Tag Archives: testimonial

Tony Hibbert in hoodie with Everton fans during FA Cup clash against Oldham

Hoodie is no help for Hibbert who is spotted in with the Everton fans for Oldham clash

enjoyed a testimonial at Goodison.

The match, against AEK Athens, was the only time Hibbert has scored for the club.

He tucked home a free-kick to seal a 4-1 win and prompt a mass pitch invasion.

VIDEO: Everton fans run amok after Hibbert finally scores

Sam Warbuton will stay loyal to Cardiff Blues

Warbuton will follow Cuthbert's lead and stay loyal to Cardiff

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 22 December 2012

Sam Warburton is set to emulate Alex Cuthbert by securing his future in Wales with Cardiff Blues.

The Wales captain has been reassured over the club’s ambitions after they tied down Cuthbert for the next three years and he says he is ready to commit to his home team ‘for life’ when his current deal ends after next season.

Warburton, 24, said: ‘I would love to stay at the Blues for life and have my testimonial here.

Set to sign: Sam Warburton will commit his future to the Cardiff Blues

Set to sign: Sam Warburton will commit his future to the Cardiff Blues

‘In France you can earn three or four times what you get in Wales, but I would also rather play somewhere I’m happy and getting looked after.

‘It will be interesting to see the detail in the new WRU plans and what incentives they come up with to keep players at the regions.’

One of the main aims of the newly formed Professional Regional Game Board in Wales is to help the four Welsh teams hold on to their top players.

Newport Gwent Dragons director of rugby Rob Beale says they could help the club keep Toby Faletau, who will also be out of contract after next season.

Beale said: ‘If that is a stated aim then they have got to be involved in how we set about keeping Toby.’

Everton stalwart Tony Hibbert backs Wayne Rooney to finish career at Goodison Park

Everton stalwart Hibbert reveals Rooney's wish to wear blue again at Goodison

|

UPDATED:

22:23 GMT, 7 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Wayne Rooney has been tipped to finish
his career with a sensational return to Everton by the man who hoped to
see him in Royal Blue again.

Tony Hibbert's selfless and loyal
service to Everton over the last 16 years, 11 of which have been spent
in the first team, will receive the ultimate recognition
when AEK Athens come to Goodison Park for his testimonial on Wednesday.

The defender, who has amassed 309
appearances since making his debut at West Ham in March 2001, had wanted
Rooney to be involved and the England striker would have jumped at the
chance, had Manchester United not had commitments of their own against
Barcelona in Sweden.

Best of enemies: Man United striker Wayne Rooney and Everton's Tony Hibbert

Best of enemies: Man United striker Wayne Rooney and Everton's Tony Hibbert

Seeing Rooney don an Everton shirt for the first time since his 27million move to Old Trafford in August 2004 would undoubtedly have caused a commotion, as certain sections of Everton's support have never forgiven him the contentious manner he left.

Hibbert, though, believes Rooney – who has never hidden the fact he continues to support Everton – would have no hesitation in returning to Goodison if an opportunity arrived at a suitable stage, once his time with United is over.

'It would have been good for Wayne (to play) and it was great that he asked me,' said Hibbert. 'It has just worked out that Manchester United have a game. He was quite upset when he realised (he couldn't play). I still speak to him and it's just great to see what he is doing.

'He hasn't changed one bit. It says everything about Wayne that he was willing to do that. He probably would have got a bad reception but he is not fazed about that. He loves Everton. Deep down he is still an Evertonian. I know for a fact that he still goes to (Everton) games.

True blue: Rooney has remained an Everton fan

True blue: Rooney has remained an Everton fan

Previous engagement: Rooney is in Sweden for United's pre-season friendly against Barcelona

Gutted: Rooney is in Sweden for United's pre-season friendly against Barcelona

'He will do anything for Everton. It was
a great honour for me that he wanted to play in the game. I was
surprised when he asked whether he could play and if I would like him
to. I jumped at the chance but obviously he has other commitments.

When asked whether finishing his career at Goodison was possible, Hibbert said: 'I think it is. If Wayne says it, then I think the club would be stupid not to welcome him back. I think there would be a few moans but for us to get a player like Wayne Rooney would be massive.'

Hibbert, of course, played a bit part role the night Rooney signed his first major deal at Goodison in 2003, when he sat to the striker's side during a press conference, fulfilling his duties without the slightest bit of fuss.

That episode encapsulated his career. He has never courted publicity or looked to create headlines, he has simply got on with his job, defending in a no-nonsense manner, and done all that has been asked of him to the best of his ability.

Coming from Huyton, the same district of Liverpool as Steven Gerrard, all that Hibbert has done has been for Everton's benefit and it once prompted David Moyes to say that 'he bleeds Blue blood' and he would have 'a job for life' at Goodison.

Cult figure: Hibbert has been at Everton for 16 years

Cult figure: Hibbert has been at Everton for 16 years

Such an attitude has helped him achieve cult status and the fact he has never scored a top-flight goal saw him become the subject of a banner three years ago that read 'Hibbert scores, we riot' – that banner still follows Everton around to this day and many hope his duck will be broken here.

To hear him speak about the occasion, however, epitomises all he is about. Hibbert will not look to take penalties, he will only be happy if Everton win and the only thing he will relish about being in the spotlight is that all proceeds are going to Clare House children's hospice and the Rainbow Trust.

'The manager has said it is a pre-season game and that means we have got to be competitive,' explains Hibbert, who rates his debut at Upton Park in a 2-0 win as his best moment in Blue. 'Once the game starts, everything that has surrounded the game goes out of the window.

'When the day comes that I feel I cannot do that, then that will be it. But, as it is now, I am still hungry and feel that I can still perform. When you pull that shirt on, you don't want to give anything other than 100 per cent.

'As for taking a penalty, everyone has been asking me that! I would rather us win 1-0 than us get beaten 2-1 and I score the goal. I don't know why everyone is saying I should take a penalty either. It's an easy way of scoring, isn't it If I'm going to do it, I want it to be a 30 yarder!'

Steven Pienaar close to Everton return, says David Moyes

Everton close to signing 5m Pienaar back from Tottenham, Moyes reveals

|

UPDATED:

16:09 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

David Moyes revealed he is 'much closer' to bringing Steven Pienaar to Everton on a permanent basis.

Chairman Bill Kenwright has reportedly been locked in talks with Tottenham over a 5million transfer deal for the South Africa playmaker, who spent the second half of last season on loan back at Goodison Park.

After a 1-1 draw with Motherwell in Stevie Hammell's testimonial at Fir Park, where Well midfielder Nicky Law levelled a first-half header from Shane Duffy, Goodison boss Moyes said: 'I think we are much closer to Pienaar and hopefully in time I will have something, but I don't quite have it yet.'

Heading back: Steven Pienaar looks set for a return to Everton

Heading back: Steven Pienaar looks set for a return to Everton

Moyes was pleased to see former Rangers man Steven Naismith come on in the second-half to make his debut.

Naismith received provisional international clearance last night from FIFA which allowed him to play while arbitration over his move from Rangers continues.

Moyes, however, was more concerned with the Scotland forward's knee injury.

He said 'It was pleasing to see Steven come on. I heard last night about six o'clock that he was cleared.

'We just have to make sure that his knee is right. He is coming on well. He is a month behind everyone else but hopefully he won't be too far away.'

On the game, Moyes said: 'I thought Motherwell did well. We are a bit behind and it showed at times but it was okay. I'm not madly excited about it but I'm not madly disappointed by it.'

Adam Drury joins Leeds after 11 years at Norwich

Drury's out: Defender ends 11-year stay at Norwich and moves to Leeds

|

UPDATED:

16:05 GMT, 19 June 2012

New start: Adam Drury is joining Leeds

New start: Adam Drury is joining Leeds

Adam Drury's 11-year spell at Norwich City is to end with the defender agreeing a two-year deal to join npower Championship side Leeds United at the start of next month.

The Barclays Premier club have confirmed 33-year-old Drury, who joined Norwich in 2001 and stayed with them during their plunge into League One and their triumphant return last year to the Premier League, would be leaving the Carrow Road.

He made a total of 362 appearances for the club, scoring four goals.
Norwich City Manager Chris Hughton told Canaries.co.uk: 'I would like to wish Adam all the best for the coming season and in his future career.

'He has been an outstanding servant to Norwich City, and I was very aware of what he had done for the club before I arrived here.

'For a player to be at a club for 11 years, and to play so many games in that time is a very rare thing and a truly outstanding achievement.'

The club played a testimonial for Drury against Celtic last month.

Celtic tell Norwich to forget about Neil Lennon

Forget it! Norwich warned by Celtic that Lennon will not be leaving Scottish champions

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 1 June 2012

Celtic have no fears over interest in Neil Lennon from Norwich City after telling the Premiership side not to waste their time making an approach for the Parkhead boss.

Sportsmail reported that Norwich had placed Lennon on a shortlist of candidates for the managerial post soon to be vacated with Paul Lambert’s move to Aston Villa.

Yet, while they see Lennon as the perfect replacement for his erstwhile Parkhead team-mate, Norwich have been told not to even bother picking up the phone as Celtic major shareholder Dermot Desmond — who held strategic talks with Lennon in Ireland earlier this week — is prepared to offer no encouragement.

Stay away! Celtic do not want an approach from Norwich over Neil Lennon

Stay away! Celtic do not want an approach from Norwich over Neil Lennon

The link between the two clubs extends beyond the dugout, with Norwich chief executive David McNally a former commercial director at Parkhead.

And on Friday, McNally said: ‘Celtic and Norwich City get on marvellously well. We had a great day here last week celebrating Adam Drury’s testimonial, the two sets of fans get on brilliantly.

‘I can confirm that no approach has been made for Neil Lennon. If we were interested in talking to Celtic about Neil, who is a great manager, we would go straight to them privately.’

Lennon’s agent Martin Reilly insists the Parkhead boss is in no hurry to leave Celtic, saying: ‘Neil is enjoying being manager of Celtic and relishing the opportunity of leading the team in the Champions League.

‘I’ve had no contact from David or anyone else at Norwich.’

Meanwhile, Aston Villa are attempting to avoid paying compensation for Lambert, believing they have a case due to a clause in the Scot’s contract which they are exploiting to escape handing over yet more money for a succession of managers.

Champions: Lennon led Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title

Champions: Lennon led Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title

Lambert’s deal with the Canaries allowed him to talk to any other interested parties in the Premier League if the Norfolk club was approached.

As he was denied that permission, he resigned. Villa claim Norwich were the first to breach the terms of their own deal. That rendered the contract void, say Villa.

In their last set of accounts, Villa revealed that they had spent 12million on payments to their former bosses, including monies to Martin O’Neill, Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish.

The managerial moving of chairs in England could impact on another Scottish club, however.

Sportsmail can reveal Graeme Jones will be offered the chance to replace Brendan Rodgers at Swansea and he is drawing up plans to install Hamilton boss Billy Reid as his No 2.

Jones worked as assistant to Reid at Hamilton and wants to recreate their managerial partnership, with the roles reversed, at the Liberty Stadium.

Grant Holt plays in Adam Drury testimonial for Norwich

Want-away Holt features for Norwich in Drury testimonial but Lambert refuses to talk about striker

|

UPDATED:

22:27 GMT, 22 May 2012

Norwich manager Paul Lambert refused to be drawn on speculation over the future of captain Grant Holt and himself after the Canaries recorded a 2-0 win against Scottish champions Celtic for Adam Drury's testimonial match at Carrow Road.

Goals from James Vaughan and Henri Lansbury, making a guest appearance at one of his former loan clubs, gave the hosts a comfortable victory in front of an 18,500 crowd, with a large vocal travelling support.

Holt started in attack tonight, despite having lodged a formal transfer request, which was rejected by the club.

Transfer request: Grant Holt wants to leave Norwich

Transfer request: Grant Holt wants to leave Norwich

Lambert, though, deflected questions about the speculation over the striker, who scored 15 Premier League goals to help keep the Canaries up, and also his own position, having been linked with the vacancy at Aston Villa.

'There is no point asking me. I am telling you I am not answering it. I know what is going on but this is Adam's game,' Lambert said in the post-match press conference.

'It is not about Grant, it is not about me, it is about Adam Drury.

'This isn't the night for those questions. Don't ask me negative things about me or Grant.

'I am delighted I am at Norwich if that is what you are asking.

'I have never said a word that I want to get away. Not a thing and people jump to conclusions about what I say or don't say.”

Drury, 33, joined the Canaries from Peterborough in March 2001, going on to captain the club when they were promoted to the Premier League under Nigel Worthington, then remaining loyal when the Norwich sank down to npower League One three years ago.

However, the veteran full-back has yet to discover whether he will be given a contract extension for next season, having helped Lambert's side retain their top-flight status.

Lambert was giving little away. He said: 'I have had a chat with him and he knows what is going on.

'Adam is thinking about a few things and I will see what he thinks in the next few days, I am sure.”

Lambert paid tribute to Drury's service, though.

Testimonial: Adam Drury was hailed before the game

Testimonial: Adam Drury was hailed before the game

He said: 'Tonight was fitting for somebody who has been here for 11 years, and to get Celtic down here with their fans certainly makes for an atmosphere.

'In the three years I have been here, Adam has been brilliant.'

Celtic boss Neil Lennon brought a mix of youth and experience down to Norfolk. Under-17s' captain Stuart Findlay was in defence and 29-goal Gary Hooper – a reported target for Southampton – in attack, while on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster returned to Carrow Road, where he was part of the Canaries' 2010 League One title side.

Lennon was happy to have been part of the evening.

Zipped shut: Paul Lambert did not want to talk about Holt

Zipped shut: Paul Lambert did not want to talk about Holt

Will he stay or will he go Holt has impressed for Norwich this season

Will he stay or will he go Holt has impressed for Norwich this season

'It has been a long season for our senior boys, so it was a good opportunity to play some of the younger ones. I am very pleased with the way we played,' he said.

Celtic have opened talks over an improved contract for striker Hooper and Lennon hopes to also tie up the future of Forster.

'His agent is in tomorrow, so we are hoping we can move things on pretty quick,' said Lennon.

'We have been delighted with him in the two years he has been here and are hoping we can bed him down for another two or three after that.'

Hooper has scored some vital goals this season, and is set to be rewarded with a new deal to try to fend off predators from south of the border.

Lennon, though, stressed: 'Gary is one of our best players, and quite rightly so, he will be looking to get a wage increase, and we don't have a problem with that.'

Celtic are also on the trail of Norwegian midfielder Markus Henriksen from Rosenborg.

'We have not made any contact with the club yet, but he is a player we admire,' said Lennon.

'We have got a bit of work to do with trimming the squad before we can possibly even think about bringing players in, but we have targets for three or four positions.

'We do like the player, but I do not know if we will be able to get a bid going in the next few days or not.'

Michael Owen leaving Manchester United

Owen out! Exodus starts at Manchester United as former England star is shown the door

|

UPDATED:

10:54 GMT, 17 May 2012

Michael Owen is on the lookout for a new club after Sir Alex Ferguson told the striker his contract was not being renewed.

Owen made just four appearances this season and has been hampered by injuries since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer of 2009.

The 32-year-old former England striker last played in November before picking up a thigh injury but he turned out for United in Harry Gregg's testimonial against a League of Ireland XI this week.

Moving on: Michael Owen has been told he is no longer needed at Man United

Moving on: Michael Owen has been told he is no longer needed at Man United

'The manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract,' Owen wrote on his Twitter account.

'I have loved every minute of the 3 years I have spent at such a fantastic club.

'I would like to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish them well for the future.

'I now plan to have a short holiday during which I will contemplate my next move.'

Ferguson paid tribute to Owen's professionalism as he told the club's website: 'It is a pleasure to have had Michael at Manchester United.

'Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room. Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season.

'Michael’s record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future.'

The highlight of his time at United was his injury-time winner in a pulsating 4-3 derby win over Manchester City in September 2009, a goal which warmed sceptical fans to him given his Liverpool connections.

Highlight: Owen scores and celebrates (below) his winner against Man City

Highlight: Owen scores and celebrates (below) his winner against Man City

Derby delight: Owen sealed a 4-3 win for United over City in 2009

He also struck in the 2010 Carling Cup final win over Aston Villa but was forced off injured later in that game and any hopes of an international recall in time for the World Cup were ended.

Who else could be going

Dimitar Berbatov, Nani, Park Ji-sung, Paul Pogba

Owen scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England but has not played internationally for four years.

His announcement will lead to speculation that he may now retire but, even while sidelined, he has never indicated that he is considering that option.

Owen burst onto the scene as a precocious teenager with Liverpool in 1997 and went on to make a huge impact at the following year's World Cup.

He left Anfield for Real Madrid in 2004 but spent only one season in Spain before returning to the Premier League.

Unforgettable: Owen announced his arrival on the international stage with his stunning goal against Argentina at the World Cup in France 14 years ago

Unforgettable: Owen announced his arrival on the international stage with his stunning goal against Argentina at the World Cup in France 14 years ago

What an entrance: Owen's goal against Argentina lit up France 98

Liverpool were interested in re-signing him but balked at Real's valuation and he opted for Newcastle.

TODAY'S POLL

Should Michael Owen retire following United release

Yes

No

VOTE

Michael Owen

POLL RESULTS

Close

All polls
Click to view yesterday's poll results

DM.has(“rcp”, “poll”,
pollId: '1032400',
channelId: '3',
questionId: ''
);

His spell on Tyneside was also ravaged by injuries and his move to Old Trafford, when out of contract, came as a surprise but he accepted a role as a squad player.

Owen's contribution to United amounted to 17 goals in 52 appearances (18 of them starts) over his three seasons.

United confirmed the news on their website in a statement which added: 'Manchester United thanks Michael for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.'

Ryan Giggs backs Gary Neville to succeed with England

Neville will be a brilliant boss! England coach backed by old United pal Giggs

|

UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 16 May 2012

Ryan Giggs thinks Gary Neville is an outstanding addition to the England coaching staff and has backed his former Manchester United team-mate to go on and become a top-class manager.

England manager Roy Hodgson sprung a surprise when he handed Neville a four-year contract as England coach.

Neville was often the victim of abuse during his playing career, but the former Manchester United full-back has been a big hit as a Sky Sports pundit since announcing his retirement from football in February 2011.

Going strong: Ryan Giggs (in action for Manchester United in Harry Gregg's testimonial on Tuesday) has tipped Gary Neville to be a big hit with England

Going strong: Ryan Giggs (in action for Manchester United in Harry Gregg's testimonial on Tuesday) has tipped Gary Neville to be a big hit with England

The 37-year-old's tactical acumen and passion was widely praised during his spell on television, but he has no experience of coaching at club, yet alone international level.

Giggs is sure that Hodgson has made a wise decision in appointing the 85-cap former defender, however, and is confident that Neville will one day manage at the highest level.

'I'm sure he'll be a success with England,' Giggs said. 'He's obviously done well on the TV with his views and his outlook on football and he's got fresh ideas.

'He's played at the top himself, he's got so many positives and so many things he can bring to the table.

'I think management will be the next step for him. He knows what the modern day footballer wants and needs, which is important.

'No matter what he would have done he would have been a success because he's that sort of person. He's a force of nature.

National service: Neville is coaching England after winning 85 caps

National service: Neville is coaching England after winning 85 caps

'He's driven, very ambitious and he's very good at what he does. I did my coaching badges with him and he was very alert. He's very switched on and intelligent. And together with that he's been there and done it.'

One of the main talking points in recent weeks has been whether Hodgson will attempt to coax Paul Scholes out of international retirement after the veteran midfielder went on to have a successful half season since returning to action in January.

Giggs thinks Scholes, who extended his contract at United until next summer, is unlikely to want to play for England again, but claims he will go on to star at the tournament if Hodgson manages to change his mind.

'I wouldn't hold your breath (about Scholes going to Euro 2012) but if he does decide to play and Roy Hodgson does decide to try and bring him out of retirement he'd be a great addition to the squad,' added Giggs, who was speaking at the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards in London.

Been there, done that: Giggs and Neville have international experience as players

Been there, done that: Giggs and Neville have international experience as players

'In any team in any tournament he would shine. He and Xavi are the same sort of players. They just control the tempo of great teams. To do that you need to be a special player and that's what he does.'

Scholes hung up his boots last summer but answered an SOS from Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson in January and was largely excellent in the 21 appearances he made thereafter.

With Scholes now guaranteed to be at Old Trafford for at least another season, Giggs is confident that the midfielder can play a big part in helping the club wrest the Premier League title from Manchester City's grasp.

'It's massively important that we can keep that sort of quality at the club,' Giggs said.

'I think actually it's probably been the best he's ever played since he's come back. He just doesn't give the ball away, he controls the tempo of games.

'In training and in games you find yourself laughing because he makes it look so easy.

'He's easily the best player I've played because he makes it looks so easy.'

Rio Ferdinand out of Euro 2012

Ferdinand to miss out on Euro 2012 place over doubts about defender's fitness

|

UPDATED:

21:35 GMT, 15 May 2012

Rio Ferdinand's international career appear over after Roy Hodgson told him he will not be in England’s Euro 2012 squad, pointing to John Terry being among the 23 players he names on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night the FA refused to confirm the outcome of talks between John Terry and Hodgson at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground that morning.

But Hodgson has certainly resolved the issue of having Ferdinand and Terry in the same dressing room when Terry is awaiting trial for the alleged racial abuse of Ferdinand’s brother, Anton.

In action: Ferdinand played in Harry Gregg's Testimonial in Ireland on Tuesday night

In action: Ferdinand played in Harry Gregg's Testimonial in Ireland on Tuesday night

That situation caused the FA to strip Terry of the captaincy and led to the departure of Fabio Capello as England manager in February.

The omission of Ferdinand and Phil Jagielka (understood to have been put on standby) as well as injury to Chris Smalling would suggest Terry has made the cut.

Even with Terry, it would mean Hodgson could take just seven defenders, with Phil Jones covering as one of four centre halves and as a second right back alongside Glen Johnson.

The players Hodgson plans to leave out received phone calls on Tuesday night breaking the news. Peter Crouch is out, as is Micah Richards, while Kyle Walker will miss out through injury.

Out: Rio Ferdinand will not be selected for Euro 2012 over doubts about his fitness

Out: Rio Ferdinand will not be selected for Euro 2012 over doubts about his fitness

Crouch’s omission would suggest Andy Carroll will be among those going to Poland and Ukraine.

But the focus will remain on the Ferdinand and Terry issue when Hodgson gives a press conference at Wembley today, even if the new England manager will point to Ferdinand’s injury record as his reason for leaving him out. Ferdinand has not played for England since June last year.

Hodgson also presented his new employers with a logistical headache last night when he cancelled next week’s training trip to Malaga in Spain.

He had already decided to give the Chelsea players involved in this weekend’s Champions League final the week off, as well as Wayne Rooney, and has now decided it is not worth going.

It could be he takes them to Manchester for a shorter training break before the squad leave for the friendly against Norway in Oslo a week on Saturday.