Tag Archives: parade

Beach volleyball initiative launched by Zara Dampney

Give it a go! Team GB star Dampney gets behind new beach volleyball initiative

Olympics, the British public are being given the chance to try it for themselves.

The sport was one of the highlights of the Games as crowds flocked to the Horse Guards Parade last summer.

And Team GB star Zara Dampney is hoping a new initiative can encourage more people to take the fast-paced, action-packed discipline.

Zara Dampney

Zara Dampney

Best of British: Zoe Dampney was part of Team GB and the beach volleyball squad at London 2012

The Go Spike Big Weekend, which runs from May 25-27, offers the chance to take part in beach, indoor, outdoor and sitting volleyball at various venues across England.

'I’m incredibly excited about the Go Spike Big Weekend and think it will be a fantastic showcase of everything volleyball has to offer,' Dampney said. 'Everyone from kids to retired people should experience the enjoyment and the health benefits of volleyball.

'People don’t realise just how accessible volleyball is – there are facilities for all versions of the sport right across the country, and I hope that once people give it a go they will join up and make volleyball a regular part of their lives and enjoy it just as much as I do.'

Popular: Beach volleyball was introduced to a whole new set of fans last year in London

Popular: Beach volleyball was introduced to a whole new set of fans last year in London

Popular: Beach volleyball was introduced to a whole new set of fans last year in London

Popular: Beach volleyball was introduced to a whole new set of fans last year in London

For further information on the Go Spike Big Weekend and details of events across England visit www.gospike.net

FA 150th anniversary: Fabrice Muamba, Olly Murs and Fabio Capello join in celebrations

Stars come out to play as FA celebrates 150th anniversary with glitzy bash in London

caused by the John Terry racism case.

He said: 'One hundred and fifty years ago a group of people met on this site and they changed the world by producing the first laws of the game.

'Throughout that extraordinary journey the FA continued to sit at its heart.

Positive sign: Former England manager Fabio Capello stops for a few autographs

Positive sign: Former England manager Fabio Capello stops for a few autographs

'Despite occasional frustrations we have always and will continue to our play our full part in influencing the development of football in UEFA and FIFA.

'Even after 150 years there remains a simple beauty to the universality of football – from Wembley to parks football a single unbreakable thread runs through.

'The bedrock of English football are the more than 2million people who play football every week.

'Women's football is third biggest participation sport in the country, disability football is the seventh biggest.

Game for a laugh: Terry Venables (centre), Lawrie McMenemy (right) and Peter Reid share a joke

Game for a laugh: Terry Venables (centre), Lawrie McMenemy (right) and Peter Reid share a joke

'We have experienced terrible tragedies including Hillsborough and Valley Parade and these events, their victims and their lessons must never be forgotten. They are an indelible part of our story.

'We are also committed to equality and inclusion.'

Earlier in the day, John Barnes was one of the first stars to arrive, signing autographs for young fans and asking if they've done their homework.

Sir Trevor Brooking was one of many wearing a 150th gold badge and former England manager Fabio Capello, looking dapper, accidentally walked into the press room! That was quite amusing, maybe he has some points to make!

VIDEO: History of FA in 150 seconds narrated by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

President Prince William was not there but in a video message he said: 'Football part of very fabric of our society.

'Hope 150th year shines light on
incredible grass roots, especially 400,000 coaches, refs and
administrators up and down the country.'

Hodgson was joined on stage by Michael Owen and blind footballer Dave Clarke.

Owen's stunning goal against Argentina
at the 1998 World Cup was shown and the Stoke striker said: 'When you get
older, you realise how good a time that was.'

Three Lions tamers: (l-r) Roy Hodgson, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Graham Taylor

Three Lions tamers: (l-r) Roy Hodgson, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Graham Taylor

England skipper Steven Gerrard said it is a 'huge honour to be captain of country' in his video message. The Liverpool midfielder apologises twice for not being there.

Barnes and Mark Chamberlain are up. Barnes' goal against Brazil in 1984 is shown and the former Liverpool star says: 'I was looking for someone to pass to.'

David Beckham – who is on a pre-planned visit to hospital patients and is also appearing on video – recalls getting up early at weekends to go to football practice in London then Manchester.

'I owe my family a great deal for taking me to matches,' said the former England captain, who represented his country 115 times.

He says stepping out a England captain is 'the proudest moment an Englishman can have.'

Singer Olly Murs was also on stage, not performing but he will be at Wembley later in the year, apparently.

FACTS ON THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world.It is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.The FA oversees the England national teams at all levels for men and women.Its competition, the FA Cup, began in 1872 and is the longest-running association football competition in the world.Aristocrats and Royals have dominated the list of past FA presidents – the current president is Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.The longest-serving FA secretary or chief executive was Stanley Rous, from 1934-62. He then became FIFA president and was later knighted.The FA's current headquarters is at Wembley Stadium. For 71 years, until 2000, its offices were at Lancaster Gate before it moved to Soho Square for only nine years until the move to the new national stadium took place.The current FA independent chairman is David Bernstein, and the general secretary is Alex Horne.The FA board is split between the professional game and the national (amateur) game. Since last year there are also two extra independent members including Heather Rabbatts, its first female board member.

Star of the screen: David Beckham sent a message as the FA launched the 150th anniversary celebrations

Star of the screen: David Beckham sent a message as the FA launched the 150th anniversary celebrations

FIVE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE FA WHAT IT IS TODAY

1 Sir Stanley Rous
Unquestionably, the man who has had the biggest influence over English football.
Rous was FA secretary from 1934-1961, he re-wrote the laws of the game in 1938, and championed England's entry into FIFA in 1946. He left in 1961 – to become FIFA president.

2 Ebenezer Morley
A solicitor and who was first inspired with the belief that football should have a set of rules in the same way the MCC had for cricket.

It was his initiative that led to the formation of the Football Association in 1963 and the became the FA's first secretary and later its president.

He also drafted modern football's first rules.

3 Sir Denis Follows
Although some commentators have suggested Follows' era as FA secretary between 1962 and 1973 was uninspired, he did oversee two significant events – though with much influence from his predecessor Rous, who was the FIFA president.

The first was England hosting and winning the 1966 World Cup; the second was in 1971 rescinding the ban on women's football being played at Football League grounds, a rule which had stood since 1921.

4 Ted Croker
FA secretary between 1973 and 1989, he transformed the finances of an organisation via sponsorship and realised the potential of TV income.

He has the misfortune to be in charge during an era when the game was bedevilled by hooliganism, and with three terrible disasters: Bradford, Heysel and Hillsborough.

He defended football in the face of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's attempts to sideline it, telling her famously: “These people are society's problems and we don't want your hooligans in our sport.”

5 David Bernstein
He has only been FA chairman for two years, but has done much to restore it from an all-time low point after the humiliation of the 2018 World Cup bid defeat in 2010.

He persuaded the FA council to agree to reforms to modernise the organisation, including independent board members and the first woman on the board.

He also confronted some painful issues, apologising for the FA's role in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and the organisation's approach to racism following the John Terry abuse case.

Brazilliant: John Barnes scored a famous goal against the Samba superstars in 1984

Brazilliant: John Barnes scored a famous goal against the Samba superstars in 1984

FA TIMELINE

1863 – First meeting of the Football Association at the Freemason's Tavern on October 26 to agree common rules.
– Ebenezer Cobb Morley appointed first FA secretary and was responsible for drafting the first set of rules.
– First game with the new rules played at Mortlake on December 19 between Barnes and Richmond. It finished 0-0.

1872 – The first FA Cup tournament, involving 15 teams, concludes when Wanderers and Royal Engineers meet at The Oval on March 16. In front of 2,000 spectators, Morton Betts scores the only goal for Wanderers.

– England play their first full international match, against Scotland at Partick. Game finishes 0-0.

1873 – England play first home game at The Oval, beating Scotland 4-2.
William Kenyon-Slaney (2), Alexander Bonsor and Charles Chenery get the goals.

1877 – The three different sets of rules – Sheffield Rules, London Rules and Mixed Rules – are amalgamated.

1886 – First meeting of the International Football Association Board held in Holborn.

1908 – England play first match overseas. Beat Austria 6-1.

1923 – Wembley Stadium opens. Becomes the permanent home for the England team and the FA Cup final. Bolton beat West Ham 2-0 in the first final. The attendance is recorded as 126,047, although it is thought many more were present.

1924 – England play at Wembley for first time. Draw 1-1 with Scotland.

1930 – The FA decline FIFA's invitation to enter the first World Cup, also snubbing the 1934 and 1938 tournaments.

1934 – Stanley Rous named secretary. Remains in position for a record 28 years.

1947 – Join FIFA and agree to share a permanent vice-presidency position with Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

1950 – England compete in a World Cup for the first time, losing 1-0 to the USA in the process.

1953 – First home defeat to overseas opposition – other than Ireland – as England are beaten 6-3 by Hungary with Nandor Hidegkuti getting a hat-trick and Ferenc Puskas getting two more.

1954 – England lose 7-1 to Hungary in Budapest, their heaviest defeat.

1955 – Duke of Edinburgh named president.

1959 – Billy Wright captains England for a record 90th time. Is equalled by Bobby Moore in 1973.

1966 – England hosts World Cup, beating opposition from West Germany and Spain to hold the event.

– England win tournament, beating West Germany 4-2 after extra-time at Wembley.

1981 – Bert Millichip becomes chairman, a post he holds for 15 years.

1990 – England record their best World Cup performance overseas, reaching the semi-finals in Italy where they are beaten on penalties by West Germany.

– Peter Shilton wins a record 125th cap in the third-place play-off defeat to Italy.

1992 – The Football Association takes control of the newly-created Premier League.

1996 – Hosts Euro 96.

2000 – Wembley Stadium closed for rebuilding work, done at a cost of 798 million by Australian firm Multiplex.

2000 – Loses to Germany in the contest to stage the 2006 World Cup.

2001 – England gets its first foreign manager as Sven-Goran Eriksson is appointed as successor to Kevin Keegan.

2003 – Mark Palios named chief executive. His brief tenure includes banning Rio Ferdinand from playing in a Euro 2004 qualifier with Turkey after the Manchester United defender fails to take a drugs test. Resigns in 2004 after media revelations of an alleged affair with Faria Alam.

2006 – Prince William named president.

2007 – Wembley re-opened in time for FA Cup final.

2008 – Signs a record 425 million deal with ITV and Setanta for England and FA Cup games. Setanta goes into administration during the 2008-09 campaign.

2010 – Chairman Lord Triesman forced to resign after alleging Spain and Russia had tried to bribe referees during 2010 World Cup.

– FA embarrassingly receives only two votes – including its own – in voting to host 2018 World Cup, which Russia wins.

2012 – National Football Centre at St George's Park opens.

2013 – Launches 150th anniversary celebrations at Connaught Rooms in central London.

Capital One Cup semi-final draw: Chelsea at home to Swansea as Bradford host Aston Villa

Capital One Cup semi-final draw: Chelsea at home to Swansea as Bradford host Aston Villa

|

UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 19 December 2012

Chelsea were rewarded for their 5-1 thrashing of Leeds by being drawn against Premier League rivals Swansea at home in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

For the other tie, Arsenal's conquerors Bradford welcome Aston Villa to Valley Parade before the return fixture.

The first-legs will commence in the week beginning January 7; the second-legs will take place in the week beginning January 21.

On target: Branislav Ivanovic hit Chelsea's second in the thrashing at Leeds

On target: Branislav Ivanovic hit Chelsea's second in the thrashing at Leeds

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez is targeting his first trophy at the club.

Benitez saw his side beaten 1-0 by Corinthians in Sunday's final of the Club World Cup in Japan.

But the Blues showed few signs of jet lag as they came from behind to beat Leeds.

Up for the cup: Rafael Benitez is aiming for silverware with Chelsea

Up for the cup: Rafael Benitez is aiming for silverware with Chelsea

'It's a team that likes to play football, likes to play on the floor and also try to keep the ball so I think it will be interesting,' Benitez told Sky Sports 1.

'Every competition is important for us; a top side has to try to win every competition and now we are in the semi-finals so we are close to winning.'

Chelsea, managed by Roberto Di Matteo at the time, drew 1-1 with Swansea in their Barclays Premier League game at the Liberty Stadium in November, with Pablo Hernandez grabbing a late equaliser for Michael Laudrup's side.

Arsene Wenger tells Stan Kroenke he wants to turn Arsenal round alone

Stay out of it Kroenke! Defiant Wenger wants to get Arsenal's season back on track without interference

|

UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

A defiant Arsene Wenger today said that he is determined to turn Arsenal's stuttering season around and does not expect any intervention from the club's board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal suffered a crippling defeat at Bradford on Tuesday, when they were beaten on penalties in the Capital One Cup.

Wenger watched his season go from bad to worse at Valley Parade. The Gunners sit in 7th in the Premier League and are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after just 16 games.

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

With hopes of winning the league all but over, should Arsenal fail to bring home the FA Cup or the Champions League this season, it will be their eighth in succession without a trophy.

But Wenger has pulled Arsenal through
rough patches before, and he is determined to do so without any
intervention from Kroenke and the board.

Wenger said: ‘I am responsible for the football front, I don't expect Stan Kroenke to intervene.

‘The way to support me is to let me
do my work and do my job, I don't expect anything else. I'm very
determined and very hungry – if I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

‘I love the club, I sit here and show
how much I love the club. We have been through difficult periods before
and I know how to turn this around because I have been here 16 years.’

Wenger is looking to pick his players up at Reading on Monday evening after a difficult week, but believes he and his players should be looking forward, not back.

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

'We are top professional people. What
is important is what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday. We
are sorry for that [Bradford] but what is important is the next game.'

'They [Reading] are a team who deserve a lot of
credit because they came up last year, for me surprisingly.

'They make it difficult for every
team in every game, so we expect a battle. Our results are quite
consistent and good away from home.

'We had a good game against West Brom [and] it’s important to confirm that in our next away game.'

The Frenchman believes his players are committed and resilient enough to bounce back from the Bradford loss.

He said: 'This team cares, is serious and wants to do well, I do not question the spirit of the team.
I believe I have a strong team.

'If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home, away our results are in the same bracket as the two top teams.

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

'Where we have lost the points is we made too many draws at home.

'Manchester United are top of the league, six points ahead. They have lost three games, we have lost four. We had more draws, especially at home, that is where we have lost the points.'

The Arsenal manager was also asked whether, after 16 years at the helm, he had been at the club for too long.

He said: 'I can understand people
criticise when the results are not as expected. It looks like has become
the modern way to think.

'You say that 16 years can be a handicap, but it can also be an advantage because you have experience, you love the club.

'If I sit here, it is because I have really shown how much I love his club. We have gone through difficult periods before and you know how to turn it around.'

There has also been speculation that all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could re-join the club on loan in January, but Wenger refused to comment on the proposed move, and said: 'I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.'

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Arsene Wenger should leave Arsenal – Neil Ashton

NEIL ASHTON: Despite the charm, time's up for Wenger… Arsenal need another forward-thinking coach

|

UPDATED:

08:48 GMT, 13 December 2012

Robin van Persie was invited into Arsene Wenger’s magnificently appointed home in north London towards the end of last season for talks about his future.

It was a tense meeting, a full and frank exchange between Arsenal manager and captain after another trophyless season at the Emirates.

With a year left on his contract, the top goalscorer in the Barclays Premier League wanted assurances that the Gunners were ready to invest heavily in the squad before committing himself to a new deal.

Wenger was indignant and the offer to keep Van Persie was never made.

Entering the fray: Arsene Wenger walks onto the pitch before the match

Dead man walking: Arsene Wenger at Bradford

Fall guys: Humiliated Arsenal were dumped out of the Capital One Cup to League Two side Bradford City

Fall guys: Humiliated Arsenal were dumped out of the Capital One Cup to League Two side Bradford City

After winning three Premier League
titles and four FA Cups in 16 years at Arsenal, Wenger still rules the
roost. He remains untouchable, even after Tuesday’s shameful defeat in
the Capital One Cup quarter-final at League Two side Bradford City.

A team who cost almost 67million to
assemble were beaten on penalties by a side costing 7,500, despite
boasting internationals from Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, the Ivory
Coast, Wales, England and Poland. Bradford’s two internationals have
played a handful of games for Bermuda and Northern Ireland.

For many Arsenal fans this is the endgame, beyond the point of no return.

Wenger’s observations at Valley
Parade, when he spoke of ‘pride’ and ‘self-belief’, were a smokescreen
for a manager who has been sending distress signals since 2007.

It is time for Arsenal to move on, to
do the unthinkable and thank him for 16 years of loyal service and look
to the future with another forward-thinking coach.

As charming as he
is, Wenger is on the way out as the club’s manager. It is over and an
increasing number of people within the game are beginning to recognise
it.

The one that got away: Wenger emits a rueful smile after reacquainting with Robin van Persie at Old Trafford

The one that got away: Wenger emits a rueful smile after reacquainting with Robin van Persie at Old Trafford

Wenger earns 7.5m a year, and is the
highest-paid boss in the Premier League, yet Arsenal consistently
claim they cannot pay big bucks for players.

They were ahead of the game with
identifying the talents of Juan Mata and David Silva but their dithering
allowed Chelsea and Manchester City to step in and gazump them.

Even contract negotiations with Theo
Walcott, who is expected to be fit for Monday’s Premier League clash at
Reading, have broken down over the club’s pay structure.

Andrey Arshavin, a flop since his
move from Zenit St Petersburg in 2009, earns 110,000 a week all in.
Given the Russian’s pitiful contribution, it is not unreasonable for
Walcott to demand a similar contract, yet Wenger is refusing to meet the
England forward’s demands.

It was also revealed that players are
being asked to agree clauses in their contracts about a 20 per cent
reduction in salary if they fail to make the Champions League.

It seems inconceivable that Jack
Wilshere, England’s most exciting young player, who is about to enter
talks over a new contract to increase his 70,000-a-week package, will
agree to such a clause.

Bright hope: Jack Wilshere has announced he is committed to Arsenal - but what will happen if the club continues its downward trend

Bright hope: Jack Wilshere has announced he is committed to Arsenal – but what will happen if the club continues its downward trend

Wenger, known to avoid confrontation,
delegates contract negotiations to trusted advisor Dick Law following
the decision to fire his ally David Dein as vice-chairman in April 2007.
Dallas-based Law is the club’s transfer fixer, regularly sending emails
at 3am US time to fit in with the working day in London.

The coaching structure is
complicated, with assistant manager Steve Bould apparently marginalised
despite his promotion this season.

At 63, Wenger remains convinced he
can improve the players, taking training every day and planning every
move in meticulous detail.

Bould, a former Arsenal defender,
deserved his chance after 11 years with the academy and reserves but he
is largely ignored by Wenger. The pair are understood to have limited
communication and the distance between them is so big that, when the
boss missed training the day before Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at home by
Swansea, fitness coach Tony Colbert took the session.

Bould’s appointment, on 1.5m a year,
was heavily influenced by the Arsenal board following the retirement of
Wenger’s trusted assistant Pat Rice at the end of last season.

Rice is still a club scout but others
are frustrated by Wenger’s failure to take notice of the detailed
reports they provide on players. Gervinho, who won the French league and
cup double before he joined from Lille in 2011, was recommended by
chief scout Steve Rowley after coming to the attention of French talent
spotter Gilles Grimandi.

Out of sorts: Gervinho has failed to shine in an Arsenal shirt since his arrival from Lille

Out of sorts: Gervinho has failed to shine in an Arsenal shirt since his arrival from Lille

He scored 28 goals in 67 league games
for Lille but the Ivory Coast forward has rarely threatened to make a
major impact at Arsenal.

Left back Andre Santos, a surprise signing from Fenerbahce in 2011, is another mystery to the scouts.

Other coaches, like Bould, are
bypassed. Neil Banfield, promoted to first-team coach after years at the
academy, is paid a 1m salary but has little input in first-team
affairs.

Former coaches are made to sign confidentiality agreements not to talk about Wenger’s methods.

The club used to outsource fitness
checks to a specialist company at a cost of 750,000 but the Frenchman
disagreed with results after he was warned players were being
overworked.

Wenger was ahead of his time with
sports science, diet and training methods when he arrived from Nagoya
Grampus Eight in 1996. More than a decade later there is a growing
feeling the rest of the Premier League have left him behind.

The manager is proud of his
development strategy but one could argue that, in his 16 years, Ashley
Cole and Wilshere are the only bona fide graduates from the fabled Hale
End academy who have become first team regulars.

He points to the careers of Steven
Sidwell, James Harper, David Bentley, Fabrice Muamba, Anthony Stokes and
the Hoyte brothers as evidence of his success with young players.
Others at the club believe there is little point producing players to
play for other clubs.

Where are they now Former Arsenal academy graduate David Bentley is on loan from Tottenham at FC Rostov

Where are they now Former Arsenal academy graduate David Bentley is on loan from Tottenham at FC Rostov

It is an open secret at Arsenal Wenger and youth development coach Liam Brady rarely speak.
At the London Colney training centre, which was ahead of its time when
built 12 years ago, there has been a noticeable shift in Wenger’s
demeanour.

During the glory years at the turn of
the millennium, for example, first-team players would regularly tease
Kanu about the mystery surrounding his actual birthdate.

Wenger, who signed the Nigeria
striker from Inter Milan in 1999, would laugh along, telling him: ‘Kanu,
you know you are supposed to add a year, not subtract one.’

That was when Wenger could still rely
on the famous back four as they charged towards the Premier League and
FA Cup double in 2002.

Today he has tightened up, wrapping himself in his Arsenal jacket and feeling the pressure after seven years without a trophy.

Some believe the decline began with
William Gallas’s infamous sitdown protest after they drew 2-2 against
Birmingham but they beat AC Milan in the Champions League with goals
from Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor in the San Siro a few days
later.

Others trace the slide back to Wenger’s decision to break up the team beaten by Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.

Wenger always insists he is judged at the end of the season. Sadly, the verdict is already in.

Bradford v Arsenal: Costs & caps

Arsene Wenger rues sale of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas

Wenger rues selling stars Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie as quest for silverware goes on

|

UPDATED:

17:48 GMT, 12 December 2012

Manager Arsene Wenger will always regret not being able to realise the potential of his Arsenal squad over the past two years when key men were sold.

Arsenal’s quest for a first trophy since 2005 suffered another blow last night when they were beaten on penalties by npower League Two Bradford at Valley Parade in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

After guiding Arsenal to earlier great success, Wenger’s plans to build a team capable of sustaining a challenge for honours were shattered by the departures of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Alex Song.

Rueful: Arsene Wenger regrets selling star men over the past couple of years

Rueful: Arsene Wenger regrets selling star men over the past couple of years

In a wide-ranging interview with the January edition of Four Four Two magazine, conducted before yesterday’s loss at Bradford, Wenger admits there will always be a sense of what might have been if the club had been able to retain their talent.

'My regret is that we already had a great team two or three years ago which could compete on four fronts,' Wenger said.

'We just missed out in the Champions League [last 16 tie] against Barcelona, when we could have scored in the last minute, and then we just missed out on the Premier League too.

'But you could feel the potential was there, and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s do this together’. Then the team split up, sometimes after five or six years’ work, it is frustrating, you have to start all over again.'

Wenger added: 'We have lost recent players earlier in their careers – to lose Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri and Song in just two years, it is a massive amount of potential, of course you worry.'

Following Arsenal’s decision to leave Highbury in 2006 for the 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium, the north London club found themselves having to battle the financial commitments to the move as well as the seemingly bottomless pockets of rivals including Manchester City and Chelsea.

Wenger turned 63 in October and his position has come under increasing scrutiny this season.

The
Frenchman, whose contract runs until June 2014, feels he must remain
true to the values he inherited when taking over more than a decade ago.

Out: Samir Nasri left for Manchester City last summer

Out: Samir Nasri left for Manchester City last summer

Him too: Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas (right) left at the same time as Nasri, but for Barcelona

Him too: Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas (right) left at the same time as Nasri, but for Barcelona

He said: 'I am not saying I never made mistakes. I was fortunate to work for this club for 16 years and I hope I respected the traditions of this club.

'I feel fortunate, but I think somewhere as well I tried at least pay the club back with the trust they had in me.'

Arsenal have long championed their self-sustaining business model.

And another one: Robin van Persie was the highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season, but was allowed to leave for Manchester United

And another one: Robin van Persie was the highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season, but was allowed to leave for Manchester United

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains it is a philosophy which will give Arsenal an edge on the pitch, with UEFA’s financial fair play regulations soon to kick in.

'Let’s be clear – we don’t see Champions League qualification as enough, we are proud of our record, but we want to do more, and we will,' Gazidis told Four Four Two.

'Irrespective of financial fair play’s impact, we will be among the top five most financially powerful clubs in the world by 2014, that is when we will really start competing.'

Frankel pictures: Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment wear famous silks

Frankel fever! Super horse honoured by Queen's guards in countdown to farewell

|

UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 18 October 2012

Whether he bows out unbeaten after 14 races at Ascot on Saturday, or suffers the first – and last – defeat of his career, Frankel is already racing royalty.

And proving he is a true equine aristocrat, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, most famously seen Trooping the Colour at the Queen's Birthday parade, honoured the wonderhorse by sporting his legendary green and pink racing silks during their morning exercise.

The world's greatest racehorse – and, many say, the greatest of all time – retires to become a stallion after the 1.3million Qipco Champion Stakes having already written his name into racing folklore and winning over 2.2m in prize money.

Royal approval: Members of the Household Cavalry wearing Frankel's silks at their Knightsbridge barracks

Royal approval: Members of the Household Cavalry wearing Frankel's silks at their Knightsbridge barracks

Royal approval: Members of the Household Cavalry wearing Frankel's silks

Celebration: The Racing Post honoured Frankel on their front page with the stunning photo

Celebration: The Racing Post honoured Frankel on their front page with the stunning photo

And to celebrate Frankel's success in winning the hearts of the nation, the Racing Post produced the stunning pictures seen above of 18 mounted soldiers wearing the colt's familiar racing colours.

Commenting on behalf of The Household Cavalry, Captain Fred Hopkinson said: 'It was a real honour to be able to wear Frankel’s colours today.

'In our unique role as Her Majesty’s Life Guard we see inspirational human acts on the frontlines and work with these wonderful horses at home.

'Frankel is a horse that embodies all of that grit, courage and flare that we strive for in the Household Cavalry at home and on operations.'

The presence of this year’s Eclipse Stakes winner, Nathaniel, along with French 2011 Champion Stakes winner Cirrus Des Aigles, should ensure a good test for unbeaten Frankel in his 14th and final run.

It will also provide perfect symmetry as Frankel beat Nathaniel half a length on their respective debuts at Newmarket in August 2010.

Up for grabs: The finishing touches are made to the Champion Stakes trophy, to be presented on Saturday

Up for grabs: The finishing touches are made to the Champion Stakes trophy, to be presented on Saturday

Ratings suggest Frankel has a stone in hand of his rivals.

Meanwhile, Sir Henry Cecil is poised to give a debut to Frankel’s half-brother Morpheus at Nottingham on Wednesday.

DM.has('rcpv1908815963001','BCVideo');

Ricky Burns ready for Kevin Mitchell fight in Glasgow

Quiet man Ricky not reluctant to talk of treble ahead of Mitchell showdown

|

UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 18 September 2012

He has watched the glorious home-comings of this summer’s sporting heroes with a mixture of admiration and, truth be told, horror.

A double world champion who has spent his two-year reign actively avoiding public shows of adulation, Ricky Burns would rather face a barrage of body shots with his arms tied behind his back than board an open-top bus for a victory parade.

His natural shyness should never be mistaken for a lack of ambition, of course. Having moved up last year to add the WBO lightweight title to the WBO super-featherweight crown he had clinched on a frenzied night in September 2010, Burns cannot discount another giant leap — and a chance to become the first Scot to win world belts in three different weight divisions.

Focused: Ricky Burns can't wait to get in the ring against Kevin Mitchell

Focused: Ricky Burns can't wait to get in the ring against Kevin Mitchell

For now, he is focused entirely on Saturday’s hugely testing defence against Kevin Mitchell, in front of an anticipated 10,000 fans at the SECC; the vast majority will be there to hail Coatbridge’s most feted sporting son.

Ask this most retiring of global greats about enjoying the kind of organised hoopla arranged for the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Andy Murray in recent days, though, Burns looks positively mortified.

‘I am the total opposite — everybody knows I like to keep myself to myself,’ he said. ‘The training and the fighting is what I do, the fighting is the bit I enjoy.

‘After that, I like to return to normal. Would I like all that (the parades) Not at all.

‘It’s just not a big thing that appeals to me. Boxing is all I’ve ever wanted to do but, apart from the fighting, I’ve always said the publicity, all the attention I get, isn’t something I’m fussed about.’

Champ: Burns is a two-weight world champion and could be tempted by a third

Champ: Burns is a two-weight world champion and could be tempted by a third

The hype will only increase should he beat Mitchell in what could be one
of the fights of the year, with Burns conceding he might yet move on in
search of fresh challenges. Addressing the possibility of a unique
Scottish treble on the world stage, he said: ‘Now I’ve moved up to
lightweight, I can see I’m physically bigger.

‘We have spoken about it (moving up). Maybe I’ll get another year or two at this weight, a few more fights at lightweight.

‘But, if the big opportunity came at light welterweight, never say never. The bigger I get, the harder my punches are.

‘When I’m sparring, a couple of the guys are welterweights — a lot
heavier than me. But the size difference isn’t that much. If a big
fight came up at light welterweight, I’d be more than happy to take it.'

Eyes on the prize: Burns defends his title for the second time in Glasgow on Saturday

Eyes on the prize: Burns defends his title for the second time in Glasgow on Saturday

Wherever his career takes him, Burns is guaranteed to take thousands of fans with him. In a sport where a big mouth is often as important as a big right hand when it comes to selling tickets, his low-key approach to self- publicity has not done too much box-office damage.

Aware that Saturday’s bout is heading for a sell-out, he insists talk of the crowd becoming the equivalent of football’s 12th man for a home fighter is a little over the top, saying: ‘It’s only me in that ring — I’m the one taking the punches.

‘I try to block out the crowd, although I am grateful for the support I get — so I want to say a big thanks to everybody. Hopefully, I’ll do the business for them.

‘You tend to notice the crowd before and after the fight. Once that bell goes, it’s just a big blur. But it’s good to walk out in front of your own crowd, aye.

‘The crowd come into it in the later rounds, though. You can always hear certain things, even if most of it is just a blur.

Tough job: Burns is expecting a difficult 12 rounds against Mitchell in Glasgow

Tough job: Burns is expecting a difficult 12 rounds against Mitchell in Glasgow

‘If you look at it that way, it can put added pressure on you, make you feel as if you’re out there to look good. I always say, I need to win.

‘This is going to be a tough, tough fight. Kevin is a big puncher, a good fighter.

‘Since he lost to Michael Katsidis, he’s come back to beat John Murray and Felix Lora. I think his training has gone well, so the fans are in for a good fight.

‘Throughout the 12-week training camp, all I’ve been thinking about is this fight. When it’s been hard in sparring, I’ve been thinking: “Well, what am I going to do on the night”.

Battle of Britain: Burns and Kevin Mitchell are heading towards an explosive showdown

Battle of Britain: Burns and Kevin Mitchell are heading towards an explosive showdown

‘I’ve spent a lot of time in the ring thinking about the different scenarios that could happen.

‘This is the worst time, three days before the weigh-in, but I’ve still got a smile on my face just now.
‘Once the weigh-in is over, you can concentrate on the good bit.’

If that ‘good bit’ goes right on the night, Burns will be afforded a raucous reception to rival the loudest roars of this Olympic summer.

Just don’t expect to see him waving his belt from the top of a bus, float or specially chartered charabanc any time soon.

David Weir interview

Weir humbled after Paralympic heroics which have changed his life forever

|

UPDATED:

13:01 GMT, 16 September 2012

Having tried in vain, among the hysteria which followed his Paralympic triumphs, to make sense of things, it was eventually a moment of calm which spoke loudest to David Weir.

'I came back from doing a TV thing, late on Wednesday night, and my little boy, Morgan, who's one, had a cold and couldn’t sleep. So I sat on the sofa with him, just the two of us, and had a cuddle and a bit of a chat about what I'd been doing.'

He smiles at the memory – father and son, away from the noise and euphoria, sharing a unique moment. Then he looks down at the four gold medals around his neck, as if to confirm it really happened.

Gold standard: Weir has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotion since the summer

Gold standard: Weir has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotion since the summer

'When you’re in the village it's like being in a bubble, so when I came out and saw what was going on, I was stunned. I half expected someone to nudge me and say 'wake up, you're dreaming, you've got to go and race”.'

Weir's greatness, as with many of the summer’s heroes, is matched only by his ordinariness. At the victory parade he was struck by shyness when about to ask Jessica Ennis if she would pose for a picture with him When he did, she admitted she too had been plucking up the courage to ask the same of him.

Pondering the last fortnight, Weir also admits to being stunned at what he found, as he explored the further limits of his potential.

'Honestly I thought it was impossible to get four gold medals. But I did, and I did it in the best town in the world, in front of the greatest crowd at the greatest Paralympics ever.'

He intersperses grins with shakes of the head. It may yet take more than a late night with his infant son to properly make sense of it all. The impact of last Monday, when a million people crammed London’s streets to greet their heroes, is still clear.

'People like Chris Hoy and Ben Ainslie said I was an inspiration. That’s the sort of thing I’ll never forget.'

And through it all, he refuses to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Hero: weir bagged four golds during a memorable Paralympic summer

Hero: weir bagged four golds during a memorable Paralympic summer

Hero: weir bagged four golds during a memorable Paralympic summer

'For the first time, Paralympic sport has been properly viewed as equal. Not just “didn’t they try hard”, but the world watching what we did for the sake of the sport.

'People have said my 1500m was the best race they’d ever seen, Olympic or Paralympic. The best sporting moment they’ve ever experienced. When you see and hear that, you so start to think ‘What have we done here’ We’ve changed something really, really big.”

That fourth gold arrived, fittingly for a man whose first success was London’s mini-marathon, on the capital’s streets.

For the first few miles of the marathon Weir 'thought I was going to die' but his major challengers lacked either the pace or belief to make a move which he admits, could have broken him.

'I just clung on and didn’t let them know how much I was suffering.'

Their indecision proved fatal as Weir, hardened by endless hours training alongside cyclists on the hills of Richmond Park, threw down the gauntlet, four miles from the finish.

'I just thought “Right, let's get at it and give it a real go from here. Let’s see who fancies this”. Once I did that, the whole pack just split up, blew apart.'

Four of the best: Weir made himself a household name during the Paralympics

Four of the best: Weir made himself a household name during the Paralympics

Four of the best: Weir made himself a household name during the Paralympics

Even the absence of a banner at the finishing line – 'LOCOG told the organisers they didn’t have a tape and they weren’t going to provide one for Health and Safety reasons!' – couldn’t stop his surge to Paralympic immortality.

'I just kept going until I was sure it was the end. If I didn’t smile, it’s because I didn’t know I’d finished.'

With it safely won, his attentions now turn to a holiday, the arrival of his third child, and some time with the people who matter to him the most.

'I’m so happy to be back around my family again. They're the people you really celebrate with – the ones who know how much you put into it.'

He glances at his medals again, their golden clinking a constant reminder of his triumphs. Only a few might fully understand what David Weir put in, but an entire nation continues to celebrate what he brought back.

Andy Murray snubs Scotland Olympics victory parade

Murray snubs Scotland Olympics victory parade days after securing US Open glory

|

UPDATED:

22:05 GMT, 13 September 2012

Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray will not attend the official victory parade for Scottish Olympians and Paralympians on Friday.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out for the homecoming celebrations to honour the athletes in Glasgow on Friday.

Organisers said that six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, rower Katherine Grainger, swimmer Michael Jamieson and cyclist Neil Fachie are among the sporting heroes taking part in the parade.

Resting up: Murray has been all-go since winning his first Grand Slam

Resting up: Murray has been all-go since winning his first Grand Slam

However Murray will not attend, sportscotland said.

The tennis player returned to the UK on Thursday after beating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open.

The 25-year-old Scot, from Dunblane, beat Roger Federer to take the Olympic men's title at London 2012.

His victory at the Games came just 28 days after he lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Hero: Scotland's tennis hero will not appear at Olympics parade in Glasgow

Hero: Scotland's tennis hero will not appear at Olympics parade in Glasgow

Friday's parade will begin at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum at about 4.15pm before moving through the city centre to George Square, where a celebration will be held.

The George Square event is not ticketed and people will be allowed entry until the 17,000 capacity is reached.

Athletes and their guests will then attend a reception hosted by First Minister Alex Salmond in the nearby Old Fruitmarket.