Papers: Back to earth
Michael Walker writes in the Daily Mail...
Back to the real world at the weekend
An indication of what English football and Wembley means is that 100,000 take the stadium tour annually. On Thursday, a group of men from Denmark were lined up in the tunnel to be led out against England in an imaginary 2018 World Cup final. There was hope as well as snow in the air then. By mid-afternoon that 2018 final was even more of a fantasy. FIFA had looked at the 'motherland' of the game and looked away again. As the chilling Russian winds blew around the Bobby Moore statue that gazes out over London, England's gaze fell on FIFA, but also on itself. Is English football any different this morning from yesterday? No. Could it have been different had the bid been won? Probably. But there is a danger that more knees will jerk, a danger that the underlying strength of English football - its unparalleled 92 four-division clubs - will be churned in the rush to discuss the national team again. England's stadiums have not changed in the past 24 hours, nor have its players. The Premier League remains what it was and soon - in fact tomorrow - there may be a diversion in Blackpool, where Manchester United turn up for a league game for the first time since 1974. A Blackpool victory then, or a Wayne Rooney
goal, and we will be back talking about the domestic game that so consumes England. It is the way it is.
Nearly all the nationals go with Sir Alex's assertion in Inside United
, first reported on ManUtd.com on Wednesday night
, that the Reds' games against Arsenal and Chelsea later this month will go a long way towards deciding the destiny of the title.
The Daily Mail claims Jonny Evans will be taken out of the firing line after United's disappointing Carling Cup exit to West Ham. And the same paper suggests Sir Alex is ready to recall Tom Cleverley from his loan spell at Wigan.
Ian Holloway says Blackpool will practise on the beach ahead of their clash with United if their training pitch has not thawed out.