Tag Archives: donnelly

Sid Watkins dies: tributes pour in for F1 surgeon

Formula One pays tribute as lifesaver Watkins passes away aged 84

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 13 September 2012

The world of Formula One paid tribute to former medical delegate Sid Watkins who died on Wednesday night at the age of 84.

Watkins was the on-track surgeon for 26 years from 1978 through to 2004, with his crusade to improve medical facilities in Formula One helping to dramatically cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport.

Throughout his career in F1, Watkins' actions helped save the lives of Northern Ireland's Martin Donnelly, Finland's double world champion Mika Hakkinen and Austrian Gerhard Berger, among others.

Lifesaver: Watkins at Silverstone back in 1998

Lifesaver: Watkins at Silverstone back in 1998

Confirming Watkins' passing, McLaren Group chairman and close friend Ron Dennis said: 'Today the world of motor racing lost one of its true greats.

'No, he wasn't a driver. No, he wasn't an engineer. No, he wasn't a designer. He was a doctor and it's probably fair to say he did more than anyone, over many years, to make Formula One as safe as it is today.

'Many drivers and ex-drivers owe their lives to his careful and expert work, which resulted in the massive advances in safety levels that today's drivers possibly take for granted.'

Watkins was a well-known and highly respected figure in motor sport, with drivers and fans alike expressing their sadness on Twitter.

Britain's Jenson Button, world champion in 2009, posted: 'Rest in Peace Sid Watkins…Motorsport wouldn't be what it is today without u. Thank you for all you've done, we as drivers are so grateful.'

Tribute: Jenson Button was among those to praise Watkins

Tribute: Jenson Button was among those to praise Watkins

Rubens Barrichello, an F1 veteran for 19 seasons, said: 'It was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94.great guy to be with,always happy…tks for everything u have done for us drivers.RIP.'

Compatriot Bruno Senna, whose uncle and three-time world champion Ayrton was tended to by Watkins following his fatal crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, added: 'RIP Prof. Sid Watkins. Sad news for us who stay behind.'

F1's current medical delegate Gary Hartstein, who learned his trade for seven years under Watkins' wing, said: 'For a long time I wanted to call him every time I had to make a decision. Then I just started thinking 'what would he do in this situation'

'And finally, for better or for worse, I realised I was doing just what he'd do (but probably not as well).

'When I told him this a few years ago, he smiled and said “Of course old boy! You've had a bloody great teacher!

Legend: Watkins chats to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone

Legend: Watkins chats to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone

'It took me a few years before I actually called him Sid. It was at Spa, maybe 1993, and I asked him if I could.

'And he said “the bums sleeping on the stairs of my hospital call me Sid, I don't see why you shouldn't”.

'He kinda had a big place in my life for a long time. Just about the most extraordinary person I've known.'

Watkins worked tirelessly to improve safety in the cockpit, on the track, and the medical support at circuits alongside the likes of Britain's triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart and FIA president Max Mosley.

During his time as medical delegate, he witnessed at first hand the deaths of drivers like Sweden's Ronnie Peterson, who died after an accident at Monza in Italy in 1978, and Senna at Imola.

Senna: Watkins tended to the Brazilian at his fatal crash in 1994

Senna: Watkins tended to the Brazilian at his fatal crash in 1994

Watkins' interest in motor cycling dated from his childhood in Liverpool where his family had a bike shop and garage.

After qualifying at the Liverpool University Medical School, he trained as a neurosurgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford before becoming Professor of Neurosurgery in New York where he regularly attended races at nearby Watkins Glen.

Watkins became the first Professor of Neurosurgery at the London Hospital in 1970 when he was also appointed to the RAC medical panel.

He was approached by Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone in 1978 to become an on-track surgeon at grands prix and he was also the chief medical officer for FIA, the sport's world governing body.

Upon stepping down, Watkins focused on his role as president of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety through to December last year, continuing only in an honorary position.

Damon Hill back on track with his Rat Pack pals

British F1 legend Hill back on track with his Rat Pack pals at Brands Hatch

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 8 May 2012


Back in the driving seat: Damon Hill

Back in the driving seat: Damon Hill

Damon Hill will return to racing for the first time since his final grand prix in 1999 as a guest driver in the British round of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at Brands Hatch next week.

The 1996 Formula One world champion will take part in the support event to the German Touring Car championship race which features David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.

Also joining Hill will be former rivals from his junior racing days, Mark Blundell, Perry McCarthy, Martin Donnelly and Julian Bailey.

'Perry, Julian and I are coming out of retirement for this race, so we are sure to be pretty rusty,' said Hill.

The drivers, who were dubbed 'The Rat Pack' in their younger days, have remained close friends and are racing to raise money for Hill's charity HALOW which helps to support young people with learning disabilities.

Macclesfield 2 Bolton 2: David Wheater levels late

Macclesfield 2 Bolton 2: Defender Wheater spares Trotters blushes with late leveller

Macclesfield lived to fight another day after a stirring display against Premier League side Bolton on a poignant FA Cup afternoon at the Moss Rose stadium.

David Wheater's late header rescued Bolton from the verge of becoming giantkilling victims after the Silkmen's tired legs finally gave in.

Before then, Arnaud Mendy's spectacular volley had given the League Two side real hope of an upset and a place in the fourth round.

Head boy: David Wheater forces a replay for Bolton with this header late on against Macclesfield

Head boy: David Wheater forces a replay for Bolton with this header late on against Macclesfield

MATCH FACTS

Macclesfield: Veiga, Bateson, Brisley, Brown, Tremarco, Hamshaw (Hewitt 78), Wedgbury, Mendy, Diagne, Daniel, Donnelly. Subs not used: Collis, Morgan, Mukendi, Fairhurst, Fisher, Whiteoak.

Goals: Daniel 16, Mendy 68

Bolton: Bogdan, Riley, Wheater, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Reo-Coker, Pratley (M Davies 63), Petrov, Klasnic, K Davies (Ngog 63). Subs not used: Lynch, Sanli, Blake, Boyata, O'Halloran.

Goals: Klasnic 7, Wheater 77

Booked: Robinson, Wheater

Referee: Jon Moss.

Att:

Ivan Klasnic had given Owen Coyle's
side an early lead, before Colin Daniel fired Macclesfield level, and
the Silkmen had dominated much of the match until they ran out of steam.
The tie was played against the background of the first anniversary of
the death of Macclesfield's popular midfielder Richard Butcher, who died
at the age of 29 from a rare heart condition.

Silkmen manager Gary Simpson, as he does for every match, wore the number 21 in memory of
Butcher, as well as yellow socks in honour of Keith Alexander, who died
in 2010 aged 53 when Simpson was his assistant at the Moss Rose stadium.

Macclesfield started brightly but the Premier League side took the lead in the seventh minute.

The Silkmen's keeper Jose Veiga had
done well to turn aside Chris Eagles' strike but from the following
corner Klasnic pounced from close range after the home side failed to
clear.

Macclesfield could easily have folded after such a disheartening start but instead they took the game to the visitors.

Daniel could have had an immediate
reply when he went through one-on-one with Adam Bogdan but the Bolton
keeper came out well to deny him.

Bogdan then produced more heroics to keep out Mendy's sharp strike from 20 yards.

Routine: Ivan Klasnic had given Bolton the brightest possible start with a seventh-minute goal

Routine: Ivan Klasnic had given Bolton the brightest possible start with a seventh-minute goal

But the pressure finally told in the
15th minute when George Donnelly burst down the left, found Daniel
unmarked at the far side of the area and he kept his cool before burying
a fierce low shot past Bogdan.

Bolton full-back Joe Riley skimmed
the top of the bar with a cross-cum-shot from deep on the right, before
Wheater picked up a booking for felling Matthew Hamshaw in his tracks.

The home crowd howled for a red card
but there was cover coming across and referee Jonathan Moss made the
right decision in showing yellow.

Back in it: Macclesfield Town's Colin Daniel thundered in an equaliser

Back in it: Macclesfield Town's Colin Daniel thundered in an equaliser

Macclesfield continued to enjoy the bulk of possession and peppered Bolton with long throws and
corners, and early in the second half Carl Tremarco's excellent cross
from the left reached Daniel but his header lacked the power to trouble
Bogdan.

Bolton were then grateful to Wheater
for a last-ditch tackle to deny Sam Wedgbury as he ran onto Hamshaw's
throughball, before Bogdan did well to save smartly from Daniel's low
strike.

Riley prevented an almost certain
goal with a tremendous block of Donnelly's shot from eight yards, and
although Tremarco had another effort on goal from the ensuing corner it
was straightforward for Bogdan.

Top man: The home fans were sent into raptures, as where the League Two team's staff

Top man: The home fans were sent into raptures, as where the League Two team's staff

In the 68th minute however, the game swung towards Macclesfield, and in stunning style.

Wheater's attempted headed clearance
failed to make any distance and, from 25 yards out Mendy flicked the
ball up before producing a beautiful volley into the top corner.

The 21-year-old French-born
Guinea-Bissau midfielder turned away in restrained celebration while his
team-mates and most of the 5,757 inside the stadium went crazy.

Piledriver: Arnaud Mendy put his side in the driving side with a ferocious hit

Piledriver: Arnaud Mendy put his side in the driving side with a ferocious hit

Dreams of a famous victory proved short-lived however as Wheater headed Bolton back level 13 minutes from time.

Martin Petrov's free-kick from the
left was expertly delivered and Wheater held off his marker to head down
and past a flat-footed Veiga.

Macclesfield's endeavours looked to
have tired them out, and Eagles looked for a winner with a curling
effort from the edge of the box but it was too high.

Petrov then struck the angle from a
direct free-kick before Veiga's stunning block denied Klasnic in the
last minute – and that was only fair on Macclesfield who at least
deserved the benefits of a replay.

Georgie Thompson leaves Sky Sports News – Edge of the Box

Farewell, little dynamo of Sky Sports News, until we meet again…

Dear Ladies,

If ever it was a good time to evoke a sporting cliche, this is it. I am getting my defence in early.

Almost against our collective wills some of us chaps, every now and then, have realised that the female presenter before our gaping eyes is not only saying important things about stuff, but also doing so whilst being, you know, sort of gorgeous with it.

I know that it”s shallow, that it”s pathetic, and some may even say demeaning, but I am talking here about people here who are respected as broadcasters just as much as they are for their appearances – something I”m sure we are all aware isn”t just some happy accident in telly.

Last day: Georgie Thompson (right) has left the Sky Sports News team

Last day: Georgie Thompson (right) has left the Sky Sports News team

It is a chemistry TV constantly strives constantly to create – and, more often than not, with the fellas, too. After all, how else do you think I”ve ever got any work (no laughing at the back)

Across the decades, certain TV ladies really seem to have tapped that nerve. For us veterans, Saturday morning kids television in the seventies also became a must watch for bigger boys as the anarchic Tiswas gave us the effervescent Sally James. In the nineties, chaps were back in front of the box on Saturday morning as Helen Chamberlain put the “cor!” into Soccer AM.

Viewers

Viewers” favourite: Thompson first appeared on our SSN screens back in 2001

Then in 2001, in what was really the rather matter-of-fact, austere surroundings of Sky Sports News, a young lady with doe eyes, cascading locks, a deep, throaty voice and ready laugh first appeared behind the iconic desk.

It was of course Georgie Thompson, and from the moment of her arrival, she was so much more than just an autocue pilot. The (ok, male) audience took to her immediately, and if proof of that were ever needed, one of them in particular, a certain Declan Donnelly, made the point of getting in touch, then being her boyfriend for 2 years, no less. And he”s got 47 Baftas! So what chance did the rest of us have

Surprise: Georgie relived some of her golden moments during her last show

Surprise: Georgie relived some of her golden moments during her last show

In 2012, Georgie (who worked for Sky on A1 Grand Prix in her time) is joining their F1 Channel as part of a formidable presentation team. So on Thursday she presented her last ever Afternoon Report, and as she showed us at the start of her stint, “with a box of tissues” at hand, all ready for “an emotional rollercoaster”.

As her last few hours in the Sky Sports chair (set pretty high, we were to discover – the girl is a genuine little dynamo) and the customary conveyor belt of sports faces passed before us, Georgie admitted she was getting “over-excited”, as perfectly illustrated by a short rendition of “there”s a hole in my bucket”, with “bucket” becoming “racket” after an air shot from Novak Djokovic.

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We also got a literal early sign of what was to come as a couple of lads were caught on camera at the World Darts brandishing a sign “I (heart) Georgie Thompson”.

Mind you, it wasn”t all fun and games for Georgie as we saw just why she has been such an asset in a news chair for Sky, handling deftly her notes on a “Just in” story at 5.30 that Carlo Ancelotti was still yet to finalise a move to Paris for his next job.

That left just over an hour for her in the current job and she allowed herself the chance to let her hair down (well, it was already “down”, but… oh you know what I mean) as she laughed her way through the “Catch Of Season” vote by suggesting she wouldn”t have made the Jacob Oram one “not because I”m too little, because I can”t play cricket”.

However the big question was, especially as one leading bookmaker was even laying on odds for them, would it be tears that were to be the order of the day

Well, there may well have been a spot ofearly welling up going on with around 40 minutes to go as “her first screen husband” Dave Clark offered a fond farewell back at Alexandra Palace, where the “Georgie” signs had multiplied. But then things started to get a little more intense as suddenly there was Harry Redknapp on the phone to wish her best of luck, and Georgie admitting she was “stumped” as to what to talk to him about.

Waterworks: Georgie fought back the tears, but will present F1 for Sky in 2012

Waterworks: Georgie fought back the tears, but will present F1 for Sky in 2012

Ever the pro, though, she got it together and ended up offering Harry “an open invitation” to be her first star guest for her F1 magazine show.

This left enough time before 7pm for us to see clips of Georgie in her first audition and show, being lifted like a quarter pounder by The Big Show, punking co-presenter David Jones with a lipsticked vuvuzela and finally – and this was definitely one for us lads – dancing along with a Cheeky Girls Christmas video before Jim White handed the “GT Girl” a farewell bouquet.

So see you again in 2012 then, Georgie. And the same to all of you. Wishing you a happy new year.

Rory Donnelly set to move to Swansea

Swansea finally on verge of closing deal for Cliftonville striker Donnelly

Hot property: Rory Donnelly was being chased by several Premier League clubs

Hot property: Rory Donnelly was being chased by several Premier League clubs

Swansea look set to finally complete the signing of Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly after manager Brendan Rodgers revealed the club have agreed a new fee and personal terms for the Northern Ireland Under-21 international.

The Swans had initially appeared to be in pole position to land the 19-year-old after having an offer of around 100,000 accepted, but they were last week told to up that bid following interest from Merseyside giants Everton and Liverpool, and Rodgers had appeared downbeat on his hopes of bringing Donnelly to the Liberty Stadium.

But the south Wales club have had another offer accepted by the Belfast outfit, and Donnelly, who it is understood always favoured a move to Swansea, is set to complete his transfer.

Rodgers said: “I think we now have an agreement on both sides in terms of Cliftonville as a club and personal terms with the player, so we hope to complete that fairly soon.

Happy: Brendan Rodgers will be delighted if Donnelly finally signs the deal

Happy: Brendan Rodgers will be delighted if Donnelly finally signs the deal

“He will be over here for the game against Tottenham on Saturday. We will look to complete the medical tomorrow and get that put to bed and the boy can then come over and work on developing his game.

“I will talk more about him once the deal is done but he is coming here without pressure, he is coming from a part-time level.

“He has shone in the early part of the season and there have been other clubs interested, but we will talk more once he signs the papers.”

Swansea to sign Rory Donnelly beating Liverpool and Everton

Swansea to pip Merseyside duo to signing of Northern Irish teenage striker Donnelly

Talent: Donnelly is close to a Swansea move

Talent: Donnelly is close to a Swansea move

Swansea are on the verge of beating Premier League rivals Everton and Liverpool to the signing of Northern Irish youngster Rory Donnelly from Cliftonville.

The 19-year-old striker is rated at 100,000 and has attracted interest from a host of top clubs, with Kenny Dalglish and David Moyes sniffing around, along with West Bromwich Albion scouts.

Swans boss Brendan Rodgers went to watch Donnelly in a County Antrim Shield game in November, before the Swans made two bids for Donnelly – the second of which was accepted.

Winner: Rodgers (right) has seemingly beaten Moyes (left) and Dalglish to Donnelly

Winner: Rodgers (right) has seemingly beaten Moyes (left) and Dalglish to Donnelly”s signature

Although both Merseyside clubs have made contact with Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor, the striker is set to opt for the Welsh side.

Lawlor said: “It”s not every day you get Kenny Dalglish ringing you and asking how we got on at the weekend.

“Unsurprisingly, his main reason for phoning was to declare an interest in Rory Donnelly. He made it clear Liverpool want to sign him and they would be back in touch.”

Everton manager David Moyes also mentioned his side”s interest in the wonderkid, who has scored 17 goals so far this season – including three hat-tricks.

“We are in there trying to see what the situation is,” said Moyes.

“The chairman spoke with their chairman there so we are around that as well.”

Rory Donnelly wanted by Everton as Liverpool plan talks

Moyes to take on rivals Liverpool in race to land Cliftonville teenager Donnelly

Everton have joined the race to sign Rory Donnelly after manager David Moyes confirmed his interested in the in-demand Cliftonville teenager.

In demand: Cliftonville teenager Rory Donnelly

In demand: Cliftonville teenager Rory Donnelly

Striker Donnelly has also been linked with Everton”s rivals Liverpool while Swansea have already had a 100,000 bid accepted.

It is understood Reds boss Kenny Dalglish will meet the Northern Under 21 international to tempt him into a move to Anfield.

But Moyes is hopeful the Toffees can strike a deal for the prolific 19-year-old, who has scored 17 goals so far this season.

“We are in there trying to see what the situation is,” said Moyes.

“The chairman spoke with their chairman there so we are around that as well.

“I am hoping to be able to add to the squad if I can.

“But we don’t have bundles of cash so we’ll try to do what we can and look to an alternative market to try to get players in.”

Liverpool to bid for Rory Donnelly

Donnelly in demand as Liverpool prepare to lodge 100,000 bid for Cliftonville striker

Liverpool have entered the race for Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly.

Manager Kenny Dalglish contacted Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor to discuss figures on Sunday with a 100,000 bid expected to be lodged for the 19-year-old on Tuesday.

Swansea have already had a bid accepted, while Everton have discussed a verbal offer and West Bromwich scouts watched him play at the weekend.

Call: Kenny Dalglish has taken a personal interest in signing Rory Donnelly

Call: Kenny Dalglish has taken a personal interest in signing Rory Donnelly

Lawlor said: ‘It’s not every day you get Kenny Dalglish ringing you and asking how we got on at the weekend.

‘Unsurprisingly, his main reason for phoning was to declare an interest in Rory Donnelly. He made it clear Liverpool want to sign him and they would be back in touch.’

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli was expected to contact Cliftonville on Monday night.

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers wants five players

Andrews on Rodgers” radar as Swansea manager chases five players

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers wants up to five players when the transfer window re-opens.

In addition to moves for Preston forward Jamie Proctor, 19, Cliftonville”s Rory Donnelly, also 19, and NEC midfielder John Goossens, 23, he would like to sign Blackburn”s Keith Andrews, 30, on a free.

Wanted: Andrews (right) is among a number of players wanted by Rodgers

Wanted: Andrews (right) is among a number of players wanted by Rodgers

Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers turned down Northern Ireland

Swans boss Rodgers admits Northern Ireland came calling but he turned them down

Roaring success: Brendan Rodgers is one of the Premier League

Roaring success: Brendan Rodgers is one of the Premier League”s brightest young managers

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed he turned down the opportunity to coach Northern Ireland on a part-time basis.

Rodgers said he snubbed the chance to step into the role vacated by Nigel Worthington at the end of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign because he is committed to the south Wales club, and believes that the Northern Ireland job can only be done on a full-time basis.

The IFA made an approach to Swans chairman Huw Jenkins over Rodgers” availability, but he revealed it did not take him long to make a decision.

Rodgers, who had previously said he hoped to manage his country later in his career, said: “The story was simple, a couple of weeks ago Northern Ireland approached the chairman and asked for permission to speak to me with regards to doing the job part-time, and my stance was the same as it was a number of weeks ago.

“The job is a big job, something that is very important going forward for the development of football in the country, and for me it”s a full-time post. I didn”t have to think about it for a long time, my concentration and focus is always with Swansea.

Walking away: Nigel Worthington

Walking away: Nigel Worthington”s tenure ended after Euro 2012 qualifying

“The chairman and I have a great relationship. He was very honest and asked if I wanted to take it forward. I would love to do it at some point in my career but at the moment, with the respect I have for Swansea, my concentration can only be on Swansea.”

Swansea have also been linked with a move for Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly, and Rodgers confirmed the club have made a bid, believed to be around 100,000, for the 19-year-old.

“The club have made an offer and we are waiting to find out,” he said. “We can only do what we always do, try and get an agreement with them and once we get that it gives us a chance to speak to the player.

“He is a talented boy and Cliftonville have been fantastic recently, they won 13 games in a row and won the County Antrim Shield which I saw the other week. There are a lot of talented players in Northern Ireland and he is another one of them.”