Tag Archives: delight

Romain Grosjean retains Lotus seat despite string of crashes

'First-lap nutcase' Grosjean retains his seat at Lotus despite string of crashes

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 17 December 2012

Lotus have retained Romain Grosjean for the coming Formula One campaign despite his catalogue of crashes this season.

Grosjean impressed with his speed upon to returning to Formula One but several high profile accidents, the most serious being when he caused a first lap pile-up in Belgium which resulted in a one-race ban, had raised speculation as to whether Lotus would keep him on.

However, fresh from winning the Race of Champions in Bangkok – the year-ending competition also featured Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – Grosjean was welcomed home by the news he would once again be partnering Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus.

Double delight: Romain Grosjean (left) is celebrating victory in the Race of Champions and keeping his drive at Lotus

Double delight: Romain Grosjean (left) is celebrating Race of Champions glory and keeping his Lotus seat

Pile up: Grosjean was catapulted into the air after causing this crash in Spa

Pile up: Grosjean was catapulted into the air after causing this notorious crash at the first corner in Spa

‘It's fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2013,’ said the 26-year-old. ‘It's superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone. I'm really looking forward to rewarding their faith when we take to the track in Australia.

‘I learnt a lot in my first full season in Formula 1 and my aim is to put these lessons into practice with stronger and more consistent performance on track next year.’

Despite being dubbed a ‘first-lap nutcase’ by Mark Webber for his numerous early collisions caused by ambitious moves off the start line, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is convinced Grosjean can cut out the mistakes.

He's good... when he keeps the car on the road! Grosjean won the Race of Champions in Thailand on Sunday

He's good… when he keeps the car on the road! Grosjean won the Race of Champions in Thailand on Sunday

‘Romain is a great talent and we are pleased that he is continuing with us for a second season,’ said Boullier.

‘With the continuity of two exceptional drivers like Romain and Kimi we are well placed to build on our strong 2012 with even better results in the year ahead.

‘Both drivers worked very well together in their first year as team-mates, and I think there is the potential of even better things from the season ahead. We were regular visitors to podiums in 2012 and we certainly intend to continue with this trend in 2013.’

Wayne Rooney still the special one for Manchester United

After ten years of mixing red cards and snarls with goals and glory, Wayne is still the special one… for United

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UPDATED:

23:15 GMT, 18 October 2012

On September 1, 2004, Wayne Rooney attended a press conference at Old Trafford at which he was introduced as a Manchester United player.

Rooney, 18 years old, spoke so softly it was difficult to hear him. To his right, hidden from view by the TV cameras and journalists without seats, his teenage girlfriend Coleen sat on a chair by a wall with her hands in her lap and stared hard at the floor.

Eight years on, much has changed. Rooney has just captained England in a competitive game for the first time and Coleen — now a wife and mother — was this week telling her 850,000 Twitter followers about a day modelling her clothing range.

The fundamentals haven’t really changed, however.

Wayne Rooney

Remember the name: Rooney celebrates his winner for Everton against Arsenal in 2002

What a difference a decade makes: Rooney in action for Manchester United earlier this season (left) and celebrating his famous winner for Everton against Arsenal (right)

Ten years to the day since Rooney scored his first Premier League goal — for Everton at home to Arsenal — he remains as bullish, headstrong and compelling as he was back in the days when he was making his way in English football.

There are those who would change him, those who can’t see beyond the occasional snarl, the barrel chest and the attitude. They are quite wrong. Rooney — who joined a team that contained players of the stature of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane — has arguably been United’s most valuable and important player for much of his time at Old Trafford.

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

At times he has been bumptious and he has been belligerent but rarely has that masked the depth of his natural talent. There
have been significant contributions during this period from Rio
Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Ronaldo himself, of course. But as we look
backwards and forwards, Old Trafford’s favourite Scouser dominates the
view.

One respected
columnist bemoaned Rooney’s record with England this week and he has a
point. We have not seen the best of him at a major finals since 2004 —
his first. The same writer also questioned the striker’s hunger, though,
and that is baffling.

Rooney’s pursuit of the football on an average Saturday or Sunday afternoon is almost obsessive in its fury. At times United’s shape would benefit from some restraint from their No 10 but his manager Sir Alex Ferguson has long since given up trying to tell him.

Like Keane and, indeed, David Beckham before him, Rooney views losing as a personal affront. When performance levels dip at United it cuts nobody deeper. Having scored a hat-trick on his United debut — in the Champions League against Fenerbahce — Rooney has spent much of the time since looking bemused as to why it can’t work out like that in every game.

As we would expect, there is more sophistication to his football these days. He passes the ball better and adapts more easily to the many different roles Ferguson has asked of him in recent years. It is almost inevitable that he will end his days playing in the centre of midfield.

The DNA remains the same, though. Rooney is a street-fighter who operates best when his blood is up and those who seek to criticise the occasional moment of rashness or obsess about his exact weight rather miss the point.

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

For those who love statistics, Rooney has scored 181 times in 371 United appearances. That ratio is substantially better than those of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Mark Hughes and Andy Cole. Last season he scored 34 times for his club. The year before that it was a modest 16 (from only 36 starts) and the year before it was 34 once again.

England assistant manager Gary Neville said this week that his former team-mate must improve. Even the best must evolve. Nevertheless, United must improve, too. Those who refuse to believe Rooney was seriously tempted by a move to Manchester City two years ago are in denial.

During their courting of Rooney, City told him he would play ‘every week’ if he joined. It was some promise from the richest club in the world but it spoke volumes for his perceived worth.

Some dispute Rooney’s right to be labelled ‘world class’ but it depends on the parameters. Certainly he is not in the bracket of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi. Few are. He would, however, get in the France team, the Germany team and the Italy team. Does that make him world class Maybe. Take your pick.

What is important and indeed undeniable is that Rooney remains at the forefront of an increasingly magnetic domestic game and we should value him. He does need to do better in an England shirt, especially at major finals. The team do need to get to the next one first, though.

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Turkish Airlines World Golf Final a delight as eight greats battle – Derek Lawrenson

It's a Turkish delight as eight greats battle it out for big bucks

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 8 October 2012

When Chubby Chandler was approached by the Turkish Golf Federation about starting a megabucks tournament, they envisaged one featuring 100 or so of the world's best players.

'But there are plenty of events like that already,' replied Chubby. 'Why not try something different Why not a tournament with just the best eight golfers'

That idea was not new either, of course. Chandler was thinking back to the glory days of the late Mark McCormack’s World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, when the likes of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus would gather each October for a glorious autumn festival.

Jet-setters: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are in Turkey for the World Golf Final

Jet-setters: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are in Turkey for the World Golf Final

Jet-setters: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are in Turkey for the World Golf Final

It is the spirit of that much-missed spectacle that he has tried to recapture with the first Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, which begins on Tuesday.

Golf blog

True, the venue has shifted thousands of miles to the East, as is increasingly the way these days, and the players might even be seen wearing shorts rather than wrapped up to the nines.

But you might have to go back to the late Sixties or early Seventies to find the last time anyone tried to get the world’s top eight players together and seven of them actually accepted the invitation.

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

So it is that the event features not only Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy but Justin Rose and Lee Westwood. Rounding off the elite gang are Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel, with Matt Kuchar stepping in for Luke Donald, the only man to turn down the invitation.

The organisers have got lucky, with the game still on a high after the momentous events at Medinah, and no fewer than six of the eight are playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup. There’s clearly an appetite for more head-to-head, although the format needs explaining.

The eight are separated into two groups of four, with everyone playing each other in their group over the first two days at medal matchplay (ie. the player with the best score over 18 holes wins). The leading two in each group go forward to the semi-finals on Thursday, with the final on Friday.

Naturally, these eight don’t come cheap. Even last place is worth 200,000, while the winner will receive 1million.

And yes, we will see Tiger versus Rory. Funnily enough, they’ve been ‘drawn’ in the same group and will play one another on Wednesday afternoon. Having coughed up all that dough, you didn’t think the organisers would leave that match-up to the vagaries of chance now, did you

The action begins with McIlroy v Kuchar, Westwood v Simpson, Rose v Mahan and Woods against Schwartzel.

Amazing Grace

If you want to know how hard it is to win on the European Tour, consider that a player as good as the two-time Ryder Cup man Francesco Molinari has only three titles to his name in eight years of toil.

That puts the startling feat of the gifted South African Branden Grace, in winning four times in his rookie season, into its proper light.

Links king: Branden Grace with his prize on the Swilkan Bridge at The Old Course

Links king: Branden Grace with his prize on the Swilkan Bridge at The Old Course

One of those wins came in a play-off against his two idols, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. Another came on Sunday at the Dunhill Links played at the Home of Golf, where the 24-year-old became the first man on tour this year to lead from wire to wire.

‘The next South African major winner,’ declared the Open champion — and who would quibble with Els’s prediction

Tom is looking for a happy return

This time last year we were all getting rightly excited at the amazing sight of a young man winning a prestigious title in only his third start on tour. Now he returns to Portugal to defend his Masters crown this week as the forgotten man.

Glimpse of his best: Tom Lewis at St Andrews

Glimpse of his best: Tom Lewis at St Andrews

What on earth has happened to Tom Lewis This year, the Englishman has competed in 21 strokeplay tournaments without so much as a single top-10 finish. What a sad contrast to the fresh-faced amateur who led The Open after the first round last year.

Lewis has been talking with Justin Rose, who endured similar growing pains, and maybe he can follow his example. On Saturday at the Dunhill Links there was at least the hint of a corner being turned as the 21-year-old shot 65, his best round of this difficult season.

Now he returns to the place on the Algarve where all his memories are good ones. Let’s hope for more signs of recovery.

Quote of the week

‘I think I’ll take that bandage off now! How can all your good shots turn out bad Ugggh, this game!’

John Daly, after following up a 63 in Las Vegas last week with an 86. Painful, no doubt, but not his ‘personal best’ in Sin City. The colourful one once followed up winning $500,000 (312,000) at a tournament with losing three times that amount on the slot machines.

Roy Keane to be manager of Kasimpasa

Turkish delight for Keane as ex-United skipper takes reigns at Kasimpasa

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UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 30 September 2012

Roy Keane will make a surprise return to management with Turkish side Kasimpasa.

The former Manchester United captain has been out of the game since being sacked by Ipswich last year.

But Keane, who has forged a career as a television pundit, is set to be announced as the Istanbul side's boss on Sunday.

Return: Roy Keane is set to be named as the new manager of Kasimpasa

Return: Roy Keane is set to be named as the new manager of Kasimpasa

Kasimpasa have only just been promoted back to the top flight of Turkish football and have never won the Super League.

But with new investment on the way, they have identified Keane as the man to bring them success, according to The Sun.

Jermain Defoe delighted with double against Reading

Double delight for Defoe after kickstarting Spurs's campaign at Reading

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UPDATED:

18:05 GMT, 16 September 2012

Jermain Defoe believes Tottenham's season is finally under way in earnest after he bagged a brace in Sunday afternoon's 3-1 win at Reading.

Defoe put Tottenham ahead in the first half before two goals in three second-half minutes secured a first win under new manager Andre Villas-Boas.

First Gareth Bale's fortuitous shot looped over Alex McCarthy to put Tottenham 2-0 up and Defoe secured victory for the Londoners after a mazy dribble.

Double delight: Defoe netted twice at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday

Double delight: Defoe netted twice at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday

Hal Robson-Kanu scored a late consolation for the hosts, but the Royals were second best to Spurs throughout.

Disappointing results against West Brom and Norwich had seen the pressure mount on Villas-Boas just weeks into his tenure, but Defoe believes the club are finally showing their true colours.

'New managers come into football clubs and sometimes it takes time,' Defoe told Sky Sports 1.

'People just think instantly they're going to be unbelievable, but sometimes it takes time.

'I'm sure today the fans are happy and everyone that's been doubting us they can hopefully look at us and see that we can do well this season.

Blistering start: Defoe has been in the goals so far this campaign

Blistering start: Defoe has been in the goals so far this campaign

'Our season will start now.'

Defoe could have added a third to complete his hat-trick but he was content with the three points nevertheless.

'It would have been nice to have got the match ball, but to score two and help my team win is fantastic,' he added.

Former Chelsea boss Villas-Boas welcomed the three points, which came after his side spurned one-goal leads to draw their last two league outings.

'We've been chasing this win for quite some time and it's important for everybody,' the Portuguese told Sky Sports 1.

Off the mark: Villas-Boas (left) is watched closely by reserve goalkeeper Hugo Lloris

Off the mark: Villas-Boas (left) is watched closely by reserve goalkeeper Hugo Lloris

'Hopefully we can shoot on from now on.

'We could have gone 2-0 up a little bit earlier as we looked bright and confident and played very, very good football.'

Villas-Boas deployed Defoe in a lone role up front and was delighted with the performance of the striker, who also netted for England during the international break.

'I'm happy for Defoe to find the back of the net again. Three goals in the Premier League shows the goalscorer that he is,' he said.

'And I'm happy for the team in general. They were very committed to getting our first win. It's always difficult against promoted teams.

Top performance: Spurs were impressive on Sunday

Top performance: Spurs were impressive on Sunday

'Hopefully this can give us a build up for the future.'

Reading manager Brian McDermott conceded his side had been second-best throughout.

'The second goal killed us really. We came up against a top-class side today and they played well. They deserved to win,' he said.

'We have to move on very, very quickly – you have to do that in this league.

'It's a learning curve for all of us. We know we're playing against a team of world-class individuals, and today they have played well and we didn't cause them enough problems.'

Federico Macheda set for Bursaspor

United striker Macheda on brink of Turkish switch as Bursaspor offer 1m loan fee

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UPDATED:

21:35 GMT, 26 August 2012

Manchester United striker Federico Macheda is wanted on loan by Turkish side Bursaspor.

Sir Alex Ferguson is willing to let the 21-year-old go out on loan despite Wayne Rooney's thigh injury.

Turkish delight: The United striker could seal a loan move to Bursaspor

Turkish delight: The United striker could seal a loan move to Bursaspor

The Italian has been pursued by Besiktas but Bursaspor are willing to offer a 1million loan fee.

Meanwhile, Lille are keen on ex-United midfielder Owen Hargreaves. The 31-year-old has been training at QPR.

Sir Alex Ferguson hails Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa combination

Rooney snub Sir Alex expects Kagawa and Van Persie to flourish after goal each

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UPDATED:

18:09 GMT, 25 August 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the combination of his two big summer signings after Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa both scored on their home debut for Manchester United.

The Old Trafford outfit had to come from behind to secure a first three points of the season, but did so first through the 24million Dutchman and then the 16m Japanese midfielder. Rafael added a third before the break.

Van Persie had started ahead of Wayne Rooney – who after coming on as a substitute was taken to hospital with a nasty gash to his leg that could keep him out for a month – and took just 10 minutes to find the net.

Well done chaps: Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie were both on the scoresheet for the first time for Manchester United as they beat Fulham

Well done chaps: Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie were both on the scoresheet for the first time for Manchester United as they beat Fulham

Certainly Ferguson was happy at the way the striker and Kagawa combined in a thrilling first-half display.

'It was fine,' he said. 'Obviously it is early doors and there will be a better understanding as time goes on.'

And it seems Ferguson is intent on operating with someone occupying a deeper role behind Van Persie, suggesting Rooney will not be able to take his first-team place for granted.

'We normally do that, whether it is Wayne who plays in that role, or Danny Welbeck can do it,' said Ferguson. 'Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs can play there. We have options that way.'

That United should be so imperious before the break but end up clinging on just added to a strange day that included the presentations of Olympic superstar Usain Bolt, in addition to long-jump goal medalist Greg Rutherford on the pitch.

Bolt had not even take his seat when Duff put the visitors in front.

Impressed: Sir Alex Ferguson expects more from Kagawa and the partnership

Impressed: Sir Alex Ferguson expects more from Kagawa and the partnership

Dutch delight: Van Persie scored with his first ever shot as a United player

Dutch delight: Van Persie scored with his first ever shot as a United player

However, United responded by creating a succession of opportunities and they were well worth the half-time advantage provided by Van Persie, Kagawa and Rafael, who headed home just before the interval.

After the break though United's defensive frailties came back to haunt them, with David de Gea getting in a real mess trying to clear a routine cross, which ended with Nemanja Vidic putting the ball into his own net.

'The first-half performance was fantastic,' said Ferguson. 'It could have been five, six, anything. But we made a terrible mistake for the second goal and it becomes a match. Before that it had never been a match.'

Ferguson confirmed Jonny Evans would have been available off the bench in an emergency, although in the end the Northern Irishman was not needed and should be available for Sunday's trip to Southampton.

What about Wayne: Rooney was taken to hospital with a nasty injury

What about Wayne: Rooney was taken to hospital with a nasty injury

Fulham in for Maarten Stekelenburg

Fulham show some Dutch courage as they rival Spurs for 6m Stekelenburg

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 22 August 2012

Fulham are interested in Holland international Maarten Stekelenburg.

The Roma goalkeeper only moved to the Italian capital last summer but is available for around 6million and has been contacted by Tottenham.

Dutch delight: Maarten Stekelenburg is wanted by both Fulham and Tottenham

Dutch delight: Maarten Stekelenburg is wanted by both Fulham and Tottenham

However, Andre Villas-Boas may shelve a move for a goalkeeper while he spends money on other targets. The 29-year-old would compete with Mark Schwarzer with David Stockdale expected to join Wolves on loan.

London 2012 Olympics: Mo Farah lauded by Sebastian Coe

Coe hails 'extraordinary' Farah after Brit secures historic Olympic double

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UPDATED:

10:07 GMT, 12 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Sebastian Coe has hailed Mo Farah's double Olympic gold as an achievement of 'extraordinary magnitude'.

Farah completed the long-distance double with a scintillating display in the 5,000 metres on Saturday night, one week after topping the podium in the 10,000m.

It puts him in esteemed company in distance running as one of just six athletes who have won both events at the same Games, and Coe was emphatic in his praise.

Double delight: Farah picked up his second medal of the Games on Saturday night

Double delight: Farah picked up his second medal of the Games on Saturday night

'What Mo did last night was of such an extraordinary magnitude,' he told Radio 5 Live.

'The real challenge of doing the double is not actually the physicality of going through rounds and races, it's those three to four days between having won an Olympic title and then deciding it's still important enough in your life to come back on to the track and do it all over again.

'It's probably tougher mentally than physically.'

Magic Mo-ment: Farah crosses the finishing line

Magic Mo-ment: Farah crosses the finishing line

While some questioned if Farah could
produce the goods for a second time following his exertions in the
10,000m and the heats of the 5,000m, Coe had little doubt he would see
the Briton with another medal around his neck.

'There is a moment in a career of an athlete when they're just not going to get beaten,' he added. 'You're very lucky if you hold that period for 18 months – John Walker had it, Steve Ovett had it, Steve Cram had it – all the great athletes have it.

Great Brit: Farah has etched his name into Olympic history

Great Brit: Farah has etched his name into Olympic history

'Mo is in that period now. I think he goes into races genuinely believing he's going to win. The reverse of that means the rest of the field – whether they admit it publicly or even in their quieter moments – think they're running for second place.'

Farah has told how 'everything just came together' as he became double Olympic champion.

Speaking the morning after he added the 5,000m gold to his 10,000m title won last Saturday night, Farah felt all his hard work had finally paid off.

On top of the world: Farah collects his gold medal on Saturday night

On top of the world: Farah collects his gold medal on Saturday night

He said double gold was a fitting comeback from the 'big disappointment' of failing to make a final in Beijing four years ago – but added he could not have done it without the deafening support of the crowd.

He told the BBC: 'As an athlete you dream of becoming an Olympic champion but, for me, to become Olympic champion twice is just an unbelievable feeling.

'If it wasn't for the crowd I don't think I would have been up there, for sure. They make a big difference. In front of 80,000 people just cheering your name and getting louder and louder, it's the best feeling ever, it's just like being at a football game.'

London 2012 Olympics: Andy Murray and Laura Robson through to last eight of mixed doubles

Double delight for Murray as British No 1 and Robson launch gold bid

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 2 August 2012

Andy Murray kept alive his hopes of two medals as he and Laura Robson won a dramatic first-round mixed doubles clash against Czech pair Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka 7-5 6-7 (7/9) 10-7 on Court One.

Murray, who had already booked a place in the semi-finals of the men's singles, and Robson have had success in mixed before, reaching the final of the Hopman Cup in Australia in 2010, but it was a rare outing in the format for the Scot.

Good start: Andy Murray and Laura Robson

Good start: Andy Murray and Laura Robson

Robson, 18, was preferred to British No 1 Heather Watson to partner Murray and she initially looked a
little nervous, mis-hitting a lot of shots in very windy conditions.

Stepanek and Hradecka are both talented doubles players – Hradecka is
through to the women's doubles semi-finals here with Andrea Hlavackova –
but they were not making any headway.

Robson in particular grew into the match and the British pair timed
their break to perfection, Murray guiding a backhand half-volley down
the line to make it 6-5 and his partner serving out the set to love.

Murray and Robson

Murray and Robson

Court One was again far from full but the fans that were inside roared
their support, and things got even better when the British pair broke
again at the start of the second set, Robson landing a stunning lob on
the baseline.

Mixed doubles returned to the schedule this year for the first time
since 1924 and it was certainly proving a hit with the spectators.

Robson's serving had been excellent but when she wobbled in the eighth
game it was costly, three double faults helping the Czechs break back
for 4-4.

Andy Murray and Laura Robson

Andy Murray and Laura Robson

With a match tie-break instead of a third set, the home pair really
wanted to wrap it up in two, but they missed a match point in the
regulation tie-break and the Czechs levelled.

The deciding tie-break was the first to 10 points, and Murray and Robson
looked on the way out when they trailed 5-2 but they mounted a spirited
recovery, winning seven points in a row and then clinching victory when
Murray powered away a volley.

In the quarter-finals they will meet Australian duo Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur on Friday.