Tag Archives: driving

Marouane Fellaini banned for three matches for Ryan Shawcross headbutt

Fellaini banned for three matches after accepting violent conduct charge for Shawcross headbutt

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 17 December 2012

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been banned for three matches after accepting a charge of violent conduct for his clash with Stoke's Ryan Shawcross.

The Football Association brought the charge retrospectively after reviewing footage of Everton's 1-1 draw with Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Fellaini and Everton accepted the
charge, little surprise considering the player had already apologised
and his manager David Moyes also condemned the incident, meaning he will
miss the Toffees' next three games.

Headbutt: Fellaini makes contact with Stoke skipper Shawcross

Headbutt: Fellaini makes contact with Stoke skipper Shawcross

The games he will miss…

West Ham (away), Saturday, December 22

Wigan (home), Wednesday, December 26

Chelsea (home), Sunday, December 30

The ban is the equivalent of what the 25-year-old would have received had referee Mark Halsey seen the incident at the Britannia Stadium and issued a red card.

Fellaini will now miss Everton's Christmas fixtures against West Ham, Wigan and Chelsea and will not be available again until the trip to Newcastle on January 2.

A statement from the FA also referred
to two other clashes between Fellaini and Shawcross at the Britannia
Stadium but Halsey has confirmed he saw both and did not consider them
violent conduct.

Fellaini's absence will be sorely felt by Everton after an inspirational first half of the season.

The
Belgium international has scored eight goals and been the driving force
of a team currently fifth in the table and pushing for a Champions
League place.

Floored: Shawcross was left in a heap after the incident

Floored: Shawcross was left in a heap after the incident

The FA's statement read: 'The FA has charged Everton's Marouane Fellaini retrospectively with violent conduct following his side's game at Stoke City on Saturday 15 December, 2012.

'The charge is in relation to an incident in the 59th minute involving Fellaini and Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross, which was not seen by the match officials, but caught on video.

'The referee confirmed that he saw two further incidents in the 71st and 91st minutes, also involving Fellaini and Shawcross, neither of which he deemed to be violent conduct.'

A report on Everton's website confirmed that the Merseyside club would accept the charge.

Fellaini issued a statement after the game apologising for his actions.

He said: 'I apologise completely to Ryan Shawcross, my team mates and to our fans at the game.There was a lot of pushing and pulling going on inside the Stoke penalty area and I didn't feel I was getting any protection from the officials.

Fall from grace: Fellaini was named Premier League player of the month for November

Fall from grace: Fellaini was named Premier League player of the month for November

'Nevertheless I know I shouldn't have done what I did.

'I have also apologised to the manager and the staff. I have no excuses, I was disappointed with the way I was being treated and I lost my temper, which was unprofessional of me.'

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, gave credit Fellaini for his apology and to Moyes, who said he expected punishment.

Taylor said: 'It is good to see the lad has apologised for his actions.

'It is disappointing, he has had a great season and obviously it is an aberration.

'It was refreshing to hear the manager accept what he did was wrong and for the player to apologise. He's prepared to accept what comes his way.'

Lewis Hamilton says fond farwell to McLaren on last official outing

Tears shed as Hamilton says fond farewell to McLaren on last official outing… and he does not rule out emotional return

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UPDATED:

13:22 GMT, 11 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton left the door open to a possible return to McLaren after saying an emotional farewell to the F1 team.

Tears were shed as the British driver hugged his colleagues and thanked them for their support during his last official official outing.

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

End of the road: Lewis Hamilton on his last official outing with McLaren

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Sad ending: Tears were shed as Hamilton made emotional farewell

Hamilton, who will join Mercedes in January, took part in a demonstration event in Malta at the weekend, his last drive in a McLaren car.

And the 2008 World Champion did not rule out a return to the Woking-based outfit in the future.

'My time at McLaren has been fantastic,' he told staff at the
McLaren Technology Centre.

'When I arrived in Formula One in 2007, I now
realise I never really grasped what I was taking on. Ron [Dennis] had
told me: “Don't be surprised if you're 0.5sec slower than Fernando
[Alonso]”, and I just smiled because I knew it wouldn't be the case.
But, even so, that year was very hard, for many reasons.

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Driving seat: Hamilton took part in a demonstration event in Malta

Can't stop partying: Instead of having a night in after a hectic weekend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger shows up to the premiere with Lewis Hamilton in tow

Night out: Hamilton and girlfriend, X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, at the Jack Reacher premiere in Leicester Square on Monday

'You were brilliant – you still are. I have so much affection and love
for this team. And that's why McLaren has always felt like home,' he
added.

McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael admitted Hamilton's departure would be 'a loss to McLaren' but the team will 'move on quickly'.

Hamilton leaves to join Mercedes following six seasons with the team in Formula One and a further seven as part of the team's driver development programme.

'Of course it's a loss to McLaren but just like if anybody leaves, whether it's a driver – there have been some very big, famous names leave McLaren before in terms of drivers – and you don't dwell on it,' Michael told James Allen on F1. 'You move on quickly because Formula One's all about change management.”

Michael also said that Hamilton leaves on good terms.

'I think the whole team gets on very well with Lewis, and we still do. He's a great guy, he's a fantastic racing driver; he's possibly the quickest driver on the grid at the moment in terms of pure natural talent.'

Hamilton is backing Sebastian Vettel to maintain his stranglehold on the Formula One drivers’ championship for a fourth successive season.

Hamilton, who has left McLaren to race for Mercedes in the coming campaign, admitted he expects the combination of Vettel’s pace and the genius of Red Bull’ s chief designer Adrian Newey to be unbeatable once more.

‘It's going to be hard to beat Sebastian next year,’ Hamilton said. ‘I think Sebastian's going to have another amazing car. The car he had this year was fantastic. It's going to be an evolution of that next year. Adrian only seems to get better with age; I think he's going to do something pretty special next year as well.’

Laid back: Lewis looked rather coy as he relaxed in the back of his car and headed home

Back seat driver: Lewis looked relaxed as he headed home

Hamilton faces an uphill battle to
turn Mercedes into frontrunners next year but is eagerly anticipating
racing for his new team – even if he is forced to battle in the
midfield.

Hamilton added: ‘I like that people
know that I'm a racer and I'm a winner. But it doesn't matter where you
are on the grid, you can still race. But I want to win – of course.
That's my goal. I can't wait to get my hands on the team and the car and
just try to work as quickly as possible.

‘It doesn't matter how many days, how
many hours it takes. I'm willing to put all the effort in. I feel like
I've got a new breath of life in me, so I'm ready for it.’

Meanwhile Hamilton’s former teammate, Jenson Button, is looking forward
to being the main focus at McLaren now that he is sharing the garage
with Mexican youngster Sergio Perez.

Button said of his team leader status: ‘It's not the first time I've
done that. When I got to BAR and Jacques [Villeneuve] left it was
exactly the same situation.

‘I was there to lead the team and it's something I really look forward
to and it's something where the best comes out of me in that situation.’

Determined to drive the design process of next year’s car in a direction
which can give him a machine capable of consistently challenge the
likes of Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Button added: ‘I can
really build that team around me and direct the team in a direction I
like with the car.

‘We all drive differently and have different styles. For me, I need a
car I can develop beneath me and feel comfortable in. If the car feels
neutral and unbalanced it doesn't work for me.

‘I need to develop a car and engineer a car in a position that feels
comfortable for me, and I don't think anyone can do a better job than I
can in that position. The problem for me is if I can't get the car there
I do struggle more than some.'

Manchester derby XI: Martin Keown picks Wayne Rooney but leaves out Sergio Aguero

Rooney in midfield and Aguero dropped… City have the edge in composite XI ahead of Manchester derby

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UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 7 December 2012

Sunday’s Manchester derby is going to be incredibly close and when you try to pick a combined Manchester XI you can see why. I’ve had a go from the players likely to be available this weekend and some of the decisions were very tough.

Lining up in a 4-4-2 formation, this is my team.

GOALKEEPER

JOE HART — Not only is he arguably the best in the Premier League, he has to get the nod as United don’t have a keeper who plays regularly. We don’t know who their No 1 is.

No 1: Manchester City's Joe Hart has established himself for both club and country

No 1: Manchester City's Joe Hart has established himself for both club and country

DEFENCE

PABLO ZABALETA — I’m a big fan of the injured Micah Richards but Zabaleta will surely play in this game and I like him. He’s dependable and the sort of player you win titles with. You can’t have enough of those players in your team.

RIO FERDINAND — He is quietly going about his business at the moment. United are conceding goals but he’s not to blame for them when you watch back the tapes. That’s always a good sign.

Manchester United's English defender Rio Ferdinand

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany

Solid: Rio Ferdinand (left) and Vincent Kompany would form a potent partnership at the heart of the defence

VINCENT KOMPANY — Matija Nastasic looks like a good player and one for future but Kompany has to make this team. He’s a winner and a Rolls Royce defender, even if he’s made a couple of errors this season. He’s a real leader and the side’s driving force.

PATRICE EVRA — He just about edges out
Gael Clichy because of his experience and steel. He does sometimes
struggle though against left-footers who cut inside. It happened last
week when he faced Hal Robson-Kanu of Reading.

MARTIN KEOWN'S COMPOSITE MANCHESTER XI…

4-4-2: Hart (City); Zabaleta (City), Ferdinand (United), Kompany (City), Evra (United); Valencia (United), Rooney (United), Toure (City), Silva (City); Van Persie (United), Tevez (City)

At full stretch: Patrice Evra has been one of the most consistent left backs in the Premier League

At full stretch: Patrice Evra has been one of the most consistent left backs in the Premier League

MIDFIELD

ANTONIO VALENCIA — The Ecuadorian has good legs and gets up and down the wing, offering protection for his full-back as well as a threat going forward. One criticism is that he is obsessed with beating the full-back sometimes and needs to link better with the front men instead. He just needs to show a little more imagination.

YAYA TOURE — Toure is a powerhouse and the another driving force for City. He’s a lovely guy too. You do notice in his body language though when things aren’t quite right at the club.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Yaya Toure of Manchester City

Midfield dynamos: Wayne Rooney (left) would bring his attacking flair alongside Yaya Toure

WAYNE ROONEY — He is increasingly looking like a young Paul Scholes, playing in a deeper position. The players who survive under Sir Alex Ferguson adapt to playing in different positions over time. Rooney is excelling doing just that.

DAVID SILVA — City miss him when he’s not there. The Spaniard nits everything together, comes off the line to good effect and threads passes.

Main man: David Silva (left) is the architect behind Manchester City's attacking flair

Main man: David Silva (left) is the architect behind Manchester City's attacking flair

ATTACK

CARLOS TEVEZ — He gets the nod ahead of his fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero because he is a real matchwinner. City should find a way of trusting him a bit more and giving him a run of games. When he’s on fire, he finds a way to win matches.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE — The first name on this teamsheet. He is unstoppable and has got United out of so many holes this season. One of Europe’s best.

Carlos Tevez

Manchester United's Robin van Persie

Driving force: A pairing of Carlos Tevez (left) and Robin van Persie would be a defender's nightmare

Spurs wizard Gareth Bale shows off his new trick shot – video

Spurs wizard Bale shows off his new trick shot… on the golf course

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 5 December 2012

Spurs winger Gareth Bale is revered for his deft touch, mazy dribbles and silky skills – and his ball juggling on the golf course is not bad either.

The Welsh wizard, who shares 11 as his squad number and golf handicap, is regular on the golf course with team-mates Michael Dawson, Carlo Cudicini and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

And Bale finished off a recent session at the driving range with a trick shot.

Watch the video

Bale mimicked Tiger Woods famous Nike advert by juggling the ball on an iron before smashing it down the range on the half volley.

But he may need a little bit more practice before he is really a match for Tiger.

Watch the video

Olympic Stadium bid: West Ham set to win

West Ham winning race for Olympic Stadium with club set to be announced as preferred bidder

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UPDATED:

07:40 GMT, 29 November 2012

West Ham are set to be named as the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium next week amid fresh efforts to plug the gap in funding required to convert the venue into a football ground.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) board is meeting on December 5 and sources close to the process say it is expected that the football club will be given a major step towards become the stadium's tenants.

Preferred bidder status will not involve the signing of any contracts but will put West Ham in the driving seat to securing a new home under a 99-year lease.

Up for auction: West Ham are the favourites for the Olympic Stdaium (above)

Up for auction: West Ham are the favourites for the Olympic Stdaium (above)

The funding gap for converting the stadium into a football ground with retractable seating over the running track is understood to now be down to around 20million after West Ham and Newham Council agreed to put in more money.

There is now set to be further efforts to secure the final outstanding cash with approaches to the Treasury and the London mayor's office.

Even so, the total cost will be at least 160million and one lingering fear is that those costs could spiral in the future, with a key element of future negotiations being who would underwrite any such increases.

The Hammers are one of four bidders hoping to be chosen as the new anchor tenant for the Olympic Stadium, which has cost 486million so far and has been vacant since hosting the closing ceremony to the Paralympics at the start of September.

The Barclays Premier League club are
competing against npower League One side Leyton Orient, a football
business college and a group keen to bring Formula One racing to the
Olympic Park.

Funding gap: The stadium will need to be converted

Funding gap: The stadium will need to be converted

West Ham's latest offer is believed to be a 15m upfront contribution, a 5million improvement on the original offer, as well as rent of 2.5m a year and 6m-a-year income for the LLDC from stadium naming rights and catering revenues.

The LLDC confirmed this month that the stadium will not re-open until 2015 at the earliest and possibly the summer of 2016 – which would be two years later than expected.

The delay was branded 'a farce' by UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner – his organisation had planned events such as Diamond League meetings, trials and school competitions from 2014 and is hosting the 2017 world championships.

Warner said two weeks ago: 'All of the legacy use was scheduled to start in two years' time and now it might be four years' time which strikes me as ludicrous and to be a paralysis of decision-making which I hope the mayor [Boris Johnson] is going to cut through.

'I wouldn't say this is a Whitehall farce but this is fast becoming a Stratford farce.'

Alonso"s fears grow as Ferrari title hopeful finishes eighth fastest in Brazil final practice

Alonso fears grow as Ferrari title hopeful finishes eighth fastest in Brazil final practice

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UPDATED:

15:28 GMT, 24 November 2012

Ferrari's concerns are certain to be growing in the wake of Fernando Alonso slipping to a lowly eighth in the final Formula One practice session of the year.

Alonso's world title hopes are resting on a knife-edge going into the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix tomorrow, with the Spaniard 13 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel.

He's behind you: Fernando Alonso is pursued by Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos

He's behind you: Fernando Alonso is pursued by Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos

Working on it: Ferrari attend to Fernando Alonso's car in final practice

Working on it: Ferrari attend to Alonso's car in final practice

The 31-year-old needs to qualify high on the grid in his Ferrari to give himself a fighting chance of overhauling Vettel, both on track at Interlagos and in the championship standings.

But Alonso found himself half a second adrift of pacesetter Jenson Button in his McLaren, the Briton setting a blistering lap of one minute 13.188secs to edge out Vettel and keep his team on top.

The 25-year-old German was just 0.057secs adrift of Button and 0.140secs ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, with Lewis Hamilton in close attendance to the Australian in his McLaren.

In the driving seat: Sebastian Vettel is favourite to win his third straight world title

In the driving seat: Sebastian Vettel is favourite to win his third straight world title

In the driving seat: Sebastian Vettel is favourite to win his third straight world title

Hamilton, in his final race for the Woking-based marque before he moves to Mercedes on a three-year deal from next season, had been quickest in both of Friday's sessions.

But in the closing hour-long run ahead of qualifying the 27-year-old had to play second fiddle to Button as he was two tenths of a second off the pace.

Crucially for Alonso, Lotus and Force India appear to have found some speed as Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg relegated the double world champion into that eighth place.

Emotional scenes: Lewis Hamilton will be competing in his final race for McLaren

Emotional scenes: Lewis Hamilton will be competing in his final race for McLaren

In fine fettle: Jenson Button was fastest in final practice

In fine fettle: Jenson Button was fastest in final practice

Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa were also hot on Alonso's heels, which could make for a nervy qualifying session for the 31-year-old.

In the second Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen endured further trouble after encountering niggly issues on Friday, the Finn finishing bottom of the standings and failing to set a time after he coasted to a halt with engine trouble.

Mercedes, meanwhile, slipped to 12th and 15th via Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, the latter inconspicuous in his last practice outing before retiring for a second time, finishing 1.1secs down.

Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald set for Sunday showdown in Dubai

Duel in Dubai! McIlroy and Donald set for Sunday showdown on European Tour season finale

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 24 November 2012

It is hard to think of a more fitting climax to this fabulous golfing year than the two best players in the world going head-to-head in the final group of the final event, the DP World Tour Championship.

For No 1 Rory McIlroy, it is the chance to put yet more gloss on a season that has seen him win the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic and claim his second major, the USPGA Championship, in record-breaking fashion.

For Luke Donald, it is an opportunity to close the gap at the top and claim an impressive fourth title for the second consecutive season.

Driving seat: But Rory McIlroy is not alone at the top of the leaderboard

Driving seat: But Rory McIlroy is not alone at the top of the leaderboard

DP World Tour Championship

Click here for the full leaderboard

The odds favour McIlroy. Not only is
he the better player but, with its extravagant length and considerable
carries, this course offers a considerable advantage to anyone who can
hit it miles off the tee – and McIlroy can outdrive Donald by up to 75
yards.

But don’t rule out the stylish Englishman, who completed one incredible feat on Saturday and is closing in on another.

Donald, if you can believe this, has
now played 100 holes on this Earth Course measuring over 7,500 yards
without a single bogey.

The fabulous ton is made up of 68 pars and 32 birdies.

He finished last year’s tournament
with three 66s and has followed it here with rounds of 65, 69 and 66 to
tie McIlroy on 17 under par.

f Donald goes bogey-free on Sunday,
he will also become the first man to complete a European Tour event
without a blemish since the Swede Jesper Parnevik won the Scandinavian
Masters in 1995.

Just to emphasise its rarity, no man in America has played 72 holes without a bogey since Lee Trevino won in Tampa in 1974.

The future's bright: Luke Donald has been in superb form at the DP World Tour Championship

The future's bright: Luke Donald has been in superb form at the DP World Tour Championship

‘I guess that’s my game, to keep the ball in play and then, when I make mistakes, I save myself with a pretty good short game,’ said Donald.

‘It is still a statistic of which I am very proud. I think my previous longest run would probably be about 40 or 50 holes, so that puts it in perspective.’

On Saturday, as ever, the two men shot 66 in vastly different ways. Donald, dressed in a luminous orange shirt – ‘if you’re going to dress like an Easyjet pilot you better play well,’ he joked – made most of his gains on the front nine and closed with a trademark pitch and 4ft putt at the 18th.

There was a moment of good humour as he called in his caddie John McLean, who was standing about 20 yards away, and asked for help in reading the short putt.

As the excited Mclean pulled alongside him, Donald broke into a broad smile and said: ’No, you’re ok, I’ve got this.’

McIlroy had a slow start for the second day running, perhaps because he was still feeling a little under the weather.

‘I think the adrenaline got me through,’ he said.

Glamour game: Caroline Wozniacki was there to support McIlroy in Dubai

Glamour game: Caroline Wozniacki was there to support McIlroy in Dubai

There was certainly some adrenaline on show at the 12th. Here he hit such a long drive he had just a sand wedge for his approach. Donald, by contrast, was hitting a six iron.

But, as McIlroy acknowledged: ’It is one thing having such an advantage but you have to make use of it otherwise it can work the other way, and you start getting frustrated.’

As for Sunday’s duel, neither man tried to hide their excitement nor lessen its importance.

Said McIlroy: ‘I know I am going into next year as world No 1 and that’s great, but I badly want to win here and to do it playing with the world No 2 would certainly put an exclamation point on the season.’

onald believes he has the chance to gain psychological brownie points.

‘Anytime you go head-to-head against the best player in the world and win, you’re going to feel good about your game,’ said the 34 year old.

‘Up to last week it had been a solid season but if I follow up my win in Japan with a win here against Rory I’d have to rank it as a very good year.’

All to play for on Sunday, then. Oh, and good luck to South African’s gifted major winners, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.

They start three behind and are desperate to prove this is not how it appears – a two-man show.

Laura Robson: I won Junior Wimbledon at 14 and everyone assumed I"d be beating Serena the very next day

I won Junior Wimbledon at 14 and everyone assumed I'd be beating Serena the very next day

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UPDATED:

21:20 GMT, 17 November 2012

Laura Robson passed her driving test a year ago but she has been behind the wheel just once since then and, while she has won almost 200,000 in prize money this year alone, she does not own a car and makes do with a monthly allowance from her father.

At 18, she remains steadfastly grounded despite her rise towards the upper echelons of the game, an ascent accelerated by her success in becoming Britain's first woman tennis player to make the final of a WTA event in 22 years.

Laughing all the way to the bank: But Laura Robson is still paid only a monthly allowance by her father

Laughing all the way to the bank: But Laura Robson is still paid only a monthly
allowance by her father

But if her transition from Junior
Wimbledon champion at 14 to her current status just outside the world's
top 50 players has been slow and at times painful, Robson is quick to
point out just how big a leap she has had to make in those four years.

'I think everyone assumes that, if you win Junior Wimbledon, you can beat Serena Williams the next day,' said Robson last week.

'That's just not realistic. 'It's a
really tough transition from junior tennis to professional tennis and I
think it takes a strong person to do it. There are not a lot of juniors
that have come through to the top in the last few years.'

To underscore Robson's point,
Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, the teenager from Thailand she beat in the 2008
Junior Wimbledon final, struggled to make a meagre pay cheque in a
small event in India a week ago and, while Robson stands at No 53 in the
world, Lertcheewakarn is ranked at 207.

While Robson's childhood friends were
starting university courses this autumn, probably fearful of the day
when they must repay their student loans, she has been cementing her
place in the tennis public's consciousness – and boosting her bank
balance.

Not that she has access to the money.

'Absolutely, not!' said Robson. 'My dad's not stupid – the money is completely off limits.'

Off limits: Robson's father looks after her finances

Off limits: Robson's father looks after her finances

Her father, Andrew, an executive with Shell, manages his daughter's growing fortune.

'At the end of the season, he was nice enough to give me a bonus,' she said.

Her cash windfall was spent almost immediately on a shopping expedition.

In all, Robson has won nearly
350,000 in a carefully-nurtured career that took flight from the day
she won Junior Wimbledon in 2008.

Photographs of her cuddling the
trophy were published on the front page of almost every newspaper the
next morning and her triumph made the news bulletins on every TV
channel.

But the other side of success was
spelled out to her recently during a visit to the financial advisor her
father has brought in to watch over her burgeoning bank account.

'When we had a meeting at the bank
the other day, I was told that 30 per cent of footballers end up
bankrupt,' Robson explained.

Looking to the future: Robson is savvy with her money

Looking to the future: Robson is savvy with her money

'I think my dad is being very
cautious; not that I would ever go crazy. You just have to be aware that
it's a short career and do as much as you can to save for as long as
possible.

'I am not overly interested in what I
am worth because I don't get to spend it anyway. But I am becoming more
involved. Dad wanted to wait until I was 18 or interested in what to do
with what I earn. I have become interested, so I'll keep going to
meetings and learn from them.'

Despite the temptations to spend her
earnings, she does not possess any credit cards, has just one debit
card in her bag – and no inclination to move out of the family home in
Wimbledon.

'I like my mum's cooking too much to want to leave for a few years yet,' she said.

Her father may be planning for her
financial welfare but it is her mother, Kathy, a former professional
basketball player in Australia, where Laura spent the first 18 months of
her life, who has been visibly most supportive on the circuit.

Proud moment: Robson and Andy Murray display their Mixed Doubles Olympic silver medals

Proud moment: Robson and Andy Murray display their Mixed Doubles Olympic silver medals

Today, Robson and her mother will
leave for a warm weather training camp at Chris Evert's tennis academy
in Boca Raton, Florida.

They will fly out – economy class –
with her Croatian support team of coach Zeljko Krajan, fitness trainer
Dejan Bojanovic and hitting partner Mislav Hizak, who are all on her
payroll. Robson met Krajan at the Olympics at Wimbledon this summer,
where she won a silver medal with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles.

In Florida, Robson will build on her
team's hard, uncompromising boot camp, which has just wound down at the
National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.

But she will return in time for her
first Christmas at home for five years – and the opportunity to get the
better of older brother Nicholas during festive family board games.

'If I play any game against my brother, it gets quite ruthless,' said Robson.

'I used to cheat at Monopoly all the time.'

Liam Gallagher in the bad books: Etihad Stadium match zone

Etihad Stadium match zone: Liam Gallagher in the bad books

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UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 7 November 2012

GALLAGHER IN THE DOGHOUSE

Liam Gallagher's priorities are 'City, kids, wife' if a chance meeting with Mike Summerbee is anything to go by.

The singer-songwriter was sent out to fetch some late-night apple pie by his wife when he chanced upon City's club ambassador.

'Before long I'd forgotten about the apple pie I'd gone out for and ended up in the pub with him having a few drinks,' revealed Gallagher.

'I ended up in the doghouse with the missus after that.'

A man's man: Liam Gallagher loves Manchester City... and his missus

A man's man: Liam Gallagher loves Manchester City… and his missus

A controversial call

Roberto Mancini made a controversial selection by putting Courtney Meppen-Walter on the bench.

Meppen-Walter was arrested in September on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after a man and a woman died in a collision with his Mercedes.

The England Under 17 defender has been bailed as policecontinue their enquiries.

No joke

Ajax's early goal was no laughing matter for the Manchester City supporters who were crammed into the Etihad Stadium but manager Roberto Mancini appeared to see things a little differently.

As Siem de Jong started celebrating his opening goal in the 10th minute, Mancini began grinning towards his players for the defensive blunder.

Bizarre.

Ref rant: Roberto Mancini complained to the officials after City drew with Ajax

Ref rant: Roberto Mancini complained to the officials after City drew with Ajax

A tale of two philosophies

Manchester City's new training academy will soon house up to 400 players and staff, but they didn't have a single homegrown player in the team on Tuesday night.

Ajax, who fielded seven academy graduates for the 3-1 victory over City at the Amsterdam ArenA last month, had another seven on the field at the Etihad.

Despite the vastly different philosophies, City are second in the Barclays Premier League.

Ajax, after defeat at the weekend, are fifth in Eredivisie.

Value for money

The entire Ajax team, including the seven players they had on the substitutes' bench, cost less than 10million to put together.

That's approximately how much Manchester City pay to striker Carlos Tevez in wages over the course of a year.

Yours for 10m... and we'll even throw in the subs: The Ajax squad

Yours for 10m… and we'll even throw in the subs: The Ajax squad

Saracens 30 Racing Metro 13 – Heineken Cup

Saracens 30 Racing Metro 13: Brits stars with Sarries good value for win

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UPDATED:

17:21 GMT, 20 October 2012

Saracens' dominant first half ensured their experiment of staging a home Heineken Cup match overseas was rewarded with victory at King Baudouin Stadium.

The London club will be content to return to Brussels on the strength of a performance that puts them in control of Pool One, denying Racing a bonus point in the process.

While plans to take group games against Edinburgh and Munster to Cape Town and New York have been frustrated, they were able to entice Racing to the Belgium capital.

Taken out: Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth is tackled by Masi Matadigo

Taken out: Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth is tackled by Masi Matadigo

An estimated 2,000 fans made the journey across the North Sea as part of their ambition to explore new territory until the opening of Allianz Park, their under-development north London stadium, next February.

And Saracens ensured their journey was worthwhile as they established a 20-3 interval lead that Racing, with former England back Olly Barkley pulling the strings at 10, were unable to overhaul.

Tries from Chris Wyles and Steve Borthwick put the 2011 Aviva Premiership champions in the driving seat, but their opponents were only fully subdued by Will Fraser's touchdown four minutes from time.

A crowd of 18,202 saw the superb Charlie Hodgson kick 15 points, missing just one shot at goal, while lock Steve Borthwick and centre Brad Barritt both enjoyed fine afternoons.

But it was hooker Schalk Brits who finished with yet another man of the match award, mainly for the magical skill that led to Wyles' opener.

Star man: Schalk Brits impressed

Star man: Schalk Brits impressed

Only a last-ditch tackle from Barkley prevented winger Wyles, who had been put into space by Barritt's long pass, from crossing in the second minute.

Barkley and Hodgson exchanged penalties before Wyles invited pressure on Saracens by running from his own 22, enabling number eight Jacques Cronje and wing Benjamin Fall to counter-attack.

Racing pulverised the home scrum five metres out, but when the ball was spun wide Fall just failed to gather Fabrice Estebanez's astute chip.

Saracens surged ahead in the 21st minute after the dazzling skills of Brits sent over Wyles, who was making his 100th appearance for the club.

The South African raced through a gap, handed off one Racing defender and side-stepped another before slipping the scoring pass to Wyles, who was perfectly positioned in support.

Over the line: Steve Borthwick, the Saracens captain, dives over for a try

Over the line: Steve Borthwick, the Saracens captain, dives over for a try

Seven minutes later and Saracens were further ahead, Borthwick crashing over next to the posts following several phases that started with Chris Ashton marauding into space.

Hodgson landed both conversions, almost wriggled through an opening he created and then slotted a penalty as the Premiership club continued to dominate.

Racing openside Bernard Le Roux was sin-binned for illegally preventing scrum-half Neil de Kock from distributing the ball and Saracens' control extended into the second half.

Estebanez knocked on with the line at his mercy and it took until the 58th minute for the next points to arrive, via the boot of Hodgson.

Racing touched down for the first time after Masi Matadigo and Juan Martin Hernandez combined to send winger Juan Imhoff scorching over, giving hope of a final-quarter fightback.

Those hopes hardened when Gaetan Germain booted a penalty with 10 minutes left as the momentum began to shift behind the French club.

Smart rugby saw Saracens kick for the corners, however, and they were able to produce a third try when Fraser sliced through a ragged defence, with Hodgson converting.