Tag Archives: radio

Mark McGhee sacked as Bristol Rovers manager

McGhee sacked as Bristol Rovers manager after defeat at York

|

UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 15 December 2012

Mark McGhee has been sacked as Bristol Rovers manager after this afternoon's 4-1 defeat at York City.

The result leaves Rovers second bottom in League Two, having won just four of 22 matches so far. They have not won a match since November 10.

Chairman Nick Higgs said in a club statement: 'We had hoped that the appointment of Mark McGhee would give the club some stability and long term progress, but unfortunately that has not been the case.

Sacked: Mark McGhee and Bristol Rovers parted company after today's 4-1 defeat at York City

Sacked: Mark McGhee and Bristol Rovers parted company after today's 4-1 defeat at York City

'We have decided that we can no longer continue with the current situation and had to make the difficult decision to part company with Mark. We decided we had to act now before it was too late.'

The Scot, who had previously managed Leicester City, Wolves, Millwall, Brighton, Motherwell and Aberdeen, was appointed in January following the departure of Paul Buckle.

Just yesterday, McGhee spoke of his 'embarrassment' at the side's lowly position in League Two.

He told BBC Radio Bristol: 'I think all the other managers in this league would agree – you don't want to be in the bottom division of your league tier.

'On behalf of the fans, we should feel embarrassed to be in this league and to be in this position.'

Rafael Nadal ready for Abu Dhabi return to tennis

Nadal ready to put six-month layoff behind him with return to court in Abu Dhabi

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 11 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 11 December 2012

Rafael Nadal will return to tennis in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this month after six months out with a knee injury.

'Can't wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi,' Nadal said.

'I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011 – would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!'

Welcome back: Rafael Nadal is set to return to action in Abu Dhabi

Welcome back: Rafael Nadal is set to return to action in Abu Dhabi

Nadal's latest comments contrast with an interview he gave last week, when he struck a far more cautious tone.

'I will only come back when I am fit. I won't come back worrying about my knee,' he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

'The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

'We are in the last stage of the
recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush
back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time.'

'I have the goal of returning in Abu Dhabi but neither Abu Dhabi nor Australia are the end of the world for me.

He added: 'Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open.

'My recovery is going well. This past month I have taken an important step. I feel happy and the doctors are too.'

Downplayed: Nadal believes he will not be a title contender for the first few months of the season

Downplayed: Nadal believes he will not be a title contender for the first few months of the season

Paula Radcliffe decision to keep on racing welcomed by UK athletics chief

Radcliffe decision to keep on racing welcomed by head of UK athletics

|

UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 10 December 2012

UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson has welcomed Paula Radcliffe's determination to resume her career next year, insisting only she knows when it is time to retire.

Radcliffe was unable to compete in the marathon at this summer’s London Olympics due to injury, and lost her Lottery funding as she is no longer seen as a realistic medal contender in global championships.

But despite turning 39 next Monday, the marathon world record holder said she is 'desperate' to return to competition in 2013.

Flying the flag: Radcliffe has vowed to continue racing

Flying the flag: Radcliffe has vowed to continue racing

'I know she had an operation on her foot and it will take some time for her to get back to running, but I see it as very positive if she is still hungry to perform,' Eriksson told the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Radio Five Live.

'If she does the right things and doesn’t push it too hard, I think she will be fine.

'The athletes know by themselves when it’s time to retire and they have to come to terms with that on their own, it’s nothing you force people into.

'She is a very talented athlete and if she is hungry to race then I think that’s great for us.'

Eriksson was appointed in October and is helping to oversee UKA’s plans for a single high performance institute in Loughborough.

Loughborough will be used as 'the engine' of British athletics according to Eriksson, but the Swede acknowledged that the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Adam Gemili will not be required to use the facility on a full-time basis.

Greek tragedy: Radcliffe pulled up during the marathon at 2004 Olympics

Greek tragedy: Radcliffe pulled up during the marathon at 2004 Olympics

Gemili’s coach Michael Afilaka lost his
full-time position with UK Athletics recently and the 19-year-old world
junior champion does not want to move from his London base to work with
another coach in Loughborough.

'I talked to him and he is very
comfortable in his environment,” Eriksson said. 'We have supported his
coach this year and we will find a way to do that in the future.

'We are having coach-based support so there will be some funding going towards Adam’s coaching. He is really keen on staying where he is because he goes to the university, he is close to the training facility and has his coach there so I don’t see a reason to change that at all.

Tough cookie: Radcliffe is desperate to return to competition next year

Tough cookie: Radcliffe is desperate to return to competition next year

'We need to ensure that each athlete and their coach get as much support as we can give them and we need to build a team, but in addition to that we also have a lot of athletes coming up in under-18, under-20, under-23 age groups that are performing really well.

'We need to have those and turn them into medallists and that’s why we try to hire the best coaches and have one central hub that is the engine of the sport.

'You don’t want to take an athlete out of their environment where they are comfortable and have good support, but we also want them to come and be part of the centre. They can come and go, they don’t have to live there, to move anywhere.

'Mo Farah and Jess Ennis have a great environment so why change that We just have to optimise it for them.'

Eriksson also reiterated that, unlike his predecessor Charles van Commenee, he has a good relationship with triple jumper Phillips Idowu, who failed to reach the Olympic final after a controversial and injury-hit build-up.

'He is aiming to bring back a gold medal at the World Championships (in Moscow next year) and I am looking forward to seeing him back on the team again,' Eriksson added.

'If he is fully healed from all his injuries, which he is now, there is no reason why he shouldn’t perform good again so you have to say it’s over now and we have to move forward and do better.'

Manchester United legend Paddy Crerand radio outburst defending Manchester derby clashes

And you thought it was mad yesterday… United legend Crerand launches astonishing on-air rant at BBC 5 live presenters in row over clashes at Manchester derby

|

UPDATED:

15:18 GMT, 10 December 2012

Former Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand was involved in an astonishing outburst on national radio this morning as he reacted angrily to the suggestion that Rio Ferdinand could in any way have provoked Manchester City fans with his celebration of United’s winner in Sunday’s derby.

Ferdinand appeared to be hit by a coin following Robin van Persie’s late goal at the Etihad Stadium and City goalkeeper Joe Hart also had to prevent a supporter from confronting the United defender.

It was put to Crerand during an interview on BBC Radio 5 live that listeners had called and texted the show to suggest that players should tone down their celebrations in front of opposition fans, but Crerand was disgusted by the insinuation that Ferdinand had any responsibility for the incident and repeatedly challenged the station to say how many people had blamed Ferdinand.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen to the audio interview…

Battle scar: Rio Ferdinand's face is covered in blood after being hit by a coin

Battle scar: Rio Ferdinand's face is covered in blood after being hit by a coin

Doubling up: Ferdinand reacts after being hit by a coin

Doubling up: Ferdinand reacts after being hit by a coin

Blue mist: Ferdinand holds his head as a blue flare is thrown onto the pitch

Blue mist: Ferdinand holds his head as a blue flare is thrown onto the pitch

Outburst: Retired Manchester United footballer Paddy Crerand hit out at Radio 5 live presenters

Outburst: Retired Manchester United footballer Paddy Crerand hit out at Radio 5 live presenters

'Who said that That is ridiculous,' Crerand said.

'What planet do they live on That is absolute garbage. How many people have phoned you up One, two, three How many Why make a statement like that if you haven’t got (the number of listeners) to hand…if you haven’t got the evidence”

Asked to respond to the suggestion that Ferdinand could have provoked the attacks, Crerand added: 'I think the point is absolutely ludicrous.'

At one point Crerand asked interviewer Chris Warburton: 'Is this a publicity stunt Ask me a sensible question and don’t talk stupid, asking me daft questions about whether fans should celebrate or not.'

Warburton’s co-presenter Rachel Burden interjected to suggest to Crerand that there may have been a misunderstanding of the question that had been asked.

Crerand demanded again to know how many people had contacted the show.
'How many texts A million Half a million A hundred thousand'

Crerand added: 'Rio Ferdinand was nowhere near where the home fans were. He gets struck by a coin that someone has thrown from about 15 or 20 yards, it wasn't as if he was standing in front of their supporters jumping up and down.'

After Burden asked Crerand a couple of questions, he said: 'Why have you changed commentators, why have you come on all of a sudden'

Crerand was told it was standard for both presenters to contribute questions and Warburton said: 'Don't worry, I haven't run scared Paddy.'

Leaving it late: Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck celebrate Manchester United's late winner

Leaving it late: Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck celebrate Manchester United's late winner

Crerand later insisted he stood by what he had said in his radio interview.

He said the issue was with a coin being thrown, not the players' reaction, and therefore he was not prepared to add fuel to what he considered was the wrong debate.

'It is a local derby and you are expected to get carried away, particularly after you've come back having been 2-0 up and let it get to 2-2,' he said.

Led away: Van Persie and Ferdinand walk away after the celebrations

Led away: Van Persie and Ferdinand walk away after the celebrations

'But they (5 live) were looking for something sensationalist, they weren't looking for anything sensible.

'They were interested in making it worse than it was.'

'They said they had received lots of calls from fans but they couldn't say how many. One of them (Burden) was not even at the game, they didn't even see it.'

Crerand condemned the throwing of objects at players.

'What do people think about when they do that' he added.

'It was stupidity and it shouldn't happen but it is very difficult to find out who threw the coin.'

PADDY CRERAND INTERVIEW: FULL TRANSCRIPT

Former Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand this morning gave an extraordinary interview to BBC Radio Five Live on the subject of the trouble which marred yesterday’s Manchester derby. United defender Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin thrown from the crowd as he celebrated Robin van Persie’s late winner, but when it was suggested to Crerand that Ferdinand’s celebrations in front of Manchester City fans may have played a part in the incident, he responded with an angry confrontation with presenters Chris Warburton and Rachel Burden.

Chris Warburton: We’ve had a lot of people getting in touch saying the players have to take a bit of responsibility, stop celebrating in front of opposing fans and stoking it up. I just wondered what your thoughts are on that

Paddy Crerand: Who’s said that Who’s made that statement

CW: We’ve had various calls and texts from our listeners, Paddy.

PC: What planet do they live on

CW: Well, you tell me.

PC: Well, I’ve no idea. I was at the game yesterday, do you expect fans not to celebrate when their team scores a goal

CW: No, no, what they’re suggesting is that players are going up to opposing fans and celebrating in front of them and that that stokes the crowd up.

PC: I was at the game yesterday and that is absolute rubbish. Who suggested that, and where did that come from Absolute garbage. How many people phoned you up One Two Three

CW: No, no, we’ve had various texts this morning saying the same thing as well.

PC: Well how many Tell me how many. If you’re going to make a statement like you’re making a statement now, tell me how many.

CW: Just take it from me that we have had a good number of texts…

PC: I’m not taking it from you, you tell me.

CW: Well, I haven’t got it to hand Paddy.

PC: Well why make a statement then, if you haven’t got it to hand No I’m not taking it from you, why do you make a statement like that when you haven’t got the evidence

CW: Well, what do you think of the point

PC: I think the point is absolutely ludicrous. You go to a football match, or any sporting situation, and you think people shouldn’t celebrate What planet are your people on at all

CW: No, no, that’s not what’s being suggested.

PC: That’s what you’re suggesting.

CW: In terms of…

PC: In terms of what Now you’re making excuses for yourself.

CW: I was going to ask you a different question Paddy.

PC: Yeah, go on then.

CW: In terms of the environment at a derby, how has it changed from when you were playing

PC: It’s not changed in any way whatsoever. I don’t care that it’s a derby, or any football match, people celebrate when their team scores a goal. What do you expect them to do, be quiet I don’t know what you’re suggesting, I’m totally amazed.
Just a minute please – is this a publicity stunt

CW: No. I think I’ve been quite clear in what I’m saying to you Paddy. Let me ask you a question about the football.

PC: Yeah, well ask me a sensible question then. Don’t talk stupid and ask me daft questions about whether fans should celebrate or not.

CW: Well we asked Danny Mills the question about an hour ago, Paddy, and he gave us quite a reasonable answer.

PC: Well what did he say to you I’ve no idea what Danny Mills says to you, what was his reasonable answer

CW: He told us that you can’t hold players in any way responsible.

PC: Of course you can’t. Why make a thing about a sensible answer that Danny Mills gave you that people should celebrate Of course they should celebrate.

Rachel Burden: I think there might be a bit of misunderstanding here. A number of people texted the programme and people called Five Live…

PC: How many texts A million

RB: If you’d let me finish…

PC: Half a million

RB: If you’d let me finish…

PC: Hundred thousand

RB: If you’d let me finish the point…

PC: Yes.

RB: …and the point was about Rio Ferdinand going down to an area where home fans were and celebrating in front of them.

PC: Let me say something to you. Did you watch the game yesterday

RB: I listened to it.

PC: Well you didn’t watch it then, you don’t know what happened then. Rio Ferdinand was nowhere near where the away fans – where the home fans were. He gets struck by a coin that somebody’s thrown from about 15 or 20 yards, it’s not like he was standing in front of their supporters jumping up and down. He was 15 or 20 yards from their fans.

RB: Do you remember things like that happening when you were playing in these derbies

PC: I don’t remember anything like that happening, no.

RB: So do you think the atmosphere has got worse over the years

PC: Why did you change commentators Why have you come on all of a sudden

RB: That’s just the way it works on the programme, we both join in together.

CW: Don’t worry, I haven’t run scared Paddy.

PC: Oh, I thought you’d run away there for a minute. No, but let me say, it was a great football match, no question about that. When it went to two each, I thought City were the team that were going to win it. Manchester United finished up winning with a deflected goal and you can’t not accept the fact that fans would celebrate when the third goal went in. And derby matches are a lot different from ordinary matches, obviously, but why somebody would throw something at Rio Ferdinand is totally stupid. Why a fan would run on the pitch…
And to be fair to Manchester City, a United fan ran on to the pitch last year when United beat City 4-3. So the effects of football on people sometimes can go to the extreme, it shouldn’t happen but it does happen unfortunately. And particularly in matches that are local derbies.

AUDIO: listen to Paddy's rant on BBC Radio 5 live… click here for more…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv31986','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31986”,
'videoPlayer' : “2026320178001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2245799/Manchester-United-legend-Paddy-Crerand-radio-outburst-defending-Manchester-derby-clashes.html”

});

Rio Ferdinand not to blame for actions of Manchester City fans

Ferdinand to blame for 'inciting' Man City fans No chance. You can't rob English football of its key ingredient: passion

|

UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 10 December 2012

Let's get this straight: Rio Ferdinand was not celebrating in front of the Manchester City fans and he was certainly not to blame for that cut above his eye.

A text message landed in my phone, seconds after the final whistle brought down the curtain on the tempestuous 164th Manchester derby.

'Ferdinand's bang out of order', said the sender. I found it hard to comprehend. 'Why so' was my reply.

Scroll down for video

Struck down: Commentators have tried to apportion some of the blame on Ferdinand for his celebrations

Struck down: Commentators have tried to apportion some of the blame on Ferdinand for his celebrations

'Celebrating like that, rubbing it in the City fans' faces. He's lost it', was the explanation. I could barely bring myself to reply.

I'd just watched the United defender walking off the pitch with blood streaming from a wound a centimetre or two above his left eye.

His crime Celebrating 93rd-minute winner against the Barclays Premier League champions – their city neighbours, no less – to send his team six points clear at the top of the league.

It came after his team had thrown away a two goal lead, only to snatch the spoils right at the very close of a match that will live long in the memory.

Bang out of order Lost it I don't think so.

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

Pitch invader: Ferdinand was also targeted by a fan who raced onto the field

Various social media, radio and press outlets have lumped a portion of blame on Ferdinand for celebrating on front of the City fans following Robin van Persie's winning free-kick.

Well, that's not true for a start, he was in front of the United fans.

The coin must have travelled quite a distance before it arrived at his brow, as Ferdinand said in his post-match tweet, it was 'some shot'.

But so what if he had celebrated in front of the City fans He and his team-mates had earned the right to celebrate wherever they wanted to.

They'd just won the most important match of the season, three points secured which, at the end of the season, could decide the final destination of the title.

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

United front: Ferdinand was celebrating in front of the United fans and Rooney receives abuse (below)

Against a team who did the league double over them last term, scoring eight goals in the process. He had every right to get excited.

Look at the picture of Wayne Rooney, facing a barrage of vile invective from City fans which illustrates the levels of abuse players face on a regular basis.

And what was the alternative after the winning goal was scored A gentle ripple of applause from the travelling supporters followed by handshakes all round as the United players walked back to the centre circle

That anodyne vision of the future would rob the passion – arguably it’s the key ingredient – from the most-watched league in the world.

We demand the very highest standards from the players. Demand they cede no inch, sweat every last drop and leave the field of play shattered, but then want to deny them the right to savour the very moment they pull on their kit for: Score goals. Win games.

Of course players have a duty to not goad supporters with inflammatory gestures. But to celebrate in those circumstances in front of his own fans as Ferdinand did cannot and should not be outlawed.

To suggest he 'crossed the line' is nonsense. The line was crossed when those dozens of fans – and it was dozens, check the amount of coins on the field around Ferdinand's feet – starting rifling through their pockets for some shrapnel to direct at the opposition.

And it is nothing new. The only difference is this time a coin actually hit a player.

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Sir Alex Ferguson said after the match: 'It's unfortunate that a City fan runs on and coins are thrown. The same thing happened at Chelsea, which was masked by all the other things. I have not known many more dramatic days than that.'

Screaming in delight following the denouement of a successful title-race battle is not a criminal offence. Gashing someone's face with a missile is.

Commentators should remember that before pillorying those who actions week in, week out give us reason to celebrate.

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

Ugly scenes: The fans directed abuse at each other as well as the players

VIDEO: Fans react to the violence…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv31981','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31981”,
'videoPlayer' : “2025466108001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2245812/Rio-Ferdinand-blame-actions-Manchester-City-fans.html”

});

Emmanuel Adebayor threatens to quit Togo over ongoing pay dispute

Adebayor threatens to quit Togo over ongoing pay dispute

|

UPDATED:

20:16 GMT, 28 November 2012

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor has threatened to quit playing for Togo unless an ongoing pay dispute can be resolved.

The 28-year-old forward claims that he and his team-mates have not been paid for playing against Morocco earlier this month.

And Adebayor expects many players will turn their back on the national team if the Togo football association continue to refuse to pay the players the money they are owed.

Dispute: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor has threatened to retire from international football with Togo over a pay dispute

Dispute: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor has threatened to retire from international football with Togo over a pay dispute

'If this does not change, then I will retire from international football and many will stop playing for our country,' Adebayor told Togo’s Radio Frequence1.

'In our FA everyone thinks about their own pockets. Some players have not received their money, some have received half of it.

'Players come to me to ask about their money. It is a shame. I asked the Moroccan Federation how much they paid our Togolese FA. They told me that they paid €35,000 to President Ameyi.

'The president has the money because the Moroccan FA will not lie to me. If this continues, then no one will play for others to fill their pockets.'

Cash v Country: Adebayor says a number of players have not been paid for turning out in a match with Morocco earlier this month

Cash v Country: Adebayor says a number of players have not been paid for turning out in a match with Morocco earlier this month

Rafa Benitez in his own words (sort of)

Benitez in his own words (sort of) as new Chelsea manager makes a good first impression

|

UPDATED:

18:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

Rafa Benitez has a tough new job, a trigger-happy owner to please and a game against the unbeaten Premier League champions to kick off his Chelsea career.

But it's not all doom and gloom for the former Liverpool manager as he's been given the Darren Farley treatment.

Farley is known as 'the voice of football' for his impressions of some of the game's biggest names and has appeared on Sky Sports News, Soccer AM and numerous radio shows.

DM.has('rcpv1983739378001','BCVideo');

He's now made his Sportsmail debut with
this exclusive clip of what the new Blues boss – a favourite of Farley's
from his Liverpool days – might have to say for himself.

Log back on tomorrow to see what happens when Rafa is welcomed to Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho (kind of).

Luis Suarez – can he win Player of the Year? Martin Samuel column

Suarez is poetry in motion… but can he really be Player of the Year

|

UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 21 November 2012

And the days are not full enough And the nights are not full enough And life slips by like a field mouse. Not shaking the grass. Ezra Pound wrote that. Remarkable, isn't it

'Pound is more responsible for the 20th century revolution in poetry than any other individual,' said TS Eliot, and he would know. So here's one of his lesser known works.

'You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. And the big Jew has rotted every nation he has wormed into.' Pound said that in a pro-fascist radio broadcast in March 1942. He said plenty of other stuff, too, and was arrested for treason after the war.

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Saint and sinner: Luis Suarez has been accused of diving during his time at Liverpool

Later, Pound renounced his anti-Semitism in public, but recollections of the private individual tell a different story. He would refer to people he disliked as Jews, and refuse to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish names.

He really wasn't a nice guy. Doesn't make Eliot wrong, though. Doesn't make the depth of emotional meaning conveyed in the sparse four lines of And the days are not full enough – that's the whole poem up there, by the way – any less astonishing. Same with Philip Larkin.

'I can hear fat Caribbean germs pattering after me in the Underground,' he wrote, disgusted, to Kingsley Amis on a visit to London. Then again, Larkin was disgusted by a lot of things; by himself, often enough. For Larkin in excelsis, however, read An Arundel Tomb. 'What will survive of us is love.'

We could go on. Through Chuck Berry to Miles Davis or Michael Jackson. We separate the man from his art. But not in football. In football, we want it all. Beauty and the blameless life. We can accept that poets, artists, musicians or writers can be despicable creatures redeemed by their work, but from our footballers we demand the exalted physicality of an athlete and the immaculate morality of an angel.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Light and shade: The Uruguayan striker is a match-winner for Liverpool but has also been accused of stamping on an opponent (above right)

More from Martin Samuel …

Juventus 3 Chelsea 0: On the way out… humiliated holders facing new Champions League low as Di Matteo heads for the exit
20/11/12

Martin Samuel: Pietersen's 'reintegration' is complete… but now England need to see the destructive, swashbuckling KP of old
13/11/12

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1: Suarez rescues point for Reds after goalscorer Terry is crocked on return
11/11/12

Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2: Moses works a miracle as Di Matteo's luck holds
07/11/12

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2: It's all gone De Jong as Euro exit looms for Mancini misfits
06/11/12

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3: Crazy red card for Torres and Hernandez offside goal hand United victory at Stamford Bridge
28/10/12

Martin Samuel: Amid his Twitter row, Liverpool's Chang should know using the supporters as muscle is a dangerous abuse of power
23/10/12

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1: Bad case of the Blues as holders feel pain in Ukraine
23/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

So could Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Of course not. Should Luis Suarez be the Footballer of the Year this season Well, who else have you got

This is a crude calculation as it presumes no other player could have scored Suarez's goals, but the difference he has made to Liverpool this season equates to seven league points and, potentially, a place in the Europa League.

Goals from Suarez have changed Liverpool's dividend on seven occasions. He has been the difference between victory and a draw with Norwich City and a draw and a defeat against Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton, Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Without his goal at Anfield, the Europa League qualifier with Hearts would have gone into extra time. And in this season's Premier League, seven points is currently separating Liverpool and a place in the bottom three.

True, if Suarez had not been in the team, somebody else would have been and that somebody might have scored, too. So this isn't exact science.

Nobody can accurately evaluate Suarez's worth to Liverpool this season but, ball-park, seven points sounds about right. Maybe more. Is there any footballer in the country more influential

Last week, Jamie Carragher compared Suarez to Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. Indeed, he placed him higher, because Suarez is not playing in a great team. But Footballer of the Year No chance.

This is bogeyman Suarez, remember, verbal debaser of Patrice Evra, alleged diver, alleged stamper, the man English football loves to hate and boo, even during the feelgood Olympic Games this summer when just completing the course got a standing ovation.

How can he sway a vote of journalists, some of whom believe their award winner must stand out as a role model, as much as a footballer How could he earn the votes of players, some of whom are black, ethically-minded or represent Manchester United Could you vote for him No. Could I It would be very, very hard.

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

On target: Suarez has scored more goals than any other player in the Barclays Premier League this term

A vote for Suarez would appear to send out the message that racism doesn't matter. Yet I'd have no hesitation in referring to Larkin as our greatest modern poet; no agonising over love for the music of the wife-beating Ike Turner either.

Maybe by the end of the season the Suarez dilemma will no longer exist. Different players go through purple patches at various times – Juan Mata was brilliant for Chelsea as Roberto Di Matteo's side topped the table early on – but few have been as consistent as Suarez, with no sign of relenting.

Left to fend for himself by an almost wantonly negligent series of executive choices in the transfer market, he has prevented Liverpool entering freefall. And he is not even a conventional striker.

If Liverpool had acted with coherence this summer, Suarez would be playing beside a prolific goalscorer, setting up as many as he scores, the burden on his shoulders relieved. For Uruguay, he most regularly played alongside Diego Forlan or Sebastian Abreu. These days Edinson Cavani is his regular foil. The idea of him leading a line unaccompanied would baffle his national coach, Oscar Tabarez.

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar arguments and probably resignations

Imagine: If Suarez was Footballer of the Year, they'd be uproar, arguments and probably resignations

What he is doing at Liverpool is far removed from his comfort zone. And yet he is this season's peak performer: top scorer in the Premier League with two more goals than Robin van Persie and top scorer of any Premier League player in all club competitions, again two more than Van Persie.

The difference is, Van Persie has Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to take a load off, Suarez is in virtual isolation.

Carragher also placed Suarez alongside Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres among recent goalscorers at Liverpool, but in essence he is more like Steven Gerrard or Carragher himself, in his ability to influence matches sometimes with sheer will.

Yet, imagine if he was the Footballer of the Year. There would be uproar, protests, arguments, quite probably resignations. A breakaway black union without doubt, if he won the PFA vote, a very awkward few weeks for representatives of the media if he topped any poll of journalists.

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

Mock: Suarez celebrated in front of Moyes after the Everton boss accused him of simulation

An unrepentant horror as an example to the next generation, it would be fiendishly hard to justify his glorification, almost inexcusable. Yet is he the best player in the league This minute, by a mile.

Those crowned Footballer of the Year tend to be winners. It seemed incongruous two years ago when Scott Parker collected the prize in a season that ended in relegation for his club, West Ham United.

The case for Suarez would be different. It would be based on his contribution to a former member of the elite, Liverpool, and how far a great club might have tumbled without him.

There was certainly a similar case for Chris Waddle at Tottenham Hotspur one season, when the club could easily have slipped into the bottom three without his frequent interventions. Yet Suarez won't win and can't win, we know that.

He has been associated with too much of football's dark side – racism, simulation – to rise above the negativity. He refused to shake hands with Evra, at first, even though the wronged man made the first move, he openly mocked David Moyes when the Everton manager dared to suggest he went to ground too easily. And yet despite the opprobrium, Suarez stays strong.

If no-one likes him, see if he cares. Perhaps this is why, as well as being this season's best footballer he is also one that troubles the soul.

Suarez does not do sorry, he does not do contrition and, in this, demands to be considered only for his art. Will he care if recognition is not his at the end of the season Probably not. As Pound said on his release from a lengthy stint of hard labour: 'I've had it worse.'

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Arrests: Crowd trouble in Germany is at a 12-year high

Don't mention the arrests…

And more news just in from Germany, where tickets are cheap, stadiums are full, standing is tolerated and crowd trouble is at a 12-year high.

According to figures released to Reuters in Berlin, the 2011-12 season had the highest number of criminal proceedings this century, a sharp rise in the amount of injured fans from the previous season and a 20 per cent increase in police work hours.

'Criminal proceedings are up 70 per cent, work hours up 40 per cent and injuries up 120 per cent from the 12-year average,' said a police spokesman.

A total of 8,143 criminal cases against individuals were launched compared with 5,818 the previous year, while the number of injuries rose from 843 to 1,142.

Meanwhile, according to the Home Office, English football arrests are at an all-time low since records began in 1985, and there was a 32 per cent decline in Premier League arrests from the 2010-11 season. But keep this quiet. It doesn't fit the self-flagellating narrative.

And while we're at it… Unbuyable Try to lure him back, Sir Alex!

He is back, at a football ground near you, tonight. And while Cristiano Ronaldo can be guaranteed a hostile reception when he steps out for Real Madrid against Manchester City, there will not be a true football fan in the stadium who does not feel a frisson of excitement at the anticipation of seeing him play live again.

Because we miss him, of course we do. Even the blue lot, deep down. Manchester United miss him, English football misses him. We haven't had one quite as good since. Not a player whose talent is so immense he actually found a new way of kicking a football.

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England on Tuesday night ahead of Real's clash with City

Welcome (back) to Manchester: Ronaldo touched down in England ahead of Real's clash with City

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Hydrodynamics Laboratory in Paris will test their theory about the way Ronaldo strikes his knuckleball at a scientific gathering in San Diego this week. They have been dropping steel beads into a tank of water and studying the trajectory. Nobody does that for Ashley Young.

So, when Sir Alex Ferguson says that he remains on good terms with Ronaldo but the player is 'unbuyable', the heart sinks. Try, Sir Alex. Have a go, for all of us. It doesn't matter if it makes life really hard for your rivals. We won't moan, even if you win the league by 25 points. Just get our guy back. Please.

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Relationship: Ferguson has claimed the former Manchester Untied star is 'unbuyable'

Madrid is the love of Ronaldo's life, but he hasn't always felt loved back. Good. Use that. Tell him he's wasted there. Tell him the Spanish crowds have never taken to him as they have Lionel Messi. Massage his ego, play on his insecurities. Wasn't there a time when Madrid made him sad Didn't he refuse to celebrate his goals at the start of the season, because he felt unappreciated That never happened at Old Trafford, did it Hell, it's worth a try.

Unbuyable is such a miserable term. Unbuyable says he is Madrid's, for ever. Unbuyable means nights like this are one of the few chances you will get to see one of the world's greatest players at the height of his powers. If you can go, don't miss it. He's the one you'll tell the grandkids about.

Sacking Hughes might not add up

The problem for Tony Fernandes at Queens Park Rangers, and for all owners, is that the only way to build a club is to place faith in a coach and his vision. Invariably, this means an equal investment in players, staff and the remodelling of academies and training facilities.

In terms of results, there is no indication this season that Rangers are going to turn around under Mark Hughes, so continued support now is merely a leap of faith.

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

In training: Hughes puts his squad through their paces on Tuesday as his future hangs in the balance

Yet the alternative, to remove Hughes and his entourage and start again, is fraught with expense and difficulty with no certainty of alleviating the crisis, either. West Ham United stuck with Avram Grant and went down, West Bromwich Albion sacked Roberto Di Matteo and stayed up.

Wigan Athletic kept Roberto Martinez and stayed up, Wolverhampton Wanderers dismissed Mick McCarthy and went down. The only concrete guarantee is that the cost of replacing the manager, his backroom boys and overhauling the squad twice in one season is horrific. This alone may be what buys Hughes the time to turn Rangers around.

Manchester City and Chelsea target Falcao "dreaming of move abroad"

Manchester City and Chelsea target Falcao 'dreaming of move abroad'

|

UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 14 November 2012

Manchester City and Chelsea are on red alert after 46m target Radamel Falcao admitted he's 'dreaming of a move'.

The Premier League rivals are expected to make a move for the Atletico Madrid striker in the January transfer window.

Hot shot: Striker Radamel Falcao

Hot shot: Striker Radamel Falcao

And hot shot Falcao,
who has scored 10 goals in La Liga this season, has paved the way for a
potential move by revealing his desire to play in a foreign league.

He told Radio Caracol: 'The chance of
playing in another league and for another club will come. I keep
dreaming. I know that in time I would like to go to a different team.
But I have three more years left on my contract with Atletico.

'There are dreams that I have met and
others that I am achieving now. I dream of reaching the World Cup with
Colombia, and also to keep winning with my club.

'In my head I have these objectives, they are very clear. I can’t think after these objectives.

Fernando Torres

Struggle: Chelsea's Fernando Torres

'The reason I don’t play in the
Europa League is because of a technical decision by [Atletico boss
Diego] Simeone, not because I’m leaving in January. It’s just a
precaution. I am not friends with Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi. But when I
see them on the field, I exchange words with the two.

'The dream is always there. The
Premier League is an interesting league but I have a few years left on
my contract with Atletico and I’m just focusing on Atletico.”

Chelsea have been urged to ditch flop
Torres and replace him with Falcao, by former Blues boss Ruud Gullit.

He said: 'If he can't still do it at
Chelsea, then they are going to have to look somewhere else. I think
Falcao is a very good striker.

'I said at the beginning of the season that Chelsea might need another striker but obviously they wanted to give Torres a chance. If he has taken it, I don't know.'

Ian Thorpe on his depression and suicidal thoughts

Depression and thoughts of suicide: Swimming legend Thorpe opens up about troubles

|

UPDATED:

00:27 GMT, 14 November 2012

Australian five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has revealed more about his fight against depression and thoughts of suicide which plagued his record-breaking career.

In a revealing interview on BBC Radio 5 Live the 30-year-old opened up about his troubles away from the pool that led him to consider taking his own life.

Amongst his revelations Thorpe said he had been treated for depression since he was a teenager and that it had led him to drink during the night in the lead-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Revealing: Five-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Australia's Ian Thorpe explained more about his depression

Revealing: Five-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Australia's Ian Thorpe explained more about his depression

He also recounted that he had been too 'embarrassed' to tell even his family about the disease until this year.

While Thorpe believes he has now learned to control the problem enough to speak about it publicly – he has also released an autobiography entitled 'This Is Me' – he admitted there were 'still times that are really tough for me'.

'I realised that I had desperation early. I was having treatment for desperation when I was a teenager,' he said.

'Depression comes in bouts. You can feel okay most days and then just get hit with it. I experienced that through what was mostly a very successful swimming career.

Autobiography: This is me

Autobiography: This is me

For sale: Thorpe has had his autobiography published, pictured right

'I have struggled with it before but I feel like I am on the other side of it. There are still times that are really tough for me, but I feel as though I know enough about it.

'There's no way that I'll ever say that I'm cured because I know where I can go back to.

'It's the first time that I've been comfortable talking about it because I feel as though I have some sort of control.'

Asked whether he had ever contemplated suicide during a glittering career that also saw him claim 11 world titles, he added: 'Yeah, I wouldn't talk about it otherwise. It's not something that is a throw-away line.

Admission: Thorpe said he had thought about suicide

Admission: Thorpe said he had thought about suicide

'I actually think it's quite normal
for people to consider what it would be like to commit suicide. I think
it is a normal thing to think 'what would that feel like, would it be so
terrible'

'But usually that's all you think
about, that's it. When you go through what the process of what it would
be like and it becomes and obsession in your mind where all rational
thought is devoid in that situation you realise that this has gone
beyond just a thought.

'When you are trying to get it out of
your mind rationally and you can't. To consider it as being a rational
solution to the way you are feeling you realise this is a problem, that
this isn't just a fleeting thought or feeling.

'This is a very clear guideline that
you do need more help and that you're not in control of your life and
that the irrational thought has taken over.'

Popular: Thorpe is one of Australia's most recognised sports people

Popular: Thorpe is one of Australia's most recognised sports people

Disguise: Thorpe felt he could hide the truth from his colleagues

Disguise: Thorpe felt he could hide the truth from his colleagues

Thorpe revealed that a key moment in
his recovery was realising the extent of his problems in the lead up to
the 2004 Olympics, when he was drinking to avoid his demons.

He said: 'Leading up to Athens Olympics I was actually drinking in the night to try and avoid be depressed.

'Everyone knows that doesn't work.
It's a stupid thing to do and so you wake up the next morning, have a
hangover and you are more depressed than you were the day before.

'I was fortunate that I woke up to
this. I needed to seek more treatment. It's not that I got over it –
there is no way of getting over this – it was that I have a little bit
more control over my depression.'

Winner: Thorpe shows his gold medal after winning the 400m freestyle at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece

Winner: Thorpe shows his gold medal after winning the 400m freestyle at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece

Thorpe made an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the London Olympics after coming out of a four-year retirement in late 2010.

Despite that failure he revealed he
still harboured ambitions to compete at Rio in four years and that he
would look to add to his Commonwealth titles in Glasgow in two years.

'I'm going to work in two-year cycles.
I'm looking to swim until the Commonwealth Games and then make a call
on whether to swim through until the Olympics after that,' he said.

'Starting out when I came back I knew the odds were stacked against me (to qualify for the Olympics).

'I thought it was 50-50. Realistically I thought it would take three years to get back.'