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Author Archive for Daniel Taylor

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FA apologises to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence over Mark Sampson’s racial remarks

• New report by barrister finds Sampson made ill-judged attempts at humour • FA chief executive Martin Glenn says sorry to England’s Aluko and Spence• Katherine Newton concludes that Sampson is not a racistThe Football Association’s chief executive, Ma…

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Kick It Out says response by FA’s Clarke to PFA’s Sampson letter was ‘disgraceful’

• Herman Ouseley ‘shocked’ the response was in form of 14-word email• Complaint should have brought closure within days, says Kick It Out chairmanHerman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has described himself as “shocked” by the revelations about h…

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Extraordinary response to Aluko allegations puts Greg Clarke in firing line | Daniel Taylor

The curt, dismissive, almost implausible response sent by the FA chairman on receiving an email detailing Eni Aluko’s allegations against Mark Sampson means his appearance in front of MPs may be his final act in the job“I’ve no idea why you are sending…

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Martin O’Neill is in the managerial elite even if a top job eludes him | Daniel Taylor

The Republic of Ireland manager, once the favourite to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, is unfortunate never to have had a chance at one of the biggest clubsBlink, and you might have missed the part Shepshed Charterhouse, in the puddles …

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Football League clubs must stand up for the travelling fan getting a rough deal

It is absurd that the Football League plans marathon midweek trips deliberately and it means loyal fans often face the most inconvenient journeys

Suddenly, everything became that little bit clearer when Shaun Harvey, chief executive of the Football League, started talking about “conscious scheduling decisions” and it transpired there was a reason why the people who still like to see their teams in person, the old-fashioned way, often face the most inconvenient journeys at the most inconvenient times.

Until now you, like me, might have thought it was simply bad luck when the relevant teams were assigned to those long-distance trips on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and their travelling fans were left trying to work out how to get home before birdsong.

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Marcus Rashford stays grounded but is hoping to propel England to Russia

The Manchester United teenager has let nothing faze him in a remarkable two years and helping the country to a World Cup is next on his agenda

As Marcus Rashford stretched out his limbs on one of the white leather seats at St George’s Park, the great young hope of English football stopped for a moment to consider how life had changed since those days when even his team-mates at Manchester United, among them Wayne Rooney, had to double-check his name on the club’s training pitches.

At 19, Rashford is now one of the more recognisable faces of the Premier League and the rising star of a renascent United side. Yet it is not even two years ago that he could probably have walked along Deansgate without being recognised. “My mum used to work in a bookies,” he said, “and my brother used to be a personal trainer. But my brothers just look after me now.” And his mum? Rashford’s boyish smile was a brief reminder that this strapping six‑footer sitting is still, lest it be forgotten, a teenager for a few more weeks. “My mum relaxes now,” he said.

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Football is heading for trouble over brain injuries caused by the ball | Daniel Taylor

Kevin Doyle’s retirement on medical grounds because heading was causing persistent headaches shows that problems did not go away when heavy leather balls were phased out

In happier times, there was a story Eric Harrison used to tell his players at Manchester United, as the coach who helped bring through the Class of ’92, about a piece of advice he once received from the centre-half he regarded as the hardest man he had ever seen on a football pitch.

George Curtis will always be best remembered as John Sillett’s managerial partner on the day Coventry City won the 1987 FA Cup. Yet for Harrison’s generation in the 1950s and 1960s he was the kind of centre‑half who could trouble even the most granite-jawed opponent. Harrison played with him on their national service and was always fascinated how a man of 5ft 11in won so many headers against players who were well over 6ft. “No problem,” Curtis explained, “early in the game, when the first ball comes up the middle, I don’t head the ball. I head the back of the centre-forward’s head against the ball – and he doesn’t usually come back for more.”

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England’s Gareth Southgate bemoans lack of competition for places in squad

• Manager frustrated after naming squad for final World Cup qualifiers
• Vardy out injured, Delph recalled and Alli included despite threat of ban

Gareth Southgate has admitted he is not satisfied with his latest England squad, conceding he has selected a number of players who might not ordinarily warrant a place and questioning whether some might be guilty of complacency before a week when his team hope to qualify for the World Cup.

Related: England’s alternative history: World Cup winners under Alex Ferguson | Barney Ronay

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Gareth Southgate backs FA’s Dan Ashworth over Mark Sampson controversy

• England manager believes FA technical director would ‘work ethically’
• Southgate says Sampson should have known potential safeguarding dangers

Gareth Southgate has defended the Football Association’s under-fire technical director, Dan Ashworth, over allegations that the governing body orchestrated a “sham” inquiry into the Mark Sampson affair and tried to cover up an allegation of racism.

Ashworth, one of the FA executives at the centre of the Sampson controversy, has been accused by the Professional Footballers’ Association of overseeing an inquiry that was “not a genuine search for the truth” and “designed to close down the complaint and absolve Mark Sampson”.

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FA’s Dan Ashworth must answer questions and not vanish from Mark Sampson saga

The technical director is up to his neck in this tale yet he ducked the press conference on the sacking of the England Women coach

Nobody can say we weren’t warned. Football at its highest level has always been run differently from your average major business and this is hardly the first time that the people who profess to run the sport have turned on a spit of public ridicule. “Beware of the clever, sharp men who are creeping into the game,” William McGregor, founder of the Football League, put it in League Football and the Men Who Made it. And that was in 1909.

It has certainly felt that way watching the Football Association stagger through the various stages of the Mark Sampson debacle and the considerable feat of Martin Glenn’s inadequate regime to add several new layers to a story that already featured racism allegations, hush-money payments and the unmistakable stench of a cover-up going all the way to the top of the organisation.

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Embarrassment for FA as Glenn contradicts lawyers about Sampson investigation

• Chief executive says a black woman was deliberately chosen
• FA lawyers had already sent letter to Guardian saying this was ‘plainly false’

Martin Glenn, the Football Association’s heavily criticised chief executive, faces further embarrassment after admitting the organisation deliberately chose a black woman to investigate the Mark Sampson race allegations – without apparently realising the FA’s lawyers had already sent a letter to the Guardian warning such a claim was “plainly false”.

Glenn, one of the executives most under scrutiny after Sampson’s sudden sacking on Wednesday, promised he would offer a personal apology to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence if the controversial and reopened independent inquiry found that the now‑deposed England women’s manager had made racial comments to the two players.

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Mark Sampson departs amid a flurry of FA buck-passing and confusion

The concerns raised in 2014 that have led to the England coach’s dismissal do not draw a line under the separate allegations raised by Eni Aluko. Instead they give the FA two crises running concurrently

According to Martin Glenn, the Football Association chief executive who broke the news, Mark Sampson was “calm but angry” as he found out from a fourth‑floor office at Wembley that his luck had finally run out.

The summons had come the night before. Sampson arrived around midday and the formalities did not last too long once he realised that a scandal had caught up with him – just not the scandal, perhaps, that most people might have envisaged.

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Wayne Rooney deserves a Ronaldo-style welcome at Old Trafford

The Everton striker did alienate Manchester United fans at times but while other greats of the club have their sins forgiven quickly, his seem to linger

It is strange in football, an industry where the super-rich often give the impression that money is how they keep the score, how even the most financially endowed clubs can be guilty sometimes of blurring their priorities when it comes to saving a few quid behind the scenes.

In happier times at Manchester United, when Sir Alex Ferguson and his team were greedily accumulating all those trophies, did you know that England’s biggest club wouldn’t take up the option to have extra medals made up for his coaches? It changed when Ken Ramsden took over from Ken Merrett as club secretary in 2007 but, until that point, the coaches would receive a few hundred quid as a bonus rather than a piece of silverware that would have felt priceless. Each medal would have cost around £1,000 – peanuts for a club of United’s stature – but that, plainly, was too much and Ferguson’s staff went without.

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Graham Taylor involved in sexual abuse cover-up at Aston Villa, inquiry told

• Taylor alleged to have discouraged victim from reporting what had happened
• Allegations relate to abuse by Villa scout Ted Langford in the late 1980s

The independent inquiry into football’s sexual-abuse scandal has heard claims that Graham Taylor, the former England manager, was involved in a cover-up at Aston Villa which led to other boys being exposed to a paedophile who was working for the club as a scout and later convicted of a string of offences over a 13-year period.

Taylor is alleged to have discouraged Tony Brien, one of Ted Langford’s victims, from reporting what had happened and told him, according to evidence presented to the inquiry, that he should “move on” after the teenager informed Villa in the 1987-88 season that he knew from personal experience, aged 12 to 14, that boys were at risk, having been abused at a feeder club for Leicester City.

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Mark Sampson contradicts own evidence over Eni Aluko and Ebola statements

• England women’s manager Sampson defends himself
• FA left with damage-limitation exercise after press conference

Mark Sampson’s attempts to clear his name amid allegations he made racial remarks to two of England’s women footballers ended with more embarrassment for the Football Association when he contradicted his own evidence from the independent inquiry and had to face questions that he had been caught saying something patently untrue.

The inconsistencies in Sampson’s account left his employer with a damage-limitation exercise at the end of a press conference when the England manager – absolved of any wrongdoing in the two controversial inquiries that have prompted calls from Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association for a new investigation – said on three separate occasions he could not recall any conversation with Eni Aluko in which they had discussed the Ebola virus.

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FA executives to face parliamentary inquiry over Mark Sampson affair

• Two investigations cleared England manager of allegedly racial remarks
• Select committee wants answers and will invite Eni Aluko to address them

Senior executives at the Football Association are to be summoned to a parliamentary inquiry to face questions about the controversial investigations that have cleared Mark Sampson of making allegedly racial remarks to two of the England women’s players, the Guardian can reveal.

Officials from football’s governing body will asked to explain the processes involved in the internal review that has been described by the Professional Footballers’ Association as “not a genuine search of the truth” and “a sham which was not designed to establish the truth but intended to protect Mark Sampson”. At the same time the FA will face questions about the three-month independent inquiry – carried out on behalf of the organisation by the barrister Katharine Newton – in the wake of Eni Aluko’s claims that both investigations were a “farce” and the calls from Kick It Out, the PFA and the shadow sports minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, for the FA to start again with an entirely new process.

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Germany’s stand on ‘despicable’ fans puts silent England to shame | Daniel Taylor

After a win in Prague, Joachim Löw and his players strongly criticised supporters’ offensive actions. Why won’t Gareth Southgate and co speak out when England fans behave badly?

That was some performance from Joachim Löw, the Germany national manager, after the jarring evidence during the international break that there are still a few troglodytes among his team’s support who seem hell-bent on providing living proof of Einstein’s theory that there is no limit to human stupidity.

Löw had just seen his team win 2-1 against the Czech Republic in Prague, maintaining an immaculate record in their World Cup qualifying group, but when he arrived for his press conference, face like thunder, the questions about his team’s performance had to wait. “I am neither upset nor sad,” he began. “I am full of rage, that explains my feelings better. I am really, really angry about this – that some so-called fans have used the stage of an international football match, and the stage of football, to bring shame on our country with their embarrassing behaviour and appearance. We don’t want these anarchists. We are not their national team and they are not our fans. Their behaviour was the lowest of the low and utterly despicable.”

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Lies have kept me out of work for over three years, claims Billy Davies

• Manager has been unemployed since Nottingham Forest sacking in 2014
• ‘A smear campaign has driven me away. But I’ll be back soon,’ he says

Billy Davies has blamed his three-and-a-half year spell out of work on “lies and smears”, alleging there has been a deliberate and orchestrated campaign to sabotage him, and claiming 17 different clubs in England and Scotland have been specifically warned to steer clear of him.

Related: Neil Warnock rules himself out of running to replace Billy Davies at Nottingham Forest

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Closing divide between England players and fans not easy for Gareth Southgate | Daniel Taylor

Players may have ditched ‘ducking’ international duty but modern money continues to create a disconnect bewteen those on and off the pitch

In a quiet, understated way it was some performance from Gareth Southgate as he defended his players from the accusations that have attached themselves to England’s national team and tried to make sense of the disconnect that has opened up between the players and supporters.

Related: Gareth Southgate ‘outraged’ by claim his England players lack pride

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Brazil and Germany lined up for England’s tough World Cup preparations

• England plan to play Germany and Brazil at Wembley in November
• March friendlies against Italy and Holland also scheduled

England have begun their preparations for the World Cup by pencilling in a series of friendlies against Italy, Brazil and Germany, the three most successful nations in the history of the competition.

Related: Malta 0-4 England: five talking points from the 2018 World Cup qualifier

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