25 May 2011
A 27-year-old fan who claims she was dragged from her seat, arrested and banned from Old Trafford for displaying an anti-Glazer banner, has accused Manchester United of meting out "horrific treatment". The supporter says she missed out on the end of the league season and a ticket to Saturday's Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley.
Carly Lyes, a trainee social worker and season-ticket holder in the Stretford End who has been going regularly to Old Trafford since she was 11, said she had displayed a "Love United Hate Glazer" banner for "two to three minutes" before the home leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea on 12 April. Lyes claimed that 10 minutes after she returned to her seat a steward told her to surrender the flag and that, when she refused, she was told to leave the stadium.
Lyes said: "I know the ground regulations very well and asked which one I had broken. I was told I'd broken 'all of them'. She [the steward] told me that it was their stadium and, if they didn't want me in it, I shouldn't be in it. I wasn't drunk, I wasn't being offensive, I hadn't sworn at anybody. The police came over and said I needed to leave. They said I had breached the peace and needed to leave. They dragged me down the stairs. I was taken to the concourse, put in handcuffs and taken to a cell underneath the stadium."
A club spokesman said: "The individual in question infringed the ground rules of the stadium and was obstructive and aggressive when asked to comply by the stewards." Lyes said she was taken to Longsight police station and put in a cell before being released without charge when the match was over. She said she was "outraged" by her treatment by the club, which, she claimed, subsequently suspended her season ticket. She said United had since refused to engage with her.
24 May 2011
22 May 2011
The Arsenal midfielder has graduated to the senior England squad and should not be selected for Stuart Pearce's Under-21s, writes Paul Hayward in the Observer
Europe's major powers will be shaping every move around the need to deliver the best starting XI in the best possible shape to Poland and Ukraine next summer for Euro 2012. Here in England, the country's finest young creative midfielder since Paul Scholes or Paul Gascoigne, Jack Wilshere, is being pitch-forked back to a developmental level he has already passed through, purely so Stuart Pearce's Under-21s can look good at the junior European Championship which starts in Denmark on 11 June.
Pearce has yet to be properly pressed on where his priorities lie: helping England win Euro 2012 or improving his own CV, as candidates jostle to replace Fabio Capello next year. Maybe that's unfair. The decision should not be Pearce's to make. By allowing England's Under-21 coach the final say, Capello has abrogated his responsibility to take proper care of a 19-year-old who needs a summer break, then a managed pre-season programme with Arsenal, to protect his body and perhaps even his mind.
Using a petrol metaphor, Arsène Wenger, his club manager, said last week: "Jack is in the red for a while now and this can be a risk for his health. He knows he is nearly at the end of his energy level but he is keen to do well. To go to a tournament is a massive risk." Capello and Pearce are not the only managers with questions to answer. If Wenger thinks Wilshere is overstretched, why has Jack the lad accumulated more playing time than any other Arsenal player: a total of 4,585 minutes? The breakdown is: 34 Premier League games, two FA Cup, five League Cup, seven Champions League and nine internationals.
In other words, if Wenger was so worried about burnout why did he play Wilshere in League Cup matches or not allow him a mid-season break? Because Cesc Fábregas was injured and/or Arsenal were desperate to win a trophy. New figures show Wilshere has spent more time on the pitch this season than all bar one of his senior England colleagues – Ashley Cole. Even before the Under-21s kick off, Arsenal play Fulham in Sunday's Premier League denouement and England face Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley on Saturday week.