Fans worry Wembley will lose its soul as Khan reveals plan to add roof

Tottenham and Watford supporters on Wembley Way on Monday night insisted that the FA must provide transparent reassurances that the footballing traditions of the national stadium are protected if Wembley is sold to the Pakistani-American entrepreneur Shahid Khan.

In the first football match at Wembley since the details of a possible sale were revealed, Sportsmail canvassed the opinions of supporters as they made their way into the stadium.

England have played at Wembley since the 1920s but the stadium may now be sold to Khan – the Fulham owner and billionaire proprietor of American football franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Khan has revealed that should the deal go through he intends to make adjustments to the stadium, including finding a way to add a roof.  

‘I’m assuming we will now be at least going to the stage of doing some due diligence,’ Khan said in an interview with the Telegraph.

‘Some of the drama with the roof, for example, and all I know is what I have read, public documents, but I’d like to really understand the angle (of the roof) and how it doesn’t quite work.

‘There are now all kinds of plastic roofs (you can install) so if you could do that you could control the climate. With the roof there are two sliding parts that move but the rain can still come in and if you are looking at a winter concert, for example, would it be comfortable for people?’

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

The Fulham owner also admitted that he wants England to continue to play at Wembley, claiming that’s part of the reason the stadium is worth so much.  

‘England must play there. Otherwise it will be a shell. It would be like an empty suit that doesn’t have soul.’

‘We want the FA to be there, we want the England football games,’ he insisted. 

‘Other than that the steel and the concrete is not worth £600million plus. They have to be part-and-parcel so we can build from that. For them to be part of it, if they need assurances from us then I would have no issue with those.’ 

The Football Association have argued a potential £950m windfall could address shortages at grassroots level but former England captain Gary Neville has described it as ‘absurd’ while Peter Shilton questioned whether the FA would be ‘selling the soul of our game.’

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

The discussions revealed a generational divide, with some elder supporters passionately opposed to the sale amid fears the stadium could be renamed while Millennials admitted they were either unaware or did not care for the sale.

Raymond Fuller, a 77-year-old Tottenham fan, also highlighted that £40m of taxpayers money and £120m in National Lottery funding to build the stadium: ‘What happens to that public money?’ 

Fuller asked. ‘Wembley belongs to the England fans. It’s English. It has got to stay English. We can’t have an American owner, oh no no. Mark my words, he will be changing the name of the stadium within two years. 

‘I first came here to see Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham lift the FA Cup in 1961, it is a special place. If they do wrongly sell it, we need clear guarantees it remains the national home of football for England and the Cup finals.’

Watford supporter Andy Cook, 51, countered that the stadium is so new that most supporters feel little affinity but he also insisted there must be protection for the showpiece events of English football.

Fans are worried Khan, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place

Fans are worried Khan, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place

Fans are worried Khan, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place

Cook said: ‘The biggest problem for football is the lack of funding for grassroots facilities. It holds us back, so if this move unlocks cash for that, then I’m in support. 

‘And let’s be honest, there’s nothing special about the new Wembley. The old one with the Twin Towers and that walk down Wembley way was spine-tingling and iconic. But this one is soulless.

‘However, there must be a transparent contract – at least 100 years long – that guarantees Cup finals are played here. Don’t forget play-off finals too – those days out for lower league clubs are rare and have a special place in our hearts.’

Another Tottenham fan, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘The good thing is it means the England team will go on tour away from Wembley. Fans in the north-east and north-west and the Midlands should be able to watch England without trekking down to London.’

Responding to concerns from Neville and FA councillors, Khan told BBC Sport last night: ‘My message is that if you love English football, you want this to go ahead. It provides the money and revenue for grassroots football. 

‘Otherwise, how will the FA be able to do their mission? Wembley is not a money maker for the FA. Their core mission is football and if you like English football, this is the money needed to make it happen.’

Britbet reveal ‘innovative’ bet types as part of new pool betting operation

Marcus Townend for MailOnline

Britbet, who will replace the Tote on the majority of British racecourses from July, have revealed details of some of their new bet types.

As well as the familiar WIN and PLACE pools, the new pool betting company will introduce a range of ‘correct order’ bets. They hope by offering potential large wins from small stakes, the new bets will create significant interest.

There will be called the FIRST TWO, FIRST THREE, FIRST FOUR and FIRST FIVE in an attempt to breathe life into the existing pool betting options in the market.

Britbet will replace the Tote on the majority of British racecourses from July

Britbet will replace the Tote on the majority of British racecourses from July

Britbet will replace the Tote on the majority of British racecourses from July

FIRST FOUR and FIRST FIVE will be new bet types in the British market and will be supported by guaranteed pool sizes designed to appeal to customers.

Promised are multi-million pound prize guarantees will be available for some of the new pools on the biggest races, such as the Grand National FIRST FIVE bet.

David Williams, Director of Communications at britbet said: “We’re introducing some much-needed innovation to the pool betting landscape.

‘Some of our new bet types are popular in other countries and we’re confident that they will appeal to customers who have been crying out for fresh bet types to embrace in the UK.

‘Our technology allows us to roll these out at launch and identify those customers who find them engaging. It’s an exciting development that we’re proud to be offering.

‘We’ve got more plans for our exotic multi-leg bets rattling down the line and are looking forward to sharing the details of how our product innovations can enhance our soon-to-be-announced full range of bets.

“Ultimately, we believe our blend of offering a competitive and appealing product and brand to customers alongside our commitment to being a “by racing, for racing” operation will prove popular.”

 

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Sky Sports in ambitious raid to claim TV rights for Royal Ascot

  • Satellite channel At The Races will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing
  • Royal Ascot would be the highlight of a schedule of more than 650 fixtures 
  • Sky have already poached meetings at Chester and Bangor from rival Racing UK

Marcus Townend for the Daily Mail

Sky Sports are in a bidding war to secure pay-TV rights for Royal Ascot and all other meetings at the track for their new racing channel.

Royal Ascot would be the highlight of a schedule of more than 650 fixtures that is big on quantity but considerably thinner on quality. Terrestrial rights to broadcast from Ascot are held by ITV.

Sky’s growing interest in the sport was confirmed yesterday with the announcement that satellite channel At The Races, in which Sky hold a 51 per cent share, will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing from January. Sky have also poached meetings at Chester and Bangor from subscription rival Racing UK on a 10-year deal and will show races from those tracks from March next year.

Sky Sports are in a bidding war to secure pay-TV rights for prestigious Royal Ascot

Sky Sports are in a bidding war to secure pay-TV rights for prestigious Royal Ascot

Sky Sports are in a bidding war to secure pay-TV rights for prestigious Royal Ascot

Sources told Racemail that Chester and Bangor had been paid a ‘huge sum’ to ditch Racing UK, who have tied down all the country’s other major independent tracks — including Goodwood, Newbury and York — on long-term deals.

That leaves Sky and Racing UK scrapping over Ascot. RMG, the parent company of Racing UK, do not have the financial clout of Sky and Ascot have indicated promotional reach will be a factor in their decision, something that could work in Sky’s favour.

Ascot spokesman Nick Smith said: ‘The tendering process is ongoing and there are several interesting options on the table.’

Sky have announced satellite channel At The Races will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing

Sky have announced satellite channel At The Races will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing

Sky have announced satellite channel At The Races will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing

Losing Chester will not be a major blow to Racing UK. Indeed, it will ease some fixture congestion after the channel won the rights for all Irish racing from At The Races from next year.

But losing Ascot would be painful and a significant statement from Sky, whose launch of a dedicated racing channel is seen as potentially the first step to challenge for ITV’s rights when they become available in 2021.

l CORAL make it only 14-1 that Aidan O’Brien will pull off a remarkable treble this weekend. The trainer has 9-4 2,000 Guineas favourite Gustav Klimt, 5-2 1,000 Guineas favourite Happily and 4-1 Mendelssohn in the Kentucky Derby. 

 

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JEFF POWELL: Welcome to fight week of Haye-Bellew II – the rematch

David Haye describes himself as in a zen-like trance as the rematch approaches.

The Hayemaker needs to snap out of it before the first bell rings on Saturday night.

Tony Bellew says that the death of his brother-in-law has engendered his ‘most vicious’ mental state ever as a prize-fighter.

Tony Bellew (L) and David Haye (R) meet in a heavyweight rematch on Saturday night

Tony Bellew (L) and David Haye (R) meet in a heavyweight rematch on Saturday night

Tony Bellew (L) and David Haye (R) meet in a heavyweight rematch on Saturday night

The two fighters came together for a press conference in Bellew's hometown on Monday

The two fighters came together for a press conference in Bellew's hometown on Monday

The two fighters came together for a press conference in Bellew’s hometown on Monday

Bellew stopped a badly-injured Haye when the pair met in their first grudge match last March

Bellew stopped a badly-injured Haye when the pair met in their first grudge match last March

Bellew stopped a badly-injured Haye when the pair met in their first grudge match last March

The Bomber has found the desire to inflict serious hurt on another human being as his contradictory way of expressing personal grief.

Welcome to fight week.

Last time out this pair plumbed depths of profanity nauseatingly rare even in the boxing-hype game. The prelude to Haye-Bellew II at the O2 began with them soft-pedalling on the four-letter insults.

Well, so far.

Haye says: ‘I lost my head before the first fight and as a result of getting angry I lost the fight by going crazy for the instant knockout. Even though his personality still irritates me I won’t make that mistake again.’ We’ll see.

Bellew says: ‘I’ve cried a river of tears at the loss our family has suffered but I can overcome the grief by getting rid of him as quickly as possible.’ We’ll see about that, too.

The two fighters came to blows  before settling their bitter rivalry in the ring in London

The two fighters came to blows  before settling their bitter rivalry in the ring in London

The two fighters came to blows  before settling their bitter rivalry in the ring in London

Haye wears a cap which reads 'revenge' as he heads to Liverpool for the press conference

Haye wears a cap which reads 'revenge' as he heads to Liverpool for the press conference

Haye wears a cap which reads ‘revenge’ as he heads to Liverpool for the press conference

The first fight lasted 11 rounds, with Haye hobbling grotesquely through most of them with a ruptured achilles tendon until his corner threw in the towel.

When it ended they embraced each other like long-lost brothers. Course they did. Perhaps the hypocrisy it would entail for them to revert to calling each other by the most vile names imaginable is keeping the cap on their behaviour.

Well, so far.

The first press conference in Liverpool this Monday night was only the overture to the build-up. There are still pay-per-view subscriptions to sell, after all.

After all the bad blood in the build-up, the two fighters embraced in the ring at the O2 Arena

After all the bad blood in the build-up, the two fighters embraced in the ring at the O2 Arena

After all the bad blood in the build-up, the two fighters embraced in the ring at the O2 Arena

The former heavyweight world champion poses for a photo with grime artist Dizzee Rascal

The former heavyweight world champion poses for a photo with grime artist Dizzee Rascal

The former heavyweight world champion poses for a photo with grime artist Dizzee Rascal

And this is not a title fight, rather a cleverly contrived heavyweight event between two former world cruiserweight champions, one of whom went on to win a world heavyweight title.

Haye, the more natural inhabitant of Anthony Joshua’s land of the giants, and Bellew, the battler punching above his weight, are trying to find different ways of marketing their product.

Haye says: ‘I underestimated him the first time and got everything wrong, including the condition of my body. Now he’s facing the real Hayemaker.’ 

Bellew says: ‘I’ve got his number and he knows it. However many times we fight I’ll always beat him.’ 

Haye's son Cassius was among those who watched The Gloves Are Off with the heavyweight

Haye's son Cassius was among those who watched The Gloves Are Off with the heavyweight

Haye’s son Cassius was among those who watched The Gloves Are Off with the heavyweight

On Sky’s The Gloves Are Off television confrontation this weekend they mostly limited themselves to gentle ribbing of each other for taking this fight instead of challenging world champions in their respective divisions.

The real answer, of course, is that money talks. Albeit not so foully, as yet.

The Bomber would like to provoke Haye into losing the plot again, without damaging the perception of himself as the good guy.

The Hayemaker is trying to unnerve Bellew, while wearing the black hat with dignified restraint second time around.

But to paraphrase a maxim revived by these days of turmoil and loathing in Westminster, a week is a long time in boxing politics.

Haye v Bellew will be televised live on Sky Sports Box Office this Saturday night.

 

Fans worry Wembley will lose its soul as Kahn reveals plans to add roof to stadium

Tottenham and Watford supporters on Wembley Way on Monday night insisted that the FA must provide transparent reassurances that the footballing traditions of the national stadium are protected if Wembley is sold to the Pakistani-American entrepreneur Shahid Khan.

In the first football match at Wembley since the details of a possible sale were revealed, Sportsmail canvassed the opinions of supporters as they made their way into the stadium.

England have played at Wembley since the 1920s but the stadium may now be sold to Khan – the Fulham owner and billionaire proprietor of American football franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Fans at the Tottenham v Watford match revealed concerns about the selling of Wembley

Khan has revealed that should the deal go through he intends to make adjustments to the stadium, including finding a way to add a roof.  

‘I’m assuming we will now be at least going to the stage of doing some due diligence,’ Khan said in an interview with the Telegraph.

‘Some of the drama with the roof, for example, and all I know is what I have read, public documents, but I’d like to really understand the angle (of the roof) and how it doesn’t quite work.

‘There are now all kinds of plastic roofs (you can install) so if you could do that you could control the climate. With the roof there are two sliding parts that move but the rain can still come in and if you are looking at a winter concert, for example, would it be comfortable for people?’

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

Shahid Khan had made a big offer to buy the stadium that could help to fund grassroots game

The Fulham owner also admitted that he wants England to continue to play at Wembley, claiming that’s part of the reason the stadium is worth so much.  

‘England must play there. Otherwise it will be a shell. It would be like an empty suit that doesn’t have soul.’

‘We want the FA to be there, we want the England football games,’ he insisted. 

‘Other than that the steel and the concrete is not worth £600million plus. They have to be part-and-parcel so we can build from that. For them to be part of it, if they need assurances from us then I would have no issue with those.’ 

The Football Association have argued a potential £950m windfall could address shortages at grassroots level but former England captain Gary Neville has described it as ‘absurd’ while Peter Shilton questioned whether the FA would be ‘selling the soul of our game.’

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

But he has revealed he wants to add a roof to the stadium as talks take the next step 

The discussions revealed a generational divide, with some elder supporters passionately opposed to the sale amid fears the stadium could be renamed while Millennials admitted they were either unaware or did not care for the sale.

Raymond Fuller, a 77-year-old Tottenham fan, also highlighted that £40m of taxpayers money and £120m in National Lottery funding to build the stadium: ‘What happens to that public money?’ 

Fuller asked. ‘Wembley belongs to the England fans. It’s English. It has got to stay English. We can’t have an American owner, oh no no. Mark my words, he will be changing the name of the stadium within two years. 

‘I first came here to see Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham lift the FA Cup in 1961, it is a special place. If they do wrongly sell it, we need clear guarantees it remains the national home of football for England and the Cup finals.’

Watford supporter Andy Cook, 51, countered that the stadium is so new that most supporters feel little affinity but he also insisted there must be protection for the showpiece events of English football.

Fans are worried Kahn, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place 

Fans are worried Kahn, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place 

Fans are worried Kahn, owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, will take the soul out of the place 

Cook said: ‘The biggest problem for football is the lack of funding for grassroots facilities. It holds us back, so if this move unlocks cash for that, then I’m in support. 

‘And let’s be honest, there’s nothing special about the new Wembley. The old one with the Twin Towers and that walk down Wembley way was spine-tingling and iconic. But this one is soulless.

‘However, there must be a transparent contract – at least 100 years long – that guarantees Cup finals are played here. Don’t forget play-off finals too – those days out for lower league clubs are rare and have a special place in our hearts.’

Another Tottenham fan, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘The good thing is it means the England team will go on tour away from Wembley. Fans in the north-east and north-west and the Midlands should be able to watch England without trekking down to London.’

Responding to concerns from Neville and FA councillors, Khan told BBC Sport last night: ‘My message is that if you love English football, you want this to go ahead. It provides the money and revenue for grassroots football. 

‘Otherwise, how will the FA be able to do their mission? Wembley is not a money maker for the FA. Their core mission is football and if you like English football, this is the money needed to make it happen.’

Clemence: Klopp the nearest thing Liverpool have had to Shankly

Ray Clemence thought there could never be another Bill Shankly, that they broke the mould when the gravel-voiced Scot who was the architect of the modern Liverpool walked away from Anfield.

So the highest praise you could find for Jurgen Klopp as his club stand on the brink of their first Champions League final in 11 years is that Clemence, the goalkeeper in Liverpool’s greatest European era, is thinking again.

Clemence has found himself mesmerised not only by the whirlwind brand of attacking football Klopp has produced, but the way the Kop has become a wall of sound again.

Ray Clemence (right) was Liverpool's goalkeeper in the club's greatest European era

Ray Clemence (right) was Liverpool's goalkeeper in the club's greatest European era

Ray Clemence (right) was Liverpool’s goalkeeper in the club’s greatest European era

Now Clemence (centre) looks back on a glorious career with Sportsmail's Ralph Ellis

Now Clemence (centre) looks back on a glorious career with Sportsmail's Ralph Ellis

Now Clemence (centre) looks back on a glorious career with Sportsmail’s Ralph Ellis

In 665 appearances over 12 seasons for Liverpool, Clemence won three European Cups

In 665 appearances over 12 seasons for Liverpool, Clemence won three European Cups

In 665 appearances over 12 seasons for Liverpool, Clemence won three European Cups

‘If you ask me to compare them, I thought Shankly was a one-off, but then I’d have to say that Klopp is the nearest thing,’ he says. ‘The relationship Klopp has with the players and fans, it is exactly what Shankly had.

‘He pulled the club together so it was one strong unit that would do anything to help each other out and Klopp has revived that.

‘You only have to look at the last Champions League games, Manchester City and then Roma, the atmosphere in there was as it used to be when I played. Special nights. You can’t understate just how hard that is for a manager to achieve, and the bigger the club the more difficult it is.

‘At any level it’s tough these days for managers because everybody wants success yesterday, and at a club the size of Liverpool there are so many factions you have to try to bring together. He appears to have done that and it’s a priceless achievement.’ 

'I thought Shankly was a one-off, but I'd have to say that Klopp is the nearest thing,' he says

'I thought Shankly was a one-off, but I'd have to say that Klopp is the nearest thing,' he says

‘I thought Shankly was a one-off, but I’d have to say that Klopp is the nearest thing,’ he says

CLEMENCE’S MARCH 

Ray Clemence is backing Prostate Cancer UK’s Football March for Men on July 22 by awarding medals to finishers at Wembley. To sign up or find out more visit: prostatecanceruk.org/march 

Clemence, now 69, has never lost his love for Liverpool. Signed by Shankly from Scunthorpe in 1967, he went on to play 665 games over 12 seasons, winning five First Division titles and three European Cups.

And the thought of this side heading to Rome for Wednesday night’s semi-final second leg, with a 5-2 lead and the prospect of starting a new era of success, brings the memories flooding back.

The Eternal City, the Olympic Stadium. That was where Liverpool won the first of the five European Cups their fans love to sing about when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach in May 1977.

‘We had three or four months where we were going for the league title, the FA Cup and the European Cup, and so every three days we had to win a game,’ he says. ‘There was no respite. In the final 10 days we won the league on the Saturday, lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup final the following Saturday, and then four days later we had the European Cup final in Rome. 

Klopp takes his side to Rome for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final

Klopp takes his side to Rome for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final

Klopp takes his side to Rome for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final

Clemence, now 69, was signed by Shankly in 1967 and has never lost his love for Liverpool

Clemence, now 69, was signed by Shankly in 1967 and has never lost his love for Liverpool

Clemence, now 69, was signed by Shankly in 1967 and has never lost his love for Liverpool

‘Of course we were down. Going to the stadium we had been told there were going to be 11,000 fans there, which was incredible considering all the expense, but we went out to look at the pitch and there were 26,000 there.

‘Half the stadium was red and white, they had come from all over the world to be at Liverpool’s first European final. When we went back in, nobody really spoke, but we were all looking at each other and thinking the same thing, ‘We cannot let these people down, we have to perform’.

‘That team had so many big personalities — Tommy Smith, Emlyn Hughes, Jimmy Case. I’ve always said you need one to wear the armband, and three other captains, but that side had seven or eight leaders. 

Clemence celebrates after Liverpool secure their first European Cup triumph in Rome in 1977

Clemence celebrates after Liverpool secure their first European Cup triumph in Rome in 1977

Clemence celebrates after Liverpool secure their first European Cup triumph in Rome in 1977

‘The way up to the pitch was a dark tunnel, with some steps just before going out. We were looking at each other, thinking we had a disappointment four days ago and we’re not going to have another.

‘There was no shouting or anything, there was just a sense that we knew what each other was thinking and we just had to be concentrated. We needed to be at our best and we were — Kevin Keegan in particular was being marked by Berti Vogts, who was the best man-for-man marker in the world at that time and Kevin ran him to death. We finished up winning and winning in style.

‘There was an incredible party after — which I don’t remember a lot of — and then we went back to Liverpool and 3million people. It took us three hours to get from the airport to the centre of Liverpool. Great days and you’d love these boys now to sample some of the same.’ 

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 13 years ago. 

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 13 years ago. 

The former Liverpool goalkeeper was diagnosed with prostate cancer 13 years ago

WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?

  •  More than 11,800 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year – that’s one man every 45 minutes.
  • It’s the most common cancer in men, with over 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK.
  • Prostate cancer is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in the UK by 2030 – which is why we must all act now to curb its power to kill.
  • Men over 50, black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer all face a higher than average risk of the disease.
  • Prostate cancer treatment often causes devastating, long term side-effects. Incontinence and erectile dysfunction strike at the heart of what it means to be a man.
  • Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer may contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or online via the Live Chat instant messaging service: www.prostatecanceruk.org. The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.

These days the mental strength which won all those trophies is used in another battle. Clemence was diagnosed 13 years ago with prostate cancer and he’s defying a disease which kills one man in Britain every 45 minutes.

‘It came from nothing,’ he recalls. ‘I didn’t feel ill, but basically when I went to the toilet the flow was not as strong as it used to be. I was with England as a coach and I spoke to the physio Gary Lewin. He immediately said, ‘You are past 50, have you ever been tested?’

‘I was oblivious to all of that, as too many men are. That’s why there are campaigns to get people to be tested early. I went to the specialist and it was confirmed I had cancer, I had to have the prostate taken away, and then the tablets. The last few years it has got more difficult.

‘I have had three sets of chemo, I’ve had a tumour in my back, and a brain tumour which they managed to get rid of. There are days when I don’t feel the best but I just want to be positive.’

We meet at Aston Villa’s training ground where his son, Stephen, is assistant to Steve Bruce. Ray looks a picture of health despite his ongoing issues and the bond between father and son is obvious. 

Clemence's son, Stephen (right), labelled him 'one of the most positive people I have known'

Clemence's son, Stephen (right), labelled him 'one of the most positive people I have known'

Clemence’s son, Stephen (right), labelled him ‘one of the most positive people I have known’

‘My son was born the day after my dad had his first operation and he is one of the most positive people I have known,’ says Stephen. ‘There are times I can see he’s not right. My mum and sisters, we see that. And it is our job to pick him up. He still has a lot to look forward to in his life.’

‘I’m a survivor, basically,’ says Ray. ‘There is lots of talk about people only lasting five years with it, well I’m going on 14 years now and I am still doing all the things I want to do. I say to people that it is a physical illness but it is a mental fight.

‘If you give in and get weak I believe it will have you, but if you are strong mentally you can give it a good fight. That’s where I am. I know it is never going to go away, it is how long I can fight it and the wonderful staff can give me the treatment that will help.’

Things to look forward to include a World Cup this summer, and a man who won 61 caps believes England are blessed with the best choice of goalkeepers for years.

‘People say it’s a problem position for Gareth Southgate but I disagree,’ he says. ‘Joe Hart has 70-odd caps, but he hasn’t had a strong challenger and now he does have. Now he has Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford, Angus Gunn at Norwich who is coming through. Then there’s Nick Pope at Burnley. We are better than we have been for many years.’

Bill Shankly would have loved all that optimism. Much, you suspect, like Jurgen Klopp.

Tottenham 2-0 Watford -THINGS YOU MISSED

Tottenham eased to a 2-0 victory over Watford on Monday night thanks to goals either side of half time from Dele Alli and Harry Kane.

The result saw Tottenham take a big step towards Champions League qualification by going five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea.   

But for some of the finer details from the match, Sportsmail have you covered with a handy list of the things you missed.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored either side of half time as Tottenham beat Watford 2-0

Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored either side of half time as Tottenham beat Watford 2-0

Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored either side of half time as Tottenham beat Watford 2-0

Pochettino forgets which club he manages

Mauricio Pochettino had a momentary mind-blank in his pre-match interview when he got his current and former teams mixed up in an embarrassing slip of the tongue.

When answering a question on whether an FA Cup semi-final and a top-four finish constitutes a sucessful campaign for Tottenham, Pochettino responded: ‘I think it would be a great season.

‘It’s a good year to be in the top four and getting in the Champions League would be a massive success for the club. When you look at the history of Southam-,’ he said before stopping and correcting himself: ‘erm, sorry Tottenham’.

To be fair to Pochettino he isn’t wrong. A top-four finish would be massive for Southampton – they are currently languishing in the relegation zone.   

Mauricio Pochettino was clearly missing his old club Southampton in his pre-match interview

Mauricio Pochettino was clearly missing his old club Southampton in his pre-match interview

Mauricio Pochettino was clearly missing his old club Southampton in his pre-match interview

Rude hashtag spices up routine win 

Tottenham’s home tie with Watford brought up the Premier League’s rudest matchday hashtag, created with the first three letters of each team name. 

TOT and WAT combine to create #TOTWAT and the silly hashtag wasn’t lost on Twitter, notably Spurs legend Gary Lineker who tweeted just so he could use it.

For podcast presenter James Harkin meanwhile, the hashtag reminded him of how the majority of his fan mail is addressed. 

Dele really likes Fortnite

Dele Alli referenced his favourite video game in a goal celebration again on Monday night, after taking advantage of Watford goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis’ mistake to net Tottenham’s 16th-minute opener. 

Alli, who played the video game craze live last week with team-mate Harry Kane, stuck his arms in the air and moved his hips to celebrate in Fortnite fashion. 

The midfielder produced a different Fortnite celebration in the FA Cup semi-final for Tottenham’s opener earlier this month, before Manchester United came back to win.

But while that celebration saw him criticised by pundits for being too flashy before Tottenham fell to defeat, there was no such comeback from Watford as Kane doubled Spurs’ lead in the second half en route to a 2-0 victory.   

Dele Alli performs the Fortnite celebration after opening the scoring on Monday evening

Dele Alli performs the Fortnite celebration after opening the scoring on Monday evening

Dele Alli performs the Fortnite celebration after opening the scoring on Monday evening

Kane goes head over heels

Kane’s quest for the Premier League’s Golden Boot has seen the Tottenham striker return earlier than expected from injury and claim a goal off his own team-mate earlier this month. 

And on Monday night Kane was once again busting a gut to try and catch up with current scoring leader in the Premier League, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, even landing on his head as he continued to sniff out opportunities. 

Fortunately for Kane, he managed a second-half strike to seal a routine win for Tottenham and reduce the gap between himself and Salah to four goals.

Kane went head over heels as he continued his pursuit of the Premier League Golden Boot

Kane went head over heels as he continued his pursuit of the Premier League Golden Boot

Kane went head over heels as he continued his pursuit of the Premier League Golden Boot

Watford’s away woes  

It might not be as bad as Arsenal’s away record in 2018, but Watford’s miserable drought on the road continued on Monday as they drew another blank at Wembley. 

Watford have now failed to score on seven consecutive trips away from Vicarage Road, with the goalless draw against Stoke the only time they’ve collected a point during that run. 

In those seven games, the Hornets have conceded 15 goals including a 5-0 thrashing at Anfield and a 3-0 reverse at the Emirates. 

Interestingly, Watford’s last away goal came against champions Manchester City way back on January 2, with Andre Gray’s late consolation in a 3-1 Etihad loss.  

Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu reacts after his goal at Wembley is disallowed for offside

Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu reacts after his goal at Wembley is disallowed for offside

Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu reacts after his goal at Wembley is disallowed for offside

Will Hughes reacts after Richarlison fired a good chance over the bar as the drought continued

Will Hughes reacts after Richarlison fired a good chance over the bar as the drought continued

Will Hughes reacts after Richarlison fired a good chance over the bar as the drought continued

 

Arsenal preparing centurion send-off for legend Arsene Wenger

 

 

 

This was the amazing gathering of 31 centurions for the launch of Arsenal’s 100 Club in 2013. Everyone who has played 100 games for the club has been invited to the Emirates on Sunday for Arsene Wenger’s final home game.

Back row (from left): Lauren, Robert Pires, Gilles Grimandi, John Lukic, David O’Leary, David Price, Graham Rix, Brian Talbot, Andy Linighan, Martin Hayes.

Middle row: Sammy Nelson, Sol Campbell, Jimmy Rimmer, Liam Brady, David Hillier, Alan Smith, Tony Woodcock, Paul Davis, John Radford, Michael Thomas, John Hollins, Nigel Winterburn, Perry Groves.

Front row: Jimmy Magill, Jon Sammels, David Court, Bob Wilson, Frank McLintock, Alan Skirton, Billy McCullough, Terry Neill. 

Brian Clough’s Forest farewell: 25 years ago, legendary manager was relegated on his final home game

‘The man with the green sweater. An embrace for the law on his last home appearance. Whatever his failings, whatever his foibles, he’s been a power of good for the game of football…’

Those were the words of BBC commentator Barry Davies on May 1, 1993 as Brian Clough stopped to hug a policewoman after emerging from the tunnel for his last ever match as Nottingham Forest manager at the City Ground.

Fans rose to their feet as Clough, who pulled his trademark green Umbro jumper over a red polo shirt, turned right to start his walk down the touchline for the final time, surrounded by photographers. There were more embraces for the policemen trying to hold them back.

Clough was 58 then but looks 10 years older, his face reddened after years of heavy drinking.

Sheffield United were the opponents for Clough’s 993rd of 994 matches in charge of Forest (his very final outing was away to Ipswich a week later). It drew to an end his incredible 18-year spell as one of the most successful managers in British football history.

It was a day of tears and sorrow, as well as love and celebration. A nightmare ending, yet a fans farewell that most managers can only dream of.

Brian Clough emerges from the tunnel for his final home game as Nottingham Forest manager on May 1, 1993

Brian Clough emerges from the tunnel for his final home game as Nottingham Forest manager on May 1, 1993

Brian Clough emerges from the tunnel for his final home game as Nottingham Forest manager on May 1, 1993

Clough pulls on his trademark green jumper for the final time as he strides down the touchline before kick-off

Clough pulls on his trademark green jumper for the final time as he strides down the touchline before kick-off

Clough pulls on his trademark green jumper for the final time as he strides down the touchline before kick-off

Clough hugs a policewoman as he walks out of the tunnel

Clough hugs a policewoman as he walks out of the tunnel

Clough hugs a policewoman as he walks out of the tunnel

Clough was the man who propelled Forest to the highest peak during a dazzling spell that revived a reputation battered by his infamous 44-day spell with Leeds. This was their incredible ascent:

1975 – appointed manager at Forest, then in the Second Division.

1977 – wins promotion by finishing third

1978 – Division One champions

1979 – European Cup champions

1980 – European Cup champions (again)

That outrageous sequence would be considered an astonishing burst of success for any club, let alone this red corner of the East Midlands.

Fast forward to the grey first day of May 1993 and this was a man whose magic had finally worn off.

Forest slid back down to the second tier of English football in Premiership’s inaugural season. They slipped out of the top flight with a whimper, losing 2-0 to Sheffield United on the penultimate weekend.

Yet, this day was about much, much more than the result.

This was the afternoon Clough, the man who led Forest from 1975 to 1993, waved goodbye to the people who had clung on for every twist and turn of an unprecedented, unpredictable journey.

The preceding weeks had been dominated by a debate over the nature of his departure, which bears similarity with Arsene Wenger’s exit from Arsenal. Was Clough really retiring or was he being pushed out?

It was a terribly awkward situation for those involved, culminating in this final home match. Nigel Clough – then a 27-year-old Forest forward – was repeatedly pushed on his father’s exit and health by Davies in a fascinating post-match interview.

Clough (centre in the green jumper) looks on in horror from the dugout with fans sharing his pain above him as he watches his Nottingham Forest team get relegated from the Premiership

Clough (centre in the green jumper) looks on in horror from the dugout with fans sharing his pain above him as he watches his Nottingham Forest team get relegated from the Premiership

Clough (centre in the green jumper) looks on in horror from the dugout with fans sharing his pain above him as he watches his Nottingham Forest team get relegated from the Premiership

Nigel Clough was pushed by Barry Davies on his father's health

Nigel Clough was pushed by Barry Davies on his father's health

Nigel Clough was pushed by Barry Davies on his father's health

Nigel Clough was pushed by Barry Davies on his father's health

Nigel Clough was pushed by Barry Davies on his father’s health in an interview in the tunnel

Forest finished bottom in the 1992-93 Premiership season

Forest finished bottom in the 1992-93 Premiership season

Forest finished bottom in the 1992-93 Premiership season

Davies: ‘Is his health good? He doesn’t seem to be a well man, it has to be said…’

Clough: ‘I think age has caught up with him…’

Davies, cutting in: ‘He’s only 58, Nigel. It’s not that old, is it?’

Clough: ‘It is for me! 40 years in this business has taken its toll and over the past 18 months it’s caught up quite rapidly.’

Davies: ‘One or two of us are quite worried about him. Are you?’

Clough: ‘Not really, as long as he fills his time in well and does a bit of gardening and so on.’

A week earlier – and just a month after Clough Snr had been awarded the freedom of the city – he had announced he was retiring amid a backdrop of claims and counter-claims over whether his drinking was ‘discrediting’ the club.

On the same day, Forest suspended director Chris Wootton amid claims he ran a ‘dirty-tricks campaign’ and had been offering stories of Clough’s alleged drinking to newspapers. Wootton denied this but insisted Clough’s exit ‘vindicated’ him.

‘Brian Clough has been the best possible manager for Nottingham Forest for many years’, he said ‘but because of his health, I thought it best for the club and Brian himself for him to consider his position. There has been disquiet among the board for some time.’

Clough’s lawyers threatened to sue. Forest’s chairman Fred Reacher denied it was true and that the manager retained the board’s support. It was a controversial climax to a chaotic campaign.

Their handling of transfers in the summer of 1992 was a mess. England defender Des Walker was sold to Sampdoria for £1.5million and soon the man who was identified to replace him – the homegrown Darren Wassall – followed him out of the door after a bust-up with his manager Clough. Teddy Sheringham, who scored the first ever televised Premier League goal for Forest against Liverpool in August, was sold just a week later to Tottenham for £2.1m.

Add to this a cluster of distracting incidents – a young Roy Keane being arrested over an incident at a party (released without charge) and later fined £5,000 after a separate bar-room incident in Jersey while on a club tour, a shareholder vote of no confidence in the board and Clough himself accused of delivering a two-fingered gesture to Forest fans – and you can appreciate just how tumultuous this season was building up to his departure.

Before airing the Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United highlights, BBC’s Match of the Day host Des Lynam diverted viewers to interviews with Forest fans outside the ground before the match. It gave a glimpse of an alien world compared to the ‘Wenger Out’ campaigns of today.

Clough salutes the fans after returning to the pitch after they had been relegated following the 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United

Clough salutes the fans after returning to the pitch after they had been relegated following the 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United

Clough salutes the fans after returning to the pitch after they had been relegated following the 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United

Clough shakes hands with a Sheffield United fan as he's given a a standing ovation at the City Ground

Clough shakes hands with a Sheffield United fan as he's given a a standing ovation at the City Ground

Clough shakes hands with a Sheffield United fan as he’s given a a standing ovation at the City Ground

Line-ups – May 1, 1993

Nottingham Forest: Andy Marriott, Brian Laws, Brett Williams, Steve Chettle, Carl Tiler, Kingsley Black, Nigel Clough, Scot Gemmill, Roy Keane, Ian Woan, Robert Rosario

Sheffield United: Alan Kelly, Carl Bradshaw, Paul Beesley, John Pemberton, Brian Gayle, Charlie Hartfield, Glyn Hodges, Paul Rogers, Mitch Ward, Dane Whitehouse, Brian Deane

Goals: Hodges (30), Gayle (73)

Referee: Paul Durkin

Attendance: 26,752

 

‘I think it’s disgraceful’, said a man flipping burgers in his van parked outside the City Ground. ‘It’s the first bad season we’ve had in five or six years and suddenly everyone is calling for Clough to be resigning. I think we should stick with him, give the man a chance and hope they do well next year.’

Soundbites from other sympathetic supporters included ‘one bad season doesn’t make him a bad manager’, ‘he’s the best thing that ever happened to Nottingham’ and a bemused ‘I don’t know what to do without him really’.

A lady in a pointed Forest hat was holding back tears as she said: ‘I’ve just taken him some flowers but they wouldn’t let me give them to him because he’s in the bath. So I said I could come in and scrub his back.’

Police had advised Forest’s players – eventually beaten by goals from Glyn Hodges and Brian Gayle – that they should hurry off the playing field at the full-time whistle to avoid being caught up in a pitch invasion.

Keane was one who ran off down the tunnel, with Clough already making his way down for what he thought would be the final time. Son Nigel, however, ignored the advice and remained on the pitch to applaud the supporters.

‘Police said before the game to get in as quickly as you can’, he later told Davies. ‘But I think on a day like this, when there’s been absolutely tremendous support all season, it’s only right that we should stay out and give small gesture of our thanks.’

Back out in the stadium, fans refused to leave until Clough returned for one last goodbye at the City Ground. One banner simply read ‘Brian Clough is a football genius’.

With his green sweater still on and a young fan trying to drape a Forest flag around his shoulders, Clough – again flanked by photographers – marched over to the Executive Stand (later to be renamed after Clough) where his name was being chanted.

There were thumbs up as he was engulfed by hundreds of supporters on the pitch. This would be his final farewell to the adoring masses. The end of 18 years on one of football’s most compelling journeys.

Surrounded by fans and police, Clough waves goodbye on the pitch at the City Ground

Surrounded by fans and police, Clough waves goodbye on the pitch at the City Ground

Surrounded by fans and police, Clough waves goodbye on the pitch at the City Ground

Clough is mobbed by Nottingham Forest fans as he makes his way off the pitch for the final time

Clough is mobbed by Nottingham Forest fans as he makes his way off the pitch for the final time

Clough is mobbed by Nottingham Forest fans as he makes his way off the pitch for the final time

Brian Clough was given a huge send-off by the home fans - despite defeat confirming their relegation

Brian Clough was given a huge send-off by the home fans - despite defeat confirming their relegation

Brian Clough was given a huge send-off by the home fans – despite defeat confirming their relegation from the Premiership

After he finally departed for the final time, Clough spoke to Davies in front of a white brick wall inside Forest’s tunnel, a world away from today’s kaleidoscope advertisement boards.

Asked what he was going to do next, Clough paused for thought before telling Davies: ‘I’m going to spend boring minutes talking to people like you – that’s what I’m going to do!

‘No, I’m not. I’m going to walk around and look after my grandchildren. I might even come to a football match, actually.’

He then politely added: ‘Barry, could you excuse me. Thank you for asking me to be interviewed. I’ll go back to my wife Barbara and my grandchildren.’

‘It’s been a pleasure knowing you, sir’, replied Davies. ‘Enjoy your retirement.’

The pair – one a titan of football management, the other a master of football commentary – then shared a tender embrace.

Clough was holding back the tears, but the years had finally caught up with him.

Barry Davies is embraced by Clough

Barry Davies is embraced by Clough

Clough being interviewed on Match of the Day after the game

Clough being interviewed on Match of the Day after the game

Clough shares a hug with BBC interviewer Barry Davies after his final home match as Nottingham Forest manager

Real set to bench Gareth Bale for Champions League tie with Bayern

  • Real Madrid take a 2-1 aggregate lead to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night
  • Gareth Bale is set to start on the bench for the Champions League semi-final
  • Manchester United retain an interest in the Wales international winger
  • Bayern Munich will be without Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng on Tuesday

Pete Jenson for the Daily Mail

Gareth Bale is set to be on the bench on Tuesday night as Real Madrid seek to reach their third consecutive Champions League final.

The Wales forward scored against Leganes on Saturday, making him the club’s second leading scorer with 15 goals this season, but he has dropped behind Marco Asensio, Isco and Karim Benzema in Zinedine Zidane‘s pecking order.

Bale has cut a miserable figure on the bench recently and is set to miss out again as Madrid take a 2-1 lead against Bayern Munich into the second leg. Zidane insisted his own future would not be decided by Champions League success, which may be bad news for Bale. 

Gareth Bale is struggling to break back into favour under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale is struggling to break back into favour under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale is struggling to break back into favour under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

The Welsh winger is set to start from the bench against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night

The Welsh winger is set to start from the bench against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night

The Welsh winger is set to start from the bench against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night

‘I want to stay at the club,’ Zidane said. ‘There are plenty of better, more accomplished coaches than me but I was lucky to be here as a player and I have the chance to be here now as a coach.’

Manchester United retain interest in Bale, who earns £350,000 a week, but Real Madrid president Florentino Perez would like to get at least one more season out of the 28-year-old.

Bayern Munich are without Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng on Tuesday but David Alaba is fit again.

Robert Lewandowski will start up front with some Bayern supporters suggesting they would not mind if Real Madrid followed up interest in signing the Poland forward, who has not scored a Champions League goal since February.

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge snapped: ‘I find that suggestion ridiculous. He has scored another 39 goals this season. He is staying with us.’

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for Madrid. He is one short of becoming the first player to 100 wins in the competition.

Zinedine Zidane is also desperate to remain at Real with his future coming under fire

Zinedine Zidane is also desperate to remain at Real with his future coming under fire

Zinedine Zidane is also desperate to remain at Real with his future coming under fire

Likely line-ups   

REAL MADRID (4-4-2): Navas; Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Vazquez, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Ronaldo.

BAYERN MUNICH (4-1-4-1): Ulreich; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez; Muller, Thiago, Rodriguez, Ribery; Lewandowski. 

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