All posts by Adam Stephens

Ed Woodward to step down as Manchester United’s Vice Chairman

Ed Woodward is set to step down as Manchester United’s Chief Executive at the end of 2021 following the controversy surrounding the European Super League proposal.

It was reportedly due to be announced at the end of this current campaign following eight years in his role, but it is understood that the 49-year-old played a significant role in the build up to the widely unpopular Super League announcement this past Sunday, so confirmation of his resignation was subsequently brought forward.  Plans for this league proposed by United and 11 other ‘leading European clubs’ have now been called off. 

Woodward’s association with the Red Devils began in 2005 when he helped the Malcolm Glazer buy the club as an adviser. He then took charge of United’s commercial and media activities in 2007 before being named executive vice-chairman in 2013, replacing David Gill. 

The vice-chairman has come under increased scrutiny in recent years over the perceived failings of United in the transfer market. 

During his tenure managers David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho had all reportedly had issues with Woodward following his failed pursuits of the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Leighton Baines and Gareth Bale. Van Gaal even went as far as describing him as ‘an evil genius’. To address this the club has recently undergone a restructure by appointing John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director.   

In addition, the Glazer family’s ownership has always been a contentious among United’s fan base. Speaking on Sky’s Monday Night Football regarding his old club’s current owners and inclusion in the European Super League, Gary Neville said: 

“They have stepped over the mark. They are scavengers and need booting out of this football club and booting out of this country. We have got to come together. It might be too late, there’ll be people at Manchester United, fans 15 years ago who will say it’s too late. It’s never too late, we have got to stop this. It is absolutely critical we do.”

It is already rumoured that Richard Arnold could perhaps replace the outgoing Woodward ahead of the 2021/22 season, amongst United’s fans on Twitter, however, Gill’s name has already been trending far and wide in the hope that he can bring back the glory days to Old Trafford again.

Swansea City boycott Social Media following online abuse

Following recent online abuse, Championship side Swansea City have decided to take club-wide stance by boycotting all forms of social media for one week.

This boycott will include players in the first team, academy sides, women’s team as well as the club’s official accounts, who will stop posting from 5pm on April 8. 

The Swans have become the first club to take this stance against racial abuse on social media. Indeed, over the past two months the Welsh sides players’: Jamal Lowe, Ben Cabango and Yan Dhanda have all been targets of discrimination online.  

The club made this historic announcement via the official twitter account this week and Swansea City captain Matt Grimes said: 

“As a close and diverse group of players this is something that we are extremely passionate about.

“Social media has provided so many positives over the last decade, however, the sickening and vile abuse that we are seeing on a daily and weekly basis is wholly unacceptable, and we hope that this stance across the club will be supported by everyone.

“We are a family, and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, whether that’s on the pitch or helping to fight injustice off it.”

The club’s chief executive Julian Winter, meanwhile, has sent letters to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook’s founder, chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to ask for “more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse”.

This club-wide stance will cover the Swans forthcoming matches against Millwall on April 10 and their trip to Sheffield Wednesday on April 13. During this period the club news will be posted via the official website before a return to social media activity at 5pm on April 15.

Following this announcement, should more clubs follow Swansea City’s example to get Social Media platforms to do more to prevent online abuse? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…. 

Gunners’ fans voice displeasure at rumoured ‘Ajaxenal’ kit

Arsenal’s reported new home kit for the 2021-22 season has been shared online and many fans have already made their feelings known regarding the new design.  

The shirt was shared by FootyHeadlines and will be mainly red, with white sleeves and side panels.  It will also feature navy stripes on the collar.  The kit is reportedly set to go on sale in July. 

The strip has prompted much talk among Gunner’s fans, however, who are comparing it to the Dutch side Ajax’s famous colour. Indeed, many believe that the strip looks more like four-time Champions League winners rather than the team from North London. 

One fan has already tweeted saying: 

Dressing up as Ajax won’t get us playing in the UCL lads” 

Another, meanwhile, named it:

“Ajaxenal”

While one supporter even went as far as praising the Dutch side, who are set to face Roma in the Europa League quarter-finals this week. 

They wrote:

“It’s Ajax FC we’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.” 

Finally, another said: 

“If we’re going to commit to relying on a bunch of youngsters, may as well go 100% Ajax.”

Some supporters have also jokingly suggested that it was in fact a ploy to get fan favourite Marc Overmars to return to North London.  

Overmars is currently the Director of football at the Dutch club, but is rumoured to be leaving before too long and fans would clearly welcome the chance for the Dutch winger to replace their current Director Edu, whose position has come under intense scrutiny.  

The Gunners reported third kit design, meanwhile, has gone down much better with the supporters as it is invoking memories of a classic jersey from 1994-1996, referred to as ‘Blue Lightening’. It will perhaps rekindle memories of the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright. 

For the current crop of players and manager Mikel Arteta, they will hope that this new kit change sparks a substantial improvement and better things to come next season. 

What are your thoughts on the rumoured new kits Arsenal fans? Feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments below….

Gary Bowyer appointed Salford City Manager

The former Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has agreed to become the new boss of Salford City until the end of the 2020-21 season. 

The 49-year-old is set to become Salford’s third manager of the campaign after Richie Wellens was sacked on Monday having been in charge for just four months.  

Wellens had led Salford to victory in the EFL Trophy 2019/20 final a little over a week ago, as they were able to overcome Portsmouth. It was his performances in the league, however, that proved the ex-Swindon manager’s undoing and prompted Gary Neville and ‘Class of 92’ to sack him.  

Bowyer is currently set to take charge of Salford’s remaining 11 games before returning to Derby to resume his role as their Under 23s boss.  He is going to be assisted by former Manchester United Coach Warren Joyce, who has also had spells as manager with Wigan Athletic and Melbourne City, and ex-Manchester United and Everton midfielder Darren Gibson.   

Following his appointment, Bowyer said: 

I’m delighted to be here, I’ve got to first and foremost thank Wayne Rooney, Darren Wassall at Derby County for being so helpful to allow me to come here. Obviously today is a case of meeting the players and setting the expectations of what we expect of them from now until the end of the season.

“We want them to be playing aggressive football both with and without the ball, and have a right good go at these remaining 11 games. We have an opportunity like everybody else in this league to try and force our way into the reckoning to try and get into the play offs and see if we can do that.”

During his playing days Bowyer played as a full back for Hereford United and Rotherham United, but he had to retire early due to injury.  He was, however, part of the successful Miller’s side who won the EFL Trophy in 1996.  

As a Manager, meanwhile, one of his main highlights so far has been winning promotion from League Two with Blackpool via the play-offs in 2017.  

Indeed, that is something that Neville and the Class of 92 will want Bowyer to emulate with their Salford side who are six points outside of the play-off places following there 2-0 loss to leaders Cheltenham Town.  His first game in charge will be against fellow play-off hopefuls Exeter City this weekend.  

Can Salford still achieve promotion to League One this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below….   

Will Harry Kane’s loyalty for Spurs be tested?

A few months is a long time in football, especially it appears this season where so many sides are experiencing fluctuating fortunes.  

Take Liverpool for example, up until the last two months could do no wrong, but have now suffered back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Brendan Rodger’s Leicester.  They subsequently face a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. 

Then there is Tottenham Hotspur. Back in November they produced a Jose Mourinho masterclass to secure a 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.  They were in fact setting the pace at the top of the Premier League, both Son-Heung min and Harry Kane were the most prolific pairing in the division and there appeared a new found reliance, which was installed by Mourinho.  

Fast forward, however, to what is commonly referred to as the business end of the campaign and Spurs now find themselves down in ninth in the table, 17 points behind league leaders City following a rather chastening experience of a 3-0 loss at the Etihad.  

Indeed, since that previously highlighted 2-0 loss in November Guardiola’s men have now gone 16 games unbeaten in all competitions and during that time have just conceded three goals, while scoring 36. 

The North London side, meanwhile, have only won four games in 14 since that impressive 2-0 win, the goals have dried up and Kane has looked an increasingly fore lawn figure leading the line. 

During Tottenham’s latest defeat, the England captain failed to register a single touch in the opposition penalty area.  In fact Kane put in an impressive performance as a defender having registered four clearances during yesterday’s 3-0 loss, which was the joint highest of any Spurs player.  

Following the game, however, Jamie Redknapp in the Sky Studio said:

“Harry Kane must look at that and think: ‘I want touches, I want to be the main man, not just taking free-kicks!’ He won’t be happy doing that.”

Redknapp is not the only former Spurs player to have highlighted that Kane would not be happy to be feeding off limited service.  

Prior to the match at the Etihad former fans favourite Clive Allan, who coached Kane during his days in the Tottenham academy raised the point that the England striker will not want to end his career without getting his hands on silverware.   

Allan said on TalkSport: 

“He is integral to Spurs achieving any sort of success, because without him they are not as strong a team. The way he links the play, the way he scores goals, the way he creates chances for other players.

“But, I have no doubt he has had thoughts about it [leaving].

“He’s been fantastic at the club from the first moment he walked in as a 16-year-old. I worked with him at that early age, and you could see he had the most incredible appetite and desire to improve himself, to get the best out of himself, which obviously we have seen he has done.

“But I think he will want a career where he has won something.”

This then leads on to where would Kane go if he were to leave his beloved boyhood club? 

Well, Manchester City are certainly one of the few clubs who can afford the England international and will almost certainly be in the market for a world class striker despite managing so impressively without Sergio Aguero.   

Then there is City’s rivals Manchester United, who have long been reported admirers of Kane and he would certainly provide them with a more cutting edge that times appears to be missing at crucial moments in big games.  

Abroad, meanwhile, there is Real Madrid who are the obvious candidates and Zinedine Zidane’s men are currently experiencing one of the club’s most disappointing season’s to date as they are eight points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid and have already been eliminated from the Copa Del Rey this year.

The likes of Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona would also undoubtedly be interested, despite not being as good as previous Catalan teams they are still a side that offer an obvious attraction. 

In short, Kane will have no shortage of options should he choose to leave his boyhood club and a lot will depend on what happens in the remaining months of the season and also whether he fancies a crack at pastures anew. 

Do you think that Harry Kane will leave his boyhood club this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…..