China crisis

The Shanghai Shenhua futures of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka will be decided before the end of the month.

The former Chelsea duo are in the middle of a cash row involving the club’s owners.

The Evening Standard says Zhu Jun is threatening to withdraw his funding unless he is given more control of the club by the end of the month.

Without the billionaire’s money, Shanghai would be unable to pay the pair, with Drogba on £250,000 a week and Anelka on £200,000. You can pick up your jaws now.

“Now, I made a difficult decision to believe you one more time, one last time! And this time I have a deadline: two weeks,” Zhu wrote on Weibo.

But, given the pronouncements he made on arriving in China, surely there is no prospect of Drogba leaving the club over a trifling matter like money.

“This is not a golden exile,” Drogba told Telefoot at the time. “It’s a career choice. I assume it perfectly. And I know I can bring something to my new club.

“It would have been easier for me to stay in Europe, but I chose China. Money is not the most important [factor]. I am here for a whole new experience.”

From the horse’s mouth.

Gerrards cross

Steven Gerrard and his wife Alex will star in a forthcoming documentary series about about Liverpool FC.

The pair feature in a new Channel 5 show, Being Liverpool, which goes behind the scenes at the Premiership club.

Gerrard is obviously no stranger to the cameras, although these will be more prominent than the CCTV ones that captured footage of him and his friends engaged in playful banter with a local DJ who had refused to play Phil Collins.

The Being Liverpool documentary depicts Gerrard as the modern family man, engaging with his three children around the house.

Meanwhile, his wife Alex, the picture of domestic serenity, will be seen in the kitchen, baking cakes, tossing pancakes and the like.

She said: “I didn’t want to be on TV, but the programme is all about Liverpool footballers and it looks into their lives, so would have looked a bit odd filming Steven at home with me nowhere to be seen!

“I never agree to things like this usually because I hate being filmed.”

An admission that makes her pretty much unique among the wives of high profile English footballers.

She added: “Steven’s used to it and he told me to just be myself, but I get so shy in front of the cameras and my head goes blank!”

With her head going blank, it sounds like she really is just being herself.

Anyway, for those of you interested, the first episode of Being Liverpool will be screened this Friday on Channel 5. And if that’s not an invitation to get out of the house, I don’t know what is.

Money back

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor has offered to refund any fans who bought a replica shirt with his name and number before he changed it.

The Togolese striker had been listed as number 25 in lists submitted to the Premier League – but he then changed it to the vacant 10.

He said: “I am very proud that Spurs fans want to have my name and number on their shirt and I didn’t want them to be inconvenienced by this change.

“Therefore, I’m very happy to cover the cost to enable those fans to exchange their shirts – for an Adebayor 10!”

A magnificent gesture, and given his global popularity, one that will set him back tens of pounds.

Le saga continues

Adriano Galliani has revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not want to leave  Milan this summer and only agreed to depart when it emerged that the Rossoneri CEO had broken his promise that they would not accept any offers for the striker.

“Ibrahimovic really wanted to stay at Milan,” Galliani was quoted as saying by France Football.

“I promised him that he would not be sold when he came to meet me accompanied by Mino Raiola at the end of last season. However, the board then had a number of meetings and we opted to sell him after all.

“He doesn’t speak to me anymore since he has left Milan for Paris. I can’t blame him, though, as I broke my promise.”

Meanwhile, PSG boss, Carlo Ancelotti says it was not difficult to persuade the Swede to join in the summer. Apparently, he was fascinated by the ‘project’ taking place at PSG.

“I think everyone speaks about the money PSG gave to these players, but I think the most important thing is the project,” he told

That and the fact that Milan no longer wanted him.

When is a ban not a ban?

UEFA have admitted they will not try to stop banned Juventus coach Antonio Conte communicating with his coaching staff during Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Chelsea.

Watching Alan Pardew – currently serving a two-match ban for pushing a linesman – passing his instructions on to an assistant via mobile phone during Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Everton on Monday night, does make you wonder what the point of a touchline ban actually is.

A UEFA official told the Daily Express: “Conte is not allowed to have any contact with the players during the game or at half-time but he can be in the stands watching.

“There will be people watching the bench to check there is no communication. They will have eye contact with the bench.

“But there will not be anyone with him in the stands. He knows he is not allowed to communicate, so he will not do it.”

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho showed enterprise to get round a similar touchline ban in 2005 in a Champions League tie against Barcelona, by hiding in a basket of dirty laundry which was ferried into the dressing room at half-time.

In the quarter-finals against Bayern Munich, with Mourinho still banned, his assistant, Rui Faria, wore a hat in the dugout which raised suspicions that he was wearing an earpiece to communicate with his boss.

Say what you like about Mourinho, but he plays the pantomime villain to perfection.

Man City tipped to triumph, but not yet…

According to Mourinho, Manchester City will win the Champions League, although he did add the caveat that it probably won’t happen this season and, rather mischievously, that it was unlikely to happen under current coach Roberto Mancini.

Comparing City’s progress to that of one of his former clubs, Chelsea, Mourinho suggested there was an air of inevitability about City’s ascent to Europe’s biggest prize.

“I don’t think it’s very different,’ said Mourinho. “Since Roman bought the club, Ranieri was first coach. After that I come and we won the first league, the cups, more titles. Carlo came and kept winning and finally they won the Champions League.

“City was Mark Hughes, I think, as the first coach with the new owners, He started to spend money and buy good players, then Roberto comes, doing good work, spending more money, buying better players and building an incredible squad.

“I don’t know if it will be this season or next season, whether with Roberto or somebody else, but in the future, normally, in the direction the club are going, sooner or later they can win the big cup.’


David Carney has been told he is no longer wanted by his club, Bunyodkor, and that he is welcome to leave whenever he wants.

Although Carney has been capped 46 times by Australia, he has made little impact since moving to Uzbekistan in April and was left behind in Tashkent while Bunyodkor travelled to Australia for an Asian Champions League quarter-final clash with Adelaide United on Wednesday night.

Bunyodkor coach Mirjalol Kasimov told reporters through a translator: “In this moment he is still our player. But if he finds any other options, any other club, he can go there, we will terminate our contract with him.

“I have better players who play better than David Carney.”

“When he comes to his national team … he always plays there better than in our club… he has a contract with the club, he must show the result there (rather) than the national team.”

Goal of the day

Everton’s Leighton Baines plays a delightful one-two with Steven Pienaar before drilling home a powerful shot past Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.

The good news and the bad news…

Manchester United’s total income fell by 3.3% to £320.3m for the year ending June 30 2012, the club’s annual results revealed.

The fall in revenue came as no great surprise given United’s failure to make the knockout stages of the Champions League last season.

On a more positive note, for the first time ever, revenue from commercial income exceeded that from broadcast and matchday income.

A United spokesman told the Press Association: “The results are consistent with what we expected. We strongly believe the outstanding results in the commercial sector demonstrate the huge potential the club has, and the financial outlook is very positive.”

Commercial revenue was up 13.7% to £117.6m, while broadcast revenue was down 11.3% to £104m and matchday revenue down 10.9% to £98.7m.

A Manchester United plc statement said: “Broadcasting revenues for the year decreased… primarily as a result of our elimination at the group stages of the Champions League.

“For the fourth quarter, revenues decreased 37.4% to £27.5 million as no participation fees were earned compared to Champions League participation fees from the quarter-final, semi-final and final in the fourth quarter of the prior year.

“In addition, we earned minimal revenues from the FA Cup following our fourth round exit, compared with reaching the semi-final in the previous year.

“Matchday revenues for the year decreased… as a result of having played four fewer home games compared with the prior season when we also received a share of the gate receipts from the Champions League final and FA Cup semi-final, both of which were held at Wembley Stadium.”

Despite the drop in turnover, United actually recorded a profit of £23m, although that was due to a tax credit of £28m – without that credit there would have been a £5m loss.

Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman said in a statement: “We are delighted to announce our first results as a NYSE [New York Stock Exchange] listed company; fiscal 2012 was the best year ever for Manchester United’s commercial business.

“Our world-record 559m dollar shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet and the Premier League’s new £1bn a year UK television rights deal (a 70% increase) highlight the outstanding growth prospects for the future.

“We also expect a substantial increase in the value of the Premier League’s international television contracts scheduled to be announced later this year.

“In addition, we continued to strengthen our team by signing world-class players such as Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa over the summer.”

All seems rosy in the garden, but with money no object to the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, one wonders how long United will be guaranteed a place at the top table of English, never mind European football.

Quote of the day

“They (Dortmund) have learned from experience. Now they are different. Of course they lost Shinji Kagawa but acquired Marco Reus and with it, they are even stronger.”

Shinji Kagawa may be deemed worthy of a mention in United’s annual financial results, but Franz Beckenbauer believes his departure has actually strengthened his former club.