BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty

Archives for July 2008

Scolari will ignore Ferguson's old tricks

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Phil McNulty | 09:56 UK time, Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Sir Alex Ferguson at least had the decency to let Luiz Felipe Scolari unpack his bags and get his feet under the table at Chelsea's luxurious Cobham training base before trying to get under his skin.

Scolari has probably seen and heard the rather obvious psychological warfare Ferguson tries to inflict upon his fiercest rivals - and to be fair it was not a bad first effort from the old master.

Chelsea, apparently, are creaking a bit. Ferguson does not know how many more miles are left in those ageing Chelsea legs. He does not see where there will be a big improvement this season.

And - for good measure - he is not even sure about Scolari's command of the English language.

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Why Man City must ditch Ronaldinho plan

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Phil McNulty | 09:29 UK time, Monday, 14 July 2008

Manchester City's pursuit of Ronaldinho has been an interesting sideshow to the summer of speculation - and for their sake let's hope it becomes nothing more than that.

The latest development, coming from a source that has proved almost 100% reliable on all matters Manchester City in recent weeks, is that an e-mail containing an offer for £22m has been sent to Barcelona, and no doubt very gratefully received.

would presumably wrap Ronaldinho in cotton wool and supervise his safe arrival to the gates of Eastlands for that sort of cash.

Ronaldinho's arrival at Manchester City would undoubtedly cause a frenzy of interest, but what happens when the novelty wears off?

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Does Hazel hold Everton's purse strings?

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Phil McNulty | 09:10 UK time, Saturday, 12 July 2008

Hazel Blears may be flattered to hear that the very mention of her name is currently causing quite a flutter among many Everton fans.

In some cases it may be out of admiration, but in reality is because she is perceived - rightly or wrongly - as the woman who will dictate the future of the club.

This is because the Communities and Local Government Secretary has the power to "call in" Everton's proposed new stadium in Kirkby for a public inquiry.

This could delay the scheme for possibly a year - in all likelihood killing the project stone dead - and delight those Everton fans reluctant to leave their historic home at Goodison Park.

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Man Utd should sell 'slave' Ronaldo

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Phil McNulty | 08:52 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008


Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the start of the new season after undergoing complex surgery to remove the foot firmly jammed in his mouth.

Well it's his ankle actually, but there is clearly a more serious problem troubling Manchester United's superstar.

There must be after he aligned himself with Fifa president Sepp Blatter's assertion that there is "too much modern slavery" in football and his helpful suggestion that Manchester United should facilitate Ronaldo's dream to play for Real Madrid.

Let me make one thing clear - I shed not a single tear for Manchester United or Sir Alex Ferguson as they make their complaints about Real Madrid's campaign to sign Ronaldo.

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Scolari charms to take top billing

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Phil McNulty | 17:16 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Luiz Felipe Scolari arrived between adverts for a "Legends Of Swing Tribute Night" and a Tom Jones impersonator - but there was only one man claiming top billing at the hotel in deepest Cobham.

And that was Chelsea's new coach as he capped his coronation with a glittering performance of charm, passion and a command of the English language that made mugs of us all.

Scolari pitched his arrival neatly between the swagger and self-confidence of Jose Mourinho and the under-stated humility of Avram Grant.

It was a combination that worked to perfection and made this a very good day for Chelsea's hierarchy, who sat and looked justifiably elated with their new man's first public outing.

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Crouch deal proves Redknapp's quality

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Phil McNulty | 13:12 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

Harry Redknapp may be in the autumn of his career as a manager - but it is about time his achievements at Portsmouth started to be taken more seriously outside Fratton Park.

The revelation today that Portsmouth have had an offer of around £9m accepted by Liverpool for Peter Crouch, and he is desperate to go there, says everything about the job Redknapp has done.

Any critique of Redknapp's career is usually prefaced by a patronising "good old 'Arry" or a simple description of his ability as a "wheeler dealer" in the transfer market.

In other words, call him what you like, but don't call him an outstanding manager.

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Barry saga leaving a sour taste

Phil McNulty | 12:34 UK time, Friday, 4 July 2008

It would not be summer without a transfer saga - and with Cristiano Ronaldo taking a few days off from telling people what they want to hear depending whether they are Spanish or English - Gareth Barry has kindly stepped into the breach.

Barry will leave Villa and end up at Liverpool. Liverpool know that. Aston Villa know that.

But what is taking place in between is an undignified mess that has done no favours for Liverpool, their manager Rafael Benitez and Barry.

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