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Oscar Pistorius back in court for murder bail application as funeral held for Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius 'attached his legs, walked seven metres and shot four times': Paralympic star back in court for murder bail hearing as funeral held for girlfriend Steenkamp

PUBLISHED:

06:41 GMT, 19 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:53 GMT, 19 February 2013

Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius shot dead his model girlfriend through a closed bathroom door, a court heard today.

A tearful Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, appeared in a South African court for his second appearance over the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the hearing that Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times inside his Pretoria home on Thursday.

Pistorius, 26, was formally charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend.

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Oscar Pistorius, centre with head covered, leaves the Brooklyn Police Station on his way to court hearing on Tuesday

Bail hearing: Oscar Pistorius, centre with head covered, in a police car on his way to court on Tuesday

Solemn: Pallbearers carry the coffin of Reeva Steenkamp into the crematorium in Port Elizabeth

Solemn: Pallbearers carry the coffin of Reeva Steenkamp into the crematorium in Port Elizabeth

Emotional: Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva (second left), arrives at the crematorium in Port Elizabeth

Emotional: Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva (second left), arrives at the crematorium in Port Elizabeth

Respects: Springboks rugby star Francois Hougaard arrives for the memorial service

Memorial: Springboks rugby star Francois Hougaard arrives for the service

VIDEO She was good & strong. Reeva's brother remembers her ahead of funeral

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Mr Nel said the victim arrived at the house between 5pm and 6pm the night before she was killed at 3am. He said she was locked inside the small bathroom and was unarmed.

'She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere,' said Mr Nel.

The prosecutor also said the athlete, who broke down in tears during the hearing, had not provided investigators with his own version of what happened.

Barry Roux, defending, said Ms Steenkamp was not murdered, and there were a number of cases where men have shot members of their own family through doors after mistaking them for burglars.

He also suggested that Pistorius broke the bathroom door down to help Ms Steenkamp after the shooting.

The charge was made as Steenkamp's
body was being driven to a church for a memorial service in the
south-coast city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members have
gathered from around the world.

Pistorius uncovered

When Sportsmail's award-winning photographer Andy Hooper was invited into the home of Oscar Pistorius

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

Pistorius' arrest triggered shock
across the globe and prompted rumours that he might have mistaken his
girlfriend for an intruder in what could have been a Valentine's Day
surprise gone wrong.

But police swiftly distanced
themselves from that suggestion and said there had been previous
incidents of a 'domestic nature' at Pistorius' house.

His family has vowed to fight the murder charge in the 'strongest terms'.

Pistorius's management company has
issued a statement announcing it had 'no option' but to cancel all
future races the double amputee was contracted to compete in.

Managing agent Peet Van Zyl said the athlete's 'key focus is defending himself against this serious charge'.

Pistorius, who won two gold medals
and a silver at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, was contracted to
compete in the Manchester City Games on May 25, following Qantas Tour
races in Australia on March 9 and 16 and meetings in Rio de Janeiro
(March 31) and Iowa (April 26).

Video: Pistorius arrives at court

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Journalists watched Pistorius, head
covered with a hoodie, leave the police station and arrive at the back
entrance to the courthouse in Pretoria, before 7am.

Pistorius' brother Carl and longtime
track coach Ampie Louw – the man who convinced Pistorius to take up
athletics – were also in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court building,
pointing out friends of the family that should be allowed in. Queue of
dozens of people waited to go in that public entrance.

Pistorius
was remanded in custody after a hearing on Friday at which prosecutors
said they intended to pursue a case of premeditated murder against the
athlete – which means he could face a life sentence.

And
they are set to strongly oppose a bid by Pistorius' legal team for the
Paralympic athlete to be granted bail at a court hearing.

Breakdown: Oscar Pistorius wept uncontrollably in court as the charge was read out

Shocking: Oscar Pistorius was charged with murdering his girlfriend on Valentine's Day at his Pretoria home

Grisly scenes: A graphic cartoon strip has been published depicting the last moments before Oscar Pistorius allegedly shot his girlfriend dead

Grisly scenes: A graphic cartoon strip has been published depicting the last moments before Oscar Pistorius allegedly shot his girlfriend dead

Home: Neighbours of the athlete say they heard noise from the house (pictured today) just before the authorities arrived

Concern: Police say that there had been previous incidents of a 'domestic nature' at Pistorius's property

Police
swiftly distanced themselves from an initial suggestion that Pistorius
may have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder in what could have been
a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrong.

They added that there had been previous incidents of a 'domestic nature' at Pistorius's property.
His family has vowed to fight the murder charge in the 'strongest terms'.

Pistorius's best friend claimed the
sports star called him minutes after the shooting telling him 'there has
been a terrible accident', according to the Sunday People.

Justin Divaris said: 'It's all very sad. Oscar called me at 3.55am saying that Reeva had been shot.
It was very traumatic. By the time we got there it was already a crime scene and we weren't allowed in the house.'

Pistorius's father said he had 'zero doubt' Miss Steenkamp's death was a
tragic accident and that his son may have acted 'on instinct'.

Henke Pistorius said he believed the model was killed after being mistaken for an intruder at his son's house.

Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Support: Pistorius's father said he had 'zero doubt' Miss Steenkamp's death was a
tragic accident

The funeral of Reeva Steenkamp also takes place today

The funeral of Reeva Steenkamp also takes place today

He said: 'When you are a sportsman, you act even more on instinct.

'It's instinct – things happen and that's what you do.'

Meanwhile Steenkamp's mother has paid tribute to her daughter, describing her as the 'most beautiful person who ever lived.'

Mrs Steenkamp told South African newspaper The Times: 'She loved like no one else could love.

'She had so much of herself to give and now all of it is gone. Just like
that, she is gone … In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the
most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.

'All we have is this horrendous death to deal with … to get to grips
with. All we want are answers … answers as to why this had to happen,
why our beautiful daughter had to die like this.'

The Footballers" Football Column – Rohan Ricketts: Globetrotter how he moved from England to Ecuador via India

ROHAN RICKETTS: Cows in the road and Twitter row meant my Indian adventure ended early… but I went back in time to live the dream in South America

PUBLISHED:

08:20 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:06 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rohan Ricketts

Rohan Ricketts started his football career playing for Arsenal and was part of the hugely successful side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2000 and 2001. But a year later he made the move that only four players before him had and crossed the north London divide to join Tottenham. After 30 appearances for the White Hart Lane club, Ricketts began his football journey playing for Wolves, Coventry, QPR, Barnsley before he opted to move abroad and to join MLS side Toronto FC. Since then he has played in Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Ireland and India. He is now playing in South America, in Ecuador. Before you read his first Footballers' Football Column, watch his video.

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I’ve often been called a ‘journeyman’ in my football career and in late 2012 I made my biggest journey to date when I signed for Dempo SC in Goa, India. It doesn’t sound like the most obvious move to make but, as they say, football is a funny old game.

Last summer I was really keen to return to the UK, after a stint at Shamrock Rovers in Ireland so I returned to London to see what I could find.

But it is such a tough market and there were so many players looking for a club. There’s a fine balance between holding your nerve and waiting to find a club or signing somewhere to ensure financial security for your family.

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

Getting to know the locals: Ricketts enjoyed his short spell in India, despite his issues on the pitch

There were many players who were still looking for a club even after the season started. It’s easy to assume that players are being choosy about which club they sign for and ruling out lower league clubs but for me that wasn’t the case.

I love playing football, it’s what I was born to do. I may have been nearing 30 but I had no plans to give it up just yet.

After much deliberation with my family and friends, I made the decision to sign for Dempo SC. India isn’t really known for its football, I knew it would be different to Europe but the challenge of living in another country and helping them to build up the reputation of football really appealed to me.

I did it before when I signed for Toronto FC in MLS and I found it really rewarding to help educate a new generation about the sport.

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

First move abroad: Ricketts moved to MLS and joined Toronto

I was told how serious Dempo SC were about growing football in India and I was excited to join them so I signed until May 2013.

It
certainly was a world away from London. It gets so hot there that we
were doing all our training sessions and practice matches early in the
morning before it got too unbearable.

It was fascinating to live in such a different culture, I was late for training on a couple of occasions due to cows in the road which was certainly something I had not experienced before and was I confronted with severe poverty in certain areas, which was difficult to see.

On the pitch, it was great to taste victory on the first day of the season after such a long break away, but it really was a different game to the one I am used to. It was the tactics that were lacking, rather than the players' skill level, so I was confident we would improve as the team gelled.

Rohan Ricketts

Mobbed: Ricketts helped Shamrock Rovers win the Irish League

Luck of the Irish: Ricketts enjoyed his spell with Shamrock Rovers and helped them win the Irish league

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see if that would be the case. I had joined the team under the impression that they wanted me to play as I do and that they wanted to develop a passing style.

However the coach soon made it clear that he was expecting me to adapt to the way they played. It didn’t help that he was trying to play me as a striker rather than an attacking central midfielder.

I had some discussions with him about this in the early days and he did start to play me in the
right position.

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Young stars: Rohan Ricketts was part of the Arsenal Youth team that included Steve Sidwell, Moritz Volz, Jermaine Pennant and Jay Bothroyd

Ricketts playing for Spurs

Rohan Ricketts

Crossing the divide: Ricketts moved to Spurs after starting his career in the Arsenal youth team

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I mentioned everything that was happening on my Twitter account, something the coach was not happy about. When the Indian press asked him about the things I was saying he denied it and said that I had misunderstood.

I knew that I hadn’t, although I do recognise that talking about it in 140 characters on Twitter was perhaps not the best forum. I was just frustrated because I wanted the team to do well.

As a result of my comments I was put on the bench for the next four games, in both the Goa and
I League.

The team did not do as well as we had been doing and it was really hard to sit and watch, but I remained professional and trained hard. It was a big plus to have moral support from a lot of the key members of the squad. This is something that can be rare being a player in a foreign country.

Eventually after keeping my focus and positive spirit, I was re-instated in the starting XI against Salgoacar FC. The game was tough but we ended up winning 2-1, and I scored my first I League goal and then set up the winnner.

After the game the coaches and players were in a good mood and we had gone two points clear at the top of the table. I had hoped that was the turning point for me but unfortunately things didn’t improve with the head coach.

It was a really uncomfortable situation with him and again I spoke out about the difficulties I was having on Twitter. After my first tweets I had spoken with the President of the club, who is a great guy, and he was supportive but obviously I understood that he needed to run the club successfully and for that he needs a united team.

I wasn’t trying to unsettle things with my later tweets but I couldn’t stay silent.

After further discussions with the President it became clear that my position at the club was untenable.

I can’t talk about everything that happened there but suffice to say that I have the utmost respect for the President and my team mates at Dempo SC along with the many fans who I met while I was there. I wish them every success this season.

Fortunately for me, when I knew that I was leaving Dempo, I was able to sign very quickly for a new club – 10 hours back in time at Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador.

Playing in South America has always been a dream of mine so when my agent told me about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance.

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

A new excuse for being late: Ricketts was later for training due to cows in the road (file picture)

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

Fans' favourite: Ricketts is surrounded by fans as he leaves training

I have been here for a month now and am settling in well. My team-mates have been very welcoming and I have joined in pre-season, which is refreshing after my last couple of moves where I have joined mid-way through and struggled to get to the same fitness level.

We played our first game of the season at the end of January against the Champions and biggest club in Ecuador Barcelona SC. Before the game I could feel the hype surrounding the game and for me it felt like I was involved in a Premier League fixture back home against Manchester United.

Fans all over our city, Quevedo, were stopping me daily to let me know how big the game was for them.

Talk about pressure on your first game.

This pressure was not new to me but I could still feel the anticipation and excitement all around. I'm grateful to be part of such moments. This is no doubt the stuff of dreams for others but for me it is reality.

I knew I was starting in the game a week before, so I did not have the annoying waiting game surrounding team selection.

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

On the move: Ricketts left India to move to Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador

Once the game day arrived and we got to the stadium and the energy around the ground was almost tangible. Salsa music was playing and the people were chanting an hour ahead of
kick-off.

I just tried to remain cool as I did not want to lose energy. Good thing I did because the game turned out to be a real scrap due to the bad weather which turned the pitch into a mud bath.

I was hoping to get on the ball and play our passing game, but it was not to be for either side.

ROHAN RICKETTS

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @RohanRicketts

It was all about winning the second ball and playing on the counter attack. We adapted really well to the conditions and took the lead early on but the referee seemed to have his own agenda, in the second half when he gave Barcelona as penalty which was never a penalty and then didn't give us a penalty for a blatant handball in their box.

I won't go too much into the incident as I may get myself in trouble, but the game ended 1-1. A good point for us against the champions and a good team performance.

I was relatively pleased with my performance but I know the conditions limited my chances of being more active in dangerous areas.

I'm adapting quickly and learning the lingo, which will only speed up the settling in process and help me get the most out of my latest football adventure.

The Footballers" Football Column – Kevin Betsy: Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with Susan Boyle

KEVIN BETSY: Watching Brazil was like buying a ticket to see Beyonce and ending up with SuBo… England may have won, but the Thomas Ince tale reveals everything that's wrong with our game

PUBLISHED:

11:01 GMT, 13 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 13 February 2013

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Kevin Betsy returns for his second Footballers' Football Column fresh from scoring for Woking in the 3-0 win at Alfreton at the weekend. The Fulham Academy coach was at Wembley to watch England beat Brazil last week – but left disappointed with the team in yellow. Betsy is also quick to praise Ashley Cole but has some damning thoughts on the future of the game.

When the final whistle blew at Wembley last week, my love for the game had increased and I wished I could have my career over again. However, as I walked away from the stadium my mind was clouded with questions.

This England team has been much criticised in the past, yet against Brazil they played a superb tactical game accompanied with an excellence in technical ability. Something that you associate with the team that have five stars embroidered above their badge, not the team with just one.

The much hyped arrival of the Brazilian team to Wembley was one of the biggest let downs I have experienced as a football fan. Brazil are a team that lots of people
support as their
second nation. As a young boy in the park or on the
street it was a Brazilian, not an Englishman, I pretended to be.

Winning feeling: Wayne Rooney helped England secure their first victory over Brazil for 23 years

Winning feeling: Wayne Rooney helped England secure their first victory over Brazil for 23 years

Extravagance, flair and the Samba band are all associated with the yellow, green and blue, but even the band were as flat as their team.

It felt like booking tickets to see Beyonce and then finding out she had been replaced by SuBo. Sure she can sing, but that’s not what I signed up for.

Luiz Felipe Scolari picked a squad which left me a little perplexed, especially his decision to pick 29-year-olds Dante and Fred and Luis Fabiano, 32, ahead of their pool of younger stars.

Brazil’s endless supply of talent will never run out as the country has a system that is tried and tested and produces with distinction. Thiago Silva, Leandro Damiao, Marcelo, Romulo,
Hulk and Willian are just a few names of younger Brazilian players that
did not even make the pitch or were not in the squad, showing their strength in
depth.

Ronaldinho

Neymar

Big let down: Brazil's box office stars such as Ronaldinho and Neymar failed to live up to their billing

Jack Wilshere

Theo Walcott

The star performers: Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott shone on the big stage

Enjoying the game: Kevin Betsy at Wembley

Enjoying the game: Kevin Betsy at Wembley

Neymar and
Ronaldinho, two box office players and favourites of mine, certainly put
bums on seats at an almost full 90,000 stadium, but it was two English
players Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott that stole the show and
allowed us to celebrate the English player.

In all honesty, I feel England did play well but it could be a case of Brazil not picking their best team that helped them to win for the first time in 23 years.

Brazil will always have the upper hand over England in the long term, as their youth have opportunity to develop and play from a young age in their clubs first teams.

The Brazilian Campeonato league is full of homegrown players, with only six per cent of players coming into the league from other countries.

If a young player shows any potential they are sold off to Europe. This has always been the economic model and a main source of export.

The players know this as they need to elevate their own career earnings. Third-party ownership is normal in South America, as clubs do not have the financial capabilities of their European counterparts and to keep their best players for longer. Clubs need aid to maintain a player’s salary instead of sponsoring the club, sponsor the player and receive a return their investment.

A large portion of Brazilians have moved to play in leagues to showcase their talents, obtain work permits and boost their transfer values, Ronaldo and Romario at PSV, Juninho Pernambucano, and Michel Bastos at Lyon and David Luiz and Ramires at Benfica.

The Dutch, French and Portuguese Leagues do not have the financial backing that the Premier League clubs enjoy and regulations are flexible on foreign players.

The French and Dutch leagues differ from Portugal at the moment, their main aim is also to develop their own players. They do this well and the road for a young player at the latter stages of development is far easier than in an English club, as they have fewer foreign players to compete with.

Clubs in countries such as these need to boost their revenue and elevate themselves to be able to afford one or two top foreign players to make their club more competitive to achieve Champions League status.

Beyonce Knowles

Susan Boyle

Not what I wanted: Betsy says watching Brazil was like paying to see Beyonce and ending up with Susan Boyle

Without mass spectator volume, TV deals in their league the need to sell young players becomes a way of survival.

In the case of Portugal, they have overloaded their sides with foreign players but have sold on for vast sums, Radamel Falcao moved for 41m, Axel Witsel for 35m, Angel di Maria for 25m.

On a business level this works very well, but in football terms their national team is ageing and if something is not done soon they will also struggle, as their young players have no way of developing.

The Premier League brand shaped by Richard Scudamore must be applauded for all of its work to make the Premier League global and attract the best players that continue to bring revenue to our shores.

But perhaps, with a few tweaks here and there, the national team will increase its quality and pool of players to choose from.

The Premier League has the highest percentage of foreign players with 65 per cent. Countries lower than us include Germany 49 per cent, Spain 37 per cent and Italy 47 per cent. They have all adopted further strategies to the benefit of their sides and we need to take note.

Outnumbered: The Premier League has a very high percentage of overseas players

Outnumbered: The Premier League has a very high percentage of overseas players

More from The Footballers' Column…

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11/02/13

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07/02/13

ADAM ECKERSLEY: I played with Beckham and Ronaldo – but Becks was better… and on one of the few occasions Fergie spoke to me, he warned me of dangers of gambling
05/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Edgar Davids: If Platini can't stop racism, he should step aside and get someone in who can… Blatter and Cruyff should be leading by example
01/02/13

MARTIN ALLEN: There are so many good, young English managers like Parkinson and Tisdale… But they are being overlooked for foreigners who have done nothing
01/02/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Karl Henry: Only a handful of Premier League players can do everything – work hard, tackle, score goals… Gerrard, obviously, but Wilshere is the best
29/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Graham Westley: It was cancerous when I arrived at Preston. Did anyone turn up drunk for training Probably… but I made 24 signings to clear out and start again
28/01/13

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25/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

We have tried to implement and address with the likes of the ’homegrown rule’ but there are severe loopholes in this system.

Arsenal is a great example of this, with Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Bendtner, Wojciech Szczesny all qualified as they have the required three years development in England, but they will never pull on a Three Lions shirt.

Despite the fantastic work that goes on at youth level and the improvements being made in Academies and Centres of Excellence up and down the country criticism is always upon us.

Yes, the standard of coaching needs improving and there are processes in place to improve this but the best coaching in the world will leave any individual stagnated and unchallenged and struggle to reach full potential if the environment doesn’t test them.

My work at a Premier League Academy sees our players come up against the best our country and our foreign counterparts. Our level in comparison is extremely high.

Regular sharing of ideas and discussions take place with coaches, home and abroad. There is no magic wand or hidden secrets. It is all quite transparent as a major factor in many European clubs is they leave room in their squads for predominately their own players.

Perhaps the problem may be just one thing: ‘opportunity’. If there is no sunlight for a flower to blossom it will die. Is there enough sunlight for our young English players That is the question.

Developed to a certain level placed in the professional game but sitting in squads with no real avenue to learn the trade and gain confidence.

The newly revamped Under 21 league introduced this season is aimed at bridging the gap that young players in England have faced. They offer competitive games with consequences and a challenge.

Holding games at first-team grounds aims to increase the number of spectators and give them experience of playing in those grounds. This is good but still not enough.

It’s still reserve football, no matter how much you dress it up. There is quite a difference in tempo, tactical learning, and spectator environment to a first-team game.

Hence many clubs prefer to send their youngsters on loan.

Barcelona’s B team play in Spain’s second division and this makes my point, the players are still developing but are under challenging pressure.

People say if you are good enough you will come through but there are only a few Wayne Rooneys in a generation. The rest have to work hard and be
lucky, under managers that are brave, have a vision and will
let them play and learn from any mistakes.

Sir
Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and recently Brendan Rodgers have shown
the way. I am not saying we need to change the Premier League as a
product but adjust the ingredients a little.

Maintain foreign players in the country, of course, but just adjust the quantity.

Special talent: Players like Wayne Rooney are the exception rather than the rule

Special talent: Players like Wayne Rooney are the exception rather than the rule

Some people say the ‘six-plus-five’ rule that FIFA suggested contravenes European law and I hear this idea has been abandoned.

But it does have benefits and something similar to this would enable more players to play in the top league on a regular basis and learn from the best players.

One thing is clear, it is not the manager’s fault that they recruit foreign players.

Michael Laudrup

Michu

Knowing the market: Swansea boss Michael Laudrup bought Michu for 2m having seen him play in Spain

Their survival is based on results, they don’t make the rules and why should they not favour players where they have in-depth knowledge of ability and value. You get more for your money abroad as some imports have shown already this season and English players are overpriced.

Showing shrewdness in the transfer market with loans, smaller buys is part and parcel of being a top manager. Swansea Manager, Michael Laudrup’s Spanish purchases, including Michu at 2m, are a prime example.

I’m sure If you asked any Premier League manager he would say, 'I would love a team of five or six English players'.

Both sides of the coin: Tom Ince is an example of how clubs can make good and bad decisions

Both sides of the coin: Tom Ince is an example of how clubs can make good and bad decisions

Bosses must favour the market they know but if you have a restriction on number it may be beneficial to the national game long term and this is the governing bodies' problem to safeguard our talents development not football club's managers.

Thomas Ince is just another player who shows all things wrong with English football and all things right.

This bit is right – Developed from a young age at a fantastic academy at Liverpool.

..but this is wrong – Sold to Blackpool for 250,000, then a reported 5m offer to buy him back almost a year later. Patience may have prevailed, the giving of opportunity.

Someone else who has reaped some recent rewards with his 100-cap milestone is Ashley Cole. After coming head-to-head with Ashley on a number of occasions I must say he is without doubt the best left backs in the world.

Big achievement: Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap against Brazil

Big achievement: Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap against Brazil

Tough opponent: Betsy comes up against Cole during his Wycombe days

Tough opponent: Betsy comes up against Cole during his Wycombe days

He has to be coming up against me. Ashley comes second to Roberto Carlos in all-time status. Carlos’s devastating shot and a World Cup winner’s medal tipped the balance for me.

Whatever people’s perceptions are of Ashley off the pitch, in reality you have to be extremely professional to have achieved all he has in football. No matter how talented you are.

In my experience he’s a humble guy. Another example of what a young Englishman getting games from an early age can achieve dispels the ‘we don’t produce players ‘ myth.

Watching Peter Odemwingie on TV the other day, turning up at Loftus Road was as cringeworthy as a guy getting a sea of red lights on Take Me Out [Paddy McGuinness's ITV show – Ed] . All jokes aside, this was not a laughing matter. How could a professional footballer of Odemwingie's standing be left to drive himself to London and also drive the deal to QPR Where was his agent

A deal as complex as this one needed driving by external sources. West Bromwich Albion didn’t want to sell
and QPR had not agreed the fee. Therefore as a player you may argue your
case to the chairman, chief executive or manager but until you get the
green light you have to sit tight.

Embarrassing: Peter Odemwingie drove to Loftus Road on transfer deadline day to try and force a move to QPR

Embarrassing: Peter Odemwingie drove to Loftus Road on transfer deadline day to try and force a move to QPR

Until you get a call to say the fee has been agreed and you are free to discuss terms.

I presume the agent's fee in this deal would have been quiet substantial; the least they could have done was drive him there.

But now it is done and I hope Peter recovers well from this and gets on with what he does best, playing football.

Mario Balotelli donated his wages to charity before David Beckham started

Beckham may be about to donate his PSG wages to charity, but Balotelli started doing the same thing a while ago…

, when he and Brown became an item, and when his fame grew even further.

One particular celebration now known as the “Hulk pose” went viral on the internet – something Brown says Balotelli truly revelled in while revealing he also used his fame to avoid a speeding fine when in Manchester.

'Mario googled himself obsessively to see how popular he was,' Brown said.

Settling in: Milan hope Balotelli can become a key member of their new-look side

Settling in: Milan hope Balotelli can become a key member of their new-look side

'He loved the web craze where people were photo-shopping the “Hulk” pose he did after scoring for Italy in the semi-final [of Euro 2012] and was beside himself when it made it on to Fifa 13.

'We were out in his Bentley once and he got stopped for speeding. But the policeman's face lit up when he saw it was Mario and let him off in return for an autograph!'

VIDEO Balotelli happy to be training with AC Milan

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Kevin Keegan – The Footballers" Football Column: Luis Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not…

KEVIN KEEGAN: I don't like players kissing the badge – show you care by the way you play… Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 22 January 2013

Kevin Keegan

Never ask Kevin Keegan to ‘show us yer medals’. The latest contributor to MailOnline's Footballers’ Football Column has been a champion in England, Germany and Europe as a player, a multi-promotion success as a manager, and belongs to the select band of men who bossed England. Now a pundit, he has always been game for a laugh, but he gets serious too, so watch out Fabricio Coloccini and Luis Suarez. But watch his video interview first; he was so candid we've had to post it in three parts…

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part II…

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With the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals coming up, I’ve been doing a spot of promotion work for the competition. It’s been a good laugh, a spoof Brut ad like I used to do with Henry Cooper.

These are nervous times for fans, with their teams so close to reaching Wembley and this is just a bit of fun.

I even wear a wig but it doesn’t look as good as that hair!

No-one remembers me for my goals but everyone remembers my hair, those Brut adverts, singing, and falling off my bike in Superstars.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part III…

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Talking of Superstars, I
was working abroad so I missed the 2012 version with the Olympic stars
but people told me about it. Yes, I came off the bike but what everyone
seems to forget is that I actually won the event.

Look now at the velodromes which have
been built. Well we were on racing bikes with ” tyres on a red shale
running track, so no wonder I didn’t stay on. It hurt, too. I had to
spend two days in hospital because I’d lost all the skin down my back.

Looking
back it was great fun. All sports people are competitive, I’m sure it
was the same for the recent one. Brian Jacks was unbelievable but in
many ways it was the beginning of the end when he came in because he was
a more professional Superstar while we were footballers who turned up
and made everyone laugh by tipping over our canoes.

Scroll down for more video…

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert Van Binst bike

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert van Binst's bike

VIDEO: Keegan's Superstars fall. Ouch…

I spend a lot of time working abroad now. My work with ESPN will come to an end this year when they lose the rights but it’s been a fantastic four years and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Premier League is massive all over the world.

Last week I was in Norway covering the games and before that I was working in Malaysia. Everyone follows the Premier League and in Malaysia they have to get up at one or two in the morning to do it – it was quite strange walking out of a TV studio at six in the morning. It was very different as far as my body clock was concerned.

Kevin Keegan (pictured) launched an astonishing attack last night on Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for suggesting rivals might make it easy for Newcastle to win the title.

Kevin Keegan Newcastle manager

I'll just love it: Keegan loses the plot as Newcastle manager in 1996

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

VIDEO: Keegan's famous – and brilliant outburst in 1996…

More from The Footballers' Column…

RAHEEM STERLING: I get kicked a lot – it's annoying trying to sleep with your legs in pieces… Ivanovic is the scariest man I've played against but he's not dirty, he's a tank
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Richard Lee: I should've been a striker… you can be dreadful but bang in the winner and be hailed a hero, says the goalkeeper who is allergic to goalkeeping gloves
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Curtis Davies: Why I don't regret describing myself as a pub player… and how West Brom made me out to be the bad guy
17/01/13

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!
15/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

People ask me whether I am now finished with management. You can never say never. I have been offered four or five jobs since I left Newcastle in such terrible circumstances but none was right for me.

The only way I would come back is if I could see myself as part of the vision, which is far more important than financial reasons.

Newcastle was a pull to me. I’d played there and my father came from there.

It’s got to be something more than money. But I’ve listened to the job offers and thought that the dreams I was being sold could not match reality..

Talking of Newcastle, I have read reports that Fabricio Coloccini wants to leave although I don’t know the reasons.

If it’s a health issue, either to himself or a member of his family, then that would put a different light on it because football is not more important than life.

But if it is for another reason, then what message does that send out to the other players if he is allowed to go

I bought Coloccini, along with Jonas Gutierrez, in 2008 and he only signed a four-year contract last season. He’s a key player, the captain, and his departure would be a blow.

There is a danger that other good players in the team, like Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Cheick Tiote could start to think ‘Why should we stay then’

Another player from one of my former clubs has been in the news. Luis Suarez wears my old No 7 shirt at Liverpool and the fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on.

He’s a very good player and has been excellent this season but he gets involved in far too many controversial incidents.

When you are a manager of an English
club and your foreign players go home you just wait for something to
come out.

Players relax and think that, as they are in Argentina or
Spain or wherever, that their words are not coming back because they
weren’t speaking English.

So
Suarez admits he dived against Stoke. I remember the game and I don’t
think there was anyone in the world who thought he did anything but
dive. But what he does is put the club into a difficult position.

Brendan
Rodgers has no choice but to discipline one of his players and it’s all
about Suarez for non-footballing reasons. He needs to sort that side
out as he is an exceptional player.

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

CAPITAL ONE CUP

To join the debate around the semi-finals of the Capital One
Cup, visit: facebook.com/CapitalOneUK

I wasn’t able to go to the FA’s 150th anniversary celebration although 150 is something to celebrate.

One of the things that I hope is addressed in the future is the number of football people at the FA. There are many more administrators and that’s wrong. Sir Trevor Brooking does us proud but there should be more like him, more of a mix.

A professional footballer can always become an administrator but it doesn’t work the other way round.

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

The Footballers" Football Column – Craig Lindfield: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then discover at training…

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!

PUBLISHED:

12:54 GMT, 16 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 16 January 2013

Craig Lindfield

As Sportsmail's Footballers' Football Column continues to lift the lid on the lives of those who play, coach and administer the game, Accrington Stanley midfielder takes us through his typical week. A product of the famed Liverpool Academy, 24-year-old Lindfield has scored five times in 73 appearances for Stanley. Here's his take on life in League Two…

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THURSDAY
(Sportsmail asked Lindfield to start his diary on December 13)

TRIBUTE: STANLEY'S MOST FAMOUS FAN… DAVID 'BUMBLE' LLOYD

Bumble

'Craig is enjoying his second spell
with us and is a midfielder who has filled in really well at full back in
emergencies.

'He's a real team player who would do anything for this club,
including playing out of position if that's what we need.

David Lloyd Accrington Stanley U18s

'We are in a really
difficult situation at the moment and need committed players like Craig.

'He's a
good lad and we are in safe hands with the likes
of him in our colours.'

Bumble is a cricket columnist for Sportsmail and played for Accrington Stanley Under 18s (second picture) before embarking on his cricket career.

8.45 am My day starts by meeting at the Little Chef to share a lift to training. In League Two, money is tight and finding a ‘car school’ is vital to save petrol.

It is my turn to drive and the lads hate my car, a Renault Megane convertible, with zero leg room in the back. I wouldn’t mind but Charlie Barnett is about four-feet tall. It’s a 45-minute journey and today I receive 45 minutes of abuse about my car.

9.30 am The lads arrive in their ‘car schools’, the usual banter about people’s choice of clothing is rife. The same old faces wearing the same embarrassing clothes.

Dean Winnard is the main culprit,
wearing his Diesel jeans with his Asics running shoes. Then it’s over to
the pub for breakfast, the owners are paid a monthly sum by the players
to provide us with breakfast and lunch.

I
have a bowl of Alpen, whereas some of the more adventurous members of
the squad have Nutella on toast, mainly Rommy Boco our Benin winger,. He
often tries to be different from us British lads with such acts.

Breakfast
is followed by a game of darts for Charlie Barnett, Padraig Amond and I
that ends in a rare win for Charlie, who only needs two darts at double
18. The dartboard is one of the perks, of having breakfast in a pub.

Youth club: Lindfield (left) with Adam Hammill celebrate Liverpool's 2006 FA Youth Cup victory over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium

Youth club: Lindfield (left) with Adam Hammill celebrate Liverpool's 2006 FA Youth Cup victory over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium

How they stand in npower League Two

How they stand in npower League Two

11am Training today is indoors, the temperature is minus-three. We start with a possession circle and Peter Murphy has a season ticket as a chaser, as he’s constantly giving the ball away.

Then we have possession games, these got a bit ‘tasty’ and there is a real competitive edge, fuelled by some dodgy refereeing decisions from the staff.

The highlight was when Toto Nsiala, our 6ft 2in centre half, squealed like a girl when he got his little toe stood on.

1pm Back to the pub for our lunch and we are having pasta bolognese, I think Emma, the cook, may have got our food mixed up with their dogs today.

Some lads are rationed on food because yesterday there wasn’t enough to go round. Marcus Carver, a first year pro, ate a whole tray to himself. This didn’t go down well with some of the senior pros, to say the least.

2.30pm The gaffer (Leam Richardson) has called for a fitness session for the lads who have not played as much football recently. Unfortunately, as I share a lift, I have to wait in the Starbucks with Peter for our third member Charlie to be put through his paces.

4.30pm Arrive back to the meeting point after a journey of our creative midfielder Charlie Barnett rapping to 50 Cent, sometimes I think he’s in the wrong business.

RECENT RESULTS

Jan 12: Aldershot 2-0 Accrington

Jan 5: Accrington 0-2 Dag & Red

Jan 1: Accrington 1-0 Chesterfield

Dec 29: Rotherham 4-1 Accrington

Dec 26: Bradford 2-1 Accrington

Dec 22: Accrington 1-1 Plymouth

Dec 18: Oxford 2-0 Accrington
(FA Cup 2nd rnd)

Dec 15: Accrington 0-2 Wycombe

FRIDAY

11am Today I had a lie-in as we didn’t have to report for training until 11am, this was to let the Astroturf thaw out to train outside.

Firstly we had a team meeting to take us through some clips showing the strengths and weaknesses of tomorrow’s opponents Wycombe.

Our physio Les Parry controls the laptop and as usual starts the session with a funny picture to lighten the mood.

Today it is as rude as ever – his banter is usually far more intelligent – but we don’t have the brightest of squads so he has to stoop to a very immature level to give the likes of Will Hatfield a chance to understand the joke.

Will is possibly the dumbest lad in football. One evening Padraig Amond said he was thinking about placing a bet on the horses, Will asked: 'It’s eight o’clock at night how can the horses see where they are going'

12pm The lads arrive for training at the local college, getting up there quickly is a must as parking spaces are limited and today Peter Murphy reversed into a grass verge when attempting a three-point turn after arriving last.

The starting XI is named by the gaffer and they are taken separately to go through set pieces while the remaining lads, who often call themselves the ‘bomb squad’, have a game of possession which is taken by coach, Paul Lodge.

Lodgey gets the short straw as he has to put up with the grumpy faces of us players who are not starting this week and today I’m unfortunately in this group.

It is freezing cold today and the southern softies, mainly Matty Whichelow, are really feeling the pain.

The Watford winger was heard on many occasions this morning saying: 'You can’t be serious, bruv'

All in the timing: Accrington's Craig Lindfield has kept his League Two diary for Sportsmail's Footballer' Football Column

All in the timing: Accrington's Craig Lindfield has kept his League Two diary for Sportsmail's Footballer' Football Column

The bosses: Accrington manager Leam Richardson (left) and player-coach James Beattie share a joke before the match at Northampton earlier this season

The bosses: Accrington manager Leam Richardson (left) and player-coach James Beattie share a joke before the match at Northampton earlier this season

Third choice: Stanley's Padraig Amond (left) and Luke Joyce sport Accrington's new third away kit

Third choice: Stanley's Padraig Amond (left) and Luke Joyce sport Accrington's new third away kit

1pm The lads have never been as grateful for the Accrington Stanley shower facilities as they are today, rushing to get our wet kit off and get the first places in our four available slots.

The worst part of the day has to be queuing for a shower and in today’s temperatures I made sure I was one of the first four. Whichelow decides to offer 50 to any player who is brave enough to provide the lads with some entertainment by performing a ‘Klinsmann dive’ on the pitch in the ice cold rain, the catch being they have to do it in just their undies.

Toto Nsiala has very little common sense and quick as a flash he’s out of the door, all the lads run out to see our big centre half slide head first straight through the biggest puddle on the pitch.

Everyone’s buzzing including Toto, until he realises that he is not getting his 50 as the lads back Matty up when he says he had his fingers crossed, Toto’s not happy and now has to queue back up for the showers!

SATURDAY

11am It’s Saturday morning, game day, as it’s a home match I am only just waking up. I have my usual match-day breakfast of poached eggs on toast with brown sauce, made by my girlfriend as my cooking skills stretch to a piece of toast.

I watch Soccer AM, then put my tracksuit on, grab my wash bag and I’m on my way to meet the ‘car school’.

12.15pm
Meet the lads at the Little Chef and get into Charlie Barnett’s car
today, he has little legs so there is no fighting about getting the
front seat, because you have just as much room sat behind the little
man.

1pm
My ‘car school’ usually arrives at the ground at 1pm on the day of a
home game, we don’t have to meet until 1.30pm, but we always allow some
time for traffic.

We
go on two of the quietest motorways, the M58 and M65, so delays are rare
but it’s better to be cautious. Good preparation is a vital ingredient
to success and I feel that it is important to have a routine on match
days.

Not everyone has
the same preparation, I like to watch the early kick-off on the TV in
the home dressing room, read the match programme, and get changed pretty
early.

I hate the
time between arriving at the ground and going out to warm-up, usually I
am one of the first changed and desperate to get out on the pitch.

Others
are far more relaxed and take their time getting changed, Charlie
Barnett, Rommy Boco and Toto Nsiala are examples of this.

Stanley standards: Linfield's revelations show life in League Two is hard, fun and extremely professional

Stanley standards: Linfield's revelations show life in League Two is hard, fun and extremely professional

I’m usually kit on, boots and all, and then look to my left to see Charlie still in his tracksuit. We have the music on the speakers, James Beattie has his tunes on, occasionally we let the captain Luke Joyce have his music on, but he plays it very safe with a lot of David Guetta and for some reason won’t let the lads put his iPod on shuffle – we all know he has some awful songs though so it’s probably for the best.

I can’t imagine the boys being motivated for the game by listening to The Kooks or Take That. Some of the lads get pre-match massages, Murph must be the stiffest 23-year-old around because he gets one every game.

Some people have superstitions such as Podge (Padraig Amond) who has a picture of his girlfriend on his shin pads and wears a bobble of hers round his wrist, but each to their own and all that…

2pm Gaffer names the team and subs, usually we know the starting XI from the day before. Then he gives information such as which people are to mark from set pieces, once the opposition’s team sheet is in.

2.15pm Go out for the warm up. Match-day warm-up is taken by Lodgey and is the same for every game, jog, stretches, passing drill, possession and five minutes of individual work.

3pm Kick-off, all the work and preparation during the weeks training is geared to the next 90 minutes and this is where we have to earn our money and keep our shirt.

We don’t get the biggest gates but Stanley Ultras are the best and most loyal fans you could ask for and it’s a great feeling to walk out onto the pitch for the start of the game.

Unfortunately the team have a bad day at the office and concede two first-half goals without reply. In the second half Wycombe are reduced to 10 men, but despite some late pressure, the ball just would not fall to a Stanley man inside the oppositions penalty box.

We lose the match 2-0 and the lads are very down.

Head boy: Lindfield climbs high to beat Dagenham's Luke Wilkinson to the ball

Head boy: Lindfield climbs high to beat Dagenham's Luke Wilkinson to the ball

5pm Gaffer has his full-time team talk, some managers like to go into detail straight after games, but Leam Richardson prefers to keep this initial assessment very brief and watch the video before he speaks to us at more length in the following days.

One of the worst feelings in football is a defeat, especially a home defeat and the sound of silence in our changing room in comparison to the loud music and laughter coming from the visitors changing room is a sound that makes you sick to the stomach.

5.15pm After the race for the showers comes the race for some food, the pizzas are brought into the changing room, and if you’re not quick you may not get many slices.

As a general rule of thumb the lads know to make sure the starting XI have all eaten a slice before they tuck in. Then it's tracksuit back on and depart in our separate ‘car schools’.

SUNDAY

9.15am Meet the lads at the Little Chef and pile into Murph’s car, I think he’s the worst driver out of our ‘car school’ so I make sure I keep my eyes open for the duration of today’s trip.

10am The day after a game we generally do one of two things either go to the gym and split into two groups, lads who play cool down and the rest of the lads do some fitness work or we come to the ground for some video analysis.

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

CAROLYN RADFORD: Suarez a cheat I'd like to think one of my players would own up but football's not like that… And the secret to a swinging Mansfield party: Elvis and Bob Marley (of course)
07/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – KEVIN BETSY: Why my boss Hill is the non-league Harry Redknapp… And these lads are hot – the best lower league talent available this transfer window
04/01/13

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did
21/12/12

THE FOOTBALLERS' FOOTBALL COLUMN – EDGAR DAVIDS: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Today we meet at the ground and watch the DVD of yesterday’s match. It’s never enjoyable to relive defeats and as a player it has to be one of the hardest things to do but it is important that you can take criticism the right way and learn from the mistakes, because watching it again is all geared to improving and not repeating the same errors in the next game.

It’s a common name in football: ‘video nasty’ but we do watch DVD’s of positive results too, analysis and statistics are vital components of the modern game.

Different gaffers have their own way of approaching these sessions, some like to just dictate to the players but our gaffer Leam likes the players to have their say and is very open to our opinions.

Today it isn’t pleasant viewing but a lot of issues are addressed and with a massive FA Cup fixture coming up on Tuesday night it’s good to clear the air and stick together and be positive.

A short memory is a must in football, as you don’t have time to sulk after setbacks as the games come thick and fast.

12.30pm We go out on to the pitch to do some light training. We do a warm-up and a circle of keep ball, a passing drill and finish with some crossing and shooting.

It’s an enjoyable session, Luke Clark is ‘on fire’ crossing with his weaker left foot but James Gray blasts two out of the ground, the stand behind the goal is only 10-rows deep, but it still takes some doing to clear it.

1.30pm Leave training and with it all the negative thoughts from the weekend.

MONDAY

8.45am Meet the lads at the usual meeting place and put some diesel in as it’s my drive today. We decide to treat ourselves today and get a coffee for the journey.

9.30am Just arrived with the ‘car school’ to training in my Megane, surprisingly not much moaning about the lack of leg room today.

Over to the pub for breakfast, the mood among the lads is a positive one, the weekend defeat is a forgotten occurrence now. No darts today, a shorter breakfast as there is a team meeting at 10.30 in preparation for the biggest game of our season so far.

10.30am The reward for a victory is a lucrative tie in the FA Cup third round at home to Sheffield United and a sum of money that will keep the club away from financial trouble for the next 12 months at least.

The gaffer takes the meeting and talks us through the shape that we will be playing.

11.15am We then go out on the pitch and put it into practice what has been said. Some of the lads struggle to understand on a screen and find it easier when stood on the pitch in the positions this is the reason for the two methods being used.

We then play an 11 v 11 match on the pitch and the side in bibs are set up in the same formation that the manager expects the opposition to play tomorrow.

Then we play freely until a situation occurs where the manager or coach feels a coaching point is necessary to help should it arise in the game the next day.

This is tough for a player on the bibs team because it usually means you are not starting the game, but you are very important to help the lads who are starting as you will be instructed to play like the opposition and help prepare the starting team for what they are to expect to come up against.

In a football squad we win together and we lose together and everyone is behind one another. We finish by taking penalties. Obviously you cannot replicate the pressure involved on the night, but Beatts (James Beattie) of all people was one of the few to miss in practice. Today though there is no messing about, everyone is focused on the importance of tomorrow’s match.

1.30pm Cottage pie for lunch with peas and gravy, at least this is what it was meant to resemble, I think. Then once the gaffer passes a couple of sheets with the squad to travel and details of times and meeting points, its time to go home and prepare for the biggest game this season to date.

The club that wouldn't die: Players of Accrington Stanley and Fulham walk out ahead of their 2010 FA Cup tie

The club that wouldn't die: Players of Accrington Stanley and Fulham walk out ahead of their 2010 FA Cup tie

TUESDAY

1.15pm Meet the coach on the M6 junction 19 at the Windmill pub, pay 5 to park and jump on the bus. Today is FA Cup day and an away fixture with Oxford United.

Usually the lads take their own pre-match meal, but today we are stopping at a hotel near to Oxford’s stadium to have pre-match laid on for us.

2.30pm Been on the bus an hour now and most people are doing different things: Will Hatfield is listening to his iPod and tweeting the world, he loves his Twitter account and never puts his phone down; Peter Murphy is trying to win promotion back to the Premier League and is concentrating all his focus on this (on Football Manager of course); Rommy Boco is spending hours on the phone talking French, him and Ian Dunbavin usually play cards together but Bavo is injured and I think Rommy is a bit lost without him. The majority of the other lads are watching DVDs, Beattie never buys his own he’s always lending them off Luke Joyce.

No bad food (e.g. sweets and chocolate) are allowed on the trip only healthy snacks such as fruit and yoghurts, but the odd chocolate bar is usually knocking about, I’m not going to grass anyone up though…

5pm Pre-match at the hotel, some lads eating more than others, but everyone having the standard chicken, pasta and vegetables, I usually have a coffee too.

6pm Once we have all eaten we have a brief meeting about the game, where the Gaffer runs through some small details, then we all pile back on the coach to the ground.

By now everyone’s mind is totally focused on the game, all the individual bits and bobs are placed away and the majority of lads have headphones in listening to music and visualising what they are going to do on the pitch.

This is usually the time that sees a lot of water being drunk to keep hydrated, our bottles are like shot glasses so Naz the kit man is usually up and down passing them round every two minutes.

Old struggles: Mrs Sarah Dewhirst taking away the washing machine from the Peel Park ground at Accrington after the club was forced to resign from the league in 1962

Old struggles: Mrs Sarah Dewhirst taking away the washing machine from the club's former Peel Park ground at Accrington after the club was forced to resign from the league in 1962

6.30pm Arrive at the Kassam Stadium, all the players go out to inspect the pitch and see what type of stud you are going to wear. It’s a chance to stretch our legs after the journey, and gives the kit man a chance to lay the kit out.

7pm We have been listening to Joycey’s rubbish music now for too long and everyone is about ready to get out the changing rooms to warm-up.

Beatts likes to do some stretching before we go out, I like to get changed quickly then sit and relax before I go out, others like Dean Winnard get fired up and loud even at this early stage, everyone has different routines.

7.45pm After a quick run through set pieces and some final words of advice from the coaching staff and manager, we are sent out to battle, this is our livelihood, this is what makes all the training and hard work worthwhile, we now have 90 minutes to win a football match.

All the preparation has been geared towards this moment and this is the best part of being a footballer at any level.

10pm We lost the game 2-0 and we are out of the Cup. We had some injuries to key players and it’s a bitter pill to swallow, this results in a very disheartened and quiet bus journey home.

The lads tuck into the pizzas that are on the bus and the journey drags on much longer than on the way there.

The bus has a very different atmosphere after a win, loud music lots of laughter and banter, but tonight is unrecognisable to the likes of that.

The Footballers" Football Column – Martin Allen: Balotelli is detrimental, disrespectful and unsettling, Fergie wouldn"t tolerate him……

MARTIN ALLEN: I can't believe people pay 70 for Premier League football, it's like watching chess… Balotelli is detrimental, disrespectful and unsettling, Fergie wouldn't tolerate him… Diving I did it all the time, 'course I did

/12/21/article-0-16953763000005DC-68_196x175.jpg” width=”196″ height=”175″ alt=”Martin Allen” class=”blkBorder” />

Martin Allen is the second in a series of new columns for Sportsmail titled The Footballers' Football Column. They're columns
about the game by people involved in the game. A manager of eight professional clubs, Allen, who follows Edgar Davids' column yesterday, made almost 200 appearances for West Ham and well over 100 for QPR in a marauding career which saw him earn the nickname 'Mad Dog'. He never once shied away from a tackle and here, in his first column, he doesn't shirk an issue…

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MEET THE MAN…

Name: Martin 'Mad Dog' Allen

Age: 47

Current job: Gillingham manager

Former clubs:

Player – QPR, West Ham, Portsmouth, Southend

Manager – Barnet, Brentford, MK Dons, Leicester, Cheltenham, Notts County.

International honours: England Under 19, 20, 21

You're probably wondering why I'm called Mad Dog. It goes back to when I was at West Ham. My central midfield partner was a guy called Ian Bishop. He was very calm, relaxed and enjoyed playing nice football. I was uptight, intimidating, I had a skinhead haircut. When I played next to him it was my job to get the ball back.

We were playing at Upton Park in front of the Chicken Run and he once looked at me and said 'you've got all froth round your mouth', this is while the game was going on. He laughed. I just looked at him with those horrible eyes I've got. It was around the time when it was all over the news that these dogs bred in America to fight were being imported over here. He laughed and said: 'you look like a mad dog'.

And that's how it happened. Instead of wiping the froth from mouth I just left it on.

Since I became a manager I'm usually brought in as a firefighter to save clubs from relegation. But at Gillingham it's the first time I've taken over a club in the right position.

I've been employed at most clubs when they've been near the bottom in trouble. They've got me in to turn things around. It's always been having to fight to stave off relegation.

I've had one play-off final at Cardiff, play-off semi-finals with Reading, a play-off semi-final with MK Dons, play-off semi-finals twice with Brentford. So we've always been there or there abouts, but haven't managed to quite get up. That's through having clubs that in the previous season had been in the relegation zone.

People would say 'why haven't you managed to do it' You could turn around and say a year ago you were fighting relegation and now you're fighting for promotion. Well since I took over Gillingham in the summer we're top by five points, been there for five months.

I've never been top of the league and the only thing I want is one promotion. I can't even imagine what it'll be like if we do it. Then from that the dream is to take a team from the Championship to the Premier League. I know I can do it, I know I can.

Still growling: Allen has lost none of his trademark bite

Still growling: Allen has lost none of his trademark bite

Premier class Watching top-flight football is like watching chess!

Premier class Watching top-flight football is like watching chess!

But you know what The Premier League ain't all it's cracked up to be. I've been to some Premier League games and sat there bored. No shots or crosses. Everyone backs off to play the counter attack.

I know friends with season tickets for Premier League clubs and they find it boring. Bloody well right they do.

They come and watch Gillingham and say what a good football match that was. They love coming here. We don't make 20 passes on the half-way line. They see our football a bit more how it used to be.

The game's changed. In the old days we lined up 4-4-2 and smashed each other to bits, go hell for leather. It ain't like that now. Now everyone drops off and it's chess football. You pay 70 quid for a ticket for that – and I ain't doing it.

The game has changed in other ways, too, players are on massive wages now. Some people moan but I think they deserve it.

I don't think players are on insane wages. I've just been to a hospital in Gillingham to see a lot of sick children who have nurses to look after them.

There was one called Anna, from Liverpool, she spoke with such enthusiasm and love for the children. The remarkable job that lady does she would probably not be earning too much money.

But footballers are entertainers. The ones at the top of the game it's not just in England they're watched, like it used to be in the old days. Everyone in Asia wants to watch the Premier League. It is growing in India and Africa.

When I was a boy my dad used to take summer schools in America and I'd go along with him. You wouldn't see a football goal anywhere, now you go there and they're everywhere.

Oh my god can you imagine what it's going to be like in another 20 years It's just going to get bigger. Do footballers earn too much money Compared to that nurse Anna in Gillingham – yes they do. But people want to watch it and pay for it and I think they should get their fair share.

He's not for me: Allen wouldn't toerate Mario Balotelli's antics - and neither would Sir Alex Ferguson, he reckons

He's not for me: Allen wouldn't toerate Mario Balotelli's antics – and neither would Sir Alex Ferguson, he reckons

I say footballers are entertainers but one of them who's taken it too far is Mario Balotelli – he's not for me. He's got amazing talent, but I'm with the Jose Mourninho school of thought who had him but washed his hands with him pretty quick. You wouldn't see him playing for Sir Alex Ferguson.

I think he'd be detrimental, disrespectful, unsettling. I saw him play at West Ham 18 months ago, he got subbed in 55th minute, hardly broke a sweat the whole game.

When he came off he walked from the centre circle down the tunnel. Never acknowledged the Man City supporters, and that's disrespectful, I don't like that.

The way he walked off the pitch was disrespectful to his team-mates, the sub coming on, the manager. I wouldn't tolerate it.

He needs to come and watch my development squad train and play. Sundays and Mondays they do team work, pattern of play, technical work.

Then Thursdays and Fridays they do three sessions a day, first session 9.30am in the gym with their core work, stability and weights. Second session 10.30am a working football session.

Then after lunch they go back to the training ground to do fitness work without footballs. Same again on Fridays but they go to the local parks where there are lots of hills. It's hard work.

Away win: Allen's Gillingham continue to set the pace at the top of League Two thanks to Chris Whelpdale's winning goal at Southend on New Year's Day

Away win: Allen's Gillingham continue to set the pace at the top of League Two thanks to Chris Whelpdale's winning goal at Southend on New Year's Day

We had a reserve match against Millwall recently and one of my players ended up with seven stitches and a fractured cheekbone. That was not nice. The lad's only 19. Pure accident the Millwall player headed his face instead of the ball.

It brought back horrible memories for me when I was 19 playing for QPR and had exactly the same thing, spookily the same.

I glanced a header and the Millwall centre-back headed my cheekbone and I had a depressed fracture. George Graham was my youth-team manager.

When I saw it I half-knew what to expect. The blood was just gushing from his head – that's fine but I could see the cheekbone depressed.

I rang his dad to let him know he was going to hospital but was OK.

Hammer time: Allen is a West Ham legend

Hammer time: Allen is a West Ham legend

That's all part of the game – but I'll tell you what's never going to be part of the game with my teams.

I watched Spurs play Swansea last weekend and Chico Flores went down like he'd broken his ankle or ruptured a ligament. He squealed like a pig, I could hear him from where I was.

Then he gets up two minutes later. I thought that was diabolical. I wouldn't at all be happy if one of my players had done that. I would definitely not be happy with that.

I don't like any players to feign injury. If they get tackled take it like a man and get on with it. Give it and take it the same.

I hate blatant cheating but I think that's different to diving. People complain about it but it's a skill – and I did it all the time.

From my experience of the last few years there's no diving in the lower levels.

That cements my view that the introduction of continental and South American players has changed it. It's just normal there.

Jose Mourinho's Porto played at Celtic a few years ago and Martin O'Neill refused to shake his hand.

Said
he would never want a team to play that way. It was like Swan Lake they
were diving everywhere. But it's part of the game. You play for fouls
and penalties. It's in their culture and it's now come to our country.

Schoolboys
and youth players on the continent get taught how to win fouls. It's
part of training. They teach them how to win fouls at Barcelona's
academy.

If you're
good technically, players want to tackle you, to destroy you and destroy
your skill. You run into a player's pathway so they foul you. That's
skilful play.

Gareth Bale
is being accused a lot – the one against Fulham was
theatrical. Then again I wouldn't know what it's like to be that fast
and to be tackled at that speed,

I
was certainly not like that. It's part of the change. You bring in
talented players like Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Juan
Mata, Oscar.

In the red: Gillingham manager Martin Allen is a new hard-hitting columnist for Sportsmail

In the red: Gillingham manager Martin Allen is a new hard-hitting columnist for Sportsmail

More from The Footballers Column…

The Footballers Football Column – Edgar Davids: Players are predators that's why Benitez may struggle at Chelsea… And sometimes the best players are not the most talented – just look at Roy Keane
20/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

You bring them in, technically top drawer, they play for fouls. Get used to it 'cos it ain't going away.

I dived all
the time anyway. 'Course I did. Any opportunity to win a foul I made
sure I put my body between the ball and the player. To give us
possession.

If I could
give us a foul for a penalty I would do, definitely. I was more unique
back then, I was a bit different to everyone else. I'd do anything I
could to win.

What do I tell my players at Gillingham I don't encourage it. I don't say to them 'go into the penalty area and dive to win us a penalty'.

But
what happens if see player running really fast into box and if you run
in their path they're going to push you over and you'll win a penalty

I
don't encourage my players to dive but drawing fouls and penalties is a
skill and I don't think there's a manager in the country wouldn't want
them to do it.

Carl Fletcher in tears after Plymouth sack manager

It's been emotional! Fletcher in tears as sacked Plymouth boss talks about departure

PUBLISHED:

10:52 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:13 GMT, 2 January 2013

Carl Fletcher has tears in his eyes as he talked about getting the sack as Plymouth manager on New Year's Day.

Fletcher, 32, was axed on Tuesday after kicking off 2013 with a defeat at Bristol Rovers.

The Pilgrims have won just one of their last 15 matches and an emotional Fletcher, during an interview with the BBC, admitted he is unsure about whether he will stay in football.

Scroll down for the video

Fired! Carl Fletcher was sacked as Plymouth Argyle manager on New Year's Day following the 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers

Fired! Carl Fletcher was sacked as Plymouth Argyle manager on New Year's Day following the 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers

Fletcher took over as player-manager at Home Park in November 2011. He announced his retirement from the game to concentrate on his managerial duties in May but is considering pulling on his boots again if he does stay in the game.

Fletcher won 17, drew 27 and lost 26 of his 70 matches at the Plymouth helm as player-manager and then manager.

A club statement read: 'Plymouth Argyle Football Club have parted company with manager Carl Fletcher.

'The team’s recent results have not been good enough and, with the club’s Football League future paramount, the Argyle Board felt that a change was necessary now as we head into an important part of the season.

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'The owner and the Board would like to thank Carl for all he has done for the club, as a player and a manager.

'Carl helped keep us in the Football League last season and we will never forget that huge contribution he made to Argyle’s history.

'He leaves with our best wishes for his future career and will always be welcome at Home Park.

'The Board will now seek promptly to appoint a new manager with significant experience of football management.

'The club will be making no further immediate comment to this announcement.'

LEAGUE MANAGERIAL DEPARTURES THIS SEASON

August 24 – Andy Thorn (Coventry)
August 28 – John Sheridan (Chesterfield)
September 19 – Terry Brown (AFC Wimbledon)
September 22 – Gary Waddock (Wycombe)
September 24 – John Ward (Colchester)
September 28 – Steve Kean (Blackburn)
October 3 – Paul Groves (Bournemouth)
October 9 – Owen Coyle (Bolton)
October 12 – Eddie Howe (Burnley)
October 23 – Dougie Freedman (Crystal Palace)
October 24 – Neale Cooper (Hartlepool)
October 24 – Paul Jewell (Ipswich)
October 26 – Paul Cook (Accrington)
October 29 – Alan Knill (Scunthorpe)
November 3 – Ian Holloway (Blackpool)
November 7 – Michael Appleton (Portsmouth)
November 21 – Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea)
November 23 – Mark Hughes (QPR)
December 1 – Micky Mellon (Fleetwood)
December 15 – Mark McGhee (Bristol Rovers)
December 26 – Sean O'Driscoll (Nottingham Forest)
December 27 – Henning Berg (Blackburn)
December 28 – Mark Robson (Barnet)
December 29 – Keith Hill (Barnsley)
January 1 – Carl Fletcher (Plymouth)

Bradley Wiggins knighthood in Honours List

Don't call me Sir Brad! Knighthood caps stunning year for Wiggins …but Le Tour and Olympic hero stays cool as ever over honour

|

UPDATED:

09:26 GMT, 29 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins has been rewarded with a knighthood after winning the Tour de France and Olympic gold – but immediately warned: 'Don't call me Sir Brad!'.

Wiggins followed his historic win in France, the first by a British cyclist, by winning a fourth gold medal and first on the road while Ben Ainslie was also knighted after becoming the most successful Olympic sailor of all time with his fourth successive gold.

Scroll down for videos and a full list of Olympic Honours

Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins

Champagne moments: Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France (left) and then Olympic gold in London

Wiggins said: 'It's not something I'll use on a daily basis but it's nice to have in the trophy cabinet as the ultimate accolade as a sportsman, being knighted by your country for not only the success this year but 12 years now of consistent work and performing – four Olympic Games, seven medals.

VIDEO Sir Bradley not entirely comfortable being called that yet

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'It's quite something really. I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour but there's a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in.'

Ainslie announced his Olympic retirement last month and will now concentrate on the America's Cup, which Britain has never won.

The 35-year-old said: 'This is an incredible honour. When I set out Olympic sailing 20 years ago, I never would have dreamt this would happen.

Unstoppable: Ben Ainslie won his fourth successive gold medal at the London Olympics

Unstoppable: Ben Ainslie won his fourth successive gold medal at the London Olympics

'I couldn't have achieved this honour without the support of all the people who have helped me throughout my career and so I hope they can also take some pride in this moment.'

All the 2012 gold medallists end the year with an honour, although seven athletes who had previously received honours, including Sir Chris Hoy, were not recognised further this time.

Along with Ainslie and Wiggins, inspirational British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford is also knighted after he once again masterminded a stunning medal haul as well as leading Team Sky to a one-two in the Tour de France.

Brailsford is renowned as a team player and admitted to being not entirely comfortable with an individual honour such as this.

High praise: David Brailsford will also receive a knighthood for guiding the cycling team to stunning success

High praise: David Brailsford will also receive a knighthood for guiding the cycling team to stunning success

He said: 'I can totally understand it with Chris (Hoy) when he won his three gold medals, or with Brad, because to have done what he has done is pretty amazing.

'But I guess it does feel a little bit uncomfortable given the hard work that everyone puts in that there is an individual recognition rather than a group recognition. That is a bit of a challenge – but it is a great honour nevertheless.'

VIDEO Sir Dave Brailsford: 'It's going to take getting used to'

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A fourth knighthood goes to David Tanner, the performance director for British Rowing, who also oversaw a record medal haul as Britain's rowers won four golds and nine medals in all.

Four Olympic stars are made CBEs, including the king and queen of British athletics, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, after they lit up the Olympic Stadium.

London was the swansong for cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who added a second Olympic gold and is made a CBE after playing a trailblazing role for women sprinters on the track.

Poster girls: Jessica Ennis (above) delivered gold in the heptathlon while Victoria Pendleton also triumphed

Poster girls: Jessica Ennis (above) delivered gold in the heptathlon while Victoria Pendleton also triumphed

Victoria Pendleton

Rower Katherine Grainger receives the same honour in the year she finally made it gold with Anna Watkins in the double sculls following three successive silvers.

The Scot said: 'I am surprised and delighted to receive this new accolade, which, for me, brings 2012 to such a wonderful conclusion.

'In the last few months it has been become wonderfully apparent just how much our Olympic achievements have meant to everyone up and down the country.

'I fully appreciate this new accolade and I'd be thrilled if it helps with the efforts of everyone on Team GB to produce a meaningful legacy.'

Looking good: Rower Katherine Grainger will receive a CBE after winning gold with Anna Watkins

Looking good: Rower Katherine Grainger will receive a CBE after winning gold with Anna Watkins

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

Three of Britain's double gold medallists have been awarded OBEs – dressage star Charlotte Dujardin and cycling couple Jason Kenny and Laura Trott – along with tennis' Andy Murray, who was both a gold medallist and a grand slam winner in 2012.

Murray revealed after his triumph that his friends had been teasing him about the possibility of a knighthood – something he definitely was not expecting.

The world No 3 said: 'A lot of my friends have been messaging me about it and I don't really know what to say. I think it should take more than one or two good tournaments to deserve something like that. It would probably be a bit rash.'

Apart from Hoy, rowers Pete Reed, Tom James and Andrew Triggs Hodge, cyclists Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas and show jumper Nick Skelton, all other gold medallists receive MBEs.

Among them is long jumper Greg Rutherford, who joined Ennis and Farah in winning gold in an unforgettable Super Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium.

Super Saturday: Mo Farah (above) and Greg Rutherford (below) won gold medals on an unforgettable night

Super Saturday: Mo Farah (above) and Greg Rutherford (below) won gold medals on an unforgettable night

Greg Rutherford

He said: 'I am delighted and feel very proud to be receiving this great honour. This has been an incredible year for me and winning a gold medal at a home Games was a dream come true.'

Also honoured with MBEs are 51-year-old three-day eventer Mary King, who won team silver in London, and gymnast Louis Smith, now a three-time Olympic medallist.

'This year has been like no other for so many reasons,' said the 23-year-old, who this month added the Strictly Come Dancing title to his Olympic gongs.

'For me it's obviously one I'll never forget and I wasn't sure it could get any better but to be awarded an MBE is the icing on the cake and without a doubt the proudest moment of my life.'

Dancing king: Louis Smith won silver at the Olympics before appearing on Strictly Come Dancing

Dancing king: Louis Smith won silver at the Olympics before appearing on Strictly Come Dancing

Boxer Nicola Adams – the first woman to win a boxing gold medal in the history of the Olympics – was also awarded an MBE.

'It is really good to receive such a prestigious honour,' said Adams, 30, from Leeds.

'Everything is all a bit surreal for me.

'It has been an incredible year. To have achieved so much in that time – it is really hard to put it into words how amazing this year has been.

'I have won an Olympic gold medal and have met the Queen.'

Pioneer: Nicola Adams (right) was the first woman to win a boxing gold medal

Pioneer: Nicola Adams (right) was the first woman to win a boxing gold medal

Two-time London 2012 Olympic champion Jason Kenny meanwhile received word of his OBE while in Australia training for further glory.

The 24-year-old from Bolton won sprint and team sprint gold at the Olympic Velodrome in August as Britain's cyclists won seven out of 10 titles on the track.

Kenny, who received an MBE after winning his first Olympic title in Beijing in 2008, was at a training camp in Perth, Western Australia when his mother opened an official letter from the Palace detailing his New Year Honour while he was on the other end of the phone.

'My mum opened a letter for me whilst I was in Perth,' he said.

'It's something really special that you don't ever plan for. It's something you can share with the family and something really nice when it comes along.

Team work: Jason Kenny (left) won double gold at the velodrome

Team work: Jason Kenny (left) won double gold at the velodrome

'It's a great honour and it's not every day you get to go to Buckingham Palace, so to get that invite is really special.'

A number of coaches also receive MBEs – Malcolm Brown for triathlon, shooting's Ian Coley, equestrian performance director Will Connell, Paul Hall for gymnastics, David Howlett for sailing, boxing's Rob McCracken and Paul Thompson and Robin Williams for rowing.

The men and women who brought the Games to London and made it happen feature heavily in the honours, too, led by organising committee chair Lord Coe, who is made a Companion of Honour.

He described the list as 'a wonderful end to this unique Olympic and Paralympic Year'.

He said: 'It recognises the achievements of our sportsmen and women who inspired the nation.

Recognised: Lord Sebastian Coe was honoured after bringing the Games to London

Recognised: Lord Sebastian Coe was honoured after bringing the Games to London

'This year's list also recognises those behind the scenes at LOCOG for outstanding leadership and delivery of the world's largest sporting events.

'I am incredibly proud of them all and our partners who made Britain proud this summer.'

Coe's deputy, Sir Keith Mills, is made a Knight Grand Cross while LOCOG chief executive Lord Deighton becomes a Knight Commander.

Other figures to receive honours include LOCOG's director of sport Debbie Jevans and London 2012 director Neale Coleman, who are both made CBEs, while communications chief Jackie Brock-Doyle becomes an OBE.

OLYMPIC ATHLETES HONOURED

Knighthood

Ben Ainslie – sailing
Bradley Wiggins – cycling

CBE

Katherine Grainger – rowing
Jessica Ennis – athletics
Mo Farah – athletics
Victoria Pendleton – cycling

OBE

Charlotte Dujardin – equestrian
Jason Kenny – cycling
Andy Murray – tennis
Laura Trott – cycling

MBE

Nicola Adams – boxing
Tim Baillie – canoeing
Laura Bechtolsheimer – equestrian
Scott Brash – equestrian

Alistair Brownlee – triathlon
Steven Burke – cycling

Luke Campbell – boxing
Peter Charles – equestrian
Katherine Copeland – rowing
Helen Glover – rowing
Alex Gregory – rowing
Carl Hester – equestrian
Philip Hindes – cycling
Sophie Hosking – rowing
Jade Jones – taekwondo
Anthony Joshua – boxing
Peter Kennaugh – cycling
Dani King – cycling
Mary King – equestrian
Ben Maher – equestrian
Ed McKeever – canoeing
Joanna Rowsell – cycling
Greg Rutherford – athletics
Louis Smith – gymnastics
Heather Stanning – rowing
Etienne Stott – canoeing
Anna Watkins – rowing
Peter Wilson – shooting

Everton and West Ham appeal Darron Gibson and Carlton Cole red cards

Everton and West Ham appeal controversial red cards to Gibson and Cole

PUBLISHED:

12:48 GMT, 24 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 24 December 2012

Everton and West Ham have confirmed they will appeal Darron Gibson and Carlton Cole's respective red cards at Upton Park on Saturday.

Gibson was dismissed by referee Anthony Taylor for a challenge on Mark Noble in Everton's 2-1 win at Upton Park in a game that also saw Hammers striker Cole controversially sent off for a challenge on Leighton Baines.

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Appeal: Darron Gibson was controversially dismissed at Upton Park during Everton's 2-1 win over West Ham

Appeal: Darron Gibson was controversially dismissed at Upton Park during Everton's 2-1 win over West Ham

The paperwork needed to be submitted
to the Football Association by 1pm today but the appeal means Gibson
will be able to play in the Boxing Day match against Wigan Athletic,
with the case due to be heard on December 27.

The Hammers' next match is away to Reading, with the hearing for Cole's appeal scheduled for two days before then.

Seeing red: West Ham striker Carlton Cole was also controversially dismissed during the game

Seeing red: West Ham striker Carlton Cole was also controversially dismissed during the game

VIDEO. Moyes claims grounds for an appeal…

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