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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 19 April, 2019
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Michael Owen's 'dream' of a Liverpool return, the Tyrone man who played for Dublin and all the week's best sportswriting

Plus, 10 years on: how the Abu Dhabi ownership transformed Manchester City.

Michael Owen (file pic).
Michael Owen (file pic).
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

Updated at 09.32

1. “City did not even include a trophy cabinet when they moved into the Commonwealth Games stadium in 2003. All their collectables, including a porcelain cow, were stored in a dimly lit room and nobody should be surprised that when Vincent Kompany arrived with the most fortuitous timing, 10 days before the takeover, he can remember the dressing-room toilet did not even have a door. The groundsman, Lee Jackson, will tell you City were so skint he did not have enough white paint to do the lines on the pitch.”

The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor writes about Manchester City 10 years on form the Abu Dhabi ownership takeover.

2. “This is a real story. Hand to God. When I came over from Cameroon at 16, I didn’t know any English, didn’t know a single person in America, didn’t really understand the culture except for like basic hip-hop. And I know people sort of know my story, but I don’t think they really understand how crazy it is. Because I had just started playing basketball literally — literally — three months before I got an offer to come play high school ball in Florida.”

Joel Embiid tells his story for the Players Tribune.

3. “On Wednesday morning, the start of his third day as an All-Ireland senior hurling medal holder, Nickie Quaid makes his way down from his hotel room in Adare.

“The night before has seen players and management carry the celebration trail to the town of their captain Declan Hannon. Quaid’s voice is hoarse. His mother will see him later in Effin, his homeplace, where they’ll make an unscheduled stop and she’ll adjudge him a little white in the face. The things that mothers notice. If he is not looking the usual picture of health, it’s the price you pay, when you find yourself where he is now, a place he wouldn’t swap with anyone.”

The Irish Independent’s Dermot Crowe looks at Nickie Quaid’s tribute to his father.

UPI 20180824 New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr stands on the field before a preseason game. Source: UPI/PA Images

4. “Nelson Stewart didn’t ask why Odell Beckham Jr needed film. He knew. Stewart, Odell’s former coach at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, was in his office this summer watching old plays. He’s a former teammate of Peyton Manning’s and a close friend of Eli’s, both Newman alums as well, and he keeps a grass-stained Beckham No. 3 Newman jersey in his office drawer as a reminder of his fortune to witness so much transcendent talent at such a small school. On this day, he filmed a few touchdowns off his computer screen and texted them to Odell, who replied: “lol coach i really need my high school highlights.”

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham on Odell Beckham Jr’s quest to recapture the magic that made him the NFL’s most eye-catching talent.

5. “He drove a hard bargain, because he knew desperate men will pay a premium when the clock is counting down on All-Ireland final day. My father handed over the necessary. It was the first of September, 1974. I was nine years old and about to see my first game of hurling: Limerick, the All-Ireland champions, versus Kilkenny.

“Outside the Cusack Stand, Dad lifted me over the turnstile – no questions asked. Back in the days before health and safety, a father and son could get into the ground on the strength of one ticket.”

Family matters most on a day sent to us from heaven, writes The Limerick Leader’s Alan English.

6. “It’s ironic that when the shock call came for Paddy Quinn to join the Dublin footballers in the autumn of 2012, it was from a fellow Tyrone native and Jim Gavin’s trusted lieutenant Michael Kennedy.

“Quinn was 31 and hadn’t played underage or senior for Tyrone – a self-proclaimed “late developer” who played with London when living there in his early 20s – it was a bolt from the blue but one he wasn’t going to pass up.”

The Irish Independent’s Michael Verney chats to The Tyrone man who played for Dublin.

7. “Late in the evening — this was a couple hours after everyone had eaten and only the adults were still sitting outside — someone brought up the manner in which the Spurs had lost to the Heat. It was just a tiny comment (something like “Man, Game 6 sucked so bad”), and it was a conversation that had already taken place among the same people several times since the end of the playoffs, but it turned into a big thing.”

The Ringer’s Shea Serrano reflects on the retirement of a legend, Manu Ginobili.

8. “Being a Tyrone fan in Dublin can be difficult, especially in weeks like this, as the glorious lure of Sam Maguire breathes down our necks. Aware of the “esteem” in which we’re held, we’re forced to develop coping mechanisms to make you all realise we’re not monsters, or paranoid. Or both.”

Growing up in Tyrone, GAA offered a way of expressing our Irishness  that allowed us to feel a part of it despite our political circumstances, writes the Irish Times’ Una McCaffrey.

9.Michael still wanted to come back even when his time at Newcastle was over, but Liverpool had moved on. There was to be no dream move.

“Hundreds of tweets describe this story as “honest” and “revealing”, adding that there was a palpable sense of disappointment in his voice due to his love of the club. Maybe he was hard done by after all.

“Sorry Michael, but I remember things differently.

“Move back to Anfield? I’m amazed we took the phone call.”

Karl Coppack of the Anfield Wrap on the reality of Michael Owen’s Anfield departure.

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