Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Plays Down Expectations for ‘Quick Fix’ Spending Spree in Summer Window

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned that there is no ‘quick fix’ to the club’s current struggles and that they must be ‘realistic’ in the summer transfer window, perhaps not the news that some fans expecting an immediate turnaround will want to hear.

Following Champions League elimination at the hands of Barcelona earlier this week, Solskjaer had acknowledged that there is a ‘lot of work to be done’ and still a need for ‘rebuilding’ if the club is to seriously challenge for major trophies in the coming years.

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With rumours that United are targeting young emerging stars like Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Declan Rice, as well as the potential to land an established world class centre-back, there is speculation that the summer budget could reach £250m.

Solskjaer has confirmed that new players will be brought in, but he has stressed that patience will be necessary as no amount of spending will turn United into title contenders overnight.

“I’ve been speaking to the club and we know we have to be realistic here,” the 46-year-old said as he spoke at his weekly press conference on Friday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“We that there is a job to be done, there’s no quick fix, it’s not like buy seven players and suddenly we’re in the right shape. We are where we are, we have to take it step by step. Of course there will be signings made in the summer, but there also has to be thought.”

But Solskjaer cannot rely on new signings. He knows the existing players at his disposal must do more after ​allegedly accusing them of ​not giving ​100 per cent against Barcelona.

That will start with pre-season and seeing which players have the right attitude and mentality, who has taken care of themselves over the summer and who is immediately ready to work.

“I can’t wait for pre-season to come. There will be some additions, that’s one side of it. But the players have got to come back knowing what’s expected of them on the first day of pre-season,” the Norwegian explained.

“It’s not like in the 1990s where you come back overweight and then we start to work. They’ve got to do the job and take ownership of that over the holidays and that will be great to see who’s coming back ready.”

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Premier League Stars Set for 24-Hour Social Media Boycott in Protest Against Racist Abuse

Professional footballers across the Premier League and Football League are set to undertake a 24-hour boycott of all forms of social media, in protest against the recent rise in racial abuse and the inability of platforms to properly combat it. 

The 2018/19 season has been plagued by a series of racial incidents on and off the pitch, the most recent of which involving Manchester United defender Ashley Young, who was abused online following his side’s loss to Barcelona in the Champions League.


​​And the Professional Footballers’ Association have decided to take action, launching the ‘#Enough’ campaign in an attempt to force the issue and make a stand against the onslaught of racial abuse. 

In an official statement on their ​website, the PFA proclaimed: “On Friday 19th April, professional footballers in England and Wales will boycott social media to take a stand against racism.

“#Enough is a campaign organised by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), which will encourage players not to use any form of social media from 09.00am 19th April to 09.00am on the 20th April.

“Over the last few months, both domestically and internationally, there have been a number of high-profile racist incidents directed at players. The boycott acts as a show of unity by the players, and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch.

Raheem Sterling

“Players recognise that these racist incidents are a reflection of societal issues. They know first-hand how damaging racism can be and are using their platforms to inspire change that will benefit players, football and society as a whole.

“The boycott is the first step in a longer campaign to tackle racism in football. The PFA will continue to work closely with The FA and government to ensure more is done to tackle racist abuse, while also seeking to put pressure on both FIFA and UEFA through FIFPro.”

As part of the protest, the body are encouraging all of their members to post the ‘#Enough’ logo across their platforms before the boycott. This statement was backed up by strongly worded statements from Danny Rose, Chris Smalling and ​Troy Deeney

The United centre-half explained: “Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, justifying it as just ‘part of the game’ but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels, taking responsibility for protecting the mental health of users regardless of age, race, sex or income.

“I understand that I am in an extremely privileged position and I am deeply thankful for that but, at the end of the day, we are all human. As a patron of a youth education charity it is my duty to use my platform as a voice for all, regardless of background. We have to take a greater stand against discrimination of all kinds.”

Troy Deeney

Backing this up was the ​Watford captain, who was targeted on social media alongside teammate Adrian Mariappa earlier this month. He declared: “My teammates and I have been on the receiving end of well documented abuse from a minority of narrow-minded, ignorant people both on social media and on the pitch. Any racism in football is too much, and it’s essential that we fight it wherever and whenever we see it.

“On Friday we are sending a message to anyone that abuses players – or anyone else – whether from the crowd or online, that we won’t tolerate it within football. The boycott is just one small step, but the players are speaking out with one voice against racism – enough is enough.”

​Spurs full-back Rose, who was on the receiving end of racist chanting during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, then added: “When I said that I can’t wait to see the back of football, it is because of the racism that I, and many other players, have been subjected to our entire careers.

Danny Rose

“Football has a problem with racism.

“I don’t want any future players to go through what I’ve been through in my career. Collectively, we are simply not willing to stand-by while too little is done by football authorities and social media companies to protect players from this disgusting abuse.”

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Man Utd & Tottenham Make ‘Initial Contact’ With Milan Over Davide Calabria Transfer

​Manchester United have made ‘initial contact’ with Milan over the potential signing of their academy product Davide Calabria.

After making his way through the youth teams at the club, the right-back has established himself as first choice under Gennaro Gattuso, making 27 starts in all competitions for the Rossoneri.

Davide Calabria

In one of numerous rumours that are set to bubble up to the surface regarding ​United’s summer transfer activity, ​CalcioMercato have claimed the Calabria has ‘enticed’ the Red Devils (along with fellow Premier League side ​Tottenham) and that ‘initial contact’ has been made.

The Italian has been a bright spark in an otherwise dim season for Gattuso’s side, as they battle it out with Roma to seal the fourth and final European spot in ​Serie A this term.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has earmarked the right-back spot as a key point of reinforcement in the coming window, with Antonio Valencia leaving Old Trafford in the summer, Matteo Darmian likely to be sold and huge question marks surrounding the under-fire Ashley Young.

For Spurs, Kieran Trippier has failed to live up to the high standards he set himself last season, while Serge Aurier’s future continues to look bleak in north London.

There are issues surrounding any potential deal for either club, however, with ​Milan viewing their academy star as a player for the present and the future. 

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-MILAN-SAMPDORIA

Leonardo and Paolo Maldini are insistent on retaining Calabria at the club and ready to offer the fullback a new deal at the end of the season. Any deal put forward to the 22-year-old would be an improvement on his current deal, which earns him €1.1m net per season.

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Casey Stoney Confirms Man Utd Women Could Play Games at Old Trafford Next Season

Manchester United Women manager Casey Stoney has confirmed that talks have taken place for the team to potentially play at least one game at Old Trafford next season.

In their debut season, United have played all of their home games at Leigh Sports Village, a venue to the west of Manchester that is primarily associated with rugby league but also plays host to the club’s Under-23 and Under-18 men’s teams.

Casey Stoney

“We’ve had discussions with the club [about playing at Old Trafford]. It logistically wasn’t possible this year with the short turnaround and the schedules. But I know it is something the club are looking into next year,” Stoney told BBC Sport this week.

“If the schedules fit and it’s the right time, then I’m sure it’s something that could happen.”

Indeed, reserve and youth team games are occasionally played at Old Trafford, with the Under-23s recently hosting West Brom at the Theatre of Dreams on a free entry night.

The news that both United and Manchester City are open to hosting women’s games at Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium respectively was reported by Manchester Evening News earlier this month.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League

That story came shortly after England Women manager Phil Neville had urged clubs in Britain to ‘throw open your stadium’ after seeing Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Juventus all attracting enormous crowds for women’s games earlier this year.

“What I would say is now there are some teams, the big teams, who have got to open their big stadiums and fill them. Let’s blow the rest of Europe away because I think the game in this country is at a far better place than what it is in Spain or Italy,” Neville said.

“If Man United or Arsenal win the league, throw open your stadium.”

The idea of United hosting women’s games at Old Trafford has actually been a possibility from the very beginning. Aside from Leigh, the team has two official secondary venues that ‘may or may not be used’ at any point during the season. One is Old Trafford and the other is Moss Lane, home to National League North side and famous FA Cup giant killer Altrincham.


United’s women have been a great success on the pitch since the team was formed last summer. Stoney’s team have taken the second tier Women’s Championship by storm and secured promotion to the top flight Women’s Super League with three games still to play when they thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 on Wednesday night.

One more win will also seal the league title, with United facing Crystal Palace at Leigh on Saturday.

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The Top 20 Premier League Home Kits in History

Kits. Shirts. Jerseys. Threads. Whatever you call them, there is one thing we can all agree on – they are *the* *most* *important* thing in football. 

But, even *more* important than that is the ranking of said kits. It’s a big task, make no bones about it, but it’s also imperative. Too many have tried. Too many have so abysmally failed. So, here, at last, is your DEFINITIVE top 20 home kits (or ‘jerseys’ – we’re all friends here) of the Premier League era. 

Some disclaimers right off the bat. 1) One kit per club, otherwise it just gets messy. 2) ONE KIT PER CLUB. Right. Let’s GOOOO. 


20. Queens Park Rangers – 1995/96

What a place to start. This perfectly summarises everything we’re looking for – invention, class, subtlety, ingenuity etc etc. Some QPR fans consider the preceding cut from 1994/95 to be superior, but that’s just insanity, IMHO. 

Though that edition was pretty similar, the badge was not centralised, and that makes it plainly inferior. But also, just look at that blue.


19. Manchester City – 2000/01

Man City v Arsenal

Undoubtedly, Manchester City’s greatest look came in the years 1997-99 (we’re talking Kappa sleeves and everything). Unfortunately, they were in the second division at that point (tinpot). Thankfully, though, they briefly returned in the 2000/01 season to deliver a true classic, before promptly plummeting back to the depths.

But the kit. Let’s talk about the kit. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Subverting the usual mundanity of that one-tone Sky Blueness, the Citizens plumped for a generous coating of white on the sleeves, alongside a deeper blue to create a flash-in-the-pan masterpiece. In case you’re wondering, no not every single one of these will have centralised logos, but it helps. 


18. Leicester – 2000/01

Leicester v West Ham

Le Coq Sportif sponsor? Check. 

Outrageously large stitched embroidery of Walkers logo? Check.

Robbie Savage’s flowing locks? I mean, they didn’t come with the kit, but check.


17. Fulham – 2009/10

Bobby Zamora

As you’ve seen so far, the legacy of a shirt is not always intrinsically linked with team success, but it is when you look at this Fulham kit from the summation of the first decade of the 21st century. 

It was a time of unbridled prosperity for the Cottagers. A time of Bobby Zamora, Roy Hodgson, Clint Dempsey, Andy Johnson, Dickson Etuhu, Damien Duff and Zoltan Gera. A time of FIFA 10 free-kicks with Danny Murphy. A time of Juventus triumphs and Europa League finals. 

And all that was made even more poignant thanks to their wonderfully woven threads.


16. Everton – 2005/06

Tim Cahill

If I was given a choice of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio or Tim Cahill to parade down a catwalk in this outfit, be it laid down on Goodison Park or otherwise, it would be Timmy C every day of the week. 

Has one man not named David Ginola ever looked so good in a kit? I doubt it. And that’s as much down to the kit as it is the man himself. An intoxicating combination.


15. Nottingham Forest – 1992/93

Stan Collymore

Yes, we’ll get to the pinstripes, and how impressively Nottingham Forest pulled them off, in a minute. But for now, let’s marvel at this kit in totality. Take the red strip at the bottom of the shorts and the reverse embroidery at the top of the socks. Exceptional. 

But, as alluded to, it is all about the pinstripes. Those darned controversial, alluring pinstripes. Many have tried to incorporate them, many have emerged with thin, orderly lines of egg on their face. But in the 1992/93 season – yes, they were relegated, of course they were – Nottingham Forest executed the design with pure panache. 


14. Aston Villa – 1993-95

ASTON VILLA V NEWCASTLE

Ignore the impending ACL injury that’s about to occur in this photo (I’m sure he was fiiine), and instead immerse yourself in the intricacies of this cracking offer from the Villans. 

I know, the ‘Müller’ logo shouldn’t work with the Claret and Blues’ signature colour palette, especially with one as Claret heavy as this one, but it somehow does, doesn’t it?


13. Southampton – 1993-95

FA PREMIER

Wow. Look at that. Jarring at first, perhaps. But stare deeper. Lose yourself in the abstract stripes that lead nowhere, obeying no rules or regulations. 

Don’t focus on the strangeness of the word ‘Dimplex’ and then say it over and over again in your head till it’s ringing, no, look past the inopportune sponsorship deal of the time, and instead marvel at that walking art exhibition of a shirt. And don’t sleep on the shorts.


12. Coventry City – 1996/97

Coventry City have been through hard, hard times since they graced the footballing world with this Gallic beauty. 

From their ill-advised follow-up to said beauty, where they swapped the gravitas of Peugeot for the boy-racer brashness of Subaru, and shoved a shirt-sized badge in the background, to, you know, plummeting down the Football League, it’s been a difficult 20-odd years. 

Clearly, that’s the price of greatness. It’s Icarus all over again.


11. Crystal Palace – 1997/98

Bruce Dyer

​Crystal Palace went full Bayern Munich here (especially when accompanied with the white shorts, which we couldn’t here, because all of the pictures contained a combined singular pixel), and it was an utter treat. 

Sure, a bit like City’s 2001 effort, it did not portend to on-field success – the Eagles were instantly relegated after their triumphant promotion campaign the year before – but still, talk about going down fighting. Yes, the badge might be a tad oversized, but that oversight becomes overpowered when faced with the cosmopolitan wonders of that TDK logo combined with the adidas stripes, especially those tricolor-like ones on the shorts. Magnifique. 

They may have been relegated to the Championship, but they did it in a Champions League kit.


10. Leeds United – 1995/96

The difficulty in executing a successful homage kit in football cannot be underestimated, which is why this stunning offer kicks off our top 10. 

I won’t lie, Leeds have had some corking kits – from the yellow-striped classic from the two years prior to this one, to the Hypebeastified Strongbow shirt at the turn of the century – but it’s this one that nabs the title. Just look at the badge. Christ. 


9. Tottenham – 1999-01

Tottenham’s best kit, and it wasn’t even close until Nike came to sort it out in 2017. Still, what a glorious kit that is, made even more glorious by the grade A lid David Ginola was sporting throughout his Spurs career.

Also, Holsten is a Hall of Fame sponsor, thank god the club saw the error of their ways when they momentarily swapped it for Hewlett Packard back when their logo was a wordy eye-sore.


8. Sheffield Wednesday – 1992/93

Now, normally you want to isolate the kit in question as much as you can, and there are probably better examples of why this Sheffield Wednesday number is so worthy, but, for my money​, none show this fact more than this one. 

Because just look at that Sheffield United monstrosity. If you were thinking this is all just 90s nostalgia, then think again, because I never want to remember that. Also, as an aside, no this is not a Testimonial, this is an FA Cup semi final and that old bloke is an actual player. 

P.s. if the aforementioned Football Sponsorship Hall of Fame had a sponsor itself, it would be the Sanderson Football Sponsorship Hall of Fame, because, I mean, cooome on. 


7. Liverpool – 1993-96

Some ​Liverpool fans stan for the infamous v-neck of 1995/96, probably because of its presence in that infamous 4-3 comeback against Newcastle, but its thickness around the neck makes me sweat every time I see it.

This one, on the other hand, feels like the perfect balance between comfort and style. Plus, you have the classiness of that green finish at the top of the collar and the end of the sleeves – so festive! – and the biggest adidas stripes you’ve ever seen plastered down each side. Winner.


6. Chelsea – 2001-03

Diego Forlan of Manchester United tussles with Frank Lampard of Chelsea for possession of the ball

No, it may not have the title-winning credentials of 2003-05, or the Autoglass and Gianfranco Zola-ness of 1997-99, but it has everything else. 

From a pre-rounded, pre-completely altered badge, to a collar in the last season you could really get away with one, this is a wonderful conception, and hangs effortlessly on the greatest goalscoring midfielder the ​Premier League has ever seen.


5. Blackburn Rovers – 1994/95

What a timeless, timeless design. Yes, it’s imbued by the fact that Alan Shearer and co won the title in iconic style wearing it, but still, what a shirt. Shoutout to Asics. They may not have made many football kits, but when they did…oof. 

And, if you think it’s hard to go wrong with such a colourway, then take a look at the 20 odd kits the club have made since. Horrendous.


4. West Ham United – 1999-01​

Paolo Di Canio

​A rare FILA citing? Check. 

An even rarer Dr Martens sponsorship citing? Check.

The perfect distribution of colour? Check.

Did Paulo Di Canio look good? CHECK.

Have you ever seen a more West Ham kit in your life? Has a kit ever defined a football club so well? No and no.


3. Manchester United – 1994/95

Of course, there are many, many iconic ​Manchester United shirts, but none match the ingenuity and invention of this one. You can take the simplicity of the Vodafone years at the turn of the century, or the laced up collars of the first years of the Premier League era, but neither of them contain a superimposed image of Old Trafford, do they?

Yes, it may be subtle, and therefore tough to see here, but you can still just about see the outlines. Well before its time, and none of the copycats have been able to match that subtlety since. 


2. Arsenal – 2005/06

William Gallas,Thierry Henry

The thing is, right, it’s really hard to make a novelty kit work. In reality, it should never work, and I understand those Gooners who disparage this shirt because it’s not ‘proper’ Arsenal – there are many great ‘proper’ Arsenal shirts. Many. 

The problem, though, is that none of them are as good as this. None of them. Just look at Thierry Henry – this is as good as it gets. Well, almost. 


1. Newcastle – 1995-97

Alan Shearer,Les Ferdinand

​Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the greatest kit of the Premier League era. In reality, it’s not even that close. 

You do not get more iconic than this, so drink it it in, savour it, study every detail, because you will never see stitching like this again. Never. You could write a 10,000 word thesis on the Newcastle Brown Ale logo alone, and a chunk more on the aesthetics of the retro adidas sign in conjunction with the Magpies’ famed black and white stripes. 

I need a cold shower.

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