Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Ryan Giggs Receives Salford University Honorary Degree

Manchester United footballer and Salfordian, Ryan Giggs has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Salford today.

The 33-year-old midfielder who grew up in Swinton, was made a Master of Arts for his contribution to sport and his unstinting charity work.

Since his childhood playing football for Salford Boys, Ryan has amassed ten FA Premier League winners' medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, two League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals.

He has also beaten Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for Manchester United, achieved on 11 May when he scored one of the two goals which secured this year’s Premier League Title.

As an ambassador for UNICEF, he regularly campaigns for children in South Africa who have been made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007 for his services to football.

Ryan said: “I’m really pleased to accept this degree. When I started my career as a professional footballer I didn’t envisage that one day I’d be made Master of Arts. I grew up in Salford and it’s been a big part of my life for 30 years, so it’s great to be a part of Salford University now.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford, Professor Michael Harloe said: “We are delighted to present this degree to Ryan. It is not only his great achievements on the pitch for which he deserves recognition, but for his valuable charity work with developing countries.”

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Hamilton Celebrates With Fans At Silverstone Grand Prix Party

Lewis Hamilton became the first British driver in eight years to win his home Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday (6 July). Not since David Coulthard (in 2000) had a Brit celebrated on the top step of the F1 podium at Silverstone, and a passionate sell-out race day crowd of 90,000 were just as thrilled as the Vodafone McLaren F1 Team driver, after one of the most eventful and thrilling British Grand Prix in recent years.

Record crowds headed to Silverstone to cheer on the three British drivers – Hamilton, Coulthard and Button – including 65,000 on Friday and 85,000 on Saturday. All three days of the 2008 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX were a sell-out and Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, Richard Phillips, has heralded this year’s Grand Prix as one of the most exciting races and most successful events he has ever worked on.

Phillips commented, “From an event point of view, this year’s British Grand Prix has been one of the best run, most entertaining and well supported events I have ever worked on. Sunday’s British Grand Prix and Saturday’s GP2 race produced some of the best and most entertaining on-track action we’ve seen for a very long time; and Lewis winning on Sunday capped off a fantastic weekend of racing. The 240,000 fans who attended over the three days, and all of the drivers that produced such spectacular racing on track, have made this a phenomenal British Grand Prix.

“Away from the track Silverstone has delivered another fantastic event. Despite the disappointing news that we won’t be hosting the British Grand Prix in 2010, my staff have picked themselves up, worked as hard and as professionally as they always do, and delivered another incredible Grand Prix. 240,000 fans got in and out of the circuit without any fuss and we have proved, once again, that our team can deliver a near- faultless event.

“The fans have also played their part. No other country in the world is fortunate enough to have fans that are as passionate and supportive as ours. We had capacity crowds on all three days and they were treated to some unbelievable racing. The inclement weather certainly didn’t dampen their spirits and, if anything, added to the excitement on track. Their support for all the drivers, but especially the British drivers, was fantastic, and the noise and atmosphere when Lewis won was amazing.”

The atmosphere in the F1 Paddock was equally electric, as the sun came out towards the end of a fantastic race. A number of high profile guests and VIPs were making the most of the glamorous occasion, including The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, chef Gordon Ramsay, presenters Davina McCall and Vernon Kay, cricketer Kevin Pietersen, England rugby international Lewis Moody and this year’s Female Face of the British Grand Prix, Gemma Garrett.

After the big race on Sunday, a record-equalling 20,000 fans stayed behind at Silverstone to continue the post-race celebrations as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and David Coulthard joined a number of other F1 drivers and VIP guests at the Grand Prix Party. Established as a traditional finale to the British Grand Prix, the Party, free to all ticket holders, took place after the last race of the day on a purpose built giant stage in the centre of the circuit.

TV broadcaster Tony Jardine hosted the evening’s entertainment and was joined on stage by a number of F1 drivers, personalities and celebrity VIP guests. All of the drivers received a heroes welcome, but the biggest cheer of the day was saved for Lewis Hamilton, who had earlier won the 2008 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX, moving up to become joint leader in the World Championship.

In addition to the British drivers, Jardine was also joined on stage by F1 drivers Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima, Nelson Piquet and Sebastian Bourdais. Celebrating 60 years of Silverstone, there were also appearances from former World Champions Damon Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart, British Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert; and legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker.

Whilst celebrating Silverstone’s glorious past, Jardine also caught up with some of the potential champions of the future. Five BRDC Superstars, beneficiaries of a BRDC initiative to nurture the UK’s most promising young drivers, also made an appearance at the Grand Prix Party, alongside BRDC Superstars Director, and former BTCC champion, Tim Harvey.

Miss Great Britain 2008, Gemma Garrett - this year’s Female Face of the British Grand Prix - also made an appearance on stage at the Grand Prix Party, organised to thank the fans for their continued support for the British Grand Prix. Gemma was overwhelmed by her first visit to Silverstone. “Today has been amazing”, said Gemma. “The atmosphere, noise and anticipation just blows you away. And the race was incredible. Being the Female Face of the British Grand Prix, and to meet some of the drivers, has been such a privilege.”

Speaking on the Monday after the event, Phillips announced that tickets for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX had already gone on sale, “Tickets for next year’s British Grand Prix have already gone on sale. They went on sale over the Grand Prix weekend and we’ve already sold more than 2,000 tickets. We have already started work for 2009 and hope to see as many fans back as possible.”

Tickets for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX are on sale 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be booked at www.silverstone.co.uk, or by calling 08704 588 300. Booking fees do not apply when purchasing tickets online.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Tickets to the gun show...

Did anyone else wince at the sight of Andy Murray showing off his pasty Popeye muscles to the Wimbledon centre court crowd last night? After his marathon 5 set victory against Richard Gasquet which ended at 21:29 BST, Murray pulled back his sleeve and flexed his biceps in celebration.

It was a fantastic comeback by the Scot, but that move was clearly an error in judgment. I can't see him doing the same against Rafa Nadal in the quarter finals. I think it's quite clear who wins that contest!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Bridgestone Motorsport British Grand Prix Preview

Formula One heads to the United Kingdom for the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship where Bridgestone’s hard and medium Potenza tyres will tackle the tough turns of the 5.14km Silverstone circuit near Northampton.

This Grand Prix marks the half way point in the season and only ten points separate the top four drivers. Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) currently leads the standings, with Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team), Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) and Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) all in hot pursuit. Each one of these drivers has been at the top of the standings at some point in the season so far, illustrating the close battle with all drivers using Bridgestone tyres as the Official Tyre Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

This will be the 59th running of the British Grand Prix, and the 42nd time the event has taken place at the Silverstone track. The circuit is one of the oldest on the calendar and it is characterised by its high-speed layout. Although most of the track is high-speed, there is a slower complex before the main straight, which is a breeding ground for tyre graining.

Last year Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) used a medium – medium - hard tyre strategy to win the British Grand Prix by 2.4 seconds from team-mate Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) finished third.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:

What are the challenges of Silverstone? “Silverstone is one of the more harsh circuits on the calendar, which is why we bring the hardest compound Potenza tyres from our range. It is a tough circuit for tyres in the sense of the layout and the track surface, which is one of the more abrasive we use. Graining is always a consideration when coming into the final complex, and tyre management of this is an important aspect to getting a good result. Drivers require good stability from their tyres to give them confidence through the high-speed turns. Good heat and wear resistance are also desirable here.”

What has been learnt from the latest test in Silverstone? “The medium compound enabled a faster lap time over one lap, and if conditions are similar for the Grand Prix we would expect this to be the preferred tyre for qualifying. The hard compound enabled more consistent performance. However, if teams and drivers are able to manage the graining, the medium compound could be the preferred option in the race. As teams have now tested here so close to the Grand Prix weekend, we should see very close lap times as competitors have a good opportunity to find a good setup and maximise their cars to Silverstone’s requirements.”

Stats & Facts
Number & Spec of tyres brought to Silverstone 2,200 (wet/extreme wets and hard & medium dry)
Pole position time 2007: 1min 19.997 (Hamilton)
Fastest race lap 2007: 1min 20.638 (Raikkonen)
Top three 2007: Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Marilyn Rocks Rafa’s World

Tennis’ world number two makes his bid for Wimbledon crown by netting an exclusive Marilyn Monroe painting

Fresh from his French Open title and first round win at Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal has picked up an original artwork by renowned Italian artist Daniel Dondé.

The tennis hero acquired Marilyn Rock on the advice of art collector and Dondé’s agent, Daniel Muszkat, and was presented with his new painting earlier this week at the Wimbledon home he is renting for the tournament.

“My agent Carlos Costa introduced me to the work of Dondé. I met Daniel Muszkat two weeks ago in Paris before the final at Roland Garros, and I just fell in love with the painting,” Nadal said. “Not that I am very much in to art but I do like these things, especially paintings.”

Marilyn Rock is regarded as one of the highlights of Dondé’s 30 piece collection. The painting is finished with gold, jewels and other precious stones.

Park Plaza Riverbank London (18 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7DJ) is displaying the remaining paintings in Dondé’s collection until the end of July 2008. Prices range from £3,500 to £5,900.

Dondé’s latest creations celebrate Marilyn as “the modern day Mona Lisa”. Along with more than 20 paintings of Marilyn, the collection includes Bridgitte Bardot, Mona Lisa and a painting of Paris Hilton with Swarovski crystals.

A fan of Glam Rock Art, Dondé has a loyal following among the rich and famous. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Simon le Bon, Sophia Loren, Flavio Briatore, Roger Moore, Prince Albert of Monaco and Giorgio Armani have purchased works by the artist.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Out with Kornikova, in with Ivanovic

A new Ana has emerged on the scene at Wimbledon, and this one is better looking and a much better tennis player.

Ana Ivanovic arrived in SW19 off the back of her first Grand Slam title at the French Open earlier in the year, and she has won over the British public and Press. Ever since the BBC announced that she is single and looking for love, the Serbian has become the most eligible bachelorette on the tennis circuit.

Asides the fact that she is clearly stunning to look at, she plays a beautiful tennis game as well. She hits the ball with power and style, and in a funny but endearing way sounds a bit like a baby crocodile when on court.

Having said that, I don't fancy her for the Wimbledon title this year. The number 1 seed struggled through against Nathalie Dechy by literally a matter of inches, when at Match Point down a shot by Ivanovic hit the net and crept over, proving to be the turning point in the game. At the end of a marathon 6-7, 7-6, 10-8 thriller that lasted 3 hrs 24mis she kissed the net in thanks. My wager this year is on Maria Sharapova who looked very comfortable in her opening game and has clearly made Wimbledon a priority.

And for the men's tournament I fancy Nadal. He is much closer to beating Federer on grass then Federer is to beating him on clay, and he just appears so incredibly focussed this season. I feel the torch could be passed on and the bookies will go home happy.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Luiz Felipe Scolari & Gene Hackman

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Petr Cech & Crispin Glover

Thursday, 12 June 2008

A Royal Visit For The Brit Oval

As the Twenty20 Cup launches this week, Surrey County Cricket Club are looking forward to more than just cricket with the announcement that The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting the Club’s home ground on Friday.

The last time a member of the Royal Family visited the Brit Oval was when The Duke of Edinburgh opened the OCS stand at the Vauxhall end of the ground ahead of the historic Ashes series in 2005.

Their Royal Highnesses will be taking in all aspects of the Club’s activity when they visit next Friday, including a look at the Ben Hollioake Learning Centre which sees over 4,000 children a year come through its doors and experience cricket based education programmes. In addition, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will meet both the Surrey and Kent teams ahead of their Twenty20 match, and take in the atmosphere from the 23,000 strong crowd expected on Friday.

Paul Sheldon, Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club commented: “The Prince of Wales has always been a supporter of the work we do here at Surrey, both in terms of cricket all of the work we do with the local community, including a Prince’s Trust cricket initiative. We are looking forward to showing both The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall all of these programmes in action when they visit the Brit Oval on Friday.”

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Raymond Domenech & Eugene Levy

Lookalike (Euro 2008): Marco van Basten & Will Ferrell

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Countdown to the European Championships...

Who's looking forward to the Euros...?? I'm actually quite excited by the prospect of watching top class international football without that familiar sense of dread associated with being an England supporter...

Footypedia By Daniel Maier

Published in Hardback by Century on May 01 2008, Priced £9.99

To celebrate winning the FA Cup by wearing its lid as a hat.

The smell inside a Ford Fiesta carrying five overweight England fans back to Lincolnshire.

The nagging feeling of resentment when you let a four-year-old score a goal past you in the garden.

The lovely velvety bag the cup draw balls are kept in.
Every football fan has seen or known these things. But who has the words to describe them?

How have we talked about football for this long without a word for surreptitiously timing a pre-match minute's silence, just to see if it's accurate? Or one for the feeling of frustration that the half of the league table you catch sight of on TV is never the half with your team in? Shouldn’t there be a verb that means: to reduce a 2-0 deficit to 2-1 in injury time, grab the ball out of the net and run back to the half-way line with it in order to get the game restarted as quickly as possible, despite the fact that your actions are completely futile since it’s the other team that’ll be kicking off again?

Yes. There should be. And there is. Footypedia: The Alternative Dictionary of Football is the hilarious, insightful and essential repository for all those things in football that up ‘til now have simply taken too many words to describe. The year's funniest, most off-beat and irreverent football book.

Baldock (n) – Inability to tell Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley apart.

Foyle (vb) – To ironically cheer opposition fans for their belated attempt to sing.

Quantrill (n) – Training exercise that appears to consist of players in woolly hats having a laugh.

Woffinden (n) – Utterly unintelligible post-match interview with a foreign player, left in the highlights programme solely to give the presenters and pundits something to laugh at.

About the Author:

Daniel Maier has written for television, radio and theatre. His credits include: Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression and Big World Cup, and The Peter Serafinowicz Show. He must have a sense of humour: he supports Newcastle United.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Beckham from behind the half way line for LA Galaxy...

David Beckham scores from the half way line for the second time in his career, although this time in slightly less dramatic fashion - the keeper was almost level with him on his way back to goal. To Beckham's credit it did show good accuracy.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Premiership Rugby Player Launches On-Line Coaching Website

An on-line grassroots rugby site offering online coaching for kids across the whole country is launched this week by premiership rugby player and winger Tom May who will be personally blogging on the site everyday:


Tom May said "working on the site which includes online coaching for kids across the whole country has been hugely exciting ... rugby has given me fantastic opportunities in my career and I now want to put something back into the sport and if I can help the smaller clubs and the kids coming into the game then it will make me very proud."

Right now, Tom is facing a challenge of his own, embarking on a 541 cycle ride this Wednesday the 28th May across all the premiership rugby clubs in England from Newcastle to the grand home of rugby Twickenham in London on the 4th June arriving at 6.00pm.

Tom May continues .. "Compared to my normal training for rugby, this is going to be very different and much harder than I probably understand. In my position on the rugby field, I am required to work at high intensity for relatively short periods of time, the focus being on power and speed. I have realised this is completely different and the endurance and stamina required will be a real challenge. I am relying on my fitness to get me through the vast majority of the journey and I will just get through the rest somehow - probably with a rubber ring and extra padding on my cycle shorts!"

Tom will be looking to raise funds for famous duo Ant & Dec's Metro Radio charity Just for Kids and his target is £40,000 - remarkably over £25,000 has already been donated.

For a chance to win an autographed rugby ball signed by premiership rugby players and Tom's friends, log on to www.justgiving.com/tomsjustforkidsbikeride and make a donation for as little as £1 up to £10,000+ ! or log on to Tom's on line rugby coaching site:


Wood Wins Welsh Title By Six Strokes

England international Chris Wood extended his already glowing list of successes with victory in the Welsh Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Conwy.

English players filled the top five places with Wood (pictured - photo courtesy of Tom Ward) producing two stunning rounds on the final day to take the title by six strokes from England team-mate Sam Hutsby and by eight from Jamie Abbott from Suffolk, another England Elite squad member.

Wood finished on 289, one over par, after closing with 69 and 71, while Hutsby shot 76 and 77.

Trailing long-time leader Hutsby by seven shots at five over par going into the final 36 holes, Wood fired a superb 69, the only player among the surviving 45 to beat par, to take the lead.

A fierce wind and driving rain hit the North Wales course in the afternoon but it didn’t faze Wood who continued to stretch his lead, his closing 71 being a wonderful effort in the conditions.

Having started with rounds of 74 and 75, the Bristol golfer showed improved play on the greens and even a triple bogey seven on the 72nd hole proved no handicap.

“I putted much better today,” said 20 year old Wood, winner of last season’s PING/EGU Order of Merit. “I stayed pretty patient all the way around. My swing felt good and playing with Gary Wolstenholme kept me relaxed. This is the biggest event I’ve won so I may take a few days off now.”

Hutsby led by one from Oscar Sharpe and Welsh Walker Cup player Nigel Edwards after an opening 67 and was still one clear from Edwards after a second day 75 achieved in extremely windy conditions.

Leading final scores:
289 C Wood (Long Ashton) 74 75 69 71
295 S Hutsby (Liphook) 67 75 76 77
297 J Abbott (Fynn Valley) 70 80 74 73
299 M Armitage (Howley Hall) 71 82 68 78
301 R Brown (Worksop) 76 73 73 79

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Brit Oval To Hosts West Indian Greats

The Brit Insurance Oval will play host to some of Barbados’ greatest cricketing stars in a representative match against a PCA Masters side on Sunday 8 June, 2008.

The match, which will mark the partnership of the Barbados Tourism Authority with the Professional Cricketers Association, will see some of the world’s greatest players of yesteryear come together in a Twenty20 Challenge match in the fantastic surroundings of the Brit Oval.

The Brit Oval has a history of hosting representative matches and in recent times, organised Charity Twenty20 matches to raise funds for areas devastated by the Tsunami in 2004 and the Pakistan Earthquake in 2006.

The Challenge match on the 8 June which features former Barbados greats Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vasbert Drakes and Sherwin Campbell, will help to promote Barbados in the run up to England's tour of the West Indies early next year.
Surrey’s latest signing for their Twenty20 campaign, Chris Lewis, will be part of the PCA Masters and he will be joined by Graham Thorpe and Martin Bicknell to give the side good representation from Surrey.

Tickets for the match are available from www.surreycricket.com at a cost of just £5 for adults and £1 for under 16s.

Director of Sales and Marketing at the Brit Oval, Paul Blanchard said: “The Brit Oval is a ground synonymous with the Twenty20 format. As well as five domestic home matches this year and a number of ICC World Twenty20 games scheduled for next season, we’re excited to host a match with so many former International greats on display in what should be another great opportunity to see some excellent cricket.”

Monday, 19 May 2008

Monaco Grand Prix Preview

Speed and glamour combine this weekend as the teams descend upon the streets of Monte Carlo for one of the highlights on the world’s sporting calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix. The jewel in Formula One’s crown, Monaco is the smallest remaining sovereign state and hosted its first (pre-Championship) Formula One race in 1929, making it one of the longest serving venues in motorsport and perhaps the sport’s spiritual home.

The two week gap between the Turkish and Monaco Grands Prix afforded the team a three day test at Paul Ricard in France last week. With the circuit’s layout having been re-configured to replicate the Monegasque track, the team tested a new aero package which will be rolled out for this weekend’s race. Nico and Kazuki benefited from a day’s running each laying the ground work for a competitive outing at the sixth round of the Championship.

Nico Rosberg

I am very much looking forward to racing in Monaco. Actually, I am very much looking forward to the next two races. Monaco is a true Williams track, and Canada should be as well. We’ll certainly have a much better chance at both than we had in Turkey and I believe Monaco is the one race where we can, with a bit of luck, maybe get on to the podium again.

It will be a great weekend as it’s also my home Grand Prix. My family and friends will all be there and, for once, the journey to the track will be a short one, just a 100 metre walk! I can’t wait!

Kazuki Nakajima

I think Monaco will be a big challenge for me. It’s a track at which I didn’t do particularly well at when I raced in GP2 last year, and this is my first race in a Formula One car there. It’s not an easy track and to get it right takes great skill and precision, so it’s a big test for all the drivers.

The team has always seemed to get the car to work well at Monaco, so I hope I can draw upon their experience and use it to my advantage. It’s a really glamorous race and the atmosphere will be pretty special. As its Nico’s home Grand Prix, it would be good if we can do well there.

Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1

Monte Carlo is such a great circuit for Formula One. The drivers and engineers have to deal with so many extremes that doing well there is a real achievement. As a street circuit, Monaco has typically very low grip levels at the start of the weekend, but that significantly changes as the Bridgestone rubber is laid onto the track by the cars during practice and qualifying. In fact, the circuit evolves so much from one run to the next, it’s quite difficult to evaluate set-up changes.

Maximum downforce is the key, as well as the driver getting plenty of laps in during practice to get acquainted with the circuit. We will have some aero improvements on the cars for Monaco, which should improve our competitiveness and enable us to fight for points.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

It’s the social event of the season, but Monte Carlo is also one of the most challenging destinations on the calendar. The two mile lap may be the shortest seen all year, but still places extreme demands on the car and requires a unique set-up. First and foremost, Monaco is a street circuit, so soft tyres and a high downforce configuration are prerequisites to counterbalance the poor grip levels which play havoc with the track in the opening sessions. The lap itself is dominated by slow speed corners and undulations, so a solid mechanical and aero balance is key. Evocative corners, such as Lowes, Chicane and Rascasse are all taken in either first or second gear, so not only are the brakes worked considerably harder in Monaco than anywhere else, but the number of gear shifts made reaches over 4,000, approximately 500 more than at any other track.

With speeds dipping to as low as 28mph on the entry to corners such as the Lowes hairpin, good traction to power the car out of the exit is also crucial to set a competitive lap time. With just 45% of the circuit driven at full throttle, the longest period lasting just eight seconds through the tunnel where speeds peak at 180mph, drivers record the lowest average lap speed of all races at Monaco so engines are given a relatively easy ride over the weekend.

The tight, twisty nature of the track means precision is also paramount for the drivers, for the smallest of errors will be brutally punished by the unforgiving, and menacingly close, armco. Physically, the 78 lap race is also one of endurance as the drivers have to wrestle their machines round streets more suited to cruising convertibles. In summary, the playground of the rich and famous transforms itself into one of the season’s greatest challenges, where only the best reap the reward.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

O’Sullivan Top Of The World

Ronnie O’Sullivan has regained the No 1 position in the official world rankings to go with his 888.com World Snooker Championship title.

The Rocket became only the third player to lift the world trophy three times at the Crucible as he beat fellow Essex cueman Ali Carter 18-8 in Sheffield on Monday.

O’Sullivan, 32, becomes the first player ever to hold the official No 1 ranking on three separate occasions, having previously topped the list in 2002/03 and from 2004 to 2006.

“It’s a real buzz to win it. There is no bigger tournament, this is our pinnacle, it’s our greatest stage. I’ve got three now and I would like to win more,” said O’Sullivan, whose previous world titles came in 2001 and 2004.

Stephen Maguire, the only player other than O’Sullivan to win two ranking titles this season, is up to a career high position of No 2. Shaun Murphy stays third while Welsh Open winner Mark Selby completes the top four.

Despite defeat, Carter is into the top eight for the first time in his career as he jumps seven places to No 7, with Ryan Day also moving into that bracket, up eight spots to No 8.

Crucible semi-finalist Joe Perry has regained a place in the top 16, as have Mark King and Royal London Watches Grand Prix champion Marco Fu. Talented Northern Ireland cueman Mark Allen is into the elite for the first time, leaping 13 places FROM No 29.

The four to drop out of the top 16 are Ken Doherty (18), Mark Williams (22), Stephen Lee (26) and Steve Davis (29).

Further down the list, the biggest mover is China’s Liang Wenbo, who enjoyed a giant-killing run to the quarter-finals at Sheffield and rises from No 66 to No 40.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

PFA Premier League Team of the Year 07/08:

Goalkeeper: David James (Portsmouth)
Right back: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal),
Left back: Gael Clichy (Arsenal)
Centre half: Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd)
Centre half: Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd)
Right midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
Left midfild: Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Central midfielf: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Central midfield: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Striker: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal)
Striker: Fernando Torres (Liverpool)

Cristiano Ronaldo was named PFA Player of the year - no surprise there and I can't imagine there would be too many complaints about that.

Cesc Fabregas was the PFA Young Player of the year - Possibly slightly more contentious, especially seeing as though Ronaldo was also nominated in this category, but I'm happy with that and would say he deserves it for the season he's had.

The real shock for me however, was the exclusion of Patrice Evra from the team of the year?! Surely he deserves to be there ahead of Gael Clichy?

On the basis of this post it may appear that I support Man Utd. I don't. I'm a Newcastle fan.

Who do you think has been overlooked for the team of the year.....?

Monday, 28 April 2008

A Senna Stunner!

Villarreal keep the title race alive with a 1-0 win away to Real Betis. A stunning goal from midfielder Marcos Senna ensured the win, keeping Barcelona at bay with 4 points clear.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Federer versus Woods

Who is better? Discuss.....

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Cesc Fabregas Show

A new TV programme aims to deliver unseen insight into one of the players of this season and one of Europe’s brightest football talents - Cesc Fabregas. The programme has been commissioned and created by Fabregas’s sponsor, Nike.

The programme will be broadcast on Monday 19 May on Sky Sports 1 and forsakes the normal straight interviews or chat show format to deliver a completely alternative view of the player, bringing together the worlds of football, comedy, and entertainment and creating a genuine platform for fans to gain insight into the public athlete and the private person.

The programme - entitled The Cesc Fabregas Show: Nike Live - will be a high energy, one-hour ‘shot as live’ showpiece in front of a studio audience, using mixed media consisting of live interviews, football stunts and pre-shot VT sequences, where the pace will be set by the player himself as he takes his audience on the journey of the life of Cesc Fabregas. More details can be found at:


Cesc the player and Cesc the person are a potent mix of raw talent, courage and a self belief combined with rigorous self criticism and intense hard work. Through the programme we’ll find out what it means to have been the youngest ever scorer for Arsenal, the youngest scorer for Spain in World Cup history, what it takes to be the driving force behind one of Europe’s best club sides, what it was like coming to London from Barcelona aged 14 and who the key people are in his life that have helped him become the person and player he is today.

With a host of cameo appearances from other athletes and stars of the game, we’ll meet team mates, his coach Arsene Wenger and the scout who first spotted Cesc will be in the studio to talk about the talent they saw then, the player he’s become and the future for Arsenal’s midfield maestro.

The approach will mix comedy and a lighthearted, entertaining approach, with pre-shot VT sequences from the likes of Matt Lucas & a series of entertaining sketches designed to bring to life the things that are unique about Cesc.

Fabregas comments: "I'm honoured to have this opportunity. It's not something that you expect so we're going to make it a night to remember."

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

3 points to snatch it right at the end...and what a 3 pointer it was!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Hot Stuff

A feast is being planned for Wednesday evening. As with all good cooking, ingredients are the essence.

To start, visualise the names of the individuals playing for Barcelona and Manchester United football clubs. Now add both sets together. Place them all on a football pitch under spring weather. Expose the group to 97,100 screaming fans - approximately. Add British running and Catalan volatility.

To ignite and add pressure to this European Champions League semi-final, please place into context and heat the mixture. Timing is everything, so we must position one team in this semi-final at its apogee and one at its nadir. This will mean either one will fall from grace or the other will rise gloriously from the abyss.

Remove former World Player of the Year and include two opposing pretenders to the throne.

Please do not forget to add the unpredictable but essential referee element.

All in all, Wednesday's fish and chips and paella concoction could be the most savoury sporting night of the year.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Surrey County Cricket Club Announces Record Profits

15 April 2008 The Brit Oval Surrey County Cricket Club announced record financial results for 2007. Annual turnover was £23,407,000 with pre-tax profits exceeding £721,000, the highest in the Club's 163-year history. This represents a growth in turnover of 29.7% and a significant increase in pre-tax profits of 108.4% from 2006.

A major factor behind this significant growth has been the success of the Club's off-field business activities. Oval Events - the organization that runs the hospitality, conferencing and events at the Brit Oval - has performed particularly well recording a turnover of £2,965,000, just for conferencing and events in 2007, an increase of 50.5% from the £1,969,000 achieved in the previous year.

Since the completion of the OCS Stand in 2005, with its substantial conferencing and events facilities, Oval Events has been able to develop a healthy year-round revenue stream. Oval Events Limited was founded in 2004 as a joint venture with Compass Group PLC.

2007 saw international gate receipts generate over £5,815,000 courtesy of the four international matches staged at the Brit Oval, a 66.8% increase from 2006.This can be attributed to the two West Indies International Twenty20 matches that were hosted in addition to the regular Test and One-day International Match schedule.

The future is looking positive as well, given the solid commercial strategy that Surrey County Cricket Club has in place. The redevelopment of the Pavilion End, for example, includes a 170-room hotel that is due for completion in 2010 and will contribute to improved facilities at the ground. In addition, the Brit Oval has been selected as one of three venues to host several matches of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in 2009, which is another major opportunity for the Club to increase revenues.

Chief Executive Paul Sheldon said "We're very pleased that 2007 has been a record year for us off-the-field. All areas of the Club are performing well and we're really building on our potential. Our prospects for growth over the next few years are equally strong. Aside from other International matches, we will host an Ashes Test Match next summer and the ICC Twenty20 World Cup will be an important income generator for us. Further to this, the planned redevelopment of the Pavilion End will provide considerable benefits without any investment from the Club directly thanks to our partnership with Arora Hotels"

Since taking over as Chief Executive in 1996, Paul Sheldon has overseen the development of the business from a £4million annual turnover.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Short and Sweet

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Tim Henman Joins BBC Wimbledon Team

BBC Sport has signed an exclusive agreement with Tim Henman, Britain's most successful open era player, to join their team of experts at this year's Wimbledon Championships (23 June–6 July, BBC One and BBC Two).

Tim Henman said: "I'm delighted to be joining the BBC team at Wimbledon this year. It's exciting for me to return to Wimbledon in a non-playing capacity and I'm very much looking forward to working alongside other members of the BBC team."

In terms of broadcasting to UK audiences, this is an exclusive agreement with the BBC for the duration of Wimbledon 2008. Tim will be working with the television team as a commentator and studio analyst.

Paul Davies, BBC TV Executive Producer Wimbledon, said: "Tim was an incredibly popular player and the success, drama and passion he experienced at Wimbledon has created a unique connection with both the Championship and British tennis fans.

"Returning to SW19 with the BBC team seems the perfect fit and his on-court experience will add a fascinating dimension to our coverage. We hope this will be the start of a successful partnership between Tim and the BBC."

A minute's silence or a minute's applause...?

I would like to know your views on the "minute's silence".

Last night Old Trafford held a minute's silence before the second leg of Manchester United's Champions League quarter final clash with Roma, in memory of Mathieu Sprengers, a member of the Uefa executive committee who died on Sunday. However, the referee clearly blew his whistle well before the minute was up, as a section of the crowd (believed to be mainly Roma supporters) were not respecting the silence.

More and more these days I see a minute's applause held instead of a silence. Personally I'm much more in favour of this, as at least it prevents the idiots who don't want to show their respects from being heard. What do you think...?

Jose and his amazing technicolour overcoat

I miss Jose Mourinho.....

“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”

“Pressure? There is no pressure. Bird Flu is pressure. No, you laugh, but I am being serious. I am more worried about the swan than I am about football.”

“Young players are a little bit like melons. Only when you open and taste the melon are you 100 per cent sure that the melon is good."

To quote but a few. What are some of your favourite Jose moments...?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

New Look Tennis Calendar For 2009

The LTA today announced a new look international calendar for 2009 including the first ATP/Sony Ericsson WTA Tour combined event to be held in Great Britain. The changes to the grass court tournaments leading up to The Championships, Wimbledon will be introduced from next year.

Key changes to the major events held in Great Britain throughout June include, from 2009, moving the international men’s event currently staged in Nottingham to produce a combined men’s and women’s event to be held at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne. In 2010 the venue for the women’s (Sony Ericsson WTA Tour) tournament currently held in Birmingham will be determined by a bidding process with any venue meeting the criteria able to bid to host the event.

2009 (Provisional dates)
Week Commencing:

Monday 1st June $50,000 ATP Challenger & $50,000 & ITF women’s event, venue to be confirmed

Monday 8th June ATP event at The Queen’s Club, London Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham

Monday 15th June ATP/WTA combined event at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne

2010 (Provisional dates)

Week Commencing:

Monday 31st May $50,000 ATP Challenger & $50,000 ITF women’s event, venue to be confirmed

Monday 7th June ATP event at The Queen’s Club, London Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event open for bidding

Monday 14th June ATP/WTA combined event at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne

Roger Draper, Chief Executive of the LTA, said: “The new, co-ordinated calendar will help raise the profile of the sport nationally and enhance the experience for fans, players and spectators. We are confident that the changes will help to re-energise the calendar and open up the sport to a new audience as well as offering a better experience for existing fans. The bidding process in 2010 further opens up the calendar and means that new venues have the option of bidding to host world class tennis.

“This is at the heart of the LTA’s new commercial strategy where we hope to position a Lead Partner as the umbrella sponsor of British tennis. The commercial strategy is bringing together all elements of the sport from schools to elite players and provides a real opportunity for us to build a strong partnership with a brand.”

Whippet Walcott

Last night I witnessed one of the best games of football I've seen in a while, and it featured one of the best goals. Emanuel Adebayor's 84th minute equaliser for Arsenal in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final match against Liverpool, looked for a short while to be the goal that would take them into the semi finals of the competition. The goal was set up by Theo Walcott's inspiring box to box run, reminiscent of Michael Owen's goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup at a similar age. It was an incredible bit of skill, and highlighted the importance of pace in the modern game.

The script was written for the young Englishman (the only one on the Arsenal team sheet) to help his side secure a semi final spot and ruin Liverpool's dreams of a third Champions League semi final in 4 years. However Walcott's thunder was quickly stolen, and it was the more senior England player on the other team, Steven Gerrard, who took all the plaudits by firing home a contentious penalty to put Liverpool back in control. The victory was then put beyond any doubt with a break away goal by Ryan Babel right at the death.

I've chosen Walcott's run as the video of the week, as it was just too good not to feature. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of young Theo next season...

Monday, 7 April 2008

Lookalike: Cesc Fabregas & Tommy Davis (Church of Scientology)

Friday, 4 April 2008

Michael "Thespian" Owen

If once he's hung up his football boots and his career in horses doesn't work out (unlikely), then perhaps Michael Owen could have a future as an actor.

Having seen him appear in several TV ads over the past few years it must be said that he's not all bad, and unlike most footballers who do these kind of things he does at least demonstrate some acting ability.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Max vs the Grand Prix

The big question in the world of F1 this week is whether the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday is going to be as sensational as the photos of old man Max Mosley being caught with his pants down!?

I see the Prince of Bahrain has turned Max away from attending - probably a good decision there.

More sporting blunders...

Look out for the poor injured player who gets his head stuck in the crotch of the person carrying the stretcher. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Lookalike: Nani & Michael Jackson

Thursday, 27 March 2008

David Villa goal against Italy..... sublime!

A fantastic goal by David Villa and a second great win in a row for Spain, following up their 1-0 victory against France with a win against the world champions Italy by the same scoreline. They're looking good the Spaniards, but will they yet again fail to perform at the next major championships, Euro 2008.....??

Monday, 24 March 2008

Lookalike: Andy Roddick & Seann William Scott

Friday, 21 March 2008

Lookalike: Justine Henin-Hardenne & Haley Joel Osment

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Ping Pong at its very best

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Lookalike: Ryan Sidebottom & Roger Daltrey

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Steve McClaren and Viktor Yushchenko

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Lawrie Sanchez and Theo Paphitis

Friday, 14 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Gareth Southgate and James Blunt

Thursday, 13 March 2008

He's (still) got jungle fever...

It's a sad day when a former international sports star introduces themself first and foremost as a ex-winner on a celebrity game show. This is exactly what happened on last night's "Sports Relief Does The Apprentice" when Phil Tufnell referred to himself on the phone as "Phil Tufnell, King of the Jungle"!

Let's be clear, he'll never be know as "The King of Spin". However, he did still play over 40 tests for England and 20 one day internationals, taking 140 wickets wickets in the process.

I mean that's got to be worth something Phil, surely?! Better than likening yourself to a chimpanzee anyway. My bet is that it will be Tuffers who gets hit for six by Sir Alan on tomorrow's sports relief final.

Incredible football skills or just another viral...?

Lookalike (Football managers week): Graeme Souness and Randy Quaid

Cheltenham Forecast: Busy

The Cheltenham festival faces it's busiest couple of days in the competition's history, after stormy weather postponed racing on Wednesday.

The organisers of the event have their work cut out over the next two days, and have started by increasing the capacity for today by over 10,000.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Harry Redknapp and The Beast

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Cups They Are A-Changin…

Even if Portsmouth win the FA Cup, one senses that the general public will not mind.

Naturally this would mean the top-flight team would have derailed the dreams of national glory for one of the three Championship sides competing in the upcoming semi finals. Yet there is a likability and internationality about Redknapp Snr's team.

The sizes of all four clubs involved in this stage of the competition and the fact that none of the top four remain, reminds us that the FA Cup is indeed unique.

Arsenal and Liverpool arguably do not have strong enough squads to land all three 'major' trophies – the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Chelsea and Manchester United on the other hand are capable of winning all three as well as the League Cup. Just a glance at the names that comprise the midfield of the Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge squads highlights their versatility and strength in depth: Fletcher, Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, Park, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs.....Cole, Essien, Lampard, Makalele, Malouda, Mikel Obi, Sidwell, Smith and Wright-Phillips.

How refreshing then it is that none of these players will feature in this year's FA cup semi finals. How different. Money cannot buy success, as Mr. Abramovich is beginning to realise. Mourinho knew how to make the most of players at his disposal and his motivational ability and winning mentality permeated through his team. The clubs in this year's Cup should thank Mr. Abramovich for his part in Mourinho's 'mutual' departure.

The only criticism of this year's event, which has been pervasive in the media, particularly on Match of the Day and Sky Sports discussion panels, is the fact that these semi finalists will taste Wembley before the final itself. 'The Road to Wembley' should be renamed 'The Shortcut to Wembley'. However, maybe this year it is fitting. The chance of playing their semi finals at Wembley is a richly deserved opportunity for all three championship sides. Such a situation has taken decades to materialise and the odds suggest it may be a long time before it happens again.

Although it dampens the magic and the romance, this writer foresees a deserved victory for Portsmouth. It is the culmination of several years of excellent management, a solid infrastructure, regular player acquisitions and team building, solidarity and confidence.

Fratton Park boasts an exciting array of African talent (more on this theme to come on this blog in the near future) that is underpinned by a blend of English veterans and rising stars. David James resembles a good bottle of wine that can only improve with age whilst Sol Campbell uses each game to remind us why Wenger signed him at Arsenal and why he was chosen in the 2002 World Cup tournament team, even though England only reached the quarterfinal. Then there is the schizophrenic Glen Johnson whose length of hair has a positive correlation with his quality of play (the longer it is, the better he plays). Capello must surely see he deserves another chance in the senior squad.

However, do not confuse admiration for Portsmouth with a bias for Premier league teams. Should Cardiff, WBA, or Barnsley succeed, it will be a memorable moment in FA Cup folklore.

By Chris Thorpe Cuevas

888.com World Snooker Championship Draw:

John Higgins v Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Liu Chuang
Ryan Day v Michael Judge
Ding Junhui v Marco Fu
Stephen Hendry v Mark Allen
Stephen Lee v Joe Swail
Graeme Dott v Joe Perry
Ken Doherty v Liang Wenbo
Shaun Murphy v Dave Harold
Ali Carter v Barry Hawkins
Mark Selby v Mark King
Mark Williams v Mark Davis
Peter Ebdon v Jamie Cope
Neil Robertson v Nigel Bond
Stephen Maguire v Anthony Hamilton
Steve Davis v Stuart Bingham

The tournament, which takes place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, will begin on the 19th April and will run through until the 5th May.

Mascarenhas heads for India

Dimitri Mascarenhas has succumbed to the the big bucks and joined a star studded cast of international cricketers, including the likes of Australia's Ricky Ponting and South Africa's Graeme Smith, by signing up for the Indian Premier League with Jaipur. He becomes the first England player to do so, costing the Jaipur side £50,000 at the most recent player auction.

One has to wonder if this will open the floodgates for other English players to follow suit, although having said that would any of them really be that appealing right now?! Kevin Pietersen is the one big name that organisers and fans of the IPL would love to see playing in the league. However, he recently ruled himself out, claiming that the money wouldn't tempt him..... well that remains to be seen.

The real losers here are going to be the counties and their fans. With the massively superior financial benefits of playing abroad in India, county sides are not going to be able to compete, and the County cricket scene risks becoming a graveyard for has been stars, much like the American soccer league (MLS).

Lookalike (Football managers week): Steve Bruce and Jay Leno

Monday, 10 March 2008

At the end of the day it's just another footballing cliché...

The English premier league is a breeding ground for sporting clichés. Time after time in interviews you hear the phrases "It's a game of two halves" and "We gave 110%". Well quite frankly, if you put the same amount of effort into trying not to sound like a broken record all the time, football viewing would be a much more enjoyable experience for all.

It is like there's a set script for answering questions from the media in this country, with players and managers seemingly terrified of thinking for themselves. The league is crying out for more José Mourinhos..... even just one!

It's not only on the pitch that you hear these clichés spouted out from all directions. Match of the day is in my opinion an excellent TV show, not helped by amateur pundits such as Alan Shearer continuously quoting from the Big Book of Sporting Clichés. Echoing the views of the editor of Entsnews.com, I would like to see Shearer back at St James' park. Not as a player mind you. His Oxbow lake of a hairline is testament to the fact that his playing days are far behind him, but as a coach I do feel he could have an impact at a club so desperate for a hero as Newcastle United.

Go on Alan - Come and join the party. It's a big ask and a potential banana skin, and we all know there are no easy games in football. But with a good old fashioned centre forward such as yourself at the helm, and by simply taking each game as it comes... I'm sure you can turn it around!

Fee-Fie-Foe-Fum... I smell an upset

In an incredible weekend of FA cup action the giant killers were out in force, setting up a semi-final round involving 3 Championship clubs and only one Premiership representative (and not one you might have thought). People all around the country will be kicking themselves they didn't put that bet on, but then again who could have really predicted it?!

The real hero story from the quarter-finals has to be the relegation threatened Barnsley knocking out last year's champions the mighty (rich) Chelsea, showing that money can't buy you love. Having said that, the financial boost they'll get from reaching the next round will certainly put a few smiles on the faces of the players (and perhaps a few new cars in the Oakwell Stadium car park).

Cardiff City did very well to knock out the not-so-mighty Middlesborough, and will be pleased to have drawn Barnsley in the semis. Similarly Barnsley will be happy to have been drawn against Cardiff, not least their on loan goalkeeper Luke Steele who had they drawn West Brom would have been prevented from playing against his parent club.

Although West Brom have turned out some excellent performances in the past few rounds of the cup, they will do very well to get passed Portsmouth, whose manager Harry Redknapp will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of becoming the first English manager in over 10 years to lift the FA cup.

Gretna prepare for administration

Gretna Football Club are preparing to move into administration after a halt in funding from their owner Brooks Mileson who is unwell.

Mileson became the owner of Gretna FC in 2003, and his funding has helped them achieve unprecedented success in recent years. However, due to his poor health, he is no longer in a position to continue supporting the club financially, and Gretna are now destined for relegation, currently sitting bottom of the Scottish Premier league table with a 10 point penalty looming.

Following a meeting last Friday 7th March, the club directors passed a resolution to place the club into administration. A 'formal notice of intention' was filed in the Court of Session in Edinburgh this morning (Monday 10th March).

Lookalike (Football managers week): Avram Grant and Bela Lugosi (Dracula)

Friday, 7 March 2008

Trent Bridge Named In Pre-Olympic Guide

Trent Bridge was today named as one of the top East Midlands sporting venues to be included in London’s 2012 Pre-Olympic Games Training Camp Guide.

The Guide will be published at the Beijing Games and will give teams and individual athletes a great selection of venues from which they can choose to prepare for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Guide will be circulated to all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, who will then decide where to base themselves or to send athletes to prepare and acclimatise for London 2012.

Said Notts Chief Executive Derek Brewer: “It is excellent news that Trent Bridge has been included in the Guide and we look forward to playing a part in the exciting build-up to London 2012.

“That’s an event which will captivate the UK like never before and we are very anxious to be a part of it.

“Bearing in mind that the archery competition in 2012 will be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, we recognised some time ago that there was obvious potential to stage pre-event competitions at Trent Bridge.

“It is no secret that we have already held discussions with local and national archery organisations to check the feasibility, and now that we have officially been named in the Guide we will be looking to take things forward.”

Facilities in the East Midlands Guide range from well known major sporting hubs, universities and schools, and community and sports specific facilities.

Said Jeff Moore, Chief Executive of East Midlands Development Agency: “We are delighted that many of our regional facilities will be included in the Guide.

“We can offer venues right across the East Midlands from world renowned, iconic venues such as Trent Bridge through to fantastic community facilities such as Braunstone Leisure Centre in Leicester. In Loughborough University we are proud to have one of the very best sports training facilities in the world.

“We see the hosting of teams as a real opportunity to bring the Games to the people of the East Midlands and we know we have a range of sites that will be attractive to competing nations.”

World First For 888.Com World Snooker Championship Draw

Fans around the world will have the chance to watch live as the 888.com World Snooker Championship draw is broadcast online for the first time ever at 13.00 GMT on Tuesday, March 11th on www.888snooker.com

The webcast, live from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, will begin with pre-Draw build up at 12.30, culminating with the Draw at 13.00. Snooker fans around the globe will also be the first to hear reactions to the Draw from current 888.com World Snooker Champion John Higgins, as well as two-times ranking event winner Neil Robertson. The players will also entertain fans with a special snooker exhibition.

888.com World Champion John Higgins said: “March 11th will be a special day in snooker history as it is the first time that snooker fans all around the world will be able to watch the Draw live. Snooker is a global game and this can only help to broaden the fan base for snooker and the 888.com World Snooker Championship”.

The Draw will pit the 16 top seeds at random against the 16 players who battle through the final qualifying round, which takes place from March 7th to 10th at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield.

The 888.com World Snooker Championship itself runs from April 19th to May 5th at the Crucible Theatre.

Lookalike: Dennis Rodman & A Gnu

Thursday, 6 March 2008

London Wasps Statement Regarding Danny Cipriani

London Wasps are very disappointed to hear that Danny Cipriani has been withdrawn from the England team to face Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations this weekend.

Cipriani, who was photographed outside a London nightclub at approximately 12.20am last night, will not travel to Scotland with the England team, and as a result Wasps Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan has confirmed that he will consider Cipriani for selection in Wasps team to face Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership at Adams Park on Sunday.

Said McGeechan: “We are hugely disappointed with the decision to withdraw Danny from the England team, and similarly disappointed for Danny himself.”

“Danny was pictured outside a nightclub last night, where he had gone in to see a friend. He did not stay inside the nightclub for any length of time and he was not drinking. He was at worst naïve in his actions, but no more than that. Given the circumstances, a measured response to his actions was required and I think this is a very harsh decision.

“Danny will return to club training tomorrow, and as we are currently selecting the Wasps team to face Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership on Sunday, we will be considering Danny in our selection for that game.”


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Cancun Makes Boxing History

Cancun will make history on Saturday March 8th when they host ‘The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship’ in the Cancun Bullring. It will be the first time a high profile Sporting event of this nature has taken place in Mexico.

Boxing legends Oleg Maskaev from Kazakhstan and Samuel Peter from Nigeria will be topping the bill when they meet in the ring for the main fight. Also enthralling the crowd will be fighting competitors; John Ruiz and Jameel Mccline, Juan Diaz and Nate Campbell and Jose Luis Castillo and Timothy Bradley.

Tickets range in price from US$10 to US$2000 and it is anticipated that it will be a ‘sell out’. Once the show is over visitors can enjoy everything Cancun has to offer.

24 Hours Of Live TV Coverage Secured for Silverstone Classic

Motors TV commit to full two-day broadcast across the UK and Europe for 2008 and 2009

European satellite broadcaster Motors TV have enthusiastically committed to a 2-year minimum arrangement to broadcast live the Silverstone Classic during the main event race days, which this year are Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.

Motors TV broadcasts to 9 million homes across the UK and a further 5.5 million homes across Europe and the agreement represents a major achievement for the new event organisers. The entire race programme, starting at 9am each day, will receive continuous live coverage, with the exception of a 90-minute slot on Sunday afternoon when the DTM race from the Nurburgring will be shown. Races that are run during that break in the live coverage will be broadcast later that afternoon.

“The Silverstone Classic is a truly international event and as a pan European TV broadcaster Motors TV is the perfect partner,” said Silverstone Classic Event Director Roger Etcell. “The Classic is a very colourful festival and with an action packed three day schedule both on and off the track Motors TV quickly recognised the benefits of a live broadcast during the two race days. We are extremely excited about this development and for all of the advantages the live coverage will bring to the event as we work to improve and enhance the Silverstone Classic over the coming years.”

“Entering a partnership with the Silverstone Classic was an easy decision to make”, added Motors TV Head of Programming & Acquisitions Frédéric Viger, “it is a unique event, and bears a very special historic flavor. As soon as we started discussions with Roger Etcell it became evident that we had to show the full event LIVE, therefore we’ll be able to offer our viewers not only the racing, but also the atmosphere between the races which, I believe, is a major part of the event. Furthermore being a partner of such a big meeting is fully in line with our will of strengthening our links with British Motorsports”

Event Background:

The annual Silverstone Classic festival will be organised and promoted by Motion Works UK Limited (MWUK) on behalf of CAE (Silverstone) Limited, the company recently licensed by Silverstone to stage the event for the next five years.

The annual Silverstone Classic is a celebration of motor racing across all decades from the 1920s to the 1990s on a current FIA approved circuit and is not totally historic as it also invites more contemporary races such as Group C, Saloons and late Formula One cars to be raced and seen in their appropriate surroundings. Classic Car Owner Clubs from across the UK and overseas play an important supporting role in recent years with 4,000 cars expected this year. The event Auction remains an important landmark and features such as the Scarf & Goggles meeting area, art & photo galleries, period air displays, funfairs, themed catering, will be retained and enhanced, with new attractions being added over the next few years.

A new event website at www.silverstoneclassic.com is currently under development and is due for launch in the first week of March.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Book Published To Celebrate 100 Years Of The Marathon Distance

As the 2008 London Marathon celebrates the centenary of the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, a standard now accepted worldwide, here is the story of how that bizarre distance was set and how events surrounding three of the competitors who made the biggest headlines in the 1908 Olympics have defined the sport ever since.

Written by John Bryant, who is a long-time marathon runner and who has helped develop the London Marathon for over 25 years, it will be launched at Marathon House on March 26th and published by John Blake Publishing on March 27th.

Published to coincide with the 2008 London Marathon
and to celebrate 100 years of ‘The Distance’


The true story of the first modern marathon

As Sebastian Coe writes in his Foreword:

‘In the finest traditions of Chariots of Fire, John Bryant’s book vividly recreates one of the most dramatic days and events in sport – the 1908 Olympic Games Marathon in London, an epic contest which, along with the intense rivalries, idealism, controversies and spectacle of the Games shaped the evolution of modern sporting culture …. documented in a way that will inspire future generations.’

THE MARATHON MAKERS is a must-read for runners, armchair sports-fans and anyone who values inspiration.

John Bryant is a long-time marathon runner. He has worked as a Fleet Street journalist since 1971 and was most recently Editor-in-Chief of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. He is the author of 3:59.4 – The Quest to Break the 4 Minute Mile and London Marathon – The History of the Greatest Race on Earth.

His passionate interest in sport and physical endeavour – both as a writer and a top-class competitor – led to his involvement in the London Marathon, which he has tirelessly promoted, helped develop and competed in for over 25 years. At one point in his marathoning career, he was hit by a car while training and had to fight his way back to running after being left in a wheelchair with a warning that he would never race again.

A lifelong athlete and Oxford Blue, John coached Olympic athlete Zola Budd and is a veteran of marathons around the world. He was a long-time captain of the world’s oldest cross-country club, the Thames Hare and Hounds, and a former county champion.

He is married with two children and lives in Surrey and Dorset.


To be published in hardback by John Blake Publishing on March 27 at £14.99.

To be launched at a reception hosted by David Bedford at Marathon House on March 26.

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday April 13.

2008 marks the centenary of the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards.

John Bryant is a long-time marathon runner. At one point in his marathoning career, he was hit by a car while training and had to fight his way back to running after being left in a wheelchair with a warning that he would never race

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Lookalike: Brad Friedel and Hellboy

Lookalike: Wayne Rooney & Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Shrek & Donkey

Friday, 29 February 2008

Lookalike: Nasser Hussain and Mads Mikkelsen

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sports Bloopers

Middlesbrough V Cardiff City Tickets

The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
Sixth Round Proper
Middlesbrough v Cardiff City
Sunday 9th March 2008

Cardiff City FC has been allocated 3930 tickets for the above match at the Riverside Stadium.

Tickets will be sold on a priority basis as follows:

Sunday 2nd March – 10am-4pm – Ambassadors Only
Monday 3rd March – 9am-5pm – Ambassadors Only
Tuesday 4th March – 9am-5pm – Ambassadors Only

Wednesday 5th March – 9am-5pm – Ambassadors, Season Ticket Holders & Away Travel Members

Thursday 6th March – 9am-5pm – Ambassadors, Season Ticket Holders & Away Travel Members

Friday 7th March – 9am-5pm – Ambassadors, Season Ticket Holders & Away Travel Members

Saturday 8th March – 9am-3pm – Ambassadors, Season Ticket Holders & Away Travel Members

On Sunday the ticket office will be fully staffed and tickets will be available online (www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk), for personal callers to the ticket office and for telephone bookings, all from 10am. Due to the expected initial demand, it is preferred that tickets are purchased by visiting the ticket office in person.

We will have five ticket office points of sale and three telephone lines available on Sunday.


Prices have been agreed as follows:

£15 Adult (Away Travel Members)
£12 Adult (Ambassadors & Season Ticket Holders)
£10 All Senior Citizens
£5 U18 (Ambassadors & Season Ticket Holders)
£5 U16 (Away Travel Members)

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Lookalike: Bryan Habana and Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Lookalike: Gareth Bale and Cornelius (Planet of the Apes)

Friday, 22 February 2008

Lookalike: Robert Green & Rick Schroder

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Moves To Liverpool For 2008

The Echo Arena to host the live awards event on Sunday 14 December 2008

The BBC announced today that the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year event will be held at The Echo Arena Liverpool and will be covered live on BBC One on Sunday 14 December 2008.

The state-of-the-art Echo Arena Liverpool is a 10,600 seat entertainment and sporting venue and is part of the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, the venue for the launch of the city's Capital of Culture celebrations.

With tickets for the previous two shows selling out within three hours, the increase in the size of the venue will also allow an increase in the total size of the audience.

Last year 8,000 people were able to view the show live and the move to Liverpool, for this year’s event, will allow even greater numbers to experience the unique atmosphere.

Roger Mosey, Director of Sport, said: "It feels right to be taking Sports Personality Of The Year to the great sporting city of Liverpool, and it’s particularly exciting to be part of the Capital of Culture events.

"We’ve had a great time in Birmingham in the past two years and we’d love to go back there in future, but this shows our commitment to taking the event to venues outside London and to allowing as many people as possible to see their sporting heroes."

Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool Chief Executive Bob Prattey said: "This is a major achievement for the city of Liverpool and for our venue.

"It is entirely fitting that a city with such an illustrious sporting history and pedigree should host these awards during its year as European Capital of Culture."

Echo Arena General Manager Tim Banfield added: "We are delighted to be hosting this year's awards ceremony, which will bring invaluable exposure to Liverpool at a time when the city is going through an unprecedented period of renaissance.

"The Echo Arena is at the heart of this renaissance and is arguably the finest venue of its kind in the UK, if not Europe."

The BBC Sports Personality Of The Year event, supported by Robinsons, recorded viewing figures of 8.6 million people watching Joe Calzaghe win the 2007 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Programme, ticket and voting details will be announced nearer the time.