Tag Archives: television

Michael Owen wanted by Strictly Come Dancing and I"m a Celebrity

Race to sign Owen hots up – but it's Strictly and I'm a Celebrity doing battle!

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

12:27 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 3 April 2013

Michael Owen may have failed his screen test to head BT Sport’s new analysis team — but the BBC and ITV are still in a fight to sign him up.

It has been reported that the Stoke striker, who has recently announced he will retire at the end of the season, is at the centre of TV battle between the makers of Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity.

Both networks are apparently trying to sign for the autumn series of both shows.

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

Dancefloor or jungle How Owen might look on Strictly (left) and I'm a Celebrity

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

In demand: The clamour to sign up Owen is in full swing

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Retiring: The former England striker, now at Stoke, will call it a day next month

Owen is to become a BBC television and radio pundit in his retirement, having made occasional appearances on Match of the Day already this season.

BT Sport, who need a marquee signing from the dressing room to head the analysts team for their Premier League coverage next season, could have been expected to jump at the chance to sign such an illustrious footballer as Owen, whose services have been strongly touted to them.

But the word inside BT headquarters in the Olympic Park is that Owen’s ‘monotone’ displays on the BBC have been considered ‘poor’, although it will help Owen’s Beeb future that their lead presenter Gary Lineker has been supportive.

The first confirmed pundit appointment
for Owen is at Royal Ascot. Racehorse owner and breeder Owen is on a
panel of experts who will be giving tips to the 570-a-head patrons of
the prime Bessborough Restaurant on the Thursday of the Royal meeting in
June.

Owen is also planning to launch a player agency business when he retires from professional football at the end of this season.

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Frozen out: Owen has had limited first-team opportunities at Stoke

Stoke City centre forward Owen, who has previously starred for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, will hang up his boots at the end of his season, bringing the curtain down on a difficult few years in which he has sustained several serious injuries that have chronically limited his game-time.

In a blog on his website former England man Owen explained: ‘On July 1, I propose to set up Michael Owen Management Ltd. focusing on guiding young players through their careers and offering them advice at every juncture of what can be a career full of pitfalls.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT THEY SAID

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

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

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

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

WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

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

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

Roy Hodgson will "wait and see" if Rio Ferdinand has an international future after withdrawing from England squad for San Marino and…

Rio can do what he wants… but I can't guarantee he'll get another England invite, says Hodgson

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

17:29 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 21 March 2013

England manager Roy Hodgson has said he will 'wait and see' if Rio Ferdinand has an international future following the United defender's decision to withdraw from the national squad this week.

Hodgson's side take on San Marino on Friday with a depleted defence after Ferdinand withdrew from the squad to look after his chronic back problem.

But Ferdinand
sparked fresh controversy as Sportsmail exclusively revealed that the
Manchester United defender will fly to Qatar to work on a television
broadcast of Friday’s World Cup qualifier.

Waving goodbye Roy Hodgson said he will 'wait and see' if Rio Ferdinand has an international future

Waving goodbye Roy Hodgson said he will 'wait and see' if Rio Ferdinand has an international future

Unhappy: Hodgson is disappointed that Ferdinand is not with the England team

Unhappy: Hodgson is disappointed that Ferdinand is not with the England team

When pushed on Ferdinand's future as
an England player, Hodgson said: 'I think we should just wait and see, I
think it's more a question of how his injury situation will impact upon
him playing for England, so we'll have to wait and see what happens in
the future.

'At the moment it's speculation about
a longer-term future whereas my focus is on these next two games, which
are important for us in our bid to qualify. I am happy with the squad
we've got.'

Hodgson deflected questions on what he thought of Ferdinand's decision to miss the two World Cup qualifiers.

He said: 'I don't have any serious
thoughts on it. I was disappointed when he couldn't accept our
invitation. It would have been nice to have him here.'

Double header: England take on San Marion on Friday night before facing Montenegro next week

Double header: England take on San Marion on Friday night before facing Montenegro next week

Hodgson also refused to comment on Ferdinand's decision to embark on a 15-hour round trip to Doha to work as a TV pundit.

'As we all know he wasn't able to
accept the invitation so what he actually does now and how he operates
in the coming couple of weeks, that's his business and the club's
business.

'You're asking me questions that I
really don't want to go into. It really shows a lack of respect to some
extent for the players who are here,' he said.

'In this instance Rio made it clear
that he wasn't able to accept my invitation on this occasion and we will
see what happens in the future.

'What happens during this period of
time when he's looking after himself, it's up to us to look after
ourselves and do the job we've got to do in these next two matches.'

Plane stupid: Ferdinand pulled out of the England squad before agreeing to work as a TV pundit in Qatar

Plane stupid: Ferdinand pulled out of the England squad before agreeing to work as a TV pundit in Qatar

Hodgson also dismissed suggestions that Michael Carrick could step in at centre back to solve England's defensive crisis.

The England boss said: 'To accept that I would have to
accept we have problems in central defence. I think we have four very
good central defenders here.

'As far as I’m concerned I would be
loathed to start using people like Michael Carrick who has been selected
for his prowess as a midfield player.

'It would be harsh on those who have been selected as central defenders.'

Not interested: Captain Steven Gerrard is not dwelling on Ferdinand's withdrawal

Not interested: Captain Steven Gerrard is not dwelling on Ferdinand's withdrawal

England captain Steven Gerrard
believes the team have trained well without Ferdinand and is not
dwelling on the United defender's absence.

He said: 'I don't think it's for me to comment. That's something for the manager to deal with to be honest. I just look at the players in the squad and worry about them players really.

'Of course it's disappointing Rio's not here, because he's a fantastic player and he's in top form, and it would've been nice for him to be here, but he's not, we move on without him and training's been really good.'

Asked if England can cope without Ferdinand, Gerrard said: 'Yes I do, certainly on the evidence I've seen in training the last few days.

'Repeating what the manager said, the four guys have been working hard and training well and they are all pushing for places.

'I'm confident that they can not only do the job tomorrow but on Tuesday night as well.'

Xavi ruled out of

Beaten Barca will be without El Clasico veteran Xavi for Bernabeau clash, as Madrid look for second win in five days

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

13:36 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:38 GMT, 1 March 2013

Barcelona's fears of a second El Clasico
defeat in five days were made worse today after discovering influential
midfielder Xavi has been ruled out of tomorrow's match with a hamstring
injury.

The Spaniard, who has played in 37 Clasico's, the highest of all current players, risked his niggling injury by appearing in Tuesday's 3-1 Copa Del Rey semi-final defeat to Real at the Nou Camp.

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Caught out: Xavi risked the hamstring injury by playing in Tuesday's El Classico, and now finds himself on the sidelines for the La Liga clash

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

Influence: Xavi has played 36 times this season, scoring six goals

The 33-year-old first discovered a small tear after leaving the pitch against Valencia on February 2, but was rested before playing with no apparent trouble in San Siro for the Champions League last-16 first leg against AC Milan last week.

But Xavi suffered another small tear in a training session on Sunday, and despite playing on Tuesday has been officially ruled out of the clash at the Bernabau.

He will now have a week to recover before Barcelona's next match with Deportivo in eight days, and will hope to be involved when the four-time champions of Europe look to overcome a 2-0 last-16 first leg deficit against Milan.

Barcelona hold a staggering 16-point gap over Madrid in third place, while Atletico Madrid trail the Catalan giants by 12 points.

The game will be played at 3pm on Saturday, meaning British television stations will not be able to televise the game due to Saturday football blackout rules.

West Brom fan hunted by police after snowball attack on Aston Villa defender Joe Bennett

Police hunt West Brom fan after snowball attack on Aston Villa defender Bennett

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

13:31 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 22 January 2013

Police are trying to identify the fan who threw a snowball at Aston Villa's Joe Bennett and missed during the Midlands derby with West Brom.

Television cameras caught the supporter aiming his shot at the left back during their draw at The Hawthorns on Saturday evening.

Although the snowball missed its intended target, police have launched an investigation into the incident and are hoping to identify the culprit.

Scroll down for video

Swing and a miss: The snowball went nowhere near Joe Bennett as he prepared to take a throw

Swing and a miss: The snowball went nowhere near Joe Bennett as he prepared to take a throw

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police told Sportsmail: 'We are making inquiries to identify the offender and deal with him appropriately.'

The incident was one of several similar 'attacks' over the weekend.

On Saturday, Blackburn Rovers' controversial owners were pelted by fans when they made a rare appearance at Ewood Park.

Jitendra Desai, husband of owner Anuradha, was hit in the face as the Venky's group got out of their limos at the entrance to Ewood Park before the defeat by Charlton Athletic, new manager Michael Appleton's first game in charge.

Juventus hope to sign Didier Drogba from Shanghai Shenhua

Drogba to Juventus Club director reveals plans to beat AC Milan to striker's signature

By
Press Association Reporter

PUBLISHED:

18:32 GMT, 7 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:39 GMT, 7 January 2013

Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has confirmed the Serie A club have enquired about the availability of Shanghai Shenhua striker Didier Drogba.

The Bianconeri have already made an approach to sign Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente on a Bosman free transfer in the summer, but with Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner sidelined through injury, the Italian champions are eager to bolster their immediate options.

Quoted on calciomercato.com, Marotta told television programme Domenica Sportiva: 'Drogba We are always making enquiries and we have made one for him.

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

'We have asked about his availability and after that we will look at the financial aspects and talk to the coach.'

Juve boss Conte had previously ruled out any approach for the former Chelsea striker, but player recruitment is overseen by Marotta.

A person claiming to be Drogba's agent, Carlos Arino Bajo, had claimed Drogba had an option to end his two-and-a-half year contract in China, a claim later rejected by the London-based Sports PR Company.

Bajo had told tuttomercato.com: 'Didier
has a termination agreement with the Chinese club and I think he has a
lot of possibilities to move to Italy in January.

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

'There is real interest from Juventus and AC Milan, and it is the same from Didier regarding the transfer.

'There have been contacts with both clubs and next week we will hear
from them again. He would love to compete in one of the world's best
leagues, such as the Italian Serie A.'

But the Sports PR Company, who count Drogba and several of his former
Chelsea team-mates among their clients, responded through their official
Twitter account.

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

The company tweeted: 'Please note, these quotes are not correct. This
guy is not Didier's agent, his sole agent is Thierno Seydi (a
FIFA-registered agent based in Senegal).'

Drogba has been training with Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions
League in May, in the lead-up to the African Nations Cup which begins in
South Africa on January 19.

Tony Greig tribute by Paul Newman

Tony Greig: A rebel with a cause. He was a pioneer who shocked the world… and saved cricket

|

UPDATED:

20:26 GMT, 30 December 2012

Tony Greig rocked the establishment in walking away from high office as England captain to play a key role in setting up Kerry Packer’s breakaway ‘circus’ in 1977.

Sportsmail pays tribute to one of the most significant cricketers in the history of the game by recalling how the late, great Ian Wooldridge broke the seismic news of the Packer revolution exclusively on the front page of the Daily Mail.

And how Greig, who died in Sydney on Saturday at the age of 66, was finally welcomed back into the home of the game when he was invited to deliver the Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture by MCC at Lord’s last summer.

Scroll down for video

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

On May 9, 1977, under the headline
‘World’s top cricketers turn “pirate” ’, Ian Wooldridge wrote: ‘In a
player revolution unprecedented in sport the world’s top 34 Test
cricketers have secretly signed contracts to become freelance
mercenaries. Disenchanted by low pay and what they regarded as doormat
treatment by cricketing authorities throughout the world they are to
play exhibition “Tests” for television and ten times the money.

Ragout

‘The new Dogs of Cricket include
England captain Tony Greig and 13 of the Australian touring party (in
England at the time). The possibility must be faced that Greig’s
involvement will be seen at Lord’s as defection and that he will be
removed from the captaincy this summer. Overnight. the whole balance of
world cricket has shifted.’

Last June, 35 years after being
ostracised from the established game, Greig, whose career of 58 Tests,
14 of them as England captain, was ended by his shocking switch, stood
tall at the home of cricket and explained, at the behest of MCC, why he
made the move that changed the game for ever.

Greig said: ‘I must explain my
reasons for sacrificing the most coveted role in world cricket, the
England captaincy, to become involved with an Australian television
tycoon. A quote from the transcript of my meeting with Kerry Packer,
five days after the Centenary Test on March 22, 1977, gives the best
insight of how I felt at the time: “Kerry, money is not my major
concern. I’m nearly 31 years old. I’m probably two or three failures
from being dropped from the England team. Ian Botham is going to be a
great player and there won’t be room in the England side for both of us.

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

“England captains such as Tony Lewis,
Brian Close, Colin Cowdrey, Ray Illingworth and Mike Denness all lost
the captaincy long before they expected. I won’t be any different. I
don’t want to finish up in a mundane job when they drop me. I’m not
trained to do anything. I am at the stage of my life when my family’s
future is more important than anything else. If you guarantee me a job
for life within your organisation, I will sign”.

Greig worked as a commentator for Packer’s Channel Nine in Australia until his death from a heart attack, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in October.

He continued at Lord’s: ‘Obviously
there were also key issues with the England administrators that
disturbed me which I felt would never be resolved. I couldn’t understand
why we were only paid 210 a Test when we were playing in front of
packed houses. The psyche of the administrators was that the honour of
playing for England was enough — money shouldn’t be a consideration.

‘Consequently I couldn’t see an end
to the game under-selling itself and there appeared to be no hope of
expanding the revenue base for Test and county players alike unless
there was a revolution, or at least a big upheaval. I have never had any
doubt that I did the right thing by my family and by cricket. I have
worked for Kerry Packer’s organisation for 35 years and my family’s
future has been secured.

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

‘After the initial nastiness and internal feuding, cricket and cricketers also did quite well out of World Series Cricket.

‘WSC ensured cricket reinvented itself to survive the changing world.

‘WSC was the jolt the administrators
needed and it flagged the message that they were substantially
under-selling the sport to TV.

‘Players immediately received
substantially more money at both Test and first-class level, which
increased the longevity of their careers.

‘Companies saw the value in using
cricket as a marketing tool. TV coverage improved significantly, which
increased interest in the sport. Night cricket created a new audience,
both in terms of television and at the ground, and generated
significantly more income.

‘Cricket’s success inspired other sports to imitate cricket with things such as TV coverage and sponsorships.’

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Greig concluded: ‘Cricket as we know
and love it still has plenty of problems. Most can be solved if the
International Cricket Council members put the game’s interests before
their own; if India accepts the survival of Test cricket as
non-negotiable; if India accepts its responsibility as leader of the
cricket world; if it embraces Nelson Mandela’s philosophy of not
seeking retribution; and if it embraces the Spirit of Cricket and
governs in the best interests of world cricket, not just for India and
its business partners.

‘What we have is a game with its
roots deep in the 19th century but, like a magnificent English oak,
continues to spread its luxuriant branches in the 21st century.

‘If we want our children’s children
to be able to climb on that tree, we must do everything in our power to
ensure that the tree can live.

‘To do that, no matter where we come
from in the world, we must be guided by the paramount and enlightening
thing that Colin Cowdrey, a man so courteous he called Jeff Thomson “Mr
Thomson” out in the middle, knew and cherished so well. The Spirit of
Cricket.’

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WORLD OF CRICKET UNITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO GREIG

England wicketkeeper, Matt Prior: 'Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed. #RIPGreigy.'

England batsman Jonny Bairstow: 'Today we lost a fabulous man, a family friend and someone who was respected by all not only as a cricketer but a true gentleman RIPTonyGreig'

England opener, Nick Compton:
'Sad day – RIP Tony Greig a fantastic player and a good man, loved his
commentary was one of the best! Cricket world will miss u.'

Legendary Aussie fast bowler, Brett Lee: 'OMG Poor Tony Greig. I feel so sad and shocked right now. Can't believe it.'

England all-rounder, Luke Wright: 'Gutted to hear that Tony Greig has passed away. A legend on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends #RIPGreigy.'

Australia captain Michael Clarke on www.cricket.com.au: 'I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating.

'Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss.

'Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad.'

Former Australian paceman Glen McGrath: My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig'

Long-serving Nine Network cricket commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud recalled Greig's 'fearless' reaction to the English public following his decision to join the Packer team in 1977.
'There was an enormous amount of pressure on him,' Benaud told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'He was captain of England at the time and played against Australia at Lord's. The English people turned against him.

'He wasn't just a fearless cricketer but a fearless thinker as well. He would not just jump in boots first, but it wouldn't matter how much pressure it put on him, he would stick with it.'

Former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee told the same publication: 'Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win.

'We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams.'

ICC chief executive David Richardson: 'This is extremely sad news for cricket and the ICC send their condolences to Tony's family and in particular his wife Vivian.

'Tony played a significant part in shaping modern cricket as a player in the 1970s and then provided millions of cricket lovers with a unique insight as a thoughtful and knowledgeable commentator – primarily for the Nine Network in Australia.

'I met with him on several occasions during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where he was a senior commentator for our broadcast partner ESS.

'He was also a regular visitor to the ICC offices in Dubai when commentating for Ten Sports.

'I am sure that I will not be alone in saying that he and his wise words will be missed by cricketers, administrators and spectators around the world.

'His figures in Test matches show that he was one of the leading all-rounders of his generation with a batting average of above 40 and a bowling average around 32.'

Frank Lampard can match David Beckham"s 4m wages if he moves to LA Galaxy

Lampard can match Beckham's 4m wages if he makes summer LA Galaxy switch

|

UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 30 December 2012

Frank Lampard will bag up to 4million a year in wages if he moves to LA Galaxy.

The Chelsea midfielder has been told to find another club and could now pocket the same salary as David Beckham if he moves to the MLS, according to the Sun Sunday.

Lampard could also bank an extra $1m (619,000) in merchandise sales, and has been touted as the perfect replacement for Becks. Accepting the deal would make him the highest-paid footballer in MLS.

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

A source said: 'The club feel Frank is what they’re missing now David has left.

'He has the profile to fill Beckham’s role as the face of the club globally.'

The 34-year old will be considering is future swiftly, since Chelsea advised him he can leave from January 1.

Lampard and his fiance Christine Bleakley thought to have arranged their June wedding in her native Northern Ireland, but a State-side move in 2013 could be an exciting one for television presenter Christine.

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

Tony Greig dies: Patrick Collins tribute

Brash and tactless he may have been but Greig was also cricket's saviour

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

The MCC flag on the clock tower at Lord’s is flying at half-mast in memory of Tony Greig.

The former England captain, who died aged 66 following a heart attack at his home in Sydney on Saturday, would have smiled at this tribute from Official England. For no cricketer ever attracted such vituperation from those who ruled the game. Yet no cricketer ever succeeded so completely in transforming the game they once ruled.

Brash and combative, truculent and tactless, Greig will be recalled as much for his role in celebrated controversies as for his status as one of cricket’s finest all-rounders.

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

66 and out: Former England captain and popular television commentator Tony Greig has died in Sydney at the age of 66

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

Job well done: Greig, then captain of England, relaxes with a pint after a Test match at Old Trafford in 1972

There was his foolhardy promise to make
the 1976 West Indies tourists ‘grovel’. It was a crassly offensive term
in any circumstances; spoken by a white South African at a time when
apartheid still oppressed that benighted country, it was catastrophic.

There was the day in Trinidad when he threw down the stumps of Alvin
Kallicharran as the West Indies batsman walked off the field at the
close of play. Greig appealed, the umpire raised his finger and a major
riot ensued. On the following morning, the appeal was revoked. But the
memory lingered.

Then there was Packer. Most of all, there was Packer. Some 35 years on, it is impossible to convey the depth of the outrage.

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

All-rounder: Greig scored 3,599 Test runs at an average of 40.43 and was also more than handy with the ball, claiming 141 wickets at an average of 32.20

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Mentor: Greig offers some words of advice for players of the future during a match for Brighton and Hove CC at Basingstoke in 1978

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

Leaders: Deposed England cricket captain Tony Greig (right) and his successor, Mike Brearley, during practice prior to the 1st ODI against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on 22nd June 1977

In 1977, cricketers were seen as being fortunate to play the game. Their
wages were meagre, their financial prospects precarious. Greig had been
captain of England for two years, a popular figure who seemed capable
of regenerating English cricket. But he had signed a secret agreement
with Kerry Packer, the owner of Nine Network in Australia, to set up a
‘rebel’ troupe of international cricketers.

He then — while still captain — began to recruit English and foreign cricketers for the Packer ‘circus’.

The plot became public and, within a week, Greig had lost the captaincy.
He was retained for an Ashes series as an England player, but his
international career then expired. He threw his energies behind Packer’s
successful attempt to popularise the game, especially the one-day
version with its coloured clothing and tumultuous crowds. The sport was
truly transformed.

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Meeting of minds: Greig chats with Pakistan cricketer of the sixties Saeed Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates in 1997

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

Controversial times: Greig as captain of the World Series Cricket World XI in the 1979 Supertest Grand Final match with Australia in Sydney

It all tended to obscure the fact that he was a blissfully talented
cricketer. Six feet six inches in height, he scored 3,599 Test runs at
40.43 and took 141 wickets at 32.20. Once in the West Indies, with
England needing to win to save the series, he experimented with
off-spin. He took 13 wickets, scored a six and three-quarter-hour
century and England won by 26 runs.

An extraordinary talent.

He later moved to Australia and built a career as a commentator on
Packer’s television channel. The energy never dimmed until these last
few weeks, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and his health swiftly
failed.

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

Memorabilia: Greig studies the ball used by Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh when he became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket at an auction in Bangalore in 2003

He has received a number of glowing obituaries, but many years ago his
former England colleague, Pat ‘Percy’ Pocock, wrote: ‘When the whole
Packer business erupted, the popular cry was that Tony Greig had
betrayed the game. I never believed that, and I think history will be
kind to him. Far from betraying it, I fancy he may just have saved it.’

Tony Greig would have appreciated the MCC flag on the clock tower. But I
suspect that Percy’s tribute would be the one he valued most of all.

WORLD OF CRICKET UNITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO GREIG

England wicketkeeper, Matt Prior: 'Can't believe one of my heroes Tony Greig has passed away. One of the greatest voices in cricket and will be sorely missed. #RIPGreigy.'

England batsman Jonny Bairstow: 'Today we lost a fabulous man, a family friend and someone who was respected by all not only as a cricketer but a true gentleman RIPTonyGreig'

England opener, Nick Compton:
'Sad day – RIP Tony Greig a fantastic player and a good man, loved his
commentary was one of the best! Cricket world will miss u.'

Legendary Aussie fast bowler, Brett Lee: 'OMG Poor Tony Greig. I feel so sad and shocked right now. Can't believe it.'

England all-rounder, Luke Wright: 'Gutted to hear that Tony Greig has passed away. A legend on and off the field. Our thoughts are with his family and friends #RIPGreigy.'

Australia captain Michael Clarke on www.cricket.com.au: 'I was only speaking with Tony a couple of days ago so news of his passing is absolutely devastating.

'Tony has a long and decorated history with international cricket both as a player and commentator and cricket will be much poorer for his loss.

'Personally, he has also been a great mentor for me, providing great advice through the good times and the bad.'

Former Australian paceman Glen McGrath: My thoughts are with Tony Greig's family today. RIP Tony Greig'

Long-serving Nine Network cricket commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud recalled Greig's 'fearless' reaction to the English public following his decision to join the Packer team in 1977.
'There was an enormous amount of pressure on him,' Benaud told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'He was captain of England at the time and played against Australia at Lord's. The English people turned against him.

'He wasn't just a fearless cricketer but a fearless thinker as well. He would not just jump in boots first, but it wouldn't matter how much pressure it put on him, he would stick with it.'

Former Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee told the same publication: 'Tony was a tough opponent who took on all opposition with aggression and a determination to win.

'We will not forget the way he stirred the viewers in a similar vein to the way he did to opposition teams.'

ICC chief executive David Richardson: 'This is extremely sad news for cricket and the ICC send their condolences to Tony's family and in particular his wife Vivian.

'Tony played a significant part in shaping modern cricket as a player in the 1970s and then provided millions of cricket lovers with a unique insight as a thoughtful and knowledgeable commentator – primarily for the Nine Network in Australia.

'I met with him on several occasions during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka where he was a senior commentator for our broadcast partner ESS.

'He was also a regular visitor to the ICC offices in Dubai when commentating for Ten Sports.

'I am sure that I will not be alone in saying that he and his wise words will be missed by cricketers, administrators and spectators around the world.

'His figures in Test matches show that he was one of the leading all-rounders of his generation with a batting average of above 40 and a bowling average around 32.'

Marcus Townend: Broadcast challenge for new kings Channel 4

Marcus Townend: Channel 4 face one helluva broadcast challenge in replacing the BBC

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

How ironic that the final BBC racing broadcast at abandoned Chepstow will not even manage to make it out of the starting stalls.

Leaving the sport with not even a whimper seems appropriate for an organisation whose divorce from racing has been coming for a long time.

The faces in front of camera soldiered on but the BBC television executives above them steadily lost interest, their mood not helped by the period when they were paying for their dwindling rights and Channel 4 was being handed cheques by the sport to keep its cameras rolling.

Changing of the guard: Clare Balding will be the new face of Channel 4 racing

Changing of the guard: Clare Balding will be the new face of Channel 4 racing

The landscape was transformed when bookmakers were allowed to start advertising on television and suddenly a live broadcast from Sandown became much more than merely an expensive, work-intensive option to another repeat of The Sound of Music.

Channel 4’s interest surged. Make no mistake, they have not signed a four-year deal for the terrestrial racing rights simply because they are in love with the sport.
It would be easy to drift away on sentimental memories but the truth is that the new

Channel 4 racing coverage has the potential to innovate and excite.

When cricket took the same journey from BBC to Channel 4, the station impressed with its refreshing new approach.

No show: Chepstow races which was due to the the last meet shown on the BBC has been postponed due to the weather

No show: Chepstow races which was due to the the last meet shown on the BBC has been postponed due to the weather

A re-jigged team of pundits line up under the leadership of the BBC’s transferred Clare Balding —not a bad signing given her current standing in the post-Olympics world of sports broadcasting. The new squad could have been more radical but it will be the attitude and tone set by their masters that is all important and early mission statements look promising.

Channel 4 looks enthused by their new venture and that, in contrast to the BBC’s attitude, has the capacity to shine through on screen.
Of course, adverts for the first time during the Grand National or at Royal Ascot will grate but longer programmes and less races will make the shows feel less like a mad dash through betting opportunities.

The BBC has a huge archive of racing memories — Red Rum at the 1977 Sports Personality of the Year show; Bing Crosby appearing on Grandstand on the day in the 1970s when the chaser Uncle Bing won and Frankie Dettori’s magnificent seven at Ascot in 1996.

But the baton has been passed on and it might not be a bad thing. A challenge has been set Channel 4. We will see in the coming weeks and months how well it does.