Tag Archives: school

Boat race sponsors Newton turn tide for women rowers Laura Williamson column

Boat race sponsors turn tide for women rowers at long last with equal funding and prestige

-Olympic-legacy.html”>150m investment in primary school sport is arriving too late to inspire a generation
17/03/13

Laura Williamson: Fergie's harmless joke highlights a more serious matter for women within British sport
10/03/13

Laura Williamson: Don Valley stadium fiasco is a kick in the teeth for the next Jess
03/03/13

Laura Williamson: Sickening response of UEFA to plight of travelling Spurs fans
24/02/13

Laura Williamson: It might all be finished for Pistorius but the Paralympic movement will survive
17/02/13

Laura Williamson: Mansfield girl made her truly amazing feats seem 'everyday'
10/02/13

Laura Williamson: Jamieson puts pool before the perks and makes no excuses
27/01/13

Laura Williamson: Netballers court fans – on the other side of the planet
20/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

As the BBC and now BT Sport seem to have noted, you get a lot more action and access for your money when it comes to buying the television, sponsorship and commercial rights for women’s disciplines.

The Boat Race, an event that exudes privilege, pomp and circumstance like no other, might seem an unlikely cause to champion a step forward for sportswomen, but it is the tradition and rigmarole that makes this a particularly important development.

When Katherine Grainger returned from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 after winning Great Britain’s first medal in women’s rowing, a silver in the quad, she said someone came up to her and said: ‘We didn’t even know women rowed.’

You can understand why few — men or women — would want to, given the demands of a sport that has little time for finesse or creativity and commands absolute teamwork to succeed at the highest level.

Anna Watkins (left), with whom Grainger won gold so memorably in London in the double sculls, has said a family member tried to put her off rowing in case ‘she got big arms’. It’s all in the legs, of course, but sweeping generalisations have no time for small technicalities like that.

Watkins ploughed on regardless and, 12 years after Grainger came back from Australia with that silver medal, Britain’s women won their first Olympic gold medals since the sport was added to the programme in 1976 — three of them, in fact.

If the wheels of Oxford and Cambridge can creak slowly into action with regard to a sport as brutal and punishing as rowing, it feels like anything could happen.

WHAT THEY SAID

British athlete Lisa Dobriskey said she did not believe she was ‘competing on a level playing field’ in the Olympic 1500metres final in London and was roundly accused of sour grapes.

The gold medal-winner, Turkey’s Cakir Alptekin, is now facing a lifetime ban after ‘big abnormalities’ were found in her biological passport. Some might just owe Dobriskey an apology.

Accused: Lisa Dobriskey's opponent is facing a lifetime ban for 'big abnormalities' in her biological passport

Accused: Lisa Dobriskey's opponent is facing a lifetime ban for 'big abnormalities' in her biological passport

WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

Watched Wrexham win the FA Trophy with a 4-1 penalty shootout win over Grimsby.

On Saturday, Grimsby fans congregated in Trafalgar Square for a photo. ‘Which team is this’ said a steward. ‘So are they in the Champions League, then’ I wish.

Glory: Ecstatic Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell celebrates with the FA Trophy

Glory: Ecstatic Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell celebrates with the FA Trophy

Got exasperated at the persistent use of the phrase ‘pre-planned’ to describe Rio Ferdinand’s fitness programme. It is either planned or it is not, just like the defender’s ill-advised little jaunt to Doha.

Attended my first Women in Football meeting at Stamford Bridge on Friday after being, I admit, very dubious about the whole idea. I just want to be ‘in football’ rather than a ‘WiF’. I can’t tell you anything else owing to Chatham House rules, but it was certainly very, very interesting.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

Arsenal Ladies beat ASD Torres 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Boreham Wood.

Glad to see there’s still one English team fighting for the cause in Europe — and the women’s final is at Stamford Bridge this year, too. The second leg takes place in Sardinia on Wednesday.

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Vase semi-finals

LIVE STREAM: Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby U18 Vase semi-finals – watch the action unfold here

Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby

PUBLISHED:

11:03 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 3 March 2013

The Daily Mail RBS Schools Rugby has officially entered the business end of the competition with the Finals at Twickenham now only weeks away.

It's day two at Broadstreet RFC where the semi-finals for this season's tournament which is the biggest schools competition in the world of rugby.

Today's games in the Under 18s Vase pits Felsted against St Ambrose College (11am) followed by Yarm versus Plymouth College (1pm).

Yesterday, in the main Cup competition, champions Dulwich and Northampton School for Boys won their semi-finals against Hampton and Warwick respectively.

And two places in the prestigious Vase Final on March 23 are up for grabs. Who will be there Find out here and watch all the drama as it unfolds on the video player below…

(function(d,config) //asyncrynously call the buto video embed script thanks to http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/async-analytics-snippet
var b = d.createElement(“script”);
var s = d.getElementById(“buto_js_embed”); //where to embed before
b.setAttribute(“async”,true); //html 5 async
b.src = “//embed.buto.tv/js/”+ config.object_id;
b.onload=function() //callback once script has loaded which calls specific js functions within file once loaded
if (window.buto)
buto.addPlayer(config);

}
s.parentNode.insertBefore(b, s);
}(document,
object_id:”459404″,
element_id:”buto_player_container_459404”
));

(function(d,config) //asyncrynously call the buto video embed script thanks to http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/async-analytics-snippet
var b = d.createElement(“script”);
var s = d.getElementById(“buto_js_embed”); //where to embed before
b.setAttribute(“async”,true); //html 5 async
b.src = “//embed.buto.tv/js/”+ config.object_id;
b.onload=function() //callback once script has loaded which calls specific js functions within file once loaded
if (window.buto)
buto.addPlayer(config);

}
s.parentNode.insertBefore(b, s);
}(document,
object_id:”459404″,
element_id:”buto_player_container_459404”
));

Louis Smith and Pat Rice receive MBEs

Medals of honour: Team GB heroes Smith, Baker and Hosking and Arsenal legend Pat Rice given gongs by the Queen

team were today honoured at Buckingham Palace by the Queen.

Gymnast Louis Smith, who scooped silver on the pommel horse and bronze in the men's team competition, described being awarded the MBE as 'the proudest moment of his life', but risked being turned away when he showed up having forgot his invitation.

He tweeted: 'Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Sophie Hosking

Pat Rice

Rowing and football: Sophie Hosking and Pat Rice's respective contributions were also honoured

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

'Today is the day I become Louis Smith M.B.E ooooooo exciting times'

Natasha Baker, who was also honoured
for winning two gold medals in dressage at the Paralympics said the
occasion was 'absolutely incredible', but had earlier tweeted in a panic
over her fear of missing the ceremony.

Baker had been stuck in traffic on the M4 but eventually made it to Buckingham Palace on time. 'Stuck in traffic on M4 on my way to collect my #MBE . Any police around to give me an escort!' she tweeted.

Louis Smith

Britain's Natasha Baker

Olympians: Louis Smith and Natasha Baker were among Team GB's most impressive performers at the Games

'Tempted to get Jordan (scooter) out and drive to Buck Pal! Think she would be faster than this traffic! Don't think I'm going to get there!'

Sophie Hosking, winner of gold in lightweight women's double sculls, was presented with an MBE at the investiture ceremony.

Pat Rice

Rob McCracken

In their element: Pat Rice (centre) with the FA Cup won at Arsenal at his peak and boxing guru Rob McCracken

British Amateur Boxing Association performance director Rob McCracken, who overlooked a haul of five boxing medals at London 2012, also receives the MBE, as was former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice, who spent 44 years at the club, winning seven trophies as a coach.

Fran Halsall vows to bounce back in Rio – Laura Williamson

I'll make waves in Rio, vows Halsall after flopping at home Olympics

|

UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 30 December 2012

Fran Halsall has made an important New Year’s resolution. The British swimmer never again wants to feel the way she did in the summer of 2012 after finishing the Olympic Games without a medal.

She has written it all down, just in case she ever needs a reminder, because Halsall is determined she will never feel like that again; so low she did not attend the post-Games parade because she ‘didn’t think she should enjoy it’.

While 2012 was an unforgettable year of sport for so many, there are those for whom 2013 and beyond promises far better things.

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

More from Laura Williamson…

Laura Williamson: Farewell to Plucky Brit syndrome, and good riddance
23/12/12

Laura Williamson: Pity 2012 feelgood factor has faded so quickly
16/12/12

Laura Williamson: Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good
09/12/12

Laura Williamson: Booth and Co aim to end golf's old school traditions
02/12/12

Laura Williamson: I won't be fighting in Rio but you could as taekwondo seeks new stars
25/11/12

Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn't sexy for women
18/11/12

Laura Williamson: As Sportsmail enters the ring with an Olympic star, Jonas shows being a warrior woman is worth fighting for
11/11/12

Laura Williamson: Kids have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes
06/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

A silver medal in the 50-metre freestyle at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul earlier this month ‘was never going to make up for the Olympics’, but it has helped Halsall get her spark back. She has a new coach — James Gibson, who guided France’s Florent Manaudou to Olympic gold in the men’s 50m freestyle in London. But, most importantly of all, her confidence has returned.

‘Knowing I’m still a fast swimmer feels really good,’ she says. ‘I gave myself a little pat on the back, if you like. I’m really happy.

‘It took me a couple of months to get over the Olympics. There was a lot of upset and blame; of thinking I’m not good enough. I couldn’t deal with the fact I wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t a very nice feeling.

‘But I took ownership of it and I swam fast again. That was all me. It’s not an Olympic medal but I had to differentiate between Fran the swimmer and the person. You can’t live your life like that.’

Halsall was tipped to star in the pool at London 2012 but did not win a medal in any of her five events. She was not the only one to disappoint, of course: Britain’s swimming team came away with only a silver and two bronze medals at their home Games and have lost 4million of funding as a result.

British Swimming conducted a review into what went wrong in London, which largely blamed the leadership of coaches and the timing of the national trials, which were held 13 weeks before the Games in March.

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Head coach Dennis Pursley and performance director Michael Scott also quit, prompting Rebecca Adlington to call the situation ‘an absolute mess’.

Halsall, though, has conducted her ‘own review’ and has a much simpler explanation: she over-trained. Working under Ben Titley, who has since moved to Canada, at Loughborough University, she says she was an ‘Olympic keeno’.

Halsall picked up a shoulder injury in mid-May, which kept her out of the pool for ‘a few weeks’.

‘Trials weren’t the problem,’ adds Halsall. ‘I have always swum faster in the summer: this was the first year I didn’t. You have to swim fast for the trials, wherever you put them.

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

‘The issue for me was I did too much. I was an Olympic keeno. I probably overdid it and ended up picking up an injury. I tried to do more than I had ever done before.

‘I didn’t want to talk about my shoulder problem (before the Games). It’s an excuse and I didn’t want that. My focus was on swimming as fast as I could and I didn’t want to have that distraction. I still fought for every 10th of a second in every race.’

Halsall, though, is already a veteran of two Olympic Games, despite being only 22 years old.

She is determined not to make the same mistakes third time around.

‘I’m not too old just yet,’ she says. ‘I’m looking forward to Rio in four years’ time.’

Fran Halsall uses Multipower Sportsfood: www.multipower.co.uk

What they said

It's little wonder David Weir described the New Year Honours list as ‘a bit strange’ after Sarah Storey became a Dame but Weir, who also won four Paralympic gold medals in London, was given a CBE.

‘Sometimes it seems that Paralympians have to win lots and lots of medals to get a damehood or a knighthood,’ Weir told the Daily Telegraph.

Here's what I've been doing this week

Chugged around the country for the feast of festive football. Clubs might whinge about fixture congestion, but I love the tradition of it all. It works in other sports, too: just look at the record 82,000 people at Twickenham for Saracens’ win against Harlequins on Saturday.

Watched Superstars and revelled in the sheer naffness and rain-sodden Britishness of it all. I can cope with only having shooter Peter Wilson on my television screen every four years, but I enjoyed Mo Farah’s attempts at kayaking, the Brownlee brothers’ rivalry and being proved wrong by Helen Glover’s prowess on the track. And there was I thinking rowers are not always the most co-ordinated of athletes on dry land.

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

According to Fulham’s programme for their 1-1 draw with Southampton, I ‘swooned’ when I wrote about Dimitar Berbatov’s ‘style and swagger’ in his side’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle this month. That made me laugh, but not as much as the striker’s handwritten ‘Keep Calm and Pass Me the Ball’ T-shirt, which suggested Berbatov is not averse to ‘swooning’ about himself, either.

Performance of the week

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert continues to predict that ‘Aston Villa will be fine’ despite his side suffering a 15-0 deficit over the festive period. That’s some crystal ball he got for Christmas.

Merry Christmas from John Terry, Vincent Kompany, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy and James Anderson

Merry Twitmas! How the world of sport celebrated the big day, including Kompany, Anderson and Poulter

PUBLISHED:

22:02 GMT, 25 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 25 December 2012

Even sports stars take Christmas off, and thanks to Twitter we've been able to get a glimpse inside their lives on the big day.

Here, Sportsmail picks out the best from around the world, including Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, golfer Ian Poulter, rugby ace Danny Care and Olympic champions Greg Rutherford.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI @CaroWozniacki

‘Fits perfectly lol! “@McIlroyRory: Merry Christmas everyone!! From the #geekandthenerd @CaroWozniacki’

Wozniacki and boyfriend Rory McIlroy in their his and hers T-shirts.

Happy couple: Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki

Happy couple: Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki

ANTON FERDINAND
@anton_ferdinand

‘@rioferdy5 yeah got it and its just come out the oven’

Anton reassures his brother Rio that he has the gammon under control.

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

‘2 hours in the oven and still the turkey is cold. Helps if you put the oven on right My only job. Oops!’

England’s former star striker isn’t as clinical in the kitchen.

ANTON FERDINAND TWITTER PICTURE

GARY LINEKER TWITTER PICTURE

Vincent Kompany @VincentKompany

‘Merry Christmas!! Just arriving at the training ground here for a Christmas Day training session.’

While many tweeted about their new gifts and Christmas dinner, City’s captain showed he was a true pro.

John Terry j26terry (Instagram)

Chelsea captain John Terry used the photo-sharing app Instagram to post this mocked-up picture of him and Frank Lampard enjoying some old-school gifts.

JOHN TERRY TWITTER

Greg Rutherford @GregJRutherford

‘Currently in bed contemplating training… I should crack on. But my bed’s so warm’

Even Olympic gold medallists struggle with the cold.

Tim Cahill @Tim_Cahill

‘U get dressed in the dark again captain.’

The former Everton star retweeted this picture of Phil Neville and his wife. Cahill was not impressed with Neville’s outfit.

TIM CAHILL TWEET

TIM CAHILL TWEET

Jason Roberts @JasonRoberts30

‘My sock drawer is overflowing.’

Nice to see even footballers can’t escape one of the great stereotypes of Christmas.

James Anderson @JimmyAnderson9

‘Merry
Christmas everyone! I’m up waiting for my youngest to wake up. Cant
believe she has chosen today to have a lie in!!’

There was a
role-reversal at the England bowler’s house.

Josh McEachran @JMcEachran20

‘Aww
just spoke to my great nan on the phone! She’s just made me so happy
:)’

The Chelsea midfielder, on loan at Middlesbrough, clearly got some
good vouchers for Christmas.

Danny care @dannycare

‘Check these bad boys out’

It takes a brave man to flaunt a pair of tartan slippers. Let’s just hope the England and Harlequins scrum-half does not get a shoeing from London Irish on Saturday.

DANNY CARE TWITTER PICTURE

DANNY CARE TWITTER PICTURE

Rio Ferdinand @rioferdy5

‘Spent 50 on batteries today, screw driver hasn’t been put down for 2hours. The getting toys out and un-screwing them isn’t annoying much!’

Rio experiences one of the great Christmas morning traditions.

Ian Poulter @IanJamesPoulter

‘8.02 Florida time & only 1 out of 6 kids are awake what a result. Who says kids are excited at Christmas.’

Christmas in Florida and children who sleep. No need to show off, Ian.

Darron Gibson @D_gibson4

‘“@Dcartashian: Merry Xmas!!! Xxxx”’

The
Everton midfielder is pictured with his girlfriend Danielle Carter. We
just hope he won his bet for wearing the reindeer jumper.

DARREN GIBSON TWITTER PICTURE

DARREN GIBSON TWITTER PICTURE

Laura Williamson: Farewell to Plucky Brit syndrome, and good riddance

Farewell to the 'Plucky Brit' syndrome… and good riddance

|

UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 23 December 2012

With all the hoo-hah over the Olympic and Paralympic sports that missed out on funding for the next four years, one very significant detail seems to have been overlooked.

As UK Sport announced a record 347million investment in British sport last week, they also revealed an ambitious target to beat 2012’s haul of 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro.

We have just experienced the most incredible year of British sport and now we want to get even better That should surely be celebrated.

Golden year: UK Sport a investing record amount into sporting excellence in Britain in 2013

Golden year: UK Sport a investing record amount into sporting excellence in Britain in 2013

More from Laura Williamson…

Laura Williamson: Pity 2012 feelgood factor has faded so quickly
16/12/12

Laura Williamson: Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good
09/12/12

Laura Williamson: Booth and Co aim to end golf's old school traditions
02/12/12

Laura Williamson: I won't be fighting in Rio but you could as taekwondo seeks new stars
25/11/12

Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn't sexy for women
18/11/12

Laura Williamson: As Sportsmail enters the ring with an Olympic star, Jonas shows being a warrior woman is worth fighting for
11/11/12

Laura Williamson: Kids have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes
06/11/12

Laura Williamson: Wit is the only way to counter football's vile chants
04/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

So too should UK Sport’s ‘no compromise’ approach to funding the British Olympic and Paralympic team. The organisation will only support genuine medal prospects, meaning some Olympians and Paralympians have been cast out in the cold.

The basketball, handball and wrestling squads, for example, which will not receive a penny unless they can show they’ve bucked their ideas up at their annual review.

Harsh Yes, certainly. But fair Definitely. This is sport we are talking about here. It isn’t reality television. It is brutal and it hurts like hell if you lose. That is why it’s such a delicious feeling to win.

And British sport is about winning these days, after all.

We’re being fanciful if we think we still exist in a sporting utopia in which every contest ends with the schmaltzy climax of a Disney film and the nice guys always get the gold. Elite level sport is not a pastime, it’s a profession. It’s about British Cycling’s much-applauded ‘marginal gains’ and a pragmatic, analytical pursuit of success.

In the past it has too often seemed our athletes have achieved success in spite of the system, but now it is because of it.

I feel for the people who missed out. I know how hard the women’s indoor volleyball team have worked and seen the strides the men’s basketball team have made.

I was upset when I realised I had broken the news to a goalball athlete on Twitter that the men’s team would not be receiving any future funding.

There was a long conversation with the father of a table tennis player who felt badly let down and confused as to the next step, having spent the last decade looking for bargain budget flights to far-flung corners of Europe so his son could try to win peanuts in prize money.

These athletes have every right to feel slighted and disappointed; to wonder about the next step in their careers. But they should not be surprised.

Benefits: British Cycling's approach to success has been a shining example to other sports

Benefits: British Cycling's approach to success has been a shining example to other sports

Their governing bodies have let them down if they thought it would be any other way.

Many of them experienced London 2012 purely because we were the host nation and their chances of making it to Rio are remote, to put it kindly.

We were utterly abysmal at most team
disciplines at London 2012, don’t forget. Why should UK Sport divert
cash from the sports that did deliver to allow people to spend another
four years chasing an impossible dream

It is far better to cut our losses and
concentrate on helping the next generation to build an Olympic
legacy, hence the 493m of money that Sport England will invest in
grassroots sport over the next four years.

Olympic table tennis, for instance,
had all of its elite level funding cut on Tuesday, yet its governing
body still claimed the ‘future for English table tennis is assured’
after a sport played regularly by almost 100,000 people received a 20
per cent increase in support for building participation.

Be inspired: Luol Deng is the stand-out star in a Team GB basketball team soundly beaten at the Games

Be inspired: Luol Deng is the stand-out star in a Team GB basketball team soundly beaten at the Games

This is not about class, as some have tried to make out. Cutting basketball’s elite level funding for the next four years will make little difference to the inner city kids who are basketball’s primary target audience. There is still potentially 6.75m of funding to come from Sport England for their benefit, including 1.54m to support young, emerging talent.

I realise these future stars need to see a pathway to success and have role models to follow, but I fail to see how watching a British basketball team getting regularly hammered would have more influence than a teenager seeing Luol Deng do his thing for the Chicago Bulls.

Neither do I automatically buy the claims about all the ‘sacrifices’ people made to reach London 2012, either. They could have been working from nine until five in a dead-end job they hated instead of pursuing their dream of being a full-time athlete.

The ‘Plucky Brit’ – eternally hopeless but emotionally heart-warming – has, thankfully, been consigned to history.

The UK Sport formula works. Elite level British sport is no longer about making up the numbers and celebrating getting to finals. We want to be on top of the podium now, thank you very much. It may be a brutal approach but it is also brilliant.

Transition: Gary Neville showed Laura behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

Transition: Gary Neville showed Laura behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

…AND THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

Spent the day behind the scenes at Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. Interested to see Gary Neville agonise over whether to call Reading 'naive' during their 5-2 defeat by Arsenal. He thought it reflected badly on the manager, Brian McDermott, which was not his intention, deciding to highlight Nicky Shorey's 'poor' game instead.

Small steps

At UK Sport's funding announcement on Tuesday there were three female executives alongside Sports Minister Hugh Robertson. On the same day, UK Athletics announced Jenni Banks as their new wheelchair racing coach, reporting to Paralympics head coach Paula Dunn. Small steps…

Taking the mic
Sitting behind the dug-out during Tottenham’s dull draw against Stoke I noticed fourth official Stuart Attwell taking off his microphone when speaking to the managers. Did he not want the man in the middle to hear

Performance of the week

Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and her horse Valegro ended a remarkable 2012 with dressage victory at the World Cup freestyle event at London’s Olympia. They scored 87.975 per cent, which is rather good.

Jonny Evans signs new Manchester United contract

Ferguson backs Evans to lead United for next decade after defender pens new deal

|

UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 21 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson expects Jonny Evans to be a mainstay in the Manchester United defence for the next 10 years after the centre back signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Old Trafford club.

The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international made his United debut as a teenager in the League Cup against Coventry in September 2007 and has now committed to the club until June 2016.

And Ferguson hopes he will remain with the club for the rest of his career.

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

'Jonny Evans has signed a new contract. We’re very happy
about that and it’s in keeping with our normal policy that when the younger
players get to the second last year of their contract we have to do something
about it,' Ferguson said.

'He’s had a fantastic career for us, progressing all the
time. He’s had one or two injury situations that are hopefully behind him now.
He’s fit for Sunday’s game [against Swansea].

'He fought his way in with his performances last year and when him and Rio played consistently our results improved. We spoke about losing the goals against Manchester City and the leaking of goals at that particular time and those two playing regularly and improved that.

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

'Jonny has been
with us since he was a kid. When he was 12 he was at our school of
excellence in Belfast and he always had a talent. When he was younger I
wasn’t sure if he’d be a midfielder or a centre-back because he was a
really good footballer.

'He’s
played over 140 games now and he is established but he’s still young. A
centre-back at 24, he should play for the next 10 years and hopefully
it’s at United.'

Evans added: 'I'm delighted to sign my new contract. I am so proud to play for such a great club, and there's no better feeling than playing football in this team and winning games.'

He added: 'I would love to play here throughout the rest of my career.'

Mario Balotelli is a secret Santa as Manchester City star treats young fans… sadly, there"s no blue and white hat

Balotelli is a secret Santa as Man City star treats young fans… sadly, there's no blue and white hat

|

UPDATED:

18:51 GMT, 20 December 2012

Mario Balotelli finally got to play
Father Christmas when local youngsters were given the surprise of a
lifetime during a tour of the Etihad Stadium.

Last Christmas the Manchester City striker was at the centre of internet gossip he had been spotted handing out 20 notes to passers-by in Manchester dressed in a blue and white Santa hat.

Festive cheer: Mario Balotelli handed out presents to kids (not sure about his Santa outfit)

Festive cheer: Mario Balotelli handed out presents to kids (not sure about his Santa outfit)

mario balotelli

Sadly the Santa story appeared to be another wild rumour about the mad-cap Italian, who insisted he was in the team hotel at the time.

But there was no mistaking Balotelli when he handed out presents to football-mad 11 and 12-year-olds from Mellands Specialist School in Gorton.

The youngsters also got to lift the Premier League trophy and got changed in the first team dressing room.

stadium visit

City slickers: The football-mad youngsters got to meet their heroes

James Milner with Premier League trophy

man city fan

After being met by the regular tour guides the children bumped into defender Micah Richards as they got out of the lift on the way to the Press Conference room and then heard their names read out on the team sheet left by Roberto Mancini.

They then met another England star, midfielder James Milner, who had the silverware with him before the party entered the inner sanctum of the home dressing room where shirts bearing their names were hanging on the pegs used by the City superstars.

Watch the video

The surprises didn't end there though as Santa Balotelli popped in to distribute presents and then the whole afternoon concluded with a penalty shoot-out against England No 1 Joe Hart and photos all around.

'It was great to see the joy on the kids' faces,' said Richards. 'They were so excited. The plan was to make the day as memorable as possible for them and I am sure they enjoyed it. As players you don't often get the chance to interact like that.

'It was all for the young children,' added Balotelli. 'They really appreciated meeting all the players and we appreciated meeting them too. I hope we made their day and gave them an afternoon they will never forget. We all enjoyed it.'

Sir Alex Ferguson installed tanning booths at Manchester United

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

|

UPDATED:

09:38 GMT, 19 December 2012

Read the full Fergie study…

You can purchase the Sir Alex Ferguson case study from Harvard Business School HERE

At a successful club like Manchester United, no stone is left unturned in preparing the players for action – and that even includes their sun tan.

A fascinating study into the methods of manager Sir Alex Ferguson by academics at the Harvard Business School in Boston has revealed that United had a Vitamin D machine installed for compensate for Manchester's lack of natural sunlight.

Ferguson also gave players staggered one-week breaks during the winter months so they could replenish their Vitamin D.

Sunshine indoors: Manchester United had a Vitamin D tanning booth installed in the dressing room at their Carrington training ground (below) so the squad could counterbalance the lack of sunlight in Manchester

Sunshine indoors: Manchester United had a Vitamin D tanning booth installed in the dressing room at their Carrington training ground (below) so the squad could counterbalance the lack of sunlight in Manchester

Manchester United's Carrington Training Complex

The study, entitled 'Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United', said the tanning booth was installed in the players' dressing room at their Carrington training ground.

It says: 'He [Ferguson] could talk enthusiastically about the new Vitamin D machine (which perhaps most resembled a tanning booth) in the players' dressing room at Carrington, put there to help them counterbalance the lack of sunlight in Manchester, or his plan for the new season to give players staggered one-week breaks in the winter months to replenish their Vitamin D.'

The tanning booth is one of many secrets revealed by Ferguson in the Harvard study, by Anita Elberse and Tom Dye, including that he doesn't use his notorious hairdryer technique as often as he used to.

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

Insight: The study, by Harvard Business School academics, offers a fascinating in-depth look at the methods of Sir Alex Ferguson

Insight: The study, by Harvard Business School academics, offers a fascinating in-depth look at the methods of Sir Alex Ferguson

It also covers how he prepares his team, the way he conducts his team-talks and how he changes a game's direction at half-time.

Staff at the club have spoken of the specially-modified tanning booth in the changing rooms, which is used about three times a week by each player to top up their Vitamin D levels.

It is likely to be a large Vitamin D lamp, which emits ultraviolet rays to trigger the formation of Vitamin D. It helps bone strength and stimulates feel-good brain chemicals such as serotonin.

The lamps are used to treat people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

WITH 140 DAYS OF RAIN A YEAR, IT'S LITTLE WONDER FERGIE WANTED TO BRING IN A BIT OF SUNSHINE

Manchester has a reputation as being one of the wettest places in the UK, so it's little wonder Sir Alex Ferguson had a tanning booth installed so the players could top up their Vitamin D levels.

The city has an average annual rainfall of 806.6 millimetres (31.76 inches) and 140 days of rain each year, though both are actually below the national average.

Former United players Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez complained about the cold and rainy Manchester climate, but while the former went to sunnier Spain, the latter moved across the road to City.

Sir Alex Ferguson in his own words: Manchester United boss talks to Harvard

Fergie in his own words: Tenor for a team talk, moving on from losing the title and why he's too Scottish to be like Mourinho – what the United boss told Harvard University

|

UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 19 December 2012

Read the full Fergie study…

You can purchase the Sir Alex Ferguson case study from Harvard Business School HERE

Sir Alex Ferguson has opened up to Harvard Business School in a way never seen before.

In an extensive and wide-ranging essay on Managing Manchester United, written by Anita Elberse and Tom Dye, Ferguson offers an extraordinary insight into life at Old Trafford, his views on man management, how Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli inspired a team talk and how once a player crosses him ‘they’re dead’.

Here is Ferguson in his own words.

Sir Alex Ferguson

University challenged: Sir Alex Ferguson opened up earlier this year for an essay at Harvard

ON LOSING THE TITLE TO MAN CITY LAST SEASON

‘Another day in the history of
Manchester United, that’s all it was. It created the drama that only
United can produce.

'Who would have thought that Blackburn, being bottom
of the league, would beat us 3-2 at Old Trafford Or that Everton would
draw with us when we were up 4-2 with seven minutes to go

'I’ve still
got a wee bit of anger in me, thinking of how we threw the league away
last season. My motivation to the players will be that we can’t let City
beat us twice in a row.'

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

Agony: Ferguson was on the pitch at Sunderland on the final day of the season when Man City pipped United

ON PLAYER POWER

‘Some English clubs have changed managers so many times that it creates power for the players in the dressing room. That is very dangerous.

'Football management in the end is all about the players. You think you are a better player than they are, and they think they are a better manager than you are.’

ON HOW ANDREA BOCELLI INSPIRED A TEAM TALK

‘I like to tell different stories, and use my imagination. But generally, it is about our expectations, their belief in themselves, and their trust in each other.

'I remember going to see Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the coordination and the teamwork, one starts and one stops, just fantastic.

'So I spoke to my players about the orchestra – how they are a perfect team. You can get help from some of the players. Bryan Robson was a great captain – he spoke with each player. That’s brilliant.’

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

Tenor for a team talk: United boss Ferguson revealed Andrea Bocelli has inspired him

ON MOTIVATING PLAYERS

‘There is no room for criticism on the training field. For a player – and for any human being – there is nothing better than hearing ‘well done.’

'Those are the two best words ever invented in sports. You don’t need to use superlatives.

'I made it plain that I meant to put an end to United’s reputation of being almost as much a social club as a football club.

'It’s interesting to see all the foreigners sit together, and the British players sit at another table. That’s not because there is a division – it’s just that players tend to migrate towards familiarity. It’s fantastic to watch them have fun.’

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

Mr Motivator: Sir Alex has his own ways of getting the best out of his players at Old Trafford

ON MANAGING MILLIONAIRES

‘We fine them, but we keep it indoors. You can’t ever lose control – not when you are dealing with 30 top professionals who are all millionaires. And if anyone steps out of my control, that’s them dead.’

ON UNITED’S YOUTH POLICY AND LETTING OLD PLAYERS GO

‘The first thought for 99 per cent of newly appointed managers is to make sure they win – to survive.

'They bring experienced players in, often from their previous clubs. But I think it is important to build a structure for a football club – not just a football team. You need a foundation. And there is nothing better than seeing a young player make it to the first team.

'The idea is that the younger players are developing and meeting the standards that the older ones have set before.

'The hardest thing is to let go of a player who has been a great guy. But all the evidence is on the football field. If you see the change, the deterioration, you have to start asking yourself what it is going to be like two years ahead.’

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes came through the ranks at United, retired and then came back

Experience: Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes came through the ranks at United, retired and then came back

ON AGGRESSIVE PLAYERS

‘One of my players has been sent off several times. He will do something if he gets the chance – even in training. Can I take it out of him No. Would I want to take it out of him No.

'If you take the aggression out of him, he is not himself. So you have to accept that there is a certain flaw that is counterbalanced by all the great things he can do.’

ON TALENT AND HARD WORK

‘I tell players that hard work is a talent, too. They need to work harder than anyone else. And if they can no longer bring the discipline that we ask for here at United, they are out. I am only interested in players who really want to play for United, and who, like me, are bad losers.’

ON JOSE MOURINHO

‘He is very intelligent, he has charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good looking guy. I think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks. He’s got a confidence about himself, saying ‘We’ll win this,’ and ‘I’m the Special One.’

'I could never come out and say we’re going to win this game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness’

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

Sparring partners: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have had their fair share of battles over the years

ON PEP GUARDIOLA

‘Guardiola is an impressive guy. He’s brought about change in Barcelona, urging the team to always work hard to get the ball back within seconds after losing it. They are gifted but work hard. It was a fantastic achievement. He elevated the status of his players.’

ON NAMING HIS TEAM

‘But we never reveal the team to the players until the day of the game. We think of the media and the players’ agents. And my job is to give us the best chance possible of winning the match, so why should we alert our opponents to what our team is For a three o’clock game, we tell them at one o’clock.’

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

Pep talk: United boss Ferguson was impressed by the way Guardiola transformed Barcelona

ON TACTICS

‘Tactics can change depending on whom we are playing I tend to concentrate on one or two players of my opponents—the ones that are the most influential. Who’s the guy who is taking all the free kicks Who’s the guy who’s on the ball all the time Who’s the one urging everyone on

'The rest of the time I concentrate on our own team. On Friday we take our players through a video analysis of our opponents: their strengths, their weaknesses, their set-pieces, what their team is likely to be, and so on.

'On Saturday, we might give them another, shorter version—just a recap of the previous day.’

ON DROPPING PLAYERS

‘I do it privately. It’s not easy, but I do them all myself. It is important. I have been dropped from a Cup final in Scotland as a player at 10 past two, so I know what it feels like.

'I’m not ever sure what they are thinking, but I tend to say “Look, I might be making a mistake here,” – I always say that – “but I think this is the best team for today.”

'I try to give them a bit of confidence, telling them that it is only tactical, and that there are bigger games coming up.’

Study: The front page of the Harvard Business School thesis

ON GETTING READY FOR HALF-TIME

‘There are maybe eight minutes between you coming up through the tunnel and the referees calling you up on the pitch again, so it is vital to use the time well.

'Everything is easier when you are winning: you talk about concentrating, not getting complacent, and small things you can address. But when you are losing, you know that you are going to have to make an impact.

'The last few minutes of the first half I’m always thinking of what I’m going to say. I’m a little bit in a trance. I am concentrating.

'I see other coaches take notes, but I don’t want to miss any part of the game. And I cannot imagine going into the dressing room, looking at my notes, and saying “Oh in the 30th minute, that pass you took…”

'I don’t think it’s going to impress the players.'

ON THE HAIR-DRYER

‘You can’t always come in shouting and screaming. That doesn’t work. No one likes to get criticized. But in the football dressing room, it’s necessary that you point out your players’ mistakes.

'I do it right after the game. I don’t wait until Monday, I do it, and it’s finished. I’m on to the next match. There is no point in criticizing a player forever.’

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH DAVID GILL AND THE GLAZERS

The Fergie files

Revealed: The Fergie blueprint – Man United boss reveals secrets of his success to Harvard academics

I want to pass on my expertise to the next generation of bosses, explains Fergie on decision to reveal all to Harvard professors

Ferguson installed tanning booths so United players could top up their Vitamin D levels

‘My best relationship in this club is with David. Sometimes we disagree, but we respect each other, and we know that arguments are just arguments. He’s very fair.

‘The Glazers decide (on transfers). They have generally been very supportive. The Glazers are very low-key.

'If I owned United and they won the league, I would be over the moon. I remember when I played with Rangers, when the directors were under the shower with their clothes on, dancing about.

'But the Glazers shook a few hands and had some photographs taken, that was it.’

ON THE SHAPE OF THE SEASON

‘We don’t start the pre-season training at 100mph. We do a gradual build-up. And we’re not normally the strongest in the early part of the season, but October is usually a month where we get ourselves going again.

'I always tell the players, every season, that if we are within three points from the top come New Year’s Day, we’ve got a great chance at the title.’

ON TRAINING FOR FERGIE TIME

‘Some managers are “pleasing managers”. They let the players play eight-a-side or 10-a-side games they enjoy.

'But here, we look at the training sessions as opportunities to learn and improve. Sometimes the players may think “Here we go again,” but it helps to win.

'The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club. Rather than leaving it to chance, United’s players were also made to practice how they should play if a goal was required with 10, five, or three minutes remaining.

'We practice for when the going gets tough, so we know what it takes to be successful in those situations,’

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

Watch it: Fergie time is usually a good time to grab a goal

ON HOW BEING A PLAYER HELPS HIM AS MANAGER

‘Do you think Rooney cares He’ll laugh at me and say “Boss, it was so long ago, and in Scotland. Are they still part-timers up there'”