Henning Berg new Blackburn manager despite dismissing job in the past

No credible manager would take the Blackburn job… so said Berg, who's now the new Rovers boss!

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UPDATED:

18:17 GMT, 31 October 2012


New job: Berg

New job: Blackburn boss Henning Berg

Blackburn have confirmed former defender Henning Berg as their new manager.

Berg won the Premier League title as a player with Rovers in 1995 and the 43-year-old will succeed Steve Kean, who resigned to end a troubled spell as manager of the npower Championship side a month ago.

The former Manchester United defender, who works as a television
pundit for Norwegian broadcaster TV 2 Sporten, was an outspoken critic
of owners Venky's this summer following Blackburn's relegation from the
Barclays Premier League.

In a widely referenced quote that he
appears set to hear plenty about in the coming days, starting with
Thursday's 8.30am press call, Berg said of the top job at Rovers: 'There
are no real managers with credibility who would accept a job like
that.'

Rovers issued a press release stating they would unveil their new manager at Ewood Park on Thursday morning before confirming Berg as the man in question on their official Twitter feed.

'Blackburn can confirm that Henning Berg has accepted the role of manager,' a statement on the club's official Twitter page read.

Berg, who made 297 appearances across two spells as a player with Rovers, will take on his first coaching assignment in English football following spells leading Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom in his native Norway.

The 43-year-old's appointment concludes Blackburn's protracted search for a successor to Kean after he left the club last month.

Rovers managing director Derek Shaw said that the former Norway defender became the board's No 1 choice on the back of an impressive interview.

'He interviewed well and he moved straight to the top of our list,' said the ex-Preston chairman.

Promotion push: Blackburn spent heavily in the summer

Promotion push: Blackburn spent heavily in the summer

Shaw is unconcerned by Berg's past comments on the Blacnurn job and is looking positively towards an assault on promotion at the first attempt.

He added: 'We're not interested in things like that, we're not interested in any negatives at all. We're moving forward.'

A host of high-profile names were touted as potential successors to Kean, with former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp ruling himself out of the running yesterday and approaches for Berg's former Ewood team-mates Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay, coaches at Tottenham and Fulham respectively, rejected earlier this month.

Wayne Wild, co-chairman of the Rovers Trust – a group committed to fan ownership of Blackburn – believes the club's concluded pursuit of a former player may be misguided.

'I think the protracted process underlines that there are still problems at board level and senior management level at Blackburn Rovers,' Wild said.

'It seems to be more important to give the fans an ex-player's name rather than getting somebody who would be more expensive and more experienced.

'This highlights the importance of having a supporters trust, so that supporters get to voice their input at the highest level.'

League winner: Berg had two spells at Blackburn

League winner: Berg had two spells at Blackburn

He added: 'Henning Berg was obviously a very well-liked former member of the playing squad on two occasions, so will certainly be welcomed by the fans.'

Earlier, Kjetil Rekdal told TV 2 Sporten that he expects his former international team-mate to be a success and welcomed the news as a boost to Norwegian football, with Stale Solbakken already employed in the npower Championship as Wolves boss.

'This is fantastic news for Norwegian football that we get another coach in England,' said Rekdal, currently the coach of Aalesunds FK in his homeland. 'It is a sign that we are doing something right.

'I think it is a great advantage that he has been at the club before and knows the environment there. He knows what is expected.

'I know Henning is a wise coach and wise strategist, and when you have been there before it is always easier to gain support for your ideas.'

Blackburn lie fifth in the Championship having been led by caretaker boss Eric Black for the past six matches.

Amir Khan: Lose Carlos Molina fight and Floyd Mayweather dream is over

Lose against Molina and dream of Pacquiao or Mayweather fight is over, admits Khan

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UPDATED:

17:47 GMT, 31 October 2012

Amir Khan believes he must score a convincing win in his comeback against unbeaten Carlos Molina next month or kiss goodbye to any chance of super-fights against the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Khan's career has lurched dangerously off course in the past 11 months, with his deeply controversial points defeat to Lamont Peterson last December followed by a crushing fourth round knockout loss against Danny Garcia in July.

Those twin setbacks have left Khan with no margin for error as he prepares to face Molina in the American’s backyard at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on December 15.

Comeback: Amir Khan (second left) fights Carlos Molina (second right) on December 15

Comeback: Amir Khan (second left) fights Carlos Molina (second right) on December 15

Fighting talk: Khan speaks during a media conference for his upcoming fight

Fighting talk: Khan speaks in Los Angeles on Wednesday during a media conference for his upcoming fight

'There’s always pressure when I fight but I definitely have to win this because if I lose, I’m done,' Khan said. 'This is a fight I need to win, 100 per cent. If I don’t win it I’m done. It’s that simple. The big super-fights I’ve always dreamed about won’t be there if I lose this. Pacquiao, Mayweather — forget it'

In an attempt to revitalize his fortunes, Khan took the bold step of ditching revered trainer Freddie Roach in favour of the quietly-spoken San Francisco-based Virgil Hunter.

The 25-year-old Bolton light welterweight has been in camp at Hunter’s gym in Oakland and is reveling in the austere surroundings, where Hunter’s house rules a ban on swearing.

'It’s a very tight community in that gym. You need to have people there you trust. Virgil keeps it very limited and that’s what I like about it,' Khan said. 'You’re not bothered about who’s watching, you’re not training for a crowd, or fans.'

A whole lot of glove: Molina signs autographs at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Wednesday

A whole lot of glove: Local boy Molina signs autographs at the Los Angeles Sports Arena

Khan was forced into an impromptu sparring session in early October when a gang of thugs attempted to steal a Ranger Rover he had been driving with his brother in Birmingham.

The confrontation ended abruptly with one of the would-be thieves being knocked out cold by Khan.

'I walked out of this caf and I opened the car door and these guys jumped in the car ahead of me and said “This ain’t your car mate,”' Khan said.

'It was a courtesy car I’d be given so at first I did a double take and thought, “Maybe it’s not my car”. Then I saw something in the back seat that I’d put there and I knew it was my car. Then the guys started saying – “We’re not getting out the car. You’re going to have to buy it off us”. I had the car keys so I wasn’t too worried. I thought it was a joke. But then it got a bit serious and one guy came out aggressively and said “What are going to do” And he jabbed me in the face. It wasn’t hard. He barely scratched me really. He tried to swing again and I knocked him out.

Golden Boy: Fight promoter Oscar De La Hoya builds up the light welterweight fight

Golden Boy: Fight promoter Oscar De La Hoya builds up the light welterweight fight

'I hated it to be honest with you. I never fight outside the ring. We’re born fighters, we’re taught how to fight.

'So when someone tries to fight you they’re making a big mistake. That’s when it got messy because they came out with baseball bats and sticks and smashed the rear window. They must have been drunk or high or something.'

Meanwhile Khan, who is engaged to New York student Faryal Makhdoom, has shrugged off revelations about his private life after allegations in The Sun he had been partying hard with other women in Marbella in August.

Khan insisted his fiance trusted him.

The wrong man to mess with: Khan revealed how he was forced to fight off a gang who tried to steal his car

The wrong man to mess with: Khan revealed how he was forced to fight off a gang who tried to steal his car

'She’s cool, she knows the truth because I didn’t do anything honestly,' Khan said. 'She doesn’t believe anything that the papers say because I’m honest to her. I don’t lie and she knows there’s always going to be stuff written about me.

'It’s a distraction when you’re preparing for a fight. But my fiance and my family haven’t really spoken to me about it.'

NFL want to beat West Ham to Olympic Stadium Americans

It was the home of Britain's greatest sporting triumphs, now the Mayor is in talks for the Olympic Stadium to be the new London home of America's NFL

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UPDATED:

19:29 GMT, 31 October 2012

The Olympic stadium in Stratford could become the London home of the NFL after talks involving Mayor Boris Johnson.

The ambitious plan is for NFL franchises to become the 'anchor tenant'. It would leave West Ham scuppered in their attempt to turn the East End venue in their new home.

'Sunday’s
game at Wembley, in front of more than 80,000 fans, further cements
London’s reputation as the natural home of American football outside of
the US,' the mayor's spokesman said.

Mayor Boris Johnson is heckled by protestors as he visits Bristol yesterday. West Ham fans may feel the same way about him.

Mayor Boris Johnson is heckled by protestors as he visits Bristol yesterday. West Ham fans may feel the same way about him.

West Ham's bid to take on the tenancy has hit a stumbling block and Johnson – the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation who operate the stadium – opened talks last weekend when four NFL teams were in London playing regular-season games at Wembley.

A spokesman for Johnson added: 'Given the ever-growing popularity of gridiron this side of the Atlantic the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities for NFL in London.

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

'The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging.'

West Ham are also looking to take over the anchor tenancy but the Treasury’s refusal to hand over the 337 million Olympic-contingency underspend to help install retractable seating is hampering their bid.

The retractable seating is expected to cost in the region of 200 million and the Mayor will be expecting any anchor tenant to make a significant contribution.

It is understood West Ham are willing to offer more than 8million a year in rent and related payments in addition to a reported multi-million lump sum.

The club are understood to be unwilling to reveal the true nature of their financial package due to confidentiality issues.

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

West Ham also believe that as several other events will be taking place at the Olympic Stadium throughout the next few years – such as the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2017 World Athletics Championships – they should not be the sole party asked to foot the bill.

A decision on the future of the stadium was expected to be announced by the end of October but negotiations are ongoing. Other contenders for the stadium tenancy are Leyton Orient, a football business college and a group wanting to host a Formula One race at the Olympic Park.

The NFL proposition is an attractive one as the stadium would only be required up to 10 times per year – compared to up to 25 times a year for football. This would free up time for other events such.

Boris takes to the microphone with opera singer Katherine Jenkins at Wembley on Sunday

Boris takes to the microphone with opera singer Katherine Jenkins at Wembley on Sunday

Boris meets the officials before kick-off between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday

Boris meets the officials before kick-off between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday

Bringing in other sports such as gridiron to the capital on a more regular basis is something that the Mayor's office are keen on exploring.

'Only last week the mayor, in conjunction with the NFL, announced an expansion from one to two regular-season matches in London from 2013. That means in total an additional 44 million in revenue for the capital from next year,' the Mayor’s spokesman added.

Chelsea lodge FA complaint over Mark Clattenburg

Chelsea lodge complaint with FA about Clattenburg's 'racial abuse' of Mikel BUT drop allegation regarding Mata

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 31 October 2012

Back so soon, lads

Chelsea and Manchester United lock horns again tonight in the Capital One League Cup – and you can follow the live action HERE

Chelsea have lodged a formal complaint with the Football Association which accuses referee Mark Clattenburg of using inappropriate language directed at John Obi Mikel during Sunday's Premier League defeat to Manchester United.

The club, though, say there is not enough evidence to support the second allegation of abuse towards Spanish midfielder Juan Mata.

The future of Clattenburg could come
down to whether he used the word ‘monkey’ in his exchange with Mikel.
The Consett official categorically denies the allegations.

In a statement on their website, Chelsea said: 'This is a result of a thorough investigation carried out by the club, and led by outside legal counsel, of all information available to us including interviews with a number of players and staff.

'Following Sunday's Premier League game against Manchester United, club board members were quickly made aware, upon entering the home dressing room after the final whistle, that there were allegations of inappropriate language directed at Chelsea FC players by Mr Clattenburg during the game.

Row: Chelsea have lodged an official complaint about the way Mark Clattenburg spoke to John Obi Mikel

Row: Chelsea have lodged an official complaint about the way Mark Clattenburg spoke to John Obi Mikel

Row: Chelsea have lodged an official complaint with the FA over the way in which Mark Clattenburg spoke to John Obi Mikel

'Board members began establishing the details of the allegations, speaking to all relevant players and staff.

'After those initial interviews it was clear that the matter had to be reported. The correct protocol for doing so was to report the incidents to the match delegate, and the club took immediate steps to inform him as soon as he was available. It was not a decision the club took lightly.

'Since reporting the matter to the delegate, the club and outside legal counsel have conducted further investigations. Having completed that process we have now followed the correct protocol and lodged a formal complaint with The FA regarding John Mikel Obi.

'There was not sufficient evidence to support a second claim to The FA with regard to the alleged verbal abuse of another first team player.

'We will cooperate fully with The FA and the Police as they each investigate the matter. As events on Sunday are now subject to those investigations we are unable to comment further until those processes are complete.'

Mikel was selected for Wednesday night's Carling Cup tie against Manchester United, and Roberto di Matteo said he had little doubt all his players would be able to focus on football.

He said: 'I am very confident we can fully focus on the game. I always speak to my players before the game and today they are OK to play. I hope we have the right motivation to go out and win this game.'

'We have some suspensions and injuries and it is a chance to refresh the team because we played with 10 and nine men [on Sunday], which cost us a lot.'

Sir Alex Ferguson added: 'I don't think Sunday will make any difference. It is a cup tie so hopefully we can navigate it and progress.'

The Sun newspaper has reported that Nigeria midfielder Mikel, who did not hear the alleged racist slur, was told by team-mate Ramires that he was a called ‘a monkey’ in the match against Manchester United on Sunday.

When Ramires told Mikel that he thought he’d been called ‘a monkey’, at least three members of the Chelsea playing and coaching staff asked: ‘Are you certain’.

Shocked: The initial claims regarding Juan Mata, though, will not be pursued by the club

Shocked: The initial claims regarding Juan Mata, though, will not be pursued by the club

Shocked: The initial claims regarding Juan Mata, though, will not be pursued by the club
CHELSEA STATEMENT IN FULL

'Chelsea Football Club today lodged a formal complaint with The Football Association regarding inappropriate language directed at John Mikel Obi by referee Mark Clattenburg. This is a result of a thorough investigation carried out by the club, and led by outside legal counsel, of all information available to us including interviews with a number of players and staff.

'Following Sunday's Premier League game against Manchester United, club board members were quickly made aware, upon entering the home dressing room after the final whistle, that there were allegations of inappropriate language directed at Chelsea FC players by Mr Clattenburg during the game.

'Board members began establishing the details of the allegations, speaking to all relevant players and staff. After those initial interviews it was clear that the matter had to be reported. The correct protocol for doing so was to report the incidents to the match delegate, and the club took immediate steps to inform him as soon as he was available. It was not a decision the club took lightly.

'Since reporting the matter to the delegate, the club and outside legal counsel have conducted further investigations. Having completed that process we have now followed the correct protocol and lodged a formal complaint with The FA regarding John Mikel Obi. There was not sufficient evidence to support a second claim to The FA with regard to the alleged verbal abuse of another first team player.

'We will cooperate fully with The FA and the Police as they each investigate the matter. As events on Sunday are now subject to those investigations we are unable to comment further until those processes are complete.'

He was questioned by team-mates and staff who asked if, with Clattenburg speaking with such a strong North East accent, the official had said ‘shut up, Mikel’, rather than ‘shut up, monkey’, which has been alleged.

Ramires, who does not speak fluent English is adamant that he heard the slur, although Clattenburg denies the claims and is supported by his two assistants.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sportsmail revealed Clattenburg has admitted privately that he wished he had not sent off Fernando Torres in Sunday's toxic fixture.

There is no facility for Chelsea to
appeal Torres' dismissal. Regulations stipulate that second yellow cards
cannot be rescinded. The Spain striker will, therefore, serve his
one-match ban tonight when the two sides meet again at Stamford Bridge
in the Capital One Cup.

In the days following the controversial match, Chelsea employed independent lawyers to investigate the claims, which included an allegation that Mata was called a 'Spanish t***'.

Chelsea have proceeded with the case, satisfied that the claims game will stand up to the FA’s burden of proof.

The club must satisfy an FA commission 'on the balance of probability', but they also have to negotiate the complexities of the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the affair.

The Met confirmed they had acted on a ‘complaint’ from the Society of Black Lawyers after the European champions accused Clattenburg, who has been taken off the Premier League match list this weekend, of using racist comments.

There are suggestions of seething resentment in some quarters at the way Chelsea had made their complaint public and a desire to see strong action taken against them if the official was cleared.

The Metropolitan Police have became embroiled in their second high-profile football racism case in 12 months after the man behind the mooted black players’ breakaway union, Peter Herbert, wrote to them demanding they investigate Clattenburg.

Herbert defended his intervention, telling Sky Sports News: ‘What we don’t want is for it to be swept away under the carpet. It must be subject to a full and proper investigation. It is to lend some seriousness and some weight behind what is happening in football.’

Herbert admitted his complaint was based on reports rather than first-hand evidence but added: ‘We weren’t there but we don’t need to be there in order to report an incident.

Crucial moment: Clattenburg has admitted he wishes he had not sent off Fernando Torres

Crucial moment: Clattenburg has admitted he wishes he had not sent off Fernando Torres

Was there contact Torres was sent off for diving, but this screen grab seems to show Evans making contact

Was there contact Torres was sent off for diving, but this screen grab seems to show Evans making contact

‘This appears to have had some cogency and so it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I think the Met Police have huge resources, expertise, and I have no doubt that this matter will be resolved and the truth will come out. If we’ve got this completely wrong then, of course, the police will tell us.’

But Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said: ‘Involving police or waiting causes a massive festering of the issue, which has continued to cause problems and is not good for the image of the game.

VIDEO: Clattenburg and Mikel have words on the pitch…

DM.has('rcpv1930696868001','BCVideo');

Wes Brown out until 2013 with knee injury

Blow for Sunderland as Brown is ruled out until the new year with knee injury

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UPDATED:

14:45 GMT, 31 October 2012

Crocked: Brown

Crocked: Brown

Sunderland defender Wes Brown looks set to miss the rest of this year after suffering a setback on his recovery from the knee injury which has forced him to miss the start of the season.

The 33-year-old former Manchester United centre back broke down in training last week and has travelled to see a specialist in London for scans and treatment.

Brown, who has had a troubled Sunderland career since his move from Old Trafford in summer 2011, was injured during a pre-season game in South Korea and was close to a return to the Sunderland first team squad a fortnight ago.

But he suffered further complications to his knee during a training session and now looks unlikely to play again this year.

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill said:
'Wes had a setback in his recovery. He was training with us and doing
well when he had a setback and we will assess how much of a setback it
is.

'He wants to see a specialist who was on holiday last week so he hadn’t ability to do that. The fella is down in London, he knows Wes inside out and he is the man Wes wants to see.'

The news is a further blow for O’Neill who is also without centre-half Titus Bramble who has a hip problem. His only cover for first-choice pair John O’Shea and Carlos Cuellar is Matt Kilgallon who was on the bench for last night’s Capital One Cup defeat to Middlesbrough.

Alan Shearer in frame to replace Nigel Adkins at Southampton

EXCLUSIVE: Shearer in contention at Southampton as Adkins edges closer to the brink

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UPDATED:

15:23 GMT, 31 October 2012

Nigel Adkins' future as Southampton manager has been plunged into fresh doubt following the calamitous Capital One Cup defeat at Leeds on Tuesday.

Adkins had said he was relaxed about his position following Southampton's weekend reverse to Tottenham but the pressure has come on him again following his side's meek capitulation at Elland Road, when they comfortably swept aside 3-0.

In the frame: Former Saints striker Alan Shearer at Euro 2012 (above left)

In the frame: Former Saints striker Alan Shearer at Euro 2012 (above left)

Fans' favourite: Shearer in his playing days at Southampton in 1991

Fans' favourite: Shearer in his playing days at Southampton in 1991

Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese
is anxious about the club's predicament and, after overseeing heavy
spending in the summer, is eager that the investment that has been made
in the squad does not go to waste.

It has been mooted that former Saints
striker Alan Shearer would be a high-profile candidate to succeed
Adkins, who guided Southampton to the Barclays Premier League on the
back of consecutive promotions, should Cortese and his board decide to
make a change.

On the brink: Adkins' time on the South Coast could be coming to an end

On the brink: Adkins' time on the South Coast could be coming to an end

Speaking on Tuesday night, Adkins shouldered all the blame for the defeat at Elland Road.

'We didn't perform anywhere near what's expected of a Southampton Football Club team,' he said.

Demoralising: Southampton were dumped out of the League Cup by Leeds

Demoralising: Southampton were dumped out of the League Cup by Leeds

Demoralising: Southampton were dumped out of the League Cup by Leeds

'Forty-eight hours ago we had a high-intensity game and I made the relevant changes. I take full responsibility. We wanted to play tomorrow, but the powers that be wanted it to be tonight.

'But we gave the players who have not been in the team to the chance to show what they could do, and they did not take it.'

Demba Ba doubt for Newcastle trip to Liverpool

Newcastle striker Ba doubtful for trip to Liverpool with shin injury

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UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 31 October 2012

Newcastle United are sweating on the fitness of Demba Ba for Sunday’s visit to Liverpool.

The Senegal star injured his shin in last weekend’s win over West Bromwich Albion and hobbled off. Although a scan has revealed no serious damage, the striker has not trained so far this week and is rated '50-50'.

Crocked: Ba comes off against West Brom on Saturday

Crocked: Ba comes off against West Brom on Saturday

Ba will have a fitness test ahead of Sunday’s trip to Anfield but if he is not passed fit, manager Alan Pardew will turn to Papiss Cisse, who sat out most of the 2-1 win over West Brom before scoring the late winner off his back.

It was the first time both Ba and Cisse had netted in a Barclays Premier League game since the February win over Aston Villa when Cisse made his Newcastle debut.

Pardew said: 'I think Demba is 50-50 at best.

Top scorer: The Senegalese has bagged seven goals already this season

Top scorer: The Senegalese has bagged seven goals already this season

'We’ve got Papiss back on the goal trail and Shola and Sammy (Ameobi) so we’re happy with that.

'It is very important to have that. Papiss is fit and well and we are looking forward to seeing him this weekend.'

Liverpool are one of the sides linked with signing Ba who, Pardew revealed last month, still has a clause in his contract which will allow him to leave St James’s Park for 7.5million.

Luke Varney miss of the century for Leeds – video

VIDEO: Leeds striker Varney offers up contender for 'miss of the century'

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UPDATED:

14:49 GMT, 31 October 2012

Tuesday night may have brought us game of the season in Reading v Arsenal but the Capital One Cup fourth round also produced a contender for miss of the century…well, according to Neil Warnock anyway.

Leeds were looking to upset Premier League side Southampton but fans probaby thought it wasn't going to be their night after Luke Varney’s horrific first-half effort.

At 0-0, El Hadji Diouf had done all the hard work by hooking a ball across the six-yard box, but the Senegal forward and just about everyone else inside Elland Road were left stunned when Varney somehow turned the ball back across the face of the open goal and wide from just a yard out.

Thankfully for the Championship side, it
was to be a rare error from the former Portsmouth star, as the
30-year-old inspired Leeds to a 3-0 victory.

Scroll down to watch the video

Surely not... Luke Varney somehow managed to miss this chance

Surely not… Luke Varney somehow managed to miss this chance

Good and bad: Luke Varney (left) had a blunder and a belter for Leeds against Southampton

Good and bad: Luke Varney (left) had a blunder and a belter for Leeds against Southampton

Varney played a vital role in the lead up to Diouf’s opener and was a constant menace to the Saints defence as the hosts dominated.

Leeds boss Warnock didn't hold back, praising Varney’s massive contribution and getting stuck in to his blunder.

He said: ‘I thought Luke Varney epitomised our performance. He came up with the miss of the century yet was still man of the match for me.

‘He wasn’t feeling well and was sick at half-time. I asked him for another 15 minutes and he gave me 40. That’s his attitude through and through.’

Mark Clattenburg latest: Was John Obi Mikel called a "monkey"?

Did Clattenburg call Chelsea player a ‘monkey’… or in his north-east accent, did he say 'shut up, Mikel' (And how do the FA now prove that)

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 31 October 2012

Back so soon, lads

Chelsea and Manchester United lock horns again tonight in the Capital One League Cup – and you can follow the live action HERE

The future of referee Mark Clattenburg could come down to whether he used the word ‘monkey’ in his exchange with John Obi Mikel.

The Sun has reported that Nigerian Mikel, who did not hear the alleged racist slur, was told by two Chelsea team-mates – Brazilians Ramires and David Luiz – that he was a called ‘a monkey’ in the match against Manchester United on Sunday.

When Ramires told Mikel that he thought he’d been called ‘a monkey’, at least three members of the Chelsea playing and coaching staff asked: ‘Are you certain’.

In the spotlight: John Obi Mikel leaves Chelsea training on Tuesday as the row hangs over the club

In the spotlight: John Obi Mikel leaves Chelsea training on Tuesday as the row hangs over the club

GRAHAM POLL WRITES…

GRAHAM POLL, EX-REFEREE AND DAILY MAIL COLUMNIST.

Lee Mason enjoyed his 41st birthday
on Monday but his thoughts will have been dominated by his appointment
to referee Wednesday's Capital One Cup game between Chelsea and
Manchester United.

Click here to read more…

He was questioned by team-mates and
staff who asked if, with Clattenburg speaking with such a strong North
East accent, the official had said ‘shut up, Mikel’, rather than ‘shut
up, monkey’, which has been alleged.

David Luiz speaks very good English,
Ramires less so. They are both adamant they heard the slur, although
Clattenburg denies the claims and is supported by his two assistants.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed
they had acted on a ‘complaint’ from the Society of Black Lawyers after
the European champions accused Clattenburg of using racist comments. The
allegations are also the subject of a Football Association
investigation.

Clattenburg and his fellow
professionals were said to be shocked and angered by the claims as the
refereeing fraternity rallied around their colleague.

There were also suggestions of
seething resentment in some quarters at the way Chelsea had made their
complaint against Clattenburg public and a desire to see strong action
taken against them if the official was cleared.

That could take weeks or even months
after the police became involved in proceedings less than 24 hours after
the FA’s investigation began.

Chelsea themselves could yet make a
criminal complaint, having appointed an external legal team to conduct
their own probe, something which is expected to conclude on Wednesday.

And the FA may be forced to postpone
their inquiry if the police request they do so, something they came
under heavy fire for during the year-long John Terry scandal.

All smiles: Mikel was back with his team-mates in training amid the race row

All smiles: Mikel was back with his team-mates in training amid the race row

Eyes on the ball: Juan Mata (centre) and John Terry (right) during training on Tuesday morning

Eyes on the ball: Juan Mata (centre) and John Terry (right) during training on Tuesday morning

The police statement read: ‘An
investigation has been launched into alleged comments made during a
football match between Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC at Stamford
Bridge on 28 October 2012.

‘Officers from Hammersmith & Fulham borough are in liaison with Chelsea Football Club and the Football Association.’

The Metropolitan Police have became
embroiled in their second high-profile football racism case in 12 months
after the man behind the mooted black players’ breakaway union, Peter
Herbert, wrote to them demanding they investigate Clattenburg.

Herbert defended his intervention,
telling Sky Sports News: ‘What we don’t want is for it to be swept away
under the carpet. It must be subject to a full and proper investigation.
It is to lend some seriousness and some weight behind what is happening
in football.’

Herbert admitted his complaint was
based on reports rather than first-hand evidence but added: ‘We weren’t
there but we don’t need to be there in order to report an incident.

‘This appears to have had some
cogency and so it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I think
the Met Police have huge resources, expertise, and I have no doubt that
this matter will be resolved and the truth will come out. If we’ve got
this completely wrong then, of course, the police will tell us.’

But Professional Footballers’
Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said: ‘Involving police or
waiting causes a massive festering of the issue, which has continued to
cause problems and is not good for the image of the game.

Focus: Juan Mata drives into Chelsea's Cobham HQ ahead of Wednesday's clash with United

Focus: Juan Mata drives into Chelsea's Cobham HQ ahead of Wednesday's clash with United

At the wheel: Fernando Torres was also among the players training on Tuesday morning

At the wheel: Fernando Torres was also among the players training on Tuesday morning

‘Football has got to be confident
enough to deal with it. I have said that to the House of Commons, the FA
Council. We need to grasp the nettle and show we are more than capable
of dealing with it.

‘I’m quite concerned that when this happened with the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand incident, the process got elongated.

‘This time, I want football to learn
from it and deal with it as transparently as possible. In football, the
penalties can be severe. In a court of law, the penalty for racial abuse
would be a small amount in comparison to what the FA could fine.’

Taylor welcomed the FA’s refusal to
halt their own investigation, citing the International Cricket Council’s
decision to rule on the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal before it went to
court.

Clattenburg, who vowed on Sunday to
co-operate fully with any investigation, was expected to be spoken to by
both police and the FA, possibly after submitting a written account
about what took place during Sunday’s game.

He has already filed what is known as
an ‘extraordinary incident report’, which is understood mainly to deal
with an alleged confrontation that took place in the referees’ room
after full-time.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo,
assistant manager Eddie Newton and chief executive Ron Gourlay were all
present as Mikel angrily accused Clattenburg of having abused him during
the match itself.

The referee, his assistants and
fourth official are understood to have been stunned by the claims, with
Michael McDonough, Simon Long and Michael Jones – who were miked up to
Clattenburg – denying hearing anything of that nature.

Trouble: John Obi Mikel stormed into Mark Clattenburg's room

Row: Chelsea teammates say John Obi Mikel was told to 'shut up you monkey' by referee Mark Clattenburg – a claim he vehemently denies

Centre of the storm: Referee Mark Clattenburg and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel

Centre of the storm: Mystery surrounds what happened in altercations between Clattenburg, Mikel, and Mata on Sunday

Shocked: Juan Mata is unhappy with Clattenburg's alleged insult

Shocked: Juan Mata is unhappy with Clattenburg's alleged insult – the experienced referee is accused of calling him a 'Spanish t***'

The situation appears to have been
complicated by suggestions Mikel or Mata may not have either, with
reports claiming they were informed of the alleged abuse by team-mates.

Midfielder Oriol Romeu was quoted as having told a Spanish radio station that Mata had confirmed as much.

It is unclear whether Clattenburg
would elect to continue refereeing or take a break from the game while
any investigation was pending but he has accepted being stood down from
officiating in the coming week.

In the spotlight: Mark Clattenburg leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

In the spotlight: Mark Clattenburg leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

Grabbing a lift: Clattenburg jumped into a car with fellow ref Michael Oliver

Football's chiefs are scared of using microphones on referees, claims Moore

Voice: Rugby ref Wayne Barnes wear the microphone

Voice: Rugby ref Wayne Barnes wear the microphone

Former England rugby union international Brian Moore claims football's authorities are fearful of the bad language that would be exposed by equipping referees with microphones that would relay on-pitch discussions to spectators.

Moore, 50, who played in the 1991 World Cup final, nevertheless believes such a step could help to clean up football's image.

The Ref! Link system has been successfully deployed in rugby, allowing fans an insight to discussions between players and officials during matches.

Moore said: 'Not only do you record these things but you put them on the Ref! Link so that the crowd including the children and the sponsors, most importantly, can hear what they say.'

Moore, a Chelsea supporter, said football's language would be toned down 'within six weeks' of such a scheme.

'But when you speak to people in football, a lot of them say “You can't do that”,' Moore told BBC Radio Five Live. 'But I say, “You can do it, you just won't”. And “can't” and “won't” are very different things.

'There's no technical reason or moral reason, it's just that they're afraid people will actually hear just how bad it is. If you want to change something… then you will do something. The solution is available.'

Moore understands why referees do not typically exercise their right to book players for swearing or other bad language.

'They would never be supported by the Premier League or the FA and they would be the ones who would never ref again,' Moore said. 'While they have the power to deal with it that way, I understand why they don't.'

VIDEO: Clattenburg and Mikel have words on the pitch…

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Ryan Jones leaves Wales training camp

Injury worry for Wales as Jones leaves Poland training camp for scans on shoulder

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 31 October 2012

Ryan Jones returned home from the Wales national squad training camp in Spala on Wednesday in order to undergo scans on an irritable shoulder.

The Ospreys back row was part of the 35-man squad preparing for the Dove Men Series against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia – to be played out on consecutive weekends at the Millennium Stadium beginning on Saturday 10 November – at the infamous Olympic training village in Poland, but has been managing a shoulder problem which pre-dates his arrival.

The decision to send Jones home at this time is based on a preference for the facilities available in Wales to accommodate the necessary investigations and give the player the most optimal management plan for his injury.

Shouldering the burden: Jones is heading back to Wales for a scan

Shouldering the burden: Jones is heading back to Wales for a scan

Jones remains a full member of the
squad and further details of his problem and any repercussions for
selection, if at all, will become apparent once the proper
investigations have been undertaken.

Meanwhile, Matthew Rees has backed
one of Wales' young props to make an impression this autumn as the RBS 6
Nations champions prepare for life without Adam Jones.

Jones, who is among world rugby's
most destructive scrummagers, will miss forthcoming appointments with
Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia due to a knee injury.

While interim Wales head coach Rob
Howley could consider switching Bath loosehead Paul James across the
scrum as Jones' replacement, it is probable that either Aaron Jarvis,
Scott Andrews or Samson Lee will start against the Pumas on November 10.

Uncapped Lee, although not yet officially added to Wales' autumn squad, is currently part of preparations at a week-long training camp in Spala, Poland.

And his fellow international rookie Jarvis has impressed with a series of consistent displays for the Ospreys that underpinned his Wales call-up.

'We have props who can play both sides of the scrum, with Paul James and Gethin Jenkins both able to move over, and it will be up to the coaches when it comes to selection,' hooker and former Wales captain Rees said.

Emerging talent: Rees is worried about the absence of prop Jones

Emerging talent: Rees is worried about the absence of prop Jones

'But I can certainly see one of these youngsters coming through and getting to the next level over the next three or four weeks.

'Adam is a loss, but we have got
three pretty good players there waiting in the wings at the moment, and
the challenge for them now is to kick on and impress the coaches and
take their chance when it comes.

'The only thing they may lack is
experience at international level, but there is no better place for them
to get that than in this November series when you look at the fixture
list.'

Wales continued their build-up to the Argentina fixture in snowy Spala today, with Howley and his fellow coaches potentially facing a number of selection issues before naming the starting line-up tomorrow week.

Rees, despite his leadership skills and vast experience, is by no means certain of securing a starting berth, given Ospreys hooker Richard

Hibbard's strong form and also the threat of his Scarlets colleague Ken Owens.

'It's great to have competition for places,' Rees added.

'I've got Ken at the Scarlets, and we both push each other hard, and with Richard playing well for the Ospreys we are all fighting for that jersey.'