Manchester United have teamed up with Merky FC, the new campaign set up by rapper Stormzy to improve diversity in football.
Announced on Wednesday 3 November, Stormzy‘s initiative has partnered with 10 other brands including United and lead sponsor Adidas to address racial inequality in the football industry.
The overarching goal of Merky FC is to provide more opportunities both on and off the pitch to those of Black heritage as well as young people of colour across the UK.
The multi-year programme is committed to enhancing and protecting diverse representation throughout football by providing a multitude of work placements commencing in early 2023.
According to statistics from Adidas, while Black players make up 43% of the on-pitch presence, just 6.7% of senior roles are taken by professionals who identify as Black or Mixed heritage.
Speaking on Sky Sports News following the announcement, the 29-year-old musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist — awarded an honorary degree from the University of Exeter earlier this year — explained the idea behind the campaign and what the various partnerships will deliver.
Other partners include the likes of Fulham FC, LADbible, sports publisher GOAL and Sky Sports themselves, all of which are committed to helping provide funding, work placements and overall support as part of the inclusivity-driven scheme.
As for the United, the club is one of several allowing people aged between 16 and 25 to apply for the nationwide programme from 4 November, pledging roles within their Alliances & Partnerships, Ticketing, Technology and Retail & Merchandising departments.
Following the unveiling, a Merky FC launch event was streamed on the organisation’s YouTube channel, featuring significant figures from across the footballing industry such as Ian Wright, Jeanette Kwakye, Leon Mann MBE, Jaydee Dyer, Henry Frimpong and many more.
Together, the team of athletes, sports personalities, broadcasters and industry figures discussed the disparities within football careers and how movements like this can help secure greater recognition of Black talent in all facets of the game.
You can watch the full live stream to hear Stormzy and co. talk about the campaign in more detail down below:
Man United to play Newcastle in Carabao Cup fourth round after Magpies knock out Man City
Last season’s Carabao Cup winners, Man United, now know their opponents for the next round after Newcastle United beat Man City 1-0 on Wednesday night, meaning both 2022/23 finalists will once again be meeting each other.
Either way, Alexander Isak’s single goal in the game at St James’ Park was enough to see the Magpies make it past the treble-winners despite a dominant first-half display from the away side.
Here’s the game-winning moment:
After receiving a yellow card during the game, the night ended with Guardiola fuming at referee Chris Kavanagh and exchanging more than a few words after the full-time whistle.
Clearing the moment up with reporters after the game, Pep said: “I don’t know how many fouls they did, how many fouls we had and the number of yellow cards, but it is what it is — sometimes the emotions are there. Respect for the referees and their job, a well-deserved yellow card.”
Nevertheless, the result has led to a repeat of last year’s culminating cup tie which, despite coming much earlier in the competition this time around, will see United facing off against a high-flying Newcastle team who just put eight goals past Sheffield United on this past Sunday.
The Magpies’ manager, Eddie Howe, has already said he and his side are aiming to “go one better” than they did last year and with the form they’re displaying at the moment — especially with United’s stuttering start — they stand a pretty good chance.
Elsewhere amongst the Premier League sides remaining in the competition, West Ham will host Arsenal, Bournemouth will play Liverpool at home and Sean Dyche’s Everton will play his old club Burnley.
Further down the footballing pyramid, Fulham visit Championship side Ipswich, Chelsea will host Blackburn and at least two other EFL sides will make it to the quarter-finals, with Mansfield at home to Port Vale and Exeter playing Middlesbrough.
All fourth-round ties are set to take place in the week commencing 30 October.
You can watch the highlights of Newcastle United vs Manchester City down below.
Featured Image — Man United/Man City/Newcastle United (via Instagram)
Someone’s imagined what a date night with different football managers would be like — and now we want to date Ian Holloway
Someone on Twitter—sorry, X, has put together a hypothetical thread of what different football managers would be like on a date and we genuinely haven’t stopped laughing.
It’s times like these that we remember how much we love the internet.
The absolutely deviant genius behind this is a lady named Alexandra Haddow: a writer, comedian, columnist and self-proclaimed ‘fashion magpie’ who decided to turn her comic chops to the world of football and footy managers, specifically.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to date, say, Pep Guardiola or Mikel Arteta, this may or may not give you some idea of what it might be like. I mean, not really but it’s hilarious and, we’ll warn you, it’s more than a bit naughty.
We’d try and describe how we’re feeling after reading these but we’ve only just got up after fainting.
It goes without saying that these spicy takes aren’t only an absolute crease but they’ll probably get you more hot under the collar than all three Fifty Shades books combined.
We genuinely struggled to pick our favourite but her vision of going out with former Leicester, Blackpool and QPR coach, Ian Holloway, had us literally dripping with tears of laughter: “Takes you to life drawing & brings magic mushrooms for both of you. You get kicked out for giggling. Ends up a twilight stroll by the river with ice creams discussing philosophy & your favourite sweet wrappers. Quick one in the bushes on the way home for a laugh.”
Honestly, we could be here all day sharing these fiery fantasy dates but we’ll leave you to enjoy them at your own (p)leisure.
Big up Alexandra for putting her mind firmly in the gutter simply for our amusement. She’s also playing here in Manchester next month at Cane and Grain in Northern Quarter in case you fancy enjoying her funnies in person.