All in the Game: West Ham’s tip to the British government, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s advice for Sadio Mané

Plus Jürgen Klopp’s unintentional barb, and a Manchester United legend’s hairy memory

It was only last month that West Ham co-owner David Sullivan let rip at the Conservative government after it announced its plans to introduce an independent regulator to English football, among its duties ensuring clubs’ business models are financially sound. A somewhat irked Sullivan humbly suggested that said government should keep its nose out of the running of the game.

“The government is terrible at running everything! Look at the mess this country is in! We pay the highest taxes ever for the worst service from the worst government that I’ve seen in my lifetime!”

Meanwhile, newly released documents by the British Electoral Commission revealed that a Premier League club had donated £9,000 of club money to the Conservative Party last September, 20 days after Liz Truss became prime minister – and, eh, 25 days before she resigned.

That club? Yup, West Ham.


David? You get what you pay for.

Word of mouth

“You can always resit the Leaving Cert – you can’t resit a World Cup”. – Shelbourne’s Jessie Stapleton on how she’ll handle a potential clash between her exams and a call-up to the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup squad this summer. How much do we love this young one’s priorities? Humongously.

“I’m in shock. I told the players we could lose 10-0. I was saying I might have to bring a blindfold.” Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst on nobody being more surprised than himself by his League Two team beating Southampton in the FA Cup (courtesy of two penalties from Kilkenny man Gavan Holohan).

“I really like Fernandes. His movement is really smart ... and Casemiro is linking up with Fred alongside him. They also have the counter-attacks and up front, the Dutch fella is really physical, so it is a good set-up.” Jürgen Klopp attempts to pay tribute to Wout Weghorst, while forgetting the poor lad’s name.


“You can have many beauties. If you prefer blondes, it’s not as if a pretty brunette walks past and you call her ugly.” Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri on which was the more beautiful Napoli team, his 2015-18 side or Luciano Spalletti’s current crop. A draw, then.

Number: 15

That’s how many years it was since a male Irish-born player played in La Liga (Steve Finnan for Espanyol), until Matt Doherty’s debut as a sub for Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Felicidades.

A bridge too far

“Our design ambition for the bridge is to create an elegant, iconic structure, fitting of its prominence on the Birmingham skyline and contributing positively to the city’s identity day and night.”

So said Kay Hughes, the design director for HS2, England’s planned high-speed railway, when plans were unveiled last week for a bridge to be built over the Birmingham section of the rail line.

Why are we mentioning this? Well, because this new structure will be named the Bellingham Bridge, in honour of, yes, local man Jude Bellingham.

The lad’s only 19 and already he’s having bridges named after him. At this rate, Birmingham will be renamed Bellingham by the time he’s 29.

More word of mouth

“We had a note from the Football Association saying we needed to pay £10,000 for the VAR ... I’d rather we put it in an envelope and give it to the referee.” Grimsby Town chairman Jason Stockwood on how he’d rather spend the club’s spare loot.

“When I see people in pink boots, yellow boots, all that sort of thing, I think: ‘If I was playing against somebody in boots like that, I’d just kick them.’ But then I think: ‘Hold on a minute. I sat in the hairdressers’ shop with rollers in for two hours getting a perm in the 1980s.’” Manchester United old-boy Bryan Robson checks himself after remembering those criminal hairdos.

“I have told the cleaning staff to be careful, they might be headhunted as well.” Brighton CEO Paul Barber on who Chelsea might nick from the club next, having already picked up his manager and his entire back room team.

“I met Ronaldo in Mallorca before the start of the season. He said: ‘Go to a big club.’” Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané on Cristiano urging him to leave minnows Liverpool last summer. He took his advice.