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Building work is causing disruption at the training ground but the title contenders believe that the changes will ensure that their centre remains at a world-class level

THE
SWEEPER
TIDYING UP ALL THE LOOSE STORIES IN FOOTBALL THIS WEEK


UNITED's £11.5M CARRINGTON REVAMP BACK ON TRACK FOR 2012 COMPLETION

Manchester United’s £11.5 million upgrade of their Carrington training base is back on track and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Sweeper can reveal that the planned developments were put on hold over the winter due to the weather conditions and the soft ground on which the buildings were being erected.

But the scheme is now back on schedule as United improve their facilities with the addition of a sports science department, a medical wing with fitness and rehabilitation centres, new training pitches and upgraded press offices.

The building work on the 108-acre site has put the first-team dressing room out of bounds and Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are currently using portacabins to change and prepare before and after training.

Parking is also described as chaos but United believe that the inconvenience will be worth it as they maintain Carrington as a world-class training centre. The complex opened in 2000 and already includes some of the best facilities in the world for senior players and the Academy.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

CARRICK EYEING LUCRATIVE BOOK DEAL


The football autobiography market has fallen flat following England's miserable World Cup 2010, when Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Joe Cole hastily shelved their books at the last minute after the majority of the content had been written.

But that has not stopped senior England players from completely abandoning plans to tell their life story.

The Sweeper understands that Michael Carrick is among those who is keen to tie up a deal with a publisher.

However, publishing firms are reluctant to sanction vast advance payments to players without the guarantee of the kind of sales that Steven Gerrard got for his autobiography in 2006. The Liverpool captain's book shifted 280,000 copies, the most for any modern England player.

- Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

HODGSON SNUBS FWA AWARDS DINNER

Roy Hodgson has received a rather mixed reception from the national press after being appointed as England manager on Tuesday.

So perhaps it was no surprise that, even though he was in London, he turned down the offer to attend the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year dinner to honour Robin van Persie on Thursday night.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

SIR BOBBY ROBSON STATUE SET TO BE UNVEILED

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley keeps a tight hold of the purse-strings in his attempts to stop the club haemorrhaging money but no expenses have been spared in his efforts to honour former Magpies manager Sir Bobby Robson.

The Sweeper can reveal that the Sports Direct founder sanctioned a budget well in excess of £100,000 to create a statue of the late former England and Barcelona manager that will be unveiled ahead of Newcastle’s crunch game with Manchester City.

Despite digging deep for the project, Ashley has yet to see the statue that has been created by acclaimed Northumberland-based sculptor Tom Maley, having left Toon managing director Derek Llambias and his fellow board members to monitor its progress.

- Rob Stewart | Correspondent

THAKSIN TAKES IN DERBY FROM THE CHEAP SEATS


Thaksin Shinawatra made sure that he had the true experience of the Manchester derby on Monday night as he shunned an executive box to sit in the cheap seats.

The former Manchester City owner sat at the front of the south stand alongside the most fervent home fans, hundreds of whom mobbed him as he waved a Thailand flag in the concourse at half-time.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

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