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Author Archive for Richard Williams

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A toast to Raheem Sterling, the crucial cog who embodies a selfless England | Richard Williams

Great World Cup sides of the past have been built around ego-free forwards and Sterling’s cunning is utterly irreplaceableIn the minds of those who watched them win the 1970 World Cup, Mário Zagallo’s Brazil still represents the fulfilment of all the s…

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Kanté’s class takes centre-stage and outlasts World Cup’s showier stars | Richard Williams

The diminutive France midfielder eschews glitz on and off the pitch but helps bring teams to their knees with artful simplicityHenri Langlois would have understood the genius of N’Golo Kanté. Over 60 years ago the founder of the Cinémathèque Française …

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The undisputed: what would Rocky Marciano have made of Tyson Fury? | Richard Williams

The unbeaten heavyweight champion’s first professional fight under his own name was 70 years ago. Looking back at his career is a palate-cleanser after Fury’s farce in ManchesterAt the end of a bout that featured more proper fighting among the occ…

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Deschamps follows Napoleon with enough French class to succeed in Russia | Richard Williams

Twenty years after their only World Cup success France may look at their resources and believe the time for a repeat has comeNapoleon met disaster in Russia after sending almost half a million soldiers on an invasion that began in the summer of 1812 an…

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Ronaldo v Salah – the head-to-head set to define Champions League final

Mohamed Salah, in the red of Liverpool, and Cristiano Ronaldo, in the white of Real Madrid, will be expected to score goals tonight worthy of European football’s annual showpieceTwo teams of 11 men apiece will emerge into the Olympic stadium in Kiev on…

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Williams must relocate their charisma to be among F1 history-makers again

For a team once marked by such character, it is depressing to see Williams among the grid’s back markersA slow racing car never looks good, and the current Williams F1 machines resemble a pair of wounded white whales as they lumber round at the tail of…

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Steven Gerrard and how predicting which players will be good managers is pure guesswork | Richard Williams

Great players do not always make successful managers. Will the Liverpool legend be a Zinedine Zidane or a Gary Neville?When Ross Wilkins stood up during his late father’s memorial service at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea last week to address a congregati…

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The FA should not be selling Wembley at all, let alone for £600m | Richard Williams

Price is not right but more relevant than the lack of control over the stadium’s future is can we really trust football’s governing body to oversee the reinvestment into the grassroots game?It takes some doing to sell a piece of London property for les…

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Arlott and Swanton embraced change while still keeping cricket’s soul intact | Richard Williams

A couple of contrast, they had differing backgrounds and styles but were never afraid to support innovation that they felt would be to the benefit of the game they lovedA prelude to summer arrived last week, and with it a noisy chorus of speculation ov…

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Cal Crutchlow takes laid-back route to being the best since Barry Sheene | Richard Williams

First British rider to head the MotoGP standings for 39 years has done it on a non-works Honda and without the need for endless hours in the gymIn a universe of professional sportsmen and women happy to proclaim the incredible rigour of their winter tr…

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Memory of Michael Goolaerts lives on in a race of sustained brutality | Richard Williams

Belgian’s death at the Paris-Roubaix reminds us of the price that can be paid for our pleasure, but riders return each year to this fiendishly difficult race in an act of non-rational courageThe death of young Belgian Michael Goolaerts following a cras…

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The real and remarkable Ray Wilkins was always a joy to watch | Richard Williams

From Chelsea captain at 18 to a generous-spirited pundit, he was the most well-mannered and courteous of football menIn the eyes of all who watched him captaining Chelsea at the age of 18, Ray Wilkins was a golden boy of English football. To an instinc…

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Jim Clark, the indecisive farmer who was transformed behind a wheel | Richard Williams

The Scottish Formula One double world champion, who died 50 years ago, was modest and unpretentious but a supreme competitor on the trackJim Clark was almost certainly the only Formula One world champion as comfortable with a shepherd’s crook as with a…

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Xenophobic England football fans: take a closer look at your own team | Richard Williams

Are the minority who follow England and continue to disrespect foreign cultures and cities like in Amsterdam on Friday perhaps feeling a sense of legitimacy due to the Brexit referendum?Can a couple of football matches provide evidence that England in …

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Halo could be most effective method yet devised to reduce F1’s appeal | Richard Williams

Limiting the danger to suit changing attitudes and modern sensibilities is fine as long as the measures taken do not devalue a sport so profoundly that its meaning disappearsAs grand prix drivers go, Tony Brooks was one of the best produced by Britain….

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Delusions of stadium grandeur haunt West Ham and club’s owners | Richard Williams

West Ham once gave life to a part of east London, but the Boleyn ground is gone and the heart has been ripped out of the clubThe fate of the little memorial garden on Green Street, next to where the Boleyn ground’s main entrance once stood, is just one…

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Do we trash or treasure our memories of Bradley Wiggins’ rise to the top? | Richard Williams

A combination of athletic prowess and personal eccentricity made him a beloved national figure but the latest allegations against him and Team Sky have at the very least tainted that legacyThe golden throne outside Hampton Court Palace. The Sun’s stick…

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How does Pep Guardiola feel about his ambassador role for Qatar World Cup? | Richard Williams

Manchester City manager’s yellow-ribbon display of political affiliation sits uncomfortably with a readiness to front for QatarAs they consider the case of Pep Guardiola, who won his first medal in English football at Wembley on Sunday while semi-surre…

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Clive van Ryneveld: an all-round sporting star and an even better man

He played rugby for England and cricket for South Africa but his work in law and politics in South Africa was also a true reflection of the man who died in January aged 89When Cecil Rhodes was defining the ideal candidate upon whom to bestow one of his…

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Chris Froome and Sky must stop hiding behind the letter of the law | Richard Williams

Dave Brailsford’s lofty ideals when setting up Team Sky have been exposed under the pressure of top-level competitionTo judge from Dave Brailsford’s words the other day it seems he still doesn’t get it. He was talking in a press conference about the bu…