What do Newcastle United and your aunt who just won £400 on a scratch card have in common?
They’re both set to come into a bit of money, and will probably spend it recklessly.
If you haven’t heard, the Magpies – pending Premier League clearance – are about to be released from the clutches of Mike Ashley, and taken over controversially by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. Though there are still some hurdles to overcome…
Their prospective new owners are just a little bit ambitious. However, while they have been linked with Gareth Bale and Philippe Coutinho among an extensive list of unlikely transfer targets, there have been some dissenting voices who have suggested they will be unable to spend so lucratively while keeping within FIFA’s notorious Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Shields Gazette believe they have debunked any such claims, however, as university lecturer and Price of Football author Kieran Maguire – not an expert, according to his Twitter bio – says their thrifty spending in previous windows means they have a cushion to go big under their potential new leaders.
“I’ve crunched the numbers and NUFC have an FFP profit of around £82m over the past two seasons to the end of 2018/19. The allowable loss is £105million over a three-year period,” Maguire is quoted as saying.
“Assuming the new owners sign players on four-year deals, they could spend anywhere between £150-200m in one window or a season and still stay within the Premier League limit.
“There is little love towards Mike Ashley – and rightly so – but he’s leaving a financial legacy that is attractive to any rich successor.”
Wouldn’t it just be ironic if the stingy spending of Ashley – so fervently criticised by the Magpies fanbase – ended up being the very thing that facilitates the signing of Ousmane Dembele or something equally stupid?
It probably won’t be, but it’s worth a thought.
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The EFL have announced that the Championship will return from Saturday 20 June, provided it is safe to do so.
The UK government announced over the weekend that top-level sporting events are allowed to return behind closed-doors, effectively greenlighting the Premier League’s plans to return from Wednesday 17 June.
And the plan is now to resume the Championship season – in which no matches have taken place since 8 March due to the COVID-19 lockdown – from the following weekend.
An EFL statement reads: “Following Saturday’s announcement by the Government to allow elite sporting events to return behind closed doors, the EFL has this weekend agreed to a provisional restart date of the weekend of 20 June 2020 for matches in the Sky Bet Championship.
“The date is subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and Government guidance is met; and that Clubs receive clearance from their local authorities in order to stage matches at their home grounds.
“After discussing various approaches, and, the importance of completing the season in a similar timeline to that of the Premier League to avoid any potential issues with promoted and relegated Clubs, the Sky Bet Championship season is set to conclude with the Championship Play-Off Final on or around 30 July 2020.
“Final details are still to be confirmed following further discussions with the League’s Broadcast partner, Sky Sports.
“During the weekend’s discussions it was further agreed to consider changing Regulations to permit the use of five substitutes in the remaining fixtures and, also increasing the matchday squad from 18 to 20 players. Discussions will continue with Championship Clubs in this respect.”
It’s unclear as yet if the other two EFL divisions will follow suit, but there are concerns about the feasibility of Leagues One and Two resuming with no gate income.
Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho marked his first goal in the 6-1 victory over Paderborn by revealing a shirt showing support for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Riots have taken place all over America this past week after Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes.
Within hours of the footage emerging on Twitter, #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd was trending, and many high-profile figures – in sport and beyond – have thrown their support behind the movement.
Sancho – making his first start since football returned in Germany earlier this month – showed his support, after doubling Dortmund’s lead in Sunday evening’s rout.
In a gesture that has since been spread far and wide on social media, in his celebration, he removed his shirt to reveal a T-shirt printed with the message ‘Justice for George Floyd’.
He received a customary booking, but went on to score a hat-trick as Dortmund brushed aside basement club Paderborn with ease.
He’s not the only prominent Bundesliga figure to voice his support for the movement which continues to sweep America. Schalke captain Weston McKennie – a US international – displayed the same message on his armband during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Werder Bremen.
Gladbach striker Marcus Thuram, meanwhile, marked the first of his goals against Union Berlin on Sunday with a kneel – a direct reference to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the US national anthem in 2016, in protest of institutional racism and police brutality.
The football world seems to have united around the anti-racist sentiment voiced by the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement, but some have expressed disappointment at FIFA, who deleted a tweet from their official account which showed Sancho’s celebration.
Sancho’s Dortmund moved back to within seven points of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich after they dismissed Fortuna Dusseldorf by five goals to nil on Saturday.
The England international’s three goals put him on 17 league goals for the season, and with the same number of assists, he has been directly involved in more goals than any other Bundesliga player in 2019/20.
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Borussia Dortmund scored six times in an entertaining second-half, including a superb hat-trick from Jadon Sancho, to defeat bottom side SC Paderborn 6-1.
Having picked up a disappointing defeat to title rivals Bayern Munich on Tuesday, Die Schwarzgelben travelled to the bottom-placed club, knowing three points was a must to keep their faint hopes of winning the league alive.
And with Erling Haaland ruled out from the team with a knee problem, the away side chose to recall England winger Jadon Sancho back into the starting lineup to help make up for the missing Norwegian’s attacking prowess…
But it became apparent that it was going to be a difficult game for Dortmund, who struggled to find a way past their opponents throughout the first half, even with the lion-share of possession.
Yet Paderborn couldn’t hold on for much longer, and Thorgan Hazard capitalised to open the deadlock for the away side.
Minutes later, his partner-in-crime Sancho would double the lead for Dortmund, who had suddenly come to life.
The party seemed to be under threat when Paderborn were given a penalty, which was converted by Uwe Hünemeier.
But Sancho had other ideas, curling in a left-foot finish past Leopold Zingerle to restore their two-goal lead.
With the floodgates now truly open, Achraf Hakimi got on the act with his strike that made it 4-1 to Dortmund.
Substitute Marcel Schmelzer, who rarely gets onto the scoresheet, was then presented with a golden opportunity to make it five – which he couldn’t pass up….
And before the referee had time to blow the final whistle, Sancho capped off a sensational second-half display with the team’s sixth goal to seal his hat-trick (the first of his professional career), and a crushing victory over the Bundesliga’s bottom club.
A returning Jadon Sancho bagged a hat-trick to help Borussia Dortmund romp to a 6-1 victory over bottom club SC Paderborn in their Sunday evening encounter.
The hosts actually started brightly, with midfielder Christopher Antwi-Adjei getting behind Die Schwarzgelben’s defence only to drag his effort wide.
Indeed, Lucien Favre’s side were not able to fashion chances as easily as expected, with Thorgan Hazard’s effort being beaten away, before Raphaël Guerreiro saw his shot deflected wide a short time afterwards.
Dortmund came into half time unable to create a successful opening against Steffen Baumgart’s well-drilled side, with snatched misses from Emre Can and Julian Brandt symbolising their lack of composure and clinical finishing in front of goal.
After the break, home goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle pulled off a terrific stop to deny Achraf Hakmi. However, he was unable to prevent Hazard from getting the breakthrough, with the Belgian tapping home from his save off Can’s cross. It was swiftly followed by Brandt’s surging run which resulted in a slotted finish from Jadon Sancho to double the visitors’ lead.
Against the run of play, Paderborn pulled a goal back through Uwe Hünemeier’s penalty, awarded for a handball against Can. This didn’t seem to unnerve the Dortmund players however, and Sancho restored their two-goal lead with a curling finish past Zingerle.
Hakimi added a fourth with his sliding effort past the home side’s shot-stopper, and substitute Marcel Schmelzer made it five after being assisted by Gio Reyna.
And there was still time for Sancho to get his hat-trick, taking his time before firing in to cap off a fantastic second-half display for Favre’s team, who close the gap to Bayern Munich back to seven points.
Key Talking Point
While they have remained rooted at the bottom of the table, Paderborn have been solid defensively of late and have kept two clean sheets in their three games since returning to action. Their 3-3 draw with the visitors earlier in the season would have also given their fans a bit of hope that they could produce a similar shock this time around.
And their defensive set-up seemed to successfully nullify Die Schwarzgelben early on, who struggled to find a way through. There was little space afforded to Dortmund’s attackers and they were even able to create half-chances of their own, with Antwi-Adjei the recipient of their best targets on goal.
But it proved to be too hard a task in sustaining their energy for the second-half. They were opened up defensively as the game went on, struggling to match the new-found energy of their opponents, whose superior quality also became too much to handle.
While they, at least, managed to get a consolation goal through the penalty, and can be proud of their first-half efforts, time is running out for Paderborn to save their Bundesliga status.
Who would have thought that it would be Paderborn’s Antwi-Adjei who had the most chances in the first-half? Few would have guessed that.
Yet the Ghanaian was able to get on the end of his side’s counter-attacks and showed off his terrific endurance to put the opposing defence under threat. He never stopped running throughout the game and worked tirelessly to help his defence in relieving them from the huge pressure brought upon them.
Found by the team in the German fifth-division, he could be a useful player in the bottom club’s faint hopes of avoiding relegation in the coming games.
Key Talking Point
With Erling Haaland absent due to a knee issue, all eyes were on the inclusion of Jadon Sancho, with many expecting him to play a major role replacing the attacking firepower of the Norwegian star.
And he looked a little sluggish to begin with. On several occasions he was dispossessed carelessly in the final third despite getting himself into great positions. It didn’t help that he was often up against two or even three Paderborn defenders whenever he got the ball in his favoured left-wing position.
But this changed in the second half. The sought-after winger was given more space on the break and was able to tap home from Julian Brandt’s pass, celebrating his goal by taking off his shirt to show off a message of support for George Floyd, the African-American man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Sancho only needed three touches to grab a second, curling the ball past Zingerle with his weaker foot. Now fully at his best, he looked hungry to get his hat-trick – which he would get thanks to a right-foot finish that beat the keeper at his near-post.
If anyone had any doubts over Dortmund’s ability to replace Haaland – Sancho’s statement display did much to allay any concerns.