Tag Archives: william

Fabrice Muamba cardiac arrest used in British Heart Foundation advert

Muamba's cardiac arrest to be shown in new British Heart Foundation TV advert

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Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

Cardiac arrest: Muamba is treated on the pitch at White Hart Lane in March 2012

Cardiac arrest victim Patrice Muamba helps to promote the Great…

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The 39-second ad is to be shown on ITV and Channel 4 from Saturday, and Sky Sports during the Tottenham and Manchester City match on Sunday.

Medics had to give Muamba 15 shocks to get his heart pumping again when he collapsed during an FA Cup clash with Tottenham last March.

The advert shows players – including Spurs' William Gallas and Benoit Assou-Ekotto – looking distressed as Muamba lies motionless on the pitch.

Speaking over the emotional scenes, BHF Research Professor Mark Kearney tells viewers: 'I hate my job. I hate the misery heart disease brings.

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

Tributes: Football fans around the world joined forces to wish Muamba well

'It lurks among the places you least expect – it takes the young and the fit and it does not discriminate. But we are fighting back.'

Bolton's club doctor Dr Jonathan Tobin revealed Muamba was 'effectively dead' for 78 minutes when he suffered the cardiac arrest.

He was taken to the London Chest Hospital, in Bethnal Green, East London, and spent a month in intensive care.

Muamba later announced his retirement from football on medical grounds, and thanked the doctors that saved him, adding: 'I thank God that I am alive.'

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

Emotional return: Muamba thanks fans at the Reebok Stadium in May 2012

The match was abandoned at 1-1.

BHF Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg today said: 'We are grateful to Fabrice for allowing us to share his story in a hard-hitting campaign that highlights the potential devastation of heart disease.

'With the support of researchers and heart patients like Fabrice, the Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign centres on the transformational research that will combat heart disease.'

Leo Fernandes, a painter and decorator who had a heart attack at 46 and also features in the ad, said: 'The truth is heart disease affects everyone.'

Muamba – a dad of one – joined the Arsenal academy in 2002 before moving to Birmingham, then Bolton in 2008.

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

Keeping busy: Muamba is unveiled as the honourary starter of the BUPA Great Manchester Run this week

This is not the first time the BHF have used a professional footballer in their adverts in a bid to widen their appeal.

Footballer-turned actor Vinnie Jones famously demonstrated how to do life-saving CPR to the Bee Gees' tune Stayin' Alive.

The BHF today released new research about heart disease to coincide with the launch of the latest advert.

Their figures show people living in poor areas of Britain are 2.87 times more likely to suffer heart disease than those from wealthier areas.

Experts say this is likely to be because people living in these areas are more likely to smoke.

Cambridge maths expert devises Grand National formula and is backing Seabass

And this year's Grand National winner is… Cambridge maths whizz reveals winning formula ahead of Aintree race

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:48 GMT, 2 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 2 April 2013

A University of Cambridge maths whizz is backing Seabass in Saturday’s Grand National – after creating a formula that predicts the winning horse.

William Hartston, 65, forensically examined the names and ages of all victorious nags from the event’s 174 year history.

And he discovered winners are most likely to have names that are just one word, and begin with S, R, M, or C.

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

THE FORMULA IN FULL

Number of letters in the horse’s name
8, 10 = 4 points
7 = 3 points
6, 11 = 2 points
9, 12 = 1 point

First letter of horse’s name
R = 4 points
A, S, M = 3 points
C, T = 2 points
G, B, W = 1 point

Number of words in horse’s name
1 = 4 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 2 points
4 = 1 point

Age of horse
9 = 4 points
10 = 3 points
8, 11 = 2 points
12 = 1 point

The 9 highest-scoring horses based on the William Hartston scoring system
1. Seabass 13/16 (consistently high in all categories)
2. Tatenen 13/16
3. Teaforthree 12/16
4. Rare Bob 12/16
5. Mr Moonshine 12/16
6. Romanesco 11/16
7. Sunnyhillboy 11/16
8. Quel Esprit 11/16
9. Any Currency 11/16

Furthermore, the names usually consist of eight or ten letters – closely followed by seven or 11 – and the horses are typically nine or ten years old.

Mr Hartston used these results to develop a scoring system, which allowed him to rate the 40 horses that will line-up at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday.

He will now back the bookies’ 9/1 second favourite Seabass after it scored an impressive 13 points out of a maximum 16 on his scale.

The Ted Walsh-trained Irish racehorse begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years, and has seven letters.

It was followed by Tatenen and Teaforthree in the study commissioned by bookies William Hill.

Mr Hartston – author of several books, including The Book of Numbers – graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MA or Master of Maths.

The mathematician examined four criteria – number of letters in the horse’s name, first letter of name, number of words in the name, and age.

He then awarded each horse a maximum of four points for each of these criteria, depending on how closely they fit the historic results.

For example, a horse whose name is eight or ten letters long – the most successful in the history of the race – are awarded four points.

But a horse with nine or twelve letters – historically less successfully – are awarded just one point.

Mr Hartston said: 'Seabass is the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria. It begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years and has seven letters, which is only slightly short of the preferred eight.

'Tatenen scored an impressive 13/16 while Teaforthree scored 12/16 and

shouldn’t be ruled out – but their scoring pattern is less consistent.'

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Paul Dickov warns Roberto Mancini ahead of Manchester City"s FA Cup match with Barnsley

City legend Dickov warns Mancini: Beware banana-skin Barnsley! (and he should know… he helped Oldham KO Liverpool)

it was their first league title in 44 years. Barnsley have been waiting 101 years to build on their single top-level triumph, when they won the FA Cup in 1912.

Barnsley boss David Flitcroft played professional football for Preston, Lincoln, Chester, Rochdale, Macclesfield, Bury, Hyde and Rochdale. City counterpart Roberto Mancini played for Bologna, Sampdoria, Lazio and Leicester.

Barnsley and City were both founded by clergymen. Barnsley were formed as Barnsley St Peter’s in 1887. City started life as St Mark’s in 1880 by the rector at St Mark’s in west Gorton, Rev. Arthur Connell.

‘On TV you know somebody will watch it
and say ‘he can play'. And that has happened with Matt Smith – who
signed a boot deal with Warrior after scoring two against Liverpool –
and I’ve had clubs in touch asking about him after the Cup games.’

Premier League clubs have contacted Dickov about about Smith and he is certain that the same potential opportunities lie ahead for any Barnsley players who shines on the Eastlands stage.

Speaking at his home in Cheshire – with the historic silver trophy on his kitchen table courtesy of FA Cup betting partner William Hill – Dickov revealed that his most inspirational team talks as a player came from Joe Royle during his days at Manchester City.

‘Big Joe Royle was my most inspirational manager with his team talks and he would always say ‘be the best you can’.

‘I told the Oldham lads just that and after I said it to them a couple of times I asked them what they thought it meant.

‘Matt Smith is a bright lad and understood it more than most, but some other lads would say that they had to be man of the match, to put in an outstanding performance, be the best player on the pitch.

‘But with all the relegation pressure on them I wanted to alleviate that and explained what it meant.

‘Essentially, give it everything you have got and nobody will ask any questions of you.

Shock: A brace from Matt Smith sealed Oldham's famous victory against seven-time winners Liverpool

Shock: A brace from Matt Smith sealed Oldham's famous victory against seven-time winners Liverpool

Shock: A brace from Matt Smith sealed Oldham's famous victory against seven-time winners Liverpool

‘I told them ‘be the best you can and have a right good go'.

‘If the Barnsley players do the same it will not be easy for City – I am sure Barnsley will score.

‘When Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher
were not in the starting line-up at Boundary Park that was massive for
us, Carra was going mad on the bench. I watched Liverpool against Stoke
and saw how Tony Pullis’ team beat them.

Fond memories: Dickov was in the Arsenal squad that won the FA Cup in 1993

Fond memories: Dickov was in the Arsenal squad that won the FA Cup in 1993

‘But after the game Carra, Gerrard and Brendan Rogers came into the dressing and shook hands with the lads. That was real class and meant a lot.

‘I suspect Manchester City won’t be resting players as they must think that the FA Cup is their one chance of getting silverware this year.

‘So you would like to think Roberto Mancini will play his strongest team.

‘He’ll have to respect Barnsley as they are the biggest banana-skin between City and FA Cup glory.

Vote of confidence: Dickov is sure that Barnsley will score at the Emirates

Vote of confidence: Dickov is sure that Barnsley will score at the Emirates

Vote of confidence: Dickov is sure that Barnsley will score at the Emirates

‘Whatever the Barnsley lads do they will be heroes back home, but I am supporting City but don’t get me wrong I would love Barnsley to get the replay and get another tie at home.

Dickov also has fond memories of the FA Cup from his time as a player: ‘I was just a kid when I got my FA Cup winners medal back in 1993 with Arsenal, but I wasn’t on the pitch.

'I got a League Cup winners medal that same season and a European Cup winners medal the next season as part of the squad.’

Old boy: Dickov was instrumental in City's return to the Premier League after they dropped to the old Division Two

Old boy: Dickov was instrumental in City's return to the Premier League after they dropped to the old Division Two

But Dickov’s biggest Wembley moment was scoring the equaliser for Manchester City against Gillingham in the Second Division play-off in 1999 that put the club back on the long road to the top flight.

In the meantime Dickov – who is mulling over his latest job offers – is enjoying his short break out of football and planning a day out to the Cheltenham Gold Cup with one-time room mate from his Derby and Leicester days Robbie Savage – another William Hill sporting ambassador.

William Hill match odds: Manchester City 1/8, Draw, 15/2, Barnsley 18/1

FA 150th anniversary: Fabrice Muamba, Olly Murs and Fabio Capello join in celebrations

Stars come out to play as FA celebrates 150th anniversary with glitzy bash in London

caused by the John Terry racism case.

He said: 'One hundred and fifty years ago a group of people met on this site and they changed the world by producing the first laws of the game.

'Throughout that extraordinary journey the FA continued to sit at its heart.

Positive sign: Former England manager Fabio Capello stops for a few autographs

Positive sign: Former England manager Fabio Capello stops for a few autographs

'Despite occasional frustrations we have always and will continue to our play our full part in influencing the development of football in UEFA and FIFA.

'Even after 150 years there remains a simple beauty to the universality of football – from Wembley to parks football a single unbreakable thread runs through.

'The bedrock of English football are the more than 2million people who play football every week.

'Women's football is third biggest participation sport in the country, disability football is the seventh biggest.

Game for a laugh: Terry Venables (centre), Lawrie McMenemy (right) and Peter Reid share a joke

Game for a laugh: Terry Venables (centre), Lawrie McMenemy (right) and Peter Reid share a joke

'We have experienced terrible tragedies including Hillsborough and Valley Parade and these events, their victims and their lessons must never be forgotten. They are an indelible part of our story.

'We are also committed to equality and inclusion.'

Earlier in the day, John Barnes was one of the first stars to arrive, signing autographs for young fans and asking if they've done their homework.

Sir Trevor Brooking was one of many wearing a 150th gold badge and former England manager Fabio Capello, looking dapper, accidentally walked into the press room! That was quite amusing, maybe he has some points to make!

VIDEO: History of FA in 150 seconds narrated by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

President Prince William was not there but in a video message he said: 'Football part of very fabric of our society.

'Hope 150th year shines light on
incredible grass roots, especially 400,000 coaches, refs and
administrators up and down the country.'

Hodgson was joined on stage by Michael Owen and blind footballer Dave Clarke.

Owen's stunning goal against Argentina
at the 1998 World Cup was shown and the Stoke striker said: 'When you get
older, you realise how good a time that was.'

Three Lions tamers: (l-r) Roy Hodgson, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Graham Taylor

Three Lions tamers: (l-r) Roy Hodgson, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran Eriksson, Terry Venables and Graham Taylor

England skipper Steven Gerrard said it is a 'huge honour to be captain of country' in his video message. The Liverpool midfielder apologises twice for not being there.

Barnes and Mark Chamberlain are up. Barnes' goal against Brazil in 1984 is shown and the former Liverpool star says: 'I was looking for someone to pass to.'

David Beckham – who is on a pre-planned visit to hospital patients and is also appearing on video – recalls getting up early at weekends to go to football practice in London then Manchester.

'I owe my family a great deal for taking me to matches,' said the former England captain, who represented his country 115 times.

He says stepping out a England captain is 'the proudest moment an Englishman can have.'

Singer Olly Murs was also on stage, not performing but he will be at Wembley later in the year, apparently.

FACTS ON THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world.It is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.The FA oversees the England national teams at all levels for men and women.Its competition, the FA Cup, began in 1872 and is the longest-running association football competition in the world.Aristocrats and Royals have dominated the list of past FA presidents – the current president is Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.The longest-serving FA secretary or chief executive was Stanley Rous, from 1934-62. He then became FIFA president and was later knighted.The FA's current headquarters is at Wembley Stadium. For 71 years, until 2000, its offices were at Lancaster Gate before it moved to Soho Square for only nine years until the move to the new national stadium took place.The current FA independent chairman is David Bernstein, and the general secretary is Alex Horne.The FA board is split between the professional game and the national (amateur) game. Since last year there are also two extra independent members including Heather Rabbatts, its first female board member.

Star of the screen: David Beckham sent a message as the FA launched the 150th anniversary celebrations

Star of the screen: David Beckham sent a message as the FA launched the 150th anniversary celebrations

FIVE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE FA WHAT IT IS TODAY

1 Sir Stanley Rous
Unquestionably, the man who has had the biggest influence over English football.
Rous was FA secretary from 1934-1961, he re-wrote the laws of the game in 1938, and championed England's entry into FIFA in 1946. He left in 1961 – to become FIFA president.

2 Ebenezer Morley
A solicitor and who was first inspired with the belief that football should have a set of rules in the same way the MCC had for cricket.

It was his initiative that led to the formation of the Football Association in 1963 and the became the FA's first secretary and later its president.

He also drafted modern football's first rules.

3 Sir Denis Follows
Although some commentators have suggested Follows' era as FA secretary between 1962 and 1973 was uninspired, he did oversee two significant events – though with much influence from his predecessor Rous, who was the FIFA president.

The first was England hosting and winning the 1966 World Cup; the second was in 1971 rescinding the ban on women's football being played at Football League grounds, a rule which had stood since 1921.

4 Ted Croker
FA secretary between 1973 and 1989, he transformed the finances of an organisation via sponsorship and realised the potential of TV income.

He has the misfortune to be in charge during an era when the game was bedevilled by hooliganism, and with three terrible disasters: Bradford, Heysel and Hillsborough.

He defended football in the face of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's attempts to sideline it, telling her famously: “These people are society's problems and we don't want your hooligans in our sport.”

5 David Bernstein
He has only been FA chairman for two years, but has done much to restore it from an all-time low point after the humiliation of the 2018 World Cup bid defeat in 2010.

He persuaded the FA council to agree to reforms to modernise the organisation, including independent board members and the first woman on the board.

He also confronted some painful issues, apologising for the FA's role in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and the organisation's approach to racism following the John Terry abuse case.

Brazilliant: John Barnes scored a famous goal against the Samba superstars in 1984

Brazilliant: John Barnes scored a famous goal against the Samba superstars in 1984

FA TIMELINE

1863 – First meeting of the Football Association at the Freemason's Tavern on October 26 to agree common rules.
– Ebenezer Cobb Morley appointed first FA secretary and was responsible for drafting the first set of rules.
– First game with the new rules played at Mortlake on December 19 between Barnes and Richmond. It finished 0-0.

1872 – The first FA Cup tournament, involving 15 teams, concludes when Wanderers and Royal Engineers meet at The Oval on March 16. In front of 2,000 spectators, Morton Betts scores the only goal for Wanderers.

– England play their first full international match, against Scotland at Partick. Game finishes 0-0.

1873 – England play first home game at The Oval, beating Scotland 4-2.
William Kenyon-Slaney (2), Alexander Bonsor and Charles Chenery get the goals.

1877 – The three different sets of rules – Sheffield Rules, London Rules and Mixed Rules – are amalgamated.

1886 – First meeting of the International Football Association Board held in Holborn.

1908 – England play first match overseas. Beat Austria 6-1.

1923 – Wembley Stadium opens. Becomes the permanent home for the England team and the FA Cup final. Bolton beat West Ham 2-0 in the first final. The attendance is recorded as 126,047, although it is thought many more were present.

1924 – England play at Wembley for first time. Draw 1-1 with Scotland.

1930 – The FA decline FIFA's invitation to enter the first World Cup, also snubbing the 1934 and 1938 tournaments.

1934 – Stanley Rous named secretary. Remains in position for a record 28 years.

1947 – Join FIFA and agree to share a permanent vice-presidency position with Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

1950 – England compete in a World Cup for the first time, losing 1-0 to the USA in the process.

1953 – First home defeat to overseas opposition – other than Ireland – as England are beaten 6-3 by Hungary with Nandor Hidegkuti getting a hat-trick and Ferenc Puskas getting two more.

1954 – England lose 7-1 to Hungary in Budapest, their heaviest defeat.

1955 – Duke of Edinburgh named president.

1959 – Billy Wright captains England for a record 90th time. Is equalled by Bobby Moore in 1973.

1966 – England hosts World Cup, beating opposition from West Germany and Spain to hold the event.

– England win tournament, beating West Germany 4-2 after extra-time at Wembley.

1981 – Bert Millichip becomes chairman, a post he holds for 15 years.

1990 – England record their best World Cup performance overseas, reaching the semi-finals in Italy where they are beaten on penalties by West Germany.

– Peter Shilton wins a record 125th cap in the third-place play-off defeat to Italy.

1992 – The Football Association takes control of the newly-created Premier League.

1996 – Hosts Euro 96.

2000 – Wembley Stadium closed for rebuilding work, done at a cost of 798 million by Australian firm Multiplex.

2000 – Loses to Germany in the contest to stage the 2006 World Cup.

2001 – England gets its first foreign manager as Sven-Goran Eriksson is appointed as successor to Kevin Keegan.

2003 – Mark Palios named chief executive. His brief tenure includes banning Rio Ferdinand from playing in a Euro 2004 qualifier with Turkey after the Manchester United defender fails to take a drugs test. Resigns in 2004 after media revelations of an alleged affair with Faria Alam.

2006 – Prince William named president.

2007 – Wembley re-opened in time for FA Cup final.

2008 – Signs a record 425 million deal with ITV and Setanta for England and FA Cup games. Setanta goes into administration during the 2008-09 campaign.

2010 – Chairman Lord Triesman forced to resign after alleging Spain and Russia had tried to bribe referees during 2010 World Cup.

– FA embarrassingly receives only two votes – including its own – in voting to host 2018 World Cup, which Russia wins.

2012 – National Football Centre at St George's Park opens.

2013 – Launches 150th anniversary celebrations at Connaught Rooms in central London.

Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed by Pep Guardiola at Ballon d"Or

Shake, rattled and goal! Pep leaves Ronaldo hanging with cold snub at Ballon d'Or gala

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

17:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 9 January 2013

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, Samir Nasri and William Gallas, Terry (again) and Wayne Bridge, and now Pep Guardiola and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The snubbed handshake is fast becoming football's equivalent of unfriending someone on Facebook.

But while previous examples have had their origins in personal sleights, it seems the latest entry to the list has its origins in good old fashioned club rivalry.

Snub: Cristiano Ronaldo was left hanging by Pep Guardiola at the Ballon d'Or

Snub: Cristiano Ronaldo was left hanging by Pep Guardiola at the Ballon d'Or

Pep Guardiola

Cristiano Ronaldo

Tensions between Real Madrid and Barcelona are well known. Styles, cultures and attitudes both on and off the field are all wildly different, and with the competitive edge thrown in, it makes for a fractious relationship.

One can only speculate on the reason behind Guardiola's seemingly deliberate decision to ignore Ronaldo, though with the recent history in El Clasico gives a pretty large hint.

Red cards, close games, touchline clashes, title clinchers and cup finals have all made the meeting of Spain's top two the most enticing of matches in world football.

But when former Barca boss Guardiola was approached by Madrid ace Ronaldo, the Spaniard starred for a second before turning away, leaving the Portuguese's hand hanging.

The look on Ronaldo's face told a story of bemusement, while Pep went back to soaking up the atmosphere.

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Long Run holds off Captain Chris to win King George chase

Long Run holds off Captain Chris to take victory at King George VI Chase

PUBLISHED:

15:39 GMT, 26 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

15:50 GMT, 26 December 2012

Long Run got up in the final strides to collar Captain Chris and regain his crown in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Captain Chris looked like going two better places than last year when he came through to head the winner of two years ago, who was also the runner-up 12 months ago.

However, Long Run, the 15-8 favourite trained by Nicky Henderson, rallied for amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, to get back up and score by a neck.


Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase

The winning rider said: 'He was so brave. I had to keep asking him – I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave.

'This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us.
'That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege.'

Long Run is owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert, who added: 'He's come here four times now and won three Grade Ones and been second to Kauto Star.

'I wasn't absolutely sure that we had got back up but as I came down the stairs from the stand, I saw his name go up and that was fantastic.'

Henderson was similarly thrilled to see his former Cheltenham Gold Cup victor return to winning form.

He said: 'It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make.

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first

'It was a battle out there today and not the best ground for any of them. He's young but has been doing everything right.

'You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he's been running good races all the time.'

Henderson continued: 'We had it in our minds that Bobs Worth would run in the Cheltenham race in January (Argento Chase), leaving Long Run free to run in the Denman (Aon) Chase at Newbury, but we'll have to discuss things with connections.

'I'd love to see Long Run back on better ground and I'm so pleased Sam and the horse have proved a point to people today.'

Jockey Richard Johnson said of the runner-up: 'I thought coming to the last I was going to win, but the other horse is a proven Gold Cup winner and he's just outstayed me.

'It was a great run and I'm just looking forward to riding him on better ground.'

Scudamore said of third-placed Grands Crus: 'He ran a great race and I'm most pleased he looks a lot more like his old self.'

David Pipe’s exciting grey, meanwhile, blew his rivals away to score by an eased-down nine lengths but that doesn’t come close to accurately describing his superiority over his rivals.

Sent of an 8-13 favourite, Tom Scudamore never had a moment’s worry and a soaring leap four-out sent Dynaste to the front before stretching clear in effortless style.

The six-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts over fences and he is following the same route as stablemate Grands Crus who won this race 12 months ago before being sent off a short price favourite for the RSA Chase.

And Darlan is the new Champion Hurdle favourite after sprinting to a four-and-a-half length victory in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton under Tony McCoy.

The John McManus-owned five-year-old had, who was 3-1 for this seasonal reappearance, made it three Christmas Hurdle wins on the bounce for connections after Binocular’s wins in the last two runnings of the two mile contest, and he is now a 4-1 chance for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.

Darlan finished behind Cinders And Ashes in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but Nicky Henderson’s charge comfortably revered that form as well as seeing off disappointing favourite Countrywide Flame who was such an impressive winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last time.

Raya Star came home in second while Dodging Bullets finished third.

Jan Vertonghen tells Andre Villa-Boas to play him in the centre to face Christian Benteke

Play me in the middle and I'll keep Benteke quiet! Spurs man Vertonghen admits frustrations at left-back role

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Jan Vertonghen is looking forward to facing Belgium team-mate Christian Benteke at Villa Park on Boxing Day.

The Tottenham defender has told manager Andre Villas-Boas that he wants to play at centre-back instead of on the left, and has praised the influence Benteke has had at Villa since his 7million move from Genk in August.

The striker has scored a third of Villa’s 15 league goals after being preferred to record signing Darren Bent, who will miss the whole of the Christmas period after suffering a hamstring injury on his recall in the Capital One Cup quarter-final against Norwich City earlier this month.

Front foot: Jan Vertonghen wants to play in his preferred centre-back role

Front foot: Jan Vertonghen wants to play in his preferred centre-back role

Centre of attention: The Spurs man says he will keep Christian Benteke quiet

Centre of attention: The Spurs man says he will keep Christian Benteke quiet

But Vertonghen is aware of the aerial threat his 22-year-old international pal will pose as Villa attempt to recover from Sunday’s 8-0 thrashing at Chelsea.

Vertonghen, 25, said: 'Benteke is very good in the air and he can score. He will be a very tough player to play against.

'I know him quite well from Belgium, in the league and playing for the national team. It doesn’t surprise me that he has done well at Villa. He now feels the confidence of the team and the crowd and manager.

'In the last two three games for the national team, he was very, very good. I think that Aston Villa made the right choice to sign him.'

Vertonghen admitted he has been frustrated filling in at left-back for Tottenham in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, and insisted he could have more influence on the game if Villas-Boas selected him in the centre of defence.

The Spurs boss has tended to partner Steven Caulker with either Michael Dawson or William Gallas this season and Vertonghen’s versatility has seen him moved out to full-back while Assou-Ekotto recovers from a knee injury.

The Belgian said: 'Yes (I'm frustrated), and the manager knows. But we needed some height in the team (against Stoke City) for the set plays and he knows I prefer centre-back, but that is enough for me.

'He respects me but tells me whenever I need to play left-back. I want to help the team.

Good buy: Vertonghen has impressed since his summer switch from Ajax

Good buy: Vertonghen has impressed since his summer switch from Ajax

'I love to attack. I love to go up front. It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre back. I think my influence is better as a centre back. That is why I want to play.

'For the team it is best that I play as a centre back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly and that is one of my qualities as well.'

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel, 41, also backed his successor at Villa Park, Brad Guzan, to recover from Sunday’s humiliating result and said his fellow American, 28, could be Villa’s No 1 for the next 10 years.

Friedel, who is likely to be a substitute again on Wednesday as Villas-Boas continues to select Hugo Lloris, told Villa’s official website: 'Brad can be one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League. He has all the attributes.

'But he has to go through a lot of experiences – good times and bad times. He needs to get to the point where he develops that thick skin of leather where you don't care what people think.

'Once he gets 34 or 35 years under his belt, then we're really see how good he can be. He's still very young in goalkeeping terms.

'He could be Villa's No 1 for over 10 years, absolutely. It's entirely up to him by way of his performances.'

Andre Villas-Boas holds meeting with Spurs defenders over late goals

Enough is enough! Villas-Boas holds crisis talks with Spurs defenders over late goals

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UPDATED:

11:53 GMT, 19 December 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has held a meeting with his defenders in a bid to stop the late goals that have blighted their season, centre-back William Gallas has revealed.

Spurs have conceded 10 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this campaign, which is a Barclays Premier League high along with bottom side Reading.

That inability to keep things tight until the final whistle has cost them – so much so that if matches had ended at 80 minutes they would be top of the Premier League.

Focus: William Gallas (right) knows only too well Spurs have been sloppy late on

Focus: William Gallas (right) knows only too well Spurs have been sloppy late on

'We've had a meeting with him (Villas-Boas) because we've been conceding late goals and we have to be a little bit more focused, a bit more strong,' Gallas told talkSPORT.

'Sometimes maybe we are panicking and we've let goals in. So we've been working very hard and we've had some meetings to look at the video to see what is good and bad, and against Swansea it was good to keep a clean sheet.

'In this period, we have a lot of games and some players are tired – they have already played more than 20 games this season, which is a lot. It's very intense.

Once is bad enough: But Everton scored twice in the dying minutes - through Nikica Jelavic and former Spurs player Steven Pienaar - earlier this month

Once is bad enough: But Everton scored twice in the dying minutes – through Nikica Jelavic and former Spurs player Steven Pienaar – earlier this month

'If we want to stay in the top four, we have to get all the players ready for the matches over Christmas and New Year, because we are going to be playing four games in 11 days.'

Stoke kick off the festive period with their visit to White Hart Lane this weekend, before Spurs head to Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

'Stoke are a strong side and it will be difficult but we've got the quality,' Gallas said.

'We can play football and we're playing at home, so we don't have any excuses to lose the game.

Late show: Spurs led Everton until the 89th minute before going down 2-1

Late show: Spurs led Everton until the 89th minute before going down 2-1

'Then we play Villa, who are on fire at the moment after winning 3-1 at Liverpool in their last game, and at the moment they are confident.

'They have Christian Benteke in attack, who has shown this season what a good player he is.

'At the moment, we are in the top four and they are trying to survive in the Premier League, so it will be a good game.'

Sort it out: Manager Andre Villas-Boas is sick of Spurs' late lapses

Sort it out: Manager Andre Villas-Boas is sick of Spurs' late lapses

William Gallas fears Champions League blow for Tottenham

Gallas fears Spurs will miss out on Champions League after late Everton defeat

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 10 December 2012

William Gallas believes Tottenham must learn to close out matches or it will cost them a shot at the Champions League.

If Premier League matches ended at 80 minutes this season Spurs would be top of the table, but once again Spurs let a lead slip this time against Everton.

Tottenham conceded two goals in injury time that turned a 1-0 victory into a cruel 2-1 defeat and David Moyes’s side replaced them in the crucial fourth spot.

Late show: Nikica Jelavic stunned Spurs to clinch a last-gasp win for Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday

Late show: Nikica Jelavic stunned Spurs to clinch a last-gasp win for Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday

Yellow peril: Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris stands dejected after his side lose the game in the dying moments

Yellow peril: Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris stands dejected after his side lose the game in the dying moments

The Spurs defender told the Evening Standard: 'Football is a bit funny — I’ve seen the good quality at Tottenham but for some reason, we lose the funny games at home or away and I can’t explain it.

‘We have to pass one more step to be on the [same level as the] top three and I don’t know when it is going to happen. I hope it will this season but it is a shame because when we get very near, something always happens and we draw or lose.

‘In our squad, we have some players that have experience now so I don’t think it is about a lack of maturity. For example, yesterday we did almost everything right but they scored that goal which killed us. It is difficult to explain but sometimes you need luck.

‘When I was at Chelsea, we had that luck to win some games even if we were not playing good. But Tottenham is different. I hope it will change this season or next.

Words of warning: William Gallas has called for improvement at Spurs or risk losing out on a top four place

Words of warning: William Gallas has called for improvement at Spurs or risk losing out on a top four place

‘We gave everything yesterday and had no luck. If you go back, [Gylfi] Sigurdsson hit the crossbar and it would then have been 2-0 but it didn’t happen. They scored late and it is very difficult to accept. When we came here, our target was to take the three points and at the beginning of the game, we played well.

'Maybe in the last 10 minutes in the first half, Everton pushed a lot but we went back to the dressing room with a 0-0. In the second half we played better and we scored.

‘What we have to know is that the game is never finished until the referee blows his whistle. Yesterday showed that we have to be much more focused at the end of the game.’

Everton 2 Tottenham 1: match report

Everton 2 Tottenham 1: Jelavic and Pienaar stun Spurs with last-gasp goals for hosts

PUBLISHED:

16:54 GMT, 9 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 9 December 2012

Everton scored twice in the last couple of minutes to snatch a well-deserved victory over a Tottenham side who looked to have escaped the Goodison Park fortress with all three points.

Despite dominating, David Moyes' side found themselves trailing to Clint Dempsey's 76th-minute deflected strike.

However, Steven Pienaar headed an 90th-minute equaliser and Nikica Jelavic turned home the winner in added time to extend their unbeaten home league record to 12 matches.

Late show: Everton's Nikica Jelavic (centre) celebrates scoring his side's winning goal agaisnt Tottenham

Late show: Everton's Nikica Jelavic (centre) celebrates scoring his side's winning goal agaisnt Tottenham

HEADER HERE

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas (Naismith 46), Gibson, Osman (Vellios 81), Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic.

Subs not used: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Barkley

Goals: Pienaar 90, Jelavic 90

Booked: Baines, Osman

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon (Huddlestone 71), Dempsey, Dembele (Sigurdsson 77), Sandro, Adebayor, Defoe.

Subs not used: Friedel Naughton, Falque, Livermore, Townsend.

Goal: Dempsey 76

Booked: Vertonghen, Defoe

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Attendance: 36,494

Had they not got at least a point it is certain Moyes would have been complaining about a penalty claim which did not go their way late in the first half when Pienaar's shot hit the arm of William Gallas.

Everton have been on the end of some rough decisions in recent weeks and Moyes, most pre-emptively, made a point of highlighting that in his programme notes.

'We've had decisions which have cost us points….on a regular basis at the moment decisions (are) being made by officials are affecting the outcome of games,' he wrote.

'I will continue to try to support the Professional Game Match Officials but they must work to improve their standards throughout the game.'

Fortunately for him he did not have reason to complain as much after team's late turnaround ended a dismal sequence of seven draws in nine Barclays Premier League matches.

With the injured Gareth Bale out of the team Tottenham did not have the same attacking thrust down their left as Dempsey was in no way a like-for-like replacement.

As a result Everton were able to take advantage, particularly in the first half, by pouring forward down their right side.

In front: Clint Dempsey's shot takes a deflection off Sylvain Distin before looping into the net

In front: Clint Dempsey's shot takes a deflection off Sylvain Distin before looping into the net

It also gave midfielder Darron Gibson the opportunity to display his extended range of passing as full-back Seamus Coleman exploited plenty of space created by Kevin Mirallas, back after four matches out with a hamstring injury.

He was able to get to the byline with alarming regularity as far as Spurs were concerned but they would have been thankful no real chances came from it.

Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar both missed Nikica Jelavic's cut-back from the left with the Croatia striker himself denied by Gallas after Mirallas broke down the right.

False dawn: Tottenham celebrate taking the lead before Everton hit back in stunning style

False dawn: Tottenham celebrate taking the lead before Everton hit back in stunning style

Coleman fired into the side-netting, Marouane Fellaini headed over a corner and Osman clipped left-footed cross-shot wide from Fellaini lay-off as Everton dominated without threatening.

Shouts for a penalty against Dempsey after the ball came off his chest were magnified greatly when Pienaar's shot hit Gallas' arm but referee Kevin Friend was not interested.

Everton had to replace Mirallas with Steven Naismith at half-time after the Belgium international aggravated the hamstring injury which had sidelined him for a month.

Level pegging: Everton's Steven Pienaar scores the equaliser with just minutes remaining

Level pegging: Everton's Steven Pienaar scores the equaliser with just minutes remaining

And the Scot should have made an immediate impact but when Leighton Baines' shot from a free-kick rebound flew into the penalty both Jelavic and Naismith failed to get the decisive touch which would have brought the opening goal.

It took until the 54th minute for Spurs to properly test Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard with Jan Vertonghen's swerving shot tipped over by the United States international.

Osman's side-foot drive from Baines' cut-back sailed just over the crossbar before the England international also drew a low save out of Hugo Lloris.

Tussle: Seamus Coleman is brought down by Spurs player Jan Vertonghen

Tussle: Seamus Coleman is brought down by Spurs player Jan Vertonghen

Having soaked up so much pressure it was almost inevitable the visitors would produce a sucker-punch and it duly arrived in the 76th minute.

Dempsey received the ball with his back to goal 30 yards out, turned and hit a shot which took a slight-enough deflection of Sylvain Distin to send it dipping over Howard.

Substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the crossbar with a curling shot as gaps opened up as Everton pressed for the equaliser they at the very least deserved.

Out of luck: Everton's Kevin Mirallas attempts to break the deadlock at Goodison Park

Out of luck: Everton's Kevin Mirallas attempts to break the deadlock at Goodison Park

Eyes on the prize: Sandro and Marouane Fellaini fight for the ball as Everton take on Tottenham

Eyes on the prize: Sandro and Marouane Fellaini fight for the ball as Everton take on Tottenham

It duly came in the last minute when Coleman crossed and Pienaar headed past Lloris.

But there was further late drama as Gibson's pass was touched on by substitute Apostolos Vellios and Jelavic struck to the delight of Moyes, whose exuberant celebrations saw him encroach onto the pitch.