Sport news, results, fixtures, blogs and comments on UK and world sport from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
Autobiography tells of the primitive environment he had to contend with playing for Crystal Palace and Portsmouth in the 70s and 80s
Vince Hilaire is sitting in the conservatory of a trendy seafront restaurant in Old Portsmouth, a pristine copy of his autobiography close to hand and evocative accounts of a bygone era on tap. He talks up Terry Venables and Crystal Palace’s Team of the 80s and creases into fits of giggles with tales of Alan Ball and his pack of “mongrels” who restored Pompey to the top flight.
There are grimmer memories of the racism to which he was subjected as one of a number of homegrown black forwards who illuminated the English game from the late 1970s, and the depression which has hounded him from shifts on a building site to life as a roofer since his playing days. But the sparkle which made Hilaire stand out remains undimmed.
• Police deny involvement in decision to call off Sunday’s game • Cardiff’s manager, Neil Warnock, calls postponement ‘scandalous’
Cardiff City remain unhappy with Derby County’s postponement of Sunday’s Championship game at Pride Park, with police claiming they were not involved in the final decision.
The English Football League (EFL) has contacted both clubs for their observations on the decision, which Derbyshire Police have said was taken “independently” by the club because of the poor weather and concerns over the safety of fans travelling to the ground.
• France coach says midfielder has plenty to offer • Pogba has been left on the bench by Jos? Mourinho
The France coach, Didier Deschamps, says Paul Pogba “cannot be happy” with his treatment at Manchester United.
Pogba, who has been called up by Deschamps for France’s forthcoming friendlies against Colombia and Russia, has missed a number of pivotal games for United in recent weeks after a largely underwhelming season at Old Trafford.
Limiting the danger to suit changing attitudes and modern sensibilities is fine as long as the measures taken do not devalue a sport so profoundly that its meaning disappears
As grand prix drivers go, Tony Brooks was one of the best produced by Britain. He was also among the bravest of the brave, at a time when the sport was at its most dangerous and he could expect to lose friends and rivals almost every week.
When his BRM overturned and burst into flames after hitting a bank at full speed at Silverstone in 1956, he was fortunate to be thrown out of the cockpit and escape with nothing worse than a broken jaw. A year later he was lying trapped under his Aston Martin at Le Mans when a glancing blow from a passing Porsche allowed him to wriggle free, at the cost of severe cuts and bruises. Undeterred, he went on to win world championship grands prix at the world’s fastest road circuits – Spa, Monza and Reims – against drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss.
The 22-year-old is in no hurry to leave Manchester United despite public criticism by the manager, whose history does not guarantee he will be in the post for all of next season
Jos? Mourinho’s handling of Luke Shaw is a head-scratcher even for seasoned watchers of the Manchester United manager.
Shaw should not be immune from criticism, as no footballer is. The point is that Mourinho, as a manager trying to get the best from players for the benefit of the side, can be over the top and counterproductive with his public assessments of the 22-year-old.
The ?35m forward looks one of the best buys in years now he is being given a proper run after his Chelsea false start
To err is human, to forgive divine. As a coda to this: to err massively and hilariously is also human, as anyone who writes about sport can confirm. It is a common experience to find oneself wincing a little at the way things turn out in the real world, even when the way things turn out is also a source of pure sporting pleasure.
All of which is a prelude to a mea culpa. Yes: I was a Salah doubter. Or at least a nonplussed observer. My Guardian pre-season Premier League preview from last August contained the following dismissive summary of J?rgen Klopp’s transfer business: “Liverpool have bought a good left-back and spent an awful lot of money on Mohamed Salah.” Let’s just read that back. An awful. Lot of. Money. Mo Salah for ?35m. Lol. Laughing weeping face emoji. Do I get paid for this stuff?
‘Not since Muhammad Ali has a fighter been this socially active,’ says the manager of the California-born fighter who is the new WBC light-welterweight champion
Donald Trump says he likes a good fight. And, although the Fat Controller would cut a comical figure in boxing shorts, he briefly was a dynamic promoter in the 80s and 90s at his casinos in Atlantic City before serial bankruptcies forced him to quit the Jersey boardwalk – and the fight game.
Nevertheless, although he ended up president of the United States, it is unlikely Trump will ever get a ringside invitation to watch his country’s latest boxing hero, the Californian-born Jos? Carlos Ram?rez.
• Achilles injury rules Bath player out of South Africa tour • Watson hurt during Six Nations defeat against Ireland
England’s woes were compounded on Monday night with confirmation that Anthony Watson has sustained a torn achilles and faces around six months out of action.
Eddie Jones revealed after the defeat by Ireland on Saturday that he was prepared to rest some of his British & Irish Lions contingent against South Africa in the summer despite three consecutive defeats but Watson’s enforced absence is still a considerable blow, depriving England of one of their most potent attacking weapons.
• Praise for track’s presentation and no wish to apportion blame • ‘Nobody there wants to see horses die,’ says Muir
Cheltenham racecourse has received an early boost from the RSPCA as work begins on a review into the six equine fatalities that occurred during the Festival last week. David Muir, who has long served as racing consultant to the animal welfare organisation, praised the way the track was prepared and presented and said he was not seeking to apportion blame for the deaths of racehorses.
“I don’t think we should be blaming Cheltenham racecourse itself because I think Simon Claisse [its clerk of the course] puts everything he knows into getting that course right for the horses,” Muir said. “In the past, everybody seems to be looking for blame. I don’t think that’s what it’s about. That’s not my game in any way. Nobody there wants to see horses die.”
While Ireland were completing the grand slam, events at a World Cup qualifier show that not all is well within the game
On an RER train in Paris the other day an England supporter was discussing the impromptu competition he and his friends had been having. Having swiftly encountered the eye-watering bar prices in the French capital, the visiting group set themselves the challenge of locating the city’s most ridiculously expensive beer. The contest was finally abandoned after our new mate was charged €15 for a gaseous pint of Carlsberg.
Professional rugby union sometimes feels like a similarly bizarre game of chicken. Few other team sports in the world are so simultaneously life-enriching and intrinsically unstable. The immediate aftermath of the ever?lucrative Six Nations Championship is not the worst time to contemplate this split personality: even the widespread joy at Ireland’s uplifting grand slam cannot obscure some uneasy developments elsewhere which the game as a whole can ill afford to ignore.
• Bowler one short of 400 Test wickets before series in New Zealand • Self-tuition helps the 31-year-old solve problems with action
Stuart Broad believes his England Test career is set for another trademark surge of wickets after a back-to-basics spell of self-tuition to solve problems with his bowling action.
Broad heads into the day-night series opener against New Zealand in Auckland, starting on Thursday, one short of 400 Test wickets but after a year in which his scalps came at 36 runs apiece and an Ashes series of minimal impact.
Class action from retirees will force the AFL to adjust its concussion management policy
Adelaide’s last chance to make consecutive AFLW grand finals took a serious hit on Sunday when their co-captain Chelsea Randall received a knock to her head, and was taken from the ground. Minutes later, as Collingwood goaled to put themselves in a match-winning lead, Randall had to be held back by officials on the interchange bench, such was her determination to return to the field to rescue her team’s season. Try as she might, Randall could not return because the AFL’s concussion policy was in play – she was done for the day, and yet again, a player’s match time was cut short by concussion.
As the clock ticks toward round one of the men’s competition, the ongoing spectre of head injuries and concussion management looms over the AFL community, spurred on by last month’s revelations that St Kilda champion and Indigenous rights icon Nicky Winmar is reportedly suffering structural and functional brain damage.
As you will obviously already know, Franz Smuda is manager of Widzew Lodz in the Polish third tier. He’s doing very nicely too, taking the side famous for pulling Manchester United’s pants down all those years ago to the top of the league, and looking good for promotion. This is Smuda’s fifth spell in charge at the club, the siren call once again guiding him home last year, drawn back again and again to the team he first managed in 1995.
Atl?tico’s loss at Villarreal means Bar?a are set to win a league in which the same faces have sat in the same places for some time
And so it ends? If, that is, it hadn’t already – and if it ever really started. “I feel like I lost it,” Diego Simeone said. It was Sunday evening on the east coast and he meant the game, but in all probability it was the title too. Defeated 2-1 by Villarreal, at the final whistle Atl?tico Madrid’s manager gazed at nothing in particular, an empty look on his face as all around him people celebrated. An old man enthusiastically shook the hand of the man next to him, a solitary square of yellow confetti settled on his tweed hat, while Simeone’s team trudged past towards the tunnel. Vitolo had led the way seconds before, sent off for the first time, and now they followed, knowing that, barring a miracle, the league had just come to a close at the Ceramic Stadium, two months early.
“Is it over?” Simeone was asked afterwards, to which he said something about winning lots of games and seeing where they are with five weeks to go. But with nine weeks left, Atl?tico are probably too far off and he could have been forgiven for offering a shorter, simpler answer: “Probably.” On Sunday afternoon, Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 and that, plus Atl?tico’s defeat, leaves Simeone’s side 11 points and head-to-head goal difference behind the leaders. “It’s finished!” ran the shout on the radio and most agreed: any small, lingering hope Atl?tico had of becoming champions again, already radically reduced since that loss at the Camp Nou a fortnight ago, slipped through their fingers.
• Player may see out last year of Manchester United contract • Left-back has endured a difficult time at Old Trafford
Luke Shaw has been left unhappy at Jos? Mourinho’s public criticism of him but the left-back will not be forced out of Manchester United this summer against his wishes.
Shaw is understood not to have made a final decision on his future and may choose to see out the final season of his contract and leave on a free in summer 2019. He could then expect a wider pool of clubs to choose from and be able to agree a lucrative signing-on fee.
Wolfsburg’s continued plummet down the league has led to genuine fears they could finish bottom this season
When Bruno Labbadia arrives in a new post, it’s with a certain label attached– that of relegation battle specialist, and it’s one well-earned in successful fights against the drop at Stuttgart and Hamburg. If there’s a bright side to be looked upon after a tough couple of opening weeks at Wolfsburg, with one point taken from his opening four games in charge, it’s that he has the perfect situation in which to fulfil that reputation.
Saturday’s heartbreaking late defeat to high-flying Schalke, sealed by Robin Knoche’s unfortunate 86th-minute own goal, was hardly deserved but the result is very much the bottom line in Wolfsburg’s current state. “We wanted to close the spaces for them, to be compact, and we did a good job of succeeding,” said Labbadia. “The only thing that didn’t work is the result, and so we can’t take anything from the performance, but we have to build on what we showed today.”
America introduced their restrictions three years ago
UK brain injury charity Headway call for more evidence
A top football executive believes the rest of the world will eventually catch up with the United States’ pioneering ban on heading in youth football.
The Professional Footballers’ Association has advocated the move, which would apply to all under-10s, and in January European football’s governing body UEFA said it would consider implementation if its own study provided sufficient evidence.
The 2018 Masters is the most eagerly anticipated major in years and, after an injury-plagued 2017, Rory McIlroy is in fine fettle heading to Augusta
It is the marketing campaign even Augusta National could not buy. If the return of Tiger Woods had apparently cranked pre-Masters anticipation to a fevered extent, Rory McIlroy’s scintillating victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational added another strand to a major quite rightly now billed as the most eagerly awaited in years.
Woods’s ability to compete once more should now be a given. That McIlroy could do likewise was taken for granted but the Northern Irishman, who had slipped outside the top 10 in the world, has every right to cherish a first tournament success since September 2016. Injury, which had a serious impact on McIlroy’s ability to practise during the following year, was a mitigating factor but external doubts still lingered. McIlroy has always revelled in quashing such sentiment.
Leonardo Semplici’s minnows have a fighting chance of survival after halting the champions’ charge with a battling display that also boosted Napoli’s title hopes
Leonardo Semplici could have encouraged his players not to worry before their game against Juventus. Nobody expected Spal to get a result against opponents 15 places and 50 points ahead of them. As such, the manager might have told them to stay loose, to enjoy themselves, to go out and take a swing knowing that they had nothing to lose.
Instead he told them the truth. “We have lots to lose,” said Semplici on the eve of Saturday’s game. “We’re running out of games and we need to try to pick up points. We are facing the best team in Italy, and one of the strongest in Europe, but we still need to try to take a positive result.”
“Relief for bookmakers as ministers set to reject drastic FOBT reform” was the headline on an online report in the Racing Post, which is very much signed up to the bookmakers’ argument that a ?2 minimum would lead to widespread betting shop closures and a sharp drop in racing’s income. The full picture, however, is not so clearcut.
Albania’s leading club are accused in a leaked Uefa report of routinely manipulating games for betting purposes and may be banned for 10 years
In Korce they love their football team and that is why, on 21 February, thousands of the Albanian city’s inhabitants gathered to sing for Skenderbeu. The rally stretched far down the main avenue, one placard standing out among scarves and banners. Its message was clear: “Do not kill our dream.”
Everything Skenderbeu have achieved is on the verge of being discredited by the most extraordinary match-fixing inquiry of all time. A leaked Uefa report has recommended the six-times national champions, who competed in the Europa League group stage this season, are banned from its competitions for an unprecedented 10 years; if the governing body’s control, ethics and disciplinary body agrees, almost a decade of progress will come to a shuddering halt.
Max Verstappen’s precocious talent has led to comparisons with Ayrton Senna and the 20-year-old is backing himself to have a glittering F1 career
Max Verstappen is in the midst of explaining why, when he is free from doubt, people banging on about the psychology of sport is amusing and pointless. It is safe to assume that the 20-year-old, who is the youngest driver in history to start a grand prix and the youngest driver to win one, will not be secretly employing a sports psychologist to help him prepare for the new Formula One season, which begins this weekend in Melbourne.
Verstappen is more intent on illustrating his argument by reliving his first race in a kart. He was only seven and he and his mechanic arrived alone at a track in Emmen in the Netherlands. Max felt calm but the mechanic, his father Jos, who had raced 107 times in Formula One, was jittery.
Antonio Conte praised his players as his side reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup after a 2-1 extra-time win away at Leicester City. Pedro scored the vital goal in the first-half of extra-time as Chelsea ended a difficult week on a high after they had earlier been knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona
Like a child who can’t live with his classmates having better sweets, Real Madrid don’t like other clubs having nice things. With that in mind, they’re planning to lure Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich this summer and into their welcoming bosom, after Tottenham’s ‘intransigence’ in refusing to be good little boys and sell them Harry Kane simply became too much to bear.
Reports in Spain suggest Real already have a deal in place, Lewandowski having supposedly switched agents to Pini Zahavi to make this happen. Apparently it only took two meetings to convince Bayern to relinquish their man, which for the Rumour Mill might trigger some alarm bells. “What do they know that we don’t? Why are they so willing to release this goal machine? What dastardly plans do they have for us here?”
Tennis champion says fellow pundit John McEnroe earns at least ?150,000, while she is paid ?15,000
Tennis champion Martina Navratilova has accused the BBC of valuing male voices more than female voices, after discovering that fellow Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe is paid at least 10 times more than her.
Navratilova, who was crowned Wimbledon ladies’ champion nine times, told Panorama she was paid about ?15,000 by the BBC for her commentator role at Wimbledon while McEnroe earned between ?150,000 and ?199,999.
• Eddie Jones says fatigue among players ‘is still a concern for us’ • ‘I’ll watch club games and see how we can strengthen the squad’
Eddie Jones has revealed that some of England’s British & Irish Lions may be left out of the summer tour of South Africa after a worst Six Nations finish since it started in 2000.
England have now lost three consecutive matches and were warned last week by the Wales head coach, Warren Gatland, that the run could become six “pretty quickly” with a 3-0 series defeat by the Springboks. Following the defeat by Ireland on Saturday, England’s World Cup-winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward, also turned up the heat and claimed Jones’s side were now “staring down the barrel”.
Manchester United have been drawn to face Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final of this season’s FA Cup. In the other tie set to be played over the weekend of April 21 and 22, Chelsea, last season’s losing finalists, will face Southampton.
After overcoming Brighton 2-0 in Saturday evening’s quarter-final, Jose Mourinho’s team will meet Mauricio Pochettino’s side at their temporary Wembley home. Spurs earlier overcame Swansea in a 3–0 victory on Saturday lunchtime. The clubs’ previous meeting came on January 31 at Wembley when Tottenham breezed to a 2-0 victory.
Thanks for joining us for that brief encounter....full story to follow soon.
So much of Chelsea’s campaign has been tempestuous, a season played out to the grumbling of a disenchanted head coach, but it could yet produce a trophy. It took a header in extra time, scored by one of the smallest players on the pitch, to see off Leicester City, and as those in the away end chorused their delight at another imminent trip to Wembley, Antonio Conte could still cling to the possibility of a send-off at the national stadium. If he is to depart this club in May, there might be no better way to go.
The Liverpool manager, J?rgen Klopp, has downplayed comparisons between Mo Salah and Lionel Messi, but believes the Egyptian is on his way to becoming a superstar after the striker scored four goals in Liverpool's 5-0 win over Watford on Saturday
Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt, relayed his sense of relief and pride after his side’s 24-15 win at Twickenham put the icing on the cake of their Six Nations crown. England’s Eddie Jones was pragmatic in defeat and insisted his side was due a dip in form – saying there were some ‘internal mechanisms’ that need to be fixed
Leicester’s midfielder has put a bleak chapter behind him before facing Chelsea, who tried to sign him as a youngster, in the FA Cup
Adrien Silva is recalling when he was banned from playing after a Premier League club tried to sign him, only this episode has nothing to do with Leicester City and the deadline-day saga that ended with an international footballer running round a field to keep fit between talking to lawyers. Silva is rowing back to 2005 instead, when he was 15 and Jos? Mourinho tried to talk him into joining Chelsea along with two other young Sporting Lisbon players.
“It was a very strange moment and I was so young,” Silva says. “To have this club approach me, especially when Mourinho comes to talk to you … at this time, we didn’t know why he came. But when the club wants something, they do everything. He came to see me in Portugal and we went there, to Chelsea, to see the training ground. Then we came back and it was a big, big situation with Sporting.”
The scrum-half’s dominating display against England should give Joe Schmidt belief for next year’s World Cup
With the clock turned red, even the heavens were smiling on Ireland, a flurry of snow serving as the ticker tape to their coronation. Victory was theirs, and fully warranted, after emphatic confirmation that it is Joe Schmidt’s side who are best equipped to challenge New Zealand at next year’s World Cup.
England’s sobering display leaves coach with boos ringing in his ears after Irish claim grand slam in style on St Patrick’s Day
It was suffering weather. The kind of cold that makes you pull down your hat and stamp the ground, shuffle your feet and clench your teeth – fitting conditions, then, for an England team struggling through three defeats in a row.
This latest, the first at home since Eddie Jones took over, stung like Saturday’s wind. It has been a long winter for England and there is not a hint of spring yet. There were certainly no green shoots to be seen at Twickenham, just green shirts – in front, on top, either side, and all around – Irishmen every last where you looked.
England coach Eddie Jones has apologised for offensive comments he made about Ireland and Wales at an England sponsorship event, but now insists the matter is 'dead'. Jones was filmed during a talk at a leadership event for Fuso, the Japanese sister company of England sponsor Mitsubishi, telling the audience: 'We’ve played 23 Tests and have only lost one Test to the scummy Irish. I’m still dirty about that game.'
The Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino, praised Harry Kane’s bravery, suggesting the striker would ‘put his leg in a washing machine’ to help his side score. The England forward is out until April with ankle ligament damage following Spurs’ win at Bournemouth on Sunday
It was 20 years ago that the Dutch winger scored the goal that set Arsenal on the road to the title on a day when one celebrating supporter became the unlikely focus
The Sky Sports advert for the 1997-98 season is a masterpiece of absurd pomposity. The actor Sean Bean, the concept of keeping it real in human form, strides relentlessly towards the camera while giving a breathy speech about the meaning of football. “It’s ecstasy, anguish, joy and despair,” he says. “It’s theatre, art, war and love … It’s our religion: we do not apologise for it, we do not deny it … They’re our team, our family, our life.”
The pay-off is plea of authenticity. “Football. We know how you feel about it. Because we feel the same.”
It’s the Manchester United manager v the President of the United States. Can you tell these two humble souls apart?
On God: “He must really think I’m a great guy. He must think that, because otherwise he would not have given me so much. I have a great family. I work in a place where I’ve always dreamt of working”
On humility: “I think I am, actually humble. I think I'm much more humble than you would understand”
On media criticism: "Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media … you can’t let them get you down. I guess that’s why we won”
On having nothing to say: “I have nothing, nothing to say. Nothing, nothing to say. Nothing to say, I have nothing to say. Nothing to say, I am so sorry, I have nothing to say”
On success: “If he is right and I am afraid of failure it is because I didn’t fail many times”
On being loved: "People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me"
On a potential biopic: “If they made a film of my life, I think they should get George Clooney to play me. He’s a fantastic actor and my wife thinks he would be ideal"
On career progress: “I have a problem, which is I’m getting better at everything related to my job since I started”
On their work: "It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic"
On a rival's partner: "And for her also to think about me and to speak about me, I think the lady needs to occupy her time, and if she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me”
“Gambian top-flight club Steve Biko FC are named after the late South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko” tweets Kameel Gopal. “Are there any other clubs named after political figures of another country?”
When our readers come through, they really come through. Sit back and watch the answers to this one roll in, kicked off by Philip Farrell, who has a number of suggestions.
JFK innings, maestro moments and swaggering slogs, the batsman who made you think: is something brilliant happening?
There is a delightful scene in the final episode of Nathan Barley, Charlie Brooker's documentary about life at the Guardian. A TV executive has a pint poured over him in the pub and, after reacting with anger, suddenly thinks all might not be what it seems. "Are you guys the crew?" he says, looking round the pub. "Are we all in this? Is something brilliant happening?"