Bonus Brian Reade: Why Gareth Bale's £85m transfer will have made Liverpool owners laugh and cry – Brian Reade


Liverpool’s owners must have felt relieved this week.

And it had nothing to do with a rival club losing a world-class player.

It’s because no one can now refer to the £35million they wasted on Andy Carroll as the transfer record for a British player.

It’s a stat that, rightly, had them cringing for two years.

But a look at the fee Spurs chairman Daniel Levy recouped for Bale must have made them wince even harder – at the head-scratching deals previous Liverpool owners did with Real Madrid, which partly explains why the club fell out of the elite.

Spurs squeezed £85m out of Real for a player who has played only 10 Champions League games, no international tournament games and has never won a trophy.

Kenny Dalglish on England: How clubs going to plan B can save English football – Kenny Dalglish

Alex Livesey

There is not a simple ­solution to the issue of dwindling opportunities for English players in the Premier League.

The new FA chairman Greg Dyke recognised that – that’s why he didn’t offer one.

However, it is simplistic to blame the Premier League and the influx of foreign players for any of England’s ills.

After England won the World Cup in 1966, they weren’t exactly a model of success.

They didn’t even qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, when there were plenty of English players about.

There are new problems now, of course, and Dyke was right to make some of the points he did.

There is more money involved. There is more pressure not to lose that money by being relegated.

And more managers look for quick fixes from abroad rather than trust young English players.

There are exceptions.

I admired what Paul Lambert did at Aston Villa last season. He stuck with a crop of young players and they gave absolutely everything for him.

I bought several English and British players in my last spell as Liverpool manager.

I didn’t buy them because they were British. I bought them because they were decent players. But I did think they might gel more quickly, too.

The situation Dyke was describing would be helped if some Premier League teams were allowed to run B-teams in the lower divisions, like they do in Spain.

There would be resistance to the idea of so-called feeder clubs here, but it would be a step forward.

Top-flight teams could then have a preferred club that they put their kids into. It would be mutually ­beneficial.

The reserve league’s gone now, and what’s happening at the moment is that kids are getting discarded younger and younger.

What is impossible to deny is that if the current generation of young English players had been given more playing opportunities they would be better than they are now.

So do something about it, but don’t expect it to be easy – and don’t just blame the Premier League.

The Premier League and the FA look after their own interests.

Their relationship is characterised by tension and suspicion. That has to end. They have to embrace more radical measures.

There has got to be a marriage between them or else the talking will never come to anything.

Click here for Kenny Dalglish .

Brian Reade on Greg Dyke: Here's what he could have said in THAT speech about England.. – Brian Reade


When it comes to football, Greg Dyke has always talked a good game.

Good, that is, until the dust settles on the soundbites, at which point it usually looks about as good as a goalless draw between a Tony Pulis side and a Mick McCarthy one.

When he took over as BBC Director General he cited his main ambition as winning back rights to show the people’s game.

“You can get football if you duck and dive a bit,” he assured us.

It didn’t happen.

In fact, he lost the jewel in its crown, Match of the Day, to ITV, causing then Shadow Heritage Secretary Peter Ainsworth to question his competence.

“I don’t know how Greg Dyke can reconcile this loss with his statement that Match of the Day was going to be his priority. He has obviously massively miscalculated the value of these rights,” said Ainsworth.

In 2001, when the Football League’s deal with ITV Digital hit the buffers, Dyke warned that the bubble had burst.

“The gravy train for football is coming to an end,” he said, giving this Armageddon-style warning to Premier League clubs:

“Don’t go signing five-year contracts with players at inflated salaries on the assumption that the next time the TV rights are coming up there will be another big jump in the price – there could well be a big fall.”

It didn’t happen.

When the Glazers took over Manchester United in 2005 he claimed United could “become the next Leeds” and the Americans would be gone “in five years”.

It didn’t happen.

Lamenting on United’s plight, he said: “Perhaps football clubs are not suited to being public companies in the first place.”

Oh dear.

This from the man who, as ITV boss, cajoled the leading clubs into breaking away from the smaller ones and ushered in the era of plc greed that sucked in foreign sharks like the Glazers.

Dyke helped to create the haves and have-nots of football, helping the naive FA – who wanted to smash the Football League – into believing that the formation of a Premier League was in the interests of the national team.

That certainly didn’t happen, which is why Dyke, as FA chairman, now assumes the role of People’s Hero by and something needs to be done.

And he’s going to do it.

with no terms of reference or time frame, the result of which will somehow be England winning the 2022 World Cup… in 100-degree heat in Qatar.

It won’t happen.

Once Dyke’s gallery-playing is forgotten (when this international break ends?) the Premier League bosses, club owners and managers won’t even remember what he said.

Instead of cynically playing the blind patriot card by , he could have bravely argued that it is too easy to blame all football’s ills on the nasty Premier League.

He could have done a mea culpa on behalf of the FA by attacking its antiquated structure, ineffectual figures such as Trevor Brooking and and developing talent.

He could have attacked successive governments for the criminal way they have damaged school sport provision.

By common consent, .

The thing is, anyone could have said it.

He may have good intentions but he is not a football visionary, just a clever company man.

A shrewd, wealthy businessman with a decent bloke persona, who talks a good game.

But that’s all it is.

And his talk, unlike the price of admission into the Premier League he created, is cheap.

Click here for .

Oliver Holt on Rickie Lambert: The fairytale continues as he rides the England wave all the way to Rio – Oliver Holt

Ross Kinnaird – The FA

In February last year, a kid called Jeremy Lin became, for a short time, the hottest thing in basketball.

He was a reject, a fringe player, a young man who had spent much of his time, both in fact and figuratively, in the D-League.

But for a couple of months that spring he became a phenomenon, leading the New York Knicks on an unlikely winning streak.

Soon, the phenomenon was given a name.

Linsanity, they called it.

That summer, he was traded and the zeitgeist moved on.

It happens in sport sometimes.

A career that has been unremarkable explodes in a starburst and then recedes once more.

Think of Toto Schillaci at the 1990 World Cup. A man not previously seen as a superstar suddenly had the world at his feet.

Rickie Lambert’s story is not quite in that league yet but last night, it moved a step closer to fairy tale.

What it shares with Lin’s and Schillaci’s stories is the feeling that a man has been given a chance and suddenly anything is possible.

What it shares is the sense of a sportsman determined to seize the moment, a man riding the wave all the way to the shore.

It is worth recalling, once again, the trajectory of Lambert’s 15-year professional career so far.

It goes like this: Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale, Bristol Rovers and Southampton.

Manchester United news: Marouane Fellaini admits to deadline day nerves ahead of Old Trafford transfer

Julian Finney

Marouane Fellaini admits he was feeling nervous on transfer deadline day .

The 25-year-old, who starred in Belgium’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Scotland last night, admits it is a "big step" to move to Old Trafford, but that he is relishing the opportunity.

Fellaini was David Moyes’ only signing on deadline day, .

And now he has his eyes set on winning trophies at his new club.

"It is a big step for me," he said. "But I have played five years in England, I know the league and I know the players so I don’t think I will have a problem with this move.

"Of course I look forward to it, I am playing with big players so I need to work hard for my place.

"To win a trophy with Manchester United and play a lot of games, that is important.

Julian Finney 

"I watched the game (against Liverpool) and in the second half the team played very well and had a lot of chances but couldn’t score, but football is like this.

"It will be tough, every year is tough for the big teams but I think Manchester United has the quality to win the championship so I look forward to this."

The Belgian also said that while he hadn’t had his best game in the qualifier at Hampden, he’s happy to have taken the three points.

"When I started the campaign with Everton I looked forward to the transfer so in the end I was happy," he said.

"I was a little bit nervous on Monday but in the end I have my transfer and I have won with Belgium so I am happy.

"It wasn’t my best game but we won and it was a good game for us.

"We scored the first half and dominated the game and that was important."

Sheffield United new multi-millionaire Prince speaks of desire to take Blades back to the Premier League

Sheffield United’s new co-owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud says it’s his ambition to see the club return to the Premiership.

The Prince, a member of the family of the founder of Saudi Arabia, for funding the side’s push to the big time.

He will see his new club in action for the first time this afternoon at Rotherham United’s New York stadium and admitted he turned his back on a number of Championship clubs in favour of a joint venture with current Blades chairman Kevin McCabe.

“I have wanted to invest in a club for some time,” said the multi-millionaire businessman. “But before I did that I had some criteria about the club I wanted to invest in.

“If I went into a partnership with someone, we have to have the right chemistry.

"I didn’t want to go into a club with huge debt because that would be detrimental to achieving my goals. Kevin offered me 50 per cent for just £1 and said ‘just help us get back to where we belong’ – that was a very good first pitch. We agreed a certain amount of money to be invested in the team.”

And while the news will be welcomed by fans of the struggling League One outfit, the Prince has warned supporters that he will not be ‘an oil well of money’ and adopt an approach similar to the likes of Manchester City by chucking money at the club.


"He has also warned that the club’s current start to the season is not good enough and he expects to see significant improvement.

He added: “The team has been performing well but has had problems scoring. I’ve been watching football for years and, until a few weeks ago, played twice a week. All I did growing up was play football. The team needs to improve and it needs to improve quickly. Whatever David (Weir) and the team needs, we have to do. We need to start winning. Good performances are not going to take you anywhere. You are what your record says you are.

“I spoke to David and I liked him. I’ve met many coaches, Eric Gerets, Mario Zagola and I know coaches and I know the sport. I trust David. I’m really impressed by him and the way he talks about football, but we have to give him the tools. League One is very competitive.

"We’re not going to get promoted unless there is major improvement. Yes, we will be active in this loan window. The team is missing a striker, so we have to bring one in.”


Lifelong Blades supporter McCabe, who has invested £90 million in the club over the last ten years, said the pair met by chance in January when the Prince, who has a house in LA and London, was over to watch Chelsea in the Champions League.

He said: “I have been looking at partner investors for years. Other people have been interested and quoted figures that have been very interesting but after sleeping on it I knew it was wrong for Sheffield United and I turned down those offers. The discussion with Prince Abdullah was quite fortunate. We had coffee together before a Chelsea game just talking football and it was just an hour and a half of enjoying each other’s conversation. That then led to courtesy emails as follow up and it went from there.

“It has worked well because it wasn’t intended, so by getting closer together we realised this should work. The fans must not be too impatient. We are not just going to suddenly win every game 5-0. This is a transition that won’t take decades, but we will still have to select players in a proper manner. “

Daniel Sturridge OUT of England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine as FA confirm injury hasn't improved

Scott Heavey

Daniel Sturridge will not be featuring for England on Tuesday night in their World Cup qualifier against Ukraine after being ruled out through injury.

It had been hoped that would recover enough to feature in Kiev next week, but the FA confirmed in a statement that his thigh problem has not healed sufficiently.

The injury occurred during last week’s 1-0 win against Manchester United, .

, boss Roy Hodgson has decided not to call up a replacement.

"The FA can confirm that Daniel Sturridge will not return to the England squad ahead of the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday," said the FA in a statement.

"Club England medical staff have been in constant contact with their counterparts at Liverpool football club since he returned there on Thursday, his injury has not progressed as had been hoped and it is now clear that Sturridge will not be fit for the match in Kiev on Tuesday evening."