Among the international journalists in the National Stadium press box, the initial confusion soon gave way to muttered questions. Why are they booing Ashley Young? Did he foul someone? Why are they booing his every touch? Why is a stadium filled with Manchester United fans booing a Manchester United player in a pre-season friendly against Inter Milan? That's the most awkward question. It's the one with the most uncomfortable answers for United supporters who condoned the abuse and for a schizophrenic nation using a friendly between two foreign clubs at the International Champions Cup (ICC) to showcase its sports culture. The fact that international journalists focused on the unwarranted abuse and much of the local coverage highlighted the glittery spectacle shows different audiences with different agendas. And the English Premier League obviously covets both. In the UK, the EPL still needs local support to provide the surround-sound atmosphere for cable TV packages, but needs overseas … [Read more...] about Neil Humphreys: You don’t boo your own in pre-season
Why drop kick in football
While I usually use this column to (semi) complain about my progeny, this week, I want to focus on the topic of heroes. And specifically, heroes for young girls.This past week, we bore witness to two gal-led significant pop culture moments. The first was the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, won, as everyone knows, by the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNST). Not only did these women play marvelously, but perhaps even more importantly, they led off the field, representing themselves courageously, confidently, and clearly.Unfortunately, my four-year daughter is not a soccer fan. T2 knows and understands that her two male cousins in Hong Kong are obsessed with the sport. And if her Uncle’s Facebook posts are to be trusted, the boys are pretty talented, too. But that’s about the extent of her exposure to the sport. She didn’t watch any of the World Cup games, nor did I try and educate her on the amazing inspiring role … [Read more...] about Girl power: Why it’s important for young girls to have heroes
LONDON: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become the most expensive defender in Manchester United's history after completing a deal worth up to £50 million from Crystal Palace on Saturday.Despite the huge fee, the 21-year-old made just 46 senior appearances for the Eagles and has yet to be called up by England.AFP Sport looks at why have United splashed such a huge fee to kick off a major rebuild at Old Trafford after missing out on Champions League qualification last season.CONVERTED WINGER Wan-Bissaka grew up in the surroundings of Palace's Selhurst Park before joining the club's academy at the age of 11. However, having started out as a winger, he did not stand out.Indeed, his talent may have gone unspotted had he not been pitted against Palace's star player Wilfried Zaha one day in training when he impressed coaches with his ability to nullify the Ivorian."I can remember watching the session and thinking afterwards, 'He did all right at right-back,'" said Kevin Keen, who was Palace's … [Read more...] about Football: Who is Man United’s £50 million man Wan-Bissaka?
A COUNTRY FOR OLD MESSI Every tournament that involves the GOAT inevitably leads to far too much bleating about Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo and that one international trophy missing from the glittering resume. So let's not bother. At this juncture, Lionel Messi's legacy is less important than his elderly status. He's a king among kids. He's 31 on June 24, but kicks off his latest quest for an Argentina trophy like an old headmaster trying to settle a new kindergarten class. Fifteen of Argentina's 23-man squad have fewer than 15 international caps. Their manager is a relative novice. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, Lionel Scaloni has been assistant coach, caretaker coach and got the full-time gig only three games ago. As always, the Argentinians will look not to the dugout for inspiration, but to their imperious No. 10. Messi has three runners-up medals from his last four major international tournaments. Despite scoring a record 67 goals for Argentina, the suspicion remains … [Read more...] about Neil Humphreys: Why these Copa stars must shine
PARIS: It wasn't supposed to happen this way. At the start of January, PSG were looking forward to what promised to be a superb second half of the season.They had big ambitions and huge dreams, were still unbeaten domestically and had plenty of momentum in Europe.They were cruising and yet, in the space of four months, it all came crashing down.PSG are now in complete disarray, crippled by tensions inside the club and inside the dressing room. They're currently the laughingstock of European football.In March, they were knocked out by a Manchester United "C team" at the Parc des Princes after winning the away leg 2-0, something no team had ever done before. In April, they conceded 14 goals in three weeks across just five league matches. In the five big leagues, only Huddersfield have let in more goals (15) over a similar span.How did PSG fall so low? How have they become so bad? Who is responsible for this nightmare end of the season that's seen the Parisians win only one of their last … [Read more...] about PSG have a serious attitude problem