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The Times Sports — 6 January 2018

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Saturday January 6 2018
goes on
Chelsea coach
and Mourinho
hit out in bitter
war of words
g 4-7
- the Test
England attempt
to finish poor
Ashes series on
a high in Sydney
pages 14-17
V for
Virgil van Dijk scores FA Cup winner
against Everton on Liverpool debut but
Firmino and Holgate in ‘racism’ row
Pages 2-3
‘I’ve not
felt pain
like it’
Maro Itoje on
his return from
injury and his
leadership roles
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport FA Cup
Van Dijk scores
on debut to settle
ill-tempered derby
Milner 35 (pen), Van Dijk 84
Sigurdsson 67
The heated confrontation
Lallana went
down under
contact from
Oliver Kay Chief Football Correspondent
As the final whistle was blown, signalling a dramatic Liverpool win, all eyes
were on the £74 million man. Virgil van
Dijk, the most expensive defender in
world football, had just scored the
winning goal on his debut, but even
amid the wild celebrations, thoughts
turned to the fallout from this fierce,
frenetic FA Cup third-round tie.
This was far from the “friendly
derby” of Merseyside football legend.
Long before Van Dijk’s 84th-minute
goal, there was an ugly flashpoint
between Mason Holgate, the Everton
defender, and Roberto Firmino, the
Liverpool forward. After a flare-up on
the touchline, Firmino reacted angrily
to being pushed into an advertising
hoarding and shouted something at
Holgate. The Everton defender was
furious and, judging by the television
pictures, appeared to claim he had been
racially abused. Television footage did
not support the claim, but Bobby Madley, the referee, is obliged to include it in
his report to the FA. By 11pm, Liverpool
were issuing a statement that they and
their player would “co-operate with the
relevant authorities to ensure the facts
are established in a thorough manner”.
It was a chastening evening for Madley, the youngest of English football’s
Select Group referees, who took no
action against Holgate or Firmino. Six
minutes earlier Liverpool had taken the
lead through a James Milner penalty on
34 minutes after Adam Lallana, feeling
Holgate’s hands on his shirt, fell to the
ground in a theatrical manner. Jürgen
Klopp acknowledged it was a penalty
just as soft as that from which Everton
equalised when the teams met in the
Premier League last month, and felt
magnanimous enough to suggest that
Liverpool were lucky this time. Sam
Allardyce was less appreciative of the
He was frustrated that Everton’s
performance, an improvement on last
month’s 1-1 draw at Anfield, did not earn
a replay. Everton equalised midway
through the second half, a crisp shot
from Gylfi Sigurdsson after the home
team were caught cold on the counterattack, but Van Dijk’s goal, headed
home from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner at the Kop end, extended
Liverpool’s unbeaten run over their
neighbours to 16 matches in all competitions, the longest such sequence in the
history of this fixture.
More importantly, it took Liverpool
through to the fourth round and ended
Everton’s hopes of silverware for
another season. One of the ditties of the
night revelled in pointing out that Everton have not won a trophy since 1995. It
is true, but Liverpool’s cabinet has also
been bare in recent years. Since 2006,
they have a solitary League Cup
success to show for their efforts under
five different managers and Klopp
knows that, for all the progress made
under his management, the supporters
yearn for more than top-four finishes
and Champions League qualification.
Victory last night, against the backdrop
of Philippe Coutinho’s expected transfer to Barcelona, was crucial.
Klopp’s team selection reflected that.
In the absence of Jordan Henderson
(hamstring), Mohamed Salah (groin)
and Coutinho (Barcelona-itis) he
named the strongest line-up available,
including Van Dijk for the first time
since his record-breaking arrival from
Southampton. Allardyce turned to two
older heads, Phil Jagielka and James
McCarthy, and was rewarded with fine
performances from both.
The derby started out with some
forceful tackles and, unusually these
days, a willingness to dust themselves
down afterwards. The exception was a
wild, dangerous challenge from Wayne
Rooney on Joe Gomez in the seventh
minute. It left Rooney to walk a tightrope that he was in danger of falling off
when substituted early in the second
half. He looked aggrieved, but his frustrating evening could have been a lot
worse had Madley taken a less lenient
view of that early foul.
It was certainly fast and furious, but
the most pleasing aspect was that
Everton were willing to have a go.
Yannick Bolasie’s threat down the right
made for an entertaining duel with
Andrew Robertson. Sigurdsson and
even Jonjoe Kenny pushed forward to
join the attack, but Everton could not
quite get the final ball right.
Little was seen of Liverpool as an
attacking force until the 26th minute,
when Gomez picked out Milner, whose
side-foot volley flew across the face of
goal. That was a warning for Everton,
but perhaps not for what followed
seven minutes later. From Emre Can’s
first-time pass, Lallana controlled the
ball just inside the penalty area and was
looking to turn. He was held by Holgate
and responded — as so many players do
these days — by throwing himself to
the ground. Klopp felt it should not
have been a penalty, but Milner
brushed aside the protests to put Liverpool ahead.
Liverpool went in search of a second
goal early in the second half, threatening when Oxlade-Chamberlain sent
Lallana clear but, with Jagielka at his
heels, the midfielder shot just wide.
Just like last time, though, Liverpool
were caught cold by an Everton
counterattack. Bolasie carried the ball
forward and Ademola Lookman kept it
moving before picking out the unlikely
figure of Jagielka, who was charging
forward. Jagielka’s layoff was perfect
and so was Sigurdsson’s shot, hit first
time, in his stride, beyond a wrongfooted Loris Karius.
Van Dijk, though, was to have the last
word, rising above Jagielka and Jordan
Pickford to score from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner. The celebrations were
fervent, but now Liverpool must wait
for the fallout from what is alleged to
have happened earlier. As they know
from experience, these allegations are
to be taken seriously.
Liverpool (4-3-3): L Karius 5 — J Gomez 7 (sub: D
Solanke 77min), J Matip 6, V van Dijk 8, A Robertson 6
— A Lallana 6 (sub: G Wijnaldum 70), E Can 6, J Milner
7 (sub: T Alexander-Arnold 77) — A Oxlade-Chamberlain
7, R Firmino 6, S Mané 6. Substitutes not used D Ward,
D Lovren, R Klavan, D Ings. Booked Solanke.
Everton (4-4-1-1): J Pickford 5 — J Kenny 6, M Holgate
7, P Jagielka 8, C Martina 6 — Y Bolasie 7, J McCarthy 7
(sub: T Davies 86), M Schneiderlin 6, G Sigurdsson 7 —
W Rooney 4 (sub: A Lookman 52, 7) — D Calvert-Lewin
5 (sub: O Niasse 82). Substitutes not used J Robles,
A Williams, B Baningime, N Vlasic. Booked Rooney,
Referee B Madley. Attendance 52,513.
Team changes
Is he any
In the first of our
series profiling the
big January transfer
dealings, Paul Joyce
explains why Cenk
Tosun, the £27 million
forward, can be the
answer to Everton’s
attacking problems
Online at and on
The Times app
FA may act
Paul Joyce
The FA is set to launch an investigation
into allegations made by Mason
Holgate in which the Everton defender
claims that he was racially abused by
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino during last
night’s Merseyside derby.
Holgate reacted angrily following a
first-half flashpoint between the pair,
which began when he pushed the
Brazilian in the back, sending him over
the advertising hoardings and into the
Firmino veered towards the England
Under-21 defender as he ran back on to
the pitch and it was then that Holgate
exploded in response to something that
was allegedly said.
He had to be restrained by his teammates Phil Jagielka and Morgan
Schneiderlin before appearing to complain to Bobby Madley, the referee, who
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
that marred frenetic Merseyside duel
£74m man finds
perfect way to
be instant hero
said. He was, from the outset, cajoling
those around him, betraying the notion
that here was the new boy as he made
There was no Mohamed Salah or his presence felt even without the ball
Philippe Coutinho. No Ross Barkley or at his feet or in aerial duels.
Cenk Tosun either. But with so much
At Southampton, he was only conattention drawn to who wasn’t playing tent at the final whistle if his voice had
and the reasons why, the world’s most gone hoarse from barking out orders to
expensive defender took to the pitch those alongside him, and one of the
having found himself curiously over- attractions for Liverpool will have been
his ability to lead and to organise.
From now on, Virgil van Dijk and the
With a sprinkling of those qualities,
spotlight will be inseparable bedfellows Jürgen Klopp will believe his defence
and in the white heat of a Merseyside can cut out the glitches that check
derby which, at times, carried a sinister progress just when it seems his team
edge, he showed it is a focus that he is has finally shaken off bad habits. Yet,
not about to shirk.
even without so much as kicking a ball,
For a spell, as the neighbours went at Van Dijk would have come to realise
it hammer and tongs, the centre back the fervour — some would call it aggrawith “Virgil 4” emblazoned across his vation — which is part of life at Anfield.
back might have been weighed down
A week ago he stood as a statement of
not by his price tag but by the reality Liverpool’s intent. Now, with the club’s
that he had spurned the opportunity to stance over Coutinho’s future no longer
make himself feel right at home.
as trenchant, the landscape has
In the 63rd minute, Alex
shifted and the debate swirls
Oxlade-Chamberlain curled
over ambition again.
a pinpoint free kick on to
It is strange to say after a
Van Dijk’s head only for the
16-match unbeaten run,
Van Dijk’s goal was
£74 million
but Klopp, who revealed
his first since last
signing to direct a weak
he was not going to pick
season’s FA Cup
header at Jordan Pickford,
Van Dijk but changed his
third round, for
the Everton goalkeeper, Southampton against mind yesterday morning,
from eight yards. Having
needed a victory — even a
Norwich City
waited so long for his arrival,
hard-fought and gritty one.
the Kop would have forgiven him
Coutinho’s departure would
— though, in the end, they did not need weaken Liverpool in two positions,
midfield and the attacking triumvirate,
Time was running out when the and for a team ensconced in the top four
same combination linked up from a set of the Premier League and in the last 16
piece and, with Pickford enticed off his of the Champions League, there
line and into no man’s land, Van Dijk remains plenty at stake. The manner in
glanced an effort into an empty net. His which Liverpool struggled to penetrate
knee-slide celebration in front of the behind Everton’s back line suggests it is
Kop was a moment from his dreams.
a risk to take Barcelona’s cash and, with
“What a night,” he said. “It felt Salah also absent with a groin problem,
amazing to be out there, the goal is very the sense of toil was at times magnified.
special for me and my family. Playing at
Van Dijk was getting back into posiAnfield for Liverpool is a dream for tion when Everton launched the counevery player. To score a goal is even terattack from a Liverpool corner that
more special.”
briefly earned them parity. A first win
Everton manager Sam Allardyce’s here since 1999 remained out of reach.
pre-match mission statement — “the
There was a time last summer when
one thing we won’t be doing is playing Everton, flushed with the millions of
open, expansive football; Liverpool Farhad Moshiri, the majority sharewould play through us” — indicated holder, thought that they had a chance
this was never likely to turn into a of recruiting Van Dijk and teaming him
searching examination of Van Dijk’s up with Ronald Koeman, who had
defensive qualities.
brought him to Southampton.
Indeed, what struck initially was not
Koeman has long gone. Van Dijk
so much what Van Dijk did, but what he looks here to stay at Anfield.
Paul Joyce
Northern Football Correspondent
The game’s main flashpoint
came after Mason Holgate
pushed Firmino, sending him
crashing over the
advertising hoardings and
into the crowd, top and
centre. The Brazil striker
reacted angrily and Bobby
Madley, the referee, came
between the players, main
image. But Firmino made a
comment that incensed
the Everton defender, who
tugged at Madley’s arm,
above, as he tried to
confront Firmino.
after Holgate accuses Firmino of racism
was close to the incident, that he had
been the victim of a racist insult.
Madley immediately spoke to Jon
Moss, the fourth official, and, after
Liverpool’s 2-1 success in the FA Cup
third- round tie, spoke to Holgate again.
He will now submit his match report
from the game, including the incident,
to the FA who will decide whether to
look into it or not.
A Liverpool spokesman said afterwards: “The club and player [Firmino]
will fully co-operate with the relevant
authorities to ensure the facts are
established in a thorough manner if
deemed necessary or requested. While
the process is ongoing we will not be
making any other comment.”
Sam Allardyce, the Everton manager, refused to become embroiled in the
controversy afterwards. “I’m only interested in the football, not want happened with Firmino and Mason,” he
said. “I will definitely ask him [what
happened] and we will see where it goes
from there.
“I’m telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what
happened. I’m here to talk about football. Football is my life and anything
outside that has to be dealt with by the
“Even if I had or I hadn’t [spoken to
Holgate], I wouldn’t tell anyone in the
press conference. That is for other areas
of the football club. I have told the
director of football [Steve Walsh] to sort
that out.”
Walsh was in discussions with
Everton’s media team in the tunnel
after the match, but they left without
commenting on the fallout that overshadowed the 230th meeting between
the clubs. Firmino was not asked to give
a statement afterwards but the FA is
certain to launch an investigation.
“I heard about something but I can’t
say anything so far,” Jürgen Klopp, the
Liverpool manager, said. “I haven’t
spoken to anybody.
“From now on, the club will answer. I
don’t really know anything about it. I
misjudged that situation completely. I
thought it was about Holgate’s foul. At
the end there was no foul, no yellow
card, nothing. I didn’t get it.
“I didn’t understand the whole situation but I got information after the
game that something obviously
“The fourth official said something
to me. I never heard the words so I
thought they were going to investigate
the foul. That’s how I understood it.
“Then after the game the fourth official informed me, but it wasn’t that I
really got it [what was happening].”
Holgate also deleted his Twitter
account after the game.
With six minutes left, Van Dijk rose highest to head home a corner from OxladeChamberlain — a goal the Dutchman was able to celebrate in front of the Kop
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Football
Mourinho comes out
fighting after late win
Man United
Lingard 84, Lukaku 90
Derby County
FA Cup third round
Paul Hirst
José Mourinho shed no tears over
Antonio Conte as he delivered a
stinging rebuke to the Chelsea head
coach’s accusation of hypocrisy.
After Manchester United defeated
Derby County to reach the FA Cup
fourth round, Mourinho was asked to
give his opinion on Conte’s claim that
he suffered from “senile dementia”.
Conte had made those comments
earlier yesterday because he was
annoyed at the idea that the United
manager had called him “a clown” in his
pre-match press conference on Thursday for overzealously celebrating goals.
However, Mourinho insisted last
night that his criticism was not aimed at
Conte. “Honestly, I think the press
should apologise to me and him,” he
said. “I was speaking about myself and
then the question to the Chelsea head
coach was that I said he behaved like a
clown. I was saying I don’t need to
behave like a clown.”
It appeared for a moment that peace
had broken out between the two
managers but Mourinho then had a
controversial dig at Conte by bringing
up an old match-fixing charge.
Conte was cleared of wrongdoing in
May 2016 relating to a match-fixing
investigation while he was in charge of
Siena during the 2010-11 Serie A season.
“What has never happened to me is
match fixing and it will never happen,”
Mourinho said.
His comments are likely to infuriate
Conte, particularly as the former Italy
head coach was acquitted. They will
also do little to stem the flow of bad
blood between Chelsea and the United
manager, who have endured a rocky
relationship since Mourinho was
sacked by the London club in 2015.
Chelsea fans branded Mourinho
“Judas” when he returned to Stamford
Bridge with United last season. “Judas
is still No 1” Mourinho replied at the
time, pointing out that he is the club’s
most successful manager having won
the league three times.
Lukaku, who missed United’s previous game through concussion, sealed victory
in the 90th minute with his 15th goal of the season after coming on at half-time
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There was also a flare-up between
the two clubs last summer when
Mourinho persuaded Romelu Lukaku
to join United instead of Chelsea.
The £75 million striker scored the
second goal in last night’s win to send
United through to the fourth round.
The victory was far from routine,
though, with Jesse Lingard’s stunning
opening goal not arriving until the 84th
minute. United had a remarkable 28
shots at goal, but converted only two.
Derby, who are second in the Sky Bet
Championship, played well and Scott
Carson, the goalkeeper, performed
superbly, denying Paul Pogba and Juan
Mata from their respective set pieces
with acrobatic saves.
Marcus Rashford struck the woodwork twice and also missed an easy
header while Lukaku, Ander Herrera
and Pogba were also guilty of missing
straightforward chances.
Lingard’s strike, a fierce shot from the
edge of the area, ended Derby’s hopes
of a replay, however. It was his 11th of
the season and his fourth in his past
four games. “He is in a clear evolution,”
Mourinho said of the attacking
midfielder, who was once on loan at
Derby. “He’s comfortable in the
position he plays, improving with the
progressive style of the team which
makes him feel even more like a fish in
the water.
“He’s the opposite of Marcus because
Marcus scores unbelievable goals in
training and missed unbelievable
chances in games. I’m not worried with
Marcus because his moment will arrive.
Jesse won’t lose his stability. He’s
mature. He understands the game
Lukaku had refrained from
celebrating in recent weeks after
becoming the subject of criticism from
supporters following a series of below-
Tony Cascarino
on where to look
for FA Cup upsets
has been alarming of late,
and he knows that victories
in the Premier League are
far more important. Fulham
are a very dangerous team
— they have several flair
players and remind me of
Southampton a few years
Shrewsbury Town
(League One)
v West Ham United
(Premier League)
Newcastle United
(Premier League)
v Luton Town
(League Two)
Shrewsbury are having a
great season in League One,
lying second in the table
with ten home wins behind
them, and they have every
chance tomorrow. West
Ham had a very tiring night
against Tottenham on
Thursday, having also
played on Tuesday, and
David Moyes will put out a
reserve team.
v Southampton
(Premier League)
I think Mauricio Pellegrino
will see the FA Cup as a
hindrance today. His
Southampton side’s form
Nathan Jones’s Luton team
have scored seven goals or
more three times this
season and are the kind of
team who could cause a
shock, after recovering
from last week’s 4-0 defeat
away at Port Vale by
beating Lincoln on Monday.
par performances, but the Belgian flung
his arms in the air after turning home
Anthony Martial’s pass in injury time.
“He celebrated like that because
everybody wants to go to Dubai,”
Mourinho said, referencing next week’s
warm-weather training camp that
would have been truncated had a replay
been added to United’s schedule. “We
want a week of good training and good
facilities. We go on Monday.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan seemed to do
little to help his long-term prospects at
United with another poor display that
involved one woeful cross and two misplaced passes, one of which resulted in
a counterattack for Derby which Sam
Winnall nearly finished.
Mourinho said that he was too harsh
on Mkhitaryan by replacing him at
half-time with Lukaku. “It was unfair,”
Mourinho said. “I didn’t like what I did.
He played well. My feeling was that
Rashford is not going to score a goal
and because of that I’m not going to
lose time and I needed Romelu so
sacrificed Mkhitaryan.”
Derby showed why they are fighting
for promotion by applying a considerable amount of pressure to the United
goal in the first half. Sergio Romero, the
United goalkeeper, had to fling himself
up in the air to tip Marcus Olsson’s
headed effort over the bar and Alex
Pearce put a free header wide from the
resulting corner. Tom Huddlestone’s
deflected shot only just flew over the
United net after the restart.
“The lads worked incredibly hard
and had to against a star-studded lineup,” Gary Rowett, the Derby manager,
said. “When we exerted pressure I
thought we caused Manchester United
uncomfortable moments.
“I think it was a more important
game for Man Utd than it was or us.
We’re second in our league and that’s
our only focus really.”
6 Conte goes on the attack, pages 6-7
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): S Romero 7 — V Lindelof
7, C Smalling 6, D Blind 6, L Shaw 7 — A Herrera 7,
P Pogba 6 — J Mata 7 (sub: A Martial 67min, 7),
H Mkhitaryan 5 (sub: R Lukaku 46, 5), J Lingard 6 —
M Rashford 5 (sub: M Fellaini 80).Substitutes not used
J Pereira, M Darmian, M Rojo, S McTominay.
Derby County (4-2-3-1): S Carson 8 — A Wisdom 7,
R Keogh 7, A Pearce 7, M Olsson 7 — G Thorne 7,
T Huddlestone 7 — J Russell 7 (sub: J Hanson 78),
T Lawrence 8 (sub: M Bennett 81), A Weimann 7 —
S Winnall 7 (sub: M Vydra 67, 7). Substitutes not used
J Mitchell, R Martin, C Baird, D Nugent.
Referee K Friend.
Rescue act: Lingard helped to spare
This could be tricky for
Newcastle today even
though they are at home.
Three-match ban for
v Swansea City
(Premier League)
Gary Jacob
Wolves are a division below
but a win for them today
wouldn’t be much of a
surprise. It’s hard to see
how Swansea will progress
— they were very lucky to
beat Watford last Saturday.
Wolves have such a big lead
in the Championship that
you would hope they will
play a strong team. The
excitement at Molineux is
the highest it has been for
Arsène Wenger has been given a threematch touchline ban for his conduct
towards match officials and will have to
sit among Chelsea supporters during
Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final first
leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Arsenal manager’s punishment
is more severe than the one-match
stadium ban that he might have
expected after he admitted a charge of
abusing match officials and questioning the integrity of referee Mike Dean
after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with West
Bromwich Albion. Dean awarded an
89th-minute penalty after Kieran
Gibbs kicked the ball into the arm of
Calum Chambers from a yard away.
The Frenchman, who was also fined
£40,000, did not request a personal
hearing yesterday.
Wenger responded to the charge on
Thursday hoping that any punishment
might be served in its entirety against
Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third
round tomorrow. However, the touchline ban will include the game against
Chelsea and the league match away to
Bournemouth a week tomorrow.
It will be the second consecutive
season that Wenger will have to sit
among Chelsea fans in a block beside
the corporate area at the top of the East
Stand at Stamford Bridge, having
served the third of a four-match ban
there in February. Usually a manager
would sit in the directors’ box in such
circumstances, but those seats are on
the opposite side of the ground to the
dugouts and dressing rooms, meaning
it would be impractical for Wenger to
walk around the stadium after he gives
his pre-match and half-time talks.
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
Matt Hughes Football Notebook
Van Dijk fee
will not lead
to spend big
Team changes
Man Utd
outhampton fans hoping for a
spending spree this month
after the £74 million sale of
Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool
are going to be disappointed
as the club’s initial windfall from their
record transfer deal will be less than
£17 million. Although Southampton
are guaranteed to receive £70 million
for Van Dijk, with a further £4 million
due in bonus payments if the Holland
defender meets certain performance
targets, the way the transfer has been
structured means that Liverpool’s
payments will be made in three equal
instalments over the next three years
beginning with a £23.3 million downpayment this month.
Southampton’s cash flow will be
further limited by the fact that Celtic’s
sell-on fee for Van Dijk — 10 per cent
of Southampton’s profit on a player
they paid £11.5 million for three years
ago — is due immediately, so almost
£6 million of Liverpool’s initial
payment will go to Celtic Park. In
addition agent fees must also be
settled immediately, leaving
Southampton with a limited transfer
kitty as Mauricio Pellegrino aims to
overhaul a squad that is only above
the relegation places on goal
difference. Southampton are
planning to reinvest all the Van
Dijk money into the playing
squad, but will have to do so over
several transfer windows.
Wilshere’s terms
United’s blushes and broke Derby’s resistance with a fine late strike last night, against the club he once played for on loan
ack Wilshere will have to
accept a contract with a
significant performancerelated element if he wants to
stay at Arsenal. The 26-yearold’s basic salary is around
£100,000 a week and the
club are unwilling to
award him an increase
given his injury
record, although they
will give him the
opportunity to boost
his earnings with
additional appearance
and bonus payments in
the new deal that they are
preparing. Arsenal have
yet to open talks with
Wilshere over a new contract, but
with the midfielder having impressed
Arsène Wenger enough to play every
minute in Arsenal’s past six Premier
League games, the club are expected
to speak to his representatives after
this month’s transfer window.
Tosun rise costs Everton
verton’s desperation to sign Cenk
Tosun at the start of the transfer
window saw them increase their
offer for the Turkey striker by almost
50 per cent during the course of the
negotiations. The club thought that
they had agreed a deal with Besiktas
of an initial £18 million plus £4 million
in add-ons last month, but the fee for
the 26-year-old had risen to
£27 million by the time the transfer
was completed this week.
Parish stuck in traffic
teve Parish would be advised to
review his travel arrangements
before Crystal Palace’s FA Cup tie
away to Brighton & Hove Albion on
Monday evening. The Palace
chairman spent 90 minutes trying to
get out of the car park at the Amex
Stadium after the club’s Premier
League meeting in November, which
is somewhat ironic given the
complaints that he has received from
away fans over the years about
Selhurst Park’s supposedly poor
transport links.
Paying tribute to Pelé
teve Hunt, a little-known winger
with the distinction of being one
of few Englishman to have played
alongside Pelé, will pay tribute to the
game’s greatest player when he is
honoured by the Football Writers’
Association (FWA) at the Savoy
Hotel on January 22. Hunt, a
former Aston Villa and
Coventry City winger who
spent two seasons with
Pelé at the New York
Cosmos in the Seventies,
has been booked to
speak along with Cliff
Jones, the former
Tottenham Hotspur
winger whose Wales team
were beaten by Pelé’s
Brazil in the 1958 World
Cup quarter-finals, former
England goalkeeper Gordon
Banks and Gareth Southgate,
the England manager. The
FWA has chosen Pelé as the
recipient of its annual
tribute award to mark the
60th anniversary of his first
World Cup appearance in
Sweden in 1958.
Wenger after abusing match officials Home is where Hart is
Forest offer Arsenal
manager hospitality
Nottingham Forest FC @NFFC
Mr Wenger, if you’d like to
upgrade your stand ticket to a
hospitality package then you can do
so by following this link. #NFFC
Wenger could be hit by two further
charges in relation to comments made
in the press conferences before and
after Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with
Chelsea in the league. He suggested
that it was not the first time Arsenal had
been unfairly penalised this season and
that Dean “saw what he wanted to see
and we have to deal with that”.
After the match, Wenger was
incensed about a penalty awarded to
Chelsea when Eden Hazard went down
after being kicked by Héctor Bellerín.
He has been asked by the FA to explain
his comments that “statistically it’s built
on the fact that when it’s repeated, it’s
not coincidence”.
Speaking yesterday before his ban,
Wenger insisted that Hazard made the
most of the challenge and conceded
that Jack Wilshere could have been
booked for diving on the edge of the
area. “I respect everybody’s opinion but
I think it was a yellow card for Hazard,
100 per cent,” he said. “Yes, maybe [Wilshere] did but why should that change
my opinion on the penalty? It’s got
nothing to do with it. Every situation is
different and has to be assessed by the
referee. After that, you have your opinion and I have mine. I’ve been in the
game long enough to know that everybody can have a different opinion.”
He said that he also stuck by his
comments about Dean’s decisions. “I
maintain what I said in the press conference, 100 per cent,” he said. “I have
nothing to change in that. Nothing has
“I’ve been in England for 21 years and
I’ve tried to serve this game with honesty, integrity — and when I have
something to say, I say it. On that front,
nothing will change. Never.”
Alyson Rudd
For Joe Hart, it will be the rebirth he
never expected being required of him.
Tomorrow the West Ham United goalkeeper will return to his home town of
Shrewsbury, reinstated to first-team
duties for the third round of the FA Cup.
The narrative was supposed to be
very different. Had Hart maintained
the form that prompted West Ham to
sign him on loan last summer, he might
have been rueful, if understanding, that
David Moyes opted to rotate his goalkeepers and use Adrián in a rejigged XI
to face Shrewsbury Town, of League
One. Instead, having been dropped by
Moyes, the England goalkeeper is the
one grasping at the chance to prove his
worth against the club with whom he
began his career.
Moyes attempted to play down the
significance of his team selection but as
soon as he did so, issued a reminder that
Adrián was once again superb against
Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday. The
message may be that the West Ham
manager will turn again to Hart, and
not just in the cup, but it is increasingly
difficult to see why Moyes would drop
the impressive and confident Adrián.
“Joe will play on Sunday, but Joe will
play a lot of Premier League games this
season as well,” Moyes said.
Asked how Hart was coping with life
as a No 2, Moyes revealed that he was,
understandably, far from content. “I am
sure he is not overly happy with it, but
Joe is a top professional,” Moyes said.
The cup tie has extra significance for
Moyes, who lost to Shrewsbury while
manager of Everton in 2003.
“I have got to say it was certainly one
of my darkest nights,” Moyes admitted.
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Football
Conte goes on the attack
6 Chelsea head coach says ‘old’ Wenger should accept refereeing decisions
6 Distances himself from the £15 million signing of midfielder Barkley
James Gheerbrant
Will Barkley fit in at Chelsea?
After weeks of docile, drowsy press
conferences in which he has largely
borne the insults of other managers
and the pressures of a faltering title
defence with good grace, Antonio
Conte finally snapped yesterday.
In an astonishing scattergun attack,
Conte implied that José Mourinho was
going senile; called Arsène Wenger an
“old coach” who needs to accept
refereeing decisions with more grace;
distanced himself emphatically from
the signing of Ross Barkley and the
pursuit of Andy Carroll; and declared
himself “ready to fight” anyone who
criticises him or his squad.
It was a measure of the extraordinary
volatility of Conte’s broadside that, in a
conference ostensibly to preview
Chelsea’s FA Cup tie away to Norwich
City today, the word “Norwich” was not
mentioned once. Earlier this season,
Gary Neville warned The Times of
“something simmering . . . a potential
volcano waiting to blow” among the
managers at the top of the Premier
League. It looks like Stromboli just
On the day that Chelsea announced
the £15 million signing of Barkley from
Everton on a five-and-a-half-year deal,
that news was shunted spectacularly
from the top of the agenda. Most
explosive were Conte’s comments
about Mourinho, who on Thursday
criticised coaches who “behave as a
clown on the touchline” in remarks that
were widely interpreted as an attack on
Conte and Jürgen Klopp.
“I think he has to see himself in the
past, maybe he was speaking about
himself in the past,” Conte said. “Sometimes I think someone forgets what
they said in the past . . . his behaviours.”
Lapsing into Italian and tapping his
head to illustrate his point, he then said:
“Sometimes I think there is demenza
senile [senile dementia] when you
forget what you do in the past.”
Although Chelsea later insisted he
had intended to say “amnesia”, the
meaning was clear. Conte then trained
his sights on Wenger, irked by the
Arsenal manager’s assertion that
Chelsea benefited from a “farcical”
penalty decision in the 2-2 draw
between the clubs on Wednesday and
that Eden Hazard dived.
“I think if Arsène Wenger watched
the game again, [he’d] understand he
was very lucky during the game for ref-
The system Conte used to win the title.
Would give him a free role, but he’d
have to force out Willian and Pedro
Used in big European and league games.
But, for defensive reasons, Bakayoko or
Drinkwater are likely to be preferred
Barkley would be either one of three
forwards or a wide man – not his
strongest positions
Azpilicueta Christensen
ereeing decisions,” Conte said. “Wenger
tries to find this way like other coaches
and it is not good. You have to accept
the decision. He is an old coach. He has
experience, he won a lot, but he has to
continue to do what he did in the past.”
Days ago Conte was extolling the
calming benefits of yoga, but it became
evident that no amount of downwardfacing dog had been able to defuse the
frustration that has been building at the
behaviour of other managers.
“I am not prepared like other persons
to make a cinema,” he said. “There are
other persons who prepare to have a
cinema in the press conference, before
the game and during the game. I’m not
this type of person. In my one year and
a half [at Chelsea], I never talk about
other coaches or if I did, only to make
compliments. But I am starting to be a
bit annoyed. People who know me well
in Italy [know] if you want to go fight
with me, I am ready. I’m ready to fight
for me, my players, the club — with
Barkley’s fee is a sizeable saving on
what Chelsea would have paid Everton
last summer, when they had agreed a
£30 million deal plus add-ons, though
the player Conte described as “complete” would have been out of contract
in July. It is understood the midfielder
will earn between £150,000 and
£200,000 a week.
“He has it all,” Conte said. “He has
stamina, strong physically, good technique. He is a modern footballer.”
But Conte also delivered a thinly disguised swipe at the club’s transfer business, implying that some of their other
targets are “last . . . on the list” of desirable signings, amid rumours linking the
club with Carroll, the West Ham United
striker. “I gave my opinion to the club
but the club then decide the players we
can buy or we can sell,” he said.
“Recruitment is not my job. The club
try to do the best to improve this team.
I am a coach and I give my opinion if the
club ask me, but it is the club who decide
if the players arrive here.
“Sometimes the club can make you
happy, sometimes not, but it doesn’t
change for me. I like to tell the club
which role we can improve, which is the
prospect and the characteristics of the
players I need. Then the club try to help
me and there is one list, two lists, three
lists and sometimes you can take the
first name and sometimes the last name
on the list. But, for sure, when you take
a player that is the first on the list the
improvement will be better.”
Conte also played down — but did
not entirely dismiss — reports that he
could leave Stamford Bridge at the end
of the season. “I think that we are living
a lot of stories about myself this season,
but as you know very well this is the
history here,” he said. “This season
[there is] a lot of speculation about
myself but it is normal when you are an
important coach.”
Barkley, 24, has not played a game
this season because of a hamstring
injury. He will take the No 8 shirt at
Chelsea, previously worn by Frank
Lampard and Oscar.
“To be given a fresh start at a new
club like Chelsea, it’s unbelievable for
me,” Barkley said. “I’m looking forward
to continuing where I left off at the end
of last season and hoping to improve
and add more goals to my game.”
Chelsea hit by fresh stadium delay
Matt Hughes
Deputy Football Correspondent
Chelsea’s stadium redevelopment plans
have been hit by a further delay, with
the projected date for moving out of
Stamford Bridge being put back to 2021.
The club were hoping that their rebuilt stadium would open for the start
of the 2021-22 season when the design
was revealed three years ago, but delays
in their planning application and
infrastructure work mean that it will
not be ready until 2024 at the earliest.
Chelsea officials told a fans’ forum in
November that the club would spend
“at least two further seasons here [at
Stamford Bridge] after this one” and
it is understood that they are now
planning to stay at their present home
for another three years. The Times
revealed in May that Chelsea’s movingout date had slipped to 2020 and it has
since been put back by another year
because of the complex nature of the
pre-demolition work required, which
involves acquiring small pieces of land
next to the ground and obtaining a
succession of planning permissions.
The delay will not necessarily affect
the construction phase of the process
as Chelsea are planning to begin
demolition work while still playing at
Stamford Bridge. Under the terms of
the planning permission granted by
Hammersmith & Fulham Council in
January 2017, the club have three years
from that date to begin demolition.
Chelsea estimate that the building
work will take three years, but the scale
of the project means that it could take
four, leaving the summer of 2024 or
2025 as the most likely opening dates.
The club have spent much of the past 15
years under Roman Abramovich
attempting to expand Stamford Bridge
or relocate to a new site, a process that
has been fraught with difficulty.
An independent study in 2012
concluded that it was “not feasible or
viable” to redevelop the existing stadium, so it was a surprise when Herzog
& de Meuron’s plans were unveiled
three years later. The project has run
into problems, with The Times revealing last month that the cost has
spiralled from an initial estimate of
£500 million to more than £1 billion.
Chelsea have yet to finalise where
they will play during their absence from
Stamford Bridge, with Wembley their
preferred option ahead of Twickenham
and the London Stadium.
Ross Barkley created
more chances than any
other English player in
the Premier League
last season
Making a new start: Barkley signed for Chelsea yesterday on a five-and-a-half
Palace keen to buy Loftus-Cheek
Jon West
Roy Hodgson wants Crystal Palace to
sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek permanently
if Ross Barkley’s arrival at Chelsea
means that the midfielder is for sale.
Loftus-Cheek, 21, is on a season-long
loan at Palace and the signing of
Barkley from Everton may further
block his path to Chelsea’s first team.
Speaking before Barkley’s £15 million
transfer on a five-and-a-half-year
contract, Hodgson said: “The way
Ruben has been playing for us, he is a
player we would like to have at our club.
“We are very impressed with him,
and delighted with the way he has
developed as a player during his time
here. I am pretty sure if he were available for sale, we would be in there with
our hands up as a potential buyer. But it
could well be that Chelsea would want
both Ross Barkley and Ruben LoftusCheek in their team. I wouldn’t mind
both of them in my team.”
The Palace manager, who is also keen
on a £4 million deal for the Ipswich
Town goalkeeper, Bartosz Bialkowski,
reiterated that Wilfried Zaha, who has
been linked with Chelsea, Manchester
City and Arsenal, is not for sale.
“People who make offers for Wilf are
basically wasting their time,” Hodgson
said. “I have it on very clear authority
from the chairman and the owners of
the club that we have no interest in
selling Wilf Zaha. Quite the opposite.
“So I would advise people who are
thinking about making offers to save it
because they are going to be turned
away. They might just be wasting the
price of a phone call.”
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
against ‘senile’ Mourinho
Everton were outmanoeuvred – now
Barkley must grasp his opportunity
Henry Winter
Chief Football Writer
year deal and will take the No 8 shirt, previously worn by Lampard and Oscar
Everton have been spectacularly
ambushed. Even with his contract
running out, and probably a month
from full fitness, Ross Barkley is an
absolute steal at £15 million, even with
handsome add-ons.
This is a deal that seems to have no
potential downside for Chelsea. Having
acquired the England midfielder on
a five-and-a-half-year contract, they
could flip him this summer and laugh
all the way to the bank. If their new No 8
settles and contributes, demonstrating
his undoubted talent consistently,
Chelsea are laughing anyway.
Everton will doubtless debate
internally why they didn’t get Barkley
to re-sign, or sell him with two years
remaining on his deal, and not allow
themselves to be outmanoeuvred by
the player, his agent and then Chelsea.
That delayed signing after his
hamstring injury in the summer has
alone cost the club about £20 million.
Even when Everton endured a difficult
visit to Stamford Bridge in August, they
weren’t as outplayed as this.
Antonio Conte’s comments yesterday, seemingly distancing himself from
the signing, saying that it is the club
who decide “who to sell or who to buy”,
caused a stir. Could Barkley be swapping the physios’ table at Finch Farm
for the substitutes’ bench at the Bridge?
Yet such is the turnover of coaches at
Chelsea that players tend to sign for the
club, as much as the man in the dugout.
Even if Barkley is not to Conte’s tastes,
the player has to train so hard,
concentrate ceaselessly and deliver in
games that the Italian has to pick him.
At his best, and fit, Barkley is an
entertainer who possesses a fearlessness, touch and ability to dribble
through the middle not seen by an
English player since Paul Gascoigne’s
days. Conte’s squad needs deepening
anyway, and the team needs the
particular quality that Barkley brings,
running with the ball and shooting
Puncheon to stand trial for assault
Alyson Rudd
Jason Puncheon’s season went from
bad to worse after he was ordered to
stand trial in June for an alleged assault
on a security guard at a nightclub.
The Crystal Palace midfield player,
already sidelined for the rest of the
season because of the damage that he
sustained to his cruciate knee ligament
during his side’s draw against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, entered notguilty pleas to charges of causing fear or
provocation of violence, common
assault and a section-four public-order
offence when he appeared at Guildford
magistrates’ court yesterday.
Puncheon, 31, had to attend court on
crutches because of the injury he
suffered when fouling Kevin De
Bruyne in the closing stages against
City. The prosecution told the court
that he was captured on CCTV swinging his belt outside a nightclub in
Reigate, Surrey, on December 17.
“At that stage it doesn’t appear the
belt connects with anybody,” Darren
Matravers, prosecuting, told the court.
“By committing that act he effectively is causing the fear of immediate
violence and hence the section-four
public-order charge against him.
“He walks away, then returns to the
group still with the belt in his hand and
again he swings the belt and the second
time the belt buckle is at the free end
and that connects with the back of the
victim’s head who has been identified as
Paul Mendy, a member of the security
staff at the location.
“Fortunately he wasn’t injured after
receiving the blow to the head.”
Police officers attending the incident
reported that the player continued to
use “aggressive behaviour”, Matravers
Gary Bloxsome, defending, told the
court that the full picture of the events
had not been presented and that it had
not seen “the defendant being picked
“What we are being given is a snapshot as to what the Crown said was his
conduct,” Bloxsome said. “What we
need to look at is what was happening
immediately prior.”
Puncheon remains on conditional
bail until the court case, which is due to
begin on June 4 at Staines magistrates.
Puncheon arrived at the court on
crutches, after suffering a cruciate
knee ligament injury on Sunday
from range, especially as Tiémoué Bakayoko has been disappointing to date.
Conte’s 3-5-2 system suits Barkley, as
he can fit into a three-man central
midfield with N’Golo Kanté and Danny
Drinkwater (or Cesc Fàbregas if Conte
is being ultra-attacking). He can fill in
behind Álvaro Morata when Eden
Hazard needs a rest. What should also
help Barkley is that he will not be
burdened by a hefty transfer fee.
Barkley needed to move. He was
stagnating, as much his fault as that of
managers such as Ronald Koeman,
who didn’t understand the best way to
motivate a sensitive individual. The
promise seen in a lively debut against
QPR at Goodison Park in 2011, prompting David Moyes to observe that “Ross
should be proud of the way he played
today, the way he took responsibility on
the ball”, showed his potential.
So did a vibrant display away to
Arsenal in 2013, a fabulous goal against
Newcastle United in 2014, running
from his own half, and a strike from
25 yards against Manchester City in the
League Cup semi-final in 2016. “We’ve
got a diamond called Ross Barkley,”
Everton fans used to sing, “a Toffee who
comes from Wavertree,” although
yesterday’s updated version from local
lyricists is rather less glowing.
But the diamond called Ross Barkley
needs to sparkle more often. That is
why he has to seize this new opportunity, playing with better players, learning
from the likes of Hazard. Conte talked
of showing “great patience” with
Barkley partly because he is returning
from a serious hamstring injury, and
also because of he was “young”. He’s
not, though. Barkley is 24, and this is a
huge moment for him to take charge of
his career again, which has been
drifting, by taking charge of games.
This move in the January transfer
window provides an overview on
modern football. It must hurt Everton
fans, among the most passionate and
loyal in the land, to lose “one of their
own”. It is the type of occurrence that
fans can never fully understand, leaving
their boyhood love. Depicted as a warm
celebration, the “one of our own” song
is one of the most poignant laments in
football, an elegy to a distant age.
Does Barkley owe the club that
nurtured him? Should he recall the time
when he suffered that double leg break
on England Under-19 duty, and Moyes
went to his house, gave his support and
then a new contract? Does Barkley have
any responsibility to the fans in Gwladys Street holding up a banner saying
“Here’s to you Ross Barkley, Everton
loves you more than you will know”?
Professionals swap allegiances, fans
don’t. It’s nothing new. Chelsea offer
greater wages and a greater chance of
trophies. He must, though, realise that
Cobham is different to Finch Farm,
Stamford Bridge different to Goodison.
Everton are more of a family club,
far less political than Chelsea.
Emotionally, a better fit for Barkley
would have been Totteham Hotspur
and a man-manager of the calibre of
Mauricio Pochettino. He will need an
inner strength, although he can expect
a rapturous reception from Chelsea
fans, especially if he scores. Goals are a
diamond’s best friend.
He received a warm welcome from
one of the most influential Chelsea
fans, David Johnstone, of the cfcuk
fanzine. “With players being bought
and sold for seemingly crazy money, I
suppose the purchase of Ross Barkley
for £15 million can be considered a bargain,” Johnstone said. “It’s understandable that, considering their high hopes
for the player, Evertonians are upset
that a player they consider ‘one of their
own’ has left, especially to join a club
like Chelsea. The club have been chasing him for a long time and have finally
‘got their man’ and Antonio seems to
think that Barkley has potential.
“But, like the Italian, I think many
Chelsea supporters have nagging
doubts about the injury that has kept
him on the sidelines for the last few
months. Another concern is Chelsea
seem to have a surfeit of midfielders and
I wonder how Ruben Loftus-Cheek will
be feeling right now and, for that matter,
Danny Drinkwater who deserves to
start more games than he has so far.
“One definite positive for Chelsea is
the fact that he’s English and therefore
— in theory at least — should
understand the mentality of the
supporters, especially when it comes to
his new side playing the ‘big’ games
against our Premier League rivals.”
It’s down to Barkley now to shine
bright like a diamond.
Wednesday announce
replacement for Carvalhal
Sheffield Wednesday have appointed
Jos Luhukay as their new manager.
The 54-year-old Dutchman replaces
Carlos Carvalhal, who left the club by
mutual consent on Christmas Eve.
Luhukay has spent his whole
managerial career in Germany and
was most recently in charge of
Stuttgart in the Bundesliga 2. But his
spell there lasted only five games and
he left in September 2016 after a
dispute with the club’s chairman. He
has been out of management since.
“Sheffield Wednesday is exactly the
exciting challenge for which I have
been waiting,” he said.
Sheffield Wednesday are 16th in the
Sky Bet Championship having lost
their past two games, including the
shock 3-0 home defeat by Burton
Albion on New Year’s Day. They face
Carlisle United in the FA Cup today.
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport FA Cup
Wimbledon 1988
Ipswich 1978
Coventry 1987
Do one-time winners still
The famous old trophy has
created new heroes
and a lifetime of
memories, writes
George Caulkin
ave Beasant apologises in advance,
because what flashes through his
mind is a flush. “It’s not the best of
images,” he says, “but what I
remember most is making the last of
several visits to the toilet and hearing Abide
With Me outside. On the loo, a few minutes to
go, listening to the traditional FA Cup final
hymn, goose pimples rising on my skin.”
Somehow, this feels like the perfect beginning.
Three decades on, Wimbledon are back at
Wembley in the cup. The circumstances are
different; the third round, not the final, a
consequence of Tottenham Hotspur, their
opponents, rebuilding their ground and, as a
club, they too are reformed, remoulded. Less
crazy after all these years, but still the outsiders
who have confounded the natural order to
clamber through the leagues.
Like them, the FA Cup is altered, the same
beguiling metal pot, but more weathered. When
football is ruled by fear, driven by the financial
imperative of reaching the Premier League, of
staying there, of qualifying for the Champions
League, dreams melt under pressure. The
competition endures, but to a soundtrack of
priorities, weakened teams and fixture overload.
There is meaning, though, if you look for it.
Stories still bud and blossom, like Lincoln City
last season. At Arsenal, winning the cup halted a
slide into chaos. And for clubs like Wimbledon,
who do not hoard trophies, nothing can
supplant it, even now. After beating Manchester
City in 2013, Wigan Athletic were relegated, but
as Shaun Maloney puts it: “That moment, that
one moment, will never be forgotten.”
The night before Wimbledon played Liverpool
in 1988, there was aggro. “We were staying at a
posh hotel in Wimbledon Village and we were
misbehaving, so Bobby Gould, the manager, told
us to clear off up the pub,” Terry Gibson says. “It
was the eve of the cup final and not a single
person recognised us.”
This was “the borstal of football,” as Dave
Bassett, Gould’s predecessor, called them — a
top-division club with an average attendance of
8,000, where Gibson says “the stadium, the
facilities, the training ground, were still nonLeague”. Ron Yeats, the Liverpool scout, went to
watch them and winced. “The ball must have
been screaming for mercy,” he said.
On the morning of the final, there was a
discomforting realisation. “It was a shock to
read the papers and realise how disliked we
were,” Gibson says. “We knew we weren’t loved
because of the way we played, but we thought of
ourselves as being plucky underdogs.” Beasant
recalls one headline: “Something like, ‘For the
sake of football, Liverpool must win.’ ”
Beasant was the first goalkeeping captain to
play in the final and the first man to save a
penalty in the final. “Aside from that, it wasn’t a
wonderful game,” Gibson says. “God’s honest
truth, aside from the kick-off, I don’t think I
received a single pass. It was chasing lost causes,
chasing flick-ons, man-marking Alan Hansen.”
Yet the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club, as
John Motson said in his commentary, and their
1-0 victory still resonates. “We knew it would be
a memorable day, but I found it so emotional,”
Gibson says. “There was relief in not getting
thrashed — Liverpool could do that to you —
and the knowledge that whatever happened
from that point in your career, you’d got a
medal, a trophy.”
The next day, they cavorted on an open-top
bus. “We drove for about five miles before we
saw anybody,” Gibson says. “And then we pulled
into the town centre and thousands were
waiting.” Their moment, etched in history.
“Maybe we disappointed the purists,” Beasant
says, “but there was euphoria from those who
liked to see the little guy come to terms with the
big guy. That was the romance.”
Ipswich Town were shattered. When Roger
Osborne plundered the only goal against
Arsenal in 1978, he collapsed. It took smelling
How they did after cup success
Ipswich Town 1978 winners
Coventry City 1987 winners
Wimbledon 1988 winners
Wigan Athletic 2013 winners
salts to revive him. “It was the emotion of
scoring and exhaustion,” George Burley says. “It
was a hot day. Sapping. It went very quickly. For
the whole month beforehand, the whole of
Ipswich, the shops, everything, was blue and
white. Everybody was talking about the final.”
Ipswich were not Wimbledon. They had won
the title under Sir Alf Ramsey in 1962, ushering
their manager towards the England job, and
then rose again under Sir Bobby Robson.
Regulars in Europe, they would finish second
twice and win the Uefa Cup in 1981, but it was
Wembley that changed everything.
“We played West Bromwich Albion at
Highbury in the semi-final,” Burley, the right
back, says. “All the way home to East Anglia,
fans were everywhere, on the bridges, scarves
out, celebrating. That was just getting to the
final. People knew about us, but winning the cup
put us on the map. It made us a big outfit in the
world of football. Wherever you were,
everybody watched the cup final.
“It was different then. When the season
started, you looked forward to the cup. It was
always special. If you were drawn away, you
took your full allocation of tickets. You’d play
your strongest team. Everyone wanted to have a
good run to generate income, to get more
money into the club. The bigger teams wanted
to win it to qualify for Europe.”
Burley returned to Portman Road as manager
in 1994. He secured promotion to the Premier
League in 2000, but says: “The cup still meant
something to me. I looked forward to it, always
picked my best side. It was big. We wanted to go
far.” Ipswich have not been to another FA Cup
final. Burley, 61, lives in the town and, “people
still talk about 1978”, he says. “It will always be
in their memories, no matter what. It might
never happen again.”
Yet the atmosphere will be diluted for today’s
home tie against Sheffield United. “It doesn’t
mean as much,” Burley says. “It doesn’t earn
money. There isn’t quite the same excitement.
“In the Premier League and the
Championship, around 50 per cent of teams will
feature lots of reserve players. They’re saving
themselves. It’s completely changed. When you
get to the quarter-finals, it starts to become
serious business, but the league comes first and
the cup trails behind and that was never the
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
Wigan 2013
Wimbledon hoping to
reward fans with upset
Alyson Rudd
case when I was a player or manager. It’s lost
Success snuck up on Wigan. It had enveloped
Maloney, a veteran of five Scottish Premier
Leagues and five Scottish Cups with Celtic. “I
didn’t sign for Wigan expecting to win
anything,” he says. “At Celtic there was an
expectation that you’d win things every year
and if you didn’t, the likelihood was that your
rivals would. There was a real pressure because
of that.”
When Ben Watson’s header flew past Joe Hart
(Maloney had whipped in the corner), when the
final whistle shrilled, the feeling was “completely
different”, Maloney says. “It was just pure joy,
utter elation. And it still feels like that. In reality,
for a club our size, it was almost impossible to
win a trophy.”
Few had considered it; not in this era. “With
the financial incentives of staying in the Premier
League, there are probably ten to 12 teams who
have that as their main goal,” Maloney says. “At
the start of that season, Wigan weren’t any
different — stay up, finish as high as possible.
The cup run materialised. We beat Everton 3-0
away from home in the quarter-final and it was
suddenly ‘this is happening’. It became serious.
It wasn’t a dream any more.”
As it transpired, Roberto Martínez’s team
would go down that season. “I understand the
money and missing out on the Premier League,
but I wouldn’t change it for a minute,” Maloney
says. “League status comes and goes. Winning
the FA Cup can never be taken away. Wigan
isn’t a big place. It was momentous.”
Maloney, 34, is back at Celtic Park, in a
coaching role. “In Glasgow, it’s all about the
intensity between the two clubs,” he says. “I’ve
got history with Celtic and I work for them, but
people ask me about winning the FA Cup.
“There used to be loads — at Liverpool and
Manchester United — but there aren’t many
Scottish players who have won silverware down
south. It’s a real proud thing for Scotland.” At
Wigan, Maloney discovered another Paradise.
Steve Ogrizovic was in goal when Coventry City
beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in 1987. “There’s
We knew
we weren’t
because of
the way
we played
but we
thought of
as being
barely a day goes by without somebody stopping
me and wanting to recall their stories,” he says.
“They’ll call it ‘the greatest day of my life’ and
I’m thinking, ‘Hold on, what about your
wedding day or when your kids were born?’ But
that’s what football can mean.”
Recent years have entailed struggle, a grapple
for survival, but Coventry will always have what
Motson called the “finest cup final”, when Keith
Houchen equalised with a diving header and
Spurs were bested in extra time. The clamour
was so great then and Coventry so consumed by
it that Clara, Houchen’s daughter, came home
from school a few days later and asked, “Dad,
are you Keith Houchen?”
“It’s amazing where time goes,” Ogrizovic
says. “In those days, the FA Cup meant so much.
There was no thought of resting players, it was
the thing to win. Coventry people still
remember it. For months beforehand and
afterwards, houses were decorated with
memorabilia, ticker tape all over the place, car
aerials decorated with ribbons. It was a great
place to be. I remember thinking, ‘Right, can we
build something?’ ”
As with Wimbledon and Wigan, it remains
Coventry’s only meaningful trophy. As the third
round plays out, we will hear about the
withering of tradition, but tomorrow’s match at
Wembley is a reminder that although the game
allowed a club to be franchised and something
died because of it, something else was born.
There is always hope, always possibility. There is
proof: Liverpool lost.
“We ruffled feathers, but people look back on
us now with a bit of affection and it’s quite
endearing,” Gibson says. “It’s great to see AFC
Wimbledon, the new Wimbledon, back at
Wembley, doing it against the odds like us. It
continues the story.”
Beasant is Reading’s goalkeeping coach. “I’m
still involved in the game, going around football
grounds and I’m always signing photos, whether
of the penalty save or lifting the trophy itself,”
he says. “It’s unbelievable. It was 30 years ago.
You’re constantly reminded of it because it was
a big event, a big shock, in people’s lives.”
Nothing can do that like the cup. Even if what
stands out for Beasant is sitting down.
Do you know the other teams to have
won the cup only once? Take our quiz
1. Three league titles but
just one cup triumph in
1972. Who are we?
5. Who won a final that
is now named after a
famous England winger?
2. Winners of the first
final to be decided by a
6. Lost to Portsmouth in
2008 final but had won
it in 1927. Who are we?
3. Who beat Manchester
United 1-0 to claim the
cup in 1976?
7. Who has two league
titles from the 1970s but
one cup win in 1946?
4. Who needed a replay
to win their only major
trophy in 1911?
8. Which team flying
high in League Two won
the cup in 1894?
9. We lost a final to
Tottenham in 1962 but
beat Liverpool 1-0 in
1914. Who are we?
10. Battling away in
League One today is a
far cry from our 1947
glory. Who are we?
11. Which Championship
club will be hoping
new ownership can
help them repeat the
glory of 1912?
1. Leeds United, who beat Arsenal 1-0
2. Huddersfield Town — Billy Smith scored from the spot as they beat Preston 1-0 in 1922
3. Southampton thanks to Bobby Stokes’ goal
4. Bradford City, beating Newcastle United 1-0 at Old Trafford
5. Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 in the Stanley Matthews final in 1953
6. Cardiff City beat Arsenal 1-0 thanks to a Hughie Ferguson goal in 1927
7. Derby County who beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 in first final since the start of World War Two
8. James Logan scored a hat-trick for Notts County as they beat Bolton 4-1
9. Burnley, thanks to a Bert Freeman goal
10. Charlton, who beat Burnley 1-0 after extra-time
11. Barnsley, who beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in a replay
Only including current Premier League/Football league clubs
love the cup?
Andy Barcham is reflecting on how the
AFC Wimbledon fans reacted when
Lyle Taylor, his team-mate, missed a
penalty in September. The supporters
did not jeer, they sang Taylor’s name
The point is that AFC Wimbledon
are as intimately connected with their
fans as any club in the land. The
more subtle but fascinating point is that
Barcham chose not to say who the
penalty was against.
There are three syllables never
uttered by the club who travel to
Wembley tomorrow to face Tottenham
Hotspur: MK Dons.
In 2002, AFC Wimbledon were
created in response to the relocation of
the original Wimbledon club to Milton
Keynes. For a long while the animosity
towards the relocated club was
wrapped up in ownership of the FA Cup
final victory over Liverpool in 1988.
Who won the cup, MK Dons or AFC
Wimbledon? Now that AFC are an
established club in their own right such
existential angst is less important.
“Drawing Spurs in the cup is a great
occasion,” Barcham says, “but nothing
compared to getting back to Plough
Last month the club signed a deal
with Merton Council which allows the
construction of a new stadium and a
return to their spiritual home. The hope
is that the ground, on the site of
Wimbledon greyhound stadium, will
be completed at the same time as a
Hollywood film about the rise of AFC.
Barcham, who came through the
Spurs academy and made one appearance, in the League Cup, for them, finds
an interesting way to deal with the
question of whether AFC are defined
by not being MK Dons.
“I can’t talk about them,” he says. “At
this club we don’t talk about them.
That’s something that’s bred into you.”
The answer, then, is that yes, they are
still defined by not being MK Dons. The
antipathy stretched far enough for the
name MK Dons not to appear on the
front of the matchday programme
when Robbie Neilson’s side visited
Kingsmeadow four months ago. AFC
are determined to snub their rivals even
though they share an intimate history.
“If you don’t know about it [the history] before you come to the club, when
you do, you know about it,” Barcham
says. “Everyone is so passionate. The
people are volunteers, they are here for
the love of the club. We are always the
underdogs, we are always overachieving. It doesn’t matter what is put in front
of you, it’s not going to be as hard as
what this club has been through.”
Playing at Wembley is, he says, like
getting married. He was warned that if
he was not careful he would let his
wedding day become a blur and when
he first stepped out at Wembley, in the
League Two play-off final for Gillingham in 2009, he was unprepared and,
although his team won, he wished he
could have enjoyed it more. Fortunately, he returned to the national stadium
in 2016 with AFC Wimbledon for their
League Two play-off victory over Plymouth Argyle and enjoyed every minute.
“We’re playing against one of the best
teams in the Premier League,” the
31-year-old says of the tie against Spurs,
“so we’re excited about that. We’re
playing at Wembley, so we’re excited
about that. It’s the FA Cup, so we’re
excited about that. There’s so much to
be excited about so one of the big challenges is not getting over-excited and
failing to give a good account of ourselves.”
It is not just teams from League One
who feel privileged to be at Wembley,
which explains, in part, why Tottenham
have struggled to make it feel like home.
“People are so excited to play there,”
Barcham says. “They raise their game.
I’m sure that was difficult to adjust to
[for Spurs] but hopefully that will play
to our advantage.”
On reflection, Barcham thinks he
should have left Spurs earlier.
“You get caught up in the bubble of
being at a big club. It was only when I
went on loan [aged 22] to Leyton Orient
and Gillingham that I experienced FA
Cup games, games on TV, games that
affected people’s livelihoods. I should
have taken that path sooner,” he says.
His family support Tottenham but
will be at Wembley to cheer him on.
“On occasions like this we can give
back to the people who love the club
and why not overachieve again and
enjoy it?” he says. “At other clubs you
have the connection with fans but here
it’s more natural. Lyle Taylor missed a
penalty and it was an important penalty
and the crowd didn’t stop singing his
name. Everyone’s in it together.”
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Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Football
Oliver Kay
Chief Football Correspondent
Empty seats are no
reflection on City
t still comes as an occasional surprise, upon
opening The Times, to see an advertisement for
an upcoming match at the Etihad Stadium. By
consensus, Pep Guardiola has got Manchester
City playing the best football the Premier
League has seen for years, every match offering the
prospect of a masterclass, yet the national
advertising campaigns tell you there are tickets to
be had for the hottest show in town.
To some rival fans, it is a source of hilarity. They
may feel unable to enjoy City’s football, but offer
them a screengrab of some empty seats in the
background and they are rolling in the aisles. “All
that talent and they still cannot sell out, eh?”
Except that City almost always do. They have had
49 Premier League matches since expanding the
capacity to 55,097 and, almost without exception,
the only tickets unsold have been in the away end.
Cup competitions have been a different matter.
While watching City’s 3-1 win against Watford on
Tuesday, fans were bombarded with reminders on
the big screen about ticket availability for today’s
FA Cup third-round tie against Burnley, Tuesday’s
Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Bristol City
and even the Champions League match against
Basle in March. Yet it transpires that today’s game is
now a sell-out too. Tuesday night is another matter;
adult tickets cost from £15 (members) or £20 (nonmembers) and under-18s can get in for just £5, but
their third home game in eight days, a televised
evening kick-off, is proving a hard sell at a time
when so many are feeling the economic pinch.
Older City fans will tell you, though, that it has
not been easy to embrace excellence. Indeed there
have been times in their history, particularly in the
later years at Maine Road, when they seemed to
revel in adversity. In 1995-96, which ended in
relegation, their average league attendance was
27,869, their highest in five years. The humiliating
1997-98 season, when they were relegated from the
second tier to the third, saw that figure climb to
28,196, their highest in 16 years. It rose again to
28,261 the following season, a grim but ultimately
successful battle for promotion from the third tier.
And it is when recalling these times that City’s
supporters must laugh at the frequent taunts —
quite at odds with the “Emptihad” stuff — asking
“Where were you when you were shit?”
We all know that City have been transformed
beyond recognition since then, first by the move
across town and then by the largesse from Abu
Dhabi. They won the Premier League title in 2012
and 2014 and, after a relatively unfulfilling few
seasons, are now threatening not just to win it but
to break countless records by doing so, with David
Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, Raheem
Sterling, Sergio Agüero, Gabriel Jesus and the rest
of them playing the type of football that even the
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs recently
described as “brilliant to watch”.
The difficulty is to go from being, in José
Mourinho’s terminology, a “big football team” to
being an elite club with a vast global fanbase. That
enormous, FFP-busting sponsorship deal with Abu
Dhabi’s national airline may suggest that they are
one of the most powerful brands in the sport, as
does the £265 million investment they received
from a Chinese consortium for a stake in the City
Football Group in 2015, but in the broader sense of
winning hearts, minds, website subscriptions and
marketing data, turning fans into customers and all
that, they lag far behind Arsenal, Chelsea and
Liverpool, never mind United.
For City, even now, sell-out crowds are a weekby-week objective, rather than something to be
taken for granted. Their corporate facilities have
been continually upgraded — to the point where a
United-supporting friend said after sampling City’s
much-hyped “Tunnel Club” recently that the
“prawn sandwich” suites at Old Trafford now feel
like a roadside diner by comparison — but filling
those seats is, again, a challenge, hence the regular
adverts in national newspapers, appealing to a
different clientele, perhaps beyond the North West.
A thought occurred yesterday, though, while
listening to City’s thoughtful and highly articulate
captain Vincent Kompany on BBC Radio 5 Live,
urging Premier League clubs to lower ticket prices
in order to improve atmosphere. Drawing on
conclusions arrived at while earning his MBA from
Manchester Business School, Kompany suggested
that clubs should focus not on maximising revenue
but on maximising the appeal of their product by
filling their stadiums with “the people in the right
place”. These, he said, are “probably not always the
guys who can afford it,” but “those that live for the
club and are probably more attached to it than
anyone else.”
Kompany is right, but most leading Premier
League clubs have gone so far in pursuit of a more
affluent fanbase that there seems no going back.
City are in a unique position among English
football’s modern heavyweights — and not just
because their ownership model leaves them far less
reliant on matchday revenue. As other clubs
continue to change the demographic of their home
crowd, seemingly at the expense of atmosphere,
City keep prices lower in order to make sure there
are bums on seats. They have an opportunity to be
that rare thing: an elite club that retains a distinctly
local feel. That may not suit their owners’ global
version, but would be something worth treasuring.
Whatever the jibes about empty seats every now
and then, that would be a great selling point.
Wenger is not
j wrong but
getting tiresome
n top of his continuing insinuations about
some kind of refereeing conspiracy against
Arsenal — the imagined motive behind
which is not entirely clear, given that his team
rarely need outside help to make life hard for
themselves — Arsène Wenger has declared that
the fixture scheduling over Christmas and new
year was “completely unfair”. “Some of
the teams have had six days to
prepare,” he said yesterday, adding
that the situation was
Wenger was talking about the
six-day rest that Tottenham Hotspur
and West Ham United were able to enjoy between
their games on Boxing Day and January 2. This is
because their derby match, originally scheduled
for December 30, was moved to January 4 for live
television coverage. This in turn meant that their
rearranged game on Thursday night was their
second in three days, which may go some way
towards explaining why the teams lacked energy
and inspiration in their 1-1 draw at Wembley.
At least Tottenham and West Ham were in the
same boat, as both managers acknowledged.
David Moyes was also decent enough to admit
that the earlier six-day break had benefited his
West Ham team before their January 2 fixture
against West Bromwich Albion, who had played
against Arsenal two days earlier.
There are simply too many matches played
over the festive period; it is an anachronism,
while the remainder of Europe rests. The best
that managers can really hope for is to have
games spread out as evenly as possible, without
having to play twice in three days. Nine teams,
including Manchester City and Manchester
United, were required to play four times in ten
days. Only five were lucky enough to avoid
playing twice in three days. Only three had the
good fortune to see their four games spread over
13 days. Only one team was able to enjoy both of
those best-case scenarios.
To point out that this team happens to be, yes,
Arsenal, is not to suggest some kind of collusion
in their favour. That would be as tediously risible
as the alternative conspiracy theory that Wenger
keeps hinting at. It is simply to illustrate that,
when certain managers (not just Wenger) rail
about injustices, whether about the fixture
schedule or about refereeing decisions, you get a
very selective spin on things. Alan Pardew’s West
Brom, who submitted a complaint to the Premier
League about theirs, had four clear days before
their match against Arsenal, who had just two.
It is swings and roundabouts, all of it. Like the
refereeing, it is far from perfect, but this
continual bleating is tiresome enough when a
club and a manager have a genuine grievance, let
alone when they don’t.
Sterling and
his team are
some of the
best play
seen for
many years
Guardiola: I will stay only if I deserve to Battle of Ferguson’s saviours
Paul Hirst
Pep Guardiola will only sign a new deal
with Manchester City if he thinks that
he deserves it.
Senior figures at the club are
optimistic about Guardiola extending
his contract, which expires at the end of
next season, but the head coach feels
that he has to earn a new deal by
winning multiple trophies first.
“There is no doubt about my
commitment for one more year,”
Guardiola said. “After, we will see. It
depends if we win and if I deserve to
extend my contract. If you want to
extend your contract at big clubs you
have to win, and if you don’t win, you
don’t deserve to continue.”
Given that his team are 15 points
clear of second-placed Manchester
United, it is highly likely that Guardiola
will end the season with the Premier
League title. He is determined to add
the FA Cup to his collection too, which
means that he will resist the temptation
to start a number of young players in
today’s third-round tie at home to
Burnley because he wants to avoid the
possibility of a replay at Turf Moor.
“We are going to try to play the best
team possible because when we play
Huddersfield Town [last year], we
needed a replay,” Guardiola, whose side
lost 2-1 to Arsenal in extra time in the
semi-final last season, said.
Sergio Agüero is expected to start
and, unless City sign Alexis Sánchez
from Arsenal, Agüero will be
Guardiola’s only striker for two months
because Gabriel Jesus is out with the
knee injury that he suffered against
Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve.
Agüero may be rested for the
Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at
home to Bristol City on Tuesday
because he is concerned that the
forward could suffer from burnout
before the Premier League encounter
away to Liverpool a week tomorrow.
Steve Madeley
Mark Robins says that the presence of
Mark Hughes helped to force him out
of Manchester United as a player. Now,
a quarter of a century on, Robins could
play his part in driving his former Old
Trafford team-mate out of his job as
Stoke City manager.
Robins, now manager at Coventry
City, who host struggling Stoke in the
FA Cup third round this afternoon,
alleges no malice on Hughes’s part.
The former Wales forward’s superior
ability simply meant that Robins
admitted defeat in his battle for a firstteam place and moved to Norwich City.
“He was a top, top striker, strong and
powerful,” said Robins, who scored a
third-round winner for United from a
Hughes cross away to Nottingham
Forest in 1990 to reputedly keep Sir
Alex Ferguson in his job.
“He had gone to Barcelona and
Bayern Munich and come back when I
came through,” Robins said. “Him and
Brian McClair were never injured.
That’s why I had to leave.”
While Hughes is clinging on to his
position at Stoke, Robins says that his
Sky Bet League Two side are his only
concern. “For me it’s another game and
the primary thing for us is to put on a
worthy performance,” he said.
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
1G S
How video referees
would have changed
cup’s key moments
March 8, 2008:
Man Utd 0
Portsmouth 1
FA Cup quarter-final.
Referee Martin Atkinson
What happened Portsmouth’s
Sylvain Distin crashes into
Cristiano Ronaldo in the
penalty area after the United
forward had knocked the ball
beyond the defender.
A Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will officiate at a competitive
match in England for the first time on Monday when Brighton &
Hove Albion meet Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. We look at how the
system might have altered FA Cup history had it existed previously.
Referee’s decision No offence,
play on
VAR verdict Penalty
April 23, 1932: Newcastle 2 Arsenal 1
FA Cup final. Referee W P Harper
What happened All of the ball is beyond the right-hand byline
when Newcastle’s Jimmy Richardson crosses for Jack Allen to
head in the equaliser.
Referee’s decision Goal VAR verdict Goal kick
May 18, 1991:
Tottenham 2
Forest 1
FA Cup final.
Referee Roger Milford
What happened Early on
Tottenham’s Paul Gascoigne
plants his studs violently into
the chest of Garry Parker.
Referee’s decision Free kick
but no further punishment for
Gascoigne (shortly afterwards
Gascoigne tore his cruciate
ligaments while hacking at
Gary Charles’s shins, leading
to a 16-month layoff. He was
not booked for that either)
VAR verdict Red card (for
both incidents)
April 23, 2017: Arsenal 2 Man City 1
FA Cup semi-final. Referee Craig Pawson Assistant Steve Child
What happened With the game goalless, Leroy Sané’s left-wing
cross for City is volleyed home at the far post by Sergio Agüero.
Referee’s decision No goal — Sané’s cross sent the ball beyond
the byline and out of play
VAR verdict Goal — All of the ball did not go beyond the byline
Why all-conquering City have just 28% chance of lifting FA Cup
The Fink Tank
inning the FA Cup is about
the order of your results,
not just their quality. Let’s
say you are a team who win nine out
of ten of your games. In the league,
you gain the same number of points
whichever of the games you lose, so
the order doesn’t matter. But in a
knockout competition, if you lose
the last of your ten games you would
already have won the cup and be
part way through the next season;
but if you lose the first of them you
are ignominiously knocked out.
The FA Cup is thus much less
predictable than the Premier
League. Manchester City have
nearly arrived at a 100 per cent
chance of winning the title, but,
while favourites for the FA Cup,
their chance of lifting that trophy is
28 per cent. Tottenham Hotspur and
Chelsea are each on 17 per cent.
These figures come from the
modelling work of Dr Henry Stott,
Dr Mark Latham and Dr Dinesh
Vatvani. They do assume that each
club care about the cup in the same
way that they care about the league,
and while this seems dubious, it has
proven an acceptable working
assumption in previous years.
The reason why Spurs, who are
not as strong as Chelsea, have an
equal chance of winning the trophy
rather makes the point about the
order of games. They have a 99 per
cent chance of getting past AFC
Wimbledon, making them the side
most likely to be in the fourth
round. Chelsea’s chance of joining
them, by knocking out Norwich
City, is 89 per cent.
Teams most likely to win the FA Cup at start of third round
Percentage chance of winning FA Cup
Man City
Man United
Aaron Ramsey
holding the cup for
2017 winners Arsenal
The chance of one of the top-six
clubs winning the FA Cup is 91 per
cent, making it more likely that an
outsider will lift the trophy than that
Arsenal will or that Liverpool will.
However the chance of any
individual outsider team winning is
very small. The chance of the
winner coming from the Premier
League is 97.3 per cent, while there
is a 2.5 per cent probability of them
coming from the Championship.
The largest chance for an act of
giant killing (defined as a team
knocking out a side from at least
one division above them) is that
Wolverhampton Wanderers make
their way past Swansea City. Indeed
there is a 68 per cent chance that
they will. There is also a 61 per cent
probability that Blackburn Rovers
will eliminate Hull City. The chance
of there being at least one giant
killing in the third round is 99.9 per
cent and the chance of there being
at least four is 90 per cent.
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Sport FA Cup
The ultimate third-round guide 2017-18
Shrewsbury Town v West Ham
Wolves v Swansea City
Premier League v
Premier League
place higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Man City v Burnley
Home win
West Ham
places higher
Away win
to head
Kick-off: tomorrow, 2pm Ref P Tierney
Ref A Taylor
Wolves have Danny Batth suspended but Rafa
Mir may make his debut after signing from
Valencia. Swansea have Wilfried Bony and
Kyle Bartley fit again but Kyle Naughton is
suspended. Ki Sung-yeung and Tammy
Abraham are doubts
Ben Godfrey and Carlton Morris, the pair on
loan from Norwich, may return for
Shrewsbury. West Ham’s Joe Hart is expected
to face his former club. Marko Arnautovic,
Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell are
Jayden Stockley
FA Cup best Wolves winners 4 times, latest
in 1960. Swansea semi-finals twice, latter in
FA Cup best Shrewsbury 6th round twice,
latter in 1982. West Ham winners 3 times,
latest in 1980
Gareth McAuley
FA Cup best Man City winners 5 times, latest
in 2011. Burnley winners 1914
Played for both clubs
Emlyn Hughes, Sam Ricketts
Played for both clubs
Jimmy Quinn, Joe Hart
Played for both clubs
Kevin Reeves, Joey Barton
Stat These clubs both dropped from top to
bottom tier between 1983 and 1986 (Wolves in
three seasons, Swansea in four)
Stat Shrewsbury have conceded only three
goals in their past 15 home games in all
Norwich City v Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v Wimbledon
Home win
Man City
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref G Scott
City have Vincent Kompany, Gabriel Jesus and
Benjamin Mendy injured; David Silva may be
absent for personal reasons. Scott Arfield is a
Burnley doubt while Chris Wood and Stephen
Ward are out
Stat City’s next games in three cup
competitions are against Bs: Burnley (FA Cup),
Bristol City (Carabao Cup), Basle (Champions
Brighton v Crystal Palace
places higher
Ref A Marriner
Kick-off: Monday, 7.45pm
Steve Sidwell is Brighton’s only injury
absentee. Connor Goldson and Beram Kayal
are expected to play. Palace are without Scott
Dann, Jason Puncheon, Mamadou Sakho,
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joel Ward
Away win
places higher
Kick-off: today, 5.30pm Ref S Atwell
Kick-off: tomorrow, 3pm Ref D Coote
Tottenham are still without Toby Alderweireld
while Danny Rose is a doubt with a knee
problem. Juan Foyth may play. Wimbledon
hope Jon Meades, Cody McDonald and Barry
Fuller can overcome injury to play
FA Cup best Norwich semi-finals 3 times,
latest in 1992. Chelsea winners 7 times, latest
in 2012
Played for both clubs
Andy Townsend, Chris Sutton
Played for both clubs
Eric Young, Glenn Murray
Stat Chelsea and Arsenal have won 62 per
cent of FA Cups since 1997 (Arsenal 7, Chelsea
6, out of 21)
Bolton Wanderers v Huddersfield
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Premier League v
Ref R East
Karl Henry and Darren Pratley are injured
for Bolton and Josh Vela is a doubt.
Huddersfield have Philip Billing fit again and
Terence Kongolo, the new signing, may
play but Chris Löwe is out injured. Joel
Coleman will play in goal
FA Cup best Bolton winners 4 times, latest
in 1958. Huddersfield winners 1922
Away win
places higher
Home win
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref M Oliver
Floyd Ayité is a Fulham doubt but Lucas
Piazon should make his first start after a
broken leg. Charlie Austin’s ban for
Southampton is over but he is still injured.
Jérémy Pied, Wesley Hoedt and Cédric Soares
are also out
FA Cup best Coventry winners 1987.
Stoke runners-up 2011
Stat In Arsenal’s past 21 games there have
been ten result-changing goals from the 83rd
minute onwards
Played for both clubs
Gerry Daly, Micky Gynn
Away win
Kick-off: today, 12.45pm Ref S Hooper
Paddy Madden, Fleetwood’s new signing from
Scunthorpe, is cup-tied. Jamie Vardy, once of
Fleetwood, is a serious doubt for Leicester
with a groin problem. Wes Morgan and Danny
Simpson are out but Adrien Silva may make
his first start
Played for both clubs
Kevin Moore, Chris Baird
Stat These teams reached the final in
successive years as second-tier clubs:
Fulham in 1975, Southampton in 1976
Stat Leicester’s previous visit to a
“Highbury” came in May 2004 when Arsenal
completed an unbeaten league season
Watford v Bristol City
Bournemouth v Wigan Athletic
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref C Pawson
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
(Forest Green
Stat This is Coventry’s first FA Cup tie
against a team three league tiers above them
(AFC Fylde)
Exeter City v West Brom
Played for both clubs
Iain Hume, Jamie Vardy
Most FA Cup goals this season
(first and second rounds)
Ref M Atkinson
Played for both clubs
Viv Anderson, Tony Woodcock
FA Cup best Fleetwood 3rd round twice,
latter in 2017. Leicester runners-up 4 times,
latest in 1969
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
FA Cup best Forest winners twice, latter in
1959. Arsenal winners 13 times, latest in 2017
places higher
Jayden Stockley, the Exeter City
striker, has struck five goals in three
FA Cup appearances this
his season
Away win
places higher
Jordan Maguire-Drew, on loan from Brighton,
could appear for Coventry. Stuart Beavon and
Josh Barrett are doubts. Ryan Shawcross and
Bruno Martins Indi are injured for Stoke while
Erik Pieters, their fellow defender, is a doubt
FA Cup best Fulham runners-up 1975.
Southampton winners 1976
Premier League v
League Two
West Brom
Stat If Tottenham win the FA Cup they will
have played at least half the six rounds at
Wembley: here, the semi-final and final
Daryl Murphy is a Forest doubt after missing
Monday’s draw against Leeds United. Granit
Xhaka has joined an Arsenal injury list that
also features Sead Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey,
Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Santi
Fleetwood Town v Leicester City
places higher
Played for both clubs
Neil Sullivan, Dean Parrett
Coventry City v Stoke City
Stat These two clubs reached the most FA
Cup finals in the 1920s – three each
Fulham v Southampton
FA Cup best Tottenham winners 8 times,
latest in 1991. Wimbledon winners 1988 (third
round twice as AFC Wimbledon, latter in 2017)
Kick-off: tomorrow, 4pm Ref J Moss
Premier League v
League One
Played for both clubs
Frank Worthington, Sam Allardyce
Home win
places higher
Norwich have Harrison Reed and Marco
Stiepermann injured. David Luiz is expected
to start for Chelsea after injury and Charly
Musonda could also play after a groin
problem but Eden Hazard is a doubt with a
calf knock
FA Cup best Brighton runners-up 1983.
Palace runners-up 1990, 2016
Stat These clubs have reached a combined
three finals, losing to Manchester United each
Ref A Madley
Watford have Troy Deeney back after a ban
but Kiko Femenía, Will Hughes, Younès
Kaboul, Miguel Britos, Craig Cathcart,
Nathanial Chalobah and Isaac Success are out.
City, with a Carabao Cup semi-final on
Tuesday, will rest key players
Bournemouth have Ryan Fraser fit again but
Josh King, Jermain Defoe, Junior Stanislas and
Tyrone Mings are injured. Alex Bruce is a
Wigan doubt with a back problem but Ryan
Colclough is over a shoulder injury
FA Cup best Watford runners-up 1984.
Bristol City runners-up 1909
FA Cup best Bournemouth 6th round 1957.
Wigan winners 2013
Played for both clubs
Sean Dyche, David James
Played for both clubs
Joe Parkinson, Liam Ridgewell
Stat Watford can become the first top-flight
side to exit both main domestic cup
competitions at home against the same
lower-division team in one season
Stat In the past 30 seasons Wigan have
been winners once and semi-finalists once but
otherwise not gone beyond round four
West Brom
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Away win
Ref L Mason
Jordan Moore-Taylor, the Exeter captain, is an
injury doubt. West Brom have Matt Phillips,
Nacer Chadli and James Morrison injured.
Kane Wilson has returned from a loan spell at
Exeter and may be in the squad
FA Cup best Exeter 6th round twice, latter
in 1981. West Brom winners 5 times, latest in
Played for both clubs
Kwame Ampadu, Don Goodman
Stat Manchester City have won 25 games
(plus two penalty shoot-outs) since West
Brom last won in all competitions
Newcastle United v Luton Town
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Home win
Ref N Swarbrick
Newcastle have Chancel Mbemba, Florian
Lejeune, Jesus Gámez and Rob Elliot out
injured. Aleksandar Mitrovic is a doubt
with a back problem. Luton are without
the suspended Alan Sheehan and injured
Scott Cuthbert
FA Cup best Newcastle winners 6 times,
latest in 1955. Luton runners-up 1959
Played for both clubs
Malcolm Macdonald, Mick Harford
Stat Luton won their most recent leading
domestic trophy 33 years after Newcastle’s
latest one (1988 League Cup; 1955 FA Cup)
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
In association with
By Bill
Blackburn Rovers v Hull City
Championship v
Fleetwood Town v Leicester City
live 12.45pm, BBC One
Middlesbrough v Sunderland
Norwich City v Chelsea
live 5.30pm, BT Sport 2
Highlights of today’s games 10.30pm, BBC One
Kick-off: today, 1pm
Home win
Ref C Kavanagh
Promotion-chasing Middlesbrough have no
injury concerns but are likely to make several
changes. Sunderland’s Darron Gibson could
be out for ten weeks with a groin problem.
Paddy McNair and Aiden McGeady are doubts
Newport County v Leeds United
live noon, BBC One Wales
Shrewsbury Town v West Ham United
live 2pm, BBC One
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
FA Cup best Middlesbrough runners-up
1997. Sunderland winners twice, latter in 1973
Played for both clubs
Brian Clough, Lee Cattermole
live 4pm, BT Sport 2
Highlights of tomorrow’s games, 10.30, BBC One
Stat This derby has produced more away
wins than home wins over the past 27
Kick-off: today, 3pm
live 7.45pm, BT Sport 2
Birmingham City v Burton Albion
Today 12.45pm: Fleetwood Town v Leicester City,
BBC 5 Live, talkSPORT. 3pm: Coventry City v
Stoke City, BBC 5 Live; Exeter City v West
Bromwich Albion, BBC 5 Live Sports Extra;
Manchester City v Burnley, talkSPORT 2. 5.30pm:
Norwich City v Chelsea, BBC 5 Live, talkSPORT
Tomorrow Noon: Newport County v Leeds United,
BBC 5 Live. 2pm: Shrewsbury Town v West Ham
United, BBC 5 Live, talkSPORT. 3pm: Tottenham
Hotspur v AFC Wimbledon, BBC 5 Live Sports
Extra. 4pm: Nottingham Forest v Arsenal, BBC 5
Live, talkSPORT
place higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref J Simpson
Birmingham are still without Tomasz
Kuszczak, their injured goalkeeper, and Che
Adams is not quite ready to return to the
starting line-up. Nigel Clough, the Burton
manager, says he will make very few changes
FA Cup best Birmingham runners-up twice,
latter in 1956. Burton 4th round 2011
Bill Edgar’s weekend
Ipswich Town v Sheffield United
There are no non-league teams in the
FA Cup third round for the first time
since 1950-51
How non-league clubs disappeared
from FA Cup this season
First round
22 non-League v League ties
5 wins
17 wins
Second round
10 non-League v League ties
Non-League 0 wins
10 wins
Garet McAuley, the centre back,
has scored
most of his goals for West
Brom w
with his head at set-pieces
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref M Jones
Aaron Drinan, a new signing, could make his
debut for Ipswich, who are without the injured
Gavin Ward and Adam Webster. United may
bring in Jake Wright, Daniel Lafferty, Caolan
Lavery and Samir Carruthers
FA Cup best Ipswich winners 1978.
Sheffield Utd winners 4 times, latest in 1925
Played for both clubs
Brian Gayle, Georges Santos
Ref D Bond
Tom Elliott may return for Millwall having
been out injured since Boxing Day. Barnsley
are still without the injured Andy Yiadom and
Ryan Hedges. Angus MacDonald and Adam
Jackson are doubts
FA Cup best Millwall runners-up 2004.
Barnsley winners 1912
Played for both clubs
Mick McCarthy, Trevor Aylott
Stat Millwall’s eight wins in all competitions
this season have all come at home
Championship v League One
Aston Villa v Peterborough
Home win
Aston Villa
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref R Jones
Home win
Ref B Toner
FA Cup best Stevenage 5th round 2012.
Reading semi-finals twice, latter in 2015
Played for both clubs
Alan Fettis, Keith Andrews
Played for both clubs
Jobi McAnuff, Kevin Lisbie
Stat Hull have conceded the most
Championship goals yet only four teams
have scored more
Stat Reading have advanced farthest of all
lower-division teams in two of the past three
QPR v Milton Keynes Dons
Wycombe W v Preston North End
Home win
places higher
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref J Linington
Away win
Ref P Bankes
Jamie Mackie is out for QPR with a back injury
that requires surgery. Grant Hall is a doubt. Ike
Ugbo could play for MK Dons after joining on
loan from Chelsea. Aidan Nesbitt is fit again
Adam El Abd is likely to return for Wycombe
after a calf problem and Matt Bloomfield is fit
but Dominic Gape is a doubt. Billy Bodin is not
cup-tied so could make his debut after joining
from Bristol Rovers
FA Cup best QPR runners-up 1982.
MK Dons 5th round 2013
FA Cup best Wycombe semi-finals 2011,
latter in 2001. Preston winners twice, latter in
Played for both clubs
Andros Townsend, Jason Puncheon
Stat MK Dons bridged a two-division gap to
win 4-2 away to QPR in the FA Cup in 2013
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Home win
Ref T Robinson
Brentford’s Alan Judge could make his first
appearance in 20 months after a broken leg.
Emiliano Marcondes is expected to make his
debut after signing from Nordsjaelland. Shola
Ameobi should be fit to return for County
FA Cup best Brentford 6th round 4 times,
last in 1989. Notts Co winners 1894
Played for both clubs
Tommy Lawton, Graeme Hogg
Stat Brentford are on course to finish in the
top half of their division for the tenth season
in a row (tiers 4, 3 and 2)
Home win
places higher
Played for both clubs
Gareth Ainsworth, Paul Hayes
Stat Wycombe are one of two clubs in the
past 20 years to have reached the semi-finals
when in the third tier
Newport County v Leeds United
Brentford v Notts County
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Home win
places higher
FA Cup best Blackburn winners 6 times,
latest in 1928. Hull runners-up 2014
Millwall v Barnsley
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Cardiff City v Mansfield Town
Stevenage v Reading
Tom King could play in goal for Stevenage
after arriving on loan from Millwall on
Thursday. Terence Vancooten is a doubt.
Reading are still without Joseph Mendes and
Stephen Quinn with knee injuries
Stat Sheffield United have won one of their
past nine games having won ten of their
previous 13
Kick-off: today, 3pm
McAuley league goals for West Brom
Away win
Sheffield Utd
places higher
Ref O Langford
Championship v League Two
Played for both clubs
Gary Rowett, Lloyd Dyer
Stat Burton’s average league attendance,
4,745, is less than half the next lowest in the
Championship (Brentford, 10,098)
Monday 7.45pm: Brighton & Hove Albion v
Crystal Palace, BBC 5 Live, talkSPORT
Away win
Blackburn are still without the on-loan Marcus
Antonsson because of an ankle injury, while
Joe Nuttall is a serious doubt with illness.
David Marshall will replace the first-choice
Allan McGregor in the Hull goal
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
places higher
Hull City
places higher
Kick-off: tomorrow, 12pm
FA Cup best Cardiff winners 1927.
Mansfield 6th round 1969
Away win
Ref M Dean
Paul Hayes could make his debut for Newport,
who have Mark O’Brien back after suspension.
Ronaldo Vieira and Stuart Dallas could return
after injury for Leeds, who will assess Luke
Ayling’s ankle
FA Cup best Newport 5th round 1949.
Leeds winners 1972
Played for both clubs
Mark Aizlewood, Nathan Blake
Stat Leeds have only once exceeded four
goals in a cup game in the past eight years: 5-1
v Newport in this season’s Carabao Cup
League One v League One
Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale
Ref L Probert
Cardiff are missing the injured Lee Peltier,
Matthew Connolly, Aron Gunnarsson, Sean
Morrison, Danny Ward and Kadeem Harris.
Zander Diamond, the Mansfield captain, is still
out but Danny Rose may be back
places higher
Home win
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Ref A Woolmer
Doncaster have extended Jordan Houghton’s
loan from Chelsea but Ben Whiteman has
been recalled by Sheffield United. Joe Rafferty
and Steve Davies are doubts for Rochdale
Played for both clubs
Phil Stant, Nicky Platnauer
FA Cup best Doncaster 5th round 4 times,
latest in 1956. Rochdale 5th round twice, latter
in 2003
Stat Cardiff’s Neil Warnock has overseen
1,444 games as a manager but not a final of FA
Cup or League Cup
Played for both clubs
Ernie Moss, Neil Redfearn
Carlisle United v Sheffield Wed
Sheffield Wed
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Stat Doncaster’s Darren Ferguson has never
reached the fifth round; his father Sir Alex did
so 19 times
League One v League Two
Ref D Webb
Kelvin Etuhu is a serious doubt for Carlisle
because of an ankle problem. George Boyd is
expected to make his first Wednesday
appearance since September after two
shoulder operations but Keiren Westwood
and Jack Hunt are out
Yeovil Town v Bradford City
places higher
Kick-off: today, 3pm
Away win
Ref J Brooks
John Terry will start for Villa after missing the
past ten games, but Scott Hogan is out with an
ankle problem. Peterborough are likely to
have Jonathan Bond in goal after he extended
his loan spell from Reading
FA Cup best Carlisle 6th round 1975.
Sheffield Wednesday winners 3 times,
latest in 1935
Played for both clubs
Tommy Craig, Steve Harkness
FA Cup best Aston Villa winners 7 times,
latest in 1957. Peterborough 6th round 1965
Omar Sowunmi and Connor Smith are
suspended for Yeovil, who will be without the
injured James Bailey for three months. The
on-loan Jared Bird could make his debut.
Bradford have Tyrell Robinson, Adam
Thompson, Matthew Kilgallon and Dominic
Poleon back
Stat Wednesday are the latest team to
have lost an FA Cup final replay – to
Arsenal in 1993
FA Cup best Yeovil 5th round 1949.
Bradford winners 1911
Played for both clubs
Derek Dougan, Vic Crowe
Stat Villa’s John Terry has received only one
card in his past 25 games: a red at home to
Peterborough in last year’s third round with
Played for both clubs
John McGinlay, Nicky Law
Stat Ten third-round ties feature a fourth
tier team, the most since a fourth division was
introduced in 1958-59
1G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport The Ashes
Khawaja delivers as
England’s rookies
survey task ahead
Mike Atherton
scoreboard from sydney
Chief Cricket
England: First Innings (overnight 233-5)
D J Malan c Smith b Starc........................62
M M Ali c Paine b Cummins................... 30
T K Curran c Bancroft b Cummins..... 39
S C J Broad c Smith b Lyon...................... 31
M S Crane run out.......................................... 4
J M Anderson not out..................................0
Extras (lb 2, w 2).............................................. 4
Total (112.3 overs)................................ 346
Fall of wickets 1-28, 2-88, 3-95, 4-228,
5-233, 6-251, 7-294, 8-335, 9-346.
Bowling Starc 21-6-80-2; Hazlewood
23-4-65-2; Cummins 24.3-5-80-4;
Lyon 37-5-86-1; M Marsh 7-0-33-0.
Australia: First Innings
C T Bancroft b Broad....................................0
D A Warner c Bairstow b Anderson...56
U T Khawaja not out................................... 91
*S P D Smith not out...................................44
Extras (b 1, nb 1)................................................2
Total (2 wkts, 67 overs)...................... 193
S E Marsh, M R Marsh, T D Paine,
M A Starc, P J Cummins,
J R Hazlewood and N M Lyon to bat.
Fall of wickets 1-1, 2-86.
Bowling Anderson 14-4-25-1; Broad
10-2-28-1; Ali 17-3-51-0; Curran 8-2-26-0;
Crane 17-0-58-0; Root 1-0-4-0.
Umpires H D P K Dharmasena (Sri
Lanka) and J S Wilson (West Indies).
TV umpire S Ravi (India).
Series details: First Test Australia
won by ten wickets (Brisbane).
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs
(Adelaide). Third Test Australia won
by an innings and 41 runs (Perth).
Fourth Test Match drawn (Melbourne).
Australia v England
Sydney (second day of five): Australia, with eight firstinnings wickets in hand, are 153 runs behind England
Seven years ago, on this ground
against England, Australia picked a side
containing both Usman Khawaja and
Steve Smith for the first time. Khawaja
batted in the key position at No 3 and
was talked up as the coming man, while
Smith batted at No 7 and was derided as
all that was wrong with Australian
cricket at that point.
Given that, it is a fair assumption to
make that Australia’s selectors have
been taken aback by Smith’s and
Khawaja’s relative career trajectories
since, with the former ensconced now
as if not the best, then as among the best
players in the world and the latter still
seemingly playing for his place every
time he walks out to bat, his technique
analysed incessantly and his languid,
laid-back appearance fodder for
amateur psychologists.
They came together again just before
tea on the second day with the match
tantalisingly poised, England having
advanced their first-innings score to
the kind of total that ought to be
competitive but, given their recent
history, was not sure to be. Cameron
Bancroft, karma having done its best
work after Brisbane, had been bowled
through a mighty gate for a duck, and
David Warner’s ominous stay (he had
scored three hundreds in consecutive
Tests on this ground before today) had
been ended by an off-cutter from the
ever-excellent James Anderson. There
was everything to play for.
For Khawaja the stakes were higher.
After difficulties on the sub-continent,
this was supposed to be an easier
assignment, at home where he has
always done well, but hitherto he had
made a couple of barely memorable
half-centuries and had struggled to
assert himself at the crease, or really
make an impact on the series. With
South Africa looming and the local
media agitating, he needed a score.
For a while after tea, they faced the
greenest combination England have
put on the park for a long time. Tom
Curran, yet to take a five-for in the
first division of the County
Championship, at one end
and the 20-year old leg
spinner, Mason Crane, at
the other. Crane had been
given an early pre-tea fiveover spell by Joe Root and,
after a nervy first ball
that landed halfway
down the pitch, had
not looked overawed
aborting his runup from time to
time, which engendered some barracking from the
Bairstow marked 20 years
since his father’s death
crowd. Curran is unlikely to have a
long Test career, but he is a trier and
earlier he had shown some backbone in
helping the lower order to add more
than a hundred in the morning session
for the last five wickets. It was a madcap
two hours, with a brilliant catch, two
dollies dropped, some unintelligent
Australian fast bowling, and batting
that veered between focused and
responsible and devil-may-care. The
upshot was 113 runs, five wickets
and England done by lunch, a bizarre
two hours only bettered by the sight
later in the day of Bob Hawke, the
former prime minister, necking a beer
in one for his usual new year’s party
The standout catch belonged to
Smith, spring-heeled as he was
when diving to his left and taking
Dawid Malan’s edge just off the
ground. The dollies belong to,
first, Pat Cummins, who shelled
Curran on 22 at mid-on off
Nathan Lyon and, then, Josh
Hazlewood who put
down an even easier
catch at mid-on, when
Moeen Ali had made 22.
In fact, Hazlewood did
not handle the ball at all,
as it slipped between his
chest and cupped hands.
The focused batting
belonged to Ali, who put
the horrors of Melbourne behind him and
played properly, until a
short, fast, rising ball from Cummins
flicked his glove. The devil-may-care
belonged to Stuart Broad, who greeted
the inevitable barrage of bouncers with
a variety of unorthodox pull shots,
sometimes eyeing the ball, sometimes
not, and sending two mighty sixes
soaring into the Victor Trumper Stand.
England’s innings had ended
without a hundred and that was
surely Khawaja’s aim as he settled down
after tea with his captain, especially
since he had yet to post one in Ashes
cricket. Khawaja’s play against spin has
a particular rhythm, the occasional big
shot interspersed with lots of blocking,
and it was a lofted six off Ali that took
him to a half-century.
Root gave Crane a lengthy second
spell of ten overs after tea, to give us a
first prolonged look at the young leggie.
There was nothing wrong with his
action: a brisk run up of six or seven
paces, plenty of energy through the
delivery and enough spin on the ball to
cause the occasional problem. When
Khawaja had 65, Crane induced an
edge that went between Jonny
Bairstow, wearing a black armband on
the 20th anniversary of his father’s
death, and Root at slip. He also found
the edge of Smith’s bat, a rare enough
occurrence in this series.
More of a criticism would be aimed
at his strategy. He bowled a lot at
left-handers, Warner and Khawaja in
his first spell, Khawaja in his second
— not an easy task — but his line
throughout was a little too straight,
being at middle stump or the leg side of
middle, rather than spinning the ball
back on to off stump.
Nevertheless, for a 20-year-old it was
quite a thing to get through 17 overs of
a Test at the SCG and, despite the odd
bad ball, not look intimidated. When
Smith flat batted a high full toss to the
leg side, briefly a memory flickered of
his doing the same to another debutant
spinner, Simon Kerrigan, at the Oval in
2013, but Crane’s selection feels more
justified and more long term than that,
despite the absence of a maiden, never
mind a wicket.
Khawaja is the kind of player who
keeps you on the edge of your seat, not
necessarily out of excitement but
because you feel he is liable to do
something silly at any moment.
Another nervy aspect to his game is his
running, which is occasionally lethargic, and with a hyperactive Smith at the
other end, held possibilities for England.
Smith’s blade was looking as broad as
ever. He went past 6,000 Test runs in
the evening session, the joint second
fastest in terms of innings to Bradman.
In everything he does at the moment,
Smith seems to be mentioned second
only to Bradman, although tomorrow
he has the chance to equal you know
who with his fourth hundred of an
Ashes series.
By the close, Khawaja was only nine
short of his own, and Australia 153 shy
of England’s first-innings total. Should
he get there, it will be his sixth Test
hundred, a small matter of 17 fewer than
Smith since they first played together
against the old enemy in that match at
Sydney seven years ago. Sometimes
you can’t guess how things will pan out,
but yesterday, at least, it was not all
about Smith.
Smith and Khawaja put
Australia in a position
of command at the SCG
Online: how England
got on last night
In-play: read
analysis on
the opening
At stumps
Simon Wilde’s
close of play
report from
the SCG
from Mike
Atherton &
Gideon Haigh
verdict on the
day’s play
Read at and on The Times smartphone app
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
1G S
How two Australians compare
Test runs per year
Mike Brearley
Former England
Like a Hawke
As is now traditional, the former
Australian prime minister Bob Hawke
downed a schooner of beer for the
cameras in the hospitality suites at the
SCG. Hawke, right, is 88 and not quite as
swift skulling a beer as he once was;
when at Oxford University he broke a
record by downing a yard of ale in just
11 seconds. Each year at the Test match,
the camera pans to Hawke holding a
beer and he kindly does the decent
Wood signs up for IPL
Mark Wood will join the growing
number of England players to dip their
toe in this month’s Indian Premier
League auction for the first time. Wood,
to remember what they are actually
meant to be singing and have pestered
the rest of the crowd on day two of
each Test by dressing up as Richie
Benaud. On their website they have a
code of conduct. It says, “What would
Richie do? Let’s honour him
respectfully.” It is hard to imagine
Benaud would have had much time for
the constant chanting of “Broad is a
wanker” when the England bowler was
stationed in front of them. Fortunately
Broad is a phlegmatic sort and used to
such nonsense, but it was not a great
look — at least they do not constantly
sing about convicts.
By Will Macpherson
who does not have a central ECB
contract for Test cricket (though he
does for one-day
internationals), has received
clearance from his county,
Durham, to enter the
auction. Jonny Bairstow’s
name is set to join his on
the auction card, but Joe
Root is yet to decide if he
will enter.
Richie dishonoured
The Richies are essentially a tedious,
pound-shop Australian answer to the
Barmy Army who require song sheets
Did Root’s mother
tell him to eat up
only half his dinner?
Billy and the Barmies
Speaking of the Barmy
Army, they found
themselves a new
member on the second
day. Billy Root, left,
brother of Joe and a
batsman for
Nottinghamshire, has
been kicking around for the
past couple of Tests — along
with his parents and grandfather
— and popped down for a singalong
with the Barmies as his brother
pondered how to get Steve Smith out.
arly in the 1960s, I met an
old Kent cricketer in a
hospitality tent during the
Canterbury week. His name
was Les Todd. He asked an
innocuous question of some of the
Middlesex players: “Did you have a
particular score that you kept getting
out on? What was your unlucky
score?” People said things like “seven”
or “16”. “And what about you, Les?”
“A hundred and seventy-four,” he
I feel something of the same about
Joe Root’s conversion rate of fifties
into hundreds. A nice problem to
have, to get so many fifties that you
average 53, and yet . . .
Root has a conversion rate of
26.5 per cent, compared with his two
main rivals to the accolade of best
batsman in the world, Virat Kohli
(57.1) and Steve Smith (51.1). Most of
the top players of past decades are
nearer to Kohli than to Root. The
differential invites the question: why?
What happens in Root’s head or body
to result in his turning only half as
many of his fifties into hundreds as
these two?
One thing is clear. If such a pattern
becomes known, even notorious, it’s
likely to become a problem, an issue,
even if there has been no evidence of
a psychological factor until then.
Doubt creeps in, tension increases,
questions intrude and alter one’s
approach: how can I break the
pattern, how can I play differently this
time? As Hamlet puts it: “Why then,
’tis none to you, for there is nothing
either good or bad but thinking makes
it so.” Thinking there’s a problem
creates one, or intensifies it.
Yet apart from this line of thought,
how could one possibly know about a
particular individual? Each dismissal
seems to have its explanation in itself
or its immediate context. If Root were
to lie on my couch five times a week
for a few years, might I be in a better
position to know? To be completely
wacky, did his mother require him to
eat up only half his dinner? Does
Root have a traditional (or clichéd)
Far Eastern, perhaps Korean, attitude
(as described by a long-term resident
in that part of the world), that tall
grass gets scythed first, so one must
not stand up above one’s peers? It
seems unlikely, from what I see of
Perhaps I could start from my own
much more humble experience, if
only to rule out some factors in
whatever is going on with Root. I
scored nine fifties in Test cricket, but
no hundreds. It is a fact that I still
find galling. Not one conversion out
of a meagre nine.
In my case, I understand why this
was so: mainly it was my limitation in
ability, combined with anxiety. I had
too little time to take a stride forward
against quick bowlers, which was one
reason for my lacking the ability to
dominate even when set. And often I
was too tense at Test level.
Yet even given this, I still torment
myself with the thought that had I
scored a century against India at
Bombay in 1977 in my seventh Test
match, when I was stumped for 91,
things might have been different. I
might have walked taller at the
crease, and scored one or two others.
Having taken a long time to make a
first County Championship century
(173 not out at Cardiff against
Glamorgan in 1974), I scored a second
in my next match, against Yorkshire
at Lord’s (163 not out).
But Root is not a limited player, nor
unable to dominate. In fact he is
temperamentally more like Viv
Richards and Rohan Kanhai in his
approach to an innings. He likes to
get going with a few early strokes, feel
the ball in the middle of the bat, hit a
couple of fours, adrenaline driving
him forward. After the first 15 or 20
minutes, this early aggression often
modulated into a steadier style. My
impression has been that over the
past months, Root has succeeded in
curbing such early impetuosity.
In general though, once he feels set,
he has a jaunty air at the crease. He
seems far from weighed down by selfdoubt or inhibition. I think feeling
he’s “on the go” helps him. If
anything, one might wonder if he
becomes overconfident later in the
innings, and perhaps careless. But I
have no real grounds for such a
theory. And now, perhaps all-too
conscious of the statistic and of the
opinion of the pundits, suffering the
permanent pain of watching Smith
bat on and on and on, he seems more
likely to risk becoming laboured than
being frivolous, more Smith, one
might say, than Richards.
The fact is, it’s impossible to know,
especially from a spectator’s distance,
how such a habit such as not making
many really big scores when
appearing perfectly placed to do so
develops, and how much the
batsman’s psychology contributes to
it. Luck plays its part. Moreover, we
should factor in the reality that
during this series Smith’s task, facing
England’s bowlers, has been less
taxing than Root’s facing Australia’s.
Certainly one can’t conclude much
from studying, however closely, the
moments of dismissal. Root had just
driven Mitchell Starc through mid-off
for what one commentator called “the
shot of the day”. The ball he got out
to in this Test was of full length,
slightly leg side, certainly a ball to
score off, and he clipped it well.
Perhaps the bounce of the new ball
was crisper than during most of
Root’s innings, with the result that it
struck the bat fractionally higher.
Perhaps he himself was a little too
eager. Often the ball would have gone
either side of square leg for four and
that it was in the air would have been
given barely a second thought.
This Ashes series has been a painful
one for England, not least for Root as
captain. Perhaps the discomfort of
being on the receiving end of Smith’s
remorseless determination, his
willingness and ability to go at
different tempos over long periods of
time at the crease, and his remarkable
obduracy, will imprint themselves on
Root’s brain, and increase his hunger
and appetite for batting for days
rather than hours. Maybe this pain
will gain him the wisdom or
shrewdness that he needs to approach
the records of Kohli and Smith.
But his main task may be not to get
a complex about it all, and to keep a
clear mind.
1G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport The Ashes
Fresh-faced Crane gives glimmer
Gideon Haigh
What were you doing at the age of 20?
Maybe you were tackling your first
menial job, waiting tables or pulling
beers, and still taking your washing
home to your mother. Perhaps you were
at university, attending the odd lecture,
cramming for exams, and wondering
whether this degree in media studies
with an elective in Norwegian death
metal would be good enough to get you
a gig in a call centre. Or backpacking, or
playing in a band, or penning bad
poetry, or thinking about a tattoo.
Mason Crane is bowling leg spin for
England. Two years ago he was at
school. A year ago he was a spectator at
the Sydney Test, while playing local
grade cricket. Two days ago he posted
photographs of himself on Instagram
with his proud parents, Harbour Bridge
in the background, and with his new
team-mates, receiving a Test cap from
Graeme Swann: “This is my favourite
and proudest moment ever!! Truly
honoured, I hope we can have a great 5
days. Living my dream.” Plus an emoji
or two, which I’m too old to translate.
After a day’s dressing-room duties,
Crane emerged yesterday morning
for his first Test hit. First impressions? With his compact physique
and long sleeves, back-and-across
step and bat gesturing towards point,
he bore a striking resemblance to
Steve Smith — not a bad model, all
things considered, even if he was not
to last long, after a tailend mix-up.
Second impressions? He might
bowl a bit like Steve Smith, too.
Beckoned by Joe Root to deliver the
15th over of Australia’s reply, Crane
started with a drag-down to Usman
Khawaja, a ball directed down the leg
side to David Warner, and a slightly
strained glance at his captain, himself
only 27 and learning his own set of
ropes. This particular rope Root must
have known already. Crane’s first-class
Proud England new boy Crane in
Sydney with his parents in one of the
pictures he posted on Instagram
strike rate of 68.2 is barely inferior to
Nathan Lyon’s of 67.9, but his wickets
are almost 10 runs costlier. He will
probably always leak runs; captains will
have to hope for wickets along the way.
Crane cupped and blew into his right
hand — a habitual, possibly superstitious gesture — before landing his third
ball on a length. There was a burst of
sympathetic applause.
Nobody expected Crane to turn the
series on its head, England trailing 3-0,
already being buried up to their necks.
But his selection had already provided
relief from a tour of demoralising defeat
and a veritable covfefe of negative
press. The hope now was not so much
about what might go right but that too
much should not go wrong.
In the final Test of two of the past
three Ashes series, England have
blooded a slow bowler — neither
Simon Kerrigan nor Scott Borthwick
was re-blooded. As far as leg spin is
concerned, England can look back on
Chris Schofield and Ian Salisbury,
capped at 21 and 22 respectively, for a
cumulative 20 wickets in 17 Tests.
On the evidence here, although it
may not be saying much, Crane already
looks a better bowler than all four. He
bustles up, whirling busily, rolls his
shoulders and rips it.
With the initial challenge of two
left-handers to tackle, he maintained a
tidy length and game loop. There was
the exhalation of an appeal, as a leg
break hit Khawaja just outside the line,
and the glimpse of a wrong ’un, which
Warner dead-batted off the back foot.
Sweepers on both sides excused his
errors of length.
With Moeen Ali bowling at the other
end, it was possible to enjoy the improbability of the spectacle: a fresh-faced lad
bowling leggies and a bearded Muslim
purveying offies to a batsman in a baggy green (Warner) before a packed Test
house. Which decade were we in again?
The romance of leg spin is that its
purveyors can cause themselves as
much difficulty as their opponents. It is
a craft lived in the head and felt in the
fingers — and at 20, of course, mind and
body are still maturing. Crane ended up
bowling 102 deliveries (plus one no ball)
at batsmen during the day, and probably almost as many again to Alastair
Cook at cover, rehearsing and visualising. He struggled to get consecutive
deliveries at the same batsman,
conceding 30 singles.
From one particular challenge,
Crane emerged well. In his tenth over,
he came nearest to a wicket so far, when
an edge from Khawaja bisected wicketkeeper and slip. Then, twice, he bustled
up, only to keep hold of the ball, as
though coming up to a neighbourhood
door on which he was afraid to knock.
When he did, the occupant was hostile:
Smith pasted a full pitch through
mid-wicket for four.
Crane followed his poorest with his
be continuing to attack in his 11th
ov when defence must have seemed
Smith edged a leg break just
sh of slip, and Khawaja gloved just
ou of the reach of both short leg and
th on-rushing bowler. Nor is this, at
lea not yet, a surface on which to
him: in 72 overs of spin these
fir two days, just one wicket has
As shadows crossed the field after
th close, Crane’s day concluded
a televised boundary-side
by Swann, Mike Husin
se and Geoffrey Boycott, nearly
25 Test caps between them. He
have been pinching himself
There’s another aspect
of Crane’s being 20 that should
unusual — he’ll be able to
6 Gideon Haigh is a columnist for
Th Australian
Where leg spinner bowled
To lefthanders
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Crane was fairly
consistent on his
first day of
bowling in Test
cricket — his worst
ball was his first
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
1G S
of hope for future
Debutant hails MacGill’s
influence after solid start
Will Macpherson Sydney
Mason Crane, all of 20 years old and
performing leg spin, cricket’s ficklest
art, credited a composed Ashes debut
with the support of Stuart MacGill, the
former Australia spinner, and some
low-key previous experience of the
Sydney Cricket Ground last year when
playing for New South Wales.
Crane’s 17 overs went wicketless but,
at times, he troubled Usman Khawaja
and Steve Smith and he was not too
expensive, going for 58 runs.
“I am pretty happy,” he said. “You’d
like a couple of wickets but that’s the
game. It came out nicely and it’s
something to build on. There were
periods we had inside edges that didn’t
get to short leg, edges that didn’t get to
slip, but that happens, that’s the game.
“It felt different [from playing for
New South Wales], but some things
were quite similar. I’m in the away
dressing room, it’s a packed house,
there’s a lot more hype than the
[Sheffield] Shield. Turning up a few
days before it felt familiar. That
experience has stood me in good stead.
“Stu [MacGill] has been awesome. He
was a great bowler and a great coach. I
love working with him.”
Crane has a calmness and a dry wit.
He had been padded up ready to bat in
the first innings when Jonny Bairstow
— who on the second day wore a black
armband in honour of the 20th anniversary of his father’s death — chose to
do the job himself. Crane has been
nightwatchman for Hampshire, but he
has a highest first-class score of just 29.
Did he volunteer? “I was asked if I’d
volunteer,” he smiled. He eventually
got a go on the second morning, only to
be run out by James Anderson for four.
Was it fun, facing Australia’s fearsome
attack? “I love batting, I wish I was
better at it. I enjoyed all seven balls.”
When his chance came with the ball,
Crane began with a half-tracker but felt
he settled “after 10 or 11 balls”. He has a
habit, which riled sections of the crowd,
of aborting his run-up if anything did
not feel quite right. “I try to stop myself
if I think I’m about to bowl a ball that’s
not as good as I can give,” he said.
He was aware that Shane Warne’s
Test debut came on this ground in 1992
and things did not quite go to plan.
Warne, who was two years Crane’s
senior, took one for 150.
One of the two wickets to fall was
David Warner, who was impressed with
the way England bowled at him.
“The way Jimmy [Anderson]
dismissed me, it was a fantastic spell by
him; that’s twice he’s got me out in the
same way,” Warner said.
Day 2 in Sydney, session by session
A session with an end-of-term feel if
you are being generous, slapstick if
you are not. Moeen Ali played himself
in — a break from the recent norm —
and Dawid Malan was first to go,
caught brilliantly by Steve Smith at
second slip. Australia’s fielding then
collapsed, with Tom Curran and Ali
dropped by Pat Cummins and Josh
Hazlewood respectively. Cummins
eventually got both, with Ali done by
bounce and Curran popping to short
leg. Stuart Broad hit two sixes then
top-edged a sweep before Mason
Crane was run out in farcical fashion.
Score England 346 all out. Runs 113.
Wickets 5. Run rate 3.6.
Crane showed on his first
day of bowling leg spin in
the Test cauldron that he
can give the ball a real rip
Quigg to challenge Valdez for world title
Ron Lewis Boxing Correspondent
Scott Quigg flies to Los Angeles for a
training camp with a difference this
month. When he next returns home to
Bury in March, he plans to be a world
champion again.
Terms have been agreed for Quigg to
challenge Óscar Valdez, of Mexico, for
the WBO featherweight title at the
StubHub Centre in Los Angeles on
March 10 and Quigg hopes to sign a
contract before he leaves.
It has been nearly
two years since he lost
to Carl Frampton
and the 29-year-old
remains hungry to be
a world champion again
even though he faces, in
Valdez, one of the hottest talents
in world boxing. Quigg now
Quigg has been reinvigorated by
his switch to a Hollywood gym
trains under Freddie Roach at the
Wild Card gym in Hollywood, where
ring legends such as Manny Pacquiao
or Miguel Cotto could be on the next
punchbag. It was a change he felt was
necessary to enable him to move on
with his career.
“The biggest difference is I’m walking
into the gym every day with a smile on
my face,” Quigg, who has won 34 of his
37 fights, said. “I’m loving my boxing
again because I was starting not to enjoy
it and, going over
there, I have benefited loads, not just in
my mood, but I feel
like I am developing my skills.”
The Wild Card
has become a
celebrity hangout
under Roach, with
some movie stars training
there and others just
popping in to watch or chat.
Sylvester Stallone, Mark
Wahlberg and Mario Lopez
are among those Quigg has
bumped into during a workout. But Los
Angeles remains a place of work.
“I’ve got an apartment within
walking distance of the gym and all I do
there is train,” Quigg said. “I’ve been
working under the radar since the
Frampton fight. I have had three fights,
but nothing big. I feel at home in LA
now. But Bury will always be my home.”
Quigg had a frustrating night against
Frampton at the Manchester Arena in
February 2016 as his lack of early work
rate allowed the Northern Irishman,
who was defending his IBF title, to
build a big lead that he never looked like
“I’ve got over the fight,” Quigg said.
“We got the game plan wrong. This is
the fight that will bring me back above
water, a chance to show what I can do.”
Valdez has a growing reputation, but
Quigg, who will be boxing in the United
States for the first time, believes he can
derail the unbeaten champion.
“They are building Valdez as a future
star and he has had some spectacular
knockouts,” he said. “But I am fully
confident that I can get the job done.”
The perfect start for England as Broad
barged one straight through Cameron
Bancroft’s ugly, unlatched gate. David
Warner moved to his third straight
half-century in a stand of 85 with
Usman Khawaja, who settled after a
flaky start. Crane’s first Test delivery
was a half-tracker but thereafter poor
balls were rare. With tea approaching,
James Anderson tempted Warner into
nibbling a cutter outside off stump.
Score Australia 96-2. Runs 96.
Wickets 2. Run rate 2.82.
Khawaja and Smith nestled in as
Crane and Ali clocked up overs,
occasionally drawing edges that did
not carry to slip or bat-pad. Khawaja
moved past 50, never looking totally
at ease but never slowing up, either.
Smith was not at his best, but that is
still plenty good enough, and he
passed 6,000 Test match runs.
Score Australia 193-2. Runs 97.
Wickets 0. Run rate 2.9.
Willmott set for Gold Coast Lord’s stands to be rebuilt
Commonwealth Games Aimee
Willmott, who won two silver medals
in Glasgow four years ago, will make
her third Games appearance in April
at the Gold Coast in Australia after
she was among 24 swimmers selected
by Team England yesterday to join
the 15 named in October.
Wood steps down as CEO
Rugby league Nigel Wood is to stand
down as Rugby Football League chief
executive this month after ten years
in the role. Brian Barwick, the
chairman, said: “Nigel has been a
superb administrator, innovator and
advocate for the sport of rugby league
in this country.”
Latifi signs for Force India
Formula One Sahara Force India, the
Silverstone-based team, have named
Toronto-born Nicholas Latifi, 22, as
their test and reserve driver for the
2018 season. Latifi, who finished fifth
in the Formula Two standings last
year, will back up Sergio Pérez and
Esteban Ocon.
Cricket The architects responsible for
refurbishing Battersea Power Station
have been appointed to rebuild the
Compton and Edrich Stands at Lord’s.
WilkinsonEyre, famous for designs
including the Gateshead Millennium
Bridge, were selected from a shortlist
of five by MCC.
6 Dale Steyn marked his return after
14 months out with a shoulder injury
by dismissing Shikhar Dhawan for 16
as India closed day one of the first
Test in Cape Town on 28 for three in
reply to South Africa’s 286.
Gallagher left out of squad
Winter Paralympics Kelly Gallagher,
who with her guide Charlotte Evans
won Britain’s first gold medal on snow
in Sochi four years ago, has been
omitted from the squad for the
Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang,
South Korea, starting on March 9.
Britain’s two allocated places for
visually impaired skiers have gone to
Millie Knight and Menna Fitzpatrick,
although Gallagher could earn a place
when spare slots are reallocated later
this month.
1G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Rugby union
‘Fracturing my jaw was
the most excruciating
pain I have ever felt’
A fit-again Maro Itoje is on
a quest to learn as much
as possible about
leadership, he tells
John Westerby
player can learn more in one defeat,
the wise men say, than from any
number of victories. But when, like
Maro Itoje, you have the enviable
problem of finding defeats hard to
come by, wisdom must instead be gleaned from
mistakes made along the way.
It is almost two years now since Itoje burst
into the broader sporting consciousness, a
21-year-old England lock of rare athletic gifts,
emerging seemingly word perfect in the harsh
language of international rugby. But it had not
always been so. Itoje had merely shown a
striking capacity to learn from formative
experiences, such as the time he prepared to
launch into one of his first pre-match speeches
as the young captain of Saracens’ LV= Cup team
in 2014. “I was 20, that’s relatively young in
captaincy terms, and there were a lot of older
players in the side,” he said.
Itoje does not, as we know, do things by
halves and the speech had been diligently
crafted and rehearsed. And then, with the older
players looking on expectantly, came the new
leader’s moment to take a deep breath and
announce himself. “I totally messed up my
speech,” he said. “I stood there and I was very
embarrassed. But as soon as it was over, a
number of the senior players came up to me,
saying, ‘Come on, it doesn’t matter, you’ll be
good.’ I needed that. And I knew then that I had
their backing, no matter what.”
In a secondary domestic competition, Itoje
had been made captain at such a young age for
that very reason: to harness his natural
leadership skills for the good of the team — but
also to accelerate his own development. After
that false start, Saracens went on to win the
competition. “I learnt a lot,” he said. “That
experience made me better from a speaking
point of view and it hasn’t happened since. At
certain times, you have to go through those
uncomfortable moments in order to grow. Like
with muscles, you have to break them down
before you build them. There’s always a little bit
of damage when you want to grow further.”
Itoje will be back in the second row for
Saracens this weekend, the recent damage to his
jawbone repaired well ahead of schedule, and he
is fit to play his first game for a month away to
Wasps tomorrow. Even before a return to match
fitness, Eddie Jones, the England head coach,
placed him in the thick of preparations for the
NatWest Six Nations Championship at
England’s training camp in Brighton last week,
directing operations at the lineout. Itoje may
have won only 14 England caps, to which he
added three more for the British & Irish Lions,
but those natural leadership qualities make him
one of the team’s guiding lights.
At a time when the debate over Dylan
Hartley’s position as captain rages on, it is a
curiosity that England are probably more
certain of their captain for the 2023 World Cup
in France than for the tournament in Japan next
year. Itoje, almost certainly, will become captain
in the next World Cup cycle and, once he has
taken on the job, he can be expected to keep it
for a while. Captaincy is not a role he covets, but
leadership is a subject that animates him. The
first guest on his dream dinner party invitation
Itoje has spoken to people in the military and
the business world about their leadership skills
list, as he disclosed in an interview with The
Times last year, would be the late Kwame
Nkrumah, leader of Ghana’s independence
movement; a nod to the pride in his own
African roots (his family is Nigerian) and his
studies in African politics, but also to his
reverence for leaders of stature.
“I’ve never heard it said of a team that there
are too many leaders,” he said. “Leadership for
me is not about being captain of the side. It’s
more about understanding your role within the
side and magnifying that to make it something
more beneficial to the team. The more leaders
you have, the better, whether that’s playing
five-a-side football, playing rugby for Saracens,
or playing for England.”
Given his famous presence and poise, it might
be assumed that Itoje has captained every team
he ever played in. As a teenager, though, he was
less sure of himself. When he joined Saracens at
14, as a boarder at the nearby St George’s School
in Harpenden, he would not have been a natural
captain. “I was a really nervous player, in fact I
was pretty nervous about anything back then,”
he has said. “I was a lanky 14-year-old in the
background just trying to find his way. Slowly
but surely I came out of my shell.”
As a result, the captaincy roles came as his
confidence burgeoned. “I wasn’t captain of my
school team, although I had leadership roles
within it, the same with my academy,” he said.
“It was only in the [England] Under-20s when I
was made official captain of the team.”
His powerful performances were instrumental
Six Nations
Subscribers can join us in
London on Tuesday, January
30, when a panel of rugby
experts from The Times and
The Sunday Times will discuss
how the Six Nations teams are
shaping up.
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in leading England to victory in the Under-20
World Championship in New Zealand in 2014.
“On the back of that, Mark McCall [Saracens’
director of rugby] made me captain of the
second team,” Itoje said. Saracens Storm went
on to win the Aviva A League that year, so
McCall extended the job to the LV= Cup team,
during which he made his fateful speech and
recovered to lift yet another trophy. “That was
really special,” he said. “I still look back at
photos and think, ‘Wow, that was a cool time.’ ”
The run of success has continued, of course,
since his promotion through the ranks, with two
Premiership titles, two Champions Cup
successes, a Lions series and 13 victories in his
first 14 appearances for England. He has not
been captain for a while — he has led Saracens’
senior team only once from the start of a game
— but he has continued to develop his
leadership skills. “I’ve spoken to people in the
military, people in business, the CEOs and
owners of some pretty big firms,” he said. “Of all
the people I’ve spoken to, if you break down
what they’ve said, take the specifics of their
environment out of it, a lot of them are saying
more or less the same thing.
“And having a broader perspective on life does
help. In a squad of 40 players, you’ll have 40
different attitudes, mindsets, different
environments in which they were raised. As a
result, they have different triggers, different
ways of thinking about life. You need to find a
way to get them all to buy into a set of values, a
culture and an identity.”
Itoje could never be accused of having a
narrow outlook on life, but tomorrow he will
relish a return to the visceral thrills of combat at
the Ricoh Arena, the start of a heady period
encompassing two vital Champions Cup fixtures
and the Six Nations to follow. A month out of
action has sharpened his appetite after a
wincingly painful injury sustained when his jaw
was fractured in a collision with Mike Brown.
He now has two metal plates in his chin and
two more on the left side of his jawbone.
“That was the most excruciating pain I have
ever experienced,” he said. “At first I thought,
my jaw hurts, then I tried moving it and it hurt
a bit more. Two or three minutes later, the pain
hit me. I can’t think of anything more painful.
Fortunately, I was able to have an operation that
same day and I was able to start the recovery.”
He packs down at lock tomorrow alongside
Nick Isiekwe, having spent the season shuffling
between lock and blind-side flanker for both
club and country. “I genuinely don’t mind which
I play,” he said. “The real differences are with
where you start in the scrum and maybe you
have slightly different roles on attacking maps.
You have slightly more opportunities to carry at
No 6, more licence to roam in outside channels.”
Ball-carrying is one area of Itoje’s game that is
a work in progress, as he continues his quest for
perpetual self-improvement. And he is still
developing those leadership skills, too. “I want
to be the most rounded individual and player I
can be,” he said. “There are improvements in
terms of leadership I feel I can make.” Any
specifics? He pauses and chuckles. “Yeah, there’s
a few, but I’ll leave that one open.”
He will not seek the captaincy of club or
country, but inevitably the roles will find him.
“I’ve never gone up to a coach and said, ‘I want
to be captain,’ ” he said. “It just kind of
happened.” Things keep kind of happening for
Itoje. And it is no coincidence that, since his
coming of age for club and country, so many
extraordinary things have happened.
6 Maro Itoje was speaking on behalf of Ricoh. Go
to to find out more about The
Business of Rugby
England have
won 13 of their
14 games in
which Itoje
has played
Turnovers per 80
minutes that Itoje has
won in the Premiership
this season — the most
of anyone who has
played 300
Saracens’ win
percentage when Itoje is
playing since his debut
(39 out of 52). Without
him it is 62 per cent
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
1G S
Jones must unleash his young
guns sooner rather than later
Ben Kay
ccording to Eddie Jones,
Marcus Smith is still
“miles away” from playing
international rugby. But
Jones also said that he
hoped to bring Smith up to speed in
time for the World Cup in Japan next
year, which means that Harlequins’
precocious 18-year-old fly half can’t
really be all that far away.
The opportunities for giving players
new to international rugby a decent
amount of international experience
before the World Cup are running
shorter now. Starting with the
NatWest Six Nations Championship
next month, England have 12 matches
in 2018 before we go into World Cup
If a player is not yet seen as ready
even to play at international level, can
he realistically be expected to
compete with the world’s best next
year, as part of a squad with high
hopes of winning the World Cup?
Every player matures at a different
rate, clearly, but with the players
Jones is carefully cultivating in and
around his squad, I can see there
being at least a couple of names
figuring prominently at the World
Cup of whom we haven’t yet seen
much at international level. Even
though he does not turn 19 until next
month, Smith is one of those. The
other who looks to be travelling
quickly towards the World Cup squad
is Nick Isiekwe, the 19-year-old
Saracens lock, who has already won a
couple of caps from the bench.
I like the way Jones is bringing
through the handful of talents that
have caught his eye and he is clearly
using training camps like the one in
Brighton last week to see what they
can offer. Gary Graham was a leftfield selection, but Jones or one of his
coaches had clearly seen a little bit of
something they liked in the Newcastle
Falcons flanker.
Smith, along with Zach Mercer, has
been assigned “apprentice” status, but
Jones would not involve them if he
didn’t think they have a chance of
developing in time for the
World Cup. The head
coach obviously likes
the idea of getting
hold of players
they can
still be
before too many
bad habits creep
in amid the weekly grind of
club rugby. Jones can then
get to know them as
characters, to know what
makes them tick. Smith
and Isiekwe seem to be
the players who have
responded best to the
situation into which Jones has
thrown them.
It might have been seen
as a real long shot when
Smith was first picked in
an England squad this
season, but many of the
game’s best fly halves
start young. Jonny
Wilkinson was 18 when he
watching Smith’s decision-making
was given his first cap by Clive
Woodward, Matt Giteau had just
Given his ability in broken play, it
turned 20 when he made his debut
may be that Jones is eyeing up the
for Australia. Owen Farrell was 20, so
Harlequins youngster for a role as a
was George Ford.
finisher, but that will depend on the
The question is how much longer
balance of the rest of the matchday
Jones holds Smith back. If Farrell or
squad. Both Smith and Ford will
Ford were to be injured, would he be
make their tackles, but, because of
considered the third-choice No 10?
their size, Jones would probably not
He looks the next best option to me,
want both on the field at the same
although Piers Francis would perhaps
time. Smith’s chance of a
be preferred in the shorter
place on the bench could
term as he has the greater
come if Farrell moves
experience. In terms of
to fly half, with Ben
skills, though, Smith
Te’o or Manu
appears to have the
Tuilagi in
lot; the hands, the
midfield, leaving
boot and a razorSmith and Ford
sharp running
Jonny Wilkinson’s age
to fight for a
game. Experience
finisher’s role.
is the one thing he
debut in April 1998 against
lacks and this is a
Ireland at Twickenham.
probably has a
gap that can be
Marcus Smith is
stronger chance of
bridged in the next
18 years and 326 days
making the starting
year if Jones believes
XV before the World
he is a quick learner.
Cup, even though he
In particular, the area
plays in a position of real
that Jones will be looking for
strength for England. Funnily
him to develop is his decision-making
enough, Isiekwe has probably
and game management. However
benefited from the jostling for places
dazzling your skills, a bedrock of
experience brings that extra 5 per cent ahead of him among four of the best
locks in the game: Maro Itoje,
of value in knowing when to do
things, that makes all the difference at Courtney Lawes, George Kruis and
Joe Launchbury. As a result, England
international level. When is a risk
do not have a settled pairing and the
worth taking? When is the risk too
game’s evolution this season towards
great? Experienced players still make
the No 6 being a strong lineout option
mistakes with those decisions, of
rather than a second breakdown
course, but the England coach will be
expert — a 5½ rather than a 6½ —
means that Jones can consider
‘I really like the look of
playing Lawes or Itoje at blind-side
Isiekwe. Despite his
I really like the look of Isiekwe.
tender years, he seems
Despite his tender years, he already
seems physically mature, even in a
physically mature’
position where players have often
excellent and
he is a genuine
leader. I watched
aan England training
session and was
impressed to see him bossing
Chris Robshaw around. I was
pleased to read in The Times last
week about the work Dean Ryan is
doing in developing leadership among
younger players, but Isiekwe does not
seem to be lacking in this. He is also
being given game time by Saracens
and he starts in the second row
alongside Itoje against Wasps
So much of international rugby is
about opportunity and taking your
chances when they come. It’s worth
remembering that Smith would
probably not have made such
progress this season if Demetri
Catrakilis, Harlequins’ first-choice fly
half, had not been injured early in the
As a consequence, Smith has
started plenty of games and his
learning has been accelerated by the
exposure to regular top-flight rugby.
He has taken his chance with
Harlequins and it will be fascinating
now to see how Jones goes about
getting him up to speed in time for
the World Cup.
18y 314d
Harlequins have given Smith,
the 18-year-old fly half who
is very much part of Jones’s
England plans, plenty of
game time this season
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Rugby union
Bath back to best in six-try romp
Opening the
Grant scores
the first of
Bath’s six tries
Aviva Premiership
John Westerby
In recent weeks, Bath have been
struggling to solve something of an
identity crisis. Are they the side who
had performed with such vigour
against Toulon in back-to-back
Champions Cup games last month,
memorably winning the home leg at
the Recreation Ground? Or the team
that came into this game having lost
three consecutive Aviva Premiership
This was a performance much closer
to those rousing European displays,
built around passion in defence and
tenacity at the breakdown, then garnished with a few shafts of brilliance
from Anthony Watson, relishing the
firm footing provided by an artificial
surface. Bath scored six tries at Sixways,
to three from their opponents, clinching a comprehensive bonus-point win
that lifted them level on points with
fourth-placed Gloucester.
All of which was achieved with an
injury list full of star names, including
how they stand
London Irish
B Pts
10 50
8 40
7 39
5 37
9 37
4 32
6 30
9 29
4 28
6 22
7 19
5 9
Taulupe Faletau, Semesa Rokoduguni,
Sam Underhill, Charlie Ewels and
Francois Louw. Worcester Warriors
will not want to play Bath again when
those players are back in the ranks.
“We took on board the lessons we’d
learned in the last couple of weeks,”
Todd Blackadder, the Bath director of
rugby, said. “It was a great response.”
For the home side, this was a thoroughly sobering evening, a reminder
that, although they had eased relegation fears with a victory over London
Irish in their previous home game, they
are still a country mile behind the
teams in the top half of the table.
From the outset, Bath dominated in
terms of possession and territory, even
if it took them some time to convert
their superiority into points. Their
half-time lead of 13-6 was not an
accurate indication of the balance of
power, reflecting in part the successes
that Worcester enjoyed at the scrum, in
which they matched Bath’s front-row
triumvirate of Beno Obano, Tom Dunn
and Henry Thomas, all of whom had
been involved in England’s recent
training camp in Brighton.
This gave them no more than a toehold in the game, though, as Bath began
to go through the gears. Watson had
provided the brightest early moments
in the game from full back, gliding
through the Warriors defence from
40 metres out, stepping beautifully off
his right foot, then flipping out a pass
that was gratefully intercepted by Sam
Olver, the Worcester fly half.
Eventually, the first score came when
Ben Tapuai made a ramrod-straight
incision, the Australia inside centre
thrusting his side on to the front foot
and into the Warriors’ 22. Into his slipstream came Obano and Zach Mercer,
both of whom made short, purposeful
carries, creating the platform from
miss a try
Watch highlights of
every Aviva Premiership
match this weekend,
including last night’s
game at Sixways
Watch now at
which Paul Grant accepted a smart
reverse pass from Chris Cook, the
excellent scrum half.
Josh Adams, the Worcester wing, was
aiming to extend a remarkable tryscoring run of six consecutive Premiership games, quite a feat in a side lan-
guishing so low in the table. Adams was
watched, too, by Rob Howley, the Wales
attack coach, who is pondering how to
cover the recent injuries to George
North and Hallam Amos. There was
one exciting early break for Adams, but
few scoring chances came his way.
Once they had made the initial
breach, Bath simply began to pour
through. Jonathan Joseph made
ground down the left, the ball was
moved swiftly right as Worcester
scrambled to reorganise and Matt
Garvey regained his footing to score
after Donncha O’Callaghan had failed
to cling on to him in the tackle.
Then it was Watson’s turn, as Worcester were opened up down the left
once again. This time Cook was the provider, rolling a pass inside that gave
Watson a clear run, cantering home
from 35 metres. “It was great to see
Anthony getting some ball and good to
see that attacking brand of rugby that
he plays so well,” Blackadder said.
James Phillips barged through Chris
Pennell’s tackle to seal the bonus point
and, as Worcester began to chase the
game, there was a late flurry of tries for
both sides. Kahn Fotuali’i helped himself to two and Worcester scored three
of their own, through David Denton,
Joe Taufete’e and Perry Humphreys.
But Bath were out of sight by now,
looking rather more sure of themselves
before they return to Champions Cup
action over the next fortnight.
Scorers: Worcester Warriors: Tries Denton (58min),
Taufete’e (72), Humphreys (79). Conversions Pennell 2.
Penalty goals Pennell 2 (28, 40+1).
Bath: Tries Grant (34), Garvey (44), Watson (53),
Phillips (60), Fotuali’i 2 (68, 77). Conversions Priestland
3, Burns 2. Penalty goals Priestland 2 (8, 15).
Scoring sequence (Worcester first): 0-3, 0-6, 3-6, 3-13,
6-13 (half-time), 6-20, 6-27, 13-27, 13-34, 13-41, 20-41,
20-46, 25-46.
Worcester Warriors C Pennell (rep: P Humphreys 77);
B Heem, J Willison, R Mills, J Adams; S Olver
(rep: J Shillcock 53), F Hougaard (rep: M Dowsett 62);
E Waller (rep: R Bower 58), J Singleton
(rep: J Taufete’e 58), G Milasinovich (rep: S Kerrod 53),
D O’Callaghan, W Spencer (rep: D Barry 58),
D Denton (rep: A Faosiliva 62), S Lewis, G-J van Velze.
Bath A Watson; J Wilson, J Joseph, B Tapuai, A Brew
(rep: J Wilson 60); R Priestland (rep: F Burns 57),
C Cook (rep: K Fotuali’i 59); B Obano (rep: L Noguera
49), T Dunn (rep: M van Vuuren 68), H Thomas
(rep: M Lahiff 53), J Phillips (sin-bin 72), E Stooke (rep:
L Douglas 68), M Garvey (rep: J Bayliss 60),
P Grant, Z Mercer.
Referee J P Doyle.
Attendance 8,225.
matt cotton’s guide to the weekend’s aviva premiership matches
Leicester Tigers v London Irish
(Today, 3pm)
On their worst run since 1965, Leicester
have the perfect opportunity to stop
the rot against the division’s basement
club. Leicester have an outside chance
of moving back into the top half and
make just one adjustment to their
starting XV as Brendon O’Connor
returns from injury to start at openside flanker at the expense of Luke
Hamilton. Manu Tuilagi has another
chance to impress Eddie Jones, the
England head coach, in his 100th
appearance for the Tigers. London Irish
seem destined for the drop, yet they
are unchanged from the home defeat
by Newcastle last weekend, so Arno
Botha and Piet van Zyl, the new
signings, must wait for their debuts.
Northampton Saints v Gloucester
(Today, 3pm, BT Sport 3)
The last time these two sides met, in
early October, Northampton, incredibly,
were top of the table, until they were
beaten at Kingsholm. Now Saints are
without a win in a leading competition
since September and only London Irish
have conceded more points this
season. The hosts make one change
from last weekend’s mauling by
Harlequins, with Ken Pisi coming in for
Piers Francis, forcing Harry Mallinder
to move to fly half. Gloucester
extended the gap to fifth-placed Bath
after edging out Sale last Saturday and
welcome back Willi Heinz, the captain,
at scrum half, to partner returning fly
half, Owen Williams, as Johan
Ackermann makes seven changes.
Sale Sharks v Harlequins
(Today, 3pm)
Harlequins sit a point and a place
above Sale in the table but have the
second-worst away record in the
Premiership, whereas the Sharks have
won four of six league matches at the
AJ Bell Stadium this term. Steve
Diamond makes one alteration to his
Sale team with the injured Josh Strauss
being replaced in the back row by
Cameron Neild, and Jon Ross moving
to No 8. Marland Yarde, who
controversially left Harlequins in
November, is not in the Sale squad.
John Kingston also makes a single
switch to his XV with Ross Chisholm
coming in at full back after Mike Brown
sustained a minor knock during last
Saturday’s thrashing of Northampton.
Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs
(Tomorrow, 3pm)
Newcastle’s play-off push has been
reignited by three wins on the spin but
they face a severe test against Exeter,
who are ten points clear at the top.
Dean Richards makes four alterations
to the Newcastle XV that beat London
Irish last weekend with Sinoti Sinoti
starting on the wing having recovered
from a head knock. Chiefs make nine
changes after Jack Nowell, Luke
Cowan-Dickie and Harry Williams all
limped out of their win over Leicester.
Jack Yeandle comes in to captain the
side at hooker, with Tomas Francis at
tight-head. Mitch Lees and Ollie Atkins
form a fresh lock pairing, while Matt
Kvesic, Sam Simmonds, James Short,
Ian Whitten and Nic White also start.
Wasps v Saracens
(Tomorrow, 3pm, BT Sport 1)
Second host third as two of English
rugby’s powerhouses collide at the
Ricoh. Wasps, who have won six
consecutive matches, rest Joe
Launchbury so James Gaskell takes his
place at lock, while Ashley Johnson
captains the side at hooker with Ben
Harris in at loose-head. Saracens are
boosted by the returns of Maro Itoje
and Billy Vunipola from a broken jaw
and knee injury respectively. Richard
Wigglesworth returns at scrum half for
his 200th Saracens appearance and
Chris Wyles, the wing, and Duncan
Taylor, the outside centre, also come
into the backs. Mako Vunipola,
Christopher Tolofua and Vincent Koch
form a new front row.
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
Tennis Sport
Stuart Fraser
Snow-go for injured Agassi
A snowboarding
accident means that
Andre Agassi will not sit
in the coaching box of
Novak Djokovic at the
Australian Open. Agassi,
left with Steffi Graf, was due to take part
in an exhibition in Adelaide next week.
However he may not be missed if
Djokovic fails to recover from his right
elbow injury in time to participate.
Court makes her excuses
Down, but not out: The
British No 2 collapsed to
the ground after rolling
his ankle, prompting
Dimitrov to jump over the
net and check on the
welfare of his opponent.
Edmund got to his feet,
albeit gingerly, but went
on to lose the deciding set
against the world No 3
‘Curse’ strikes Edmund
Stuart Fraser
Tennis Writer
As Kyle Edmund fell to the court of
the Pat Rafter Arena and clutched his
right ankle in pain, even the British
supporters must have wondered if they
would make it out of Brisbane without
picking up an injury.
This first week of the 2018 season has
been a rough one for Britons in the
Queensland city. Andy Murray arrived
back home yesterday in a despondent
mood after aborting his comeback;
Johanna Konta travelled to Sydney
yesterday uncertain whether her right
hip will allow her to defend her title
there; and Edmund rolled his ankle just
two games from victory in his quarterfinal at the Brisbane International.
Thankfully, Edmund reported after
the 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 defeat by Grigor
Dimitrov, the 2017 ATP Finals cham-
pion, that no serious damage had been
sustained. He is confident that he will
be fully fit for the Australian Open in
nine days’ time, and is still even hopeful
that he can take part in his final warmup event in Auckland this week.
“I just basically rolled my ankle,”
Edmund said. “Obviously the ligaments don’t like to be overextended, so
it will be sore for a couple of days and
then it will die down.
“In a week’s time it will be fine.
Melbourne will be fine. Auckland next
week is sooner, so hopefully by Tuesday
it will settle down enough to feel OK.”
It was only the fifth day of 2018
yesterday, but already we may have the
winner of the best sportsmanship
moment of the year. As Edmund let out
a loud shriek at 4-4 in the third set and
tumbled to the court, Dimitrov
immediately hurdled the net and
sprinted towards his opponent, before
helping him back to his courtside seat
for treatment by the physio.
“I would have reacted like this
whoever I was playing against,”
Dimitrov said. “This is just my instinct,
my reaction, to do that right away.
“It was just such an instinct for me
that I didn’t think, ‘OK, I’m just going to
go around the net, or I’m going to go to
that post or this post’.
“I hope he gets better. I think that’s
the most important thing leading up to
the Aussie Open.”
Edmund did not even realise until
told during his post-match press
conference that Dimitrov had taken a
running jump over the net to assist him.
“It’s really nice-guy sportsmanship
and it’s good to have someone like that,”
Edmund said. “But Grigor has always
been like that. He’s been a good guy on
and off the court.”
With Murray likely to be absent from
the tour for at least another five months
if he opts to undergo surgery on his hip,
Edmund, ranked No 50, is the only
British male player in the top 100 at the
moment, after Dan Evans’s drugs ban
and Aljaz Bedene’s decision to revert to
representing Slovenia.
At some point, probably in April or
May, Edmund will take up the status of
British No 1 for the first time, replacing
Murray as he plummets down the
rankings (again, if his absence extends
that long). On the evidence of the
22-year-old’s performance yesterday,
though, the passing of the torch may
happen sooner.
Edmund’s blistering forehand drew
gasps from the Brisbane crowd as he
smacked winners for fun. With
encouragement from his new coach,
Fredrik Rosengren, he is also actively
making an attempt to become more
vocal and animated on the court,
pumping himself up on several
occasions. It was just a shame the match
was to end in such a sad way.
“From my side of things, there were a
lot of positives,” Edmund said. “A lot of
stuff I’m working on that really showed
against a top player, ranked No 3 in
the world.”
Konta will hold a practice session this
weekend before making a decision on
her participation at the Sydney
International, held at Olympic Park,
the venue at which the Australian-born
26-year-old trained as a child.
“My medical team has been assessing
the injury again today and we will have
a clearer idea when I next practise,”
Konta said.
Margaret Court, whose name is the title
for the second main show court at
Melbourne Park, will be another
absentee. The all-time grand-slam title
record-holder, below, aged 75, has
turned down an invitation saying that
she will be catching crabs instead. Her
views on gay marriage have angered a
number of players, and she said it
would be “childish” if some of them
boycotted the court named after her.
Teenager living the dream
Australian media are understandably
talking up the prospects of Alex de
Minaur, the 18-year-old who has
reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane
International. “I reckon the best way to
describe this at the moment is I’m in
this really good dream and I really don’t
want to wake up,” De Minaur said.
Sharapova back in top 50
Maria Sharapova was knocked out of
the Shenzhen Open semi-finals by the
champion, Katerina Siniakova, 6-2, 3-6,
6-3. The Russian, below, has still done
enough, though, to return to the top 50.
She will return to Melbourne Park in the
coming days for the first time since her
failed drugs test in 2016.
Williams opts against defending Australian Open title
Stuart Fraser
The all-time grand-slam record of
Margaret Court will stand alone for at
least another few months after Serena
Williams announced that she was not
quite ready to defend her Australian
Open title.
Williams is just one short of Court’s
total of 24 grand-slam tournament
victories, and the prospect of wiping it
from the record books is
part of the motivation for
the 36-year-old American to eventually
return to the tour after
giving birth to her first child
ild last
But Williams’s performance
against Jelena Ostapenko, the
reigning French Open
champion, in an exhibition
match in Abu Dhabi — she lost
i a deciding tie-break — last
Saturday did not convince her
she could challenge for an
eighth Australian Open title in
Melbourne. A return in March,
in Miami, is now likely.
Williams had initially intended
to play in Melbourne despite
giving birth four months ago
“After competing in Abu Dhabi I
realised that although I am super close,
I’m not where I personally want to be,”
Williams said.
“My coach and team always said,
‘Only go to tournaments when you are
prepared to go all the way.’
“I can compete — but I don’t want to
just compete, I want to do far better
than that and to do so, I will need a little
more time.”
Bellucci’s five-month ban
Thomaz Bellucci, the world No 112 of
Brazil, has received a five-month ban,
backdated to September 1, after testing
positive for a banned diuretic. The ITF,
however, said that he was not guilty of
any “significant fault or negligence”
after Bellucci claimed it was due to a
contaminated vitamin supplement.
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Sport Racing
Al Shaqab rushed four mares to sales in France
Mark Souster Racing Writer
Al Shaqab sent four mares to the
Deauville sales at the last minute in
December. The entries were received
after the catalogue had gone to print,
suggesting a degree of urgency in the
decision by the racing empire of Sheikh
Joaan al-Thani, the brother of the Emir
of Qatar, to send the horses from its
stud in France.
Three of the mares — Selyl, Al Nofor
and Shahah — were sold at the Arqana
sale for €770,000 (about £680,000) and
one — Al Anqa — went unsold. The
revelation will support the supposition
that Al Shaqab’s problems are not
confined to England.
Rob Wright
12.30 The Sweeney
1.00 Another Venture
1.35 We Have A Dream
2.05 Wild West Wind (nb)
Going: heavy
At The Races
2.45 Flemcara
3.20 Pressurize
3.55 Mount Rushmoore
Coral Download The App Maiden
Hurdle (£4,159: 2m 3f 100y) (16 runners)
R Dunne
1 2-5304 ATOMIC RUMBLE 19 (T) P Bowen 5-11-0
T Scudamore
2 /315-0 CADEYRN 62 (C,S) M Scudamore 6-11-0
M D Grant
3 PP065 DIABLO DE ROUHET 16 J Hughes 5-11-0
35/5 FRANKLY SPEAKING 28 T Symonds 8-11-0
J E Moore
06/ GOLDEN SANDSTORM 781 D M Loughnane 9-11-0
L Heard
4P-1 HILLARY VIEW 55P (S) P Bowen 6-11-0
J Bowen (5)
0-4 HUGO'S REFLECTION 15 B Case 6-11-0
D Jacob
G Sheehan
8 1222-2 JAMMIN MASTERS 64 (S) W Greatrex 7-11-0
D Crosse
10 55-50 JIMMY BELL 67 John O'Shea 7-11-0
A Coleman
11 F/1-3 JUST DON'T ASK 49 (S) C Longsdon 6-11-0
05 ONE LEADER 40 T Vaughan 7-11-0
M Nolan
0P0 SARTENE'S SON 22 N Twiston-Davies 5-11-0
S Twiston-Davies
5-P4 SUBCONTINENT 28 Miss V Williams 6-11-0
C Deutsch (3)
3-63 THE SWEENEY 28 Miss E Lavelle 6-11-0
N Scholfield
Miss B Hampson (5)
16 S066 CELER ET AUDAX 67 John O'Shea 6-10-7
5-2 Jammin Masters, 7-2 Jaunty Flyer, The Sweeney, 11-2 Just Don't Ask, 12-1 others.
Coral Yourcall Novices’ Limited
Handicap Chase (£11,956: 2m 7f 131y) (6)
1 220-42 SCOTCHTOWN 28 (G,S) N Twiston-Davies 6-11-8 S Twiston-Davies
2 033-45 SURTEE DU BERLAIS 17 (B,D,G,S) O Sherwood 8-11-3 T Garner (3)
B J Geraghty
3 241-F1 PURE VISION 43 (T,D,S) A Honeyball 7-11-2
J Bowen (5)
4 5-1104 SOURIYAN 28 (V,D,G,S) P Bowen 7-10-11
M Hamill (5) v141
5 10-526 ANOTHER VENTURE 29 (BF,S) K Bailey 7-10-10
P Brennan
6 6131-1 SOCKSY 68 (T,S) F O'Brien 7-10-9
3-1 Socksy, 7-2 Scotchtown, 4-1 Pure Vision, 9-2 Another Venture, 6-1 Souriyan, 7-1 Surtee Du
Coral Future Champions Finale
Juvenile Hurdle
(Grade I: 4-Y-O: £28,475: 2m 11y) (5)
0-1 MERCENAIRE 41 (D,S) N Williams 11-0
Lizzie Kelly
32 STAFF COLLEGE 33 H Spiller 11-0
A Coleman
11 SUSSEX RANGER 29 (D,G,S) G L Moore 11-0
J E Moore
D Jacob v141
4 5-4411 WE HAVE A DREAM 21 (D,G,S) N Henderson 11-0
21 FAMOUS MILLY 28 (T,D,S) G Cromwell (Ire) 10-7
R Dunne
4-5 We Have A Dream, 7-2 Sussex Ranger, 9-2 Famous Milly, 11-2 Mercenaire, 100-1 Staff College.
Rob Wright’s choice: We Have A Dream was an impressive ten-length
winner of a grade two at Doncaster last month Danger: Sussex Ranger
Coral Welsh Grand National
Handicap Chase
(Grade III: £85,425: 3m 5f 110y) (20)
VICENTE 49 (H,F,G,S) P Nicholls 9-11-12
S Twiston-Davies
BEWARE THE BEAR 35 (G,S) N Henderson 8-11-10
J McGrath
CHASE THE SPUD 42 (S) F O'Brien 10-11-9
P Brennan
SILSOL 42 (T,B,G,S) P Nicholls 9-11-8
Bryony Frost (5)
FINAL NUDGE 56 (S) D Dennis 9-11-6
A Coleman
POBBLES BAY 56 (C,S) E Williams 8-11-5
A Wedge
The Times revealed on Wednesday
that several leading trainers here were
owed more than £1 million in unpaid
fees. Khalifa al-Attiya, Al Shaqab’s general manager, admitted that there had
been delays in settling invoices. He said
this was due to a restructuring of the
business, which also necessitated selling “a few horses”.
J E Moore v156
7 403P-2 BISHOPS ROAD 35 (S) K Lee 10-11-5
A P Heskin
8 /113-1 WILD WEST WIND 28 (T,C,S) T George 9-11-3
J Bowen (5)
9 P0-F22 RAZ DE MAREE 32 (G,S) G Cromwell (Ire) 13-11-1
D Cook
10 3F0-12 VINTAGE CLOUDS 42 (BF,S) Mrs S Smith 8-11-1
ASK THE WEATHERMAN 60 (P,G,S) J Barber 9-10-13 N Scholfield
R Dunne
12 /1P12- MYSTEREE 294 (G,S) M Scudamore 10-10-13
B J Geraghty
13 /PPP6- O'FAOLAINS BOY 252 (C,G,S) Miss R Curtis 11-10-12
D Jacob
14 200-11 BUCKHORN TIMOTHY 44 (G,S) C Tizzard 9-10-12
T Whelan
15 PPP-63 MILANSBAR 28 (P,S) N King 11-10-9
R Patrick (5)
16 140-P2 ALFIE SPINNER 28 (T,P,C,S) K Lee 13-10-7
T Scudamore
17 11P-3P RATHLIN ROSE 28 (B,G,S) D Pipe 10-10-7
M Bastyan (5)
18 2111-2 ON THE ROAD 43 (T,S) E Williams 8-10-5
-C Ring (3)
19 PP0P-3 FIREBIRD FLYER 55 (G,S) E Williams 11-10-5
20 P5P-31 EMPEROR'S CHOICE 7 (P,CD,S) Miss V Williams 11-10-3 C Deutsch (3)
7-1 Mysteree, 8-1 Chase The Spud, Wild West Wind, 9-1 Beware The Bear, 10-1 Ask The
Weatherman, Vintage Clouds, 12-1 Bishops Road, Final Nudge, 14-1 Milansbar, 16-1 others.
Wright choice: Wild West Wind goes well here and could improve for a first try
at a marathon trip
Dangers: Ask The Weatherman, Vintage Clouds
Coral Bet 5 Get 20 Handicap Hurdle
(£11,394: 2m 7f 131y) (10)
T Greatrex (7)
1 215-04 SHANTOU BOB 22 (T,P,CD,S) W Greatrex 10-11-12
C Deutsch (3)
2 13-051 EMINENT POET 14 (D,S) Miss V Williams 7-11-2
R Patrick (5)
3 5F-512 KRIS SPIN 41 (D,S) K Lee 10-11-2
P Cowley (7)
4 25-511 FLEMCARA 29 (T,S) Miss E Lavelle 6-10-11
T Whelan
5 23P-56 ZEROESHADESOFGREY 41 (B,D,G,S) N King 9-10-10
T Scudamore
6 42-031 BATTLE OF IDEAS 33 (S) C Tizzard 5-10-8
J E Moore
7 3112-0 LATE SHIPMENT 41 (P,S) Mrs N Evans 7-10-6
J Bowen (5)
8 11P5-6 COURT FRONTIER 58 (P,C,D,S) C Williams 10-10-4
A P Heskin v158
9 1F3-0P CHEF D'OEUVRE 39 (B,BF,S) W Greatrex 7-10-4
Mr B R Jones (7)
10 2-0045 DRIFTWOOD HAZE 43 (S) P Dando 10-10-3
5-1 Eminent Poet, Shantou Bob, 6-1 Flemcara, Kris Spin, 7-1 Battle Of Ideas, Chef D'Oeuvre, Court
Frontier, 10-1 Zeroeshadesofgrey, 14-1 Driftwood Haze, 22-1 Late Shipment.
Coral Bet And Get Club Handicap Chase
(£18,990: 2m 3f 98y) (7)
-J E Moore
1 1P5-1U GREY GOLD 11 (C,D,S) K Lee 13-11-12
J Bowen (5)
2 431111 PLAY THE ACE 28 (T,P,D,F,G,S) P Bowen 9-11-9
A P Heskin
4 54112- BALLINVARRIG 302 (B,D,S) T George 11-11-4
T O'Brien v143
5 32-163 KAYF ADVENTURE 37 (BF,S) P Hobbs 7-11-3
C Deutsch (3)
6 51/4P- PRESSURIZE 286 (CD,S) Miss V Williams 12-10-13
7 -40422 ROCK ON ROCKY 14 (T,P,C,S) M Sheppard 10-10-12 S Sheppard (3)
7-2 Play The Ace, 4-1 Rock On Rocky, 9-2 Ballinvarrig, 11-2 Grey Gold, Kayf Adventure, 7-1
Templehills, 8-1 Pressurize.
National Hunt Flat Race
12.15 We Have A Dream
12.45 Dusky Legend
1.20 Masterplan
1.50 Speredek
Going: heavy, soft in places
Racing UK
Thunderer’s choice: Western Ryder, a smart bumper, is even better over
hurdles and can justify the step up to group one level Danger: Sussex Ranger
2.25 Western Ryder
3.00 O’Faolains Boy
3.35 Hurricane Hollow
32Red Casino Juvenile Hurdle
1231 CRUCIAL MOMENT 30 (D,S) W G M Turner 11-8
S Houlihan (7)
D Jacob v133
2 5-4411 WE HAVE A DREAM 21 (D,G,S) N Henderson 11-8
13 LEVEL OF INTENSITY 45 (T,D,S) N Hawke 11-4
S Bowen
1 ECHO WATT 19 (D,S) R Hobson 10-12
-C Hammond (7)
-MISTER CHOW 36F G L Moore 10-12
Josh Moore
10236 GLORVINA 32 (BF,S) C Mann 10-11
R Johnson
1-4 We Have A Dream, 11-1 Echo Watt, 12-1 Mister Chow, 14-1 Glorvina, 22-1 Crucial Moment,
Level Of Intensity. Mares’ Hurdle
(Listed: £12,529: 2m 3f 173y) (5)
D N Russell
1 23142 ANGELS ANTICS 14 (S) N Twiston-Davies 5-11-0
W Hutchinson v149
2 32-22F DUSKY LEGEND 36 (G,S) A King 8-11-0
K K Woods
4 1220-6 MIDNIGHT JAZZ 31 (P,D,G,S) B Case 8-11-0
R Johnson
5 P12-13 POPPY KAY 35 (S) P Hobbs 8-11-0
11-8 Dusky Legend, 5-2 Poppy Kay, 5-1 Angels Antics, 11-2 Midnight Jazz, 11-1 Hitherjacques Lady.
(£9,384: 2m 4f 10y) (11)
32Red Casino Handicap Chase
(£18,768: 1m 7f 119y) (5)
N Fehily v153
1 416-1F OVERTOWN EXPRESS 16 (D,BF,S) H Fry 10-11-12
H Skelton
2 16-311 GINO TRAIL 21 (P,D,G,S) K Lee 11-11-10
S Bowen
3 111-12 SPEREDEK 43 (P,CD,S) N Hawke 7-10-11
4 -40422 ROCK ON ROCKY 14 (T,P,CD,S) M Sheppard 10-10-4 S Sheppard (3)
N De Boinville
5 1-252P PEARLS LEGEND 21 (CD,F,S) J Spearing 11-10-3
7-4 Overtown Express, 11-4 Gino Trail, 7-2 Speredek, 4-1 Rock On Rocky, 14-1 Pearls Legend.
Thunderer’s choice: Speredek has been in good form over hurdles and looks
well treated on his return to chasing
Danger: Overtown Express
32Red Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade I: £28,475: 1m 7f 216y) (6)
Blinkered first time: Chepstow 2.45 Zeroeshadesofgrey, Chef
D’oeuvre. Lingfield 1.45 Eltezam, Towerlands Park. 2.55
Nomorecalls. Kempton 8.15 Lord George; 9.15 Conkering Hero,
Freedom Fighter. Wincanton 1.40 Crank Em Up.
KALASHNIKOV 35 (D,S) A Murphy 5-11-7
MONT DES AVALOIRS 28 (D,G,S) P Nicholls 5-11-7
SUMMERVILLE BOY 22 (S) T George 6-11-7
THE RUSSIAN DOYEN 29 (D,S) C Tizzard 5-11-7
PERFECT CANDIDATE 49 (P,D,G,S) F O'Brien 11-11-12 C Shoemark
GAS LINE BOY 28 (V,D,S) I Williams 12-11-4
B Hughes
THIRD INTENTION 55 (T,B,G,S) C Tizzard 11-11-1
R M Power
DOUBLE ROSS 35 (D,G,S) N Twiston-Davies 12-11-0 Mr Z Baker (5)
HOUBLON DES OBEAUX 28 (P,CD,G,S) Miss V Williams 11-10-13
N Fehily
C Gethings (3)
6 1P25-P NO DUFFER 83 (T,CD,G,S) T George 11-10-12
R Johnson
7 204252 FOX APPEAL 34 (T,V,D,F,S) Miss E Lavelle 11-10-10
Paul O'Brien (5)
8 51-P34 LOOSE CHIPS 34 (B,CD,G,S) C Longsdon 12-10-10
J Bargary (3)
9 34-041 BENBENS 28 (C,D,G,S) N Twiston-Davies 13-10-8
L Aspell
10 P04-06 BUYWISE 28 (G,S) E Williams 11-10-8
B J Geraghty
11 /PPP6- O'FAOLAINS BOY 252 (D,G,S) Miss R Curtis 11-10-7
J J Burke
12 155-41 PETE THE FEAT 29 (T,CD,G,S) C Longsdon 14-10-0
H Brooke v162
13 43-603 CLOUDY TOO 42 (D,G,S) Mrs S Smith 12-10-0
B Powell
14 0-6F33 THEATRICAL STAR 29 (G,S) C Tizzard 12-10-0
Jonjo O'Neill (7)
15 0P1/54 VINO GRIEGO 32 (CD,G,S) G L Moore 13-10-0
9-2 Gas Line Boy, 7-1 Benbens, 8-1 Perfect Candidate, 9-1 Double Ross, 10-1 Cloudy Too, Houblon
Des Obeaux, Pete The Feat, 12-1 Third Intention, 14-1 Theatrical Star, 16-1 others.
Thunderer’s choice: O’Faolains Boy has had a wind operation and the 2014
RSA Chase winner may bounce back to form Danger: Houblon Des Obeaux
3.35 Handicap Hurdle
J Quinlan
S Bowen
N Fehily
R M Power
1 5111-3 CALL ME LORD 53 (CD,BF,G,S) N Henderson 5-11-12 N De Boinville v143
N Fehily
2 11-210 BRILLARE MOMENTO 21 (T,G) M Keighley 7-11-6
J Banks
3 P-2210 RAVEN'S TOWER 22 (D,G,S) B Pauling 8-11-1
-H Skelton
4 41030/ HURRICANE HOLLOW 54F (D,G,S) D Skelton 8-10-13
Jonjo O'Neill (7)
5 -6U111 OUR MERLIN 23 (D,S) R Walford 6-10-6
B Hughes
6 25F0-0 GASSIN GOLF 63 (T,P,D,S) K Lee 9-10-5
R Johnson
7 10-021 DROPS OF JUPITOR 16 (H,D,G,S) A Honeyball 6-10-4
Josh Moore
8 /2-041 CLAYTON 32 (T,D,S) G L Moore 9-10-3
J J Burke
10 14-330 MONTY'S AWARD 10 (H,D,G) C Longsdon 6-10-0
3-1 Call Me Lord, 9-2 Our Merlin, 11-2 Clayton, 7-1 Brillare Momento, Hurricane Hollow, 10-1 others.
Thunderer’s choice: Hurricane Hollow, running in grade three company when
last seen over hurdles, is fit from the Flat
Danger: Call Me Lord
Course specialists
Chepstow: Trainers T George, 14 from 52 runners, 26.9%; P Hobbs,
24 from 111, 21.6%; N Henderson, 5 from 24, 20.8%; P Nicholls,
22 from 106, 20.8%. Jockey A P Heskin, 5 from 19 rides, 26.3%.
Kempton: Trainers C Appleby, 56 from 201, 27.9%; W Haggas,
26 from 133, 19.5%; J Fanshawe, 48 from 253, 19.0%; N Mulholland,
13 from 76, 17.1%. Jockey D Tudhope, 8 from 41, 19.5%.
Lingfield: Trainers W Haggas, 56 from 166, 33.7%; H Palmer,
16 from 73, 21.9%; Sir M Prescott, 29 from 137, 21.2%; R Varian,
28 from 136, 20.6%. Jockey D Tudhope, 8 from 39, 20.5%.
Sandown: Trainers F O'Brien, 7 from 15, 46.7%; N Henderson,
28 from 104, 26.9%; K Lee, 3 from 12, 25.0%; A King, 10 from 42,
23.8%. Jockey T Bellamy, 3 from 8, 37.5%.
Wincanton: Trainers P Nicholls, 66 from 193, 34.2%; K Bailey,
7 from 27, 25.9%; P Gundry, 4 from 18, 22.2%; T George, 9 from 41,
22.0%. Jockeys H Cobden, 27 from 79, 34.2%.
Rochdale ............. 25
League Two: Accrington v Chesterfield;
Colchester v Cheltenham; Forest Green v Port
Vale; Grimsby v Morecambe.
Kick-off 3.0 unless stated
FA Cup: Third round: Ipswich v Sheff Utd;
Watford v Bristol City; Birmingham v Burton
Albion; Coventry v Stoke; Bolton v
Huddersfield; Brentford v Notts County; QPR v
Milton Keynes Dons; Doncaster v Rochdale;
Middlesbrough v Sunderland (1.0); Cardiff v
Mansfield; Man City v Burnley; Wolves v
Swansea; Stevenage v Reading; Newcastle v
Luton; Millwall v Barnsley; Fulham v
Southampton; Wycombe v Preston; Norwich v
Chelsea (5.30); Aston Villa v Peterborough;
Yeovil v Bradford; Bournemouth v Wigan;
Exeter v West Brom; Blackburn v Hull;
Fleetwood Town v Leicester (12.45); Carlisle v
Sheff Wed.
Sky Bet League One: Charlton v Oldham;
Northampton v Southend; Oxford Utd v
Blackpool; Plymouth v Bury.
Oxford Utd..........26
Fleetwood Town.26
Bristol R..............26
Plymouth ............ 26
MK Dons ............. 26
AFC Wimbledon..25
(£15,640: 1m 7f 216y) (10)
32Red Handicap Chase
L Aspell
1 30-33B THEO'S CHARM 14 (B,BF,S) N Gifford 8-12-3
Mr D Maxwell (7)
2 -21365 CHEF D'EQUIPE 29 (H,S) P Hobbs 6-11-12
N De Boinville
3 0124-1 PERFECT PIRATE 37 (D,G,S) B Pauling 6-11-11
C Gethings (3)
4 U1-60P LORD BALLIM 41 (T,D,G,S) N Hawke 8-11-10
T Bellamy
5 35P-55 LITTLE JON 35 (P,D,S) N Twiston-Davies 10-11-8
-H Skelton
6 3012/6 BEKKENSFIRTH 36 (D,S) D Skelton 9-11-8
B Powell
7 /6-050 LE CURIEUX 88 (S) B Powell 6-11-8
H Brooke v130
8 3-214P NEVER UP 14 (D,S) Mrs S Smith 7-11-2
J J Burke
9 6561-2 MASTERPLAN 22 (P,D,F,G,S) C Longsdon 8-11-1
A Tinkler
10 2-40UP GO WEST YOUNG MAN 14 (D,G) H Daly 10-11-0
B Hughes
11 111P-6 AMBER GAMBLER 65 (D,G,S) I Williams 8-10-12
4-1 Perfect Pirate, Theo's Charm, 5-1 Masterplan, 13-2 Bekkensfirth, 8-1 Chef D'Equipe, Little Jon,
10-1 Never Up, 14-1 Amber Gambler, Lord Ballim, 20-1 Le Curieux, 25-1 Go West Young Man.
32Red Veterans’ Handicap Chase ITV4
(£61,900: 3m 37y) (15)
(4-Y-O: £6,498: 1m 7f 216y) (6 runners)
er backed away from what he described
as a “nuclear option”.
Another trainer indicated that he
had been prepared to sell the Al Shaqab
horses he trained to get what he was
owed. He decided against it because he
thought Tattersalls might itself be owed
money. It is believed that all accounts at
the sales house have been settled.
R Johnson
5 53-U11 WESTERN RYDER 22 (D,G,S) W Greatrex 6-11-7
11 SUSSEX RANGER 29 (CD,G,S) G L Moore 4-10-9
J E Moore v145
7-4 Western Ryder, 2-1 Kalashnikov, 5-1 Mont Des Avaloirs, 7-1 Sussex Ranger, 12-1 others.
Sandown Park
(£2,599: 2m 11y) (8)
1 GOOD BOY BOBBY 59 (H,CD,S) N Twiston-Davies 5-11-7
S Twiston-Davies v113
-BIG FRED B Llewellyn 7-11-0
D Crosse
0-0 COURT DUTY 59 J Flint 6-11-0
I Popham
5 CUL DE POULE 217 (T) M Keighley 6-11-0
A Tinkler
3-P2 EQUUS FLIGHT 62P P Bowen 5-11-0
-J Bowen (5)
2 GWALIA 51 E Williams 5-11-0
A Wedge
0- MISTER RAINMAN 299 (H) A Wintle 6-11-0
Mr L Williams (7)
1 MOUNT RUSHMOORE 34P (S) C Tizzard 6-11-0
-T Scudamore
11-8 Good Boy Bobby, 9-4 Mount Rushmoore, 5-1 Gwalia, 13-2 Equus Flight, 14-1 others.
Since then The Times has also learnt
that one trainer in this country was so
angered by the failure of Al Shaqab to
pay his bills that he contemplated asking the British Horse-racing Authority
to consider trying to put the Qataris on
the forfeit list, which would prevent
their horses from racing here until the
debts were paid. In the event, the train-
W D L F A GD Pts
17 5 3 50 12 38 56
16 6 3 33 15 18 54
14 7 4 45 23 22 49
14 7 5 37 22 15 49
15 3 8 42 34 8 48
13 2 11 33 30 3 41
12 4 10 44 35 9 40
11 6 9 43 37 6 39
10 7 8 32 32 0 37
9 8 9 41 39 2 35
9 7 10 29 28 1 34
9 6 11 36 40 -4 33
8 8 10 34 37 -3 32
10 2 14 36 43 -7 32
7 10 9 27 29 -2 31
8 7 11 26 34 -8 31
8 7 11 30 42 -12 31
7 9 9 31 34 -3 30
7 8 11 28 38 -10 29
7 7 12 39 48 -9 28
7 6 12 22 31 -9 27
6 5 15 20 46 -26 23
Notts County......26
Lincoln City.........26
Accrington ......... 24
Newport County . 26
Port Vale.............26
Forest Green.......25
4 10 11 25 35 -10 22
4 5 16 19 38 -19 17
W D L F A GD Pts
16 6 4 62 25 37 54
14 8 4 44 26 18 50
13 5 8 28 18 10 44
12 7 7 46 35 11 43
12 7 7 35 24 11 43
11 10 5 38 29 9 43
13 3 9 35 32 3 42
11 8 7 35 27 8 41
13 2 10 38 34 4 41
12 4 8 38 30 8 40
10 9 7 35 30 5 39
10 7 9 25 31 -6 37
9 7 10 37 37 0 34
9 7 10 26 34 -8 34
9 6 11 36 39 -3 33
9 6 11 25 31 -6 33
8 7 11 33 38 -5 31
9 4 13 29 34 -5 31
9 2 15 29 41 -12 29
7 6 13 36 47 -11 27
6 7 12 24 36 -12 25
5 6 15 26 47 -21 21
5 5 16 26 39 -13 20
5 5 15 25 47 -22 20
Vanarama National: Barrow v Tranmere;
Bromley v AFC Fylde; Dagenham & Red v
Hartlepool; Dover v Aldershot; Eastleigh v
Guiseley; Ebbsfleet United v Chester;
Gateshead v Sutton Utd; Leyton Orient v
Boreham Wood; Macclesfield v Solihull Moors;
Maidenhead Utd v Halifax; Woking v Maidstone
Utd; Wrexham v Torquay.
Sutton United.....28
Dover Athletic .... 28
Wrexham ............ 27
16 6
13 9
13 7
11 12
12 9
12 8
GD Pts
12 54
15 48
6 46
16 45
5 45
10 44
Tranmere ............ 27
Boreham Wood...27
Dagenham & Red 27
Maidstone ..........26
AFC Fylde............25
Leyton Orient......28
Barrow ................ 28
Solihull Moors .... 28
Chester ...............26
Vanarama North: AFC Telford v Curzon Ashton;
Blyth Spartans v Gainsborough; Boston Utd v
Tamworth; Bradford PA v Spennymoor Town;
Chorley v Harrogate Town; Darlington v York;
Leamington v Kidderminster; North Ferriby Utd
v Alfreton Town; Nuneaton v Brackley;
Stockport County v Salford City.
South: Bath City v Truro City; Braintree Town v
East Thurrock; Concord Rangers v Dartford;
Gloucester v Weston-S-Mare; Hampton &
Richmond v Hemel Hempstead; Havant and W v
Wealdstone; Hungerford Town v Oxford City;
Poole Town v Chippenham; St Albans v
Chelmsford; Welling v Eastbourne Borough;
Whitehawk v Bognor Regis Town.
Evo-Stik Premier: North: Ashton Utd v Marine;
Coalville Town v Sutton Coldfield; Farsley Celtic
v Altrincham; Halesowen v Grantham; Matlock
Town v Barwell; Nantwich Town v Hednesford;
Rushall Olympic v Stafford Rangers;
Stalybridge v Witton Albion; Stourbridge v
Mickleover Sports; Warrington Town v Buxton;
Whitby v Lancaster City; Workington v Shaw
South: Banbury v Hitchin; Basingstoke v
Kettering; Biggleswade Town v Frome Town;
Kings Langley v St Ives Town; Kings Lynn Town
v Dorchester; Merthyr Town v Dunstable;
Redditch v Farnborough; Royston Town v
Gosport Borough; Slough v Hereford; St Neots
Town v Stratford Town; Tiverton v Chesham;
Weymouth v Bishop’s Stortford.
Bostik Premier: Billericay v Margate; Dorking
Wanderers v Wingate & Finchley; Dulwich
Hamlet v Folkestone Invicta; Harlow v Tooting
& Mitcham; Harrow Borough v Needham
Market; Kingstonian v Thurrock; Leiston v
Leatherhead; Merstham v Hendon; Met Police v
Brightlingsea Regent; Tonbridge Angels v
Lowestoft; Worthing v Enfield Town.
FA Vase: Fourth round: Blackfield & Langley v
Bracknell; Cogenhoe Utd v Wolverhampton
Sports; Desborough Town v Stourport Swifts;
Eastbourne Town v Windsor; Horley Town v
Chichester City; Leighton v Norwich CBS;
Marske Utd v Hinckley AFC; Newcastle Benfield
v Coleshill; Newport (IOW) v Bradford Town;
Stockton Town v West Auckland; Thatcham
Town v Biggleswade Town; Tring Athletic v
Hullbridge Sports; Westfields v Hamble Club;
Melksham Town v Crowborough; Wisbech
Town v Bromsgrove Sporting.
Women’s Super League: Bristol City v Everton
(5.30); Liverpool v Yeovil (5.30); Sunderland v
Birmingham (6.0).
Ladbrokes Scottish Championship: Brechin v
Morton; Dumbarton v Dunfermline; Falkirk v
Dundee Utd; Livingston v Queen of South; St
Mirren v Inverness CT.
League One: Airdrieonians v East Fife; Alloa v
Albion; Ayr v Arbroath; Queen’s Park v
Stranraer; Raith v Forfar. League Two: Annan
Athletic v Montrose; Cowdenbeath v Edinburgh
City; Elgin v Clyde; Stenhousemuir v Peterhead;
Stirling v Berwick.
Rugby union
Kick-off 3.0 unless stated
Aviva Premiership: Leicester v London Irish;
Northampton v Gloucester; Sale v Harlequins.
Guinness Pro14: Benetton Treviso v Cheetahs
(1.15); Leinster v Ulster (5.35) Munster v
Connacht (7.45) Ospreys v Cardiff Blues (3.15)
Zebre v Glasgow (3.30).
Women: Tyrrells Premier 15s: Worcester v
Loughborough (Sixways Stadium, 2.0).
Other sport
Basketball: BBL Championship: Bristol v
Newcastle (7.30); Leicester v Worcester (7.30).
Ice hockey: Elite League: Guildford v Cardiff
(6.0); Belfast v Sheffield (7.0); Dundee v
Edinburgh (7.0); Milton Keynes v Coventry
(7.0); Nottingham v Manchester (7.0); Fife v
Braehead (7.15).
FA Cup: Third round: Newport County v Leeds
(12.0); Nottm Forest v Arsenal (4.0);
Shrewsbury v West Ham (2.0); Tottenham v
AFC Wimbledon (3.0).
FA Vase: Fourth round: 1874 Northwich v
Pontefract Collieries (3.0).
Vanarama North: FC United of Manchester v
Southport (3.0).
Women’s Super League: Chelsea v Arsenal
(2.0); Reading v Man City (2.0).
League Two: Oxford Utd v Durham (12.0);
Aston Villa v London Bees (2.0); Millwall v
Sheffield FC (2.0) Tottenham v Brighton (2.0);
Watford v Doncaster (3.0).
Rugby union
Aviva Premiership: Newcastle v Exeter (3.0);
Wasps v Saracens.
Other sport
Basketball: BBL Championship: Leeds v Bristol
(4.00); London v Sheffield (4.0); Plymouth v
Cheshire (4.0); Glasgow v Manchester (5.0).
Ice hockey: Elite League: Coventry v Milton
Keynes (5.15); Braehead v Fife (6.0); Cardiff v
Nottingham (6.0); Edinburgh v Dundee (6.0).
FA Cup third round
(1) 2
Milner 35 (pen)
Van Dijk 84
Man United
(0) 1
Sigurdsson 67
(0) 2
Lingard 84, Lukaku 90
(0) 0
First Test: South Africa v India
Cape Town (First day of five: South Africa won
toss): South Africa 286 (73.1 overs: AB de
Villiers 65, F du Plessis 62; B Kumar 4 for 87).
India 28-3 (11 overs).
Big Bash League
Brisbane: Brisbane Heat 191-6 (20 overs).
Perth Scorchers 142 (19 overs; B Doggett 5 for
35, M T Steketee 3 for 28): Brisbane Heat won
by 49 runs.
Rugby union
Aviva Premiership: Worcester 25 Bath 46.
Guinness Pro14: Scarlets 47 Newport Gwent
Dragons 13; Edinburgh 37 Southern Kings 7.
ATP TATA Open Maharashtra
Pune, India: Semi-finals: G Simon (Fr) bt M Cilic
(Cro) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2; K Anderson (SA) bt B Paire
(Fr) 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.
Brisbane International
Man: Quarter-finals: G Dimitrov (Bul) bt K
Edmund (GB) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4; A De Minaur
(Aus) bt M Mmoh (US) 6-4, 6-0; N Kyrgios (Aus)
bt A Dolgopolov (Ukr) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4; R Harrison
(US) bt D Istomin (Uzb) 7-6 (8-6), 4-2 ret.
Women: Semi-finals: E Svitolina (Ukr) bt
Karolina Pliskova (Cz) 7-5, 7-5; A Sasnovich
(Bela) bt A Sevastova (Lat) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
WTA Shenzhen Open
Semi-finals: K Siniakova (Cz) bt M Sharapova
(Russ) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; S Halep (Rom) bt I-C Begu
(Rom) 6-1, 6-4.
the times | Saturday January 6 2018
2G S
Wild celebrations just getting started
Fergal O’Brien is an
up-and-coming trainer
with a big personality,
Mark Souster writes
Coming home has been the making of
Fergal O’Brien. Two and a half years
after returning to his roots at Grange
Hill Farm and a yard he leases from
his mentor, Nigel Twiston-Davies, the
ever smiling, ever popular O’Brien is
enjoying the time of his life. Winners
are plentiful, numbers are up and a
notable first grade one was achieved at
Newbury last Saturday.
That success provided what will
surely be some of the abiding images of
the season captured by ITV as O’Brien,
Sally Randell, his assistant, and his two
daughters — Fern, 12, and Daisy, 10 —
stood in the parade ring at Newbury
watching the Challow Hurdle unfold
on the big screen.
As Poetic Rhythm, under the artful
Paddy Brennan, reeled in Mulcahys
Hill, the long-time leader, the four of
them experienced almost every emotion. O’Brien couldn’t bear to watch the
run-in as his horse, having hit the front,
then idled only to rally in time to win by
a short head. He turned away at the
death, asking Randell: “Is he still in
2.40 O Maonlai
3.15 Bill And Barn
3.45 Edvardo
Racing UK
Smarkets Novices’ Handicap
Hurdle (£4,094: 1m 7f 65y) (6)
1/503 D'ARCY'S SOUND 22 Miss V Williams 8-12-2
Mr H Nugent (7)
D Bass
2 41F0/ JAUNE ET BLEUE 660 D Dennis 6-12-2
3 2-4P0 RAINY DAY DYLAN 29 (H,T) N Mulholland 7-11-12 T O'Brien
M Goldstein
4 52-43 MULTIGIFTED 32 (T) M Madgwick 5-11-9
H Cobden
5 P33-6 IRONDALE EXPRESS 45 F J Brennan 7-10-6
J Best
6 00000 RUN DON'T HIDE 16 (T) P Henderson 7-10-2
5-2 D'Arcy's Sound, 3-1 Multigifted, 7-2 Jaune Et Bleue, 9-2 Irondale Express,
10-1 Rainy Day Dylan, Run Don't Hide.
Smarkets Novices’ Handicap
Chase (£4,614: 3m 1f 30y) (10)
H Cobden
1 -2113 CUCKLINGTON 23 (T,B,CD) C Tizzard 7-12-3
D Bass
2 5-53P CRANK EM UP 15 (B,BF) D Dennis 7-12-3
3 3P3U3 TALK OF THE SOUTH 19 (D,BF) P Henderson 9-11-12 J Best
4 544-4 DANCING CONQUEST 16 J S Mullins 8-11-11 D Sansom (7)
5 P2-05 AMBION LANE 29 (T,V) V Dartnall 8-11-11 J Sherwood (3)
Kevin Jones (5)
6 -5030 GOWELL 39 (T) J S Mullins 7-11-2
D Noonan
7 60-05 ULVA FERRY 32 C Gordon 6-11-2
8 -431P GOOSEN MAVERICK 20 (D,BF) J G Cann 7-10-11 T O'Brien
9 /PP0P GOODNIGHTIRENE 6 (H,T) Mrs L Young 8-10-0
T Cheesman (5)
Mr S Quinlan (7)
10 2P-52 BOBONYX 26 Dai Williams 8-10-0
100-30 Cucklington, Talk Of The South, 5-1 Crank Em Up, 6-1 Goosen Maverick,
Gowell, 9-1 Bobonyx, 12-1 Ulva Ferry, 16-1 Ambion Lane, 22-1 others.
Smarkets Novices’ Hurdle
(£4,159: 2m 5f 82y) (4)
T Cheesman (5)
1 -3P06 BIG TIME FRANK 16 P Gundry 7-11-2
T Cannon
2 220-2 CRIQ ROCK 250 (BF) A King 7-11-2
H Cobden
3 532-F DASHING PERK 70 Dr R Newland 7-11-2
121 RHAEGAR 28 K Bailey 7-11-2
D Bass
5-4 Rhaegar, 15-8 Criq Rock, 11-4 Dashing Perk, 100-1 Big Time Frank.
Smarkets Handicap Chase ITV4
(£12,512: 2m 4f 35y) (6)
114-2 ANTARTICA DE THAIX 58 (T,CD) P Nicholls 8-11-12
H Cobden
J Bowen (5)
2 31111 PLAY THE ACE 28 (CD) P Bowen 9-11-9
J Best
3 P45-P O MAONLAI 35 (T) T George 10-11-5
T O'Brien
4 2-163 KAYF ADVENTURE 37 (D,BF) P Hobbs 7-11-3
C Deutsch (3)
6 424U- UHLAN BUTE 254 (P,D) Miss V Williams 10-10-6
Mr H Nugent (7)
9-4 Antartica De Thaix, 7-2 Play The Ace, 5-1 Kayf Adventure, Pressurize, 13-2
O Maonlai, Uhlan Bute.
Thunderer’s choice: O Maonlai has twice followed a pulled-up
with a win and is on a good mark Danger: Antartica De Thaix
Smarkets Novices’
Handicap Chase (£7,798: 2m 4f) (5)
Mr J King (5)
1 32-43 WALT 28 N Mulholland 7-11-8
H Cobden
2 4-651 BILL AND BARN 28 P Nicholls 7-11-7
W Hutchinson
3 42-1P HOLBROOK PARK 17 (T,D) N King 8-11-6
T O'Brien
4 216-F SILVERHOW 19 C Tizzard 7-11-5
J Best
5 1U/32 LE BOIZELO 5 (D) R Walford 7-11-2
7-4 Bill And Barn, 3-1 Le Boizelo, 7-2 Walt, 6-1 Silverhow, 13-2 Holbrook Park.
Thunderer’s choice: Bill And Barn, who dead-heated over
hurdles last time, is a dual point-to-point winner Danger: Walt
Davies as head lad, and then assistant,
in 1992. He spent 18 years there before
branching out on his own, only then to
return to Naunton, in Gloucestershire,
to train out of the Upper Yard.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing
if it wasn’t for Nigel,” O’Brien said.
“Without him none of it would have
been possible. I learnt everything I
know there.
“We are very different — polar
opposites in character. He is very
reserved whereas I shout from the
rooftops a little bit. He taught me never
to change what you are doing, even
when things aren’t going right. Stick to
your routine. It is not a fluke, what we
are doing at the minute.”
O’Brien hopes the upswing will
continue at Chepstow this afternoon,
when he sends out Chase The Spud in
the rescheduled running of the Welsh
Grand National. The ten-year-old, who
won on his reappearance this season
in heavy conditions at Haydock in
November, will relish the conditions
and has been backed into a general 9-1
shot for the Coral-sponsored contest.
“It will be testing and hard work but
we are looking forward to it. He will
love the ground and will go well on
it,” he continued. “The trip won’t be a
problem. We can only hope he gets a bit
of luck in running and if so he won’t be
far away.”
3P-56 ZEROESHADESOFGREY 41 (B) N King 9-11-12
W Hutchinson
-1144 MON PALOIS 32 K Bailey 6-11-9
D Bass
P/P-0 DUBAWI ISLAND 44 (P,D) Miss V Williams 9-11-8
Miss L Turner (7)
J Best
6 36-24 WINNING SPARK 21 J Plessis 11-11-6
7 U3/F2 MONBEG THEATRE 22 (T,P) J Snowden 9-11-6 G Sheehan
9 -422P WATERLOO WARRIOR 45 (T,B) C Tizzard 6-11-0 H Cobden
10 10-03 BALLYHEIGUE BAY 39 (T,D) C Gordon 11-10-11 T Cannon
11 04-31 LAGAVARA 30 (D) N Twiston-Davies 6-10-8 T Humphries (7)
M Nolan
12 060-2 EDVARDO 41 (D) R Woollacott 8-10-4
13 4-412 DAYTIME AHEAD 30 (C,BF) R Hodges 7-10-0 N Curtis (5)
11-2 Mon Palois, 8-1 Lagavara, Monbeg Theatre, 9-1 Daytime Ahead, Edvardo,
10-1 Ballyheigue Bay, Head To The Stars, Taj Badalandabad, 12-1 others.
5- MORNING HAS BROKEN 24 D Elsworth 3-8-10
6 (1)
Hollie Doyle
R Hornby
7 (3) 64- MRS BENSON 45 M Blanshard 3-8-10
SHARP INNTAKE H Candy 3-8-10
Fran Berry
8 (7)
SHORT HEAD W Haggas 3-8-10
Georgia Cox (3)
9 (2)
5- SWEET SYMPHONY 72 M Botti 3-8-10
R Tate
10 (5)
0- WOGGLE 17 G Deacon 3-8-10
K O'Neill
11 (8)
11-4 Short Head, Sweet Symphony, 9-2 Morning Has Broken, 13-2 Mrs
Benson, Sharp Inntake, 7-1 Culture Shock, 20-1 others.
has been
by rivals
1.05 Multigifted
1.40 Goosen Maverick
2.10 Criq Rock
Going: heavy
front?” The girls were dancing around
like dervishes, screaming: “Come on
Paddy!” When the line came they all
jumped into one anothers’ arms. The
agony and the ecstasy summed up
perfectly why people get involved in
the sport.
“I couldn’t watch because it had
looked like he was going to win easy,
then he idled in front a little bit and I
thought, ‘Aargh no,’ ” O’Brien said. “It
cringes me watching it back because I
didn’t know there was a camera on me.
But it made for good television. At least
my mother knows I’m still alive.”
Not only alive, but thriving. O’Brien
has already saddled 46 winners this
season, with total prize money
approaching £500,000, and is well on
target to surpass last year’s career-best
mark of 60. He has Brennan to call on
more frequently, now that he is no
longer first rider for Tom George, and
between the entire team, including his
faithful head lad Kevin Brown, there is
a sense of fun and enjoyment mixed
with a serious eye for the job. He
has been lauded by some of his
contemporaries as one to watch in the
training ranks.
Having come over from Ireland at 16
to the British Racing School, he spent
three years at Captain Tim Forster’s
yard, then a year with a private
trainer before landing with Twiston-
Smarkets Handicap
Hurdle (£9,495: 2m 5f 82y) (13)
1/0-0 TAJ BADALANDABAD 22 (P) D Pipe 8-12-1
15-54 BRYDEN BOY 22 (P) J Candlish 8-12-0
M Heard (5)
S W Quinlan
Thunderer’s choice: Edvardo separated two subsequent winners on
his first run for the stable at Exeter
Danger: Lagavara
Lingfield Park
12.05 Dream Mount
2.20 Arcanada
12.40 Craving
2.55 Queen Of Desire
1.15 Presumido (nap) 3.30 Pivotal Flame
1.45 Towerlands Park
Going: standard
At The Races
Draw: 5f-1m, low numbers best
12.05 Handicap (3-Y-O: £5,531: 1m) (5)
T Marquand
1 (4) 0213- ZALSHAH 9 (P) R Hannon 9-7
L Morris
2 (2) 2151- GUVENOR'S CHOICE 11 (T) K Burke 9-6
C Noble (5)
3 (5)
D C Costello
4 (1) 411- RUSPER 24 (CD) J Osborne 9-6
5 (3) 0015- DREAM MOUNT 67 (CD,BF) M Botti 8-12 G Malune (7)
5-2 Guvenor's Choice, 11-4 Dream Mount, 7-2 Rusper, 4-1 Zalshah, 13-2 Joe's
Conditions Stakes (£11,828: 1m) (6)
O Murphy
1 (5) 5304- STRAIGHT RIGHT 38 (H,D) A Balding 4-9-6
M Harley
2 (3) 2001- ARCANADA 49 (P,CD) T Dascombe 5-9-3
T Hamilton
3 (1) 5053- GABRIAL 49 (D) R Fahey 9-9-3
T Marquand
4 (6) 0000- IN THE RED 50 (B,D) M Smith 5-9-3
A Kirby
5 (4) 4450/ MAN OF HARLECH 570 (C,D) J Boyle 7-9-3
F Norton
6 (2) 0000- MY TARGET 6 (CD) M Wigham 7-9-3
5-4 Arcanada, 3-1 Straight Right, 4-1 Gabrial, 7-1 My Target, 10-1 Man Of
Harlech, 50-1 In The Red.
Novice Stakes (3-Y-O: £3,752: 5f) (6)
L Morris
1 (6) 000- ARGON 8 (H) Sir M Prescott 9-2
3- GALLOWAY HILLS 42 D Elsworth 9-2
S Levey
2 (3)
3- NOMORECALLS 213 (V) R Cowell 9-2
D Tudhope
3 (4)
Georgia Dobie (7)
4 (1) 041- FAS LE FIOS (D) J Moore 8-11
PURPLE DRAGON Mick Quinn 8-11
F Norton
5 (5)
5- QUEEN OF DESIRE 36 R Varian 8-11
J Mitchell
6 (2)
11-8 Queen Of Desire, 11-4 Galloway Hills, 7-2 Nomorecalls, 10-1 Fas Le Fios,
12-1 Purple Dragon, 20-1 Argon.
Fillies’ Handicap
(£3,752: 1m 2f) (10)
L Morris
1 (4) 4460- ASSANILKA 17 (P) H Dunlop 4-9-11
2 (2) 3426- NURSE NIGHTINGALE 17 (P,BF) Michael Bell 4-9-10
C Noble (5)
3 (10) 0001- MISS MINUTY 24 (CD) J Scott 6-9-10 Jason Watson (7)
4 (7) /434- ICONIC BELLE 132 (BF) M Channon 4-9-7 P Bradley (5)
K Fox
5 (9) /630- TABLA 329 (C) D Steele 6-9-5
Hollie Doyle
6 (1) 0600- THE YELLOW BUS 15 D Steele 5-9-3
Sebastian Woods (7)
7 (8) 5340- DOSE 15 R Fahey 5-9-0
S W Kelly
8 (3) 6046- PIVOTAL FLAME 29J (D) P Phelan 5-8-12
W Cox (5)
9 (5) 4624- TOPMEUP 11 (V) Miss G Kelleway 4-8-11
10 (6) 0333- VENETIAN PROPOSAL 30 (P) Miss Z Davison 4-8-9
K O'Neill
3-1 Nurse Nightingale, 4-1 Miss Minuty, 11-2 Assanilka, 6-1 Topmeup, 9-1
Venetian Proposal, 10-1 Dose, 12-1 Iconic Belle, The Yellow Bus, 14-1 others.
12.40 Novice Stakes (3-Y-O: £3,105: 1m) (11)
Kempton Park
J Mitchell
1 (10) 252- AMBIENT 37 R Varian 9-2
BOBBY K S Crisford 9-2
R Powell
2 (8)
T J Murphy
3 (2) 4223- CRAVING 19 S Crisford 9-2
M Harley
4 (4) 00- FORRICHERFORPOORER 17 W Knight 9-2
R Havlin
5 (7) 46- HASANOANDA 19 (P) J Gosden 9-2
5- KNIGHT ERRANT 22 W Jarvis 9-2
T Marquand
6 (11)
7 (3)
K Fox
8 (9) 30- PASSING CLOUDS 17 M Attwater 9-2
P Bradley (5)
9 (1)
S W Kelly
10 (5) 000- RAGSTONE SAND 14 G L Moore 9-2
D Tudhope
11 (6)
9-4 Craving, 5-2 Ambient, 11-4 Hasanoanda, 8-1 Round The Buoy, 16-1 others.
Handicap (£3,752: 7f) (9)
Shelley Birkett (3)
1 (7) 2662- MAAZEL 89 Miss J Feilden 4-9-7
2 (3) 4002- JUAN HORSEPOWER 9 (P,C) R Hannon 4-9-6 K O'Neill
A Kirby
3 (6) 0000- PRESUMIDO 61 (CD) S Dow 8-9-6
J Duern (3)
4 (9) 0014- VARSOVIAN 9 (CD) D Ivory 8-9-6
L Keniry
5 (4) 0020- ALKASHAAF 24 (T) D M Loughnane 4-9-5
T Marquand
6 (8) /000- TORIANO 24 (CD) N Littmoden 5-9-4
N Garbutt (3)
7 (5) 0025- SAMARMADI 57 (P) H Palmer 4-9-4
8 (1) 01/5- FOOTSTEPSINTHERAIN 24 (D) D Steele 8-9-0 O Murphy
R Powell
9 (2) 0000- GOLD FLASH 20 (D) R Ford 6-8-13
7-2 Varsovian, 4-1 Juan Horsepower, Samarmadi, 9-2 Presumido, 7-1 Maazel,
8-1 Toriano, 16-1 Footstepsintherain, 20-1 Alkashaaf, 33-1 Gold Flash.
Handicap (£7,246: 1m 2f) (7)
A Kirby
1 (3) 1555- MING DYNASTY 14 M Botti 6-9-7
D Tudhope
2 (2) 1310- FAYEZ 35 (CD) D O'Meara 4-9-6
3 (1) /303- TOWERLANDS PARK 35 (V,BF) Michael Bell 5-9-2
C Noble (5)
Hollie Doyle
4 (5) 6400- CAPTAIN CAT 98 (C) A Carroll 9-9-2
5 (6) 0511- GENERAL HAZARD 24 (P,CD) A Watson 5-9-0 E Greatrex
L Keniry
6 (4) 2632- EASY TIGER 24 (C) M Saunders 6-8-10
J Haynes
7 (7) 2025- ELTEZAM 17 (E) Mrs A Perrett 5-8-7
5-2 Towerlands Park, 4-1 Ming Dynasty, 5-1 Fayez, General Hazard, 6-1
Eltezam, 15-2 Easy Tiger, 14-1 Captain Cat.
5.45 Sweet Symphony 7.45 Titan Goddess
6.15 Promising
8.15 Cliff Face
6.45 Lord Murphy
8.45 Choice Encounter
7.15 Golden Image
9.15 Victoriously
Going: standard to slow
Draw: 5f-1m, low numbers best
Racing UK
Fillies’ Novice Stakes
(Div I: £3,881: 7f) (11)
4- COMPTON ABBEY 24 B Johnson 4-10-0 C Shepherd (3)
S W Kelly
(10) 0/0- MAARIT 337 D Coakley 4-10-0
C Bishop
(6) 00- PACO FILLY 47 Mrs N Evans 4-10-0
0- CULTURE SHOCK 15 R Hannon 3-8-10
S Levey
S Donohoe
(9) 00- INCH PINCHER 32 Rae Guest 3-8-10
Fillies’ Novice Stakes
(Div II: £3,881: 7f) (10)
O Murphy
1 (10) 32- PEACE TERMS 21 (BF) R Beckett 4-10-0
S Levey
2 (6) 32/3- PROMISING 259 R Hannon 4-10-0
BE MY ANGEL H Candy 3-8-10
Fran Berry
3 (3)
2- COSMIC LOVE 17 W Haggas 3-8-10
Georgia Cox (3)
4 (8)
DOLLY MIXTURE John Best 3-8-10
J Haynes
5 (5)
D C Costello
6 (9) 55- LA MERNANCIA 10 J Osborne 3-8-10
0- LULU STAR 109 Miss J Feilden 3-8-10 Shelley Birkett (3)
7 (7)
S Donohoe
8 (4) 05- NOW SAY YES 14 D Lanigan 3-8-10
SAYF SHAMAL C Appleby 3-8-10
T Marquand
9 (1)
0- TOUGH LASS 17 G Peckham 3-8-10
L Morris
10 (2)
4-7 Promising, 9-2 Cosmic Love, 7-1 Peace Terms, 8-1 Sayf Shamal, 16-1 Be
My Angel, 33-1 La Mernancia, Now Say Yes, 66-1 others.
(£3,105: 1m) (14)
1 (14) 0000- AMERICAN PATROL 39 N Mulholland 4-9-7
P J McDonald
L Keniry
2 (6) 0300- LORD MURPHY 11 (T) D M Loughnane 5-9-6
3 (10) 0063- ST PATRICK'S DAY 16 (V,D) J Jenkins 6-9-6 T J Murphy
A Kirby
4 (7) 0000- TORCH 194 (P) J Butler 5-9-6
R Tate
5 (5) 0000- ST JAMES'S PARK 66 Ralph J Smith 5-9-6
P Bradley (5)
6 (2) 0500- MUNSARIM 257 (B,C,D) L Carter 11-9-6
Hollie Doyle
7 (13) 0600- HENRY GRACE 29 (B,CD) J Fox 7-9-5
Nicola Currie (5)
8 (1) 3040- PEAK HILL 32 A Wintle 5-9-5
Fran Berry
9 (11) 4325- SATCHVILLE FLYER 8 (C) P D Evans 7-9-5
R Hornby
10 (4) 2524- DOR'S LAW 29 (P,BF) D Ivory 5-9-4
11(12) 4151- COOKIE RING 20 (T,CD) K Stubbs 7-9-4
Faye McManoman (7)
C Bishop
12 (8) 2064- TARSEEKH 24 (B) C Gordon 5-9-4
W A Carson
13 (3) 0100- ALTAIRA 79 (B) A Carroll 7-9-4
0632LIVING LEADER 7 (CD) G Harris 9-9-2
L Morris
14 (9)
7-2 Dor's Law, 6-1 Cookie Ring, 8-1 Living Leader, Satchville Flyer, Torch, 10-1
Peak Hill, 12-1 Henry Grace, Lord Murphy, Tarseekh, 14-1 others.
(3-Y-O: £3,752: 1m) (7)
Hollie Doyle
1 (1) 003- PHYSICAL POWER 38 R Hannon 9-5
L Morris
2 (3) 302- GOLDEN IMAGE 15 (BF) J Portman 9-4
D C Costello
3 (2) 1014- CARP KID 6 (D) J Osborne 9-4
J Duern (3)
4 (6) 306- CLASSIC CHARM 17 D Ivory 9-4
S Levey
5 (5) 1006- STRAIGHT ASH 50 (P) R Hannon 9-3
P J McDonald
6 (4) 040- BLACK MEDUSA 24 P Cole 9-2
A Kirby
7 (7) 6065- SHERIFF 51 Michael Bell 9-2
11-4 Golden Image, 7-2 Physical Power, 5-1 Carp Kid, Sheriff, 6-1 Black
Medusa, 7-1 Straight Ash, 16-1 Classic Charm.
trust the mud-lover
Wild West Wind has a fine record at
Chepstow when the mud is flying
and can make the most of his
favoured conditions to land the
Coral Welsh Grand National (2.05)
there today (Rob Wright writes).
This improving chaser has had
just four starts over fences since
graduating from the smaller
obstacles 12 months ago, winning
three of them, and appeared to have
something up his sleeve when
winning over three miles on heavy
ground at this track last month.
Chepstow provides a unique test,
as not only is the course unusually
undulating but the heavy ground
here seems unlike anywhere else
and few horses truly seem to relish
the testing conditions.
That is to the advantage of Wild
West Wind, who has won two of his
three starts in such circumstances
and looking likely to win when
falling at the last on the other
Usually a good jumper, the Tom
George-trained nine-year-old seems
likely to appreciate this first try at a
marathon trip and he rates good
value at the 8-1 generally on offer.
Fillies’ Handicap
(£12,450: 1m) (6)
1 (5) 1420- VENTURA BLUES 94 (P,CD) R Hannon 4-9-7 T Marquand
2 (6) 51d1- STELLAR SURPRISE 10 (T,D) S C Williams 4-9-6
P J McDonald
W Cox (5)
3 (2) 5155- HIDDEN STEPS 50 (H,D) A Balding 4-9-6
L Keniry
4 (3) 6211- DANCE TEACHER 17 (CD) D Elsworth 4-9-1
T Hamilton
5 (4) 6356- NORMANDIE LADY 95 R Fahey 5-8-13
6 (1) 3012- TITAN GODDESS 16 (D) Mike Murphy 6-8-5
Nicola Currie (5)
5-2 Dance Teacher, 11-4 Stellar Surprise, 4-1 Ventura Blues, 5-1 Titan
Goddess, 7-1 Hidden Steps, 10-1 Normandie Lady.
Handicap (£15,563: 1m 7f 218y) (10)
(4) 0424- LORD GEORGE 21 (V,C) J Fanshawe 5-9-13 D Muscutt
Fran Berry
(10) 1224/ GWAFA 447J P Webber 7-9-9
W Cox (5)
(5) 1605- HAINES 28 (CD) A Balding 7-9-9
D C Costello
(8) 5600- SAM MISSILE 120 (C) J Osborne 5-9-8
T Eaves
(3) 0036- COSMELLI 21 (B) Miss G Kelleway 5-9-7
(7) 1414- CLOWANCE ONE 123 (B,CD,BF) K Stubbs 6-9-7
T Hamilton
7 (6) 0121- VELVET REVOLUTION 28 (CD) M Botti 5-9-5 M Harley
A Kirby
8 (2) 3131- SUNBLAZER 24 (T,CD) K Bailey 8-9-5
D Tudhope
9 (1) 2301- ROYAL RESERVE 9 (C,D) D O'Meara 5-9-4
L Morris
10 (9) 0024- CLIFF FACE 24 (B,C) Sir M Prescott 5-9-2
100-30 Velvet Revolution, 9-2 Lord George, 5-1 Royal Reserve, 6-1 Sunblazer,
7-1 Clowance One, 10-1 Cliff Face, Sam Missile, 14-1 Haines, 16-1 others.
Handicap (3-Y-O: £6,469: 6f) (6)
1523- MONTAGUE 7 J Osborne 9-7
D C Costello
1215- OUR MAN IN HAVANA 17 (D) R Price 9-5
W Cox (5)
2422- CHOICE ENCOUNTER 30 Michael Bell 9-4
C Noble (5)
624- MUSICAL THEATRE 49 D Simcock 8-13
O Murphy
4300- FALCON'S VISION 98 D Simcock 8-11
D Muscutt
232-4 MOTHER OF DRAGONS 4 Phil McEntee 8-8
Nicola Currie (5)
11-4 Choice Encounter, Musical Theatre, 7-2 Montague, 4-1 Falcon's Vision,
13-2 Our Man In Havana, 14-1 Mother Of Dragons.
Handicap (£3,105: 1m 2f 219y) (14)
0035- THAQAFFA 16 (H) A Murphy 5-9-7
M Harley
6035- DOLPHIN VILLAGE 11 (H) Shaun Harris 8-9-5 A Mullen
6400- CONKERING HERO 22 (V) J Tuite 4-9-5
O Murphy
/566- FREEDOM FIGHTER 98 (T,B) T Pinfield 8-9-2 A Beech (7)
6066- TYRSAL 38 (C) C Lines 7-9-2
Hollie Doyle
2/00- DIAMOND REFLECTION 7 (T) A Dunn 6-9-2 D C Costello
/102- VICTORIOUSLY 11 (P) A Brown 6-9-2
L Morris
00/5- BOGARDUS 19J (C) P Holmes 7-9-1
C Lee (3)
3600- GEE SIXTY SIX 86 M Tompkins 4-8-12
J Haynes
1254- BETSALOTTIE 24 (D) J Bridger 5-8-12
W A Carson
0600- THE GAY CAVALIER 11 (T,CD) John Ryan 7-8-12
P J McDonald
12(13) 4005- ROWLESTONERENDEZVU 24 A Carroll 5-8-7 W Cox (5)
13 (8) 4600- GARCON DE SOLEIL 28 M Blanshard 5-8-7
Nicola Currie (5)
K O'Neill
14 (1) 0000- CLANDON 42 B Johnson 5-8-7
7-2 Victoriously, 9-2 Thaqaffa, 13-2 Betsalottie, 10-1 Dolphin Village,
Rowlestonerendezvu, The Gay Cavalier, Tyrsal, 12-1 others.
1 (12)
2 (6)
3 (4)
4 (7)
5 (5)
6 (2)
7 (14)
8 (10)
9 (3)
10 (9)
Yesterday’s racing results
Going: standard
12.55 (4f 214yd) 1, Magic Pulse (D C
Costello, 2-1 fav); 2, Snaffled (5-2); 3, Cool
Baby (7-1). 9 ran. NR: Tea Rattle. 1Nl, 3Nl.
D C Griffiths.
1.30 (1m 13yd) 1, One More Chance (A
Mullen, 4-1); 2, Love Rat (13-2); 3, Heather
Lark (7-4 fav). 10 ran. NR: Dawn Dancer. 2l,
nk. D H Brown.
2.05 (1m 13yd) 1, Aiya (Oisin Murphy, 5-2
jt-fav); 2, Far Dawn (5-2 jt-fav); 3, Going
Native (9-1). 7 ran. 1l, 3Nl. A Balding.
2.40 (6f 16yd) 1, Kody Ridge (B A Curtis,
16-1); 2, Monte Cinq (33-1); 3, Amazing
Grazing (40-1). 10 ran. NR: Crosse Fire. Nk,
1l. R Fell.
3.10 (6f 16yd) 1, Declamation (R Winston,
8-15 fav); 2, Blistering Dancer (50-1); 3,
Caledonian Gold (6-1). 13 ran. NR: Poppy
May. 5l, 1Ol. J Butler.
3.40 (1m 6f 21yd) 1, Serenity Now (Miss A
McCain, 7-2); 2, Best Example (11-2); 3,
Hewouldwouldnthe (14-1). 9 ran. NR:
Tynecastle Park. 2Kl, 1Nl. B Ellison.
Placepot: £599.30.
Quadpot: £253.20.
6 Yesterday’s meeting at Wetherby was
abandoned due to waterlogging.
Kempton Park
Going: standard/slow
5.45 (6f) 1, Istanbul Pasha (Fran Berry, 81); 2, Summer Thunder (13-8 fav); 3, Inuk
(5-1). 8 ran. NR: Harvest Day. Kl, 1N. P D
6.15 (6f) 1, New Rich (Edward Greatrex, 61); 2, Rapid Rise (6-1); 3, Dalness Express
(25-1). 12 ran. Kl, 1N. Eve Johnson
6.45 (6f) 1, Pulsating (Edward Greatrex, 21); 2, Olaudah (11-8 fav); 3, Burauq (14-1).
10 ran. NR: Tally’s Song. 1l, 4l. Archie
7.15 (1m 3f 219yd) 1, Night Of Glory (Oisin
Murphy, 30-100 fav); 2, Firmage Burg (152); 3, Arctic Chief (100-1). 4 ran. 2l, 2Nl. A
M Balding.
7.45 (1m 3f 219yd) 1, Flight Of Fantasy (K
T O’Neill, 3-1 fav); 2, Sonnetist (12-1); 3,
Top Beak (6-1). 12 ran. 5l, Ol. H J L Dunlop.
8.15 (6f) 1, Shamsaya (R Havlin, 7-1); 2,
Eljaddaaf (9-2); 3, Excellent George (9-1).
11 ran. Kl, Ol. S Crisford.
8.45 (1m) 1, Happy Escape (T J Murphy,
12-1); 2, Exit Europe (7-2 fav); 3, Steal The
Scene (9-1). 13 ran. NR: Magic Mirror. 1l,
ns. N P Mulholland.
Placepot: £32.80.
Quadpot: £6.60.
2G S
Saturday January 6 2018 | the times
Giles Smith
Revealed: farcical
training diary of
angry Mr Wenger
nce again, we got a very bad
decision against us. We have to
account in our preparations for
that’s what we have to face.”
(Arsène Wenger, speaking
after Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 2-2
draw against Arsenal on Wednesday.)
Exclusive extracts from Wenger’s training diary:
Thursday morning
The new drills seem to be going well. Adapt and
survive, they say. Well, we’re doing our best.
This morning the team warmed up as usual but
then, instead of breaking into units for rondos,
we did 15 minutes on farcical decisions. This was
essentially a six-a-side game with Boro Primorac
refereeing and giving arbitrary and inexplicable
penalties — all the while dressed as a vicar with
his trousers around his ankles, just to emphasise
the farcical aspect. Tomorrow Boro has agreed
to wear stockings and suspenders, just to mix it
up a bit.
Meanwhile, to convey that the world is an
unfair place where bad and unreasonable things
happen, Steve Bould went out to the car park
with a baseball bat and battered a few
headlights. Then we sent the squad off to find
out whose cars had been damaged, brought
them back in and got Tony Colbert, our
fitness coach, to measure their recovery time.
Some room for improvement there, but it will
Then we worked on set plays before
concluding with some light credulity-stretching.
Thursday afternoon
Opened the session with a team meeting. Across
the top of the whiteboard, I wrote in big letters
nervously. “Well, you know . . . swings and
I exploded. The bottle of water I was holding
hit the wall behind Mustafi’s head and burst,
soaking everyone in the vicinity. “Wrong!” I
screamed. “Weren’t you listening? Not swings
and roundabouts! Not for Arsenal! Only the
Manchester clubs and Chelsea can afford swings
AND roundabouts. For us, it’s only ever swings.
It’s only. Ever. Swings.”
I was trembling with anger. I stopped the
meeting and sent the players out to run round
the pitch ten times and instructed Bould and
Primorac to trip them up randomly while they
were doing it. But especially Mustafi.
Friday morning
Our next game is away to Nottingham
Forest in the FA Cup, so, in the video
analysis room, we went over the Zapruder
film of the Kennedy assassination. “So,
now you’ve had the chance to have a look
at it,” I said, “who was at fault?”
Alexandre Lacazette was first to reply.
“It’s got to be Lee Harvey Oswald from
the book depository for me. All day
At that, Ainsley Maitland-Niles let
out a sigh and said, “Honestly, Laco,
you’ll be saying Americans actually
went to the moon next!” Everybody
“No,” Maitland-Niles continued.
“The angles are all wrong. Plus the
extent and direction of the blood
spatter doesn’t support the lone
assassin theory. All the visual
evidence points to a
supplementary shooter on the
grassy knoll, and that, in turn,
raises the whole question of
Mafia involvement, not to
mention the possibility of
government collusion. It
wouldn’t be prudent to rule
out Mike Dean at this point,
either.” Bright lad, that
Maitland-Niles. Reckon I’ll
start him against Forest.
Friday afternoon
Wenger’s mood
Someone has smashed up my
has not been
car. Thought I made it clear
helped by the
to Bould: not the big silver
reaction to his
Volvo. But maybe it wasn’t
Bould. Maybe this goes
much deeper . . .
the heading “Concerning Coincidences.” Then,
using pins and coloured string, I gathered the
overwhelming evidence of the entirely
premeditated campaign against us by referees:
the decisions against us away to Stoke City,
Watford, Manchester City and West
Bromwich Albion and now at home to
By the end of my two-hour lecture I had
not only demonstrated that Eden Hazard
should have been given a yellow card after
Héctor Bellerín kicked him, I had also
conclusively linked Mike Dean, not just to
the scene of the crime at The Hawthorns,
but also to the Illuminati, an elite cabal of
reptilians in human form, led by David
Elleray and the Kardashian family, who
rule the world according to their dark,
anti-Arsenal desires.
Then I asked if there were any
After a long silence, Shkodran Mustafi
put his hand up. “To be fair, boss, I was
marginally offside for that goal against
Tottenham. And West Brom should
probably have had a pen at our place. And
we got a really soft one, late doors, at
Burnley. And if the ref spots Jack’s dive the
other night, it’s a second yellow and he’s not
on the pitch to score our equaliser. So . . .”
I was furious. I couldn’t believe what I was
hearing. My voice was low but I was
struggling to control it. “What exactly is your
The room had gone very quiet. Mustafi
looked around at the other players who shifted
Mourinho crisis appeal gathering pace Weary
lose moral
e cried out, and you
We’re thrilled
to announce that,
following last week’s
major launch in this
space, our José
now stands
at £2.20 on
its way to
target of
£75 million
to boost
Manchester United’s
insufficient (according to
José Mourinho) transfer
On top of the £1.20 that
we personally pledged to
get the ball rolling, we
were moved
to receive a
promise of
50p from
donor, whose
Couch potato’s
guide to the
weekend’s TV
has generously pledged to
match that donation, thus
making a guaranteed £1 in
total and nudging us
tantalisingly closer to our
And, yes, a Chelsea
supporter: heart-warming
signs, there, of the football
community setting
partisanship to one side and
coming together in the
interests of making United
financially competitive again.
Our next move: a bucket
collection outside football
grounds. We’ll get back to
8am Tennis, Hopman Cup from Perth,
Eurosport 2. 8.25am Cricket, first Test
second day, South Africa v India (Cape
Town), Sky Sports Cricket/Main Event.
9.30am Racing preview, from Sandown
and Wincanton, ITV4. 11.30am Football,
Serie A, Torino v Bologna, BT Sport 1.
12.45pm Football, FA Cup third round,
Fleetwood v Leicester, BBC One.
12.45pm Darts, BDO Lakeside World
Professional Championship, Channel 4.
e have to show
them respect,”
Jürgen Klopp
said, referring to his decision
to allow Mohamed Salah and
Sadio Mané to fly all the way
to Ghana and back for the
Confederation of African
Football’s annual awards
ceremony just 24 hours
3pm Rugby union, Pro14, Ospreys v
Cardiff Blues, Sky Sports Main Event/
Action. 3pm Tennis, Qatar Open,
Eurosport 2. 5pm Football, FA Cup,
Norwich v Chelsea, BT Sport 2. 5.15pm
Football, Serie A, Roma v Atalanta, BT
Sport 1. 5.30pm Rugby union, Pro14,
Leinster v Ulster, BBC Two Northern
Ireland, Sky Sports Main Event/Action.
7.30pm Football, Serie A Cagliari v
Juventus, BT Sport 1. 8pm Golf, Sentry
Tournament of Champions, Hawaii, Sky
before Liverpool were due to
play Everton in the third
round of the FA Cup.
Klopp’s respect was karmic,
you could argue, in the sense
that, at Thursday evening’s
glittering event, Salah
received the African Player of
the Year award, and Mané
was voted runner-up.
Whether his players then flew
back, invigorated by the love,
to run rings around Everton
last night or fell asleep with
jet lag before the kick-off, we
write too soon to know.
But that’s all irrelevant. It’s
the principle. Because,
frankly, Klopp was wrong.
The respectful thing to do (in
the sense of respectful to the
Sports Golf. 11pm Cricket, fifth Test
fourth day, Australia v England
(Sydney), BT Sport 1.
2am Tennis, Sydney International, BT
Sport 2, and 6am on Eurosport 2.
8.25am Cricket, first Test third day,
South Africa v India, Sky Sports Cricket/
Main Event. 9am Tennis, Brisbane
International, Eurosport 2. 12.30pm
Darts, BDO Lakeside World Professional
Championship, Channel 4. 1.40pm
sport of football as a whole)
would have been to explain to
Salah and Mané that they
play a team game, with its
own in-built annual honours
system, and that swanning
around in lounge suits at
awards ceremonies at any
point in the season — and
even after it — is
unacceptable, and continues
to be unacceptable whether
the ceremony is seven hours
away in Accra, two hours
away in Park Lane or just up
the road in Knowsley.
There was an important
stand to be taken here.
Disappointingly, Klopp, who
is usually unerring in these
larger moral areas, sat down.
Football, FA Cup, Shrewsbury v West
Ham, BBC One. 2.30pm Rugby union,
Premiership, Wasps v Saracens, BT
Sport. 3.15pm Football, La Liga,
Barcelona v Levante, Sky Sports Main
Event. 3.30pm Football, FA Cup,
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal, BT Sport
2. 11pm Golf, Sentry Tournament of
Champions (Hawaii), Sky Sports Golf.
11pm Cricket, fifth Test final day
(Sydney), Australia v England, BT Sport
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