Tag Archives: capacity

Borussia Dortmund use artificial lights to repair pitch during Bundesliga winter break

Does this shed light on Dortmund's success 'Artificial sun' repair lamps pitch them above rivals in Bundesliga

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

13:25 GMT, 8 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 8 January 2013

Bathed in an eerie yellow glow in keeping with the club's colours, the pitch at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park receives some tender loving care ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga season.

The strange light, made all the more pronounced by the darkened stands, is the result of a hi-tech 'artificial sun' lighting system used by the German champions to keep their pitch in pristine condition.

With the stadium capacity a massive 80,645 for league matches – including nearly 25,000 on the famous Sudtribune terrace – the tall stands block out natural sunlight, meaning the pitch can easily become dry and patchy.

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break

So for the past two years, Dortmund have hired Dutch company Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL) to construct a portable grid of powerful lamps above the turf in between matches to ensure the grass gets all the necessary nutrients.

It has created a pristine surface which perfectly suits Dortmund's free-flowing style of play and has helped deliver the last two Bundesliga titles.

With German football pausing for a winter break, and natural sunlight at a premium, the lights have been warming the pitch round the clock in recent weeks.

It's a similar situation at many of the 80-odd football clubs across Europe that use SGL's technology, with pitches today representing a vast improvement on a decade or two ago.

Yellow wall: The tall stands at the 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park mean natural sunlight is at a premium

Yellow wall: The tall stands at the 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park mean natural sunlight is at a premium

Success: The pristine pitch created by the lights has been a factor in Dortmund's recent success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles

Success: The pristine pitch created by the lights has been a factor in Dortmund's recent success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles

Dortmund resume their defence of the title with a trip to Werder Bremen on January 19, with the first game back at the Signal Iduna on January 25 against Nuremberg.

But they have plenty to do if they're to overhaul runaway leaders Bayern Munich, who have a nine point lead over Bayer Leverkusen and 12 over Dortmund.

Pitches have come a long way from the days of Harris, Hunter and Best…

Mudbath: Manchester United's George Best gets a shot away under challenge from Chelsea's Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a less-than-pristine playing surface in 1971

Mudbath: Manchester United's George Best gets a shot away under challenge from Chelsea's Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a less-than-pristine playing surface in 1971

Night of misery: A despondent Norman Hunter of England on a very cut up pitch in Chorzow after losing to Poland in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers

Night of misery: A despondent Norman Hunter of England on a very cut up pitch in Chorzow after losing to Poland in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers

Leon Osman proved he was international class for England – Mersey Beat

After years in the shadows, Osman finally emerged to prove his international class

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UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 16 November 2012

It was a game he will remember forever more. A capacity crowd, a sparkling new stadium and a goal fit to grace any occasion.

But while the world and his wife were left speaking about Zlatan Ibrahimovic following the staggering strike on Wednesday evening, Leon Osman was able to come away from England’s contest with Sweden feeling equally content.

Of course, the Everton midfielder’s efforts were not as spectacular, or as game-changing, as the enigmatic Ibrahimovic but, in his own, understated way, Osman proved a point in Stockholm’s twinkling new Friends Arena.

Stepping up: Leon Osman eased into the England team against Sweden

Stepping up: Leon Osman eased into the England team against Sweden

More from Dominic King…

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Many had wondered why, at the age of 31, Roy Hodgson had called Osman into his squad. This is a transitional period for the national team and the emphasis is on blooding new, young players who will potentially be the mainstays for major tournaments in 2018 and 2020.

Good footballers, however, never go out of fashion, not matter how old they are. And, that, in a nutshell is precisely what Osman showed on Wednesday night. Dovetailing well with Steven Gerrard, Osman kept England’s engine room ticking over with his assured range of passing.

Those who have been watching him over the last two years will not have been surprised that he fitted in so neatly but to see him make a contribution to the best football England have played under Roy Hodgson was nonetheless so pleasing.

‘We were all genuinely made up when we heard that he had been picked,’ said Leighton Baines, Osman’s Everton colleague and a man whose performances mean that Ashley Cole has genuine competition for his left-back spot.

‘The manager (David Moyes) had pulled me and Jags (Phil Jagielka) before he got everyone together to say he’d heard there was a chance Ossie had been called up but he didn’t want to say too much in case it never worked out.

‘But when he called us around to tell us, everyone was over the moon for him. It’s brilliant and fully deserved. He has had to wait a long time for this and some people will be wondering why he has been called up but he is a footballer’s footballer.

Fitting right in: Osman did not look out of place on England duty

Fitting right in: Osman did not look out of place on England duty

‘He’s so skilful and his passing is brilliant. He has got goals in him too. He has definitely got the talent to stay in the squad and he is someone who won’t look out of place. He doesn’t get lots of headlines but footballers and people within the game appreciate the role he plays and the things he does.’

That may be true but there is a feeling that Osman would have made his England debut long before Wednesday night, had he played for a more 'fashionable' club. This is not being detrimental to Everton. Far from it.

Yet there are players who have played for southern based sides in recent years that have lacked Osman’s technical and tactical proficiencies. Put it another way, had he spent his career at Tottenham, say, he would not be one of England’s oldest debutants.

Stuck at the Toffees: Everton have enjoyed Osman's talents for years

Stuck at the Toffees: Everton have enjoyed Osman's talents for years

Encouragingly, though, there are signs from Roy Hodgson that Osman will not join the ranks of players such as Mark Walters, Kevin Richardson, Michael Ricketts and David Nugent, who wore Three Lions on their chest once but never again.

‘It’s very good for me to know that a player like Osman, someone I’ve thought a lot of for a number of years since coming back to English football, can be brought in relatively late in his career and do the job he did,’ mused Hodgson.

‘The next time I put a squad together I can’t make guarantees but one thing is for sure: I believed in him and gave him a chance and he took the chance. He’s certainly a name we will be discussing very seriously the next time we get together.’

And there, if Osman needed any, was the proof he could be comfortable being referred to as an international class footballer.

James Beattie enjoying fresh start at Accrington

EXCLUSIVE: Former Southampton and Everton striker Beattie enjoying fresh start at Accrington

|

UPDATED:

09:03 GMT, 16 November 2012

'Two boys talking in the famous Milk Marketing Board TV advert of 1989: ‘Milk Urrrggh!’

‘It’s what Ian Rush drinks. He says if I don’t drink lots of milk, when I grow up I’ll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.’

‘Accrington Stanley Who are they’

‘Exactly!’

There are many reasons why James Beattie finds himself in the unlikely surroundings of Accrington Stanley at the moment, but forgetting to drink his milk is not one of them.

A bust-up with Tony Pulis at Stoke, an injury at Rangers, the death of his father while Beattie was on loan at Blackpool and an ill-timed red card at Sheffield United have all contributed to a player who once commanded more than 15million in transfer fees pitching up at the 5,000-capacity Crown Ground, just a few miles from where he was brought up in East Lancashire.

Scroll down for memorable milk advert video…

New start: Beattie (right) with Accrington boss Leam Richardson

New start: Beattie (right) with Accrington boss Leam Richardson

When he was asked by his old Blackburn Rovers team-mate Leam Richardson to help out as player-coach at the League Two club last week, 34-year-old Beattie was only too happy to oblige.

He is one of a number of ex-Premier League players forced to drop down the divisions just to get a game these days.

Tonight the former England striker is in line to make his debut against Edgar Davids at Barnet. Just along the road from Accrington at Fleetwood Town, Barry Ferguson has also popped up in English football's fourth tier.

Beattie recently offered to join Swindon on a pay-as-you-play basis. They said no.

'No offence, but Swindon!' he says. 'The market is dead at the moment. There are so many pros out of a job.

'I know that even people within football say I don't want to play any more. They can think what they want, that's totally wrong. I won't stop because I've been knocked back by a few clubs. As long as I've got that spark to get out of bed in the morning and play football, I will pursue it.

'You're just waiting for somebody to give you a chance. It's a little bit like starting again.

'Realistically, I know I could hold my own at Championship level. The Premier League is probably gone but you never know – I'm a proven goalscorer at that level.

'It's just the match sharpness, which is exactly why I've gone to Accrington.'

Fresh start: James Beattie

Beattie has signed a contract until January 9 and will also help Richardson, even though he previously had few plans to go into coaching.

He remembers the slope on Accrington's pitch from schoolboy cup finals he played there as a teenager. The club have moved on, though, no longer known simply for that TV advert and the two little boys from Liverpool who had never heard of Accrington Stanley.

These days most of the players are from Merseyside and support Everton, as Beattie found out en route to his first training session.

'We were training at my old school,' says the former 6m Everton signing. 'I was following a car full of our lads up the M65 but they missed the turn-off, came off at the next junction and got back on.

'It was only later when they were laughing their heads off at training that they explained it was because the driver had Googled me on his iPhone and was watching my goals for Everton!

'They're saying, “We can't believe Beattie's here”. It's given them a bit of a lift as well. But I've told Leam I want to fight for my place, otherwise it's not fair on the other lads.

'There were a few raised eyebrows when I came in for the game on Saturday. We used to play cup finals at Accy Stanley when I was 14 or 15, and a couple of the older guys have said it's nice to see me. I'm on hardly anything but I'll give the lads my time and put everything I've got into it.

Target man: Beattie has scored goals

Target man: Beattie has scored more than 100 goals

'I was driving over the other morning for my first session and I was excited. That tells me it's the right thing to do. A football club is a unique environment.Many ex-pros miss going in and having the banter. There are a lot of ex-footballers around where I live in Cheshire. I see people like Graeme Souness and they say, “Keep playing as long as you can because you're a long time retired”.

'I'm sure Edgar Davids doesn't need to play football. Why would he be playing for Barnet Because he loves football. Barry Ferguson's another. When it's in your blood, it's in your blood.'

Beattie has been largely out of the spotlight since he left Stoke just over two years ago.

Legal reasons prevent him from talking about the well-publicised dressing-room clash with Pulis in December 2009 which hastened his departure, and a fresh start in Scotland was cut short by injury.

/11/15/article-2233642-03EEE827000005DC-243_634x552.jpg” width=”634″ height=”552″ alt=”National service: Beattie played for England” class=”blkBorder” />

National service: Beattie played five times for England

Just when Beattie looked to be finding his feet at Sheffield United last season, a sending-off against Exeter City cost him a place in the League One play-offs and, he believes, the chance of a contract.

He tried his luck across town at Sheffield Wednesday but a few weeks' training came to nothing. 'They said it was probably to do with the budget but a couple of days later they went and signed Jay Bothroyd and subsidised 25,000-a-week wages!' he says. 'I thought, “I'm a big boy, if you don't want to sign me just tell me”.'

Beattie doesn't need the money. The former Southampton striker has bought a house in Poole and is about to move back to the south coast with wife Sarah and their three children, sons James and George and baby daughter Halle.

One of his other business interests is to act as mentor to young players represented by his agent James Featherstone.

'They don't always get the right advice,' he says. ' “Don't be dazzled by the lights” is one of my favourites because a lot of them do. They don't know how lucky they are to be in that position. You can't abuse the fact you're earning good money.

'Your career earnings should go up and then tail off a bit, but when you retire it's a cliff face. Your salary from football doesn't just slow down, it stops.

'I've been lucky with the people I've had around me. I've got other things in place that can sustain my lifestyle for the rest of my life. I'm not going to say I didn't have fun, but I could retire if I wanted to – I just don't want to.'

VIDEO: Accrington Stanley, who are they EXACTLY!

DM.has('rcpv1972664244001','BCVideo');

Former Southampton and Everton striker James Beattie enjoying fresh start at Accrington

EXCLUSIVE: Former Southampton and Everton striker Beattie enjoying fresh start at Accrington

|

UPDATED:

01:21 GMT, 16 November 2012

'Two boys talking in the famous Milk Marketing Board TV advert of 1989:
‘Milk Urrrggh!’
‘It’s what Ian Rush drinks. He says if I don’t drink lots of milk, when I grow up I’ll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.’
‘Accrington Stanley Who are they’
‘Exactly!’

There are many reasons why James Beattie finds himself in the unlikely surroundings of Accrington Stanley at the moment, but forgetting to drink his milk is not one of them.

A bust-up with Tony Pulis at Stoke, an injury at Rangers, the death of his father while Beattie was on loan at Blackpool and an ill-timed red card at Sheffield United have all contributed to a player who once commanded more than 15million in transfer fees pitching up at the 5,000-capacity Crown Ground, just a few miles from where he was brought up in East Lancashire.

Scroll down for memorable milk advert video…

New start: Beattie (right) with Accrington boss Leam Richardson

New start: Beattie (right) with Accrington boss Leam Richardson

When he was asked by his old Blackburn Rovers team-mate Leam Richardson to help out as player-coach at the League Two club last week, 34-year-old Beattie was only too happy to oblige.

He is one of a number of ex-Premier League players forced to drop down the divisions just to get a game these days.

Tonight the former England striker is in line to make his debut against Edgar Davids at Barnet. Just along the road from Accrington at Fleetwood Town, Barry Ferguson has also popped up in English football's fourth tier.

Beattie recently offered to join Swindon on a pay-as-you-play basis. They said no.

'No offence, but Swindon!' he says. 'The market is dead at the moment. There are so many pros out of a job.

'I know that even people within football say I don't want to play any more. They can think what they want, that's totally wrong. I won't stop because I've been knocked back by a few clubs. As long as I've got that spark to get out of bed in the morning and play football, I will pursue it.

'You're just waiting for somebody to give you a chance. It's a little bit like starting again.

'Realistically, I know I could hold my own at Championship level. The Premier League is probably gone but you never know – I'm a proven goalscorer at that level.

'It's just the match sharpness, which is exactly why I've gone to Accrington.'

Fresh start: James Beattie

Beattie has signed a contract until January 9 and will also help Richardson, even though he previously had few plans to go into coaching.

He remembers the slope on Accrington's pitch from schoolboy cup finals he played there as a teenager. The club have moved on, though, no longer known simply for that TV advert and the two little boys from Liverpool who had never heard of Accrington Stanley.

These days most of the players are from Merseyside and support Everton, as Beattie found out en route to his first training session.

'We were training at my old school,' says the former 6m Everton signing. 'I was following a car full of our lads up the M65 but they missed the turn-off, came off at the next junction and got back on.

'It was only later when they were laughing their heads off at training that they explained it was because the driver had Googled me on his iPhone and was watching my goals for Everton!

'They're saying, “We can't believe Beattie's here”. It's given them a bit of a lift as well. But I've told Leam I want to fight for my place, otherwise it's not fair on the other lads.

'There were a few raised eyebrows when I came in for the game on Saturday. We used to play cup finals at Accy Stanley when I was 14 or 15, and a couple of the older guys have said it's nice to see me. I'm on hardly anything but I'll give the lads my time and put everything I've got into it.

Target man: Beattie has scored goals

Target man: Beattie has scored more than 100 goals

'I was driving over the other morning for my first session and I was excited. That tells me it's the right thing to do. A football club is a unique environment.Many ex-pros miss going in and having the banter. There are a lot of ex-footballers around where I live in Cheshire. I see people like Graeme Souness and they say, “Keep playing as long as you can because you're a long time retired”.

'I'm sure Edgar Davids doesn't need to play football. Why would he be playing for Barnet Because he loves football. Barry Ferguson's another. When it's in your blood, it's in your blood.'

Beattie has been largely out of the spotlight since he left Stoke just over two years ago.

Legal reasons prevent him from talking about the well-publicised dressing-room clash with Pulis in December 2009 which hastened his departure, and a fresh start in Scotland was cut short by injury.

/11/15/article-2233642-03EEE827000005DC-243_634x552.jpg” width=”634″ height=”552″ alt=”National service: Beattie played for England” class=”blkBorder” />

National service: Beattie played five times for England

Just when Beattie looked to be finding his feet at Sheffield United last season, a sending-off against Exeter City cost him a place in the League One play-offs and, he believes, the chance of a contract.

He tried his luck across town at Sheffield Wednesday but a few weeks' training came to nothing. 'They said it was probably to do with the budget but a couple of days later they went and signed Jay Bothroyd and subsidised 25,000-a-week wages!' he says. 'I thought, “I'm a big boy, if you don't want to sign me just tell me”.'

Beattie doesn't need the money. The former Southampton striker has bought a house in Poole and is about to move back to the south coast with wife Sarah and their three children, sons James and George and baby daughter Halle.

One of his other business interests is to act as mentor to young players represented by his agent James Featherstone.

'They don't always get the right advice,' he says. ' “Don't be dazzled by the lights” is one of my favourites because a lot of them do. They don't know how lucky they are to be in that position. You can't abuse the fact you're earning good money.

'Your career earnings should go up and then tail off a bit, but when you retire it's a cliff face. Your salary from football doesn't just slow down, it stops.

'I've been lucky with the people I've had around me. I've got other things in place that can sustain my lifestyle for the rest of my life. I'm not going to say I didn't have fun, but I could retire if I wanted to – I just don't want to.'

VIDEO: Accrington Stanley, who are they EXACTLY!

UCI hope to set up doping hotline

UCI looking to set up confidential hotline for riders to blow whistle on doping

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UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 14 November 2012

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid has revealed in an open letter to all riders that the sport's governing body are hoping to set up a confidential hotline to tackle doping.

Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency uncovered what they described as the most sophisticated doping programme the sport has ever seen.

With cycling's reputation once again at rock-bottom, McQuaid is urging riders to come forward if they have any suspicions about doping within the sport.

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong

'At the end of the day, it is you the riders who have the ultimate say about whether our sport is clean,' McQuaid wrote.

'Naturally, we need to do more to ensure that the UCI is as accessible as possible, and in particular to you the riders, should you wish to discuss issues or concerns relating to doping,' he added.

'That is why, during the coming weeks… the UCI will be looking into establishing a new open line – a confidential hotline.'

Meanwhile, Team Sky have appointed Australian Shaun Stephens as performance coach for the 2013 season.

New recruit: Stephens joins Bradley Wiggins (right) and Shane Sutton (left) at Team Sky

New recruit: Stephens joins Bradley Wiggins (right) and Shane Sutton (left) at Team Sky

Stephens, 37, is regarded as one of the world's best triathlon coaches and recently worked as head coach to the Australian national team at London 2012.

He will leave his current roles as head coach and programme manager at the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia to work alongside Team Sky's head of performance Tim Kerrison in a full-time capacity.

Stephens said: 'I'm very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky programme.

'I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling.'

England set for 17.5m boost with Twickenham Tests sold out

EXCLUSIVE: RFU set for 17.5m boost as ticket sales for England matches smash records

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 31 October 2012

The RFU are set to enjoy a record-breaking autumn windfall as the unexpected sell-out of England's Test against Fiji at Twickenham on November 10 will lead to ticket-sales revenue of 17.5million.

All of the forthcoming QBE Internationals – against the Pacific island nation, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – will be played in front of capacity crowds at HQ.

It is the first time that a four-match campaign has completely sold out and also the first time that a match against a Tier Two nation has drawn a full house.

Leaders: England coach Stuart Lancaster (left) and captain Chris Robshaw

Leaders: England coach Stuart Lancaster (left) and captain Chris Robshaw

The union is understood to have budgeted for ticket sales for this autumn series generating a return of 17m, but the higher-than-anticipated demand for the opening game has brought an additional 500,000 profit.

These figures are in stark contrast to last season, when the World Cup in New Zealand meant there were no November matches at Twickenham and just two home Six Nations games, so ticket-related income was particularly low.

This is the fourth time that England have had four fixtures in consecutive autumn weeks.

In 2006, there was an attendance of 72,027 for the lowest-profile of those games, against Argentina, while in 2008 the Pacific Islanders match drew a crowd of 55,427 and two years ago, England played Samoa in front of 70,553.

Big numbers: Supporters flocked to Twickenham to watch England face Argentina in 2006 but there will be even more at this year's four autumn Tests

Big numbers: Supporters flocked to Twickenham to watch England face Argentina in 2006 but there will be even more at this year's four autumn Tests

In 2009, the Test against Argentina – who were still classified as a Tier Two nation at that stage – brought in a healthy attendance of 78,743, but that will be eclipsed by the 82,000 sell-out in 10 days' time.

Ticket sales are thought to account for around a third of all revenue generated by the RFU and the governing body intend to channel increased funds into the grass-roots game.

With three years to go until the end of the home World Cup, a raft of 'legacy' intiatives are due to be announced later on Wednesday, with substantial investment into the development of coaches, referees and facilities, along with a push to introduce the sport into non rugby-playing schools.

Jessica Ennis beats Mo Farah to British Athlete of the Year award

Golden girl Ennis beats Farah to British Athlete of the Year gong

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UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 18 October 2012

Heptathlete Jessica Ennis and wheelchair racer David Weir rounded off a golden year of success by being voted British Olympic and Paralympic Athlete of the Year.

Athletics fans voted for Ennis, the Olympic heptathlon champion, and Weir, who won four golds at the Paralympics, as their stars of 2012.

Ennis secured 48 per cent of the vote, beating double Olympic champion Mo Farah by just 4 per cent, while Weir also collected 48 per cent of the vote, narrowly pipping double gold medallist Hannah Cockroft to the post, UK Athletics said.

Close call: Ennis edged out Farah by just four per cent in the vote

Close call: Ennis edged out Farah by just four per cent in the vote

An 80,000 capacity crowd at London's Olympic Stadium watched Ennis, of Sheffield, take gold in a new British record score of 6955.

'Thank you to all of the UK Athletics fans for voting me the British Olympic Athlete of the Year – what an honour,' she said.

Four-some: Weir, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon

Four-some: Weir, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon

'The support of all the athletics fans is so important for us athletes and this year especially – your support at all the events running up to London was so important. What a great year 2012 has been!'

Weir, 33, won gold in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon to go alongside the two golds he picked up in the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.

Weir, of Wallington, Surrey, said: 'It's a great honour to have been voted British Paralympic Athlete of the Year, especially considering that Great Britain had a number of athletes that won gold medals and performed so well in London.

'It's been such a great year for me and my success at the Paralympics is something that I will always remember.

'To have my performances recognised by athletics fans across the country is a great way to end the year.'

Stuart Pearce: England Under 21s playing for their future against Serbia

Pearce warns young Lions in Serbia: You're playing for your England future

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 15 October 2012

Stuart Pearce has warned his players they may never play international football again if they squander a golden opportunity on Tuesday night.

The Under 21s are 90 minutes away qualifying for a record fourth consecutive European Championships but head coach Pearce is well aware their position remains precarious against Serbia, given England only won the first leg 1-0.

Pearce is confident his players can handle the pressure and intimidation of a 10,000-capacity crowd here in Krusevac and has great belief that a journey which started against Azerbaijan in Watford last September will continue all the way to Israel next summer.

Slender advantage: England U21s lead Serbia by one goal after the first leg

Slender advantage: England U21s lead Serbia by one goal after the first leg

However, he has coldly pointed out that a failure to protect the lead they established in Norwich via a penalty from West Brom’s Craig Dawson means, for certain players, the chance to pull on an England shirt again will be gone for good.

‘This is the most difficult tournament to try and qualify for,’ said Pearce. ‘We have won eight of our nine games and it means absolutely nothing. If we have a bad night, then some of my players might not play international football again.'

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1):

Butland: Smith, Dawson, Caulker, Rose: Henderson, Lowe: Sterling, Zaha, Ince: Sordell.

Referee: Huseyin Gocek (Turkey)

Kick-off: 5pm

Radio: 5Live updates

That is the nature of it for those who go out of the age group and do not progress into the seniors. That is something the players have got to handle. Quite a few of our players are used to playing under high pressure. Our last 14 months are tied up in 90 minutes and they have to handle that.’

Some will inevitably wonder what failure might mean for Pearce, too, given his current contract expires next summer and there have been no discussions about renewing his terms. He, though, is relaxed about the situation and does not believe there will be any hiccups.

‘You have to trust your players and your staff,’ he said. ‘We have created something over the last six years, a professional environment where everyone feels the result, from the kit man right the way through. That transcends on to the pitch. The players get on board and run with that.

Tantalising: Stuart Pearce is one game away from leading his team to Israel

Tantalising: Stuart Pearce is one game away from leading his team to Israel

‘When we enter a tournament, we show the players a route all the way to the final. You have to knock off markers along the way. We have got the opportunity here to get 50 per cent along the way to winning the tournament. What do I expect I expect us to win the game.’

Pearce is expected to start with the team that finished the first leg at Carrow Road but he says there was never a chance of Liverpool’s Jonjo Shelvey, who has stayed with the seniors for the World Cup qualifier in Poland, replacing the injured Jack Rodwell.

‘Myself and Roy (Hodgson) talked about Jonjo, who was suspended for the first game,’ he said. ‘There were other players who could have gone up into the seniors. But with Jonjo not available to us for the first leg, it was an ideal opportunity. Roy has given the Under 21s due diligence.’

Sir Clive Woodward to stand down from British Olympic Association

Woodward to stand down after six years as British Olympic Association director of sport

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UPDATED:

16:32 GMT, 4 October 2012

Sir Clive Woodward will leave the British Olympic Association after six years.

The former England rugby World Cup winning manager is to stand down as the BOA's director of sport – though he could still play a part in future Olympic Games.

He will retain an ambassadorial role and his seat on the International Olympic Committee's entourage commission.

Stepping down: Sir Clive Woodward is to leave his director of sport post at the British Olympic Association after six years

Stepping down: Sir Clive Woodward is to leave his director of sport post at the British Olympic Association after six years

And with Sebastian Coe favourite to succeed Colin Moynihan as BOA chairman next month, Woodward could return in a part-time capacity as chef de mission for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

In the meantime, Woodward will concentrate on his media and speaking commitments.

Woodward said in a statement: 'I have enjoyed being a part of Team GB enormously. To have been involved in three Olympic Games, Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and especially London 2012, and chef de mission for the 1st Youth Winter Games in Innsbruck this year, has been an amazing experience.

'The challenge of delivering a home Olympic Games to our largest ever Olympic Team has been exhilarating and I would like to congratulate everyone concerned on the best Olympic performance of a host nation in the modern Games era.

'Post London 2012 is the right time for me to leave the BOA, which is now taking a new direction following a home Games and I wish them all well in the future.'

Tension: Woodward (left) and London 2012 chef de mission Andy Hunt had not always seen eye-to-eye

Tension: Woodward (left) and London 2012 chef de mission Andy Hunt had not always seen eye-to-eye

He added: 'I am also delighted to accept a role as a Team GB Ambassador, this along with my position on the IOC entourage commission means that I will be staying in close contact with the Olympic world.

'I will now be concentrating on my coaching, corporate speaking, media and other business interests.'

He knew that his position was under
threat after a restructuring programme was agreed last month by the
board of the cash-strapped organisation, leading to the removal of three
senior management posts.

There
was tension between Woodward and BOA chief executive Andy Hunt after
the latter was chosen as chef de mission for London 2012.

BOA in crisis over Lord Sebastian Coe"s bid for top job: Charles Sale

BOA in crisis over Coe bid for top job

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 20 September 2012

The British Olympic Association are in turmoil just weeks after the momentous success of Team GB at London 2012 because of bitter in-fighting at the top of the organisation.

The divides have been sparked by chairman Lord Moynihan’s surprise decision to quit a year early with the BOA facing financial problems and many staff unsure of their futures in the downsizing after a home Games.

Even with hot favourite Lord Coe waiting to take over and his stardust urgently required to bring in missing sponsorship, the BOA board have been split over the succession process.

BOA lawyers, faced with an unclear rule book, persuaded the directors to keep to their agreed election date of November 7 even when some board members wanted to fast track Coe in a fortnight earlier because of the impending sponsorship crisis.

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

The mess was summed up by chief executive Andy Hunt in first rushing through his re-structuring agenda before the election of the new chairman and then jetting off to Brazil on a 2016 Games recce.

Yet his priority had to be to talk over proposed changes with his department heads.

Director of sport Sir Clive Woodward, whose role is not part of Hunt’s leaner blueprint, was due to leave the BOA in any case after London.

But a Coe-led regime would want Woodward to stay on in a part-time capacity as the potential chef de mission for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and Rio.

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Even if the acrimony between Hunt and
Woodward meant Sir Clive leaving before Coe’s arrival, it’s likely he
would be immediately re-hired for one or two days a week.

To
add to the debacle, Hunt is being advised to consult with Coe before
making any staff alterations. Yet he can hardly do that with GB Hockey
chief Richard Leman due to stand against Coe in the election despite
having no chance of winning.

And
Leman, a board ally of Lord Moynihan, who has influenced him to
challenge Coe, intends to canvass the 40-strong electorate on the
grounds that his leadership style would put more emphasis on minor
sports.

Arch politician
Moynihan’s exit strategy is confusing, to say the least. Having urged
Leman to stand, he was one of those wanting an early election that would
have hurried his foe Coe into office.

To
cap it all, suppliers Next are still trying to shift Team GB scarves,
the BOA merchandise which failed to sell during the Games, by slashing
the price to 50p.

Gold medals for all

The
awards season which stretches from October to May 2013 — when the Sport
Industry Group will be dolling out an absurd 19 gongs — is going to be
one long lap of honour for the Olympics.

So the short-listed Premier
League chief executive Richard Scudamore will know Lord Coe is certain
to be named City AM’s business personality of the year on October 17.

Roy does the rounds

Building bridges: Hodgson

Building bridges: Hodgson

After
the next international week in October, England manager Roy Hodgson and
assistant Ray Lewington intend to visit every Premier League club to
build relationships.

Following
Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent upset at the FA revealing an Ashley Young
injury, Old Trafford is unlikely to be the first port of call, although
Hodgson has said his relationship with Sir Alex remains cordial.

Pitch battle

Grassroots
Gloucestershire rugby club Drybrook keeping their main pitch in
pristine condition for the unlikely England kit launch there this week
meant a recent match between Cirencester third XV and Drybrook seconds
took place on a far less manicured surface.

Sadly, Daily Telegraph
sports journalist Matt Scott, a Cirencester back row forward, lost a
stud in the extra long grass shortly before snapping an anterior
cruciate ligament.

Data supply up for grabs

The
Premier League, on course for a 5billion haul from domestic and
overseas TV contracts, can even make plenty of money from their official
data supply contract.

The
Press Association, who hold the rights, are likely to be outbid in the
current tender by digital media companies Perform or Opta.