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David Moyes vilified on return to Everton, as Manchester United nightmare continues

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LIVERPOOL — Boos rang around Goodison Park as David Moyes stood on the edge of his technical area before Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday.

Every time he was shown on the big screen Everton’s fans showed their distaste and the home fans finished off the game with a rendition of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” just to rub salt further into the wounds.

This is not the homecoming the former Everton boss would’ve wanted on his first trip back to Goodison since he left last summer.

United were outfought, outplayed and looked inferior across the board as Everton recorded the double over United for the first time since the 1969-70 season, following their 1-0 win at Old Trafford back in October. With the victory Everton kept their top four hopes well and truly alive, while United saw theirs vanish mathematically.

(MORE: Everton 2-0 Man United – Toffees rampant in miserable return for Moyes)

After the match Moyes insisted his side played well, much to the bemusement of the assembled press, but with Champions League soccer out of the window for next season, the former Everton boss knows his side are struggling.

“It hurts [not finishing in the top four], it’s part of this club,” Moyes said afterwards. “We are doing everything we can to get ourselves back in it again. I think the supporters have been behind the team incredibly. I think they’ve realized it has been a difficult season. The supporters are supporting the team and they understand it has not been good. I recognize it hasn’t been good. It needs to be better.”

While United need to do better, Everton have reached 69 points for the first time in Premier League history. Throughout their win over United on Sunday, it was a strange sight seeing the man who’d been the hero of Evertonians for over 11 years, vilified by the fans who had adored him.

source: AP
Baines, a transfer target for Moyes and United, came back to haunt his old boss.

As Moyes brought his United side back to Goodison Park for the first time since he left the Blues last summer, instead of a heroes’ welcome, Moyes got a mouthful from angry Everton fans all afternoon.

They taunted him with songs (“Moyesy, Moyesy give us a wave”) and a home fan wearing a Grim Reaper costume with an inflatable scythe stood behind Moyes for the opening 15 minutes. That about sums up Moyes’ mood right now.

“We should’ve played better, we didn’t create chances,” Moyes said. “We passed it well enough but we could’ve done better. We didn’t do it today, we had a lot of the ball but we didn’t make it count. Everybody knows we are on track to make changes and do some different things. We are rebuilding. We’ve got things we want to do, today there were things we didn’t do well.”

United didn’t play well, at all, and Everton’s fans were lapping it up on the terraces. Yet, why the animosity towards a man who turned Everton from regular battlers against relegation to perennial top four challengers?

The United manager tried to raid his old team last summer, as he eventually signed Marouane Fellaini for $37.5 million and tried to lure Everton left back Leighton Baines to the Red Devils. The rhetoric Moyes used to try and unsettle both players angered the Everton faithful and with the subsequent success of new Blues boss Roberto Martinez and Moyes’ rough start to life at Old Trafford, Evertonians now believe life under Moyes wasn’t as grand as it once seemed.

Martinez spoke of Moyes’ past tenure at Everton and how he is reaping the benefits from the carefully laid plans the Scotsman put in place.

“I was a very fortunate man to walk into a football club where everything was in place,” Martinez said. “The work that David did over 11 years was there. Yes, I wanted to change many things, but I didn’t want to lose anything. I brought 10 player sin which is a big amount, the senior players were very open to play in a different manner and we gave a massive role to the younger players. That is the big difference in this squad. I thought David Moyes’ job at Everton provided the platform for the performances we have been able to put in this season.”

Following a number of poor performances this season, Moyes is now undertaking a total rebuild of United’s playing squad.

“We’re doing that behind the scenes and we will continue to do that behind the scenes just now,” Moyes said. “We will do everything we possibly can to get a team that is capable of winning better than what we’ve been doing recently.”

source: AP
Mirallas grabbed Everton’s second and was a constant thorn in United’s side down the right flank.

Make no mistake about it, Moyes worked wonders on a shoestring budget with the Toffees as he guided them to fourth place, guaranteed a top 10 finish and brought in plenty of profit from many shrewd transfer dealings. Moyes put the building blocks in space for Martinez to succeed, yet the free-flowing attacking soccer Everton now roll out on a weekly basis is in stark contrast to the restrictive and simple soccer Moyes deployed.

That was evident on Sunday, as Everton marauded down the right-wing effortlessly — with Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku ganging up on Alexander Buttner to devastating effect — as United’s defense couldn’t handle the Toffees’ inventive and forthright approach. Moyes’ own United team looked lightweight, with Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Nani trying to get on the ball but as soon as the ball was lost none of them got back to defend. That left United horribly exposed, as the Red Devils knocked the ball from side to side with no real purpose and lacked creativity in the final third.

Moyes admitted, his current side failed to compete with the team he meticulously assembled and is now watching flourish from afar.

“We had good control of the game, we had the bulk of the ball,” Moyes said. “Everton area a threat on the break, their first goal was a big kick up the pitch from Ross Barkley, nodded down, picked up and for us to conceded a goal like that was terrible. The second one was a better move, but we should’ve defended them much better.”

Does Moyes deserve to be a villain at Goodison Park?

The Scotsman has done nothing wrong, yet in a world were instant success is now expected and legacies are quickly forgotten, what he left behind at Everton is now being built on as Martinez takes the Blues to the next chapter.

UEFA Champions League dreams are real at Goodison Park with three games to go this season, while Moyes’ United have been overtaken by the side he left to further his coaching career, win trophies and play in Europe. Oh, the irony.

With a year to go, Russia’s World Cup faces challenges

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MOSCOW (AP) After years of controversy, Russian officials think their World Cup has weathered the storm.

Stadiums are either finished or nearing completion, and the Confederations Cup is going smoothly.

“The project is very big and there are some delays or operational questions, minor questions, but nothing critical,” Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees World Cup preparations, said Saturday.

But with a year to go, some serious concerns remain around Russia’s 643.5-billion-ruble ($10.8 billion) World Cup dream.

Workers’ deaths and alleged rights abuses taint the new stadiums. Teams will live in far-flung, hard-to-secure locations. Many of the stadiums risk becoming white elephants.

Here is a look at some of the key issues:

STADIUMS

Russia is desperate to avoid what Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko calls “the Brazilian scenario” – the construction delays and organizational disarray which marred the start of the last World Cup in 2014.

That looks assured, with most of the 12 stadiums either complete or close to completion, though some have gone over budget.

But did Russia cut corners on workers’ rights to get them ready? A report this month by Human Rights Watch accused Russia of numerous abuses on pay and conditions, and notes at least 17 deaths during construction.

Evidence that North Korean workers – who are employed around the world in conditions often likened to slavery – worked on the St. Petersburg stadium has brought concern from FIFA.

LEGACY

Many of Russia’s 12 stadiums look certain to be rarely – if ever – full again after the World Cup.

Just five of the 11 host cities have top-flight football clubs. The Russian Premier League attracts average crowds of 11,500 – among the lowest for major European leagues – and it seems new stadiums may be a temporary attraction that don’t solve fan apathy in the long-term.

Premier League side Rubin Kazan got an initial attendance bump after moving into a 45,000-seat World Cup ground in 2014, but crowds have dropped almost 30 percent over the last two seasons to 9,750. One home game against FC Krasnodar in April attracted barely 3,000 fans.

Meanwhile, Mordovia Saransk averaged 2,400 fans at games this season as it was relegated to the third tier, but will inherit a 45,000-seat World Cup ground next year. Sochi won’t have a professional club at all in 2017-18.

In Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg, legacy concerns led Russian organizers to slash the capacity of World Cup stadiums from the original 45,000 to 25,000, with 10,000 more temporary seats.

Only the St. Petersburg stadium – home to games at the 2020 European Championship – and Moscow’s two grounds seem likely to be regularly in demand.

TEAM BASES

It’s not just about the host cities. The 32 teams taking part will be scattered across the country in newly built training bases as the Russian government tries to give other regions a taste of World Cup legacy – and lavish state spending.

Some locations in less glamorous areas of Russia are a hard sell for foreign teams, even if the accommodation is luxurious.

There’s Dzherzhinsk, an industrial city plagued by pollution from chemical plants, or Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, which was ravaged by war in the 1990s and early 2000s. Any team there will live with heavily armed guards. Many bases are in remote locations requiring air travel to even the nearest host city.

Small wonder that teams are expected to prioritize locations near the resort city of Sochi. Moscow’s heavy traffic is also a concern.

Still, team training bases may prove more useful for long-term legacy than the stadiums, since many include renovations of municipal football grounds.

FAN EXPERIENCE

Foreign fans at the Confederations Cup have largely seemed happy with Russian hospitality.

Tournament volunteers, police and paramedics have all had English classes to help foreigners in need, and free travel between host cities is on offer for ticket-holders.

Still, the real test is yet to come. The World Cup will bring many more foreign fans, posing a challenge for provincial transport links unused to such crowds.

Russia fans have little to be excited about, too, after their team exited the Confederations Cup in the group stage.

SECURITY

Russian authorities take the threat of terrorism at the World Cup seriously, especially after a bombing on the St. Petersburg subway in April.

At the Confederations Cup, thousands of police have operated tight airport-style security around stadiums, with more on key transport links.

The World Cup is even tougher to secure, with stadiums and team bases scattered across Russia. In the last five years, the host city of Volgograd has been hit by bombings, while Pyatigorsk, Grozny and Astrakhan, home to training bases, have seen attacks on security forces.

There are also fears about football hooliganism after Russians fans fought English supporters in France at last year’s European Championship. The Russian hooligans had martial arts training and left several England fans badly hurt, including one in a coma.

Russian authorities have blacklisted 191 fans with criminal records, and hours before the Confederations Cup began, dozens more, including members of radical groups, were refused permission to attend the tournament.

FIFA READINESS

Soccer’s world governing body also has work to do.

FIFA has pioneered video reviews of key moments like penalty calls during the Confederations Cup, but faced criticism that players and fans inside stadiums aren’t kept in the loop.

During Chile’s game against Cameroon last week, players milled about in confusion during one key review, and some headed toward the changing rooms, apparently thinking the referee had signaled for half-time.

FIFA also needs to hammer out a TV broadcast deal in Russia. Mutko has accused FIFA of charging so much that Russian networks would make a loss, and of trying to force the government to chip in.

A deal for the Confederations Cup was only reached six days before the tournament kicked off, avoiding the embarrassment of the host nation’s fans not being able to watch their team play.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Kazan, Russia, contributed to this report.

Another delay for MLS stadium deal in Charlotte

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A decision on public funding for a potential Major League Soccer stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina was delayed once again Monday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Charlotte’s city government committee stated no decision would be made on helping to fund a new MLS stadium before Aug. 2 when a country vote is scheduled.

It is the latest delay for the proposed $175 million stadium.

Potential owner Marcus Smith — CEO of Speedway Motorsports — has offered to pay the full $150 million MLS expansion fee, plus $87.5 million towards the stadium. With $43.75 million committed to help pay for the stadium, a decision on another $43.75 million has yet to arrive, leaving the stadium bid, and Charlotte’s entire MLS bid, in limbo.

Charlotte is one of 12 U.S. cities who have submitted a bid back in February for two MLS expansion franchises which will be awarded later this year. It is also not the first of those 12 cities to suffer a blow when it comes to requests for public funding of stadiums, as St. Louis found out recently with their MLS bid in ruins.

Via the Charlotte Business Journal, here’s some more information on what lies ahead for the Charlotte bid.

County commissioners voted in January to commit $43.75 million of property tax money to help pay for the proposed stadium. They also endorsed a county-owned site on the edge of uptown now occupied by Memorial Stadium and Grady Cole Center. Smith would build a stadium there after demolishing the existing stadium and arena.

At the time of the county vote, City Council was expected to decide on a related $43.75 million request also to be used for stadium construction. Instead, council members opted against a vote, citing higher priorities such as the next annual budget and an emphasis on public safety, affordable housing and jobs. This month, city council and the county commission each passed annual budgets without any property tax increases.

Smith has consistently said he remains hopeful local government and others will rally around the chance to bring an MLS team to town.

In a prepared statement issued Monday evening, Smith and his MLS4CLT bid group said of the council referral, “We hope the city and county can continue to work toward realizing the dream of a stadium in Charlotte on a timeline that works for all parties. Our commitment to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte has not wavered, nor has the support of thousands of people in this community who are looking to their elected officials to endorse this plan that will positively impact our region for generations to come.”

For now, those hopes look like a long shot.

 

FIFA release “Garcia Report” in full; issue statement

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FIFA has released the previously confidential Garcia report into alleged corruption surrounding the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.

Previously the report, compiled in 2104 by American lawyer Michael Garcia, was said to be private and would never be released by FIFA.

Garcia, hired as an independent ethics investigator, quit when FIFA instead released a 42-page version of his report which acted as a summary of his findings, as he clashed with FIFA’s now former chairmen of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joackim Eckert.

However, German publication Bild had got hold of a copy of the full report and leaked extracts on Tuesday.

Now, world soccer’s governing body has got ahead of the game and released the report in full as Garcia looked into potential corruption among FIFA officials and high-ranking officials during the World Cup bidding process which saw Russia awarded the 2018 World Cup and the 2022 World Cup heading to Qatar.

Both Russia and Qatar were cleared of any wrongdoing in the initial report released, but there are detailed examinations of each country who bid for the World Cups, including the U.S., England and Australia.

Below is a statement from FIFA in full, while you can download the full report here.

The new chairpersons of the independent Ethics Committee, Maria Claudia Rojas of the investigatory chamber and Vassilios Skouris of the adjudicatory chamber, have decided to publish the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process (the so-called “Garcia Report”).

This had been called for on numerous occasions by FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the past and also supported by the FIFA Council since its meeting in Mexico City in May 2016. Despite these regular requests, it is worth noting that the former chairpersons of the Ethics Committee, Cornel Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert, had always refused to publish it.

The Ethics Committee will meet in its full composition under the new chairpersons for the first time next week, and it was already planned to use this opportunity to discuss the publication of the report. However, as the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report (including the reports on the Russian and US bid teams, which were conducted by Mr Borbély alone) in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.

For the sake of transparency, FIFA welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Ox to Liverpool; Nainggolan to Man United

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A report in Italy states that Manchester United are interested in signing AS Roma’s midfielder Radja Nainggolan.

[ MORE: Henry Onyekuru to Everton?

Gazzetta dello Sport claim that United will offer $51 million for the Belgian international as Jose Mourinho looks to totally overhaul his midfield.

Mourinho is reportedly close to closing a deal for Chelsea’s Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic and adding Nainggolan means there would be plenty of extra bite in the Red Devils midfield next season, especially with Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera around too. Per the report, Nainggolan could be added instead of Matic with the 29-year-old combative midfielder offered $159,000 a week.

Nainggolan has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in the past but the two-way midfielder stayed at Roma last season and scored 11 times as they finished in second place in Serie A.

After posting a cryptic message on Instagram on Monday stating “Thinking about what to do” expect this rumor to be cranked up a few notches with Nainggolan possessing the ability to score goals from distance and also dictate and break up the play in midfield. He seems like a perfect fit for the Premier League.


Liverpool is said to have taken their pursuit of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the next level.

The Daily Mirror believes Jurgen Klopp‘s side have made an approach for the Ox, as the 23-year-old considers his options with just one year left on his current deal at Arsenal and talks over a new deal at a standstill.

Played at right-wing back for the final months of last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain shone and kept Hector Bellerin out of the Gunners’ starting lineup. Capable of playing as a winger on either flank or a central midfielder (a role he believes is his best) the Ox’s versatility is a major plus, hence why both Liverpool and Manchester City are said to be chasing him.

The Ox has struggled massively with injuries since joining Arsenal from Southampton as a teenager in 2010, but the England international has undoubted quality and if Liverpool did meet Arsenal’s valuation of $34 million then he he would have the chance to flourish at Anfield. If he left Arsenal for Man City or Chelsea you’d question if he’d be a regular in either team, but at Liverpool he could play in any of the fluid positions Klopp loves in midfield or attack.

After spending the past seven years at Arsenal it would certainly be a shame for Arsene Wenger to see the Ox go, but with just 12 months left on his deal (like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil et al.) this summer would be the time to cash in if Arsenal wanted to.

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