O’Brien: Stadium can attract the best

first_img Press Association After years of legal wrangling, the London Legacy Development Corporation finally confirmed last Friday that it had chosen West Ham to become anchor tenants of the London 2012 stadium in Stratford. The Hammers are expected to move in to the 60,000-seater venue at the start of the 2016-17 season, and the club are determined to use the fact that they are moving to one of the most iconic stadia in Great Britain as a key selling point for any transfer targets. O’Brien said: “I think it can only mean good things for the club when you move into a stadium like that.” Joey O’Brien thinks Sam Allardyce will be able to attract some of the best players in the world to West Ham now that they have been handed the keys to the Olympic Stadium.center_img Co-owner David Sullivan already appears to have upped the stakes in the market with his pursuit of Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony, while other targets for next season have also been identified. Bolton were able to attract the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo to the Reebok Stadium after they moved there from Burnden Park and the former Trotters defender, now a regular starter with the Hammers, thinks a higher calibre of player will also be tempted to move to West Ham once they see how good their new home is. O’Brien added: “You can attract players and supporters from all over the world to play and watch there. If the club want to push on and finish higher in the league, then we need a bigger stadium and to fill it to get the revenue into the football club. It’s a great step forward. “It will be unbelievable. Looking at the stadium when the Olympics were on and seeing what the club want to do with it by turning it into a football stadium, it looks unbelievable.” Bolton were favourites for the drop when Allardyce took them in to the Barclays Premier League in 2001, but they remained in the top-flight for 11 years before being relegated last summer. During that time Bolton made the League Cup final and qualified for the UEFA Cup – something which would have been possible without the move to their new stadium, O’Brien reckons. “If they hadn’t have moved to the Reebok then I don’t think they’d have established themselves in the Premier League and definitely wouldn’t have got into Europe,” the 27-year-old added. “Stadia help to attract players and get revenue into the club and, from that, if the team settles into the stadium then it will help them to beat teams and finish higher up the league, then you attract more players. It’s a rolling thing. Up there at Bolton, they would probably have not achieved the same success without the new stadium.” last_img read more

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Henry pays tribute to families

first_img He added: “It is an honour to be here on this particular day, the first service since the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report. Now there is a real belief that justice will be served. “This club will always cherish the memory of family and friends lost 24 years ago today. They will forever be part of Liverpool Football Club.” Henry’s reading was followed later in the afternoon by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, symbolising the way in which the city had been united in both grief and the subsequent quest for justice. “I hope since that day you have known the support of Everton Football Club for you,” he said. “I hope by this time next year you will be celebrating the greatest victory that a team in this country could do.” Henry and Kenwright were joined by Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, manager Brendan Rodgers, backroom staff and players in the Kop in front of thousands of members of the public, some carrying banners, many wearing the colours of Liverpool and also plenty in Everton blue. Many former players who attended, including Kenny Dalglish, who was also the manager at the time of the Hillsborough disaster and returned to the club for a second spell in 2011, Alan Hansen, who played in the ill-fated semi-final, and Kevin Keegan. The arrival of the Hillsborough families, en masse, prompted a prolonged standing ovation from the members of the public seated immediately behind them on the Kop. The American, significantly making his first appearance at the annual service to remember those who died in the 1989 disaster, gave a reading before addressing thousands assembled on the Kop at Anfield. “I can understand the importance of the 96 to the club,” Henry said. “I have been humbled by the dignity and perseverance of the families in their search for truth and justice.” Liverpool’s principal owner John Henry praised the perseverance of the Hillsborough families in their campaign for justice, admitting he was “humbled” by their dignity.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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De Guzman re-signs for Swans

first_img De Guzman scored eight goals last season as the Swans finished ninth in the Premier League and won the Capital One Cup and he is aiming to continue that progression come August. “I had a great year at Swansea,” said the 25-year-old. “The people around the club and the fans treated me well. “It was not just the results we had; it was more about showing we can also compete with the big teams. We played better against the bigger teams. “We played well in a lot of games. We played good football and it’s refreshing playing in a team that has a good football mind. “I’m very satisfied with what happened. We did very well – we were very creative. We really put Swansea on the map.” Swansea have re-signed Jonathan de Guzman on loan for next season, the Barclays Premier League club have confirmed. The Dutch international spent last season on loan at the Liberty and Swans chairman Huw Jenkins has confirmed that the winger will be remaining in South Wales next term after agreement was reached with his parent-club Villarreal. “Everyone is happy the loan is continuing,” Jenkins told www.swanseacity.net. ”Then Jonathan will review his long-term future next summer.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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The Fugue enters Leopardstown frame

first_img John Gosden’s filly clinched her second Group One prize with a mesmerising display on the Knavesmire last month, after which the Clarehaven handler mentioned the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup as possible options. At that stage, a trip to Leopardstown was not discussed, but with the prospect of her favoured fast ground looking likely, she has been confirmed for what would be a fascinating clash with the colts. Ground conditions at Leopardstown could lead to Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue taking her chance in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday. Simon Marsh, racing and bloodstock manager for The Fugue’s owners Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, said: “John (Gosden) is not here at the moment, but we will talk about things in the next couple of days. “Looking at the weather forecast there is not a lot of rain around at the moment and she has got her preferred ground, so we might let her take her chance. There has been no decision about Saturday, but she would be a definite possible.” While the drying weather could persuade connections of The Fugue to give an Irish mission the green light, it looks likely to scupper the participation of both Al Kazeem and Cirrus Des Aigles. The Roger Charlton-trained Al Kazeem has already enjoyed a stunning campaign, claiming a Group One hat-trick in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse. However, he was beaten into third in a fast-ground Juddmonte International at York last month and ease underfoot is essential for his next assignment. Charlton told his website, www.rogercharlton.com: “James Doyle walked the course (on Sunday) before his second Group One winner at the Curragh and described the ground as being very quick. So unless there is a change in the weather forecast before the weekend Al Kazeem is looking a doubtful starter. A decision will be taken nearer the time.” Al Kazeem is likely to have one more run before a tilt at either the Arc on October 6 or the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot 13 days later, according to his owner John Deer, who said: “I would think he’ll have two more runs. He’s entered in the Prix Foy at Longchamp (September 15) and then after that it’s the Arc or the Champion Stakes “I never thought I’d be talking about one of my horses running in races like this, it’s unbelievable. He’s had a great year and he’s just a fantastic horse.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Allardyce – Stop moaning AVB

first_img Matthew Taylor misses out after suffering a knock in the Capital One Cup victory against Burnley while Mladen Petric is also out for a couple of weeks after aggravating an injury in an Under 21 run-out. Ricardo Vaz Te misses out, too, after dislocating a shoulder against Swansea on Sunday. Allardyce, however, is confident his side – when the squad is fully-fit – will start to surge up the Premier League table and believes they have a good chance of beating Tottenham and going all the way in the Capital One Cup. “On the night you have to have your team spot on,” Allardyce added. “You have to have your team get a bit of luck and you have to make sure you get through. “Andre will have his problems because he is still playing Europa League football on top of Premier League football on top of Capital One Cup next round. “There is no doubt we will make some changes in our team that we play against them and I’m sure that they will. “They have obviously invested in a huge squad now, spending £100million. So I suppose the pressure is more on them than us because they are supposed to be able to cope with it more than we are.” “Chelsea will go away and play the same way at Schalke and play on the break. Manchester United will go away and play the same way. “They all know that they play that way themselves so they can’t really criticise the team that comes to them and sits behind the ball because they do the same in the bigger games, especially in the Champions League. “So when you hear a manager moaning about that, he should really watch what he is saying because when it comes around and he does it he wants to get some praise for what he does, particularly if he ends up with a result or winning. “We all have to tactically set out how to nullify the opposition.” Allardyce faces an Aston Villa side on Saturday perfectly suited to a counter-attacking style and he is mindful of the fact that West Ham have lost three league matches so far this season at Upton Park. Allardyce said: “We are one of those teams who are struggling with points on the board. All that matters at the end is winning matches. Last season at home was a fantastic ride for us. This season it has been bitterly disappointing. “The players are bound to feel extra pressure and feel more anxious but they have to remind themselves of the good performances they’ve given and continue in that vein from a confidence point of view. “We have been severely punished for not taking chances.” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas criticised the White Hart Lane fans last weekend for not being patient enough as his side tried to break down a Hull side with a massed defence looking to break on the counter. But Allardyce, whose West Ham side were drawn against Spurs in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals, said: “They (Tottenham) do the same when they play in Europe. Press Association Sam Allardyce has told the Premier League’s top managers to stop moaning when teams go to their grounds and shut up shop.last_img read more

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Pellegrini: Rest was best for Hart

first_imgManchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has claimed Joe Hart accepted he needed to be taken out of the firing line for a short spell. After a growing number of errors, Hart was left out of the Capital One Cup win over Newcastle on October 30. In total, England’s World Cup keeper spent nine of 11 games on the bench before being recalled for the quarter-final victory at Leicester in the same competition. Press Association Not that the Blues chief ever doubted that would be the eventual outcome. “Maybe some other players would have reacted in a bad way but he always reacted in a very good way,” said Pellegrini. “That is why he has returned for us in very good form. “He is the best goalkeeper in England, a goalkeeper for a big team and he makes important saves. “That is normal for him and why he is the number one in England.” City were indebted to Hart for maintaining their 100 per cent home record. Though the hosts dominated possession, they were largely limited to half chances until Edin Dzeko finished off Jesus Navas’ cut-back to break the deadlock midway through the second period. Yet just before Hart had superbly denied Jason Puncheon and not long afterwards, Joel Ward was the man cursing his luck as Hart dived full length to repel a dipping volley that was heading for the top corner. It was a rare lethargic home performance from the Blues – and exactly the kind of successful title-winning campaigns tend to be built around. “I wouldn’t say we won ugly,” said City skipper Vincent Kompany. “We just ground it out against a team that was really well organised. “Credit to Palace, I was very impressed with the way they set up and they seemed to match us in the important moments.” For a brief period at least, it took City top of the Premier League for the first-time this season, following a run of seven wins and a draw from eight games. Not that Kompany is reading too much into that given how difficult the season has been so far. And the Belgian expects it to continue in much the same way. “Being top is important but it doesn’t mean too much yet,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves in a nice position for the second half of the season but ultimately we arrive in January and there’s still not much between all the teams. “The league is still as tough as it’s ever been, which is probably due to the new broadcasting resources. That’s reflected in the strength in depth of all of the teams. “As much as there are differences in the purchases between the top teams and the lesser one, the latter have still got incredible resources compared to other European leagues. “That creates so much attraction towards the Premier League, and that’s what you’ve seen at the beginning of the season; teams struggling to cope with the competitiveness of the league. “Maybe that’s why the top teams dropped points earlier in the season.” Hart has kept his place ever since and on Saturday earned deserved man-of-the-match honours in a scrappy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, when he made a succession of key saves, in addition to receiving a nasty gash near the eye following a first-half collision with Cameron Jerome. It was the kind of display that earned Hart his status as the national side’s undisputed number one. Yet, according to Pellegrini, even Hart conceded when the axe fell, he knew it was warranted. “I did what I thought was best for the team and Joe Hart,” said the City boss. “At that moment, Joe needed the rest. “Maybe he would not say it, but he agreed with me. He realised it.” The immediate reaction was to wonder whether Hart might agitate for a move away from the Etihad Stadium in order to preserve his England status ahead of the World Cup. Instead, the 26-year-old redoubled his efforts and worked his way back into Pellegrini’s favour. last_img read more

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Williams tired of second-half lapse

first_img The Welsh side’s home matches have followed a depressingly familiar pattern in recent weeks. Against both Crystal Palace and West Brom on Saturday, the Swans dominated and hogged possession in the first half, went 1-0 up, only to produce a limp second period and allow their opposition back into the game. It was West Brom’s first away win since they upset Manchester United at Old Trafford in September, but more importantly for Spaniard Mel, it was the first time he had tasted victory since taking charge on January 9. West Brom are now three points clear of the drop, but the former Real Betis boss will not allow his charges to look any further forward than their clash with Hull City at the KC Stadium next week. “The next match is the most important for us – the first – Hull City,” he said. “We need to win again. The most important thing now is to look at the next game, only the next game. “Tomorrow I am pleased, the players are happy, but only for tomorrow. The next training session it will be important to work hard, and get together again.” Palace went away with a point, but the Baggies took all three to give their under-pressure head coach Pepe Mel his first win at the club. Centre-back Williams played his 100th Premier League game for the Swans at the Liberty Stadium, but was in no mood to celebrate having seen an expected win turn into a surprising 2-1 loss. He said: “You might play bad, you might play good, but the effort level and the dedication to the game, and concentration, has to be 100 per cent in this league. You can play against any team and if you’re not at it, you’ll lose. “I think (in the) second half we weren’t at it for whatever reason and that can’t, and will never, happen again.” Interim manager Garry Monk could not fathom why his side produced such a “sloppy” second half, having started strongly following a 13-day break after seven matches in 22 days. Now sitting 14th in the table and four points above the relegation zone, Monk hopes his players will be able to show some of the battling qualities that sides “scrapping for their lives”, like West Brom, are producing. Belgian winger Roland Lamah’s early opener for Swansea was cancelled out by a superb 25-yard strike from Stephane Sessegnon in the 52nd minute. The Baggies – who before the game were only clear of the bottom three on goal difference – then pushed on and Congolese midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu side-footed home the winner from outside the box on 85 minutes. Press Association Swansea skipper Ashley Williams has vowed to banish the second-half sloppiness preventing his team from pulling away from the relegation zone. last_img read more

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Ginola calls for stability

first_img Press Association Andre Villas-Boas succeeded Harry Redknapp in July 2012, only to be unseated 17 months later. Former Spurs midfielder Sherwood took the reins on an 18-month deal in December 2013, but he lasted just five months before being sacked. “To be successful in the game you need stability and it doesn’t look very stable,” said Ginola, at an event to launch Heineken’s Ultimate Player enterprise. “I’m not saying it was the wrong decision on Tim Sherwood, I’m saying you can’t be successful if you change managers every two or three years. “You need stability first of all, the same staff working together with a bunch of players, year in year out, for at least two or three years, to make sure they will create this momentum a club needs to get success in the end, that’s it.” Ginola spent three years at Tottenham between 1997 and 2000 as well as winning 17 caps for France in a 17-year professional career. Hopeful Spurs will hand their next boss time to bring trophies to White Hart Lane, Ginola added: “Tottenham did well with Harry Redknapp, then he went. They employed AVB, ok great, you have to take this. “They spent 100 million last summer, sold Gareth Bale and in the end finish in roughly the same position. “There was expectation, and fans were delighted to see the club spending money and pushing resources. “It’s a disappointment that Erik Lamela didn’t play and Roberto Soldado didn’t perform. “Now they need the right person for at least the next three to five years, that’s the most important thing, because success needs stability. “So that’s why I was a bit concerned when they got rid of Tim Sherwood, because he’s a young manager, brand new, who had never done things before. “But he’s been working at the club for some time in the academy and knows the club well. “He’s got a good view; he had Les Ferdinand on one side and Steffen Freund on the other, so we’re talking about a former Spurs player there. “And I think at the end of the season, with Man United, with Giggs, Scholes, Phil Neville and all those guys, it looks right, it sounds right. “But those guys need time, not for them to learn, but they need time to work with the players. “Louis Van Gaal is at Man United, good, he’s going to spend money on players, good, but he’s expected to bring back results for the club, so it’s a big task in front of him. “And I think it’s going to be a big task for the next Spurs manager, it’s as simple as that.” The 47-year-old is working through his FIFA coaching qualifications, but took time to hail a bumper Saturday of Champions League and Heineken Cup finals. Heineken have produced the ‘ultimate player’ by selecting body parts from Europe’s top rugby and football stars, including Lionel Messi’s eyes and Jonny Wilkinson’s left leg. Spurs have been tipped to appoint Southampton’s Mauricio Pochettino as Tim Sherwood’s successor for months. But whoever gets the job, former Tottenham and France winger Ginola believes Spurs cannot achieve ambitions like regular Champions League football without handing their next boss an extended run at the helm. Tottenham must hand their next manager three to five years in order to stabilise the White Hart Lane club, according to David Ginola.last_img read more

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Moyes fears for British bosses

first_img After a successful 11-year spell at Everton Moyes endured a difficult season at Manchester United before being sacked in April. The 51-year-old, who will be replaced at Old Trafford by Dutch boss Louis van Gaal next season, is keen to see more home-grown managers at the pinnacle of the game. David Moyes hopes he is not the last British manager to be given a chance at a top club. “To do a top job, I believe you have to earn your stripes,” Moyes told several national newspapers. “The route through to the top for a British manager is a long process and maybe having a job abroad and getting recognised for your work there, might be the way in the future. “But I hope I won’t be the last one to be given a chance to manage one of the top ones.” Despite his time working at two of Liverpool’s biggest rivals, Moyes said he is pleased that Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers has been able to find success at Anfield. “Brendan has come in and with the time he’s been given has been able to turn round Liverpool and I think it’s really important for British mangers that he’s done that,” Moyes added. “Brendan was given the opportunity and because of that Liverpool have a good future. Tony Pulis also showed what our managers can do (having rescued Crystal Palace from relegation danger). I hope I’m not the end of British managers getting opportunities at the top.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Hibbert hoping for bigger role

first_img And he hopes the greater number of fixtures Everton have next term due to their Europa League involvement will work in his favour in terms of getting first-team action. “I picked up a few injuries (last season) but I’m fit and I’m ready to go,” Hibbert told evertontv. “Because of the amount of games that we are playing and the way the manager (Roberto Martinez) likes to keep people fresh, he might introduce players who haven’t played the week before. “The games will come thick and fast, so it is very important to have a good, strong squad.” Regarding Everton’s official player of the season Coleman, Hibbert added: “Seamus has been unbelievable and deserves his place for the way he is playing. “It’s one of them where we need players in the squad that will keep fighting for each other and pushing each other for places.” Press Association The 33-year-old Toffees youth academy product has made only 10 appearances in all competitions over the past two campaigns, with injuries and the form of fellow right-back Seamus Coleman both contributing to his time out of the side. Hibbert – confirmed on Tuesday to have put pen to paper on a new two-year deal – says he is now “fit and ready to go”, though. center_img Everton defender Tony Hibbert is optimistic about his potential playing time next season after signing a new contract with the club.last_img read more

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