3:

SOMEBODY, somewhere has tried to tuck him up. Everybody, it seems, is pretending to be Marcus Rashford’s best mate these days…

The hysteria is nowhere near the levels that once saw Georgie Best mobbed by mini-skirted women and bespectacled kids in parkas hunting for autographs when he walked down Deansgate. Nobody expects Rashford, who is due to start England’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley against Slovenia on Thursday, to go down that road. He appears too smart, too streetwise, too level-headed for that. Instead, he is trying to lead a quiet life, spending the afternoons in the Trafford Centre with his girlfriend or meeting his pals for peri-peri chicken in Nando’s.

That is the way Rashford rolls.

Can this be the same Neil Ashton who wrote waaaaay back in April 2017:

These United boys, what with their status, their lifestyle and their super-sized salaries, want for nothing…

Rashford, a Euro 2016 wildcard with England, has lost his way since the big bucks started to roll in.

His new home, a sprawling six- bedroom pad being built in Bowden, Cheshire, is almost ready for the forward to move into.

It has sprung up on the same street as Joe Hart and is close to the house Zlatan Ibrahimovic rents from former Manchester City star Micah Richards.

The £30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance for the fleet of motors that started arriving when he signed a new deal barely touches the sides. Last month he splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday.

He has an obsession with Balenciaga — a luxury French fashion brand — and has more than 30 pairs of their £400-a-pop shoes to choose from each morning.

Buys his mum a watch! The swine.

Dave Horrocks, development officer at Manchester junior club Fletcher Moss Rangers where Rashford started out as a youngster, says of the player he actually knows: “Marcus comes form a lovely family. He is a smashing kid, very humble and so quiet and unassuming.”

Well, that’s the way he rolls.

Posted: 3rd, October 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez leaves Higuain and joins Manchester United

Hard luck on Arsenal fans: Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Manchester United. The Sun has the scoop, leading with the “TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE”.

 

SAnchez arsenal manchester united

 

No word on whence the story emerged. No source quoted. Just the simple fact that Manchester United want Alexis Sanchez, and he’s on his way for a £25m signing-on fee.

Readers might be little more circumspect.  This is the Sun, after all, the paper that told us Gonzalo Higuain joined Arsenal in 2013.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Undeterred by fact – he never joined – the Sun continues to publish the story on its website. Although it was “Updated: 5th April 2016, 7:12 am” to now read:

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain…Wenger believes that the capture of Higuain will convince other world-class stars to join.

This is despite Higuain telling the Times in December 2013:

“I did not speak to them [Arsenal]. They said Arsenal wanted to sign me, that they were there negotiating [with Real Madrid], but it was Napoli who came and bought me.”

As for Alexis Sanchez, well, he plays for Manchester City. We read that fact in the Sun.

 

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

In another exclusive, readers learn:

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

Sanchez never did join Man chester City.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: star fan Kim John-Un makes third visit

Huge news. Huge! The Sun has the scoop: “Kim Jong-un is a Manchester United fan who believes North Korean footballers will eventually be flooding to the Premier League.”

Of course, what hereditary despot Mr Kim believes might be lot more terrifying than his dream of cheering on North Koreans in Manchester United colours.

But there it is. If North Korea wants it badly enough, exporting footballing talent might well be its biggest source of income. But, like you, we wonder how the Sun came by this “exclusive”? Putting North Korea and Manchester United into one headline is sure to attract clicks. But is it true?

 

the sun North Korea Manchester United

 

The story continues:

A close friend of the nuclear tyrant revealed to SunSport how he loves the beautiful game and never misses a major football tournament.

Tyrant’s pal calls British tabloid to talk foot.

Italian senator Antonio Razzi confirmed the crackpot dictator had told him during private conversations of his love for the Red Devils.

But when asked if Kim compared himself to any United heroes such as Eric Cantona or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Razzi told The Sun: “No, Kim is Kim — he is the only one.”

So Ibra it is, then.

And be in no doubt that news of Kim’s love for Manchester United is an exclusive, and as such should not be confused with the Mirror’s August 2014 story: “Kim Jong-Un is Manchester United fan”.

 

 

And:

 

You heard it there first!

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United wanted Arsenal’s Wenger but ended up with Mourinho and his questionable values

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned down the role at Manchester United. According to former Man United chairman Martin Edwards, the Red Devils approached Wenger to manage the club when Sir Alex Ferguson announced his intention to retire. On May 18 2001, Ferguson told MUTV: “I will be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season and that is it.” In 2016, Ferguson called the decision his “biggest mistake”. He changed his mind in January 2002.

That was a blow to Sven Goran-Eriksson, the former England manager who has said that he signed a deal in 2002 to replace Ferguson. In Sven: My Story, Eriksson notes: “I knew it would be tricky. I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticised if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United.
A contract was signed — I was United’s new manager.”

In his autobiography, Fergusson admits as much. “The head-hunters were due to meet a candidate to succeed me the following week,” wrote Ferguson. “Sven-Goran Eriksson was to be the new United manager, I believe. That was my interpretation, anyway.”

But this is about Wenger, who says he didn’t move to Old Trafford because he was happy at Arsenal. “I love the values of this club,” says Wenger, “and a club is about values first.”

….

Meanwhile, in Harrod’s department store, London, current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has bumped into TV presenter Piers Morgan, who reports their conversation. “How the hell is Arsene still in his job?” asks Morgan. “No idea,” says Mourinho, whose family live in London, “but I hope she stays for a long time.”

Clubs can pick a manager but they can’t pick their fans.

 

Posted: 11th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Daily Mail gives Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs an unwarranted kick

Giving footballers a kicking is lazy. Take the Mail’s treatment of former Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, who was in Malta for England’s World Cup Qualifying match on Friday 1 September. The game kicked off at 19:45. Around 2 hours later, Giggs was wrapping things up and heading back to the hotel.

As McDonald’s Head of Welsh Football, Giggs had to get some sleep before heading home to present the Welsh Community Football Awards “to recognise those who dedicate their time, effort and hard work into grassroots football throughout Wales”. The ceremony was set for September 2 at the Cardiff City Stadium, where Giggs’ Wales were taking on Austria in their own World Cup qualifier.

Giggs is working hard

But this is how the Mail reported things:

Ryan Giggs is well known in Malta due to the time he has spent on the island, starting from his early days at Manchester United. He also invested in a hotel group there with Gary Neville.

Nevertheless Giggs, along with ITV colleagues Paul Ince, Ian Wright and Glenn Hoddle, chose to return home from Malta as soon as possible after the game on Friday – even if it meant a 5.30am exit from their hotel on Saturday.

Task! And after all Malta has done for him…

Posted: 5th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Bale to Manchester United for a fee that makes Neymar to PSG look cheap

The summer’s here and with it comes the usual news that Gareth Bale dreams of leaving the heat and glory of Real Madrid for life at Manchester United. Like everyone else, the Star hears Real Madrid president Florentino Perez state the current European champions have no intention of selling Bale, 28, to Manchester United or any other club. “He’s a Madrid player, he’s important for us and he’s one of the world’s best,” says Perez of the Welsh powerhouse bought from Spurs.

But the BBC tells its readers that “privately Perez has told Jose Mourinho that he would be willing to let the Welshman leave”. Got that? Perez told the Manchester United’s manager something in private and the BBC got wind of it. And so did the Daily Express, whose Jack Otway reveals beneath the headline “Real Madrid stunner: Man Utd given green light by Perez to sign Bale after private talks”, that his source is Diario Gol. Slap its story through the prism of Google Translate and you get:

José Mourinho has returned as best he knows to the press rooms: with his provocative instinct. In the previous one of the Supercopa of Europe, the Portuguese technician sent darts poisoned.

One of them went to Florentino Perez. Luso acknowledged that he would be willing to tackle the signing of Gareth Bale. Especially if he sees that his club does not have him.

Mourinho believes that Bale could not be indisputable in Real Madrid. In contrast, the Setubal would secure a place without hesitation in Manchester United.

The two sides have approached positions but lack consensus. A Bale something happens like what happened to Neymar : he wants a club where he is the leader.

Neymar could not be in Barça because he was Messi , and Bale can not be in Madrid while Cristiano Ronaldo. But the case of Welsh is different. The good moment of form of Isco and Marco Asensio make think that not even its site in the initial eleven is guaranteed. Everyone can not play.

That is the main asset of José Mourinho. The United coach wants to persuade him to change his mind. What was not expected was that Florentino entered the rag.

The president of Madrid wants to play and has recognized that if they are willing to pay what it is worth, “Bale is for sale “. The problem is that Neymar has already assessed the market price of Welsh.

Florentino paid 101 million euros for him and will not let him escape for less than 200 million euros. This is how PSG put things and that is what United should study . The cunning of Florentino, with much higher clauses than the Barça has, makes it unfeasible that nobody can pay Bale’s departure . Only a transfer will be negotiated.

In other words, Perez has apparently told Mourinho and Manchester United that if they love Bale so much they can make an offer starting at €200m for him. And they can forget about triggering any escape clause because Perez, the Real Madrid maestro, is no dummy like those negotiators at dread rivals Barcelona who allowed Neymar to slip away to PSG.

If that’s a green light, any drivers reading the Express fact sheet should proceed with extreme caution.

 

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Bale joins Manchester United is a recurring fantasy

Transfer balls: questioned by Real Madrid’s official website, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane was asked if Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (the so-called ‘BBC’) were likely to remain.

“I hope the BBC stay for this season,” he replied. “I hope everyone remains. I want everyone who is here now to stay…but anything can happen right up until August 31.”

On the chance of Kylian Mbappe joining Real, Zidane added: “I’m the coach here and you’d have to ask someone else about that. We’re working on things and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got the players who are here now and we’ll just have to see what happens.”

All coy stuff, then. But stick it through the tabloid mincer and you get:

 

bale manchester united bale manchester united bale manchester united

 

That follows the Daily Express’s news of July 19 2017:

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has secret agreement to join Man Utd next summer

 

And there was the Manchester Evening News story of May 8 2017:

Gareth Bale has agreed to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford next season, should the club be able to guarantee involvement in next season’s elite European competition by winning the Europa League .

The story of Bale to United is a familiar one. In November 2015, the Sun said Bale was heading to Old Trafford and Real were in “crisis”. Bale never came. Real went on to win the Champions League.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Neymar to Manchester United, Ronaldo’s secret PSG message and clickbait

Transfer Balls: a look at clickbait-led football reporting. The Sun has news on Neymar’s rumoured desire to leave Barcelona to join PSG.

DON’T DO IT. Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar not to join Paris Saint-Germain – and wait for Manchester United if he really wants to quit Barcelona

Ronaldo played for Manchester United until he followed his heart and joined Real Madrid. So did he really tell Neymar via WhatsApp to avoid PSG, France’s second best team, and wait to join United, the Premier League’s sixth best side?

The report continues:

Spanish title Diariogol have reported the two superstars have been in close contact discussing Neymar’s proposed £195million move to PSG…

But Neymar should hold out for Manchester United because joining PSG would be a “step backwards”?

And though Ronaldo has told his friend to push for a move to United instead, the Premier League club may already have decided to move on from trying to sign him.

Over on Diariogol, there is not a single quote to support the story. But it’s enough for the Manchester Evening News to thunder: “Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar to join Manchester United.” The MEN cites “reports in Spain”. But there’s only one report, and it’s very light on facts.

Meanwhile, readers might recall how not too long ago the British press was reporting Ronaldo’s desire to join…PSG:

 

And:

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Ryan Giggs: from Manchester United to anywhere that’ll have him

manchester united ryan giggs manager

 

Not too long ago, Ryan Giggs was being tipped to be the Manchester United manager. And then he wasn’t. Sunderland, Swansea and Middlesbrough all wanted Giggs to manage their club said the Press. But none of them offered him the job.

 

ryan giggs swansea

ryan giggs middlesbrough

 

ryan giggs sunderland

 

Giggs has ambition to manage. But his ambition has been dampened:

Ryan Gigs April 8, 2017: “I’d rather go into a decent League One or Championship team, who’ve got the right ideas and the right aspirations, than a Premier League team who haven’t.”

Ryan Giggs on July 18, 2017: “I would rather coach a League Two team in which philosophy and ambitions match mine rather than going in to the Premier League and firefighting and the owners don’t give you a chance.”

Ryan Giggs – coming to a Conference club near you, soon-ish.

PS: Do you suppose clubs being a tad shy on Giggs has anything to do with this PR disaster?

 

giggs injunction herald

ryan giggs sex

Posted: 18th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: De Gea (and his agent) are ‘desperate’ to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid

Transfer balls – a look at rubbish football reporting: The BBC says Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 26, wants to join Real Madrid this summer.

The source of this story is the Daily Express. It’s source is Spain’s Don Balon. The Express says Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is “desperate to land the Spain No 1”. As ever, it’s fun to look at the Spanish report through the prism of Google Translate:

The David de Gea option is still very much alive. The current United goalkeeper is not willing to let the Real Madrid train pass for the umpteenth time and press in the offices of the Santiago Bernabéu through his agent, Jorge Mendes.

With Keylor Navas stuck with his continuity in the white team, the keeper of the Red takes a step forward and maintains a direct line with the Real Madrid controls, as reported by Pipi Estrada in ‘El Chiringuito’: “Jorge Mendes has asked José Ángel Sánchez [Real Madrid CEO] for De Gea and Sánchez has asked him to be patient because the decision has not yet been made. This year there is a lot of happiness because it has won the double, which has not been won for a long time, but next year you have to win again and if you do not win there will be a problem. ”

De Gea is still the right eye of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is waiting for a final PSG move to remove Keylor Navas from Madrid and be able to open the door of Real to Spanish.

This all seems to suggest that De Gea’s agent is agitating for his client’s move. And Perez doesn’t sound “desperate”.

Whatever the source, the report offers no quote from player, club nor agent. We do hear only from one Pipi Estrada, a journalist for Spanish sports TV show El Chiringuito. And that’s a dead end.

With facts in short supply, the Sun picks up the story and thunders:

GET ME OUTTA HERE David De Gea ‘desperate to quit Manchester United for Real Madrid and orders agent to get deal done’

 

GET ME OUTTA HERE David De Gea ‘desperate to quit Manchester United for Real Madrid and orders agent to get deal done’

 

The Sun reports:

Spanish transfer outlet Don Balon claim Madrid will try again this summer, with club president Florentino Perez desperate to land the Spanish international.

De Gea, meanwhile, is said to have told his agent Jorge Mendes to get the deal sorted.

Desperate stuff all round.

The Sun then assures readers:

Agent Jorge Mendes could seal the deal with Real Madrid.

The story gets murkier still when you look back to July 13 – yesterday ! – when the Sun told its readers:

DOUBLE BLOW – Real Madrid give up David De Gea chase while Eden Hazard tells Zinedine Zidane he will not join Champions League winners this summer

 

de gea the sun manchester united

 

The source for that Sun story is – yep – Don Balon:

…according to Don Balon, Real have decided to ditch plans of a bid for De Gea…

Don Balon tells its readers not to panic. Real are far from desperate for De Gea:

Real Madrid, however, has already perfectly located a new candidate to become the starting goalkeeper next season. And at a much more affordable price than De Gea: Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Such are the facts in the twilight world of football reporting.

Posted: 14th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comments (2)


Talking Balls: ‘Heroic’ Wayne Rooney walks over ‘burnt bridges’ from Manchester United to Everton

Compare and contrast the news that Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United to play for Everton. Having given his best to United – and taken their money – local lad and Everton diehard Wayne is back where his heart lives. The Sun’s Martin Blackburn calls Rooney’s return to Everton “heroic” – a word you might save for men and women who rescue people from burning buildings rather than a man playing football. He continues:

Everton signing Wayne Rooney a no-brainer with Ronald Koeman bringing in a proven Premier League winner… It has been an exciting close season at Goodison — almost £100million spent already on five new faces before the weekend.

Yet you can be sure none of them – or anyone else who arrives, will have gladdened the hearts of the Gwladys Street quite like this one. – The Sun, Martin Blackburn, 9th July 2017

Hurrah for Wayne, the fans’ hero! Or as he said previously:

Wayne Rooney has a huge decision to make on his future – here are the clubs who could bail him out of his Manchester United misery.

They say you should never go back and maybe Rooney should always be remembered as the boy he was at Goodison rather than the veteran he would be if he made the short trip back along the M62.

Koeman already has Romelu Lukaku as his strike leader while Ross Barkley wants to be the play-making No 10. Would that mean no room for Roo?

Perhaps the bridges have been burned too. After all, he is now reviled on Merseyside because of his 12 years at United. – The Sun, Martin Blackburn 25th October 2016

Blackburn awards any Rooney to Everton deal 2 stars out of five.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 12th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Talking balls: Lukaku is ‘unconvincing’ for Chelsea but ‘sensational’ for Manchester United

Compare and contrast the considered and not-in-the-least-bit-biased views of former Manchester United player turned pundit Phil Neville discussing the life and talent of Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku has joined Manchester United. Says Neville of the “sensational” new player:

“What you’ve got is a young striker who is proven in the Premier League and he’s got great experience at scoring goals.

“He’s a 20-goals-a-season man and maybe more as he’s getting older in a better team with better service. So £75m seems quite a fair price for somebody of that ability and that age.

“There will be a £100m transfer very shortly, I’m convinced of that, so I ignore the fees now and look at the product and the quality the clubs are buying.” – Phil Nevill, BBC Sport, July 10 2017

When Lukaku looked like he was heading to Chelsea, Phil was less certain:

“I’m not so sure [Lukaku would fit in at Man United]. I would prefer United to go out and get Gareth Bale or Antoine Griezmann, I really would… I see him in the big games and I don’t see a player that grabs and wins a big game on his own.

“I still think there are question marks against Lukaku. Jose sold him and he didn’t play that much at Chelsea, so he knows him well.

“I think the ideal signing would be Harry Kane – but I don’t think United will get him. But Griezmann and Bale, I think these are the players that can take United closer to winning the Premier League.” – Phil Neville, talkSport, May 22, 2017

Such are the facts.

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho mocks Arsenal, taunts Chelsea and breathes

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can be a chippy, snide sort of man. But the man who likes to mask his own shortcomings by goading, belittling and mocking others should be impressed at how the tabloids see meaning in his most mundane observations  “Jose Mourinho aims latest dig at Arsene Wenger over Alexandre Lacazette signing,” says the the Daily Express.

 

man JOSE MOURINHO has mocked Arsene Wenger’s decision to sign striker Alexandre Lacazette with Mancheste mourinho express

 

JOSE MOURINHO has mocked Arsene Wenger’s decision to sign striker Alexandre Lacazette with Manchester United saying the striker has “no stamina, no physical impact and is not a big-game player”.

What a sad sack he is. But hold on a moment. Mourinho didn’t say anything of the sort. Indeed, he didn’t say anything at all. The Express continues:

But a United source said: “Lacazette was followed because he was top scorer in French football – but a lot of his goals were penalties [10 of his 28 goals last season came from the spot]. In the end he wasn’t considered because he has no stamina, no physical impact and isn’t a big-game player.”

Words by Mourinho: nil.
Words by anonymous “source”: meaningless.

And then the Daily Mail hears more sniping. This time Mourinho “taunts” Chelsea over Romelu Lukaku.

 

jose man united balls

 

What did he Jose say about his former club to manutd.com?

“Romelu is a natural fit for Manchester United. He is a big personality and a big player. It is only natural that he wants to develop his career at the biggest club. He will be a great addition to the group and I know they will make him very welcome. I am really looking forward to working with him again.”

Words about his former club Chelsea: nil.
Words about Lukaku’s selling club Everton: nil.
Words on how Lukaku is joining Manchester United because he and his agent will earn a shedload of cash: nil.

If it’s like this now, it’s only going to get worse when the actual football starts.

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United sign Stormzy and Lukaku plays Dublin’s Longitude festival

stormzy lukaku

 

Manchester United didn’t sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton. As Ireland’s Evening Herald newspaper reports, those fools at Old Trafford signed Stormzy in error.

Says the paper’s editor Herald Alan Steenson of its scoop:

Hands up, we got it badly wrong. Earlier, we made an error with a picture of Romelu Lukaku that wasn’t him. It was Stormzy.To be honest, we are totally embarrassed and want to say sorry to all involved and our readers for the error. We will keep our eye on the ball in future.

Lukaku is playing the Longitude festival in Dublin on Friday.

Posted: 10th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United sign exciting Lukaku; Everton catch Rooney on the way down

Romelu Lukaku is a Manchester United player. He’s joined the Red Devils from Everton for £75m. Chelsea matched Man United’s offer but the Belgian striker chose Jose Mourinho’s current side over Jose Mourinho’s old side – the Blues first signed him in 2011; under Mourinho’s management, they flogged him to Everton.

The BBC says Lukaku’s Chelsea snub was because “The Blues were not willing to match the fees Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, would earn if the forward moved to Old Trafford.”

The other ponderable is that United are shipping Wayne Rooney back to Everton. United get Everton’s best player, a vibrant 24-year-old goal getter who’s improved every season and is blessed with eidetic vision; Everton get a sluggish, fading and jaded talent on a free transfer and huge wages.

The Premier League is not a lever playing field. And now Rooney’s playing for a team running up the slope. He’s not going to get better, is he.

 

Posted: 8th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Wayne Rooney to leave Manchester United for Everton on a free transfer

The BBC says Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, 31, is leaving the club. He’s on his way to Everton. If other moves go according to plan, he’ll team up at Goodison with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, 30, to form the Premier League’s slowest strike partnership.

The Sun says Rooney, 31, has been withdrawn from Manchester United’s pre-season tour of the USA. The paper also adds that so keen are Manchester United to get Rooney off their books, they’re letting him join Everton on a free transfer. The Toffees will pay Rooney’s £250,000 a week wages for the duration of his two-year deal.

Everton are splashing the cash in readiness for Romelu Lukaku’s £90m return to Chelsea. He’ll be big loss to the club.

 

Posted: 5th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Chelsea and Manchester United fans tricked by invisible Matic

Nemanja-Matic-kit

The Invisible Man

 

Transfer Balls: Were you one of the Manchester United fans feeling “exited” when Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic’s was reportedly left out of the Blues’ new kit launch?

The Daily Mirror delivered the news: “Chelsea hint at Matic exit as Manchester United target is left out of kit launch.”  Adding: “Jose Mourinho is keen on the Serbian midfielder, who was nowhere to be seen at the unveiling.”

The Manchester Evening News asked readers: “Have Chelsea hinted Nemanja Matic is joining Manchester United?”

 

And after thousands and thousands of Chelsea and Manchester United fans had clicked the stories, we watched the kit launch video and – yep-  there was Matic in the Londoners’ new blue kit.

The shameless  Mirror duly reported: “Manchester United fans get excited over Nemanja Matic deal – but midfielder IS in Chelsea kit launch.”

Those silly Manchester United fans, eh, believing what they read in the Mirror and their local paper.

 

Posted: 5th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United’s new kit is a study in corporate misery

manchester united new kit

 

We usually see this kind of moody pout on the cover of Christmas books aimed at middle-aged men, you know the things with Jeremy Clarkson, Gordon Ramsay or some celebrity memoirist on the cover. They always look cheesed off with life. At the Manchester United kit launch players contrived much the same miserable look. We got Juan Mata is full proctologist mode. Paul Pogba looking affronted. Jesse Lingard anxious, adopting the pose of a man living in constant fear of a ball to the knackers. Victor Lindelof opted to be shrink-wrapped and laminated.

Manchester United’s stocking filler is the club’s new shirt, which looks a lot like the old shirt. It’s red. It’s got a blinged Swiss flag on it. And it’s got Wayne Rooney in it.

But it’s different. This one is red with black and white cuffs (supposedly inspired by the flags waved at Old Trafford on matchdays) and has a neat little button-up granddad collar. And that’s it.

So similar are old and new kits that clubs should invite fans to spot five differences to qualify for a discount.

 

Posted: 3rd, July 2017 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comments (3)


Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney ‘bullied’ in yet another body-shaming attack

When Wayne Rooney finally waves adieu to Manchester United, the tabloids will miss him. He’s been an environment of on-the-clock sex, foul-mouthed rants, rethreading and explosions of ferocious power and sublime skill. When he goes the Sun will produce a special souvenir issue with Shrek toys for the kids, phone-box calling cards for the dads and a hailing of the theme tune from The Adams Family for everyone to click along to when the paper is opened.

It’s been easy to take the Wazz out of Wazza. Given the amount to abuse chucked his way, Rooney might well we reappraised as a model of self restraint.

For an age Rooney has been a figure of fun – and the tabloids have been at the forefront of mocking the most gifted English football of his crop. Rooney has been portrayed as thick, fat and ugly.

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

rooney wayne shrek fat

The Sun salutes the captain

wayne rooney sex

 

 

Today the Mirror – the paper that told readers Rooney had been “kicked out” of the club years before he became United’s all-time top goal scorer – points and laughs at the man. In “The remarkable differences between Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with their shirts off”, readers are invited to look at “two men of similar age… and very different physiques: “Take a look at Ronaldo and Rooney and “it’s considerably harder to believe that they are of a similar age… particularly when they go topless.”

 

manchester united rooney mirror fat

 

Imagine this were women the paper was talking about, say, comparing Theresa May’s legs to Nichola Sturgeon’s. When the Daily Mail did just that, the Mirror branded the paper “sexist”. Jeremy Corbyn told the paper that supports his Labour Party: “It’s 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history.” It was, said the paper, a “sexist row”. Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, called Press watchdog IPSO for “breaking the editors” code and treating women with contempt.

But the Mirror sees a paparazzi photo of Rooney on his holidays and says “given how similar Rooney and Ronnie once were, the recent images of the England captain on holiday in Ibiza become particularly interesting when they are put alongside images of his former team mate. Especially when you remember that the Real Madrid superstar is actually eight months OLDER than the United striker…”

This from the paper that talked of “body-shaming bullies”.

Having diced Rooney into body parts – “the abs”; “the tan”; “the modelling potential” – the Mirror heralds another long lens photo of Rooney minding his own business: “Behold the most unflattering image of England’s record goalscorer you have ever seen.”

Maybe to escape the name calling and body-shaming, Rooney should seek out a new career as an MP? One thing for sure: his skin’s thick enough.

Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Will Ronaldo snub Manchester United for the beer?

Much chatter over Cristiano Ronaldo making a return to play in England. Well, it is the summer and off-season since he left the Manchester for Madrid we get the same story.

Apparently, Ronaldo is no longer in love with Real Madrid. The rumours are many and varied. Ronaldo, 32, wants his agent Jorge Mendes to seal a “dream return” to Manchester United, says the Sun. But Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (agent: Jorge Mendez) doesn’t want him, says the Daily Star. In Spain, Marca say Real Madrid may yet twist Ronaldo’s arm to remain at the club.

The Daily Mail says Manchester United have £183m to see if spunking loads of cash will iron out any wrinkles. They’ll offer Madrid that gargantuan sum and David de Gea in exchange for Ronaldo and Spain striker Alvaro Morata. The Mirror says United will offer De Gea plus £175m for Ronaldo.

@OfficialBWFC – Bolton Wanderers – have weighed up the pros and cons and “can confirm we won’t be holding talks with Cristiano Ronaldo.”

German third division side Fortuna Koln will go for him. They have offered Ronaldo a lifetime supply of Kolsh, the local beer.

Ronaldo has yet to make any comment.

Posted: 19th, June 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Wayne Rooney committed to Manchester United months ago

Transfer balls: Is Wayne Rooney staying at Manchester United? The Daily Mail has a scoop:

Wayne Rooney may decide to see out Manchester United contract which has one year left to run

 

manchester united rooney

 

Or to put it another way:  Wayne Rooney may not decide to see out Manchester United contract which has one year left to run.

But there is no maybe about any of it. In February 2017, the BBC told us Rooney was staying.

 

 

And before that, back on November 5 2016, the Observer told us Rooney was saying at Old Trafford:

Wayne Rooney is determined to stay at Manchester United until his contract ends in summer 2019 despite losing his place in the first team.

 

 

Rooney’s not going anywhere.

But the Metro likes to guess:

Rooney china

Readers were told:

The 31-year-old has 18 months left on his deal at Old Trafford but has decided to leave after breaking Bobby Charlton’s scoring record last week.

Nope. He didn’t decide to leave. He decided to stay.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, June 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United agree terms with Griezmann but don’t want him

Transfer balls: Antione Griezmann is not joining Manchester United. United have “shelved plans to sing Grizemann” (Sun); “United interest in Griezmann fades” (Express and Mirror); and “Ant shoved aside as Jose turns to Lukaku” (Daily Star) tells us all we need to know.

 

Griezman united

 

Regular tabloid readers will wonder what happened to the deal Griezmann had agreed to:

 

Antoine Griezman Manchester United

 

Antoine Griezman Manchester United

 

 

 

And then there are the newspapers that co-opt the newsbots into deceiving their readers. Google search engines don’t spot the question marks that punctuate utter balls. They read it as fact.

 

Antoine Griezman Manchester United

 

So why is Griezmann no longer on his way to United? Have they elbowed him aside? No. The Mirror notes that Atletico Madrid have been hit with a transfer ban for signing underage players. This means they Spanish side will “refuse” to sell their star player. So Griezmann stays in Spain.

The Times says he’s tying in Spain because United “decided instead to pursue a target man in light of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s long-term knee injury.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, June 2017 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United’s £300m splurge

Transfer Balls: a look at iffy football transfer reporting. The Daily Mail says Manchester United have targeted “Antoine Griezmann, Andrea Belotti, Romelu Lukaku and Michael Keane in a £300m summer spree”.

That’s spending big. Ian Ladyman has the facts and figures. Or rather, he doesn’t. What he tells readers of which players Jose Mourinho wants at Manchester United is:

There are likely to be four. Burnley defender Michael Keane will be one, with the Lancashire club wanting £30million for the United old boy, while Mourinho wants the Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann to be his stellar signing.

Who else?

Do not be surprised if Marcus Rashford ponders a request to go out on loan, meanwhile. The chances are quite slim of the 19-year-old England striker playing in his favoured position once somebody such as Griezmann arrives.

And that’s it. The headline figure of £300m is fabricated. Ladyman mentions two players, whose combined transfer fees would register around £120m. The other £180m is made up of a sub-editor lobbing in the names Andrea Belotti and Romelu Lukaku.

And because the media works in a continual voracious feeding frenzy, what one newspaper prints the others copy. The Sun duly thunders:

QUIDS IN FOR JOSE Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku, Michael Keane, Andrea Belotti and Eric Dier in staggering £200m-plus transfer spree.

Five players!

The Sun tells readers:

According to The Times, up to £200million has been set aside as Mourinho looks to continue rebuilding the struggling squad he inherited from Louis van Gaal.

But over there, the Times only mentions three players –  “Griezmann, Dier, Keane in £200m spree”.

The trick is to get the names one source makes an educated guess at and then add another and round the price tag up to the nearest £100m.

 

 

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester City and Manchester United players dig deep for the city’s victims

Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure have donated a lot of money to the relief effort following the attack in Manchester Arena.

The Sun says:

Zabaleta showed just why he is so respected as a man across the city […] by donating £90,000 from his final match fee.

Meanwhile, Toure did likewise…

Yaya Toure and his agent Dimitri Seluk to donate £100,000 to help the victims of the attack in Manchester last night

 Seluk later told Sky Sports News:

The news an eight-year-old girl went to see her favourite singer and didn’t return home is too much to bear.

Yaya and I want to help. We talked this morning about what happened and he asked me what he thought we could do.

We have agreed to donate £50,000 each to help the victims of this terrible crime. It doesn’t matter whether the victims are from Manchester or not.

Those of us lucky enough to work every day in football can do so because of the generosity of fans across the world.

Yaya is from Cote D’Ivoire, I am Russian. It doesn’t matter. Today is a chance for those of us in football to help out.

Former Manchester Untied player Phil Neville had a van-load of food delivered to a local children’s hospital after hearing their supplies were running low.

Brilliant.

Posted: 24th, May 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment