Arsenal cull begins as SIX backroom staff are given the boot

Six long-serving coaches and medical personnel are going — with head of medical Colin Lewin, a close sidekick of Wenger, the biggest casualty. Lewin has been at the club for 23 years and he was shocked to be told on Monday that his services are no longer required.

The others on the way out are first-team coach Neil Banfield, also with more than 20 years' service — goalkeeping specialist Gerry Peyton, fitness coach Tony Colbert and equipment manager Paul Johnson.

Neil Banfield (R) is one of six members of Arsene Wenger's backroom staff to be culled

The club's head of medical Colin Lewin (R), a close sidekick of Wenger, is the biggest casualty

Fitness coach Tony Colbert (L) and Boro Primorac (R) — Wenger's lieutenant — have gone too

Predictably, Boro Primorac — Wenger's close friend and trusted lieutenant — has also left. But Steve Bould, Wenger's assistant since 2012, and goalkeeping coach Jens Lehmann will be offered posts in the new set-up.

Arsenal are clearing the decks for Wenger's successor to appoint his own staff.

The axe fell on the day chief executive Ivan Gazidis moved to a new office at the training ground, where he is taking the role of kingmaker as the hunt continues for a new manager. 

The front-runners remain former players Mikel Arteta — currently right-hand man to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City — and fans' favourite Patrick Vieira, who is manager at MLS outfit New York City.

Julian Nagelsmann, who has excelled in charge of German club Hoffenheim, is another leading contender.

Financial restrictions at Arsenal appear to have ruled out moves for either of the early favourites for the job, Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri. 

Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is one of the front-runners to replace Wenger

Julian Nagelsmann, who has excelled in charge of Hoffenheim, is another leading contender

Juventus manager Allegri appeared to rule himself out of the running on Sunday, saying: 'I have a contract to honour. If they don't sack me, I'll stay at Juventus next year.'

Gazidis will consult director Josh Kroenke — son of chief shareholder Stan — and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat before making his move.

But the chief executive is clearly the leading figure in selecting who takes over from Wenger. Guardiola has said he will not stand in Arteta's way if the Gunners offer the job to their former midfielder.

Freddie Ljungberg, another ex-player, is set to return to coach the Under 23s. 

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May 14, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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	Sam Allardyce expected to leave Everton in next 48 hours

    Sam Allardyce expected to leave Everton in next 48 hours

    ract, will meet Everton's major shareholder in the next 48 hours and it is anticipated the outcome will be that Allardyce walks away from the position he accepted last November.</p><p>Allardyce has not built up any kind of rapport with Everton's supporters and the clamour for Moshiri to make change reached a peak when his team were soundly beaten 3-1 by West Ham in the final game of the campaign.</p><p>Sam Allardyce looks set to leave his role as Everton manager in the next 48 hours</p><p>Sammy Lee (left), Craig Shakespeare and Martyn Martgetson would all follow Allardyce out</p><p>Moshiri will arrive in the UK on Tuesday for a series of board meetings which will be crucial to determining the way forward for Everton this summer and while the Iranian billionaire admires Allardyce, he recognises the depth of ill-feeling toward him and knows change is required.</p><p>Similarly, Allardyce has grown weary of the constant criticism and has privately accepted the moment has arrived to move on. His departure will also signal the end for his backroom staff of Sammy Lee, Craig Shakespeare and goalkeeping coach Martyn Martgetson.</p><p>When asked about his long-term prospects during a programme on Sky Sports News on Monday night, he replied: 'Who knows what is going to happen next? The season is over. I'm going to have a meeting with Farhad and then I am going on my holidays.'</p><p>The departure of Allardyce will signal Moshiri's fourth search for a manager in the space of two years and firm target will be Marco Silva, the Portuguese who has been out of work since he was sacked by Watford in January.</p><p>Silva was initially Moshiri's prime candidate to replace Ronald Koeman last October but Everton's pursuit of him enraged Watford, who took legal advice. They blamed Everton for being 'the catalyst' behind his departure from Vicarage Road.</p><p>A huge summer of change beckons at Goodison Park, with Marcel Brands still waiting to arrive from PSV Eindhoven as the new sporting director. His acquisition will effectively spell the end for Steve Walsh, the current director of football.</p><p>It remains to be seen what happens with Wayne Rooney, too. He has an offer from DC United in the MLS and Moshiri would not stand in his way if he wants to leave. Allardyce confirmed, though, that the 32-year-old's future will be discussed in the next 48 hours.</p><p>Allardyce said: It's not in my hands now. It's moved on with the board and his representative, which maybe on Wednesday I think.' </p><p>Everton supporters stated their desire for Allardyce to leave the club at West Ham on Sunday</p><p>Allardyce revealed an update on Wayne Rooney's MLS switch is expected on Wednesday</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
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	NASSER HUSSAIN: Colin Graves is wrong to say children aren't interested in cricket

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    ou that most kids still love cricket. At a game on Monday, one of the lads waiting to bat shouted: 'I'm AB de Villiers!' He wasn't the only one.</p><p>I was also at the women's World Cup final last year with my daughter. The number of girls there to watch their new heroes spoke volumes.</p><p>So I disagree when Colin Graves says children aren't interested. What they're not interested in is turning up to Test cricket or the County Championship. But make the game short and snappy and all-action, and they still love it.</p><p>Young people are still interested taking up cricket but they need more chances to play</p><p>For me, the issue isn't so much whether it's 20 overs or 100 balls, because plenty of Twenty20 matches in this country lose play due to rain.</p><p>What's important is the quality of the facilities. If you're lucky enough to go to private school, the facilities are great. But not many state schools can keep up. That's what the ECB should be worried about.</p><p>The problem with kids' cricket for the boys is that when they reach teenage years, they don't want to be playing long 60-over games. For the girls, a sleeping giant has been awoken, yet girls have to tag on to boys' teams, which isn't fair.</p><p>Kids still love cricket. It's about giving them the best chance to play it, and the best chance to watch their heroes. The rest is window dressing.</p><p>ECB chairman Colin Graves is wrong to say that children are no longer interested in cricket</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • 
	England cricket chief Colin Graves has to go after outburst regarding younger cricket generation

    England cricket chief Colin Graves has to go after outburst regarding younger cricket generation

    efree days when the worst thing the ECB chairman ever did was get into bed with an American fraudster called Allen Stanford and allow him to hire out the England team.</p><p>Certainly Giles Clarke, who sold the soul of English cricket to a Texan devil in an attempt to keep up with the Twenty20 revolution, could be forgiven a wry smile when he sees what a total mess his successor has made of a similar aim.</p><p>Colin Graves's attempts to justify the ECB's rival to T20 - The Hundred - were so inept</p><p>Perhaps he thought that in speaking out against critics of The Hundred, which has been derided since it was revealed insipidly and clumsily, he would show firm leadership and convince doubters he knew what he was doing. He was wrong. Instead, he just revealed the shambolic state of the governing body.</p><p>Just look at what he said and consider it for a moment. 'The younger generation, whether you like it or not, are just not attracted to cricket,' said Graves. 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Oh, yes it is, roared English cricket's pantomime villain.</p><p>'Yes,' Graves told the BBC when asked if The Hundred was definitely going ahead in its proposed form. 'As far as we're concerned,' he added, 'as far as the ECB board is concerned, the new competition board is in place to virtually launch this tournament. We will build it and we will work with the players.'</p><p>The ECB's All Stars Cricket initiative announced that 50,000 kids had signed up to take part</p><p>The ECB are determined to provide new routes to draw more young people to cricket</p><p>The question remains as to whether the players will work with the ECB on a tournament that is meant to be taking place in just two years' time. They could easily derail it by refusing to take part. Especially now.</p><p>Daryl Mitchell, the players' union chairman who warned the ECB last week they would not have a competition without his members' co-operation, responded on Twitter on Monday when he said: 'He (Graves) should let Tom Harrison know then. That's not what he told us last week!' </p><p>Truly, it is difficult to remember a time when even the ECB were in as big a mess as this. It is as if every lover of cricket in this country is being disregarded in a bonkers attempt to locate a 'new' audience. One that does not like cricket. And the ECB's attempts to get their message across have been laughable.</p><p>Graves went on to admit that the controversial 10-ball over which, apparently, will bring brilliant tactical innovation to The Hundred, might not even happen. 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He should resign now and let people who know what they are doing sort out the mess that The Hundred threatens to create.</p><p>He should resign now and let people who know what they are doing sort out his mess</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
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	Former Olympic gold medalist Darren Campbell needed resuscitating 

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    scitated and is 'relieved to be alive' after suffering a serious brain bleed.</p><p>It emerged on Monday night that the 44-year-old was rushed to hospital last Tuesday after having a seizure at home.</p><p>The father of three, who won Olympic silver in the 200m in 2000 and 4x100m relay gold four years later, has since endured numerous seizures following his pituitary apoplexy and for a time needed a ventilator to breathe.</p><p>Darren Campbell had to be resuscitated after a brain bleed and seizures last week</p><p>'I nearly died,' he told the BBC, for whom he works as a pundit. 'You have to give thanks. That is how close it was.</p><p>'It's only when I see the fear in my kids' eyes that you realise. When they first told me I was on a ventilator, I didn't believe them. </p><p>'I've got other people filling in blanks. If you can't breathe by yourself, you are not in a good place. I have to be relieved as I nearly died.' </p><p>Campbell is scheduled to leave hospital on Tuesday.</p><p>'The doctors have said if I wasn't so fit, I wouldn't be here. I was always going to fight. As long as the doctors were fighting, I'd fight.' </p><p>He added: 'I'm not working this summer. I always work but I am taking time off. Each minute and moment I'm trying to take things in and give thanks. </p><p>Campell won gold in the 4x100m in 2004 and claims his physical health helped him survive</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • 
	Salford City boss Graham Alexander ready for 24/7 job as he takes reins under owner Gary Neville

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    rang. It was a number he did not recognise and so he let it click to voicemail.</p><p>The message was from ex-Reading defender, Class of 92 member and Salford City sporting director, Chris Casper. It asked him if he fancied meeting up to talk about football and an opportunity with the newly promoted National League club.</p><p>Alexander, who had taken Fleetwood to League One and whose last post, at Scunthorpe, saw him dismissed with the club in the play-off positions in the same division, did not see it going anywhere.</p><p>Former Preston and Burnley midfielder Graham Alexander is ready to step us Salford City boss</p><p>'It wasn't something I saw taking forward,' he reflects. 'But I thought it was polite to hear them out.'</p><p>The meeting took place at another Class of '92 venture, Hotel Football, in the shadow of Old Trafford. It soon became clear that this was not an opportunity to be scoffed at.</p><p>'They gave me the facts and figures about what it would take to get to where they want to go,' Alexander recalls. 'They were honest. There's no mistakes in what they say to you. Where they want to take the club and where they see me.'</p><p>The 46-year-old, who has more than 1,000 appearances with the likes of Preston and Burnley under his belt, is no mug. He sought assurances about resources, as Salford look for back-to-back promotions and a place in the Football League.</p><p>The 46-year-old (left) signed a four-year deal with the newly-promoted National League side</p><p>New manager Alexander will be assisted by ex-Bury defender and manager Chris Lucketti</p><p>'It was so in-depth because I had a lot of questions,' Alexander adds. 'I've learned in five years as a manager that you need to get as much info as you can.'</p><p>He liked the answers. 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That's great, you have to take it all in.'</p><p>Has he had any 5am emails from his new boss yet? 'Not yet.' Alexander says with a smile. 'Don't worry about that. Listen, It's not a problem for me. In this job, we work on very little sleep anyway. It's 24/7 so that won't be any different. Hopefully he'll get used to my 4am emails to him.'</p><p>Alexander will have to get used to all that comes with the Salford gig. This is the most-scrutinised club outside the football league and there are plans for another documentary following the success of the BBC's warts-and-all two series 'Out of Their League'.</p><p>Alexander is excited to work for an ambitious and driven owner in Gary Neville</p><p>The young manager claims he is 'under no pressure to do anything I don't want to'</p><p>'I spoke to Gary about it,' Alexander says. 'I'm under no pressure to do anything I don't want to. It won't be intrusive. I have come here to do the job properly and work as seriously as I always have and try not to have distractions. I am not here to be a TV personality - that is the last thing on my mind.'</p><p>All of that can wait. First up is a holiday he promised Karen and his children - son Callum, 21, and 19-year-old twins Kaitlin and Eden - they would not miss out on, not that he is expecting to do much sun bathing.</p><p>'It's Ibiza, but not the bit everyone thinks of! We've been the last couple of years. Last year the phone was non-stop. I was constantly walking down to the end of the garden. My family are well aware of that. 'There he goes, he's off again'. It's a big summer, it's a big step up. It's the first time Salford are in a national league.'</p><p>Alexander, who will be assisted by ex-Bury defender and manager Chris Lucketti, has already had texts from the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, wishing him luck. It is not his first interaction with the group.</p><p>The new manager is no stranger to 5am emails and is ready for a 24/7 job at Salford</p><p>'At Burnley we got to the Premier League and the first home game was against United,' he recalls. 'Me and Ryan were two captains and I remember him saying we were probably the two oldest captains ever. I think Gary was (the captain) at Old Trafford. We won 1-0 at Burnley. You can put that in there! I've not reminded him yet. Get my feet under the table first!'</p><p>You get the sense that there will be little time to do that. The club mirrors its owners and is ambitious. Neville confirms as much.</p><p>'Of course, we're going to try to get promoted at the first attempt,' he says, matter-of-factly. 'I could sit here as an owner and say, 'Oh, it's going to be very difficult to go up next year'. Of course it is difficult but when that first ball is kicked next season and I'm sat here watching us play whoever of course I expect us to win.'</p><p>Neville is a realist, but the winning mentality that saw him pick up 20 trophies has not left him.</p><p>'I don't think any newly promoted club has done it,' he adds. 'I think it will be the most difficult thing we've ever done to do it but no one is going to lose sleep if we don't do it. But as I stand here now is that the target? Yes absolutely it's the target. It has to be.'</p><p>Neville maintains his winning mentality and has targeted another promotion next season</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
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	Robin Goodfellow's racing tips: Best bets for Tuesday, May 15

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    1 May 14, 2018
  • 
	Jonjo Shelvey looks set for World Cup heartbreak with call-up unlikely

    Jonjo Shelvey looks set for World Cup heartbreak with call-up unlikely

    l-up from Gareth Southgate.</p><p>There has been a clamour for the Newcastle midfielder to be included in England’s squad for Russia after his impressive form in recent weeks. But while manager Southgate recognises Shelvey’s efforts, concerns remain about his temperament.</p><p>Southgate also wants a fitness update on Adam Lallana before finalising his squad. Liverpool’s midfielder played his first match since March as a substitute in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Brighton.</p><p>Jonjo Shelvey looks unlikely to win a shock World Cup call-up from Gareth Southgate</p><p>The England boss recognises Shelvey’s efforts, but concerns remain about his temperament</p><p>Southgate named his provisional 35-man party to FIFA on Monday — without telling those included. </p><p>He will announce his final 23-man squad on Wednesday, with Manchester United defender Chris Smalling and Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton likely to miss out. Swansea defender Alfie Mawson had a knee operation on Monday and is also out.</p><p>Meanwhile, Southgate has relaxed restrictions on players leaving the country on holiday before the World Cup.</p><p>Prior to Euro 2016 manager Roy Hodgson wanted his stars to stay home to prepare but Southgate insists he will treat his players as responsible adults.</p><p>Swansea defender Alfie Mawson is out of the World Cup after a knee operation on Monday</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • 
	Roger Osborne on the goal that gave Ipswich their only Cup final win 40 years ago

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    hrill and yet he was still deflated as he stepped out of the Wembley tunnel.</p><p>The roar of the crowd crackled through the speakers and his team of schoolboy footballers made the long climb up the steps and pretended to collect a trophy. </p><p>‘I thought, “Come on, can’t you make this more exciting?” ’ said Osborne, 40 years after he was launched from the cosy confines of a rural Suffolk backwater to world stardom.</p><p>Roger Osborne's late goal saw Ipswich beat Arsenal 1-0 in 1978 FA Cup final before he fainted</p><p>The emotional rush of his goal against Arsenal was so great he passed out fleetingly and had to be substituted as Ipswich Town defended the lead and won the FA Cup for the first and only time.</p><p>He was too polite, however, to interrupt the tour guide and volunteer his status as a bona fide Wembley hero. ‘Part of me wanted to,’ smiled Osborne.</p><p>‘I felt so underwhelmed. I wanted to say, “Look, you have to do more because there’s really no feeling like it in the world”, but I didn’t like to divulge who I was. I’ve always been quite anonymous.’</p><p>Only 13 minutes remained in the 1978 FA Cup final when Willie Young’s attempt to intercept a low cross from David Geddis set up the chance. </p><p>‘Bobby Robson had spent years teaching me to use my left foot,’ said Osborne. ‘There wasn’t a decision to make. Just keep it low — don’t put it over.’</p><p>He did exactly that, driving his shot low past Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings. Then he was engulfed by team-mates.</p><p>‘Quite embarrassing. It was a very warm day and a big heavy pitch. The fact was I’d scored and I was mobbed and for a while I didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t faint as such. It was the shock. If we didn’t have a sub, given a few minutes, I’d have carried on.</p><p>‘My story is that Bobby always took me off anyway. It was always No 7. I sometimes wondered if it was the only number they had. I was one of the lesser players. If I hadn’t scored I’d be the player you couldn’t name from the final team. Anyway, it gave me time to put my dentures in for the photos.’</p><p>It is the only cup final Ipswich have own to this date, Osborne passed out after celebrating goal</p><p>Osborne took an accidental route into the professional game. Working on a building site and playing non-League for Westerfield United, he would drive one of his brothers to train with Ipswich’s youth team on Thursday evenings. </p><p>One day, with injuries piling up, someone mentioned he was ‘half-decent’ and he was asked to train with the reserves.</p><p>From there, he played in the old Football Combination, performed well, earned a contract and made his first-team debut aged 22.</p><p>‘Ron Gray, the old chief scout, used to tell parents, “We had this boy who couldn’t run, couldn’t head and couldn’t pass, but he was a bloody good player”. I often thought that was based on me. I didn’t have pace and couldn’t head it. Work-rate was my big thing.’</p><p>Robson deemed him perfect for man-to-man duties and four years after his debut, he nullified the threat of Johan Cruyff, then the world’s best player, as Barcelona lost 3-0 at Portman Road. </p><p>‘I was determined not to let him do “the Turn”,’ said Osborne. ‘He tried it once and the ball ran out of play, so that doesn’t count.’</p><p>Ipswich lost on penalties in the Nou Camp, though an impression had been made. When Ipswich captain Mick Mills asked the Dutch star for his shirt, Cruyff insisted on giving it to Osborne. It now hangs framed on a wall inside the Ipswich School Sports Centre, where he works.</p><p>When Ipswich player Barcelona, Osborne had to man-mark Johan Cruyff who gave him his shirt</p><p>In 10 years from 1973-82, Ipswich finished in the top four seven times. They slipped out of the top six once, when they won the FA Cup, finishing 18th after flirting with relegation.</p><p>‘When we beat Arsenal it wasn’t a shock to us — for five or six years we’d been better than Arsenal,’ said Osborne. ‘After Liverpool, we were the best in the country.</p><p>‘Kevin Beattie was the most powerful centre half and Allan Hunter the most reliable. Mills was an England full back, George Burley was a Scotland full back. John Wark was one of the best midfield finishers in Europe.</p><p>‘Brian Talbot went to Arsenal, Clive Woods was a flair footballer who tore Pat Rice to shreds in the final, Paul Mariner was one of the country’s best centre forwards.’</p><p>Osborne has the ‘cheap-looking’ club jacket he wore to Wembley and the winner’s medal but donated his No 7 shirt to raise money for nurses who had been caring for his mother-in-law.</p><p>‘They asked if I had anything and I gave them the shirt,’ said Osborne. ‘I’ve got three boys and you can’t tear a shirt into three. They got about £5,500 for it and it went to a good cause.’</p><p>He cherishes photographs taken on the ‘Osborne Coach’ which transported his large family — he is one of 14 — to London for the big day. When he finally staggered back to his semi in Ipswich after celebrations in the capital and a civic reception in Suffolk, he found it bedecked in banners and blue-and-white decorations.</p><p>‘You can’t explain how big the FA Cup was,’ said Osborne. ‘Everyone converged on the town square and there were people hanging from buildings. It was so dangerous.</p><p>‘I’ve got newspapers from China and India reporting on the game. It was the biggest in the world.’</p><p>Ipswich have not won an FA Cup tie since 2010. In the season just ended, they rested first-teamers and lost to Sheffield United. ‘It’s one of my bugbears,’ said Osborne.</p><p>‘Put out a weakened team and it alienates supporters but win in the third round and you might get Man United.’</p><p>Briefly, the final changed his life. ‘It’s funny how they treat the Cup now with security men and you can’t touch it without gloves. I kept it overnight in my house, sitting on top of the telly.’</p><p>Osborne had an unconventional route to the top after being asked to play in Ipswich reserves</p><p>Once, on his way to show the trophy in Leiston, Suffolk, he popped into his old school in Woodbridge. The headmaster called an impromptu assembly and 500 pupils converged on the Cup. The clamour has abated but his place in Ipswich folklore endures, as proved by one encounter at the Wembley play-off final in 2000.</p><p>‘It’s ridiculous,’ recalled Osborne. ‘You’re trying to have a pee and hundreds of people are crammed inside the toilets singing, “There’s only one Roger Osborne”.’</p><p>He barely played for Ipswich after the final. An end-of-season cartilage operation forced him to rest all summer and then the wound became infected.</p><p>He was in hospital as Arnold Muhren, signed for £150,000 from FC Twente, made his Ipswich debut, then convinced Frans Thijssen to follow from Holland.</p><p>The Dutch internationals squeezed him out of the team but Osborne said: ‘I didn’t have an ego. I looked at it like all players should, which is that they’re the luckiest people on this planet.’</p><p>Professional football transformed his life. One day he was a non-League footballer who idolised Alan Ball, then he was man-marking the World Cup winner in the First Division, then he shared a nail-biting drive through Philadelphia when Ball scraped his car down the side of a tram when they both played in the US.</p><p>One day Osborne idolised Alan Ball (right), the next he was man-marking the World Cup winner</p><p>Before leaving Ipswich in 1981, Osborne had a spell on loan with Detroit Express and avoided a £70,000 transfer to Cardiff.</p><p>‘I didn’t want to live on the other side of the country,’ he said. ‘When Bobby Robson left the room I said to their manager Richie Morgan, “I don’t know if Bobby’s told you but I’ve still got a bit of trouble with my knee”. He said, “Thanks for being so honest”, and pulled out of the deal.’</p><p>Instead, he joined nearby Colchester and stayed until he was 36 before returning to non-League while working as a van driver.</p><p>‘I’d be up at 5.30am, pick up a load of tomatoes from a farm, take them off and unload them all by hand, then go somewhere else and do the same. I’d be home at 5.30pm and training at 6.30pm. I was doing a harder job than my team-mates but I just loved playing.’</p><p>Osborne played until he was 45, returning to Westerfield United where it all began and where he is now club president. Now 68, he has managed the sports centre of a private school near the Ipswich academy for nearly 20 years.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Racer Analysis: What&apos;s behind the NASCAR sale rumors?

    Racer Analysis: What&apos;s behind the NASCAR sale rumors?

    realistic possibility: the France family is exploring selling NASCAR, going so far as to meet with investment bank Goldman Sachs, according to multiple published reports.</p><p>The France family founded NASCAR shortly after World War II and through iron-fisted leadership, a broad vision and unwavering determination they fostered NASCAR’s growth from a regional stock car series into a national phenomenon. The popularity was such it once received $75 million annually in entitlement sponsorship money, generated television ratings rivaling the NFL, and saw tracks routinely packed with 100,000-plus fans, giving credence that NASCAR would soon ascend to the top of the sports hierarchy.</p><p>Those halcyon days are now long gone. Television ratings continue to freefall to where record-lows occur on a near-weekly basis, the three publicly traded companies that host NASCAR races have all reported sharp drops in attendance, and a host of high-profile sponsors have either scaled back involvement or completely pulled out.</p><p>Without a doubt NASCAR finds itself at a crossroads, and for the first time, the direction it heads next could be determined by someone outside the France family.</p><p>It is not a foregone conclusion that NASCAR co-owners Jim France, the one surviving son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and Lesa France Kennedy, the granddaughter of France Sr. and daughter of Bill France Jr., who ran the sport from 1972-2000, will sell a portion of their 100 percent ownership stake or divest themselves completely.</p><p>Recent events could merely be an act of due diligence in assessing what the company is worth, considering that their vast holdings include NASCAR’s three national divisions – the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series – assorted regional tours, the recently-acquired Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Series, the IMSA sports car series, and various tracks.</p><p>But enough smoke is billowing to suggest that this is something more, and the Frances are at least contemplating handing over the reins to a non-family member for the first time in NASCAR’s 70-year existence – a changeover that could benefit all involved.</p><p>Bill France Jr, a contractor, and Bill France Sr look over plans for Daytona, 1957. Image by NASCAR</p><p>“When you look at the trend lines for the sport, the current path is unsustainable,” Ramsey Poston, president of strategic communications firm Tuckahoe Strategies and a former NASCAR executive, told RACER. “Something different has got to be done with the sport.”</p><p>Whenever the question has arisen of whether the Frances would ever consider selling NASCAR, they’ve steadfastly expressed their commitment that the company would remain within the family. But amid a downturn that began in 2006, the writing is on the wall that new leadership is necessary for big-time stock car racing to retain a viable place in the sport’s landscape.</p><p>Tough decisions need to be made, and while the loyalty the Frances have shown to their longtime partners is admirable – especially pertaining to which tracks host Cup Series races – those ties may in fact be preventing the seismic shakeup needed to spark a rejuvenation. Perhaps unwilling to cut those bonds themselves, the Frances recognize that now is the time to let someone else dictate NASCAR’s future.</p><p>“There are some things that are done that have ‘always been done that way’ that maybe we can look at,” defending Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. said. “There’s definitely some opportunities for some things to change to help the sport, help the teams, help the drivers and help in general for everyone to be more healthy.”</p><p>Although on the surface the evidence suggests it is a less than ideal time to sell NASCAR due to the score of problems it is facing, a deeper examination indicates otherwise. An upcoming succession of monumental hurdles provides a potential buyer an enticing proposition where they have the opportunity to shape the sport as they best see fit.</p><p>In 2020, the Cup Series will need an entitlement sponsor to replace Monster Energy. That same year, NASCAR’s sanctioning agreement with its 23 tracks, and the charter agreement with its teams, also expire. And roughly around this time, NASCAR will have to open negotiations with Fox Sports and NBC Sports about its current television contracts that run through the 2024 season.</p><p>“2024 is coming in a hurry,” Poston said. “Every day that you get closer to the conclusion of that network TV contract, your bargaining hand potentially gets weaker. When you look at how difficult it has been to sell a title sponsor and now team sponsors, it’s better to act sooner than later.”</p><p>As these milestones in NASCAR&#8217;s contracts pertaining to sponsorship, tracks, teams and television approach, the timeline parallels a realization that the sport&#8217;s appeal to fans needs to be addressed.</p><p>“NASCAR’s decline over the years has been linked to many of the same issues facing all others running sports leagues or organizations, namely that consumption patterns are changing quickly, whether these be at-home or trackside,” David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Marshall Sports Business Institute, told RACER. “Led by millennials, fans are demanding that their favorite sports rapidly cater to their needs.”</p><p>Could an increased emphasis on road courses like Sonoma be part of a reinvented NASCAR? Image by Harrelson/LAT</p><p>Were a buyer to determine that the bloated 36-race Cup Series schedule needs trimming and a long overdue realignment of some dates – less races on intermediate speedways, a greater number of road courses and short tracks –- in order to cater to and re-engage disenfranchised fans, it would essentially have a blank slate upon which to do so. This gives the Frances some leverage in setting an asking price certainly north of $1 billion, but likely lower than the $4.6 billion Liberty Media paid to acquire Formula 1 in 2016, according to investment analysts RACER spoke with.</p><p>“There are likely potential owners surfacing that believe they can better address attendance woes and lagging TV ratings, especially suitors that can find additional and incremental ways to monetize the sport via emerging media platforms,” Carter said.</p><p>Because of the costs involved, only a select few have the necessary capital to pull off a deal. The most bandied-about name is Comcast, which not only sponsors NASCAR’s second-tier series, but is also the parent company of NBC Sports, which broadcasts 20 Cup Series races each season. Such interest further makes sense considering the telecommunications company needs inventory to program on NBC and NBCSN, and it is not far-fetched to think that instead of paying NASCAR $4.4 billion over 10 years for television rights, Comcast elects to cut a check for the whole pie.</p><p>Another conceivable scenario could involve the Frances taking on a partner: someone from the outside with fresh ideas, and who can maybe mitigate the numerous challenges related to television viewership while still allowing the family to maintain a controlling interest and have the final say.</p><p>There are a lot more questions than definitive answers at this point, though it is clear that major changes are on the horizon. And those changes may well include who charts NASCAR’s course through a turbulent present and an uncertain future.</p><p>Practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 starts on Tuesday, one day later than usual, then speeds through qualifying where bumping will (&#8230;)</p><p>Stefan Wilson will carry the names of 25 Indiana residents awaiting lifesaving organ transplants when he takes the green flag for the (&#8230;)</p><p>Only 10 drivers have led more laps in the Indianapolis 500 than Michael Andretti and, of course, they all made it to Victory Lane. He (&#8230;)</p><p>Formula 1&#8217;s rollout of its new on demand streaming service, F1 TV, got off to a rocky start at the Spanish Grand Prix due to (&#8230;)</p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most (&#8230;)</p><p>Team Penske Acura’s IMSA star Juan Pablo Montoya’s journey to the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours took a step forward today with the Colombian (&#8230;)</p><p>Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is not counting on his team being able to repeat the dominant performance it delivered at the Spanish Grand Prix (&#8230;)</p><p>Hollywood actor and TAG Heuer brand ambassador Chris Hemsworth will serve as honorary starter for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis (&#8230;)</p><p>NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter Katie Hargitt launches &#8220;Fuel The Female,&#8221; a new non-profit initiative designed to introduce more (&#8230;)</p><p> All contents copyright © 2018, Racer Media &amp; Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy and Terms &amp; Conditions. Racer Media &amp; Marketing, Inc., 17030 Red Hill Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614, 949.417.6700 Partner of USA Today Sports Digital Properties </p>

    1 May 14, 2018
  • Fulham 2 - Derby 0 (2-1 agg): Denis Odoi sends Cottagers into Championship payoff final

    Fulham 2 - Derby 0 (2-1 agg): Denis Odoi sends Cottagers into Championship payoff final

    play-off tie in three attempts, but Sessegnon &ndash; who turns 18 on Friday &ndash; put that right.</p><p>Sessegnon, coveted by several Premier League clubs, equalised on a night of high tension with a lethal finish and then it was his corner that Denis Odoi headed in midway through the second half that sent Fulham to Wembley to fight for the precious prize of Premier League football that they lost in 2014.</p><p>Derby were left to rue a string of misses and a fourth playoff failure in their last six attempts.</p><p>Slavisa Jokanovic, whose team went into the game a goal down from the first leg last Friday thanks to Cameron Jerome&rsquo;s header, made one change, with Aboubakar Kamara coming into his attack.</p><p>The omens were not that good for the Londoners, who had never won a play-off game &ndash; but then Derby had failed to go up from the play offs three times in the last five years.</p><p>Fulham&rsquo;s only previous appearance at Wembley so far was in 1975 FA Cup final when they lost 2-0 to West Ham. But then owner Shahid Khan, present at the Cottage last night, is in the process of buying the stadium.</p><p>Derby had tactically outthought Fulham at home and expected to be on the back foot again last night but then they were for much of the first game.</p><p>It was rumbustious stuff, as Andreas Weimann clattered into Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli right from the start.</p><p>But it was Jokanovic&rsquo;s team who created the first opening, as Kamara raced away out of defence with Derby caught short. His pass found Ryan Sessegnon unmarked in the middle but Scott Carson palmed away the teenager&rsquo;s shot.</p><p>Then Sessegnon and Aleksandar Mitrovic combined well but the Serb&rsquo;s shot was safely held by Carson. The first goal in this second leg was always going to be crucial.</p><p>Derby had claims for a penalty waved away as the lightning Ikechi Anya&rsquo;s cross found, Jerome, who went down under Matt Targett, but referee Chris Kavanagh waved play on.</p><p>Mitrovic&rsquo;s adept lay off then set up Stefan Johansen but his drive was a foot wide. Fulham&rsquo;s neat football, as ever, was giving them plenty of possession but Derby were stubborn.</p><p>Sessegnon though was starting to find space and his pass was sent fizzing just past the post by Mitrovic. The Serb was proving a problem for the Rams defence, unlike in the first leg when he was well shackled and, when he turned Curtis Davies again, his drive was just a foot off target.</p><p>The chances were coming, as Kamara cut in from the left and unleashed a ferocious drive that Carson could only flap away. The former England goalkeeper was keeping his side in it, as he tipped Ryan Fredericks&rsquo; dipping shot over the bar.</p><p>But the 32 year old bettered even that stop just before half time when he Targett&rsquo;s cross found Mitrovic hanging in the air six yards out to power his header downwards. Carson was falling the wrong way but stretched out his right arm to keep the ball out. It was an extraordinary stop.</p><p>But there was noting Carson could do about Fulham&rsquo;s eventual breakthrough, when it came.</p><p>Again Targett crossed from the left, Johansen chested the ball down, and there was Sessegnon in yards of space to control it, and lash his shot past Carson.</p><p>Derby now had to come out and play, and Bradley Johnson forced his way through only to see Bettinelli blocked his shot.</p><p>But it was Fulham who now had the bit between their teeth, as Mitrovic again turned and shot just wide.</p><p>The goal a jumping Craven Cottage had been waiting for finally came, as Sessegnon&rsquo;s corner curved in towards the near post, and there was Denis Odoi, leaping to loop his header over everyone and into the far corner.</p><p>Rowett threw all his subs on as Weimann headed just over, and Derby poured forward.</p><p>But they couldn&rsquo;t find that breakthrough to force extra time, as Fulham celebrated their victory and a date at Wembley.</p><p> See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive. </p>

    1 May 14, 2018

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