Tag Archives: tuesday

Blair Turgott scores hat-trick as West Ham beat QPR 3-1 in a friendly at Upton Park

VIDEO: West Ham and QPR field first-team stars in friendly, but 18-year-old Turgott steals the show at Upton Park

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

19:13 GMT, 19 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:56 GMT, 19 March 2013

Blair Turgott stole the show with a hat-trick on Tuesday afternoon as West Ham saw off QPR 3-1 in a friendly at Upton Park.

The 18-year-old scored twice in the first half before completing his hat-trick early in the second period in a match which saw both sides field a number of players from their first-team squad.

Adel Taarabt scored a free-kick just after half-time for QPR, who gave run-outs to Nedum Onuoha,
Jamie Mackie, Esteban Granero, Jay Bothroyd, Shaun Derry, Luke Young and Junior Hoilett.

Scroll down for highlights

Star: 18-year-old Blair Turgott (second left) scored a hat-trick for West Ham at Upton Park

Star: 18-year-old Blair Turgott (second left) scored a hat-trick for West Ham at Upton Park

High-profile friendly: Marouane Chamakh and Shaun Derry compete for a header

High-profile friendly: Marouane Chamakh and Shaun Derry compete for a header

West Ham's team featured Marouane Chamakh, Wellington Paulista, James Tomkins, Jordan Spence and George McCartney, who hasn't featured for the first team since December due to a knee injury.

Turgott opened the scoring in the 12th minute, with a long-range effort that flew into the top corner, before adding a second 16 minutes later with a measured, curling finish into the bottom corner.

Taarabt's free-kick two minutes after half-time reduced QPR's deficit to 2-1 before Turgott cut inside right back Young before firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner in the 52nd minute.

The game also featured Canada Under 20 international goalkeeper Jordan Santiago, 21, who is on trail with West Ham.

VIDEO: Watch Blair Turgott's hat-trick

Wayne Rooney will stay at Manchester United, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Rooney WILL stay! Ferguson insists star forward isn't leaving United after Real snub

Sir Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney will remain at Manchester United next season

Ferguson stands by decision to start Real Madrid clash with Rooney on the bench

United manager reveals he thought he'd get 'more stick' for leaving out Shinji Kagawa

Ferguson admits he had expressed concern to his staff about the appointment of referee Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir prior to Tuesday's defeat

PUBLISHED:

09:54 GMT, 8 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 8 March 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Wayne Rooney will be at Manchester United next season.

The England international's future was thrown into doubt after Ferguson sensationally axed him for the visit of Real Madrid earlier this week.

But speaking ahead of United's FA Cup sixth-round showdown with Chelsea on Sunday, Ferguson says he has not plans to sell Rooney in the summer.

The right decision: Sir Alex Ferguson has stood by his call to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench for the visit of Madrid

The right decision: Sir Alex Ferguson has stood by his call to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench for the visit of Madrid

Benched: Wayne Rooney was unceremoniously axed for the visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday night

Benched: Wayne Rooney was unceremoniously axed for the visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday night

Wayne Rooney

'He'll be here next year,' Ferguson said. 'You can have my word on that.'

'The issue you're all going on about in the papers is absolute rubbish.

'There is absolutely no issue
between Wayne Rooney and I. To suggest we don't talk to each other on
the training ground is absolute nonsense.

'He understood the reasons for not
playing him and that was completely tactical. And I think I was right.
We don't always get it right but I think we did get it right.

All smiles: Wayne Rooney appeared in good spirits yesterday despite being omitted from United's startling line-up

All smiles: Wayne Rooney appeared in good spirits yesterday despite being omitted from United's startling line-up

'Danny Welbeck is the best player we
have in terms of operating in a double role. We had to choke Xabi
Alonso's ability to control the game, which Danny did, and that took
away Alonso's control of the game and his ability to go further forward
and be an attacking player.

'We don't always get it right but we definitely did on Tuesday.

'I left out Shinji Kagawa after he scored a hat-trick. I thought I would get more stick for that.'

Ferguson is still bitter about the
circumstances of Tuesday's defeat, in particular the dismissal of Nani,
on which the entire contest turned.

On the ball: Ferguson opted for Danny Welbeck ahead of Rooney for Tuesday night's tie

On the ball: Ferguson opted for Danny Welbeck ahead of Rooney for Tuesday night's tie

'It is hard to keep your faith when you have things like that,' added the Scot.

Ferguson refused to say whether Rooney would actually start on Sunday.

And he again repeated his belief that
the 27-year-old needed to play matches in order to retain full fitness,
an assessment that has raised so much debate over the past few days.

'Why should I help anyone by telling them my team We don't do that,' said Ferguson. 'But Wayne does need a lot of football. He has always been that type. That has always been the case.'

Ferguson was speaking for the first
time since United were dumped out of the Champions League with assistant
United boss claiming the Scot was 'too distressed' to engage with the
media.

'Mick was the right one to go out,' added Ferguson. 'He’s calm, he’s very good with the press and I’m going to use him more.

'That was a nice time to have a chat with Jose have a glass of wine and relax a bit.'

Ferguson said he had been concerned about the appointment of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir prior to Tuesday's game.

Cakir has now sent off seven players from English teams, but never one against them.

'I was concerned. I said that to my staff,' he said. 'I had a big worry about it but it is gone now. There is nothing we can do about it.'

Nani

Sir Alex Ferguson

Dismissed: Sir Alex Ferguson was too 'distraught' to speak to the media after Nani was shown a red card

Manchester United v Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo trains ahead of Old Trafford return

Ronaldo trains ahead of Old Trafford return in crunch clash with former club United

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

16:00 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 4 March 2013

All eyes will be on Old Trafford tomorrow, with many focusing their view on Cristiano Ronaldo, who is making his first appearance back at Manchester United since leaving three years for a world record 80million.

And it was the same tonight as he, along with the rest of his team-mates, put in a final training shift before the titanic Champions League clash.

Speaking in his press conference, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘My biggest concern is if Cristiano turns up. What do you expect when you play against a team with Ronaldo in it'

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Coming home: Cristiano Ronaldo trains ahead of his return to his former club on Tuesday night

He added: ‘You expect problems on the night. We have to try and curtail that as best as we can. It won’t be easy as he does it every week.

‘The experience young Rafael had in Madrid will probably help him because he has the same task. If you go in worried about what Cristiano can do then we forget what we can do ourselves.

‘The older one, the fatter one, peaked that time (ten years ago) as a centre forward. This Ronaldo is a supreme athlete, an unbelievable athlete, never misses a game, two great feet, pace, good in the air.

‘They are two different types but our main worry is not what happened 10 years ago but what will happen tomorrow.’

Karim Benzema ruled out of France v Spain clash after speeding offence

Spain judiciary hand national team a boost after summoning Benzema over 134mph speeding offence… on day of France clash

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

13:59 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:07 GMT, 1 March 2013

Offence: Karim Benzema was caught speeding at 134mph

Offence: Karim Benzema was caught speeding at 134mph earlier this year

The Spanish judiciary has done the nation's football team a favour by telling speeding Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema he must appear in court on March 26 – the same day France play Spain in Paris in a vital World Cup qualifier.

Benzema was caught doing 134 mph on Madrid's M40 ring road in the early hours of February 3 – twice the speed limit.

He was meant to appear last Tuesday but asked for a postponement because he was in Real Madrid's squad to play Barcelona in the Cup.

Spanish boost: The Real Madrid striker will miss his country's qualifier

Spanish boost: The Real Madrid striker will miss France's World Cup qualifier

Now he will need to explain to France
boss Didier Deschamps that instead of being at Stade de France in Paris
he will be answering to his fourth traffic misdemeanor in the
three-and-a-half seasons he has been at Real Madrid.

He was fined for dangerous driving in Ibiza in 2011, involved in a Lamborghini accident on Reunion Island in 2009, and he drove into a tree on the way home from his first clasico in 2009.

The player could face between three and six months prison sentence although a hefty fine and a driving ban of between one and four years is more likely.

Arsene Wenger rages after FA Cup defeat: "Don"t insult my players"

Wenger on the warpath: Raging Arsenal boss comes out fighting and tells critics 'don't insult my players' despite FA Cup humiliation

PUBLISHED:

12:41 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:55 GMT, 18 February 2013

Arsene Wenger has launched an impassioned defence of his team and tactics in the wake of Arsenal's humiliating FA Cup defeat by Blackburn Rovers.

Wenger couldn't hide his anger during a press conference on Monday morning, but is coming under increasing pressure as the club face an eighth successive year without silverware.

The Arsenal manager has defended his team selection and laughed at the suggestion he isn't taking the world's oldest club knockout competition seriously.

Scroll down to watch the video…

Anger: Arsene Wenger attacked his critics at a press conference yesterday

Anger: Arsene Wenger attacked his critics at a press conference yesterday

Wenger press conference

Wenger press conference

Wenger said: 'I've been accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously. I've won it four times. Tell me who has won it more than me. Tell me, one name.

'I've been accused of not putting out a strong enough team – this is an insult to those who started the game, 11 internationals.'

Arsenal face a huge task to progress
into the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition with last year's
beaten finalists standing in their way.

The players looked downcast as they arrived for training on Monday morning at the club's London Colney base, knowing that anything other than victory in the Champions League on Tuesday night against Bayern Munich would effectively end their season.

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition - despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition - despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Under fire: Wenger has defended his record in the competition – despite leaving some key stars on the bench

Cheer up! Mikel Arteta leads a group of players onto the training pitch including Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Cheer up! Mikel Arteta leads a group of players onto the training pitch including Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

But Wenger has impressed on his players that they must put the defeat by Rovers behind them, and has also denied reports that the club are about to hand him a new two-year deal.

He said: 'That is the wrong information and I work for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm,' the Arsenal boss said.

'If it is good information which comes from nowhere it is all right, but this is wrong information that comes from nowhere and it is completely wrong.'

Wenger then became involved in a heated exchange with a journalist, adding: 'I look at you not because you give information, I do not know if it is you, I do not know where the information comes from. Why do you look at me I just thought you had given this information out.

Double trouble: Wenger with Jack Wilshere

Double trouble: Wenger with Jack Wilshere

'Here this is a pre-match conference
for the Champions League, if you want to talk about Saturday, that press
conference has been made after the game.

'Can we get some questions about tomorrow's game, that would be very nice.'

Wenger also confirmed Per Mertesacker is back in the matchday squad but Laurent Koscielny is unlikely to return for the clash at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Mikael Silvestre, whom Wenger
signed from Manchester United in 2008 and made 43 appearances in the
Gunners’ defence, tweeted a tongue-in-cheek picture of an empty Arsenal
trophy cabinet, calling on Patrick Vieira to return to the club to help
his former manager.

Isolated: Wenger is under fire as Arsenal look to go another season without silverware

Isolated: Wenger is under fire as Arsenal look to go another season without silverware

All in it together: Arsenal's players train on Monday

All in it together: Arsenal's players train on Monday

Vieira, who played 406 games for the club over nine seasons, is rumoured to be the favourite to replace Arsenal’s head of youth development Liam Brady.

Silvestre said: '@OfficialVieira go back to London and give Arsene a hand bro ! #rolemodele #legend #AFC #mcfc'

Silvestre, 35, who will play for either the Portland Timbers or Seattle Sounders in the upcoming MLS season, pointed to the fact that Arsenal have not won a trophy since moving to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2006.

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup - 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup – 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Rovers revenge: Blackburn dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup - 12 months after they were beaten 7-1 at the Emirates

Fans replied angrily to the
defender’s message, with one Twitter user posting: 'Thanks for all your
help in addressing that during your time at the club Mikael, one of our
worst signings ever.'

Another wrote: 'For someone who was
so bad when playing for Arsenal, you've really got some nerve posting
that. Disrespectful fool.'

Vieira is currently in a football development role at Manchester City, where he ended his career in 2011.

Mikael Silvestre

VIDEO: Heated press conference with Wenger…

Play Video

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Christopher Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR move

Samba in London to seal 12.5m QPR switch as Anzhi manager Hiddink blasts: He didn't even say goodbye

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

14:09 GMT, 30 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 30 January 2013

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Nearly there: Samba looks set to join QPR

Christopher Samba is in London to put the finishing touches on his move to QPR after the Premier League strugglers met the 12.5million release clause in his contract.

Samba has been playing for Anzhi Makhachkala but Guus Hiddink, manager of the Russians, has conceded defeat in his bid to hold on to the defender.

Hiddink said: 'He left for England yesterday. I hope that today or tomorrow we'll find out what has really happened.

'It's a shame to talk about this but he didn't even say goodbye, he didn't explain anything to us.

'Whatever happens to you, you should take into account the people with whom you work.

'It's not a great situation for us. He started the pre-season camps with us but then suddenly in the last few days he started to make contact with England, that's despite still being on contract with Anzhi.'

Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes asked manager Harry Redknapp last week if he wanted former Blackburn defender Samba at Loftus Road.

Fernandes is tying up the deal for Rangers and they expect him to be registered in time to make his debut in the must-win Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich this weekend.

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

Case for the defence: Redknapp needs Samba (left) at Loftus Road

He was a previous target for Redknapp
when he was Tottenham manager but moved to the Russian side almost a year ago after
being offered a huge financial package. Samba's family still live in England and the 28-year-old has been keen to return.

Rangers are desperate for central defenders as Ryan Nelsen played his final game in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City on Tuesday evening and will move to Toronto this week. Anton Ferdinand has gone to Turkey on loan at Bursaspor.

Meanwhile, QPR have given Alejandro Faurlin permission to speak to Palermo over a loan move.

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

On the move: Alejandro Faurlin looks set to leave QPR on loan

The 26-year-old is one a handful of survivors from the Hoops side that secured the npower Championship title in 2011.

However, the midfielder could now be off to Serie A side Palermo on loan until the end of the season.

Faurlin has been given permission to speak to the Sicilian outfit, although it is understood the deal is not with a view to a permanent move.

QPR have been one of the most active clubs this month, with Loic Remy, Tal Ben Haim and Yun Suk-young all arriving at Loftus Road.

Several players have also left the club in January, with Anton Ferdinand, Djibril Cisse and Rob Hulse amongst those loaned out.

QPR, who also tried but failed in a bid to sign Portugal defender Bruno Alves from Zenit St Petersburg, are continuing talks over a 6.5m deal for Stoke striker Peter Crouch. Stoke manager Tony Pulis has opted against taking Jamie Mackie as a makeweight.

Samba is swapping a title challenge for a relegation battle…

Russia

Premier

SIX NATIONS 2013: Andy Farrell – Jim Telfer "arrogant England" jibes are just a Scotsman trying to stir passion

Farrell: Telfer's 'arrogant England' jibes are just a Scotsman trying to stir up passion

By
Alex Lowe, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:15 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:53 GMT, 29 January 2013

JIM TELFER EXCLUSIVE

Lions legend: Jim Telfer was critical of England

England are too arrogant, pretentious and condescending to realise they're not as good as they think they are!

Click here to read the full explosive interview

Andy Farrell has insisted he does not recognise the accusation of 'arrogance' that has been levelled at the England squad by Lions legend Jim Telfer.

Responding to Sportsmail's exclusive interview with the former Scotland coach, Farrell revealed the players have laughed off the jibes, which he believes are designed to get the Scots fired up before their trip to Twickenham for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup showdown.

The England management under Stuart Lancaster have worked hard over the last 12 months to eradicate any sense of arrogance from the national team.

Big week ahead: The England squad in training at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot on Tuesday morning

Big week ahead: The England squad in training at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot on Tuesday morning

Farrell said: 'I definitely don’t recognise anything he has said.

'People say this every year about the English anyway. It has stuck now. That is why we take it tongue-in-cheek. We know exactly what we are about.

'A couple of the lads have seen it and they are all taking the mick out of each other. They think it’s quite funny about those who have been mentioned. There are a few jokes flying around the place.'

Telfer told Sportsmail that England, who beat New Zealand on the same weekend as Scotland lost to Tonga, are not as good as they think they are.

Impressionable England scrum-half Ben Youngs (above) and wing Chris Ashton (below)

Impressionable England scrum-half Ben Youngs (above) and wing Chris Ashton (below)

Impressionable England scrum-half Ben Youngs (above) and wing Chris Ashton (below)

He said: 'They are too arrogant, too pretentious and too condescending to realise they have a problem.'

Chris Ashton, Danny Care, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi were named as 'very impressionable' players who let the All Blacks win go to their heads.

There was credit for England’s coaching team of Lancaster, Farrell and Graham Rowntree, who Telfer described as: 'All from the North and all down to earth.'

Lancaster’s first aim when he took interim charge of the England squad a year ago was to reconnect the national team to their roots.

On the ball: England backs coach Andy Farrell, and with captain Chris Robshaw (below) on Tuesday

On the ball: England backs coach Andy Farrell, and with captain Chris Robshaw (below) on Tuesday

Talking tactics: England backs coach Andy Farrell (right) with captain Chris Robshaw on Tuesday

Top post: England boss Stuart Lancaster

Top post: England boss Stuart Lancaster

In the wake of the 2011 World Cup disappointments, Lancaster wanted to restore a sense of pride in the jersey from within the squad and a sense of pride in the England team from the public.

England now prepare for the RBS 6 Nations in Leeds rather than in Portugal. They drew 6,000 to an open training session at Headingley and Lancaster last Friday held a seminar for 500 grass-roots coaches.

Telfer’s comments have certainly stoked the boiler ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations opener at Twickenham, where Scotland have not won in 30 years.

'He’s Scottish isn’t he, very passionate about his country and he wants to give his lads as much belief as he can,' Farrell said. 'He cares about his country.

'It is him trying to do the right thing by his own country, to try and motivate them.

'That is what he has always been about really – passion and stirring a few feathers up along the way. It is what you want, a bit of passion.'

Kempton"s conditions are heavy for Boxing Day meeting

Christmas deluge turns Kempton heavy with inspections expected elsewhere

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Kempton goes ahead without an inspection despite being hit with more rain on Christmas Day that changed the going to heavy.

Clerk of the course Barney Clifford said eight millimetres of rain fell at the track on Tuesday morning but the course had taken it well.

Clifford added: ‘No inspection is needed. You could still arguably find a few soft patches among the heavy but that is splitting hairs.

Meeting greeting: Kempton's conditions have turned heavy (stock image)

Meeting greeting: Kempton's conditions have turned heavy (stock image)

‘There is a band of showers moving in after midnight but then it should be dry with a sunny day before the next rain front moves in late in the afternoon.’

The prospect of a bright forecast is the Christmas present Kempton has been praying for ahead of its biggest crowd of the year.

But two other courses, Fontwell (8am) and Wetherby (8.30am) face inspections ahead of their most lucrative meetings.

All the remaining jump cards take place on heavy going. Huntingdon was already off and Thursday's Welsh National card at Chepstow has also been abandoned.

The meeting was to have been the BBC’s last racing broadcast before Channel 4 takes up exclusive rights to the sport. The card has been moved to January 5. Leicester inspect at 11am today for Friday’s fixture.

2012 football review: people of the months – Michael Walker

From the return of the King to the magic of Messi… the people of the months of 2012

|

UPDATED:

23:08 GMT, 23 December 2012

As a dramatic and memorable 2012 draws to a close, Michael Walker looks back on a year on the footballing road, naming his people of the month from January through to December…

January: Thierry Henry

They will not forget 9/1/12 in north London. It was the night King Henry came back to Arsenal, hopped off the bench and scored the only goal in an FA Cup third-round tie against Leeds. They were crying out for a special occasion at the stadium. Henry walked past his statue outside the ground and delivered.

Return of the King: Henry celebrates netting the winner against Leeds

Return of the King: Henry celebrates netting the winner against Leeds

February: Eddie Howe

In his Burnley office, one of England's brightest young managers discussed the fact that the Premier League had just three English managers while, in the Championship, there were 17. 'Strange', was Howe's assessment. Adkins and Allardyce have since upped the numbers. Howe's back at Bournemouth.

March: Pete Williams

On a bitter Tuesday night in Burslem, Pete Williams was outside Port Vale's grand old ground with a bucket. It is people like Williams – supporters – who keep clubs going. Vale's future was in doubt in March. They had entered administration and been docked 10 points. Thanks to fans such as Williams, Vale are going again, second in League Two.

April: Brian McDermott

It was easier being Reading's manager in April. The club had just returned to the Premier League by winning 14 of 16 league games from the end of January. The previous May's play-off final defeat could be forgotten and McDermott spoke of his 'lovely club'. Along the way, he turned down Wolves. Some people may choose to forget that.

Man of the hour: McDermott is hoisted aloft by his players after securing the Championship title

Man of the hour: McDermott is hoisted aloft by his players after securing the Championship title

May: Harry Gregg

48 hours after Manchester United had the title snatched out of their hands by Sergio Aguero, Sir Alex Ferguson took his players to Belfast to honour Harry Gregg. Sometimes the build-up to testimonials is more meaningful than the game and, in the programme, Ferguson recalled hearing of the 1958 Munich crash and wrote: 'Harry, for this 16-yearold from Govan, you were and remain my hero.'

June: Vicente Del Bosque

Remember when Spain were boring In northern Poland, Del Bosque was flabbergasted at the lack of understanding of his team's style, and the non-stop chatter. He was visibly bemused: Spain were about to become the first country in history to win three major tournaments in a row. Del Bosque reminisced to a time when there was less noise inside and outside the game, to a time when 'dressing rooms were utterly still, like inside a cathedral'.

Champions of Europe: Del Bosque's side parade through the streets of Madrid

Champions of Europe: Del Bosque's side parade through the streets of Madrid

July: Stewart Regan

Thunderous July rain in Glasgow accompanied an apocalyptic vision. Regan, the SFA chief executive, reacted to Rangers' shock exclusion from the SPL by inviting reporters upstairs at Hampden Park to warn of 'Armageddon' and 'the game withering on the vine' if Rangers were forced to re-start below Scottish Division One. A month later, Rangers drew 2- 2 at Peterhead in Division Three.

August: Rob Green

He didn't look happy and you could understand why. After six years at West Ham, Green joined QPR. His debut was a 5-0 home defeat by Swansea. Yet, 10 days later, against Walsall in the League Cup, it got worse. QPR won 3-0, but up in the stands was Julio Cesar. QPR were making a statement. Green, given no explanation, was left to read between its lines. Shoddy.

Shunned: Green was harshly treated by QPR

Shunned: Green was harshly treated by QPR

September: Margaret Aspinall

The report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel was a release of sorts for the Family Support Group. Football responded, notably Everton on the night they hosted Newcastle. They played the Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. Margaret recalled that her son James, 18, killed at Hillsborough, had bought the record for her.

October: Georgios Samaras

Unlikely, unfashionable but unflagging, Samaras had a year to remember. He was relentless for Greece at Euro 2012 and, for Celtic, he has been decisive in Europe. It was his deflected header in October that gave them a lead in Barcelona. They lost to a late goal, but we all know what happened when Barca came to Celtic Park two weeks later.

Unlikely hero: Samaras (right) heads home in Barcelona

Unlikely hero: Samaras (right) heads home in Barcelona

November: Chib Chilaka

For a while, it seemed like the most memorable feature of Torquay v Harrogate in the FA Cup first round proper would be the view from Plainmoor. Then, beaming Chilaka popped up for Harrogate to produce a trademark upset. Afterwards, he spoke like an ambassador for the part-time game. It was a classic FA Cup day.

December: Lionel Messi

We are fortunate to be witnessing greatness. Some can moan about the calendar year goal-tally, but not over Messi's talent. He has joined the list of the true greats at 25. Without him, Barcelona would be a very good team; with him, they are as good a side as has been seen. A prediction for 2013, or more like a guess: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea (again) and Arsenal will have new managers in place by August. For United, that would mean the end of the Ferguson era. It is difficult to behold, but if another title or European Cup comes, it would be an appropriately successful way for Ferguson to go. But it is an if.

The world's greatest: Messi celebrates yet another goal for Barcelona

The world's greatest: Messi celebrates yet another goal for Barcelona

West Ham planning to fight Newcastle"s over move for French striker Loic Remy

Wanted: West Ham planning to fight Newcastle over move for French striker Loic Remy

PUBLISHED:

23:15 GMT, 19 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

23:15 GMT, 19 December 2012

West Ham are keen to hijack Newcastle's move for Marseille striker Loic Remy.

Agent Willie McKay held talks in London with Marseille president Vincent Labrune on Tuesday evening and a proposal has been discussed that could see West Ham's Modibo Maiga go the other way.

Multiple target: West Ham are hoping to hijack Newcastle's move for Marseille Striker Loic Remy (pictured)

Multiple target: West Ham are hoping to hijack Newcastle's move for Marseille Striker Loic Remy (pictured)

Gabriel Obertan had been proposed as part of negotiations to take France international Remy to Newcastle and talks will continue over the next few days.

QPR have also shown interest in Remy but their league position will make any deal for the 25-year-old difficult.

West Ham's Modibo Maiga

Newcastle's Gabriel Obertan

Makeweights: West Ham could offer Modibo Maiga (left) and Newcastle Gabriel Obertan (right) in any deal involving Loic Remy