Tag Archives: woodward

Andy Robinson set to be named as Bristol"s Director of Rugby after quitting Scotland

Former Scotland boss Robinson tasked with securing promotion for Bristol

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

14:20 GMT, 15 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 15 February 2013

Former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson will be unveiled as Bristol's new director of rugby on Monday.

The 48-year-old resigned from his Scotland post late last year after they slumped to defeat against Tonga at the end of an autumn campaign which also featured losses to New Zealand and South Africa.

The long-time Bath stalwart as player and coach has retained strong West Country links and will be placed in charge of Bristol’s quest to gain promotion from the Championship back into the Aviva Premiership.

Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson being inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame during at the Hurlingham Club on February 7, 2013

Andy Robinson has had mixed results as an international rugby boss but was inducted into the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame earlier this month (right)

Robinson was forwards coach under Sir
Clive Woodward when England won the World Cup and he subsequently took
on the head coach role from 2004-2006, before resigning following a
dismal series of results.

He resurfaced at Edinburgh and made a sufficiently positive impression to be given the Scotland job in 2009. He led them at the World Cup two years later, but they suffered a pool stage exit for the first time.

Robinson also won eight England caps as a player.

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Life after Andy: Scotland have lost one and won one in this year's Six Nations

Bristol are battling to secure a place
in the Championship play-offs, although Newcastle remain firm favourites
to secure the one available promotion spot.

Head coach Liam Middleton is set to remain in his role after Robinson's arrival.

Sir Clive Woodward: Funding is the oxygen for British success in sports like basketball… dont cut the pipeline

Sir Clive Woodward: Funding is the oxygen for British success in sports like basketball… don’t cut the pipeline

. Several sports – including basketball – have seen their funds slashed.

There is a growing furore over the Olympic sports which have missed out on funding from UK Sport’s 347m pot of gold for the so-called 'Road to Rio'.

Those sports which are deemed not to be ‘podium contenders’ have been left at the starting blocks and pondering their very future and even their existence.

Understandably, administrators, players and fans are angry and frustrated given the very noisy and public commitment to fulfil an Olympic and Paralympic legacy, which was at the core of our successful Bid in 2005 and to Inspire a Generation.

As someone who has worked at the very
heart of elite sport and performance, I have sympathy and support for
these sports, which include basketball, handball and volleyball, which
all attracted massive crowds last summer.

Struggles: Britain's basketball stars will find it difficult to compete on the world stage

Struggles: Britain's basketball stars will find it difficult to compete on the world stage

In terms of potential medal winners at Rio in 2016, those who hold the purse strings probably got it right as judged by their own very strict criteria but we must not develop tunnel vision focused only on the podium.

We must adopt a broader and longer-term vision and aspiration rather than leave ourselves accused of developing an unhealthy lust for medals at all costs, and invest and develop other sports, especially team sports on the back of our Olympic and Paralympic triumph.

It is much more difficult to win medals in team sports compared to individual sports and, traditionally, they do not add many medals to the final medal table because they are not multi-discipline events like rowing, cycling boxing, swimming and athletics. In team sports like basketball you usually only have the men’s team and women’s team.

Road to Rio: The countdown is already on for Britain's trip to Brazil in 2016

Road to Rio: The countdown is already on for Britain's trip to Brazil in 2016

Yet, if you analyse the low cost and highly accessible aspect of most team sports, compared to other sports and those which sit comfortably in our inner communities, it is completely baffling to me, why funding has been completely stopped in this area.

In the wake of London 2012 I had hope our cities would be crammed with courts for kids to play team sports, emulating their heroes and nurturing a love for team sport and the camaraderie and spirit, such sports inspire.

My solution to this currently unacceptable situation is to make a special case for these sports with a completely separate pool of funds made available through a new specially set up division of UK Sport called the 'Olympic Development Sports' providing specific support for sports where existing funds cannot be justified.

Heady times: London 2012 captivated the nation last summer

Heady times: London 2012 captivated the nation last summer

These sports should sign up to a long term business plan, say over 12 years with the aim of qualifying for and winning medals not, just for the next Olympics in 2016 but in 2020 and 2024.

This is investing and building for the future and totally fulfils the Legacy aspiration albeit over a much longer period. These sports should be supported and helped to reach a level where funding can be justified in their own right, and at which stage they will be promoted from the 'Olympic Development Sports' category.

After such a momentous year for sport in Britain, it would be scandalous if these sports did not receive the extra funding they need to continue their exciting journeys and help realise the dreams of thousands of youngsters who simply want to throw a ball into a hoop or push a ball over a net on the sand.

Funding is their oxygen for success. Don’t cut the pipeline.

Rugby World Cup draw: England are the team to fear, says Clive Woodward

Big guns now fear England in World Cup draw, says Woodward

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UPDATED:

08:07 GMT, 3 December 2012

Sir Clive Woodward believes England’s demolition of New Zealand makes them the team to avoid in Monday’s draw for the 2015 World Cup.

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are the top seeds — and hosts England, who are among the second seeds, could find themselves up against the All Blacks when the draw is made at Tate Modern in London.

‘It makes the draw fascinating, given that England have just demolished New Zealand,’ said Woodward.

Scroll down for your guide to how the draw works

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

‘The top four sides will not want to be playing against England. That result will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once, “We want to keep away from England”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Woodward, who was England’s World Cup winning coach in 2003, added: ‘It was a great, great victory for the English team. The 38-21 scoreline absolutely reflected the performance and it was a great, great day to be at Twickenham.

‘They have some great players in there — Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw — who were world class. This was a real David and Goliath effort.

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

‘They came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won.’

Because Wales have slipped to ninth in the world following seven successive defeats, they will be drawn against two teams higher than them in the rankings, and could face New Zealand and England in a ‘group of death’.

But centre Jonathan Davies recalled
Wales’s performance at the last World Cup when they lost by a point to
France in the semi-finals and said: ‘Because of what we did then, I
think people will be fearing us, not the other way round.

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

‘It’s not an ideal situation, but we had a tough draw last year, too. I’m sure the boys are pretty confident that whoever we are drawn against we can beat.’

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert was similarly confident. ‘I’d look forward to it, whoever we draw,’ said Cuthbert. ‘Two top teams in the pool You want to beat the best in the world. We’ll be looking forward to it.’

Your guide to the World Cup draw

Where and where…
The World Cup draw takes place at 2.55pm today at Tate Modern in London.

How it works…
The 20 teams for the 2015 World Cup will be allocated into four pools of five teams. The top 12 teams in the world have automatically qualified and are split into bands. No team faces another from the same band.

Mind the gap…
The eight remaining qualifying places (two in each pool) will be allocated into bands four and five and drawn randomly. Those teams are yet to qualify.

The bands…

BAND ONE: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France
BAND TWO: England, Ireland, Samoa, Argentina
BAND THREE: Wales, Italy, Tonga, Scotland

*The competition will run from September 18 to October 31, 2015, with Twickenham hosting the final.

ENGLAND'S DREAM DRAW: France and Tonga

ENGLAND'S NIGHTMARE: New Zealand and Wales

WALES'S DREAM DRAW: France and Argentina

WALES'S NIGHTMARE DRAW: New Zealand and England

England are team to be avoided in World Cup – Clive Woodward

Big guns fear England! No one wants to land World Cup hosts, says Woodward

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 2 December 2012

Sir Clive Woodward believes England’s demolition of New Zealand makes them the team to avoid in Monday’s draw for the 2015 World Cup.

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are the top seeds — and hosts England, who are among the second seeds, could find themselves up against the All Blacks when the draw is made at Tate Modern in London.

‘It makes the draw fascinating, given that England have just demolished New Zealand,’ said Woodward.

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

History: England celebrate their stunning victory over New Zealand

‘The top four sides will not want to be playing against England. That result will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once, “We want to keep away from England”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Woodward, who was England’s World Cup winning coach in 2003, added: ‘It was a great, great victory for the English team. The 38-21 scoreline absolutely reflected the performance and it was a great, great day to be at Twickenham.

‘They have some great players in there — Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw — who were world class. This was a real David and Goliath effort.

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

Flying: Chris Ashton scored a try during England's win at Twickenham

‘They came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won.’

Because Wales have slipped to ninth in the world following seven successive defeats, they will be drawn against two teams higher than them in the rankings, and could face New Zealand and England in a ‘group of death’.

But centre Jonathan Davies recalled
Wales’s performance at the last World Cup when they lost by a point to
France in the semi-finals and said: ‘Because of what we did then, I
think people will be fearing us, not the other way round.

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

Despair: Wales lost their fourth and final autumn international to Australia

‘It’s not an ideal situation, but we had a tough draw last year, too. I’m sure the boys are pretty confident that whoever we are drawn against we can beat.’

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert was similarly confident. ‘I’d look forward to it, whoever we draw,’ said Cuthbert. ‘Two top teams in the pool You want to beat the best in the world. We’ll be looking forward to it.’

England v New Zealand 2012 preview – Chris Foy

Go out there and do us proud! Lancaster's men have to show more progress against mighty All Blacks

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 30 November 2012

It’s not quite mission impossible, but it is not far off. As an indication of what Stuart Lancaster’s callow side are up against on Saturday, it is useful to consider how difficult even England’s greatest team found it to crack the All Blacks.

The squad assembled and honed into world-beaters by Sir Clive Woodward twice managed to lower the Kiwi colours in Test combat, once at home by three points, the other away by two. Aside from a draw in 1997, those two wins represent the only English success against New Zealand in the professional era.

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shares a joke with Danny Care in training on Friday

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shares a joke with Danny Care in training on Friday

The countries have clashed 16 times in
that period and the All Blacks have prevailed on all but three
occasions. Saturday afternoon’s QBE International at Twickenham presents
Steve Hansen’s team with the opportunity to extend the winning sequence
in this fixture into double figures – in addition to the small matter
of finishing 2012 unbeaten and as peerless world champions who have
raised their game.

Lancaster and his assistant coaches frequently highlight the gulf in experience between their side and the opposition. This time the comparison is staggering: England have a tally of 206 Test caps in their starting XV and New Zealand have 788.

Those two professional-era victories came when Woodward was able to send out a side armed to the teeth with Test pedigree and nous, a side finely-tuned over several years at the sharp end of the game. Even then, they were pushed to the limit by rivals with an engrained aversion to taking a beating in the iconic shirts which serve as a focal point for their country’s identity.

This is how it's done: Ben Cohen dives in during England's 31-28 victory over New Zealand in 2002, the last time they beat the All Blacks at HQ

This is how it's done: Ben Cohen dives in during England's 31-28 victory over New Zealand in 2002, the last time they beat the All Blacks at HQ

The backdrop to Saturday’s contest suggests it will be no contest at all. As per annual tradition, New Zealand have swept aside Scotland, Italy and Wales, while England come into this match on the back of defeats at the hands of Australia and South Africa. New Zealand are ranked No 1 in the world, England are fifth. New Zealand are settled, have most of their leading men available and bring with them momentum and belief. England have chopped and changed their selections, are without a number of leading players and also without the confidence born of recent success.

Most of their side do not know what it is to face the All Blacks, let alone beat them. Yet, the lack of expectation among the capacity crowd could work in their favour. The script says England will lose. The bookies have them down as 6-1 underdogs and are giving them a 15-point handicap.

Strong favourites: Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks out at Twickenham on Saturday

Strong favourites: Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks out at Twickenham on Saturday

Experience up front

The New Zealand front row have won more caps (239) than the entire England team…

ENGLAND

Team caps: 206. Pack caps: 99. Ave per man: 13.7.

NEW ZEALAND

Team: 788. Pack: 470. Ave per man: 52.5.

All week, coaches and players have declared that this is no lost cause, that the men they will face are mere mortals, that they are vulnerable, beatable. Of course, there is truth in this upbeat out-look, but there is wishful thinking, too. If Hansen’s men hit their stride, England cannot match them, but they can emerge with credit, nonetheless.

After having to contend with stifling pressure in the games against the Wallabies and Springboks, that element is absent this time.

So the mind-set should be different, as flanker Tom Wood claimed. ‘To some extent the pressure’s off us,’ he said. ‘It would be a huge scalp and would salvage what has been a disappointing campaign in terms of results. We’re going to play without fear, meet them head-on and make sure that, win or lose, they know they’ve been in a game.’

In that sense, Chris Robshaw and Co should take their cue from the England team who took on the All Blacks in November 2005.

While the visitors wound up as 23-19 victors, captain Martin Corry and the rest of the pack, in particular, rose to the occasion to such an extent that the Kiwi forwards were almost blown away.

No pressure: Wood (centre) believes that England have nothing to lose

No pressure: Wood (centre) believes that England have nothing to lose

Watching brief

Kick-off: 2.30pm at Twickenham.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland).

TV & Radio: LIVE on Sky Sports 1
from 1.30pm, highlights on BBC3
from 7pm. BBC Radio 5 Live from 2.30pm.

In the closing minutes the result was in the balance and there was an overpowering sense of an England side, supposedly inferior to their opponents, defiantly refusing to bend the knee.

That is the minimum requirement on Saturday. ‘Hopefully after this game they will think of us as a highly-skilled, competitive, determined side,’ said Wood. ‘The best way to combat all their skill and flair is to have the ball and play it our way. We believe we can win and we’re going to absolutely throw our hearts and souls into it.’

Ultimately, sheer spirit and endeavour won’t suffice. Up front, England need to surpass the intensity they reached in trumping South Africa’s vaunted pack.

New Zealand are not so imposing in their tight five that the hosts can’t steal a minor edge in the scrum and tight collisions, although the great Richie McCaw will be a familiar spectre at the breakdown. If he is to be nullified, the likes of Wood and Joe Launchbury must keep hitting rucks with the same ferocity as they did a week ago.

Key role: Launchbury (centre) was outstanding last week

Key role: Launchbury (centre) was outstanding last week

After all the over-zealous criticism of Robshaw, England will be alert to every nuance of their decision-making, but this can’t turn into a box-ticking exercise. It remains a fine balance but Ben Youngs should still be encouraged to tap-and-go, with the onus on Chris Ashton to revive his handy knack of tracking any half-break and capitalising. While Lancaster’s team need to be precise, that must not translate into a cagey approach or their slim chance of an upset will fade to nothing.

What England cannot hope to match is the All Blacks’ ability to strike from deep with their lethal counter-attacking game, conducted by superstar stand-off Dan Carter and his cunning right-hand man in the creative department, Conrad Smith.

rugby2 copy.jpg

Even if Brad Barritt can orchestrate the greatest defensive rearguard action produced by the national team in years, it is unlikely to be enough. The best hope of England responding in kind lies in giving Manu Tuilagi front-foot ball at full throttle and keeping Alex Goode busy in the line, but that will require the collective effort to click in a manner not seen so far in this difficult month.

The danger lies in England falling between two stools – veering uncertainly from daring to damage-limitation, from cavalier abandon to caution.

They surely will not win, but the manner of their performance in defeat will say much about whether they are heading in the right direction, as they claim, or not really heading anywhere at all.

Sir Clive Woodward says Stuart Lancaster should pick tougher players

Woodward: Lancaster needs to toughen England up rather than worrying about World Cup seedings

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sir Clive Woodward has told England rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster to stop worrying about the World Cup and to start toughening up his players instead.

Lancaster's team have been widely criticised after losing 20-14 to Australia on Saturday and Woodward, the man who led England to World Cup victory in 2003, joined the disparaging voices.

'He's (Lancaster) got to pick a tougher team. International rugby is a tough, tough game,' insisted Woodward, who believes that England are worrying too much about the seedings for the 2015 World Cup.

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

Toughen them up: Stuart Lancaster (left) needs to stop worrying about World Cup seedings, according to Sir Clive Woodward

'I don't give a monkey's about World Cup seedings. You just have to win your next game. This is a bit of a problem.

'We keep talking about World Cups. The World Cup is three years away. It doesn't matter. You have to talk about winning your game Saturday.

'The mindset of the coach and players has got to be, “If we don't win on Saturday then we lose our jobs on Monday”.'

England must pick up the pieces for South Africa and then New Zealand but Woodward still has grounds for optimism.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek, he added: 'The good thing now is that we (England) have two games where we won't be favourites.

'This will be a big reality check for the team and they have a big chance of bouncing back.'

Lancaster is scheduled to announce his team on Thursday. Fans and pundits left Twickenham questioning England's pack, especially prop Joe Marler, lock Tom Palmer and flanker Tom Johnson, plus wing Charlie Sharples.

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

Not today: Toby Flood (left) and his team-mates suffered defeat against Australia

England have a number of options including giving starting places to substitutes in lock Joe Launchbury, flanker Tom Wood and prop Mako Vunipola.

Three other players, who turned out for their clubs at the weekend, are also in the mix.

They are Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan and the London Irish pair of centre Jonathan Joseph and prop Alex Corbisiero.

Woodward was furious that England had ignored a kickable penalty 10 minutes from time which, if successful, would have cut the lead to 20-17 and he questioned whether England had sufficiently discussed what options they had in the course of a match.

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

Speaking from experience: Sir Clive Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003

'The key thing is to get these things in players' heads before you go on to the pitch. So they know what's going to happen at every single situation,' he said.

'There's no point in reviewing the video after the game when you have lost. You have got to review things before you go in and that's the secret of coaching.'

Sir Clive was disappointed that substitute scrum-half Ben Youngs opted to take a tapped penalty rather than the penalty kick at goal in the 70th minute.

He said: 'In the cold light of day the right decision was to kick for goal and to reduce the margin to just three. If you go for the line-out or go for the try you have to score.

'If you don't score then you just give huge momentum back to the defending team.'

Manchester United want stronger financial controls in Premier League

Man United pushing for stronger financial controls as the 20 club chairmen meet

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UPDATED:

21:14 GMT, 14 November 2012

Manchester United will step up their campaign for greater financial controls in the Premier League on Thursday.

United are one of the prime movers in an effort to extend spending controls, similar to UEFA's financial fair play regulations, throughout England's top flight.

Thursday's meeting of the 20 club chairmen will flesh out the details of the proposals.

Plans: Manchester United want financial restraints in place

Plans: Manchester United want financial restraints in place

One possible measure would see clubs being obliged to break even, but to give greater flexibility for wealthy owners to put money – not loans – into clubs than is allowed under UEFA's rules.

The clubs will also consider some sort of wage control measure, not a salary cap but a way in which to try to ensure the riches which will arrive next season courtesy of the new 3billion TV deal will not immediately be swallowed up in player salary increases.

In a conference call on Wednesday to outline United's first-quarter financial performance, club executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the rules would prevent clubs making huge annual losses.

'It is not trying to restrict teams from competing for players,' Woodward said. 'The reality is Premier League teams, as a collective group of 20 clubs, are extremely well off compared to other European teams.

'We are trying to impose some
parameters about how clubs use the funds they are receiving from the
collective so we don't end up with a lot of clubs making annual and
regular losses.'

Chelsea
returned a small profit last week, the first time in the Abramovich era
they had not made a considerable loss, but United's other major rival,
Manchester City, could suffer from cost-control measures as they have
had huge losses in recent years.

Profit: Chelsea made a profit for the first year under Abramovich

Profit: Chelsea made a profit for the first year under Abramovich

Woodward added: 'We are supportive of proposals broadly mirroring financial fair play which we abide by already.

'Those discussions have developed. There is a meeting this week with the Premier League to continue dialogue around that.

'A number of different parameters are being discussed, one of which is break even.'

Staggering Chevrolet deal boosts United profits but debt remains an eye-watering 360m

United debt remains eye-watering 360m but Chevrolet deal boosts profits

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 14 November 2012

Manchester United’s gross debt was reduced to 359.7million after the club’s owners ‘retired’ a further 62.6million-worth of bonds during the first financial quarter.

A 32.4 per cent increase in sponsorship revenues, underpinned by that massive shirt deal with Chevrolet, contributed to commercial revenues rising by 24 per cent to 43million over the quarter and an overall profit of 20.5million.

United estimate overall income will reach 350million and 360million over the entire financial year to June 30, 2013.

Reason to be cheerful Manchester United have reduced their debt

Reason to be cheerful Manchester United have reduced their debt

The results are bound to receive a negative reaction from some fans groups, particularly as reports in the United States overnight indicated the club had to be forced to disclose greater information than they initially wanted when they launched their IPO in the summer. But commercially, at least, the results underline how successful United have been.

In the last quarter alone, United entered into 10 sponsorship arrangements, including that incredible 357million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014.

That eye-boggling sum persuaded United to buy-out the present deal with DHL for United’s training kit, which will now come to an end at the climax of this season.

'Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising & sponsorship,; said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Under pressure: Some United fans remain opposed to the Glazer family

Under pressure: Some United fans remain opposed to the Glazer family

'The team has also made a strong start to the 12/13 season – currently 1st place in the Premier League and 1st place (and undefeated) in our Champions League Group.'

United confirmed the 'exceptional item' of 3.1million related to professional advisor fees in connection with the IPO.

This sum will be seized on by critics of the Glazer family, who continue to point to the massive sums incurred by the club as a direct result of their controversial leveraged takeover in 2005.

Yet United now appear set on a campaign to maximise commercial revenues.

They have opened an office in Hong Kong and confirmed staff costs had risen to 40.3 million 'primarily due to growth in commercial headcount'.

Reverse: United bought out the deal with DHL to sponsor the training kit

Reverse: United bought out the deal with DHL to sponsor the training kit

United also confirmed they received 1.3million due to their players being selected for Euro 2012.

United's broadcast revenues have dipped substantially by 37.4 per cent, although most of this is being put down to the fact the Red Devils played only one home Champions League game during the period concerned compared to two 12 months ago.

And, as United have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition compared to their catastrophic group stage exit last term, further rises in revenue will be anticipated.

It also seems United pocketed around 2million as a result of Old Trafford being an Olympic venue given a 13.3 per cent rise in matchday revenue to 19.6million.

Gareth Ainsworth named Wycombe manager

Wycombe stick with Ainsworth as caretaker boss lands full-time job at League Two strugglers

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UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 8 November 2012

Wycombe have confirmed Gareth Ainsworth as their player/manager on a permanent basis.

Ainsworth has been in charge since Gary Waddock was axed at the end of September and has now signed a contract until the end of the season.

Joint-chairman Don Woodward said: 'We knew he would be a front-runner for the job from the moment we placed him in caretaker charge, but his outstanding attributes really came to the fore over the last seven weeks and we feel now is the right time to seal our commitment towards him as the next manager of this proud football club.

Taking the reins: Gareth Ainsworth has been handed the top job at Wycombe

Taking the reins: Gareth Ainsworth has been handed the top job at Wycombe

'Gareth has had to contend with a
terribly unlucky injury list but has got the players working hard for
each other, showing faith in some extremely talented younger players and
reaping the benefits with some impressive results since taking charge.

'His professionalism, enthusiasm and
tactical awareness have impressed everybody on the board and we are all
looking forward to working closely with him to deliver success on and
off the pitch.

'Many things will change with him at
the helm, and you will see a stronger and fitter team emerge and
challenge in every game they play.'

Ainsworth has been at Wycombe since leaving QPR in 2010 after a brief loan spell at Adams Park.

The 39-year-old steered Wanderers to their first home win of the season, against Torquay last month, and has reached the area quarter-finals of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Ainsworth told the club website: 'I’m delighted and honoured to be the manager of Wycombe Wanderers. The club has a big history of successful managers and I will be giving it my all to join that list.

'I would like to thank Don Woodward and the board for this opportunity. They’ve put their faith in me and I will work as hard as I possibly can to get out of this current situation, with the long-term aim to bring success to the club.'

Manchester United lien up 1bn Nike kit deal

Man United line up whopping 1bn Nike extension to boost the coffers

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UPDATED:

06:39 GMT, 24 October 2012

Manchester United will be looking to negotiate sports merchandising giants Nike's biggest-ever sponsorship deal when they begin renewal talks over Old Trafford kit supply in February.

The 13-year Nike agreement with United that expires in 2015 is worth 303million, plus a profit share on retail sales.

And United chief of staff Ed Woodward, who presides over the club's extraordinary commercial operation, is looking for a 'major increase' from Nike.

A new deal: Manchester United are eyeing a bumper extension from kit sponsors Nike

A new deal: Manchester United are eyeing a bumper extension from kit sponsors Nike

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They have a six-month window of exclusive talks with United. Woodward would not say what stratospheric number United are chasing.

But they are sure to remind Nike that shirt sponsorship has risen more than six fold in the same period – from Vodafone's 8m to the 52m a year Chevrolet will be forking out from the 2014-15 season.

These potential figures – which could even see a 1billion deal if Nike sign up for a similar length of time – dwarf the 156m over 10 years the US company are reportedly going to pay Rory McIlroy to have the swoosh on his golf equipment and clothing from 2013.

FA botch Bernstein extension

Chairman David Bernstein all but admitted that the FA botched attempts to extend his time in office past his age-limit 70th birthday next May – including alienating councillors by asking for unregulated proxy votes to count in the ballot.

Bernstein, a 'little frustrated' to be leaving in the middle of the 150th anniversary celebrations, said the FA 'didn't organise things as well as they might have done'.

The FA council, having blocked Bernstein, are now turning their guns on the staff-run Club England wanting more representation from the marginalised FA international committee.

But Bernstein said he would 'unequivocally oppose any changes' in his eight months left.

Beckham in his briefs

David Beckham was spotted in his underwear emerging from bushes during a film-shoot by a busload of sight-seers reportedly on a Hollywood tour of celebrity homes.

Now it transpires the coach was full of film extras and the sighting was staged as part of the Guy Ritchie-directed Beckham H&M commercial to be aired next year.

Neville juggling TV and United commitments

Gary Neville – England coach and Sky football pundit – also has to juggle the extra conflicts from his paid position as a Manchester United ambassador alongside Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and Andy Cole.

Man of many talents: Gary Neville is juggling between England duties (left), TV work, and his commitments as a Manchester United ambassador

Man of many talents: Gary Neville is juggling between England duties (left), TV work, and his commitments as a Manchester United ambassador

United are likely to add to their ambassadors as well as 'legends' – including Lee Sharpe, Dion Dublin, Quinton Fortune and Gary Pallister – to help service ever-burgeoning sponsorship partners currently totalling 77 worldwide.

These brought in 117million in the last financial year.

No wonder commercial director Richard Arnold says United are carving up their rights with a 'scalpel not a spade'.

They have 70 staff alone working the phones in their sponsorship search hot-house next door to Langan's Brasserie in London's Mayfair.

The owning Glazer family are said to have been instrumental in separating United's training-gear rights in their shirt deal with Aon, allowing for another 10m a year to be extracted from DHL for practice kit branding.

Sky slow on Armstrong

Disgraced drugs cheat Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France victories as part of his exorcism from cycling's history.

But the official website of Team Sky, who boast of zero tolerance towards drugs, was still promoting Armstrong on Tuesday.

Sluggish: Team Sky's official website took their time to remove comments about disgraced drug cheat Lance Armstrong

Sluggish: Team Sky's official website took their time to remove comments about disgraced drug cheat Lance Armstrong

The on-line biography of Team Sky's senior sports director Sean Yates stated how he helped mentor 'one particularly talented young rider called Lance Armstrong . . . who often mentioned his debt to Yates for the advice he provided'.

It added that Yates worked with Armstrong at two teams before joining Sky.

However, all Armstrong mentions were deleted from the Yates biog around the time Sky were asked to comment.

Sheepshanks heads for Onside

Sports specialist lawyers Onside Law, who negotiated Alan Pardew's eight-year deal with Newcastle and TV sports presenter Jake Humphrey's contract with BT Vision, have appointed St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks as a consultant to help build their football business.

Onside, set up by former IMG golf lawyer Oliver Hunt, represent Rory McIlroy.