Tag Archives: beautiful

David Beckham named by China as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive game

Save us Becks! China name PSG midfielder as a global football ambassador in a bid to revive their faltering domestic game

Olympics last year and Chinese officials expect his popularity and influence to restore the game's credibility in their country.

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

At a loss: David Beckham came off the bench but couldn't save PSG from a 1-0 defeat by Reims at the weekend

Game changer: David Beckham was a second-half substitute as PSG crashed to a shock defeat at Stade Reims

'2013 marks the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL,' said a spokesman for the CFA.

'While in China, he will attend the CSL and visit clubs to get a deeper insight into football in China.

'He will also help us to inspire and motivate many children to participate in this beautiful game.'

Didier Drogba

Nicolas Anelka

Brief: Former Chelsea forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both quit early into their spells at Shanghai

VIDEO: Watch match highlights of Reims v PSG here…

Germany plan England friendly and USA tour in build-up to 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Going global: Germany plan England friendly and USA tour ahead of World Cup in Brazil

World Cup when Frank Lampard's effort was deemed not to have crossed the line” class=”blkBorder” />

Thrashed: England's last match with Germany was a 4-1 loss in the 2012 World Cup when Frank Lampard's effort was deemed not to have crossed the line

Bierhoff was unveiling Germany's agenda for 2013 in an interview on the website of the German Football Association (DFB), and those plans include a trip to the United States at the end of the Bundesliga season.

Undertaking such a long trip at the end of the domestic season is a subject of debate in Germany, but Bierhoff has defended the decision.

'It has been the case that even the players have not been fully convinced about the sense of these kinds of trip, yet afterwards, they are all so enthusiastic because they realised how much they benefited from it,' he said.

'That will be the case again this time. Miami and Washington are two beautiful cities and we can have a good time there as a team, get to know ourselves better and grow.'

Strong: Most of Germany's side come from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund

Strong: Most of Germany's side come from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund

Strong: Most of Germany's side come from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund

However, Bierhoff is not sure a first-choice squad will be able to make the trip.

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, who account for the lion's share of Joachim Low's current squad, meet in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal, which means one of their season could be over in time for the players to make the trip.

However, the Champions League final falls just days before Germany's planned first game stateside and Bierhoff expects that to interfere with his plans.

'I am fully convinced that we are going to have at least one German side in the final of the Champions League,' he said.

'I would be pleased if that were the case, even if we would then take a squad with a few fresh faces to the USA with us.'

Tottenham"s Mousa Dembele on why he is not the new Luca Modric

I like to play the beautiful game but I'm not the new Modric, says Spurs star Dembele

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 28 December 2012

Mousa Dembele is explaining why he does not score many goals — just six in the Barclays Premier League since joining Fulham in August 2010.

The Tottenham midfielder takes his time and chooses his words carefully, exhibiting the same calm, unhurried manner and balance with which he plays.

It’s not a lack of confidence, he says, but a desire to score the right kind of goal; to ‘do it nice and beautiful’. Welcome to the relaxed, laid-back world of Planet Dembele, where time seems to tick at a different pace and style is everything.

Relaxed: Mousa Dembele was confident he would make an impact in England

Relaxed: Mousa Dembele was confident he would make an impact in England

‘I just like to play, to pass the ball and dribble,’ says the Belgium star. ‘When I was young I never shot. I always wanted to dribble the ball in the goal. I don’t want to shoot because I don’t like to, but it’s different now. You have more experience and you think more.

‘Is it about scoring the perfect goal Yes, maybe. Before I always played on the street with two lampposts that were like a basketball pitch, and we could not shoot. You had to dribble and touch the ball on the posts to score. We never shoot the ball.

‘So maybe it’s because I always played on the street and I liked to do it nice and beautiful.’ He smiles, before saying ‘boom’ and mimicking a driving shot from distance.

‘I know now it’s important to shoot and have the combination,’ he adds, ‘not only to dribble but to shoot a lot as well. I try to do this more and more.

Making an impression: Dembele has impressed since making the move across London from Fulham to Tottenham

Making an impression: Dembele has impressed since making the move across London from Fulham to Tottenham

‘It’s true that I have to improve my hunger to score goals and I think in the last two years I have concentrated more on this. I don’t score a lot of goals but before I only thought about playing nice football. Now I try to be more important for the team by trying to score goals as well.’

This is just one of the reasons Dembele (below) believes we have not yet seen the best of him. Since a 5million move to Fulham from AZ Alkmaar, his rise in English football has been swift and he attracted interest from the likes of Real Madrid and

Manchester United before moving to Tottenham for 15m last August.

He is also part of an exciting Belgium team which boasts Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen, Dembele’s team-mate at White Hart Lane, who he has known since he was 11.

International talent: Dembele is part of the highly rated Belgium squad

International talent: Dembele is part of the highly rated Belgium squad

Although a ‘frustrating’ hip injury has limited Dembele’s appearances so far, Spurs have lost just one of the 10 Premier League games he has started.

‘I know where my career will go,’ he says. ‘When I came to England I had the confidence to do something and I’m happy now that I play for a big club.

‘If you hear big clubs are interested it’s always nice to know people appreciate what you do but when Tottenham said, “We want him”, I didn’t have to think twice. I didn’t think about anything else.

‘You have a lot of players here who like to play football and, for me, it’s important that I can play my game as well. I’ve always had a good feeling with Tottenham, for a long time. We have the calibre to play in the Champions League. I believe in our teams and I believe we can do something special.’

Talking a good game: Dembele gets his views across to Sportsmail's Laura Williamson

Talking a good game: Dembele gets his views across to Sportsmail's Laura Williamson

Dembele is a player who works on intuition, he says, for whom it is important to have a ‘good feeling’, but the more dynamic side of this footballer emerges when the name of Luka Modric is raised.

The current Spurs playmaker is adamant he does not feel like a replacement for the diminutive Croat, who moved to Real Madrid last summer.

‘I never saw myself as the replacement for Luka,’ says Dembele. ‘I feel like I’m a totally different player. For me I like to touch the ball as much as possible. I like to do defensive work and attack from midfield. I think I can do both.

‘If you had asked me who were the best five players in England last season he would have been in my top five. I’m very much impressed by him. But he’s a different kind of style. I don’t feel like his replacement.’

At 6ft 1in Dembele has the physical attributes to be a midfield powerhouse, yet his football education at Germinal Beerschot in Antwerp, a club who work closely with Ajax, and from playing football in the street has given him the technique and close ball- control of a creative playmaker.

You get the distinct impression,
however, that Dembele is still learning. He thinks he can improve ‘in
every aspect’ and has ‘a feeling that I’m not at my top yet’. Football
still seems new to this 25-year-old, who is certainly not a football
‘freak’, as he puts it. Far from it, in fact.

He
cannot name a footballing hero because he never used to watch his sport
on television. Even now, he can usually suffer just 30 minutes at a
time — and then it has to be a ‘top team’ featuring a player or team the
midfielder knows well.

He
prefers going to the theatre or to watch a musical in the West End.
Jersey Boys is his favourite and he knows all the Frankie Valli and the
Four Seasons songs because he has seen it three times. ‘I never watched
football,’ says Dembele.

Not prolific in front of goal: Dembele has not scored many goals since arriving in England

Not prolific in front of goal: Dembele has not scored many goals since arriving in England

‘I could not watch a game for 10 minutes. But in the last three years I’ve started watching football more and more, and now I watch quite a lot. I find it more interesting. Before, I just wanted to play football. Now I can watch it.

‘I like to watch the top teams in
different countries, like Spain or Bayern Munich in Germany. The rest I
don’t watch. I have nothing to do with that.

‘I’m not a freak. I know guys who watch every game. I’m not like that. I need to know someone or have a bit of history.

‘Ninety
minutes Impossible. Maybe 30 minutes, then 10 minutes doing something
else, then another 20 minutes. Ninety minutes is too long.’

Game face on: Dembele taking part in the EA Sports Games console challenge

Game face on: Dembele taking part in the EA Sports Games console challenge

He also found it nerve-racking watching Spurs play while he was injured and would change channel if Andre Villas-Boas’s side were winning — just in case he brought them bad luck.

‘It was strange because normally I’m very relaxed,’ he says.

‘But I was nervous because sometimes we were winning and then I would think, “If I keep watching they’re not going to win”. And I would turn the TV over and keep an eye on the live scores. I’m not really superstitious but with this, yes, I was.

‘I’m usually quite relaxed but it depends how we lose a game as well. I’m always very disappointed but sometimes it’s a bit more difficult. After the game against Everton (when Spurs conceded two late goals and lost 2-1) it took me a while to be relaxed.

‘But even more with this team because you have a feeling you can beat every team there is, so if you don’t play good or we don’t win it’s more difficult to accept it. But it’s OK, it’s life.’

Mousa Dembele was speaking at the Need for Speed Most Wanted Pro Player tournament. Need for Speed Most Wanted is out now for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Playstation VITA, PC, iOS and Android.

Israel will be safer than London for European Under 21 championships – Shimon Peres

Israel will be safer than London, claims president ahead of U21 tournament

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UPDATED:

14:38 GMT, 29 November 2012

Despite the recent conflict with Palestine, Israel's President Shimon Peres has guaranteed that the European Under 21 championship in his country next year will be safer than if it was held in London.

Peres and UEFA President Michel Platini were adamant at a meeting on Thursday that having the tournament hosted by Israel next summer was the right choice.

Peres, who is confident the event will proceed smoothly, said: 'When you come in June, it will be more secure and tranquil than a football game in London.'

Hosts: Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) shakes hands with UEFA President Michel Platini in Jerusalem

Hosts: Israeli President Shimon Peres (left) shakes hands with UEFA President Michel Platini in Jerusalem

Israel-bound: England Under 21s qualified for next summer's tournament after beating Serbia in their tempestuous play-off

Israel-bound: England Under 21s qualified for next summer's tournament after beating Serbia in a play-off

Platini said he is proud that Israel is the host, despite receiving 'many letters' opposing Israel’s bid.

On Wednesday, the Frenchman attended the Under 21 draw in Tel Aviv and a Europa League game in Haifa to assuage skeptics after a bus bombing which wounded 27 people in Tel Aviv last week.

He said: 'We are very proud to come here. Football is a beautiful thing for peace.'

Sam Allardyce wants West Ham fans to tackle vile abuse

Shop the yobs: Big Sam urges Hammers fans to tackle vile abuse

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UPDATED:

00:41 GMT, 28 November 2012

DAVID GOLD

David Gold

The West Ham joint chairman wrote about the unsavoury incident for Sportsmail.

Click here to read his words

Sam Allardyce has called on West Ham supporters to ‘shop the yobs’ they hear chanting racist songs ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United.

The Hammers manager believes self-policing is the only way to stop the idiots who hurl abuse, which he said was ‘destructive’ to the game.

At White Hart Lane on Sunday, West Ham fans bellowed out anti-Semitic taunts and baited the Tottenham crowd over the stabbings of 10 supporters in Rome.

Scroll down for video

Crime and punishment: Sam Allardyce says the fans who chanted will face severe penalties

Crime and punishment: Sam Allardyce says the fans who chanted will face severe penalties

Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Allardyce said he did not comment fully after the game as he had not heard the songs but has since reviewed the footage.

He said: ‘I don’t view any
type of chanting (either racist or distasteful) to be allowed or
accepted in the game of football today.

‘The West Ham fans are absolutely
fantastic and then you’ve got this minority that are creating this sort
of ill feeling towards the vast majority.

VIDEO: Anti-semitic chants at Spurs Fan's video captures shouts in stands

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‘I think fans who are next to these
people should deal with them first and foremost if possible. You don’t
want to be labelled with that type of chanting and that’s where
hopefully a bit of self-policing will be brought in.

‘I don’t know why they’re doing it because it’s only destructive towards this beautiful game.

Embarrassed: Yossi Benayoun (right) was unimpressed with the vile chants

Embarrassed: Yossi Benayoun (right) was unimpressed with the vile chants

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

'I don’t wish to hear any of that chanting. I must stress it is a small minority. The good thing is with CCTV cameras it’s difficult to get away with. They can be picked out and punished accordingly.'

The club are working with Tottenham,
the FA and the Metropolitan Police to identify further culprits after
two fans were cautioned by police for ‘racially aggravated gesturing’ —
understood to be Nazi salutes.

Co-chairman David Sullivan will use
his programme notes for Saturday’s match against Chelsea to reaffirm
the club’s zero-tolerance policy towards racism and ask for people to
come forward with information.

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans where attacked this week

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans where attacked this week

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

WEST HAM'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT

West Ham United are in contact with
Tottenham Hotspur to assist them with their investigation into the
conduct of a small number of supporters and alleged inappropriate
chanting during yesterday's match at White Hart Lane.

West
Ham United will take the strongest possible action against any of their
supporters, including enforcing life bans from the club, that are found
guilty of behaviour which is categorically not condoned by West Ham
United.

During the 46 games
in the Championship last season, West Ham United had zero arrests for
racism or violence, so while we are surprised to see such reports today,
we will examine any available evidence of such conduct thoroughly and
take the appropriate action.

Sir Paul McCartney joins Hillsborough charity single

Legend McCartney joins all-star cast for Hillsborough charity single in Xmas No 1 bid

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UPDATED:

14:20 GMT, 22 November 2012

Sir Paul McCartney has joined 'The Justice Collective' line-up for the Hillsborough Tribute Single 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' which is released on December 17.

Pop stars including Robbie Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Paloma Faith, Eliza Doolittle and Melanie C have joined McCartney for the charity song.

Liverpool United: The charity single will be released on December 17

Liverpool United: The charity single will be released on December 17

LISTEN NOW

Click here for a sneak preview

The song is now the bookies favourite
for the coveted Christmas No 1 spot. Other artists on the track include
Andy Brown (Lawson), Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Mick
Jones (The Clash), Peter Hooton (The Farm), (The Justice Tonight band),
Chris Sharrock (Oasis), Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze), Ren Harvieu, Dave
McCabe (The Zutons), Paul Heaton (Beautiful South), Hollie Cook, Jon
McClure (Reverend & The Makers), John Power (Cast) and Gerry Marsden
(Gerry and the Pacemakers).

All artists have given their time for
free to record the single and the track is produced by the award-winning
Guy Chambers, with all proceeds from single sales going towards the
Hillsborough Families legal costs in their fight for justice.

Welcome along: McCartney has joined 'The Justice Collective' line-up for the Hillsborough Tribute Single

Welcome along: McCartney has joined 'The Justice Collective' line-up for the Hillsborough Tribute Single

Chambers said: 'I am deeply honoured to be asked to produce this record for the 96. If we can help to raise money to support the families' legal battle so that they finally get their time in court then our job will be done.'

Former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish said: 'The families of the 96 should never have been in the position they are now in, of having to fight to get the accidental verdicts from the 1989 inquests overturned. I will continue to support their dignified campaign every step of the way.'

Robbie Williams

Eliza Doolittle

Star-studded line-up: Robbie Williams and Eliza Doolittle have already been confirmed

In 2009, Steve Rotheram, as the then Lord Mayor of Liverpool, brought together; Peter Hooton (The Farm), Dave Pichilingi (Sound City), Phil Hayes (The Picket) and Kevin McManus (Liverpool Acme), musicians, footballers and Liverpool celebrities to record 'Fields of Anfield Road' for the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy. The record spent two weeks in the top 20.

VIDEO: Kenny Dalglish and Guy Chambers at the announcement…

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Steve Bruce: All right-minded fans want rid of this abuse from the beautiful game

Steve Bruce: All right-minded fans want rid of this abuse from our beautiful game

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UPDATED:

00:41 GMT, 6 November 2012

As a player, I was called ‘Elephant man’ at Manchester City, ‘Fat head’ by Liverpool supporters and ‘Potato head,’ by West Brom fans.

At Sunderland, I was called a ‘Fat Geordie b*****d’ and told to get out of the club. I wouldn’t mind, but I was managing them at the time! So, I think it’s fair to say I’ve suffered a fair amount of flak during my time in the game.

While some of it hasn’t been nice, I never had to put up with the vile stuff that has been chanted at some of my colleagues, such as Arsene Wenger and Dave Jones. They have had to suffer quite sickening abuse and it’s about time we cleaned up our act.

Abuse: Steve Bruce says he has been the subject of chants from fans

Abuse: Steve Bruce says he has been the subject of chants from fans

We are tackling racism. It’s not been eradicated but we have made great strides since I started in the game in the late Seventies. I would like to see the same now with some of the horrible stuff which I think crosses the boundaries and can, in no way, be described as ‘banter.’

Everyone chuckles at a clever chant, but there’s nothing clever about the songs being sung at Arsene, or those that have been directed towards Dave, either.

Suffering: Bruce was called various names during his playing days

Suffering: Bruce was called various names during his playing days

It’s sick, really, that sort of chanting — and particularly disrespectful given what Arsene has given to the game here. There may be people out there who don’t like him but does he deserve that I’m sure every right-minded football fan would answer: ‘No.’

Having said all of that, I’m not sure how to stop it, particularly if it is a chant that thousands of people are caught up in.

No laughing matter: Bruce and Dave Jones share a joke but the Hull boss has sympathy for what he has to put up

No laughing matter: Bruce and Dave Jones share a joke but the Hull boss has sympathy for what he has to put up

I suppose you could just ask everyone to think how they would like it if they were subjected to that kind of abuse before they opened their mouths in the stand — to think about how they would feel if their dad, brother or son was the subject of those songs.

So, I would like to see the hateful chanting stopped but not at the expense of genuine ‘banter’ and gentle leg-pulling. If we could omit the other stuff, I’m sure the game would be better for it.

Part-time model Tihana Nemcic takes charge of Croatian football team

The beautiful game: Part-time model takes charge of Croatian men's league side

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 1 October 2012

Tihana Nemcic wants to be treated just like any other head coach. The 24-year-old Nemcic, a former Croatia women's international and part-time model, just happens to be getting more attention than usual.

That's because she has taken over as coach of a Croatian men's football team – fifth division side NK Viktorija Vojakovac.

Nemcic, a former club player in Croatia, graduated in July from the country's Sporting University. Since taking over at NK Viktorija Vojakovac, she has asserted herself as the one in charge – not the center of a media stunt.

It's a woman's game: Tihana Nemcic has taken over as coach of NK Vuktorija Vojakovac in Croatia

It's a woman's game: Tihana Nemcic has taken over as coach of NK Vuktorija Vojakovac in Croatia

She's a star: Nemcic shows off her skills

She's a star: Nemcic shows off her skills

'I am the head coach and I have full liberty to create and plan the team's tactics,' Nemcic said. 'If a woman and a man have the same professional qualifications for a coaching job, I see no reason why I should not get into male football.'

The team is currently eighth in the 16-team league standings with four points after one win, one loss and one draw.

Tihomir Jagusic, one of of the club's players, described Nemcic as 'very good, focused and serious during training'.

'We listen to her,' Jagusic said. 'She is very strict at training.'

Nemcic got interested in the sport when she used to follow her boyfriend to training.

'I was watching him play, how he played… and then I started to play myself and it has become part of me to this very day,' she said. 'This is a big challenge for me. I have had some experience with kids, but with men's teams – no.'

Nemcic is finding life as a coach very different from her days as a player.

'When you are a player, you worry only about yourself and your personal performance,' she said. 'Now, when I am a coach, I have to think about more players. But both jobs are equally nice. Both have ups and downs.'

Nemcic, who was among 15 finalists
for the beauty title of Croatia Miss Sport in 2008, does face a
particular challenge in coaching the men.

'We
have a rule,' she said. 'Boys go in to change. When they are finished,
one of them comes out and calls me in. I would never put myself in the
situation to walk in on them inside the dressing room.'

Many talents: Nemcic is a former Croatia women's international and part-time model

Many talents: Nemcic is a former Croatia women's international and part-time model

Ryder Cup 2012: Jose Maria Olazabal Exclusive

Jose Maria Olazabal Exclusive: Forget majors, nothing beats the Ryder Cup (but I promise not to dance again!)

By
Brian Viner

PUBLISHED:

21:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

Jose Maria Olazabal cried when the United States mounted a comeback to win the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline. He went back to the changing room and wept, although not before taking his frustration out on his locker.

He has also cried at times of triumph. Ryder Cup locker rooms have been awash with his tears down the years.

'You are playing with another 11 players that the rest of the year you are trying to beat,' he says, 'and in that week you try to break all the walls that are in between you.

Spanish highs: Jose Maria Olazabal struts his stuff in 1987

Spanish highs: Jose Maria Olazabal
struts his stuff in 1987

'The camaraderie you experience, that is something that lasts a lifetime. I remember crying in the locker room, players being so happy. It's the most beautiful moment in time.'

Europe's captain played in seven Ryder Cups and could hardly have made a more auspicious debut, teaming up with Seve Ballesteros at Muirfield Village, Ohio, in 1987 to win three matches out of four.

Tribute: The Seve bag to inspire Europe at Medinah

Tribute: The Seve bag to inspire Europe at Medinah

Europe were on their way to a 15-13 victory, the first time the USA had lost on home soil, and Olazabal marked the occasion with a joyous, impromptu dance on the 18th green. Alas, he regrets it.

'The more I look at it, the more ashamed I am of myself,' he says. 'It was one of those moments, I let it go.'

He was on the receiving end of a loss of control at Brookline when, in his singles match with Justin Leonard, the Americans celebrated their man's birdie putt on the 17th by trampling over the line of a putt for a half that Olazabal had yet to attempt. It was inexcusable yet, characteristically, Olazabal tries to excuse it.

'Victory was pretty much a walk in the park (for Europe, four points ahead before the singles). It seemed like the Cup was over and those emotions came afloat in that moment. When you look at it, it's understandable.'

He does not, however, defend the hostility of the crowd that week, so feverishly personal that Colin Montgomerie's 70-year-old father had to leave the course.

'I think when Payne Stewart said he was ashamed of how the crowds reacted, it says it all,' adds Olazabal.

He hopes the crowds in Chicago this week will be more respectful, but also knows they will be fiercely partisan.

'Chicago loves sport. They wanted to have the Olympics: finally they got the Ryder Cup and it's huge for them. They're going to be loud but (Europe's) players cannot allow that to affect their game.'

Leading the way: The Spaniard chats with Graeme McDowell on Tuesday

Leading the way: The Spaniard chats with Graeme McDowell on Tuesday

He will attempt to insulate them with his own brand of motivation, so heartfelt that those who heard him speak in the team room at Celtic Manor two years ago still talk of how moved they were. He has already warned of the dangers of his players being so emotional that they can't perform, but this is the first Ryder Cup since the death of his beloved compadre Ballesteros and he will invoke his friend's spirit.

'I think that his spirit lives with them and in that regard obviously we're going to have some pictures of Seve and things like that, but I don't think I'm going to need to say any more regarding Seve.'

Victory at Valderrama in 1997, the year of Ballesteros's frenzied captaincy, is the Ryder Cup memory that Olazabal cites as his most precious. It represented the revival of a career he had feared was over, following the onset of what was at first diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis in his feet.

Driving force: Olazabal revived his career after he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in his feet

Driving force: Olazabal revived his career after he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in his feet

'It started in '95, problems with my big toe on my right foot, and it got worse. By August I had to tell captain Bernard Gallacher that I was not going to be able to play Ryder Cup. It got to that point when I had to crawl my way into the loo, you know.'

Remarkably, he recovered to play in three more Ryder Cups and, in 1999, won his second US Masters. However, he insists there is no comparison between winning as an individual and being part of a winning team.

'As a Ryder Cup player, the joy that runs through the room is something that you don't experience as an individual.'

Whether or not he is consumed with that joy at Medinah, the 46-year-old has come a long way since his humble Basque boyhood.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports – to be transmitted tomorrow – at the Real Golf Club de San Sebastian, he explains that his parents had been poor tenant farmers who would have faced eviction when the land they worked, owned by a local marquis, was sold to golf-course developers.

But the marquis forced the new owners to find work for his labourers, so Olazabal's father joined the green- keeping staff and his mother mucked in, despite being heavily pregnant with a future Ryder Cup captain.

Olazabal said: 'They finished the first nine holes and somebody had to put the flags on those holes. My mum was the one and funnily enough I was born the following day. 'My parents don't value much what I've achieved (in golf),' he adds.

'They think there are more important things in life than success on the course.'

He believes it, too. But on Friday in Chicago, it might not show.

Watch The Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports in HD, 3D, and on mobile devices via Sky Go and Sky Sports for iPad

Michael Walker: Coventry City"s decline – ON THE ROAD

Michael Walker: Good news and fans in short supply on another day in Coventry's decline

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 9 September 2012

Just before 2.40pm on Sunday, on a beautiful sky-blue late summer's afternoon on the outskirts of Coventry, an announcement of gratitude was made at the Ricoh Arena. It was a thank you. It was for the 9,458 who had turned up.

The collective response felt like one of consternation. There was half an hour left and the score was Coventry City 1 Stevenage 1. There was still some hope.

Yet most of those present knew this was some kind of historic low. Ten minutes later a leggy Canadian striker called Marcus Haber – last seen at St Johnstone, now a Stevenage substitute – met a Luke Freeman corner kick and the score was Coventry City 1 Stevenage 2.

Worrying times ahead: Coventry's caretaker manager Richard Shaw (centre), with Lee Carsley (left) and Steve Ogrizovic, knows he has it all to do to arrest the slide

Worrying times ahead: Coventry's caretaker manager Richard Shaw (centre), with Lee Carsley (left) and Steve Ogrizovic, knows he has it all to do to arrest the slide

That is how it stayed. It meant that Coventry have won none of their five league matches since sinking into the third tier of English football in May. It is the first time since 1964 Coventry have been at this level. They have not won a league game since March. It is not difficult to see why attendances are collapsing.

You need to be around Jimmy Hill's age to recall such a bad time. Hill was manager back in 1964 but Coventry were moving up then. Today movement is downwards and Coventry do not have a manager.

That is just one of many, many problems. Andy Thorn, in charge last season, was sacked after three games of this, which does not smack of planning.

Richard Shaw is in post temporarily but sadly for him, any good news such as (on-loan) David McGoldrick’s opening goal was undermined by developments at the other end of the pitch and a referee who disallowed a genuine second for the home side from Stephen Elliott.

But, when Robin Shroot equalised for Stevenage in the first half, Coventry heads fell noticeably and the visitors – a non-League club two years ago – were the more coherent outfit in the second half. Their victory took them up to third. Coventry, meanwhile, are sixth bottom and travel to second-placed Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

Where is everybody Attendances at the Ricoh Arena continue to plummet

Where is everybody Attendances at the Ricoh Arena continue to plummet

Before then Shaw thinks he may be interviewed for the job but the candidate shortlist is said to be a long one and he did not sound a man being given certainties by the opaque ‘hedge fund’ owners of the club.

Shaw said the team require ‘a few nasty characters’; he spoke of ‘nervousness at the club as a whole’ and ‘too much negativity’. He stressed that he does not have a ‘defeatist attitude’ and talked about making the play-offs.

There are 41 games to go in this slog of a league, so there is time. But you could understand why Shaw said an appointment needs to be made ‘sooner rather than later’.

Coventry City cannot afford much, certainly not a transition season in League One.

Estimated to be 60million in debt, the club rent the Ricoh from the council at a cost of 1.2m per annum. Every week they need to find around 25,000 before turning on a light or kicking a ball.

Hence the newest chief executive, Tim Fisher, has described this season as ‘critical’ in terms of promotion. The economic consequences of third division life can shock even those who think they have bargained for the worst.

The accuracy of Fisher’s assessment guarantees nothing, however. This may be fresh trauma for him and Coventry fans but they are by no means the first club of this stature to slip into League One in recent years.

Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic, Southampton, Leicester City and Norwich City have all been down here.

Head boy: There was an air of inevitability about Stevenage's winner

Head boy: There was an air of inevitability about Stevenage's winner

Only Norwich and Leicester bounced back at the first time of asking. Forest, Leeds and Charlton each had three seasons in League One. Brighton, another club comparable to Coventry in size – and, for a while, trajectory and despair – spent five years in the division.

So, probably when they thought it couldn’t, it could get worse for Coventry City, who moved from Highfield Road to the curious Ricoh Arena seven years ago. It has 32,609 seats, obvious potential despite its location on the edge of town… and a feeling of emptiness.

It will be a long winter

Any Coventry fan who had not bought a season ticket and who fancied walking up for the game at the Ricoh Arena at short notice was confronted by a turnstile price of 22.

That’s 22 to watch third division football of inconsistent quality.

That’s 22 to watch a team who aren’t winning against, with all due respect, Stevenage.

That’s 22 to see Gary McSheffrey sit on the bench.

Last season’s average attendance was just over 15,000. Had Coventry been facing Derby – the third league opponents here last season – then 22 might have been acceptable. Or maybe not. The inflated price of football remains a scandal. As bad as coffee.

At Coventry it may help explain why, on such a gorgeous day, fewer than 9,000 locals turned up – Stevenage brought almost 500. What will happen to the crowds when winter comes