SPORTS AGENDA: United must act because Pochettino can't wait forever

SPORTS AGENDA: Manchester United must act soon if they want Mauricio Pochettino… the former Spurs boss has already turned down several job offers as he plays a waiting game

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer yet to convince he is the right man for Manchester United
  • Next month marks second anniversary of the Norwegian being given the job
  • Former Tottenham boss Pochettino has now turned down multiple job offers
  • Meanwhile, Hampshire exploring the use of grounds away from Southampton

One has to wonder how much longer Manchester United can fail to act before Mauricio Pochettino takes a job elsewhere.

The Old Trafford board persist with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is yet to convince many he is the man to return United to the top.

Next month marks the second anniversary of the Norwegian being given the job, albeit initially in a caretaker role.

Mauricio Pochettino (above) has now turned down multiple offers to return to work

Despite spending more than £250million on players since then, United are ninth in the table and — the odd counter-attacking success aside — do not look like contenders.

This column understands former Tottenham boss Pochettino has now turned down multiple offers to return to work and is waiting for the right project. That situation cannot continue forever.

Hampshire are exploring the use of grounds away from Southampton next season in the expectation at least one Twenty20 international will be staged at the Ageas Bowl, and in case the ground is required for further matches because of its biosecure setting.

The county have alerted members and supporters to the likelihood of staging a fixture against Sri Lanka, although this has not been included on the ECB’s provisional fixture list. When lockdown restrictions are lifted Simon Lee, the head groundsman, and Giles White, the director of cricket, will inspect the square at Portsmouth, where first-class cricket has not been staged for 20 years.

Hampshire are exploring the use of grounds away from Southampton next season

Other grounds under consideration are Basingstoke, where championship cricket has not been played for 10 years, Newclose on the Isle of Wight, and the nursery ground at the Ageas Bowl.

SPORTSMAIL last week launched a campaign calling on football to finally tackle its dementia scandal. 

As part of our drive, reporters contacted the press offices of multiple Premier League clubs to let them know what was to come and to ask for their support. 

In most cases, the message came back that, while the clubs themselves had policies of not backing individual newspaper campaigns, journalists were welcome to ask managers at press conferences.

Nobby Stiles (right) suffered from dementia and was part of England’s World Cup winning team

However, one club — which has seen a large number of its former players diagnosed with the disease — failed to cover itself in glory. 

When made aware of the ring around by another club via a group email, they saw fit to send a response stating that they had not received the query, but if they did get one they would simply ignore it.

Sports Agenda is not naming the club, which really should know better. Let’s hope they take note.

The MCC has stepped up their efforts to shift debentures in the new Compton and Edrich stands by bringing in a Michelin-star chef.

Tommy Banks will be serving ‘the best of British flavours alongside the finest views on international match days’ from next year, virus permitting. 

Banks is the chef-director of the Michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead and Roots in York.

Steve Harmison and Leon McKenzie, two athletes who have struggled with depression, have launched a new series examining the issue on talkSPORT. 

The former England bowler and ex-Crystal Palace striker will speak to a host of professional sports stars about the after-effects of retirement and the loneliness and isolation it can trigger.

Steve Harmison (above) and Leon McKenzie will examine depression for a series on talkSPORT

The ECB, who have lost £100million and counting and been forced to cut 62 jobs because of the pandemic, have now placed staff across various departments on the Government’s flexible furlough. 

The cricket organisation’s move has been taken to protect those who remain in post. The ECB, like other governing bodies, are desperate to see fans return to grounds.

During the latest lockdown, rules around bubbles at training grounds have been tightened. That has meant a return to masses of media content being produced by club staff, rather than broadcasters. 

At some top-flight outfits, broadcasters have had state-of-the-art equipment ferried in to ensure pictures and sound are of a quality that meets their criteria. 

‘We’re not getting paid extra for this,’ observed one over-worked press officer. 

He has worked at one Old Trafford and now Andy Anson is heading to the other one. 

The former Manchester United commercial director has been named chairman in a non-executive role at Lancashire Cricket Club. 

Anson, chief executive of England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, will continue as chief executive of the British Olympic Association. 

Lancashire Cricket Club have appointed Andy Anson (above) as their new chairman

A group has been set up to promote the interests of professional football photographers in the UK. 

The Football Photographers’ Association aims to improve relations with clubs and the perception of its members, while aiding those trying to break into the industry. 

The widely held view is that in most countries photographers are held in higher esteem than here, where they are often deemed second-class citizens.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham faced the media last week in the aftermath of Greg Clarke’s self-inflicted departure and would no doubt have hoped to make a good impression as the body seeks to move on from the recent disaster. 

It was perhaps unwise, then, for Bullingham to declare to the BBC that he was ‘proud’ of the FA’s role in investigating dementia. 

Bullingham’s comment has not gone unnoticed with many caring for family members who have died from, or who continue to suffer from the disease. ‘Proud is not a word I’d use anywhere near this,’ said one.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said he was ‘proud’ of the FA’s work regarding dementia

The upcoming presidential election for the much-criticised World Boxing Federation is set to be a murky, politically-charged affair. 

At the last count there were candidates from Azerbaijan, Russia, UAE, Germany and Morocco. 

Sports Agenda understands that some on the list concern the IOC, which has already sidelined the organisation from managing the medal events at the Tokyo Olympics. The pandemic may not prevent the traditional horse-trading in smoke-filled rooms — albeit that may now have to take place on Zoom.




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