Friday, February 29, 2008

Must be Mad, MAD, REALLY MAD

Holyfield, Tyson Are Discussing Boxing Rematch, Guardian Says

By Dan Baynes

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Evander Holyfield said he and Mike Tyson are discussing the possibility of fighting each other for a third time, the Guardian newspaper reported, citing an interview with the four-time heavyweight boxing champion.

Holyfield, 45, said Tyson approached him via an intermediary to discuss a rematch, the Guardian reported. Their second fight in 1997 ended in controversy when Tyson was disqualified for twice biting Holyfield, on one occasion tearing off a chunk of his ear.

``There has been some talk between us,'' the Guardian cited Holyfield as saying. ``Mike had Jeff Fenech, who's been training him, call me a few months ago. Jeff says Mike wants to fight me again, but he needs to know if I would agree to it. I said, `It all depends on what they gonna give us, because I'm gonna catch a lot of flak if I say I'm fighting Mike Tyson again.'''

Holyfield knocked out Tyson when they first fought in 1996 and has a professional boxing record of 42-9-2. Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in 1986 when he beat Trevor Berbick at age 20. Now 41, Tyson last fought in June of 2005, when he quit during the seventh round of a bout against Kevin McBride to leave his record at 50-6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at

Gaza ~ Lost soul, Lost everything

Football star Paul Gascoigne has been detained under the Mental Health Act after a series of bizarre incidents at two Newcastle hotels. The troubled star has fought alcohol problems and depression since the end of his playing career. Despite his struggles, Gazza retains a place in the hearts of football fans and is arguably the finest talent English football has seen in the last 25 years. Hotlist examines the highs and lows of his life.
Paul Gascoigne was born on May 27 1967 in Dunston, Tyne and Wear. Aged ten, he suffered a personal tragedy when he witnessed the death of his friend Steve Spraggon in a car accident. The incident is believed to have triggered the compulsive behaviour that has blighted his adult life.

Gascoigne made his first team debut for Newcastle United on April 13 1985. By the end of the 1987/8 season, he had been named the Barclays Young Player of the Year and transferred to Spurs for a record £2.3 million fee. Under the tutelage of Terry Venables, he began to blossom into a superb midfield player. England manager Bobby Robson gave him his international debut in September 1988.

Global star

Gascoigne was England's best player at the 1990 World Cup. He was the architect of crucial goals against Egypt, Belgium and Cameroon but will be forever remembered for his reaction to his semi-final booking against Germany. Knowing he would be suspended if England reached the final, Gazza’s mood turned from ebullience to devastation. His tears provided one of football’s most enduring moments as England bowed out on penalties.

The 1991 FA Cup final provided a critical moment in Gazza’s career. He started the final in a hyperactive state and committed an appalling foul on Gary Charles. He ruptured his cruciate knee ligaments and was stretchered off the field in tears. He missed the entire 1991/2 season.

Gazza signed for Lazio in September 1992 but his form was inconsistent and he continued to be troubled by injuries. He scored a famous 89th winner in the Rome derby but ultimately failed to settle in Italy. He headed back to Britain in 1995 to play for Glasgow Rangers and made an instant impact, winning Scottish Player of the Year honours in his first season. Proof he was back to his irrepressible best came in a match against Hibernian when he memorably booked referee Dougie Smith after the official dropped his yellow card on the pitch.

But controversy was never far away. Gascoigne managed to alienate one half of Glasgow when, during an Old Firm game against Celtic, he naively celebrated a goal by mimicking playing the flute. The gesture, symbolic of the Protestant Orange Order marches, lead to him receiving death threats from the IRA.

International swansong

Gascoigne became a crucial part of Terry Venables’ England team in the run-up to Euro 96. He scored his most memorable goal against Scotland, looping the ball over a bewildered Colin Hendry, burying a volley into the net and instigating the infamous “dentist chair” celebration with Teddy Sheringham. He remained part of the England squad until the 1998 World Cup. But his ongoing fitness problems – he was pictured out in London eating kebabs with Chris Evans – convinced new boss Glenn Hoddle to omit him from the squad. Gascoigne smashed up a hotel room when he was given the news. He would never play for England again.

Without football to provide refuge from his demons, Gascoigne’s descent into depression accelerated in recent years. He attempted to become a player coach with a short-lived spell at Boston United. He then tried his hand at management but only lasted 37 days at Kettering Town and left amid accusations of severe alcohol abuse. He famously changed his name to G8 and was arrested for allegedly attacking a press photographer in Liverpool.

Regardless of his many indiscretions and misdemeanours, the sadness of Gazza's slide into illness will resonate with every English football fan. Messages of support for have already come from all quarters of football's community who hope that the stricken Geordie hero receives the help he needs to recover.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bergamasco Banned.......quite right too......

Bergamasco banned for Byrne gouge

Italy back-row Mauro Bergamasco has been handed a 13-week ban after pleading guilty to gouging.
The Stade Francais flanker was "found to have deliberately placed his finger in the right eye of Lee Byrne" by a Six Nations disciplinary committee.

The incident happened when Bergamasco clashed with the Wales full-back on the final whistle of Wales' 47-8 home win.

At a separate hearing Italy lock Carlo Del Fava was found not guilty of kneeing Stephen Jones in the head.

Del Fava can now line up for Ulster against Llanelli Scarlets at Ravenhill on Friday and has also been recalled to the Italy squad preparing to face France on March 9 after he and Bergamasco were left out as a precaution by coach Nick Mallett.

Bergamasco, who has the right of appeal, will be able to resume playing on 2 June and could easily have picked up a more severe ban.

As it is the 28-year-old will miss Italy's final two Six Nations matches, a week on Sunday in Paris and then the home game against Scotland on 15 March, plus what should be the remainder of Stade Francais' season.

His ban will start on 3 March, the date Bergamasco is expected to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in Cardiff.

The three-man disciplinary committee, chaired by Christopher Quinlan QC (England) and also comprising Dr Barry O'Driscoll (Ireland) and Mike Rafter (England) took into account the player's admission of guilt and "other mitigating factors".

Byrne had scored two of Wales' five tries at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday in an excellent all-round performance.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Keegan to quit says newspapers.....

Posted 28/02/08 09:32EmailPrintSave

Kevin Keegan is reportedly already having doubts about the wisdom of agreeing to return to Newcastle United.

Just five weeks after his appointment, Keegan has been described as 'growing disillusioned' with the club's hierarchy. According to The Daily Mail, Keegan's future is 'increasingly uncertain' because of the emergence of a 'serious split'.

'While Keegan has publicly described Mike Ashley as the perfect owner, the manner in which the club is being run by the billionaire businessman and his lieutenants has left him feeling more and more disillusioned, the newspaper reports.

'Sportsmail understands Keegan had little, if any, say in the appointment of Chris Hughton as his assistant this week and one source suggested the former Tottenham coach did not even speak to Keegan prior to accepting the job.'

It was much the same when Dennis Wise was - to Keegan's complete surprise - appointed executive director (football).

Nor have matters improved since then with communication between Wise and Keegan said to be 'virtually non-existent' with the former Leeds manager reputedly preferring to work from an office in London rather than move to the north-east. 'Mort also spends much of his time in London as, of course, does Ashley. While the situation has left Keegan feeling powerless and uncomfortable, it has also undermined his efforts to revive a struggling Newcastle team,' discloses the Mail.

Keegan has yet to enjoy a single victory since his return to St James' in January.

Breaking News.........Daffs & Wales

WRU honoured with its very own Daffodil
28 February 2008, 12:30 pm

Welsh rugby today (Thursday) received a unique gift from the Royal Horticultural Society – a new strain of daffodil to be named ‘Undeb Rygbi Cymru’ in its honour.
The narcissus ‘Undeb Rygbi Cymru’ – or ‘Welsh Rugby Union’ daffodil in English translation – was presented to Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland and WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis just in time for the annual St David’s Day celebrations.
The RHS has chosen a breed of daffodil which was 15 years in development and is described as ‘straight with an abundance of stamina’ to celebrate the team’s recent successes and the nation’s passion for rugby.

The bloom will be officially unveiled to the public at the flagship RHS Spring Flower Show in Cardiff on 18th-20th April this year, but WRU and team members were treated to a sneak preview at their team base in the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel as they prepare for the next leg of their RBS Six Nations campaign against Ireland.

The ‘URC’ daffodil was developed by leading specialist Ron Scamp and visitors to his display at the Cardiff Show will be amongst the first to view, and be able to purchase, the fine specimen.

“The daffodil has long been a national emblem of Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union knows all about the importance of history and tradition to our national game,” said Mr Lewis. “Proud men and women have been representing our country in international competition for over 125 years and the current crop of senior players has made us proud once again on many occasions during their present RBS Six Nations campaign.

“The daffodil is both a fitting and timely gift and something that can now be a proud partner to our national game for posterity.”

RHS Shows Director, Stephen Bennett, said: “Ron Scamp is one of the world’s leading daffodil growers and the ‘Welsh Rugby Union’ daffodil is a sturdy, stunning specimen with lots of stamina, just perfect for the phenomenal Welsh rugby team.

“We’re passionate about plants and the RHS Spring Flower Show in Cardiff and there is huge passion for rugby in Wales so we’re sure the flower will be a winning set piece for plant and rugby lovers alike!”

This year will see the RHS returning to Bute Park at Cardiff for the fourth time. The show brings together the very best in Welsh horticulture and kick starts the gardening year.

To find out more about Narcissus ‘Undeb Rygbi Cymru’ and to place orders to purchase bulbs visit Ron Scamp’s website at

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Star Wars according to a 3 year old.

What a story teller.

Wales' Hopes run High

Tom Shanklin column

Tom Shanklin is Wales centre

....And so the expectancy grows.

The hopes of the Welsh public have gone through the Millennium Stadium roof.

The boys have gone from World Cup zeroes to potential Grand Slam heroes in just 240 minutes of rugby - such is the crazy world we live in.

While the optimism continues to explode among the people, we must remain realistic as we cannot allow our extremely high standards to slip.

As I ran towards the try-line I kept telling myself 'just don't drop it!'

Only sheer hard graft and attitude have earned us three Six Nations victories from three.

People have said some of this squad will join the pantheon of Welsh rugby greats should we conquer all for a second time, but let's just hang on a minute...

This team must not and will not get ahead of ourselves and wonder about 'what ifs' as any side that does nearly always sees their dreams end in tears.

The final straight of this Six Nations is when the going really does get tough.

Our opener against England at Twickenham was extremely difficult but there was no weight of expectancy on our shoulders beforehand.

So the victory was a welcome surprise to both team and fans.

Scotland and Italy in Cardiff at home were slightly easier but Ireland in Dublin followed by France in Cardiff could hardly be any tougher.

Admittedly this tournament does have the occasional echo of that memorable 2005 Grand Slam-winning campaign as we shocked everyone by beating England first then have a pivotal game against Ireland.

But I believe we have a far stronger squad now than we did in 2005.

Then the team had been playing together and peaked to great affect.

But this squad has such strength in depth with two top-class players for virtually every position.

Guys like Mike Phillips, James Hook, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans and Lee Byrne have all come in and impressed at the top level.

In fact I'd probably go so far as saying this is the strongest Wales squad I've been involved in.

But that counts for little if we have no success to show for it.

Our run-in is a real test of character for this team due to the expectation we're under.

How does the 2008 side compare the 2005 Grand Slam winners?
Good teams thrive under such pressure and we want to show we're a consistently good team.

We'll take the confidence from our unbeaten start into the Ireland game at Croke Park on 8 March and show we mean business.

Ireland are such a talented squad there is no danger of us under-estimating them - especially given our poor record in Dublin.

But we had not beaten England at Twickenham for a while either and our victory at HQ has given us the belief that we can beat the top teams in their own backyard.

Our emphatic win over Italy pleased us all, particularly me as I managed to crown my 50th cap with my first Welsh try for a year.

Having the honour of leading out the boys was a proud moment for me and my family.

As a kid I would have given anything to represent Wales just once so to realise my dream 50 times is very special.

My try came from a loose Italian pass and as soon as it came my way, it had my name on it.

But as I headed towards the try-line I kept telling myself 'just don't drop it' because I knew the importance of the score at a crucial time in the game.

Italy had failed to capitalise on their opportunities and it was important that we showed a ruthless edge.

Maintaining such an edge and high tempo will be crucial against Ireland and France.

France makes Big Changes in Rugby 15.

France coach makes eight changes

Lievremont is keen to assess his squad ahead of the Wales game
France coach Marc Lievremont has sprung yet more selection surprises in making eight changes to his 22 for the Six Nations match against Italy on 9 March.
Six players who began the 24-13 loss to England - Cedric Heymans, Morgan Parra, Thierry Dusautoir, Lionel Faure, Julien Bonnaire and David Marty - drop out.

David Skrela and William Servat have also been omitted from the 22.

Uncapped quintet Fabien Barcella, Yann David, Guilhem Guirado, Julien Tomas and Ibrahim Diarra have been called up.

Given the current state of the French scrum... would you consider recalling Sebastien Chabal?


In addition, back-row Imanol Harinordoquy, Toulouse centre Yannick Jauzion and impressive Clermont winger Julien Malzieu, who is back from injury, have all been recalled.

The selection suggests Lievremont is taking the opportunity of assessing his options ahead of his side's potentially crunch tie away at Wales on 15 March.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Arsenal Play Tonight

Arsenal v AC Milan

Venue: Emirates StadiumDate: Wed 20 FebRound: Last 16

Kick-off: 1945

GMTBBC coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live

Monday, February 18, 2008

Barnsley rock Liverpool

Davey celebrates 'fairytale' win Barnsley manager Simon Davey was jubilant after Brian Howard's last-gasp winner gave his side a famous FA Cup fifth-round victory over Liverpool.

Davey said: "It's a fairytale, it's what dreams are made of - he has scored the winner in a Cup tie at the Kop end.
"Credit to the players, they've been fantastic from the first minute and now they have got their reward.
"Our goalkeeper Luke Steele has come to Anfield for his debut and pulled off some world-class saves."

Interview: Barnsley boss Simon Davey Interview: Barnsley striker Brian Howard Interview: On-loan Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele

The Tykes trailed to Dirk Kuyt's first-half goal but some superb Steele stops kept them in it before Stephen Foster's equaliser.

Steele, who was signed on an emergency loan deal from West Brom on Thursday, continued to thwart Liverpool before Howard struck to sink the Reds in the dying seconds.
The former Manchester United keeper, who has only played two games for the Baggies this season, said: "It's a magnificent feeling - it just hasn't sunk in properly yet.
"I was so happy to be out there and it's great I've got my chance.
"When we were 1-0 down it's not like we were down and out but even when we equalised we were under so much pressure.
"But the lads defended brilliantly and the amounts of blocks and clearances off the line was amazing."
You could see the number of chances we had and the number of saves the keeper made and that was the only difference Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who must pick his side up for their Champions League last-16 tie against Inter Milan on Tuesday, was left to rue his side's inability to beat Steele.
"It was a very strange game," Benitez said.
"We had a lot of chances and their keeper was the man-of-the-match. Then we conceded in the last minute so it's very difficult to explain.
"I'm really disappointed but I can't fault the work-rate and performance of my players. We dominated in the first and second half but we couldn't kill the game off.
"You could see the number of chances we had and the number of saves the keeper made and that was the only difference.
"It's frustrating but we must keep our heads up and start thinking about Inter. We start getting ready for that game on Sunday in training and we must focus on that."

Story from BBC SPORT: 2008/02/16 18:12:20 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Barnsley v Chelsea......Wow!

Barnsley face Chelsea in FA Cup Championship side Barnsley have been rewarded for their stunning FA Cup win away at Liverpool with a quarter-final tie at home against holders Chelsea.
League One side Bristol Rovers, who dumped out Southampton, have been drawn at home once more, against West Brom.

The only all-Premier League tie of the round sees Manchester United entertain Portsmouth at Old Trafford.

In the other last-eight contest, Cardiff City will travel to either Sheffield United or Middlesbrough.

Full draw for FA Cup quarter-finals:

Sheffield United or Middlesbrough v Cardiff City
Manchester United v Portsmouth
Bristol Rovers v West Brom
Barnsley v Chelsea

Matches to be played on the weekend of 8 and 9 March.

Story from BBC SPORT: 2008/02/18 07:43:21 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Andy moves back into the top ten again.......

Andy moves back into the top ten again.......

Andy Murray Wins second Title.......

Andy Murray claimed the Marseille Open title with a hard-fought 6-3 6-4 victory over Mario Ancic.

World number 11 Murray was made to fight every inch of the way before finally subduing his Croatian opponent in one hour and 40 minutes.

The first set went on serve until the eighth game when Murray, who had just saved three break points to hold, secured the opening break to go 5-3 ahead.
And the Scot eventually served out a 58-minute opener 6-3 on his fifth set point, clinching it with an ace to break a run of eight deuces.
However, unseeded Ancic - who is outside the world's top 100 after missing six months last year due to mononucleosis - continued to make life difficult by pounding away with his trademark huge serves.
Murray was broken for the first time in the fourth game of the second set, double faulting to fall 0-40 down before relinquishing his 100 percent service record two points later due to a backhand error.
But he broke back immediately courtesy of some sparkling strokeplay from the back of the court and then came through another arduous service game to hold and level matters at 3-3.
A further break in the seventh game put Murray 4-3 ahead and on the brink of his second title in three tournaments this season, having also won the Qatar Open.
And two service holds proved enough for the fourth seed to seal a 6-3 6-4 success.
"It was really tough with a lot of close games," said Murray.
"I served well throughout and returned really well in the second set.
"He started getting a bit tired in that second set and that was probably the key to the match."
The result also vindicates Murray's decision to sit out Great Britain's ill-fated Davis Cup tie in Argentina last weekend due to a minor knee injury, a withdrawal that was criticised by his team-mate - and elder brother - Jamie.

Barnsley Slam Liverpool

Not a bad weekend for my clubs:
  1. Barnsley take Liverpool out of the FA cup ~ one of the best results for Barnsley since they went to the Premiership a few years ago.
  2. Swansea continue to win and now dominate their League
  3. Darlington win
  4. But unfortunately Arsenal were whipped by an in-form Man United

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The big game today....Arsenal v Man United

Wenger orders win at United to prove Arsenal's title credentialsMatt Scott

Saturday February 16, 2008

The Guardian

Arsène Wenger last night challenged his players to turn today's FA Cup fifth-round trip to Old Trafford into the platform that clinches Arsenal the Premier League title. Wenger senses victory at Manchester United can galvanise Arsenal's burgeoning belief into the mettle of champions.
United are five points behind Arsenal after defeat to Manchester City and a draw at Tottenham Hotspur. Today's match has become an unexpected opportunity to strike a psychological blow against Sir Alex Ferguson's side ahead of their April 12 league meeting. "We want to show we can do well at Manchester United because we are going back there later in the season and we want to have an impact on what will happen," Wenger said. "We will dig deep because we want to qualify."

Arsenal lost to United in the semi-finals in 1999 - when the latter won the Treble - and in 2004, Arsenal's season as unbeaten league champions. In 2005 Arsenal won a drab final against United on penalties. Old Trafford has been the scene of some of Arsenal's most significant matches: the 1-0 win in 2002 that delivered half a Double and the hard-fought stalemate in October 2003 that was the springboard for their unbeaten season. But the Arsenal manager took care not to indulge in the verbal jousting that has also characterised meetings between these old adversaries.
"I feel they are still in the [title] race because, two games ago, we were second: that shows you how quickly it can change from one day to the next," said Wenger. "Since the beginning of the season we have strengthened our belief and we know that is down to us to continue just to focus on what we have done until now. Winning makes you stronger."
Off the pitch, the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov yesterday announced the purchase of 189 Arsenal shares for £1.7m. He is short of the 25% "blocking stake" he has said he covets but yesterday's deal - or soon-to-be-realised trades - will make him the largest shareholder in the club. Arsenal's board is confident that the "lockdown agreement" preventing share sales will prevent any hostile bid.

Yes or No to Dwain Chambers.......

Should we support Dwain Chambers in a Great Britain vest?

Wednesday February 13, 2008

The Guardian

Yes: Simeon Williamson, British sprinter and rival for a place in the national squad
The current rules say that if you've served your time, which Dwain has, that you should be allowed to come back. And that's what he has done so I don't have a problem with that.
But I do think that the rules should be changed so if you get caught in future you should be banned for the rest of your life because you are a drugs cheat. That does not apply to Dwain, though, because he has served his ban under the current rules so we should get off his back. But the rules should be tightened in the future - going forward I don't think people should be given a second chance.

It is not like Dwain is getting off lightly with things, though, because as things stand he will also miss the Olympics for the rest of his career and that is the biggest thing in an athlete's life. The world s are the next biggest competition after the Olympics but they are not as special. I think it is right that he should not be allowed to run at the Olympics again.
Dwain did not set a good example to other athletes but at least he admitted what he did, which half the other athletes who are banned for drugs off ences never do. I don't think it is true that Dwain has damaged the reputation of British athletics because there are other drugs cheats out there, like the shot-putter Carl Myerscough and there wasn't such a big thing about him.
He served a two-year ban a few years ago but he was at Sheffield for the trials for the world indoors team and he has been selected for the championships. There has been no suggestion that his presence has damaged our reputation. I think people are looking a little at the man rather than the issue here because Dwain has a bit of a reputation.
Dwain is one of our best medal chances. He is joint fifth in the world in the 60 metres at the moment so he has a real chance of success. We should be grateful we have got someone like him. He is a talented sprinter who made a wrong decision at that moment in his life.
The other athletes I've spoken to are behind Dwain 100%. Obviously there are a few people out there who are against him but the ones I've spoken to are behind him.
I'll be cheering him at the worlds as part of the team like I will be for any other athlete, but if I'm there hopefully I'll be running past him when I do. I'll be one of the first people to congratulate him, if I get the gold and he gets the silver.

No: Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, five-time Paralympian with 16 medals including 11 golds
There should be one rule: if you test positive for drugs, that is it, you are out for life. If that was brought in across track and field, then people would know where they stand. It is why, if I was in the British team, I would not be comfortable with Dwain Chambers back. In a way, I feel sorry for Dwain with the position he is in now because people either love him or hate him.
I support UK Athletics and its chief executive, Niels de Vos, in taking the stronger stance in what he is trying to do for the sport. Dwain won by being allowed to run at the trials and you have to live with that. What is crucial now is how the sport moves forward and how it seeks to change the rules to make the ban more stringent for athletes seeking a return after a suspension for failing a drugs tests.
At the moment, Dwain is complying with what the rules say. For example, you look at someone who has come out of jail. They have served their time for their crime, but does it always mean that their sentence was the right length?
There are many reasons why athletes take drugs and there should be a stringent penalty because if not, what is the point of having all these rules?
I do not know huge specifics of Dwain's case but unlike the past with the more organised doping problems in, say, the old eastern European countries when you did something or else, the responsibility has now been put back very firmly on the athlete to be aware of what they are taking.
Equally, I do not think he should be allowed to run at the Olympic Games as the argument goes on about whether he would overturn the rule preventing him from competing. But it is not just about Dwain. No athlete who has been suspended for taking banned substances should have the opportunity to compete at the either the Olympics or the Paralympics. It is the biggest occasion in the life of a sports person, the culmination of everything, and it is how you are recognised and measured, whether you are a good or an average athlete. I would fundamentally disagree with the rules changing to allow someone who has served a drugs ban to go to the Olympics or Paralympics.
Yet, when it is about money, glamour and status, people will cheat and I can see why . Winning is addictive. If you are competing in front of 110,000 people and you are the one who everyone is cheering, it is unbelievable. I have been in that situation. It is incredibly powerful. Modern culture is about being the best but is also about celebrity and having your face in the paper.
Sport is the same. It is not just about winning your race, it is about all the other opportunities it brings you, and some of the benefits is can bring. The money is huge from sporting success but it is not what is really about. It is about achieving it the correct way and not crossing that divide.

Linford Christie's view on Dwain.........

Christie lambasts negative focus on ChambersSachin Nakrani

Saturday February 16, 2008

The Guardian

Linford Christie has expressed his anger at the focus Dwain Chambers' return to athletics has drawn, claiming it has cast a shadow over the sport and unfairly deflected attention from other British competitors currently preparing for the Beijing Olympics.
Christie, whose own career was tarnished by a two-year drugs ban, refused to criticise Chambers directly but made no secret of his annoyance with the sprinter for making recent headlines.
"We are spending the majority of our time talking about a minority of people when we should be focusing our attentions on the majority of athletes, who are out there trying their best," Christie said. "We've got Beijing coming up and the indoor championships in Valencia before that. This is a time to be positive about athletics in this county. Let's support the people who are out there training hard."

But the former Olympic champion, who won gold in the 100 metres at the 1992 Barcelona Games, also attacked Britain's current crop of sprinters for allowing Chambers to become an issue in the first place, insisting the field should be strong enough to prevent a man who was banned from the sport for two years after testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003 from winning his way into contention.

Chambers qualified for next month's World Indoor Championships after winning the 60m at the trials last Sunday and will be allowed to attend the event after an appeal by UK Athletics to stop him failed. UKA is still hoping its attempts to block the 29-year-old from competing in the UK Championships in July will be successful and is supported by the British Olympic Association which is standing firm in its refusal to allow Chambers to compete in Beijing.

In his role as technical coach for UK Athletics Christie is currently preparing the sprinter Christian Malcolm for Beijing. It is a controversial appointment given that Christie has twice tested positive for a banned substance.

At the 1988 Seoul Olympics the International Olympic Committee cleared Christie over the use of pseudoephedrine, agreeing it could have come from ginseng. Eleven years later he was found guilty of using nandrolone at an indoor meeting in Germany. Christie, who had come out of retirement for the race, claimed he accidentally took the substance as part of a nutritional supplement but the IAAF rejected the explanation and banned him for two years. He has always protested his innocence of drugs use.

The 47-year-old claimed the ongoing issue of drugs in athletics had not detracted from the sport's popularity. "People still love athletics. Look at Sheffield [where Sunday's trials were held]. It was packed. People just want to see good performances. They are not focusing on the negative. In athletics there is a belief that if you have an injury it will never heal if you think negative, but if you're positive you can heal yourself. That's what we need to do now."
Christie says Malcolm's preparations for Beijing are progressing well - he ran 6.69secs over 60m at a recent meeting in South Africa - but believes the 28-year-old 200m specialist should be under no pressure to add an Olympic medal to his two World Championship relay bronzes, a sentiment that he feels should be extended to all British athletes.

"Beijing is about youngsters getting the chance to experience the pressure of a major championship which will prepare them for London in four years' time," Christie said. "Some might make semi-finals and finals, while some others might run personal bests. That's what we should judge them on, nothing else."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pundits on Wales v England

JJ Williams Former Wales and Lions winger

What an amazing game. At one stage I thought 'look out, there's another hammering coming here' and then it all turned around with 20 minutes to go.
Looking back I wonder if England lost it or did Wales just change everything? It was a bit of both I think.
Wales' fitness must be applauded - they kept running and running. In the first half when they were trying to run the ball, they were going through phases and losing possession.
But they kept the ball in the last 20 minutes and kept the ball out wide. England struggled to cope with that.

Henson made some powerful breaks through England's midfield
England fell apart totally and couldn't live with the pace of the game. Wales unsettled them. They were totally flabbergasted.
At the end of the game when they were behind the posts waiting for the conversion, they looked totally confused.
They were lacking leadership and Wales had it all. They took their opportunities and that's what sport is all about.
We played poorly in the first half but I think the difference between the two sides was what happened in the dressing room at half-time.
I think Shaun Edwards and Warren Gatland went about our boys and told them a few home truths.
They came out and did much better in the second half, so full compliments to our coaching staff - they were the difference between the two sides.
It's a great start for them but now they've got to keep their feet on the ground - which I'm sure they will.
We've got a massive opportunity with three home games coming up. You can't ask for more than that.
So it's a great start and a great boost for Wales and Welsh rugby
JJ Williams was speaking to BBC Wales Sport

Adrian Hadley Former Wales winger, who scored two tries in the 1988 victory at Twickenham

This was my first visit to Twickenham since the victory in 1988.
It's looks like I'm a bit of a lucky charm - I think the Welsh Rugby Union should pay for me to come back in two years' time!
Whatever was said in the Wales changing room at half-time I want to bottle it and sell it.
I said before the game that Iain Balshaw still slept with the lights on and Wales took full advantage of his dithering.
If Wales could put the England back three under pressure I was confident we could cause them problems.
We failed to do that in the first half because we kicked poorly, but the second half was a vast improvement.
Even Jonny Wilkinson looked ruffled and started throwing passes he shouldn't and doesn't usually throw because of the pressure Wales exerted. England then started to look like a poor side.
And the other major factor was that the England forwards ran out of gas after about 60 minutes.
Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley are all winners and I think that mentality has rubbed off on the players.
It could be a good year for Wales. We shouldn't get carried away with ourselves over this result, but it's magnificent victory and we can improve.
Adrian Hadley was speaking on BBC Radio Wales

Dick Best Former England coach

England committed what is tantamount to sporting suicide. You can't surrender those sorts of leads and that sort of domination.
No matter what level of rugby you play at, this game is played for 80 minutes and it's about what you achieve over 80 minutes.
I'm afraid England didn't play for 80 minutes and the best team won.
Wales wasted a lot of their best ball in the first half by kicking it to England.
In the second half they stopped kicking and started to run at England.
The defining moment was when Gavin Henson made that break - that gave Wales lot of confidence and they didn't look back.
Dick Best was speaking on BBC Wales' Scrum V programme

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Munich air disaster 6th February 1958

Manchester - a city 'United in grief'

By Paul Costello BBC News, Manchester

A city normally divided by football rivalries became "united in grief" in the hours and days after the Munich air disaster.
As news of the crash filtered back on the afternoon of 6 February 1958 stunned workers poured out of offices and factories desperately seeking the latest on survivors and fatalities.
People huddled together on the wintry streets as rumours spread rapidly.
The word soon passed around the city that Manchester United's plane had crashed on the way back from a European Cup game and that some of the much-loved players, known as the Busby Babes, had died.
But with hard facts difficult to come by, most slowly headed home to gather around their radio and TV sets.
Whether red, blue or uncommitted the city of Manchester was totally united in grief Author David Hall
As the Thursday night wore on, the realisation that the country's best football side had been devastated began to hit home.
Beryl Townsend, 70, a United fanatic who travelled all over the country to watch the Reds, recalls being sent home from her secretarial job in the city centre.
"I walked up Market Street to Piccadilly," she said.
"There were hundreds of people about like any normal rush hour, except it wasn't normal.
"Nobody was moving towards the buses and everyone was just standing around in little groups.
"The newspaper stands read 'United Plane Crash' but there were no other details.
"I went home to find out more but there was still no news on who had survived.
"I just stood there with my sister crying."
A crowd of about 20 "Stretford Enders" gathered at her home in the Ancoats area of the city.
"We were all stood there next to the TV and radio and then the names of the survivors and victims started to come through one after another.
"It was as if the heart had been wiped out of the city. Part of Manchester had gone because the Babes had gone."
'Sense of disbelief'
Other fans queued outside Old Trafford hoping to hear the latest on the night of the tragedy.
Some even waited outside the Manchester Evening News offices.

Geoff Bent, aged 25
Roger Byrne, captain, aged 28
Eddie Colman, aged 21
Duncan Edwards, aged 21
Mark Jones, aged 24
David Pegg, aged 22
Tommy Taylor, aged 26
Liam Whelan, aged 22

Eight Manchester United players were killed along with eight newspaper journalists and seven staff and crew - 23 dead out of a total of 44 passengers.

David Hall, author of the book Manchester's Finest, was an 11-year-old grammar schoolboy living in Wythenshawe at the time of the disaster.
His father broke the news of the crash in dramatic fashion.
"My dad burst through the side door into the kitchen and just said 'United have been wiped out'.
"I did not understand what he was saying - I couldn't take it in.
"It was difficult for everybody and there was just a sense of disbelief for days afterwards."
Boys at his school paid tribute by tying black shoe laces around their arms during football practice the following day.
Mr Hall said the city began a collective mourning process when the coffins of five players, three club officials and eight journalists were flown into Manchester Airport on the Monday.
He was one of more than 2,000 people who lined the route as the bodies were taken to the club's gym at Old Trafford on a "miserable winter night".
Manchester became a sombre place as a week of funerals then took place in the victims' villages, towns and cities.
"Whether red, blue or uncommitted the city of Manchester was totally united in grief. It was a Manchester tragedy, a football tragedy," Mr Hall said.
"City fans grieved as much as United fans did. They lost one of their greatest ever players in goalkeeper turned journalist Frank Swift - there was a sense of oneness in that."
'Wave of emotion'
A strong bond had been created by fans and players mixing together in the city and this heightened the sense of loss.
"A lot of them lived in digs close to Old Trafford and players like Duncan Edwards and Johnny Berry would cycle or walk to the ground with the fans on match day," Mr Hall said.
"They were approachable and went to the same cafes, pubs and dancehalls on a Saturday night."
The atmosphere was out of this world - Wednesday just did not stand a chance Fan Norman Williams
As well as mourning the dead, attention was strongly focused on the conditions of the injured survivors.
People listened intently to radio news reports as manager Matt Busby and players Duncan Edwards and Johnny Berry battled for life.
Thirteen days after the crash a makeshift United 11 took on Sheffield Wednesday in an emotional FA Cup fifth-round tie.
The front cover of the match programme read "United will go on" and on the team sheet, there were 11 blank spaces to fill in.
Norman Williams, a then 27-year-old postman from Openshaw, knew he had to attend despite having suffered a broken leg travelling to watch United beat Arsenal in a classic 5-4 match at Highbury.
He said: "I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Wednesday game.
"I was desperate to go despite having the broken leg.
"The atmosphere was out of this world - Wednesday just did not stand a chance.
"It was that wave of emotion from the fans that went onto carry the team to the final."

Story from BBC NEWS: 2008/02/06 03:56:43 GMT© BBC MMVIII

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No NO No No No

Fabio Capello has left David Beckham out of his first England squad. Do you think that he made the right decision?

Scots Stuffed in English and French.......

Told you so…… .. France gagner à Murrayfield

Posted in February 3rd, 2008 Déposé en février 3rd, 2008

by admin in France & the French , News from the UK

Par admin en France et les Français, Nouvelles du Royaume-Uni
Not one to gloat ~ but the Scots were stuffed.
Pas un seul pour me faire gloire ~ mais les Écossais étaient farcis.

The real surprise was how really poor the Scots were.
La vraie surprise fut vraiment comment les pauvres étaient écossais.

This is the way I’d describe today’s performance from them: Telle est la voie que j'avais décrire aujourd'hui les performances de leur part:

Poor Poor Poor Médiocre Médiocre Médiocre
Average Average Averge Moyenne Moyenne Averge
Dour Dour Dour Dour Dour Dour

Now the French let’s see what I can say: Maintenant, le français voyons ce que je peux dire:

Outstanding, inventive, skilful, Strategic, Courageous, Fast, Strong.

Suspens, inventif, habile, stratégique, courageux, Fast, Strong.

And what were the Scots again??? Et quelles sont les écossais de nouveau?

Dull Dull Dull Mat mat mat

The only exciting thing they did all afternoon was to head-butt an opponent ~ isn’t that a sending off penalty by the way.

La seule chose qu'ils ont fait passionnant tous apres midi était à la tête d'un adversaire-cul ~ n'est pas qu'un envoi par la pénalité.

Gorsein Boy Gorsein Boy

Enjoyment reigns in this part of France tonight. Jouissance règne dans cette partie de la France ce soir.

France the Brave. France Brave.
No Comments Aucun commentaire

Wales in Surprising victory against England.

WALES skipper Ryan Jones hailed his team's stunning 26-19 Six Nations win over England as the greatest day of his career.

Down 16-6 at the break and still trailing by 10 points with 20 minutes left, Wales ran in two tries to record its first win at Twickenham in 20 years.

"It's the most fantastic day of my career," Jones said.

"It was a fantastic effort and the win was thoroughly deserved. Even when we were 10 points down we had belief in ourselves.

"We came here with a small squad and we turned them over on their own patch," the No. 8 added.
Fly-half James Hook was named man of the match after nailing six out of six goal kicks and playing a crucial role in his side's first try.
Wales' last visit to Twickenham, before the World Cup, ended in a record 62-5 defeat and Wales' new coach, a proud Warren Gatland, said the significance of Saturday's scoreline could not be underestimated.
"The result is everything. It's a monkey off the guys' back. They showed a lot of guts and dug deep," he said.
But former Ireland boss Gatland admitted that, at half-time, hopes of Wales' first win at Twickenham since an 11-3 success in 1988, were in the balance.

"The first half was very poor," the New Zealander said. "The message before half-time was to hang in there and not concede again, play a bit of rugby and respect the ball. The pleasing thing was the longer the game wore on the stronger we got."

Shaun Edwards, who has a part-time Wales role, said the visitors' defence in denying England a second try, when hooker Huw Bennett got his arm under the ball as Paul Sackey plunged over, had been crucial.

"The defensive set in the last five minutes of the first-half was vital," said Edwards, whose team were rocked by Toby Flood's 23rd minute score.

"They only scored one try and that was from a kick. To concede only one try from a kick at Twickenham is very creditable."
Gatland, looking ahead to Wales' next match at home to Scotland a week on Saturday, warned fans against expecting too much too soon.
England coach Brian Ashton, whose team now faces a tricky task away to an Italy side that ran Ireland close before losing 16-11 on Saturday, was at a loss to explain his team's collapse.
■Under fire Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan admitted he was happy to accept winning ugly after his World Cup flop stumbled to a 16-11 Six Nations victory over Italy at Croke Park.
The Irish failed to build on a 10-3 lead in the first-half which brought back memories of their dreadful World Cup where they went out in the first round.

However, O'Sullivan insisted that the first match of every Six Nations was a tough battle. "In the context of the Six Nations I am happy enough to take this," O'Sullivan said. "Of course we wanted to hit the road running but, just as we did two years ago against Italy, and against Wales last year, we struggled. We won ugly and we dug this one out."
Gorsein Boy's take. Overall a great fight back from a team in the building. This will be a fantastic boost for Wales and a disaster for England and thir tried-looking coach. Early days for Wales but they are on the come-back trail.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Welsh Managers named....Manager of the Month...January 2008

Double delight for Martinez and Jones

Feb 1 2008 by Steve Tucker, Western Mail

CARDIFF CITY boss Dave Jones and Swansea City’s Roberto Martinez have earned a remarkable double honour for Welsh football by both being named Manager of the Month for January in their respective divisions.
Jones took the accolade in the Championship after guiding his side to just one point and one place off the play-off places.
And Martinez gained the same honour in League One after masterminding the Swans incredible run of form which currently sees them 10 points clear at the top of the table.
Last month Jones, who was almost booted out of Ninian Park after a slow start to the season, led Cardiff to three Championship wins and a good draw at West Brom as well as FA Cup wins at Chasetown and Hereford to put the Bluebirds into the fifth round for the first time since 1994.
Jones said he was delighted with the award seeing it as an indication he was doing something right while also heaping praise upon his players.
“I’m proud to win it really because it means we’re doing something right at least,” said Jones.
“The lads have been absolutely superb. Everything is starting to come together again now. At the moment everything is going really well, everybody is working hard and hopefully that will continue.”
Jones beat off competition from shortlisted Glenn Roeder of Norwich, Burnley’s Owen Coyle and Gary Johnson of Bristol City to take the prize.
Meanwhile, Martinez picked up the award for the third time this season.
In January his Swans side earned four league wins and two draws to cement their place as incredibly strong promotion candidates. The only blot on his copybook was the FA Cup defeat to non-league Havant and Waterlooville.
Martinez was also keen to share the award with staff and players and joked he hoped he would be winning it again in the months to come.
“It is another great accolade for the club, the coaching staff and the players,” Martinez told the club’s official website,
“It has been a very demanding month with the fixtures coming thick and fast, but the players have remained focused and maintained their high standards throughout. They deserve the credit more than anyone.
“They have raised the profile of the club yet again with this award, but they know they can’t lose focus. We have got too many games ahead of us to do that now.
“If we are up there challenging for another award come March, I’ll be even happier.”
Also shortlisted for the League One award were Keith Downing of Cheltenham Town, Sean O’Driscoll of Doncaster Rovers and Northampton Town’s Stuart Gray.
Chris Kamara, chairman of the Coca-Cola Manager of the Month Awards panel, was keen to praise both Jones and Martinez for their achievements.
“Dave Jones endured a difficult first few months of the season, but has really begun to turn things around in recent weeks, “ said Kamara.
“Since the turn of the year his Cardiff side have been in terrific form and all credit must go to Dave for the way he kept his composure during his side’s indifferent spell.
“The Bluebirds’ results in January have given them an excellent chance of mounting a serious play-off challenge over the final few months of the season.
“Roberto Martinez’s Swansea continue to enjoy a remarkable season in League One. They are the best footballing side in the division and month after month just keeping sweeping all before them.
“If the Swans can keep up their current level of consistency, it will be very difficult for anyone to stop them gaining promotion to the Championship this season.”
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Swans do well!

Swans cement their place at the top

Jan 26 2008 Western Mail

Doncaster Rovers 0-4 Swansea City

SWANSEA CITY sent out a huge signal of intent to the rest of League One an emphatic victory over in-form Doncaster Rovers.
The Swans have now not lost away from home since their defeat to Leeds United on the September 22 last year.
But Doncaster, themselves unbeaten in six and having lost only once in 17 before last night, proved their promotion credentials by making Swansea work hard for the win.
Victory cements Swansea’s position at the summit of League One and must now make them odds-on favourites for automatic promotion come the end of the season.
Rovers lost centre-half Steve Roberts midway through the second half, but were lucky to escape conceding a penalty for what appeared to be a certain spot-kick.
Swansea had to do without hard-working midfielder Darren Pratley for the crunch match, the ex-Fulham man was ruled out with a hamstring injury picked up in Tuesday night’s win over Crewe.
The 22-year-old will also miss next week’s vital tie against fellow promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest and next Saturday’s game against Oldham through suspension after picking up 10 yellow cards.
Jason Scotland returned after being rested for the home victory over Crewe as Swans boss Roberto Martinez moved to a 4-4-2 formation.
Doncaster midfielder Brian Stock, whose stunning free-kick earned Rovers a superb away win against Leeds United last weekend, was missing after contracting a virus in midweek. He was replaced by Martin Woods.
Both sides quickly looked to take full advantage of the fantastic Keepmoat pitch which seemed to be suffering no ill-effects of weeks of torrential rain.
Spaniard Guillem ‘Bussy’ Bauza, retaining his place in the starting line-up at the expense of Andy Robinson, was first to take advantage of Rovers’ high line across the back four.
He went on a fine run from inside the Swans half, but, after beating two defenders, his shot was poor and did not trouble Neil Sullivan in the Doncaster goal.
Bauza had two more half-chances in quick succession shortly after, the first coming after good work by Angel Rangel down the right flank.
Rangel drove the ball across the face of goal, but Bauza couldn’t turn his flick goal-bound and the chance was lost.
Soon after, Paul Anderson found Bauza on the edge of the box, but he blasted well over after a good first touch.
Swansea took the lead after 28 minutes and it was Anderson’s pace down the wing that proved to be the catalyst. The Liverpool loanee stole the ball from right-back James O’Conner inside the Swans half and sprinted 45 yards down the touchline before being fouled.
Referee Carl Boyeson let play continue as the ball fell to Jason Scotland, but he was hauled down under the challenge of two Doncaster defenders right on the edge of the box.
Up stepped Dutchman Ferrie Bodde to prove once again why he is so vital Swansea’s push for automatic promotion. The talismanic midfielder smashed a free-kick under the Doncaster wall to grab his fifth goal of the season and his second since coming back from a five-game ban.
The ball appeared to take a slight deflection off the side of the Rovers’ wall, leaving Sullivan stranded.
All of the Swans good work was almost immediately undone when former Swansea striker Jason Price headed home at the back post, but the Welshman’s effort was ruled out for offside.
The opening goal seemed to stir a bit of life into the home side and Swans had to endure a period of pressure as the half wore on. James Coppinger twice went close with free-kicks from 25 yards, but on both occasions the ball finished the wrong side of Dorus de Vries’ crossbar.
Gary Monk and Dennis Lawrence had to deal with a number of high balls into the box as Rovers attempted to make use of the height of Price and strike partner Mark McCammon, but the Swansea defence was well up to the task and the half finished 1-0.
Price was gifted the chance to grab an equaliser two minutes into the second half. Rangel failed to step out of defence, leaving Price onside with only de Vries to beat, but his first touch was poor and the Swans keeper was quickly out to close him down.
Within minutes Swansea had scored a second and again it was Bodde at the heart of the play. He found space in the centre of midfield on 51 minutes and threaded a ball through to Scotland, who was all on his own down the right.
The striker waited for the on-rushing Sullivan before unselfishly feeding Bauza in the middle of the box and he was left with the simple task of turning the ball into an empty net from six yards.
Swansea were denied a penalty five minutes later when Steve Roberts brought down Buaza as he raced through on goal. The Spanish striker appeared to be a full five yards inside the box, but referee Boyeson gave a free-kick on the edge of the area to the surprise of everyone in the ground.
Roberts was given a straight red for a professional foul, but it was scant consolation for the Swans when Bodde drove the resulting free-kick wide.
It would have been made even worse if Richie Wellens, who scored twice against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium in September, had been able to turn in his shot moments later instead of inches wide of the right-hand post.
There was never any chance of the league leaders sitting back on their advantage and Swansea continued to press the depleted home side.
Martinez brought on youngsters Joe Allen, Febian Brandy and the skilful Robinson as the Swans looked to capitalise on the one-man advantage.
It was Brandy’s pace that got Swansea their third goal, the Manchester United trainee was bundled over in the box by Gareth Roberts and referee Boyeson had no option but to give a penalty.
Roberts will think himself fortunate not to have been sent off, but Scotland’s cool sidefoot into the bottom corner was punishment enough for Rovers.
Brandy compounded Rovers’ misery in the fourth minute of added time when he latched on Scotland’s flick from a Robinson corner.

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Warren Gatland

Gatland ~ Coaching Wales to victory ~ but When ?????????

Gatland the key to Wales' Future

Gatland brings Kiwi battle plans to Wales

1 February 2008, 1:46 pm

Wales Coach Warren Gatland revealed he will use All Black secrets to beat England.
The former All Black hooker is plotting to end Wales's 20-year losing run at Twickenham tomorrow. And he has been handed intelligence reports from New Zealand coaches Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, both previous bosses of Wales, used to silence the English members of the 2005 British Lions.
Gatland said: "When I went back to New Zealand over Christmas I had access to the analysis files used by the All Blacks against the Lions.

"It was very interesting, especially the work they did on the key English players. Now I can pass that information on to our lads."

The All Blacks whitewashed the Lions 3-0 in the Test series, but neither Henry or Hansen guided Wales to victory at English rugby's HQ. Gatland, though, has lifted three Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup with Wasps at Twickenham.

Rugby Rugby Rugby

The six nations is about to start ~ a rugby feast!!!!!!