Tag Archives: independent

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.

Neil Lennon unhappy that Rangers are to keep league titles

Lennon unhappy that Rangers are to keep league titles despite being found guilty of undisclosed payments

By
Ronnie Esplin

PUBLISHED:

15:54 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 1 March 2013

Neil Lennon struggled to hide his unhappiness at the punishment imposed yesterday on oldco Rangers by an independent commission who found the Ibrox club guilty of undisclosed payments to players.

The three-man Scottish Premier League-appointed body – chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith – handed out a fine of 250,000 for not disclosing side-letter arrangements during 2000-2011.

However, the Ibrox club avoided the most severe possible sanction of losing up to five SPL titles won during the period investigated after the commission ruled Rangers 'did not gain any unfair competitive advantage'.

Unhappy: Celtic manager Neil Lennon feels Rangers haven't been punished harshly enough

Unhappy: Celtic manager Neil Lennon feels Rangers haven't been punished harshly enough

Ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow, the Celtic boss appeared angry when asked about the verdict.

'I only saw some snippets in the paper today, I believe they were found guilty of paying 47million over 11 years in non-disclosed payments.

'Am I surprised at that, no

Rare boost: Ally McCoist has had little reason to celebrate since succeeding Walter Smith as Rangers boss

Rare boost: Ally McCoist has had little reason to celebrate since succeeding Walter Smith as Rangers boss

'As regards the competitive advantage they gained or didn’t gain, a lot of other people will have a say on that, I have my own views on that but I will keep that to myself for now.

'I don’t want to take anything away from what my team and club are doing.

'The way we behave, the way we do our business has been impeccable and that’s the reason why we are in the position we are in now.'

When asked about the belief from
Ibrox that the club were vindicated by the decision, the former Hoops
skipper said: 'Maybe that’s because they got their own way.

'It
wasn’t our fight, it was the SPL, they brought up the tribunal against
Rangers, it doesn’t affect us, we have the quarter-final to prepare for
and we are playing Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions league.'

Focused: Lennon must prepare his side to travel to Juventus in the Champions League

Focused: Lennon must prepare his side to travel to Juventus in the Champions League

Celtic said in a statement they
are 'surprised' by the Scottish Premier League-appointed commission's
conclusion.

The statement continued: 'Throughout
this matter, Celtic has refrained from comment on the affairs of Rangers
FC while the various tribunals and commissions went about their work.

'We will continue to concentrate on
our own affairs, and assure our supporters that at all times we will
operate within both the rules of our governing bodies and the law of the
land.

'Our Club is in a great place at the
moment and we are enjoying a fantastic season, maintaining our position
at the top of Scottish football and enjoying huge success and profile
across European football.

'We ask our fans to unite with us
once again as we look ahead to the rest of the season, to the Scottish
Cup on Saturday, to the UEFA Champions League next week and to an
exciting future with a young squad of high quality players and a
talented manager in Neil Lennon.

'Our fans have been magnificent this
season, home and away, and as we head towards the end of the season,
now, more than ever, we need our fans to be with us and to back the team
and the club. We sincerely thank our fans for their continued support.'

Michu snubbed by Tottenham, West Ham, Aston Villa, Stoke, Fulham and Leeds before Swansea swooped

REVEALED: The SIX Premier League clubs (and Leeds United) who snubbed Michu before Swansea swooped for 2.2m bargain

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 31 December 2012

If Roberto Mancini is having
sleepless nights over missing out on Robin van Persie, then one can only
imagine the mood at Tottenham's training ground every time Michu scores
for Swansea.

There,
at Hotspur Way, something of a dark comedy routine has been going on
this season between Pat Jennings and Tim Sherwood, an exchange that
usually ends with one telling the other: 'Don't mention Michu'. He's the
one that got away. Twice.

And once he was going for free. But Tottenham are not alone. Sportsmail understands
that Fulham, Stoke, West Brom, West Ham and Aston Villa were also told
by an independent agent in Spain about the 26-year-old in the summer and
encouraged to bid for a man who had just scored 15 goals in La Liga.

Summer steal: Michu has been a sensation since joining Swansea from Rayo Vallecano for just 2.2m

Summer steal: Michu has been a sensation since joining Swansea from Rayo Vallecano for just 2.2m

Who needs Michu

Michu has taken the Premier League by storm since joining Swansea in the summer. Here's how his goal tally compares with the leading scorers at the clubs he snubbed…

Premier League goals 2012-13 (as of Dec 31)

Michu – 13

Spurs – Jermain Defoe – 10

Aston Villa – Christian Benteke – 5

West Ham – Kevin Nolan – 5

Stoke – Jonathan Walters – 5

Fulham – Dimitar Berbatov – 6

West Brom – Romelu Lukaku – 6

And one in the Championship…

Leeds United – Luciano Becchio – 14

The fact that those goals came for
Rayo Vallecano, a struggling team that frequently couldn't afford to pay
their players, wasn't enough to coax an offer.

The
fact that most of the goals had come from midfield, and his release
clause was a relative snip at 3.2million, was seemingly also ignored.

In
Tottenham's case, the shame is a little deeper. Spurs were first
notified about Michu in the summer of 2011, when his contract at Celta
Vigo, who were then in the Spanish second tier, expired. It meant that
he was available on a free transfer.

At
the time, Michu was largely playing a deeper, more defensive role and
Tottenham snubbed the recommendat ion of Gerry Armstrong, a former Spurs
player-turned-Spanish football expert, to make a bid.

'Even
then, it was obvious this guy was a different class,' Armstrong said.
'He played a bit further back, but he was so comfortable on the ball.

Before he was famous: Michu in action against Real Madrid in September 2011 (when he was still up for grabs)

Before he was famous: Michu in action against Real Madrid in September 2011 (when he was still up for grabs), but Andre Villas-Boas, Paul Lambert and Sam Allardyce (below, left-right) all passed up the chance to sign him

Andre Villas-Boas

Paul Lambert

Sam Allardyce

'He
had brilliant vision, could win headers, could pass, could shoot. There
didn't seem to be anything missing.' It wasn't just a Premier League
thing. Leeds, along with the six top-flight clubs, were contacted by a
Spanish agent in the summer and, like the rest, did not act on the
recommendation. Swansea stumped up 2.2m.

The Bigger Picture

'He was offered, I think, to a lot of clubs in the summer,' Michael Laudrup told Sportsmail back in August.

'I think he will be a very good player here. I have a feeling that he will.

'There
is a lot of value in the Spanish market right now. There is not a lot
of money and you can get some very good deals. I think this is a good
deal.'

That conversation took place in the
week before Swansea opened their season against QPR – Michu's debut. He
scored twice in a 5-0 win. Then he scored again in their second game, a
3-0 win over West Ham.

'He can score goals, but I think he can do more,' Laudrup said in the summer.

Indeed,
he passes well, beats players, can poach and has a pile-driver in
either foot. In keeping with Swansea's modus operandi, he is comfortable
taking possession in small spaces, but he's also 6ft 1in and is superb
in the air, making him a target for long balls and crosses.

Laudrup
spoke of adding a Plan B and a greater goal threat in pre-season and
Michu has given him both. His Premier League tally stands at 13, one
short of Van Persie, who cost current leaders Manchester United 24m.

Paying attention: Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque says he will hand Michu his first international cap

Paying attention: Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque says he will hand Michu his first international cap

The Tale of the Tape

A week ago, Vicente del Bosque, the
Spain manager, took the unusual step of promising Michu his first
international cap, almost two months before of the world and European
champions' February 6 friendly with Uruguay in Doha.

Del
Bosque spoke out the night before Michu scored his 13th league goal of
the season in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 23.

A
couple of days earlier, Sir Alex Ferguson had told his club's website
that he had not heard of the Spaniard prior to this season.

He
added that he would be having words with his scouting department.
Fergie won't be the only Premier League manager doing that. Or
Championship boss, for that matter.

Leading the way: Robin van Persie has scored the most goals in the Premier League this season

Leading the way: Robin van Persie has scored the most goals in the Premier League this season

VIDEO: Here's what all the fuss is about…

Former MP Sir Irvine Patnick, who was accused of smearing Liverpool fans after Hillsborough passes away

MP who blamed Liverpool fans for the death of 96 people at Hillsborough passes away

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UPDATED:

09:18 GMT, 31 December 2012

The former Conservative MP who helped smear Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster has died.

Sir Irvine Patnick, who was a source for a Sun story criticising the supporters' behaviour in the tragedy, died yesterday aged 83.

He was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1987 to 1997.

Sorry: Sir Irvine Patnick was knighted in 1994 but has since apologised for his involvement in the Hillsborough cover up

Sorry: Sir Irvine Patnick was knighted in 1994 but has since apologised for his involvement in the Hillsborough cover up

A successful businessman before becoming an MP, he was knighted in 1994.

There had been calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood since his role in The Sun's coverage of the disaster was made clear by the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September.

Amid widespread revulsion at the police cover-up which sought to shift the blame for the tragedy to the fans, Sir Irvine said in September he was 'deeply and sincerely sorry' about his role.

Justice: The families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough have fought tirelessly for the truth to come out

Justice: The families of the 96 who died at Hillsborough have fought tirelessly for the truth to come out

Tragedy: 96 Liverpool fans were killed during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough

Tragedy: 96 Liverpool fans were killed during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough

He said he had passed on police information that was 'inaccurate, misleading and plain wrong'.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

A statement issued by his family to the BBC said: 'Sir Irvine Patnick OBE, died peacefully on 30 December 2012, aged 83, in Sheffield.

Smear: Irvine was a key source in the Sun's story that blamed the behavior of Liverpool fans for the tragedy

Smear: Irvine was a key source in the Sun's story that blamed the behavior of Liverpool fans for the tragedy

'He was a much loved husband of Lynda and father of Suzanne and Matthew.

'He'll be sadly missed by his brothers and by all his family and friends.'

Paralympics: Honours List strongly criticised by dressage rider Lee Pearson

The Honours List just 'p***** me off'… Paralympics great Pearson says he should have been knighted and Olympic medals are still valued higher

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UPDATED:

17:27 GMT, 30 December 2012

One of Britain's leading Paralympians has launched a stinging attack on the New Year Honours List, admitting it 'p***** him off'.

Dressage rider Lee Pearson won his 10th gold medal at this year's London Paralympics, and received a CBE in the list.

He told the Independent on Sunday that he was 'disappointed' not to receive a knighthood, and added: 'It's the discrepancy that p***** me off'.

Lee Pearson

Lee Pearson

High achiever: Dressage star Pearson competing at this year's London Paralympic Games

Other Paralympians had already criticised the list, which saw Bradley Wiggins and Ben Ainslie knighted. Paralympian Sarah Storey was made a dame. Four Olympians and two Paralympians were awarded OBEs, with four Olympians and one Paralympian receiving a CBE.

Pearson said: 'Obviously, 10 gold, one silver and one bronze just isn't enough. I'm disappointed because I do feel I've given a lot to Paralympic sport and equestrianism. I think 10 gold medals is quite an achievement.'

Pearson won three gold medals at three successive Games, in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. He won an amazing tenth gold in the team dressage at Greenwich Park.

Wiggins and Ainslie are both greats of their respective sports, cycling and sailing, but Pearson's gold medal tally is higher than both of them combined.

Bradley Wiggins

Ben Ainslie

Suits you both, sir: Bradley Wiggins (left) and Ben Ainslie (right) have both been knighted

Pearson, 38, insists this case shows that Paralympic and Olympic medals are still not valued equally.

'There still seems to be a discrepancy between a Paralympic medal and an Olympic medal,' he added.

'It's tougher to get on in normal life if you've got a disability, and then to do sport on top of that is quite an achievement, I think, but maybe the powers that be don't.'

Stars such as David Weir, who won four
gold medals in London, had already said over the weekend that better
awards were deserved for Paralympians.

Weir told the Daily Telegraph: 'Kelly
Holmes was made a dame when she won two gold medals, but it seems we
have to get into double figures to get it. Sarah Storey should have been
awarded this years ago. I feel that sometimes we are left out, perhaps
because we are not in the public eye.'

She's more than a Brit special: Sarah Storey has been made a Dame

She's more than a Brit special: Sarah Storey has been made a Dame

Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: 'You can do the arithmetic and make your own conclusions. I think it's important to listen to what two great Paralympians think. The people saying maybe [Paralympians] should have a bit more, there might be a case for that.'

The London Paralympic Games was the biggest in the history of the event. Huge television audiences tuned into Channel 4's coverage, with sell-out crowds turning up across the capital to watch the various sports.

The likes of Storey, Weir, and Ellie Simmonds have become major public figures after their success at the Games. All three were among the contenders for this month's Sports Personality of the Year award, which was won by Wiggins.

Blackburn Rovers could appoint Judan Ali after Henning berg sacking

It's comical Ali! Blackburn linked to former India Under 15s and Dagenham community coach

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 27 December 2012

Blackburn's Indian owners are preparing to appoint English professional football’s first British Asian coach, a 39-year-old former Arsenal trainee who until recently was running a community youth programme in Dagenham.

Judan Ali has also been the subject of ‘below average’ Bollywood movie Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal but his coaching experience hardly qualifies him to step in at Ewood Park in the wake of Henning Berg’s shock dismissal. Ali’s finest achievement to date was leading an Indian Under 15 side to victory in Arsenal’s ‘football festival’ in 2011.

But the Venky’s family see Ali as part of a managerial team alongside head coach Kevin MacDonald, the former Aston Villa coach.

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy Hodgson earlier this year

Youth role: Ali meets England boss Roy
Hodgson earlier this year

Ali’s Twitter page has been taken down but on it, he had described himself as ‘an independent football coach leading those who want to further themselves on the world stage and to surpass the elite’.

Berg was sacked on Thursday after just 57 days and a run of one win from 10 games that has left Blackburn 17th in the Championship.

Before his departure he had, however, met Ali, who had spent a week observing the Norwegian former Rovers defender at the club’s Brockhall headquarters.

Blackburn are said to be comfortable seeing how the arrangement with MacDonald and Ali works out, and will not rush into appointing a more high-profile manager. Roberto Di Matteo heads a list of possible targets should Venky’s change their view. Youth development boss Gary Bowyer is set to take charge for Saturday’s trip to Barnsley.

London-born Ali, whose family moved to the UK from India, was on Arsenal’s books as a YTS trainee but blamed the racist culture within English football in the 80s and 90s for his failure to secure a professional contract in this country. He played for Spanish club Murcia before his coaching career.

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

Struggling: Blackburn are 17th in the Championship despite spending 8m on Jordan Rhodes (right) and paying Premier League wages for the likes of Danny Murphy (left)

‘My goal is to become the first British Asian Premier League manager,’ he said. ‘I want to take a country to the World Cup and the 2022 tournament in Qatar is my goal.

‘It’s a myth that British Asians cannot play football. I hope I’m showing young Asians in this country that they can make it and that things are changing from the experiences I suffered as a teenager.’

Ali’s appointment will form part of a move by Venky’s to assume closer control of the club. When they became the Premier League’s first Indian owners two years ago, the Rao family talked about tapping into Blackburn’s Asian community and offering a route into English football for young players from their homeland. They have plans to open an academy near the company headquarters in Pune.

Whether Blackburn’s fans will be receptive to the latest move is another matter, however, following Venky’s decision to axe Sam Allardyce in 2010, Steve Kean’s stormy reign and now Berg’s ill-fated stint.

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

Sacked: Berg was only unveiled at Ewood Park on November 1

The 43-year-old was made aware of his fate before going to Brockhall on Thursday morning to say his farewells. However, the coaching team Berg inherited from Kean – assistant Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeper coach Bobby Mimms – were only informed on arrival for work on Thursday.

From the start, it was clear Berg was not the first choice among candidates including other former Blackburn players Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay. He walked out of the club’s Christmas party last week after being asked to wear a stocking on his head and lost on Boxing Day at Middlesbrough – his fifth defeat in six games.

Berg issued a statement on Thursday: ‘I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.’

Coincidentally, Kean has only just agreed a 1.2million settlement.

Michael Owen out to end drought against Liverppol

Owen wants the monkey off his back as he targets first ever goal against Liverpool on Boxing Day

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 25 December 2012

Stoke striker Michael Owen has plenty of happy memories from his time at Liverpool, but does not look back too fondly on the occasions he has played against them.

The former England international enjoyed the most prolific days of his career at Liverpool, where he came through the youth ranks.

Since leaving the Reds in 2004 though, he has failed to score a single goal against them and Owen admits he has rarely had much fun when being on the opposing team.

Man on a mission: Michael Owen is desperate for the chance to get at his old team Liverpool

Man on a mission: Michael Owen is desperate for the chance to get at his old team Liverpool

The 33-year-old will be hoping the trend changes on Boxing Day when the Potters host Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League, a game in which he could make his first Stoke appearance since October 27 having overcome a hamstring problem.

Owen – who departed Anfield for Real Madrid and moved on to Newcastle and Manchester United before joining Stoke this season – told Independent Sports News: 'It is a strange feeling really playing against your old club, especially one where you were there for around 15 years.

'Liverpool are a big part of my life and career and I had some of the best times of my life at the club.

'So certainly I have happy memories. I have not been so happy playing against them since; I have never scored and not particularly enjoyed it.'

Stoke, currently ninth in the table, head into the clash with eighth-placed Liverpool in fine form.

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Tony Pulis' men are unbeaten in their last eight matches and Owen is optimistic they can keep the run going.

'I don't see any reason why not,' Owen said. 'We had a really tough start to the season and we picked up points against some of the big teams.

'Then we went into a period of games where you would look at them on paper and say we had a chance of picking up points, and we have duly done that.

'We are on a nice run of form. Every game is tough in the Premier League, but there is no reason why we can't continue it.'

Michael Owen out to end drought against Liverppol when Stoke travel to Anfield

Owen wants the monkey off his back as he targets first ever goal against Liverpool when Stoke visit Anfield on Boxing Day

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UPDATED:

20:37 GMT, 24 December 2012

Stoke striker Michael Owen has plenty of happy memories from his time at Liverpool, but does not look back too fondly on the occasions he has played against them.

The former England international enjoyed the most prolific days of his career at Liverpool, where he came through the youth ranks.

Since leaving the Reds in 2004 though, he has failed to score a single goal against them and Owen admits he has rarely had much fun when being on the opposing team.

Man on a mission: Michael Owen is desperate for the chance to get at his old team Liverpool, against whom he's never scored, when Stoke City visit Anfield

Man on a mission: Michael Owen is desperate for the chance to get at his old team Liverpool, against whom he's never scored, when Stoke City visit Anfield

The 33-year-old will be hoping the trend changes on Boxing Day when the Potters host Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League, a game in which he could make his first Stoke appearance since October 27 having overcome a hamstring problem.

Owen – who departed Anfield for Real Madrid and moved on to Newcastle and Manchester United before joining Stoke this season – told Independent Sports News: 'It is a strange feeling really playing against your old club, especially one where you were there for around 15 years.

'Liverpool are a big part of my life and career and I had some of the best times of my life at the club.

'So certainly I have happy memories. I have not been so happy playing against them since; I have never scored and not particularly enjoyed it.'

Stoke, currently ninth in the table, head into the clash with eighth-placed Liverpool in fine form.

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Where the heart is: Owen was lethal at Liverpool but has struggled since leaving

Tony Pulis' men are unbeaten in their last eight matches and Owen is optimistic they can keep the run going.

'I don't see any reason why not,' Owen said. 'We had a really tough start to the season and we picked up points against some of the big teams.

'Then we went into a period of games where you would look at them on paper and say we had a chance of picking up points, and we have duly done that.

'We are on a nice run of form. Every game is tough in the Premier League, but there is no reason why we can't continue it.'

The FA accused of showing "total apathy" towards fan safety at time of Hillsborough disaster

Hillsborough latest: FA were more 'interested in lunch' than fan safety in 1980s, claims former Wembley chief

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UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

The Football Association have been accused of showing ‘total apathy’ towards fans and their safety in the 1980s at the time of Hillsborough disaster.

David Griffiths, who was chief executive of Wembley stadium in the 1970s and 80s, made the accusation and claims there was a 'culture of complacency' in the FA’s safety inspection regime.

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he said: ‘This culture of complacency existed all the way through the 70s and 80s. My belief is that it was prevalent at the time of Hillsborough.

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

Horror scenes: Fans spill onto the pitch during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

'They would turn up and basically ask ‘what’s for lunch’

The FA have declined to comment on Mr Griffiths’ specific claims, but a spokesman said: 'The FA and English football has changed immeasurably and has learnt many lessons in the last 23 years.

'Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters.'

Mr Griffith’s comments comes as the FA prepare to be investigated by a new police probe for its role in the disaster.

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

Justice: The families of the 96 outside the High Court after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed and an order for fresh inquests

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report said there was no meeting between FA officials and the police ahead of the 1989 semi-final that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium.

Instead the arrangements that had been used in 1988 were confirmed for 1989 by telephone.

The panel also revealed that according to Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell that there was no inter-agency pre-match briefing.

'Somebody should have been at that meeting. Had I been the chairman of the FA’s match and ground committee I would have wanted to see the people who managed Hillsborough.'

Barcelona to play in Catalan colours next season as region pushes for independence

Barcelona to play in Catalan colours next season as region pushes for independence

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UPDATED:

10:25 GMT, 17 December 2012

Barcelona are to wear the colours of the Senyera, the Catalan flag, on their away kit next season.

It comes as political parties in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state gain an ever greater influence in the region's parliament as they push for a referendum in 2014.

The gold and red striped strip for the 2013-2014 season is already reportedly in mass production and will be popularly received by many supporters.

Of course, the new home shirt will be the traditional blue and red stripes.

Kitted out: Proposed designs for the 2013-2014 Barcelona home and away shirts. The away one is in the colours of the Catalan flag

Kitted out: Proposed designs for the 2013-2014 Barcelona home and away shirts. The away one is in the colours of the Catalan flag

Both feature a different corporate sponsor – Qatar Airways – after the club signed a five-year, 125m deal with Qatar Sports Investments.

The decision angered some fans as the club has only previously carried the logos of charities, such as UNICEF.

The news that Barcelona, who are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga after beating them 4-1 on Sunday, would wear the colours was announced on La Diada, the Catalan national day on September 11.

Charitable: The current kit, worn here by Lionel Messi, features the logo of the Qatar Foundation

Charitable: The current kit, worn here by Lionel Messi, features the logo of the Qatar Foundation

Identity: Catalan flags and pro-independence banners are a common site at the Nou Camp

Identity: Catalan flags and pro-independence banners are a common site at the Nou Camp

And now kit manufacturers have unveiled the first designs, which have been warmly received by players, fans and politicians as Barcelona has always been a powerful symbol of the region's identity.

Following a snap election last month, Catalan President Artur Mas promised that the people would be consulted on independence within the next four years.

His centre-right CiU party lost seats but remain the largest bloc in the parliament, while the left-wing separatist ERC party won 21 seats.

Both are in favour of independence, but there are doubts whether the two can work together.

VIDEO: The Catalan flag is formed in a mosaic at the Nou Camp