Tag Archives: industry

Torquay appoint Alan Knill as interim manager

Torquay task Knill with stopping the rot after appointing ex-Bury boss until end of season

By
Pete Evans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

12:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:08 GMT, 20 February 2013

Torquay have appointed Alan Knill as their interim manager until the end of the season.

The former Rotherham, Bury and Scunthorpe boss will work with assistant Shaun Taylor, who has been managing the Gulls for the last six games while manager Martin Ling has been absent on sick leave.

Knill faces a tough task at Plainmoor as he inherits a side who have lost their last five matches, the most recent a defeat at Aldershot last night.

New man: Alan Knill (right) watched Torquay lose to Aldershot

New man: Alan Knill (right) watched Torquay lose to Aldershot

Torquay stand just five points clear of the npower League Two relegation zone ahead of the visit of Port Vale on Saturday.

'Alan was suggested to us by some people in the football industry,' chairman Simon Baker told the club's official website.

'We had drawn up a shortlist and we checked up on Alan with people he had worked with, and they all gave him a glowing reference.

'We met him at Aldershot yesterday and we are delighted he has decided to come in and help us. He comes across as a very agreeable man but there is an edge of steel in him, which is what we need.'

On the slide: Torquay have struggled for form in recent months

On the slide: Torquay have struggled for form in recent months

Ling has been away from the club since the day his side recorded their last victory, a 1-0 win at Exeter on January 28, and Baker revealed the latest update on the former Leyton Orient manager's condition.

'The last I heard from Mrs Ling was that Martin is making progress and we will see how it all pans out,' Baker added.

'We will cross that bridge when it comes but our focus at the moment is between now and April 27, when the season comes to an end.'

Freddie Flintoff wants to open chip shop in London

From battering boxers to battering fish: Flintoff intends to open a chippy in London

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

10:37 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 3 January 2013

Freddie Flintoff is so unhappy with the quality of fish and chips shops in London that he wants to open his own.

The former England cricketer is in talks with TV producers about a news series, potentially on Sky One, where he runs a chippy in London with wife Rachael.

A source said: 'Freddie isn’t impressed with the quality of fish and chips shops down south and wants to open his own up in London selling market-fresh fish.

What's this garbage Flintoff is said to be unhappy with the quality of chippys down south

Enlarge

Fishy Flintoff

What's this garbage Flintoff is said to be unhappy with the quality of chippys down south

'He would be front of house but the business would be run by his wife Rachael, who has a background in catering and events.'

The move would be the latest in Flintoff's post-cricket career after he won on his professional boxing debut in Manchester last year.

Flintoff has been a regular on Sky's A League of Their Own as well as starring in ITV4 series Freddie Flintoff Versus The World.

Enlarge

King of the ring: Flintoff celebrates beating Richard Dawson

King of the ring: Flintoff celebrates beating Richard Dawson

Experience: Rachael has worked in the catering industry

Experience: Rachael has worked in the catering industry

Ex-England and Yorkshire cricketer Chris Old opened a fish and chip restaurant in Cornwall

Ex-England and Yorkshire cricketer Chris Old opened a fish and chip restaurant in Cornwall

Premier League live on airplanes and boats in new TV deal

Live in the sky (and at sea): Premier League strike TV deal to screen matches on aeroplanes and boats

|

UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 3 December 2012

There will be no escaping live coverage of Premier League football next season wherever you are in the world even in the air or at sea.

The Premier League, not content with agreeing deals for rights in 212 territories around the globe, have signed a contract with IMG Media to supply extensive coverage on Sport 24, the 24-hour sports channel exclusively for the airline and cruise industry.

Live in the sky: Fans will be able to watch Premier League when travelling in the air with Lufthansa and Gulf Air

Live in the sky: Fans will be able to watch Premier League (below) in the air with Lufthansa and Gulf Air

Robin van Persie celebrates scoring for Manchester United at Reading

The three-year agreement will see both live and match highlights shown on specially-equiped Lufthansa and Gulf Air planes as well as Norwegian cruise liners.

IMG are also in discussions with a number of other airlines and ship companies to expand the live coverage opportunities now that the technology is avaliable for boats and aeroplanes.

All at sea: Some ships will also be able to show Premier League football as part of the new deal

All at sea: Some ships will also be able to show Premier League football as part of the new deal

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, whose global rights tender is set to bring in 5billion, said: 'We know IMG well and are extremely pleased that they have chosen to invest in the Premier league’s exclusive aeroplanes and ships broadcasting rights.

'We look forward to working with them as they distribute the Barclays Premier League in a way that allows our fans to enjoy the competition while travelling overseas.'

Deal maker: Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

Deal maker: Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

Mark Clattenburg racial abuse of John Obi Mikel: Chelsea and FA accused of "cover up"

Chelsea and FA accused of 'cover up' after police drop Clattenburg race probe

|

UPDATED:

07:43 GMT, 14 November 2012

Chelsea and the Football Association
have been accused of a 'cover-up' for not making a complaint to police about alleged comments by
referee Mark Clattenburg.

The Metropolitan Police revealed on Tuesday they have shelved their investigation into claims that Clattenburg used 'inappropriate
language' towards two Chelsea players.

Flashpoint: Mikel and Ramires made allegations about referee Clattenburg

Flashpoint: John Obi Mikel (right) and Ramires made allegations about referee Mark Clattenburg (centre)

Flashpoint: Mikel and Ramires made allegations about referee Clattenburg

The complaint was made to the police by the Society of Black Lawyers.

'It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up,' the society's chairman Peter Herbert told BBC Radio 5 live.

'It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.'

Chelsea made a formal complaint against Clattenburg on October 29 following their 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United. A day later the FA opened an investigation into the allegation, part of which was that Clattenburg used racial language.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police began its own probe based on a written complaint by Herbert.

In the spotilight: Mark Clattenburg, leaves his home near Newcastle on Monday

In the spotlight: Clattenburg, pictured leaving his home near Newcastle, has not taken charge of a match since the incident

It is understood Chelsea did not give evidence to the police because
they felt the FA was the appropriate body to deal with the matter.

On Tuesday, the police investigation was discontinued because 'no
victims have come forward' and 'without a victim and/or any evidence
that any offence has been committed, the matter cannot currently be
investigated'.

The FA confirmed its investigation would proceed, but Herbert is furious
that neither the governing body nor Chelsea have taken the matter to
the police.

'We strongly suspect that the FA and/or Chelsea have failed to provide
this information to the Metropolitan Police in order for them to conduct
a proper investigation,' he said.

'The information we had is that there are “no victims”. Well, if there
are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first
place

Dispute: Mikel complains to Clattenburg as his side slump to defeat at Stamford Bridge

Dispute: Mikel complains to Clattenburg as his side slumped to defeat against Manchester United

Marching orders: Referee Mark Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players on Sunday

Marching orders: Clattenburg showed two red cards to Chelsea players in the match, which included a highly controversial decision to show Fernando Torres a second yellow card for diving

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) while Clattenburg struggled to contain both sides

Marching orders: Branislav Ivanovic was sent off (above) as Clattenburg struggled to the control the game

'What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing then Are they having some
cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the
police

'We're going to ask the borough commander for an explanation. Was there
any co-operation Was any evidence given If none was given by the FA or
Chelsea we want to raise that issue with the Minister of Sport.'

Herbert is particularly critical of the FA's decision not to involve the police once Chelsea made their complaint.

'If the Metropolitan Police are not provided with statements what are they supposed to do' he added.

'If a football club has registered a complaint with the FA, we would
expect the FA to refer this matter to the Metropolitan Police.

'The FA does not have the tools to investigate race-hate crime. We think
that until the FA gets its house in order complaints like this should
be investigated by the police.

'It really does beggar belief that the primary football authorities in
the country do not understand the seriousness of hate crime.'

Clattenburg timeline: How football has reacted to the claims of racist abuse

Oct 28: Mark Clattenburg sends off Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, the latter for a disputed dive, as Chelsea go down 3-2 against Manchester United.

Chelsea later confirm they had lodged a formal complaint with the Premier League match delegate regarding 'inappropriate language' made by Clattenburg to two of their players. The complaint is understood to relate to alleged racial comments in incidents involving John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata.

Oct 29: Clattenburg is offered the full support of Prospect, the referees' union.

The Football Association starts an investigation relating to Chelsea's allegations. PFA chief Gordon

Taylor urges the FA to deal with the matter quickly.

The Professional Game Match Officials confirms Clattenburg will not be involved in the next round of matches, stating 'the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself'.

The Society of Black Lawyers sends a letter to the Metropolitan Police calling for a legal investigation. The Met confirm they have received a complaint and will 'consider any allegation that is made'.

Oct 30: The Metropolitan Police launch an investigation into the incidents at Stamford Bridge.

Oct 31: Chelsea lodge a formal complaint with the Football Association regarding 'inappropriate language' directed at Mikel by Clattenburg during Sunday's match.

Nov 2: Sir Alex Ferguson enters the debate, saying: 'I refuse to believe' Clattenburg would make racially abusive comments.

Nov 5: The referees group PGMOL says Clattenburg will not referee at the weekend, but that they had been willing to appoint him to a match if he had wanted.

Nov 8: The Football Association carried out a series of interviews with match officials as they continued their investigations.

Nov 12: Clattenburg was absent from the PGMOL list for a third successive week, although he did return to training.

Nov 13: The police investigation into alleged comments made by Clattenburg was dropped due to a lack of evidence, Scotland Yard said.

Rory McIlroy poised to sign 156m deal to replace Tiger Woods as face of Nike

McIlroy poised to sign 156m deal to replace Woods as face of Nike

|

UPDATED:

08:55 GMT, 24 October 2012

Rory McIlroy has taken over from Tiger Woods as world No 1… and now the 23-year-old Northern Irishman is set to replace the fallen superstar as the face of golf for Nike.

McIlroy is poised to sign a staggering
10-year deal worth 156miilion with the American sportswear giants when
his present contract with golf equipment firm Titleist finishes at the end of December.

Clean cut: World No 1 Rory McIlroy

Clean cut: World No 1 Rory McIlroy

Woods is currently paid 12.5m a year by Nike but his 'family-man' image has been tarnished by revelations of his extra-marital affairs.

McIlroy, 23, who takes on Woods in an exhibition match in China on Monday, was coy over the deal.

'I’ve never been motivated by money,' said McIlroy. 'All the business stuff will work itself out. What I want is more trophies.

Star appeal: Tiger Woods is still a favourite with fans

Star appeal: Tiger Woods is still a favourite with fans

'I leave it to Conor [Ridge, McIlroy’s manager] to sort out as it leaves
me to concentrate on my golf. I have enough to think about trying to
get the ball in the hole. I’ve got a very important end to my season
coming up.'

Dublin-based Ridge, who moved another of his players, Ross Fisher, to
Nike from Titleist earlier this season, refused to confirm the move.

He
said: 'Rory is under contract with Titleist. It is our policy not to
pass comment regarding any industry speculation related to our players.'

According to SportPro Media survey,
McIlroy is now the second most marketable athlete in the world, behind
Brazilian football star Neymar.

Dream couple: McIlroy with his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki

Dream couple: McIlroy with his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki

McIlroy already earns an eight-figure income from his current list of
sponsors, which include the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, Oakley,
watchmaker Audemars Piguet and bank Santander.

For many years Woods has been 'the face' of Nike but clean-cut Rory is being groomed as the fallen superstar’s eventual replacement.

And with Lance Armstrong’s career imploding in disgrace, Nike need to make the right call.

The company have been described by Forbes magazine as the most valuable sports brand in the world, worth 10bn.

Arsenal named Premier League club of the year

'Outstanding' Arsenal named Premier League club of the year

|

UPDATED:

14:22 GMT, 16 October 2012

Arsenal have been named the 'club of the year' for providing the best customer service to fans under a new awards scheme being run by the Premier League and tourism board VisitEngland.

Liverpool, Fulham and Manchester City have also picked up gongs in other categories in the VisitFootball awards.

Top-flight clubs have been monitored for customer service for the past two seasons and a panel of industry experts voted Arsenal the club of the year for their 'simply outstanding service'.

Club of the year: Arsenal have the best customer service, according to VisitEngland

Club of the year: Arsenal have the best customer service, according to VisitEngland

City received the 'Best Fan Innovation' awards for their City Square and Family Stand projects, while Liverpool's stewards won the club the 'warmest welcome' award.

Fulham won the 'unsung hero' award for their supporter liaison officer Tommy Guthrie.

All 20 clubs were judged across eight areas including ticketing, stewarding, catering, toilets and the club shop. The judges stated about Arsenal: 'Their staff at every level from stewards to catering and cleaners to retail were very impressive. They clearly have a culture of high standards at Emirates Stadium and their professionalism shines through.'

Manchester City's City Square and Family Stand, with giant TV screens and post-match player and legend appearances in City Square 'are clearly a hit with the fans' said the judges.

On Liverpool's stewards, the judges said: 'We loved the stewarding at Liverpool because they clearly enjoy their job. There is a great rapport with the people they know but also an engagement for those who it might be their one and only Liverpool game of the season. Without doubt the warmest welcome we found in the Premier League was at Anfield.'

Guthrie was praised for his work at Fulham – including taking foreign supporters clubs to a local pub when they visit – with the judges saying: 'He may see it as his job but the level of detail from Tommy is something that should be singled out and applauded.'

Stadium watch: A panel of experts voted Arsenal the club of the year for their 'simply outstanding service'

Stadium watch: A panel of experts voted Arsenal the club of the year for their 'simply outstanding service'

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the improvements in the service for fans had been reflected by more women and families going to games.

Scudamore said: 'A lot of effort has been put into making Premier League grounds more safe and welcoming over the last 20 years, which is why we have seen traditional fans being joined by more sections of society.

'Nearly a quarter of attending fans are women now, 13 per cent of season ticket holders are children and overall 63 per cent of supporters coming to a match do so with a family member.

'There are increased expectations among this more diverse audience and VisitFootball shows that the Premier League is taking customer care very seriously.'

David Sullivan: We"re paying Andy Carroll"s wages because we are West Ham fans

Sullivan: We're paying Carroll's wages out of our own pockets… We want the best team because we are West Ham fans

|

UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 20 September 2012

The last owner of West Ham who also owned a bank took the football club to the brink of administration.

But when David Sullivan says he owns a bank, and it is a bank in one of the prime locations on the Monopoly board, what actually goes on inside, and beyond in the global banking world, is not his concern. ‘I own the building,’ says Sullivan. ‘It’s the Lloyd’s Bank on Oxford Street actually. I own a shoe shop on Oxford Street too. And a mobile phone shop.’

Once rated the 68th richest man in Britain with assets valued at more than 500million, he has an impressive property portfolio. He owns ‘a huge Sainsbury’s’ that pays him 3million a year in rent as well as a ‘couple of Marks & Spencers’. Just the buildings, you understand, which the retail giants rent from him. There is ‘a big chunk of central Bath around the Roman Baths’ that belongs to Sullivan. Not to mention 100 sex shops.

Property king: David Sullivan relaxes at his opulent home

Property king: David Sullivan relaxes at his opulent home

He made his money in the sex industry, starting out in mail order with a couple of carefully placed advertisements in the colour supplements of the more upmarket Sunday newspapers. ‘I sold a love-making manual called The XYZ of Love,’ he says. ‘Back in the early Seventies it was making me six grand a week, a lot of money in those days.’

It might not have been what his lecturers had in mind when they taught him economics at Queen Mary College in London, but Sullivan clearly has a knack of making money. He breaks from this interview to take a quick phone call at his desk in his sumptuous Essex home, earning 10,000 in 20 seconds during a conversation with his broker. ‘That won’t even pay a football agent but it’s still 10 grand I didn’t have a minute ago,’ he says with a twinkle in his eye.

It would enable him to buy some state-of-the-art home entertainment equipment. As well as Victorian racing trophies and some rather spooky waxwork figures, Sullivan’s home is littered with old TVs and video recorders. ‘I’m not very technical,’ he says. ‘I still can’t send a text message. I bought that telly because it was brilliant for Teletext. I used to love Teletext.’

What the butler saw: A waxwork is part of the furniture at chez Sullivan

What the butler saw: A waxwork is part of the furniture at chez Sullivan

He does seem to laugh an awful lot. He complains of being ‘absolutely knackered after the transfer window’ but he talks about his life, and about his passion for the football club he part-owns with his long-time friend and business partner David Gold, with infectious enthusiasm.

He also seems keen to stress that he is no longer in the sex industry. ‘The internet finished my old business,’ he says. ‘I’m in the property business now. The sex shops don’t make a penny. I keep them going to provide employment to the two or three hundred people who have worked for me. As long as they don’t have to come to me for money to subsidise the business I will keep them open.

‘I will always be seen as being in the sex business because that is where I started. If I had the time I’d update my Wikipedia page.’

Not, he insists, because he is in anyway ashamed or embarrassed about his past. ‘I started there so there’s no point in denying it,’ he says. ‘If I was a cigarette manufacturer or an arms manufacturer or a drug dealer, I might have a doubt about how I’ve spent my life. But, to be honest with you, I like to think I put a smile on people’s faces.

‘I’ve made a lot of people happy. British people don’t like to talk about sex but Fifty Shades of Grey has proved what a huge market the sex market remains.’ Has he read the fastest-selling paperback in history ‘My girlfriend has and she’s told me every detail,’ he says. ‘But I read racing fiction. I collect old racing fiction, along with Victorian racing trophies. I’ve read all the books on those shelves and all those over there I’ve yet to read. I’m into fantasy, not reality.’

Football, he says, is an interest that transcends both; a mixture of fantasy and reality. ‘You face a daily reality,’ he says.

Sitting there in a Dolce & Gabbana ‘Muhammad Ali’ tracksuit, Sullivan takes a deep breath. Since joining forces with Gold in 2010 to take control of the club they have both supported since childhood, it has not been easy. When West Ham were relegated in May 2011, he likened it to Armageddon. ‘It was Armageddon because David and I had to put 35million quid in,’ he says, laughing again.

Passionate: Sullivan admits he could not shirk from saving West Ham

Passionate: Sullivan admits he could not shirk from saving West Ham

‘Because of the mess we inherited we have to service a 100m debt. There are commitments that have to be paid and we have to pay interest on the debt. But we also had to put the money in to put together a team that would get us promoted.

‘Armageddon might be an overstatement but it was very unpleasant to have to put that kind of money in just to get back to where we were. It particularly hurts because David and I didn’t earn 35 million quid last year. We certainly didn’t earn that much after tax. So we are spending capital. Spending our life savings. There is no point kidding ourselves.’

More from Matt Lawton…

Steven Gerrard exclusive: United wanted me, Real Madrid too, but I'm Liverpool for life
31/08/12

Matt Lawton Interview: Martinez – the man who shook up the season
20/04/12

The Matt Lawton interview: Peter Crouch, BFG – The Big Friendly Goalscorer with a serious Euro 2012 ambition
30/03/12

Matt Lawton interview: 'I'm a fighter and I always knew I'd be back doing the job I love', says Fraizer Campbell
16/03/12

MATT LAWTON INTERVIEW: Long live the King!
02/03/12

Unable to walk down the street for fear of attack from his own fans, Steve Kean is… under siege
13/01/12

Tony Pulis: I am a working class lad who's made the best of his chances
23/12/11

Saturday Interview: Petr Cech exclusive: Behind the mask of a man who's still No 1
16/12/11

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Had it not been West Ham, Sullivan says
he and Gold would have avoided such a financial risk. The debts were
enormous. There were millions owed to Sheffield United in the wake of
the Carlos Tevez affair; all this when the assets amounted to so little
and there was no guarantee of securing the Olympic Stadium.

‘As a business venture it made no sense at all,’ he says. ‘Not the deal we did. The club was 120m in debt with very few assets. It was a mess. I knew, when the Icelandics were signing the players they were for the money they were paying, it made no financial sense. I sold them Matthew Upson from Birmingham. He came to me and said, “They’ve offered me four times the wages, please let me go”. I knew then that it wasn’t right.

‘But David and I are not in it for the money. We don’t want to go bust either. The aim is to make the club self-sufficient. But we want to put the best possible team on the pitch for the supporters of West Ham because we are supporters too.’

He agrees that people buy football clubs for different reasons. ‘Some of them make money,’ he says. ‘Blackpool made 30m last year. Swansea are making 15m a year, and they are doing a marvellous job because they have a fantastic team. If we ever get to a position where we are making money it will be ploughed back into the team. But we have to keep it alive in the meantime.

‘We are the guardians and custodians of the club for the supporters. We are just trustees really. And we are good custodians. In our 18 years at Birmingham the club was solvent the whole time. But we still owe money on Tevez. Because it’s a confidential agreement I can’t go into the figures but there is still a substantial amount to pay off. In fact we’ve just started litigation against the old solicitors because we think the club was wrongly advised. We are commencing High Court proceedings against them.

At ease: Sullivan relaxes outside his Essex mansion

At ease: Sullivan outside his Essex mansion

‘We also inherited players on enormous wages who weren’t worth the money.

Buys: West Ham

‘Just
before we arrived, the previous owners took an advance on the next two
years’ season-ticket money. So we got no season-ticket money in the
first two years. They’d taken part of the shirt sponsorship money quite a
few years up front, so all the normal sources of income weren’t there.
The cupboard was bare.

‘Every player was being paid on the drip. Sheffield United were being paid on the drip. Every possible loan had been taken out. The assets were the players being paid on fat contracts and a stadium — because of where it is — that is probably worth less than my supermarket.

Acquisition: Andy Carroll's wages are being paid by Sullivan and Gold

Acquisition: Andy Carroll's wages are being paid by Sullivan and Gold

‘Now we obviously want to move to the Olympic Stadium. For three years we’ve been trying to secure it. We believe we have the best bid. We will make football affordable to all because we will have the seats to do deals, and we will make the whole stadium economically viable. We will embrace the athletics legacy and make it a brilliant, multi-purpose facility.’

So who is paying for players like Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan ‘We are financing everything out of our own money,’ says Sullivan. ‘Had we not put money in this year we could not have bought a player. Because there is not sufficient money to pay the debt. I cannot give confidential details of contracts but for the period of time Andy will be with us it’s as expensive a player as we have ever signed.

‘But our manager thought he was the most important player we could sign this summer and that is why we pursued him. Unfortunately he got this hamstring injury. But that’s just bad luck.

‘Against Fulham he made an enormous impact. He was the most important player on the pitch. He lifted the whole team.

‘Kevin Nolan was a very bold and pleasing signing. We signed the captain of Newcastle when he had just scored 12 goals in the Premier League and convinced him to come to the Championship. It was expensive but he’s the most fantastic captain, the most wonderful influence in the dressing room. And he’s scored two goals in three games.

‘We wanted to make a statement to our supporters, that we weren’t going to run the club like an administrator. That’s why we’ve continued to bring in more top players like Diame, Diarra and Jarvis. Others, too.’

Legacy: Sullivan and co-owner David Gold (left) stand in front of the Olympic Stadium

Legacy: Sullivan and co-owner David Gold (left) stand in front of the Olympic Stadium

You do wonder why, having sold Birmingham City, he and Gold did not just buy themselves a box at Upton Park. ‘It’s not the same though,’ he says. ‘You want to influence things. You want to make things happen. I think the club might have gone bust had we not stepped in. It is our intention, over the next couple of years, to pay off the debt and then be owed the money by the club. But we will be friendly bankers. The club won’t have to pay any interest if they don’t want to. If and when the club have some money they might pay a bit off.

‘It means my kids will inherit less money because of West Ham and it will be the same for David Gold’s kids. But we’ve got very supportive families who also love the club. We’re all committed.

‘Now, if the king of Saudi Arabia wants
to buy West Ham we would happily step aside for the good of the club.
But we wouldn’t step aside for a mystery foreign buyer whose financial
resources we have no knowledge of.’

He has mixed feelings about certain foreign owners, his views influenced by the erosion of what he considers a boardroom tradition at matches. ‘There are good examples of foreign ownership,’ he says. ‘Man City and Chelsea are terrific. But if things go bad for a foreign owner it’s easy to walk away.

‘Roman Abramovich and Sheik Mansour are in it for the fun. It’s a hobby. Randy Lerner is here to make money. The Americans at Man United and Liverpool are here to make money. The Sunderland guy has a strategy to make money. But when it comes to the boardroom you rarely meet them. It’s sad. In the old days it was lovely. There would be banter but you’d also exchange ideas, share thoughts. But the new brigade, you don’t see.

‘It actually started with Sir John Hall at Newcastle. He’d pop his head around the door, say hello and then disappear. I thought it was rude. The worst is Aston Villa, because they put the visiting directors in a room with the corporate home fans. We got loads of abuse because we were the former owners of Birmingham. We were treated appallingly. I nearly did it to them in retaliation but I wasn’t prepared to stoop to their level.

‘At West Ham we’ve got the best boardroom in the Premier League. We give the visiting directors the best table, right in the middle. It’s the friendliest. It’s lovely.’

He also likes to think it is now in safe hands.

Manny Pacquiao and 50 Cent plot "big business moves" with Floyd Mayweather not involved

Pacquiao 1 Mayweather 0: Rapper 50 Cent switches sides between rival fighters

|

UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 18 September 2012


Partners 50 Cent posted this picture with Manny Pacquiao on Twitter

Partners 50 Cent posted this picture with Manny Pacquiao on Twitter

American rapper 50 Cent has posted a picture of himself with boxer Manny Pacquiao along with the words 'Big business moves' which could impact on his relationship with the Filipino's rival Floyd Mayweather.

Rumours about a rift between Mayweather and 50 Cent have been rife ever since Mayweather was released from prison.

Pacquiao's adivsor, Michael Konz told Boxing Scene: '50 Cent and I have been talking now for maybe the last two months. They approached us with the idea to form a promotional company.

'Initially it was going to be 50 Cent, Manny and Floyd. But right now I don't think Floyd is going to be a part of it. I explained the idea to Manny.

'We already have a promotional company, MP Promotions, and we have already done three separate promotions from Top Rank…on a small scale. I have to take the blame for that.

'I'm in charge of it. There is an element missing there, but I have so much to do with Manny – that I haven't got that company to where I want it.

'I think with 50 Cent, with his entertainment connections and his popularity there, combining that with Manny's popularity and expertise in boxing – we can bring a new flavor to boxing – we can excite some young boxers and I think we can sign some top quality boxers.

'I spoke to 50 Cent tonight and confirmed that we're going to go forward.

'Manny is coming here this weekend for other business, but we're all excited about it. With 50's influence in the music industry – we want to put a different flavor on the shows.'

50 Cent told Power 105.1 there is no problem between himself and Mayweather and does not think working with Pacquiao will cause trouble.

Sports links: American Olympic swimmer Conor Dwyer with 50 Cent

Sports links: American Olympic swimmer Conor Dwyer with 50 Cent

'I think he'll (Mayweather) go “I wish him luck”… It's not like I'm not in communication with him. I texted him and told him everything.'

Mayweather had set up a promotional company with 50 Cent, known as TMT (The Money Team).

The company was said in some quarters to have the possibility to change the boxing scene but it's website has now been taken down and the venture looks finished.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, is set to face Juan Marquez in December and wants to put an end to any doubts regarding his superiority over his opponent.

Three bouts in eight years have not resolved the rivalry so they meet again on December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Big plans: Pacquiao wants to KO Juan Marquez (right)

Big plans: Pacquiao wants to KO Juan Marquez (right)

'I want to erase the doubt of the last
three fights,' Pacquiao said. 'There's so many people still asking if I
won the fights. I think to myself, “Something is wrong. I have to do it
again.”

'This time, I will train hard to put this fight up in the history of boxing. I want to make this fight short. I want to knock him out.'

Although they are extending a rivalry to rare lengths in modern boxing, the fighters and promoters believe fans will warm to the matchup when they remember just how good the first three fights were.

Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a draw in 2004, while Pacquiao won by split decision in 2008 and again by majority decision last year. The bouts featured knockdowns, wild momentum swings and fascinating contrasts in technique – but Marquez and many fans still believe he won all three fights, while Pacquiao says he clearly won the last two.

'It's been an incredible ride,' Top Rank promoter Todd duBoef said. 'People ask me whether it's going to be hard to sell a fourth fight. Did you see the first 36 rounds There wasn't a dull moment.'

Laughing mattter: Pacquiao with his trainer Freddie Roach

Laughing mattter: Pacquiao with his trainer Freddie Roach

With a combination of unfinished business and unmatched financial reward, Pacquiao and Marquez both had plenty of incentive to get together again. They have fought at 125, 130 and 144 pounds, and their fourth fight will be a straight welterweight contest at 147.

Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) is coming off his first loss since 2005, a wildly disputed decision to Timothy Bradley. Still stinging from that embarrassment, he says he is going back to the ferocious, relentless style of fighting that made him an eight-division champion. Pacquiao hasn't stopped an opponent in more than three years, a once-unthinkable drought for a relentless puncher.

'I want to be the other Manny Pacquiao, like when I was 24, 25 years old,' Pacquiao said. 'I want people who watch this fight to be satisfied. I don't care about a belt. I don't care about the money. I want the win.'

Arguments: Debate still rages over who won certain fights

Arguments: Debate still rages over who won certain fights

Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) has tested Pacquiao more than any opponent, with counterpunching skills and comprehensive boxing knowledge that can negate many of Pacquiao's strengths. But Pacquiao also is a nightmare matchup for Marquez, whose relentlessness hasn't been enough to overcome Pacquiao's once-in-a-generation combination of speed and strength.

While Pacquiao has a plan to recapture his best form, Marquez believes the only way to be sure he'll finally get his hand raised is to stop the Filipino congressman. Marquez swore off the rivalry and nearly retired in frustration immediately after Pacquiao's victory last fall, but agreed to return after a few months to cool down.

'I won all of the last three fights,' Marquez said. 'I would like the referee to raise my hand. Everybody knows I won the fights, and I don't know what happened with the judges. I have to take it out of the judges' hands this time.'

Settle the debate: In December we may get a resolution at last

Settle the debate: In December we may get a resolution at last

Pacquiao will not train in Baguio, the high-altitude northern Philippines city where he has traditionally started training camp before heading to trainer Freddie Roach's gym for the final few weeks.

Instead, Pacquiao and Roach will be in Hollywood for their entire training camp, dramatically reducing the number of distractions for the Philippines' most famous person.

Pacquiao and Marquez will join the short list of rivalries that couldn't be contained by a mere trilogy, including Sugar Ray Robinson's six fights with Jake LaMotta and Robinson's four bouts with Gene Fullmer. More recently, Israel Vazquez's sensational rivalry with Rafael Marquez, Juan Manuel's brother, extended to four fights, concluding with Marquez's third-round stoppage of Vazquez in May 2010.

'I never thought it would go to four fights,' Pacquiao said. 'It's a first for me.'

Manchester United"s new kit "looks like a tea towel", say horrified fans

Manchester United's new kit 'looks like a tea towel', say horrified fans

|

UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 9 May 2012

Manchester United fans have reacted with horror to the club’s new ‘Gingham’ kit to be worn by Sir Alex Ferguson’s team from next season.

The chequered pattern on United’s famous red shirts is meant to be a nod to Manchester’s cotton industry at the time the club was formed in 1878.

The kit, designed by Nike, carries the slogan: Forged in Industry, Made of Manchester.

Torn off a strip: Manchester United's new gingham gear

Torn off a strip: Manchester United's new gingham gear

But fans leaving messages on United’s official Facebook page have compared it to a tablecloth or a tea towel. One wrote that it looks like ‘something Rupert the Bear would wear’.

A club spokesman said: ‘It’s historical, unusual and a bit different. Gingham was invented in Manchester going back to when it was known for its cotton mills.’

Sky could lose Premier League rights, admits Scudamore

Loyalty counts for nothing! Sky could lose Premier League rights, admits chief executive Scudamore

|

UPDATED:

07:35 GMT, 21 March 2012

Premier League Richard Scudamore has
admitted Sky's 20 years of coverage of England's top flight will count
for nothing if they are outbid by Al Jazeera for the next three years of
television rights.

Industry experts have speculated that
Al Jazeera's financial clout, which has already seen the Middle
East-based broadcaster wrest the French league rights from Canal Plus,
could provide a serious threat to Sky.

High price: Premier League could sell rights across Europe

High price: Sky face competition from Al Jazeera for Premier League rights

Sky have held the majority of the domestic packages during all 20 years of the Premier League's existence but Scudamore said they were bound to abide by competition regulations – and that means selling to the highest bidder if all criteria are fulfilled.

Scudamore said: 'Loyalty counts in many senses. But, remember, our current arrangements – and I see no reason why our future arrangements won't have to be – are regulated, and are regulated heavily.

'Our packages are put out into the open market and we have to have an open tender for those packages.

'We have to sell to the highest compliant bidder.

'Whilst, of course, we have a huge regard and respect and Sky's made a fantastic impact on our business, ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing, working, commercial relationship, that gets severed once that tender gets issued.

High stakes: Losing Premier League rights would be a huge blow to Rupert Murdoch's Sky network

High stakes: Losing Premier League rights would be a huge blow to Rupert Murdoch's Sky network

'There's nothing they can do other than be the best bidder to win those rights.'

Scudamore also disclosed the Premier League are actively considering selling their next set of TV rights across the whole of Europe rather than just Britain.

PL officials are deciding whether selling the rights on a pan-European basis would provide more income and protection.

The deliberations are taking place against the background of a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the case of Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy last year, which stated that the Premier League could not give “broadcasters territorial exclusivity on a member state basis”.