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Alerx McLeish quits as Nottingham Forest boss after just 41 days

McLeish does a Clough and walks out on Nottingham Forest after just 41 days

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 5 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:34 GMT, 5 February 2013

Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest by mutual consent, the League Managers Association says.

The Scot was in charge of the Championship side for just 41 days and seven games, winning only one and losing four.

Gone: Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest manager

Gone: Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest manager

It is thought the reason behind McLeish's decision to leave Forest is interference from the club's Kuwaiti owners, the Al-Hasawi family, in team affairs.

McLeish, who replaced Sean O'Driscoll as manager on December 27, said via a statement on the club's official website, nottinghamforest.co.uk: 'I am extremely saddened to be leaving after such a short period.

'But even so, it has been a privilege to be manager of such a fantastic football club and I want to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish Nottingham Forest the best of fortunes ahead.

'Both parties entered into the relationship in good faith. However, there was a difference in the understanding of the development strategy of the football club and it was felt by both parties that we should part company.'

Forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi had denied claims that there was a bust-up with manager Alex McLeish following the club's lack of transfer activity on deadline day.

Reports circulated that McLeish, who did manage to secure the services of Kuwaiti goalkeeper Khaled Al-Rashidi, was unhappy after George Boyd's proposed move collapsed at the 11th hour over what Peterborough described as an 'inconclusive eye test'.

Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi said: 'I'm bitterly disappointed – as is Alex – that it has not worked out as we had hoped when he became our manager and I would like to put on record my thanks for his services to the Club and wish him every success in the future.'

McLeish's turbulent reign at the City Ground rekindled memories of Brian Clough's disastrous 44-day spell at Leeds United.

Clough was famously sacked by the Yorkshire club after falling out with the players and board but went on to lead Nottingham Forest to league and European Cup glory.

More to follow

Premier League January transfer window is in its tenth year

Stick or twist, buy or sell The January transfer window is in its tenth year and has become the last chance saloon for top clubs

: 60m

Sir Alex Ferguson hates it and has publicly said so. His actions back up his words. In a decade he has forked out 36million in total, or one Andy Carroll, in the winter.

True, he has parted with 15m for Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace this month but that is a long-term strategy which sees the winger return to Selhurst Park on loan anyway.

Harry Redknapp, on the other hand is king of the January sales. Nose pressed up against the door, elbows at the ready, QPR boss Redknapp is still unlikely to beat his 2009 Tottenham high of 48m, however.

Not surprisingly, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have tended to go for it over the last 10 years.

Roman Abramovich has dipped his hand into his pocket to the tune of 126m, which means Chelsea are top of the table at something. City are second on 109m, Spurs third on 91m and Liverpool fourth having spent 81m, which is 34m more than fifth-placed Aston Villa.

Consider 2003. The whole of the Barclays Premier League only managed to cough up 35m.

And compare that with 2011 when the deafening sound of cash registers in England could be heard all over the world as the clubs paid out an astronomical 225m.

Big spender: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has shelled out 126m on January signings over the last decade

Big spender: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has shelled out 126m on January signings over the last decade

Last year it was back down to 60m, as common sense and the UEFA threat of financial fair play prevailed. Think Carroll and Fernando Torres and think folly.

Going back to 2003, a total of 925m has been spent in January yet this window continues to be the baby brother of the summer marketplace where a staggering 3,955m (3.95billions) has been spent.

JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW FACTS AND FIGURES

Biggest average PL spenders in
January: Chelsea 12.3m, QPR 11m, Man City 10.9m, Tottenham 9.1m,
Liverpool 8.1m, West Ham 5.71m.

Smallest average PL spenders in
January: West Brom 0.67m, Swansea 1m, Everton 1.4m, Fulham 2m,
Sunderland 2.29m, Southampton 2.33m.

Largest amount spent by one club: Chelsea, 75m, 2011

Biggest buy of first window in 2003: Jonathan Woodgate (Leeds to Newcastle) 9m

Most expensive player: Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea) 50m

Most expensive British player: Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool) 35m

TEN YEARS OF THE JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW

2003

Total spent: 35m

Wallet breaker: Jonathan Woodgate (Leeds to Newcastle) 9m

Spot on: Stephen Clemence, who joined Birmingham in a 900,000 deal from Spurs and proved to be a stalwart under Steve Bruce

Oh dear: Lee Bowyer arrived at West Ham from Leeds United for about 100,000 and was heralded as the man who could save them from relegation. The fans disagreed, and protested against the signing outside Upton Park. Nagged by injuries, Bowyer made just 10 appearances and did little to prevent West Ham’s relegation.

Big spend: Newcastle paid 9m to bring defender Jonathan Woodgate in from Leeds United in the first January transfer window back in 2003

Big spend: Newcastle paid 9m to bring defender Jonathan Woodgate in from Leeds United in the first January transfer window back in 2003

Deepest pockets: In a precursor of big-spending to come, Man City brought in Robbie Fowler from Leeds United for 6m and David Sommeil from Bordeaux for 3.5m as they sought to preserve their Premier League status. OK, I lied, it wasn’t big spending at all, but it was much more than everyone else.

Trolley dash: Steve Bruce went to town, signing five players for Birmingham City – they were Christophe Dugarry (loan), Clemence (900,000), Jamie Clapham (1.3m), Matthew Upson (3m) and Piotr Swierczewski (loan).

If the shirt fits: Robbie Fowler joined Man City from Leeds United for 6m in a bid to boost City's chances of staying in the Premier League

If the shirt fits: Robbie Fowler joined Man City from Leeds United for 6m in a bid to boost City's chances of staying in the Premier League

Tight wads: Anyone doing half-all right, really – Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool saw no need to spend a penny during January.

Ticking clock: Woodgate’s was a deadline day move, as was Michael Ricketts’s 3.5m switch from Bolton to Middlesbrough.

2004

Total spent: 50m

Wallet breaker: Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla to Arsenal) 19.5m

Spot on: The arrival of record buy Reyes proved to be the final piece in the jigsaw as Arsenal leapfrogged Manchester United to win the title

Oh dear: Middlesbrough fans who remembered the magic of Juninho would have been giddy with excitement when Steve McClaren brought World Cup winner Ricardinho to the Riverside – and for a negligible fee. Three months later he was off, having completely failed to play any first team football or show any appetite for being on Teesside.

New surroundings: Jose Antonio Reyes was the final piece in Arsenal's title-winning jigsaw in 2004

New surroundings: Jose Antonio Reyes was the final piece in Arsenal's title-winning jigsaw in 2004

Deepest pockets: The Reyes fee eclipsed the spending of most clubs, but, unlike 12 months earlier, the big guns were willing to shell out. Man United, concerned about Arsenal stealing their title, paid 12.8m for Louis Saha, and Chelsea flexed their newly bulging financial muscles again by buying Scott Parker for 10m.

Trolley dash: Definitely West Ham, who acquired Andy Melville on a free from Fulham, Nigel Reo-Coker from struggling Wimbledon and got Bobby Zamora from Spurs when they sold Jermain Defoe.

Better late than never: Jermain Defoe's transfer from West Ham to Tottenham was finally completed on February 2

Better late than never: Jermain Defoe's transfer from West Ham to Tottenham was finally completed on February 2

Tight wads: Liverpool again saw no need to open their wallets.

Ticking clock: The 7m Defoe switch dragged on even beyond the conventional window – being completed on February 2.

2005

Total spent: 50m

Wallet breaker: Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers to Newcastle) 8m

Spot on: Mikel Arteta said ‘Hola!’ to the Premier League in January 2005, joining Everton on a six-month loan from Real Sociedad. He liked Merseyside so much, he stayed.

Oh dear: Nigel Quashie – With plenty of experience of relegation battles, Harry Redknapp raided old club Portsmouth to bring Quashie along the south coast to Southampton. ‘I am certain we will stay up,’ said Quashie in a fan-friendly soundbite. ‘I would have not have come here if I had any doubts about that.’ Five months later, they were relegated.

Vamos! Mikel Arteta joined Everton in the 2005 January transfer window, initially on loan, and then made the deal permanent that summer

Vamos! Mikel Arteta joined Everton in the 2005 January transfer window, initially on loan, and then made the deal permanent that summer

Deepest pockets: Newcastle spent more than anyone else, over 10m on Boumsong, Celestine Babayaro and Amady Faye.

Trolley dash: Newcastle aside, it was probably Spurs, who acquired four players, including two on Deadline Day. The first two were loan moves, for Mounir El Hamdaoui, who never made a competitive appearance, and Mido. Then, they gave Nottingham Forest a combined 8m for Andy Reid and Michael Dawson.

Tight wads: Man United saw no need to sign anyone, nor did Jose Mourinho want to upset the balance of his title-bound squad.

New one-two: Tottenham brought in Mido (centre) and Michael Dawson (right) during the January 2005 window

New one-two: Tottenham brought in Mido (centre) and Michael Dawson (right) during the January 2005 window

Ticking clock: It was a very busy deadline day, with plenty of cash being spent. Other than the aforementioned Spurs signings, Man City offloaded Nicolas Anelka to Fenerbahce to 7m, Celtic took Craig Bellamy on loan, Barry Ferguson went from Blackburn to Rangers for 4.5m and Jermaine Pennant went on loan to Birmingham from Arsenal.

2006

Total spent: 70m

Wallet breaker: Three at 7m. Dean Ashton, Norwich to West Ham; Emmanuel Adebayor, Monaco to Arsenal; Nemanja Vidic, Spartak Moscow to Manchester United.

Spot on: Manchester United who ‘only’ bought two players, Vidic and Patrice Evra (Monaco) for 12m and look how they turned out.

Defensive wall: Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra proved to be excellent buys for Manchester United in 2006

Defensive wall: Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra proved to be excellent buys for Manchester United in 2006

Oh dear: Emmanuel Olisadebe arrived at Fratton Park for an undisclosed fee from Panathinaikos. The Nigerian-born Poland striker, who had question marks over his real age, was crocked almost from the start and released in the summer.

Deepest pockets: Arsene Wenger (seriously), Arsenal. 15m total on Adebayor, Theo Walcott (Southampton) 5m and Abou Diaby (Auxerre) 3m. (Walcott and Diaby eventually cost 12m & 6m respectively)

Trolley dash: Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth – nine players for a total of 12m, a year after he recruited five when he was Southampton manager.

Pleased as punch: Emmanuel Adebayor joined Arsenal in January 2006

Pleased as punch: Emmanuel Adebayor joined Arsenal in January 2006

Tight wads: Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Newcastle

Ticking clock: DJ Campbell, who worked in a warehouse a year earlier, joined Birmingham City from Brentford in a 1m deal right on deadline. And Danny Murphy completed a 2m midnight switch from Charlton to Tottenham.

2007

Total spent: 62m

Wallet breaker: Ashley Young (Watford) to Aston Villa 8m (rising to 10.65m)

Spot on: Young, brought in on deadline day with John Carew (swap Milan Baros, Lyon), the winger proved that Martin O’Neill was right to take the gamble.

Oh dear: Lucas Neill, wooed by 75,000-a-week wages, snubbed Liverpool to make the most of Alan Curbishley’s panic buying spree at West Ham, and was injured on his debut.

Good business: Both Watford and Aston Villa were pleased with their transaction for Ashley Young

Good business: Both Watford and Aston Villa were pleased with their transaction for Ashley Young

Deepest pockets: West Ham 16.5m. Matthew Upson (Birmingham) 6m, Luis Boa Morte (Fulham) 4.5m, Callum Davenport (Spurs) 3m, Nigel Quashie (West Brom) 1.5m, Neill (Blackburn) 1.5m.

Trolley dash: Liverpool. Seven players to pip West Ham, but only one purchase, Alvaro Arbeloa (Deportivo) 2.6m but including loan deals for Javier Mascherano (West Ham), Emiliano Insua (Boca) and Daniele Padelli (Sampdoria).

Tight wads: Chelsea, Arsenal

Ticking clock: Tottenham pulled the plug on the 4m sale of Mido to Manchester City just before midnight.

2008

Total spent: 160m

Wallet breaker: Nicolas Anelka (Bolton) 15m who went to Chelsea

39 reasons to smile: Nicolas Anelka joined Chelsea from Bolton for !5m in 2008

39 reasons to smile: Nicolas Anelka joined Chelsea from Bolton for !5m in 2008

Spot on: Gary Cahill was snapped up by Bolton from Aston Villa for 4.5m and has since joined Chelsea and played for England .

Oh dear: Felipe Caicedo, who became the biggest transfer in Swiss League history when he joined Manchester City from Basle for 5.2m. Sven Goran Eriksson apparently ‘won the race’ for the Ecuadorian with Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan.

Deepest pockets: Chelsea, 27.5m on Anelka, Branislav Ivanovic (Lokomotiv Moscow) 9m and Franco Di Santo (Audra) 3.5m.

Record breaker: Basle received the highest fee ever for a club in the Swiss League for Felipe Caicedo

Record breaker: Basle received the highest fee ever for a club in the Swiss League for Felipe Caicedo

Trolley dash: Derby boss Paul Jewell, fighting a losing relegation battle, brought in eight players for 3.8m including Robbie Savage, Danny Mills, Hossam Ghaly, Laurent Robert and Roy Carroll.

Tight wads: No-one

Ticking clock: Brazil striker Afonso Alves completed a 13.5m move from Heerenveen to Middlesbrough after winning his appeal for a work permit.

2009

Total spent: 180m

Wallet breaker: Midfielder Nigel de Jong (Hamburg to Man City) 16m

Spot on: Jermain Defoe has scored 68 goals in his five seasons at Spurs since this January move.

Oh dear: Savio Nsereko. Who Ugandan-born German, bought by West Ham for 9m to replace Craig Bellamy and who was shipped out to Fiorentina very quickly.

Twin buys: Manchester City splashed out on Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong in the 2009 transfer window

Twin buys: Manchester City splashed out on Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong in the 2009 transfer window

Deepest pockets: It was a 48m tie between Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp and Manchester City’s Mark Hughes. Spurs forked out 3m on Pascal Chimbonda (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth) 15m, Wilson Palacios (Wigan) 14m and Robbie Keane (Liverpool) 16m. Hughes bought De Jong (Hamburg) 16m, Craig Bellamy (West Ham) 12m, Wayne Bridge (Chelsea) 12m, Shay Given (Newcastle) 8m.

Trolley dash: Portsmouth spent 7.6m on six players including Nadir Belhadj (Lens) and a loan for Jermaine Pennant from Liverpool.

Joy of six: Nadir Belhadj was one of half a dozen players signed by Portsmouth in 2009's winter transfer window

Joy of six: Nadir Belhadj was one of half a dozen players signed by Portsmouth in 2009's winter transfer window

Hands in pockets: Liverpool

Ticking clock: Snowstorms hit England, which saved the day as far as Andrey Arshavin was concerned. The Russian was allowed to complete his 15m move to Arsenal 24 hours late.

2010

Total spent: 30m

Wallet breaker: Younes Kaboul (Portsmouth to Spurs) 11m

Spot on: Stoke paid 3.25m for Portsmouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and, although he had to wait for his chance, the Bosnian has emerged as a top Premier League player

Oh dear: Benni McCarthy, who cost West Ham 2.5m from Blackburn. Injured on his debut and fitness and attitude questioned.

Safe hands: Stoke bought goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in 2010 and he's turned into one of the Premier League's best

Safe hands: Stoke bought goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in 2010 and he's turned into one of the Premier League's best

Deepest pockets: In a recession-hit year, Tottenham bought Kaboul back from Portsmouth and signed Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan to be top spenders

Trolley dash: Wigan spent 3.5m on five players including Gary Caldwell (Celtic 1m) and Victor Moses (Crystal Palace 2.5m)

Tight wads: Aston Villa, Chelsea

Ticking clock: Robbie Keane left Tottenham for Celtic on loan after a call at 5pm on deadline day

2011

Total spent: 225m

Wallet breaker: Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea) 50m

Spot on: Luis Suarez, who arrived at Liverpool for 22.8m with 35m Andy Carroll.

Oh dear: Would it be terribly obvious to suggest Torres

Great expectations: Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea for 50m, the biggest ever transfer fee in this country

Great expectations: Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea for 50m, the biggest ever transfer fee in this country

Deepest pockets: Chelsea who spent 50m on Torres and 25m on David Luiz (Benfica)

Trolley dash: Gerard Houllier was given the go-ahead to buy big as Aston Villa fought relegation. He brought in four players including 18m (up to 24m) on Darren Bent (Sunderland) and 6m to Lyon for Jean Makoun.

New kid in town: Gerard Houllier brought in Darren Bent in an attempt to save Villa from relegation

New kid in town: Gerard Houllier brought in Darren Bent in an attempt to save Villa from relegation

Tight wads: No-one

Ticking clock: Charlie Adam thought he was set for a move to Liverpool from Blackpool. He had to wait until the following summer.

2012

Total spent: 60m

Wallet breaker: Papiss Cisse (Freiburg to Newcastle United) 10m

Spot on: Gary Cahill proved 7m well spent for Chelsea, putting in a succession of solid defensive performances as the Blues ended the season as surprise European champions. Also, Cisse returned an incredible 13 goals in just 14 games for Newcastle, including that incredible strike at Chelsea.

Great buy: Papiss Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 matches after joining Newcastle

Great buy: Papiss Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 matches after joining Newcastle

Oh dear: Marvin Sordell, 3m from Watford, was only given three matches for Bolton in their bid to avoid relegation. If he was the solution to their problems, it was a funny way of showing it.

Deepest pockets: Chelsea spent in the region of 20m on Kevin de Bruyne, Cahill, Lucas Piazon and Patrick Bamford.

Trolley dash: QPR brought in seven players to try and prevent their Premier League return lasting just a single season. Among them were Bobby Zamora, Djibril Cisse and Nedum Onuoha.

Shrewd signing: Gary Cahill joined Chelsea last January for 7m and ended up a European champion

Shrewd signing: Gary Cahill joined Chelsea last January for 7m and ended up a European champion

Tight wads: Stoke brought in nobody.

Ticking clock: QPR left it late, with the Cisse and Zamora moves going through at the eleventh hour.

Sir Dave Brailsford wants to make Team Sky into an admired sports team

We'll be the next Barca! Boss Brailsford wants Team Sky to be 'admired' like Messi and co

By
Richard Moore

PUBLISHED:

01:04 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:04 GMT, 29 January 2013

Sir Dave Brailsford has revealed that he is part of a group of elite coaches who hold regular meetings to share information and trade secrets.

Among those involved are Stuart Lancaster, head coach to the English rugby team, Mike Forde, director of football operations at Chelsea, Geoff McGrath of the McLaren F1 team, and Damien Comolli, former director of football strategy at Liverpool.

‘We meet regularly, and it’s expanding,’ said Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director and Team Sky principal.

‘It’s about getting some leading guys together and thinking about things from a high performance perspective. Damien is the numbers guy, and Stuart’s an interesting guy who’s doing very well.’

Ambitious: Sir Dave Brailsford wants to make Team Sky into an 'admired sports team'

Ambitious: Sir Dave Brailsford wants to make Team Sky into an 'admired sports team'

The group – sport’s equivalent of a ‘brain trust’ – will hold their next meeting in April, said Brailsford, who added that he is keen to involve coaches from American sport, perhaps including Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s coach whose story was immortalised in the book and film, Moneyball. Brailsford has met Beane and declares himself an admirer.

‘It’s becoming a bit more formal, and we’ re moving towards having a name, but we’re in the nice position of having other people wanting to join,’ said Brailsford.

Brailsford also said that one of his ambitions is for Team Sky to become ‘the most admired sports team in the world.’

Stars: Barcelona are one of the top sports teams in the world

Stars: Barcelona are one of the top sports teams in the world

Citing Barcelona and McLaren as teams towards which he aspires, he explained that achieving their ultimate ambition of winning the Tour de France, which they did with Bradley Wiggins last year, led him to another question: ‘One of the issues with having a goal based only on results is you think, “what’s next” And we wanted to be as ambitious as we could be, so we asked: “what would the most admired sports team look like”

‘There are four elements,’ Brailsford continued. ‘Having the best performances, the most engaged fans, the most satisfied partners, and, most importantly, that we’re recognised as being clean.’

On this fourth point Team Sky endured a difficult off-season when, in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, they re-stated their zero tolerance doping policy and insisted that all members of staff sign a document promising no previous transgressions.

Hero: Sir Bradley Wiggins has become a national treasure following his Tour de France win and Olympic time trial gold

Hero: Sir Bradley Wiggins has become a national treasure following his Tour de France win and Olympic time trial gold

This saw Bobby Julich, a coach, and Steven de Jongh, a sports director, both leave after admitting to using EPO as riders, while Geert Leinders, the Belgian doctor now implicated in a doping case involving the former Rabobank team, was dismissed in October when it became clear that he represented, as Brailsford put it, ‘a reputational risk.’

Brailsford admitted that the team’s performance could suffer this season as a result of the departures, which also included Sean Yates, who has retired, and Michael Rogers, who has joined Alberto Contador at Saxo-Tinkoff. ‘It was a clear decision: do we compromise our 9zero tolerance9 policy or change the policy and be willing to take a step back in performance’ said Brailsford.

‘We decided that, yes, we will potentiallly compromise performance and stick to our policy. If managed correctly we shouldn’t see a drop in performance, but we’ll wait and see.’

West Ham latest: Winston Reid agrees new two-year deal

Reid all about it! A good sign for West Ham as Toon target agrees new two-year deal

By
Simon Jones

PUBLISHED:

10:29 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 15 January 2013

EXCLUSIVE

Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year extension to his West Ham contract to see off interest from Barclays Premier League heavyweights, including Newcastle.

Reid, the Hammers' best player this season, was out of contract in the summer and that alerted top-flightt vultures.

But Sportsmail has learned West Ham have invoked a two-year extension clause in his deal and club sources will renegotiate further in the summer with the lure of a five-year deal.

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

Promising signs: New Zealand defender Winston Reid has agreed a new two-year deal with West Ham

So impressed have the east London club been with Reid, they want him to become an Upton Park stalwart.

'There was never any chance of us letting him go,' said a club insider. 'We want to build for the future and Winston has a key role to play going forward.'

New Zealand centre half Reid has become a popular figure at West Ham and is rated highly by manager Sam Allardyce, who has built his defensive strategy around him.

Reid, 24, moved to Denmark when he was 10 and received Danish citizenship but always wanted to play for his native New Zealand.

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

Fans' favourite: Winston Reid won the acclaim of Hammers supporters after his decisive goal against arch-rivals Millwall last season at Upton Park

West Ham signed Reid from FC Midtjylland and he was a mainstay of their promotion season – and even scored an important goal against Millwall for which he is revered for by the fans.

He was rested for the third-round FA Cup draw with Manchester United but may return to the side for the replay with James Collins injured. It could see Reid up against Robin van Persie, the hottest striker in the Premier League.

West Ham sources believe this deal is a sign of their ambition as they look to build on the squad through the transfer window. The club are looking for a left back to join Reid in the back four.

Jen Chang return to Liverpool in doubt after Twitter prankster Duncan Jenkins storm

No way back Liverpool chief Chang return in doubt following Twitter storm

|

UPDATED:

01:15 GMT, 15 November 2012

Liverpool’s
beleaguered communications chief Jen Chang is still on leave in New
York sorting out the family home after Hurricane Sandy. And there is
doubt as to when Chang, who has yet to relocate his wife and children to
Liverpool, will return to Merseyside — if ever.

The
club apologised for Chang’s ‘inappropriate actions’ following alleged
harassment of fan Sean Cummins. Chang wrongly believed inside
information used by Cummins on Twitter under the alias Dunkan Jenkins
had been fed to him by an Anfield mole.

In
light of that, it was unfortunate that the club’s managing director Ian
Ayre was a late withdrawal through illness from Aspire4Sport. The
conference in Doha this week is discussing social media strategy.

May not resurface: Jen Chang is still on leave in New York

May not resurface: Jen Chang is still on leave in New York

Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger brought to book

A trio of football’s best-known managers – Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger – are due to contribute chapters to a special business book on leadership.

The big three are being interviewed for a publication coming out next summer as part of the League Managers Association push to develop new programmes for their members.

The project, being sponsored by Barclays and Deloitte, will allow each of the household names to lay down their views on best management and leadership practices. It will be the first time Arsenal boss Wenger has gone public in book form on the art of being a manager.

Contributing: Arsene Wenger will talk about leadership in his own chapter in the book

Contributing: Arsene Wenger will talk about leadership in his own chapter in the book

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The structure of the publication is still being worked out, with David Moyes, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas also due to contribute. But only the holy trinity of Fergie, Arsene and Jose are guaranteed a chapter of their own.

Bothered about Brazil

England manager Roy Hodgson and Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce are yet to resolve whether the prestige friendly against Brazil in Rio on June 2 takes priority over preparations for the Under 21 European Championship in Israel.

International starlets Raheem Sterling, Jack Butland, Wilfried Zaha, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all broken into the senior squad but Pearce will want them with him. Complicated commercial negotiations mean England might play just one game against Brazil on their summer tour rather than the two initially proposed.

Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie a ticket

Veteran coach Tord Grip, former England football assistant to his Swedish compatriot Sven Goran Eriksson, took his friend, the Abba songwriter Benny Andersson, to the England match on Wednesday night. But Eriksson, who is out of work after finishing a well-paid consultancy role in Thailand, preferred to stay at home in Sunne, Varmland, rather than travel to Stockholm for the football.

Watching on: Tord Grip came to see England v Sweden

Watching on: Tord Grip came to see England v Sweden

Private highlights

The chances of there being terrestrial rugby highlights of the Lions tour next summer are looking slim. Live rights holders Sky Sports are understood to be insisting there is a 36-hour delay before any other broadcast because of the unsociable kick-off times in Australia for a UK audience.

Politics in sport

Political issues between Abu Dhabi and Qatar have delayed the outcome of the Premier League Middle East rights tender. Abu Dhabi TV paid a 300 per cent increase to win the current contract, but such a big upside is not expected again despite competition with the equally wealthy Al Jazeera.

Enough sponsors

League Managers Association chief Richard Bevan was part of the FA delegation in Sweden looking at opportunities for the union’s commercial partners to be involved on England trips.

If that happens the FA will have to hire another plane to accommodate them with the LMA having more than 50 sponsors in their business club. The latest are Mercedes, who are replacing car suppliers Jaguar.

Don't thank us

Tottenham caterers Lindley have donated the use of their eight-guest hospitality box — plus food and beverages — for one match at White Hart Lane as an auction item for Gillingham chairman Paul Scally’s heart charity. Strangely, Tottenham wanted it made clear by Gillingham that the offer was from the box-holders rather than the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo alerts Man City, Chelsea and PSG

Ronaldo alerts mega-rich trio of Man City, Chelsea and PSG with outburst

|

UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 3 September 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo's unexpected declaration of sadness was widely interpreted as a cry for wealth.

Ronaldo refused to celebrate his goals for Real Madrid on Sunday and revealed after the game that he was feeling sad for professional reasons, rather than personal ones.

'The people here know why,' he added, taken to be a nod towards the Real hierarchy but seemingly designed to trigger a broader debate about whether it might be the opening move of an exit strategy.

Cheer up! Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured arriving at training on Monday) has said he is 'unhappy' with the current situation at Real Madrid

Cheer up! Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured arriving at training on Monday) has said he is 'unhappy' with the current situation at Real Madrid

Cheer up! Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured arriving at training on Monday) has said he is 'unhappy' with the current situation at Real Madrid

Those clubs rich enough to consider
paying the 100million buy-out clause to release him from a contract
with three years to run and then meet wage demands likely to start at
around 1m a month will certainly have had their interest pricked.

But this is a very exclusive group, consisting of those clubs bankrolled
by bottomless pits of petrodollars, such as Manchester City and Paris
St Germain, and possibly Chelsea, depending on which side of the bed
Roman Abramovich got out of.

Jose Mourinho is not expected to stay at Real indefinitely, possibly
moving on next summer, and will be keen to take Ronaldo should his next
step be to a wealthy and ambitious club like City or PSG.

The Portuguese forward, bought from Manchester United for 80m in 2009,
led Real to the title last season scoring 46 goals in 38 La Liga games
and 60 in all competitions, a performance the 27-year-old perhaps thinks
is worthy of a pay-rise.

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

Ouch! Ronaldo was substituted in Sunday's 3-0 win over Granada at the Bernabeu

Ouch! Ronaldo was substituted in Sunday's 3-0 win over Granada at the Bernabeu

Is that it Ronaldo failed to show much enthusiasm as he bagged two goals in the game

Is that it Ronaldo failed to show much enthusiasm as he bagged two goals in the game

When he performed poorly for Portugal against Denmark in Euro 2012, Danish fans taunted him by chanting Messi's name.

Ronaldo is not cherished by Real as Messi is by Barca and one radio
station reported that he has told club president Florentino Perez that
he does not have the support of the dressing room.

He was at pains to point out, however, that his 'professional sadness'
was not simply a fickle reaction to losing out to Andres Iniesta in
UEFA's Best Player in Europe award, last week.

'Money is the name of the game,' said one respected international
players' agent and there was a media backlash in Madrid, where the front
page of 'Marca', the pro-Real sports daily screamed: 'Enough is Enough'
and criticising Ronaldo for 'unsettling' the club.

If it is simply the first move in a bid for more money, it may work.
Real may feel the pressure to dig deep and deliver an eye-watering new
contract for Ronaldo to stay ahead of Barcelona but, the thing is, money
can't buy you happiness. Or love.

Unhappy chappy: Ronaldo said he was 'sad' but refused to elaborate on the reasons why

Unhappy chappy: Ronaldo said he was 'sad' but refused to elaborate on the reasons why

Juventus boss Antonio Conte appeals match-fixing charge

Juventus boss Conte appears in court to appeal match-fixing charge

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UPDATED:

21:18 GMT, 20 August 2012

Juventus coach Antonio Conte and his assistant Angelo Alessio have appeared in court to appeal against 10-month suspensions from football.

Conte and Alessio were dealt lengthy bans by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on August 10 for allegedly failing to report two incidents of match-fixing whilst in charge of Siena.

With the backing of Juventus, Conte, 43, and Alessio, 47, immediately appealed their lengthy suspensions, and the pair appeared in court on Monday seeking full acquittals.

All smiles: Juventus coach Antonio Conte arrives at court

All smiles: Juventus coach Antonio Conte arrives at court

It was the testimony of Filippo Carobbio, a Siena player during Conte's tenure at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, that first brought the former Italy international under suspicion.

And Conte's legal team, comprising Giulia Bongiorno, Antonio De Rensis and Luigi Chiappero, sought to discredit Carobbio.

Quoted in the Corriere dello Sport, Bongiorno said: 'The defensive strategy of Carobbio is clear – to try and avoid a criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud.

'Carobbio accused Conte to deflect attention from his own role in the match-fixing.

'As far as this disciplinary committee is concerned, Carobbio never lies, he is 100 per cent infallible. He is God-like.'

Bid: Conte was banned for 10 months but has appealed the decision

Bid: Conte was banned for 10 months but has appealed the decision

De Rensis told La Stampa: '(Conte) is determined and relaxed. It was really hard to convince him to enter a plea bargain but now he is ready to stand up and make his reasons heard.'

Stefano Palazzi, one of the FIGC prosecutors who handed Conte and Alessio their suspensions, responded in support of Carobbio, who received a 26-month ban from football for his alleged involvement.

Palazzi told the Corriere dello Sport: 'All Carobbio's declarations are supported by the police investigations and the phone contact between the betting world and the footballers involved.'

The court will hear appeals from other clubs affected by the 'Calcioscommesse' verdicts on Tuesday, including Cremona, Bari, Lecce and Grosseto, the latter pair having been punished with demotion to the Lega Pro.

The results of the various appeals are expected to be announced from Wednesday.

Sir Alex Ferguson to quit Manchester United in two years

Fergie to quit Old Trafford in two years as United boss lines up swoop for Baines

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has planned his exit strategy from Manchester United and will quit in two years' time after building his last great team around Wayne Rooney and last week's 24million capture from Arsenal, Robin van Persie.

And the legendary Old Trafford manager, who begins his 28th season in charge of United at Everton on Monday night, claims the Glazer family will back him again if he makes a formal bid for England left-back Leighton Baines before the end of the transfer window on August 31.

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

Ferguson, 70, took personal control of the Van Persie signing and called Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger directly to ensure his final chapter at Old Trafford is successful, having lost the title to Roberto Mancini's Manchester City on the final day of the season in May.

And he persuaded the Glazers, against the advice of other senior figures at the club, to rubberstamp a 64m investment in transfer fee and wages for Van Persie, even though the 29-year-old Dutchman will have a limited re-sale value.

A source said: 'Alex will only be manager for a couple more years so it was time the owners gave him what he wanted. That's Van Persie.'

Ferguson might even enter the market again to land Baines, who is valued at 17m by his club Everton.

Lining up another: The Glazer family are ready to back the manager's bid to sign Leighton Baines from Everton

Lining up another: The Glazer family are ready to back the manager's bid to sign Leighton Baines from Everton

'There is only one position in particular we are looking at,' the manager said. 'We've splashed out quite a bit of money this summer but I'm sure if I went to the Glazers, they'd say ''yes''.'

Ferguson will decide on the evidence of Van Persie's first two training sessions before deciding whether his new signing will start in Monday night's Barclays Premier League visit to Goodison Park.

Ferguson was at Craven Cottage on Saturday to run the rule over Fulham, next weekend's opponents.

United have received two solid inquiries from Italian clubs for Dimitar Berbatov.

Darren Fletcher, 28, who is battling ulcerative colitis, continued his comeback on Saturday with a 90-minute run-out in United's 1-0 win at Stoke in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

US PGA Championship: Kiawah Island hole-by-hole guide

US PGA Championship: Kiawah Island hole-by-hole guide

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 8 August 2012

Kiawah Island hosts the US PGA Championship this week and the monster South Course is set up to provide one of the hardest challenges the pros will face.

Barring any late withdrawals, the top 100 players in the world will tee it up in South Carolina.

Here's a look at the track that will make or break them between now and Sunday night.

Tough test: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

1st, 396 yards, par four:
One of the narrowest fairways on the course, with a sandy waste on
the right and thick dune grass down the left. The gently undulating
green is tucked into a natural dune area.

2nd, 557 yards, par five:
Ancient live oaks line both sides of the fairway and players have to
decide how much of the salt marsh to bite off. Depending on the wind
there could be the chance to go for the elevated green, set between
sand ridges, in two.

3rd, 390 yards, par four: Shortest
par four. The tee shot is fired across the marsh, with the best
drives finding the plateau on the left. The green is framed by an old
live oak and slopes off to all sides, with the marsh long and left.

4th, 458 yards, par four: Perhaps
the toughest par four on the front nine. Playing against the wind,
players may opt to bail out to the left of this green and try to save
par with a chip.

5th, 188 yards, par three:
The course turns back from east to west for its first par three. An
hourglass-shaped green runs away diagonally from the right. A large
waste area runs from tee to green.

6th, 480 yards, par four: Three
wind-pruned live oaks frame the far side of the fairway. There is
also a waste area and small pond to the left and the green is protected
left and right by more sand.

7th, 579 yards, par five:
Wind conditions will determine the strategy, players having to decide
whether to carry a natural dune area. The second shot can be fired at a
slightly elevated green open in the front.

8th, 198 yards, par three: Becomes
narrower the further the pin is cut into an elevated green framed by
tall live oaks. Any shot missing long or right will find sand.

9th, 494 yards, par four: A
wide fairway sloping down from the right. The putting surface is open
in the front, but there are an assortment of grassy swale and deep
waste areas both left and right.

10th, 447 yards, par four:
A drive down the left-centre to the crest of the fairway will set up a
second shot to a green set down into the dunes. There is a large waste
area to the left front of the green and a deeper, steep-faced waste
area to the back.

11th, 593 yards, par five: Unreachable
in two shots for most of the field. Players must avoid several deep
waste areas right of the fairway. A good lay-up will leave a pitch to a
relatively flat, but exposed and elevated green.

12th, 412 yards, par four: The
widest fairway gives way to one of the narrowest approaches. The
green is guarded closely on the right by a canal, with dunes and thick
native grasses framing the left and rear.

13th, 497 yards, par four: Maybe
the most difficult hole on the inward nine. The players must decide
just how far down they will try to carry the canal. It continues down
the entire right side of the hole.

14th, 238 yards, par three: The
course turns back to the east and plays directly along the beach. A
tee shot missing this severely exposed and elevated green will leave a
severe uphill chip. An extremely deep and dangerous waste area is on
the left.

15th, 444 yards, par four: The
tee shot must find the fairway to set up a mid-iron to a small green
running diagonally away from the player to the right. Waste areas lie
left and back right.

16th, 581 yards, par five: The
tee shot is over a pond to reach a terraced fairway that is higher to
the right side. A long, shallow waste bunker guards the second shot to
the right, with another deeper one guarding the left side.

17th, 223 yards, par three:
The most famous hole on the course. The target over the lake appears
narrow with two deep waste areas to the left. Colin Montgomerie won it
with a double bogey in the 1991 Ryder Cup.

18th, 501 yards, par four: Still
with the ocean as a backdrop, the fairway falls to the right.
Longer players may have a huge advantage if they challenge the
right side. Elevated green is open from the right and runs to
the back left.

Robin van Persie wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City

Robin the red: Ferguson lines up Van Persie for Man United but first he must fight off City

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UPDATED:

06:32 GMT, 5 July 2012

Manchester United are preparing to gazump neighbours City and sign unsettled Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.

Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to land the Holland star, who confirmed he will not be signing a new contract at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, as Sportsmail revealed on May 18.

In a damning statement, Van Persie questioned Arsenal’s ambition, saying he wants to win trophies but that he and the club ‘disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward’.

Making a point: Robin van Persie announced his decision not to sign a new Arsenal deal on his website

Making a point: Robin van Persie announced his decision not to sign a new Arsenal deal on his website

Ferguson wants the Barclays Premier
League title back from Manchester City and does not intend to lose out
on a player who scored 30 League goals last season.

Van Persie’s shock declaration was met with fury by Arsenal manager
Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who face yet another
summer of losing their star.

The striker’s statement on his own website read: ‘As announced earlier
this year, I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr Gazidis after the
season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their
policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since
that is not my priority at all.

Rebuilding: Sir Alex Ferguson will use his famed powers of persuasion to attempt to lure Van Persie to Old Trafford after a trophyless season, but will face stern competition from City counterpart Roberto Mancini (below), pictured on holiday in Sardinia

Rebuilding: Sir Alex Ferguson will use his famed powers of persuasion to attempt to lure Van Persie to Old Trafford after a trophyless season, but will face stern competition from City counterpart Roberto Mancini (below), pictured on holiday in Sardinia

Taking a break: Roberto Mancini

‘I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win
trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out
of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want
to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again
become clear to me that we, in many aspects, disagree on the way Arsenal
FC should move forward.

Sold! Arsenal's talent drain

2011: Fabregas to Barca, 35m Nasri to Man City, 24m
2009: Adebayor to Man City, 25m K Toure to Man City, 16m
2007: Henry to Barca, 16.6m
2006: Ashley Cole to Chelsea
2005: Vieira to Juventus, 13.7m
2000: Overmars to Barca, 25m

'I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have
decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have the right
to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your
opinions.

‘I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up
and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. I am very proud of
being part of this fantastic club for the last eight years. As soon as
Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings
will follow and I will update you if and when there are more
developments.’

On the move Van Persie skips past Daniel Agger in Kharkiv

On the move Van Persie skips past Daniel Agger in Kharkiv

His vital stats

Last season in Premier League:
Appearances………………………….38
Minutes on pitch…………………3,334
Goals…………………………………… 30
Mins per goal………………………..111
Total Passes………………………1,032
Arsenal win % with RVP in team:
Champ Lge…………………………….63
Prem Lge…………………………….55.3
FA Cup………………………………… 50

Champions City will formalise their interest soon with manager Roberto
Mancini desperate to land Van Persie, 28. City are prepared to offer a
whopping 225,000-per-week, which is beyond United’s pay structure. But
Ferguson will urge his club to push their financial boundaries and beat
City.

Gunners officials were stunned by their captain’s statement. No-one at
the club had been told it was coming. Wenger and Gazidis both contacted
the player’s agent, Kees Vos, to read the riot act over what they
perceive to be a blatant attempt to force a move. They are convinced
Van Persie has a move lined up and view the player’s statement as an
attempt to speed up the process.

Prize asset: Arsene Wenger has nurtured Van Persie into one of the world's finest strikers

Prize asset: Arsene Wenger has nurtured Van Persie into one of the world's finest strikers

Points machine

Points won thanks to individual goals and assists last season:
Gls+Ass Pts
Van Persie…….. 39 27
Holt………………. 17 17
Dempsey………..23 17
Adebayor………..28 16
Silva……………….21 16
P Cisse…………..14 14

Club officers were frantically trying to reach owner Stan
Kroenke to update the American businessman. A club statement read: ‘We
have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract. Robin has
one year to run on his contract and we are confident that he will fulfil
his commitments to the club. We are planning with ambition and
confidence for next season.’

Nevertheless, Arsenal insiders last night said the club are resigned to
selling him this summer. The prospect of 20million is too good to turn
down.