Tag Archives: jeers

Southampton 2 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benitez stays calm and insists there is a long way to go in race for Champions League qualification

There's a long way to go: Chelsea boss Benitez stays calm despite top-four setback

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 30 March 2013

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez maintains the race for a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League will run until the end of the season despite seeing his much-changed side slip to a 2-1 defeat at Southampton.

First-half goals from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert handed Mauricio Pochettino another prized scalp, with Chelsea briefly drawing level courtesy of a John Terry header.

The Blues have now lost three successive away games in the league and dropped below Tottenham into fourth place, with fellow London rivals Arsenal just two points adrift in fifth.

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Despite the result Benitez, who was again the victim of jeers and negative chanting from the travelling Chelsea support, reckons no-one will be certain of a Champions League position until the very end of the campaign.

'It is the same situation, if we had three points more it would be easier,' he said. 'We still have one game in hand and we have to carry on and concentrate and move on and start thinking about Monday (FA Cup quarter-final replay v Manchester United).

'In the league you still have a lot of games and I think it (the battle for a top-four finish) will run for the rest of the season.'

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

This was Chelsea's first game in a run of six matches in a 16-day period and Benitez made no fewer than seven changes from the team that won against West Ham before the international break.

The former Liverpool boss said the fixture pile-up is something the Football Association needs to 'look at' in the future but did not regret rotating his players.

'We had to manage the squad,' he said. 'We didn't have many options in some positions so we had the players we had to use. You have to approach every game like it is the most important and we thought with these players we would be fine.

'I think that you could see that in the first half we didn't have the intensity we were expecting.

'We improved in the second half, made more chances, but still we didn't make the right decisions in the final third but at least we were there and made the chances.'

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Pochettino, who has now won three, drawn three and lost three games since replacing Nigel Adkins as Saints manager in January was quick to defend his Chelsea counterpart following the game.

'I have a lot of sympathy (for Benitez's position),' he said.

'I fully recognise the job that he has done. For me he is one of the best managers in the world and he has my full respect for what he has achieved in football.'

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

The win against Chelsea follows earlier home successes against Manchester City and Liverpool and Pochettino believes beating some of the league's biggest names can only boost the morale around the club.

'Victories like those of today prove that we are on the right path,' he said.

'It is very important for the confidence of my players and especially the people surrounding our club – the technical staff.

'It is important that we believe we can achieve results as we saw today and we can continue achieving them in the future.'

Paul Lambert stays grounded after Norwich beat Aston Villa

Villa boss Lambert stays grounded after thrashing former club Norwich to progress

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 11 December 2012

Paul Lambert remained humble in victory after Aston Villa booked their place in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup with a 4-1 win at old club Norwich.

Lambert received a mixed welcome as he walked out at Carrow Road, with a few jeers heard among general applause for the man who masterminded the Norfolk club's meteoric rise up to the top flight from the depths of npower League One.

However, the former Canaries boss, who is in dispute with his old employers after an acrimonious departure during the summer, enjoyed the last laugh as substitute Andreas Weimann hit a second-half brace to turn the tie around after Brent Holman had cancelled out Steve Morison's opener.

Gracious: Paul Lambert watched his new club cruise past Norwich in the Capital One Cup quarter final

Gracious: Paul Lambert watched his new club cruise past Norwich in the Capital One Cup quarter final

Christian Benteke cracked in a fourth during stoppage time to move Villa within 180 minutes of Wembley.

'I thought we were excellent for the whole game,' Lambert said.

'We have been playing like that since the Sunderland game, but I am delighted, I really am.'

Lambert, who is been represented by the League Managers' Association in his arbitration hearing with Norwich, which is set for early next year, maintained he will always look back on his time at Carrow Road with pride.

'I had three great years here. We gave anyone a really good run for their money. I love the club. I've got nothing but praise for the football club,' he said.

'You like to think they [fans] appreciate what you have done and I appreciate the support they gave us.

'It is great club with great fans, but this is Chris' (Hughton) team now, he has done fantastically well with the position he has got them into and we will try and catch them.'

Villa's travelling support were in full voice on what was a bitterly cold night in East Anglia.

Just like that: Christian Benteke scored yet another goal

Just like that: Christian Benteke scored yet another goal

In it goes: Andreas Weimann scored twice for Aston Villa

In it goes: Andreas Weimann scored twice for Aston Villa

Lambert hopes to give them more to cheer about over the coming months as he aims to reconstruct the Midlands club.

'I have never been to Wembley, although I have been to watch a game,' he said.

'But it's not anything I have thought about – we have still got a couple of games to go.

'However, it gives the club something to look forward. The fans deserve a pick up as well.

'Whatever happens [for the semi-finals], Villa Park will be jam-packed.

'I will be more pleased with the pleasure the players get from it because I don't play the game any more.'

Lambert had handed Darren Bent a rare start, only for the England striker, who saw an early one-on-one saved, to limp off just after the hour with a hamstring problem.

Lambert said: 'I thought he looked pretty sharp. It was a blow for us, I don't know how serious it is.'

At home: Grant Holt (right) was unable to prevent his former manager getting a win at Carrow Road

At home: Grant Holt (right) was unable to prevent his former manager getting a win at Carrow Road

Norwich had been defending an unbeaten 10-game run heading into tonight's game, and certainly had their chances to put the tie beyond Villa at the start of the second half, when Morison missed twice in quick succession and Villa keeper Shay Given produced a brilliant reaction save to deny Grant Holt.

Canaries boss Hughton, who turned 54 today, said: 'We needed to make sure we held onto our 1-0 lead longer, and then at the start of the second half, we had a great chance and if that goes in then possibly it is a different story.

'Villa are a good footballing side and they were more clinical than us.

'It is really disappointing because we had been on a good run.

'We have to take it on the chin and now need to make sure we can get back on track for Saturday against Wigan.'

Chris Robshaw gains redemption

Robshaw's redemption as England's skipper hits back and becomes Captain Fantastic

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UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 1 December 2012

Chris Robshaw ended the most demanding week of his rugby career by becoming only the sixth England captain to lead his country to a win over New Zealand.

And if he woke up last Sunday in turmoil, he will wake up today with a mixture of disbelief and sheer, unadulterated joy.

The prize guys: Chris Ashton shows just what scoring against New Zealand meant

The prize guys: Chris Ashton shows
just what scoring against New Zealand meant

England's 38-21 win over the world champions was as emphatic as the scoreline suggests and while Robshaw left the Twickenham field just seven days ago with the sound of jeers ringing in his battered ears, he marched off the same pitch last night to a cacophony of cheers.

Silverware: Chris Robshaw leads the celebrations as he lifts the Hillary Shield - the first England skipper to do so

Silverware: Chris Robshaw leads the celebrations as he lifts the Hillary Shield – the first England skipper to do so

How the heroes rated

Alex Goode 8

Another composed display. Rock solid under the high ball and made several telling breaks.

Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton 6

After poor first half, broke try drought with barnstorming score – though he risked Stuart Lancaster's fury with showboating celebration.

Manu Tuilagi 9

Went head-to-head with Ma'a Nonu and came out on top. Defensively superb. Destructive in attack. World-class.

Brad Barritt 7

Sharp second-half break led to him scoring England's first try. Typically strong to subdue New Zealand's vaunted midfield.

Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Mike Brown 8

Superb performance full of jinking running and powerful kicking. Perhaps lacks a yard of pace cleverly ran his lines.

Owen Farrell 9

Came into the game under pressure but Toby Flood's replacement again showed his temperament is first class.

Ben Youngs 7

Influential. Came into the game more and more as it went on and made several telling breaks. Bossed his forwards brilliantly.

Alex Corbisiero 8

A superb scrummaging performance. string of powerful drives that dented the hugely consistent All Blacks defence.

Tom Youngs 7

Young Leicester hooker held his nerve despite pressure. A few creaking throw-ins but not a bad day's shift.

Tom Youngs and Dan Cole

Tom Youngs and Dan Cole

Dan Cole 8

Pack stalwart rarely has an off day. Unusually conspicuous at the break down without forgetting to do the basics.

Joe Launchbury 9

Another superb display that belied his lack of big-match experience. The young Wasp showed he surely has a magnificent international career ahead of him, often putting his body on the line.

Geoff Parling 7

Understated but hugely effective. Was tireless in the loose to ensure quick ball at the breakdown.

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

Tom Wood 9

Has returned from injury and shown what England were missing. Yesterday his breakdown work was almost as good as his tackling.

Chris Robshaw 8

The England captain came into the game under intense pressure following last week's chaotic finish. Showed enormous character.

Ben Morgan 7

Not quite as prominent in the loose as he would have liked but still put in a decent shift. Has a long future ahead of him and surely has the edge over Thomas Waldrom.

It has been, even by sport's absurd standards, a dramatic road to redemption from Springbok misery to All Black joy.

His much-debated decision to ask Owen Farrell to kick a penalty when four points down with two minutes remaining last week against South Africa was roundly condemned, as was Farrell's very public and timecostly argument with his captain.

It was not the sole reason for England's one-point defeat, but it was an unfortunate end to an unfortunate result.

His week hardly improved when Warren Gatland suggested that Robshaw was not first in his thoughts for next summer's Lions tour to Australia.

After Saturday, Robshaw may not just be playing in the back row for head coach Gatland, he could be his captain.

The relief was etched on Robshaw's face – and there was anger over the treatment England received after the South Africa defeat.

'My confidence was high,' he insisted. 'My phone has been ringing all week with support. It was a case of going out there and playing as well as I could.

'I think we delivered the critics the best possible response. The crowd were fantastic and to score the number of tries we did was brilliant. That game rates as the best I've ever played in. Everyone who pulled on the England shirt today wanted to prove a few people wrong and we did just that.

'We went into the game with a bit of anger. They hadn't given us a chance all week, had they Some people were wondering how much New Zealand would beat us by. Andy Farrell had said New Zealand were beatable during the week.

'We came out to prove him right. Everyone was outstanding today.'

Indeed they were and such was the significance of England's record win that even New Zealand were insisting England could go on and win the 2015 World Cup, regardless of their fifth seeding for Monday's group draw.

'There were two sides out there today who can definitely win the World Cup,' stated All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

'We have no excuses. We were beaten by the better team. This is a very good England side.'

Richie McCaw sat beside him and nodded his head.

'There's no doubt about the talent in the England team,' said New Zealand's captain.

'With experience they'll get better and better. I was very impressed with them. Can they go on and win the World Cup They'll be a big threat.'

The England management had been promising this kind of performance all autumn.

After a woeful defeat against Australia and then a loss against a South Africa team they should have beaten, the least likely team to finally come good against was New Zealand.

But England came good in a way few, if any, could have predicted, except of course Stuart Lancaster and his coaches.

'I'm very proud,' said the England head coach.

'To get a scoreline like that is testament to the coaches and the players. The win is reward for the effort we've put in and it shows the rugby public that this journey is the right one. A lot of our guys are 23 years of age and under.

'They should be playing for England for many, many years. There will come the day when this England team will be sporting 800 caps between them.'

Robshaw would be forgiven for basking in personal acclaim, but the England captain was instead reminding his players in a team huddle after the final whistle that they had to reproduce this level of performance in the 2013 Six Nations.

If England do that, then Lancaster's men, led by the comeback captain, will take some stopping.

Arsenal fans protests – Arsene Wenger shrugs them off after defeat to Swansea

Protesting Arsenal fans turn heat up on Wenger and Gazidis
as shock Swansea defeat leaves club facing crisis

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UPDATED:

19:34 GMT, 1 December 2012

Arsene Wenger stonewalled questions about the future direction of Arsenal after being jeered throughout a miserable 2-0 home defeat to Swansea.

Hundreds of disgruntled supporters protested against the club's owners in the streets outside the Emirates before kick-off, waving placards and banners condemning the club's bosses.

And the mutinous mood continued inside the stadium, as the Welsh side snatched a deserved victory courtesy of Michu's two late goals.

Protest movement: Hundreds of Arsenal fans marched to the Emirates before the match with Swansea City in protest at the club's ownership and high ticket prices

Protest movement: Hundreds of Arsenal fans marched to the Emirates before the match with Swansea City in protest at the club's ownership and high ticket prices

Mutiny: Fans have started the Black Scarf Movement to make their feelings known over the way the club is being run

Mutiny: Fans have started the Black Scarf Movement to make their feelings known over the way the club is being run

Difficult afternoon: Arsene Wenger was jeered throughout Arsenal's 2-0 defeat but shrugged off the protests

Difficult afternoon: Arsene Wenger was jeered throughout Arsenal's 2-0 defeat but shrugged off the protests

Both the half-time and full-time whistles were greeted with a chorus of boos and jeers, with Wenger targeted by angry fans during the second period.

But the Frenchman shrugged off questions about his future after the game, saying: 'I don't want to get involved in that.'

The Black Scarf Movement (BSM), a supporters' protest group, gathered outside the stadium before the match to stage a vocal protest march to the ground.

Fans held aloft banners reading: 'Ivan Gazidis – What the f*** do you do' and 'Let's kick greed out of football.'

The Movement are protesting against escalating ticket prices, the composition of the club's board – including the role of chief executive Gazidis – and a lack of silverware for seven years.

March: Arsenal fans make their way towards the Emirates behind a banner saying 'Let's kick greed out of football'

March: Arsenal fans make their way towards the Emirates behind a banner saying 'Let's kick greed out of football'

New motto: These fans held placards suggesting profit had taken precedence over points at Arsenal

New motto: These fans held placards suggesting profit had taken precedence over points at Arsenal

Arsenal fans have to pay some of the highest prices in the league to watch their side, who slipped to tenth in the Premier League table after today's result.

BSM spokesman Kelvin Meadows explained the reasons for the protests: 'Most Arsenal fans realise that there's something wrong at the club. What divides opinion is who is responsible.

'We are doing this walk to highlight a few concerns, but when we reach the end at the stadium we will get all our flags out to show we are 100 per cent behind the team.

'But we want to know a few things with regard to what's going on at the club.

'If there is money for the manager to spend why isn't he spending it or why isn't anyone telling him to spend it

Vocal: The protest march ended outside the Emirates stadium, though there were jeers inside after the final whistle

Vocal: The protest march ended outside the Emirates stadium, though there were jeers inside after the final whistle

Not flagging: Supporters make their feelings known to the board

Not flagging: Supporters make their feelings known to the board

'If there's not money to spend then where on earth has out money gone

'We've got some of the most expensive ticket prices, yet where is the expenditure on the players

'My personal point of view is that I think Wenger is partly responsible. But I think to a degree he has been left working with his hands tied behind his back.

'But the one thing we are trying to make clear is that it's not about Wenger, but the way the club is run. That's what we have to stay focused on.'

Today's protest comes five weeks after a stormy club AGM in which owner Stan Kroenke was forced to leap to the defence of his regime after fans criticised his vision for the club.

Swansea were good value for their victory, which was secured through goals from Michu in the 87th and 90th minutes.

Double blast: Swansea's Michu netted twice to settle this match 2-0 in their favour after Arsenal again failed to perform

Double blast: Swansea's Michu netted twice to settle this match 2-0 in their favour after Arsenal again failed to perform

After watching his side slip to 10th in the Barclays Premier League, Wenger said: 'We are in this job to turn things around, and I am confident we will [because of] the quality of the players and the spirit we have in the team. It is a good moment to stick together.

'I am not so much worried about [league] places, even if that is not the place you want to be, but I believe what is important is we get the quality of our game back. Then the places change.'

Wenger turned 63 last month, but insisted there were no thoughts of calling time on his Arsenal career as he looks to guide the club back to winning ways.

'You make your assessment at the end of the season, as I said many times,' the Arsenal boss stressed.

Oh dear: Santi Cazorla (left) and Mikel Arteta look defeated after the defeat left them in 10th in the Premier League

Oh dear: Santi Cazorla (left) and Mikel Arteta look defeated after the defeat left them in 10th in the Premier League

'I know that at the moment, you get some good news from everywhere because there is a lot of unrest everywhere.

'I believe it is a good opportunity to stick together and show we are a strong club.'

Wenger maintained he can empathise with the frustrations of supporters, but refused to be drawn on the pre-match protests.

'It is more down to shareholders and that is not my job,' he said.

'It's difficult to answer that straight away after a game like that, but I believe the support from the board is there to spend the money if we find the players.'

Despite the disappointment of the defeat, Wenger acknowledged Swansea had produced the required performance to get a positive result.

He said: 'The quality of our game was not there. It was a bit frustrating because we lacked a bit of decisiveness and creativity.

Not good enough: Arsene Wennger saw his side slump to a home defeat

Not good enough: Arsene Wennger saw his side slump to a home defeat

'Swansea were more creative, more sharp. It is very frustrating, but it is the truth.'

Swans boss Michael Laudrup praised the efforts of his team as their positive run continued, following on from the midweek win over West Brom.

'There have been three great performances, each better than the (previous) one. The team is playing with a lot of confidence,” Laudrup said.

'They put us under pressure for 20 minutes in the second half and you know their players can make the difference at any moment, so you can never sit easy.

'We looked in quite good shape and were only defending deep a few times.'

Despite guiding his team to a first win at Arsenal since February 1982, Laudrup insists the performance today must be kept in context.

The Dane said: 'For me, it is not more special than winning at QPR, or at Newcastle, it is an away game.

'Winning at the big clubs is more for people on the outside.

'For me, every away game is so difficult and now we have already won three away, plus in the cup against Liverpool, that is great for a club like us.'

James McClean sent death threats after refusing to wear poppy

McClean sent death threats after refusing to wear poppy, claims Sunderland boss O'Neill

PUBLISHED:

19:47 GMT, 18 November 2012

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UPDATED:

19:47 GMT, 18 November 2012

Martin O'Neill has confirmed Sunderland winger James McClean has been the target of death threats.

The 23-year-old came in for criticism after opting not to sport a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at Everton last weekend.

McClean was introduced by O'Neill as a second-half substitute in Sunday's 3-1 win at Fulham and received a mixed response from the travelling Sunderland supporters.

Threat: McClean refused to wear a poppy in Sunderland's game against Everton

Threat: McClean refused to wear a poppy in Sunderland's game against Everton

Following the victory O'Neill backed McClean to cope with a few jeers and revealed the Republic of Ireland international has also received death threats.

'James will deal with it (the booing). I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world,' he said.

Substitute: McClean came off the bench in Sunderland's win over Fulham

Substitute: McClean came off the bench in Sunderland's win over Fulham

'James has lived with a lot of things – he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help.'

It is understood that police are investigating the threats which were directed towards McClean on Twitter, although the player no longer uses the social networking site.

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England

Twickenham man feeling off-colour as panto season comes early for England

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 17 November 2012

The last Australian drive yielded possession, the ball was lashed high into the West Stand, and the yellow shirts fell upon each other in boisterous celebration. A few yards away, heads were dropping, shoulders slumping and chins sinking into shirts of 'regal purple'. And as this tableau took shape, the sound of jeers came cutting through the November mist.

Twickenham Man was not happy. Defeat was one thing; defeat was no stranger, he could cope with that. But losing to Australia, particularly to an Australian side who had been beaten out of sight in Paris last weekend; that was hard to take. And losing haplessly and carelessly; that was even harder. Above all, losing in those colours.

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

No mistake: Nick Cummins evades the attentions of Toby Flood to score Australia's opening try

'Regal purple' is a fashion disaster. Coupled with gold lettering on front and back, it reduced fierce and massive forwards to the stature of pantomime dames. Twickenham Man hated it.

We shall not reproduce the various overheard descriptions, since they offend against taste and decency. Suffice to say they were emphatically expressed. 'D'you know, I wouldn't want our men to win in that bloody gear,' fumed an outraged patron. It was not true, of course, but several heads nodded their agreement. Somehow, this absurd piece of product placement added substantially to the air of discontent. England had been poor, their decision-making awry, their thinking sluggish, their handling erratic, their finishing inadequate.

This was the autumn international they seemed most likely to win, certainly their supporters had carried an air of blissful confidence as they swarmed down Rugby Road. England had done little to modify those expectations. Chris Ashton had given a number of chirpily optimistic interviews, expressing the solid hope that his barren run was about to end. In the event, he pushed his number of try-less matches into double figures.

The assistant coach, Graham Rowntree, was even more confident: 'These (Southern Hemisphere) teams could come over to Europe and lose every other game, but if they beat England at Twickenham they will think it's been a successful trip for them,' he declared.

Toby Flood

Toby Flood

We must doubt that, say, New Zealand would fly home in glory if their only touring success had been gained in south-west London. No, it was the kind of nonsense which can communicate itself to players, especially players who are ill-equipped to indulge in such delusions. For the truth was that England needed no distractions to their attempts to deal with a spirited Australian side.

Of all the teams in world sport, Australia are possibly the last to be under-rated. Missing several important players and coming into the game in depressing form, they possess an inborn cussedness, a determination to be better than the sum of their parts.

That spirit remained unshaken through a first half in which they were unfortunate to fall behind to a dubious late try by Manu Tuilagi. For they knew that they had performed with authority, that their options had been sounder, their execution more intelligent. Their competitive instincts told them that the tide would turn towards them. It was merely a mattter of time. At such moments, you can almost hear Twickenham worrying. Sweet Chariot is sung with a nervous edge, like a prayer offered up in a doubtful cause. Drink is taken thoughtfully, ruminatively, as if the worst is imminently expected.

They were pleased to cheer the parade of Olympians at half-time. Now that was a genuine success. Marvellous summer; all those medals. And Australia were rubbish. If memory serves. Not so yesterday.

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

Triumphant: Australia's Nathan Sharpe lifts the Cook Cup

The penalties which Berrick Barnes struck early in the half gave his team first equality, then the lead. And they seemed to point to an unmistakeable conclusion. For a kind of panic had crept into the English game. The extravagant manner in which they declined kickable penalties had the air of bluster. Later, the coach Stuart Lancaster would argue, quite reasonably, that he had given his players responsibility and that he would not criticise them for exercising it. Yet the decisions were flawed, and they helped to ensure the outcome.

For the Aussies came home; strongly and, although by just six points, quite comfortably. England were left with the prospect of first South Africa, then New Zealand; just the kind of opponents you need when your own confidence is low, your selection problematical and your methods uncertain.

Twickenham Man glared at the glittering scoreboard, then consoled himself with the announcement that there would be post-match karoake in the Scrum Bar. But the resentment still niggled away. A poor performance, a disappointing day. And those bloody awful colours!

Mazza still the man for San Marino: 14 years and counting for Europe"s longest-serving international boss

Mazza still the man for San Marino: 14 years and counting for Europe's longest-serving international boss

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UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 10 October 2012

It was October 10, 1998 and jeers were ringing in Glenn Hoddle’s ears after his England team had failed to beat Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium.

The game was goalless, the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign had begun with one point from a possible six and four months later Hoddle would quit amid his views on the afterlife.

In The Most Serene Republic of San Marino near Italy’s Adriatic coast, Giampaolo Mazza was enjoying his first game in charge of his team. A 5-0 defeat at home by Israel did not dampen the spirits of Mazza but life as a PE teacher and San Marino manager has different demands. Among them, making sure he and his players get time off work. If they avoid a hammering, even better.

Half a world away: Glenn Hoddle looks dejected during the goalless draw with Bulgaria

Half a world away: Glenn Hoddle looks dejected during the goalless draw with Bulgaria

Mazza is Europe’s longest-serving international manager and arrives in London today with bookmakers offering odds on England scoring double figures at Wembley. Luckily, his goalkeeper is an accountant.

San Marino, with a population of 33,000 — 2,000 of whom are expected at Wembley — are officially the worst team in the world, ranked 207th by FIFA along with Bhutan and the Turks & Caicos Islands. They have won once since affiliation to FIFA in 1988 and never in a competitive game. This does not dent the pride of their 56-year-old manager, a Sammarinese born in the Italian city of Genoa.

Long-serving: Giampaolo Mazza has been at the helm since 1998

Long-serving: Giampaolo Mazza has been at the helm since 1998

‘I never had the honour of playing for San Marino in competition but that makes me even more passionate about the coaching job,’ said Mazza, who played four times for his country before FIFA admitted them 18 years ago.

‘I know 14 years is a long time. Many managers, particularly in Italy, do not even last 14 months,’ he added.

Mazza names Fabio Capello among his role models. Captain, striker and professional Andy Selva, 36, and defender and hospital worker Simone Bacciocchi, 35, featured in his first game. Defender Mirko Palazzi is the squad’s other professional. He plays for Rimini in the Italian fourth tier.

Selva scored the only goal in San Marino’s only victory, in a friendly against Liechtenstein in 2004, but the manager considers a 1-1 draw in Latvia in a 2001 World Cup qualifier to be his finest achievement.

‘We partied into the early hours,’ he said, although it wasn’t such fun for Latvia boss Gary Johnson.

Europe's veteran international bosses

1 Giampaolo Mazza (San Marino)
(Age 56. Appointed October 1998)

2 Morten Olsen (Denmark)
(Age 63. Appointed July 2000)

3 Hans-Peter Zaugg (Liechtenstein)
(Age 59. Appointed January 2006)

4 Joachim Low (Germany)
(Age 52. Appointed July 2006)

5 Tarmo Ruutli (Estonia)
(Age 58. Appointed December 2007)

‘We didn’t even play that badly,’ said
Johnson, who parted company with Latvia after the game, with his
contract running out, and is now in charge at Yeovil. ‘Pahars scored
early but we couldn’t find a second. We hit the post or the bar five
times and had about 50 chances. It was ridiculous. They equalised with a
good free-kick.

‘They did celebrate afterwards.’

Mazza met England boss Roy Hodgson in Warsaw last week at a UEFA conference and is looking forward to Wembley. ‘It is fantastic for my players to run out in Europe’s finest stadiums against world-renowned opponents,’ he said.

The team met in the qualifiers for USA 94. England won 6-0 at home and 7-1 in Bologna. Davide Gualtieri seized on a poor backpass by Stuart Pearce and poked the ball past David Seaman after 8.3 seconds for the fastest ever World Cup goal.

It was an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for England. Graham Taylor resigned as manager six days later.

A hiding to nothing: Graham Taylor watches England beat San Marino 7-1 in Bologna

A hiding to nothing: Graham Taylor watches England beat San Marino 7-1 in Bologna

Charlton Athletic 2 Leicester 1: Yann Kermorgant returns to haunt Foxes

Charlton Athletic 2 Leicester 1: Kermorgant returns to haunt Foxes after jeers

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UPDATED:

21:17 GMT, 21 August 2012

Yann Kermorgant silenced the jeers of the Leicester fans by firing Charlton to their first npower Championship win of the season.

The former Foxes frontman, booed when his name was read out before kick-off, doubled Charlton's lead after Bradley Wright-Phillips had fired the newly-promoted Addicks ahead.

Leicester fans still have nightmares about the last time they saw Kermorgant with the ball at his feet 12 yards out – his 'dinked' spot-kick went horribly wrong as they lost the 2010 play-off semi-final on penalties to Cardiff.

On target: Yann Kermorgant celebrates scoring Charlton's second goal

On target: Yann Kermorgant celebrates scoring Charlton's second goal

MATCH FACTS:

Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Cort, Wiggins, Pritchard, Stephens (Wilson 81), Hollands, Jackson (Kerkar 87), Kermorgant, Wright-Phillips (Cook 90).

Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Taylor, Green, Smith.

Goals: Wright-Phillips 18, Kermorgant 32.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Moore, Morgan, Konchesky, Marshall (Knockaert 64), James (King 46), Drinkwater, Dyer,
Beckford (Nugent 46), Vardy.

Subs Not Used: Logan, Danns, Waghorn, Schlupp.

Booked: Morgan.

Goals: King 53.

Attendance: 16,658

Referee: Fred Graham (Essex).

Check out all the latest, stats, facts and table from the Championship

But the French striker made no
mistake this time when the ball fell to him in front of goal following a
corner, confidently lashing it home before raising a finger to his lips
in celebration.

Substitute Andy King pulled one back
in the second half but Leicester could not find an equaliser to make it a
miserable 49th birthday for manager Nigel Pearson.

Yet Pearson's Foxes are among the favourites for promotion this season, and they were threatening to show why early on.

Former non-league hot-shot Jamie
Vardy had a shot blocked by Leon Cort and was then denied by keeper Ben
Hamer, while Lloyd Dyer sliced horribly wide in front of goal.

But, totally against against the run
of play, Charlton took an 18th-minute lead when midfielder Bradley
Prichard burst upfield and played the ball to Wright-Phillips.

The striker, who scored 22 goals last
season as the Addicks ran away with League One, turned on the edge of
the box before drilling a superb low drive across Kasper Schmeichel and
into the net.

Schmeichel was quickly forced into
smart saves to keep out efforts from Leon Cort and Wright-Phillips
again, but the City keeper was beaten for a second time after 32
minutes.

Leicester failed to deal with a
corner from Danny Hollands and when the landed at the feet of Kermorgant
he smashed it past the Dane and into the net.

Pearson made a double substitution at
the interval, sending on David Nugent and King, and the move paid off
eight minutes into the second half.

Nugent was the provider and King, who
climbed off the bench to score in Leicester's opening-day win over
Peterborough, repeated the trick with a neat finish inside the area.

But try as they might Leicester could
not draw level with Hamer saving well from Dyer, twice, Anthony
Knockaert and a stoppage-time header from Vardy to secure the points.

Amir Khan angry after Danny Garcia father makes x-rated racial jibe

Khan promises to knock out Garcia after title-rival's father makes X-rated racial jibe

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UPDATED:

00:32 GMT, 13 July 2012

Danny Garcia's eccentric father stole the show as the WBC light-welterweight champion came face to face with Amir Khan ahead of Saturday's unification fight in Las Vegas.

The outspoken Angel Garcia lived up to his reputation once again as he gave an impassioned, heated speech at the main pre-fight press conference.

Garcia, who trains his son, has made unsavoury comments about WBA champion Khan's Pakistani heritage in the past as well as more run-of-the-mill trash talk.

Heckler: Amir Khan (left) speaks as Danny Garcia's trainer and father Angel Garcia (right) gestures

Heckler: Amir Khan (left) speaks as Danny Garcia's trainer and father Angel Garcia (right) gestures

After making a speech in which he again touched on religion – before moving on to a bizarre rant about the strength of Latin America – he sat making gestures when it was Khan's turn to speak, holding up his son's belt, pulling faces, pretending to punch himself in the face and shouting comments.

At one stage, reacting to jeers from Khan's entourage, he was heard shouting 'f****** retards'. When Khan reacted to his previous comments about Pakistan, he repeatedly said of the Briton: 'His DNA is f***** up'.

Khan, speaking on the podium, said: 'Garcia's team can say whatever they want.

'I promise you – I've never said this at a press conference – I will knock Danny Garcia out and win the titles.

All smiles: Khan, Oscar De La Hoya and Garcia at the pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas

All smiles: Khan, Oscar De La Hoya and Garcia at the pre-fight press conference in Las Vegas

'I will knock him out and if his dad wants it afterwards…That will shut his dad up anyway. I'm not going to do anything physical because his dad talks so much.

'I'm going to hurt his son. I'm going to do it in the ring. I cannot wait until after the fight, when I've knocked his son out and I'm stood here with the titles.

'Another thing, it's funny when he said he's never seen a Pakistani fight. He's going to see a Pakistani fight on Saturday and knock his son out.

'I can't wait to get in there. You're going to see a British Pakistani fight on Saturday and you're going to see him knock your guy out.'

Newly reinstated WBA champion Khan is ready to move on from what he describes as the worst six months of his career.

Khan endured a 'devastating' spell as he lost his WBA and IBF titles in a surprise defeat by Lamont Peterson last December.

Mind games: Garcia attempts to psyche out Khan at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

Mind games: Garcia attempts to psyche out Khan at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

The fall-out from that fight was messy and controversial as Khan raised a number of grievances relating to issues inside and outside the ring.

The saga reached new levels before their scheduled May rematch when American Peterson tested positive for banned synthetic testosterone, before admitting he had already used it before their first fight in December, albeit for medical reasons.

While Peterson's positive test vindicated Khan and undermined the defeat, it also robbed the 25-year-old of the chance to avenge his second career loss. His bitterness has been eased, however, by the news that the WBA have stripped the title from Peterson and strapped it around his own waist once more.

'It was the hardest six months of my career,' Khan said ahead of Saturday's bout with WBC champion Garcia in Las Vegas.

'Straight after the fight I was devastated because I'd lost the fight and I was so upset. Then when I got into the camp I was so happy that I'd got the rematch, because even that was so hard to negotiate. I agreed to whatever they said.'

Peacekeeper: Khan's strength and conditioning coach Ruben Tabares (left) separates the pair

Peacekeeper: Khan's strength and conditioning coach Ruben Tabares (left) separates the pair

However, the rematch was cancelled and Khan welcomed the WBA's announcement yesterday that he will go into the fight with WBC king Garcia as a title-holder himself.

The bout has been given added prestige by the presence of two recognised world titles and, importantly, the respected Ring Magazine belt which is awarded to fighters regarded as the best in their division.

'I'm glad the WBA are reinstating me as champion again,' Khan said. 'It means I walk into this fight as world champion and the WBC title is on the line but not only that, the Ring magazine title will be on the line as well.

'It means this fight will really show who is the best fighter in the 140lb division and it will show I'm the best.

'Justice has been done.'

Anton Ferdinand will ignore any crowd abuse at Chelsea

QPR's Ferdinand will not be shaken by crowd abuse as he prepares to face Chelsea

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UPDATED:

14:59 GMT, 27 April 2012

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand will be unmoved by any Chelsea fans who abuse him from the stands as the two sides meet in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.

The game will be Ferdinand's first at Stamford Bridge since accusations he suffered racial abuse from Chelsea skipper John Terry last October, who now faces a court case in July to answer those allegations. Terry denies the charges.

Ferdinand, 27, said he was more interested in securing a positive result as QPR look to remain in the top flight, rather than listen to any jeers from the home crowd.

Calm: Anton Ferdinand will get on with his job

Calm: Anton Ferdinand will get on with his job

'There is a big rivalry between the two clubs anyway but, with everything that has happened, I know there will be some fans targeting me,' he told London Evening Standard Sport.

'The Chelsea fans believe what they want to believe. They have their own view on what's gone on and if they are going to give me stick, that's their problem.

'All I can say is that it won't upset my game. If they think that's what's going to happen, then they have got another thing coming.'

The Football Association cancelled the usual pre-match handshakes before the two sides met in the FA Cup back in January and the Premier League have taken the same measures ahead of Sunday afternoon's clash but Ferdinand does not see the pre-match ritual as an essential part of football and will treat the match the same as any other.

Row: Ferdinand and John Terry during the team's October meeting

Row: Ferdinand and John Terry during the team's October meeting

'My view is whether you shake hands with a player before or after the game doesn't really matter to me. It is about playing football,' he said.

'My team-mates have said nothing to me about it because we are just treating it as a normal game. It is not about me or the current situation, it is about QPR and staying in the division.

'It is not for me to talk endlessly about handshakes – what matters is what happens in the course of 90 minutes.'

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said Chelsea 'respected' the Premier League decision to scrap the handshakes on Sunday.

But he was against abandoning the ritual altogether, adding: 'To show respect to your opposition is a good thing, so I'm not generally against it.'

Di Matteo revealed he would remind his players of their responsibilities ahead of a derby match that was mired in controversy in October's reverse fixture.

He said: 'I always speak to my players. They will be focused on Sunday to try to win the game. The rest is for other people to worry about.

'We have to channel our energies to win the football match – that's all.'

Di Matteo had no concerns about the state of mind of Terry, who was sent off in Chelsea's Champions League semi-final triumph in Barcelona, ruling him out of the final.

'I don't think that's going to influence him,' Di Matteo said.

Tribulations: Terry will be ready to face QPR

Tribulations: Terry will be ready to face QPR

'He's got a few years under his belt now and has dealt with setbacks before. He'll be very good.'

QPR manager Mark Hughes was pleased that the game would not become lost amongst the handshake debate following the decision to cancel the pre-match routine.

He insisted his team had not even thought about the potential storm that could have been caused with players refusing to shake hands and is more focused on beating QPR's local rivals and boosting their Premier League survival hopes.

He said: 'The decision was made last night and it takes all the build-up before the game out of the equation, I think that is what we were conscious of before the (FA) cup game.

'The game itself was a little bit of a damp squib because of what occurred before the actual game with the discussions and debate about who is going to shake who else's hand so the game itself was like a side issue. I don't think that is correct and I'm glad the decision is out of the way now.

Struggle: QPR are fighting against relegation

Struggle: QPR are fighting against relegation

'Our focus was always on the game anyway and the decision came through last night, it was my intention to mention it briefly this morning but I didn't have to because up to this point we haven't discussed it at any length because it hasn't been on our radar or been our focus this week.'

Hughes also revealed Ferdinand had been instructed by his lawyers he would not have been allowed to take part in the handshakes even if they had remained as part of the build-up to the match.

'We knew that Anton had been told that he wouldn't be allowed to shake hands so we understood that part of it and obviously discussions between ourselves, Chelsea and the Premier League were ongoing but I think they have come up wit the right decision,' he said.

'From our point of view we have just been focussing on preparing for a very important game and the wind has been taken out of people's sails regarding the handshake issue.'