Tag Archives: promotion

Hull City 0 Bristol City 0: Nervy Tigers must wait for the big time after stalemate

Hull City 0 Bristol City 0: Nervy Tigers must wait for the big time

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

20:37 GMT, 19 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:57 GMT, 19 April 2013

If Hull City are going to go back to the Barclays Premier League, they are determined to do it the hard way.

Just three days after losing at Wolves, Steve Bruce's side, who remain
second behind promoted Cardiff City, blew their chance to virtually
guarantee their return to the top flight with a victory over
bottom-placed Bristol City, who were relegated earlier in the week.

Hull's Matt Fryatt tussles with Liam Kelly of Bristol City

Running man: Hull's Matt Fryatt tussles with Liam Kelly of Bristol City

Match facts

Hull: Stockdale, Chester (Rosenior 86), Faye, Hobbs, Elmohamady, Boyd, Meyler, Quinn, Brady, Gedo (Simpson 67), Fryatt (Proschwitz 67). Subs Not Used: Jakupovic, Cairney, McShane, Fathi.

Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Nyatanga, Moloney, Cunningham, Adomah (Anderson 86), Kilkenny, Kelly, Bates,Baldock (Howard 90), Davies (Burns 90). Subs Not Used: Gerken, Mark Wilson, Louis Carey, Ajala.

Att: 18,595

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Latest Championship table and results

The drab goalless draw at the KC Stadium has offered a lifeline to closest rivals Watford, who face Blackburn Rovers at Vicarage Road on Saturday and can now overtake Hull with three wins out of three. Bizarrely however, if Gianfranco Zola's side lose, Hull will be promoted.

That, of course, is the Championship but Hull never really looked like a team on the verge of leaving the division in the right direction in front of their anxious and frustrated supporters. Bristol City certainly looked like a team who are relegated.

They were the opponents five years ago when Dean Windass's dramatic late goal sealed Hull's promotion to the big time for the first time. There was no local hero to break the deadlock last night, or offer evidence that Hull will be able to avoid a return visit to Wembley to clinch promotion next month.

Hold up: Fryatt is blocked off by with Brendan Moloney

Hold up: Fryatt is blocked off by with Brendan Moloney

Pressure point: Hull boss Steve Bruce

Pressure point: Hull boss Steve Bruce

For all that their three-man defence had little to do, the home side
rarely troubled visiting keeper Tom Heaton. He didn't have a save to
make in the first half, which was down to the Tigers' nervy and
unconvincing approach play.

championship

And when rare chances did fall their way in the penalty area, they were
wasted. Irish pair Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn both benefitted from
the tireless endeavours of their fellow countryman David Meyler but
Brady found the sidenetting and Quinn could only reach the 98 travelling
supporters who made the long journey north.

Hull, who travel to Barnsley next week, fared little better after the
break as Bruce tried to calm nerves among his players and the home
crowd. Even strong penalty appeals for a foul on Quinn 10 minutes from
time failed to convince referee Michael Oliver.

In fact, apart from a weak Brady free-kick, the only shot on target came
from Bristol's Sam Baldock who barely warmed David Stockdale's hands
with his drive.

Heaton did not have a meaningful save to make until the first minute
of added time when he denied Meyler with a superb two-handed stop from
12 yards after the home side finally penetrated the Bristol back line.

Watford 0 Cardiff 0 – match report

Watford 0 Cardiff 0: Zola's men lose ground on Hull after goalless draw against leaders

PUBLISHED:

18:37 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:45 GMT, 6 April 2013

Watford lost ground in the race for automatic promotion as they were held to a goalless draw by npower Championship leaders Cardiff at Vicarage Road.

Following their 1-0 win over second placed Hull on Tuesday, Gianfranco Zola's side failed to keep pace with their rivals following a frustrating evening.

The point for City leaves them requiring a maximum of seven points from their remaining six games as they take a step closer to the Barclays Premier League.

Promotion chasers: Watford and Cardiff played out a 0-0 draw in a top-of-the-table clash at Vicarage Road

Promotion chasers: Watford and Cardiff played out a 0-0 draw in a top-of-the-table clash at Vicarage Road

MATCH FACTS

Watford: Almunia, Doyley, Cassetti, Ekstrand, Abdi, Battocchio (Hogg 51), Chalobah, Briggs, Anya, Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri 60).

Subs Not Used: Bond, Yeates, Pudil, Thompson, Geijo.

Booked: Cassetti.

Cardiff: Marshall, Connolly (McNaughton 10), Turner, Barnett, Taylor, Kim, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Conway (Smith 69), Mason (Gestede 56), Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Lewis, Whittingham, Cowie, Helguson.

Booked: Gunnarsson, Mutch.

Att: 15,550

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

Zola made two changes to the side
that edged past promotion rivals Hull on Tuesday. Former Arsenal
goalkeeper Manuel Almunia returned between the posts while stalwart
defender Lloyd Doyley was also recalled.

The Bluebirds made just one change
following their 3-0 win against lowly Blackburn over the Easter weekend.
Striker Joe Mason came in to replace the injured Fraizer Campbell.

Malky Mackay's preparations suffered a
huge blow 10 minutes into the game though when Kevin McNaughton was
forced to replace Matthew Connolly at the back.

However, they started the brighter of
the two sides and Bo-kyung Kim soon forced Almunia into a fine save as
he blocked a low effort with his feet.

Craig Conway then fired just wide from the edge with the hosts struggling for a response as they waited for a chance to counter.

Cardiff came closer still as Ben Turner headed over the top before Zola's gameplan began to pay dividends.

On the up Cardiff are five points clear of Hull with a game in hand while Watford sit third in the table

On the up Cardiff are five points clear of Hull with a game in hand while Watford sit third in the table

TOP SIX – AS IT STANDS

TABLE

Click HERE for the full Championship table

Top-scorer Matej Vydra nodded down
for strike partner Troy Deeney but he inexplicably blazed his strike
over the bar from no more than 10 yards.

The Hornets penned their opponents
deep in their own half and with the game bubbling nicely things
threatened to boil over on the touchline.

Zola's assistant, Giancarlo
Corradini, had to be pulled away by the little Italian after clashing
with Mackay as they argued over Aron Gunnarsson's challenge on Cristian
Battocchio.

Referee Mark Halsey kept his cards in
his pocket and Cardiff managed to keep the ball out of their net as
they survived a late onslaught before the break.

The visitors responded positively
after the restart and Almunia did well to save Joel Ekstrand's blushes
pushing away Joe Mason's strike after he seized on an error by the
defender.

Contest: Cardiff captain Craig Bellamy comes under pressure from Watford's Matthew Briggs

Contest: Cardiff captain Craig Bellamy comes under pressure from Watford's Matthew Briggs

As the game began to open up David
Marshall was forced into action at the opposite end making a terrific
fingertip save to keep out Deeney's header.

Conway fired a volley narrowly wide
before Hornets substitute Fernando Forestieri lashed one inches over the
crossbar as the game continued at a frantic pace.

The former Udinese man then
squandered another promising opportunity as he dragged another effort
wide from the edge after a clever flick by Nathaniel Chalobah.

On the touchline: Watford manager Gianfranco Zola and Cardiff boss Malky Mackay

On the touchline: Watford manager Gianfranco Zola and Cardiff boss Malky Mackay

Cardiff were forced to try and
utilise Gunnarsson's long throw in the closing stages and it very nearly
paid off when Kim's close-range effort was deflected wide of the post.

Mackay's former charges looked as
though they might have the last word when Deeney found a way through but
he was crowded out before he could get a shot away.

Forestieri also saw his shot bravely
blocked over the top during a frantic final few minutes but in the end
both sides were forced to settle for a hard-fought point.

The Footballers" Football Column – Luther Blissett: Gianfranco Zola has established Watford as a force really quickly

LUTHER BLISSETT: People say Watford have exploited a loan 'loophole' but Zola has established us as a force really quickly

PUBLISHED:

10:56 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:15 GMT, 13 March 2013

Luther Blissett

Luther Blissett played more than 500 games for Watford and helped them to promotion from the fourth division to the top flight between 1975 and 1982. He won 14 caps for England, scoring a hat-trick on his debut at Wembley. Blissett also had a spell in Italy at AC Milan before playing for Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth and short loan at Ossie Ardiles’ West Brom in the early 1990s. In his debut Footballers’ Football Column he looks at Watford’s promotion challenge, defends the club's controversial loan signings and looks at racism in the game….

Footballers Football Column with Luther Blissett

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I’m very pleased to see Watford challenging at the top of the Championship. For all the years I have been associated with them, they have been successful club. Either challenging for promotion or the top spot, so it is great to see Gianfranco Zola’s side continue that tradition.

When they whole takeover by the Pozzo family came about, there were people who were worried that their Watford was going to drastically change.

And yes, there have been changes, but there is a long-term plan and the success we are having this season so far has been welcomed by everybody. It has opened a few people’s eyes and even the sceptics have come round to thinking, ‘Wow this is amazing.’

On the up: Marco Cassetti and Almen Abdi have helped Watford become promotion challengers

On the up: Marco Cassetti and Almen Abdi have helped Watford become promotion challengers

Loan star: Ikechi Anya is one of the players on loan from Grenada who have helped Watford into third

Loan star: Ikechi Anya is one of the players on loan from Grenada who have helped Watford into third

Hornets are buzzing: Matej Vydra's 20 league goals have been crucial for Watford

Hornets are buzzing: Matej Vydra's 20 league goals have been crucial for Watford

It has been great for the town and everybody connected with the club and hopefully they can carry on and see the job all the way through to the Premier League.

There has been a lot of talk about the way the club have operated in the transfer market and particularly the loan signings from Serie A side Udinese and Spanish club Granada who are also owned by the Pozzo family.

But the talk has only really come about in the last month or so since we played Crystal Palace and Ian Holloway spoke about it. But we are two-thirds of the way through the season and they have been here since the start, so why is it only an issue now

Giampaolo Pozzo

Gianfranco Zola

Working together: Watford owner Giampaolo Pozzo and manager Gianfranco Zola are aiming for promotion

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The opportunity was there for Watford to sign these players on loan, the rules allowed the club to do it. People are calling it a loophole now because Watford, in their eyes, have benefited from it, but the interpretation of the rules is the most important thing and the owners have looked at it and thought that this would be a good way of establishing Watford as a real force in this division really quickly.

When the takeover happened and the links with the two clubs were made clear, it as one of the fears among the fans that we would not see any of our own players and the club would lose its identity, but the blend has been very good between the home-grown players and the loan players.

You have the skills and the technique of the players who have come in and then you have the understanding of what the Championship is all about, plus their own ability from the home-grown players, so it has been very good.

It is a case of now trying to carry that on into the Premier League, if we get there, then trying to build on that and be able to hold our own in that league and become an established Premier League team.

I believe we can win promotion and I have felt that way since around October time. Our away form has been phenomenal, so if we can get our home form to match that then I think we have a very good chance.

Gianfranco Zola has done a great job. I speak to fans at game and they are blown away by the style of football we are playing at the moment.

The football they are producing and the quality of players we have at the club has really struck a note with the supporters and you just hope that it is the start of something big.

If Watford are promoted, it will be interesting to see if we will be playing against QPR and my old manager Harry Redknapp. QPR’s win over Southampton a few weeks ago was massive, not just for the points but for the belief it has giving them, they will now be thinking, ‘We can do this’.

They still have an awful lot to do and they still are relying on other teams dropping points, but the belief is there.

I played under Harry at Bournemouth at the beginning of his managerial career and I don’t think he has changed in that time.

The thing that struck me about him when I played under him is that he is very good man manager.

He does not take the training sessions. He is like a chef, a chef will get all the right ingredients to make a dish work, Harry is the same, he is very good at getting the right players together and then the coaches put the finishing touches in place.

Starting out: Luther Blissett played under Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth

Starting out: Luther Blissett played under Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth

Still the same: Blissett says Redknapp has not changed during all his years in management

Still the same: Blissett says Redknapp has not changed during all his years in management

But Harry makes sure all the right pieces are there and guide them in the right direction.
That is Harry’s biggest strength, being able to spot the pieces of the puzzle and put them together.

Talking of managers, I was very pleased to see the appointments of two managers last month, Paul Ince at Blackpool and Chris Kiwomya at Notts County. It is a step, only a small step, in the right direction for black managers in this county.

When I think back to when I started playing at the end of the 1970s, I knew wanted to be a manager, so I took my first coaching badges at 17 to give myself the best possible chance to be a manager when I finished playing.

I always believe a job should be given to someone based on their ability, not the colour of their skin or who you know someone who knows someone. Football has been like that for too long and too many managers have got jobs based on that.

Dream debut: Blissett scored a hat-trick for England during the 9-0 win over Luxembourg at Wembley

Dream debut: Blissett scored a hat-trick for England during the 9-0 win over Luxembourg at Wembley

Luther Blisset of Watford

Luther Blissett, AC Milan

Making his way in the game: Blissett made his name at Watford before moving to AC Milan

I have not been a fan of something like the Rooney Rule but if it gets black mangers an interview where in the past they were not getting that opportunity, then it is a step in the right direction. I used to send off applications for jobs and occasionally I would get a letter back saying they are looking for someone more experience.

I used to wonder how much experience the people who were sending letters to me had How many games had they played I have played in different leagues and in different countries and then when someone tells me I don’t have the experience is an insult.

What about the first person who managed a football team, the first person who managed a big business What experience did they have You learn on the job but you have to be given that chance first time by someone.

Chris Kiwomya

Paul Ince

A step forward: Blissett was pleased Chris Kiwomya got the Notts County job and Blackpool appointed Paul Ince

I watch Match of the Day and I hear pundits talk about certain players and say: ‘He’ll make a great manager when he retires’ and I just think ‘Why Because you know him and he played for the same club as you’

That is their premise. How many of those pundits have ever said that about someone like Ince or Sol Campbell You hear them tipping certain players, but it is never a black player.

It is not the pundit being racist or prejudice, it is because it is not in their psyche to see a black manager. It is an unconscious thing. That needs to change.

That said, the problem with racism is better now than when I started playing in the 70s. Racism was a problem then, not just in football but in society, there were TV shows like Love Thy Neighbour in which racism was normal.

Time to move on: Blissett says racism was worse in football and society in the 1970s when shows like Love Thy Neighbour were on television

Time to move on: Blissett says racism was worse in football and society in the 1970s when shows like Love Thy Neighbour were on television

Kevin-Prince Boateng

Kevin Prince Boateng

Doing the right thing: Blissett praised Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off when he was racially abused

Staying on: Samuel Eto'o was racially abused while playing for Barcelona but was persuaded not to walk off by team-mates and officials

Staying on: Samuel Eto'o was racially abused while playing for Barcelona but was persuaded not to walk off by team-mates and officials

I was abused at every stadium I went to, not just by fans but by opposition players as well. At 17-18 it had an affect on me.

But when I was in Italy at AC Milan it was bad as well, but they are making some progress, after all they were the first players to walk off the pitch.

When
Kevin-Prince Boateng was abused in a friendly game playing for AC Milan
and he booted the ball into the crowd and walked off, I thought it was
brilliant. And what made it better was that all his team-mates went off with him. That was fantastic.

Not dealing with the issues: Blissett would like to see the authorities really clamp down on racism rather then fine players like Nicklas Bendtner for showing a sponsor's name on his pants

Not dealing with the issues: Blissett would like to see the authorities really clamp down on racism rather then fine players like Nicklas Bendtner for showing a sponsor's name on his pants

Years ago Samuel Eto'o was going to do
the same thing when he was playing for Barcelona and he was persuaded by
his team-mates to stay.

PROSTATE CANCER UK

When I was a player at Watford, Graham Taylor created a family club and encouraged us to help in the community.

I
have lost members of my family to cancer. So if I am able to do
anything to help raise money or awareness then I am more than happy to
do so. It is something that everyone will be touched by.

250,000
UK men are currently living with the disease, and every year over
40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer that is unbelievable.

So
along with Prostate Cancer UK, who are The Football League’s official
charity, we are doing a bike ride from London to Amsterdam and keen to
get fans to come along and join us and raise money, it will be an
amazing experience. I need to get on my bike and practise, it is the
saddle soreness I need to get used to more than anything, but I am
looking forward to it.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the London to Amsterdam bike ride.

If those players at that time had walked off then it would have sent a massive message out across the world.

Players have to realise they are in a very powerful position. If you were abused like that in any other profession, nobody would think any ill of you walked away, so why shouldn’t footballers do the same

The people who run football always go on about ‘the beautiful game’ and make a point of respect in the game. Where is the respect for the players who are abused like this

It is all well and good having T-shirts with ‘Respect’ on them and it ticks a box for the authorities. But when it comes to actual incidents they are the ones who have to take firm action, they just walk away from it.

Yet they will fine a player like Nicklas Bendtner for showing his pants with a sponsor on them. It’s madness.

Where were the UEFA officials at the U21 game when the England players were being abused in Serbia When you look at the people who run the game and they decide to punish the players who have been abused for the last two hours, as they did with the England players, then it shows they have no idea what racism is.

These people who run the game really need to get some education and learn about racism.

Npower Championship round-up March 5

Bonkers! Championship goes crazy as promotion race hots up with a glut of late goals

By
Janine Self

PUBLISHED:

11:36 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 6 March 2013

So did the world stop for you on Tuesday night Answers on a postcard, addressed to Senor Jose Mourinho, c/o Real Madrid.

The Special One might be slightly surprised to learn that for many the earth continued to revolve around its axis, despite the global marketing pull of a duel with Manchester United.

While 74,759 paying customers crammed into Old Trafford, another 175,547 decided that the npower Championship was the only show in town.

Super Kev: Veteran striker Kevin Phillips netted an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace on Tuesday night

Super Kev: Veteran striker Kevin Phillips netted an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace on Tuesday night

The second tier of English football has been even more crazily unpredictable than usual this season and did not disappoint on Tuesday night.

How about Kevin Phillips, 39 years old, and scorer of an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace in the 4-2 win over Hull

The same Hull who thrashed Birmingham last weekend and who started the night in an automatic promotion place. Steve Bruce’s team are down to third while Palace lurk a point behind.

At fogbound Nottingham Forest, the pre-match chat was all about the second coming of Billy Davies. No mention of Sir Alex Ferguson or Cristiano Ronaldo at all.

Second coming: Forest are making a late charge for the play-offs under Billy Davies

Second coming: Forest are making a late charge for the play-offs under Billy Davies

The force appears to be with Davies. Ipswich had two players sent off and came within four minutes of holding out for a point only to concede to a deflected goal from Lewis McGugan.

Since returning as manager, Davies has drawn one and won the last four games. With that sort of momentum the play-offs are beckoning.

Late goals were the theme of the night at Leicester, Bolton and Huddersfield, too. Just down the road from Old Trafford, Chris Eagles continued Wanderers’ fine run with an added-time winner against Lancashire rivals Blackburn.

Rest assured that none of the 19,063 fans at the Reebok would have given United a passing thought – apart from hoping they would lose, of course.

Late show: Chris Eagles (right) scored an added-time winner for Bolton

Late show: Chris Eagles (right) scored an added-time winner for Bolton

Danny Ward came off the bench to score in stoppage time and give Mark Robins his first home win as Huddersfield manager at the expense of a Middlesbrough side, who are in freefall. Eight defeats in 11 games is doing nothing for Tony Mowbray’s mood.

The biggest attendance of the night was 22,660 at Leicester, who had Manchester United loanee Michael Keane to thank for yet another added-time goal – an equaliser against Leeds.

Some people will always remember Tuesday as the night Roy Keane burned whatever bridges he had left with Ferguson after backing the sending off of Nani.

Wolves fans will remember it as the night manager Dean Saunders won his first match after 10 attempts.

Rare win: Wolves picked up their first three points under Dean Saunders at Millwall

Rare win: Wolves picked up their first three points under Dean Saunders at Millwall

The 2-0 win at Millwall took Saunders’s team out of the bottom three and sets them up nicely for the next match, except it is at Forest.

Rant of the night came from Dave Jones, manager of Sheffield Wednesday, after a 2-1 defeat at Watford. Suggesting the referee was more suited to the Sunday League will not go down well at
the FA.

Howler of the night came from the same match. Watford goalkeeper Jonathan Bond scuffed a back pass from Marco Cassetti, which allowed Michail Antonio to run round him for a simple tap-in.

Comeback: Fernando Forestieri netted twice as Watford beat Sheffield Wednesday

Comeback: Fernando Forestieri netted twice as Watford beat Sheffield Wednesday

Brighton’s point at bottom club Bristol City came at the expense of a bad achilles injury to striker Craig Mackail-Smith, who is out for the rest of the season, which is a huge blow to their play-off hopes.

Last, but not least, even runaway leaders Cardiff are wobbling. Craig Noone popped up eight minutes from time with an equaliser against Derby, who were so short of bodies they could only name five substitutes.

Now that’s something you don’t see in the Champions League, either.

League Two round-up: Gillillingham stay top as Burton Albion enjoy home sweet home

League Two round-up: Gills stay top as Burton enjoy home sweet home

By
Andy Hampson

PUBLISHED:

19:28 GMT, 23 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:28 GMT, 23 February 2013

Cody McDonald scored the only goal as
Gillingham maintained a two-point lead at the top of npower League Two
with a 1-0 win at Chesterfield.

McDonald headed home from close range
five minutes into the second half at the Proact Stadium, extending the
Gills' unbeaten run to four games.

Burton brushed aside Exeter 4-2 to
record a seventh successive home league win and move into the automatic
promotion places in third.

Sweet home: Burton's Marcus Holnes celebrates his goal

Sweet home: Burton's Marcus Holnes celebrates his goal

Michael Symes, Marcus Holness,
Jacques Maghoma and Lee Bell struck for Albion before Guillem Bauza and
Scot Bennett restored some respectability for the Grecians.

Second-placed Port Vale were also victorious, winning 1-0 at Torquay courtesy of a Calvin Andrew strike.

Northampton moved up two places to fourth with a 1-0 win over Plymouth, who dropped to the bottom.

Clive Platt scored the Cobblers' winner after 72 minutes.

AFC Wimbledon took advantage of the Pilgrims' loss, and the failures of Accrington Stanley and Barnet to win, to climb off the bottom and out of the relegation places.

Kevin Sainte-Luce scored the only goal 10 minutes from time as Wimbledon won 1-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Accrington, however, still claimed a creditable 2-2 draw against play-off contenders Cheltenham at home.

Cheltenham twice led through Marlon Pack, the first from the penalty spot, but former England international James Beattie responded to both goals for Stanley.

Barnet played out a goalless draw with Rochdale while another side in trouble, Aldershot, won 2-0 at home to a Fleetwood side who ended the game with nine men.

Danny Hylton struck twice for Aldershot before the dismissals of Jamie McGuire and Alan Goodall.

Craig Reid also missed a penalty for the hosts.

Goals from Barry Corr and Britt Assombalonga saw Southend come from behind to win 2-1 at Wycombe, who had led early through Dean Morgan.

Oxford's clash with York ended 0-0 while Morecambe and Bristol Rovers drew 1-1. Rovers' Eliot Richards cancelled out a second-minute goal from Jack Redshaw.

Kevin Keegan – The Footballers" Football Column: Luis Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not…

KEVIN KEEGAN: I don't like players kissing the badge – show you care by the way you play… Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 22 January 2013

Kevin Keegan

Never ask Kevin Keegan to ‘show us yer medals’. The latest contributor to MailOnline's Footballers’ Football Column has been a champion in England, Germany and Europe as a player, a multi-promotion success as a manager, and belongs to the select band of men who bossed England. Now a pundit, he has always been game for a laugh, but he gets serious too, so watch out Fabricio Coloccini and Luis Suarez. But watch his video interview first; he was so candid we've had to post it in three parts…

Play Video

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part II…

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With the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals coming up, I’ve been doing a spot of promotion work for the competition. It’s been a good laugh, a spoof Brut ad like I used to do with Henry Cooper.

These are nervous times for fans, with their teams so close to reaching Wembley and this is just a bit of fun.

I even wear a wig but it doesn’t look as good as that hair!

No-one remembers me for my goals but everyone remembers my hair, those Brut adverts, singing, and falling off my bike in Superstars.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part III…

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Talking of Superstars, I
was working abroad so I missed the 2012 version with the Olympic stars
but people told me about it. Yes, I came off the bike but what everyone
seems to forget is that I actually won the event.

Look now at the velodromes which have
been built. Well we were on racing bikes with ” tyres on a red shale
running track, so no wonder I didn’t stay on. It hurt, too. I had to
spend two days in hospital because I’d lost all the skin down my back.

Looking
back it was great fun. All sports people are competitive, I’m sure it
was the same for the recent one. Brian Jacks was unbelievable but in
many ways it was the beginning of the end when he came in because he was
a more professional Superstar while we were footballers who turned up
and made everyone laugh by tipping over our canoes.

Scroll down for more video…

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert Van Binst bike

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert van Binst's bike

VIDEO: Keegan's Superstars fall. Ouch…

I spend a lot of time working abroad now. My work with ESPN will come to an end this year when they lose the rights but it’s been a fantastic four years and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Premier League is massive all over the world.

Last week I was in Norway covering the games and before that I was working in Malaysia. Everyone follows the Premier League and in Malaysia they have to get up at one or two in the morning to do it – it was quite strange walking out of a TV studio at six in the morning. It was very different as far as my body clock was concerned.

Kevin Keegan (pictured) launched an astonishing attack last night on Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for suggesting rivals might make it easy for Newcastle to win the title.

Kevin Keegan Newcastle manager

I'll just love it: Keegan loses the plot as Newcastle manager in 1996

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

VIDEO: Keegan's famous – and brilliant outburst in 1996…

More from The Footballers' Column…

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The Footballers' Football Column – Richard Lee: I should've been a striker… you can be dreadful but bang in the winner and be hailed a hero, says the goalkeeper who is allergic to goalkeeping gloves
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Curtis Davies: Why I don't regret describing myself as a pub player… and how West Brom made me out to be the bad guy
17/01/13

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!
15/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

People ask me whether I am now finished with management. You can never say never. I have been offered four or five jobs since I left Newcastle in such terrible circumstances but none was right for me.

The only way I would come back is if I could see myself as part of the vision, which is far more important than financial reasons.

Newcastle was a pull to me. I’d played there and my father came from there.

It’s got to be something more than money. But I’ve listened to the job offers and thought that the dreams I was being sold could not match reality..

Talking of Newcastle, I have read reports that Fabricio Coloccini wants to leave although I don’t know the reasons.

If it’s a health issue, either to himself or a member of his family, then that would put a different light on it because football is not more important than life.

But if it is for another reason, then what message does that send out to the other players if he is allowed to go

I bought Coloccini, along with Jonas Gutierrez, in 2008 and he only signed a four-year contract last season. He’s a key player, the captain, and his departure would be a blow.

There is a danger that other good players in the team, like Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Cheick Tiote could start to think ‘Why should we stay then’

Another player from one of my former clubs has been in the news. Luis Suarez wears my old No 7 shirt at Liverpool and the fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on.

He’s a very good player and has been excellent this season but he gets involved in far too many controversial incidents.

When you are a manager of an English
club and your foreign players go home you just wait for something to
come out.

Players relax and think that, as they are in Argentina or
Spain or wherever, that their words are not coming back because they
weren’t speaking English.

So
Suarez admits he dived against Stoke. I remember the game and I don’t
think there was anyone in the world who thought he did anything but
dive. But what he does is put the club into a difficult position.

Brendan
Rodgers has no choice but to discipline one of his players and it’s all
about Suarez for non-footballing reasons. He needs to sort that side
out as he is an exceptional player.

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

CAPITAL ONE CUP

To join the debate around the semi-finals of the Capital One
Cup, visit: facebook.com/CapitalOneUK

I wasn’t able to go to the FA’s 150th anniversary celebration although 150 is something to celebrate.

One of the things that I hope is addressed in the future is the number of football people at the FA. There are many more administrators and that’s wrong. Sir Trevor Brooking does us proud but there should be more like him, more of a mix.

A professional footballer can always become an administrator but it doesn’t work the other way round.

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Chris Wood will sign for Leicester for 1.5m

Foxes snare 1.5m West Brom hitman Wood to aid promotion push

|

UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 27 December 2012

Leicester have won the battle to sign Chris Wood after
agreeing a 1.5million deal with West Brom for the free-scoring New Zealand
striker.

Wood has been in prolific form during a loan spell with
Millwall, who were anxious to turn his temporary stay into a permanent transfer and were competing with Leicester, Huddersfield and several other
clubs for his signature.

But the 21-year old has opted for Championship promotion
chasers Leicester and will be confirmed as a Foxes’ player shortly.

Goal machine: Chris Wood has been in fine fettle for Milwall

Goal machine: Chris Wood has been in fine fettle for Milwall

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson bemoaned his side’s lack of
a cutting edge after seeing them follow a 1-0 home defeat by Cardiff with a
goalless draw at Hull on Boxing Day.

He was adamant that the addition of more firepower could
prove vital to their promotion prospects and admitted he was hopeful of a
transfer breakthrough in the next few days.

Though he played down speculation
that he was closing in on Wood, the burly West Brom target man was always his
main priority and is now heading to the East Midlands to bolster Leicester’s
promotion push.

Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 0 match report

Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 0: Boro bounce back and pile the pressure on Berg

PUBLISHED:

17:37 GMT, 26 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:44 GMT, 26 December 2012

Lukas Jutkiewicz struck the game's
solitary goal midway through the second half as Middlesbrough bounced
back from Saturday's npower Championship defeat at Leeds to keep their
automatic promotion hopes alive.

Polish striker Jutkiewicz struck for
the second successive game with a clinical low finish from the edge of
the penalty area to lift Tony Mowbray's side up to third, within a point
of second-placed Hull.

Christmas cracker: Lucas Jutkiewicz scores the winner

Christmas cracker: Lucas Jutkiewicz scores the winner

Match facts

Middlesbrough: Steele, Friend, Woodgate, Bikey (Rhys Williams 46), Hoyte, Ledesma, McEachran (Smallwood 56), Leadbitter, Emnes (Bailey 72), Jutkiewicz, McDonald. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Halliday, Miller.

Booked: Ledesma

Goals: Jutkiewicz 67.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Grant Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson, Rosado (Dunn 79), Murphy, Lowe, King, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards (Rochina 83). Subs Not Used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Etuhu, Vukcevic.

Booked: Henley.

Att: 22,882

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Blackburn, who have now won only once under manager Henning Berg in 10 matches, were made to pay for missed chances and continue to slide down the table after securing just one point from their last six fixtures.

Rovers' late substitute Ruben Rochina was denied a late equaliser when Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele kept out his free-kick, but the home side were also guilty of some wasteful finishing.

Defender Andre Bikey and Argentinian striker Emmanuel Ledesma returned for Boro, while Portugal Under-21s international Diogo Rosado made his first start for Blackburn with midfielder Danny Murphy and defender Grant Hanley also recalled by Berg.

Middlesbrough made the brighter start as Jutkiewicz and Ledesma both fired over the crossbar from inside the penalty area before 16-goal Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes fired a shot just off target at the other end.

Rosado then tested Steele with a swirling, angled drive from 35 yards that was well held by the Boro goalkeeper and in a see-saw opening Jutkiewicz's header from Ledesma's cross was gathered by Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean.

Close call: Jordan Rhodes is kept out by Boro defence

Close call: Jordan Rhodes is kept out by Boro defence

Middlesbrough defender George Friend and midfield team-mate Grant Leadbitter both fired in shots from outside the area, but the home side were given a let-off in the 24th minute when Rhodes spurned a gilt-edged chance from close range.

Boro continued to rain in shots from long range. Rosado, again from more than 30 yards, striker Scott McDonald and Ledesma all tried their luck from distance before the break, the latter's well held by Kean in the 35th minute.

Both sides went in search of the game's opening goal in an even contest, but the score remained goalless at the interval.

Mowbray replaced Bikey with Rhys Williams during the interval and the latter was straight into the action, blocking Rovers striker Josh King's goalbound effort before Murphy's 20-yard shot was well held by Steele.

Jutkiewicz was next to waste a golden opportunity when he headed wide from six yards from McDonald's telling cross in the 50th minute, while Rovers striker Colin Kazim-Richards saw his header saved by Steele before blazing the rebound over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

Jutkiewicz dragged an angled shot wide and forward team-mate Marvin Emnes arrowed a 25-yard effort off target, but in the 67th minute Boro broke the deadlock.

McDonald pulled the ball back towards the edge of the penalty area from the left and Jutkiewicz buried a low, right-footed shot into the bottom corner for his seventh goal of the season.

Blackburn boss Berg replaced Rosado with David Dunn in the 78th minute before fellow midfielder Jason Lowe fired a low angled shot just wide and moments later visiting goalkeeper Kean denied Boro a second when tipping McDonald's close-range effort over the crossbar at full stretch.

Rovers almost snatched a point in the final minute, but Rochina's goalbound free-kick was brilliantly saved by Boro keeper Steele.

League One round-up: Sheffield United stay top

League One round-up: Blades stay top with routine victory

|

UPDATED:

19:34 GMT, 26 December 2012

Sheffield United retained their place at the summit of npower League One with a 3-0 victory over relegation-haunted Scunthorpe.

Shaun Miller and Dave Kitson were on target while Nick Blackman struck a penalty to secure a routine win for the Blades.

Max Power and Adam McGurk were on the scoresheet as second-placed Tranmere came from behind to end a six-match winless league run with a 2-1 victory against Crewe.

Top of the table: Sheffield United's Shaun Miller (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Scunthorpe

Top of the table: Sheffield United's Shaun Miller (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Scunthorpe

Brentford continued their quest for automatic promotion with an impressive 3-1 victory over Colchester.

The Bees were two goals ahead inside 12 minutes as Marcello Trotta broke the deadlock and, after Josh Thompson was dismissed for a professional foul, Adam Forshaw smashed in the free-kick from 18 yards.

RESULTS:

Bournemouth 3 Yeovil 0

Carlisle 3 Hartlepool 0

Colchester 1 Brentford 3

Leyton Orient P – P Swindon

MK Dons 2 Walsall 4

Oldham 1 Doncaster 2

Portsmouth 1 Crawley 2

Preston 0 Bury 0

Sheff Utd 3 Scunthorpe 0

Shrewsbury 2 Notts County 2

Stevenage 1 Coventry 3

Tranmere 2 Crewe Alexandria 1

Drey Wright halved the deficit and although Tom Adeyemi was sent off for two bookings, Brentford secured the win thanks to Harlee Dean's 85th-minute strike.
Will Grigg scored twice as Walsall completed a league double over high-flying MK Dons with a 4-2 win.

Grigg's brace plus goals from Febian Brandy and Jamie Paterson handed the Saddlers a second successive win, while Ryan Lowe and Dean Bowditch were both on target for the below-par Dons.

Crawley came from behind to triumph 2-1 at Portsmouth and extend the Blues' winless run to 11 matches.

Pompey took the lead at Fratton Park when Paul Benson converted Scott Allan's cross after 10 minutes only for strikes from Mat Sadler and Billy Clarke to wrestle back the initiative.

Shrewsbury rescued a useful point with a late equaliser to frustrate promotion hopefuls Notts County in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Greenhous Meadow.

The lively Jon Taylor's 81st-minute cross from the right took a deflection and goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski was left red faced as he fumbled the ball into his own net.

Harlee Dean (right) celebrates scoring the thrid goal for Brentford, his team are now two points off the top with a game in hand

Harlee Dean (right) celebrates scoring the thrid goal for Brentford, his team are now two points off the top with a game in hand

The Shrews had gone in front in the 19th minute with a neatly-taken goal from County old boy Luke Rodgers. Lee Hughes equalised before County moved ahead on the stroke of half time through Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

Lewis Grabban scored his seventh goal in as many games as play-off chasing Bournemouth thumped Yeovil 3-0 at Dean Court.

A goal in each half by Grabban and Harry Arter, prior to Brett Pitman's late penalty, earned the Cherries a 12th win in a remarkable run of 14 unbeaten matches.
David McGoldrick completed the fightback after Coventry came from a goal down to beat Stevenage 3-1.

Lucas Akins gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot, but goals from Richard Wood, Carl Baker and McGoldrick secured the points.

In the hunt: Coventry's Carl Baker (centre) scores past to move his side just five points off the playoffs

In the hunt: Coventry's Carl Baker (centre) scores past to move his side just five points off the playoffs

Preston's winless league run at Deepdale dating back to September 29 continued after the Lilywhites drew a blank in a goalless draw at home to north west rivals Bury.

David Syers scored a last-minute winner as Doncaster prevailed 2-1 at Oldham.

Rovers took an early lead through Rob Jones after Billy Paynter's flick from a Cotterill free-kick had come back off the post before Youssouff M'Changama levelled.

Sam Collins, Matt Robson and Lee Miller fired Carlisle to a 3-0 victory over Hartlepool.

Blackburn want Brad Friedel as a player-coach

Blackburn still hoping Friedel will return even though keeper is willing to fight for Spurs place

|

UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 10 December 2012

Blackburn remain keen on signing Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel as a player-coach despite his determination to succeed at White Hart Lane.

The 41-year-old American goalkeeper faces a battle to be Spurs' first choice stopper with summer signing Hugo Lloris challenging him for the role.

Henning Berg would love to bring Friedel, who was benched for the Barclays Premier League clash with Everton on Sunday, to Ewood Park to help his side's promotion bid.

Target: Blackburn would love Brad Friedel to come back to Ewood Park

Target: Blackburn would love Brad Friedel to come back to Ewood Park

Andre Villas-Boas has moved to block the potential transfer and Friedel wants to keep playing at his current side, rather than returning to his former club.

He said: 'I’m contracted to Tottenham and I’m concentrating on Tottenham. Whatever role they throw at me I’ll do it to the best of my capabilities.

'There’s no rivalry with Hugo. At every club, for 21 seasons, there’s competition for places. As I said before when I signed the two-year contract I figured I would play last year, this year was an unknown.

'The club have been on the look-out for a long term goalkeeper for a couple of years. We also have two other outstanding goalkeepers at the club in Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini.

Desire: Henning Berg wants the keeper to help coach as well as play

Desire: Henning Berg wants the keeper to help coach as well as play

'So competition for places Yes. But the club is going to be around a lot longer than any of us. They want to be in the Champions League and they want to try to win trophies so they continuously have to buy good players in every position.

'Do I thrive on competition Absolutely. Or else I wouldn’t be playing football, and definitely not at the age of 41.'

Asked if he might move in the January transfer window he said: 'That’s all hypothetical. I’m at Tottenham and I’m very happy here.'