jfzawmhs

‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

content_img

, who announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday, will be remembered in many corners of her sport with respect more than affection – and it will not worry her much at all.

The 32-year-old Russian who arrived in America from Sochi with her father in 1994 as refugees from the poison of Chernobyl – with $700 and not a word of English between them – won five grand slam titles and was ranked the highest earner in women’s sport for 11 years in a row. But it is her icy demeanour and failure to build on an early victory over Serena Williams that grab the imagination as much as those fine achievements.

Sharapova, who beat Williams to when just 17, then lost 20 of their following 21 matches, was never universally popular in the locker room. She cared little about courting popularity, but she had the professional respect of her rivals for her single-mindedness and fighting spirit. Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova to win Wimbledon in 2011, was one of her few rivals to give her warm praise on Wednesday, describing her as a, “big champion”.

The Czech, who was sidelined from tennis after a knife attack in her apartment in 2016 but has returned to the upper reaches of the game, : “I know how tough it is to come back and play. She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than … her body allowed her to have.” She added: “It was a pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

More than most players on the tennis circuit, Sharapova divided opinion. There were many players who objected to her early return from a drugs ban in 2017, after she had . Sharapova, who protested her innocence, had her two-year ban cut to 15 months, but was never the same player in a comeback that stuttered from one disappointing setback to the next, on the court and off. Her last tournament win was in a low-ranked event in China three years ago.

Long-time problems with her serving shoulder recurred and, towards the end, she was losing to lesser players on a regular basis. There was a suspicion among some of her rivals and critics that she was playing merely for publicity to drive her many commr Kostas Manolas recognises they’re underdogs facing Lazio this weekend.Manolas admits Lazio are having an “extraordinary season”.“We’ll give everything we’ve got to pick up points. It’s a very complicated time for Napoli, but the only way out is tercial interests, although she claimed she played for the love of the game and the competition. That was certainly evident in her trademark screeching and her relentless pursuit of lost causes on court, mainly from the baseline and with a two-handed backhand that was among the best in tennis. She made the most of the weapons she had – including a powerful serve early in her career until injury struck on a regular basis – and was rarely found close to the net. Hers was a game of calculation rather than inspira the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.The youngster is rated among the best prospects emerging in French football.LOSC president Gerard Lopez is ready to sell land La Provence says a move to England is likely with United and Spution.

In her last match, a at the Australian Open in January, Sharapova was ranked 373 in the world, a long way from her five separate reigns as world No 1, the first of them in 2005. It was her third first-round exit from a major in a row.

However, five grand slam titles – encompassing all the four venues, on clay, grass and hardcourt – and career earnings of $38.7m tell a story of longevity and persistence, which Sharapova regarded as her greatest asset.

Her rivalry with the younger of the two Williams sister was fierce but doomed – and it defined Sharapova’s struggle. Their last encounter – in the first round of the 2019 US Open, when Sharapova needed pain killers to get on court and could win only two games – summed up the physical decline of the Russian.

“Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” , her chosen platform to confirm her retirement. “I’ve had multiple surgeries – once in 2008; another procedure last year – and s missing Champions League qualification is a frustrating blow.The Gunners missed their chance after being beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final.Asked if it was painful to be in the Europa League again, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka said: “Yeah, of pent countless months in physical therapy. Just stepping on to the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.”

It always was. Sharapova regularly turned back questions about her looks as irrelevant, and protested that her many fashion shoots did not form the centrepiece of her career.

“Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis dresses, [the courts] exposed my imperfections – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat,” she wrote. “They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt safe.”

Wayne Rooney scores stunning goal from beyond halfway line for DC United

content_img

continues to add to his highlight reel in Major League Soccer. On Wednesday night he scored for DC United from beyond the halfway line for one of the best goals of his long career.

The goal came in the 10th minute of DC’s game against Orlando City. Rooney picked up the ball in his own half and say Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe well off his line. He proceeded to drive the ball over Rowe, and was promptly mobbed by his teammates. It proved to be the only goal of the game.

Roor and RB Leipzig have undergone managerial change this season. Julian Nagelsmann took charge of the German club last July and turned them into Bundesliga contenders. Around four months later Jose Mourinho arrived ati Emery rather than a seek a transfer.Ozil has been frozen out by Emery, but will wait to see whether the Arsenal boss lasts beyond the end of this season before deciding on his future.The midfielder is Arsenal’s highest-paid player on £350,000 a we Spurs and galvanised them, taking ney joined last year with the club bottom of the Eastern Conference. He then inspired them to the playoffs. This season they currently sit third in the table.

Three former Manchester United players are now in MLS’s top-five scorers this season. As well as Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nani are also in the top fivates after skipping out on them this weekend.Against AC Milan, Ronaldo was hooked on 55 minutes for the eventual matchwinner Paulo Dybala on Sunday and is said to have left the ground before the final whistle.Gazzetta dello Sport says Ronaldo did note.

Phil Mickelson dropped by Jim Furyk for all Saturday’s Ryder Cup play

content_img

, chosen by Jim Furyk asld be Mohamed Salah, according to former Reds midfielder Don Hutchinson.Speculation continues to build on whether Europe’s biggest clubs will attempt to sign Jurgen Klopp’s dominant side.Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with Salah and Sadio one of his four captain’s picks, has been omitted from all the Ryder Cup pairings on Saturday and his participation in the event is now restricted to a heavy defeat on Friday afternoon plus Sunday’s singles.

The left-hander was also benched for the whole of Saturday at Gleneagles four years ago, which led to his , the then US captain.

The 48-year-old Mickelson lost 5&4 with his fellow wildcard Bryson DeChambeau on Friday and even that represented something of a recovery, as Sergio García and Alex Norén had been six up after 12.

DeChambeau was paired with another car 5-0 win at Europa League opponents LASK last night.The first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie in Linz wasagreed a fee of £8.2m, according to Goal.Mignolet has been desperate to leave Anfield in order to play regular first-team football.The Belgian will return to his homeland after playing 204 times for the Reds following his £9m switch from Sunderland played behind closed doors, due to fears about the spread of coronavirus. “We missed the fans tonight but played strong as a team to give ptain’s pick for Saturday afternoon’s action, Tiger Woods, to play Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.

Dustin Johnson and were up against Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson faced Sergio García and Alex Norén, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were opposed by Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy.

This meant Europe kept the same lineup that allowed Thomas Bjørn’s side to sweep the foursomes session on Friday.

The fight for potty parity: how sports venue toilets value men over women

content_img

To pee or not to pee?

It’s a question we ask ourselves at concerts, sporting events and other times we don’t want to miss a minute of the action. And when women decide we can’t hold it any longer, we often have to wait longer than men in those daunting arena lines.

Female sports fans were in an uproar after the Edmonton Oilers converted during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Female fans were upset that they weren’t informed of the decision ahead of time, and some said the wait time was up to half an hour.

“When you purchase a ticket, you should expect to get access to a bathroom,” Kathryn Anthony, a professor and author of books such as that discuss gender bias in architecture, said of the wait times. “It’s just unfair, and it makes women feel unwelcome.”

The team said that a survey showed playoff attendance skewed male – a tough thing to prove when you account for re-selling tickets and who ticket holders bring as guests. Representatives for the Oilers did not respond to a request for the survey results or information about ticket holders.

“You’ll never make everyone happy,” Oilers general manager Susan Darrington about the change, adding: “The men are getting through faster, the women are seeing a little more of a delay.”

There are biological reasons why women’s bathrooms lines are typically longer: we need to sit; we menstruate; we pee more often than men, especially when we’re pregnant. Then there are societal reasons: we’re more likely to have children with us; we need to take off more clothing than men, which is often tigoalkeeper Mark Travers admits he’s been working on his passing game to fit into manager Eddie Howe’s system.Travers found the spotlight during the latter stages of last season, having been handed Premier League starts against Tottenham and Crystal Pahter and takes more time.

“People make jokes that we’re vain,” said Soraya Chemaly, an activist whose . “But we’re not standing in line for mirrors. We just need to use the bathroom.”

when renovations brought relief for some female baseball fans, “potty parity” isn’t measured by having the same number of toilets – it’s measured by wait times. Equal speed of access is the key, Anthony argues.

If the problem is so bad, why haven’t we done anything about it? Partly it’s because we are conditioned to think this is normal.

“Women are constantly standing in line, sometimes 60 people deep, and they do it quietly while men breeze through, and you have to ask how it’s possible that we’re still at this stage,” Chemaly said.

When men have to wait in longer lines and they make enough noise about it, the rules change. We’re seeing it now with the Oilers, and we saw it when male Chicago Bears fans were upset about new equal bathroom rules and to men’s at Soldier Field.

from fans, players and staff. Female journalists are at an alarming scale. And when teams do try to include us, we get mansplainy events like – complete with complimentary beauty treatments! – or featuring a soap opera star.

Women on the Seattle city council were told to “rot in hell” and “go back to the kitchen” when they rejected a land-use deal that would have allowed tster City’s clash with Norwich City.Stones has been out of action for the last month with a thigh problem and Nicolas Otamendi was Pep Guardiola’s only senior centre half.But Stones has taken part in full training and is ready to make his comeback athe creation of a pro-basketball stadium, . (Seattle doesn’t even have an NBA team any more and there are no promises they’ll get one anytime soon, which was their main argument for shooting it down.)

Soriller with Ajax.James made history by becoming the youngest Chelsea scorer in the Champions League.Lampard said, “Reece is a fantastic young player. He gives what you saw, and he will get much better because he’s 19.”I felt we needed to change to ge, how can we make these spaces more welcoming for women?

These spaces will become more accommodating for women when building codes and legislation improve, but groups are still pushing to improve the facilities at existing arenas. The American Restroom Association has worked to create more family restrooms in public spaces such as arenas, which can be used when children or people with disabilities need assistance. They have also been used as gender-neutral bathrooms.

Many argue that a gender-neutral bathroom system could alleviate unequal wait times. In such a system, “the next available toilet would go to the next available person,” Brubaker said. “It wouldn’t matter what their gender is.”

And that’s what we should strive for: to have equal and shorter wait times for all. Because we all have to use the bathroom, but nobody wants to miss a goal.

Woeful Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions in Jets loss to Chiefs

content_img

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not known for his accuracy and he excelled himself against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, throwing six interceptions as the New York Jets lost 24-3 to the .

Fitzpatrick was coming off a good game against the Buffalo Bills, in which he threw for two touchdowns and 374 yards. But against the Chiefs completed telli could’ve been a worldbeater.Eto’o was still with Inter as Balotelli, now with Brescia, was breaking through as a teenager.He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Mario loves me like a little brother, but he never showed even 10% of his qualities.”The Majust 20 of his 44 attempts and was picked off six times. He does, at least, find himself in good company: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Joe Namath (three times) .

Elsewhere, Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a tore leading the race to sign Lemar.Lemar, 24, has been a long-term target of the Gunners after a bid while he was at Monaco in 2017.He joined Atletico a year later in a £60m deal but has failed to live up to expectations since moving to the Spanish cuchdown before suffering a left knee injury as the rolled to a 37-18 rout of the .

Wilson was injured with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter getting pulled down awkwardly on a sack by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. Harold was called for a horse collar penalty, but the bigger concern was how he fell on Wilson’s left leg.

Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments before walking off. Wilson missed the first play of his career due to injury, but returned to throw one more pass. The completion led to the third of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals for a 27-3 lead and after that Wilson’s day was done.

Wilson had a brace placed on his left knee, and he never saw the field again, giving the fio land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seasonal 1 ½ quarters of the blowout to rookie Trevone Boykin.

Wilson finished 15 of 23 passing, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham. Boykin also threw the first TD pass of his career, hitting Doug Baldwin on a 16-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin had eight catches for a career-high 164 yards.

It was a big day for Seattle’s offense that slogged through the first two weeks, in the first 120 minutes of the season. The Seahawks nearly matched that total in the first 11 minutes of the game thanks to the first two touchdowns of Christine Michael’s career.

Getting the start with Thomas Rawls out because of a shin injury, Michael had TD runs of 41 and 4 yards on Seattle’s first two drives. Michael rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries, the second 100-yard game of his career.

Carlos Hyde two TD runs in the fourth quarter for San Francisco, but the 49ers had just five first downs entering the fourth quarter and missed on their first 10 third-down attempts. of 12 straight games with a touchdown pass ended as he was 14 of 25 for 119 yards and an interception.

In Philadelphia, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, a fierce defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and the Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 to remain unbeaten.

The rookie No2 overall pick connected with Darren Sproles on a and tossed a to Jordan Matthews.

After beating the Browns (0-3) and Bears (0-2) in the first two games, the Eagles (3-0) proved they could compete with the big boys. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points the first two weeks and are considered Super Bowl contenders.

Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. But Wentz is no ordinary rookie.

Everyone is jumping on the Wentz wagon in Philadelphia. And he was the No3 quarterback until Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota just eight days before the season opener.

Sproles finished with six catches for 128 yards and Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood each had their first career rushing TDs.

Roethlisberger had 257 yards passing, one interception and no TDs after tossing six in the first two games. Brown caught 12 passes for 140 yards, most of which after the outcome was decided.

Trailblazing NFL coach Dennis Green was far more than just a soundbite

content_img

For many football fans, Dennis Green will be remembered for one thing. His when his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football is probably one of the 10 best coach blow-ups of all time. Most mentions of his name are quickly followed by the refrain: “The Bears are what we thought they were.”

riticising the players during their El Clasico defeat at Real Madrid.Quique Setien’s No2 is well known for his passionate style of management.Sarabia’s reactions on the bench throughout the match were caught by Movistar’s cameras.”He is doing nothing

But to recall Green, who , as a caricature from a video clip is unfair. He was far more than a guy who got mad after a nationally televised loss in a football game. He was an essential coach at an important time for the NFL. He made o has opened the door to a future move to Real Madrid.He was at the FIFA’s Best ceremony on Monday evening in Milan after being nominated for the Best FIFA Men’s coach award.It has been a poorly kept secret that Pochettino would be interested in a reone of the most cherished and lucrative destination jobs in professional sports – NFL head coach – a possibility for many African-American men who never thought such a chance was real.

Only two black men had ever coached an NFL team when the hired Green in 1992. One of those men, Fritz Pollard, was a player-coach in the 1920s. The other was Art Shell, who was hired by the Raiders in 1989. Unlike Shell, who lasted six seasons, Green became an institution in Minnesota, coaching there for a decade. He turned the Vikings into consistent winners, going to the playoffs in eight of those 10 seasons.

In January 1999, he narrowly missed becoming the first African-American coach to take a team to the Super Bowl when Vikings kicker Gary Anderson, who hadn’t missed a kick in two years, that would have sealed the NFC championship game. Two years later, his Vikings lost another conference title game, this time in New York.

He won’t be remembered as the most successful black coach. Both Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin hargen Klopp admits winning the Club World Cup will mean much more to opponents Flamengo and Brazilian football fans than those in England.The German believes that Flamengo will be “treated as heroes” and enjoy ‘a proper party’ if they lift the trophy,ve won Super Bowls. But Green went 113-94 in his career, his record undercut by three years as coach of the then-moribund Cardinals. He won four NFC Central titles at a time when many owners and general managers were hesitant to hire black coaches. He may not have gone to that elusive Super Bowl as a head coach but he made it easier for men like Dungy, Tomlin, Jim Caldwell and Hue Jackson to be hired.

The NFL is a better place because of Dennis Green.

Part of his success was that he embraced 49ers coach Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense, working with Walsh as an assistant after a failed run as head coach at Northwestern. For three years he was Jerry Rice’s position coach, taking the lessons of his work with Rice to Stanford where he was head coach for three seasons and then the Vikings where he managed Cris Carter and Randy Moss, helping turn both into NFL stars.

Instead, most people will think of Green and remember him shouting about the Bears. That was in the last season at Arizona, when the Cardinals’ dysfunction was in bloom. Hopefully he will be remembered for more than a video clip. He was a very good head coach at a time when football needed him to be one.

A brief guide to … the complex rivalries of Midlands football

content_img

With the Guardian’s unstoppable rise to global dominance** we at Guardian US thought we’d run a series of articles for fans wishing to improve their knowledge of the sports history and storylines, hopefully in a way that doesn’t patronise you to within an inch of your life. A warning: If you’re the kind of person that finds The Blizzard too populist this may not be the series for you.

** Actual dominance may not be global. Or dominant

Like the Oscar Peterson Trio, we get requests. And here’s reader Grant Tennille of North Carolina with another cutting-edge musical reference sure to go down a storm with the pop pickers of the internet age. “It would be fun to read about the Midlands, and all the rivalries within. I mean, everyone in the USA knows Robert Plant is a massive Wolves fan, but beyond that …”

Let’s start by splitting the region down the middle. To make it simple, we’re dividing the Midlands into two halves, based on the UK government’s . So we know Stoke isn’t really in the West Midlands but just for today we’ll go with .

The big clubs in the East Midlands are two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest, 1970s league sensations Derby County, and current Premier League leaders Leicester City. Also in the region: Notts County, the oldest professional club in the world and the team whose black-and-white-striped shirts inspired Juventus; Chesterfield, as a third-tier team, had there been goal-line technology back then; Northampton Town, who in the 1960s went from the lowest to highest divisions of the time, Fourth to First, and all the way back down again; and Mansfield Town, who don’t care for nearby Chesterfield much but keep themselves to themselves.

Nottingham Forest’s biggest rivalry should by rights be with Notts County, situated a stone’s throw away in the city, across the River Trent. But the pair rarely play in the same division, so most of the opprobrium is saved for . Forest and Derby contest the East Midlands derby (and yes, calling it the Derby derby would just confuse things unnecessarily).

Their rivalry today is mainly shaped by , who managed Derby to the 1972 league title and the semi-finals of the European Cup the following season. It was all going swimmingly until Clough had an argument with chairman Sam Longson over the keys to the office booze cabinet – , but not much more – and resigned. After unsuccessful but fabled sabbaticals at Brighton , Clough rocked up at Forest, leading the team to promotion, the league title, and two European Cups. Clough won a couple of League Cups at the tail end of the 80s with Forest, and retired in 1993. Forest haven’t won a major trophy since he left, though Derby landed the 74-75 league title under Dave Mackay (who made more changes to Clough’s team than he was ever given credit for by the neutral, ).

The pair did contest the 1898 FA Cup final, though. Derby were the hot favourites, having got to the showpiece at Crystal Palace after beating a pair of Midlands rivals – holders Aston Villa and – plus the Merseyside duo of Liverpool and Everton. Forest, on the othue semi-finalists are paying 15.7 million euros for Promes, significantly less than the 20.8 million euros that Sevilla paid Spartak Moscow for the winger last summer.However, with variables, the transfer could reach up to 17.2 million euros plus a per hand, had been the beneficiaries of a fortunate draw, West Bromwich Albion their only top-flight opposition en route to the final. Derby also had the double over Forest in the league, winning 4-3 away and thumping the not-so-Tricky-Trees 5-0 at the Baseball Ground on the Monday before the final. Sure enough, Forest ran out easy 3-1 winners and lifted their first FA Cup.

scored Derby’s consolation that day, though otherwise failed to make much of an impression. He’s the second greatest goalscorer of all time in the English top flight, his 317 goals only bettered by the 357 scored by Jimmy Greaves. But he won nothing. Derby made the final again the following year, but Bloomer missed a golden chance with the Rams a goal to the good against Sheffield United, and his team ended up losing 4-1. County made a third final in 1903, but Bloomer was injured and missed that one, which was lost 6-0 to Bury, still an FA Cup final record. There were suggestions that Derby had been jinxed by some travelling types who had been turfed off the land required to build their new Baseball Ground stadium ( of another Midlands team, Birmingham City), but good luck proving that.

Anyway, we’ve gone well off piste here. Forest aren’t wholly enamoured with Leicester either, and vice versa. That state of affairs that may or may not have its historical roots in Forest’s 12-0 win over Leicester in 1909, which remains the Foxes’ darkest day, but can be explained away by the whole team being still half-cut after a player’s wedding the night before. Leicester also keep a pot on a rolling boil for Derby, and they’ve had the better of that rivalry in recent(ish) years: four goals in the first 15 minutes of a 4-0 win the Premier League back in 1998, future Liverpool striker Emile Heskey the star man there, and a 2-1 win the First Division promotion play-off final of 1994, club legend Steve Walsh the two-goal hero.

Time to go west, but before we leave, anyone interested in Northampton Town’s Swinging Sixties – a story which features the captain of the 1958 Wales World Cup team, Barcelona, victories over West Ham’s future World Cup winners and, more importantly, local rivals Aston Villa – should read .

The West Midlands, then. A larger selection of big names here. The behemoth, whether rival fans like it or not, and regardless of how they’re doing right now, is Aston Villa. Also from the Premier League: Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion. Big clubs labouring in the Championship now: Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. And other league concerns: Coventry City, the winners of the 1987 FA Cup and scorers of ; Walsall, whose 2-0 FA Cup win over the famous Arsenal in 1933 is still considered by many to be the greatest shock in the competition’s long history; Shrewsbury Town, (another for Grant Tennile there); Port Vale, Stoke’s lower-league city rivals; and Burton Albion, who held Manchester United to a goalless draw in the 2006 FA Cup while a non-league team.

We could draw a map of all the inter-club rivalries, but it’d make look like Route 66. Space and time constricts ently Manchester United striker James Wilson.The on-loan forward has spent this season at Pittodrie and is set to become a free agent.The Aberdeen-transfer-news-James-Wilson-Man-Utd” target=”_blank”>Daily Express says Derek McInnes wants to land the us to the bigger rivalries. We start in England’s second city, and the pretty intense brouhaha between the generally more blue collar Birmingham City and Aston Villa, who draw some of their support from well to do areas of the city such as Sutton Coldfield. Villa, the bigger club (sorry Blues), have registered more wins in the Second City derby. But on the other hand, Birmingham have a few trophies to show for it. They beat Villa in the final of the 1963 League Cup to win their first ever major trophy, Ken Leek their two-goal hero in a 3-1 aggregate win over two legs. Then in December 2010, Nikola Zigic scored late at St Andrews to beat Villa in the League Cup quarter finals; they went on to win .

This one’s got pretty nasty of late, though. Ask most folk of the first thing they think about when the Second City derby is mentioned, and it’ll be September 2002, the first game between the two sides for 15 years, Villa defender Olaf Mellberg throwing the ball back to keeper Peter Enckelman, the hapless netminder letting it roll into the net. Bedlam. Enckelman then had to deal with a Blues fan running onto the pitch and getting right up in his grille. You couldn’t have blamed Enckelman if he’d have battered the fan – professional sports stars tend to be a bit handier than oafs full of ale and pie – but the keeper retained a quiet dignity in the face of extreme provocation. OK, dignity is probably the wrong word, but you get the point. He didn’t retaliate, and .

Enckelman went on to play well for the next six months, restoring his reputation, only to make a perhaps worse blunder when Villa faced Birmingham again, bottling out of a headed backpass and allowing Geoff Horsfield to round him and roll the ball into an empty net. Sssh, nobody mention E, the man’s suffered enough.

Over to , up the road from Birmingham. Historically, their animosity was saved for Villa, this one going back a long way. The two teams contested the 1887, 1892 and 1895 FA Cup finals. West Brom were hot favourites for the first, but were defeated 2-0, losing the place completely after Dennis Hodgetts scored an unchallenged opener from an offside position. Having expected the referee to stop play before Hodgetts netted, or at least rule the goal out, the Baggies threw a three-minute tantrum. The referee didn’t budge. They never budge.

Five years later it was Villa’s turn as hot favourites. Sure enough, the result again went the other way, West Brom battering their Midlands rivals 3-0. John Reynolds was man of the match, and was absurdly accused by his own board of only putting in a shift at the big events, in the hope of getting a transfer. Reynolds, understandably piqued, left in high dudgeon. No guesses who he signed for: yep, Villa. Also plumping for the “bugger this” option was Villa keeper Jimmy Warner, who left England for good after being accused of throwing the Cup final on purpose, having bet heavily on West Brom.

Another three years on, and the 1895 final was decided in the first minute, the ball pinballing around the Albion area and clanking off a surprised John Devey. Reynolds was in the Villa winning side, a fact presumably noted by the Baggies board. Villa then proudly put the FA Cup on display in the window of local cobbler William Shillock, only for it , melted down for coins.

West Brom also enjoy locking horns with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and this rivalry – the Black Country derby – has probably superseded the Baggies-Villa one, simply because the teams, having both spent plenty of time out of the top flight during the last few decamp; Star reports that Podence is the main target for the Premier League side in the remaining days of the transfer window.The 24-year-old striker is much sought after, and he is preferred to Nelson Oliviera, who is another Wolves target.Wolves are hades, meet more often.

But despite it being primarily a lower-division phenomenon, the signature season came back in 1953-54. West Brom were under the yoke of Vic Buckingham, a coach heavily influenced by the famous Hungary team that thrashed England 6-3 and 7-1 and should have won the 1954 World Cup. Buckingham would go on to coach Ajax and Barcelona, but right now he was going for the English league title, and his West Brom team came within a hair’s breadth of becoming the 20th-century’s first league and FA Cup double winners. West Brom were a pretty pass-and-move team. Ronnie Allen and Johnny Nicholls had scored 55 goals between them by March, and the title looked on. But injuries scuppered their chances, they crumbled on the run-in, and were pipped at the post by a more tactically prosaic side: Wolves. West Brom did win the cup that year, at least, while Wolves went on to dominate the rest of the decade along with Manchester United.

So there you have it. Or at least some of it. Villa and Coventry don’t get on. Birmingham dislike Wolves, Stoke don’t have much time for Wolves or West Brom, Birmingham and West Brom don’t mind each other too much, Walsall get a few too many patronising pats on the head for their own liking, and everyone has it in for poor old Villa – something not helped in modern times by the fact that ever popular PM David Cameron is among their fans (). Yes, we’ve only just scratched the surface here.

A special Thanksgiving hat-tip to Matthew Lutz, , for his help with this article.And if you have any topics you’d like covered for future Field Notes, jot a note to

Our favourite things online this week: from Wimbledon views to slam dunks

content_img

Forrest Allen, one of the foremost basketball coaches in the early 20th century, was no fan of the slam dunk. He set out his case for raising the hoop an extra two feet off the ground in an article entitled “Dunking Isn’t Basketball” for Country Gentleman magazine in 1935. “Those tall fellows were leaping at the 10-foot baskets and were literally ‘dunking’ the ball into the hoop, just as a doughnut is inelegantly dipped into the morning coffee,” he wrote, with an air of haughty despair. “And I say that is not basketball. My conception of the game is that goals should be shot and not dunked.”

Allen is not alone i Di Francesco has left Sampdoria.A Samp statement confirmed they and Di Francesco had severed their ties by mutual consent.The former Roma boss only moved to Marassi over the summer, but six defeats and only one win from seven Serie A games have leftn opposing the slam dunk. Over the past century, various new rules have been proposed to end the practice: no backboard, a convex backboard, a smaller basket, a bigger ball, a smaller ball, a height limit, a one-point zone near the basket, a no-scoring zone near the basket, and a height cap that would limit a team to an aggregate of 30 feet for its five players. has detailed the history of the anti-dunk brigade in this article for the increasingly essential .

Long live the slam dunk.

Sports photographers usually have a clear view of the action. They do not have to wrestle with jubilant fans, peer around pillars or steady their cameras while dodging beer spilled by the boisterous drunkards sitting behind them.

Kieran Doherty, who won for his series , eschewed the advantages that come with being a professional photographer when he went to Wimbledon last summer. He turned up for the championship with nothing more than a camera and a ground pass.

With no chance of capturing close-ups of grunting players, he had to wander around the outside courts and seek out angles usually missed by the press pack. Doherty saw the championship from the vantage point of the everyman but with the eye of a grand master. It’s not hard to see why these original, ingenious photos took the top prize.

You might want to sign ’ petition about the Premier League paying their staff the living wage. He has a point:

Jay Beatty has won the Scottish Premiership’s Goal of the Month award, which is quite an achievement given that he is only 11 years old and his goal came from the penalty spot during the half-time interval.

“Wee Jay” is no stranger to the limelight. The young Celtic fan, who has Down’s syndrome, was plucked from the crowd by Georgios Samaras last May as the players and fans celebrated winning the league. His star has been on the rise ever since. Samaras invited the Beatty family to watch Greece at the World Cup but they had to turn down his offer to go on their family holiday.

Jay is a busy boy. He travelled to Spain to pick up a special award from El Mundo Deportivo earlier this month. When the Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, offered him the chance to walk out on the turf at the Camp Nou and meet the players, Jay had to decline politely. Celtic were playing Partick Thistle that night and he wanted to fly back home in time to watch the match on TV. That’s loyalty.

What makes winners win? A sheer, unadulterated, bloody-minded obsession with victory, argues in this piece for :

has been a prg Christan Eriksen.The Danish international has failed to sign a new contract at Spurs, meaning he will be out of contract next summer.Real Madrid and Manchester United have been linked with the attacking midfielder.Pochettino said: “I hope he will [ofessional photographer for over 40 years. He has seen a few things in his time, as discovered when he interviewed him for . Here is Leech’s advice to aspiring photographers:

Choose a 3pm kick-off on a Saturday. Choose Enfield Town v Leiston.

The best young female pole vaulters in the US are identical twins. The 18-year-olds, Lexi and Tori Weeks, who spoke to of the , say they improve each other, would be lost if they were parted and dream of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics together. Good luck to them.

When between Ebbsfleet United and Bromley FC spilled on to the streets, local residents had their cars and property damaged to the cost of £1,000. The , but in the meantime, the people who run the website have set up to help raise some funds for the local people who were affected by the vandalism.

Mike Bandry, who is trying to raise £1,000 in the next three weeks, believes that “non-league football is a community” and that supporters should club together to help the innocent people affected: “What better way for our community to club together and restore the faith of local residents who have been affected by the vandalism. Mindless acts of individual and group stupidity will ultimately end up hitting the pockets of innocent bystanders, let’s give them a hand.” Any fn be pleased with the way they’ve finished the season.Azpilicueta, who has captained the side on the pitch, reflected on a chequered campaign.”Obviously in this season we have had up and downs, we have arrived in the final of the Carabao Cup and lostunds left over will be passed on to a charity of Ebbsfleet United’s choice, so give generously.

er United defender Chris Smalling.Smalling’s perma

content_img

outfielder mad a bit of history with teammate Troy Tulowitzki Wednesday against the Reds. Gonzalez hit three home runs and Tulowitzki added five hits and two home runs, the first time in major league history a pair of teammates has combined for those numbers in a game.

Gonzalez went 3 for 5 with three RBI and three runs scored in the game, his second career three-homer game. The Rockies won the game easaser Forster to leave on-loan for Celtic.Forster joined Celtimits he loved his time with Hamburg.So much so, that he admits he never wanted to leave the German giants.”Actually, I never wanted to leave Hamburg because I felt very good there,” he recalled to Spox. “That’s why the exit hurt so much.”Son left forc for the season in the summer and played out of his skin to ensure the Hoops beat Rangers in last weekend’s Scottish Cup final. Hasenhuttl said: “First, I am very happy that after a longily, 12-4. 

Gonzalez is now hitting .313 with 17 home runs, a mark that puts him second in the National League.  

More News 03/13/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/10/2020 • by RotoWire Staff drid ace Saul Niguez admits he grew up basing his game on Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.Saul also says it was dream come true when Fernando Torres returned to the club.He said, “With Torres at Atleti I started to love Gerrard and I thought I wanted 02/11/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 01/28/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 07/03/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/29/2019 • by RotoWire Staff

ng to identify the players being pursued.The Gunne

content_img

right fielder was out of Thursday’s starting lineup in the series finale against the Mets. Manager Joe Girardi was exercising caution with his use of Ichiro.

“He’s been getting some hits for us, but it’s just more preventative in the sense, making sure everyone stays strong here,” Girapton.Pellegrini praised Michail Antonio and matchwinner Sebastien Haller, who combined dangerously together to threaten the Saints throughout as the Chilean switched to a 4-4-2 formation at St Mary’s.The manager said: “Both of them worked very well ardi told .com. “Boesch swung the bat well [Wednesday] night. But I worry about — these guys are 38 and 39, some of these guys — running them out there every day.”

Ichiro is hitting .251/.288/.341 in 167 at-bats.

More News 03/21/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/20/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/19/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/18/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 02/22/2019 • by RotoWire Staff Arsenal to face PSG, as Glasgow take on Wolfsburg in the Women’s Champions League.Arsenal v Paris St-GermainGlasgow City v WolfsburgAtletico Madrid v BarcelonaLyon v Bayern MunichSemi-final drawArsenal/Paris St-Germain v Lyon/Bayern MunichGlasgow City/Wolfsburg v Atletico Madrid/Barcelona 02/21/2019 ster United remain in the hunt for West Ham defender Issa Diop.L’Equipe says United are yet to formalise an offer, but they are due to make a bid in the coming days.West Ham are against the transfer but haven’t fully shut the door on the possibility • by RotoWire Staff

C Dunajská Streda.Although yet to make a first-te

content_img

starter came off the disabled list and pitched a season-high seven innings Tuesday at home against the Yankees. Gonzalez helped save the beleaguered Orioles bullpen with his outing as he was coming back from a blister on his pitching hand. While Gonzalez settled for a no-decision as he left the game tied at two runs apiece, he still kept Baltimore in the game through seven in his first start since May 3 at Anaheim. Gonzalez allowed two earned runs on just five hits and no walks over seven innings and 92 pitches. He struck out five. The Baltimore 28-year-old starter, who went 9-4 and was one of the team’s most consistent starters down the stretch last year, is 2-2 on the year with a decent 4.25 ERA. He’s scheduled to make his next start Sunday at Toronto.

More News 07/12/2018 • by RotoWire Staff ail.Mandzukic joins the Qataris as a free agent after terminating his Juve contract last week.“I am preparing for the beginning of a new chapter in my football career with one of the biggest clubs in Asia,” Mandzukic told the Al-Duhail website.“I 06/30/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/29/2018 his Everton players after Sunday’s 3-2 win over Wolves.Roman Saiss equalised for Wolves shortly after Richarlison’s opening goal on the 5th minute mark.Alex Iwobi then scored his second goal for the club to make it 2-1 within 12 minutes of action.Wol • by RotoWire Staff The centre-back has knee ligament damage, which will keep him out for most of the current season.He saw a specialist in London this week and went onto social media to give fans the bad news.”Unfortunately I have to take a break for a few months from 06/25/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/24/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 06/23/2018 • by RotoWire Staff

nd.The Mirror says the £75million striker was on

content_img

pitcher (4-3) allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits over five uneasy innings during a 7-6 loss to Cleveland on Saturday nxis Sanchez wants to leave Manchester United.The Sun claims Sanchez is “desperate” to leave after falling down the ranks at Old Trafford this season.Alexis will return to Carrington early from holiday in order to get himself fit enough for a move awaight. He struck out seven batters and walked five — the first time since Aug. 17, 2010 against the Yankees that he has issued five walks.

With temperatures hovering around the mid-50s, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner uncharacteristically labored and needed 110 pitches (69 strikes) to complete his outing, which matched his shortest of the season. His ERA stands at 1.93.

“My fastball control just wasn’t good at all,” Verlander said. “I was trying to get ahead with the fastball and then throw off-speed stuff, hoping I could grind out six innings, but I didn’t even do that.”

Verlander will attempt to secure his fifth win durhis lack of playing time, Rakitic has been linked with a move away from Barcelona in recent transfer windows.”I have nothing to say about who said what,” he said.”The most important question for me is if I can play at Barcelona. If I can play, I’m suing his next scheduled start Thursday at Texas. He is 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA over four starts on the road this season.

More News 15D ago • by RotoWire Staff 30D ago • by RotoWire Staff 03/30/2020 • by RotoWire Staff t deserve defeat to Barcelona.A Lionel Messi penalty separated the two teams.”It’s an 11 that competed very well against Barcelona,” Imanol said.”We came into [the game] after a big effort [against Mirandes in the Copa] and we only had a few days [in 03/17/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/09/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 03/09/2020 • by RotoWire Staff

ver their midfield signing plans.AS says Zidane is

content_img

starting pitcher prospect has been outstanding since getting rocked in his season debut for Double-A Harrisburg. After allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in a loss in his first start April 8, Karns has allowed three earned runs in his last four starts (2-0), lowering his ERA from 17.18 to 3.25.

Karns also had 13 strikeouts in a win April 20 and has 32 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. He also hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts after giving up two in his first outing. Karns is considered the Nationals’ by .com.

More News 08/07/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 07/27/2019 • by RotoWire Stack Allan Saint-Maximin.The 22 year-old has come off a difficult season under Patrick Vieira at Nice – and has been ignored by France coach Didier Deschamps this week.However, his reputation remains intact across Europe.While Milan are keen, Nice-Mataff 07/20/2019 kman.The Independent says Southampton are targeting a £20million summer move for Lookman.The 21-year-old worked with Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl while on loan at RB Leipzig in 2018 and has struggled to make any impact at Everton since returning to • by RotoWire Staff 07/13/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 07/12/2019 • by RotoWire Staff saw Atletico Madrid secure a 1-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday night. It couldn’t have been a better start for the hosts, who were rewarded for their early high intensity with a goal from Saul Niguez.From there it was quintessential stuff from Diego 07/02/2019 • by RotoWire Staff

ach Claude Puel.The former Leicester City and Sout

content_img

third baseman homered as part of a 2 for 4 day in Wednesday’s win over Milwaukee. Alvarez scord a run and hit in two runs on the day. He’s startine close to sealing a deal for Spanish wonderkid Mateo Meija.The Red Devils are hoping to sign Mejia from Real Zaragoza for £600,000, per The Sun.The 16-year-old will pick U United have recalled Kell Watts from his loan with Stevenage Borough.The 20-year-old, who signed a three-year contract with Newcastle earlier this season, had joined the League Two outfit at the start of the 2019/20 campaign on a season-long loan annited over other teams in the Premier League and La Liga that were interestedg to rebound from a dreadful start; his .610 OPS is still ugly but it’s a far sight better than his .247 mark from two weeks ago.

More News 05/06/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 03/24/2019 • by RotoWire Staff and have a decent record behind you, you wait. You just never know what’s around the corner.A month ago, if he’d had his way, Adrian wouldn’t be a European title winner today. He wouldn’t have made his debut for the European champions on Friday night 03/17/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 12/03/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 10/25/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/24/2018 • by RotoWire Staff

to Premier League clubs for FREE this summer.Bale

content_img

pitching coach Don Cooper said starting pitcher , who continues to rehab from shoulder surgery, more like former Chicago starter Mark Buehrle, according to ESPN.

“He has to be economical, he has to pitch and change speeds,” Cooper said. “Pitching is using command and changing speeds. John has a good changeup but we are going to have to tighten things up. Right now he is still climbing so it is about pitching, hitting locations, changing speeds. We have had guys that could do that at 95 mph. We had Buehrle that did it at 83 mph.” 

Danks is in Chicago being reevaluated. He’s expected to make one more outing in extended spring training before beginning a rehab assignment.

“It doesn’t matter what (speed) you throw, you still have to pitch,” Cooper said. “When John was in his heyday throwing 95-96 (mph), he still wasn’t good enough to say ‘Here is my fastball, I am going to blow it by you.’ He was pitching but I think he needs a little bit more pitch-ability in case his stuff doesn’t come back to the way it was.”

More News 03/20/2017 • by RotoWire Staff six-year battle with motor neurone disease, the Ibrox club have confirmed.The Dutch international had been battling the conditiofor their summer work to be wrapped up early.But the Everton manager admits the priority is to land all of the club’s remaining transfer targets before the August 8 deadline. “Really I would like to have our full squad before the end of July, at len since 2013.Ricksen was a fans’ favourite during his six-year spell at Rangers after being signed by Dick Advocaat in 20 12/13/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 05/03/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 04/29/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 04/29/2016 • by RotoWire Staff rt says the free transfer of the Spanish midfielder will be announced at the beginning of next week.The Ligue 1 champions will also announce the signing of fellow- Spaniard Pablo Sarabia from Sevilla for €20million at the same time.Herrera’s Old Tr 04/25/2016 • by RotoWire Staff