Tag Archives: liberty

Gareth Bale says Tottenham team spirit will help Premier League and Europa League campaigns

Spurs' spirit will see us bid for glory on two fronts until the end of the season, says Bale

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

19:53 GMT, 1 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 1 April 2013

Gareth Bale has said Tottenham can keep fighting on two fronts until the end of the season, claiming Champions League football for next season and challenging for the Europa League.

Spurs sit in third in the Premier League, five points ahead of north London rivals Arsenal in fifth, but have played a game more than the Gunners.

They also host Basel in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, but talisman Bale believes the togetherness in the squad will see them through.

Ready to go: Gareth Bale said Tottenham can use their team spirit to compete on two fronts

Ready to go: Gareth Bale said Tottenham can use their team spirit to compete on two fronts

Bale

'We are a very close group as a team. At some places there's little groups here and little groups there but we have got a great team spirit and we want to take that into the rest of the season,' Bale told Eurosport.

'The main thing for us is that we don’t get carried away. We're comfortably able to finish fourth in the league and competing for third – we've got to take it game by game.

'We can push on in the Europa League as well against Basle. Our away form has been very good – we showed that against Lyon. We want to do as well as we can in both competitions.'

Bale's stunning strike against Swansea in Spurs' 2-1 win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday was his 22nd for Spurs in all competitions this season, prompting some to brand him as one of the best in the world.

Flying high: Bale scored his 22nd goal of the season for Spurs against Swansea on Saturday

Flying high: Bale scored his 22nd goal of the season for Spurs against Swansea on Saturday

But for the man himself, two giants of the Spanish League are still the ones to beat.

'Ronaldo and Messi have set the standard as the best players in the world, and everyone wants to play like them' said Bale.

'Year by year I'm improving and I can still improve.'

Michael Laudrup signs one-year contract extension at Swansea

Danish delight for Swansea as Laudrup signs one-year contract extension

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

17:12 GMT, 8 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:20 GMT, 8 March 2013

t the club.

Michael Laudrup has moved to end speculation about his future by signing a one-year contract extension at Swansea City.

The Dane had been linked with Real Madrid and Chelsea in the wake of Swansea’s remarkable Capital One Cup final triumph against Bradford last month.

But the 48-year-old declared his desire to lead Swansea into Europe after agreeing a deal that will run until June 2015.

All smiles: Michael Laudrup agreed a one-year extension to his current deal at Swansea

All smiles: Michael Laudrup agreed a one-year extension to his current deal at Swansea

He said: ‘We’ve started something this season that I want to continue.

‘I know there has been a lot of
speculation (about my future), but I’ve always said that I am happy here
and I never had any doubts I would stay.

‘I am delighted to sign the new deal
and I’m already really looking forward to next season. I hope there will
be some very exciting things happening with the team and with the club
in Europe.’

The development will go some way to
protecting Swansea financially. Sportsmail understands that Laudrup, 48,
has committed to a hefty clause in the region of 5million, much like
the one Brendan Rodgers agreed to when he signed his extension at the
Liberty Stadium four months before joining Liverpool.

Last night Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins admitted he still fears bigger clubs will come in for his manager.

He told Sportsmail: ‘It’s a fact of
life in football that if you do well people will want your manager or
players and there is no such thing as a cast iron agreement anymore.

‘But this deal shows Michael’s desire
to stay here and it also gives us the extra financial security if
another club does come in.’

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Historic: Laudrup guided Swansea to Capital One Cup success this season

Jenkins added: ‘The success we have
had with Michael has been brilliant. I thoroughly enjoy working with him
and long may that continue.

‘This is obviously great news for
everyone connected with the club, from the fans, to the players and the
staff. We are delighted that he has agreed this extension.’

Talks only started last week between
the two parties after Laudrup was initially reluctant to commit his
future to the club beyond stating his desire to lead the club in Europe.

Jenkins said: ‘I think the fact we got it done relatively quickly shows you what Michael thinks about the club.

‘He is enjoying himself and he finds the challenge exciting, which for him is very important.’

Ospreys sign Tito Tebaldi

Ospreys snap up Italian scrum-half Tebaldi on two-year deal to replace outgoing Fotuali'l

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:24 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:24 GMT, 2 March 2013

The Ospreys have announced the signing of Italy international Tito Tebaldi on a two-year deal.

The scrum-half, who has won 16 caps, will move to the Liberty Stadium from Ospreys' fellow RaboDirect PRO12 team Zebre.

And he is set to fill the void left by Samoa scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'l, who is set to join Aviva Premiership club Northampton next term.

Inbound: Tito Tebaldi has joined Ospreys

Inbound: Tito Tebaldi has joined Ospreys

Tebaldi, 25, said: 'I am excited about this fantastic opportunity with the Ospreys.

'Their record in the PRO12 speaks for itself, and the chance to be a part of such a successful club is something I couldn't turn down.

'I am looking forward to a new challenge in a competitive environment that will help me to improve as a player and a person, while hopefully contributing to the continued success of the Ospreys.'

Swansea want to increase Liberty Stadium to 32,000

Swansea want to increase stadium to 32,000 after League Cup success

By
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:15 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 2 March 2013

Swansea are set to submit a planning application to expand the Liberty Stadium in the wake of their Capital One Cup success.

Chairman Huw Jenkins has previously spoken of his desire to add extra seating to the council-owned ground in order to meet demand for tickets for home games, providing the club are able to retain their Premier League status.

Swansea regularly sell-out games at their 20,500 capacity home and are eager to bring in extra revenue, with the club enjoying the greatest success of its 101-year history.

Expansion plans: Swansea City want to increase the size of the Liberty Stadium

Expansion plans: Swansea City want to increase the size of the Liberty Stadium

There are plans to increase the capacity of the stadium to a maximum of 32,000, with the club taking a piecemeal approach to the work.

The number of seats is set to rise to 22,000 during the summer, and they hope an additional 5,000 will be added in time for the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

But Jenkins is adamant the club will only press ahead with the expansion if it is deemed the right financial decision.

Capital gains: Swansea won their first trophy in their history

Capital gains: Swansea won their first trophy in their history

Jenkins said: 'We will have a full
planning application in for the end of March and once that is passed we
will do part of the work towards the end of next season, starting with
the East Stand.

'Once we get that moving we will go from there, but it all runs parallel to us still being in the Premier League and it being right for the club.

'If and when the final stage is complete, the capacity will be 32,000.

Silver lining: Michael Laudrup earned his first trophy at Swansea after just eight months

Silver lining: Michael Laudrup earned his first trophy at Swansea after just eight months

Plans to grow: Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins wants a larger capacity ground

Plans to grow: Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins wants a larger capacity ground

'The first part will take the figure to 22,000 this summer, and then it will be 27,000 with the first stage of development of the East Stand, which will start near the end of next season and run through the summer.

'We have to make sure we do it right but it will be led by how well we do on the field.'

But Jenkins does not believe it would be in the club's best interests to attempt to buy the ground outright.

He said: 'I don't see any benefit in us owning the stadium.

'The relationship with the council is a good one for the council and the city itself, and it is right for us as a club.

'It provides stability as it keeps away potential owners you do not want around the place, and that is a great thing for us.'

Debt-free Swansea recorded a 14.6million profit for their opening season in the Premier League.

The club are also developing two training grounds after previously having to use public facilities.

Work near the Liberty Stadium at Landore is set to be completed in the coming weeks, while a state-of-the-art facility is also being developed in conjunction with the city's university.

Eden Hazard ball boy incident dragged Chelsea into gutter once more

Hazard incident poses the question… when will Chelsea rise from the gutter

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

01:13 GMT, 24 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:31 GMT, 24 January 2013

Chelsea players demanded answers from Eden Hazard in the dressing room at the Liberty Stadium – and they had every right to do so.

They are furious with the 32million man after he dragged the reputation of this club – champions of Europe remember – into the gutter again.

Forget the FA and the lengthy ban that will follow for the red card. This time Chelsea must act. They must take their own action, make an example of a player who has embarrassed and humiliated the club in front of a worldwide TV audience.

Hazard warning: The Belgian's team-mates are furious with him

Hazard warning: The Belgian's team-mates are furious with him

This Capital One Cup semi-final second leg was beamed all over the world, across north Africa and the Middle East, as Swansea City set off in pursuit of their first major final – a fairytale date with Bradford City at Wembley next month.

They got there, but the enduring memory of last night will be of the moment Hazard lost the plot behind Gerhard Tremmel’s goal. Losing a match is one thing, booting a ball boy something else.

Chelsea’s official twitter feed – which boasts nearly 1.8 million followers around the world – was one-eyed in its immediate response. Seconds after the incident, the club’s verified account tweeted: ‘Has football gone mad Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it.’

They apologised for those remarks an hour after the match. Presumably, someone at last saw some sense. But frankly, the club’s lack of self-discipline is alarming. Hazard’s flash of anger is a new low, a despicable act that has brought the great name of Chelsea into disrepute again.

Foolish: Hazard reacted when the ball boy tried to keep the ball away from him

Foolish: Hazard reacted when the ball boy tried to keep the ball away from him

What a year it’s been for them. Earlier in the season, John Terry was banned for four games by the FA after they found him guilty of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand last season.

In October, the club accused referee Mark Clattenburg of racially insulting John Mikel Obi after their fiery 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League. Clattenburg was cleared by an FA investigation.

This isn’t conduct becoming of European champions, a club with so much positive recent history on its side after winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, as well as the Champions League, during the Roman Abramovich era.

With fans revolting against the regime of interim manager Rafa Benitez following some indifferent results, Chelsea’s billionaire owner returned early from St Barts to sort out the mess at Stamford Bridge last weekend. But he will struggle to know where to start after this.

We've been here before: The club reported Clattenburg (left) to the FA

We've been here before: The club reported Clattenburg (left) to the FA

Hazard has to be accountable for his actions, sent off by referee Chris Foy after this extraordinary incident late in the second half. Charlie Morgan, son of Swansea director Martin Morgan, certainly played his part in an incredible moment.

Morgan started the day by boasting to his 11 twitter followers that ‘the king of all ball boys was back for one final appearance’. By 10.30pm more than 50,000 were following him and the comments from football fans around the world were a mixture of sympathy and abuse.

Earlier in the day he had tweeted that he intended to waste time to help Swansea hold on to their precious 2-0 advantage from the first leg. With about 12 minutes left, he did just that, holding on to the ball and refusing Hazard’s requests to return it quickly for a Swansea goal-kick.

No choice: Chris Foy gives Hazard his marching orders

No choice: Chris Foy gives Hazard his marching orders

Hazard could have remonstrated with the officials so that they added on time. Instead, what happened next should never be seen on a football field again, a shocking and shameful act by one of the most high-profile names in the game. Booting a ball boy in the ribs was unforgivable. Initially, Hazard seemed unrepentant as he left the field, but Chelsea were left frantically trying to defuse the volatile situation.

Young Morgan, after receiving treatment on his ribs in the Swansea dressing room, was eventually taken to see Hazard. The winger apologised for losing control, but that will not be enough to get him off the hook, with the FA sure to throw the book at him.

His team-mates have had Hazard down as flash and flighty for a while, and it will take time to repair the damage in the dressing room. After this, it will take even longer to restore Chelsea’s battered image around the world.

Swansea sign striker Roland Lamah from Osasuna

Swansea snap up striker Lamah from Osasuna on 18-month loan deal

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

19:58 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 14 January 2013

Swansea have signed Osasuna forward Roland Lamah on an 18-month loan deal.

The 25-year-old arrived in Wales on Monday to wrap up his move from the La Liga side, with a permanent transfer earmarked for this summer.

Lamah is highly-rated in Belgium, where he has been capped at every level from Under 19s upwards, and can line up on the left of an attacking three or as a striker.

Signing: Lamah (left) will join Swansea on loan

Signing: Lamah (left) will join Swansea on loan

But despite his reputation he has struggled in La Liga this season, scoring only two goals in 15 games. Eight of his appearance came from the bench.

A clause in the deal – the paperwork of which is expected to be completed on Tuesday – states that Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins will have first refusal on a permanent move for the 2million-rated player if he impresses at the Liberty Stadium.

Sunderland expect Danny Graham to sign once Swansea agree deal for Kenwyne Jones

Graham set to join Sunderland for 4m once Swansea agree deal for Stoke striker Jones

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

16:51 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 9 January 2013

Sunderland are confident of seeing off a late challenge from QPR for Danny Graham and believe they would have signed him by now but for a snag over Kenwyne Jones’ proposed move to Swansea.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed last Friday that Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill had launched a bid to take the 27-year-old Swansea striker back to his native North East.

QPR have now joined Norwich, Reading and Aston Villa as the other challengers for his signature, but Sunderland still firmly believe they will win the race.

Out of favour: Graham could be set to leave Swansea

Out of favour: Graham could be set to leave Swansea

O’Neill is convinced Graham would have been preparing for his debut by now but for Swansea and Stoke failing to reach an agreement over Jones.

Stoke rejected a Swansea request to take Jones on loan with a view to a permanent deal. They are now waiting for Liberty Stadium bosses to come back with an offer that meets their valuation.

Once Swansea have secured a replacement for Graham – and they remain hopeful it will be Jones – the former Watford star will be allowed to leave for around 4million, with the Stadium of Light his likely destination.

Heading to Swansea: Jones (left) is set to swap Stoke for the Liberty Stadium

Heading to Swansea: Jones (left) is set to swap Stoke for the Liberty Stadium

Chelsea fans arrested if flares are set off against Swansea

Chelsea tell fans they will be arrested if flares are let off against Swansea

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:09 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 9 January 2013

Chelsea have publicly warned their supporters that they risk being arrested for bringing flares and smoke bombs into Stamford Bridge.

They have even warned supporters that dogs will be used to sniff out any fans that are attempting to smuggle in any illicit objects.

The behaviour of supporters in English football has been in the spotlight during a season that has been blighted by incidents of coin-throwing and racist abuse.

Worrying trend: Flares and coins have been thrown at several games this season

Worrying trend: Flares and coins have been thrown at several games this season

The most recent Manchester derby ended in disgraceful scenes as Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin just above his eye and blue flame from flares enveloped the pitch.

A statement on the club website reads: ‘Chelsea Football Club reminds our supporters that taking flares, smoke bombs or anything similar into a stadium breaches Ground Regulations and using such objects is likely to result in arrest. Their use is extremely dangerous and risks serious injury to fellow fans.

‘Unfortunately there has been an increase in incidents involving flares and smoke bombs in recent weeks and as well as fans facing prosecution, the club is liable to be charged by the authorities should this behaviour continue.

‘Anyone choosing to break the law regarding flares and smoke bombs at football matches runs a high risk of being caught. During the FA Cup game at Southampton, a person in the Chelsea section of the stadium was arrested and charged with throwing a flare onto the pitch.’

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton last weekend

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton in the FA Cup third round last weekend

Blue is the colour: A fan was arrested after a flare was thrown onto the pitch as Chelsea played Southampton in the FA Cup third round last weekend

Chelsea also warned their fans not to attempt to take flares into the Liberty Stadium when the Blues head to South Wales for next week's return leg in a fortnight's time.

‘At our away Capital One Cup match at Swansea later this month, South Wales Police will be using dogs in the area of the turnstiles to detect fans carrying such objects,' the statement went on.

‘Should any arrest result in conviction then Chelsea FC will support the police in every possible way to obtain a football banning order.

‘The club, the players and the management greatly appreciate the large number of fans and the vocal support which have backed the team this season, but we ask for good behaviour to be maintained. Please don’t risk a criminal conviction and banning order, or the club being charged with an offence, for the sake of a flare, smoke bomb or firework.’

FA Cup fourth round draw

Arsenal could face tricky trip to Brighton as big guns avoid each other in fourth round

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

15:43 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 6 January 2013

Arsenal will face a difficult trip to Brighton if they overcome Swansea in their FA Cup third round replay.

Arsene Wenger's men were behind at the Liberty Stadium today but fought back to lead before Danny Graham struck late on.

Holders Chelsea will travel to Southend or Brentford.

Pegged back: Arsenal will have to play Brighton if they beat Swansea in a replay

Pegged back: Arsenal will have to play Brighton if they beat Swansea in a replay

FA CUP FOURTH ROUND DRAW

Norwich v Luton

Oldham v Mansfield or Liverpool

Macclesfield v Wigan or Bournemouth

Derby v Blackburn

Hull or Leyton Orient v Barnsley

Middlesbrough v Aldershot

Millwall v Aston Villa

Leeds United or Birmingham v Tottenham

Brighton v Swansea or Arsenal

Crystal Palace or Stoke v Manchester City

West Ham or Manchester United v Fulham or Blackpool

Southend or Brentford v Chelsea

Reading v Sheffield United

Huddersfield v Leicester

QPR or West Brom v Sheffield Wednesday or MK Dons

Bolton or Sunderland v Cheltenham or Everton

Ties to be played on January 26/27

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup vows to keep Michu

Laudrup ready to use Michu in Cup clash as Swansea boss bows to keep hot shot

By
Andrew Gwilym, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

23:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has made it clear there is 'no way' Michu will be leaving the Liberty Stadium this month.

The 2million signing from Rayo
Vallecano has been the bargain of the season to date, scoring 14 goals
in 22 appearances for the Swans and taking the Premier League by storm.

Hot shot: Swansea's Michu

Hot shot: Swansea's Michu

The Spaniard's impact, which has brought him to the attentions of national coach Vicente del Bosque, has understandably attracted interest from other clubs.

And Laudrup had previously slapped a 30million price tag on the midfielder's head. In the wake of rumoured interest from Russian clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkhala the Dane has again moved to make his position on Michu's future clear, and wants to avoid being left in the same position as Newcastle following the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea.

“There is no way he will leave,” said Laudrup. “It is absolutely out of the question.

“One reason is because it is so difficult to get someone in right now, and the second is that he is happy here and doesn't want to leave.

“Newcastle have just lost their top scorer mid-season and that is obviously very bad. especially because it is not easy to find a guy who scores goals like him.”

Swansea face Arsenal on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup with Laudrup facing a selection conundrum.

The Swans meet Chelsea in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday, and with that game in mind Laudrup could be tempted to make changes, but appears to have no plans to rest Michu ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge.

“Your top scorer, you always want him playing every game,” he said.

“Together with Ashley Williams they are the two players with the most games this season.

“They always want to play. Obviously I am the one who has to decide and see if they are a little tired – or to let them rest or to play them.

“But he is our top scorer and it is important for the team-mates to have him there and it's important with the opposition because they always know they are in danger when he is there.

“If he is fit then he will play.”

Swansea have won their last two meetings with the Gunners, including their 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium last month thanks to a Michu brace.

And Laudrup expects Arsenal to be thirsting for revenge after they were booed off following that defeat.

“It's never nice to have lost at home and they will remember our game – they will want revenge,” he said.

“It looked bad after they played us – they were 10th. For a club like Arsenal, that's a disaster.

“But they won three games consecutively and they are back again.

“They are many years without a trophy and they know the league is not a trophy for them. They have two left so they will come with their best possible line-up and do everything to beat us.”