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Leeds v Chelsea: A history of hatred

Leeds against Chelsea stands for the lingering hatred that is the North-South divide in the flesh

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 17 December 2012

Fifteen minutes into their Barclays Premier League game at Sunderland 10 days ago, the 3,000 Chelsea fans broke into a chant. Their side were 1-0 up, after a great Fernando Torres volley.

They did not chant about Torres, though.

It was the minute before these fans sang about Roberto Di Matteo, so it was not his moment. On the touchline Rafa Benitez paced and pointed. It was the first Chelsea game after their Champions League exit; there were plenty of issues to occupy Blues thoughts.

Just the ticket: David Webb heads in the winning goal for Chelsea in the brutal 1970 FA Cup Final replay

Just the ticket: David Webb heads in the winning goal for Chelsea in the brutal 1970 FA Cup Final replay

Up for the cup: Ron Harris and John Hollins parade the trophy after the match

Up for the cup: Ron Harris and John Hollins parade the trophy after the match

Leeds, too, have issues. One of them is a collective yearning about slipping off the radar, so perhaps there is strange reassurance taken from remaining on Chelsea’s. Which is why there is so much anticipation about tomorrow night at Elland Road. For the first time in eight-and-a-half years, Leeds United play Chelsea. It is the League Cup quarter-final, but it is more than that: it is the resumption of one of English football’s most fierce rivalries.

Given that around 200 miles separate Elland Road from Stamford Bridge, this is no local derby. Yet it carries that intensity and has done for decades. This is an accepted fact in English football, yet why

It can be vicious: witness the 1970 FA Cup final replay, when referee Eric Jennings let so much go that Hugh McIlvanney wrote: ‘At times, it appeared that Mr Jennings would give a free-kick only on production of a death certificate.’

There was one booking. David Elleray ‘re-refereed’ the game years later and said there should have been six reds and 20 yellows.

Oi, ref! Ken Burns being shouted at by Leeds players Jimmy Greenhoff, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Willie Bell

Oi, ref! Ken Burns being shouted at by Leeds players Jimmy Greenhoff, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Willie Bell

Rout: Chelsea's Mickey Thomas is mobbed by fans after his team's 5-0 win over their rivals in 1984

Rout: Chelsea's Mickey Thomas is mobbed by fans after his team's 5-0 win over their rivals in 1984

But what did Chelsea’s supporters sing ‘We all hate Leeds and Leeds.’ It was to the tune of The Dam Busters.

In
the Midlands, Leeds United had just lost 2-1 at Derby County to sit
14th in the Championship. They were separated by 31 places from Chelsea,
in a different division.

Leeds
United have played Stockport County in League One more recently than
faced Chelsea in the top flight. But what is the first song frequently
heard from the Leeds Kop It contains the phrase: ‘Shoot the Chelsea
scum.’ That former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates is Leeds chairman does not
seem irrelevant.

Paul Reaney

Jack Charlton (right) hugs Leeds player Peter Lorimer

Famous faces: Paul Reaney (left) and Jack Charlton (right) hugging Peter Lorimer

The Leeds great, Peter Lorimer, who was never mistaken for an angel, remarked that Chelsea ‘kicked everything above grass’. No foul was given for Eddie McCreadie’s kung-fu kick on Billy Bremner’s head. ‘It was just the way the game was played back then,’ Paul Madeley said on Monday, from Yorkshire.

Then there was the last game of the 1983-84 season. Chelsea beat Leeds 5-0 at Stamford Bridge to win the old Second Division, prompting a riot as Leeds fans dismantled the scoreboard and police scurried to keep fans apart.

Yet the 1960s source of this rivalry would seem to be in sport. In 1963, Chelsea were promoted to the old First Division; in 1964, Leeds were promoted. They were coming teams brimming with talent and by 1965, both finished in the top three, behind title-winners Manchester United.

Chelsea and Leeds had become challengers, and the tension derived from just that, the challenge. Yet there was something else to this. It is fairly amazing to note that Chelsea have never bought a senior Leeds player, not one; Leeds did not sign a Chelsea player until Tony Dorigo moved to Elland Road in 1991.

Reviewing the two teams of the mid-1960s through to that volcanic 1970 Cup final, another pattern emerges: this was the North-South divide made flesh.

Both Leeds and Chelsea had Scotsmen and Irishmen in their sides but when it came to Englishmen, of the recognised great Don Revie XI, only Paul Reaney was born south of Coventry, and he grew up in Yorkshire. Jack Charlton, Madeley, Norman Hunter, Terry Cooper and Mick Jones were all Northern men, like Middlesbrough-born Revie.

As for Chelsea, their London contingent was considerable — Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris, Alan Hudson, Marvin Hinton, David Webb and Peter Houseman were all Londoners. John Hollins and Peter Osgood both came from the Home Counties.

‘From within the dressing room, of course, we were rivals and the lads would be really up for any games against Chelsea and Liverpool at that time, but off the pitch, we were all quite friendly,’ Madeley added.

‘Having said that, there was the extra North-South dimension with Chelsea, which did add a bit more fuel to the fire.’

Across the divide: Ken Bates, then chairman of Chelsea, appeals to the fans to keep off the pitch after winning promotion to Division One in 1984

Across the divide: Ken Bates, then chairman of Chelsea, appeals to the fans to keep off the pitch after winning promotion to Division One in 1984

Changing times: Roman Abramovich (right) is now the owner of Chelsea

Changing times: Roman Abramovich (right) is now the owner of Chelsea

Hollins, with 593 appearances, is as Chelsea as they come. He recalled the origin of this modern fixation. ‘In the early 60s we were an up-and-coming very young side. Leeds were the same, but a little ahead of us,’ he explained. ‘We were young, cheeky, London, Chelsea.

‘In one of my first seasons, we were unbeaten in our first 10 games and top of the league. We were running people off the pitch.

‘I remember a game at Leeds in the season of 1964-65, around this time of year — it was always this time of year at Leeds. It was tense. The game should not have been played because the pitch was iced up. We didn’t have the studs you have now. We changed ours before kick-off — we went for the leather type with little nails in them. So did they.

True blue: Hollins recalled several feisty clashes with Leeds

True blue: Hollins recalled several feisty clashes with Leeds

‘All of a sudden you had a good grip on the pitch, you could turn and play. The thing is, if you did catch anyone with a stud, you could rip a sock or something. It finished 2-2, I think. That was a day we thought, “Dirty b******s, wait ’til you come back to our place”.

‘Then, there was the semi-final of the FA Cup at Villa Park in 1967. We won 1-0. Leeds had a goal disallowed, a shot from Lorimer. The referee said the wall wasn’t back the full 10 yards! That really got them. The word “hatred” came up then, and we were at each other all the time on the pitch. We knew who to hit.’

That was April 1967. In, October Leeds got revenge, beating Chelsea 7-0 at Elland Road.

‘Leeds started like a house on fire, remembering what had gone on before,’ Hollins said. ‘They did to us what they did to Southampton that famous time. We couldn’t get near them. Bremner was their engine, their spark, brave as a lion.’

Bitterness was gathering. Hollins saw it personified in two men — Charlton and Osgood.

Tricky: Peter Osgood escaped Charlton and scored this diving header in the contentious 1970 FA Cup Final replay

Tricky: Peter Osgood escaped Charlton and scored this diving header in the contentious 1970 FA Cup Final replay

‘That was personal. Ossie used to elbow him, knock him, try to get him annoyed. Ossie was one of the best at that.

‘He enjoyed Leeds games; he got at them. And that header in the replay in Manchester was his best goal ever, I think that was his favourite goal.

‘He didn’t like Jack Charlton. At one point in the final, Ossie and Jack had a fight off the ball. The ref just waved play on.’

On Wednesday, there will be fewer Yorkshiremen and Londoners on the pitch, but the officials will need to be vigilant. The police are on alert.

But beneath the tension is a football match. As Hollins added: ‘I remember, after the first game at Wembley in 1970, we all shook hands, we never swapped shirts then.

‘I helped carry Billy Bremner off the pitch because he had cramp. Then I got cramp. We were good mates, too. It was just when the white or blue shirt went on…’

England reckoning looms in India – Paul Newman

Out of the frying pan into the (Ring of) Fire… England reckoning looms in India

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UPDATED:

23:14 GMT, 21 November 2012

It is unlikely that England will summon up the spirit of Johnny Cash to motivate them in the second Test, as they did when they won here six years ago, but they are certainly in need of something as they approach a game they dare not lose.

Ring of Fire was the theme tune for Andrew Flintoff's greatest captaincy hour and the heat will certainly be on England's under-performing stars if the alarming slump that began with the one-day whitewash in India this time last year continues on Friday at the impressive Wankhede Stadium.

This is not quite make or break for the players who took England to the top of the cricketing world but it is not far off. Lose the second Test, and with it any chance of winning this series, and some tough questions will have to be asked.

Ring of fire: England captain Cook could use the same inspiration as Freddie Flintoff - Johnny Cash

Ring of fire: England captain Cook could use the same inspiration as Freddie Flintoff – Johnny Cash

Andy Flower, understandably, wants to wait until the end of the series before judgments are made. But he might soon have to confront the harsh reality that England are not as good as we all thought they were in the heady days when the Ashes were won both home and away and India were thrashed last year.

Okay, it is in Asian conditions that England have most struggled but they were also convincingly beaten by South Africa at home and Flower needs to see evidence here to show that this team have not already peaked and are in decline.

It was intriguing that Hugh Morris, the man in charge of the England team, sat in on Flower's press conference here on Tuesday and hung on every word but there is no question that there is any pressure on the team director for his job.

Morris, and ECB chairman Giles Clarke, rightly want Flower to be at the helm of England for a good while yet but they know that a man who had to bear the brunt of the Kevin Pietersen affair could only be wearied and hastened towards the exit door by the continual failure of his team.

Drink it in: Flintoff leads the celebrations after England beat India in Mumbai six years ago

Drink it in: Flintoff leads the celebrations after England beat India in Mumbai

Drink it in: Flintoff leads the celebrations after England beat India in Mumbai six years ago

A GOOD TOSS TO WIN

Amid rumours that the Indian Cricket Board have asked for a spinning track to assist their slow bowlers, the likeliest scenario is that the pitch will have something in it for everyone.

The seamers should enjoy more bounce and carry on the first day than at Ahmedabad.

But the pitch will turn, probably more than during the first Test. If Alastair Cook wins the toss, he should have no hesitation in batting first.

Flower handled his inquisitors in his
usual impressive, articulate manner, as Morris's words of encouragement
to him afterwards confirmed, but elsewhere within the England team there
are signs of a siege mentality taking hold.

First we had Stuart Broad questioning the rights of the likes of Sir Ian Botham to give his opinion on England and then came one of those bland press conferences that Broad apparently hates featuring Jonathan Trott.

Most of an uneventful 14 minutes is not worth repeating here but there were a couple of comments that betrayed a prickly mood within the camp.

Trott interpreted one reporter's smile as he asked a question as evidence of him enjoying England's misfortune (the truth is that he was just trying to be cheery) while there were mutterings about old players 'thinking the game was better in their day.'

When something goes wrong it is always the media's fault.

In a spin: Ojha took nine wickets in the first Test

In a spin: Ojha took nine wickets in the first Test

Thankfully, the media will not be going
into battle for England here but Eoin Morgan might be. The thinking is
that a left-hander is needed in the middle order to combat Pragyan Ojha
and that could hand the Irishman another chance to prove that he can
succeed in Test cricket in these conditions.

Jonny Bairstow was unlucky not to start
this series after his 95 in the last Test of the summer but he looked
all at sea against spin in the Indian one-day series last year so he may
apparently miss out again even though he scored a century in a warm-up
game ahead of the first Test.

England could go with both Morgan and Bairstow but that would be harsh on Samit Patel who, in my opinion, deserves at least one more chance to prove that he is an accomplished player of spin even though there would be less need for his slow left-arm if Monty Panesar is in the team.

Panesar will surely play here at the ground where he spectacularly dropped and then caught MS Dhoni six years ago even though there should be more in the Mumbai pitch for the English seamers than in Ahmedabad.

A word of caution, though. Monty averages 55 per wicket in India and on previous visits has gone at more than three runs an over, figures that he will have to improve if he is to have the same impact here as Ojha did in Ahmedabad.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first Test is that India had the quickest bowler in Umesh Yadev and the best practitioner of reverse swing in Zaheer Khan. It was indeed worrying that, as well as outbatting and outspinning England, they had the better seam attack too. Broad and Jimmy Anderson are in just as big a need of a big game here as Pietersen and Trott are.

In many ways the famous line of the man from the Independent who, on covering his first Ashes tour more than 25 years ago, said that England had only three problems – they couldn't bat, bowl nor field, could have applied to the first Test where five chances went begging too.

The biggest problem now is clearly first innings runs. If Alastair Cook wins the toss and England finally get a big total on the board tomorrow then everything else might just click into place. Things can only get better.

Test essential

VIDEO: And it burns, burns, burns…

Olympic stars line up for remake of TV show Superstars

Superstars is back! Olympic heroes Farah, Brownlee and Grainger sign-up for one-off revival of classic TV show

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UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 14 November 2012

Britain's Olympic stars are to take part in one-off revival of 1970s cult television show Superstars.

Gold medalists Mo Farah, Katherine Grainger, Jade Jones and Alistair Brownlee will be among 16 competitors who will tackle eight events: track races over 100m and 800m, archery, javelin, a 50m swim, a
kayak race, a cycling hill climb and the challenges in the gym tests.

Gold standard: Double Olympic champion Mo Farah

Gold standard: Double Olympic champion Mo Farah

Just champion: Katherine Grainger

Just champion: Katherine Grainger

REMEMBERING SUPERSTARS
Alan Fraser, Sportsmail writer

Worth the licence fee alone! Sportsmail remembers Superstars as Olympic stars sign-up for one-off revival of TV classic

'Never mind Newsnight-gate, who would not willingly pay their licence fee just for the sight of Wayne Rooney doing a Kevin Keegan and falling off his bike while racing against the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Rory McIlroy, Johnny Wilkinson, Ben Ainslie and the like'

Click here to read more….

Farah told the Telegraph: 'After a hard season it will be nice to compete in a
different environment. Some of the events are quite new to me which will
make it all the more interesting.'

Jonathan Brownlee – who took bronze to his brother's gold at London 2012
– added: 'Having Alistair taking part in Superstars as well doesn't faze
me. This is not triathlon, there will be no team tactics, but we will
be competitive – let the best brother win.'

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington will
mentor the athletes in the pool and pundits will include athletes Iwan
Thomas and Denise Lewis.

The new show will have a best male and female all-rounder and will be hosted by Gabby Logan.

Cult status: Kevin Keegan crashes in original TV show of Superstars

Cult status: Kevin Keegan crashes in original TV show of Superstars

Stellar cast: Bobby Moore and Joe Bugner were among the original Superstars

Stellar cast: Bobby Moore and Joe Bugner were among the original Superstars

Target man: Trevor Brooking keeps a close eye on Tony Currie (centre)

Target man: Trevor Brooking keeps a close eye on Tony Currie (centre)

GOLD STANDARD COMPETITORS

The full list: Alastair and Jonathan Brownlee, Mo Farah, Robbie Grabarz, Michael Jamieson, Anthony Joshua, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Peter Wilson, Nicola Adams, Lizzie Armistead, Laura Bechtolsheimer, Gemma Gibbons, Helen Glover, Katherine Grainger, Jade Jones and Christine Ohuruogo.

Logan – whose footballer father Terry Yorath took part in the original
show – said: 'We have an incredible line-up of Olympic heroes. What an
opportunity for them to compete against each other across a range of
diverse physical challenges.'

The original American show was devised in America by figure skater Dick
Button and it became a hit TV show in the UK after airing first in
December 1973. David Vine was the main presenter for 12 years. David
Hemery won the first UK title, beating a field that included Bobby
Moore, Joe Bugner and Tony Jacklin.

Superstars

Leading man: David Vine was the main presenter for 12 years

superstars

Strong man: Former F1 driver Jackie Stewart

superstars

geoff capes
GRAHAM POLL: DISQUALIFYING KELLY HOLMES WAS NERVE-WRACKING

Being just touching distance from Sir Steve Redgrave as he strains every sinew to urge his team to beat Roger Black's in a gym rowing event was memorable.

Disqualifying Dame Kelly Holmes for illegal dips on the parallel bars was perhaps the most nerve-wracking decision I made, including ones on the football field.

Those and many more memories come flooding back at the news that Superstars is back for a one-off special being filmed, as I refereed the event the last time it was filmed.

Back then it was a team-based format when Redgrave and Holmes contested the final after eliminating the teams captained by Mike Catt and Roger Black.

To have spent an entire week with such legends was a treat; to see them compete, looking for any edge they could over rivals was insightful, motivational and a little surreal.

I remember Redgrave pointing out that Holmes should not be allowed to practice her long jump as the event had started.

This time Mo Farah is one of the athletes involved and I can’t wait to see the programme.

It started as a must-watch when I was a schoolboy and remained so when I was in the privileged position of seeing events up close as the referee.m

Sportsmail remembers Superstars as it announces one-off return

Worth the licence fee alone! Sportsmail remembers Superstars as Olympic stars sign-up for one-off revival of TV classic

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UPDATED:

16:36 GMT, 14 November 2012

Never mind Newsnight-gate, who would not willingly pay their licence fee just for the sight of Wayne Rooney doing a Kevin Keegan and falling off his bike while racing against the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Rory McIlroy, Johnny Wilkinson, Ben Ainslie and the like

Well that’s not going to happen, not in the multi-million football world where players are investments as much as sporting icons.

But BBC’s one-off revival of Superstars this Christmas, featuring a host of British Olympic medallists, could see Mo Farah capsizing his kayak, as you do, or Christine Ohuruogu drowning.

Cult status: Kevin Keegan crashes in original TV show of Superstars

Cult status: Kevin Keegan crashes in original TV show of Superstars

SUPERSTARS RETURN

Britain's Olympic stars are to take part in one-off revival of 1970s cult television show Superstars.

Gold medalists Mo Farah, Katherine Grainger, Jade Jones and Alistair Brownlee will be among 16 competitors who will tackle eight events: track races over 100m and 800m, archery, javelin, a 50m swim, a kayak race, a cycling hill climb and the challenges in the gym tests.

Click here to read more

As severe as the latter may sound, it
was always the fish-out-of-water potential for disaster from one
sportsman trying to master an alien sport that appealed to the
programme’s large following during the 1970s and 1980s.

The defining moment of the show came
in 1976 at, of all places, Bracknell when Keegan, still very much in his
pomp with Liverpool and England, crashed his bicycle during an episode
of European Superstars.

Despite suffering nasty cuts and
abrasions, he insisted on racing again and finishing second on the way
to ultimate victory via a win in the steeplechase.

Viewers loved and admired Keegan for
his courage while laughing at his embarrassment. At least I did and I
think most of the audience felt the same.

The mixture of humour, of great
sportsmen demonstrating frailty and of the participation (at least in
the early days) of some giants of sport proved a potent ratings mixture.

Bobby Moore, no less, Jackie Stewart,
Tony Jacklin and Welsh rugby legend Barry John were included in the
first line up in 1973, though no-one got near David Hemery who became
more famous for the Superstars performances than his victory in the 400
metres hurdles at the Mexico Olympics five years earlier.

Mick Channon, John Conteh, James
Hunt, Gareth Edwards, Daley Thompson and Geoff Hurst – it was very much a
male dominated environment at that time – were others who found
themselves in that place without a puddle having to explain themselves
breathlessly to David Vine.

Stellar cast: Bobby Moore, Joe Bugner and Geoff Capes were among the original Superstars

Stellar cast: Bobby Moore, Joe Bugner and Geoff Capes were among the original Superstars

geoff capes
GOLD STANDARD COMPETITORS

The full list: Alastair and Jonathan
Brownlee, Mo Farah, Robbie Grabarz, Michael Jamieson, Anthony Joshua,
Andrew Triggs Hodge, Peter Wilson, Nicola Adams, Lizzie Armistead, Laura
Bechtolsheimer, Gemma Gibbons, Helen Glover, Katherine Grainger, Jade
Jones and Christine Ohuruogo.

But the real stars of that era were
judo master Brian ‘Squat Thrust’ Jacks and World Superstars champion
Brian Hooper, pool vaulter turned demented kayaker. At least that is how
I remember his thrashing through the water leaving everyone in his
wake.

Part of the attraction was the fierce
competition. While some were prepared to play for laughs, many took it
very seriously indeed. I seem to remember Daley Thompson placing a watch
under his body to monitor his squat thrusts, a move which prompted
Jacks, the King of the Squats, to put an orange in the same place.

Who, like me, remembers Malcolm
MacDonald running the 100 metres in an astonishing 10.9 seconds only to
prove an even more impressive marksman despite having never previously
fired a pistol

Who could forget big scarey boxer Joe Bugner being frightened to attempt the water jump during the steeplechase

Or renowned hellraiser Stan Bowles
literally shooting himself in the foot. Apparently, Bowles and James
Hunt, another notiorious party animal, had been out the night before.

Count me in: Double Olympic champion Mo Farah will be one of those to take part

Count me in: Double Olympic champion Mo Farah will be one of those to take part

Great memories from the days when
live sport was limited almost to the three Rs – racing, rugby and
(w)restling – and Superstars provided some action for the starved sports
nut.

Maybe that diminished sports
portfolio explains part of the reason that why the Beeb have resurrected
this oldie. That and the success of the Olympics, of course.

There are no fewer than 10 gold
medallists taking part in the Christmas special. But most will not
remain household names in the years to come.

Nottingham Forest want Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Steven

Forest planning double raid on Dundee United for Russell and Mackay-Steven

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UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 30 October 2012

Nottingham Forest are keen on Dundee United’s Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Steven.

Forest scouts are to watch forward Russell, 22, in Wednesday’s Scottish League Cup quarter-final against Hearts.

Mackay-Steven, also 22, is a winger.

Wanted: Johnny Russell (centre) is target for Nottingham Forest

Wanted: Johnny Russell (centre) is target for Nottingham Forest

It"s top secret… Oscar Pistorius

It's top secret… Pistorius on Mike Tyson and his love of cooking

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 10 August 2012

Who is your sporting hero

Mike Tyson. I grew up in a boxing family and he was a phenomenal sportsman, even though you can't condone what he did in his personal life.

What would you be if you weren't a sportsman

I would have liked to have studied architecture. I still have a love for design and it fascinates me going to small towns in Europe and looking at the buildings.

It's top secret: Oscar Pistorius (left) ran in the 4x400m final on Friday

It's top secret: Oscar Pistorius (left) ran in the 4x400m final on Friday

Which other sportsman would you like to be

Valentino Rossi. I love speed and I love motorbikes.

Career highlight

Winning three gold medals at the Paralympics in Beijing. It was a tough challenge doing three events. I learned so much and it was completely magical.

…And the worst moment

My 2009 season. I had a big accident and struggled for the whole year.

If your house was burning down, what one possession would you save

I'd grab my dog, Enzo, because he's too stupid to know any better. He'd probably stand there and try to lick the flames.

What's the best advice you've ever been given

If you are going to start something, do it properly. Don't just lose interest halfway.

Favourite karaoke song

It would probably be something by Kings of Leon or Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Three most-listened to songs on your iPod

I listen to a lot of Deadmau5, Metallica and Tiesto. Last film you saw I watched Ice Age 4 the other day. It was awesome. Sid the Sloth is my favourite.

Pistorius says he would like Johnny Depp to play him if there were to be a film of the sprinter

Pistorius says he would like Johnny Depp to play him if there were to be a film of the sprinter

Last book you read

I'm reading Steve Jobs' biography at the moment. It's not the most exciting but it's completely different to anything else I've read.

Can you cook Best dish

Yes. I can cook lots of things but I can't bake. My best dish is a chicken infused with plum sauce wrapped in bacon. It's pretty good. I'd be huge if I was a chef.

Your favourite holiday destination

I love Mozambique. It's not very commercial, has amazing beaches and the people are so humble and friendly.

History maker: Pistorius is the first ever double-amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games

History maker: Pistorius is the first ever double-amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games

In a film of your life, who would you like to play you

It would have to be one of my favourite two actors – Johnny Depp or Colin Farrell.

What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought

My house. I bought it in 2007. I'd moved around a lot as a kid, so I wanted somewhere as a base.

Tell us a secret . . .

I am scared of a big group of children. Not teenagers, lots of children around the age of three or four. I love kids but when there's a lot it freaks me out. I go into shock and just stare at the floor.

Oscar Pistorius is a BT Ambassador. BT is the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Jenson Button seeks patriotic Silverstone victory

Button brushes aside London GP hoopla to seek patriotic victory at Silverstone

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 1 July 2012

After the virtual insanity of the London Grand Prix, attention has switched to the serious business of winning on British soil for real.

Jenson Button, along with McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, has spoken out on the benefit of having his commitments to his team's army of sponsors cut back in the run up to the most important race on the calendar for a British driver.

Vroom for improvement: Button wants to end his Silverstone hoodoo

Vroom for improvement: Button wants to end his Silverstone hoodoo

Phil Duncan F1 blog

But on Thursday night Button was doing his promotional bit for the Spanish bank that dreamed up the idea of a race around the capital's streets essentially as a way of drawing attention to the fact it is the title sponsor of the real race at Silverstone.

Never in the wildest dreams could they have predicted the PR stunt would be given such exposure thanks to Bernie Ecclestone's cute manoeuvre of jumping on the bandwagon just as a German banker was being sentenced to eight-and-half years for accepting bribes from the Formula One supremo.

Ecclestone didn't bother to turn up at Thursday's 'launch' of a CGI race around the capital which Button himself described as 'hypothetical'.

Interesting concept: Hamilton (left) and Button attend the launch of the London Grand Prix

Interesting concept: Hamilton (left) and Button attend the launch of the London Grand Prix

Since then, Button has spent a day in the simulator at McLaren's Woking headquarters before heading back to his Monaco home for a weekend of rest and relaxation ahead of the main event.

Having witnessed the euphoria drummed up by British wins at Silverstone like that of Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and even his teammate Hamilton, Button is only too aware you do not need to have driven past Buckingham Palace to whip up an outpouring of national pride.

It is the black stuff and not the backdrop which really counts and there is no better feeling for a Formula One driver than knowing they have mastered a track steeped in true motor racing history such as Silverstone.

But just as the London Grand Prix PR team were eager to tap into the sense of national pride brought on mainly by the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this summer, so Button is desperate to be a part of the celebrations by ending his British Grand Prix hoodoo which has seen him fail even to make the podium in 12 previous attempts.

Home comfort: Lewis Hamilton after winning his first home Grand Prix at Silverstone

Home comfort: Lewis Hamilton after winning his first home Grand Prix at Silverstone

'It is a massive year for the UK with the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics,' said Button.

'It will be a very special year to stand at the top of the podium as winner of the British Grand Prix.

'Although we race for a team, most drivers are very patriotic and they do want to succeed in their home grand prix for themselves but also for their fellow countrymen.

'I have imagined it many times, I am sure it feels very special because you see the fans excited and celebrating with you.'

Button was treated to a timely reminder of just how special that feeling is as Spaniard Fernando Alonso crossed the line first last time out at the European Grand Prix held in Valencia to claim a spectacular win.

After wiping away tears from his eyes, Alonso claimed his win was, 'Probably the best victory I have ever felt in terms of emotions. Nothing maybe compares to this one.'

Asked to recall the last time he cried after a race, Button, in reference to his poor recent run which has brought just six points from five grand prix, quipped: 'After the last few races I have had.'

Friends and rivals: Button (left) and Hamilton hoping for patriotic success in Diamond Jubilee year

Friends and rivals: Button (left) and Hamilton hoping for patriotic success in Diamond Jubilee year

But the 2009 world champion admitted should he, at long last, make the top step in the British Grand Prix he may just succumb like Alonso.

'If I win at Silverstone, I will get really emotional,' said Button.

'It will mean so much more. That was what it felt like after winning the world championship after so many years trying to get the right car and the right team. It meant so much. I'm not sure I will be blubbing like a girl, but I will be emotional.'

After so many seasons of disappointment on home turf Button, who will stay in his plush motorhome on a Silverstone campsite next weekend, has understandably not made any plans for a victory celebration.

'You don't book celebratory parties, like you don't take a black tie outfit to Monaco,' said Button in reference to the gala dinner with the principality's Prince for the winner in Monte Carlo.

'It would be all back to mine, we will just have to go wild in the paddock!'

It promises to be quite some shindig if he pulls it off.

After imagining what it would be like driving a Formula One car around London's streets, what Button wants more than anything else is to know what it feels like to win around Silverstone for real.

F1 is the real winner of BBC and Sky competition: Mark Webster

BBC and Sky competition means F1 and the fans are the real winner

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 15 April 2012

Of all the sport that has passed through or remains in Auntie’s loving grasp, there would be very little argument that their coverage of Formula One has been a genuine triumph.

The sport has been exclusively live in the BBC’s safe pair of hands since 2009, but this season not only are they sharing with Sky, but the satellite rivals are providing coverage with the DRS full-on — a dedicated channel, with countless hours of live qualifying, affiliated shows, tons of additional viewing technology, an experienced, cherry-picked presenting team and, perhaps most importantly, advertising-free racing.

So come round three from China, and F1 has become a two-horse race, with Sky off to a flyer — coming on air half an hour before the BBC joined the season live for the first time — with their trio of Simon Lazenby, Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert.

Sky high: Simon Lazenby leads the Sky TV coverage of F1

Sky high: Simon Lazenby leads the Sky TV coverage of F1

And although their 90-minute build-up was a perfectly well executed mixture of knowledge, access and special features — including a trip around Monaco on a luxury yacht and a lesson in Tai Chi — what happened from 7am on BBC1 felt like F1 coming home.

Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard began their stint with a mini buddy movie in the garment district of Shanghai, and ended with all three wearing highly unsuitable new jackets in the pit lane.

Perhaps because we are more familiar with them, or simply because they have a better chemistry, the BBC boys certainly edge the race wraparound for me — even in spite of Jordan’s rather in-your-face claim that ‘what’s brilliant about (China) is they all watch BBC’. Their coverage feels just that more ‘boots on the ground’, more in amongst it than that of their Sky rivals.

Or perhaps all that extra time on air on race day proves that more can sometimes be less

Familiar face: Jake Humphrey was presenting the first live coverage of F1 for the BBC this season in China

Familiar face: Jake Humphrey was presenting the first live coverage of F1 for the BBC this season in China

Of all the pre-race build-up, the highlight had to be on the grid walk, as Sky’s new co-commentator Brundle — who still definitely owns this frenzied dash ’n’ chat piece of TV — walked back from grabbing a quick word with Kamui Kobayashi and offered a jaunty ‘hello mate’ to his former colleague Coulthard, coming the other way, as the two channels briefly touched wings.

Brundle was, of course, one of the talents grabbed from the BBC, and in his new role as the expert alongside ex-Radio 5 Live commentator David Croft, Sky nudges it when it comes to race time.

The pair of them have a vigour and sense of fun that the BBC’s Ben Edwards with Coulthard just cannot pass and with Sky also having the excellent Ted Kravitz (another recruit from BBC television) prowling the pit lane, they have the ideal team to bring the season home.

Everyone's a winner: BBC and Sky have both provided good coverage

Everyone's a winner: BBC and Sky have both provided good coverage

This was exemplified perfectly on lap 14 as Michael Schumacher’s race came to an end. ‘He’s parked up in Shanghai,’ exclaimed Croft, as Brundle responded: ‘I haven’t been so disappointed since Shrek 2.’

In general, I think it is fair to say that not only do both channels share coverage, but also many of the plaudits.

OK, you have to pay to play if you want the unadulterated Sky version, but that is 21st century television viewing for you.

But with the entire nation available to the BBC, let us not forget how important they are as a finely displayed shop window for the sport. You may now have two channels racing each other, but in the end, team F1 is the real winner.

Celtic eye Sunderland misfit Craig Gordon

Celtic eye Sunderland misfit Gordon should they fail to land Forster on permanent deal

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UPDATED:

23:08 GMT, 10 April 2012

Celtic are ready to resurrect their interest in Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon — if they fail to land Fraser Forster on a permanent basis.

And the desire to strengthen their squad for an assault on Europe next season will also see the Parkhead side pursue Tannadice pair Johnny Russell and winger Gary Mackay-Steven.

The need to reinforce key positions is paramount for Neil Lennon this summer — with Gordon an intriguing option for the Celtic manager.

Out of contract in three months’ time, Sunderland’s 9million signing has been curtailed by a knee operation and hasn’t played a first-team game for over a year.

Lesser seen: Gordon has had his chances limited at Sunderland

Lesser seen: Gordon has had his chances limited at Sunderland

Manager Martin O’Neill hopes to offer the Scot some competitive action before the end of the season, but admitted last week that he can offer no guarantees of first-team football.

Sportsmail understands the former Hearts goalkeeper is aware of Celtic’s interest after Lennon first expressed his admiration last summer.

Ahead of an assault on the Champions League qualifiers in July, Lennon has earmarked up to four new signings, including a permanent deal for the much improved Forster.

If agreement with the Newcastle keeper’s representative proves elusive, however, Gordon will be asked to take a cut on his Sunderland salary of 40,000-a-week in return for a substantial signing on fee and the guarantee of European football.

Top of the list: Fraser Forster is wanted permanently by Celtic

Top of the list: Fraser Forster is wanted permanently by Celtic

Sunderland manager O’Neill said: ‘Craig has been out for a long, long time and it’s about getting back into the side to prove his point. That’s been the difficulty.

‘I’m not so sure that players of that ability wouldn’t want to be playing in somebody’s first team. I would understand that.’

With Polish defender Radoslaw Fojut already secured, other established Celtic first-team stars, including Glenn Loovens and Daniel Majstorovic are expected to leave in order to balance the books and facilitate new signings.

Meanwhile, the Parkhead side have taken a trio of Costa Rican teenagers on trial, with forward Alvaro Astua, midfielder Andres Montalvan and Yeikel Medina, a defender, all starting a 10-day stint at the Lennoxtown training complex on Tuesday.

British lightweight champion Dave Charnley dies

Former Commonwealth lightweight champion Charnley dies after short illness

Dave Charnley, one of the best
British boxers never to win a world title, passed away on Saturday
morning after a short illness. He was 76.

The 'Dartford Destroye'r is widely
considered to have been robbed in his second challenge to world
lightweight champion Joe 'Old Bones' Brown in London in 1961.

Dartford Destroyer: Dave Charnley (right) in action against Johnny Miller at Dartford football ground in 1956

Dartford Destroyer: Dave Charnley (right) in action against Johnny Miller at Dartford football ground in 1956

Charnley lost a desperately close 15-round points decision that night, having been stopped by Brown with a cut eye two years earlier.

As British, European and Commonwealth champion, Charnley was famed for his courageous fighting spirit and unquenchable appetite for the game.

He began working life as a tool-maker but turned professional in 1985.

Friendly rivalry: Welterweight Brian Curvis (left) with Charnley before their title fight

Friendly rivalry: Welterweight Brian Curvis (left) with Charnley before their title fight

The return match in which he avenged defeat by the brilliant South African Willie Toweel won him the Commonwealth title. That 10th round KO also served notice of his punching power.

The final hall-mark of his bravery came when he moved up to light-welterweight for a fearless challenge to Emile Griffith, the ferocious world class champion who killed Benny Kid Paret in the ring.

Under fire: Charnley (right) and Johnny Miller in their bout at Dartford

Under fire: Charnley (right) and Johnny Miller in their bout at Dartford

Charnley was stopped in the 8th and promptly retired, in 1964, as reigning British lightweight champion.

Curiously, Charnley the tough guy first went into business as the owner of ladies hair-dressing saloons.

Box office Brit: Charnley beat Sammy McCarthy (left) at the Royal Albert Hall in London

Box office Brit: Charnley beat Sammy McCarthy (left) at the Royal Albert Hall in London

Later, when he expanded into property, he became a much-loved figure on the London society and club scene.