Tag Archives: dreams

Nicole Cooke retires from cycling and attacks drug cheats

When Lance cries on Oprah spare a thought for those who walked away with shattered dreams: Golden girl Cooke slams drug cheats after retiring from cycling

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Cooke had thought she could put an indifferent four years behind her and mount a defence of her title, but finished only 31st.

The time between Beijing and London
was marked by a spat with Armitstead at the 2011 World Championships,
when Cooke was accused of riding 'for herself', rather than the team.

The duo put that behind them before again being team-mates at last summer's Olympics.

Armitstead was among the first to pay
tribute to Cooke, writing on Twitter: 'Congratulations to Nicole Cooke
on a fantastic career!'

British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: 'There is no doubt that Nicole has been a pioneering force in women's cycling.

'British Cycling owes a huge debt of gratitude to her and wish her all the best.'

COOKE REPORT – A LIFE ON THE ROAD

Team-mate: Elizabeth Armitstead and Nicole Cooke

1983 – Born April 13, Swansea, Wales.

2000 – Wins gold medals in World Championship junior road races in France and Spain.

2001 – Continues that success with further wins in junior race and time-trial in Portugal.Awarded the Bidlake Memorial Prize, given for outstanding performance or contribution to the betterment of cycling.

2002 – Wins gold medal in women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

2003 – Wins the women’s road race World Cup, the youngest to do so and the first Briton. Named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

2004 – Becomes the youngest winner of the Giro d’Italia Femminile.

August – Finishes fifth in road race in the Athens Olympics.

2006 – Wins the bronze medal in the road race at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
September – Wins road race World Cup for the second time.

2008 – August – Wins gold medal in road race at the Beijing Olympics, Britain’s first medal of the Games.

September – Becomes first cyclist to win World Championships and Olympics in same year with victory in Varese, Italy.

2009: June – Wins Giro del Trentino, before triumphing in British Championships road race for the ninth time.

2010: June – Beaten into third place as Emma Pooley wins British Championships.

September – Fourth in World Championships road race.

October – Fifth in Commonwealth Games road race.

2011: June – Fourth in British Championships as Lizzie Armitstead wins.

July – Wins Giro D’Italia stage five.

September – Has a well-publicised spat with Armitstead, who was
nominated leader at World Championships but accused Cooke of riding 'for
herself'.

2012: June – Sixth at British Championships road race.

July – Finishes 31st in defence of her Olympic title as Armitstead (above) claims
Britain’s first medal of London 2012, a silver behind Marianne Vos of
Holland.

September – Finishes 60th as Vos wins the world title in Limburg, Holland.

2013: January 14 – Announces retirement.

Eden Hazard wants to move to Real Madrid, says Christian Benteke

Hazard dreams of a Madrid switch! Benteke claims Chelsea playmaker would love move to Spain

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UPDATED:

09:56 GMT, 23 December 2012

Christian Benteke has claimed Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard dreams of joining Real Madrid.

Aston Villa's in-form target man has known the midfielder for years after playing with him for Belgium at youth level.

In a recent interview in Belgium the striker, who will come face-to-face with his friend this afternoon at Stamford Bridge, said he thinks Hazard would be ready to join the Spanish giants within a year.

Wish: Eden Hazard has always dreamed of moving to Real Madrid, according to Christian Benteke

Wish: Eden Hazard has always dreamed of moving to Real Madrid, according to Christian Benteke

He said: 'I am not surprised at Eden’s success with Chelsea — and he can do even better. He has the qualities needed to become an even greater player.

'His dream is to join Real Madrid — so I don’t see why he can’t join them in a year or two.'

Chelsea spent a long time convincing Hazard to move to south west London and this news will be unwelcome.

Benteke, 22, continued: 'We used to play together in Belgium junior teams. He would play No 10 and I was No 9 and there was an understanding between us straight away.

'He has a bit of fantasy about him and so do I. We are good mates.'

Hazard started off at top speed but after his initial impact his form has levelled out – disappointing some.

He is also expected to perform by Belgian fans who are sometimes frustrated when he is not at his best.

Benteke said: 'People expect too much from Eden. They should not just focus on him alone.

'He will be able to make a difference and Belgium will be able to count on him.

Old friend: Benteke has known Hazard for years

Old friend: Benteke has known Hazard for years

'You must not expect him to do what he did when he played for Lille — he does not have the same level of understanding with his national team-mates.'

Benteke says Hazard feels great pressure at Chelsea because of his price tage – he cost 32million.

He said: 'He has already told me what his life is like with the high levels of expectation.

Tucked away: Hazard rolls the ball home as Chelsea routed Leeds in the Capital One Cup

Tucked away: Hazard rolls the ball home as Chelsea routed Leeds in the Capital One Cup

'He has been signed for many millions of pounds and he will always have the pressure of his price tag.

'He will forever have to do more than the others, he is condemned to always be at the top of his game.

'He realises this and he relishes the challenge. His fantasy football takes off some of the pressure on him. Eden dares to try things and is not afraid to face up to his responsibilities.'

LIVE: India v England – day two, fourth Test, Nagpur

LIVE: India v England – all the action on day two of the fourth Test in Nagpur as it happens

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UPDATED:

03:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

Stay up to date with all the action on day two of the fourth Test between England and India with Sportsmail's
unrivalled team. We'll deliver over-by-over coverage as the action
unfolds in Nagpur while our brilliant team of writers update with their
insights from the ground. Tweet your thoughts to: @JoeRidge87 or email your thoughts to [email protected]

India v England – essentials

India: G Gambhir, V Sehwag, C A Pujara, S R Tendulkar, V Kohli, R A Jadeja, M S Dhoni (Capt, Wkt), R Ashwin, P P Chawla, I Sharma, P P Ojha.

England: A N Cook (Capt), N R D Compton, I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, J E Root, M J Prior (Wkt), T T Bresnan, G P Swann, J M Anderson, M S Panesar

Umpires: R Tucker (Aus) and K Dharmasena (SL)

Match referee: J Crowe (NZ)

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3.50am: Just a quick reminder then that 21-year-old debutant Joe Root and wicketkeeper-batsmen Matt Prior will be the men at the crease for the tourists when we resume in 10 minutes time. They have put on a valuable 60 together so far.

3.40am: 199-5 doesn't sound too pretty batting first on a subcontinental track but you feel that if England can get to 300 they will have the mental upper hand given that they were 139-5 at one stage. Mind you, if they score at the rate they did yesterday it will take them half the day to get there!

3.30am: Good morning everyone and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of the second day of the fourth and final test between India and England in Nagpur.

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Field of dreams: England have the chance to secure a famous series win in Nagpur

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Harry Redknapp keen to sign David Beckham, Scott Parker, Michael Dawson and Peter Crouch at QPR

Get me Becks! Redknapp wants former England captain at QPR and also targets former Spurs trio

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 25 November 2012

Harry Redknapp is keen to tempt David Beckham to join him at QPR and help save the club from relegation, according to reports.

The new QPR boss is keen to get the former England captain on board but knows he will be up against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Qatar, Brazil, China and Russia to secure his services.

And Redknapp will have no problem trying to convince QPR owner Tony Fernandes to go for Beckham as he tried to sign the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder last year.

Top target: Harry Redknapp is keen to get David Beckham at QPR

Top target: Harry Redknapp is keen to get David Beckham at QPR

Redknapp tried to sign Beckham on loan for Spurs in January 2011, but the midfielder was only able to train with the club.

Beckham’s attitude impressed Redknapp and according to The People he sees the 37-year-old’s experience as a key ingredient to helping QPR stay up.

'I'm sure he could still play in the Premier League,' Redknapp told BBC Sportsweek.

Hoop dreams: New QPR manager Harry Redknapp poses with the team shirt on his first full day in the job

Hoop dreams: New QPR manager Harry Redknapp poses with the team shirt on his first full day in the job

'I've not discussed it with the chairman so we'd have to look at that.

'He's a top fantastic player, we had him training at Tottenham and it was amazing [to have him] round the place. He is absolute class.

'David could still be a great asset to anyone. Just having him round the place, showing people how to train and look after yourself. His professionalism is second to none.'

But Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is keen for Beckham to join him at Paris St Germain.

He
said: 'I am sure there will be many offers for him from clubs all over
the world, but it is a very exciting project here in Paris and if he
still wants more trophies then this is the right club for him to join.

'We can win the Champions League over the next two seasons with the team that is being built.'

Watching on: Redknapp takes his first training session

Watching on: Redknapp takes his first training session

As for Redknapp, his targets will not stop
there, as he also wants to sign Spurs duo Scott Parker and Michael
Dawson plus former Tottenham striker Peter Crouch.

QPR tried to sign Dawson in the
summer but failed to agree terms, while Redknapp will be keen to tempt
Parker to move across London to join him at Loftus Road.

Stoke striker Crouch started his career at Loftus Road and has played for Redknapp at both Spurs and Portsmouth.

Redknapp has earned his reputation
from spells at Portsmouth and Tottenham, both of whom were in dire
straits when he took over but he managed to guide them to safety.

Target: Crouch

Target: Crouch

Leader: Parker

Leader: Parker

Defender: Dawson

Defender: Dawson

It has not always worked though, and he was unable to keep Southampton in the top flight eight seasons ago.

And, worryingly for QPR, who after their Old Trafford defeat travel to Sunderland for Redknapp's first game in charge on Tuesday, their manager views the present situation as far more perilous than the one he inherited at Tottenham.

'We're deeper in,' he said.

'We're 13 games gone rather than eight and, let's be honest, Tottenham should not have ended up in that position at that stage because they had a fantastic squad.

'We've got to get cracking quickly.

'The target is fourth from bottom. We've just got to get out of trouble. Four points from 13 makes it very difficult but we've got to do it.'

David Beckham: Where next after leaving LA Galaxy

From Manchester to Los Angeles via Madrid… but what's next for Beckham

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UPDATED:

11:39 GMT, 20 November 2012

David Beckham’s wildest dreams probably haven’t matched up to the reality of his fairytale life.

On the pitch, he’s played football for three of the most iconic football clubs on the planet, captaining his country during the course of a stellar international career.

Married to a pop star, father of four….why his input was invaluable in bringing the greatest show on earth to London a few months ago.

But nothing in professional sport lasts forever and, as the news that he is quitting Major League Soccer in the New Year filters through from the west coast of America, we on Sportsmail are asking ourselves the question as to which clubs may be interested in signing the 37-year-old.

Where now David Beckham plans to quit LA Galaxy at the end of the year

Where now David Beckham plans to quit LA Galaxy at the end of the year

David Beckham

First, let’s establish where Beckham is.

In the prime of his career, he was never acknowledged as being fleet of foot. He didn’t make his name on the back of a stunning burst of speed which left opponents trailing in his wake.

Beckham’s genius was in his quickness of mind, marvellous vision and the ability to carry out what he wanted to do with the ball at his feet.

To that end, what has changed

Former LA Galaxy team-mate Chris Birchall said: “His speed has gone but that’s about it. His technical ability, his passing and his free-kicks are second-to-none and still up there.”

So, then, who might be interested

If he can deliver a ball, it might suggest that the two managers who contested Monday night’s Premier League dust-up at Upton Park might give the matter due thought.

With West Ham’s Andy Carroll to aim or – or Stoke City’s Peter Crouch – Beckham’s wonderful right foot would have little problem picking out either of those huge targets.

On my head: Andy Carroll (left) and Peter Crouch would benefit from Beckham's deliveries

On my head: Andy Carroll (left) and Peter Crouch would benefit from Beckham's deliveries

Moreover, the sight of Beckham at the east London club – although he’s not been a favourite of the East End crowd – would certainly appeal to those running the club.

The Beckham factor would ensure a sell-out crowd for the remainder of the season and that would surely appeal to Messers David Sullivan and David Gold, both of whom would seize upon the commercial spin-offs of having one of the most iconic figures in world football donning the claret and blue.

Alternatively, what about the Potters

Tony Pulis has done well to re-invent his team – trying to add a bit of quality with the arrival of Charlie Adam last summer – but Stoke remain tough, strong and decent from set-pieces.

With the likes of Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross to complement Crouch’s aerial presence, Beckham’s delivery would be equally welcome

Reunited Beckham could join Michael Owen at Stoke

Reunited Beckham could join Michael Owen at Stoke

Moreover, Pulis has been prepared in the past to give a home to ageing and ailing stars. He gambled on Jonathan Woodgate and was given 20-plus matches by the injury-prone former Real Madrid centre half in return.

(Although his equally bold flutter on fledgling horse racing trainer Michael Owen doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.)

If Beckham didn’t like the claret and blue of the Hammers, what about wearing the same colours at Villa Park

Paul Lambert has brought together a youthful team that is desperately searching for its’ way in the Premier League.

What better than Beckham to stand in the centre circle, directing proceedings, while the youngsters do all his running around him

Lambert desperately needs some quality in midfield and the sight of a consummate professional like the former England captain would give his own team the perfect role mode, as well as giving Villa Park a huge lift.

Mind you, Lambert has alienated all of his older players. Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Alan Hutton and Stephen Warnock are all out of favour.

Perhaps if he was dragged into that corner, Beckham would spend his time picking up huge sums of money for not producing much at all. He wouldn’t be the only one at Aston Villa at the moment, that’s for sure.

But this conjecture presupposes that Premier League managers still think that the 37-year-old could cut it at that level

Would he be prepared to take a step down to the Championship. And, if so, would there be anyone willing and capable of funding such an exercise

Possibly. What about Leicester City

The Foxes’ are owned by well-heeled Thais who arranged for the arrival of Real Madrid for a pre-season friendly two seasons ago.

That stunt cost the club a cool 1m and, with Leicester keen to make an impact in Thailand, what better way to demonstrate their ambitions than by bank-rolling such a move.

Big spender: Leicester City owner Vichai Raksriaksorn (left) could be interested in Beckham

Big spender: Leicester City owner Vichai Raksriaksorn (left) could be interested in Beckham

The east Midlands’ club is well sited and Beckham’s quality would certainly aid any club in that division – although with a hectic run of matches in a 46-game season’s slog, it could be tough going on those tired legs.

If all else fails, he could always give his former boss, Sir Alex Ferguson a call.

The Scot has taken Paul Scholes (38) out of retirement and rewarded Ryan Giggs (who turns 39 later this month) another year’s contract.

Beckham is positively young by comparison.

One thing’s for sure, Brand Beckham carries enormous clout and the news from California this morning will have had one or two chief executives reaching for their calculators.

Wherever he turns up next, as long as David Beckham retains the desire to play football, it seems there will always be someone willing to foot the bill.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic"s goal was not greatest ever scored – Des Kelly

Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored

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UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 16 November 2012

It certainly ranks among the most spectacular. It is undoubtedly one of the more acrobatic. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic's overhead kick isn't the 'greatest ever goal', not if we test it with any genuine measure of greatness.

No matter how loudly knees jerk on the underside of tables in the novelty of the moment, no matter how fast enthusiasts stampede on to social media websites to post their OMGs and little rows of exclamation marks, some perspective is always useful in these situations.

Which is why I was hugely surprised to see former England centre forward Alan Shearer and experienced commentator John Motson join the hysteria by committing themselves to the assertion that Ibrahimovic's goal deserved to be acclaimed as the No 1 international goal of all time.

Swede dreams: Zlatan's stunning 'propeller' kick heads goalwards during the friendly with England

Swede dreams: Zlatan's stunning 'propeller' kick heads goalwards during the friendly with England

More from Des Kelly…

Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode
09/11/12

Des Kelly: No Chelsea player heard Terry abuse Ferdinand… now they're blessed with the hearing of a piano tuner
02/11/12

Des Kelly: The finger of blame will only point at you, Roberto
26/10/12

Des Kelly: Now it is time for football's three monkeys to wise up
19/10/12

Des Kelly: Really, what are these people who support Armstrong on
12/10/12

Des Kelly: Terry affair must not derail battle to defeat racism… so let's stop the schism
28/09/12

Des Kelly: Forget the badge… it might have been you on that tragic day at Hillsborough
14/09/12

Des Kelly: These real diamonds can shine brightly on any stage
08/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

These are two experienced football men. One has played at the highest level. The other has seen three-and-a-half decades of top-flight football at close quarters.

Yet they still chose to raise Ibrahimovic above all others — and said so in print. Obviously, the pair's opinions are entirely subjective and, in these circumstances, who can say whether their verdicts are right or wrong

Me. And I say they are both horribly wrong.

For starters, we suspect Shearer might not be telling the complete truth in his newspaper column when he claims: 'I was sat watching the match with friends up in Scotland and as soon as the goal went in we all stood up and applauded. I have never seen anything like it.’

Oh really We're supposed to believe Scots just clapped their hands when Ibrahimovic's fourth went in

I have seen friends in Scotland who will give the TV a standing ovation if an England player merely lets the ball bobble over the touchline to concede a throw.

When an opposition striker does something monumental like actually scoring against the Auld Enemy they don't so much offer a smattering of applause, as light beacons on the surrounding hills, smear themselves in woad and march south to point pale Caledonian buttocks in the general direction of the lions in Trafalgar Square.

Shearer goes on to add: 'Can you imagine what people would have been saying if Ibrahimovic had got it wrong'

Yes, let's imagine. I'd say the remarks would have been along the lines of:

'Who cares, the bloke's already scored a hat-trick.''It's the last minute of injury time and it’s only a friendly.' Or,'Ibrahimovic was being marked by Ryan Shawcross at the end. I'm surprised he didn't shoot every time he touched the ball.'

That is not to say Ibrahimovic's goal was anything other than wonderful. I was watching with my brother in the local pub when the Swedish striker's effort set off on its unerring arc into the net. We let out a yelp of astonishment and then laughed at the sheer audacity of it all.

But lest anyone persist with the tedious idea that we had all witnessed The Greatest Goal Ever Seen (copyright all newspapers), perhaps we might recall where the goalkeeper was when this drama unfolded.

I'll give you a clue. He wasn't too far from where I was standing on the night. He certainly wasn't where he should have been.

The goalkeeper was not keeping goal, as his job title might suggest. Joe Hart was standing outside the penalty area, looking foolish when the ball flew in. All Hart was 'keeping' was his defenders' company, having made a complete hash of a headed clearance. The fact that Ibrahimovic took advantage of this with such invention is to be commended, but it detracts from the 'greatness' somewhat.

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic's goal was one to savour, but certainly not in the 'greatest ever' bracket

There is also a more important asterisk to add when people start throwing accolades around with the kind of reckless abandon usually reserved for Katie Price's wedding confetti.

Ibrahimovic's goal does not belong among the truly great goals for one obvious reason. It didn't really matter.

Legendary goals illuminate major tournaments, like Diego Maradona's scintillating run against England at the 1986 World Cup, Marco van Basten's volley against the Soviet Union at the 1988 European Championship, Dennis Bergkamp's brilliance against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup and Carlos Alberto's strike for Brazil in 1970.

These weren't instances of hopeful showboating at the end of a kickabout friendly. They were not scored against an array of stand-ins and international wannabes. They were sublime acts of genius produced under intense pressure at the very highest level of competition.

If Roger Federer plays an outrageous service return through his legs at an exhibition match, he receives a round of applause for his daring. But he doesn't often try it during a Grand Slam final.

Equally, Kobe Bryant might elect to fire at the hoop from the halfway line in a regular season romp, but he won't often take the risk in an NBA finals clincher.

Greatest Bergkamp's strike against Argentina deserves to be considered as one the best ever

Greatest Bergkamp's strike against Argentina deserves to be considered as one the best ever

He might. True greats can produce that when it matters. But Ibrahimovic’s goal was scored in the luxury of knowing that whether or not he succeeded, it was going to be ornamental garnish on a ceremonial occasion.

So yes, it was good. Beautiful, even. But it was for show, not substance. And since we spend most of our time saying international friendlies are essentially meaningless affairs, it seems contradictory to now place great significance on what actually occurs during one.

That goal was only ‘The Greatest’ in the same way Simon Cowell would tell an X Factor dullard their Beatles cover was ‘the greatest’ he’d heard — in that series.

In fact we use the word ‘great’ so often we strip away it’s meaning. But it is still possible to enjoy Ibrahimovic’s magnificence without joining the clamour to declare it must be the very best.

Particularly as it clearly was not.

Frankel's getting juicy

What is the most expensive liquid in the world

It's not petrol, although it might feel that way every time you pull into the garage forecourt. It's not crude oil, either. The most exquisite perfume doesn’t even come close.

Many believe it is printer ink since a basic 10ml cartridge costs about 40, which works out at around 7,000 a gallon.

But then I heard that the stud fees of superhorse Frankel would be 125,000 a time. That is a seriously expensive fluid.

Hey, stud! Frankel's fortunes will be made off the track, not on it

Hey, stud! Frankel's fortunes will be made off the track, not on it

With 100 mares to 'cover' each year, the unbeaten thoroughbred's efforts should bring a return of more than 12million per annum.

On the grounds of good taste, I won't go into all of the calculations, but this means Frankel's contribution to the equine gene pool works out at approximately 5.6m per gallon.

I believe the figure is right, but I can't guarantee it as I began to feel somewhat queasy halfway through doing the maths.

RVP's motor mistake

When John Terry parked his Bentley in a disabled bay and headed off to a pizza restaurant, he was derided as an ignorant, inconsiderate, arrogant oaf and held up as epitomising all that was negative about the attitude of the modern footballer.

So Robin van Persie cannot escape similar criticism after he dumped his Audi in a blue badge bay at Manchester airport for two days.

We were told Van Persie had made a 'mistake'. Indeed he had, although it cannot have been an accidental one, since there were plenty of signs and yellow warning boxes surrounding the bays.

Van Persie could not have missed all the paraphernalia. Amazingly, RVP (Rude Vehicle Parked) wasn't given a ticket, clamped or towed like any other member of the public would undoubtedly have been. It's a badge of dishonour for the player and Manchester Airport.

Crazy Gang should revel in rise

In years past I spent a few formative years covering the Crazy Gang's mad exploits and still bear some of the scars. I'll save the worst tales for my autobiography.

So I understand the deep significance of the FA Cup grudge match between the Milton Keynes Dons 'franchise' and the AFC Wimbledon outfit that angry fans created to fill the void left by their displaced club.

On course for revenge: AFC Wimbledon face MK Dons in the FA Cup

On course for revenge: AFC Wimbledon face MK Dons in the FA Cup

They meet in a fortnight in the second round and already MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has said AFC don't have any right to the FA Cup Wimbledon won in 1988 — just to make the MK Dons appear more unpopular, perhaps.

Some AFC fans are considering a boycott to show their enduring disgust at the manner in which they were betrayed eight years ago. That would be foolish. Far better to revel in the rise of their reformed club. And who knows They might exact the sweetest revenge of all.

Meddling lawyer has made a right Herbert of himself

Did you see it fly over everyone’s head No, not that goal. I'm referring to the complaint made to the Metropolitan Police by Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers.

The Met kicked his protest out of the park. What a humiliation it was for Herbert, who is so keen to be taken seriously yet seems to leave an overwhelming impression that he is undermining his cause with frivolous meddling.

Herbert's decision to report an allegation that referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused a Chelsea player, even though he hadn't been present, heard nothing and possessed no additional information, was dismissed as expected.

Scotland Yard announced 'no action would be taken — because no victims came forward'.

Herbert took his slapdown with a notable lack of grace. 'It would appear that there is a cosy little agreement between Chelsea FC and the FA,' he said.

No case to answer: Police have dropped the investigation into Clattenburg

No case to answer: Police have dropped the investigation into Clattenburg

That will be the same 'cosy little agreement' that saw the FA punish the Chelsea captain for his racist remarks, when a courtroom full of highly paid lawyers couldn't make any charge stick.

Herbert went on to insist the FA were 'institutionally racist' and said he would go crying to the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, instead.

With crashing understatement, FA chairman David Bernstein responded by calling Herbert's comments 'ill-informed and unhelpful'.

Quite. Perhaps the FA could establish whether Herbert might be sued for that 'racist' smear, as well as the suggestion of a cover-up Clattenburg could also have reason to pursue some action, with possible charges relating to the filing of a malicious allegation to consider.

Herbert appears very keen to keep the lawyers busy. It might not be quite as he envisaged, but it seems he could get his wish.

Leave it out, Lance

Lance Armstrong posed provocatively for a photo sprawled out beneath seven yellow Tour de France winners' jerseys, the symbols of his victories now struck from the record books.

The drug cheat tweeted a caption with it that said: 'Just layin' around'. 'Just lying,' would have covered it.

Just lyin' around: Armstrong with six of his seven Yellow Jerseys

Just lyin' around: Armstrong with six of his seven Yellow Jerseys

Steven Gerrard a doubt for England

Gerrard's 100th England cap in doubt as captain undergoes scan on knee injury

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UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 12 November 2012

Steven Gerrard may have to wait to make his 100th appearance for England after picking up a knee injuring during Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The midfielder will have a scan this afternoon to determine the extent of the knock but the captain is expected to travel to Sweden for the friendly in Stockholm.

Gerrard picked up the injury after a collision with Fernando Torres midway through the second half at Stamford Bridge.

Stricken: Steven Gerrard will have a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Stricken: Steven Gerrard will have a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Doubt: Steven Gerrard picked up a knee injury against Chelsea on Sunday
England's centurions

Peter Shilton (125 caps)

David Beckham (115 caps)

Bobby Moore (108 caps)

Bobby Charlton (106 caps)

Billy Wright (105 caps)

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is hopeful Gerrard will be fit to join a prestigious list of England centurions but will be unlikely to want him risked if he is not 100 per cent fit.

'I think Steven will be alright,' Rodgers told Liverpool's official website. 'He has just opened up his medial ligament a bit. He has got some ice on his knee and we'll find out the full extent later on.'

England boss Roy Hodgson's plans for the friendly have been hit by a string of withdrawals, Gerrard's team-mate Jonjo Shelvey among them.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge paid tribute to Gerrard, saying: 'He is a great player and has been fantastic with me when I've been in the squad.

'If you ask any midfielder who has played against him they will say he's a great player. For them to say he is such a great player and to be on 99 caps is a huge achievement and hopefully he will win his 100th cap on Wednesday.'

Danny Welbeck

Joe Hart

Swede dreams: Danny Welbeck and Joe Hart will be in the travelling party bound for Stockholm

At the other end of the experience spectrum, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has been called into the senior squad for the first time, and Sturridge has already been impressed by what he has seen.

'I've watched him a few times, he is very talented and looked sharp in training today,' Sturridge added. 'He has a lot of skills and I am looking forward to playing with him.

'I think it's a great vote of
confidence from the manager to pick him even though he's playing in the
championship. I'm sure that's given him a lot of confidence.'

England leaving hotel

Wilfried Zaha

On their way: England players leave their hotel, including Wilfried Zaha (right) who earned his first call

As for his own position, Sturridge admitted it can be frustrating to not play as often as he would like for Chelsea, but is grateful for the opportunity to show England manager Roy Hodgson what he is capable of.

'It's a lot more difficult when you
are not playing regularly but I try to train well and as hard as I can
and just wait for the opportunities,' he added. 'I am thankful for the
manager choosing me and giving me the showcase to show what I am capable
of.

'When he got the job he made it clear it
was not always about players who are starting for the team and if he
believes in you he will choose you for his squad.'

Raheem Sterling

Roy Hodgson

Hopes: Raheem Sterling (left) will win his first cap if he is given the nod by manager Roy Hodgson (right)

Everton's Leon Osman is in the senior
squad for the first time at the age of 31, but the midfielder insisted
he had never fully given up hope of being called up.

'You always (have the) desire to play
for your country and I was still hopeful,' Osman said. 'I had stopped
worrying or looking for my name in the squad every time, but I didn't
give up hope.

'I am feeling good at the minute, I am
enjoying it and pleased that the form I have shown for Everton has been
recognised. To find ourselves fourth and playing probably the best
football at the club for a good number of years has played a big part
(in my selection).

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

'It's strange to be a rookie but have more experience than some of the others but I'm enjoying it so far. Hopefully, I can bring a bit of maturity and experience to the team.'

Asked about the extent of his England ambitions, Osman added: 'I have developed late but it's great to be here and hopefully I will be able to get one cap; but if I get one I will want two, if I get two I will want four.'

Rory McIlroy payday with Tiger Woods could cost him Race to Dubai glory

Rory payday with Woods could cost him Race to Dubai glory with Hanson closing in

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 28 October 2012

Rory McIlroy will pocket a $2million cheque just for playing an 18-hole exhibition match at Zhengzhou in central China with his rival at the top of the world rankings, Tiger Woods.

However, while it will boost his army of worldwide fans, it could turn out to be a very short-term gain for the Ulsterman’s kudos and bank balance.

For in choosing to play with the American, McIlroy has opted out of the big-money HSBC Champions WGC which starts in southern China on Thursday.

Second best: Rory McIlroy lost out in the final round of the BMW Maasters in Shanghai

Second best: Rory McIlroy lost out in the final round of the BMW Maasters in Shanghai

As the 23-year-old jets off to Bulgaria later in the week to watch his tennis-star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki playing in the last WTA event of the year, a severe blow could be dealt to McIlroy’s one remaining ambition of an amazing year.

He wants to win both Europe’s Race to Dubai money list and top the US Tour’s earnings table to sit alongside his brilliant eight-shot major victory in the US PGA Championship in August.

But while he sits watching tennis in Sofia, his new main rival in the Race to Dubai, Swede Peter Hanson, will be in action at Mission Hills.

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson (left) took the glory in China after holding off the world No 1

Swede dreams: Peter Hanson (left) took the glory in China after holding off the world No 1

Furthermore, after producing a tension-packed one-shot victory over McIlroy to pocket a 721,000 winner’s cheque at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, Hanson believes he is capable of producing one of the golfing upsets of the season.

‘I am playing some of my best golf ever,’ said Hanson. ‘I am just living the dream, having gone out there and beaten Rory playing in the last group. Now I am second in the Race to Dubai and have a chance of winning it.

Nice work if you can get it: Tiger Woods is set to take on McIlroy in an exhibition match at Zhengzhou

Nice work if you can get it: Tiger Woods is set to take on McIlroy in an exhibition match at Zhengzhou

‘Obviously, I will need a good week at the HSBC but I have the chance and will sit down with my management and discuss adding the Singapore Open the following week to my schedule.’

Banking his runners-up cheque for 481,702, McIlroy actually increased his Race to Dubai lead to 660,288. But he now only plans to play two more events — the Hong Kong Open and the Dubai WGC, while Hanson is considering playing four tournaments with total prize-money of around 18m up for grabs.

Dougie Freedman set for Bolton as Crystal Palace eye Steve Coppell reunion

Freedman is Bolton bound as Crystal Palace court former manager Coppell

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 22 October 2012

Bolton offered Dougie Freedman a three-year deal worth 1.5million to become their new boss on Monday night as Crystal Palace look to offer Steve Coppell a fifth stint at the club.

Palace had put out a statement earlier in the day rejecting Bolton's approach for Freedman, but changed their stance once the 38-year-old Scot made it clear that he wanted to leave Selhurst Park.

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman is enduring a stellar campaign at Selhurst Park

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman is enjoying a stellar campaign so far

FREEDMAN FACTFILE

November 2007 – Appointed Crystal Palace reserve team manager while still playing for first-team

March 2010 – Retires from football, ending a 16-year career including two spells at Palace spanning 10 years

March 2010 – Returns to Palace as assistant to Paul Hart with the club in administration

June 2010 – Retained as Palace No 2 following George Burley's appointment as manager

January 2011 – Named Palace manager after being initially appointed as caretaker following Burley's New Year's Day sacking

May 2011 – Palace finish six points clear of relegation in 20th place having been 23rd and three points adrift when Freedman took over

November 2011 – Guides Palace to a memorable Carling Cup win at Manchester United

January 2012 – Palace narrowly miss out on a trip to Wembley after being beaten on penalties in their Carling Cup semi-final tie against Cardiff

May 2012 – Palace finish 17th in Championship

September 2012 – Named Championship manager of the month after picking up 13 points from a possible 15 and guiding Palace to fourth place

Palace playing career: Games 360 Goals 106

Managerial record: P90 W32 D27 L31 W%35.56

Sportsmail understands Bolton made contact with Palace on Saturday night before making their interest formal.

Palace owner Steve Parish is now considering a move for Coppell once Freedman's move has been ratified.

Parish is keen on including Coppell in a new-look football managerial set-up, though not necessarily as the club's next boss.

There could also be a role for ex-Palace striker Mark Bright, who works for the BBC.

Whether Coppell, who is director of football at Crawley Town, is keen on a return to Palace remains to be seen.

Caretaker boss Jimmy Phillips will be
in charge for Bolton's game at Wolves on Tuesday night but Freedman,
who was handed his first managerial job by Palace in January 2011, could
be in place for Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough.

Neighbours Blackburn suffered another
setback in their hunt for a successor to Steve Kean when Fulham refused
a request to speak to their first-team coach Billy McKinlay.

Blackburn have switched their sights to McKinlay after failing to prise Tim Sherwood, also an ex-Rovers player, from Tottenham.

Fulham insist they will allow
McKinlay to speak with Blackburn only once a compensation package has
been agreed, but the Championship club hope that McKinlay will force the
issue.

The 43-year-old Scot would bring in former Rovers striker Chris Sutton as his right-hand man.

Reunion: Crystal Palace have offered Coppell a sixth stint at the club

Reunion: Crystal Palace could offer Coppell a sixth stint at the club

Bolton make approach for Dougie Freedman

EXCLUSIVE: Bolton make official approach for Crystal Palace boss Freedman

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UPDATED:

09:07 GMT, 22 October 2012

Bolton have made an official approach for Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman.

The Lancashire club have pinpointed the Scot as their No 1 choice to replace Owen Coyle, who was sacked after the club's disappointing start to the Championship season.

And Bolton have made contact with the south London club for permission to hold talks with Freedman over becoming the club's next manager.

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman is enduring a stellar campaign at Selhurst Park

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman is enjoying a stellar campaign so far

FREEDMAN FACTFILE

November 2007 – Appointed Crystal Palace reserve team manager while still playing for first-team

March 2010 – Retires from football, ending a 16-year career including two spells at Palace spanning 10 years

March 2010 – Returns to Palace as assistant to Paul Hart with the club in administration

May 2010 – Palace escape relegation from the Championship on the final day at Sheffield Wednesday

June 2010 – Retained as Palace No 2 following George Burley's appointment as manager

January 2011 – Appointed Palace manager after being initially appointed as caretaker following Burley's New Year's Day sacking

May 2011 – Palace finish six points clear of relegation in 20th place having been 23rd and three points adrift when Freedman took over

November 2011 – Guides Palace to a memorable Carling Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United at Old Trafford

January 2012 – Palace narrowly miss out on a trip to Wembley after being beaten on penalties in their Carling Cup semi-final tie against Cardiff

May 2012 – Palace finish 17th in Championship

September 2012 – Named Championship manager of the month after picking up 13 points from a possible 15 and guiding Palace to fourth place

Palace playing career: Games 360 Goals 106

Managerial record:
P90 W32 D27 L31 W%35.56

No decision has yet be taken by Palace owner Steve Parish with regards Bolton's approach.

Freedman has just six months left on
his current contract at Selhurst Park and has yet to be offered a new
one – despite the club's excellent start to the season.

Palace will struggle to match the three year 500,000-per-season three-year deal Bolton are willing to offer Freedman.

But Freedman's love for Palace is such that he would consider signing a new contract at Selhurst Park as long as it is clear the club are willing to do all they can to keep him.

Palace are on the brink of something special after Freedman guided them to six wins in their last eight matches.

It will be a huge wrench for Freedman to quit Palace after an incredible career with the club, but Bolton have put a long-term contract offer on the table with the addition of a massive promotion bonus.

The former Palace striker, who has hero status among supporters at Selhurst Park, has taken the club into the play-off positions after losing their opening three league games.

He has built his own team at Palace and is convinced they can push for promotion to the Barclays Premier League this season.

Bolton put him on their list to replace Coyle after the Eagles pulled off a stunning win at the Reebok in September.

Palace travel to Barnsley for a Championship fixture on Tuesday, but Bolton are pressing the young boss for a swift decision.

They want an immediate return to the Premier League after they were relegated under Coyle last term.

Freedman replaced George Burley as manager in 2011 and performed a miracle to keep the club in the Championship.

Hunt: Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is looking for a replacement for Owen Coyle

Hunt: Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is looking for a replacement for Owen Coyle

Last season he became one of the hottest managerial prospects in the game when he masterminded Palace's stunning Carling Cup win against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

This season Palace have recovered from a disappointing start and boast the best young player in the division in Wilfried Zaha.

The winger is now an England Under 21 international and has developed into one of the biggest prospects in the game under Freedman's guidance.