Tag Archives: electric

Luke Campbell signs for Eddie Hearn Matchroom

First Hull, then the world! Campbell sets sights on titles after turning professional

, beating Ireland's John Joe Nevin in the final to win the gold medal.

He was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List and will make his debut in his home city of Hull in July, possibly at the KC Stadium.

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

Sign on the dotted line: Luke Campbell has tuned professional with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom

'I've been an amateur boxer for 13 years and won medals at every elite tournament,' Campbell said.

'I've had time out after the Olympics to rest my body and mind and the passion burns inside me for this new journey.

'I've got the best team around me and I'm confident we an go all the way together.'

Campbell, who will fight at super featherweight or lightweight, is excited to be making his debut in his home city.

'I've never stopped training; I had five weeks off after the Games then I was back in the gym ticking over. It's a sport i thrive to be the best at; champions never rest.

'I'm training in different gyms. I'm still learning; I might be Olympic champion but I've got lots to learn.

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

Hidden talents: Campbell starred on Dancing on Ice following his Olympic success

'There is going to be a massive show in the first or second week of July and it is going to be an outdoor stadium event.

'This is going to be huge. I'm doing it for the people of Hull, and hope I can make them proud again.

'I love to entertain the fans and put
on a good show. I think the fans will bring an electric atmosphere and
it will be a night to remember.

'I am the most successful amateur
boxer in British history and now it is time to turn the page and move
into the pro game. The aim is to be world champion'.

Promoter Hearn, who revealed Kell Brook could make his return on the Hull show, was delighted to have secured Campbell's signature.

'We've finally got a real chance to have a crossover star in Luke Campbel,' he said.

'He's impressed me not just with his ability but also his determination and popularity in Hull.'

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Main man: Campbell (right) in the final at the London Olympics and with his gold medal (below)

Golden boy: Luke Campbell celebrates his Olympic success last year

British Amateur Boxing Association
performance director Rob McCracken said: 'Luke has been a great servant
to the World Class Performance Programme for a number of years and an
excellent role-model to other members of the squad in both his
medal-winning performances and the way he conducts himself inside and
outside of the gym.

'It is a disappointment for us that
Luke has decided his future lies away from the GB Boxing squad but he
departs with our best regards and we wish him every success in his
future career.

'As we enter the Rio cycle, the majority of the boxers that competed in London remain part of our squad and we have some excellent talents coming through so the programme has a strong nucleus to work with and a good opportunity to add to the success we have enjoyed in recent years.'

Campbell, who joined the GB Boxing squad in 2007, will join Anthony Ogogo and Tom Stalker from Britain's 2012 squad in the paid ranks.

Carl Frampton to fight Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Frampton out to finally nail down rival Martinez at the third time of asking

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Carl Frampton will hope to make it third time lucky when he takes on European super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9.

The Northern Irishman has twice seen a clash with the Spaniard called off, most recently in September when Frampton instead stopped Canadian Steve Molitor inside six rounds.

The 25-year-old is unbeaten in 15 fights and will also put his Commonwealth title on the line at the Odyssey Arena.

'He's pulled out on me twice so I
have a score to settle with him there,' said Frampton. 'It’'s a great
fight for the fans and one that I have craved for a long time. I had too
much for Steve Molitor and he was a step-up, so I am confident I can
beat Kiko and do so in style.

'Martinez
pulling out in September was a blessing in disguise really as I have
been able to mature and learn even more and on February in front of
another packed crowd at home, I’m looking to make another statement
ahead at the start of a big year.'

Martinez has not fought since July but is now working with middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez's promotional company.

And the 26-year-old intends to silence the home crowd and halt Frampton's planned march towards world honours.

'I
do not read much into Carl beating Molitor as he took the fight at late
notice and that’s his only fight of 2012,' he said. 'I will beat him by
KO – there’s no alternative outcome.

'It
is not my fault that we have not been able to do this fight so far.
There have been many circumstances around that but I know that the
Belfast fans will come out and support Carl as always and it will be an
electric atmosphere.'

Frampton’s
manager Barry McGuigan added: 'We’re pleased this fight is going to
happen. I’ve always said that Kiko is a danger from first bell to last
and I believe it’s a harder fight than Molitor. Styles make fights and
this one is going to be a barn-burner, and the team is confident that
Carl will win, and win in style.'

Meanwhile,
Martin Lindsay will lock horns with Lee Selby on the undercard for the
British and Commonwealth featherweight titles, a fight which was also
originally scheduled for September before Selby fell ill.

Juan Mata says Didier Drogba is still missed at Chelsea

Losing Drogba was like an electric shock! Mata says Chelsea are still recovering from losing Munich hero

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UPDATED:

02:45 GMT, 7 December 2012

Juan Mata has revealed that Chelsea miss legendary striker Didier Drogba and says his departure was 'like an electric shock'.

The Spanish playmaker has been one of the few Blues players to play at his best this season but says Drogba's absence has been hard for the team to cope with.

Drogba scored the crucial equaliser in the Allianz Arena when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League – and his last kick for the club was the winning penalty in the shoot-out.

Missed: Losing Didier Drogba (second left) felt like an 'electric shock', according to Juan Mata

Missed: Losing Didier Drogba (second left) felt like an 'electric shock', according to Juan Mata

He left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer before the start of the season.

'Drogba's departure was an electric shock for us. He was a warrior,' said Mata, as reported in The Sun.

'We've had to learn to cope without him because for many long years he was Chelsea's lightning conductor.

'With Drogba we were conditioned to play in a certain way.

'You gave him the ball and you knew that he would at least force the opponent into a foul.

'In a way we had a tendency to rely on him too much but it was a natural mechanism.

'All the great players like getting the ball, Didier even more so.'

Mata said that playing with his compatriot Fernando Torres in the team was simply not the same.

'With Fernando it’s different. His runs aren’t the same. He’s not a funnel for our play like Drogba could be.

'He doesn’t like the holding-it-up role. He prefers finding space and facing the goal.'

He told French magazine So Foot that the 50million price tag was weighing on Torres' head.

Mata explained: 'When someone pays that much for you and you become the most expensive player in the Premier League, you are eager to please. Too eager, maybe.

'Especially Fernando, because he’s a very humble guy who knows where he comes from and understands the value of money.

'For me, he is still one of the best strikers in the world.'

Drogba, back in London to train at Cobham during the Chinese off-season before the African Cup of Nations, hosted a party for the Chelsea players who won the Champions League in May on Thursday evening.

He handed out expensive personalised commemorative rings to mark the victory on that heady night.

One notable absentee was Torres – although he may have been otherwise engaged because his son Leo turned two.

Strong bond: Mata only played with Drogba for a year but can feel the difference without him

Strong bond: Mata only played with Drogba for a year but can feel the difference without him

READ ABOUT DROGBA'S BASH

Click here to see the gifts Drogba bestowed on his Champions League winning ex team-mates

Mata and Peter Cech were also non-attendees, but the Spaniard remains proud of his side's remarkable achievement.

'After the Champions League final it hurt to hear people saying the football we played had no merit,' he said.

'Every way of playing has merit. If you tell me Chelsea's football is not as good to watch as Barcelona's, I can understand.

'I can accept we were not the most talented either. However we were the most competitive.

'So, like it or not we did not steal the Champions League.

Legacy: Drogba is still regarded as the legend at Stamford Bridge while Fernando Torres struggles

Legacy: Drogba is still regarded as the legend at Stamford Bridge while Fernando Torres struggles

All for this: Drogba with the prestigious Champions League trophy which Mata said was deserved

All for this: Drogba with the prestigious Champions League trophy which Mata said was deserved

'I don't understand why people want to constantly under-estimate what we achieved last season.

'Knocking out Pep Guardiola's Barcelona is anything but simple – but we showed that it's possible.'

Mata also had praise for two much maligned figures at Chelsea – Roman Abramovich and John Terry.

He said, of Chelsea's Russian owner: 'I think he loves Chelsea, coming to the ground and knowing how the squad is getting on.

The first time he came and spoke to me, it was to congratulate me – and that really touched me because I felt he was really sincere.'

Sympathy: Mata said it is sad that John Terry has no private life left

Sympathy: Mata said it is sad that John Terry has no private life left

He also said he felt sorry for skipper Terry because his name is frequently dragged through the mud publicly.

'Obviously it got to him, having his whole life unwrapped in public,' explained Mata.

'You're talking about a man who has no private life left and that is sad because the guy I see every day going flat out in training does not correspond to the image peddled in the press.'

'If you need help with anything, John is always there.And even if he has made mistakes, does he have to be reminded all his life Everyone makes mistakes.'

Andrew Flintoff wins boxing match against Richard Dawson

It's just not cricket… but Flintoff WINS his first pro boxing bout as former England captain beats heavyweight Dawson on points

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UPDATED:

10:45 GMT, 1 December 2012

Andrew Flintoff entered the ring a former England cricketer but left a heavyweight boxer after overcoming a second-round knockdown to beat American Richard Dawson on his professional debut.

The 34-year-old, who had previously led England to an Ashes series triumph against Australia with a bat and ball in his hand, won by a single point on the referee's scorecard at the Manchester Arena.

Flintoff took the fight to Dawson from the first bell and recovered well from hitting the canvas for the first time since he started training four-and-half months ago.

Scroll down to hear from Freddie after the fight

Job done: Andrew Flintoff celebrated after beating Richard Dawson in the four-round bout

Job done: Andrew Flintoff celebrated after beating Richard Dawson in the four-round bout

Winner: Andrew Flintoff

Winner: Andrew Flintoff

Frenzied: Flintoff sprayed Richard Dawson with shots

Frenzied: Flintoff sprayed Richard Dawson with shots

The former Lancashire all-rounder
walked to the ring wearing his County cricket top to the sound of
Oasis' Roll With It and the crowd of around 6,000 did their best to
recreate the electric atmosphere produced in the same venue last
Saturday for Ricky Hatton's unsuccessful comback.

Flintoff had been training under the
tutelage of Barry McGuigan and his son Shane and had shed over three
stone over four-and-a-half months before weighing in 25lbs lighter than
Dawson.

His decision to take up the sport at a professional level had been widely criticised,
particularly by British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David
Price who stopped Matt Skelton earlier in the evening in Liverpool.

The British Boxing Board of Control
granted him a licence at the second time of asking and general secretary
Robert Smith was in attendance, all too aware no doubt at the
ramifications if the home favourite was badly beaten up.

Whoops: Flintoff was caught flush in the second round

Whoops: Flintoff was caught flush in the second round

Gotcha: Freddie catches Dawson on the chin

Gotcha: Freddie catches Dawson on the chin

Baying: The crowd cheered as Flintoff entered the ring to Oasis's song Roll With It

Baying: The crowd cheered as Flintoff entered the ring to Oasis's song Roll With It

Nod to the past: Flintoff pulled on his Lancashire shirt for his walk to the ring

Nod to the past: Flintoff pulled on his Lancashire shirt for his walk to the ring

Flintoff had insisted his venture was
not a stunt, despite the presence of Sky television who chronicled his
progress for a three-part documentary and Dawson, who had
been hand-picked, proved to be a wise match.

He brought over an unbeaten record
after three fights, although his debut bout was not sanctioned but had little over five rounds of experience in the professional
ranks. He knocked out his first opponent inside 19 seconds while the
second retired on his stool with broken ribs after the first session.
Dawson was taken the four-round distance in his latest bout.

The 23-year-old was raised by his
sister and brother-in-law until he was 18 while his mum and dad both
served time in prison. He was also locked up for three months
for assault and was shot four times in the back when working as a driver
in the drugs trade.

He had the added benefit of
experienced trainer Bob Shannon, who prepared Hatton for his bout with
Vyacheslav Senchenko, in his corner after his trainer was unable to
obtain a visa.

Eagle-eyed: Flintoff picked the American off in one of his flurries

Eagle-eyed: Flintoff picked the American off in one of his flurries

On the ropes: Dawson battled to hold Flintoff off

On the ropes: Dawson battled to hold Flintoff off

Go out swinging: Flintoff was the far more active of fighters

Go out swinging: Flintoff was the far more active of fighters

But when he came out at the first
bell, Dawson looked the less experienced as Flintoff led with his jab
and looked to land with his right hand. He had his man on the ropes in
the early stages but the visiting fighter was quick to hold whenever he
could.

The fight was already scrappy but
Dawson threatened to spoil the party in the second session. Flintoff
landed a right but his opponent responded with a left hook and, to the
shock of the crowd, sent their favourite to the canvas. Flintoff rose
quickly however and beat the count and did enough for the remainder of
the round to lose it 10-9, rather than 10-8 as is standard with a
knockdown.

Flush: Flintoff lands a straight

Flush: Flintoff lands a straight

Embrace: Flintoff leans over to see his wife, Rachael, after the bout

Embrace: Flintoff leans over to see his wife, Rachael, after the bout

Gracious: Flintoff consoles his defeated opponent

Gracious: Flintoff consoles his defeated opponent

Contrast: The two fighters strike a pose after the bout

Contrast: The two fighters strike a pose after the bout

Having survived that setback, Flintoff
resumed normal service in the next session and although Dawson tried to
keep out of range and slip the jab, he was continually caught on the
ropes and forced to hold to avoid taking a right hand.

Flintoff stalked his adversary round
the ring, knowing he had to win the remaining two rounds and did just
enough to send the contest into a winner-takes-all final stanza.

Rising from his stool to a raucous
reception, he continued to hunt Dawson down and although he took several
stiff jabs flush in the face, he was never unduly worried and raised his
own hand in expectation at the final bell before the referee did
likewise after the score was announced.

Furious Freddie: Flintoff launched a number of wild swings

Rachael Flintoff

Furious Freddie: Flintoff launched a number of wild swings as Rachael Flintoff (right) cheers her husband on

Nervous Rachael Flintoff took her seat before the fight

Nervous Rachael Flintoff took her seat before the fight

Nervous Rachael Flintoff took her seat before the fight

Celebrity fan: John Bishop was in the Manchester Arena to support his friend Flintoff

Celebrity fan: John Bishop was in the Manchester Arena to support his friend Flintoff

And there's more: Bishop's fellow comedian Jack Whitehall turned up

And there's more: Bishop's fellow comedian Jack Whitehall turned up

Me too! Former cricketer and radio broadcaster Darren Gough

Me too! Former cricketer and radio broadcaster Darren Gough

KO: David Haye leaves the jungle

KO: David Haye leaves the jungle

PS FREDDIE GOT UP BUT THIS BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT SUFFERED A KNOCKOUT…

On the night that Andrew Flintoff picked himself back up from the canvas to win his first professional fight, former world heavyweight champion David Haye was knocked out of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in the semi-final to take third place on the show.

The boxer left actress Charlie Brooks and singer Ashley Roberts to battle if out in the final on Saturday night's show.

Speaking to Ant and Dec after his eviction, the 32-year-old said was 'weird' to be finally out of camp but said he was looking glad he had 'freedom at last'.

When asked if he was disappointed at being kicked out of the show ahead of the final he replied': 'It's the way it was meant to be.'

He added: 'I had a lot of fun'.

But, although Flintoff may have been the winner on the night, don't expect him to be taking on the Hayemaker anytime soon…

VIDEO: It wasn't one for the purists! Flintoff reflects on the fight

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Chelsea fans should be careful what they wish for from Roman Abramovich – Des Kelly

Fans should be careful what they wish for… or Roman might end up giving them their old Chelsea back after all

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UPDATED:

00:24 GMT, 1 December 2012

They have a song at Stamford Bridge that brings together thousands of unhappy supporters. It bubbles up in between the boos aimed at the current patsy in the manager’s dug out.

It punctuates the painfully long and uncomfortable silences that have distinguished games at the London ground of late. The cry is: ‘We Want Our Chelsea Back’.

This chorus reverberates around the stadium.

Winter storm: Angry Chelsea supporters protest against the appointment of Rafa Benitez

Winter storm: Angry Chelsea supporters protest against the appointment of Rafa Benitez

Winter storm: Angry Chelsea supporters protest against the appointment of Rafa Benitez

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Who knows Maybe Roman Abramovich sits there humming along, too, while he stares into space and ponders precisely when he is going to sack his most recent appointment.

But I have a question: Which Chelsea do the fans want back What are they actually nostalgic for

Are they singing for a return to the ‘good old days’ when you could stand in The Shed and try to make out the players somewhere in the distance beyond an old running track. The days when you could kick bits of concrete about, dash from the police truncheons and wait to hear if the Greater London Council would allow Ken Bates to turn on his electric fence

Or are they pining for the Chelsea that just preceded Abramovich, the Chelsea where nobody really knew who the owners were The one with shiny new stands and some shops, but teetering on the brink of bankruptcy with debts of around 80million

Or maybe folk are just nostalgic for those hazy, barely-remembered days when Chelsea were not only European Champions but top of the Premier League table as well. When was it now Oh, yes. About five weeks ago. A golden age, I’m sure we can all agree.

We want our Chelsea back I’m afraid it hasn’t been anyone’s Chelsea except Abramovich’s since the moment he walked through the door, beamed a billionaire’s smile at Bates and bought the club by withdrawing the equivalent of a few days’ interest from his current account. In that moment, the club was his and his alone.

Trigger happy: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Keeping the seat warm: Rafael Benitez

Keepnig the seat warm: How long will Rafael Benitez last under trigger happy Roman Abramovich (left)

The oil tycoon hasn’t exactly said a great deal over the years, but on Day One he certainly signaled his intentions clearly enough. ‘Chelsea is a hobby,’ he said. ‘It is for fun, not an investment,’ he added. As those words spread across the land you could hear the balding heads of chairmen and directors hit their mahogany desks with a despairing thud. Abramovich instantly re-wrote the rules in the English Premier League. Out went the ‘local businessman made good’. In came the ‘global oligarchs who could do whatever they flaming well liked’.

Chelsea was – and is – just another toy for him. The yachts, the private jets, the luxury properties, the cars, are all fine, but he had himself a real-life computer game. He could buy, sell, sack and move anyone he cared to.

Right now Abramovich wants to be proved right on Fernando Torres and everyone and everything is being realigned on his personal board game to try to make that happen. To all the people singing about ‘our Chelsea’, I’m afraid it isn’t. At Chelsea, everyone pays to watch Abramovich play.

Good old days The old Shed End at Stamford Bridge was long gone before Roman arrived

Good old days The old Shed End at Stamford Bridge was long gone before Roman arrived

Before Abramovich: Frank Sinclair (above) and Jody Morris (below) in action for Chelsea

Before Abramovich: Frank Sinclair (above) and Jody Morris (below) in action for Chelsea

Before Abramovich: Frank Sinclair (above) and Jody Morris (below) in action for Chelsea

He needs the fans only to make some noise and keep him company. He could probably sack the lot of you and tell his players to perform in an empty stadium if he had a mind.

So if you’re a fan unhappy with what is happening at Stamford Bridge, why on earth are you jeering Rafa Benitez He just answered the telephone when the Russian got bored of the last boss.

The Spaniard has done nothing wrong. He took on a task any out-of-work manager (except Pep Guardiola) would seize with both hands, if only for the inevitable pay off. Booing him for not being Roberto Di Matteo, Jose Mourinho or even Guardiola seems futile and somewhat self-defeating.

More from Des Kelly…

Des Kelly: I'm sorry, but Chelsea are an utter disgrace
23/11/12

Des Kelly: Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored
16/11/12

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

There’s a strange echo of this scenario happening at Arsenal. They are singing ‘We Want Our Arsenal back’. Only I’m not sure how they intend that to happen.

Do they want Arsene Wenger to rewind the clock to the days before he had to compete with Russian oil moguls and Middle Eastern sheiks, when the Gunners thrived in their old stadium, as if that would cure the trophy drought

When they say ‘Our Arsenal’, does that mean they want it taken out of the hands of the major shareholder American Stan Kroenke and put in the control of Uzbekistan’s Alisher Usmanov instead Does that give Arsenal back

It’s very confusing.

Supporters at Stamford Bridge are too timid to abuse Abramovich in case he spins on his heel and actually does return Chelsea to them, which would be a disaster. So they abuse Benitez instead.

At The Emirates, fans are rightly nervous of losing Arsene Wenger. So club chief executive Ivan Gazidis gets it in the neck instead, because he earns a few quid and nobody’s really sure whose fault it is when Robin van Persie flees.

Fans can certainly complain if they wish. There is a grand tradition of football rage. But the followers of both clubs should be careful for what they wish. Nostalgia is a seductive liar.

I may need a lawyer… any ideas

The not very shy, but hopefully retiring, Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, took time out from lecturing the world last week to cast his organisation as ‘victims’.

He complained: ‘The Society of Black Lawyers, in seeking to challenge racism in football, has been accused of being “nave”, “publicity-seeking”, “unhelpful” or out to “get work”. Organisations or individuals who speak out on human rights are seldom welcomed by those whose inaction or collusion with racism is challenged.’

Actually, Herbert is wrong.

The Society Of Black Lawyers has not been accused of using football has a vehicle for shameless self-promotion. But I think he’ll find an individual called Peter Herbert has.

It is an impression bolstered somewhat by Herbert’s website, which, as the football365 website helpfully pointed out, is lovingly adorned with an array of pictures of Herbert, posing alongside the Rev Al Sharpton, or a Mercedes. Clearly, he is not averse to the limelight.

But something occurred to me. In recent weeks, I believe I have referred to Herbert as being nave, publicity seeking, unhelpful and out to get work. So is he accusing me of ‘colluding with racism’ If so it is an outrageous charge.

I should consult a good lawyer. I wonder if Herbert knows of one

Quote of the week

‘If I was going to lie to you, honestly, I
would lie.’

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert — or ‘Honest Paul’, as he
will now be known — strengthens the case for the use of lie detector
machines in football press conferences.

Who are you kidding, Becks

David Beckham is leaving Los Angeles and could be heading for Monaco. What on earth would attract the star footballer to the multi-millionaires’ favourite enclave Could it be the fact that his salary would top 10 million a year before tax Or, indeed, after tax, too

With overwhelming optimism, Beckham also says he has not ruled out appearing for England under Roy Hodgson. In a similar vein, I have not ruled out a night of nude wrestling with Megan Fox.

Feeling Scott-free does not mean it’s gone swimmingly

The postmortem into British Swimming’s failures in the pool at London 2012 is still under wraps, despite Michael Scott’s departure.

The performance director quit last weekend. I was happy to reveal the news on these pages after pointing out the lunacy of an arrangement where Scott was often trying to direct Team GB’s performance from Melbourne, some 10,500 miles away.

The group reviewing British Swimming’s Olympic underachievement agreed and wisely recommended Scott either move to the country that paid his 1.3million contract — or depart.

Quit: Former British swimming chief Michael Scott

Quit: Former British swimming chief Michael Scott

Scott decided to quit. His air fares
alone would have paid for a few British coaches. When the news broke,
the share price of companies trading in dry roasted peanuts plummeted,
but hardly anyone batted an eyelid.

Except for British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes. He said: ‘We wish to pay tribute to Michael. He leaves with our sincere thanks.’

But then Sparkes would say that, since it was he who handed Scott a new four-year deal in April.
We can assume he did not consider his performance director’s regular absences an issue, only to find himself contradicted and undermined by the review body he set up.

Quite a tricky situation for a chief executive to distance himself from, I’d say. If the plan for your chosen performance director implodes, inevitably there are calls for accountability further up the chain of command.

They seem to understand this Down Under. When Australian Swimming set about an independent review, following an equally disappointing showing in the London pool, their chief executive promptly quit.

Kevin Neil, Swimming Australia CEO, said: ‘We are undertaking various reviews to set a course for a new future and it is therefore appropriate to step aside.’

So, in Australia, the man in charge decided to carry the can. In Britain, the man in charge tries to kick the can somewhere else.

British Swimming currently has no head coach, no performance director and no head of finance. There are also suggestions that Sparkes is barely on speaking terms with his No 2, Ian Mason, who is grandly titled ‘The Director of World Class Operations’, although a simple ‘Director of Operations’ should suffice for now.

It’s not exactly going swimmingly, is it

The review findings were expected at the end of October. Now the proposed release date is December 6. That cannot be a good sign. Either way, some answers are well overdue.

London 2012 Paralympics: Great Britain lose to USA

'Murderball' kicks off at the Paralympics as Great Britain open wheelchair rugby campaign with defeat to USA

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UPDATED:

01:01 GMT, 6 September 2012

Great Britain opened their Paralympic wheelchair rugby campaign with defeat against reigning champions the United States on Wednesday – but captain Steve Brown was far from disconsolate.

Brown's team are widely viewed as strong medal contenders, and they led the reigning Paralympic champions 13-11 after a fierce opening quarter at the Basketball Arena.

Despite a 16-goal display from star performer Aaron Phipps and an 11-goal contribution by the workaholic David Anthony, though, Britain lost their Pool A opener 56-44.

War cry: Britain's David Anthony (left) celebrates after scoring past Chuck Aoki (right) of the United States

War cry: Britain's David Anthony (left) celebrates after scoring past Chuck Aoki (right) of the United States

No holds barred: Will Groulx of the USA is up-ended during the wheelchair rugby match against Great Britain at the Basketball Arena

No holds barred: Will Groulx of the USA is up-ended during the wheelchair rugby match against Great Britain at the Basketball Arena

But France are next up on Thursday night, followed by Japan on Friday, with successive victories certain to
secure semi-final status.

A capacity 10,000 crowd, including
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, ensured an electric atmosphere for the
eagerly-awaited tournament launch of a sport originally known as
murderball due to the ferocious collisions between players.

'The States are number one in the
world, so it was never going to be easy. We had the bounce of the ball
sometimes, and other times it went against us,' Brown said.

'But I am so proud to be captain of a team that gave 100 per cent right until the end.

'That crowd was something else. You
have to draw from the crowd and find that extra percentage with your
performance, but it is also important to remember they are outside the
court and you have to focus on what happens inside the four lines.

'You really go hell for leather, and the crashes are all part of the game.

'It's tactical. You want to stop the
player moving, you want to knock them out of their chairs so you've got a
numerical advantage.

'The game works to involve the hits. It is not just a case of bumper cars with the ball.

Fast and furious: Aaron Phipps of Great Britain with the ball during Paralympics GB's opening pool match

Fast and furious: Aaron Phipps of Great Britain with the ball during Paralympics GB's opening pool match

It's called 'murderball' for a reason: GB's Myles Pearson ends up flat on his back in a typically aggressive encounter against the world number one side

It's called 'murderball' for a reason: GB's Myles Pearson ends up flat on his back in a typically aggressive encounter against the world number one side

'In so many areas we match up with America – our strength, speed and agility. Player for player there is very little difference.

'They are number one in the world and
they are very well-oiled machine. We had tactics and ideas of ways we
wanted to perform, and we did our best with that.

'We have a game-plan for every
opposition, and when we take on France tomorrow we will play differently
from how we played today.

'We will look at what went right and
what went wrong, but it is game by game, plan by plan. We are not going
to take everything back to the drawing board after four years because of
one defeat.'

Brown scored the tournament's first
goal, and America were kept in check until the early part of a second
quarter that saw them outscore their opponents by seven goals.

The defending champions then eased
through the gears, with the brilliant 14-goal Chuck Aoki in commanding
form, although he was ultimately outshone by Phipps.

Crash, bang, wallop: Will Groulx goes flying after being knocked over by Britain's Aaron Phipps (left). Heavy contacts are actively encouraged in the sport

Crash, bang, wallop: Will Groulx goes flying after being knocked over by Britain's Aaron Phipps (left). Heavy contacts are actively encouraged in the sport

Eyes on the ball: Britain's David Anthony (left) and Ross Morrison (right) close in on Nick Springer of the U.S.

Eyes on the ball: Britain's David Anthony (left) and Ross Morrison (right) close in on Nick Springer of the U.S.

Doing it for the girls: Britain's only female player, Kylie Grimes, proves murderball is not just a man's world as she tackles a U.S. opponent

Doing it for the girls: Britain's only female player, Kylie Grimes, proves murderball is not just a man's world as she tackles a U.S. opponent

Not for the faint-hearted: USA's Will Groulx is picked up after falling during the Group A match at the Basketball Arena in London

Not for the faint-hearted: USA's Will Groulx is picked up after falling during the Group A match at the Basketball Arena in London

Enlarge

The rules of wheelchair rugby

Southampton-based Phipps was the only
player involved on Wednesday with the sport's highest value classification of
3.5, and he certainly delivered.

'I was so nervous in the tunnel
before the game,' he said. 'I played quite well when I was on court, but
the United States are so clinical with the ball.

'France doesn't have the experience
that America has, but this is not an easy group, and the other one is
just as tough. Potentially, six of the teams here could medal.

'I think we match up well against France. I am confident we will beat them, and I'm definitely confident we will still medal.'

Kylie Grimes, the only female player
in Britain's ranks – and one of only two in the tournament – added: 'We
came out really strong.

'America were a bit shaky, which I was pleased about, but they are a very experienced, well-drilled team.

'I get asked all the time about being
the only woman in the team, but that's fine. They don't treat me any
differently and they hit me just as hard, and that's the way it should
be.'

The United States now go on to play
Japan tomorrow night, and coach James Gumbert was relieved to have got
through a demanding first fixture.

'The fans were phenomenal, and
Britain came out and threw everything in the tool-bag at us. We had to
go back, find another tool-bag and get some old tools out,' he said.

'They are a quality team – they played like champions – and we knew we would have to weather some storms.

'We felt like the underdog today, and it's not often we feel that way.'

John Guidetti has electric shock treatment to boost Euro 2012 fitness bid

Guidetti undergoes electric shock therapy in bid to face England at Euro 2012

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 1 May 2012

Manchester City striker John Guidetti is having electric shock treatment in a bid to be fit for Euro 2012.

The Sweden international, who had been in hot form on loan at Feyenoord this season, has a mystery virus causing him to lose all feeling in his right leg.

Medics in Holland admit they cannot guarantee that the 20-year-old will be fit to face England, France and Ukraine at the European Championship in June, but are carrying out regular check-ups to solve the puzzling problem.

Treatment: On-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti is desperate to get fit again

Treatment: On-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti is desperate to get fit again

Feyenoord doctor Casper van Eijck told Swedish newspaper Sport Expressen: ‘We are going through physical tests every day. There are a number of special tests. We examine the strength of his immune system, among other things.

‘Another treatment we do every day is electrical stimulation in the form of shocks to his muscles.

‘Therefore you can easily check how well the muscles are functioning in his leg and if there is improvement.’

Guidetti made his Sweden debut against Croatia in February, but despite playing just 45 minutes of international football, he had been talked of as an important member of Erik Hamren’s side and an ideal partner for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Feyenoord’s top scorer with 20 goals in 23 league games revealed his exasperation at his injury last week, tweeting: ‘Please God give me strength to recover from this.

‘I just want to thank everyone for your support and prayers. It’s helping I’m getting better day by day.’

But Van Eijck cautioned: ‘He cannot run yet – that is the problem.

‘His condition has improved a little. He has more power in his right leg than before. It is small, but of course an important improvement.

‘You don’t often see problems like this in sportsmen, it’s very rare.

‘If we knew what the problem was, we would easily find a solution.

‘It doesn’t look good for him to play for Feyenoord again as there is just a week left for the season.

‘We don’t know if he will play at the European Championship, it’s too early to say.’

Guidetti has not played since scoring for Feyenoord against Excelsior on April 14.

BBC becoming part of history as R&A issues warning – Des Kelly

I don't pay to see the BBC become part of history

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 23 April 2012

I have an old television somewhere in the cellar. It still works, I think.

The remote control is long lost. The screen now looks disappointingly small despite the bulky box around it. And crammed with the old technology of circuit boards and electric coils, the machine is an almighty lump to shift.

It is closer to the 3d of old pennies than the 3D Dolby surround sound wizardry we now take for granted.

But this was my luminous window on the sporting world. It glowed one night in 1985 when I saw Dennis Taylor pump the air with his fists after his epic triumph over Steve Davis.

Unforgettable: Dennis Taylor celebrates at the Crucible in 1985

Unforgettable: Dennis Taylor celebrates at the Crucible in 1985

It was my looking glass a year-and-a-half later when Nigel Mansell's Formula One championship exploded along with his rear left tyre in Adelaide.

Back then the BBC ruled the sporting airwaves. I can still hear Murray Walker's yelps of excitement, Ted Lowe's whispering calm.

Comfy: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

Comfy: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

David Coleman, John Motson, Des Lynam
and Peter O'Sullevan were instantly recognisable voices. The old box
was brimful of memories.

It
is a relic now, of course; no more than a personal museum piece. It has
been overtaken by innovation and advances elsewhere, much like the BBC
itself.

To hear the Royal and Ancient serve warning that the Corporation's golf coverage is not hi-tech enough is an extraordinary slap down for the broadcaster. The declaration that golf is 'keeping an eye' on the BBC's lack of investment sounds the death knell for The Open's presence on free-to-air terrestrial television.

But it is fair criticism. While the BBC
have remained true to the comfy cardigan style of Peter Alliss, with his
tuts of admonishment and gentle 'Ooo's' as a putt trundles holeward,
the American broadcaster ESPN turned up at St Andrews last year armed
with enough gizmos to launch a mission to Mars.

They blanketed The Old Course with
90-plus cameras, a shot tracer zoomed with the drives in flight and ESPN
deployed its PuttZone technology, which plots the ideal putting line,
but adds a shaded region that adjusts depending on the speed of the ball
to show how far off line an attempt can be and still have a chance of
dropping in.

Memorable: But will glorious moments like Darren Clarke's Open win be absent from BBC screens in the future

Memorable: But will glorious moments like Darren Clarke's Open win be absent from BBC screens in the future

Mike McQuade
of ESPN said the gadgets were a 'game changer'. And so it seems. It has
certainly changed the golfing hierarchy's expectation of how The Open
should be covered.

Sky are no
slouches with their computerised thingamabobs either. They have formed
an alliance with Eurosport this summer to show 100 hours of the Olympics
in 3D, including the 100 metres final and opening and closing
ceremonies. And it will be open to all Sky+ HD subscribers.

Assurance: The BBC still cover some big events like the Six Nations

Assurance: The BBC still cover some big events like the Six Nations

They
also screened Masters coverage up against the BBC and did it with the
aplomb they have long brought to football and cricket. They now have
their sights set on claiming The Open ahead of ESPN, leaving the BBC
with another late-night highlights package.

When the Beeb does live major events, it still does them with assurance. Wimbledon tennis is so much a part of their output that for a fortnight it is hard to define where the BBC ends and Wimbledon begins. In Auntie's hands the Olympics will be every bit as majestic and patriotic as the Queen's Jubilee this summer. The rugby union Six Nations is handled with great professionalism.

The BBC undoubtedly have dedicated production staff and some great journalists. But morale is low. Much of the Formula One coverage has been pillaged by Sky, horse racing has been allowed to bolt to Channel 4, ITV has pinched the French Open tennis and BBC Radio 5 Live is under pressure from commercial competitors like talkSPORT.

Hamstrung by cuts and cowed by criticism that public money is used to finance the escalating price of exclusive rights, the BBC is being pushed to the sidelines. It might be economic reality, but it is still a shame.

I pay to see the BBC cover history. Not make itself history.

Fabrice Muamba news: Bolton players having "flashbacks" as return to Spurs looms

Bolton players having 'flashbacks' to Muamba collapse as return to Spurs looms

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 25 March 2012

Bolton will return to the scene of Fabrice Muamba's collapse on Tuesday with several players complaining of flashbacks to the traumatic events at White Hart Lane nine days ago.

Manager Owen Coyle will consider how best to guide his team through the ordeal as they prepare for the rescheduled FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. The tie was abandoned after Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

The 23-year-old has since made a remarkable recovery although he remains in intensive care in a stable condition.

Pause for thought: A fans adds to the tributes to Fabrice Muamba at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday

Pause for thought: A fans adds to the tributes to Fabrice Muamba at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday

Bolton defender Sam Ricketts revealed that, as well as suffering flashbacks, the emotional highs and lows of the past week had led to some players falling ill.

'There were a few lads who, when they were asleep, had flashbacks to certain things they'd seen on Saturday,' said Ricketts after Bolton returned to action with a win at home to relegation rivals Blackburn.

'It's been such an emotional drain. What it can do to your body being so low and then coming out to such a high, a couple of the lads have been ill coming in to this game with relief that Fab was better again.

'In the early part of the week until we knew how well Fab was doing, no one wanted to play football.

'But with the fantastic progress he's making, it would be fantastic if we can get back to Wembley and he can come back with us.'

Well wishers: Football continues to send messages to Muamba, such as this banner at St Andrew's on Sunday

Well wishers: Football continues to send messages to Muamba, such as this banner at St Andrew's on Sunday

Midfielder Darren Pratley was one of the worst affected by the trauma of seeing medics battling to restart Muamba's heart on the pitch. It stopped beating for a total of 78 minutes even though he received 15 electric shocks from a defibrillator.

Pratley said: 'I don't think you do sleep when something like that happens to one of your close mates. We saw him every day and then in effect he was dead on the pitch.

'It's been the hardest week of my life, being so close to where it happened and seeing everything go on. It's been hard sleeping. When you see that close up it's not nice.

'You lose track of the days. On Wednesday or Thursday we were in and didn't really know what day it was.

'Going back there (to Tottenham) will be tough I would think, but Fabrice is on the mend and that's the main thing.'

United: Bolton fans showed their support for the stricken midfielder at the Reebok Stadium

United: Bolton fans showed their support for the stricken midfielder at the Reebok Stadium

After seeing his side beat Blackburn 2-1, Coyle said he would sit down and decide how to handle the sensitive issues surrounding the game.

The Bolton boss also insisted that the wishes of Muamba's fiance Shauna and father Marcel would be paramount when determining who visits the player at the London Chest Hospital.

'I can't tell you how we will cope with going back until we get there,' said Coyle. 'Will it be emotional Absolutely. I'll go home tonight and have a wee Irn Bru and then sit down and think about how we're going to deal with that.

Team spirit: Bolton players warmed up for the game against Blackburn in shirts bearing Muamba's name

Team spirit: Bolton players warmed up for the game against Blackburn in shirts bearing Muamba's name

'That (a hospital visit) is something we'll look at. The bottom line is we'll see what the family request.

'If it meant that some of the players get in to see him then great. If it meant there's none, that will be the family's decision.

'If they felt it was something that would give him a huge boost, then to a man we'd sleep in the hospital if it would make him better quicker.'

Match zone: Bolton v Blackburn

Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch: Players, officials and fans in shock

We could not go on! Players, officials and fans in shock after Muamba collapses on pitch

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 18 March 2012

World Cup referee Howard Webb abandoned Tottenham's FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton, saying the players 'could not go on' after Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch with a suspected heart attack.

White Hart Lane was stunned into an eerie silence as players, club officials and fans feared for the midfielder's life.

Muamba fell to the ground on his own near the centre circle when the game was 41 minutes old and players soon had tears in their eyes as the severity of the situation quickly became clear.

Concern: Referee Howard Webb signals for medical assistance as Fabrice Muamba lies on the pitch

Concern: Referee Howard Webb signals for medical assistance as Fabrice Muamba lies on the pitch

Several looked to the skies in prayer and were consoled by team-mates as medics attempted to resuscitate Muamba with electric shock treatment. The London Chest Hospital later said Muamba was in a 'critically ill condition in intensive care'.

Spurs player Rafael van der Vaart was one of those visibly upset when Muamba collapsed and later took to Twitter to express his feelings. 'Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game,' he said. 'We're all praying for him.'

Shock: Players and officials watch on

Shock: Players and officials are helpless as they stand on the sidelines

England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who played alongside Muamba at Bolton, posted a message saying: 'Hope Muamba is OK. Thoughts with him.'

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who played in the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, used Twitter to say: 'I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro [sic], please please stay strong. God is with you remember that.'

There were scores of other players sending their best wishes, too, as the world of football united to pray for the player.

Pain: Bolton's Ivan Klasnic is distaught

Pain: Bolton's Ivan Klasnic is distraught as Muamba receives treatment

Wayne Rooney, Vincent Kompany, Emmanuel Adebayor and Michael Owen were among those who were desperate to send their best wishes.

Other high-profile sports stars also
posted similar sentiments, with Wales and Great Britain athlete Dai
Greene, top golfer Lee Westwood and England cricketer Graeme Swann just
three big names among the growing list.

The subject of most of the
messages, which is usually added after a hashtag at the end of each
post, was '#PrayForMuamba' and became a worldwide trend on the
microblogging site.

Tribute: Juventus' Andrea Pirlo dedicated his goal to Muamba

Tribute: Juventus' Andrea Pirlo dedicated his goal to Muamba

In Italy, Andrea Pirlo dedicated Juventus's 5-0 win over Fiorentina to Muamba. 'We pray he gets well soon,' he said.

When a topic trends it is a clear sign it is something that has been mentioned by thousands of people.