Tag Archives: renowned

Amir Khan v Carlos Molina: Fans invited to exchange toys for tickets

Amir's toy story! Fans asked to exchange gifts in return for tickets to Khan fight in LA

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UPDATED:

13:22 GMT, 11 December 2012

Fight fans have been offered free tickets to watch Amir Khan's return the ring in Los Angeles this Saturday… in exchange for an unwrapped toy.

Ticket sales have reportedly been slow for the former world light-welterweight champion's comeback clash against Carlos Molina.

But Khan's American Golden Boy promoters want to make a full house at the 17,000 LA Memorial Sports Arena this weekend and have engineered a scheme that will see fans handed tickets – worth as much as 100 – to the the fight in exchange for a unopened toy priced as little as 15.

Golden Boy chief Oscar De La Hoya has come up with the giveaway idea to give to deprived families in time for Christmas.

Amir Khan makes his return to the ring in Los Angeles this weekend

You've got a friend in me: Fight fans are being encouraged to trade toys – like the ones from the film Toy Story (below) – for tickets to Khan's fight against Molina

You've got a friend in me: Fight fans are being encouraged to trade toys - like the ones from the film Toy Story - for tickets to Amir Khan's fight against Carlos Molina

'I am looking forward to distributing the toys to those families who need them most,' said De La Hoya, speaking to The Sun.

Khan, meanwhile, has vowed to reinvent himself as 'a totally different fighter' when he aims to bounce back from two successive defeats.

A year ago the Bolton fighter controversially lost his WBA title to Lamont Peterson, only to be subsequently reinstated when it emerged the American had been using synthetic testosterone.

However, he lost his next fight too when Danny Garcia knocked him silly in a fourth-round stoppage win in Las Vegas in July.

The Garcia defeat brought about much soul-searching before the Englishman made the tough decision to leave renowned trainer Freddie Roach and join forces with another Californian, Virgil Hunter.

Khan's questionable punch resistance and over-zealous attacking instincts point towards the need for a change in approach and the fighter himself admits there has been plenty to work on under Hunter, who boasts a stellar reputation having guided Andre Ward to pound-for-pound recognition.

'Training with Virgil's been going really well,' the 26-year-old said ahead of his scrap with undefeated Californian Molina.

Return: Khan is looking to bounce back following his defeat by Danny Garcia in July

Return: Khan is looking to bounce back following his defeat by Danny Garcia in July

'The gym is quiet, it's chilled, you can think about what you're doing.

'For example when I'm sitting in the gym, or warming up, I can think things through about what I want to do in the session or the sparring. I can think things through, whereas previous gyms I've trained at have been very busy with lots of people there.

'Sometimes it's a distraction because you can't really focus on what you need to focus on.

'Virgil is a great trainer. He breaks everything down and every day he reminds me what I need to do, what I need to work on and what mistakes I make which need improving on.'

Khan was in control against Garcia before leaving himself exposed and being taken apart by the Philadelphian's power shots. The 2004 Olympic silver medalist insists he will use that experience, combined with Hunter's input, to right those wrongs.

Change of plans: Khan (R) has prepared for his upcoming fight against Molina with new trainer, Virgil Hunter

Change of plans: Khan (R) has prepared for his upcoming fight against Molina with new trainer, Virgil Hunter

'We've sat down and watched the Garcia fight together and we've been working on some new stuff from that, including being more patient and waiting for the right shots at the right time and not over-committing myself,' he said.

'When I watch the Garcia fight, I can see that I'm like a totally different fighter. Virgil said to me when we watched it again “now you tell me what you're doing wrong in the fight and what you'd do differently now” and so I told him.

'It shows that the sparring I've been doing and the training I'm getting is helping me. I'm a better fighter by far because I would not fight Garcia the way I did. I've changed my fighting style a lot and proves I'm doing something right.

'We're ready for this guy.'

Edgar Davids gives his unique views of Roberto Mancini, Fabio Capello, his new job at Barnet and fashion

EXCLUSIVE: Edgar Davids gives his unique views of Mancini (lacks people skills), Capello (tactical genius), his new job at Barnet (I'm not being paid a penny) and fashion (it's important, man)

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 17 November 2012

Edgar Davids has an opinion and, as is usually the case, he is not overwhelmed by a desire to keep it to himself. This time, it's about his interviewer's choice of clothing.

'It's safe,' he says. 'But there is no adventure. You wear a suit, but you are not trying to tell me something about who you are. It lacks flair. That's not for me. You should try something, man.'

Quite a spectacle: Edgar Davids at Barnet's training ground

Quite a spectacle: Edgar Davids at Barnet's training ground

The assault is not entirely unexpected. Davids, once the 'Pitbull' midfielder of some of European football's greatest sides, has been talking about fashion for more than five minutes.

'It's my passion,' he says. He is the creative director of Monta, a company specialising in street soccer apparel, and was previously engaged to Olcay Gulsen, a renowned designer.

Davids on… Wilfried Zaha

When I was at Palace, he was a big talent but
nothing more. He was also developing bad habits technically and no-one was stopping him. His end product was very poor at times, but now he is really showing his talent. He has worked hard at his game.

One rumour suggests that he turned away a journalist because he was unimpressed by an outfit.

'That did not happen,' Davids says. 'If I refused to speak, it wouldn't have been because of his clothes. However, if I thought he wasn't looking sharp, I probably would have told him. Fashion is important, man.'

And yet here he is, the winner of six league titles, 12 domestic cups, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, talking about his new life as the 39-year-old player-manager of League Two Barnet, a club in the basement of British football and rarely considered to be chic.

'I don't get paid a dime to be here,' he says.

On the ball: Davids at the club's training ground

On the ball: Davids shows off his skills

Own style: Davids passes on some advice to one of the young players

Own style: Davids passes on some advice to one of the young players

It's the summer of 2012, and a Greek neighbour has called. 'Fancy a Sunday league game' he asks. Davids has been living in north London since his days at Tottenham, but has only really played Street Soccer events since leaving Crystal Palace after a three-month stint in 2010.

Davids on… ‘the greats’

I played with the best. Zinedine Zidane made me look differently at star players. Some guys with that talent don’t work so hard or want different treatment. Not him. Man, those skills. One player people don’t ask me about but should is Ledley King. Left and right foot perfect, fast, almost never made a foul. Technically, he is so gifted. So relaxed on the ball. But those knees.

'I coached a team in Brixton – Brixton United – for a while,' he says. 'We won two cups. They are a good team, but I only coached. No playing.'

The phone call from his neighbour doesn't appeal so much.

'I said, “No, man”, but I woke up in the morning and thought, “You know what Let's kick a ball around”. 'In the first half, I was like, “OK, let's keep it simple, move it around”. But then in the second half, I said the famous words that I got in trouble for on television last week.

'I just thought, “Hey, I'm f*****g Edgar Davids. I didn't want people to go away and say, “I played against Edgar Davids, it was OK”. I wanted them to say, “I played against f*****g Edgar Davids and he was nutmegging me”.

'Man, second half, I did like six nutmegs and got one assist. We won.'

The game prompts a second phone call, this time from Tony Kleanthous, the Greek-Cypriot chairman of Barnet who has heard on the grapevine that Davids dusted off his boots.

Edgar Davids of Barnet photographed exclusively at the club's training ground

Standing out: Davids is enjoying the challenge

Dressing down: Davids offers some style tips to our man Riath Al-Samarrai

Dressing down: Davids offers some style tips to our man Riath Al-Samarrai

Construction work continues on the club's new ground

Big job: Work continues on the new stadium in the background

Edgar Davids at the club's training ground

Front man: Davids leads by example in training

'A friend of mine gave him my number and then I get this call,' Davids says. 'He asked if I wanted to come over for a look.

'I saw the amazing training ground and listened to his plans for the future. It worked for me.'

Davids on… Barcelona

What a team. Would I have been good enough for today’s team Absolutely. You know what it is with Barcelona They play in the half of the opponent so the space is very small and the passes are very hard. To excel, it requires those skills and I have proven I possess those skills. I can do the same as Sergio Busquets or Javier Mascherano.

An agreement was reached and Davids was last month named as joint manager with Mark Robson. The club were bottom of the Football League.

'I've never had a big dream to be a manager, but I'm a curious guy and I want to see if I like it. I've been doing my coaching badges, just the (UEFA) “A” Licence to go, and this was a good chance to play a few games and learn about management.

'You know, I've worked for some pretty good managers so I have a few ideas.'

SIXTY. That's the number of major league titles and cups won by the managers Davids worked under for Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Holland. Between them, they have won the Champions League/European Cup seven times and a World Cup.

'Some were good, others not so good,' Davids says. 'I try to take the good bits from them and leave the bad, but also trying to keep my own identity. I don't want to be anyone's mimic.'

Action man: Davids against Accrington Stanley on Friday night

Action man: Davids against Accrington Stanley on Friday night

Boost: Barnet's Mark /11/16/article-2234184-1611B6C3000005DC-445_634x525.jpg

Still a pitbull: Davids is sent off against Accrington

The list of influences includes Louis
van Gaal, Marcello Lippi, Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard, Fabio
Capello, Roberto Mancini and Guus Hiddink. Hiddink sent Davids home from
Euro 96 after a radio interview in which he said the national team
manager 'should stop putting his head in some players' a***s'.

'We
made up and got on fine after that,' Davids says. 'I don't talk about
best managers,' he adds, but does so anyway. 'Van Gaal as a trainer was
one of the best – it was incredible how well he prepared for games.
Lippi was very, very good. He knew his team, he knew how to meld
together a group and make it a team.

Davids on… London

I just love living here. It is so multicultural. I love
that diversity. In Amsterdam, we have it a lot, and it’s like that here. Any dish you want you can have — Japanese, Indian, Chinese. You can go from Asian to black to Jewish in the same neighbourhood. It is a reflection of society nowadays. It’s why I love Brixton — a melting pot.

'Capello taught me so much about systems, about 4-4-2, how to pressure and squeeze a team.

'Rijkaard is not a good trainer but he is a really good manager of
people. You can see Mancini lacks people management, big time.' He adds:
'I don't want to talk negative about somebody. I do not want to talk
about Mancini as there were not so many positive things.'

At Barnet's training ground, Davids'
management style is developing. He is 'a little frustrated' by the
standard but says that is 'the challenge that makes me come down here
for nothing'. The players call him 'Mr' or 'Sir' and he does likewise in
return. 'I told them it is out of the question to call me Edgar. I
don't want to be called boss because I told them they are their own
boss,' he says.

Results have improved quite dramatically. Friday's night's 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley meant they had picked up 11 points from the seven League Two fixtures played since Davids' arrival (they took three points from the previous 11). And the 'Pitbull' still has a bite – he was sent off in the 85th minute after receiving a second booking for a foul on James Beattie, the former Everton striker.

Graham Stack, the keeper, talks of the squad being driven upwards by a 'fear factor' from playing with 'one of the best in the world'.

Davids is content with his life. 'The feeling of stepping out to play for Barnet for the first time was the same as a Champions League match. It is just joy, an innocent joy. I love to play football and will continue as long as I feel that.

'Maybe I will love management – we will see. This is fun. But you never know. Maybe one day I will own a club. That is a possibility, too. Or maybe I will leave and go into fashion.'

With that, the interview ends and Davids gets up to leave. 'Your coat,' he says. 'Double-breasted. That's very, very safe, man.'

Sir Alex Ferguson should have spoken out about Manchester United owners the Glazer family: Patrick Collins

400 million reasons why you should have spoken out, Sir Alex

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UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 8 July 2012

Once upon a time, Manchester United’s
balance sheet told a happy tale. An ambitious club, they pursued the
game’s great prizes, paid the largest fees for the finest players and
generally enjoyed a level of prosperity that others could only envy. Yet
they did not owe a single penny.

Then, in the summer of 2005, the
Glazer family of Palm Beach, Florida, acquired this admirable enterprise
by means of a leveraged buy-out. The process was totally legal and, to a
lay person, utterly mystifying. It involved borrowing some 525 million
to complete the purchase, then promptly dumping that sum on the club’s
hitherto pristine books. In seven years, the ingenious family spent
about 500m of the club’s income on servicing that debt, with its
enormous interest charges and professional fees.

Last week, we learned that United are
to be floated on the New York Stock Exchange, via the tax haven of the
Cayman Islands. This is not an unusual way of raising finance but here
it is being done as a faintly desperate means of reducing the Glazers’
debt without diminishing the family’s control. Some thought it an
incongruous operation; the most renowned institution in the domestic
game being treated as if it were a dice to be rolled or a card to be
dealt. But the people who administer English football took the whole
affair in their comfortable stride.

Flotation: Bryan and Avram Glazer, sons of Michael, pictured on a rare visit to Old Trafford

Flotation: Bryan and Avram Glazer, sons of Michael, pictured on a rare visit to Old Trafford

It needs something seismic to shake
the smugness of the Premier League. At the time of the United takeover,
the league’s chief executive Richard Scudamore dismissed the concerns
about debt: ‘The most important thing for us when we met with the
Glazers was to talk about their aspirations regarding television rights
and collective rights generally,’ he declared. And he sounded less
reassuring than he intended.

Five years later, when United’s debts
had passed 700m, he remained unruffled: ‘Manchester United have
continued to be one of the top clubs and since the Glazers have owned it
have continued to deliver huge success,’ he said. ‘It is absolutely one
of the best-run clubs in the world.’

More from Patrick Collins…

Murray will arrive quietly in a tiny VW… and could leave as the man the whole world wants to know
07/07/12

Murray beats the clock in his new role as Cinderella: Victory takes him closer to dream of first Grand Slam
01/07/12

Patrick Collins: Pirlo the master shows how far behind England truly are
30/06/12

Patrick Collins: Sadly Chambers must be chosen, but he could at least end the petulance
23/06/12

Patrick Collins: That touch of Sir Alf is why there is such trust in Roy
23/06/12

Patrick Collins: Fans will be the last to gain from Premier League's 3bn jackpot
16/06/12

Patrick Collins: Now for the real test… but Hodgson's men travel to Euro 2012 in hope
03/06/12

Patrick Collins: Is it any wonder preening Pietersen is so hard to like
02/06/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Now whenever Scudamore is challenged
about the way in which the various clubs of his league are run, he
usually insists that he is ‘ownership neutral’. It is a formula which
allows his organisation to shrug aside the antics of such as Thaksin
Shinawatra at Manchester City, as well as some of the rascals who have
helped destroy poor Portsmouth. And so long as he can carry on
delivering 3billion television deals, the various owners will not
worry. This is, after all, the ‘Barclays’ Premier League, a
serendipitous title which reminds us that a sensitive conscience can be
an expensive luxury.

But if Scudamore and his chums have
been predictably indifferent to the situation at United, the silence of
the Football Association is far more concerning. The most renowned club
in English football are in debt to the tune of 423.3m. Even the Glazers
admit that: ‘Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial
health and competitive position.’ Yet the FA, the custodians of the
national game, have nothing to say on the matter.

But there are two other figures whose
silence is both perplexing and regrettable. David Gill, the accomplished
chief executive, was part of the United board who opposed the Glazer
takeover. In the ensuing years, he has defended the owners at every
turn, insisting that the soaring debt has not damaged the club’s ability
to invest in the team.

Then there is Sir Alex Ferguson. Since
2005, he has delivered his employers four League titles and a Champions
League. In addition, he has declined to complain about player
investment and described the Glazers as ‘excellent owners’.

Surprisingly silent: Both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill have backed the Glazers since their takeover

Surprisingly silent: Both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill have backed the Glazers since their takeover

Yet he, more than anybody, was responsible for that original, unblemished balance sheet. It was his work which had made the club such an inviting financial target. But now he is required to run harder than at any time in his career, simply to stay level. While the famously noisy neighbours make merry with Abu Dhabi’s endless largesse, Ferguson must try to flourish on more slender resources.

He has never complained, since that would be construed as weakness, but ideally he would not have chosen to go against City with Paul Scholes (37) and Ryan Giggs (38) in his engine room. Both have been extraordinary players but the fact that United should have come so close to success with such a venerable cast represented a minor miracle of management.

With City’s ruling family expected to invest still more lavishly in their project — leverage is not a term they recognise at the Etihad — Ferguson’s task becomes painfully daunting. He will give it his best shot, since that is his nature, but deep down he must know that the die was cast on the day when Family Glazer arrived at Old Trafford, bearing promises of a brave new world and around half a billion pounds of debt.

He was the one person who might have altered events. Had he publicised his protests and articulated his opposition, public anger might have been aroused and a more suitable purchaser might have emerged. But he said nothing and now the club who have consumed his energies and talents have become the Cayman Islands-registered Manchester United Ltd. Just another ‘brand’, another commodity, another hopeful gamble on the New York Stock Exchange.

Why I wish AVB well

The last time I saw Andre Villas-Boas, he was about to be sacked. It was March and Chelsea had just lost at West Bromwich Albion. He had concluded, correctly, that several of his players were way past their peak and that drastic surgery was required.

For their part, the old lags recognised their continued employment depended on the manager’s departure. So they got rid of him.

The process was curiously repugnant: they shrugged, pouted and went through the motions, apparently indifferent to the outcome. They made it clear that they would not play for the manager.

An honourable man: Andre Villas-Boas

An honourable man: Andre Villas-Boas

Just a few weeks later, they would mass their defences and ride some outrageous luck to win the Champions League. But by then, AVB would be gone.

He left with great elegance, refusing to blame those who had let him down, and we sensed he still had much to offer. He now has his chance at Tottenham. I hope he takes it.

No room for cheats

Deluded: Stewart Regan

Deluded: Stewart Regan

At the risk of intruding upon private grief, it would seem that demotion to the Scottish Third Division is the very least of the penalties which Rangers should expect for their sustained exercise in financial doping. However, Stewart Regan, the chief executive of the Scottish FA, is trenchantly opposed to such a punishment.

He pleads for the softer option of relegation to the Scottish First Division, apparently on the grounds that Rangers are too big to fail. Indeed, he has issued preposterous warnings of ‘Armageddon’ and ‘social unrest’ if the club should get what they truly deserve. Rangers in the Third Division, warns Mr Regan, would ‘kill the game’ in Scotland.

I suspect he is mistaken, for civilised sanctions will not kill the Scottish game. That task can safely be left to systematic cheats like Rangers. And deluded prattlers like Stewart Regan.

PS

Liz Nicholl is chief executive of UK Sport. This is the excellent body who have invested vast amounts of Lottery and exchequer funding into Olympic sport. Unfortunately, they have a bizarre obsession with bogus targets.

After staging ‘close consultations’, they bravely forecast that GB would win between 40-70 medals. Ms Nicholl has now announced the ‘official’ medal target. ‘Our commitment is to 48,’ she declares.

The figure is as meaningless as the process which produced it. Next time, she should choose the scientific option. And ask a bloke down the pub.

Craig Whyte will stay away from Ibrox but says crisis not his fault

Whyte will stay away from Ibrox but insists Rangers' crisis not his fault

Rangers owner Craig Whyte is ‘100percent confident’ administrators will prove that all money that has come in and gone out of the club during his tenure has been properly accounted for.

In a statement he released, the Ibrox chairman also claims the safeguarding of the future of the Scottish champions remains his intention.

Whyte says he fully understands fans' anxiety after Rangers were forced to call in the administrators on Tuesday.

Continue: Rangers will train and play as best they can

Continue: Rangers will train and play as best they can

Whyte said he would not be attending tomorrow’s match against Kilmarnock, to avoid becoming a distraction to the team.

Duff and Phelps were appointed on Tuesday after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) forced the issue in the Court of Session in a bid to secure payment of 9million in PAYE and VAT, a debt accrued during Whyte’s tenure.

Whyte purchased Sir David Murray’s majority shareholding in the club in May.

In a statement today, Whyte said: ‘When I took over as majority shareholder of Rangers in May last year, I knew I had been handed a huge privilege – and an enormous responsibility.

Absent: Rangers owner Craig Whyte will stay away to prevent distraction

Absent: Rangers owner Craig Whyte will stay away to prevent distraction

‘My intention then was to do everything I could to safeguard the club’s future. And that remains my intention today.

‘The traumatic events of the last few days have, understandably, led to a great deal of angst and uncertainty as well as firestorm of media speculation, much of it ill-formed and some of it downright malicious.

‘That an internationally-renowned institution such as Rangers should find itself in administration is bound to create shockwaves, particularly among the club’s magnificently-loyal fans, and I fully understand their anxiety.

‘As chairman, I have been at the centre of this firestorm – and quite rightly so.

‘I knew when I stepped up to take over the club that the challenge of restoring Rangers to financial health after many years of living well beyond its means would be daunting.

Statement: Whyte released a long comment about the events of recent days

Statement: Whyte released a long comment about the events of recent days

‘But I accepted it, both as a life-long Rangers fan and as a businessman with experience in turning round companies in distress.

‘The decision to call in the administrators was painful but it was the right thing to do.

‘They have promised to publish a full report as soon as possible and I very much welcome that.

‘In spite of the endless speculation and attempts at character assassination by certain sections of the media, I am 100% confident that the administrators’ report will prove that every penny that has come in and gone out of Rangers has been properly accounted for.

‘And I wish to state categorically for the record now that I personally have not taken a single penny out of Rangers since I became chairman and have paid all my expenses from my own funds.’

CRAIG WHYTE'S FULL STATEMENT

When I took over as majority shareholder of Rangers in May last year, I knew I had been handed a huge privilege – and an enormous responsibility.

My intention then was to do everything I could to safeguard the club's future. And that remains my intention today.

The traumatic events of the last few days have, understandably, led to a great deal of angst and uncertainty as well as firestorm of media speculation, much of it ill-formed and some of it downright malicious.

That an internationally-renowned institution such as Rangers should find itself in administration is bound to create shockwaves, particularly among the club's magnificently-loyal fans, and I fully understand their anxiety.

As chairman, I have been at the centre of this firestorm – and quite rightly so. I knew when I stepped up to take over the club that the challenge of restoring Rangers to financial health after many years of living well beyond its means would be daunting.

But I accepted it, both as a life-long Rangers fan and as a businessman with experience in turning round companies in distress.

The decision to call in the administrators was painful but it was the right thing to do.

They have promised to publish a full report as soon as possible and I very much welcome that.

In spite of the endless speculation and attempts at character assassination by certain sections of the media, I am 100% confident that the administrators' report will prove that every penny that has come in and gone out of Rangers has been properly accounted for.

And I wish to state categorically for the record now that I personally have not taken a single penny out of Rangers since I became chairman and have paid all my expenses from my own funds.

Today I learned that my predecessor, Alastair Johnston, has urged the Crown Office to order an investigation into my takeover of the club.

Again, I have absolutely nothing to fear because any fair investigation will prove that I have always acted in the best interests of Rangers and been involved in no criminal wrongdoing whatsoever.

While the administrators get on with their work, it is only right that they are given the time and space they require to complete their task.

That is why I have decided to take a step back from events so that I do not become a distraction to either that process or to Ally McCoist and the players.

Regrettably, I will not be attending tomorrow's match against Kilmarnock. Although I would dearly love to be at Ibrox for the game, my priority is, and will continue to be, to assist the administrators in any way I can to bring this process to as speedy a conclusion as possible.

Painful though it is for all concerned, administration now gives Rangers a fighting chance – a welcome breathing space – to fix major structural problems that will allow the club to grow and prosper again both on and off the field.

So I send Ally McCoist and the team my very best wishes for tomorrow.

And I will end by simply saying to Rangers fans: I know that tomorrow you will prove why you are the best football fans in the world.