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Cambridge maths expert devises Grand National formula and is backing Seabass

And this year's Grand National winner is… Cambridge maths whizz reveals winning formula ahead of Aintree race

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:48 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 2 April 2013

A University of Cambridge maths whizz is backing Seabass in Saturday’s Grand National – after creating a formula that predicts the winning horse.

William Hartston, 65, forensically examined the names and ages of all victorious nags from the event’s 174 year history.

And he discovered winners are most likely to have names that are just one word, and begin with S, R, M, or C.

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

THE FORMULA IN FULL

Number of letters in the horse’s name
8, 10 = 4 points
7 = 3 points
6, 11 = 2 points
9, 12 = 1 point

First letter of horse’s name
R = 4 points
A, S, M = 3 points
C, T = 2 points
G, B, W = 1 point

Number of words in horse’s name
1 = 4 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 2 points
4 = 1 point

Age of horse
9 = 4 points
10 = 3 points
8, 11 = 2 points
12 = 1 point

The 9 highest-scoring horses based on the William Hartston scoring system
1. Seabass 13/16 (consistently high in all categories)
2. Tatenen 13/16
3. Teaforthree 12/16
4. Rare Bob 12/16
5. Mr Moonshine 12/16
6. Romanesco 11/16
7. Sunnyhillboy 11/16
8. Quel Esprit 11/16
9. Any Currency 11/16

Furthermore, the names usually consist of eight or ten letters – closely followed by seven or 11 – and the horses are typically nine or ten years old.

Mr Hartston used these results to develop a scoring system, which allowed him to rate the 40 horses that will line-up at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday.

He will now back the bookies’ 9/1 second favourite Seabass after it scored an impressive 13 points out of a maximum 16 on his scale.

The Ted Walsh-trained Irish racehorse begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years, and has seven letters.

It was followed by Tatenen and Teaforthree in the study commissioned by bookies William Hill.

Mr Hartston – author of several books, including The Book of Numbers – graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MA or Master of Maths.

The mathematician examined four criteria – number of letters in the horse’s name, first letter of name, number of words in the name, and age.

He then awarded each horse a maximum of four points for each of these criteria, depending on how closely they fit the historic results.

For example, a horse whose name is eight or ten letters long – the most successful in the history of the race – are awarded four points.

But a horse with nine or twelve letters – historically less successfully – are awarded just one point.

Mr Hartston said: 'Seabass is the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria. It begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years and has seven letters, which is only slightly short of the preferred eight.

'Tatenen scored an impressive 13/16 while Teaforthree scored 12/16 and

shouldn’t be ruled out – but their scoring pattern is less consistent.'

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Wimbledon fans threaten to boycott the ultimate grudge match against MK Dons

Wimbledon fans threaten to boycott the ultimate grudge match against MK Dons

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UPDATED:

08:30 GMT, 14 November 2012

Hundreds of AFC Wimbledon supporters are set to boycott their FA Cup second-round clash with MK Dons.

The fixture Wimbledon were dreading
became a reality last night when MK Dons beat non-league Cambridge City
6-1 in their first-round replay.

Dilemma: Wimbledon fans have mixed feelings about cup tie against Mk Dons

Dilemma: Wimbledon fans have mixed feelings about cup tie against Mk Dons

HISTORY LESSON

Read about the background of the grudge match here

Next month's clash will be the first time the teams have met since the original Wimbledon, FA Cup winners in 1988, were relocated to Milton Keynes 10 years ago.

AFC Wimbledon, who formed in 2002 in the wake of that controversial move and have since been promoted five times to reach League Two, have already said they will grudgingly fulfil the fixture.

But Simon Wheeler, chairman of the Independent Wimbledon Supporters Association, will not be there to see it.

Wheeler said: 'This has reopened a lot of scars. We never wanted this to happen and frankly I feel numb.

'I won't be going and I know lots of other fans won't be going. Personally I would rather take my girlfriend's mother to the garden centre than go to that game.

Wrap it up: Adam Chicksen celebrates scoring the sixth goal for his side

Wrap it up: Adam Chicksen celebrates scoring the sixth goal for his side

Tussle: Wimbledon's Steven Gregory is challenged by Danny Kearns of York

Tussle: Wimbledon's Steven Gregory is challenged by Danny Kearns of York

'Other fans will have to take a long
look at themselves and make a personal, informed decision. We'll talk to
the fans and to the club.

'We didn't ever want this to happen
but it does highlight the phenomenal success of AFC Wimbledon from
having had everything ripped out.'

MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has described the historic meeting as a 'potentially fantastic tie'
But Wheeler added: 'MK Dons might say how much they are looking forward
to the game but actually they are probably rather embarrassed. The
frenzy of support Pete Winkelman had envisaged has not materialised and
frankly they have an identity crisis. They still call themselves Dons,
not Milton Keynes.

'But we have to fulfil the fixture. I believe a group of AFC Wimbledon
players will play the game then get back on the bus to Wimbledon and
carry on with our season.

'The result does not matter. We've already won just by being in the Football League.'

Good day at the office: Karl Robinson's side were comfortable winners

Good day at the office: Karl Robinson's side were comfortable winners

Spot on: Shaun Williams fires home the fourth with a penalty kick

Spot on: Shaun Williams fires home the fourth with a penalty kick

MK Dons tie a step closer for AFC Wimbledon

As the historic first meeting between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon looms, here's why this potential Cup grudge match will be a 'crazy game' for the Crazy Gang

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UPDATED:

11:45 GMT, 13 November 2012

'We await, with baited breath, the winner of the other tie,' said the stadium announcer.

AFC Wimbledon had just completed a thrilling 4-3 extra-time victory over
York City in their FA Cup first round replay, but there was no
excitement in his voice. More like dread, despite an expected 50,000
windfall from Monday night' s match.

The 'other tie', of course, just happens to be MK Dons against Cambridge
City, throwing up the possibility of the Dons of Wimbledon taking on
the Milton Keynes' Dons for the first time since Wimbledon FC
'relocated' north 10 years ago.

Grudge match: Jack Midson (centre) celebrates after scoring what turned out to be the winner on Monday night

Grudge match: Jack Midson (centre) celebrates after scoring what turned out to be the winner on Monday night

MATCH FACTS

AFC Wimbledon: Brown, Fenlon (Osano 62), Mambo, Mitchel-King, Cummings, Jolley, Gregory, Johnson (Harrison 61), Yussuff (Long 42), Midson, Strutton.

Subs Not Used: Jaimez-Ruiz, McNaughton, Antwi, Harris.

Booked: Gregory, Strutton.

Goals: Strutton 34, 78, Harrison 97, Midson 99.

York: Ingham, Oyebanjo, Carlisle, Smith, Fyfield, Chambers, Kerr, Parslow (Reed 89), Kearns, Blair, Walker (Johnson 84).

Subs Not Used: Musselwhite, McGurk, Potts, Challinor, Doig.

Sent Off: Kerr (35).

Booked: Kerr, Johnson.

Goals: Brown 22 og, Reed 90, 119.

Attendance: 1,954

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

This is the match AFC fans do not want, but their manager, former Wimbledon player Neal Ardley, insisted he would play against 'anyone' and claimed the FA could not be further from his mind. He does not intend to watch Tuesday's match, that's for sure.

'Our aim is to get in the third round, pure and simple,' he said. 'As players and staff all we can be is really professional, no matter who we play against, and try and get into that third round and a potentially big Cup tie.

'I'd play against anyone. Obviously we would be massive underdogs in a game against MK Dons. We'd like to get to the third round and give this great club – and all the fans who have put so much into it – a little bit of a Cup tie that might bring in a couple of pounds and ease the pressure.

'Is it about revenge No. To be honest, I haven't given it a thought. I know this is a boring answer but I'm not going to disrespect Cambridge. People talk about ties before they happen. If Tuesday night goes that way then we'll deal with questions about that.

'At the moment I've got two really big league games coming up here on Saturday and Tuesday and the FA Cup couldn't be further from my mind.'

Ardley denied Wimbledon's potential second-round opponents had affected their performance on Monday night, but it certainly seemed that way. The manager made seven changes from the side that won 3-0 at York in League Two on Saturday and Wimbledon fell behind to a Seb Brown own goal before Charlie Stretton scored twice.

Jamie Reed equalised in the 90th minute to send the game into extra-time, only for Wimbledon to quickly regain the lead through /11/13/article-2232156-15FE7EB9000005DC-563_634x415.jpg” width=”634″ height=”415″ alt=”Thriller: York had led after dominating the opening stages and should have been two or three goals ahead by the break” class=”blkBorder” />

Thriller: York had led after dominating the opening stages and should have been two or three goals ahead by the break

It was, as Ardley said, a 'crazy game', made all the more dramatic by the backdrop of Wimbledon supporters debating whether they would – or could- go to Milton Keynes.

'I can't go there,' seemed to be the general reaction to a club resolutely referred to in this part of south-west London as 'Milton Keynes'. The only Dons they know are the side who play in the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Kingston.

Some were talking about donating their ticket money to Wimbledon instead of attending and chief executive Erik Samuelson used his programme notes to stress just how important the first round replay was to boost the club's finances.

Crazy Gang: The original Wimbledon club famously stunned Liverpool to win the FA Cup in 1988

Crazy Gang: The original Wimbledon club famously stunned Liverpool to win the FA Cup in 1988

The breakdown was fascinating, but it was almost as if he were trying to justify winning despite the potential opposition lurking in the next round.

'Any extra income,' said Samuelson, 'whether it is from a cup game or fundraising event, is very welcome, and I thought I should put all this into perspective for you.

'I'm sure you will understand how important this replay is to us in terms of this season's finances. We could make about 50,000 profit from this game (excluding prize money).

'My point is simple: in a league where last season the reported annual players' wage bill averaged over 1.3million, we could earn enough from one televised replay to cover about four per cent of that figure. That helps.'

Cambridge exam: MK Dons must beat non-league Cambridge City in their FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday night to set up the tie with AFC Wimbledon. The first game, pictured, ended 0-0

Cambridge exam: MK Dons must beat non-league Cambridge City in their FA Cup first round replay on Tuesday night to set up the tie with AFC Wimbledon. The first game, pictured, ended 0-0

TALE OF THE TAPE: AFC WIMBLEDON AND MK DONS

AFC Wimbledon

Founded: 2002

Nicknames: The Dons, the Wombles, the Crazy Gang

Chairman: Erik Samuelson

Manager: Neil Ardley

Ground: Kingsmeadow – The Fans’ Stadium in Kingston-upon-Thames

Capacity: 4,850

Average attendance 2011-2012: 4,294

League position 2011-2012: League Two, 16th

Honours: Conference Premier Play-off winners 2010-2011, Conference South 2008-2009, Isthmian League Play-off winners 2007-2008, Isthmian League Division One 2004-2005, Combined Counties League Premier 2003-2004

Milton Keynes Dons

Founded: 2004

Nicknames: The Dons

Chairman: Pete Winkelman

Manager: Karl Robinson

Ground: Stadium:mk

Capacity: 32,000

Average attendance 2011-2012: 8,659

League position 2011-2012: League One, 5th

Honours: League Two 2007-2008, Football League Trophy 2007-2008

This televised match earned Wimbledon
around 50,000 of extra profit, but the fans' thoughts were certainly
elsewhere. Not them, surely. Not MK Dons, the club for which there is
such raw feeling since the decision to allow Wimbledon FC to relocate to
Milton Keynes in 2002.

Some Wimbledon fans are advocating donating the
price of their tickets for the possible second round fixture to their
club, rather than help to line Milton Keynes' pockets.

There is little magic in this
potential Cup tie, but the match itself was a cracker. Two goals from
Charlie Strutton looked to have sealed the tie for Wimbledon after York
had Scott Kerr sent off, but substitute Jamie Reed scored a last-minute
equaliser only for Wimbledon to go 4-2 up in the first half of
extra-time. Reed made it 4-3 just before the end.

Neal Ardley, manager of AFC Wimbledon

Karl Robinson, manager of Milton Keynes Dons

Battle: The potential second round tie will pit former Wimbledon FC favourite Neal Ardley (left), now in charge at AFC Wimbledon, with MK Dons boss Karl Robinson (right)

York were dominant before going ahead
in the 22nd minute. Seb Brown palmed away a curving shot from Lanre
Oyebanjo but then fumbled Danny Kearns' corner and punched the ball into
his own net.

Wimbledon were level after 34
minutes. Referee Keith Stroud played advantage after Kerr's lunging
challenge on Rashid Yussuff and Strutton drove the ball into the net.
Kerr was shown a second yellow card and trudged off – with ESPN cameras
following him into the dressing room – but York's dominance continued,
with Jason Walker hitting the bar.

Quick progress: AFC Wimbledon rose from the Combined Counties League to Football League Two in nine years

Quick progress: AFC Wimbledon rose from the Combined Counties League to Football League Two in nine years

Grand ambition: The second round tie, if it happens, will be played at Stadium:mk, the 32,000 capacity home of MK Dons

Grand ambition: The second round tie, if it happens, will be played at Stadium:mk, the 32,000 capacity home of MK Dons

Wimbledon's one-man advantage showed
in the second half, but York wasted a string of chances before Strutton
scored his second in the 78th minute.

Reed's
thrilling equaliser sent the game into extra-time but Warren Cummings'
cross was diverted into the net by substitute /11/13/article-2232156-0000D0C900000C1D-125_634x286.jpg” width=”634″ height=”286″ alt=”Spiritual home: Plough Lane, where Wimbledon played between 1912 and 1991″ class=”blkBorder” />

Spiritual home: Plough Lane, where Wimbledon played between 1912 and 1991

Around the same time, Milton Keynes-based property developer Pete Winkelman formed a consortium to build a 30,000-capacity stadium in the city, with the intention of a Football League team playing there.

Local side Milton Keynes City were playing four divisions below the League at the time and so the consortium resolved to 'import' an existing League side to use the ground, approaching Luton Town, Barnet and Crystal Palace among others.

Winkelman then approached Wimbledon’s owners, making assurances that the club’s name, colours and badge would remain after the relocation. Chairman Charles Koppel, who had been appointed by Wimbledon’s Norwegian owners in January 2001, was in favour of a move, saying the declining club was being subsidised by 6m a year.

In August 2001, Koppel announced that Wimbledon would be relocating 56 miles (90km) north to Milton Keynes, sparking outrage among Wimbledon supporters and football fans everywhere.

Relocate: Pete Winkelman (left) was behind Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes

Relocate: Pete Winkelman (left) was behind Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes

Upon applying for the new club to gain Football League status, the consortium was told it would have to earn a place by working up through the non-league pyramid. The League added that such ‘franchised’ football would be ‘disastrous’.

After Wimbledon contested this decision, a Football Association arbitration panel was formed to assess the situation. They rejected the League’s arguments and recommended an independent FA commission was appointed to make the final decision.

This three-man panel, made up of solicitor Raj Parker, FA Council member Alan Turvey and Aston Villa Operations Director Steve Stride, ruled in favour of the move by two votes to one. Their verdict went against the FA’s recommendation and chief executive Adam Crozier said it was an ‘appalling decision’.

At the same time, disaffected Wimbledon fans laid the foundations for a phoenix club, called AFC Wimbledon, which would be based at Kingstonian’s ground and be a spiritual continuation of their club. They vowed to work up through the non-league and started out in the Combined Counties League, seven levels below the Milton Keynes club.

New start: AFC Wimbledon fans watch a Combined Counties League match against Chipstead at Kingsmeadow in August 2002

New start: AFC Wimbledon fans watch a Combined Counties League match against Chipstead at Kingsmeadow in August 2002

Since then, AFC Wimbledon has enjoyed a great deal of success, progressing up the pyramid to reach the Football League in 2011 after beating Luton Town in the Conference play-off final in Manchester.

They have retained the blue and yellow colours of the original Wimbledon and their badge, and have since been able to purchase the Kingsmeadow stadium from Kingstonian FC, who still play there.

The MK Dons started to play at the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes in September 2003, the first match being a 2-2 draw with Burnley. They suffered relegation in their first season to what is now called League One and spent the whole year in administration.

They created a new club logo incorporating the letters ‘MK’ and play in an all-white strip. They moved in to the 32,000-capacity Stadium:mk in July 2007 and after winning League Two in 2008, have regularly challenged in the upper half of League One.

This is the second time the two sides have been on a collision course in the FA Cup. In November 2010, MK Dons lost in a replay at home to Stevenage Borough and a first meeting between the teams was averted.

Cambridge City 0 MK Dons 0: Dominant Dons unable to make chances count

Cambridge City 0 MK Dons 0: Dominant Dons unable to make chances count

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 2 November 2012

MK Dons were unable to make the most of their dominance as their FA Cup tie at Cambridge City finished goalless.

Stephen Gleeson headed against the post from Adam Chicksen's cross before the frame of the goal came to the hosts' rescue again with seven minutes left as Luke Chadwick's terrific strike crashed back of the upright.

On the ball: MK Dons' Dean Lewington in action with Cambridge City's Luke Allen

On the ball: MK Dons' Dean Lewington in action with Cambridge City's Luke Allen

The visitors were left frustrated by their Southern League opponents, for whom Zac Barrett was heroic in goal.

The two sides now face a replay at stadium:mk.

FA Cup first round: Cambridge City v MK Dons kicks-off action

A Cantona style kung-fu kick, world beaters and a touch of glamour… it must be the FA Cup proper

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UPDATED:

09:54 GMT, 2 November 2012

It's FA Cup time again. The first round proper begins on Friday night when Cambridge City host MK Dons. But this is not the first round for many.

There have been six rounds so far and Sportsmail's MICHAEL WALKER has been at each one, starting at North Shields back in August.

We have followed the winners of each round and will do so through to next May's final.

On Saturday it is Torquay United v Harrogate Town. Here's how we got there.

Honours even: Hyde (in red) take on Harrogate, a game which ended 1-1

Honours even: Hyde (in red) take on
Harrogate, a game which ended 1-1

August 11, FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
North Shields 1 Birtley Town 1
Venue: Ralph Gardner Park, Attendance: 134, Entry fee: 4 , Match programme: 50p, Prize-money: 1,000

So this is it: the last day of the Olympics, the start of the FA Cup. Down in east London, Mo Farah is about to win his second gold medal of the Games in the 5,000 metres; up on sunny Tyneside, the amateur sport is real.

The FA Cup has 758 entrants, and at this stage 400 are involved. It is regional, but nationwide. There are matches from Cornwall to Northumberland.

It is 98 days since the last FA Cup final, when Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1, if you recall. North Shields' ground, where the main sponsor is a local funeral director, feels as far from Wembley as it does from the Olympians in Stratford.

These are two teams from the Northern League's second division. But it is good. The banter among the watching lads would fill a northern, kitchen-sink novel, a sample line being: 'He didn't stop it until wor Davy stabbed him.'

There is a touch of glamour, too, from the presence of England fast bowler Steve Harmison in the crowd. Harmison's brother James is a North Shields centre half. The pitch is hairy, the standard is rusty – it's the first game of the season – and Birtley, from Gateshead, deserve their equaliser.

That means a replay the following Tuesday. South of the Tyne, Birtley Town win. They are officially on an FA Cup run. For North Shields there will be no return to Wembley, where they won the FA Amateur Cup in 1969, beating Sutton United in front of 47,000. Those were the days.

Hyde and seek: fans sample the culinary delights on offer at Hyde FC

Hyde and seek: fans sample the culinary delights on offer at Hyde FC

August 25, FA Cup Preliminary Round
Birtley Town 1 West Auckland Town 4
Venue: Birtley Sports Complex, Attendance: 135, Entry fee: 5, Match programme 1, Prize-money: 1,750

It is the sodden August day when, 10 miles away, Sunderland postpone their first home match of the season, against Reading. Across in Birtley, tucked away at the foot of a housing estate, it's game on.

Anyone who has ever been on the east coast mainline can have seen Birtley Town's ground. South of Newcastle, amid the low-rise industry of the Team Valley, the pitch is beside the railway line. As Birtley take a surprise lead against the famous West Auckland – who hail from the Northern League's first division as well as football's history books – trains hurtle by, followed by those of Virgin.

The crowd seems almost entirely from County Durham – that is, West Auckland – and when 'West' equalise in the second half there is a roar. 'West' are clearly the more accomplished footballers but Birtley have excelled. Quality tells though in the next 20 minutes as the County Durham team rattle in three more.

Birtley's Cup run has ended but their players can always console themselves at a takeaway advertising in the match programme. It has speciality pizza costing 3 called 'Geordie Delight' – 'tomato, kebab and cheese.'

Gentle touch: groundsman opts for the light workout

Gentle touch: groundsman opts for the light workout

September 8, FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Ashington 2 West Auckland Town 3
Venue: Woodhorn Lane, Attendance: 277, Entry fee: 6, Programme: 1, Prize-money: 3,000

A fixture with a history and a half delivered a game and a half.

The West Auckland team bus in the Ashington car park has a sign on the front with 'Winners of the World Cup' on it.

This refers to the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy, a precursor of the World Cup and West Auckland's dual triumphs of 1909 and 1911.

These were the first, embryonic international tournaments. They were held in Turin and the miners from West Auckland beat a Swiss club, FC Winterthur, in the first final and Juventus (6-1) in the second final. And in West Auckland they haven't forgotten. Nor in Turin – 'West' were invited back by Juventus for the 1909 centenary three years ago.

Ashington, also of the Northern League's first division, will always have a place in the history of English football as the two framed England shirts in the clubhouse show. One is signed by Bobby Charlton, the other by Jack Charlton.

Ashington gave the world, and the World Cup, the Charlton brothers. The town was built on coal, but while the National Union of Mineworkers are among the sponsors at the ground, Ashington is now referred to as an 'unemployment blackspot'. Dole not coal.

Outside Woodhorn Lane, young lads are saddling up a pony and trap. It's like something out of Kes. Inside, the banter, which later spills over, reflects modern life. It is dominated by rival chants concerning which town has the greater number of 'smackheads'.

But first a proper FA Cup tie breaks out. In hot sunshine, the scoring goes 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 until, in the 87th minute, John Parker makes it 2-3 to the visitors. It is a deserved win for West Auckland.

For Ashington midfielder Andy Dugdale, it gets too much. He commits another foul and sees a second yellow card.

Something is said on the sidelines as Dugdale departs and he stops, turns and leaps over the perimeter barrier kung-fu style and plants an Eric Cantona Selhurst Park-style boot on a West fan. For a minute it gets ugly and threatens to run out of control. Who says the FA Cup doesn't matter any more

Afterwards a detour leads to Beatrice Street where Bobby Charlton returned after the Munich air crash to recuperate. There is a famous back-lane photograph of Charlton with some local children. But outside the front of 114 there is no blue plaque. But then what did the Charltons ever do for England

Hyde FC V Harrogate FC in the FA Cup 4th round pre qualifier

September 22, FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
West Auckland Town 2 Harrogate Town 2
Venue: Darlington Road, West Auckland, Attendance: 194, Entrance: 8, Programme: 1, Raffle prize: four cans of lager, Prize-money: 4,500

Turning off the Durham Road in Bishop Auckland, a shiny new stadium comes into view and anticipation rises. The car park is full and there is an FA Cup tie soon to begin. But this is Bishop Auckland v Fylde.

West Auckland is further on. There you park on the grass and walk down a back lane to a sloping pitch that presumably was once a farmer's field. It is massive.

But the welcome is warm and West Auckland are far from agricultural. They have a reputation for aggression but there is not much evidence here. Against Harrogate Town, three divisions higher in the Conference North, West keep playing pass-and-go even when they fall 2-0 behind with 15 minutes left.

But West have two stars on their badge – those World Cup wins – and more than two on the pitch. Ten minutes from the end, John Campbell strikes home a penalty and, in injury time, captain and centre forward Mattie Moffat spears in the equaliser. Fans are on the pitch.

Moffat is one of those natural ball-players that populate the Northern League and their ilk. There are a few who could play higher and West showed that again in the replay. Though they lost 5-1 it was 1-1 in the 66th minute. Jose da Veiga, the Harrogate goalkeeper who began at Benfica and who was first choice for Levante in La Liga II for three seasons, made vital saves.

West reached Wembley last season in the FA Vase but there will be no FA Cup to add to those two stars next May.

October 6, FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Harrogate Town 3 Frickley Athletic 2
Venue: Wetherby Road, Attendance: 349, Entry: 12, Programme: 2.50, Prize-money: 7,500

Autumnal sunshine gives picturesque Wetherby Road a yellowish hue. The pitch is heavy with the rain that has swamped Yorkshire. But an end-to-end county derby unfolds.

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver was a youth player at Sheffield Wednesday. His programme notes refer back to the West Auckland replay, when West had a man sent off late on.

'I was pleased that (our) players did not get sucked into a fight as the players of West Auckland seemed determined to 'snap' some lads in two, according to instructions from their dug-out.'

There will be another red card in this game, for Harrogate's Lee Elam.

The two teams had met in the previous round last season when there needed to be a replay, won by Frickley. They are now 'Athletic', they used to be 'Colliery'; they bring a bunch of fans north to leafy Harrogate who chant: 'You're so posh it's unbelievable.'

Frickley, of the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier, are 1-0 up in three minutes. The scoring then goes 1-1, 2-1 and 2-2 when, with 15 minutes left, Adam Bolder scores a beauty. Bolder, 31, scored two for Wednesday in a Sheffield derby in the Championship four years ago.

But Frickley, 100 years old last season, come again. You can almost touch the commitment as they pursue an equaliser. But no, it will be Harrogate Town going to Hyde to seek progress to the first round proper.

October 20, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
Hyde 1 Harrogate Town 1
Venue: Ewen Fields, Attendance: 393, Entry: 14, Programme: 2.50, Prize-money 12,500

'Let's make it official, Hyde,' shouts an especially eager fan at kick-off. 'In the FA Cup, First Round Proper.'

You can tell he really enjoys saying 'proper'. There has been no shortage of competitiveness in any round to date, but the prize here – beyond the 12,500 winners' money – is status. The FA Cup's first round proper is even called the FA Cup First Round Proper. It's proper status.

Unfortunately for the Hyde fan, this is the first match in this series when the most striking thing about the FA Cup is its apparent irrelevance. This is 90 minutes lacking traditional values. It is polite, coached football.

Hyde have a seat at the top table of FA Cup history. They hold the record defeat – 26-0 to Preston in 1887. They are one up early through Phil Jevons, who replaced Nick Barmby when making his Everton Premier League debut 13 years ago. It is a soft penalty.

Hyde won the Conference North division that Harrogate finished 12th in last season. But Harrogate deserve the 88th- minute equaliser from substitute Leon Osborne. That means a replay, by which time the clubs know the Proper prize is a trip to League Two Torquay United.

Harrogate feel this a 'cruel irony'. In 2005 they got the same first-round prize. But they won it again, 1-0 on Wednesday night, deep into injury time. A replay that was postponed twice finally took place on Harrogate's neighbours' pitch. The Yorkshiremen are off to Devon.

Daily Mail School"s Rugby: King"s School Macclesfield unbeaten

King's must mind their Manners after making a blistering start to U18s Cup

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UPDATED:

23:49 GMT, 1 November 2012

King’s School, Macclesfield, are among the form teams in this season’s Daily Mail RBS Schools' Cup after an unbeaten start.

The Cheshire school, whose autumn scalps in regular fixtures include a first over mighty Sedbergh, meet Derbyshire champions Lady Manners next Wednesday as cup games resume after the half-term break.

Head coach Guy Mason puts the nine wins down to hard work triggered by a successful tour of Canada in the summer.

‘We are a little bit surprised because we were pretty disappointed last season,’ he explained about a campaign which brought a fourth-round, 12-50, exit to Lymm, in the Under 18s cup.

On the attack: King's break

On the attack: King's break through

King’s record this season is among the best in the country. So far they have accounted for Grange School, Northwich, and Sandbach in the cup while wins on the regular circuit include not only Sedbergh but QEGS Wakefield, RGS Lancaster, Manchester GS and Woodhouse Grove.

The school is maintaining its link to Sale – led by ex-England scrum-half Steve Smith – through former hooker Tommy Taylor who has become a regular member of the Premiership club’s squad.

And this season Jack Sadler, the captain and No 8, plus lock Jonny Kenny, a member of the England Under 18 squad, are among a number of players combining school commitments and Sale’s academy demands.

Safe hands: King's full-back receives the ball

Safe hands: King's full-back receives the ball

Kenny was a member of the King’s team who lost 25-3 in the final of the Daily Mail Under 15s vase in 2009 to The Leys School, Cambridge.

‘It would be great for the school to get back to Twickenham, but there’s a long way to go before we can think about that and Lady Manners will be difficult opponents,’ Mason added.

The Derbyshire comprehensive, based in the Peak District town of Bakewell, have plenty to shout about after six age-grade teams were crowned county champions last season.

Week of destiny: King's U15s are also unbeaten

Week of destiny: King's U15s are also unbeaten

A trip to King’s comes after a tense 23-22 third-round win over Sir John Deane’s College, Northwich, secured through a last-ditch penalty by fly half Tom Hutchinson.

‘It was the last play of the game,’ explained head coach Robert Allen. ‘They had taken the lead, but we managed to regain it through a penalty.’

Allen hopes outside centre Rory Chambers and flanker Tom Cruttenden will maintain their impressive starts to the season.

A Cantona style kung-fu kick, world beaters and a touch of glamour… it must be the FA Cup proper

A Cantona style kung-fu kick, world beaters and a touch of glamour… it must be the FA Cup proper

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 1 November 2012

It's FA Cup time again. The first round proper begins on Friday night when Cambridge City host MK Dons. But this is not the first round for many. There have been six rounds so far and Sportsmail's MICHAEL WALKER has been at each one, starting at North Shields back in August. We have followed the winners of each round and will do so through to next May's final. On Saturday it is Torquay United v Harrogate Town. Here's how we got there.

Honours even: Hyde (in red) take on Harrogate, a game which ended 1-1

Honours even: Hyde (in red) take on
Harrogate, a game which ended 1-1

August 11, FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
North Shields 1 Birtley Town 1
Venue: Ralph Gardner Park, Attendance: 134, Entry fee: 4 , Match programme: 50p, Prize-money: 1,000

So this is it: the last day of the Olympics, the start of the FA Cup. Down in east London, Mo Farah is about to win his second gold medal of the Games in the 5,000 metres; up on sunny Tyneside, the amateur sport is real.

The FA Cup has 758 entrants, and at this stage 400 are involved. It is regional, but nationwide. There are matches from Cornwall to Northumberland.

It is 98 days since the last FA Cup final, when Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1, if you recall. North Shields' ground, where the main sponsor is a local funeral director, feels as far from Wembley as it does from the Olympians in Stratford.

These are two teams from the Northern League's second division. But it is good. The banter among the watching lads would fill a northern, kitchen-sink novel, a sample line being: 'He didn't stop it until wor Davy stabbed him.'

There is a touch of glamour, too, from the presence of England fast bowler Steve Harmison in the crowd. Harmison's brother James is a North Shields centre half. The pitch is hairy, the standard is rusty – it's the first game of the season – and Birtley, from Gateshead, deserve their equaliser.

That means a replay the following Tuesday. South of the Tyne, Birtley Town win. They are officially on an FA Cup run. For North Shields there will be no return to Wembley, where they won the FA Amateur Cup in 1969, beating Sutton United in front of 47,000. Those were the days.

Hyde and seek: fans sample the culinary delights on offer at Hyde FC

Hyde and seek: fans sample the culinary delights on offer at Hyde FC

August 25, FA Cup Preliminary Round
Birtley Town 1 West Auckland Town 4
Venue: Birtley Sports Complex, Attendance: 135, Entry fee: 5, Match programme 1, Prize-money: 1,750

It is the sodden August day when, 10 miles away, Sunderland postpone their first home match of the season, against Reading. Across in Birtley, tucked away at the foot of a housing estate, it's game on.

Anyone who has ever been on the east coast mainline can have seen Birtley Town's ground. South of Newcastle, amid the low-rise industry of the Team Valley, the pitch is beside the railway line. As Birtley take a surprise lead against the famous West Auckland – who hail from the Northern League's first division as well as football's history books – trains hurtle by, followed by those of Virgin.

The crowd seems almost entirely from County Durham – that is, West Auckland – and when 'West' equalise in the second half there is a roar. 'West' are clearly the more accomplished footballers but Birtley have excelled. Quality tells though in the next 20 minutes as the County Durham team rattle in three more.

Birtley's Cup run has ended but their players can always console themselves at a takeaway advertising in the match programme. It has speciality pizza costing 3 called 'Geordie Delight' – 'tomato, kebab and cheese.'

Gentle touch: groundsman opts for the light workout

Gentle touch: groundsman opts for the light workout

September 8, FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Ashington 2 West Auckland Town 3
Venue: Woodhorn Lane, Attendance: 277, Entry fee: 6, Programme: 1, Prize-money: 3,000

A fixture with a history and a half delivered a game and a half.

The West Auckland team bus in the Ashington car park has a sign on the front with 'Winners of the World Cup' on it.

This refers to the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy, a precursor of the World Cup and West Auckland's dual triumphs of 1909 and 1911.

These were the first, embryonic international tournaments. They were held in Turin and the miners from West Auckland beat a Swiss club, FC Winterthur, in the first final and Juventus (6-1) in the second final. And in West Auckland they haven't forgotten. Nor in Turin – 'West' were invited back by Juventus for the 1909 centenary three years ago.

Ashington, also of the Northern League's first division, will always have a place in the history of English football as the two framed England shirts in the clubhouse show. One is signed by Bobby Charlton, the other by Jack Charlton.

Ashington gave the world, and the World Cup, the Charlton brothers. The town was built on coal, but while the National Union of Mineworkers are among the sponsors at the ground, Ashington is now referred to as an 'unemployment blackspot'. Dole not coal.

Outside Woodhorn Lane, young lads are saddling up a pony and trap. It's like something out of Kes. Inside, the banter, which later spills over, reflects modern life. It is dominated by rival chants concerning which town has the greater number of 'smackheads'.

But first a proper FA Cup tie breaks out. In hot sunshine, the scoring goes 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 until, in the 87th minute, John Parker makes it 2-3 to the visitors. It is a deserved win for West Auckland.

For Ashington midfielder Andy Dugdale, it gets too much. He commits another foul and sees a second yellow card.

Something is said on the sidelines as Dugdale departs and he stops, turns and leaps over the perimeter barrier kung-fu style and plants an Eric Cantona Selhurst Park-style boot on a West fan. For a minute it gets ugly and threatens to run out of control. Who says the FA Cup doesn't matter any more

Afterwards a detour leads to Beatrice Street where Bobby Charlton returned after the Munich air crash to recuperate. There is a famous back-lane photograph of Charlton with some local children. But outside the front of 114 there is no blue plaque. But then what did the Charltons ever do for England

Hyde FC V Harrogate FC in the FA Cup 4th round pre qualifier

September 22, FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
West Auckland Town 2 Harrogate Town 2
Venue: Darlington Road, West Auckland, Attendance: 194, Entrance: 8, Programme: 1, Raffle prize: four cans of lager, Prize-money: 4,500

Turning off the Durham Road in Bishop Auckland, a shiny new stadium comes into view and anticipation rises. The car park is full and there is an FA Cup tie soon to begin. But this is Bishop Auckland v Fylde.

West Auckland is further on. There you park on the grass and walk down a back lane to a sloping pitch that presumably was once a farmer's field. It is massive.

But the welcome is warm and West Auckland are far from agricultural. They have a reputation for aggression but there is not much evidence here. Against Harrogate Town, three divisions higher in the Conference North, West keep playing pass-and-go even when they fall 2-0 behind with 15 minutes left.

But West have two stars on their badge – those World Cup wins – and more than two on the pitch. Ten minutes from the end, John Campbell strikes home a penalty and, in injury time, captain and centre forward Mattie Moffat spears in the equaliser. Fans are on the pitch.

Moffat is one of those natural ball-players that populate the Northern League and their ilk. There are a few who could play higher and West showed that again in the replay. Though they lost 5-1 it was 1-1 in the 66th minute. Jose da Veiga, the Harrogate goalkeeper who began at Benfica and who was first choice for Levante in La Liga II for three seasons, made vital saves.

West reached Wembley last season in the FA Vase but there will be no FA Cup to add to those two stars next May.

October 6, FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Harrogate Town 3 Frickley Athletic 2
Venue: Wetherby Road, Attendance: 349, Entry: 12, Programme: 2.50, Prize-money: 7,500

Autumnal sunshine gives picturesque Wetherby Road a yellowish hue. The pitch is heavy with the rain that has swamped Yorkshire. But an end-to-end county derby unfolds.

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver was a youth player at Sheffield Wednesday. His programme notes refer back to the West Auckland replay, when West had a man sent off late on.

'I was pleased that (our) players did not get sucked into a fight as the players of West Auckland seemed determined to 'snap' some lads in two, according to instructions from their dug-out.'

There will be another red card in this game, for Harrogate's Lee Elam.

The two teams had met in the previous round last season when there needed to be a replay, won by Frickley. They are now 'Athletic', they used to be 'Colliery'; they bring a bunch of fans north to leafy Harrogate who chant: 'You're so posh it's unbelievable.'

Frickley, of the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier, are 1-0 up in three minutes. The scoring then goes 1-1, 2-1 and 2-2 when, with 15 minutes left, Adam Bolder scores a beauty. Bolder, 31, scored two for Wednesday in a Sheffield derby in the Championship four years ago.

But Frickley, 100 years old last season, come again. You can almost touch the commitment as they pursue an equaliser. But no, it will be Harrogate Town going to Hyde to seek progress to the first round proper.

October 20, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
Hyde 1 Harrogate Town 1
Venue: Ewen Fields, Attendance: 393, Entry: 14, Programme: 2.50, Prize-money 12,500

'Let's make it official, Hyde,' shouts an especially eager fan at kick-off. 'In the FA Cup, First Round Proper.'

You can tell he really enjoys saying 'proper'. There has been no shortage of competitiveness in any round to date, but the prize here – beyond the 12,500 winners' money – is status. The FA Cup's first round proper is even called the FA Cup First Round Proper. It's proper status.

Unfortunately for the Hyde fan, this is the first match in this series when the most striking thing about the FA Cup is its apparent irrelevance. This is 90 minutes lacking traditional values. It is polite, coached football.

Hyde have a seat at the top table of FA Cup history. They hold the record defeat – 26-0 to Preston in 1887. They are one up early through Phil Jevons, who replaced Nick Barmby when making his Everton Premier League debut 13 years ago. It is a soft penalty.

Hyde won the Conference North division that Harrogate finished 12th in last season. But Harrogate deserve the 88th- minute equaliser from substitute Leon Osborne. That means a replay, by which time the clubs know the Proper prize is a trip to League Two Torquay United.

Harrogate feel this a 'cruel irony'. In 2005 they got the same first-round prize. But they won it again, 1-0 on Wednesday night, deep into injury time. A replay that was postponed twice finally took place on Harrogate's neighbours' pitch. The Yorkshiremen are off to Devon.

Maria de Villota speaks about Formula One test crash and loss of eye

De Villota reveals dreadful moment she learned her eye was gone after test crash

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UPDATED:

15:26 GMT, 11 October 2012

Maria De Villota has made her first public appearance since losing her right eye in a testing accident for the Marussia Formula One team earlier this year.

De Villota required two operations at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in the wake of the crash at Duxford Airfield in July, when the Spaniard ran into the tailgate of a stationary service vehicle following an installation run at the start of the straight-line test.

At a press conference in Madrid, during which a graphic computer reproduction of the skull damage suffered by the 32-year-old was displayed, De Villota revealed she had also lost her sense of taste and smell as a result of her injuries.

Glad to be alive: Maria de Villota says she now sees life outside F1 in a new light having survived her crash

Glad to be alive: Maria de Villota says she now sees life outside F1 in a new light having survived her crash

Despite spending almost a month in hospital following the crash, De Villota is scheduled for more surgery but is staying upbeat about her future, insisting she is ready to live her life at '100 per cent'.

'One of the surgeons who had operated on me came up to me and said “Maria, we saved your life. But we need to tell you you have lost your eye”,' De Villota said in quotes reported by Autosport.

'In that moment, I asked the surgeon: “Do you need both hands to operate” and he said yes, and I said “Well, I'm a Formula One driver and I need both eyes”. And I told the poor man that it (should have been) my decision (to remove the eye), as if the poor man had a choice.

'But then you realise it is something unprecedented, that you are feeling fine, and you realise that you see more than before. Because, before the accident I only saw Formula One, inside a car, competing. I didn't see what was really important in life. At that point I wasn't appreciating the biggest thing, which was the person who had saved me.

'So this eye has made me find the way again and I'm seeing it that way. And this new opportunity I'm going to live it at 100 per cent.'

Smash: De Villota, a driver with Marussia, crashed during testing at Druxford Airfield in July

Smash: De Villota, a driver with Marussia, crashed during testing at Druxford Airfield in July

Smash: De Villota, a driver with Marussia, crashed during testing at Druxford Airfield in July

De Villota, who now wears an eye patch, remains unsure whether she has a future in car racing, but indicated in an interview with Spain's Hola magazine that she would turn some of her energy to improving safety at Formula One test sessions such as the one at Duxford.

'What I'm wondering now is if my future is being a racing driver or if there's something else I have to do with my life. I still don't know what I need to do,' she told the magazine. 'We all want to see if there are lessons to learn from what happened, so we can avoid accidents like that in the future.

'My intention is to help with a view to the future, improve safety, especially in aero tests, because at the circuits everything is under control, but not in this kind of test.'

De Villota also revealed that she was touched by the many messages of support she received from colleagues and fans in the wake of her accident.

'I felt deeply loved, highly respected by my colleagues and everybody in the world of motor sport,' De Villota said. 'My new life goes beyond my dreams, because my dream was Formula One and I achieved it. I'm a driver, I feel like a driver.'

St George"s Park opens: Wayne Rooney says England will be better

Time for a new beginning: England will aim for better standards, pledges Rooney

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UPDATED:

21:20 GMT, 9 October 2012

Meanwhile in Manchester…

Snubbed England defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted from Manchester United training. He wrote: 'It is treeeezing out there today but as its sunny+dry I'm loving it! Running + body weight gym session for me now! 200push ups for starters!'

The photograph of Kevin Keegan on his bedroom wall here at St George’s Park, Wayne Rooney was not so happy about. If he could have changed it, he said with a wry smile, he would have.

But the quotation he spotted on the wall of the stunning new hydrotherapy room was more inspirational.

‘It was from Ian Thorpe,’ said Rooney, and while he could not quote the Australian swimming legend exactly, he liked the sentiment.

It says this: ‘Losing is not coming second. It’s getting out of the water knowing you could have done better.’

Against the back drop of misbehaving international footballers, it could not have been more appropriate.

Say cheese! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge line up with the England players, including Ashley Cole, at St George's Park

Say cheese! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge line up with the England players, including Ashley Cole, at St George's Park

Exciting times: Roy Hodgson and his team enjoyed the visit from the Royal family

Exciting times: Roy Hodgson and his team enjoyed the visit from the Royal family

St George’s Park is not just a
state-of-the-art training base for England’s finest players and a
national centre for coaching education. It is a place that can create an
ethos; that can implement cultural change from the grass-roots to the
pinnacle of the professional game.

It actually started on the eve of the
official opening with the presentation of a new code of conduct for the
players and the message was reiterated.

From the Duke of Cambridge it was not
so serious. A playful threat to Ashley Cole to take away his Twitter
page if he continued to misbehave.

Game for a laugh: William shakes hands with Ashley Cole

Game for a laugh: William shakes hands with Ashley Cole

Game for a laugh: William shakes hands with Ashley Cole – despite the England defender calling the FA a 'bunch of t****' just a few days ago

So, what's inside St George's Park
Training pitch with exact dimensions of Wembley – plus exactly the same combination of grass and artificial fibres11 outdoor pitches – five of them floodlit with under-soil heatingA full-size indoor 3G artificial pitch, plus gallery for up to 200 peopleAltitude chamber to mirror specific playing conditionsIndoor 60m sprint track
Slogans dotted around, including this one from Jesse Owens – 'A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds.'Hilton hotel featuring suites named after former England players and managers

From the Football Association,
however, a point needed to be made. Roy Hodgson had his say and so did
the FA chairman, David Bernstein.

Clearly unhappy that Cole’s Twitter
antics had overshadowed a proud day for the organisation, Bernstein did
not pull his punches.

He dismissed talk of Cole — who has
played 98 times for his country — leading the side for his 100th cap
because certain standards are required to lead the national team;
something he said they demonstrated when they stripped John Terry of the
captaincy in February.

Had he been here, this might have
been uncomfortable for Terry. There were a number of references to the
ongoing fight against any form of discrimination, with Bernstein
referencing a quote from Martin Luther King in the dressing-room area.

Cole, we were told by Hodgson, had
displayed genuine contrition after branding the governing body a ‘bunch
of t**ts’ and it was interesting to hear Rooney expressing a certain
amount of regret about mistakes he has made more recently.

Thorpe’s message is clear. Don’t
waste opportunities. But Rooney reflected on his summer — in particular
the personal disappointment he endured at the European Championship —
and admitted he might have done things differently.

The trip to Las Vegas he made shortly before the Euros was not well received and Rooney accepted that criticism.

‘I can understand and see where you are coming from,’ he said.

Water world: Prince William shares a joke with Jermain Defoe, Ashley Cole and Andy Carroll in the hot tub at St George's Park

Water world: Prince William shares a joke with Jermain Defoe, Ashley Cole and Andy Carroll in the hot tub at St George's Park

Bunch of tats: Ashley Cole in conversation with Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll in the Jacuzzi

Bunch of tats: Ashley Cole in conversation with Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll in the Jacuzzi

‘I wasn’t in Vegas going out every
night, drinking and partying. Obviously I went out one night and that
was seen. But I couldn’t train anyway. That is why I had the extra time
off.

‘I had to have something done to my
toe and it was just a way to relax before I came into training. There
was no treatment for me to get at the time but, looking back, I can
understand why maybe yourselves and the fans weren’t happy.’

He said he could also understand why everything he does is so heavily scrutinised.

Rather you than me: The Duke and Duchess watch a demonstration of one of the treadmills

Rather you than me: The Duke and Duchess watch a demonstration of one of the treadmills

Poolside: The Duke and Duchess are shown the hydrotherapy facilities at the new 100m complex in the Staffordshire countryside

Poolside: The Duke and Duchess are shown the hydrotherapy facilities at the new 100m complex in the Staffordshire countryside

Lightning fast: The Duke and Duchess test their reflexes on the BATAK reactions board in the Human Performance Lab at St George's Park

Lightning fast: The Duke and Duchess test their reflexes on the BATAK reactions board in the Human Performance Lab at St George's Park

St George's Park by numbers

4,000 litres of water per night to service the under-soil heating

200 rooms in two hotels

5 gyms on site

2 Football League teams using the facilities on a full-time basis — Burton Albion and Notts County

1 60m sprint track

1975 was the year when the idea of the National Football Centre was first discussed

12 full-size pitches (five of them with undersoil heating and floodlighting) plus one futsal pitch

250 pounds per hour for teams wanting to hire the full-size artificial pitch

It is, he agreed, the territory he
occupies as England’s finest player and someone who would now like to be
regarded as one of the senior players; someone who should be setting an
example.

‘I have no problem with that,’ he
said. ‘Hopefully in the near future we will be coming out of a
tournament and you will all be praising me because we have won a trophy.
That would be great for everyone.

‘I always try to speak to the younger
players and offer advice. I always remember Alex Ferguson saying what a
big help Eric Cantona was to all those younger players at United. It is
something I can look at and try to do for England.

‘Hopefully I can bring the best out of them and they can bring the best out of myself as well.’

As the most popular British sportsman
on Twitter — he has more than five million followers — it seemed
appropriate to ask him about that particular social media site in the
context of the Cole controversy.

He agreed that, as an international footballer, being on Twitter ‘brings a sense of responsibility’.

‘It is a good way for the fans to see
a different side of you, away from football,’ he said. ‘But you
obviously know everything you put on there is seen by everyone who
follows you. It will be in the newspapers the next day so you have to be
careful.’

After the Euros, Fabio Capello
suggested the Rooney we so often see excel at Manchester United rarely
appears in an England shirt.

Big fan: Frank Lampard chats with the Duchess of Cambridge

Talking tactics: Roy Hodgson gets his point across to the Royal couple

Talking tactics: Frank Lampard chats with the Duchess (left) while manager Roy Hodgson gets his point across to the Royal couple

Marching on: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are given a tour of St George's Park by FA officials

Marching on: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are given a tour of St George's Park by FA officials

Teamtalk: The Duke enjoys a joke with a group of England players after their training session

Teamtalk: The Duke enjoys a joke with a group of England players after their training session

Proud day: The England team pose for pictures alongside William and Kate

Proud day: The England team pose for pictures alongside William and Kate

Rooney said he was not aware of the criticism from the former England manager but, again, he could see he had a point.

‘I’d have liked to have played better
for England,’ he said. ‘For whatever reasons it hasn’t happened but I
can hold my head up high and say I’ve always worked hard, given
everything and I’ll continue to do that.’

He said he was not as unfit as had been suggested at the start of the season, arguing that he had ‘only one bad game’.

Game for a laugh: Wayne Rooney jokes with England coach Gary Neville

In the spotlight: Ashley Cole was back in training with England

Raring to go: Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole enjoyed themselves in training under the instructions of England coach Roy Hodgson (bottom left)

In charge: England boss Roy Hodgson instructs his players at their new HQ

Down to business: Rooney is put through his paces at St George's Park

He also said it would be ‘an honour’
to captain England should Hodgson turn to him if Frank Lampard is not
fit enough to play against San Marino on Friday.

That is what the FA want to hear at
the new national football centre. Rooney spoke of it being an
‘inspirational place’ and so did Steven Gerrard.

The Duke of Cambridge spoke of how it would one day deliver a ‘world-beating national team’.

That might sound a bit ambitious
right now. England players who can buy into the ethos and set the right
example would be a start.

Sight to behold: An aerial view of St George's Park, situated in the green of Staffordshire

Sight to behold: An aerial view of St George's Park, situated in the green of Staffordshire

Sight to behold: An aerial view of St George's Park, situated in the green of Staffordshire

Sight to behold: An aerial view of St George's Park, situated in the green of Staffordshire

Flying the flag: A bright day welcomed the official opening of the National Football Centre in Burton on Tuesday morning

Flying the flag: A bright day welcomed the official opening of the National Football Centre in Burton on Tuesday morning

Grand tour: The Duchess of Cambridge is shown around St George's Park by FA chiefs on Tuesday

Grand tour: The Duchess of Cambridge is shown around St George's Park by FA chiefs on Tuesday

Fresh scenery: Theo Walcott and Ryan Shawcross battle for the ball as they train with England at St George's Park

Fresh scenery: Theo Walcott and Ryan Shawcross battle for the ball as they train with England at St George's Park

Sid Waddell funeral: Voice of Darts remembered

The 'Voice of Darts' remembered: Stars turn out for Sid Waddell's funeral service

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 22 August 2012

Sports stars including Andrew Flintoff and Eric Bristow gathered for the funeral of the 'voice of darts', Sid Waddell.

Flintoff and Bristow arrived together at the service in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday.

They were followed into the Parish Church by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, Barry Hearn.

Paying respects: Eric Bristow (left) and Andrew Flintoff

Paying respects: Eric Bristow (left) and Andrew Flintoff

Football commentator John Helm said as
he arrived: 'If we'd had an Olympic games for commentators he would
have won the gold medal so many times.

'He was top of the tree.

'We are here to pay tribute to a colossus of his trade.

'Every time I was with Sid he always made me laugh.

'He was a man with so much eloquence he could stop the world with his commentaries.'

Keith Deller

Jeff Stelling

Friends: Keith Deller and Jeff Stelling and Barry Hearn (below, right)

Order of service

Barry Hearn

Waddell died earlier this month at the age of 72, following a battle against bowel cancer.

He was one of the most recognisable
figures in the sport, famed for his unique one-liners delivered in his
trademark North East accent.

Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, Waddell was a central part of Sky Sports' coverage of PDC darts events since 1994.

He was known for his colourful and
excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including 'There's
only one word for it – 'magic darts'.'

He also noted, while watching Bristow
become world champion: 'When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried
salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer … Bristow's
only 27.'

The church was packed for the
hour-long service which featured tributes from Hearn, Sky Sports
commentator Dave Lanning and Waddell's son Dan.

There was no coffin brought in as Waddell was cremated at a private service earlier today.

Family: Dan Waddell, left, Sid's son leaves Pusdey Parish Church with Sid's wife Irene

Family: Dan Waddell, left, Sid's son leaves Pusdey Parish Church with Sid's wife Irene

In his eulogy, Hearn talked about the commentator's 'frenetic, Geordie frenzy' style.

He said: 'We wouldn't be where we are
today without his service to the sport. Painting those pictures, those
Picassos, Sid took a pub game and made it a global phenomenon.'

Hearn told the congregation how a new trophy named after Waddell would be presented at the PDC World Championships.

In his tribute, Dan Waddell said: 'To
me he was more like a mate. We could speak about sport. We could speak
about books. We could speak about anything.

'I'll miss those chats. I'll miss my mate.'

Outside there were more tributes to Waddell.

Flintoff described the fun he had joining his friend in the TV commentary box.

He said: 'At home we'd spend hours
watching him entertaining us on TV as well. He was a great man and it
was a fitting tribute today when the theme of the service was all about
his character and how much fun he was. He was just great to be around.

'There's not too many people who can make people smile instantly and spread happiness almost. He'll be sadly missed.'

Voice of darts: The legendary commentator will be remembered

Voice of darts: The legendary commentator will be remembered

Speaking outside, Hearn said: 'He was a very smart guy, a very bright man, but he never lost his love for working-class people.

'He hated snobbery of any type, and darts, to him, was a proper game, a proper sport.

'Who else can call Cliff Lazarenko and Jocky Wilson athletes

'He believed it with a passion and it was his passion that came through.'

He added: 'He was a total one-off and
in the world of sport the word 'legend' is often over-used, but in Sid
Waddell it's an understatement.'

Insight: Waddell offered superb knowledge of darts and spoke with humour

Insight: Waddell offered superb knowledge of darts and spoke with humour

Toon: Geordie Waddell was a Newcastle fan

Waddell conducting an interview

Keith Deller, who won the World
Championship in 1983, said Waddell projected darts worldwide as a sport
in the 1980s when many commentators wrote it off as a game for fat beer
drinkers.

'He was a very intelligent man,' Deller said.

'I think he was a lot more intelligent than the people who were writing against us. He really did give us a lot of credibility.

'He had so much enthusiasm for every game.'

Darts veteran Cliff Lazarenko said: 'I don't think, unfortunately, there'll be anyone else to replace Sid.

'He was, once and for all, one of the greatest commentators for our sport.

'And he was a good friend of the darts players. If he didn't have something kind to say, he didn't say it.

'Sid was Sid and it was always a pleasure to be in his company.'

Broad palate: As well as commentating, Waddell also wrote books

Broad palate: As well as commentating, Waddell also wrote books