Tag Archives: tributes

Pep Guardiola flies into Barcelona to visit Tito Vilanova

Who's the backpacker flying into Barcelona Guardiola visits his friend Vilanova

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 23 December 2012

Pep Guardiola had nothing to declare when he flew into Barcelona on Saturday, looking for all the world like just another backpacker.

All Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants for Christmas is the former Barcelona boss to take over at Stamford Bridge next season but the Catalan won’t be hurried back into work.

Back in Barcelona: Guardiola arrived in the city on Saturday

Back in Barcelona: Guardiola arrived in the city on Saturday

Guardiola had flown home from New York to visit his Barca successor, Tito Vilanova, who left hospital on Saturday night after throat cancer surgery.

A Barcelona statement read: 'Given the post-surgery progress, Tito
Vilanova has been discharged from hospital on Saturday afternoon. The
Barca coach’s operation on Thursday went as planned.'

We're thinking of you boss: The Barca players sport shirt supporting Tito

We're thinking of you boss: The Barca players sport shirt supporting Tito

We're thinking of you boss: The Barca players sport shirt supporting Tito

And the Barcelona players paid tributes to their manager, wearing shirts with messages of support before their match with Real Valladolid on Saturday night.

Guardiola spent four amazingly successful years as Barcelona manager before handing over the reins to Vilanova earlier this year.

Discharged: Vilanova has been in hospital for an operation

Discharged: Vilanova has been in hospital for an operation

John Terry crashes Sligo"s League of Ireland title party

What you doing there, John Terry Now Chelsea skipper gatecrashes League of Ireland title celebrations…

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UPDATED:

16:27 GMT, 27 October 2012

A fan in the Republic of Ireland has
replicated one of this year's most popular online jokes during Sligo's
League of Ireland triumph.

When
John Terry paraded on the pitch in Munich last May when Chelsea won the
Champions League, those watching could have been forgiven for thinking
the club captain had played a key part in the glory of that night.

As
it was, Terry had been banned from the showpiece in Germany after being
sent off in the semi-final second leg triumph over Barcelona.

Up for the cup: A fan impersonating John Terry crashed the Sligo Rovers title party in Ireland

Up for the cup: A fan impersonating John Terry crashed the Sligo Rovers title party in Ireland

Up for the cup: A fan impersonating John Terry crashed the Sligo Rovers title party in Ireland

But
that didn't stop the defender bounding onto the Allianz Arena turf in
full kit – complete with socks pulled up – to join in the celebrations
with his team-mates.

The
bizarre move sparked a flurry of online comedy tributes of Terry
gatecrashing famous events from history, including the Neil Armstrong's
moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Royal Wedding.

And
pictures from Ireland show the joke still has legs after a fan in full
Chelsea kit and Terry mask bundeled in on the trophy presentation.

Sligo
were actually beaten on the night by rivals Shamrock Rovers but had
already secured the title, meaning there had been plenty of time to
prepare for a party.

In fact a first half fireworks display forced a brief stoppage and police intervention before things got underway.

It
is only the third time the club have been crowned champions, and the
first since 1977. The only time came 40 years before that.

Fully stripped: John Terry put a Chelsea kit on - despite not playing in the final - for the presentation

Fully stripped: John Terry put a Chelsea kit on – despite not playing in the final – for the presentation

Man on the moon: One spoof depicts Terry celebrating Chelsea's triumph in orbit

Another image shows Terry celebrating at the scene of the Berlin wall

History in the making: Terry holds up tanks in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989 during the bloody crackdown on protesters campaigning for political reform

Royalty: One viral shows Terry lifting the trophy at Buckingham Palace on the day of Prince William and Kate's big wedding day

Light my fire: Another viral mocks Terry, bearing the Olympic Torch

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic in critical but stable condition after car crash

Hoffenheim midfielder Vukcevic in critical but stable condition at hospital after car crash

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UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 30 September 2012

Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital following a car crash on Friday.

The 22-year-old is still in a coma after two nights in a Heidelberg clinic following the accident, which occurred while the player was on his way to training on Friday.

He remains in intensive care, his club confirmed today, and his condition 'remains critical', but he is in 'the best possible hands,' according to Hoffenheim's general manager Andreas Muller.

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

Critical: Boris Vukcevic of Hoffenheim is in a critical but stable condition

'We have discussed how we should deal with the situation. We know that Boris is in the best possible hands and all we can do is hope that his condition stabilises itself further,' he said.

Hoffenheim fulfilled their Bundesliga fixture against Augsburg yesterday, managing a 0-0 draw, and the players have now been given two days off before returning to training on Tuesday.

'The players should remain with their families and try to clear their minds as much as possible,' said Muller.

'Of course they have the opportunity of coming into our training centre whenever they want.'

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Wreck: The midfielder's car was seriously damaged during the crash

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

Tributes: Hoffenheim fans held up shirts and banners for their midfielder before the game against Augsburg

Manchester United to wear black armbands in memory of murdered policewomen

Man United to wear black armbands in memory of murdered policewomen

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UPDATED:

13:59 GMT, 19 September 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his sadness at the murder of the two policewomen killed in a grenade and gun attack.

His players will wear black armbands during Wednesday night's Champions League encounter with Galatasaray at Old Trafford in honour of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.

Pc Bone, 32, and Pc Hughes, 23, had been sent to investigate what appeared to be a routine burglary report in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, yesterday when they were attacked. Wanted fugitive Dale Cregan, 29, later handed himself into a nearby police station.

Tragedy: Tributes will be paid to the two policewomen on Wednesday night

Tragedy: Tributes will be paid to the two policewomen at Old Trafford on Wednesday night; below, flowers are left near the scene of the murders

Tragedy: Tributes will be paid to the two policewomen at Old Trafford on Wednesday night; below, flowers are left near the scene of the murders

Ferguson said: 'We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two young policewomen protecting our community.

'Fiona and Nicola were highly valued members of Greater Manchester Police and the local community.

'Our thoughts and prayers are now with their families and friends at this devastatingly sad time.'

Cregan has been arrested and is being questioned by police.

Hillsborough latest: FA apologise to families for 1989 disaster

We're deeply sorry: Bernstein issues FA apology to families of Hillsborough victims

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UPDATED:

12:48 GMT, 13 September 2012

Hillsborough disaster report

Click here to read the full document

Football Association chairman David Bernstein has offered 'a full and unreserved apology' to all those affected by the Hillsborough disaster.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the events at the FA Cup semi-final 23 years ago revealed a police cover-up had taken place which had intended to shift blame for the disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans, to the victims themselves.

Scroll down for the full FA statement

Always remembered: Fans leave tributes at the Shankly Gates on Wednesday

Always remembered: Fans leave tributes at the Shankly Gates on Wednesday

Emotional: Supporters of 'Justice for the 96' sing You'll Never Walk Alone during a vigil for the victims outside Liverpool's St George's Hall

Emotional: Supporters of 'Justice for the 96' sing You'll Never Walk Alone during a vigil for the victims outside Liverpool's St George's Hall

Statement from Football Association chairman David Bernstein following the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel:

On behalf of The Football Association, I would like to personally take this opportunity to make a statement following yesterday's (Wednesday's) findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

96 people lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest 23 years ago.

We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue The FA selected.

This fixture was played in The FA's own competition, and on behalf of The Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.

This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told.

For 23 years the families have suffered unbearable pain and we have profound sympathy for them.

I would like to commend the professional work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, while also recognising the tireless commitment shown by so many people in maintaining the fight for justice, particularly the family support groups.

The FA has cooperated fully with the Independent Panel throughout this process and has released all documentation in line with their requests. I would also like to make clear that we will of course fully cooperate with any further inquiry.

The FA and English football has changed immeasurably, and learnt many lessons in the last 23 years. Through advancements in safety and investment in facilities English football is now a much safer, more welcoming environment for supporters.

Landmark day: Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Wednesday

Landmark day: Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Wednesday

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

Injustice: Prmie Minister David Cameron left the Commons in no doubt the fans were not to blame

The ground did not have a valid
safety certificate at the time of the match. Sheffield Wednesday have
apologised and on Thursday Bernstein followed suit.

He said in a statement: 'We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected.

'This fixture was played in the FA's
own competition, and on behalf of the Football Association I offer a
full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of
the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected to
the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.'

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a Toffees kit with a message fort heir friends across Stanley park

Solidarity: Staff at Everton's club shop decorated a kit with a message for their friends across Stanley Park

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

Statement: The Hillsborough Independent Panel make public their findings

Trevor Hicks, the chair of
Hillsborough families support group, had earlier called on the FA to
apologise over the disaster after their initial statement this morning
contained no such apology.

Hicks told BBC Radio 5 Live: 'Yes they should – the ground didn't have a safety certificate.'

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Long road to justice: The families of those who died and the fans have had to wait 23 years for this moment

Marussia"s test driver Maria De Villota making remarkable recovery after crash

De Villota making 'remarkable' recovery following crash that cost test driver her right eye

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

19:47 GMT, 11 July 2012

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 11 July 2012

Marussia test driver Maria De Villota's recovery following an accident eight days ago that resulted in her losing her right eye has been described as 'remarkable' by the team.

De Villota required two operations at Addendrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in the wake of a crash at Duxford Airfield that saw the 32-year-old Spaniard run into the tailgate of a stationary service vehicle at the end of an installation run whilst conducting a straight-line aero test.

Remarkable: Maria De Villota is recoveRemarkable: Maria De Villota before her crash in which she lost an eyering well since her crash

Remarkable: Maria De Villota before her crash in which she lost an eye

Although her condition was life threatening over the first few days, on Monday De Villota showed enough of an improvement to be moved out of the Neurological Critical Care Unit.

De Villota continues to have her family at her side, but at least is now in a position to converse with them.

Saved: Emergency workers gathered round De Villota's car as it was wedged under a lorry

Saved: Emergency workers gathered round De Villota's car as it was wedged under a lorry

A team statement read: 'Despite severe injuries, Maria's recovery during that time has been remarkable.

'Following two successful surgical procedures in the days following the accident, last Saturday the medical team at Addenbrooke's Hospital began to gradually reduce the level of Maria's sedation.

Tributes: Charles Pic of France and Marussia pays tribute with star symbols on his car and helmet

Tributes: Charles Pic (above) and Lewis Hamilton (below) were among the drivers to wear stars on their helmets and cars as a tribute to De Villota

Tributes: Lewis Hamilton pays tribute with star symbols on his car and helmet

'By Sunday morning, Maria was awake and able to speak to her family, which provided a very important – albeit early – indication that there were positive signs for Maria's recovery.

'Since that time, Maria has been making small but significant steps. She was moved out of the Neurological Critical Care Unit on Monday and is no longer receiving sedation.

'Her family remain by her side and she is communicating freely with them and the medical team. Medical assessments are ongoing to monitor Maria's improving condition.'

Ched Evans fans planning to cheer convicted rapist

Cheers for a rapist: Ched Evans fans planning grotesque show of support as Sheffield United play live on TV
Jailed Sheffield United player will be honoured during game this afternoon
Staged clapping, normally reserved for late legends, will be held twice

By
Paul Bracchi

PUBLISHED:

09:01 GMT, 28 April 2012

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UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 28 April 2012

Ched Evans will be remembered at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground this afternoon with a round of applause in the ninth minute of the televised home game, and in the 35th minute.

Why, at those precise moments Well, Evans wore the coveted No 9 shirt for United and had scored 35 goals for them over the past season. The Wales international was their star striker, the Wayne Rooney of the team.

Terrace tributes such as staged clapping are normally reserved for giants of the game — great players or managers — who have recently passed away.

Standing by her man: Despite being jailed for raping a teenager, Ched Evans is being supported by his girlfriend Natasha Massey, who has kept this picture of the couple on her Twitter account

Standing by her man: Despite being jailed for raping a teenager, Ched Evans is being supported by his girlfriend Natasha Massey, who has kept this picture of the couple on her Twitter account

Distasteful: Evans celebrates after scoring at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane, where he will be remembered at a game this afternoon with rounds of applause in the ninth and 35th minutes

Distasteful: Evans celebrates after scoring at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane, where he will be remembered at a game this afternoon with rounds of applause in the ninth and 35th minutes

Ched Evans has not ‘passed away’, even though we have been referring to him in the past tense.

In fact, he’s being detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure at Altcourse Prison in Liverpool, where he is beginning a five-year sentence following his conviction for rape last week.

The brief, disturbing details are these: The intoxicated victim — who could barely stand up — was initially picked up on a street corner by Evans’s friend, another footballer, who took her back to his hotel for sex before passing her onto Evans.

In other words, the 19-year-old young woman was ‘roasted’ (the term footballers use for group sex) and raped while Evans’s brother and a mate tried to film proceedings on a mobile phone from a window outside the ground-floor room.

Two predatory footballers, then, one teenage girl, and a pair of voyeurs.

Going places: Evans, pictured with Miss Massey admiring a rare 1972 Ferrari, had been tipped to join a Premiership club next season and was in the running to represent Team GB at this summer's Olympics

Going places: Evans, pictured with Miss Massey admiring a rare 1972 Ferrari, had been tipped to join a Premiership club next season and was in the running to represent Team GB at this summer's Olympics

Even so, in the eyes of many supporters, the real victim is Evans himself, not to mention their ‘beloved’ Sheffield United, which has been deprived of his services as the side close in on promotion from League One.

So, shortly after kick-off at 5.20pm, a convicted rapist could be lauded at a British football stadium in front of a vast television audience.

The planned tribute has been widely debated on fans’ forums over the past few days.

One message reads: ‘I have been asked to post here on behalf of a Blade who wants as many Blades as possible to give their support for our Ched (live on TV). The match — against Stevenage — is being broadcast on Sky.’

It is only the latest shocking revelation in this still unfolding story.

Tensions: Although supportive, it emerged during the trial that Miss Massey hated Evans going out because 'girls throw themselves at you'

Tensions: Although supportive, it emerged during the trial that Miss Massey hated Evans going out because 'girls throw themselves at you'

‘Drunken slag’, ‘tramp’, ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’ are just some of the things the teenager at the centre of the case has been called in a vile internet campaign waged against her.

In the process, even though victims of serious sexual offences are granted lifelong anonymity by the courts, her identity was revealed on social networking site Twitter.

Maybe the culprits weren’t aware of the anonymity law or, more likely, given the ferocity of the personal abuse, they just didn’t care.

Either way, three of the men who allegedly named her (there are literally dozens who did so) have now been arrested.

This disgraceful chain of events, precipitated by Evans’s ignominious downfall, tells us as much about the kind of society we have become as the original crime for which the striker was found guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court.

So how did Evans end up in the dock The reason — or, at least an explanation for his behaviour — emerged after he was arrested last year.

He claimed (predictably) that the young woman had consented to sex, telling detectives: ‘We could have had any girl we wanted [in the North Wales nightclub where they had spent the evening].

‘We are footballers, that’s how it is. Footballers are rich, they have got money, that’s what girls like.’

Could there be a more sickening illustration of the reckless arrogance that seems to be in the DNA of many modern footballers It is often the flip side of wealth and celebrity, particularly when it arrives at such a young age.

Evans is from a working-class background in North Wales; his father left home when he was born. Football was the only thing he really knew.

Now just 23, he was earning a cool 20,000 a week at Sheffield United. He drove a Mercedes and a 4×4 Land Rover Defender with personalised number plates bearing his initials CME: Chedwyn Michael Evans.

He had been tipped to join a Premier League club next season and was in the running to represent Team GB at this summer’s Olympics.

High life: Aged just 23, Evans (above) was earning a cool 20,000 a week at Sheffield United and drove a Mercedes and a Land Rover with personalised number plates bearing his initials CME: Chedwyn Michael Evans

High life: Aged just 23, Evans (above) was earning a cool 20,000 a week at Sheffield United and drove a Mercedes and a Land Rover with personalised number plates bearing his initials CME: Chedwyn Michael Evans

He had been leading a glamorous lifestyle with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, 24, a member of the ‘Cheshire Set’, the nouveau riche inhabitants of the ‘golden triangle’ of Wilmslow, Prestbury and Alderley Edge that include soap stars and footballers.

Her father, Karl Massey, is a director of 11 companies, including jewellers Cottrills in Wilmslow. The family home is a 1.5 million property in Alderley Edge, close to the homes of Manchester United stars Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.

Evans and Miss Massey, who have been dating for two years, were recently pictured together at a ‘Rolex Dinner’ staged by Cotterills, described as ‘an evening of fine dining, fine wines and a tasting of the very best Dom Perignon vintages’.

Astonishingly, Miss Massey and her parents are standing by Evans. This is apparent from a photograph on Miss Massey’s Twitter page, which many women in her position might have hastily removed in the light of what happened.

It shows her holding hands with Evans during a romantic restaurant meal. Underneath, Miss Massey has written gushingly: ‘I have the best family, amazing friends and a gorgeous boyfriend. I’m VERY lucky.’

Evans had been leading a glamorous lifestyle
with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, 24, a member of the ‘Cheshire Set’,
the nouveau riche inhabitants of the ‘golden triangle’ of Wilmslow,
Prestbury and Alderley Edge that include soap stars and footballers

But away from the chic ‘Cheshire Set’ dinner parties, Evans led a very different life. Miss Massey, it emerged during the trial, hated Evans going out because ‘girls throw themselves at you’.

That didn’t stop him, though. As he told police, he was a footballer, he could have anyone he wanted. On any given night of the week, at bars across the country, there is an almost endless supply of women available to the likes of Ched Evans.

It is a world epitomised perhaps by the favourite drink at one Manchester club called Gold Digger — a cocktail named in honour of the girls who flock there hoping to snare a footballer.

The scene of the rape, though, was not a big city but the North Wales seaside town of Rhyl, where Evans grew up and where his mother still lives.

On the weekend of May 29 last year, Evans returned to his home town for the Bank Holiday with his friend Clayton McDonald, a defender with Port Vale.

The two had been friends since they were juniors in the Manchester City Youth Academy. They had also been on holiday to Miami and Ayia Napa in Cyprus.

The pair had something else in common, too: they once had a ‘threesome’ (Evans’s word) when they lived together early in their footballing careers.

Old habits die hard, it seems. Evans, it was alleged in court, had booked a room at the local Premier Inn ‘for the sole purpose of procuring a girl or girls’ during their visit to Rhyl.

Targeted: The girl raped by Evans (pictured left playing for Wales) has also become the victim of a vile internet campaign calling her a 'drunken slag', 'tramp' and 'whore' among other names

Targeted: The girl raped by Evans (pictured left playing for Wales) has also become the victim of a vile internet campaign calling her a 'drunken slag', 'tramp' and 'whore' among other names

They ended up at the Zu bar, but left at different times. Some time before 4am, Clayton McDonald encountered a girl outside a kebab shop in the town’s Queen Street.

She was ‘stumbling’ and ‘slurring’. Hardly surprising in the circumstances. She had drunk two large glasses of wine in just over an hour, along with four double vodkas and a Sambuca. ‘Hi, where are you going’ McDonald asked her. ‘Where are you going’ she replied.’

‘I’m going to my hotel,’ he said. ‘I’m coming with you,’ she told him.

You’d like to think that most men would have resisted the temptation to take a young women in such a state back to their hotel room.

Instead, McDonald got into a taxi with her, then immediately sent Evans a text message.

‘I’ve got a girl,’ he told him. About 15 minutes later, Evans turned up at the hotel.

Guilty: Ched Evans pictured outside Caernafon Crown Court, where he was jailed for five years last week

Guilty: Ched Evans pictured outside Caernafon Crown Court, where he was jailed for five years last week

He was followed by his brother Ryan, 19, a student at Swansea University, and another local lad, Jack Higgins. They remained outside by the window. Police later found blurred video recordings on Higgins’s mobile phone of the ‘sexual activity which was taking place within the room’.

Group sex, it seems, has become acceptable behaviour among some footballers. The sickening culture dates back many years.

The most notorious recent example occurred at Manchester United’s Christmas party in 2007 when up to 100 girls from across the city were bussed to a local hotel.

A witness recalled hearing clapping and cheering from one of the rooms where five or six men were with a girl. The men were heard ‘shrieking like hyenas’ and shouting ‘get in there’.

That infamous night also ended in an allegation of rape against Manchester United defender Jonny Evans. He was arrested, but did not face charges.

Back at the Premier Inn in Rhyl the following morning, the girl woke up alone in a bed. Her clothes were scattered around the floor.

By then, Ched Evans and Clayton McDonald had long gone. McDonald left through the front door, Evans via a fire exit.

Following his arrest, Evans told police that his friend had asked the girl: ‘Can my mate join in’ She had said “yes” straight away, Evans claimed. The jury did not believe him.

McDonald, however, was cleared of rape. His barrister said his client ‘may have behaved in a manner you may find morally repugnant, but it didn’t make him guilty of rape’.

We can only assume that, despite her intoxicated state, the girl’s decision to go back to the hotel constituted consent in the eyes of the jury.

Within hours of the verdict, an internet backlash against the rape victim had begun. Her name was being circulated so widely that it is understood to have been one of the words ‘trending’ (meaning it was one of the most widely used) on Twitter.

A number of footballers joined the campaign, including a team-mate of Ched Evans, who has now been suspended by Sheffield United.

The victim is currently ‘on leave’ from her job.

‘She does not want to speak to the media,’ her sister told us when we contacted the family. ‘She is trying to get on with her life and put all this behind her. It has been a terrible time.’

A friend added: ‘People are slagging her off on the internet and it’s terrifying her. She has become a hate figure. And it’s so unfair when you think about what the poor girl has been through.

‘She was raped and then she had to go through the ordeal of the legal process, which felt like she was being raped all over again.

‘If that wasn’t traumatic enough, she has also been identified. She just wants to get away from here now and rebuild her life.’

The story is already a shameful one. But the perhaps the most shameful episode is still to unfold — at around 5.30pm in Sheffield this afternoon.

Kenny Dalglish: Fitting that Liverpool and Everton commemorate Hillsborough

Dalglish ready for emotional afternoon as Mersey rivals mark Hillsborough anniversary at Wembley

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 13 April 2012

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes it is fitting fans from both Merseyside clubs will come together in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The two sides have not faced each other at Wembley since the 1989 final, which took place less than two months after the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 people on April 15.

Players of both teams will wear black armbands, floral tributes will be laid by Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville and there will be a period of silence prior to kick-off to commemorate the occasion.

In memory: Liverpool players remembered Hillsborough last weekend

In memory: Liverpool players remembered Hillsborough last weekend

Dalglish believes it is almost symbolic the two clubs should meet again so respects can be paid.

'It’s coincidental that it’s Liverpool and Everton at Wembley again because that was the final that year (1989),' said the Reds boss.

'It’s going to be very emotive for everybody. The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home.

'It will be poignant and I’m sure both sets of fans will grace the minute’s silence with the dignity they’ve shown since 1989.

Emotional: Kenny Dalglish believes the semi-final is a fitting event for a tribute

Emotional: Kenny Dalglish believes the semi-final is a fitting event for a tribute

'The support the Liverpool people have had from Evertonians and vice-versa has been magnificent, and they’re a credit to the city with the way they’ve handled themselves in a dignified manner, and I’m sure that’ll continue.

'Every time both clubs have met in London both sets of fans have been an absolute credit to the city and I am sure Saturday will be another occasion when they represent the city of Liverpool and their respective clubs very proudly.'

While remembering the Hillsborough victims will be paramount prior to kick-off, once the whistle goes the two near-neighbours will go into fierce battle for a place in the final next month.

Winning ways: Andy Carroll scored Liverpool's winner against Blackburn Rovers

Winning ways: Andy Carroll scored Liverpool's winner against Blackburn Rovers

'The fact it is a semi-final is big enough in itself,' said Dalglish.

'The reward is big enough, although the opponents could have been made easier for us if we had got someone other than our city rivals.

'It is a huge game. It will be what happens on the day, the run-up to any game is irrelevant.

'We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we know how difficult it is going to be and know they will be as equally determined as we are to win.'

Sir Tom Finney at 90: Bobby Charlton tribute

'I never dreamed I would play in the same side as Tom.' Bobby leads tributes to Finney at 90

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 4 April 2012

Young Bobby, still a comparative slip of a lad at just 74, popped in the other day to see dear old Tom, who celebrates his 90th birthday on Thursday.

The most revered England footballer of all time and the greatest English player, ever, go back a bit.

It is 54 years next month since Bobby Charlton scored the first of his still-record 49 goals for his country, with a little help from Tom Finney.

Dream team: England's Tom Finney, Billy Wright and Bobby Charlton

Dream team: England's Tom Finney, Billy Wright and Bobby Charlton

Knights of the realm now, Sir Bobby and Sir Tom mused for a while on those glorious days gone by.

Finney’s memory needs a nudge these days when visitors come calling at his care home — whose wouldn’t at this grand age — but Charlton coaxed him back to that Saturday afternoon at Hampden Park in 1958 when they beat Scotland 4-0.

‘It was my England debut,’ says Charlton. ‘Tom set me up for the first with a perfect cross. I didn’t have to move, just knock it in the net.’

As it happened, that goal was a thunderous left-footer which was to become Charlton’s trademark. But he says: ‘I was asked afterwards how it felt to score my first goal for England. I said that what made it special was that it was laid on by the great Tom Finney.’

Great, indeed. Finney knew a thing or two about debuts, too. He scored on all his, including every time he wore a different number shirt.

The Preston plumber was a master of all trades. A natural-born right winger with mystifying ball control and murderous change of pace, he switched to outside left so that his mate, Stanley Matthews, could get into the England team.

Finney also played at inside forward for club and country, and when they asked him to try out centre forward he scored even more frequently.

At home: Sir Tom Finney at Preston's home ground, Deepdale

At home: Sir Tom Finney at Preston's home ground, Deepdale

His recollections can be a mite hazy now but Sir Tom is a living reminder to the statistics-mad modern game that numbers never tell the whole story.

He has but one medal to show for his genius, that for leading Preston North End to promotion from the old second division. But he does possess three treasures beyond price:

1) The undying affection of the country he served on the football pitch and as a tank driver on the battlefields of the Second World War.

2) The enduring esteem, respect and admiration of all who played with or against him, or were lucky enough to see him play.

3) His entire home city as a permanent memorial to the gentleman footballer who put Preston on the world map.

Three years ago, he and I retraced the short walk he used to take from the tiny house in which he was born to the Deepdale stadium where he worked his miracles. He used to carry his boots in a brown paper bag. This time he took history in his stride.

As we strolled through terraced streets haunted by sepia reflections of the industrial revolution during which they were built, men and boys of all ages from modern Britain’s multi-racial diversity came running for his autograph.

More than half a century ago young Tom used to sit unnoticed on the bus from the Pilkington plumbing works, where he was an apprentice, to the Preston training ground.

His other home: Sir Tom Finney outside his old house in Preston

His other home: Sir Tom Finney outside his old house in Preston

He continued plying the more humble of his trades — actually earning more than his 12 a week as a footballer — even after the Saturday morning he asked to leave early because he was playing in the FA Cup final ‘and Mr Pilkington asked me how long I would be out’.

Fame has not altered the modest Lancashire lad who never swears, never drank so much as a shandy before his playing career ended and who blushes to this milestone day whenever anyone mentions how brilliant he was.

Those cheeks will redden a little again on Thursday as Preston officials bring him a cake and card and tell him about their plans to salute him at Saturday’s home game. He will also listen to a disc-full of messages from the dignitaries of the game.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has recorded this: ‘True football greats would be capable of playing in any era. You belong to that group.’

And dear old Tom will hear young Bobby tell him yet again: ‘I never dreamed I would play in the same side as Tom Finney. You were magic.’

That he was, and we must never stop telling him.

Happy birthday, Sir Tom Finney, England’s finest.

Fabrice Muamba news: Let"s get on with Bolton v Blackburn – Steve Kean

Kean: Let's get on with winning Lancashire derby now Muamba is making progress

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UPDATED:

14:15 GMT, 23 March 2012

Fabrice Muamba's remarkable progress means Saturday's Barclays Premier League meeting between Bolton and Blackburn can be a positive occasion, according to Rovers boss Steve Kean.

The Reebok Stadium clash between two local rivals scrapping to avoid relegation will be the first match Wanderers have played since midfielder Muamba collapsed with a cardiac arrest during last weekend's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham.

The 23-year-old remains in intensive care but his recovery so far has been better than anyone dared imagine, which has lifted both clubs ahead of the key match.

Get well soon: Tributes continue to pour in for Bolton's Fabrice Muamba

Get well soon: Tributes continue to pour in for Bolton's Fabrice Muamba

Kean said: 'It's always easier (to concentrate on the game) when the boy's making progress. If it had gone a negative way and we didn't know whether the game was on and then all of a sudden it could have been on at the last minute, it might have been difficult.

'But the fact he's getting stronger, he's communicating, I believe he's even joking and he can recognise everybody, then I think everybody goes into it in a positive mindset. It's great that he's getting there and we need to get on with the game.'

Bolton confirmed on Wednesday that the match would go ahead after boss Owen Coyle had a lengthy conversation with Muamba's fiancee and father, and Blackburn were happy to leave the decision entirely with their opponents.

Kean said: 'We contacted Bolton and I left a message for their chairman and spoke with Owen.

'Any way at all that we could help
Fabrice or their other players, if they didn't think they had enough
preparation because of the situation we were happy to postpone the game.

Tough job: Owen Coyle (right) speaks to his Bolton players in training

Tough job: Owen Coyle (right) speaks to his Bolton players in training

'The way it's gone now, he's made great progress, which we're all delighted about, and the game's on. Now we need to get on with business and try to put more points on the board on a very emotional day.'

Football's governing bodies are already reviewing the screening processes at clubs and Kean would welcome a more thorough examination of players' hearts.

Rovers had their own scare earlier this season when defender Gael Givet suffered heart palpitations during a match and subsequently underwent a small procedure.

Kean said: 'When players do a medical when they first come to a club, unless there's a problem in the family tree that says you've got heart problems, it's not really looked at in that much detail.

'I think if the FA (Football Association) and each club increase the screening then it can only help.'

Saturday's match will undoubtedly have a different feel to it but for both teams the result will be very important to their chances of avoiding the drop.

Respect: Steve Kean says he gave Bolton the option of postponing the game

Respect: Steve Kean says he gave Bolton the option of postponing the game

Blackburn have boosted their hopes with back-to-back wins over Wolves and Sunderland – and their first two clean sheets of the season – and go into the clash five points above the relegation zone.

But Kean knows they are far from safe yet, particularly after watching fellow strugglers QPR mount a stunning late comeback to beat Liverpool on Wednesday, a result that dropped Bolton back into the bottom three.

'There's lots of football to be played and there'll be twists and turns,' said Kean. 'I was at the game the other night and Liverpool probably thought they had the points then QPR came back and snatched it.

'We've just got to continue with the form we're in. Over the last five games we've managed to pick up 10 points, we've managed to score eight goals, put back-to-back clean sheets together, so we've just got to look after ourselves.'

Givet is Rovers' only doubt after aggravating a slight hamstring problem warming up during Tuesday's win over Sunderland, and Kean may well stick with the same side for a third successive game.

He said: 'The way we're playing at the moment it's difficult for anyone to push their way into the side, and such is the strength of the squad at the moment that Ruben Rochina and Simon Vukcevic have not even managed to get themselves onto the bench.

'That's great from our point of view, not so good from theirs.'