Jose Mourinho jumps to John Terry"s defence: CHARLES SALE

Old boss Mourinho jumps to Terry's defence in race case

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho leads a trio of big football names who are giving John Terry character witness support ahead of his trial for allegedly using racist language towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry’s one-time Chelsea bosses Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, now at Paris Saint-Germain, and the England captain’s ex-Stamford Bridge team-mate Marcel Desailly are giving witness statements claiming they have no knowledge of him ever behaving in a racist way.

Ancelotti and Desailly have already sent in their signed documents, with Mourinho’s agreed statement just awaiting his signature.

I've got your back: Jose Mourinho will be a character witness for John Terry

I've got your back: Jose Mourinho will be a character witness for John Terry

The three key witnesses have indicated they are prepared to appear in court if called by Terry’s defence team.

Terry is charged with a racially aggravated public order offence following allegations that he directed a racist comment at Ferdinand in Chelsea’s Premier League defeat at QPR last October. The preliminary hearing is at West London Magistrates’ Court a week today. The case will be adjourned, with Terry not making an appearance in court next week.

The leading QC representing Terry, in a case where the maximum fine is 2,500, is John Cooper, a specialist in human rights and the chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports.

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Taking a break

ITV Sport’s contract with the International Rugby Board for 2011 World Cup coverage is understood to have included an agreement for 15-minute intervals allowing the commercial network the time they wanted for studio analysis and two ad breaks.

However, IRB board opposition led to 12-minute half-times in New Zealand and the fall-out from those missing three minutes contributed to departing IRB chief executive Mike Miller falling victim to board politics following the re-election of chairman Bernard Lapasset.

Lads on tour

The regular team on cult Sky Sports show Soccer Saturday — presenter Jeff Stelling and pundits Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Chris Kamara — are attempting to cash in on the programme’s popularity with a five-venue question-and-answer theatre tour. A similar venture by former Sky football duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray flopped last year because of a lack of planning.

Spurring him on

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will have the club’s executive director Donna Cullen and director of football administration Darren Eales supporting him in Southwark Crown Court during his two-week tax evasion trial.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers Association, is also intending to be alongside Redknapp throughout the case to show solidarity with one of his members.

In court: Harry Redknapp is answering charges of tax evasion

In court: Harry Redknapp is answering charges of tax evasion

Catalan Cook for City

Manchester City’s long search for a chief executive looks to be over with ex-Barcelona general manager Ferran Soriano the favourite to be appointed in the next few weeks.

City are expected to announce the arrival of Soriano, the president of Spainair, when a proposed half-share sale of the struggling airline to Qatar Airways is completed.

Replacement: The new Gary Cook should be in a place soon at Manchester City

Replacement: The new Gary Cook should be in a place soon at Manchester City

Soriano, who was at Barcelona from 2003-2008, would then be in a position to take charge at the Etihad Stadium after a near five-month hunt for Garry Cook’s successor.

Soriano – who has written a book about football business called Goal: The ball doesn’t go in by chance – is a well known figure in European football and was on the executive committee of the now disbanded G14 group of top clubs.

Bite of the Apple

Computer giant Apple, who have an increasing interest in Premier League content, met IMG’s TV production arm and PL commercial staff last week to discuss a new app about 20 years of the world’s richest league being sold through iTunes.

Cash for games

Ken Bates, the beleaguered 80-year-old owner of Leeds United, has written to season-ticket holders encouraging them to renew before next week’s price-freeze deadline, even though he is the subject of loud fan protests about the lack of spending at Elland Road.

Bates says in his letter he will try to reduce the ‘very large’ first-team squad, which is hardly a great sales pitch when chasing supporters’ cash.