Tag Archives: achievement

Rory McIlroy named 2012 European Tour golfer of the year

More glory for Rory as world No 1 McIlroy is named European Tour golfer of the year

PUBLISHED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

World No 1 Rory McIlroy has been named the European Tour golfer of the year.

McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award, having also replicated the Englishman's previously unprecedented achievement of winning both the Race to Dubai and US PGA Tour money list in the same season.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland captured his second major title in August, winning the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots, matching the winning margin of his maiden major triumph in the 2011 US Open.

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

McIlroy also won three times in America before playing a vital role in Europe's stunning Ryder Cup victory at Medinah, while he ended the year in style with five closing birdies to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

'Everyone who knows me knows how special the 2012 season was,' McIlroy said.

'A couple of wins, including a major, and consistent performances in big events all helped me win The Race to Dubai for the first time.

'To win that was a massive highlight of an amazing season and I hope it will be the first of many. Now, to have been named as The European Tour Golfer of the Year puts the icing on the cake.

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

'It is a very special honour indeed and you only need to look down the list of players who have preceded me as the winner of this award to see precisely why; quite simply, it is a Who's Who of golf and I'm delighted to now be a part of that in the history books.

'We play golf because we relish the opportunity to win major championships and world-class tournaments around the globe. But when we do that, to be recognised for these achievements is a great thrill and I thank all the members of the panel who voted for me.'

SPOTY 2012: Andy Murray should have won, not Bradley Wiggins

If it's really about sport, Murray should have prevailed over Wiggins

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UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 17 December 2012

You could easily have made a case for half a dozen different winners. And that’s just among those who didn’t make the top 12.

It is inevitable, then, that last night’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year victory for Bradley Wiggins will not represent the end of the debate.

Ah, how glorious it is to argue over which of Britain’s multi-talented, honour-laden, phenomenally successful sporting ambassadors should be named first among equals in a public poll.

At last: Andy Murray won the US Open to end years 76 years of hurt

At last: Andy Murray won the US Open to end years 76 years of hurt

Murray's mint

Martin Samuel also felt the Scot should have won last night

Anyone who knows athletics understands how impossible it should have been for Mo Farah to do the distance double. Or how about Jess Ennis, THE face of London 2012, having missed Beijing through injury

Chris Hoy, Britain’s greatest ever Olympian. The Paralympians who changed attitudes about disability in Britain — and beyond. All held a claim on the crown.

But, if it’s really about the sport, the prize should have gone to Andy Murray. Put bluntly, he didn’t just succeed when it mattered — he also triumphed with the weight of history on his shoulders.

Winner: Bradley Wiggins was crowned Sports Personality of the Year

Winner: Bradley Wiggins was crowned Sports Personality of the Year

That is not something you could say about even Wiggins, as remarkable achievement it was being the first British winner of the Tour de France.

While that historic victory will stand for the ages, it is not as if Wiggo has had to deal with years and years of endless questioning over when one of ‘our boys’ might finally end the wait for a Continent-conquering road warrior to emerge.

As much as we all celebrated the win by a fantastic athlete and all-round geezer, if he had finished runner-up or even ninth, the nation would have shrugged and moved on.

Recognised: Murray came third and was presented the trophy by Lennox Lewis

Recognised: Murray came third and was presented the trophy by Lennox Lewis

Murray Every time he has ‘squandered’ a Grand Slam opportunity, the wailing and gnashing of teeth has been heard around the world. Oh, how could that serial Scottish loser possibly let Britain down again He alone had lived with the ghost of Fred Perry, British angst, 1936 and all that.

And he’d failed in four Slam finals. No one had ever lost their first five. No other nominee can understand what it’s like to have lived under that kind of expectation for more than just a couple of weeks during one glorious sporting summer.

Let the debate continue, then. Enjoy it. We may never get the chance to argue like this again.

Sachin Tendulkar is useless: The Little Master"s terrible run of form

THE USELESS COLUMN: If you have a shocker, beware…we'll be watching and branding men and women in sport Useless! Today it's the iconic Sachin Tendulkar

PUBLISHED:

12:23 GMT, 14 December 2012

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UPDATED:

12:38 GMT, 14 December 2012

Your striker fluffs a sitter, your keeper drops a clanger or
your team's opening batsman has been out for a pair… all together now: 'Useless!' Here, in Sportsmail's new 'Useless' column, we
highlight sportsmen and women who flop and deserve a panning from our man who delivers it best… Today the dubious honour goes to the greatest batsman still playing the game Sachin Tendulkar…

Before we get started: Yes, he's the Little Master. Yes, he's a living legend. Yes, he's one of the greatest batsman ever to have played the game…

But Sachin Tendulkar's current run of form is USELESS! He's Jimmy Anderson's bunny and England no longer fear him when he walks to the crease.

The 39-year-old maestro has not scored a Test hundred for almost two years – he made 146 against South Africa at Cape Town in the 2011 new year Test – his scores in 2012 read two, 76, eight, 13, 17, 19, 25, 15 and 41. Plenty of starts but no 'Daddy Hundreds' as Graham Gooch might say.

Time to wave goodbye, Sachin Indian great Sachin Tendulkar fell to England's Jimmy Anderson again today (FILE IMAGE)

Time to wave goodbye, Sachin Indian great Sachin Tendulkar fell to England's Jimmy Anderson again today (FILE IMAGE)

THE USELESS HALL OF SHAME…

Gervinho's miss v Bradford
December 12, 2012
Click here to read more

His form belies his status as one of the greats – if not THE greatest. Tendulkar has over 15,000 Test runs to his name at an average well above 50.

Those stats are sensational, but his record against England's Anderson are shocking.

The dismissal of Tendulkar today for the ninth time in Tests, means Anderson has broken Muttiah Muralitharan's record total (see panel below).

It's a landmark achievement for the England paceman, but another failure for Tendulkar has left some commentators to wonder if it's time for him to hang up his bat.

We're sorry to say it, Sachin, but for a great, great player this run of form is…

USELESS! Click to hear the verdict….

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JIMMY'S TENDULKAR HOODOO…
James Anderson

March 19, 2006, Mumbai
A rare false shot from Tendulkar gifted Anderson (right) his wicket for the
first time. Having made only one, the batsman drove loosely outside off
stump and the ball took the toe of his bat and went through to
wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.

July 20, 2007, Lord's
Umpire Steve Bucknor adjudged Anderson's full inswinger, which hit
Tendulkar on the pad as he looked to drive through the leg side, would
have clipped leg stump and sent him on his way lbw for 37.

August 10 & 12, 2007, The Oval
Anderson established his dominance over Tendulkar by taking his wicket
in each innings, first via a regulation edge to Andrew Strauss at slip
when on 82 and then bowled off the inside edge for one second time
around.

December 22, 2008, Mohali
Another loose edge saw Tendulkar depart for five, with Graeme Swann at gully the catcher on this occasion.

July 25, 2011, Lord's
Tendulkar's likely last innings at Lord's brought him just 12 runs
before Anderson nipped one past his inside edge to dismiss him lbw.

July 29, 2011, Trent Bridge
In the second Test of the same series, Tendulkar managed 56 in a forlorn
fourth-innings chase before shouldering arms to a big inswinger which
trapped him leg before once again.

December 5, 2012, Kolkata
Tendulkar made 76 before an excellent outswinger from Anderson caught
his outside edge and was held by a tumbling Matt Prior behind the
stumps.

December 14, 2012 Nagpur
Tendulkar made just two before Anderson got one to nip back off the
seam, deflect off a thin inside edge and on to middle stump.

Harry Redknapp will try to keep Queens Park Rangers up

Redknapp: If I get QPR out of this mire it'll be the best achievement of my career

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UPDATED:

23:58 GMT, 2 December 2012

Harry Redknapp says helping QPR stave off relegation would be the greatest achievement of his long career.

The 65-year-old was appointed at the Loftus Road helm a week-and-a-half ago with the remit of keeping the Hoops in the Premier League.

It is a big ask for Redknapp with the west Londoners languishing bottom of the table, while their winless start to the season extended to 15 matches with Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa.

Mire: Harry Redknapp took the job at rock bottom QPR

Mire: Harry Redknapp took the job at rock bottom QPR

Asked if keeping QPR up would be his biggest achievement, he said: 'Of course, absolutely from where we are. We will try. It is going to be hard.

'I've taken a big task on here. I know what I've taken on, I'm not a fool. It's going to be difficult but you can only give it your best.'

Redknapp is not new to such a situation and has masterminded several previous relegation escapes, although he failed to do so with Southampton seven years ago.

'It always creates anxiety when you're bottom of the league and can't get a win,' the QPR boss said.

'Football is like life – it is about confidence. When things are going well, you win games and you don't know how you won. You come off thinking “we were rubbish today but we won again”.

Nightmare start: Brett Holman put fellow strugglers Aston Villa a goal up at Loftus Road

Nightmare start: Brett Holman put fellow strugglers Aston Villa a goal up at Loftus Road

Hopeful: Redknapp says he and his players will try to beat the drop

Hopeful: Redknapp says he and his players will try to beat the drop

'Sometimes, like we are at the moment, you play well but you can't get the win and that's how it goes.

'They have shown a good attitude. They've trained hard, worked hard.

'They've all been good, they're good lads. We just need a win, don't we

'We could have got that win on Saturday with a bit of luck. Clint Hill's header I thought was dropping in and if that goes in it's a different game.

Bright spark: Shaun Wright-Phillips was in good form

Bright spark: Shaun Wright-Phillips was in good form

'We would be back in there, chasing the pack, but we couldn't quite get those three points.'

Shaun Wright-Phillips was recalled to the starting line-up against Villa and produced a far better display than many previously seen in a QPR shirt.

'I think confidence is the key for him,' Redknapp said. 'He has to play with confidence.

'He made some good runs and great ones in the first half, where he should have scored and then hit the post.

'But he bent his runs in off the line and looked lively. He has done well in training and I gave him a chance.'

Ricky Ponting retires: Paul Newman tribute

Paul Newman: Ponting's retirement is the Ashes' loss… the Aussie villain will be badly missed in next summer's showdown

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UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 29 November 2012

A certain magical something disappeared from next summer’s Ashes today when Ricky Ponting, truly one of the greatest batsmen cricket has known, decided that tomorrow’s Test in Perth will be his 168th and last.

Ponting may have fulfilled the role of pantomime villain in England but he will be sadly missed when they take on Australia for what is still cricket’s greatest prize. The Ashes will never feel quite the same without him.

An emotional Ponting chose the eve of Australia’s third and deciding Test against South Africa in Perth to tell the world that, just short of his 38th birthday, enough is enough. He is sure to have a poignant send-off at the same WACA ground where it all started for him in Test cricket 17 years ago.

Fierce competitor: Ponting (centre) will go down as one of the greats

Fierce competitor: Ponting (centre) will go down as one of the greats

Michael Clarke, the man who succeeded Ponting as Australia captain in the aftermath of England’s historic Ashes triumph last year, could barely hold himself together as he talked about a batsman who is second only to the great Sir Don Bradman himself in terms of Australian achievement. He was that good.

There are many in England who have derided Ponting, who have teased him and treated him as the perfect target to focus all anti-Australian banter. In truth it was a compliment for he was the Aussie opponent we all feared the most.

He wasn’t easy to love on the field even though he was such a magnificent competitor. Ponting could sledge with the best of them, which was fair enough, but he often had a bad attitude towards umpires, displaying a disrespect to them that was unbecoming of the Australian captain and the man himself.

Top talent: Ponting is the second highest run-scorer in Test history

Top talent: Ponting is the second highest run-scorer in Test history

Off the field he was a man of real stature. I can honestly say he was one of the best and most impressive people that I have ever had to deal with. To the media he was courteous, thoughtful, articulate and respectful. Many could learn from him.

I will never forget the audience he granted the English print media, a task above and beyond the call of duty that he always provided for us in Australia because of the difficulties of the time difference, deep in the bowels of the Gabba in Brisbane ahead of the first Test of the last Ashes.

I had travelled to Australia convinced England would win. Hell, I even tipped the score to be 3-1 which, of course, it eventually turned out to be. But that spellbinding 20 minutes, just Ponting and around eight of nine of us, made me wonder if I had got it all badly wrong. So impressive was he in his confidence that Australia would prevail that I severely questioned my own judgment.

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Impressive: Ponting was always courteous to the media

Even Ponting, as it turned out, could not stop England on that tour but he never stopped believing he would until the moment that he resigned the captaincy, with huge dignity, when it became clear that England were his match.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now. He has not been the same player for a good year or so and the only question became when he would go. He desperately wanted one, or maybe even two, last cracks at England and deep down we all wanted that too. If we can’t boo Punter then it really won’t be so much fun.

Australia patriotism and myopia may all be a bit much at times for English tastes but they know how to honour their great sportsmen. Ponting was allowed to decide when he would go, the selectors trusting him to make the right call, and by all accounts there was barely a dry eye in the house when he told the players today that he was going. So well respected is he that most did not see it coming.

Ashes stalwart: Ponting squares up to Michael Vaughan before the 2005 series

Ashes stalwart: Ponting squares up to Michael Vaughan before the 2005 series

Ponting’s wife, his young family and the whole Australian team then attended his goodbye press conference at the WACA. It is a worthy tribute to the man.

Perhaps it is also the English way to go more quietly than this. Andrew Flintoff attracted criticism for announcing, on the eve of the Lord’s Test, that the 2009 Ashes series would be his last, because to many he was taking attention away from the team. Someone like Mike Atherton, for instance, would have rather died than told everyone that his next Test appearance would be his last.

Mentor: Michael Clarke (left) has taken on the captaincy from Ponting

Mentor: Michael Clarke (left) has taken on the captaincy from Ponting

But it feels right with Ponting. Great champions, as the Aussies would say, deserve a great send off and the Perth Test will undoubtedly all be about Ricky Ponting. He will go into it with 13,366 Test runs from his 167 games at an average in excess of 50, a true mark of greatness.

I for one have never wanted an Australian to score a Test century more than I want Ponting to do so against South Africa tomorrow. And if it means Australia go to the top of the world rankings on the back of it so be it. England can always take the title back off them next summer. Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest players to ever wear the Baggy Green. He deserves to go out in style.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1: World"s reaction

From 'The Great Wall' to the 'greatest night of my life', Sportsmail sees how the world reacted to Celtic beating Barca

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UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 8 November 2012

Celtic's win over Barcelona will live long in the memory of all those who bore witness to it, be them the 60,000 inside Parkhead or the millions watching around the world on television.

Those who tuned in did so, no doubt, expecting a spirited defiance from the hosts against a tide of Catalan brilliance.

What they saw, though, was something altogether more outstanding, as Celtic stood firm against wave after wave of attack, and twice catching the more illustrious opponents. As birthday parties go, the Bhoys 125th will take some beating.

Incredible: Celtic pulled off one of recent history's biggest shocks by beating Barcelona

Incredible: Celtic pulled off one of recent history's biggest shocks by beating Barcelona

The Great Wall: Spanish media pays tribute to Celtic's goalkeeper, Fraser Forster

The Great Wall: Spanish media pays tribute to Celtic's goalkeeper, Fraser Forster

As Spanish newspaper Marca noted, 'Again, it was the formula of Chelsea', referring to the Blues shut-up-shop against-all-odds Champions League semi-final victory in May.

On their website, Marca carried a brilliant summary of the atmosphere inside the stadium, hailing it as 'the 12th man'.

The piece, by Arch Bell, started: 'There is perhaps no greater home pitch advantage in all of football than a Celtic home match at Celtic Park as Barcelona learned the hard way in their Wednesday night Champions League defeat 2-1.'

For the most part, though, Celtic's stunning achievement was relegated to the inside pages of the national press, replaced instead by reflections on Real Madrid's draw with Borussia Dortmund a day earlier.

In a small box in the bottom corner, Marca opted for 'Derrota de Guinness' (Defeat of Guiness), while AS again referenced the counter-attacking style of the victors.

Only El Mundo Deportivo truly gave the game prominence, hailing the hosts' goalkeeper Fraser Forster as 'La Gran Muralla' (The Great Wall).

But you didn't need the papers to gauge the shock and awe that was sweeping across Europe.

Barcelona's official Twitter account, @fcbarcelona, gave begrudging praise to their opponents, writing: “Congratulations to @CelticFC for well-earned victory a day after their 125-year anniversary. #FCBLive”

Others seemed to think the night could signal the end of Barcelona's reign in Europe.

Former Fulham and United States striker Brian McBride (@BMcBride20), said: “Barcelona needs to figure out another way to attack…because right now teams know how to beat them.”

Others focused on Celtic, and rightly so.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Shay Given ‏(@No1shaygiven) wrote: 'Amazing result for @celticfc congrats to every1 connected to the club. @FraseForster was on fire again.'

Former Celtic boss Kenny Dalglish (@kennethdalglish) suggested the win was only the second greatest night in the history of the club, behind the European Cup win in 1967.

He wrote: 'What an unbelievable result for Neil Lennon and all at Celtic. Only Lisbon beats it. The noise was deafening.'

Another
former favourite, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was in the crowd enjoying
the birthday celebrations before the match, and John Hartson
(‏@JohnHartson10) wrote: 'One word brilliant!!'

Jason
Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) added: 'Woke up feeling inspired by what I
witnessed last night with The MIGHTY CELTS…Saturday can't come quick
enough…'

Helping hand: Madrid based newspaper Marca carried a special feature on the crowd

Helping hand: Madrid based newspaper Marca carried a special feature on the crowd

However, the final word belongs to those involved.

Kris Commons ‏(@kcommons15): 'Quite simply the greatest game I've ever been involved in!!'

Joe Ledley (‏@joe16led) 'Got to say I know ever player says it but today was the best atmosphere ever… Thank you.' He earlier wrote: 'Boomtown greatest moment of my life! We have just beaten the best team ever!'

Victor Wanyama (@VictorWanyama): 'The best moment of my life beating Barca.'

The most popular image doing the rounds in the aftermath of the match was a snapshot of the match statistics from Sky TV.

Dry your eyes mate: Pictures of Rod Stewart crying after the match flooded social networking sites

Dry your eyes mate: Pictures of Rod Stewart crying after the match flooded social networking sites

Most commenting on them were struck by the record-breaking possession stats – 89 per cent in the Spaniard's favour, with 955 passes compared with Celtic's 166.

But it was an incident off the field that became the most talked about thing on Twitter, that of Rod Stewart's tears. An animated Gif quickly becoming the biggest trending image on the site.

Soon, too, people began to see the funny side with a number of comedy pictures doing the rounds, a selection of which can be seen below.

It was that sort of result.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Ian Holloway becomes new Crystal Palace boss

Olly's heading to the Palace! Holloway swaps seaside for Selhurst

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UPDATED:

12:03 GMT, 3 November 2012

Crystal Palace have confirmed Ian Holloway as their new manager on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The 49-year-old has left fellow Championship side Blackpool to fill the vacant position at Selhurst Park, with the Eagles having allowed Dougie Freedman to join Bolton last month.

The move brings an end to Holloway's three-and-a-half-year stay with Blackpool, with his greatest achievement having been overseeing their promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

On the move: Ian Holloway has joined Crystal Palace after leaving Blackpool

On the move: Ian Holloway has joined Crystal Palace after leaving Blackpool

Relegation followed a year later, but not before the former QPR midfielder and his players had made a sizeable impression on the top flight.

Last season, their first back in the Championship, Holloway guided them to the the play-off final where they were beaten by West Ham. They are currently 12th in the table, eight places and six points adrift of Palace.

He has taken coach Keith Millen with him as part of the deal.

Holloway's first duties will be to attend today`s game with Blackburn, but he will not be taking charge of team affairs.

It will be his sixth managerial position, having first taken to the dugout at Bristol Rovers 16 years ago, and he admitted to being sad to leave Blackpool.

Incoming: Crystal Palace made an official approach for Holloway on Thursday

Incoming: Crystal Palace made an official approach for Holloway on Thursday

Speaking to Palace's official website, he said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for myself and a fresh start.

'It is sad to leave Blackpool as my time there was the best trip I have been on and leave very proud of what was achieved and I would like to wish them all the best. I just see this as too good an opportunity to turn down.

'I got great energy when I met the club's owners and just can't wait to get going.

'I am bringing in Keith Millen as my assistant who is a Croydon boy and he is as excited as I am about the opportunity.'

The move represents a significant coup for co-chairman Steve Parish, who last week had to come to terms with Freedman leaving despite the club being so well placed in the league.

No 2: Keith Millen will join as Holloway's assistant

No 2: Keith Millen will join as Holloway's assistant

'The board and staff of Crystal Palace are delighted to welcome Ian to south London,' he said.

'He's a manager I have long admired and one I believe will bring something fresh and new to our club.

'I am sure the supporters will be as excited about this appointment as I am and will get fully behind him.'

Blackpool also confirmed the switch on their official website, with chairman Karl Oyston expressing his thanks to the man he gave a chance to following a year out of the game after his departure from Leicester.

'We understand the reasons behind Ian's decision to leave and he departs with our best wishes,' Oyston said.

Replacement: Old Eagles boss Dougie Freedman left for Bolton Wanderers

Replacement: Old Eagles boss Dougie Freedman left for Bolton Wanderers

'I'd like to place on record my thanks to Ian for all he has achieved at Bloomfield Road, he's played a massive part in our recent success and will go down in history as one of our most successful managers.

'The process of finding a replacement for Ian has now started and we'd like to make an appointment as soon as possible.'

Steve Thompson has been placed in caretaker charge of Blackpool.

Arsenal trophy drought does not matter – Brian McDermott

Arsenal trophy drought means nothing, insists Reading boss McDermott

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UPDATED:

23:58 GMT, 29 October 2012

Reading boss Brian McDermott has played down the significance of Arsenal's trophy drought as he plotted to extend it in his first meeting with his former club on Tuesday night.

Former Gunners midfielder McDermott hailed opposite number Arsene Wenger's 'phenomenal achievement' of leading the club into the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, backing the Frenchman's claim it was the equivalent of winning silverware.

The latter is something Arsenal have not done in what has been seven increasingly-agonising years, a run McDermott was determined to lengthen in their Capital One Cup fourth-round clash.

Kind words: Brian McDermott had high praise for Arsene Wenger

Kind words: Brian McDermott had high praise for Arsene Wenger

'We'll do our best to progress,' he said.

'We'll plan, we'll prepare, and then we'll see what the game brings.'

Wenger and the Arsenal board have come under fire for the club's lack of tangible success, with their own fans become increasingly restless.

But McDermott said: 'The big thing for the top teams is to qualify for the Champions League and Arsene Wenger's done that over the last – what – 14 years.

'In his early years, he won so many trophies.

'I'm sure they want to win trophies – of course they do – but they always qualify for the Champions League, which is a phenomenal achievement in itself.'

McDermott, who started his playing career at Arsenal in 1977, has never faced them since leaving the club in 1984.

'It's my first time as a first-team manager playing against them,' he said.

'I really had a good time there and the way they do things there and the way they conduct themselves, the word I'd use is class – they've got a real class about them.

'I'm looking forward to it, really looking forward to it.

'I was lucky, really, to be brought up at a fantastic club like that.'

Back in the day: McDermott is facing his old side

Back in the day: McDermott is facing his old side

Unlike Arsenal, the Royals have had their fair share of silverware in the past seven years, twice winning the npower Championship.

But they cannot buy a Barclays Premier League win since their latest promotion last summer.

McDermott said: 'If you wanted to have that concern, you could've had it last year when we were bottom of the league after six, seven games.'

Wenger called McDermott a miracle-worker in return ahead of the clash at the Majeski Stadium.

He admires the success achieved by McDermott on a limited budget and believes he has the skill to keep the Royals in the top flight.

Last season's npower Championship winners have yet to win in the league, but are one victory away from a place in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals.

'Reading have made appointments from within the club well over the years,' Wenger said.

'You have to congratulate Brian McDermott for promotion last year, I believe he made a miracle basically.

Just about: Arsenal scraped a win against QPR

Just about: Arsenal scraped a win against QPR

'When you get to the Premier League, the level of expectation is to stay and I feel they have a chance. McDermott has the qualities to achieve that.

'We expect a challenge and we know Reading will give absolutely everything when they play against us.

'Reading have done very well in their scouting. They are one of the examples of a club not spending money and living within their resources.

'I always respect that. There is some quality work behind their success.'

Arsenal's trip to the Madejski Stadium continues a busy spell that includes Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday and Schalke, 2-0 winners in north London last week, the following Thursday.

Wenger will field a blend of youth and experience against Reading as the Gunners seek to reach the last eight of the league cup for a 10th successive year.

Recovery: Reading came back from the dead to draw with Fulham

Recovery: Reading came back from the dead to draw with Fulham

'Some players need a breather because they had two international games, Champions League and Premier League games,' he said.

'They will have played five games in two weeks. Some will be rested tomorrow. After that I will see after tomorrow night.

'We will still have an experienced side out with players from the squad.

'We will go to Reading with a good team who will have a good chance to win the game.

'We fight as hard as we can to stay in all the competitions and if you have to make a choice you make it as late as possible.

'The Capital One Cup is in a period where you have to make a decision sometimes as it is a time when we also have the League and the Champions League.'

Brave Zanardi clinches medal number three with silver in team cycling relay

Brave Zanardi clinches medal number three with silver in team cycling relay

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UPDATED:

22:22 GMT, 8 September 2012

Alex Zanardi had to settle for silver on the final day of cycling competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Brands Hatch.

The 45-year-old ex-Formula One driver won individual time-trial and road race gold, but in the mixed H1-4 team relay, Italy's three-person team finished behind the United States as Marianna Davis won her third gold of the Games in combination with Matthew Updike and Oscar Sanchez.

Alessandro Zanardi of Italy competes in the Mixed H 1-4 relay

Stunning achievement: Alessandro Zanardi, who lost both legs in a motor racing accident, has now won three medals at London 2012

Zanardi, Francesca Fenocchio and Vittorio Podesta were second, with Switzerland's Jean-Marc Berset, Ursula Schwaller and Heinz Frei third.

'Once again, I am speechless,' Zanardi said.

'You know, when you achieve something on your own it is great, but winning as a team is even better.'

Alessandro Zanardi of Italy celebrates winning the Silver Medal in the Mixed H 1-4 Cycling Team Relay

Time for a break: The former F1 driver says he is looking forward to returning to normal life

As for his future, Zanardi added: 'It is perfectly fine for me to go back to normal life, take my son to school, things like that.

'But if along the way there will be a chance to light some more firecrackers, I won't hold myself back. It would be a shame to miss opportunities.'

Davis was thrilled with her performances.

'I came here for three golds and I got them,' she said. 'This was the one I was most nervous about, you don't want to let your team-mates down.

'I knew it was going to be a tough race, there's some really good teams.

'It was a really good competition, it was great the whole way through.'

Italy's Ivano Pizzi and his pilot Lucca Pizzi won the 104km men's tandem road race.

The Pizzi brothers finished five seconds ahead of Krzysztof Kosikowski and his pilot Artur Korc of Poland.

Italy's Francesca Fenocchio (left), Vittorio Podesta and Alessandro Zanardi celebrate their Silver Medal in the Mixed H 1-4 Team Relay

Party time: Italy's Francesca Fenocchio, Vittorio Podesta and Alessandro Zanardi celebrate their silver medal in the mixed H 1-4 team relay

Two seconds further adrift were Slovakia's bronze medal-winning duo of Vladislav Janovjak and his pilot Robert Mitosinka.

Ivano
Pizzi said: 'It is an awesome feeling, I feel an immense happiness. I
told my brother 'It's now or never', and eventually we broke away from
the rest. It's a fantastic joy.'

Alessandro Zanardi of Italyraces in the Mixed H 1-4 Cycling Team Relay

Power house: Zanardi in action at Brands Hatch

Luca Pizzi added: 'It was a good race, it's a dream victory. Something I have always dreamt about, and now the dream came true.'

The corresponding women's event over
80km saw Canada's Robbi Weldon and her pilot Lyne Bessette win gold by
33secs from Spanish pair Josefa Benitez and Maria Noriega. Holland's
Katherin Goeken and Kim van Dijk claimed bronze in a sprint for third
place.

London 2012 Olympics: Yohan Blake luck is beastly behind Usain Bolt

Blake's scary but his luck is simply beastly! Yohan settles for silver again behind pal Bolt

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 9 August 2012

The second greatest sprinter in Jamaica. The second greatest sprinter in the world. They are one and the same, the most unfortunate loser in these whole Games so far: Yohan Blake, aka The Beast, of the Track Racers Club, Kingston.

You wonder what really went through Blake's mind as he stood there with Usain Bolt — his training partner, dominoes mate and fellow cricket fan — just three lanes away at the start of the 200 metres final.

Did he really believe he could beat the stringy phenomenon just a few white lines away from him Sure, he had managed it in the Jamaican trial last month. He did it fair and square without Bolt having a false start (though the great man did have a back-related niggle). But this is the Olympic Games, which raises the pressure level off the scale. Your stomach churns just watching the major sprint finals.

Deadly duo: Usain Bolt (left) crosses the finishing line ahead of his Jamaican friend and rival Yohan Blake (right)

Deadly duo: Usain Bolt (left) crosses the finishing line ahead of his Jamaican friend and rival Yohan Blake (right)

Dream team: Bolt, Blake (right) and Warren Weir (left) made it a Jamaica one-two-three in the 200m

Dream team: Bolt, Blake (right) and Warren Weir (left) made it a Jamaica one-two-three in the 200m

The camera concentrated on Bolt as he
checked his blocks before cutting to the stockier frame of Blake, with
that bull’s neck of his. He looked more relaxed than some of us felt. He
made his now customary beast’s claws mime and let out a theatrical
roar. It’s a good act, but he cannot match Bolt for showmanship. Nobody
in sporting history can.

Blake almost got level with the
unusually smart-starting Bolt with 50 metres to go but the great man
streaked ahead and was winding down by the time he crossed the line and
looked across to see his mate in second place. Bolt ran 19.32sec, Blake
19.44sec and their countryman, Warren Weir, 19.84sec.

Jamaica one-two-three. What a
phenomenal achievement for that little island. Blake ran 19.26sec last
year. That would have been enough to win yesterday but Bolt, whatever
he says about feeling his back as he ran, had more in reserve.

Party time: The scenes in 'Jamaica House' in London after the climax to the 200m final

Party time: The scenes in 'Jamaica House' in London after the climax to the 200m final

The two men talk of being like
brothers and so it looked before the race when they knocked fists and
afterwards as they draped themselves in their national flags and smiled
and trotted round the track.

The margin of Bolt’s win was small enough to make any future meetings highly attractive — not to mention lucrative.

Almost whatever the result, there was
only one man in the stadium who could not lose: Glen Mills, the sturdily
built sage who runs the Track Racers Club.

He is known to everyone as Coach Mills. His word is gospel.

‘I think Blake has all the potential to be an even better sprinter than he is,’ he said. ‘He is a very young world champion.

Proud day: Jamaicans watch the 200m final on a large TV screen set up in Halfway Tree in Kingston

Proud day: Jamaicans watch the 200m final on a large TV screen set up in Halfway Tree in Kingston

‘He will continue to make tremendous
strides forward over the next couple of years. He is the fastest we have
ever had at high-school level despite all the greats that came before
him. He is no ordinary sprinter.’

For now the extraordinary Blake’s
place in the order is obvious. Stopped on the way in, a group of
spectators dressed up in the Jamaican colours, complete with painted
faces, were asked if they liked Blake.

‘Yes,’ they said. Want him to win

‘Oh no, we want Bolt to win.’

What a sight it was at the finish — the three Jamaicans crossing the line, all of them members of Mills’s exclusive group.

Golden boys: The Jamaican sprint trio celebrate their success in the Olympic Stadium

Golden boys: The Jamaican sprint trio celebrate their success in the Olympic Stadium

Glory: Bolt (centre), Blake (right) and Weir (left) get set to receive their medals on the podium

Glory: Bolt (centre), Blake (right) and Weir (left) get set to receive their medals on the podium

So what is it that makes Jamaicans so
fast ‘I think a lot of it is hereditary,’ said Mills. ‘We develop what
we have and we have the best material to work with. If you go to our
high-school championships you will understand the mystery of why we have
so many good runners.

‘Track and field in Jamaica is a passionate sport. It is our Super Bowl type of thing, when everybody stops.

‘The only new thing about it is that
we are able to do more for our athletes here than in the American
colleges. I am not knocking the college system because it has served us
well but the emphasis is on the development of the athlete for college
sports and international competition is a by-product.’

You could not say that of the
three-man show that lit up the Olympic Stadium. For them, international
domination, delivered with a smile, is everything.