Tag Archives: journey

Sent-off Gary Cahill slams Emerson over kick as he"s forced to miss Leeds Capital One Cup quarter-final

It wouldn't even knock over my one-year old daughter! Sent-off Cahill slams Emerson over kick as he's forced to miss Leeds clash

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UPDATED:

19:19 GMT, 16 December 2012

Gary Cahill slammed Emerson for his dramatic reaction as the Chelsea defender saw red against Corinthians which means he will miss the Capital One Cup tie against Leeds on Wednesday.

The former Bolton man was sent off for
kicking out at Emerson in the Club World Cup final and he will be suspended for the quarter-final clash at Elland Road.

But Cahill explained: 'I have tackled the guy, we sort of tangled legs and as we tangled he lashed out with his arm and hit me in the face.

Scroll down for video

Cahill was sent off for kicking out at Emerson

Cahill was sent off for kicking out at Emerson

He added: 'So I have reacted which wasn't the
greatest of reactions from me but it is two different players – he hits
me in the face and I don't roll around for five minutes holding my face
like he has broken my nose and dislocated my jaw.

'I touch him on the shin and it
probably wouldn't knock over my one-year-old daughter, yet he was
rolling around five or six times.

'It probably is a red card but the reaction of the guy is totally out of order for what I did if you see the impact.'

FIFA's disciplinary committee will
review the red card this week to see if it commands a longer ban but it
is expected that one game should suffice.

Dejected: Chelsea lost 1-0 in the Club World Cup final and will return home empty handed

Dejected: Chelsea lost 1-0 in the Club World Cup final and will return home empty handed

The suspension adds insult to injury
for Chelsea after they lost 1-0 to the Brazilian side at the Yokohama
International Stadium.

Paulo Guerrero scored the only goal
of the game with a header in the 69th minute to sink the European
champions and send them on their 6,000-mile journey home empty handed.

Fernando Torres should've sent the
game into extra-time but he missed a glorious opportunity in the 85th
minute on a frustrating day for the Blues.

And
to make matters worse for Rafa Benitez's side their flight back to
England was delayed due to Japanese noise restriction laws and they will
not arrive home until Monday afternoon.

VIDEO: Big in Japan: Chelsea's Club World Cup adventure…

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Danny Guthrie fined two-weeks wages following no-show at Sunderland

Reading midfielder Guthrie fined two weeks' wages after showdown talks following no-show at Sunderland

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UPDATED:

17:53 GMT, 12 December 2012

Reading midfielder Danny Guthrie has been fined two weeks' wages after refusing to make the 600-mile round trip to face Sunderland last night.

The former Newcastle player, who is believed to earn 20,000-a-week was hauled in for showdown talks with manager Brian McDermott.

Two hundred and twenty-seven Reading supporters made the journey north, many of whom had to take a day off work but Guthrie said he was not in the right mental state to face a return to the North East.

Not on the bus: Reading's Danny Guthrie (left) did not make the trip to Wearside

Not on the bus: Reading's Danny Guthrie (left) did not make the trip to Wearside

Reading lost 3-0 on Wearside and
afterwards McDermott was unable to hide his disappointment over the
absence of the 25-year-old, who has only played five games for the
Premier League strugglers since his summer move from St James’s Park on a
free transfer.

Guthrie did send a text message to
his manager on Monday night apologising for his refusal to face
Sunderland and the pair will meet today to clear the air ahead of
Reading’s clash with Arsenal this weekend.

McDermott said: 'Danny
Guthrie made a decision that his head wasn’t right to travel. Everybody
has got to be going in the same direction. You have to put yourself in a
position to be selection. His words were that his head isn’t right.

'Was I disappointed He would have
been traveling. Any player has to be part of what we’re about. We can’t
deviate from that. We have to be pulling in the same direction. This is
probably not a conversation for this evening, but it is something we
need to address in the week.'

McDermott meanwhile is hoping owner Anton Zingarevich will invest in new players during next month’s transfer window.

The Reading manager, who dismissed
claims he is facing the sack, has admitted his squad are being stretched
by an injury crisis which forced him to make further changes at
Sunderland last night.

But he is urging Zingarevich to help recruit new blood.

Chin up: Brian McDermott saw his side sink to their fifth straight defeat

Chin up: Brian McDermott saw his side sink to their fifth straight defeat

McDermott said: 'We didn’t invest in
the summer. We all know January is a difficult month and it will be down
to the owner to see where we’re at.

'We’re in such a strong position
financially whatever happens. We want to get out of this and we have to
do everything in our power to do that. My view is that we’ve got to do
what we’ve got to do. We have a choice.'

On target: The returning Steven Fletcher hit Sunderland's second at the Stadium of Light

On target: The returning Steven Fletcher hit Sunderland's second at the Stadium of Light

Middlesbrough fans travel free to Swansea as Capital One pick up the bill

No more fares! Sponsors pay for Boro fans' Capital One Cup trip to Swansea as Mowbray's men hit the road for 12th straight tie

By
Adam Crafton

PUBLISHED:

15:44 GMT, 10 December 2012

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UPDATED:

15:45 GMT, 10 December 2012

Middlesbrough supporters travelling to Swansea for Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup clash will have their journey paid for by the competition sponsors – as a reward for being drawn away from home an incredible 12 consecutive times.

Boro sit third in the Championship under manager Tony Mowbray and their fans have snapped up seats to climb on board the official supporters’ coaches for the 656-mile round trip to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

The remarkable run has taken Boro fans all over the country they will have accumulated over 4,000 miles to support their side in the League Cup after the trip to Wales.

Away day: Ishmael Miller (right) scored the winner at Peterborough on Saturday

Away day: Ishmael Miller (right) scored the winner at Peterborough on Saturday

Boro's travels in the League Cup

Sep 23, 2008
Man United 3-1 Middlesbrough – 242 miles

Aug 25, 2009
Nottm Forest 2-1 Middlesbrough – 262 miles

Aug 10, 2010
Chesterfield 1-2 Middlesbrough – 218 miles

Aug 24, 2010
Millwall 2-1 Middlesbrough – 514 miles

Aug 9, 2011
Walsall 0-3 Middlesbrough – 348 miles

Aug 24, 2011
Peterborough 0-2 Middlesbrough – 394 miles

Sep 20, 2011
Crystal Palace 2-1 Middlesbrough – 528 miles

Aug 11, 2012
Bury 1-2 Middlesbrough – 224 miles

Aug 28, 2012
Gillingham 0-2 Middlesbrough – 586 miles

Sep 25, 2012
Preston Ed 1-3 Middlesbrough – 242 miles

Oct 30, 201
Sunderland 0-1 Middlesbrough – 35 miles

Dec 12, 2012
Swansea v Middlesbrough – 656 miles

Total Travel = 4,249 miles

Along the way they visited the likes of Manchester United and Chesterfield since their last home tie in the competition – against Yeovil in August 2008.

‘Boro’s run of away games is unprecedented in the history of the competition, and as the sponsor of the Capital One Cup we wanted to reward their loyal fans for yet another journey on the road,’ said Michael Woodburn, chief marketing officer at Capital One.

Boro defender Jonathan Woodgate praised the sponsors for lifting the financial burden on the fans saying: ‘This is a great gesture from Capital One and I’m sure that our fans will be very grateful.

‘Being drawn away 12 times in a row has been hard for our fans but they’ve never wavered in their support for the team.’

By the time that Boro fans return home from Swansea, they will have travelled a total of 4,249 miles over the past four years.

And they’ll be hoping they can go all the way on the road to Wembley this season…

With Capital One covering the transport, Boro fans have the opportunity to splash out on some of the finer attractions that Swansea has to offer…..

The Gower Peninsula

The Gower’s Peninsula is home to the Oystermouth Castle which sits proudly on the hill in Mumbles, overlooking Swansea Bay.

The castle, which dates back to the 12th century, was the residence of the Marcher Lords of Gower, and often came under siege from sections of the Welsh population.

A 1949 Act declared Gower as ‘An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.

The National Showcaves Centre for Wales

Voted as Britain’s Finest Natural Wonder, this centre boasts three caves – Dan-yr-Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave.

Visitors have the opportunity to walk through caverns carved out millions of years ago and walk behind 40-feet tall waterfalls in the Dome of St Paul’s.

It would certainly be a place to take the kids, as the centre also maintains the world’s largest collection of life-sized dinosaur models.

And don’t forget the essentials…

For the pre-match drinks, fans are advised to go to Wind Street in the city centre, with bars such as Yates, The Bank Statement and the No Sign Bar particular favourites…

Inside the stadium, Boro fans can purchase…

Pints of Carling (3.20) and Worthington (3.20)

Pies (1.80)

The match-day programme (3)

Travelling to watching Boro away from home (when they win)… Priceless!

Man City legend Francis Lee: My top player was on 15 grand a week when I was chairman blimey, academy lads are on that now

Legend Lee who paved way to Etihad reflects on City's incredible journey: My top player was on 15 grand a week – blimey, academy lads are on that now

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 8 December 2012

Francis Lee can pinpoint the moment he realised being the chairman of Manchester City might send him round the bend. Watching his team thrashed at Old Trafford, Lee was aghast by what he saw when Andrei Kanchelskis scored a fifth United goal in a 5-0 victory.

'A couple of United players were laughing – so were the defenders of Manchester City. I thought “Oh Christ, I can't believe that”,' he said. 'It was a little giggle and a shrug of the shoulders as if to say “Oh, that is five”. Kanchelskis got three that night and our left-back still thought he'd had a good game!

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

'They were the bad old days. We spent too much money on a new stand and infrastructure when we should have spent it on players. And our managers weren't very good, although I've got to take responsibility for appointing them.'

Franny on Balotelli

What's he done wrong exactly Plenty of players today do far worse than a few problems with fireworks. I played with a guy called Tony Coleman at City. He'd come into training still in his dinner jacket and tie, smelling of vodka. The manager had to introduce a rule just for TC: any player spotted out after midnight on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday would be fined two weeks' wages.

Nobody packed inside the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between the two best teams in the country knows Manchester City like Lee.

As a barrel-chested, prolific centre-forward, he earned cult status for winning the League Championship, FA Cup and European Cup-winners' Cup in consecutive seasons under manager Joe Mercer and his colourful coach, Malcolm Allison.

Then, having made a fortune in business, he returned to City as chairman in 1994, when they were a financial basket-case rather than Premier League superpower.

Back then, there were no Abu Dhabi millions to spend. Instead, Lee put in charge Alan Ball, whose team shielded the ball when they needed to score to avoid relegation, Steve Coppell, who quit after 28 days, and Frank Clark, whose job was to take City out of the old First Division. Clark succeeded – not by getting the club promoted back to the Premier League but by getting them relegated to the third tier of English football.

Lee, by nature an optimist and extrovert, was moved to say: 'If cups were awarded for cock-ups, you would not be able to move in City's boardroom.'

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Looking back now to those turbulent times, Lee still has to pinch himself at how the club has changed in little more than a decade.

Franny on City's dream signing

Some fans might not like it
but I'd go out and try to buy
Cristiano Ronaldo. He can win
a game at the drop of a hat
even when he's having a
moan. When you line up
against someone like
Ronaldo, you wouldn't have
a clue how to stop him. He can
play on either wing
and is unplayable on
his day.

'I didn't pay a lot for City because it was completely skint. The top earner in my time was Georgi Kinkladze on about 15 grand a week. Blimey, the Academy lads are on that now. The turnover was 4.5million when I became chairman. When I left in 1998 it was over 30m – now it is 240m.'

On Sunday, Roberto Mancini has the most expensive Premier League squad in history to choose from, part an overall 1billion investment from Sheik Mansour since he bought City in 2008.

Lee's largest single purchase was 3.75m for Portsmouth striker Lee Bradbury, a deal that still gives him nightmares. Bradbury played just 40 matches, scoring 10 goals before being sold to Crystal Palace for half the amount Lee had paid.

Lee recalled: 'I asked our manager, Frank Clark, if he was sure because it was a lot of money. He said ''Yes, this lad could be the next Alan Shearer''. I saw his debut in pre-season at Burnley and he never looked to get into the six-yard box like a lead striker should. I went home afterwards and my wife, Gill, said “What is it, you look fed up” I said “This new striker, I don't fancy him, honestly''.'

It had been different in Lee's playing heyday during the Swinging Sixties when United and City battled for trophies. Once the matches were over, rival players would go out clubbing together.

'Manchester was a fantastic place to go out in,' says Lee. 'There were 10 clubs with world-class cabaret and comedians. You'd go in and Tom Jones might be singing, or Shirley Bassey or Engelbert Humperdinck. The United lads would go to the same places. Besty (George Best) was always in Blinkers or Mr Smiths. He was a prize asset for any club who could have him in there regularly because he used to pack it out with young girls who all fancied becoming his wife, which was a big mountain to climb. Some of the younger players used to follow on, hoping to get a few of his cast-offs.'

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

The charismatic Allison was as likely to join his players for a night out as punish them, a practice it is hard to imagine current manager Mancini adopting, given his reputation for keeping his distance from his squad. But Lee, who played for the ultimate disciplinarian Sir Alf Ramsey at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, does not see any problem with City's Italian manager.

Franny on England

I'd like to see David Moyes as our next manager. He's done wonders with relatively limited resources at Everton and that's basically the same situation he'd have with England. People say we can't appoint him because he's Scottish. Why not We've had an Italian, a Swede and a half-Dutchman.

'You don't have to be popular with the players to be a good manager or coach,' he insists. 'Alf Ramsey was never the life and soul of the party. He would turn to anybody – no matter how big a name – and say “Look, if you don't start pulling your socks up, you can kiss this bloody international squad goodbye”. If Alf gave you a rollocking, you knew you had been told off.

'He accused me twice of going to the Sportsman's Club in Tottenham Court Road and getting drunk. It wasn't me because I'd never been there in my life – but he said if he ever got proof, he would drop me like a stone.

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

'City haven't lost a League game
since April. They beat West Brom with 10 men this season. That doesn't
happen if the players don't have attitude and spirit. The Champions
League has been a learning curve but it's a higher grade of football.
The tempo is very high and didn't suit one or two of the current
players. It'll take time to readjust.'

Six of the best Manchester derbies

Man United 0 Man Cit y 1
April 27, 1974

United would have gone down anyway, no matter what the result of this game. But defeat by their old rivals confirmed it – and Denis Law scored with a cheeky back-heel that merely twisted the knife a little bit more.

Man Cit y 5 Man United 1
September 23, 1989

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed this was the worst defeat of his career. Under pressure and struggling to make an impact, the Scot's new-look side were dismantled by a rampant, newly-promoted City. David Oldfield scored twice, with Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop also finding the net before Andy Hinchcliffe completed the rout. Mark Hughes was United's scorer.

Man City 2 Man United 3
November 7, 1993

Two-up through a Niall Quinn double, City supporters were in ecstasy at half-time. But Eric Cantona pulled one back straight after the break, then equalised before Roy Keane completed a comeback to remember.

Man United 5 Man City 0
November 10, 1994

United in their pomp and City beginning their slide to near-oblivion. Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis scored the first derby hat-trick for 24 years after Cantona and Hughes had put United in command.

Man United 4 Man Cit y 3
September 20, 2009

An extraordinary game, settled by Michael Owen in the sixth minute of stoppage-time. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after two minutes before Gareth Barry capitalised on a Ben Foster mistake to level. Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy each scored twice, with City believing they had earned a share of the spoils – until a Boy's Owen finish in his first start in a United shirt.

Man United 1 Man City 6
October 23, 2011

Mario Balotelli's opener, before revealing that 'Why Always Me' T-shirt, started a rout the like of which had never been seen. The Italian added another, Sergio Aguero put City three up, then, after Darren Fletcher had pulled one back, Edin Dzeko (two, left) and David Silva netted in stoppage-time to condemn United to their

Lee was surrounded by quality in
City's golden era, most notably from his great friend, Mike Summerbee,
and Colin Bell. His own contribution saw him dubbed 'Lee-won-pen'
because of his ability to win and convert penalty-kicks. He would have
relished playing in the current City side, although he has some
interesting advice on how to get the best out of their strikers, who are
well down on last season's huge goals tally.

'I would love to have played with
David Silva,' Lee adds. 'Vincent Kompany is an extremely good player and
the goalkeeper, Joe Hart, is top drawer – in the Peter Schmeichel
class. If you were being pernickety, you might say he could still tidy
up his distribution a bit.

'And I would like to have played up
front with Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero. They make life uncomfortable
for defenders but invariably play too close together. I'd like to see
them spread out 20 metres apart, giving defenders nightmares on the
outside and allowing the big feller, Yaya Toure, to bomb through the
gaps in the middle.'

Born and raised in Bolton, Lee was one of the first footballers to break the stereotype that their brains were kept in their boots. He made his first-team debut for his hometown club at 16, thereby putting on hold his training to be a draughtsman.

Encouraged by his father, he pursued an interest in business during his playing days and was rewarded when he sold his toilet-roll manufacturing business, FH Lee, in 1984.

He had not needed the help of an agent to negotiate the contract that made him the best-paid player in England when he joined Derby County in 1976 on wages of 1,000 a week.

The following year he bought the Cheshire home where he still lives, with enough land at the back to run a successful horse-racing stable.

His part in City's history is indelible, and he is proud that he was the chairman at the start of negotiations that would see City leave their Maine Road home for the Commonwealth Games stadium.

'I was at a Premier League meeting and Sir John Hall (Newcastle United's chairman), who was in property, said to me: “You've landed lucky, haven't you”. His information was that Manchester was going to host the Commonwealth Games in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year of 2002, which meant a big, new stadium.

'There was really only going to be one team to go there and it meant City didn't have to spend the same amount as for their own ground. The city council approached us and we worked on that from there.'

The rest, as they say, is history, and at least when Lee walks up to The Etihad today, he will not be worried about another five-goal beating from United.

Preston manager Graham Westley refunds fans after Bury clash postponed

Preston boss Westley covers petrol costs of fans after Bury clash called off

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 4 December 2012

Preston North End manager Graham Westley helped soften the blow some of the club's fans suffered on Tuesday night, dipping into his pocket to refund their travel costs after their Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash against Bury was postponed.

The match at Gigg Lane was called off an hour before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch, despite referee Gary Sutton giving the all clear at 6.30pm.

Westley came across a minibus full of fans making the 30-odd mile journey home, and offered to cover their petrol costs, as well as a round of soft drinks.

Scroll down for video of the Preston boss paying back the fans

Making friends: Graham Westley has covered the petrol costs of some fans

Making friends: Graham Westley has covered the petrol costs of some fans

Video footage of the kind gesture quickly circulated on Twitter, while a number of Lilywhites fans were full of praise for the boss.

@Weyer95 wrote: 'Home and dry (like bury's pitch according to GW). Very disappointed with the game being called off but Graham Westley is magic.'

@ecossesteve added: 'Hearing some great stories from #PNE fans being refunded travel expenses by Graham Westley personally. Fantastic stuff.'

And ‏@ingolwhite claimed his son had been one of the benficeries. He wrote: 'top man graham westley bought my son and his mates a drink and gave them 40 petrol money.'

Preston are 11th in League One after an indifferent run of results, and sit six points adrift of the playoff places.

**WARNING, USE OF STRONG LANGUAGE

David Beckham farewell ends with victory for LA Galaxy over Houston Dynamo

From cynicism to people's champion, Beckham heads back to Europe after his American adventure more acclaimed than ever

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UPDATED:

00:23 GMT, 2 December 2012

What began amid cynicism and courted controversy and suspicion along the way, ended here in California tonight with a standing ovation. David Beckham’s American journey is over and he heads back to Europe as a winner.

It was six years ago that Beckham moved to Los Angeles at the age of 31 to play football. It seemed a peculiar thing to do for a man still with so many years ahead of him. The MLS was not a great league and LA Galaxy were a club – or a ‘franchise’ – in a bit of a mess.

But as Beckham took his leave a minute before the end of his team’s 3-1 win in the MLS Cup Final here today, few would contest his own view that America has been as good to him as, eventually, he has been to America.

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Fond farewell: David Beckham has crowned his six year spell in the United States and the Los Angeles Galaxy with another MLS Cup victory, after they beat Houston Dynamo 3-1

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Here's the punchline: Beckham celebrates after Omar Gonzalez had brought the match level at 1-1 early in the second half

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Family man: Beckham lines up with his sons, Brooklyn (left), Romeo (middle) and Cruz before kick-off

Trailing by a goal at half-time, it looked for a while as though Beckham’s big day was about to collapse around his sparkling pink football foots. Galaxy had been the better team but had been hit by a sucker punch from Houston just before the interval.

In the second half, though, Beckham wrote his name all over this contest. He was the game’s best player and by full-time he had made many of the decisive contributions.

Beckham may not be able to run like he once could. It will be this, in all likelihood, that ultimately prevents him landing a contract at one of Europe’s bigger clubs as he looks to extend his remarkable career yet further in the coming weeks.

As a football technician, though, he remains almost unparalleled. Here today, some of his passing was reminiscent of his salad days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Playing deep in the centre of midfield, the 37-year-old found the time and space to deliver telling passes with familiar regularity.

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Still got it: Beckham produced a number of superlative, hallmark passes during the final

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Hair-raising: Beckham challenged Houston's Ricardo Clark to the ball

Indeed the one 80-yard first-time pass he played with his right foot to Robbie Keane on the hour will not be bettered anywhere this weekend. It was classic Beckham.

With the Home Depot Center awash with Beckham t-shirts and banners – “Take us with you, Becks” read one popular shirt – this day was somewhat different to the difficult early ones when the former England captain’s commitment to his team was questioned by supporters and colleagues alike.

Ultimately, it was just a shame that he was denied a fitting finale.

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Much loved: Beckham's departure was mourned by LA Galaxy fans, who made a number of tribute banners for his farewell

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

Memento: This Galaxy fan wanted the shirt of Beckham's back

With Galaxy awarded a penalty with seconds remaining, Beckham and team-mate Landon Donovan – the regular taker – seemed to agree that the Englishman would take it. He seemed set to end his career here with a goal.

Keane had other ideas, however, and the Irishman didn’t even look at his team-mate as he placed the ball and slotted it in to the net for the third goal.

As Keane celebrated, though, it was Beckham who was mobbed. Moments earlier he had sunk to his knees. His final mission had been accomplished.

As he left the field soon after, 30,000 people rose to applaud him. He merely waved to his three sons in the crowd and took his place on the bench.

Beckham’s visit to America is over and he ends it with another trophy. Has he been a success over here Try telling the Galaxy otherwise.

Steven Gerrard feeling nervous before 100th England appearance

Gerrard feeling nervous as he prepares to pull on special boots to mark 100th England game

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 13 November 2012

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, the Champions League, double FA Cup and thrice League Cup winner, has admitted feeling nervous on the eve of England's friendly with Sweden on Wednesday night.

But for Gerrard this is not just a run-of-the-mill calendar-padding fixture, this is the match in which he will win his 100th international cap.

So we can forgive the all-action midfielder his flustered demeanour – only five others have played more times for England.

History boy: Steven Gerrard admits he is nervous on the eve of winning his 100th England cap

History boy: Steven Gerrard admits he is nervous on the eve of winning his 100th England cap

Bootiful: He is commemorating the game with a pair of specially embroidered boots

Bootiful: He is commemorating the game with a pair of specially embroidered boots

'I'm excited. I'm slightly nervous which I haven't been for a while,' explained Gerrard.

'I can't wait for the game to start. My England journey has had ups and downs a lot like any other player.

'I still feel I have a few chapters to write yet. I don't feel I'm at the end.

'I'm really happy with my form in an England shirt at the moment.'

Gerrard has a pair of specially embroidered boots to commemorate the occasion, with 'Sweden vs. England', '100 Caps' and the date of the matched etched into the leather.

Preparation: Gerrard (centre) during the training session at the Friends Arena, Stockholm

Preparation: Gerrard (centre) during the training session at the Friends Arena, Stockholm

One of few: Only five other players have broken the 100 cap milestone

One of few: Only five other players have broken the 100 cap milestone

Revisited: The classic Bobby Moore photo from the 70s was redone with Gerrard in the centre

Revisited: The classic Bobby Moore photo from the 70s was redone with Gerrard in the centre

In addition to the boots he also marked the event by returning to his primary school and posing for an exclusive Sportsmail photo with the children wearing his 99 caps, a la Bobby Moore in 1973.

Peter Shilton (125 caps), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106 caps) and Billy Wright (105) are the centurions before him.

Beckham's record for an outfield player is Gerrard's next target but he says his focus lies on ensuring England successfully navigate their group and make it to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

'I don't know (if he will pass the mark) we'll have to wait and see,' said Gerrard.

'David is a hero of mine. I've always looked up to him and I enjoyed playing alongside him.

Leading the way: David Beckham holds the record for most caps for an outfield player

Leading the way: David Beckham holds the record for most caps for an outfield player

'But to be honest it is not important to me if I beat David's record. I just want to qualify this team for the next big tournament.'

Sweden and Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled the Englishman 'fantastic' and told him he should be playing at a bigger club than Liverpool.

Ibrahimovic said: ‘I think English players have a big heart, always fighting and very aggressive. But for me, Steven Gerrard feels more international. He has more skills than a normal player.

'He could have played for a big international club outside the Premier League.

On the wind-up: Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Gerrard could have played for a big club

On the wind-up: Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Gerrard could have played for a big club

He added: 'He always plays at a high level when he is not injured. He is a very good person to have as a team-mate in your team. He always gives 200%, is a good fighter and has good skills and a good touch with the ball also.

Gerrard laughed off the comment saying: 'I’m a big fan of Zlatan as a player but I’m not going to take his advice.

'I am very happy at Liverpool and in my opinion I am at one of the biggest clubs in the world, a team that has won the European Cup five times. So I’m happy where I am, but thanks for his opinion.'

Leading the way: Gerrard is set to captain England on Wednesday night

Leading the way: Gerrard is set to captain England on Wednesday night

Patrick Collins: Why do we put up with these obscenities just because it"s football?

Why do we put up with these obscenities just because it's football

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UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 11 November 2012

Their team had just dropped two points at Swansea and they were no longer top of the Premier League.

Yet the Chelsea fans were in high spirits as they boarded the 19.28 to Paddington last Saturday.

For there were songs to sing, drinks to drink and tales to tell on the long journey home.

Boorish behaviour: Chelsea fans caused train consternation

Boorish behaviour: Chelsea fans caused train consternation

A young woman sat in a seat by a window. She was surrounded by a party of 15 portly, middle-aged fans.

The man next to her, already stupid
with booze, started to swallow cans of strong cider. The others, equally
thirsty, exchanged crude, raucous jokes; most concerning Jimmy Savile,
all featuring the c-word, over and over again.

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As the drink slurped down, they bellowed a ditty about the Welsh abusing sheep. More cackling, more profanity.

Along the carriage sat a mother, anxiously nursing a baby and a toddler.

Other 'civilians' boarded the train at Cardiff, including a nervous, elderly couple who were visiting relations in London.

All were forced to endure the singing and the swearing.

/11/10/article-2231159-0B5874E4000005DC-805_224x423.jpg” width=”224″ height=”423″ alt=”Facing flack: Dave Jones” class=”blkBorder” />

Facing Flack: Arsene Wenger

Under fire from morons: Dave Jones (left) and Arsene Wenger

Then there are the songs about Auschwitz, heard on certain London grounds and intended to taunt the followers of Tottenham.

It is impossible to imagine the mind capable of conceiving a song about a death camp.

In fairness, it is equally impossible to comprehend the Spurs supporters who, despite being overwhelmingly non-Jewish, have cast themselves as the 'Yid Army'.

With its overtones of Oswald Mosley and his vile slogans of the Thirties, it is a term fit to keep squalid company with the n-word.

And yet it is regularly sung at White Hart Lane, in an apparent attempt to appear ironic.

They are, it seems, 'reclaiming' the calumny, 'embracing' the slur.

The club explain: 'Our fans adopted the chant as a defence mechanism in order to deflect anti-Semitic abuse. They do not use the term to cause any offence, they use it as a chant among themselves.'

Thus do Tottenham render themselves pathetic in their desire to pander to dullards.

And so the game, the national game, flounders in a moral swamp.

Songs about Auschwitz, wickedly baseless accusations of paedophilia; ordinary people would deem them unthinkable but football dismisses them as merely 'tribal', robust examples of what it is pleased to call 'banter'.

Pandering to dullards: Spurs fans proud to be a 'Yid Army'

Pandering to dullards: Spurs fans proud to be a 'Yid Army'

Sanitised by Sky and protected by the brazen self-interest of the Premier League, it exists in its own bubble, observes its own code.

Those of us who had hoped that football might be impressed by the civilised example of the London Olympic crowds were swiftly disabused.

Athletics, cycling, swimming: who's interested Where's the passion No, mate; football could buy and sell that lot.

You see, football really matters.

And it is that charmless arrogance which inspires moronic delusions.

We'll sing what we like. We'll say what we choose. We'll stand unsafely, by the tens of thousands, in grounds designed for sitting.

Sure, young children will be unable to see, their parents and grandparents will be upset and affronted. So what We're football. We're way above the usual rules.

Which leads us back to the 19.28 to Paddington, with its foul language, its offensive chants, its debris of fast food and its cowed, intimidated passengers.

At some stage, somebody would have had to clean those carriages; a menial, deeply unpleasant task made necessary by the animal excesses of ignorant oafs.

But who knows Who cares For this is Saturday, this is football. We know what we are, we do what we want. And we take a game, a beautiful, much-loved game, and reduce it to an anti-social charade, fit for cider-swilling dolts.

Milne's pay slip shows what a difference half-a-century makes

Fifty years ago this weekend, Manchester United and Liverpool played a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford.

They were two fine sides. United offered players like Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Johnny Giles and Denis Law, while Liverpool fielded the likes of Ron Yeats, Roger Hunt, Ian St John and an outstanding wing-half called Gordon Milne.

Milne was to feature in 236 games for Bill Shankly's team, as well as winning 14 full England caps.

On this weekend in the old First Division, before a crowd of 43,810, he played a prominent role in his team's excellent result.

'It was always a tough place to get anything from,' he recalls. 'But we deserved the point that day.'

The good old days: Ron Yeats and Gordon Milne hold the FA Cup aloft after Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 at Wembley in 1965

The good old days: Ron Yeats and Gordon Milne hold the FA Cup aloft after Liverpool beat Leeds 2-1 at Wembley in 1965

Recently, the 75-year-old Milne was turning out his attic. /11/10/article-2231159-0486D7EC0000044D-226_468x309.jpg” width=”468″ height=”309″ alt=”Money-spinner: Steven Gerrard holds aloft the FA Cup after Liverpool beat West Ham on penalties in 2006″ class=”blkBorder” />

Money-spinner: Steven Gerrard holds aloft the FA Cup after Liverpool beat West Ham on penalties in 2006

Captain of Liverpool, he sets the tone and the tempo in his club's midfield.

For this, he is paid around 140,000 every week. If we subtract, say, half of that amount in deductions, he is left with 70,000 a week, or 10,000 a day, or around 7 per minute.

In other words, it would take Gerrard slightly less than five minutes to earn what Milne used to earn in a week.

'No complaints,' says Gordon Milne. 'I don't begrudge the modern players a penny.

'I loved every minute of my time. We were all paid the same and we were glad of it. That's the way things were.'

Half a century ago. Another age, another world…

PS

Following Roberto Mancini's absurd rant at a Champions League referee, Manchester City put up David Platt to support his boss.

'He's fine,' said Platt. 'People make a great deal out of it but it's not the first time he has reacted that way. He wears his heart on his sleeve. If he has something to say, he'll go and say it.'

It was the most hilariously inept defence since Lieutenant George spoke up for Edmund Blackadder after the slaying of the pigeon named Speckled Jim.

We must hear much more of Platt. And rather less of Mancini.

Rant: Roberto Mancini protests to referee Peter Rasmussen

Rant: Roberto Mancini protests to referee Peter Rasmussen

PPS

They tell us that Scottish football is galloping to the graveyard. The game which gave us gods like Law, Stein, Dalglish and the rest is now a misty-eyed memory.

Yet, once in a wonderful while, the gallop pauses and glory raises its voice.

Celtic 2, FC Barcelona 1. And the gods were smiling.

Chib Chilaka helps Harrogate Town reach FA Cup second round

Michael Walker: It's Harro-great! Chib Chib hooray for Yorkshiremen with battle against Hastings to follow

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UPDATED:

00:22 GMT, 5 November 2012

Chib Chilaka has a smile so big you can hear it. And on Saturday night the noise was loud. England’s Riviera had heard nothing like it. But then no-one had.

When Chilaka’s 20th-minute shot cannoned in off a Plainmoor post, 98-year-old Harrogate Town were on the way to the FA Cup second round for the first time in their history. A club who could have folded 18 months ago are experiencing a glorious renewal.

‘Why am I playing football’ was a question 26-year-old Chilaka asked on Saturday evening. He and Harrogate had just got their answer. Their collective joy on the final whistle was sincere and touching.

Smiles better: Chib Chilaka celebrates Harrogate's famous FA Cup win

Smiles better: Chib Chilaka celebrates Harrogate's famous FA Cup win

There were moments of Yorkshire good fortune as freezing rain swept across this corner of Devon, but Harrogate acknowledged that. There were three goal-line clearances in the second half.

Yet, no fewer than 56 places separate the non-League Conference North club from League Two Torquay United, hitherto unbeaten at home this season, and Harrogate had only begun to think of this game late last Wednesday night when they overcame Hyde in a rearranged replay that went to extra time. What followed on Friday was a six-hour bus journey south. It meant some players asking for a day off work.

ROAD TO WEMBLEY

Michael Walker has followed the competition from the beginning

Aug 11 — North Shields 1 Birtley Town 1 (Birtley won replay).

Aug 25 — Birtley Town 1 West Auckland 4.

Sep 8 — Ashington 2 West Auckland 3.

Sep 22 — West Auckland 2 Harrogate Town 2 (Harrogate won replay).

Oct 6 — Harrogate Town 3 Frickley Athletic 2.

Oct 20 — Hyde 1 Harrogate Town 1 (Harrogate won replay).

Nov 3 — Torquay 0 Harrogate Town 1.

So everything was stacked in favour of Torquay. This was their first FA Cup tie of the season; it was Harrogate’s fourth. West Auckland, Frickley, Hyde and Torquay have been seen off — three of them away games — and the prize in yesterday’s draw was a home tie against Isthmian Premier Division side Hastings United. There is also the 18,000 for winning here.

‘That’s welcome, but it’s not just about the money,’ said Tad Nowakowski, one of the directors who stepped in when it seemed Harrogate were about to be demoted three leagues in 2010.

‘What we’re trying to do is build a
community club. An awkward thing about us coming in was that Simon
Weaver is the manager and his father Irving was asked to take over from
the previous board. Irving asked me to join him, which was again
awkward, because my son plays for the team.

‘We didn’t want to get involved, we just wanted to go and watch. We had nothing — no experience, and no kit. I’m a retired police officer and teacher.

‘That’s where we’ve come from. You have to give a lot of credit to the Weavers, father and son.

‘Adam, my son, was the only local lad, now there are six. That’s part of our ethos. We’re trying to become a family club — players not swearing, good behaviour, we’re into that. It’s not just about being a good player, it’s about being a good character.’

Chilaka is one of those. Harrogate Town back up their words with deeds, as Chilaka explained.

On target: Chilaka celebrates his goal

On target: Chilaka celebrates his goal

‘In the Harrogate area there’s a little scheme where they try to help out recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. They use sport as a way to get out of addiction. I started by doing one session, just a pure football session. And they really enjoyed it. So I was asked to keep it on and on Thursdays we do it. It’s all age groups, 16-year-olds to 45-year-olds, men. They’re doing well.’

Chilaka is qualified. Not only has he tasted the professional game with Bradford City, he has two degrees.

‘I’ve got a Bachelor’s in human
biology and a Masters in business — why am I playing football! My Dad
asks me that all the time. They are very different degrees.’

Chilaka studied at Leeds Metropolitan
University. While there, he got a trial with Bradford and on the day he
handed in his Masters thesis, he received a phone call.

‘It was from Peter Taylor saying,
“We’re going to sign you”. It was a very special day in my life. I
signed a one-year deal, built up my fitness and confidence, but the team
were having a tough time.

‘The manager was reluctant to throw me
in when there was talk of relegation. I still thought they would keep me
on but financially Bradford were struggling. They were close to losing
the stadium and so 12 of us had to move on.’

Chilaka was at Braintree last season but this is his second spell at Harrogate and he said January’s return was ‘like coming home’.

‘It’s like a family,’ he said. ‘The manager is big on that atmosphere. We stayed in a hotel last night, we were all together, all ate together, had a walk together and some fun and games on the tennis court, all together. It clicks.

‘And you see that on the pitch. When someone makes a mistake we don’t get on to each other. I hope people notice that.’

People have taken notice of Harrogate Town — Torquay’s fans clapped them off on Saturday. Now for Hastings.

Jack Wilshere says son helped him after Arsenal comeback

Jack enjoys his first steps back… and says son Archie helped him

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 28 October 2012

Jack Wilshere is finally back in the game – and he has his one-year-old son Archie to thank for it.

The Arsenal midfielder ended his 17-month spell on the sidelines, playing 66 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.

Fighting fit: Wilshere in the thick of it against Queens Park Rangers

Fighting fit: Wilshere in the thick of it against Queens Park Rangers

And the 20-year-old opened up about the dark days stuck in the Gunners' treatment room.

'It's been a long journey, I've been told it's been 542 days since my last game,' said Wilshere.

'That's a long time, especially not to have any competition. When you go to the training ground day after day there's times when you don't want to do it, especially when you see all the boys go out to training.

'But you have to. For the last couple of months, I've been going in at 8am and going home at 4pm and the hard work is paying off now.

'For any player to have four months out is tough, but to have a year out and another couple of months is frustrating. When you're nearly back a couple of times and then have another setback it's really hard to take.

Welcome back, Jack: The Arsenal midfielder played for over an hour on Saturday

Welcome back, Jack: The Arsenal midfielder played for over an hour on Saturday

'But I've got my son now and I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't for him. He helped me through it massively, my family have helped me so much and it'll strengthen me.'

Wilshere, sidelined since before the
start of last season after battling ankle and knee injuries, was shocked
at being told he was starting the match against QPR on Saturday morning
after Arsene Wenger originally planned to introduce him as a
second-half substitute.

Job done: Wilshere was replaced by Walcott

Job done: Wilshere was replaced by Walcott

And the midfielder has declared himself fit for Tuesday's League Cup tie against Reading. But with a Premier League showdown with Manchester United on the horizon, Wenger could decide to rest his comeback kid.

'After 60 minutes, I could feel my legs going even then,' added Wilshere.

'I'm still a long way from full fitness and everyone has to understand that. They do here at Arsenal. It's a long journey and it's going to take time.

'When you come back, there's an expectation but I can deal with it. That's part and parcel of football and there's older players here who can keep my feet on the ground and help me.

'Just for now, I'm happy to be back. The feeling – I was just running round smiling – that feeling was amazing.

'I think the boss saw that I was struggling a bit and took me off. 'We've got a game on Tuesday and if I'm selected then I'm ready to play.'