Tag Archives: answer

Fabio Capello: I want to manage in England again

Capello opens door to England return: 'I miss it, the packed stadiums… and Russia has worse problem with foreign players'

By
Adam Crafton

PUBLISHED:

01:31 GMT, 23 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:42 GMT, 23 February 2013

Fabio Capello has opened the door to Premier League suitors, declaring his fascination for English football and revealing his difficulties adapting to life as manager of the Russian national team.

Speaking through a translator at a question and answer session at the Cambridge Union, the former England boss revealed his strong passion for English football.

He said: 'The Premier League is absolutely fascinating. I would be available and would be flattered to be linked with jobs in this league.

Longing: Fabio Capello admitted he misses England after taking over as the manager of Russia

Longing: Fabio Capello admitted he misses England after taking over as the manager of Russia

'Both my wife and I enjoyed our time in the UK and what I miss about football in the UK is that the stadiums are packed, whereas the Russian league is often half-empty.

'I am used to the media attention from Italy and Spain, and I can handle the newspapers and press here. It is just part of the job. In Russia, it is great because nobody can read the newspapers!

Although Capello is finding the Russian media easy to deal with, the Italian revealed the frustrations he has found as he tries to get to grips with the Russian language.

He said: 'It is not difficult when we train but it is very hard to pass on my emotions and motivation to the players and I have to rely on the translator.

'Before a match, I show the players videos and show them bullet points to get my point across but the translator even has to write these because the Russian language has a different alphabet. Sometimes, the translator relates the concepts but not with the feeling that I want to convey.'

Defender: Capello consistently backed John Terry despite his off-the-field problems

Defender: Capello consistently backed John Terry despite his off-the-field problems

New horizons: Capello hopes to lead Russia to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

New horizons: Capello hopes to lead Russia to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Along with the language-barrier, the former Real Madrid and AC Milan boss has grown frustrated with the small pool of Russian players that he has to work with, believing the influx of foreign players in the Russian league to be an ailment even more chronic than the same issue facing the English Premier League, while the long travelling is also proving problematic.

He said: 'I used to complain that there are only playing 38 per cent of Premier League players that are English but the situation is even worse in Russia on this issue. To attract players to Russia, a lot of money is needed.

'Moreover, many of the best teams with these huge private benefactors are located at the borders of Russia so it is a lot of travelling for me.'

And the former Three Lions boss couldn't mask his surprise that AC Milan decided to pay 21million to take Mario Balotelli back to Italy.

Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli

All change: Mario Balotelli moved from Manchester City to AC Milan in the January transfer window

He said: 'When I found out that Milan were signing Balotelli, I thought it was crazy! But he has been playing brilliantly since arriving, he has had no problems with the referee and he can make a difference, as he has showed with four goals in three games. He’s great – but it’s impossible to manage Balotelli!

'With these players, like I had with Antonio Cassano myself you have to speak to them to explain exactly what they have to do before the game – but within five minutes they do whatever they want anyway!'

Paul Gascoigne health fears: Fans see former star struggle on stage at charity event

Fans fear for Gazza's health as former England star bursts into tears during event after slurring that he had been 'on the whisky for three days'The 45-year-old struggled to answer questions during charity appearance'Trembling' former England star ushered onstage by two security guards
He unleashed abuse before apologising to fans who had paid 100-a-headHis agent said Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' but had made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out'

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:29 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 3 February 2013

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Football fans expressed their fears over the health of former England star Paul Gascoigne as they watched the him burst into tears during a rambling appearance at a charity event.

The 'trembling' 45-year-old had to be helped onstage for a question and answer session in which he slurred responses and muttered a slew of curse words.

Guests at the event, who had paid 100 to see the footballer, described how Gascoigne apologised to the crowd, blaming 'three days on the whiskey' for his performance.

The Newcastle-born footballer, widely
regarded as one of the most gifted English players, has battled
alcoholism and drug use since retiring from the game in 2004.

The 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a
funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the exchanges with
his agent Terry Baker.

Gazza rose to national prominence during the Italia 90 World Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany.

Following
the breast cancer charity event, hosted by Northampton Town, a further 15 speaking
events were cancelled – some at former clubs where Gascoigne is
regarded as a hero.

Mr
Baker said that the former midfielder did not drink whisky and that the
comment had been a botched joke about being on a 'whisky diet'.

He said that Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' despite having made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out' but

He told The Sun: He probably shouldn't have gone out but he didn't want to let all those people down.'

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Struggles: The ex-footballer has long struggled with his alcohol addiction and drug use

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

One
attendee wrote an online account of the evening in which he described
how guests were told that Gascoigne was 'very ill' but had 'insisted on
appearing'.

The fan claimed
that guests were told the former Newcastle United and Lazio star would
be brought to hospital 'immediately afterwards'.

He said Mr Barker told guests that
his client had consumed two pints and that they should be 'patient' with
him, telling them to 'remember Gazza for the good times he gave us'.

Once ushered onstage, Gascoigne was asked who the best player he had played with was.

Paul Gascoigne

1990 World Cup

Fallen star: Gascoigne rose to prominence during the 1990 World
Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

According to the account, he answered: 'Bryan Robson. But he's a ****. They're all ****s. You're all ****s.'

After apologising, Gascoigne broke down again as he struggled to answer questions.

The performance was said to have left 'a lump in everyone's throat'.

Gascoigne's manager Matt Jones today said the former footballer had been 'up and down' recently.

He added: 'Paul is getting the help and support that he needs. I am in regular contact with him and his counsellors and just giving him the support that he needs.

'The reality is that Paul is an alcoholic. He has been very good of late but every day is a battle not to have a drink.'

Having won 57 caps for England after a glittering career in which he played for Lazio and Everton, the star tried to address his alcoholism on several occasions and has spoken about his attempts at rehabilitation.

Jose Mourinho tells Rafael Benitez "mind your own business"

Mourinho tells Benitez 'mind your own business' after Real comments

|

UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 22 December 2012

Jose Mourinho has told Rafael Benitez to keep his mind on managing Chelsea instead of passing comment on Real Madrid.

Mourinho was reacting to a radio interview Benitez carried out in midweek with Spanish station Onda Cero.

During the interview, Benitez was told that Real Madrid were interested in employing him when his contract runs out at Chelsea.

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

He replied: ‘I know things, but I am not going to say anything about Real Madrid because I don’t think I should.’

Benitez’s evasive answer suggested rumours that Real are lining him up to come in at the end of the season have strong foundation.

Mourinho said: ‘As a Chelsea fan, all I can say is that I hope he was not thinking about Real Madrid during the Corinthians game.’

Benitez oversaw Chelsea’s defeat by the Brazilian side in the Club World Cup last Sunday, missing out on the honour he picked up at Inter Milan after Mourinho had won the Champions League with the Italian club.

Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and could even end up back at Chelsea, while Benitez is among the Spanish club’s options.

Asked about drawing Manchester United in the next round of the Champions League, Mourinho said it was too far away to comment on the game.

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

But he did lament the current form of his team as they go into their last game of the year having already dropped more points this season than in the whole of last.

He said: ‘We have to improve in all aspects of the play. We are not happy with our numbers from these first months of the season.’

The match against Malaga on Saturday is Mourinho’s 400th league game in top flight football and he questioned whether his players shared his motivation to go on winning.

He said: ‘I did not realise about reaching 400 games until I was told but I know that I have lost less than 40 games. That is less than 10 per cent defeats.

‘I have never been found wanting in terms of motivation. The players have to find that motivation and improve.’

He all but ruled out the possibility of Real facing Manchester United in February boosted by new January transfer window signings.

He said: ‘I think the winter market is not something that works for Madrid. I don’t think anyone will be coming in or going out.’

Charlie Austin: Profile of Europe"s leading goalscorer

Austin heaven! Former bricklayer leading Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao in Europe's goalscoring charts

|

UPDATED:

13:35 GMT, 7 November 2012

EUROPE'S LEADING SCORERS

Charlie Austin (Burnley) 20

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 18

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 17

Tom Pope (Port Vale) 17

Picture the scene, you’re taking part at your local pub quiz and the following question gets asked: Who is the top scorer in Europe this season

Cristiano Ronaldo, right No, no, it’s Lionel Messi. Hang on, what about Radamel Falcao All wrong, it’s a Berkshire-born boy called Charlie Austin, who scored yet again for Burnley on Tuesday night to take his tally to 20 for the season.

So who is he

A strapping 6ft 2ins centre-forward, equally adept on the deck or in the air, and now looking a snip at the 1million Burnley shelled out for him in January 2011.

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season
Why the long road to prominence

The short answer is he was deemed too short as a boy. Like Steven Gerrard before him, he underwent a significant growth spurt in his late teens, after he was released from Reading’s academy as a 15-year-old in 2004.

What's so special about this season

Good question. His partnership with Jay Rodriguez was one of the obvious plus points of Burnley’s mid-table return last season, but he's reveled as the main man since the England Under 21 international’s 7million switch to Southampton.

Austin has shown great adaptability, looking equally at ease in a 4-4-2 formation or leading the line alone this campaign. Quite simply, he has the gift of getting into the right place at the right time.

IN HIS OWN WORDS….

'In my first season, I got 20, but only 19 were league goals, the other I scored one in the play-off semi-final against Charlton. That’s the only time I’ve done it before.

'It has been as good as it gets and hopefully it continues for me personally, and for the football club.

'It is nice to break records, and if they keep coming then great, but it is all about winning and getting the three points.'

'To score 20 goals in any season is brilliant. I am happy to have got there but I am a team player and my goals help the team. Against Leeds it did for a 1-0 win.

'I don’t have a target. I’ll just keep working hard in training and bring it out on the pitch.'

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: 'The thing that I like is his team mentality. He is staying nice and steady with himself. He keeps going in there.

'That’s what I love about real goalscorers: they don’t give it up, they always think they’re going to nick one, and in tight games they’re the sort of people that you need to win'

Who discovered him

Intriguingly, former Swindon Town chairman Andrew Fitton can take some credit for giving Austin his break in the Football League. Fitton was previously chairman of Hungerford Town, one of the 23-year-old’s former clubs, and recommended him to then Robins manager Danny Wilson in September 2009.

Had his record caused a stir amongst other clubs

Yes. In fact, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe knew he had plucked a rough diamond from the rubble of the town’s building sites in the summer of 2009.

As a semi-professional, Austin bumped up his 80 weekly pay packet by working as a bricklayer for his dad’s business, but Howe offered him the chance to go full-time only to be scuppered by a Football League-imposed transfer embargo, allowing Swindon to step in.

How many more can he score this season

Sean Dyche, the new manager at Turf Moor, refused to cap his potential following his latest strike – a powerful header – downing Leeds, and pointed to the 49 goals Clive Allen netted for Tottenham in 1986-87 as a target to aim for.

That is one more than Austin managed during 2008-09 for Poole Town in the Wessex League, seven tiers below his current level.

Can he go all the way to the top

Don’t rule it out. Austin is something of a throwback to the 1980s when Stuart Pearce, Ian Wright and Vinnie Jones – electrician, plasterer and hod-carrier respectively – emerged as part-timers and rose to the international stage.

Dyche, and Howe before him, waxed lyrical about his team ethic, suggesting he has the attitude to match his talent.

Arsenal set Theo Walcott deadline for contract talks as Arsene Wenger plans January clear-out

Tell us you're staying by end of November: Arsenal set Walcott deadline for contract talks as Wenger plans January clear-out

|

UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 30 October 2012

Arsenal want a definitive answer from Theo Walcott over his contract dispute by the end of November.

Gunners chiefs are planning a final round of talks with the forward's representatives next month, with both parties still hopeful of reaching an agreement.

If a common ground cannot be reached then Walcott will be made available during the January transfer window.

Juventus are monitoring the contract stand-off, as are Liverpool and Chelsea.

In the running: Theo Walcott (centre), who will enter a final round of contract talks with Arsenal next month, gives team-mates Jernade Meade (left) and Francis Coquelin the slip during training at London Colney yesterday

In the running: Theo Walcott (centre), who will enter a final round of contract talks with Arsenal next month, gives team-mates Jernade Meade (left) and Francis Coquelin the slip during training at London Colney yesterday

Set for a rise Walcott (right), wants an improvement to his 60,000-a-week deal, challenges Wojciech Szczesny, also back from injury, during training yesterday

Set for a rise Walcott (right), wants an improvement to his 60,000-a-week deal, challenges Wojciech Szczesny, also back from injury, during training yesterday

Walcott could head an Arsenal clear-out in an attempt to boost their coffers even further during the January sales.

Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci are also set to be made available.

Chamakh is wanted by former club Bordeaux, while Brazilian club Internacional are also interested in the Morocco striker.

However, 28-year-old Chamakh's possible return to France is being scuppered by his 50,000-a-week wages.

He is keen on a return, but Bordeaux
are only willing to offer him a deal worth half that and Chamakh is
unwilling to take such a drop.

Arsenal substitute Andrey Arshavin before the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Arsenal FC and FC Schalke 04 at Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2012

Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh celebrates after scoring against Leyton Orient during a FA Cup fifth round replay at the Emirates Stadium in March 2011

Pointing at the exit: Arshavin (left) and Chamakh (right) are set to feature – with Walcott – in a January clear-out

Johan Djourou in action v Man City

Arsenal's French defender Sebastien Squillaci in action v Leeds United at The Emirates Stadium, in January 2011

Leaving party: Djourou (left) and Squillaci (right) are also believed to be heading out of the Emirates in January

Meanwhile, Fulham are interested in
Arshavin, while the Russian would also have options in his homeland.
Napoli are interested in signing Switzerland defender Djourou.

January's planned auction is a
continuation of Arsenal's semi-successful summer clear-out which saw
unwanted players such as Manuel Almunia, Carlos Vela and Henri Lansbury
leave on a permanent basis, while Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Park
Chu-young all left on loan.

Supporters will hope funds raised from
the planned January cull will be made available to Arsene Wenger to
strengthen his squad, particularly after the summer losses of Robin van
Persie and Alex Song.

Walcott is seeking a major improvement on his current 60,000-a-week deal, which expires at the end of this season.

Sportsmail understands that the
Southampton Academy graduate wants 100,000-a-week to keep him at the
Emirates – a deal that would now make him the club’s highest earner.

Wenger, however, is reluctant to go beyond their current 75,000-a-week offer.

Enlarge

Theo Walcott of England and Aldo Junior Simoncini of San Marino England v San Marino Pictures Andy Hooper

Enlarge

Theo Walcott of England and Aldo Junior Simoncini of San Marino England v San Marino Pictures Andy Hooper

Enlarge

England v San Marino at Wembley Stadiun - Theo Walcott of England and gets clattered by Aldo Junior Simoncini of San Marino. England won the game 5-0.

Crash, bang, wallop: Walcott missed five weeks of this season after this crunching challenge from San Marino keeper Aldo Junior Simoncini during England's 5-0 win at Wembley last month Pictures: ANDY HOOPER

Walcott receives treatment for a serious injury to his abdomen during the World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium

Chest pain: Walcott receives treatment for a serious injury to his abdomen during the World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium

Walcott and his manager continue to have alternative views over how the forward fits into the Arsenal team.

Wenger prefers to play Walcott on the
right wing, but the England star, keen to utilise his pace, believes he
would make an effective centre forward.

Last month, Walcott said: 'It is a
case of having trust in me up front. I was signed as a striker and it is
about time, I want to play up front. I have learnt my game on the wing.
When you look at what I did last year I think I can do even more.
Hopefully I will be given the opportunity. I am desperate for it.'

Walcott has started only two of his 10
Arsenal games this season, and only one match – the Capital One Cup
thrashing of Coventry City last month – since his contract stand-off
with the club.

Walcott is poised to make his first
Arsenal start for five weeks against Reading tonight, after returning
from the chest injury he suffered on England duty against San Marino
earlier this month.

England v san Marino: A history of the Three Lions versus the world"s minnows

There are no easy games at international level… (unless you're playing this lot!)

|

UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 11 October 2012

It may look routine enough on paper, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for England against some of the world’s lesser lights.

Two of their most emphatic scorelines were accompanied by controversy, with Malcolm Macdonald livid at the way Don Revie treated him against Cyprus and Luther Blissett suffering an unwarranted slur after his hat-trick against Luxembourg. Even opponents San Marino caused embarrassment before succumbing.

And who could forget the way David Healy fired in a dramatic late winner in Belfast seven years ago Here, Sportsmail talks to key figures from some of England’s past encounters with international minnows.

Mac the knife: Malcolm Macdonald thunders in one of his five

Mac the knife: Malcolm Macdonald thunders in one of his five

England 5 Cyprus 0

Wembley, April 16, 1975: Macdonald 5

Malcolm Macdonald: ‘Don Revie made it clear, in the previous game against West Germany, that I was in his squad under sufferance. It was down to pressure from the media, nothing to do with being the in-form finisher in the League and if I didn’t score against the newly-crowned world champions, I’d be out. I did manage a goal, but the message was the same against Cyprus — score, or you’ll never play for me again. The only reason I can think of is that I played for Newcastle and we used to batter his Leeds team and I’d often be on the scoresheet. That shouldn’t have mattered for England, but he was a complex character and it seemed to rankle. It was unprofessional on his part, but scoring five goals was the perfect answer. I was shaking hands with the Cypriots at the end when the scoreboard went blank. Then it lit up with ‘Supermac 5, Cyprus 0’. That was a special moment. I noticed Revie shuffling off down the touchline, shoulders hunched, hands in his sheepskin coat pocket, and I just bellowed: ‘Read that and weep, you b******.’ I knew he wouldn’t hear, but that was just how I felt. In the dressing room, he went round each player, from one to 11, shaking hands and saying thanks. After number eight, Mick Channon, he blanked me and went to 10 and 11, then walked out. Incredible, but what mattered was we’d been brutal with lesser opposition, which England must be tonight.’

Hat-trick: Luther Blissett celebrates his third

Hat-trick: Luther Blissett celebrates his third

England 9 Luxembourg 0

Wembley, December 15, 1982: Blissett 3, Coppell, Woodcock, Chamberlain, Hoddle, Neal, Jeanott Moes (og)

Luther Blissett: ‘I had a hand in the first goal and that was as important as my hat-trick. I drilled the ball across the six-yard box and it went in off a defender. The opening goal is crucial. A couple of headers from Steve Coppell and Tony Woodcock, then it was my turn. I did not get a clean contact on the first but there was nothing wrong with the headers that followed and it was great to have a hat-trick. There was never any chance of us letting up. I always remember my old Watford boss Graham Taylor saying: “If you get the chance to beat someone 10, then beat them 10”. The Sun carried a headline “Luther Missit” the next morning (the paper focused on his missed chances), but I’ve never been one for keeping negative thoughts. There was no chance of it spoiling a great memory.’

San Marino 1 England 7

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna, November 17, 1993: Gualtieri; I Wright 4, Ince 2, Ferdinand

David Gualtieri: ‘I instinctively decided to chase Stuart Pearce’s backpass and when he mishit it, I was in on goal. There was no time to think. Just hit it hard and low and hope it goes in. It did and we were in front after eight seconds. It was the fastest goal in World Cup history and it changed my life. England got on top eventually, but while it was 1-0, the air turned blue with some of the language they were using. Fair play to Pearce, though. When I went up to him at the end, he swapped shirts and shook hands. I’ll get round to finding a frame for it one of these days. Eighteen months later, Scotland played us here and I remember seeing their fans wearing T-shirts that said “GUALTIERI EIGHT SECONDS”. It was really funny.’

Infamous: Davide Gualtieri pips Stuart Pearce to his under-hit backpass before firing past David Seaman

Infamous: Davide Gualtieri pips Stuart Pearce to his under-hit backpass before firing past David Seaman

On target: Martin Keown scores for England

On target: Martin Keown scores for England

Malta 1 England 2

Valletta, June 3, 2000: R Wright (og); Keown, Heskey

Martin Keown: ‘I should have had a hat-trick. It was a warm-up for Euro 2000 and we were all playing for places. I scored one, had another disallowed and should have had more. I was disappointed that the game was too easy. I didn’t have a chance to show what I could do and Sol Campbell and Tony Adams ended up starting at the Euros. When we played smaller teams, there was that uneasy feeling of having to get a good start, otherwise the match would become awkward.’

But beware, don't get too cocky!
Northern Ireland 1 England 0

Windsor Park, Belfast, September 7, 2005: Healy

David Healy: ‘I sensed something was going to happen before kick-off. The corridor from the changing rooms at Windsor Park is narrow and when the England boys emerged, there was barbed wire by the pitch, police everywhere. Our manager Lawrie Sanchez told us to make it like a Championship fixture. James Quinn smashed into Ashley Cole after six seconds and that set the tone. The England players became rattled, none more so than Wayne Rooney. He was only a young boy but he lost it. He was shouting at Sven Goran Eriksson and was lucky not to be sent off after elbowing Keith Gillespie. David Beckham did his best to calm him down but the body language among England’s lads was a giveaway. When I shot past Paul Robinson 15 minutes from time, it was a great feeling. There are murals of that goal on walls in Belfast and one has Lawrie’s words on it. “These boys have achieved immortality in Northern Ireland sport.” That’s what it meant.’

Flying start: David Healy fires in the winner as Ashley Cole looks aghast

Flying start: David Healy fires in the winner as Ashley Cole looks aghast

The no-hoper files: England’s record against the international whipping boys…

WHEN THEY’VE CRUISED

September 1, 1996: Moldova 0 England 3, World Cup qualifier

September 10, 1997: England 4 Moldova 0, World Cup qualifier

September 4, 1999: England 6 Luxembourg 0, Euro qualifier
Five goals in the first half.

June 6, 2009: Kazakhstan 0 England 4, World Cup qualifier
Took the lead after 20 minutes and eased to victory.

September 7, 2012: Moldova 0 England 5, World Cup qualifier

WHEN THEY’VE BEEN BRUISED

October 14, 1998: Luxembourg 0 England 3, Euros qualifier
Home side missed early penalty and late goals added gloss.

October 13, 2004: Azerbaijan 0 England 1, World Cup qualifier

March 30, 2005: England 2 Azerbaijan 0, World Cup qualifier
Two tight, scrappy games.

October 11, 2008: England 5 Kazakhstan 1, World Cup qualifier
Made sure with three goals in the last 13 minutes.

WHEN THEY’VE BEEN BOOED

March 28, 2007: Andorra 0 England 3, Euros qualifier
Awful first 45 minutes.

September 6, 2008: Andorra 0 England 2, World Cup qualifier
A dreadful, goalless first half.

June 18, 2010: England 0 Algeria 0, World Cup group stage
Wayne Rooney ranted at England fans who booed the team.

West Brom boss Clarke hit by injury blows for Thomas and Reid

West Brom boss Clarke hit by Thomas and Reid injury blows

|

UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 13 September 2012

West Brom winger Jerome Thomas will be sidelined for a further two weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Thomas has suffered a series of injury niggles during the summer including thigh and hip setbacks.

Doubtful: West Brom's Steven Reid (right)

Doubtful: West Brom's Steven Reid (right)

He has been unavailable for the first four league and cup games of the campaign and is now facing a further spell out of action.

Baggies boss Steve Clarke confirmed: 'He has had a lot of niggling injuries over the course of pre-season.

'He's just had a minor operation on his knee and he will be out for another couple of weeks.'

Right-back Steven Reid is battling to overcome the hamstring injury suffered during the 2-0 win over Everton before the international break in time for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Fulham.

Clarke said: 'I'm hopeful more than confident in terms of Steven being available.

'He is a good professional, he knows his body well and, when I ask him the question, he will give me an honest answer.

'But I won't ask that question until later tomorrow.'

Albion have collected seven points from their opening three matches but striker Shane Long has warned of Wolves having the same tally at the same stage last season and ending up being relegated.

Clarke said: 'Shane came up with that stat and it shows the players I've got are level headed, intelligent and grounded.

'They understand how difficult the Premier League is and to get points, you have to play well and work hard every game.

'There is no-one inside this building getting carried away. We are delighted with the start we've made but that's it.'

Clarke added: 'There's maybe a top six who have their own competition, then beyond that there's a separate league and we are all trying our best to finish top of that.

'That's the challenge for a club like Albion.'

Mo Farah tipped for knighthood

Sir Mo Yeah right! Farah tipped for knighthood after double gold triumph

|

UPDATED:

22:53 GMT, 12 August 2012

In a leafy street in Portland, Oregon, is Mo Farah's home. On the dining-room wall are his trophies. And on that wall, next to a signed Arsenal shirt, is space for a couple of medals.

It is where the gold bullion that he won over two of the most memorable nights in British athletics history will reside when the Somalia-born, London-raised runner returns to the place across the Pond that shaped him for greatness.

He already had two European golds when he took the defining decision of his career, namely to go to the States to work with Alberto Salazar, the three-time New York Marathon winner and maverick coach supreme.

Yea right! Mo Farah has been tipped for a knighthood after his double gold at the London Games

Yea right! Mo Farah has been tipped for a knighthood after his double gold at the London Games

Would the gamble pay off Would Farah's family settle The definitive answer came on Saturday night when he won the Olympic 5,000 metres to go with the 10,000m title he had won on the previous Super Saturday.

'It was awesome,' he said. 'I just can't believe it. Double Olympic champion. You do have a dream as an athlete.

You dream of becoming Olympic champion but then to do it twice, in your home town, words can't describe it.'

Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee, did manage to find the right words, saying: 'He will go down indelibly in British track and field as probably the greatest athlete we have produced.'

It is understood that Farah's feats will win him a knighthood, along with two other of the Games' high achievers: four-time gold medallists sailor Ben Ainslie and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

I asked Farah on Sunday what a sword's touch would mean to him. His face immediately broke into the widest of the many wide smiles he wore on Sunday.

'Yeah right,' he said. 'I don't know about a knighthood. I've never thought of it. It would be something amazing if that did happen.'

Just as amazing, possibly, as what most certainly did happen.

Farah is also a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Farah is also a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Farah is also a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Only six men had ever achieved what he accomplished here, the 5,000m and 10,000 double: the flying Finn Hannes Kolehmainen, Czech Emil Zato-pek, Soviet fighter Vladimir Kuts, the immortal Finn Lasse Viren (who did the double twice), Ethiopia's Miruts Yifter and his compatriot Kenenisa Bekele.

Farah delivered a run of perfect judgment in what was for a long part a pedestrian race. It ended with scorching pace.

He went through the l ine in a way reminiscent of Coe winning the 1500m at Moscow 32 years previously -arms outstretched, his mouth manically wide and his eyes popping out of his head. His antics only got better.

He took Usain Bolt's lead and, where the Jamaican had done some press-up, he did sit-ups. Both men were on the track for their respective medal ceremonies, Bolt for the 4x100m relay.

They swapped their trademark celebration: Bolt did Farah's Mobot, putting his hands to the top middle of his head to make an 'm' with his elbows, and Farah mimicked Bolt's lightning strike pose. All very amusing.

'I can't believe he did the Mobot when he was breaking the world record,' said Farah, 29, who must be the chief challenger to Wiggins for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

'Usain and I get on really well. He's a busy guy but I always talk to him when I see him. We have a good relationship. My daughter Rhianna loves him and when he came over that made her day.

At No 10: Farah performed his trademark Mobot celebration alongside prime minister David Cameron

At No 10: Farah performed his trademark Mobot celebration alongside prime minister David Cameron

'He gave her a hug and she took a picture with him. She was like, “Bolt! Bolt! Bolt!” She was more bothered about Bolt than my medals.'

But back to Salazar, a Cuban who insists on a massive work ethic but marries that philosophy to space-age technology. Farah admits that when he moved over to the States he 'ran like a girl'.

He said: 'I mean that in terms of not moving my arms and, when I'm tired, being all over the place. So I trained my core, did weights, ran on the underwater treadmill.'

He won the world 5,000m title last year under Salazar's tutelage. 'It turned out to be a genius move,' he added. 'There were a lot of questions asked at the time because I came back double European champion and people were like, “Mo, why you changing it when everything's going so well”

Another contender: Bradley Wiggins could also receive a knighthood for his Tour de France and Games triumphs

Another contender: Bradley Wiggins could also receive a knighthood for his Tour de France and Games triumphs

'But I was coming sixth, seventh in world events. If I hadn't made that change I wouldn't be here today. Everyone was there in the last lap, you saw it, and it's the extra one or two per cent that counts. I've always had it; I just haven't been able to finish as strong.'

Still, Farah is looking to the future, personally and professionally. He and wife Tanya have twins on the way. 'Apparently they've got long legs,' he said.

'We went for a scan. Their dad's got long legs and so have they. They could follow me into running.' The marathon, possibly London next year, awaits, and it could earn him 500,000 if he wins. Before then he would like a nice car to celebrate.

'A Jaguar maybe A Ferrari' He was asked how he can be a legend, as if he is not one already.

More medals, more records, more distances, he said. The Mobot keeps on going. For us, though, there is time to reflect on Farah's contribution to London 2012 and what many observers believe was the greatest track meeting ever staged.

JONATHAN MCEVOY'S TOP FIVE OLYMPIC MOMENTS
Usain Bolt

1 BOLT, BOLT, BOLT

The 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m (with a world record) all fell to the ultimate entertainer. He even did all that in a total competition time of just 99 seconds. Rio may be an Olympiad too far for his dodgy back but didn't we fear for him here The Greatest of his era in any sport.

2 MO FARAH

The centrepiece of two of the most fabled nights of sport ever staged in this country. His win in the 10,000m came in 45 minutes that delivered three British medals – unforgettable. His 5,000m victory a week later was perhaps even better.

3 DAVID RUDISHA

The Kenyan provided the near-Beamon moment of these Games. His 800m win was simply majestic. Out on his own, totally unconcerned with the rest of the field, he broke his own world record with 1min 40.91sec.

4 GOLDEN GOODBYES

Sir Chris Hoy and Ben Ainslie left the Olympic stage with gold medals, Hoy's sixth and Ainslie's fourth over four Games. Both steeled themselves to acts of conspicuous competitiveness. Will they be back

5 LAURA TROTT

Described by performance director Dave Brailsford as a once-in-alifetime cyclist, she showed her brilliance during many energyfilled nights of success in the Velodrome. Her two golds and Victoria Pendleton's valedictory one formed part of the British women's dazzling success story.

Sir David Murray denies Rangers cheating allegations

There was no cheating! Former Rangers owner Murray denies financial allegations

|

UPDATED:

15:30 GMT, 6 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Former Rangers owner Sir David Murray has denied cheating took place during his stewardship of the club after the Scottish Premier League appointed an independent commission to investigate alleged undisclosed payments to players.

Murray sold his majority shareholding in Rangers to Craig Whyte for 1 in May 2011, before the club was forced into administration in February of this year over an unpaid tax bill accrued during Whyte's tenure.

Failure to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement meant the club were consigned to liquidation over the summer, before a consortium fronted by Charles Green purchased the business and assets of Rangers.

Statement: Sir David Murray has spoken his mind

Statement: Sir David Murray has spoken his mind

The Ibrox side will play in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season after SPL clubs rejected the newco's application for entry to the top-flight.

Murray said: 'I have decided to issue this statement because of the concerns which I have at the continuing attempts to inflict further punishment on Rangers Football Club.

'While the 'Newco' Rangers was rejected for membership of the SPL on the publicly stated grounds of sporting integrity, I would question whether this was the underlying motive for many who took this decision.

'I am not totally convinced by the explanation that they were reacting to the opinions of the supporters of their individual clubs.

'This, in my opinion, is a suitable answer to cover many other agendas.

'I applaud the decision of the SFL to accept Rangers for membership and respect the decision of the member clubs of the SFL to admit Rangers to its Third Division.

'The problems at Rangers have brought no credit to Scottish football and are a tragedy for the club and for all those connected with it and who support it.

'They cannot be condoned and it is appropriate that there should be a proportionate penalty for the club for the events over the last year.

'However, I urge all those connected with Scottish football to bring this sad affair to a close – now. Bayoneting the wounded is neither justified nor proportionate.

'Nevertheless, I cannot be anything other than angered at the suggestion that Rangers should be stripped of titles or other competition victories.

'This suggestion is an insult to the staff and players who achieved these successes thanks to skill, hard work and commitment and for no other reason.

'It is also an insult to the thousands of Rangers supporters who spent their hard-earned money to support the club they love.

'I hope that those presently in charge of Rangers show sufficient resolve when it comes to resisting this move, despite the incentives being offered to do otherwise.'

FULL MURRAY STATEMENT

I have decided to issue this statement because of the concerns which I have at the continuing attempts to inflict further punishment on Rangers Football Club.

While the 'Newco' Rangers was rejected for membership of the SPL on the publicly stated grounds of sporting integrity, I would question whether this was the underlying motive for many who took this decision.

I am not totally convinced by the explanation that they were reacting to the opinions of the supporters of their individual clubs.

This, in my opinion, is a suitable answer to cover many other agendas.
I applaud the decision of the SFL to accept Rangers for membership and respect the decision of the member clubs of the SFL to admit Rangers to its Third Division.

The problems at Rangers have brought no credit to Scottish football and are a tragedy for the Club and for all those connected with it and who support it. They cannot be condoned and it is appropriate that there should be a proportionate penalty for the Club for the events over the last year.

However, I urge all those connected with Scottish football to bring this sad affair to a close – now. Bayoneting the wounded is neither justified nor proportionate.

Nevertheless, I cannot be anything other than angered at the suggestion that Rangers should be stripped of titles or other competition victories.
This suggestion is an insult to the staff and players who achieved these successes thanks to skill, hard work and commitment and for no other reason.

It is also an insult to the thousands of Rangers supporters who spent their hard-earned money to support the Club they love.

I hope that those presently in charge of Rangers show sufficient resolve when it comes to resisting this move, despite the incentives being offered to do otherwise.

I believe that there is a misconception which may lie behind this suggested penalty and accordingly it is my duty to clarify certain matters.

During my stewardship of Rangers no rules were breached or circumvented and I reject and resent any suggestion that anything was done which amounted to cheating.

As was required of a PLC, all accounts were fully audited and made available to all entitled parties. All football rules were complied with. All enquiries from entitled parties or organisations were answered.

To those who criticise certain actions undertaken on behalf of the Club, I suggest that they familiarise themselves with all relevant rules before they come to any conclusions or express any opinions.

This is particularly relevant to the SPL rules where it would appear that there are efforts to retrospectively rewrite laws to incorporate items not previously covered.

The SPL rules variously required disclosure of all contract of service matters and all payments from a club to a player.

It would now appear that these are to be rewritten to incorporate non-contractual loans from independent third parties and other non-contractual matters.

If this is the case then press comment over the past few years would appear to indicate that several clubs other than Rangers may well have fallen foul of the soon to be changed historic laws.

It would also appear that the SPL is once again seeking to invest itself with a power of retrospective penalty beyond that prescribed in its own rules.

Much has been said and written about EBTs.

It should be noted that the tax treatment of these is an issue as yet unresolved and it is wrong to prejudge the outcome.

It must be stressed that the tax tribunal will determine the appropriate tax treatment in respect of the arrangements operated.

This is not a criminal matter and there is presently no question as to the legality of these schemes.

Rangers agreed contracts of employment with its players (and staff). The EBT scheme involved the contribution of funds into an offshore discretionary trust managed by independent trustees.

The trustees could and did make loans to individuals carrying interest with scheduled repayment dates.

There was no contractual or beneficial entitlement to the funds on the part of any individual and the monies paid to EBTs were not “remuneration” in terms of any rules applying to the Club.

Since 2001 when the EBT scheme was introduced, the amounts contributed were disclosed in the audited financial statements of the Club. These audited accounts were provided to the SFA and SPL as required.

As the law stands, it is the right of every taxpayer to minimise his tax liability.

For example, taxpayers are entitled to maximise contributions to pension funds and benefit from the resultant tax allowances. Tax AVOIDANCE is a right. It is tax EVASION which is a crime.

In December 2010, as a result of legislation changes introduced by HMRC, EBTs were rendered tax inefficient. Thereafter the Club made no further contributions to EBTs.

For the avoidance of doubt, many thousands of employees in many areas of business and commerce have benefited from EBTs.

Rangers sought only to provide financial security for players (and staff) within the rules of law and football. To suggest that this amounted to cheating in the sporting context is an allegation which is without any foundation.

I, of course, wish the 'new' Rangers every success for the future. I have no doubt that the present generation of players and staff will make a positive and beneficial contribution to the SPL and, in due course, return the Club to a position of pre-eminence in Scottish football.

However, I am determined to support those who served the Club with such dignity and integrity during my stewardship.

Euro 2012: Vincente del Bosque hails "extraordinary" final performance

Spain coach Del Bosque basks in 'extraordinary' final performance

|

UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 1 July 2012

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque labelled his side's record-breaking performance in Kiev on Sunday as 'extraordinary'.

La Roja became the first international side to win three successive major tournaments thanks to their 4-0 win over Italy, the biggest final win in European Championship history.

Del buoyed: Vicente del Bosque hailed an extraordinary display

Del buoyed: Vicente del Bosque hailed an extraordinary display

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put Spain in control.

And once Thiago Motta had gone off with a hamstring injury just four minutes after his introduction, Italy were forced to play the final half hour with 10 men.

That allowed Spain to really rub it in as Fernando Torres added a third before setting up Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata to wrap up an incredible win.

'It's true we were lucky enough to play a great match,' said Del Bosque. 'Everything worked for us.

'It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent.'

The manner of the triumph was the perfect answer to a growing number of critics, who have labelled Spain boring.

Spain reign: (Left to right) David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Llorente, Iker Casillas and Raul Albiol

Spain reign: (Left to right) David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Llorente, Iker Casillas and Raul Albiol

Arsene Wenger joined that band with some particularly pointed comments earlier in the day.

Wenger was present in Kiev in his role as a pundit for French TV and could not fail to be impressed.

Del Bosque insisted there was no outside influence involved in Spain's success.

'We played our own game,' he said. 'There were no real external influences: we were faithful to what we've done in recent years.'

Del Bosque expressed some sympathy for Italy, who had less preparation time after Thursday's semi-final win over Germany.

Off and running: David Silva (left) is mobbed after opening the scoring

Off and running: David Silva (left) is mobbed after opening the scoring

'The Italians have played a great tournament,' said Del Bosque. 'They had the bad luck of the injury to Thiago Motta and that's where it all ended for them, unfortunately.'

Andres Iniesta claimed the man-of-the-match award after another exceptional performance.

He is one of four players – Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xavi are the others – to have started all three final triumphs.

'It's very nice to have this man-of-the-match trophy but it's especially great to be champions again,' he said.

It's ours: Sergio Ramos lifts the trophy next to team-mates Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Andres Iniesta and David Silva

It's ours: Sergio Ramos lifts the trophy next to team-mates Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Andres Iniesta and David Silva

'The team played a great match and all the players were at their top level. We are very happy.'

Iniesta backed up Del Bosque's sentiments about criticism having no effect.

The Barcelona man insisted Spain stayed true to their beliefs.

'Everybody has their opinion,' he said. 'We are not here to say that our game is the most beautiful of them all.

Silva service: Spain took an early lead and never looked back

Silva service: Spain took an early lead and never looked back

'Everyone has a different view.

'Today, we had a great level of play and were faithful to our style.

'That they only had 10 players made things easier for us.

'This victory is unique and magical. It is something that cannot be repeated. We haven't ignored how great it is.'