Once upon a time there was a funny Italian oddball who gave his players pizza, made everyone laugh by saying adorable foreign things like “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong” and earned the freedom of the city of Leicester by winning the Premier League title with Robert Huth and Wes Morgan as his centre-backs. But that all happened a very long time ago, which is why a lot of people forget that all that success was masterminded by a couple of no-nonsense English men called Nigel and Craig, and it doesn’t really match up to Plucky Little Burnley rising into their highest league position in the top flight for 42 years. “I’m proud of it,” Sean Dyche thundered after the Clarets beat Stoke City 1-0 to go fourth on Tuesday night. “The proudest man in Proudsville. I’m proud of all of it.”
It is hardly going out on a limb to suggest for example that Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool may see a clearer path to the shiny stuff in the Champions League this season than at home where they are already miles off the pace
When Antonio Conte said at the start of the week that English clubs had a great chance of Champions League success this season he was possibly trying to gloss over a less than favourable draw that left Chelsea with the unenviable task of advancing past Barcelona. The draw was generally kind to English clubs, though Tottenham may beg to differ, and in pitting Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain it guaranteed the removal of at least one of the favourites at an early stage.
A couple of days later when the Chelsea manager was next seen in public he was making the valid point that Manchester City seem to be running away with the Premier League title and acknowledging the fact was not being negative or defeatist, just realistic.
• Development of £25m new stadium set to begin next summer
• Club hope to 11,000-seat venue is ready for 2019-20 season
AFC Wimbledon have been given the green light to build a new stadium in their home London borough.
Representatives from the League One club, Merton Council and developer GRA Acquisitions signed paperwork on Wednesday which means work can start at the site of the old Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium on Plough Lane.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful of some “good news” regarding the potential takeover over of the club after their midweek Premier League clash against Everton.
Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley is close to reaching a £300m deal with British businesswoman Amanda Staveley over the sale of the club.
• Agreement between two parties close with takeover set for late January
• Mike Ashley could still offer Rafael Benítez a £30m transfer kitty
Optimism that Amanda Staveley will persuade Mike Ashley to sell Newcastle United to her Dubai based PCP Capital Partners Middle Eastern investment fund rose on Wednesday when the Yorkshire-born financier increased her offer for the club to around £300m.
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford is to face a disciplinary panel over stating the next Wales manager could be foreign “but definitely not English”.
The fracas at Manchester United was supposedly all about José Mourinho demanding respect but upstartery is a lot of what makes sport great
Is there a more elastic concept in modern football than “respect”? There certainly isn’t a more self-regardingly irritating one. Endlessly demanded, its absence or insufficiency endlessly condemned, “respect” is mostly a ball game for people too insecure to settle things with a ball game.
Various instances of disrespect are held to have been committed at Old Trafford on Sunday, both during and in the wake of Manchester United’s defeat to Manchester City. By way of recap: there was some loud music, some milk, some pinching and scratching, and the Daily Mail surreptitiously repurposed its biannual Alma Tunnel graphic for the incident. “You fucking show respect!” José Mourinho is reported to have shrieked at some Manchester City players, a reminder that you can order people to respect you about as effectively as you can order people to love you.
Mark Hughes says Stoke City will ‘win more games than we lose’ if his side maintain the form they showed at Burnley.
• Investigation could delay appointment of the next Wales manager
• Three-man disciplinary commission set up by Football Association of Wales
Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford is to face a disciplinary commission over his comment that the next Wales manager will “definitely” not be English.
The FAW’s investigation could delay the appointment of the next Wales manager as Ford is due to head up the process of finding Chris Coleman’s successor.