Tag Archives: structure

Rafa Benitez was right, Sir Alex Ferguson is treated as a special case by The FA – Des Kelly

Rafa was right… the sight of Sir Alex ranting at THREE officials on the touchline laid waste to the feeble Respect campaign



00:47 GMT, 29 December 2012

Every 12 months we make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, drink less, exercise more often and be an all-round better person.

We see some previously chubby ‘celebrity’ selling the tale of how they transformed themselves from a fridge-bothering munter into an amazingly svelte, ‘have it all’ picture of perfection thanks to an amazing diet regime (plus a gastric band and a considerable amount of plastic surgery, although they usually neglect to mention this).

Duly inspired, you decide to drag yourself off the sofa, squeeze into gym gear suddenly stretched to the limit of its molecular structure and do something about it. Yes, it’s time to jog to the home of that D-list celebrity and club them to death with a copy of their bogus diet book.

Scroll down to watch the video Rafa's rant from 2009

Speaking out: Rafa Benitez (left) criticised Sir Alex Ferguson during his 'facts' speech in 2009

Speaking out: Rafa Benitez (left) criticised Sir Alex Ferguson during his 'facts' speech in 2009


According to reports, Rafa Benitez is in line to become Chelsea’s permanent manager. BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: At Stamford Bridge, there is no such thing as a ‘permanent manager’.

If you are feeling inadequate or lacking in willpower, console yourself with the idea that at least your resolutions last longer than the average ‘disciplinary crackdown’ in football.

Football is forever threatening to ‘get tough’ on managers and players who set a bad example. It generates a few useful headlines, yet like a New Year’s vow to cut out the sauvignon blanc, it usually lasts less than a week.


Twitter Avatar

Loading tweets…

But I have a resolution for the Football Association and the Premier League in 2013. Find some resolve. Show some resolution.

The game becomes a laughing stock when it is too timid to control itself and the sight of Sir Alex Ferguson ranting at not one, not two, but three officials on the touchline laid waste to the feeble ‘Respect’ campaign. And what happened Nothing much.

Elsewhere Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini grumbled the referee at his match might have eaten too much turkey at Christmas and Harry Redknapp advised the assistant to take a trip to Specsavers. They were immediately told to account for their critical remarks.

So there we have it. The FA is prepared to get tough on sarcasm. But angry, spittle-flecking displays of fury and dissent That passes without a word of official condemnation.

Mancini and Redknapp should write back saying: ‘Dear FA, I didn’t do anything that was even half as bad as Ferguson. So get stuffed. Yours sincerely, etc.’

The FA hid behind procedure. They claimed it was impossible to initiate action against

Ferguson because referee Mike Dean had bottled out . . . sorry . . . neglected to mention the incidents in his report.

So what Even if Dean ducked any hassle, the whole unedifying scene was caught on camera. It was obviously aggressive in its intent. It was certainly designed to intimidate officials and it absolutely falls within any definition of the term ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. So do something, FA.

Managers snipe at officials because they believe they can influence them, bully them into submission and they assume they will get away with it, too, with plenty of justification.

But far from engendering Respect, the game’s governing body actively undermines referees by shying away from tackling managers at moments such as this.

Eight months ago, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore announced all the top- flight clubs had decided it was ‘time to raise the bar’ on standards of behaviour in English football.

Ref rant: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson makes his point to Mike Dean

Ref rant: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson makes his point to Mike Dean

Miscreants would be tackled with a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, we were told. So how’s that going

More from Des Kelly…

Des Kelly: After year of plenty, Sir MoBot and Dame Jess will have to wait their turn

Des Kelly: All you need for the festive season… my Christmas gift guide for all sports fans

Des Kelly: British lessons for foreign players Let's start with Monty Python

Des Kelly: Platini's flight of fancy will give fans travel sickness while greedy UEFA swell their coffers at YOUR expense

Des Kelly: Bridge boo boys should be careful what they wish for… or Roman might end up giving them their old Chelsea back

Des Kelly: I'm sorry, but Chelsea are an utter disgrace

Des Kelly: Ibrahimovic's goal was NOT the greatest ever scored

Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode


Across at the FA, they have trumpeted so many crackdowns in recent years I’ve lost count. But just 12 weeks ago chairman David Bernstein was banging on about how football would ‘draw on the sporting spirit of the Olympic Games’, offer ‘moral leadership’ and take the ‘high ground’.

Looking at how things are panning out, I don’t think the high ground is going to be at the kind of altitude where we’ll need oxygen.

It’s quite simple. When a knight of the realm, a statesman of football and an occasional lecturer at Harvard starts shouting the odds like a white van driver abusing a traffic warden, the authorities have a duty to deal with him, or anyone else for that matter.

Not so long ago managers were told they would be fined for even daring to mention a referee before a match. Now, contests are engulfed in all-too-familiar squalls of complaint, recrimination and bitterness. Significantly, assaults on referees at the grassroots level are increasing.

So is Ferguson treated as a special case I know a manager who thinks so. Back in January 2009, when he was at Liverpool, the current Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said this: ‘During the Respect campaign — and this is a fact — Mr Ferguson was charged by the FA for improper conduct after comments made about Martin Atkinson and Keith Hackett. He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things.

‘We know what happens every time we go to Old Trafford and the United staff are always going man to man with the referees, especially at half-time when they walk close to the referees and they are talking and talking.

‘You can see every single week how they put (referees) under pressure. We had a meeting in Manchester with managers and FA about the Respect campaign — and I was very clear.

And that's a fact: Benitez during his rant about Sir Alex Ferguson while Liverpool manager in 2009

And that's a fact: Benitez during his rant about Sir Alex Ferguson while Liverpool manager in 2009

‘Forget the campaign because Mr Ferguson is killing the referees but he is not punished. How can you talk about the Respect campaign and criticise the referee every single week You can analyse the facts and come to your own decision and ideas.’

Four years on, I think we can. We will also wait and see what happens to Mancini and Redknapp with some interest. In 2013, surely it is time the Respect campaign was shown some respect.

VIDEO: Rafa Benitez's 'Fact' rant from 2009

This item’s a Zlatan…

The Swedish have added the verb ‘to Zlatan’ to their dictionary. They have introduced the new word in honour of footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic to describe an act ‘with an outlandishly talented action’. This bout of national adulation set me thinking. Which sporting figures would earn a place in our own English dictionary

A new word for a star: Sweden have introduced a new word into their dictionary in recognition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

A new word for a star: Sweden have introduced a new word into their dictionary in recognition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

‘terry’ (verb): to gatecrash a ceremonial occasion or celebration in matching garb.

‘berged’ (past tense of verb ‘to berg’): sunk without warning on an unlikely trip. Known as ‘iceberged’ or ‘henninged’ in Nordic countries.

‘bartonesque’ (adjective): to speak with a ridiculous comedy accent; to fake it; to assume the role of poseur.

‘wenger’ (verb): to blindly pursue an unseen object or ideal, however futile, eg. ‘I spent hours wengering for my keys in the dark’.

‘fergiefied’ (adjective): when an authority figure cowers or backs down after being confronted by rage, eg. ‘the teacher was fergiefied when the delinquent pupil began to shout in front of the entire class’.

John Terry

Henning Berg

Fit for a word: Both John Terry and Henning Berg could have their names used in the English dictionary

‘suarezing’ (also ‘baleing’ in Welsh): the act of losing one’s balance for no apparent reason; to succumb to Newton’s laws of gravity without any indication of an external force.

‘deliaing’ (noun): haranguing from an older lady who appears to have imbibed excessively, eg. ‘I was minding my own business in the pub when this old girl on the sherry gave me a right deliaing for no reason’.

‘mcleish’ (verb): to take on a challenge despite the lack of popular support, eg. ‘I want to be sheriff of Nottingham, but I’m taking a mcleishing in the polls.’ Also known as ‘clegging’

Will 2013 be the year Shebby reveals his grand plan

The business of prophecy is a hazardous one. As Paul Gascoigne observed: ‘I never make predictions — and I never will.’ But there are some things we can be confident of seeing in the year ahead.

We know that compared to the recent bash, the Sports Personality Of The Year awards in 2013 will be as barren as Oliver Reed’s hotel minibar the night he bumped into Alex Higgins. There are other sure-fire certainties in the 12 months ahead.

January: Blackburn Rovers appoint a new manager — a former boss of a friend’s chicken takeaway. The club’s Global Adviser, Shebby Singh, says: ‘This is part of our plan to return to the Premier League.’

Man with a plan: Shebby Singh is the Global Advisor at Blackburn

Man with a plan: Shebby Singh is the Global Advisor at Blackburn

February: UEFA chief Michel Platini says acts of racism will not be tolerated as he upholds UEFA’s appeal against the punishment imposed on Serbia — by UEFA.

March: Blackburn Rovers sack their manager. The club’s Interplanetary Adviser, Shebby Singh, says: ‘We have a plan.’

April: UEFA chief Michel Platini demands the sacking of Michel Platini as part of UEFA’s crackdown on itself.

May: Blackburn are relegated from the Championship. The club’s Intergalactic Adviser, Shebby Singh, says: ‘It is part of our plan.’

June: Taking his cue from UEFA, FIFA president Sepp Blatter declares he will investigate himself in a new corruption probe, until colleagues point out he has done that many times before.

The only hope: Andy Murray is likely to be the only male British tennis player to progress at Wimbledon

The only hope: Andy Murray is likely to be the only male British tennis player to progress at Wimbledon

July: Every British player crashes out of Wimbledon in the first round — except Andy Murray. Lawn Tennis Association chief Roger Draper hails ‘a great success story for British tennis’ and awards himself a huge pay rise.

August: Australia unveil a new spin bowler as they defeat England in the Ashes series. It subsequently emerges it is Shane Warne, only nobody recognised him because of his scary ‘new look’.

September: Sir Alex Ferguson slams a referee for forgetting to serve him his customary glass of red wine at half-time.

October: Blackburn sack their new boss before hiring him. Pan-Universal club adviser Shebby Singh says: ‘It saves time and money and is part of our plan.’

Outcast: Jose Bosingwa looks unlikely to play for QPR anytime soon after his refusal to be a substitute

Outcast: Jose Bosingwa looks unlikely to play for QPR anytime soon after his refusal to be a substitute

November: Queens Park Rangers go bankrupt. Former player Jose Bosingwa emerges as a potential buyer.

December: Channel 4 racing presenter Clare Balding wins Sports Personality Of The Year in the absence of any other nominations.

Pavel Pogrebnyak plans talks with Reading owner

Problems mount for McDermott as unsettled Pogrebnyak plans talks with Reading owner



22:51 GMT, 13 December 2012

Reading's return to the Premier League is starting to unravel.

Manager Brian McDermott spent
modestly in the summer, only buying two players totalling 5million and
bringing five others in for free following their promotion as
Championship winners.

But almost half-way through the
season they are already six points adrift of 18th place, have only one
league win all season and five losses in their last five matches.

Poor return: Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored just two goals this season

Poor return: Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored just two goals this season

And the futures of two of the players brought in this summer on big wages to help form a core to their side are now in doubt.

Danny Guthrie is reported to be on 20,000 per week but in six months has been at the centre of three major incidents. Twice he reacted badly to being left out of the first team and on Tuesday, having recovered from a thigh injury, would not travel to Sunderland.

McDermott yesterday refused to guarantee his future at the club. He is yet to speak to the midfielder and said he will not be arranging a meeting with the player – it is up to Guthrie to approach him.

The 51-year-old said: 'I'm sure he'll want to talk to me but we'll see. I've got 20-odd players in the squad and I'm focussed on them and the game we've got coming up [against Arsenal].

'I don't think anything in football is untenable, there's always a way back, and the way back for him would be to train to the best of his ability, get himself in the team, play well, win games and then the fans can forgive an awful lot.'

Under pressure: Manager Brian McDermott

Under pressure: Manager Brian McDermott

Reading broke their wage structure to beat Fulham to Pavel Pogrebnyak's signature. They pay him 30,000 per week. The striker scored six Premier League goals in 12 games for Fulham on loan for the second half of last season.

But he has managed only two league goals in 11 appearances this campaign and speaking to Russian media channels Pogrebnyak cast doubt about his future at the club.

The 29-year-old said: 'What's going on I'm not ready to answer this question. I am yet to discuss the issue with the team's owner Anton Zingarevich, but this is probably necessary. After the defeat to Southampton the situation in the struggle for survival is complicated.'

McDermott is targeting players with Premier League experience in January to help Reading survive. But he is going to have to chose more wisely than he did over the summer.

They have four games against teams in the top eight before the window even opens – and need to drastically improve their form to avoid becoming entangled in a relegation battle almost impossible to win

Arsenal need shake-up after Bradford humiliation

Arsenal need shake-up at every level following Wenger's worrying comments after Bradford humiliation



01:17 GMT, 13 December 2012

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Tuesday's defeat at Bradford was Arsene Wenger's post-match comments that his team could not be 'faulted for effort'.

Take that at face value and he is saying that his almost first-choice XI playing to their best could not beat a League Two side. How has it come to this

Why does Arsene now preside over his weakest squad in 16 years at Arsenal The answers can be found in the way the club is run. No longer do we have passionate supporter-owners in the boardroom like Danny Fiszman and David Dein to drive the club forward.

Plenty to ponder: Wenger claimed he couldn't fault Arsenal's performance against Bradford

Plenty to ponder: Wenger claimed he couldn't fault Arsenal's performance against Bradford

Instead, we have a long-distance owner and an ageing boardroom with every member well past 70. Ivan Gazidis is a good chief executive but he seems overly focused on financial austerity and strategising about football's financial regulation rather than concentrating on getting Arsenal's bloated wage structure and patchy transfer dealings back on track.

Arsene's total control over all football matters has unfortunately compounded this situation. His inability to delegate or seek help from others has resulted in a stale environment where best practice is no longer to the fore.

Paying the penalty: League two Bradford knocked the Gunners out

Paying the penalty: League two Bradford knocked the Gunners out

Arsenal need an overhaul at every level starting with the appointment of new board members who can get the football direction of the club back on track and the manager once again playing to his strengths.

This includes instructing him to invest the considerable resources that have recently been kept in reserve. Arsene Wenger is Arsenal's greatest ever manager and always will be, but unless drastic action is taken to shake up the club and his approach, then there is sadly going to be an unhappy ending.

Unhappy ending Could Wenger's time be coming to an end at Arsenal

Unhappy ending Could Wenger's time be coming to an end at Arsenal

Roberto Mancini faces Manchester City axe if club don"t retain Premier League title – Gary Neville

Mancini would face axe if City don't retain Premier League title, says Neville


17:03 GMT, 7 December 2012



17:25 GMT, 7 December 2012

Gary Neville has accepted Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could be ousted if he fails to retain the Premier League title.

Mancini heads into Sunday's Manchester derby only three points adrift of United and the only unbeaten side in the entire English four-tier structure.

Yet the Italian is under pressure following the Blues' European exit, their defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday meaning they have not even landed in the Europa League following their Champions League exit, as was the case 12 months ago.

Tough gig: City could sack Mancini if they don't win the Premier League

Tough gig: City could sack Mancini if they don't win the Premier League

Neville, a Sportsmail columnist, believes an FA Cup and Premier League underline the progress City have made over the past two seasons.

However, with a new chief executive to impress in Ferran Soriano and a new director of football to work with now Brian Marwood has made way for Txiki Begiristain, he feels Mancini's position cannot be described as secure, especially with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho likely to be looking for work in the summer.

'Roberto Mancini deserves more time but it is not a ridiculous suggestion to think City would not consider making a change if he doesn't win the league,' said Neville.

'Whilst Roberto Mancini continues to be successful he should stay in his job but it does feel like one day Mourinho or Guardiola will end up there.

Josep Guardiola

Jose Mourinho

In the frame: Guardiola and Mourinho could take the managerial reigns at City

'They have a new chief executive and a new director of football who presumably have the ear of the owner.

'It might be three or five years but eventually they will want to stamp their mark on the club and Mourinho and Guardiola have to be pretty high on the list.'

Neville was speaking alongside journalists at a Football Writers' Association Forum in Manchester ahead of Sunday's derby clash between City and United at the Etihad Stadium.

The presence of two such prominent former Barcelona figures at the Etihad Stadium has lent credence to the theory Guardiola will choose City as the place to end his year-long sabbatical.

Centre of attention: Sportsmail's Gary Neville claims Ferguson won't 'step aside for anyone'

Centre of attention: Sportsmail's Gary Neville claims Ferguson won't 'step aside for anyone'

Mourinho has long been touted as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at United.

And with reports emerging from Spain the former Chelsea boss will leave Real Madrid in the summer, it has been suggested Ferguson might be persuaded to stand aside after spending 26 years at the Old Trafford helm. Neville simply does not buy into that theory.

All smiles: Ferguson has been at the Old Trafford helm for over 26 years

All smiles: Ferguson has been at the Old Trafford helm for over 26 years

'Whilst he wants to carry on, Sir Alex Ferguson will not stand aside for anybody,' said the former United full-back.

'He will decide when he doesn't want to do it anymore.

'He is not the type of person who would just step aside so he could watch someone else manage his football team.

'It has been Alex Ferguson's last season for 15 years now. Unless it is the best kept secret in the world, nobody knows other than him.'

With both clubs moving clear of third-placed Chelsea, United and City appear to have the Premier League title between them once more. Sunday's match is delicately poised, with the Red Devils three points ahead of their neighbours, who have a better goal difference, meaning victory on Sunday will take them top, exactly the same position that existed ahead of the corresponding fixture last term.

'Sir Alex Ferguson has been openly concerned about United's defending,' said Neville.

'It must be massively frustrating for him and he would have been embarrassed by the first half against Reading.

'But, at the really big points in the season, do his players let him down More often than not, they do not.

'But there is also a lot I like about Manchester City. They have dug out results, never seem to go away and are still only three points behind.'

David Beckham quits LA Galaxy

Beckham eyes next move after revealing he is quitting LA Galaxy… but it is Australia, China or even England now


01:08 GMT, 20 November 2012



07:39 GMT, 20 November 2012

David Beckham is to leave the Los Angeles Galaxy – but has set his sights on one more challenge before retiring.

The 37-year-old is in line to end his six-year Galaxy stay in style as they defend their MLS Cup title against the Houston Dynamo on December 1.

He said: 'I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.

Time's up: Beckham wants to 'experience one last challenge' before hanging up his boots

Time's up: Beckham wants to 'experience one last challenge' before hanging up his boots

Beckham can expect the offers to start flooding in, particularly from growth leagues in Australia and China. There will also be some interest from England, although it is unlikely he will return there.

Australian club Melbourne Heart have confirmed they will try to lure Beckham to the A-League club.

Chief executive Scott Munn said the club planned to offer the midfielder a 10 week contract worth around 1million but they faced competition from at least two Australian clubs plus others from around the world.

Munn told Fox News: 'We're putting forward an offer, it's compelling and the opportunity is here for him to come here.

'That is absolutely legitimate. Let's let David get through next week, play the final of the MLS and hopefully he'll have a win. Then I'm sure he'll assess every offer.'

His final game will take place at the
Galaxy's own Home Depot Center, where he arrived on the American stage
as the first designated player in MLS back in 2007.

'I don't see this as the end of my
relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the
ownership structure in the future,' Beckham added.

'In my time here I have seen the
popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win
trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've
had from fans in LA and across the States.

'Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country and I want to always be part of growing it.'

Landmark signing: Beckham has enjoyed five seasons with the LA Galaxy celebrating the MLS Cup in 2011 (below)

Landmark arrival: Beckham has enjoyed five seasons with then Galaxy celebrating the MLS Cup in 2011 (below)

Landmark signing: Beckham has enjoyed five seasons with the LA Galaxy celebrating the MLS Cup in 2011 (below)

American Dream: Beckham has helped change the face of the MLS

American Dream: Beckham has helped change the face of the MLS

Beckham had an option in his initial deal with the league that allowed him to take a future ownership role in a franchise.

Beckham's stint in Los Angeles brought success in the form of the Galaxy's third MLS Cup crown last year.

But he also faced repeated criticism
from some Galaxy fans, particularly early on in his stay, for a
perceived lack of commitment to the cause.

Two loan stints at AC Milan, during
the second of which he tore an Achilles tendon, as he attempted to keep
his place in the England team did little to help that perception, as
well as comments made while in Italy about the standard of football in

Two low points arrived back in 2009
when Beckham confronted a fan during a match after his every touch was
booed and attracted criticism from team-mate Landon Donovan.

Since then he has won over many
supporters, in no small part due to a dramatic upturn in form over the
last two seasons, and he was voted the league's best player by fans
earlier this year, although his detractors still remain, particularly
among the club's hardcore followers known as the LA Riot Squad.

Beckham was brought to America as
much for the effect of his brand as his on-field ability, and MLS
commissioner Don Garber believes he has been successful in helping to
grow the sport.

Famous faces: The former England skipper meets US president Barack Obama

Famous faces: The former England skipper meets US president Barack Obama

'When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America,' he said.

'There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived.

'David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the league.'

Beckham's initial contract with the league included a clause allowing him to be involved in owning an expansion team down the line.

Beckham negotiated his deal to join the Galaxy while at Real Madrid at the start of 2007, when he was out of favour with then coach Fabio Capello.

In Spain he added one league title to the six he won in England with United, as well as one FA Cup and a Champions League title in 1999 during United's storied treble season.

Capello later made Beckham a big part his England team – after being sidelined and subsequently recalled by previous manager Steve McClaren – ensuring he became the country's most capped outfield player.

The Achilles injury suffered at Milan ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup, however, and he was surprisingly left out of Stuart Pearce's Great Britain Olympic squad this summer.

Beckham factfile

1975: Born Leytonstone, May 2.

1991: Joins Manchester United as trainee.

1992: Makes debut against Brighton in the League Cup on September 23. Wins FA Youth Cup.

1993: Signs professional contract at Old Trafford.

1995: Joins Preston on loan in February and scores two goals in five games.

1996: Helps United to Premier League and FA Cup double.
Scores goal of the season on opening day at Wimbledon, lobbing Neil Sullivan from the halfway line. Makes his England debut in the 3-0 win in Moldova.

1997: Collects another championship winners' medal, voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

1998: Scores first England goal, a free-kick against Colombia in Lens on June 26. Sent off in second-round penalty shoot-out defeat against Argentina.

1999: Helps United win the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup after coming from behind to beat Bayern Munich with two late goals.
Runner-up in World Player of the Year awards, behind Rivaldo.

2000: May – Collects fourth championship winner's medal as United win title by a record 18 points.
November – Named England captain for the November friendly with Italy in Turin by stand-in boss Peter Taylor.

2001: May – Collects another Premier League title with United.
October – Curls in a 25-yard last-minute free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford to earn England a 2-2 draw and send them into World Cup finals.

2002: May 11 – Signs new three-year contract reported to be worth between 90,000 and 100,000 a week.
June 7 – Scores from the penalty spot in the World Cup group stage match against Argentina to seal a 1-0 win.
England bow out in the quarter-finals at the hands of eventual winners Brazil.

2003: February – Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson accidentally kicks a boot into Beckham's face in frustration at United's FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.
June 14 – Awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to football.
June 17 – United announce they have accepted a 25million bid from Real Madrid for Beckham, who agrees personal terms.

2004: June 24 – Misses a penalty as England lose to Portugal in a shoot-out in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals in Lisbon.

2005: November: Captains England for 50th time in friendly against Argentina in Geneva.
July 2 – Stands down as England captain.
August 11 – Dropped from squad for friendly against Greece, Steve McClaren's first match as manager.

2007: January 11 – Beckham announces he will leave Real Madrid and join Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy on a five-year contract in August.
January 13 – Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello says Beckham will never play for the club again.
May 26 – McClaren hands Beckham a shock England recall for matches against Brazil and Estonia.
June – Wins the La Liga title with Madrid, having won back his place in the team.
August 16 – Beckham scores his first goal for Galaxy on his full debut in the SuperLiga semi-final meeting with DC United with a trademark free-kick.

2008: March 26 – Wins 100th cap in the friendly against France.
October 30 – Milan announce Beckham will join them on loan on January 7, 2009.

2009: January 11 – Makes shock first start for Milan in 2-2 Serie A draw at Roma.
March 9 – AC Milan announce that under a unique 'timeshare' agreement, Beckham will stay with them in Italy until the end of the season, return to the Galaxy from July to October and then rejoin the Serie A club for the rest of the 2009-10 campaign.
March 28 – Comes on as a half-time substitute against Slovakia at Wembley to win his 109th cap and break Bobby Moore's record for an outfield player.
July 20, 27 – Twice confronts fans who gave him a hostile reception in his first home games after returning to the Galaxy.

2010: March 14 – Tears his Achilles tendon in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo – an injury that rules him out of the World Cup.
June – Part of England's backroom staff for World Cup campaign which ends in second-round defeat to Germany.
August 11 – England career appears to be at an end when Capello tells ITV: 'Probably he is a little bit old.'

2011: November 20 – Wins the MLS Cup as the Galaxy beat Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the final.
December 31 – Five-year deal at the Galaxy expires.

2012: January 19 – Re-signs with the Galaxy.
June 28 – Announces he has not been included in Team GB's squad for the Olympic Games.
November 16 – Football Federation Australia claim a representative of Beckham approaches them with a view to the midfielder making a short-term move to the A-League in the MLS off-season. A Beckham spokesman says his client has “absolutely no plans to play in Australia”.
November 20 – Confirms he is to leave the Galaxy after MLS Cup on December 1.

Are Arsenal fans right to demand more from Arsene Wenger? We ask the experts in the Saturday debate

The Saturday debate: Are the Arsenal fans right to demand more from Wenger and their club after seven trophyless years



23:03 GMT, 26 October 2012

.NEIL ASHTON Football News Correspondent

Yes. Arsenal do not target trophies, they target a place in the top four to facilitate repayments on the stadium and to keep under-performing executives on over-sized salaries. It is one of the biggest scandals of modern football. Incredible to think they were billed as title contenders after beating Southampton 6-1. Not a chance.

Under pressure: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Under pressure: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

IAN LADYMAN Northern Football Correspondent

Listening to Arsenal's AGM sounded a little like Groundhog Day. Same issues every year. I'm not sure if we should blame the owners but what is beyond dispute is that seven-and-a-half years without a trophy is far too long. If I was an Arsenal fan I'd want to blame somebody. And I would want change.


They are entirely justified. They pay the highest ticket prices in the country and this club is not bankrolled by a sugar-daddy benefactor. The income from fans is vital and their opinion must be respected. They are within their rights to ask questions about the trophyless years, the drain of players and why the club pay top rate executive wages but refuse to pay the top whack for players.

Serious business: Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke (left), chairman Peter Hill -Wood and and Gazidis

Under fire: Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke (left), chairman Peter Hill -Wood and and Ivan Gazidis

TIM PAYTON Arsenal Supporters' Trust spokesman

The Trust was founded to give fans more involvement and understanding of the club's ownership structure. Fans are true custodians of clubs, without us there would be no clubs and we will keep supporting the club on matchdays. When we were formed, club director Danny Fiszman told us to 'keep us on our toes and constructively challenge us' to make Arsenal a better club. These words sum up everything we do.


To a certain extent, I think supporters have got a point. Seven seasons without a trophy is not good enough for a club the size of Arsenal. It is true Manchester City and Chelsea have changed the landscape of English football, particularly in the transfer market. But the simple fact is if you don't want to sell your best players, then you don't sell your best players. And when the club fail to sign like-forlike replacements then I think fans have every right to feel aggrieved. Arsenal have a successful-looking balance sheet, but it is on the pitch where it really counts.

Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal

Under performing: Arsenal suffered successive defeats this week

MATT FORTUNE Mail Online, and Arsenal fan

Arsene Wenger 's project proves nice guys simply don't finish first. His philosophy is commendable and there's no doubt in an environment without billion-pound sugar daddies, he'd be held in far higher esteem. He's forever defended those who have let him down – players and board members – and in standing up for his beliefs he deserves our utmost respect. Fans must realise the playing field isn't level.

Real Madrid announce plans for Bernabeu remodelling

Real Madrid show the future's bright with bold new plans for light-draped Bernabeu



15:57 GMT, 2 October 2012

It is already one of the planet's most iconic stadiums, but the Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid is set to be given a facelift to bring it line with the 21st century.

Club president Florentino Perez unveiled plans to remodel the facade of the 85,000-seater stadium with a state-of-the-art design that drapes the monstrous structure in light.

Scroll down for video of the bold new design for the Bernabeu

Brave new world: Real Madrid have announced plans to remodel the Bernabeu

Brave new world: Real Madrid have announced plans to remodel the Bernabeu

In a statement, Perez said it will provide the stadium 'with an outer skin that will be a crowning architectural achievement'.

He added: 'The Bernabeu has to become a unique stadium, the best in the world, and the crowning achievement of 21st Century stadium architecture.'

Leisure facilities and restaurants will also be integrated in its structure.

Madrid have been at their current home since December 1947.

Alan Shearer interested in Blackburn job

Club legend Shearer open to Rovers approach as pundit eyes return to management



05:39 GMT, 1 October 2012

Former England captain Alan Shearer is considering a return to management with Blackburn Rovers, the club with whom he won the Premier League title in 1995.

The Match of the Day pundit can only call on the managerial experience of his brief and unsuccessful stint at the helm of Newcastle three years ago, yet is confident of restoring Rovers to the top flight.

Shearer, who scored 112 league goals for the Lancashire outfit during his playing days, previously turned down the opportunity to take over at Ewood Park before Paul Ince's ill-fated spell.

Big name: Alan Shearer would like the chance to replace Steve Kean and manage Blackburn Rovers, the club he helped win the Premier League title in 1995

Big name: Alan Shearer would like the chance to replace Steve Kean and manage Blackburn Rovers, the club he helped win the Premier League title in 1995

Alan Shearer is a popular figure at Ewood Park

The striker has flirted with a return to the dug out before, namely with Cardiff 15 months ago, but, according to the Daily Mirror, is so keen on this latest opportunity that Iain Dowie, his No 2 at Newcastle, and one-time strike partner Mike Newell have already been sounded out about joining the backroom team.

Shearer's only competition for the position vacated by Steve Kean is former team-mate Tim Sherwood, who Sportsmail revealed has been denied the chance to speak with Rovers' global advisor Shebby Singh, something Shearer will do this week.

The 43-year-old is the favoured option, but they cannot get through the front door at Tottenham after Levy rejected their advances on Sunday.

Sherwood, who is happy with his role developing young players at the north London club, has never had any managerial ambitions.

Competition: Blackburn made a formal approach to Tottenham for Tim Sherwood

Competition: Blackburn made a formal approach to Tottenham for Tim Sherwood

The former Spurs midfielder has been working with the club's young players and putting a development structure in place since he joined the coaching staff in October 2008.

His next logical move at White Hart Lane appeared to be the vacant role of technical director, but manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted last week that Sherwood would not be promoted to the position.

When questioned over the weekend, Sherwood said: 'That's all they are – just rumours. That's all I know about it.

'I've got a great job where I am. There is nothing to consider. It's just speculation. I love what I do. I'm happy at the football club, it's a great project.'

Victor Moses signs for Chelsea

Moses completes Chelsea switch after Wigan agree 9m fee for winger



19:58 GMT, 24 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Wigan forward Victor Moses.

The 21-year-old, who featured for the Latics against the European champions last week, agreed personal terms to complete his switch to Stamford Bridge.

No details were released regarding the fee or the length of Moses' contract.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan named his price for Moses two weeks ago and, having turned down four offers and has now reluctantly sold him to the European champions.

Audition: Wigan forward Victor Moses (left) in action against Chelsea last Sunday

Audition: Wigan forward Victor Moses (left) in action against Chelsea last Sunday

The delay had been down to wrangling
over the payment structure as Wigan wanted the majority of the fee paid
up front. They have got their way, with 7m being paid immediately and
2m more guaranteed at the end of the season.

Moses has been on Chelsea’s radar
since his sparkling form at the end of last season helped keep Roberto
Martinez’s team in the Barclays Premier League.

Moses was outstanding for Wigan during
their 2-0 defeat by Roberto Di Matteo’s side at the DW Stadium in last
weekend’s Premier League opener.

That performance convinced Di Matteo,
as well as Chelsea technical director Michael Emanalo and owner Roman
Abramovich, to meet Wigan’s asking price.

Moses, 21, has spent two seasons at the DW Stadium after being sold by Championship side Crystal Palace for 2.5m.

He spent his early years playing for England’s youth teams but has switched and now represents his native Nigeria.

Transfer saga: Moses' protracted move has rumbled on for most of the summer

Transfer saga: Moses' protracted move has rumbled on for most of the summer

Martinez admitted he was not involved in the negotiations to sell Moses and that Whelan had handled the talks with Chelsea.

The FA Cup and Champions League
winners will be relieved the deal has been done before the transfer
deadline of 11pm next Friday.

The deal adds to Abramovich’s spending on Eden Hazard and Oscar.

Moses has the element of magic
Abramovich has been demanding and Di Matteo is convinced he can play a
big role in Chelsea’s season.

Luka Modric goes AWOL to force move to Real Madrid

Modric goes AWOL ahead of Spurs flight for US tour in bid to force move to Madrid



09:39 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

In a desperate bid to secure a move to Real Madrid, Luka Modric has gone AWOL from Tottenham.

Spurs are set to take disciplinary action against the player if the Croatian fails to make the Saturday flight taking the Tottenham squad to their US pre-season tour.

Not all white: Luka Modric is desperate to leave Tottenham this summer

Not all white: Luka Modric is desperate to leave Tottenham this summer

Tottenham's new boss Andre Villas-Boas has accepted that Modric is Madrid-bound, and the midfielder has reportedly told the Portuguese coach that he wants to leave.

The Spanish champions are closing in on a 35million deal for Modric, with the 26-year-old looking to make his intentions that he wants out as clear as possible to the Spurs hierarchy.

Last summer Modric was the centre of a lengthy transfer saga, as the playmaker tried to force a move to London rivals Chelsea.

Spurs are keen to cash in and it is clear that neither party wants a repeat of last summer, but chairman Daniel Levy is refusing to budge on his 35million valuation of the player.

On his way: Real Madrid are chasing 35million-rated Modric

On his way: Real Madrid are chasing 35million-rated Modric

The two clubs are at loggerheads over the fee, as Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has said that he is unwilling to pay anything over 27million.

Last summer Modric accused Levy of threatening to freeze him out at Spurs unless he pledged to stay.

His most recent tactics to speed up his transfer are certain to be met with contempt by both Villas-Boas and Levy, let alone the Tottenham faithful.

Villas-Boas meanwhile, is hoping to complete his third signing since joining the club by securing the signature of Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor.

Although the two clubs have settled on a 6million fee for the striker, who spent last season on loan at the north London club, Adebayor is asking Levy to break the club's rigid wage structure by paying him around 115,000 a week – something he is unlikely to do.