Anorak

Back pages | Anorak - Part 23

Back pages Category

Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Manchester United reel as President Mourinho behaves like a man alone in the world

Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands as his hugely expensive side eked out a 0-0 home draw with the mighty Burnley. For the second half, Mourinho got to see what the fans see as he was escorted to a seat in the stands. He then moved to the directors’ box. This was the 13th touchline punishment of Mourinho’s career.

Poor old Jose, eh. Only last week he was moaning about grim life in the Presidential Suite of the city’s five-star Lowry Hotel. “For me it’s a bit of a disaster because I want sometimes to walk a bit and I can’t,” he said in words any regent will surely sympathise with. “I just want to cross the bridge and go to a restaurant. I can’t, so it’s really bad.”

Why was he sent off? Did he just fancy a walk, an early jacuzzi bath and with it an untroubled walk over a bridge and on to eat anything other than room service at a time when he was unlikely to meet many United of City fans, what with them watching their teams play?

“I think the events of recent weeks have got to him,” opines Match Of The Day pundit Danny Murphy.

Moutinho’s assistant Rui Faria adds “I don’t know what happened. It is not important what Jose said. What is important is what the referee writes in his report.”

David Walsh (Sunday Times) thinks Jose was upset by the referee (plus ca change):

Mourinho had stood in the technical area through the first half, not that far from an incident involving his Italian full-back Matteo Darmian and Burnley’s Jon Flanagan. Attempting to get past the Burnley defender, Darmian fell to the ground. Some United players appealed for a penalty but Mark Clattenburg reacted with indifference and replays of the incident supported the referee’s decision.

Mourinho made his feelings known and in terms that Clattenburg deemed unacceptable.

BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan:

…it is pretty safe to presume that Mourinho’s half-time comments towards the officials that earned him his dismissal were connected to Matteo Darmian’s failed penalty appeal just before the break, because the United boss was visibly incensed by that decision while the game continued.

His mood was probably not helped by having to move seats and go into the directors’ box in the second half, because he was initially sitting too close to the dugout.

The Daily Mail sees a problem with Jose at United:

He complained last week about the quality of his life living in a Manchester hotel and there will be those associated with United who will be alarmed that Mourinho’s behaviour will reflect badly on the club. Mourinho refused to speak to media outlets about the incident with Mr Clattenburg, which United say was a verbal altercation.

This is what happens when you live alone, of course. You seek out others to talk with. In the end anyone will do. Having had his fill of trying to strike up conversation with touring businessmen in the hotel bar, couples on romantic mini-breaks and Hen parties in the spa, Jose simply reached out to the nearest person, who just happened to be Mark Clattenburg. Stripped of everyday human contact and now versed only in the language of hotel exchanges, Mourinho most likely asked the ref to turn down his bed for the night and join him for a humble repast of asparagus mouse, almond bon bon and salsa allemande followed by native lobster, fennel & apple, pea mousseline and pepper sabayon topped off by Coconut Malibu Souffle with pineapple sorbet and coffee on the terrace.

Clattenburg probably misconstrued that as some sort of bribe, when it was, of course, a cry for help.

Now let’s take a look around Jose’s digs and wonder if there is one simple solution to all the man’s woes: get a dog.

Posted: 30th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Media Balls: Liverpool beat Crystal Palace in four no penalties thriller

Media Balls: a look at biased footballer reporting. Tonight Liverpool defeated Crystal Palace 4-2 in South London.

The Croydon Advertiser looks at the opening goal in the Premier League encounter:

Liverpool edged the opening stages and took the lead after 15 minutes through Emre Can’s close range finish, after a low delivery from Alberto Moreno. Palace fans in the Main Stand were furious with the assistant referee in front of them, as the left-back looked to have just been in an offside position on the far side.

He was onside.

The Liverpool Echo on the same move:

Predictably, the outstanding Philippe Coutinho was at the heart of it as he picked out Moreno’s run down the left. The Spaniard provided an inviting first-time cross and Can saw his low strike deflected past Steve Mandanda.

No word on any offside in the Liverpool newspaper.

What of the Palace equaliser?

The Croydon Advertiser:

But just under three minutes later and the Eagles were level, thanks to James McArthur. Reds defender Dejan Lovren looked to clear the danger on the edge of the box but sliced upwards, and McArthur nipped in to jump and beat onrushing goalkeeper Karius.

The Echo:

Palace were gifted an equaliser in shambolic circumstances.

There was no whiff of danger when Benteke flicked on Mandanda’s long punt. Matip played it across to Lovren, but under no pressure he produced a woeful backpass which McArthur seized upon. The Scotland international accepted the gift as he nodded over the advancing Loris Karius. It was Lovren’s fault but Karius didn’t exactly cover himself in glory as he bizarrely kept his arms by his side.

Did you spot the penalties not given?

The Echo:

Klopp’s men should have had a penalty when Ward handled Coutinho’s goal-bound header from Firmino’s cross. The defender’s intervention enabled Mandanda to tip it on to the post but the officials failed to spot the indiscretion.

The Advertiser has no word on that inciden , but does mention this one:

Palace felt they should have had a penalty after two claims within the same passage of play.

Zaha looked to have been clipped right on the edge of the area and went down – but he got up and delivered low for Benteke, who went ground under pressure, but referee Andre Marriner wasn’t interested and gave a corner.

What says the Echo about that?

Hearts were in mouths when Zaha twice took a tumble in the box, while Benteke also went down in a heap after a challenge from Matip. But to Marriner’s credit, he didn’t fall for any theatrics.

A penalty or acting? Lets see what a non-local source says:

Daily Telegraph: “Zaha had a good claim to a penalty when sent flying on the edge of the box by Lovren. And Benteke too looked to have been blocked by Matip.”

The Crystal Palace FC website:

It was all the home side during the first 20 minutes of the second half who also had three penalty appeals turned down…

Mentions of the penalty shouts on the official Liverpool FC website: none.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comments (2)


Media Balls: Arsenal riot, Sunderland’s fightback, Moyes’ blinkers and missing the penalty

Media Balls: a look at reporting on football matches. Today we look at Sunderland 1 – Arsenal 4 in the Premier League. Are news organs biased?

Sunderland Echo: “David Moyes feels scoreline harsh on Black Cats.”

Says Moyes.

“I think it was tough and I certainly don’t think we deserved to lose 4-1.”

He’s right. How they scored 1 was odd. Sunderland had a single shot on target over the 93 minutes – and that was from the penalty spot.

“We worked hard, really hard to stay in the game first half when Arsenal were very good. We stuck at it and I thought we grew into the game second half. And at that point I thought we were the better team when we got back into the game at one each. But their quality all over the pitch is always going to cause you a problem.”

Arsenal were pretty good in the second half, too, and found their finishing boots.

The paper has one more story on the match. Story two nails it in the headline. “Sunderland 1 Arsenal 4: Black Cats plunge further into relegation trouble after Gunners run riot.”

The paper looks at an Arsenal penalty appeal: “Sanchez had a strong penalty appeal turned down, with Kone appearing to trip the Arsenal forward inside the area. His theatrics earlier possibly going against him.”

The BBC says of that: “Arsenal were still smarting from referee Martin Atkinson not awarding them a penalty for Kone appearing to pull back Sanchez when Defoe gave Sunderland hope.”

The Guardian: “Arsenal were furious not to be awarded a legitimate looking penalty when Koné caught Sánchez on the back of the leg and sent him tumbling in the area.”

A pull? A trip? A catch? Theatrics.

The Islington Gazette doesn’t mention the failed penalty appeal at all – it looked a foul. The Arsenal local paper is generous to praise Sunderland fans:

Sunderland’s passionate fans were right behind the team from the off. And the fact they average more than 40,000, and, incredibly, took 1,200 fans to Southampton this week for a League Cup game, was reason enough to believe their team weren’t going to lie down and die.

There were many less in the ground when the final whistle blew. The Guardian:

Mid-way through the second half the ground began emptying. For many the pain of watching Sunderland register a record equalling worst start to a Premier League season was simply too painful too witness but they missed out on some exquisite football from Arsenal.

The Sun appears to have been watching a different match:

With Arsenal dominating and Sunderland making to make any impact, Duncan Watmore inspired a Black Cats fightback, racing clear on goal, only to be brought down by Petr Cech.

A fightback? Sunderland scored on minute 65.  Their fightback was followed by goals for Arsenal on minutes 78′ minutes, Giroud 76 and  71 minutes.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Rooney to quit Manchester United for La Galaxy, China and Inter Milan

Manchester United’s fading star Wayne Rooney could be on his way to the MSL Retirement Village. Steven Gerrard is soon to be leaving US soccerfoot’s LA Galaxy, meaning the club will have a spare slot for an English player past his prime, one of their so-called “designated players” who can break the league’s wage cap.

Will the lure of burgers, Botox and the latest hair restorative techniques lure Rooney to California? Can the Galaxians pay the £300,000 per week Rooney earns at Old Trafford? The England captain has two years left to run on that deal. Although the Sun wrongly says, “Rooney still has four years left on his massive £300,000-a-week contract but United are reluctant to increase the wages of the ageing England international who turns 31 in October.”

A pay rise? No chance. He could just sit tight and become a free agent in two years time.

The Sun refers to Rooney’s situation as the “Manchester United outcast’s misery”. Poor Wayne wants to stay at United until he gets the four goals to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s club scoring record of 249. That’s not an easy thing ton do when you don’t play.

One day earlier, the Sun told us that Rooney was not miserable just “out of favour”, and Inter Milan wanted him.

In 2015, the Mail said the Chinese Super League were all set to offer Wayne Rooney “an eye-watering £75million deal” to join them. The Express upped that and said Rooney was the subject of a “£100million bid from the Chinese Super League”.

One thing is certain: Rooney holds the cards and the cash.

 

Posted: 28th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Can you name the former Arsenal player in this absurd quote?

Can you guess which former Arsenal player is being talked about here?

“He’s had a huge impact on the club and Singapore football. Someone of his stature and, frankly, quite iconic status engenders an excitement and vibe which was much needed for Singapore football in the early stages of the season. While the club could afford his wages, it would also send the wrong message to all the other players that one player is getting a super-scale salary while the others have to take a pay cut. It would create a social injustice.”

Answer: Tampines Rovers boss suit Krishna Ramachandra on Jermaine Pennant’s reluctance to accept a reduction in his reported £23,495-a-month salary.

Posted: 28th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Liverpool buy Emeka Obi on the cheap

Liverpool FC transfer news now as the Reds line up a bid for Bury’s 15-year-old Emeka Obi, described in the Mail as a “promising 6ft 5in central defender”.

Obi will cost Liverpool a six figure sum, which could be anything from £100,000 to one pound short of a million. Bury have sensibly included in the agreement any ad-ons should Obi prove brilliant – or at least as good as John Stones – and worth tens of millions.

The Indy call Obi the “Most talented 15-year-old in the country”.

If he’s that good, why are Bury selling him for for so low a fee? Don’t they have ambition to make the player one of their own and see if he really can handle the pressure of being a regular starter in the first XI?

This is a clue. In January 2016, the Bury Times reported: “BURY have been hit with a winding up petition by HM Revenue and Customs following an unpaid £156,000 tax bill.” The bill was paid. The taxman was too quick off the mark. But it’s all about the money. A rich club like Liverpool can buy Obi not because he’s fantastic but because they can’t pass over the chance that one day he might be.

Expect to see Obi out on loan at lower league clubs very soon.

 

Posted: 28th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal’s Ozil boosts his pay with a Fenerbahce offer

Transfer balls: The Daily Star says Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, 28, was involved in transfer talks over the summer. The club? Fenerbahce.

It would be remarkable were the German star to leave the Gunners for the Turkish side.

The Daily Star says this is an “Arsenal transfer bombshell”. It says Ozil has held “secret talks with another club” during a 17-hour stay in Istanbul. The Sun agrees: “Ozil held secret talks with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.”

The source for this is Hurriyet, which says Ozil will “surely play for Fenerbahce in the coming years”.

How they know this is moot. We only know that Ozil is engaged in talks to extend his Arsenal deal. Talk of another rich club getting involved should hurry things along and up any offer, right?

And none of this is new news. In 2015, the Metro reported that Ozil could be on his way to Fenerbahce.

The Express reported: “Arsenal to receive ‘serious’ bid for Mesut Ozil next summer – agent.”

Vatan reported that the source of all this is Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim, who made it know that he loves Ozil.

Anyone smell the agent’s fingers in this balls?

Posted: 28th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United toilets go down a bomb with kak-handed Manchester City fans

Much talk of football returning to the 1980s. As West Ham and Chelsea fans clashed last night – aggro that included a nasty twist on donating to good causes by throwing coins with malice at disabled children – up in Manchester fans of Manchester City reacted badly to defeat in the League Cup at Manchester United by breaking sinks.

 

The Sun reminds us that earlier this season Rangers fans broke toilets after defeat to Celtic.

 

Smashing up toilets and sinks used by your own fans is a bit odd, no? How else will fans be able to wash their hands after going? Football is now so sanitised it’s not far-fetched to think of stewards checking hands for germs before allowing fans inside the ground.

And tempting, perhaps, for United to leave the away fans’ Old Trafford bogs like that and pass the destruction off as an oversight. In May 2016, United managed to miss a fake bomb tied to a toilet door.

If all this argy-bargy marks a return to the 1980s, fans unable to find a toilet or sink to urinate in will doubtless be using the old method of wazzing in the pocket of the fan in front.

Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho joins the sack race

So here is its. Just two months into the new Premier League season and there’s the first talk of Manchester United sacking Jose Mourinho. Days after we all learned that Mourinho’s best team is Chelsea – the Blues thrashed United 4-0; and that Paul Pogba, the world’s costliest player, has all the abilities of a solid £25m buy – the BBC alludes to Jose’s defenestration.

The Beeb says “former Paris St-Germain manager Laurent Blanc is stalling on signing an agreement to replace Frank de Boer at Inter, because he believes he could replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United”.

The Sun has more on what Blanc apparently believes.

“LAUR NEXT, ” puns the paper. “Ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc holds off Inter Milan talks as he waits to Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford tenure to unravel.”

The story runs:

The Serie A giants are eyeing the Frenchman to replace under-fire manager Frank De Boer who is on the verge of the sack at the San Siro club.

Two says ago, the Sun told its readers: “Inter close to sacking Frank de Boer with Diego Simeone and even Francesco Guidolin all in the frame.” No mention of Blanc then. But today it’s all about Blanc because, well, doing so enables the paper to engage in the thing it loves most: talking about Mourinho.

The Sun adds:

Blanc is in no rush for a new role after spending three years at PSG and following United’s stuttering start to the season, he wants to see how Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford pans out.

It’s panning out like this:

The Portuguese boss is under increasing pressure after matching David Moyes’ record after nine matches. Mourinho shares exactly the same point tally but Moyes’ side had scored one goal more.

Lest anyone think that United under Mourinho are dull – they are – Sir Alex Ferguson takes time out from blathering about management techniques to tell everyone: “The rivalry and the experience of Guardiola and Mourinho makes for an exciting competition.”

In short: Don’t watch United; keep your eye on Mourinho. It’s the way he likes it.

Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


West Ham and Chelsea fans give the 1980s a bad name

The good news is that if the 1980s have returned to West Ham, as one BBC pundit says they have, the team might win a Cup. The bad news is that fans might leave the club’s ground in a St John’s ambulance. In a bid to make the rented athletics stadium their own, West Ham throwbacks took plastic bottles, seats and coins about the place as the players beat Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic says: “We are totally against it as a club.” Well, quite. Such antics do little to market the ‘brand’ to potential investors, although a few Russian nutters could see West Ham London (that’s what it says on the new badge) as a kind of home from home.

Chelsea season ticket holders Paul Streeter and his eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, were sitting in the disabled section and got caught up in the violence. He tells the BBC:

“My daughter was hit with seven coins all over her body. We were watching the game in the front row near to the home fans – suddenly there’s a whole load of coins coming over. Other kids were hit, it was not just my daughter. Stewards and police were not reacting. They should have dragged the crowd back and dealt with them.”

West Ham fan and blogger Sean Whetstone told BBC Radio 5:

“Football has trouble, but it is not reported elsewhere. There is trouble at Stamford Bridge every season when West Ham play Chelsea. It feels like there is an agenda against West Ham. There is a limited amount of police inside the stadium. It is the stewards’ job to sort that out inside the stadium. They have learned a lot already but there is much to do. It is a new stadium, an iconic stadium and I believe that a small amount of away fans come to prove a point.”

He had us up to ‘iconic stadium’. The marketing guff extends to the fans, too.

In other news, the BBC also notes:

Claims that homophobic anti-Chelsea song sheets were distributed at West Ham’s London Stadium are being investigated. Hammers fan Nadeem Qureshi posted an image of one of the flyers, urging fans to sing homophobic lyrics about Chelsea captain John Terry, on social media.

Here’s what a fan was handing out at the match:

 

West ham homophobic song

 

 

The rule of any chant is that it should be catchy or funny. That is neither. And that fact that any fan is handing out song sheets at the football, where once spontaneity ruled, is a sign of how unlike the 1980s the anodyne Premier League is.

It’s the rarity of the aggro that makes it newsworthy.

 

Posted: 27th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: injured Eric Bailly finds God’s unwilling to save his 2016

Manchester United fans can read in the Mirror that their team’s defender Eric Bailly is injured and will not play again in 2016. Readers are told: “MANCHESTER UNITED are on red alert with the fear of Eric Bailly being out for the rest of the year.”

It’s an “exclusive” story.

It should not be confused with the non-exclusive story reported by the Mail, Evening Standard, the BBC and more that Bailly will miss the next two months. The Guardian notes: “Manchester United’s Eric Bailly out until Christmas with knee injury.”

Having added another week onto Bailly’s estimated rehabilitation schedule and presented it as an “exclusive”, the Mirror goes for the bonus balls by thundering: “Eric Bailly hopes to play for Manchester United before year’s end despite knee ligament injury.” Hope if swiftly followed by pragmatism: “Manchester United are preparing to be without their star centre-back for the rest of 2016 following his second-half injury against Chelsea.”

That comes after Bailly tweeted: “I hope to be able to play again for United and The Elephants before 2 months, God willing. Thanks for always being there!”

Look out for the Mirror’s next big news story: “EXCLUSIVE: BAILLY says only god can save his 2016.”

 

Posted: 26th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Rodrigo Bentancur is the Uruguayan Manchester United missed

Transfer balls: the saw Rodrigo Bentancur, 19, is not heading to Manchester United. The Uruguayan is off to Juventus, who bought half his rights for £6.7m.

The Sun says the Italians got fist dibs on the “Argentine player” when they sold Carlos Tevez to Boca Juniors in 2015.  The paper says Juventus are “at the front of the queue for Boca players until April 2017”.

 

 

the sun Bentancur

 

Juventus wanted Bentancur included in a swap deal for Tevez. But Juve settled on first-refusal.

Boca president Daniel Angelici told TyC Sports: “It is already signed. When I was in Switzerland recently Juventus informed me that they were going to activate the option so I will travel to Turin soon in order to complete the deal. I think it’s very good business for Boca. Juventus will pay £6.7m for 50 per cent of his rights… He must have something because there were a lot of clubs interested. Real Madrid made a proposal, Manchester [United] also came and Milan made a €14m formal offer to sign him.”

In January, the Mail told its readers Bentacur was off to Real Madrid. He never did go.

Interestingly, 442 magazine reported: “Jorge Mendes is interested in buying his [Bentacur’s] economic rights before loaning him to a European club.” That’s the same Jorge Mendes who manages Jose Mourinho, the Manchester United manger.

Football transfers really are very peculiar business.

Posted: 20th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ivan’s pay eclipses all

Money in football is always a news story to get people angry and agitated. The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face “intense questioning from shareholders” over his salary .

The BBC says he earns £2.65m a year. Better perhaps to break his salary down into weekly components, much as the media does for players. It’s about £51,000 a week.

The Daily Mail picks up the story. “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis faces flak over £1m jackpot,” says the headline. Charles Sale tells of Ivan’s “extraordinary” salary. Is it that extraordinary?

In 2014, the HuffPost told us Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre earns a basic £1,311,975 salary and a £500,000 “supplement” for each full year he completes after his 60th birthday. The Mail’s chief executive earns over £2m a year.

So what is extraordinary about a top executive at a large company earning such a sum?

The Mail told readers in March 2016, Aston Villa’s chief executive Tom Fox earned £1.25m.

 

Pay football club chief executives

 

Maybe Ivan’s being underpaid.

In 2016, the Guardian reported: “UK’s top bosses received 10% pay rise in 2015 as average salary hit £5.5m.” (Guardian chief David Pemsel gets a £600k salary.)

Sale then takes a flight of fancy:

The Emirates Stadium summit…is normally used by Arsenal fans to interrogate manager Arsene Wenger about his transfer plans. But with the Gunners joint top of the table, Gazidis will be in the firing line instead.

Fans will more worried about the chief exec’s pay than they will playing matters?

No. They won’t be.

Posted: 20th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Ched Evans lets the knowing elite give football a kicking

Ched Evans continues to excite the Press. In the Mirror, David Kidd writes beneath the headline “Ched Evans acted like a scumbag, but that’s no excuse for this systematic kicking football is getting.”

Kidd says mixing with lots of footballers has not left him with “the impression that they are a group of men who are contemptuous of women”. Adding that “footballers are easy scapegoats for an establishment dominated by inherited wealth and private schooling which dislikes their game.”

Ched Evans, a lowlife innocent of rape, no more epitomises the game any more than Jimmy Savile is a typical children’s entertainer. Evans represents himself only. So why does Kidd use him to support his own prejudices against those who went to fee-paying schools and are lucky enough to have well-off parents?

It’s not just toffs in positions of authority who, when not parading footballers as role models for inept and slack-jawed football fans, want to give footballers a good kicking.

When Chelsea fans prevented a black Frenchman from boarding a train in Paris, Nick Clegg told one and all, “I was so ashamed.” It is pretty much the only evidence we can find of Clegg expressing shame for anything.

Footballers and football fans behaving badly gives the elite what they want: someone to make them look good.

Giving football a shoeing is nothing new. In 1985 a Sunday Times editorial called it “a slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums”.

Of course, Clegg did go to public school. so let’s hear form someone who did not. Get this from Caitlin Moran in the Times, who in 2014 through Evans was forced to reconsider her belief in redemption:

Perhaps young, rich, fit, unrepentant men who have raped do need to see their lives reduced to ash – without prospect of forgiveness, employment or absolution – until the day they die. I’m starting to see the sense in choosing, say, a hundred rapists and making their lives publicly, endlessly awful – unrelentingly humiliating, without prospect of absolution. Of making them famous for being appalling; regarded as untouchable. So that men become terrified of raping, in the same way women are terrified of being raped. So that rapists spend their lives dealing with the night they raped in the same way women currently do.

Perhaps the only way society can be good – to progress; to change – is to stop believing in redemption for a while. Perhaps redemption does women no good at all.

One law for the rich footballer – who, it must be said, was unrepentant because he always maintained his innocence, something now on the law books as fact – and one law for all other kinds of criminals and crimes.

Posted: 19th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Reviews | Comment


Manchester United’s Anthony Martial says he didn’t refer to ‘Anthony Martial’ in ‘fake’ Daily Mirror interview

Did you see the Anthony Martial interview in the Daily Mirror? The Manchester United player did, tweeting:

 

anthony martial daily mirror

 

In “Anthony Martial insists Manchester United fans haven’t seen him at his best yet”, the Mirror’s Chris Hatherall shares Martial’s words. No sources are cited. As for the player’s comments, well the highlight is when he talks of himself in the third person: “I don’t think you have seen the true Martial at Man United yet. I know I can perform better, I know I can do more.”

 

anthony martial daily mirror

 

That line is repeated in the Sun:

Martial told the Mirror: “It’s a big season for me and I want to be better than last year. I don’t think you have seen the true Martial at Man United yet. I know I can perform better, I know I can do more.

“But I’m convinced this season can be my year. It’s a feeling I have.”

Maybe another Anthony Martial spoke to the Mirror?

 

Posted: 18th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The myth of racism in football and a need to trial The Rooney Rule

The Daily Mirror’s headline is unequivocal: former Manchester United and Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke is a victim of racism. The headline states: “YORKE: I’m Being Held Back By Racism.”

 

Jose Mourinho cat

 

To further drum the point home, the Mirror adds: “Wannabe manager Dwight Yorke insists racism is stopping him even getting INTERVIEWS for jobs.”

The story begins:

“You keep hitting a wall, keep constantly not getting anywhere” says ex-Man United star who has the coaching badges but cannot get his foot in the door

That’s a pretty big claim. Football is just about the least racist industry in the UK – a quarter of Premier League playing staff are black. Why should Yorke, discovered by the then Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor on a tour of the West Indies in 1989, think racism is stopping his career?

The Mirror is adamant:

Ex-Manchester United striker Yorke insists racism in football has stopped him and other retired stars breaking into management.

Only racism has prevent Yorke from becoming a manager? No. Reading on we get a qualifier:

He says he has completed his coaching badges but is convinced his colour has played a part in stopping him from building a career in England.

The Mirror did not get the story. It is repackaging Yorke’s words to beIN Sports, in which he said:

“I’m still looking to get in. I’ve done all the coaching badges at St George’s and the one thing I find very difficult, let alone get a job, is to even get an interview. I’m finding it very, very difficult at the moment. Yes, you are doing all your coaching, all your badges, but then when it comes to getting a job, you are not even getting an interview. It’s all about who you know as well, that has to play a role. Despite all my experience of being a player, I’ve never had the experience of being a manager which is a different concept from being a coach.”

So a lack of experience and not knowing the right people are factors in his failure to secure a managerial job.

BeIn Sports not Yorke brought up race. Yorke responded:

When asked whether it was down to his lack of managerial experience or his colour, Yorke replied: “I think there’s a bit of both there. I genuinely think there’s a bit of both. It’s often been discussed, no-one has really taken it up, but I do have a tendency when I speak to everybody, certainly black players who are trying to break into managerial department are coming up against the same concept because of your race.”

There are no black managers in the Premier League. There are, however, many foreign-born managers. Only six of the current crop are British.

Yorke adds:

“You keep constantly hitting a wall, keep constantly not getting anywhere and even with all the noises that I’ve made, I’ve even tried to get in at Villa at this point. What I’m saying is that it would have been nice to just have your thoughts heard.

“OK, maybe you will never get a chance to be a manager but it would be nice to go in there, present yourself, get to know that person and [have them] say, ‘OK, Dwight, we like your concept, but you’re not experienced enough. Go away and do this or do that.'”

It’s hard to comment on York’s efforts to get a managerial job without knowing to which clubs he’s applied. Were Villa ever likely to take on an ex-player with no managerial track record to be their figurehead?

The Indy twists Yorke’s words a little to deliver the headline:

Dwight Yorke says being black is stopping him becoming a manager after missing out on Aston Villa job

To link Aston Villa with racism is absurd and unfair. And it wasn’t simply missing out on the Villa job that shaped his thoughts.

The Indy adds:

Ryan Giggs does not have a large managerial history to fall back on though, and the fact that he was installed as the bookmakers’ favourite for the Swansea job when Francesco Guidolin was sacked does support Yorke’s argument, given he has not been able to secure an interview at clubs in the lower tiers of English football.

Again that’s absurd, too. Giggs didn’t get that job. He tried and failed. Swansea appointed a foreigner. The bookies made Giggs the favourite because, well, he’s Welsh. What other reason was there? Swansea is owned by Americans – and they appointed one of their own. Gary Neville scored his first managerial job at Valencia on the strength of coaching a poor England side and being mates with the Spanish club’s owner.

Worse than that is the hype that misrepresents Yorke, who was circumspect and measured in his words. The tabloid twist makes for sensation. Rather than investigating racism in football’s boardrooms, they could look at racism on what passes for Fleet Street. See any top-flight editors, chairmen of the board, managing editors, new editors and so on?

But Yorke’s views do make us wonder why with so many black players there are so few notable black managers?

Former player turned media pundit Jason Roberts said it was due to “unconscious bias” at best or “possibly racism” at worst.

Cyrille Regis opined: “As a player, it’s tangible. You can hear the racist chants, you can see the bananas on the pitch and you can react to it, but when you are going for jobs and interviews and putting your CVs in, you can’t really tell somebody’s heart where they’re coming from, what prejudices they have inside of them.”

The football league is looking to introduce The Rooney Rule:

The ‘Rooney Rule’ was established in 2003 and named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee. It requires NFL teams to interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation opportunities that become available, as part of a transparent and open recruitment process

Brian Collins noted in the New York Law Review: “A decision-maker harbouring unconscious bias is forced to confront his own partiality by meeting face-to-face with a candidate he might never have considered.”

Time to help black managers and would-be black managers – and with it encourage more black faces to consider a role in management.

Posted: 18th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Manchester United bore Liverpool with Mourinho’s media ‘masterclass’

Last night Liverpool and Manchester United bored the watching public to their second 0-0 on Premier League history. Manchester United were unambitious, carrying 35% possession, their lowest total in a Premier League match since Opta began recording this data in 2003-04.

Jose Mourinho side have won their lowest points total after his first eight league games with a new club since his time with Uniao de Leiria (10 points).

The BBC say the game was “rubbish”.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says: “No one will show this game in 10 or 20 years.”

Chris Crocker adds: “Reality is if Van Gaal’s team had played like that every ‘expert’ would be slating him for weeks. Jose does it he is a genius.”

Not everyone. But some, yes.

 

Jose wins

 

Jose Mourinho cat

 

This is what Neil Curtis said in the Sun on the morning of the big match:

JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era. That is why he will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’…

Mourinho is up for another tactical masterclass just like he delivered two years ago…

The Portuguese said: “Last season Liverpool vs United and Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one and the result was 0-1. I don’t think that is going to happen again.”

It didn’t. Last night United had one shot on target and failed to score. Under Van Gaal United player Liverpool four times in the Premier League. They won them all.

 

Manchester United

 

It’s all about Mourinho in the media. The BBC holds a debate on the United manager with itself:

 

Vintage Jose Mourinho

 

“Is this a new United way?” asks the BBC. Yes there is, says the BBC.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 09.32.07

 

How United fans will be thrilled by supporting a pragmatic team.

Says Jose Mourinho:

“I think was a positive performance. If you analyse the game see the reason why did it, playing Young and Fellaini. We had control of the game – there were two amazing saves by David de Gea it’s true but they were out of context. The reaction from their crowd was permanent disappointment. People expected us to come here and be really in trouble, which we were not.”

To recap: United were boring when they won at Liverpool with a philosophy; United are exciting and new when they draw 0-0 with a “masterclass” and a “new way”.

Still, at least Jose has won over the media. Van Gaal never did.

Posted: 18th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: former Liverpool star Mascherano in tumultuous Barcelona deal

Transfer balls: Are Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, formerly of Liverpool and West Ham United, and Brazil’s Neymar heading to the Premier League? The media has been full of news and views that both want to play in the PL.

Sky Sports brings news that Mascherano has signed his contract extension at Barcelona, committing to the club until June 2019.

 

A statement on Barcelona’s official website reads: “Javier Mascherano put pen to paper on his improved contract extension with FC Barcelona that will keep him at the club until June 30, 2019.”

Facts.

Daily Mirror, March 22, 2016: “Barcelona utility man Javier Mascherano tipped for Premier League return this summer.”

Tipped by whom? The Mirror never said.

Daily Mirror, March 25: “Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano agrees personal terms with Juventus in stunning blow to Nou Camp club.”

Juventus do not play in the Premier League. They play in Italy.

Daily Mail, May 25, 2016: “Barcelona defence in turmoil as Javier Mascherano agrees three-year deal with Juventus”.

He didn’t. He stayed at Barcelona. There was no news.

 

 

Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Rewriting history of make Mourinho the scourge of Liverpool

In readiness for Liverpool v Manchester United – now horribly billed ‘El Classico UK’ – the Sun’s Man Neil Custis is here to praise United boss Jose Mourinho.

‘JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era.”

He is? Under Van Gaal. United did pretty well against the Reds.

On the match Liverpool 1 – Manchester United 2, for example, Alan Shearer noted on Match of the Day: “United moved the ball quickly and they passed it well too – their one or two-touch football has clearly improved massively of late. But the most impressive part of their performance in the first 45 minutes at Anfield was their intensity when they did not have possession.”

Van Gaal’s record against Liverpool:

December 14th 2014
Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool
Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie

March 22nd 2015
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United
Juan Mata x 2

September 12th 2015
Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool
Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial.

January 17th 2016
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

United: W4 D0 L0 GF9 GA2
Liverpool: W0 D0 L4 GF2 GA9

The BBC said of the last encounter:

This was every inch a game between sides sitting sixth and ninth in the Premier League before kick-off.

This time round, Liverpool are fourth and United are seventh. But free football maestro Mourinho is here to enliven and thrill.

Curtis adds:

“That is why he [Mourinho] will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’.”

This is what Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has to say in the Times about when Mourinho’s Chelsea came to Anfield on April 27, 2014.

“I will never forget the way they played the game. It was very slow, they sat in. It was difficult to watch. Throw-ins, goal kicks, they were taking forever and that got everyone worked up in the stadium and it worked to their advantage because they got the result they came for — one that had a big impact on us not winning the league.

“It wasn’t a nice game to watch…”

Not boring. Just awful. Still, a win’s a win, right?

 

Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal gazump themselves in Ozil contract talks

Transfer balls: Will Arsenal keep Mesut Ozil beyond his contract, which expires in 2018? The media has been chattering about this for months.

Today Sky Sports says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger “believes challenging for titles” will “convince” Ozil to sign an Arsenal contract extension.

Or as Wenger puts it, “I don’t think he needs convincing.” Ah. “He wants to stay here. If you have a good bank, call me! It’s not just money. Arsenal can win titles of course. But that’s what we have to show. We are in a league where Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, everybody fights and you cannot guarantee that.”

The BBC says says Arsenal “will have to spend big” to keep the German.

How big?

The Daily Mirror says Ozil wants £200,000-a-week.

In May he got it because back then the Mirror told us: “Wenger is ready to make Mesut Ozil Arsenal’s first £200,000-a-week player.”

The Independent says Özil “wants £250,000-a-week“.

The Metro says, “Gunners confident Mesut Ozil will sign new £180,000-a-week deal.”

The Metro also says Ozil wants a “£160,000-per-week contract”.

They haven’ got a clue, have they.

 

Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United’s Mourinho insults Liverpool boss Klopp and makes it all about him

Ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United the temperature is being cranked up. In the Times, we read “Klopp antics are mocked by Mourinho”.  The paper says United manager Jose Mourinho has “ridiculed” Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

“I’m on the touchline to try to coach,” says Mourinho, who “then waved his arms in the air, mimicking Klopp”. “I’m not on the touchline . . . [doing this].”

This is Mourinho, of course, who makes a big play of not commenting on other teams and only ever talking about his players (Anorak ad passim).

Mourinho added to his pre-mach snark by wondering aloud if the game’s referee, Anthony Taylor, who lives a few miles from Old Trafford, would have a “a very good performance”. “I think Mr Taylor is a very good referee,” judged Mourinho, “but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.”

In other ‘Look at me’ news, Mourinho manager talked about one of his player, albeit to blame the Press for Wayne Rooney’s poor form. “I think what hurt you could do, you did already,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think you can do more than what you did, so I think in this moment it is time for him to recover from what was done to him and the best place for him to do that is feeling like he feels at home here.”

All typical siege mentality stuff from Jose: insult your rival; question the referee’s abilities; blame everyone else.

And the Press love it.

Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool Mourinho Klopp Manchester United Liverpool

 

One paper does lead with Klopp. The Star has the Liverpool manger sticking up for Mourinho.

 

Klopp

 

It’s not hard to see which of Mourinho or Klopp is more worried.

Posted: 17th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Media balls: eight reasons Burnley scored a penalty at Southampton

Media bias: a look at monocular football reporting. when Southampton beat Burnley 3-1, the away team’s goal came via the penalty sport. Should it have been given? What was it given for? The reporters reveal all:

Daily Star: “Definitely not what you’d call a stonewall penalty.”

Southampton Echo: “Referee Mike Dean felt Tadic had fouled Ben Mee, allowing Sam Vokes to become the first to score against Southampton in 612 minutes.”

Southampton Echo Live blog: “Looked soft, but referee Dean is in no doubt… Dusan Tadic shoved over Ben Mee in the box.”

Burnley Express: “Clarets striker Sam Vokes scored a late consolation from the spot for the Clarets after Ben Mee had been felled by Tadic.”

Lancashire Telegraph: “Southampton 3 Burnley 1. Mike Dean gives a pen for a block on Mee from a corner. Vokes sends penalty down the middle.”

The Guardian: “Don’t pull an opponent’s shirt when Mike Dean’s in town. Tadic has done so, and it’s a penalty to Burnley.”

The Indy: “Referee Dean took pity on Burnley, awarding a very soft penalty after Ben Mee collided with Tadic

Daily Mail: “Dusan Tadic did nothing more than stand his ground as Ben Mee goes to ground underneath him”

The Sun: “Classic Mike Dean. He’s given one against Dusan Tadic for giving the slightest nudge to Ben Mee in the box at a corner. Never a spot kick.”

The penalty was given for a feeling, a shove, felling, a block, pulling a shirt, colliding, standing your ground and nudging.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal v Swansea balls: Xhaka’s mad red card, Walcott’s cruel misses and Swans pride

Media Balls: a look at reporting on Arsenal v Swansea City in the Premier League. Arsenal won the pulsating game 3-2.

Arsenal’s Xhaka was given a straight red card in the 70th minute for a cynical trip on the half-way line. What says the media?

Luke Redy (BBC):

Arsenal saw Xhaka sent off for a petulant trip and despite seeing Walcott squander two late chances, they held on as Swansea equalled their worst start to a league season.

The Sun employs two journalists – two – (Duncan Wright and Sam Morgan) to report:

THEO WALCOTT was cruelly denied a hat-trick…

No. Walcott was denied a hat-trick because having scored a brace he bhit a post and then missed a simple chance from about five yards out. The BBC calls it “one of the misses of the season”.

The Sun then delivers a typo – “the ball ruled across the line without going in“. got that – it ‘ruled’ [rolled?] across the line but did not go in.

 

the sun balls arsenal

 

The Guardian says of the Xhaka red card:

Barrow had outstripped Xhaka and the Arsenal player’s reaction was cynical in the extreme.

The Mail notes:

Xhaka lunged at him from behind and brought him down. Referee Jon Moss showed him a straight red card, which seemed harsh.

Says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “It looked harsh to me. A dark yellow. But the referee went for a bright red.”

In the Islington Gazette (Arsenal’s local rag) the red card is headline news:

Ten man Arsenal beat Swansea City 3-2 after open game marred by Granit Xhaka’s harsh sending off

Layth Yousif writes:

Yes it was a cynical trip. But a straight red when there were plenty of men covering and no apparent danger. If new rules were designed to clarify situations such as these, the fear is that changes – however well-intentioned – have only served to muddy the waters. Again.

In the South Wales Evening Post (Swansea’s local news source), the headline accentuates the positives:

Arsenal 3 Swansea City 2: Bob Bradley’s team proud in defeat against 10-man Gunners

Xhaka’s afternoon then went from bad to worse, the Swiss hardman seeing red for a cynical challenge on Modou Barrow. Arsenal protests were waved away by referee Jon Moss.

And Walcott’s hat-trick, the one the Sun says he was “cruelly denied”?

Walcott misses a sitter just before the full-time whistle. Swansea gave 10-man Arsenal a massive fright here

As for the red card, the rules were altered, as the BBC writes:

Players who commit a foul to deny a goalscoring opportunity will no longer automatically be sent off, football’s rule-making body has confirmed. The previous ‘triple-punishment’ rule required a red card – and therefore a suspension – as well as the award of a penalty under those circumstances.

However, players committing accidental fouls that deny a goalscoring chance will now be cautioned instead. But deliberate fouls will still incur a red card.

Those include holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball in order to deny a goalscoring opportunity.

Was this a goalscoring opportunity?

 

Posted: 15th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Spurs Balls: all hail the newest new Messi

Have you seen the ‘New Messi”, a player the Sun dubs “Mini Messi” after the brilliant Barcelona player? He’s called Marcus Edwards. He’s 17. And he plays for Spurs. Well, Spurs reservers because this new Messi isn’t good enough play for the first XI.

Having dubbed him Mini Messi, the Sun then says, “When he’s got a bag full of Ballon d’Ors like his La Liga nick-namesake you can compare him with Messi.”

Or when you’ve got  column to fill.

PS:  The Mini Messi tag is attributed to a few words Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino shared on 5ft 5-inches of Marcus Edwards. He said: “His qualities … it’s only looks – his body and the way that he plays – remember a little bit from the beginning of Messi.”

Yeah, he’s a little bit like Messi was before he became exceptional.

PPS: The real Messi was 16 years, four months, and 23 days old when he made his debut in the Barcelona first team. Spurs’s Messi is 17 and still waiting.

Add him to the list.

 

Posted: 15th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Gareth Bale and the obscenity of a £350,000-a-week tax bill

Is Gareth Bale obscene? The only comment beneath the Times’s article on the likeable Wales and Real Madrid player says he is. The story is that “Bale expects Real to match Ronaldo’s £750k a week.” The comment says: “Obscene amounts milked from the fans – disgusting!”

There is is again, that footballer’s salary being delivered in terms of money-per-week. It’s a huge number when delivered in terms of yearly wage: £39m. But it’s too big for all but a very few of us to relate to. Break the cash into weekly instalments and readers can easily compare it to their own yearly wage.

How dare Bale – the player who quickens the pulse and gives us “I was there’ moments – earn vast sums of money for kicking a ball. How dare a man who adds a crackle of excitement to weekends and summers make so much cash. Better the club kept the huge sums and used the money to invest in grounds and pay bigger dividends to shareholders. How dare a working-class lad who never went to college earn so much money.

The Times says Bale earns a net salary of “£260,000 a week”. He wants to join Ronaldo in “an elite group of global sports stars who earn £20 million a year after tax, with gross weekly wages of £750,000.”

Wow, indeed. Bale will pay £19m a year in tax – £365,000 every week to the Spanish government!

Do you find that obscene?

 

Posted: 15th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment