In the summer of 1968, Tottenham midfielder Dave Mackay agreed to become player-manager of his beloved boyhood team Hearts. Upon hearing the news on the grapevine, Derby boss Brian Clough drove down to London to see if he could step in and strike a deal for the Scottish living legend before any contract was signed. Mackay took some convincing – Clough had to make several trips, always in his chairman’s white Rolls-Royce in the hope of impressing the player – but eventually the player agreed to drop down a division and sign for the Rams. Clever Cloughie! Persistent Cloughie! Pints of Bell’s all round!
So much for historic precedent, then, you might say. But there are more similarities between Mackay and Rooney than is first apparent. Both were among the world’s best in their position during their heyday. Both were integral parts of the greatest XI their club has ever fielded. Both are unassuming gentlemen of few words, though if you don’t heed their point of view when they do speak, and they start breathing a little heavier through the nose, it’s probably best to take a couple of steps back. Perfect coaching material, in other words. Mackay went on to secure promotion for Derby as a player, then under his managerial yoke they became champions of England just a few years later. No pressure, then, Wayne. No pressure at all.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“By god, I did not make a VAR signal. That is done with a small square of television. I do not know where they got that I consulted a TV screen or that they had passed me information from another place. The intercom is used only by the four officials. They have misunderstood it, for the controversy. I just pointed at my hand, used body language so that everyone knows that there was an offence” – referee Raúl Orosco claims he did not consult a non-existent VAR in a match in Bolivia to give a 96th-minute penalty, despite looking for all the world like he did.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Dario Gradi had information that could have stopped a serial sex offender, an independent inquiry into football’s sexual-abuse scandal has revealed.
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Bristol City will not kick the ball out of play when an opponent is knacked, unless they have suffered a head injury, and have written to every other Championship club to jolly well explain why.
Laurent Koscielny’s summer mardyness is set to finally be rewarded with a move to Bordeaux for £4.6m. In his stead Unai Emery is seeking to bring in Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Juve’s Daniele Rugani, though they won’t come cheap.
Nottingham Forest have banned a piece of work who aimed “horrific abuse” at Derby’s Duane Holmes on Twitter.
German third-tier club Chemnitzer have sacked their striker Daniel Frahn after accusing him of openly expressing sympathy with neo-Nazi groups.
Virgil van Dijk has done a mind game on Harry Maguire, warning Manchester United’s new recruit that the defender’s stonking £80m price tag will put him under the microscope. “It is not easy to completely shut off all the pressure. Personally, I like to put things in perspective,” he advised.
And Crystal Palace have signed Gary Cahill, 78, thwarting the claret and blue interest from Burnley, West Ham and Aston Villa.