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We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has between three and five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal are likely to beat Burnley to sixth place, with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Bournemouth in 11th and below can still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above Huddersfield to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least four points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are Championship champions, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have three games left to play. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion, given they have an extra game left to play. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Brentford, Preston, Bristol City and Sheffield United, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland's relegation to League One has been confirmed. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Bolton, who are two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Reading can still technically go down. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan have sealed automatic promotion, and Blackburn look likely to beat Shrewsbury to the second of the automatic promotion spots. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with some sides still having to play four more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very open. Rotherham are guaranteed a play-off place, while six teams will battle it out for the final two spots. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bristol Rovers in 12th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only seven points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 14th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley and Luton have sealed promotion to League One. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still, mathematically at least, in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four of the six teams currently between third and eighth. Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Yeovil in 19th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs: who can still finish where?
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has between three and five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal are likely to beat Burnley to sixth place, with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Bournemouth in 11th and below can still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above Huddersfield to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least four points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are Championship champions, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have three games left to play. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion, given they have an extra game left to play. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Brentford, Preston, Bristol City and Sheffield United, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland's relegation to League One has been confirmed. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Bolton, who are two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Reading can still technically go down. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan have sealed automatic promotion, and Blackburn look likely to beat Shrewsbury to the second of the automatic promotion spots. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with some sides still having to play four more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very open. Rotherham are guaranteed a play-off place, while six teams will battle it out for the final two spots. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bristol Rovers in 12th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only seven points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 14th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley and Luton have sealed promotion to League One. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still, mathematically at least, in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four of the six teams currently between third and eighth. Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Yeovil in 19th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
Nemanja Matic: Manchester United must approach Tottenham in a different way if we are to beat them
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
Nemanja Matic: Manchester United must approach Tottenham in a different way if we are to beat them
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
Nemanja Matic: Manchester United must approach Tottenham in a different way if we are to beat them
It did not turn out badly for Nemanja Matic the last time he faced Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final. Twelve months ago, the Serbia midfielder capped a man-of-the-match display in Chelsea’s 4-2 victory with a blistering 30-yard drive that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. What Jose Mourinho would give for a similar contribution from Matic for Manchester United against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday. “It’s difficult to say if it’s the best goal I’ve scored but one of maybe the three best and most important goals in my life,” the midfielder said. “It was a great game and amazing for me to score that goal. I was really happy and I’ll never forget.” It is clear Matic would rather forget United’s last game against Tottenham at Wembley in January, though. Behind after just 11 seconds to Christian Eriksen’s goal, the joint third fastest scored in Premier League history, United ended up losing 2-0 in a game perhaps best remembered for a heated touchline exchange between Paul Pogba and Mourinho shortly before the France midfielder was substituted in the second half. Matic acknowledged United’s shortcomings on the night, and the need to raise their game this time around with their last chance of silverware this season at stake. “We need to see where we made mistakes, we need to approach the game in a different way for sure and this game helps,” he said, although a couple of questions later he appeared to have erased the defeat from his memory. “I don’t remember the game,” he said. When he is reminded Pogba was taken off, Matic remains unmoved. “I don’t know,” he says. “We play many games.” Paul Pogba debates with Jose Mourinho Credit: GETTY IMAGES There is clearly little danger of Matic allowing the loss to prey on his mind, which goes a long way towards explaining his winner’s mentality, one that Mourinho cherishes. Matic was one of only two players - striker Romelu Lukaku being the other – who were singled out for praise by Mourinho during the United manager’s infamous “heritage” rant last month in the wake of the club’s Champions League exit to Sevilla. “When I came here I wanted to show my qualities, I wanted to bring something to the team and, of course, I am happy that the manager, my team-mates and the club are happy with my job,” Matic said. Did Mourinho’s remarks make for any discomfort in the dressing room? “No, no, no – no one has said anything,” he said. “What I have to say is that I am proud. We have a good relationship as a coach and a player but no more than that.” One player who will have to work a lot harder to gain that sort of trust from Mourinho is Pogba. His substitution against Spurs marked the start of a deterioration in his relationship with the Portuguese that had previously seemed rock solid. Man Utd vs Tottenham: tactical preview Pogba was certainly among those to invite Mourinho’s ire during the shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last Sunday that handed Manchester City the title, only eight days after the midfielder inspired a thrilling fightback with two goals in a dramatic 3-2 derby win that had delayed their rival’s coronation. Mourinho was so angry with the performance that he claimed it had cost some players their chance of starting against Spurs but Pogba at least went a way towards atoning with a much-improved showing in a greatly-changed side in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth. Few are better placed than Matic – the steadying hand in an ever-changing midfield – to discuss the mercurial Frenchman and he recognises there is plenty of scope for improvement. “With his quality, personality he needs to have more confidence, needs to take more responsibility, of course,” said Matic, who talks like he plays – to the point, no frills, no fuss. “He’s still young, he can improve and he will improve. He showed in the game [against City] that he can always play better and better. He took responsibility, he scored and giving other players more confidence is exactly what he has to do.” Nemanja Matic admits Paul Pogba can still improve Credit: PA Whether as part of a midfield three that Pogba favours or in a two, Matic insists he enjoys playing alongside United’s club-record £89 million signing. “He’s a great player – he runs a lot, has the quality with the ball, he can score, he can defend also very well,” he said. “I like to play with him and also with Ander [Herrera], Scott [McTominay], Marouane [Fellaini]. We have quality in the team, but we always need to improve if we want to win the title next season.” Matic seems slightly less enamoured with Pogba’s penchant for frequently changing his hair colour. Rest assured, he has no plans to dye his barnet blue. “No, I have kids,” Matic, 29, says, smiling. “If I do that, my son is going to do the same. I have to have serious hair, like Gary Neville.” There is little doubting that Chelsea’s loss has been United’s gain. Twice a championship winner with Chelsea, Matic has been one of United’s most dependable performers during a campaign in which City’s relentless march to the title has intensified the spotlight, sometimes unfairly, on Mourinho’s side. Despite being second in the table, four points clear of Liverpool with four games to play and six clear of Spurs, the inconsistency of United’s football has made them hard to warm to for some. But Mourinho has the possibility of claiming a third leading trophy in two seasons, which would be more silverware than Tottenham have won in the past 27 years. So would a second placed finish and a Cup triumph be enough for the club this term? “It’s difficult to say if it’s enough,” Matic said. “I’m not sure it is but to finish second in the league is not bad and the FA Cup is very important for every team.” Having been part of Mourinho’s last title-winning team, at Chelsea in 2014/15, Matic believes United are “not yet” at that level. “We need more – to have more experience in different kinds of situations during the game,” he said. “We drop many points when we shouldn’t and this comes with experience.” Having been denied a League and Cup double with Chelsea last season when Arsenal won the final, Matic is hoping to go one better with a team he had long dreamed of representing. Matic was playing in Serbia’s third division with Kolubara, with whom he was earning about £70 per month, when he first floated the idea of playing for United, albeit mostly in jest at that time. “There is an interesting story because one agent wanted to bring me to another club in Serbia and I was not happy to go there so he asked me, ‘Where do you want to go then?’ I was sitting at a table with him and told him, ‘I want to go to Manchester United’. He was like ‘What is he talking about?!’ I was joking but it shows that everything is possible.”
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams' games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs: who can still finish where?
We're into the final month of the season across England's top four tiers, and there is still plenty to play for. The Premier League title is wrapped up, and the bottom three clubs are looking increasingly to be relegated, but lower down the footballing pyramid there is plenty still at stake. Here, we round-up who can still finish where in the Premier League and Football League. Premier League Every team has either four or five games remaining, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if everyone finished in exactly the position they currently find themselves - or at least in the positions that truly matter. Manchester City are champions, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are looking good to finish in the top four, barring a significant late collapse coupled with a Chelsea recovery. Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for sixth place (though Arsenal can technically still finish in the top four), with the losers of that race to go into the Europa League at the second qualifying stage - which starts on July 26. Everyone from Leicester in eighth and below can - mathematically - still be relegated, but it would take something dramatic for any of the teams above West Ham to be pulled back in to the dogfight. Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, all at least five points adrift of safety, are in real trouble. Premier League | Who can still get what? Championship Wolves are all but secure of the Championship title, 12 points clear of Cardiff, who have four games left and a vastly inferior goal difference. Cardiff are battling it out with Fulham and Aston Villa for the second remaining automatic play-off spot, though the Welsh side are in the best position to secure promotion. Two of those sides will go into the play-offs, joined by two more of Middlesbrough, Millwall, Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Brentford and Bristol City, though the final four of those sides face an uphill task to sneak in. At the other end of the table, Sunderland are on the brink of a second successive relegation and last position, rooted to the foot of the Championship. Burton and Barnsley currently make up the bottom three, though Barnsley have a game in hand on Birmingham and Bolton, two points above them, just outside the relegation zone. Every side up to Nottingham Forest can still technically go down, but everyone from Reading and up should survive. Championship | What can still happen? League One Wigan and Blackburn look like they have won the race for the two automatic promotion spots, though Shrewsbury could technically still catch either. Whichever of those teams does not get into the top two will go into the play-offs, and with many sides still having to play five more games, the race for the three remaining play-off places is very, very open. Every team between Rotherham in fourth and Southend in 15th (apart from Fleetwood, due to the combination of other teams' games) can still make it into the play-offs, though realistically, it is unlikely that anyone below ninth will. At the bottom, Bury are down, while everyone up to Bradford in 10th could feasibly get sucked into the relegation battle. Given only eight points separate Rochdale in 21st and Doncaster in 12th, there is an awful lot still to play for. League One | What can still happen? League Two Accrington Stanley have sealed promotion to League One, and Luton will join them with one more win. Wycombe are in pole position to secure the third and final automatic promotion slot, but every side currently in the play-off places is still in contention. The play-off berths will be filled by four teams from those currently between second and 14th (apart from Crawley, who have too few games remaining to make it into seventh). Relegation from the Football League is looking perilously likely for both Chesterfield and Barnet, though everyone up to Crewe in 17th could still be dragged into the drop zone, however unlikely that actually is. League Two | What can still happen?
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Reveals the Touching Meaning Behind His New Haircut Following Stoke Win
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Reveals the Touching Meaning Behind His New Haircut Following Stoke Win
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Reveals the Touching Meaning Behind His New Haircut Following Stoke Win
Nowadays, with the rise of social media and their increased marketability, footballers ​can put as much effort into maintaining a specific look as they do when they're on the pitch. Every week it seems the likes of Paul Pogba or Tiemoue Bakayoko will be sporting a new barnet (while Hector Bellerin refuses to cut his, against all sense). And as Arsenal faced off against Stoke at the weekend, it seemed the Gunners' new boy Aubameyang had indulged his vanity, deciding to don a fancy new do....
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Alan Sheehan prepares to take a corner Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Alan Sheehan prepares to take a corner Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal with Alan McCormack Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal with Alan McCormack Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal with Danny Hylton Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal with Danny Hylton Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
Luton Town’s James Collins celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the League Two match against Barnet at Kenilworth Road.
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
Luton Town’s James Collins celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the League Two match against Barnet at Kenilworth Road.
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
James Collins strikes for Luton Town and deepens Barnet woes
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Danny Hylton celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Towns James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Towns James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Towns James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Towns James Collins celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Andrew Shinnie in action with Barnet's Alex Nicholls Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Andrew Shinnie in action with Barnet's Alex Nicholls Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Andrew Shinnie in action with Barnet's Alex Nicholls Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town's Andrew Shinnie in action with Barnet's Alex Nicholls Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet's Richard Brindley in action with Luton Town's James Collins Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet's Richard Brindley in action with Luton Town's James Collins Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet's Richard Brindley prepares to take a throw in Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet's Richard Brindley prepares to take a throw in Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town manager Nathan Jones Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Luton Town manager Nathan Jones Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet
Soccer Football - League Two - Luton Town vs Barnet - Kenilworth Road, Luton, Britain - March 24, 2018 Barnet manager Martin Allen Action Images/Adam Holt EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea City manager Paul Clement before the match Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea City manager Paul Clement before the match Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea City manager Paul Clement before the match Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea City manager Paul Clement before the match Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt/File Photo
The many ages – and stints – of Martin Allen, Barnet manager.
Which football manager has had most spells in charge of the same club?
The many ages – and stints – of Martin Allen, Barnet manager.
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
Martin Allen returns to Barnet for a FIFTH time as manager
​Marouane Fellaini has always been one of the Premier League's more divisive figures, with the Belgian consistently drawing the ire of opposition fans and admiration of his own for his tough tackling, unparalleled chest control and use of elbows. Rivalries aside, it's fair to say the midfielder dons one fairly iconic barnet, with his afro helping the Red Devil easily stand out from the crowd. However, Fellaini may have taken the concept of standing out from the crowd a bit too far with his new...
PHOTO: Marouane Fellaini Shocks Fans After Revealing New Disney-Inspired Hairstyle on Instagram
​Marouane Fellaini has always been one of the Premier League's more divisive figures, with the Belgian consistently drawing the ire of opposition fans and admiration of his own for his tough tackling, unparalleled chest control and use of elbows. Rivalries aside, it's fair to say the midfielder dons one fairly iconic barnet, with his afro helping the Red Devil easily stand out from the crowd. However, Fellaini may have taken the concept of standing out from the crowd a bit too far with his new...
​Marouane Fellaini has always been one of the Premier League's more divisive figures, with the Belgian consistently drawing the ire of opposition fans and admiration of his own for his tough tackling, unparalleled chest control and use of elbows. Rivalries aside, it's fair to say the midfielder dons one fairly iconic barnet, with his afro helping the Red Devil easily stand out from the crowd. However, Fellaini may have taken the concept of standing out from the crowd a bit too far with his new...
PHOTO: Marouane Fellaini Shocks Fans After Revealing New Disney-Inspired Hairstyle on Instagram
​Marouane Fellaini has always been one of the Premier League's more divisive figures, with the Belgian consistently drawing the ire of opposition fans and admiration of his own for his tough tackling, unparalleled chest control and use of elbows. Rivalries aside, it's fair to say the midfielder dons one fairly iconic barnet, with his afro helping the Red Devil easily stand out from the crowd. However, Fellaini may have taken the concept of standing out from the crowd a bit too far with his new...
The former Premier League referee has sorted out his fading barnet with some professional help
Mark Clattenburg has hair transplant to cover embarrassing bald spot
The former Premier League referee has sorted out his fading barnet with some professional help
The former Premier League referee has sorted out his fading barnet with some professional help
Mark Clattenburg has hair transplant to cover embarrassing bald spot
The former Premier League referee has sorted out his fading barnet with some professional help
FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea's Jefferson Montero in action Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt
Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly
FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea's Jefferson Montero in action Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt
FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea's Jefferson Montero in action Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt
Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly
FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Barnet vs Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly - London, Britain - July 12, 2017 Swansea's Jefferson Montero in action Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt
As he celebrated the second of three goals on his home debut for Newcastle United against Liverpool, Malcolm Macdonald heard 50,000 Geordies singing his name to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar and knew he had made the right decision to leave Luton Town, but he also remembered a promise made to his dying father. It was a song that became synonymous with the long-haired, side-burned Macdonald as he became one of English football’s most feared centre-forwards. “Supermac, Superstar, how many goals have you scored so far...” would ring around St James’ Park during five prolific years on Tyneside before the England international returned to London with Arsenal in 1976. Macdonald, now aged 67 and struggling with the nagging pain of the knee injury that ended his career prematurely at the age of just 29, was one of the pin-up boys of the 70s era, a poacher with a burst of speed that, had he chosen a different path, could have made him an Olympic Sprinter. This weekend he will be a guest of honour as Newcastle take on Luton in the Third Round of the FA Cup. If Macdonald achieved fame at Newcastle, it was at Luton where he learned the most, inspired by a challenge thrown at him before his first game for the club. “They called me Super Mouth when I signed for Newcastle because I said my target was to score 30 goals in my first season,” Macdonald explained. “I turned up in a Rolls Royce, it wasn’t mine, I’d been driven up by one of the directors from Luton, but it made an impression, that’s for sure. Credit: CENTRAL PRESS “I can remember one of the members of the press, the late Bob Cass, piping up, 'That’s the first time I’ve seen a player turn up in his signing-on fee'. “They weren’t sure about me. I’d turned up in this flash car and when they asked what my target was for the season, I said I wanted to score 30 goals. “The next day the papers were full of stories saying who do you think you are? This young kid from Luton who had never played in the big league before, claiming he would score 30 goals for a club like Newcastle. The song - and I’ve never quite understood how everyone knew the lyrics so quickly, it was as if they had handed out the lyrics - came from that...” Macdonald was not being conceited. He was merely repeating the challenge he had been given at the start of his first season at Luton in the old Division Three. Having dropped out of Grammar School at the age if 15, with his father Charles’ blessing following a row with the headteacher who had blocked him from playing a game for Barnet in the Southern Counties League, Macdonald was a full-back playing for amateur side Tonbridge when his dad passed away just 18 months later. Credit: PA He had asked for one thing from his son when he dropped out of school – “take your football as far as you can”. Spotted by Bobby Robson’s chief scout, Harry Haslam, Macdonald signed for Fulham, where he was transformed into a centre-forward by the future England manager, but left soon after Robson had been sacked to launch his career at unfashionable Luton. “I can still remember that team meeting at Luton before the first game of the season and it was something that motivated my entire career,” Macdonald explained. “It was taboo in those days for a manager to talk about promotion before the season but Alex Stoc said to us, ‘the good people of Luton are going to come out in their droves to support us, the least we can do is win promotion. Now, I’m going to tell you how we’re going to do it’. “Alec went to every player, giving a goals target and I remember him stopping at the No 9 Laurie Sheffield. 'You’ve had more clubs thank Jack Nicklaus and you’re getting on a bit now, but you can still run a bit, you can still jump a bit and you can still score goals. Your target is 18'. “I thought that was reasonable for a centre-forward. Alec looked at me and said, 'Now then young'un, you’re unproven and you’re new to the club, your target is 30'. That was it, he moved straight on without saying another word. I couldn't believe it. Laurie turned to me and just said, 'good luck with that'. “I didn’t score in the first game, but I set up two. I was distraught afterwards, even though we won, but the goals came. I scored 29 and Luton were promoted. I spoke to Alec after our final game of the season at Mansfield and said sorry. “He asked what for. When I told him for only scoring 29 goals, he said, 'That’s OK old son, you owe me one next season, so you’re target in the Second Division is to score 31'. He didn’t laugh either. “I did though. I was on 29 again going into the final game of the season and scored a hat-trick against Cardiff City. I told Alec the second goal was the one I owed him and the third was for luck. He replied, 'You’re going to need it old son, because I’ve sold you to Newcastle United'. It was the summer of 1971.” Macdonald did not stop scoring in the North East, he was Newcastle’s top scorer every year averaging 28 goals a season. He won the Golden Boot in 1975, 12 months before he signed for Arsenal. It is enough to put him fifth on Newcastle’s all-time list. “I’m very proud of that,” added Macdonald, who still lives in the North East after a successful career in local radio. “All the players above me spent at least eight years at Newcastle and I was only there five seasons. “I have regrets, we should have won the FA Cup Final in 1974 when we lost to Liverpool, but we decided to change formation. I lost again in the final with Arsenal, to Sir Bobby Robson’s Ipswich in 1978, but you can’t have everything.”
Malcolm Macdonald interview: 'They called me Super Mouth when I joined Newcastle because I said I'd score 30 goals in my first season'
As he celebrated the second of three goals on his home debut for Newcastle United against Liverpool, Malcolm Macdonald heard 50,000 Geordies singing his name to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar and knew he had made the right decision to leave Luton Town, but he also remembered a promise made to his dying father. It was a song that became synonymous with the long-haired, side-burned Macdonald as he became one of English football’s most feared centre-forwards. “Supermac, Superstar, how many goals have you scored so far...” would ring around St James’ Park during five prolific years on Tyneside before the England international returned to London with Arsenal in 1976. Macdonald, now aged 67 and struggling with the nagging pain of the knee injury that ended his career prematurely at the age of just 29, was one of the pin-up boys of the 70s era, a poacher with a burst of speed that, had he chosen a different path, could have made him an Olympic Sprinter. This weekend he will be a guest of honour as Newcastle take on Luton in the Third Round of the FA Cup. If Macdonald achieved fame at Newcastle, it was at Luton where he learned the most, inspired by a challenge thrown at him before his first game for the club. “They called me Super Mouth when I signed for Newcastle because I said my target was to score 30 goals in my first season,” Macdonald explained. “I turned up in a Rolls Royce, it wasn’t mine, I’d been driven up by one of the directors from Luton, but it made an impression, that’s for sure. Credit: CENTRAL PRESS “I can remember one of the members of the press, the late Bob Cass, piping up, 'That’s the first time I’ve seen a player turn up in his signing-on fee'. “They weren’t sure about me. I’d turned up in this flash car and when they asked what my target was for the season, I said I wanted to score 30 goals. “The next day the papers were full of stories saying who do you think you are? This young kid from Luton who had never played in the big league before, claiming he would score 30 goals for a club like Newcastle. The song - and I’ve never quite understood how everyone knew the lyrics so quickly, it was as if they had handed out the lyrics - came from that...” Macdonald was not being conceited. He was merely repeating the challenge he had been given at the start of his first season at Luton in the old Division Three. Having dropped out of Grammar School at the age if 15, with his father Charles’ blessing following a row with the headteacher who had blocked him from playing a game for Barnet in the Southern Counties League, Macdonald was a full-back playing for amateur side Tonbridge when his dad passed away just 18 months later. Credit: PA He had asked for one thing from his son when he dropped out of school – “take your football as far as you can”. Spotted by Bobby Robson’s chief scout, Harry Haslam, Macdonald signed for Fulham, where he was transformed into a centre-forward by the future England manager, but left soon after Robson had been sacked to launch his career at unfashionable Luton. “I can still remember that team meeting at Luton before the first game of the season and it was something that motivated my entire career,” Macdonald explained. “It was taboo in those days for a manager to talk about promotion before the season but Alex Stoc said to us, ‘the good people of Luton are going to come out in their droves to support us, the least we can do is win promotion. Now, I’m going to tell you how we’re going to do it’. “Alec went to every player, giving a goals target and I remember him stopping at the No 9 Laurie Sheffield. 'You’ve had more clubs thank Jack Nicklaus and you’re getting on a bit now, but you can still run a bit, you can still jump a bit and you can still score goals. Your target is 18'. “I thought that was reasonable for a centre-forward. Alec looked at me and said, 'Now then young'un, you’re unproven and you’re new to the club, your target is 30'. That was it, he moved straight on without saying another word. I couldn't believe it. Laurie turned to me and just said, 'good luck with that'. “I didn’t score in the first game, but I set up two. I was distraught afterwards, even though we won, but the goals came. I scored 29 and Luton were promoted. I spoke to Alec after our final game of the season at Mansfield and said sorry. “He asked what for. When I told him for only scoring 29 goals, he said, 'That’s OK old son, you owe me one next season, so you’re target in the Second Division is to score 31'. He didn’t laugh either. “I did though. I was on 29 again going into the final game of the season and scored a hat-trick against Cardiff City. I told Alec the second goal was the one I owed him and the third was for luck. He replied, 'You’re going to need it old son, because I’ve sold you to Newcastle United'. It was the summer of 1971.” Macdonald did not stop scoring in the North East, he was Newcastle’s top scorer every year averaging 28 goals a season. He won the Golden Boot in 1975, 12 months before he signed for Arsenal. It is enough to put him fifth on Newcastle’s all-time list. “I’m very proud of that,” added Macdonald, who still lives in the North East after a successful career in local radio. “All the players above me spent at least eight years at Newcastle and I was only there five seasons. “I have regrets, we should have won the FA Cup Final in 1974 when we lost to Liverpool, but we decided to change formation. I lost again in the final with Arsenal, to Sir Bobby Robson’s Ipswich in 1978, but you can’t have everything.”

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