TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Boring Milner? Behave.
It was once claimed that James Milner was a personality vacuum, with a popular Twitter account @BoringMilner providing an insight into how his daily encounters might play out, including when to boil a kettle so it pings at exactly midnight on New Year's Eve. Well, it turns out he’s got more character than most of us.
Mourinho: I was never close to taking over at Barcelona in 2008
After a 1-1 draw with Leeds had seen Liverpool fail to climb into the top four (something we’re not sure carries any relevance now) Milner fronted up for media duty. ‘Smart move,’ we thought, ‘you’re not getting anything out of old James.’ How wrong we were.
"I can only say my opinion and I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen," he said on the European Super League. When quizzed about what he didn’t like about it, he continued: “Probably the same reasons as everyone else has been talking about over the last day. Obviously it’s been difficult for us.
I can only imagine what has been said about it and probably agree with most of it.
Hopefully Milner coming forward will spark a domino effect amongst players and managers. Because seriously… is there ANYONE who actually wants this that isn’t called Florentino Perez or Joel Glazer?
We’ve demanded a lot from footballers during the coronavirus pandemic. After UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock effectively called on Premier League footballers to fund the NHS, Jordan Henderson led a charitable revolution under the Players Together banner. Then Marcus Rashford fed the nation’s schoolchildren on his own. Now Milner, and others outside the ‘Big Six’, are starting to speak out against the ESL.
- Fans take to streets to protest European Super League
- Premier League clubs will tell ’big six rebels’ to quit – Paper Round
Amid our fury – the Warm-Up is currently debating which new team to support when the dust settles – let’s remember that this is not the work of players. It’s not their fault they are paid handsomely, nor that their owners are threatening to shun “legacy fans” in favour of “fans of the future”. We would wager most are decent folk who play the game for the love of it.
So if we can just make one final request of footballers in these darkest of times. Speak out. End this nonsense. Or all hand in transfer requests and let the Warm-Up host a whip-round to top up your salaries. Promise.
Explained: How will the European Super League work?
Even by Tottenham's standards, this is special
Only Tottenham could sack Jose Mourinho and still come out looking like the bad guy. We all knew it would end in flames. But dropping the axe six days out from a final? One day after joining the Dirty Dozen? With Ryan Mason leading them out at Wembley as they chase a first trophy in 13 years? Actually, that last part is alright.
What should have been a day of celebration for the club’s supporters, a chance to dream of venturing beyond the halfway line, has quickly become a footnote amid the nonsense they are a part of.
The last time Tottenham followed Chelsea and Manchester United down a questionable path, they ended up sacking their greatest modern manager and replacing him with Mourinho. Now they are being herded again with promises of riches in the future, blissfully ignoring that it will come at the expense of any true supporter.
Quite why Tottenham have joined a Super League is beyond us. All they had to do was stay put and automatically become one of the top four teams left in Normal Europe alongside PSG, Bayern and Dortmund. They would be shoo-ins for the Premier League title, with the other ‘Big Six’ members either expelled or fielding reserves to save themselves for their future fans in midweek. Above all, they would have been liked – something, deep down, we know Daniel Levy craves.
Spurs fans should savour the Carabao Cup showdown this Sunday as it could be the last time they play in a final for some time. They will never win the ESL with the giants/snakes of the game restored to their former glories with an immediate £3 billion cash injection.
A fancy new stadium, all so they could make a brand-damaging documentary and have joint-custody of the ESL wooden spoon with Arsenal. If they want a preview of how relevant they will be when this monstrosity gets underway, they need only look at where Mourinho’s sacking sat on various sports sites across the world. Even with the draw of Mourinho, few people cared. Tottenham have muscled their way into a party where they don’t belong, when all they had to do was stay put.
'We are not a horse' - Mourinho press conference highlights at Spurs
Do spare a thought for Jose though
He might have been an all-time bad appointment. He might have rubbed almost every player up the wrong way. He might have been a living U-turn of the club's 'To Dare Is To Do' motto.
But poking cameras in the face of a man who has just been sacked? Come on. He's human too, remember.
IN THE CHANNELS
We all looked to Old Trafford, desperate for our hero to speak out and put our minds at ease… but unfortunately Rashford was unavailable, so we made do with Bruno Fernandes. Get “Dreams can’t be buy” on a plane banner pronto.
Big Bruno wasn’t the only player to shame the plans. Here's just a snippet of the growing resistance:
The shock has hit Anfield harder. At Liverpool the crowd has been fetishized to a greater degree than elsewhere. The bond between the club and the fans has been elevated to folklore. Now the brutal truth is obvious: the devotion was all one-sided. Everything the Kop believed in was built on lies.
Yep, it's Eurosport promoting Eurosport. Guilty as charged. But seriously, this wonderful, and concerning, piece from Tony Evans on Liverpool's betrayal of their fans is definitely worth a read.
Chelsea aim to consolidate a top-four spot they don’t need against Brighton.
Deep down, we all know Marcus Foley would vote in favour of a European Super League. Think about that when you read his Warm-Up tomorrow.
Chelsea want Lewandowski, Newcastle could tempt Mourinho - Paper Round
'It got too much' - Toxic Mourinho relationship played part in Guardiola's Barca exit, says Pique
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