Tranmere owner Mark Palios insists relegation from League One is lazy

‘Do not cut us adrift’: Tranmere owner Mark Palios insists relegation from League One is lazy and unnecessary and has an alternative idea – INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN SAMUEL

  • Tranmere are the 21st club in League One, three points behind AFC Wimbledon
  • If the campaign is ended early, they will slip into League Two by 0.04 of a point 
  • Accountant Palios has another plan, long submitted to EFL chairman Rick Parry
  • It includes PPG and rules out relegation in League One, but not promotion

Fittingly, for a man staring at football’s depths, Mark Palios reached for a Titanic analogy to explain the predicament of Tranmere Rovers.

‘It’s like the ship is going down,’ he said, ‘and you can see a lifeboat with a space on it. And you try to get on, but the people on board say, “No, just 20 allowed here.” And you point out the space, but they still won’t let you on. So you drown.’

Tranmere are the 21st club in League One. Bury have already gone. Bolton and Southend are 21 and 16 points adrift. Tranmere are three points behind AFC Wimbledon, with a game in hand.

Tranmere owner Mark Palios has another plan, long submitted to EFL chairman Rick Parry

They are the only team this season to win away at leaders Coventry. They had won three games straight before the season was suspended, all away.

Their previous win, before that, was against Wimbledon, and they face them again before the season ends.

If the season ends. For a rump of League One clubs are opposed to the restart and if it does not happen the EFL hierarchy will decide promotion and relegation on points per game. By this calculation, Tranmere slip into League Two by 0.04 of a point. Wimbledon have announced enthusiasm for this resolution, no doubt along with a lot of clubs who will not be affected. Typical.

‘People tell us it’s a pandemic, as if we didn’t know,’ Palios, the club’s owner, adds. ‘Yes, this is a pandemic. So the EFL should do its job, not sacrifice Tranmere and a couple of others on the altar of expediency. Teams who are voting for PPG know their outcome. That’s not fair.

The 67-year-old has overseen a remarkable revival while fighting his own cancer battle

‘They wouldn’t support this before the season started, when it might affect them. Will they vote for it to be in place next year, too?

‘There are clubs who genuinely don’t want to restart because of the costs. They are voting to improve their own financial position at our expense. That is grossly unfair, a return to the days when decisions got made in smoke-filled rooms. I thought we were done with them.’

Palios is best known for his time as FA chairman but after more than 250 games in midfield for Tranmere, he rose to prominence as an insolvency and business turnaround expert with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

He had retired when, in 2014, he and wife Nicola came to the rescue of his former club.

‘When we arrived Tranmere was in a death spiral,’ he recalls. ‘The fabric of the place was poor, the attitude was resignation. Then we went out of the league, which cost another £3.5million.

If the campaign is ended early, the Merseyside club will slip into League Two by 0.04 of a point

‘Most struggling clubs are fighting with their fanbase. We had the supporters’ trust. The club was losing £1m a year. I asked them how much they could raise. They reckoned £500,000. I said, “That gives you six months”.

‘Yet, out of the league, we managed to forge a relationship with our fans.’

Tranmere’s revival is a true underdog story. They returned to the Football League despite having a man sent off after 54 seconds of the National League play-off final, and a year later made it into League One with a play-off final winner after 119 minutes.

The five-year recovery plan that Palios still carries around has his cancer diagnosis on the back. It was the only paper he had to hand when the news arrived. That was five years ago and treatment is ongoing.

So he doesn’t run from a fight, and there has been talk of courtroom battles if Tranmere are sent down by guesswork. Yet accountants are pragmatic, particularly those engaged in financial recovery. So Palios also has a plan, long submitted to EFL chairman Rick Parry, for what should happen if the season cannot be completed.

It includes PPG but with an average margin of error calculated across recent campaigns. It rules out relegation, but not promotion. Indeed it widens the net to include all those with reasonable hope of going up.

In League One, on PPG with an average margin of error, Coventry and Rotherham are promoted, while all teams down to Doncaster in ninth enter the play-offs. In League Two, three go up, and the play-offs reach Bradford in ninth.

‘The seriousness of relegation far outweighs the prospect of promotion,’ Palios adds. ‘I’m not just moaning. I’ve provided them with a solution that adjusts PPG to something more reasonable.

Tranmere want the chance to play their way out of trouble but rivals want to end the season

‘I spoke to Rick the day after League Two voted not to play on and he said eight Championship clubs had already contacted him worried that this would be a catalyst for Premier League clubs to outlaw relegation.

‘Fear has been the motivation ever since. But you don’t have to deal with promotion and relegation. Just promotion.

‘Teams who want to stop playing can stop playing. Those with ambition and who qualify can reach the play-offs.

‘If that means we’re dealing with 27 teams in League One or Two next season, we’ll do that.

‘Greg Clarke, the FA chairman, came out with his quote about relegation being crucial to the pyramid, but it’s such a lazy soundbite.

‘Yet having relegation has become a mantra, because of what Clarke said. I just don’t think he thought it through.

‘Look, of course, we want to play. We won three away games before it stopped, we’ve got three games against teams immediately above us to come.

‘The idea of complete sporting integrity has gone because there will be teams who will have lost players by the time of the restart, who may be looking at half a youth team, or be signing up new players — so I accept that.

‘But PPG takes none of those nuances into account anyway. That’s why margin of error must be recognised.’

Palios won’t rule out going to court. ‘To just be told, ‘If there’s no restart you’re relegated’ — is unfair,’ he adds. ‘The statement from the EFL was disrespectful, couched in terms of ‘it’s a pandemic, you can’t please everybody’. Yet every football person recognises it as blatantly unfair unless you finish the season.

‘Our kids go to school with mates wearing Liverpool and Everton shirts. We’ve made them proud — why should all that be cast aside? Just once, a helping hand here would be nice.’




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Premier League's crunch broadcast meeting… what's on the agenda?

Premier League holds its crunch broadcast meeting with a hefty £330m rebate bill (and that’s a minimum!) and access for TV companies to enhance coverage on the agenda – and just how many games will fans be able to watch from their own homes?

  • The Premier League is enduring its most crucial week ahead of Project Restart
  • There is a meeting on Thursday regarding broadcasting in the Premier League
  • It is anticipated that a discussion on the likely rebate to broadcasters will be held
  • All 20 clubs will face an overall bill of £330million, with the possibility of more
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Project Restart faces its most crucial week yet as the Premier League desperately attempts to get the show back on the road again by mid-June.

The football season was decimated in early March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and it is expected to have significant detrimental effects going forward for every club across Europe.

While the main priority remains getting football back safely in England, plenty of other issues need to be resolved as soon as possible.

This week, the Premier League are looking to approve a series of new measures and issues – like a rebate to domestic and overseas broadcasters. And that is exactly what they will be doing on Thursday.

Ahead of Thursday’s crunch meeting, Sportsmail takes a closer look at what exactly will be on the agenda regarding broadcasting issues…

The Premier League are looking to finalise details to restart the season again by mid-June

HOW MUCH MONEY WILL CLUBS HAVE TO PAY BACK?

Premier League clubs are facing a chunky bill of £330million, which is due to broadcasters even if the 2019-20 campaign is completed after subscribers have been lost during the pandemic. But that’s not where it stops.

All 20 English top-flight clubs will have to pay back an extra £36million to the relevant broadcasters every week the season stretches beyond its official end date of July 16.

It is understood that there is anger at these plans, and concerns there could be job losses across the division as a result. 

While this appears an intimidating fee, it is essential that the Premier League campaign finishes.

If the season is scrapped altogether with no more more matches played, then Sky Sports, BT Sport and international broadcasters are owed a staggering rebate of £762m.

According to the Telegraph, full details of the financial rebate models are expected to be presented to the 20 clubs during Thursday’s conference call. 

There were high hopes that the Premier League would eventually resume again on June 12, but June 19 is now expected to be the earliest restart date, meaning it is likely to have cost clubs £36m already.

Premier League clubs face a £330m rebate from broadcasters even if the season is completed

HOW WILL THE PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS PAY THE £330M REBATE?

Premier League clubs reportedly do not want to pay the £330m fee upfront amid the financial fall-out of the coronavirus crisis.

Therefore, clubs will ask for the money owed to the TV companies to be paid over five years to limit the impact of the pandemic on football.

The Telegraph reports that the 20 chief executives of the Premier League clubs would want to negotiate a deal where the £16.5m – which is owed by each outfit – could be paid in installments over five years.

Furthermore, with the next cycle of TV rights coming into play in 2022, the rebate could potentially come out of the next deal to help clubs negotiate their cash-flow problems in the post-coronavirus football landscape.

Clubs, especially the lesser sides in the Premier League, fear that offloading the money over a period of five years would soften the blow of the harsh new financial reality.

WHY EXACTLY IS THERE THIS REBATE?

There is an argument among broadcasters that they have lost a huge number of subscribers during this unprecedented period, who may not return once the Premier League campaign gets underway again.

Furthermore, Sky, BT Sport and Co are set to be challenged with a different product to what they originally paid for when Project Restart is finalised.

Without fans inside stadiums, the experience will not be the same for consumers, which could have a detrimental effect for broadcasters.

Sky Sports and BT Sport have lost out on Premier League action for the last three months

WHAT ACCESS COULD BROADCASTERS GET AT GAMES?

After losing at least three months of live sport during the shutdown, Sky and BT have made a series of demands in the hope of enhancing their coverage.

When the season does eventually resume, games will be played behind closed doors so it is imperative that customers can enjoy the best possible experience while watching matches from their comfort of their own homes.

Sportsmail recently reported that the broadcasters have asked for a camera to be placed in the dressing room, an audio feed from the technical area which can be broadcast live, and a camera in the tunnel.

Furthermore, they want half-time interviews with managers or players from both teams. 

The Premier League have indicated their intention to offer additional content and greater access to broadcasters to make up for the loss of matches during the lockdown.

According to the Telegraph, there was an acceptance recently that there was quite a ‘sterile’ atmosphere at the Bundesliga matches played behind closed doors.

Other ideas are being considered among the Premier League as to the best ways to deal with the absence of supporters within stadiums. These include adding artificial fan noise. 

Matches will be played behind closed doors when the Premier League eventually resumes

 HOW MANY GAMES WILL FANS BE ABLE TO WATCH FROM HOME?

On Thursday, the Premier League are set to discuss the distribution of the remaining 92 matches – with 45 of them having not initially been selected for broadcast.

And according to the Mirror, Premier League supporters will be treated to a ‘TV bonanza’ when Project Restart kicks off next month.   

With armchair fans starved of live football since Leicester’s victory over Aston Villa on March 9, England’s top flight is reportedly planning weekends of wall-to-wall coverage.

Sky Sports and BT Sport have live rights to 47 games and remaining 45 will be further shared

It could reportedly see all 10 games over a matchweek put on live television, with five shown back-to-back on Saturday and another five on the Sunday.

Games would start every two hours from 12pm, with further kick-offs at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

The bulk of the remaining 92 games will take place over weekends, but there is believed to be a push from broadcasters to show some games in midweek.

That would see a Champions League style format take over with kick-offs at 6pm and 8pm.

Sky and BT Sport have the live rights to 47 games and the remaining 45 – that were originally not chosen for broadcast – will be further shared. Sky would get 32, BT eight and five would go to Amazon and the BBC.

Sky Sports customers who ‘paused’ their monthly subscription because of the pandemic are set to be billed again from June 19, according to reports. 

There could be a TV bonanza for Premier League supporters when it gets given the green light




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Watford captain Troy Deeney confirms return to training after voicing concerns

Watford captain Troy Deeney has confirmed he’ll return to training this week, despite recently voicing his concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The 31-year-old recently revealed his worries about returning to training due to his five-month-old son. Deeney opted not to return to training for Phase One of the Premier League’s plan.

However, the Hornets striker is ready to go back to training when full-contact sessions return this week.

Deeney told CNN Sport: “I only said that I wasn’t going back for the first week.

“People took that as I’ll never go back. But I think everyone appreciates everything that the Premier League is trying to do as well.

“I don’t think it’s a case of pure neglect in terms of ‘We’re going back to work, get on board’ or it’s anything like that. They have very good lines of communication and I’ve had maybe had four or five meetings now.

DON’T MISS: Premier League confirm four more positive coronavirus tests

“I’m the captain of a Premier League football team. I’m not doing my job if I’m sitting back at home, saying to the players: ‘You win this game for me and I’m not doing anything.’

“Anyone that knows me knows I’m never scared of a challenge. But anyone that knows me also knows that family is the most important thing for me.

“I also think ultimately, everyone knows that this is happening, the season is gonna finish and you control the controllables really.

“To be fair, if it weren’t for my missus, I probably wouldn’t. But she’s adamant that we can do enough things to protect ourselves.

ALSO SEE: Premier League Project Restart boost as clubs unanimously vote to resume contact training

READ MORE

  • Gary Neville predicts when the Premier League will return

“We are trying to figure out like, ways to wash the clothes separately and little things like that. You know, I’ve got quite a busy household.

“Also Watford have been excellent with me as well. They are trying their best to do anything to support me and my family. I haven’t been to work as yet. But I’m potentially going to go in next week. Even if it’s just to have a conversation.

“I’ve already been in dialogue with all the players and all the management.”

Deeney had concerns over his five-month-old son, who has breathing difficulties.

The Watford ace was also worried about black, Asian and ethnic minority individuals being more likely to contract coronavirus.

READ MORE

  • Premier League boost as clubs vote to resume contact training

The Premier League have been conducting thorough tests to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

League bosses confirmed on Wednesday night that there had been just four positive tests from three clubs.

1008 players and staff were tested on Monday and Tuesday for coronavirus.

Premier League clubs are set to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the next stage of games returning.

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Timo Werner and girlfriend ‘pondering’ Liverpool move as RB Leipzig boss provides update

RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann says striker Timo Werner is considering leaving the Bundesliga this summer amid rumours Liverpool are weighing up whether to activate his £52million release clause.

Werner has continued his rich goalscoring form since the German top-flight returned to action amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-year-old netted a hat-trick against Mainz at the weekend which only sparked further excitement on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp was thought to be close to an agreement with Werner before the coronavirus crisis.

It is unclear how Liverpool’s summer budget will be affected by the loss of revenue in recent months.

Nagelsmann claims his star will be thinking with his partner, 23-year-old Julia Nagler, about joining the Premier League leaders.

“He is in a good mood, feels good and trains well,” Nagelsmann told Sport Bild.

“I do not have the impression that he is carrying a large cross with him. But he is a young guy who is sure to sit at home with his girlfriend and ponder whether he will stay or change.

“When the question is in the room, you are always a little bit somewhere else. It was no different for me than when in Hoffenheim, it was about whether I go away.

“It is more obvious with strikers, because then there are phases in which they do not score.”

READ MORE

  • Man Utd news: Jadon Sancho transfer alternative reacts to links

Werner has flirted with a move to Liverpool with his comments in recent times.

He said: “I know that Liverpool is the best team at the moment in the world.

“When you’re linked with that team it makes me very proud.

“It’s a pleasure but I know that Liverpool have a lot of good players and I have to improve myself, to learn much more things to get on this level to play there.”

Meanwhile, former forward Tony Cascarino thinks there could be an issue with Werner moving to Anfield.

He said: “If he were to leave RB Leipzig it would need to be for a club similar to the style of Nagelsmann’s team. In the Premier League, that’s Liverpool.

“They are the team who get three or four players into advanced attacking positions in every move.

“But I can’t see him forcing his way into the starting line-up ahead of [Mohamed] Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino.”

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Manchester United make £140m loan withdrawal to bolster summer transfer kitty

Manchester United have taken a £150million loan from a syndicated revolving credit facility, which could bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s summer transfer budget.

The Red Devils announced last week that their net debt had increased by £127.4m to £429.1m in the last 12 months, while registering a pre-tax loss of £28.55m in the third-quarter from 1 January to 31 March.

The suspension of the Premier League has hit United just as much as other clubs and though the club’s commercial strength means they’re best placed to find their way through, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward warned supporters last month not to expect big money transfers this summer.

Nevertheless, Solskjaer wants to add to his squad and Reuters report that United have taken a £140m loan from its £150m syndicate in order to boost the club’s cash reserves.

With broadcast revenue and matchday income plummeting in the last three months, United’s cash reserves have taken a drip – though they attributed this to payments on Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire.

However, United told Reuters that the loan would help to ease their cash position, give the Red Devils greater ‘financial flexibility’ and help to maintain liquidity throughout the pandemic.

United had been confident of signing Dortmund superstar Jadon Sancho but the Bundesliga giants are seeking £120m for the England winger.

The Red Devils remain keen but hope to talk Dortmund down from their valuation.

The same stands for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, though United believe he could be signed for a cut-price fee if Villa are relegated.

Solskjaer has a number of transfer targets and had hoped to sign three players this summer but in each case he has at least two back-up options, where players are deemed more affordable and more attainable.

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La Liga hoping for fans in stadiums to start next season, Spanish government insists

Spain’s top sports government official says fans may be back in football stadiums beginning next season.

Irene Lozano, president of the Spanish Sports Council, believes that conditions could be in place by the fall to allow fans back, with some restrictions.

“We haven’t ruled that out,” she said on Tuesday. “Depending on how the epidemic progresses and how the situation progresses, we can start looking into putting a certain number of fans into the stadiums next season.”

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La Liga is expected to resume — without fans — on the second weekend of June, nearly three months after it was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now, the main goal is to be able to finish this season,” she said. “And it is clear that the best option now is to do it with matches behind closed doors. But we have to take into consideration that as we return to a new normality, having fans back in the stadiums can be done, as long as we follow the health safety measures in place.”

Lozano said she expects only parts of stadiums to be filled at first, with social distancing guidelines and protective materials such as gloves and masks likely still required.

She said Spain wants to be seen as a model on how organise sports events after the pandemic.

“Internationally speaking, Spain has led the way in safely organising sports events,” Lozano said. “We want to be at the forefront and export a model for this new era of safe sports. This will not be something difficult to do. We will find this model, which now will need to take into account a lot of safety measures and guarantees, and which will obviously have to account for having fans in the stadiums.”

Lozano said the government is considering allowing the media to cover matches on site this season.

“I’m aware that the league is a relevant event that has to be covered by all the media,” she said. “We are looking into everyone that needs to be in the matches, almost to try to create a capsule and guarantee that the epidemic won’t spread, and we are seriously considering allowing journalists to be in the league matches. Technically, we think it’s possible to do that maintaining distancing guidelines.”

Lozano said all Spanish league clubs are expected to be allowed to resume full squad training sessions beginning next week even though not all parts of the country will be under the same confinement restrictions.

“That was solved from the start, when Madrid and Barcelona were stuck behind,” she said. “The first thing was to guarantee everyone’s health, then the priority was to guarantee the integrity of the competition.”

Lozano also said it was important that the Sevilla players who broke confinement rules in a gathering with a large group of people last week promptly apologised.

“They know they made a mistake,” she said. “We can’t allow for a careless attitude to put everyone’s health at risk. The players have to be aware that they are a model to everyone.”

The Spanish football federation says it will allow games to be played on Mondays and Fridays until the end of the season even though a judge denied the league’s official request to play on those days.

League president Javier Tebas has said he wanted matches to be played every day, but the federation had been against the idea.

The federation said it “wants to clearly show its good will” and is also willing to extend the exception into the beginning of next season depending on how the pandemic progresses and if games will continue to be played without fans.

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David Luiz set to leave Arsenal with his contract up next month

David Luiz set to leave Arsenal after just one season with his contract up next month and with Gunners yet to activate option to extend his huge £125,000-a-week deal

  • David Luiz could be set to leave Arsenal at the end of his contract next month 
  • The defender was understood to have signed a two-year deal last summer
  • But reports claim that agreement was only reached on an initial 12-month stay 
  • Arsenal are yet to exercise their right to extend his £125,000-a-week contract

David Luiz’s short spell at Arsenal could be set to come to an end with the Brazilian reportedly out of contract next month.

It was thought the defender had joined the club on a two-year deal from Chelsea last summer, but Sky Sports claim that agreement was only reached on an initial 12-month stay. 

According to journalist James Benge, Arsenal have a one year option to extend his deal which they are yet to activate. But huge wages of £125,000 could be an issue in potential negotiations. 

David Luiz could be set to leave Arsenal next month with the defender set to be out of contract

The defender made the switch from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates on transfer deadline day

The defender made the shock switch from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates on transfer deadline day for a fee of £8million after Laurent Koscielny left for Bordeaux. 

Manager Mikel Arteta is thought to be desperate to hold on to the 33-year-old who is also keen to remain in London.

But the Gunners will be working on a restricted financial budget due to the coronavirus pandemic which could jeopardise agreeing a deal for the high earner.

Mikel Arteta is thought to be desperate to hold on to the 33-year-old who is also keen to stay

Luiz has been a central figure for Arsenal this season with 32 appearances in all competitions.

Clubs have until the June 23 to negotiate short-term extensions with players who are out of contract on June 30 after the Premier League issued special guidelines. 

Top-flight teams have been stepping up preparations for Project Restart next month and Luiz has been back at the club’s training ground and looked to be in high spirits with the rest of his team-mates. 

He has previously hinted he would leave Arsenal and admitted he would like to re-join Benfica

But he has previously hinted he would leave Arsenal in the future and admitted he would like to finish his career at Benfica.

He told the Portuguese club’s official website: ‘I always said that I would like to end my career at Benfica.

‘In football everything changes, what is true today, tomorrow is a lie, but my feeling is not! 

‘I love Benfica. My dream is to step on the pitch of Estadio da Luz in their colours.

‘For all that I lived and felt, for what Benfica is in my life and in my history, for everything, Benfica is bigger than any player.’ 




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Sharpe recalls legendary telling off from Ferguson to him and Giggs

‘You’ll never guess what… the manager’s downstairs’: Sir Alex Ferguson turned up at Lee Sharpe’s house to rip into former Manchester United winger and Ryan Giggs for going on an unsanctioned night out BEFORE they had even got in the taxi

  • Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs planned on going for unsanctioned night out 
  • They were teenagers had broken into the Manchester United first team  
  • Sir Alex Ferguson caught wind and turned up at their house to give telling off 
  • Sharpe recalled: ‘The manager’s got the face on with bits of froth at the corners’

Lee Sharpe has recalled a brutal telling off from Sir Alex Ferguson for himself and Ryan Giggs when they were caught about to go on a mid-week night out. 

Both players were burgeoning teenage talents at the time trying to make a name for themselves in the Manchester United first team. 

Sharpe and Giggs shared a house and had planned on going out in Stockport on a Thursday ahead of a game on a Sunday, but Ferguson caught wind and tore into them. 

Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at the house and gave Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs both barrels

Giggs (left) and Sharpe (right)  had been planning a night out but never made it out of the door

Sharpe told the UTD Podcast: ‘That was Giggs getting me into trouble again, he always got me into trouble.

‘I’ve bought a new build house in Altrincham, Giggy’s still living at home with his mum, there’s a few apprentices, Giggsy rings me up, “Oh, we’ll go out in Stockport, it’s Thursday night, we don’t play till Sunday, we’re fine”.

‘I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, come down’. So about 10 o clock, the manager knocks on the door we’re thinking it’s a taxi driver. Giggsy’s mate answers the door with the only two bottles of beer I’ve got left in the house from the weekend before.

‘And one of the lads runs upstairs to me and says, ‘You’ll never guess what, the manager’s downstairs’. I’m like, ‘No he’s not, no he’s not’.

‘So, I’m putting the final touches on my barnet, so I peer over the stairs, manager’s got the face on with bits of froth at the corners of his mouth, “Get these out the house I want a word with you and Giggs, get in that living room”.

‘So he’s getting everybody out the door, kicking them up the backside, smacking them round the back of the head, absolutely ripped into me and Giggsy. He said “You’re finished at this club, you can’t head it, you can’t pass it, you can’t run, letting your team-mates down, letting your mum and dad down, letting your family down”.

Sharpe, who played 193 times for Manchester United, couldn’t believe Ferguson turned up 

Sharpe went on: ‘And then he’s over to Giggsy doing the same, “And you, you’re letting your mum down, letting your family down, a married man out there with kids, supporting kids and you’re not bothered”.

“And as he’s doing this I’ve got big double doors into the dining room and big sparkling drums that fill the dining room and a big St Bernard dog that’s trying to mount the gaffer for telling me off and he looks up and goes ‘What the f*** are they? Drums. I’ll give you f****** drums’.”

Ferguson’s management of his youngsters ended up paying dividends as Sharpe went on to play 193 games before moving to Leeds and club legend Giggs a whopping 672.

Ferguson’s watchful eye over the young talents reaped rewards as they became key players




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Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho predicts different transfer market in wake of coronavirus

Jose Mourinho believes the transfer market will look a lot different in a post-coronavirus world.

Football has been suspended indefinitely since March in the wake of the global pandemic.

Premier League clubs are moving closer to agreeing upon a restart date with key votes on return to training protocols expected on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

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How the summer transfer window will play out is a lot less clear with the financial impact of the crisis significant even in the top flight.

While admitting that other aspects are rightly taking precedence, Mourinho believes that clubs are going to have show prudence.

“It is normal you are going to have a different market, I don’t see the world – especially the football world – ready for some crazy numbers we used to have,” he told Sky Sports.

“The first questions after that will be when will be the transfer window? I don’t think it will be in July or August anymore, it has to go further than that.

“I would like my club to be what I know what we will be, sensible, balanced and not going to spend rivers of money. We are trying to respect the situation, not just the football but the situation in the world and society overall.

“But it is the last thing we are thinking, we are not thinking about it. There are no talks about it. We think about safety and following every rule.”

Tottenham Hotspur are one of the teams who have returned to training after the enforced hiatus with Mourinho forced to use a bicycle to help divide his time between all of his groups of players.

The Portuguese is delighted to be back on the field with his team and can’t wait to do so for real sooner rather than later.

He added: “Honestly, since the moment Bundesliga started, the Portuguese league and Spanish league announced a date to start, I think it is the most difficult moment for us, because we want to play. It is hard to see other countries playing football and we don’t do it.

“I always loved, and always tried to make my players love the Christmas period, where instead of being sad, we were always happy to give people what people love. In this moment we are feeling a bit of the opposite.

“German professionals are giving the world something that they love, and we are not, and we want to play, but of course we are respectful of the authorities and we trust them and the Premier League. We just have to wait for the decision; when they tell us the moment to start, we want very much to do it.

“Obviously it was an amazing feeling for everybody to be back on the green carpet, because I think we all miss even the smell of it!

“There was a period where we were starting training and 9am and finishing at 5pm, because by having players train individually, we had to have different slots. Some people were coming at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm.

“To be honest, my boys in the staff were really, really tired for a certain period. You could find a funny picture of me riding a bike, because we had the pitches at a huge distance, and without a bike I couldn’t control every training session at the same time!”

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Mourinho: Transfer market is 'last thing' Tottenham are thinking about

‘We are not going to spend rivers of money’: Jose Mourinho insists transfer market is the ‘last thing’ Tottenham are thinking about right now as Premier League clubs look to deal with the financial fall-out of coronavirus crisis

  • The coronavirus crisis is set to have a detrimental effect on the transfer market
  • Premier League clubs will have to be much more sensible in the transfer window
  • Jose Mourinho insists that Tottenham will not splash the cash in the summer 
  • Spurs boss Mourinho insists health and safety remains paramount at the club 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham will be ‘sensible’ in the transfer market as he claims the summer window is the last thing on the club’s mind at the moment.

The season has been decimated due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Premier League are desperately trying to finalise arrangements to get the campaign up and running again.

The coronavirus crisis is set to have a long-lasting detrimental effect on finances within football, and the upcoming summer transfer market is up in the air.

Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham are not thinking about the transfer market at the moment

And Mourinho insists that Spurs, who sat eighth in the Premier League before its suspension, will ‘not spend rivers of money’. 

When asked on Sky Sports’ The Football Show on Wednesday morning, what will the transfer window look like, Mourinho replied: ‘To be honest, I think in this moment it is the last thing we are thinking. There are no talks about it.

‘In this moment, we think about safety, following every rule inside the training ground. We are trying to be perfect inside the club and we don’t think about it. 

‘But you ask me and I am not going to run away. It’s normal that we are going to have a different market. I don’t see the world and especially the football world, ready for crazy numbers that we are used to and crazy investments that some clubs and leagues are used to doing. 

Tottenham were struggling before the coronavirus crisis stopped football in its tracks

‘But to be honest, the first question after that will be when will the transfer window be? Of course I don’t think it will be anymore in July or August. It has to go further than that.

‘But I can imagine clubs… if you ask me what I would like at my club, I would like my club to be what I know that it is going to be. 

‘It is going to be sensible, balanced, it is not going to spend rivers of money and we are trying to respect the situation. Not just the football, but the situation of the world and society overall.’

Tottenham were struggling before the coronavirus crisis stopped football in its tracks.

Spurs had crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage against RB Leipzig

They had been dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by RB Leipzig and were sitting a lowly eighth in the Premier League, seven points off fourth with just nine matches remaining.  

Many may have assumed Mourinho would spend big in the summer window – just like he has done at his previous clubs like Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United – to close the gap with Tottenham’s top four rivals.

However, as for any club right now, the coronavirus pandemic is set to scupper transfer plans for Tottenham. 




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