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Van Hage F.C.

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Church Lane, Wormley, Hertfordshire, EN10 7QF
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01992 633548
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Football Team News

» Nicolas Pepe becomes first player to dribble past Virgil van Dijk in Premier League since 2018
Arsenal's record signing dribble past Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk early on in their Premier League clash
» Arsenal and Tottenham failed with bids for Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga
The 16-year-old produced a mature performance against PSG earlier this month after a breakthrough season last year
» Gary Neville riles Liverpool fans by claiming Virgil van Dijk is scared of Nicolas Pepe
Arsenal new boy Nicolas Pepe dribbled past Holland international Virgil van Dijk early on in the match at Anfield
» Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Marcus Rashford's missed penalty in Man Utd defeat
United fell to a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon and penalties are again one of the major talking points
» Manchester United player ratings from shock Crystal Palace defeat
Patrick van Aanholt scored the winner for the visitors after Daniel James looked to have earned a point
» Jesse Lingard given Mason Greenwood warning - swapped for Man Utd youngster in next game
Jesse Lingard was warned this week that the Manchester United youngster is breathing down his neck
» Man Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace: 6 talking points as Patrick van Aanholt nets late winner
Patrick van Aanholt scored a last-gasp winner for Crystal Palace after Daniel James looked to have earned a point for Manchester United
» Marcus Rashford target of disgusting racist abuse on Twitter just days after Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba was racially abused on Twitter moments after missing a penalty in Man United's draw with Wolves
» Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal LIVE score: Updates, team news and live stream information
Arsenal and Liverpool have both made perfect starts to the Premier League season - but something has to give
» Parma 0-1 Juventus LIVE score: Updates, team news and live stream information
Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus begin their campaign to retain their Serie A title as they travel to Parma
» Daniel James made Aaron Wan-Bissaka prediction moments before Man Utd vs Crystal Palace
Man United winger Daniel James thanked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for showing faith in him
» Unai Emery instructed to make tactical change for Arsenal's clash with Liverpool
Arsenal travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in good form having won their opening two fixtures
» Man Utd 1-2 Crystal Palace REPORT: Patrick van Aanholt scores shock winner
United have now dropped four points in two games following their draw with Wolves earlier this week
» Why Frank Lampard 'gave David Luiz a b******ing' before selling him to Arsenal
David Luiz completed a switch from Chelsea to Arsenal after allegedly falling out with Frank Lampard
» Neymar transfer: PSG boss provides update amid Barcelona and Real Madrid interest
Neymar continues to be linked with a move away from Paris Saint-Germain - and Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in signing him
» Alan Shearer explains why Liverpool have worried him ahead of Arsenal clash
Liverpool have won both of their opening games of the Premier League season against Norwich and Southampton
» Bury avoid expulsion as Football League grant extension after late offer
The League One club looked set to go out of business before an 11th-hour offer on Friday night
» Barcelona chief's blunt message to star forward amid attitude concerns
Dembele will be sidelined for about five weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in their defeat at Athletic Bilbao
» Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal closing in on transfer to Real Sociedad
The experienced Spanish defender, 33, arrived at the Gunners from Malaga in 2013
» Barcelona to make final transfer offer for Neymar amid Real Madrid interest
Barcelona are not giving up in their pursuit of former star Neymar and will make a new offer to PSG in the coming days
» Virgil van Dijk's best player ever - and it's neither Ronaldo nor Messi
The Liverpool defender gave his verdict on who the greatest player is to ever grace the game and picked one of his idols
» Norwich 2-3 Chelsea REPORT: Tammy Abraham grabs brace to earn Blues first win
Norwich twice came from behind to level but Abraham's brace either side of Mason Mount's strike sealed the points
» Virgil van Dijk's stunning new Liverpool contract details including huge wage rise
The Dutchman will be rewarded for his fine form for the Reds as they look to tie another player down to the club
» What channel is Liverpool vs Arsenal on? TV and live stream information
It's two wins out of two for both Liverpool and Arsenal but one of the unbeaten records has to go in this intriguing evening clash
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Other sport news:

» Liverpool v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

45+2 min: Salah plays the ball to Mane in the Arsenal penalty area, continues his run and picks up the return pass. Under pressure from Guendouzi, he sends the ball wide from a tight angle.

45 min: Replays of the goal show that as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery was fizzing into the penalty area, Arsenal’s defenders were so worried about containing Virgil van Dijk, that they actually got in each other’s way. Grabbing the front of Dutchman’s shirt and refusing to let go, Sokratiss outstretched arm actually prevented Guendouzi from marking Matip, who jumped for a free header.

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» Crystal Palace stun Manchester United as Rashford pays penalty

Crystal Palace have a first league win at Old Trafford since 1989 and Manchester United have questions to answer. In a frantic finish an 88th-minute Daniel James curler seemed to have grabbed United a point yet as added time arrived Paul Pogba squandered possession and Palace moved upfield before Patrick van Aanholt beat David de Gea from close range.

Marcus Rashford had earlier taken over penalty duties following Pogba’s miss at Wolves on Monday yet the No 10 could only cannon the ball off Vicente Guaita’s right post, missing the chance to equalise Jordan Ayew’s first-half opener.

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» Tammy Abraham doubles up as Chelsea edge Norwich in five-goal thriller

Frank Lampard stood in his technical area until the bitter end, oozing tension as he urged his players on and applauded every tackle. This is what the job has done to Chelsea’s new manager. He was a bag of nerves until the sweet sound of Martin Atkinson’s final whistle allowed him to march across the pitch and milk the applause of the adoring travelling fans, who were ecstatic after seeing their favourite son finally get off the mark.

Victorious in a competitive fixture at the fourth time of asking, Lampard could feel the weight lifting off his shoulders. He admitted that he was relieved after Chelsea belatedly tamed their boisterous promoted opponents and he also took immense satisfaction from another outstanding performance from Mason Mount and a clinical display in attack from Tammy Abraham, who scored his first goals for the club, both sharp finishes.

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» Sébastien Haller off mark with two goals in West Ham’s victory at Watford

For Watford, the danger signs are clear. For West Ham, who knows? A breathless contest, in which defending was a dirty word from the outset, deservedly went the visitors’ way and offered hope that their clear frailties might be overridden by attacking potency. That was provided by Sébastien Haller, their record signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, who opened his account with two poacher’s goals after Andre Gray had cancelled out Mark Noble’s penalty. His new team have their first win but Watford, who will rue an extraordinary miss from Will Hughes at 1-1, remain pointless and must improve in short order.

Given both sides’ anxieties, this game’s near-perpetual openness seemed scarcely believable. For a neutral it was frayed, rattling fun; for a manager the early stages must have appeared shambolic and it was no surprise that, during the first of two cooling breaks in the 25th minute, Manuel Pellegrini in particular could be seen talking animatedly with his back line.

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» Harvey Barnes scorcher earns points for Leicester at Sheffield United

Harvey Barnes came off the bench to seal Leicester’s first win of the season, lashing in the decisive goal here a matter of minutes after Sheffield United had given themselves hope of taking a point. Ollie McBurnie had come off the bench to equalise for the home side, who trailed at half-time to a goal by Jamie Vardy. But Barnes, sent on for Dennis Praet six minutes earlier, ensured a thoroughly satisfaction conclusion for the visitors.

Vardy was more pleased than most after being booed on his return to the city of his birth on account of his childhood allegiance to United’s local rivals. Sheffield Wednesday have, of course, grown to regret their decision to turn Vardy away when he was a teenage hopeful on their books and some Blades fans may rue abusing him here. Because when James Maddison released him with a delicious pass in the 38th minute, Vardy thrashed the ball into the net with a vengeance. Until then the contest had been tight.

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» Moussa Djenepo hits cracker as Southampton beat 10-man Brighton

Moussa Djenepo’s stunning first Premier League goal set Southampton on course for their first points of the season as they won 2-0 at 10-man Brighton. Substitute Djenepo, a £14m summer signing from Standard Liège, had been on the pitch for only 78 seconds when he cut in from the left to bury the ball into the top-right corner from the edge of the box.

Nathan Redmond tapped home a cross from Sofiane Boufal to seal the points in injury-time. Albion played with 10 men for an hour after Florin Andone was sent off for a reckless tackle on Yan Valery, while Lewis Dunk had a first-half header ruled out by VAR.

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» EFL gives Bury Tuesday deadline for Campbell takeover to go through
• Club will be expelled from League One if 5pm deadline is missed
• Directors of purchasers include Rory Campbell, son of Alastair

The English Football League has given Bury until Tuesday for their owner, Steve Dale, to conclude a sale or the club will be expelled from the league after 125 years.

Dale received a takeover offer in principle on Friday night from the directors of a sporting data and analytics company, C&N Sporting Risk, including Rory Campbell, son of the former Labour party communications director Alastair.

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» Manchester United's Marcus Rashford target of racist abuse on Twitter

Footballer subject to hateful remarks after missing penalty against Crystal Palace on Saturday

Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford was subject to racist abuse on Twitter after he missed a penalty on Saturday during the club’s narrow defeat against Crystal Palace.

The England international had led condemnation of the racial abuse teammate Paul Pogba was subjected to days earlier, after deplorable comments were aimed at him on social media following his own penalty being saved in a match against Wolves on Monday.

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» Manchester United and Inter to resume Alexis Sánchez loan talks
  • Chilean player ready to make switch to San Siro
  • Inter currently want to pay half of United demands

Manchester United and Internazionale will resume talks on Monday in an effort to finalise Alexis Sánchez’s loan move to the Serie A club.

The clubs will stay in contact this weekend, and the key matter to be resolved relates to the proportion of the forward’s £390,000-a-week salary to be paid by Inter.

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» Eni Aluko: ‘We all have moments in life when our morals are called into question’

When the striker called out racism in football, it ended her international career. She explains why the fight was worth it

Eniola Aluko is one of only 11 female footballers to have played more than 100 times for England. She has scored some of the Lionesses’ most memorable goals, was the first female pundit on Match Of The Day, and is a qualified lawyer, having graduated from Brunel University London with a first in 2008. But it is as a whistleblower that she is destined to be best remembered. And, like many whistleblowers, she has spent the subsequent years being rubbished by those she exposed.

Now she has written a memoir. They Don’t Teach This is a fascinating examination of her multiple identities – British and Nigerian, a girl in a boy’s world, footballer and academic, a kid from an estate with upper-middle-class parents, a God-fearing rebel. But the book is at its best when she reveals exactly what happened after she accused the England management team of racism, and the Football Association of turning a blind eye to it. Aluko does not hold back – and few people from the football establishment emerge with their reputation intact.

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» Kenneth Zohore’s late penalty at Derby preserves West Brom’s unbeaten start

Slaven Bilic said the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) in the Championship would prevent penalty decisions from having a damaging impact, citing how such judgments can dictate managers getting “new contracts, praise or the sack”, after West Brom and Derby both suffered from questionable officiating in an entertaining draw.

Kenneth Zohore scored a spot-kick for the second time in four days to preserve Albion’s unbeaten start in the league but their equaliser six minutes from time came courtesy of a dubious penalty awarded against Derby’s Max Lowe, who went to ground to halt Matheus Pereira.

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» Transfer window 2019 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A

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» Bournemouth v Manchester City: match preview

Can Bournemouth stop Manchester City? Probably not. Eight defeats from eight meetings in the Premier League speaks for itself. How Pep Guardiola’s side respond to completely dominating Tottenham but failing to win is key. If profligacy is again the order of the day then Eddie Howe could spring a surprise. A rather large if, however, considering the embarrassment of talent at Guardiola’s disposal. Graham Searles

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League

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» Tottenham v Newcastle: match preview

Two games in and Steve Bruce feels backed into a corner. It was always going to be tough to take over from Rafael Benítez but the manner Newcastle’s defeat at Norwich appeared to crystalise the supporters’ worst fears. Where Benítez’s team would be ferociously well drilled on the road, Bruce’s was picked apart. A result might be beyond Newcastle at Tottenham but signs of cohesion and attacking punch are urgently needed. David Hytner

Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier League

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» Wolves v Burnley: match preview

So far Wolves have combined domestic and European duties very impressively. Their squad has shown enough depth – thanks partly to Adama Traoré’s terrific improvement – to suggest that Nuno Espírito Santo could make some alterations to the lineup that achieved an excellent win at Torino on Thursday and still be confident of securing a first Premier League win of the season. Burnley, however, will be troublesome visitors so this will be a serious test. Paul Doyle

Sunday 4.30pm

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» Wesley and El Ghazi sink Everton to get Aston Villa up and running

It turns out Dean Smith was right to call for some perspective. “What are we coming to if we’re judging players after two games?” asked the Aston Villa manager on the eve of this match in response to questions about the performances of Wesley, the club-record signing, in particular. Little more than 24 hours later, the Brazilian striker registered his first goal in English football and Villa’s season was up and running courtesy of a gritty victory over a disappointing Everton side.

After starting the season with back-to-back defeats, following a summer when the club spent £127m on 12 new signings, this felt like a hugely significant result for Villa. Smith may not harbour any doubts about the ability of Wesley or any of the other new faces at the club, but the outside noise would have become a little louder if Villa had come away from this game still looking for their first points of the season.

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» Steve Bruce hits back after widespread criticism of Newcastle tactics

• Bruce ‘insulted’ after negative analysis of warm-up at Norwich
• ‘We have to be better at Spurs – and we will be,’ manager says

Steve Bruce feels “insulted” by a seemingly widespread perception that he lacks tactical intelligence and he suspects “no one in the country” is under similarly intense, and hostile, scrutiny.

Newcastle United are a traditionally volatile club but, even by their turbulent standards supporter reaction to two defeats – 1-0 at home against Arsenal and 3-1 at Norwich – in the season’s opening Premier League games has felt a little hysterical.

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» WSL to use Premier League match evaluation scheme to improve referees

• Match footage will be used to analyse a referee’s decisions
• WSL managers have been critical of the officiating

The Premier League’s referee match evaluation scheme will be used in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League as part of an attempt to improve officiating standards.

Managers have been critical of the officiating and the FA’s head of women’s refereeing, Jo Stimpson, admitted in February that referees were playing catch-up with the standards set by a fully professional division.

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» Inside the VAR bunker: a test for my irrational suspicion of referees | Max Rushden

A trip to Stockley Park gives a valuable insight into the VAR process, and also showed me that referees are actually quite pleasant, normal people

“What we have to do is find a way to help referees out.” This is Tony Pulis – then manager of West Brom – speaking in 2015. “I would definitely call now for managers to have two calls each and every game, where there are 30 seconds and they can have a video link-up with people upstairs who can watch it on video. It will eradicate the major decisions referees are getting wrong that actually affect games of football. The sooner that comes in the better.”

It was after a defeat at Manchester City. Gareth McAuley had been sent off for a professional foul early on. Wilfried Bony was clean through. It was the right decision in every aspect except one. It wasn’t Gareth McAuley. It was Craig Dawson. The referee who made the mistake was Neil Swarbrick.

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» Twitter and racist abuse in football: how can it be tackled? | Paul MacInnes
Abuse of Pogba, Méïté and Abraham has again put social media in the spotlight. Action is needed but solutions are complicated

On Monday Paul Pogba missed a penalty for Manchester United against Wolves and the match ended as a draw. Shortly afterwards, a number of messages – some purporting to be from Manchester United fans – appeared on Twitter abusing Pogba. They used the “n” word, replaced Pogba’s face in photographs with that of a gorilla, and told him to “go back to selling bananas in Colombia”. Soon enough, the tweets were called out by United fans and reported to Twitter. The next morning United issued a statement condemning the messages: “The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club.” A number of United players posted messages in solidarity with Pogba and the issue of racist abuse on social media platforms became a public talking point.

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» Juventus's star signings mask unease while Inter and Napoli can challenge

The champions may have landed De Ligt, Rabiot and Ramsey but all has not run smoothly for Maurizio Sarri this summer

Italian football’s summer break began in much the same way as the season had ended: with Juventus way out in front. By 1 July they had concluded the free agent signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. Then they did something far more audacious: signing Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax for €75m.

Even for a club that signed Cristiano Ronaldo one year previously, it felt like a landmark deal. When did an Italian side last win a bidding war for one of European football’s most coveted young talents? At 19 years old, De Ligt had already started in a Champions League semi-final, a Europa League final and a Nations League final – not to mention winning a domestic double in the Netherlands. The centre-back was expected to land in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich or Paris. Instead, he came to Turin.

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» Walter Tull: football's hidden pioneer whose story everyone should know

One of the first black professional players is too little celebrated and a trip to his ancestral home in Barbados was eye-opening

Walter Tull. It’s a name every player and football fan should know. But in reality, few know the story of this incredible man and his contribution to society and the game. I believe this needs to be addressed.

Tull was one of the very first black professional footballers. Born in east London, he made his debut for Tottenham Hotspur in September 1909, before going on to play for Northampton Town. He was also the first black officer in the British army to lead white troops. A pioneer in football and the armed forces, he was tragically killed serving his country. His story has all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster.

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» Vissel Kobe facing reality after failing to build in Barcelona’s image
Andrés Iniesta’s arrival was part of ambition to mirror Spanish giants’ success but relegation from the J League threatens

Last August FC Tokyo were so disappointed that Andrés Iniesta was going to be absent from Vissel Kobe’s visit they hired an impersonator of the Spanish midfielder to entertain the rare sell-out crowd of almost 50,000. Unfortunately Kobe’s impression of Barcelona has been equally dodgy and the club that was supposed to be winning the Japanese title this year and challenging for the Asian crown in 2020 is two points above the relegation zone with a third of the J League season remaining.

The so-called and much-vaunted ‘Barcafication’ of Kobe has been a failure. In 2014 the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten bought the club that had never finished higher than ninth in the top tier. Two years later and the company was sponsoring Barcelona, marking the start of what was supposed to be a beautiful relationship between Kansai and Catalonia.

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» 'Real speed up front – wow!': Klopp on Liverpool's clash with Arsenal – video

Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool must be brave if they are to clinch three points against Arsenal. The European champions host the London side – the only other team in the Premier League to have won each of their opening two matches – at Anfield in an intriguing early-season game on Saturday.

In their last meeting at Anfield in December, Klopp's side recovered from an early goal to register a 5-1 win.

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» Manchester United boss hails Paul Pogba's 'strong character' amid racist abuse – video

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has praised Paul Pogba's character after the Frenchman was racially abused online following his penalty miss against Wolves.

Speaking ahead of Manchester United's game against Crystal Palace, Solskjær called on social media authorities to do more to stop online trolls

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» Goal start: Sporting under-17s score opener without touching the ball – video

A bizarre moment from a Portuguese under-17s match saw hosts Sporting go 1-0 up after just 13 seconds – without even touching the ball. Opponents União Almeirim played the ball back from kick-off and it eventually found their goalkeeper, who failed to make contact with his clearance, letting the ball roll embarrassingly into an empty net. There was no way back from there for União, who lost the game 4-0.

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» 'Come off social media': Phil Neville calls for boycott to combat racism – video

Phil Neville has called for the football community to boycott social media in an attempt to combat racist abuse received by players. 'I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, is: come off social media,' said the England women’s manager. Manchester United's Paul Pogba is the third player to have suffered online racist abuse in a week, after Tammy Abraham and Yakou Méïté received similar levels of abuse

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» Philippe Coutinho wants to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich – video

Philippe Coutinho has joined the Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on loan for one year, with the German club having an option to buy … for £109.8m. The 27-year-old moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 but he has struggled to cement himself in the starting lineup in Spain

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» Aduriz gets standing ovation after stunning volley against Barcelona – video

The 38-year-old  striker Aritz Aduriz received a standing ovation from his teammates in the dressing room after scoring a last-minute wonder goal to hand Athletic Bilbao victory over champions Barcelona on the opening day of the La Liga season.

Lacklustre Barça were punished when substitute Aduriz found the net with a stunning 89th-minute scissor-kick. The Athletic Bilbao forward had been on the pitch for just 65 seconds before he scored.

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» 'It's an act of hope': the fairytale rise of the Real Kashmir football team

For 90 minutes, while their team plays, people of the war-torn Indian region of Kashmir forget curfews and protests and enjoy normality

Before an away match, Mohammed Hammad used to call his mother in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir and ask her to pray for the team, Real Kashmir, a football club in the city whose miraculous rise in three years has made football-mad Kashmiris proud.

On Saturday, the team was playing Goa FC at Kalyani stadium outside Kolkata for an important match but he didn’t call his mother. Or rather, he couldn’t.

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» MLS and Antifa: America's top flight grapples with political signage ban

The lone major North American sports league to ban political statements inside stadiums is finding enforcement isn’t so simple

If you’ve attended a Major League Soccer match at some point over the past month or so there’s a good chance that you’ll have spotted a certain symbol. At first glance, it could be the iconography of a club or supporters group. Indeed, the circular crest which features three diagonally-pointed arrows doesn’t look so out of place in the setting of a soccer stadium, but MLS has a very different view on its appropriateness.

This is the symbol of the Iron Front and having been adopted by Antifa, the militant anti-fascism collective, the league sees its use by fans as a violation of its new fan code of conduct, implemented this season, that bans political displays at matches. Many argue that the Three Arrows symbol, used to oppose fascism and persecution since before the second world war, makes a human rights point, not a political one. MLS does not agree.

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» The Dutch model of developing young footballers: let them sink or swim

The best teenagers at Ajax, PSV, AZ and Utrecht do not play in a youth league. They face men in the country’s second division

By Gavin Willacy for Playing in the Shadows

Despite Ajax going desperately close to reaching the Champions League final, the Eredivisie seems to be out of fashion with Premier League recruiters. Only two players moved from the Dutch league to the Premier League this summer. Coincidentally, they went to last season’s top two, with Manchester City paying PSV £5.3m for Angeliño and Liverpool signing 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from Zwolle for £4.4m. In contrast, six players arrived from Belgium at a cost of £98m.

Below the top six clubs in the Eredivisie, budgets are small, ranging from €7m to €17m, similar to clubs towards the top of League 1 and bottom of the Championship. The Eredivisie has been a source of talent in the past. Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Luis Suárez were all top scorers in the league before lighting up the Premier League. And both Romário and Ronaldo won the golden boot in the Netherlands as they made the move to European football.

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» Sylvinho has revived Lyon so will Ligue 1 have a title race after all?

Lyon have won both of their games so far this season and look like a team reborn under their young Brazilian manager

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

“I didn’t think he would be a coach,” explained Gilles Grimandi. “I thought he would be disappointed – that he wouldn’t understand why some people don’t have the same spirit as him, invest as much or work as hard. He has such a passion for football that it takes precedence over everything else.” Despite the concerns of his former Arsenal teammate, his minimal experience, little understanding of French, the sales of key players and a volatile fanbase, Sylvinho looks better suited to coaching than Grimandi expected.

Lyon are only two games into the season and Sylvinho is rightly cautious about heightened expectation, but the manager has a pair of meaningful victories to his name. Previous incumbent Bruno Génésio suffered through a toxic atmosphere at Parc OL, incessant pressure from fans and media alike, and widespread criticism of his tactical nous. Under Génésio, Lyon repeatedly struggled for inspiration against the more conservative tactics of weaker Ligue 1 sides, while Europa League collapses horribly punctuated his tenure. Lyon often lacked ideas and cohesion, but that has already started to change under Sylvinho.

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» Moreno brings Mallorca back from ‘the well’ to ecstasy against Eibar | Sid Lowe
Vicente Moreno was instantly rewarded for keeping faith with those who helped the club rise from Segunda B back to La Liga

Dani Rodríguez had been a first division footballer for three minutes and 19 seconds when the ball dropped at his feet by the centre spot and a whole new world opened up, inviting him in. High in the stand at Son Moix, a Mallorca director edged forward and, he later admitted, thought: “Run, Forrest, run!” All around, 15,127 fans had pretty much the same idea. Down below, Dani did too. So he ran: fast and straight. “I set off like mad; it felt like a whole herd chasing me,” he said with a grin – and he got away, reaching the edge of the area before anyone from Eibar could catch him: 40 metres, four seconds, four touches. A fifth and the ball was in the net.

Rodríguez carried on running but this time the herd heading after him were his own players: primera. Fists were in the air, supporters leaping into each others’ arms, released at last, footballers tumbling and shouting. Mallorca were 1-0 up on the opening night. Only, the referee had his finger in his ear. Guadalupe Porras, his female assistant, the first in La Liga history, stopped and then they all did, as if someone had pressed pause. “You must have thought: ‘Hostia, bloody hell, don’t take this off me’,” Rodríguez was asked afterwards. “Yeah, and in those words,” he replied, “I didn’t even know what they were looking at: there was nothing wrong with it.”

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» The US team’s dispute over pay is a fight for women all over the world | Suzanne Wrack

The US Women’s National Team remains embroiled in a bitter row with US Soccer. The final outcome will affect every woman

When discussing the breakdown in pay and compensation talks between US Soccer and the US Women’s National Team, the presenter on ABC’s Good Morning America said to Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press: “What if you lose? Do you have a plan?” Quick as a flash, Press quipped: “I think you’re asking the wrong people ‘what if we lose?’” Boom. Dropped mic.

Prior to that, Press had said their equal pay talks were “actually about women everywhere being treated respectfully in the workplace”, later adding: “When we show up to a game that we get compensated the same way that a man would for showing up to the same game because on this issue, there is no social equality for women without financial equality.”

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» David Beckham's MLS stadium site contaminated by arsenic, says report
  • Soil samples found barium and lead levels above legal limits
  • Findings could hike cleanup costs to $50m at proposed site

An environmental report poses a new problem for the proposed site of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer stadium in Miami: Tests show the soil is far more toxic than expected.

According to the Miami Herald, the analysis found arsenic contamination reaching more than twice the legal limit and hazardous debris in surface-level soil samples at the Melreese golf course, where people have played for more than 50 years. The 131-acre site is being considered for a sprawling $1bn commercial and stadium complex that would be home ground for Beckham’s MLS team, Inter Miami.

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» Bayern stumble into Coutinho quandary but Dortmund set stall early | Andy Brassell

Hertha Berlin held the champions on the Bundesliga’s opening night but Borussia Dortmund crushed Augsburg

It is hard to think of a more definitive response to an opening weekend setback. Minutes after Bayern Munich dropped their first points of the season against Hertha Berlin in Friday night’s now-traditional home opener, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic was confirming to ZDF that Philippe Coutinho was on his way from Barcelona to Bavaria.

Related: Bayern loan Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona for £7.8m with option to buy

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» European roundup: Rennes shock PSG, Trippier impresses for Atlético
  • Niang and Del Castillo score in Rennes comeback win
  • Trippier sets up winner in opening day victory

Paris Saint-Germain suffered an early first defeat of the new Ligue 1 campaign after Rennes came from behind to win 2-1 at Roazhon Park.

Edinson Cavani had given the visitors the lead in the 36th minute when he capitalised on a stray pass in the penalty area from Rennes captain Damien Da Silva. However, the hosts were level just before half-time through a fine shot on the turn by M’Baye Niang. Romain Del Castillo headed the home side in front soon after the restart and they could have added another when Jeremy Morel’s volley came back off the post.

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» Already loving VAR? Wait until the Premier League finds a sponsor for it | Marina Hyde
Despite the Premier League’s problems finding a new chief executive, rest assured the lucrative sponsorship of the new on-screen pregnant pause will be a far easier position to fill

How can it be that the Best/Most Exciting/Richest League in the World™ has still to avail itself of a chief executive, a full 14 months after Richard Scudamore announced he was standing down? Perhaps the Premier League’s tireless quest for superlative accolades means it is trying to outstrip Belgium, which famously went for 589 days without a government. It is now certainly the most Chief Executiveless League in the World, and we can only salute Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck – who is handling the process of filling the role – for his courage, his strength, and his indefatigability.

Having said that, the Premier League does have an acting chief executive in the form of Richard Masters, a man who has now been acting for so long that he is expected to receive a Bafta fellowship next year. The Premier League tell me that the search for Scudamore’s replacement is “an ongoing process, with no set time frame”, giving it the flavour of my intention to learn Mandarin, or sort out the top kitchen cupboards.

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» David Squires on … handball and the Premier League

Our cartoonist looks back at the latest action in the English top flight as handball and VAR again took centre stage

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» Pep Guardiola’s quest for control at Manchester City undermined by VAR
Football’s occasional ability to provide a wrinkle frustrates Guardiola’s dreams of order despite a dominant performance

Football remains a magnificently capricious sport. You can crush its competitiveness with a self-perpetuating structure that leads to a radically unequal distribution of resources. You can pack the heft of oligarchs and emirates behind clubs. You can record and analyse. You can use technology as far as possible to eliminate human error. You can invest and think and strive to bring it under rein and still, every now and again, it can turn up games like Saturday’s at the Etihad, when one side has 30 shots to the other’s three (or, in modern parlance, depending whose model you prefer an xG of around 3.00 to around 0.2) and it ends in a draw. And not only that, it will add a self-knowing twist at the end. Football will not be tamed.

Related: Pep Guardiola says VAR decisions could do with ‘a little more consistency’

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» Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

Keep up with the top scorers in European football’s leading five leagues, updated throughout the season

5 Teemu Pukki (Norwich)

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» The Fiver | Less fun than a wet Saturday trailing around the Metrocentre?

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It breaks the heart when kith and kin turn upon one another. So imagine the devastation on Tyneside as two Geordie legends go hammer and tongs, and on the eve of such a big game as well. Newcastle slink down to Spurs on Sunday but a chunk of Bernard Cribbins’s precious prep time has been spent shouting down a man who could give lessons on how not to hold down the Toon’s famed No 9 shirt. Michael Chopra (six years, 31 appearances, three goals) still has an “in” or two at the club that raised him and let slip earlier this week that he’d heard worrying things. “[Cribbins] has come in and some of the players don’t know their jobs – they’re not really working on their shape,” he intoned – quite some concern when you’ve just been dismantled by newly-promoted Norwich and shown an attitude that, according to the ex-Alloa and Kerala Blasters striker, “was disgusting”.

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» Football transfer rumours: Fernando Llorente to Manchester United?

Today’s tell-all is in a dusty black coat with a red right hand

Are Manchester United interested in signing Fernando Llorente? Well, nobody seems quite sure. A report in pink Italian paper the Gazzetta dello Sport claims the 34-year-old Spanish striker has been offered a two-year deal at United, but closer to home the Daily Mail insists no such move is ahoy. Llorente, a free agent since being released by Tottenham in June, has also been linked with moves to Serie A clubs Napoli and Lazio.

Related: Arsenal tell Mustafi and Elneny to leave before European transfer window closes

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» Liverpool v Arsenal, Puskás Award outsiders and Japan's strangest sports | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features Challenge Cup finals, tennis meltdowns and a team scoring without touching the ball

1) It’s Liverpool v Arsenal this weekend, and there’s only one place to start as we dig into the archives – a match so famous, it’s got its own documentary. Jumping forward 20 years to 2009, and Andrey Arshavin bags all four in a 4-4 draw. Unai Emery would surely take that: recent trips to Anfield have seen the Gunners lose 4-1 in 2007, 5-1 in 2014, 4-0 in 2017 and 5-1 again last season. Happier memories for travelling fans: a late Robin van Persie winner in 2012, and an FA Cup & Carling Cup double three days apart in January 2007.

2) Saturday’s Challenge Cup final sees St Helens and Warrington fight for the famous trophy at Wembley for the first time. Wire have lost two of the last three finals, including an historic defeat to Catalans Dragons last year.

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» Which team had the first away following in football? | The Knowledge

Plus: scoring in all four divisions, recent British and Irish XIs and where did Jack Taylor’s 1974 World Cup final coin come from?

“Which team had the first away following in football?” tweets @djgcfum.

Here’s Alasdair Brooks with quite an answer: “This is difficult, given the lack of verifiable records for the formative period of football, and the difficulty of deciding what constitutes ‘football’ (assuming that the question means ‘association football’) before the formal codification of a single set of rules, and deciding what constitutes an ‘away following’ in the 19th century.

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» The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

Faceplants, lookalikes and handbags in this week’s roundup of the best top-flight pictures

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» The Joy of Six: football and the outside of the boot | Rob Smyth

From Brazilian screamers to an extravagant shank via Peruvian insouciance, we celebrate one of football’s most difficult skills

NB: The point of the Joy of Six is not to rank things, only to enjoy them

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» The forgotten story of ... Ray Freeman, the ‘madman’ manager and trailblazer

The British coach enjoyed such success in Norway with Brann in the 1970s that he was awarded honorary citizen status

SK Brann’s Europa League campaign ended on Thursday with a 2-1 defeat by Shamrock Rovers in Dublin, just down the road from where their very first continental adventure foundered 46 years ago at the hands of the Belfast side Glentoran. Decades of competition in Europe for the Norwegian club began under the guidance of an intrepid Englishman, Ray Freeman, who died this year and is remembered with great fondness.

Brann fans used to call him the Madman of Bergen because of his touchline gesticulations and hollering. But his method and personality won such admiration that within two years of his arrival he became the first person to be awarded honorary citizen status in Norway’s second-biggest city. He inspired Brann to their first Norwegian Cup triumph for 47 years. Which was some going for a man who took the job when he was only 27 and just after Brann’s star player, Roald Jensen, had been banned for kicking a referee up the backside.

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» I'm Nicky Bandini – and I'm still a sports writer

For 13 years I have written under a different name. Today I am coming out as transgender, but my love of storytelling remains

I have always loved to write. When I was little, I remember thinking that English exams were a treat: an opportunity to sit down and play with words, to tip my imagination on to paper.

As an adult, I have had the privilege to write for some of the biggest media outlets in the world, starting with this one. I was 23 years old and fresh from a 20-week journalism course when the Guardian’s online sports desk took a chance on me in 2006. I like to tell myself they never regretted it.

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» Yakou Méïté: ‘People think they can say what they want, even if it’s racist’

The Reading striker was racially abused on social media after missing a penalty – and decided to publish the messages

Even 24 hours on Yakou Méïté is struggling to comprehend the events of Sunday afternoon. “I was happy because we had won but personally I was a bit upset after missing the penalty,” the Reading striker says of his side’s 3-0 win over Cardiff.

“To see that message when I checked my phone afterwards made me very sad – it’s the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like that. To be honest for the first 30 minutes I think I was in a little bit of shock but then I realised it’s not everyone who is like this. Unfortunately there are some bad people who like sending messages like that but it’s important not to let it affect you.”

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» Russell Crowe, Kalvin Phillips’ gran and hope – Leeds documentary has it all (apart from Bielsa)
The first two episodes of Take Us Home are slightly sanitised but they show why the club’s fans are believing again

The Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips is leaning against a table with his family. His gran pipes up. “Bielsa,” she says with a beaming smile. “Oooooh, I think he’s lovely … He walks around Wetherby sometimes. I heard he goes into Costa. I’d love to bump into him and say I’m Kalvin’s gran.”

After watching the first two episodes of Amazon Prime’s Leeds documentary, Take Us Home, you get the sense you would also get more time with Marcelo Bielsa if you wandered around the cafes of Wetherby – Phillips’s gran is in it more than the Argentinian and nice as she is, At Home with Kalvin Phillips’s Gran is a different show.

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