Manchester United will soon launch a search for master architects with a view to modernising Old Trafford. The club has often come under fire from fans over the lack of improvements, although they say this summer alone they spent more than £20million on the ground and training HQ.
An appointment to look at Carrington is imminent, with the stadium set to follow. The focus on Old Trafford will be the ageing South Stand and the challenge that the adjacent railway line poses to any expansion plans.
The winning architect may well have to get creative — with the club keen to modernise but also preserve the ground’s history and heritage. ‘Significant investment and upgrades’ are promised.
Manchester United are set to hire architects with a view to modernising Old Trafford
Tina cheers up Bruce
Steve Bruce ended the whirlwind week of Newcastle’s takeover with a trip to the West End to watch The Tina Turner Musical. Witnesses said the Toon boss was out of his seat dancing to the songs of Tina — and with the prospect of an £8m pay-off, who could blame him?
That said, with his club being the richest in world football, Bruce may well feel Newcastle do not need another hero — in the dugout at least.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce is heading for an £8m pay-off as he faces the sack
EFL coaches are on the road to trouble
Premier League sides are still having to take two coaches to matches instead of one, causing a shortage of vehicles and drivers lower down the leagues.
Indeed, the lack of lorry and van drivers — and the lucrative roles now available — has seen some coach drivers depart for delivery firms, which is not helping the situation.
Molango makes an impression
He may not yet have set the world alight when it comes to dealing with football’s dementia crisis, but new PFA chief executive Maheta Molango was described as ‘very impressive’ when he delivered a presentation to officials from the EFL clubs during their first face-to-face meeting since Covid struck.
The event was held in Walsall last week.
IOC comes out fighting on World Cup
In a highly unusual intervention, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) came out on Saturday with a detailed statement opposed to football’s World Cup being staged every two years.
Seasoned IOC watchers were gobsmacked when the statement cited Formula One as an example of a sport that would be affected by such a move, given that the IOC has always been strongly opposed to any collusion with motor sport.
It all made for a rather awkward online press conference following the IOC executive board meeting, with technology issues during questions on mooted human rights protests at the torch ceremony today at Olympia, Greece, ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
Arsene Wenger has been a strong advocate of staging the World Cup every two years
Pressure to bring back the old pressers
UEFA and the Premier League appear to be at odds over the reopening of press conference rooms.
Those in Europe want a return to pre-pandemic measures, where managers could see the whites of the eyes of their interrogators, instead of conferences being carried out over Zoom, which the Premier League still favour.
A victory for UEFA would be music to the ears of some reporters. They are becoming frustrated with a small number of top-flight clubs, whose overzealous press officers mute them as soon as they have asked their question — preventing them asking follow-ups.
Others, with reputations for asking difficult questions, have wondered if they are being ignored when putting up their digital hands to no avail.
With VAR continuing to ruin football, perhaps it is no surprise that match officials’ body PGMOL has hired a new head of communications.
Ben Campbell is taking on the role, heading over in the new year from West Ham. Experience of working for an organisation where many of those involved are not necessarily popular with the public may have been a key skill identified by recruiters.
Slade leads legal action over personal data
Sports Agenda reported last Monday how more than 850 footballers are threatening legal action against gaming, betting and sports data companies over the alleged unlawful use of their personal and performance info.
The group is being led by former Cardiff manager Russell Slade and proceedings may not be a million miles away. In the meantime, new players’ contracts are set to feature a ‘data clause’ to protect against such misuse.
Former Cardiff boss Russell Slade heads up a group threatening legal action of use of personal data in football
Apple takes a slice of the Premier League
A fortnight ago, this column revealed how the makers of Apple smash hit Ted Lasso wanted to pay the Premier League for use of some of its assets. A deal has now been agreed but it can also be disclosed that Apple have paid West Ham £110,000 for the use of their ‘intellectual property’.
Viewers of the show, which sees a folksy ex-American football coach run the fictitious AFC Richmond, can expect to see the Hammers feature heavily throughout the forthcoming season — all the way to a thrilling, unlikely climax.
Fears over vaccine passports
Top-flight clubs are braced for a new Covid crisis, with concerns that the Government may soon tell them that they can only allow supporters who have been double-jabbed into matches.
Insiders fear that would present a ‘logistical nightmare’, with thousands of checks required before each game.
Chelsea are one of the few who would be in a strong position given their current approach, which is more robust than many rivals. Just last week, the Premier League put out new guidance telling fans to be ready to show their status on the NHS app.
Premeir League clubs fears fans could soon be required to have two jabs to be let into games
Spurs’ social media chief jumps ship
Another departure from Tottenham, with social media lead Craig Rodhouse jumping ship to join Premier League Productions.
In recent times the club has seen its heads of marketing, retail and legal consultant depart, along with head of comms Simon Felstein, who had been at Spurs for 15 years.