Tag Archives: confrontations

Sunderland issue warning sign to fans for persistent standing

Sunderland take a stand against 38 fans who refuse to sit down and evict them with tough message pinned to their empty seat

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UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 27 December 2012

This was the sight which greeted a number of Sunderland fans as the club stepped up its fight against their own supporters yesterday.

The Wearside club have ejected 38 fans from their seats for persistent standing, and have now withdrawn the season tickets of a number of repeat offenders.

Sunderland have now taken a hard-line stance against supporters who, they say, are endangering the safety and enjoyment of all fans

Warning sign: A supporter tweeted this picture of a message left on a seat at the Stadium of Light. It reads: 'This season card has been suspended due to persistent standing'

Warning sign: A supporter tweeted this picture of a message left on a seat at the Stadium of Light. It reads: 'This season card has been suspended due to persistent standing'

HIT ON THE ROAD

Sunderland aren't the first club to crack down. Liverpool reduced Manchester United’s away allocation in 2011 due to standing, cutting the number of available tickets from 2,948 to 1,965.

Manchester City, Sunderland and Bolton have also made similar sanctions against United.

The issue has led to major confrontations between fans and stewards during games, and abusive chanting aimed at stewards.

And one supporter, Liam Holister tweeted a photo showing an empty red seat with a warning notice and his own 'disgraceful' observation.

The irony is that the abuse, has come from fans who have been moved to the south stand, earmarked as a singing section by the club, and where away fans were housed until this season.

At the start of this season, visiting supporters were moved to a high section of the north stand.

Yesterday for the visit of Manchester City, the club increased the number of stewards in problem areas and issued another warning to supporters in the match programme, threatening to close areas of the ground unless they take their seats.

Throughout the 1-0 win over champions City, a number of Sunderland fans remained on their feet and they sang the '**** off you stewards we’ll stand if we want’ in the first-half.

Vengeance: Adam Johnson (centre right) scored against his former club

Vengeance: Adam Johnson (centre right) scored against his former club

Blunder Joe Hart allowed the ball to slip underneath him

Blunder Joe Hart allowed the ball to slip underneath him

NO CLUES…

The majority of Premier League clubs throw in a disclaimer to indicate that, at their ‘sole discretion’ they may reject any application for a season ticket, but most indicate quite clearly why a pass may be revoked.

Sunderland’s official club website, however, does not offer any clues as to what may warrant having a season ticket withdrawn, whereas many clubs including northeast rivals Newcastle United publish full terms and conditions online.

The Magpies state on their site that they may cancel a season ticket for 'persistent standing in seated areas whilst the match is in progress’.

Sunderland’s head of safety Paul Weir said: 'The figure for fans ejected due to persistent standing last season as a whole was just 20 so we can see that there has been a significant increase in the early part of the season.

'We certainly don’t wish to spoil the enjoyment of any supporter, we want a vibrant matchday atmosphere just as much as the fans do, but we also have legal obligations that we must be seen to adhering to.

'We also have a duty of care to all our supporters, including elderly and disabled fans who have contacted us very concerned that their enjoyment on a matchday is being compromised because people around them stand throughout the game.

'Naturally we want to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience at the Stadium of Light and we’d ask supporters to listen to requests from stewards and help us to eradicate persistent standing for the sake of all fans.'

How many 38 fans have been ejected from their seats at the Stadium of Light

How many 38 fans have been ejected from their seats at the Stadium of Light

MATT LAWLESS COMMENT: SIT DOWN IF YOU LOVE YOUR CLUB!

Well done, Sunderland. It's refreshing to see a club take a stand against the ‘standers’. Frankly, I'm fed-up with them.

For years, I've had to attempt to tower on tip-toes just to get a glimpse of the action at Upton Park. Why Because from the front row up in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower, everybody wants to neglect their seats. It was the same when I had a season ticket in the Bobby Moore lower. And it really annoys me.

Judging by those at the Stadium of Light, I now know I'm not alone. I go to the games with my parents and it irritates them too.

I pay decent money for my seat (600) and yet I could count on one-hand the number of times I've actually been able to use it (excluding half-time).

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to be slumped on it when Mark Noble is stepping up to lash home a penalty. For those moments I absolutely want to stand and enjoy the resulting euphoria on my two feet. But when the ball's not in an advanced attacking position, there's only one place I want to be: in my seat.

Over the years, we've had words of warning at West Ham. Letters, emails, messages in the matchday programme. But no signs on seats like those at Sunderland. And no apparent action from any stewards.

Until the day safe standing is introduced (if ever), please do me a favour: sit down, if you love your club!

Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Kolo and Yaya Toure caught up in Senegal riot

Cisse, Ba and Toure brothers escape from danger as Senegal fans riot in stands

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 14 October 2012

The African Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Ivory Coast in Dakar was abandoned following crowd trouble.

Ivory Coast were leading 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate – a result which seems likely to stand, sending Senegal out – when the match was stopped in the 72nd minute at the Stade Leopold Senghor.

The incident was confirmed on the official website of the Senegalese Football Federation, www.senegalfoot.sn: 'Unfortunately the match ended in very sombre circumstances.

Unrest: Didier Drogba is shielded by a policeman as trouble rages in the stands

Unrest: Didier Drogba is shielded by a policeman as trouble rages in the stands

Heading for shelter: Manchester City star Yaya Toure is guided off the pitch in Dakar

Heading for shelter: Manchester City star Yaya Toure is guided off the pitch in Dakar

'The referee was forced to stop in the
match in the 72nd minute with the score at 2-0 because of serious
outbreaks in the stands by very unhappy Senegalese supporters.

'The police took the public out after many confrontations.'

Play had been temporarily halted in
the 65th minute when a person ran on to the pitch and almost reached
Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba before being wrestled to the ground
and escorted off the field.

Drogba had given his side the lead in
the 51st minute with a free-kick and the former Chelsea man then made it
2-0 from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Take cover: Kolo Toure is covered by riot policemen's shields

Following that second goal there were
disturbances in the stands, with small fires being set alight and
objects thrown as players and staff from both teams grouped together in
the centre circle.

A host of Barclays Premier
League-based players were involved in the match, including Newcastle
pair Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse lining up for Senegal, along with West
Ham's Mohamed Diame.

In Ivory Coast's starting line-up were
Arsenal striker Gervinho, Manchester City brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure,
and Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote.

City said on their official website:
'City's Yaya and Kolo Toure are both safe after crowd trouble halted
play as Senegal hosted the Ivory Coast in Dakar.

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

Stick and stones: Fans threw anything they could lay their hands on onto the pitch

'Disturbances broke out as Didier
Drogba put the Elephants 2-0 up, after what was deemed a controversial
penalty decision in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

'Fires were started in the stands at
Stade Leopold Senghor and missiles were launched on to the pitch before
the players were escorted to safety.

'Yaya and Kolo were both involved in the second leg clash and early reports suggest the brothers are unharmed.'

Turning nasty: Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium

Turning nasty: Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium

Watching on: Riot police watch from the field as Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands

Watching on: Riot police watch from the field as Senegal fans throw rocks and set fires in the stands

The Midlander: The Midlander: Baggies bow out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously

Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously

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UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 27 September 2012

It was a shame for West Brom that Steve Clarke's best intentions in the Capital One Cup were not rewarded on Wednesday night.

One glance down the team-sheet showed that the Scot was taking the competition seriously.

There were no wholesale changes. No real suggestion in his starting XI that the Baggies have the mother of all derby confrontations at Villa Park to look forward to this weekend.

Serious: Steve Clarke fielded a strong side to take on Liverpool

Serious: Steve Clarke fielded a strong side to take on Liverpool

More from Neil Moxley…

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20/09/12

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14/09/12

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07/09/12

The Midlander: Thorn sacking is one of many strange decisions by Coventry
30/08/12

The Midlander: Lambert has work to do in the window to add the goals he craves
23/08/12

The Midlander: How West Brom emerged as the unlikely flag-bearers round here
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The Midlander: Tremendous track record Solbakken faces test from the start
09/08/12

The Midlander: All change at Villa but fans will relish new era of Lambert's Lions
02/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Of course, Clarke could have taken another option. He could have fielded a below-strength West Brom side. (That on Wednesday night's evidence would have been taken to the cleaners by a very good, young Liverpool team.)

So on that basis, it was pleasing to see him treat the competition like something West Brom actually wanted to be involved in.

Thank goodness.

Why do I say that

The football-supporting public have been brain-washed, believing the Champions League and Premier League is the be-all and end-all.

Of course, for the clubs involved, it is.

The revenues generated by both competitions are staggering.

Next season, when the new television deal kicks in, those participating in the Premier League will see their bottom-line income balloon by over 20m. (That figure includes overseas rights.)

What does that mean

Well, it means if you are a supporter of West Brom it means you have earned the right to play against 19 other clubs during the course of a season in the hope that you will garner enough points to play in the competition again.

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Does anyone think the Baggies have a chance of winning the competition

Good lord, no! Any notion of equality in that respect has long disappeared.

So what are fans in it for, then

This may come as a shock to the Premier League. But, first, there are supporters out there who don't follow the top six clubs.

Secondly, there is a notion of glory. A day in the sun. When you can puff out your chest and say: 'West Brom – FA Cup winners 2013.'

It's there. In black and white. 'Birmingham City – Carling Cup winners 2011.'
Under the all-consuming push to sell satellite subscriptions, we are bombarded with messages that the Premier League is the place to be.

But does it really matter to a West Brom fan if they finish 10th or 13th
Of course not.

It matters to the Hawthorns' bean-counters. They will bank an extra 3m in merit money.

But is that passed on to the punters in the form of lower ticket prices or other benefits

Again, of course not. They won't see any 'real' benefit. Hopefully an improvement in the quality of player. But 11 players will still take to the pitch wearing navy blue and white striped shirts, regardless.

If Birmingham City supporters had a straight choice between winning that Carling Cup on February 27, 2011 or another season in the top-flight, I can absolutely guarantee what they would (actually do) say.

They do say: 'I'll take the trophy, thanks.'

Them too: Aston Villa knocked Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup at the Etihad

Them too: Aston Villa knocked Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup at the Etihad

Were I a Baggies' man, it would stick in my throat that Roberto Di Matteo did not play a recognised first-team at Ipswich in the same competition that Birmingham ended up winning.

On that very night, when Nikola Zigic's scrambled goal defeated Aston Villa, I know for a cold-stone certainty that Alex McLeish would not have fielded his strongest XI had it not been a quarter-final against the club's rivals from across the Aston Expressway.

What happened subsequently bears out the absolute folly of not treating this competition seriously.

Birmingham went on to win it. Alex McLeish picked up another job (at Villa) because of it.

There's no way that he would have been employed at Villa Park without that triumph on his CV. No way.

A set of players received greater exposure, enhanced their reputations and probably, when Birmingham were relegated, also picked up lucrative transfers because of it.

And the supporters

They enjoyed one of the best days out…ever.

It is a difficult line for some managers to tread. Their own personal short-term futures might depend on staying in the Premier League.

But Jose Mourinho went hammer and tongs at the League Cup. It was the first trophy he won with Chelsea.

Brian Clough had bigger priorities than the same competition when Nottingham Forest won it a couple of times in the early 1980s.

Troublesome: Gabriel Agbonlahor wreaked havoc in Manchester

Troublesome: Gabriel Agbonlahor wreaked havoc in Manchester

And I didn't see Sir Alex Ferguson cocking a snoop at it either, when it was the only pot Manchester United won in 2006 against Wigan Athletic.

Those top-six clubs may now have different priorities.

But – and this isn't just aimed at West Brom, it's directed at every other club of a certain size out there – there has to be room for glory in this game.

The glory of a League Cup win, or FA Cup final win. It does matter to the fans, it does.

Don't field reserve teams. Treat the competition seriously. Who knows, you might end up winning it.

Let's face it, if just staying in the Premier League is the be-all and end-ell, what really is the point of that

This column is supposed to reflect the week's events in the Midlands.

So the stand-out stories

Villa's win at Manchester City Yes, a fantastic result to follow a second-half wipeout at St Mary's.

It was heartening to see Villa defeat a team they aren't supposed to. ie One of the Champions League mob.

It happens every so often. Like at Chelsea last December. And at the Emirates against Arsenal the season before.

But not nearly as often as it should. It was genuinely heart-warming. Promising, although you suspect the season may contain lows as well as highs.

Over at Coventry, they have welcomed a new manager's arrival with a 6-1 drubbing at Arsenal.

Pick your battles: Clarke (right) knows that West Brom fans relish the cup competitions

Pick your battles: Clarke (right) knows that West Brom fans relish the cup competitions

I was quietly impressed with Robins hearing him speak during the pre-match press conference. I think the Sky Blues may have landed a good 'un there.

Other than that, what else is there

Derby's reversal to Burnley was surprising as I'd seen the Clarets lose to Leicester last week.

They were nothing to write home about so I did raise an eyebrow at the Rams' defeat – although with Charlie Austin back in the team at the King Power Stadium, Eddie Howe may have been missing a cutting edge.

No, all that apart, the most alarming story of the week was Birmingham City 0 Barnsley 5.

I watched that particular horror unfold from the press room at the Baggies.

After being fortunate enough to witness about 80 live matches during the course of a season for the best part of two decades, I have to say it was the single most inept, lifeless and gutless showing I can remember from any side, anywhere, at any time.

And remember, I've only just returned from watching Wales ship six in Serbia.

The players were bad, the manager's decision to switch to a three-man defence was ill-conceived and Barnsley – average at Wolves a few weeks ago – should have filled their boots.

You can say what you like – and there is no doubt that there is a current malaise at the club – but those responsible out on the pitch – and in the dug-out – need to take a long look at themselves.

Bigger fish to fry: Teams like Manchester City will be more focused on the Premier League and the Champions League

Bigger fish to fry: Teams like Manchester City will be more focused on the Premier League and the Champions League

I'm not just talking about Clark either, what are Terry McDermott and Derek Fazackerley supposed to be doing The latter was part of England's set-up under Kevin Keegan, after all.

With away-days to follow this weekend at Brighton and Cardiff next week, Lee Clark could be treading on the thinnest of ice if he is not careful.

The least Birmingham City supporters demand is effort.

When even that vital ingredient is missing, you really are in trouble. Clark would be wise not to let it happen again.

Finally, talk about being put in your place.

I pitched up at Ryton to speak to Mark Robins and was greeted by first-team coach Lee Carsley, full of his gently teasing humour and dry wit.

After pleasantries are exchanged, the conversation goes as follows:

Carsley: 'Me and Kev (Kilbane) are thinking about doing a bike ride for charity next summer, do you fancy coming

Me: 'Er, dunno. How far is it'

Carsley: 'Well, it will take about a week, possibly a bit more.'

Me: 'Well, if you really think I could do it. Do you think I'd be fit enough'

Carsley: 'I don't need you to ride a bike, you muppet, we need someone to drive the van….'

Roberto Mancini has spat with Paul Lambert

I wish managers would just shut up! Mancini hits out after spat with Lambert

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 25 September 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini believes his touchline row with Aston Villa counterpart Paul Lambert is typical of the attitude many opposition managers have towards him.

The pair exchanged heated words in the second half of City's 4-2 Capital One Cup defeat at the Etihad Stadium after the Italian complained to the fourth official about a tackle by Joe Bennett on Gareth Barry.

'I am tired with these managers,' said Mancini, who has had his fair share of touchline confrontations during his time in England.

Spat: Roberto Mancini had a touchline row with his opposite number Paul Lambert

Spat: Roberto Mancini had a touchline row with his opposite number Paul Lambert

Spat: Roberto Mancini had a touchline row with his opposite number Paul Lambert

'I didn't say nothing to him (Lambert). There are some managers it is better to shut up.

'I asked only if there was a yellow card – without moving my hands (Mancini has been guilty in the past of waving imaginary cards) – with the fourth official and he comes over to me.

'I didn't speak with him. I asked the fourth official if it was a yellow card because I thought the referee had forgotten his yellow cards in the dressing room.

'I don't know what is the reason. I can understand if I was talking to him but I didn't say nothing.'

Mancini added: 'I am very tired with their behaviour. Sometimes these managers go to the big stadiums and the other manager says everything and they say nothing.

Roberto Mancini and Paul Lambert confrontation

Roberto Mancini and Paul Lambert confrontation

Come on then! Lambert approaches Mancini as his Aston Villa side come from behind to beat Manchester City

'When they go to [Old] Trafford, they say nothing. When other managers talk about the referee they always sit on the bench.

'I don't like this type of behaviour.'

Lambert brushed aside Mancini's complaints, saying: 'If that's what he said then fine.

'I respect him as a manager and an ex-player.

'It wasn't really a spat. It was nothing.'

Mancini may well have been trying to deflect attention from his side's third-round exit, having reached the semi-finals in two of the last three seasons.

Knocked out: City's poor start to the season continued as Villa beat them in extra time

Knocked out: City's poor start to the season continued as Villa beat them in extra time

Despite making 10 changes from Sunday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal, the City boss was still able to field a team with combined value well over 150million, even with teenagers Abdul Razak and Denis Suarez in the line-up.

However, they twice threw away leads given to them by Mario Balotelli and then Aleksandar Kolarov after Villa old boy Gareth Barry's own goal had made it 1-1.

Gabriel Agbonlahor took the tie to extra time and added a second after Charles N'Zogbia had put Villa ahead for the first time.

'It was a difficult match because Aston Villa were a good team,' added Mancini.

Game over: Gabriel Agbonlahor seals Aston Villa's win with his second goal of the game

Game over: Gabriel Agbonlahor seals Aston Villa's win with his second goal of the game

'We didn't play well and we had some unlucky moments but I think they deserved to go through.'

Lambert, in his first season at Villa Park having taken over in the summer, was delighted with the performance.

'It is a massive result for us. I thought the way we played was excellent,' he added.

'It was a brilliant response from the team. It was a huge effort.

'We didn't deserve to go a goal behind but we showed real character to come back.'

Samir Nasri banned for three games after rant

Shamed Nasri slapped with three-game ban for Euro 2012 rant

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UPDATED:

14:05 GMT, 27 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez have been handed suspensions from the France national team after a disciplinary hearing into their conduct during Euro 2012.

Manchester City midfielder Nasri has been banned for three matches after an expletive-laden rant at reporters following France's quarter-final defeat by Spain.

Paris St Germain winger Menez, who was not present at Friday's hearing, will sit out one game as punishment for confrontations with both Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli and his own keeper Hugo Lloris during the last-eight clash.

In the dock: Samir Nasri has been banned for three international matches

In the dock: Samir Nasri has been banned for three international matches

The other two players up in front of the commission, Yann M'Vila and Hatem Ben Arfa, escaped with warnings.

Rennes midfielder M'Vila's charge also stemmed from the Spain match, when he was substituted and did not shake hands with either his replacement Olivier Giroud or coach Laurent Blanc.

Newcastle playmaker Ben Arfa, meanwhile, was referred to the commission over an alleged argument with Blanc in the dressing room after the group-stage defeat to Sweden.

As a result of the sanctions, Les Bleus' new coach Didier Deschamps will be without both Nasri and Menez for their August 15 friendly against Uruguay.

Let off: Hatem Ben Arfa was warned for his argument with Laurent Blanc

Let off: Hatem Ben Arfa was warned for his argument with Laurent Blanc

Nasri will also be sidelined for their first two qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, away to Finland on September 7 and at home to Belarus four days later.

The FFF announced the decisions in a press release which added that the verdicts will be passed on to their executive committee, who have the right to retain the players' appearance bonuses in part or in full.

The players reported to the FFF's headquarters in Paris today with the exception of Menez, who is on Paris St Germain's pre-season American tour.

The 25-year-old was represented by his lawyer Carlos Alberto Brusa, who told l'Equipe: 'He (Menez) regrets what happened and wants to put this difficult time behind him. It was a youthful error.

Warning: Yann Mvila failed to shake hands with Blanc when coming off

Warning: Yann Mvila failed to shake hands with Blanc when coming off

'He is not there, I am there to represent him and pass on his message.

'It is a big responsibility, in front of the commission, to represent a player and to tell his story.'

FFF discipline commission president Jean Mazzella told L'Equipe: “The meeting was calm, the players gave explanations and showed a very good attitude.

'They defended themselves but they answered all the questions we asked them. They did not apologise, they showed regret.'

Euro 2012: Black and Asian England fans risk racist attack in Poland and Ukraine

Foreign Office warns England fans to expect racist attacks in Poland and Ukraine

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UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 18 May 2012

The Foreign Office has once again warned black and Asian fans to be extra vigilant as they could be targeted by racist thugs at this summer's European Championships.

With just three weeks to go until the event kicks off in Poland and Ukraine, fears continue to grow that England fans will be targeted, especially those of an ethnic minority.

The Foreign Office website, advises: 'Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent should take extra care.'

Warning: Theo Walcott's family are not travelling to Euros over racism fears

Warning: Theo Walcott's family are not travelling to Euros over racism fears

And spokesperson for the Foreign Office, said: 'You cannot rule out the possibility of racism towards visiting fans.

'There is a risk in Poland and Ukraine as with many other countries where England play. We encourage visiting fans to report any incidents to the police.'

New England boss Roy Hodgson expressed his dismay at the thought of potential violence and conceded the threat of racist violence was a real possibility.

He said: 'There's no doubt that the issue of racism, and the Sky report into hooliganism, and the violence in the Ukraine is a concern to us all, not least the supporters who are going to go and maybe risk getting beaten up if they don’t happen to be white.'

The news comes after Theo Walcott’s brother revealed that the winger's family won’t go to Euro 2012 because of the endemic racism.

Regret: Theo's brother Ashely announced the news his family won't travel

Regret: Theo's brother Ashley announced the news his family won't travel

The Arsenal winger was included in Hodgson's England squad to travel, but due to fears of racism in the countries, dad Don and chef brother Ashley have decided not to travel.

Ashley tweeted: 'Unfortunately my dad n i have taken the decision not to travel to the Ukraine because of the fear of possible racist attacks confrontations.

'Something's aren't worth risking, but begs the question why hold a competition of this magnitude in a place that can not police itself for foreigners of any creed to feel safe, but I'll be watching every minute.

'Racism has no place in the modern world.'

However, Ukrainian authorities have downplayed the threat of racism in the country, claiming a 'few idiots' actions are not representative of the welcome fans of ethnic minorities will receive.

'We would like to stress that there is absolutely no problem of this sort in Ukraine,' said Volodymyr Khandogiy, the country’s ambassador to the UK.

'We are surprised by this issue being raised now. We have had a few minor incidents and the reaction was how it should be. There is no need to have fear for the Euros. I guarantee that all fans, no matter their nationality or colour, will enjoy the football festival.'

EURO 2012: Theo Walcott"s family won"t travel to Ukraine over racism fears

Walcott's family won't travel to Euros over fears of racist abuse

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UPDATED:

08:09 GMT, 17 May 2012

Theo Walcott’s brother revealed that the winger’s family won’t go to Euro 2012 because of the endemic racism in Poland and Ukraine.

The Arsenal winger was included in Roy Hodgson's England squad to travel to Poland and Ukraine, but due to fears of racism in the countries, dad Don and chef brother Ashley have decided not to travel.

Ashley tweeted: ‘Unfortunately my dad n i have taken the decision not to travel to the Ukraine because of the fear of possible racist attacks confrontations.

Fears: Walcott's family will not be in Ukraine

Fears: Walcott's family will not be in Ukraine

'Something's aren't worth risking, but begs the question why hold a competition of this magnitude in a place that can not police itself for foreigners of any creed to feel safe, but I'll be watching every minute.

'Racism has no place in the modern world.'

Ukrainian football hooligans with racist tendencies have been the subject of recent exposes. Roy Hodgson expressed concerns on Wednesday about the safety of English fans next month.

Close: Theo will not be supported by brother Ashley at Euro 2012

Close: Theo will not be supported by brother Ashley at Euro 2012

Support: Ashley Walcott says he will support his brother from home

Support: Ashley Walcott says he will support his brother from home

Hodgson said: 'The issue of racism, especially the Sky report into the hooliganism and violence in Ukraine, is an obvious concern. Not least the supporters who go over there and risk maybe getting beaten up.'

Fears of racial attacks have prompted the Foreign Office to issue a warning to the thousands of supporters planning to travel.

Official government advice says: 'Foreign nationals have been victims of violent crime in Kiev and other major cities in recent years. In some cases attacks have been racially motivated.

'Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals from religious minorities should take extra care.'

Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1: Alan Pardew refutes visiting referee at half-time

Pardew refutes visiting referee at half-time in tempestuous Tyne-Wear derby

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill found themselves embroiled in a war of words after a voalite derby came to a dramatic conclusion.

In a game which saw one penalty scored, another missed, eight yellow cards, two red cards on the pitch and a third in the tunnel, a last-gasp equaliser and repeated confrontations between the respective benches, the pair headed home experiencing widely contrasting emotions.

It is a fair bet referee Mike Dean did so to lie down in a darkened room after what must have been one of the busiest afternoons of his career.

Take that: Alan Pardew clashes with Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill

Take that: Alan Pardew clashes with Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill

Reaction: O'Neill (right) did not take too kindly to Pardew's passion and the pair were separated by the fourth official, Lee Mason

Reaction: O'Neill (right) did not take too kindly to Pardew's passion and the pair were separated by the fourth official, Lee Mason

From the moment he booked Black Cats skipper Lee Cattermole for a wild challenge on Cheick Tiote with just 40 seconds gone he was a central character, and he left the field to be greeted by accusations that he had received a visit from the Newcastle coaching staff at half-time.

Asked about the straight red card Cattermole received for confronting Dean after the final whistle, O'Neill said: 'Possibly in mitigation we had heard that some of their staff had visited the referee's changing room at half-time.

Seeing red: Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is sent off after the game by referee Mike Dean

Seeing red: Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is sent off after the game by referee Mike Dean

'Of course, we are not party to what was said, but Lee's mitigating circumstance was that he felt a lot of decisions had gone Newcastle's way in the second half.

'That may well be. It doesn't necessarily mean I agree with it, but if you have a little look back, Newcastle themselves would consider themselves lucky to have 11 men still on the field if the referee had continued according to the way he started the game.'

Pardew, whose goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman was dismissed at half-time after a spat with Sunderland fitness coach Jim Henry, insisted no-one had visited the referee.

He said: 'I can tell you that's completely untrue. None of our staff was allowed in the referee's room. No-one tried to enter it and no-one entered their dressing room.

'I heard that rumour and it's not right.'

Busy man: Dean shows the red card to Stephane Sessegnon

Busy man: Dean shows the red card to Stephane Sessegnon

Spot on: Nicklas Bendtner (2nd L) gave Sunderland the lead from a penalty

Spot on: Nicklas Bendtner (2nd L) gave Sunderland the lead from a penalty

The feistiest Tyne-Wear derby for some time began with Cattermole's lunge at Cheick Tiote and never really dropped in tempo as Sunderland capitalised on an impressive first-half display by snatching a deserved lead.

Sunderland led through Nicklas Bendtner's 24th-minute penalty after Mike Williamson was penalised for pulling Michael Turner's shirt, but were reduced to 10 men in the 58th minute when Stephane Sessegnon elbowed Tiote.

Agony: Demba Ba misses a second-half penalty

Agony: Demba Ba misses a second-half penalty

Ecstasy: Shola Ameobi scores a dramatic leveller in stoppage time

Ecstasy: Shola Ameobi scores a dramatic leveller in stoppage time

But for all the Magpies dominated thereafter, central defenders John O'Shea and Turner kept them at bay until Fraizer Campbell tripped fellow substitute Shola Ameobi.

Simon Mignolet pulled off a superb save to keep out Demba Ba's penalty, but in the first minute of stoppage time Ameobi steered Williamson's flick-on home.

Pardew, who had celebrated prematurely when the spot-kick was awarded to the clear annoyance of the Sunderland bench, said: 'Listen, let's not all get carried away here. This has been a great game of football.

The look says it all: O'Neill (right) glares at Pardew (left)

The look says it all: O'Neill (right) glares at Pardew (left)

Forgetful: Pardew has wound up rival managers before, including Arsene Wenger

Forgetful: Pardew has wound up rival managers before, including Arsene Wenger

'What happens on the bench sometimes gets out of hand, silly things are said. It happens all the time and you just get on with it.

'I have never done that before. It just goes to show that the pressure of the game can get to even the oldest of managers like myself. I was feeling like 58 today rather than 50.'

O'Neill, who indicated he would not be taking up the offer of a glass of wine with Pardew, was able to take plenty of positives from his first taste of the derby.

He said: 'It was everything that people had told me about, everything, absolutely everything.

'Hostility, which I am kind of used to – that's even from my own fans – fervour, everything, everything.

'In a perverse sort of way, I was
enjoying it – it had to be really perverse – but there was obviously
disappointment at the end.'

That disappointment was compounded by
the fact that both Sessegnon and Cattermole will now miss the FA Cup
quarter-final trip to Everton through suspension.

Alex Ferguson: I"m too old for the hairdryer!

I'm too old for the hairdryer! Ferguson is a mellow manager

Manchester United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson insists the days of doling out his infamous 'hairdryer
treatment' to underperforming players are long gone.

The 70-year-old Scot, who believes he
has another two or three years before retirement, said age and
experience had mellowed him and he no longer went in for dressing room
bust-ups.

Sir Alex Ferguson: The United boss 'doesn't do confrontation'

Sir Alex Ferguson: The United boss 'doesn't do confrontations'

'I don't have any confrontations really, not nowadays, although maybe when I was younger I would have,' he said.

'If a player answered me back I would head straight for them, this is where the hairdryer treatment comes in. I didn't allow a player to beat me in an argument.

'Now I am older and more experienced and because of that and my time at the club the players have more respect.'

That is not to say Ferguson has gone soft in his approach to the players, however, and he accepts he is prone to the odd outburst of frustration.

'There is nothing wrong with losing your temper if it is for the right reasons – sometimes you are better getting it out of your system,' he added.

'My normal pattern of management is to get it out of your system. I tell players after the game and that's it finished – the next day to me is a new world.'

Ferguson insists stress remains an alien concept to him, although he accepts his love of horse racing affords him a valuable release from life at Old Trafford.

Infamous: David Beckham bears the scars of his bust-up with Fergie

Infamous: David Beckham bears the scars of his bust-up with Fergie

'I don't feel stress, I must admit. I was more anxious watching Man City playing (Aston) Villa (earlier this month) than on my own game against Liverpool,' he told Radio Five Live.

'I was getting to a point at United where I was obsessed with the thing (the club).

'It is a great club but you still need to release yourself from it and it (horse racing) has helped.'

And while from the outside the United boss may be seen as overbearing in some aspects of his management style, he believes in the power of positive persuasion.

'Sometimes you have to force players into better than what they think they are,' he said, adding that he liked strong characters in the dressing room but had noticed a change in the way that manifested itself in the modern-day footballer.

'The character is laid back and they are not 'pushers'.

David Moyes: Ferguson is a big fan of the Everton manager

David Moyes: Ferguson is a big fan of the Everton manager

'You see personalities in the dressing room and we've had plenty – (Bryan) Robson, (Mark) Hughes, (Roy) Keane, (Steve) Bruce, Incey (Paul Ince).

'You knew they could not be bullied out of a game. If you wanted football they could play football, if you wanted to make it physical they could be physical.

'They could set the tone of any game they wanted because they were that good.

'Since then I've had deeply strong personalities but not [those who are] forcibly demonstrative about it.

'Players of different generations have the same strength but they do it on the pitch.'

SIX NATIONS 2012: Alex Corbisiero is a hip hop prop

EXCLUSIVE: Hip hop prop Corbisiero is feeling like no-one could beat him

Hip hop music dominates the soundtrack to Alex Corbisiero’s soaring career and forms a key part of his matchday routine. Before games, the England prop from New York listens for inspiration.

Afterwards, he is prepared to perform.

While the 23-year-old London Irish loosehead keeps the rituals to a minimum, he has settled on a trio of tracks which put him in the right mind for the confrontations ahead.

‘I don’t really have any superstitions but I have to listen to three songs on the bus to the match,’ he said. ‘Heartbeat by Chase and Status, Till I Collapse by Eminem and Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit.’

Hip hop prop: England's loosehead Alex Corbisiero

Hip hop prop: England's loosehead Alex Corbisiero

Rapper Eminem is a particular favourite for Corbisiero and the words of Till I Collapse serve as a call to arms. It starts: ‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up, but you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength, And just pull that s*** out of you and get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.’

Even the terminology is appropriate for a prop. Then, the track closes with: ‘I will not fall, I will stand tall, feels like no-one could beat me.’

Sure enough, on the latest of his 12 Test appearances, Corbisiero went toe-to-toe with the mighty Martin Castrogiovanni and it was the Italian Goliath who came off worse – departing with an injury before half-time, having been unable to dominate his rookie opponent as he has so many others in the set-piece.

Top performance: Corbisiero excelled against Italy

Top performance: Corbisiero excelled against Italy

That evening in Rome, the man in the England No 1 shirt delivered his finest performance, recovering from early wobbles to stand fast in the scrum and carry the ball around the field with compelling force.

In the aftermath of the victory over Italy, Corbisiero happily declared that it had been his best performance for his country. /02/19/article-2103448-11C1FF27000005DC-368_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Tough test: Corbisiero goes head-to-head with Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones” class=”blkBorder” />

Tough test: Corbisiero goes head-to-head with Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones

‘Adam Jones is definitely in that world-class bracket at tighthead,’ he said. ‘And Gethin Jenkins has been world-class for a long time, since playing for the Lions in 2005.

He is very good in the set piece but he also gets around the field and that is something I try to emulate.

‘He’s also got a great work-rate in defence. It is exciting to be playing against guys like that. As a pack, we don’t mind if we are viewed as underdogs – we’ve got plenty of confidence in our ability.’

Alex Corbisiero is supporting RBS RugbyForce, the community programme that is improving club facilities across the nation. To register your club for the RBS RugbyForce Weekend on June 2-3, visit www.rbs.com/rugbyforce