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Sir Chris Hoy retires from cycling

A Knight to remember: British cycling's Olympic golden boy Hoy rides off into the sunset after stellar career

: February – Wins sprint and keirin at London World Cup, an event which doubles as the Olympic test event. April – Wins keirin world title in Melbourne. Claims bronze in the sprint after being beaten by Kenny in the semi-final. August 2 – Wins fifth Olympic gold medal in London 2012 men's team sprint bringing him level on golds with Sir Steve Redgrave. August 7 – Wins the men's keirin at London 2012, his second gold of the Games and his sixth Olympic gold medal in total making him Britain's most successful Olympian.

2013: April 15 – Calls a media conference for April 18 in Edinburgh, where he is announces his retirement from competitive cycling.

'The desire to race in Glasgow was there, but when I started training again my body wasn't responding,' said Hoy. 'London took an incredible toll. I squeezed out every drop, really emptied the tank' – and in doing so, he won two gold medals, taking his tally to a record six Olympic golds, one more than Sir Steve Redgrave.

'I didn't want to turn up in Glasgow and not be successful,' Hoy continued. 'I didn't want to spend a year-and-a-half putting Sarra (his wife) and everything else to one side. And I don't want to be there to get a tracksuit and wave to the crowd — I wouldn't enjoy that.'

Although Hoy says there was no epiphany, if he had to pick one moment when his thoughts settled on retirement, it came – paradoxically enough – on a bike ride.

It was last month, towards the end of an eight-week holiday with Sarra, as they toured Asia and Australia.

'We were doing a road trip from Cairns to Adelaide,' says Hoy. 'The car had a roof rack with bikes, of course, and I was riding every day, first thing in the morning but also eating what I wanted and relaxing.

'As we got close to Adelaide, we stopped and I got the bike off and rode the last 100km. It was in the Barossa Valley, through the vineyards. Stunning. And I thought, “Yes, this is more like it.”

'I realised that I was associating the bike with pleasure, rather than the pain of training. It reminded me why I got into the sport in the first place.'

And it beat battering his body into
submission in a velodrome. As Hoy explains: 'People think that if you're
a good cyclist or tennis player or rugby player that you simply get out
of bed and do it.

'But you become good at it because of what you do day
after day, year after year. It's why I know I can't just turn up in
Glasgow and be competitive. Your body eventually says,: “Enough”.'

After London 2012 Hoy said he
desperately wanted to carry on to Glasgow, by which time he will be 38. But what
most didn't know at the time was that his build-up to his fourth
Olympics had been so difficult.

He was struck down with a back injury
just weeks before the Games, forcing him to return early from a
training camp in Germany. Then he mistakenly booked a flight home for
the wrong day, forcing a detour to Glasgow and a long journey for Sarra
to drive from their home in Cheshire to collect him.

Next morning, Hoy was called into the
Manchester Velodrome for a meeting with Dave Brailsford and Shane
Sutton.

'You're not riding the sprint,' Sutton told him. 'And the way
you're going, you're not riding the keirin, either.' Hoy was defending
Olympic champion in both events.

Flying the flag: Sir Chris Hoy of the leads out Great Britain at the 2012 Opening Ceremony

Flying the flag: Sir Chris Hoy of the leads out Great Britain at the 2012 Opening Ceremony

Gold star: Hoy shows off his medal after the Men's Keirin Track Cycling Final last year

Gold star: Hoy shows off his medal after the Men's Keirin Track Cycling Final last year

Pedal to the medal: Hoy during the keirin at the London Games

Pedal to the medal: Hoy during the keirin at the London Games

Victory parade: Hoy (right) and Sarah Storey are interviewed by Helen Skelton (left)

Victory parade: Hoy (right) and Sarah Storey are interviewed by Helen Skelton (left)

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy with his wife Sarra Kemp after winning a gold medal in the Velodrome last year

Sealed with a kiss: Hoy with his wife Sarra Kemp after winning a gold medal in the Velodrome last year

THE FUTURE FOR A KNIGHT RIDER

Sir Chris Hoy says he is looking forward to 'a bit of relaxation and living a more balanced life,' though he will also be working as an ambassador for Glasgow 2014 and Glasgow's Youth Olympics bid in 2018.

He is launching his own 'HOY' bike range at the end of May, and says he will step up his commitment to two main charities, Unicef and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Then there is motor racing. He competed in three races in Melbourne recently, finishing third in the series, and will take part in the Radical SR1 Cup, over four weekends from June.

'It's a hobby, not something I necessarily see myself doing to a great level. I love it. It reminds me of my early days racing BMX.'

In the end, making it to London at
all was an achievement. Acting as flag-bearer for Team GB at the Opening
Ceremony was an honour. And winning two gold medals, in the team sprint
and keirin, was a triumph.

'I enjoyed the post-Olympic period
far more than after Beijing,' says Hoy. 'It didn't come as such a shock.
But once I'd had my fill of eating, drinking, going to functions and
not exercising, I was desperate to get back into the routine of
training.

'In the autumn I was back in the gym
and on the track. I went to Perth for a training camp, then raced in
Rotterdam at New Year. But my body wasn't responding as I hoped it
would. It was nothing to panic about but I found when I pushed myself
harder I was nailed.

'I felt fit and healthy but I'm talking
about subtle differences and fractions of a second. Some days I'd wake
up feeling great but it was just little things; getting up in the
morning and really aching from a hard training session the day before.

'I didn't want to go to Glasgow and
not be capable of winning. I would enjoy seeing the event and the crowd
but I can do that better from the sidelines and I hope to have a role
as an ambassador or mentor. I'll certainly be there. But by not
competing it'll allow someone else to come into the team and I won't be
stealing the limelight. It won't be me plus team-mates.'

Hoy says he would like to mentor GB athletes at the Rio Olympics as well, 'If they'll have me.'

On
the eve of going public with his decision, Hoy said he had no doubts.
'I'm not in two minds. I'm content. I can walk away at the top level
without any lingering regrets. I would have loved to have a gold medal
from Glasgow, maybe a kilometre world record as well, but you've got to
realise when the time has come to stop.'

Winning personality: Chris Hoy with the 2008 2008 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year trophy

Winning personality: Chris Hoy with the 2008 2008 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year trophy

Oh what a Knight: Hoy with the Knighthood he received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2008

Oh what a Knight: Hoy with the Knighthood he received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in 2008

Asked what he would miss, Hoy said: 'The team, the banter, the routine. I like routine, turning up at the track and seeing the same guys, and being part of that team and being on a journey together.'

It is a journey that has seen cycling move from the margins to the mainstream, with Hoy arguably the central figure in this sporting revolution.

'When I think of how cycling was when I started and then think where it is now, it's been a hell of a ride,' he said.

And the things he won't miss 'The way you feel in the morning after certain sessions, gym sessions in particular, which leave you with residual soreness for several days,' he said.

'Waking up with that muscle soreness, knowing you've got to do it all again, I'll not miss that.

'But that's a very small price to pay for the highs you get from working hard,' Hoy added. 'People say it's a sacrifice, but it's not a sacrifice. You choose to do it, but it's going to be nice to put something else first for a change and get a bit of balance in my life.'

Hoy said he would continue cycling 'to keep myself fit and fight the beer belly'.

As for the future, Hoy has charity commitments, he is launching a range of bikes and becoming an adviser to the Scottish Rugby Union. He will also act as mentor to the Scottish team at Glasgow 2014, and said he would relish a similar role with Team GB at the Rio Olympics – 'if they'll have me'.

Triple crown: Chris Hoy celebrates winning his third gold medal of the 2008 Olympics in the men's sprint final

Triple crown: Chris Hoy celebrates winning his third gold medal of the 2008 Olympics in the men's sprint final

Golden boy (and girl): Triple gold medallist Chris Hoy (left) and double gGold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington arrive home from Beijing

Golden boy (and girl): Triple gold medallist Chris Hoy (left) and double gGold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington arrive home from Beijing

Modest to the last, he rejected the
label of 'Britain's greatest Olympian'
despite being the only one with six
gold medals – one more than his
own choice as No 1. 'It's subjective,
but I think Sir Steve Redgrave is the
greatest. To keep going for five consecutive
Games and be at the top, to
me that is a far greater achievement
than winning multiple medals at one
games.'

In the end, in equally typical Hoy
fashion, he said he had no doubts
about retirement. 'I'm not in two
minds. I'm content. I can walk away
at the top level without any lingering
regrets. I would have loved to have a
gold medal from Glasgow, but you've
got to realise when the time has come
to stop.'

BOA chairman Lord Coe paid tribute to
Hoy, saying: 'Throughout his remarkable career, Sir Chris Hoy has
exemplified the values that define an Olympic champion. His pursuit of
excellence has been tireless. His respect for opponents, and commitment
to clean competition, has been unwavering.

And his dignity in victory has set
an example that generations of Team GB athletes will strive to emulate.
Chris is an icon and he has earned a revered place among our nation's
greatest sporting heroes.

'His
gold medal triumphs this past summer in London are two of the defining
moments of the Games, and were a source of pride and inspiration for
millions throughout our country.

'We
are grateful that Chris has chosen to continue his association with the
British Olympic Association by serving as a Glasgow 2018 Champion in
its bid to host the Youth Olympic Games.

'As
he transitions now from his unparalleled competitive career and takes
on a series of new and different challenges, we wish Sir Chris the very
best for continued success, and we thank him for his commitment to Team
GB and the Olympic movement.'

LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR CHRIS HOY – IN HIS OWN WORDS

My three favourite memories

'I can't choose three, so can I have
four The first is 1999, the World Championships in Berlin, and our
first medal in the team sprint. I had this feeling of euphoria and
disbelief.

That the three of us [Craig MacLean and Jason Queally were
his teammates] could have a world championship silver medal, seemed
incredible. It was the first British sprint medal since the Reg Harris
era. There was a feeling that there may be possibilities beyond that,
but I remember thinking: if I do nothing else, I can always say I won a
world championship medal. It's weird to think that now.

'The second is winning the kilo at the
2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. My first individual title, and so
close to home. There were so many Scottish folk in the crowd, too. To
beat the Olympic champion [Queally] on home soil was special. I felt I
was stepping out of the shadow of Jason and Craig.

'The third is my gold medal in the kilo
at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The moment that meant most, and which I
remember most vividly, was when I was waiting to step on to the top step
of the podium and I heard my name followed by “Olympic champion.”

'Then, finally, winning gold in the keirin at London 2012. What an amazing way to finish it off.'

My 3 toughest opponents

Jason Kenny

'Jason, my young British team-mate and
good friend, also became one of my toughest opponents. He never has any
fear. He is never affected by pressure, never intimidated. The way he
stepped into the team in Beijing was amazing.

'He took it in his stride
and never fussed about anything. His attitude always seems to be that he
has nothing to lose. And he is the same in any situation. He also has
an incredible turn of speed and acceleration.'

Arnaud Tournant, France

'He was the one I looked up to when I
started doing the kilo [in 2001]. He had an aura about him, and although
he seemed more human after Sydney, where Jason [Queally] beat him, he
was still the benchmark.

'I never managed to beat his world record but we
had some amazing battles. I beat him by a thousandth of a second in at
the world champs in Copenhagen [2002], then he was second to me at the
worlds in Melbourne and in Athens [both 2004]. He's a big, big
personality, a real showman. A really tough opponent, but off the bike
we became good friends.'

Theo Bos, Holland

'Theo is so classy, he had so much style
and flair, and he was almost unbeatable before 2008. When I beat him in
the quarter finals at the world championships that year it was a
turning point for me.

'Knocking him out in Olympic year, in front of a
home crowd [in Manchester], was massive for me. It was also the
beginning of the end for him. He stopped track racing and now rides on
the road.'

My three non-cycling sporting heroes

Gavin Hastings

'Rugby was my sport in my early teens
and Gavin Hastings, 'Big Gav', was my first sporting hero, before Graeme
Obree. Hastings went to the same school as me [George Watson's College
in Edinburgh. Hoy captained Edinburgh Schools at under-15 level]. He was
a great player and a great Scottish captain. Having since had the
honour of meeting him, he is a lovely guy, too.'

Roger Federer

Federer is one of the guys all sports
people aspire to be like. His longevity, his record, the way he handles
himself. He's not a guy who, if he gets beaten, disappears. He's a
classy player and a classy professional athlete.'

Michael Johnson

'The Usain Bolt of his era. I admired
his approach to training. Listening to him talk about his methodical
approach, and his mindset, it was something I could relate to. And he
was just awesome to watch.

'Even more than the 100 metres with Bolt, the gap
would open up, the race was his, and it was a race for second place. It's a
shame he wasn't in the same era as Bolt because it would have been
great to see them go head-to-head over 200m.

Sir Chris Hoy talks of his historic sixth Olympic gold win

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VIDEO: Watch Hoy win his sixth Olympic gold medal at London 2012

Robin Van Persie reveals family rift after move from Arsenal to Manchester United

'Seeing you in United colours makes our baby sick!' Van Persie's wife reveals family rift in spoof video

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

11:41 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:41 GMT, 2 January 2013

The sight of Robin Van Persie moving to Manchester United in the summer made many an Arsenal fan feel a bit sick.

But it appears the Dutch star's 24m move north has had an nauseating effect on his life at home too.

A tongue-in-cheek programme by a Dutch television channel filmed inside the Van Persie family home, and translated by talkSPORT, has revealed that his young daughter and 'lifelong Gooner' Dina regularly spews up at the sight of her daddy playing in a United shirt.

Scroll down for video

Goal machine: Robin van Persie has already scored 19 goals across all competitions for Manchester United since his 24m move from Arsenal in the summer

Goal machine: Robin van Persie has already scored 19 goals across all competitions for Manchester United since his 24m move from Arsenal in the summer

Not impressed: In the tongue-in-cheek Dutch TV programme, Van Persie's wife Bouchra jokes how young daughter Dina didn't like his move to Manchester

Not impressed: In the tongue-in-cheek Dutch TV programme, Van Persie's wife Bouchra jokes how young daughter Dina didn't like his move to Manchester

And the prolific striker, who has scored 19 goals in all competitions so far this season, said that he laughed at Arsenal's offer of a new contract in the summer and threw it in the bin.

The clip starts with Van Persie talking about how difficult it was to leave Arsenal and shows pictures in his living room wearing an Arsenal tracksuit while cradling baby Dina.

He says: It wasn't easy to leave the Gunners, I didn't want to, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My kids are both Gooners, so it was tough.

'But I've more than doubled my wages, which is ace. That gives my two little ones a better chance in life.'

Nauseating: Bouchra tells the presenter that Dina feels sick thinking about her daddy playing in United colours

Nauseating: Bouchra tells the presenter that Dina feels sick thinking about her daddy playing in United colours

Traitor! Right on cue, Dina spews up on the kitchen floor and Van Persie has to clean up the mess

Traitor! Right on cue, Dina spews up on the kitchen floor and Van Persie has to clean up the mess

His wife Bouchra and baby daughter then take centre stage.

Speaking in the kitchen, Bouchra says: 'I must admit the move was very stressful for the baby. As a lifelong Gooner, she was disgusted by her old man.

'It still makes her feel sick just talking about it. She saw a photo of daddy with Fergie…'

Right on cue, Dina throws up on the kitchen floor and Robin has to mop it up as his wife jokingly calls him a 'traitor.'

Time to go: Van Persie talks in the clip about how the move was right for him

Time to go: Van Persie talks in the clip about how the move was right for him

Not good enough: Van Persie then says he dropped Arsenal's contract offer in the bin and walked out

Not good enough: Van Persie then says he dropped Arsenal's contract offer in the bin and walked out

Later, she says: 'The baby told me she has lost all respect for her old man.'

The programme may be intended to be light-hearted, but Gunners fans might take offence at these comments at the end: 'I know the baby is upset, but I had to leave.

'It still makes me laugh to think about the new contract I was offered by them. I said 'Oh really' Then I dropped it in the bin and packed my bags.'

VIDEO: Van Persie explains family rift after his move to Man United

Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn"t sexy for women

Laura Williamson: Dangerous
message that strong isn't sexy

|

UPDATED:

21:41 GMT, 18 November 2012

Regal: Zara Phillips

Regal: Zara Phillips

I read this week that having a 'strong, athletic body' is a 'problem' for a young woman. Apparently, you cannot wear 'dressy-up clothes' if you happen to have 'powerful thighs'.

An Olympic medal is all well and good but you will look 'lumpy and bumpy' in anything vaguely fashionable, so better stick to the baggy tracksuit bottoms, love.

The woman in question was a member of
Team GB at what cyclist Victoria Pendleton called a 'Games for the
girls' just three months ago. It was Zara Phillips, still arguably the
Queen's grand-daughter first and sportswoman second – despite what she
has achieved on a horse – but a successful athlete, nevertheless.

The
pictures of Phillips were certainly unflattering – primarily, I
suspect, because she does not give a hoot what she looks like unless it
wins her a few extra marks in competition – but it was the message that
was more concerning. It came across loud and clear: sporty is not
attractive. Nobody is going to fancy you for being faster, higher or
stronger – unless you look good in 'dressy-up clothes'.

What a lot of damaging, dangerous drivel. Is it any wonder, then, that 48 per cent of girls surveyed by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough said that getting sweaty is 'not feminine' If athletic is not attractive, presumably it's much better to sit at home watching vacuous, made-up dolly birds on reality TV while developing an unhealthy relationship with carbohydrates owing to the pressure to be skinny Of course it is not.

Go out and get muddy or bop about at an aerobics class. I would point to examples such as Jessica Ennis and Keri-Anne Payne, who have graced billboards and the covers of glossy magazines, to prove that sporty can be attractive, but the point is much wider than that.

Cover girl: Jessica Ennis

Cover girl: Jessica Ennis

We are following a perilous path if we continue to evaluate our sportswomen in terms of the way they look and not what they have achieved. The word 'femininity', even in the rare instances it is applied to sport, still conjures up images of a delicate gymnast or a waif-like tennis player. But what about women who compete in disciplines that require power and body mass for them to succeed Why are they still not seen as feminine, womanly or girlie

Surely it is the gold medal hanging around their neck that makes them beautiful, not how they might look in a slinky evening dress. Having a 'strong, athletic body' might mean you make different choices about what to wear when you get dressed up, but it is certainly not a 'problem'.

Quite the opposite, in fact: it is something to be celebrated and to strive towards. I told a white lie earlier when I said I just 'read' those hurtful words. It was not a passive experience; I recoiled at them. And then I did what I normally do when I feel angry: I went for a run. Those 'problematic' thighs come in handy now and again, thank you very much.

What they said…

It's the time of year when students email asking for interviews for their dissertations about 'being a woman in sport'. I try to help where I can, but I could not stomach a study entitled: 'Covering the big men's sports might be the glory job, but it's no fun for a woman.' Yes it is – it's great fun. You just need a sat nav, caffeine, thermals and a thick skin sometimes.

And this is what I have been doing this week

Regretting breaking my usual habit of recording Match of the Day to watch on Sunday morning with the help of the fastforward button as the 'analysis' reached a new low. I want extra insight, not just someone talking me through what has happened. Vincent Kompany is clearly an intelligent footballer but he is also a current one: he had no choice other than to be diplomatic and cannot have had enough time after Manchester City's victory over Aston Villa to watch all the games properly. Quite what Alan Hansen's excuse is, however, I'm really not sure.

Watching AFC Wimbledon against York City last week, where we were so close to the pitch you could hear the players talking to each other and arguing with the 'lino'. One player swore and got ticked off by a fan, who shouted: 'Language!' The player said 'sorry' straight away.

Welcome news: Billy Sharp and Jade

Welcome news: Billy Sharp and Jade

When I interviewed striker Billy Sharp and his partner, Jade, about the loss of their son, Luey, it was one of the hardest interviews I have ever done. But, among the sadness, there was hope, too. Jade is pregnant again. The couple are expecting a son in four weeks' time. Last Wednesday in Doncaster they held a charity dinner for the LJS Foundation (www. ljsfoundation.org.uk), to raise awareness of gastroschisis, the condition with which Luey was born prematurely. It was a sell-out, with Sharps' old and current team-mates mingling with Doncaster Rovers fans who just wanted to support their former striker. Football often gets a hard time but it still has a capacity to make you smile.

Statistic of the week

It is 10 years this week since the England women's football team lost a qualifying fixture for a major tournament. That's 25 wins and seven draws, 105 goals scored and just 10 conceded, to give England a place at two World Cups and three European Championships – including next summer's tournament in Sweden. Perhaps 'playing like a girl' is not such a bad thing, after all.

Super subs – Edin Dzeko and Javier Hernandez join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and David Fairclough

After Dzeko and Hernandez ride to the rescue, Sportsmail hails the game's greatest super subs

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UPDATED:

12:23 GMT, 12 November 2012

Some relish it, others loathe it – but someone has to be it.

In this age of massive squads full of talent, the role of super sub has become all-important again – and the two Manchester sides are leading the way.

Javier Hernandez and Edin Dzeko showed once again this weekend just how important a reliable impact player can be as they came off the bench to win three points for their teams.

Reluctant: He may not like it, but Edin Dzeko has become a Super Sub after scoring from the bench again against Tottenham

Reluctant: He may not like it, but Edin Dzeko has become a Super Sub after scoring from the bench again against Tottenham

Hernandez replaced a sub-par Ashley Young at half-time against Aston Villa and inspired a trademark United turnaround, scoring two goals and forcing another off the Villa captain Ron Vlaar.

Dzeko, meanwhile, as he has made a habit of doing this season, took off his tracksuit and laced up his boots to score an 88th-minute winner for Manchester City against Tottenham.

The Bosnian has now scored six of his seven goals this season from the bench, making him City’s top scorer despite having played a fraction of the game time of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.

He’s been one of the principal reasons why City, despite playing nowhere near their best, find themselves unbeaten, second and snapping at the heels of United.

On the opening afternoon, Dzeko’s goal dug City out of a hole against newly-promoted Southampton and he proved the match-winner at Fulham and West Brom, providing the tools to pick securely padlocked defences.

But Dzeko genuinely hates this new role. After scoring twice at The Hawthorns, he thundered: ‘I will never be a super-sub, I want to play.’

Me too: Javier Hernandez came on and scored two goals and forced an own goal as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-2

Me too: Javier Hernandez came on and scored two goals and forced an own goal as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-2

Me too: Javier Hernandez came on and scored two goals and forced an own goal as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-2

But why not Every team would take such a reliable bench-warmer and his penchant for scoring dramatic late goals can only endear him more to the fans.

What’s more, if he continues to top City’s goalscoring charts, then surely a starting place will eventually follow

/11/12/article-2231698-027E05890000044D-296_634x402.jpg” width=”634″ height=”402″ alt=”The original: David Fairclough (right) came on for Liverpool to score the decisive goal against St Etienne ” class=”blkBorder” />

The original: David Fairclough (right) came on for Liverpool to score the decisive goal against St Etienne

And the following year, he scored a goal of such magnitude that it guaranteed his place in the heart of every Liverpool fan.

Leading the formidable French side St Etienne 2-1 in a European Cup quarter-final but needing a late third to go through on aggregate, Fairclough found himself on the end of a long ball and through on goal.

With remarkable composure, he beat the goalkeeper and set-up a semi-final with FC Zurich and, ultimately, a win in the final over Borussia Monchengladbach – Liverpool’s first European Cup triumph.

VIDEO: DAVID FAIRCLOUGH IN ACTION AGAINST ST ETIENNE

But despite this, Fairclough was left on the bench for the final. As Bob Paisley later reflected, it was one of the toughest decisions of his managerial career: ‘I could have cried for David Fairclough, the hero against St Etienne, when I had to tell him that he wouldn’t even be getting stripped.’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United 1996-2007)
Long before Hernandez, Sir Alex Ferguson had another great super sub to call upon, the “Baby-faced assassin” Solskjaer.

Given the tag, it may surprise you that just 29 of the Norwegian’s 126 United goals came from the bench, but it was the importance of some of those goals that secures his place in this list.

His first goal for the club – in a 2-2 Old Trafford draw with Blackburn on August 25, 1996 – came from the bench and set the tone.

Another Fergie treasure: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scpred Manchester United's winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final

Another Fergie treasure: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scpred Manchester United's winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final

Another Fergie treasure: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scpred Manchester United's winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final

Like Fairclough, Solskjaer found his chances limited by a prolific first-choice partnership – Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke – but as the schedule became every more demanding during the Treble campaign of 1998-1999, Solskjaer carved himself a real niche as a player of devastating impact.

He pipped Yorke and Cole, who both had two each, with a stunning four goals in 15 minutes to sink Nottingham Forest 8-1. He scored in stoppage time to beat Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round, nine minutes after coming on.

And, unforgettably, he came on in the Champions League final with Bayern Munich to score a 93rd-minute winner.

VIDEO: SOLSKJAER BAGS FOUR AGAINST NOTTINGHAM FOREST

VIDEO: SOLSKJAER IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Tore Andre Flo (Chelsea 1997-2000)
Another Norwegian import, Tore Andre Flo may not have scored goal of the significance of Solskjaer, but he became a cult hero at Chelsea for his goals from the bench at around the same time.

A 300,000 signing, Flo was never likely to dislodge the likes of Mark Hughes, Gianfranco Zola and player-manager Gianluca Vialli from the forward line at Stamford Bridge. But the fans still appreciated his contribution of 50 goals, 13 of which came from the bench.

He contributed some important goals, including two in a 4-3 away comeback at Blackburn in 1998-1999 and a couple away from home against Real Betis in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in the same year.

LET US KNOW WHO WHO YOUR FAVOURITE SUPER SUB IS BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW

Jack Wilshere training with Arsenal team-mates

Jack's recovery is smiles better! Podolski gives Wilshere helping hand back to fitness

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UPDATED:

12:41 GMT, 24 August 2012

Jack Wilshere was all smiles on Friday morning as he continued his recovery from knee and ankle surgery with an October comeback looking ever more likely.

The England midfielder hasn't played for more than a year after suffering a series of setbacks on the long road to recovery from an initial foot complaint.

Comeback soon, kid: Jack Wilshere was all smiles with Lukas Podolski as he continued his recovery from injury

Comeback soon, kid: Jack Wilshere was all smiles with Lukas Podolski as he continued his recovery from injury

However, as Arsenal geared up for what promises to be a stern test at Stoke on Sunday, the 20-year-old was seen laughing and joking with his team-mates.

Wilshere has missed so much action for the Gunners, that it is perectly feasible he could return to feature in a team with nine other outfield players together with whom he has never represented the club.

One of those, Lukas Podolski, looked in similarly high spirits as he joined fellow summer signings Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla for an open training session at Arsenal's base in London Colney.

Podolski also gave his seal of approval to Wilshere's new tracksuit, emblazoned with the No 10, which Wilshere will wear as soon as he returns to action having inherited it from Robin van Persie.

You're new in town: Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla continued to work closely with their new team-mates

You're new in town: Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla continued to work closely with their new team-mates

You're new in town: Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla continued to work closely with their new team-mates

Happy campers: The squad were full of life as they prepared for a tricky trip to Stoke on Sunday

Happy campers: The squad were full of life as they prepared for a tricky trip to Stoke on Sunday

London 2012 Olympics: Mark Cavendish tweets picture of Bradley Wiggins

This man won the Tour de France! Cavendish tweets comical picture of Wiggins in mystery Games gear

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UPDATED:

11:03 GMT, 27 July 2012

British heroes Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have barely had time to draw breath between the end of the Tour de France and the start of the Olympics, but they were able to share a laugh on Friday before they embarked on their individual quests for gold.

Cavendish posted a picture of Wiggins wearing a headband and shades with a mystery gold-lined Olympic tracksuit on – hinting at a role in Friday night's opening ceremony – while tweeting: 'This man won the Tour de France…..'

Going for gold: Wiggins in his Olympic tracksuit

Going for gold: Wiggins in his Olympic tracksuit

Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour last Sunday, while Cavendish won three stages to take his career total to an incredible 23.

The close friends, who rode together for Team Sky during the Tour, will now aim to cap off a memorable summer with Olympic golds.

Tour glory: Wiggins and Cavendish enjoyed success in France

Tour glory: Wiggins and Cavendish enjoyed success in France

Tour glory: Wiggins and Cavendish enjoyed success in France

First, Cavendish goes in the road race through Surrey on Saturday, before Wiggins takes part in Wednesday's time trial, which starts and finishes at Hampton Court.

Wiggins, 32, already has three gold medals to his name, while 27-year-old Cavendish is going for his first Olympic medal having been the only member of the British track team to miss out in Beijing 2008.

Going for gold: Wiggins (above) races on Wednesday, while Cavendish (below) races on Saturday

Going for gold: Wiggins (above) races on Wednesday, while Cavendish (below) races on Saturday

Going for gold: Wiggins (above) races on Wednesday, while Cavendish (below) races on Saturday

Euro 2012: Wayne Rooney returns, but which England will turn up?

Now the new Rooney simply has to deliver! The big man is back, but which England will turn up

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 16 June 2012

He might have been any regular fan, with his short-cropped hair, pale, freckly face and the dark blue England tracksuit top as he jumped from his seat and embraced his neighbour to acknowledge Danny Welbeck's exquisite winning goal.

But the man celebrating with England masseur Rod Thornley – with the Football Association's head of security Ray Whitworth predictably close by – was, of course, the talisman for whom a football nation has been waiting.

Ready to roar: Wayne Rooney is back to face Ukraine in a crunch clash

Ready to roar: Wayne Rooney is back to face Ukraine in a crunch clash

Euro 2012 email button

Wayne Rooney returns to an England team on Tuesday night, starting for his country for the first time since that fateful night in Podgorica, when he was shown a red card for kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic.

The self-indulgent folly had led to his suspension for the opening two games of Euro 2012.

While it is to be hoped that England have progressed beyond the stage where the success or otherwise of a tournament is predicated on the return to the team of one individual – see David Beckham in 2002, Rooney in 2006 for previous examples – there is no denying that with the Manchester United striker, England are a different proposition.

World class: Rooney ready to rumble

World class: Rooney ready to rumble

'I would suggest he's a world-class player,' said manager Roy Hodgson.

'I'm always wary of giving players
epithets but I think his ability is a bit special. You are lucky as a
manager of a national team to have players of his quality for selection.

'I have been unlucky, I think, not
to have him available, just as I have been unlucky not to have Frank
Lampard available. At least I'm getting one of those two players back
and, hopefully, that makes life a little bit easier for us going into
our next game, where we need another result.'

Unlike his predecessor Fabio Capello, Hodgson has found Rooney to be a happy tourist.

'There is a myth about him,' said Hodgson.

'He's not like a caged animal. He
has been a very, very good professional. His training performances have
been first class and he's been first class around the place.'

Indeed, Rooney has seemed an
altogether happier and much more engaged member of the squad. Even in
the non-football activities, Rooney has shown leadership, asking to be
part of the official party that visited Auschwitz and undoubtedly doing
valuable work for the Holocaust Educational Trust in recording his
thoughts for DVDs that will distributed to schools.

However, as Hodgson acknowledges, he
now has to show that leadership on the pitch. Rooney's record in major
tournaments, since he burst into the world's consciousness at Euro 2004
aged 18 with four goals against Switzerland and Croatia, is lamentable.

He
unluckily broke his metatarsal in the next Euro 2004 game, the
quarter-final against Portugal – which, incidentally, is the only time
England have reached that stage of the European Championship on foreign
soil in a summer tournament format – and since then has played eight
World Cup final games, scoring no goals.

He
managed to get himself sent off at the crucial stage of the quarter-
final in Germany, missed Euro 2008 because his team were not good enough
and was abysmal in South Africa two years ago.

The danger is the expectation for something special on Tuesday becomes
disproportionate, although if he needs inspiration, he need only look
across to his striking counterpart in Andriy Shevchenko.

At 35, the Ukrainian has thrived in carrying the burden of responsibility for his nation. 'This is part of being a top, top player in an important national team,' said Hodgson.

Talisman: Andriy Shevchenko inspires his Ukrainian teammates

Talisman: Andriy Shevchenko inspires his Ukrainian teammates

'If you're Sweden it's Ibrahimovic, if you're Ukraine, I'm sure it's Shevchenko, if you're England it's about Rooney and Gerrard, if you're France it's about Ribery and Nasri.

'You just get on with it and you trust that these players, who've been putting up with this type of pressure in their lives for a long time, know how to deal with it.'

As it happens, England have had results without him but in a side who struggle to retain the ball, adding another player who can do that should improve England's composure.

Even against the profligate Swedes, England could only manage to obtain 52 per cent of the possession.

Rooney will also offer an intelligence and an ability to rotate his position.

Cheerleader: Rooney was forced to watch from the sidelines against France

Cheerleader: Rooney was forced to watch from the sidelines against France

Ashley Young did do that, coming in behind Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll on Friday night with Ashley Cole pushing up on the left wing in the first half, which allowed the three attacking players to vary their positions.

Rooney will do it better and offer more.

Not that his return will suddenly transform England into title contenders. He is not Diego Maradona, surely the closest thing to a one-man team that football has witnessed.

But Rooney's ability to spark the unexpected, to deliver a goal from out of the ordinary, will give England added confidence.

As it happens, Welbeck, Walcott and Carroll all did as much against Sweden, leaving Hodgson with a pleasant selection decision to make.

All Hodgson's public comments point to Carroll making way, so Rooney can drop into the deeper lying position and resume his club partnership with Welbeck.

And holding the ball, which Welbeck does better, will be more important against Ukraine.

While Rooney's discipline has improved – he saw just two yellow cards this season with United – it was the combination of his father being arrested over betting scam allegations (he was later cleared), a combustible atmosphere in Montenegro and his frustration with England's inability to keep the ball that led to him being sent off in the first place.

Donetsk is likely to contain the latter two ingredients. It must be hoped that the new, relaxed and positive Rooney has learned his lesson.

Rooney's back: England expects

Which England will turn up

England v Ukraine, Tuesday, 7.45pm, Donetsk, ITV1

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley qualifies

Daley books Olympics ticket to honour late father's memory

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UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 10 June 2012

Tom Daley hoped he had done his late father proud after he booked his place at the London Olympics on Sunday.

Daley confirmed he will be one of the faces of this summer's showpiece with the most comfortable of wins in the 10 metre platform at the British Gas Diving Championships in Sheffield.

In a spin: Daley hopes to lay down a marker for the Chinese to match

In a spin: Daley hopes to lay down a marker for the Chinese to match

While the 18-year-old was unable to
break his personal best of 565.05, which he set when reclaiming the
European title last month, he did more than enough to ensure he was
already decked out in a Team GB tracksuit before leaving Ponds Forge.

The Sheffield venue had set an
emotional stage for Daley as it was the pool his father Robert last saw
him compete before his death following a long battle with brain cancer
last May.

Diving blind: Daley has been impressed with his recent performances

Diving blind: Daley has been impressed with his recent performances

Diving blind: Daley has been impressed with his recent performances

Robert Daley had been a permanent
fixture alongside his son at all his competitions and had pledged to see
his son compete in London this summer.

'It's great to know that I have
qualified and he will be proud of what I have done,' Daley said. 'It
feels great to actually win here in front of my mum and my brothers,
obviously it is sad that my dad is not here.

'It's just such a great feeling to know you are going to the Olympic Games because it is what every athlete wants.'

Daley will head to London in career-best form despite stinging criticism at the World Cup at the beginning of the year.

British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov claimed the former world champion was letting his media commitments undermine his Olympic dream before likening him to Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova.

Nest stop London: There's only a matter of weeks until the Olympics start

Nest stop London: There's only a matter of weeks until the Olympics start

Nest stop London: There's only a matter of weeks until the Olympics start

Daley has let his diving do the
talking since, responding emphatically by becoming overall World Series
champion and reclaiming the European title he first won as a
13-year-old.

'I'm diving at the moment the best I have throughout my career,' he said.

'I'm loving my diving at the moment.
Knowing that I'm diving well going to an Olympic Games is a really nice
feeling. I just have to maintain it.

'I'm going into each competition knowing I can perform and score a 10. It's just about doing it on the day.'

Daley twice attracted scores of 10
tonight and only a slight mistake on his penultimate back three-and-half
somersaults prevented him from eclipsing his best for the third
successive meet.

'That's the dive I want to really work on before the Olympics,' he said.

'I can either get a really big score from it or like this evening it can cost me

'There's lots of hard work to do before the Olympics Games.'

Britain's Olympic diving team will be confirmed in an announcement tomorrow lunchtime, with only a few positions up in the air.

The women's 3m springboard is one of
those after tonight's winner Rebecca Gallantree failed to make the
qualifying mark in an unusually poor preliminary round.

The City of Leeds diver responded though with a British record and personal best 326.05 to wrap up her fourth domestic title.

Gallantree must now await Monday's announcement, with teenage duo Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg also in contention.

'I was really pleased to get a good
run out this afternoon,' she said. 'I didn't make the score this morning
so it will be up to Alexei now to see who is in. Fingers crossed.'

Gallantree, who was cheered on by a
large support of family and friends, is already set to be named in the
3m springboard but admitted she was 'desperate' to also compete
individually for a second successive Olympics.

'It would mean the world to me –
competing at the Olympic pool in February at the World Cup was
absolutely fantastic,' she said. 'I'm desperate to go back for both
events. I'd love to.'

Robin van Persie: I wasn"t at Barcelona hotel to discuss move

Van Persie: Don't worry Arsenal fans, I wasn't at Barcelona hotel to discuss a move!

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UPDATED:

11:03 GMT, 21 April 2012

Robin van Persie has insisted his visit to Barcelona's team hotel this week was perfectly innocent.

Arsenal captain Van Persie was pictured at the London hotel of Barca on Tuesday night, fuelling speculation he could be set to join them this summer.

But the 28-year-old, who is refusing to make a decision about his long-term future until the end of the season, wrote in the Gunners' official matchday programme: 'The explanation is really very simple.

Talks: Robin van Persie insists he will sit down with Arsenal soon

Talks: Robin van Persie insists he will sit down with Arsenal soon

'My very good friend Ibrahim Afellay plays for Barcelona. After a bad long-term injury, he was finally back with the team – and during his absence I had been in contact with him a lot, but I hadn't seen him.

'This was an opportunity for me to go and visit a close friend, show him my support and catch up.

'Unfortunately, this had to be at the hotel, because he was not permitted to leave it.

'I was wearing my Arsenal tracksuit and we sat down by the reception to have a chat and some food – everyone could see us and there was nothing to hide. I can't imagine anyone conducting transfer negotiations in these circumstances!'

The Holland star, who has just over a year left on his Arsenal contract, added: 'The visit to the hotel was a social one and had nothing to do with the future of my career.

Interest: There are fears that Van Persie could join Lionel Messi and co

Interest: There are fears that Van Persie could join Lionel Messi and co

'I do have a social life next to football, even if my wife tells me that it sometimes doesn't seem that way! Nothing has changed in the sense that my intention remains to discuss my future in the summer.'

Van Persie also hit back at Gary Caldwell's claim that he refused to shake the Wigan captain's hand after Arsenal's shock 2-1 defeat on Monday night.

He said: 'I was quite surprised by his reaction, and the fact that it made such news in the media.

'If you look properly at what happened, I offered him my left hand but he refused it and acted like the innocent party – so all the reaction has been a little over the top.

'There were no bad intentions on my side. In football, you can win and lose – that is part of the game, and of course I will always be disappointed with a defeat, but not to the point that I refuse to shake my opponent's hand. Not everything is always as it looks.'

Newcastle 6 Toulon 3: Jonny Wilkinson"s pointless return

Newcastle 6 Toulon 3: Jonny”s pointless return to Kingston Park

Newcastle were relieved that Jonny Wilkinson did not feature on his first return to his old club.

England’s World Cup winner was an unused substitute as Jimmy Gopperth, his replacement at Kingston Park, kicked two second-half penalties to snatch a 6-3 Amlin Challenge Cup winamid driving rain.

Out in the cold: Jonny Wilkinson stayed on the sidelines

Out in the cold: Jonny Wilkinson stayed on the sidelines

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait feared Wilkinson, who spent 11 seasons at Newcastle, would appear in the second half to dictate terms.

‘I was surprised he did not get on because he knows the pitch better than anybody,’ Tait said.

‘I thought if Jonny got on then he would stick us in the corner and we would never get out.’

A crowd of 5,579 — Newcastle’s second biggest of the season — had turned up hoping to watch Wilkinson. But he stayed in his tracksuit on a night when the officials came close to calling off the match.

Tait said: ‘Toulon did not use him because they have big games coming up in the French championship, but there are about 100 fans waiting outside the changing rooms for him so he’s going to be in for a busy night.’

Shackled: Pasqualin can

Shackled: Pasqualin can”t escape a Toulon tackle

Gopperth won the battle of the boot. After missing one attempt in the first half, he landed two penalties within nine minutes of the second half starting

His first was from 35 metres while his second came from the halfway line. Toulon fought back through a penalty from fly-half Julien Dumora, Wilkinson’s deputy.

Meanwhile, Sale climbed to the top of Pool Five with a comfortable 29-14 victory over Agen at Stade Armandie.