Tag Archives: happier

Nicklas Bendtner banned and fined for drink driving

'The worst day of my life': Bendtner slapped with 100k fine and three-year ban for drink driving

European
Championships, Bendtner was fined 80,000 and banned for one
international match by UEFA for brandishing a pair of Paddy Power boxer
shorts after scoring for Denmark.

Happier times: Bendtner thrived during his time at the Stadium of Light

Happier times: Bendtner thrived during his time at the Stadium of Light

Florent Malouda says Chelsea are "trying to break me mentally"

Chelsea are 'trying to break me mentally', claims Malouda after being frozen out at Stamford Bridge

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

22:32 GMT, 11 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:16 GMT, 12 February 2013

Not happy: Florent Malouda has hit out at Chelsea

Not happy: Florent Malouda has hit out at Chelsea

Florent Malouda has launched an astonishing attack on Chelsea, claiming the club are trying to ‘break him mentally’ by forcing him to train with academy players.

The France midfielder has hit out after being excluded from the 25-man Premier League squad all season and forbidden from even changing with the first team at their Cobham training ground.

Malouda, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has been banished since a move to North America collapsed last summer.

‘The details I’ll explain when I’m free,’ Malouda, 32, told newspaper France-Guyane.

‘But
the strategy they use is to make me look like a player seeking
substantial compensation. If you are excluded for one year, it is very,
very long.

'You must be armed mentally. All this is done to break me
mentally, but in reality it motivates me enormously.’

Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez believes his squad – the majority of whom won the Champions League last May – will realise how important the Europa League is when they arrive in Prague on Wednesday.

Chelsea play Sparta Prague in the last 32 tie first leg on Thursday evening, with Benitez admitting it will take an adjustment for players used to plying their trade in Europe's premier club competition.

'We will need some time (to talk),' said Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November after the holders were knocked out of the Champions League.

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

Happier times: Malouda (second from right) trains with his Chelsea team-mates

'In terms of flights and games it's like the Champions League, in terms of mentality, the first thought is “hmm, it's different”. But if you see the teams that are in the Europa League, you will see it could be quite difficult.

'The day before we will fly, we will be there, they will realise it's Europe and they can concentrate 100 per cent. I'm expecting that they will be focused. We will have to start thinking of it as a great competition, with good teams and we will try to do our best.'

The Europa League is one of two trophies Chelsea can realistically still win this term; they began the season in contention for seven. They sit third, 16 points behind leaders Manchester United with 12 games to play in the Barclays Premier League, but remain in the FA Cup.

The next four matches are key for Chelsea's season and could lift the mood at Stamford Bridge, by changing perceptions of Benitez's reign, which has been unpopular from the start.

On a roll: Chelsea head to Sparta Prague this week for their Europa League clash

On a roll: Chelsea head to Sparta Prague this week for their Europa League clash

Should Chelsea advance to the Europa League last 16, at the expense of Sparta Prague, beat Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round replay and win at Manchester City, cutting the deficit to the second-placed Premier League champions to one point, Benitez will be able to demonstrate progress.

Benitez is unfazed at the prospect of regular Thursday and Sunday fixtures which Europa League progress dictates, although it does limit the amount of time he has to work with his squad.

'Two games a week we can manage, if we have enough bodies,' added the Spaniard, who won the UEFA Cup with Valencia and Champions League with Liverpool. 'Normally when you want to improve your team tactically, you push them. But in this situation you can't because if you push them too much they will be tired. The balance is quite difficult.

'The day after a game you have a light training session. The second day is before the game, so you have a light training session. Then you have to play. That means when you try to do your tactical adjustments, your preparation, you cannot do too much.'

Chico Flores opens up on Swansea and Pep Guardiola in exclusive interview

EXCLUSIVE: It's Chico time! Music videos, somersaults and gifts from Pep… Swansea's Spanish centre back is anything but dull

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 20 December 2012

There is a video of Chico Flores on the internet, but studying it won't necessarily help Wayne Rooney on Sunday. 'I was asked to do it and I was happy to help,' he says. 'If people say I am crazy, then I say they are crazy.'

The footage starts with a fishing boat motoring into a port and Chico, dressed in yellow oilskins, is on the bow running his fingers through his hair. It's the opening sequence of a music video shot earlier this year for Nane, a singer from Majorca.

Swansea City's Spanish centre half is playing a love rat. After docking he kisses the singer but a few lyrics later is shown with another woman.

Scroll down for the video

Back of the net: Chico was an online sensation starring in a music video (below)

Back of the net: Chico was an online
sensation starring in a music video (below)

Chico Flores
LOWDOWN ON THE BOY FROM CADIZ

Age: 25
Born: March 6, 1987 in Cadiz, Spain
Who has he played for
2008-10 Almeria (47 games, 1 goal)
2010-11 Genoa (15 games, 0 goals)
2011-12 Real Mallorca
(33 games, 0 goals)
2012- Swansea
(14 games, 1 goal)

Nane catches him and what follows is a montage of Chico's character and the singer in happier times, with clips of them hugging, kissing and rolling around with their dog.

'She was going to record her new album, and she wanted a football player to promote it,' Chico, 25, says. 'I was playing for Real Mallorca at the time and as the song is pop-Flamenco style I fit perfectly, because I am from Andalucia. It got quite well known in Spain.'

It's become quite well known in the offices at the Liberty Stadium, too. There, it's simply referred to as 'THE video'.

Head over heels: Chico has become a cult figure at Swansea

Head over heels: Chico is a cult hero at Swansea

When it was discovered on the 'Chico TV' section of his website, beneath clips of him go-karting and Barcelona's Xavi describing his man-marking as 'obsessive, crazy', no-one was especially surprised.

They love Chico, but if 'loco' is the most used description of a man fast becoming a cult hero, then 'different' is a close second.

The tales are many and varied, from the cartwheel, to the knife, to the kung-fu kick, to the motorbike antics that terrified managers in Cadiz. He will line up against Manchester United on Sunday and, as ever, no-one truly knows what to expect.

He is a gifted ball-playing centre half, a man who loves possession and has a pass-completion rate of 91.7 per cent, a record bettered by only seven other players in the Barclays Premier League.

Four years ago he was part of the Spain Under 21 squad; Pep Guardiola wanted him at Barcelona and still keeps in touch. But he is also delightfully unpredictable.

Last weekend, in the space of 20 or so minutes against Tottenham, he took on and beat Emmanuel Adebayor, rolled around on the floor with what appeared to be an injury of grotesque seriousness, and exchanged blows with Kyle Walker.

It's never dull: Chico exchanged blows with Walker and clashed with Adebayor (below)

It's never dull: Chico exchanged blows with Walker and clashed with Adebayor (below) last Sunday

It's never dull: Chico exchanged blows with Walker and clashed with Adebayor (below)

'It is always exciting one way or another when Chico is around,' says Bernardo Muela. He is a friend and part of the agency that has looked after Chico's affairs since he was a 16-year-old. 'Ever since he was a boy in football, he has been like this.'

Chico, as he is simply known, was born Jose Manuel Flores Moreno in Cadiz in southern Spain to a family with no great tradition of sport, but a grandfather who loved football.

'Financially, it was hard growing up,' Chico says. 'My parents separated when I was young and I have always lived with my mother and sister. There were never any sport professionals in my family, but I was very close with my grandfather, Matias, and he helped me love football.

'He passed away and that is why I have Chico Flores on the shirt. Before I was using only “Chico”, and I added the “Flores” because that was my grandfather. He gave me the name Chico (boy) and I will always keep it.'

He adds: 'Growing up, it was just me, my mother and my sister. We didn't have much money. My mum worked so hard for my sister and me, cleaning people's houses, housekeeping in hotels. People ask if she is proud of me, but it is mutual. My sister and me are very proud of her for what she has done for us.'

Chico got his first professional contract at the second-tier club, Cadiz CF, aged 17 in 2005 after coming through their youth ranks.

Edge of his seat: The Spaniard joined the Premier League club in a 2m deal over the summer

Edge of his seat: The Spaniard joined the Premier League club in a 2m deal over the summer

'It was a great time, very exciting,' he says. Likewise for a succession of Cadiz managers. Muela says: 'In Cadiz the big thing every year is the carnival and Chico loves carnival. Every year he would turn up at the training ground dressed in some costume while riding a motorbike. The managers would be shocked.'

He stayed at Cadiz until 2008, when he joined Almeria and got his chance in La Liga. It could have been a more glamorous move.

'I went on loan to Barcelona B,' he says. It was early in 2008 and Guardiola was in charge and assisted by Tito Vilanova. They won their league that season and the team got promoted to the third tier, with Guardiola moving on to lead the first team.

Get your coat: Chico has become a key figure for Swansea

Get your coat: Chico has become a key figure for Swansea

'It was a wonderful education,' he says. 'All the memories I have from that time playing with Pep Guardiola are really positive.

'Pep is very close to the players. He was and is a great but he is very modest, he behaves as one of us. It went well for me. Pep wanted to take me to the first team but Cadiz wanted too much money. That was it.

'I still have a book that Pep gave me. It's called Learning to Lose. He helped all the players there so much.'

Chico went on to Almeria, where he was a hit and won a place in Spain's Under 21 squad, and in 2010 Genoa forked out €4million to take him to Serie A. One of the first things he did was buy his mother a house.

'It was a good move for him, but the football side was tough,' Muela says.

Chico struggled with injuries and never got a foothold at a club who changed manager three times while he was there. He was signed on loan by Real Mallorca coach Michael Laudrup in July 2011 and again by the same man for Swansea a year later. 'He is one of the main reasons I am here,' Chico says.

He started making his mark on his new team during their pre-season tour of America. After the other new arrivals sang initiation songs into their dining spoons, he picked up a steak knife and belted out We Are The Champions. In his third game he was sent off for a head-high tackle on Louis Saha.

'It looked malicious at the time, but it wasn't,' he insists. During his eighth, in the Capital One Cup fourth-round win against Liverpool, he scored and then fell on his head attempting a cartwheel celebration.

'The grass was wet and my hand slipped,' he says. His sister was at Anfield that night, after Chico moved her over from Spain. He wants his mother to join them in Wales. Their names and dates of birth are tattooed on his left wrist. On his left bicep reads: 'Don't dream your life, live your dream.' He's happy in Wales.

'The people here are wonderful,' he says. 'They have been so warm to me.' He talks about going to see the other Chico, the X Factor one, who is doing panto in Swansea at the moment. 'I like his music, and we share a name. Maybe I will go and see him soon.'

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Rafael Benitez – can he get Fernando Torres scoring for Chelsea?

How Rafa's tough love fired up Torres at Liverpool… but can even he galvanise the 50m Chelsea flop

|

UPDATED:

12:50 GMT, 22 November 2012

The idea is simple. Having watched three managers fail during the course of two years to make Fernando Torres look a 50million striker, Roman Abramovich has appointed the man who made the Spaniard the most devastating forward in the world.

Where Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo failed, surely Benitez will arrive at Chelsea, make a couple of adjustments and then, hey presto, Torres will be wreaking havoc again, as he did when the pair were last together at Anfield

If only things were so straightforward.

Happier times: Fernando Torres excelled at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez

Happier times: Fernando Torres excelled at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez

Happier times: Spanish hitman Fernando Torres excelled at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez

It may be true Benitez is the one coach in the world who knows Torres better than anyone but things have changed since their days on Merseyside and it is not a given that the goals will start flowing now he is in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

Here’s why: for starters, Benitez had been moulding his Liverpool team for three years before he signed Torres from Atletico Madrid. All along, he had been working meticulously, trying to find the right combinations. Before Torres arrived, he had tried five different strikers in the main role.

Djbiril Cisse, Milan Baros, Peter Crouch, Craig Bellamy and Fernando Morientes all had chances to thrive in front of what the Kop used to call 'the best midfield in the world' – Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano – but the magic only happened when Torres arrived.

For two seasons, with Alonso feeding Gerrard and Gerrard delivering balls to Torres, that triumvirate were practically unplayable. It wasn’t aesthetically beautiful football, like the kind Barcelona play, but it was devastatingly effective; relentless and ruthless. Torres loved it.

Hitman: At Liverpool, Torres regularly haunted opponents - including Chelsea

Hitman: At Liverpool, Torres regularly haunted opponents – including Chelsea

‘Rafa Benitez has been the most important coach in my career,’ Torres said in an interview with Esquire last year. ‘It wasn’t easy for me to leave Atletico, come to England and play in a much faster game that is more dynamic and physical than La Liga.

‘Rafa has been the only one who knew how to help me improve. His priority is the team but he adapts the conditions to make everyone fit in the team. That’s his secret.’

Chelsea clearly bought players this summer to get the best out Torres and di Matteo clearly set his team up to help Torres flourish but if the camaraderie and understanding isn’t there, no amount of money will fix things. Don not forget that some knee injuries Torres suffered may have taken a toll.

The other thing that Torres doesn’t have at Chelsea that he did at Anfield is that absolute, total love and affection from supporters. Torres was deified on Merseyside. He could flit in and out of games, knowing that there would never be a bad word or catcalls if he missed a chance.

He, in turn, loved the people of Liverpool. He wanted to score goals to repay their faith and, as a result, the atmosphere and environment was conducive to him succeeding. He will never get those conditions and Stamford Bridge and he has known that for quite some time.

Drought: Since swapping red for blue, Torres has failed to impress at Chelsea

Drought: Since swapping red for blue, Torres has failed to impress at Chelsea

Do not think, either, Torres will be afforded favouritism. Benitez has never been afraid to call Torres out if things were wrong, while Torres has not always agreed with Benitez: the day he was substituted at St Andrews, in April 2010, during a 1-1 draw with Birmingham is a case in point.

When Torres walked out the ground that afternoon, he was smouldering that Benitez had dragged him off when Liverpool needed a goal, so angry that he could barely speak, but the manager was unrepentant. Torres was not doing the job he wanted and that was enough to prompt a change.

‘Rafa taught me to demand the maximum of myself every day and never to relax,’ Torres once said. ‘When you are in a team that is doing well the players tend to relax, but you should always push yourself, never relax and try to give your maximum every day.

‘You can’t stop after scoring 20 goals and say “Done it, there you are”''

After scoring 20 goals for Benitez’s team, he comes to you in training and pushes you more every day, all week. He shows you more drills. There are days when you think ‘Good God, this bloke doesn’t let me breathe’.

‘There are times when you don’t realise that he only wants you to improve, to progress in life, to never stop. You need a person close to you to help you do it. You can’t do it any other way.’

With Benitez, it is all about tough love. Torres knows this will be no easy ride but, if the goals start flowing, the controversial appointment Abramovich had made will be vindicated.

Andy Carroll: Newcastle want to sign striker from Liverpool after West Ham loan spell

Come home, Andy! Pardew reveals he wants to re-sign striker after Hammers loan spell

|

UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 9 November 2012

Alan Pardew wants to bring Andy Carroll back to Newcastle when his West Ham loan expires.

Carroll, 23, is on loan with the Hammers – who visit St James' Park on Sunday – until the end of the season.

But Magpies manager Pardew is keen to re-sign him having sold the striker to Liverpool for 35m in January 2011.

'He's a Liverpool player and not wanted so at some point he's going to move permanently,' said Pardew.

'I'd like to think we'll be in the mix for that.'

Scroll down for video

Going back: Carroll and Kevin Nolan will return to St James' Park with West Ham on Sunday

Going back: Carroll and Kevin Nolan will return to St James' Park with West Ham on Sunday

They used to love him: Newcastle fans with a not-so-friendly 'welcome' to Carroll last season

They used to love him: Newcastle fans with a not-so-friendly 'welcome' to Carroll last season

England striker Carroll scored 31 goals in 80 league appearances for Newcastle before moving to Anfield.

Tottenham are also monitoring developments with Carroll, who Carroll returns to Newcastle on Sunday in the mood to break his goal duck and defending West Ham's style of play.

Following their 0-0 draw with
Manchester City last weekend, West ham are one place above Newcastle and
the loan striker wants to return home and collect three points – and
his first West Ham goal.

'I am looking forward to going home. I went back with Liverpool and I got a few boos and a bit of stick but it was all good.

'I want to go back now and hopefully win this time because last time I went we got beaten.'

In happier times: Carroll celebrates scoring against Liverpool at St James' Park in 2010

In happier times: Carroll celebrates scoring against Liverpool at St James' Park in 2010

Carroll also told West Ham TV how he is enjoying playing for Sam Allardyce.

He said: 'Everyone talks about Big Sam's style being “just launching it up” but you can see that it's not like that.

'We pass it into feet and pass it around and I have the ball at my feet enough to show what I'm all about.'

Carroll is enjoying playing alongside another former Newcastle player – his great friend Kevin Nolan.

In good Kompany now: West Ham fans have taken to Carroll

In good Kompany now: Carroll tackles Manchester City's Vincent Kompany

'I obviously have Kev around to help us with a couple of one-twos and holding the ball up so I think that's what we're all about – it's not just about throwing the ball up and getting around what I am going to do.

'We're passing and moving and I think we're playing great at the minute.'
Carroll was jeered and substituted when he last returned to Newcastle, as a Liverpool player.

And, even though he was dropped by England on Thursday and has yet to score for West Ham, he seems happier as a player. Hammers fans have taken him to their heart and legendary former striker Tony Cottee is backing Carroll to score on Tyneside.

In his column in the Dockland's and East London Advertiser (click here to read the full column), Cottee writes: 'Another week has passed with Andy Carroll not scoring, but I’m not at all concerned.'Is he pulling his weight outside the box Is he holding the ball up Is he bringing others into play Is he creating chances and getting into the right positions I think the answer is yes on all fronts.

'I did enjoy playing against my old clubs. You want to prove you’re still a good player.

Carroll and Nolan celebrate scoring for Newcastle - against West Ham - in 2010

Carroll and Nolan celebrate scoring for Newcastle – against West Ham – in 2010

'When I left West Ham the first time and came back with Everton I got a mixed reception. But I think any boos or jeering you get tend to be from people who are disappointed you left in the first place.

'Nolan and Carroll will be really fired up and I think one of them will score.'

Nolan, another former Newcastle favourite, said: “Andy might not get the best reception because I know he has been back there and got a bit of stick.

'I am hoping that Andy gets respect, as they know what effort he put in when playing for Newcastle and helping them to be where they are today.

'I won't speak to him specifically about it before the game – he is a big character.

'We both had some fantastic times up there. Now 50,000 people are going to want to boo us.'

On his last visit, Carroll was booked for diving and Newcastle beat Liverpool 2-0. Now Nolan and Carroll will be hoping to do something about that.

Hammer it: Cottee scores against Southampton in 1986 and scored 92 league goals for West Ham

Hammer it: Cottee scores against Southampton in 1986 and scored 92 league goals for West Ham

DM.has('rcpv1957848447001','BCVideo');

To watch the full interview, log on to West Ham TV by clicking here…

Andy Carroll: Newcastle fans will boo but I hope to score for West Ham

Carroll: I know Newcastle fans will boo me, but I hope to score against them this time

|

UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 9 November 2012

Andy Carroll returns to Newcastle in the mood to break his goal duck and defending West Ham's style of play.

Following their 0-0 draw with Manchester City last weekend, West ham are one place above Newcastle and the loan striker wants to return home and collect three points – and his first West Ham goal.

'I am looking forward to going home. I went back with Liverpool and I got a few boos and a bit of stick but it was all good. I want to go back now and hopefully win this time because last time I went we got beaten.'

Scroll down for video

Going back: Carroll and Kevin Nolan will return to St James' Park with West Ham on Sunday

Going back: Carroll and Kevin Nolan will return to St James' Park with West Ham on Sunday

They used to love him: Newcastle fans with a not-so-friendly 'welcome' to Carroll last season

They used to love him: Newcastle fans with a not-so-friendly 'welcome' to Carroll last season

Carroll also told West Ham TV how he is enjoying playing for Sam Allardyce.

He said: 'Everyone talks about Big Sam's style being “just launching it up” but you can see that it's not like that.

'We pass it into feet and pass it around and I have the ball at my feet enough to show what I'm all about.'

Carroll is enjoying playing alongside another former Newcastle player – his great friend Kevin Nolan.

In happier times: Carroll celebrates scoring against Liverpool at St James' Park in 2010

In happier times: Carroll celebrates scoring against Liverpool at St James' Park in 2010

In good Kompany now: West Ham fans have taken to Carroll

In good Kompany now: Carroll tackles Manchester City's Vincent Kompany

'I obviously have Kev around to help us with a couple of one-twos and holding the ball up so I think that's what we're all about – it's not just about throwing the ball up and getting around what I am going to do.

'We're passing and moving and I think we're playing great at the minute.'
Carroll was jeered and substituted when he last returned to Newcastle, as a Liverpool player.

And, even though he was dropped by England on Thursday and has yet to score for West Ham, he seems happier as a player. Hammers fans have taken him to their heart and legendary former striker Tony Cottee is backing Carroll to score on Tyneside.

In his column in the Dockland's and East London Advertiser (click here to read the full column), Cottee writes: 'Another week has passed with Andy Carroll not scoring, but I’m not at all concerned.'Is he pulling his weight outside the box Is he holding the ball up Is he bringing others into play Is he creating chances and getting into the right positions I think the answer is yes on all fronts.

'I did enjoy playing against my old clubs. You want to prove you’re still a good player.

Carroll and Nolan celebrate scoring for Newcastle - against West Ham - in 2010

Carroll and Nolan celebrate scoring for Newcastle – against West Ham – in 2010

'When I left West Ham the first time and came back with Everton I got a mixed reception. But I think any boos or jeering you get tend to be from people who are disappointed you left in the first place.

'Nolan and Carroll will be really fired up and I think one of them will score.'

Nolan, another former Newcastle favourite, said: “Andy might not get the best reception because I know he has been back there and got a bit of stick.

'I am hoping that Andy gets respect, as they know what effort he put in when playing for Newcastle and helping them to be where they are today.

'I won't speak to him specifically about it before the game – he is a big character.

'We both had some fantastic times up there. Now 50,000 people are going to want to boo us.'

On his last visit, Carroll was booked for diving and Newcastle beat Liverpool 2-0. Now Nolan and Carroll will be hoping to do something about that.

Hammer it: Cottee scores against Southampton in 1986 and scored 92 league goals for West Ham

Hammer it: Cottee scores against Southampton in 1986 and scored 92 league goals for West Ham

DM.has('rcpv1957848447001','BCVideo');

To watch the full interview, log on to West Ham TV by clicking here…

Steven Taylor looking to make Newcastle return after achillies injury

He clattered me and I knew my pain was over, says returning Taylor

|

UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Steven Taylor is possibly the first player to welcome a nasty, late rake down his calf.

It happened last month in a friendly against Den Haag, the second game on his comeback trail from an achilles injury that could lead to a Barclays Premier League return against Tottenham at home.

‘This lad came round the corner,’ says Taylor. ‘He really caught me, right down the bottom of my leg.’ The Newcastle defender proudly points to the inch-wide pink scar from his operation and a barely visible stud mark at the base of his tanned leg.

Fit again: Steven Taylor's ruptured achilles kept him out for seven months

Fit again: Steven Taylor's ruptured achilles kept him out for seven months

‘He stamped on me and caught my tendon. I really had no pain, nothing. That was a big moment. If it wasn’t right I was going to find out there and then.’

Taylor is relaxed and happy. Indeed, he says he has never been happier.
‘I have got my love for football back again,’ says the Newcastle defender who, seven months ago, thought his career was over.

‘My dad said it’s probably the happiest he has seen me. When you first get in the first team you are like an excited little fan and that is me again. I have just got a bit bigger and greyer.I have the same feelings I had when Bobby Robson turned to me against Real Mallorca six years ago and said, “You’re going on”. I am excited again.’

Taylor will never forget the moment he thought he had played his last game. It was October, the stadium was still called St James’ Park, Chelsea were the visitors.

Happier days: Taylor scoring against Arsenal

Happier days: Taylor scoring against Arsenal

‘I was tracking Fernando Torres, jockeying sideways and I felt a bang,’ he said. ‘It was like someone had just kicked me in the calf but there was no-one near me.

‘My studs got lost in the turf. My foot went floppy. There was no pain at that point in my achilles, which is why I tried to walk off. I couldn’t understand it. I got in the dressing room and there was no response in my leg when the physio squeezed my calf.

‘The physio said, “You’ve ruptured your achilles’’. I’m glad he came out and told me straight to my face. That night I was in agony. The painkillers weren’t strong enough, but I couldn’t have the operation for two days. I haven’t felt any pain since then.’

It took him a week to get over the shock and deal with the prospect of months of misery and inactivity.

Pain game: Taylor watching on from the sidelines during his injury

Pain game: Taylor watching on from the sidelines during his injury

‘That first week was the hardest, just trying to get my head around it,’ he said. ‘The medical team kept trying to get into my head saying, “You’ll get through it”.

‘I had to live with my mum and dad at first because I was trying to get round on crutches but I moved out after a week or two. I’m the type who doesn’t like things being done for them.

‘I had to inject myself every morning so I didn’t get a blood clot and that gave me the shakes every time I did it. I felt useless and a bit sorry for myself, which is the worst thing.’

It took four-and-a-half months before he lost the limp and felt the hard work was starting to pay off.

He says: ‘I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but it took that long to start feeling half-decent about myself again.

‘I feel sorry for the medical staff because I was always nagging at them, pushing myself. It must have been like having a nagging wife. Most days they got me in at 7.30 in the morning and I didn’t leave until 8pm.

‘They were long days putting my body through pain and testing myself and how hard I could train, with boxercise, rowing machines, anti-gravity treadmills, gym sessions, ice baths, all crammed in together. You have to go through the pain barrier to be ready for games.

‘For four-and-a-half months it was agony and then there was a bit of light coming in. Six months into the injury, I was thinking, “I’ll be back now”.’

Now he can concentrate on helping Newcastle better last season’s fifth-place finish.

He added: ‘I have seen players just get forgotten about, but I was always in among the lads. They are my team mates, I am an old boy and I wanted to be with them.

‘At team meetings we have said we want to win as many games as possible and we won’t look too far ahead. We had a great year but that is what we did, taking it game by game. The fans can be in dreamland but we have to keep our feet on the ground.’

And Taylor is relieved he can again plant his feet firmly in the turf.

Emmanuel Adebayor"s money problems – Neil Ashton column

Doors closing on Adebayor in his world where cash is king

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 14 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

A few weeks ago, Manchester City made a fair, reasonable and considerate offer to Emmanuel Adebayor.

In a magnanimous gesture, they were prepared to pay up the difference between the offer on the table from Tottenham and his 170,000-a-week wages.

With two years left on his contract, City were prepared to commit 10million to a player who has not played for the club since December 1, 2010.

His last game for the club was a
substitute’s appearance in the Europa League against Salzburg, signing
off his playing days at City just 18 months in to a five-year contract.

Happier times: Emmanuel Adebayor replaces Mario Balotelli in his last appearance for Manchester City against Salzburg in the Europa League

Happier times: Emmanuel Adebayor replaces Mario Balotelli in his last appearance for Manchester City against Salzburg in the Europa League

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Adebayor should consider himself fortunate that City have the inclination to pay up the vast majority of the remaining 17.6m left on his contract.

Sure, they wanted him off their wage bill after two years of inactivity, but it is generous all the same.

Tottenham, with an upper ceiling on salaries of around 80,000 a week, were willing to pay the difference to secure the striker on a permanent deal.

They are short of strikers and Adebayor, after a successful season on loan at White Hart Lane last year, fitted the bill. It seemed like a nice deal all round, with Adebayor guaranteed his super-sized salary until 2014.

Beyond that, Tottenham wanted him to sign an extended contract on reduced terms to sit within their existing pay structure. /08/14/article-2188285-148B9FEF000005DC-352_468x319.jpg” width=”468″ height=”319″ alt=”Back to form: Adebayor impressed during his loan spell with Spurs” class=”blkBorder” />

Back to form: Adebayor impressed during his loan spell with Spurs

This is not Michael Owen we are talking about, where spasms and hamstring strains have restricted his appearance record at the highest level in recent years.

It is not good enough for the former Togo international striker though, preferring to sit tight at City and make everyone’s life a misery.

Roberto Mancini is certainly feeling that way, tired of Adebayor and determined to get him away from the champions before they face Southampton on Sunday.

Despite his pedigree, Mancini is unwilling to patch him back into a team who won the Premier League without him last season.

He was left out of the squad for the Community Shield, no longer a part of City’s plans as they prepare for another exciting season.

In the time Adebayor has spent on loan at Real Madrid and Tottenham, the team who paid 25m to sign him have won the FA Cup and Premier League.

This season they will play in the Champions League for the second successive season, but Adebayor will not be a part of that.

Mancini has made it clear that there is no way back, but there are few alternative destinations for a player with his reputation.

Adebayor is prepared to tough it and wait for another club to match his salary expectations over the next five years.

On his own: Jermain Defoe remains as Tottenham's only senior striker

On his own: Jermain Defoe remains as Tottenham's only senior striker

Other than the Copa del Rey, which he won during his six month spell at Real Madrid, he has won nothing of any note during his career.

There have been some personal accolades worthy of his ability, such as the PFA Team of the Year and the African Footballer of the Year.

He has also scored some magnificent goals, winning goal of the season for his strike at Spurs in September 2007.

He is a decent player, no question. At times, Harry Redknapp got the best out of him and 17 goals in 33 appearances is a decent return for a Premier League striker.

Perhaps Spurs will be better off exploring the alternatives, continuing their search for a young and ambitious striker to play a part in their future.

Andre Villas-Boas will rely on Jermain Defoe in the opening weeks of the season and he has even enthused about the chances of Harry Kane in the last few days. They begin the season at Newcastle, desperate to get off to a good start under their new coach.

Adebayor could have been part of that, but cash has always been king in his world.

World Junior Championships 2012: Adam Gemili misses out on another gold medal

Gemili's chances of double gold scuppered as Stephens stumbles in 4x100m relay in Barcelona

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 14 July 2012

Adam Gemili's bid for another gold at the World Junior Championships ended in disappointment after Great Britain's sprint relay team were disqualified from Saturday's final after a stumble by Emmanuel Stephens.

Stephens, who was running the opening leg, tripped over before he could hand the baton on as the GB youngsters' bid for glory in the 4x100m final in Barcelona ended prematurely.

Not this time: Adam Gemili's hopes os another gold were scuppered in the 4x100m relay

Not this time: Adam Gemili's hopes os another gold were scuppered in the 4x100m relay

Gemili, who clocked a personal best of 10.05 in winning Wednesday's 100m final and is part of the Team GB squad for this summer's Olympics, was due to run the anchor leg.

GB, who qualified second fastest from the semi-finals behind Japan in a time of 39.09, picked up the baton and carried on to finish the final in last place but were later disqualified by the judges.

The United States took the victory in 38.67seconds, with Jamaica second and Japan third.

Happier times: Gemili had beaten the championship record when he won the 100m final

Happier times: Gemili had beaten the championship record when he won the 100m final

Got gold: The USA team beat Gemili and Co for the victory

Got gold: The USA team beat Gemili and Co for the victory

There was also disappointment for the GB women's 4x100m relay team after they failed to finish with victory seemingly in their sights.

GB were leading at the final changeover but failed to exchange the baton cleanly and were left watching on as the US claimed another triumph.

Earlier in the evening Liverpool teenager Katarina Johnson-Thompson was unable to add to her medal haul in Barcelona after she failed to qualify for the final of the 100m hurdles.

Johnson-Thompson, who won long jump gold yesterday, could only finish fifth in her semi-final heat in a time of 13.94 seconds.

Joey Barton wanted by Blackburn on loan

Barton the loan Ranger heads for exit as Blackburn hover for bad boy

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UPDATED:

07:39 GMT, 13 July 2012

Queens Park Rangers are poised to loan out controversial midfielder Joey Barton to the Championship with Blackburn Rovers leading the chase.

The 29-year-old is banned for the first 12 games of the season following his shocking sending-off against Manchester City on the final day of last season when he elbowed Carlos Tevez and scuffled with City players amid ugly scenes.

Nomadic: Joey Barton is set to add another club to his c.v. with Championship side Blackburn keen to take him on loan

Nomadic: Joey Barton is set to add another club to his c.v. with Championship side Blackburn keen to take him on loan

Barton was stripped of the captaincy, fined six weeks’ wages and removed from QPR’s pre-season tour of Asia.

The club also warned that if he seriously breached their disciplinary rules again, he faced the sack.

Restrained: Barton was sent off on the final day of the season against Manchester City

Restrained: Barton was sent off on the final day of the season against Manchester City

However, manager Mark Hughes still recognises Barton’s ability as a player and sees a loan to the Championship, where there is a greater volume of league games over the early part of the season, as an ideal way to run down the player’s ban quickly.

Barton would be available and match fit before November, while Blackburn are keen for him to help their promotion charge. Nottingham Forest have also enquired and QPR expect others to follow, but Blackburn manager Steve Kean is at the front of the queue.

Man-management: Barton and Mark Hughes in happier times

Man-management: Barton and Mark Hughes in happier times

Hughes is continuing to re-shape his squad. Talks are ongoing with Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett and Celtic’s South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng.

The 23-year-old is valued at around 7million and QPR owner Tony Fernandes has confirmed his interest.