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Author Archive for Donald McRae

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‘They all have the magic – it’s almost spiritual’: the fighting Dubois family

Daniel Dubois takes on Joe Joyce on Saturday in a pivotal bout. But even heavyweight drama can’t match the compelling saga of the Dubois family“I’m calm but I know there’s a storm brewing,” Daniel Dubois says he prepares for his crucial fight on Saturd…

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Anton Ferdinand: ‘I have kicked myself for years for not speaking out’

Former defender discusses the pain of the John Terry incident, the abuse his mother suffered and his documentary on racism‘I carried the burden of not speaking out for so long, for nine years,” Anton Ferdinand says as he explains how haunted he has bee…

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Exeter’s Rob Baxter: ‘If we slip back it will take the polish off a fantastic season’

Chiefs’ director of rugby on the club’s phenomenal success and the prospect of succeeding Eddie Jones as England coach“Definitely,” Rob Baxter says with a steely edge when asked if he feels as driven as ever despite the euphoria of coaching Exeter Chie…

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Sport surgeon Bill Ribbans: ‘Long seasons will end careers much earlier’

Having operated on big names at the top of their game including Michael Schumacher and Greg Rutherford, Ribbans has seen how revolutions in sports science have increased risk“It’s incredible that sports medicine has only been recognised the last 15 yea…

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Bilal Fawaz: ‘I became best friends with darkness and pain a long time ago’

After being abused as a boy in Nigeria and trafficked to London at 14, boxing and piano playing gave him hope and at 32 Bilal Fawaz is finally able to fight professionally“There is beauty in darkness,” Bilal Fawaz says with a poetic flourish as we sit …

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Bilal Fawaz: ‘I became best friends with darkness and pain a long time ago’

After being abused as a boy in Nigeria and trafficked to London at 14, boxing and piano playing gave him hope and at 32 Bilal Fawaz is finally able to fight professionally“There is beauty in darkness,” Bilal Fawaz says with a poetic flourish as we sit …

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Marco van Basten: ‘It was a very big fall and a really dark time’

Dutch great played on until, aged 28, he could stand the pain from his damaged ankle no more. ‘I went from football’s highest level down to the lowest level of personal unhappiness’ In 1994, in the middle of the night, Marco van Basten would often craw…

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Marco van Basten: ‘It was a very big fall and a really dark time’

Dutch great played on until, aged 28, he could stand the pain from his damaged ankle no more. ‘I went from football’s highest level down to the lowest level of personal unhappiness’ In 1994, in the middle of the night, Marco van Basten would often craw…

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Barry Geraghty: ‘Five winners at Cheltenham closed the book perfectly’

Former jockey has learned to relax in his retirement after a hectic career with 1,920 winners – ‘I’m enjoying being more unravelled’“In a funny way that’s what I’m enjoying being away from,” Barry Geraghty says when he considers the intensity missing f…

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Arsène Wenger: ‘A sense of anger, humiliation, hate … every defeat is still a scar on my heart’ | Donald McRae

Former Arsenal manager reflects on his 22 years in charge of the club, how hurt he was by malicious rumours when he first arrived and how he has managed to move on from his life’s obsessionArsène Wenger still believes he could milk a cow but, as he say…

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Savannah Marshall: ‘I still know of men that won’t watch women boxing’

Middleweight is back in action on Saturday and eyeing a world title fight with Claressa Shields, the biggest draw in women’s boxingBoxing is a brutal business but, as a woman trying to win her first world title during the grip of a pandemic, Savannah M…

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Savannah Marshall: ‘I still know of men that won’t watch women boxing’

Middleweight is back in action on Saturday and eyeing a world title fight with Claressa Shields, the biggest draw in women’s boxingBoxing is a brutal business but, as a woman trying to win her first world title during the grip of a pandemic, Savannah M…

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Nicklas Bendtner: ‘I became too fond of the lifestyle that came with the money’ | Donald McRae

The former Arsenal and Denmark striker on how he lost his way as a professional footballer and a person, why he does not blame Arsène Wenger and his own hopes for a management careerAbout 3am one morning in the summer of 2011, when he was still only 23…

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Nicklas Bendtner: ‘I became too fond of the lifestyle that came with the money’ | Donald McRae

The former Arsenal and Denmark striker on how he lost his way as a professional footballer and a person, why he does not blame Arsène Wenger and his own hopes for a management careerAbout 3am one morning in the summer of 2011, when he was still only 23…

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Joe Marler: ‘I was in complete denial there was anything wrong with me’ | Donald McRae

The England prop on the psychiatric help that transformed his life, and why Eddie Jones is the most supportive coach he has known On a hushed morning in East Sussex, Joe Marler looks around the kitchen which he smashed up in misery 18 months ago. Marle…

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Joe Marler: ‘I was in complete denial there was anything wrong with me’ | Donald McRae

The England prop on the psychiatric help that transformed his life, and why Eddie Jones is the most supportive coach he has known On a hushed morning in East Sussex, Joe Marler looks around the kitchen which he smashed up in misery 18 months ago. Marle…

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Gary O’Toole: ‘There are people like George Gibney in every sphere of society’ | Donald McRae

The Irish Olympic swimmer turned surgeon has played a central role in a 28-year fight to bring his former coach to justice “You know the old story of Pandora’s box?” Gary O’Toole asks quietly on another evening of lockdown in Dublin. The former Irish O…

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Neville Southall: ‘You don’t expect loose cannons to take over your own country’

Former Everton keeper takes aim at Boris Johnson and JK Rowling and reveals how helping marginalised groups leaves little time to himself“I want Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Donald Trump and the geezer from North Korea to be put on a bo…

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Jeff Stelling: ‘I did think about resigning but all three urged me not to do anything silly’

Sky’s Soccer Saturday host on sackings, saving someone’s life without knowing it and changing his views on female pundits“It’s been a difficult few weeks because it would be like I’ve lost the entire midfield just before the start of the season,” Jeff …

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Gareth Ainsworth: ‘People have said cut your hair and you’ll get a big job’

Wycombe’s manager on leading his miracle-making team in the Championship and why his rock-god style is here to stay“I’m not sure many managers know the inner workings of a sprinkler system and can fix it by bending wires and with bits of coat-hanger,” …