Tag Archives: death

Michael Norgrove death: Boxer becomes first to die from injuries sustained in a British ring in 18 years

Norgrove tragedy a sad reminder after fighter becomes first to die from injuries sustained in a British ring in 18 years

By
Jeff Powell

PUBLISHED:

00:02 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:10 GMT, 8 April 2013

The tragic death of Michael Norgrove comes as a reminder not only of the dangers of boxing but of the strides taken towards making the hard old game as safe as humanly possible.

Norgrove has become the first boxer for 18 years to die from injuries sustained in a fight in a British ring.

That remarkable statistic will do nothing to ease the grief of Norgrove’s family and friends but it will defend the sport he loved against the inevitable howls of the abolitionists.

Tragedy: Michael Norgrove (left) collapsed after his fight with Tom Bowen was stopped

Tragedy: Michael Norgrove (left) collapsed after his fight with Tom Bowen was stopped

Tragedy: Michael Norgrove (left) collapsed after his fight with Tom Bowen was stopped

While the British Boxing Board of Control’s strict medical procedures ensure that fighters here are among the best protected in the world, many other sports have higher fatality rates.

While mountaineering is the most hazardous sporting activity,a runner has died in successive London marathons and numerous boys are killed every year when struck by baseballs in the US junior leagues.

Norgrove is only the third British-based boxer to die as a direct result of a fight since 1986.

At 31, the Zambian-born Norgrove became a late starter in the ring after his family moved to north London. The fight after which he lost his life was only his sixth as a professional. He passed away on Saturday night, nine days after suffering bleeding in the brain during a light-welterweight bout in the historic Ring at Blackfriars.

Green and gold: Norgrove boxed for Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, east London

Green and gold: Norgrove boxed for Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, east London

He was winning that contest against Drew Docherty and did not appear to have taken any significantly hard punches. But as soon as Norgrove started behaving abnormally the referee stopped the fight and called the doctors.

'Paramedics went to work immediately and an ambulance on stand-by sped Norgrove to hospital, where trauma treatment by a neuro-surgeon is reported to have commenced well inside The Golden Hour, the first 60 minutes during which brain damage can be restricted to a minimum.

If such urgent practices had been in force years earlier, it is reasonable to speculate that Michael Watson would not be in need of a wheel-chair today and Gerald McClelland would not be in a permanent vegetative state back in the US following his dramatic battle with Nigel Benn.

Unusually, and sadly, Norgrove’s condition was too severe for him to be saved. But Board general secretary Robert Smith is right to point out that their exhaustive medical examinations and the safety precautions they demand at all promotions now reduce risk to the minimum.

James Murray, after a British bantamweight title fight in Glasgow in 1995, and Steve Watt, after a defence of his Scottish welterweight title in 1986, were British boxing’s two preceding fatalities.

Angus Porter, Professional Cricketers" Association chief, reveals Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs before death

PCA chief Porter reveals Maynard wasn't tested for drugs last season before death

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 3 March 2013

Professional Cricketers' Association chief Angus Porter has revealed Tom Maynard was not drug tested last season before his death in June.

Maynard was killed in the early hours of June 18 after he was electrocuted and hit by a tube train near Wimbledon Park station.

Maynard had been trying to evade police after abandoning his car, and a Westminster Coroners' Court was told last week that he was four-times the legal alcohol limit to drive and that he had also taken cocaine and ecstasy on the night of the accident.

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

Tragic death: Tom Maynard was not tested for drugs last season

A post-mortem report also revealed the 23-year-old Surrey batsman, who was regarded as a potential England international, had used cocaine for at least three-and-a-half months.

In the wake of the findings the PCA have begun talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board to increase the levels of drug-testing – which would also include out-of-competition samples.

While Porter said Maynard's recreational drug use would have been detected under the current policy – which focuses on performance-enhancing drugs – he confirmed the batsman had not been tested last season.

'We have a drug-testing regime in cricket like those in all professional sports which is primarily focused on detecting performance-enhancing drugs for very obvious reasons,' Porter told BBC Radio Five Live.

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

Tribute: Maynard is remembered in the pavilion at The Oval

He added: 'The pattern of drug use in Tom's case suggests he would have been picked up by our existing drugs programme.

'Although the use of recreational drugs outside of competition is not a breach of the anti-doping code, use in competition is a breach.

'So he would have tested for recreational drugs had he been tested in competition. Unfortunately given that is a random process he wasn't tested last year.'

Porter confirmed talks with the ECB to initiate out-of-competition testing were ongoing and that 'hair sampling' was likely to now be used to catch recreational drug users.

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

Shocking: A post-mortem report revealed that Maynard had been using cocaine for at least three months

'We're in advanced discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board about implementing a testing programme for drugs out of competition and almost certainly using hair sampling,' he said.

'As the coroner identified that gives you a longer history and a more certain test.

'We need to be clear we are talking about testing, not to catch cheats, but testing to find people who have a drugs problem.

'Therefore, it will be linked with a confidential programme of help, support, advice and if necessary treatment to get them back on the right path.'

Porter also promised to 'redouble' efforts to educate players on the issues associated with drug taking.

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

At the inquest: Maynard's former Surrey team-mates Jade Dernbach and Rory Hamilton-Brown (below)

Friend: Rory Hamilton-Brown goes into the inquest

'We work very hard to make sure that all players understand both the challenges they face as professionals and also understand the risks that go with those and the issues associated with being in the public eye,' he said.

'We'll be redoubling our efforts in that respect to make sure they are educated and have access to help when they need it.

'If we are going to turn this in to a positive in any way it's that the things we are wrestling with are ones that are challenges for society at large. If we can draw attention to those challenges then that will be a good thing.'

Michel Platini: Match-fixing is football"s greatest threat – not racism

Match-fixing – not racism – is greatest threat to football, says Platini (who still wants World Cup 2022 to be moved to the winter)

PUBLISHED:

11:23 GMT, 22 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:23 GMT, 22 January 2013

Michel Platini believes match-fixing poses the greatest threat to the future of football as the UEFA president reiterated his desire to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter.

While acknowledging the continued spectres of racism and violence, for the Frenchman throwing a game would sound the death knell for the game.

Making a stand: AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng (C) left the playing field during a friendly against Pro Patria amid alleged racist chants earlier this month

Making a stand: AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng (C) left the playing field during a friendly against Pro Patria amid alleged racist chants earlier this month

Concerns: UEFA president Michel Platini

Concerns: UEFA president Michel Platini

Speaking to French radio station RTL, Platini said: 'Racism and violence – it is a little beyond our control because it is not just about football but also affects the public.

'On the other hand we're directly concerned by match-fixing. For me, this is the greatest shame.

'If tomorrow, we'll see a game and we already know the result, football is dead.'

Football is waging an ongoing war against racism with Kevin-Prince Boateng recently making a stand by walking off the field with his AC team-mates against Pro Patria because of racist chanting.

Platini expressed his admiration, saying: 'It's great, I really liked it. It was very good, I also called to congratulate Milan.'

Speaking about his wish to reschedule the timing of the World Cup in 2022, the former France midfielder added: 'When I told the Emir of Qatar that I would vote for them, I told him two things.

'First, I would fight for it to be in winter.

'It's 50 degrees in the summer in Qatar. If we do not change the date, there are countries that will never receive the World Cup.'

Change the date: Platini wants the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be moved to the winter

Change the date: Platini wants the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be moved to the winter

Celtic"s Anthony Stokes sent death threats on Twitter

Celtic's Stokes sent death threats on Twitter after allegedly attending benefit for Irish gangster

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 3 December 2012

Celtic’s Anthony Stokes has been sent a death threat on twitter after it was claimed the striker attended a tribute in memory of a notorious Irish gangster.

Stokes, who is also an Irish international, was targeted by a user named @gonzo1690, who said he hoped that the Ulster Volunteer Force, a paramilitary group, would ‘put a bullet’ in his head.

The user tweeted: ‘Hope the UVF put a bullet in your head you f****** p****’.
In the same tweet, the user added: ‘If I ever see you you’re getting smashed ya ****.’

Threat: Anthony Stokes has been targeted on Twitter

Threat: Anthony Stokes has been targeted on Twitter

The 23-year-old is considering reporting the abuse and the death threat to police, tweeting in response to his followers: ‘Do I need to send this to the police or do they just pick up on it’

The attack on twitter came after claims that Stokes, a former Hibs and Arsenal forward, had attended a benefit event for murdered Irish gangster Alan Ryan, a senior figure within the Real IRA, in Dublin.

Ryan was killed last September, executed at close range outside his home.

Celtic fans were quick to unite in condemnation at the abuse. Tam Selleck CSC, wrote: ‘This coward @gonzo1690 just told Stokes he hopes the UVF put a bullet in his head. Won’t be smiling in court.’

Another tweeted: ‘Anybody placing bets on when @gonzo1690 will get a chap on his door from police’

James McClean sent death threats after refusing to wear poppy

McClean sent death threats after refusing to wear poppy, claims Sunderland boss O'Neill

PUBLISHED:

19:47 GMT, 18 November 2012

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UPDATED:

19:47 GMT, 18 November 2012

Martin O'Neill has confirmed Sunderland winger James McClean has been the target of death threats.

The 23-year-old came in for criticism after opting not to sport a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend.

McClean was introduced by O'Neill as a second-half substitute in Sunday's 3-1 win at Fulham and received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters.

Threat: McClean refused to wear a poppy in Sunderland's game against Everton

Threat: McClean refused to wear a poppy in Sunderland's game against Everton

Following the victory O'Neill backed McClean to cope with a few jeers and revealed the Republic of Ireland international has also received death threats.

'James will deal with it (the booing). I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world,' he said.

Substitute: McClean came off the bench in Sunderland's win over Fulham

Substitute: McClean came off the bench in Sunderland's win over Fulham

'James has lived with a lot of things – he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help.'

It is understood that police are investigating the threats which were directed towards McClean on Twitter, although the player no longer uses the social networking site.

FA Cup First Round: Macclesfield dump out Di Canio"s Swindon

FA Cup First Round: Macclesfield dump out Di Canio's Swindon

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 3 November 2012

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UPDATED:

18:02 GMT, 3 November 2012

Non-league Macclesfield pulled off the biggest shock in the first round of the FA Cup when they won 2-0 at League One high-flyers Swindon.

The Silkmen were not the only non-league side to beat Football League teams with Chelmsford, Hereford and Harrogate also moving into the second round at the expense of so-called superior opposition.

Silkmen strike: Macclesfield's Tony Diagne (left) scores his side's first goal

Silkmen strike: Macclesfield's Tony Diagne (left) scores his side's first goal

Macclesfield are sixth in the Blue
Square Bet Conference Premier and they took the lead in the 63rd minute
through a stunning long-range strike from Tony Diagne.

Things went from bad to worse for Paolo di Canio's Robins when moments later Aiden Flynn was sent off for the second
time in four games when he was given a straight red card for a challenge
on Macclesfield midfielder Sam Wedgebury.

The giant-killing over the team just outside the play-offs was sealed when Louis Thompson scored an own goal at the death.

Conference South team Chelmsford beat Colchester – 12th in League One – 3-1.

The hosts went ahead against their
local rivals when Anthony Cook fired home from distance in the 23rd
minute and they moved closer to an upset when Donovan Simmonds headed
into the net in the 63rd minute.

Pride of Essex: Chelmsford City players celebrate with the crowd following their 3-1 win over Colchester

Pride of Essex: Chelmsford City players celebrate with the crowd following their 3-1 win over Colchester

Colchester pulled one back seven
minutes later through Michael Rose's long-range free-kick but Jamie
Slabber sealed victory late on.

Torquay had an unbeaten home record
which had guided them to seventh in League Two but they went down 1-0 to
Harrogate Town. Chib Chilaka scored the only goal after 20 minutes to
send the Conference North side into the second round.

Hereford, 14th in the Conference
Premier, provided the first shock of the day when they dumped out League
One Shrewsbury 3-1 thanks to two goals by Ryan Bowman.

Will Evans gave the hosts a
third-minute lead, slotting Chris Todd's header into the bottom left of
the goal. Hereford doubled their lead nine minutes later through Ryan
Bowman's fierce shot.

Luke Summerfield's free-kick halved the deficit on the half-hour but Bowman's second, a penalty, wrapped up victory.

Lincoln, 19th in the Conference
Premier, were on the brink of an upset when they led League One Walsall
1-0 thanks to Jamie Taylor's strike in first-half injury time.

However, George Bowerman headed an equaliser three minutes from full time.

League Two Rotherham beat Stevenage,
fourth in League One, 3-2. Mark Bradley (30) fired the Millers ahead
with on-loan Lee Frecklington (53, 56) apparently putting the match out
of Stevenage's reach.

James Dunne pulled one back two
minutes later with Filipe Morais making it 3-2 with a little under 20
minutes remaining but the South Yorkshire side held on.

League Two Chesterfield hammered
League One basement side Hartlepool 6-1. Scott Boden (16), Mark Randall
(29) and Craig Clay (42) gave the Spireites a 3-0 half-time lead.

Terrell Forbes (54) made it four and
while Antony Sweeney pulled one back (78), Jack Lester (79) and Craig
Westcarr (90) rounded off a humiliation for the visitors.

Hendon, of the Isthmian League
Premier Division, threatened an upset when they went ahead at League Two
strugglers Aldershot, plumber Dean Cracknell firing an unstoppable
volley (28).

However, Danny Hylton levelled 13 minutes after the break before he powered home a late winner.

Sheffield United were the
highest-ranked team playing today but the team second in League One were
given a scare when David Clarkson took advantage of some slack Blades
defending to put Bristol Rovers ahead in the fifth minute.

However, Nick Blackman equalised
eight minutes after the break with an unstoppable shot across the keeper
and Chris Porter won the game nine minutes later.

Crawley won 2-1 at the Met Police.
Josh Simpson (36) and Billy Clarke (69) put the visitors 2-0 up and
although Alan Tait pulled one back (83), the Isthmian Premier League
side could not nick an equaliser.

League Two high-flyers Port Vale
survived a comeback at Forest Green when the Conference Premier Division
side hit back from two goals down to pull level at 2-2.

Ben Williamson restored the league side's lead against the run of play 10 minutes from time to give them a 3-2 victory.

League Two leaders Gillingham hammered League One strugglers Scunthorpe 4-0.

There were also wins for League One
sides Doncaster, Notts County, Bournemouth, Brentford, Carlisle, Oldham,
Crewe, Coventry, Preston and Bury.

Cheltenham, third in League Two, despatched Yate Town, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, 3-0.

League Two trio Fleetwood, Oxford
and Accrington all made it through as did Hastings United and Alfreton
from all non-league ties.

There will be replays for York against Wimbledon, Morecambe v Rochdale and Northampton v Bradford.

Guiseley and Barrow will meet again as will Luton and Nuneaton and Mansfield v Slough in all non-league ties.

England lose to Spain in Gold Coast Sevens

England suffer painful defeat to Spain in Australia's Gold Coast Sevens

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UPDATED:

11:24 GMT, 14 October 2012

England were beaten finalists in the Bowl competition of the Gold Coast Sevens, going down 19-14 in sudden-death extra-time to Spain in Australia.

Ben Ryan's team overcame Scotland 35-7 in the Bowl quarter-finals, having missed out on a place in the last eight of the main tournament following a 19-17 pool defeat to Samoa on Saturday.

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in the bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Spanish inquisition: England were beaten in extra time of the Bowl final

Dan Norton scored two tries in the win over the Scots, which set up a semi-final against Canada.

England triumphed 24-19 against the North Americans after extra-time and appeared on course to win the Bowl title at 14-7 up in the second half, but Spain battled back with tries from Ignacio Martin and Matias Tudela.

Fiji won the overall title, beating New Zealand 32-14 in the final, while Wales were losing Bowl semi-finalists to Spain.

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Seventh heaven: Spain celebrate a famous victory over England in Australia

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Big winners: Fiji ran out overall victors of the competition on Australia's Gold Coast

Lee Westwood faces Justin Rose in Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Rose beats Woods to set up Westwood clash in Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

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UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 11 October 2012

Lee Westwood and Justin Rose will battle it out to be crowned winner of the big-money Turkish Airlines World Golf Final.

First prize is 935,000 while the runner-up will take home 623,000.

Rory McIlroy finished last in the eight-man exhibition but the world No 1 will pocket 187,000 for his efforts.

Final fling: Lee Westwood takes on Justin Rose for the first prize in Antalya

Final fling: Lee Westwood takes on Justin Rose for the first prize in Antalya

McIlroy lost all three of his group games in Antalya, including by six shots to Tiger Woods, but was more than happy to spend the afternoon on the beach with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki instead of contesting the semi-finals.

Those came down to clashes between Woods and Rose and Westwood and Charl Schwartzel, with Westwood following his morning 64 against Hunter Mahan with a stunning 61 – which included a double bogey – to beat the former Masters champion Schwartzel by six shots.

And Rose then turned around his match with Woods in spectacular fashion, recovering from two behind after 12 with a birdie on the 13th and an eagle on the 14th, where his approach pitched just inches from the hole and span back into the cup.

Both players then birdied the par-five 16th and when Woods missed from 15ft for birdie on the last to force sudden death, Rose was certain of a seven-figure payday.

Well played: Tiger Woods congratulates Justin Rose after their semi-final

Well played: Tiger Woods congratulates Justin Rose after their semi-final

Westwood holed from 15ft for an eagle on the third, but double-bogeyed the next after hitting a flyer over the green which finished up against a tree.

However, he then holed a bunker shot for a birdie on the sixth and drove the green on the short par-four ninth to set up another eagle, while he also chipped in for another birdie on the 13th for good measure.

'It was just one of those days where I got on a roll and the hole started to look bigger and that's not happened for a while,' said Westwood, who has been working hard on his short game with former European Tour professional Tony Johnstone. 'It was pretty special stuff.

'I'm just pleased to be playing well and getting back in the swing of things after the Ryder Cup, with no hangover from that.'

Get in: Rose celebrates with a fist pump after squeezing past Woods to reach Friday's final

Get in: Rose celebrates with a fist pump after squeezing past Woods to reach Friday's final

Asked about being guaranteed $1m in the final, Westwood added: 'I hadn't really thought about that.
It's nice obviously. I have been successful in golf and done very well, and I am in the fortunate position now of going to tournaments with the sole purpose of trying to win.

'I know what a luxury I have to play this game and play it for fortunes – it's not often you see me miserable is it I try and play with a smile because I know how lucky I am.'

Rose also had reason to smile after carding a 62 in the morning to beat US Open champion Webb Simpson and following it with victory over Woods.

'It was a great day,' said Rose, who was stunned to learn Westwood had shot 61 in the trickier afternoon conditions.

Stand by your man: Rory McIlroy had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki with him in Turkey

Stand by your man: Rory McIlroy had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki with him in Turkey

'It was an ugly match until the end. It was hard to come out and get a rhythm going this afternoon for the both of us. It felt like the Ryder Cup to be honest, the transition between morning and afternoon felt difficult there and today.

'There's also a lot more noise and kerfuffle when playing with Tiger, but I hung in there and tried to draw upon the fast finishes I've had of late – he birdied the last two holes to beat Phil Mickelson at Medinah – and got a stroke of luck on 14.

'I just had to look up and give Tiger a wry smile, there's not much you can do about that.'

Woods added: 'That was a big switch right there. All of a sudden I was one down with four to go.

'It's a neat format because it's never over until the end, but it's frustrating that I lost two matches by one shot and just did not play well enough to win those matches.'

Wayward: But Tiger still had enough in his locker to beat McIlroy in their match on Thursday morning

Wayward: But Tiger still had enough in his locker to beat McIlroy in their match on Thursday morning

Earlier in the day, McIlroy could console himself with the thought that his 187,000 worked out at 863 per shot, with the Ulsterman taking six more in total than seventh-placed Mahan, who also lost all three games.

'I've got an afternoon by the pool, I don't mind,' McIlroy said. 'I knew I was going to have an afternoon off anyway so I was just going out and playing. I never really had any expectations.

'I've treated this week as it's great to come here, nice weather, play a bit of golf, I get to spend some time with Caroline (Wozniacki) – I viewed it as a week like that. I didn't touch a club until the first day.'

McIlroy will have next week off and hopes to join Wozniacki at her tournament in Moscow if he can get a visa, before concentrating on protecting his lead at the top of the European money list.

'I have still got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai so I am going to give it one last push,' added McIlroy, who could match the achievements of Luke Donald last year and top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.

'It has been a great season and I am ready to be done. It is just such a long season these days but I feel I have got an obligation to play some big events leading up to Dubai.'

How could Roy Hodgson get it so wrong over John Terry? Patrick Collins

How could Hodgson get it so wrong over toxic Terry

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 29 September 2012

Roy Hodgson is not a man for the
dramatic phrase, so he was stepping out of character with this curious
offering: ‘You know when you take the job, you’re dead. All you can
hope is that you can enjoy that time on your death bed and that when you
are resurrected a few years later, people say: “You know, he wasn’t
that bad”.’

They do say that the England job drives them all mad in the end but usually it takes more than five months.

In
fairness, we should not set too much store by Hodgson’s muddled
metaphysical ramblings, yet they seem to suggest that the pressure is
getting to him, that calm, rational judgment is coming under pressure
from doubt and confusion. Which leads us to the England manager’s
ham-fisted contribution to John Terry’s squalid saga.

From the moment the mess was dumped on his desk, Hodgson’s decisions have seemed woefully ill-considered.

That's my boy: Roy Hodgson embraces John Terry after England's win over Ukraine at Euro 2012

That's my boy: Roy Hodgson embraces John Terry after England's win over Ukraine at Euro 2012

Fabio Capello lost his job through his
outrageous insistence that a man charged with racial abuse was entitled
to remain captain of England. Hodgson was equally perverse, equally
uncomprehending.

Although
Hodgson could not reinstate Terry as captain, he took every chance to
praise his attitude, to massage his ego. He even selected him for the
finals of Euro 2012 while leaving out Rio Ferdinand, ostensibly for
‘football reasons’. It was an implausible claim, widely and properly
derided.

Never did he grasp
the notion that Terry’s problems were of Terry’s making. This was a man
who had lost the captaincy not once, but twice, a man whose life was
lived in lurid headlines and a man, moreover, whose value as a player
was diminishing by the month.

Yet
this was the man for whom Hodgson was prepared to hazard his judgment
and alienate a swathe of public and professional opinion.

More from Patrick Collins…

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08/09/12

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18/08/12

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Yet still he refuses to acknowledge
the glaring reality. Last week, hours before the opening of the FA
hearing, and shortly after Terry’s retirement from international
football, Hodgson grew quite lyrical. He greeted the departure with a
eulogy to the player’s qualities. He spoke of his ‘good relationship’
with Terry, of his ‘disappointment’ at his departure, of his
‘reluctance’ to accept the decision. Indeed, it was widely reported, and
never denied, that he would welcome him back, even if he were to be
found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. It was extraordinary
stuff from a sophisticated and vastly experienced manager; almost as if
he was embracing that ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ tosh which plays so well
at Stamford Bridge. Because the truth is that he has no need to make
such undignified gestures.

In
the next 12 months, England will play their remaining eight World Cup
qualifying games: San Marino, Poland and Montenegro at home and away,
plus Moldova at home and Ukraine away.

Fans' favourite: Terry gives his boots to Chelsea fans after the 2-1 win at Arsenal

Fans' favourite: Terry gives his boots to Chelsea supporters after the 2-1 win at Arsenal

Does
Hodgson seriously imagine that Terry’s presence might represent the
difference between success and failure If so, then England’s situation
is a great deal more parlous than we had been led to believe.

Of course, he does not think that for a moment. But he says it, presumably, because he is anxious to retain unfettered control of selection, unhindered by intrusions from the outside world.

For Hodgson, I suspect, the right to pick Terry was of far more importance than the wisdom of reintroducing a divisive and possibly toxic presence to the dressing room. Terry’s pre-emptive flounce saved the manager from the consequences of such a decision but the fact that he may well have flirted with such a course is genuinely disturbing.

Renaissance man: Hodgson must move on from the Terry saga

Renaissance man: Hodgson must move on from the Terry saga

Most of us had considered Hodgson to be a more serious man than that. As it happens, Terry’s more deluded admirers need not completely abandon hope of seeing their flawed hero in the national shirt just once more. If, by some miraculous process, England should actually win the World Cup in the Maracana, then there must be a possibility that Terry will emerge from the crowd, tearing off his civilian clothes and leading up the lads, the way he does at Champions League finals.

But it is an unlikely scenario. For the fact is that the game has moved on, having made its civilised point on an important matter of simple morality. It is high time that Roy Hodgson moved on too. After five short months, his resurrection is already overdue.

No laughing matter as Pulis takes his cue from Groucho

‘These are my principles,’ said Groucho Marx. ‘And if you don’t like them, well, I have others.’ Now, it must be said that Tony Pulis does not enjoy Groucho’s way with a phrase but Stoke City’s resident humorist appears to share a similar philosophy.

Two weeks ago, Stoke’s Peter Crouch scored against Manchester City after handling the ball not once but twice. ‘It was basketball,’ said City’s manager, Roberto Mancini. But the Stoke manager was unrepentant. ‘It’s lovely for us, a smaller club, getting a decision against a bigger club,’ was his pragmatic assessment.

Double standards: Pulis

Double standards: Pulis

Last Saturday, Pulis worked himself into a splendid state over a spot of alleged ‘diving’ at Stamford Bridge. ‘It’s a part of the game that I don’t think we should stomach,’ he said. ‘It’s difficult enough to referee today without players doing that, I don’t think it’s fair on the referees.’ He thought that Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic should have been given a three–match ban for his theatrics and he contrasted the player’s attitude with that of his own Michael Kightly, who apparently stayed on his feet after suffering assault. ‘We think it’s the right way to do it but what other clubs do is up to them,’ he said.

It is a difficult ploy to master, that mixture of lofty self-righteousness and brazen inconsistency, but Pulis brought it off quite effortlessly. The famously principled Groucho would have been proud of him.

Garry back with the ultimate in daftness

Garry Cook was God’s gift to sports columnists. On slow weeks, we looked to the Manchester City chief executive for a cheery quip, a piece of unwitting daftness which cried out for preservation.

Turn of phrase: Cook

Turn of phrase: Cook

You will recall his remark on his chairman, the noted human rights abuser Thaksin Shinawatra: ‘Is he a good guy to play golf with’ Then there was his masterpiece of middle-management speak: ‘I want to central-entity the top 10 teams to create a global empire.’

Often he would recall his golden days as a glorified sneaker salesman: ‘At Nike, you don’t sit around saying “Can we” You say “We will”… I call it the cultural cascade.’

If David Brent had never existed, then Garry would have invented him. He left City in Brentian fashion, after an unfortunate incident involving an email.

But he hasn’t gone away. In fact, the great man has just been named as executive vice-president and managing director of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the ongoing street brawl posing as a sport.

Garry says he is ‘delighted’. He calls it ‘an honour’ to be working in such a ‘dynamic and exciting industry’.

Soon, I suspect, he will be introducing organised violence to the mysteries of the cultural cascade. For Garry Cook is back. Living proof that, even in UFC, you can’t keep a good man down. Just you wait: ultimate fighting won’t know what’s hit it.

PS

So, farewell Steve Kean, forced to resign as manager of Blackburn.

His departure was inevitable but he was required to endure a parting shot from one Mark Fish, secretary of the so-called ‘Blackburn Rovers Action Group’.

Said the rancorous Fish: ‘The supporters are liberated and free of Steve Kean. I am just enjoying the fact that he has gone … I have longed for this.’

For Kean, the future may be uncertain but he no longer has to endure the insults of vengeful clowns like Fish. He should be duly thankful.

Rory Hamilton-Brown signs for Sussex

Hamilton-Brown returns to Sussex after traumatic season at Surrey

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UPDATED:

09:24 GMT, 28 September 2012

Former Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown has returned to his former team Sussex after being released from his contract at The Oval.

Hamilton-Brown sought a move away from Surrey in the wake of his long-time friend and team-mate Tom Maynard's death in June, and was placed on compassionate leave.

The 25-year-old, who had signed a new deal until the end of 2014 earlier this year, returned to action after a month away but struggled with his form.

Returning: Hamilton-Brown spent two years at Sussex from 2008 to 2010

Returning: Hamilton-Brown spent two years at Sussex from 2008 to 2010

Surrey team director Chris Adams announced at the start of September that Hamilton-Brown would be allowed to talk to other counties, and Sussex faced competition from Somerset for his signature.

Hamilton-Brown began his career at Surrey before joining Sussex ahead of the 2008 season. He returned to Surrey for the 2010 campaign, and was made captain at the age of 22 despite his limited first-class experience.

He helped Surrey win the Clydesdale Bank 40 in 2011 and to promotion to Division One of the County Championship.

Now Hove beckons again, with Sussex saying they are 'delighted' to have brought in the batsman on a three-year contract.

Success: Hamilton-Brown lead Surrey to the CB40 title last year

Success: Hamilton-Brown lead Surrey to the CB40 title last year

Hamilton-Brown said: 'Losing my best friend Tom in June was indescribably painful. We were extremely close but ultimately I know I will emerge from this awful tragedy with renewed strength and purpose.

'I am delighted to be returning to Sussex, a club where I was previously very happy. I would like to thank Mark Robinson, his coaching staff, the players, management and board at Sussex for welcoming me back so warmly.

'There is nothing like feeling wanted to raise spirits and I fully intend to repay the confidence they have shown in me.'

Robinson, Sussex's cricket manager, said of Hamilton-Brown: 'He is a very talented cricketer who is yet to reach his full potential, which makes him such an exciting and dangerous player.'