Tag Archives: simple

Lewis Hamilton is leaving McLaren to "grow up"

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton: It's the hardest decision I've made, but I'm leaving McLaren to grow up

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton walked out of the McLaren headquarters on Friday after delivering a heartfelt and candid farewell speech to the workforce who supported his journey to Formula One stardom.

Hamilton's relationship may have soured with McLaren chairman Ron Dennis, the man who bankrolled him for 14 years from his childhood days as a karting prodigy, but he relished the opportunity to explain personally why he has chosen to drive for Mercedes from next year.

'It was the hardest decision I've ever made,' admitted Hamilton, granted a dignified departure by McLaren, a rare privilege in a sport renowned for being heartless when drivers switch allegiance.

Heavy heart: Lewis Hamilton said he is leaving McLaren to grow up

Heavy heart: Lewis Hamilton said he is leaving McLaren to grow up

Yet it was the right moment, insisted Hamilton, for him to explore life beyond the boundaries of McLaren.

'It is to do with the process of growing up, of leaving home,' he said. 'That's why I am taking the next step, to grow as a driver and as a human being.'

Yet Hamilton, who was leading his last race for McLaren in Brazil a fortnight ago when he was driven off the circuit by Nico Hulkenberg, acknowledged the inherent risk he has accepted by signing for Mercedes, a team with one win in three seasons.

'The team I'm joining isn't yet performing well,' he said. 'But I hope I'll be able to help them get where they want to be.'

See you next year... Hamilton will drive for Mercedes

See you next year… Hamilton will drive for Mercedes

Hamilton has been lured from McLaren to Mercedes by more than the simple economics of a threeyear contract worth 60million.

He is attracted by the challenge of attempting to become the catalyst for the Mercedes team's development – and future success – under Englishman Ross Brawn, who worked a similar alchemy with Michael Schumacher during their time together, first with Benetton, then with Ferrari. Hamilton is banking on Brawn – and Mercedes – making capital gains when new 1.4 turbo engines are introduced to Formula One for the 2014 season.

Importantly, Hamilton also wants to be freed of the influence of Dennis, which in recent years has become claustrophobic. Dennis similarly fell out with Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, although all of them would testify to the brilliance of his leadership and vision for McLaren.

So long: Hamilton's now former team-mate Jenson Button hugged him after his final race at McLaren

So long: Hamilton's now former team-mate Jenson Button hugged him after his final race at McLaren

One last go: Hamilton and Button were side by side in Sao Paulo

One last go: Hamilton and Button were side by side in Sao Paulo

Hamilton enjoyed his working relationship with Martin Whitmarsh, who succeeded Dennis as McLaren team principal, but during his contract negotiations this summer the 27-year-old British star realised that he needed a fresh start.

Dennis is believed to have been bitterly disappointed – and his relationship with Hamilton was irrevocably damaged. At least Hamilton and Dennis, who achieved so much with one another, held a private, convivial chat on Friday.

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Going and gone: Hamilton is looking forward to his new challenge

'When I arrived in Formula 1 in 2007, I now realise I never really grasped what I was taking on. Ron [Dennis] had told me: “Don't be surprised if you're 0.5sec slower than Fernando [Alonso]”, and I just smiled because I knew it wouldn't be the case. But, even so, that year was very hard, for many reasons.

'The following year, 2008, as a result of so much hard work from all of you, we won the championship. Thanks so much. You were brilliant – you still are. I have so much affection and love for this team. And that's why McLaren has always felt like home.'

As a parting gift, Hamilton received a three-foot model of his 2008 McLaren. 'Maybe I'll come back one day… if you'll have me,' he said, his voice heavy with emotion.

A champagne toast was offered in Hamilton's honour and he will not forget the standing ovation he was given as he walked away from McLaren's plush HQ in the Surrey stockbroker belt.

Sean Fitzpatrick: New Zealand will beat England by 15 points

Twickenham's not a great hunting ground for All Blacks… but we'll win by 15 points

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 November 2012

Twickenham hasn't always been fruitful for the ever-impressive All Blacks, but former New Zealand international and pundit Sean Fitzpatrick tells Sportsmail why his country will put Stuart Lancaster's England side to the sword.

Form so far

Good, but they need to win all four games on tour to be deemed a success back home.

That's the beauty of the All Blacks. We've beaten Scotland, Italy and Wales. Now for England.

Flair player: Dan Carter will hope to leave England's hopes of salvaging this series in tatters

Flair player: Dan Carter will hope to leave England's hopes of salvaging this series in tatters

High standards expected

Our mantra is to remember the losses more than the wins. I still recall losing to the 1993 Lions in Wellington. It was my worst game for the All Blacks.

We 'park' our victories pretty quickly.

I'm sure Richie McCaw will remember the pain of losing the 2007 World Cup quarter-final to France more than winning the final last year.

How good is this team

They have improved since winning the World Cup. They play a simple game and what they do, they do very well. They build unbelievable pressure and hardly make a mistake.

They have such strength that a good player becomes a very good player. Everyone does his job. Other than Dan Carter and McCaw, there are not many superstars – they are not showy.

Fearsome: Richie McCaw is ready to pick up another win over England

Fearsome: Richie McCaw is ready to pick up another win over England

Playing at Twickenham

It's not a great hunting ground – it's quite a difficult environment to play in and it's usually the last game.

All Blacks to look out for

No 8 Kieran Read, player of the year and the best No 8 in the world. He leads by example.

He's got the raw ability of a No 8 – big, fast and strong – a great work ethic and passion for the jersey.

He improves each week. No 15 Israel Dagg is the new Christan Cullen, a real talent improved from 12 months ago.

One to watch: Sean believes we should look out for Kieran Read (right)

One to watch: Sean believes we should look out for Kieran Read (right)

Any advice

England have to put the All Blacks under pressure for 80 minutes. They have to create space, take their chances and be hugely physical.

Basically, they need the game of their lives.

Prediction

The All Blacks to win by 10-15 points. But Twickenham is a difficult place to go to and the All Blacks will be wary.

*Sean Fitzpatrick is a rugby commentator for Sky Sports, who will show the men's and women's England-New Zealand games on Saturday as part of Sky's year-round rugby union coverage.

Gary Cahill: Lifes like a whirlwind at Chelsea

Cahill: Life's like a whirlwind at Chelsea, but I'd settle for a few more 1-0 victories

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 9 November 2012

As Gary Cahill paused momentarily for breath in Chelsea's thrilling 3-2 win over Shakhtar Donestk on Wednesday night he thought: 'Wow! They're coming at us and we're going at them.'

'For the neutral it was great to watch,' says the Chelsea and England defender with a smile, 'but I'd rather not have that.'

Cahill's yearning for the simple satisfaction of a straightforward 1-0 win is understandable.

Like a whirlwind: Gary Cahill (left) wants Chelsea to be more solid at the back after recording six clean sheets in 18 games

Like a whirlwind: Gary Cahill (left) wants Chelsea to be more solid at the back after recording six clean sheets in 18 games

Preparing: Cahill was in training on Friday ahead of Liverpool's visit

Preparing: Cahill was in training on Friday ahead of Liverpool's visit

Chelsea have managed it only once this season, against Stoke City, one of only six clean sheets they have kept in 18 games.

Manager Robert Di Matteo admits that he feels tense watching Chelsea's increasingly open style of play, so how must Cahill feel when he sees fellow centre half David Luiz charging up the pitch

'There are times when you look and things might not be as tight, or you're feeling a bit more exposed than normal,' he says, tactfully.

'We have some defensive midfielders who sit in there, which really helps.

'But sometimes when you do play so attacking, against an attacking team, you are going to get hurt.

'That's probably where we need to be a bit more disciplined, but without taking anything away from our attacking players because their first thought is to go forward and try to score and hurt teams.

'It's hard to get that balance. With the players we've got, if we were winning 1-0 would people be happy with that Or are they happy with the way we're playing this season It's entertaining.'

Few could argue with that. Since his 7million move to the capital last January, Cahill has entered what he calls a 'whirlwind' – otherwise known as life at Chelsea FC.

The 26-year-old has had to adapt to an existence where finishing sixth in the Barclays Premier League 'wasn't good enough', every game is 'huge' and the expectation is 'massive'.

That is just on the pitch; never mind the apparently never-ending sequence of events unfolding off it.

Crazy: It took Victor Moses' last-ditch goal to seal victory for Chelsea over Shakhtar

Crazy: It took Victor Moses' last-ditch goal to seal victory for Chelsea over Shakhtar

Tough work: Chelsea were lost their lead on Wednesday and had to battle hard for the victory

Tough work: Chelsea were lost their lead on Wednesday and had to battle hard for the victory

WATCHING BRIEF

CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL

Kick-off: 4pm Sunday.

TV: LIVE on Sky Sports 1.

Referee: Howard Webb.

But any suggestion that Cahill was hoping for a sleepy life in Surrey is quickly dispelled.

The theme that comes through after he meets members of the armed forces at the club's Cobham training base (above) is that this is where he wants to be: in the thick of it, trying to cement his place for club and country and win trophies.

He has been at Chelsea less than a year, but is already the proud owner of Champions League and FA Cup medals.

'It could have been very different,' he admits, had he chosen Tottenham, or if Arsenal had agreed a fee with Bolton.

As the January transfer window neared its conclusion, Cahill had to make a quick decision and opted for Stamford Bridge.

He says: 'Being a northern lad and coming down here I thought I might be a bit lost, but I've enjoyed it. My family have settled well.

'It's a short career so you should go where you need to go. At the time I moved I was playing in the Premier League week-in, week-out, so the next step was to go somewhere where you're going to try to win things.

Opportunities: With John Terry retiring from international football, Gary Cahill could make the centre back position his own

Opportunities: With John Terry retiring from international football, Gary Cahill could make the centre back position his own

Opportunities: With John Terry retiring from international football, Gary Cahill could make the centre back position his own
BRIDGE OF PROFITS
Laura Williamson

Chelsea have announced profits of 1.4million for last year – the first time they have made money in the Roman Abramovich era.

Success in the Champions League has seen turnover increase by 30m to 225m.

A statement said: 'The 1.4m profit contrasts with a loss of 67.7m in the previous financial year and puts the club in a strong position to comply with UEFA financial fair play criteria.' LAURA WILLIAMSON

'The risk was that there were great players here – you've got David Luiz, who was captain of Brazil not long ago, and JT (John Terry) who has been captain for England and Chelsea for years and years. So you're not going to walk straight in.

'But you've got to take that risk. It's not very often you get the chance to come to a big club and try to win things.'

Cahill has expressed frustration this season about Di Matteo's preference for rotation but he insisted on Friday that it is necessary to keep the squad fresh.

Terry's ankle injury and fourmatch suspension might have something to do with Cahill's change of heart.

His absence means Di Matteo has selected Cahill and Luiz more than any other defensive partnership.

Cahill, though, says he finds himself in a strange situation when it comes to Terry.

The former England captain's withdrawal from international duty has boosted Cahill's chances of starting for his country, yet it could potentially hinder the younger man's chances of playing regularly at club level.

'It is strange,' admits Cahill, 26. 'It's not like JT has come out of the England frame just as I'm getting in – I've been in for the last couple of years.

'But it's a chance for me because you're missing a fantastic player like JT in the England set-up, an established leader who, when available, will always play.

Eyes on Roberto: Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has said he will continue to rotate his centre backs, including David Luiz, Cahill and Terry

Eyes on Roberto: Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has said he will continue to rotate his centre backs, including David Luiz, Cahill and Terry

'I spoke to him about it. He supports me and I think he wishes me well with England.'

With 'established leaders' such as Terry and Rio Ferdinand no longer in Roy Hodgson's thinking, it is clear Cahill sees this as the perfect opportunity.

'England have always been blessed with good centre backs,' adds Cahill. 'It's been difficult to get in, but playing here at Chelsea, and getting opportunities, that's given me a chance.

'It's all up in the air again now, isn't it But it's an opportunity. The door's open there for someone to come in and bed down a position.'

Before England's friendly against Sweden on Wednesday, however, Liverpool come calling at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

London calling: Luis Suarez and Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday

London calling: Luis Suarez and Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday

Chelsea, like all 20 Premier League clubs this weekend, will wear poppies on their shirts, which will then be auctioned off to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Cahill smiles as he admits he might have to explain the significance of the red flowers to some of his foreign team-mates, but seems sincere as he discusses the importance of marking Remembrance Sunday after meeting servicemen and women at Cobham.

'Some are based here for the next two or three years and some are going off, March until December,' he says.

'They come back for Christmas. It's real life. It must be crazy. I can't imagine what that would be like. They deserve a lot of respect.'

Suddenly Chelsea's frailties do not seem so serious after all. Chelsea FC will mark Remembrance Sunday by supporting the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

Gary and his team-mates will be donating their match shirts, embroidered with the Poppy, to raise funds for the charity. To find out more and how to bid visit www.chelseafc.com on Sunday.

George North: The best part of our Polish adventure is when it"s over

George North: The best part of our Polish adventure is when it's over

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 8 November 2012

On average in our Polish training camp we backs put on 5kg of lean muscle and lost four per cent of our body fat.

It meant we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted when we got home. The forwards have to be more careful! We got back on Friday and spent two days completely resting.

Boy, did we need it. I chilled with friends and family and just ate the whole weekend. It was nice to get some real food.

Putting the work in: George North tries to get past Lloyd Williams during training

Putting the work in: George North tries to get past Lloyd Williams during training

When all life’s luxuries are taken away it’s the simple pleasures that keep you happy. You look forward to a protein bar with a line of peanut butter in it, and cracking your back out in the morning on a foam bar.

You don’t normally do five days that hard without a rest but we achieved what we set out to achieve and I feel like we’ve already been together for months. It’s not fun but you’re out there to do a job and you get that done.

My Poland highlight is always the last day. After the agony of the whole week, waking up every morning with your whole body hurting, at the end of it all you wake up with your bag half-packed and you know you’re going home.

It’s the utter relief when the final whistle goes at the end of the final session. We’ve got a cryotherapy coming to Wales — so the one good thing is we won’t have to return to Poland, although I bet we’ll still be sent to some deepest, darkest country.

Making a splash: George North during an early morning swimming session in Poland

Making a splash: George North during an early morning swimming session in Poland

Icrashed out on the bus to Warsaw, peaked in the airport after a coffee which always gets me bouncing, then as soon as I put on my headphones on the plane I was gone. I woke up in Heathrow, then fell asleep again on the bus to Cardiff!

There are only a couple of restaurants in Spala and one does the world’s biggest pizzas. On our afternoon off, five of us backs managed to finish three of them off between us.

I didn’t have any money so I went to the cashpoint beforehand and took out 100 zlotys, which is about 45 pounds. It turns out that’s the equivalent of about half a million in Poland — the pizzas only cost about four pounds! The pizza place was the pick-me-up stop. It was phenomenal — you could even get Coke out the bottle.

When you’re new to the team you set yourself personal goals, but I think now it’s more of a team thing. The personal targets go into the background, now we have to stake a claim. We have to beat these teams at home.

Working hard: George North during weights training as he looks to put muscle on his body

Working hard: George North during weights training as he looks to put muscle on his body

Argentina are no pushovers at the start of four massive games. I’ve been chatting a bit with my Argentinian team-mate at Scarlets, Tomas Vallejos (below), and he says the Pumas feel like they are a better side for facing New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the Rugby Championship.

It’s a massively tough tournament that only benefits them just by being in it. They had close games at Mendoza, in front of sell-out crowds, which gives them confidence.

Tavis Knoyle is what we call in Wales an absolute beauty. He’s come in at scrum-half and he’s a very positive chap. He works so hard and he’s been in great form for the Scarlets.

It’s been a long road for him to get here, missing the World Cup because of an operation, but you should have seen the smile on his face when he found out he’d got picked. Two half backs from the same team could be good for us too — they know each other inside out.

In the cold: George North comes out of the cryotherapy chamber

In the cold: George North comes out of the cryotherapy chamber

Players have qualms about how many games we are playing in a season. It’s a double-edged sword because games bring the funding, but I think as players we felt it was five or six games too many last season. Mentally we wanted it in Australia but physically we were let down.

The Australia tour was at the end of a big old block of work for us. I had five weeks off afterwards, which was beautiful — and needed. I came home and didn’t lift a dumbbell for three weeks.

Argentina come here in good form and are a very physical side in both forwards and backs. The backs run hard and they love an aerial battle, which is something we’ve worked on. If they started kicking a lot I’ll just have to keep running backwards and forwards to cover the ground, which is always fun

Kick it out protest is damaging for campaign – Neil Ashton

Neil Ashton: Player protests cause damaging divisions in the game

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UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 22 October 2012

On Friday night the mobile phones of players across the country were buzzing as they swapped text messages: Who is in and who is out

Rio Ferdinand’s decision to abandon the Kick It Out campaign, in direct contravention of Sir Alex Ferguson’s instructions, is only one part of a growing discontent among some of the game’s leading black players.

It is a movement fuelled by a sense of grievance. On Saturday, Jason Roberts and players from Swansea and Wigan pointedly refused to wear T-shirts in support of the Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card campaigns.

Boycott: Anton Ferdinand refused to wear the Kick It Out shirt

Boycott: Anton Ferdinand refused to wear the Kick It Out shirt

On Sunday, their protest was joined by Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha, Junior Hoilett, Djibril Cisse, Alejandro Faurlin and Shaun Wright- Phillips, from QPR, and Steven Pienaar, Sylvain Distin and Victor Anichebe from Everton.

So how did it come to this Why are black players refusing to put on a T-shirt with a simple message, ‘One game, One community’, aimed at uniting football against racism

Chairman: Lord Ouseley

Chairman: Lord Ouseley

The refuseniks have certainly spread alarm among anti-racism campaigners. Ged Grebby, chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, sent a desperate text message to those involved with the initiative on Saturday night.

It read: ‘Dear Team, Swansea and Wigan players have refused to wear our T-shirts today! This is a really backward step. We need to get the word out on what we do. Please forward this text message. This is a very serious threat to our work and the anti-racism movement.’

At the heart of the issue is Kick It Out, the body set up in England in 1993 with the brief to challenge discrimination and to provide an awareness programme across every level of the game.

Disillusionment with the organisation appears to have been bubbling away through a year scarred by the John Terry affair.

The Chelsea skipper’s triple punishment — a four-game ban, FA fine and club fine — for the unacceptable language he used towards Anton Ferdinand last October, has raised issues for black footballers.

Terry will be suspended for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday, but Kick It Out are being criticised for continuing their dialogue with Chelsea.

The organisation’s critics believe Kick It Out should have shunned the club when they announced that they backed the defender’s version of events and confirmed he would keep the captaincy.

To wear or not to wear: Everton's Steven Pienaar does not wear the Kick It Out shirt

To wear or not to wear: Everton's Steven Pienaar does not wear the Kick It Out shirt

Terry’s account was enough to secure a not guilty verdict in Westminster Magistrates Court, but the FA’s commission claimed his defence was ‘improbable, implausible and contrived’.

Some of the discontent is also directed at the FA, one of Kick It Out’s backers. This goes back to the reasoning given by England manager Roy Hodgson for leaving Ferdinand out of the Euro 2012 squad for ‘footballing reasons’.

The lingering suspicion among prominent England players is that it was more about avoiding the uncomfortable prospect of Terry and Ferdinand being in the same squad.

Other strands came into consideration as players pondered whether to support the Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card campaigns over the weekend.

Leading the boycott: Rio Ferdinand refused to support the campaign by wearing a T-shirt

Leading the boycott: Rio Ferdinand refused to support the campaign by wearing a T-shirt

Luis Suarez has never formally apologised to Manchester United left back Patrice Evra after repeatedly calling him ‘negrito’ during a fiery clash at Old Trafford last season.

Suarez, who served an eight-game ban and was fined 40,000 following the shocking incident at Old Trafford on October 15 2011, wore a Kick It Out T-shirt during the warm-up for Liverpool’s game against Reading.

He has shown little remorse for the incident and even refused to shake hands with Evra during a pre-match ceremony in February.

Some professionals are also angry after Lord Ouseley, chairman of the KIO campaign, claimed multi-millionaire footballers did not need any assistance to deal with issues of racism.

He added that it was ‘ridiculous’ if the players refused to wear T-shirts at the weekend as a direct protest against the organisation. His comments were met with outrage by some.

There will be an interesting exchange on Tuesday, when Reading striker Roberts is scheduled to attend an educational seminar at the Madejski Stadium in support of Show Racism the Red Card. Roberts was a key figure in leading the weekend protests, and it is hoped a dialogue may develop that may bring campaigners and footballers together again.

Lord Ouseley, who was part of the initial Kick It Out project in 1993, faces a difficult task to win over Ferdinand.

If he fails, perhaps the recently mooted breakaway organisation representing black footballers may be a step closer.

Shirt watch

Shirt watch

Liverpool v Manchester United tributes to Hillsborough

Liverpool united: Clubs and fans pay their respects to Hillsborough victims in emotional meeting between rivals at Anfield

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UPDATED:

13:10 GMT, 23 September 2012

Fans and players of both Liverpool and Manchester United paid their respects at Anfield to the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough in 1989.

Flowers, shirts and cards were placed outside the Shankly Gates and the by the memorial to the victims of the tragedy 23 years ago.

And as both teams emerged wearing tracksuits bearing the number 96, while United legend Sir Bobby Charlton presented flowers to Liverpool counterpart Ian Rush before respective skippers Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs released 96 red balloons.

Simple message: The word 'Justice' is written in one of the stands

Simple message: The word 'Justice' is written in one of the stands

Fans united: A Liverpool banner honoring the victims and supporting the families affected by the Hillborough disaster

Fans united: A Liverpool banner honoring the victims and supporting the families affected by the Hillborough disaster

Show of respect: Sir Bobby Charlton hands flowers to Ian Rush in honour of the Hillsborough victims

Show of respect: Sir Bobby Charlton hands flowers to Ian Rush in honour of the Hillsborough victims

Making their point: Liverpool fans hold banners before the game

Making their point: Liverpool fans hold banners before the game

It was a welcome change after Suarez snubbed Evra's offer of a handshake during the clash at Old Trafford in February.

Suarez was banned by the Football Association for eight matches for racially abusing Evra during a previous meeting at Anfield.

But the two players exchanged a
greeting ahead of the match, which was dominated by the two clubs'
tributes to the victims of Hillsborough in light of the damning cover-up
of the disaster 23 years ago.

Shaking on it: Liverpool and Manchester United players shake hands prior to kick-off

Shaking on it: Liverpool and Manchester United players shake hands prior to kick-off

Putting the past behind them: Luis Suarez and Manchester United's Patrice Evra shake hands

Putting the past behind them: Luis Suarez and Manchester United's Patrice Evra shake hands

Respect: Ferguson shakes hands with Ian Rush

Respect: Ferguson shakes hands with Ian Rush

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
decided against appointing Evra as his captain for the match despite the
absence of regular skipper Nemanja Vidic through injury.

Ferguson has written a letter which
was handed to United fans as they went into the ground, appealing for
there to be no vile chants about the tragedy.

And although some sang anti-Liverpool songs on their way into the stadium, none made any reference to Hillsborough.

In addition, their supporters applauded when a tribute to the Hillsborough families was read out prior to kick-off.

Time to reflect: Tributes are laid out at the Eternal Flame memorial and fans pay respect to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy before the game between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield

Time to reflect: Tributes are laid out at the Eternal Flame memorial and fans pay respect to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy before the game between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield

Never forget: The Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

Never forget: The Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

Once the game started both sets of
fans traded insults, although a refrain of 'Where's your famous Munich
song' from the United fans drew boos.

Earlier, Charlton had been greeted
with warm applause on his arrival at the stadium, while fellow 1968
European Cup winner Paddy Crerand chatted with home supporters.

And, while Sir Alex Ferguson, Robin
van Persie and Evra, were booed as they made their way off the team
coach, the reaction was half-hearted.

And before the game Gerrard, whose
10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was among 96 victims in the 1989
Hillsborough tragedy appealed for both sets of fans to set the right
tone for a highly charged game that was being watched all around the
world.

More than a game: Fans wait outside Anfield ahead of the match

More than a game: Fans wait outside Anfield ahead of the match

Tribute: Fans lay a teddy bear and cards by the memorial

Tribute: Fans lay a teddy bear and cards by the memorial

Personal: Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall walks past the Hillsbrough memorial outside the stadium before the game

Personal: Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall walks past the Hillsbrough memorial outside the stadium before the game

A mosaic was also displayed around three sides of the ground during the traditional playing of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra put
their past problems to one side to shake hands ahead of the Liverpool v
Manchester United match.

On an emotional afternoon at Anfield, the pair shook during the usual pre-match greetings between opposing teams.

Call for calm: Letter from Sir Alex Ferguson handed to fans as they come through the turnstiles

Enlarge

A letter from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Call for calm: Letter from Sir Alex Ferguson handed to fans as they come through the turnstiles

Clear message: A Liverpool fan at the memorial flame

Clear message: A Liverpool fan at the memorial flame

United: A Manchester United shirt hangs outside Anfield

United: A Manchester United shirt hangs outside Anfield

Football United: Fans from a number of clubs leave tributes

Together: A message of support from the Manchester United fans

Football United: Fans from a number of clubs leave tributes

London 2012 Olympics: Mo Farah may suffer from lactic acid build up

It's the acid test for Mo! Lactate residue standing in Farah's way in bid for double gold

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 10 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Mo Farah cannot hope to be at more than 95 per cent of his full fitness in Saturday's 5,000 metres. His main rivals will be at 100 per cent.

This is the opinion of his team-mate and friend Chris Thompson, a European 10,000m silver medallist, who, like Farah, lives and trains as part of the Nike Oregon Project for endurance runners in the United States.

Thompson is not being unkind to his mate but realistic because of his personal studies into the effects on the body of intensive exercise.

Taking its toll Mo farah could suffer from the lactic acid build after performing in other events at such a high level

Taking its toll Mo farah could suffer from the lactic acid build after performing in other events at such a high level

The greatest rival to Farah today, thinks Thompson, is not the other runners but the unseen damage done already to his body.

'I think he has taken on a huge challenge, something only four guys in history have achieved. He is up against very good athletes who are fresh. He could do it physically but it is not going to be easy,' said Thompson, who had one of the worst runs of his own career in last Saturday's 10,000m when Farah won.

What convinces Thompson that Farah will have lost a vital percentage is simple science. Intense exercise takes its toll.

There are micro-tears in the muscles and tissue inflammation for starters from Farah's two previous races in the last seven days.

But the killer is lactic acid, or lactate as scientists know it. It is a vital fuel for the body when running long distance flat out, converting carbohydrates into fuel for the muscles when oxygen is not enough.

Long seen as the bad guy of distance running, scientists have come round to the opinion that it is a good guy but with a bad by-product, a hydrogen ion that interferes with electrical signals in muscles and nerves, slowing energy reaction and impairing muscle contractions.

Chris Thompson (left) highlighted the threat lactic acid build-up can pose to competitors

Chris Thompson (left) highlighted the threat lactic acid build-up can pose to competitors

It is what the fun runner experiences when they hit 'the wall' in a charity marathon. It is what Gabriela Andersen-Schiess, a Swiss marathon runner, famously suffered when she weaved from side to side on the last lap in the 1984 Olympic Stadium.

It is what great runners like Farah train to delay but which they can never entirely prevent. 'How big is your threshold That is what you try to improve by intense training. But there is no way of avoiding it entirely. It is what slows you down eventually,' said Thompson.

'It can happen in an 800m if you are running too hard. It is like a defence mechanism in the body, nature trying to make you slow down when you are putting too great demands on it.

'It slowly builds up on you until suddenly your body is telling you, “I can't do this any more”.'

Fresh enough The likes of Dejen Gebremeskel (centre) will be at 100 per cent fitness

Fresh enough The likes of Dejen Gebremeskel (centre) will be at 100 per cent fitness

Thompson would not be surprised if those who are fresh, like the Ethiopians Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel and Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, employ a strategy of constantly changing pace.

Quick, slow, quick . . . the effective way to induce more immediate lactic acid build-up.

Their reasoning will be that they can endure it better than a fatigued Farah.

'That would be a very clever tactic because the easiest way to run distance races is at even pace. Changing pace makes it a lot tougher, testing the other man's threshold,' said Thompson.

The by-product of lactate builds up
more rapidly when the pace is constantly changing. The leg muscles fill
with the by-product and suddenly a runner feels they are running in
treacle.

'You're weighed
down,' said Thompson. Lactate residue can be gone from muscles within
hours and is helped by the slower warm-down athletes do.

They also try to minimise muscle damage by taking ice baths afterwards.

The pain barrier: Farah will have to push himself to the limit

The pain barrier: Farah will have to push himself to the limit

But Thompson believes the effects of an intense race will endure for at least a fortnight 'and probably longer'.

Farah is attempting a double achieved at the last Games in Beijing by the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele for the first time since the Seventies, when the flying Finn Lasse Viren did a Bolt-style double double in Munich and Montreal.

Only the greatest are good enough to do it. Farah is up against at least one of the sport's greats, Bernard Lagat, the Kenyan-born American who did the double at the 2007 World Championships in the 1500m and 5,000m and earlier this year won the world indoor 3,000m title.

He is 37 now but no shrewder head exists on a runner's shoulders and he will know how to test Farah to the limit.

The Ethiopians will also be running team tactics, and although Britain's finest can expect help in the early and middle laps from his American training partner Galen Rupp, he must hope that lactic residue, the micro-tears and the inflammation will not make a pedestrian of him.

If Farah fails it will not be for want of an extreme effort but because of his body's extreme efforts on other days.

London 2012 Olympics: Brownlee bothers reveal secret to their success

Home comforts helped Brownlee brothers win… but Jonny can't wait to move out!

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UPDATED:

23:39 GMT, 8 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

The first thing Jonny Brownlee will do when he returns home to Yorkshire with his brother Alistair is move out.

For the past three years the pair have lived together in a stone-built cottage in the village of Bramhope, near Leeds, but have now decided enough is enough.

Understand, it’s nothing to do with the fact Alistair, 24, won triathlon gold in Hyde Park on Tuesday, pushing Jonny, 22, to bronze. It’s just the younger Brownlee likes his trainers tidy and the elder one wants to keep the water bill down.

Yorkshire pride: The Borwnlee brothers took gold and bronze in the triathlon

Yorkshire pride: The Borwnlee brothers took gold and bronze in the triathlon

‘I’ve lived with Alistair for three
years now and I’ve bought my own house,’ said Jonny. ‘I haven’t actually
got the keys yet. I think I get them in a weeks’ time when I get back.

‘I’m really glad I’m moving, we needed
some more space. There’s lots and lots of kit. We got our Olympic kit
and literally couldn’t get it in the house. It wasn’t so much we got
sick of each other, we needed more room.

‘I live a simple life. I have my
trainers organised nicely, my bikes organised nicely – I needed more
room to do that. I’ve moved about 500m away from Alistair. It’s not too
far, it’s in the same village.

‘We’ll still do our training together
but it will be much easier to get out of the door. I won’t be scrambling
around to get changed or go and get my running top only to find out
he’s nicked it.’

Alistair added: ‘I suppose I’m looking
forward to a bit more space. He’s already a massive drain on my
resources. He has lots of hot baths all the time so my bills will be a
lot cheaper. I do feel like I’ve got to look after him a bit but I think
he’s past that, he doesn’t like it.’

The brothers say they are readying
themselves for recognition in their local in Bramhope following their
heroics at these Games, but being stopped in the streets of a big city
like Leeds is another matter.

White Rose: The fans made their way south to cheer on their boys

White Rose: The fans made their way south to cheer on their boys

‘In the local village people will bake
us well-done cakes,’ Jonny said. ‘But maybe in Leeds we are not sure.
Whatever it is, it will be. We have to enjoy it.’

Any embarrassing requests for proof of
age should at least be a thing of the past for the pair who certainly
look younger than the early 20s they are. ‘(We get ID’d in pubs) all the
time,' Alistair laughed. 'I even got ID’d for buying scissors in
Boots!’

Reflecting on his success at the
adidas lounge yesterday, Alistair admitted to feeling somewhat
‘underwhelmed’ by the feeling of being an Olympic champion after years
of training. ‘You spend so much time dedicating yourself to winning an
Olympic gold medal and actually I don’t finish any different at all. I
don’t know how I expected to feel. I think absolutely I will go back
training on the same routes I have always done and really enjoy it.’

Ahead for both of them are the final
World Series meets of the season and Jonny told Alistair he ‘better
help’ him win the overall title, as Alistair has no chance following a
long spell out with an achilles injury.

Beyond that, Alistair reaffirmed his
interested in running the 10,000m at the Commonwealths in Glasgow and a
commitment to going for gold in triathlon once more at Rio 2016. Both
statements showed he is a glutton for punishment.

Gold rush: Team GB have exceeded all expectations at the Games

Gold rush: Team GB have exceeded all expectations at the Games

He said: ‘There’s a Commonwealths in
two years’ time so you never know I might look into seeing if I can
qualify for the 10k as well as doing the triathlon, that would be a
dream.

‘Last time the qualifying time for
Commonwealths was 28.50 and I ran 29.07 (on the last leg of the Olympic
triathlon) so I could do it. It would be nice to have a bit of a
different challenge and mix it about a bit.

‘Rio is four years away so it’s a long
time but I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping the course is going to
be hard because it’s very flat here in London. I’m told Rio will have a
sea swim and it will be hilly so that would be fantastic.’

Ally McCoist targets more new faces after 38,000 fans watch Rangers cup win

McCoist targets more new faces after 38,000 fans watch Rangers cup win

|

UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 7 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Rangers manager Ally McCoist
celebrated the triple-signing of Fran Sandaza, Kevin Kyle and Emilson
Cribari, then vowed to step up his bid to land new recruits starting
with Craig Beattie.

After watching his side beat East
Fife 4-0 in the first round of the Scottish Communities League Cup, the
Ibrox boss admits he would feel his squad was ‘depleted’ if he did not
land any new players ahead of the transfer window closing, with Rangers
due to be hit with a one-year transfer embargo for past sins.

Flying start: Lee McCulloch settled Rangers' nerves with the opener after quarter of an hour

Flying start: Lee McCulloch settled Rangers' nerves with the opener after quarter of an hour

And on a night which saw a huge crowd delay kick off by 20 minutes as 38,000 fans crammed through the pay gates at Ibrox to support their fallen club, McCoist admitted he would be unhappy if his triple signing swoop was his last ahead of the transfer window closing.

Former Celtic and Hearts striker Beattie tops his list but McCoist hopes for a flood of recruits ahead of assaults on the Third then Second Division.

McCoist said: ‘I’m delighted at the quality players Sandaza, Kyle and Emilson we brought in today, but I would feel our squad was depleted if we could not get more in before the window closes. Simple maths tells you we need more players in because some will be going out and the embargo kicks in at the start of September.

‘I’m delighted to get in the three new guys but I would not be confident of getting through the next two years with these numbers, due to the prospect of injuries and suspensions.

‘I’ll have a chat with Charles Green about Craig Beattie and see if we can push that on — but there’s a good number of players on my radar.’

McCoist also paid tribute to the Rangers fans for backing their club in numbers on Tuesday night.

‘They were absolutely amazing. I thought there would be 22,000 but I was hopeful we might reach 30,000. The shining light in this situation (since administration) has been our supporters.

‘This game at Ibrox meant so much to them
and I was really nervous beforehand because I wanted to win and give
them something they would be pleased to see. I’m always nervous before
games and I’ll be the same at Peterhead at the weekend.’

Meanwhile,
former St Johnstone striker Sandaza was celebrating realising a dream
by his Ibrox debut after his move to Govan fell through in January.

One up: Lee McCulloch (right) celebrates his opener with Rangers team-mate Andrew Little

One up: Lee McCulloch (right) celebrates his opener with Rangers team-mate Andrew Little

‘I’m delighted to finally come here and to play for this great club,’
said the Spaniard, who made his debut as a second half substitute
alongside Kyle.

‘When I arrived in Scotland four years ago, I didn’t speak any English
but I knew I wanted to play for a big club like this, at Ibrox in front
of a full stadium. I wanted to come in January but that didn’t happen.
But it seems it was my destiny.’

Meanwhile, 32-year-old former Lazio and Napoli defender Emilson admitted the lure of the Ibrox giant was too big to turn down.

He said: ‘I am very happy to be here. I got a very good impression when I
spoke with the manager and the stadium and the training facilities are
excellent.

‘The club is famous in my country because it has such a strong history,
so it was an easy decision for me to make when I had the chance to
sign.’

And after signing a one-year deal, former Hearts striker Kyle insisted
that the prospect of playing in the Third Division had not put him off
joining Rangers.

He said: ‘This is Rangers, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. It’s a massive opportunity.’

Doubling up: Dean Shiels chips home Rangers' second of the night

Doubling up: Dean Shiels chips home Rangers' second of the night

Wimbledon 2012: Expert view on the final

The expert view: Murray missed his big chances

|

UPDATED:

21:24 GMT, 8 July 2012

They all sat on Centre Court analysing every forehand and backhand, enjoying every point of a great match.

Sportsmail put the key questions to Andy Murray's former coach Brad Gilbert, 1977 Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade and former British No 1 Tim Henman.

Brad Gilbert

Brad Gilbert

Virginia Wade

Virginia Wade

Tim Henman

Tim Henman

Slowed: Wade says Murray was mentally tired

Slowed: Wade says Murray was mentally tired

Why did Murray lose the match

GILBERT: There are a lot of peaks and valleys in a match. He got off to a good start for the first time in a Grand Slam final but missed break points at 2-2 and 4-4 in the second, which were vital.

You then sensed Federer was gaining momentum.

Then in the third set, a simple game that Murray was leading 40-0 turned into a 20-minute ordeal that he lost. It changed the match.

Federer won the key points, seized the momentum and that was the difference.

WADE: He played really well and it was extremely close throughout.

Federer was a little tight in the first set but halfway through the second he just began to loosen up and Murray began to get a bit tired mentally.

Murray hit some unbelievable shots but there were more from Federer.

On top of that, Murray's serve wasn't quite as good in the final two sets.

HENMAN: You cannot accuse Murray of losing it. He got off to a great start and did such a good job at the beginning, getting that break of serve to win his first set in a Grand Slam final.

Then, at 5-6 in the second set, Federer played two great points at 30-30, finishing off with that great drop shot.

But in the first set Andy took his chances, whereas in the second set he didn't take any of four break points.

Federer was really looking to run round Murray's second serve and target it.

Once Federer starts dominating with his forehand you think you've got to keep going for more and it's like a vicious circle.

That's why he's so difficult to play against.

Cover up: Murray (right) serves to Federer under the roof

Cover up: Murray (right) serves to Federer under the roof

Did the roof change the match

GILBERT: Yes. Federer averaged five miles per hour more on his serve under the roof.

He played more aggressively and did a great job of then coming into the net more, playing attacking tennis.

WADE: I don't think the roof changed the game – it's just an excuse some people use.

The momentum of the match had already changed by then. If anything you could have argued that Federer's momentum would have been disrupted by the rain break.

HENMAN: Yes. It was probably as good a time as you could have a rain delay, with it being one set all, but under the roof Federer's ball-striking and timing was just immaculate.

His third and fourth sets were faultless.

What has Murray learnt from this Wimbledon campaign

GILBERT: He did a great job of managing himself, not getting down on himself and not losing it on court. He had a cry but that was after the match.

Ivan Lendl and he will now study the match, because you learn from winning but you really have to learn from losing.

Learning curve: Ivan Lendl will look at the tape

Learning curve: Ivan Lendl will look at the tape

WADE: One thing that has been noticeable is that he doesn't look as afraid to make errors as he used to.

I think that has come from Ivan Lendl. Murray used to play a bit safe and got angry with himself when he made errors – he doesn't like making mistakes – but he's more aggressive now and that means hitting more winners.

He has also learnt not to be too high or low emotionally on court.

Again, that has come from Lendl.

HENMAN: I think it's much better he tried to play the big points on his own terms. If he hadn't, you would have said he wasn't aggressive enough.

But that's where the pressure is – playing someone like Federer you know you have to take every opportunity – and Andy will learn from that.

Can he ever win a Slam and what does he have to improve to take that final step

GILBERT: The three guys in front of him have won 29 of the last 30 Grand Slams.

Nadal is 26, Djokovic is 25 and Federer is the youngest almost 31-year-old ever.

But Kim Clijsters lost her first four and then won four. Ivan Lendl lost his first four and won eight.

So I believe that whenever he wins the first one, the floodgates will open.

He's closer than ever but winning that first one is so difficult.

A couple of times after losing Slam finals, he's had dips in form.

He can't have that now because it's the Olympics and the US Open.

I'm sure Ivan will make sure that doesn't happen.

Trio of greats: Murray unlucky to play in the same ear as Djokovic (left), Nadal (right) and Federer

Trio of greats: Murray unlucky to play in the same ear as Djokovic (left), Nadal (right) and Federer

Trio of greats: Murray unlucky to play in the same ear as Djokovic (left), Nadal (right) and Federer

WADE: I don't know what more he can do. He was brilliant.

It is so, so tough when you have Roger, Nadal and Djokovic in front of you.

If you play tennis at a time when there is one phenomenal player, you can accept it.

Two is unlucky but three is just so tough. But he should still make more finals and each time he will have more experience.

He just has to hope it is not against one of those guys.

HENMAN: Yes, he will win one. We all believe that but the key thing is it's important that Murray does, too.

It's going to be very difficult for him in the short term but he's doing the right things and playing the right way and if he keeps doing that, he'll have more opportunities in the future.

But this will be a tough loss, a devastating loss.

Devastating loss: Murray may find it difficult to bounce back

Devastating loss: Murray may find it difficult to bounce back

Age no barrier: Federer can achieve more

Age no barrier: Federer can achieve more

How much more can Federer go on to achieve

GILBERT: Andre Agassi blossomed in his early thirties. I have a feeling Federer is going to play great until he is 35.

He's never injured, he knows how to manage his schedule and it is not unrealistic he could win 20 Grand Slams.

The last eight winners of Wimbledon have been No 1 at the end of the year.

He will be determined to make it nine.

WADE: Federer looked as fresh as a daisy when he came off court. I know how much he wants to win again at the Olympics and how great would that be

It would be an unbelievable achievement but I don't think it is possible.

HENMAN: His achievements in the game are just phenomenal.

A lot of people were trying to write him off because he had reached the age of 30 and the list of people who have won after that is very small.

You also felt that Djokovic and Nadal were separating themselves from him, but he's had other ideas.

I think he's still the player to beat.

I wouldn't be surprised if he came back to Wimbledon in 12 months' time and that was still the case.

I think he's going to be No 1 for quite some time.