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Arsene Wenger press conference full transcript – Arsenal v Bayern Munich

'Do you think I'm a complete idiot': The FULL transcript of Wenger's angry press conference (plus his bizarre exchange with Sportsmail's Neil Ashton)

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 19 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 19 February 2013

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lost his cool at Monday’s press conference ahead of the match with Bayern Munich when he was questioned over his future.

The Gunners manager finds himself in the spotlight again after they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

Wenger was in a fiery mood at the club’s training ground – and started with an exchange with Sportsmail’s Neil Ashton.

Scroll down to watch Neil Ashton's verdict on Arsene Wenger

Glare: Arsene Wenger was in a fiery mood as he faced the media ahead of Arsenal's clash with Bayern Munich

Glare: Arsene Wenger was in a fiery mood as he faced the media ahead of Arsenal's clash with Bayern Munich

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

The first question put to the Arsenal boss is about claims of new two-year deal – reported by another newspaper – to remain at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger: That is the wrong information. I think I work for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information, that has only one intention, which is to harm.

AW: (to Neil Ashton) I look at you not because you give the information. I do not know if it is you. I do not know where the information comes from.

Neil Ashton: Me

AW: Yeah, why do you look at me

NA: Because it’s your press conference.

AW: OK, thank you. I just thought you had given this information out.

NA: No, I’m looking at you because it’s your press conference.

AW: OK, thank you very much.

Question from another journalist: The fans were very upset at going out of the Cup at the weekend.

AW: Look, here is a pre-match conference for the Champions League. If you want to talk about Saturday, that press conference has been made after the game. Can we get some questions about tomorrow’s game That would be very nice.

Plenty to ponder: Wenger cuts a lonely figure during Arsenal's training session on Monday

Plenty to ponder: Wenger cuts a lonely figure during Arsenal's training session on Monday

Q: Mr Wenger, Bayern Munich has not only a good offence but also a good defence. Can you tell me about the quality of the defence from Bayern Munich and especially (cut off)

AW: I don’t talk about Bayern Munich today.

Q: If everybody is saying you have no opportunity to go through, could that help the team in a way to play with freedom

AW: We know well what is going on here. What is important is to forget what people say and focus on our strengths. We play for Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League, we have qualified for a long, long time. We know what is important. It’s not what people say, it’s what we produce on the football pitch. We live in a democracy of experts and opinions, but we have to live with that and cope with that and show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion. There are a lot of experts who are not necessarily always right.

Q: If this is your last chance to win a trophy this season…

AW: Thank you very much for that question. It’s a long time that we didn’t answer it.

Q: But can you talk about your desire to bring back trophies to the club

AW: Look, I have been accused of not taking seriously the FA Cup on Saturday. I have won four times the FA Cup. Who has won it more Give me one name.

Over and out: Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Saturday

Over and out: Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Saturday

Over and out: Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Saturday

Q: I haven’t accused you of not taking it seriously, I am just asking you…

AW: OK. Then, the second thing is we have been accused of not putting out a strong team. That is an insult to the players who started the game because we had 11 internationals on the pitch. I would like to tell you as well that we did not lose the game with the players who started. We lost it in the last 20 minutes so there are a lot of superficial analyses that you cannot accept. Because one guy says something, everybody goes the same way.

Q: The question is about your desire to win the Champions League. It is there, isn’t it

AW: No, no. I want to lose it and I want to lose the game tomorrow, so you can all be happy. Of course we want to win it but in Europe, recently, you face as well some other teams who have quality. Barcelona has some qualities, Real Madrid has some qualities and they don’t win it every year. We have been consistently there. And now we want to break through. We have been in the final and consistently in the quarter-final, semi-finals, for years. People will say it is not the best opportunity now to do it, I think it is a fantastic opportunity because I feel I have a strong team. And I am sure they will prove me right.

Wenger breaks to talk to the daily newspapers. Here are the main points.

Q: The story (about a new contract) was a positive one

AW: Why does it just come out when we lose a big game In your opinion You think I am so naive that I don’t see what is behind that You think I am a complete idiot

Shock: Colin Kazim-Richards scored the only goal as Blackburn stunned their Premier League opponents

Shock: Colin Kazim-Richards scored the only goal as Blackburn stunned their Premier League opponents

Shock: Colin Kazim Richards scored the only goal as Blackburn stunned their Premier League opponents

Q: Do you feel that there is unfinished business with the Champions League

AW: Of course, it is unfinished business as long as we don’t win it. But if I say to you we will win it this season, you will laugh at me because we just lost against Blackburn. But it can happen. Unfortunately, in football, it is less predictable than that. It is not mathematical.

Q: Tell us why a team that has lost to Blackburn and Bradford can beat Bayern Munich

AW: Do you think really that Bayern Munich has never lost against a smaller club in Germany Man United, against Division Three, they have lost. It can happen. What I find is absolutely unbelievable is that when it happens to me, it is a complete storm. You know why Because in 16 years, it never happened.

Q: Will it suit Arsenal to be the underdogs

AW: We are underdogs, yes. You just have to read the English press and you understand that.

Q: You have beaten some fantastic teams over the years

AW: In Europe, we have beaten everybody, which is what people forget. And we are the only team that has gone into a (Champions League) final without conceding a goal, despite the fact that we have never had a good defensive record.

Next up: Arsenal take on a formidable Bayern Munich side in London in the Champions League last 16

Next up: Arsenal take on a formidable Bayern Munich side in London in the Champions League last 16

Q: What do you need to improve on from these last few weeks

AW: We are champions of England in the second half, and in the first half, no. For psychological reasons. Because we fight the whole season against everybody hunting here (in press conferences) … ‘The players are not good enough, buy players and all that’, but one day, you will realise that this team has fantastic qualities.

Q: What do you put that first-half, second-half contrast down to

AW: Psychological.

Q: But what exactly

AW: I do not necessarily want to come out on that.

Q: You’ve been very passionate here today. You seem to be suggesting that you don’t get the respect you deserve Any theories about why

AW: I don’t take that personally. I’m more worried about the players. I will go into the Champions League tomorrow night in a difficult situation. On top of that, they have to fight against everybody and I want to protect the players to make sure they go into the game in good conditions.

Q: You seem angry

AW: I’m angry because when you give wrong information like that. There’s not only wrong information behind that. See what I mean

Raring to go: Arsenal are determined to bounce back against Bayern as they seek to progress in Europe

Raring to go: Arsenal are determined to bounce back against Bayern as they seek to progress in Europe

Q: It’s aimed to hurt you

AW: The lie is targeted to hurt. It’s easy to say people are not happy and on top of that say he’s extending the contract. That’s what I mean. I’ve worked here for 16 years and when I say I deserve more credit, that’s not about respect and everybody saying: ‘He’s doing well.’ It is morally. I think that’s right. You can criticise me and say I’m a bad manager. I’d never come back to you on that. But I think when you work like that … you will never find any story behind me that I’ve taken money anywhere, or things like that. So I think morally that is wrong.

Q: But the story is a positive one saying that they want to keep you.

AW: Come on.

Q: Do you not think that some of the criticism is justified You’re 21 points off the top of the table. You’re going to get criticised …

AW: We are, of course, criticised for that. But we are not the only ones. You have some clubs that have invested more money than us for years and they are behind as well. We accept this kind of criticism. But it’s not what I am talking about. It’s about some other things that I talk about that have come out. They are lies. But when you criticise (about being too far behind), on that, then it is true. I can only say I am sorry. You are right, we are far too far away from Manchester United.

Q: Are you under more pressure than ever We don’t normally see you like this

AW: I reacted this way to the lie.

Last chance: The Champions League is Arsenal's final opportunity to end an eight-year trophy drought

Last chance: The Champions League is Arsenal's final opportunity to end an eight-year trophy drought

Q: Is it just to the lie or it is deeper than that

AW: To the intention that is behind the lie. Honestly, do you really think I take all that personally What I don’t accept is lies and when the target behind it is to manipulate people.

Q: Do you think you’ve misread this The story does say that despite everything they want you to stay. So that’s good rather than bad but you seem to see a conspiracy theory.

AW: I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am 30 years in this job and if I was paranoid, you would know it already. I just think that when I worked for 16 years in the country I expect a certain respect. You can criticise me and say I am doing a bad job, I will never come back to you. But this kind of thing that is a bit manipulative. And then when they are wrong, I don’t accept it.

Q: What is your current contractual situation

AW: My contract ends in 2014. I will have completed 30 years without interruption at top-level football and that demands at least a lot of commitment. Maybe no quality but commitment, for sure.

Q: What will happen beyond 2014

AW: I am not completely sure that you are really interested. When we lost at home to Blackburn, I am not sure that is your first worry.

Q: We would miss you!

AW: I am sure you would miss me when I am gone.

VIDEO Neil Ashton on Arsene Wenger's future

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VIDEO Arsene Wenger talks to the press

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VIDEO Wenger at training with the squad a day after his angry outbursts

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VIDEO Bayern's Schweinsteiger and Neuer talk about the Arsenal game

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Adrien Broner v Gavin Rees LIVE

LIVE: Adrien Broner v Gavin Rees – round-by-round coverage of the big fight

By
Martin Domin

UPDATED:

03:50 GMT, 17 February 2013

Gavin Rees faces what many are describing as mission impossible when he takes on American superstar Adrien Broner in Atlantic City in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The WBC lightweight belt is up for grabs and you can follow all the action with Sportsmail.

Email your thoughts to [email protected] or via Twitter @martin_domin

3.50am: Bika starting to take control in the second round against Sjekloca. Lucian Bute is ringside and is expected to fight the winner for the title.

3.45am: Bika and Sjekloca are getting underway so it could be an hour till Rees and Broner are in the ring.

3.40am: So, Rees v Broner is for the American's WBC lightweight belt which he won in November when he beat Antonio DeMarco.

Rees on the other hand is a former world champion at light-welterweight and held British and European titles at lightweight.

3.30am: Rees' ring walk won't be before 3.55am but we still have another fight first as Sakio Bika takes on Nikola Sjekloca in a final eliminator for the WBC super-middleweight title.

3.20am: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell is ringside in Atlantic City and will be bringing you all the latest news. Incidentally, he is the only national newspaper journalist present. We do spoil you…

You can tweet Jeff via: @jeffpowell_Mail

3.10am: I'd love nothing more than for Rees to put Broner flat on his back but I just can't see it happening. Having said that, he will certainly give the American a tougher fight than the bookmakers are suggesting. Some in Las Vegas are believed to have quoted 80/1 which is frankly insulting.

3.05am: First things first, please send in your predictions using the addresses above, I want to hear how you think this fight is going to go!

3am: Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of Adrien Broner v Gavin Rees

Adrien Broner Gavin Rees

Rio Ferdinand help charity girl on train after Twitter call

That's so tweet! Rio agrees to Twitter stunt to help out train passenger with her charity

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

22:41 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:28 GMT, 10 January 2013

Premier League footballers are often given a hard time but Rio Ferdinand has shown that they can be a generous bunch.

The Manchester United defender was on a train when he was spotted by a girl, who then texted one of her friends.

That person tweeted Ferdinand to mention this – and the former England captain walked up to the girl on the carriage to introduce himself.

Helping out: Rio Ferdinand (left) showed his charitable side on the train

Helping out: Rio Ferdinand (left) showed his charitable side on the train

The woman runs the charity Dance Aid and Ferdinand offered to help her out with any promotion.

Eurosport journalist Tom Adams gave
an insight into the meeting: 'Housemate's girlfriend on train today and
spotted Rio Ferdinand was in her carriage. She texted her mate, who then
tweeted @rioferdy5 to tell him and ask if he could talk to her about
her charity.

'Girlfriend has no idea this
happened, looks up to see Rio sitting down opposite her, unprompted. He
then asks her all about the charity and agrees to do some work for
them.'

When asked if the story was true, 34-year-old Ferdinand tweeted: 'Yep, news travels fast on this Twitter! See if I can help out.'

On the up: Manchester United lead the way in the Premier League

On the up: Manchester United lead the way in the Premier League

Meanwhile, Ferdinand has been looking forward to Sunday's clash with fierce rivals Liverpool.

'A massive game coming up against Liverpool FC – we’ve got to make sure we beat them,' he said.

'They are a team we are big rivals with, loads of history and massive games and goals in the past.

'Hopefully, we can add some more to that and make sure we get the three points on Sunday. We’re confident, training and the focus starts to begin for this weekend. A huge game – make sure you’re behind us.'

Arsenal target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa wants Manchester United move

My dream is to play for United! Arsenal target Yanga-Mbiwa would rather Old Trafford move

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UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 29 December 2012

Arsenal target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has admitted he dreams of playing in the Premier League – but for Manchester United.

The Montpellier central defender has said United are his preferred choice and his career ambition is to play for the league leaders.

Gunner get ya! Yanga-Mbiwa is wanted by Arsenal, but dreams of playing for Man United

Gunner get ya! Yanga-Mbiwa is wanted by Arsenal, but dreams of Man United

'My dream is to play wearing the shirt
(of United) at Old Trafford,' he told France Football. My favourite
club, without a doubt, is United.'

'In my dreams, I am sliding on my knees towards the corner at the stadium. I am scoring a decisive goal from a corner, a header. That would be alright!'

The 23-year old was linked with a move to the Emirates in the summer, after lifting the Ligue 1 title with Montpellier, but a deal failed to materialise.

Montpellier meanwhile are barely recognisable from their phenomenal season last term, despite having managed to claw themselves from 16th to 11th in the table.

Losing Yanga-Mbiwa would represent a colossal blow for the champions, who have already lost defender Cyril Jeunechamp to a year-long ban, for striking L’Equipe journalist Jose Barroso in the face, after he took offence to an article Barroso published in November.

On the move The defender would love to switch to the Premier League

On the move The defender would love to switch to the Premier League

Liverpool apologise to Sean Cummins over Duncan Jenkins threats by Jen Chang

Red-faced Liverpool forced to say sorry over Chang's threats against man behind infamous fake Twitter account

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 30 October 2012

Liverpool have been forced into issuing a humbling apology to fan Sean Cummins, the creator of spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' after he was threatened by communications director Jen Chang.

Chang met with Cummins after believing he was tweeting inside information leaked to him through a mole at the club.

But managing director Ian Ayre has now apologised for the distress caused but did not disclose whether Chang will be punished by the club.

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

SPORTSMAIL SAYS…

Martin Samuel: Chang should know using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power

Ironically, Chang was brought to the club to improve its image after they were widely criticised for the handling of the Luis Suarez race row last season.

Ayre, who met Cummins for a second time on Tuesday, writes in the letter published by Sporting Intelligence: 'Based on everything I have heard and seen, including information provided by the parties involved in the matter, I acknowledge some of the elements you highlight were not appropriate.

'I would therefore like to apologise to you on behalf of Liverpool FC, for any upset and distress this caused you.

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

'Clearly it is not appropriate for me to comment on how the club is managing this internally, and I trust you understand this.'

Cummins, describing himself as a 'perspiring football journo', pretended to have inside knowledge about transfers at Anfield.

Chang set up a meeting with Cummins at
the Evuna restaurant in Manchester in August – but Cummins alleges this
was the start of the meltdown in the relations between the pair.

Apology: Ian Ayre

duncan jenkins twitter profile image

Apology: Ian Ayre has admitted Chang was in the wrong when he met spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' (right)

The blogger claimed Chang demanded to know who his alleged mole was but Cummins pointed out that all his information was lifted from fans’ forums.

After accusing Cummins of costing the club 300,000 extra in the Fabio Borini transfer from Roma this summer because of ‘information’ posted on the Jenkins Twitter feed, it is then alleged that Chang demanded he tweet under the fake account to ‘confess’ there was no mole and the whole account was made up.

Chang described the allegations about threats made at the meeting as ‘fictitious nonsense’.

Liverpool Duncan Jenkins debacle: Jen Chang"s future in doubt as Ian Ayre meets Twitter prankster

Chang's Liverpool future in doubt as Ayre meets Twitter prankster Duncan Jenkins

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UPDATED:

10:43 GMT, 23 October 2012

HOW THE STORY STARTED…
Click here to read the full allegations from Duncan Jenkins

Liverpool PR chief Jen Chang has gone to ground amid the fall-out of the 'Duncan Jenkins' Twitter fiasco.

Chang withdrew his place at the Press Association's table at Sunday's Northern Managers Awards Dinner in Manchester after the club launched a probe into allegations of serious harassment by the club’s director of communications.

Caught on CCTV: Liverpool Director of Communications Jen Chang is pictured meeting 'Duncan Jenkins' - fan Sean Cummins - at a Manchester restaurant

Caught on CCTV: Liverpool director of communications Jen Chang is
pictured meeting 'Duncan Jenkins' – fan Sean Cummins – at Manchester
restaurant Evuna in August

JUST WHO IS DUNCAN JENKINS

@DuncanJenkinsFC is an amusing fake Twitter account of a wannabe football journalist.

It
is the work of Sean Cummins, a 35-year-old who lives in Manchester. The
Duncan Jenkins character originally started on Facebook – someone who
was inept and delusional in equal measure, as well as being obsessed
with The Bill.

Just
under a year ago, he relaunched on Twitter as a 'perspiring journalist'.
Dotted with misspellings and dodgy cliches, it also oddly predicted the
correct Liverpool team well before anyone else ahead of each game.

Cummins later admitted he just pinched it off a fans' forum and published it instantly, as he had done with transfer gossip.

Liverpool have refused to comment on the affair, which revolves around a blogger, Sean Cummins, describing
himself as a 'perspiring football journo', and it pretended to have
inside knowledge about transfers at Anfield under the parody moniker Duncan Jenkins.

But managing director Ian
Ayre met Cummins on Monday. Liverpool's head of human resources also attended the 85 minute meeting at the club's Chapel Street offices, reports the Independent.

Afterwards Cummins said he felt he was given a fair hearing as he outlined the chain of events.

Ayre decided to
speak to Cummins as well as Chang and others involved in an unseemly
episode which began when Jenkins started publicising information Chang
believed must have come from inside Anfield.

Chang describes Jenkins’s allegations
about threats made at a genuine meeting in Manchester as ‘fictitious
nonsense’ but his position looks vulnerable if Ayre decides otherwise.

Cummins published his version of his communication and meeting with Chang in an explosive blog post on Friday.

In it, he claims that Chang demanded
to know who his alleged mole inside Anfield is. Cummins has denied that
he has an insider at the club leaking information – instead pointing out
that all his information was lifted from fans’ forums.

Chang set up a meeting with Cummins
at the Evuna restaurant in Manchester in August – but Cummins alleges
this was the start of the meltdown in the relations between the pair.

After accusing Cummins of costing the
club 300,000 extra in the Fabio Borini transfer from Roma this summer
because of ‘information’ posted on the Jenkins Twitter feed, it is then
alleged that Chang demanded he tweet under the fake account to ‘confess’
there was no mole and the whole account was made up.

Bully claims: Chang, who joined Liverpool in the summer, denies allegations made by 'Jenkins'

Bully claims: Chang, who joined Liverpool in the summer, denies allegations made by 'Jenkins'

Duncan Jenkins is followed by thousands on social networking site Twitter

Liverpool

Headlines: Duncan Jenkins (L), followed by thousands on social networking site Twitter, posted about Liverpool

At this point, Cummins asked Change what would happen if he didn’t agree to the deal.

According to the blog post, Chang
claimed he would be banned from Anfield along with the other man he
shares a season-ticket with.

Chang, it is claimed, also threatened
to hand over his dossier on Cummins to journalist who could ‘run smear
stories on me in the tabloid press’.

Internal investigation: Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre will now probe the claims

Internal investigation: Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre will now probe the claims

And, perhaps most shockingly, Chang
is also alleged to have told Cummins: ‘You know how crazy football fans
are. You’ll have dog shit coming through your letterbox, you’ll have to
take your Facebook page down, you might even have to move house.’

Chang, who has confirmed that he did meet the self-styled Slam Dunc in Manchester, has already denied the claims.

He said: ‘I will not be responding to
total nonsense. The contents of my tweets that are included in the blog
bear no relation whatsoever to the false accusations made by a
fictional character. There was never any investigation by Liverpool over
the tweets.’

However, that has not stopped Liverpool launching an investigation into their own PR chief.

Chang was brought in to Liverpool this summer to boost their PR drive after last season’s troubles with the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra race row. He replaced long-serving Ian Cotton, who was forced out after 16 years at the club.

Brian Woolnough will be missed on Sunday Supplement – Edge of the Box

Sundays won't be the same without Wooly, but the Supplement is in safe hands

|

UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 24 September 2012

Information and knowledge are two of the most important tools in the journalist’s bag of tricks that helps them form the opinions that they share with us.

Thankfully, though, those opinions aren’t put together like flat pack furniture – all coming out exactly the same. Luckily, the writer also packs a brain in that tool bag and uses it to express what they think the facts are; what the actual truth is from their own perspective.

Which leaves us with the entertaining, yet probably totally illogical result of a variety of differing opinions, ALL of which are right!

Sunday morning: (left-right) Neil Ashton hosted with Henry Winter, Andy Dunn and Shaun Custis contributing

Sunday morning: (left-right) Neil Ashton hosted with Henry Winter, Andy Dunn and Shaun Custis contributing

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The place where this is best presented to us, in all of its bun-fight glory is around a breakfast table somewhere in west London, where the cream of the football journalism crop gather on a Sunday morning for Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement.

Starting life as Hold The Back Page under Fleet Street stalwart Brian Woolnough’s stewardship, it eventually became Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement, with that venerable old Fulham player at the nominal helm and Brian effectively as sidekick.

It was a very different programme from the one we see today. Jimmy had most certainly arrived at the curmudgeon phase of his life and I can still feel myself wincing at the prospect of the subject of referees coming up; a cue for Jimmy to launch into his tried and relentlessly tested tirade on matters ‘men in black’.

He was also not backwards in coming forwards in reminding the various journos around the table on any given Sunday that HE had played the game, and therefore any thoughts to the contrary of his may not carry as much weight. The fact that his ideas often arrived in flickering black and white didn’t stop Jimmy in continuing to deliver them in full, unedited detail!

During the show’s Jimmy years, it was ‘Wooly’ who was tasked with the job of trying to help Mr Hill down from his high horse and to curl a few ideas around Jimmy’s belligerent wall like a David Beckham free kick.

Eventually, of course, Woolnough took
control of the show for its genuinely golden years but sadly he didn’t
get to start this new season from his traditional position at the head
of the breakfast table.

Tragically, he passed away in the week and on
Sunday morning, The Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton once again took on
Woolnough’s role in his absence, and he led the tributes to him,
describing his predecessor as ‘a great statesman’.

Missed: Brian Woolnough was a Sunday Supplement star

Missed: Brian Woolnough was a Sunday Supplement star

With him was a classic Sunday
Supplement line up; with Shaun Custis to his right, Henry Winter to his
left and Andy Dunn in the hole and they all remembered Wooly with
affection and respect.

Custis
described their former colleague as ‘inspirational’, Winter called him a
‘natural broadcaster’, while Dunn recalled a moment at Steve McClaren’s
first press conference as England manager when the new boss implored
‘Go easy on me, Wooly’, to which the staunch defender of English
football replied ‘Not gonna happen, Steve!’.

Ashton has seamlessly slipped into his role as the show’s anchor and is already doing what Woolnough also managed with such aplomb, which is to let the three guests do most of the debating. It is a unique TV concept, to allow print journalists to police themselves on the show, but it is important for it work as a piece of telly that someone takes on the job of steering it.

Not that Neil doesn’t clearly have an
opinion, of course, but he is quickly learning the art of putting that
across in his questions. A good trick, that!

I referred earlier to Sunday’s show providing a ‘classic’ table – matched only when it is Martin Samuel opining across the croissants in the general direction of Patrick Barclay – because if there was ever a perfect example of two footie journos both being right, but with COMPLETELY different ideas, it’s when Messrs Custis and Winter cross swords.

This is made particularly entertaining by the fact that they are also patently very different chaps from each other, but also clearly united by a passionate love of the game and a genuine camaraderie.

Chat: Woolnough (centre) with Danny Fulbrook (left) and Steve McLaren (right)

Chat: Woolnough (centre) with Danny Fulbrook (left) and Steve McLaren (right)

However, just as with mates down the pub, it doesn’t prevent them getting into some right verbal tussles over various matters football.

It was the Spurs goalkeeping conundrum that set them off this particular morning with Shaun launching unswervingly into his thoughts on the matter and causing Henry to set his feet and straighten his back in the chair opposite.

Veteran Sunday Supplement watchers will know that this means the two gunslingers are about to go High Noon on us, and so it was as the Geordie journo exclaimed ‘Would Cristiano Ronaldo even have to ask if he was going to start a game’, to which his suave protagonist responded, almost with a gently disdainful flick of the hand, ‘Well, Ronaldo can play in different positions’.

Shaun simply sighed heavily, regrouped and said, ‘Well, anyway…’.

Good knockabout stuff, all delivered with a sense of fun and a real passion for the subject. It was the kind of fayre Sunday Supplement has been serving up for seasons, and regularly bringing serious football addicts like me to the table on a Sunday morning in the process.

It’s just a terrible shame that Brian Woolnough won’t be able to join us there again. RIP Wooly.

Brian Woolnough dies: Sunday Supplement host and Daily Star journalist passes away aged 63

Tributes pour in as Sunday Supplement presenter Woolnough dies, aged 63

|

UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 18 September 2012

Brian Woolnough, the chief sports writer of the Daily Star, has died after a long struggle against bowel cancer.

The 63-year-old was also a well-known face on television, hosting Sky Sports' Sunday Supplement from 2007 after previously being the presenter of Hold the Back Page from 1994.

Woolnough began his career on The Esher
News in Surrey, moved to the Evening Post in Hemel Hempstead before
joining The Sun, where he worked for 27 years, ending up as chief
football writer. He moved to the Daily Star in 2001.

Tributes instantly poured in for Woolnough on social networking site Twitter.

Tributes: Legendary sports journalist and broadcaster Brian Woolnough has passed away, aged 63

Tributes: Legendary sports journalist and broadcaster Brian Woolnough has passed away, aged 63

Sportsmail's chief football correspondent Matt Lawton wrote: 'Desperately sad to hear that Brian Woolnough has passed away. A Fleet Street legend and top, top man. Thoughts with his family.'

BBC's Match of the Day host Gary Lineker added: 'Very sorry to hear that Brian Woolnough has passed away. One of football's finest journalists. #RIPWooly'.

Everton captain Phil Neville wrote: 'Sad to hear the death of Brian woolnough thoughts are with his family RIP'.

Woolnough leaves a wife, Linda, and three children.

Daily Star editor Dawn Neesom said: 'Brian will be missed by everyone at the Daily Star. He was a brilliant sports writer, a huge character and above all a really nice bloke.

Talking a good game: Woolnough's passing comes three months after the death of Daily Star chief football writer Danny Fulbrook. The pair were pictured here alongside former England boss Steve McClaren in 2007

Talking a good game: Woolnough's passing comes three months after the death of Daily Star chief football writer Danny Fulbrook. The pair were pictured here alongside former England boss Steve McClaren in 2007

'Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Linda, and family.'

Daily Star sports editor Howard Wheatcroft said: 'Brian was the doyen of his generation of sports journalists, and had been the senior figure in football journalism for a long, long time.

'To my mind he also paved the way for journalists being called upon as pundits.

'When the era of rolling sports news began, such was his standing that he was in demand from virtually day one – and up until the end he was still the best of the lot.

'He was a big man in many ways, but he was never arrogant and had an incredible appetite for hard work.'

It is only three months since the death of the Daily Star's chief football writer Danny Fullbrook at the age of 40, also from cancer.

New Villa frontman Benteke fights to clear his name after allegations of violent car-jacking

New Villa frontman Benteke fights to clear his name after allegations of violent car-jacking

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UPDATED:

08:49 GMT, 10 September 2012

Aston Villa's summer signing Christian Benteke is fighting to clear his name after allegations he was involved in a violent car-jacking in his native Belgium.

The Belgian international striker, who joined on a 7m deal from Genk this summer, and two friends were accused of brutally beating a motorist and making off in his Volkswagen Polo car.

The 21-year-old Congolese-born player was arrested at the scene in Liege, Belgium, held overnight and brought before the Palais de Justice, accused of taking part in the car-jacking, the Birmingham Mail reported.

'Dream move': Christian Benteke, a Belgian international striker, joined Aston Villa on transfer deadline day

'Dream move': Christian Benteke, a Belgian international striker, joined Aston Villa on transfer deadline day

All three men were later released and both Genk and Villa rushed to issue statements denying the charges.

The Belgian club said that Benteke was interviewed by police merely as a witness to the attack, which happened last November.

Villa insisted that other witnesses had verified Benteke played no part in the car-jacking.

A club statement read: 'Christian and his legal team have co-operated with the investigation and witnesses confirmed he took no part in the matters alleged.'

Goal getter: Benteke in action for his former club Genk, where he had a prolific goalscoring record in the Belgian top flight

Goal getter: Benteke in action for his former club Genk, where he had a prolific goalscoring record in the Belgian top flight

Belgian sports journalist Jan Haupsie reported the two men, aged 23 and 24, claim they had paid the victim 6000 euros a day earlier for another car, a Volkswagen Golf, which later showed up on police records as stolen.

Haupsie said: 'The men were stopped in Liege by police who confiscated the car and told them it had been stolen on October 14 from an address in Paris.

'The next day the two men called up their friend, Christian, and asked him for a lift so that they could confront the seller, who was referred to in court as Kevin.'

Benteke completed his 'dream move' to Villa on transfer deadline day, signing a four-year deal believed to be worth around 7m.

The move went through after Genk had rejected two bids and at one point Benteke had threatened to sue the club if they didn't sanction his move.

Villa manager Paul Lambert felt the player was the perfect partner for his other strikers, Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

After his move went through, Benteke told Sky Sports News: 'I am still young and I have realised my dream. My dream was to come here and I am very happy.

'I hope I will be a success. I am motivated.

'It was difficult and I say thank you to Genk and everyone there. I will go forward for a new challenge.

'I think every player wants to come to the Premier League and I am very happy.'

He scored 19 times in 37 league appearances for Genk last season and has five senior Belgium caps.

Fernando Torres ready to repay Chelsea

Chelsea paid a lot of money for me… so I owe them, says revitalised Torres

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 30 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

When it comes to unusual responses to winning the greatest prize in European club football, Fernando Torres takes some beating.

Less than an hour after lifting the European Cup in Munich last May, Chelsea’s 50million striker delivered the most extraordinary rant to a Spanish journalist.

Torres said he had never been so unhappy, his regular appearances on the bench a source of enormous frustration. That night he was also miffed not to have been asked to take a penalty in the shootout Chelsea won to conquer Bayern Munich.

Raring to go: Chelsea's Fernando Torres during training ahead of the Super Cup

Raring to go: Chelsea's Fernando Torres during training ahead of the Super Cup

In Monaco on Thursday, he seemed far more content, excited about playing his former club Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup this evening but also delighted to be Chelsea’s principal striker now that Didier Drogba has gone.

He began by suggesting the article that subsequently appeared in May was not a fair representation of what he had actually said.

‘I did an interview, but the interpretations … you can write one or another thing,’ he said.

But it prompted a meeting with his employers from which he emerged feeling far more positive about life at Chelsea. Presumably he was told Drogba would definitely be heading to China.

‘I had a conversation with Robbie (Di Matteo) and with the board and said what I felt about last season and what I wanted in the future,’ he said. ‘Five minutes after that everything was clarified.

‘I’m here because I have an important part to play for this team, but I couldn’t say a bad word about Chelsea.

‘They made a big effort to buy me and I
have a lot of things still to do for this club. I want to win
everything I haven’t won yet.

‘We’ve
won the Champions League. Hopefully we can win it one more time. Still
there’s plenty of things to do. I’m not going to give up. I never did
and I’m not about to.’

He
claims the price tag was never an issue for him, and that any loss of
confidence was down to his regular absence from the starting line-up. He
did, however, say that the whole sorry experience — ‘a hard year and a
half’ — had made him ‘a better player and a stronger person’.

Season of success: Chelsea hope to add more silverware to their collection

Season of success: Chelsea hope to add more silverware to their collection

‘Now I know my position in this club, what I have to do,’ he said. ‘I learned a lot of things last season: good, bad.’

The price tag, he insisted, was ‘never
a problem’. ‘The money Chelsea paid for me was never something I was
worried about,’ said Torres. ‘It didn’t make me play badly. It was just a
difficult change from Liverpool to Chelsea. But all these things are in
the past.

Up for the cup: Fernando Torres speaks as Juan Mata (centre) and manager Roberto Di Matteo pay attention

Up for the cup: Fernando Torres speaks as Juan Mata (centre) and manager Roberto Di Matteo pay attention

‘When you feel the confidence of everyone and you’re in the line-up, the confidence is easier to have back. You know you’re going to play, or think you are, and that gives you more time to play your football. I’d never been on the bench for eight games in a row as I was last season. It was like being 17 or 18 again, fighting for my place.

‘That’s the main difference between this and the previous one-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea. I’m playing more minutes and the confidence is back.’

Meanwhile, Thorgan Hazard will be the latest Chelsea youngster to be heading out on loan, as the club has agreed to send the 19 year old to Zulte Waregem for the season.

VIDEO: Torres – 'I'm a better person and a better player now'

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