Tag Archives: leisure

Aquatics Centre transformation underway

Aquatics Centre transformation going swimmingly as seating is removed

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UPDATED:

12:04 GMT, 18 December 2012

It was the arena where Ellie Simmonds sped her way to two golds and where Michael Phelps swam to his 22nd Olympic medal.

But now the Aquatics Centre is transforming, as construction workers start to dismantle the seating on either side of the pool.

Downsizing: The transformation of the Aquatics Centre has begun (and below)

Downsizing: The transformation of the Aquatics Centre has begun (and below)

During the games it had the capacity to hold 17,500 spectators, but now the two temporary wings on the structure are to be removed, leaving room for 2,500.

Designed by Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Architecture prize winner, the centre was created in a way that would allow for the additional seating to be removed easily once it was no longer needed.

Diggers

Stripped bare

History: The building took three years to make and was designed by Zaha Hadid

The construction, which took three years to build, has moveable floors and can adjust depth to match ability in all three of its pools.

It will be run by Greenwich Leisure Limited and is anticipated to attract around 800,000 visitors from the local area per year.

Come on in: The new venue will be made 'welcoming'

Come on in: The new venue will be made 'welcoming'

The organisers have been determined to make the venue welcoming and family-friendly, adding a cafe and a creche for visitors.

They have also agreed to employ local workers, with over 250 jobs available once the centre opens in 2013.

The future of the Olympic stadium has yet to be decided.

Sir Chris Hoy launches his own range of bikes

On your bike, Chris: Olympian Hoy launches his own set of golden wheels

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 27 November 2012

Sir Chris Hoy today announced that he will launch his own range of cycles next May, but still hopes to extend his glittering career to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the Glasgow stadium named after him.

The 36-year-old, Britain’s most decorated Olympian with six gold medals, is going into business with leading UK retailer Evans.

'Cycling has been a central part of my life from an early age and has helped me to achieve so much,” said Hoy, one of the 10 nominations for BBC Sports Personality of the Year; the award he won after the Beijing Games in 2008.

Golden wheels: Sir Chris Hoy launches his own range of bicycles

Golden wheels: Sir Chris Hoy launches his own range of bicycles

'I want to help more people experience the power and enjoyment of cycling, as well as demystifying it and making it more accessible to all.

'That’s why I decided to create a brand that embodies this vision and my passion,

'I’m excited to be working with Evans to deliver a new brand that can share my enjoyment of cycling with a whole new audience.'

The initial launch will consist of three road bikes for recreational and sports cyclists and four city bikes for commuters and leisure cyclists.

On your bike: Hoy poses with one of his new bikes

On your bike: Hoy poses with one of his new bikes

The early models will be for youths as well as adults and there are plans to extend the range to cater for every cyclist, including a limited-edition track bike.

'I’m really enjoying building my brand from scratch,' Hoy added. “There are so many aspects that need to mesh perfectly and finding that balance has been very exciting and rewarding.

'I’ve been working very hard on developing the brand values as well as the visual features, which will appear on all the bikes.

At the double: Hoy won two gold medals at London 2012

At the double: Hoy won two gold medals at London 2012

'This is something I will really get my teeth into. When I do retire I can still play on bikes and be able to design stuff. The Hoy brand is going to stand for enjoyment of cycling.'

Hoy leaves for Perth in Australia on Monday for winter training and talks of the Commonwealth Games as being a “dream end to my career,” but insists he will have to justify his place in the Scottish team.

'I’ll only be there if I believe I am physically able to do it. Fingers crossed I will be there,' he added.

He is quoted as a 125/1 outsider for the Sports Personality of the Year award this time and has no arguments about that.

Hoy added: 'I think I will probably have a tenner on Bradley (fellow cyclist Bradley Wiggins) like I did just before he went down the Champs Elysees to win the Tour de France!'

Kell Brook stops Hector Saldivia inside three rounds

Brook puts on punch perfect display to stop Saldivia and set up world title fight

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 20 October 2012

Kell Brook is one victory away from realising his world title ambitions after a three-round demolition of Hector Saldivia at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.

The 26-year-old dominated his Argentinian opponent in the final eliminator for the IBF welterweight belt for which he will likely challenge in the early part of next year.

Brook had Saldivia on the canvas in the first round and although he recovered, he was unable to do so again when floored in the third.

Domination: Kell Brook takes the fight to Hector Saldivia

Domination: Kell Brook takes the fight to Hector Saldivia

Showing his class: Brook goes to work on Saldivia

Showing his class: Brook goes to work on Saldivia

Saldivia, fighting outside of his homeland for just the fourth time in 44 outings, had put together a run of eight consecutive wins since being stopped by Said Ouali in another eliminator in 2010.

But it was Brook, who just over a year ago was fighting at Hillsbrorough Leisure Centre, who delighted the 7,000-strong boisterous home crowd with a punch-perfect display.

Down you go: Brook knocks down Saldivia

Down you go: Brook knocks down Saldivia

The self-styled 'Special One' almost came unstuck in his last bout with Carson Jones at the same venue in July but vowed to put that performance to bed after overhauling his training regime.

And after a tentative start to the opening round, Brook delivered on his promise almost immediately when a crushing right hand upper cut floored Saldivia. The 28-year-old was on quickly on his feet and managed to see out the remainder of the session.

On the floor: Brook finishes Saldivia with a knock down

On the floor: Brook finishes Saldivia with a knock down

Out for the count: Brook looks on as referee Howard Foster counts out Saldivia

Out for the count: Brook looks on as referee Howard Foster counts out Saldivia

A renowned hard hitter himself, Saldivia looked to catch the judges' attention in the second stanza by unleashing a flurry of blows but he struggled with the pace of Brook who had his opponent pinned to the ropes as he sought out the early finish.

And the home favourite enjoyed just that after just 28 seconds of the next round when a powerful left jab left Saldivia writhing around on the canvas, clearly in no fit state to continue when the referee stepped in.

Brook will now set his sights on the winner of Randall Bailey's title defence against Devon Alexander later on Saturday night.

Celebration time: Brook celebrates his victory with his trainer

Celebration time: Brook celebrates his victory with his trainer

No 1 contender: Brook celebrates with promotor Eddie Hearn

No 1 contender: Brook celebrates with promotor Eddie Hearn

Kell Brook one win away from world title shot

On the verge of greatness: Brook knows he is one win away from world title shot

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UPDATED:

16:39 GMT, 19 October 2012

Kell Brook will climb through the ropes at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday night knowing he is a win away from a shot at a world title, just 14 months after quivering with nerves ahead of an innocuous bout at a leisure centre.

The 26-year-old self-styled 'Special One' was under the management of Eddie Hearn for the first time against Lovemore Ndou at Hillsborough Leisure Centre in June last year, and told his new promoter in the build-up that he did not know if he was up to it.

He would see off the Australian on points, though, and has since grown in both confidence and reputation, so much so that if he beats Hector Saldivia in what amounts to a semi-final for the IBF welterweight title tomorrow, he will be on the brink of ruling the world.

On the brink: Kell Brook and Hector Saldivia go head to head before they face each other on Saturday night

On the brink: Kell Brook and Hector Saldivia go head to head before they face each other on Saturday night

'Fourteen months ago, Kell Brook had his first fight with us, this will be his sixth,' said Matchroom Sport boss Hearn.

'We had a plan straight away to become a mandatory challenger for the title, that was all we wanted to do. We didn't want a small purse or to give away options. We wanted to control our own destiny.

'We started off at Hillsborough Leisure Centre against Lovemore Ndou and he (Brook) was shaking. He was asking me what I thought, whether he'd get a good reception. He sold out with eight weeks to go – people had said he couldn't sell a ticket.

'We went from there to Ponds Forge, then we took the ultimate gamble by moving to Sheffield Arena where we sold 10,000 against Matthew Hatton. We haven't taken a backwards step. People believe in Kell Brook, he's breaking records on Sky and he's a superstar in the making.'

Fully focused: Brook knows he is one win away from a world title shot

Fully focused: Brook knows he is one win away from a world title shot

Unfortunately for Brook, his last outing was anything but super. He clung on for dear life against the well-travelled Carson Jones, taking a majority decision that belied his broken nose and blood-stained shorts.

The close shave has proven to be a wake-up call for the unbeaten Brook, though, who has sculpted his body to new levels in order to preserve his 28(18)-0 record against Argentinean Saldivia.

With a crack at the title, which will be held by either Devon Alexander or Randall Bailey who also fight tomorrow night, on the line early next year as a reward, Brook has left nothing to chance in an intensive 12-week training camp and he admits that a new regime has sharpened his body and mind ahead of Saturday.

Fighting fit: Brook made the weight ahead of the Sheffield showdown

Fighting fit: Brook made the weight ahead of the Sheffield showdown

'I'm in the best shape I have ever been in. It's the best I have ever felt and the easiest I have made the weight. I'm feeling strong and I can't wait for Saturday night,' he told said

Brook had previously thought he was in tip-top condition, but added: 'It's a big eye-opener, you never stop learning and I have taken my body to places it's never been before.

'It's been crying in pain, not wanting to be there but it's had to go there because that's what I have been told to do. I'm now benefiting from the recovery, my heart rate is back down and everything is superb.'

Standing in front of him is 28-year-old Saldivia who himself has an enviable record of 41(32)-2.

'He's no easy pickings,' said Brook.

'He's earned his right to be ranked where he is, he's no walkover and is going to be very tough, you can tell he is and I am going to have my work cut out. I wouldn't want it any other way, I want to excite the fans and they are going to go home with a smile on their face.'

On a stellar card, Brook will be supported by fellow South Yorkshireman Jamie McDonnell, who is also going through the mill of an IBF title eliminator at Bantamweight.

The Doncaster man takes on late call-up Darwin Zamora, the Nicaraguan seconded after Vusi Malinga pulled out, while there is a tasty-looking all-British tear-up between Robin Reid and Kenny Anderson.

Former world champion Reid, now 41, and Anderson will face-off for the vacant British super-middleweight title.

Peter Ridsdale banned for 7 years over Cardiff probe

Ridsdale banned for 7 years after probe into financial irregularities during time at Cardiff

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UPDATED:

14:45 GMT, 3 October 2012

Former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has been banned from any company director roles for seven-and-a-half years.

It comes after an investigation into financial irregularities regarding Ridsdale, who also held positions at Cardiff and Plymouth.

An Insolvency Service probe centred on payments totalling 347,000 to Ridsdale by Cardiff between May 2007 and March 2009.

These should have instead been directed to his company WH Sports Group.

Probe: Peter Ridsdale has been handed a long ban from directorships

Probe: Peter Ridsdale has been handed a long ban from directorships

The inquiry also concluded the money was paid into bank accounts in Ridsdale's name as WH Sports Group was liquidated with tax debts.

Ridsdale's wife Sophie, who was a co-director of WHSG, has also been banned until 2016.

A statement from the Insolvency Service read: 'Investigators found that WHSG traded from 2003 to 2007 and was used by Mr Ridsdale to provide sports and leisure consultancy services to football clubs.

'The company went into liquidation on 22 April 2009 with assets of 22,592 and liabilities of at least 478,698, including 442,353 owed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

'In signing the undertaking, Mr Ridsdale did not dispute that:

• Between May 2007 and March 2009, he acted improperly and in breach of his duties to WHSG by causing payments totalling 347,000, received for invoices raised by WHSG for services provided to a football club of which he was the chairman, to be paid into personal bank accounts held in his own name, to the detriment of WHSG and its creditors.

• He also failed to disclose the relevant transactions to the liquidator of WHSG, who did not become aware of them until July 2010 when information was provided by the football club.

• He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to make Corporation Tax, PAYE and National Insurance Contributions, and VAT returns and payments to HMRC as and when they were due. At liquidation WHSG's liabilities included 166,421 in unpaid Corporation Tax, 102,279, in unpaid PAYE and NIC, and 173,653 relating to unpaid VAT.

• He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to prepare and file accounts with the Registrar of Companies by the due dates for three successive accounting periods.

Claire Entwistle, director of Company Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said: 'As someone who has had many directorships, Mr Ridsdale ought to be aware of the responsibilities that come with such a position.

'The protection of limited liability is available to those who comply with their obligations as company directors. If those obligations are ignored, the protection will be withdrawn, as Mr Ridsdale has found to his cost.

'One of the main purposes of the Company Directors Disqualification Act is to ensure that proper standards of conduct of company directors are maintained, and these disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct and deal robustly with directors who harm creditors by using unacceptable financial practice.'

Real Madrid announce plans for Bernabeu remodelling

Real Madrid show the future's bright with bold new plans for light-draped Bernabeu

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UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 2 October 2012

It is already one of the planet's most iconic stadiums, but the Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid is set to be given a facelift to bring it line with the 21st century.

Club president Florentino Perez unveiled plans to remodel the facade of the 85,000-seater stadium with a state-of-the-art design that drapes the monstrous structure in light.

Scroll down for video of the bold new design for the Bernabeu

Brave new world: Real Madrid have announced plans to remodel the Bernabeu

Brave new world: Real Madrid have announced plans to remodel the Bernabeu

In a statement, Perez said it will provide the stadium 'with an outer skin that will be a crowning architectural achievement'.

He added: 'The Bernabeu has to become a unique stadium, the best in the world, and the crowning achievement of 21st Century stadium architecture.'

Leisure facilities and restaurants will also be integrated in its structure.

Madrid have been at their current home since December 1947.

Manchester City training centre: Plans revealed for 100m complex

First-class train! Manchester City will move in to state-of-the-art 100m training complex in next two years

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UPDATED:

05:01 GMT, 14 September 2012

Manchester City have started work on the state-of-the-art 100m training complex that they hope will lead them to the top of the European game.

City's astonishing new complex is being built on an 80-acre site across the road from the Etihad Stadium in East Manchester and will be ready in time for the start of the 2014-2015 season.

Believed to be the most complete training ground in world football, it will comprise 17 football pitches, a 7,000 capacity stadium for reserve matches, a youth academy complete with classrooms and accommodation and even a community sixth-form college and leisure centre.

The future's bright: Manchester City have revealed plans for their new training base

The future's bright: Manchester City have revealed plans for their new training base

The site will be linked to City's current home by a footbridge and will enable all the club’s players, staff and officials to be housed on the one giant complex.

City ambassador Patrick Vieira said: 'It will be one of the best in all of sport.

'People from the club travelled around the world and tried to capture the best from all the different sports facilities they saw and then bring them back here.'

Two years to go: The development is scheduled to be completed by 2014

Two years to go: The development is scheduled to be completed by 2014

Two years to go: The development is scheduled to be completed by 2014

Currently City’s senior players train at
Carrington, to the west of Manchester, while the club's youngsters
train at inner-city Platt Lane and the administration staff are based at
the main stadium.

In two years they will all be on one site as the Barclays Premier League champions look to introduce one ideology – and one style of play – throughout all age groups. Of the complex’s 17 pitches, 12 of them will be dedicated for players between the age of 8 and 21.

City intend to plant 2,000 trees on the regenerated land that was once polluted and that has been cleared and environmentally cleaned over the last 12 months. The club have already recruited some construction workers from the local community and – where possible – will use products sourced from the north-west as part of the build.

Night and day: Of the complex's 17 pitches, 12 of them will be dedicated to young players

Night and day: Of the complex's 17 pitches, 12 of them will be dedicated to young players

Night and day: Of the complex's 17 pitches, 12 of them will be dedicated to young players

Of the 80 acres, almost 6 acres will be set aside for community use. This will include the site of the sixth form college and leisure centre. The site will also use recycled water.

City chief executive Ferran Soriano said: 'This is an extremely important day for the future of Manchester City football club.

'The development of young and home grown players is central to our strategy of creating a winning team and a sustainable football club.'

Rio Ferdinand prepares Manchester United signings for world tour

You'll feel like The Beatles! Ferdinand prepares new signings for United's world tour

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UPDATED:

23:28 GMT, 16 July 2012

Rio Ferdinand has told new signings Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell that going on tour with Manchester United will make them feel 'like The Beatles'.

Kagawa and Powell, who cost United a combined 16million from Borussia Dortmund and Crewe, are expected to make their first appearances for United on the current trip to South Africa and China.

It kicks off with a game against AmaZulu FC in Durban on Wednesday, with Ferdinand captaining a United squad that flew into South Africa on Monday missing a number of top players involved in Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games.

Mobbed: Javier Hernandez signs autographs after Man United touch down in Durban

Mobbed: Javier Hernandez signs autographs after Man United touch down in Durban

That is likely to give Kagawa and Powell an early chance to shine, and Ferdinand knows from experience how shocked they will be at United's popularity abroad.

'When I signed it was just before a tour,' he said. 'You just think to yourself “how can it be this big on the other side of the planet”, but that's the club it is and it's great to be a part of that.

'I remember talking to Nicky Butt about how big United are over in Malaysia. When we went anywhere, it was like The Beatles coming into town.

'With United it's crazy in Asia. You can't leave the hotel in downtime or leisure time because there are just so many fans there. You'd be ushered back in or need security to go out.

'It's so much easier when you live with people on tour, you get to understand them better. It's vital for a new signing, being on the training ground with the rest of the squad.

'As a senior player, you have a
responsibility to help the younger players. It's important how you
conduct yourself around the hotel and how you apply yourself in
training.

New boys: Kagawa (above) and Powell (below, centre)

New boys: Kagawa (above) and Powell (below, centre)

New boys: Kagawa (above) and Powell (below, centre)

'That's the biggest thing I noticed when I joined. The application of players and intensity of training was so much different to anywhere I'd been before.

'We've signed Nick Powell, who's going to be a promising young player, and Shinji Kagawa, and it's going to be cool having him in the team.

'He's trained with the lads and looks really sharp. I've seen him play a couple of times for Dortmund, and in the German Cup Final as well, and he's always impressed me.

'He's got a fair understanding of the English language, which will make his life easier. He probably already speaks more English than Anderson, so he's doing well!

'Nick Powell scored a ridiculous goal in the play-off finals, so he looks a really good player as well.'

After Durban, United face Ajax Cape Town on Saturday before flying on to China where they play Shanghai Shenhua next week.

Ferdinand added: 'It's important we
don't lose a game in pre-season because we're playing for Manchester
United. You can't pretend it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't work like
that. At this club, each individual player wants to do well for himself
and prove to the manager that he's capable.

New era: Kagawa and Powell will hope to impress Ferguson on tour

New era: Kagawa and Powell will hope to impress Ferguson on tour

'The games in pre-season are where you find your match sharpness. You just want to get out there are play, even just putting on the new kit, simple things like that, how it looks and feels. It's good we're going to places like South Africa and China, where we have lots of fans. They can see the new signings as well.

'It's nice to be back. When you see the fixtures you can start planning the season. You start working things out in your head; chomping at the bit to get back into it, then the games start coming thick and fast. The way the season ended, the sooner we get back into it the better.'

As United continue to be linked with Sao Paulo playmaker Lucas Moura and Everton defender Leighton Baines, Ferdinand admitted that the players are just as much in the dark as supporters over Sir Alex Ferguson's transfer plans.

'We're excited by the new signings, just like fans,' he added. 'You walk down the street and people ask who we're signing but we want to know as well. I'm always asking the management about their plans.

'The manager has got all the answers in his back pocket but he won't tell us. We're like fans in that respect and we just wait for the next person to come through the door.'

Meanwhile, United have retained their title as the world's most valuable sports team, according to an annual top 50 list published by Forbes.

The club were valued at 1.42billion, well ahead of second-placed Real Madrid.

Brian Barwick: Great Brit Bradley Wiggins a highlight for ITV4

Brian Barwick: Great Brit Bradley a highlight for ITV4

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UPDATED:

19:58 GMT, 12 July 2012

One of the real annual treats of sports television during the summer has become ITV4's coverage of the Tour de France.

Stunning scenery, cyclists getting into sprints, scrapes and scraps,
crazy road-side spectators and now, a British man very much at the front
of the field.

Stunning: Bradley Wiggins and the French mountain backdrop

Stunning: Bradley Wiggins and the French mountain backdrop

eleventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France

eleventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins is great television on and off his bike, even if his
press conferences can occasionally turn the air blue just like, say,
Westminster Magistrates Court.

But for the Tour's broadcasters in the UK, he is absolute gold dust,
just like his Team Sky colleague and last year's BBC Sports Personality
of the Year, Mark Cavendish.

At last we have our own riders to get
excited about, having lived on a diet of brilliant exponents of this
two-wheeled drama from much further afield.

ITV4, like British Eurosport, carry
large chunks of the Tour live, anywhere between three and five hours
daily, but for many it is their highlights programme at 7pm that is
required viewing. It is a little gem.

A comprehensive pull-together of the
best of the day's stage action, post-stage interviews and analysis, with
a regular feature on some unusual aspect of Tour life.

Chris Boardman

Marvellous: Chris Boardman

At the helm of the company, who put the ITV4 output together, are the vastly experienced Brian Venner and Carolyn Viccari.

Brian, a former BBC Grandstand producer, now in his late seventies, and his distinguished colleague Carolyn have been associated with Tour coverage since the mid-1980s when Channel 4's half-hour highlights show became a cult hit.

ITV took up the reins in 2001 and have benefited in recent years from an upsurge in cycling, both as a sport and a leisure pursuit, in this country.

In a team of long-termers, Gary Imlach has fronted the Tour coverage since 1991. A much underrated presenter, his journalistic instincts have served him particularly well over the years in the balancing act of rightly praising great sporting feats of derring-do, while also reporting with authority about the shadow of drug abuse that has plagued the sport.

He has become well practised in having to switch gears quickly.

Alongside him is the former Olympic champion and Tour veteran, Chris Boardman. His analysis often involves him getting on his bike himself – and the other night giving us a run-down on the use of elliptical chainrings, as you do.

Marvellous stuff.

Ned Boulting is a talented maker of short films and gets a lot into a little. He is also the man asking Wiggins and Team Sky the questions at the end of a stage.

In the commentary box, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen describe the action. Their commentary is taken by broadcasters the world over but you sense at the moment they are relishing the 'UK angle'. However, occasionally they could help the newcomer to this sport by way of a little more explanation.

Finally, away from the riders and their bikes, there is the programme's other great attraction – the stunning French scenery.

Somebody once told me that half the people who watched Ski Sunday tuned in to look at the beautiful snow-clad mountains.

During the Tour de France many viewers must just love France Television's gift of showing us their country's breathtaking summer face.

Manchester United block Gary Neville hotel bid

Offside! United block Neville hotel bid, saying plans are too grand

Fan favourite: Gary Neville

Fan favourite: Gary Neville

Manchester United have defended their
decision to oppose a planning application for a hotel and leisure
complex at Old Trafford that has been submitted by Gary Neville.

In the build-up to his testimonial
game at the end of last season, Neville confirmed his intention to
create a bar for United supporters.

It was envisaged the scheme would be
operational by at some point in the 2013-14 season and, at the time,
United were fully supportive.

However, as plans have been reshaped, so United began to get cold feet.

And now they have lodged a formal
objection on the grounds that the entire development, which includes a
10-storey 139-bedroom hotel and leisure complex, would be too big,

'The club has been developing its vision for the area over the last few months, following on from the very successful pedestrianisation scheme executed in July,' said a United spokesman.

'As part of that vision, we considered in detail the changes to the sheer scale of the new project proposed, as distinct to the original plan.

'We had some projections done of what the view of the stadium would be from various angles on the other side of Wharfside Way and have concluded that, on balance, we do not want a building of that size so close to the stadium.'

It now raises the bizarre situation of Neville, who celebrates his 37th birthday on Saturday and is forging an impressive career as a pundit with Sky Sports, being at odds with the club he represented for 19 years over a site for supporters.