Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 7

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.

Transfer Balls: Liverpool old boy Coutinho to Manchester United and maybe Man City

The Manchester Evening News rivals the Daily Express for Transfer Balls – that strain of football reporting that treats readers as mugs. The latest tosh is that former Liverpool players Phillipe Coutinho will leave Barcelona for Manchester United. This would be quite some transfer given that Coutinho played for United’s rivals and became the world’s this most expensive player when he moved to Barcelona in 2018 for £106m. But news and no news is coming thick and thicker in the MEN:

“Manchester United ‘open talks’ to sign former Liverpool FC midfielder Philippe Coutinho and more transfer rumours” – January 7, 11.20am.

“Manchester United fans are saying the same thing about Philippe Coutinho transfer rumour” – January 7, 14.17pm.

“Why Manchester United won’t move for Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 5am.

“Manchester United favourites to sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 11.21am.

“Philippe Coutinho, Toby Alderweireld and the 30 players bookies are linking with a transfer move to Manchester United” – January 9, 6:30pm

Manchester United transfers

Any Manchester United fans dreaming or dreading Coutinho joining the club can read another story by Aidan McCartney. This one was also published on Jan 9:

Manchester City

The choices cut of the tosh linking Coutinho to Manchester City being: “Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed odds on signing some of the biggest names in world football.” Pep had no idea which players he was going to sign until Paddy Power and the mugs who make them rich told him.

Posted: 9th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Spurs are ready to sell Eriksen

Real Madrid like the look of Christian Eriksen, the Spurs player whose contract expires in 2020. Eriksen earns about £70,000- a-week at Tottenham. He wants an improved deal. Chances are that he’d get a bigger wage packet at Real. But Spurs stand in his path, asking – get this – £220m for the player they signed from Ajax for £11 million. If he’s worth that much to Spurs, why not pay him £300,000-a-week? Answer: because Spurs are a selling club.

The fee asked is huge and nuts, of course, but the fact Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, put a number to the question ‘What’s he worth’ shows that he’s ready to sell an asset. Eriksen would be mad not to leave Spurs for Real. Levy knows that. The player realises his value and wants to play for one of Europe’s best sides. The bigger question is if Eriksen is part of a deal that will also take the club’s manager back to Spain? Reports in Spain say Real are prepared to offer £80m for Eriksen. Pick a number around £100m and they’ll get their man.

Which only makes you wonder what Harry Kane is worth – and what price Levy would place on his had?

Posted: 9th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Dembele quits Spurs and shames Arsenal

Arsenal fans watching their club get no transfer fee for Aaron Ramey will be doubtless pleased to note that Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is costing Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan £11m. Like Ramsey, Demeble is in the final throes of his current deal, which expires in the summer.

Unlike Ramsey, 28, Dembele, 31, will earn his club a few quid this month. The money sugars the pill for Spurs, who are losing one of their best players – a better player than the overrated Ramsey. As for the Gunners, well, according to the Sun, Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus and will leave for free this summer. According to other new sources, he’s signed nothing.

But wait a moment. One source says Arsenal are looking to get £20m for the Welshman and get shot of him this January. Gazzetta.it says the Gunners have told Juventus that they can sign Ramsey this month for £20million. It’s all very confusing. We’d ask the player’s agent what’s occurring, but they’re still mowing the grass.

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs Balls: Pochettino gets ready to quit Invincible Spurs in 2034

Mauricio Pochettino has “cast doubt on his future” at Tottenham Hotspur, says the Times. Or as the BBC puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino says he hopes to be Tottenham boss for 20 years and perhaps finish his career with the club.” Two twist on the same interview. 

The Argentine is wanted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. He knows his value. “Daniel Levy [the Tottenham chairman] is creating a legacy that is going to be amazing for the club,” he said. “I can see in the future Tottenham winning trophies.” When will future Tottenham be ready?

“I don’t know if that will be with us, without us; in one year, in five years. But all the foundations are down for one day to start to win titles and be like other successful clubs.” One day…

Maybe Spurs can be like Arsenal. Pochettino wonders if he can be the next Arsene Wenger – not the one who won things; the one who stagnated.  “All that Arsène Wenger gave to Arsenal, to finish in the way it finished was a little bit unfair,” Pochettino said. “He deserves amazing recognition about his work.” He gets it. Not a week goes by without Wenger collecting some gong. Late last year he scored the Humane Order of African Redemption with the rank of Knight Grand Commander. He was pictured with a baby named after him – his namesake wrapped in a replica Arsenal shirt.  Pochettino has Chelsea in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. He needs to win. To date, the affable manager has won nothing with Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham in 2014. Not that any of those clubs have ever won all that much – Spurs haven’t lifted a pot since Juande Ramos’s team beat Chelsea in the League Cup final 11 years ago.

 “If you have money, like the other top six clubs, and you need [something], you buy it,” said Pochettino. “If we need, we build and we need time to build. There is Chelsea, Arsenal, City, Liverpool, United – and us. When people put us in the same level with expectations and everything, it’s unfair.”

Will he get the money? And will it be enough to out-spend Spurs’ more successful rivals? And lastly: if Pochettino is not the kind of manager who demands more money for big-name signings, when the new stadium is ready, should Spurs upgrade the coach and hire one who is? 

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal fans support Spurs Yid Army

 

We’re back talking about the ‘Yid Army’ and Spurs fans right to sing what they want to. This week something called The World Jewish Congress – I’ve not been invited to attend – and the Board of Deputies of British Jews – not been invited to that shindig, either – politely requested that Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have a word with their fans. They must tell them to stop freely referring to themselves as ‘Yids’. And that goes for the club’s Jewish fans, too.

Robert Singer, the CEO of the World Jewish Congress, stood in the pulpit and opined: “[The use of the word ‘yid’] by fans in the stands, either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals must not be tolerated in any way. We would also ask Tottenham Hotspur to take a stand against the use of ‘Yid Army’, ‘Yid’ and ‘Yiddos’ by their fans. Such a long overdue action is important to kick antisemitism off the pitch and create a welcoming environment for all.” To which the reply from this Arsenal fan is: “We’ll sing what we want to.” 

If Spurs fans want to self-identify as Yids, let them. It’s self-determination. The Yid Army is not the least bit anti-Semitic. What is bigoted and censorious is telling people what they can and cannot say about themselves. Singer and his ilk should spend more time calling out genuine acts of anti-Semitism than disabusing ‘Yids’ of their language. Most anti-Semites I’ve encountered are more subtle than to give full throat to the Yids. They speak of those “clever Jews”, those “rich Jews”, and those Jews who are loyal only to one another and don’t get “English irony”. 

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal wait to ‘welcome’ £8m Denis Suarez

Having welcomed Denis Suarez to Arsenal, the Daily Mirror now tells its readers: “Barcelona are determined not to sell Spanish midfielder Denis Suarez, 25, to Arsenal.” So which is it – the Mirror can’t be right both times? But this is Transfer Balls, where anything goes.

Over to the Sun, then, where the Mirror’s “£20million Arsenal target” is on his way to the Gunners for “over the £8m mark”. The Sun adds: “Emery knows Suarez well from their time together at Sevilla and is believed to have persuaded the star to reunite with him in the Premier League.” 

If you search ‘Denis Suarez’ on trusty Google, you don’t just get utter tosh from the mainstream Press – you also get utter tosh from new media video makers:

 

denis suarez

 

Meanwhile, the Sun does have one interesting aside about Suarez:

Mundo Deportivo report Barca paid an initial £1.5million fee — and agreed City will receive £700,000 instalments for every team games he plays for the club until he reaches his century.

It means price for the former Spain Under-21 international could rise to a total of £8.5m.

Barcelona signed Suarez from City in 2013 but he failed to make a first team appearance and was shipped out to Sevilla on loan after a season with the club’s B team — and then sold onto Villarreal.

However, the Catalans included a £2.85m buy-out clause, which they activated after 12 months.

Suarez is a Spanish-born makeweight at Barcelona. They don’t need him. He hardly plays for them. Suarez seems to be one name Arsenal can get. The bigger question is why they’d want him?

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal bid £10m over asking price for Cengiz Under

Arsenal fans reading about the club’s moves for Roma’s Turkish forward Cengiz Under will be confused as to what the club has bid. The Press are guessing. So far we’ve been told that Arsenal have bid anything from £35m to £55m for the player Roma value at, er, £45m:

 

transfers arsenal under

 

“Arsenal have £55m bid for top transfer target Cengiz Under rejected” – The Sun Jan 2.

The paper adds that Arsenal are “battling Tottenham, Manchester United and City for Roma striker”. They are? 

“Arsenal AND Chelsea target £54m Roma star Cengiz Under for January transfer window” – Daily Express, Dec 19

The Express lobs Chelsea into the mix.

“ARSENAL TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE: Cengiz Under latest as Chelsea drop out of race for £45m star” – Daily Star Jan 6

“Arsenal hopes of landing £45m AS Roma ace Cengiz Under dashed” – Daily Mirror, Jan 5

 

under arsenal

The Mirror says Roma want £45m for the player the Sun says Arsenal bid £55m to sign.

 

“Arsenal are not expected to make an improved offer for Roma’s £45m-rated Cengiz Under, having failed with an initial £35m bid for the 21-year-old Turkey winger” – BBC, Jan 7

“UNDER THE HAMMER Arsenal bid £29million for Roma star Cengiz Under rejected with Tottenham monitoring situation” – The Sun, December 16

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal swoop for Barcelona sub Denis Suarez

More from the twilight world of football transfer reporting as the Mirror tells readers: “Welcome to Arsenal Denis Suarez.” One problem with the scoop is that Spaniard hasn’t left Barcelona. He’s not signed for Arsenal. The Mirror goes on to tell readers that Suarez is a Gooner because he was “pulled” from Barcelona’s team for their match with Getafe:

denis suarez

Suarez travelled with the Barcelona squad to take on Getafe but will not even get a seat on the bench as the Catalans seek to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to five points.

Dropped because he’s off to Arsenal? Or maybe Suarez isn’t all that good? He’s played just twice for Barcelona in the league this season, coming on as an 82nd minute sub against Espanyol – Barca were 4-0 up at the time – and as an 81st minute sub against Levante – when Barca were 4-0 up and Levante were down to 10 men. But he was, you know, dropped for the Getafe game?

The Mirror then does the usual trick of blaming its tosh on “social media” – which is not nearly as trusty as that old media (see Anorak passim). “Fans on social media took the decision as a hint that a deal to take him to north London was close,” says the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.  That’s Denis Suarez, the player the Sun calls “Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez”.

 

Posted: 6th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Toby Alderweireld halts new Spurs deal – yours for £25m

What to do with a player who think he’s made for better – and better paid – things? Arsenal showed Aaron Ramsey the door when he asked for a huge weekly wage. Tottenham have a similar issue with Toby Alderweireld. His contract was due to expire at the season’s end. But Spurs took up an option to extend his contract by a year until 2020. The downside is that the extension clause means he’s available for £25 million. That’s a whole lot better than seeing arguably their best defender leave for free in the summer, and £25m is good money for a player who cost the club £11.5m in July 2015. But it’s a matter of look what you could have got. Spurs have a new stadium to pay for, and selling players looks a likely source of income. Rumours of Alderweireld going for around £60m were high in the summer. But no approaches were made.

Surely now they will be? Arsenal need a defender. And Manchester United were looking. The Daily Star jumped the gun with some shameless clickbait:

 

Alderweireld

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Higuain to Chelsea, Morata to Milan and Arsenal’s ‘record signing’

The BBC tells us that Chelsea are signing Gonzalo Higuain, 31. Currently on loan from Juventus at AC Milan, Higuain would add some proven finishing ability to a side reliant on the unconvincing Alvaro Morata. The Sun adds that this is a swap deal and Morata will head to Milan on loan. Can the Sun be relied upon to deliver the facts? Not always, no:

 

higuain-arsenal the sun transfer

In 2013, the Sun told us: ‘Arsenal last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.’

 

Any deal hinging on Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2017 for £60m, has to be problematic. Morata has scored seven goals this season but lacks confidence. Chelsea coach Gianfranco Zola wants the player to step up: 

“It should be a motivational thing. You are at Chelsea. You’re not playing for Southampton or Brighton, with all due respect for those clubs. People expect a lot from the No 9 of Chelsea. This is normal and Álvaro has to get used to it.

“If he goes to another big club, it’s going to be the same. There is no way you can avoid your responsibilities. It’s part of your job and the better you can handle those situations, the better you’re going to be.

“I know he feels he doesn’t score enough and he feels a lot of responsibility on that. He has to learn to leave everything behind because these are only burdens you take on the pitch and they won’t help you to perform better.”

Bet AC Milan can’t wait to rely on him for goals.

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: £8m for Ramsey, Sami Khedira to Arsenal and Liverpool in the hunt

As regular readers know, I’ve been tracking the utter tosh written about Aaron Ramsey’s looming departure from Arsenal. Having told readers that Ramsey had signed a deal to join Juventus – a mere 12 hours after telling the same readers the player was still talking to PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Italians – the Sun reports today: “CASHING IN Aaron Ramsey scoops £8m signing-on fee at Juventus plus huge appearance bonus after agreeing free transfer from Arsenal.”

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Having told readers that the deal is done, the Sun tells them it ,er, it isn’t: “The Italians offered the Welshman a basic salary similar to his earnings at the Emirates, but included hefty incentives in the proposed contract.” The story then tells us a lot of ‘ifs’:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The source for this misleading tosh is La Gazzetta dello Sport. it does not ay a deal has been done. It says – and this through the mangle of Google Translate: Exit polls ensure that Ramsey’s entourage has cashed the proposal with great interest. So much so that the bianconeri are absolutely at the forefront in a challenge that sees Inter also very active, but especially the rich Psg of Sheikh Al Thani.” So PSG and Inter both want Ramsey. Nothing has been signed. 

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The Mirror says: “…people are ‘jumping the gun’ over a deal being done. Juventus are Ramsey’s preferred choice, however, with discussions continuing at pace. The Bianconeri could even try to tempt Arsenal into doing business for Ramsey this month for a cut price fee, rather than waiting for the summer.”

In other news, the London Evening Standard says: “Juventus are in pole position ahead of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the race to sign the Wales international, with reports in Italy suggesting he is close to agreeing a five-year deal.” Reports in England says the deal is done. And it;s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners: “Juve are willing to offer Sami Khedira as part of a deal to land Ramsey this month, while Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the situation.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool balls: Virgil Van Dijk kills the Reds

Football journalism is a tricky affair. The need to create sensation from dust is testing. Before Manchester City and Liverpool’s big Premier League title decider last night (there are 18 games to go! – ed), the Sun’s Neil Ashton told us that Liverpool are on the up: “Recent history is with them. The night they shook the Kop in last season’s Champions League quarter-final and the stirring 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the return leg are in their favour.” Indeed. And last night Liverpool could easily have drawn a tight encounter that ended 2-1 in the host’s favour. Ashton continues: “The 5-0, when City ripped apart Liverpool’s defence in September 2017, is a distant memory. Notably, that scoreline was also prior to the arrival of the Dutch colossus, Virgil van Dijk.”

Van Dijk has been terrific. But you’d expect little less from the world’s costliest defender. “At £75million, Van Dijk is starting to feel like a snip,” says Ashton. Or as he put it previously:

 

liverpool

 

Ashton told us: “…the Reds blew their brains out to sign the Dutchman.” It was suicide. No worries, though – Liverpool fans don’t read the Sun.

 

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal transfer balls: Ramsey signs for Juventus and stays at the Gunners

The Sun says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus. The headline is unequivocal: “GUNNERS NEWS 7pm Arsenal news: Ramsey signs Juventus contract.” News of Ramsey’s transfer is on the Sun’s website and primed for Google News:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The problem is that it’s not true. Ramsey hasn’t signed for Juve. He hasn’t signed for anyone. Deep into its story, the Sun says the move has been made “reportedly”. There’s a link to another Sun article. You click the link. The new story presents the done deal in inverted commas. The story’s URL however, says Ramsey’s moved is “confirmed”. So which is it?

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Says the paper: “Now the Welsh star is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants, according to Sport Media Set.” Who? We head over there and discover that the Sun’s story is utter balls. Sport Media Set merely says Juventus want to get Ramsey before PSG bid for him:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The site says: “The deal is almost done.” In other words: Ramsey has agreed nothing yet. And just yesterday the Sun told us: “The Welshman is in talks with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich over a summer move.” Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer balls: Navas in, Ozil stays, Pepe ready and Ramsey stinks

What do Arsenal need in the mid-season transfer sale? A defender below the age of 30 who can tackle and react in the box faster than a three-legged pony? A winger? How about a new goalkeeper? Rumours are that the Gunners have bid £14m for Real Madrid and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. He’s 32. What this means for current Arsenal number 1 Bernd Leno is uncertain. You might suppose that Arsenal’s  weak defence was allowing Leno the chance to showcase his talent. You’d be mistaken. Leno has made 45 saves in 15 matches this Premier League season. He’s been beaten 22 times. And you’d be hard pushed to recall a top-class save from the 26-year-old. So Navas it is, then. 

In other Arsenal news, the Gunners are intent on picking Aaron Ramsey until his contract expires in the summer. Juventus want him on a free. Arsenal should get rid now, of course. The idea of Ramsey playing for Arsenal when he’s already agreed to play in Italy is unsettling. Will the injury-prone midfielder tackle hard and run his heart out with a new life in Italy looming? “Yes, we are interested in Aaron Ramsey, he’s a great midfielder. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player, we’ll see,” says Juventus director Fabio Paratici. Arsenal should move hard to get any fee they can for the player. 

Better news for Arsenal is that Mesut Ozil’s agent insists the 30-year-old midfielder’s future remains at Arsenal despite interest from Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Ozil is a terrific player. Sure, he can’t tackle but then nor can the club’s defenders. 

And finally Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe tells everyone: “For me, that’s for sure. As the president has already said, my desire is to finish the season at Lille. I am under contract until 2022. My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe. It would be beautiful.” How heartening for Lille fans to hear that their player wants to go. What price loyalty..?

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the Aaron Ramsey myth

aaron ramsey

 

Like cocktails, ITV dramas and Disney World, Aaron Ramsey gets a lot of hype but delivers little. The Mirror hails Ramsey as “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Utter tosh. Last season Ramsey scored 7 Premier League goals – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? He was good and full of promise. But now he scores not all that often.

In today’s match, Ramsey came off the bench to score against Fulham – the side he scored his only other goal of the current season against. The Welshman converted a loose ball on the box after the dangerous Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post. A rare goal, then. (The strike puts Ramsey on 2 goals for the season – the same as:  Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) and 35 others PL players.)

But not to BBC pundit Paul Parker. The ex-Fulham and Manchester United defender tells BBC Radio London listeners: “The fans were not happy when he came on but Aaron Ramsey does what he does best, scoring goals and he gets one coming off the bench.”

If scoring is what Ramsey does best, what does he do the rest of the time when he’s not not scoring?

 

 

 

Posted: 1st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal fans rejoice at new signing as Ramsey heads for Italy, Spain AND France

aaron ramsey

Bullshit.com reports

 

Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”

Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation. 

And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


What Jose’s hotel cost Manchester United in rent

lowry hotel mourinho

 

Freshly sacked by Manchester United, surly Jose Mourinho is back living at his London home. The Riverside Suite at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, where he stayed since July 2016, is available to any new manager unwilling to commit to living in the city. But what was the bill for Mourinho’s stay?

The Sun: “Jose Mourinho hotel: Inside the exclusive Lowry where axed Man Utd manager lived for 895 days and spent £779,000 on rent.”

The Mail: “Jose Mourinho finally checks out of the Lowry Hotel… after 895 days and an astonishing £537,000 bill.” Although the Mail also notes: “What’s so special about the Special One’s £600,000 hotel suite? That’s the bill Jose Mourinho ran up in nearly three years.” Are we including tips?

Does the Lowry charge the Sun’s holidaymakers more than Mail guests? But the bill could have been higher. In January 2018, 442 magazine told us: “If Mourinho stays at the Lowry until July 1 2021, it will have cost him £1,489,200.” That figure is based on the rooms costing £816-a-night. But the Guardian can get the same digs for £600-a-night. 

It pays to shop around. 

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Money, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal get Argentine star who ran himself over

Arsenal are in for Ever Banega, the Argentine currently at Seville. Banega, 30, will cost Arsenal around £18million. He’s worth it. The Gunners get an experienced player in his prime. They also get a man with a bit of history. Jonathan Liew writes the biog:

Whether it was heavy drinking, going out on the town several nights in a row, turning up for team meetings still half-asleep, being pulled over by police for drink-driving, getting caught pleasuring himself on a live webcam or being run over by his own car after leaving the handbrake off at a petrol station and breaking his leg in two places, Banega’s early forays in the game left coaches and potential suitors with one overwhelming sensation: that he was trouble.

He sounds just what Arsenal need: a player with bit of personality. His Twitter feed should be interesting (and possibly X-rated).

 

Posted: 29th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Premier League odds and views

With the Premier League proving to be as exciting as ever, the top teams of the competition are slowly but surely starting to show their faces. For punters, this is the perfect time to lock in the odds and maximise their profits when it comes to the finals. This has been a year of many stories, from team gossips to a few scandals here and there, but the games have remained as thrilling as ever.

Looking at the present points tally, Manchester City is on top. They remain undefeated with 13 wins and 2 draws and are listed at 2/9 odds to win the championship. If you still haven’t placed your bets, then do it now and make the most of the free bets and welcome bonuses that bookmakers give out. However, for a more spread out bet, make sure you look into Liverpool and Tottenham as they both are hot on the heels of Manchester City and quite ready to knock them off the top spot.

Golden Boot
When it comes to acknowledging the individual players, the Golden Boot of the Premier League is one of the top-most achievements anyone can have. Bettors can claim a number of free bets including up to £300 welcome bonus to enhance their winnings by placing bets on players like Pierre-Emerick and Harry Kane who are at 10 and 9 goals respectively at present. While Pierre is listed at 4/1 odds to walk away with the boot, Harry Kane remains a favourite with 9/4 odds. However, the magic of football is such that things can change in one game. So, it is essential to keep a watch on players like Sergio Aguero, Glenn Murray, and Callum Wilson who have scored 8 goals each so far.

What’s in the Future
There has been a growing trend of tweaking rules and procedures by FIFA in recent years. These new set of rules are having a dramatic impact on the way football is managed. The latest statement from the governing body hinted towards limiting the number of players on loans for clubs. This will undoubtedly affect a few clubs and their investments. Some of the other rules in question, but not finalised yet, include removing off-side and allowing only the captain of the team to speak with the referee if required. In the long run, if the loan rule comes into play, it will certainly add an exciting element for punters to bet on.

Bench Warmers
When the Premier League started, all that people could talk about was the growing tension between Mesut Ozil and his Arsenal manager Unai Emery. This was amplified when Ozil was left out of games, although officially it was stated that this was due to health issues. Now, we see a similar tension between Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho and team members Pogba and Lukaku. They both were benched for the majority of the game against Arsenal. An astute bettor will keep note of such things and also pay attention to the latest odds that place Arsenal at 80/1 and Manchester United at 500/1 to win the championship.

Posted: 24th, December 2018 | In: Online-PR, Sports | Comment


Manchester United sack Mourinho

Mourinho newspapers Manchester United

 

Farewell then Jose Mourinho, sacked as as manager of Manchester United for being overrated, whining, bitchy, sarcastic, negative and possessed of all charm of next door’s cat say by a large pile of poo. 

After two and a half years in charge at Old Trafford, Mourinho finally got found out by the club’s lazy owners. Yes, he did lead United to the League Cup and Europa League titles. But they are sixth in the Premier League, already a whopping 19 points behind leaders Liverpool. 

 

the sun mourinho jose Manchester United Neil Curtis

 

“A caretaker-manager will be appointed until the end of the season while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager,” says United in a statement. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, all United managers have been in the caretaker told. United are a desperate club run by a marketing machine. The current owners never knew how United struggled for 26 years to win the title before Ferguson took them to the top. They just saw a chance to make a lot money fast from perennial champions. United can sell you an official noodle but they can’t sell you a dream of glory even in defeat. 

 

Jose Mourinho Chelsea

 

 

So Mourinho goes the way of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal in the post-Fergie mess. Who next in the hot seat? Given that United’s kingmakers’ lack proven lack of vision, it’ll be a tried and tested name. They should begin their headhunting at Spurs…

Posted: 18th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Bigots use Raheem Sterling racism row to control football fans

No Chelsea fans were at the Etihad last night to see Raheem Sterling and the rest of his Manchester City team beat Hoffenheim in the Champions League. No-one called Raheem Sterling a “fucking black cunt”, as is alleged, or a “Manc cunt”, as is claimed. (Lip-readers are on the case.) No tabloid today links Sterling with rising sea levels, knife crime and the unravelling of Brexit. The Mail does, however, say that some of the visiting German fans gave City’s German flyer Leroy Sane, scorer of both of City’s goals, “some stick”. Sane “appeared to be the subject of a verbal volley”. Tsk! Calling people names at the footy. Whatever next?

On Tuesday, the Mail told us Watford striker Isaac Success “was subjected to aggressive behaviour by local supporters” against Everton. Both Sane and Success are black, like Sterling – the player who illustrated his claim that racism is fueled by media bias with two stories from the Mail. The paper denied the allegation, and appears to be at pains to show readers that other players not in its crosshairs also get shouted at. There’s no claim that Sane was racially abused, and the Everton fans in the photo the paper used to illustrate its story aren’t even looking at Success. They were appealing for handball. 

 

daily mail racism

Hand balls!

 

 

The overriding impression is that football fans are thugs in need of control. That taps into an age-old tale that portrays them as a race-riot in waiting. It also fuels the bigotry that casts people who read and enjoy the tabloid press as violent fools. If Sterling was racially abused – and it’s still alleged that he was – it’s the rarity of the incident that makes it newsworthy. In the 1970s and 1980s, racism was the norm. At Chelsea FC it was condition of entry for many. And, for what it’s worth, nobody else at Chelsea claims to have heard racist language, including a black fan near Sterling’s abusers.

Racism still exists, of course it does. But this singling out of tabloid readers and largely working-class football fans as the root and result of the problem is to pander to other prejudices. 

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: bury your hatchets – Mourinho’s team did well

That Manchester United are not all that good is clear. That they are also not all that bad is missed by people who see the badge and expect the points to follow. In the Sun’s report on United’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Valencia, David Coverdale says finishing second in their group means United are “second rate”. By that measure so too are Liverpool and Spurs.

Of the four English clubs in the CL, only Manchester City topped their group. Liverpool and Spurs had to rely on results elsewhere going their way in the final round of group games to secure their places in the next stage. Both teams finished second place in their respective groups. Manchester United secured progress from their group with a game to spare. To further prove the point that United were not terrible – far from it – the mighty Juventus lost 2-1 to Young Boys.

United are away to Liverpool on Sunday. Coverdale says that had Mourinho picked a better team, United could have topped their group. That much may be true. But Liverpool were at home in their CL match and played a day earlier than United, who traveled to Spain. United are a plodding team of over-hyped players, but don’t let their lack of spark mask a decent job. 

  

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Pochettinho to Real Madrid or Manchester United

Spurs are in a “panic”. Tottenham are fretting over the future of their manger, Mauricio Pochettino. The Star says Poch is wanted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. Having taken a side that hasn’t won the league title for nearly 60 years close to the top, Pochettino will surely relish the chance to leave London to coach a moribund Manchester United or a club that demands total victory every season on pain of instant dismissal. Last night Real Madrid lost 3-0 at home to the mighty CSKA Moscow. Manchester Untied lost 2-1to Valencia, Spain’s 15th best team. 

The Sun hails Poch as the “Nou Messiah”. A 1-1- drawn in Barcelona shows us “why United and Real want Poch”. How the once mighty have fallen. United are excited by a manager whose side can score a goal, get a point away from home and have on nothing. Eat yer heat out, Jose Mourinho. 

But at least United and Real have a home ground. The Sun also notes that Tottenham’s new municipal stadium still isn’t ready. The Mail says it’ll be completed in February. Maybe. So Real it is. And Poch is good enough, says Spurs defender Danny Rose. He says Poch is “amazing”. You wonder at the superlatives should he actually win something. 

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Chelsea fans denies calling Raheem Sterling a ‘black c**t’

You do what you can to upset the opposition, right? Raheem Sterling was collecting a ball at Stamford  Bridge when a group of Chelsea fans of a type that used to constitute a large chunk of the club’s fans before Roman’s billions bought success shouted at him. What was said is the subject of much heated debate. According to the Daily Mail, one of the fans opined: I’m deeply ashamed by my own behaviour and I feel really bad. But I didn’t call him a black cunt, I called him a Manc cunt. I’ve been going to Chelsea for 50 years now and, because of where I sit, I’m picked up on the camera most weeks. If I had a history of saying this sort of thing I would’ve been caught by now.”

Police are investigating. No arrests have been made. Chelsea have suspended four people from attending their matches, pending further investigations into allegations of racial abuse directed at the London-raised England player. 

The fan adds: “I offer him an unreserved apology. Even if it wasn’t racist, it’s not right what I said.” You can argue amongst yourselves if this Chelsea fan is deserving of an epithet before expressing in four-letters what he might or might not be. 

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police adds: “Officers continue to review footage and CCTV to determine whether any offences have been committed. Officers are in possession of the details of those reportedly involved – there have been no arrests at this time. The Met continues to work with both clubs and a number of inquiries are ongoing.”

Why don’t they just ask Raheem Sterling what he heard?  

PS: More on Chelsea and what they did and didn’t say, here.

 

Posted: 11th, December 2018 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling: of course it’s racism

Is Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling singled out for special attention because he’s black? At Stamford Bridge last weekend, he was verbally assaulted by four people in the section reserved for Chelsea fans. A fan at Stamford Bridge allegedly called Sterling a “fucking black cunt”. Sterling says the abuse is driven by a racist media that portrays black footballers in a bad light. John Barnes, who had bananas lobbed at him by Liverpool fans when he joined the club, says “black people in the inner cities go through this [discrimination] every day”. Don’t blame the media for appealing to its readers’ prejudices. Look at the bigger picture. And wonder this: why are black kids seen as cool, an act of rebellion for whites to like black fashions and music? Is it something to do with blacks as the perpetual outsiders, their existence something other and less wholesome than the rest of civilised society?

 

raheem sterling man city the sun

The Sun goes for Raheem

 

Musa Okwonga wonders.

You think this is your England because you read the most popular newspapers in the country and they agree with you – they agree with you that black footballers, like children, must be seen and not heard, that the second they decide to do anything more than score spectacular goals they become a threat. Those newspapers remind you daily that there is no aspect of criminality to which a black footballer cannot be connected.

 

raheem sterling drugs

Story on drugs and crime: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling

 

But sticking with media, in the Times Henry Winter looks at how tabloids focus on the bling:

Breaking news: for those in the media reporting that Raheem Sterling’s new house in Cheshire boasts a three-car garage, well it did when he bought it but doesn’t now, as the fitness-conscious Manchester City and England player quickly transformed it into a gym to work out after training. For those in the media obsessing about the size of Sterling’s garden, well he’s redesigned part of it into a pitch with full-sized goals so he can practise finishing…

Sterling’s not flash. He’s not extravagant. He’s an exceptional professional, pivotal to club and country, a role model to a generation and deserving of proper respect.

I’d take issue with one point: Sterling’s no role model to anyone but his children. Sterling’s his own man, an exceptionally gifted athlete possessed of the talent and drive to make it in top-level sport. He’s no more a role model for the great unwashed than Winter is.

Will Winter consider the Sun’s take on “Obscene Raheem“, the boy who did well enough to buy his mum a house and was attacked for doing so? Yes. Although not by name. “Why do media outlets publish breathless pieces dripping with sanctimony about his new house being close to a dogging site,” wincers Winter, “ignoring the fact that some well-known neighbours live closer. They’re white by the way. No one mentions them.” Winter can make a short walk to find out – the Times and Sun share an owner and office space. Winter gamely takes on the The Times’ sister paper. “Whereas some white players down the years are forgiven for their excesses as loveable rogues, Sterling receives the “Obscene Raheem” opprobrium. The media really needs to look at itself at times and it was encouraging to hear some contrition from concerned parties after Sterling’s powerful calling out of the media yesterday.”

What says the Sun? Lots. Sterling has touched a nerve. The Sun has responded with a host of stories in support of Sterling. Its picked up the mood and run with it, as all good tabloids must:

 

the sun raheem sterling

The Sun man’s up

 

 

What about the Mail? Sterling used two screenshots, one of a Daily Mail story and one of a Mail Online story, to support his claim that the press treated black footballers unfairly compared to their white peers. The Mail says Sterling is wrong to claim reporting in Mail titles is racial motivated:

 

 

raheem sterling racism

 

 

The Press Gazette has news:

A story by former Mail Online reporter Anthony Joseph was among those shared by Sterling. He said Sterling had raised “some very valid points” that the media “needed to listen to”. Defending his own story, Joseph said: “The story was done at a time when BT had a documentary on teenage footballers earning millions.

“It was topical and there was a huge debate about it. The same day there was at least an hour segment about it on Talksport. The original story, which I followed up, appeared in The Sun. I spoke to the player’s agent, who had no issue with story and how it was represented. Reporters don’t do headlines, but I still don’t feel it vilifies him. It was just topical at the time, nor did I even make a connection of his colour – it didn’t even cross my mind.”

Joseph added that Sterling raised “some very valid points” that the media “needed to listen to”.

Good stuff, then. Sterling has spoken out and the media has responded. Racism is an evil that sticks and corrodes. The better news is that the story of racism is newsworthy because it is now rarer now than it was. Next up: why are there no black editors of national newspapers – not one; never has been? 

Posted: 11th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment