Foot-sanitising pads have been placed in the tunnel in a move many presumed was a response to the pandemic, triggering admiration from rival clubs.
However, staff at the former Olympic Stadium have been not-so-discreetly disclosing that the measures are in place due to a fungus on the turf.
West Ham’s ground staff are struggling with a fungus issue on their London Stadium pitch
The pitch has not been marked down by the Premier League and the club have been assured there are no concerns over the quality of the surface — which hosts its second game in four days when West Bromwich visit on Tuesday.
But players have been using the pads on their way to and from the field.
‘We thought it was a unique, slightly over-the-top Covid precaution until the staff mentioned the F word,’ said one official from a rival club who visited earlier this season.
He has delivered team talks around the world, but Jose Mourinho had never rallied his troops under a rotating disco ball until his Tottenham side travelled to non-League Marine last weekend.
Spurs were housed in a function room at the Marine Travel Arena for the FA Cup tie, which also hosts Slimming World meetings.
After the game, Mourinho ripped his team talk and instructions off the board in the makeshift dressing room and handed them to the home side as a souvenir of a never-to-be-forgotten afternoon on Merseyside.
Jose Mourinho sits on a chair at Marine, shortly after rallying his troops under a disco ball
There would appear to be no love lost between EFL chairman Rick Parry and executives at Manchester City.
Parry, the former Liverpool chief executive, was on the panel who considered if City should be banned from European competition over Financial Fair Play. They referred the club to the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA’s financial watchdog ahead of a ban, which was overturned on appeal.
It was noted Parry spent time with Ed Woodward and the United delegation before and after the recent Manchester derby in the Carabao Cup, which City won 2-0. He did not, however, do likewise with the City group.
‘Not one word,’ an onlooker revealed. EFL sources insist there is no issue and that he was in a separate room from City’s group.
There appears to be no love lost between EFL chairman Rick Parry and Man City executives
Why is McCoy frosty to Bryony?
AP McCoy was surprisingly dismissive in his assessment of Bryony Frost’s historic King George VI triumph on Frodon last month, with the 20-time champion jockey saying it would not have mattered who had ridden him at Kempton.
That left some wondering if its roots lie in Frost dispensing with the services of McCoy’s agent.
Frost, who before becoming the first woman to win the King George set another landmark as the first female to win a Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival when riding Frodon to victory in the 2019 Ryanair Chase, left McCoy’s representative Claire Burns last year to sign for H Talent Management.
McCoy’s comments raised eyebrows at a time when Frost has raised the issue of an alleged bullying culture among some male riders in the weighing room.
She is also involved in a British Horseracing Authority inquiry after clashing with fellow jockey Robbie Dunne following a race at Southwell last September.
Bryony Frost rides Frodon to victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park last month
The League Managers Association is to launch a podcast series later this year, with a number of big-name bosses from around the world already lined up.
Insiders say the focus will be on mental wellbeing, with topics including anxiety, addiction and leadership.
The podcast will be in partnership with Castrol and feature input from medical staff. Episodes will be used to help in the delivery of wellbeing modules to members at St George’s Park.
He may have only been given a place on the bench, but it was interesting to see Manchester United midfielder Fred promoting his website on Twitter at 7.08pm last Tuesday, ahead of the 8.15pm Premier League kick-off for his side against Burnley at Turf Moor.
Fred was promoting his website on Twitter very close to kick-off before United’s tie at Burnley
Chelsea’s highly regarded senior communications manager Richard Wilson is to take over as head of media relations at Mercedes F1.
Wilson, a sharp operator who has been at Stamford Bridge for eight years, will be missed by the club and many of those who report on them.
Fergie and Kenny’s boost for charity
Friday’s charity evening with Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Kenny Dalglish, Gareth Southgate and Jurgen Klopp was such a success that a recording is to be released to raise more money for dementia research and assistance.
The event, set up by Lockdown Theatre in conjunction with Sportsmail’s campaign, was an entertaining affair, with Ferguson, Dalglish and Southgate signing in from their homes.
Klopp logged on from Liverpool’s training ground. The German likes his sessions to mirror kick-off times. His side took on United at 4.30pm on Sunday, so trained at that time on Friday before the charity evening.
Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured) and Sir Kenny Dalglish swapped stories in a charity Zoom chat
Fulham manager Scott Parker did not hide his disgust after his side were forced to play Tottenham at short notice on Wednesday night.
The Cottagers first heard about the possibility of a reshuffle on Saturday afternoon, shortly before they played at QPR in the FA Cup.
Parker picked a relatively strong side for the tie, which Fulham won 2-0, and insiders have said he would not have done so had he known their next match would be on the Wednesday, in place of the originally planned Aston Villa fixture which was postponed over Covid.
CONTRIBUTORS: David Coverdale, Matt Hughes and Adrian Kajumba