Back pages | Anorak - Part 37

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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

Arsenal balls: Wenger leaves, Wenger stays, Wenger stays and leaves

wenger out“Wenger to Walk?” asks the Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel on the paper’s backpage. Will the Arsenal manager quit the club? As ever with tabloid headlines framed as question, the answer is ‘no’.

Indeed, over the course of Mokbel’s story there is not a shred of evidence to argue the case for  ‘yes’.

…the club are developing a succession plan for when he does call time on his distinguished Gunners career. That is a clear indication they believe their manager’s time at the club is drawing to a close and they are considering potential replacements. Pep Guardiola was viewed as the ideal man, but the Spaniard has committed himself to Manchester City.

Offers made by Arenal to Pep: nil.

And as for that talk of succession, well, the Daily Star told us in January:

Deal close: Arsene Wenger ready to sign new two-year Arsenal contract

And right at the end of Mokbel’s balls, readers are told:

…Wenger is planning for a future at Arsenal beyond next season. The manager has played a key role in improvements at the club’s London Colney and Hale End training bases, as well as the restructuring of the scouting system.

Such are the facts?


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

Chelsea balls: Daily Mail body shames fat Eden Hazard’s moobs

Wonderful work in the Daily Mail, which takes a break from appraising women’s bodies with a sneering look at Chelsea footballer Eden Hazard. Jeff Powell spotted Hazard swapping shirts at half-time with PSG’s Angel Di Maria when the clubs met in the Champions’ League last week. Powell wrote:

The tell-tale elements of that picture are the roll of blubber around the belly and the first signs of man boobs on the young Belgian who we elected as this country’s Footballer of the Year last season. At only just 25, Hazard looks as if he would be more at home propping up saloon bars along the King’s Road than kicking a ball around the pitch at Stamford Bridge.

Get a load of that bloater:


fat Eden Hazard


Jeff Powell is rarely pictured with his shirt off.

‘Fat’ Frank Lampard is away.


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

Manchester United escape fine for Liverpool Hillsborough chant

Liverpool fans taunt the Manchester United fans


Manchester United will not be punished for its fans revolting chants about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters when the club faced Liverpool in the Europa League. A Uefa spokesperson says United have no case to answer because the chanting was not mentioned in the match officials’ reports.

Are some football chants just too offensive? But what’s the point of an insult if it doesn’t cause offence?

The problem begins when you rule on what is and what is not permitted to be said. Better if it is left to United fans to tell the idiots in their number shouting “murderers” at Liverpool fans to shut up.

This United chant heard on the night is much better anyhow**:

Going on up to the spirit in the sky

It’s where I’m gonna go when I die

When I die and they lay me to rest

I’m gonna go on the p*** with Georgie Best

** We in no way condone alcoholism and the terrible toll it takes on the…blah… blah….blah

Posted: 14th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Arsenal murder Watford in FA Cup war

WEnger FA CupDid you jeer as Arsenal were “dumped” from the FA Cup?  The Mirror says Arsenal fans did in a lead sports story headlined “What A Farce”.

It’s all enjoyable hyperbolic stuff from John Cross, who seems to forget that when papers scream about the magic of the FA Cup, they don’t mean the supernatural wonder of the biggest teams winning it every year. Arsenal lost to fellow Premier League club Watford thanks to a “wonder goal” and their athletic, spirited performance – the Gunners were unlucky, missing a host of chances to score, including an open goal – and the world is at an end.

These are a few highlights from Mr Cross’s story – and is he a product of nominative determinism?

“Wenger’s men were booed off after Watford ended the Gunners’ hopes of winning the Cup for a third year running”

Not winning the FA Cup every year is a travesty. There were some boos, but not many.

“The season is effectively over for Arsenal. And you wonder whether it is also the end of the road for Wenger.”

So says Cross, who told us exactly when Wenger will reach the end of the road, providing us with a date:


june 30 wenger


“…Wenger stormed out of a radio interview when asked if the holders’ cup exit puts his future under threat”

In the Times he “walked out”.

“The most worrying aspect for the Gunners is they look dead on their feet”

That’s the same Gunners who hit the post in stoppage time and then missed an open goal. Had it gone in – and it seemed simpler to score – what price headlines praising Arenal’s never-say-die attitude?

Indeed, deep into his story, Cross says the Watford defence made a “series of heroic blocks, interception and headers”. At the end it was”like The Alamo”.

In The Alamo, the victorious Mexicans kill all of the Texan defenders. But, as we said, it’s wonderfully hyperbolic stuff from the Mirror’s man in the know.

Posted: 14th, March 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Diego Costa nuzzles Bale in rare episode of on-field foreplay

For a few hours yesterday the big talking point was England’s unexpectedly exiting win over Wales in the Six Nations rugby. But then the story broke that Chelsea’s Diego Costa had bitten someone on the BBC’s FA Cup coverage. After England had made a meal of beating a late-arriving Welsh team, the Chelsea striker was making a meal of Everton’s Gareth Bale. Well, so goes the allegation, which Costa denies.

The papers lap up the meaty juices. To the Mail this is “Costa’s Shame”, which is tabloidese for “Thank god we didn’t have to lead with the rugby”. So excited is the Mail that the Costa ‘bite’ features on two issues:


Costa Diego

Costa Diego


It’s all delicious stuff.

We’re awaiting a few words from David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn to break from talking over the future of the EU, the economy, war and the planet to tell us how much sports matters and that Costa is a role model.

As it is, if you can’t tell a bite form non-bite, it can’t have been much of bite in the first place.

PS: Was it a bite? No. Gareth Bale says it wasn’t. Which makes us wonder why Diego Costa nuzzled Gareth Barry, and when being over-friendly becomes sexual harassment?

Posted: 13th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Arsenal: The injury crisis that isn’t

Arsenal crisis


When Arsenal defeated Hull in the FA Cup last Tuesday night, the Press focused on the Gunners players forced off early. The headlines talked of disaster:

“Arsenal run into new injury crisis after win over Hull” – The Week

“Arsenal defender Gabriel ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury” – Independent

The Indy zoomed in, telling readers on March 6: “Gabriel: Arsenal defender ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury.”

The Metro thundered: “The Gunners lost Per Mertesacker and Gabriel to injury during their FA Cup clash with Hull on Tuesday night, leaving them with no fit centre-backs given that Laurent Koscielny was already out.”

Four days on and the BBC reports:

Arsenal pair Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are fit despite being injured during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Hull… Laurent Koscielny [who is back training] remains a doubt with a calf injury.

Arsenal also have young English centre back called Calum Chambers.

but who needs facts when you can make it up as you go along to fit an agenda…

Posted: 11th, March 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Manchester United: Liverpool’s penalty was only ‘controversial’ in the Sun

Liverpool defeat Manchester Untied 2-0 in the Europa League and the tabloids get to work. Liverpool’s first goal was scored from the penalty spot. The Sun leads with this “controversial penalty”, the “second for Liverpool in four days”.

The paper reminds readers that on Saturday Christian Benteke had gone to ground easily at Crystal Palace, his tumblr helping to secure the penalty he then scored to win the game. No other paper harks back to that match.

The Mirror, which unlike the Sun is read on Merseyside, says United’s Memphis Depay “brushed” over Nathaniel Clyde just inside the box.

In the Mail, Depay “placed a restraining hand on his [Clyde’s] shoulder and tangled legs. Either would have been sufficient to justify  the penalty award…”

The Express says “Depay sent Clyde crashing to the turf”.

Manchester United manager Louis Vn Gaal agrees with the Sun: “It was a cheap penalty…the referee cannot see that because…he held him outside the  box and then he is falling down.”

The Times, the Sun’s stablemate, says “any offence bean outside the area”.

As for the local press to the bother clubs:

Liverpool Echo: “Sturridge stepped up to convert a penalty in the 20th minute after Nathaniel Clyne had dashed into the box to collect a Roberto Firmino pass and been tripped by Memphis Depay. It was close but looked just inside.”

Paul Scholes in the Manchester Evening News: ““Anywhere else on the park this isn’t given as a free-kick.”

Such are the facts.


Posted: 11th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Gotze heads to Arsenal, Man United and Liverpool, stays at Bayern

The Metro sats Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are in line to sign Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze. But what else has the paper of record (surely, the paper run by SEO bots, ed) told us about the German?

Metro, May 13, 2015: “Arsenal are interested in a stunning £30million move for Mario Gotze”

Metro, July 7, 2015: “Chelsea join Arsenal in transfer hunt to sign £49.6m Mario Gotze’

Metro, August 17 2015: “Mario Gotze wants transfer to Arsenal”

Metro, August 17: “Arsenal ready to sign £49.6m Mario Gotze”

Metro, October 12, 2015: “Mario Gotze plays down talk of exit after Arsenal and Man Utd transfer links”

Today the same player apparently worth £31m.

Is Gotze leaving Bayern, where his contract expires in the summer of 2017? The player says he’s happy at the club, telling Bild leaving is not up to him – “it all depends on the plans of the club and the new coach [Carlo Ancelotti].”

Not exactly chomping at the bit, is he.


Posted: 10th, March 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: Van Gaal stays next season as Mourinho joins his coaching team

Manchester United fans hoping to see the back of Louis Van Gaal are in for a shock. The Mirror says his job at Old Trafford is “safe – even is he fails to crack top 4”.




Can this be the same Daily Mirror which reported that Jose Mourinho had agreed to take over at United next year?


mourinho van gaal united


Maybe Mourinho will be Van Gaal’s assistant?



Posted: 9th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: bored Wenger blows his top in a measured way



Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was answering questions about his tenure at the club. It was put to Wenger at a press conference that ex-players like Dennis Bergkamp,  or Patrick Vieira could replace him.

The papers review:

Daily Mirror: “Arsene Wenger finally snapped yesterday over questions about his future. Wenger blew his top.

Daily Express: “Wenger was angry man yesterday but, even during his outburst, he chose his words carefully. Responding to a journalists question  about whether the fans’ behaviour would have any bearing on his signing a new contract, the Arsenal manager took his time before saying, “I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end.”

The Sun: “The Arsenal boss launched a passionate defence  of his reign saying, “I work and work and work. If it’s not good enough someone will tell me one day. I dod not worry about  what you say about me or  what fans say about me. What I find just boring is always sitting her after 19 years to face, ‘Do you think tour are good enough?'”

The Star: “Strop Gun – Wenger cracks… the “fuming Arsenal boss let rip“.

The Guardian: “I am humble enough to question myself every day,” says Frenchman.

Those boring press conferences are anything but boring.



Posted: 8th, March 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Call of Duty turns Jamie Vardy into a ticking timebomb

call of duty 2


Big news in the Daily Mail that Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is “gunning down rivals” by playing Call of Duty on his PlayStation.

Those rivals had best watch out. The Daily Mail told us Call of Duty turns you into a murderer – maybe:


Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 13.41.40


Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 13.46.55

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 13.47.05



He shoots! He shoot! He keeps on shooting until the game is over and his wife call him down for dinner…


Posted: 7th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids, Technology | Comment

Liverpool Palace: Crystal Palace robbed as ‘cool’ Benteke does a Gerrard

tumblr_o3n5l3SNQp1u5f06vo1_1280 Crystal Palace lose to 10-man Liverpool and there are accusations of diving. Palace manager Alan Pardew – previously seen head-butting an opposition player on the side of the pitch and verbally abusing the likes of Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger – is unhappy.

Palace looked to be on course for a valuable point against a Liverpool side down to 10 men, after James Milner saw red just after the hour-mark. However, with just seconds remaining, a rash lunge from Damien Delaney in the box left Christian Benteke sprawling and ref Andre Marriner pointing to the spot.

Benteke converted the resulting penalty to secure a precious win for the visitors and condemn Palace to another defeat.

Hard cheese. And sour grapes. The Sun leads with news that Benteke dived to win the spot kick.

“Was it penalty to Liverpool?” the paper asks. Yes, it was. Should it have been given? Time for a heated debate.

The Sun is first to respond. Paul Jiggins says “fraudulent” Benteke “conned” the officials.

We then hear from the player and the Palace manager.

Pardew: “I feel like we’ve been robbed. He certainly makes a big meal of it.”

Benteke: “I think he touched me, otherwise I wouldn’t go down. The referee knows better than us and he took the right decision.”

End of. But no. Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher adds his opinion.

Carragher: “Liverpool players don’t dive. It was a stupid decision to dive in and [Delaney] just clipped with his right knee Christian Benteke’s left ankle and it’s a penalty. I don’t think it’s a debate.”

But it is. In the local Press, the Croydon Guardian reports Pardew’s response is given in full.

Pardew: “If you’re the referee and you see that incident, you see the centre half pulling out of the challenge, you don’t give the penalty. The linesman assumes that little touch is a penalty – he [Benteke] makes the most of it – and he gives it and it’s tough to take. If you think that touch affects the fall that he has, then you seriously need to be consulted. I’m a football person and that touch doesn’t warrant the dive that he makes, and it’s the dive that makes the linesman’s mind up. I think it’s an issue that’s worrying in the game. I saw Jamie Carragher say if someone’s going to touch you, you’re going to make the most of it. Jamie Carragher saying that. He’s an ex-pro. Come on. You try to be fair, you try to say the right things to your players and send out the right message to the players to be honest and that touch doesn’t warrant that dive.”

The local Palace paper calls the penalty “controversial”. What says the Liverpool Echo?

Echo: “Substitute Christian Benteke was brought down by Damien Delaney’s foolish lunge and the £32.5million striker stepped up to coolly slot home the spot-kick.”

Those of you still rolling your eyes at the part about Liverpool players not diving should enjoy this:


Posted: 7th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment (1)

Chelsea balls: Spurs managers makes shocking, shocking, shocking move



The Sunday Times says Chelsea have made a “shock” move to “tempt” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. He’s been added to Chelsea’s “shortlist” of future managers.

The Sunday Times has been informed that Chelsea officials approached representatives of the Tottenham Hotspur manager towards the end of last month to discuss the possibility of him filling the vacant position.

Shocking stuff-  but not to Independent readers who read the same story back on January 26:

Mauricio Pochettino to Chelsea: Tottenham manager added to Blues wish list


Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 16.20.27


It was also shocking in February, when the Daily Star reported on the rumour:


Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 16.20.13


Shock of shocks…

Posted: 6th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Spurs | Comments (7)

Adam Johnson says sorry through his ‘stunning’ model pal

adam johnson sex“Shamed Adam Johnson” looks out from the Mirror’s front page. In this story the now former England and Sunderland footballer “confesses that he made ‘huge mistake’ and tells of jail shock over his sex crimes”.

This is Johnson, the criminal Det Insp Aelfwynn Sampson of Durham Police called a “role model”. Utter balls, of course. Johnson is a role model only to his daughter. Anyone who looks to a footballer for moral guidance is a mentally negligible fool. Why should Johnson be role model and the police officers who facilitated Jimmy Savile’s paedophilia not be billed the same? Footballers do not play the game to represent Public Health England or any ethic committees.

Johnson represents no-one but himself.

So here he is in the tabloids telling the world how  very sorry he is for getting caught. He says:

“It’s my own fault. I made a huge mistake. Now I need to do what I need to do – hopefully it will be fast. I just need to be occupied and think about something else, and hopefully I will come out having learned from my mistake.”

Why is he talking to the papers? Is this his moment of quiet reflection on his crimes? If it is it looks a lot like self-serving PR.

He made his remarkable confession – his first words since the trial – to Danish businesswoman and model Julie Hall after he was convicted last Wednesday. They have been in contact ever since. In an exclusive interview, Julie, 27, tells how Johnson has been pouring his heart out to her for 10 months.

He’s not talking directly to the papers. She is. But who is she? In June 2015, the Mirror introduced her as Julie the “club ambassador and model”. It then told us:

Adam Johnson’s wild parties with model days before his child sex case

Disgraced Premier League ­footballer Adam Johnson parties with a Danish model during a stag do in Dubai – just days before his first crown court ­appearance for child sex charges.

Johnson, 28, was spotted with Julie Hall on a yacht and at a nightclub as his ­girlfriend Stacey Flounders – now his ex – attended the hen night 5,000 miles away. The shamed Sunderland FC winger had joined then Black Cats striker Steven Fletcher for a ­bachelor party at a five-star resort.

Details of the trip in May last year were ­highlighted during ­Johnson’s trial and ­prosecutors told how he was pictured alongside fellow ­footballers, with his thumbs up and holding a bottle of beer. It will come as a fresh blow to his former partner Stacey Flounders, the 26-year-old with whom he has a 13-month-old daughter Ayla Sofia.

Now Julie is ready to speak out.

“He explained to me he met this girl and he made a mistake. He told me he was going through the courts shortly after I met him, so he just explained what was going on, and why he was accused. Two days ago he said: ‘I’m going to jail.’ Then we were talking about for how long and when he was going to jail. He said ‘end of this month’. He said he hoped it (the sentence) would be fast. And he said he wanted to learn from it and come out a better person.”

Anyone else feel a bit queasy?


Posted: 6th, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: Mourinho replaces Van Gaal as get the job

Compare and contrast the Mirror’s Manchester United scoops.

First up the Mirror’s scoop that Jose Mourinho has agreed a three-year deal to manage Manchester United.


mourinho van gaal united


Second up, the Mirror’s scoop that Jose Mourinho is reigned to not managing Manchester United:


Mourinho United



Such are the facts…

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

Manchester United balls: Marcus Rashford’s England call up

rashford englandHow football reporting works: Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, 18, has scored a few goals this season. A journalist asks England manager Roy Hodgson if Rashford could play for England?

“I would neither rule him in or rule him out,” replies Hodgson. “I have been watching Rashford for two years, so I have known about him for a long time. He is in our system… Most of all, I hope he is allowed to develop as an 18-year-old should and people don’t try to put him under enormous pressure.”

Which when hooked up to the journalisomobile becomes:


Roy Hodgson last night opened the door on Marcus Rashford getting a Euro 2016 call-up. (Mirror)

Manchester United sensation Marcus Rashford in line for England Euro call-up according to Roy Hodgson (Mirror)

Marcus Rashford given shock England boost by manager Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016 (Express)

No pressure…


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

Arsenal balls: Wenger and Henry in tabloid war

Arsenal are not doing not too well; not doing too badly. It’s all a bit so-so.  But the media wants drama. Today’s back pages lead with a ‘row’ between Arenal manger Arsene Wenger and the club’s greatest goalscorer Thierry Henry.

Henry’s new job is to write opinion to deadline. He fills a Sun newspaper column. This week he opined:

I HAVE never heard the Arsenal supporters as angry as they were at the Emirates on Wednesday night when their team lost at home to Swansea…

I will be watching on TV and what I want to see is a really strong response from the Arsenal players to get the fans back on their side. We all know the quality is there but confidence is not high and that was obvious at Old Trafford last Sunday and again on Wednesday night…

…injuries happen to every team and there is no point complaining or feeling sorry for yourself. You just get on with it.

Wenger replies:

“Thierry Henry has his opinions. He has not found the measurement of the fans’ angriness, of 60,000 people straight away, because he sits in the best seats of the stadium… Look, he’s in a difficult role. Thierry Henry will not play tomorrow for Arsenal. His comments are like any other comments, they cannot help us to win, nor be an excuse to lose. We have to focus on ourselves.”

Which when put through the tabloid sensation generator becomes Wenger “demands showdown talks” with Henry (Mirror) and:





It’ll be “war” by tomorrow…

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

Chelsea star in Daily Telegraph caption horror


Photo choice and caption work from the Telegraph is A++today, says @ashleyconnick

Posted: 3rd, March 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford’s money madness

How much does Manchester United’s 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford earn every week? No need to guess because the newspapers are all over it:

The Sun: £500


Marcus Rashford



The Star: £1000


Marcus Rashford



The Mirror: £1500

Marcus Rashford


Such are the facts.


Posted: 1st, March 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal get a new spine, Gibbs sold and everything is rosy

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - The HawthornsTwo days after a limp Arsenal lost to a mid-table Manchester United side and the Daily Mail leads with news that the Gunners have £135m to spend. The Mail says Arsenal have “cash reserves” of £135m  – but will give Arsene Wenger only half of it to strengthen his squad this summer”.

It’s not Wenger’s fault Arsenal are toothless in attack and palsied in defence, says the Arsenal marketing team whose fingers are all over this ‘news’.  It’s Arsenal’s “hierarchy”. Blame them. Leave Wenger alone.

Trouble is that Pep Guardiola has £150m to spend at Manchester City, Manchester United will chuck another £100m at the brand – although the Express says the Red Devils already have found “a generation to rival the class of ’92. – and Chelsea have £150m for next season’s push.

What does £75m buy Arsenal?

“Arsene Wenger has made the central spine of his team the summer priority,” says the Daily Telegraph. That’s a central defender, a central midfielder and a centre forward, then. The Gunners will have a tad more cash because “Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are all likely to leave.”

Of those names only Flamini occupies a birth in the Arsenal ‘spine’. And he’s been on his way out the club for months. They wanted shot of him last Christmas.

Reading on in the pisspoor Telegraph, however, we learn that the paper’s exclusive is utter balls:

Wenger regards this as his best squad since the ‘Invincible’ era and, although his thinking will certainly be shaped by the next three months, he does not currently plan a major summer overhaul.

Nothing major – just replacing your team’s ‘spine’.

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

Arsenal are great and rubbish when the chips are down, says Redknapp

Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is talking about Arsenal. The Gunners lost 3-2 at Manchester United in a match notable for how little guts Arsenal showed.

I have watched them quite a bit recently and it is not the first time I have seen them play like that. They just don’t look good enough. At the moment, they look a very average team…

Arsenal have got it all on now. If they don’t play better than that, they could end up back in fourth in a season which, without any doubt, has been their big chance… You couldn’t fancy Arsenal from what you have seen of them at Old Trafford. Not when the chips are down.

Or as he put it a few weeks back in another Daily Telegraph column:

I think we saw this weekend, though, why it is a two-horse race for the title. Manchester City came from behind, late on, against a good Watford side and Arsenal managed to grind out a win when they were not playing well against Newcastle. That is not something Arsenal have been able to do in the past and it shows their progress this season.

It’s a funny old fame…

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

Manchester United balls: Van Gaal embroiled in scandal as Mourinho goes fishing

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is tired of hearing that irritating-but-talented Jose Mourinho is to replace him at Old Trafford. Speaking to Dutch television channel RTL7 in the wake of United’s 5-1 Europa League win over Midtjylland on Thursday evening, Van Gaal was asked about the pressure both he and his players are enduring at the moment. His answer was fullsome:

He (Mourinho) has said things a number of times with a lot of words. But he does not have to tell me anything. I find the whole thing ridiculous!

No, I don’t want United to do something either. I don’t even want them to react to things which I read in the media or which are being created.

We, the club and I, are not going to help the media right now by denying things.

I think what is happening is an absolute scandal!

The Mirror thinks the story worthy of its lead page.





The paper notes:

The Mourinho connection riles him. The duo are old friends yet Van Gaal refuses to telephone the former Chelsea boss to nail the rumour that he’s angling for the Old Trafford job.

Angling? But the Mirror said it was already his!
mourinho van gaal united


Such are the facts.


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

Spider bite transforms Wrexham football into a ‘footie ace’

james gray wrexham


Who is the “footie ace” eaten by spiders? It’s there on the front page of the Daily Star – “Killer Spider Eats Footies Ace.” Has Wayne Rooney been trapped in a spider’s web? Reading on we learn that the ace is Wrexham striker James Gray. That’s G… R…A…Y.  Wrexham play in the National League, four notches below the Premier League.

He was less eaten than he was bitten on the arm by a false widow spider. It;s nasty little critter. James developed an infection. He was rushed to hospital, where the poison was cut out.

Nasty. But is the false black widow really a killer spider? the NHS tells us:

According to the Natural History Museum, false widow spiders, so-called because of their similarity to the more poisonous black widow spider, are the main culprits and typically give bites that cause pain, redness and swelling.

Boots the chemist adds:

The effect of a bite is unlikely to be worse than being stung by a wasp or bee and results in pain, redness and swelling.

In other news: Footballer in English football’s fifth division bitten by spider. Or how about, Spider bite transforms Wrexham football into a ‘footie ace’?!


Posted: 27th, February 2016 | In: Back pages, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer balls: Mourinho’s three-year Manchester United contract vanishes

daily express manchester united mourinho

Misleading headline of the day appears in the Daily Express – ‘The World’s Greatest Newspaper”. It declares: “Jose Mourinho agrees three-year deal to become Manchester United manager.”

Does Louis Van Gaal, the current Man United manager, know?

It soon becomes clear that the story is utter balls.

Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias claim the 53-year-old has now agreed a three-year deal worth £15.75million to become the next United boss.

The Express offers no link to the source of its scoop. But we take a look over there. Diario’s latest news on Mourinho tells us:

Técnico português diz que “ninguém sabe” se irá para o Manchester United na próxima época

O treinador português José Mourinho disse hoje que está “satisfeito” por estar sem trabalhar, observando que a possibilidade de assumir o comando técnico da equipa de futebol do Manchester United “é a pergunta de um milhão de dólares”.

“Todos os dias surgem notícias diferentes, mas a verdade é que neste momento não tenho trabalho e estou satisfeito por não ter”, disse Mourinho, que foi despedido do Chelsea, perante uma plateia de alunos de uma escola secundária em Singapura.

Questionado por um jovem adepto do Manchester United sobre a possibilidade de treinar os ‘red devils’, o treinador português, de 53 anos, foi enigmático: “Essa é a pergunta de um milhão de dólares, que ninguém conhece a resposta e eu sou o primeiro a não a conhecer.”

Google translate:

Portuguese coach says that “no one knows” it will go to Manchester United next season

The Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho said today he was “pleased” to be out of work, noting that the ability to take the coach of the football team Manchester United “is the question a million dollars.”

“Every day there are different news, but the truth is that at this point do not work and I am glad not to have,” said Mourinho, who was fired from Chelsea, before an audience of students from a secondary school in Singapore.

Asked by a young fan of Manchester United about the possibility of training the ‘red devils’, the Portuguese coach, 53, it was enigmatic: “That’s the question a million dollars, that no one knows the answer and I am the first not to know. “

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, February 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment (1)

Spurs balls: losing to Crystal Palace was the worst and best thing

Can Tottenham march to glory this season? The London Evening Standard is full of advice. Tom Collomosse tells readers:

If Tottenham believe elimination from the FA Cup to be a blessing in disguise, they should use the memory of last season to banish that thought from their minds.

Losing to Crystal Palace was bad. There is no silver lining. Got it. Over to Tony Evans, then, who tells Standard readers:

Losing to Crystal Palace might have been the best thing for Tottenham’s title challenge. Spurs looked short on energy and ideas yesterday. Battling on two fronts rather than three could suit Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

There is a silver lining?


Posted: 24th, February 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment