Liverpool were doing it all right, trying to get their business completed early, and the deal was so far advanced Fekir had even been allowed to select a shirt number. The firm’s global general manager for football Markus Baumann said: ‘adidas is immensely proud to officially launch our Manchester United partnership, a deal that over the next ten years will bring two of the world’s leading sports brands together. United continued winning trophies (at least for the first few years), boosted their financial muscle and transfer funds have always been available. So what are we to make of Pato, Chelsea’s duck, who arrived in the January transfer window and may now leave without playing a game for the club? Al Hasawi’s reign has brought consistent rumours of interference, with wages paid late and a transfer embargo for a breach of financial fair play rules. Things are not perfect by any means but the one thing Evertonians have now is the buzz on a Saturday or Sunday morning they will go to watch a team that wants to play open, attractive football. And now everyone knows the jockey who won the Foxhunter was a woman; which they didn’t last year, for all the snobbery of the aficionados.
There were a great many who feared she could get hurt or, worse, endanger others. So Pendleton did not steal Carberry’s glory because there was no glory to steal. The reality is that Pendleton is the only reason people know Carberry won at all. ‘If people are always negative why should I continue? Indeed, they’ve claimed people on less. There seems to be more discipline at Chelsea but above all playing for the club seems to be more fun. There was nothing positive to be gained from being filmed and wired for sound during the crucial qualifiers in Norway and Holland, but it did open him up for ridicule when things started to disintegrate. The final, truly specious, objection being that she overshadowed Nina Carberry, the actual winner of the race, piloting On The Fringe. Another big-money star who has failed to deliver any sort of consistency since being brought to the club. And the players showed their appreciation back to the many supporters who cheered them on to a famous victory last night in Madrid. Barca sporting director Mateu Alemany has a job on his hands and will have to convince three players who have already deferred salaries and agreed to forgo some bonuses to cut their base salaries.
This is what happens to clubs who don’t have the deep pockets of the top six. To those who think my column gave Manchester United ideas: have you lost your minds? How strange that Rebecca Adlington might be considered to have disappointed her fans because her marriage to husband Harry Needs did not last. Adlington was a very good swimmer. Still, a spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland said that if any of Rooney’s kids turned out to be good at football and wanted to represent the old country, posting the flag of the wrong nation wouldn’t necessarily be an obstacle. Unfortunately, Ireland’s flag is actually green, white and orange – the emblem Rooney sent his followers belonged to the Ivory Coast. The Nike England strip has a white shirt with pale blue sleeves, white shorts and red socks. Shorts with blue socks. “Get into those shorts and let’s see how you look,” he said. In the final weeks of the season, it became the worst-kept secret at the club that Becks was Real Madrid-bound in the summer. Both Modric and Bale forced their moves and ended up at Real Madrid when bigger offers were received from Premier League clubs.
League Cup finalist Southampton has signed forward Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli. If he stays fit until the end of the season, he could propel the club all the way to the Champions League. Liverpool took part in a turbulent season following their crowning glory as 2020 Premier League champions, but made a heavy and last-ditch effort to secure third place in only the final stage of the season. Hearty congratulations to UK Athletics, as ever, for their part in that. And what about the players crucial to Tottenham’s resurgence that are not products of the youth system? But in fact, the defender was a product of the Sevilla youth system. Scary thing is he is nowhere near the finished product either. Leicester is a team effort, and it could be argued the players come as a whole; yet the difference to West Ham when Payet is in, and out, of the team is remarkable.