Tag Archives: sadness

Kauto Star leaves Paul Nicholls" stables to begin new career in dressage

Nicholls saddened after Kauto Star leaves his stables to begin new career in dressage

|

UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 11 December 2012

Paul Nicholls admitted his 'sadness' after Kauto Star's time at his Ditcheat yard came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.

The winner of five King Georges and two Cheltenham Gold Cups had been officially retired in late October and was expected to remain at Manor Farm Stables in Somerset until Boxing Day, when he was due to parade at Kempton.

Owner Clive Smith had announced on Monday that the 12-year-old would be moving away to be prepared by European bronze medalist eventing rider Laura Collett and long-time Great Britain manager and coach Yogi Breisner for a new career in the world of dressage – a decision not popular with Nicholls and his staff.

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

Leap of faith: Kauto Star has left Nicholls' stables for the final time

The winner of 19 races for the champion trainer, including four Betfair Chases and two Tingle Creeks, Kauto Star had been with Nicholls for eight years and was invariably ridden by his head lad Clifford Baker.

'It is with great sadness that I have to report that Kauto Star has left the yard for the last time,' Nicholls told his Betfair column.

'It has been no secret that Kauto's future has been a great source of debate since we announced his retirement.

'And, to be brutally honest, this morning I felt the time had finally come for me to take control of the situation, and to start making the decisions.

'Now, I am fully aware that Kauto is Clive's horse and he can do as he wishes, even though I would personally have loved Clifford to have looked after him for the rest of his years.

'But what upset me and my team here is
when Clive announced that he had spoken to experts about the horse's
future – but failed to consult and listen properly to the team that had
looked after him here for the past nine years. That really upset us.'

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Crowd favourite: Kauto Star is set to begin a new life in dressage

Nicholls went on: 'So we had a team meeting here this morning. And after listening to everybody involved – there were about six of us in the meeting – I rang up Clive, said I don't want to fall out, but we think it is in the best interests of everybody concerned to take Kauto to Yogi Breisner's this afternoon so that he could start his new career in the dressage field as soon as possible.

'Which we did with the saddest of hearts. But I like to think with a lot of dignity, too. And, yes, there were plenty of tears too. He was a member of the family here at Ditcheat, and we will all miss him so much.

'I would just to like say that it was a privilege for us here at Ditcheat to train the horse. Good luck, old boy. You were the best – and deserve the best.'

Collett, 22, who is an aspiring Olympian based at the Membury Estate in Wiltshire, will be helped by Breisner to assess the gelding's suitability for the discipline in the coming weeks.

She tweeted: 'I feel very privileged and extremely honoured to have been asked to ride Kauto Star. I will be working closely with Yogi to give Kauto Star the best chance of a second career in dressage.'

Members of the Ditcheat team expressed their sadness at the horse's departure, with Nicholls' travelling head girl Donna Blake, tweeting:

'Farewell to our dear Kauto Star, sad day that he is leaving those who genuinely care and respect him. Undeserved.'

Smith is currently abroad, but at a lunch to promote the William Hill King George VI Chase in London on Monday, he had said: 'A lot of very good chasers have gone on to do very well at dressage, like Garrison Savannah and Neptune Collonges and I wanted him to have an interest – he's just too good to be a hack or to be out in a field.

'I wanted him to do something else and he's going to be down at the other side of Lambourn and Laura Collett and Yogi will be working with him. We'll know in a very short time (if it is a possible option).'

Three teenagers to be charged with manslaughter by for allegedly taking part in an attack on a linesman in Holland

Three teenagers to be charged with manslaughter after attack on a linesman in Holland

|

UPDATED:

18:33 GMT, 4 December 2012

Three teenagers will be charged with manslaughter by Dutch prosecutors for allegedly taking part in an attack on a linesman at a youth football match.

Volunteer linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen died in hospital on Monday, a day after he was beaten and kicked by players from Amsterdam team Nieuw Sloten.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen’s son had been playing in the game, which was held in the town of Almere.

Shock: Members of the soccer club Buitenboys are briefed by board members after the death of a linesman

Shock: Members of the soccer club Buitenboys are briefed by board members after the death of a linesman

Attack: Richard Nieuwenhuizen died after being attacked by three teenagers

Attack: Richard Nieuwenhuizen died after being attacked by three teenagers

And prosecutors said the three males, two 15 and one 16, would be arraigned on Thursday on charges of manslaughter, assault and public violence. Their identities were not released.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen’s team, Buitenboys, have not announced the exact cause of his death, but Dutch TV station RTL said he had brain damage.

Mr Nieuwenhuizen left after Sunday’s match and was not aware anything was wrong. He returned to his club later that night and collapsed.

‘You can’t believe this could happen. That kids of 15 or 16 are playing football, you come to watch and see something like that,’ said Buitenboys chairman Marcel Oost.

Tribute: Flowers are left on the side of the pitch

Tribute: Flowers are left on the side of the pitch

‘He did it every week. He enjoyed doing it. He was a real football man – he was always here.’

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a statement he was ‘deeply shocked’ by Mr Nieuwenhuizen’s death.

‘I would like to express my sadness and distress on hearing of the death of assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen,’ he said.

‘I was deeply shocked to learn of this tragic incident.

‘Football is a mirror of society and, sadly, the same ills that afflict society – in this case violence – also manifest themselves in our game.

Sadness: The whole of Dutch football is shocked by the news

Sadness: The whole of Dutch football is shocked by the news

‘Nevertheless, I remain convinced that football – through the example set by the tireless efforts of people like Mr Nieuwenhuizen – is a force for good, and we must continue use its positive example to educate people against these wrongs.’

Dutch sports minister Edith Schippers said: ‘It is absolutely terrible that something like this can happen on a Dutch sports field.’

Meanwhile, all amateur fixtures in Holland have been postponed this weekend as a mark of respect to Mr Nieuwenhuizen.

Respect: Buitenboys fly their flag at half mast

Respect: Buitenboys fly their flag at half mast

The Dutch Football Association, the KNVB, announced all amateur games this weekend have been called off while professional matches will be preceded by a minute’s silence with all players and referees involved wearing black armbands.

KNVB director of professional football Bert van Oostveen said: ‘It is inconceivable that anything like this occurs on a football field.

‘These are the volunteers that we build our sport on, that we cannot do without. Without respect, no football.

‘That is why we in professional football want to show our support in this terrible situation.

‘Our thoughts go out to the family of Richard Nieuwenhuizen.’

Arsenal three-year-old fan taunts Robin van Persie in video – comment

Kids like little Kye have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes

|

UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 6 November 2012

An angelic-looking three-year-old in an Arsenal shirt gleefully sings a vile song about rape, delightedly repeating the word ‘c***’ without prompting, as if it were a nursery rhyme.

This fills me with a powerful sense of sadness. Football has just taken another step into the pit of prejudice and bitterness that is bubbling away in its underbelly and threatening to engulf it. Little Kye, in his 40 shirt with a chain round his neck, has got no chance.

Scroll down to watch the video

Young Arsenal fan signing a song about Robin Van Persie

Robin van Persie

Shocking: The young Arsenal fan filmed by his dad singing about Robin van Persie (right)

Then I start to feel anger; an
equally powerful sense of a frustration. What is happening to this game
Our game I don’t want to be part of something like this.

What could ever induce you to teach your son an expletive-ridden song accusing a footballer of such a heinous crime, then film him and post it on the internet I genuinely do not understand.

Can this mindless idiot, a sewer rat posing as a father and a football fan, really feel so much hatred towards Robin Van Persie that he manipulates his child like this

On target: Van Persie scored against his former club Arsenal in Manchester United's win on Saturday

On target: Van Persie scored against his former club Arsenal in Manchester United's win on Saturday

Or, even more worryingly, does he just feel it is casual abuse; something perfectly acceptable when your former captain exercises his right to move to another club

With horror I realise it is the latter: this misguided idiot will not see he has done anything wrong. He clearly thinks the whole episode is one big joke.

The man behind this video is also a coward, after all. He stays out of shot while Kye fidgets in his chair and sings along, his young mouth barely able to form the words. It’s not the child’s fault. He is just trying to please his dad. Poor Kye does not even know what he is singing.

Target: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also subjected to abuse at Old Trafford

Target: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also subjected to abuse at Old Trafford

But is that what football is about now Not the excitement of taking your son to his first game or seeing him in his first kit, but sitting at home and laughing while the innocent sings songs full of venom and spite

I truly hope not, but that hope has just taken yet another sizeable knock.

*Do you know the father involved Call the MailOnline newsdesk on 0203 615 0000 or email [email protected]

DM.has('rcpv1949535386001','BCVideo');

Kids like Kye chanting abuse at Robin van Persie have no chance – Laura Williamson

Kids like little Kye have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes

|

UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 6 November 2012

An angelic-looking three-year-old in an Arsenal shirt gleefully sings a vile song about rape, delightedly repeating the word ‘c***’ without prompting, as if it were a nursery rhyme.

This fills me with a powerful sense of sadness. Football has just taken another step into the pit of prejudice and bitterness that is bubbling away in its underbelly and threatening to engulf it. Little Kye, in his 40 shirt with a chain round his neck, has got no chance.

Scroll down to watch the video

Young Arsenal fan signing a song about Robin Van Persie

Robin van Persie

Shocking: The young Arsenal fan filmed by his dad singing about Robin van Persie (right)

Then I start to feel anger; an
equally powerful sense of a frustration. What is happening to this game
Our game I don’t want to be part of something like this.

What could ever induce you to teach your son an expletive-ridden song accusing a footballer of such a heinous crime, then film him and post it on the internet I genuinely do not understand.

Can this mindless idiot, a sewer rat posing as a father and a football fan, really feel so much hatred towards Robin Van Persie that he manipulates his child like this

On target: Van Persie scored against his former club Arsenal in Manchester United's win on Saturday

On target: Van Persie scored against his former club Arsenal in Manchester United's win on Saturday

Or, even more worryingly, does he just feel it is casual abuse; something perfectly acceptable when your former captain exercises his right to move to another club

With horror I realise it is the latter: this misguided idiot will not see he has done anything wrong. He clearly thinks the whole episode is one big joke.

The man behind this video is also a coward, after all. He stays out of shot while Kye fidgets in his chair and sings along, his young mouth barely able to form the words. It’s not the child’s fault. He is just trying to please his dad. Poor Kye does not even know what he is singing.

Target: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also subjected to abuse at Old Trafford

Target: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also subjected to abuse at Old Trafford

But is that what football is about now Not the excitement of taking your son to his first game or seeing him in his first kit, but sitting at home and laughing while the innocent sings songs full of venom and spite

I truly hope not, but that hope has just taken yet another sizeable knock.

*Do you know the father involved Call the MailOnline newsdesk on 0203 615 0000 or email [email protected]

DM.has('rcpv1949535386001','BCVideo');

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: "They kept fighting for truth… now we must give people hope"

'They kept fighting for truth… now we must give people hope', says Liverpool boss Rodgers

|

UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 13 September 2012

It had just gone 3pm on Wednesday afternoon when Brendan Rodgers gave a blast of his whistle and beckoned Liverpool's players together.

No words were exchanged but, then again, none were needed. As the city prepared to fall silent to honour the 96 souls who had perished at Hillsborough, at 3.06pm Liverpool's manager and his squad, behind the walls of their Melwood training base, paid their own private respects.

Enough is enough: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants an end to vile chanting

Looking back: Rodgers at the vigil in Liverpool

'What attracts you to this club is its history,' said Rodgers. 'If you are clever and bright enough, you will look into the history. A big part of this club was this disaster. It was a monumental disaster for this club, its supporters and their families.

'Everyone who comes in here understands their role. Everyone understands the magnitude of what happened. We had our silence on the field, during our session.

'I looked at the eyes and the faces of the players who have just come in. They were not bemused by it. They understood why they were in silence. That is what it is about to be here – it is understanding history.'

There is also an acute need to understand the city. The astonishing events of Wednesday, from the Prime Minister's apology to the heart-breaking disclosures of the Hillsborough report, provoked myriad emotions: relief, justification, anger and sadness.

As he drove away from the vigil that was held later that evening outside St George's Hall, it was then Rodgers appreciated fully what being Liverpool manager entails. Coaching and training are all well and good but the real challenge is to inspire and lead by example when times are most difficult.

'I love every minute of being a manager but life is more important,' Rodgers said. 'Life, people's health. Families. But what football can give people is hope. That is what it provides.

Total support: Fans leave tributes at the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

Full support: Fans leave tributes at the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

'One thing I have got out the last few days is that perseverance and persistence are the biggest things you can have in life, whether it is in your professional capacity or social life. (The Hillsborough families) have fought for 23 years.

'Can you imagine their journey The good days, the bad days. But they kept fighting. So desire, will, perseverance; those were great words that came flashing back to me when I was driving home. I have said it before and I will repeat it again – (being Liverpool manager) is a way of life.

'You carry a city and people's hopes here. As a leader of a club such as Liverpool, your duty is not just to the players but to provide hope for your supporters.

'I think I understood what being Liverpool manager was about before I came in but there is no doubt the whole process in meeting Margaret (Aspinall) and Jenni (Hicks) and the people involved with the families heightens the responsibility. There is absolutely no doubt.

'There is no honeymoon period here. The boat has set sail in terms of me being the manager here but being around those people… As I say I understand what it means to them and I am more than happy to carry that hope.'

And hope is such a key word. After 23 years campaigning with courage, integrity and dignity, those families who lost loved ones at Hillsborough have faith that those who were responsible for causing the disaster will be held accountable.

Yet, for all the hope, a sorrow remains that will never leave. Some revelations were simply too grievous and it will take time for those who were bereaved – and the city that has stood so staunchly behind them during their campaign for the truth – to comprehend with them.

'Like everyone else I'm sure what hit home was the 41 people who could have survived,' said Rodgers. 'That must have been a sad moment for the families, as much as there was justice and as much as there was a feeling they had won.

'They must have gone to bed with a real sadness that actually their son or brother maybe had the chance to be alive. That was the single biggest thing that shocked me because people have passed away and lost their lives and seeing the two young girls who lost their father.

'Imagine how the course of those two young girls' lives changed Their father may have survived so that hit home, as someone who has lost parents over the last 18-months. I suppose the only comfort they can draw was that everything they have been fighting for has been proven right.'

So will there be closure

'I am not sure,' he replied. 'I think the fight goes on for all of your life. You don't really get justice because you never get your father, sister or brother back. but you fight for the right and the cause. The cause was simple: it was the name of the people of Liverpool which was damned all these years.

'There is no doubting some people on the outside would have believed the propaganda. There is absolutely no question, so it was great for those people last night to put the message worldwide that we were right all along.'

Hillsborough latest: FA apologise to families for 1989 disaster

We're deeply sorry: Bernstein issues FA apology to families of Hillsborough victims

|

UPDATED:

12:48 GMT, 13 September 2012

Hillsborough disaster report

Click here to read the full document

Football Association chairman David Bernstein has offered 'a full and unreserved apology' to all those affected by the Hillsborough disaster.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the events at the FA Cup semi-final 23 years ago revealed a police cover-up had taken place which had intended to shift blame for the disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, to the victims themselves.

Scroll down for the full FA statement

Always remembered: Fans leave tributes at the Shankly Gates on Wednesday

Always remembered: Fans leave tributes at the Shankly Gates on Wednesday

Emotional: Supporters of 'Justice for the 96' sing You'll Never Walk Alone during a vigil for the victims outside Liverpool's St George's Hall

Emotional: Supporters of 'Justice for the 96' sing You'll Never Walk Alone during a vigil for the victims outside Liverpool's St George's Hall

Statement from Football Association chairman David Bernstein following the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel:

On behalf of The Football Association, I would like to personally take this opportunity to make a statement following yesterday's (Wednesday's) findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

96 people lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest 23 years ago.

We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue The FA selected.

This fixture was played in The FA's own competition, and on behalf of The Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.

This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told.

For 23 years the families have suffered unbearable pain and we have profound sympathy for them.

I would like to commend the professional work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, while also recognising the tireless commitment shown by so many people in maintaining the fight for justice, particularly the family support groups.

The FA has cooperated fully with the Independent Panel throughout this process and has released all documentation in line with their requests. I would also like to make clear that we will of course fully cooperate with any further inquiry.

The FA and English football has changed immeasurably, and learnt many lessons in the last 23 years. Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters.

Landmark day: Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Wednesday

Landmark day: Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Wednesday

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

The ground did not have a valid
safety certificate at the time of the match. Sheffield Wednesday have
apologised and on Thursday Bernstein followed suit.

He said in a statement: 'We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected.

'This fixture was played in the FA's
own competition, and on behalf of the Football Association I offer a
full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of
the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to
the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.'

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a Toffees kit with a message fort heir friends across Stanley park

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a kit with a message for their friends across Stanley Park

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

Trevor Hicks, the chair of
Hillsborough families support group, had earlier called on the FA to
apologise over the disaster after their initial statement this morning
contained no such apology.

Hicks told BBC Radio 5 Live: 'Yes they should – the ground didn't have a safety certificate.'

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Cristiano Ronaldo – It"s not about the money

It's not about the money! Ronaldo speaks out AGAIN over Madrid sadness

|

UPDATED:

19:17 GMT, 4 September 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at suggestions his recent declaration that he was unhappy at Real Madrid was part of a ploy to earn a lucrative new contract.

The Portuguese forward sent shockwaves round the world of football on Sunday when he revealed that he disappointed with certain aspects of life with the Spanish giants.

Ronaldo, who refused to celebrate his two goals in the win over Granada and limped off before the end of the match at the Bernabeu, was accused of planting the story to put pressure on club bosses who have so far refused to negotiate a new deal.

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

After the game the former Manchester United striker said: 'I’m sad – when I don’t celebrate goals it’s because I’m not happy. It's a professional thing. Real Madrid know why I’m not happy.’

Ronaldo's current contract – which has a 100million buyout – still has three years to run and sees him earn around 10m a year.

Since his outburst, there has since been a media backlash in Madrid, where the front page of 'Marca', the pro-Real sports daily screamed: 'Enough is Enough' and criticising Ronaldo for 'unsettling' the club.

However, on Tuesday night, the player released a statement on his Facebook page, dismissing claims his stance was money-related.

Smile free: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

Smile free: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

Beaten: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta beat Ronaldo to a top Euro gong

Beaten: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta beat Ronaldo to a top Euro gong

He wrote: 'I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case.

'At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected.

'I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of.'

Ronaldo, bought from Manchester United for 80m in 2009, led Real to the title last season scoring 46 goals in 38 La Liga games and 60 in all competitions.

He has raced to 150 goals for the club at the rate of more than a goal a game but continues to be eclipsed in Spain by Messi's heroics at Barcelona. Some say the Messi factor eats away at him, such is his vanity.

Stuart Broad: Losing Andrew Strauss means we all have to step up

Losing Strauss means all the England players have to step up

|

UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 30 August 2012

A captain of substance

It was a complete shock when Andrew Strauss called me on Tuesday to say he was retiring. I just didn't see that one coming. Yes I knew after Lord's that it had been a turbulent time but I thought he still had the hunger and desire to carry on leading the England side. There were no clues as to the captain's thinking.

There is obviously a lot of sadness because Andrew Strauss has been a special part of this team and he means an awful lot to us. I have played the bulk of my Test cricket with him as captain and had most of my success under him. I will always remember how he backed me ahead of the Oval Test in 2009 when I was under the pump and some were calling for me to be dropped. Hopefully I repaid him in that game against the Australians.

Happy days; Andrew Strauss celebrates Ashes glory

Happy days; Andrew Strauss celebrates Ashes glory

Straussy has always been a calm, level-headed leader who took everything in his stride and I can't really recall him ever losing his temper. But I do remember him calling us together on the field during the Lord's Test of that 2009 Ashes series when we had become ragged and had lost our discipline a bit. He just said 'let's pull ourselves together and up the tempo' which had the desired effect.

He has been a captain who always listened to his bowlers and backed them with the fields they wanted to set, giving you confidence for the task in hand. It was always about the team with Straussy, never about him, and any hint of anyone just thinking about themselves when they pulled on the shirt was completely abolished once he took charge. He urged us all to take responsibility and with that came the strong team ethic that has served us so well.

Maybe the last straw for him was losing to me at golf before the Headingley Test. That must have been a real kick in the teeth for Straussy! I'm sure now he will improve his already pretty impressive golf and enjoy being with his family and spending more time at home. What comes next for him I don' t know but he's the sort of bloke who will want challenges in his life. We all wish him well.

A new era

With that sadness comes excitement because this is very much a new era for us now. Alastair Cook is another calm, solid man who has played an awful lot of Test cricket for someone who is still so young. The experience that he and the other senior men in the dressing room have gained will be vital as we might well head to India with a young batting line-up in October.

Past and present: Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook

Past and present: Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook

There will be extra responsibility now not just for Cooky but for all of us and I'm sure those of us with a fair bit of experience can help him as he settles in to his new role. We are a strong unit and that's important moving forward.

There were three England captains and now there are two but I don't expect anything to change as far as my role is concerned. Nothing has been said as yet about the vice-captaincy so I don't know if I am in the frame for that or not but it's not an issue because Cooky and I work closely anyway with our limited-overs cricket. The senior players cover any extra responsibility that the side needs so the vice-captain is only really required to step in when the captain has to leave the field to be honest.

Hitting the gym

Stuart Broad of England

I wasn't at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday to receive my letter from Straussy – my post has been playing up so I haven't received mine yet – because I have been rested during this one-day series. Andy Flower and I talked about it and it was felt that I should have a break and concentrate on the Twenty20 cricket we have coming up. It's hard to say if I've felt fatigued as such but we all know how much cricket we have coming up and I fully understand the decision. It's sensible. I have been hitting the gym and mentally getting away from cricket and I' m sure 10 days without bowling will do my body some good. We're very fortunate to have a management that looks after us.

Sri Lankan mission

I'm very excited about captaining England at the World Twenty20 and I think we have a squad that can do well in Sri Lanka as we attempt to defend our title. We are all buzzing about it. People have said we might be weakened by the absence of Kevin Pietersen but you have to remember that Alex Hales came into his place against West Indies earlier this summer and immediately scored 99. Our plans haven't changed because KP will not be there and I'm honoured to be the captain.

The future

It was an honour, too, to be named in the ICC Test team of the year, particularly as there were two other England players there in Alastair Cook and Matt Prior. I know we have had some difficult times this year but that shows you that it has not all been doom and gloom and that we have much to look forward to. We are starting again under a new captain but we are doing so with a firm base. It's not like 2009 when it was almost like starting from scratch. I am really looking forward to the challenges that await this England team and I am very confident that we will rise to those challenges. The future starts now.

Billy Sharp exclusive: Baby Luey was a fighter

Billy Sharp exclusive: Baby Luey was a fighter but when he began to cry, we said: 'You have to let go now'

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 13 July 2012

Match of the day has a special significance for Billy Sharp. The fact he and his Southampton team-mates will be part of the Premier League highlights programme this season is a source of immense pride, but with that joy comes waves of the deepest, most unimaginable sadness: the memory of the son who is not here to watch his dad on a Saturday night.

Luey Jacob Sharp was born on Thursday October 27 last year and passed away just two days later. Billy, 26, and his girlfriend Jade, 25, were with their son when he died, just after Luey had battled for his life through his one and only episode of Match of the Day.

‘He kept going blue and then…’ says Billy, taking a huge, rasping gasp of air. ‘I kept saying to my dad, “This is it. He’s not going to come through this time”.’ Jade takes up the story: ‘You kept saying, “Can you make it through Match of the Day” And he did. He was a real little fighter. You could tell he really didn’t want to go.

Feeling Blue: Billy Sharp and girlfriend Jade sit at their home in Southampton wearing blue bands for the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, as well as the t-shirt being worn by the striker

Feeling Blue: Billy Sharp and girlfriend Jade sit at their home in Southampton wearing blue bands for the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, as well as the t-shirt being worn by the striker

‘He never really cried but towards the
end he started to cry and his lungs had failed so he was leaking fluid,
brown fluid. We could tell then that he was in pain. We kept saying to
him, “You have to let go now”.’

‘You knew he was exhausted by the way
he took his last breath,’ says Billy. ‘It was like a grown-up’s last
breath, like he was fed up. For me it was almost a relief because I knew
he was hurting.’

Their eyes moisten but, somehow, the
tears do not fall. And the words — these incredibly difficult words, the
words no parent ever wants to speak — keep coming: quietly,
respectfully and eloquently. Sitting in the living room of their new
home in Southampton, the couple discuss how they dealt with being
confronted by a new word, gastroschisis, a defect of the abdominal wall
which causes the bowel to grow outside the baby’s body.

They talk about how and why Billy played and scored for his then-club Doncaster Rovers just three days after Luey died.

Words seem to help, you see. Talking,
saying Luey’s name — a name spelt to avoid the common mispronunciation
of Billy’s middle name,Louis — helps.

Jade said: ‘After we moved to
Southampton, as the time went on, some of the girls, the ones who were
pregnant or had kids, said they found it hard to come and talk to me
because of what we’ve gone through. They didn’t really know what to say.

‘I feel bad for people because we don’t mind talking about it. It makes me feel better to talk about it.

‘But people don’t really know what to
say. When we went on holiday people asked, “Oh, have you got kids” And
then it’s us who don’t really know what to say.’

Tribute: Sharp wore a T-shirt dedicating his goal against Middlesbrough to Luey

Tribute: Sharp wore a T-shirt dedicating his goal against Middlesbrough to Luey

‘You don’t want to tell people but then you don’t not want to tell people,’ says Billy. ‘I say, “Yes, but he passed away”.’

It is impossible not to feel moved by
this young couple’s story; by the way they were thrown, unprepared, into
a fight to ease the suffering of their first-born’s short life and how,
in their very different ways, they are coping with such a devastating
loss.

Nine months later it is still an
ongoing process: every day brings its new challenges. This October, the
anniversary of Luey’s birth and death, will bring even more.

Billy said: ‘You see little boys who
are the same age and you think, “Luey would have done that”. But you
just want to know: would he have done that What would he have been
doing’

‘We never got to know, did we…’ says Jade. ‘Every minute of every day, you wonder.’

‘Moments,’ Billy calls them. He
shudders slightly at some memories and smiles warmly at others. They
are, after all, times when Luey still feels a part of his parents’
lives. The day Southampton got promoted, thanks to a 4-0 home win over
Coventry City, was one of those ‘moments’.

‘The lads took their kids on to the
pitch,’ says Sharp. ‘That was the one bit where I thought, “He could
have been here now, in his kit”.’ Until Luey was born, Sharp says he
played every game for his mum and dad. They have never missed a match,
since he started playing in Sheffield at the age of six. But now he
plays for Luey, in a pair of boots with ‘LJS’ on the heels.

Football provided Sharp with an
outlet, a way of getting straight back into his old routine. Luey died
on Saturday night and Sharp rang his boss at Doncaster, Dean Saunders,
on Sunday morning and said: ‘Look, I’m ready to come back in and I’m
ready to play on Tuesday.’

Sharp smiles. ‘The gaffer was
brilliant,’ he says. ‘He said, “Right. That’s the best news I’ve had
since I’ve been at the club. I’ll see you Tuesday”.’

Big impact: after his switch from Doncaster, Sharp helped Southampton over the line in the promotion chase

Big impact: after his switch from Doncaster, Sharp helped Southampton over the line in the promotion chase

Doncaster played Middlesbrough that
night. Sharp was captain, the players wore black armbands and there was a
minute’s applause in Luey’s memory. Jade was there, too.

Sharp says: ‘We had a room at Martin
House hospice in Leeds where Luey was, a really cold room, where we
could go and see him. I kept going in and out and seeing him and the
more I thought about what I was doing, the more it felt right. I just
wanted to do this one thing for him.

‘Tuesday was hard because it was the
first time I’d left him, but then I knew that, because he was in Martin
House, it was just like they were babysitting him and I was coming back
after football to see him.’ Sharp puffs out his cheeks, pauses for a
few seconds, and then looks up and carries on, somehow.

He scored that evening as Doncaster
lost 3-1, a stunning volleyed effort after 14 minutes that Boro boss
Tony Mowbray called a ‘goal from heaven’. Sharp celebrated by revealing a
T-shirt saying: ‘That’s for you son.’

It had been the kit man’s idea. He
slipped the T-shirt under Sharp’s kit so none of his team-mates, only
Jade, knew about it. Seeing it lying there was the one moment Sharp
thought, ‘Can I do this’ But he did.

‘I just knew I was going to score,’ he
says. ‘The result wasn’t the right one but I’ve never scored a goal
like I did and I don’t think I ever will do. But it was just meant to
be.

‘After I scored the goal I just wanted
to go home. From a selfish point of view, I’d done what I wanted to do.
It got me back doing what I love and out of being in a horrible mood.’

Sharp keeps saying it was a ‘selfish’
way of dealing with his loss, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It
was just his way of coping. He had the day off on Wednesday, the day of
Luey’s funeral, and then Saunders put training back on Thursday so Sharp
could be there when Luey was cremated.

In memory: In the Premier League next season, Sharp will continue to wear his son's initials on his boots

In memory: In the Premier League next season, Sharp will continue to wear his son's initials on his boots

‘We had to cremate him on the
Thursday,’ says Jade. ‘And you went training after. And that was you,
back in full-time football.’ In a 3-2 win at Ipswich Town that Saturday,
Sharp scored again.

Everyone at Portman Road started
clapping, providing another ‘unbelievable moment’ for the striker. A
Barnsley fan was accused of vile abuse in January, but Sharp prefers to
remember the support he gleaned from the game, both at Doncaster and
then when he moved to the south coast in January.

He ‘needed a change’ and Southampton came in just at the right time — professionally and, you feel, personally as well.

‘Football does get a bad side
sometimes but it brings out the good in a lot of things as well,’ Billy
says. ‘Dean Saunders could have said, “No, listen, football’s just a
game”. But he got me back into my everyday life. I tried to use it
positively; even though I was hurting inside.’

Jade, however, could not immerse
herself in the everyday workings of a football team. She was physically
weak after giving birth and having an epidural and was on maternity
leave from her job in recruitment.

She says everything was ‘just a blur’,
adding: ‘I think I slept for about two weeks.’ But Jade has little time
for ‘sitting around wallowing and feeling sorry for yourself’.

Better together: Billy and Jade have both needed the support of the other to get through the pain

Better together: Billy and Jade have both needed the support of the other to get through the pain

She has thrown her energy into the
Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation, a charity the couple have set up to raise
awareness of and fund research into gastroschisis. Very little is known
about the condition, which is why, when it was flagged up on Jade’s
12-week scan, she was sent home with a ‘leaflet with three paragraphs on
it’ and advised babies with gastroschisis have a 95 per cent survival
rate.

This is one of the most troubling
parts of Billy and Jade’s story. They were completely unprepared for
what was going to happen when their son was born six weeks early,
weighing just 4lb 1oz.

‘We knew he wasn’t going to be well when he was born but we just thought he would be unwell for three months,’ says Billy.

‘He might have to have an operation
and then he was going to be fine. But…’ He trails off. When Luey was
born his bowel, which had grown outside his body, was ‘completely
black’. He was too underdeveloped to have a transplant and the doctors
knew as soon as Jade gave birth that Luey would only be alive for a
matter of hours.

‘It was horrific the first night,’
says Jade. ‘We had been awake for 36 hours but we didn’t want to leave
Luey in intensive care. We managed to take him to the hospice in a Moses
basket with a heart monitor. If he stopped breathing for longer than
three seconds it beeped to wake us up. The worry was if we fell asleep
and he died when we were asleep that would have just been horrific.’

Billy looks up, proudly. ‘They said he wouldn’t make a few hours but…’ ‘…He did, didn’t he’ says Jade.

It is quiet for a few seconds. They are both smiling, sharing another important ‘moment’.

For more about the Luey Jacob Sharp Foundation or gastroschisis visit: ljsfoundation.org.uk/ You can also follow the LJS Foundation on Twitter: @foundationljs

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher retires from international cricket

Sad end for Boucher as wicketkeeper forced to retire on 999 dismissals due to eye injury

|

UPDATED:

13:48 GMT, 10 July 2012

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark
Boucher has retired from international cricket following the eye injury
he suffered during Monday's tour game against Somerset.

The 35-year-old required three hours
of surgery in Taunton on Monday night and, after being released on Tuesday morning,
it was initially confirmed he would leave the tour.

Face blow: Blood pours from the wicketkeeper's eye

Face blow: Blood pours from the wicketkeeper's eye

But, in a prepared statement read out by his Proteas skipper Graeme Smith during lunch at the tour game today, it was revealed the injury had forced Boucher to end his international career.

'It is with sadness and pain that I announce that I will not be able to play international cricket again,' the statement read by Smith said.

Boucher revealed that he had intended to retire at the end of the current tour, when he was due to play his 150th Test in the final match of the upcoming series against England.

He said: 'It is with sadness and in some pain that I make this announcement, but due to the severity of my eye injury I will not be able to play international cricket again.

Howzat: Wicketkeeper Boucher is struck in the face by a bail

Howzat: Wicketkeeper Boucher is struck in the face by a bail

County Cricket blog

'I prepared for this UK tour as well,
if not better, than I have prepared for any tour in my career. I had
never anticipated announcing my retirement now but circumstances have
dictated differently.

'I have a number of thank-yous to
make to people who have made significant contributions during my
international career, which I will do in due course.

'For now, I would like to thank the
huge number of people, many of whom are strangers, for their heartfelt
support during the last 24 hours.

'I am deeply touched by all the well
wishes, and I wish the team well in the UK as I head home on to a road
of uncertain recovery.'

Boucher suffered the freak injury
when he was struck by a flying bail while standing up to leg-spinner
Imran Tahir on the opening day against Somerset. He fell the ground and
was helped from the pitch with blood apparently coming from his left
eye.

Boucher was taken to hospital
immediately, where he had surgery to repair a laceration to the white of
his eyeball, but concerns clearly remain over his long-term health.

The extent of the damage to Boucher's
eye will be assessed on his return to South Africa with the veteran –
who is the record-holder for most Test dismissals – set to fly out on
the earliest possible fight.

His eye was still too swollen today for a long-term prognosis about the possible effects on his sight.

'It's not about cricket any more. I hope he recovers fully,” team-mate Jacques Kallis said in an interview on Sky Sports News.

'It has been a tough 24 hours not only for myself, but his family and team-mates.

'He seems in good spirits. He has all our well-wishes and from people around the world.'

Flat out: Boucher lies on the floor after taking a blow to the face

Flat out: Boucher lies on the floor after taking a blow to the face

Top Spin

South Africa's team management
announced that De Villiers would replace Boucher behind the stumps in
the first Investec Test at the Oval next week, but a longer-term
replacement would eventually be called.

Smith had a personal statement for
his long-time team-mate, saying: 'Bouch, we have walked a long road
together, and we are saddened to part under these circumstances.

'For the 14 years of your
international career, you have been a true Proteas warrior, a patriotic
South African, a fighter who asks nothing and gives everything.

'You have been a 100 percenter for
this team. You have been more than a performer, you have been a
motivator, an inspirer, an energiser and a good friend to many.

'You leave us today with sad hearts, but also with a deep gratitude for your contributions to our team, and to us as people.

'The fighting spirit you brought to team remains with us. We wish you a good as possible recovery from your injury.

'As we bid you a farewell as an
international cricketer and wish you well for your future, we keep you
as a friend and respected Proteas warrior.

'We all know how much he has meant to
us as a person, but his stats speak for themselves. I think he was in
line to achieve his 150th Test match, his 1,000th dismissal in the game,
so many other world records and stats that went with that.

'If you add that to the type of
person he was, he will go down as one of the greats of the game,
certainly one of the greats in South African cricket.

'I think now we are just more worried about Mark the person, and getting him through this situation.'

Taking his time: Boucher could be forced to miss the remainder of the tour

Taking his time: Boucher could be forced to miss the remainder of the tour

South Africa team doctor Mohammad Moosajee said earlier: 'Mark's surgery, which lasted nearly three hours, showed that he sustained a severe eye injury – and although the surgeon was able to repair the eyeball, the sensitive nature of the injury makes it difficult to determine the extent of the long-term damage.

'At the moment the prognosis is unclear.

'We need to remain as positive as we possibly can. We will only know (the extent of the damage) in a few weeks' time.

'I spent the night with him in the recovery ward at the hospital, and he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support and care he has received from all corners of the world.

'He will take no further part in the series against England and will return back to South Africa as soon as possible.'

Among those who have voiced their concern and support from afar for Boucher are England players Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior – via their Twitter accounts.

Boucher's fellow wicketkeeper Prior wrote this morning: 'Just seen the news about @markb46.

'Very sad he's missing the series and hope he makes a full and speedy recovery. Go well mate keepersunion.'

Boucher may be replaced by the versatile De Villiers, who has previously provided cover behind the stumps in both Tests and one-day internationals – although South Africa may wish to send for specialist Thami Tsolekile.

South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald was distraught for his former team-mate.

'He wanted to finish here. He's been talking about maybe going, if needed, to Australia – but he wanted to go out on a real high in England,' Donald told Sky Sports News.

'I can't think of a bigger kick in the teeth than that.

'To happen on the first day is a cruel blow. Let's just hope he is going to be okay and take it from there.'