Tag Archives: watching

Premier League dog football fans: Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel from Mitcham, Surrey

Hit the paws button… meet Max the mongrel from Mitcham, a barking mad Chelsea fan

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

13:15 GMT, 11 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 11 March 2013


Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Barking mad: Chelsea fan Max the mongrel

Chelsea supporter Max the mongrel could receive a prize that most Blues fans would bite your hand off for… a season ticket at Stamford Bridge.

The barking mad Blues supporter was nominated in Britain’s first ever canine footballer supporter competition launched by sports website TVBet.co.uk to find the most devoted dog football fan.

Max is glued to the television every time Chelsea come on and he even predicts the score by barking before kick-off.

Like many other Chelsea fans, Max barks when he sees Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger on screen but he goes crazy when celebrating a goal.

Max’s owner Terri Crockett said: 'Max loves the Blues and his favourite players are Frank Lampard and John Terry.

'He loves watching the game on the telly and even predicts the scores by barking before the kick off.

'He’s not always spot on, he does tend to be a bit optimistic before a game and usually predicts we will win six-nil.'

The competition has already received dozens of entries after promising a season ticket for the winning dog – as well as one human.

A spokesman for TVBet.co.uk said:
'This contest has lifted the lid on the phenomena of the dog football
fan. We knew there were a lot of doggie football supporters out there
but in all honesty we had no idea how many.

'But
if the response to our contest is anything to go by there must be
hundreds if not thousands of dedicated canine football fans out there.
Many of them as devoted to their teams as their owners are.'

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Good to be a Gooner: Arsenal supporter Ginny

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

Royals through and through: Reading fan Cassie

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

No 1 fan: Aston Villa supporter Luna

He added: 'Our
contest is the first ever to celebrate Britain’s secret army of doggie
football fans. From now on our furry fans no longer have to cower in the
shadows. They can get right out onto the pitch where they belong.

'Everyone
has a Tintin and Snowy story, or maybe a Dorothy and Toto tale. This
contest proves that the love between one man and his dog can only be
strengthened by their shared devotion to a football team. It’s a
beautiful thing to behold.'

Aston Villa fan Luna Davies, whose owner Rob is now based in Holland, is another dog fan entered in the competition.

Luna's owner said: 'She’s got claret and blue running through her veins. It’d mean a lot to her to be able to visit Villa Park. She lives for the Villa.

'I’d love it if they made Luna their lucky mascot. Lord knows they need a bit of luck this year. She’s well trained and wouldn’t foul the hallowed Villa Park turf before a match.'

Arsenal may be enduring a tough season, but six-year-old border terrier Ginny Smith still loves to watch the Gunners play.

Ginny's owner Sharon said: 'Ginny loves her footy and is glued to the telly every time Arsenal are on.

'She has always growled when Alex Ferguson comes on the screen and she also turns her nose up at Tottenham.'

But, unlike Ginny, Arsenal fan Lenny, a five-year-old Dachshund, prefers watching international football.

Lenny's owner James said: 'Lenny loves to sit on the armchair and watch his beloved Arsenal. But when it comes to international matches he reverts back to his ancestral home and supports Germany. He gets very grumpy if they ever lose.'

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

Armchair fan: Arsenal supporter Lenny gets excited when watching international football

To enter the contest send a photo of your football fan dog and their name and age along with contact details to [email protected]

Stuart Lancaster England coach watches son play rugby

Eight days after beating the All Blacks, England coach Lancaster is back to basics

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 9 December 2012

Stuart Lancaster was back in matchday mode on Sunday. Eight days after his England team stunned the All Blacks, he was savouring the warm afterglow on a cold morning.

From the noise and euphoria of Twickenham, this was a different kind of home fixture; West Park Leeds Under 12s versus Doncaster in the Yorkshire Cup.

From a Test match before 82,000 spectators and a worldwide TV audience, this was local grassroots rugby, with 50 wind-whipped fans watching the young players — including Lancaster’s son Daniel at fly-half.

Grassroots: Stuart Lancaster at West Park Leeds RFC watching his son Daniel

Grassroots: Stuart Lancaster at West Park Leeds RFC watching his son Daniel

Grassroots: Stuart Lancaster at West Park Leeds RFC watching his son Daniel

They know Stuart well at the club and there were plenty of warm words from parents who relished seeing New Zealand beaten.

‘There are a lot of Manu Tuilagi fans among the lads here now, although there always were,’ said Lancaster.

‘So many mums and dads have already been talking about where they were watching the game, shouting at the telly. It’s been fantastic — the performance captured the imagination of the rugby public, which is great. My son played a school game yesterday at Nottingham High School, and I went down to watch. It really brought it home to me the impact that one result has had on so many people. I was even asked to do a motivational team talk for one of the sides there, who were struggling at half-time.

Grassroots: Stuart Lancaster at West Park Leeds RFC watching his son Daniel

Grassroots: Stuart Lancaster at West Park Leeds RFC watching his son Daniel

Young guns: Lancaster addressed the team, including his son Daniel (right) who was also in action

‘I turned up to training here on Wednesday and afterwards, I got a nice text from one of the parents. He said that, after training, his son was saying, “After watching the game on Saturday, I just want to play rugby all the time now”.’

Lancaster may be head honcho with England, but at West Park, he is assistant to Graham Chadwick. Once Daniel’s side had won comfortably, he acted as ball boy for Leeds v Pontypridd in a British & Irish Cup game. Then father, son and daughter Sophie were going home, so Lancaster could watch Leicester play Treviso.

The last result was glorious but the work goes on.

Andrew Flintoff says he feels like a boxer

EXCLUSIVE: Flintoff: When I fill in those forms that ask for your occupation, I now say 'boxer'

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 27 November 2012

Andrew Flintoff owns a motorbike and has tattoos, so difficult conversations with his mother are nothing new.

But discussing his latest career move was a little more awkward. 'It was a few months ago and we were watching television when some boxing came on,' he says.

'I was thinking, “How am I going to tell her that I'm going to start fighting” Then she starts saying, “I'm glad you played cricket and didn't go for boxing”'. Oh god.

Hitting hard: Andrew Flintoff will fight Richard Dawson on Friday evening

Hitting hard: Andrew Flintoff will fight Richard Dawson on Friday evening

'I just went for it: “Mum, I have something to tell you”. I'm not sure she was too pleased – or is too pleased. I guess it's one thing watching your son go out to play cricket at Lord's in his whites, and another to watch him have a fight.'

Mrs Flintoff is fast running out of time to get used to the idea.

On Friday, at Manchester Arena, her son will step into a ring with Richard Dawson, once a street-fighting gang member from Oklahoma and now a professional heavyweight with two wins in his first two fights.

Trim: A slimline Andrew Flintoff is ready for his first professional boxing fight

Trim: A slimline Andrew Flintoff is ready for his first professional boxing fight

'It's bizarre where life takes you,' says Flintoff, sipping black coffee in a London bar.

The former England cricket captain hasn't had a drop of alcohol for four months.

His upper lip, as it often has been since he started mixing with Barry McGuigan and his son Shane, is looking a little fleshy. His 34-year-old body isn't.

Flintoff weighs roughly 15-and-a-half stone, about four less than when he started making himself sick after meals at cricket grounds around the world.

That was one of the revelations from the first part of his most recent, most compelling documentary, Flintoff: From Lord's to The Ring.

Another was that occasionally he was bullied at school and this venture is, in part, an attempt to gain closure.

There was also talk about finding it difficult to fill the void that appears when the structure and purpose of professional sport goes.

Flintoff says: 'I'm happy with the documentary. I had an idea of what I wanted it to do and I think it has done.

'But people should know, I decided first that I wanted to do the boxing, to get back into professional sport, and then we decided to make a documentary.'

The sentence has almost become a reflex against the critics.

Frank Maloney, a promoter, says Flintoff is making boxing a 'laughing stock' and called the fight a 'publicity stunt'.

He cited James Cracknell's charity fight in 2007 that left the two-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower unconscious.

'I just went for it: “Mum, I have
something to tell you”. I'm not sure she was too pleased. It's one thing watching your son go out to play cricket and another to watch him have a fight.'

– Andrew Flintoff

Heavyweight David Price called the whole thing 'a joke'.

'It hasn't felt like a joke,' Flintoff says. 'It's not a stunt. If you don't take this sport seriously you get hurt. Believe me, I'm serious about this. I've put a lot into this.'

He looks tired from the day's training. Each week he has been doing 12 sessions, most lasting two hours, with Shane McGuigan.

What started last year with an impromptu pad session with Barry during filming for another programme progressed recently to hard, full-contact sparring with no headguards.

'That was a big step,' he says. 'You feel sharper but also more vulnerable. You obviously feel the punches more. But it was the next step. It's all a process.

'It has been a very long, hard road to here – I was starting right from scratch. It has been my life for four months. The months of diet, eating steak at 6am, training, sparring, bleeding noses, thick lips – it's all been for this fight. I have done this properly.

Real deal: Flintoff (right) says he is serious about professional boxing, despite David Price (left) describing his fight as a 'joke'

Real deal: Flintoff (right) says he is serious about professional boxing, despite David Price (left) describing his fight as a 'joke'

'I understand people having opinions about this, that is fine – people are protective of their sport, as I'd be of cricket. People had opinions of me when I played cricket. But we are not trying to disrespect the sport. I would never do that – I genuinely love boxing.'

He talks of staying up late as a child to watch big fights broadcast from America, especially if they involved Mike Tyson.

'I used to love watching Tyson,' he says. 'I remember staying up until the middle of the night for the first Frank Bruno-Tyson fight and, oh my god! Frank had rocked him, the commentator's telling him to get stuck in.

'He came so close. He almost took him and then Tyson did what he does.' Tyson dropped into Flintoff's gym during a recent visit to the UK.

So did Sugar Ray Leonard. 'I couldn't believe it,' Flintoff says. 'I had Sugar Ray talking about my footwork and Tyson saying stuff about the mental side.

'He used to be so nervous before a fight and had to control that. I was as nervous meeting Tyson as I was meeting Ian Botham for the first time.

Lord of the ring: Flintoff (centre) with his father and son training team Barry (left) and Shane (right) McGuigan

Lord of the ring: Flintoff (centre) with his father and son training team Barry (left) and Shane (right) McGuigan

'I used to love British fighters like Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Steve Collins, Ricky Hatton. I spent time with Collins in Vegas a few years ago.

'He spoke about his battles with Eubank. I was sitting listening to him about how Eubank was such a strong puncher, and about the time he got hypnotised before fighting him.

'It was fascinating – I love those stories.'

Quite how this chapter in Flintoff 's career will end is anyone's guess.

He won't talk about his strengths or weaknesses but Barry McGuigan thinks he 'could floor a mule' with his right hand.

The rumour is that Flintoff hasn't even been put down in sparring, though he has flattened a few himself.

'It's not a stunt. If you don't take
this sport seriously you get hurt. Believe me, I'm serious about this.
I've put a lot into this.'

– Andrew Flintoff

'It has been getting harder,' he says. 'It's tough, but I love the feeling that I'm improving.'

He laughs about the scene in the first part of the documentary when he stops to see if an early sparring partner is OK after a big head shot.

'This is the hurt business,' a less-than-impressed Barry McGuigan says to camera.

'I've developed a bit more spite since then,' Flintoff says. 'You'll see. It's feeling a bit more natural. I feel like a boxer.

'It's funny, when you go on planes and you fill in those forms that ask for your occupation – I put that I'm a boxer now.'

His mother might have to get used to it.

Flintoff: From Lord's To The Ring continues on Thursday at 9pm on Sky 1. The fight will be shown live on Boxnation (SkyCh 437, Virgin Ch 546) on Friday night.

Sebastian Vettel apologises for swearing on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium

Vettel issues apology after swearing on Abu Dhabi podium

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UPDATED:

15:32 GMT, 9 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel has apologised for swearing live on air following Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel swore during an interview with former F1 driver and current BBC pundit David Coulthard following the podium ceremony at the Yas Marina circuit.

Vettel said: 'I'm terribly sorry for using the wrong word on the podium and I'm sorry if I have offended anyone who was watching.

Water surprise: Vettel has apolgised for swearing on the Abu Dhabi podium

Water surprise: Vettel has apolgised for swearing on the Abu Dhabi podium

'In the heat of the moment, I didn't use the right words and I apologise. I'll do it better next time.'

Speaking on the podium after finishing in third place, Vettel said starting the race from the back of the grid due to a penalty was 'obviously a chance to f*** it up and we didn't do that'.

Abu Dhabi race-winner Kimi Raikkonen also swore when interviewed by Coulthard, and the FIA intervened by issuing a letter to all teams warning drivers to mind their language during live interviews.

Podium celebrations: Raikkonen and Vettel both swore on live TV

Podium celebrations: Raikkonen and Vettel both swore on live TV

Phil Duncan F1 blog

The letter, issued on behalf of president Jean Todt, stated it is 'very much our collective responsibility to make sure drivers are aware such language has no place during media events'.

It added that it 'shines an unwelcome beam of adverse publicity on their teams and sponsors, the sport and FIA'.

Motor sport's governing body said they are mindful of the fact that 'in the “heat of battle”, adrenaline, elation and disappointment make for a dangerous and heady mix'.

But the letter also stated that 'F1 drivers are not the only ones being interviewed in such conditions: I think of boxers, rugby and football players who are routinely interviewed live on television after a gruelling sporting effort. 'They manage to avoid inappropriate language.'

Toby Flood: I felt guilty about what went on at the World Cup

Flood: I felt guilty by association with what went on at the World Cup and just wanted to walk away from the game

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 3 November 2012

Had it not been for the realisation
after weeks of soul-searching that he was still in love with rugby, Toby
Flood would not be running out on Saturday for England to face Fiji at
Twickenham, but watching the game on TV as a prematurely retired player.

Flood, with 50 caps to his name, may
be the most experienced man in Stuart Lancaster's new-look England
set-up, but so disillusioned was the Leicester and England stand-off by
events both on and off the field during last autumn's Rugby World Cup
that he admits he nearly walked away from the game.

'The World Cup made me question
whether it was all worth it,' said the man who will command the pivotal
position in England's four autumn Tests, beginning with Fiji on Saturday.

Dejected: Toby Flood reacts to defeat in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Dejected: Toby Flood reacts to defeat in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

'It made me ask myself if it was something I really wanted to do. I was very disillusioned. I wasn't enjoying my rugby, my form dipped and, looking back, it was pretty scary. All I knew was that I couldn't go through what I experienced during and after the World Cup again. I could easily have walked away from the game.'

The fact that he did not was down to the advice of those closest to him and as a result of watching the likes of Charlie Hodgson and Owen Farrell play for England in the No 10 jersey during this year's Six Nations tournament.

'I sat down and spoke to a great deal of friends and peers about how I felt,' said 27-year-old Flood.

Bad behaviour: Manu Tuilagi's jump into Auckland harbour was symptomatic of England's problems at the Rugby World Cup

Bad behaviour: Manu Tuilagi's jump into Auckland harbour was symptomatic of England's problems at the Rugby World Cup

'I also spoke with my family and they all told me I should carry on. But what proved to be the catalyst was watching others play in the Six Nations in place of me.

'I'd just come back from poor form and then injury and I didn't really get a look-in during the Six Nations. My passion for the game had deserted me and I was trying to rediscover the love. For the first time since before the World Cup I felt that knot in my stomach watching the Six Nations.

'I wasn't jealous of any individuals. But I realised I missed that moment of elation, five minutes after the game is won, when you sit in the dressing room, look across at a team- mate and smile. Any player who has retired will tell you. That's what you miss more than any other part of the game.'

Flood 's World Cup depression was understandable. On the field England fell in the quarterfinals to France after an appalling first-half display, while off the field the squad became embroiled in a series of incidents that cast doubt on their discipline and maturity and led, ultimately, to the resignation of manager Martin Johnson and a cull of senior players under Lancaster's new regime this year.

'Having played in the 2007 World Cup final and having loved the experience so much, I knew how badly we blew it last year,' said Flood.

'We had a path to the final via France in the quarter-finals and Wales in the semis – teams we had beaten in the Six Nations and summer World Cup warm-up games,' said Flood. 'But we didn't attack the opportunity with anywhere near enough vigour.

'And, of course, off the field it didn't exactly go to plan either. On a number of occasions there were situations that were poor from the individuals concerned. I'm fully aware of what we did.'

Flood is as far removed from the testosterone-fuelled goldfish bowl of professional rugby as can be imagined.

Back in business: Toby Flood in training with England ahead of the test against Fiji

Back in business: Toby Flood in training with England ahead of the test against Fiji

He does not fall out of taxis in the small hours nor tread the red carpet at film premieres.

He does not chase publicity and is happiest simply chewing the fat with members of the front five from his club, Leicester, over a coffee, or gardening, or, as he did last week, visiting Paris with his girlfriend, Sally, to take in some of that city's cultural attractions.

'When I first picked up a rugby ball and ran with it, I did it for the enjoyment of the game,' he said. 'Nothing's really changed. When I am playing, I accept that I am in the full glare of the rugby-following public, the game in general and the media. But I don't do this to be a celebrity or to be on the front pages of the papers. I don't want to be recognised. I just want to play rugby to the best of my ability and lead my own life away from the job.

'That's why I enjoy the company of the Leicester props and locks so much. It may look strange, a “pretty boy” back hanging out with the engine room, but they're honest men in the way they approach their job and their lives. As a rugby player, I can't do something like go skiing even if I wanted to. So instead I find things to do to escape from the goldfish bowl of professional rugby. That's why I enjoy gardening or fishing and walking my black Labrador. '

Two of a kind: Toby Flood (right) and the man he replaced as England fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson

Two of a kind: Toby Flood (right) and the man he replaced as England fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson

Nowhere was the attention greater, or less welcome, than at the World Cup. Flood said: 'I didn't want the full glare of publicity or to be made to feel guilty by association with what went on in New Zealand. The world I found myself in, with seemingly the eyes of everyone on us, was one I don't want any part of.'

Some of his England colleagues have had to change their ways following the fall-out from the World Cup.

Not so Flood, which, when you realise who mentored him during his embryonic rugby days up in Newcastle, is perhaps unsurprising.

'I grew up watching and then being taught how to play rugby by Jonny,' said Flood, feeling – rightly – no need to add the surname of Wilkinson.

'I watched how he went about his business, both on and off the field. He understood the ways of the modern rugby player long before most others and it rubbed off on me.

'When I got back last year from the World Cup, I asked myself whether the squad, at any time, understood how difficult it could be for us, or realised just how much scrutiny we would be under.

'The answer is clear, which is why so many aspects of the World Cup left me analysing my own behaviour on and off the field and my desire.'

Twelve months on and so much is different. England are now under Lancaster's guidance, they finished a creditable second place in the Six Nations with a much-changed and vastly younger team, and then returned from South Africa with two narrow defeats and a draw.

And Flood is back in the No 10 jersey, although with the likes of Farrell, Freddie Burns and even George Ford at Leicester seemingly snapping at his heels, his position still seems far from secure.

'That goes with the territory,' he said. 'The irony isn't lost on me that for a man who doesn't like the spotlight I play at 10. Sometimes I wish I played at six. Not that it's easier, but what you do, good and bad, doesn't get noticed by 90 per cent of the people.

'I like the challenge and I don't spend a moment worrying about others playing better than me. After a while it's not about a good game here and there, it's about narrowing the gap between good and bad games to the point where you reach a consistent level at Test match standard.

Rivals: Charlie Hodgson (front) and Owen Farrell are among several fly-halfs challenging Toby Flood

Rivals: Charlie Hodgson (front) and Owen Farrell are among several fly-halfs challenging Toby Flood

'I'm not saying it doesn't hurt if you get dropped, as I was for Jonny in the World Cup, but Test match rugby today is not just about the 15 who start, nor even the 22 who run out for the game, but the 30-odd in the squad, because at any given moment you will be required to take your chance. If it all ended today, I'd be very happy with what I've achieved. I'm more concerned by my evolution as a person than as a rugby player.'

Which is why Flood will be in the City of London on his day off this week, doing work experience with an insurance broker, and why last week he was coaching at a school in Wimbledon.

'I hope I have another five or six years in rugby,' he said. 'I'll take my coaching badges but I just want to see what else is out there. There's a lot of life to live, isn't there'

And with that, the reluctant star of English rugby headed off to catch his train to Paris where, for now at least, he can enjoy his off-field anonymity before the maelstrom of Test match rugby once again engulfs him.

Ryder Cup 2012: Justin Rose wants summer of sporting success to continue

Our golden chance: Now it's our turn to keep the feelgood factor going, says Rose

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 27 September 2012

Justin Rose has urged world No 1 Rory McIlroy and the rest of his European Ryder Cup team-mates to use the great British sporting summer as their inspiration to win the trophy.

The Englishman was so transfixed by events at the London Olympics that he almost pulled out of a prestigious event in America at the same time to attend.

He said: 'It did cross my mind because you could see what an amazing experience it must have been to be in the stadium on the nights when Mo Farah was winning and all those golds were coming in.

Lets keep it going: Justin Rose wants Europe's Ryder Cup team to build on the success of Great Britain's summer of sport

Lets keep it going: Justin Rose wants Europe's Ryder Cup team to build on the success of Great Britain's summer of sport

‘Then we had Andy Murray win the US Open
to maintain the feelgood factor in brilliant style. Now it’s our turn.
Let’s hope we can keep it going. We all feel that.’

Rose was one of the few bright spots for Europe in the last Ryder Cup staged in America, at Valhalla in 2008, teaming up with pal Ian Poulter to win two points before defeating Phil Mickelson in the singles. ‘I had a fantastic time but now I want to be on a winning team,’ he said.

Europe face a US side who have won just one of the last five contests with superstars like Tiger Woods and Mickelson desperate to improve their poor records.

They also have the Masters champion Bubba Watson, who commendably took Poulter’s contentious remark that he wanted to ‘kill Americans in the Ryder Cup’ in the spirit in which it was intended.

It's up to us: Rory McIlroy is one of the key players for Europe

It's up to us: Rory McIlroy is one of the key players for Europe

Watson said: ‘I understand where Poults is coming from. I love watching his passion. As a fan myself of watching the game, I think he’s great for golf.

He’s not disrespecting us. He’s just trying to tell you how much he wants to win that trophy.’

Europe’s Paul Lawrie revealed that captain Jose Maria Olazabal had become emotional at a meeting on Wednesday, especially with references to Seve Ballesteros that affected all those present. Lawrie said: ‘Ollie spoke about Seve and what it was like to play with him, how Seve had phoned him to play an exhibition match when he was 16.

Time to shine: European fans cheer the Europe team on stage during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup

Time to shine: European fans cheer the Europe team on stage during the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup

‘Everything Olazabal does on the course, every time he speaks to you, you just want to do well for the man. When someone like that sends out a message wanting you to give your all then a lot of the boys get a wee bit emotional too, and that’s brilliant.’

US captain Davis Love and Watson have also admitted weeping this week — suggesting there could be floods of tears when the highly-charged event ends on Sunday.

Sebastian Coe believes Olympic Stadium will maintain athletics legacy

Coe has faith Olympic Stadium will maintain athletics legacy whatever lies ahead

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 9 September 2012

Sebastian Coe believes it is within the 'wit and wisdom' of decision makers to keep a track and field legacy at the Olympic Stadium.

It has yet to be finalised what to do with the 80,000-seat stadium after London 2012, with Premier League outfit West Ham among four bidders interested in becoming tenants.

The process has been hit by a series of delays and legal wrangles, while there has also been a focus on keeping to the original promise of an athletics legacy at the venue.

Drawing to a close: Lord Sebastian Coe watches the last night of the athletics

Drawing to a close: Lord Sebastian Coe watches the last night of the athletics

London 2012 chairman Coe remains confident that a track and field legacy will remain at the stadium and believes there will be an outcome that works for all parties.

'I only tend to interfere when I get irritated about things,' he said.

'I was very committed to the Olympic legacy. I felt very strongly that it was a commitment I made and I made it to a lot of people in international sport. I certainly wasn't going to walk away from that.

What lies ahead The Olympic Stadium's future has not been decided

What lies ahead The Olympic Stadium's future has not been decided

'I still think it is perfectly within the wit and wisdom of all of us to make a multi-purpose sporting arena work for track and field.

'The rest of it is now firmly in the lap of the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

'I do think it would have been a fairly mystifying set of images that would have come through in six weeks had we have been watching the news and the roller derby was taking place as the stadium disappeared.

'I am not sure that would have met with public approval.'

England v South Africa ODI abandoned after wash-out

Cardiff wash-out scuppers England ODI revenge bid against South Africa

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 24 August 2012

England's hopes of exacting revenge against their Test conquerors South Africa were frustrated as the first match of their NatWest one-day series was washed out with less than half-an-hour's play possible in Cardiff.

Ian Bell did his best to offer the drenched supporters some entertainment, clubbing two huge sixes on his way to 26 not out from 18 balls, but England's 37 without loss from 5.3 overs was a poor return for more than five hours of watching the skies.

The sides were contesting a reduced 23-over contest when the game was finally abandoned under the heaviest rain of the day.

Foiled: Alastair Cook during a rare period of play

Foiled: Alastair Cook during a rare period of play

Play in the first one-day
international was due to begin at 10.15am and the rival captains got as
far as the toss, with AB de Villiers calling correctly and opting to
field.

The dark clouds above duly began to open and the start was delayed.

The umpires, Richard Kettleborough and
Kumar Dharmasena, were frequent visitors to the pitch for the next few
hours, inspecting conditions in the brief breaks between showers.

A handful of provisional start times –
and revised playing conditions – were set and then abandoned as the
rain continued to set in but spectators finally got some action when the
sides took to the field at 3pm.

A 24-over match was scheduled at that
point but spectators reacted with disbelief when just one delivery – a
leg-side wide by Morne Morkel – was sent down before the players left
the field again.

On hold again: Players trudge off in the rain

On hold again: Players trudge off in the rain

A slow handclap ensued and the delay
this time lasted just 10 minutes before hostilities were resumed, this
time with a further over per innings removed.

Alastair Cook failed to score off the
first six legal deliveries of the game and was then close to being run
out attempting a bold single when Wayne Parnell failed to hit the stumps
from close range.

England managed just four runs from
the first three overs but both Cook and Bell picked up boundaries in
Lonwabo Tsotsobe's second over, both crisply driven to the ropes.

Cook (10no) might already have been
gone after a bold single gave Parnell the chance of a run-out from
mid-on. He missed from close range to reprieve the England skipper.

From there it was all about Bell.

Still having fun: Fans drinking during a rain break

Still having fun: Fans drinking during a rain break

He took a step down the track before
swiping Morkel into the stands at mid-wicket for six and followed up
with an even better lofted six over mid-off.

England took 16 off that fifth over to
double their total and when Bell stepped outside off-stump and flicked
Tsotsobe for four over short fine-leg it looked as though fireworks were
imminent.

Instead, it turned out to be a damp squib as just two more balls were possible before the rain returned with vengeance.

This time the weather was heavy and
locked in for a long time, leaving officials with no choice but to call a
halt to proceedings.

England had earlier chosen to hand Chris Woakes his fifth ODI cap, and the first since August 25 last year, with the in-form Warwickshire all-rounder replacing the rested Stuart Broad.

Broad has been given the series off and 23-year-old Woakes got the nod ahead of Samit Patel's left-arm spin and the pace of Jade Dernbach.

Halted: Ian Bell and Cook leave the field

Halted: Ian Bell and Cook leave the field

South Africa's side was much-changed from the team which clinched the Test series 2-0, with only De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel retained.

Debutant Dean Elgar was among the incoming players, alongside one-day specialists including Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson and Faf du Plessis.

Both Albie Morkel and Dale Steyn failed fitness tests and will be monitored ahead of Tuesday's second match at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl.

Team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said: 'Albie's recurring left ankle injury is still a concern for us. We do not want to risk him by playing and would rather take the necessary precautionary measures especially with the World T20 taking place next month.

'Dale is battling with a stiff neck and will need a few days to recover from the strain.'

Fabio Capello agrees to become new Russia boss

Capello will be unveiled as new Russia boss on Wednesday after agreeing bumper deal

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UPDATED:

12:09 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Fabio Capello will be officially unveiled as Russia's coach on Wednesday, according to the president of the Russian Football Union, Nikita Simonyan.

Capello is attending the Russian Premier League match between CSKA Moscow and Rostov after arriving in Moscow on Friday.

Watching brief: Fabio Capello at the Arena Khimki

Watching brief: Fabio Capello at the Arena Khimki

'After watching today's match he will go to St Petersburg to see (Russian champions) Zenit in action. Then, he'll return to Italy before coming back to Moscow,' Simonyan was quoted as saying by Russian media.

'On Wednesday he will sign a contract and will be presented to the media.'

The 66-year-old Italian, who quit as England boss in February, replaces Dutchman Dick Advocaat, whose tenure ended with Russia's group stage exit from Euro 2012.

Taking over: Capello will be unveiled as new Russia boss

Taking over: Capello will be unveiled as new Russia boss

Capello, who becomes Russia's third successive foreign coach, will be tasked with blooding new players into an ageing team, something his predecessor failed to do in his two years at the helm.

Russian media reported he would earn up to 7.7million (10 million euros) a year after signing a contract through to the 2014 World Cup, with the possibility of extending it for another two years.

Manchester City return to training

Champions back in training: Man City put troops through paces in bid to defend title

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UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 5 July 2012

The hard work starts here.

Manchester City head into the unknown next season as defending Premier League champions. Everyone is going to want a piece. They will be the scalp on each and every agenda in the top flight.

Back in action: Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and several more of the Manchester City squad returned to training on Thursday

Back in action: Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and several more of the Manchester City squad returned to training on Thursday

Back in action: Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and several more of the Manchester City squad returned to training on Thursday

Back in action: Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and several more of the Manchester City squad returned to training on Thursday

And on Thursday, six weeks before they kick-off at home to newly-promoted Southampton, the team were back at Carrington. Well, some of them were.

Those who have endured – or enjoyed in the case of David Silva – a summer of international action are on an extended break, leaving more of the lesser known faces to jostle for the manager's attention.

Roque Santa Cruz, remember him A 19million signing during Mark Hughes' reign who last kicked a ball for the club in January 2011.

Sticking the boot in: Even Carlos Tevez took full part... something he did his best to avoid last season

Sticking the boot in: Even Carlos Tevez took full part… something he did his best to avoid last season

Friends reunited: Roque Santa Cruz and Kolo Toure, two players likely to leave this summer, took full part also

Friends reunited: Roque Santa Cruz and Kolo Toure, two players likely to leave this summer, took full part also

Wayne Bridge was there also, having returned from a loan spell at Sunderland, while Vladimir Weiss, another loan ranger, also took part.

As for Premier League regulars, both Yaya Toure and his brother Kolo stretched their legs, as did Carlos Tevez, who seemed in good spirits despite speculation linking him with a move away.

And captain fantastic Vincent Kompany, fresh from modelling the new kit alongside former Oasis star Noel Gallagher, dusted off his boots to grab a piece of the action.

But the prize for most bizarre appearances goes to former City boss Stuart Pearce, who had a watching brief on the sidelines. He later caught up with Micah Richards, who is but of Team GB.