Tag Archives: rising

Roberto Mancini still searching for a "Plan B" as Manchester City slip up again on Wearside

Mancini still looking for 'Plan B' as Man City slip up again on Wearside

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UPDATED:

23:20 GMT, 26 December 2012

Manchester City's afternoon finished with Joleon Lescott at centre forward, Joe Hart pitching up for two added-time corners and City coach Brian Kidd on the touchline. All are signs of tension, and yesterday, not good signs.

As City pushed in vain for an equaliser, Kidd will have heard the comeback news from Old Trafford with familiar bewilderment. Everyone did. Then the final whistle blew and Roberto Mancini stood apart, literally, with a thousand-yard stare and a seven-point deficit. There had been no release.

Out of touch: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right)

Out of touch: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (right)

City had lost again on Wearside. The champions of England have it all to do if their fans are to sing that line this time next year.

The 'champions' song had got an early airing at the Stadium of Light, along with an un-witty ditty about Robin van Persie.

But by five o'clock City fans bore silent witness to their first away defeat since April. The noise from United must have disturbed them as much as their team's frustration and while Mancini played down the significance of one day in a 38-game campaign, the halfway mark comparison with last season is revealing.

City are not just seven points off United, they are six points short of their own tally of a year ago. Then they arrived at Sunderland top of the table, with a first title in 44 years to chase but lost 1-0 to Ji Dong-won's 90th-minute goal.

Mixed message: Defender Joleon Lescott finished the game upfront

Mixed message: Defender Joleon Lescott finished the game upfront

An appealing contrast yesterday should have been that they had time to recover from Adam Johnson's 53rd-minute strike, which had so embarrassed Hart and led to him seeking late atonement.

But City couldn't level matters. They don't look like the rising force they were 12 months ago; they look like they are searching. Mancini blamed 'soft' attacking, a reference to Sergio Aguero's 70th-minute chance and an earlier one for David Silva, both saved by Simon Mignolet. Mancini's lack of panic was understandable. City flowed for the opening 20 minutes, Mignolet's importance to the home win tells a story and Aguero and Carlos Tevez showed a great understanding.

Yet before kick-off Kolo Toure had sounded concerns about City requiring a 'Plan B' when faced by opponents who sit deep. That followed Saturday's stoppage-time winner from Gareth Barry to beat Reading.

Adam family: Johnson returned to haunt his old club

Adam family: Johnson returned to haunt his old club

But Toure cannot have been talking about throwing on Lescott in the 89th minute as a regular viable alternative. Lescott replaced midfielder Javi Garcia, whose performance was neither energetic nor creative.

City must have both in places like this, but Yaya Toure displayed only flashes of his authority. Privately, he'd probably like some help.

But this wasn't all about City. The teamsheet sparked a legitimate debate as to which Sunderland players would get on the City bench, never mind the first XI. Johnson came from that bench. Yesterday he reminded City of his talent. Johnson's new manager, Martin O'Neill, did the same.

Redknapp: QPR can survive the drop and must start against West Brom

Redknapp: We still stand a 'big chance' of survival, and our escape will start against West Brom

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UPDATED:

13:44 GMT, 24 December 2012

Harry Redknapp believes QPR still stand a 'big chance' of securing survival despite suffering their first loss since his appointment away to Newcastle on Saturday.

The Hoops on Boxing Day host West Brom who on two points from third are exceeding expectations but with only 10 points from 18 games Redknapp knows there is little time left for QPR to save their own top-flight status.

'We’ve still got a big chance,' Redknapp said. 'That was our first defeat at the weekend since I’ve arrived.

Not over yet: Redknapp believes survival is still within QPR's grasp

Not over yet: Redknapp believes survival is still within QPR's grasp

'We defended for our lives and looked like we were going to come away with a good point which would have been vital.

'We didn’t quite make it but we’ve got two big games at home to come and we’ve got to try and pick some points up out of those now.

'If we can do that and bring one or two [players] in January then we’ve got a chance.

New arrival: And Redknapp is hoping new players will follow him to Loftus Road in January

New arrival: And Redknapp is hoping new players will follow him to Loftus Road in January

'If 40 points is the magic number then really you’re looking at hitting top six form.

'But it can happen. You can go on a run and do that. We’ll give it a good go.

'It’s going to be hard but I still believe we can do it.'

Rising force: Under Clarke, West Brom are challenging in the top half of the table

Rising force: Under Clarke, West Brom are challenging in the top half of the table

That QPR are at home is one of the reasons Redknapp – for all of his respect for Steve Clarke's work – is confident ahead of West Brom's visit. Given their victory over Fulham in the previous fixture at Loftus Road, Wednesday's game represents a chance for them to build some momentum there and to inspire a potential platform from which survival could be achieved

'They’ve done really well,' he said. 'Steve Clarke has done an excellent job.

'They’re a side that’s been building for years and has got better every year.

Obstacle: West Brom stand in the way of QPR's pursuit of three vital points on Boxing Day

Obstacle: West Brom stand in the way of QPR's pursuit of three vital points on Boxing Day

'But we’re at home, we won our last home game against Fulham and we’ve got to be ready now for West Brom and Liverpool.

'The crowd were great for the last home game and they’ve got to show the same passion again, as have the players, and if we do we’ll be hard to beat.'

It was for the Fulham fixture that Jose Bosingwa refused to be a substitute, and it could be that his brief QPR career is at an end after Redknapp revealed how 'disturbed' he felt by the Portuguese's lack of professionalism.

'Disturbing': Bosingwa refused to be a substitute for QPR's victory over Fulham

'Disturbing': Bosingwa refused to be a substitute for QPR's victory over Fulham

'It disturbed me when a player doesn't want to sit on the bench when you are bang in trouble,' he said.

'We are all in trouble. The owner and the fans see their team losing every week and suddenly you get someone who doesn't want to sit on the bench.

'He [Bosingwa] said: “I don't want to sit on the bench.”

'He thinks he is too good to sit on the bench. That is what disturbs me in this game.

'I have seen one or two incidents that have disturbed me.'

Arsenal and Liverpool can forget signing James McCarthy – Roberto Martinez

Hands off McCarthy! Arsenal and Liverpool can forget signing rising star, insists Martinez

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 7 December 2012

Arsenal and Liverpool face a long wait to land top transfer target James McCarthy after Roberto Martinez insisted Wigan will not cash in on their most prized asset.

Liverpool have revived their interest in the Scotland midfielder, after having him on trial at Anfield as a 15-year-old, while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also been monitoring his form this season.

Martinez is in no doubt the 22-year old is destined for a top-four club but still warned his growing list of admirers it will not happen for at least another two years.

Tipped for the top: Wigan's Scottish midfielder James McCarthy (left)

Tipped for the top: Wigan's Scottish midfielder James McCarthy (left)

‘He is already a very mature player and person, and when you consider his age, it’s quite scary to think what he can achieve,’ said the Wigan manager.

‘It’s rare for a player so young to have such composure on the ball, but there is even more to come. He has another two steps to go to fulfil his potential, and I can guarantee he will do that.

‘It won’t be difficult hanging on to him, because he is in the perfect place at the moment, and he knows that. He will fight to win titles and play in the Champions’ League, and when he does, we will all be very proud here. But it will only happen when it is right for him and us, and that will be a few years down the line.’

Shaun Murphy beats Luca Brecel in UK Championship quarter-finals

Young Brecel's not so pretty on the pink as Murphy ends Belgian's fairytale run

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UPDATED:

01:08 GMT, 7 December 2012

Shaun Murphy dodged a Belgian bullet as Luca Brecel ran into pink peril and bowed out in the quarter-finals of the williamhill.com UK Championship.

Seventeen-year-old Brecel was twice on the brink of a famous victory at just his second major tournament.

But the rising star missed crucial pinks in the 10th and 11th frames to allow Murphy to capitalise both times.

Eye on the ball: Shaun Murphy had to dig deep to get the better of Luca Brecel

Eye on the ball: Shaun Murphy had to dig deep to get the better of Luca Brecel

The second steal clinched a 6-5 victory for the 2008 UK champion, setting up a semi-final tomorrow against Stuart Bingham's conqueror Ali Carter.

Murphy pointed to strong words at the interval from his manager Brandon Parker as a key factor in his victory.

'Brandon gave me a good talking-to at the interval that would have rivalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson's half-time talks, and it really knocked me into shape,' Murphy said.

'It's lucky there were no hairdryers in that dressing room. I think I'd have got one. Without Brandon's words I would have lost the match.'

He would have gone out anyway if Brecel had been able to put away his chances.

'I thought I'd lost the match a couple of times, I really did think I was out,' Murphy said. 'I think the adrenaline and maybe a little bit of inexperience cost him in the end. He over-hit and under-hit a couple of shots, and I'm just relieved.

Nerves of steel: 17-year-old Brecel has been the talk of the UK Championship

Nerves of steel: 17-year-old Brecel has been the talk of the UK Championship

'The sense of relief and sense of pleasure is probably twice as much as if I'd won 6-0 with four maximum breaks.'

Murphy can see a future champion emerging, and pointed to shades of Stephen Hendry in Brecel's temperament.

'He's just not bothered. And as long as he can keep that, that's what the best champions in the game forever have all had in common,' Murphy said.

'When everyone else is under pressure and feeling it, they just waltz through it like it's a walk in the park. Hendry never used to show any nerves at all and Luca looks like he's got the same attributes.

'He doesn't seem to show any nerves, he doesn't seem to feel any pressure just until the last minute, and it was lucky for me he did.'

Elsewhere at the Barbican, Mark Davis joined the semi-final line-up as the most successful season of his 21 years as a snooker professional reached a new high.

The 40-year-old Hastings man reached his third ranking event semi-final of the campaign with a 6-4 victory over the 2003 UK champion Matthew Stevens.

Into the last four: Davis

Into the last four: Davis

Davis had never made it so far in one of snooker's majors before this term, but he began his run of success at the Wuxi Classic in June, followed it up with another semi-final showing at the Australian Open in July and now has a final in his sights in York.

He fired breaks of 101, 80 and 70 in seeing off Welshman Stevens, earning himself a shot at Mark Selby, who fought back from 4-0 down to beat Neil Robertson 6-4.

The key frame was the 49-minute ninth, which after an intense battle Selby took, and when Robertson left him a cheap opening red early in the next frame the Leicester man made a match-winning 101 break.

Selby punched the air in celebration after potting the red that made victory safe, tying up victory at 12.05am.

Selby, 29, will go back to No 1 in the world should he beat Davis to reach the final, having relinquished top spot to Judd Trump in November.

Selby said: 'It's a special win. The way I finished off was pleasing but at the start of the match I was terrible, pathetic, and I deserved to be 4-0 down.

'Until 4-3 I didn't really start playing the way I'm capable of playing. I finished off well and it's surprising to come out on top.'

Dan Walker primed to replace Gary Lineker as Match of the Day presenter

Rising star Walker handed Match of the Day presenting role

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 5 December 2012

Rising star: BBC presenter Dan Walker

Rising star: Dan Walker

One of the BBC's rising stars has moved in to pole position as a future Match of the Day presenter after being handed the job on a one-off basis later this month.

The future of the MOTD line-up has been the subject of much debate this season with some observers commenting that the format of the BBC's flagship highlights show is beginning to look a little jaded.

Now it has emerged that Football Focus presenter Dan Walker will sit in for regular host Gary Lineker a week on Saturday when the former England striker is absent for personal reasons.

Walker, aged 35, is highly-rated at the BBC, having come through the ranks on local TV before moving on to national prime-time slots a few years ago.

Having previously worked at the Olympics, Wimbledon, The Open, Ascot and the last World Cup, the Crawley Town fan is seen as one of the corporation's mainstays of the future and has been presenting Football Focus since 2009.

But Walker will not anchor the MOTD 2 highlights programme as the devout Christian refuses to work on a Sunday.

Popular: Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker

Popular: Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker

There is no suggestion that there is any threat to Lineker's position.

Lineker, who has been linked with BT's new sports channel after they paid 738m to screen 38 Premier League matches from 2013, remains highly thought-of by the BBC and most public discussion recently has been about the quality of the guest pundits.

James Ward-Prowse signs new Southampton deal

Rising Saints star Ward-Prowse pens long-term deal at St Mary's

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UPDATED:

20:20 GMT, 19 November 2012

Contract: Ward-Prowse has signed a new deal

Contract: Ward-Prowse has signed a new deal

Southampton rising star James Ward-Prowse has signed a new five-year contract, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.

Ward-Prowse, 18, made his top-flight bow on the opening day of the season and has gone on to play 10 games so far this term.

His performances have led to claims that he could be the latest Southampton Academy product to be tempted away from Saint Mary's Stadium, but he put a stop to that speculation when Saints announced the midfielder had signed a new deal.

A statement on Southampton's website read: 'Saints are delighted to announce that James Ward-Prowse has signed a new five-year contract.'

Ward-Prowse grew up as a Portsmouth supporter, but joined Pompey's south coast rivals as an eight-year-old.

Rising star: The Saints youngster in action for the England Under 19s

Rising star: The Saints youngster in action for the England Under 19s

The midfielder impressed through the youth ranks at Saints and made his first-team debut a week before his 17th birthday last season.

Manager Nigel Adkins deemed the teenager ready for top-flight football at the start of the season, and he has been one of the few success stories at the struggling club so far this term.

Ward-Prowse, who played a key part in Southampton's win over QPR on Saturday, told the club's website: 'I'm absolutely delighted. 'It was nice that we got the win on Saturday, and it's nice to put pen to paper. I can kick on from here.

'It's been an absolute whirlwind to go from playing under-18 football against lower league teams to playing against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.'

Japanese star Hideki Ishige set for Manchester City trial

Japanese star Ishige set to train with City ahead of possible move to Etihad

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UPDATED:

09:53 GMT, 2 November 2012

Manchester City are planning on giving rising Japanese star Hideki Ishige a trial ahead of a possible move to England.

Reports in the Japan suggest that City have made an offer for the 18-year-old, who plays for Shimizu S-Pulse but they appear to be wide of the mark.

Shimizu manager Afshin Ghotbi says he is keen to retain the services of Ishige but admits the chance for him to train with City is too good to pass up.

Rising star: Hideki Ishigei is set to train with City

Rising star: Hideki Ishigei is set to train with City

‘If you want to build top-class players, you have to give them various experiences and opportunities to see first-hand what the world level is about,’ Ghotbi said.

‘And what better experience for Ishige than to train with the first team of Manchester City and have Roberto Mancini see him first hand and train with some of the top players in the world.’

Should City decide to pursue their interest in the Asian Youth Player of the Year, they will face stiff competition for his signature, according to Ghotbi.

He said: ‘There is interest in him, not just Man City but many clubs in Europe and he deserves it. He’s a real fantastic talent.

‘As far as I’m concerned, he’s not for sale and we want him to be a part of S-Pulse for the next few years to come. There has been no offer, City just want to see him and we are doing the same with other players with other clubs.’

Lars Bender not for sale, Manchester United warned by Bayer Leverkusen

EXCLUSIVE: Hands off, Fergie! Leverkusen warn Man United over Bender bid

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UPDATED:

09:27 GMT, 1 November 2012

Hands off: Bayer Leverkusen do not want to sell Lars Bender

Hands off: Bayer Leverkusen do not want to sell Lars Bender

Sir Alex Ferguson has been warned off his top midfield target after being told that rising star Lars Bender is ‘unsellable.’

Eager to bolster central midfield with a strong physical presence, the Manchester United manager has ordered scouting reports on 23-year old Bender and been impressed with the feedback, as revealed in Sportsmail earlier this week.

But Bayer Leverkusen have reacted swiftly and decisively to having their Germany midfielder watched by United and Arsenal in recent weeks and issued an emphatic hands-off warning.

‘Quite simply, Lars is unsellable,’ declared chief executive Wolfgang Holzhauser. ‘After working so hard to put together a good team, the last thing we intend doing is allowing it to be weakened. That was our position when there was interest in Andre Schurrle in the summer, and it applies now with Lars.’

The Bundesliga side’s stance will come as a setback to Ferguson, who has identified central midfield as a prime area for strengthening and has stepped up his interest in Bender, who has broken into the national side after some impressive performances at club level.

Though there is an acceptance that a bid in excess of 30million would be hard to turn down, Leverkusen are serious about retaining Bender as the lynchpin of their midfield and awarded him an improved contract until 2017 after rejecting overtures from Bayern Munich in the summer.

Bright star: Bender (L) celebrates with Leverkusen's Andre Schuerrle during the German Cup win over Arminia Bielefeld

Bright star: Bender (L) celebrates with Leverkusen's Andre Schuerrle during the German Cup win over Arminia Bielefeld

Frankie Dettori to end association with Godolphin

Dettori to cut ties with Godolphin after losing No 1 status to rising star Barzalona

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UPDATED:

13:32 GMT, 21 October 2012

Frankie Dettori's 18-year association with Godolphin appears at an end with his retainer not being renewed at the end of the season.

It is understood the Italian will continue riding for Godolphin until the end of the year but for 2013 the stable’s rides will primarily be shared between Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa.

In a statement released by Godolphin,
Dettori said: 'I have had 18 wonderful years. Godolphin has been a
major part of everything I have achieved in racing and I have loved
every minute of it. I feel the time has come for a change. My position
in the stable has changed a little bit and I need a new challenge.

Royal Blue: Frankie Dettori will end his association with Godolpin after 18 years

Royal Blue: Frankie Dettori will end his association with Godolpin after 18 years

'Sheikh Mohammed has been an
unbelievable boss to me. He had the confidence to take me on board when I
was young and we smashed every record together. I will be forever
grateful to him for everything he has done for me and for my family.'

The relationship of the best known
Flat jockey in Britain with Sheik Mohammed’s elite team, which has a
summer base in Newmarket and operates during the winner from its Dubai
home, has appeared increasingly strained with his position undermined
especially by the appointment of rising star Barzalona, the French-born
winner of last year’s Derby on Pour Moi.

The 21-year-old was always seen as Dettori’s long-term successor but has played an increasingly prominent role.

Godolphin’s racing manager, Simon Crisford, added: 'We have had a tremendous association with Frankie over many years.

'However, Frankie is looking for a fresh challenge and we felt that the retainer was not really working so this is the best way forward. We have had many great days together and we look forward to working with Frankie in the future and hopefully enjoying more success together.'

Speculation that breaking point had been reached was fired when Dettori accepted the ride on Camelot, a colt owned by Coolmore Stud, in the Prix de L’ Arc de Triomphe on October 7.

The Irish stud and Sheik Mohammed, who pays Dettori a sizeable retainer, are the two giants of the European racing industry and fierce commercial rivals.

Switch: Dettori rode Camelot for Aidan O'Brien in the Arc

Switch: Dettori rode Camelot for Aidan O'Brien in the Arc

Dettori had not ridden for Coolmore
since winning the 2005 St Leger on Aidan O’ Brien-trained Scorpion,
after which he was forced to issue a public apology for his lack of
loyalty to Godolphin.

Barzalona,
on board Encke when the colt provided Godolphin with their one British
Classic winner this season in the St Leger, also rode Godolphin’s most
prestigious winner of the year when partnering Monterosso in the Dubai
World Cup in March.

That
loss of Dettori’s No 1 status, in particular Godolphin’s newest trainer
Mahmood Al Zarooni seeming to favour using Barzalona, was in effect a
public humiliation for Dettori and the Camelot taking ride appeared a
calculated act of defiance.

Both Dettori and Godolphin are expected to say that they will still work together but those situations look likely to be infrequent at best.

The 41-year-old Italian has enjoying massive success with Godolphin.

He was on board their first Classic winner when Balanchine won the 1994 Oaks at Epsom.

In all he has ridden in 3,442 races for them in 14 different countries, won 943 races with 110 at Group One level.

Although he never won the Derby for the Sheik Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai he affectionately calls The Boss, Dettori landed nine British Classics for the stable.

The best horse he rode for Godolphin was the ill-fated Dubai Millennium, who became the first of his three Dubai World Cup winners for the team in 2000.

Other top Godolphin horses he rode included Arc winners Sakhee (2000) and Marienbard (2001), King George winners Swain (1998) and Daylami (1999) plus Breeder’s Cup Turf hero Fantastic Light (1991).

Favoured: Mickael Barzalona will enjoy the pick of Godolphin's runners

Favoured: Mickael Barzalona will enjoy the pick of Godolphin's runners

Dettori finished last on Godolphin’s Colour Vision in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

That horse provided what might be his last group one winner for Godolphin when landing the Ascot Gold Cup in June.

A question mark now hangs over the future of Dettori, who was in Milan on Sunday to ride Godolphin’s Retrieve who is trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, the man most associated with his biggest wins for the stable.

There will also be speculation whether Barzalona, who will be first choice, yet has the experience for such a hot seat in a worldwide racing operation.

He is not yet the finished article but Sheik Mohammed has never been afraid of giving youth its head, just as he did with Dettori.

David Price rises while Audley Harrison falls – Jeff Powell

Paying the Price: Final bell tolls for Audley as David's star keeps on rising

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UPDATED:

21:25 GMT, 14 October 2012

Their paths crossed but briefly in the night. Two meteors on opposite trajectories. The rising star for whom the sky’s the limit and the man who fell to earth with a sickening thud.

David Price goes onwards – to another rocket-fuelled confidence booster against Matt Skelton in December – and upwards, to a world heavyweight championship date with a Klitschko next year.

Audley Harrison proceeds from the hospital to which they hurried him to his retirement home in Los Angeles.

The transition could not be tidier.

The rise and fall: David Price and Audley Harrison are on opposite trajectories

The rise and fall: David Price and Audley Harrison are on opposite trajectories

The 29-year-old Price is the new great hope. The 39-year-old Harrison is the Superman in his own mind whose fantasy crumpled into an unconscious heap, like so many dreams on intoxicated Saturday nights like this one in Liverpool.

Kryptonite descended on Harrison in the form of the nuclear right hand which promises to carry Price to the ring’s supreme prize.

The first round blow which left Harrison entangled with the bottom rope and separated him from his senses would have knocked out any fighter in the world.

Although a modest Merseysider by nature, Price would expect David Haye to succumb to his power: ‘We can’t be sure unless he agrees to fight me but I do think now that I am the best heavyweight in Britain.’

Belief in his own ability has come slowly to Price but by mowing down Harrison faster and more spectacularly than the Hayemaker he has overcome that psychological barrier.

He said: ‘Had you asked me a year ago if I could become world heavyweight champion I would have said yeah but I wouldn’t really have believed it. Now I feel certain I can beat either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko.’

Belief: Price is sure he can go on to become world heavyweight champion

Belief: Price is sure he can go on to become world heavyweight champion

So certain that he expects the big brothers to take on Haye and Tyson Fury as softer options, unless he can force himself upon one of them as mandatory challenger.

At the rate he is going he should be in that position towards the end of next year. Skelton, at 45 and with his British and European title years behind him, may not seem to be too challenging a next barrier. But it is the different, rough-house style which this fitness fanatic will bring to the fray which interests Price’s promoter.

Frank Maloney, who guided Lennox Lewis into becoming this country’s first world heavyweight champion for a hundred years, says: ‘I pick every opponent for a reason and Matt will put David under physical pressure he hasn’t faced before. It also important that he boxes frequently.’

It would help, too, if Skelton, as he vows to do, can work Price for longer than Harrison.

It was all over in the impressive Liverpool Echo Arena within 82 seconds. Partly because, unlike the farcical night he froze in Haye’s headlights, Harrison tried to fight. That modicum of ambition hastened his brutal undoing….and the end of his career.

Easy: Price won the fight without any trouble

Easy: Price won the fight without any trouble

Harrison had been on the wane – not least in the public’s esteem – almost from the day he turned professional. The 1 million contract he negotiated with the BBC for his first fights, then his scratchy domestic and European championship wins, subsided into ridicule as it became clear that he had no real appetite for boxing.

They called him Fraudley but in reality fighting for him had always been an intellectual exercise rather than a physical demand. It was his cleverness at working the arcane amateur scoring system which made him Britain’s first super-heavyweight Olympic champion.

Harrison was never made of the rigorous stuff of the hard old pro game but his loquacious ability to sell a good fight kept him in the picture until the Last Chance Saloon called time on him this weekend, as he approaches his 40th birthday.

And only just in time. Embarrassed by the Haye charade into coming out from the first bell and throwing a few punches, he got caught. Price said; ‘That first shot stung him.’

As he struggled to stay upright on wobbling legs, a second more explosive right first finished the job. Price said: ‘I knew from the moment it landed it was over. I felt the tremor go through my hand.’

Revival: Harrison needed several minutes to recover

Revival: Harrison needed several minutes to recover

There were anxious minutes as Harrison lay sprawled and glassy eyed on the canvass and the medics worked to revive him. The man who brought the oxygen of publicity to his fights needed the real thing to bring him round. He was stll unsteady on his feet as he left the ring and remained somewhat concussed as they took him to hospital for precautionary examination.

At least he goes into the Californiann sunset having screwed up the courage for one last, albeit doomed, lunge at redemption.

Price said: ‘Audley will always have my respect for his Olympic achievement and I’m disappointed that some of the crowd booed him. This was not pleasant for him but I’m now at the stage when I smell blood I go for the kill. But I feel sorry for him that no-one in boxing gives him the respect he deserves.’

The jeers for Harrison gave way to roars of approval for one of Liverpool’s own from a crowd of more than 8,000. It is time to move on to something more exciting by far.

Big Audley has been consigned to history with a collective shrug. The giant David is the future of British boxing.