Tag Archives: hinges

Mario Balotelli latest: AC Milan ready to sell Robinho and Pato to fund Manchester City striker bid

Milan ready to pack Pato and Robinho back to Brazil in bid to sign Balotelli

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 28 December 2012

AC Milan are preparing a bid for Mario Balotelli, confident they will be able to offload both Pato and Robinho to Brazil.

Manchester City have hung a 20million price tag on their striker, who has been linked with a move home to Italy on numerous occasions, but the San Siro club are close to securing him.

Balotelli is desperate to flee Manchester and sources close to the striker told Goal.com: ‘The situation has reached a point where both player and club simply want his time at City to end as soon as possible.

Italian job: AC Milan are reportedly ready to step up their interest in Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli

Italian job: AC Milan are reportedly ready to step up their interest in Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli

‘Mario has told his representatives that he is ready to leave Manchester. He is just waiting for the call from Italy.’

The deal hinges on Milan agreeing transfers of their own and the club is currently in advanced negotiations with Corinthians over the sale of Pato, who is likely to join the Club World Cup winners for around €15m (12.3m) within days.

Milan have also received a number of offers for Robinho, although vice-president Adriano Galliani has said Santos are leading the race, after talks with Flamengo fell apart earlier this month.

Boys from Brazil: Milan may cash in on Robinho and Pato to fund a bid for Balotelli

On the move: Milan could sell Pato

Boys from Brazil: Milan may cash in on former Man City striker Robinho (L) and Pato to fund a bid for Balotelli

Just last week, president Silvio Berlusconi rubbished talk of Balotelli joining Milan, insisting neither the Italian nor Didier Drogba were transfer targets.

He confirmed Drogba was the player ‘only Russian and Chinese clubs can afford’ while Balotelli’s wayward behaviour turned the politician and media tycoon off him.

But after warnings from City boss Roberto Mancini, Balotelli is thought to be cleaning up his act and is prepared to take a pay cut from his 110,000 weekly wage to become a Rossoneri player.

Fears continue over Salford"s future after club cancel friendly with Leigh

Fears continue over Salford's future after club cancel winter friendly with Leigh

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UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 21 December 2012

Salford have called off their festive friendly against Leigh amid continuing uncertainty over the club's future.

The City Reds, who are due in court on January 7 to face a winding-up petition, say they are unable to raise a team for the friendly, which was due to take place at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, December 30.

Reds coach Phil Veivers, who has been able to make just one new signing so far for Super League XVIII, said: 'It's unfortunate but we had to make the right call.

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

'We have a few too many knocks and niggles this week and, as everybody knows we are a bit light on personnel at the moment anyway with the current situation.

'We felt it was better to give the boys an extended break over Christmas and prepare ourselves fully for the Swinton game on January 6.'

Salford's bank account remains frozen and recruitment hinges on new investment in the club taking place.

The club, who are faced with a tax bill in the region of 50,000, need to find around 600,000 in the next six weeks to pay off their debts.

Portsmouth face 10 point deduction even if supporters trust save club

Pompey will still be docked 10 points if supporters group win fight to save club

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UPDATED:

17:13 GMT, 10 December 2012

Portsmouth still face a 10-point deduction should the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) win their battle to save the club this week.

The Football League today confirmed the sanction, to be imposed once the club comes out of administration, after receiving details of the PST's proposed takeover.

PST's bid hinges on administrators PKF gaining permission to sell Fratton Park, which is controlled by the club's former owner Balram Chainrai, at a High Court hearing which starts on Thursday.

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

The League is awaiting the outcome of that hearing, and for the trust to raise the remaining funds as set out in their business plan, before fully considering their application.

A statement from the League read: 'The Football League Board has received details of a proposal by Pompey Supporters' Trust and its partner investors to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of Portsmouth Football Club.

'Having considered the proposal in detail, the Board concluded that it had significant merit.

'However, two outstanding points will have to be resolved before the Board can fully consider PST's application to become the new owner of Portsmouth Football Club.

'They are the outcome of the current High Court proceedings relating to the ownership of Fratton Park and PST raising the remaining funding from supporters that is anticipated in its business plan.

'The Board also confirmed that ongoing membership of the League would be subject to a number of conditions that seek to ensure the sporting integrity of league football and the financial viability of the club going forward.

'It therefore reaffirmed its earlier decision that these conditions would include a deduction of 10 points (applicable at the point of transfer of share) and a range of other restrictions on playing budgets and future borrowing for the next four seasons.'

Pompey, who have been in administration since February, are currently one place and one point outside the npower League One relegation zone.

Nile Ranger arrested for criminal damage at ex-girlfriend"s flat

Newcastle star Ranger to appear in court following arrest for criminal damage at ex-girlfriend's flat

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UPDATED:

08:55 GMT, 24 September 2012

Newcastle striker Nile Ranger has been charged with criminal damage after a bust-up at his former girlfriend’s flat on Sunday.

Police were alerted to reports of a row at around 5.30am.

They found the front door in Enfield, North London, had been smashed off its hinges.

Court date: Nile Ranger is set to be in court for criminal damage

Court date: Nile Ranger is set to be in court for criminal damage

The 21-year-old striker was arrested at the scene.

His black Range Rover, which has his nickname, Power Ranger, on the doors, is believed to have been parked nearby.

A source told The Sun: 'The front door was smashed down. It was flat on the floor. A man was heard shouting ‘I love you’.

'Police found a girl in the flat who was very scared.'

Police said Ranger would appear at Enfield Magistrates Court on Monday.

Euro 2012: Martin Samuel – Steven Gerrard is the new leader of England"s band

Gerrard is the architect and inspiration for Hodgson's England

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 19 June 2012

The cross arrived low and flat, as has been his style at this tournament. It took a nick here, a glance there, confounded Andriy Pyatov in Ukraine’s goal and there was England’s returning hero, the target in front of him like an old barn door off its hinges, just waiting to be headed in.

To Wayne Rooney the glory, but to Steven Gerrard the credit. He has a Champions League final as good as named in his honour, an FA Cup final victory, too. And perhaps this is going to be Gerrard’s European Championship campaign.

Stevie Wonder: Gerrard has been England's star performer at the Euros so far

Stevie Wonder: Gerrard has been England's star performer at the Euros so far

Stevie Wonder: Gerrard has been England's star performer at the Euros so far

It is Italy in Kiev next for England – Spain have been sidestepped – and while there is no such thing as an easy quarter-final opponent at this tournament, any game that does not necessitate beating the world champions is to be welcomed.

And while this is every inch a team effort, it is hard to deny the huge part being played in England’s progress by Gerrard.

He has been the architect and inspiration of this revival in the most trying circumstances under Roy Hodgson. Rooney’s goal was the third he had set up in as many games: one secured a point against France, one beat the hosts, one found the head of Andy Carroll as if guided by NASA technology against Sweden.

Put simply, Gerrard has been quite brilliant here this summer. He has been the player we have been waiting for; the player we have only truly seen with this consistency in the red of Liverpool.

Gerrard knows he has not always justified his stellar reputation for England. He appears almost inhibited at times, his pronouncements speaking of the love he feels playing for his country, his performances suggesting a man sometimes overwhelmed by expectation.

Credit manager Roy Hodgson with this current transformation then. Given the role of captain and complete faith in his ability to play box-to-box central midfield with the necessary discipline, Gerrard has thrived.

Hodgson has brought a level of
confidence out of him that had previously been missing. The role he has
occupied here is the one a succession of managers believed Gerrard could
not occupy. From Rafael Benitez to Fabio Capello, few have ever felt
able to trust Gerrard at the central heart of a 4-4-2.

Special delivery: Gerrard's crossing has been superb

Special delivery: Gerrard's crossing has been superb

It was felt he needed a posse of defensive midfield players to cover his tendency to wander. A playground footballer he was called, chasing the ball to all four corners, leaving fresh air where a body should be.

So what has changed Hodgson’s faith, certainly, has had immense impact. On the eve of matches when the pair do their duty as manager and captain, they are simpatico, Hodgson often throwing a question over for Gerrard to answer, affording him the responsibility his position deserves.

Maybe, too, Gerrard has changed. Benitez and Capello are not fools. The flaws they saw in Gerrard were not mirages. He did wander. He did lack discipline. When it came off – the night in Istanbul, the FA Cup final that he influenced as surely as Sir Stanley Matthews in 1953 – it was quite marvellous to watch.

When it did not, well, there were holes, there were deficiencies. Not any more. An older Gerrard, perhaps less able to maraud with such abandon, now strikes the perfect balance: and the perfect ball from wide.

For England in this tournament the combination has been lethal. Gerrard, his talent honed, has been devastatingly effective.

His crosses are Beckham-like, but not
Beckham-lite; no pale imitation but a thoroughly new and unique danger.
There is no player here hitting crosses and dead balls from wide like
Gerrard; not even Cristiano Ronaldo.

Close call: Hodgson's troops were pushed all the way by Ukraine

Close call: Hodgson's troops were pushed all the way by Ukraine

As for the armband that Capello once thought shrunk him – he regarded Gerrard as too timid to lead and only gave him the role when there was no other option, as in South Africa – he wears it now with all the pride of Popeye’s anchor tattoo.

It is as if he has ingested spinach and is spoling for a fight. Nobody bullies Gerrard in an England shirt here. He strode across the pitch at the Donbass Arena as imposingly as he did that night in Istanbul, or in Cardiff, dragging Liverpool back from the brink of another final defeat.

And how England needed him on Tuesday night. For, whatever the scoreline and the final group table suggest, this was far from a comfortable occasion for Hodgson and his men.

Ukraine played the better football for long periods, certainly in the first half, when the nimble forward play of Andriy Yarmolenko stretched England seemingly to the limit.

Not for the first time in Donetsk in this campaign, England spent much of the game looking second best. Yet, while the performance against France seemed to be a realistic acceptance of underdog status, here was an altogether more disconcerting turn of events. England’s possession statistic was 43 per cent, the same as Denmark enjoyed against Germany.

Shorn of Andriy Shevchenko from the start, Ukraine were no less threatening.

Never have Hodgson’s football reasons
when selecting John Terry been easier to justify. Yet Terry’s greatest
contribution was not actually a successful mission at all.

The ball that he hooked clear from Ukraine striker Marko Devic had, in fact, crossed the line.

Dangerman: Yarmolenko impressed for the hosts

Dangerman: Yarmolenko impressed for the hosts

Fortunately, nobody in a position of
influence noticed it: not referee Viktor Kassai, not his linesman and
not the man standing next to the goalpost. Which was a pity as that was
his only purpose for being near the pitch in the first place.

What a triumph for UEFA president
Michel Platini, who sat proudly in the main stand as another one of his
bright ideas was revealed to be as perfectly conceived as a chocolate
fireguard.

Only Platini could address the problem of human error in judging whether a ball has crossed the line and think the solution was to introduce more humans. Instead of goal-line technology, a form of the Hawk-Eye camera used in other sports, Platini came up with the bold notion of two extra officials to go with the four already in use.

Yet how brave do you think the fifth, maybe sixth, best official in Hungary is going to be in making a call that could knock a nation the size of England or France out of the European Championship

Platini’s man peered at Terry’s clearance and decided the defender had got there in time, which he hadn’t by about a foot.

It would not have made a difference to the table, which would still have sent England then France through even with a 1-1 draw.

Yet had Ukraine equalised it could have been a very awkward final 28 minutes for England. Instead, Hodgson, his team and his captain march on.

The country accepted it was getting a new manager for this tournament; it is the new player wearing the No 4 shirt who has come as such a welcome and unexpected bonus.

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Euro 2012: Luka Modric rested and ready

Special training regime leaves Modric fit and ready to fire Croatia to glory at Euros

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UPDATED:

15:42 GMT, 7 June 2012

Croatia's star midfielder Luka Modric has recovered from an exhausting season with Tottenham and is ready to lead his country's challenge for the Euro 2012.

In the run-up to Euro 2012, Coach Slaven Bilic conceded that Modric was jaded and that he needed to be refreshed.

Bilic allowed him to join the rest of the squad late and gave him a lighter training program to recharge his batteries.

Set: Luka Modric is rested and ready

Set: Luka Modric is rested and ready

Euro 2012 email button

The coach, who is quitting his job at the end of the tournament after six years in charge, needs Modric to be at the top of his game if Croatia are going to get out of one of the toughest groups.

Modric's form dipped towards the end of a season which ended in disappointment. Tottenham had been fighting for a spot in the Champions League but was denied the opportunity after Chelsea won the competition by beating Bayern Munich in the final.

'He played every game when he was available, he was a bit tired,' Bilic said. 'He's ready to play his role, which is very important for us.'

Much of Croatia's play hinges on the performance of the 26-year-old.

He pulls the strings for the team with his defence-splitting passes, tireless running and vision.

Other players look to him to launch them forward and he shone at Euro 2008, when Croatia suffered the cruelest of defeats to Turkey in the quarter-finals.

Having won all three of their group games four years ago, including a defeat of eventual finalist Germany, Croatia was leading with one minute of extra time to play. Turkey equalized with the last kick of the game, and went on to win the ensuing penalty shootout. Modric was one of three Croatians to miss a penalty.

Leaving: Niko Kranjcar is departing Spurs, will Modric follow

Leaving: Niko Kranjcar is departing Spurs, will Modric follow

In 2012, Modric is setting the bar high, even though Croatia has been grouped with the last two world champions, Italy and Spain.

'If we can pass the group I think we can go all the way to the end,' said Modric.

He refused to comment on transfer speculation which has linked him with Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Niko Kranjcar, who has left Tottenham to join Dynamo Kiev, said the team is stronger mentally, as well as physically, than four years.

'We both believe we are at the peak of our careers,' said Kranjcar.

There would be no repeat of Turkey's last gasp equalizer, he insisted.

Instead of trying to keep possession, he said the ball 'will go into the stands in the 88th row.'

Croatia take on Ireland on Sunday for their first game in Group C at the competition.

Newcastle success down to strength of squad: Andy Townsend

Andy Townsend's Bootroom: Pards success story hinges on the fringes

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UPDATED:

00:19 GMT, 5 May 2012

Newcastle have that bit of magic — but they are in the hunt for the fourth spot because of their heartbeat.

All the talk has been about Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye. But above that they have got the best bunch of squad players in the league: such as Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Ryan Taylor and Shola Ameobi.

They don’t grab all the headlines and they often get overlooked, but they’re better than any other second-string in the league.

On the road to Europe: Alan Pardew will lead Newcastle into either the Champions League or Europa League next season

On the road to Europe: Alan Pardew will lead Newcastle into either the Champions League or Europa League next season

At some clubs fringe players don’t always accept they’re not going to start every week but at Newcastle fringe players are happy to be part of the squad and try to make a difference when they get their chance.

They might play out of position, but they don’t moan in the press, they don’t stroll around the pitch when they come on as a substitute. They’re realistic about their own ability.

They play with great spirit and energy, happy to do it for the team. At other clubs their fringe players could do with adopting a similar attitude. It’s been the team’s greatest strength.

That’s why Newcastle are where they are. Those players are so significant to the team. And Alan Pardew deserves credit for managing those players better than any other boss in the league.

He’s taken what looked like an average bunch of players at the start of the season and transformed them into an excellent team.

The question is: what happens now If Pardew can keep those squad players and find a few more Cisses, a few more gems, they can stay in the top six for the next few years.

Regardless of where they finish in the league it’s been such a fantastic season. They can’t afford to take a step backwards.

This is the best chance they’ve had in years to become regulars in Europe again.

Wigan’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation has been brave and it reminds me of when I played at Aston Villa in the 1990s.

It doesn’t happen much anymore, but when I was at Villa we played three at the back to great effect.

We won trophies and were competing in Europe every season.

Earlier in the season Wigan were a shambles. Every manager in the land would have used them as an example of how not to defend.

But manager Roberto Martinez has switched to playing three centre backs with two central midfielders — James McCarthy and James McArthur — sitting in front of them.

Key man: James McCarthy

Key man: James McCarthy

They don’t play wing backs so it keeps them solid while they go all-out in attack. It could have left them exposed on the flanks but it’s worked.

Martinez’s tactics were really vindicated when they thumped Newcastle — the only time Alan Pardew’s side had dropped points in nine games.

To be 4-0 up by half-time against a team in that kind of form was something else.

Wigan could not continue playing as they were and survive. Martinez has been brave — and hats off to him.

Arsenal v Norwich

Newcastle v Man City

Villa v Spurs

QPR v Stoke

Bolton v West Brom

Wolves v Everton

Fulham v Sunderland

Man Utd v Swansea

Blackburn v Wigan

Blackburn v Wigan