Manchester United is about to start kicking in Canada.
Sources have told Metro that Man U, arguably the premier franchise in all of professional sports, has agreed to a multi-faceted, 10-year business deal in which the club will send its personnel to this country and teach soccer to Canadians.
“They’ll be coming here, living here and delivering their curriculum,” confirmed Neil Jamieson, who will be responsible for building and managing an Oakville facility where Manchester United will operate. “But it really isn’t only soccer skills that they’ll be teaching. They’ll be teaching life skills, too, and it’s really so much more comprehensive than that. They’ll be teaching the kinds of things here that they’ve taught in England for about 50 years. This is huge, really. It’ll start in Oakville but the objective is to have Manchester United deliver its curriculum throughout Canada.”
Man U and partners, which will include Nike, plan to officially announce their venture in the next few weeks.
•Jamieson, incidentally, operated the defunct Toronto ThunderHawks of the Major Indoor Soccer League years ago and was the main man behind a chartered air service used by 28 sports organizations, including the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays.
“It was great while it lasted,” Jamieson lamented, “but 9-11 put a total body blow on us and the business went into an absolute tailspin. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
•Forgive Los Angeles superstar Kobe Bryant if he thinks the MVP chant at the Air Canada Centre tonight — directed the other night at the Raptors’ Chris Bosh — is for him. Fans in Boston were chanting MVP for Bryant during the Lakers’ victory over the Celtics this week.
And don’t be surprised if free-agent-to-be Jamaal Magloire, a Torontonian, is soon traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the New Jersey Nets.
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•The Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl the other day, but they’re not favoured for next year’s NFL title. Vegas oddsmakers have established the San Diego Chargers as 6-to-1 favourites. They’re followed by the Colts, at 7-to-1, and the Chicago Bears, at 8-to-1 ... And if you wondered how Prince didn’t get electrocuted during his halftime show in the rain at the Super Bowl, here’s the answer: His electronics were run off battery packs, ruling out any danger.
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