Tag Archives: dagenham

Edgar Davids unable to save Barnet from final day heartache as Bees sink back into non-League

Davids unable to save Barnet from final day heartache as Bees sink back into non-League

By
Andrew Warshaw

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 27 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:54 GMT, 28 April 2013

DM.has('shareLink', 'shareLinks',
'id': '2315884',
'title': 'Davids unable to save Barnet from final day heartache as Bees sink back into non-League',
'url': 'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2315884/Edgar-Davids-unable-save-Barnet-final-day-heartache-Bees-sink-non-League.html',
'eTwitterStatus': 'Edgar%20Davids%20unable%20to%20save%20Barnet%20from%20final%20day%20heartache%20as%20Bees%20sink%20back%20into%20non-League%20http:[email protected]'
);

Edgar Davids’ first season in management ended in disappointment as Barnet fell out of the Football League after eight seasons.

Three years in succession, Barnet had somehow survived on the last day of the campaign. But this time there was no miracle as play-off qualifiers Northampton sealed their fate.

More than 1,300 visiting fans saw their team dominate for long periods but they were made to pay for poor finishing, including a couple of glaring misses, as Northampton’s Roy O’Donovan and Luke Guttridge netted twice in the space of six minutes midway through the second period.

Bitter pill: Edgar Davids contemplates his future

Bitter pill: Edgar Davids contemplates his future

Table

League Two table

Davids’ future at Barnet is now uncertain and a new stadium seven miles outside the borough will play host to Conference football next season.

Frustratingly, a draw would have been enough to save Barnet with Dagenham losing at home, while anything but a win for AFC Wimbledon against Fleetwood would have seen the south Londoners go down.

As it was, Barnet’s tally of 51 points was the highest ever for a side to lose their league status. ‘It’s certainly a bitter pill to swallow,’ said Davids, whose 40-year-old legs could not quite push his side over the line. ‘I’m aware of the consequences but the players can look at themselves in the mirror and say they did everything. You have to take chances but Northampton were more clinical than us.’

Davids, who was not being paid by the club and was brought in partly to develop Barnet’s academy, hinted strongly he would have to move on after an illustrious playing career that included both Milan clubs, Barcelona, Juventus and Tottenham as well as Ajax.

‘I’ll have to sit down with the chairman
and evaluate a lot of things,’ said the Dutchman. ‘You have to be
realistic. I have done everything that was asked of me in terms of the
objectives set. Fifty-one points playing good football and some
promising young players — that’s what makes it so hard.’

Anxious moments: Barnet fans contemplate relegation

Anxious moments: Barnet fans contemplate relegation

Northampton manager Adie Boothroyd, whose side meet Cheltenham in this week’s play-offs, felt for the visitors.

‘It’s one of those terrible professional situations,’ he said. ‘You have to do your job and you have to win. We got a good hiding there in the corresponding game and I wanted us to finish strongly.

‘Unfortunately someone has to suffer. I’m disappointed for them but it’s a great chance now for us to try and get promoted.’

League two team Morecambe open their turnstiles for free to local supporters as attendance numbers drop

League Two side Morecambe open their turnstiles for free to local fans

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

13:36 GMT, 7 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:24 GMT, 7 January 2013

The economic climate has left some small football clubs in such dire need of support that they are having to offer free tickets to the locals.

League two side Morecambe have suffered low attendance rates all season, and are now allowing any supporters free entry to their tie with Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday.

‘It’s a chance to get the community behind the team and see if we can generate some atmosphere,’ club boss Jim Bentley told BBC Radio Lancashire.

Morecambe has had an average attendance of less than 2,000 this season

Struggling: Morecambe has had an average attendance of less than 2,000 this season

‘If we can get three points and play well, hopefully they’ll come back as paying customers.’

‘The situation that the club’s in is not ideal,’ said Bentley of the lack of funding that’s left him unable to search out additions to the squad.

‘Everyone’s feeling the pinch and attendances haven’t been what we predicted.

‘We’re not in a position to go out and get players. We’ve got to work with what we’ve got and we’ve got a squad that will give their all.

‘It will be great if we can get a good number (of fans) in and, as I say, they can come back as paying customers. It’s the town’s football club and we need more and more people to back it.’

The Globe Arena has had an average attendance of fewer than 2,000 this season. It comes close to being the least supported team in the League. The highest it’s reached this year has been 3, 635 for their draw with Bradford on New Year’s Day.

Those in attendance have had little to cheer for so far, with Morecambe currently sitting at 19th in the table.

League Two round-up: Port Vale top after 3-2 win at Dagenham and Redbridge

League Two round-up: Port Vale hit summit after 3-2 win over the Daggers

PUBLISHED:

20:16 GMT, 29 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

20:16 GMT, 29 December 2012

Port Vale won 3-2 at Dagenham & Redbridge to move to the top of npower League Two.

With Gillingham's fixture against Northampton falling foul of the weather, Vale took full advantage thanks to goals from Tom Pope, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Louis Dodds. A Sam Williams penalty and Scott Doe found the net for the hosts.

Southend missed out on the chance to move into the top three as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Burton.

Top dogs: Tom Pope celebrates scoring the opening goal for Port Vale

Top dogs: Tom Pope celebrates scoring the opening goal for Port Vale

Goals from Calvin Zola and Lee Bell gave Albion, who had Nathan Stanton sent off, a win which moves them into the play-off spots.

Oxford United claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom side Wimbledon thanks to goals from Sean Rigg, Alfie Potter and Tom Craddock, although they also had James Constable sent off late on.

Rochdale claimed a 4-2 win at Bradford with all the goals coming in the first half.

Terry Gornell put Dale ahead but Alan Connell struck from the spot to equalise.

Missed out: Southend could've moved into the top three but they lost at Burton

Missed out: Southend could've moved into the top three but they lost at Burton

Andrew Tutte put the visitors back ahead and Ashley Grimes extended their advantage, before Connell's second penalty made it 3-2. But Gornell netted his second to complete the scoring.

Conor Townsend scored his first goal for Chesterfield but was later sent off in their 1-1 draw with Morecambe.

Christopher McCready put Morecambe ahead but Townsend levelled before being dismissed for using his elbow.

Andy Iro struck in the eighth minute of stoppage time to rescue a point for Barnet as they drew 2-2 at Exeter in Edgar Davids' first game in sole charge.

Gaffer: Barnet drew 2-2 in Edgar Davids's first game in sole charge

Gaffer: Barnet drew 2-2 in Edgar Davids's first game in sole charge

Danny Coles and Scot Bennett looked to have set Exeter on their way to the three points, but Jonathan Nurse pulled one back before Iro's dramatic leveller.

Matt McClure got the only goal as Wycombe won 1-0 at Plymouth, while Fleetwood and York played out a goalless draw.

Rotherham beat Accrington 4-1 thanks to a brace from substitute Daniel Nardiello.

Tom Eckersley's own goal put the Millers a goal to the good, only for Craig Lindfield to level.

But Nardiello's double and a Michael O'Connor strike sealed Rotherham's victory,

The fixtures between Cheltenham and Bristol Rovers and Aldershot and Torquay were also postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Blackburn Rovers could appoint Judan Ali after Henning berg sacking

It's comical Ali! Blackburn linked to former India Under 15s and Dagenham community coach

|

UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 27 December 2012

Blackburn's Indian owners are preparing to appoint English professional football’s first British Asian coach, a 39-year-old former Arsenal trainee who until recently was running a community youth programme in Dagenham.

Judan Ali has also been the subject of ‘below average’ Bollywood movie Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal but his coaching experience hardly qualifies him to step in at Ewood Park in the wake of Henning Berg’s shock dismissal. Ali’s finest achievement to date was leading an Indian Under 15 side to victory in Arsenal’s ‘football festival’ in 2011.

But the Venky’s family see Ali as part of a managerial team alongside head coach Kevin MacDonald, the former Aston Villa coach.

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy Hodgson earlier this year

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy
Hodgson earlier this year

Ali’s Twitter page has been taken down but on it, he had described himself as ‘an independent football coach leading those who want to further themselves on the world stage and to surpass the elite’.

Berg was sacked on Thursday after just 57 days and a run of one win from 10 games that has left Blackburn 17th in the Championship.

Before his departure he had, however, met Ali, who had spent a week observing the Norwegian former Rovers defender at the club’s Brockhall headquarters.

Blackburn are said to be comfortable seeing how the arrangement with MacDonald and Ali works out, and will not rush into appointing a more high-profile manager. Roberto Di Matteo heads a list of possible targets should Venky’s change their view. Youth development boss Gary Bowyer is set to take charge for Saturday’s trip to Barnsley.

London-born Ali, whose family moved to the UK from India, was on Arsenal’s books as a YTS trainee but blamed the racist culture within English football in the 80s and 90s for his failure to secure a professional contract in this country. He played for Spanish club Murcia before his coaching career.

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

‘My goal is to become the first British Asian Premier League manager,’ he said. ‘I want to take a country to the World Cup and the 2022 tournament in Qatar is my goal.

‘It’s a myth that British Asians cannot play football. I hope I’m showing young Asians in this country that they can make it and that things are changing from the experiences I suffered as a teenager.’

Ali’s appointment will form part of a move by Venky’s to assume closer control of the club. When they became the Premier League’s first Indian owners two years ago, the Rao family talked about tapping into Blackburn’s Asian community and offering a route into English football for young players from their homeland. They have plans to open an academy near the company headquarters in Pune.

Whether Blackburn’s fans will be receptive to the latest move is another matter, however, following Venky’s decision to axe Sam Allardyce in 2010, Steve Kean’s stormy reign and now Berg’s ill-fated stint.

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

The 43-year-old was made aware of his fate before going to Brockhall on Thursday morning to say his farewells. However, the coaching team Berg inherited from Kean – assistant Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeper coach Bobby Mimms – were only informed on arrival for work on Thursday.

From the start, it was clear Berg was not the first choice among candidates including other former Blackburn players Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay. He walked out of the club’s Christmas party last week after being asked to wear a stocking on his head and lost on Boxing Day at Middlesbrough – his fifth defeat in six games.

Berg issued a statement on Thursday: ‘I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.’

Coincidentally, Kean has only just agreed a 1.2million settlement.

League Two round-up: Port Vale close in on leaders Gillingham

League Two round-up: Port Vale close in on leaders Gillingham after win at Rotherham

PUBLISHED:

19:52 GMT, 26 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

20:15 GMT, 26 December 2012

Port Vale closed the gap on npower League Two leaders Gillingham to two points after triumphing 2-1 at Rotherham.

Vale took the lead when Ryan Burge's pass fell to Louis Dodds to prod home and soon after Tom Pope added a second, before home substitute Kieran Agard was on target to set up an anxious finish.

Gillingham saw their lead trimmed after losing 1-0 at home to Barnet with Jake Hyde's first-half strike settling the contest at Priestfield Stadium.

Slip up: Leaders Gillingham lost 1-0 to Barnet at Priestfield

Slip up: Leaders Gillingham lost 1-0 to Barnet at Priestfield

RESULTS:

Aldershot 2-2 Bristol Rovers

Bradford 2-1 Accrington

Burton Albion 3-2 Rochdale

Cheltenham 4-0 Wycombe

Chesterfield 3-0 York

Dag & Red 0-3 Southend

Exeter 1-3 Oxford Utd

Fleetwood 1-0 Morecambe

Gillingham 0-1 Barnet

Plymouth 1-1 Torquay

Rotherham 1-2 Port Vale

Wimbledon P-P Northampton (waterlogged pitch)

Cheltenham bounced back from their surprise 4-1 defeat at Rochdale with a 4-0 drubbing of Wycombe.

Goals from Jake Taylor, Jeff Goulding, Darryl Duffy and Jermaine McGlashan kept the Robins in third place.

Promotion-chasing Southend extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches with a brace from Gavin Tomlin helping them beat his former club Dagenham and Redbridge 3-0 with Kevan Hurst hitting the third.

Bradford remain just adrift of a top-four berth after defeating Accrington Stanley 2-1 thanks to goals from Garry Thompson and Alan Connell that sandwiched a strike by Rommy Boco.

Oxford made it five games unbeaten with an impressive 3-1 victory at promotion-chasing Exeter.

James Constable took his tally for the season to nine with goals either side of half-time and Peter Leven added the third before Jamie Cureton bagged from the penalty spot for the Grecians.

Promotion chasers: Southend won 3-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games

Promotion chasers: Southend won 3-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games

Three second-half goals from Drew Talbot, Danny Whitaker and Tendayi Darikwa gave Chesterfield a convincing 3-0 win over York, John Ward earned a point on his managerial return to Bristol Rovers after the Pirates left it late to earn a 2-2 draw at fellow strugglers Aldershot, with Eliot Richards climbing off the bench to snatch a point.

Michael Hector's stunning strike put the home side ahead, David Clarkson and Craig Reid then exchanged successful spot-kicks, only for Richards to drive home the leveller with three minutes to spare.

Teenage debutant Tyler Harvey smashed home a dramatic late equaliser for Plymouth as they drew 1-1 with Devon rivals Torquay at Home Park.

All square: Devon rivals Plymouth and Torquay drew 1-1 at Home Park

All square: Devon rivals Plymouth and Torquay drew 1-1 at Home Park

The 17-year-old youth product equalised with a superb left-foot shot on the spin from the edge of the box after Aaron Downes had given Torquay the lead.

Burton surrendered a two-goal lead against Rochdale but still managed to pick up a 3-2 victory.

Goals from Billy Kee and Calvin Zola put the Brewers in charge, but Peter Cavanagh and Bobby Grant levelled the score before Kee hit the winner.
Striker David Ball's sixth goal of the season handed Graham Alexander his first victory as Fleetwood boss as they beat Morecambe 1-0.

Tube strike threatens to cause Boxing Day chaos for football fans

Arsenal clash with West Ham threatened after Tube drivers announce Boxing Day strike

|

UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 17 December 2012

Arsenal are set to postpone their Boxing Day clash with West Ham until the new year after the proposed London Underground strike was confirmed by the Aslef union.

The club will not officially call off the encounter until the industrial action by Tube drivers is ratified by authorities but it appears likely it will be 2013 before Sam Allardyce brings his team to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal's 60,000-seater ground is five minutes' walk from Holloway Road station in north London, with Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park also close by. Many fans use the service to get to games so a suspension would cause chaos if the match went ahead.

Under threat: The Gunners clash with West Ham might be rescheduled

Under threat: The Gunners clash with West Ham might be rescheduled

Boxing Day games under threat

Barclays Premier League

Arsenal v West Ham

Fulham v Southampton

nPower Championship

Charlton v Ipswich

nPower League One

Leyton Orient v Swindon

nPower League Two

Dagenham and Redbridge v Southend

A strike by Tube drivers last year
forced Arsenal to delay their Boxing Day match with Wolves by 24 hours
but they cannot do the same this year as they have a game against
Newcastle on December 29. Twelve months ago the club cited the 'duty of
care' they had to both sets of supporters and staff.

A midweek evening in January seems the likeliest date for re-staging but neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and the FA Cup are also factors to be considered.

QPR's match with West Brom will kick off at 3pm as planned after the club held a meeting this afternoon to discuss the matter.

Loftus Road is close to three Tube stations and fans are often reliant on the service but a statement on Ranger's website read: 'Supporters are advised to allow extra time for their journeys to and from Loftus Road.

'Buses will be running on the usual Sunday/Bank Holiday service on the day of the fixture, whilst parking in the borough will be free.

Christmas cheer Arsenal are facing a tricky festive period

Christmas cheer Arsenal are facing a tricky festive period

'Supporters who are unable to attend the fixture owing to the Tube strikes will be entitled to a full refund.'

Fulham will wait for official confirmation of the Tube strike before deciding if any action needs to be taken over their Boxing Day match with Southampton at Craven Cottage.

A club spokesman said: 'We are monitoring situation and putting contingency in place but remain fully committed to the game going ahead as scheduled.'

Fulham play Swansea three days later.

Charlton are the only Championship side hosting a Boxing Day fixture in the capital but it is understood their match with Ipswich should not be too badly disrupted and will go ahead. Most home fans travel in from Kent rather than central London.

Derailed: Fans will have find it difficult to get across the capital

Derailed: Fans will have find it difficult to get across the capital

The announcement by Aslef means
London Underground drivers are on course to walk out on Boxing Day, as
well as January 18 and 25 in a row over bank holiday pay. It will be the
third successive Christmas walkout by Tube drivers.

The
move was announced after Aslef members voted by 9-1 in favour of
strikes. A spokesman said: 'The ballot result shows the strength of
feeling that remains on this issue.'

Cardiff 1 Peterborough 2 – match report:

Cardiff 1 Peterborough 2: Bostwick and Gayle seal hard-fought win at Bluebirds' fortress

PUBLISHED:

17:21 GMT, 15 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 15 December 2012

Table-topping Cardiff had their perfect record in home npower Championship matches ruined by struggling Peterborough today.

The Bluebirds had won all 10 league matches at the Cardiff City Stadium this season but were stunned by a Posh side who had failed to win in eight.

Michael Bostwick put the struggling visitors ahead after 22 minutes with a superb long-range effort and on-loan Dagenham striker Dwight Gayle netted the second two minutes after the interval.

In it goes: Michael Bostwick celebrates his goal

In it goes: Michael Bostwick celebrates his goal

MATCH FACTS

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton (Gunnarsson 51), Turner, Connolly, Taylor, Whittingham, Cowie (Mutch 53), Conway (Gestede 64), Noone, Helguson, Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Kim, Mason, Lappin.

Booked: Connolly, Helguson, Cowie, Turner.

Goal: Gestede 89.

Peterborough: Olejnik, Zakuani, Bostwick, Knight-Percival (Alcock 68), Tomlin, Rowe (Brisley 83), Newell (Ferdinand 82), Little, Thorne, Boyd, Gayle.

Subs Not Used: Day, Swanson, McCann, Gordon-Hutton.

Booked: Bostwick, Knight-Percival, Zakuani, Tomlin.

Goals: Bostwick 22,Gayle 47.

Attendance: 22,073

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

The latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Rudy Gestede's late goal ensured a nervy finish for Darren Ferguson's team, but they held on for three crucial points.

The result saw Cardiff's lead at the
summit reduced to two points, while Peterborough climbed off the bottom
ahead of Sheffield Wednesday's visit to Barnsley.

The hosts thought they had taken the
lead after just four minutes when Heidar Helguson headed home from Craig
Bellamy's free-kick, but it was ruled out for offside.

Peterborough began to grow into the
game after a nervy start and Tommy Rowe's industry down the left wing
created a chance for George Boyd, but his left-footed strike was well
held by David Marshall.

They went even closer to breaking the
deadlock moments later as Ben Turner was forced to acrobatically clear
Boyd's deflected effort off the line.

Cardiff failed to heed the warnings and fell behind midway through the half.

Posh capitalised on the dubious award of a free-kick, Boyd rolling it to Bostwick, who rifled in from 20 yards.

Bellamy attempted to muster an
immediate response but after expertly controlling a loose ball on the
edge of the box, he pulled his effort just wide.

The Welshman threatened again soon
after, latching onto Craig Conway's superb pass before cutting the ball
back for Craig Noone, who could only find the gloves of Robert Olejnik
with his shot.

But having failed to make the most of
their dominance in the latter stages of the first half, the hosts fell
behind early in the second.

Lee Tomlin fed Gayle and he raced
through, slotting coolly past Marshall to make it four goals in three
matches and the first time this season Cardiff have conceded more than
one goal in their own backyard.

Gayle was afforded space to try and double his tally after 63 minutes but his low powerful shot was tipped wide by Marshall.

A clearly out-of-sorts Cardiff outfit
struggled to mount any meaningful response, though Helguson perhaps
should have done better with Bellamy's cross, fluffing wide when well
placed.

The Icelandic striker then outmuscled
Gabriel Zakuani to carve out a shooting opportunity, only to hook just
wide from inside the box.

Gayle should have put the game beyond
doubt but somehow contrived to fire straight at Marshall from four
yards, and Cardiff ensured a tense finish for the visitors when Gestede
turned in Turner's flick on.

But, despite six minutes of stoppage time, there was to be no sting in the tail.

Olympics 2012: Martin Samuel: Real Team GB is all of us

The real Team GB is all of us – let the Olympics be a game-changer

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 12 August 2012

The judges had it level. And for a brief moment there was a ripple of fear, discernible even in the darkness of ExCeL South Arena 2.

Anthony Joshua stood on the blue canvas, proud, yet momentarily frozen. He was the best man, everybody could see that; but the numbers in boxing don’t always add up. So we waited.

But when it came, the excitement in the voice gave the decision away long before the words were out of the announcer’s mouth.

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Those calling the action in this corner of east London are locals. Danny O’Sullivan from Dagenham, Mik Basi, born in the borough of Newham. They knew what this Games meant; they knew what it would mean to finish with a British super-heavyweight champion, too.

‘The winner on countback, in the blue corner, Anthony Joshua,’ the revelation echoed and the place erupted.

There was joy at the immediacy of the moment, but deeper feeling, too. All knew this was the perfect end.

People were still running and jumping in the modern pentathlon, volleyball and basketball finals were taking place, water polo and handball contests were drawing to a close. But this was the one; the one we wanted, the one with cachet.

This was Lennox Lewis, Joe Frazier and Teofilo Stevenson. Olympic heavyweight champion. Look at the names, check the history. This was the finish London deserved. A great finish. A big finish. A big man, doing a big thing.

It is over. The Dream Team fly back today and the dream goes with them. It was nice while it lasted, London the centre of the world, rising to the occasion, delivering, inspiring, as we were promised.

Inspired: Fittingly, Joshua was joined by former Olympic champions Lennox Lewis and Audley Harrison

Inspired: Fittingly, Joshua was joined by former Olympic champions Lennox Lewis and Audley Harrison

Yet before the stadium gave the Games its showbusiness send-off on Sunday night, the sight of Joshua, the 22-year-old son of Nigerian parents from Finchley, north London, encapsulated what this wonderful celebration has been about.

He first set foot in a gym four years ago and his coaches put his rise down to good character and hard work. Always listens. First in, last out. Joshua mouthed the words to the anthem in the slightly self-conscious way that seems to be a British trait, then fell silent as those in the arena took over.

He bit his golden souvenir for the photographers as the PA played Heroes, a song about a doomed couple attempting to defect from East Berlin, incongruously reinvented as a sporting anthem.

Still, it doesn’t matter, because David Bowie is British, too. And if you haven’t worked out by now that we’ve got the best bands and have had for 50 years, you really haven’t been listening to the soundtrack, either.

On Sunday, it was as if the public were trying to catch every last ray of sunshine from a very special time, as they lined the marathon course, 10 deep or more in places. Every two strides hung a Union Flag, even though this was no homecoming parade. Marathon medal winners for Great Britain can be counted on one hand. No golds, and the last podium finish was Charles Spedding’s bronze in 1984. It did not matter.

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

The flags were to celebrate us, as much as them. To show pride in what we had achieved, as a nation, as people. This was our marathon, too, our epic journey.

And like distance running, anybody who claims it was easy is lying. Funding an Olympics in adversity, winning hearts and minds at a time of global crisis and uncertainty, made this one of the most testing undertakings of the modern era.

It could have been an epic failure; a different kind of watershed, a moment when the people turned their backs on the concept of overblown sporting contests. This could have been the Olympics of rejection.

Instead, as the people pressed into crash barriers for extra closeness to the athletes, craned from the back for a marginally improved view, jostled to take their last sip from this fountain of youth, there was no doubt London had pulled it off.

The people had embraced every aspect of what was laid before them, triumph and disaster, tears of joy and pain. If it could have been Mo Farah at the head of the marathon strand, they would have loved it even more. But not much more.

They were no longer seeing flags or nationalities, just people; people doing extraordinary things; taking their bodies to the limit. And those watching were at their limit, too. They had wrung every drop out of this until there was nothing left. Like the runners as they crossed the line in The Mall, they had given their all.

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Yet now the real work starts. For this is just the beginning. It cannot be that Britain is only great when the circus is in town. We cannot need 9billion of Government money and Usain Bolt to keep us amused.

No couple get to be on permanent honeymoon. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, that has to be the legacy. Not an addiction to gold medals, Sir Chris Hoy or adrenaline.

Britain must learn to love itself without some poor soul having to slog 25 laps of the Olympic track every Saturday night.

A gold medal alone is not evidence of a worthwhile society. East Germany won plenty and the Stasi files reveal how. China are second in the medal table but you wouldn’t want to swap cultures. If all we take from this is bragging rights over Germany and Australia, it is an opportunity missed.

What changes from here is us, is this place. These islands. The way we feel about them, about each other.

So if this descends into an argument about whether the London Games were a British or multicultural success we will have betrayed the mission.

It is a triumph for both, for who we were, for what we are. For politeness, for helpfulness, for inclusivity. For so many simple things that make the world a nice place; for saying please and thank you, for letting people off the train first, for giving up your seat, for offering assistance to a visitor who looks a little lost. And does that change because Michael Phelps is no longer in town It wouldn’t say much for us if it did.

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

On Saturday, the football season starts. So what will be different Start this revolution in your seat. With you: the man in row G. Are mums still fair game Sisters, wives, colours, races And if you give it out, what do you expect

Is there not a correlation between athletes who treat people with respect and the respect afforded to athletes by people Unless cycling has gained 100,000 dedicated regulars who have never shown their faces before, we must presume many attending the Velodrome also go to football at weekends.

So if a British hero, Victoria Pendleton, can lose a gold medal in controversial circumstances and the achievement of the Australian victor not be derided, how can a player not even take a throw-in in the Premier League without abuse

Oh, it’s ambitious, this plan. Yet what is the point of this Olympic experience if it is not a game-changing event What is the point if a person who feels inspired to be kind on a Javelin train home from the stadium on Sunday night is the same surly ball of resentment commuting to work on Monday morning

We seek so much from these Games. Playing fields, school sport, a healthier nation, long-term athletic reward, but the greatest gift would be the most basic.

Remember how you felt when Mo kicked for home, whether in the stadium or around a television set, garner that positivity and bottle it. We are better together. We are better united. You want legacy The real Team GB is us.

London Olympics 2012: Dwain Chambers and Adam Gemili are in wonderland after sparkling sprint performances

Chambers and Gemili are in wonderland after sparkling sprint performances

|

UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 4 August 2012

Together they represent the potential future of the sport and its tainted past.

Olympics 2012

But both the fresh innocence of the
smiling 19-year-old Adam Gemili and the more hardened face of Dwain
Chambers received generous welcomes and produced superb performances at
the Olympic Stadium.

Chambers, who received the all-clear
to resume his Olympic career only in April after the British Olympic
Association's lifetime ban on drugs cheats was overturned, made the most
of his reprieve, producing one of his greatest performances since a
two-year ban for using steroids, winning his heat while easing up in
10.02sec.

Promising: Adam Gemili impressed for Team GB

Promising: Adam Gemili impressed for Team GB

Gemili, who was still hoping for a footballing contract at Dagenham and Redbridge in League Two and was on loan at Thurrock in the Isthmian League last autumn, also trod an unlikely route to these Games.

Yesterday he chased home former world record holder Asafa Powell in his heat, the Jamaican running 10.04sec to Gemili's 10.09sec, the Briton qualifying in second.

Neither might have imagined being here in today's semi-finals, where they will be joined by compatriot James Dasaolu, who qualified alongside Usain Bolt, finishing third in 10.13sec.

Warm reception: Dwain Chambers produced one of his best performances

Warm reception: Dwain Chambers produced one of his best performances

Chambers was fourth the last time he stepped on an Olympic track to run in the 100m in Sydney 2000, a result that began to plant the seeds of doubt in his mind and led him down a route that would end up in him taking designer steroids.

He has acknowledged his guilt and is contrite, unlike Americans Justin Gatlin, competing here in the 100m, and LaShawn Merritt, who limped off after 150m of his heat, thus sparing us the indignity of an unrepentant drug cheat winning the 400m.

Chambers said: 'I wasn't worried about the reception. I was more worried about my performance, coming this far and not doing it. The welcome was, “Wow! What's that” I wanted to make sure I did my team, my family and supporters proud.'

London 2012: Adam Gemili is seconds away from lining up in 100m final

Gemili is seconds away from 100m final… just months after hanging up his football boots

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 21 July 2012

When Adam Gemili settles into his blocks for the start of the gladiatorial contest that is the men's Olympic 100m, he will complete an extraordinary journey.

For in just eight months, the teenager from Dartford, in Kent, will have gone from playing football before a few hundred people in the Blue Square Bet South league to running in the blue riband event of the London Olympics in front of a capacity crowd of 80,000 people – and a worldwide television audience that could top the billion mark.

Fast show Adam Gemili wins men's 100 metres final at the World Junior Championships

Fast show Adam Gemili wins men's 100 metres final at the World Junior Championships

Should Gemili go all the way to the final on Sunday August 5, he can expect to line up in the Olympic Stadium against some of the greatest names in athletics. But if the thought of running against defending champion Usain Bolt, world champion Yohan Blake and American No 1 Tyson Gay sounds like a daunting prospect, Gemili is intent on taking it all in his stride.

'I'm just going there to enjoy myself,' he said. 'Hopefully, I can run my quickest time ever but the main thing is just to savour every moment of it. I know I'll never get the opportunity to go to a home Olympics again. I want to make the most of it.'

He has certainly not been slow in making the most of his extraordinary talent in the short time he has devoted to sprinting since putting his football career on ice in January to concentrate on the track.

Teenage kicks: Gemili playing football with Dagenham and Redbridge youth team

Teenage kicks: Gemili playing football with Dagenham and Redbridge youth team

Eleven days ago, he confirmed his status as the quickest teenager on the planet by claiming the 100m world junior title in Barcelona in a championship record time of 10.05sec. In doing so, he overtook Dwain Chambers as Britain's fastest ever junior – and made the debate around his tainted predecessor's right to run in the Games following his two-year doping ban seem wholly irrelevant.

Gemili's jet-propelled Gemili's jet-propelled progress has seen him heralded as Britain's most exciting sprint prospect in years and potentially the country's first 100m Olympic finalist since Chambers finished fourth in Sydney 12 years ago. After Gemili's triumph in Barcelona, Gay, a triple world champion, claimed the young Briton was destined to become 'one of the greatest sprinters of all time' and had every chance of putting himself among distinguished company in London's 100m final.

Fast show Adam Gemili wins men's 100 metres final at the World Junior Championships

Former Olympic sprint champion Maurice Greene agreed, as does Darren Campbell, a member of Britain's gold medal-winning sprint relay team at the Athens Olympics.

'Of all the young talent I've seen coming through over the years this guy has a special pedigree,' said Campbell. 'He won't be at his best until he's 26 in time for the 2020 Olympics. But he's no flash in the pan and he nailed the world juniors. Now he can just enjoy his first Olympics with no pressure. He could make the final, although he may have to run under 10 seconds to do so. If not, he will be a serious contender by the 2016 Games in Rio.'

Yet it was only two years ago that Gemili turned up at the English Schools Athletics Championships and, despite wearing trainers because he had no spikes to run in, produced a performance that was to change his life.

'I'd started running for my school just for fun really,' said the footballloving Gemili. 'I went along to the English Schools to see what would happen and I ended up coming second. I was wearing trainers because I didn't even have a pair of spikes.

'Everyone in the Kent team used to tease me about it and I remember people looking at me before the race doing my football warm-ups on the side of the track. About 10 minutes before the race, one of the coaches took me to the side and taught me how to get out of the blocks properly. I just ran the race and ended up with a time of 10.99, which was the first time I'd broken 11 seconds.'

A career on the track beckoned but
Gemili still harboured dreams of making it big in football. It was an
ambition the Dartford Grammar Schoolboy – the son of a Moroccan father
and Iranian mother – had held since he joined Chelsea's youth team at
the age of eight. He stayed for seven years before leaving to
concentrate on his education. Later he joined Reading for a year and had
just parted company with them in 2009 when teacher Gary Jones entered
him in the Kent Schools Athletics Championships.

Olympic champion: Usain Bolt

Olympic champion: Usain Bolt

I didn't ask whether he wanted to run,' recalled Jones. 'It was
difficult to get Adam to commit to athletics because football was always
taking up most of his time. But when he left Reading, I knew that it
was decision time and thought, “Let's just see if he fancies doing it
and see what happens”. He ended up running 11.09sec, which was good
enough to get into the English Schools.'

His performance there encouraged him
to invest in some proper spikes and last year he took silver at the
European Youth Athletics Championships in Estonia in 10.23sec. But the
lure of football was still strong, even if Gemili's trajectory in the
game was far from heading for the glittering heights.

He joined League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge as a defender and
they, in turn, sent him out on loan to play alongside John Terry's older
brother, Paul, at Blue Square Bet South side Thurrock.

Club secretary Mark Southgate recalls one of his last games for the club. 'A big centre-half from Tonbridge Angels took him out in the first minute in front of a crowd of 358. Not exactly great preparation for the Olympics,' said Southgate.

'He didn't play for us for four weeks, lost his place in the team and Dagenham didn't want him back. He was at a loose end, and I think that's why he took up athletics a bit more.

'He is a very nice lad, very humble. When he came to us we knew he had come second in the European juniors but he didn't seem to have any intention of doing athletics as a career. If he hadn't been injured, he'd probably still be playing for Thurrock, not going to the Olympic Games.'

Gemili's coach, Michael Afilaka, finally persuaded the teenager to hang up his football boots in January and the benefit of full-time athletics training saw Gemili record a personal best of 10.08sec at the start of June. Second place in the UK trials a few weeks later confirmed that he will be on the start line at London 2012.

'It's been a surreal few weeks,' said Gemili. 'When I was younger, I wasn't really that into athletics but since I've started taking it more seriously, I've done a lot of research because I like to know my sport really well.

'And to hear what people like Maurice Greene and Tyson Gay have been saying about me really is unbelievable.' His old schoolteacher, Gary Jones, is confident that Gemili will not be overawed by the occasion in the Olympic Stadium. 'He's a very laid-back and chilled out character so I'm sure he will take it all in his stride,' he said.

Gemili's parents, Az and Sacha, plan to be in the Olympic Stadium to see their son compete. Sacha said: 'When he did the egg-and-spoon race at primary school I was as excited as I was at the world juniors. I'm so happy for my son and I will be there in the Olympic Stadium just screaming my head off for him.'

The atmosphere will be a long way from the 524 seats in the main stand at Thurrock's Ship Lane ground but with the confidence gained from victory in Barcelona, there is every chance that Gemili could become the youngest man to break the 10 seconds barrier for the 100m.

'When I look back on the last two years it's amazing how far I have come,' he said. 'I might never have continued with athletics if it hadn't gone so well. I might just have thought, “Oh well, I'm not good enough for this” and gone back to playing football.'

Whatever happens in the Olympic Stadium, football's loss is surely Team GB's gain.

Fastest men.jpg