rss
0

Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley – in pictures

Anthony Joshua stops Wladimir Klitschko in 11th round of their epic Wembley battle, adding the WBA title to his collection of heavyweight world titles Continue reading…

0

Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley – in pictures

Anthony Joshua stops Wladimir Klitschko in 11th round of their epic Wembley battle, adding the WBA title to his collection of heavyweight world titles Continue reading…

0

Tottenham v Arsenal: Pick your combined north London derby XI

Tottenham can end 22 years of Arsenal supremacy in this weekend’s north London derby – but how many Spurs players would get in your combined team?The last time Spurs finished higher than the Gunners was in the 1994-95 season. That could change if Mauri…

0

Australia’s Olympics-sized brawl: a tale of prestige, power and big money

After 27 years in charge of the AOC, John Coates faces a leadership challenge which lays bare a struggle for control over the movement’s future direction

When comedian John Clarke died this month, the most frequent tribute clips came from his ABC television series The Games. In the lead-up to Sydney’s 2000 Olympics, Clarke parodied the organisers with vicious precision. It worked because the likes of John Coates and Kevan Gosper were so readily mocked, with their propensity to public gaffes and the often amateurish appearance of their organisations. For Olympics previous, Australian authorities seemingly only had to arrange a stack of bad tracksuits and clip-on koalas. Now they were building the biggest show on earth. It felt like asking Rooty Hill RSL to run the Opera House.

Skip to the present day, and the scenes could have fuelled Clarke for another season. At the centre remains Coates, as he has since 1990, but a vote for the Australian Olympic Committee presidency this Wednesday could see challenger Danielle Roche bring him down. The contest has become intense. At first it brings to mind that Henry Kissinger misattribution about the bitterness of fights for no real power: congratulations, you’re the lord of slalom canoe events in all the land. But at stake is prestige, authority and very real money.

Continue reading…

0

Antonio Conte urges Chelsea’s ‘warriors’ to see them home in title race

Chelsea’s manager warns Everton will pose a tricky challenge on Sunday but backs his side’s seasoned campaigners to get them over the line

Chelsea will conclude a “crucial week” in the context of their season’s ambitions at Everton on Sunday with Antonio Conte confident his team has the fortitude to cope with the pressures of the run-in as they target the 12 points from their final five games that will guarantee them the Premier League title.

They endured two fruitless trips to Goodison Park last season, in the league under José Mourinho and FA Cup with Guus Hiddink, and were uncharacteristically off-colour in their last away fixture, an untimely defeat at Manchester United a fortnight ago. Yet Conte has been hugely encouraged by his players’ response to that loss at Old Trafford, with second-placed Tottenham Hotspur beaten in the FA Cup semi-final and Southampton subsequently overcome in midweek.

Continue reading…

0

Sunderland relegated: David Moyes says it is 'too soon' to commit to club

Media playback is not supported on this device

Sunderland manager David Moyes said it was “too soon” for him to commit to the club for next season, following their relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats’ 10-season spell in the top flight ended when they lost 1-0 at home to Bournemouth on Saturday and Hull City drew 0-0 at Southampton.

Moyes, who took charge at Sunderland in July last year, has faced calls from supporters to step down.

“I think it’s a question for two or three weeks’ time,” said the Scot.

“I think we all need to reflect and look at everything from top to bottom.”

Chairman Ellis Short, who has been trying to sell the club, apologised to Sunderland fans, and admitted mistakes had been made.

Since Short bought the club in 2009 – he became chairman in 2011 – the Black Cats have had seven full-time managers, but have faced the threat of relegation in almost every season.

“We need to improve both on and off the field, and despite the bitter disappointment there is a strong determination to do so throughout the club,” said the American.

“There is significant work to be done over the summer and when the season is concluded, we intend to share our plans to move forward with our supporters.”

Listen as fans react to Sunderland’s relegation on 606

Were Sunderland right to stand by Moyes?
2011-12 Steve Bruce sacked, replaced by Martin O’Neill Survived
2012-13 O’Neill sacked, replaced by Paolo di Canio Survived
2013-14 Di Canio sacked, replaced by Gus Poyet Survived
2014-15 Poyet sacked, replaced by Dick Advocaat Survived
2015-16 Advocaat resigns, replaced by Sam Allardyce Survived
2016-17 David Moyes replaces Allardyce before season Relegated

‘I feel for the supporters’

This is the first time Moyes has been relegated as a manager, and he warned fans just two games into the the season that he thought they would struggle.

“I feel for the supporters because they’re the people who pay their hard-earned cash to come and watch and we’ve not given them enough this season,” said the former Everton and Manchester United manager.

“I’ve had 400-odd games in the Premier League and I’ve got an idea of what a good squad looks like.

“My feeling at the start of the season was it was going to be a hard graft, and I’d rather be up front with people than tell them something different.”

‘Mistakes have been made’

The defeat by Bournemouth was the ninth time Sunderland have failed to score in their past 10 games, and the 18th time they have failed to do so this season.

Jermain Defoe, the team’s top scorer this season with 14, has not found the net in more than 15 hours of Premier League football.

“We’ve needed Jermain’s goals,” said Moyes.

“At times we haven’t given him enough quality supply. But there has been other times, like today, when a couple of chances came. In the early part of the season he was getting them and finishing them.”

Moyes was given the Sunderland job after Sam Allardyce left for his brief stint as England manager.

He has not been helped by injuries, with Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Duncan Watmore, Jordan Pickford, Paddy McNair and Victor Anichebe among the first-team players to have had lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Short said: “I acknowledge that during my ownership mistakes have been made, particularly in the area of player recruitment, and as a result we have found ourselves struggling to survive in recent seasons.

“We had massive disruption during the summer transfer window, and an unprecedented number of injuries throughout the season.

“These are difficulties which we have been unable to overcome and we are paying the price for that now.”

Media playback is not supported on this device

Analysis – ‘Relegation was inevitable’

Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer:

David Moyes has got to take responsibility as has the owner. It’s been a disastrous season from start to finish. Mismanagement at all levels and they’ve signed some poor players. They’ve been flirting with relegations for a number of seasons and it was inevitable it was going to happen.

A £28m net spend in the last three transfer windows is comparable with teams in and around them, but I worry for Sunderland. There are two players that are assets in that team [Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe]. Other than that there’s not too much in that squad that’s worth a lot of money.

Match of the Day commentator John Motson:

A club badly managed from above for the last four years. At least three managers have got them out of it at the end of the season.

The rot set in at Sunderland a long time ago and it came right from the top.

I have no sympathy with them – they deserved to do down. I just hope somebody, whether it’s David Moyes – a new owner perhaps – has got the opportunity to bring them back.

They have been a great club, they’ve got great fans but I’m afraid the way the club has been run, they’ve deserved what they got.

Former Premier League striker Jason Roberts:

Those Sunderland fans are seeing a team and a club that I think has lacked leadership from the boardroom.

That’s why they have skipped from manager to manager with no real plan or identity.

Maybe they need to go down, refocus, bring in some young hungry players and give a new “project” to the Premier League because Sunderland are a huge club and if they come back up next season, they will be a club many will fear.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

0

Sunderland relegated: David Moyes says it is 'too soon' to commit to club

Media playback is not supported on this device

Sunderland manager David Moyes said it was “too soon” for him to commit to the club for next season, following their relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats’ 10-season spell in the top flight ended when they lost 1-0 at home to Bournemouth on Saturday and Hull City drew 0-0 at Southampton.

Moyes, who took charge at Sunderland in July last year, has faced calls from supporters to step down.

“I think it’s a question for two or three weeks’ time,” said the Scot.

“I think we all need to reflect and look at everything from top to bottom.”

Chairman Ellis Short, who has been trying to sell the club, apologised to Sunderland fans, and admitted mistakes had been made.

Since Short bought the club in 2009 – he became chairman in 2011 – the Black Cats have had seven full-time managers, but have faced the threat of relegation in almost every season.

“We need to improve both on and off the field, and despite the bitter disappointment there is a strong determination to do so throughout the club,” said the American.

“There is significant work to be done over the summer and when the season is concluded, we intend to share our plans to move forward with our supporters.”

Listen as fans react to Sunderland’s relegation on 606

Were Sunderland right to stand by Moyes?
2011-12 Steve Bruce sacked, replaced by Martin O’Neill Survived
2012-13 O’Neill sacked, replaced by Paolo di Canio Survived
2013-14 Di Canio sacked, replaced by Gus Poyet Survived
2014-15 Poyet sacked, replaced by Dick Advocaat Survived
2015-16 Advocaat resigns, replaced by Sam Allardyce Survived
2016-17 David Moyes replaces Allardyce before season Relegated

‘I feel for the supporters’

This is the first time Moyes has been relegated as a manager, and he warned fans just two games into the the season that he thought they would struggle.

“I feel for the supporters because they’re the people who pay their hard-earned cash to come and watch and we’ve not given them enough this season,” said the former Everton and Manchester United manager.

“I’ve had 400-odd games in the Premier League and I’ve got an idea of what a good squad looks like.

“My feeling at the start of the season was it was going to be a hard graft, and I’d rather be up front with people than tell them something different.”

‘Mistakes have been made’

The defeat by Bournemouth was the ninth time Sunderland have failed to score in their past 10 games, and the 18th time they have failed to do so this season.

Jermain Defoe, the team’s top scorer this season with 14, has not found the net in more than 15 hours of Premier League football.

“We’ve needed Jermain’s goals,” said Moyes.

“At times we haven’t given him enough quality supply. But there has been other times, like today, when a couple of chances came. In the early part of the season he was getting them and finishing them.”

Moyes was given the Sunderland job after Sam Allardyce left for his brief stint as England manager.

He has not been helped by injuries, with Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Duncan Watmore, Jordan Pickford, Paddy McNair and Victor Anichebe among the first-team players to have had lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Short said: “I acknowledge that during my ownership mistakes have been made, particularly in the area of player recruitment, and as a result we have found ourselves struggling to survive in recent seasons.

“We had massive disruption during the summer transfer window, and an unprecedented number of injuries throughout the season.

“These are difficulties which we have been unable to overcome and we are paying the price for that now.”

Media playback is not supported on this device

Analysis – ‘Relegation was inevitable’

Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer:

David Moyes has got to take responsibility as has the owner. It’s been a disastrous season from start to finish. Mismanagement at all levels and they’ve signed some poor players. They’ve been flirting with relegations for a number of seasons and it was inevitable it was going to happen.

A £28m net spend in the last three transfer windows is comparable with teams in and around them, but I worry for Sunderland. There are two players that are assets in that team [Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe]. Other than that there’s not too much in that squad that’s worth a lot of money.

Match of the Day commentator John Motson:

A club badly managed from above for the last four years. At least three managers have got them out of it at the end of the season.

The rot set in at Sunderland a long time ago and it came right from the top.

I have no sympathy with them – they deserved to do down. I just hope somebody, whether it’s David Moyes – a new owner perhaps – has got the opportunity to bring them back.

They have been a great club, they’ve got great fans but I’m afraid the way the club has been run, they’ve deserved what they got.

Former Premier League striker Jason Roberts:

Those Sunderland fans are seeing a team and a club that I think has lacked leadership from the boardroom.

That’s why they have skipped from manager to manager with no real plan or identity.

Maybe they need to go down, refocus, bring in some young hungry players and give a new “project” to the Premier League because Sunderland are a huge club and if they come back up next season, they will be a club many will fear.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

0

Anthony Joshua defeats Wladimir Klitschko in epic Wembley battle

• British heavyweight retains world title after rollercoaster contest at Wembley
• Klitschko stopped in 11th round after both fighters suffered knockdowns

Anthony Joshua has beaten Wladimir Klitschko in a stunning world heavyweight title fight at Wembley. Both men suffered knockdowns early in the fight before recovering to take an epic contest to the 11th round, when the British fighter came out on top.

Related: Anthony Joshua knocks out Wladimir Klitschko: world heavyweight title fight – live!

Continue reading…

0

Manchester City Women fall short against Lyon in Champions League

• Champions League semi-final 2nd leg: Lyon 0-1 Manchester City
• Lyon win 3-2 on aggregate

Manchester City Women beat Lyon 1-0 in the second leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final at Park OL but they missed out on June’s final in Cardiff after a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

Carli Lloyd broke the deadlock for City in the 57th minute when Lyon goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi played the ball straight to the American, who fired back past her into the net.

Continue reading…

0

Manchester City Women fall short against Lyon in Champions League

• Champions League semi-final 2nd leg: Lyon 0-1 Manchester City
• Lyon win 3-2 on aggregate

Manchester City Women beat Lyon 1-0 in the second leg of their Women’s Champions League semi-final at Park OL but they missed out on June’s final in Cardiff after a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

Carli Lloyd broke the deadlock for City in the 57th minute when Lyon goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi played the ball straight to the American, who fired back past her into the net.

Continue reading…

0

Luis Suárez fires Barcelona to derby victory over Espanyol

Luis Suárez scored twice as Barcelona moved back to the top of La Liga after a 3-0 derby win at Espanyol.

With Real Madrid having produced a late victory over Valencia earlier, the pressure was firmly back on Luis Enrique’s side.

Continue reading…

0

Luis Suárez fires Barcelona to derby victory over Espanyol

Luis Suárez scored twice as Barcelona moved back to the top of La Liga after a 3-0 derby win at Espanyol.

With Real Madrid having produced a late victory over Valencia earlier, the pressure was firmly back on Luis Enrique’s side.

Continue reading…

0

Arsène Wenger chases top-four comforts but title race absence damns Arsenal | Jacob Steinberg

Recent wins have given Arsenal hope of qualifying again for the Champions League but slow recovery from setbacks ensures the title remains beyond them

For the best teams dealing with adversity is second nature. Losing a game, especially a big one, inevitably leaves a few psychological scars. It happens to everyone, even at the top. The trick is developing and maintaining a mentality tough enough to ensure that self-doubt, kryptonite for any professional athlete, is kept at a safe enough distance to ensure that the mind does not conspire against the body. By working hard and keeping the faith, the chances of one setback turning into a crisis are diminished.

Momentum matters, of course. When Chelsea lost at Manchester United two weeks ago and allowed Tottenham Hotspur a scent of blood in the title race, what came next was as much a test of their mental strength as of their footballing ability. They had two options available, weakness or defiance, and chose the latter by winning their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham last weekend. Three days later Chelsea beat Southampton and Antonio Conte praised his players for taking a “big psychological step” towards the title.

Continue reading…

0

Harry Kane: Tottenham now have higher ambitions than looking down on Arsenal

Harry Kane says that for all the delight Spurs might take in finishing above Arsenal, keeping up the pressure on Chelsea is now the priority

Harry Kane, it is merely the latest marker of Tottenham Hotspur’s progress under Mauricio Pochettino. The club have north London bragging rights in their sights – finally. If they beat Arsenal in the derby at White Hart Lane on Sunday, they will finish above them in the Premier League table for the first time since 1994-95.

Back then, Gerry Francis was in charge at Tottenham, having taken over from Ossie Ardiles in November 1994, while Arsenal also underwent a managerial change during the season – Stewart Houston stepping in to replace George Graham, who was sacked in February 1995 after the bungs scandal. Spurs finished seventh, Arsenal 12th.

Continue reading…

0

Castleford power back to the top after record win over Wigan

• Castleford Tigers 54-4 Wigan Warriors
• Luke Gale scores 20 points in comfortable victory

Castleford powered back to the top of the table in style with their biggest Super League win over Wigan. The scrum-half Luke Gale needed to pass a head test before kick-off to take his place in the Tigers side and he gave the Warriors an almighty headache with a 20-point haul, comprising eight goals from nine attempts and one of their nine tries.

This rout enabled Castleford to complete the double over the champions and demonstrate a sizzling return to form after back-to-back defeats by St Helens and Hull had cast some doubt on their title credentials.

Continue reading…

0

Castleford power back to the top after record win over Wigan

• Castleford Tigers 54-4 Wigan Warriors
• Luke Gale scores 20 points in comfortable victory

Castleford powered back to the top of the table in style with their biggest Super League win over Wigan. The scrum-half Luke Gale needed to pass a head test before kick-off to take his place in the Tigers side and he gave the Warriors an almighty headache with a 20-point haul, comprising eight goals from nine attempts and one of their nine tries.

This rout enabled Castleford to complete the double over the champions and demonstrate a sizzling return to form after back-to-back defeats by St Helens and Hull had cast some doubt on their title credentials.

Continue reading…

0

'World-weary, worn-down & damaged goods' What next for Moyes?

Media playback is not supported on this device

It was only four years ago that David Moyes was hand-picked by retiring Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to succeed him at Old Trafford after 26 years and 38 trophies – now his career and reputation has hit rock-bottom with relegation at Sunderland.

Moyes has endured a torrid and humiliating fall from grace after being deemed worthy of Ferguson’s personal seal of approval to take on Manchester United in 2013 after 11 years of reliable and stable work at Everton.

The manager labelled “The Chosen One” on a banner draped from the Stretford End was out of his depth and sacked after 10 months, the end coming after a defeat at Everton that meant United would not qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 19 years.

Moyes moved abroad to restore his good managerial name but was sacked after a year at La Liga side Real Sociedad – and his return to the Premier League with Sunderland has been an unrelenting nightmare.

What went wrong at Sunderland?

Sunderland have spent 816 days in the relegation zone since 2007<!–

Moyes was a well-received appointment at the Stadium Of Light in July in succession to Sam Allardyce, who rescued the Black Cats from relegation before his brief, inglorious reign as England manager.

The Scot was seen as a safe choice, a man with a point to prove after failures at United and Real Sociedad, and a manager boasting the sort of track record that suggested he was a decent fit to lift perennial Premier League strugglers.

At Everton, he was regarded as capable of getting a team to punch above its weight. Survival would have been seen as success at Sunderland, a situation seemingly suited to his instincts.

In 11 years at Goodison Park, Moyes had only finished outside the top 10 twice, guided Everton to fifth twice and defied the odds in remarkable fashion to take the Toffees into the Champions League qualifiers after finishing fourth in 2004-05.

Moyes, strangely in the eyes of some, departed without mourning among many Everton supporters who felt his attitude was too negative, not helped by a record that saw no Premier League away wins at Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool during his entire reign.

David Moyes<!–

He was also portrayed as a manager who came up short on the big occasions, the 2009 FA Cup final loss to Chelsea, the 2012 semi-final defeat by under-strength Liverpool at Wembley and a hapless 3-0 quarter-final loss to struggling Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park in 2013 being prime examples.

These perceived failings have been underscored by recent failures.

If Sunderland fans were looking for an upbeat message when Moyes arrived, they were to be sadly mistaken when he flagged up a season-long relegation fight after only his second game in charge, a 2-1 home loss to Middlesbrough.

Asked about supporters fearing a season-long struggle, he said: “Well, they would probably be right.”

Realism is one thing – negativity and defeatism is another. This was a message that was badly received by Sunderland’s fans and set the tone for a season that turned into a long, slow, painful, joyless march into the Championship.

It was also a message delivered with 10 days of the August transfer window remaining, hardly enticing words to potential new signings.

And, damningly, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy as Moyes was unable to do anything to defy his own ominous predictions for Sunderland’s season.

The rot may well have already set in before Moyes uttered those ill-fated words but when fans and players looked to the new manager for leadership and inspiration, that would only have made matters worse. The Black Cats fans did not expect Moyes to reach for the stars but the cloak of conservatism was a poor fit.

Moyes was always regarded as cautious in the transfer market at Everton, which was perfectly understandable given the financial restraints he operated within. He knew if he spent and wasted precious transfer cash he was unlikely to get it back.

It saw him saddled with a “Dithering Davie” tag by some because of his desire to get every deal and detail right, and it was a nickname he knew all about.

Media playback is not supported on this device

He could answer by outlining how his meticulous approach saw him bring bargain-priced gems to Goodison Park such as Tim Cahill for £2m from Millwall, Phil Jagielka for £4m from Sheffield United, Joleon Lescott from Wolves for £5m, Mikel Arteta for £2m from Real Sociedad – and the inspired signing of young Irish full-back Seamus Coleman from Sligo Rovers for only £60,000.

The Scot had lost that sure touch by the time he turned up at Sunderland.

Moyes was restricted by a relatively small transfer budget and an owner in Ellis Short who wants to sell the club, but his dealings smacked of conservatism and suggested he was not prepared to broaden his horizons beyond the familiar.

It led to accusations he was putting the old band back together from Everton as Steven Pienaar arrived from Goodison Park after being released following lengthy injury problems.

And the Everton old boys continued to pitch up, striker Victor Anichebe signed after being released by West Bromwich Albion, veteran defender Lescott after his contract was cancelled by AEK Athens and January’s £8m double deal with the Merseyside club for Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo. None were a success.

Moyes would suggest it was simply the market he was forced to work in but the policy of going with what he knew failed dismally, while big-money signings such as £13.6m Didier Ndong from Lorient and Papy Djilobodji, signed for £8m after flopping at Chelsea, also failed to deliver.

As Sunderland took root at the foot of the Premier League, the toxic combination of apathy and anger set in and Moyes then made headlines for the wrong reasons when he reacted to a question from BBC reporter Vicki Sparks about the presence of owner Short at a game adding pressure by replying she “might get a slap, even though you’re a woman.”

On Wednesday Moyes was charged by the FA, citing his remarks as “improper and/or threatening and/or brought the game into disrepute”.

Two sackings and a relegation on from his Old Trafford appointment, the Sunderland season is another black mark on his CV.

In defence of Moyes

Sunderland win %<!–

Moyes is the manager who has taken Sunderland into the Championship – but wasn’t someone going to do it eventually at a club suffering from diminishing returns and increasingly reduced circumstances?

Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce all had to engineer escapes from relegation as owner Short shuffled his managers to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Sunderland last finished in the top 10 (10th to be precise) under Steve Bruce in 2010-11. Since then it has been a miserable diet of struggle and mediocrity that has finally ended in the drop.

Were Sunderland right to stand by Moyes?
2011-12 Steve Bruce sacked, replaced by Martin O’Neill Survived
2012-13 O’Neill sacked, replaced by Paolo di Canio Survived
2013-14 Di Canio sacked, replaced by Gus Poyet Survived
2014-15 Poyet sacked, replaced by Dick Advocaat Survived
2015-16 Advocaat resigns, replaced by Sam Allardyce Survived
2016-17 David Moyes replaces Allardyce before season Relegated

As Aston Villa eventually found out, there is only so long you can flirt with relegation before you end up in the full-blown embrace of the Championship.

Moyes has had to contend with a hierarchy whose desire to sell reduced ambition and created an air of resignation and stagnation. He, crucially, acted in a way that fell into line with that mood but others must also take responsibility for Sunderland’s decline.

Sunderland were only going to get away with survival for so long barring a radical change of policy or new owners – many will see the consequences of that home defeat by Bournemouth as simply a price paid for years of mismanagement on and off the pitch.

Where now for ‘damaged goods’ Moyes?

David Moyes<!–

When Newcastle United were relegated at the end of last season, manager Rafael Benitez was regarded as blameless and the man who would take them back up. The Toon Army pleaded with him to stay and owner Mike Ashley to keep him.

Newcastle will now swap places with their rivals – but Moyes enjoys none of the goodwill and optimism showered on Benitez. Indeed, Sunderland’s fans have turned on the manager they believe has appeared to publicly accept the Black Cats’ fate for months.

It would be a very hard sell to Sunderland’s fans to keep him in charge. The reputation won with his work at Everton has been eroded by failure in his three subsequent posts.

The Scot may well wish to stay in charge of Sunderland as a Championship club because that is likely to be as good as it now gets for a manager who was coveted throughout his time at Everton for shrewdness, stability and motivational acumen.

Moyes was linked with the Celtic vacancy, as he has been often before, last summer but Brendan Rodgers was eventually appointed and even the safety net of a move back to a big club in his native Scotland now looks to have passed him by.

In 427 league games at Everton, he won 173 for a win ratio of 40.5%. He won exactly half of his 34 league matches at Manchester United but at Sunderland he has only won five out of 34, just 14.7%.

Moyes regards himself as a fighter but this season he has looked worlds away from the fired-up, intense touchline operator who made his way at Preston North End and moved on to Everton.

He has looked world-weary, by-passed in the Premier League by a younger generation such as Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Marco Silva at Hull City, a worn-down figure struggling to find the powers he could call upon in the past. He was once a symbol of that emerging group but his recent record makes him damaged goods.

Moyes could not rouse his players and looked to be struggling to rouse himself. Has he got the desire to try and rebuild Sunderland and his own reputation from the lower divisions?

Leon Osman, a stalwart of his Everton dressing room during his years at Goodison Park, made a telling observation as he remarked to BBC Radio 5 live after the midweek loss at Middlesbrough: “He even sounds resigned and defeated in his voice at the moment.

“I have worked with him when he had a lot of fire in his belly and you could see it in his eyes. A caller has told us he was sitting down and letting Robbie Stockdale do the talking.

“When I played under him, David Moyes was the one on the sidelines. David Moyes was the one with his eyes popping out of his head, screaming and pointing at you. At the moment he seems to be taking a backward step.”

Moyes was hurt by his failure, and indeed his treatment, at Old Trafford when a six-year contract was cut spectacularly short. He was unsuccessful in his short-lived move to Spain and now has suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Have the fires of passion that drove him before the torture of his time at Manchester United been extinguished? Is the 54-year-old suddenly a manager out of his time, still reliant on tried and trusted methods and a transfer strategy that have been overtaken?

Moyes is a proud manager who stands by his record throughout his career, despite the recent downturn.

He is now, however, a manager who must rebuild his badly damaged stature in the Championship – if he gets the chance. The fall from grace is complete.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

0

'World-weary, worn-down & damaged goods' What next for Moyes?

Media playback is not supported on this device

It was only four years ago that David Moyes was hand-picked by retiring Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to succeed him at Old Trafford after 26 years and 38 trophies – now his career and reputation has hit rock-bottom with relegation at Sunderland.

Moyes has endured a torrid and humiliating fall from grace after being deemed worthy of Ferguson’s personal seal of approval to take on Manchester United in 2013 after 11 years of reliable and stable work at Everton.

The manager labelled “The Chosen One” on a banner draped from the Stretford End was out of his depth and sacked after 10 months, the end coming after a defeat at Everton that meant United would not qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 19 years.

Moyes moved abroad to restore his good managerial name but was sacked after a year at La Liga side Real Sociedad – and his return to the Premier League with Sunderland has been an unrelenting nightmare.

What went wrong at Sunderland?

Sunderland have spent 816 days in the relegation zone since 2007<!–

Moyes was a well-received appointment at the Stadium Of Light in July in succession to Sam Allardyce, who rescued the Black Cats from relegation before his brief, inglorious reign as England manager.

The Scot was seen as a safe choice, a man with a point to prove after failures at United and Real Sociedad, and a manager boasting the sort of track record that suggested he was a decent fit to lift perennial Premier League strugglers.

At Everton, he was regarded as capable of getting a team to punch above its weight. Survival would have been seen as success at Sunderland, a situation seemingly suited to his instincts.

In 11 years at Goodison Park, Moyes had only finished outside the top 10 twice, guided Everton to fifth twice and defied the odds in remarkable fashion to take the Toffees into the Champions League qualifiers after finishing fourth in 2004-05.

Moyes, strangely in the eyes of some, departed without mourning among many Everton supporters who felt his attitude was too negative, not helped by a record that saw no Premier League away wins at Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool during his entire reign.

David Moyes<!–

He was also portrayed as a manager who came up short on the big occasions, the 2009 FA Cup final loss to Chelsea, the 2012 semi-final defeat by under-strength Liverpool at Wembley and a hapless 3-0 quarter-final loss to struggling Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park in 2013 being prime examples.

These perceived failings have been underscored by recent failures.

If Sunderland fans were looking for an upbeat message when Moyes arrived, they were to be sadly mistaken when he flagged up a season-long relegation fight after only his second game in charge, a 2-1 home loss to Middlesbrough.

Asked about supporters fearing a season-long struggle, he said: “Well, they would probably be right.”

Realism is one thing – negativity and defeatism is another. This was a message that was badly received by Sunderland’s fans and set the tone for a season that turned into a long, slow, painful, joyless march into the Championship.

It was also a message delivered with 10 days of the August transfer window remaining, hardly enticing words to potential new signings.

And, damningly, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy as Moyes was unable to do anything to defy his own ominous predictions for Sunderland’s season.

The rot may well have already set in before Moyes uttered those ill-fated words but when fans and players looked to the new manager for leadership and inspiration, that would only have made matters worse. The Black Cats fans did not expect Moyes to reach for the stars but the cloak of conservatism was a poor fit.

Moyes was always regarded as cautious in the transfer market at Everton, which was perfectly understandable given the financial restraints he operated within. He knew if he spent and wasted precious transfer cash he was unlikely to get it back.

It saw him saddled with a “Dithering Davie” tag by some because of his desire to get every deal and detail right, and it was a nickname he knew all about.

Media playback is not supported on this device

He could answer by outlining how his meticulous approach saw him bring bargain-priced gems to Goodison Park such as Tim Cahill for £2m from Millwall, Phil Jagielka for £4m from Sheffield United, Joleon Lescott from Wolves for £5m, Mikel Arteta for £2m from Real Sociedad – and the inspired signing of young Irish full-back Seamus Coleman from Sligo Rovers for only £60,000.

The Scot had lost that sure touch by the time he turned up at Sunderland.

Moyes was restricted by a relatively small transfer budget and an owner in Ellis Short who wants to sell the club, but his dealings smacked of conservatism and suggested he was not prepared to broaden his horizons beyond the familiar.

It led to accusations he was putting the old band back together from Everton as Steven Pienaar arrived from Goodison Park after being released following lengthy injury problems.

And the Everton old boys continued to pitch up, striker Victor Anichebe signed after being released by West Bromwich Albion, veteran defender Lescott after his contract was cancelled by AEK Athens and January’s £8m double deal with the Merseyside club for Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo. None were a success.

Moyes would suggest it was simply the market he was forced to work in but the policy of going with what he knew failed dismally, while big-money signings such as £13.6m Didier Ndong from Lorient and Papy Djilobodji, signed for £8m after flopping at Chelsea, also failed to deliver.

As Sunderland took root at the foot of the Premier League, the toxic combination of apathy and anger set in and Moyes then made headlines for the wrong reasons when he reacted to a question from BBC reporter Vicki Sparks about the presence of owner Short at a game adding pressure by replying she “might get a slap, even though you’re a woman.”

On Wednesday Moyes was charged by the FA, citing his remarks as “improper and/or threatening and/or brought the game into disrepute”.

Two sackings and a relegation on from his Old Trafford appointment, the Sunderland season is another black mark on his CV.

In defence of Moyes

Sunderland win %<!–

Moyes is the manager who has taken Sunderland into the Championship – but wasn’t someone going to do it eventually at a club suffering from diminishing returns and increasingly reduced circumstances?

Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce all had to engineer escapes from relegation as owner Short shuffled his managers to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Sunderland last finished in the top 10 (10th to be precise) under Steve Bruce in 2010-11. Since then it has been a miserable diet of struggle and mediocrity that has finally ended in the drop.

Were Sunderland right to stand by Moyes?
2011-12 Steve Bruce sacked, replaced by Martin O’Neill Survived
2012-13 O’Neill sacked, replaced by Paolo di Canio Survived
2013-14 Di Canio sacked, replaced by Gus Poyet Survived
2014-15 Poyet sacked, replaced by Dick Advocaat Survived
2015-16 Advocaat resigns, replaced by Sam Allardyce Survived
2016-17 David Moyes replaces Allardyce before season Relegated

As Aston Villa eventually found out, there is only so long you can flirt with relegation before you end up in the full-blown embrace of the Championship.

Moyes has had to contend with a hierarchy whose desire to sell reduced ambition and created an air of resignation and stagnation. He, crucially, acted in a way that fell into line with that mood but others must also take responsibility for Sunderland’s decline.

Sunderland were only going to get away with survival for so long barring a radical change of policy or new owners – many will see the consequences of that home defeat by Bournemouth as simply a price paid for years of mismanagement on and off the pitch.

Where now for ‘damaged goods’ Moyes?

David Moyes<!–

When Newcastle United were relegated at the end of last season, manager Rafael Benitez was regarded as blameless and the man who would take them back up. The Toon Army pleaded with him to stay and owner Mike Ashley to keep him.

Newcastle will now swap places with their rivals – but Moyes enjoys none of the goodwill and optimism showered on Benitez. Indeed, Sunderland’s fans have turned on the manager they believe has appeared to publicly accept the Black Cats’ fate for months.

It would be a very hard sell to Sunderland’s fans to keep him in charge. The reputation won with his work at Everton has been eroded by failure in his three subsequent posts.

The Scot may well wish to stay in charge of Sunderland as a Championship club because that is likely to be as good as it now gets for a manager who was coveted throughout his time at Everton for shrewdness, stability and motivational acumen.

Moyes was linked with the Celtic vacancy, as he has been often before, last summer but Brendan Rodgers was eventually appointed and even the safety net of a move back to a big club in his native Scotland now looks to have passed him by.

In 427 league games at Everton, he won 173 for a win ratio of 40.5%. He won exactly half of his 34 league matches at Manchester United but at Sunderland he has only won five out of 34, just 14.7%.

Moyes regards himself as a fighter but this season he has looked worlds away from the fired-up, intense touchline operator who made his way at Preston North End and moved on to Everton.

He has looked world-weary, by-passed in the Premier League by a younger generation such as Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Marco Silva at Hull City, a worn-down figure struggling to find the powers he could call upon in the past. He was once a symbol of that emerging group but his recent record makes him damaged goods.

Moyes could not rouse his players and looked to be struggling to rouse himself. Has he got the desire to try and rebuild Sunderland and his own reputation from the lower divisions?

Leon Osman, a stalwart of his Everton dressing room during his years at Goodison Park, made a telling observation as he remarked to BBC Radio 5 live after the midweek loss at Middlesbrough: “He even sounds resigned and defeated in his voice at the moment.

“I have worked with him when he had a lot of fire in his belly and you could see it in his eyes. A caller has told us he was sitting down and letting Robbie Stockdale do the talking.

“When I played under him, David Moyes was the one on the sidelines. David Moyes was the one with his eyes popping out of his head, screaming and pointing at you. At the moment he seems to be taking a backward step.”

Moyes was hurt by his failure, and indeed his treatment, at Old Trafford when a six-year contract was cut spectacularly short. He was unsuccessful in his short-lived move to Spain and now has suffered the ignominy of relegation.

Have the fires of passion that drove him before the torture of his time at Manchester United been extinguished? Is the 54-year-old suddenly a manager out of his time, still reliant on tried and trusted methods and a transfer strategy that have been overtaken?

Moyes is a proud manager who stands by his record throughout his career, despite the recent downturn.

He is now, however, a manager who must rebuild his badly damaged stature in the Championship – if he gets the chance. The fall from grace is complete.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

0

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko: world heavyweight title fight – live!

9.32pm BST

Five minutes from ringwalks and the atmosphere in the building is electric. Gala’s Freed From Desire pounds at an ear-splitting pitch from the Wembley sound system as 90,000 fans sing along in full throat.

Also, failed Celebrity Apprentice host Arnold Schwarzenegger is here. Sad!

9.17pm BST

Scott Quigg has just won a unanimous decision over Viorel Simion in their 12-round IBF featherweight title eliminator. Two judges handed down scores of 117-111 with a third seeing it 115-113. (I had it 116-112.)

Here’s a look at the previous undercard results if you’re just checking in now.

Continue reading…

0

Time to remember the remarkable David Rocastle | Daniel Taylor

Arsenal’s ‘Brazilian from Lewisham’, who died at 33, should have been 50 this Tuesday. Instead this charming, talented man will rightly be honoured in song at the north London derby

It was something Paul Merson said during that raw television interview a couple of Fridays ago that lingers in the mind. You might not always agree with Merson’s football opinions but there are times when that does not really matter. Earlier that day, his former team-mate Ugo Ehiogu, the friend he described as a “man-mountain”, had died from a heart attack, aged 44, and now Merson was in a television studio when it would probably have been kinder to allow him some time alone and he was trying to make sense of it all. He couldn’t, but it was some tribute. “You know what,” he said, and he was struggling to get out the words. “Billy Joel sings that song Only The Good Die Young. And that is him.”

To be pedantic, that song was actually about something entirely different when it was recorded in 1977, prompting a number of religious groups to pressure various radio stations to remove it from their playlists. Yet we all knew what Merson meant, we all probably know others it could apply to and no doubt there will be plenty of people – Merson, again, included in that number – who will be thinking the same about David Rocastle in the next few days.

Continue reading…