Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor

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WE are in the era of instant communication but that’s not always a useful tool.

Graham Westley, who has just taken over as manager of League One Club Preston, has apparently not made the best of impressions with his new players.

It's been reported that four players were informed that they were to be dropped from the side to face Leyton Orient at home by a text message at 2am!

The team-line up was sent in a group text to his players and Westley apologised for delivering the news so late, saying it had taken him a long time to add all the players' numbers to his phone's address book.

A source close to the players is quoted as saying: “It is unbelievable that the manager thought it was a good idea to deliver bad news like this in a text that arrived in the middle of the night.

'The fact it was just one of several texts made it even worse. You would have thought the manager would have wanted his players to get a good night's sleep in before a game.”

You have got to hand it to Carloz Tevez, he's certainly a man determined to stick to his guns – even if it costs him an absolute fortune.

According to the BBC, the Argentine striker's dispute with his club Manchester City has cost hm over £9 million in wages, fines and lost bonuses.

The BBC reckon he has not been paid his £200,000 a week salary since the end of November and has been fined £1.2m for gross misconduct over his refusal to return from South America.

Another City player continually in the headlines for the wrong reason is fellow forward Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli is serving a four match ban after appearing to stamp on the Tottenham player Scott Parker and his agent has warned his striker could quit English football if he continues to receive what he sees as unfair treatment.

“I think he feels persecuted, he cannot go on like that,” said Mino Raiola.

My message to Mr Railoa is tell your player to stop acting like a spoilt schoolboy and concentrate on doing what he is very good at (being a professional footballer). Otherwise clear off, you won't be missed.

On other side of Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson is rightly revered as a Messiah but are we beginning to see the first chinks in his armour?

An FA Cup defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool will not go down well with the United faithful and there are signs that the United defence is not as invincible as they once were.

The big question now is can Sir Alex once again lead his side to honours. Don't bet against it.