Tag Archives: clamour

Michael Owen wanted by Strictly Come Dancing and I"m a Celebrity

Race to sign Owen hots up – but it's Strictly and I'm a Celebrity doing battle!

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

12:27 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 3 April 2013

Michael Owen may have failed his screen test to head BT Sport’s new analysis team — but the BBC and ITV are still in a fight to sign him up.

It has been reported that the Stoke striker, who has recently announced he will retire at the end of the season, is at the centre of TV battle between the makers of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity.

Both networks are apparently trying to sign for the autumn series of both shows.

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Owen is to become a BBC television and radio pundit in his retirement, having made occasional appearances on Match of the Day already this season.

BT Sport, who need a marquee signing from the dressing room to head the analysts team for their Premier League coverage next season, could have been expected to jump at the chance to sign such an illustrious footballer as Owen, whose services have been strongly touted to them.

But the word inside BT headquarters in the Olympic Park is that Owen’s ‘monotone’ displays on the BBC have been considered ‘poor’, although it will help Owen’s Beeb future that their lead presenter Gary Lineker has been supportive.

The first confirmed pundit appointment
for Owen is at Royal Ascot. Racehorse owner and breeder Owen is on a
panel of experts who will be giving tips to the 570-a-head patrons of
the prime Bessborough Restaurant on the Thursday of the Royal meeting in
June.

Owen is also planning to launch a player agency business when he retires from professional football at the end of this season.

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Stoke City centre forward Owen, who has previously starred for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, will hang up his boots at the end of his season, bringing the curtain down on a difficult few years in which he has sustained several serious injuries that have chronically limited his game-time.

In a blog on his website former England man Owen explained: ‘On July 1, I propose to set up Michael Owen Management Ltd. focusing on guiding young players through their careers and offering them advice at every juncture of what can be a career full of pitfalls.’

India v England second Test: Monty Panesar and Cheteshwar Pujara shine in Mumbai

Monty rips into India batsmen but England can't shift centurion Pujara yet again as hosts fight back on turning pitch in Mumbai

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 23 November 2012

Monty Panesar marked his Test return with four wickets but could find no way past Cheteshwar Pujara as the tireless India No 3 once again confounded England.

Without Pujara (114no), augmenting the unbeaten double-century he made in India's nine-wicket first Test victory, England would surely have bowled their hosts out cheaply on day one of the second at the Wankhede Stadium.

He survived while the rest of the top six faltered against Panesar (four for 94) on a spinners' pitch, and then shared consecutive 50 stands with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin (60no) to turn a vulnerable 119 for five into 266 for six by stumps.

The exact merit of that total will not be clear until England's batsmen have tried their hand on a surface sure to provide plenty of assistance for India's three specialist spinners.

But it was hard to escape the impression that Pujara had put India above par in a match likely to hurry to a conclusion inside the scheduled five days.

Spin king: Monty Panesar (left) ripped through India's top order on day one

Spin king: Monty Panesar (left) ripped through India's top order on day one

As in his tour de force 206 not out in
Ahmedabad last week, he appeared in control throughout on the way to a
near five-and-a-half hour century completed with a hook for his ninth
four in James Anderson's first over with the second new ball.

Panesar, back for his first Test in
eight months after a clamour for his inclusion here, bagged the prize
wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.

In his 100th Test, opener Sehwag
managed 30, and the great Tendulkar – perhaps playing on his home ground
at the highest level for the last time – just eight.

Anderson gave the tourists a near perfect start, in the first over of the match after India had won the toss.

Gautam Gambhir clipped him through
midwicket for four first ball, but England's premier pace bowler swung
the next past bat on to pad to win an lbw.

Alastair Cook took Anderson off after just three overs, however, and gave Panesar an early bowl.

England's slow left-armer began with a
nervy full-toss, which Sehwag duly clubbed wide of mid-on for four in
an over costing nine runs.

But his next was a maiden to Sehwag, and soon he got his man.

It was not prodigious turn that did
the trick, Panesar tending to operate at a full length and defeating
Sehwag in flight to bowl him off-stump off his pads as the batsman tried
to push to leg.

Scalps: Panesar took the prized wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar

Scalps: Panesar took the prized wickets of Sehwag, Tendulkar and Dhoni

Tendulkar also lost his off-stump to
Panesar, but this time it was a perfectly-pitched delivery on middle and
leg that tempted the master batsman to aim towards mid-on and turned
enough to beat the slightly-closed face of the bat.

Pujara was just getting started, and Virat Kohli tried to follow his studied example.

But after taking more than an hour
either side of lunch to reach 19, the number five was not quite to the
pitch driving Panesar – and as the ball gripped again, he pushed a catch
low to cover.

Cook immediately reintroduced Graeme
Swann to bowl at left-hander Yuvraj Singh, and the ploy worked with an
off-break which beat the new batsman on the backward defence and
disturbed off-stump again.

Soon after Yuvraj's second-ball duck,
Pujara escaped a half-chance on 60 when Anderson could not cling on
one-handed diving low to his left at second slip off Panesar.

But he and Dhoni added exactly 50
until the captain was neatly caught low down at gully by Swann when
Panesar got one to leap and turn.

Form of his life: Cheteshwar Pujara hit his second century of the series in Mumbai

Form of his life: Cheteshwar Pujara hit his second century of the series in Mumbai

Pujara adjusted his own tempo once new
partner Ashwin revealed a counter-attacking instinct in his 67-ball 50
as Stuart Broad, off colour and missing from practice yesterday, leaked
runs just when England could least afford him to.

They were arguably unfortunate not to
dismiss Pujara in fluke circumstances on 94, when a pull at Swann
appeared to loop up off Cook's boot at short-leg into the hands of
midwicket.

The umpires interpreted ball first hitting ground from video replay evidence.

It would have been an ironic way for England to get Pujara out at last for the first time in the series.

Instead, at the close, they were still
searching for a way to dismiss him – after 719 balls, more than 15
hours and counting so far.

Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees called into England squad

England call on Gloucester duo Burns and Twelvetrees as injury list mounts

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UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 4 November 2012

The growing clamour for Freddie Burns to be fast-tracked into the England No 10 shirt was given impetus on Sunday as the rookie fly-half was called into the national squad, along with Gloucester team-mate Billy Twelvetrees.

Since the start of this season, the 22-year-old has been in sensational form for his West Country club and an audacious attacking performance in the victory over Leicester nine days ago – when directly opposing Toby Flood – lent further weight to calls for him to be promoted at the first opportunity. That is what has happened in light of the injuries which have hindered centres Jordan Turner-Hall and Jonathan Joseph.

Top talent: Burns has been in fine form for Gloucester this season

Top talent: Burns has been in fine form for Gloucester this season

Burns and Twelvetrees, Gloucester’s 23-year-old imposing inside centre, were summoned on Sunday to the England HQ in Surrey for training this week ahead of the first QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Centre of excellence: Twelvetrees gets to grips with Harlequins' Tom Casson

Centre of excellence: Twelvetrees gets to grips with Harlequins' Tom Casson

While at this stage neither of the tyros is likely to force their way into the side, their call-up is a clear indication of the esteem in which they are held.

While Turner-Hall is remaining with Harlequins for treatment on an inflamed knee and Joseph’s ankle problem is being closely monitored, England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: ‘Freddie has been playing well in the Aviva Premiership and we are keen to look at him.

‘JJ is continuing his recovery from an ankle injury and this is a good chance to get Billy in for training. George Robson and David Paice again come in as injury replacements for Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley.

‘Both will be assessed and treated in camp and it is important that they stay with the squad as much as possible.’

Meanwhile, Lancaster is facing another potential setback as Wasps flanker James Haskell is in danger of being cited for a dangerous tackle on Sunday which resulted in Saracens lock Alistair Hargreaves being carried off at Vicarage Road.

While Haskell started England’s last Test outing – the draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth in June – he missed out on a place in the senior EPS squad and has only been brought in due to injuries.

So, what do we know about Freddie Burns

Club: Gloucester.
Age: 22.
Height: 6ft 1in.
Weight: 13st 10lb.
Honours: England Under 20s.
Position: Fly half.

Freddie who He’s the tall playmaker for the Cherry and Whites who grabbed the attention last week against Leicester. He caught his own chip ahead to score one of the best tries of the season so far. The score was also headline-grabbing because it came against England’s current No 1 fly-half Toby Flood and showed Burns’s enterprise and nerve.

What’s the downside Freddie can be both brilliant and erratic in the same match. But he is becoming more consistent as Gloucester’s form improves. He is playing in potentially the Premiership’s best backline, led by World Cup winner Mike Tindall, England wing Charlie Sharples and veteran James Simpson-Daniel. To give a good mix of youth, Gloucester also have a number of young players in ex-Tiger Billy Twelvetrees, Henry Trinder and Jonny May, another player who some pundits – led by Sir Clive Woodward – think should be in the squad for this month’s autumn games.

Will Burns be picked to start one of the autumn Tests He is more likely to be a substitute because he is a versatile player and a good place kicker. However, head coach Stuart Lancaster is likely to stick by Flood and his midfield regulars in Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell. But Burns’s inclusion is exciting for those England supporters worried by the lack of spark in the back division.

ROB WILDMAN

Craig Levein departure won"t deter me from plans, says Mark Wotte

The end game! Wotte insists he'll finish job, even without Levein

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UPDATED:

23:46 GMT, 18 October 2012

Mark Wotte insisted on Thursday night that he plans to see his overhaul of Scottish football come to fruition — regardless of whether Craig Levein remains as national manager or not.

Levein’s position is under intense scrutiny after Tuesday’s defeat in Belgium left Scotland bottom of Group A with just two points from four games.

The Fifer was part of the interview process that saw Wotte appointed the SFA’s first performance director over a year ago.

Determined: Mark Wotte plans to see his overhaul of Scottish football come to fruition

Determined: Mark Wotte plans to see his overhaul of Scottish football come to fruition

The former Utrecht boss believes the clamour to see Levein fired after
almost three years in the post makes no allowance for the limited
resources at the manager's disposal.

But, although Wotte would like to see Levein given more time to prove
himself, he was quick to stress that his plans for the Scottish game will not be side-tracked if there’s a change at the top.

‘I love working with Craig, he has been a very good supporter of the strategy,’ said the Dutchman.

‘I don’t think there’s any merit in changing the national-team manager.

‘It’s not about changing managers all the time, you have to look at the situation and ask why we are where we are and how do you change it.

‘I’m 16 months in the job and everyone at the SFA is behind the project.
‘I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks but I hope we can continue what we’ve been doing.

Under pressure: Scotland manager Craig Levein

Under pressure: Scotland manager Craig Levein

‘My project is ring-fenced. So I will keep on doing this, no matter what the position of Craig Levein is. But I hope he’s still involved because he’s been an instigator of it.’

While Wotte can readily understand the abject disappointment felt at seeing our World Cup dream effectively killed before the qualifiers have reached the half-way mark, he believes that has to be tempered with a realisation of our resources compared with other nations.

‘It’s obvious that the results are really disappointing,’ he continued. ‘I know that not allowing the goal for 2-0 against Wales is a key moment and affects the game. At 2-0, we don’t lose that game, but that’s only one game.

'The fans have a right to be impatient because they only want to see the national team winning games.

Bad night at the office: Gary Caldwell looks disappointed as Scotland slip to defeat in Belgium

Bad night at the office: Gary Caldwell looks disappointed as Scotland slip to defeat in Belgium

‘But expectation and desire is something else — we expect a lot from the national team and I don’t think it’s always fair to expect that we will walk through to Rio.’

As for Levein stating that Scotland were capable of winning every game before the ball started rolling against Serbia, Wotte said: ‘That’s a normal statement of a manager going into a campaign.

‘If you have a (Phil) Bardsley and everyone fit then, on their day, Scotland can be very good.

‘I think Craig made a great statement — you also need to encourage your players. ‘Everything is possible in football. But it’s not easy to become No 1 or No 2 in a group containing Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Wales.’

Over and out! Scotland hit rock bottom but Levein still won"t quit

Over and out! Scotland hit rock bottom in Belgium but Levein says he still won't quit

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UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 16 October 2012

Craig Levein ignored the growing clamour for his resignation despite watching Scotland hit rock bottom of their World Cup group.

Although he defiantly insisted: ‘I won’t quit’, his position now appears untenable after the nation’s dreams of Brazil 2014 finally died here.

Defeat to a classy Belgian side saw two goals in two minutes from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany break Scots’ resistance — and pressure will now mount on SFA chief executive Stewart Regan to bring Levein’s ill-fated 35-month reign to an end.

Shaken to the core: Craig Levein can't hide his disappointment as he shakes hands with Allan McGregor after defeat in Brussels left Scotland at the foot of Group A

Shaken to the core: Craig Levein can't hide his disappointment as he shakes
hands with Allan McGregor after defeat in Brussels left Scotland at the foot of Group A

Macedonia’s victory over Serbia left the Scots bottom of Group A with just two points from four matches and the grim prospect of 16 years without appearing at a major international finals.

The Tartan Army made their feelings clear when they unfurled a banner reading ‘Strachan SOS’, with Gordon Strachan the fans’ choice to replace the under-fire Levein.

Despite a pitiful campaign so far, the Fifer was in denial after last night’s 2-0 defeat, making it clear he won’t walk away from his 400,000-a-year post, despite a growing feeling he has reached the end of the road.

Levein said: ‘No, not at all. I’m very proud to be the Scottish national team manager and I want to continue to do so.

‘I’ve been in football long enough to understand when the players are trying at their maximum and when they are trying to do their best for each other and the team.

‘Absolutely tonight, and on Friday night in Wales, they did everything they could. They didn’t have any energy left at the end of the match. They have done everything possible to try and get a result for Scotland.

‘I understand that we are bottom of the group. But I absolutely look at the performances and I can tell you we definitely deserved something from the match on Friday evening.

‘The players gave everything they could to win the game and something outwith their control had an influence on that.

Low point: Scotland players trudge off after a comprehensive defeat

Low point: Scotland players trudge off after a comprehensive defeat

‘I see again tonight a group of players who are hungry and desperate to do well. So, as long as that is the case, I am quite happy to be working with these players.’

Under contract until June 2014, Levein’s position would now appear hopeless.

Friendlies either side of Christmas against Luxembourg and Estonia beckon, but the real decision surrounds the next qualifier at home to Wales next March.

‘All I can tell you is that I want to remain as the manager,’ said Levein, who is under contract until June 2014. ‘That’s what I want to do.

‘Other than that, you will have to ask other people the questions you are asking me.

‘We are looking at a situation where we have to improve as a nation and a country in our production of football players. Belgium are the perfect example.

‘They have a system in place and if you stick with it you have the opportunity to produce players we were playing against tonight.

‘That’s something I feel is really important. So I will do the absolute best I can.

‘They are doing their best for me. They are doing their best for the country and, as far as I am concerned then, 100 per cent, I want to work with them.’

Italian Grand Prix 2012: Monza stats and facts

Italian Grand Prix: All you need to know about the race at Monza

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UPDATED:

10:55 GMT, 6 September 2012

The Italian Grand Prix represents the last of the European races prior to the exhausting long-haul end to the season.

Monza is steeped in history, and is a true amphitheatre of motor racing that this year celebrates its 90th anniversary.

It is also Ferrari's backyard, and with Fernando Alonso leading this year's world championship, the clamour for a home win will be high.

The race represents the 13th round of the 20-race campaign and here, Sportsmail brings you the key stats and facts.

Italian job: Monza celebrates its 90th anniversary by hosting the 2012 Italian Grand Prix

Italian job: Monza celebrates its 90th anniversary by hosting the 2012 Italian Grand Prix

Monza circuit graphic guide

Click HERE for your lowdown on the circuit

Venue: Autodromo Nazionale di Monza

Circuit length: 5.793km/3.599 miles

Laps: 53

Race distance: 306.720km/190.586miles

Lap record: 1min 21.046secs (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)

2011 pole position: Sebastian Vettel 1min 22.275secs

2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2011 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1min 26.187secs

Number of corners: 11 (4 left/7 right)

Tyre compounds to be used: hard/medium

Bumpiness: medium

Overtaking chance: Into turn one

Engine severity: very high

Brake wear severity: medium

Average lap speed: 237kph (147mph)

Full throttle per lap: 83 per cent

Gear changes per lap: 46 (race = 2438)

2011 winning strategy: 2 stops (laps 20, 35)

Total race pit stops: 35

Total 'normal' overtakes: 15

Total DRS overtakes: 18

Number of safety cars deployed since 2002: 4

Thumbs up: Sebastien Vettel celebrated victory on the podium at Monza last year

Thumbs up: Sebastien Vettel celebrated victory on the podium at Monza last year

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Jenson Button's victory in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix was the 14th of his Formula One career.

Button's pole on Saturday was his first for more than three years, and his first for McLaren in 50 races.

Button has finished runner-up in the last three races at Monza, initially in 2009 by 2.8secs to then Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello, by 2.9secs to Alonso in 2010, and last year by 9.5secs to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Fernando Alonso has missed out on equalling Michael Schumacher's record of finishing in the points for 24 consecutive races. A first-corner crash at Spa-Francorchamps brought his run to an end at 23.

For the first time since 1994 a driver does not race this weekend after being handed a ban. Lotus' Romain Grosjean, who caused the first-corner accident at Spa, is to be replaced by Jerome D'Ambrosio.

F1 history will be made on Friday when Ma Qing Hua becomes the first Chinese driver to take part in a race weekend. The 26-year-old replaces Narain Karthikeyan at HRT in first practice.

For HRT team-mate Pedro de la Rosa, this weekend's race will be the 100th of the Spaniard's career.

Monza is the fastest circuit of the year with an average lap speed of 147mph. The season average is 131mph.

Schumacher is the most successful driver at Monza with five wins to his name (1996, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006).

Nine of the last 12 races at Monza have been won from pole. So far in 2012, seven of 12 races have been won from pole.

The braking zone for turn one features a deceleration of 265 kph – from 340 kph to an apex speed of 75 kph.

Euro 2012: Rio Ferdinand Twitter fury after Martin Kelly replace Gary Cahill

What reasons, Roy Rio fury as Hodgson picks rookie Kelly to replace crocked Cahill

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UPDATED:

15:10 GMT, 3 June 2012

Rio Ferdinand appeared to deliver a thinly-veiled attack on new England manager Roy Hodgson after being overlooked for a SECOND time as the Three Lions' Euro 2012 injury curse struck again.

The latest snub comes after Hodgson opted to call upon uncapped Liverpool rookie Martin Kelly to replace crocked Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.

Overlooked - again: Rio Ferdinand has not been called into the Euro 2012 squad despite injuries

Overlooked – again: Rio Ferdinand has not been called into the Euro 2012 squad despite injuries

Tweeting mad: Rio Ferdinand takes to Twitter to question Roy Hodgson

Euro 2012 email button

Cahill suffered a double fractured jaw following his collision with goalkeeper Joe Hart in the first-half of England's 1-0 win at Wembley over Belgium on saturday.

There was an immediate clamour across the nation for Manchester United star Ferdinand to be brought in.

Time for a break: Ferdinand has been away on holiday in Spain

Time for a break: Ferdinand has been away on holiday in Spain

Hodgson controversially ignored the 81-cap international from his plans in Poland and Ukraine after citing 'footballing reasons', denying the forthcoming court case into alleged racial abuse with Ferdinand's brother Anton and John Terry was behind his shock omission.

Ouch! Dries Mertens clashes with Gary Cahill resulting with the England defender suffering a double fracture to his jaw and will miss the Euros

Ouch! Dries Mertens clashes with Gary Cahill resulting with the England defender suffering a double fracture to his jaw and will miss the Euros

Called up: Martin Kelly is in the squad for the Euros

Called up: Martin Kelly is in the squad for the Euros

But after Hodgson chose 22-year-old Kelly, who made just10 Barclays Premier League appearances for Liverpool last term, Ferdinand appeared to respond in dismay on social networking site Twitter, posting: 'What reasons!!!'

Ferdinand was supported by the a large number of his two million plus followers on the social networking site.

The Football Association and Hodgson are yet to comment but it would seem the 33-year-old's international days are all but over following his latest rejection.

Keeping fit: Ferdinand played in a charity football game in Bangkok last week

Keeping fit: Ferdinand played in a charity football game in Bangkok last week

Charles Sale: New technology may be blocked on the line

New technology may be blocked on the line

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 15 May 2012

The goal-line technology being tested today during the Hampshire FA Senior Cup final at Southampton’s St Mary’s ground is by no means certain of being approved by football’s rules body, the International FA Board.

The clamour to introduce the system has only increased after the marginal call over what could have been Andy Carroll’s equalising goal for Liverpool in the FA Cup final.

But there are still considerable doubts on the IFAB, who will make their decision on July 2, the day after the Euro 2012 final. They fear the Hawk-Eye version or its GoalRef rival may not be sophisticated enough to be introduced — especially as only two out of 12 candidates survived the first-round assessment.

Testing: St Mary's plays host to goalline technology

Testing: St Mary's plays host to goalline technology

An added dynamic to the expected tensions at the summit in Kiev is that FIFA president Sepp Blatter is now firmly supportive of the technology, while his heir apparent Michel Platini is strongly opposed and favours two additional assistant referees instead.

The French powerbroker does not sit on the IFAB but the Home Nations representatives who currently dominate the board’s decision-making are all members of Platini-led UEFA.

BBC bullish

More from Charles Sale…

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Charles Sale: Drogba signs, but it will cost you…
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Charles Sale: Pearce in Becks illusion confusion
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Charles Sale: UEFA give banned Terry free rein at Champions League final
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Charles Sale: Chelsea captain Terry stirs it up over Buck's Cahill gaffe
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Charles Sale: Thanks to Roy it's better with Blatter
02/05/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The BBC’s launch of their Olympic coverage was especially bullish about their ‘spectacular’ online interactive service offering every session of every sport every day. This is despite their botched website revamp receiving huge criticism for design, content and news sense. But BBC sports chief Barbara Slater and website head Ben Gallop defend the questionable online strategy, saying any flaws will be ironed out ahead of Euro 2012 and the Games.

Meanwhile, the only sign of BBC cost-cutting around the Games extravaganza seems to be the 18 shipping containers being used in the Olympic Park to prop up the Beeb’s recycled flatpack studio, first assembled on top of a Cape Town hospital at the 2010 World Cup.

BBC Sport seem to have taken notice of R&A chief executive Peter Dawson’s criticisms of the ridiculous use of former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan as the Beeb’s greenside interviewer at the Masters. Vaughan will be concentrating on cricket during The Open at Royal Lytham in July, say the BBC. He will, however, be used as a roving reporter at the Olympics.

Neville's tough ask

Both the FA and Sky are somehow confident that Gary Neville can remain a credible football pundit while being a permanent senior England team coach.

Starting from Saturday’s Champions League final, all Neville’s comments on England players will be heavily scrutinised.

Mixing even peripheral England involvement with media work is so sensitive that Harry Redknapp, who missed out on the manager’s job, is about to withdraw from the BBC team for Euro 2012, calling it ‘very tricky’.

BBC football host Gary Lineker described Neville’s dual role as ‘very difficult’.

Absent: Roberto di Matteo did not attend the LMA awards

Absent: Roberto di Matteo did not attend the LMA awards

Roberto’s not all there

Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo underlined the fact that few foreign bosses in the Premier League bother to attend the League Managers’ Association awards evening with his pre-recorded video message at Monday’s bash after he was named the FA Cup manager of the year.

Di Matteo announced he would be in Munich on the night preparing for the Champions League final when in fact he was at Chelsea ahead of yesterday’s media day. According to the club, Di Matteo had meant to say he was busy preparing for the game in Germany.

The LMA, who have a big appetite for every possible commercial opportunity, took the risky approach of bringing the chef, Gary Robinson, on stage to announce the attractions on his menu. On this occasion the food lived up to the hype.

Up and running

Lance Forman, the smoked salmon supplier, has signed the first clients for his ambitious Olympic corporate hospitality venture. Speedo have taken two of the 30 suites on his so-called Fish Island Riviera site across the River Lea from the Olympic Stadium for 75,000 per suite plus fit-out and catering costs.

Marko Marin: I want Roberto Di Matteo to be Chelsea boss

Marin: I hope Di Matteo will still be the manager when I arrive at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 1 May 2012

Chelsea new boy Marko Marin has joined the clamour for Roberto Di Matteo to be in charge next season.

The German winger jumped at the chance to join the Champions League finalists this summer from Werder Bremen.

New boy: Marko Marin will join Chelsea in the summer

New boy: Marko Marin will join Chelsea in the summer

And the 23-year-old revealed caretaker boss Di Matteo, who will be in charge until the end of the season, had played a part in his decision to move to Stamford Bridge.

Marin told German football magazine Kicker: 'It fits perfectly for me, otherwise I would not have sought this move. Above all, Chelsea's play is based a lot on wide men.

'I had good talks with Di Matteo and I hope he stays.'

Marin discussed moving to Chelsea with Bremen team-mate Claudio Pizarro, but does not believe the Peruvian's failure to fully adapt to the Premier League should have any bearing on how he fares at Stamford Bridge.

Waiting game: Chelsea will make a decision on Roberto Di Matteo at the end of the season

Waiting game: Chelsea will make a decision on Roberto Di Matteo at the end of the season

'I have done my research (by speaking to Pizarro) but I'm not afraid, it's the perfect step for me,' he added.

Marin made his Germany debut in 2008 and was part of their 2010 World Cup squad.

However, he has spent much of this season on the sidelines due to injury and is not assured of a place in Joachim Low's squad for Euro 2012.

Pep Guardiola would struggle to overturn Chelsea – Roberto di Matteo

Di Matteo's Pep talk! You'll struggle to overturn Chelsea, warns rival for Blues job

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UPDATED:

16:26 GMT, 27 April 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has cast doubt over whether Barcelona's culture could be exported to another club after Pep Guardiola suddenly became available for the Chelsea job.

Less than three days after being outwitted by caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo in the Champions League semi-finals, Guardiola has confirmed he is quitting as Barca manager at the end of the season.

In training: Di Matteo puts Chelsea through their paces on Friday ahead of their weekend clash against QPR

In training: Di Matteo puts Chelsea through their paces on Friday ahead of their weekend clash against QPR

Although he announced he planned to take a sabbatical, speculation is rife Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will try to make him an offer he cannot refuse.

Abramovich is said to have long craved the concept of 'Barcelona in blue shirts', identifying Guardiola as the perfect manager to deliver that vision.

But Di Matteo said: 'History tells us it's difficult to replicate the culture of a club into a different club.

In the spotlight: Guardiola announced on Friday that he's leaving Barca at the end of the season

In the spotlight: Guardiola announced on Friday that he's leaving Barca at the end of the season

'He (Guardiola) might be the first one to do it. But if you look back at history, it seems as if it's been different.'

You do not need to look back too far, with Di Matteo part of the Andre Villas-Boas regime that tried and failed to do just that before the latter was sacked almost two months ago.

Di Matteo's decision to go back to basics since taking charge has paid off spectacularly, culminating in Tuesday night's sensational comeback to beat Barca and reach the Champions League final.

Pep talk: Di Matteo got the better of Guardiola over two legs in their semi-final clash

Pep talk: Di Matteo got the better of Guardiola over two legs in their semi-final clash

Since then, the clamour for the 41-year-old to be handed the reins full-time has reached fever pitch.

His hopes would appear to rest on whether the reclusive Abramovich believes the Italian is also capable of producing the brand of football for which Guardiola is famed, or whether Tuesday's result has convinced him that the Barca model is not all it is cracked up to be.

Di Matteo was none the wiser today about his long-term future.

'Nothing has changed from my point of view,' he said, insisting he remained 'very relaxed' about his lot.

Saying goodbye: The Barca stars turned out in force to see their manager's press conference

Saying goodbye: The Barca stars turned out in force to see their manager's press conference

'I'm still very happy to be able to get this club to the end of the season and then this club will make a decision as to what is best for the club.'

Although doubtless delighted with the semi-final win, Chelsea's methods over the two legs were the antithesis of the type of football that first convinced Abramovich to buy a club of his own. They were also roundly condemned by the purists but Di Matteo said: 'We don't really care. We scored three goals against Barcelona.

'Arguably, we scored the best goal, with the Ramires goal. People can talk as much as they want. We went through over two legs.

Delight: Ramires scores against Barcelona in the Nou Camp shortly before the interval

Delight: Ramires scores against Barcelona in the Nou Camp shortly before the interval

'Two different styles of football, but we're in the final.'

Barca's Champions League defeat convinced Guardiola to go public about his intention to stand down this afternoon, the former Spain star admitting the pressure of the job had got to him. Managing Chelsea is not exactly a bed of roses either but it has certainly done nothing to put off Di Matteo.

'I'm still young myself. Hopefully I'll have a few more years to manage,' he said.

He also paid tribute to Guardiola, who has won a jaw-dropping 13 trophies since 2009.

'What a coach and a manager he is,' he said. 'He's a great guy, a young man as well with many years ahead of him.

See you in the final: Fernando Torres sealed Chelsea's place in Munich with a last-gasp goal

See you in the final: Fernando Torres sealed Chelsea's place in Munich with a last-gasp goal

'He's had such tremendous success and has decided what is probably best for himself, his career and probably his family.

'I think he's a role model as a coach for every young manager, what he has achieved in such a short period of time. “I'm not sure anyone else can replicate that.'

Di Matteo is certainly going the right way about it, with Champions League and FA Cup finals to look forward to after less than eight weeks in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.

However, it is qualifying for next season's Champions League that is the top priority. And if Chelsea are not to leave themselves having to win next month's final to do that, they may need to win their next two Barclays Premier League games against QPR and Newcastle.

Di Matteo insisted his sixth-placed side would not give up on fourth and put all their eggs in one basket.

He said: 'We'll try to win on Sunday to keep our hopes alive to finish in fourth spot. Then we'll take the next game on.

'Our priority is Sunday, now, to try our best against QPR.'