Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Le Havre wishes to express its indignation regarding the dealings of Manchester United’s directors in relation to the young Paul Pogba. The player and his parents refused to keep the arrangement because Manchester United offered very high sums of money to the parents of the (player) with the aim of obtaining the transfer of their son. At a time when numerous parties – including at European Union level, governmental (level), or within Fifa or Uefa – are speaking out against the ‘trading of minors,’ Manchester United does not hesitate to uproot a 16-year-old kid.” – A statement from Le Havre.
Runner-up: “It is complete nonsense. Everything has been done within Uefa guidelines.” – A Manchester United spokesman responding to Le Havre.
Today’s overview: The tributes to Bobby Robson continue to pour in this morning. There are also previews of the lower leagues beginning next weekend and of course the usual Sunday transfer gossip.
Bobby Robson is still in the thoughts of many columnists this morning. Hugh McIlvanney gets the ball rolling: “He carried his courage lightly, as something he need neither question nor announce, and many didnâ€™t appreciate the true strength of his nature until they witnessed how cancer required five tries to take him down. Millions mourned with his loving family when Sir Bobby finally lost his defiant, 17-year battle with the disease on Friday at the age of 76 and, rightly, the tributes arriving in an avalanche dealt not merely with a long career splendidly fulfilled but with a life wholeheartedly lived.”
Brian Glanville in The Times, also looks back at Sir Bobby’s life. “There are plenty of tales about Bobby Robson abroad, many to do with his resourcefulness in foreign languages. One of the nicer ones surrounds Romario, the brilliant Brazilian striker who worked for Robson at PSV Eindhoven in the early 1990s. Romario had the previous day produced a trick on the field of stunning skill and invention, but followed it up with a clumsy, overambitious manoeuvre that lost possession. Arriving at practice, Robson, who at that stage spoke only English, approached Romario, who spoke only Portuguese, with three props: A Superman comic, a picture of Mickey Mouse and a smile. He liked the superhero skills, he gestured, pointing to the comic, but not the silly follow-up.”
In the Mail on Sunday, a number of journos remember the former England manager. Simon Jones: “I was introduced to Sir Bobby at a dinner in London while chatting to Bryan Robson. Bryan had been recalling various Bobby stories including the day Bobby came down for breakfast and said to him, â€˜Morning Bobbyâ€™ to which Bryan had replied, â€˜No boss, you’re Bobby.â€™ Bobby turned to me and said: â€˜Don’t believe all they tell you, son. I never forget a name, Steve!â€™”
Paul Wilson in the Guardian adds his tribute. “If it was Robson’s misfortune to span the years between football’s innocence and the money-driven madhouse we have now, where managers and players fully expect to be attacked on all fronts, but are paid enough to put up with it, his greatest achievement was to confound his detractors with such generosity of spirit that they ended up feeling cheap. At no time during England’s run to the semi-finals in Italy did Robson choose to stick two fingers up to his critics.”
Simon Turnbull in the Independent on Sunday features Robson’s love of football. “It was a rare post-match press conference at St James’s when Sir Bobby desisted from grabbing some prop â€“ tea cups, biscuits, sugar lumps â€“ to illustrate the finer points of the beautiful game. He could sit there for an age, completely absorbed in his language of love, football talk. Those of us with deadlines to meet would have to slide out of the room like errant schoolboys. You always felt a pang of guilt.”
Colin Malam in the Sunday Telegraph reviews how Robson’s career panned out. “Sir Bobby Robson was one of the most loved of managers. But you would have been given long odds in 1970 if you’d laid a bet on that being so 20 years later.”
Rob Shepherd also writes of a “true gent.” “Even when the knives were out, Bobby Robson remained a real gentleman. So when he did something that could have ruined my career, he did so with such class he commanded my respect and eternal endearment, not resentment.”
Jonathan Northcroft sits down with new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti. “Ancelottiâ€™s brief is to provide something more enduring than Mourinhoâ€™s mere victories. He has to foster a principled way of playing, a positive, distinctive football culture that will become Chelseaâ€™s â€” and here Ancelotti uses the word that he has repeated since his appointment â€” ‘identity’. Of course, success has to be part of it but the Italian, who brought AC Milan panache (his idol was George Best) and at the same time two European Cups, has shown he can produce managementâ€™s golden yield, that of â€œsilverware with styleâ€, which only a few â€” Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, once upon a time ArsÃ¨ne Wenger â€” successfully cultivate.”
With the start of the Championship just a week away, The Times have interviews with MK Dons manager Paul Ince and Peterborough’s Darren Ferguson. And in The Observer, Jamie Jackson previews Derby and Nigel Clough, similarly, the Indepdent on Sunday speak with Gary Speed, now a coach at Sheffield United.
With typical comedy, Rod Liddle looks ahead to the start of the lower league season. “You’ve got to worry about Leyton Orient a bit, given their pre-season form. Fair enough, a draw snatched against Hayes & Yeading and a narrowish defeat by St Albans might be easily put to one side â€” but to score only six goals against Newcastle United? And to concede one?”
Duncan Castles in The Times provides a helpful article if you are looking to buy a football club. “The asking prices for a number of Englandâ€™s most historic football clubs have plummeted as rising debt and wage burdens have combined to provoke forced sales and frighten off potential buyers.Â The fall in valuations is so severe that an investor could have bought both Portsmouth and Southampton this summer for considerably less than the Â£22m Manchester City are preparing to pay for one England defender â€” Joleon Lescott.”
The News of the World, as ever, is one of the worst offenders for transfer gossip today. Suggesting, Manchester United will step up their pursuit of David Silva but are cooling their interest in Douglas Costa. The People suggest United are also after David Villa whilst the Sunday Express give new legs to the Sergio Aguero to Old Trafford rumour.
In more general pieces on the transfer window, The News of the World total up Manchester City’s summer spending spree and Ian Hawkey in The Times looks at how England has missed out on many of the big transfer targets.