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Author Archive for Simon Burnton

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The Spin | Stanley Jackson: a batting master, MP and sportsman who bewitched Cardus

Celebrated writer’s first Guardian piece talks of a largely forgotten FS Jackson innings that prompts a search into a fascinating cricketing lifeThis year marks the centenary of the debut in this newspaper’s sports pages of Neville Cardus, perhaps the …

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The Fiver | Luis Enrique and the ‘sadness’ of dancing with your own sister

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Frivolous sadness-related similes and metaphors are tough in a time of intense global misery. In many ways, The Fiver would suggest it’s best to avoid them together. It’s probably enough just to say so…

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Deeney’s decision to stay away justified by Watford’s positive tests

The striker does not want to return to small-group training believing the risk from coronavirus is too highThis week Troy Deeney explained why he would not be returning to small-group training. He was concerned, he said, that black people are four time…

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Remembering Euro 96: Gazza’s goal, Three Lions … and penalties | Simon Burnton

ITV is replaying Euro 96 in full, allowing us to bask in the summer of Cool Britannia all over again but was it that good?The decision of ITV to replay Euro 96 in full, starting on Monday, is fraught with risk. They say you should never meet your heroe…

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Football must not restart until strain on NHS eases, says Watford chairman

Scott Duxbury ‘uncomfortable’ discussing football during crisisClub has opened up Vicarage Road stadium to local hospital staffThe Watford chairman and CEO, Scott Duxbury, has said that a resumption of top-level football in England should be off the ag…

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Premier League’s virtual comeback a triumph – especially for Diogo Jota | Simon Burnton

The Wolves man’s golden-goal win against Trent Alexander-Arnold kept Liverpool waiting for a title at the climax of a pound-shop version of MTV CribsIt was the least fitting of finals: after a tournament that had featured a net-busting 106 goals in jus…

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Atmosphere clears to expose foul and corrosive fog of money in football | Simon Burnton

From Newcastle’s takeover to wage deferral dramas, obsessions with the bottom line are in sharp focus without on-field actionSir Keir Starmer’s first outing at prime minister’s questions in midweek was enlightening, in a number of ways. The content of …

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The forgotten story of … Alvin Martin’s hat-trick past three goalkeepers

On 21 April 1986 the West Ham defender scored a historic treble against an injury-ravaged Newcastle in an 8-1 win at Upton ParkOn 21 April 1986 West Ham welcomed Newcastle United for the 37th and, as it turned out, most memorable match of their greates…

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From Sørloth to Luis Alberto: 20 players who have thrived after leaving England

These players, one from each Premier League club, may not have made much of an impression in England but have proven their worth elsewhereArsenal – Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar) In two years at Arsenal the Swede appeared in one matchday squad and made …

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The forgotten story of … when Charlton played France and won 5-2

A 1937 rush to Paris as last-minute stand-ins for fascist-era Italy led to a remarkable victory, a day after beating HuddersfieldThe story of what is surely Charlton Athletic’s most unusual fixture started without them, in Vienna in March 1937, when a …

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‘He had an aura about him’: the day Michael Jackson visited Fulham

On 10 April 1999 the King of Pop turned up and Fulham’s players were not dressed for the occasion when he came in after the match On 10 April 1999, a little under two years since their takeover by Mohamed Al Fayed, Fulham were a third-tier club being p…

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The Fiver | They would do anything (furlough) but they won’t do that

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!There was celebration today after Liverpool decided to furlough the idea of furloughing their employees, giving in to an outcry from fans, former players and over-opinionated media types with too many …

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The Spin | Walter Gilbert, the shamed thief who shone in Canadian exile

A cousin of WG Grace whose bankruptcy led him into petty crime, Walter Gilbert went on to enjoy a stellar career in CanadaIn October 1908 a most curious court case took place in Canada, in which someone called either Charles or Chris Mitchell, dependin…

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The Fiver | The Premier League, pay cuts and the plight of wild mushrooms

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!There was consternation among Premier League clubs on Wednesday after they were accused by a major public figure of completely running out of wild mushrooms. Furious MP Julian Knight, chief suit of the…

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Football’s magnetism means doors should stay closed on crowdless matches | Simon Burnton

Scheduling football before restrictions end would be a nightmare as telling fans not to attend matches will not keep them awayEngland has hosted only a handful of senior competitive behind-closed-doors football fixtures and anyone who considers them a …

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Football’s magnetism means doors should stay closed on crowdless matches | Simon Burnton

Scheduling football before restrictions end would be a nightmare as telling fans not to attend matches will not keep them awayEngland has hosted only a handful of senior competitive behind-closed-doors football fixtures and anyone who considers them a …

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Olympics Q&A: What now for the Tokyo Games? | Simon Burnton

How will the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because of coronavirus affect an event thought to cost £10bn?See all our coronavirus coverageAmong several options considered by the organising committee in recent days has been short-term postponeme…

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The Fiver | Let’s just pretend it’s 1996

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!The grand ballroom of the Landmark hotel is a “beautiful and elegant” space, according to its website, providing “an extensive area catering for up to a maximum of 750 guests for a cocktail reception”….

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The Fiver | Let’s just pretend it’s 1996

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!The grand ballroom of the Landmark hotel is a “beautiful and elegant” space, according to its website, providing “an extensive area catering for up to a maximum of 750 guests for a cocktail reception”….

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The Spin | How Middlesex reject Reggie Schwarz became an early master of the googly

Shwarz left for South Africa a discarded journeyman but returned to torment English batsmen before succumbing to the Spanish flu pandemicIn 1902, before what would prove Reggie Schwarz’s final summer as an Englishman, Surrey’s Henry Leveson-Gower wrote…