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There are fears that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ will make a more forceful attempt to grab a bigger share of its overseas television cash after the value of its domestic deal fell for the first time. The outcome of the triennial auction for the UK rights to the world’s richest league put some of its 14 other clubs on alert for the resurrection of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City’s bid to change the way broadcast revenues are distributed among teams. There is even concern that if the current top six do not get their way, they will refuse to allow their television rights to be sold collectively when the UK deal next comes up for renewal in three years’ time and will instead seek to go to market individually. In October, the so-called Big Six were thwarted by their top-flight rivals in their first attempt to secure more of the league’s overseas cash when clubs met to debate a plan by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore that would have meant more than a third of the revenue, currently split equally between all teams, woild have been awarded based on finishing position in the table. Domestic TV money is already divided meritocratically and the Big Six argue it is unfair for that not to be the case for the remainder of the league’s broadcast revenue, as well as claiming it is their own popularity abroad which has driven up its value. TV times | Premier League deals at a glance Their rivals, meanwhile, contend the overall competitiveness of the league is behind any increase and that eroding that would be counterproductive. Tuesday’s announcement that Sky Sports and BT Sport had won five of the seven packages of UK rights to the 2019-22 seasons for £4.464 billion meant that the Premier League was set to receive less in TV fees within its home territory than the £5.136 billion it gets under the current three-year contract. With overseas cash forecast to grow by up to 40 per cent in the next cycle, that means the difference between the proportion of money given to the champions and the bottom-placed club is poised to shrink, compounding the Big Six’s sense of injustice. Precisely how much that figure shrinks by will depend on how much money the Premier League can secure for the two domestic packages that remain unsold. Those packages, which each contain two entire rounds of games in a first for top-flight English football, failed to attract bids meeting reserve prices placed on them. Unless any bidders – of which BT has confirmed it is one – or the Premier League, blinks, those matches could be the catalyst for a radical change in how the rights are sold or shown. One option is for them to be repackaged with the competition’s near-live rights in an attempt to make them more appealing to companies other than Sky and BT. The Premier League did say in a statement on Tuesday that the packages had attracted interest from “multiple” bidders, although it declined to comment on whether multiple meant more than just Sky and BT. Amazon also declined to comment on whether it had bid for any of the rights or was trying to buy the remaining two packages. Sky, meanwhile, had no plans on Wednesday to cut the price of its sports channels after winning 128 matches per season for far less than it paid for 126 three years ago. Its £4.2 billion outlay on the existing rights was passed on to its customers but any savings on Premier League football were set to be reinvested in other content, with the company confident of offering value for money. The north London derby is one of the Premier League's biggest games Credit: GETTY IMAGES BT Sport gave no indication of its pricing plans were it to also end up paying less than the £960 million under the current contract. A leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, told Telegraph Sport: “The cost of subscriptions is very high. If they are paying less then why shouldn’t the customers be paying less, too?” The Football Supporters’ Federation refused to be drawn on the matter, with chief executive Kevin Miles instead calling for the preservation of the £30 cap on away tickets for match-going fans and for other “measures to reduce the impact of televised games on away fans in particular”. He added: “We’d also like to see clubs introduce concessions for 18-22 year-olds to ensure that young adults are not priced out of games.”
Exclusive: 'Big Six' clubs could grab TV money from Premier League rivals
There are fears that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ will make a more forceful attempt to grab a bigger share of its overseas television cash after the value of its domestic deal fell for the first time. The outcome of the triennial auction for the UK rights to the world’s richest league put some of its 14 other clubs on alert for the resurrection of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City’s bid to change the way broadcast revenues are distributed among teams. There is even concern that if the current top six do not get their way, they will refuse to allow their television rights to be sold collectively when the UK deal next comes up for renewal in three years’ time and will instead seek to go to market individually. In October, the so-called Big Six were thwarted by their top-flight rivals in their first attempt to secure more of the league’s overseas cash when clubs met to debate a plan by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore that would have meant more than a third of the revenue, currently split equally between all teams, woild have been awarded based on finishing position in the table. Domestic TV money is already divided meritocratically and the Big Six argue it is unfair for that not to be the case for the remainder of the league’s broadcast revenue, as well as claiming it is their own popularity abroad which has driven up its value. TV times | Premier League deals at a glance Their rivals, meanwhile, contend the overall competitiveness of the league is behind any increase and that eroding that would be counterproductive. Tuesday’s announcement that Sky Sports and BT Sport had won five of the seven packages of UK rights to the 2019-22 seasons for £4.464 billion meant that the Premier League was set to receive less in TV fees within its home territory than the £5.136 billion it gets under the current three-year contract. With overseas cash forecast to grow by up to 40 per cent in the next cycle, that means the difference between the proportion of money given to the champions and the bottom-placed club is poised to shrink, compounding the Big Six’s sense of injustice. Precisely how much that figure shrinks by will depend on how much money the Premier League can secure for the two domestic packages that remain unsold. Those packages, which each contain two entire rounds of games in a first for top-flight English football, failed to attract bids meeting reserve prices placed on them. Unless any bidders – of which BT has confirmed it is one – or the Premier League, blinks, those matches could be the catalyst for a radical change in how the rights are sold or shown. One option is for them to be repackaged with the competition’s near-live rights in an attempt to make them more appealing to companies other than Sky and BT. The Premier League did say in a statement on Tuesday that the packages had attracted interest from “multiple” bidders, although it declined to comment on whether multiple meant more than just Sky and BT. Amazon also declined to comment on whether it had bid for any of the rights or was trying to buy the remaining two packages. Sky, meanwhile, had no plans on Wednesday to cut the price of its sports channels after winning 128 matches per season for far less than it paid for 126 three years ago. Its £4.2 billion outlay on the existing rights was passed on to its customers but any savings on Premier League football were set to be reinvested in other content, with the company confident of offering value for money. The north London derby is one of the Premier League's biggest games Credit: GETTY IMAGES BT Sport gave no indication of its pricing plans were it to also end up paying less than the £960 million under the current contract. A leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, told Telegraph Sport: “The cost of subscriptions is very high. If they are paying less then why shouldn’t the customers be paying less, too?” The Football Supporters’ Federation refused to be drawn on the matter, with chief executive Kevin Miles instead calling for the preservation of the £30 cap on away tickets for match-going fans and for other “measures to reduce the impact of televised games on away fans in particular”. He added: “We’d also like to see clubs introduce concessions for 18-22 year-olds to ensure that young adults are not priced out of games.”
There are fears that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ will make a more forceful attempt to grab a bigger share of its overseas television cash after the value of its domestic deal fell for the first time. The outcome of the triennial auction for the UK rights to the world’s richest league put some of its 14 other clubs on alert for the resurrection of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City’s bid to change the way broadcast revenues are distributed among teams. There is even concern that if the current top six do not get their way, they will refuse to allow their television rights to be sold collectively when the UK deal next comes up for renewal in three years’ time and will instead seek to go to market individually. In October, the so-called Big Six were thwarted by their top-flight rivals in their first attempt to secure more of the league’s overseas cash when clubs met to debate a plan by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore that would have meant more than a third of the revenue, currently split equally between all teams, woild have been awarded based on finishing position in the table. Domestic TV money is already divided meritocratically and the Big Six argue it is unfair for that not to be the case for the remainder of the league’s broadcast revenue, as well as claiming it is their own popularity abroad which has driven up its value. TV times | Premier League deals at a glance Their rivals, meanwhile, contend the overall competitiveness of the league is behind any increase and that eroding that would be counterproductive. Tuesday’s announcement that Sky Sports and BT Sport had won five of the seven packages of UK rights to the 2019-22 seasons for £4.464 billion meant that the Premier League was set to receive less in TV fees within its home territory than the £5.136 billion it gets under the current three-year contract. With overseas cash forecast to grow by up to 40 per cent in the next cycle, that means the difference between the proportion of money given to the champions and the bottom-placed club is poised to shrink, compounding the Big Six’s sense of injustice. Precisely how much that figure shrinks by will depend on how much money the Premier League can secure for the two domestic packages that remain unsold. Those packages, which each contain two entire rounds of games in a first for top-flight English football, failed to attract bids meeting reserve prices placed on them. Unless any bidders – of which BT has confirmed it is one – or the Premier League, blinks, those matches could be the catalyst for a radical change in how the rights are sold or shown. One option is for them to be repackaged with the competition’s near-live rights in an attempt to make them more appealing to companies other than Sky and BT. The Premier League did say in a statement on Tuesday that the packages had attracted interest from “multiple” bidders, although it declined to comment on whether multiple meant more than just Sky and BT. Amazon also declined to comment on whether it had bid for any of the rights or was trying to buy the remaining two packages. Sky, meanwhile, had no plans on Wednesday to cut the price of its sports channels after winning 128 matches per season for far less than it paid for 126 three years ago. Its £4.2 billion outlay on the existing rights was passed on to its customers but any savings on Premier League football were set to be reinvested in other content, with the company confident of offering value for money. The north London derby is one of the Premier League's biggest games Credit: GETTY IMAGES BT Sport gave no indication of its pricing plans were it to also end up paying less than the £960 million under the current contract. A leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, told Telegraph Sport: “The cost of subscriptions is very high. If they are paying less then why shouldn’t the customers be paying less, too?” The Football Supporters’ Federation refused to be drawn on the matter, with chief executive Kevin Miles instead calling for the preservation of the £30 cap on away tickets for match-going fans and for other “measures to reduce the impact of televised games on away fans in particular”. He added: “We’d also like to see clubs introduce concessions for 18-22 year-olds to ensure that young adults are not priced out of games.”
Exclusive: 'Big Six' clubs could grab TV money from Premier League rivals
There are fears that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ will make a more forceful attempt to grab a bigger share of its overseas television cash after the value of its domestic deal fell for the first time. The outcome of the triennial auction for the UK rights to the world’s richest league put some of its 14 other clubs on alert for the resurrection of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City’s bid to change the way broadcast revenues are distributed among teams. There is even concern that if the current top six do not get their way, they will refuse to allow their television rights to be sold collectively when the UK deal next comes up for renewal in three years’ time and will instead seek to go to market individually. In October, the so-called Big Six were thwarted by their top-flight rivals in their first attempt to secure more of the league’s overseas cash when clubs met to debate a plan by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore that would have meant more than a third of the revenue, currently split equally between all teams, woild have been awarded based on finishing position in the table. Domestic TV money is already divided meritocratically and the Big Six argue it is unfair for that not to be the case for the remainder of the league’s broadcast revenue, as well as claiming it is their own popularity abroad which has driven up its value. TV times | Premier League deals at a glance Their rivals, meanwhile, contend the overall competitiveness of the league is behind any increase and that eroding that would be counterproductive. Tuesday’s announcement that Sky Sports and BT Sport had won five of the seven packages of UK rights to the 2019-22 seasons for £4.464 billion meant that the Premier League was set to receive less in TV fees within its home territory than the £5.136 billion it gets under the current three-year contract. With overseas cash forecast to grow by up to 40 per cent in the next cycle, that means the difference between the proportion of money given to the champions and the bottom-placed club is poised to shrink, compounding the Big Six’s sense of injustice. Precisely how much that figure shrinks by will depend on how much money the Premier League can secure for the two domestic packages that remain unsold. Those packages, which each contain two entire rounds of games in a first for top-flight English football, failed to attract bids meeting reserve prices placed on them. Unless any bidders – of which BT has confirmed it is one – or the Premier League, blinks, those matches could be the catalyst for a radical change in how the rights are sold or shown. One option is for them to be repackaged with the competition’s near-live rights in an attempt to make them more appealing to companies other than Sky and BT. The Premier League did say in a statement on Tuesday that the packages had attracted interest from “multiple” bidders, although it declined to comment on whether multiple meant more than just Sky and BT. Amazon also declined to comment on whether it had bid for any of the rights or was trying to buy the remaining two packages. Sky, meanwhile, had no plans on Wednesday to cut the price of its sports channels after winning 128 matches per season for far less than it paid for 126 three years ago. Its £4.2 billion outlay on the existing rights was passed on to its customers but any savings on Premier League football were set to be reinvested in other content, with the company confident of offering value for money. The north London derby is one of the Premier League's biggest games Credit: GETTY IMAGES BT Sport gave no indication of its pricing plans were it to also end up paying less than the £960 million under the current contract. A leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, told Telegraph Sport: “The cost of subscriptions is very high. If they are paying less then why shouldn’t the customers be paying less, too?” The Football Supporters’ Federation refused to be drawn on the matter, with chief executive Kevin Miles instead calling for the preservation of the £30 cap on away tickets for match-going fans and for other “measures to reduce the impact of televised games on away fans in particular”. He added: “We’d also like to see clubs introduce concessions for 18-22 year-olds to ensure that young adults are not priced out of games.”
If the size of the gulf between Newport County and Tottenham Hotspur had not been made clear enough in the past fortnight, then Michael Flynn provided further evidence on Tuesday of the more practical differences between life at the top and bottom of the professional footballing scale. For while Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs manager, was last week defeating Manchester United and preparing his side for a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield, his counterpart was trying — and, indeed, failing — to prevent one of his players, Sean Rigg, from quitting the club to become a tattoo artist. “I wanted him to stay,” said Flynn, the Newport manager. “He made his decision a while back that he wanted to go part-time and pursue a career in being a tattoo artist. I tried to change his mind, spoke to his father, spoke to his agent. “He’s a clever lad, but he just fell out of love with the game. He was thinking of the future and this was the ideal time for him to go and chase his dream, which is to be a tattoo artist.” As if the point needed emphasising, Flynn added: “I’m sure Mauricio won’t have any tattooists.” And so the Newport misfits march on, straight down the M4 and towards the shining lights of Wembley, where on Wednesday night they reap the rewards of their 1-1 draw with Spurs at Rodney Parade last month. Newport nearly pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks against Spurs Credit: AFP The League Two side, ex-convicts and former shelf-stackers et al, were just eight minutes from a famous victory that night, thwarted only by a late Harry Kane effort. That result, and this subsequent trip to the national stadium, will provide funds that could revolutionise the club, but it also appears to have taken its toll on the players. Newport have lost twice, against Lincoln City and Colchester United, in two games since they bogged down the mighty Spurs in the Welsh mud. Still, the mood in south Wales was one of optimism as Flynn and Padraig Amond, the goalscoring hero from the first meeting with Spurs, looked ahead to what Flynn said could be “the biggest result in the club’s history”. Flynn made clear that any players who “dangled a leg” at a Spurs forward in the penalty box will be “sat next to me” on the sidelines and joked that he will immediately retire if they win, while Amond quipped that he has watched his goal back at least “a couple of hundred times now”. The two managers have been in contact since the previous meeting, primarily because Flynn had texted Pochettino to apologise after a scouting report that highlighted the weaknesses of the Spurs side had found its way into a tabloid newspaper. Among the criciticisms were that Dele Alli can be “selfish”, Eric Dier is “very one paced” and goalkeeper Michel Vorm “won’t come for crosses”. Coincidentally, Amond’s goal came from a right-wing cross, with Vorm remaining motionless on his line. “I have dealt with the so-called ‘secret dossier’ manager to manager,” Flynn said. “Things have a habit of coming out and it happens in football. It’s the way it is, nothing is private these days, but there was no malice in it. I apologised on our behalf to Mauricio for it getting out. Liverpool vs Tottenham, player ratings “We have exchanged a couple of messages back and forth since then. There is no issue here and he has bigger things to worry about.” Indeed he does. Having already played United and Liverpool in the last week, Spurs have meetings with Arsenal and then Juventus as their next two fixtures after this FA Cup replay. In the space of two weeks, therefore, Pochettino’s side will have taken on four of Europe’s most powerful sides. And Newport. “Do I think he will play a full-strength team? No,” said Flynn, who stopped watching the Spurs victory over United as soon as Christian Eriksen scored after just 11 seconds. “I am hoping he makes a few changes, but they should still have enough to turn us over.” Wednesday's trip to north London is Newport’s third match at Wembley in six years. Flynn played in their last visit, a 2-0 victory over Wrexham in the 2013 Conderence play-off final that sent them back into the Football League, and is eager to maintain his 100 per cent Wembley record. “If it doesn’t work out it’s because I wasn’t playing,” he laughed. “The extra money is brilliant. This game is on TV and so would be the next one if we cause one of the biggest shocks in the FA Cup, so we get three hits from one game.” Flynn knows there is nothing to lose from having another go at one of Europe’s finest, while there is potentially plenty to gain. “We are dreaming now,” he said. “But dreams do come true occasionally.”
'While Spurs were beating Man Utd, I lost a Newport player who quit to become a tattoo artist', says Michael Flynn
If the size of the gulf between Newport County and Tottenham Hotspur had not been made clear enough in the past fortnight, then Michael Flynn provided further evidence on Tuesday of the more practical differences between life at the top and bottom of the professional footballing scale. For while Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs manager, was last week defeating Manchester United and preparing his side for a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield, his counterpart was trying — and, indeed, failing — to prevent one of his players, Sean Rigg, from quitting the club to become a tattoo artist. “I wanted him to stay,” said Flynn, the Newport manager. “He made his decision a while back that he wanted to go part-time and pursue a career in being a tattoo artist. I tried to change his mind, spoke to his father, spoke to his agent. “He’s a clever lad, but he just fell out of love with the game. He was thinking of the future and this was the ideal time for him to go and chase his dream, which is to be a tattoo artist.” As if the point needed emphasising, Flynn added: “I’m sure Mauricio won’t have any tattooists.” And so the Newport misfits march on, straight down the M4 and towards the shining lights of Wembley, where on Wednesday night they reap the rewards of their 1-1 draw with Spurs at Rodney Parade last month. Newport nearly pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks against Spurs Credit: AFP The League Two side, ex-convicts and former shelf-stackers et al, were just eight minutes from a famous victory that night, thwarted only by a late Harry Kane effort. That result, and this subsequent trip to the national stadium, will provide funds that could revolutionise the club, but it also appears to have taken its toll on the players. Newport have lost twice, against Lincoln City and Colchester United, in two games since they bogged down the mighty Spurs in the Welsh mud. Still, the mood in south Wales was one of optimism as Flynn and Padraig Amond, the goalscoring hero from the first meeting with Spurs, looked ahead to what Flynn said could be “the biggest result in the club’s history”. Flynn made clear that any players who “dangled a leg” at a Spurs forward in the penalty box will be “sat next to me” on the sidelines and joked that he will immediately retire if they win, while Amond quipped that he has watched his goal back at least “a couple of hundred times now”. The two managers have been in contact since the previous meeting, primarily because Flynn had texted Pochettino to apologise after a scouting report that highlighted the weaknesses of the Spurs side had found its way into a tabloid newspaper. Among the criciticisms were that Dele Alli can be “selfish”, Eric Dier is “very one paced” and goalkeeper Michel Vorm “won’t come for crosses”. Coincidentally, Amond’s goal came from a right-wing cross, with Vorm remaining motionless on his line. “I have dealt with the so-called ‘secret dossier’ manager to manager,” Flynn said. “Things have a habit of coming out and it happens in football. It’s the way it is, nothing is private these days, but there was no malice in it. I apologised on our behalf to Mauricio for it getting out. Liverpool vs Tottenham, player ratings “We have exchanged a couple of messages back and forth since then. There is no issue here and he has bigger things to worry about.” Indeed he does. Having already played United and Liverpool in the last week, Spurs have meetings with Arsenal and then Juventus as their next two fixtures after this FA Cup replay. In the space of two weeks, therefore, Pochettino’s side will have taken on four of Europe’s most powerful sides. And Newport. “Do I think he will play a full-strength team? No,” said Flynn, who stopped watching the Spurs victory over United as soon as Christian Eriksen scored after just 11 seconds. “I am hoping he makes a few changes, but they should still have enough to turn us over.” Wednesday's trip to north London is Newport’s third match at Wembley in six years. Flynn played in their last visit, a 2-0 victory over Wrexham in the 2013 Conderence play-off final that sent them back into the Football League, and is eager to maintain his 100 per cent Wembley record. “If it doesn’t work out it’s because I wasn’t playing,” he laughed. “The extra money is brilliant. This game is on TV and so would be the next one if we cause one of the biggest shocks in the FA Cup, so we get three hits from one game.” Flynn knows there is nothing to lose from having another go at one of Europe’s finest, while there is potentially plenty to gain. “We are dreaming now,” he said. “But dreams do come true occasionally.”
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
How Mike Flynn's band of misfits put Newport back on the right path as Welsh prepare for FA Cup visit of Spurs
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
How Mike Flynn's band of misfits put Newport back on the right path as Welsh prepare for FA Cup visit of Spurs
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
How Mike Flynn's band of misfits put Newport back on the right path as Welsh prepare for FA Cup visit of Spurs
They call themselves The Misfits XI and when one peers through their assorted biogs it is easy to understand why. If any group of players are so appropriately representative of a football club, itself, and if any football club encapsulates a city, itself, then it is surely Newport County. As Tottenham might well discover at Rodney Parade on Saturday evening. If the FA Cup is all about reputations counting for naught, then this is the chance for a few young men and an entire community to show their positive side. In Mike Flynn’s squad there is a defender in David Pipe who served 15 months for intent to cause GBH and a midfielder in Joss Labadie who was banned for six months after a second biting offence. They both had plenty to prove on being signed by Newport, but then, so, too, did Frank Nouble, who at 26 is remarkably at his 17th club, and Robbie Willmott, who a little more than six months ago was stacking shelves at Tesco believing his time as a professional footballer was over. “We laugh about it and say to each other, ‘if anyone looked at us lot on paper then they’d wonder how the hell we are where are, riding high in the league and playing Spurs at home’,” Willmott said. “It’s because we are Newport, that’s why.” Flynn concurs with his winger. In his 10 months as manager, the former County striker has assembled a unit which as uncompromising as it is unusual. It is an odds and, yes, sods outfit which he somehow inspired to stay in the Football League last season, when 11 points adrift with 12 games remaining, and now to move into the League Two play-off picture with this plum tie against Mauricio Pochettino’s milionaires as a huge bonus. “You could say there are lads with a bit of history in our ranks, yes,” Flynn said. “But I’ve been in this environment at Newport before, when I played with ha few who had been in jail and I know to handle them. It is about mutual respect. W ho am I to judge? If they’ve paid the consequences and are genuinely remorseful then that’s fine by me. And then there are the guys who have the ability but it hasn’t worked out. It’s a clean slate here, because everybody deserves a second chance. This city knows what it’s like to have a bad reputation and to work hard to show that what some people think happens to be a long way from the truth. It is the same with us and Spurs is another opportunity to showcase that.” The city of Newport is in the blessed midst of regeneration. For so long classed as one of the most deprived areas of Wales, where, as the old joke had it, “even the Alsatians hung around in pairs”, now there is a sense of positivity, of fresh beginnings. “I went to see BBC Wales with Jane Bryant [the Welsh Assembly Member for Newport West] recently and she commented that invariably whenever Newport is on the news it is invariably for a negative reason,” Gavin Foxall, the club’s chairman of operations said. “But this Cup run means millions will be watching around the world for a positive factor. Thinks like this helps galvanise the city. There is great optimism around the place. We are an emergency city. People should come down here and look at Friars Walk. It would surprise them.” Mike Flynn and his Newport side have been busy preparing for the visit of Spurs Credit: Action Images The £100m project is so much more than gleaming shopping centre. It signifies the retail and cultural rebirth of Newport and within three years is already promising to rewrite the lazy perceptions. For too long, the heart of Gwent was viewed as a decaying urban dystopia and been an easy target for stereotypical derision. “Yeah, when you’re from here you get used to the ridicule, but in my job working for government I have lived all over the world, American for three years, and was always proud to say I’m from here,” Foxall said. “Newport is different, but to my mind is a good different, with its emphasis on a strong collective community. We like to think we are representative of that here at County. “We are a supporters-owned club, everyone on the board is a volunteer, and what we achieve on the pitch is for the club and the club only. If you think about our turnover of £2.2m a year and this Cup run so far being worth around £500k, you can how important it is and can be. It will give us the chance to support the manager in our quest to go higher and higher and help replace that generation we lost at the end of the Eighties.” It may seem strange to comment that the death of a club is written in its DNA, but with Newport County that is certainly the case. When they fell out of league after 76 years in 1989, the wheels came off and so soon they plummeted out of existence, cast into oblivion of the back of debts of a measly £330,000. A new club rose from the rubble, but it took 24 years to climb back into the Football League, courtesy of a Wembley play-off triumph over fellow Welshmen Wrexham in 2013. Yet after just four seasons, non-League status beckoned once more and so, inevitably, did cessation. “It would have been difficult for us - very,’ Foxall said. “And yes, it was panic stations, as the drop seemed inevitable. But then we got in Flynny, who had always been around the club, and all we wanted was for a local boy to put a pride back in the shirt. He’s done rather more than that hasn’t he?” Newport County supporters will be hoping they are celebrating another famous scalp on Saturday Credit: PA Indeed, Flynn has and his pride is obvious. “I’m from here and I cant’ tell you what it means to me, the players, the board, the club, the fans, the city itself,” the 37-year-old said . “Listen this club has enjoyed some huge days before but I’d put this in the top one. Of course, there was that European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final [in 1981 against Carl Zeiss Jena] and in the simple terms of a football match that was probably bigger. But when you think of finances and where the club has had to come from, this is leagues apart. It is what we need. “You know, I’m hoping Spurs have their minds on their midweek game against [Manchester] United, I’m hoping Pochettino rests a couple, hoping they have an off day and we have our best day. Because if all that happens then we can cause one of the biggest upsets in the club’s history. But even if it doesn’t then there is nothing to lose. It isn’t a relegation battle, one of those do-or-die scenarios that we in Newport are so used to. For once, it is there to be enjoyed and we are in the headlines for the right reasons.” The club and city both.
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The sad, slow death of Hartlepool United: 'If this town loses the football team, it will be a disaster'
At first glance, Hartlepool looks like almost any small, provincial town in England's urban sprawl. There are roads with too many cars; a slightly tired High Street, currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment; a cavernous bingo hall, and fast food restaurants - lots of them. The town's one major tourist attraction, the world’s oldest war ship, HMS Trincomalee, bobs gently on the North Sea, moored outside the National Royal Navy Museum, the centrepiece of an impressive Marina development. But even that is ageing. Money is tight in a town which feels forgotten. In the midst of all this, it is easy to miss the football stadium. Five minutes' walk from the railway station, Hartlepool United's Victoria Park is sandwiched between two large supermarkets, a small grey edifice in keeping with the town's rather brutalist appearance. Yet this is also the community's beating heart. Football brings more people, more regularly, to Hartlepool than anything else - and with people comes money, up to £10 million-a-year by some estimates. But the lifeline is now in danger of being cut: Hartlepool need to raise £200,000 by January 25 to prevent sliding into administration. “This is a working-class town that has had some tough times," explains Adrian Liddell, 47, over the sound of building work outside his printing business on Church Street. "It’s not the only northern town that has been marginalised, but there is also a lot of pride here and a resilience and people do not give up on their town. Adrian Liddell, managing director of Atkinson Print, says Hartlepudlians are resilient and don't give up on their town Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “If we lose the football team, it’s going to be an economic disaster. It is about tourism as much as anything and some clubs bring 1,000 fans with them. They step off the train and the idea was, they walked out on to Church Street and there would be places to eat and drink. Same for home fans. The football club puts the town on the map. “Forget the people who are employed full time, there are 100 people employed just on a matchday. They are part time jobs that cannot easily be replaced in this town. In fact, they won’t be replaced, it’s that simple. The economic loss if the club ceases to exist will be felt acutely. We’ve already felt it because the National League teams don’t have a large away following.” Yet, even if that money is found, the problems will not be solved. When you are losing around £130,000-a-month running a Football League budget as a non-league club – Hartlepool were relegated from League Two for the first time in their history last May - there is always a risk of throwing good money after bad. Hartlepool fell out of the Football League for the first time at the end of last season Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph The current owner, John Blackledge, is owed around £1.8m, after he was left in charge, having loaned former owner Gary Coxhall money before he abandoned his post. There are potential buyers sniffing around, but finding someone to take over a loss-making business with that level of debt is a gruelling task. Good people are trying to save them. Local politicians, both Labour and Conservative, are united in their desire to help, and there have been high-profile interventions from celebrity supporters such as the Sky presenter Jeff Stelling, but the search for new owners is a desperate one. “The ingredients are here for a successful lower league football club,” said Alistair Rea, who used to work for the local council. “I’ve been a supporter all my life, through the thick and thin. Well, the thin and thin really. “We’ve only had three promotions in 110 years so there hasn’t been a lot of success. We’ve only played in League One or Two and we had to be re-elected to the Football League 14 times, which is a record. Alastair Rae, retired PR manager for Hartlepool Council, has supported the club through 'thin and thin' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “I was born in Hartlepool. My dad took me to my first game in 1964. It was the highlight of the week for me then and it is now. It runs right through the family. My dad has been going for 72 years. My daughter went to her first game when she was four and sat on my shoulders when we beat Rochdale 2-0… it’s not everything about life, but it’s a big part of it. “This could be a fresh start. Teams have been in this position before and have come back from it stronger. But we have to find new owners. We have had ten years of slow decline, but we can come back from this.” There is fear behind the optimism, especially when Hartlepool watched their biggest rivals Darlington go out of business four years ago. The Quakers reformed, but are still stuck in the National League North as they try to work their way back into the Football League. “When Darlington folded, I wouldn’t say there was glee,” adds Liddell. “Well, maybe a bit at first, they were our big rivals and it was an intense rivalry too, but I think we all saw how easily it could happen and how vulnerable we were. “It was an eye opener. We had always been at a similar level to them, similar sized clubs. I think it did give us a sense of foreboding from a sustainability point of view. HMS Trincomalee provides the centrepiece of the marina development Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “As for any lower league club, you either have a wealthy benefactor who is willing to lose a bit of money, or a big business that wants to promote themselves and, I hesitate to say this, use it as a tax write off. Without one of them, you’re in trouble. “The problem with a town like Hartlepool is there aren’t enough businesses of a high enough level to buy and support the football team. There are a few who could club together in a consortium, but that brings its own problems in terms of trying to run the thing. “You don’t support a team like Pools for the adulation or the success. I’ve supported Pools, since I was taken along by my father. My brother is a big fan, my two boys still go. “They used to get stick at school because they had a Hartlepool top on in the playground. Why haven’t you got a Chelsea top or a Manchester United top? But as they’ve got a bit older, it’s turned round, the kids give them a bit of respect because they support their local team. The derelict Odeon: money is tight in a town that seems forgotten Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph “We get a bit sick of the Manchester United fan club meeting in the pub every week, getting picked up to be bused to Old Trafford. The Hartlepool Reds they are called. We get sick of the Sunderland coaches picking supporters up from the working men’s clubs every other week. We’ve got a lot of 'Plastic Mags' (Newcastle supporters) too, who have been to one game in five years.” Hartlepool has tried hard to shake off negative perceptions and at the forefront of that is the local Further Education College. For Shaun Hope, head of student recruitment and another lifelong supporter, the loss of the club has wider ramifications. “In a town like this, you always look for focal points and a football club is one of the easiest,” said Hope, whose father’s bakery supplies the club with its matchday pies. “People take an interest as it’s a symbol of the town. For a town of Hartlepool’s size, there are a lot of Hartlepool supporters even though we are surrounded by Premier League and Championship clubs. “It helps gives the town a sense of community. There are a lot of positive things happening in the town right now and this college is one of them. We are helping to raise young people’s aspirations, but losing the town’s football team would be a disaster on a grand scale. That is going to have a really negative impact on the town’s self-esteem." Shaun Hope says losing United would be 'a disaster on a grand scale' Credit: Darren O'Brien/Guzelian for The Telegraph There are some flickers of hope. A JustGiving page set up to help the club's fundraising has already amassed £55,000 in donations, and followers of neighbouring clubs - especially Middlesbrough, who were aided by Hartlepool supporters when they were fighting their own battle against extinction in 1986 - have rushed to their aid. Saturday's league game against Wrexham is heading for a sell-out for home fans. It might not prove enough, but at least it is showing that the club's plight is not going unnoticed. “People are never ashamed to be from Hartlepool," Hope added. "We have our troubles, but people are very proud of where they are from. We need the football club - we really do.”
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
The draw for the third round of the FA Cup has produced a series of major derbies, including a first match at this stage of the competition since 1932 between Liverpool and Everton. Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce’s teams were paired together during Monday night’s draw, as were Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. North-East neighbours Sunderland and Middlesbrough, who have both been relegated in recent years to the Championship, were also drawn together. Arsenal, who are attempting to win the trophy for a fourth time in five years, will begin their defence at Nottingham Forest. Other especially eye-catching fixtures include AFC Wimbledon’s return to Wembley in the FA Cup some 30 years on from their memorable triumph in 1988 to face Tottenham Hotspur. Luton Town, now of League Two and the FA Cup finalists in 1959, also have glamorous away Premier League opponents in Newcastle United. Premier League leaders Manchester City have a tricky home tie against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, while Manchester United host Derby County and Chelsea are away at Norwich City. Who will be lifting the FA Cup come what May? Credit: Getty Images Hereford, who are in the seventh tier of the football pyramid, will face 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City if they manage to overcome Fleetwood in their second-round replay. Four non-league sides were involved in the draw, which was conducted by Glenn Hoddle and Jermain Jenas ahead of the second-round match between Slough Town and Rochdale, but none are currently guaranteed a place in the third round. National League club AFC Fylde will have the opportunity to face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth if they beat Wigan Athletic in their replay. Woking, who also play in the fifth tier of the pyramid, have the chance to play at Villa Park against Aston Villa if they beat Peterborough in their replay. The ties will take place on Jan 5-7, with timings dependent on which matches are selected for live screening by BBC and BT Sport. There was criticism last year that broadcasters often opted to show big Premier League clubs rather than the more romantic ties, such as the third-round fixture between non-league Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon. Sutton did eventually make it to a televised tie against Arsenal in the fifth round. Arsenal subsequently beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final to win what was a record 13th FA Cup. The draw in full: Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday Ties to be played January 5-7 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
7:27PM FA Cup third-round draw in full Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
7:27PM FA Cup third-round draw in full Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
7:27PM FA Cup third-round draw in full Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
FA Cup third-round draw in full: Liverpool v Everton and Brighton v Crystal Palace the stand-out ties
7:27PM FA Cup third-round draw in full Ipswich v Sheffield United Watford v Bristol City Birmingham v Burton Liverpool v Everton Brighton v Crystal Palace Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan Coventry v Stoke Newport v Leeds Bolton v Huddersfield Port Vale or Yeovil v Bradford Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest Brentford v Notts County QPR v MK Dons Manchester United v Derby Forest Green or Exeter v West Brom Doncaster v Slough Town or Rochdale Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon Middlesbrough v Sunderland Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester Blackburn or Crewe v Hull Cardiff v Mansfield Manchester City v Burnley Shrewsbury v West Ham Wolves v Swansea Stevenage v Reading Newcastle v Luton Millwall v Barnsley Fulham v Southampton Wycombe v Preston Norwich v Chelsea Gillingham or Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday 7:27PM One for the ages? Another exciting looking tie is 2016 Premier League champions away at Hereford United (if Hereford can win their replay against Fleetwood Town. 7:23PM That concludes the draw No doubts about the tie of the round there...Liverpool will host Everton! There's also Brighton vs Crystal Palace and Bournemouth at home against non-league Fylde or Wigan. 7:22PM Last up Gillingham or Carlisle vs Sheffield Wednesday 7:21PM Tough draw Norwich Norwich City vs Chelsea 7:21PM Next Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End 7:21PM Next up Fulham vs Southampton 7:21PM All-Championship tie Millwall vs Barnsley 7:20PM Home banker? Newcastle vs Luton Town 7:20PM Next up Stevenage vs Reading 7:20PM The home side could be the favourites here Wolves vs Swansea 7:20PM Another giant-killing for Shrewsbury? Shrewsbury Town vs West Ham 7:20PM All Premier League tie Manchester City vs Burnley 7:19PM Next up Cardiff City vs Mansfield Town 7:19PM Upset alert Blackburn or Crewe vs Hull City 7:19PM Great draw Fleetwood Town or Hereford vs Leicester City 7:19PM Tees-Wear derby Middlesbrough vs Sunderland 7:18PM London derby Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Wimbledon 7:18PM The Slough fans seem a bit upset... Doncaster Rovers vs Slough Town or Rochdale 7:18PM Banana skin? Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City vs West Brom 7:17PM United are up against... Manchester United vs Derby County 7:17PM Next up QPR vs MK Dons 7:17PM Next up Brentford vs Notts County 7:16PM The holders will play... Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal 7:16PM Next Port Vale or Yeovil Town v Bradford City 7:16PM Local derby Bolton Wanderers vs Huddersfield Town 7:16PM Next up Newport County vs Leeds United 7:16PM A tale of two cities Coventry City vs Stoke City 7:15PM Potentially a huge trip for non-league Fylde Bournemouth vs AFC Fylde or Wigan 7:15PM Less exciting Aston Villa vs Woking or Peterborough United 7:15PM And another big rivalry! Brighton vs Crystal Palace 7:14PM Would you believe it?! Liverpool vs Everton 7:14PM Next Birmingham City vs Burton Albion 7:14PM Next Watford vs Bristol City 7:14PM First up Ipswich Town vs Sheffield United 7:12PM Here we go Jake Humphrey is the host, and the venue is Slough Town's home ground Holloways Park ahead of Slough's FA Cup second round match tonight against Rochdale. Glenn Hoddle and Jermaine Jenas will make the draw. 7:01PM Nearly there The draw will be getting under way in around about 10 minutes. Hereford v Newcastle? Wrexham v Arsenal? Sutton v Coventry? Yep, the BBC's montage has them all. 6:28PM An English institution Evening all, Welcome to our coverage of one of the great days in the English sporting calendar. Yes we are just minutes away from seeing which lower-league teams will get a chance to lose 3-0 against the second string of one of the Premier League's leading lights. For these part-time plumbers and postmen, the opportunity to test themselves against Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Darmian is just a draw of a ball away. There is also the opportunity to be patronised the hell out of by BBC commentators and possibly go down in football folklore for ever more. Think Ronny Radford scoring for Hereford against Newcastle, Mickey Thomas for Wrexham against Arsenal, er Nigel Jemson for Shrewsbury against Everton. The third round stage is of course when all the Premier League and Championship teams join the competition, and alongside them will be four non-league teams in the pot - AFC Fylde, Hereford, Slough and Woking. Arsenal are the current FA Cup holders Credit: AP Woking you may recall have some pedigree in this competition. In January 1991 the Surrey-based side pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks when as a Conference team they knocked out second-tier outfit West Brom 4-2 at the Hawthorns. They were then beaten 1-0 by top-flight side Everton in the fourth round. More recently, Woking reached the third round in 1997 and took Premier League side Coventry to a replay which they narrowly lost 2-1. But enough about Woking. Tonight's draw gets under way at around 7pm, and precedes the second round match between seventh-tier Slough Town and League One side Rochdale. Here are the ball numbers in full: Bournemouth Arsenal Aston Villa Barnsley Birmingham City Bolton Brentford Brighton Bristol City Burnley Burton Albion Cardiff City Chelsea Crystal Palace Derby County Everton Fulham Huddersfield Hull City Ipswich Town Leeds United Leicester Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Middlesbrough Millwall Newcastle Norwich City Nottingham Forest Preston North End QPR Reading Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Southampton Stoke Sunderland Swansea Tottenham Watford West Brom West Ham Wolves Woking or Peterborough MK Dons Newport County Wycombe Wanderers Port Vale/Yeovil Shrewsbury Town Doncaster Rovers Slough Town or Rochdale AFC Wimbledon Stevenage Mansfield Town Luton Town Bradford City Blackburn/Crewe AFC Fylde or Wigan Gillingham or Carlisle Notts County Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City Fleetwood Town or Hereford Coventry City
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace ready to renew conflict, but what incident sparked this bitter rivalry?
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace ready to renew conflict, but what incident sparked this bitter rivalry?
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace ready to renew conflict, but what incident sparked this bitter rivalry?
On Saturday afternoon, the visiting Brighton fans spent much of their first trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League era focusing on another encounter altogether. Never mind the elevated opposition, they had other things on their mind. “Crystal Palace, we’re coming for you,” they chanted in excitement at the approach of Tuesday night’s fixture. In what must have constituted the first namecheck of Palace by a third party at United’s stadium, the Brighton followers gave vivid demonstration of the depth of one of football’s strangest antipathies. This is rivalry on a grand and dramatic scale. And as far as mutual hatred goes, it is only right to point out that those Palace fans heading down the M23 from Croydon to watch the game at the Amex will be equally as fired up. “Absence makes the heart grow angrier,” says the comedian Stephen Grant, a lifelong Brighton fan, of a fixture which has not taken place since 2013. “I never enjoy the games. They are always so stressful. Sure, win and it’s lovely. But lose, and it’s a decade of misery. So, in the build-up, you are completely eaten up by the fear that you might lose.” Football is riven with neighbourhood scraps in which the result matters far more than any other. In Glasgow, Manchester and north London, between Chester and Wrexham, Sunderland and Newcastle, Swindon and Oxford, local antipathy is embedded in decades of geographical division and suspicion. But it is not like that between Palace and Brighton. And not just because at 37 miles apart they hardly constitute near-neighbours. This is something very different, something unique in football history. This is a hatred born of a single incident. Alan Mullery (centre), who managed Brighton in 1976, went 'absolutely mad' with the referee Credit: REX FEATURES “I’ve heard people say the Palace-Brighton thing goes back years, to the days of rival razor gangs in the Thirties,” says Kevin Day, the comedian and Palace fan. “But I’ve discovered absolutely nothing that corroborates that. Truth is, we barely noticed each other. Until 1976.” That season, the clubs were vying for promotion from the old third division, now League One. To add to the competitive surge, they were under the direction of two former team-mates. Brighton’s manager Alan Mullery and Terry Venables, of Palace, had shared a dressing room as young players at Tottenham. If we are to be polite about their history, they never got on. And things became very heated when they were drawn against one another in the first round of the FA Cup in November 1976. Unable to be separated after two fractious, hard-fought games, a second replay was arranged at a neutral venue, Stamford Bridge. “It was the first away game I’d been to,” recalls Day. “It was awful weather, absolutely pouring. I was really excited it was at Stamford Bridge. I can’t remember much of the match. But I vividly remember what happened afterwards.” Warning - strong language: Brian Horton was even closer to the action that evening: he was playing in the Brighton midfield. “I remember it like yesterday,” he says. “We were awarded a penalty, I took it and scored. But one of their players had very cleverly pushed Peter Ward into the area. So, the ref made me take it again, for encroaching. I missed, we went on to lose 1-0 and at the end Mullers went absolutely mad. With the ref, the opposition, the Palace fans. There was a right old argy bargy.” Day tells of how Mullery argued loudly with the Palace fans, before chucking a handful of coins into the opposition dressing room, implying they had bought the referee, then tearing up a bank note in the press conference, saying he would not give a fiver for Palace’s supporters. It was a tour de force. The Palace fans’ antipathy towards Mullery, however, was matched by the Brighton supporters’ fury at the referee. When the clubs met later in the season at Selhurst Park in the league, the clashes took the police, who had not ear-marked this as a significant trouble spot, by surprise. The following season, with both clubs promoted, Palace ire was further fuelled when Brighton changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls. Football's fiercest rivalries Though Day, for one, is unsure why that should be a source of anger. “We shouldn’t get upset by that,” he says. “An eagle is a soaring, glorious, dignified creature, a seagull is a chip-stealing rat. All they do is terrify toddlers into dropping their ice creams.” What further fuelled the antipathy was when Mullery was appointed Palace manager in 1982. Day remembers joining in the chorus of boos from the moment he arrived. He was not at Selhurst long. Then, after the late 1980s, with Brighton suffering from cack-handed ownership, losing possession of their stadium and tumbling down the divisions, the encounters became less frequent (there was an 11-year gap encompassing the entire Nineties). But when they did take place, the games seemed to be of particular significance, like the 2013 meeting in the Championship play-offs. And now comes the first fixture in the top flight in 37 years. Wilfried Zaha (right) scored twice against Brighton in the second leg of the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final Credit: Action Images “It’s a really important game this because it could decide who leads in terms of overall wins,” says Stephen Grant. “We’re even, so whoever wins takes a big step ahead. And it will be horrible. It’s a bit like your dad, a lovely, peaceable welcoming chap, who once a year loses it and destroys the garden shed. It’s the game none of us can miss.” Though one person who will be absent is Alan Mullery. When Telegraph Sport contacted him to ask about his role in the great M23 derby, he was unequivocal. “No way am I talking about that,” he said. “It’s been going on for 40 years and I couldn’t be more fed up of it.”
The Lawn Tennis Association has issued an apology for failing to act sooner in the case of Dan Sanders, former head coach at the Wrexham Tennis Centre in north Wales, who was jailed for six years in July after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual activity with a minor. Sanders, who is 42, was arrested late last year but concerns about his behaviour were raised as early as 2012. In fact, an enquiry was held that year by Tennis Wales, which shares a building with the Wrexham Tennis Centre. Formerly a fringe player on the tour who once played doubles with Tim Henman, Sanders seems to have used his reputation and charisma to evade such questions over his conduct, and that 2012 enquiry had little impact, even though he was briefly suspended while it was going on. An investigation by The Guardian newspaper quotes Peter Drew, chief executive of Tennis Wales, who said: “The outcome of [the 2012] investigations determined that while there was some unprofessional conduct involved, it did not involve issues of child protection.” The central complaint under investigation at that time did not relate to minors. Instead, Sanders had shown sexually suggestive images during a presentation to other coaches at the centre. But it is surprising that no concerns over his conduct regarding underage players were uncovered, given how many parents and coaches now say that they had suspicions about him. Indeed, one of the WTC directors who ran that inquiry is reported to have been approached with information from another coach while it was still going on. This woman said that Sanders had asked her for naked pictures when she was only 17, and later propositioned her during a coaching conference. In a statement, the LTA said: “We have always been committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game, but in this case the actions we took were not enough, and we apologise sincerely for the impact on all those affected. Now that the legal case has come to a conclusion, we decided to undertake a wide-ranging, independent inquiry into Wrexham Tennis Centre and this case.” The LTA also insisted: “We have always been committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Their new head of safeguarding is a former detective inspector from the Met Police - David Humphrey - who specialised in child abuse cases. Sanders – who is now said to have bullied many of his young charges, as well as making sexual comments or advances to some of them – was supposedly given specific training after the 2012 incident. The same goes for WTC itself. According to The Guardian’s investigation, one of the recommendations of the WTC enquiry was that he should keep clear glass in front of his office so that he would be in plain view. But he soon covered it up. Three officials at WTC resigned when Sanders was arrested, including Bob Moore, the director in charge of welfare, and Debbie King, who was also involved in the 2012 inquiry.
LTA apologises for failing to act sooner over child abuse case
The Lawn Tennis Association has issued an apology for failing to act sooner in the case of Dan Sanders, former head coach at the Wrexham Tennis Centre in north Wales, who was jailed for six years in July after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual activity with a minor. Sanders, who is 42, was arrested late last year but concerns about his behaviour were raised as early as 2012. In fact, an enquiry was held that year by Tennis Wales, which shares a building with the Wrexham Tennis Centre. Formerly a fringe player on the tour who once played doubles with Tim Henman, Sanders seems to have used his reputation and charisma to evade such questions over his conduct, and that 2012 enquiry had little impact, even though he was briefly suspended while it was going on. An investigation by The Guardian newspaper quotes Peter Drew, chief executive of Tennis Wales, who said: “The outcome of [the 2012] investigations determined that while there was some unprofessional conduct involved, it did not involve issues of child protection.” The central complaint under investigation at that time did not relate to minors. Instead, Sanders had shown sexually suggestive images during a presentation to other coaches at the centre. But it is surprising that no concerns over his conduct regarding underage players were uncovered, given how many parents and coaches now say that they had suspicions about him. Indeed, one of the WTC directors who ran that inquiry is reported to have been approached with information from another coach while it was still going on. This woman said that Sanders had asked her for naked pictures when she was only 17, and later propositioned her during a coaching conference. In a statement, the LTA said: “We have always been committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game, but in this case the actions we took were not enough, and we apologise sincerely for the impact on all those affected. Now that the legal case has come to a conclusion, we decided to undertake a wide-ranging, independent inquiry into Wrexham Tennis Centre and this case.” The LTA also insisted: “We have always been committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Their new head of safeguarding is a former detective inspector from the Met Police - David Humphrey - who specialised in child abuse cases. Sanders – who is now said to have bullied many of his young charges, as well as making sexual comments or advances to some of them – was supposedly given specific training after the 2012 incident. The same goes for WTC itself. According to The Guardian’s investigation, one of the recommendations of the WTC enquiry was that he should keep clear glass in front of his office so that he would be in plain view. But he soon covered it up. Three officials at WTC resigned when Sanders was arrested, including Bob Moore, the director in charge of welfare, and Debbie King, who was also involved in the 2012 inquiry.
Thirty one years have passed since Northern Ireland last graced a World Cup finals but, for Nigel Worthington, one image remains seared into his memory. Brazil were the opponents at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara and the then 24-year-old Sheffield Wednesday defender was waiting anxiously in the tunnel, ready to step out into the unrelenting midday Mexican heat for the biggest game of his life, when he spotted a plume of smoke nearby. “We’re all lined up on either side of the tunnel, the nerves are going and you’re looking across at these Brazil players, who all look like such fantastic athletes, and you’re thinking, ‘This is going to be tough’,” Worthington recalled. “And then I noticed Socrates just leaning with his elbow against a wall smoking a cigarette. This is like five minutes before kick-off. We’re there thinking, ‘We’ve got our work cut out here’ and Socrates is just stood there, casual as you like, puffing away, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. “Still to this day I can picture that scene in my mind. When you’re going into a big World Cup game and you’ve got the audacity to stand in the tunnel smoking a cigarette moments before kick-off you’ve got to say you’re some player. He certainly wasn’t like the blokes in the green and white shirt!” Northern Ireland were beaten 3-0 that day in a game best remembered for one of the most iconic World Cup goals, when Josimar sent a 35-yard strike fizzing past goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who was making his 119th and final international appearance on his 41st birthday. It was the last taste of a World Cup for Northern Ireland but that will all change if Michael O’Neill’s side beat Switzerland in their World Cup play-off, the first leg of which takes place in Belfast’s Windsor Park on Thursday, to reach next summer’s tournament in Russia. The stakes are huge, and listening to members of the 1986 squad recount their stories from Mexico, the experience is something players carry with them for a lifetime and an occasion O’Neill and his squad will be desperate to savour for themselves. Jimmy Nicholl straddles both eras. A tough tackling right back for Billy Bingham’s side, the former Manchester United defender now serves as one of O’Neill’s trusted backroom lieutenants and still doubles as the camp’s resident comedian. In Mexico, Nicholl revelled in the unofficial role of “entertainment officer”. If wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have itJimmy Nicholl Jimmy is the funniest man I’ve ever met,” John O’Neill, a centre-half in Bingham’s side. “In those days you had very little to do other than entertain yourself and he’d give us these cryptic clues to football teams. So a dark pond, for example, would have been Blackpool. He was running out of teams the longer the tournament went, though, and had to get more creative. So one day he says, ‘Lads, which team is a kick in the b-------?’ For 10 or 15 minutes the lads are there wracking their brains but no one could come up with it. ‘Jimmy, we give up, what’s the answer?’ ‘Wrexham!’. Not long after that, we had a team meeting. Billy was fair but he hated you being late for team meetings so we’re all there except Jimmy. Our physio John McVey was sent off to find him so John spots Jimmy in one of the phone boxes in the foyer of the hotel. He’s waving to Jimmy, finally attracts his attention and says ‘Jimmy, team meeting, now!’ And Jimmy replies, ‘Give us a clue, John, what division are they in?’ He thought John was giving him a cryptic clue!” Nicholl did not have the monopoly on laughs, though. One story former striker Billy Hamilton tells still evokes chuckles from players whenever it gets an airing. “I saw something moving through all the shrubbery near our apartment in Mexico so I called Gerry Armstrong over,” Hamilton said. “This animal must have been about four feet long and had teeth like razors and a big pointed snout. ‘Can we catch it?’ I said. Gerry could speak Spanish so he got over the security guard, who caught the animal and we tied a sock tie around the thing’s mouth. “Then we opened the patio next door where Martin O’Neill, Norman Whiteside and all the boys were playing cards and lobbed the animal across the table. It sent all the money and cards everywhere and landed in Norman Whiteside’s lap. Martin was on top of a wardrobe by that time and Norman was pinned up against the wall by this animal!” Norman Whiteside challenges Spain's Ricardo Gallego and Antonio Camacho for the ball Credit: Getty Images For all the practice jokes, though, there were also moments of great compassion. Bingham had taken his players on a two-week high altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico before the tournament in order to prepare the squad for the conditions they would face in Guadalajara and Zapopan, where they would first play Algeria and Spain. But the mood darkened when news came through that McIlroy’s mum, Essie, had died tragically of a heart attack aged just 63 and the team captain was booked on the first flight home the next day. “When I found out I was obviously devastated,” the former Manchester United midfielder said. “Jimmy Nicholl came into my room and said, ‘Come on Mac, tonight we’re going for a drink’. There was so much security around the hotel that, as far as I was concerned, you just couldn’t get out. But Jimmy had somehow managed to find this hole in a fence and there was a hotel not far away so me, him and my other big pal Norman Whiteside went there and the three of us just got absolutely bladdered. We didn’t say a lot to be fair that night. They got me back to the hotel and I got the early flight back the next morning.” McIlroy admits he came close to staying at home. “It was out of the blue because my father was dying from throat cancer at the time so when I then found out my mum had died before him, it was a huge shock,” he said. “But even though my dad was dying, his only thought when I came home was for me and he said, ‘Hey, once your mum is buried, you get back out there’. I’ll be honest, I was thinking about staying at home but hearing my dad tell me to get back out there, I only had one intention after that. Don’t get me wrong, I had some difficult moments in Mexico but the players were always there for me. The spirit in that team was unbelievable.” 1986 Northern Ireland side | Where are they now? The tournament had got off to the perfect start for Northern Ireland. Whiteside scored just six minutes into their opening game against Algeria but McIlroy remembers being “kicked and spat at by some very nasty players” and they were eventually held to a 1-1 draw, a setback with Spain and Brazil to come. Two days earlier, McIlroy had gone to watch Spain take on Brazil with Bingham. Spain lost 1-0 but still impressed. “We were in the taxi coming back from the game and Bingham says, ‘What do you think?’” McIlroy reflects. “And I said ‘Bloody hell, Billy …’ and he put his hand on my mouth and said ‘Don’t say that to the boys, say we’ve got a chance’.” Spain would prove a tougher obstacle in Mexico than they had on home soil at 1982 World Cup, when the Northern Irish claimed an historic 1-0 win. Emilio Butragueno and Julio Salinas both scored inside 18 minutes, and although Colin Clarke pulled one back for Northern Ireland within 60 seconds of the restart, it was not enough. Spain won 2-1 and left Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage hinging on the outcome of their final match against Brazil. What an occasion that would prove. Careca’s second goal of the match was a classic in itself but most struggle to look beyond Josimar’s thunderbolt. McIllroy remembers being stood directly behind Josimar when he is unleashed that shot and could not believe how much the ball moved. “Pat tells a good story about how he came back after Mexico and went to do a Q&A in a school,” John O’Neill recalled. “One of the kids said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Jennings, but how did you feel when Josimar chipped you from 35 yards?’ And Pat says, ‘Son, your idea of a chip and my idea of a chip are two different things!’.” After the game, Northern Ireland’s players migrated en masse to Brazil’s dressing room after being invited in to swap shirts. Everyone, that is, except Nicholl, who, unbeknownst to his team-mates, had arranged 10 minutes before the final whistle to swap shirts with Zico to take the legendary Brazil No. 10’s jersey. “Do you not want to go and get a Brazilian jersey?” Bingham asked Nicholl. “Nah, I’m happy enough,” came the reply. A few minutes passed before David McCreery returned to the Northern Ireland dressing room, a look of bemusement etched on his face. “Niccy,” McCreery said. “Everyone made a beeline for Zico but he’s insisting he’ll only swap shirts with the Irlanda numero dois. That’s you.” “Really?” Nicholl replied, milking the moment. “Ack well, if wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have it.”
'Socrates was puffing on a fag in the tunnel just before kick-off': Northern Ireland heroes of 1986 recall their last trip to the World Cup finals
Thirty one years have passed since Northern Ireland last graced a World Cup finals but, for Nigel Worthington, one image remains seared into his memory. Brazil were the opponents at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara and the then 24-year-old Sheffield Wednesday defender was waiting anxiously in the tunnel, ready to step out into the unrelenting midday Mexican heat for the biggest game of his life, when he spotted a plume of smoke nearby. “We’re all lined up on either side of the tunnel, the nerves are going and you’re looking across at these Brazil players, who all look like such fantastic athletes, and you’re thinking, ‘This is going to be tough’,” Worthington recalled. “And then I noticed Socrates just leaning with his elbow against a wall smoking a cigarette. This is like five minutes before kick-off. We’re there thinking, ‘We’ve got our work cut out here’ and Socrates is just stood there, casual as you like, puffing away, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. “Still to this day I can picture that scene in my mind. When you’re going into a big World Cup game and you’ve got the audacity to stand in the tunnel smoking a cigarette moments before kick-off you’ve got to say you’re some player. He certainly wasn’t like the blokes in the green and white shirt!” Northern Ireland were beaten 3-0 that day in a game best remembered for one of the most iconic World Cup goals, when Josimar sent a 35-yard strike fizzing past goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who was making his 119th and final international appearance on his 41st birthday. It was the last taste of a World Cup for Northern Ireland but that will all change if Michael O’Neill’s side beat Switzerland in their World Cup play-off, the first leg of which takes place in Belfast’s Windsor Park on Thursday, to reach next summer’s tournament in Russia. The stakes are huge, and listening to members of the 1986 squad recount their stories from Mexico, the experience is something players carry with them for a lifetime and an occasion O’Neill and his squad will be desperate to savour for themselves. Jimmy Nicholl straddles both eras. A tough tackling right back for Billy Bingham’s side, the former Manchester United defender now serves as one of O’Neill’s trusted backroom lieutenants and still doubles as the camp’s resident comedian. In Mexico, Nicholl revelled in the unofficial role of “entertainment officer”. If wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have itJimmy Nicholl Jimmy is the funniest man I’ve ever met,” John O’Neill, a centre-half in Bingham’s side. “In those days you had very little to do other than entertain yourself and he’d give us these cryptic clues to football teams. So a dark pond, for example, would have been Blackpool. He was running out of teams the longer the tournament went, though, and had to get more creative. So one day he says, ‘Lads, which team is a kick in the b-------?’ For 10 or 15 minutes the lads are there wracking their brains but no one could come up with it. ‘Jimmy, we give up, what’s the answer?’ ‘Wrexham!’. Not long after that, we had a team meeting. Billy was fair but he hated you being late for team meetings so we’re all there except Jimmy. Our physio John McVey was sent off to find him so John spots Jimmy in one of the phone boxes in the foyer of the hotel. He’s waving to Jimmy, finally attracts his attention and says ‘Jimmy, team meeting, now!’ And Jimmy replies, ‘Give us a clue, John, what division are they in?’ He thought John was giving him a cryptic clue!” Nicholl did not have the monopoly on laughs, though. One story former striker Billy Hamilton tells still evokes chuckles from players whenever it gets an airing. “I saw something moving through all the shrubbery near our apartment in Mexico so I called Gerry Armstrong over,” Hamilton said. “This animal must have been about four feet long and had teeth like razors and a big pointed snout. ‘Can we catch it?’ I said. Gerry could speak Spanish so he got over the security guard, who caught the animal and we tied a sock tie around the thing’s mouth. “Then we opened the patio next door where Martin O’Neill, Norman Whiteside and all the boys were playing cards and lobbed the animal across the table. It sent all the money and cards everywhere and landed in Norman Whiteside’s lap. Martin was on top of a wardrobe by that time and Norman was pinned up against the wall by this animal!” Norman Whiteside challenges Spain's Ricardo Gallego and Antonio Camacho for the ball Credit: Getty Images For all the practice jokes, though, there were also moments of great compassion. Bingham had taken his players on a two-week high altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico before the tournament in order to prepare the squad for the conditions they would face in Guadalajara and Zapopan, where they would first play Algeria and Spain. But the mood darkened when news came through that McIlroy’s mum, Essie, had died tragically of a heart attack aged just 63 and the team captain was booked on the first flight home the next day. “When I found out I was obviously devastated,” the former Manchester United midfielder said. “Jimmy Nicholl came into my room and said, ‘Come on Mac, tonight we’re going for a drink’. There was so much security around the hotel that, as far as I was concerned, you just couldn’t get out. But Jimmy had somehow managed to find this hole in a fence and there was a hotel not far away so me, him and my other big pal Norman Whiteside went there and the three of us just got absolutely bladdered. We didn’t say a lot to be fair that night. They got me back to the hotel and I got the early flight back the next morning.” McIlroy admits he came close to staying at home. “It was out of the blue because my father was dying from throat cancer at the time so when I then found out my mum had died before him, it was a huge shock,” he said. “But even though my dad was dying, his only thought when I came home was for me and he said, ‘Hey, once your mum is buried, you get back out there’. I’ll be honest, I was thinking about staying at home but hearing my dad tell me to get back out there, I only had one intention after that. Don’t get me wrong, I had some difficult moments in Mexico but the players were always there for me. The spirit in that team was unbelievable.” 1986 Northern Ireland side | Where are they now? The tournament had got off to the perfect start for Northern Ireland. Whiteside scored just six minutes into their opening game against Algeria but McIlroy remembers being “kicked and spat at by some very nasty players” and they were eventually held to a 1-1 draw, a setback with Spain and Brazil to come. Two days earlier, McIlroy had gone to watch Spain take on Brazil with Bingham. Spain lost 1-0 but still impressed. “We were in the taxi coming back from the game and Bingham says, ‘What do you think?’” McIlroy reflects. “And I said ‘Bloody hell, Billy …’ and he put his hand on my mouth and said ‘Don’t say that to the boys, say we’ve got a chance’.” Spain would prove a tougher obstacle in Mexico than they had on home soil at 1982 World Cup, when the Northern Irish claimed an historic 1-0 win. Emilio Butragueno and Julio Salinas both scored inside 18 minutes, and although Colin Clarke pulled one back for Northern Ireland within 60 seconds of the restart, it was not enough. Spain won 2-1 and left Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage hinging on the outcome of their final match against Brazil. What an occasion that would prove. Careca’s second goal of the match was a classic in itself but most struggle to look beyond Josimar’s thunderbolt. McIllroy remembers being stood directly behind Josimar when he is unleashed that shot and could not believe how much the ball moved. “Pat tells a good story about how he came back after Mexico and went to do a Q&A in a school,” John O’Neill recalled. “One of the kids said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Jennings, but how did you feel when Josimar chipped you from 35 yards?’ And Pat says, ‘Son, your idea of a chip and my idea of a chip are two different things!’.” After the game, Northern Ireland’s players migrated en masse to Brazil’s dressing room after being invited in to swap shirts. Everyone, that is, except Nicholl, who, unbeknownst to his team-mates, had arranged 10 minutes before the final whistle to swap shirts with Zico to take the legendary Brazil No. 10’s jersey. “Do you not want to go and get a Brazilian jersey?” Bingham asked Nicholl. “Nah, I’m happy enough,” came the reply. A few minutes passed before David McCreery returned to the Northern Ireland dressing room, a look of bemusement etched on his face. “Niccy,” McCreery said. “Everyone made a beeline for Zico but he’s insisting he’ll only swap shirts with the Irlanda numero dois. That’s you.” “Really?” Nicholl replied, milking the moment. “Ack well, if wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have it.”
Thirty one years have passed since Northern Ireland last graced a World Cup finals but, for Nigel Worthington, one image remains seared into his memory. Brazil were the opponents at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara and the then 24-year-old Sheffield Wednesday defender was waiting anxiously in the tunnel, ready to step out into the unrelenting midday Mexican heat for the biggest game of his life, when he spotted a plume of smoke nearby. “We’re all lined up on either side of the tunnel, the nerves are going and you’re looking across at these Brazil players, who all look like such fantastic athletes, and you’re thinking, ‘This is going to be tough’,” Worthington recalled. “And then I noticed Socrates just leaning with his elbow against a wall smoking a cigarette. This is like five minutes before kick-off. We’re there thinking, ‘We’ve got our work cut out here’ and Socrates is just stood there, casual as you like, puffing away, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. “Still to this day I can picture that scene in my mind. When you’re going into a big World Cup game and you’ve got the audacity to stand in the tunnel smoking a cigarette moments before kick-off you’ve got to say you’re some player. He certainly wasn’t like the blokes in the green and white shirt!” Northern Ireland were beaten 3-0 that day in a game best remembered for one of the most iconic World Cup goals, when Josimar sent a 35-yard strike fizzing past goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who was making his 119th and final international appearance on his 41st birthday. It was the last taste of a World Cup for Northern Ireland but that will all change if Michael O’Neill’s side beat Switzerland in their World Cup play-off, the first leg of which takes place in Belfast’s Windsor Park on Thursday, to reach next summer’s tournament in Russia. The stakes are huge, and listening to members of the 1986 squad recount their stories from Mexico, the experience is something players carry with them for a lifetime and an occasion O’Neill and his squad will be desperate to savour for themselves. Jimmy Nicholl straddles both eras. A tough tackling right back for Billy Bingham’s side, the former Manchester United defender now serves as one of O’Neill’s trusted backroom lieutenants and still doubles as the camp’s resident comedian. In Mexico, Nicholl revelled in the unofficial role of “entertainment officer”. If wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have itJimmy Nicholl Jimmy is the funniest man I’ve ever met,” John O’Neill, a centre-half in Bingham’s side. “In those days you had very little to do other than entertain yourself and he’d give us these cryptic clues to football teams. So a dark pond, for example, would have been Blackpool. He was running out of teams the longer the tournament went, though, and had to get more creative. So one day he says, ‘Lads, which team is a kick in the b-------?’ For 10 or 15 minutes the lads are there wracking their brains but no one could come up with it. ‘Jimmy, we give up, what’s the answer?’ ‘Wrexham!’. Not long after that, we had a team meeting. Billy was fair but he hated you being late for team meetings so we’re all there except Jimmy. Our physio John McVey was sent off to find him so John spots Jimmy in one of the phone boxes in the foyer of the hotel. He’s waving to Jimmy, finally attracts his attention and says ‘Jimmy, team meeting, now!’ And Jimmy replies, ‘Give us a clue, John, what division are they in?’ He thought John was giving him a cryptic clue!” Nicholl did not have the monopoly on laughs, though. One story former striker Billy Hamilton tells still evokes chuckles from players whenever it gets an airing. “I saw something moving through all the shrubbery near our apartment in Mexico so I called Gerry Armstrong over,” Hamilton said. “This animal must have been about four feet long and had teeth like razors and a big pointed snout. ‘Can we catch it?’ I said. Gerry could speak Spanish so he got over the security guard, who caught the animal and we tied a sock tie around the thing’s mouth. “Then we opened the patio next door where Martin O’Neill, Norman Whiteside and all the boys were playing cards and lobbed the animal across the table. It sent all the money and cards everywhere and landed in Norman Whiteside’s lap. Martin was on top of a wardrobe by that time and Norman was pinned up against the wall by this animal!” Norman Whiteside challenges Spain's Ricardo Gallego and Antonio Camacho for the ball Credit: Getty Images For all the practice jokes, though, there were also moments of great compassion. Bingham had taken his players on a two-week high altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico before the tournament in order to prepare the squad for the conditions they would face in Guadalajara and Zapopan, where they would first play Algeria and Spain. But the mood darkened when news came through that McIlroy’s mum, Essie, had died tragically of a heart attack aged just 63 and the team captain was booked on the first flight home the next day. “When I found out I was obviously devastated,” the former Manchester United midfielder said. “Jimmy Nicholl came into my room and said, ‘Come on Mac, tonight we’re going for a drink’. There was so much security around the hotel that, as far as I was concerned, you just couldn’t get out. But Jimmy had somehow managed to find this hole in a fence and there was a hotel not far away so me, him and my other big pal Norman Whiteside went there and the three of us just got absolutely bladdered. We didn’t say a lot to be fair that night. They got me back to the hotel and I got the early flight back the next morning.” McIlroy admits he came close to staying at home. “It was out of the blue because my father was dying from throat cancer at the time so when I then found out my mum had died before him, it was a huge shock,” he said. “But even though my dad was dying, his only thought when I came home was for me and he said, ‘Hey, once your mum is buried, you get back out there’. I’ll be honest, I was thinking about staying at home but hearing my dad tell me to get back out there, I only had one intention after that. Don’t get me wrong, I had some difficult moments in Mexico but the players were always there for me. The spirit in that team was unbelievable.” 1986 Northern Ireland side | Where are they now? The tournament had got off to the perfect start for Northern Ireland. Whiteside scored just six minutes into their opening game against Algeria but McIlroy remembers being “kicked and spat at by some very nasty players” and they were eventually held to a 1-1 draw, a setback with Spain and Brazil to come. Two days earlier, McIlroy had gone to watch Spain take on Brazil with Bingham. Spain lost 1-0 but still impressed. “We were in the taxi coming back from the game and Bingham says, ‘What do you think?’” McIlroy reflects. “And I said ‘Bloody hell, Billy …’ and he put his hand on my mouth and said ‘Don’t say that to the boys, say we’ve got a chance’.” Spain would prove a tougher obstacle in Mexico than they had on home soil at 1982 World Cup, when the Northern Irish claimed an historic 1-0 win. Emilio Butragueno and Julio Salinas both scored inside 18 minutes, and although Colin Clarke pulled one back for Northern Ireland within 60 seconds of the restart, it was not enough. Spain won 2-1 and left Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage hinging on the outcome of their final match against Brazil. What an occasion that would prove. Careca’s second goal of the match was a classic in itself but most struggle to look beyond Josimar’s thunderbolt. McIllroy remembers being stood directly behind Josimar when he is unleashed that shot and could not believe how much the ball moved. “Pat tells a good story about how he came back after Mexico and went to do a Q&A in a school,” John O’Neill recalled. “One of the kids said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Jennings, but how did you feel when Josimar chipped you from 35 yards?’ And Pat says, ‘Son, your idea of a chip and my idea of a chip are two different things!’.” After the game, Northern Ireland’s players migrated en masse to Brazil’s dressing room after being invited in to swap shirts. Everyone, that is, except Nicholl, who, unbeknownst to his team-mates, had arranged 10 minutes before the final whistle to swap shirts with Zico to take the legendary Brazil No. 10’s jersey. “Do you not want to go and get a Brazilian jersey?” Bingham asked Nicholl. “Nah, I’m happy enough,” came the reply. A few minutes passed before David McCreery returned to the Northern Ireland dressing room, a look of bemusement etched on his face. “Niccy,” McCreery said. “Everyone made a beeline for Zico but he’s insisting he’ll only swap shirts with the Irlanda numero dois. That’s you.” “Really?” Nicholl replied, milking the moment. “Ack well, if wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have it.”
'Socrates was puffing on a fag in the tunnel just before kick-off': Northern Ireland heroes of 1986 recall their last trip to the World Cup finals
Thirty one years have passed since Northern Ireland last graced a World Cup finals but, for Nigel Worthington, one image remains seared into his memory. Brazil were the opponents at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara and the then 24-year-old Sheffield Wednesday defender was waiting anxiously in the tunnel, ready to step out into the unrelenting midday Mexican heat for the biggest game of his life, when he spotted a plume of smoke nearby. “We’re all lined up on either side of the tunnel, the nerves are going and you’re looking across at these Brazil players, who all look like such fantastic athletes, and you’re thinking, ‘This is going to be tough’,” Worthington recalled. “And then I noticed Socrates just leaning with his elbow against a wall smoking a cigarette. This is like five minutes before kick-off. We’re there thinking, ‘We’ve got our work cut out here’ and Socrates is just stood there, casual as you like, puffing away, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. “Still to this day I can picture that scene in my mind. When you’re going into a big World Cup game and you’ve got the audacity to stand in the tunnel smoking a cigarette moments before kick-off you’ve got to say you’re some player. He certainly wasn’t like the blokes in the green and white shirt!” Northern Ireland were beaten 3-0 that day in a game best remembered for one of the most iconic World Cup goals, when Josimar sent a 35-yard strike fizzing past goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who was making his 119th and final international appearance on his 41st birthday. It was the last taste of a World Cup for Northern Ireland but that will all change if Michael O’Neill’s side beat Switzerland in their World Cup play-off, the first leg of which takes place in Belfast’s Windsor Park on Thursday, to reach next summer’s tournament in Russia. The stakes are huge, and listening to members of the 1986 squad recount their stories from Mexico, the experience is something players carry with them for a lifetime and an occasion O’Neill and his squad will be desperate to savour for themselves. Jimmy Nicholl straddles both eras. A tough tackling right back for Billy Bingham’s side, the former Manchester United defender now serves as one of O’Neill’s trusted backroom lieutenants and still doubles as the camp’s resident comedian. In Mexico, Nicholl revelled in the unofficial role of “entertainment officer”. If wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have itJimmy Nicholl Jimmy is the funniest man I’ve ever met,” John O’Neill, a centre-half in Bingham’s side. “In those days you had very little to do other than entertain yourself and he’d give us these cryptic clues to football teams. So a dark pond, for example, would have been Blackpool. He was running out of teams the longer the tournament went, though, and had to get more creative. So one day he says, ‘Lads, which team is a kick in the b-------?’ For 10 or 15 minutes the lads are there wracking their brains but no one could come up with it. ‘Jimmy, we give up, what’s the answer?’ ‘Wrexham!’. Not long after that, we had a team meeting. Billy was fair but he hated you being late for team meetings so we’re all there except Jimmy. Our physio John McVey was sent off to find him so John spots Jimmy in one of the phone boxes in the foyer of the hotel. He’s waving to Jimmy, finally attracts his attention and says ‘Jimmy, team meeting, now!’ And Jimmy replies, ‘Give us a clue, John, what division are they in?’ He thought John was giving him a cryptic clue!” Nicholl did not have the monopoly on laughs, though. One story former striker Billy Hamilton tells still evokes chuckles from players whenever it gets an airing. “I saw something moving through all the shrubbery near our apartment in Mexico so I called Gerry Armstrong over,” Hamilton said. “This animal must have been about four feet long and had teeth like razors and a big pointed snout. ‘Can we catch it?’ I said. Gerry could speak Spanish so he got over the security guard, who caught the animal and we tied a sock tie around the thing’s mouth. “Then we opened the patio next door where Martin O’Neill, Norman Whiteside and all the boys were playing cards and lobbed the animal across the table. It sent all the money and cards everywhere and landed in Norman Whiteside’s lap. Martin was on top of a wardrobe by that time and Norman was pinned up against the wall by this animal!” Norman Whiteside challenges Spain's Ricardo Gallego and Antonio Camacho for the ball Credit: Getty Images For all the practice jokes, though, there were also moments of great compassion. Bingham had taken his players on a two-week high altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico before the tournament in order to prepare the squad for the conditions they would face in Guadalajara and Zapopan, where they would first play Algeria and Spain. But the mood darkened when news came through that McIlroy’s mum, Essie, had died tragically of a heart attack aged just 63 and the team captain was booked on the first flight home the next day. “When I found out I was obviously devastated,” the former Manchester United midfielder said. “Jimmy Nicholl came into my room and said, ‘Come on Mac, tonight we’re going for a drink’. There was so much security around the hotel that, as far as I was concerned, you just couldn’t get out. But Jimmy had somehow managed to find this hole in a fence and there was a hotel not far away so me, him and my other big pal Norman Whiteside went there and the three of us just got absolutely bladdered. We didn’t say a lot to be fair that night. They got me back to the hotel and I got the early flight back the next morning.” McIlroy admits he came close to staying at home. “It was out of the blue because my father was dying from throat cancer at the time so when I then found out my mum had died before him, it was a huge shock,” he said. “But even though my dad was dying, his only thought when I came home was for me and he said, ‘Hey, once your mum is buried, you get back out there’. I’ll be honest, I was thinking about staying at home but hearing my dad tell me to get back out there, I only had one intention after that. Don’t get me wrong, I had some difficult moments in Mexico but the players were always there for me. The spirit in that team was unbelievable.” 1986 Northern Ireland side | Where are they now? The tournament had got off to the perfect start for Northern Ireland. Whiteside scored just six minutes into their opening game against Algeria but McIlroy remembers being “kicked and spat at by some very nasty players” and they were eventually held to a 1-1 draw, a setback with Spain and Brazil to come. Two days earlier, McIlroy had gone to watch Spain take on Brazil with Bingham. Spain lost 1-0 but still impressed. “We were in the taxi coming back from the game and Bingham says, ‘What do you think?’” McIlroy reflects. “And I said ‘Bloody hell, Billy …’ and he put his hand on my mouth and said ‘Don’t say that to the boys, say we’ve got a chance’.” Spain would prove a tougher obstacle in Mexico than they had on home soil at 1982 World Cup, when the Northern Irish claimed an historic 1-0 win. Emilio Butragueno and Julio Salinas both scored inside 18 minutes, and although Colin Clarke pulled one back for Northern Ireland within 60 seconds of the restart, it was not enough. Spain won 2-1 and left Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage hinging on the outcome of their final match against Brazil. What an occasion that would prove. Careca’s second goal of the match was a classic in itself but most struggle to look beyond Josimar’s thunderbolt. McIllroy remembers being stood directly behind Josimar when he is unleashed that shot and could not believe how much the ball moved. “Pat tells a good story about how he came back after Mexico and went to do a Q&A in a school,” John O’Neill recalled. “One of the kids said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Jennings, but how did you feel when Josimar chipped you from 35 yards?’ And Pat says, ‘Son, your idea of a chip and my idea of a chip are two different things!’.” After the game, Northern Ireland’s players migrated en masse to Brazil’s dressing room after being invited in to swap shirts. Everyone, that is, except Nicholl, who, unbeknownst to his team-mates, had arranged 10 minutes before the final whistle to swap shirts with Zico to take the legendary Brazil No. 10’s jersey. “Do you not want to go and get a Brazilian jersey?” Bingham asked Nicholl. “Nah, I’m happy enough,” came the reply. A few minutes passed before David McCreery returned to the Northern Ireland dressing room, a look of bemusement etched on his face. “Niccy,” McCreery said. “Everyone made a beeline for Zico but he’s insisting he’ll only swap shirts with the Irlanda numero dois. That’s you.” “Really?” Nicholl replied, milking the moment. “Ack well, if wee Zico is desperate to have my shirt, I suppose he can have it.”
David Brooks, who qualifies for Wales through his Wrexham-born mother, had been influential in England’s Toulon tournament victory in the summer.
Chris Coleman trumps England by giving Wales call-up to David Brooks
David Brooks, who qualifies for Wales through his Wrexham-born mother, had been influential in England’s Toulon tournament victory in the summer.
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Exclusive: Manchester United and Chelsea face legal threat and clubs told to 'hang their heads in shame' for 'failing' disabled fans
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Exclusive: Manchester United and Chelsea face legal threat and clubs told to 'hang their heads in shame' for 'failing' disabled fans
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Exclusive: Manchester United and Chelsea face legal threat and clubs told to 'hang their heads in shame' for 'failing' disabled fans
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
Exclusive: Manchester United and Chelsea face legal threat and clubs told to 'hang their heads in shame' for 'failing' disabled fans
Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are facing the threat of legal action after leading clubs were told they should “hang their heads in shame” at breaking a collective promise to meet minimum standards for disabled fans. An exclusive Telegraph investigation can now reveal almost half of all Premier League clubs do not meet guidelines set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide, despite a joint announcement more than two years ago that committed them to reaching that standard by August 2017. The pledge was made after The Telegraph exposed how only three clubs were meeting basic ­recommendations which dated back to 1998, as well as a stark government warning that there could be “no ­excuses” for inaction. “People who believed in the clarity of the pledge in 2015 will feel they have been kicked in the teeth,” Lord Holmes, a Conservative peer and the winner of nine Paralympic gold medals, said. “They made a clear and unequivocal commitment and this is a miserable result. The Premier League shows what we can do at our best in sport and it is an extraordinary stain running through it that we are only about 50 per cent there in terms of basic accessibility.” The Equality and Human Rights Commission is investigating potentially unlawful and discriminatory practices but says that it is being slowed in its inquiries by the lack of clarity from unnamed clubs. “This has delayed our final report as we review the new evidence and which of our enforcement powers we should use,” Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive, said. “It is clear a significant number of clubs have failed to meet the Premier League’s own pledge deadline. While some have made progress and taken the bit between their teeth, others have shown a worrying lack of interest in taking this seriously, neglecting the needs of their disabled supporters.” Chelsea intend to be fully compliant when they rebuild the stadium Credit: Tim Ireland/AP Architects have estimated that the pledge would have cost only £7.2 million to fulfil in its most basic form. To put that in perspective, the clubs collectively spent £1.4 billion on players this summer. The Premier League says that building challenges, rather than cost, is the main obstacle but campaigners point to the clubs’ own evident ­belief two years ago it could be done, as well as the impressive ­progress made at some stadiums. There is also a feeling the Premier League rule book sends the wrong message. In it, there are just 11 words that relate to “sufficient and adequate” facilities for disabled supporters. By contrast, stadium requirements in other areas are outlined in precise detail, including 23 lines about giant screens, three pages on floodlights and even 14 lines about the working conditions of the away club’s video analyst. “It is about attitude, values, culture and approach,” said Lord Holmes. “There has been very positive action by some Premier League clubs and some incredible actions by clubs like Wrexham and Tranmere. Their intent and will to do what they can should leave those Premier League clubs who failed to hang their heads in shame.” Chelsea and Manchester United are under most scrutiny, with the EHRC assessing clubs according to the Equality Act of 2010 that ­requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments”. Watford, Everton, Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also being monitored. The EHRC’s enforcement powers include formal investigations, legal proceedings or to enter into legally binding agreements. Eleven clubs do meet the guidelines, while ­recently promoted clubs, notably Burnley and Huddersfield, have been given additional time. Newcastle have also agreed an extra year due to being relegated, even though they were part of the original pledge. Swansea have one of the best records in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images “When the announcement came we were told August of this year and we are still waiting,” said Tony Taylor, the chairman of Level Playing Field. “We want to know from the Premier League how many clubs have met the pledge and what steps will be taken with regard to those clubs who have not. We get calls every day from disabled fans who are asking what is going on.” Structural work at Manchester United is now complete but the new areas are not yet being made available to wheelchair users for Premier League games. A Manchester United spokesman said additional assessments were required “to ensure the safe and smooth integration of disabled and non-disabled supporters” where work had taken place. Wheelchair spaces will also now rise beyond 200 for some games as they carry out tests, including for Wednesday’s League Cup against Burton Albion. St James' Park has another year to comply Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Chelsea are continuing “to investigate opportunities to further ­improve facilities” but noted the constraints of Stamford Bridge’s “age and design”. They intend to be fully compliant when they redevelop the ground. Both Chelsea and Manchester United say they are assisting the EHRC with its review. The Premier League is now compiling its own report and their data shows around 1,000 wheelchair bays have been added in the last two years – an ­increase of around 50 per cent. “Premier League clubs have delivered a substantial programme of work to improve their disabled access provisions,” said a spokesman. Wheelchair spaces - How top flight measure up
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
Swansea 0 Man Utd 4: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba combine to puts Swans to the sword
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
Swansea 0 Man Utd 4: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba combine to puts Swans to the sword
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
Swansea 0 Man Utd 4: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba combine to puts Swans to the sword
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Word is that Anthony Martial will be on shortly for United, but first they'll need to defend a Swansea corner 1:54PM Attacking intent from the home side? Wingers Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh replace central defender Kyle Bartley and debutant Roque Mesa. 1:53PM Swansea starting to look more dangerous They've been unable to unlock a well drilled Manchester United defence thus far, but in the last couple of minutes they've created a couple of decent openings. First, Martin Olsson finds Tammy Abraham in space in the United box, however the teenage talent is a little too far out to challenge the united goal even with a free header. Next, Jordan Ayew gets the ball just outside United's defensive third. Tammy Abraham made a good run as Ayew drove at Eric Bailly, but he wasn't able to pick him out. Shortlu after, Jordan Ayew provides his best moment of the match, finding space out wide before flashing a ball across the box. A decent spell for Swansea 1:48PM Time on ball (45 - 60 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:47PM Decent spell for Swansea It looked as if Swansea heads were dropping and the fans were getting frustrated, but the Swans managed their first meaningful attack of the half, working the ball down the right hand side well through Leroy Fer before a mix up between Abraham and Ayew broke their momentum. There are positive moments for the home side, but they're so infrequent that it's hard to envisage them creating more than one chance against a disciplined United defence screened by Nemanja Matic. 1:42PM Swansea starting to look a little ragged Manchester United are starting to force a few errors out of Swansea at the back. After confusion between Kyle Bartley and Lukasz Fabianski, United win a corner and manage to put the ball in the box. Swansea struggle to clear and a series of poor touches and frantic passes gift possession back to the visitors. Are the wheels starting to come off for Paul Clement's side here? A lot of holes for the likes of Rashford and Lukaku to exploit are appearing. 1:37PM Another United corner A misplaced header from Kyle Bartley gives Juan Mata the chance to put the ball in the box. They clear the danger initially but after good work from Mata and Valencia down the right hand side, they force another corner. They always seem to have an extra man out wide. The second corner comes to nothing, but United quickly assume control of the second half. 1:35PM United start at walking pace The visitors start the second half by just knocking the ball around at the back. Swansea seem happy to let them do it. The Swans finally manage to get themselves on the ball, and after creating a solid crossing position they fail to pick out Tammy Abraham at the back post as he was left one-on-one against Phil Jones. 1:33PM Second half underway United are half way to a 100% start to the season and extending Jose Mourinho's unbeaten run against teams from Wales. Can Swansea claw their way back into this? 1:31PM Thoughts of Telegraph Sport's Chief football writer Sam Wallace gives his thoughts on Tammy Abraham and Marcus Rashford Thought Abraham showed some decent touches in first half, but the teen standard is set by Rashford who is younger of the two by four weeks— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) August 19, 2017 1:30PM A quiet half for Mata and Mkhitaryan The United duo have been largely frozen out of this first half and barring a Juan Mata free kick that resulted i Phil Jones hitting the bar, it's hard to recall much involvement from the pair. Does this leave things nicely poised for Anthony Martial to make another late impact? 1:26PM Paul Clement will be disappointed Swansea did their job for the vast majority of that half - had they gone in at 0-0 he can't have had many complaints, really. Conceding a goal right at the end of the half, from a set piece at which a lack of concentration allowed Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to attack the ball unchecked, will have frustrated Paul Clement. Barring the odd lapse, his side defended well and only had to hold on another minute or so to go in level at the break. It'll be a big ask if they're to take anything from the game now. 1:19PM Half-time - Manchester United lead Despite Swansea digging in and shutting United out for the vast majority of that half, you can't begrudge the visitors a half time lead. They've dominated possession for long periods and forced Swansea to defend the edge of their own box. The home side started to grow into the game and found the odd chink in United's armour with a more direct style of play from set pieces and striker Tammy Abraham's brave efforts to hold the ball up. But it's a deserved lead. 1:17PM Time on ball (first half) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 1:17PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 1:17PM Goal - United bundle the ball into the net Swansea's hard work is undone from a United set piece. Paul Pogba forces Lukasz Fabianski to tip the ball onto the bar after meeting an inviting delivery from a corner with a bullet header. Eric Bailly follows up to bundle the ball over the line for his first United goal. 1:16PM GOAL! Eric Bailly strikes late in the first half to open the scoring. 0-1 to Man Utd. Swansea 0 - 1 Man Utd (Eric Bailly, 45 min) 1:14PM Into the last five minutes of the half Swansea's defensive set up is forcing the likes of Mhiktariyan to drop deeper to get involved and United to play diagonal balls from further and further towards their own half. The latest results in a corner but the visitors can't take advantage. A moment of concern for Swansea as Fabianski fumbles a cross into the feet of Juan Mata, however the Spaniard's effort is a weak one as a wall of Swansea defenders force him to rush his finish. 1:13PM Man Utd pinning the hosts back in their own half The visitors are keeping the Swansea defence busy so far. Swansea vs Man Utd 1:11PM The shot count is similar Swansea and Man Utd are evenly matched in attack so far - the vistors have fired in six shots to the hosts' three. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 1:10PM Another chance for Swansea to load the box Entertaining half so far. Swansea have another chance to test United's defence with a free kick midway inside United's half. Roque Mesa picks out Kyle Bartley at the far post but his header across goal loops harmlessly out wide. They're not taking advantage, yet, but Swansea have found United wanting from a couple of set pieces so far. Can they find joy through a more direct style of play through set plays and hitting Abraham up front? 1:07PM Huge opportunity Alfie Mawson, who's made a strong start to the game, attempts to knock a header back to his keeper but puts it right into the path of arguably United's most dangerous player so far - Marcus Rashford. The England cap tries to be a little too clever and flicks the ball into Lukasz Fabianski's grateful arms. Looked like he expected the Pole in goal to go to ground so he could dink it over him. 1:06PM Swansea missing Sigurdsson but finding their feet There are signs that Swansea are starting to grow into this game. They do really well when they get Jordan Ayew playing off Tammy Abraham who's done well holding the ball up and offloading short passes on occasion. If Gyfli Sigurdsson was the man operating behind Abraham could they be doing more damage? Swansea win a corner after Ayew and Abraham link up well from which Kyle Bartley puts a tame header wide. 1:02PM Frantic few minutes A fast-paced period of play ends with Paul Pogba giving John Moss a decision to make. Tammy Abraham is dispossessed by Phil Jones at the edge of the United box in an attempt to hold the ball up. United break through Rashford, and after the youngster is crowded out, the ball finds it's way back to Pogba who lunges in after a heavy first touch. Probably not a second yellow, but he can't have another one of those. 1:02PM Time on ball (15 - 30 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:58PM Paul Pogba booked Pogba comes through the back of Tom Carroll presenting Swansea with their first chance to load the box - which they fail to take. An uneccesary bit of pressure for United to withstand. Are Swansea's defensive tactics starting to frustrate the visitors? 12:54PM Great tackle from Kyle Bartley to deny Rashford After the ball bounces harmlessly through Swansea's midfield from a long ball, Rashford runs at Kyle Bartley but the former Leeds and Rangers man pulls out a firm but fair tackle to prevent the United man going through on goal. 12:51PM Swansea struggling for meaningful possession Swansea enjoy a brief reprieve from defensive duties. They go direct to Tammy Abraham who brings the ball down well, and enjoy brief possession in the United half before surrendering the ball. They look very much like a side playing without a key midfielder willing to take the ball under pressure in the middle i.e. Sigurdsson. United are doing well at working the ball in good positions out wide but are lacking an end product. They've been largely reduced to diagonal balls into Lukaku or long shots - apart from the set piece that saw Jones hit the bar. 12:50PM Man Utd enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far Man Utd have had 192 touches of the ball compared to 102 by Swansea. Swansea vs Man Utd 12:48PM Time on ball (0 - 15 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 12:44PM United playing a patient game They've started to impose themselves on this game now and are regularly knocking the ball around in an effort to draw the home side out of a defensive shape. Swansea are starting to chase shadows with the likes of Mata, Matic, and Pogba enjoying a lot of the ball. 12:41PM Phil Jones hits the bar! Rapid start here. Rashford brought down at the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata drifted the ball across the Swansea box where Phil Jones headed against the bar unopposed., Hint of offside, but from six yards out Jones should really have buried that. Both teams have hit the woodwork early. 12:39PM United pushing Swansea back Swansea look to be targeting the space left in behind Antonio Valencia with Olsson and Ayew. United enjoy their first decent spell in possession which results in a tame effort by Rashford from the edge of the box. 12:35PM Jordan Ayew hits the bar! Fast start - The Swans are knocking the ball around nicely and putting United under pressure in the rare moments they've not been in possession early on. Jordan Ayew puts United under pressure, wins the ball back, and after running onto a ball cannoned off his face by a United defender, he mishits a cross with the outside of his boot and strikes the bar. United counter attack but Lukaku can't get the better of Mawson one-on-one and fires wide. A lot of attacking intent early. 12:35PM Man Utd threaten for the first time Following the earlier Swansea effort, Man Utd register their first attempt at goal. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 12:31PM Swansea get us underway Tammy Abraham will kick off the second weekend of action from this season's Premier League - can it live up to last weekend's drama? 12:27PM What do we make of the album cover style graphics? They look a little bit too 'X Factor' for my liking, but I'm sure I'll warm to them over time... 12:26PM Teams in the tunnel Swansea looking to not only register their first win of the season, but their first shot on target after non managing a single effort last week against Southampton. 12:22PM Less than 10 minutes until kick off How will Swansea react to losing Gylfi Sigurdsson? Can Manchester United and new signing Romelu Lukaku continue their superb start to the season? Find out shortly. Almost ready. ⚪️⚫️#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/macMyVXw93— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 12:18PM Face of concentration Stern look for the manager of a team playing "happy football". Can Manchester United put a rare smile on their manager's face over the next 90 minutes? "Our team is playing happy football" Jose Mourinho = �� ahead of #SWAMUN… pic.twitter.com/WQDhGWJgyU— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:16PM Fifteen minutes until kick off A quick reminder of the team news. Swansea hand a debut to new signing Roque Mesa. Manchester United are unchanged, again leaving big summer signing Victor Lindelof on the bench. Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Bartley, Carroll, Roque, Ayew, Abraham. Subs: van der Hoorn, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel, Fulton, McBurnie. Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Lindelof, Martial, Smalling, Lingard, Romero, Ander Herrera, Fellaini. Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire) 12:15PM Jose Mourinho - United are playing "happy football" The Manchester United manager says that last week's match winners were too difficult to leave out, describing his team as having played "quite well" against West Ham. Understatement of the season so far? He says that there will be sticky moments in today's game, but says his side's "happy football" - the freedom to play and confidence, should be enough to win the day. Credit: AFP 12:11PM Continuing a rich vein of form If Romelu Lukaku can find the net today, he'll match a goalscoring achievement last accomplished at Manchester United by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hasn't scored against Swansea for more than three years. Lukaku is looking to become the fifth @ManUtd player to net in his first two #PL apps (also Ibrahimovic, Martial, Macheda, Saha) #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/EzBwOemRWW— Premier League (@premierleague) August 19, 2017 12:07PM Swansea vs Manchester United - Premier League head-to-head Credit: REUTERS Played 12 times in the Premier League era - Manchester United have won seven, Swansea have won three, and there have been two draws. United have scored 21 times to Swansea's 12. Interestingly all three joint top-scorers in this fixture, Danny Welback, Wayne Rooney, and Gylfi Sigurdson (who've each scored three) have all moved on. The last five games between these two sides have yielded two Swansea wins, two Manchester United wins, and a draw. Who can tip the balance today? 12:01PM Manchester United's all time record playing away in Wales Manchester United have played ten competitive fixtures in Wales in their history - their first was a 2-0 defeat to Swansea in January 1982. This includes a Cup Winners Cup fixture against Wrexham, which they won 2-0 away to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory in European competition. Since then they've amassed a record of four wins, three draws, and three defeats. Their last visit was a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium last season. Can they add a fifth win on Welsh soil today? Given the form their in, Swansea losing Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the fact Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club - the signs are positive Credit: REUTERS 11:54AM Thoughts from Paul Hayward on Manchester United Telegraph Sport's Paul Hayward looked at Manchester United's form in his weekly column. Man Utd's speed returns - but don't expect to see it every week. My column on the weekend's Premier League action. https://t.co/39NqvEsBbY— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) August 18, 2017 11:53AM Speaking of new signings... Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running against West Ham last weekend, but can he put his less than stellar recent form against the Swans behind him? Lukaku has played Swansea 10 times - once for Chelsea, twice for West Brom, and seven times for Everton His record stands at three wins, four draws, and three defeats - one defeat for West Brom and two for Everton. He's scored three times in those ten games - twice at West Brom, once at Everton. He hasn't scored at the Liberty Stadium since November 2012. He hasn't been on the winning side against Swansea since a 3-2 win for Everton at Goodison Park in March 2014. Also the date of his last goal against them. Credit: REUTERS 11:49AM Who is Roque Mesa? Here's a quick look at the Swansea midfielder making his debut today. He's a 28-year-old central midfielder signed from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer for around £11 million. He played 35 times for Las Palmas last season, scoring once and assisting three. He's not afraid of putting a tackle in - he was booked 14 times last season in La Liga. His surname means 'table' in Spanish. Credit: REUTERS 11:42AM The Sigurdsson effect Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for Everton earlier this week for a fee in excess of £40 million. He'll be a huge miss for Swansea. Who at Swansea can step up and replace him? It looks like Jordan Ayew will be played in a similar position today. Here's the scale of his task. Sigurdsson only missed 93 minutes of Premier League action for Swansea last season - scoring nine and assisting thirteen. He's the joint top scorer in this fixture in the Premier League - with three goals and three assists against Manchester United. He's beaten Manchester United more times than he's lost to them during his time at Swansea and Tottenham. His personal record against Manchester United is four wins, two draws, and three defeats. Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:37AM Can Manchester United improve on last week? It was arguably their best performance of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era, but can they pick up where they left off? Signs are positive as Jose Mourinho has never lost to a Welsh club during his time with Manchester United and Chelsea. vs Swansea Played seven, won five, drawn two. Overall goal difference of +11 At Manchester United last season - drew 1-1 at home and won 3-1 away At Chelsea - won four, drew one vs Cardiff City Played two, won two Overall goal difference of +4 Won 4-1 at home and 2-1 away with Chelsea Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:32AM Team news is in... Swansea give a home debut to summer signing Roque Mesa while Manchester United continue with Anthony Martial on the bench despite the impact he made last week against West Ham. Here’s how we will line up against @ManUtd this afternoon… ��#SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/HwrWFe7TkO— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 19, 2017 Here is today's #MUFC line-up... #SWAMUNpic.twitter.com/KJLmYkhpci— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2017 11:28AM Swansea v Man Utd - all you need to know What is it? It's Swansea vs Manchester United, the first fixture of the second round of Premier League matches. When is it? It's on Saturday August 19. What time is kick-off? It's a 12.30 BST start time. What TV channel is it on? It's a Sky Sports production. You can watch it on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow the match live right here. Local support What is the team news? Swansea City: Swansea captain Leon Britton is doubtful for the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester United. Britton has been struggling with a back injury, and Jay Fulton and summer signing Roque Mesa are on standby to replace the veteran midfielder. Fernando Llorente (arm), Nathan Dyer (Achilles) and Ki Sung-yueng (knee) remain absent as Swansea play for the first time since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure to Everton for a club-record fee. Provisional squad: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Britton, Carroll, Fer, Ayew, Routledge, Abraham, Nordfeldt, Mulder, Rangel, Kingsley, Van der Hoorn, Bartley, Mesa, Fulton, Grimes, Narsingh, McBurnie. Pick your Swansea team to play Liverpool Manchester United: Manchester United head to Swansea for Saturday's Premier League clash without any new injury problems. Long-term absentees Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are set to step up their rehabilitation by playing for United's Under-23s against their Swansea counterparts on Monday. Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is still several months from returning from serious knee ligament damage. Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, J Pereira, Valencia, Darmian, Blind, Jones, Bailly, Smalling, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Matic, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, McTominay, Pogba, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mata, A Pereira, Martial, Rashford, Lukaku. Pick your Manchester United team to play Swansea What are they saying? Paul Clement on Nemanja Matic: "I was surprised Chelsea let him go, I don't know how that deal managed to happen. "It's not too good for Chelsea and Antonio Conte has made it clear he did not want that to happen. It is a win for United. "He is good positionally, he has good physical stature, he is strong in the challenge and good in the air. "He has also a nice left foot and is an under-rated passer and is very focused on his football." Jose Mourinho: "Everybody is fine. The next week, on Monday, in the Under-23s game, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are playing their first minutes of competition this season. "It is like a pre-season match for them. But it is good news because, when they can play with the Under-23s, it is because the last week they trained with us all week so they are both coming (back)." What are the odds? Swansea win: 9/1 Manchester United win: 4/11 Draw: 15/4 What's our prediction? Swansea's post Gylfi Sigurdsson era begins with a tough clash at home to Manchester United. Sigurdsson completed his £45million move to Everton this week and robbed the Liberty Stadium outfit of their best player. Jose Mourinho's United will be looking to add salt into the Welsh side's wounds after brushing aside West Ham on the opening weekend. Paul Clement has Swansea organised, but the visitors should have too much class and power. Prediction 0-2 Alex Bywater
Swansea 0 Man Utd 4: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba combine to puts Swans to the sword
The painful reality for Swansea City is that with ten minutes left on the clock, they were still in this game and then Jose Mourinho’s team went in for the kill in a way that Manchester United sides once did as a matter of course once they detected weakness. It was, all told, a ransacking led by the big players in three raids: Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba scoring in a four-minute blitz of Swansea’s retreating defence. Possession was turned over, knock-downs were won and even when the game was decided and Swansea had all but offered their surrender, so United came back for more. By the end Anthony Martial, an effective substitute, had swept in the fourth and the afternoon felt very different. Not since 1907 have United begun a season scoring four goals in their first two games and while they have faced West Ham and Swansea, clubs who seem to have emerged from the summer without a clear idea of the kind of teams that they want to be, it does at least seem that Mourinho’s players know. Pogba was the game’s standout player, surviving a challenge on Martin Olsson that might well have been a yellow card had Jon Moss not given him one earlier for a foul on Tom Carroll. Eric Bailly scores Manchester United's opener Credit: AFP Pogba looms over the every aspect of the game, the kind of player whose considerable presence must appear in the peripheral vision of just about every opponent when in possession of the ball. He seemed to be there at every critical moment of the game, winning a corner late in the first half, winning the subsequent header that led to Eric Bailly’s first goal, and then in the second half, the Frenchman led the way again. Pogba’s form is a continuation of that devastating performance he turned in for France against England in Paris at the end of last season, a combination of the physicality and the delicate touch that he showed in scoring United’s third of the afternoon. Between them, Pogba and Lukaku now have five goals in two games and it is Pogba whose personality seems to be key to this team – when he is confident and diligent, then so are United. Mourinho did not feel that the decision of referee Moss, an official with whom he has history, to award the first yellow card was justified, let alone the second that never came. Paul Clement could not bring himself to claim a missed dismissal either and he has more pressing concerns on his mind. Swansea have barely had an effort on goal in their first two games, and the closest they came this time was Jordan Ayew’s clever shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half which grazed David De Gea’s crossbar from an unexpected angle. Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, showed some nice touches on his first team home debut with Fernando Llorente still out, it looks like a tall order to ask the teenager to shoulder all the burden. Mourinho expressed the hope on Clement’s behalf that he would get the £45 million from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s sale to spend on the team, the kind of remark the Swansea manager would probably rather someone else had made. Clement also lamented the absence of the injured Ki Sung-yueng and yet he could make no guarantees about new arrivals before Swansea play Crystal Palace next Saturday. Clement was also angry about his team’s concentration wavering at the end of the first half, when they conceded what he considered a rare goal direct from a set-piece. Bailly had already put one clearance on the roof of the main stand before he was the one who reacted the quickest to score when Fabianski made a good save from Pogba’s header. Romelu Lukaku scores his third goal in two games for Manchester United Credit: ACTION IMAGES In defence alongside Bailly, Phil Jones kept his place and was impressive again, heading against the bar from a corner. It might have been different for Marcus Rashford – who faded in the second half before eventually being substituted – if he had finished on 36 minutes. Booed for his dive in the fixture at Old Trafford last season, he had torn through the Swansea defence only to poke a lame shot at Fabianski. Rashford has an urgency about him that suggests he knows that patience is limited, and he started strongly only to lose his way. The challenge this season will be maintaining the freedom to his game that made him a success in the first place. He came off when Mourinho made his changes with 15 minutes to go, at a point when United had at times been on the back foot. Clement had earlier switched from a three-man defence to a 4-3-3 formation and tried to put some pressure on Daley Blind at left-back, United’s weakest link in the back four. Mourinho responded by bringing on Martial and then Marouane Fellaini into the midfield at the expense of Mata. “I don’t want to be the kind of manager who is happy to lose 1-0 at home,” Clement said, and once his five-man defence had been dismantled, United’s response was impressive. Henrikh Mkhitaryan claimed two of the assists as the space opened up, redirecting the ball from Martial’s driving run into the path of Lukaku. Then the Armenian did the same for Pogba who lifted the ball over Fabianski, having intercepted Carroll’s ball to begin the move. Swansea had coped badly with the tactical switch and the fourth transformed the scoreline into something much more painful for the home crowd, Pogba again involved before Martial cut onto his right foot and picked a spot in the corner. Mourinho reminded everyone that United had won the first two games of last season and he did not have to add that they were nothing like title challengers come May. A certain confidence has returned to United that has not always been detectable in this team over the last four years. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >> 2:37PM Another strong performance from Nemanja Matic He had the most touches of any Manchester United player today, and built on his strong performance last week. Nemanja Matic's game by numbers vs. Swansea: 90.2% pass accuracy 74 passes completed 5 clearances 4 blocks 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won pic.twitter.com/f5T0VNE8Wj— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2017 2:34PM United hit the front Granted there are eighteen teams in the Premier League with a game in hand on them, but Jose Mourinho's side go top of the league in impressive fashion, with an early goal difference of +8. Manchester United looking down on the rest and can now watch their rivals try to respond https://t.co/qOK7Bo4cbxpic.twitter.com/GdlCMgQ82U— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 19, 2017 2:32PM Mkhitaryan wins Man of the match After a quiet first half, the Armenian managed to take advantage of space opening up as Swansea tired in an effort to get themselves back into the game. He had a hand in two of the three second half goals and was United standout player. Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba were also impressive - while Romelu Lukaku managed to secure his first goal and win against Swansea since 2014. A good day at the office all round 2:30PM Manchester United's attacking display 2:28PM Reaction Manchester United scored three goals in three minutes and 41 seconds in emphatically beating Swansea in their first game since Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure. Impressive from #mufc. More assertive and clinical than before, and that spine so strong. Another powerful finish. #SWAMUN— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 19, 2017 Impressive stuff from #MUFC. Mkhitaryan is a wizard #SWAMUN— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) August 19, 2017 2:21PM Full time - Swansea City 0 - 4 Manchester United Another three points, another four-nil, another clean sheet. It's looking very good for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho at this early stage, but Swansea will be disappointed at their late collapse in both halves - they need to add or they could find themselves in trouble this season. 2:21PM Time on ball (at full time) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:21PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 2:20PM Decent effort from Jordan Ayew The Swansea front man battles well just outside the United box - staving off Paul Pogba in his attempts to win the ball before turning and firing wide. Smacks of "too little too late" - they could have done with that battle and intent earlier in the day, really. 2:18PM Three minutes of added time Both sides are keen to get this one over with now. Neither side are showing much attacking intent on the ball now as we enter the final stages. 2:16PM Swansea need to invest Granted they're still recovering after Gylfi Sigurdsson's departure earlier in the week, but it looks as if this side could get sucked into a relegation battle unless they bring in a couple of fresh faces. They're supposedly looking at Nacer Chadli and Wilfried Bony, but you feel as if they're lacking energy and creativity in the middle of the pitch and a real leader at the back. Meanwhile, up the other end of the pitch, Manchester United are looking like title contenders early in the season. Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. Dream start. 2:12PM 4-0 to Manchester United This is getting really familiar now. Four goals for the second week running, and it's Anthony Martial making an impact again. Paul Pogba takes the ball off Romelu Lukaku and drives at the Swansea back four. He knocks the ball to Martial out wide who cuts in and slots past Fabianski. They're turning on the style now. 2:12PM GOAL! A goal from Anthony Martial for Man Utd makes the score 0-4. Swansea 0 - 4 Man Utd (Anthony Martial, 84 min) 2:10PM Goal - Pogba adds the gloss A second in quick succession - deja vu anyone? United are enjoying the latter stages of a game for the second week in a row. Good work from Mkhitaryan again as he drives down the wing and puts Paul Pogba through on goal for the Frenchman to place the ball high into the net past Fabianski. 3-0 Manchester United. Game over 2:09PM GOAL! It's cruise control for Man Utd now! Paul Pogba makes it 0-3. Swansea 0 - 3 Man Utd (Paul Pogba, 82 min) 2:08PM GOAL! Romelu Lukaku has doubled Man Utd's lead - it's now 0-2. Swansea 0 - 2 Man Utd (Romelu Lukaku, 80 min) 2:08PM It's been a mismatch at Liberty Stadium so far Man Utd are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to five from Swansea so far. Swansea vs Man Utd shots on goal 2:08PM Goal - Lukaku nets number two Just what they needed. Lukaku puts the game to bed. After initially providing a knock down to Anthony Martial following a long ball, Mkhitaryan provides a through ball to the Belgian, in space in the Swansea penalty area, to slot past Fabianski 2:05PM Time on ball (60 - 75 min) Possession: Swansea vs Man Utd 2:05PM Into the last fifteen minutes Swansea's passing has dipped in quality over the last few minutes and they've been forced into a couple of important defensive challenges, most notably Fernandez thwarting Lukaku after strong work from Pogba in midfield. United are looking more comfortable again but could do with a second to put this game to bed. 2:01PM Substitutions for Manchester United Marcus Rashford makes way for Anthony Martial - he's looked like United's best attacker so far. Juan Mata also makes way with Marouane Fellaini taking his place. 2:01PM Yellow card for Leroy Fer Daley Blind unleashes a shot from the edge of the box, however play is brought back for a late challenge by Leroy Fer on his compatriot. It's a free-kick in a dangerous area, outside the 'D' to the left hand side. Decent effort from Pogba - Fabianski wasn't getting across - but the ball floats over. 1:59PM Chance for Swansea! The ball is whipped in from a corner and bounces across the six yard box as two or three Swansea players can't connect. The pace has slowed a little but Swansea are enjoying a good spell. 1:57PM United could do with a second goal Swansea look like they're going to go for it here. After a couple of half chances and the attack minded substitutions they've just made they're be