Tag Archives: pickings

Neil Ruddock Celebrity Big Brother bath time

Did the water jump out when you got in, Razor Bath time for Ruddock in the Celeb Big Brother house

Paul Collins


15:50 GMT, 7 January 2013



15:50 GMT, 7 January 2013

Who knows what Neil Ruddock's motives for going into the Celebrity Big Brother house were, but we hope losing a few pounds is somewhere on his list of priorities.

There's no doubt 'Razor' has earned the right to treat himself now that his playing days are behind him. But he's clearly treating himself a little too often.

The former Millwall, Tottenham and Liverpool defender has joined Frankie Dettori and host of other celebs hoping to win cash for their chosen charity.

He's big Big Brother contestant: Ruddock in all his glory, heading for a bath

He's big Big Brother contestant: Ruddock in all his glory, heading for a bath

This is not the first time that the 44-year-old has ventured into the world of reality television since he hung up his boots in 2003. Ruddock appeared on 'I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!' in 2004.

While his television career has introduced his loutishness to a wider audience, Ruddock's behaviour gained him infamy in the footballing world in his mid-90s hey-day.

On the pitch, Ruddock was famously involved in a scuffle with Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, while he broke both of Cantona's United team-mate Andrew Cole's legs in a challenge in a reserve match in the same year.

One question: Is Ruddock really big, or is that bath really small

One question: Is Ruddock really big, or is that bath really small

Off the pitch, Razor earned himself a reputation as a heavy drinker and
womaniser during a career which spanned 17 years and took in eight

Never the slimmest in his playing days, Ruddock has swelled to a size surely even he would have gawked at back in his prime. Maybe a spell away from the fridge will do him good.

Slim pickings: Ruddock cut a leaner figure in his playing days

Slim pickings: Ruddock cut a leaner figure in his playing days

A handy win for Liverpool, but you"re no Spurs

A handy win for Liverpool, but you're no Spurs



23:20 GMT, 23 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Tynecastle is not unlike Anfield in
feel. Hemmed in by Edinburgh's streets and a living piece of the city,
it is also tight, old and on top of the players.

Even for a makeshift
Liverpool XI there was enough about the night to make it familiar.

But it was no home from home. Brendan
Rodgers's side may have won courtesy of a Hearts own goal, but Pepe
Reina made important saves and the maroon noise that rained down all
evening said this was not Anfield.

Hard going: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Hard going: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

It sounds unduly negative but what Liverpool were not, and are not, will be one of the memories from Thursday night.

Rodgers was honest enough to say afterwards 'we're not that good to be that complacent', when asked about the notion that the tie is over even with a second leg to play. Following the 3-0 defeat to West Brom in the league last Saturday, such honest assessments will help Rodgers remind the weekly jury that he, like every other manager, requires space and patience. In that respect, a win, however it was accomplished, is not harmful.

But it is an unfortunate hazard of the job that Rodgers must live with comparisons. Usually they are with Liverpool's past but Thursday night it was Hearts's recent experience in this competition which was going to be raised.

Last August, Hearts took on Tottenham Hotspur here in the Europa League and were elegantly thrashed 5-0. Harry Redknapp's team had seen their season delayed by the riots in north London but proceeded to loot old Gorgie.

Rodgers removed much of the room for comparison by leaving the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez back on Merseyside. It is Manchester City there on Sunday after all. Redknapp had sent out a strong side, as seen in the names of the Spurs scorers – Van der Vaart, Defoe, Bale, Livermore and Lennon.

Easy pickings: Jermain Defoe scores in Tottenham's 5-0 victory over Hearts

Easy pickings: Jermain Defoe scores in Tottenham's 5-0 victory over Hearts

Set against that, those selected for Liverpool were far from fully formed. For a start there was 17-year-old Raheem Sterling making a full debut, and he did well in a game lacking pattern.

Ultimately, Sterling may prove to do for Liverpool what Scott Sinclair did for Swansea but that is long-run stuff. Sterling made three appearances as a substitute towards the end of last season and there is an expectation that accompanies him already.

Up against a physical presence in Hearts right back Ryan McGowan, Sterling was given early indications he would not be allowed the freedom of Liverpool's left flank. It is to his credit that he stuck at it, cutting in on to his natural right foot when he could. When Fabio Borini struck the post just before half-time, Sterling had the maturity to tee him up when other teenagers might not have.

It is all part of a changing Liverpool picture. For some the change is not quick enough. Andy Carroll looked on from the sidelines, the non-stop speculation on his future another echo of last August when the fuss was about Spurs's Luka Modric.

Stepping up: Raheem Sterling (right) tussles with Hearts' Ryan McGowan

Stepping up: Raheem Sterling (right) tussles with Hearts' Ryan McGowan

So not everything changes, but much else has. Redknapp is no longer Tottenham manager. Hearts have a different coach too, John McGlynn having replaced Paulo Sergio, and their best player of recent times, Rudi Skacel, has departed, one of many to leave. Hearts are weaker than a year ago. Then again, the whole of Scottish football is different – Rangers were also in the Europa League at this stage last year. Now they are banned from Europe and play in the Scottish Third Division.

Liverpool and Rodgers are obviously different too. But to those fans in maroon and white filling Tynecastle with an atmosphere that will have appealed to the Liverpool fans holding the 'Against Modrn Football' banner, the most significant contrast with the Spurs game was that this was a contest.

Sadly for them, Hearts lost it. The introduction of Joe Allen midway through the second half had a stabilising effect upon the visitors. Allen is all part of the change: how he, Liverpool and Rodgers compare one year from now is as intriguing as how they compare against City on Sunday.

Why Sky and BT paid a staggering 3bn to screen Premier League matches

Rich pickings! Why Sky and BT paid a staggering 3bn to screen Premier League matches



18:29 GMT, 14 June 2012

How can a football match be worth
6.53million That's 72,555 a minute or nearly 300,000 for each of the
22 players – more than 10 times the cost of the same match in 1992.

Investors reacted with the same
disbelief as many fans after the Premier League announced on Wednesday
that Sky and BT had paid 3.018billion for the domestic TV rights for
three seasons, starting in 2013. Shares in both companies fell on

But both firms are confident they can justify such a staggering outlay…

Winners: BT have managed to secure some massive matches

Winners: BT have managed to secure some massive matches

So what's in it for Sky

Sky have lost their monopoly on the
'first picks' of matches, but have paid around 90,000 more per game
than BT to avoid the 12.45pm Saturday slot.

Last year Saturday lunchtime kick-offs attracted only around 1.2m viewers, whereas 4pm Sunday matches were watched by more than 2m people.

BSkyB are now in more than 10m homes and posted operating profits of almost 1bn in the nine months to last March, so they are confident they afford their 2.28bn outlay for 116 Premier League games each season.

This is as much about boosting their own sports portfolio as keeping competitors out because the Premier League 'remains the competition people want to watch'.

Sky have long-term sponsors such as Ford and high-profile advertising slots to bring in revenue, but believe they can offset the cost in other parts of the business, rather than increasing subscription charges.

Excitement: The drama of last season influenced the huge price

Excitement: The drama of last season influenced the huge price

What's in it for BT

BT came from nowhere to push ESPN
out of the market by paying 736m for 38 matches each season. Crucially,
they secured 18 of the 38 'first picks', although the Saturday
lunchtime spot, when they will screen most of their matches, is not the
most desirable.

Their television platform, BT
Vision, has only 700,000 viewers but BT will not follow the model of
Setanta, who fell 700,000 viewers short of the number they needed to
break even.

BT have invested 2.5bn in making
high-speed broadband available to two-thirds of the UK and will use live
Premier League football to compete with Sky and push their telephone,
internet and TV packages.

Sky Sports One and Sky Sports Two
are already available on BT Vision. The firm will launch a new
football-led channel, which they hope will also be shown – for a monthly
fee of around 10 – on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview.

What's in it for the clubs

Each club is guaranteed to earn at
least 14m more from domestic broadcast rights than last season. That's
before you add in overseas rights, which brought in around 1.4bn last
time around, highlights packages, for which the BBC have just paid
179.7m, online highlights and radio commentaries.

Clubs and players will profit, but will the price of your season ticket go down Unlikely.

Premier League wages went up 201m
in 2010-11 to almost 1.6bn, a rise driven mainly by overseas TV deals,
so expect this figure to keep climbing.

Joe Root hits century as England Lions beat West Indies

Joe at the Root of success as England Lions batter West Indies



14:44 GMT, 13 May 2012

Joe Root bagged a century as England Lions surged to a 10-wicket victory at Northampton to send West Indies into the first Investec Test at Lord's with little to cheer.

Root (115 not out) and Michael Carberry (72 not out) barely had a moment's worry against a depleted attack as England knocked off 197 to win with more than a session to spare.

Root's share brought him his second first-class hundred and it was easy pickings as he accelerated the scoring rate and the West Indies notably took their feet off the pedal.

Deadly duo: Joe Root (right) and Michael Carberry at Northampton

Deadly duo: Joe Root (right) and Michael Carberry at Northampton

The tourists' mid-match fightback faltered immediately on the final morning.

They had defied expectations yesterday, when Kieran Powell and Shivnarine Chanderpaul helped them wipe out a mammoth first-innings deficit.

But the tail lasted barely 30 minutes and after bowling their opponents out for 390, the Lions moved with the minimum fuss to 61 without loss at lunch.

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Watching on: Jonny Bairstow was in the crowd to watch the Lions

Rampaul was back on the field at least, but neither he nor Fidel Edwards was used as the tourists opted for apparent damage limitation to their pace-bowling resources and allowed off-spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels to go through the motions.

Root passed his 50 with his sixth four when Samuels went round the wicket and induced an edge from the new angle, at catchable height, wide of slip.

There were eight boundaries in Carberry's half-century, from 116 balls, and he too reached the milestone by edging an off-break from Shillingford past slip.

Root had needed 96 balls to post his 50 but more than doubled his boundary count to 14 as he scooted to three figures in only 36 more.
Appropriately, he completed the job thanks to a misfield.

Matt Coles (four for 76) struck twice this morning to finish off the West Indies' second-innings resistance for the addition of only 13 runs.

It might have been only seven or 11 had either Nick Compton at second slip or Root at short-leg managed to hold routine catches offered respectively by last pair Roach off Meaker and Rampaul off Coles.

But at such little cost, such minor details were never likely to prove significant.

West Brom 4 Sunderland 0: Match Zone

Hodgson's handling of Odemwingie proves he has mettle for England role

What would happen if neither Harry Redknapp nor Stuart Pearce took the England job

Well, the Football Association would be in a fix, certainly.

But the probability is that it wouldn't be for long. There is an alternative.

In a professional career that has spanned 35 years, Roy Hodgson has now repaired the damage done to his reputation while at Liverpool while all but confirming another year's stay in the Premier League for West Bromwich Albion.

Rich pickings: Peter Odemwingie has been red hot of late

Rich pickings: Peter Odemwingie has been red hot of late

Four unanswered goals at the Hawthorns left Hodgson in self-congratulatory mood, confirming to the assembled media afterwards that he believes the Baggies need no longer look over their shoulders.

With an unsigned contract to hand – the current one runs out in three months – if the decision-makers at Wembley want an experienced alternative at no cost, then Hodgson, surely, must be worth an interview.

His treatment of Peter Odemwingie is a case in point. The Nigerian forward was on the end of a tongue-lashing three months ago – Hodgson claiming the club had 'got nothing' from him since he was awarded a bumper pay deal last summer.

During the January transfer window, the Baggies' striker sought a meeting. Since then, his form has steadily improved to the point where he has now claimed five goals in his last two games.

Options: Could Roy Hodgson take the England role

Options: Could Roy Hodgson take the England role

'Maybe it was his psychology,” said Odemwingie, 'I learned something from the situation.

'Did it spur me on Maybe he had something in mind when we had this, shall we say, “situation”.

'I went to see him. He said I had a lot to offer and that I shouldn't take my anger and frustration out on him.

'We needed to clear the air. But I do want to say that it was a fitness thing. I am the total opposite of a player who doesn't want to play through pain.

'The doctor here knows that. I love the Premier League too much to even miss a game against the lowest team. I never want to miss a match.

'I didn't play one week and my mum was on the phone saying: “What's the matter with you”

'She may be in Moscow but she watches all of West Brom's games on the national football channel.

'And if I'm not playing, she wants to know why!'

match zone