Manchester United's future, UKIP posters, crime figures and Bard's birthday in papers

  • 23 April 2014

Manchester United remains in the spotlight following the sacking of manager David Moyes.

For the Guardian's Owen Gibson, Moyes's departure 10 months after he was "anointed" as the "chosen one" suggests United "can no longer differentiate itself" in the cut-throat world of the Premier League.

He says Moyes leaving after a string of poor results will also lead to "renewed scrutiny" of the club's leveraged business model which "requires consistent success on the pitch to keep the global sponsorship deals rolling in and the tills ringing".

Writing in the Financial Times, Simon Kuper believes the ageing Manchester United squad is "surely the main reason" for the team's lack of success this season, rather than Moyes's failure to master the motivational skills of his predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson. But he says Moyes also "lacked the stature" to dismantle the "revered" squad and build a new team.

Image caption Several papers report Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti has emerged on United's shortlist

The Daily Telegraph reports that Sir Alex will be consulted over Moyes's successor despite an acknowledgement within the club that he was responsible for choosing the wrong man last time. It says Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti is now leading a three-man shortlist of candidates, with Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone also in the running.

According to the Daily Mirror, Moyes is "furious and disgusted" about the manner of his sacking. He was said to have been "left in the dark" about his imminent departure, despite rumours on Twitter and the internet appearing on Easter Monday.

The Independent's football editor Glenn Moore believes "we have not seen the last of David Moyes" even if the biggest jobs in football may "now be forever beyond him".

Meanwhile, the Sun and the Times report that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is examining how reports of Moyes's departure appeared in the UK press before a statement was made to the New York Stock Exchange, where the football club's share value soared by £125m on Tuesday. The watchdog says it does not comment on individual inquiries and Manchester United says no rules were breached.

Billboards examined

The launch of UKIP's European elections campaign attracts comment.

The Daily Telegraph says the former head of the British army, Lord Dannatt, has described a UKIP poster showing the union jack on fire as "disrespectful and inappropriate".

He says soldiers had given their lives to protect the flag and its use in such a way was "counter-productive".

The Daily Mail examines the four posters unveiled in Sheffield on Tuesday and takes issue with some of the claims they make, such as the contention that 75% of UK laws are "made in Brussels".

But it rejects suggestions the billboards are racist or offensive.

And in an editorial the Mail says while it has "deep reservations" about UKIP, the party has successfully focused attention on the "crucial issue" of immigration.

Writing in the Independent, UKIP leader Nigel Farage acknowledges the billboards have an "uncompromising message" but says they address subjects "we refuse to let go unnoticed".

'Less macho'

Figures suggesting violent crime in England and Wales has halved in a decade are highlighted.

The Times says it comes as Britons cut down on binge drinking, partly because incomes have been squeezed in the economic downturn. It also points out that there has been a "move towards a less macho culture" as some criminologists say men "no longer get kudos for being tough".

A rise in alcohol prices is cited in the Daily Mail's report on the Cardiff University study, which looked at accident and emergency department admissions.

The Guardian says the findings are likely to fuel the debate over the introduction of a statutory minimum unit price for alcohol.

Another set of figures interests the Daily Telegraph.

On its front page, the paper features data indicating that nearly 90,000 Britons abandoned their "Mediterranean dreams" in Spain last year.

The Telegraph says the ongoing effects of the eurozone crisis, a property slump and a shrinking job market have contributed to the exodus, with the number of Britons, falling 23% to 297,229. The only nationality said to have increased their presence in Spain were the Chinese.

But if research reported in the Independent is to be believed, perhaps there is something else drawing them home. It suggests those who migrate to southern Europe are often less content than those they leave behind.

In a paper to be delivered at the British Sociological Association's annual conference, Dr David Bartram, of the University of Leicester, will say such a move "can be disruptive to other dimensions of people's lives - social ties, sense of belonging - possibly with consequences for their happiness".

Image caption Photographs from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Uluru are widely featured in the papers

Bard's birthday

The 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated, with the Sun printing abridged versions of all the Bard's work. It sums up several plays in the form of mock front pages - "Massacre at the Palace" is its take on Hamlet.

Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, is the focus for the Guardian. The town has marked his birthday for centuries on 23 April but the plans are more elaborate this year, with a giant horse-drawn birthday cake, fireworks, a fancy-dress parade and a procession led by the pupils of his old school to lay flowers on his grave, it says.

The Times lists some of the other events taking place - including the performance on a two-hour Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Verona by the Reduced Shakespeare Company of an abridged version of all his plays. However, it notes that an online petition created by the actress Emma Thompson and Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi to have Shakespeare's birthday enshrined in the national calendar has only attracted 683 signatures.

The Independent looks ahead to perhaps an even bigger anniversary next year - the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. It will be marked with a series of events in 110 countries organised by the British Council, and which is being billed as the UK's "next Olympic moment".

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