Tag Archives: gardener

Manchester City fan who confronted Rio Ferdinand apologises after pitch encroachment charge

'I'm ashamed and have let my family down': Man City fan who confronted Ferdinand says sorry after bursting on to pitch at shameful climax to manic derby

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UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 10 December 2012

The Manchester City supporter who ran on to the pitch to confront Rio Ferdinand has issued a grovelling apology for his action during a tumultuous derby on Sunday afternoon.

Matthew Stott, 21, was restrained by Blues keeper Joe Hart and then arrested after he raced onto the Etihad Stadium pitch following Robin van Persie's stunning late winner.

He has since been charged with pitch encroachment and has released a statement through his solicitors. In the meantime, City have removed his season ticket with immediate effect and he will be banned from the stadium for life if found guilty in court of a charge of pitch encroachment.

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Nicked: The City fan is hauled off by police and stewards after attempting to confront Ferdinand

Nicked: The City fan is hauled off by police and stewards after attempting to confront Ferdinand

In the statement, the landscape gardener, from Knutsford, said: 'I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players. I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

'I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans. I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.'

'I have been a fan of Manchester City Football club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years.'

Rebecca Caulfield, solicitor at Stephen Lickrish and Associates, is representing Stott.

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

Ashamed: Hart steps in to stop the situation escalating after the winner had been scored

She said: 'Scott is a hard working man who has held a full time job as a landscape gardener for four years and lives with his partner of five years.

'He has never been to court before and has never been in trouble with any of the stewards at Manchester City Football Club before or at any other ground. He is extremely remorseful and is mortified by his behaviour which is completely out of character.

'This was a momentary mistake by Mr Stott which has led to him being charged, brought shame on his family, and will bring sanctions on the club that Mr Stott has supported all his life.

'Mr Stott will accept the consequences of his actions. He would like to make clear that he is not the stereotypical drunken football fan but a fan that attends games with his father.

Apology: Stott plans to write to Ferdinand to express his regret

Apology: Stott plans to write to Ferdinand to express his regret

'He is embarrassed and ashamed of his temporary moment of madness that has brought wider consequences on the club he supports and his fellow fans.'

Greater Manchester Police today confirmed nine people had been charged in connection with trouble at yesterday's Manchester derby.

Among the charges faced by the nine people are racially aggravated public order and pitch encroachment.

Police are still hunting for the person who threw the coin which struck Rio Ferdinand above the eye.

A City spokeman confirmed: 'His season card has been immediately removed for the rest of the season
and he has been charged to appear at court. If he is found guilty he
faces a lifetime ban.'

VIDEO: Fans react to the aftermath of the violence…

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Tyler Hamilton implicates Lance Armstrong

Hamilton implicates former team-mate Armstrong in institutionalised doping offences

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UPDATED:

13:06 GMT, 3 September 2012

Lance Armstrong's former team-mate Tyler Hamilton has lifted the lid on what he claims was institutionalised doping at the US Postal Service team.

In his new book The Secret Race, extracts from which were reproduced in The Times on Monday, Hamilton said Armstrong's former team was 'two years ahead of what everybody else was doing' in terms of its alleged doping activities.

Accused: Tyler Hamilton claims Lance Armstrong and other members of the US Postal Service team took blood-boosting drugs

Accused: Tyler Hamilton claims Lance Armstrong and other members of the US Postal Service team took blood-boosting drugs

The revelations come amid increased
scrutiny regarding drugs use in cycling, after the US Anti-Doping Agency
(USADA) last week announced its intention of stripping Armstrong of his
seven Tour de France titles following the Texan's announcement that he
would no longer contest long-standing doping charges.

Hamilton and Armstrong rode together for the US Postal team from 1998 to 2001, a period that delivered three of Armstrong's Tour wins.

Hamilton, who has twice been banned for doping offences, has previously spoken out against both Armstrong and the team in interviews with federal criminal investigators.

One of the team's techniques, Hamilton claims, was the use of blood doping, whereby an amount of a rider's blood was extracted, stored and then re-injected to boost the red blood cell count.

'With the other stuff, you swallow a pill or put on a patch or get a tiny injection,' Hamilton wrote.

'But here you're watching a big clear plastic bag slowly fill up with your warm dark red blood.

Claim: Hamilton, who has been banned twice for doping offences, has accused Armstrong in his book

Claim: Hamilton, who has been banned twice for doping offences, has accused Armstrong in his book

'You never forget it.'

Hamilton also alleged that at the 1999 Tour Armstrong's gardener, named only as Phillipe, followed the riders on a motorbike carrying a flask containing vials of the blood-boosting drug EPO.

'When we needed Edgar [Allan Poe, a slang term for EPO], Phillipe would zip through the Tour's traffic and make a drop-off,' he claimed.

Hamilton also questioned the quality of the doping tests the riders were subjected to.

Armstrong has never failed a doping test, a fact frequently held up by his supporters as proof of his innocence, but Hamilton wrote: 'They weren't drug tests. They were more like discipline tests, IQ tests.

'If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99 per cent certain that you would not get caught.

'They've got their doctors, and we've got ours, and ours are better. Better paid, for sure.'

Armstrong's representatives were not immediately available for comment about the book's claims.

Armstrong has always denied using drugs throughout his career.

I've done nothing wrong: Armstrong has denied ever using performance enhancing drugs in his career

I've done nothing wrong: Armstrong has denied ever using performance enhancing drugs in his career

Olympic Torch makes its way through Bath

I was swept along by a river of people as I carried the Olympic Torch

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 22 May 2012

Runner 93 – aka Sportsmail’s Olympics Correspondent Jonathan McEvoy – sees the beautiful city of Bath fall in love with the Games as he carries the flame through the West Country.

Grin and bear it: McEvoy lopes through the streets of Bath

Grin and bear it: McEvoy lopes through the streets of Bath

The greatest inaccuracy relating to the coming Games appears to be contained in the reference books. There the boffins put the population of Bath at around 80,000.

At least travelling through the beautiful spa city yesterday brought to mind one of the greatest lines written in the Daily Mail, when Vincent Mulchrone reported the scene on the eve of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. ‘Two rivers run though London tonight, and one of them is made of people,’ he reported.

Well, if Bath’s population is truly just 80,000 then every single one of them was out there close to the Avon, cheering and waving flags, as the Olympic torch relay called by.

They were young and recording the day on iPods and smartphones. They were old and leaning on walking sticks. They were babies carried in their mothers’ harnesses.

They were peering out of sash windows three storeys up. Some wore school uniforms, some were suited and booted, others simply clad in T-shirts and shorts.

A swathe of middle England was falling in love with the Olympics before our very eyes.

On the buses: Our man Jonathan arrives in Bath

On the buses: Our man Jonathan arrives in Bath

FOLLOW THE TORCH

Wednesday – Day 5: Bristol-Cheltenham via Swindon and Stroud.

Celebrity bearer: Didier Drogba.

Jason Gardener, gold relay medallist from the Athens Olympics, is Bath born. And as the bus carrying him and the other torch carriers pulled out of Bath University, the campus was lined perhaps a dozen deep. I swear his eyes were moist. That is, at least, how it looked to me.

I was runner 93 on Day Four as the torch relay snakes its way across Britain on its journey to the Opening Ceremony on July 27. Runner 93 is also a cynic when the situation demands. I should also add that I was running as a guest of Coca-Cola. I can assure you my approval cannot be bought for anything so soft, or fizzy.

But having seen the flame lit in ancient Olympia and having flown over with the lanterns last week, I can only attest that this was the most special moment.

Streets ahead: Bath was full of spectators as the relay went by

Streets ahead: Bath was full of spectators as the relay went by

Here in Bath, warmed in mood by an unbroken blue sky, I was reminded of what Daley Thompson (if you will forgive the name-dropping) told me as we drove over here. I asked that most infectious of sports enthusiasts what it would mean to him if he were selected to light the Olympic cauldron in the Stadium. ‘You know what,’ he said, aware the identity of that person is as yet unknown and will remain a closely guarded secret. ‘It would be better than being made a Sir or a Lord. It would be the best thing in the world.’

That feeling would be understood by my fellow runners yesterday. They all had their achievements to commend them: James Eynon, the teenager I succeeded in the relay, helped save his school from closure. Kate Pocock (nee Allenby), to whom I handed the flame, took the bronze pentathlon medal in Sydney 12 years ago and is now a teacher in Bath. One man had lost 16 stone and runs marathons. A mother had beaten a brain tumour and dedicates herself to charity work in Africa.

Humbly, I can only claim to have got the torch my 300 metres without incident.

Aston Villa"s youth team proves football can be entertaining – The Midlander

Villa's youth of today offer hope for tomorrow with promising NextGen display

Every now and again professional football observers are reminded why it is that the game still has the capacity to engage.

And so it was on Wednesday night when I trooped to a sodden Villa Park to watch the inaugural NextGen Series quarter-final between Villa and Marseille.

No doubt the brains behind the competition had hoped it would take off in pretty much the same way as the Champions League, no doubt looking for it to make a fistful of cash in the process. I doubt it was conceived for altruistic reasons.

Stars of the future: Gary Gardener was one of Aston Villa's young talents on display

Stars of the future: Gary Gardener was one of Aston Villa's young talents on display

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For the record, Villa were invited because of their pedigree in Europe and outstanding record of success with the academy.

I have to say that whoever chose to accept entrance into the competition has pulled off a masterstroke.

Why

Well, there are several levels to back up my argument.

First, listen to the words of Villa's academy manager Bryan Jones.

'In terms of the quality of opposition, this has certainly been the best competition that Aston Villa's youngsters have been involved with during my time at the club.

'It has given everyone a lift. The players, the coaching staff and Aston Villa as whole.

'I understand that there are several significant clubs both here and abroad who are looking to register their interest in it.

'And I genuinely believe it is something that the Premier League should be keeping a close eye on.'

Secondly, for 3,500 supporters it was genuinely heart-warming to see a group of footballers wearing the Aston Villa crest give absolutely everything to the cause.

Experience: Villa manager Alec McLeish (left) might be more confident calling on the youngsters for first-team duties

Experience: Villa manager Alec McLeish (left) might be more confident calling on the youngsters for first-team duties

In 120 minutes' action against Marseille, they left nothing on that pitch.

It might as well have been the Champions League quarter-final as far as they were concerned.

Let's face it, how many times has any home fan left Villa Park this season and thought: 'Yes, I can't complain at that, they had a right good go'

Thirdly, it gave the youngsters exposure to a level of opposition that they rarely encounter.

They will definitely have learnt from their experiences in the competition.

The likes of Gary Gardner, keeper Calum Barrett, Daniel Johnson, Michael Drennan et al. will certainly have benefited from the playing the likes of Fenerbache, Ajax and Marseille.

Obviously my own personal experience was shaped by the fact that it was a good game.

Give it all: The youngsters played passionately; do Villa fans think the first-team are doing the same

Give it all: The youngsters played passionately; do Villa fans think the first-team are doing the same

Chances at both ends, Villa's lads giving it everything, a pantomime villain in the shape of the Marseille trainer who ended up being carried off himself after tending to one of their injured players.

A 21-man fracas and Marseille's on-pitch celebration that was soundly booed at the final whistle because of some blatant time-wasting.

It was great entertainment.

According to Villa's Academy manager, the club has signed up to participate in the competition for the next two seasons.

The manner of Villa's exit was somewhat unfortunate but at least you'll have the chance to see them in a few months time when the next competition gets underway.

So, if you want your faith to receive a boost, go and have a look at the club's kids, still being turned out by Kevin MacDonald, Tony McAndrew and Jones.

Seriously, you won't be disappointed.

What is the cost of Karl Henry's crazy moment

I have written numerous online columns in support of Karl Henry.

So I was glad to see him come out and apologise in public earlier this week, just like he did to his Wolves' team-mates in the dressing-room following the defeat to Villa.

What he did was out-of-order. (I was going to write – 'out-of-character' but no doubt someone would have picked me up on it.)

Marching orders: Karl Henry trudges from the field

Marching orders: Karl Henry trudges from the field

I just hope it doesn't have far wider implications.

For the second period of the first-half, that display was as good as I've seen from Wolves during their time in the Premier League.

Yet they ended up losing the game.

The midfield – the Jarvis, Henry, Frimpong, Kightly axis – appears to have really nice shape and balance to it.

Disarray: Could Henry's absence upset Wolves' new-found balance in midfield

Disarray: Could Henry's absence upset Wolves' new-found balance in midfield

But now it won't be seen in operation once more until the end of the month.

It looks as though the relegation issue is going to the wire once more.

I sincerely hope that the influence of Henry's mad moment doesn't cost Wolves far more.