Birmingham City deducted nine points by EFL for financial breaches


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Birmingham left five points above relegation zone
• Club breached profitability and sustainability rulesBirmingham are facing a battle to avoid relegation after being docked nine points for a breach of the Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules.

The cost of hiring and firing the managers Gianfranco Zola and Harry Redknapp allied to a series of expensive signings has caught up with the club and is now imprinted on a hastily amended Championship table.

Continue reading…

Manchester City’s Demi Stokes eyes glory in familiar Continental Cup final


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Left-back is confident her side can exact revenge on Arsenal in repeat of last year’s League Cup showpieceDemi Stokes sounds slightly surprised. “I didn’t actually know they’d won it that many times,” says the Manchester City and England left-back. “But you can’t think about the past – it won’t matter on Saturday.”

Stokes is talking about the Continental League Cup final at Bramall Lane where City, twice winners of the eight-year-old competition, face Arsenal, who have lifted the trophy five times.

Continue reading…

Christian Atsu: ‘Sometimes what’s happened to me seems like a miracle’


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Newcastle winger remains close to his roots in Ghana and takes inspiration from ‘father figure’ Rafael Benítez

It is a very long way from Ghana’s Ada Foah to Hillsong church on Newcastle’s Westgate Road – and not merely in miles. Christian Atsu has made that transformative journey, swapping an existence as one of 10 children whose late father eked out a living fishing and farming on the junction of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean, for a new life on Tyneside.

Almost everything has altered but one constant remains: the Newcastle winger’s Christian faith. Church was a central part of Atsu’s childhood and worship at Hillsong, a short walk from St James’ Park, binds the Ghana international to his new habitat.

Continue reading…

Marquis of Doncaster struts into Palace on mission to cause Cup upset


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Rovers’ mischievous striker John Marquis is ready to ruffle feathers against Crystal Palace in the League One club’s first FA Cup fifth-round tie for 63 years

At first, John Marquis did not really warm to the idea of moving to Doncaster. “I was umming and ahhing, I wasn’t sure,” he says. “But my agent kept saying: ‘Just go up and have a chat, see what they’ve got to say’.”

That was nearly three years ago and it is no exaggeration to say he is now fully immersed in a club which has transformed his life and career. “I love it here. It just shows you’ve got to keep your mind open,” says the free-scoring No 9, of whom Crystal Palace would be wise to be wary during Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at the Keepmoat Stadium. “Darren Ferguson was the manager back then. As soon as I left the Continue reading “Marquis of Doncaster struts into Palace on mission to cause Cup upset”

Rafael Benítez backs Miguel Almirón to make instant impact at Newcastle


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• £21m record signing to make debut against Wolves
• Manager says midfielder has impressed in trainingAfter persuading Mike Ashley to break Newcastle’s transfer record by spending £21m on importing Miguel Almirón from MLS, Rafael Benítez could be forgiven for feeling slightly nervous.

Related: Miguel Almirón aims to become Newcastle’s new angel of the north

Continue reading…

Miguel Almirón aims to become Newcastle’s new angel of the north


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Magpies’ new record signing cannot wait to start playing for Rafael Benítez and pays no heed to his weighty price tag

Miguel Almirón has a biblical quotation tattooed on the inside of his right wrist. It is from John:14:6 and declares: “I am the way, the truth, the life,” but it would be a mistake to imagine that Newcastle United’s new £21m signing is a model of piety.

When Almirón was quizzed about its relevance to his life on Wednesday the Paraguay playmaker’s answer revealed the sort of refreshing humour and humility that will surely serve the 24-year-old well as he follows in the footsteps of the club’s former record buys Michael Owen and Alan Shearer.

Continue reading…

Riteesh Mishra juggles jobs but keeps Charlton in hunt for Women’s FA Cup


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The head coach, who leads them in Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Huddersfield, also works at Deloitte and advises young athletesWhen people ask Riteesh Mishra what he does, they invariably appear puzzled by the response. “I tell them I dual career,” says the head coach of Charlton Athletic Women. “I don’t reply: ‘football manager’.”

That is partly because he is also a talent manager at Deloitte, helping employees at the international accountancy behemoth fulfil their potential, but mainly because Mishra is a passionate believer in the benefits of parallel jobs. “The leadership skills I’ve learned at Deloitte have taught me so much,” says the 29-year-old. “They help with the difficult conversations all football coaches sometimes have with players.”

Continue reading…

Rafael Benítez relaxes after his brinkmanship boosts Newcastle’s on-field options


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




United head to Tottenham on Saturday in an improved mood after a decent week which involved beating the champions and increasing the size of their squad

The uneasy coalition between lofty ambition and brutal pragmatism at Newcastle United endures, with Rafael Benítez conceding he is “happier” than he was a few days ago but remaining reluctant to commit his future to working for the owner, Mike Ashley.

This new-found spirit of cautious compromise represents something of a truce. After all, only last Monday the Newcastle manager refused to rule out the possibility of tendering his resignation if the relegation-threatened club failed to strengthen his squad by the transfer market’s closure on Thursday.

Continue reading…

Newcastle break club transfer record to sign Miguel Almirón from Atlanta


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Paraguayan player joins for record fee in region of £21m
• ‘It’s a great responsibility, something beautiful for me’Miguel Almirón has become the most expensive signing of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle United, with his £21m move from Atlanta United finally eclipsing the record £16.8m transfer fee the north east club paid Real Madrid for Michael Owen in August 2005.

Ashley’s near 12 years as owner have been characterised by budget buys but, perhaps motivated by real fears that Rafael Benítez could be on the point of quitting as Newcastle’s manager, the retail tycoon belatedly sanctioned a long-mooted deal for the Paraguay playmaker.

Continue reading…

Sunderland employee arrested on suspicion of sexual grooming of boy


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Man, 60, released under investigation by police
• Club reported allegations and has suspended individual

An employee of Sunderland AFC has been arrested on suspicion of the sexual grooming of a boy but released under investigation pending further inquiries.

A spokesman for Northumbria police said: “Police have arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a male under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.”

Continue reading…

Sheffield Wednesday steel for Chelsea with Steve Bruce refreshed and ready


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Uncertainty engulfs a club aiming to welcome their incoming boss by dethroning the FA Cup holders at Stamford BridgexSnow forced the closure of the trans-Pennine Snake Pass early last week but fell too soon to affect Steve Bruce’s commute across the Peak District. Rather than traversing the “roof of England” as he drove to work from his home in Cheshire, Sheffield Wednesday’s new manager was busy chatting to Moeen Ali and friends at the Kensington Oval, Barbados.

With the thermometer nudging 30C, Bruce donned shorts and shades to watch the England cricket team’s final net session before sitting through their first Test batting collapse against the West Indies.

Continue reading…

Durham’s ‘accidental manager’ sets sights on promotion to WSL


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Buoyed by recent victory over Manchester United, Durham are thriving without the need for attachment to a men’s club

It is a clear, crisp, good-to-be-alive January day in a green, wooded Durham valley and Lee Sanders has a bright future to map out.

Beneath an unbroken blue sky and illuminated by low winter sunshine, reconstruction work on the £31m overhaul of Maiden Castle, Durham University’s sports centre, continues apace but the builders have still to reach the ordered chaos of Sanders’s cluttered upstairs office.

Continue reading…

Marcelo Bielsa admits Leeds have spied on every opponent this season


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Manager says it is not illegal but not necessarily right
• Bielsa insists he had no bad intentions or wish to cheat

Marcelo Bielsa has admitted Leeds United have spied on all their opponents this season but remains adamant no specific rules were broken and believes he is guilty of stupidity rather than cheating.

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” said the Leeds manager in the course of an extraordinary, unscheduled, press conference cum coaching masterclass at the club’s training headquarters near Wetherby.

Continue reading…

Michael Jolley set to test methods against ‘role model’ Roy Hodgson | Louise Taylor


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Grimsby’s manager says he cannot think of ‘anyone better’ to learn from than his counterpart at Crystal PalaceAt first glance, Michael Jolley and Roy Hodgson might not seem to have much in common but the reality is very different. Admittedly, they are separated by a 30-year age gap and their teams sit 67 rungs apart on the league ladder yet the conversation is unlikely to dry up when the managers of Grimsby Town and Crystal Palace share a post-match drink following Saturday evening’s third-round tie at Selhurst Park.

When Grimsby’s Jolley refers to Hodgson as a “role model” it is no empty platitude. Like the former England coach, the Cambridge University economics graduate began his managerial career in Sweden and, like his 71-year-old Palace counterpart, has never felt the need to conform to a British football culture still sometimes slightly suspicious of more cerebral thinkers.

Continue reading…

‘Do what is right’: Newcastle fan groups urge Mike Ashley to sell or invest funds


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Eight supporters’ group write letter to club owner
• ‘To fail to do so, would seem both reckless and foolish’A fans collective comprising of eight separate Newcastle United supporters groups and fanzines have joined forces to write an open letter to the club’s owner, Mike Ashley, urging him to either sell up or provide Rafael Benítez with the transfer market funds needed to ensure Premier League survival.

The 757-word missive implores Ashley “to do what is right this month”. In an ideal world that would involve the sports retail tycoon offloading the club to a “suitable” purchaser willing to meet his £300m asking price but with takeover talks with assorted, opaque, groups seemingly at an impasse, the letter’s authors ask him to relax the purse strings.

Continue reading…

Rafael Benítez hoping home truths help keep Newcastle in Premier League


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Out-of-form Newcastle face Manchester United on Wednesday
• ‘Everyone, players, staff, has to realise it is so difficult for us’

José Mourinho’s often stark candour won few hearts and minds at Manchester United but Rafael Benítez believes his own brand of brutal honesty can help keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.

As Benítez prepared to welcome a team from Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s interim care to Tyneside on Wednesday night he reflected on the fine line separating debilitating negativity and necessary realism.

Continue reading…

2019, World Cup fever No 2: England and Scotland go for glory in France | Louise Taylor


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The 2019 Women’s World Cup is set to be the most competitive yet and England, who meet Scotland in their opening game on 9 June, are genuine contenders

Jill Ellis did not ponder the question for long. The USA’s English-born manager had just been asked if France 2019 would be the most competitive Women’s World Cup to date and her answer spoke volumes.

“Is it going to the hardest to win?” mused the coach who led her adopted country to glory in Canada four years ago. “Well, every World Cup should be bigger and better than the one before and, in terms of the standard of the teams alone, I think France is going to be a spectacular tournament.”

Continue reading…

Sir Alex Ferguson offers Ole Gunnar Solskjær helping hand at United


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Former manager gave pep talks to Solskjær and his staff
• Ferguson recovering from last spring’s brain haemorrhage

Sir Alex Ferguson provided encouragement and a series of informal pep talks for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and the Manchester United manager’s staff at the training ground on Saturday.

“He paid us a visit,” said Solskjær as he prepared his players for Wednesday night’s trip to face a Newcastle United side managed by one of Ferguson’s former rivals, Rafael Benítez. “Sir Alex Ferguson enjoyed his time at the training ground, we had a few nice chats and he encouraged us. He knows the staff I’ve got are Manchester United through and through. He knows we’re going to do whatever we can, up to the last second we’re here, for Manchester United, as best we can.”

Continue reading…

Solskjær has brought back the Pogba I used to know, says Lingard


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• Lingard credits manager with restoring Pogba’s confidence
• Solskjær wants Manchester United to kill games early, he saysJesse Lingard believes Ole Gunnar Solskjær has ensured a bright New Year for Manchester United by turning back time and restoring Paul Pogba to the dynamic midfielder for whom the club paid £89m.

“I can definitely, definitely, see the Paul I used to know,” said Lingard as he reflected on United’s three games and three wins – featuring four goals from Pogba – since the Norwegian took temporary charge at Old Trafford in the wake of José Mourinho’s sacking. “I have seen him playing through the ranks and he is back to that player, the player we know.”

Continue reading…

Rafael Benítez: no chance of Newcastle selling Jonjo Shelvey in January


This post is by Louise Taylor from Football | The Guardian


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




• It has been suggested Fulham want to sign midfielder
• Benítez says players understand his ‘miracle’ commentRafael Benítez has said there is “no chance” of Newcastle selling Jonjo Shelvey to Fulham or anyone else during the impending transfer window.

It has been suggested that Claudio Ranieri is keen to transport Shelvey to Craven Cottage with Tom Cairney – a player admired by Benítez – moving in the opposite direction but that idea has now been quashed.

Continue reading…