Manchester United fans went into meltdown on Twitter last night when Mauricio Pochettino was caught on camera with PR man Neil Ashton watching Brentford play Leeds United in a Championship match.
Ashton has recently taken on Manchester United and specifically executive vice chairman Ed Woodward as a client, so the Old Trafford faithful put two and two together to make five when the two men walked into the stands at Griffin Park together on a cold February evening.
It was then later explained by The Express that Pochettino in fact is ‘good friends’ with Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, having been managed by him many times for both the Argentina national side and club side Newell’s Old Boys.
But wait a minute. Does that make you good friends?
Coincidentally, Pochettino was interviewed on the very same day by former Sky reporter Natalie Pinkham for her In the Pink podcast and admitted his desire to manage again in the Premier League.
‘To be honest, I would love to work in the Premier League’ the former Spurs man said. ‘It’s going to be difficult, I know, and for now it’s a moment to wait and we’ll see what happens … It’s a moment … to be ready because in football always something can happen and you need to be ready. I have the belief and confidence that the next challenge will be fantastic.’
The soundbyte drew an instant reaction from United fans, 61% of whom voted for Pochettino to be the Reds’ manager next season in our recent poll.
So was the interview really such a coincidence? How did this podcaster get this scoop? Pinkham is a former Sky Sports reporter as is Ashton, and both her show In the Pink and Ashton’s former show Sunday Supplement are hosted by the same Podcast network, Acast. So Ashton and Pinkham have been colleagues and it is clearly possible that the PR man was involved in putting Poch in front of the presenter. As one keen eyed Twitterer put it, ‘How has Natalie Pinkham got this interview for her own personal podcast?’
Could it be that Ed Woodward and his advisors are handling the Argentinian’s PR now to smooth the way for a summer transition and have used a personal contact to put out the story? It certainly seems very plausible.
Pochettino is now just 2/5 on to become next United manager.
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