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Graham Westley named Stevenage boss for third time

Look who's back! Westley returns to Stevenage for third spell as manager

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

10:24 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:01 GMT, 30 March 2013

Graham Westley has made a shock return to Stevenage.

The 45-year-old, who led Boro into npower League One with back-to-back promotions, succeeds Gary Smith as manager after the former Colorado Rapids boss was relieved of his duties last week following a poor run of form.

Westley opted to leave Broadhall Way in January last year in an attempt to further his career at Preston, but his 13-month stay at Deepdale ended when he was sacked with North End sitting just five points above the relegation zone.

Back again Graham Westley could return to Stevenage for a third time

Back again Graham Westley could return to Stevenage for a third time

Stevenage, 10 points above the League One drop zone in 15th place, host bottom-placed Hartlepool on Monday looking for a first win in four outings.

Chairman Phil Wallace said: 'Graham was keen to come back to Stevenage and, although I met some strong candidates, without doubt I think he's the best man for the job right now. The club enjoyed a great deal of success before he left last year and we moved forwards significantly in his time here on several levels.

'Since he left we've continued that progress in people and infrastructure off the pitch. So we spent a lot of time this past week talking about things we feel we could do better this time round and we've put many of those into our contractual arrangement.

Over it: Chairman Phil Wallace has put his annoyance at the timing of Westley's exit aside

Over it: Chairman Phil Wallace has put his annoyance at the timing of Westley's exit aside

'There are a lot of myths about
Graham and the 9-5 one is the biggest. Yes, he demands a high work ethic
and commitment from his players but the extra hour or two some may do
is spent on personal development subjects. As long as a lad wants to
improve himself and win medals that's never been an issue at our club.

'I'm looking forward to some exciting
times again! This is the first time our season has ended in April for
four years and that's a measure of how far we've come and what we're
about.'

Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4: Match report

Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4: Bale's triple salvo crushes Villans' resistance

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UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 26 December 2012

Gareth Bale bagged a second-half hat-trick as Tottenham returned to
the Barclays Premier League top four with a comfortable victory at Aston
Villa.

After dominating the first half without managing to make a breakthrough,
Spurs went ahead in the 57th minute when Jermain Defoe nutmegged Brad
Guzan to register his 14th goal of the season.

Gareth Bale celebrates his goal against Villa

Handy: Gareth Bale celebrates his goal against Villa

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Bale – who had already gone close twice – then stole the show, netting in the 61st, 73rd and 84th minutes to take his own tally for the campaign to 10.

The result ensures Tottenham keep up their push for Champions League football, moving them up to fourth in the table, level on points with fifth-placed Everton and sixth-placed West Brom, who had both won earlier in the day.

The picture is somewhat different for Villa, who had been looking to bounce back from the 8-0 mauling they suffered at Chelsea three days ago but instead were beaten comprehensively once again and remain only three points above the relegation zone in 16th place.

After being run completely ragged at Stamford Bridge, Villa were under heavy pressure from the off against Spurs, who went close in the 11th minute when Bale saw a curling effort from outside the box kept out by a fine diving save from Guzan.

The hosts almost paid for giving the ball away in the 23rd minute as Tottenham broke forward and Aaron Lennon flashed a cross into the danger zone, which Chris Herd hacked behind for a corner.

Jermain Defoe makes the breakthrough

Jermain Defoe makes the breakthrough

Happy days: Defoe celebrates his strike

Happy days: Defoe celebrates his strike

Defoe headed the resulting delivery into Guzan's arms and the
American goalkeeper then came out to deny the same player, with Ciaran
Clark scrambling the ball behind once again.

Spurs were winning a seemingly endless succession of corners and it
appeared to be only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock, but
on the half-hour mark an error by William Gallas earned Villa a
throw-in that nearly cost the Londoners dear.

It allowed the home side to launch an attack and Joe Bennett fired the
ball across goal, with Matthew Lowton just failing to get on the end of
it.

Normal service was swiftly resumed as Emmanuel Adebayor nodded a Bale
corner goalwards, with Guzan just managing to hold on to the ball.

Cool finish: Gareth Bale rounds goalkeeper Brad Guzan to score his team's second goal

Cool finish: Gareth Bale rounds goalkeeper Brad Guzan to score his team's second goal

Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur scores his first goal

Adebayor then met Bale's cut-back with a strike that was blocked by
Nathan Baker, but moments later Villa threatened again as Lowton
delivered a ball that the sliding Brett Holman could not finish at the
far post.
Tottenham were soon back on the front foot and Bale fizzed in a shot four minutes before the interval that Guzan batted away.

Villa were forced to replace Baker with Stephen Ireland right at the end
of the first half and they began the second with Marc Albrighton on for
Ashley Westwood.

There were some encouraging signs for the hosts in the opening minutes
after the restart, albeit with Lowton ballooning a shot off-target and
Christian Benteke being flagged offside as he brought a save out of Hugo
Lloris.
Villa fans' moods soon darkened, though, as Defoe put Tottenham in
front, stabbing in through Guzan's legs having latched on to Kyle
Naughton's through-ball.

Triple treat: Bale completes his hat-trick

Triple treat: Bale completes his hat-trick

Clinical: Bale scores his second goal

Clinical: Bale scores his second goal

Hat-trick hero: Bale holds the match ball

Hat-trick hero: Bale holds the match ball

Four minutes later Spurs doubled their lead, taking advantage of some sloppy play by their opponents.

Benteke's cross was cut out to launch a Tottenham counter-attack which
Villa could not halt, with a Bennett tackle sending the ball to Bale,
who advanced forward, rounded Guzan and prodded home.

It took a further 12 minutes for Bale to grab another goal and
effectively end the game as a contest, the Welshman collecting Lennon's
pass in the box and slotting it into the corner.

He then completed his treble with six minutes of normal time remaining,
sending the ball into the roof of the net from substitute Gylfi
Sigurdsson's tee-up.

Reading 0 Swansea 0 match report

Reading 0 Swansea 0: Royals fail to make up ground in bid to drag themselves out of the drop zone

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 26 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:36 GMT, 26 December 2012

Reading ended a run of seven consecutive defeats with a goalless draw in their Boxing Day bout with Swansea at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals are still rooted deep in the relegation zone but they were the only one of the bottom three teams to get any kind of a result today, while Southampton also drew.

It is a small step but stopping the rot was vital for Brian McDermott's men, who had come so close to earning a draw against Manchester City before Christmas. The Royals' last Barclays Premier League points came on November 17.

Battle: Swansea captain Ashley Williams holds off Jobi McAnuff

Battle: Swansea captain Ashley Williams holds off Jobi McAnuff

Match facts

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff (Robson-Kanu 61), Guthrie, Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 61).
Subs: Taylor, Hunt, Morrison, Tabb, Cummings.
Booked: Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre.

Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton (Agustien 67), Ki, Moore (de Guzman 68), Routledge, Michu (Shechter 80).
Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Graham, Monk.
Booked: Tiendalli.

Att: 24,050

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

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Adam Le Fondre saw a late volley
headed over the bar by Swansea defender Chico Flores and the Reading
striker was also booked for handling the ball Maradona style into the
net.

But after conceding nine goals in
their last two home games, Reading's onus was clearly on keeping a clean
sheet and goalkeeper Adam Federici secured that by saving well from
Nathan Dyer and Ki Sung-Yeung.

Reading also rode their luck in the
first half with Michu shooting wide and then over the bar from close
range in a game of little quality.

The in-house DJ played 'The
Impossible Dream' before kick-off, which for long periods of a laboured
game seemed to sum up Reading's hopes of surviving in the top flight.

The home supporters are already
indulging in black humour. When Swansea's travelling fans chanted 'Going
down, going down, going down', the home support sang 'So are we, so are
we, so are we'.

Danny Guthrie was given his first
start, the only change to the side beaten so late at Manchester City at
the weekend, and he had early shouts for a penalty.

Pavel Pogrebnyak pick-pocketed Flores
and Guthrie carried the ball into the box before going down under the
challenge of Leon Britton but the referee waved play on.

Heads up: Kyle Bartley is challenged by Jobi McAnuff at the Madejski Stadium

Heads up: Kyle Bartley is challenged by Jobi McAnuff at the Madejski Stadium

It was a rare Reading foray forward.
It was only in the final 20 minutes that Reading began to put Swansea
under any sustained pressure.

For most of a turgid first half they were content to sit back, allow Swansea to keep possession and ride their luck.

Swansea were comfortable in
possession and Michu linked well with Luke Moore on the edge of the
Reading box before digging out a shot which just curled wide of the top
corner.

That's mine: Danny Guthrie and Ki Sung-Yueng bid for the ball in the bore draw

That's mine: Danny Guthrie and Ki Sung-Yueng bid for the ball in the bore draw

No way through: Adam Federici makes a save in front of the cameras for Reading

No way through: Adam Federici makes a save in front of the cameras for Reading

The classy Spaniard showed shades of
Matt Le Tissier as he turned Adrian Mariappa inside out before stabbing a
shot just wide of the near post.

Michu was harshly judged to have
fouled the hapless Mariappa so a goal would not have stood in any case,
but it was another let-off for Reading.

The Royals sat deep. Swansea held on to the ball, moving it around their back four and playing the waiting game.

At one stage the only entertainment
in the ground came from the brass band in the far corner. Jimmy Kebe
tried to haul the game out of the rut with a break from his own half but
a dreadful touch from Pogrebnyak on the edge of the box allowed Swansea
keeper Michel Vorm to scoop up the ball.

Reading defender Chris Gunter then
made a hash of his attempt to chest a cross from Dyer back to his
keeper, and Michu pounced but somehow poked his shot over the bar from
four yards out.

Quiet day: Swansea dangerman Michu was halted by Reading

Quiet day: Swansea dangerman Michu was halted by Reading

Reading had more penalty shouts
turned down when Jobi McAnuff went down as he challenged for a header
and the Royals then wasted a promising free-kick opportunity.

There was more urgency about Reading in the second half. They began to press Swansea more.
Guthrie went in hard on Britton to win the ball but Pogrebnyak then
lunged in very late on Dwight Tiendalli to earn a yellow card.

Pogrebnyak made way almost
immediately with Le Fondre taking over up front and Hal
Robson-Kanu replacing McAnuff in a double substitution.

Although Swansea had dominated possession it was only in the final half hour they began to really test Federici.

Something to shout about: Le Fondre was pulled up for his handball goal

Something to shout about: Le Fondre was pulled up for his handball goal

Silly boy: Adam Le Fondre is shown a yellow card by referee Mike Jones for his handball

Silly boy: Adam Le Fondre is shown a yellow card by referee Mike Jones for his handball

The first chance came from sloppy
Reading defending, which allowed Wayne Routledge to pick out Dyer, whose
diving header from eight yards out was well saved by Federici.

The Australian dealt well with a
powerful drive from Ki Sung-Yeung after Reading had only half-cleared
their lines from a Swansea free-kick.

Reading fans celebrated what they
thought was the winner after 73 minutes when Le Fondre beat Vorm from
close range after rising to meet Ian Harte's free-kick.

But eagle-eyed referee Mike Jones spotted Le Fondre had turned the ball in with his arm and booked the Reading striker.

Vorm was the busiest man on the field
in the closing stages, repeatedly punching clear as Reading finally
turned the screw in search of a late winner.

One such punch fell to Le Fondre,
whose volley was goal-bound but Flores did well to stand his ground and
head the ball up over his own bar.

Southampton 1 Reading 0: Jason Puncheon wins points for Saints

Southampton 1 Reading 0: Royals left Punch-drunk as Saints climb out of drop zone

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UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Southampton moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after Jason Puncheon's second-half strike proved the difference against fellow strugglers Reading.

The Royals pipped Saints to the npower Championship crown last term, and the hosts exacted some revenge this afternoon.

Winning ways: Jason Puncheon scores for Southampton

Winning ways: Jason Puncheon scores for Southampton

MATCH FACTS

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Puncheon,
Cork, Schneiderlin, Lallana (Ramirez 40), Rodriguez (Do Prado 78),
Lambert.
Subs Not Used: Boruc, Hooiveld, Steven Davis, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka.

Scorer: Puncheon 61.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Mariappa, Morrison (Pearce 65), Shorey,
Robson-Kanu (McCleary 77), Leigertwood,Tabb (Hunt 69), McAnuff,
Roberts, Le Fondre.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Guthrie, Harte, Samuel.

Att: 29,331

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

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The south-coast club started brightly at St Mary's, but Reading looked dangerous on the break and had strong penalty appeals waved away when Jay Tabb appeared to be clipped in the box.

Southampton felt aggrieved themselves moments later when a Puncheon header was chalked off, before they lost influential captain Adam Lallana to a knee injury.

Hal Robson-Kanu rattled the post in first-half stoppage time but Saints continued to threaten after the break, getting their just rewards in the 61st minute when Puncheon lashed home what proved to be the winner.

The main talking point coming into the match was goalkeeper Kelvin Davis' return, having not started in the Premier League since the 6-1 mauling at Arsenal in mid-September.

The club captain replaced the injured Paulo Gazzaniga, while Gaston Ramirez dropped to the bench having spent the week in Uruguay on compassionate grounds.

Jay Rodriguez replaced him in the starting line-up and started brightly, firing just wide before Morgan Schneiderlin bundled a fierce Nathaniel Clyne cross inches wide.

Sky high: Jason Puncheon (second right) celebrates with Southampton teammate Nathaniel Clyne

Sky high: Jason Puncheon (second right) celebrates with Southampton teammate Nathaniel Clyne

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici had to keep out a goal-bound Lallana prod and then stopped Lambert after Rodriguez was blocked off by Shaun Cummings.

Lallana curled over from the edge of the box but, for all of Saints' attacking intent, Reading looked menacing on the counter-attack.

Tight marking: Southampton's Ricky Lambert tries to turn inside Reading's Nicky Shorey

Tight marking: Southampton's Ricky Lambert tries to turn inside Reading's Nicky Shorey

Tabb's burst forward and strike that stung the palms of Davis epitomised that and the Royals felt they should have had a penalty when Jack Cork then caught the midfielder.

Saints soon felt hard done by themselves as Puncheon had a 34th-minute opener disallowed after an altercation between Federici and Maya Yoshida in the build-up.

Up for it: Southampton's Jason Puncheon challenges for a header

Up for it: Southampton's Jason Puncheon challenges for a header

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins was forced to shuffle the pack as half-time approached after captain Lallana suffered a knee injury, resulting in an early-than-planned introduction for Ramirez.

Puncheon had a shot deflected behind and Yoshida saw a header cleared off the line by Cummings as Saints pushed for a half-time lead, although Robson-Kanu saw a header rebound back off the post in stoppage time at the other end.

Chest right: Reading's Jason Roberts protects the ball from Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne

Chest right: Reading's Jason Roberts protects the ball from Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne

Reading were on top as the second half resumed but Saints soon found their feet, with Puncheon forcing Federici into action low to his left six minutes in.

Rodriguez's chest and volley rolled wide as Saints continued to press and, after Sean Morrison and Yoshida both received treatment, they had the lead.

Looking up: Southampton boss Nigel Adkins

Looking up: Southampton boss Nigel Adkins

Lambert played through Clyne and his ball was controlled by Puncheon, who continued to fire a right-footed strike across Federici into the far corner.

Rodriguez saw penalty appeals rejected moments after the 61st-minute goal, although a poor Clyne clearance would have cost Southampton immediately had Jobi McAnuff's shot been lower.

Morrison was replaced by Alex Pearce in the 65th minute after his earlier knock and Noel Hunt soon came on for Tabb as Reading boss Brian McDermott looked to claw a goal back.

Eye on the ball: Reading's Jay Tabb controls

Eye on the ball: Reading's Jay Tabb controls

The move to a three-pronged attack almost paid dividends immediately as Adam Le Fondre nodded just wide after a poor headed clearance by Clyne.

Federici almost sliced a backpass into his own goal and then did well to did well to hold onto a Clyne cross-shot.

Puncheon above his weight: Jason Puncheon celebrates his goal

Puncheon above his weight: Jason Puncheon celebrates his goal

Guly do Prado was booed by sections of the home fans when replacing Rodriguez 12 minutes from time, although he soon hushed those naysayers with a long-range effort that curled just over after Puncheon again came close.

Reading threatened from late set-pieces and Do Prado was denied from close range, but it remained 1-0 as Saints collected their second clean sheet of the season.

Luke Shaw tipped for the top like Gareth Bale

Shaw tipped to follow in Bale's footsteps as next Southampton wonderkid

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 26 November 2012

Southampton youngster Luke Shaw is drawing comparisons to former Saints teenage prodigy Gareth Bale.

The 17-year-old left-back has just started three Premier League games in a row for Saints which has coincided with a three-game unbeaten run. Two wins and a draw has won them seven points that have pulled them out of the relegation zone from second-bottom.

Bale won Football League Young Player of the Year in 2007 following a season as left-back and he scored five goals in 45 appearances in total for the club.

One to watch: Southampton's Luke Shaw has been tipped for the top

One to watch: Southampton's Luke Shaw has been tipped for the top

The Welshman moved to Tottenham for 5million and has since become one of the best attacking midfield players in the world.

And the similarities between Shaw and Bale have got people saying that he could follow in his footsteps.

Team-mate Adam Lallana said: 'The calmness he possesses for a 17-year-old is astonishing. He has got a great left foot on him and he has bedded in really well. He has got to keep up his fitness and he is going to go far in the game.

'There a big similarities between him and Bale. That is what people have been saying but he knows he has got to keep his feet on the ground and has a lot to learn but he is going to improve a lot with us, I can tell.'

Shaw, who came through Southampton's academy that has produced the likes of Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and made his debut for Saints last season in an FA Cup match against Millwall, was subject to a 4m bid by Chelsea during the summer. But Southampton have always maintained he is a big part of their future.

One to watch: Southampton's Luke Shaw has been tipped for the top

International star: Adam Lallana hopes to remain in Roy Hodgson's plans

Lallana, 24, got his first England call-up in September and he hopes Roy Hodgson's interest in bringing youth into the national side means he and more of the younger players at Southampton get their chance in the future. Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne, 21, plays for England Under 21s and Shaw is in the Under 17 side.

Lallana added: 'I would love to get back in the England squad as any other young England player in the Premier League would. It is early stages for [Clyne and Shaw].

'Hodgson has shown he wants to bring youth in but I know they are not going to get too far ahead of themselves. If in time us improving gets some of the younger lads call-ups then that is brilliant. Clyne and Shaw have been excellent.'

Sunderland deny Martin O"Neill resignation reports

Sunderland move swiftly to deny claims O'Neill offered to walk away after West Brom defeat

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UPDATED:

15:28 GMT, 25 November 2012

Sunderland have been quick to deny reports that manager Martin O'Neill offered his resignation in the wake of the club's home defeat to West Brom.

The Black Cats, who have won twice in their last 20 Premier League games, were booed off by fans after suffering a 4-2 reverse against the in-form Baggies, leaving them just three points above the relegation zone.

It was then claimed that the Northern
Irishman, who has been in charge less than a year, had offered to end
his three-year deal with the club.

Up against it: Martin O'Neill has not offered to quit Sunderland, say the club

Up against it: Martin O'Neill has not offered to quit Sunderland, say the club

But Sky Sports reported on Sunday morning that the club had told them O'Neill had 'unequivocally not resigned'.

Speaking after Saturday's defeat, the 60-year-old seemed positive.

He said: 'We have a lot of work to do, we accept that. What I don't want is players getting concerned and worried because we have lost the last couple of games here and suddenly everybody is against us.'

He then added: 'I don't mind getting beaten four or five-nil if it means that we are trying to turn a deficit back around again. There was always that possibility that West Bromwich Albion would maybe get a third goal.

'As it turns out, Simon Mignolet made a really good save after we had got off to a good start in the second half, so that kept us going.

'But we have to show that fight and determination throughout the whole season, not for one, not for two games, three games.

'If we had got something out of this, that would have kept it going. As it turns out, it has knocked us back again, but we will go and we have got to be prepared for Tuesday now.'

Mick McCarthy to be named new Ipswich manager

Mick's back! McCarthy lands Ipswich job and charged with leading Tractor Boys to safety

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 30 October 2012

Mick McCarthy is set to be named as the new Ipswich Town manager.

McCarthy has been keen to make a return to the game after being sacked by Wolves back in February and was strongly linked with the Nottingham Forest job during the summer.

The former Republic of Ireland manager was the favourite to take over from Paul Jewell who left the club last week.

Back in business: Mick McCarthy is set to be named as new manager of Ipswich

Back in business: Mick McCarthy is set to be named as new manager of Ipswich

Ipswich are currently bottom of the Championship and have gone 12 games without a win.

Both Alan Curbishley and Alan Shearer were also linked with the position, but the Ipswich board feel McCarthy is the right choice to revive the club's fortunes and hope he can steer the club away from the danger zone.

McCarthy is set to take charge of his first game when Ipswich face Birmingham on Saturday.

Bad run: Ipswich sunk to bottom of the table under Paul Jewell

Bad run: Ipswich sunk to bottom of the table under Paul Jewell

David Moyes calls for consistency at Everton

Good start, but now we need to be consistent, says Everton boss Moyes

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 5 October 2012

David Moyes has challenged the most exciting Everton squad he has managed to replicate the consistency of the highest achieving group of his Goodison era.

Everton have made a blistering start to the season and four wins from six games have not only propelled them to second in the Barclays Premier League table, it is has triggered talk of a return to European competition.

The last time Everton began a campaign on such a positive note, they qualified for the Champions League in 2004-05. That achievement was made all the more remarkable as 12 months earlier they had finished one place above the relegation zone.

Time to build: David Moyes wants his Everton team to find consistency after their good start

Time to build: David Moyes wants his Everton team to find consistency after their good start

That squad, though, was made of teak-tough professionals and once they got into a groove Everton were very difficult to beat; the current squad may have more flamboyance but Moyes wants to see them match the old guard’s tenacity.

'I think there is a difference in the quality but we had really good players then, senior players and if you said that to them they would rebut that,' said Moyes.

'I think the challenge I am setting to the boys now is can you be as consistent as the team from 2004-05 That is part of the battle. You can win with flair but we won a lot of games 1-0 that year. We were consistent, hard to beat.

On the up: Nikica Jelavic has been chipping in with goals for Everton

On the up: Nikica Jelavic has been chipping in with goals for Everton

Keep it going: Leon Osman and Co need to find consistency

Keep it going: Leon Osman and Co need to find consistency

'So there are different ways of skinning the cat. We are maybe doing it slightly different, but what it comes down to is can you be as consistent We are in good form just now, but how long can we keep it going. It is a test of the players to keep reaching those standards.'

Spirit as much as anything carried Everton in to the top four eight years ago but Moyes does not feel his current crop will be caught short if, at some point, results do not go as they have been so far.

'The spirit actually exists and has grown,' said Moyes. 'I think it is in the DNA of the club, it is in the building and it is around Goodison. I think that spirit is there. At times when our form isn’t as good and we’re not playing very well I think a lot of that keeps Everton going.

'I think people would walk into Everton and there is a smell of an energy, a working club and a good atmosphere. I think that is a good environment to work in.'

Proof that Everton is a club where strong bonds are forge came in the aftermath of last Saturday’s exhilarating triumph over Southampton came when Moyes switched his phone on and discovered a message from Tim Cahill, his talisman from 2004-05.

'Tim texts me and whatnot saying we’re doing great and so on,' said Moyes over a player he allowed to leave in July for the MLS. “He’s in touch with me and he’s in touch with the boys and when I get a chance I’ll probably take the team out to see him in New York.'

London 2012 Olympics: McDonald"s will not be at Wimbledon – Charles Sale

Charles Sale: Wimbledon still a burger-free zone after winning war with McDonald's

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 27 July 2012

The All England Club look to be the one sports body able to get their way against London 2012 branding Olympic venues exactly as they want.

Wimbledon made strong requests that fast food giants and top-tier Olympic sponsors McDonald’s did not have a presence — which their contract entitles them to have — within the grounds of the club, which has extensive catering facilities.

And LOCOG are said by Wimbledon sources to have backed down after heated discussions.

Fancy a bite The flagship Olympic Park McDonald's restaurant

Fancy a bite The flagship Olympic Park McDonald's restaurant

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London 2012 director of sport Debbie Jevans is on the All England Club board and said when the question of Big Macs at Wimbledon was raised: ‘It may well be you could get a McDonald’s at Wimbledon. That is not outrageous. This is not all they sell, and I’m sure there’s many a tennis player who enjoys a burger.’

A LOCOG spokeswoman said McDonald’s had chosen not to have a food outlet or prominent promotional branding at Wimbledon.

Bach a crowd-pleaser

Germany's 59-year-old IOC member Thomas Bach, the favourite to succeed Jacques Rogge as president of the IOC next year, looks to have the common touch which the remote Rogge has rarely shown during his 12 years at the helm.

Olympic fencing gold medallist Bach, who carried the flame down Charing Cross Road in the torch relay on Thursday, happily mixed with all the other torch-bearers on the bus — including the Daily Mail representative — in an engaging manner you wouldn’t have expected of Rogge.

Bach’s likely rival for the top post, Nawal El Moutawakel, newly appointed vice-president, was also on the bus but less keen to socialise.

Meet and greet: Thomas Bach is in the running to be IOC president

Meet and greet: Thomas Bach is in the running to be IOC president

VIP Hayatou

African football chief Issa Hayatou was investigated by the IOC for taking bribes from FIFA’s now defunct marketing agency ISL — a controversy that led to him being replaced as chairman of FIFA’s Olympic football organising committee. Yet there he was at the opening ceremony in the second row of the prime VIP section.

Animal farm

There were plenty of animals enjoying Danny Boyle’s Green and Pleasant Land prologue in the opening ceremony, including horses, cows, chickens, geese, goats and a flock of 70 sheep. And Games organisers LOCOG were insisting their animal welfare was of such a high standard that local officers had commended them on their care of the farmyard collection.

This followed claims from volunteers that a few sheep had taken a turn for the worse after munching the removable grass at the rehearsals.

Furry friends: The animals used in the ceremony were well looked after

Furry friends: The animals used in the ceremony were well looked after

Ticketmaster blasted

Ticketmaster, whose software originally failed to cope with the numbers wanting to buy Olympic tickets, have been blamed for the long queues at St James’ Park that caused some fans to miss the start of the Mexico v South Korea football game on Thursday night.

It’s claimed a cause of the delay was Ticketmaster collecting information from customers for marketing purposes. Geoff Hodgson, LOCOG nations and regions board member, said: ‘It was absolutely appalling for those outside queuing. It was totally unacceptable. Their procedures appear to be one size fits all.’

Chaos: Many fans were unable to get into St James' Park for kick-off

Chaos: Many fans were unable to get into St James' Park for kick-off

LOCOG said they had nine ticket booths open from five hours before kick-off but numerous fans arrived too close to the start.

SatNav U-Turn

Drivers taking IOC bigwigs and national federation chiefs the short journey from the Park Lane Hilton to the Savoy had to do an emergency U-turn on Friday from their prescribed Olympic Route Network SatNav system because they got caught up in the torch relay convoy.

Boyle keeps schtum

The biggest surprise in London 2012’s successful mission to ‘Save the Surprise’ of how the cauldron would be lit at the opening ceremony was that show director Danny Boyle managed to keep quiet about it. Boyle demonstrated in his hour-long press conference that he enjoys talking about his work and never says one word when 10 will suffice.

Euro 2012: Fans fight stadium stewards after Russia win

Russia victory marred by crowd trouble as supporters attack stadium stewards

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UPDATED:

13:04 GMT, 9 June 2012

Russia's opening-day victory over the Czech Republic was marred after their supporters attacked stadium officials on Friday night.

YouTube footage has emerged of fans of the Russian national side punching and kicking stewards inside Wroclaw's Municipal Stadium.

One helpless steward is knocked to the ground and then set upon by a group of supporters, while another is the recipient of two horrific kung-fu style kicks to the face.

Four stewards were taken to hospital following the incident.

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'After the Russia Czech Republic match a fight broke out', security official Marcin Herra told a Polish TV station.

'A large number
of fans in Russia t-shirts attacked security guards then ran away. Four
guards were hospitalised but soon released after receiving first aid.

'Such things can occur over the next 22 days. If it gets hot, drinks
will be consumed and such things can happen. It's a normal
situation.'

The harrowing footage comes after police were forced to separate Russian supporters fighting Ukraine fans on the streets of Lviv in the early hours of Saturday.

The two sides exchanged punches at the Fan Zone before local police quickly moved in and separated the combatants. No arrests were made.

Tensions between the two nationalities are particularly high in Lviv, in the far west of the country, in part because of Ukrainian resentment at Soviet rule from 1939 to 1991.

Trouble: Police are forced to separate men fighting at a Fan Zone

Trouble: Police are forced to separate men fighting at a Fan Zone

Four-some: Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in the rout over the Czech Republic on Friday night

Four-some: Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in the rout over the Czech Republic on Friday night

The Lviv region was the centre of a resistance campaign by Ukrainian nationalists fighting for independence from the Soviet Union during and after World War Two.

Russia, who are managed by Dick Advocaat and set to host the 2018 World Cup, ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in the Group A clash, but the brilliant victory is likely to be tarnished by the actions of a minority of supporters.