Tag Archives: apology

Massadio Haidara could return against Fulham after Callum McManaman"s horror tackle

Haidara could be back NEXT WEEK after speedy recovery from McManaman's lunge

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:30 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 28 March 2013

Massadio Haidara could return to action next week after the Newcastle defender was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Wigan's Callum McManaman

Fortunately for the 21-year-old and Newcastle, the French defender could feature against Fulham next weekend, but will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Pardew, while surprised at comments made
by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez after the
game, was simply relieved not to have lost his January signing for
several months.

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Asked if either the club or the defender had received an apology from the Latics, he said: 'No, I don't think so.

'I was a little bit surprised at the manager's and the chairman's
comments that it was a fair challenge – I think everybody else could see
that it wasn't. But that's opinion and I can understand them wanting to
defend their player.

'It would be interesting to know what their opinion would have been if
it was Cheick Tiote on [James] McCarthy, their outstanding young
midfield player.

'But it is what it is, it's done and we move on to another game.'

Haidara lies in agony on the ground

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage
.
Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Pardew also
renewed his calls for the Premier League to employ professional
assistant referees in the wake of McManaman’s controversial challenge.

Pardew’s belief that referees should
team up with full-time assistants was only strengthened in the wake of
the incident at the DW Stadium during which the French
full back was carried off with what looked at the time like a serious
knee injury.

Unsighted referee Mark Halsey took no
action over the tackle, and McManaman escaped retrospective action
because one of the officials did have a clear view and deemed it fair.

Haidara's fellow full backs Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon are also on Newcastle's casualty list for the trip to the Etihad.

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

David Moyes wants Marouane Fellaini to be like Lionel Messi

Moyes urges main man Marouane to copy Messi and keep his cool

|

UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 31 December 2012

Marouane Fellaini has been urged to model himself on Lionel Messi as he prepares to make his comeback from suspension at Newcastle on Wednesday night.

The fiery Everton midfielder reiterated his apology for the headbutt on Ryan Shawcross that cost him a red card at Stoke and reassured manager David Moyes over his future by insisting he would not try to engineer a move away from Goodison Park in the January transfer window.

But while Everton will welcome him back after three games out for violent conduct, Moyes is taking steps to ensure there is no repeat of the costly loss of control.

Smile, be happy: Marouane Fellaini has been told to chill out by his manager

Smile, be happy: Marouane Fellaini has been told to chill out by his manager

Heads, you lose: It comes after the Belgian was sent off for butting

Heads, you lose: It comes after the Belgian was sent off for butting

‘If I was playing against Felli, I’d try and wind him up,’ said the former Preston centre half. ‘Anybody would. It’s what happens with good players, and I keep telling him he just has to get on with it.

‘The best person to look at for that is Lionel Messi. Every person targets him, everyone tries to kick him and stop him. They’ll do everything.

'He is the best in the world and he gets physically attacked every game, but all he ever does is get up and get on with it. That is the sign of a top player.

‘I feel as if Felli let us down at Stoke, but that is in the past. He has paid his punishment, as we have as well, but I don’t have any concerns about his character overall.’

Despite being targeted by Chelsea and Manchester United, Fellaini claimed he was in no hurry to leave Goodison.

‘I have a contract with Everton until 2016, and, if the club want, I will see that out,’ he said. ‘I know I am hot, and I want to move forward one day, but I will finish my Everton contract if they want me to.

‘Normally I am an honest player but that was just frustration at Stoke. Shawcross was pushing and pulling me the whole game and, in the end, I just exploded. But I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry for what I did.’

Get on with it: Lionel Messi takes his fair share of kicks and knocks, but stays cool

Get on with it: Lionel Messi takes his fair share of kicks and knocks, but stays cool

Fellaini, 25, revealed how he has become a target for unwanted attention off the pitch and has been forced to move away from Merseyside.

‘I am living in Manchester now, because in Liverpool, the women were crawling for me,’ he said. ‘It was too much. In Manchester, people don’t recognise me that much and tend to treat me in a more respectful way.

'I don’t want to be a star. I just want to play football.’

Moyes, who has secured Seamus Coleman’s long-term future on a new five-and-a-half-year deal, confirmed that midfielder Darron Gibson will be out for a month with a thigh strain.

‘It’s a big loss,’ he said. ‘It also limits our options, because Phil Neville is recovering from a knee operation. At least Marouane can drop back in and John Heitinga can step in, too, if need be.’

Rafael Benitez has sights set on Chelsea winning the Premier League – Martin Samuel

The world is not enough: Benitez wants glory in Japan to be the springboard for domestic success

|

UPDATED:

00:12 GMT, 15 December 2012

If all goes well for Chelsea in Yokohama on Sunday, Rafael Benitez knows the speech he intends to make. He will deliver it some time prior to the game with Aston Villa on Sunday, December 23, Chelsea’s first Premier League game after returning from Japan.

/12/14/article-2248309-16829310000005DC-373_634x396.jpg” width=”634″ height=”396″ alt=”Happy team: The squad are looking in good shape as they head into Sunday's final” class=”blkBorder” />

Happy team: The squad are looking in good shape as they head into Sunday's final

More from Martin Samuel …

We can still win the title! Chelsea boss Benitez believes Blues can see off Manchester rivals
15/12/12

MARTIN SAMUEL: Benitez moves up in the world! Chelsea reach Club World Cup final after Rafa pulls off Luiz masterstroke
13/12/12

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool issue grovelling apology for tapping up Dempsey
11/12/12

Man City 2 Man United 3: Mancini left to pay for missing out as RVP clinches derby
09/12/12

Chelsea 6 Nordsjaelland 1: Rafa's first win tarnished as Blues crash out of Europe
05/12/12

Martin Samuel: Rafa the 'interim' knows his place in Roman's Chelsea empire
25/11/12

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0: Poisonous welcome for Benitez as Torres draws blank
25/11/12

Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 1: Aguero spot kick not enough to stop Mancini's men crashing out after early Benzema strike
21/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

What began so promisingly with eight wins and a draw in nine league games lost its way after the home defeat by Manchester United on October 28, resulting in Di Matteo’s brutal departure less than a month later and Benitez’s appointment as interim manager.

He hates the term, with its lack of permanence. Benitez does not see himself as Chelsea’s interim anything. He is the manager until the end of the season and then, he hopes, beyond. If Chelsea do not want him, he believes he will have improved his CV and a rival surely will.

He is not short of self-assurance, for all the brickbats he suffers from Chelsea loyalists. Far from being cowed, Benitez regards Chelsea as precisely the sort of club his track record merits and he may well be right.

For those willing to open their minds, there have been definite improvements under Benitez in recent matches, and not just in the goalscoring form of Fernando Torres. It is popularly believed that Benitez was brought in to restore the value to Roman Abramovich’s 50m investment and, with five goals in his last three games, he is doing that. But there is more.

David Luiz is playing with greater responsibility and has discovered an alternative role in midfield, and Chelsea are tighter and better organised throughout. Benitez would say his team is fitter and physically stronger, too, the result of adjustments in training.

He believes his techniques improve players. ‘I feel sure we will be better and better every single week,’ he said from his perch on the 70th floor of Chelsea’s waterfront hotel in Yokohama.

Mount Fuji lay in the distance, obscured by mist. It is much like Chelsea’s title challenge. It is there all right: but, right now, no-one can see it. ‘I remember at Valencia when we won the league in season 2003-04, we were eight points behind Real Madrid in January,’ said Benitez.

David Luiz

Rafa Benitez

Improvement: Chelsea's defence, including David Luiz (left) has looked better thanks to Rafa Benitez

‘We were in a hotel, in a corridor,
and I was talking with Roberto Ayala, Santiago Canizares and Mauricio
Pellegrino, maybe Aimar, and I told them we would win the league. They
thought I was crazy.

‘But I
told them we could do this and I remember Canizares mentioning that
conversation to the media when we’d finished eight points ahead of Real
Madrid.

‘The way we trained was the key and we will train in a similar way at Chelsea. I talk to the players here, too, but I cannot implement all of my ideas yet because we don’t have the time. When I took over, very quickly we had to play Manchester City, and then Fulham — so it’s about lifting confidence. Yes, I can see myself saying similar positive things if we return from Japan with this trophy.

‘It will be a slightly different speech, though, because it will be about that first game, against Aston Villa. If they can reproduce the same level in that match that they have produced out here, I think they will regularly again and it will become easier to play matches at a high level.’

Although he did not see it, Benitez was emboldened by reports of the Manchester derby. The resilience of Manchester United in scoring a late winner notwithstanding, the idea of them going two goals clear and then surrendering the lead, and of City going two behind, getting back into the game and still losing, has made him believe this remains an open race.

He is right, of course. The fact that no team have looked particularly convincing — apart, ironically, from Chelsea early on — leads Benitez to believe that a run of wins could easily restore his team to the contest. He has John Terry to return at the heart of defence, and limited improvements to be made in the January transfer window.

Benitez is unconvinced that Chelsea need a marquee signing such as Falcao of Atletico Madrid to assist Torres, but will work with whatever arrives. Another striker is the prime target, although he has ruled out using Theo Walcott in this role.

Clearly, short term, the plan is to dig in over Christmas, get back to winning ways and then wait for reinforcements.

Dig in: Benitez believes his team can challenge City and United for the title

Dig in: Benitez believes his team can challenge City and United for the title

Watching brief

As for his relationship with the fans,
Benitez is resigned to winning grudging respect and no more. The mission
begins on Sunday with the hope he will deliver a major trophy at the
Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

‘If you talk with the players, especially after they have worked with me, you will understand what we are doing,’ he said. ‘Talk with Ruben Baraja, talk with Mista, my centre forward, we were pushing and pushing back then, but now they say it was the best time in their careers. We were improving, learning and winning.

‘I have a degree in physical education. I was a teacher in a school for three years, in a gym for five years. I was teaching people and to teach people you have to explain and they have to understand.

‘It’s not about explaining it once and that’s it. You might have to explain in different ways, repeat things, teach them.

'Yesterday, we had penetrating passes that were part of our training sessions, so I was really pleased to see what we had done put into practice. We are giving them solutions.

'Look, if you analyse my CV and then the CVs of other managers people think are amazing in England, you might think, “What is going on here”

‘I shouldn’t have to say this, but I have a lot of confidence with football. I have had this for years.

Finding the way: Fernando Torres (left) has been helped by the introduction of Benitez

Finding the way: Fernando Torres (left) has been helped by the introduction of Benitez

'When I was 11 I was playing football,
winning the league between schools in Madrid, and I was the captain of
the team. After, I was writing and taking notes, even at 13, still
analysing.

‘I was at the Real Madrid academy and got injured, but I’d been playing with the likes of Vicente del Bosque and I wasn’t scared of any of them. I might not have had the pace to compete, but I knew where I should make the run, or the pass, or the movement. I had confidence in my analysis.’

And he still does. They might not like Benitez at Chelsea, but they may have to lump him. Everything about the last two weeks suggests he may be about to do rather well.

Liverpool apologise to Fulham over Clint Dempsey tapping-up affair

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool issue grovelling apology to Fulham over Dempsey tapping-up affair

|

UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 12 December 2012

Liverpool have made a grovelling apology to Fulham over the tapping-up of Clint Dempsey in the summer.

A statement from Fulham, expected today, will confirm that in return the club have dropped their complaint to the Premier League over the affair.

The peace deal came only after a personal visit by Liverpool co-owner Tom Werner to Craven Cottage chairman Mohamed Al Fayed was followed up by a letter from Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre admitting that the club’s behaviour ‘was wrong’ and ‘simply never should have occurred’.

Centre of attention: Dempsey was courted by Liverpool in summer

Centre of attention: Dempsey was courted by Liverpool in summer

The letter, sent last Friday, confirms that a meeting took place between Werner and Fayed, during which the former apologised for Liverpool’s actions regarding Dempsey last summer.

Fulham blame Liverpool for unsettling the player and creating the circumstances that led to his move to Tottenham on transfer-deadline day.

Ayre wrote: 'Please also consider this letter from me to be an additional expression of sincere regret and apology from our club to your club for our actions last summer. Our club can do better and we pledge that it will.'

Fulham’s official complaint followed a series of clumsy bulletins from Liverpool and their owners, the Fenway Sports Group. The first was an announcement on the FSG website that Liverpool had signed Dempsey from Fulham.

This was followed by an interview on the
Liverpool website with manager Brendan Rogers, in which he talked of
the USA forward in glowing terms.

Full apology: Ayre has expressed regret on Liverpool's behalf to Al Fayed

Full apology: Ayre has expressed regret on Liverpool's behalf to Al Fayed

Full apology: Ayre has expressed regret on Liverpool's behalf to Al Fayed

Finally, pictures of Liverpool's new strip with Dempsey's name on the back were published.

The 29-year-old had been on a summer break in America when the FSG announcement was made, and Fulham’s complaint to the Premier League intimated that their relationship with the player who was last season’s top scorer had not recovered from that point.

Dempsey did not officially go on strike, but told Fulham he wanted to leave.

The club considered he was becoming a bad influence in the dressing room and he did not play a game for Fulham before signing for Tottenham.

On target: Dempsey scored in the recent defeat to Everton

On target: Dempsey scored in the recent defeat to Everton

Wolfgang Stark admits red card mistake in Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg

I'm sorry! Refreshingly honest ref Stark admits red card gaffe in Dortmund defeat

|

UPDATED:

17:38 GMT, 10 December 2012

German referee Wolfgang Stark has apologised for making a decisive error during Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 defeat at home to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

With Dortmund leading 1-0 after 35 minutes, Stark showed Marcel Schmelzer a red card for what he perceived to be a deliberate handball on the goal-line.

Scroll down for video

Error: Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer, left, is shocked to see referee Wolfgang Stark send him off

Error: Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer, left, is shocked to see referee Wolfgang Stark send him off

However, replays showed that the ball
had struck the defender’s leg and the referee took the uncharacteristic
step of coming out after the game to explain his mistake.

Stark, who has refereed at European Championships, World Cups and in the Champions League, said: ‘I am sorry, but it was an error in interpretation from me.

‘We have taken a look at it again in the dressing room, together with the referee observer.

‘During the game, to me it seemed a clear handball on the goal line, so penalty and red card.

Remonstration: Schmelzer pleads with the referee to listen to his version of events

Remonstration: Schmelzer pleads with the referee to listen to his version of events

‘Unfortunately, the pictures speak a different language. It shouldn’t happen, but it has happened.

‘The penalty and the red card were mistakes.’

However, Dortmund were in no mood to be forgiving, with their director of sport, Michael Zorc blasting: ‘We have a case here where Stark has completely decided this game against us with his refereeing and that is obviously hard to accept,’

Apology: Stark, talking to Mario Gotze here, explained himself after the match

Apology: Stark, talking to Mario Gotze here, explained himself after the match

Coach Jurgen Klopp added that Schmelzer ‘should receive the peace prize’ for his reaction.

The German champions Dortmund remain third in the Bundesliga on 27 points, 14 points behind Bayern Munich after just 16 games.

Manchester City fan who confronted Rio Ferdinand apologises after pitch encroachment charge

'I'm ashamed and have let my family down': Man City fan who confronted Ferdinand says sorry after bursting on to pitch at shameful climax to manic derby

|

UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 10 December 2012

The Manchester City supporter who ran on to the pitch to confront Rio Ferdinand has issued a grovelling apology for his action during a tumultuous derby on Sunday afternoon.

Matthew Stott, 21, was restrained by Blues keeper Joe Hart and then arrested after he raced onto the Etihad Stadium pitch following Robin van Persie's stunning late winner.

He has since been charged with pitch encroachment and has released a statement through his solicitors. In the meantime, City have removed his season ticket with immediate effect and he will be banned from the stadium for life if found guilty in court of a charge of pitch encroachment.

Scroll down for video

Nicked: The City fan is hauled off by police and stewards after attempting to confront Ferdinand

Nicked: The City fan is hauled off by police and stewards after attempting to confront Ferdinand

In the statement, the landscape gardener, from Knutsford, said: 'I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players. I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

'I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans. I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.'

'I have been a fan of Manchester City Football club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years.'

Rebecca Caulfield, solicitor at Stephen Lickrish and Associates, is representing Stott.

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

She said: 'Scott is a hard working man who has held a full time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.

'He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before or at any other ground. He is extremely remorseful and is mortified by his behaviour which is completely out of character.

'This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family, and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life.

'Mr Stott will accept the consequences of his actions. He would like to make clear that he is not the stereotypical drunken football fan but a fan that attends games with his father.

Apology: Stott plans to write to Ferdinand to express his regret

Apology: Stott plans to write to Ferdinand to express his regret

'He is embarrassed and ashamed of his temporary moment of madness that has brought wider consequences on the club he supports and his fellow fans.'

Greater Manchester Police today confirmed nine people had been charged in connection with trouble at yesterday's Manchester derby.

Among the charges faced by the nine people are racially aggravated public order and pitch encroachment.

Police are still hunting for the person who threw the coin which struck Rio Ferdinand above the eye.

A City spokeman confirmed: 'His season card has been immediately removed for the rest of the season
and he has been charged to appear at court. If he is found guilty he
faces a lifetime ban.'

VIDEO: Fans react to the aftermath of the violence…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv31980','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31980”,
'videoPlayer' : “2025466108001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2245857/Manchester-City-fan-confronted-Rio-Ferdinand-apologises-pitch-encroachment-charge.html”

});

Santi Cazorla won"t apologise for West Brom "dive"

Cheating Cazorla insists diving is NOT a big issue for football as Arsenal midfielder refuses to say sorry to West Brom

|

UPDATED:

10:18 GMT, 10 December 2012

Santi Cazorla will make no apology to West Brom's players for cheating to earn a penalty on Saturday because he believes that diving should not be a controversial subject.

The Arsenal midfielder's theatrical tumble set Arsenal on the way to a 2-0 victory, but players and pundits poured scorn on his embarrassing behaviour as he became the latest player to take a tumble.

But Cazorla does not believe such a fuss should be made. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph two months ago, the Arsenal midfielder: 'Sometimes you dive and yet it's not something that should be a big controversy.

Going down: Cazorla dived to gain Arsenal a penalty

Going down: Cazorla dived to gain Arsenal a penalty

'It's something that happens in football. Sometimes you're thinking: “Will they touch me or won't they touch me” You go over and then realise they haven't touched you. It just happens.'

Pressure is growing on the FA to begin taking retrospective action on blatant dives in an attempt to stamp it out the game.

It is not part of FIFA's laws of the game which means the FA can write their own rulebook and use video to review incidents of blatant cheating and punish players accordingly.

Accusation: The Spaniard won't apologise to West Brom

Accusation: The Spaniard won't apologise to West Brom

Although there is no immediate plan to introduce retrospective action for simulation, an FA spokesman said on Sunday that 'stakeholders in the English game continually review their agreed position.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who will sit down with Cazorla on Monday, is notorious for missing key moments of a match when his players have fouled but back in April he was clear on his feelings about diving.

He said: 'If an obvious dive is punished by a three-match ban, players would not do it any more.'

England prepare for third Test in India with confidence

Broad pays the price as confident England seek to turn up heat on India

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 3 December 2012

What a difference a week makes. England, who had reached the point where they had begun questioning their own methods, go into Wednesday’s third Test here with one of the greatest series wins in modern times suddenly within their reach.

Now, after the extraordinary turnaround in Mumbai, it is India who have the problems, not an England side who arrested the decline which had seen them lose seven Tests this year with a stunning 10-wicket second Test success.

Serious questions would have been asked of England had they crashed to defeat No 8 in Mumbai. Certainly, it is unlikely they would have felt able to announce a big change to their coaching structure in the aftermath of another reverse. It would have looked as though Andy Flower was being demoted.

Back in the frame: Steven Finn is set to face India in the third Test

Back in the frame: Steven Finn is set to face India in the third Test

New row with BCCI

The ECB have said sorry to the Indian board after failing to get official clearance for the England Performance Programme’s trip to India.

Although arrangements for the visit were put in place back in the summer, they were not rubber-stamped at board level.

The Indians were irritated by the fact that the EPP’s game in Navi Mumbai provided Steven Finn with a chance to prove his fitness ahead of the third Test. The BCCI have accepted England’s apology.

Instead, England have been imbued with such confidence that they are set to make at least two changes to a winning team, acutely aware that they will need contributions from more than just the four outstanding performers from Mumbai if they are to make history here and in Nagpur.

Steven Finn declared himself fit and ready to make his first appearance of the series and that will surely mean England will drop their vice-captain and one of their most highly regarded players, Stuart Broad, for the first time in four years. Figures of 36-2-157-0 for the series have left Broad as vulnerable as at any time in his career.

David Saker, the England fast bowling coach, paved the way for the move with a well-directed verbal boot up Broad’s backside after Mumbai and the Twenty20 captain’s subsequent tweet suggesting he had been ill for a week was at odds with England’s insistence that he was fit going into the Test.

Clearly England believe Broad has not helped himself on this tour and they will not hesitate to bring in the extra pace and bounce of Finn, who had been earmarked for a leading role in their attack in India before he hurt his thigh on the very first day of the tour having bowled just four overs.

‘It was majorly disappointing,’ said
Finn after bowling six overs in practice at Eden Gardens. ‘I’ve never
had that feeling of something popping before. It was alien to me, scary
and frustrating. I had a great chance of playing in that first Test but
it wasn’t to be. Now I’ve had a bit of time out, had a good work-out
with the Performance Squad and I feel fresh. I’m in a good place.’

Dropped: Stuart Broad has paid the price for his poor performances

Dropped: Stuart Broad has paid the price for his poor performances

Finn talked like a man who was expecting to play when he reflected on England’s seismic victory secured at the Wankhede Stadium to level this four-match series without him. ‘It was difficult knowing the lads were there in Mumbai celebrating a win, being together, and I was on the other side of town with the Performance Squad watching it on TV. It was a strange feeling and one I didn’t particularly enjoy so I’m keen to get in on the act if that happens again.’

Ian Bell, another man apparently refreshed by time away, in his case to be with his baby son, will also return, with the only question being whether it is Jonny Bairstow or Samit Patel who makes way. Logic would suggest that Bairstow, who is still to convince against top-quality spin, should stand down but it is not a foregone conclusion, particularly as Patel’s bowling is less important now that Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar are the first names on the teamsheet.

England’s tinkering from a position of strength contrasts starkly with the pressure being felt by MS Dhoni, whose demand for another pitch that turns from ball one has been met with firm resistance from the Eden Gardens curator.

Prabir Mukharjee, the 83-year-old
groundsman, is clearly a man who likes to do things his way, but it
remains to be seen whether his determination to prepare a true surface
against the India captain’s wishes will help or hinder England. It is
usually that sort of low, slow, worn pitches in this part of the world
that bamboozles them.

Under pressure: Sachin Tendulkar

Under pressure: Sachin Tendulkar

What is beyond doubt is that India’s batsmen, with the exception of their new star Cheteshwar Pujara and one of their old ones in Virender Sehwag, need a score, not least the struggling megastar that is Sachin Tendulkar.

One legend of the game in Ricky Ponting bowed out on Monday and all of India is now speculating as to whether the Little Master will soon follow.

It has been suggested here that Tendulkar has told the Indian selectors that it is up to them when he finally stands down, in which case it will take a very brave man to tap him on the shoulder and say: ‘It’s time to go now Sachin, old son.’

More likely, the leading runscorer in the history of Test cricket will be allowed to go on for a little while yet, at least until he has made eight more appearances to reach the magical 200 mark. Sachin is known to love a landmark.

To justify that he needs to fare better against Panesar, who dismissed him in Mumbai both with a ball that turned square and one that did not turn at all. The latest instalment of the duel between Panesar and his hero will be a compelling one.

As indeed should be the whole Test. England are due to win a toss and will surely bat first if they do. The pressure would really be on Dhoni if England can make the running with big first-innings runs again.

Groundsman in the spotlight

Prabir Mukherjee , the 83-year-old groundsman at Eden Gardens, has become
the unlikely focus of attention in the build-up to tomorrow’s third Test after he branded as ‘immoral’ India captain MS Dhoni’s request for a pitch which turns from ball one.

Mukherjee threatened to take a month’s leave after the Indian board sent a member
of their grounds and pitches committee to Kolkata to ‘assist’ with preparation.

‘Why does Dhoni want a square turner on the first day’ he asked. ‘Then why are you
selling tickets for five days It’s immoral.’

He has barely been out of the headlines over the last few days, laughing off suggestions that the BCCI could prevent him from speaking to the media.

‘I am at the fag end of my life,’ he said. ‘They are threatening to suspend me if I talk about the pitch. That is the treatment I get after more than two decades of service.’

And Mukherjee has promised a pitch of pace and bounce, which he says will assist Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar as England look to repeat the famous victory at Mumbai.

That could further infuriate Dhoni, who called the Eden Gardens strip an ‘ugly
wicket’ when England played a one-day international here in October 2011.

India v England

Liam Ridgewell pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Ridgewell's bum note: West Brom star apologises after being pictured wiping his backside with pile of 20 notes

|

UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 2 December 2012

West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell has apologised after an embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of 20 notes.

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender claims the picture was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended on it becoming public.

Ridgewell told The Sun: 'The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

'I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.'

The picture showed the 28-year-old squatting over a toilet with nearly 1000 worth of 20 notes scattered over the floor.

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

The West Brom player earns around
20,000-a-week and the picture is sure to anger fans – especially as
that is the average annual salary in the West Midlands – one of the most
deprived areas in the country.

The picture was sent to the newspaper by a fan who asked not to be named, he said: 'The people of West Bromwich earn a fraction of what this idiot earns yet he makes a mockery of his good fortune like this. It makes me sick.

'We’ve always thought footballers were arrogant, overpaid buffoons and this just proves it.’

The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.

They told The Sun: ‘This is a private issue for Liam that has become public.

'It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally.

'Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.'

Mark Clattenburg latest: Chelsea want talks with Mike Riley to clear the air

Chelsea seek clear the air talks with referee chief Riley after Clattenburg debacle

|

UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 23 November 2012

Chelsea will hold talks with referees’ chief Mike Riley as part of a reconciliation attempt with Mark Clattenburg.

Although
they will stop short of a formal apology for accusing him of calling
John Mikel Obi ‘a monkey’, they do want to clear the air.

Returning to action: Chelsea will say they are happy to have Mark Clattenburg back to referee after the race row with John Mikel Obi (below left) was dimissed

Returning to action: Chelsea will say they are happy to have Mark Clattenburg back to referee after the race row with John Mikel Obi (below left) was dimissed

John Obi Mikel

Mark Clattenburg

They will also tell Riley, head of
the Professional Game Match Officials Board, that they are happy for
Clattenburg to officiate Chelsea games after he was cleared by the FA of
saying ‘Shut up you monkey’ to Mikel on October 28.

Riley has made it clear Clattenburg will be involved in officiating future Blues matches.

Mikel has been charged with improper
conduct following his dressing-room confrontation with Clattenburg after
Chelsea’s 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United.

Mikel has admitted the charge and could get a lengthy ban as Sportsmail understands part of the charge relates to his use of threatening language towards the referee.

Alan Leighton, national secretary of
the referees’ union Prospect, has said they did not intend to take legal
action against Chelsea, but the club should feel morally obliged to
make amends via an apology and compensation.

‘This is about an individual who has
been badly wronged and there is not even recognition about what they
have done and that is staggering,’ Leighton said.

Clattenburg will return to action as
fourth official for Tottenham’s home game with West Ham tomorrow. He
will referee Southampton’s clash with Norwich on Wednesday.

His return has been welcomed by
Premier League managers including Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert. ‘Quite
rightly the guy’s been acquitted. It’s been a mess,’ he said.

Sources close to Clattenburg say he just wants to put the nightmare behind him and continue with his career.

Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month

Sitting out: Clattenburg has not taken charge of a game since the match against Manchester United last month