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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019

Sympathy for Sam, KD is a villain and all this week's best sportswriting

Plus, Cruyff on Cruyff and a frightening tale of a pre-match fire.

1. ”Later he gives the man who brought it up, his long-term friend and football agent Scott McGarvey, another going-over. “You slipped up tonight. You can’t go there any more.

“You can’t pay a player, you can’t pay a manager, you can’t pay a CEO. It used to happen 20 odd years ago, 30 years ago. You can’t do it now. You can’t do it now. Don’t ever go there.” None of which really falls in line with the caricature of the man who regards rules as optional.”

The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor asks if Sam Allardyce deserves sympathy.

Sam Allardyce - Bolton Source: Dave Howarth

2. “’I can’t listen to the radio; I can’t open the paper,’ my father told me a couple of weeks ago. ‘If they win, I might move to Canada.’

“In Chicago, you pick a baseball team. Not two — just one. The South Side belongs to the White Sox, and the North Side to the Cubs.”

Ben Strauss tells a tale of woe from two White Sox fans watching the Cubs march towards a World Series.

3. “The arrival of Tommy Docherty in an expensive car in the small Elgin village of Mostodloch in 1974 would have caught the attention of locals…”

BBC Scotland’s Richard Wilson talks to Steve Paterson about his descent from playing for Manchester United against Ajax, to gambling and alcoholism.

4. “Maybe it’s the aftereffects of the Nice Guy label he picked up those first years in OKC, which prompted the KD Is Not Nice ad campaign, which somehow only made him seem nicer? Maybe it’s the warm, warm glow of his tearful, beautiful “You the real MVP” moment from his MVP speech?”

The Ringer’s Shea Serrano has a chart to prove that Kevin Durant is a villain now that he’s a Golden State Warrior.

5. “Reserve goalkeeper, Volker Jany, and the experienced, international full-back Klaus Urbanczyk bravely led the attempts to aid the rescue efforts from inside. The pair stayed in the burning building for as long as conditions permitted…”

Craig McCracken tells the story of Chemie Halle’s dramatic night before they were due to meet PSV in a Uefa Cup tie, for The Guardian.

6. “For a long time, he had his father to fall back on for advice, and Johan Cruyff had an “irritating” habit of being right most of the time, Jordi said.

“’Even with things like driving,” he said. “He would know the right route, and more than that, he would go all these different ways to make sure he got as many green lights as possible.”

The New York Times’ Rory Smith speaks with Jordi Cruyff about his quite famous father.

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Sean Farrell

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