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Sergio Aguero plays pool in Manchester pub – pictures

Aguero sinks the reds (again): Right on cue, City's 38m star joins locals for game of pool in Manchester boozer

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:36 GMT, 11 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:17 GMT, 11 April 2013

We've all been there – sipping a pint in your local pub waiting for that bloke to finish playing pool so you can get a game.

But what would you do if the guy sending you potty was none other than Sergio Aguero

Manchester City's 38million striker isn't the kind of person you'd expect to bump into as you enjoy a post-work drink down your boozer.

Yet, at just before 6pm yesterday, that's exactly what happened in the Woodley Arms in Stockport.

Pool party: Sergio Aguero lines up a shot at the Woodley Arms in Stockport

Pool party: Sergio Aguero lines up a shot at the Woodley Arms in Stockport

Eye on the balls: Aguero focuses on the game against his opponent

Eye on the balls: Aguero focuses on the game against his opponent

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer

Vision: Aguero takes aim inside the boozer as part of an advert being filmed for Puma

Rumours had been circulating that the Argentina ace was going to pop in and around 100 locals got to see him up close.

City boss Roberto Mancini doesn't need to worry about Aguero's post-training habits, however. His visit was part of an advert being filmed by his sponsors Puma.

The player has already spent time being filmed on an all-weather pitch at a nearby sports centre before heading for his game of pool.

VIDEO No chance of a quiet game of pool in this Stockport pub…

Fans descend on Stockport pub to see as Sergio Aguero play pool…

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Famous face: Aguero looked like he enjoyed his visit to the pub

Famous face: Aguero looked like he enjoyed his visit to the pub

Technique: Aguero at the table

Technique: Aguero at the table

Aguero – who scored the winner in Monday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford – was brilliant with the City fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures before driving away in his Aston Martin Vanquish.

Jamie Taylor, manager of the Woodley Arms (and a confesses United fan), was delighted with his pub being used for the event.

He told the Manchester Evening News: 'You couldn’t say No, could you He’s a great player and I was as giddy as anyone when he came through the door.

'A lot of our regulars are City fans
so it’s been a great afternoon for them and something I’m sure we’ll be
having a bit of banter about for a long time.

'He
was pretty handy pool player as well. We’ve got a pool league down here
and if he fancies a regular game he’s welcome any time.'

Local Bob Marston, 70, added: 'Word was spreading like wildfire and I got the call and came straight down.

'I'm
off down to Wembley on Sunday – I was impressed with his pool skills
and hopefully he’ll be in similar form against Chelsea.'

Winner: Aguero fires home against Manchester United - leaving Phil Jones shocked

Winner: Aguero fires home against Manchester United – leaving Phil Jones shocked

Flying high: Aguero celebrates his winner against United at Old Trafford

Flying high: Aguero celebrates his winner against United at Old Trafford

MARTIN SAMUEL – THE DEBATE: Luis Suarez…just "wonderful", but could we have this man as the Footballer of the Year?

Luis Suarez… just 'wonderful', but could we have this man as the Footballer of the Year

/12/29/article-2254245-16A063BC000005DC-974_634x429.jpg” width=”634″ height=”429″ alt=”Kop idol: Suarez has the backing of the Liverpool supporters” class=”blkBorder” />

Kop idol: Suarez has the backing of the Liverpool supporters

Martin,
your colleague from the Times, Tony Evans, wrote a great piece last
season just after Suarez had deliberately ignored the handshake of
Patrice Evra at Old Trafford.

Evans,
a Liverpool scribe and fan, said of the Uruguayan: 'We are not talking
Ian Callaghan here. Suarez bites people. He handles the ball on the line
in World Cup Finals. He dives. He cheats. He verbally abuses opponents.
Luiz Suarez IS obnoxious.'

Enough said. Should Suarez be named Player of the year Should he hell as like.
Red Predictor, Manchester

I can completely understand this
point of view. Its existence was the crux of the piece. Yet we accept
human failings in art, and just look at the work, but expect footballers
to be morally upstanding.

Top bloke, Tony, by the way and a
true Liverpool man. I don’t actually disagree with a word he wrote
there, but would still ask whether an individual can overcome all of
those misgivings to cast a vote.

I said I would find it hard; but
you’ll notice I didn’t say for certain that I couldn’t. You have
stronger conviction on the issue, though, and I respect that.

Touch of class: Suarez took the ball on his chest before slotting home against Newcastle earlier this season

Touch of class: Suarez took the ball on his chest before slotting home against Newcastle earlier this season

Finished off: Suarez's goal against Newcastle was a perfect example of what he's capable of

Finished off: Suarez's goal against Newcastle was a perfect example of what he's capable of

Just goes to show it isn't really Footballer of the Year, it’s the nice person of the year. Ridiculous. Andypom, Wellington

No, it isn’t Andy, but some members of the Football Writers Association, young and old, do believe that being a role model is part of the package. It certainly was when the award was inaugurated and it could be argued that a positive image matters more than ever now, when there is so much dubious behaviour in the game. Not a view I subscribe to personally, but I recognise its sincerity.

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Suarez isn't good enough for the neutral to overlook all the bad things in his game. For every great goal there is an embarrassing dive. Liverpool fans forget that while they may be blinded and biased because he is scoring goals for them, all fans of other clubs see is an undoubtedly talented striker cheating and diving and screaming and stamping. Rinzler, Manchester

True, but the same could be said of many players. Club allegiances work like blinkers at times.

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I wonder who'd get ref of the year. Don’t you think it would be really
interesting to see the result of a ground-by-ground referendum on that
Jimboin, Preston

No.

Wind up: Suarez took a dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes to celebrate his goal in the Merseyside derby

Wind up: Suarez took a dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes to celebrate his goal in the Merseyside derby

Suarez is finally translating his goal scoring form from Holland to the Premier League but he needs to be able to sustain that form. A lot of players go through purple patches and later fade.
Musa, London

Absolutely. Before Suarez, I thought Juan Mata was going to be the outstanding player of the season and since the piece was written Robin Van Persie has come into his own. I was more interested in the idea that Suarez might sustain this form and how football might react to him then.

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Luis Suarez is NOT a racist. You can keep harping on about it all you like but the FA report said Suarez is not a racist; Patrice Evra said Suarez is not a racist. Yet you continue to act like he goes around with a white sheet over his head in his spare time. You are making yourself look ridiculous by continuing to portray him as the pantomime villain while your docile minions lap up every word. Simon, Swindon

Minions Minions I wish, mate. Simon, I’ve revisited the original piece and nowhere does it get into whether or not Suarez is actually racist.

It is, however, utterly disingenuous to pretend that having been banned for a substantial length of time for using racially charged language Suarez is not associated with the practice.

My point was that Suarez does have this pantomime villain status, making it hard to get the credit he deserves.

And by the way, I don’t want docility, just people who understand the argument and enjoy discussing or arguing it in a civilised way. Which I hope we’re doing here.

Spot of bother: Suarez was the World Cup villain in 2010 as he saw red for handball in the quarter-final with Ghana - but the Africans missed the penalty and the striker was a hero in Urugauy as they progressed (below)

Spot of bother: Suarez was the World Cup villain in 2010 as he saw red for handball in the quarter-final with Ghana – but the Africans missed the penalty and the striker was a hero in Urugauy as they progressed (below)

So let me get this straight Martin, you wouldn't vote for the best player in the league to pick up the best player award Metro El, Liverpool

Never said that. Read the piece. Could I vote for him, I asked, and replied: 'It would be very, very hard.'

That’s not the same as saying I couldn’t. The whole tone of the column suggested that, using my feelings towards art as a measure, I’d bite the bullet and go with the finest footballer, regardless.

Cheeky: Suarez celebrated after Uruguay dumped Ghana out of the World Cup in South Africa

Maybe the best behaved could have their own award, or perhaps even let them win Sports Personality of the Year. Izzie, Aldershot

Right, because Bradley Wiggins got that just for being a goody two-shoes.

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Society is influenced by the media. Newspapers thrive off the controversy of the characters they depict. Suarez is classed as the player people love to hate, and the bad press he is subjected to week in week out is exaggerated and biased. Palm, Kidderminster

I wouldn’t disagree there. I think each season develops a narrative which drives the news agenda and once a player is cast as a certain character it is difficult to shake off his role in the story.

I think referees are influenced by this narrative, too, as Gareth Bale is now discovering. This means the same behaviour from different individuals will then be treated differently.

Some dives are forgotten, others attract headlines. I’m not justifying or condoning that but I would also argue that good journalists try to resist this trap.

I think Suarez gets a raw deal from referees, and the press, because he has been cast as one of the bad guys.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t contributed greatly to his own dismal reputation..

No goody two-shoes: SIR Bradley Wiggins has done alright for himself in terms of picking up honours

No goody two-shoes: SIR Bradley Wiggins has done alright for himself in terms of picking up honours

Every man commenting on here, regardless of colour, has called another man of a different skin tone a racist name at some time. Whether or not it was to the face, behind the back, in the school playground or driving the car, we have all done it. Move on. New York DJ, London

Speak for yourself mate. I’ve always thought racial language was either part of your vocabulary or not. I’m not being holier than thou, but I just don’t see how somebody is a temporary racist. You either see black men as n*****s, or you don’t.

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There is a flaw in your argument: why will Gary Glitter never be seen receiving a music award
Jimbo, Lincolnshire

Because he wasn’t any good, Jim. Come on. Look, I’ve got Rock and Roll Part 2 on my I-Pod but that’s basically a Glitter Band track with a killer riff and a bit of chanting. There’s a lot of Ike Turner on there, too. One for the ladies, as my wife always says whenever he comes on.

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If there is a black breakaway players' union in response to this, would Suarez, who is one quarter black, not be able to join; or would you have to be 100 per cent black

Would it exclude Rio Ferdinand as he's only 50 per cent black And isn't the idea of forming an exclusive union based on the lines of race in response to another player winning an award based on ability, racist Donga, York

To be fair the idea of a Footballer of the Year Award for Suarez precipitating a breakaway black union was my extrapolation of the controversy such a vote would cause, rather than any proposed event.

Your point about levels of blackness is well made though, and comes back to the Gil Scott-Heron quote about competitions among black people to be blackest.

Anything that divides is ultimately unhelpful and to split black and white players seems a backward step.

Not guilty: Suarez was accused by Wigan of stamping on David Jones this season but he escaped punishment

Not guilty: Suarez was accused by Wigan of stamping on David Jones this season but he escaped punishment

I thought sledding was a massive part of sport. Expatmac, Perth, Australia

No, sledding is a massive part of Polar exploration, like huskies and frostbite. Sledging is perceived to a part of sport, but it doesn’t have to be. And what Suarez was accused of wasn’t sledging anyway.

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Who cares who journalists make Footballer of the Year It's never mattered to anyone except the media, certainly not real football fans anyway. If Suarez finishes as top scorer there's nothing anyone can do to take that award off him. How funny it would be to see his big toothy grin receiving that trophy on the pages of your newspapers. Dobbelina, Camden

Well, the players who win the FWA award seem to care and the list of previous winners is pretty good company, too.

What you fail to understand is journalists are real football fans, too. They supported teams and paid to watch matches until work got in the way. That is why, like fans, they debate the issues, including the criteria of this award.

Now, Dobbelina, would you quit/you really make sick/with your fraudulent behaviour.

Ha ha, you’ve got to know your old school rap to get that one, which by the sounds of his alias, our friend from Camden does. So no offence taken, I hope.

Altogether now: Mistadobalina, MistaBobdobalina, Mistadobalina, MistaBobdobalina… And on that note, as we doff our caps to Del Tha Funky Homosapien (enjoy the clip), let’s try to clear a few things up.

Here is the introduction from Eric Cantona's winners’ entry on the Football Writers Association website, following his award in 1996.

'Controversial, yes, but never boring, Eric Cantona’s personality, presence, goals and achievements should be remembered more than any disciplinary excesses or references to sardines.'

Guess you didn't vote for him then, Martin. Smoke5screen, Liverpool

No, I don’t think I did. Actually, I don’t vote most years because I believe the decision is made too early when the season isn’t decided and I wouldn’t wish to commit to a view I might later contradict in a column. And, by the way, FWA members don’t vote en bloc. It’s not like the Labour leadership contest.

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Well this is a new one, comparing Suarez to an anti-Semite. Alex, Angola

No, I compared our attitude to unpalatable behaviour in the world of art to our attitudes towards sportsmen who transgress in a way that society finds unacceptable. Nowhere does it link Suarez as an individual to anti-Semitism.

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I don't know if they voted for Poet of the Year in Larkin's day but if they did he probably wouldn't win it anyway when up against poetry’s equivalent of Robin van Persie, who has been so sublime and superior to him. Nick, Sarlat

Now, look Nick, I don’t mind you voting Van Persie over Suarez, but if you’re going to come on here dissing Philip Larkin, we may have words.

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The question you should ask is: is there a better player than him No. Zanydave, Wirral

Maybe.

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If John Terry can be England captain then Luis Suarez can be player of the year.
Mooroondu, Brisbane

Terry isn’t England captain. Keep up.

Iconic: Suarez, like Kenny Dalglish during his playing days at Anfield, was handed the No 7 jersey

Iconic: Suarez, like Kenny Dalglish during his playing days at Anfield, was handed the No 7 jersey

So you're saying John Terry, a proud Englishman unlike that cheating Uruguayan, will end up winning John, Minneapolis

No. Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Terry is not even mentioned in the piece. Nothing to do with him at all. Sometimes it helps to read the piece rather than have your interpretation handed down by some twerp on Twitter.

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Too moralist, the British. Fabio Capello was right, they think everybody is wrong and they are right. Leaf27, Montreal

Yes, mate, that’s what’s holding the planet back: morality.

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Suarez is overrated, like Fernando Torres at Liverpool, a big fish in a little pond. He wouldn't last a season at a top club and needs more chances than Andy Cole. Wilson, Fleetwood

Seriously harsh this. I will admit that when a team is ordinary, as Liverpool are, one player can have a disproportionate influence and his ability becomes exaggerated because he is of such worth to that team.

Yet I think it is to Suarez’s credit that he is shouldering such a burden at Anfield.

As far as his chance-to-goal ratio, yes it could improve, but he is not meant to be the main goalscorer in the team. Liverpool messed up in the summer and left him marooned.

I know your post was made in November, and clairvoyance cannot be expected, but look at his performance against Queens Park Rangers on December 30, which was quite exceptional. Not just the stunning turn and straight run for the first goal, how about his contribution to the second

Steven Gerrard plays a long ball out of defence but slips as he strikes it, so it flies aimlessly into huge space on Rangers defensive left. Suarez then chases that lost cause, panicking the Rangers player who makes a hurried clearance, conceding possession.

From that, Liverpool hoof a long ball forward, Suarez wins the header and finds Stewart Downing, whose first touch is poor, but nobody has closed him down so gets another chance and plays Suarez in.

Suarez then drives into the penalty area, hits an excellent low cross which is blocked, the ball returns to him and he scores.

In that entire passage of play, the only quality contributions from either side are made by Suarez. Wonderful.

Race row: Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of abusing Patrice Evra in 2011

Race row: Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of abusing Patrice Evra in 2011

No issue in voting for Suarez. I have never seen him as a diver. I recall only one clear dive where he was getting kicked all about the pitch by some very innocent thug-like defenders. I put going over easy on an equally negative level with shirt pulling and elbows in the back of the head. HM, Dublin

Same here. Don’t necessarily agree about just a single dive from the man but I am inclined to side with a creative player over the negative one when exchanging vices.

Not helping: Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand when the pair met for the first time following the race row

Not helping: Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand when the pair met for the first time following the race row

He has
been associated with too much of football’s dark side, as you state,
because it is all journalists ever talk about. There is never any
mention of him being a loyal, decent family man, the amount of spare
time he has spent in South Africa and his charity work. Chris, Fife

This is Chris Rock’s argument about people wanting credit for stuff they
are supposed to do. Loyal family man Millionaire that gives to
charity What do you want, a cookie

Would Marouane Fellaini at Everton not be up there He dominates every time he is on the pitch. Hard-working, honest midfielder who seems to run games for fun. Barto7, Liverpool

Yes he would. Yet after the performance against Stoke City before Christmas and his ban, would some now say he should be excluded This is one of my points: nobody’s perfect.

Demolition derby: Everton defender Sylvain Distin was raging with Suarez for this challenge

Demolition derby: Everton defender Sylvain Distin was raging with Suarez for this challenge

Translation: the football writers’ Footballer of the Year is a popularity contest and therefore worthless. Gray, Liverpool

Translation: you find it hard to grasp some pretty simple concepts and may need to concentrate more. Thank heavens for our next poster.

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Treason is only a matter of timing, as
the saying goes. If Larkin and Pound were about today, producing their
works while espousing their views, it would take a huge effort to see
past the man and into the written word. Society would rightly condemn
them and probably, for the most part, ignore their work.

They've
benefited from the passing of time, and a society whose condemnations
are tempered, rightly or wrongly, by a sense of 'that's what it was like
back then'.

You don't have to be a role model to win Footballer of the
Year, but you do have to avoid being the kind of player Suarez is. He
might be good at football, but can you really brush the racist comment,
the very obvious diving and the catalogue of video evidence which shows
him being reckless in the challenge, under the carpet

His antics make
it too hard to separate the player from the man. Fats, London

Very hard to take issue with any of that, Fats. You are probably right
that modern sensibilities have changed thought processes and a
right-wing extremist in the arts would be marginalised.

I’m thinking of
the controversy that surrounded Morrissey when he toyed with nationalist
imagery a few years ago, or the reaction to the anti-gay lyrics of
reggae dancehall tracks like Boom /12/29/article-2254245-16AE5851000005DC-397_634x388.jpg” width=”634″ height=”388″ alt=”Tasty A Dutch paper branded Suarez the 'Cannibal of Ajax' after he bit PSV's Otman Bakkal during a game” class=”blkBorder” />

Tasty A Dutch paper branded Suarez the 'Cannibal of Ajax' after he bit PSV's Otman Bakkal during a game

The writer isn't saying Suarez shouldn't win it, he's saying that he won't – not because he thinks that he shouldn't, but because others think that he shouldn't. Tommy, Belfast

Thanks, Tommy, and I mean that. Would you be interested in providing a weekly translation service for the column It would really help some people: I’m particularly thinking Piers Morgan. And this next bloke.

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You say Suarez is the best player in the Premier League by a mile, yet you won't vote for him. That says more about you than it does about him. You're not voting for Footballer of the Year, your vote is going to someone you'd like to be mates with. Where is the merit in that
Rocky Soul, United Kingdom

Where does it say I wouldn’t vote for Suarez I said I’d find it hard, that’s all. As for being mates, is that how you think it works I voted for you, please be my friend. I’ve got friends. Nice friends. I didn’t get them by pressing a red button.

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Do you think Suarez would care about being Footballer of the Year, especially one voted for by the Fleet Street hacks who plague Twitter spreading their lies and bile Doubt it. He is a team player and all about Liverpool. He can be an idiot at times, but show me a top player who hasn’t been these days. Fowler1070, Liverpool

Oh, come on, I’m not having that. It doesn’t go with the territory that to succeed in football, or sport, ethical behaviour must go out of the window. Lionel Messi seems to do all right, or Juan Mata.

As for Twitter, I’m not on it mate. Never will be. With a name like Fowler1070, it sounds as if you are though. Apologies if I’m wrong.

At his best: Suarez scored a hat-trick against Norwich earlier this season

At his best: Suarez scored a hat-trick against Norwich earlier this season

The award is for best footballer, not best person. If Suarez was English the author would have a different view. Andrew, Bridgend

That’s not true, Andrew. If John Terry was a contender for Footballer of the Year I would have written exactly the same piece. But he’s not.

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So let's sum up the cons against Suarez. He once called Patrice Evra something inoffensive in Spanish-speaking countries, a year ago, and the Daily Mail claims diving is eliminated from football whenever Suarez is not on the pitch. You guys have built a silly hype around him and robbed yourselves of watching this fantastic talent due to a witch hunt. Reality Check, London

Get real. Without revisiting old ground what Suarez said is not inoffensive in Spanish-speaking countries; it depends on the context. And nobody is deprived of watching Suarez.

The whole article was in praise of him as a footballer, which suggests I take great pleasure in his ability. Indeed, to even flag up his potential to be Footballer of the Year is a tribute.

I think Suarez is a wonderful player. I couldn’t really have made that clearer. For the alternate view, however…

Goals galore: Suarez has been finding the net this season

One unsavory incident should exclude a player from receiving this award. To win Footballer of the Year, a player should have shown exemplary character aligned with superb footballing intellect. He should be technically superior to his peers, able to show discipline on the pitch and be an example to young players. Robbie G, Dunbar

Wow, let’s hope Mother Theresa has a left foot because if Robbie gets his way, she’ll be the only candidate next year.

Tough standards from our man from Dunbar and we’ll have to leave it there, I’m afraid.

Thank you to all who contributed, even though you didn’t know what you were contributing to at the time.

No doubt the views of Mr G will find favour with some inside the Football Writers’ Association, but if Suarez continues to play as he did at Loftus Road, this one will run and run.

Ricky Hatton v Vyacheslav Senchenko – Jeff Powell"s fight preview

Baby steps that helped Hatton on his way back into the ring for comeback fight against Senchenko

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UPDATED:

17:46 GMT, 23 November 2012

The moment Ricky Hatton knew he had to turn his life around by stopping the boozing and bingeing came as he held his new-born daughter in his arms.

That was 14 months ago.

The moment he decided the Hitman would be back came when baby Millie’s mother Jennifer accepted that he needs to exorcise his demons by re-entering sport’s most punishing work place.

That was three months ago.

All that remains is to convince the rest of the world that more than three years after his last, disastrous fight it is healthier for him to exchange violent blows to the head than drink himself into suicidal oblivion.

That comes on Saturday night.

On the brink: Ricky Hatton squares up to Vyacheslav Senchenko at the weigh-in at Manchester Town Hall

On the brink: Ricky Hatton squares up to Vyacheslav Senchenko at the weigh-in at Manchester Town Hall

On the brink: Ricky Hatton squares up to Vyacheslav Senchenko at the weigh-in at Manchester Town Hall

On the eve of this moment of truth against Vyacheslav Senchenko in the bear-pit atmosphere of the MEN Arena, Hatton had this to say: ‘I don’t expect anyone else to believe until they see it with their own eyes but I will be better, meaner and more ferocious than the old Hitman. After this we will be talking world title challenges.’

We already are, with old foe Paulie Malignaggi here in Manchester to offer a two-fight shot at his WBA welterweight crown if Hatton looks the part again.

But that is not what is driving Hatton to revive his Blue Moon tunes of glory.

With the dark revelations about his descent into drugs and depression still haunting him, he says: ‘I am doing this because I never want my kids (little Millie and 11-year-old Campbell) to hear another bad word against me. I am fighting here to obliterate those terrible memories.

‘As I watched Millie being born and picked her up I knew I had to change. The Hitman may be a hard bastard in the ring but underneath all that I’m soft as s***. I’m an emotional bloke with a big heart and I have to control all those feelings going into a fight.

Mad for it: Hatton's army of fans cheer for their returning hero on the eve of the fight

Mad for it: Hatton's army of fans cheer for their returning hero on the eve of the fight

Ready: Hatton

Vyacheslav Senchenko

Head to head: Hatton and Senchenko are both in trim condition for their Manchester showdown

‘I will go through a whole range of emotions walking into the ring in front of 20,000 fans. The nervous anticipation is the same for every boxer but there is more at stake for me than usual here. I have to regain not only my own pride but the pride of the people of this country. Above all, I will be thinking about the kids and about Jennifer.

‘I was nervous when I first started sparring again and I’ll be nervous coming into the ring. But when the first bell rings, watch me go. Senchenko will be on the receiving end of all my pent-up tension and emotion.’

Not that Hatton denies the siren lure, the thrill and the drama of big nights like this, which has tempted so many boxers into come-backs, well-advised or not: ‘Yeah, okay, I have missed the roar of the crowd. I’m humbled by the devotion of my fans and I’m also inspired by them. I didn’t want their last memory of me in the ring to be that of being stretched cold on the canvass by Manny Pacquiao.’

The images of that knock-out and an earlier one by Floyd Mayweather trouble even his most devout supporters and he says: ‘A lot have come up to me in the street and said they fear that I’ll get hurt.

But I’ve told them not to worry. People doubt my punch resistance now but I remind them the only men to beat me are the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

‘The first time I got clocked on the chin in sparring my instinct was still to hit back, not to flinch.’
Hattton accepts that a truer test comes wearing lighter gloves in a real fight but says: ‘I know in my bones that it’s going to be okay.’

Family man: Hatton shares time with girlfriend Jennifer and daughter Millie

Family man: Hatton shares time with girlfriend Jennifer and daughter Millie

Kissy Hatton: The Hitman shares a moment with his daughter Millie

Kissy Hatton: The Hitman shares a moment with his daughter Millie

Pacquaio and Marvin Hagler are among iconic boxing figures questioning the Hitman’s return after so long an absence and he has prepared himself mentally for the worst should Senchenko surprise him.

Repeatedly, down these past ten weeks in training camp, he has said: ‘If I lose I will be able to look myself in the mirror on Sunday morning, know that I gave it my best and be able to walk away again, this time for good.’

Personally, as one of the few permitted to watch him spar and thus witness the renaissance of his speed, power and relentless aggression, I don’t expect that to happen.

Senchenko, whose only defeat in a lengthy career came when he lost his world welterweight title to Malignaggi, is an accomplished technical boxer and Hatton is right to counsel himself to master all those emotions and channel them into a clinical performance.

Thumbs-up: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell (right) is backing Hatton with victory on Saturday

Thumbs-up: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell (right) is backing Hatton with victory on Saturday

But the Ukrainian’s hesitation about facing the pre-fight stare-down with Hatton does not suggest confidence and he was given a foretaste of the scenes awaiting him in the MEN at yesterday’s packed and noise weigh-in.

Intriguingly, Malignaggi says: ‘This guy is talented but he does not have great belief in himself. If you get on top of him the doubts grow round by round and if Ricky is anything like as relentless as he used to be then Senchenko will eventually fold like a deck-hair on the beach.’

If there is one concern for a come-back fighter, it is stamina. Hatton looks fully capable of bringing the house down, along with Senchenko, by a mid-fight stoppage.

If not, as this is only his ten-round starter for part two of his career, the Hitman’s volume of punches should give him a commanding enough lead by the eighth for him to ease through to decisive victory.

Hatton v Senchenko is live on Primetime at 14.95 pay-per-view.

Wladimir Klitschko – caption competition: June 1, 2012

Caption competition: Your chance to win 100 Sportsbook bet with Paddy Power

UPDATED:

15:32 GMT, 1 June 2012

Sportsmail has a caption competition for you to battle it out each week for a brilliant prize of a 100 Sportsbook bet with our friends at Paddy Power.

All you have to do is send in your witty caption (keep it clean, please!) for our choice of picture of the week and the best entry, chosen by Sportsmail's panel, will win.

So, take a look at this image – featuring Wladimir Klitschko – and send us your details as specified below…

Wladimir Klitschko


Meanwhile, Ashley Cole's busy meeting Peter Andre on Venice Beach break...

Email your answer – with your full name, address, daytime telephone number and date of birth – to [email protected] by 3pm next Thursday. You must include the words 'CAPTION COMP' in the email subject box.

The winner will be announced next Friday alongside the next caption competition.

Last week's winner was Will Cooper from Bath, whose caption – to accompany the picture of Ashley Cole and Peter Andre (right) – read: ''he bloke who sold me these sunglasses said they were unique!'

Congratulations, Will.

Think you can do better Then enter our latest competition…

PLEASE NOTE: You must 18 or over to enter. It is open to UK residents only. There are no limits on the number of entries per person. The winner will be credited with a 100 free bet courtesy of Paddy Power valid for bets placed on paddypower.com sportsbook only. Not valid for casino, bingo, lotteries, games or poker. This is a free bet token for 100. It must be used in its entirety. Free Bet stakes are not included in returns.

The free bet is valid for 30 days from receipt by the winner.

Usual Promotional Rules apply, click here to read. The Editor's decision is final. The prize is non-negotiable.

Peter Alliss exclusive: The BBC is losing its voice

Peter Alliss exclusive: The BBC is losing its voice… and it could lose The Open, too

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 3 May 2012

At a time when there is no escape on the BBC schedule from a programme called The Voice, it's a pitiful irony to reflect on how little we hear from the Voice of Golf.

'Do you know there was a year when we covered 16 events' says Peter Alliss, sounding as exasperated as the rest of us at the sad decline in the Corporation's golfing output.

'Now we're down to two or three. I'm disappointed, obviously. Could the BBC have spent their money in better ways I don't hear the move to Manchester being spoken of with considerable acclaim. But the bottom line is it's difficult to compete against Sky's bottomless pit. It doesn't matter how good a poker player you are, if you've got 50 and the other bloke has pots of money, he'll beat you in the end.'

Respected: Alliss is set to be inducted into the golf Hall of Fame

Respected: Alliss is set to be inducted
into the golf Hall of Fame

The Beeb have been beaten to such an extent that the only exclusive live men's event left is The Open, and Alliss can envisage a day when even that asset is stripped.

'It only takes a change of committee at the Royal and Ancient to look at a huge offer and think, “Yes, we know the BBC have no adverts and a large audience but how can we turn this down”

In the swing of things: The golfing legend in his playing days

In the swing of things: The golfing legend in his playing days

'It's sad, when you look at what we still have to offer. Someone sent me the viewing figures for the Masters and we peaked at 2.1 million while Sky peaked at 500,000. I do think the European Tour were weak when they were taking some of their events away from the BBC.

'I'd imagine Sky were saying they would cover 100 events if they had exclusive rights to everything but if some events stay with the BBC it would only be 37. The tour got nervous. Like the football authorities, they were desperate to have Sky's money to keep everyone happy, but it seems to me they had a stronger hand to play.

'What would Sky have done to fill all those hours on their various channels if they didn't have golf'

None of this affects Alliss's unrivalled standing in his sport, of course. He's just as well known in America as he is over here and today the Alliss family are off to Florida where, on Monday, he will become the first broadcaster to be inducted into golf's World Hall of Fame.

'It's almost as surprising as being made an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient,' he said.

'The Hall of Fame is a very big deal over there and it's quite remarkable to think I'm going to be part of it. My playing days ended in 1974 and a lot of people have no idea I played golf at the highest level. But I had a good run for 25 years with ABC television in America. I think what helped is I never changed my style. Bunkers remained bunkers, they didn't become traps. The inward nine never became the back side.

'I remember the producer Terry Jastrow saying to me, “The day I understand what you're saying is the day you're fired”. So I bumbled on.'

The voice of golf: Alliss is a broadcasting veteran

The voice of golf: Alliss is a broadcasting veteran

No chivalric honours have come his way, however, after he turned down an OBE in 2002.

'You've got to remember the generation I came from,' said the 81-year-old. 'Things like OBEs were given out to people who did something remarkable, they weren't given to sportsmen. Those who were given OBEs who didn't serve in the war were thought of as getting it for “Other Buggers' Efforts”. I didn't feel worthy of it. Perhaps I was wrong. Now, of course, they give out OBEs and knighthoods to sporting people like sweets.'

Would he turn down the chance to become the sport's fourth knight – following Henry Cotton, Michael Bonallack and Nick Faldo – if offered

'It's very unlikely to happen at my great age,' he said. 'Let's just say it would be a wonderful embarrassment.'

Major problem: Alliss doesn't think it's an issue that Westwood and Co haven't won one of the the big four tournaments

Major problem: Alliss doesn't think it's an issue that Westwood and Co haven't won one of the the big four tournaments

Alliss followed in the footsteps of his father, Percy, in becoming a top player and won 21 tournaments between 1954 and 1969, playing in the Ryder Cup eight times.

He started working for the BBC in 1960, leaving him on the firmest of grounds to offer opinions, with his perfect symmetry of a fine playing record and peerless broadcasting experience.

He is unstinting in his praise of the UK game at present, and gives short shrift to those who seek to deny Luke Donald and Lee Westwood their due because they have yet to win a major championship.

'To argue that someone can't be a very good player if they haven't won a major is a load of b*******,' he said.

'I could name you a dozen players off the top of my head who have won majors who are not very good players and I could even name you some who have won two or three, like Larry Nelson, who don't stick in the mind's eye.

‘It’s sad when you look at what we still have to offer’

'People have this obsession with the majors and then, when you get a surprising winner, they demean him. I remember after Orville Moody won the US Open and the great sportswriter Jim Murray, from the Los Angeles Times, was chuntering about how it wasn't right. Henry Longhurst turned to him and said, “Stop it. They all came, they all played, and Orville won. End of story”.

'That's how it should be. Move on to the next event. Don't judge a player by four events.

Golf blog

'As for our players now, I would place them right at the top of the tree. I love the dash of young Rory McIlroy, although he is still learning. I've always been impressed with Luke Donald since I first saw him at the Walker Cup at Nairn in 1999. I love his consistency. It's one thing I don't understand about the modern game, the likes of Tiger Woods changing his swing in search of something better. How could you play the game any better than he did

'When you get to a certain level there's only consistency left to achieve and it seems to me that's what Luke understands. People call him dull. How can you be world No 1, they argue, when you haven't won a major and don't hit the ball 400 yards Well, he bloody well is No 1, and quite right too.'

Does he have any regrets

'I'd like to have won The Open, naturally, and been Ryder Cup captain,' said Alliss. 'There were captains who were no more distinguished than myself. One of the committee who decided it in those days told me they thought I was too commercial. That's a laugh when you see what has happened. The last five or six captains have all made a million quid on the back of it.'

There's no lessening his passion for the game, is there Later this year he will embark on another tour of one-man shows, selling out theatres across the country. Yes, he's not everybody's cup of tea. But for the great majority who follow golf, he remains nothing less than the Voice.

Darts legend Jocky Wilson dies at 62

Farewell Jocky of the oche: Darts mourns the loss of two-time world champion Wilson

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UPDATED:

22:08 GMT, 25 March 2012

Jocky. Those who transcend sport and life require just one name. If they are loved by all, their Christian name suffices.

So it was with a wee man from Kirkcaldy who came to symbolise darts and stand as a 1980s beacon of endearing simplicity.

Darts was in its terrestrial television heyday and Jocky Wilson was one of the holy trinity alongside Eric Bristow and John Lowe. Bristow won more world titles — five to his Scottish rival’s two (in 1982 and 1989) — but Jocky won more hearts.

VIDEO: Scroll down to see footage of Wilson's two world titles

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

After all, not only did he represent every ordinary bloke who toed the oche in a pub over a pint, he couldn’t even throw properly, lurching to one side as his arm was flung in the opposite direction. The difference was, when Jock did it, the dart still hit its target.

‘He would need double top with his last dart,’ Bristow recalled yesterday, smiling. ‘I wouldn’t look at the dart board, I’d just watch him. He’d jump with his last dart and in that split second I’d think “I’ve got another shot”.

‘Then you’d hear the announcer shout “Game” and you’d look up and it was right in the middle of double top. That was Jocky. The first five sets he took off me in the 1989 World Championship final, he could have thrown them over his shoulder and hit a 180.’

Jocky Wilson

Jocky Wilson

Popular: Wilson entered the sport as its appeal with the public began to grow

And unorthodox. When the pair played each other at the World Team Cup in Livingston, Jocky resorted to odd tactics.

Bristow added: ‘He kicked me before we went on stage. Took about four inches of skin off my shin. Luckily, the England team wore red trousers so even though my leg was bleeding, nobody could see it. Then I had to hobble on stage, shake his hand and play him. He won. We had a drink after. I said “What was all that about” He said “I’ve got to try to beat you somehow”.’

Born in Kirkcaldy, where he died on Saturday night aged 62, Wilson began his working life as a miner. He had a weakness for sweets and rarely brushed his teeth because his grandmother told him ‘the English poison the water’. /03/25/article-2120039-1253107B000005DC-651_468x337.jpg” width=”468″ height=”337″ alt=”Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)” class=”blkBorder” />

Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)

Fifteen-time world champion Phil Taylor said: ‘Jocky had false teeth. I remember playing snooker with him. He asked someone to clean the white ball and took his teeth out to mark the ball with a great little grin on his face. His smile will stay with me forever.’

When his toothless grin beamed out as a backdrop to Dexys Midnight Runners on Top of the Pops as they performed Jackie Wilson Said no-one had to be told his name. We all knew and we all laughed along.

It is a smile which had not been seen by the world, save for his wife Malvina, since 1996 when he suddenly walked away from darts.

Glory: Wilson twice won the world title

Jocky Wilson

Back in the day: Wilson returned to his home town after retiring from the sport

‘At that time, it was generally accepted among the players that they needed a drink to feel comfortable,’ said Tommy Cox, Jocky’s former manager.

‘Although he never drank away from darts, Jocky did on stage. When he was diagnosed with diabetes, he couldn’t drink. He’d have three pints and he’d be sick for three days. He battled on for six months drinking water at events but he was a shadow of himself. He was embarrassed. He walked away and didn’t tell anyone, not even me.’

Wilson retreated to the Kirkcaldy estate on which he was raised — a recluse who, it is believed, never set foot outside his flat again. For Bristow, his passing was a release.

‘It was sad but it’s nice to see him out of his misery. I’ve been smiling all morning. Mind you, the little sod’s always cost me money and he will now because I’ve got to go out and have a drink for him, haven’t I’

Farewell, Jocky.

Wilson v John Lowe – 1982 Embassy Final

Wilson v Eric Bristow – 1989 Embassy Final

SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Dexy's Midnight Runners famously used a picture of Jocky during a Top of the Pops performance of their hit song Jackie Wilson Said

New technology lets football fans change camera angle

You're in charge! New technology will allow football fans to control cameras

They said 3D was the new way to watch football. They said it was the closest thing you could get to being in the stadium.

But with Technicolour's new invention, displayed at the 2012 Las Vegas CES show – a collection of the world's best technology – a different way of watching football has been created.

Their creation puts YOU in charge of the action, allowing viewers to control what they are looking at on the screen through a picture cleverly constructed with six different cameras.

Instead of being forced to watch the images which the director deems best, you can look anywhere you like – just like being at the stadium.

Look: You control where the camera points and what you see

Look: You control where the camera points and what you see

Perfect for those moments when the television companies want to cut away from pitch invaders, but you're dying to see what's going on.

What's more, you can zoom in to get a good look at a particular player or official, or section of the pitch. Now there is something you can not do with your eyes.

Viewers – or perhaps users is more appropriate – manipulate the picture they want to see on their screen with a mouse.

And this is not just an idea – in the video below you can see the technology in action, being used to show Chelsea's match against Wolves.

However, it remains to be seen whether you will be able to rewind footage and watch it again from a different angle or zoom length – that would be an extremely powerful tool.

Regardless of that, it is an exciting innovation, but if you decide you would rather watch the ordinary pictures, you can switch back to the usual view.

All you need now is a microphone headset to join in with crowd chants and the banter from the drunk-and-occasionally-angry bloke who sits behind you, then you could do away with buying tickets and attending games altogether…

Watch the video here:

Gloucester 39 Wasps 10: Henry Trinder puts pressure on Mike Tindall

Gloucester 39 Wasps 10: Trinder”s upping the pressure on Tindall

Mike Tindall received another warning last night that he will have to fight for his Gloucester place after his side recorded their biggest Aviva Premiership win of the season.

The centre, who looks set to miss out on a spot in a revamped England squad which interim coach Stuart Lancaster will announce on January 11, is under fierce pressure from Henry Trinder.

The 22-year-old scored one of Gloucester’s six tries against an injury-hit Wasps and head coach Bryan Redpath said he had opted for Trinder before Tindall went down with a virus. But the illness did not stop the 33-year-old see what he is up against, as he watched from the sidelines.

Delight: Jonny May celebrates a try during the win over Wasps

Delight: Jonny May celebrates a try during the win over Wasps

Redpath said: ‘Mike will have to train and fight for his place like anyone else. Henry will not be playing every single game, but he has given a performance that has put pressure on Mike.’

Redpath has yet to make a decision on offering Tindall a new contract for next season, but he stressed he had no issues with the England centre and that he remained a ‘great player and a good bloke’.

Trinder is among a group of emerging Gloucester talent threatening to lift the club into a Premiership play-off place. Another is the versatile Jonny May, who showed his pace and agility by scoring two tries in the first half.

May struck after England contender Luke Narraway, the No 8, had touched down first in the sixth minute.

Battering ram: Luke Narraway is tackled by Joe Simpson and Joe Burton

Battering ram: Luke Narraway is tackled by Joe Simpson and Joe Burton

Gloucester scored three more tries in eight minutes after the break, starting in the 50th minute when Trinder beat Joe Simpson to the touchdown. Full back Olly Morgan grabbed the last two tries.

Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young made no excuses despite his side’s injuries. ‘In every department they were better than us and we did not help ourselves either,’ he said.