Chelsea fans to pay Mourinho's fine: He might be the best paid manager in football with an annual salary of £14m, but Chelsea fans will be asked to contribute to a collection on Sunday to pay off Jose Mourinho's £8,000 fine for his behaviour in the aftermath of Ramires' red card against Aston Villa. The Blues boss went back onto the pitch to confront referee Chris Foy and was subsequently found guilty of improper conduct and handed the fine. Blues fans will be asked to dig deep on the official trains to Sunday's game at Swansea and during the match at the Liberty Stadium as well as before the home game with Sunderland next weekend.
Paper Round's view: If this happens and Roman Abramovich doesn't subsequently reduce ticket prices for the final home game of the season against Norwich next month, it'll be nothing short of a travesty. Yes, it was Chelsea fans who came up with the brainwave idea in the first place, and yes, if they want to give up yet more of their hard-earned cash to the club they love for the sole purpose of 'showing support' to their manager, that's absolutely their prerogative, but of all clubs, surely Chelsea don't need this. Mourinho already knows he is worshipped by fans, and he doesn't need them to pay an eight grand debt to prove that point.
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'Spy-gate' in Cardiff: The Sun exclusively reveals that Crystal Palace and Cardiff City are at the centre of an incredible 'spy' storm. The paper reports that Cardiff have met Premier League chiefs, claiming Palace were leaked their team two days before Saturday's crunch relegation clash in Wales, which the south London club won 3-0. Cardiff allege that Palace sporting director Iain Moody, who used to work for the Bluebirds before being axed in October, used a spy in the camp to get Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting line-up. Palace have vigorously denied the shock claims, the paper reports.
Paper Round's view: Palace co-owner Steve Parish says the accusations are ridiculous and just sour grapes, but he also admitted to being read 11 names by an agent. Yet is it not logical to assume that this agent may have spoken to a player, most likely one of his own clients, in the Cardiff camp to obtain these names? If so, the accusations of spying may not be so fanciful. That said, perhaps Cardiff should be more concerned about the identity of the person who leaked their team (even though they only got nine of the 11 starters right), rather than pointing the finger at Moody.
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Ten United players headed for exit: As many as 10 Manchester United players are heading for pastures new this summer, according to a report in the Daily Mail. United's miserable season effectively concluded with their defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday and now the David Moyes' restructuring of his squad will begin in earnest. The paper claims that Patrice Evra will join Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Anderson on the way out, with question marks remaining over the likes of Alex Buttner, Nani, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and Tom Cleverley.
Paper Round's view: It may be that United's run-in to the end of the season is anything but meaningless now, with so many playing for their futures. Even if they are resigned to leaving Old Trafford, it's not out of the question to assume that, in a bid to attract potential suitors (and increase future earnings), we might witness a sharp spike in the form of some of these players. Let's hope not though, as that would be truly depressing for United fans.
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Chelsea want £5m if Courtois plays: Atletico Madrid Thibaut Courtois remains hopeful he will be able to play against his parent club Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, should the two clubs be paired together in today's draw. The Telegraph reports that the goalkeeper's three seasons on loan in Madrid would end up costing Atletico £12 million if he plays in the both legs of the semi, given a clause in the agreement that means Chelsea would be due £2.48 million for every game he plays against them. Atleti have said they would be unable to afford the add-ons, but the report claims that Chelsea, who want to sign Diego Costa at the end of the season, may offer to write off any outstanding appearance fees on Courtois to land their man.
Paper Round's view: Football is a business these days, but still it would be a real shame if Courtois were not to be allowed to play in this hypothetical match against Chelsea. His performances have helped them get to where they are today and, much like the unfortunate player who picks up a booking too many that rules him out of a final he deserves to feature in, Courtois would be desperately unlucky to fall victim to red tape. Hopefully the scenario will be avoided with the two teams being kept apart.
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Newcastle tried to lure Ferguson: Newcastle United tried to hire Alex Ferguson as their manager in 1997, according to former Toon chairman Freddy Shepherd. The Daily Mirror reports that Newcastle wanted Ferguson to replace Kevin Keegan after losing out on the title to Manchester United the previous season. “At one time we thought we might get him because he wasn’t happy with Man U," Shepherd said. "It wasn’t to be though. We soon realised there was no way he was going to come to Newcastle."
Paper Round's view: How different the football landscape would look now if Ferguson had turned his back on United and moved to the North-East. Mind you, as Shepherd admitted, it was never going to happen and it's a bit like imagining how things would be if Lionel Messi had signed for Norwich as a youngster.
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