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Updated: 2 hours 10 min ago

Marcus Rashford puts Manchester children first in coronavirus crisis

2 hours 56 min ago

Marcus Rashford says helping children is his top priority after working to get food to those who relied on free school meals.

The Manchester United and England forward has been working with the charity FareShare to help local youngsters after schools were closed across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 22-year-old revealed his own childhood has inspired him to want to make a difference to the next generation.

Related: Football's magnetism means doors should stay closed on crowdless matches | Simon Burnton

Related: Dave meets Marcus Rashford: ‘I rate you so highly, because you take football seriously’

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I know what we shouldn't have done last summer: what Premier League clubs would change | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 20:00

Tottenham and Manchester City are among the clubs who would probably make very different decisions if they could reset the Premier League as if it were Football Manager

The season must be completed. The season must be abandoned now. As the arguments gabble on, only occasionally acknowledging their own hypothetical nature given how little we know about how the virus will proceed, how long the lockdown may last and whether there may be a second wave of infections when it is lifted, it’s tempting t o dip into another hypothetical. What if this were like a game of Football Manager? What if we could quit without saving and go back and start again last summer? What would Premier League clubs, given their time over, do differently?

Let’s start with the obvious one: Tottenham’s decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino and replace him with José Mourinho. Once a path has been embarked on, there is perhaps some logic in pursuing it to its conclusion, but would Daniel Levy really take that road again? Tottenham are without a win in their past six games. They’ve gone out of the FA Cup and Champions League. They’re seven points adrift of fourth. They’ve kept three clean sheets in 26 games under Mourinho. For Spurs, this season has been a shambles.

Related: From the archive: Rob Smyth on why Euro 96 was overrated

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Manchester United will offer fans ticket refunds if season is not completed

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 13:32
  • Club remain committed to finishing current season
  • Pro-rata rebates an option if games played without fans

Manchester United remain committed to finishing the current season, but have informed fans they can expect a pro-rata rebate or refund if matches are played behind closed doors or cancelled.

The coronavirus suspension appears certain to be extended beyond the end of April and talk continues to rumble on about how best to conclude this season.

Related: My favourite game: Chelsea v Napoli 2012 | Luke McLaughlin

Related: Abused and isolated: how life soured for Viv Solomon-Otabor in Bulgaria

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When football played on during world war one and inflamed a London derby

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 17:40

The 1914-15 season, which was played out to the backdrop of a world war, is one of the most controversial in history

By Richard Foster for the Guardian Sport Network

These are unprecedented times, but the Football League also had to face the prospect of postponing or cancelling the season when war was declared on 4 August 1914. The league’s management committee met a few days later and concluded that it was business as usual, with one caveat: a number of grounds would be used for mobilisation purposes. White Hart Lane was requisitioned as a site for manufacturing protection equipment, such as gas marks, so Tottenham had to play their home matches at Highbury.

Many people believed the war would not last for longer than a few months. So, on 1 September, the Division One season kicked off with two fixtures. Manchester City beat Bradford City 4-1 in front of 9,000 fans at their Hyde Road ground while a crowd of 12,000 saw The Wednesday (they did not become Sheffield Wednesday until 1929) overcome Middlesbrough 3-1 at Hillsborough. On the same day, there were Division Two games at Arsenal, Clapton Orient and Grimsby.

Related: How WG Grace, my imaginary friend and mentor, helped me score my greatest run

Related: The evolution of football nutrition: from chocolate to 'Kevin Carbonara'

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My favourite game: Manchester United v Brighton, 1983 FA Cup final replay

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 14:24

Back in the 1980s the FA Cup final was a huge event but me, aged 15, and my friend somehow managed to get tickets to this replay

It is hard for anyone much under 40 to grasp how important the FA Cup final used to be, how simultaneously desirable going to the Wembley showpiece was to an English football fanatic growing up in the 1970s and 80s. One of only two matches you knew would be televised live (along with England v Scotland), it overshadowed league football in a way unthinkable today.

In 1983, aged 15, I travelled to watch the 1983 final at the home of a Manchester United-supporting friend who lived at the far end of the London Underground line that runs through Wembley. Neither my friend Simon nor I settled down to watch United play Brighton with any thought of what might happen next.

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Old Trafford 'racist assault' not caught on CCTV, family told

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 12:22

Camera was pointing in another direction when Kamarl Nelson, 19, was allegedly attacked

An alleged racist assault against a teenage Manchester United worker by security staff outside Old Trafford was not captured by CCTV as the cameras were pointing in the wrong direction, his family have been told.

Kamarl Nelson, 19, was allegedly slammed against a wall and put in a choke hold in what is said to have been a racially aggravated incident involving the club’s security guards before a Europa League match last month.

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United and City donate combined £100,000 to Manchester food banks

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:04

Manchester United and Manchester City have donated a combined £100,000 to local food banks in a joint initiative between the clubs to fight the threat of coronavirus to those most vulnerable.

The move comes after Fans Supporting Foodbanks told the Guardian on Thursday it was launching a fund with MUFC Foodbanks to help the 19 in the area.

Related: Premier League clubs urged to help food banks during coronavirus crisis

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Manchester United cancel training and ask players to work alone

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 09:35

Manchester United have stopped their players from training at the club’s Carrington base and asked them to work individually following fresh advice regarding coronavirus from Boris Johnson.

On Monday the prime minister urged against all non-essential physical contact and travel. Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the manager, had been due to take training on Tuesday morning.

Related: Euro 2020: what will Uefa's video conference realistically decide?

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Bruno Fernandes uses Premier League award as spur to keep improving

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 13:40
  • Manchester United midfielder player of the month for February
  • United training ground remains open amid virus outbreak

Bruno Fernandes has been named the Premier League player of the month for February following an exceptional start to life at Manchester United.

Summer interest turned into a prolonged January pursuit for the 25-year-old Portugal midfielder, with United getting their man towards the end of the window in a deal worth an initial €55m (£46.6m).

Related: My Favourite Game: Manchester United's 1999 replay against Arsenal | Daniel Harris

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My Favourite Game: Manchester United's 1999 replay against Arsenal | Daniel Harris

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 12:15

With no live football on in most countries, we have asked our writers to pick a game they will never forget

Much as the internet wills it otherwise, football inhabits the grey areas: everything is subjective, nothing is absolute, and it is no more deviant to change your mind than it is fraudulent to say you don’t know.

However, certain truths are elemental, and here’s one: the 1996-2005 rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United is the greatest the English game has seen, with – cue Arsène Wenger internal voice – quality, intensity and animosity beyond compare. And, though 2005’s “I’ll see you out there” encounter comes close, its zenith – and therefore English football’s zenith too – was the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay, which featured every aspect that can possibly eventuate when 22 people gather to boot a pig’s bladder around a green field.

Related: Gary Neville: 1999 FA Cup win over Arsenal was only game I ever smiled in

The Semi-Final that had it all.

United vs Arsenal 1999. #FACup pic.twitter.com/TVAwteWZRr

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What is it like to cover a football game behind closed doors? | Jamie Jackson

Sat, 03/14/2020 - 14:22

Football with no fans – or very few at least – is very different, as Manchester United’s Europa League game against Lask showed

Come and enter the hidden cabaret behind the closed doors of Manchester United’s 5-0 thrashing of Lask in Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first leg. The show commenced at 6.55pm local time at the Linzer Stadion and was a veritable offering of vaudeville.

The bill featured two garden-hopping United supporters who broke-and-entered near Sergio Romero’s goal during the first half. It featured representatives of a United YouTube fan channel singing proudly about Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men from the media seats as the written press composed live pieces. It had the vocal Bruno Fernandes urging Daniel James (and others) to up their game against the Austrian Bundesliga leaders. And there was a show-stopping vignette from Solskjær after final whistle.

Related: Nigel Pearson: ‘It's the right decision to stop playing, even if it was made under duress'

It was Fernandes who was United’s Brian Blessed: his voice constantly booming around the pitch of the deserted arena

Related: English football's shutdown until April means season may never be completed

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Mother worker allegedly abused Man Utd guards 'hurt' by response

Fri, 03/13/2020 - 16:21

Mother of Kamarl Nelson, 19, disappointed by club’s lack of ‘human response’

The mother of a Manchester United worker who alleged he was racially abused and assaulted by security staff has said she is “surprised, disappointed and hurt” by what she described as the club’s lack of support for the teenager.

Police are investigating allegations that Kamarl Nelson, 19, was assaulted in a raciallyaggravated incident involving the club’s security guards outside Old Trafford before a Europa League match last month.

Related: Old Trafford guards accused of racist attack on 19-year-old worker

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Manchester United thrash Lask in front of empty stands in Europa League

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 20:13

Fireworks ignited outside the closed Linzer Stadion marked the beginning of a last-16 tie that may not be completed next week due to coronavirus.

The disease is causing more and more sport to be suspended so when Manchester United will hope to seal passage to the quarter-finals is unclear. Here, though, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side did what was needed, turning in a professional performance, cruising to victory before the smattering of Lask fans allowed entry and whose side did pose an occasional threat despite operating on a budget roughly analogous to a League Two team.

Related: Lask 0-5 Manchester United: Europa League last 16 – live!

Related: Rangers v Bayer Leverkusen: Europa League, last 16 – live!

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Lask v Manchester United: Europa League last 16 – live!

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 17:37

5.37pm GMT

The players are out and warming up, soaking up the atmosphere.

5.26pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had a pre-match chat:

The team’s just prepared as normal, obviously knowing that it was up in the air. But the boys have been very good, they’re focusing, and they’ve not asked me one question about whether it’s going to be on or not. There’s a couple of forced changes, and of course other players have shown they’re capable of playing for us, and some of it is tactics for this game and this opposition.

I think it’s going to be a tough game physically. [Lask are] very direct, very hard-working. Strong. They’ve got a way of playing that they’re used to. Very good at set plays. We’re ready for them.

5.14pm GMT

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I suppose this bloke couldn’t find a face mask and wasn’t very good at making his own.

5.00pm GMT

And here are the teams in full:

Lask: Schlager, Ramsebner, Trauner, Ranftl, Reiter, Holland, Michorl, Renner, Tetteh, Klauss, Frieser. Subs: Balic, Muller, Wostry, Haudum, Raguz, Sabitzer, Gebauer.
Manchester United: Romero, Williams, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Bruno Fernandes, James, Ighalo. Subs: De Gea, Lindelof, Andreas Pereira, Greenwood, Matic, Tuanzebe, Chong.
Referee: Artur Soraes Dias (Portugal).

4.50pm GMT

Here’s the United team. You will notice that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made five changes, swapping Sergio Romero for David De Gea in goal, and naming Eric Bailly, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Odion Ighalo in his starting XI:

Ole's named his team to face LASK... let's go, #MUFC! #UEL

4.48pm GMT

Hello world!

Tonight/this evening/morning/whatever we will watch a game of football. Enjoy this sensation, for we might not have it for long. It will anyway be somewhat subdued, with no fans permitted inside the Linzer Stadion, but there will be 22 top-level (open to debate) footballers kicking a ball around, and that’s something to be cherished. United have a few injuries, as ever, but they do have the free-scoring (in cup competitions) Odion Ighalo in their starting line-up and an excellent record against Austrian teams: they have won their last six such games, and have an overall record of P8 W7 D1 L0.

Related: Back from the brink: how Lask came back to set up Manchester United tie

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Back from the brink: how Lask came back to set up Manchester United tie

Thu, 03/12/2020 - 11:30

The Austrian club were close to bankruptcy seven years ago, now they face Manchester United in the Europa League last-16

It is not going to be the joyful occasion they first thought, but the Lask players are determined to make history regardless. When the Europa League last-16 draw pitted them against Manchester United on 28 February games were still played with fans in the stadiums in Austria but that has all changed in the past week.

The coronavirus outbreak means that Lask will have to play the biggest game in their history behind closed doors. It is a blow to the players, the fans and the club’s finances – the president, Siegmund Gruber, says the club will lose an estimated €1m (£870,000) in revenues – with the captain, Gernot Trauner, calling it “a middle-sized catastrophe”.

Related: Europa League thrown into coronavirus chaos as two last-16 ties are shelved

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Europa League thrown into coronavirus chaos as two last-16 ties are shelved

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 21:35
  • Sevilla v Roma and Inter Milan v Getafe first legs postponed
  • Spanish authorities refuse landing permission for Roma’s flight

The knockout stages of the Europa League have been thrown into disarray after two of the last-16 fixtures were postponed the day before the first legs were scheduled to take place as the coronavirus outbreak continues to take its toll on the football calendar across the continent.

While Manchester United’s fixture against the Austrian side Lask Linz and Wolves’ meeting with Olympiakos are still set to take place behind closed doors on Thursday night after the Greek side’s players all tested negative for Covid‑19, it is understood Uefa is considering what action to take to ensure the competition can still be completed despite the widespread disruption.

Related: Arsenal players in self-isolation as Manchester City game postponed due to coronavirus

Related: Anthony Martial ruled out of Manchester United's first leg in Austria

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Anthony Martial ruled out of Manchester United's first leg in Austria

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 20:40
  • Striker collided with a post during win over Manchester City
  • Greenwood and Ighalo ready to start against Lask

Anthony Martial will miss Manchester United’s Europa League match with Lask and is a doubt for the Premier League trip to Tottenham on Sunday after hurting himself when colliding with a post in the victory over Manchester City.

There is better news for Ole Gunnar Solskjær regarding injuries as the manager hopes to have Paul Pogba available for the return last-16 leg with Lask at Old Trafford next week, the midfielder nearing full recovery following ankle surgery.

Related: Manchester United turning a corner with Bruno Fernandes at the wheel

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Old Trafford guards accused of racist attack on 19-year-old worker

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 16:32

Man allegedly called ‘slave’ and hit by guards who did not believe he worked at stadium

Police are investigating claims of a racially-aggravated assault at Manchester United’s football stadium, after a 19-year-old hospitality worker said he was attacked by security guards and left with a fractured eye socket as he tried to get to work at the ground.

Greater Manchester police confirmed on Tuesday that they were looking into a report of a public order offence and assault by two men at Old Trafford on 27 February.

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La Liga games to be played behind closed doors until at least 22 March

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 12:21
  • Spanish league announces measures in response to coronavirus
  • Manchester United could play at LASK without fans attending

La Liga matches will be played behind closed doors until at least 22 March, covering the next two rounds of top-tier fixtures in the country, to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Spanish league said on Tuesday.

Real Madrid host Eibar on Friday in the first affected match, with Madrid’s 21 March game against Valencia also set to take place without fans. League leaders Barcelona’s matches in the affected rounds are away at Mallorca and at home to Leganés.

Related: EFL clubs fear for future if coronavirus forces behind-closed-doors games

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Moral of Ole Gunnar Solskjær's fairytale is patience is a virtue

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 18:51

The faith Ed Woodward and Manchester United placed in the manager is paying dividends with a 10-match unbeaten run

Welcome to the fairytale of the manager of England’s most successful club and the executive vice-chairman who backed him with time, nerve, time, a blanking out of the social media mob-culture that bays for blood … and more time.

Welcome to an alternative football world where in the face of febrile derision and criticism there is continuous support of the man in the hotseat through lean and challenging periods.

Related: Jude Bellingham's parents meet Manchester United executives for talks

Related: Manchester United turning a corner with Bruno Fernandes at the wheel

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