Tag Archives: relationship

Stoke fans refuse to back Tony Pulis

'Staying up' but Stoke fans still not potty about Pulis despite QPR win

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 21 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 22 April 2013

The chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang out from Stoke City’s fans after the club was rescued from the drop at QPR’s expense.

But there were no songs of support for manager Tony Pulis, despite Stoke almost certainly assuring Barclays Premier League football for a sixth season.

Pulis’s relationship with Stoke fans is suffering because his side scores under a goal a game.

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

So something has to give, whether that be a change of manager or a change in their manager’s approach if next season is not to be a carbon copy of this one.

Gary Lineker deleted Twitter to spend more time with family

Twitter was taking over my life, admits Lineker after deciding to say goodbye to his 1.3m followers

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:16 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:35 GMT, 20 January 2013

Gary Lineker left Twitter because the social networking site had begun to ‘take over’.

The Match of the Day presenter had stated that he had deleted his account for ‘personal reasons’ last week.

But the former England striker has elaborated on his reasons for leaving Twitter, and said that he would like to spend more time with his family.

Quit: Gary Lineker left Twitter to spend more time with his family

Quit: Gary Lineker left Twitter to spend more time with his family

The 51-year-old told The Sun: ‘I left twitter because it tends to take over and I thought I would try life without it. There is absolutely nothing sinister about the decision at all.'

Lineker had become one of the most followed users in Britain – with 1.3million fans – since he started tweeting last year.

However the ex-Tottenham hitman was targeted by one internet troll last year, who joked about his son George’s battle with leukaemia. Lineker later said the disgusting taunts made him feel ‘physically sick’.

Lineker has four sons with his ex-wife and is now married to former model Danielle Bux, who has a daughter from a previous relationship.

The TV pundit’s final tweet – posted on Friday – said: ‘I’m leaving Twitter for personal reasons . Thanks all.’

They think it's all over... it is now for Gary Lineker with this final message

They think it's all over… it is now for Gary Lineker with this final message

Marseille want Joey Barton

Marseille keen to tie down Barton on long-term deal after bad boy flourishes

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

13:38 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:14 GMT, 7 January 2013

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo has praised Joey Barton and suggested the Ligue 1 club would be interested in retaining the midfielder beyond his season-long loan from QPR.

The 30-year-old Barton was sent out on loan by the London club in disgrace this summer following his red card shame at former club Manchester City on the final day of last season, which brought him a 12-match ban.

Main man: Joey Barton (left) has been a hit during his loan spell at Marseille

Main man: Joey Barton (left) has been a hit during his loan spell at Marseille

But Barton has flourished in the south of France where, after being made to serve his ban and wait for a league debut, he has quickly become a key cog in a Marseille side in a three-way tie with Paris St Germain and Lyon at the top of Ligue 1.

And Anigo insisted Barton's impact had come as no surprise to him.

'He was described as an animal, but he is just the opposite. He is funny, intelligent, and he fights for victory,' Anigo told L'Equipe.

Trip home: Barton watched QPR lose to Liverpool last month

Trip home: Barton watched QPR lose to Liverpool last month

'We can see that the team has been lifted by his competitive spirit. He is now established as a leader in our group.

'He is very happy here, maybe he has found the right club for him. Should he desire (to stay) it could be very good. We have a very good relationship with his club QPR.'

Luis Suarez needs Champions League football, says Brendan Rodgers

We must give Suarez Champions League hope if he's to stay at Anfield, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 29 December 2012

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted the club need to give striker Luis Suarez hope of a Champions League challenge if they want to keep him at Anfield beyond the summer.

While Rodgers enjoys a good relationship with Suarez, who has scored 14 times this season, he knows a fourth season without appearing in Europe’s top competition would be hard for the Uruguay striker to take.

Star man: Suarez (left) has carried Liverpool at times this season

Star man: Suarez (left) has carried Liverpool at times this season

Spanish clubs would be interested in the 40million-rated forward, who turns 26 next month. Atletico Madrid will be seeking a replacement for Radamel Falcao at the end of the season, with the Colombian set to move on, while Barcelona need a successor for the ageing David Villa. Suarez’s wife, Sofia, lived in Barcelona after her family moved there from Uruguay.

Liverpool travel to QPR on Sunday in mid-table after defeats against Aston Villa and Stoke in their last three games and Rodgers knows they must climb the table to encourage his big players his ‘project’ will work.

Liverpool have not played in the Champions League for three seasons, after finishing seventh, sixth and eighth in the Premier League.

Highly-rated: The Uruguayan is rated among Europe's best strikers

Highly-rated: The Uruguayan is rated among Europe's best strikers

‘The players need to feel there is hope,’ said Rodgers. ‘I don’t want people who don’t want to be here, but top players like Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger and Luis Suarez have all committed to the cause. They obviously feel there is hope that the model will work.

‘The reality is we’re a team that haven’t been challenging for the last number of years and it is going to need that wee bit of time. I believe we are going down the right route because, if you’re not going to invest as heavily, you have to build.’

Off the pace: Liverpool are down in 10th place in the Premier League

Off the pace: Liverpool are down in 10th place in the Premier League

Suarez turned down the opportunity to join Juventus last summer and signed a five-year deal at Anfield which carries a reported 40m buy-out clause.

But Rodgers can’t discount his best player leaving if Suarez feels a top-four finish is beyond Liverpool in the foreseeable future.

‘That is something that you can never tell,’ said the Liverpool manager.’

Rafa Benitez refused to rule out a return to Anfield

Never say never: Rafa refuses to rule out a return to Anfield

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UPDATED:

00:31 GMT, 29 December 2012

Rafael Benitez has refused to rule out a second coming at Liverpool ahead of his first match on Merseyside as Chelsea boss.

Interim Blues manager Benitez has been linked previously with a return to Anfield and will be a free agent again at the end of the season.

Sunday sees Benitez take a team to Merseyside for the first time since he was sacked by Liverpool two-and-a-half years ago when Chelsea visit Everton in the Barclays Premier League.

Refusal: Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez refused to rule out ever returning to Liverpool but did say he will give '100 per cent' for Chelsea

Refusal: Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez refused to rule out ever returning to Liverpool but did say he will give '100 per cent' for Chelsea

And asked if he could see himself returning to manage his former club one day, he said: 'At the moment, I'm really pleased here.

'I want to keep winning and you never know what can happen in football.

'I have a very good relationship with the fans and the city but I'm a good professional and that means I will give 100 per cent for this club.'

Return: Benitez returns to Merseyside for the first time since leaving Liverpool when Chelsea visit David Moyes' Everton team

Return: Benitez returns to Merseyside for the first time since leaving Liverpool when Chelsea visit David Moyes' Everton team

Benitez's work ethic has helped him begin to rebuild his reputation as one of the most astute coaches around, the Spaniard having got Chelsea's campaign back on track in recent weeks.

However, his latest comments are unlikely to aid him in his quest to win over Chelsea fans who still see him as the enemy due to his Liverpool connections.

Benitez's work ethic has seen him begin to rebuild his reputation at Chelsea

Graft: Benitez's work ethic has seen him begin to rebuild his reputation at Chelsea

He added ahead of Sunday's game at Goodison Park: 'It is always something special when you go back to Liverpool.

'My connection with the city is very strong.'

Those links continue, with Benitez's family home still on the Wirral near the city after he decided against relocating them when he joined Inter Milan or when he was appointed to the Chelsea hotseat.

He said: 'When you have children, 10 and 14, they have their friends around and have been there for eight years so it is difficult to move the family and you have to do something for them.

'I have to move around on my own and then find a way to be there for Christmas dinner or whatever.'

Liverpool have nosedived since sacking Benitez and are on their third manager in that time.

To compound matters, they have also been supplanted as the top team on Merseyside by Everton, who finished above them last season and ended the first half of the current campaign eight points clear of their neighbours.

However, Benitez was almost at pains to avoid discussing whether there had been a power shift in favour of David Moyes' men.

He said: 'I cannot say this. What I can say is that Everton are doing well.

'I don't think it is fair for me to talk about one or the other one. I think it is fair for me to say that we are playing Everton and they are doing well.

'Moyes is doing a great job, they have good players and a good team spirit and it will be difficult for us.'

Dissent: Despite a recent run of good results there are still protesting voices among the Chelsea support

Dissent: Despite a recent run of good results there are still protesting voices among the Chelsea support

Side-stepping another row with Everton is unlikely to spare Benitez the role of pantomime villain when he takes a team to Goodison Park for the first time in more than three years.

The Spaniard is still suffering a backlash from his own club's fans, whose revolt against his appointment was galvanised by criticism they perceived him to have levelled at them while Liverpool boss back in 2007.

That was also the year Benitez branded Everton one of the Premier League's 'smaller teams', something that provoked a furious response from Liverpool's arch-rivals.

Benitez was the subject of plenty of unpleasant chants from Toffees fans during his six years at Anfield and he was not expecting an easy ride this weekend.

Return to form: Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, scoring 12 and conceding just one

Red hot: Chelsea have won their last three Premier League games, scoring 12 and conceding just one

Everton have also made themselves Chelsea's bogey-team, having won the sides' past three league meetings at Goodison Park.

But Benitez has won on his past three league visits there and goes on the back of six wins from seven games.

He said of his own impact on his players: 'We are adjusting things but, at the same time, we are giving them freedom to do things in the way they want to do.

'I think we have a good balance and you can see they are keen to learn and that is the main thing for a manager.'

Rafael Benitez, Chelsea manager, ready for hostile reception against Everton at Goodison Park

Rafa ready for hostile Goodison reception: Benitez prepared to play pantomime villain… ( but not with Chelsea fans for a change)

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UPDATED:

16:31 GMT, 28 December 2012

Rafael Benitez has been bracing himself for a hot reception at Everton on Sunday despite refusing to repeat his small-club jibe ahead of his first match on Merseyside as Chelsea boss.

Interim Blues manager Benitez will take a team to Goodison Park this weekend for the first time in more than three years but the passage of time is unlikely to spare him the role of pantomime villain.

The Spaniard is still suffering a backlash from his own club's fans, whose revolt against his appointment was galvanised by criticism they perceived him to have levelled at them while Anfield boss back in 2007.

Enemy: Benitez managed Everton's city rivals Liverpool for six seasons

Enemy: Benitez managed Everton's city rivals Liverpool for six seasons

That was also the year Benitez branded Everton one of the Barclays Premier League's 'smaller teams', something that provoked a furious response from Liverpool's arch-rivals.

Everton fans devised plenty of unpleasant chants about Benitez during his six years at Anfield and he said: 'I don't think they will be supporting me the whole time but the main thing for me is that my players do their job.'

The Spaniard, who still lives on the Wirral near Liverpool, added: 'I have a good relationship with people in the city and what I expect is to find a manager up there with a team who want to win.'

Quizzed about his small-club jibe ahead of Sunday's game, Benitez joked: 'You have a good memory.'

He added of Everton: 'I think they are doing a good job.

'They are doing well, they have less resources than other teams and are still competing.

'They are near the top of the table so credit to them.'

Rafa out! Benitez hasn't been treated to a warm welcome since taking over at Stamford Bridge

Rafa out! Benitez hasn't been treated to a warm welcome since taking over at Stamford Bridge

Indeed, Everton lie only two points behind third-placed Chelsea ahead of Sunday's game and have looked genuine top-four contenders in the first half of the season.

They have lost only two league games – the joint best record in the top flight – and are one of only two clubs unbeaten at home.

They are also Chelsea's bogey-team, having won the sides' last three league meetings at Goodison Park.

Benitez, who has won on his last three league visits to the ground, said: 'It is a good team and a tough game for sure. We have to be ready.

'For us, we have to be ready physically as well as mentally for the game.

'They have been doing well in the past year and we know that Goodison is a difficult place to go to.'

Chelsea will arrive there for what is their ninth and final game of a punishing December that has included a gruelling Club World Cup adventure in Japan.

Jibe: The Spaniard labelled Everton as one of the Premier League's 'smaller teams' during his reign at Anfield

Jibe: The Spaniard labelled Everton as one of the Premier League's 'smaller teams' during his reign at Anfield

Benitez has carefully rotated his squad since taking charge just over a month ago and asked if there were any tired legs, he said: 'Always when you win, it's easy to say, “No”.

'But, to be fair, it's not easy to “keep” the players.

'I like to change players, to move players around because if we don't manage the squad they will be really tired.'

Benitez's changes have yielded six wins in seven games, sparking reports Chelsea want to offer him the manager's job on a permanent basis.

The Spaniard is understood to have insisted on an interim appointment last month, rather than a performance-related contract with an option for a further year, possibly with a view to strengthening his bargaining position if all goes well.

The signs have certainly been good since Chelsea returned from their Club World Cup final defeat in Yokohama, with Benitez having vastly improved the balance of the team.

Their Boxing Day win at Norwich was only their second 1-0 victory of the season and the Spaniard said: “Would I sign for 1-0 five times. I would say, 'Yes, no problem'.”

Wigan want 3million-rated Barnsley teenager John Stones

Stones could rock at the DW Stadium as Wigan race to sign 3m teen

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 22 December 2012

Wigan are set to beat Chelsea, Sunderland, Manchester City and Everton to sign 3million Barnsley teenager John Stones.

The 18-year-old right-back has been impressive for the Championship club this season.

Looking to strengthen: Roberto Martinez

Looking to strengthen: Roberto Martinez

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is
confident of bringing him to the DW Stadium in January by promising him
regular first-team football – something the big clubs are unable to do.

Martinez has already wrapped up a
deal for Honduras international Roger Espinoza and agreed to bring in
striker Chile Angelo Henriquez on loan from Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Michael Appleton's
problems as Blackpool manager continue, with former boss Ian Holloway
determined to take defender Neil Eardley to Crystal Palace.

Appleton, already facing a fight to
keep Tom Ince from Liverpool, does not want lose Eardley as well but
knows the player has a special relationship with Holloway, who signed
him soon after taking the job in 2009.

Mario Balotelli wanted by AC Milan for 20m… but Roberto Mancini wants him to stay at Manchester City

AC Milan plan 20m swoop for Mario… but City and Mancini are on a collision course if Balotelli returns to Italy

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UPDATED:

01:12 GMT, 23 December 2012

Italian giants AC Milan claim they are lining up a 20million bid to sign striker Mario Balotelli in next month’s transfer window — against the wishes of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

Interim president Adriano Galliani has been ordered by Milan owner and Balotelli fan, Silvio Berlusconi, to take the former Inter Milan star back to San Siro and he plans to negotiate directly with City’s Abu Dhabi owners and the player’s agent, Mino Raiola.

That leaves Mancini out in the cold after he has repeatedly stated that he wants the troubled striker to stay in England.

Out and about: Mario Balotelli was spotted in a petrol station in Alderley Edge 20 minutes before Manchester City kicked off against Reading

Out and about: Mario Balotelli was spotted in a petrol station in Alderley Edge 20 minutes before Manchester City kicked off against Reading

Balotelli missed City’s 1-0 win over Reading and Mancini said: ‘Mario is ill. I don’t know where he is now. For one week he’s been ill. He came to the training ground yesterday because he wants to train but he can’t. But I can’t [shut] him in his house. It’s impossible.’

The final decision on Balotelli’s future could prove crucial to the long-term relationship between Mancini and his bosses, City owner Sheik Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak.

The Italian manager wants to give Balotelli another chance to succeed at City after the player accepted a two-week fine worth 330,000 for his poor disciplinary record on the pitch last season.

Tempestuous relationship: Mario Balotelli storms off after being substituted by Roberto Mancini against Manchester United

Tempestuous relationship: Balotelli storms off after being substituted by Roberto Mancini against Manchester United

But City’s hierarchy feel the wayward 22-year-old is more trouble than he is worth following a series of indiscretions and are happy to encourage Milan’s interest.

For their part, the Italian club — who face Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League — are close to offloading Brazil strikers Robinho and Alexandre Pato in January to finance a 20m cash bid for Balotelli.

Robinho is wanted by former club Santos and Pato by world champion club side Corinthians.

Surplus to requirements: Robinho (left) and Alexandre Pato will be sold for AC Milan to acquire a transfer kitty for Balotelli

Up for grabs: Pato

Surplus to requirements: Robinho (left) and Alexandre Pato will be sold for AC Milan to acquire a transfer kitty for Balotelli

Milan are convinced they will land Balotelli, who is a national hero in Italy after top-scoring at Euro 2012 when his country unexpectedly reached the final.

A senior source at San Siro said: ‘Mancini will not be involved so it doesn’t matter what he thinks. The negotiations are going to take place between Abu Dhabi and Galliani, and they will include Balotelli’s agent who is very close to Galliani.’

But it would be a big call to overrule Mancini, who believes Balotelli can develop into one of the world’s best players and he said: ‘I’m his manager and if he deserves other chances he will have them.’

Keeping the faith: Mancini believes Balotelli can harness his potential to become one of the world's best

Keeping the faith: Mancini believes Balotelli can harness his potential to become one of the world's best

Having won the FA Cup and Premier League, Mancini should survive in the hot seat despite failing to reach the Champions League’s knockout stage.

However, there are tensions behind the scenes. Although Mancini is happy to have seen Brian Marwood lose control of transfers as technical director, he is aware that Marwood’s replacement, Txiki Begiristain, and new chief executive Ferran Soriano aim to overhaul training methods.

They want to prioritise signing the best 12-and 13-year-olds in Europe and coach them to play Barcelona-style football while the manager wants ready-made players so City can challenge in Europe immediately.

A compromise could be reached, with Begiristain now in South America trying to sign Paulinho from Corinthians. They also have ambitions of signing Neymar, of Santos.

Demba Ba expected to leave Newcastle, Loic Remy to replace him

Newcastle braced for Ba exit as Pardew lines up Remy as striker's replacement

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UPDATED:

13:14 GMT, 21 December 2012

Newcastle United are becoming increasingly resigned to losing Demba Ba.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham could all invoke the 7.5million release clause in the striker’s contract as talks over a new deal continue to stall.

Manager Alan Pardew hopes the Senegal striker, his top scorer with 11 goals this season, can still be persuaded to sign the contract which will finally get rid of the clause.

Up in the air: Demba Ba (left) could leave Newcastle next month

Up in the air: Demba Ba (left) could leave Newcastle next month

From January 1, any club offering that money will have the right to speak to the 27-year-old former West Ham striker who joined Newcastle on a free transfer in summer 2011 when other clubs were not prepared to take a risk on his dodgy knee.

Pardew was, and at that time any release clause probably made sense. But this is now the third transfer window Newcastle have had to contend with the speculation, and threat of a club coming in with an offer they simply can’t refuse.

Talks have been ongoing with Ba and the Newcastle board, and although he has shown no desire to move away and has kept scoring goals despite a strange and strained relationship with fellow striker Papiss Cisse, he has not signed a new deal.

Goal machine: Ba is Newcastle's top scorer despite the uncertainty

Goal machine: Ba is Newcastle's top scorer despite the uncertainty

And Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley, who has his limits in such negotiations, must surely be running out of patience.

If there is one thing Newcastle fans will agree with their controversial owner, it will be that if Ba doesn’t want to stay, he should be sold.

The on-going speculation is not helpful for Pardew or his players. Yesterday he was asked if it was a distraction and said: 'Yeah. I think if I was a player here it would annoy me, because it’s constantly about Demba. If they pick up a paper it’s all about Demba and obviously we know it isn’t, but you know, it takes away some of the important issues we’ve got.

Target: Loic Remy looks set to join Newcastle in the January window

Target: Loic Remy looks set to join Newcastle in the January window

'The important issues are making sure that when our players play well that they get the reward for that. So coming into this week, Demba scored last week again and I hope he scores two and I hope he gets the headlines, but certainly I want a few others to get the headlines for the right reasons.

'The decision will be Demba’s ultimately because the clause is there.’

Meanwhile, Newcastle are close to securing a deal for Marseille striker Loic Remy. The France international would be a welcome addition and bring much-needed competition to the squad.

Pardew still hopes Remy will be competing for a place alongside Ba, not replacing him.

Sir Alex Ferguson jokes he"ll need to good red wine for Jose Mourinho"s visit with Real Madrid

I'll get some good red wine for Jose! Fergie's thrilled with Ronaldo's return with Real in the Champions League

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 20 December 2012

FRIEND OR FOE

From that celebration at Old Trafford to sharing cups of tea… how Mourinho and Ferguson swapped fury for friendship

Sir Alex Ferguson has joked he will need to order a new supply of good red wine for Jose Mourinho’s visit to Old Trafford.

Manchester United drew Real Madrid in the pick of the ties in the Last 16 of the Champions League and the United manager is famous for inviting rival managers to his office for a glass of red wine after the game.

The two managers had a tradition of sharing a glass of red after their teams' encounters in the Premier League – though Ferguson described the first wine Mourinho ever provided him as being 'like paintstripper'.

Mourinho made amends with a 300 bottle of Portuguese red the next time around, and the last-16 match in the Champions League should be as mouthwatering as the wine.

Up for the cup: Sir Alex Ferguson is up against his old friend Jose Mourinho

Up for the cup: Sir Alex Ferguson is up against his old friend Jose Mourinho

The game will also bring former United winger Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford for the very first time since his 80million move to the Bernabeu in 2009.

Reacting to the draw Ferguson told United’s official website: ‘Well, it’s the tie of the round. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with Jose again – I’ll need to order some good wine!’

Ferguson and Mourinho enjoy a warm relationship of mutual respect and rivalry.

Jose Mourinho famously first made his mark on Europe’s top competition at Old Trafford a decade ago when Porto knocked the Red Devils out en-route to winning the title.

Recently Ferguson said: ‘He is very intelligent, he has charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good looking guy.

Golden boy is back: Mourinho brings with him Cristiano Ronaldo, visiting Old Trafford for the first time since his record-breaking 80m move to Spain in 2009

Golden boy is back: Mourinho brings with him Cristiano Ronaldo, visiting Old Trafford for the first time since his record-breaking 80m move to Spain in 2009

'I think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s got a confidence about himself, saying “We’ll win this,” and “I’m the Special One”.

‘I could never come out and say we’re going to win this game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness’

United will play the first leg at the Bernabeu on February 13 with the return at Old Trafford on March 5.

VIDEO Reaction to the draw

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