Tag Archives: hostile

Montenegro mayhem is nothing new for England

Montenegro mayhem is nothing new for England as Roy's boys return to Podgorica

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Back again: England have played in Podgorica before, in a qualifier for Euro 2012…

Back again: England have played in Podgorica before, in a qualifier for Euro 2012...

A picture of Bent in action features prominently in the programme for tomorrow's game but these days he cannot hold down at place at Aston Villa and among Roy Hodgson's big decisions ahead of his big night is who to pair with Rooney.

The stadium will rattle with noise. Pictures have been painted of a hostile reception from the local fans but if the last visit is anything to go by this will be nothing more sinister than a spirited reception for a newly-independent nation.

...and the home fans celebrated on the pitch after watching their team secure a draw

…and the home fans celebrated on the pitch after watching their team secure a draw

As so often in this part of the world, the football team has given the former Yugoslav states a platform to show who they are and what they stand form.

The people of Montenegro provide a warm welcome. The fervour inside the stadium is because this little team is proudly punching above its weight.

Scoring for fun: England will find it much tougher in Montenegro than they did in San Marino on Friday

Scoring for fun: England will find it much tougher in Montenegro than they did in San Marino on Friday

Teams emerge from a tunnel in the corner of this 12,000-capactiy ground, beneath the noisiest of the supporters.

The game in October 2011 culminated in a pitch invasion but this was due mainly to the euphoria of the team's progress into the play-offs.

What Hodgson can be sure of is that it will be uncomfortable and many of those in his team were not on the pitch the last time.

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Branko Brnovic's team will be disciplined and tight at the back, reliant upon the star strikers Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic to provide the magic up front, perhaps pinch a goal which will turn the pressure on England.

How can they can cope That will be the test.

Rooney's red is a warning to them all. They must manage their frustration and they must think clearly amid the din.

Arsene Wenger will NOT be sacked insist Arsenal but club chief Ivan Gazidis is set to face fans" fury at Emirates event

Wenger will NOT be sacked insist Arsenal but club chief Gazidis is set to face fans' fury at Emirates event

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

12:17 GMT, 12 December 2012

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UPDATED:

16:40 GMT, 12 December 2012

Arsenal are throwing their unequivocal backing behind underfire manager Arsene Wenger.

An increasing number of Gunners supporters are calling for the French manager's head after a difficult start to the season and club chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face a hostile audience tonight at the Emirates Stadium when he hosts a drinks reception for the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

The pressure on Wenger intensified last night as Arsenal were dumped out of the Carling Cup by League Two side Bradford.

Stand by your man: Arsene Wenger watches his side crash out of the Capital One Cup at Bradford last night, but the manager will continue to enjoy unwavering support

Stand by your man: Arsene Wenger watches his side crash out of the Capital One Cup at Bradford last night, but the manager will continue to enjoy unwavering support

HE'S USELESS!

Which Arsenal played has been dubbed Useless Read/watch Sportsmail brilliant new video column by clicking here…

But the 63-year-old is under no danger of losing his job despite their recent slump.

The Gunners board remain 100 per cent behind Wenger, who is continuing with his plans to bolster the squad in next month's transfer window.

Wenger has an excellent relationship with the club's hierarchy, who are in no doubt the Frenchman remains the right man to lead Arsenal.

The board's unwavering support of Wenger will anger a growing band of supporters who feel it is now time for a change.

A right old coating: Wenger watches his side slump at Bradford's Coral Windows Stadium last night's cup

A right old coating: Wenger watches his side slump at Bradford's Coral Windows Stadium last night's cup

Bradford City supporters v Arsenal

Ivan Gazidis

Hat-trick: A Bradford fan celebrates last night (left) but Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face a hostile audience at a supporters' event at the Emirates Stadium tonight

Arsenal will complete an eight-year trophy drought if they fail to win any silverware this season, a statistic deemed not good enough by some fans.

Nevertheless, Wenger's position remains one of the safest in European football despite the club's problems.

WENGER MUST GO… THIS ARSENAL FAN HAS DECIDED ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Matt Fortune

By the time this piece is written, I'll need a bath. No, something more, a cleansing of the soul, perhaps. Forgive me Arsene, for I have sinned.

Here goes… Wenger out.

Defeat to Bradford, a team ranked more than 60 places lower than Arsenal, was humiliating for a club of this stature.

Forget their current form, injuries or any other extenuating circumstances, it was a shameful night for all involved.

The League Cup quarter-final result will go down in history, the lead in those 'It's happened before' newspaper items many years from now.

'Valley of despair', one headline screamed. Valley of the damned, I'd prefer. It was the final straw.

Click here to read the full Matt Fortune article…

Rafa Benitez demands Chelsea fans respect

Show me respect, demands Benitez after Chelsea fans turn on new boss

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UPDATED:

00:37 GMT, 26 November 2012

Rafa Benitez told Chelsea boo-boys to show him more respect after a bitter fans’ protest.

Benitez, who took charge of Chelsea for the first time in their 0-0 draw against Manchester City, was given a hostile reception by fans, who repeatedly hailed their Champions League-winning former manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Supporters sang ‘f*** off, Benitez’ repeatedly and hundreds of Chelsea supporters held up ‘Robbie IN, Rafa OUT’ placards in a poisonous atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.


Already Chelsea fans made their feelings about Rafa Benitez clear

Already Chelsea fans made their feelings about Rafa Benitez clear

Already Chelsea fans made their feelings about Rafa Benitez clear

Benitez said: ‘Some of the fans will realise it’s not the way to support their team and some will know they have a professional manager in charge. If we win games it will change perception and I have the confidence we will win a lot of games.
‘I was asking people “what are they singing” but I don’t care. I was just focused on the game and doing my best.
‘How many people does it take to write a banner Just one or two. If we start winning games they will come on board and see I try to do my best.’

The Spanish coach, who spent six years at Liverpool and speaks perfect English, added: ‘When the fans are singing in the stands I don’t understand what they say. I understand the rivalry in the past, but I’m sure the majority will understand I am a professional.’

Not wanted: Benitez took over from Roberto Di Matteo last week

Not wanted: Benitez took over from Roberto Di Matteo last week

Chelsea's interim head coach Rafael Benitez

Goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Benitez deserves the chance to prove himself to Chelsea's supporters.

Cech told Sky Sports: 'Unfortunately you can't change history.

'We had a lot of rivalry against
Liverpool but he (Benitez) is here to try to change things, put us in a
winning mode, and he needs to get a chance to prove he deserves the
chance.'

Speaking about
Sunday's game and the departure of former manager Roberto Di Matteo,
Cech added: 'It's always bad news as a player because you are
responsible if you don't do well.

Grass is always greener: Fernando Torres had another bad day at the office

Grass is always greener: Fernando Torres had another bad day at the office

'Unfortunately you can't change the whole team and the manager is the first to go.

'Today was about starting from zero again and getting a positive result.

'You need some time when you change
the manager to get a positive result and mood and 0-0 against the
champions is not a bad result.'

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admitted the only way to silence the Chelsea fans was to win matches.

Mancini said: ‘I don’t think Rafa is a magician, he can’t change everything in a few days.

Come back! Chelsea fans showed their support for sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo

Come back! Chelsea fans showed their support for sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo

Come back! Chelsea fans showed their support for sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo

‘As a manager I have never experienced anything like it, but the only way to respond is to win, win, win, win, win.

‘I can understand it’s not easy for
the new manager, but this is football. He’s a good manager and he will
have time to show this, because he has experience and has won a lot of
trophies, but it’s difficult to understand.’

Mancini was angry with his side after they failed to capitalise on the unease at the Bridge.

He added: ‘I’m not satisfied with one
point. To play here is always difficult. We can’t lose two points. We
were so poor in the last 20 minutes and, when we have a chance, we need
to score.

‘I like everything from my team but
not the last 20 minutes. We had chances to score but we missed the last
pass. You have to be strong with that in the box. If you are soft, you
won’t score.’

VIDEO: GRAHAM CHADWICK'S PICTURES FROM CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY

VIDEO: GRAHAM CHADWICK'S PICTURES FROM CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2238240/Chelsea-0-Manchester-City-0–match-report.html#ixzz2DHhfn4NZ

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Anzhi Makhachkala – who are the team facing Liverpool

Just who are Anzhi Makhachkala The extraordinary story of the billionaire Russians hoping to topple Liverpool

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UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 24 October 2012

The Russian Republic of Dagestan, with its mountainous terrain, has been a place of sanctuary for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds over the centuries. And this remains as true today as ever.

But while it was once impoverished nomads and refugees who settled there, it is now more likely to be multi-millionaire young men playing football.

The region’s football side, Anzhi Makhachkala, are in the throes of a new Russian Revolution, one which their oligarch owners hope will deliver them to the summit of not only the national, but the European, game.

Big names: Guus Hiddink and Roberto Carlos have been enticed to Anzhi as manager and technical director respectively

Big names: Guus Hiddink and Roberto Carlos have been enticed to Anzhi as manager and technical director respectively

Destination Dagestan: Samuel Eto'o signed for Anzhi from Inter Milan and reportedly earns 350,000 a week at the Russian club

Destination Dagestan: Samuel Eto'o signed for Anzhi from Inter Milan and reportedly earns 350,000 a week at the Russian club

In the next two weeks, Liverpool will find out first-hand how far they’ve come. This is a Europa League double-header with much more than first meets the eye.

The story of Anzhi is one of eye-watering quantities of money being thrown at a club who three years ago languished in the second division, and of enticing star quality names like Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos and Yuri Zhirkov to come and play in one of the most volatile and hostile regions on earth.

Dagestan is a place where mafia gangs control billion-dollar industries like oil, gold and potash (not to mention caviar from the Caspian Sea), where kidnapping, bombings, violence, threats and intimidation are commonplace, and where everyone owns a gun.

Yet amidst the killings, the lawlessness and a separatist struggle with Moscow, local billionaire Suleyman Kerimov is trying to build an all-conquering team from absolutely nothing.

Money man: Oligarch Suleyman Kerimov is bankrolling Anzhi's bid to conquer Russia and Europe

Money man: Oligarch Suleyman Kerimov is bankrolling Anzhi's bid to conquer Russia and Europe

Liverpool will not see any of Dagestan’s turmoil as the away group stage tie, on November 8, will be played at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow, 1600km to the north, due to UEFA’s enduring ban on European games being played in Makhachkala.

It is one of the many curiosities of the Anzhi story that this will actually be a ‘local’ match for the players and their well-regarded coach Guus Hiddink. They live and train just outside of Moscow, flying first-class to all their domestic home matches at the rickety, Soviet-era Dynamo Stadium.

The squad cover nearly 50,000 miles a season just to fulfil their home fixtures.

It ensures a plush, pampered and most importantly safe lifestyle for players like Eto’o, who at 30 might be accused at playing at a standard beneath him until you realise his wage packet is reportedly 350,000 a week.

Eto’o was recently filmed by a group of French documentary makers inspecting his new Moscow penthouse, complete with private lift, sauna, swimming pool and 360 degree panoramic views of the historic capital.

Pointing the way forward: Eto'o has nine goals in 13 outings so far this season

Pointing the way forward: Eto'o has nine goals in 13 outings so far this season

Roberto Carlos, 39, winner of the World Cup in 2002, finished his playing days with Anzhi and is now their sporting director. His last birthday present was a 1.8m Bugatti Veyron sports car, personally procured by Kerimov’s small change.

Also in the squad is Christopher Samba, signed for 12.3m as Blackburn hurtled towards relegation from the Premier League last season. He earns 100,000 a week but has been the victim of racist abuse in the Russian League.

He told BBC Sport this week: ‘This is a very ambitious club and we have attracted a lot of players. This is not just about money – this is a proper sports project.

‘People don’t come here just to chill and win a pay cheque. We’re putting in a shift on the pitch and at the moment it’s working.’

Solid as a rock: Christopher Samba joined Anzhi from Blackburn for 12.3m last season

Solid as a rock: Christopher Samba joined Anzhi from Blackburn for 12.3m last season

Zhirkov, who spent two years at Chelsea, joined for 13.2m in August 2011, and another former Stamford Bridge face, Lassana Diarra, moved from Real Madrid this year.

They’re guided by Hiddink, another Chelsea connection of course, who was picked ahead of Fabio Capello for the job in February. His pay cheque is worth 8.3m a year.

/10/24/article-2222466-15A9B16B000005DC-694_634x458.jpg” width=”634″ height=”458″ alt=”Chelsea connection: Yuri Zhirkov has linked up with former boss Hiddink at Anzhi” class=”blkBorder” />

Chelsea connection: Yuri Zhirkov has linked up with former boss Hiddink at Anzhi

They’re also getting more and more ambitious in their recruitment. There were sensational reports in the summer of Anzhi trying to woo Robin Van Persie with a 45m transfer fee and 300,000-a-week. Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic is also reportedly on their shopping list for January.

Just 18 months ago, this would have been unthinkable when Kerimov, a 46-year-old billionaire who made his fortune from investments in the region’s lucrative gold, silver and potash mines, took control.

The region’s President, Magomedsalam Magomedov, gave him 100 per cent control of Anzhi in exchange for a truck load of cash not only to spend on the squad and a new 40,000-seater stadium, but the region as a whole.

Plenty to cheer: The Anzhi fans will soon have a 40,000 stadium in which to watch their side

Plenty to cheer: The Anzhi fans will soon have a 40,000 stadium in which to watch their side

Kerimov, who is reportedly worth $8bn, has so far pledged $200m for infrastructure projects which will start to regenerate a turbulent region.

In the nineties, Chechen separatists led armed operations in Dagestan on a number of occasions, taking hostages in hospitals in Dagestani towns and killing scores of people.

In 1999, an Islamic body called on Muslims in Dagestan and neighbouring Chechnya to take up arms against the Russian military. There were two weeks of bloody clashes and Russia has maintained its presence there ever since.

Periodically, insurgents take on the military presence. Ten died in Makhachkala in a 2005 bombing and a policeman was killed and 60 wounded when a bomb went off outside Anzhi’s stadium in September 2010.

Bright future: Hiddink and Carlos are determined to take points from Liverpool to maintain their good start to the season

Bright future: Hiddink and Carlos are determined to take points from Liverpool to maintain their good start to the season

So a history of friction between Moscow and this southern province has been added to by Anzhi’s ascent. When they used the Lokomotiv Stadium for their Europa League qualifier with AZ Alkmaar in August, supporters of the Moscow clubs united to hurl nationalist abuse at the Anzhi players.

Zhirkov was also signalled out for abuse by Russian fans when he played for the national side in the same stadium. The locals believe he’s wasting his time down in Dagestan.

‘We’re unpopular because people can’t understand how a club that won the second division [three years ago] are now title contenders,’ adds Samba.

But for Samba and his teammates, unpopularity is a small price to pay for being part of the Revolution.

Connacht 22 Harlequins 30: Danny double takes Care of Quins" business

Connacht 22 Harlequins 30: Danny double takes Care of Quins' business

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 20 October 2012

Conor O’Shea hailed Harlequins’ spirit after a Danny Care double inspired them to a fiercely fought victory against Connacht.

Quins trailed by 10 points after half an hour, following a Dave McSharry try, but the England scrum-half pounced twice in seven minutess.

The victory maintains Quins’ winning start in Europe and they sit on top of Pool Three with back-to-back clashes with Italian minnows Zebre to come in December.

Double delight: Danny Care crosses for Harlequins

Double delight: Danny Care crosses for Harlequins

Quins director of rugby O’Shea said: ‘We
didn’t sustain any momentum or field position and they were getting
stuck in at the breakdown. At 19-9 down we showed great mental strength
to come through.

‘I’ve been coming here my whole life and you don’t get an easy game. But
there was an outstanding 15 minutes where the game swung, and credit to
guys like Ben Botica, who’s come into a hostile place and done well.
Danny scored two nice tries, but it’s about the team performance.’

There was little chance of Harlequins underestimating the Irish after they crashed to defeat at the same venue last year.

Veteran campaigner: No 8 Nick Easter charges up-field

Veteran campaigner: No 8 Nick Easter charges up-field

Harlequins made a quick start with Botica – in for the injured Nick
Evans – bisecting the posts on four minutes before Connacht roared back
into the contest.

George Naoupu made the initial start with a quick tap and McSharry
completed the attack in emphatic fashion, cutting a superb line on a
miss-pass to cruise past Tom Williams. Dan Parks and Botica continued to
trade shots at goal with Connacht edging the contest before Care
pounced.

The scrum-half raced over the try line, cutting the deficit to 19-14 and
he grabbed a second try on 37 minutes. Botica added the extras and
slotted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to hand his side a 24-19
lead.

Brains' trust: Captain Chris Robshaw (left) with director of rugby Conor O'Shea

Brains' trust: Captain Chris Robshaw (left) with director of rugby Conor O'Shea

Biarritz 38 Zebre 17

Biarritz grabbed their first win of the Heineken Cup with a six-try romp over tournament newcomers Zebre.

Yann Lesgourgues scored the first of his double in a decisive opening 20 minutes as the hosts, thrashed 40-13 by Harlequins in their opener, raced into the lead.

But Connacht hit the ground running in the second-half and Parks nailed
an early penalty to cut the deficit. The hosts continued to cause
problems, but Harlequins hung on and Botica slotted a penalty on 56
minutes to ease the pressure. The 23-year-old continued his impressive
performance with his sixth penalty as the London club hung on.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood said: ‘Those 15 unanswered points just before half-time were a bit of a sickener.’

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski vows to cut Joe Hart down to size

Hart attack! Poland striker Lewandowski vows to cut England keeper down to size

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UPDATED:

20:30 GMT, 13 October 2012

Poland's warrior centre-forward Robert Lewandowski has promised to cut Joe Hart down to size on Tuesday night.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was frustrated by Hart's wonder show for Manchester City in their recent Champions League clash.

But Lewandowski, who carries much of
Poland's World Cup goal threat against England, played down Hart's
importance in that 1-1 draw at The Etihad and doubts whether the England
keeper will look so good at the end of this Group H qualifier.

Warning shot: Poland's Robert Lewandowski is confident

Warning shot: Poland's Robert Lewandowski is confident

The 24-year-old Poland superstar, who knows England will face a hostile atmosphere in the national stadium, warned last night: 'Hart had his day but no two games are ever the same. Just because he managed to do something in Manchester doesn't mean he will be able to repeat it in Warsaw.

'To be honest, we Dortmund players helped him a little bit in Manchester – and so did the post and the crossbar!

'Besides, we scored one goal so it's not like he is unbeatable or something. We can score past him. Maybe one goal like that will give Poland three points on Tuesday, and I hope to score it. We know England have had some defensive problems and we might just be able to surprise them. They're always going to be a difficult team but they didn't play so good at Euro 2012 and maybe we can hit form on the right day.'

Shot-stopper: Joe Hart in action against San Marino

Shot-stopper: Joe Hart in action against San Marino

Despite the quality which Poland possess in their side, Hart, 25, sees no reason why he cannot keep the prolific forward at bay once again and maintain England's unbeaten start to their qualifying section.

Recalling his heroics for City earlier this month, Hart said: 'I hope it won't be any different. Hopefully the game itself won't be as open as the last time I played against him. It is a big, important game for us and I'm looking forward to it.

'That's the beauty of international football – when you're playing away you're playing against the nation. But we will have that pocket of fans who we always take and are awesome. We will look to them and be inspired by them, which is great.

'I enjoy playing football, especially for my country in big games that really mean things. That is the beauty of qualifiers and tournaments – they really do mean a great deal to myself as well.'

Hart revealed Poland became a second home to the England players during the summer after they spent so much time there during the European Championship finals, basing themselves in Krakow and flying for matches in Ukrainian cities such as Donetsk and Kiev.

He is well aware of the passion and expectation that the Poland supporters generate for their own team, and the disappointment felt as the tournament co-hosts failed to emerge from a group in which they managed just two draws to be eliminated at the hands of the Czech Republic and Greece.

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlayne (2nd left), Danny Welbeck (left) and Tom Cleverley (2nd right) celebrate

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlayne (2nd left), Danny Welbeck (left) and Tom Cleverley (2nd right) celebrate

Hart said: 'We felt a lot of love from the Polish people. We felt obliged to support them, too. There is a lot of pressure on them. They were very unlucky in a tough group and I thought they did well but it wasn't meant to be.'

Despite manager Roy Hodgson bringing more youngsters into the England starting line-up, such as Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Hart sees no reason why they cannot come away with a positive result and consolidate their place at the top of the group after Friday night's 5-0 Wembley walk-over against San Marino.

'It will be a new experience for some of our youngsters but players adapt and that is the beauty of young players now. They don't play with any fear. I am not exactly old but I was a young player once and you really look forward to games like this.'

Decision time: England boss Roy Hodgson

Decision time: England boss Roy Hodgson

Meanwhile, Lewandowski, who has won 47 caps scoring 15 goals, offered little encouragement to Sir Alex Ferguson after being linked with a January move to Manchester United in the wake of Fergie's visit to see him play at City.

'I'm playing in a serious league so he can watch me every week if he likes,' added the striker. 'But I have two years left on a valid contract with my club and I want this season to be as good as last season.'

Lewandowski scored 22 goals in 34 games for Dortmund last term, being named Bundesliga player of the season as the club earned their first league-cup double.

But he explained: 'I don't often score in the really big games so I'd love to score against England. Having said that, I often make an impact in big games with a pass or some movement to create space for others, so I'm pleased with my game.'

"Rangers in peril" claim rubbished by Malcolm Murray as scaremongering

'Rangers in peril' claim rubbished by chairman Murray as scaremongering

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UPDATED:

22:11 GMT, 9 October 2012

Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray angrily hit out at what he insisted were 'scandalous' claims that the Ibrox club could face administration for the second time this year.

The dire warning was made in an article for respected business publication Forbes Magazine by John Pritchett, CEO of Chicago-based investment firm Club 9 Sports, which acted on behalf of US businessman Bill Miller in his short-lived bid to take over troubled Rangers in May.

Revealing that Miller had come ‘within an eyelash’ of buying the club, Pritchett claimed his friend had walked away because the ‘numbers did not add up’ and warned that was still the case at Ibrox — alleging Rangers would face fresh financial peril unless current Ibrox chief executive Charles Green oversaw a drastic programme of downsizing and cuts at the club.

Warning: An article in Forbes magazine predicted financial peril for Rangers

Warning: An article in Forbes magazine predicted financial peril for Rangers

Pritchett said: ‘Upon full inspection, Rangers was not a “turnaround” opportunity. It was (and is) an opportunity for someone with great wealth and a love of football and/or Scotland to give away tens and tens of millions of pounds … until bold action is taken, the future for Rangers remains in serious jeopardy.’

Tennessee truck tycoon Miller withdrew his offer for the Ibrox club a week after being named preferred bidder amid a hostile reaction to his takeover attempt by Rangers fans, with one banner at Ibrox reading: ‘Truck Off Miller — Yanks No Thanks’ being unfurled at Ibrox.

But Pritchett said the deal breaker was always that the numbers at Ibrox just did not stack up.

‘Revenues were in a freefall,’ he recalled. ‘The most important revenue stream to Rangers, season tickets, was projected to be down by 20 per cent. The club expected to lose nearly 10million in 2012/13.

‘Cash-flow from sponsorships was minimal and the administrators had already pulled out the cash from player wages, kit sponsorship and future payments due the club from the sale of several players.

Angry: Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray

Angry: Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray

‘Worse, because the administrators had to make a deal to cut player wages to keep the club afloat, the new owner of Rangers would lose a substantial portion of asset value.’

Pritchett estimated that Green’s consortium, which bought the club and assets for 5.5m and transferred them to a newco, saved 3m in wage cuts but lost up to 15m as highly-rated stars like Steven Naismith and Allan McGregor were able to leave without a transfer fee.

The American business expert also warned that Rangers must ‘cut the fat from every department and rebuild an organisation that values every pound and demands a return on any and all expenses’.

Rangers have sold a remarkable 36,000 season tickets since Green took charge, however, while he has also taken back control of club merchandising from JJB Sport and there are plans to float on the stock exchange later this month.

Furious chairman Murray last night accused Pritchett of ignorance of current goings on at Ibrox and vowed Rangers would never go to the wall again under current ownership.

He said: ‘The last time Mr Pritchett had sight of any financial information about Rangers was many months ago and, as a result, his article in Forbes Magazine is ill-informed, misleading and scaremongering.

‘For the avoidance of doubt, there is no risk of the club going into administration and any suggestion otherwise is scandalous and appears written to attract headlines. Projections Mr Pritchett had sight of have not been relevant since May and, from the day I became chairman, I have been committed to ensuring this club lives within its means and never again comes to the brink of collapse.

‘We have already secured significant investment in the club from the individuals and organisations who are part of our consortium and the successful Initial Public Offering later this month will generate many millions in additional revenue.

‘It does not take a genius to work out that costs needed to be cut at the club and this has happened, with the first-team wage bill being reduced significantly.

‘However, we also have a plan to maximise commercial revenues and develop many areas of the club that, historically, were under utilised.

‘It is my understanding that Mr Miller’s plans were based purely on cost-cutting and little additional investment in the club.

‘What is also clear from his article is that Mr Pritchett completely underestimated the loyalty and commitment of the Rangers fans. In addition to the 36,000 season-ticket holders so far this season, the attendances at our home matches have surpassed many of the top clubs in England and the rest of Europe.

‘We have a clear plan to rebuild this great club and believe that, with solid business practices and the ongoing tremendous support from the fans, this will be achieved.’

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2: Match report

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2: Mata curls home winner as Gunners lose unbeaten record

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UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 29 September 2012

Chelsea captain John Terry came through a hostile reception at Arsenal as the Blues consolidated their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 win.

Fernando Torres fired Chelsea ahead following some poor marking by Laurent Koscielny and Juan Mata's free-kick squirmed in to secure three points for the European champions after Gervinho had equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Former England skipper Terry was earlier this week found guilty of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand by a Football Association hearing, but is awaiting the full written judgment of the independent panel, before deciding whether to appeal a verdict which saw him banned for four matches and fined 220,000.

Winner: Juan Mata's free kick was enough to help Chelsea to victory over Arsenal at the Emirates

Winner: Juan Mata's free kick was enough to help Chelsea to victory over Arsenal at the Emirates

Match facts

Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Diaby (Oxlade Chamberlain 17) Arteta, Ramsey (Walcott 66); Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski (Giroud 66).

Subs not used: Martinez, Djourou, Santos, Mertesacker

Goal: Gervinho 42

Booked: Vermaelen, Ramsey

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz (Cahill 80), Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard, Oscar (Moses 72) Mata (Bertrand 84); Torres.

Subs: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Romeu, Lampard

Goals: Torres 20, Mata 52

Booked: Luiz, Oscar

Attendance: 60,101

Ref: Martin Atkinson

Premier League results, fixtures and table

The 31-year-old has always protested his innocence and was found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence in a criminal trial during July.

Predictable chants of 'you know what you are' from the Arsenal crowd greeted Terry's first touch, as did jeers for former Gunner Ashley Cole.

However, the Emirates Stadium faithful had little to sing about as the match wore on.

While Chelsea came through their first real test of the new campaign, the Gunners again saw question marks raised over their defensive resilience.

Arsenal had made a lively start, with Ivory Coast forward Gervinho again deployed down the centre as contract rebel Theo Walcott watched on from the bench.

On 11 minutes, Abou Diaby created space for himself some 20 yards out and shot fiercely at Petr Cech.

However, the French midfielder's injury jinx appeared to strike again as he was soon replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Opener: Fernando Torres connects with Juan Mata's cross to put Chelsea in front against Arsenal

Opener: Fernando Torres connects with Juan Mata's cross to put Chelsea in front against Arsenal

Chelsea took the lead on 20 minutes with a brilliant finish from Torres.

A free-kick from Mata on the right was floated through the Arsenal penalty area towards the far post.

Laurent Koscielny was wrestling with Torres, but the Spaniard was still able to hook the ball back into the net.

Off and running: Torres celebrates with John Terry after putting Chelsea in front

Off and running: Torres celebrates with John Terry after putting Chelsea in front

Before Arsenal could regroup, they were almost 2-0 down.

Torres robbed Koscielny out on the left and darted into the penalty area.

However, as the keeper came out and he shaped to shoot, the Spaniard tumbled, claiming his heel had been clipped by Koscielny. Referee Martin Atkinson, however, was having none of it.

Level pegging: Gervinho slams home the ball to score Arsenal's equaliser just before half time

Level pegging: Gervinho slams home the ball to score Arsenal's equaliser just before half time

Level pegging: Gervinho slams home the ball to score Arsenal's equaliser just before half time

Slowly Arsenal found their rhythm again.

Gervinho was picked out at the far post and headed back across goal instead of at it.

The Gunners' frustrations were starting to show as Aaron Ramsey was booked for a late tackle on Oscar in the 35th minute.

Pat on the back: Gervinho celebrates his goal for Arsenal with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Pat on the back: Gervinho celebrates his goal for Arsenal with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Brazilian then also went into the notebook after another poor challenge on Mikel Arteta, who played a key role in the Gunners' equaliser after 42 minutes.

Patient build up from right-back Carl Jenkinson fed the ball back to Arteta, and he slipped Oxlade-Chamberlain down the flank.

His low centre across the six-yard box was collected by Gervinho, who had sidestepped Terry, with his back to goal – and he turned to blast a shot into the roof of the net.

Back in front: Mata's free kick evades everyone before nestling in the bottom of the net

Back in front: Mata's free kick evades everyone before nestling in the bottom of the net

Back in front: Mata's free kick evades everyone before nestling in the bottom of the net

Arsenal started the second half brightly, with Santi Cazorla snatching at an angled drive which flew wide.

However, the Gunners were undone again in the 53rd minute.

Once more Mata's curling delivery caused panic in the Arsenal penalty area – and a backtracking Koscielny helped the ball on with the slightest of touches into the corner past Vito Mannone's dive.

Arsenal had to regroup again, and were almost level when Cech brilliantly palmed away a looping header from Lukas Podolski.

Chance: Olivier Giroud missed an opportunity to level the scores in the final minutes

Chance: Olivier Giroud missed an opportunity to level the scores in the final minutes

Gutted: Mike Arteta is dejected after Arsenal lose for the first time this season at home to Chelsea

Gutted: Mike Arteta is dejected after Arsenal lose for the first time this season at home to Chelsea

Wenger had seen enough and made a double change after 66 minutes, bringing on Walcott for Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, who scored his first Arsenal goal in the midweek Capital One Cup win over Coventry, for Podolski.

Cech was on hand to palm away a deflected effort from Giroud as Arsenal looked for the equaliser.

Gibbs tripped Mata on the edge of the penalty area to give Chelsea another dangerous piece. This time, though, his shot went straight into the wall.

Backing: Chelsea fans showed their support for John Terry who gave his boots to young fans (below)

Backing: Chelsea fans showed their support for John Terry who gave his boots to young fans (below)

Here you go: John Terry gives a fan his boots after the game

Here you go: John Terry gives a fan his boots after the game

As the match entered the final 10 minutes, Arsenal continued to press for an equaliser, but were frustrated by a combination of poor passing and determined defence.

Giroud had a golden chance to snatch an equaliser in stoppage time, but was forced wide by Cech and could only smash his shot into the side netting.

Terry made a point of heading over to the travelling support at the final whistle, handing his boots to a couple of young fans.

Ronaldinho gets hostile reception on losing return to old club Flamengo

Welcome back! Ronaldinho gets hostile reception on losing return to old club Flamengo

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UPDATED:

09:40 GMT, 27 September 2012

Former world player of the year Ronaldinho received a vehemently hostile reception as he returned to former club Flamengo.

The Atletico Mineiro player walked out on Flamengo after a fall-out with the club’s board, and returned for the first time with his new team.

Every time the former PSG, Barcelona and AC Milan player got the ball, whistles and jeers echoed round the ground.

Vitriol: Ronaldinho was booed and jeers as some Flamengo fans held up insulting signs

Vitriol: Ronaldinho was booed and jeers as some Flamengo fans held up insulting signs

Banners with crude sketches of the 32-year-old were also waved by the disgruntled fans.

Ronaldinho was unable to silence his boo boys with a win, as his side suffered a devastating 2-1 defeat at the hands of Flamengo in an ill-tempered affair.

Former CSKA Moscow forward Vagner Love volleyed Flamengo in front midway through the first half after the Mineiro defence failed to clear a corner.

Powerless: The former world player of the year (right) was unable to get his side a win

Powerless: The former world player of the year (right) was unable to get his side a win

Remember me Former Manchester City and Everton striker Jo scored Mineiro's only goal

Remember me Former Manchester City and Everton striker Jo scored Mineiro's only goal

There were several angry exchanges before former Everton and Manchester City forward Jo turned in a loose ball to equalise for the visitors four minutes after the break.

Flamengo won the match six minutes later when Liedson turned in Wellington Silva's cross, although tempers flared again when Mineiro defender Rever was sent off for elbowing Victor Caceres.

Mineiro, second in the Brazilian championship table, stayed four points behind leaders Fluminense on 52 points from 26 games while Flamengo climbed to tenth with 34.

Ronaldinho, who has enjoyed a revival with Mineiro, left Flamengo in May after winning a court injuction which released him from his contract.

He had spent a troubled 17 months at the club, where he suffered a loss of form blamed on his partying lifestyle.

Old friends: Ronaldinho and Vagner Love (right) chatted during the match

Old friends: Ronaldinho and Vagner Love (right) chatted during the match

Ryan Giggs knows what to expect from Galatasaray

Having been to 'hell' and back before, Giggs knows what to expect from Galatasaray

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UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 17 September 2012

Ryan Giggs will never forget his first visit to Istanbul.

November 1993. Champions League second knockout round, second leg. Galatasaray away.

Welcome to Hell.

'I remember it vividly. It will always stick with me,' the veteran Manchester United midfielder said.

Welcome party: Galatasaray fans welcome the Manchester United players at Ataturk Airport in 1993

Welcome party: Galatasaray fans welcome the Manchester United players at Ataturk Airport in 1993

Hostile atmosphere: Banners surrounded the pitch during the game in 1993

Hostile atmosphere: Banners surrounded the pitch during the game in 1993

'I was 19 and, when we arrived at the airport, there were all the banners and fans. Thousands of fans screaming at you.

'There were things being thrown at us when we were driving away on the coach. Outside the hotel their fans were chanting all night, making sure we didn't get any sleep. People were phoning the hotel room.

'Prior to the game, the manager told us to go on the pitch and sample the atmosphere.

'The fans had been in the ground for hours and hours. The atmosphere was buzzing 90 minutes before kick-off.

'We were stood in the middle of the pitch watching the fans chant. It was one stand to another.'

Nineteen years on, Giggs recalls it as being a brilliant experience – at least until the final whistle when United, who had Eric Cantona sent off, were knocked out, triggering a frenzied reaction from their hosts.

Welcome to hell: Galatasaray fans celebrate their win over Man United in 1993

Welcome to hell: Galatasaray fans celebrate their win over Man United in 1993

Shock: Galatasaray celebrate scoring at Old Trafford in the same year

Shock: Galatasaray celebrate scoring at Old Trafford in the same year

'When we came off the pitch, it was chaos,' Giggs said.

'Eric had already been sent off and the way back to the dressing room was underneath the pitch.

'There were armed police either side – not the kind of people you would ever mess with. They had helmets, batons, were all ready. And it just kicked off.

'I was just trying to get back to the safety of the dressing room as quickly as possible.

'Obviously not at the time because we lost and went out, but it was a great experience for us.

'They were a good team then and they will be a good team now.'

Giggs' last comment is particularly pertinent as United open this season's Champions League campaign against Galatasaray at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Tough challenge: Giggs knows what to expect from the Turkish side

Tough challenge: Giggs knows what to expect from the Turkish side

And they are not so much on a revenge mission for that defeat as nursing an additional sense of purpose following last season's debacle, when United tumbled out of the group stage with only two wins.

After reaching three finals in the previous four campaigns, it was an unexpected blow Giggs and his team-mates are anxious to put right.
And the 38-year-old believes he knows just how to do it.

'We need to win our home games,' he said. 'Usually 10 or more points gets you through, which means winning at home and trying to draw away.

'We didn't manage it last year because we didn't perform at Old Trafford the way we have done in the past.'

Robin van Persie's appearance off the bench in Saturday's 4-0 Barclays Premier League win over Wigan showed the Dutchman has no lingering effects from the groin injury that curtailed his international involvement.

Back in action: Van Persie (centre) made a cameo appearance on Saturday

Back in action: Van Persie (centre) made a cameo appearance on Saturday

It also confirmed manager Sir Alex Ferguson's determination not to take any chances in Europe this term after admitting he got his team selections badly wrong last season.

And with fellow new boy Shinji Kagawa also set to return after being given additional time to recover from his arduous trip to Japan, Giggs is expecting both men to make a positive impact.

'Robin has the experience of playing in Europe with Arsenal,' said the Welshman, who became the first player to clock up 600 Premier League appearances at the weekend.

'The goals he has got will hopefully give us that extra edge this season.

'Shinji is that kind of player who will thrive in Europe, where possession is key.

'He keeps the ball and gets into positions where he is hard to pick up.

'I am sure they will both be very good additions in Europe for us.'