Tag Archives: cunningham

Kell Brook and Devon Alexander must fight next

Alexander must fight Brook for world title, warns IBF as negotiations continue



18:31 GMT, 29 October 2012

Devon Alexander has been ordered to defend his IBF welterweight title against mandatory challenger Kell Brook or risk losing his belt.

The 25-year-old American won the strap when he outpointed Randall Bailey on October 20, just hours after Brook, 26, knocked out Hector Saldivia in the final eliminator.

And the IBF now expect Alexander and Brook to fight before the end of February.

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) must fight Kell Brook next

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) must fight Kell Brook next

Both camps are holding out for home advantage with Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn keen to bring the bout to Sheffield.

But if an agreement cannot be reached, the clash will go to purse bids by the end of November.

'They (Team Alexander) have not been given a deadline. If things go as planned the two should fight within about 135 days,' IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker told World Boxing News.

'The fight would then go to bids if the parties cannot come to an agreement as Brook is his mandatory and Alexander can’t fight an optional.'

Alexander's trainer Kevin Cunningham insists his charge wants to fight on home soil.

Bidding war: Eddie Hearn (right) wants Brook to fight in Sheffield

Bidding war: Eddie Hearn (right) wants Brook to fight in Sheffield

'I don't see anything special about Kell Brook,' he told ESPN. 'He can be next if he comes to the US We plan on defending the title and we will fight Brook anywhere in the US.'

But Hearn remains confident he can bring the title fight to Sheffield.

'We will be doing all we can to try and make this fight in the UK,' he said. 'I read Kevin Cunningham's comments and, with all due respect, it's not up to him or Devon where the fight is.

'We have now entered an official negotiation period with his team, and if we can't find a middle ground, then we will go to purse bids. If I win the purse bids, then Alexander has no choice but to come and fight in England or vacate the title.

'I know we can easily fill the 12,000-seat Sheffield Arena, and we also have significant domestic and international TV backing. If we are in a purse bid situation, I am confident we can be very competitive.'

Kell Brook dismissed by Devon Alexander

Who the Kell are you Champion Alexander dismisses Brook challenge



22:54 GMT, 24 October 2012

World welterweight champion Devon Alexander has delivered a stinging riposte to mandatory challenger Kell Brook – claiming he doesn’t even know who he is.

Sheffield star Brook knocked out Hector Saldivia inside three rounds in the final eliminator for the IBF title last Saturday.

He hopes to lure Alexander to Britain early next year but the American insisted he is unfazed by the challenge.

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) has taken no notice of Kell Brook

Champion: Devon Alexander (right) has taken no notice of Kell Brook

‘I didn’t see the fight and I barely know Kell Brook,’ Alexander told World Boxing News.

‘We will see what my advisor Al Haymon and my trainer Kevin Cunningham come up with. Right now, I’m not even worried about Kell Brook because I barely know him and who is he anyway

‘I never saw him fight before so I can’t rate him, but maybe he can be used as a tune up. Right now there are a lot of options and I’ll just leave it up to my trainer and advisor to deal with.’

Down and out: Brook beat Hector Saldivia in Sheffield on Saturday

Down and out: Brook beat Hector Saldivia in Sheffield on Saturday

Brook took just 28 seconds of the third round to end the challenge of Saldivia having also had his Argentinian opponent on the canvas in the opening session.

The 26-year-old admitted afterwards that he would be open to fighting British rival Amir Khan ahead of a bout with Alexander.

Can West Brom repeat 1978-79 triumphs?

Can in-form West Brom match the impact of Albion's stylish 1978-79 team



21:30 GMT, 17 October 2012

It was a time of dwindling crowds due to the spectre of hooliganism. And in industry, a period of deep recession.

Anyone would think that living in and around West Bromwich in 1978 would be something of a hardship. But there was one thing that lifted the gloom. Saturday afternoons at The Hawthorns where, for one season only, something special was happening.

Flamboyant manager Ron Atkinson was putting together one of the most attacking and entertaining sides the top flight has ever seen. What’s more, he thumbed his nose at convention, breaking down racial barriers to give three black players centre stage.

West Bromwich meets Philadelphia: Albion's 'Three Degrees' Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis team up with the real Three Degrees

West Bromwich meets Philadelphia: Albion's 'Three Degrees' Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis team up with the real Three Degrees

Steve Clarke’s current crop occupy sixth place in the Barclays Premier League. Four home victories is their best return in 93 years. But while the Scot’s side are functional, pretty and capable of testing champions Manchester City on Saturday, they do not capture the imagination as Atkinson’s outfit did.

Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown, who scored a staggering 218 goals from midfield, played in the West Brom team of the 1960s which reached four finals, but says that his biggest regret is that he never won the league title in 1978-79.

‘We should have won the league that season,’ he said, ‘and I mean no disrespect to Liverpool. It just came together for us. It really was for that one season. For a variety of reasons, that team broke up afterwards. But when we were together, something clicked.

‘We had everything. We scored goals for fun. We would get on to the coach together for away games knowing that someone was going to get a good hiding.

‘We went to Old Trafford and scored five. We had the power of Cyrille Regis, the artistry of Laurie Cunningham, the all-round brilliance of Bryan Robson, the best attacking left back in the country in Derek Statham.

Main man: Ron Atkinson had West Brom playing exciting, attractive football in the late seventies

Main man: Ron Atkinson had West Brom playing exciting, attractive football in the late seventies

West Brom then and now

‘Len Cantello in midfield was a woefully underrated footballer. Two centre halves who did what centre halves are supposed to. I owe Ally Brown so much because the runs he made enabled me to score my fair share.

‘It was wonderful, magical. And to top it all, we had Ron Atkinson managing us.

‘To be fair, the groundwork was done by Johnny Giles. He drilled into us the value of possession. When Ron came in, he wanted us to move the ball a bit quicker.

‘Those two values worked with that group and especially with Ron around. He was a brilliant motivator. We just worked on the basis that we would score more than the opposition.

‘He would say, “Go out and entertain me. You’ve got 30,000 outside and they want to be given a show. Go and do something special”.

‘Then he would walk around the dressing room. He would pull me to one side and say, “You are my No 1. You will do it today for me. You’re the one they’ll be talking about tonight”.

‘Of course, I felt 10 feet tall. Trouble was with Ron, he’d then go over to the other side of the room and say exactly the same thing to Laurie Cunningham!’

Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Regis were three superb footballers. They also happened to be black. It is difficult to imagine now, but their part in highlighting race issues should not be forgotten.

Robson said: ‘We went to the opening of Andy Gray’s nightclub and Cyrille, Brendon and Laurie were there. So were the American supergroup, The Three Degrees. It was too good a photo opportunity to miss. Albion’s black players posed with the girls and from that moment on, we had our own Three Degrees.

‘I’m convinced that stunt helped break down prejudice. At the

Real deal: Laurie Cunningham starred for West Brom before leaving for the Spanish capital Madrid

Real deal: Laurie Cunningham starred for West Brom before leaving for the Spanish capital Madrid

time, I remember away supporters leaving hundreds of banana skins at the Smethwick End. We have come a long way since then.’

West Brom had qualified for the UEFA Cup that season, earning a mouth-watering tie against Argentinan ace Mario Kempes’ Valencia in the Mestalla Stadium.

‘It was the match that earned Laurie Cunningham his move to Real Madrid,’ recalled Brown. ‘There was no-one to touch him at that time. He was graceful. He used to glide over the pitch. He absolutely tormented Valencia’s right back.

‘All of a sudden, we were sitting there in the second half when Laurie received the ball. Hundreds of oranges started raining down on to the pitch. Their crowd had got that fed up with Laurie, they were pelting him with fruit.

‘One of the lads pointed it out to him afterwards and he said with a wry smile, “I suppose it makes a change from bananas”.’

High flying: Shane Long has helped West Brom climb to sixth in the Premier League this season

High flying: Shane Long has helped West Brom climb to sixth in the Premier League this season

But for all the talent, all the goals and all the class of that group of players, it ended with West Brom finishing only third in the league.

‘It really was the coming together of different elements,’ added Brown. ‘I think we had several world-class players, but that fact has not been recognised. Take Robson, for instance. I saw him as a 15-year-old. A skinny waif, really. They prepared a special drink to build him up. It consisted of raw eggs, Guinness and sherry. Horrible!

‘But he turned out to be a world-class player. Laurie went to Real Madrid, Cyrille was one of the most powerful forwards in Europe at the time — a real handful. And then we had Ron who gave us the freedom to go and express ourselves.

‘You know, it’s a decent team this one. But whatever they go on to do — and I really hope they are successful — they cannot recreate what we had. For all sorts of reasons, it really was special.’


What happened to the class of 1978

Len Cantello"s "All Blacks" testimonial told by those who played

All Blacks! How Cantello's controversial testimonial struck a blow for multiculturalism



22:39 GMT, 22 August 2012

They came together for one game to honour a friend. Young men who were routinely abused because of the colour of their skin. A team of 1970s footballing pioneers who were hailed as The All Blacks!

It would surely be inconceivable now but no-one batted an eyelid 30-odd years ago when Len Cantello’s testimonial committee got their heads together and came up with a novel way of marking his decade of service to West Bromwich Albion.

The late 1970s was a pre-Kick It Out era that appeared to have no answer to the scourge of racism, with black players routinely suffering abuse that went shamefully unchecked.

It was in just such a climate that Cantello’s willing helpers decided there should be just one stipulation about those lining up against him for his testimonial game. They had to be black.

Len Cantello's All Blacks

Back row, left to right: Ian Benjamin (Sheffield United)*, Vernon Hodgson (West Bromwich Albion), Brendon Batson (Albion), Derek Richardson (QPR), Stewart Phillips (Hereford Utd)*, George Berry (Wolves), Bob Hazell (Wolves), Garth Crooks (Stoke City)* Front row: Winston White (Hereford Utd)*, Cyrille Regis (Albion), Laurie Cunningham (Albion), Remi Moses (Albion), Valmore Thomas (Hereford Utd) *Players who later joined Albion

Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson were charged with bringing the idea to fruition, and the ‘All Blacks’, as they were referred to in the local paper’s match report the following day, duly stepped out to face an all-white Cantello XI at the Hawthorns on May 15, 1979.

It finished 3-2 to Cyrille’s team but the result that mattered most was how the concept was embraced by players of both sides and the people of Sandwell, 7,023 of whom paid to see it.

According to Batson, it was a triumph which, if anything, struck a blow for multiculturalism.

‘One or two people afterwards said it could have been divisive, but that was the only time anyone ever questioned it or expressed any misgivings,’ recalled Batson.

Boing boing Baggies: Len Cantello

Boing boing Baggies: Len Cantello

‘As it turned out, it was anything but divisive. It was just another game for us, as players, but I remember looking round before kick-off and seeing more black and Asian faces in the crowd than we would normally get for League games.

‘At that time, we didn’t see too many of the black and Asian community at our games, but the turnout that day was more multi-racial than normal. Maybe it was curiosity, but whatever attracted them along, that wasn’t the point of the game.

‘My understanding of it was there were a lot of testimonials for West Brom players at the time. We’d had one for John Osborne and there were others in the pipeline, for the likes of John Wile and Ally Robertson, so the organisers thought it would be good to come up with something a bit different. Rather than West Brom against Aston Villa or whatever, let’s make the opposition a Cyrille Regis XI made up of black players.

‘That was the idea, and none of us hesitated or felt uneasy about it for a second. We were used to England versus the rest in training. It was Ron Atkinson’s way of making five-a-side games more competitive, and this was just another version of that.

‘The issue wasn’t black versus white. Not in our minds, anyway. That wasn’t how we approached it. There was a great spirit among all the lads in that West Brom squad, and we all saw it as a fun way of giving Len the sort of day he deserved.

‘It was competitive. It couldn’t be any other way, seeing as Ron decided he would take charge of our team, rather than Len’s. He badly wanted to win every game he was involved in, and it was the usual Ron before kick-off. He always took it seriously, no matter what the circumstances were, and he just said, “I know how good you boys are. Go out there and show everyone else”.

‘We did, too. It was a really enjoyable game, played in a brilliant atmosphere.

'It was an unfortunate aspect of that era that you almost expected racist abuse when you played away. But it never crossed our minds that it might happen in this game. It was an all-West Brom occasion and we were at The Hawthorns, and the feeling around the place couldn’t have been more positive.

Mutual respect: Cantello is applauded on to the Hawthorns pitch by both sides for his testimonial

Mutual respect: Cantello is applauded on to the Hawthorns pitch by both sides for his testimonial

‘We were just a group of lads coming together to try to ensure a decent payday for a top bloke and thoroughly good professional, and that’s how everyone viewed it on and off the pitch.

‘It might raise a few eyebrows if someone suggested it now but I don’t see why it should. If it’s done with the best of intentions, as it was at the time, then why not’

Regis needs no reminding of the open hostility towards black players — his call-up to the England squad in 1982 was marked in sinister fashion.

‘Some idiot sent me a bullet through the post,’ said the former striker. ‘He seemed to think it might stop me playing for my country, which, needless to say, it didn’t. That was only a couple of years after Len’s testimonial, and it tells you what the mood was like at the time.

‘There weren’t many black players in the top flight, and racist abuse from crowds was 100 per cent a problem. There was no Kick It Out or Show Racism The Red Card, or anything like that, and we were getting it big time.

‘We were right in the middle of it, yet I never gave it a thought when someone from Len’s committee suggested I put together a team of black players for his testimonial. It was Len’s last appearance in a West Brom shirt, and this was seen as a way of attracting more people through the gate to see it.

Shake on it: Regis has a joke at Cantellos expense before the game

Shake on it: Regis has a joke at Cantellos expense before the game

‘There was nothing else behind it, and no-one I asked to play in my team queried it. It was a long time ago, and I can’t even remember how the game finished. I think we won. Was it 2-1’

Cantello’s memory is equally hazy. He insisted it was a 3-3 draw, though the records show a Bryan Robson 30-yard free-kick equalised Cunningham’s opener, and Ally Brown made it 2-1, before second-half goals from Garth Crooks and Stewart Phillips gave Regis’s team a 3-2 win.

‘What I do remember is there was plenty of banter flying around, all good natured,’ said Cantello. ‘It was an era when black players were just starting to come through, and we were fortunate to have three of the best in Cyrille, Laurie and Brendon. Colour wasn’t an issue, and no-one made a fuss about it, when the game was publicised.

‘It was competitive, but in a fun way. We all got on brilliantly, but there was some fighting talk in the build-up. I remember telling Cyrille how many we were going to beat him by, and he just gave me a look and said, “Just wait ’til you see the side I’m putting together, mate. You’ve got no chance”.

‘We were just footballers, don’t forget. It was football that brought us together in that West Brom side, nothing else.

‘It wasn’t our place to make political statements or gestures. We just respected each other as players and enjoyed each other’s company and, looking back, I couldn’t have wished for a better end to my West Brom career.’

Thanks to West Brom's Former Players Association and Albion historian Tony Matthews

Bolton v Macclesfield, QPR v MK Dons live

FA CUP LIVE: Follow all the action from Tuesday's third round replays as it happens

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the FA Cup with four third round replays to be decided as Premier League sides Bolton and QPR aim to avoid upsets. The Hoops will be aiming to win their first game in the competition for 11 years when they host MK Dons, while the Trotters will hope to avoid a huge slip up at home to Macclesfield. Email me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Live scores

FA Cup third round replays

Bolton 1-0 Macclesfield (8pm)

Leicester 1-0 Nottingham Forest (7.30pm)

Millwall 1-0 Dag & Red (7.45pm)

QPR 0-0 MK Dons (8pm)

All the latest from League One

20.02: GOAL! BOLTON 1-0 Macclesfield

20.01: And now underway…

20.00: Teams are out for the 8pm kick-offs.

19.58: From InfostradaLive:

Macclesfield Town have never progressed beyond #FACup 3rd round and have never beaten a club from the top flight in the competition. #Bolton

19.55: This Forest side look completely out of sorts. It's been a while since I've seen a team displaying as little confidence as the visitors. No one seems to want to take responsibility. This can't all be Steve McClaren's doing

19.52: GOAL! MILLWALL 1-0 Dagenham & Redbridge

It's been mostly Dagenham in the early stages but wouldn't you know it, the hosts score with their first attack.

Harry Kane tees up Darius Henderson who finds the back of the net from the edge of the box.

19.49: InfostradLive sum up Forest in front of goal:

FA Cup 3rd round replay: Leicester-Nottingham 1-0 (OG Boateng). Forest have failed to score in 9 of last 10 matches in all competitions.

19.46: Oh my word, what a miss! Greg Cunningham delivers a cross from the left, but after Kasper Schmeichel makes a complete mess of it, Robbie Findley defies the laws of physics by shooting over from two yards.

19.45: And we are underway at The Den.

19.42: GOAL! LEICESTER 1-0 Nottingham Forest

After bragging to my colleagues that Forest will win this, they deservedly fall behind.

A cross comes in from the left and George Boateng directs the ball into his own goal from inside the six-yard box. Fast start from the hosts.

19.41: Full line-ups from the Reebok Stadium:

Bolton v Macclesfield
Bolton: Bogdan, Riley, Wheater, Boyata, Ricketts, Sanli, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Lynch, Robinson, Knight, Blake, Pratley, Ngog, O'Halloran.

Macclesfield: Veiga, Bateson, Brown, Brisley, Tremarco, Wedgbury, Mendy, Hamshaw, Daniel, Hewitt, Diagne. Subs: Collis, Kay, Morgan, Mukendi, Fairhurst, Fisher, Whiteoak.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

19.38: Full line-ups from Loftus Road:

QPR v Milton Keynes Dons
QPR: Kenny, Young, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Hill, Mackie, Buzsaky, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Macheda, Bothroyd. Subs: Cerny, Orr, Hall, Campbell, Smith, Helguson, Ephraim.

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Smith, Doumbe, Shaun Williams, Lewington, Gleeson, Potter, Chadwick, Bowditch, MacDonald, Ibehre. Subs: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Daniel Powell, Baldock, O'Shea, McNamee, George Williams.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

19.37: Leicester nearly go ahead in the first minute through Neil Danns, but his rocket shot from inside the box is headed clear off the line.

19.36: Finally we are underway at the King Power Stadium.

19.33: QPR manager Mark Hughes names a strong line-up for tonight's FA Cup third-round replay against MK Dons.

The recently-appointed Rs boss makes just one change to the side defeated 1-0 at Newcastle on Sunday, with Federico Macheda replacing Heidar Helguson in the starting XI.

Charlie MacDonald features for MK Dons having missed the previous encounter with QPR due to a knee injury, while Mathias Doumbe is included in defence.

19.30: Out they come at the King Power Stadium then.

Two teams from a bygone Premier League era of course. For that (pointless) and nostalgic reason I'm backing this to be a good game.

19.27: Not too warm out there tonight and I have to say I'm not that surprised there isn't too many in attendance as the teams prepare to make their way out at Leicester.

19.24: Bolton boss Owen Coyle makes five changes to his starting line-up for this evening's FA Cup third-round replay against Macclesfield at the Reebok Stadium.

Coyle, who on Monday saw Gary Cahill finally complete his move to Chelsea, shuffles things from Saturday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester United by bringing Joe Riley, Dedryck Boyata, Tuncay Sanli, Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic into the Wanderers side.

For the visitors – currently 15th in npower League Two – defender Elliott Hewitt is promoted to the first XI, with striker George Donnelly missing out due to a groin problem.

19.21: If I was a betting man (which I can be) I have to admit backing the home sides would really appeal tonight.

Somehow, this being the FA Cup, I can't see it being quite as simple as that – there surely is going to be a shock somewhere.

19.18: Full line-ups from The Den:

Millwall v Dag & Red
Millwall: Forde, Smith, Ward, Robinson, Barron, Feeney, Abdou, Trotter, Bouazza, Henderson, Kane. Subs: Mildenhall, Craig, McQuoid, Batt, Henry, N'Guessan, Wright.

Dag & Red: Lewington, Ogogo, Doe, Spillane, Ilesanmi, Bingham, Abdulla, Rose, Danny Green, Nurse, Dominic Green. Subs: Hogan, McCrory, Arber, Edmans, Elito, Reed, Wearen.

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Starting: Jermaine Beckford will lead Leicester's attack against Nottingham Forest

Starting: Jermaine Beckford will lead Leicester's attack against Nottingham Forest

19.15: There was of course originally five games this evening, but Wrexham v Brighton has been postponed until tomorrow night after heavy frost and freezing temperatures caused the game to be postponed.

The clubs and the Football Association have agreed to switch the match to a 7.15pm kick-off tomorrow at the Racecourse Ground, following a 1-1 draw in the first meeting, with a fourth-round showdown against Newcastle up for grabs.

19.12: From the King Power Stadium:

Leicester v Nottingham Forest
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Mills, Gallagher, Dyer, St. Ledger, Wellens, Beckford, Danns, Nugent. Subs: Howard, Weale, Abe, Kennedy, Tunchev, Taft.

Nottm Forest: Camp, Cunningham, Boateng, Anderson, Reid, Greening, Gunter, Harewood, Moussi, Findley, Lynch. Subs: Derbyshire, McGugan, McCleary, McGoldrick, Smith, Blackstock, Majewski.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

19.10: Never mind though QPR fans because here is one record from InfostradaLive you won't be breaking tonight:

The longest non-winning streak by any club in the FA Cup proper is a 22 match streak by Weymouth between 1968 and 1981.

19.09: Bolton starting XI:

Bogdan, Riley, Wheater, K Davies, Tuncay, Petrov, Klasnic, M Davies, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, Boyata

19.06: QPR starting XI:

Kenny, Hill, Derry, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Mackie, Buzsaky, Young, Wright-Phillips, Macheda, Ferdinand.

19.03: Here it is in black and white folks from InfostradaLive:

Queens Park Rangers have failed to win any of their last 16 FA Cup matches, equal worst record by a league club with Leeds Utd (1952-1962).

19.00: Ladies and gentleman, history will be made tonight. To be more specific, it will be at Loftus Road.

You see something has to give. QPR will either have to win their first FA Cup game since 2001 or MK Dons will have to reach the fourth round for the first time.

The physical world nearly exploded when a result was nearly forced at the stadium:mk last time, so I'm almost certain this one will go to penalties (then the toss of a coin) tonight.

And that's before we get to our other three action packed games.Team news on the way.

Out to impress: Federico Macheda will hope to shine after joining QPR on loan from Manchester United

Out to impress: Federico Macheda will hope to shine after joining QPR on loan from Manchester United