Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 20

Sports Category

Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Unemployment now! Women rejoice as all F1 babes are sacked

F1 will no longer feature female models – Grid Girls – in the pits. Women won’t be in the cars, either. That tradition stays. Says Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations:

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

The BBC spoke with one of the newly sacked: Charlotte Gash:

“It’s upsetting and I’m rather disgusted that F1 have given in to the minority to be politically correct…. I know the grid girls are there to look pretty when they’re out on the grid but my role was interacting with the crowd and we were there as an advertisement for the sponsors. We love doing it we don’t want it taken away from us.”

 

charlotte gash

 

Charlotte Gash, there.

Men, start your engines…

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Arsenal rejoice! Ozil signs new long-term contract

Mesut Ozil has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract extension at Arsenal. Having lost Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United earlier this month, the good news for Arsenal fans is that Ozil will not be making the same journey north.

Ozil is not just staying out of love. He’ll be on £350k per week before tax.

To say this is good news for Arsenal fans would be an understatement.

Anyhow, here’s what the experts in the press have been saying:

 

Mirror ozil leaves

Such are the facts…

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang watches Arsenal lose and decides to join them

 named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world.

 

Much has been said about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s temperament. The player named by The Guardian as the eighth-best footballer in the world in December 2016 has  joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for over £56m.

“Our second signing of the January transfer window, the 28-year-old is one of the world’s most highly-rated strikers. He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund [97 from inside the area] and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club,” oozes Arsenal. “That works out at an average of 96 minutes per goal or assist. Auba is the Gabon captain and all-time top goalscorer, and became the first Gabonese winner of the African Footballer of the Year award in 2015.”

That Auba, as he is now called in official despatches – Arsenal eschewing cash from all those extra letters on replica tops in preference to snappier global branding – should join Arsenal after their comically bad 1-3 defeat to a vibrant Swansea City can only be explained by his having agreed to sign a big money contract before the debacle and correctly realising that standards at the club are now so reduced that getting a shot on target represents improvement.

So what next for Arsenal? According to the SAM (Sports Analytics Machine), a computer built by Ian McHale, professor of sports analytics at the University of Liverpool, Aubameyang will “increase Arsenal’s probability of finishing in the top four by 2% (up to 20%) and bring an expected increase in points of around 0.6.”

Thrilling.

 

Posted: 31st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


BT Sport dismisses Jurgen Klopp’s latest excuse for a Liverpool defeat

When Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Bromwich Albion, the game was marred by referee Craig Pawson pausing the the action several times to ask the video assistant to investigate a number of decisions. The first half lasted 50 minutes (BBC). Pawson did his best to stymie all the verve and drama of a Cup tie by taking “three minutes and 53 seconds” (Guardian) / “almost 3 minutes” (BBC) /  “well over 3 minutes (Telegraph) ‘ “four minutes” (Times) to award Liverpool a penalty. It was awful.

 

Klopp was happy:

“Is it nice that West Brom celebrate a goal then somebody tells them it’s not a goal? No, but I think it’s important if a goal needs to be disallowed, it is disallowed. Normally after a game I have to explain to you a defeat which was not deserved because we didn’t get a penalty or they scored another goal.”

So he was not going to moan. Until he did. Klopp was unhappy, accusing broadcaster BT Sports of pressuring the officials to reduce injury time. Klopp told media:

What I heard was that the actual extra-time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it (can’t be) longer than four minutes.

Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don’t know what was afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say it’s now a little bit too long.

BT Sport host Jake Humphrey called Klopp’s claim “laughable”. BT Sport’senior director Simon Hughes added:

I directed the match and I can categorically state that at no point did I (can add ‘have I’ or ‘would I’ to that) ever try to influence the officials, including the allocation of stoppage time. Not only would it be unprofessional, it would also be utterly futile…

So far this season, Klopp has attributed disappointing Liverpool results to the wind, a dry pitch and a midweek tactical session being skipped due to illness.

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sell Giroud to Chelsea for less than agreed price

Arsenal have yet to hand over the £60m it’ll take for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join them. The BBC says the move “hinges” on two other transfers:  Aubameyang to Arsenal, Giroud to Chelsea and Batshuayi to Dortmund.

We’re told Arsenal want £35, for Giroud, 31.

 

 

No they don’t, says The Metro, which declares: “Chelsea agree to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal for £15m.”

They have? No. Of course not. That’s the dire Metro, which can’t even get Giroud’s age right:

 

 

 

Football365 then gets itself in a mess over what words mean. Can you “give” a man to another – slavery? – and get £15m in return?

 

 

The Daily Express is also confused. It’s not “agreed” if it’s in ‘inverted commas’. But it is agreed if the story states: “Chelsea have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Oliver Giroud.”

 

 

The source for every one of these scoops seems to be Gianlica Dimario. Who he and why is his word taken as fact? He says he’s a “journalist registered with the Court of Milan”. On his website, we read (through the wonder of Google Translate):

With Dzeko, Chelsea has identified a new target for the attack. This is Olivier Giroud , for whom the Blues have found an agreement with Arsenal on the basis of 15 million pounds plus bonuses. The negotiation will be defined as soon as Wenger’s team will define every detail with Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund will have found a substitute for Gabonese, which could be Batshuayi.

 

The utter balls is underlined by the Express, which on the same page as its report that Giroud to Chelsea for £15m is a done deal, declares this morning:

Giroud crunch talks
06.15: Chelsea are expected to re-open negotiations with Arsenal today regarding the sale Olivier Giroud, according to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague.

Balague says that Chelsea had an initial offer of £20million turned down by the Gunners.

“I read Giroud could go to Chelsea for £15m but I believe #CFC last offer was £20m and was rejected by #AFC,” Balague wrote on Twitter.

“No negotiations took place after that rejection.

“But tomorrow contacts could be renewed.”

To recap: Giroud has joined Chelsea for £5m less than a bid Arsenal rejected?

Oh, and in the Sun we read that Chelsea are targeting Tottenham’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, 32.

Fact: Giroud has not signed for Chelsea.

 

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester City’s artists, Leroy Sane’s leg and Neil Warnock’s ‘broken leg’

It should have been a red card. Joe Bennett’s nasty foul on Leroy Sane during Cardiff City’s 0-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup earned him just a yellow card (he’d go on to foul again, get a second yellow and be dismissed). Bennett, the Cardiff full-back, has apologised for the foul that could costs City Sane’s presence on the pitch for a month or more.

“For football in general players are the artists. The only thing they can do is protect them,” says City manger Pep Guardiola after the game. “Referees have to protect – not just mine, all players. Sane will be out for a while. Maybe two or three weeks, or a month, we will see tomorrow. It’s his ankle.”

 

 

 

 

The Bluebirds committed 14 fouls in the match, just two more than the Premier League leaders.

“Did I fear serious injuries?,” continues Guardiola. “Of course. Every team can play how they want. If they decide to play in that way, perfect. But there is one man, in black, and he has to decide what is correct and incorrect. When you say: ‘Why don’t you win the four titles?’ I need the players to win the four titles.”

Cardiff manager, Neil Warnock, replies: “City dished out a bit, as well. He [Guardiola] is in England. What do you expect? I suppose when you’re like that you want everything to be nice and pretty but you don’t get that in England. You get different challenges, don’t you?”

Double standards much. Is the Cardiff manager any relation to the Neil Warnock who after his Crystal Palace side lost to Chelsea opined: “I thought he was influenced by one or two things. John Terry’s (non) booking – if that’s one of my players, it’s a booking. I don’t understand why it’s not an even platform.”

And the Neil Warnock who this season observed: “That’s three or four games where we’ve had crucial decisions go against us. Those are the decisions you want the officials to get right and at the moment they’re getting most of them wrong. It’s scandalous at the moment. I’ve never known it as poor, the officials.”

And what about this in Seeing Red by former referee Graham Poll:

Warnock constantly belittled officials and by doing so and getting away with it he encouraged the climate of abuse and insults which every referee has to suffer.

Everyone who pulls on a referee’s shirt knows criticism is part of the deal but that does not mean it has to be encouraged. By letting the Warnocks of football get away with repeatedly chipping away at referees, the authorities fail in their duty of care…

In Europe, UEFA take a much tougher line with managers and so, in European games, managers and coaches have a less aggressive attitude. They know that if they step out of line UEFA will hammer them. Similarly, UEFA punish any manager who criticises an official through the media. But in England, it is always open season on referees.

Warnock and those like him routinely carp at match officials, their level of performance and even their neutrality. So I hoped he would |be taught a lesson – not for my benefit but for the good of the game. Yet when he was charged with misconduct, he remained unrepentant.

In fact, he said he did not want Premier League officials in charge of his games. He got his way for a few years, because his team lost in the promotion play-off final that season and so stayed in the Football League. Inevitably, he blamed the referee, Steve Bennett, for losing to Wolves in the play-off final.

And so, in August 2003, Warnock was handed a four-game touchline ban and fined &300 – that’s 300 whole pounds – for two misconduct charges. One related to his comments about me; the other was for insulting Steve Bennett during the play-off final.

Fast-forward three years and Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League. Their next match was against local rivals Leeds United who were pushing for a play-off place. Their manager was Kevin Blackwell who had been Warnock’s assistant at Sheffield United and the manner of his ‘defection’ had angered Warnock.

Blackwell and Leeds coach John Carver were aggressively vocal in the other dug- out but Warnock behaved himself until just before half-time when Craig Short of Sheffield United and Leeds’ Gary Kelly went for a 50-50 ball. Paul Robinson, the fourth official, called me over and reported that Warnock had shouted: ‘Next time I hope he (Kelly) breaks his f***ing leg.’

What a viciously spiteful thing to say about any player. I sent Warnock to the stand – one of the easiest decisions I had to make in 27 years – but he complained that the fourth official had it in for him and refused to go. He was out of control.

Guardiola’s response to a nasty foul on one of his star players is measured. He wants all players to be protected. But when put through the tabloid mincer, the Spaniard comes across like a wally:

According to the Mail, Guardiola flounced and screamed: “Leave My Artists Alone.”

 

tackle leroy sane

 

Other papers lead with the nasty foul:

tackle leroy sane tackle leroy sane

As for the tackle, let’s see how the clubs’ websites report it:

Cardiff City official website: not a single word.

Manchester City FC: “Just before the break a rapid Sane counter attacked was ended by Joe Bennett’s poor foul, and the German was replaced at the break by Sergio Aguero.” Plus a story entitled: “PEP CALLS FOR MORE PROTECTION AFTER SANE FOUL ​”

Bias in abundance, then. Which is why the referee is so vital.

Posted: 29th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Benzema joins Arsenal for the umpteenth time

Karim Benzema is on his way to the Emirates. Yeah, really. Sports Illustrated announces: “Arsenal Strikes Deal to Bring Karim Benzema to the Emirates.” We’ve been here before. Many times. And before we turn to the Daily Mirror, the source of the SI’s scoop, a look at what we wrote in April 2017:

“Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to be Alexis Sanchez replacement,” thundered the Daily Mirror.

Newspaper readers will know that Benzema joined Liverpool in 2014 (Daily Star) and Arsenal in 2015 (MetroDaily Star (twice), Daily TelegraphThe Sydney Morning Heraldand again in 2017 (The Sun). He never left Real Madrid. And today the papers are having another crack at the Benzema to Arsenal story.

And so to today’s Mirror: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreement with Arsene Wenger to join Arsenal but Gunners must improve bid.” And: “Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has agreed to join Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, according to reports.” What reports? “The 30-year-old would be welcomed at the Emirates and reports from Spain now suggest he has an agreement with Wenger.”

No link to any report and suggestions coming out of Spain. But the Express, however, does, linking to Diario Gol. Slap it through Google translate and you get:

On the sidelines, his immediate step points to London: as Diario Gol has learned, the player’s agreement with his compatriot / friend, Arsène Wenger , who wants him at Arsenal next summer, is total. The only problem is the figures of the transfer: the club ‘gunner’ does not exceed 40 million between fixed and variable Karim to maintain the cache. While Real Madrid requires a minimum of 60 ‘kilos’.

There’s not a single source for the story. But one orphaned report on a Spanish website enough for it to become a big story in the British mainstream media. And this in the Star:

 

 

And this from the Express:

 

“Karim Benzema has agreed to leave Real Madrid for Arsenal, according to reports,” says talkSport. Not so. It’s one claim reported on many times.

Benzema to Arsenal. We’ve heard it all before.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal target Aubameyang booed as Borussia prepare to lose out

Has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for Arsenal yet? No. Today the Gabon striker played for Borssia Dortmund in their 2-2 draw with with Freiburg in the Bundesliga. There is no news. Borussia Dortmund striker plays up front for Borussia Dortmund.

But the journalisomobile is in full cry. It won’t be stopped by fact alone. So the Mail thunders: “Borussia Dortmund hierarchy ready to ‘break up’ with Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.”

Says who? The Mail’s story is pinned “according to Sky Sports Germany”. He “may” leaves, says the Mail. Or to put it another way, he may not. “Hans-Joachim Watske and Michael Zorc are understood to hold the opinion that it would be better for all parties involved to ‘break up’.”

 

 

‘Understood’ is shorthand for there are no quotes. But over on Sky Sports Germany there are no facts either. But we do get a photo of Dortmund fans displaying a message to Aubameyang: “No player is bigger than our club.”  Which the Standard garbles into the story: “Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shunned by Borussia Dortmund fans with banner.” How can you be shunned and greeted by a 60ft banner? Maybe next week the fans will ignore Aubameyang with a plane trailing a huge banner featuring the legend “Pierre Who?”

As the fans boo their star, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael ZorcZorc tells Sky Sports Germany:

“We are prepared to implement a transfer under certain parameters – but only if these parameters are fully met. Arsenal has started several attempts so far. We have all rejected so far.

“Either our demands are fulfilled, then there can be another transfer, or else they will not be fulfilled and Auba will play in Dortmund until the summer, so it is also discussed and accepted by the Aubameyang family.”

Dortmund want £60m or else they’ll keep paying the player who wants to leave and upsets the fans and the team. Not much of an ultimatum is it…

 

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs balls: Mauricio Pochettino to join Real Madrid and understanding the expert

No sooner has Mauricio Pochettino been linked with the Real Madrid manager’s job then the BBC says the Spanish giants have made a move for him. This might be some news from Zinedine Zidane, the current boss of Real Madrid, who led them to back-to-back Champions’ League triumphs in the past two seasons. Real are having a poor season by their high standards, fourth in La Liga, a whopping 19 points shy of leaders Barcelona.

Inevitably talk turns to who next at Real. And for reasons not all that clear, Real apparently like the Spurs manager, who’s never won anything meaningful as a coach (four manager of the month awards is the total haul). Spurs are fifth in the Premier League. They are in the Champions League, their path to a Round of 16 tie with Juventus is decorated with a 3-1 home win over Real. There should be Rule for when bigger clubs approach the manager of a small club they’ve just lost to. (Maybe The Anorak Rule? The Sorene Rule?)

As for the facts “revealed” in the Mail’s report, well, get a load of this line:

Sportsmail understands that initial contact has been made between Real Madrid officials and associates of Pochettino. Sources in Spain believe he is tempted by the possibility of working at Real Madrid.

Not exactly replete with definites is it. But “Real have made Pochettino their first-choice target…. It is understood that Madrid would not want Pochettino to replace Zidane mid-season… Pochettino would be handed a significant transfer budget as the club attempt to return to the pinnacle of Spanish football.”

I was in agreement with all those believes and maybes until I read that part about Real Madrid spending big to secure success. Nah! Not Real with all those homegrown players and commitment to locality.

Helping us work out if Real really are going to make moves for Pochettino is Sky, which notes: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.” He’s the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United.

Such are the facts…

Posted: 27th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Transfer balls: Pochettinho from Spurs to Real Madrid is pie in the sky

Funny, no, how in demand Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to be? The BBC says the manager whose CV highlight reads ‘Premier League runners-up’ “would rather work on a farm than manage Arsenal or Barcelona”. It’s worth noting that neither club has made any approach to recruit the Argentine whose Spurs side are currently the fifth best side in the Premier League.

Over in the Express, the news is echoed: “Mauricio Pochettino hints at Real Madrid move before INSULTING Arsenal and Barcelona – TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid.”

Very good of him not to discount moving to the world’s biggest and most successful football club. No word on whether or not Real want the 45-year-old. But they might. “You never know what will happen in football,” said Pochettinho when asked about coaching Real.

And what of that “insult”?

I am so clear,” Pochettino said. “I am never going to be manager of Barcelona or Arsenal because I am so identified with Tottenham and Espanyol. I grew up in Newell’s Old Boys and will never manage Rosario Central. That is my decision because I prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than in some places.”

Not “a farm”, as in ‘I’d rather muck out pigs than manage Arsenal or Barcelona.’ He says he’s rather retire to his farm than take a job with a big city rival.  He adds:

“But my commitment is massive in this club. I am working like I am going to be here forever. But in the end, it is like the players, you never know what is going to happen in football. It is a lot of rumours about this, about that. Tomorrow [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy could have a bad night and say, ‘Oh I am going to sack Mauricio’. And then I look stupid saying I am not going to work in one place or another or another. You never know in football. That is the problem. It is a very unstable situation.”

So much for the insult. Put his words through the churnaliser and the Express might just as well thunder: “Pochettino admits he could manage Chelsea or Arsenal.”

 

And then it’s back to Real Madrid. The Express says “current boss Zineidne Zidane [sic] is currently under heavy pressure at the Bernabeu…the Frenchman has admitted he will be sacked if Real lose to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.”

Will Zidane (check spelling) get caught in all those currents? Did he says he will be sacked? In another story on bullshit.com, the Express states: “Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane reveals when he will be SACKED.” He did? No. H didn’t. Asked by a journalist whether his job tenure could be decided by the match with PSG, Zidane said: “Of course.” Not will be sacked. Might be sacked. Which surely is just another way of saying the same as Pochettinho: football management is not a stable job.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Aubameyang’s Arsenal debut is stating the obvious

Transfer balls: are Arsenal going to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Germans have turned down two bids this transfer window. But a third bid might just do it because the BBC says Arsenal are “already planning the 28-year-old Gabon striker’s debut”.

Says who? The Beeb links to a story on the Daily Express (aka bullshit.com), which announces: “Aubameyang to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger very confident of deal, debut already being planned.” The Express links to Bild as the source of its story. t the foot of a story on how the German’s want Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and how the Frenchman would fit in at Borussia, the writer notes: “Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger (68) is scheduled to plan with Aubameyang for the next match at Swansea City (January 30).”

How Bild knows that is not mentioned. And, then, all it claims to know – that at the end of the transfer window, Aubemayang could play for Arsenal. that’s not insider knowledge; that’s stating the obvious. But hook it to the journalisomobile and you get the Mirror delcaing: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘set to make Arsenal debut next Tuesday’ as Gunners close in on £60m deal.” And then the killer first line: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his Arsenal debut as soon as next Tuesday.” Or to put it another, he might not.

But to the Mirror, guesswork amounts to something being “revealed”:

 

arsenal balls daily mirror

 

And this:

 

More revelations than Elijah

 

Such are the facts…

Posted: 25th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


New Leeds United badge looks like an advert for Gaviscon

The news Leeds United badge – the one on which the club claims to have consulted 10,000 people (how many of whom are Leeds fans is not know but I’d guess none) – looks like…the design on a bottle of Gaviscon, the treatment for upset stomachs.

 

SLAL-leeds-gaviscon

Posted: 24th, January 2018 | In: Money, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho and the Sun’s selfie preservation society

So how does the Sun headline nine photographs of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho minding his own business on a walk close to his London home?

Like this:

WHY SO GLUM?

Well, there is a stranger with a camera tracking his private life, possibly calling out his name, as paparazzi are wont to do, in the hope you’ll look at them. But the Sun doesn’t think the man with the big camera is making the Manchester United coach look at the pavement. And that’s odd because in one image, Mourinho is seen posing happily for a selfie with a passer by. Both Mourinho and the celeb spotter are smiling. Or as the Sun has it:

Jose Mourinho looks fed up as he poses for selfie with a workman…

No. He looks happy posing for a photo with a man who took the trouble to ask for a selfie. Might it be the other cameraman belching out his name like a lobotomised parrot that’s making him “moody” and “glum” as he walked down a Knightsbridge road close to his London home?

Posted: 23rd, January 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: Sanchez is no mercenary and Arsenal gain hope

The news media is on no doubt which of Arsenal and Manchester United got the better deal when Alexis Sanchez moved to Old Trafford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed to London in a swap plus cash deal. Every back page leads with Sanchez:

 

alexis sanchez arsenal manchester united

 

There’s a lot of guff about how Sanchez did and didn’t move for the money – my view: so what if he did; it’s a job and his duty to get the best pay he can to perform it. Not every athlete can be like Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs star who twice helped his club by accepting contracts for less than his market value. Most players listen to their agents. And if journalists and pundits want to look around football for mercenaries, they should lower their gaze toward the men in shiny tracksuits.

The other notable thing is that Sanchez is being marketed heavily from the off, with United posting a video of the Chilean playing a few bars of ‘Glory Glory’, a song I’d always associated with Tottenham Hotspur.

 

 

Over at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger appraised his new player in unusual terms: “He’s a very complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well.”

The upshot is that both sides lose a player who were under performing and gain one who offers hope.

Posted: 23rd, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait balls: Is this a hint Manchester United’s Sanchez is new face of Greggs?

 

Trinity Mirror is looking to take control of the Express. The company, which publishes the Daily Mirror, will then surely set about creating the largest clickbait farm in British football news. Both newspapers sites are stuffed full of utter tosh designed with one purpose: to trick fans looking for news on their club into clicking links and seeing the ads.

In today’s Express, readers are presented with the headline: “Is this the clue Arsenal will sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?” A clue? Well, Arsenal’s deal makers are in Germany and Borrussia Dortmund, Aubemeyang’s club, say the Gunners have tabled an offer for their star player. But those are not the clue to which the Express refers. The clue is that “Ladbrokes believe striker Aubemayang is set to arrive too with the odds on him joining now 1/8.” Yep. What a bookie “believes” is a clue to a multi-million pound deal.

 

.”Manchester United was one of the teams that he dreamt about” says  Barbara Astorga 

After what looks like a sponsored story dressed up as clickbait, which itself is balls dressed up as news, the Mirror shows the Express how they do it.

When the Manchester Evening News reported on a drive-thru Greggs coming to the area – “The first AND ONLY drive-thru Greggs is in Greater Manchester and it’s open now” – other Trinity Mirror ignored the sore’s uniqueness and noted:

The Leicester Mercury: “A Greggs drive-thru has opened in Manchester – so we asked whether one is coming to Leicester.”

“When we heard the news that Manchester were getting their very own drive-thru, we wanted to know if we were getting one in Leicester – soon. so we got in touch with Gregg’s to find out – but it’s not good news. Greggs got back in touch to say there are no further Drive Thru shops planned to open in the immediate future.”

The Liverpool Echo the story was headlined: “Is Liverpool getting a Greggs drive-thru?”

“But unfortunately for all our Scouse Greggs fans, there are no current plans to open a drive thru in Liverpool.”

The Grimsby Telegraph: “Drive-thru Greggs may find its way to Grimsby as new concept is trialled for nationwide rollout.”

“The concept is being tried out at Irlam Gateway Service Station, in Salford, before a potential nationwide roll-out, though bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

Lincolnshire Live: “Could drive-thru Greggs be coming to Lincoln? Bakery’s new concept set for nationwide roll-out”

“The concept is being tried out in Manchester before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

The Bristol Post: “Is Bristol getting a Greggs drive-thru?”

“Although the company hasn’t said yet whether it plans to open a drive-thru branch in Bristol, its chief executive Roger Whiteside said it wanted the chain to have drive-thru shops in all sorts of convenient locations – so we wouldn’t rule out one appearing here just yet.”

Somerset Live: “Will Somerset get a Greggs drive-thru if the first one is a hit?”

“The concept, follows the launch of Greggs delivery service in Manchester, is being tried out here before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

If the Express and Mirror merge, look out for such scoops as: “Is Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez the new face of Greggs?”; “Is this a hint Manchester United’s Sanchez is new face of Greggs?”; “Is this the real reason Sanchez left Arsenal for Manchester United?”

Spotter: Press Gazette

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Middlesbrough fans arrested for urinating in QPR’s goalie’s water bottle

The Metropolitan Police have arrested a Middlesbrough fan who, allegedly, urinated in QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies’ water bottle. Footage appears to show the fan taking a leak into the bottle before lobbing it back onto the pitch.

 

boro-fan-bottle-qpr

Leaky defence

 

The Met say:

After an investigation, the MPS Football Unit can confirm that the male arrested at the QPR-Boro game yesterday has been charged with throwing an item on to the pitch.

The male has been bailed and will appear at court next month.

Cleveland Police say they will “remove him from attending Boro games again”.

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United: Mata is the antidote to Sanchez and Pogba’s greed

How much does Manchester United’s Paul Pogba earn? This is not to shame ‘Old Pogba’, as the BBC dubs him, to cast him as a footballing mercenary, a barb former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has aimed at Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean prepares to leave Arsenal for a £450,000-week deal at Manchester United.

The vast majority of us work for the money. Footballers should be no different. Although some of us want footballers to be role models for the slack-jawed masses, which is why the Guardian has made Juan Mata its footballer of the year. The Manchester United midfielder heads the Common Goal project, in which players and managers donate 1% of their salary to charity. Good for him and the recipients of his generosity, but relegating an athlete’s ability with the ball to somewhere below their morals is unhelpful to anyone who sees football as a fun leisure pursuit. Does journalism award prizes to commentators and editors on the strength of how many charities they give to? Do newspapers publish staff earnings in league tables and link wage packets to their owner’s net worth? The maximum fee for professional footballers was scrapped in the 1960s. The current obsession with footballer’s earnings and spending power looks a lot like snobbish disdain.

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

And in the rush to sneer at footballers, facts are manipulated to suit the narrative. When Pogba signed for United on 2016, the Daily Mail stated his wage at £290,000-per week. Today the Mirror reports that Pogba earns £200,000-a-week. That’s quite some difference. And the Express says Pogba wants his wage”doubled” to match the “£500,000-a-week” Sanchez is set to earn.

Pogba’s basic salary is £165,000 a week, says the BBC. But his 41-page contract contains substantial incentives to earn more.

Will United give Pogba such a massive raise because his agent senses an opportunity? You wouldn’t bet against it. If the club are desperate enough to pay Sanchez a massive wage and in so doing risk destabilising the team – the reason Pep Guardiola gave for Manchester City pulling out of any deal for Sanchez – they’ll pay through the nose to keep their main marketing asset happy. Good for them. The rest of us should all agree on one thing: everyone should be on huge wages.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City race to sign ‘the new Paul Pogba’

Manchester United midfielder and marketing maestro Paul Pogba is 24. In media terms that’s old. The BBC for one is tired of old Pogba and has found “the new Paul Pogba”, aka Boubakary Soumare, 18.

The Daily Mail agrees, reporting that Manchester City, Everton and Leicester are looking at the  “new Paul Pogba”. The Lille teenager is on the market for a mere £20m-rated. That’s a snip for a player who’s made a whopping three starts for the struggling French club.

 

Boubakary Soumare

 

The Old Paul Pogba cost Man United around £90m when he joined when from Juventus. So news that the new version is available for much less should appeal to many clubs and brands.

What we don’t learn in the Mail’s story is who first called Soumare “the new Paul Pogba”. The Sun also fails to name a source for the claim in its story “Manchester City step up chase for Lille’s ‘new Paul Pogba’ Boubakary Soumare”.

There’s no word from Soumare. But rumours suggest he fashions himself as “the new Norman Hunter”.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United pay through the nose for Arsenal’s bargain Sanchez

When Emmanuel Petit isn’t spending time with his hair, the former France and Arsenal player is creating to-deadline ‘news’ for Paddy Power, the bookmakers. On the firm’s website ‘writes’ that Arsenal “could have sold him [Alexis Sanchez]  last summer and received at least double the amount they’ll get now.” Er, no. The £60m Manchester City offered the Chilean last summer also included a signing on payment and a cut for the player’s agent, a man widely reported to be getting £10m from the £35m Manchester United have offered Arsenal. Arsenal were not getting £60m.

But, say it was £40m to Arsenal (the £60m less £10m to the agent and £10m to the player), the £20m Arsenal will get for Sanchez is boosted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way. He cost United £30m in 2016. Arsenal will get a player worth around that price – it’s what he would have cost them – plus £20m. That’s not too shabby. Factor in not paying Sanchez the £300,000 a week Arsenal offered him in a new contract – he’s on £130,000 a week; about the same sum Mkhitaryan earns at United – and that Sanchez is free agent in the summer, and Arsenal’s bankers aren’t jumping from top-floor windows just yet.

Petit goes on:

As for Mkhitaryan, since he signed for United he hasn’t been involved enough. I’m not sure he has a winning mentality, and sometimes he reminds me of Ozil: you really have to push him to show his character and put him under pressure to display his best qualities. There’s no doubt he has great skill, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of player that Arsenal need – they should be focused on other positions.

Put that through the tabloid mincer and it comes:

 

 

When the Armenian signed for United, he was greeted by his new manager Jose Mourinho thus:

“We have brought in the player who was voted the best player in the French league [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and with Micki we have brought the player who was voted the best player of the Bundesliga. He was voted not by the fans, not by the journalists but voted by the fellow players and that is what means more, I believe, because when your fellow players are the ones that choose you then it means a lot.

“Micki is a fantastic player and what I like more is something that is undeniable, which is the number of goals that he scores by not being a striker. His number of goals per season is really high for somebody that is not a striker. The number of assists is also very clear because it shows clearly his creativity, his vision and his concept of collective play, and that is something that I believe is really important for a club like us.

“We try to be dominant and will, for sure, face teams with a very defensive profile which is his capacity of acceleration of the game. He has a change of speed with the ball and without the ball, and that is very, very important for a club like ours.”

“Mikhi Mouse”? Petit’s words are being manipulated, of course. But there’s no need because what else he says is entirely stupid and needs no sensationalising:

Arsenal are struggling to bring in top-quality players, and also to keep the ones they have. It has been like this for a long time. They must be more competitive on the market, both when buying and selling. Times have changed since I left Arsenal, but I’m pretty sure Arsène is still heavily involved when it comes from to the transfer market.

Can you keep a player earning £130,000 a week from being attracted to earning £500,000 a week at a different club?

…but with the money Arsenal have, they should be aiming higher. Because they are not competitive on the pitch at the moment, they need to be more competitive with wages: if you can’t guarantee trophies or at least compete to win them, then you must offer players more in order to come to the club. That’s just the way it works.

It helps if you have as much money as your rivals. Gary Jacob explains the “way it works”:

United earn and can spend much more money on wages, while City have a mega wealthy owner….Arsenal have championed a sustainable model built on being able to generate more income from tickets and corporate activities, but trail United in commercial income.

The model means Arsenal’s top earners are not way ahead of their lowest earners.

The bulk of Arsenal’s players earn between around £60,000 a week and £70,000 a week. Arsenal handed Alex Iwobi a contract worth around £35,000 a week when he put in some positive performances as they were keen to tie him down. At other clubs, inferior players earn relatively less by comparison….

In short: Arsenal take more of a punt than the two Manchester clubs or Chelsea on younger, less experienced players.  As Arsene Wenger has said:

“We have to revisit the way we structure our club, and our scouting policy. You look at world-class players now, you look at [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, Sanchez, their level of financial demands and the level of their costs, you have to go younger and certainly these players are not affordable.

“[Finding future stars] is more difficult nowadays because the competition is everywhere, it is very big. What is important today is that we are the club that can maybe give them a chance, more than many other clubs.”

Arsenal cannot compete with mega-rich owners who see the clubs as a branding exercise. But they can find stars of tomorrow. Indeed, when Sanchez joined the Gunners from Barcelona, didn’t they recruit a bargain, arguably paying under the odds for a top talent?

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfers: Aubameyang and Sanchez news reveals Wenger’s lack of power

The facts are clear. Arsenal have not recruited Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund. Alexis Sanchez has not joined Manchester United. “These kind of things, it’s better when it’s secret and when you don’t come out on it, and when you announce it when it’s over the line. Apart from the deal we just spoke about, Alexis and Mkhitaryan could happen, yes, but nothing else is close,” says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Announcing deals before contracts are signed is foolish. Media can rush the gun and guess. Remember this:

 

 

No deal is ever done until the player is kissing the badge and checking his bank account.

Of course, Wenger might not know anything. Oliver Kay explains in the Times:

Wenger rejected a series of proposals last year over the appointment of a director of football.. but essentially that role, the one that the manager felt would be a threat to his authority, has been created and split in two. Transfer strategy is being driven by the new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, formerly of Dortmund, and the start of next month will bring the arrival of Raul Sanllehi, the former Barcelona director of football who, in what looks a diplomatic nod to Wenger, will be called head of football relations.

Wenger can speak about deals but he’s no long setting the agenda.

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba goes to pot

On the Sun’s website, news that Manchester United’s Paul Pogba owns a pool table.

And what game can we see him playing on said table in photos the player publishes on Instagram – photos which thanks to marketing guffers bigging up Brand Pogba  eagle-eyed journalists whose diligence helps those of us not interested enough in Pogba to follow his Instagram account keep tracks of his every move in the Sun?

Paul Pogba looks relaxed as he plays billiards in his Cheshire mansion

 

paul pogba pool tabel

 

Next week, Pogba plays tennis on a squash court.

Posted: 18th, January 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United’s fee for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez confuses the Daily Mirror

Manchester United are going to pay an “incredible” £182m for Alexis Sanchez. So says the Daily Mirror. And it’s wrong, of course. A desperate and rich United have agreed to pay a £35m transfer fee for the 29-year-old Chilean. That’s pretty much it.

But the Mirror tots up the £500,000-a-week ages Sanchez will earn before tax on a four-and-a-half year contract and adds £117m to that £35m. It then adds a further £20m Sanchez will get by way of a “signing on payment”. That’s £172m. But the Mirror conjures £182 by double counting £10m Sanchez’s agent will earn, which is already incorporated in the £35m transfer fee.

 

daily mirror sanchez

£10m becomes £20m at the stroke of a pen

 

But aside from the pisspoor accounting, readers have to imagine that United will pay Sanchez over four years wages in one tranche. They won’t, of course.

And there’s the wages. The Sun says Sanchez will earn £505,000 a week. The Mail says it’s £450,000, a week – £350,000 basic plus £100,000 in image rights. That’s a licence for United to exploit Sanchez’s name commercially on stuff like mugs and other merchandising spin-offs. Buying Sanchez is not just about buying his ability on the pitch. United will earn from Sanchez’ name. It’s not wages. It’s a partnership.

Sanchez stands to earn a fortune. But the Mirror thinks his vast income is simply not sensational enough and needs inflating.

But you can get to £180m if you include wages, fees and tax:

 

 

Posted: 18th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Arsenal: Wenger laments Walcott sale

Everton have signed Theo Walcott from Arsenal. Walcott has joined on a £20m on a three-and-a-half year contract. This is good news for all parties. Walcott has stagnated at Arsenal. Everton could be the flip he requires to restart a career that promise much and delivered less. In his 12 seasons at Arsenal, Walcott has scored 108 goals in 397 appearances. Not too shabby at all. But the feeling persists that the stats should have been more impressive.

“It felt like it was time for me to move on [from Arsenal],” says Walcott. “It was sad but it’s exciting at the same time and I want to reignite my career and push Everton to win things as they have done before. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me.”

In a statement, Arsenal said: “We all thank Theo for his contribution to the club and wish him well for the future.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he did not want Walcott to leave. But if you don’t give a player with ambition a starting berth in a team of journeymen, he has to go.

 

Posted: 17th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Police investigate Chelsea’s payment of £15m for Everton’s Ross Barkley

“The Assistant Chief Constable of @MerseyPolice has contacted @mayor_anderson to tell him no criminal offence took place in Ross Barkley’s move from #Everton to Chelsea. The Mayor of #Liverpool wrote a letter to them asking them to investigate if any fraud took place.” So told the BBC tweet at 11:25 AM on Jan 16, 2018.

Sleep well in your beds, perps. And keep ’em peeled. Merseyside Police will leave no stone unturned in investigating Barkley’s departure to Stamford Bridge. A top copper has assured Liverpool’s Everton supporting mayor that Ross Barkley was not abducted. The £15m Chelsea paid for him was not part of any ransom. And Everton are not set to unveil Barkley’s identical twin brother, also called Ross.

Mayor Joe Anderson reportedly wrote to the FA, the Premier League and the Police, requesting they look into the transfer. He thought it to cheap for such a bright talent. And, incredibly, what with Liverpool being crime free, the police did.

Posted: 16th, January 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfers: Daily Mail writer doesn’t read the Daily Mail

Do journalist read their own newspapers? Writing in the Daily Mail about Arsenal transfers, Adam Shergold writes today:

 

arsenal transfers

It is a measure of how far Arsenal’s stock has fallen that they are spending the January transfer window trying to hold on to key assets rather than looking to strengthen their squad.

Rally? Because the Mail also reports in the past 24 hours that Arsenal are looking to sell Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. And the club is looking at new faces:

 

 

Story 1:

Borussia Dortmud striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has already got one quality to be an Arsenal legend – he hates Tottenham.

Story 2:

The United boss omitted the Armenian from the squad to face Stoke on Monday night, with a potential swap deal with Arsenal for Alexis Sanchez being touted.

Story 3:

After Wenger’s initial apprehension towards a move, Arsenal are now working to complete the deal for the Gabon striker who would replace Manchester United-bound Alexis Sanchez.

Story 4:

Arsenal are reportedly keen to take Manchester United striker Anthony Martial in part-exchange for Alexis Sanchez. United have moved ahead of Manchester City in the race to sign the Chilean.

Story 5:

Premier League heavyweights Arsenal and Chelsea have identified Watford attacker Richarlison as a potential signing during the summer transfer window.

Story 6:

Alexis Sanchez set to leave Arsenal ‘in the next 48 hours’ with £35million transfer to Manchester United close as Arsene Wenger demands Henrikh Mkhitaryan is involved in any deal

Story 7:

Bordeaux’s Brazil forward Malcolm has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium

Shergold was watching Arsenal play and beat Manchester United in an Under 23 clash last night. His reports tells us:

The other notable moment of the night saw January signing Konstantinos Mavropanos make his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt.

Either Shergold is right or all those stories on the Mail’s website are balls?

Posted: 16th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment