Which football teams doctored their playing surface to hinder opponents? | The Knowledge

22-01-2019 Plus: top-scoring defenders, non-league double delight and strange middle names. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Pep Guardiola says he didn’t leave the Etihad grass long against Liverpool. But which teams or managers have used this tactic to help their own side or hinder an opponent?” asks George Jones.Let’s start with the Poundland Machiavelli, former Cambridge and Lincoln innovator John Beck. Everyone in football knows about the infamous Beck and the stunts he used to pull at Cambridge. He brought in statisticians to lecture his players about how few passes were needed to score. He had the grass grown several inches long in the corners to hold up the ball when his players knocked it over the top. During the week they would rough up the pitch so anybody who tried to play football against them was at a disadvantage. “We just used to boot it upfield, so it didn’t really matter to us,” Steve Claridge recalls in his autobiography. Continue reading...

Championship promotion race: who’s heading up and who’s missing out? | Ben Fisher

22-01-2019 Leeds have set the pace but the chasing pack are closing and the race to reach the Premier League is hotting upEver since Marcelo Bielsa took charge last summer the fear, in some quarters at least, was that Leeds would fail to last the distance – or that ‘El Loco’, a headline appointment, might himself not finish the season in charge. The early pacesetters, Leeds now face the true litmus test given they have lost four of their last five games. They have coped admirably with injuries, strengthening their goalkeeping options with Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid, while the next generation have flourished, none more so than Jack Clarke. Until the turn of the year there were no blemishes but Bielsa’s spying revelations have brought with them even greater scrutiny. So far Bielsa and Leeds – a sleeping giant in every sense – have proved a match made in heaven, a glorious cocktail, though the next four gruelling months represent the final hurdle. Continue reading...

Search for Cardiff City’s Emiliano Sala and missing plane called off for night

22-01-2019 • Flight from Nantes to Cardiff missing over Channel• Sala signed for Cardiff for £15m last SaturdayThe search for Emiliano Sala, the Argentinian footballer who signed for Cardiff City last Saturday, has been called off for the night after a private plane carrying him disappeared near the Channel Islands.The French civil aviation authority confirmed Sala was one of two people on board a small plane travelling from Nantes to Cardiff that went missing near the Casquets lighthouse on Monday evening. Continue reading...

Australian Open 2019: Petra Kvitova sets up semi-final against Danielle Collins

22-01-2019 Petra Kvitova reaches her first Grand Slam semi-final since being stabbed in a knife attack as she beats Ashleigh Barty at the Australian Open.

Stuart Lancaster: ‘I haven’t decided if I’ll go to watch England play Ireland’

22-01-2019 The Leinster coach on the bruising aftermath of his 2015 England exit, finding fulfilment in Dublin and the pain of his father’s death‘Pretty much everything has been given to Leinster and, indirectly, to Ireland,” Stuart Lancaster says when he considers how the knowledge he gained during seven years at the heart of English rugby has been jettisoned by his own country. The Leinster coach speaks without bitterness and, having reflected movingly on the recent death of his father and the bruising aftermath of being sacked by England after the 2015 World Cup, he sounds philosophical. Related: England’s Six Nations squad has tools to be hard, direct and ruthless Continue reading...

Joe Root tells England players to focus on West Indies and not the Ashes

22-01-2019 • Captain does not want team to be distracted• ‘We have to look after here and now’, says RootJoe Root has ordered his players to forget about jostling for Ashes places as they look to become just the second England team in 51 years to win a Caribbean Test series.Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s first Test against West Indies at the Kensington Oval, where around 9,000 travelling fans will be in full voice, the message from the England captain was to focus on the present and back up their 3-0 win in Sri Lanka earlier in the winter. Continue reading...

'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

22-01-2019 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

22-01-2019 In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Rise of the TV rules analysts shows the NFL has a problem

22-01-2019 Former officials were picking over controversial decisions on Championship Sunday, a sign that things had gone badly awry for the leagueHere is one statistic you won’t find in the official game book from Sunday’s AFC Championship Game: it took 59 minutes in real time to complete the last eight minutes and 39 seconds of the fourth quarter. All the more time for ad breaks selling pickup trucks and building drama with men who have become central to NFL broadcasts, the “rules analysts.”The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots combined to score 31 points in that span, but the game was also stopped four times so critical plays could be reviewed by the replay official. The longest stretch came when play grinded to a halt for seven minutes while officials reviewed New England receiver Justin Edelman’s apparent muffed handling of a punt, which the Chiefs, trailing 17-14 at the time, recovered at the New England 28-yard line. Continue reading...

Super Bowl: Los Angeles Rams beat New Orleans Saints to NFC title after controversial call

22-01-2019 Watch highlights as the Los Angeles Rams clinch the NFC title and a place in the Super Bowl with a controversial 26-23 overtime victory at the New Orleans Saints.

West Indies v England: Joe Root says it does not matter who scores his team's runs

22-01-2019 England Test captain Joe Root says it does not matter who scores his team's runs, as long as they are winning.

NFL investigates reports of laser pointed at Tom Brady during Chiefs game

22-01-2019 Incident appears to have occurred just before interceptionPatriots won game to reach next month’s Super Bowl LIIIThe NFL is looking into reports that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was targeted with a laser pointer during his team’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Related: Tom Brady was already the greatest QB of all time – now he's just rubbing it in Continue reading...