Tag Archives: power

Arsene Wenger will decide if Theo Walcott stays at Arsenal

What are you waiting for Arsene weighing up Theo contract decision

By
Rob Draper

PUBLISHED:

22:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 5 January 2013

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will decide if Theo Walcott wants to stay at Arsenal.

The manager is weighing up whether to recommend an 85,000-a-week deal to his board that would break the impasse in contract talks and see the England attacker sign for another four years.

Wenger, whose team take on Swansea in the FA Cup on Sunday, has almost unprecedented power as a manager at a club.

I'm in charge: Arsene Wenger (pictured) has said he will make the final decision over Theo Walcott's future at Arsenal

I'm in charge: Arsene Wenger (pictured) has said he will make the final decision over Theo Walcott's future at Arsenal

And he admits the current wage structure at Arsenal, which many fans feel undervalues their top stars even though the 143million the salary bill is the fourth highest in the Premier League, is directed by him.

Though Arsenal executive Dick Law would conduct negotiations with Walcott’s representatives, he acts on Wenger’s recommendations on salaries.

The manager is given a wages budget by the board, but then it is up to him how high or low the salaries are for individual players.

Wenger added: ‘I don’t know how it works at other clubs. But it’s not only me: it’s in cooperation with the board.

On fire: Theo Walcott (left) has scored 10 goals in his last 11 games

On fire: Theo Walcott (left) has scored 10 goals in his last 11 games

'When I want to go far [in setting a higher salary for a player], I ask the authorisation of the board.’

No substantial talks on Walcott’s contract were held last week other than the usual courtesy conversation between Law and Walcott’s representatives, so the issue is no closer to resolution.

But both parties hope this coming week will be more productive with detailed discussions.

Not losing Walcott is Wenger’s priority now, since the player has scored 14 goals after starting the season isolated and on the bench, when Arsenal attempted to pressure him into signing a 75,000-a-week contract.

Walcott held firm and might have paid for it by starting the season outside the starting XI.

But he has proved his worth since then and the club now realise it would be a public relations disaster to lose him in the wake of the recent departures of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Alex Song.

Stand-off: Walcott (right) started the season on the bench but has become a key play for Arsenal in recent weeks

Stand-off: Walcott (right) started the season on the bench but has become a key play for Arsenal in recent weeks

Brian Jacks: The superstar of Superstars is now running a hotel in Thailand and doing magic tricks

Brian Jacks the entertainer: Four-time champion of Superstars and king of the dips is now running a hotel in Thailand and doing magic tricks

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UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 29 December 2012

Brian Jacks has just made a glass disappear through a wooden table when he comes to hypnotise me. I am looking at a white mark above a door and swaying sideways, and backwards and forwards, my eyelids heavy, my knees weak and my arms loose before he grabs me. I briefly fall under his spell.

An Only Fools and Horses actor is with us but for now all eyes are turned on Jacks, the superstar of Superstars, as he goes through his repertoire of magic tricks. Cards, coins and notes all feature in the conjuring act.

Work those quads: Superstars legend Jacks has been in Thailand for 13 years

Work those quads: Superstars legend Jacks has been in Thailand for 13 years

We are about four miles out of Pattaya, a sun-kissed, crescent-shaped bay on the Gulf of Thailand. This humid resort, a former fishing town an hour-and-a-half's drive from Bangkok, is home to go-go bars, massage parlours and sauna joints in the neon-lit twilight world close to the shady trees of a promenade strewn with women – or indeed drag queens – of the night.

Away from the centre of Sin City in a quieter, residential area known as Darkside for no more intriguing a reason than that the street lighting barely extends here, one of the most famous sporting faces British television has produced wakes early each morning to live his dream.

Brian Albert Jacks, judo champion, master of the squat thrust and king of the dips, owns apartments here – exactly 69 of them – which he rents out to expats, many of them eking out sunny retirements on meagre pensions.

Patrick Murray, better known to us as Mickey Pearce, who wore a pork-pie hat in Only Fools and Horses, now 56, slim, greying, chain-smoking but thankfully off alcohol after more than a decade fighting addiction, is one of the patrons paying between 110 and 150 a month to stay in the premises that Jacks designed.

Horse power: Jacks riding 'Copy', Kerry Packers' former polo pony

Horse power: Jacks riding 'Copy', Kerry Packers' former polo pony

Famous faces: Jacks and his friend Patrick Murray (Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses)

Famous faces: Jacks and his friend Patrick Murray (Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses)

Snooker's Jimmy White is another
occasional caller. Three-quarters of Jacks's clientele are Britons, the
rest mostly Europeans, a couple of them American or Canadian.

An obliging chap called Odd -Jacks's trusty helper – has driven me here
from Beach Road and the Hilton hotel's balcony view of that
sun-drenched bay. Jacks comes out to greet me by extending a hand as
thick as a fillet steak. His features are slightly worn by sun and age,
as well they might be at 66. But he is otherwise a picture of enduring
athleticism. His weight, 81kg or 12st 7lb, is precisely the same as when
he was a 21-year-old Olympic judoka. When he rolls up his shirt
sleeves, his biceps still bulge.

Golf clubs lean on the office wall. Books fill up shelves. A picture
montage of his previous life in Britain shows him mingling with the
stars of sport and entertainment from the Sixties, Seventies and
Eighties: Freddie Starr, Hale and Pace, Kenny Sansom, Mary Rand, Frank
Bruno, Ian St John, Sir Bobby Charlton, David Lloyd, Sir John Mills,
Steve Davis, Frankie Vaughan, Vic Charles, Eric Bristow and Princess
Anne.

So why, he wonders, have we flown all this way to visit him

I explain that a new Olympic edition of Superstars was filmed in Bath
last month. It is due to be aired this evening. Mo Farah, the Brownlee
brothers, Christine Ohuruogu and Jade Jones are among the BBC's cast
list. So what better moment to catch up with the orange-sucking legend
of the show

'I have been over here for 13 years,'
says Jacks. 'It's bliss. I wake up every day and it is a joy to be
alive. I can't wait for dawn to break.

Big dipper: Jacks breaking the World Arm-Dip record

Big dipper: Jacks breaking the World Arm-Dip record

All stars: Jacks with Sharon Davies, Bob Goody and Wayne Laryea

All stars: Jacks with Sharon Davies, Bob Goody and Wayne Laryea

'I love Britain. I got emotional when I won medals and heard the
National Anthem, but I was fed up with the country, too. I was fed up
with the way it had become.

'I was fed up with the ridiculous health and safety regulations. I was
fed up with the government taking more and more in taxes. And I was fed
up with the cold weather. I was fed up with immigration getting out of
control.

'Take health and
safety. I ran a judo club in Orpington in Kent for 20-odd years. One day
a woman health and safety inspector from Bromley Council came into my
office and asked, ''What's this''

'I said it was a fridge.

'She said, ''What temperature is it''

'I replied, ''I don't know, it's pretty cold''.

'She told me I should put a jelly in there with a thermometer in it.
Can you believe it I only kept my milk in there to have a cup of tea.

'She then spoke to me about the wash
basin. She asked which the cold tap was and which the hot tap was. I
told her the hot one was the one with red on it and the cold one was the
one with blue on it.

'She
said that was no good because blind people couldn't tell which was
which. I told her we didn't have any blind people playing judo.

'She said I should still put a sign up. I said if people were blind
they wouldn't see it. She said it must be in braille. Well, if they were
blind, how would they know where the sign was

Promise: Jacks the young Judo expert

Youthful: Jacks the young Judo expert

Feeling sleepy: Sportsmail's McEvoy (left) is hypnotised by Jacks

Feeling sleepy: Sportsmail's McEvoy (left) is hypnotised by Jacks

'I was getting pretty irritated by her asking all these stupid
questions and she ended up going off in a huff. So then the council sent
round people to test for Legionnaires' disease and then for asbestos. I
had been hiring this building from the council for 24 years and they
suddenly send three lots of people round in the space of a few days.
This is typical of things that are going on in Britain.

'I was a PE teacher and in the end you had to write to parents asking
their permission to put a badly behaved boy on detention. I was strict.
That is the way it should be. I said what was needed. And all these
stupid rules were getting me really annoyed.

'In Thailand I know where I stand. I report in every three months. If I don't, they deport me. End of story.'

Jacks does not want to dwell too long on the negatives. He thinks of
the tapioca, pineapple and mango he can pick in the fields that surround
his apartments and the nearby house he shares with his 46-year-old
wife, Lek.

'In Britain you
can play golf sensibly for five months of the year,' he adds. 'Here
you can play every day – and for a pittance. Within 45 minutes there are
27 golf courses. That is the major reason I am here.

'I am not as good a player as I'd like to be but I am a very
competitive person and it provides me with the competition I need. My
handicap fluctuates between eight and 12. It depends, shall we say, on
the rub of the green.'

Golf usually comes in the afternoon –
virtually every afternoon – but the days start early. He jumps on his
quad bike and charges via road and dirt track to a farm, owned by a
local police chief, to feed his horses.

The biggest and oldest of them is Replica. KP is stamped on the side,
signifying that this old polo horse belonged to the late Australian
magnate Kerry Packer. Replica is known as Copy because Thais cannot
manage his full name.

Video: Jacks the big dipper

Hell
is the second horse, but it is Max, young and white, who is mad. He was
broken in by Jacks himself with skills he learned riding with his
'inspirational' late father Albert, a London cabbie.

Jacks only rides occasionally now, his
fragile back too precious to his golfing enjoyment to be gambled with.
He has not been in a gym for years.

Back apart, his body is in good nick.
The warm weather helps his arthritis. His knees feel strong despite 11
cartilage operations. He drinks sparingly. Surprisingly, he rolls the
odd cigarette.

Over dinner
he recalls the old times. How, aged nine, watching his dad in a judo
competition sparked his interest in the sport. How he went to Japan to
improve his judo at the age of 15 years and two days. The Daily Mail
cutting of his trip to live with Mr Ichiro Hatta hangs on his house
wall. The article records how Jacks had recently broken his leg in a
rugby accident and suffered a second serious accident involving a
pane-glass window yet was still crowned national junior champion.

While in Japan, he bought a Harris Tweed coat, glasses and pipe from
the pawn shop on the American military base so that he looked old
enough to teach English as a foreign language.

'I hadn't got a clue what I was doing,' he recalls. 'I just did Old
MacDonald Had a Farm and stuff like that. There are probably still some
Japanese people over there speaking with a Cockney accent.'

He WON Britain's first judo world championship medal in Salt Lake in
1967 and another bronze at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the global
highlights of a career in which he also won six European medals,
including two golds.

Then,
of course, there was Superstars. In that, Jacks won the British final
in 1979 and 1980 as well as the European and international titles the
same years. It is for his epic performances on the parallel bar dips (a
best of 100 in 60sec) and squat thrusts (118) that he will be longest
remembered.

Video: Jacks and sliding squat thrusts

He recalls that Philips sponsored the show, giving contestants a colour TV if they set a world record. Jacks managed the feat so regularly he had nine of them. 'I told them, ''I'm sick of the bloody things, can't I have a fridge instead” I used to do 400 dips in the course of an hour, building up each day how many I could do in one go. Then I would do thrusts, 400 of them. I trained hard. I loved it.

'I went down with my training partners to Crystal Palace for 6am in my Granada estate with my canoes and bikes on it. I would spend one hour in the canoe towing a dustbin for the 125m sprint. The canoes would go back on the car.

'Then we would get the bikes off the back and ride them for an hour. Then breakfast. Then basketball dribbling and crossbow or longbow practice while the food went down before weightlifting – clean and jerk. Then I'd swim for 45 minutes.

'I was off then from 2 to 6.30pm and then I'd train in the judo club for three hours.

'I liked all the guys I competed against – John Conteh, Allan Wells, Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett, David Hemery.

'Lynn Davies, the (1964 Olympic) long jump gold medallist, was a great athlete and a gentleman. He was the toughest rival, not because he was the most powerful but because he was the most wonderful competitor. He was good at so many disciplines.

'Malcolm Macdonald was a great sprinter – he did the 100m in 10.9sec – but wasn't so good at the other events. You could choose which two disciplines from the 10 to drop and I was not built for sprinting or cross-country running so didn't do them. We all got on so well. There was only one person I didn't like and that was Daley Thompson. Do you know what, I brought 60 kids along from the judo club and he wouldn't sign one autograph He was an arrogant, big-headed *******.

'I remember when he put his watch down in front of him before he was doing the squats. Do you think that would help him Ridiculous.

'So when it was my turn I put my orange down – as if that would help me – just to show what an idiot he was. I did 35 more than him. He tried to keep up with my training but he couldn't.

'But I have so many memories. There was
Kevin Keegan falling off his bike on the cinder track and burning
himself. They filmed three heats on that same day and I had got within
1.2sec of the actual cycling world record for one lap. There was Alan
Minter in his canoe going straight into the rhododendron bushes. Stan
Bowles put his 2.2 pistol down and it went off – blowing a hole in the
table.

Video: Keegan takes a fall

'A few years ago when they last brought back Superstars they allowed the contestants to get off the bars and then get back up and start doing more dips. That's not how it was when I was doing it and it shouldn't be like that. It makes it too easy.'

You wonder whether the class of 2012 will have Jacks's manic determination for a TV show in this more professional age. For him it was about winning. Good job, because he received an entry fee of just 500 with 2,000 going to the winner.

'That's all we got, even though we got audiences of 16 million – the same or more than EastEnders gets now. Everybody was talking about it. I remember David Vine, the presenter, coming over before the canoeing to ask me whether I would win. I said I had not come here to lose. It was not that I was being arrogant. I was just competitive. That was me. That was the way I was. I was there to win.'

And the oranges that Jacks chomped 'I have never done stupid adverts on TV,' he says. 'I don't want to endorse something I don't believe in.

But I do believe in Jaffa oranges. You can't get such good oranges over here. The tangerines are OK, though.'

There were spin-offs. For a time Jacks was opening sports centres, appearing in pantos, delivering talks. He never refused an autograph, however late in the day or restless his travelling companions were to head home.

He claims never to have been rich, though he was well enough off, living in a five-bedroom house in Orpington with space for eight cars that included a Rolls-Royce. Does he have any regrets at casting himself away from those home comforts for a new life in Thailand

'Not even in the smallest way,' he says. 'Health is more important to me than money. Here I can eat well at little cost. It tastes great and it isn't fattening. I live off 1,000 a month. I don't do anything I don't want to.

'I promise you no amount of money on God's Earth would tempt me back.I am the happiest person in the world. And by the way, I can still do my own age in dips.'

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Max Chilton lands Marussia F1 deal for 2013

Max power! Chilton becomes fourth Brit on grid after landing Marussia deal

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 18 December 2012

Max Chilton insists he is 'already up to speed' with Formula One after Marussia confirmed the promising youngster as the fourth Briton on the grid for the 2013.

Chilton replaces Caterham bound Charles Pic for the 2013 season and despite having just two Formula One tests under his belt, the 21-year-old Reigate-born racer is convinced he is ready to make the step up from the GP2 grand prix feeder series.

'It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling today, with the announcement that I will be racing for the Marussia F1 Team in 2013,' said Chilton.

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Done deal: Chilton has been handed a permanent drive with Marussia in 2013

Max Chilton: Racing history

British Formula Three Championship (2007-09)

Chilton tasted victory at one race in three years, ending his final season 4th in the standings.

GP2 series (2010-12)

The Briton graduated to the F1 feeder series in 2010. After two largely lacklustre years, Chilton ended last season with two wins from the final four rounds finishing 4th in the championship.

'It comes at the end of what has been
a fantastic year for me, and those steps – my GP2 pole positions and
wins, my performances in the F1 Young Driver Test and in FP1 at Abu
Dhabi – have given everyone the confidence in my ability to compete at
the highest level of motor sport.

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

Behind the wheel: Chilton made his F1 debut at Abu Dhabi last year

'I am very fortunate to have spent
the last six races with the Marussia F1 Team as Reserve Driver, which
means that instead of a standing start, I am already up to speed and at
ease with the people, the culture, the systems and of course, the 2012
package.

'During the period since the Japanese
Grand Prix, I have watched at very close quarters the incredible
commitment and determination to succeed that saw everyone in the team
pushing until the very last race. I feel very lucky to be able to embark
on my F1 racing career with this group of people.

Brit of all right

Lewis Hamilton

Chilton becomes the fourth Brit on the grid next year, joining Lewis Hamilton (right), Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta.

With just three seats left to be confirmed next season, only Germany can boast the equal number of drivers. But with Adrian Sutil tipped for a return that could become five.

The other countries who will be represented in 2013 are France (3), Australia (2), Mexico (2), Finland (2), Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela.

'Pre-season testing is just a few
weeks away, so my focus now is to continue my physical preparation
whilst spending as much time as possible working with the technical team
to help develop the car I will drive in my debut F1 season.'

Chilton is the son of Grahame
Chilton, the non-executive chairman of insurance giant Aon Benfield's UK
holding company who is reportedly worth around 100million.

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

Eyes on the prize: The 21-year-old will drive for Marussia next season

However, he has previously stated
that the estimated 9.5m funding he has secured to realise his Formula
One dream does not come from the family coffers.

Even so the funding boost will be
welcomed at Marussia who narrowly missed out 10m in prize money after
being pipped to tenth place in the constructors' championship by
Caterham at the season finale in Brazil.

Marussia team principal John Booth is
adamant that, funding aside, his young protege has the talent to help
the Banbury-based team build on the solid progress they made in 2012.

Booth said: 'We have spent a
significant amount of time evaluating his performances during 2012, both
in our own car in a testing situation and also from the pit wall as we
monitored his progress alongside the other members of our junior talent
pool during Grand Prix support races.

'We felt confident enough in his
ability and potential to appoint him to the role of Reserve Driver in
September and since that time his development has been rapid in all
aspects. First and foremost, he has shown himself to be extremely
capable in the car.

'Not only that, Max very quickly
embedded himself within the team, thanks in no small part to the fact
that he is a lively and affable character who we've enjoyed having
around. Having been integral to our race weekend engineering environment
for the past three months already – as well as having undertaken a
significant part of our simulator programme – Max has already found his
feet.'

Newcastle 3 Wigan 0 – match report

Newcastle 3 Wigan 0: Toon raise the Ba as Demba double stops rot against 10 men

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UPDATED:

22:12 GMT, 3 December 2012

An important week for Newcastle United got an awful lot easier with a comfortable win against 10-man Wigan.

Alan Pardew’s team ended a run of five games without a win as the toothless visitors offered little resistance and even less threat once Maynor Figueroa was sent off after only 12 minutes for a professional foul.

It was Newcastle’s talisman striker Demba Ba who returned to goalscoring form to drive Newcastle into 12th position.

Brace yourself: Demba Ba's quickfire double helped end Newcastle's woeful run

Brace yourself: Demba Ba's quickfire double helped end Newcastle's woeful run

Brace yourself: Demba Ba's quickfire double helped end Newcastle's woeful run

MATCH FACTS

NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon (Ferguson 49), Marveaux, Tiote (Bigirimana 46), Anita, Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 75), Ba, Cisse. Subs Not Used: Harper, Shola Ameobi, Ranger, Tavernier.

Booked: Sammy Ameobi.

Goals: Ba 13 pen, 21, Bigirimana 71.

WIGAN: Al Habsi, Stam, Boyce, Caldwell (Lopez 46), Figueroa, Gomez (McArthur 23), Jones, McCarthy, Beausejour, Di Santo (McManaman 83), Kone. Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Boselli, Fyvie, Golobart.

Sent Off: Figueroa (12).

Booked: Beausejour, Caldwell, Di Santo.

Attendance: 43,858

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

The Tyneside club are still locked in
contract talks with their Senegal striker amid fears that a Barclays
Premier League rival could invoke the 7.5million release clause next
month.

Negotiations have stalled and Ba’s
bargaining power increased again last night with two strikes — one from
the penalty spot and the second with a predatory finish from close
range.

Gael Bigirimana added the third goal with a curling, long-range shot on 71 minutes.

Wigan offered very little after
Figueroa’s harsh sending off — so much so that Newcastle keeper Tim Krul
could easily have sat among the substitutes for the remainder of the
game after making one early save.

Pardew will now surely turn to his
young bloods on Thursday night, when Newcastle travel to Bordeaux for
their final Europa League group match.

They are already through to the
knock-out stages but need a victory to win the group and avoid some of
the bigger names in the New Year.

Taking a tumble: Maynor Figueroa saw red after a late, though not malcious, tackle

Taking a tumble: Maynor Figueroa saw red after a late, though not malcious, tackle

Taking a tumble: Maynor Figueroa saw red after a late, though not malcious, tackle

Spot on: Ba made no mistake from the penalty to help kickstart his team

Spot on: Ba made no mistake from the penalty to help kickstart his team

Spot on: Ba made no mistake from the penalty to help kickstart his team

But the Newcastle manager will be
without Cheick Tiote and Davide Santon, who both missed most of the
second half with injuries last night. To make matters worse, goal hero
Ba was forced to come off after falling awkwardly in the 86th minute.

Wigan’s plans to cause an upset and
win their first game in seven attempts at St James’ Park were abandoned
after only 12 minutes when Figueroa was sent off for his challenge on
Papiss Cisse.

The Newcastle No 9 — shifted to a
wider role by Alan Pardew to allow Ba to play as the lone striker — had
combined with his Senegalese team-mate when he tried to take the return
pass in the Wigan area.

Cisse certainly did not have control
of Ba’s clever through-ball, but Figueroa wiped him out with his untidy
and forceful challenge, sending the Newcastle striker to ground.

Right place: It took just eight minutes for Ba to capitalise on the man advantage

Right place: It took just eight minutes for Ba to capitalise on the man advantage

Right place: It took just eight minutes for Ba to capitalise on the man advantage

As Ba collected the ball to take the
penalty and home fans chanted for a red card, Mike Jones obliged by
reaching into his top pocket to dismiss the unhappy Wigan defender.

Ba took one step back from the spot and drilled the ball into Ali Al-Habsi’s right-hand corner.

Newcastle added to their lead with
Ba’s second of the night and his 10th Premier League goal of the
season, when Santon’s swirling shot from the left-hand side of
Al-Habsi’s area was spilled by the Wigan keeper.

Ba, who had gone two games without a goal, reacted quickest to prod the loose ball past the stranded Oman international.

Newcastle’s intention to take the
game to Wigan was clear from the first minute when Tiote, hardly
renowned for his shooting, tested Al-Habsi from long range with a drive
which veered narrowly wide.

Wigan responded quickly with a shot
from Franco di Santo at the end of a neat move started by David Jones’
short free-kick deep inside the Newcastle half. Former Chelsea striker
di Santo managed to dig the ball out of his feet and forced Tim Krul to
make his first save of the night.

High times: Newcastle's third was the pick of the bunch, Gael Bigirimana scoring his first for the club

High times: Newcastle's third was the pick of the bunch, Gael Bigirimana scoring his first for the club

High times: Newcastle's third was the pick of the bunch, Gael Bigirimana scoring his first for the club

High times: Newcastle's third was the pick of the bunch, Gael Bigirimana scoring his first for the club

Ba showed great awareness to turn
Wigan captain Gary Caldwell at the edge of Wigan’s area, but nearly
reached the second tier of the supporters behind the goal with his
wayward shot.

The early stages had looked so
different for Wigan. Just before Ba’s first of the night, Ronnie Stam
had been allowed space to fire in a shot which cleared Krul’s bar and
there was clear anxiety among home fans looking for their side’s first
win in five games. But the tension was lifted by Ba’s penalty and the
dismissal of Figueroa.

In fact, it could have been even
worse for the visitors if referee Jones had been braver 10 minutes
before the break and shown his second red card of the night to Caldwell.

The former Newcastle junior was
rightly booked for a hefty assault on Ba from behind after half an hour.
Five minutes later Caldwell pulled him down with a rugby tackle.
Despite the appeals of Ba and Pardew, Jones decided to lecture the Wigan
skipper and leave it at that.

Al-Habsi made a smart save to beat
Cisse to Sylvain Marveaux’s cross. The recalled French midfielder tested
Al-Habsi’s positioning with a curling free-kick from the right, then
Tiote tried again from distance.

Darts ace Ted Hankey forced to deny legless jibes after missing the board twice – watch the video

Which doubles was he going for Darts ace forced to deny 'legless' jibes after missing the board twice (and bookies refund bets)

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UPDATED:

15:28 GMT, 14 November 2012

Ted Hankey has blamed a chest infection for his 'legless' display in Tuesday's Grand Slam of Darts.

The two-time BDO world champion averaged just 59 as he crashed to a 5-0 defeat against Michael Van Gerwen.

Hankey appeared dishevelled and confused on the Oche and had to be corrected by the score caller when requiring 35 to win the first leg, he hit an eight and thought he still needed 25.

Under the weather: Ted Hankey struggled through his match

Under the weather: Ted Hankey struggled through his match

Hankey lost the first leg after Van Gerwen hit double 1 and his performance rapidly deteriorated.

Paddy Power decided to refund just over 2,000 to punters who had backed him.

A Paddy Power spokesperson said: 'Hankey, looked (ahem) well off the pace missing the board twice and only
averaging a meagre 59 on his way to a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Van
Gerwen.

'Having looked at the footage it's clear to us that Hankey was aiming at the wrong types of doubles, those who backed him never got a run for their money and the only fair thing to do is to refund them their stake.'

Ted Hankey

But Hankey's manager
David Stevenson dismissed claims he was not fit to play.

He said: 'About 3 hours before the game Ted complained of feeling
dizzy and light headed. He said that as he started his walk on his legs went
like jelly and he felt as weak as a kitten. Ted's infection had put pressure on
all his senses, most particularly his balance and eye-sight as he could barely
see out of his left eye.

Struggle: Ted Hankey crashed to 5-0 defeat

Struggle: Ted Hankey crashed to 5-0 defeat

'Ted wanted nothing more than to play,
especially after finding some form the day before and is absolutely gutted as he
feels he's let everyone down who has supported him. Ted thought finishing the
game was the right thing to do, so instead of retiring he saw the game out. Ted
would personally like to thank all his fans for their wonderful comments of
support.'

Hankey was diagnosed with a severe chest
infection by his doctor on Wednesday, and has been prescribed antibiotics and rest.

Seeing double with beer darts

Braintree 0 Tranmere 3: Match report

Braintree 0 Tranmere 3: Hosts fall short as League One side sail through to second round of FA Cup

|

UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 14 November 2012

It was the biggest night in Braintree's history – but Tranmere brushed them aside like a nuisance.

Three goals from Joe Thompson, Cole Stockton and Max Power eased top of League One Tranmere through to the second round of the FA Cup.

Yellow peril: The team from league One were too strong on the night for Braintree

Yellow peril: The team from league One were too strong on the night for Braintree

Conference Premier side Braintree have
never made it that far and this was only the second time they have
reached the first round.

And boss Alan Devonshire said: 'Occasions like this don't come along often. I'm just disappointed we didn't score. You want to stay in cup competitions for as long as possible.'

Striker Stockton sealed the win in the 53rd minute with a 20-yard strike then laid the ball off to substitute Power in the final minute of the 90 to side-foot in the third.

Take it to the Max: Power wheels away in celebration after scoring his side's third goal

Take it to the Max: Power wheels away in celebration after scoring his side's third goal

Thompson had scored the opener on 24 minutes – reacting first to Jake Jervis's powerful first-time volley that Danny Naisbitt could only palm into the air.

Tranmere manager Roonie Moore said: 'We're never going to win the cup. I'd like to get through to the next round against Chesterfield, get a nice third round tie against a Manchester United or a Liverpool and then out.'

Leeds 3 Southampton 0 match report: Michael Tonge, El Hadji Diouf, Luciano Becchio score

Leeds 3 Southampton 0: Adkins' kids are given a Tonge lashing as United power on

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 30 October 2012

Nigel Adkins fielded an entirely new Southampton starting line-up and was made to pay as a vibrant Leeds put his Barclays Premier League strugglers to the sword in the Capital One Cup at Elland Road.

Not only did the under-pressure Southampton manager make 11 changes, he named six teenagers on the bench, in a selection policy that said everything about where the League Cup ranks compared to his desperation to keep his lowly side in the top flight.

No mistake: Michael Tonge opens the scoring after 35 minutes

No mistake: Michael Tonge opens the scoring after 35 minutes

On target: Tonge

Match facts

Leeds: Ashdown, Peltier (Pugh 90), Lees, Pearce, White, /10/30/article-2225442-15C3EF1D000005DC-735_634x465.jpg” width=”634″ height=”465″ alt=”You can't handle the Diouf: El Hadji gets a shot away ” class=”blkBorder” />

You can't handle the Diouf: El Hadji gets a shot away

Getting close: Leeds' Luke Varney shares a moment with ref Chris Foy

Getting close: Leeds' Luke Varney shares a moment with ref Chris Foy

Not only did they beat a path to the
Southampton area, in a lively opening, they carved out enough clear-cut
chances to have made the game safe before half time.

None was clearer than the one Varney
managed to squander from point-blank range that must surely count as one
of the misses of the season.

Overseeing matters: Neil Warnock watches on at Elland Road

Overseeing matters: Neil Warnock watches on at Elland Road

Shake on it: Michael Brown congratulates Tonge after the opener

Shake on it: Michael Brown congratulates Tonge after the opener

Aidan White’s 14th-minute chip
towards the far post was hooked back across the area by El Hadji Diouf
towards the lurking Varney, who looked as though he could not miss from
no more than two yards.

Incredibly, as he stretched out a boot, Varney
only succeeded in knocking the ball back across the six-yard box to a
startled Diouf, whose scuffed effort bobbled wide.

Outnumbered: Leeds' Michael Brown and Rodolph Austin take on Richard Chaplow

Outnumbered: Leeds' Michael Brown and Rodolph Austin take on Richard Chaplow

Adkins’ wholesale changes were there
to be exploited, and Leeds did not hold back, as they continued to pick
holes in a makeshift Southampton defence.

Tonge failed to score with a
close-range header that sailed over from the overlapping Sam /10/30/article-2225442-15C40188000005DC-842_634x445.jpg” width=”634″ height=”445″ alt=”Slide rule: Southampton's Guly Do Prado tackles Aidan White” class=”blkBorder” />

Slide rule: Southampton's Guly Do Prado tackles Aidan White

Latching on to a /10/30/article-2225442-15C3FEE8000005DC-549_634x408.jpg” width=”634″ height=”408″ alt=”Breaking away: Leeds' Luke Varney skips away from Daniel Seaborne” class=”blkBorder” />

Breaking away: Leeds' Luke Varney skips away from Daniel Seaborne

Varney cleverly tricked his way to
the bye-line on the left and tried to cut the ball back for Diouf. An
outstretched leg prevented it reaching its target, but the reprieve
proved shortlived, as Tonge seized on the loose ball and fired it
through a ruck of players to put Leeds in front.

Southampton had been a shambles throughout the first half and there was little sign of improvement at the start of the second.

Jos Hooiveld summed up the disarray that ran through the Southampton ranks by pulling Varney back to concede a needless free-kick in a central position 20 yards out.

Fortunately for the centre-back, Diouf wasted the opportunity by ballooning the kick yards over.
Leeds made the tie safe in the 88th minute, following a stunning run by Austin that took him past two defenders. Though a sprawling save by Davis denied him, Diouf was on hand to force home the loose ball.

Liverpool apologise to Sean Cummins over Duncan Jenkins threats by Jen Chang

Red-faced Liverpool forced to say sorry over Chang's threats against man behind infamous fake Twitter account

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 30 October 2012

Liverpool have been forced into issuing a humbling apology to fan Sean Cummins, the creator of spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' after he was threatened by communications director Jen Chang.

Chang met with Cummins after believing he was tweeting inside information leaked to him through a mole at the club.

But managing director Ian Ayre has now apologised for the distress caused but did not disclose whether Chang will be punished by the club.

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

Threats: Liverpool's director of communications Jen Chang (right)

SPORTSMAIL SAYS…

Martin Samuel: Chang should know using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power

Ironically, Chang was brought to the club to improve its image after they were widely criticised for the handling of the Luis Suarez race row last season.

Ayre, who met Cummins for a second time on Tuesday, writes in the letter published by Sporting Intelligence: 'Based on everything I have heard and seen, including information provided by the parties involved in the matter, I acknowledge some of the elements you highlight were not appropriate.

'I would therefore like to apologise to you on behalf of Liverpool FC, for any upset and distress this caused you.

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

Take a seat: Jen Chang met 'Duncan Jenkins' in Manchester after believing there was a mole in Anfield

'Clearly it is not appropriate for me to comment on how the club is managing this internally, and I trust you understand this.'

Cummins, describing himself as a 'perspiring football journo', pretended to have inside knowledge about transfers at Anfield.

Chang set up a meeting with Cummins at
the Evuna restaurant in Manchester in August – but Cummins alleges this
was the start of the meltdown in the relations between the pair.

Apology: Ian Ayre

duncan jenkins twitter profile image

Apology: Ian Ayre has admitted Chang was in the wrong when he met spoof journalist 'Duncan Jenkins' (right)

The blogger claimed Chang demanded to know who his alleged mole was but Cummins pointed out that all his information was lifted from fans’ forums.

After accusing Cummins of costing the club 300,000 extra in the Fabio Borini transfer from Roma this summer because of ‘information’ posted on the Jenkins Twitter feed, it is then alleged that Chang demanded he tweet under the fake account to ‘confess’ there was no mole and the whole account was made up.

Chang described the allegations about threats made at the meeting as ‘fictitious nonsense’.

Billy McKinlay"s move to Blackburn Rovers off after fans" protest

Fan power forces Rovers to pull plug on McKinlay's proposed move to Blackburn

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 23 October 2012

Blackburn have pulled the plug on their attempt to appoint Fulham's first-team coach Billy McKinlay as their new manager following protests from fans.

The club's global advisor Shebby Singh hoped to appease supporters in the wake of Steve Kean's unpopular reign by installing a former player as his successor, and had already tried to bring in Tim Sherwood from Tottenham.

Right hand man: McKinlay is currently the assistant to Jol at Fulham

Right hand man: McKinlay is currently the assistant to Jol at Fulham

But the move backfired over McKinlay's
lack of managerial experience and suggestions – denied by sources close
to him – that he remains friends with Kean from their time together at
Fulham.

'Supporters are not willing to put up with another experiment,' said Glenn Mullan, chairman of the Blackburn Rovers Action Group.

'Talk of Billy McKinlay and Tim Sherwood, who are both coaches with no managerial experience, has sent supporters into meltdown.'

Fulham had already rejected Blackburn's initial approach for 43-year-old McKinlay on Monday, and the threat of more boycotts by disgruntled fans has convinced Singh to look elsewhere.

Caretaker boss Eric Black, who has failed to win in four games since Kean's departure, will again be in charge for Wednesday's game at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

Jen Chang and Seam Cummins: Using fans as muscle is abuse of power – Martin Samuel

Using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 23 October 2012

Wherever Jen Chang is presently residing, it is to be hoped he was watching the match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United on Friday night. There, in microcosm, was the reason so many are taking his spat with a man who doesn't exist seriously.

Duncan Jenkins may be a fictional character but the man who created him on Twitter, Sean Cummins, says the threats he received from Chang, head of communications at Liverpool, were very real. It is the word of one man against another, so we should tread carefully but, if true, it is the manner of Chang's ultimatums that disturb.

Chang is accused of threatening to unleash the Liverpool supporters on Cummins, as if they were his personal heavy mob. This is outrageous, if correct. Football supporters are the biggest gang in town. And those with a direct line to their emotions need to exercise that power wisely indeed.

Dark side: Chris Kirkland holds his head after being assaulted by Leeds fan Aaron Crawley (circled)

Dark side: Chris Kirkland holds his head after being assaulted by Leeds fan Aaron Crawley (circled)

Chang arrived at Anfield earlier this year, freshly imported from the United States where he worked for ESPN. He was supposed to be a safe, corporate pair of hands after the PR debacle of the Luis Suarez racism affair. Yet this season Chang became inexplicably vexed by a Twitter presence known as Duncan Jenkins.

The tag 'perspiring journalist' should have been the clue. Jenkins does not exist. He is the alter ego of Liverpool supporter Sean Cummins, a parody of an ambitious sports reporter.

As Jenkins, Cummins would search the ether for transfer rumours, team news and gossip, then issue it as fact. His judgment of the rumour mill, however, was uncannily astute and he got quite a lot right.

Chang, seemingly, missed the joke and the randomness of the enterprise and thought Liverpool had a mole. Believing the club's business to be damaged by these leaks, he set up a meeting with Cummins. From here it gets murky.

Accused: Ian Arye (left) is investigating claims of harassment against Jen Chang (right)

Accused: Ian Arye (left) is investigating claims of harassment against Jen Chang (right)

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According to Cummins, at their lunch date in Manchester, Chang threatened him. He said he would expose him as the source of harmful rumours and the fans would make his life a living hell.

Some of the fantasy menaces were quite bizarre: dog faeces through the letterbox; harm to the business run by Cummins' father. If the account is accurate, Chang appears patronisingly to regard Liverpool supporters as little more than thugs for hire.

Chang denies much of this and there are some who regard Cummins as little more than a self-publicist. It seems a strange falsehood to tell, though, not least for the awkwardness it may cause when Cummins next arrives to support his favourite club.

Ian Ayre, Liverpool managing director, is treating the affair seriously enough to conduct an internal investigation and met Cummins on Monday. Cummins felt he received a fair hearing. Chang, meanwhile, is keeping a low profile.

He did not take his seat at the annual dinner held by the Football Writers' Association in Manchester at the weekend, and may have to issue an apology before he can actively pursue his role again. It may be that Chang has been falsely maligned. Perhaps Cummins misunderstood, or misheard.

Only two men truly know what was said at that meeting. If Cummins' recollections are believed, however, Chang will be very fortunate to keep his job.

Using the loyalty of supporters as muscle is a dangerous and irresponsible abuse of executive power. What happened at Hillsborough on Friday demonstrates the extremes of behaviour that can be unleashed by club passions.

Nobody should toy with the most unhinged or fanatical element of any band of supporters. The thug who assaulted Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was not inspired by Leeds, but his actions most certainly stemmed from a misguided, misdirected fervour for his club.

Could Chang, or any club official, live with the consequences if violent behaviour towards an individual as good as originated from a club directive Leeds United did not contribute to events at Hillsborough last week. It was a Leeds fan, Aaron Crawley from Cheltenham, who got tanked up and attacked Kirkland, but there the connection ends.

David Jones, the Wednesday manager, was understandably upset that his opposite number, Neil Warnock, still made his players applaud the travelling fans after a night of vile chants and one unforgivable assault, but there is no suggestion Leeds stoked bad behaviour prior to the game.

Jailed: Leeds 'fan' Aaron Cawley was handed a four-month prison sentence

Jailed: Leeds fan Aaron Cawley was handed a four-month prison sentence

Had there been a fall-out from the Duncan Jenkins summit, however, could Chang be equally blameless Every club manager, executive, player or administrator treads the line between demanding the fiercest loyalty and maintaining a sense of proportion. If Chang, new to the English game and impressed by how readily mobilised and unified Liverpool supporters were already by tragedy at Hillsborough, then sought to exploit this, it really would be the most reckless exploitation.

Yet if Chang lost his sense of restraint he would not be the first. Ken Bates has been the proud champion of a number of clubs and is still hugely popular with the supporters at Chelsea – no mean feat for the current chairman of Leeds – but has come perilously close to using tactics that went beyond the pale in the past, bringing public disputes into areas that breached the boundaries of personal privacy. This is a disappointing stance, when he has always been perfectly capable of winning his battles on his wits alone.

We do not know if intolerable pressure was what Chang intended when he met Cummins. Single source stories are frowned upon by Lord Leveson, so it may be that this one simply fizzles out with time, too.

Whatever was said that day, though, the timely juxtaposition of the Liverpool inquiry and the actions of a lone hooligan at Hillsborough should be a lesson and reminder for all. There are men enough out there who do not think rationally, without the saner members of society crossing to the dark side. We know the sort who would manipulate the disaffected proletariat for their own, violent ends. You'll find them in all good history books but not, one would hope, within any good football club.

Fair Kop, Andy

Andy Carroll says he was never given a fair chance at Liverpool. He was there 18 months and cost 35million. If he seriously believes that having paid such a huge sum the club were not desperate for his move to succeed, he may have that ponytail wound a little too tight.

England need more than saviour Jack…

Jack Wilshere may play for Arsenal this week and already, with the England team floundering, he is being promoted as The Answer for Roy Hodgson. Stuart Pearce would like a piece of him for the Under 21s, too, and predictably this has brought a wary response from Arsene Wenger.

'If you have to wait for one player to come back that means something is wrong,' he said. 'If Spain are world and European champions, it is because they are spoiled for choice.'

Welcome back, Jack: Wilshere is closing in on a first-team return for Arsenal after 15 months out

Welcome back, Jack: Wilshere is closing in on a first-team return for Arsenal after 15 months out

Indeed. If the season stopped right now, Juan Mata would have a fair claim to be Footballer of the Year. In tandem with Eden Hazard, he has been magnificent in Chelsea's rise to the top of the table.

Yet after being active for Spain at senior, Under 21 and Olympic level in six out of the last seven summers, Mata asked for a rest and missed a friendly with Saudi Arabia and a qualifying fixture in Georgia. He has not been picked in the squad since. This is the power that England lack, always waiting for a saviour to rise from the ranks.

Mind you, much the same could be said of Arsenal. It wasn't England who played Wilshere into the ground the season before his ankle injury caused him to miss 2011-12 in its entirety.

And while we're at it

Steve Evans is back in the dug-out with Rotherham United, having served his six-game stadium ban. So where is the T-shirt protest over that Where is the mobilisation of player power, the splinter group, the righteous howl of outrage

Evans was charged with exposing himself to a female official from Bradford City, during a match with his Crawley Town side last season. Witness accounts say he deliberately dropped his trousers in the dressing-room area after the game. His ban was two matches less than Luis Suarez's for racist abuse; and not a peep from anybody.

Charged: Evans is back in the dug-out with Rotherham United having served his six-game stadium ban

Charged: Evans is back in the dug-out with Rotherham United having served his six-game stadium ban

We are acutely aware of the years of discrimination and oppression that make race such an issue, yet the same prejudices have also helped maintain sexism and misogyny in our society.

While John Terry's four-game ban is denounced for its perceived leniency, however, the skewed message relayed by Evans's six-game ban passes unnoticed. Women rarely come out well in the psychological warfare waged on the pitch during football matches. Wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, ex-team-mates' ex-girlfriends, they are usually only good for one thing.

Had Evans behaved in a racist or homophobic manner, there would almost certainly have been a T-shirt for the occasion. As it is, he is still in the boys' club.

Bacra drop away strip

Barcelona will ditch their latest second strip at the end of this season. The horrid orange top, merging into yellow at the bottom of the shirts, made them look like cheap ice lollies. Not even the finest footballers on the planet could appear cool in that outfit. They will now wear a new shirt based on the red and yellow stripes of the Catalan flag.

End of the road: Barcelona will ditch their away strip

End of the road: Barcelona will ditch their away strip

How convenient, though, that this design flaw comes with its own boosted revenue stream, as fans replace their out-of-date replica tops with the updated version.

If Barcelona truly were more than a club, as they claim, they would let supporters exchange the offensive merchandise for free. Don't hold your breath.

Why the FA's code is just not credible

The compromise at the heart of the Football Association's brave new code of conduct is there in black and white. On one page, dire warnings about the use of drugs and alcohol, on the next the evils of wearing unofficial issue sportswear. So what are they trying to protect here The integrity of the game or marketing rights

Watching Pat McQuaid of the International Cycling Union wriggle under scrutiny over the Lance Armstrong affair this week reveals the bankruptcy of merging principle with commerce. McQuaid could see no wrong in his organisation accepting 78,000 in donations from Armstrong between 2002 and 2007, when rumours were flying that he was corrupting the sport.

Indeed, McQuaid said he would accept charity from riders again. At this point, he lost all credibility, as do the FA when they equate a failed drugs test with a pair of unsanctioned training shoes.

You've been tangoed

Phil Brown, former manager of Hull City, was discussing racism on Radio 5 Live this week. 'I've been called Tangoman,' he protested, 'I've been called Orangeman. Is that racist I want to know what is racist.' Not that, Phil. Definitely not that.

Sticking to the rulebook

There has been much fuss about the FA council decision to make chairman David Bernstein stand down, according to the rulebook, in his 70th year. Why Bernstein knew the position when he took the job.

Suit you, sir: David Bernstein (left) will soon relieve his position as chairman of the Football Association

Suit you, sir: David Bernstein (left) will soon relieve his position as chairman of the Football Association

To get his feet under the table and try to introduce different terms of engagement is pretty much the approach taken by Michel Platini over the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Platini voted for a summer tournament and, ever since, has campaigned for a winter one. Bernstein accepted a short-term role and like most at the FA will now have to be dragged out of the place by his heels. Must be a nice little number.

Time for El Tel

Gerard Houllier is right to highlight the great flaw in the FA's St George's Park development: nobody at the top. Houllier cites the absence of a technical director, a respected former manager to act as the coach of coaches.

The FA already have Sir Trevor Brooking and, from July, Dan Ashworth, but neither possess the gravitas of a renowned and experienced top level manager. An entire generation of England players – many now involved in coaching – insist Terry Venables was England's best technical brain. He is certainly available, but maybe not in Burton-on-Trent.