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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Liverpool poet Roger McGough attacks London Olympics 'corporate fascism' (VOTE) - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool poet Roger McGough attacks London Olympics 'corporate fascism' (VOTE) - Liverpool Echo

LIVERPOOL poet Roger McGough has spoken out against what he describes as the “corporate fascism” of the London 2012 Olympics.

His games-themed new poem, Hopes And Dreams For The Big Day was  commissioned by free-to-air TV provider Freeview.

He said: “I did something similar for Liverpool when it was the European Capital of Culture – the ECHO asked people from the city to send in their memories of Liverpool, just four or five lines. I put them together and called it the Liverpool Saga and it was popular, so I thought it’d be nice to do the same sort of thing again.”

Roger used tweets and Facebook posts as inspiration for his poem, but ran into difficulty when he was informed he couldn’t use the words he wanted to.

He said: “The problem was that Locog (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) puts certain restraints on things, so I couldn’t use the word Olympics, or games.”

Under the event’s brand protection document, non-sponsoring businesses have been advised not to use the word Olympics or combinations of two words including games, two thousand and twelve, 2012, twenty twelve, gold, silver, bronze, London, medals, sponsors or summer. 

The 74-year-old poet, who has worked with everyone  from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix and Elton John, said: “It’s corporate fascism, it really is. So what should have been a joy turned into a real chore.”

Despite the difficulties Roger said he is still enjoying the games.

He said: “I still enjoy watching them on telly. Before it began, it looked as if it was going to be a disaster, with the weather being awful and horror stories in the paper, so I couldn’t wait for it to start, and to hand it over to the athletes so that everything could come good.”

Click through to read Roger McGough's poem on page two >>>>

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Iron Mike’s soft spot for Blackpool - blackpoolgazette.co.uk

The world champion is set to visit the “Las Vegas of the North”, bringing his one man show straight from Broadway and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fans of the fighter will be able to put their own questions to Iron Mike at the meet and greet event at The De Vere Village Hotel.

The appearance follows the former heavyweight champion of the world’s sell out show in Blackpool in 2010.

James Ward, promotions manager for the event, said: “It was so successful last time we thought it made sense to come back.

“This time the show is a bit more of a story. The crowd will get to ask him the questions they want to ask too.”

Organisers say tickets are already selling out fast for the afternoon event on October 14.

Fans will be able to hear tales from Tyson’s childhood and fighting days for a ticket price of £80.

This year’s event will be smaller, with only 300 tickets available, to allow for people to spend time with the retired boxer.

Tyson will share stories about life as “the baddest man on the planet” and about difficult times. The organisers have said Tyson is also hoping to visit some of the towns attractions during his stay.

Mr Ward said: “Mike loves Blackpool and wants to bring his kids and wife this time.

“He’s actually coming the day before and having a couple of days in Blackpool

“He’s in the UK for 12 days, to do 10 shows, but he’s spending a bit of time here. He said St Annes was the nicest place he’s stayed in the UK after last time, he could go out for a walk without being mugged.”

Tyson, who is famously a pigeon fancier, has also talked about coming to Blackpool for the British Homing World Show of the Year.

Mr Ward continued: “There was talk of him coming for the pigeon weekend. Mike said he’d love to come.”

For tickets call Spencer Brown on 07961 762555

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.



Early bird special: Rodgers backs Reds to thrive on Europa League diet - Daily Mirror

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool will benefit from launching their Europa League campaign so early in the season.

Rodgers' reign as Reds manager will begin in earnest against FC Gomel in tomorrow night's third-qualifying round first-leg clash in Belarus' second largest city.

Far from frustrated at overseeing his first competitive match at the start of August, Rodgers insists it will provide ideal preparation for the Barclays Premier League.

"We are still finding our fitness and our match fitness so playing these games helps us," he told the club's official website, www.liverpoolfc.com.

"It will give us that edge going into the beginning of this season. Players at this level are competitive so they love the competition.

"Even though we are still gaining fitness it's a competitive game and it's a tournament we would like to do well in. It's a bit of a hike and we've got to get on our travels again, but that's life and you've just got to get on with it.

"We are looking forward to the game and hopefully it will serve us well for the beginning of the season."

Warm-up: Liverpool hail their fans at the end of the pre-season friendly against Spurs in USA
Warm-up: Liverpool hail their fans at the end of the pre-season friendly against Spurs in USA

Liverpool open the new Premier League season at West Brom on August 18 and Rodgers insists the domestic championship dominates the club's thinking.

"I don't want to disrespect the Europa League, but there's no doubt the league is our priority and we want to finish as high as we possibly can," he said.

"The Europa League is a competition we'd like to do well in. Obviously to do well in it you've got to play a lot of games and hopefully that will be the case. When you play for Liverpool every tournament and every game is a priority."

"I never look too further than the next game and that is Belarus on Thursday and we are looking forward to it."

FC Gomel finished third in the Belarusian Premier League last season, but lifted the domestic cup.

They have never progressed beyond the first round of any major European competition, but Rodgers is refusing to dismiss the challenge Liverpool face at Central Stadion tomorrow night.

"We have done our homework on them," the former Swansea manager said. "They have done well to qualify for this stage, the pitch looks nice and they play a 4-2-3-1 system.

"But while I always respect the opponent we play and never underestimate them, I'm a big believer in focusing on our own game and maximising how we play the game.

"If we do that then I believe throughout the course of the season we'll have a chance of winning every game."

Europa dope: Carroll doesn't travel with Liverpool to Belarus for qualifier  

Ster it up: Spurs plot £7.5million swoop for Liverpool superteen Raheem (report)  

Limp excuses: AVB defends Bale's miracle recovery from Adam 'horror tackle'  

In my Liverpool home... Former Toffee Fernandes is now a £7m Kop target  



Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Reportedly Sign Dublin Wonderkid Conor Masterson - Bleacherreport.com

Liverpool have made another signing for the future by landing a 13-year-old Irish lad from Dublin in Conor Masterson. This news has come in barely a week after the Reds and Brendan Rodgers offered a three-year deal to William McLaren, a boy from Brazil who has been tipped to be the next Neymar. 

The Belfast Telegraph reports:

A 13-year-old Irish boy has signed a deal with Premier League giants Liverpool in a move that's set to land him and his family a €1m fortune

Conor Masterson was also courted by both Manchester United and City but decided to sign for Liverpool having already been a fan of the team.

The young centre-back - who leaves Dublin side Lucan United to move full-time to Merseyside when he turns 16 - has already met manager Brendan Rodgers to discuss his future at Anfield.

€1 million is a lot for a 13-year-old, so Rodgers must have seen something very special in Masterson to convince the management to part with the money.

Signing someone so young has its drawbacks. Rodgers must remain at the club long enough for Masterson's future to see smooth sailing or at least a chance to flourish at the highest level.

If Masterson is quality indeed, he won't have a problem to find any club he wishes. However, if he is good with potential but still not fully developed till Rodgers departs, he may find himself soon in the obscurity of the lower leagues having to work his way up.

As seen by the recently concluded tour by Liverpool in Canada and the States, Rodgers may be willing to throw the youngsters in the deep end and have them become robust for the demands of the Premier League.

Having said that, I still believe Rodgers must concentrate more on getting players who will immediately affect the quality and depth of the first team and help Liverpool compete.

The signs are bright for fans seeing Rodgers' vision. The idea too is good of getting potential superstars in young and bringing them through the academy in due course of time. The rewards of such a model and approach are yet to be seen and it is easy to be skeptical of such signings.

This year will probably be the year that some young blood shines for the Reds. The fans certainly are intent on their expectation. They will be keen to follow the youth with excited anticipation.

Over to the Europa League and FC Gomel then, where Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey and Jon Flanagan are a part of the squad. 



Swansea City's Joe Allen closes in on Liverpool switch - south wales.co.uk

JOE Allen has agreed terms on a bumper contract with Liverpool as the midfielder edges closer to the Swansea City exit door.

The Evening Post can reveal the Allen camp were given permission to speak to Liverpool last month.

  1. Joe Allen

And we understand the 22-year-old has settled on an Anfield deal which, a source explained, will “set him up for life”.

However, though Swansea allowed Allen’s representatives to talk terms with Liverpool, they are still haggling over the size of the transfer fee.

Liverpool have tabled an offer of £12.5 million plus a player on loan — thought to be Jonjo Shelvey — which, the Post understands, Swansea have not responded to officially.

Swansea are digging their heels in over the deal, and are thought likely to demand £15 million before allowing the Welsh international to join former boss Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.

That is the sum which would trigger a release clause in Allen’s Liberty Stadium contract.

The clause states that if Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or one of the two Manchester clubs offer £15 million for Allen, Swansea must sell.

Swansea, though, may yet say no to Liverpool even if they do up their bid because of a clause in the compensation package agreed when Rodgers left for the Reds earlier this summer.

Swansea suggested last week that Liverpool had broken an agreement between the two clubs by moving for Allen.

The Post understands Rodgers was disappointed by that statement and believes he has done nothing wrong by registering an interest in the Pembrokeshire-born star.

Swansea’s former manager is a huge Allen fan and, for all the wrangling, the likelihood is that he will eventually get his man.

The player now appears to have his heart set on Liverpool, and it seems the move will happen once the clubs settle on a fee.

Swansea are understandably playing hardball as they attempt to get every penny possible for a player they have nurtured since he was just nine years old.

But the club’s hierarchy are also aware that it is difficult to hold on to someone whose head has been turned.

The Allen situation is complicated further by a second clause in the four-year Swansea deal he signed last summer.

It states that if any club outside the big five offers £10 million for his services, Swansea must sanction a deal.

And given that Tottenham are thought to be interested, it is not inconceivable that they could lose Allen for a smaller fee than the £12.5 million-plus-player package which is already on the table.

Allen is in action for the Team GB Olympic squad against Uruguay tonight, when a draw will be enough to see Stuart Pearce’s team reach next weekend’s quarter-finals.

It seems unlikely his club future will be sorted out before Team GB’s Olympic campaign comes to an end.

Liverpool were last night close to freeing up funds — plus a place in their squad — for Allen with midfielder Alberto Aquilani close to joining Fiorentina for £7 million.

Michael Laudrup, meantime, has insisted that the Allen situation has not changed.

“There’s no latest — he is with the GB team at the Olympics so I have not had the opportunity to talk to him since I arrived,” the Swansea boss said.

“There’s nothing concrete. I can read the papers talking about the interest — it’s normal there is interest because the new manager of Liverpool is the ex-manager of Joe Allen.

“We all know he is a very good player, but I can assure you there’s nothing concrete at this moment.

“Let’s see what happens — I can’t really tell you anything else right now.”



Liverpool student lay dying outside Royal Hospital’s A&E department while ambulance was summoned from Alder Hey, inquest hears - Liverpool Echo
Melody Davis

A LIVERPOOL student lay dying yards from the Royal Hospital’s A&E department while an ambulance was called from Alder Hey four miles away, an inquest heard.

The hearing was told how Melody Davis (pictured), 20, was driven to the hospital by flatmates after suffering an asthma attack.

But their car got stuck near the rear entrance to the casualty department because a barrier was blocking the way.

One friend rushed into the reception area on foot, but was told to call an ambulance, as the second friend tried to resuscitate Melody as her condition rapidly worsened.

Liverpool coroner’s court heard how an ambulance was dispatched from Alder Hey hospital, in West Derby.

But Coroner Andre Rebello concluded that Melody would not have survived even if assistance had been given when first requested.

He said the “die was cast” when the American student’s friends drove her to the hospital from their home in Liverpool, instead of dialling ‘999’.

But Mr Rebello conceded “that it must difficult to accept that an ambulance was called from another hospital trust to take someone around the block”.

Melody,  described as an “inspirational” English literature student by tutors at Liverpool university, died on October 21, 2010.

Her inquest was adjourned after Mr Rebello asked Merseyside Police to investigate the incident because of the chance more prompt treatment may have saved her.

But he told the court that he accepted evidence from Dr Simon Taggart, a consultant physician at the Royal, that nothing more could have been done and that her friends should have instead dialled from home for paramedics to be summoned.

Dr Rebello said: “I think the die was cast when the understandable decision was made to put Melody in a car to drive her to hospital as opposed to ringing 999 and asking for an ambulance.

“According to Dr Taggart, the paramedics carry the necessary inhalers and nebulisers to treat an asthma crisis.”

But he reiterated that Melody’s friends had her “best interests at heart”.

He said: “If you’ve got a car outside, it is easy to put someone in the car and drive them to the hospital. The advice from Dr Taggart is that was the wrong call. The 999 call would have given Melody a chance of survival.

“It is very difficult to put yourself in the position of a close friend in such circumstances and know yourself what you would have done.”

He told Melody’s parents, Ray and Pam, over a phone link to their home in California: “I fully accept that the expert evidence is such that the ambulance that came from Alder Hey hospital would not have had any material effect as according to Dr Taggart.

“The time for the ambulance to be called would have been before she travelled to the hospital.

“Though I am sure that you, as parents, would have preferred attention to be given to her in a different way when she got to the hospital the experts say that would not have made a difference.”

Recording a verdict of natural causes, Dr Rebello said he hoped Melody’s death would lead to increased awareness of how people should react to asthma attacks and that people would heed Dr Taggart’s advice to dial for paramedic assistance.

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Teen’s shock after brutal attack - blackpoolgazette.co.uk

Shocked Jordan Lewis, from South Shore, remembers waking up on the ground on The Strand in the town centre after being punched in the face.

The 18-year-old suffered a fracture to the right side of his jaw and a black eye in the attack, which happened during a night out with friends.

Mr Lewis said: “All I remember is coming out of Walkabout and the next thing I was on the ground and being helped up by my friends by the doorway to Flares.

“I must have completely blacked out.

“He smashed my jaw at the top.

“It was hurting so much and I had a black eye so I went to the hospital and they said I’d broken it.

“I’ve seen things like this happen plenty of times but this was for no reason.”

Mr Lewis went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but he was later transferred to Royal Preston Hospital.

He is due to return for another hospital appointment for doctors to check if the attack has left any lasting damage.

The former St George’s High School pupil, who works at a supermarket, said he was forced to have time off work because of his injuries.

He added: “I couldn’t speak properly so I was off work for a couple of days. I’m a bit wary about going out now.

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this to happen at all when I was just on a night out enjoying myself.”

The attack happened around 3am on June 4.

Detectives have now released CCTV images of two men they would like to speak to in connection with the assault.

Police believe the offender was wearing a blue shirt.

They would also like to speak to another man, who was wearing a white shirt, who was spotted at the scene.

Det Con Marc Armstrong, of Blackpool CID, said: “While this is a single punch assault the injuries are serious – the young victim has ended up with a fracture to his jaw. There is no obvious motive or reason for the attack.

“I would urge the Gazette readers to take a good look at the stills and if you recognise either of the men please contact us.”

Anyone with information can call Blackpool CID on (01253) 607327 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.


Liverpool teen Liam Fletcher fighting for life after apparent hanging tragedy in Crete holiday resort Malia - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool teen Liam Fletcher fighting for life after apparent hanging tragedy in Crete holiday resort Malia - Liverpool Echo

A LIVERPOOL teenager was today fighting for his life after an apparent hanging tragedy in the Crete party resort of Malia.

Liam Fletcher, 18, was found in his hotel room just hours after he and his pals landed in Crete last Thursday.

The teenager’s family today told how they were mystified by the incident and refused to believe that he tried to take his own life.

One theory is that the popular former King David pupil, who is set to study architecture at John Moores University next month, may have had his drink spiked while on his first night out in the resort.

Liam’s heartbroken mum, Pauline, 44, from Belle Vale, told how she faces a £25,000 bill to fly her son back home in an air ambulance after being told that Liam’s travel insurance is invalid.

Friends have launched an urgent appeal to help raise cash to bring Liam back to Liverpool for treatment and urged kind-hearted Merseysiders to dig deep.

Pauline, a single mum of five, flew out to Crete last week to be at her son’s side.

He was last night still critical in intensive care but said to be making slight progress.

She told the ECHO: “I don’t know how I am going to get him back home but I need to. He needs to be back in Liverpool.

“His travel insurance won’t repatriate him because they say his injuries were self-inflicted.

“None of us can understand what has happened. He was looking so much to coming here with his mates. It is so out of character.

“We are waiting on tests to see if he was maybe slipped a drug, he certainly wouldn’t have taken them. He wouldn’t have done anything like that.

“I can’t explain how I feel right now, it’s horrendous. The care he is getting here is really good but we are so lucky with the NHS and the hospitals we have in Liverpool. I can’t bear him being out here.”

“He is my only son and he is so special to me. We have a fantastic relationship and we love each other so much. I want to come home with him.”

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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Manchester United fans hit out at Glazers over New York Stock Exchange plan - Daily Mail

Manchester United fans hit out at Glazers over New York Stock Exchange plan - Daily Mail

By Chris Wheeler

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The Glazer family faced mounting criticism last night over their plans to sell off more than 10 per cent of Manchester United on the New York Stock Exchange.

Rebel supporters have seized on the proposals as a fresh opportunity to force the unpopular American owners out of Old Trafford after seven years in power.

It follows confirmation on Monday night of United’s intention to float 10.2 per cent of the club through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in New York that could raise as much as 210million, having previously  abandoned similar plans in Hong Kong and Singapore.

There is anger and concern as the Glazers initially said they would use all the proceeds to help clear the club’s 437m debt, but now intend to keep half for themselves.

In addition, flotation and underwriting fees of 15-20m are expected to be paid for out of the club’s half  — leaving United with as little as 73m.

Announcement: The Glazer family said they will sell 10 per cent of Manchester United on the NYSE

Announcement: The Glazer family said they will sell 10 per cent of Manchester United on the NYSE

City insiders have questioned the Glazers’ motives and asked why investors would want to pay for inferior new Class A shares — at around $20 each — that would give them no say in the running of the club.

One expert said: 'It's astonishing they can get away with it. This is about getting part of their ownership  converted into cash with no loss of control, and the cost of it is down to the company.

'This type of dual share structure hasn’t been acceptable in London for a very long time. I’m surprised New York have put up with it — they’ve only aimed at the US investors because they’re taken in by the lure of Manchester United.

For sale: United recently launched on the New York Stock Exchange

For sale: United recently launched on the New York Stock Exchange

'But why would anyone want to buy at the highest possible valuation when half of it is going to line the pockets of  the owners?

'The vast majority of shares will be left with the underwriters and the share price will drift down, while the cost of half a Wayne Rooney goes missing in fees.'

US investment bank Jefferies Group are the main backers for the flotation, with up to a dozen other financial institutions believed to be underwriting the share issue. And the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust yesterday called on fans to lobby the banks in an attempt to force the owners to sell up.

'The Glazers are in a desperate situation and have a major requirement for quick cash,’ said MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo. ‘If they can’t get the IPO away then it opens up the possibility for a full sale.

Upset: Fans of the club managed by Sir Alex Ferguson are likely to be angry that some of the money from the sale of the shares will go to the Glazer family

Upset: Fans of the club managed by Sir Alex Ferguson are angry that some of the money from the sale of the shares will go to the Glazer family

'It's the duty of every United fan around the world to put pressure on the banks not to back this IPO. We're co-ordinating a campaign through our website and inviting fans to be part of it.

'If the Glazers fail, it will bring them to the negotiating table and there’s a very good chance they will be more prepared to accept a  reasonable offer.

'We're at a crucial crossroads. If they get it away they can continue to drain money from the club, and the last thing we want is for them to become embedded like a parasite.'

Fans' fury: The Glazers are unpopular with the Manchester United faithful

Fans' fury: The Glazers are unpopular with the Manchester United faithful

Here's what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Take it on the chin Reds, believe me this is the straw that will break the camels back for the gimps. One more season and the parasites will be history. Ha let the toy boys at the council house act all big, they all seem to have forget the £180 million loss last year. The 400 million sponsorship deal that is one of the most dishonest in football history. You see they all know this but choose to live the lie for the fake glory..they can keep it for me. We will be ok, we are MANCHESTER UNITED....BEST CLUB..BEST FANS. LUHG.........

Pete Sale Do you know how much manure has paid towards debt interest and fees to lawyers, accountant etc since the Glazers took over? Five hundred million pounds, yes £500,000,000, does that not worry you? Imagine how many Moura's, Sneijder, Hazard, Benzema, Alexis Sanchez, Nasri, to name a few that Manure could have signed with that cash. No wonder you lot are so frustrated, the price of your prawn sandwich keeps going up and the calibre of players your are watching have become distinctly mediocre and all cash you lot spend on your prawn sandwich goes up in flames. Your hand earned cash £500, 000,000 of it have gone straight into the pockets of fat cat lawyers and financiers great.

Yet more cash to fund the spending on the Tampa Bay Bucs, and their player`s ridiculous wages. I would like to see their balance sheet!

Just a reminder to everyone that it's MUPLC not FC...even the badge doesn't show FC anymore...wake up and smell the coffee girls!

Ladies and gentlemen have you noticed that there is one person conspicuous by his absence on this article, yes that person is Rich. Rich Manchester where are you if this article was about Chelsea, City, or Liverpool's owner looking to sell shares in their respective clubs and then pocket some of the money you would have been all over it like a rash. Rich judging by your silence I take that you accept what people like myself have been saying all along that your team is drowning under that debt. Rich manu are on a slippery slope to oblivion the days of the prawn sandwich brigade are numbered.

Pete Sale, Chelsea don't have to pay £50 million interest annually on any debt do they? You claim that Chelsea are the next "Portsmouth" yet Chelsea are not the one going cap in hand to the NYSE for cash how ironic.- Louis Double the debt Louis, repayable 18 months....interest free or not that has to bother you. Admit it you come to United pages so I can educate you because I know more about the finances of your club and the history of your club. I have liked Chelsea for a number of years, nothing against them historically, just fair weather fans like you who started supporting Chelsea when Roman flashed the cash. Look you know I'm speaking the truth.

Being a HUGE Man U fan and an American, I was very excited about the prospect of owning some shares of my own, but NOT now. I, in no way, want to show support for owners who use IPO's to raise money for their personal bank accounts instead of paying down the team's HUGE debt. I stand UNITED with my fellow disgruntled fans on another arrogant plot by the Glazer family. I'm embarrased that I'm a fellow Floridian with that lot....GO MANCHESTER UNITED! Forever a fan! - Jelene, Palm City, USA, 31/07/2012 19:50 Cringe..

Asset strippers

Chelsea FC have no debt none not a penny. The holding company owned by Roman owe Roman 750 mil. Nothing what so ever to do with Chelsea FC. IDIOTS.

BS, Cheshire, 31/7/2012 14:18 I can understand your disappointment. Truth hurts! Calling people names is easy on a web forum. It only shows your mental growth. Listen ''the passionate owners will expect their money back.''. Grow up first before you try to attempt to understand ''Finance''. They will get their money back by way of the Increased Market valuations for the club and worst case get the returns on their investment when they sell off at huge profits. But knowing these two owners and the kind of money they deal in, its pocket money for them mr.Muppet. Compare this to the glazers, they are bleeding Man United Red and leaving so many redfaced supporters abusing other clubs and football fans. By the by the club has clearly lost it. Even the Lucas Moura deal did not happen. Even if it happened he was nothing compared to Oscar on show the other day. Pray that you remain in the top 4 this season.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.



Blackburn Rovers want two strikers to replace injured Leon Best - BBC News

Blackburn Rovers will look to sign two strikers before the start of the season to replace the injured Leon Best.

The 25-year-old has been ruled out for six months with a serious knee injury.

Blackburn have made a tentative inquiry for Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes but were told the player is not for sale.

"What we have to do now is find a good replacement and also supplement that," Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh told BBC Radio Lancashire.

Continue reading the main story

When I heard the news, it was difficult for me not to cry. Life has to go on, but right now it hurts very deeply

Blackburn global advisor Shebby Singh on Leon Best's injury

"There is still time for us to do that. Three weeks will be enough for us to make sure we start the season with a very competitive strike force.

"We were always going to look for someone else to deputise for Leon.

"Now we've got to look for someone who is going to play and another player who is going to deputise."

Blackburn get their Championship season under way at Ipswich on Saturday, 18 August.

Best, who joined Rovers from Newcastle for £3m this month, scored in the 2-1 friendly win over AEK Athens on Sunday but was carried off on a stretcher before half-time.

Scans on Monday confirmed Best damaged his cruciate ligaments, which will keep him out until the new year.

"We signed Leon because he's got the strengths that we need," continued Singh. "Now we're going to lose him for a minimum of six months.

"I feel for him because he's bought into the ambition of the club and he's been fantastic in training.

"Against AEK Athens, he was bullying their defenders. And then this happens.

"When I heard the news, it was difficult for me not to cry. Life has to go on, but right now it hurts very deeply."



Manchester United Transfer News: Lucas Moura to Be Offered New Contract - Bleacherreport.com

Manchester United transfer target Lucas Moura is seemingly slipping further and further away from a move to Old Trafford over the summer transfer window, with current club Sao Paulo believed to be lining up a new deal to keep the talented teenager at the club.

According to the latest reports, the club is looking to fend off any interest from United by keeping Lucas at the Brazilian club over the next few seasons—seeming to confirm the rumors (per Goal.com) that the star midfielder was happy to remain at the club for the upcoming year.

Sao Paulo's director of football, Adalberto Baptista, has told UOL (via Sky Sports) that the club are looking to extent Lucas' contract:

Sao Paulo are ready to offer Manchester United target Lucas Moura a new improved deal in a bid to keep him at the club. Adalberto Baptista, has admitted they may look to extend the 19-year-old's contract as they look to fend off United's interest in the attacker.

"It's possible we change his contract," Baptista told UOL. "He has four more years of contract. We may call him to extend, renegotiate his contract, maybe for 18 more months."

 "His family went to England just to watch the Olympics, they had already told us they would. They want to follow their son, like any parents would in a competition like that. There is no negotiation, no talks, anything..."

His final comments there appear to end any speculation that Lucas' family were in London for a reason other than to watch their son play football, as some have suggested.

After Manchester United were believed to be incredibly close to signing the 19-year-old for the upcoming season (per the Daily Mirror), it is looking less and less likely. 

The player's agent has already stated earlier in the month that a move to the English Premier League giants is not going to take place, and with the current statements from the club, it may be time to put this saga to bed.

We'll know soon enough.

 

Is Lucas Moura making a move to Manchester United this summer?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  




Manchester City players received huge bonuses after beating United to Premier League title - Belfast Telegraph

The end-of-season win-bonus package paid to Manchester City's triumphant squad for securing the club's first Premier League title in May was a huge 6.2m shared between 24 players, The Independent in London has reported.

The club's bonus scheme, agreed at the start of the season with the entire first-team squad, decreed that the players would receive 5.2m for winning the Premier League and an extra 1m for it being an unprecedented achievement for City in the modern era.

However, City's players earned nothing for their Champions League performances. They stood to net a massive 7.25m if they won the competition – a long shot, given that it was their first appearance in the new format – but went out in the group stages despite having accrued 10 points. Any bonus for the City players was contingent on them progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.

The bonus schedule gives a fascinating insight into the incentives for City's squad, upon which owner Sheikh Mansour has spent 452m in transfer fees alone over four years, to follow up their FA Cup triumph in 2011 with more silverware. All leading clubs pay their players bonuses which, under Football Association rules, have to be agreed upon at the start of the season.

City's players would have collected 4.7m even if they had finished second to Manchester United on the last day of the season and there was 4.2m at stake for third place. Sergio Aguero's injury-time goal against Queen's Park Rangers on that frenetic last day of the season was effectively worth 1.5m to the squad bonus pool, quite apart from the history it made for the club.

Had Roberto Mancini's squad finished fourth they would have earned 3.7m although there was a caveat to that bonus that it would only be paid in the event of fourth place also qualifying the club for this coming season's Champions League competition. In the event, the team that finished fourth, Tottenham Hotspur, were denied that place by Chelsea's triumph in the competition.

The payments were made pro-rata with a basic calculation over the league season dictating that one league appearance was worth 11,472. Joe Hart was the only City player who played in all 38 league games, earning him 446,212.

Nevertheless, even the bonus payments are eclipsed by the huge wages paid to the City players. On 220,000 a week, Yaya Tour would effectively have earned the same amount net in one month as Hart earned gross in his bonus payments for the entire season.

Many elite clubs who pay such vast basic wages to players are now incentivising them with lump sum payments according to what they win at the end of the season, rather than the traditional win bonus paid according to individual results, that were the norm in the past. However, some players will have additional bonus schemes built into their contracts

Under City's bonus schedule, Owen Hargreaves, Nedum Onuoha and Abdul Razak will all have earned the minimum 11,472 payments for their single league appearances. David Pizarro earned 58,710 for his five, consolation for missing out on a winners' medal, which requires 10 appearances.

The squad would have shared 1m for making the quarter-finals of the Champions League, 2m for reaching the semis and 3m for finishing runners-up. By contrast, winning the Europa League, from which they eliminated in the last 16, would have been worth the relatively modest total of 828,000 to the players' bonus pool.

The hierarchy of the financial value of the other domestic competitions is also telling. The squad were on 500,000 to win the FA Cup and 250,000 to win the Carling Cup.



Manchester United faces questions over 'overextended' IPO valuation - Daily Telegraph

However, this week's updated version of the original prospectus offered investors a reminder that failure on the pitch has the potential to torpedo the loftiest ambitions and valuations. The team's failure to get through to the knock-out stage of the Champions League last season will leave revenues in the 12 months to June 30 down as much as 5pc, according to the filing. Earnings before interest and tax will also drop. And the flotation comes at a time when Manchester United's ability to win trophies is threatened by local rival Manchester City and a renewed appetite from Roman Abraomovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea, to spend.

"The fact of the matter for Manchester United is that success on the field is absolutely paramount," says Dan Hall, a lawyer who heads the sports practice at Eversheds. "Are they going to get the best players this year? Nobody at the moment can guarantee that, and they are behind the curve without the big money."

Amid the fans' anger and questions over the valuation, Manchester United's plan has a couple of tailwinds blowing in its favour. Despite Facebook's calamitous flotation in late May, the market for IPOs in the US remains robust. There have been 14 since Facebook came to market, according to research firm Dealogic, and US flotations this year have so far returned an average of 18pc. US-based investors are also less likely to be deterred by the dual class share structure that the Glazers are using to ensure they keep control of the company once it is public.

With the shares due to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on August 10, executives have a week to convince investors the club can still achieve success on and off the field. Its fans are asking the same question.



Manchester United share sale causes controversy among fans and investors - BBC News

Manchester United fans aren't happy. And looking at the terms of the proposed share sale in New York announced last night, it's not hard to see why.

The Glazer family, the club's US owners, want to raise up to $330m (£210m) on Wall Street, having shelved plans to raise $1bn in Singapore.

The problems lie with the terms of the sale, and what the Glazers intend to do with the money raised.

Only part of the proceeds will go towards paying down the club's $680m debt, with a significant chunk going directly to the Glazers themselves. And the structure of the sale means the Glazers' Class B shares will have 10 times the voting power of the Class A shares sold to the public.

"Supporters are going to be very angry about this," says Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.

"The Glazers have already cost United more than £550m in debt-related fees and now we have another slap in the face as they help themselves to half of the proposed [sale] proceeds.

'No value'

But it's not just the fans that are unhappy.

More worrying perhaps for the Glazers, given their need to raise cash fast, some investors appear equally sceptical.

"Shareholders are getting a shoddy deal," says Michael Jarman, chief equity strategist at H2O Markets, an ex-professional footballer and a United fan himself.

"Investors are not idiots and there is simply no value in the company. The Glazers want to have their cake and eat it - the share structure shows they want to retain complete and utter control."

He says there are plenty of other more attractive investments, where shareholders get a dividend and the chance for capital growth.

While conceding that, "debt free, Manchester United is a good business", Mr Jarman sees no such value at Old Trafford given its current debt position. In fact, he argues the club is massively overvalued.

At the upper range, the upcoming share flotation values Man Utd at more than $3bn. This is almost 50% more than the value placed upon it by Forbes magazine, which recently pronounced United, at $2.2bn, the most valuable club in world sport.

But many analysts believe even this figures is vastly inflated.

Less than two years ago, a group of investors led by the respected chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O'Neill, valued the club at about $1.5bn. With two years of global economic stagnation since then, the club's value will not have risen significantly, if at all.

Factor in operating profits - minus transfer activity - of $150m, and Mr Jarman argues investors are better off buying shares in Tesco.

Strong brand

But there are many others who believe United's financial woes have been overplayed.

While acknowledging that "it's disappointing investors won't be able to vote and won't get a dividend", Roy Kaitcer, divisional director at stockbroker Brewin Dolphin, says the club's finances are not as bad as some suggest.

Also a keen United supporter, he points to the fact that the club's debts are already being paid down, and the upcoming share sale, if successful, will reduce them further by more than $100m.

He also points out that the Glazers are able to change the debt profile of their various holding companies by moving debt off the books of one and on to another.

Perhaps most importantly, he says the club's strong brand name and loyal support from more than 650 million supporters - according to United's own figures - across the world makes the club an extremely attractive commercial partner for global companies.

Further evidence for this came on Monday with the announcement that Chevrolet, owned by General Motors, one of the biggest carmakers in the world, will be the club's new shirt sponsor from the 2014-15 season.

And fanatical fans, driven by emotion rather than dispassionate financial analysis, may well ensure the upcoming New York share sale proves hugely successful.

Stronger competition

But there is no denying the club's heavy debts are impacting on the club's ability to maintain its pre-eminent position in the Premier League.

They have, for example, been blamed by many for the club's restrained activity in the transfer market in recent seasons, certainly when compared with free-spending rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester City.

Manchester United is bound by commercial realities that do not, for now, appear to affect its two biggest domestic rivals.

As Mr Jarman argues, running a successful football club and running a sustainable business are no longer compatible.

You just need to look at the recent success of Manchester City and the spending power of clubs such as Paris St Germain and Anzhi Makhachkala to see how the landscape is changing, despite UEFA's financial fair play rules.

"Football has become a rich man's paradise," says Mr Jarman. And in today's market, it would appear the Glazer's pockets simply aren't deep enough.

Top 10 Premier League clubs by revenue

Club Revenue (£000s) Wage costs (£000s) Operating profit/(loss)(£000s)

Source: Deloitte. Figures for 2011

Manchester United

331,441

152,915

100,687

Chelsea

228,574

191,214

(48,679)

Arsenal

226,825

124,401

34,150

Liverpool

183,690

134,768

(2,795)

Tottenham Hotspur

153,486

91,255

32,294

Manchester City

153,185

173,977

(81,636)

Aston Villa

92,028

94,795

(34,241)

Newcastle

88,464

53,584

13,287

Everton

82,021

58,026

(529)



Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos joins Hull City - BBC News

Hull City have signed Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos on a season-long loan deal.

The 22-year-old made four appearances for the Red Devils last season, including making his Premier League debut against Stoke in January.

He has previously spent time on loan with Peterborough and Oldham.

Amos is the Tigers' second signing in as many days following the arrival of former Leeds United defender Alex Bruce on Monday.

Prior to the deal being confirmed he joined up with his new team-mates on their recent pre-season training camp in Portugal.



GM signs Manchester United deal day after marketing executive exit - The Vancouver Sun

The ouster of General Motors Co's (GM.N) global marketing chief is related to a hugely expensive sponsorship deal with England's Manchester United soccer club for which GM is paying twice as much as the team's previous automotive sponsor.

On Monday, GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, announced its Chevrolet brand would sponsor the hugely popular club's shirts for the next seven years. The deal is worth $60 million to $70 million a year and includes a $100 million activation fee that brings the total value to as much as $600 million, said a person with knowledge of the contract who asked not to be identified.

By comparison, insurance broker Aon Plc (AON.N) pays about $31 million a year for the current jersey sponsorship, which runs through the 2013-2014 season.

GM did not disclose financial terms of its agreement, which was announced the day after the Detroit company said it was removing its global marketing chief Joel Ewanick because he "failed to meet the expectations that the company has for its employees." Sources told Reuters Ewanick didn't properly report financial details about the jersey deal.

Another source said the wording of the affected deal terms was changed before the deal was made public on Monday. The persons requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss contract details.

GM, which spent almost $4.5 billion on advertising last year, announced another sponsorship deal with Manchester United in May. GM said then it wanted to tap in to Manchester United's estimated 659 million fans around the world to boost the image of the automaker's Chevy brand, especially in Asia. GM last week also said it signed a four-year auto sponsorship deal with Manchester United rival Liverpool.

While GM would not discuss Ewanick's departure, some industry officials said a deal as big as the Manchester United sponsorship agreements would have been signed by multiple executives. They also raised the possibility that GM simply wanted to dump Ewanick as the automaker's U.S. market share has declined by nearly 2 points in the first half of 2012 compared with the year before to 18.1 percent.

"Joel was good for shaking up the staid GM marketing function and he made a real positive difference in just two years, but this episode, whatever it turns out to be, has tarnished his reputation overnight," said Peter DeLorenzo, Editor-in-chief of auto website Autoextremist.com.

AGENT OF CHANGE

However, sources said GM was committed to Ewanick's efforts to shake up the automaker's image. Ewanick, 52, was named vice president and head of GM's U.S. marketing in May 2010, about seven months before the automaker's blockbuster initial public offering in November of that year.

Brought in by former GM chairman Ed Whitacre, former vice chairman Robert Lutz and current North American chief Mark Reuss, the high-energy Ewanick was given free rein to shake up GM's marketing, which had been perceived as stale.

The first major effort under his watch was the "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign that launched at the start of the Major League Baseball's World Series in 2010. Critics say the campaign has failed to connect well with consumers.

When he was promoted to global marketing chief in December 2010, Ewanick said the move was intended to give marketing a seat at the executive conference table and a say in planning and budgeting for new GM vehicles.

Ewanick, who was credited with helping drive Hyundai Motor Co's (005380.KS) fast growth in the U.S. market, steered GM back to sponsorship of high-profile events like the Super Bowl.

In May, he announced GM would pull its paid ads from Facebook (FB.O) days before the highly anticipated initial public stock offering for the social networking website, and said GM would not advertise on CBS (CBS.N) during the 2013 Super Bowl because they were both overpriced.

Ewanick also led GM's effort to drive down the ad fees paid to broadcast TV networks during the advanced selling season that ended in June, said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media. The big four U.S. TV networks garnered single-digit increases from advertisers.

With his aggressive cost-cutting and a hyper personality some found off-putting, Ewanick clearly made enemies. One former GM executive, who asked not to be identified, received an email about the marketing chief's ouster with the subject line "Ding Dong, the witch is dead."

GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson previously said the automaker needed to focus more on marketing.

The "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign, which features the voice of actor Tim Allen, has aimed to focus buyers on the positive association many Americans had with GM before the long decline that culminated in its bankruptcy and $50 billion bailout by the Obama administration in 2009.

In April 2010, GM's Whitacre ordered the ouster of Campbell-Ewald, which had handled advertising for Chevy for over 90 years in favor of San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which is owned by Omnicom Group Inc (OMC.N) and best-known for the "Got Milk?" ad campaign. Goodby worked with Ewanick at Hyundai.

Campbell-Ewald created some of the most memorable advertising campaigns in U.S. auto history for Chevrolet, including the "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" ads of the 1970s and "See the USA in your Chevrolet" in the 1950s. Industry officials said agencies that were cut may see Ewanick's ouster as a chance to get back in the door with GM.

Earlier this year, GM announced efforts to save $2 billion over five years by pruning the number of ad agencies it uses.

Chevrolet sold 2.48 million cars and trucks in the first six months of the year, and the U.S. market accounted for 42 percent of that total. GM is pushing to boost demand for the mass-market brand in China, Brazil, Eastern Europe and other regions.

Appealing to consumers overseas was a big reason for the sponsorship deals with Manchester United, which set terms for its U.S. initial public offering on Monday.

The soccer club's current jersey sponsorship deal is with Aon, which pays for the right to put its name on the front of jerseys worn by players during games. That practice is quite lucrative for soccer clubs around the world, but is not allowed by most U.S. sports leagues.

In a sign of how important the size of the deal is for Manchester United, the club revealed in its IPO filing that its revenue fell 3 percent to 5 percent in the year just ended to 315 million to 320 million pounds ($495 million-$503 million). Based on those figures, the annual value of the shirt deal is about 13 percent of the club's revenue.

In May, GM announced a five-year deal with Manchester United for what is known as its auto sponsorship in which GM replaced Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Audi brand. Terms of that deal were not disclosed, but analysts said it is likely worth at least tens of millions of dollars.

Alan Batey, GM's North American vice president of sales, was named the interim head of GM's marketing. The automaker declined to make him available for comment.


Manchester United fans group slams Glazers' IPO plan - Reuters UK

Manchester United fans group slams Glazers' IPO plan - Reuters UK

LONDON | Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:26am BST

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of Manchester United fans accused the American Glazer family of milking the English Premier League football team for cash after IPO terms revealed they planned to take half of the proceeds of its flotation.

Fans from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) questioned why all of the money being raised was not being used to reduce a debt pile that they say is holding back the team's performances on the field.

The club and the Glazers each will be selling half the IPO shares in an offering that will raise as much as $333 million (212.3 million pounds). The club's proceeds from the IPO will be used to reduce its debt of 423 million pounds as of March 31 to 345.4 million pounds ($664 million to $543 million).

"Supporters are going to be very angry about this," said Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of MUST, a group lobbying for fans to play a greater role in the ownership of the club.

"The Glazers have already cost United more than 550 million pounds in debt related fees and now another slap in the face as they help themselves to half of the proposed IPO proceeds," he added.

"Clearly this has nothing to do with benefits for Manchester United and is all about giving the Glazers quick access to desperately needed cash at the expense of our football club."

MUST has fought a long campaign against the Glazers, who bought the club for 790 million pounds in a highly-leveraged deal in 2005 and also own NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Discontent has grown after United, English champions a record 19 times, failed to win a trophy last season - their first barren year since 2005.

They missed out on the title to local rivals Manchester City, whose owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, one of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, has ploughed an estimated 800 million pounds into the club.

A recent survey commissioned by United said it had 659 million followers globally, almost one in 10 of the population, but it still remains at the mercy of performances on the pitch, with revenues hit last season by an early exit from the lucrative European Champions' League.

However, the club's global appeal was underlined when it signed a new seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with General Motors' Chevrolet. The deal begins in 2014 and one source said it could be worth up to $600 million.

(Editing by Mark Potter, For all the latest Olympic news go to here)



Bolton’s trust ‘unsuitable’ for retail clients: Winterflood - ftadviser.com

Anthony Bolton’s £640m Fidelity China Special Situations investment trust may not be suitable for the majority of its retail investor base, Winterflood Securities has warned.

Analysts at the firm expressed concern about the trust’s gearing and hedging, and also questioned the amount of analysis Fidelity’s Hong Kong-based team is able to offer to Mr Bolton’s small and mid cap-focused mandate.

Following a meeting with the star Fidelity equity manager, Winterflood’s Simon Elliott said he had “increasing concerns” with the trust, which has been dogged by poor performance since its launch in April 2010.

“Although we would expect the fund to perform strongly in a bull market, due to its gearing and mid and small cap bias, we would question [the] suitability of this fund for the retail investors that make up the bulk of its shareholder base,” Mr Elliott said in an analyst note following the meeting.

He reiterated a recommendation that less sophisticated investors should consider JPMorgan’s £118.9m Chinese trust, which has recieved backing from several independent investment trust analysts.

The Winterflood analysis also raised concerns about the depth of analysis given to Mr Bolton’s holdings by his support team of Fidelity analysts.

Mr Elliott said: “Only half of the portfolio is covered by Fidelity’s main group of analysts with the remainder covered by a single, dedicated small cap analyst.

“With sell side research limited, we believe that this could explain some of the stock specific difficulties that Mr Bolton has encountered. His increased use of external due diligence experts reflects the risks involved in investing in mid and small cap Chinese companies.”

Mr Elliott said Mr Bolton’s trust had a “valid, albeit highly specialist, mandate”, but warned its 20 per cent gearing added “substantial risk”.

“In addition, the manager’s use of hedging provides a layer of complexity and dilutes the fund’s investment message,” he said.

The Fidelity China Special Situations trust’s share price has fallen 21.8 per cent over the past 12 months to July 30, while the trust’s NAV has fallen 23 per cent. This compares with an 11.2 per cent fall in the MSCI China index.



Manchester rivalry goes global as City aim to capitalise on Premier League title - Daily Telegraph

City versus United rarely used to matter beyond the M60, but the noisy neighbours – they are both as vocal as each other nowadays – are now playing out their battle for supremacy in front of a worldwide audience.

After City had announced last week’s prestigious friendly against Arsenal in Beijing earlier this year, United moved to steal their thunder by pitching up in China four days earlier for a friendly in Shanghai.

Both games attracted impressive crowds and the fuss which greeted the two clubs underlined United’s global power and also showed that people now know City’s name in areas that were once red – United red, Liverpool red and Arsenal red.

City still have plenty of ground to make up and they know that, but having matched up to and surpassed United on the pitch last season, they are prepared for the longer slog towards claiming some of their neighbours’ share of the worldwide spotlight.

United’s ability to turn heads in Shanghai last week prompted Chevrolet to accelerate talks over the world record shirt deal agreed with the club on Monday and there is little doubt that losing the title to City has done nothing to dent United’s global image.

They occupy the same stratosphere as the LA Lakers, New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys when it comes to their mystique and pulling power, but City now have a foothold.

Being able to parade the Premier League trophy around the world helps City’s case immeasurably and they know that.

So maintaining their grip on that piece of silverware this season is about more than just success on the pitch – it gives them platform to appeal to a wider audience and it is another reason why City want to keep it and why United want it back.



Manchester City bonuses enough to change a life (if they were not already millionaires) - The Independent

To the average British worker, the sums involved in City's bonus schedule, as revealed today in The Independent, are life-changing amounts of money. The £258,333 that was the average paid to every one of the 24 players who had some part in the club's first league championship since 1968 appears to be a huge sum, but when you consider that Carlos Tevez earns around £220,000 per week, the picture changes a little.

City's bonuses are, like those of their leading European rivals, very generous. On a pro-rata basis the £6.2m pool that the City's players split following their thrilling last-day-of-the-season triumph was worth £11,742 per player per appearance. For Joe Hart, the only ever-present, that was worth £446,212. For a relatively peripheral player such as Stefan Savic, who made 11 league appearances, it was worth £129,162.

Even Tevez, who missed five months of the season while he was at loggerheads with the club, earned £152,646 from the Premier League bonus pool. Although set alongside the £9.3m he was fined by City for his unauthorised absence following his failure to come on as a substitute at Bayern Munich in September it is not quite so valuable.

In the days before top-flight English football was awash with money from broadcast contracts and wealthy foreign owners, the win bonus was a crucial source of income for players. The post-match recriminations after defeats, or games that were drawn when they could have been won, were often as much about the money that was forfeited as the points lost.

Now, clubs face a new problem. In the age of the £200,000-a-week plus contract, how do they structure a bonus system for the footballer who already has more money than he can spend? The answer from many will be that players paid such riches should not need any more money to perform.

To an extent that is true. By the same token, anyone who watched the likes of Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero last season could see that, whatever the money paid to them, they competed with admirable spirit. But old habits die hard in football and even though wages have gone through the roof in the last 20 years, players still want to be rewarded for winning trophies.

Most in football will tell you that players, when negotiating a transfer or new contract, will ask their agents for a certain net rate. Their bonus schedule is of less interest. But they still want it. According to City's bonus schedule of last season, Yaya TourĂ© for instance, a flagship signing when he arrived from Barcelona in 2010 on a salary of approximately £250,000 per week, would have earned £375,744 for his 32 appearances in the league. It is less than two weeks' wages but still not a bad bonus at the end of the season.

At stake last season was a total pot of £14.2m for the four key competitions that City were competing for (excluding the Europa League which they entered after elimination at the Champions League group stage). With the Premier League just one year away from a huge new television deal which will earn the clubs in excess of £3bn over three years, the value of those bonuses is not likely to come down.

City characterised the extra £1m on top of the £5.2m they paid their players for winning the league as a one-off bonus for it being the club's first of the Premier League era. The suggestion was that it would not be repeated. However, as the money continues to pour into English football, one thing is certain: the leading players and their agents are going to be asking for more, not less, for their services.

With so much money at stake, the big football agencies with the star clients have full-time accountants and lawyers to manage their finances. The players themselves do not have to account for every last penny themselves. But on days such as City's famous title win at the Etihad Stadium on 13 May, after the champagne has been sprayed, the players can reflect on the fact that, aside from the shiny trophy and the glory, they have just earned themselves another big pay-out.

Bonus season: City squad's payout in 2011-12

PREMIER LEAGUE

Finish 1st: £5.2m plus extra £1m

2nd: £4.7m

3rd: £4.2m

4th: £3.7m (only payable if it meant CL qualification for next season)

Earned: £6.2m

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

£5,000 per player, per point in group stage, only payable if City qualified for last 16 – but they failed to get out of their group

Last-16: £500,000

Reach QFs: £1m

Reach SF: £2m

Reach final: £3m

Win CL: £5.25m plus £2m extra

Earned: £0

EUROPA LEAGUE

Win: £828,000

Runners-up: £648,000

Earned: £0

FA CUP

Win: £500,000

Runners-up: £250,000

Earned: £0

CARLING CUP

Win: £250,000

Runners-up: £125,000

Earned: £0



Monday, 30 July 2012

Manchester United sets IPO terms - Reuters UK

Manchester United sets IPO terms - Reuters UK

Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:08pm BST

(Reuters) - English football team Manchester United said it expects to sell 16.67 million shares at $16 to $20 each, raising as much as $333 million (211.8 million pounds) in its initial public offering.

Manchester United is arguably the world's best-supported football club and has a global fan-base of 659 million, according to a recent market survey.

The club had filed to raise up to $100 million in its IPO of Class A stock earlier this month.

Manchester's United will kick off this week, with stops expected in the United States, Europe and Asia, according to a source familiar with the company's plans who was not authorized to speak publicly about them.

The team chose to list in the United States after scrapping listings in Singapore and Hong Kong. It had originally looked to raise as much as $1 billion in Singapore.

Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family, owners of American football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Glazers' Class B shares will have 10 times the voting power of average investors' Class A shares.

Jefferies Group Inc is the lead book runner in the syndicate, which also includes Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. The company will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "MANU."

Earlier Monday Manchester United signed a 7-year sponsorship deal with General Motors Co to have the Chevrolet brand on their shirts starting in 2014. The deal is worth roughly $600 million, Reuters reported.

(Reporting By Olivia Oran in New York and Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Richard Chang)



Gomes has one aim at Pool - blackpoolgazette.co.uk

The Portuguese midfielder caught the eye with his second-half showing during Pool’s 2-1 win against Wrexham on Saturday.

And despite playing over 30 games in Spain’s top flight last season, he thinks English football is the place to be.

Gomes said: “England has the most beautiful football in the world.

“I come here to play well and for us to finish the season in the Premier League. My goal is promotion.

“I will work hard and work with my team-mates and hopefully we’ll finish in first place.

Gomes met up with Seasiders boss Ian Holloway during the club’s recent trip to his homeland for a training camp.

After watching training and meeting some of the squad, he flew over last week to look around before signing a contract.

He added: “The project at this club is a good one and it’s great to play for Blackpool.

“The chance to play in the Championship was the reason I came here. The league is very hard.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest Blackpool FC news.

The 26-year-old played alongside Angel Martinez and fellow new signing Isaiah Osbourne at the Racecourse on Saturday.

He created a number of chances and took all Pool’s set-pieces.

And after the match, he told The Gazette he’s still a little way from full fitness.

“It was my first game, so it is normal that I was a little bit tired after it.

“I will get fitter when I play and I’m looking forward to the first game of the season.

“I’ve really enjoyed my first week here. The team here are great guys and there are some great players here.”

With manager Holloway at a family wedding, it was assistant Steve Thompson who took charge of the Seasiders during

Saturday’s game.

And he thinks it was a good workout. “We gave them all 45 minutes each. It gives us an idea of how far everyone is off in terms of fitness,” said Thompson.

“It lets us know how much we need to step it up in training. It was a decent workout and gives us plenty to work on.”

The Gazette has launched a FREE football app which is now available to download on iPhone and Android Android devices.



Blackpool power - SkySports

The World Matchplay showed that the standard of darts in the PDC is higher than ever.

We saw two nine-darters - I was almost surprised we didn't get a third - and I'm so excited ahead of the World Grand Prix and the World Championship because there is so much strength in depth.

The changes we've made to the PDC ranking system are working because we're getting the best 32 players in the world.

Taylor: seized the 2012 World Matchplay trophy in Blackpool

Taylor: seized the 2012 World Matchplay trophy in Blackpool

The old system protected too many old players (possibly including myself at the latter end of my career), but now we have a lot of hungry darts players coming through and the standard is improving all the time.

It's therefore amazing that, yet again, Phil Taylor came out on top. As he gets older I think he's finding it harder to keep up his standards and he's having to put more work in than he used to - but he still does it.

How disgusting is that? Grown men were taking things out on young players, who were probably not born when the split happened in the 1990s. It's one of the most pathetic things I've heard in my life.

Rod Harrington
Quotes of the week

That's testament to his commitment and professionalism. After all these years he is still putting the graft in and he's a great ambassador for the game. You can't praise him up enough.

I stayed at the top and won tournaments on days when I wasn't necessarily the best player, but I was the fittest player. I've been emphasising that for 20 years and now players are looking at Taylor and doing things right.

James Wade, who narrowly lost in the final, is a good example. He's lost some weight and - as much as he hated to admit it - he'd been practising more and more. When he gets to the other big tournaments later in the year he intends to be even better.

He looked like a different person in Blackpool. I watch these players very closely on tour and the Matchplay was the best I've seen of James in a long time, in terms of his attitude and his conduct. I know he's had problems, but hopefully he's getting through that now.

His performance against Terry Jenkins in the semis was excellent. He fell behind, but he dug in and never gave up, which might have happened with the old James Wade.

If he could have put a little bit of a spurt together in the final and taken out some big shots - as he did in the semi-final - he could have taken Taylor. There was a vital 140 and a crucial 144 that he didn't take out and that could have made all the difference.

There's no doubt that he's the number one threat to Taylor now - and if he'd taken out those big shots I think he would have won the tournament.

Highs and lows

Michael van Gerwen was my man of the tournament. You have to give Taylor all the praise in the world, but this young man lit up Blackpool.

He really came into form in this tournament and his emotions fed the audience. The crowds and the people at home watching on television all love him.

There were other good displays, too. Jenkins, who has admitted I was right when I criticised him a few years ago, is doing things right now.

However, a few other players need to look at themselves.

It was another disappointing display from our World Champion. I think it's time for Adrian Lewis to look in the mirror and say: "What have I got to do to start making semis and finals in other championships?"

If he doesn't improve and if he doesn't perform at the next World Championship then he'll drop down the rankings like a stone. He needs to look at himself or he could get left behind.

The guy's talent is too good to waste, but sometimes you have to win ugly. No matter how good you are you need to dig out results if you want to get through tournaments.

He's not doing that - and neither is Gary Anderson. We need them to raise their game because they're box-office Premier League players. Like everybody else I love to see them play and I want to see them on top of their game.

Elsewhere there are a lot of the older players who lost in the early rounds, who need to take a serious look at their game, or perhaps aren't good enough any more.

People like myself, Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Bob Anderson and Alan Warriner all packed the game in when we started to get left behind and perhaps the guys who were on top a decade ago need to look at whether they are still good enough.

Some of them are still talented, but there's no sympathy in this game and with a lot of talent coming through you can get knocked off your pedestal very quickly.

We're moving into a new era and the emerging talent won't look back.

A few words for the BDO...

The BDO held a youth tournament in Blackpool on Sunday. Maybe they were trying to steal some of our thunder?

I'm disgusted to report that three guys who play on the PDC Youth Tour reached the quarter-finals - and were then slung out by the tournament organisers.

These young players had paid their entry fees, played in the early rounds and were then kicked out and told they're not getting a refund or any prize money, all because they're PDC players.

How disgusting is that? Grown men were taking things out on young players, who were probably not born when the split happened in the 1990s. It's one of the most pathetic things I've heard in my life.

Why don't they take it out on the grown-ups, who are ugly enough to stand up to them? Instead these ignorant BDO guys are taking things out on youth players.

I've seen some disgusting things happen in the game of darts, but this is the most disgusting thing I've heard about in all my years.

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