Premier League - Paper Round: 'Shameful snub for lady who rescued football'

There's no surprise that the front pages of Tuesday's papers lead with the death of Margaret Thatcher - but Paper Round spluttered over its Fruit 'n' Fibre this morning when coming across a Thatcher-related article splashed across the Daily Mail.

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Margaret Thatcher

Jeff Powell's article in the Daily Mail runs under the headline "Shameful snub to lady who saved English football" and delivers what it says on the tin: a fierce argument defending Margaret Thatcher.

Paper Round's colleague Early Doors has explained eloquently exactly what the world of football thinks of Thatcher and why, so it won't revisit those arguments - but to save you wasting the best part of a quid on the Mail, here's the gist of what Powell has to say:

"There have been enough 60-seconds of silence at football grounds lately to fill many a 90-minute game, but there was not so much as a flicker of recognition for Margaret Thatcher at Old Trafford on the evening of the day she died," he writes.

"Thatcher was a polarising leader, no question, but in the court of public opinion the majority will come to weigh her achievements more heavily than their grievances. But not the national game?

"Not if Monday night’s snub is the true measure. Not when the grizzled old gang from the ugly terraces can rise up growling and twittering their kindred prejudice. How soon they forget.

"As they took their comfortable seats on Monday night, feeling safe and secure as they enjoyed the match, in many cases savouring the hospitality of their boxes, how might they have reflected on the lady without whom such glittering stadiums would never have been built?

"And where might English football be now, had Thatcher allowed football to wither on the vine of feral violence and tribal hooliganism?...

"Football — in Manchester, in its pettiness — acted in ignorance of all that evidence on Monday.

"Did Margaret Thatcher save this country? That debate continues. Did she save the national game? Without question.

"On Monday night, that contribution to the beautiful game went unrecognised."

We'll leave you to debate whether or not he has a point in the comments box down below - but not before pointing out that in Thatcher's case "a minute's silence" would almost certainly have been "a minute's raucous jeering and booing".

Which in many ways is the strongest argument of all for saying that maybe she should have been accorded the honour.

There's plenty of reaction to Monday's derby in the newspapers, with the Daily Star's headline "City Pride - Title party on hold as hero Aguero stuns United" as good a precis as any.

The Times and the Daily Mail's analysis seem more plausible, however: "Aguero wins battle but Manchester City are still losing the war" writes the former, while the latter says "Aguero shines in phoney war". The gap might have been trimmed to 12 points, but it might as well be 1200.

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On to transfer news, and Wayne Rooney "has no intention of quitting Manchester United for Paris Saint-Germain", according to the Metro, citing an interview with Federico Macheda.

Macheda, whose latest loan deal has sent him to Stuttgart, apparently called Rooney "an emblem of the club" and claimed that he will stay put since there is "no better team in the world that that in which he is playing right now".

United's early exit from the Champions League clearly shows otherwise, of course. But who knows? Perhaps the man who has 19 appearances in five years at Old Trafford (most of which has been spent warming benches on loan elsewhere) does indeed have the inside line on Rooney's future.

Tottenham Hotspur will be top of the list of clubs ready to pay the £8m release clause for QPR's French striker Loic Remy if Harry Redknapp's side are relegated, the Guardian reports.

"Goalkeepers Júlio César and Rob Green, the midfielders Adel Taarabt and Esteban Granero and the forward Junior Hoilett also stand to attract covetous glances," the newspaper adds.

The Daily Mail reports that Christian Benteke will open new contract talks with Aston Villa and wants to stay at the club so long as they don't drop out of the Premier League.

The Belgian star's 19 goals since moving to the Midlands from Genk last summer have provoked interest from Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.

And finally The Times reports that Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld wants to join Liverpool if he leaves the Dutch champions this summer: "I do not want to play in an English club in mid-table. Unlike Newcastle, Liverpool meets my criteria," he apparently told the Belgian press.

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