Home Sports SPORTS AGENDA: Manchester United already cashing in on 'Ronaldomania' and questions over...

SPORTS AGENDA: Manchester United already cashing in on 'Ronaldomania' and questions over bonuses

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Manchester United are reaping the rewards from their Ronaldo reunion before the player has even kicked a ball for the club this season.

Fanatics, the club’s retail partner, confirmed that in just four hours following the announcement that the 36-year-old would wear the No 7 shirt, sales surpassed the highest for a day on a single sports merchandise site outside North America. 

The first hour alone bettered the best ever full day of global sales for United Direct, the site that Fanatics operate, and at Old Trafford on Friday morning more than 200 people were queuing when the club’s megastore opened at 10am. 

Manchester United are already seeing the commercial and financial benefits of Ronaldomania

Manchester United are already seeing the commercial and financial benefits of Ronaldomania

The Red Devils sensationally signed former player Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) this summer

The Red Devils sensationally signed former player Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) this summer

Season tickets had sold out earlier in the year but hospitality season tickets have now followed suit.

Despite the Ronaldomania rush for tickets, United have donated more than 1,000 to schools and grassroots junior clubs for their Carabao Cup game against West Ham later this month. 

Eyebrows were raised by the transfer deadline day coverage on Sky Sports News. Reporter Kaveh Solhekol listed a number of successful deals carried out by the Stellar agency.

‘They are working on Odsonne Edouard to Crystal Palace, looks like that’s going to come off,’ he said. 

Sky Sports News presenter Kaveh Solhekol raised eyebrows when he praised Stellar agency on transfer deadline day, who helped broker Odsonne Edouard's transfer to Crystal Palace

Sky Sports News presenter Kaveh Solhekol raised eyebrows when he praised Stellar agency on transfer deadline day, who helped broker Odsonne Edouard’s transfer to Crystal Palace

‘They’re trying to do Saul Niguez to Chelsea as well, so if these two come off there are going to be champagne corks up in the air and celebrations in their offices because it has been an incredible summer for them.’

The agency has done well and pointing it out was fair comment. But Solhekol added: ‘If I was a player, I would be calling them and seeing if they could represent me.’

That astounded many from rival agencies — and so gushing was the praise it moved Stellar employee and ex-Southend and Brighton player David Lee to tweet a clip, with the caption: ‘When Sky Sports News do your next pitch for you.’ Quite. 

A Newcastle fan reacted to Burnley's Charlie Taylor accidentally hitting him with a stray shot

A Newcastle fan reacted to Burnley’s Charlie Taylor accidentally hitting him with a stray shot

Burnley full back Charlie Taylor was mortified when his errant shot in the warm-up before the Carabao Cup tie at Newcastle hit a home fan behind the goal. The former Leeds man quickly made his way over to apologise.

Taylor went on to score the winning penalty in a shootout and headed back to the fan with the intention of handing over his shirt. He was told to ‘f*** off’ by the wounded Magpie. 

Some have wondered whether the BBC’s relationship with the England and Wales Cricket Board in the wake of the Hundred has been a little too cosy.

Interesting, then, that there has been no mention on the broadcaster’s platforms of the story, broken by the Guardian, which revealed that a group of senior executives at the ECB are poised to share a projected £2.1m bonus —despite making 62 job cuts last year in response to the pandemic. 

Some questioned if the BBC’s relationship with the ECB is too cosy in the wake of the Hundred

Some questioned if the BBC’s relationship with the ECB is too cosy in the wake of the Hundred

There is a struggle among many international sports federations to get elite female Afghan athletes out of the country, particularly in the martial arts, boxing and wrestling federations.

The Taliban are known to be particularly opposed to women participating in contact sports, so it is not surprising that many of those involved have gone underground and are awaiting the chance to be taken across the border.

Insiders say one challenge is to determine whether unscrupulous Afghan sports officials are putting themselves and family members on rescue lists ahead of the more deserving athletes. 

Sprint star Jonnie Peacock has expressed concerns that if Channel 4 are privatised by the Government, coverage of the Paralympics will suffer.

Channel 4 have transformed the broadcasting of Paralympic sport since 2012 and Peacock, who won relay silver and T64 100m bronze at the Tokyo Games, said: ‘Strides made by Paralympic sport have been massively emphasised by these two weeks. 

Jonnie Peacock (c) expressed concerns about if Channel 4 are privatised by the Government

Jonnie Peacock (c) expressed concerns about if Channel 4 are privatised by the Government 

‘We wouldn’t be in the position we are without Channel 4 coverage and I hope this doesn’t change.’ 

Tickets for England’s not-so-enticing encounter with Andorra yesterday proved a little hard to shift, with the League Managers Association emailing their members last week to offer them free of charge. 

A leaked letter disclosed on Friday that UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin had ‘grave concerns’ over FIFA’s plans to stage the World Cup every two years. 

The note, in which Ceferin also criticised the lack of consultation, was sent to Football Supporters Europe. Some have expressed no surprise at the ‘leak’, given that FSE are funded to the tune of six figures by UEFA. 

A leaked letter revealed UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin had ‘grave concerns’ over FIFA plans

A leaked letter revealed UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin had ‘grave concerns’ over FIFA plans

Swansea City were one of the busiest clubs on transfer deadline day in the Championship, but a gentlemen’s agreement with MK Dons meant manager Russell Martin was unable to raid his ex-employers for talent.

Martin switched to the Welsh club at the start of August but a one-window-only agreement not to buy players from the Dons was struck. 

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, was late for an official live televised press conference last week. 

With Red Bull counterpart and rival Christian Horner present, the broadcast started in the Austrian’s absence. Wolff eventually appeared around five minutes after the start.

And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was late for a live televised press conference last week

And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was late for a live televised press conference last week

While the Paralympics have again been an amazing success story for GB athletes, it appears the same cannot be said of their comms operation. 

Those in Tokyo to cover the event were left fuming when details of the flag-bearers were released after midnight local time, and there have been instances of queries going unanswered amid claims the group have behaved ‘like big-time Charlies’.

To cap it all, yesterday they held a press conference in the main room, which seats 1,000, instead of one of the smaller rooms. It was attended by five press officers and seven reporters.  

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