Tag Archives: riverside

Rafael Benitez furious comments attack onChelsea fans and the club

I'm leaving at the end of the season! Furious Rafa finally cracks and blasts fans with 'agenda' as well as Chelsea for making him 'interim manager'

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

22:14 GMT, 27 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 27 February 2013

A furious Rafael Benitez has confirmed he will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season.

The interim Chelsea manager blasted the fans for their negative attitude towards him and told them to support the team.

His comments came after Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in the FA Cup fifth-round.

Benitez also claimed the club's decision to appoint him as an 'interim manager' was a massive mistake.

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

Come on: Chelsea were lethargic during the game but did enough to beat Boro

More to follow.

Ruby Walsh aims to win the King George VI on Kauto Stone

'He's not Kauto Star but there'll never be another', says Walsh as he aims for King George VI glory on Kauto Stone

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 23 December 2012

Ruby Walsh talks to Racing Correspondent Marcus Townend about his attempt to win a sixth King George VI Chase on Kauto Star's little brother Kauto Stone.

Christmas, a time for families. Ruby Walsh hopes that’s the case at Kempton on Boxing Day.

For five of the last six years, the Irish jockey has written ever more remarkable chapters in the King George VI Chase story as Kauto Star made history and ultimately eclipsed the achievements of legendary four-time winner Desert Orchid.

On Wednesday, Walsh will try to write the next one not in stone but on Stone, Kauto Stone, little brother of his horse of a lifetime.

The Christmas king: Ruby Walsh is focussed on fresh challenges as the steeplechasing world has changed

The Christmas king: Ruby Walsh is focussed on fresh challenges as the steeplechasing world has changed

‘He’s not Kauto Star,’ Walsh says with a smile, ‘there won’t ever be another Kauto Star. They’re like chalk and cheese really. Kauto Stone is a different colour and much smaller. But, then again, my brother’s six foot two!’

The 7-1 chance was a grade one winner in France before making the same trip across the Channel last year that Kauto Star made in 2004.

Kauto Stone opened up with a grade two chase win before four defeats, including a flop behind King George rival Riverside Theatre at Ascot in February when Walsh feels he was off colour. That setback dented the horse’s reputation.

But expectations have risen with last month’s win in Down Royal’s three-mile Grade One JNWine.com Champion Chase, a race Kauto Star won twice, when he fended off Flight Lieutenant, the subsequent Hennessy Gold Cup third.

Up for the challenge: Walsh talks to Sportsmail's Racing Correspondent Marcus Townend

Up for the challenge: Walsh talks to Sportsmail's Racing Correspondent Marcus Townend

Walsh, 33, says: ‘Kauto Stone is a decent horse in his own right. He was good when he won at Down Royal (in November). He proved he gets the three-mile trip which is a question mark for some of the others like Cue Card.

‘He was very good in France and at six-years-old, you’d be hoping there is a bit of improvement there. Trainer Paul Nicholls is very happy with him and Paul’s got a great record in the King George. If he’s happy, I’m happy.’

Happiness is not something that has come gift-wrapped in the Kauto Star world in the last fortnight with the public spat between owner Clive Smith and trainer Nicholls as the retired 12-year-old suddenly left the stable.

Walsh is careful not to get drawn into the crossfire.

The pressure is on: Walsh on-board Kauto Stone at Aintree earlier this year

The pressure is on: Walsh on-board Kauto Stone at Aintree earlier this year

‘I’ve been reading about it but my time with Kauto Star finished in March. I will forever love him and be indebted to him but I knew when he pulled up in the Gold Cup that I was finished with him,’ Walsh says.

‘My biggest nightmare had always been standing at the back of a fence holding him and waiting for a vet to come.

‘That didn’t happen so when we pulled up, I felt we had had a good time together.
‘I hope I did him justice, he gave me great days and we parted company on a happy note. I didn’t make a big deal of it because that was (Gold Cup winner) Synchronised’s day.

‘I hate it when the horse that is bowing out overshadows the winner. This game is about winning.’

In the post-Kauto Star era, winning the King George will look possible to all 10 jockeys who line up at Kempton.

The fight to be top staying chaser will continue in the Lexus Case at Leopardstown on Friday, when Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs clash again.

Past glory: Ruby Walsh smiles as he looks at Kauto Star after winning The William Hill King George VI in 2011

Past glory: Ruby Walsh smiles as he looks at Kauto Star after winning The William Hill King George VI in 2011

The landscape has changed, especially for Walsh. Old allies Denman, Neptune Collonges and Master Minded are all retired while Al Ferof, who would have been his King George mount, has a long-term injury.

The rider, too, is back to searching for the new chasing king and he detects vulnerability in 7-4 King George favourite Long Run, the former Gold Cup and King George winner who jousted with Kauto Star in his last two seasons.

The jockey says: ‘Long Run won the (2009) Feltham Novices’ Chase as a four-year-old. He was good at five and six when he won a King George and Gold Cup.

‘Maybe that was his peak, not unlike another French-bred, Master Minded. He was a runaway Champion Chase winner at five, just won at six and not the same at seven. Long Run is still running to a high level of form but not to the level when he won the King George and Gold Cup. Criticism of his amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is not fair, but life is not fair.

‘When you get beaten you’re wrong. The first person to point a finger at is the guy on his back, be it AP, me or Sam.

‘People are jumping on the bandwagon because he is Mr Sam Waley-Cohen but I don’t agree with it. He is still the guy who won a King George, Gold Cup and Feltham Chase on him.

‘He is not doing anything different. I’d say the difference is the horse, not the jockey.’
But for Walsh, the horse really will be different on Boxing Day. Kauto Stone not Kauto Star.

He says: ‘It is different challenge on a new horse. A different era and a different time. It’s like anything, the more you are attached to it the more it hurts when it is not there and there is uncertainty, I suppose. But life moves on and so will I.’

Like a rolling Stone, maybe.

Ruby Walsh is sponsored by Racing UK and Daily Mail readers can enjoy a 25 per cent saving to the premium racing channel on Sky for 12 months. Call 0844 472 5777 (UK) or 0818 776 779 (ROI) and quote 'Daily Mail offer' before December 31.

Stewart Downing in Middlesbrough loan return link

Boro's race against time in loan bid to rescue old boy Downing from Kop hell

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UPDATED:

11:57 GMT, 20 November 2012

Middlesbrough are ready to welcome back Liverpool flop Stewart Downing and rescue the England winger from his Anfield nightmare – but have just 72 hours to seal a shock loan deal.

It has been made clear to Downing that he does not figure in Brendan Rodgers' plans with the Liverpool manager keen to sell him.

The news has alerted Boro boss Tony Mowbray who is understood to be keen on bringing the 28-year-old back to the Riverside Stadium to boost the high-flying Championship side's promotion bid.

Exit ahead: Liverpool are keen to raise funds in January and sell Stewart Downing

Exit ahead: Liverpool are keen to raise funds in January and sell Stewart Downing

Football League blog

But Boro, who sold Downing to Aston Villa for 12million in 2009, are running out of time to agree a deal with the Football League's loan transfer window closing on Thursday.

A short-term move for Downing could suit Liverpool. It would put the 10m-rated player in the shop window until the New Year, when boss Rodgers is keen to raise money for his own rebuilding plans by permanently offloading Downing.

Everton and Sunderland are also interested but would have to wait until January 1, making Middlesbrough the frontrunners to re-sign the midfielder.

Back to Boro: Downing has been linked with a loan return to the Riverside

Back to Boro: Downing has been linked with a loan return to the Riverside

Josh McEachran joins Middlesbrough on season long loan from Chelsea

McEachran seals Middlesbrough loan switch after careers 'stalls' at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 20 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran has completed a season-long loan move to Middlesbrough.

Both clubs confirmed this morning that the 19-year-old England Under-21 international would spend this term at the Riverside Stadium.

McEachran made just five appearances, only two of them starts, in a loan spell at Swansea during the second half of last season.

Stalling: McEachran's career has hit the skids at Chelsea

Stalling: McEachran's career has hit the skids at Chelsea

Chelsea are keen to get him much more game time than that and he could make his Boro debut in their npower Championship match against Burnley Tuesday night.

McEachran is widely regarded as one of England's brightest young midfield talents but he has struggled to break into the Blues' star-studded line-up.

Manager Robert Di Matteo admitted on Friday that the teenager's career had “stalled” and that he would have liked to have seen him feature more for Swansea last term.

Di Matteo said: 'He's a great talent and, yes, I had conversations with Josh.

'His career's somehow stalled a little bit.

Sidelined: McEachran made just five appearances for Chelsea last season

Sidelined: McEachran made just five appearances for Chelsea last season

'He came onto the scene very, very early, very young, and I think it's part of a player's development and a young player's career as well that you have ups and downs and you learn all the time.

'With Josh now, I think the best solution for him would be to look to play, maybe go out on loan and play and get into that rhythm of playing games every week and get back the level that he was when he first broke through to the first team here.'

London 2012 Olympics: Micah Richards unfazed by David Beckham absence

Richards unfazed by Beckham absence as Team GB prepare for Games bow

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UPDATED:

14:34 GMT, 17 July 2012

Manchester City defender Micah Richards maintains he will feel no added pressure after being selected for Team GB ahead of David Beckham.

Head coach Stuart Pearce controversially omitted the 37-year-old former England captain from his squad, for which he was allowed three over-age picks, the others being Wales duo Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs, who will captain the team.

No pressure: Micah Richards insists he is feeling relaxed ahead of making his Team GB bow

No pressure: Micah Richards insists he is feeling relaxed ahead of making his Team GB bow

Richards, however, insists that will not deflect his focus as the group prepares for the Friday's friendly with gold medal favourites at Brazil.

'No, I don't think there's any extra pressure because of that. You have to deal with pressure every time you play and, although this might be a little more special, I just want to go out and play my normal game,' Richards said in the London Evening Standard.

Walk and talk: Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy set-off for training at the Olympic Park

Walk and talk: Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy set-off for training at the Olympic Park

On a mission: Team GB entertain Brazil in their first game together at the Riverside Stadium on Friday

On a mission: Team GB entertain Brazil in their first game together at the Riverside Stadium on Friday

'But I don't think it's really right for me to comment on what happened with David Beckham. That situation was totally down to Stuart Pearce.

'Obviously, when I didn't get selected for the Euros but got picked in the preliminary squad for Team GB I had one eye on coming here.

'Now all I can do is give 100 per cent and show everyone why I am in the squad.'

Team GB pose for a squad photo after arriving at the Olympic Village for the first time on Monday

Who they are: (top row, from the left) Steven Caulker, Jack Buckland, Ryan Giggs, Craig Dawson, Aaron Ramsey, Jason Steele, manager Stuart Pearce, Ryan Bertrand, Scott Sinclair, Marvin Sordell, Craig Bellamy and (bottom row, from the left) Daniel Sturridge, Tom Cleverley, Jack Cork, Joe Allen, Neil Taylor, Danny Rose, Micah Richards and James Tomkins

The Team GB football squad arrived in the Athletes Village on Monday, and were given a talk by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes.
Richards, 24, believes the experience is unique.

'Being here and being an Olympian – well, you just don't understand how much of a buzz it is,' he added.

'It's an outstanding feeling and I would like everyone to come out and give us their full support.'

London 2012 Olympics: Team GB train in Spain

Pearce puts his men through their paces in luxurious sun-drenched Spanish resort

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UPDATED:

17:30 GMT, 10 July 2012

As part of their training, you often hear of athletes 'acclimatising' to competition conditions.

So why on earth, as Britain drowns under a deluge of rain and frankly horrendous weather conditions, has Stuart Pearce taken his Team GB football team to Spain.

Meeting of minds: Stuart Pearce is preparing his squad for Euro 2012

Meeting of minds: Stuart Pearce is preparing his squad for Euro 2012

Meeting of minds: Stuart Pearce is preparing his squad for Euro 2012

Meeting of minds: Stuart Pearce is preparing his squad for Euro 2012

The glorious sun-drenched coast near Marbella is a far cry from what is being experienced at Olympic venues across Britain with the Games just a fortnight away.

The team, including Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards, are based at La Cala Golf Resort, a vast 'upscale Andalusian leisure retreat' surrounded by mountains.

Pearce and his medal-chasers will spend little under a week training at the centre before jetting home and into the Olympic village on Monday.

Leading by example: Ryan Giggbs will captain the team in his first major tourna

Leading by example: Ryan Giggbs will captain the team in his first major tourna

Leading by example: Ryan Giggbs will captain the team in his first major tourno

They play the much-fancied Brazil team in their one and only warm-up match at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium, a week before the tournament begins.

Pearce's men face Senegal, UAE and Uruguay in the competition proper while Hope Powell's women will face New Zealand, Cameroon and Brazil.

Jonathan Woodgate returns to Middlesbrough

Woodgate returns to former club Middlesbrough on a free transfer

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UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 6 July 2012


On the move: Jonathan Woodgate left Stoke on a free transfer

On the move: Jonathan Woodgate left Stoke on a free transfer

Jonathan Woodgate has completed a return to Middlesbrough after agreeing a three-year deal.

Boro have confirmed that the 32-year-old former England international has signed for his hometown club for the second time after making a 7million switch from Real Madrid in 2007, which proved to be disastrous for the injury-prone defender.

Woodgate was a free agent after his contract at Stoke expired at the end of June.

The former Leeds and Newcastle
defender has already set his sights on helping the Teessiders to regain a
place in the Barclays Premier League.

Woodgate,
who expects to end his career at the Riverside Stadium, said: 'The pull
of helping Boro back in the Premier League is very strong for me, and
from what I have seen of the current squad I think it's achievable.

'[Manager] Tony Mowbray explained his plans for next season and how he is building a team that wants to get back in the Premier League as soon as possible.

'I want to be part of that and if we can achieve promotion in my time here, it will be a fantastic way to end my career.

'Tony also likes his teams to play football the right way, and that was also a big plus point for me. It's just a great feeling to come back to this football club.'

Mowbray, who re-signed old boy Stuart Parnaby earlier this week, was impressed by Woodgate in their discussions and had no qualms about offering him a contract.

Teeside: Woodgate left Boro for Real Madrid

Teeside: Woodgate left Boro for Real Madrid

He said: 'I've been very impressed with Jonathan in my conversations with him, and his passion for the football club stands out.

'I don't need to eulogise about Jonathan's quality. He's played for some of the biggest clubs in the world.

'We need to build on that experience and the quality he brings to our squad.'

Woodgate follows Parnaby, midfielder Grant Leadbitter and fellow central defender Christian Burgess through the doors at Boro's Rockliffe Park training headquarters this summer as Mowbray attempts to rebuild his squad on a budget.

He initially made his name at Leeds before securing a big-money move to Newcastle in January 2003 as the Yorkshire club descended into financial chaos.

But he spent only 19 months on Tyneside before Real Madrid came calling to offer him the chance of a lifetime.

However, the injuries which had hampered him at St James' Park blighted his time in Spain, and although he recovered his fitness at Boro – initially on loan – to win a move to Tottenham in January 2008, his old problems returned.

At his best, Woodgate is a class act and Mowbray will hope his ability and experience, coupled with a good run of health, can be of benefit to his new-look squad.

Hulk and Neymar join Premier League stars Rafael and Sandro in Brazil"s Olympic squad

Hulk and Neymar join Premier League stars Rafael and Sandro in Brazil's Olympic squad

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UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 5 July 2012

Brazil have selected Hulk, Neymar and Alexandre Pato as well as Manchester United defender Rafael and Tottenham midfielder Sandro in a strong squad for London 2012.

Porto striker Hulk and defenders Pato, of AC Milan, and Real Madrid's Marcelo are the three over-age players in the team.

Up for it: Hulk will help Brazil win their first Olympic titlte

Up for it: Hulk will help Brazil win their first Olympic titlte

Santos striker Neymar, whose club future has been the subject of almost constant speculation, has scored nine goals in 18 games for the senior team, while AC Milan's Pato and Porto's Hulk have also impressed for the full side.

Brazil are aiming to win their first Olympic football title and have been drawn in Group C along with Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand.

Making the grade: Neymar will appear at London 2012

Making the grade: Neymar will appear at London 2012

They play a warm-up friendly against Stuart Pearce's Team GB side at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on July 20.

London 2012 Olympics: David Luiz selected for Brazil football team

Luiz joins Brazil Olympic squad as Pato backs Becks to shine… if selected

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UPDATED:

15:23 GMT, 26 June 2012

Chelsea defender David Luiz has been selected to represent Brazil at the forthcoming Olympic Games.

Luiz, 25, is one of the three players who can appear for their country to battle for the gold medal, despite being over the age of 23.

The Brazil team meet on July 9 for training before they take on Great Britain in a pre-tournament friendly in Middlesbrough on July 20.

Boy from Brazil: Luiz has been selected to represent his country this summer

Boy from Brazil: Luiz has been selected to represent his country this summer

Meanwhile, AC Milan’s Brazilian star Alexandre Pato believes Great Britain will be a team to be feared in the Olympic football tournament, especially if they include his old team-mate David Beckham.

Pato, 22, is preparing to feature in his second Olympic Games, aiming to deliver a gold medal having won bronze with Brazil in Beijing four years ago.

Brazil face Great Britain in a pre-Olympics friendly at the Riverside Stadium on July 20 – and Pato hopes that is the only time they cross paths in the coming weeks.

'I hope I will only meet them in the friendly because in the Olympics they will be a very difficult side to beat, especially at home,' Pato said.

Blue is the colour! Luiz celebrated Champions League success last month

Blue is the colour! Luiz celebrated Champions League success last month

'This will be the third time London has hosted the Olympics and football is very important here and I think Great Britain will be going for the title.

'Football is very important in Brazil and of all the times we have played at the Olympics we have never won a gold medal.

'In Beijing we won the bronze, which wasn’t what was expected of us. But for me, getting that medal stirred up great emotion.

'If that was the emotion in winning the bronze I don’t know what it would be like to win gold.'

Avram Grant may reject Chelsea invite to Munich Champions League final

EXCLUSIVE: Pain from 2008 still hurts… Avram may reject Chelsea invite to Munich

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UPDATED:

00:37 GMT, 16 May 2012

Life, says Avram Grant, is timing. Four years on from taking Chelsea to within a penalty kick of the Champions League title, Grant is sitting in a riverside restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia, discussing the 'hurtful' memories of his time at Stamford Bridge.

He has not yet decided whether he will take up an invitation to see if Chelsea can go one better in Munich on Saturday, but you feel he will not be able to stay away. Unfinished business, perhaps.

The parallels are certainly intriguing. A new man has, once again, taken over during the season and stands on the cusp of winning the prize Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, still covets most of all.

Roman's choice: But Avram Grant insists he didn't ever want the job as Chelsea manager

Roman's choice: But Avram Grant insists he didn't ever want the job as Chelsea manager

But should 'interim coach' Roberto Di Matteo fail to add the Champions League to the FA Cup, there will surely be yet another new face trying to master the job that Grant continually stresses is 'not just about football'.

Grant, who has just left Partizan Belgrade after leading them to a fifth consecutive league title, said: 'When we came so close against Manchester United, what Alex (Ferguson) said that it was the best Man United ever is even more hurtful. I was very disappointed.'

History reminds us that John Terry missed the spot-kick that would have made Chelsea the champions of Europe, before Nicolas Anelka's failure to convert his penalty gave Manchester United the honour.

Plenty to smile about: Grant has just led Partizan Belgrade to a Serbian league title

Plenty to smile about: Grant has just led Partizan Belgrade to a Serbian league title

'People forget about Anelka,' said Grant. 'John Terry always says to me, “Why do people always talk about my miss”

'I say, “If you had not missed nobody would speak about it”.'

Grant, now 57, can smile about it now, in that laid-back way of his that garners favour with some and prompts others to label him hapless. The Israeli speaks very quietly and calmly about that night in Moscow and does not blame Terry, only saying he 'did his best'.

But he reveals the Chelsea captain, who will miss out on Saturday's final after his idiotic red card against Barcelona, was not even supposed to be one of Chelsea's penalty-takers four years ago.

Triumph: The Israeli has left his job despite leading the club to its fifth consecutive title

Triumph: The Israeli has left his job despite leading the club to its fifth consecutive title

'Terry was not on the list. But because Drogba was out (sent off) we changed it because (Salomon) Kalou needed to be the fifth and then, because it was the deciding penalty, JT wanted it. He did his best. I thought yes (he would score). But JT missed and Anelka missed again and that was the end of the story. Finish.'

Abramovich's European dream was finished and so was Grant's tenure as Chelsea manager. He insists he never thought the two outcomes would be linked; only that he knew he must somehow do better than his illustrious predecessor, Jose Mourinho.

'It's not easy for an unknown manager to take a team from “The Special One”,' said Grant. 'I knew it was a big risk. I knew that people were expecting me…' He trails off, not wanting to say the word 'fail'.

Bold claim: Grant insists Chelsea played the best football of Ambramovich's reign under his stewardship

Bold claim: Grant insists Chelsea played the best football of Ambramovich's reign under his stewardship

'Look, I didn't want the job. I wanted Jose to stay. But he left and then Roman asked me to take the job. I knew that I needed to do better because he (Mourinho) was a big name. I also knew I needed to change the style of the football.'

Grant remains close to Abramovich and understands the oligarch's preoccupation with winning the Champions League, but believes the Chelsea owner's overriding obsession is to create a footballing side that people genuinely respect and admire.

'Of course part of this is to not even win the Champions League, but to be in the Champions League final. But first he really wants to build a team that everybody will respect the way they play.'

Old pals: Grant remains close to Abramovich despite being let go after the 2008 final defeat

Old pals: Grant remains close to Abramovich despite being let go after the 2008 final defeat

This is Grant's real disappointment: his unwavering belief that he was the only manager Abramovich has sacked 'when the team was on the up'. He believes his Chelsea team played the best football the club have shown under the Russian's ownership.

'Mourinho was sacked when he was on the way down, even (Carlo) Ancelotti – first year he was champion, the next nothing. Not only this, but the football was not great.

'But Chelsea played very good football that (2007-08) season. I remember Henk ten Cate (Grant's assistant at Chelsea) said to me, “They will miss this football”. And I agree with him. They don't respect it. They miss the quality of football we played that year.'

Relaxed: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson chats with Grant and Partizan Belgrade president Dragan Djuric (right)

Relaxed: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson chats with Grant and Partizan Belgrade president Dragan Djuric (right)

Grant believes Di Matteo's 'brilliant' success in Europe merits the offer of a permanent contract, whatever happens against Bayern Munich, but there is scant praise for the way Chelsea have played under the Italian – 'defensively, with counter-attack'. Instead, he applauds the mental strength of a group of players 'who come to big games and know what to do'.

'When you come to the dressing room you feel good with them. They are a strong team.'

So why had Di Matteo been able to harness this winning mentality, where Andre Villas-Boas failed Grant said: 'Villas-Boas knows a lot about football. But sometimes it's not just football. I saw he came with all these books, but you cannot read about experience in books. In Chelsea you need experience because you have to deal with problems. It's not just about football in Chelsea.'

Timing, it seems, is everything instead.