Tag Archives: location

Arsenal"s American owner Stan Kroenke buys 80m ranch in the Rocky Mountains

Gunners chief Kroenke in 80m splurge… but let's hope he's got some change for Arsene after buying ranch the size of 71,000 Emirates Stadium pitches

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 3 December 2012

On Saturday Arsenal fans marched against the perceived lack of financial muscle being flexed in the transfer market. How could a club with billionaire shareholders and some of the most expensive tickets in world football be unable to compete in the Premier League

News then, that 5,000 miles away American majority shareholder Stan Kroenke was putting the finishing touches to an 80million deal for a Montana ranch will not sit will with feuding fans.

The billionaire businessman has purchased the 124,000 acre site – enough to fit 71,000 Emirates Stadium pitches – in the Rocky Mountains, a fitting location considering the indifferent form of his team and the size of the task facing them if they are to maintain their place among England and Europe's elite.

Scroll down for video

Stan Kroenke's 80 million farm Broken O Ranch in Montana

Not bad: The 10,000-square-foot main house overlooks the Sun River and comes with indoor pool

River view: 20 miles of the Sun River run through the Broken O Ranch

River view: The main house looks out over the 20 miles of the Sun River that run through Broken O Ranch

Stone floors and hunting trophies give the main house a hunting lodge fee

Welcome: Stone floors and hunting trophies give the main house a hunting lodge feel

Arsenal currently sit tenth in the Premier League having endured their worst start to a season for 18 years. Rumblings of discontent among fans have become roars in recent weeks and much of the ire has been directed at the board.

Ivan Gazidis has bore the brunt of the criticism, though Wenger and Kroenke, who owns 66 per cent of the club, has also been heckled.

Covering the equivalent of 71,000 Arsenal pitches, the Broken O Ranch runs 3,500 mother cows, 800 replacement heifers and 175 range bulls.

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Such is the vastness of Broken O that the UK's second largest city, Birmingham, at 103 square miles or 66,174 hectares, would virtually fit into it twice.

Situated along the eastern edge of the stunning Rocky Mountain Front – the Broken O Ranch is regarded as one of the US's most grand and significant ranches.

It was owned by the Moore family who spent around 25 years building it up and includes more than 20 miles of the Sun River coursing through it.

The Sun River corridor provides exceptional brown and rainbow trout fishing, antelope, whitetail and mule deer hunting, as well as extensive upland game bird and waterfowl populations.

The main house looks over the 20 miles of the Sun River

Room with a view: The main house gives panoramic views right up to the Rocky Mountains

Broken O Ranch covers the equivalent of 71000 Arsenal pitches

Huge: Broken O Ranch covers the equivalent of 71,000 Arsenal pitches

Each year the ranch produces 25,000 tons of alfalfa hay and 700,000 bushels of small-grain crops.

Denver-based Kroenke, who is worth 2.5 billion, is now thought to be the eighth largest landowner in the USA following his latest purchase – owning an estimated 864,000 acres.

Real estate company Hall and Hall managed the sale for Mr Kroenke, who also owns a number of US sports franchises.

VIDEO: A look at the Broken O Ranch:

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Broken O Ranch spans three counties and is 45 miles west of Great Falls

Location: Broken O Ranch spans Lewis & Clark, Cascade and Teton counties and is 45 miles west of Great Falls and east of the stunning Rocky Mountains

 Broken O Ranch runs 3,500 mother cows, 800 replacement heifers and 175 range bulls

Legacy: Mr Kroenke is said to be looking forward to building on the work done by previous owners in making Broken O one of the most significant farming ranches in the US

The UK city of Birmingham could fit twice into the Broken O Ranch

Vast: The UK city of Birmingham could fit twice into the Broken O Ranch

West Ham play like Real Madrid and Barcelona – Neil Ashton

Allardyce's Hammers play just like Real Madrid and Barcelona… but not how you think

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UPDATED:

22:44 GMT, 2 October 2012

Take a look at these statistics and see whether you can spot a trend: Real Madrid 67. West Ham 65. Barcelona 59.

At first glance it is difficult to think of a single reason why Sam Allardyce's team could possibly be mentioned in the same sentence as two of the biggest clubs in world football.

Some would even say it is deeply offensive for Sam Allardyce's long-ball merchants to even be mentioned in the same breath as Jose Mourinho or Tito Vilanova's eye-catching teams.

Just like watching Barca: Allardyce's side were comfortable victors at Loftus Road

Just like watching Barca: Allardyce's side were comfortable victors at Loftus Road

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After watching West Ham's impressive and stylish victory over QPR at Loftus Road from the halfway line on Monday night, it is easier to make sense of the numbers.

The figures above for the three teams represent the average number of long balls that the teams have played in their respective leagues this season.

For the purposes of this analysis, produced by Opta and freely available on the excellent website whoscored.com, any attempted pass which is 25 yards or more constitutes a long ball.

They are surprising figures, particular for two Spanish teams who pride themselves on short, incisive passing to slice through the opposition.

The purists will claim that Gerard Pique can change gear at will, picking out Lionel Messi and sending a ball from one half to the other with his superior skills.

The reality is that even Barcelona and Real Madrid, in times of trouble, will resort to the outlets up front and send something long for Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi to chase down.

Perhaps this is the reason that Allardyce, in an interview in September 2010 that brought much mirth and derision in football, claimed he could manage Real Madrid.

At the time he claimed he would walk
away with league titles year in, year out if he was given the chance to
manage one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

Even last weekend, Allardyce’s protests
continued in an extensive interview with the Observer, when he argued
for ‘winning football’ as opposed to ‘pretty passing’.

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they favour the lofted route towards goal

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they favour the lofted route towards goal

Aerial route: With strikers as big as Carroll and Cole it's understandable why they could favour the direct towards goal

His case is helped by the number of long balls his rivals in the Barclays Premier League are playing.

Liverpool, who are supposed to be taking the short passing game to another level under Brendan Rodgers, average 66 long balls every match.

These are the average number of long balls played, on average, this season by the teams who finished in the top four:

Champions Manchester City (54), Manchester United (56), Arsenal (49), Tottenham (61).

As for the rest of the Premier League, there are some eye-catching statistics among the other sides.

Newcastle (78), Everton (69), Reading (67), Wigan (67), Chelsea (65) Fulham (64), West Bromwich (64), Aston Villa (62), Sunderland (62), Norwich (60), QPR (59), Stoke (59), Swansea (55) and Southampton (51).

Pity Rodgers, Alan Pardew, David Moyes,
Brian McDermott, Roberto Martinez and Roberto Di Matteo when people
become aware of the statistics.

With the exception of Arsenal,
Southampton and Swansea, it would be easy to argue that the rest of the
Premier League is made up of hit and hope teams.

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The beautiful Game - but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The Beautiful Game – but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Facing facts: Real and Barca play The beautiful Game - but aren't afraid of finding a long route out of trouble

Clearly that is not the case, with teams refining their systems to suit the demands of skilful players and a demanding public.

No manager likes negative Press, particularly Allardyce. Although he has strengthened the team for the Premier League, he has refined the pattern and style for the Hammers’ return to the top flight.

At Loftus Road they looked like an established Premier League team, pouncing on the defensive deficiencies of a team who are afraid to play at home.

Rangers are seizing up at Loftus Road, a legacy of their 5-0 opening day defeat against Swansea and their failure to win in the Premier League this season.

Allardyce has a specific system in place designed to hunt down the opposition and take advantage of teams who want to play The Beautiful Game, but play it badly. At this moment, QPR fall into that category.

The idea that Allardyce takes training at Chadwell Heath each day with full-backs launching endless long balls towards Andy Carroll or Carlton Cole is a myth.

Culture club: West Ham's pressing style of play paid dividends at Loftus Road

Culture club: West Ham's pressing style of play paid dividends at Loftus Road

At the beginning of the week, his coaches Neil McDonald and Wally Downes take training and Allardyce has input from the sidelines.

They are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but they play small-sided, passing and pressing games to take time away from the players and put them under pressure.

As they build up towards matchday, Allardyce’s role becomes more prominent and he is heavily involved on the training pitches.

On Thursday and Friday, like most teams across the country, they practise set-pieces ahead of a Saturday fixture.

Even then, for a team tagged ‘long ball’, they have won only 50 per cent of their aerial duels this season.

Allardyce has always been prickly about the accusations that his teams know only one way to play, but he has adjusted to the demands of modern football.

At times they might kick it long, but on Monday night they joined the culture club.

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

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

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UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 24 September 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missed: Brian Woolnough was a Sunday Supplement star

Missed: Brian Woolnough was a Sunday Supplement star

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Terry and Anton Ferdinand face racial abuse hearing

Round two: Terry and Ferdinand face racial abuse hearing showdown at secret FA location

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UPDATED:

08:34 GMT, 23 September 2012

John Terry and Anton Ferdinand will face each other in front of a four-man independent FA disciplinary panel at a secret London location on Monday – just nine days after the Chelsea captain was publicly snubbed by the QPR defender before the Premier League clash between their clubs at Loftus Road.

Terry faces a likely four-match ban if he is found guilty of using racial language in abusing Ferdinand during a game last October.

And the FA will come under enormous pressure to ban Terry from the England team if the panel, who are expected to sit for two days, find against their former captain.

Late drama: John Terry (right) tries to calm Stoke's Jonathan Walters on Saturday

Drama: John Terry (right) tries to calm Stoke's Jonathan Walters on Saturday

Ferdinand is expected to attend in person to give evidence, as will Terry and his Chelsea team-mate, Ashley Cole.

The England defender, who gave evidence in Terry's defence when he was acquitted of a charge at Westminster Magistrates' Court of racially abusing Ferdinand, was also snubbed by the QPR man when the two teams shook hands before their Premier League match last Saturday.

Terry's legal team – led by George Carter-Stephenson QC, who defended him in court – are expected to argue that the case should not proceed because of Terry's acquittal in a criminal court.

They will cite FA rule 6.8, which governs disciplinary hearings and states that the results of relevant civil or criminal proceedings are 'presumed to be correct and the facts presumed to be true' by FA regulatory commissions.

No handshake: Anton Ferdinand (left) snubbed Terry at last week's match

No handshake: Anton Ferdinand (left) snubbed Terry at last week's match

However, the FA's legal team are likely to counter that the charge is distinct from the public order offence as their rules state that using language which refers to a player's colour is in itself an offence.

Terry has admitted in court that he used the phrase 'f****** black c***' to Ferdinand but said he did so while asking if Ferdinand thought he had called him that and to explain that he had not.

The FA disciplinary commission investigating the case of Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who called the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra 'negrito' – or 'a little black' – last season, ruled that simply using racist language was enough to constitute a breach of the rule.

The commission reported: 'In our judgment, the test for breach of Rule E3 (1) is objective. The question is simply whether the words or behaviour are abusive or insulting.

'This is a matter for the Commission to decide, having regard to all the relevant facts and circumstances of the case. It is not necessary that the alleged offender intends his words or behaviour to be abusive or insulting in order for him to breach Rule E3 (1).'

Terry's team argue that his words to Ferdinand were not insulting as they formed part of a genuine question.

FA hearings are decided on the balance of probability, a lower test than the standard of 'beyond reasonable doubt' required by a court.

England manager Roy Hodgson will also come under scrutiny in the next two weeks with a new England squad due to be announced.

Previously, Hodgson has omitted Ferdinand's brother, Rio, citing 'football reasons' rather than any animosity that may exist between the Ferdinand family and Terry.

However, if Ferdinand continues to hold his place in the Manchester United team over the next fortnight, the pressure on the England manager to pick him will grow, especially if Terry is unavailable to him because of a ban from England games.

Charles Sale: Jake Humphrey given Vision of a new job with BT

Humphrey given Vision of a new job with BT

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 12 September 2012

BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey is in talks to become the host of BT Vision's live Premier League match coverage that starts next season.

BT, whose building of a sports channel around Premier League content includes Wednesday's 152million deal for Premiership rugby, want a big-name anchor for their football coverage.

Humphrey, best known for his presenting of Formula One on the BBC, has been negotiating with the corporation over his contract for exclusive work which expires at the end of the year.

Ready for a new job Jake Humphrey (right) could join BT for their Premier League coverage

Ready for a new job Jake Humphrey (right) could join BT for their Premier League coverage

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But it's known the 33-year-old, who changed his representative agents this year, wants to work on other sports and earn a lot more money.

His 250,000 salary lags far behind BBC colleague Gary Lineker's 2m-a-year wages.

Humphrey also displayed his frustration at his low profile at Euro 2012 as part of the BBC team by suddenly leaving to present the Valencia Grand Prix he had been scheduled to miss.

And fronting BT Vision's 38 games a season, which cost 738m over three years and includes the prime package of first-pick games, would give Humphrey the football prominence he wants.

Bernstein backed by Gill

David Bernstein's chances of extending his FA chairmanship past his 70th birthday in May, which would require a change of statutes, have been boosted by the backing of Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

The support has helped persuade the rest of the FA board to allow the proposal to be taken to the shareholders for approval.

But there will be resistance from those on the FA council who believe the age-limit rules should not be changed to suit one person.

Certainly Bernstein will have helped his cause by putting forward Gill last month as the FA's candidate for a place on the UEFA executive committee, as successor to Geoff Thompson.

Refurb for the FA

There will need to be plenty of refurbishing done at the FA's St George's Park National Football Centre ahead of the official opening on October 9, with parent company Nike taking over discarded subsidiary Umbro's sponsorship of the venue.

More than 100 Umbro shirts are on display in the reception of the sports facility while two pitches have been named after Umbro boots – Aztec and Speciali.

But at least the main gates do not need rebranding as the ordered 'tailored by Umbro' signs were never mounted; the FA were aware for months it was only a matter of time before Nike came in.

Back in the game: Ricky Hatton will fight on November 24

Back in the game: Ricky Hatton will fight on November 24

Hatton back on Primetime…

Ricky Hatton's boxing comeback three years after being knocked out by Manny Pacquiao is understood to be screened by pay-per-view operators Primetime.

They are controlled by media tycoon Richard Desmond, whose Channel 5 TV station would heavily cross-promote Hatton's return.

The 33-year-old fighter would have a share of the PPV income from a fight in Manchester against a journeyman opponent.

Sky Sports pulled the plug last year on their contract for Hatton-promoted shows, much to his upset.

BOA to begin cutbacks

THE first casualty of the cash-strapped British Olympic Association in the post-Games bloodletting is expected to be commercial director Hugh Chambers, who has not brought in the revenue needed.

Meanwhile, Albert Woods, the British Canoe Union president and GB Hockey's Richard Leman are considering standing against Lord Coe for the BOA chairmanship.

Boris Johnson (right) is taking over as the chairman of the London Legacy Development Company

Boris Johnson (right) is taking over as the chairman of the London Legacy Development Company

Chairman Boris

Boris Johnson taking over as chairman of the London Legacy Development Company from hand-picked ally Daniel Moylan, who had just three months in charge, follows tensions in the hopelessly run LLDC.

Boris and the board had lost confidence in the combative Moylan, whose leadership style caused friction after he allegedly made changes without the necessary board approval.

They included Andrew Altman's ousting as chief executive and the appointment of interim replacement Dennis Hone.

Complaints were made to the FA's protocol committee that the Ukrainian party were not wearing ties at their Wembley reception before the World Cup qualifier. The blazer protester was told guests could dress as they saw fit.

Reading want to emulate Stoke success in Premier League

The next Man City No, we want to be like Stoke! Reading out to emulate Potters

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Reading boss Brian McDermott revealed he and Anton Zingarevich want to make the club the Barclays Premier League's next Stoke ahead of their top-flight return on Saturday.

The Royals have plenty of examples to follow of teams that have thrived following promotion from the npower Championship but McDermott believes their opening opponents are the model to emulate.

New Reading owner Zingarevich revealed this week one of the reasons he bought the club was because of their geographical location, with the Berkshire side far enough away from their Premier League rivals to give them exclusive access to a huge potential fanbase.

Training day: Mikele Leigertwood (L) and Danny Guthrie prepare for Saturday's Premier League opener

Training day: Mikele Leigertwood (L) and Danny Guthrie prepare for Saturday's Premier League opener

It is a similar story for Stoke in the north west and Tony Pulis' side have enjoyed a dream four-year stay in the Premier League since their own promotion, reaching an FA Cup final and qualifying for Europe.

And although Reading may not want to emulate the Potters' brand of football, they are looking to copy other elements that have made them so successful.

McDermott said: 'When I first met Anton, we spoke about Tony Pulis and we spoke about Stoke and that model and how well they've done.

'Not only have they survived, but they've got to an FA Cup final, they've played in Europe, they've brought in some really big players over the years.

'So, it's a really good model for us to follow.'

Indeed, the wealth of the Zingarevich family is said to be comparable to that of Stoke chairman Peter Coates, being in the hundreds of millions of pounds rather than the billions of fellow Russian Roman Abramovich.

And it seems the Premier League's latest mega-rich owner is far less demanding than his Chelsea counterpart.

McDermott said: 'He's not set any targets and I wouldn't expect him to.

'He didn't set a target of promotion last season. He thought when I first met him it might be another season, so maybe we're in front of the game as far as he's concerned.'

He added: 'He's a really good guy, we get on well, and we want to try to bring the club forward.'

Good to talk: Reading boss Brian McDermott (R) speaks with captain Jobi McAnuff

Good to talk: Reading boss Brian McDermott (R) speaks with captain Jobi McAnuff

Zingarevich has been very hands on, however.

As well as bankrolling Reading's six summer signings, his personal intervention was crucial in bringing Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to the club.

McDermott said: 'He has an involvement with everything around the club.

'He wants the club to go forward, so he has an involvement. That's a good thing.'

Zingarevich has resisted the urge to splurge, instead seemingly content to build gradually.

McDermott, who could yet sign Stuart Taylor as back-up to goalkeeper Adam Federici, said: 'The players that we've identified, we've got in.

'Whatever the money situation, we've said, “This is what it's going to cost”, and we've done it.

'We don't think we've spent vast amounts but we think we've signed the right players.'

That has not stopped Reading being tipped – as is customary for promoted teams – for an immediate return to the Championship.

McDermott said: 'There's nothing I can do about that, really. Not too many people tipped us to win the Championship last season. There was nothing I could do about that either.'

The club's patchy pre-season form has hardly convinced the doubters but McDermott laughed off suggestions it had proven more problematic than the previous year.

He said: 'Difficult After last pre-season It's been a breeze, when you consider what happened last season, losing players, losing the play-off final.

'We've had the opportunity to add six senior players to the squad and two younger players. So, we're really happy with that.'

Saturday's game may come too soon for Jem Karacan, who McDermott admitted was 'desperate' to play after recovering from a broken leg.

Jimmy Kebe (hamstring) and Jason Roberts (suspension) are both missing.

The Open 2012: Live coverage of day three

THE OPEN LIVE: All the action as it happens from the third round at Royal Lytham

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 21 July 2012

THE OPEN ESSENTIALS

Click here for Saturday's tee times

Click here for a hole-by-hole guide

Click here for the live leaderboard

Welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Seve Ballesteros won the Claret Jug twice here and David Duval triumphed the last time the oldest major was played on this stretch of the Fylde coast (2001).

Tiger Woods is the bookies' favourite this week, and has put himself in contention after the opening two rounds of the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott were leading the play ahead of what should be a thrilling weekend at Lytham.

Stick with us and we'll bring you the latest news, live scores and all the best pictures. And if you want to get in touch, leave a comment on the section at the bottom of the page or email [email protected]

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2.07 Ah, a corker from Padraig Harrington on the last. A soaring, fading mid-iron taking on the dangerous pin location at the back of the green, spinning back towards the cup and leaving him eight feet or so for a closing birdie.

2.05 Louis lets a shot go at the fifth after sliding his par putt from 15 feet past the cup.

2.02 Now I could watch this all day: Ernie Els hitting balls on the practice range. How does he hit the ball so far with such little effort Magic. The three-time major champion and 2002 Open winner tees off at 2.40.

2.00 Poulter completes a fine front nine by rattling in his first birdie putt of the day from 15 feet. Eight consecutive pars followed by a bird. The Englishman is into the red numbers and is not yet out of the running.

1.59 Oosthuizen continues to creep into contention, his second birdie in the opening four holes drags him to two under par and up the leaderboard again.

1.55 A few more birdies keep things bubbling nicely just under the first page of the leaderboard. Kyle Stanley is one under through two holes, while Calcavecchia takes advantage of a superb tee shot by holing out from five feet on the first. Both Americans are two under for the tournament.

1.51 Watson putting down the hill on the eighth green from 20 feet… and he makes it! Good ol' Bubba from Bagdad is enjoying a fine afternoon, his third birdie of the day taking him to two under for the round and the tournament. A few fireworks on the back nine and he's right in this.

1.45 Right, things are about to get serious. The boys under par are now starting their rounds, beginning with 1989 winner Mark Calcavecchia and Argentina's Andres Romero. Argentine golfers are rare beasts, and it's a stinker of a first shot for this one as he stuffs his tee shot into a deep greenside bunker.

1.39 The pin position on the 357-yard 13th is rather inviting today for the longest hitters, and one man not afraid to have a dash with the big stick is McIlroy. He may be a wee lad but the Ulsterman gives his ball an almighty crack – this one's off line though and he finds the rough to the right of the green.

1.30 Vijay Singh, the former Masters and US PGA champion, is another who has reason to be cheerful about his day's work. The big Fijian comes home in 68 blows to sit level par overall. But that's only good enough for a tie for 28th right now.

1.17 Marvellous blue skies and beaming sunshine at Lytham this afternoon, a fine day for the Blackpool beach I dare say. The British seaside in the sun – is there any better place to be Playing links golf by the British seaside in the sun, perhaps.

Big-hitter: Bubba Watson in action during day three at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

Big hitter: Bubba Watson in action during day three at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

1.10 King Louis Oosthuizen is reckoned by many to be the king of the swingers, but he proves his putting stroke is just as silky smooth as his long game by holing a beautiful 30-footer to kick-start his third round with a birdie on the first. The 2010 champion is one under overall.

1.08 Birdie for Bubba! Well that's a real bonus for Watson, holing from off the green on the short fifth after coming up short with his eight-iron approach. More steady stuff from Poulter, a fifth consecutive par.

1.04 A sprinkling of Spanish magic from Miguel Angel Jimenez in the best spirit of Seve, twice champion at Lytham. The wily old so-and-so somehow sticks his ball six feet from the pin despite hacking out of some seriously thick rough way back on the fourth hole.

12.59 Ach, Bubba drops back to level for the day after missing his par putt from five feet. Poulter's birdie putt whistles past the cup.

12.55 They may just be a little too far back to seriously contend this weekend – and note that I said 'may' there – but you could do worse than following Poulter and Watson round today. Poulter has already made one miraculous par scramble from a fairway bunker on the third and is now pin high, 20 feet from the pin with his approach to the fourth. Bubba, meanwhile, finds sand with his short iron.

12.45 Rory McIlroy's woes are showing no signs of easing – the Northern Irishman has covered the front nine in 37 strokes – three over par – after bogeys at the fourth, fifth and eighth. Rory is five over par for the championship. Not what he had in mind after a fine opening 67.

Another who has flattered to deceive with a barn-storming opening round is big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, who also sits at five over par having shot a brilliant five-under 65 to start. Funny old game, isn't it

Keep out of that thick stuff: Englishman Greg Owen in action amid the fearsome rough

Keep out of that thick stuff: Englishman Greg Owen in action amid the fearsome rough

12.40 A fine third round comes to an end for another reigning major champion – US PGA winner Keegan Bradley firing a 68 to sit at one over par.

12.35 Big Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion, is making an early move. A towering, 190-yard seven-iron off the first tee sets up a simple birdie and the American bomber leaps into red numbers for both his round and the championship. His playing partner today is Ian Poulter, and the pair exchange pleasantries on the way to the green, Bubba asking Poulter where he lives. How quaint.

12.25 Here's a run-down of the day's most significant tee times as we get down to the meat of the third day at Royal Lytham. You can full list of tee times at the top of this article.

13:05 Louis Oosthuizen (SA), Martin Laird (Sco)
13:35 Simon Khan (Eng)
14:10 Simon Dyson (Eng)
14:30 Luke Donald (Eng)
14:40 Ernie Els (SA)
14:50 Graeme McDowell (NIre)
15:00 Paul Lawrie (Sco)
15:10 Tiger Woods (US),
15:20 Adam Scott (Aus), Brandt Snedeker (US)

12.15 The action has been underway since eight this morning, albeit featuring players who have left themselves with far too much to do to catch the leaders. Still, some of the game's big guns already have their feet up in the clubhouse having completed their third rounds.

Lee Westwood, much fancied this week yet again but sadly well off his usual best, shot a one-over-par 71 and lies four over for the championship. His playing partner, five-time champion Tom Watson, could only manage a 76 and is close to propping up the field on nine over. John Daly, the 1995 champion, is doing precisely that on 10 over after a 77.

Great American hope Rickie Fowler is level par after a 70, while Dutchman Joost Luiten broke par with a 69 and is the current clubhouse leader on two under. Expect that to change very soon.

Old master: Tom Watson tees off on the 14th during his third round at Lytham on Saturday

Old master: Tom Watson tees off on the 14th during his third round at Lytham on Saturday

12.00 Afternoon all… and what an afternoon. The sun is shining at long last, just in time for moving day at the 141st Open Championship.

American Brandt Snedeker leads Aussie Adam Scott by one at 10 under par – he hasn't carded a five in two rounds, for goodness' sake – but there's a Tiger on the prowl. Woods' quest for a 15th major title is gathering pace and he lies just four strokes adrift.

There's also plenty to keep the home fans interested too, with Scot Paul Lawrie, the 1999 champion, level with Tiger and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell also in the hunt. The Ulsterman is six adrift on four under par.


Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker went into the weekend leading The Open at Lytham

Leading the way: Brandt Snedeker went into the weekend leading The Open at Lytham

Euro 2012: England players all fit ahead flying to Poland

England fly out to Euro 2012 with clean bill of health… at last!

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UPDATED:

11:53 GMT, 6 June 2012

The Football Association have confirmed their entire 23-man squad, including John Terry, will be on the plane that leaves Luton Airport for their Euro 2012 mission on Wednesday afternoon.

Terry was among those who needed to be checked after suffering a 'tight hamstring' in Saturday’s friendly win over Belgium.

However, the FA said all players trained in their final session at Arsenal’s London Colney complex this morning and will make the two-hour flight to England’s tournament base in Krakow.

Ready to go: John Terry will fly out with the other 22 members of the England squad on Wednesday

Ready to go: John Terry will fly out with the other 22 members of the England squad on Wednesday

After losing four players to injury already, and becoming embroiled in a row over Rio Ferdinand’s omission, manager Roy Hodgson will be relieved not to suffer any more unwanted setbacks.

England were putting on a unified front before their departure from The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire, with players and officials posing for final photographs, resplendent in their new Marks & Spencer-designed suits.

Fit to fly: England manager Roy Hodgson will take a fully fit squad to Poland on Wednesday

Fit to fly: England manager Roy Hodgson will take a fully fit squad to Poland on Wednesday

On their way to Luton, England were also due to call in at the car plant of main sponsors Vauxhall, where they were expected to meet 200 members of staff before making the short journey to the airport.

Having taken a conscious decision to base themselves in a city centre location in Krakow, it was yet to be established whether there would be an FA presence in the city on Wednesday evening.

Ready and waiting: The new pitch at the Hutnik stadium is ready for England to train on in Krakow

Ready and waiting: The new pitch at the Hutnik stadium is ready for England to train on in Krakow

However, a ceremony was going to be conducted at Krakow airport, organised by UEFA, which would confirm England’s arrival, following that of Holland and Italy, who have also chosen to base themselves in the same area.

Snooker World Open hosted by China for five years

Snooker World Open handed to China for next five years

The World Open will be held in the Chinese city of Haikou for the next five years, moving from Scotland, where it has been held since 2006.

The world ranking tournament will be known as the Haikou World Open.

Exotic: Arguably a more attractive location than Glasgow, where the competition has been hosted for the past three years

Exotic: Arguably a more attractive location than Glasgow, where the competition has been hosted for the past three years

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: 'We are delighted to announce the staging of the World Open in Haikou for the next five years.

'The popularity of snooker in China continues to grow at a phenomenal rate and we have capitalised on that by establishing a third full ranking event, alongside the China Open and Shanghai Masters.

'We expect to make more announcements about events in China in the coming weeks.'

Pleased: Barry Hearn is happy about the growth of the game in China

Pleased: Barry Hearn is happy about the growth of the game in China

The 2012 tournament runs from February 27 to March 4 and features the world's top 16 players. They will be joined by 16 qualifiers and eight wild cards at the final venue.

All matches up to and including the quarter-finals will be best-of-nine frames.

The World Open has previously been known as the Grand Prix and LG Cup, and adopted its current guise in 2010, when Neil Robertson took the title in Glasgow.

Charles Sale: Russia"s 2012 HQ anger escalates

Russia”s 2012 HQ anger escalates

Russian upset over the rejection of the 10million plan to base their London Games HQ at Marble Arch is in danger of escalating into a full-blown diplomatic incident.

There is considerable anger in Russia— which is moving higher up the political agenda in Moscow — that planning permission was turned down when they had been given every encouragement for the ambitious project by the London Mayor’s office andWestminster Council.

The Russians were intending to promote the next Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 at huge temporary facilities under Marble Arch, including an ice rink, theatre and VIP suite, that were expected to attract 8,000 visitors each day.

Collision course: Russia wants to transform Marble Arch

Collision course: Russia wants to transform Marble Arch

The Sochi team have turned down the offer of moving into event company Live Nation’s entertainment site in Hyde Park, and have put forward a Plan B for Marble Arch that includes expert security opinion to resolve Met Police concerns about the size ofexpected crowds at a complex traffic-island location.

The Russians are said to have recorded evidence of Boris Johnson giving his endorsement for Sochi House.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said talks were ongoing over the newly submitted plans.

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Prescott moves on

Richard Prescott, former RFU head of communications who was one of the few Twickenham figures to be praised in the leaked players’ reports, has re-emerged as PR director of bookmakers William Hill after being a victim of ex-CEO John Steele’s botched restructuring programme.

Snedden a shoo-in

Former New Zealand bowler Martin Snedden seems to tick all the boxes, including wanting the job, for the vacant CEO role at Lord’s. Snedden has been in charge of NZ cricket and the 2011 Rugby World Cup Organising Committee. The MCC say they won’t make an appointment until the end of January.

Sunset+Vine get the gig

The Ortis Deley fiasco hasn’t stopped production company Sunset+Vine, responsible for the World Athletics Championships coverage, from winning the tender to be host broadcasters of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Rick Edwards, who replaced Deley as host during the Daegu coverage, will be one of four Channel 4 Paralympics presenters, as will Clare Balding.

Beaumont misses out

The internecine warfare at Twickenham and the England players’ boorish behaviour in New Zealand is thought to have played a part in Bill Beaumont failing in his bid against Bernard Lapasset to become chairman of the International Rugby Board.

The veneer of friendship between Beaumont and Lapasset was wiped away when the Frenchman used his casting vote to ensure one of his supporters, Oregan Hoskins of South Africa, beat Beaumont for the vice-presidency.

But the IRB cannot be faulted on transparency — chief executive Mike Miller sent Twitter updates from the election meeting.

Top dog: Bernard Lepasset

Top dog: Bernard Lepasset

Surveillance latest

More evidence has emerged about the surveillance on the Olympic Park Legacy Company board during the Stratford stadium battle between West Ham and Tottenham.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady’s telephone records came into the possession of the accountancy firm PKF hired by Spurs, an OPLC director had telephone information acquired by similar deception and now another board member says the same scam — giving rogue instructions to telephone service providers — was used in a failed attempt to gain access to his phone information.

Spurs deny telling PKF to use any improper investigative methods.

Rover and out

Land Rover, the England rugby sponsors who have made the most fuss about the players’ World Cup conduct, are to renew their deal with Premiership Rugby for a further four years. The RFU, yet to sign their Land Rover extension, are hopeful the agreement points to the company wanting to stay involved with England too. As yet none of the RFU sponsors have opted out.

Prickly subject

One Tottenham supporter at Tuesday’s AGM bemoaned the fact that the club going private would stop shareholders asking questions of the board, which he said had been especially entertaining when ‘the Hackney hedgehog’ was in the chair. He didn’t need to explain he was referring to Sir Alan Sugar.