Tag Archives: greater

Which football star wants to play club cricket when he retires?

From Blues to whites: Everton skipper Neville wants to play club cricket when he retires from football

By
Phil Gradwell

PUBLISHED:

13:11 GMT, 14 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 14 March 2013

Retirement will be a whole new ball game for Everton captain Phil Neville, who says he wants to spend his post-football days playing club cricket.

Neville, 36, may have won 59 England caps, have six Premier League titles to his name and be leading out an established top-flight side but he is relishing the thought of swapping his blue shirt for his whites.

That may not be for a few years yet but the defender – who played alongside Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up and was a good enough cricketer to play for the county's second XI aged 15 – said when his football career is up he will join Bury-based local-league club Greenmount, for whom he played as a junior.

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

WHO ARE GREENMOUNT CC

Greenmount Cricket Club, founded in 1867 (as far as records can establish) are based in Bury, Greater Manchester and play in the Bolton League.

In 2011 they won a treble of the Bolton League, the Lancashire Knock Out and the Hamer Cup.

They have had many famous overseas players including Australians Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden and West Indian Franklyn Stephenson.

The much more English Neville Neville, father of Phil and Gary, also played for the club.

Neville told the Bolton News: 'One hundred per cent, I will play cricket again in a couple of years time if my career ends.

'That is the first thing I am going to do; I am going to get back doing something I love.

'People sometimes fear retirement but I am looking forward to it because I can go and do something I love.'

Neville was speaking as an ambassador
at the launch of ‘The Lancashire Way’ – an inclusive cricket initiative
launched by Lancashire CCC.

He
added: 'To get the chance at my stage in my life to get back involved
with Lancashire is great because I love going to Old
Trafford to watch.'

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Nani unhurt after crash with police car

Nani unhurt after Man United star's Bentley collides with unmarked police car

By
Ian Leonard

PUBLISHED:

11:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

Manchester United winger Nani escaped uninjured after his luxury Bentley was involved in a crash with a police car.

The 26-year-old’s Bentley Continental careered into a central reservation and smashed into bollards after colliding with the unmarked Ford Mondeo, which was responding to a 999 call.

The crash happened around 6.40pm on Friday on Gatley Road, near the junction of Kingsway, in Stockport.

Unhurt: Nani's Bentley Continental collided with an unmarked police car

Unhurt: Nani's Bentley Continental collided with an unmarked police car

The officer who was driving the police car and Nani were unhurt while another officer, who was a passenger in the Mondeo, received minor injuries.

Both vehicles suffered minor damage.

Police have launched an investigation and an officer has been suspended from driving in line with normal procedures.

Witnesses told how Nani, who was dressed in his United training kit, was led away by officers for questioning.

One told the Manchester Evening News: 'I could see the Bentley had gone head-on into the bollards at the traffic lights and the car had been a bit bashed up at the front.

'I wondered who was driving the Bentley and when I had a quick look in the police car Nani was sat there in his training kit.'

'He looked a bit shocked.'

It’s understood The Portuguese star was travelling to his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, at the time of crash.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: 'At about 6.40pm on Friday, an unmarked police car responding to an emergency call was travelling along Gatley road at the junction with Kingsway, Stockport.

'As the police car entered the junction it collided with a Bentley, Continental.

'The passenger in the police car received minor injuries and only minor damage was caused to both vehicles.

'The police driver has been suspended from driving duties in line with normal procedure.'

Battle: Nani (right) holds off Fulham's Sascha Riether earlier this month

Battle: Nani (right) holds off Fulham's Sascha Riether earlier this month

Crash: Nani's Bentley Continental, like the car above, was involved in the collision (stock image)

Crash: Nani's Bentley Continental, like the car above, was involved in the collision (stock image)

Graeme Swann: England can win series in India

Now we must finish the job: Swann says England can win series by being clinical

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

England need only think back to the last Ashes to remind themselves of their desire to finish off a wounded opponent and return home for Christmas with a job gloriously done.

It was in Melbourne two years ago that, joyously, they retained the Ashes by taking a 2-1 lead with a truly momentous performance against Australia.

England could have been forgiven for considering their mission to be accomplished but they followed it up with an even greater victory in Sydney to ensure the series, as well as the fabled urn, was emphatically grasped.

They find themselves now in an identical
situation, with two of their greatest away Test victories in memory
being followed here in the middle of India by a final Test in which
their ruthless instincts will be tested to the full.

Final act: England celebrate a memorable victory at the SCG to seal the Ashes series - and Graeme Swann has urged a repeat performance in India

Final act: England celebrate a memorable victory at the SCG to seal the Ashes series – and Graeme Swann has urged a repeat performance in India

Most in England would have taken a 2-2 draw at the start of this series, and particularly after India’s heavy victory in Ahmedabad, but that would represent failure now for an England team who sense redemption after a miserable year.

Even Graeme Swann was more serious than usual yesterday after England had practised at the well-appointed VCA Stadium for the first time. Kolkata has been consigned to history. Now it is time, in tomorrow’s fourth Test, to ram home England’s advantage.

‘It would have been very easy to just switch off in Sydney after we had retained the Ashes but we managed to pull out our best game of the tour,’ said Swann.

‘It’s a lot more satisfying as a team to finish the job off. We came here to win the series like we did then and that’s what we want to do now.’

The message then still applies. ‘From what I remember, Andrew Strauss sat us down and stressed that all our hard work would be wasted if we had lost in Sydney. Yes, we’d have retained the Ashes but we would have felt as if we’d let ourselves down. It worked then and it’s a good attitude to take in now.’

Tighten the screw: Swann has urged England to claim victory in India for the first time in 27 years

Tighten the screw: Swann has urged England to claim victory in India for the first time in 27 years (FILE IMAGE)

Nagpur holds good memories for England. It was in the ‘cleanest and greenest’ city in India, but not at this ground, that Alastair Cook scored a century on Test debut six years ago and Monty Panesar and, less memorably, Ian Blackwell, also made their England bows.

Last year England played at what must rank among the nicest stadiums in this country in the World Cup and survived a few scares and a Ryan ten Doeschate century before they defeated Holland.

There have been only three Tests at the VCA Stadium, 10 miles outside Nagpur, and all have provided positive results, with the pitch yesterday looking far from the dusty, used, dry turner that many expected. Pitch reading can be a hazardous business, especially two days out from a Test, but this one looked pretty good.

The most pleasing aspect of England’s transformation is that they have triumphed both on a raging turner in Mumbai and a flat surface in Kolkata and, as Swann revealed, the great comeback has been as much to do with attitudes as conquering playing surfaces.

‘It would have been very easy to get into a rut after Ahmedabad, of losing games and thinking about going home rather than winning the next one,’ said Swann. ‘A lot of focus and energy went into ensuring that this tour wasn’t going to be like that.

Ton machine: England will look to Alastair Cook once again on what is expected to be a results pitch in Nagpur (FILE IMAGE)

Ton machine: England will look to Alastair Cook to lead from the front once again in Nagpur (FILE IMAGE)

‘It was made very clear after the first Test, whether it came from management or senior players, that Mumbai was a chance to level the series and anybody who didn’t see it that way wasn’t welcome in the dressing room.

‘We probably approached the tour a bit different this time. We have tried to embrace India and believed that we could win this series. I’m not sure that’s always been the case here.

‘I’ve only been on one other Indian tour but there certainly seemed more belief from the outset on this one.’

England are set to be unchanged, but it was interesting to see Andy Flower call Cook over to watch Jonny Bairstow in the nets yesterday. It would be harsh on Samit Patel if he is left out now, but his bowling is largely redundant in a team including both Swann and Panesar and he has a top score in this series of 33.

For India the repercussions rumble on. Zaheer Khan will not feature for the first time when fit for five years and Ashok Dinda looks set to replace him even though they have the option of a third spinner in Piyush Chawla, who has come into the squad for Harbhajan Singh. Ravindra Jadeja, who has just scored the third triple hundred of his career, replaces Yuvraj Singh.

One last hurrah Sachin Tendulkar could call an end to his Test career after 15,643 runs - and counting

One last hurrah Sachin Tendulkar could call an end to his Test career after 15,643 runs – and counting (FILE IMAGE)

But it is at the top where most of India’s attention is focused. This could really be the last Test for one of the greatest players the game has known in Sachin Tendulkar, while MS Dhoni is playing for his Test captaincy.

It is also difficult to see Duncan Fletcher taking up the year’s option on his coaching contract when it is up for renewal in April.

These are testing times for the richest, most powerful country in cricket but England have the chance to further trouble them by winning a series here for the first time in 27 years and, in the process, ensure that India’s ‘revenge’ series turns to dust. Expect Cook and his team to do just that.

Hillsborough must be remembered as football considers using nets after Rio Ferdinand coin incident

Remember Hillsborough! As football considers using nets to stop yobs, relatives of victims killed in tragedy issue warning

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UPDATED:

01:51 GMT, 11 December 2012

Relatives of Hillsborough victims have warned that erecting netting to protect players from missiles could eventually lead to the return of the fences that killed their loved ones.

Players' union chief Gordon Taylor said on Monday that mesh nets would have saved Rio Ferdinand from the coin that struck him above the eye in the last minute of Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Such nets are used across Europe, while Manchester United have one behind the goals at Old Trafford to stop disabled supporters being hit by the ball.

Target: Supporters hurled coins at the United players as they celebrated their last-gasp victory over City on Sunday

Target: Supporters hurled coins at the United players as they celebrated their last-gasp victory over City

But last night Steve Kelly of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign said: 'I don't think nets would bring safety. The next thing would be wire mesh and then fencing, and we all know what that has meant.

'Preventing missiles is a society thing. With all the money the clubs have to pay players the wages they are getting, there should be better ways to identify fans in the crowd who throw things.

'They should be making real examples of these people, not trying to fence groups of fans in. It should be more than a 50 slap on the wrist and a temporary ban.'

Tragedy: Ninety-six Liverpool supporters lost their lives in the Hillsborough tragedy

Tragedy: Ninety-six Liverpool supporters lost their lives in the Hillsborough tragedy

The controversy came on the day Attorney General Dominic Grieve sought to have the Hillsborough inquest verdicts of accidental death quashed. Mr Grieve said there was a 'good' case to hold new hearings into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans in 1989.

City officials and Greater Manchester Police were still trawling through CCTV footage in an attempt to identify the thug who threw the coin at Ferdinand after United's winning goal. It is understood the process could last into the new year.

PFA chief executive Taylor had said earlier in the day: 'I think you've got to give consideration to some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags.'

Confrontation: City have banned supporter Matthew Slott for life after he ran on to the pitch

Confrontation: City have banned supporter Matthew Slott for life after he ran on to the pitch

It is understood City are not giving too much thought to putting up netting and will only do so if ordered to by the FA, which is unlikely.

City are reviewing their procedures in the wake of Sunday – as they would after any big game – and are determined to find the offender and work out how another fan was able to evade stewards and run on to the field in the direction of Ferdinand. Matthew Stott, 21, was yesterday charged with pitch encroachment and will be banned for life by City.

Last night FA chairman David Bernstein said: 'It is deplorable to see those incidents. To see Rio Ferdinand with blood on his face is absolutely terrible. It's disturbing to see a recurrence of these things. We've had racial abuse issues, the odd pitch incursion, things being thrown at players. 'It has to be dealt with severely.'

Bloody mess: Ferdinand was struck by a 2p coin as he celebrated United's late victory

Bloody mess: Ferdinand was struck by a 2p coin as he celebrated United's late victory

City have previously given consideration to moving visiting supporters to less visible areas of the Etihad Stadium to stop players celebrating provocatively. It will be considered again when they eventually expand their stadium.

Former United midfielder Paddy Crerand yesterday denied Ferdinand was to blame for what happened. During a passionate interview on Radio 5 Live, Crerand said: 'I was at the game yesterday and that is absolute rubbish. Who suggested that, and where did that come from It's absolute garbage.'

On Monday night the story took another twist when Ashley Cole’s mother angrily denied posting an insulting message about the attack on Ferdinand after a Facebook page purporting to belong to her younger son Matty appeared to revel in the defender’s injury.

Sue Cole insisted she was not the author of a post that said: ‘Give the fan that threw it (the coin) a medal.’

The secret of Celtic glory? Smells like team spirit

The secret of Celtic glory Smells like team spirit

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UPDATED:

01:15 GMT, 7 December 2012

It is easy to get carried away with
Celtic. The history, the colour, the noise, the spectacle, all of this
acts like a magnetic force on our attention, on major European nights in
particular. Celtic Park can be an inspiration and it was once again
uplifting on Wednesday.

But at the core of the celebrated
club must always be a football team and if that seems a very basic
requirement, what Neil Lennon has assembled at Celtic is a proper team.

Get in: Neil Lennon punches the air after Celtic progressed to the next round of the Champions League

Get in: Neil Lennon punches the air after Celtic progressed to the next round of the Champions League

One definition of a real manager and a real team is that the collective is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Less is made more.

Celtic have done this, they have become a coherent unit one year on from being 3-0 down at Kilmarnock with Lennon fretting about his future. He did not look like the coming man he appears to be today. But the 41-year-old has grown; his team have grown.

In terms of maturity there is a comparison to be made with Borussia Dortmund, who finished bottom of their group a year ago with four points. At the same time Celtic were third in their Europa League group. Both are young teams.

Rocket: Kris Commons drills home the spot-kick that sent the Hoops through

Rocket: Kris Commons drills home the spot-kick that sent the Hoops through

Hard work and a team ethic sounds too
simple an explanation for progress, but there is genius in simplicity.
So when the question is asked: how did Celtic make it out of a tough
Champions League group when clubs of superior resources, such as
Manchester City and Chelsea, did not, a significant slice of the answer
is that Celtic are a team in a way that City and Chelsea have not been.

It is understandable to dwell on the wealth gap. Celtic’s most costly
player in their starting XI on Wednesday against Spartak Moscow was
Scott Brown, who cost 4.4million from Hibs five years ago.
Alongside him were scorers Gary Hooper (Scunthorpe, 1.6m) and Kris
Commons (Derby, 300,000).

Celtic’s starting XI against Spartak cost 13m, which amounts to a couple of annual salaries at Chelsea and City.

Another comparison that flatters Lennon and his club was the sight of
Aiden McGeady entering the pitch as a Spartak substitute. Celtic sold
McGeady to Moscow for 10m — which is 4m more than Celtic have ever
spent on a player.

And McGeady was by no means Spartak’s only recent recruit. Emmanuel
Emenike, who set up Spartak’s equaliser, cost 9m. The wages in Moscow
far exceed those in Scotland.

Anything can happen: Lennon believes his Celtic boys can go deep in the competition

Anything can happen: Lennon believes his Celtic boys can go deep in the competition

Another comparison is the TV money which clubs receive. Celtic’s cut
last year was around 2m, whereas Wolves, bottom of the Premier League
and relegated, received 39m.

Man City got 60.6m from the televising of the Premier League, Chelsea
54.4m, and it was felt that those two clubs capturing respectively the
League title and European Cup marked the utter triumph of vast wealth.

It has not turned out that way, which is a warning to Celtic. A year
from now, things could be different. But Celtic are not complacent. A
measure of their daily economic reality was seen and heard in the Jock
Stein Lounge on Tuesday. There Lennon talked about the financial rewards
gained before Wednesday’s victory as saving jobs at the stadium.

‘To
have this revenue when a lot of people at this club were worried about
their jobs is great,’ he said. ‘Everyone in Scotland is downsizing and
we are no different.’

Lennon was pressed on the January window and talked about getting
players such as Victor Wanyama and Hooper on to better contracts.

And buying players ‘Possibly. But I don’t want to change it too much. I
don’t want to spend mega-money on one player because that will only
disrupt the spirit here.’

Lennon did not overplay the spirit line. He was restrained. But he knows
this is over-achieving and he knows it is being noticed. ‘I think this
might change the opinion or the view of Scottish teams,’ he added,
‘particularly Celtic.’

Contract trouble: Gary Hooper might not sign a new deal

Contract trouble: Gary Hooper might not sign a new deal

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.

Stan Collymore – Man arrested for Twitter abuse of former footballer

Collymore thanks police for acting quickly after receiving MORE racist abuse on Twitter

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UPDATED:

17:41 GMT, 27 November 2012

A new wave of controversy has hit football after Stan Collymore reported a racially abusive tweet on Twitter.

Northumbria police arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the alleged racist tweet, which was sent on Tuesday morning.

The authorities are questioning the Sunderland man, and Collymore tweeted his thanks, saying: ‘Many thanks to Greater Manchester and Northumbria Police forces for their prompt response to racism on Twitter.’

Incident: Stan Collymore was sent racial abuse on Twitter again and an arrest has been made

Incident: Stan Collymore was sent racial abuse on Twitter again and an arrest has been made

Northumbria police said: 'A 21-year-old Sunderland man has been arrested on suspicion of publishing written material to stir up racial hatred and is currently in police custody helping police with their enquiries.'

It is not the first time the Talksport pundit has been subjected to racist abuse on Twitter, but he has been successful in bringing abusers to justice.

Grateful: Collymore's was pleased the police acted so promptly

Grateful: Collymore's was pleased the police acted so promptly

Earlier this year 21-year-old Joshua Cryer, from Jesmond, received a two-year community order.

Cryer, who was studying law at
Newcastle University at the time, pleaded guilty to tweeting racial
abuse at the former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Fulham player.

The university conducted a disciplinary hearing but the result has not been made public.

Police launch investigation after Oldham player accused racially abusing ball boy

Police launch race-probe after accusation Oldham player abused ball boy

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 14 October 2012

Police are investigating an allegation that an Oldham player racially abused a ball boy during a game.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed it was looking into the claim that an unnamed player abused the ball boy during the npower League One club's 1-1 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

The Greater Manchester side said the player denied the allegation and that they and his team-mates were fully supportive of him.

Investigation: Police have launched an investigation into events at Bramall Lane

Investigation: Police have launched an investigation into events at Bramall Lane

In a statement, the club said: 'Oldham Athletic Football Club was made aware by South Yorkshire Police after today's npower League One match at Sheffield United of an allegation of racist abuse by one of its players.

'The player has categorically denied the allegation and the club and his team-mates are fully supportive of him.

'The club understands that the police are making enquiries into the allegation and, as a result, will not be making any further statements in relation to this matter.'

Referee Dean Mohareb arrested over computer hacking allegations

Football League referee Mohareb arrested over computer hacking allegations

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UPDATED:

09:40 GMT, 3 October 2012

Arrested: Referee Dean Mohareb

Arrested: Referee Dean Mohareb

Referee Dean Mohareb has been arrested on suspicion of computer hacking.

Mohareb, a senior member of the Football Association’s referee department and a football league official, was due to take charge of Barnsley against Peterborough on Tuesday night.

But the 29-year-old was stood down from the match following his arrest at home on Sunday.

A statement from Greater Manchester Police said: ‘On Sunday 30 September 2012 police seized a number of electrical items as part of an investigation into computer hacking and the dissemination of private information.

‘A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material/data, under section 1 of the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. The man has since been bailed until 26 November 2012.’

The arrest follows an investigation into the hacking of emails belonging to the FA’s former National Referee Manager for Education and Training, Janie Frampton.

Miss Frampton was sacked after her emails were leaked to the press and it was reported she had offered FA Cup semi-final tickets in return for flight upgrades on British Airways.

She denies the allegations and is appealing the decision to sack her.

Mark Halsey twitter abuse sees man cautioned by police

Liverpool fan who abused Halsey on Twitter after United defeat cautioned by police

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UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 28 September 2012

Abused: Halsey

Abused: Halsey

The man who posted abusive messages about referee Mark Halsey after his handling of Liverpool's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend has been cautioned by the police.

Liverpool supporter, 27, John Wareing tweeted: 'I hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies.'

Halsey, a cancer survivor, had reported the abuse to the police earlier this week.

DS Tony Lunt of Greater Manchester police said: 'Clearly the victim and his family were very distressed by the extremely offensive comments posted on Twitter.

'We take all reports of abuse on social networking sites very seriously as these remarks can and do have a devastating impact on people’s lives.

'As a result of our investigation, we have cautioned a man who has admitted responsibility for some of the messages.

'This individual was very apologetic and realises that in a moment of stupidity he posted deeply derogatory remarks about the victim and completely regrets his actions.

'Twitter, like all social networking sites, can be a fantastic tool for people to communicate but it must not be abused to the detriment of decent hard-working people who may be in the public eye.

'Our inquiries are ongoing to identify anyone else who posted these offensive messages.'