David Squires on ... José Mourinho's United exit and Southampton's spirit

19-12-2018 Our cartoonist on Emo Mourinho’s last stand, festive cheer at St Mary’s and Roy Hodgson cooking up a Crystal Palace winView all of David’s cartoons here Continue reading...

Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

19-12-2018 How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

Manchester United fans on Mourinho: the 'serial winner' who had to go

19-12-2018 Outside Old Trafford, fans reacted with an air of despondency to the inevitability of their manager’s sackingOn a wet and windy day outside Manchester United’s Old Trafford, an air of despondency met the news that José Mourinho had been sacked after the club’s worst start to a season in nearly 30 years. Most fans said they expected him to get the bullet but many expressed surprise at the timing.“He had to go. I think it was inevitable but not now,” said Neil Crawford, 72, out shopping at the club’s gargantuan megastore with his wife Liz, 77. “They may as well have waited until May as this season is more or less over for United.” Continue reading...

What happened next? How the World Cup brought in a new era for Alex Scott – and women in football

19-12-2018 She had already earned 140 caps for England, but Scott became one of the breakout stars of the men’s tournament this year as the first woman pundit taken to a World Cup by the BBC. She reveals why it wasn’t all plain sailing Alex Scott is not alone in looking back at the long hot summer of 2018 with a pronounced sense of nostalgia. But for the former Arsenal right back, who herself won 140 caps for England, it holds particularly cherished memories: she became the first female football pundit ever taken to a World Cup by the BBC.The Champions League winner and six-time Premier League champion saw a fearless England side ride a wave of uncharacteristic national optimism to the semi-final of the World Cup in Russia. Continue reading...

José Mourinho just the latest casualty in Ed Woodward’s failing regime | Daniel Taylor

19-12-2018 Manager did not help himself but the man in charge, the owners and the players at Manchester United have to share the blameIf you ever needed to know what a mess Manchester United have made of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps we can start with the tragicomedy that there are still 194 days before the six-year contract handed to David Moyes was supposed to lapse. Moyes lasted nine months and, in the process, seemed to age 10 years.Louis van Gaal gave Old Trafford two seasons of drift. And now José Mourinho is history, too – with his lip curled, his bank account swelled by a reputed £15m in severance pay and a very public decline in which he demonstrated that the higher a man climbs the more you see of his backside. Continue reading...

What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

19-12-2018 Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

FA Cup highlights: Blackpool 3-2 Solihull Moors

19-12-2018 Watch highlights as a Jay Spearing penalty in extra-time help Blackpool edge past a spirited Solihull Moors and into the FA Cup third round where they will host Arsenal.

Mourinho and United ended up like a loveless celebrity marriage | Barney Ronay

19-12-2018 His style at Manchester United has been defence-heavy and excitement-free but problems exist in all areas of the clubFarewell, then, José. It’s been fun. Or if not exactly fun then fitful, tedious and wreathed in a familiar sense of entropy. Either way José Mourinho’s abrupt departure from Manchester United on Tuesday morning completes a familiar three-year cycle of doomed hope, doomed decline and, by the end, simply doom.There was at least an inevitability about the end. It has been clear since the summer that Mourinho was preparing for this moment, using his public pronouncements to shift blame, distance himself from the squad of players assembled, and tend to the one element that really matters: his glorious but increasingly distant legacy. Continue reading...

McCann case may put bookies’ treatment of winning punters in the spotlight

19-12-2018 • Teenager not paid after winning bets totalling nearly £1m• Remote Gambling Association denies ‘cartel-like’ behaviourThe legal case in which Megan McCann, a young punter from Northern Ireland, is suing the online bookmaker Bet365 for more than £1m in unpaid winnings promises to put the entire betting industry’s treatment of successful punters in the spotlight . Her legal team have submitted an amended statement of claim that is understood to allege “cartel-like” activity by major online operators.McCann’s case took another step towards a full hearing last Friday, when Bet365 was granted four weeks to consider whether it will continue with an attempt to strike out key parts of McCann’s claim. The parties will reconvene at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on 18 January when it is possible that a date will be set for a full hearing of the case in the spring. Continue reading...

Watch: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer score for Man Utd against Liverpool

19-12-2018 Watch Ole Gunnar Solskjaer score the winning goal for Manchester United against Liverpool in their FA Cup fifth round match in 1999.