News, Culture & Society

SPORTS AGENDA: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets a fright after being CHASED by autograph hunter

Manchester United are reviewing manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s travel arrangements after he was targeted in an extraordinary incident involving what has been described as an ‘overzealous autograph-hunter’.

The Norwegian, who makes time for the club’s supporters whenever possible, was leaving the city-centre Lowry Hotel, where United stay before home matches, when he was approached on the steps. 

Having got to his own car, Solskjaer was then followed in another car by a frustrated punter, who got out at the first set of traffic lights and banged on the manager’s window.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was victim of a bizarre incident with an overexcited fan in Manchester

The Manchester United boss was leaving the Lowry Hotel in the city when the fan chased him

The Manchester United boss was leaving the Lowry Hotel in the city when the fan chased him

United believe the incident was a ‘one-off’ but are examining Solskjaer’s arrangements.

Clubs in the North West were already on high alert after Sportsmail revealed Everton back-up keeper Robin Olsen and his family were confronted by masked raiders at the family home in Cheshire last month.

Under-21s disaster deepens  

The disaster that was the England Under 21s’ European Championship campaign featured one final cock-up.

Plans were put in place over the international break for players returning from abroad to be tested for Covid-19 when they reached English airports. 

However, a number of Aidy Boothroyd’s underachievers failed to attend their appointments after their group-stage exit in Slovenia. 

England's messy under-21 Euro's campaign even struggled to conduct proper Covid-19 testing

England’s messy under-21 Euro’s campaign even struggled to conduct proper Covid-19 testing

The no-shows triggered a headache for their clubs, who are trying to protect their own secure bubbles.

On top of that, Sports Agenda has heard of at least one player who wanted to return to his club during the doomed campaign because he was sick of being played out of position by boss Boothroyd.

Baggies stun Tyldesley  

Few predicted West Bromwich’s stunning 5-2 win at Chelsea — and certainly not talkSPORT’s Clive Tyldesley. 

‘There’s only one way West Brom can win this,’ the 66-year-old commentator told listeners boldly ahead of kick-off, ‘and that’s 1-0.’

Not fit for purpose? 

Greg Clarke’s successor as FIFA vice-president will be voted in later this month and the favourite is a man once removed from his position at the Irish FA when the organisation was deemed ‘not fit for purpose’.

David Martin, the current IFA president, was treasurer when he was sent packing in 2010 by then Northern Ireland Sports Minister Nelson McCausland. 

He delivered a highly critical report which vowed that none of the £26million earmarked for the redevelopment of Windsor Park in Belfast would be handed over while Martin and then president Raymond Kennedy were in charge. 

David Martin, who is front-runner to be FIFA president, hasn't been without past controversy

David Martin, who is front-runner to be FIFA president, hasn’t been without past controversy 

The pair were also slammed in a report into the departure of chief executive Howard Wells, whose unfair dismissal case cost the IFA around £500,000.

Martin attempted a return but failed three competency tests set by independent commissions.

However, that requirement was dropped in 2013 and — despite protests from Northern Ireland fans at a World Cup qualifier — Martin became deputy president. 

An unlikely comeback is now set to lead to a plum £190,000-a-year role, with Martin fancied to win the vote on April 20 for the vice president slot against the Scottish FA’s Michael Mulraney and Welsh FA’s Kieran O’Connor.

Martin failed three IFA competency tests but looks set to be working under Gianni Infantino

Martin failed three IFA competency tests but looks set to be working under Gianni Infantino 

Karthik gets the call 

Dinesh Karthik will be part of the Sky Sports cricket commentary team this summer after proving a hit with viewers during England’s white-ball series in India.

The batsman’s expert analysis, insight and style were a welcome addition and impressed bosses at the broadcaster, who were keen to bring him back.

Away days from home? 

With clubs in Leagues One and Two desperate for new revenue streams, the prospect of ‘beam back’ away matches continues to be discussed.

Many want to screen away matches at their own stadiums and believe that between 200 and 300 fans paying £20 each would provide vital income.

Football League clubs are desperate for funds after the pandemic and want new options

Football League clubs are desperate for funds after the pandemic and want new options  

Such a move, however, would require the consent of the home team, and fears have been raised that it could cut the number of travelling fans. 

Compensation payments, should that be the case, may come into play.

Boycott raring to go 

Sir Geoffrey Boycott has used his time during lockdown to record his recollections of the Test matches he played in and the stories surrounding them. 

The manuscript is not yet complete but the former England and Yorkshire opener is hoping to find a publisher when life returns to normal.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott is keen to get back into commentary action after receiving his two jabs

Sir Geoffrey Boycott is keen to get back into commentary action after receiving his two jabs 

Boycott, 80, told Sports Agenda he has now had his two vaccination jabs and is seeking a return to the commentary box after his departure from Test Match Special. 

‘While I’ve still got my marbles, I feel sure I would be just as brilliant!’ he said.

Icy Harlequins drop Brown 

Mike Brown’s brutal axing by Harlequins has stunned many in the world of rugby. 

The 35-year-old is leaving at the end of the season for Newcastle after 17 years with the club. 

He was given the bad news in a cold, four-minute meeting.

Harlequins have unceremoniously dropped Mike Brown after 17 years of service for the club

Harlequins have unceremoniously dropped Mike Brown after 17 years of service for the club

Such is Brown’s standing at Quins and among supporters that the club renamed their players’ lounge in 2019 as the Mike Brown Bar, which is currently acting as the away-team changing area.

Quins’ opponents on the final day of the season? Newcastle, Brown’s future employers.

Demolition for Deeney 

Troy Deeney has lost an appeal to keep a 400ft-long bamboo fence he put up without planning permission at his Warwickshire home. 

The Watford captain, 32, was told to tear down the unauthorised addition to his luxury new-build by the local council.

He appealed to a planning inspector, arguing as a ‘high-profile individual’ the fence was needed for the security of himself and his young family. 

Troy Deeney has some landscaping to do after being ordered to tear down a fence he had built

Troy Deeney has some landscaping to do after being ordered to tear down a fence he had built

His planning agent said the fence replaced a threadbare hedge, which delivery drivers would cut through instead of using the driveway.

However, the appeal was dismissed, with the fence deemed out of place and that ‘no substantive evidence’ had been submitted to demonstrate ‘significant safety risks’.

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