Tag Archives: airport

India v England: Kevin Pietersen pictured arriving at Heathrow

Flower sees India triumph as turning point for England as KP arrives back at Heathrow

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UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 18 December 2012

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Andy Flower senses England’s Test team may have reached a turning point with their historic series victory in India.

A proud Kevin Pietersen was pictured returning to England after his country's momentous triumph.

The batsman, who successfully reintegrated into the squad this series after being selected by Flower, was snapped as he pushed his trolley through Heathrow Airport.

Alastair Cook’s tourists defied the pessimistic expectations of many by recovering from a nine-wicket drubbing in the first Test in Ahmedabad to win successive matches in Mumbai and Kolkata and then clinch the series with yesterday’s draw in Nagpur.

In doing so, they finished a tough year on a significant high.

Under Cook’s predecessor Andrew Strauss, a dual Ashes-winning captain, England fell from grace in 2012 with series defeats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last winter and then at home to South Africa.

Their hard-earned world No 1 Test status was a thing of the past by the time Strauss retired four months ago – and even after their 2-1 victory here, a first in India for almost 28 years, they have lost seven of 15 matches this year.

Coach Flower believes, however, there is no reason why the future cannot be a bright one for Cook’s team.

Asked if the fightback in India – completed thanks to centuries by Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell yesterday – could be a turning point, he said: 'I think it is.

'We had a tough time in the UAE against Pakistan at the start of the year, and one of the most satisfying things at the minute – certainly for me, and I’m sure for the players – is that they’ve shown they can score runs.

'Even some of the older guys, that have been around and have excellent Test career achievements, have still adapted their game and shown their game can improve.

'They’ve done that in conditions where English teams don’t historically do very well.

'I think everyone is very proud of that.'

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Generations of England batsmen, in particular, have been found wanting in India since David Gower’s 1984-85 tourists also prevailed by a 2-1 margin.

'It’s very satisfying for that group of 30 blokes to have come out here and adapted to these conditions and overcome the opposition,' added Flower.

'It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of thought and a lot of skill out there in the middle – and they should be very proud of themselves.'

Flower paid tribute to his players’ character after they adapted brilliantly to the conditions.

He told Radio 5 Live: 'After the losses in the UAE we put some training regimes in place to help the players with their knowledge of how to play spin and score runs in these conditions.

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

'The players have put hours and hours of work into improving themselves. Their improvement against spin is great testament to their character.

'I think it has been a great year for English cricket. To win here for the first time in (almost) 28 years is an historic achievement. There is plenty for us to be proud of us in this last year.'

Flower also had words of praise for Kevin Pietersen, who finished a turbulent year personally on a high, the highlight a magnificent 186 in Mumbai.

He said: 'That innings in Mumbai was outstanding. He showed incredible skill and for him to turn the game around for us in partnership with Alastair Cook was a pivotal moment in the series.'

Chelsea flight to UK delayed by Japan"s noise restriction laws

Chelsea's return to the UK delayed thanks to Japanese noise restriction laws… leaving little time to prepare for Leeds cup clash

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UPDATED:

13:05 GMT, 16 December 2012

Chelsea's already hampered preparations for their Capital One Cup quarter-final against Leeds on Wednesday have been dealt another blow – thanks to Japanese noise restriction laws.

The Blues were hoping to return from Tokyo after the conclusion of the Club World Cup final this morning, but their flight has been put back to Monday, as reported by the Guardian.

Delayed: Chelsea's flight has been put back to Monday thanks to Japanese noise restriction laws

Delayed: Chelsea's flight has been put back to Monday thanks to Japanese noise restriction laws

Schedule from hell

Saturday Dec 8 – Flew 5,916 miles from Newcastle to Narita, Japan, via Finland after beating Sunderland 3-1.

Thursday Dec 13 – Beat Monterrey 3-1 in Yokohama (N)

Sunday Dec 16 – Playing Corinthians in Yokohama (N)

Monday Dec 17 – Believed to be flying 5,953 miles to Heathrow airport

Wednesday Dec 19 – Playing Leeds (A)

Sunday Dec 23 – Playing Aston Villa (H)

They will spend an extra night in
Yokohama and arrive back in England tomorrow afternoon, ahead of what is
sure to be a fiery cup tie at Elland Road.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez's time to prepare for the match has been drastically limited by the trip to Japan.

Benitez says he cannot work out which players will be ready to play against Leeds until the side return to the country.

He was already upset with the state of his side's fitness – he analysed the squad after he arrived and said many of the players were exhausted.

Playing on Thursday and Sunday morning and making two long-haul flights will take its toll on Chelsea's players.

Tired: Ashley Cole (right) and his colleagues will be exhausted after two games and two long-haul flights

Tired: Ashley Cole (right) and his colleagues will be exhausted after two games and two long-haul flights

Back home, skipper John Terry was hoping to be fit for the clash but will not be considered as he continues recovering from his knee injury.

Daniel Sturridge is also close to a return from a hamstring injury but needs to be assessed to see if he is ready to play.

Lionel Messi passed fit to play Real Betis as he attempts to break Gerd Muller scoring record

Messi passed fit for Betis match as he attempts to break Muller's goalscoring record

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UPDATED:

12:48 GMT, 9 December 2012

Lionel Messi has been passed fit to play for Barcelona against Real Betis tonight, as he attempts to break Gerd Muller's long-standing calendar year goalscoring record.

The Argentinian needs two more goals to surpass Muller's record of 85 for the highest number of goals scored in a 12 month period for club and country, set while playing for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

But his attempt appeared in jeopardy on Wednesday night when he was stretchered off with a bruised knee during Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica.

Ready to play: Lionel Messi pictured at Barcelona airport en route to Seville this morning

Ready to play: Lionel Messi pictured at Barcelona airport en route to Seville this morning

Injury concern: Messi suffered a bruised knee in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica on Wednesday night

Injury concern: Messi suffered a bruised knee in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw with Benfica on Wednesday night

Recovery: Despite being stretchered off, Messi has been passed fit to face Real Betis in La Liga tonight

Recovery: Despite being stretchered off, Messi has been passed fit to face Real Betis in La Liga tonight

However, club officials confirmed on Sunday morning that the damage wasn't as bad as first feared and Messi was included in the party that flew to Seville on Sunday morning.

Manager Tito Vilanova and his coaching team will make a final decision just before kick-off on whether to play Messi from the start or keep him on the bench.

Messi trained with the rest of the squad on Saturday, and Vilanova was confident he would make tonight's match.

He said: 'If there was even the smallest risk then Messi would not travel with the rest of the team.

'This means he has recovered and is ready to play. However, we will assess his conditions tomorrow (Sunday) and then decide whether he can play 90 minutes or not.'

Confident: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was sure Messi would be available to him for the trip to fifth-placed Betis

Confident: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was sure Messi would be available to him for the trip to fifth-placed Betis

The match with fifth-placed Betis is one of four opportunities Messi has to grab the required goals before the New Year.

In midweek, Barca travel to second division Cordoba in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Next Sunday, they host Atletico Madrid in the league and then travel to Valladolid a week later.

Healed: Despite his injuries, Messi was able to attend a promotional event on Thursday and trained with Barcelona on Saturday

Healed: Despite his injuries, Messi was able to attend a promotional event on Thursday and trained with Barcelona on Saturday

Messi has scored 84 times in 2012 – including 72 goals in 56 matches for Barcelona across all competitions and 12 goals in nine games for Argentina.

In 1972, Muller scored 72 goals in 53 games for Bayern and 13 in seven games for West Germany.

Messi is also on the brink of becoming Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga – he is currently tied on 190 with Cesar Rodriguez.

Barcelona can move nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid with a win.

Brendan Rodgers not worried about Liverpool delay

Rodgers not worried about flight delay as Liverpool prepare for Hammers test

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UPDATED:

08:57 GMT, 8 December 2012

Brendan Rodgers has expressed confidence that Liverpool’s delayed return from their Europa League trip to Italy will not compromise their ambitions at West Ham tomorrow.

Liverpool were due to fly home straight following their 1-0 win over Udinese on Thursday night but they were grounded in Trieste airport after a problem was detected with their aircraft, while it was taxing to the runway.

Rodgers and his squad were kept on the plane for more than an hour while investigations were carried out before engineers confirmed that the fault in the left engine could not be repaired, forcing them to stay overnight in Italy.

No worries: Brendan Rodgers expects Liverpool to be ready for West Ham

No worries: Brendan Rodgers expects Liverpool to be ready for West Ham

A new aircraft was sent out to Trieste to collect them yesterday and the party arrived touchdown at John Lennon Airport at 3.30pm, some 15 hours later than had been scheduled.

There will be little chance for them to rest, as Liverpool will today (SAT) travel to London for their game at Upton Park but Rodgers does not feel his preparations have been overly-effected by the unforeseen issue.

‘It doesn’t overly affect us really,’ said Rodgers, whose side made it through to the Europa League’s last 32 as winners of Group A thanks to Jordan Henderson’ s goal. ‘It’s not ideal, of course, but we still have one more session before we play West Ham and we’ve been able to recover well.

‘The players had a good rest overnight, even though we only got back into the hotel late, at about 2.30am. The day after game it’s about the nutritional needs and physical needs of the players – they are what is important. But we could take care of that in the hotel.

Marching on: Liverpool beat Udinese to progress in the Europa League

Marching on: Liverpool beat Udinese to progress in the Europa League

‘It’s only an issue if you make it an issue. Sometimes it’s like how life is; it’s not always plain sailing – especially when you’re flying! It’s one we cannot control but we can control our mind-set and how we recover. Our recuperation has been fantastic.’

An added bonus for Rodgers is his squad will be bolstered at West Ham by the return of Steven Gerrard, who never travelled to Italy with illness, and Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva, both of whom were rested in midweek.

Rodgers added: ‘We will have a final session tomorrow and will go to game on Sunday with no excuse. We have finished top of our group in a European tournament – for us we’re in a good moment and we’ll take it into Sunday’s game.’

So, Rafa Benitez, how do you solve a 50m problem like Fernando Torres?

The 50m question: So, Rafa, how do you solve a problem like Fernando

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UPDATED:

23:46 GMT, 24 November 2012

When Rafa Benitez takes his place in the Stamford Bridge dugout today in the Premier League showdown against champions Manchester City, some Chelsea supporters will doubtless have to remind themselves not to abuse their new manager.

Even on Friday at the club's Cobham training ground it was incongruous to see Benitez, the hated rival of Mourinho's Chelsea, dressed in blue. It will take some getting used to for everyone involved.

Not just Torres: Benitez wants to improve the whole team

Come in No 9: Benitez must find a way for Fernando Torres to produce the form he showed at Liverpool

But Benitez is the latest man charged with restoring Chelsea's title challenge, redeeming their failures in Europe and, along the way, helping to improve their abysmal image in a week when they have sacked a Champions League winner and seen their accusation of racial abuse against referee Mark Clattenburg thrown out because of negligible evidence.

Chelsea may be toxic, not least for managers, but Benitez does not seem to mind. When he received the call to confirm his appointment at Dubai Airport on Wednesday night, Benitez, initially, showed excitement before reverting quickly to familiar work mode, methodically analysing his options.

He knows the risks. On Thursday, as he travelled by train to London to meet the squad before dining with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, he was enjoying the usual jokes doing the rounds: the one about him being given two seasons, winter and spring; the one about no one being more than 20 metres away from a former Chelsea manager by 2025.

But for almost two years he has sat and waited for the correct job to come along and his self-confidence has never diminished.

While others thought he might be tempted by reasonable offers from slightly below the top-level clubs, including Aston Villa or Sampdoria, Benitez never wavered.

Turning back time: Benitez's remit will be to get the best out of Fernando Torres, but the task is a tough one

Turning back time: Benitez's remit will be to get the best out of Fernando Torres, but the task is a tough one

'More than 20 years ago, I was sitting around with Vicente del Bosque at Real Madrid and he said to me, “There are not too many managers. Not many people can cope with this pressure and keep winning”. So I had a lot of confidence I would get a job, a good job. This one is a great opportunity. It doesn't matter it's for seven months, even three months.'

In fact, Benitez was Abramovich's favoured choice to hold the fort for Pep Guardiola back in March but the owner was dissuaded then by the board because of the fans' antipathy towards the former Liverpool manager.

So when the owner's patience ran out with Roberto di Matteo and Guardiola remained unavailable, it was to Benitez he turned. During a three-hour meeting at the owner's house on Thursday night, Abramovich outlined his hopes for the club to Benitez.

Transfer talk has not been the priority, although signing a striker in January is vital. Benitez might wish to add a holding midfielder to that, with Javier Mascherano his dream buy, though Barcelona are not in the mood to sell.

But what Abramovich desires more than anything is to see his 50million investment in Fernando Torres pay dividends. 'Obviously I cannot say that we were not talking about Torres,' said Benitez. 'But we were talking about a lot of things.

'We were talking about ideas, how you like to do this, how you like to do that. For two to three hours. And I talk a lot! They can see he has to improve. Everybody can see that he can improve because he has the potential.'

Short of options: Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge are Chelsea's only recognised strikers

Short of options: Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge are Chelsea's only recognised strikers

It is wrong to assume Benitez has been hired solely to revive Torres. Abramovich, who has a deeper knowledge of football than most would imagine from his decision-making, would have relished Benitez's lengthy explanations of how to marry the side's new attacking ambition with a defensive solidity.

At some point in the conversation, it is almost certain that Benitez would have started using wine glasses to demonstrate positional plays in zonal marking to the billionaire oligarch.

And, at the training ground tour on Thursday afternoon, Benitez did not single Torres out. John Terry took the lead role in showing Benitez around. The players then had the first taste of Benitez's obsessive attention to detail. Training went on so long that dusk was falling and the lack of floodlights was proving problematic by the end.

But it is also true that Benitez has a blueprint to bring fresh life to the player he had at Liverpool. Benitez's analysis is that Chelsea cross the ball from deep areas, which does not suit Torres. Crosses need to come from higher up the pitch. He also hopes to restore the rampaging Torres, who used to go wide hunting the ball at Liverpool then cut in to unleash ferocious shots. Benitez feels Torres has lost that part of his game at Chelsea.

Then there is the matter of confidence. While at Liverpool, Torres was hardly indulged by Benitez – no one ever is – and the striker was shocked at what he took as his manager's coldness at times. But, having left Liverpool, he kept in touch and came to appreciate Benitez's ways.

Crucially, Benitez believes Torres needs both carrot and stick. He would always maintain he was harder on Torres and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool precisely because they were capable of world-class performances.

'With the arm on the shoulder, normally you are in the middle of the league table,' said Benitez. 'When you have to push the player, that is when you can compete for titles. With Fernando you have to put your arm around the shoulder and push him. Both things.'

Eden Hazard may well be the key to Torres. Benitez tried to sign him from Lille as a teenager to team him up with Torres. Even then, though, he was beyond Liverpool's price range.

'We were shopping in Marks & Spencer when we only had money for Lidl,' said one source involved in those negotiations.

No longer. Benitez's principal complaint at Liverpool was that he had to take risks in the transfer market because funds were limited.

Even so, his 2008-09 team went within four points of the title but Benitez acknowledges he is in a better position now. 'It's different. We didn't have too much money for the squad in 2008-09. We had to go for the 11 starters and four or five players, then we had to manage with the others. Here, there's a bit more depth at this moment.

'We had a good team but here we have a good team and also some players (below) them. I think Chelsea are as strong as Manchester City or United.

'The teams at the top are very close. You have enough players to beat anyone but obviously you have to tick all the boxes and they have to understand each other.'

Benitez believes he can tick those boxes. If he does, then even Chelsea fans might start to appreciate him.

England board flight to Sweden: Roy Hodgson saluted by Manchester Airport worker

We're not worthy, Roy (well, this guy isn't)… Hodgson gets hero's reception on the runway as England jet to Sweden

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UPDATED:

13:47 GMT, 13 November 2012

STEVEN GERRARD EXCLUSIVE

CLICK HERE to see Sportsmail's picture and video special as the Liverpool visits his old school to celebrate 100 caps for England

The jury may still be out among some fans about manager Roy Hodgson. But this airport worker appeared to be in no doubt after bowing down to Three Lions boss on the runway before he boarded England's flight to Stockholm for Wednesday's friendly with Sweden.

Hodgson, 65, replaced Fabio Capello as the national coach back in May and guided England to the quarter finals of the European Championship in the summer before crashing out on penalties to eventual finalists Italy.

The former West Brom manager has since steered England to an unbeaten start to their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with thumping wins over minnows Moldova, San Marino and two draws against Ukraine and Poland.

Roys boys: Airport staff at Manchester drop to their knees to pay homage to England boss Roy Hodgson before the Three Lions Flight to Sweden

Roys boys: Airport staff at Manchester drop to their knees to pay homage to England boss Roy Hodgson before the Three Lions Flight to Sweden

Welcome aboard: Hodgson and is assistant Ray Lewington are amused by the runway stunt

Welcome aboard: Hodgson and is assistant Ray Lewington are amused by the runway stunt

And appreciation for his efforts so far in the hot-seat was made no more clear by an over-zealous supporter on the tarmac at Manchester Airport on Tuesday morning.

Amused by the stunt, Hodgson made his way up the stairs to board the plane alongside his assistant Ray Lewington.

Hodgson was also accompanied on the flight by Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha.

The 20-year-old winger could make his senior international debut at the new FRIENDS Arena although he may yet switch his allegiance to the Ivory Coast.

New boys: Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha board the flight to Stockholm

New boys: Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha board the flight to Stockholm

Zaha, who has represented England at Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 level, was born in Abidjan and the forward’s parents, along with his large family, are also from the Ivory Coast.

He has been offered the chance to play in the Africa Cup of Nations in January and is refusing to rule it out, despite his call-up by England.

Zaha said on Monday: 'I was born in the Ivory Coast but all I know is England. It’s 50-50 at the moment.

Jack's back: Arsenal ace Wilshere is look to play for England for the first time since June 2011

Jack's back: Arsenal ace Wilshere is look to play for England for the first time since June 2011

'Didier Drogba called me and I was shocked, to be honest. He’s a humble guy.

'I’ve been with England Under 21s and now I will have to make a decision.'

Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, was also on board with the Arsenal midfielder set to feature in his first England game since June 2011.

Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka followed Wilshere, with the Everton pair sporting their efforts for charity cause Movember.

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th cap for England in Stockholm

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th cap for England in Stockholm

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injury doubt for Schalke

Oxlade-Chamberlain injury adds to Wenger's worries ahead of Schalke clash

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 October 2012

Arsenal look likely to be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the Champions League visit of Schalke on Wednesday after the England forward injured a hip just minutes after coming on during Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat at Norwich.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is said to have been in a lot of discomfort on Saturday night and the Arsenal medical team will wait for the injury to settle before assessing the extent of the problem today.

But early indications are that Oxlade-Chamberlain, 19, will not be fit to face the German side on Wednesday and could even miss next Saturday’s Barclays Premier League visit of Queens Park Rangers.

Doubt: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up a knock

Doubt: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up a knock

The news will come as a blow to manager Arsene Wenger, whose injury list is already lengthy, with Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny all missing.

There is better news on the injury front for the Gunners, though, in the form of Jack Wilshere.

The England midfielder, who has not played a competitive game for the Gunners in 17 months since picking up a stress fracture to an ankle, was an unused substitute during the defeat at Norwich and will play in the club’s Under 21 fixture against Everton on Monday ahead of his long-awaited first-team comeback, which could come against QPR.

Arsenal took the unusual measure of flying to Carrow Road from London Luton airport in a journey that took under 20 minutes.

It is understood Arsenal decided to travel that way to Norfolk due to train disruptions but the decision backfired as the visitors slumped to a surprise defeat thanks to Grant Holt’s first-half strike. The surprise defeat means Arsenal are 10 points behind early Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Upset: Arsene Wenger does not like the gap at the top

Upset: Arsene Wenger does not like the gap at the top

EURO WATCH

Arsenal’s Champions League visitors on Wednesday, Schalke, pulled off an impressive 2-1 derby win at Borussia Dortmund but it was overshadowed by crowd trouble. On the pitch, goals from Ibrahim Afellay and Marco Hoger secured a third win in a row to cement third place in the Bundesliga.

Wenger admitted the widening gap between his side and the teams at the Premier League summit makes him cringe. ‘The gap is very unpleasant,’ said the Arsenal manager afterwards.

‘We had an opportunity that Tottenham could win and we could win, and we both lost.

‘That, of course, makes the gap a lot bigger and you cannot say you do not worry about that.

‘But what is more disappointing is that we could not score. It was a poor collective offensive performance.

‘It is a good lesson for us but I would have preferred not to get it because, if you need lessons like that, you will stand there at the end of the season and be full of regrets.

‘We have to face the reality that, if you are not completely ready in the Premier League, then you have no chance.’

Remember when…
Chris Sutton of Norwich

The opening day of the 1992-93 season at Highbury and Norwich striker Chris Sutton beats Arsenal’s Steve Bould to the ball. Before Saturday, this was the last time Norwich had beaten the Gunners. A Mark Robins brace plus goals from Ruel Fox and David Phillips earned a 4-2 win for Norwich, who went on to finish third in the table.

Bobby Moore reached 100 caps in a dignified way, sharp contrast to Ashley Cole

Different class: The dignified way Bobby Moore reached 100 caps is in sharp contrast to the crassness of England defender Cole

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 9 October 2012

When the footballer acclaimed by Pele and Franz Beckenbauer as the best defender of all time won his 100th England cap, the occasion was marked by Bobby Moore doing one of the things he enjoyed most.

Driving the Scots demented with frothing frustration, suppressed rage – and grudging admiration.

On St Valentine's Day, 1973, the commanding figure of the only English captain ever to raise the World Cup aloft led his country to the massacre of Scotland at Hampden Park. Great and terrible was the gnashing of sporrans.

Otherwise, the celebration of that noble century was largely confined to a few mentions in the papers, something said by Sir Alf Ramsey, then a few beers with the chaps when we got back to London.

Enlarge

If the caps fit: Bobby Moore poses with 99 boys from the primary school opposite Upton Park on the eve of his 100th England game

If the caps fit: Bobby Moore poses with 99 boys from the primary school opposite Upton Park on the eve of his 100th England game

Bobby dazzler: Moore (right) wins his 100th cap as he and Billy Bremner lead the England and Scotland teams out at Hampden Park in 1973

Bobby dazzler: Moore (right) wins his 100th cap as he and Billy Bremner lead the England and Scotland teams out at Hampden Park in 1973

The jolliest item in the sports pages
was the photograph shown here for which the cameraman had to borrow not
only 99 schoolboys but some caps from other England players, because
each of those items of symbolic headgear was bestowed by the FA not for
each game but for clusters of matches.

An earlier battle with the Auld Enemy
in 1968 set the pattern for what to expect when we landed at Glasgow
airport. An intrepid tartan sportswriter had ventured: 'Welcome to
Scotland, Sir Alf.'

The glowering reply from the England manager in those less politically correct times, was: 'You must be effin' joking.'

The Scots never took to Alf but Bobby
was a different matter. No matter how feisty the sporting enmity,
admiration of greatness at the fitba' resides deep in their soul.

The score that day was 5-0. Take good note of the nil.

When, after games like this in which
their finest foundered on his haughty defending and they called him
'that bastard Moore,' it was said with enormous respect. When the bloody
English failed to knight him, the Scots were first to take to calling
him 'Sir Robert.'

Little or no fuss was made by the FA
as Moore joined the ranks of England’s precious few centurions.Certainly
nothing like the Wembley presentation of a golden cap in a
gold-plated case to Goldenballs when David Beckham reached his 100.

And, most damning of all, nothing like
the palaver that was being planned for the crass Ashley Cole when
expected to reach that landmark next week.

Cole is a very fine defender but Bobby
Moore he is not. Nor, as a leader of men, inspirational figurehead,
honourable gentleman or human being, would he have been fit to breathe
the same air as Mooro, let alone lace his boots.

Moore was intensely loyal but he would
have castigated John Terry, not least for his own good, for that ugly,
vulgar abusing of Anton Ferdinand.

The most imperial of captains had his
issues with the FA but – steeped as he was in the true values and
manners of genuine, old- fashioned working-class London – he would never
have stooped to tweeting crude insults had such a thing existed in his
day.

How soon the inhabitants of Chelsea’s
Bridge of Lies – along with so many of their foul-mouthed, cheating,
threatening colleagues in the Premier League – have forgotten the
dignified example of men like Moore. Forgotten those who paved the way
for them to bank theirinordinate (some would say obscene) pay cheques.

Centre of attention: Ashley Cole, seen here meeting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at St Georges Park could reach 100 caps on Tuesday

Centre of attention: Ashley Cole, seen here meeting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at St Georges Park could reach 100 caps on Tuesday

How the 100 club members celebrated

BILLY WRIGHT
(105 caps, captain in 90 games)
England 1 Scotland 0 (Wembley, April 11 1959) British Championship

Already captain. The first player to reach 100 caps. Bobby Charlton, who was the next centurion, scored the only goal. Wright was carried shoulder-high from the pitch by his team-mates.

SIR BOBBY CHARLTON
(106 caps, captain in 3 games)
England 3 N Ireland 1 (Wembley, April 21 1970) British Championship

Charlton was given the captaincy even though regular skipper Bobby Moore was in the team. Charlton, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst all scored. George Best replied.

BOBBY MOORE
(108 caps, captain in 90 games)
Scotland 0 England 5 (Hampden Park, February 14 1973) Scottish FA Centenary match

It turned out to be a stroll in the park for Moore, who was already captain. A Peter Lorimer own goal was added to by Allan Clarke (2), Mick Channon and Martin Chivers.

PETER SHILTON
(125 caps, captain in 15 games)
England 1 Holland 3 (Dusseldorf, June 15 1988) European Championship

The goalkeeper was given the captaincy but the must-win group match did not end well with Marco van Basten scoring a hat-trick. Bryan Robson netted for England.

DAVID BECKHAM
(115 caps, captain in 59 games)
France 1 England 0 (Stade de France, 26 March 2008) Friendly

The former captain was not given the armband in Paris and in a forgettable match, Beckham was booked for a foul on Franck Ribery and replaced by David Bentley in the second half.

The Mooro generation took their modest stipend and played their hearts out.

Although not poor while their careers
lasted – Bobby drove nice cars, lived in a detached house in stockbroker
Chigwell and dined in fine restaurants – they had to find work once the
glory days came to an end.

Class, he would have informed Master
Cole, does not come with the flash motor he almost crashed when told
Arsenal were only going to pay him as much in a week as Moore earned in a
year, at best. Class comes dressed in humility.

As arrogant Ashley struts his inflated
value of himself in the louche hideaways of today’s privileged
footballers, he might pause to ponder the truly great Bobby’s response
to a fan who came up to him in a pub after he had performed miracles for
West Ham and said: ‘People say you come across as aloof but you seem
really down to earth.’

Moore bought the guy a beer and said: ‘You know, if you’re quite good at something you don’t have to tell everybody.’

Quite good Of all the players in
English football history, Moore is one of the elite who might have been
forgiven for considering themselves worthy of just a modicum of special
treatment. Not him.

When he set the then-record of 107
caps in a friendly against Italy in Turin in the June of ’73, it was the
press, again, who had to salute the achievement.

We took a collection, bought an ornate
piece of Capi de Monte porcelain and presented it to him back at the
hotel after the match.

The celebration went on until we boarded the buses to the airport the following morning – but the party was almost over.

Moore had made a rare error – so rare
as to be a collector’s item – in a World Cup qualifier in Poland which
preceded the Italy game. Ramsey dropped Moore for the return match at
Wembley, only for his replacement Norman Hunter to make the identical
mistake.

Thus England drew a match, in which Poland barely got out of their own half, and failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.

There was one Wembley game left in
’73, peculiarly another friendly with Italy. Ramsey recalled Moore as
captain for what was to be his 108th and last cap — a world record at
the time.

‘I sort of sensed it was the end,’ said Bobby. ‘But nothing was said on the night. I just went home.’

No grand farewell for a magnificent symbol of the national game. Not trumpets blaring. Just went home to wait for the letter.

Back then, even the greatest players
only found out whether they had been selected for the next England game
when the envelope from the FA dropped through the letter box.

For the first time since he made his
England debut in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, the letter did not come.
And that was the end of that.

Imagine the indignant, affronted,
self-righteous fury of Crass-ley and JT – and Becks for that matter – if
their England careers were abruptly ended without a personal,
sympathetic conversation with the manager and a sycophantic tribute from
the FA.

Scotland's 'Sir' Bobby Moore simply
said: 'The next World Cup is four years away. It’s time for younger
guys, fresh faces. I know they don’t need old Mooro any more.'

If the scorn being poured on Cole – as
well as his mate Terry – ignites a bonfire of false egos it will
perform a service to the game almost as important as that given by
England’s greatest captain.

INSIGHT – KENT GAVIN, photographer
Snapper: Kent Gavin

Bobby Moore and I were very good friends and we used to go on holiday to Marbella together along with the likes of Besty (George Best) and all the old crowd.

The summer before he played his 100th game for England I said to him that I’d like to take a photo to mark the occasion.

There used to be a primary school right in front of West Ham’s ground and I thought that would be perfect.

I told him I’d like to take a picture at the school with him right in the middle wearing his England shirt and 99 schoolchildren around him in the caps.

He said: ‘I’d love to do it, but there’s one problem – I don’t have 100 caps!’

I didn’t understand because everybody was saying he was about to play his 100th game. Bobby explained that when they used to play the home internationals they would only get one cap for the three games.

Anyway, I phoned Billy Wright and asked if he’d be willing to lend us his caps and he said he’d love to, so I made the arrangement for 32 of Billy’s caps to be picked up for the photo.

Then came the next problem – I didn’t want the caps to be mixed up as I knew that could be a nightmare with those kids.

I got the headmaster to give out Billy Wright’s caps and to make sure those boys gave their caps back to him, while I handed out Bobby’s caps and got the boys to give Bobby’s back to me.

There are only 99 children because it was just before his 100th game. We picked the 99 youngest at the school as it seemed the only way to make it fair.

If you look at the expressions on their faces you can see just how proud they are to be wearing those caps. It’s just magic.

I remember there was one cheeky devil who had to hand his cap back to the headmaster and came over to Bobby and pointing at the date on the cap, said: ‘I know you’re old, but you couldn’t have played in this game!’

Bobby just fell about laughing.

It took an hour to get the kids seated correctly and settled but it only took 12 frames, in the days of good old film, to capture the picture.

It worked because of the expression on the kids’ faces. Some of the caps don’t fit, some are pulling faces – it’s marvellous.

WERE YOU ONE OF THE CHILDREN IN THIS PICTURE If so, share your memories below

Demba Ba latest: Alan Pardew admits striker could leave

Pardew admits Ba could still leave while he tries to play down rift with Newcastle striker

|

UPDATED:

20:11 GMT, 19 September 2012

Alan Pardew has taken Demba Ba to task over his agent's outburst but been forced to concede the Newcastle danger man could leave for a knockdown 7million in the January transfer window.

It was widely believed Demba Ba's buy-out clause expired at the end of July, but, as he prepared for Thursday night's Europa League tie against Maritimo, in Madeira, Pardew revealed that it kicks in again in the New Year.

Getting ready: Alan Pardew with defender Mike Williamson ahead of their clash with Maritimo

Getting ready: Alan Pardew with defender Mike Williamson ahead of their clash with Maritimo

Heat: Newcastle players train in the sun on Wednesday

Heat: Newcastle players train in the sun on Wednesday

The Newcastle manager was delighted
with Demba Ba's two-goal response to going on as a second-half
substitute at Everton on Monday but less impressed with his agent Alex
Gontran's subsequent claim that they may seek a move, if the 27-year old
continued to be left on the bench.

Furious at such a blatant attempt to
influence his selection policy, Pardew held talks with Demba Ba before
leaving Newcastle Airport on Wednesday and made it clear he would not
tolerate such interference.

The set-to came amid a continuing
wrangle over Demba Ba's future, with the former West Ham marksman
leaving club officials dismayed with his pay demands. His current
50,000-a-week contract runs out at the end of next season, and the
figures he has been asking for have evidently been branded unrealistic
by Newcastle and clubs interested in signing him.

'I have spoken to Demba (about his
agent) and told him I was disappointed with some of the comments around
him,' said Pardew. 'Sometimes it's out of his control and out of my
control.

'But we know each other well enough,
and I've got no problems with him, because he is a team player who wants
to do his best for the team. He has always been like that. The
situation with him is ongoing in terms of his contract, as there is that
clause in there and it makes us vulnerable. That's where we are. It's
still open in the next window.

'I just think the agent stuff was
people saying things they shouldn't say, really. It doesn't really
affect myself and Demba, because we've got a very good relationship.

On song: Demba Ba struck twice against Everton

On song: Demba Ba struck twice against Everton

Stretch: Sammy Ameobi during the training session

Stretch: Sammy Ameobi during the training session

'The
bottom line is that you have to get your players to play at their best,
and sometimes there are different methods for doing that.

'If I'm honest, he gave me exactly
what I wanted (when he went on at Everton). But I knew there would be a
response from him. Sometimes you've got to be honest, and I don't think
he's played particularly well. The same can be said of Papiss Cisse, so
he might have to deal with missing out next time.'

Pardew made the expected wholesale
changes to his squad and was also forced to leave Cisse behind, after
the striker went down with a sickness bug.

Strong: Pardew says he has a good relationship with Ba

Strong: Pardew says he has a good relationship with Ba

Shola Ameobi will start on a night when 37-year-old Steve Harper hopes to extend a European career which he admits he thought was over.

The goalkeeper made his first senior appearance for the club in almost 17 months in the away leg of the play-off against Greek side Atromitos last month, and as a result of number one Tim Krul's elbow injury, returned to Barclays Premier League action at Everton.

Asked if he thought he would ever play
in Europe again, Harper said: 'Last year, probably not. But this year
it's well-documented the conversation I had with the manager.

'He
said we had a lot of games and if I still wanted it, it was there for
me, so at the start of the year there was light at the end of the tunnel
and here I am.'

Despite
spending much of his career as Shay Given's deputy, Harper has
experienced most of the Magpies' big nights on the continental stage.

Ready to go: Steve Harper is set to start

Ready to go: Steve Harper is set to start

He played in a famous 1-0 Champions League victory over Juventus at St James' Park and was in the side which beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in the same competition in 2002-03, while he was on the bench the night Craig Bellamy's late winner against Feyenoord in Rotterdam fired the club into the second group stage.

Harper said: 'Obviously, the two Champions League games against Juventus and Dynamo Kiev were special, the Feyenoord night, going to Barcelona, the San Siro. It was fantastic.

'The good thing about this is, I was able to sit and look at the draw and the bonus is we are going to three places we haven't been to before.

'We are going to Madeira, Bordeaux and Bruges. I was looking at the draw and looking at Partizan Belgrade thinking, “I've been there twice, can we please go somewhere else” Not that there's anything wrong with Belgrade, but you just want to go out and experience new places.

'It's fantastic to come to Maritimo and I'll hopefully get to Bordeaux and Bruges as well.'

Alessandro Del Piero arrives in Australia after joining Sydney FC

Del Piero's rapturous Aussie welcome! Italy legend mobbed after touching down in Sydney

|

UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 16 September 2012

Former Juventus and Italy forward Alessandro Del Piero has already made quite an impression in Australia as he begins preparation to make his A League debut for Sydney FC.

The player who Australian football
officials hope will help revitalise the sport in the country has touched down Down Under to start a two-year contract

Wearing a Sydney FC scarf and signing autographs for fans who had waited up to five hours, Del Piero arrived to a raucous welcome at Sydney airport.

Italian job: Del Piero is lost in the crowd after touching down in Sydney

Italian job: Del Piero is lost in the crowd after touching down in Sydney

The 37-year-old – who will earn 1.3million a season – emerged from the Australian customs area with his family late Sunday morning and was met by hundreds of chanting and cheering fans lined up behind metal security barriers. And His arrival was televised live across the country.

'I am here not for the end of my career but for the start of my new career,' said Del Piero, the biggest signing in the history of Australian football.

His arrival eclipses the league previous marquee signings: former
Manchester United star Dwight Yorke, who also played for Sydney in
2005-06, and former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, who played with the
now-defunct North Queensland team then Perth Glory from 2009-11.

Del Piero made a few comments in Italian and was taken from the airport to a downtown hotel where he planned to rest with his wife, Sonia, and their three children after the 20-hour trip from Italy via Singapore.

And Del Piero will join his first training session with his new team-mates on Tuesday.

Piero-mania! The fans push forward to get a glimpse of their hero arriving with his wife (below)

Piero-mania! The fans push forward to get a glimpse of their hero arriving with his wife (below)

Piero-mania! The fans push forward to get a glimpse of their hero arriving with his wife (below)

Del Piero, a member of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning team and who scored a club-record 286 goals for Juventus, is expected to help bring greater exposure – and spectators – to the struggling A-League, which has suffered from declining crowds and the folding of two teams in the past two seasons.

His decision to play in Australia is being compared with David Beckham's impact on the game in the United States when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata, who traveled to Turin nearly two weeks ago to get Del Piero's signature on the contract, said he was pleased with the response of fans – more than 2,000 club memberships have been sold since Del Piero's contract was signed.

Pignata also said 15,000 Sydney FC jerseys with Del Piero's No 10 and name on the back had been manufactured and were selling fast, with orders from around the world.

Tickets for Sydney's first home match at the 45,000-seat Sydney Football Stadium on Oct. 13 have not yet gone on sale. A Sydney official said although the match was unlikely to be a sellout – 'that's a big call' – it could be the team's biggest first-match crowd in its history.

Aussie rules! Del Piero begins training with his new team-mates on Tuesday

Aussie rules! Del Piero begins training with his new team-mates on Tuesday

Aussie rules! Del Piero begins training with his new team-mates on Tuesday

Del Piero's first official public appearance in Sydney is expected next Sunday – Sept. 23 – when the players will be handed their jerseys for the upcoming season.

His first game for Sydney could be against Newcastle next Saturday, a preseason match scheduled to be played in the Central Coast town of Budgewoi north of Sydney. However, if Del Piero plays, it is expected to be moved to a larger stadium at nearby Gosford.

Sydney plays its first-round match of the new A-League season at Wellington, New Zealand on Oct. 6.

Average attendance in the A-League dropped from a high of 14,600 in 2007-08 to as low as 8,400 in 2010-11, although it increased to 10,500 last season.

North Queensland Fury folded in 2010 and Gold Coast United in 2011, but the league will return to 10 teams with the addition of the Western Sydney Wanderers this season.

Regardless of what he does on the field on his aging legs, the deal has made Del Piero the highest paid athlete in Australia's four football codes, which also includes rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules.

Hero's welcome: The Italian's car was mobbed as it made its way out of the airport

Hero's welcome: The Italian's car was mobbed as it made its way out of the airport