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Back pages | Anorak - Part 26

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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

BBC trolls Liverpool and Arsenal fans with clickbait headline news

The BBC website is the font of all knowledge. It might as well be a newspaper. But instead of opting to compete in the open marketplace, the BBC news site consumes and rules. On today’s BBC football pages, for example, you can read: “Football gossip: Wenger, Ozil, Sanchez, Griezmann, Klopp.”

 

BBC football gossip

 

 

Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are names that appeal to all Arsenal fans worried that all three will leave the club. Jurgen Klopp news seduces Liverpool fans hungry for news of their charismatic manager. Griezmann is the top striker at Atletico Madrid wanted by a host of Premier League clubs.

We clicked. And we get a single ‘news’ item on anyone mentioned in the headline. That story is ab vout Klopp. This is the news: “Outgoing Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre believes Jurgen Klopp is ‘the perfect man’ for the manager’s job.”

That’s not exactly “gossip” is it.

The BBC is funded by the licence fee tax. Why does it need to resort to clickbait to attract readers?

By way of proof that this is the BBC’s ‘news’, here’s more of today’s BBC’s football page:

 

BBC gossip fotball

Posted: 7th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Wenger ‘leaves’ on the strength of a ‘hint’

The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has “hinted” manager Arsene Wenger’s contract “may not be renewed at the end of the season”.

Turn that around and it means he said nothing has been decided and Wenger’s contract may be renewed at the end of the season.

The Daily Mirror says it is the “biggest hint yet” that Wenger is heading out of the Emirates.

So what did he say? This: “He’s been clear and we’ve always been clear, that’s a mutual decision as to how long he’ll continue. Both need to be on the same page on that. In a football sense, he has transformed the club.”

That needs some spin to make it a hint about Wenger leaving. It sounds a lot like an executive making a diplomatic response to a journalist’s question.

The Sun picks up another comment:

 

Swuennger sun

 

Said Gazidis in reply to another question: ““Arsenal is not Arsene Wenger. They’re not one in the same thing.”

That’s a “SHOCK” to the Sun.

But not to Mirror readers, who all know when Wenger will leave:

 

wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Or not.

 

Posted: 7th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Gareth Bale gets £91m to ‘snub’ Manchester United

Gareth Bale is not heading to Manchester United. The BBC says Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have agreed new contracts to remain at Real Madrid. Bale has been offered £91m to keep playing for Real and reject Manchester United’s advances.

The Express says the BBC is correct. Bale will remain at Real Madrid and get a ton of cash to “snub” Manchester United next summer.

The source for all this is Spanish radio station Cope. It says  Ronaldo, 31, has signed a new deal until 2021. It says Bale has agreed to stay in Spain until 2022. But there is no word of that bumper pay packet. Only the Express has news on that, reporting: “Bale’s admirers at Old Trafford will have to accept the 27-year-old is staying in Spain after agreeing a six-year deal worth around £350,000 a week.”

Unless, of course, United offer a massive pile of cash of cash for the star. After all, Bale wants to come to the Premier League. We read that in the Daily Express.

 

bale man united

 

And in the BBC, which on 11 Jun 2016 reported: “Manchester United are confident of signing Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, 26, for a world-record £94.6m fee.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea double their offer for Juventus and Manchester City’s Leonardo Bonucci

Transfer balls:  The BBC says Chelsea’s owners Roman Abramovich has sanctioned a move for  Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29.  The Blues will offer the Italians £60m.

The Telegraph says this would be a world-record fee for a defender, beating the current record £50m PSG paid for Chelsea defender David Luiz – they bought him back for £30m.

Bonuccio is, says the paper, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s “dream signing”.

Bonucci has been full of praise of Conte, who managed him at Juventus and Italy. “Conte will be a big success in England, Chelsea are already a very good team and he will have them challenging both in England and in Europe,” said Bonucci, who might care to look again.

But the British Press know not all that much about Bonucci.

 

Bonucci

 

In June, the Metro said the player had agreed to join Chelsea.

The Sun said a “three-year deal for defender Bonucci, worth around £130,000 a week, has been accepted by the player and his agents.” The headline tol readers: “ANTONIO CONTE is plotting an amazing £57million double swoop for Italy stars Antonio Candreva and Leonardo Bonucci.”

Three months ago Bonucci cost £25m.

He’s now apparently worth £60m.

And in July he singed for Manchester City. The Sport Bible told us that:

 

manchester city bonucci

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal, Leicester City and Andre Silva get the clickbait treatment

Transfer balls: The Week says Porto’s Andre Silva, 20, “could displace Sanchez'” at Arsenal.

The Week’s story is based entirely on a report in Portugal’s Ojogo . It makes no mention of Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean dynamo who gives impetus and urgency to Arsenal’s forward play. The report does say Arsenal and Leicester City have taken a look at Silva.

 

andre silva

 

Put it through the clickbait machine and the Daily Mirror states: “Gunners want Porto striker Andre Silva.”

Well, they’ll have to dig deep. In August, Silva signed a new FC Porto contract with a 60 million euros release clause.

As for the Leicester City link, The Week says:

Silva, 20, was thought to be on the brink of a switch to Premier League champions Leicester on last month’s transfer deadline day, but the move fell through late in the day…

Er, no. Leicester cIty were after Adrien Silva, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder whose move to Leicester City broke down on deadline day.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Goncalo Guedes – the fourth ‘new Ronaldo’

guedes ronaldoTransfer balls: Manchester United are ready to buy the “new Cristiano Ronaldo'” says the BBC. This new Ronaldo is 19-year-old Goncalo Guedes.

The Mirror picks up the balls, saying that the winger, represented by the ubiquitous agent Jorge Mendes, plays for Benfica. He is “one of the most highly-rated prospects in Portuguese football right now.” Wow, indeed. Portuguese football is in a healthy state. The new Ronaldo is only one of the players tipped for greatness.

The paper says United scouts are pushed up against reps from Juventus, Valencia, Osasuna and Middlesbrough. All were there to watch Guedes play in Benfica’s 4-0 win over Feirense.

The BBC first featured Guedes in November 2015. Then we were told that Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City “are also linked with a £40m move for a winger dubbed the new Ronaldo”. The Beeb added that Arsenal and Barcelona had been to see him.

Back in November 2014, the Daily Mail said: “Arsenal in the hunt for Goncalo Guedes (the new Cristiano Ronaldo) – but 17-year-old Benfica starlet could cost Gunners £40m.”

At least his price isn’t going up.

Also that month, The Week said Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were eyeing ‘New Ronaldo’ Guedes.

Guedes is not the first Ronaldo. Even Ronaldo is not the first superstar Ronaldo, that honour going to the former Brazilian striker. But Cristiano Ronaldo was the first Ronaldo to play for Manchester United. Since then there have been others.

November 2014, Daily Star: “Sunderland are winning the race to sign Galatasaray winger Bruma, who has been dubbed the ‘new Ronaldo’… Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United are all chasing the 20-year-old.”

August 2013, Daily Mail: “Januzaj can become the next Ronaldo.”

April 2009, Telegraph: “Manchester United’s Federico Macheda hailed as the new Cristiano Ronaldo”

Bruma never joined United. Januzaj is now on loan at Sunderland. Macheda is now a free agent. Bruma remains on Galatasaray’s books.

Such are the facgts.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United career not enough for Ryan Giggs to land Swansea job

When Swansea sacked head coach Francesco Guidolin on his 61st birthday too, the British Press all tipped former Manchester United player Ryan Giggs to replace him. Daily Mail columnist Jamie Redknapp said he’d be “amazed” if Giggs didn’t get the job.

Giggs didn’t get the job. Swansea’s US-based owners Steve Kaplan, Jason Levein and chairman Huw Jenkins appointed former USA coach Bob Bradley, who leaves Ligue 2 side Le Havre. Bradley was chosen for his “experience and character”. He is the first American coach to work in the Premier League.

Giggs, says the Mail, failed his interview. The paper says Giggs “was confident of landing his first permanent post having held an interview with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins last week.”

The owners had “concerns about his lack of experience and an underwhelming interview scuppered Giggs’s chances”.

Giggs – who has worked as Louis Van Gaal’s Number 2 coach at Manchester United, for whom he played 672 times – lacked experience. Bradley – who never played professionally and has managed the Princeton Tigers, Chicago Fire, Egypt and the USA – has the better CV.

It’s not hard to imagine that Bradley, who went to Princeton University and worked in the Procter & Gamble’s executive training program, was better in interview than Giggs, especially those parts when they fire question, like ‘What is 10 per cent of £12.50’ and ‘Can Swansea build a franchise in the USA – discuss?’ and ‘Is it ever OK to high-five a player after-scoring a goal?’

In May 2016, thy Times wrote, “Giggs as Manchester United manager? It will happen one day if he waits patiently enough, rather than risking his reputation elsewhere.”

Last questions: Was missing out on the Swansea job a lucky escape?

Posted: 4th, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Media Balls: Arsenal’s winner sat Burnley was legal and what the referee saw

Media Balls: a look at newspaper reporting on Burnley v Arsenal. There were all manner of contradictory views spouted to deadline when Arsenal scored in the last moments to win the Premier League match. But what says the expects in rules?

Helpfully, the mainstream media provides a care home for retired referees.

Graham ‘The Thing from Tring’ Poll (Daily Mail):

Referee Craig Pawson couldn’t see the last-minute incident involving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny and even if he had, it is a 50-50 call.  I watched the replays three times and I still don’t know whether it was deliberate handball on Koscielny’s part.  The defender’s arms are only up because he was trying to play the ball with his feet

Mark Halsey delivers his ‘Verdict’ in The Sun:

THE referee has to disallow that goal. Craig Pawson has a good view and the assistant referee is looking straight at it.

He has to disallow the goal. Or not.

Handball is the only part of the law where intent comes into play. But while you can argue that Laurent Koscielny’s handball is not deliberate, it resulted in a goal and it could have gone wide if the ball had not hit his arm.

Not quite a verdict, then. More of a ‘what if’.

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho never criticises players for missing chances (except when he does)

It’s tempting to think that there are two sides to Jose Mourinho: the bitchy, pouting manager who delivers barbs and criticism to the media and the man who rouses a side to give their all for him and charms owners of big clubs.

After Manchester United drew 1-1 with Stoke, Mourinho was stood in front of the Press pack. Would be once more be pointing fingers?

“I never criticise my players for missing chances,” he said. “Their goalkeeper is the Man of the Match and deservedly so. We had some open chances where we could do better but I am never critical of my players for this. I can be critical of the attitude, with the quality of performance and for naive mistakes sometimes, but not in front of goal.”

Really? On 14 Sep 2013, after Chelsea had lost 1-0 to Everton, Mourinho told media: “We were the best team because we played the best football, because we dominated the whole game, because we had 21 shots. But by the other way, a team who has 21 shots – some easy, in easy situations – and made a mistake at the end of the first half, maybe I should say we deserved to lose.”

Also in 2013, he said: “Missing goals. It’s always the same words. It’s unbelievable. Even on the bench, I feel every time we miss a chance and the score is 0-0, 1-0, 2-1, 1-1, I feel the pressure. I feel that missing the chances, maybe later you are punished. We have this problem.”

And in December 2015: “The only time we had a contact with the ball (in the box) was the Matic one but it was difficult for him with his mask. It was also difficult because the cross was really fast, which made it difficult for him to react and to give direction to the ball. I know the goal was empty but that one was difficult. The other ones, short and low crosses, if you are in the box you tap the ball in.”

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


BBC twists Liverpool star James Milner’s words on Klopp

Can the media makes Liverpool midfielder James Milner sound controversial? Milner, 30, features on the BBC’s ‘gossip’ pages. The State broadcaster reports: “James Milner, 30, says Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is the best manager he has played under.”

That’s a bold statement. Milner has been managed by such top managerial talents as Terry Venables, Sir Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Martin O’Neill, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Brendan Rodgers. Milner says Klopp is better than all of them. Well, so the BBC says.

The Telegraph is less certain: “Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp may be best manager I’ve ever had, says James Milner.”

So what did the honest and likeable Milner actually say?

“I’ve probably had too many managers but every manager is different,” said Milner. “They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. He [Klopp] is a top manager and he’s definitely one of the best that I have worked with.”

Did Milner says Klopp is the best manager he has ever played for? No. Did he snub the other managers? No. Did he say something controversial? No.

Did the BBC twist his words? Yes.

Posted: 3rd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)


Media Balls: Liverpool stirred as Swansea cruelly disingtergrated

Media balls: a look at monocular reporting on Swansea v Liverpool, which the Reds won 1-2.

The Times says Liverpool were “disjointed at the Liberty stadium and flattered by the victory that came gift-wrapped from the opposition courtesy of two bad defensive errors in the second half.” The winning goal came when Swansea went into “meltdown”.  The goal followed a series of “egregious errors”.

The Indy says “Swansea’s defence disintegrated”.

The BBC says the results was “cruel on Swansea”.

The Guardian: “Borja, the club’s £15.5m record signing, squandered two excellent chances, the second of which came after Fer had put Swansea ahead.” This was compounded by “Van der Hoorn’s awful late miss”.

The Liverpool Echo says “Liverpool staged a stirring second-half comeback”.

The Daily Mirror says Liverpool were “irresistible“.  Adding that “this was the type of victory that runs through any title challenge like writing through rock.” Well, so long as the other side suffer “defensive aberrations“, it might be.

In Klopp’s 37th Premier League games, his team has conceded 50 goals.

Sometimes a win courtesy of late penalty doesn’t bear the analysis.

Posted: 2nd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Manchester City balls: ‘Obscene’ Raheem Sterling v The Sun

Manchester CIty’s Raheem Sterling is “THE HATED ONE” So says the Sun ,which says the Manchester City “star”, a player “reborn under Pep Guardiola despite coming under attack from fans this summer”. The paper laments the “torrent of abuse” heaped upon Sterling, who says the attacks “hurt”.

Under attack from fans? What about attacks from the Press. Guess which paper called Sterling “Obscene” after he showed his social medial followers around the house the “failure” bought his dear old mum?

 

raheem sterling man city the sun

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Toni Kroos ‘joins’ but will consider offers from Manchester City

Transfer balls – a look at dire football reporting. The BBC says Manchester City and Manchester United are chasing Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, 26. Spanish TV  show El Chiringuito and the Metro free newspaper agree.

The Metro ups the ante by saying City and United will go to “War” over Kroos. War was declared by Spanish journalist Pipe Estrada on El Chiringuito. “A war of two great coaches of international prestige, Guardiola and Mourinho, for a player, a player of Real Madrid: Toni Kroos,” says Estrada. “The two managers believe that he may be key to their future because of his tactical position on the field and because he is vital for the continuity of their projects.”

The Manchester Evening News adds: “Manchester United and Man City to go to war over Real Madrid midfielder Kroos.”

The Sun thunders: “ROOSING FOR A BRUISING Manchester United transfer news: Jose Mourinho and Manchester City boss to battle it out for Real Madrid star Toni Kroos.”

One Spanish journalist speaks and the British Press repeat his claim verbatim.

But how right is he?

In June 2016, the Express said: “Jose Mourinho has reportedly told the board to do whatever it takes to bring the German World Cup winner to Old Trafford.”

In March 2016, the Metro told its readers: “Manchester United transfer news: Gonzalo Higuain deal agreed, Toni Kroos available…”

 

Higuain Manchester United

 

Higuain never did agree to join Man United. He joined Juventus.

And neither did Kroos. In May 2014, the Daily Mail said Kroos had joined Man United.

 

Kroos United Manchester

 

Other news sources also agree that Kroos had signed for Manchester United.

In other transfer news, the BBC says Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been told “he must sell a player before moving for Southampton’s £10m-rated defender Jose Fonte, 32.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, October 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Mesut Ozil signs new Arsenal deal and gets replaced by Marco Reus

Transfer balls: Arsenal star Mesut Ozil is heading back to Real Madrid, says the BBC. Well, maybe. Maybe not.

The Beeb’s source is TuttoMercatoWeb.com, which says Ozil to Real will trigger a bid from Arsenal for Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus.

Meanwhile, over in Ozil’s native Germany, Bild reports that the player has signed a lucrative new contract at Arsenal and will take Jack Wilshere’s number 10 shirt.

The Sun agrees.

 

ozil the sun arsenal

 

And disagrees.

 

Ozil the sun

 

They haven’t got a clue.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Wenger wants the England job, a new Arsenal contract and to quit

Is Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger to become the next England saviour? The Mirror says Wenger has “admitted” that he wants the job.

John Cross’ report begins: “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits interest in England job after Sam Allardyce departure.”

The trouble is that more we read the more that headline admittance reduces in potency. Cross adds: “The Gunners boss had admitted it could interest him to take over the Three Lions once his work at the Emirates is done.”

Can you admit something that could not happen?

Of course we know when Wenger’s Arsenal work will be done because John Cross told us the man will leave the Gunners at this end of this season:

 

Daily Mirror wenger quits Arsenal

 

Wenger will quit on June 30 2017, said John Cross in the Mirror.

Or as John Cross tells us today in the third Wenger admittance of a short story: “Wenger admitted his priority is to stay at Arsenal and get a new contract as his current £8m-a-year deal expires this summer.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media balls: Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovich beats Zorya Luhansk on his holiday

Yesterday the Mirror reported that Zlatan Ibrahimovich had left Manchester United for a holiday. The Mirror said the “holiday” would mean Ibrahimovich missing Manchester United’s Europa League match with the mighty Zorya Luhansk.

The Sun agreed: “Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to miss Thursday night match vs Zorya as he holidays in Milan.”

 

zlatan europa manchester

 

So what did Zlatan do on his holiday? Well, he played for Manchester United in the Europa League and scored the winner.

 

zlatan man united

 

Update: The Mirror has now changed its story to read: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns for Manchester United’s clash with Zorya Luhansk after holiday in Italy.”

Update 2:  When the big media speaks the websites follow. Get a load of this terrible reporting on Sports Mole.

 

media balls

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Gareth Southgate wants the England job he says he’s unqualified for

With greedy Sam Allardyce defenestrated, new England manager Gareth Southgate has four matches to prove himself. If he does well, the England job could be his for keeps. And he wants it. In today’s Times, we read: “Southgate eyes England job full time.”

Gareth Southgate wants to be the next permanent England manager and is viewing his four matches in temporary charge as an opportunity to stake a claim for the job on a full-time basis.

This is the same Gareth Southgate who opined on September 5:

“I can see the logic in terms of the odds but it wasn’t a route I felt I was ready to take. I’m pretty clear on what I’m comfortable with but also I know to take that role wasn’t something I think I’ve got the experience for. I think it’s one of the ultimate jobs and you want every skill set possible when you go into it. Sam obviously has years and years of experience. I think with England there are one or two other things that I would want to have had experience of before I took that role”

One new thing he experienced is Sam Allardyce getting caught in a newspaper sting. What else Southgate’s experienced in the past 24 days is for him and his priest.

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


Arsenal Wenger ‘sets the date’ for Arsenal departure but keeps everyone guessing

How do you follow Sam Allardyce? With a broom, perhaps. The Football Association has a better idea: wait for caretaker boss Gareth Southgate to fail and then appoint Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The BBC says that’s the plan. The London Evening Standard agrees. It’s Wenger for England.

Wenger’s current Arsenal contract expires at the end of this season. Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis want him to sign a new deal.

The FA has chased Wenger for some time. The Telegraph says Wenger was the FA’s first choice to  succeed Roy Hodgson after the European Championship. But they failed to get him.

The Daily Star says Wenger will say ‘yes’ if the FA ask him again: “EXCLUSIVE: Arsene Wenger open to becoming England boss.” The exclusive is anything but.  While “Starsport understands the Arsenal boss is interested in taking charge in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia”, Wenger tells Sky Sports:  “My priority is always Arsenal and I have to assess how well I do until the end of the season.”

Mentions of England by Wenger: nil.

Put that through the headline generator and the Mail delivers: “Arsene Wenger keeps door open for England job.”

The apogee of no-news is in the Independent, which declares, “Arsenal could be poised to extend Arsene Wenger’s contract with the club after the Frenchman was linked to the new England job.”

The media has no idea what Wenger will do next. Well, all apart from the Mirror:

 

wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

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


Failure is healthy: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is clear and expecting

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has grown up. “I’ve worked hard from the back end of last season and I’ve just continued to do that throughout the whole summer and that’s all I’m doing,” says the player who at just 16 was drafted into England’s World Cup squad. Injury and form mean he’s not appeared at the World Cup since. Does that make him a failure, a man frustrated by what might have been?

Walcott could be forgiven for feeling melancholy, that life, however glorious it appears to many, has been a tad disappointing. But Walcott wants to be better. He’s driven. Failure can be inspirational. Learning from failure is a quality that sets the best apart. You might not make it – there are no guarantees – but negative thinking encourages change and innovation. You learn to move on.

“Me and the manager sat down and I’ve just looked at myself,” he tells the Times. “There’s no point dwelling on the past, that’s what I’m like. I know what I can do and I don’t mind what people say because I do know that as long as I work hard, I know what I’m going to be. It’s just come down to that.

“The manager has shown tremendous faith in me and I just want to repay that. You can see that in my desire and the way that I’m playing at the moment. I want it more than anyone else, but that’s just me and the way that I work now. It’s a shame that it only hit me a few years ago because there’s been a slight change in my attitude ahead of big games.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is effusive in praise of his attacker.

“Why did I always stick with him?” he tells the Arsenal website. “Because I think he is ambitious but he is intelligent and with intelligent people there is always a chance. He has what the big players have. They have a fair assessment of their performances and their weaknesses…  I think he was clear, and in all our lives that clarity is the most important factor. He had clarity in his head. Once you have that you have a chance.”

Failure is healthy is you embrace it.

Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, puts it well:

I’m never paralyzed by my fear of failure… I say “Ok, I’m doing my best… ” And, from the moment that I can say that I’m doing my best … I sit down, I breathe, and I say “I put all of my love into it, I did it with all my heart.” … And whether they like [the book] or not is irrelevant, because I like it. I’m committed to the thing that I did. And so far nobody has criticized or refused it. When you put love and enthusiasm into your work, even if people don’t see it, they know it’s there, that you did this with all of your body and soul, so that is what I encourage you to do.

Go for it.

Posted: 28th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Zlatan’s finger food

Are footballers indulged? The Daily Mirror says Manchester United have allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to go on “holiday”. Six Premier League matches into the season and Zlatan is off to work on his tattoos.

Ibrahimovic has travelled to Milan. The Mirror repeats a Gazzetta story. The Italian organ says that on September 25th Zlatan ate at the city’s Finger’s Garden restaurant. The Mirror says this ‘holiday’ (aka meal) means Zlatan will miss Man United’s Europa League match against Zorya Luhansk.

Two things about this story stand out. Who calls their restaurant Fingers Garden? It sounds like a Buzzfeed-style website. A quick look around the internet reveals it to be a Japanese restaurant. Do the Japanese eat fingers? The Yakuza engage in Yubitsume – amputating bits of fingers to atone for indiscretions.

Secondly, is Zlatan really on holiday? The Sun wonders, “Why does the 34-year-old need a rest with the upcoming international break coming up?”

You can fly to Milan in a few hours from Manchester. What a man who earns over £200,000-a-week did was go out for dinner in a foreign country. It’s the kind of thing minted footballers do.

Now stop biting your nails, Zlatan, the main course is coming…

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


‘Big’ Sam Allardyce was the manager English football deserved

‘Big’ Sam Allardyce left the England manager’s job in a hurry. It takes most a bit longer to realise how hopeless the team is and mutate into a root vegetable. Allardyce says he is “deeply disappointed” to have left the job after just 67 days. He had hoped to win a few matches against the might of Malta and Slovakia, qualify for a big tournament and then have his lack of tactical nouse pilloried in the Press. Instead his apparent greed has fast-tracked him to a foreign side with less scruples than England.

Allardyce “mutually agreed” with Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin “I am not a football expert” Glenn it was time for him to go.

 

Sam Allardye sting

 

Allardyce has made a “wholehearted apology” for being caught in a newspaper sting mouthing off about Prince Harry’s arse, mocking Roy Hodgson’s speech impediment and discussing how to circumvent rules governing player transfers. He said it was “not a problem” to bypass rules on third-party player ownership, and claimed he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.

Claims against him include a £400,000 deal he allegedly agreed to represent a company to Far East investors and speak at events.

Sam Allardyce did nothing illegal. He talked about a rule he found “ridiculous” and opined how it could be got around. He was chatting over drinks with ‘businessmen’ in a hotel bar. He said he would speak to the FA before taking the speaking engagement.

The Press are loving it. And they should do. The Telegraph’s sting is a cracker. What is unclear is why they thought Allardyce was open to offers in the first place? And we’d like to see the full video and transcript, not just a few snippets.

 

sam allardyce

We can see you sneaking out

 

But what next for England?

Ray Parlour, formerly of Arsenal, says Steve Bruce should be the next England boss. Henry Winter says Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is the best fit. Martin Samuel wants Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Neil Ashton says Princess Anne look-alike Gareth Southgate would be a sound option.

 

Sam Allardye sting

 

But why not take this as the ideal chance to give up, take a break from international football and start again in a few years, perhaps in 2066, when the marketeers who run the national game could package new England as a celebration of the World Cup centenary ? England aren’t all that good at football and a few years of quiet reflection would be therapeutic and save excited fans from watching too many players for whom money and adulation are their football goals.

Or the FA could go for Plan B: sell England as a franchise to wealthy overseas buyers, it being the Premier League way to see football less as a sport than a cash cow, flogging off clubs as vanity plates for billionaires?

The FA called Allardyce’s behaviour “inappropriate”. When you look at what football has become, you can sympathise with greedy Sam. Wasn’t he the manager English football deserved?

Posted: 28th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: what Manchester United understand about selling Juan Mata

Transfer Ball – Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is “desperate” to stay at Old Trafford, says the BBC.

The Sun says the likeable 28-year-old, who has two years left on his  “£130,000-a-week contract”, wants Jose Mourinho to sanction a new deal. We know this because an unnamed “United source” says “Juan is still in the dark over his future at the club”.

Why would a source at the club speak up on behalf of one player? this story has the player’s agent’s fingers all over it.

It was only back in July, we read: “Daley Blind and Juan Mata will be high-profile victims of Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United this summer, Sky Sports News HQ understands.”

Sky Sports was wrong. It understood nothing. Blind is key part of Mourinho’s team. Mata is playing well. But it went on. Sky “understood Mourinho would approve the sale of both players this summer”.

Also in July, the Sun told its readers: “ose Mourinho tells ex-Chelsea outcast Juan Mata he can stay at Manchester United – but will only play one in three matches.”  The paper said Mata would be sold to Spain but “La Liga sides do not have the money to match his £150,000- a-week wages”.

As the Sun works out how much Mata earns and listens to understanding sources, the player took a moment to explain what’s going on to a young Untied fan. His advice: “Don’t believe the media.”

 

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


Greedy Sam Allardyce trapped in ‘slavery’ sting and ‘Woy’ Hodgson insult

England manager ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce wraps the Sun in a choke hold. He’s embroiled in an alleged “dodgy deal”. The FA have launched a “probe” into his affairs.

 

Allardyce sam sting money

 

Allardyce is accused of trying to cash in on his England position – one that pays a mere £3m a year plus bonuses for tournament wins (so that’s £3m a year, then). Undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph posed as foreign businessmen keen to deliver overseas players to England. Allardyce, 61, told the stingers “how they could circumvent FA rules which prohibit third parties ‘owning’ players”.

The key point is not that Allardyce comes across as greedy and thick, but that third-party ownership of players was banned by the FA in 2008 for being akin to “slavery”.

 

Allardyce sam sting money

 

The BBC lays it on:

During the meeting with the businessmen, who were undercover reporters, it is alleged Allardyce – who was only named England boss in July – said it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules and he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.

It is alleged by the paper that a deal was struck with the England boss worth £400,000, which could represent a conflict of interest if he is paid by a company whose footballer clients could benefit from preferential treatment by an international manager.

The Mail says this is the end of Allardyce who should be “axed”.

But it’s the Telegraph that has the big scoop.

 

allardyce scoop sting

 

In the “England manager for sale” readers are told

Before he had even held his first training session as England’s new head coach, Allardyce negotiated a deal with men purporting to represent a Far East firm that was hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market.

He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador…

Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.

Allardyce really is in the mire.

But that bit about his calling Roy Hodgson “Woy” makes us chuckle. After all, this is what the Sun said when Hodgson got the job:

 

Rop Woy Hodgson the sun allardyce

 

What a load of Wubbish!

 

Posted: 27th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal

Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.

Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.

In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.

Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.

Manchester City win the title.

 

daily express premier predictor league

 

Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.

 

Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Billionaire planning to buy Arsenal tweets: I am alive

DAngote arsenalAfrica’s richest man is Nigerian Aliko Dangote, says the Sun. He wants to use some of his £8.3billion fortune to buy Arsenal football club within four years.

Dangote, described by Newsweek as “a lifelong Arsenal fan”, tells Bloomberg: “Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”

As Arsenal fans lick a collective finger and hold it in the air, Dangote adds: “It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”

Turning it around? According to Forbes, Arsenal are doing ok:

Here are the top 10 with profits (using June, 2015 exchange rates):

1. Manchester United: $190 million

2. Real Madrid: $162 million

3. Manchester City: $131 million

4. Arsenal: $122 million

5. Liverpool: $115 million

Looking around for more news on Dangote, the top story right now is: “Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is not dead.”

Is he resting? No. He’s tweeting: “I am hale, hearty and alive. Please disregard malicious report saying otherwise. Thank you.”

Arsenal fans – what can go wrong?

 

Posted: 26th, September 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Reviews, Sports | Comment