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Football | The Guardian



Football news, results, fixtures, blogs, podcasts and comment on the Premier League, European and World football from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 20:40:37 GMT2016-09-30T20:40:37Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
 



Everton v Crystal Palace: Premier League – live!

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 20:39:26 GMT2016-09-30T20:39:26Z

81 mins: Chance for Everton! Lukaku’s first-time touch to Coleman is lovely, and the full-back bursts into the area before shooting high with Delaney gearing up for another manic challenge.

81 mins: Another substitution – Oviedo is off, and Funes Mori is on.

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How Chris Sutton became the king of football’s cinematic miserablists | Barney Ronay

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:12:40 GMT2016-09-30T13:12:40Z

BT Sport’s former Blackburn Rovers striker is continuing in a rich tradition of television miserablism pioneered by Alan Hansen and Jimmy Hill

I’ve always liked Will Self, one-time literary enfant terrible, TV talking head and all-round perspicacious hypersesquipedalianist. I know it’s probably not alright to like Will Self any more. He’s almost certainly not cool. It’s likely he’s said things on Twitter I can’t be bothered to Google that have angered people or displayed incorrect ways of thinking, sparking one of those wild sprawling waves of self-nourishing social media rage, the smartphone generation’s equivalent of going to a massive rave in a field.

I still like Will Self, though. Not so much the recent Will Self, who has wise, weary opinions about politics. But old Will Self from the 1990s who, in a strange time of plastic prosperity and glossy consensus, when everyone seemed happy to be brayingly cool and British and pleased with themselves, still managed to be wild and censorious about everything in a way that looking back now seems about right. That was a great Will Self. I don’t want him to do podcasts and have opinions about Trident. I want him to smoke crack on Newsnight and tell Evan Davis he’s a refulgent ganglion of the news‑argument ziggurat, or do poppers and kidnap Nigel Farage as part of an art happening.

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Ahmed Musa: I want to give something to people back home in Nigeria

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:28:07 GMT2016-09-30T11:28:07Z

Leicester City’s Nigerian forward is keeping his feet on the ground as he waits to make his mark in the Premier League, he tells Stuart James

Ahmed Musa has been smiling at a couple of old photos showing the friends he grew up playing street football with back in Nigeria, together with a newspaper article flagging up his potential when he was a child. The third picture handed to him is much more recent, however, and, rather curiously, shows Leicester City’s £16m summer signing wearing a Manchester United shirt with “Herrera” on the back.

Musa looks at the image and breaks into laughter. “I have a five-a-side pitch at my house in Nigeria, so I always train there, and I didn’t have anything to wear to train, so I decided to wear that Man United shirt, which I got after the Champions League game against United when I was at CSKA Moscow,” he says.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:03:02 GMT2016-09-30T08:03:02Z

First meets second as Manchester City visit Spurs, Theo Walcott looks to continue his hot streak and will this be the last we see of Francesco Guidolin?

Given that the tactic of trying to absorb pressure had not worked for any of Manchester City’s opponents, it made sense for Swansea to try something different last weekend, as the Welsh side attempted to disrupt the league leaders’ momentum by squeezing their centre-backs when they had the ball. It did not work, of course, because City were still too sharp in attack. Yet Tottenham Hotspur’s feverish high press could yield greater rewards at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Both sides are without key attacking players – Harry Kane for Spurs, Kevin De Bruyne for City – but a match between the league’s top two promises to be fascinating from a tactical perspective. Will Tottenham’s favoured approach fluster City? Or will Pep Guardiola’s side simply play around them and take advantage of the space further up the pitch? JS

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Pep Guardiola: Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino is one of world’s best managers

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:35:23 GMT2016-09-30T13:35:23Z

• Manchester City manager will face Argentinian at White Hart Lane on Sunday
• ‘He’s doing an amazing job at Spurs. The way they play I like a lot’

Pep Guardiola has lauded Mauricio Pochettino as one of world’s best managers as he prepares Manchester City, the leaders, to take on second-placed Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Related: Ahmed Musa: I want to give something to people back home in Nigeria

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Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger leaves door open to England approach ‘one day’

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:35:33 GMT2016-09-30T08:35:33Z

• Arsenal manager is in last year of his contract at the Emirates
• ‘If I am free one day why not, but at the moment my focus is on my job’

Arsène Wenger has admitted he could be tempted by the prospect of managing England “one day”.

The Arsenal manager is celebrating 20 years at the helm in north London but has been linked with succeeding Sam Allardyce as England manager when his contract expires next summer.

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QPR’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits he was naive but would not take bribe

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:52:00 GMT2016-09-30T12:52:00Z

• Manager denies requesting £55,000 to work for a fake east Asian firm
• QPR say they are yet to receive the required information from Telegraph

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has denied requesting a fee of £55,000 to work for a fake east Asian firm seeking to sell players to Queens Park Rangers, but admitted he was “naive”.

The Daily Telegraph this week began publishing information obtained during a 10-month investigation which it claims “separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football”.

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The Fiver | Who the hell sends postcards?

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:12:37 GMT2016-09-30T15:12:37Z

In today’s Fiver: obsolete fashionwear, Gerard Deulofeu and more

“The journey starts with us all pulling together.” It’s a pleasing enough sentiment to hear from your team’s new manager, the problem for the FA was that it was Sam Allardyce who said it, and that by the time it was ready to hand out the 4,000 T-shirts it had printed with the slogan upon them for England’s game against Malta next Saturday, there wasn’t so much pulling together and more being torn apart. Of course, this could all have been dealt with very easily if the FA was the canny administrator we all wish it would be. Someone would have gone knocking on Gareth Southgate’s door, asked if he agreed that the journey would probably start with us all pulling together, promptly ordered 4,000 iron-on patches with his name on to cover up the departed Allardyce’s and spent the following couple of evenings in front of EastEnders with the ironing board out.

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Chelsea’s Antonio Conte says he has no magic wand to solve team’s problems

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:48:10 GMT2016-09-30T13:48:10Z

• Chelsea manager points out 10th place last season shows scale of his task
• John Terry to miss Saturday’s game at Hull after being kicked on ankle

Antonio Conte has stressed he cannot wave “a magic wand” to solve the defensive issues which have undermined Chelsea’s progress this season, with the Italian again to be without his captain, John Terry, for the weekend game at Hull City.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Fifa 17: animations and celebrations cut from the final edit – video

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:00:03 GMT2016-09-30T09:00:03Z

EA Sports released the latest edition of their big-money football computer game franchise earlier this week. We figured we’d try out our own motion-capture animations, celebrations and cut-scenes including Arsène Wenger getting in a state over his coat and Jürgen Klopp’s levitating glasses. Unfortunately none of our submissions were used in the final version

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Football transfer rumours: Celtic's Moussa Dembélé to Arsenal?

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:20:37 GMT2016-09-30T08:20:37Z

Today’s fluff is there or therabouts

In the eyes of their fans, Big European Nights are what Celtic are all about. The heritage, the groundbreaking 1967 triumph in Lisbon, the passion! and intensity! The bowing out at the group stage without an away point. Sure it’s a grand old team to … put yourself in the shop window for. No sooner had Moussa Dembélé lit up Parkhead with two goals and a fine display in the pulsating 3-3 draw with Manchester City than wealthier predators began circling. Arsenal are keen on the French striker, reports The Sun, and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are keeping tabs too.

That manic draw in Glasgow on Wednesday drew the first suggestions that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City may have a vulnerability or two in defence. Joe Hart may have watched from afar and sighed, “I can’t be doing with all that,” for Tuttosport in Italy reports that the goalkeeper is open to the idea of extending his stay at Torino.

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José Mourinho hits out at backroom staff before Manchester United victory

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 08:20:23 GMT2016-09-30T08:20:23Z

• Portuguese was involved in furious exchange on touchline on Thursday
• ‘Obviously I want my assistants to take care of all the details’

José Mourinho has admitted he rebuked members of his backroom staff during Manchester United’s Europa League tie with Zorya Luhansk on Thursday after confusion over his team’s organisation at set-pieces.

Both sets of players were out on the pitch and ready to kick off the match, which United went on to win 1-0, when Mourinho noticed that Zorya’s players were deployed in a different formation to the instructions provided to him by his coaches.

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Leicester City v Southampton: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:35:02 GMT2016-09-30T16:35:02Z

Following a defensive capitulation against Manchester United last Saturday, Leicester kept a clean sheet against Porto in their first home Champions League fixture. They will like their chances of a return to winning ways in the league here, especially when Southampton had a battling game in Israel on Thursday night, though Claude Puel did rotate his team heavily in a 0-0 draw. Alan Smith

Kick-off Sunday 2.15pm

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Mike Phelan admits he is no closer to being named Hull’s permanent manager

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:05:03 GMT2016-09-30T11:05:03Z

• Caretaker says terms of contract on table have changed in last week
• ‘What needs to be resolved is the terms of the deal. It keeps changing’

Hull City’s caretaker manager, Mike Phelan, claims the terms of his contract keep changing as he appears no nearer to taking the job on a permanent basis.

Phelan will take charge of his seventh Premier League match on a temporary basis against Chelsea at the KCom Stadium on Saturday and continues to thrash out a deal to replace Steve Bruce.

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Swansea City v Liverpool: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:18:01 GMT2016-09-30T13:18:01Z

Swansea performed well in defeat to Manchester City last weekend but Francesco Guidolin is still living on borrowed time. The Italian could badly do with a result against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have at times been exhilarating in attack. Guidolin says he could “maybe” lose his job with another loss but “if we win, for the international break you don’t speak any more about my position”. No pressure, then. Alan Smith

Kick-off Saturday 12.30pm

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Arsenal relieved Francis Coquelin’s injury not as bad as first feared

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:52:53 GMT2016-09-30T09:52:53Z

• Arsenal had feared French midfielder could miss more than two months
• Aaron Ramsey also expected to be back from injury after international break

Arsenal will assess Francis Coquelin before deciding whether he is ready to return against Burnley after scans showed that the midfielder’s knee injury is not as bad as first feared.

Related: Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger leaves door open to England approach ‘one day’

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Watford v Bournemouth: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:45:03 GMT2016-09-30T14:45:03Z

Four of the past five meetings between these two have ended with the points being shared, including three 1-1s, so expect something similarly tight here. Walter Mazzarri will be looking for an improved performance after the Hornets’ limp showing at Burnley on Monday, while Eddie Howe’s visitors will be buoyed by handing Everton a first loss of the season seven days ago. Alan Smith

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Gareth Southgate’s call reassures Wayne Rooney on England captaincy

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:30:02 GMT2016-09-29T21:30:02Z

• Manchester United player was concerned over role after recent poor form
• Interim manager impressed with Rooney’s leadership and influence

Gareth Southgate has reassured Wayne Rooney he will retain the England captaincy under his interim stewardship of the national team as he prepares to name his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia next month.

Southgate, who was promoted from the Under-21s to oversee the senior side after Sam Allardyce’s contract was terminated this week after one match and 67 days in charge, has agreed to step into the breach for the rest of the calendar year.

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Europa League round-up: Dundalk beat Maccabi 1-0 to keep their dream alive

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:02:45 GMT2016-09-29T23:02:45Z

• Dundalk become first Irish club to win in a European group stage
• Internazionale suffer second defeat after 3-1 loss to Sparta Prague

Dundalk continued their fairytale European experience with a 1-0 win against Maccabi Tel Aviv thanks to Ciaran Kilduff’s goal. Kilduff – the hero in the last-gasp draw against AZ Alkmaar – came off the bench to seal three points.

Switching from their home in County Louth to Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium, the Lilywhites faithful had to wait for 72 minutes for the breakthrough.

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Southampton earn draw at Hapoel Beer Sheva to top Europa League group

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:54:59 GMT2016-09-29T19:54:59Z

• Israeli side maintain unbeaten home run in goalless stalemate
• Decision to rest players pays off for Southampton manager

The Southampton manager, Claude Puel, insisted he had made the right decision to rest four key players for the match with Hapoel Beer Sheva. Puel gambled by resting the captain, José Fonte, the top scorer Charlie Austin, Ryan Bertrand and Steven Davis but in their absence they drew where Celtic lost 2-0 in August, and against a team who two weeks ago won at Internazionale, Southampton’s next opponents.

Related: Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Southampton: Europa League – as it happened

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Chris Coleman frustrated as injury rules Aaron Ramsey out for Wales

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:30:02 GMT2016-09-29T21:30:02Z

• Arsenal midfielder to miss qualifiers against Austria and Georgia
• Wales manager dismayed as Ramsey breaks down in training

Chris Coleman has expressed his dismay that Aaron Ramsey is still not fit to play for his country, with the Wales manager revealing the midfielder broke down in training with Arsenal last week and is not certain to be back in time to face Serbia in November.

Ramsey injured his hamstring in Arsenal’s opening game against Liverpool and has not featured since, ruling him out of the opening World Cup qualifier against Moldova early in September and next week’s double header against Austria and Georgia.

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Klopp warns Liverpool squad over social media after Sakho Snapchat outburst

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:58:19 GMT2016-09-29T14:58:19Z

• Defender vented his frustration at ‘lies’ over absence from matches
• Manager has addressed players on issue to prevent recurrence

Jürgen Klopp has warned the entire Liverpool squad of the standards he expects on social media following Mamadou Sakho’s outburst on Snapchat.

Related: Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp promises to deal with Mamadou Sakho outburst

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Manchester City may find the Celtic result becomes a pressing issue

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 17:41:18 GMT2016-09-29T17:41:18Z

Pep Guardiola could see Premier League rivals emulating the tactics of the Scottish champions, who became the first side to deny City victory this season

Celtic’s execution of Brendan Rodgers game plan against Manchester City is a blueprint of how to stymie Pep Guardiola’s team and it should give hope to all rivals.

City were behind three times before scrambling a 3-3 draw in the Champions League group game at Celtic Park in what was an impressive display by the Scottish champions.

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José Mourinho complains Manchester United’s fixture list is a ‘poisoned gift’

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:23:28 GMT2016-09-29T23:23:28Z

• United face Liverpool, Fenerbahce and Chelsea in seven days
• Visit to Anfield scheduled for Monday, angering Portuguese

José Mourinho has called Manchester United’s upcoming fixture schedule a “poisoned gift”, making him all the more relieved to get a much-needed Europa League win against Zorya Luhansk.

Having lost their Group A opener at Feyenoord a fortnight ago, the Portuguese highlighted the importance of securing victory against the relatively unknown Ukrainians at Old Trafford.

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Francesco Guidolin: I may lose Swansea job if we don’t beat Liverpool

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:46:45 GMT2016-09-29T16:46:45Z

• Manager under pressure after failing to win since opening day
• Guidolin hopes to build on improved show against Manchester City

Francesco Guidolin accepts he could lose his job as Swansea City manager if his side fail to beat Liverpool on Saturday. Guidolin has come under increasing pressure with Swansea only one place above the relegation zone after failing to win a Premier League game since the opening day.

Guidolin, when asked if he could be out of a job if Swansea fail to win, said: “It could happen. Maybe. It’s not easy [to beat Liverpool]. But if we win for the period of the international break you don’t speak any more about my position. But my position is not important, Swansea’s position is important, and we must get a result.”

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Mixed fortunes for Shane Duffy and Sergio Agüero - Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 14:20:39 GMT2016-08-18T14:20:39Z

The podders reflect on extraordinary feats by Manchester City’s star striker and Blackburn’s hapless defender. Plus, Joe Hart heads towards the exit; Paul Pogba’s (second) United debut; and a preview of the big kick off in Serie A

Subscribe & Review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast

Max Rushden continues in the hot-seat for this edition of Football Weekly Extra, and he’s got James Horncastle, Paolo Bandini and Nick Miller for company.

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Manchester United v Stoke City: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:26:44 GMT2016-09-30T17:26:44Z

After three defeats in a row for Manchester United, three wins on the bounce have followed. Only one of those was in the league – a 4-1 rout of Leicester – and José Mourinho’s side were stodgy in Thursday’s Europa League win over Zorya Luhansk. Stodgy is just about acceptable to fans if it leads to victory, so second-bottom Stoke City have to be beaten. United also need to go on the kind of run serious championship challengers make. Jamie Jackson

Kick-off Sunday noon

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Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:06:39 GMT2016-09-30T17:06:39Z

Manchester City’s flawless record was broken in the thrilling 3-3 Champions League draw at Celtic on Wednesday night but there is little doubt their reputation as the Premier League’s team to beat precedes them here. Tottenham have been used to playing deep-sitting, counterattacking opponents in recent weeks but they know that City will fight to control the ball. An open, high-tempo showdown looms, which will be scrutinised for title pointers. David Hytner

Kick-off Sunday 2.15pm

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Hull City v Chelsea: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:14:12 GMT2016-09-30T16:14:12Z

The last time these sides met, 18 months ago, José Mourinho’s Chelsea won 3-2 on Humberside on their march towards the title. Much has changed since, and not just at Chelsea as Hull were relegated and then promoted under Steve Bruce but he, like Mourinho, is long gone. After maulings by Arsenal and Liverpool, Mike Phelan’s lengthy audition to permanently replace him is faltering. Paul Chronnell

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Burnley v Arsenal: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:17:30 GMT2016-09-30T15:17:30Z

This, curiously, is Burnley’s fifth home game in the opening seven rounds. Seven points from their Turf Moor fixtures to date has been a decent return and Monday night’s comfortable win over Watford gives the Clarets momentum going into Arsenal’s visit. Sean Dyche’s decision to bolster the midfield in the absence of Andre Gray paid off and he is unlikely to deviate from that setup against Arsenal, who have won six matches in seven. Victory would be Burnley’s first in the league against Arsenal for 42 years. Nick Ames

Kick-off Sunday 4.30pm

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West Ham United v Middlesbrough: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:27:20 GMT2016-09-30T15:27:20Z

Having lost three of their past four matches at home and five out of six in total, West Ham need a win against Middlesbrough in order to ease the growing sense of anxiety in their new ground. However Slaven Bilic is under pressure. West Ham have lost five of their first six league matches and Middlesbrough, who are winless since 21 August, will spy an opportunity to put distance between themselves and the bottom three. Jacob Steinberg

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion: match preview

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:02:43 GMT2016-09-30T16:02:43Z

Tony Pulis has suggested that David Moyes - still seeking his first Premier League win since succeeding Sam Allardyce on Wearside - will need to “reinvent” himself as a manager if he is to succeed at Sunderland. Moyes’s West Brom counterpart said that, although “a top man and a top manager”, the Scot had not been accustomed to being in charge of teams that needed “to scrap and fight for points” in order to secure survival and would have to adjust accordingly. Louise Taylor

Kick-off Saturday 3pm

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Golden Goal: Ritchie Humphreys for Sheffield Wednesday v Leicester (1996)

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:01:03 GMT2016-09-30T09:01:03Z

When the young striker clipped the ball audaciously over Kasey Keller it seemed to confirm that a new star was born and, while things have not worked out as anyone may have expected, Humphreys has gone on to have a remarkable career

For a few weeks in late summer, 20 years ago this year, English football had a new goalscoring hero. Ritchie Humphreys announced himself on the opening day of the 1996 season, on the same afternoon that a midfielder a couple of years older was serving notice of his own talent with a remarkable goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon. This one was, inevitably, scored from a lesser distance than David Beckham’s, but it was still a thing of beauty, a splendid, thumping volley from the edge of the area to help Sheffield Wednesday win a home game against Aston Villa.

Related: Golden Goals: Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips for Sunderland v Chelsea (1999) | Rob Smyth

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Corrupt behaviour has become endemic in football's culture | Jonathan Booker

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:51:41 GMT2016-09-29T19:51:41Z

Instead of defusing this ticking time bomb football now finds itself dealing with the aftermath and serious collateral damage surrounding agents

After a few days in football that have shocked many I have to say that, like many others in the industry, I’m not actually that shocked at the allegations of corruption. In my opinion football has required a stark wake-up call for some time now.

Having formerly been an FA licensed agent for nearly six years and then reclassified as an FA-registered intermediary since April 2015, I can say that the sad truth is allegations and stories of corruption in football are common. These can, of course, be merely rumour or bravado but my own experiences confirm there is widespread wrong practice.

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MLS weekend: Atlanta United pick a star in Tata Martino, and Seattle hit form

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:00:04 GMT2016-09-30T10:00:04Z

The MLS newcomers announced a coach with a real pedigree, and fans should be excited. Plus, Portland look worried as Seattle find form at just the right time

Earlier this week, Atlanta United FC, MLS’s expansion team for 2017, made headlines as they introduced to the world their first ever manager. And what a pick it was: 53-year-old Gerardo Tata Martino arrives to America as one of the most experienced coaches to have ever graced Major League Soccer. Aside from his run with the Argentinian national team (just three losses from 29 matches, including reaching the final of the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Centenario) and a topsy-turvy season with Barcelona, Martino also helped Paraguay reach the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. A hard-fought 1-0 loss to eventual champions Spain ended Paraguay’s most successful run in the tournament’s history.

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Fifa 17 review – new story mode and on-pitch tweaks keep veteran in the game

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:37:24 GMT2016-09-30T09:37:24Z

The EA Sports stalwart is facing strong competition from Pro Evolution Soccer, but has come out fighting with plenty of style and just enough substance

What do you give the sports simulation that has everything? In Fifa 17’s case, the answer is a 15-20 hour, Mass Effect-inspired story mode called The Journey.

Charting the rise of 17-year-old prospect Alex Hunter, it takes you through the first year of a Premier League career, including weekly training and a full slate of fixtures, and is far more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Select Manchester United and you compete with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a first-team spot. Choose Swansea and you see Francesco Guidolin gesticulating on the touchline. And cut-scenes, featuring an array of hangers-on such as agents and endorsement reps, offer a tantalising glimpse into the life of a fledgeling superstar. Reece Oxford was involved as a consultant – and you sense that much of what’s presented as fiction is reality for the West Ham youngster.

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How an obsession with Football Manager could earn you a career in the game

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:15:19 GMT2016-09-29T10:15:19Z

Matt Neil started compiling reports for the Football Manager game at the age of 15. After progressing from Truro City to Plymouth Argyle, his work was noticed by the League Two club and he was given a job as one of their football analysts

By Matt Stanger for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network

After starting out as a researcher for Football Manager when he was just 15, Matt Neil’s eye for talent was picked up by Plymouth Argyle. He now works as the League Two club’s lead first team analyst, providing data on player performance, opposition reports and potential transfer targets. Here’s Matt’s story, as told to Matt Stanger:

I initially applied for the Truro City researcher job eight years ago, which was advertised on the Football Manager website. I went to five or six Truro games a season back then because it was only about three quid on the train and the ticket was about six quid. I already knew quite a bit about some of the players because they’d been at Argyle, so I thought I’d try to help out in that area because nobody had been doing it for a couple of years.

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Jackie Sewell obituary

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:03:35 GMT2016-09-29T14:03:35Z

Footballer who commanded a world-record transfer fee in the 1950s

For four years in the 1950s, Jackie Sewell, who has died aged 89, was the most expensive footballer in Britain, having moved from his first league club, Notts County, to Sheffield Wednesday for a record £34,500 midway through the 1950-51 season.

A quick, clever and incisive inside-forward, Sewell scored half a dozen First Division goals in 10 games, which almost saved Wednesday from relegation; they eventually went down by the narrowest of margins, on goal average. The following season he scored 22 goals in 35 Second Division matches to bring them back up to the top flight, and his feats with Wednesday earned him his first England call-up, against Ireland in November 1951. The next summer he scored England’s first goal in a famous 3-2 friendly victory over Austria. Yet he would win only six international caps in all, and his misfortune was that two of them came against the brilliant Hungarians, who thrashed England 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953 and 7-1 in Budapest the following May. He was the last surviving member of the England team from the 1953 Hungary game.

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FA unsteady and unprepared for role as guardian of the game’s standards

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:39 GMT2016-09-29T09:00:39Z

Global expansion of the game, lubricated by billions spent by fans and the ambitions of individuals, companies and countries, has ushered in a world that has spun far beyond the FA’s control

Shortly after the bathetic sight of Sam Allardyce slinking out of Wembley without having ever sat in its dugout as England manager, the Football Association’s recently appointed chairman emerged blinking into the flashbulbs for a traditional rite of passage. Greg Clarke spent six years as chair of the diverse, constantly squabbling tribe of 72 clubs that make up the Football League and so is not exactly an ingenue.

Down among the desperate at the sharp end of the domestic game there are all kinds of allegations of sharp practice, dodgy deals, rampant self-interest and dubious land grabs. But the sudden crisis of the past 48 hours has been of a different order of magnitude in terms of the unforgiving spotlight it has placed on the game.

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Francesco Totti at 40: the eternal man

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:51:34 GMT2016-09-27T14:51:34Z

Francesco Totti was born in 1976, joined Roma in 1989, made his debut for the club in 1993, became their captain in 1998 and last scored for them on Sunday

By Omar Saleem for These Football Times, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The Eternal City has hosted some of the game’s all-time greats – among them Bruno Conti, Falcão, Giuseppe Signori and Giorgio Chinaglia – but none of them are greater than Roma’s current captain and symbol, Francesco Totti: a man who was born in 1976, joined the club in 1989, made his debut in 1993, has been their captain since 1998 and last scored for them on Sunday. He has been one of European football’s greatest talents and, on skill alone, Totti is one of the finest players in the history of the sport.

What he has brought to Roma is unique and will be everlasting but, strangely enough, that romance may never have blossomed. Totti’s mother turned down a lucrative offer from Milan so that he could join his hometown club, a dream that was realised in 1989. As Totti puts it: “When you are a kid in Rome, there are only two possible choices: You are either red or blue. AS Roma or Lazio. But in our family, there was only one possible choice.” Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani saw Totti as one for the future – a player who would go on to join Fabio Capello’s invincible Milan team of the early 1990s – but they were left to wonder what might have been.

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Atlanta United appoint former Argentina boss Tata Martino as first head coach

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:09:13 GMT2016-09-27T15:09:13Z

  • Former Argentina boss to take charge for club’s first season in MLS
  • Martino, 53, has also coached Barcelona and Newell’s Old Boys

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, the former Argentina coach who quit after failing to lift this summer’s Copa América Centenario, will take charge of Atlanta United in their first season in MLS next year.

Related: Patrick Vieira brought a vital asset to New York City FC: respect

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Carli Lloyd's memoir explodes myth that US women's soccer is all fun and friends

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:00:23 GMT2016-09-27T09:00:23Z

In When Nobody Was Watching, the World Cup winner paints a portrait of a player who has given perhaps too much in the pursuit of success

When the US women’s soccer team rose to fame in the late 1990s, they projected an image that was a well-polished composite of fun, friendship and teamwork in the pursuit of excellence.

Two new memoirs, Carli Lloyd’s When Nobody Was Watching and Abby Wambach’s Forward, shatter that perception. But they do so in a way that should open a more realistic discussion on what we expect from athletes, especially but not limited to female athletes, and what they should expect from themselves.

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Sinking Hamburg wield the axe again but problems come from up on high | Raphael Honigstein

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:28:31 GMT2016-09-27T08:28:31Z

Based in a big, wealthy city, supported by millions and dripping in history, the northerners should be a force but meddling at the top is dragging them down

His team courageously, stubbornly, managed to hold off the visiting champions until a Joshua Kimmich strike in the 88th minute but for Bruno Labbadia, the game was up long before. The Hamburger SV coach knew full well that he had been cynically cast in the role of the patsy on Saturday afternoon, heaved on to the bench by the club manager Dietmar Beiersdorfer in order to fall down a final time and thus smooth the passage for the appointment of his successor, Markus Gisdol.

Labbadia, a man high on genuine passion and a bit of a cult hero with the supporters after he dramatically saved HSV from the drop in June 2015, threatened to get his last job wrong, by getting the right result, but Carlo Ancelotti’s team spared Beiersdorfer’s blushes with one of these typically late, lucky Bayern goals that we’ll see more of this season, as Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering, frighteningly reliable possession-machine is being replaced by a more haphazard, artisanal production process that relies on the individual quality of the workforce.

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Athletic Bilbao’s Mikel Balenziaga the surprise star on La Liga’s weird weekend | Sid Lowe

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:31:15 GMT2016-09-26T13:31:15Z

Athletic’s stalwart defender scored his first goal after more than 300 games and that was far from the only unusual occurrence in Spain in week six

The door opened and there they were, waiting for him: all of Athletic Bilbao’s players and all the staff, the president too, like a secret birthday party.

When Mikel Balenziaga appeared, they started cheering and clapping, piling in to slap him on the back and head. Then they burst into song, bouncing about. If no one shouted “Surprise!” it was because they weren’t the surprise; he was. Ten years Balenziaga has been playing, more than 300 games, and he had never scored. On Saturday, he did – and it was a beauty, too, bursting through to belt in the winner in a game his coach called a “clásico”, against Sevilla. “The nicest thing was seeing how happy it made my team-mates,” he said.

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Tim Cahill: returning Socceroos 'a compliment to the A-League'

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:23:13 GMT2016-09-28T06:23:13Z

  • Melbourne City striker welcomes host of current and former Socceroos
  • ‘It’s good for us, good for our families and great for the game’

Tim Cahill believes the swathe of Socceroos returning to the A-League will make for compelling viewing, but he has no idea who will claim the championship.

The A-League season begins next weekend with an opening-night clash between the league’s most successful clubs – Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory – and a blockbuster Sydney derby.

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Canberra Olympic embrace FFA Cup mismatch against Sydney FC

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 01:42:17 GMT2016-09-28T01:42:17Z

  • Canberra Olympic 1-0 Green Gully
  • Melbourne Victory 2-0 Bentleigh Greens

Canberra Olympic reckon they know a way to beat A-League giants Sydney FC for a spot in the FFA Cup decider.

“The best chance we’ve got is if they turn up to the wrong ground or on the wrong night,” laughed coach Frank Cachia.

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Arrogant clot, for sure, but did this really merit England ditching Allardyce? | Daniel Taylor

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:00:46 GMT2016-09-27T21:00:46Z

Sam Allardyce’s reign is over, the buffoon paying the price for hawking himself around only a few weeks after landing the England job

The cartoonist Mike Stokoe neatly sums up the madness of the England job with a wonderful little sketch that hangs from one of the walls of the National Football Museum in Manchester. The cartoon shows an interview for the job and the applicant sitting nervously in front of three Football Association blazers. “And if you lose one game on the trot you’re sacked.”

Sam Allardyce has certainly excelled himself being the man who managed it after one match, one victory and the grand total of 67 days in office. Everything had been going so well after that win in Slovakia. England’s next opponents are Malta a week on Saturday and three days later, to quote the man himself, there is a trip to “Slovenia or something”. Gareth Southgate will be in charge while the man who has overseen the shortest and most ignominious reign of any England manager will presumably have to find another home for his lucky coin. The bottom of a river, perhaps.

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Leicester are passing their Champions League audition with flying colours | Paul Wilson

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 11:57:34 GMT2016-09-28T11:57:34Z

Claudio Ranieri’s side may be fitful in the Premier League but the formula that brought success last season may work in Europe’s top club competition

Leicester City are busy making history again. No other English team have managed to win their first two Champions League matches. Leicester’s 1-0 victory against Porto makes qualification to the knockout stages look distinctly possible with six points on the board already but whatever happens from now they hold the distinction of coming to terms with elevation to the Champions League more quickly than any of their illustrious predecessors.

On the domestic front, after three defeats in the opening six games, the history made last season is fast becoming a distant memory. The key to success last time was a solid start and managing to stay ahead for most of the campaign. Leicester have looked far from solid in the league and not just in conceding three goals from first-half corners at Manchester United last week. It is already being said – Claudio Ranieri is asked the question on a weekly basis – that subconsciously or otherwise Leicester are saving their best efforts for Europe this season.

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When the FA Cup had a third-place play-off and its first penalty shootout | The Knowledge

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:01 GMT2016-09-28T09:00:01Z

Plus: tankards with dents in, top-flight top scorers without hat-tricks and international half-century tridents. Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Between 1970 and 1974, five matches were played by the losing semi-finalists for the honour of being officially third or fourth in the FA Cup,” writes Neil Stacey. “The matches were scrapped in 1975. The players involved in these matches were apparently given ‘a memento’ by the FA, but I have no idea what that was, or what the clubs won for coming third. Please can you put the details on the website sometime, so we can find out what the full story is.”

When it comes to universally unpopular football innovations, the FA Cup third-place play-off is up there with Greg Dyke’s League 3 and Andy Townsend’s Tactics Truck. Brought in to replace England v England Youth internationals as a Cup final warm-up, it took place five times between 1970 and 1974, and then never again. The results aren’t even included on the FA’s official website.

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The best goals of the week: Dimitri Payet, Falcão, Serge Gnabry and Mario Balotelli

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:31:08 GMT2016-09-27T09:31:08Z

Featuring a 25-pass move from Blackburn Rovers, an overhead kick that would make Zlatan Ibrahimovic proud, a smart free-kick and a solo effort from Malta

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Football League your thoughts: Tammy Abraham scores again

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:25:09 GMT2016-09-24T18:25:09Z

Tammy Abraham hit the net again, while Derby found themselves 2-1 down four minutes after taking the lead at home to Blackburn. How did your team fare in the ninth round of League fixtures?

• Tammy Abraham scored again, to the surprise of nobody. The Chelsea striker, on loan at Bristol City, moved into double figures by kick-starting their 4-0 rout of Fulham. Luke Freeman, Bobby Reid and Aden Flint followed up with goals of their own but Abraham remains the division’s outstanding player of the season so far. He also scored the winner at Craven Cottage in their midweek EFL Cup meeting. “We have energy, pace and quality in the group and we’re starting to understand each other’s games,” said Lee Johnson, the City manager and a boyhood Fulham fan.

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The Joy of Six: footballers who voluntarily retired in their 20s | Michael Butler

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:55:40 GMT2016-09-23T09:55:40Z

From Mário de Castro protesting against a murder to Carlos Roa trying to avoid the apocalypse, here’s half-a-dozen footballers who quit in their prime

You can tell a lot about a player in Italy from their nickname. Javier Zanetti was labelled “El Tractor” while Alessandro Del Piero was “Pinturicchio” – “The Little Painter”. With his everchanging crop of hair, Hidetoshi Nakata always stood out on the football pitch, and his obscene amount of talent quickly won over fans at Perugia and Roma (with whom he won a Serie A title), who all referred to him as “The Little Jewel”. Off the field, he was a marketing dream and on the day his £18m transfer to Parma was announced in 2001, an estimated four million people tried to access his homepage. But those that make a greater mark leave a bigger void and when Nakata announced his retirement at the age of 29 after the final match of Japan’s World Cup in 2006 against Croatia, in which the three-time Ballon d’Or nominee had been named man of the match, the world was stunned.

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Battles of Britain, table-tennis trickery and the brilliant Lamar Jackson | Classic YouTube

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:05:34 GMT2016-09-22T09:05:34Z

This week’s roundup also features drone surfing, hardcore whiff-whaff, and the best way to overtake a peloton

1) It doesn’t get easier for Brendan Rodgers. A fortnight after his side took a pasting in Spain, it’s ‘Battle’ of Britain week: Celtic versus Manchester City on Wednesday. He can take heart, though, from some notable BoB classics – including Celtic’s 2-1 1970 European Cup semi-final win over Don Revie’s Leeds in front of 136,000 at Hampden Park; Rangers winning both legs of 1992’s clash with Leeds; Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen undoing Uefa Cup holders Ipswich in 1981; and Celtic beating Liverpool on the way to the 2003 Uefa Cup final.

2) Life’s good right now for Lamar Jackson – Louisville Cardinals’ Heisman Trophy favourite and teen Sports Illustrated coverstar. Here’s a flavour: an Eminem backed showreel, a high-school highlight, some more high-school highlights, an engaging post-game chat, and this: HE HAS THE JETS, AND HE TURNS THEM ON. He’s the American football version of this kid.

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The Knowledge: your football questions answered – as it happened!

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:51:00 GMT2016-09-21T13:51:00Z

The south-coast team with six England captain and the team that finished second six years in a row and more featured in our first live edition of the Knowledge

There’s only so much Knowledge a man can take in a single day, so we’re going to wrap up the blog now. Thanks for your questions and answers throughout, and if you need another fix, there’s a 15-year Knowledge Archive that you can peruse here.

The Knowledge returns to the usual format a week today. It includes the story of the Northwich fan who had two pints and a pie before a match - and ended up playing in an emergency.

What’s been the biggest increase in a club’s average attendance over the course of consecutive football seasons?” asked Ronan Brennan. “Or the biggest decrease?

Castleton Gabriels, now renamed Rochdale Town, finished bottom of the North West Counties League for three consecutive seasons between 2004 and 2007,” says Chris Goodall. “Their average crowds for the three seasons were 37, 175(!) and 37. That second season was actually the worst performance-wise, with only two wins. So why the amazing 473% spike in their average crowds? Because of a single match on September 17th 2005: Castleton Gabriels vs. FC United of Manchester, attendance 2,473. The moral of the story - when you hear someone talking about the “average” of a set of numbers, check carefully for outliers.”

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David Squires on … the 20th anniversary of Newcastle 5-0 Manchester United

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:00:56 GMT2016-09-20T09:00:56Z

David Squires is currently enjoying a well-earned holiday but, before departing, he took a trip or two down memory lane. Here he has a look back at Manchester United’s 5-0 shellacking by Newcastle in 1996. You can find David’s archive of cartoons here and he’s also got a book out soon. Pre-order it here

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Breaking the Law: punish football teams for negative play | Beau Dure

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:00:38 GMT2016-09-15T09:00:38Z

Sick of players parking the bus and playing for a draw? Then maybe it’s time to start making sure they feel the wrath of the referee for sitting back

Cristiano Ronaldo and Hope Solo are – how shall we say this politely? – divisive characters in world football. Both attracted ire this summer when they attacked their opponents for a lack of adventure. Solo called Sweden “a bunch of cowards” after they ground their way to a penalty shoot-out victory against the defending champions, USA, at the women’s Olympic football tournament. And at Euro 2016, Ronaldo launched the biggest attack on Iceland since the Cod Wars when he disparaged the tactics of everyone’s favorite plucky underdogs. “When [Iceland] don’t try to play and just defend, defend, defend, this in my opinion shows a small mentality and they are not going to do anything in the competition,” fumed Ronaldo after Portugal drew with Iceland. Ronaldo was proved right too, as long as you don’t include beating England in the last 16 as “anything”. Which many people wouldn’t.

But cheap gags at Roy Hodgson aside, did Ronaldo and Solo - which sounds a bit like an 80s cover band – have a point? Are today’s football games too easily destroyed by parking the bus and counter-attacking? The answer is simple: yes. The solution, though, is more difficult.

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Premier League preview: looking ahead to the weekend's action – video

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:34:50 GMT2016-09-30T07:34:50Z

We take a look ahead to this weekend’s Premier League games: Manchester City look to make it seven wins from seven against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, Crystal Palace go search of a fourth straight win versus Everton, Stoke City travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United and Liverpool meet Swansea City in south Wales

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Arsène Wenger open to 'one day' becoming England manager – video

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:58:20 GMT2016-09-30T11:58:20Z

Arsène Wenger talks to reporters at a news conference at London Colney on Friday at which the Arsenal manager says taking charge of the English national side is a possibility in the future. Wenger is celebrating 20 years as the manager of Arsenal and likens his time at the club to a love story

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Fifa 17: the animations that didn't quite make it into the game – video

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:38 GMT2016-09-29T09:00:38Z

With EA Sports gearing up to release the latest edition of the big-money game franchise, Fifa 17, we figured we’d try out our own motion-capture animations, celebrations and cut-scenes. Unfortunately none of our submissions were used in the final version

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How they definitely didn't make Fifa 17 – video

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:57:43 GMT2016-09-28T08:57:43Z

With EA Sports gearing up to release the latest edition of the big-money football computer game franchise, Fifa 17, we figured we’d try out our own motion-capture animations, celebrations and cut-scenes. Unfortunately none of our submissions were used in the final version

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Klopp: Liverpool must keep improving after good start – video

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:43:09 GMT2016-09-29T16:43:09Z

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, speaks to the press on Thursday afternoon ahead of The Reds’ match against Swansea City on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium. Klopp says Liverpool must improving after a positive start to the Premier League. The Swans have had a slow start to the season but Klopp has said that he is aware of the quality the Welsh team can deliver

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Guardiola and Rodgers reflect on 3-3 thriller between Manchester City and Celtic – video

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:17:22 GMT2016-09-29T07:17:22Z

Pep Guardiola and Brendan Rodgers assess Celtic and Manchester City’s thrilling 3-3 draw in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Speaking after the game at Celtic Park, both managers praise the atmosphere created by Celtic’s fans during the game with Rodgers saying it was an incredible evening for this side

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Five things longer than Sam Allardyce's time in charge of England – video

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:18:06 GMT2016-09-28T16:18:06Z

Sam Allardyce lasted just 67 days at England manager after leaving the job on Tuesday evening following a newspaper sting. His time in charge of the English national side is the shortest of any permanent manager. Given Allardyce’s unusually short spell at the helm, we take a look at five events which lasted longer than his 67 days

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West Ham fans give their verdict on the club's new stadium – video

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:20:43 GMT2016-09-25T20:20:43Z

After moving to London Stadium at the beginning of the season West Ham seemed to have struggled to settle into their new home. The team have won just one league game since moving from their famous old Boleyn Ground. We speak to fans of the club before and after the Premier League game against Southampton on Sunday to hear what they think of the move

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Hope is all that England football needs

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:46:35 GMT2016-09-30T17:46:35Z

England manager | Bath rugby | Sweet damsons | Retirement tips | Ed Balls

The answer to the current England manager dilemma is clear. Hope Powell, England’s most successful manager in recent years, strikes us as the best candidate for the job. A ground-breaking athlete, she is used to working in challenging circumstances, has extensive knowledge of the FA and has the additional bonus of no whiff of scandal anywhere near her. Indeed her appointment would go some way to making up for the 1921 ban on women’s football as “quite unsuitable for females”. We feel she would be an ideal candidate to unite all fans throughout English football.
Berenice Seel and Trudi Elliott
London

• The deeds to the Recreation Ground in Bath do not give a privileged position to Bath rugby club (Sport, 23 September). The local council should never have been allowed to build its monstrous sports centre in the 1970s on the ground. It did so because it was also the trustee. This was quite against the original deeds and it should have separated these powers out 40 years ago. If Bath rugby club wants to build an 18,000 spectator stadium go build but not on the Recreation Ground. As its owner claims money talks, well go find another site.
Derek Wyatt
Former MP and Bath rugby player 1978-82

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Guardiola and Pochettino trade compliments ahead of Premier League clash – video

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:26:38 GMT2016-09-30T16:26:38Z

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and his Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino both speak ahead of the meeting between the Premier League’s top two sides this weekend. Guardiola, speaking in Manchester on Friday says he admires Pochettino’s work at Spurs. The Tottenham manager, speaking in Enfield, returns the compliment and also comments that it is too early to say if the club can challenge for the title

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FA red-faced as England players receive Sam Allardyce postcards

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:13:13 GMT2016-09-30T00:13:13Z

• Postcards sent out on the day the manager lost his job
• Headline read: the journey has begun

Related: Gareth Southgate’s call reassures Wayne Rooney on England captaincy

Timing is everything. The Football Association and Sam Allardyce suffered further embarrassment on Thursday when all the players received postcards from their now ex-manager under the headline ‘The journey has begun’. The message to the players who defeated Slovakia in their opening World Cup qualifier read: “Well done! Our journey has begun with our first win together. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Sam Allardyce.”

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Alan Pardew urges Gareth Southgate to find ‘X Factor’ with England

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:30:02 GMT2016-09-29T21:30:02Z

• Crystal Palace manager believes his friend can rise to senior team challenge
• Chris Coleman also backs former Palace team-mate to succeed in role

Alan Pardew believes Gareth Southgate can bring the best out of England’s players and has urged his former Crystal Palace team-mate to prove he has “the X factor” to make his mark with the national team over his four-game interim stewardship.

Southgate, who has stepped up from the Under-21s following Sam Allardyce’s departure this week, will name his first senior squad on Sunday evening for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia next month.

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Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace attuned to Yannick Bolasie threat

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 21:30:02 GMT2016-09-29T21:30:02Z

• Winger faces former club in Everton’s colours on Friday
• Pardew admits Bolasie can be ‘undefendable at times’

Alan Pardew has admitted Yannick Bolasie can be “undefendable” when at the top of his game but is confident his Crystal Palace side will find a way of negating their former team-mate in Friday night’s trip to Everton.

Bolasie, who had cost Palace around £300,000 from Bristol City in 2012, played a significant part in the south London club establishing itself in the Premier League over the past three years before departing for Goodison Park this summer in a deal that could be worth £30m. The 27-year-old will confront his former team-mates on Merseyside with Palace, who are likely still to be without the hamstrung Scott Dann, braced for a difficult evening.

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Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk: Europa League – as it happened

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:59:29 GMT2016-09-29T20:59:29Z

Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed a second-half goal as United laboured to victory against a stubborn Ukrainian visitors

A win is a win is a win, even when it’s very boring. Ibrahimovic’s scrappy goal was enough to give victory to a United team that only looked like a United team in patches. Mostly there were stodgy and unimaginative.

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives Manchester United the edge over Zorya Luhansk

90 min: Kamenyuka booked for a foul on Rashford. Freekick to United wide on the left. They’ll run down the clock, which is ticking towards Zzzzzzzzz....

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives Manchester United the edge over Zorya Luhansk

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:56:55 GMT2016-09-29T20:56:55Z

• Manchester United 1-0 Zorya Luhansk

Wayne Rooney came on as a second-half substitute and helped Manchester United break down a stubborn Ukrainian defence with his first touch of the ball. Those are the bald facts, though they do not quite tell the whole story.

Related: Jose Mourinho complains Manchester United’s fixture list is a ‘poisoned gift’

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Football Association will speak to police as part of its corruption investigation

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:30:14 GMT2016-09-29T20:30:14Z

• Ruling body waiting for Telegraph evidence
• Chris Coleman urges life ban for wrongdoers

The Football Association has revealed that it will meet City of London police next week as it begins its investigation into alleged corruption.

In a week during which Sam Allardyce left his position as England manager, Tommy Wright was sacked by Barnsley and football managers are alleged to have taken bungs in the Daily Telegraph’s investigation, the FA has been frustrated in its attempts to gather information from the newspaper.

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Hapoel Beer-Sheva 0-0 Southampton: Europa League – as it happened

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:52:57 GMT2016-09-29T18:52:57Z

Southampton stayed top of Group K thanks to a tedious goalless draw with the Israeli champions

That was tedious. Bye.

Related: Southampton earn draw at Hapoel Beer Sheva to top Europa League group

90 min: There will be two minutes of stoppage time.

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Big Sam pays the price - Football Weekly Extra

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:27:38 GMT2016-09-29T16:27:38Z

The podders reflect on the short and inglorious reign of Sam Allardyce Plus, Celtic hold City in the Champions League - can Tottenham go one better this weekend?

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast

On this especially quiet of footballing weeks, you may wonder what’s on the agenda for today’s Football Weekly Extra, featuring the assorted talents of AC Jimbo, Barry Glendenning, James Horncastle and Simon Burnton. Well, wonder no more

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Redrawing the European map

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:55:47 GMT2016-09-29T15:55:47Z

Today: Big Vase, Big Sam, Nicolas Anelka and Danny Dyer

Big Vase strugglers Manchester United will attempt to put themselves back on the European map tonight by beating Zorya Luhansk. That sounds like an oxymoron and the Fiver would welcome a cheap laugh in return. But, as it happens, Zorya are are likely to be stronger opponents than you might, what with them representing Luhansk, a city that is a victim of Russian militants’ attempts to redraw the aforementioned European map. That’s got to increase the Ukrainian team’s determination to make as good an impression at Old Trafford as they did when drawing 1-1 with Fenerbahce in their first group match, which was held in a temporary home. What is more, Zorya’s players have reportedly not been paid for six months. All in all, then, their players have a wealth of motivation to excel on their visit to a country where people can allegedly earn anything from £55,000 to £400,000 just to gallivant around the world chatting about football.

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Nicolas Anelka tells Sam Allardyce: ‘We all make mistakes. We still love you’

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:58:06 GMT2016-09-29T13:58:06Z

• Anelka played for former England manager at Bolton
• Former France striker declares support on Facebook

Nicolas Anelka, who played under Sam Allardyce at Bolton, has given the former England manager his support following the national team coach’s departure on Tuesday.

Related: Managers demand ‘full disclosure’ of newspaper’s corruption investigation

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Sport picture of the day: shirts off for CSKA Moscow's Red-Blue Warriors

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:12:35 GMT2016-09-28T14:12:35Z

Shirtless CSKA Moscow fans, aka the Red-Blue Warriors, cheer on their team behind Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal during the Champions League Group E match at the Arena CSKA. Spurs won the game 1-0

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