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Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo is thrown into the air by his players as they celebrate the club’s return to the Premier League after their game against Birmingham City.
Wolves’ hunger to restore lost glory puts them back at the top table
Wolves manager Nuno Espírito Santo is thrown into the air by his players as they celebrate the club’s return to the Premier League after their game against Birmingham City.
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers fans display a banner Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers fans display a banner Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Benik Afobe celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Benik Afobe celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Benik Afobe scores their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Benik Afobe scores their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota in action with Birmingham City's Jota Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota in action with Birmingham City's Jota Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' John Ruddy makes a save Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' John Ruddy makes a save Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Birmingham City's Harlee Dean is shown a red card by referee Andy Davies Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Birmingham City's Harlee Dean is shown a red card by referee Andy Davies Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Helder Costa in action Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Helder Costa in action Birmingham City's Cheick Ndoye Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Willy Boly and team mates celebrate promotion after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Willy Boly and team mates celebrate promotion after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City
Soccer Football - Championship - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Birmingham City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - April 15, 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diogo Jota celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Diogo Jota and Benik Afobe scored in each half as Wolves marked their return to the top flight in style against Birmingham City.
Wolves 2 Birmingham City 0: Jota and Afobe kick off promotion party
Diogo Jota and Benik Afobe scored in each half as Wolves marked their return to the top flight in style against Birmingham City.
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Wolves vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Wolves vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Wolves vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Wolves vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Wolves vs Birmingham City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Nuno's side have dominated the 2017-18 Championship campaign and will be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League when taking in a derby date
Aston Villa joined Fulham and Cardiff in guaranteeing themselves at least a play-off place as the race for promotion to the Premier League moves closer to its denouement, although they reached their target by a somewhat nervous route in the end. Lewis Grabban’s 17th goal of the season - his fifth in a Villa shirt - hardly provided an adequate reflection of Villa’s dominance in the first half. They created plenty of chances in the second half but they ran into a determined opponent in Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and the comfort of a second goal proved beyond them. Leeds have only won twice in their last 19 Championship matches but gave Villa some uncomfortable moments, early in each half in particular, and the one-goal lead looked tenuous at times. As it is, the second automatic promotion place alongside Wolves is still within Villa’s reach and in Steve Bruce, promoted four times from the Championship with Birmingham City and Hull (twice each), they have a manager who knows what is required to get across the line. Lewis Grabban heads in the only goal of the game Credit: Getty images Bruce, who will be hoping Fulham and Cardiff take a tumble while he spends Saturday afternoon at Aintree, professed to have felt less nervous than some in the Villa crowd plainly did. His main concern was that too many of his players looked weary, the effort of beating high-flying Cardiff on Tuesday night catching up with a few of them. “We gave the ball away too many times but that’s what happens when you have tired players,” he said. “Five games in 13 days is a ridiculous schedule but that is what the Championship is. “I still felt we were comfortable. I don’t remember our keeper having to make too many saves.” He made one, in fact, in the third minute as Ezgjan Alioski, the Leeds wide player, tested Sam Johnstone with a shot he had to push over his bar. The Yorkshire side were largely on the back foot thereafter, however. Robert Snodgrass, facing the first of the five English clubs he has represented, drew a diving save from Peacock-Farrell, brought into the side last month after manager Paul Heckingbottom decided to take Felix Wiedwald out of the firing line, who was excellent throughout. When Villa scored in the 29th minute, they did look comfortable. Jack Grealish, unmarked as he retrieved the ball wide on the left, stepped past his marker and crossed towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Grabban climbed above Matthew Pennington to head into the corner of the net. Villa’s confidence looked high and they should have been further ahead. Jonathan Kodjia, starting his first match since late October following an ankle injury, saw plenty of the ball and might have made more of it had he been sharper. Leeds began the second half with much more purpose, though, and there was a reminder for Villa that a one-goal lead was nothing to feel complacent about as a shot whipped in by Kalvin Phillips beat Johnstone and was headed away in front of his left-hand post by Glenn Whelan, although replays suggested the ball was going wide. The visitors looked increasingly threatening, Villa increasingly nervous, yet another chance for the home side to give themselves breathing space came and went as Peacock-Farrell defied Grabban and Kodjia in quick succession. Fortunately for them, Leeds, who have not won away from home this year, faded in the closing stages in the way Bruce will hope his pick in the Grand National field does not.
Aston Villa guarantee Championship play-off place with nervy victory over Leeds
Aston Villa joined Fulham and Cardiff in guaranteeing themselves at least a play-off place as the race for promotion to the Premier League moves closer to its denouement, although they reached their target by a somewhat nervous route in the end. Lewis Grabban’s 17th goal of the season - his fifth in a Villa shirt - hardly provided an adequate reflection of Villa’s dominance in the first half. They created plenty of chances in the second half but they ran into a determined opponent in Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and the comfort of a second goal proved beyond them. Leeds have only won twice in their last 19 Championship matches but gave Villa some uncomfortable moments, early in each half in particular, and the one-goal lead looked tenuous at times. As it is, the second automatic promotion place alongside Wolves is still within Villa’s reach and in Steve Bruce, promoted four times from the Championship with Birmingham City and Hull (twice each), they have a manager who knows what is required to get across the line. Lewis Grabban heads in the only goal of the game Credit: Getty images Bruce, who will be hoping Fulham and Cardiff take a tumble while he spends Saturday afternoon at Aintree, professed to have felt less nervous than some in the Villa crowd plainly did. His main concern was that too many of his players looked weary, the effort of beating high-flying Cardiff on Tuesday night catching up with a few of them. “We gave the ball away too many times but that’s what happens when you have tired players,” he said. “Five games in 13 days is a ridiculous schedule but that is what the Championship is. “I still felt we were comfortable. I don’t remember our keeper having to make too many saves.” He made one, in fact, in the third minute as Ezgjan Alioski, the Leeds wide player, tested Sam Johnstone with a shot he had to push over his bar. The Yorkshire side were largely on the back foot thereafter, however. Robert Snodgrass, facing the first of the five English clubs he has represented, drew a diving save from Peacock-Farrell, brought into the side last month after manager Paul Heckingbottom decided to take Felix Wiedwald out of the firing line, who was excellent throughout. When Villa scored in the 29th minute, they did look comfortable. Jack Grealish, unmarked as he retrieved the ball wide on the left, stepped past his marker and crossed towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Grabban climbed above Matthew Pennington to head into the corner of the net. Villa’s confidence looked high and they should have been further ahead. Jonathan Kodjia, starting his first match since late October following an ankle injury, saw plenty of the ball and might have made more of it had he been sharper. Leeds began the second half with much more purpose, though, and there was a reminder for Villa that a one-goal lead was nothing to feel complacent about as a shot whipped in by Kalvin Phillips beat Johnstone and was headed away in front of his left-hand post by Glenn Whelan, although replays suggested the ball was going wide. The visitors looked increasingly threatening, Villa increasingly nervous, yet another chance for the home side to give themselves breathing space came and went as Peacock-Farrell defied Grabban and Kodjia in quick succession. Fortunately for them, Leeds, who have not won away from home this year, faded in the closing stages in the way Bruce will hope his pick in the Grand National field does not.
Aston Villa joined Fulham and Cardiff in guaranteeing themselves at least a play-off place as the race for promotion to the Premier League moves closer to its denouement, although they reached their target by a somewhat nervous route in the end. Lewis Grabban’s 17th goal of the season - his fifth in a Villa shirt - hardly provided an adequate reflection of Villa’s dominance in the first half. They created plenty of chances in the second half but they ran into a determined opponent in Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and the comfort of a second goal proved beyond them. Leeds have only won twice in their last 19 Championship matches but gave Villa some uncomfortable moments, early in each half in particular, and the one-goal lead looked tenuous at times. As it is, the second automatic promotion place alongside Wolves is still within Villa’s reach and in Steve Bruce, promoted four times from the Championship with Birmingham City and Hull (twice each), they have a manager who knows what is required to get across the line. Lewis Grabban heads in the only goal of the game Credit: Getty images Bruce, who will be hoping Fulham and Cardiff take a tumble while he spends Saturday afternoon at Aintree, professed to have felt less nervous than some in the Villa crowd plainly did. His main concern was that too many of his players looked weary, the effort of beating high-flying Cardiff on Tuesday night catching up with a few of them. “We gave the ball away too many times but that’s what happens when you have tired players,” he said. “Five games in 13 days is a ridiculous schedule but that is what the Championship is. “I still felt we were comfortable. I don’t remember our keeper having to make too many saves.” He made one, in fact, in the third minute as Ezgjan Alioski, the Leeds wide player, tested Sam Johnstone with a shot he had to push over his bar. The Yorkshire side were largely on the back foot thereafter, however. Robert Snodgrass, facing the first of the five English clubs he has represented, drew a diving save from Peacock-Farrell, brought into the side last month after manager Paul Heckingbottom decided to take Felix Wiedwald out of the firing line, who was excellent throughout. When Villa scored in the 29th minute, they did look comfortable. Jack Grealish, unmarked as he retrieved the ball wide on the left, stepped past his marker and crossed towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Grabban climbed above Matthew Pennington to head into the corner of the net. Villa’s confidence looked high and they should have been further ahead. Jonathan Kodjia, starting his first match since late October following an ankle injury, saw plenty of the ball and might have made more of it had he been sharper. Leeds began the second half with much more purpose, though, and there was a reminder for Villa that a one-goal lead was nothing to feel complacent about as a shot whipped in by Kalvin Phillips beat Johnstone and was headed away in front of his left-hand post by Glenn Whelan, although replays suggested the ball was going wide. The visitors looked increasingly threatening, Villa increasingly nervous, yet another chance for the home side to give themselves breathing space came and went as Peacock-Farrell defied Grabban and Kodjia in quick succession. Fortunately for them, Leeds, who have not won away from home this year, faded in the closing stages in the way Bruce will hope his pick in the Grand National field does not.
Aston Villa guarantee Championship play-off place with nervy victory over Leeds
Aston Villa joined Fulham and Cardiff in guaranteeing themselves at least a play-off place as the race for promotion to the Premier League moves closer to its denouement, although they reached their target by a somewhat nervous route in the end. Lewis Grabban’s 17th goal of the season - his fifth in a Villa shirt - hardly provided an adequate reflection of Villa’s dominance in the first half. They created plenty of chances in the second half but they ran into a determined opponent in Northern Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and the comfort of a second goal proved beyond them. Leeds have only won twice in their last 19 Championship matches but gave Villa some uncomfortable moments, early in each half in particular, and the one-goal lead looked tenuous at times. As it is, the second automatic promotion place alongside Wolves is still within Villa’s reach and in Steve Bruce, promoted four times from the Championship with Birmingham City and Hull (twice each), they have a manager who knows what is required to get across the line. Lewis Grabban heads in the only goal of the game Credit: Getty images Bruce, who will be hoping Fulham and Cardiff take a tumble while he spends Saturday afternoon at Aintree, professed to have felt less nervous than some in the Villa crowd plainly did. His main concern was that too many of his players looked weary, the effort of beating high-flying Cardiff on Tuesday night catching up with a few of them. “We gave the ball away too many times but that’s what happens when you have tired players,” he said. “Five games in 13 days is a ridiculous schedule but that is what the Championship is. “I still felt we were comfortable. I don’t remember our keeper having to make too many saves.” He made one, in fact, in the third minute as Ezgjan Alioski, the Leeds wide player, tested Sam Johnstone with a shot he had to push over his bar. The Yorkshire side were largely on the back foot thereafter, however. Robert Snodgrass, facing the first of the five English clubs he has represented, drew a diving save from Peacock-Farrell, brought into the side last month after manager Paul Heckingbottom decided to take Felix Wiedwald out of the firing line, who was excellent throughout. When Villa scored in the 29th minute, they did look comfortable. Jack Grealish, unmarked as he retrieved the ball wide on the left, stepped past his marker and crossed towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Grabban climbed above Matthew Pennington to head into the corner of the net. Villa’s confidence looked high and they should have been further ahead. Jonathan Kodjia, starting his first match since late October following an ankle injury, saw plenty of the ball and might have made more of it had he been sharper. Leeds began the second half with much more purpose, though, and there was a reminder for Villa that a one-goal lead was nothing to feel complacent about as a shot whipped in by Kalvin Phillips beat Johnstone and was headed away in front of his left-hand post by Glenn Whelan, although replays suggested the ball was going wide. The visitors looked increasingly threatening, Villa increasingly nervous, yet another chance for the home side to give themselves breathing space came and went as Peacock-Farrell defied Grabban and Kodjia in quick succession. Fortunately for them, Leeds, who have not won away from home this year, faded in the closing stages in the way Bruce will hope his pick in the Grand National field does not.
Derby manager Gary Rowett hailed Ruben Neves as “a Champions League player” after the stunning strike that took Wolves to the brink of a return to the Premier League. The Molineux club’s £15.8 million record signing hit the goal of the Championship season early in the second half to put Molineux in party mood ahead of a Sunday lunchtime clash with Birmingham City that will confirm promotion and perhaps the title if they win. Positioned almost 30 yards from goal as Derby’s Chris Baird headed away a corner, the former Porto player flicked the ball up, slightly behind him with the outside of his right boot, before delivering an angled, dipping volley high into the farthest corner of the Derby goal, giving Scott Carson no chance. “It’s the first time as a manager I’ve almost applauded the opposition’s goal,” Rowett said. “I genuinely thought, what do you do about that? It was so good. He is 35 yards out, his touch is actually not brilliant because it takes the ball away from him, and the last thing our goalkeeper and back four think is he’s going to shoot. “To hit it with that precision, power, dip, accuracy, is Champions League stuff, not Championship stuff. “They have three or four players who are Premier League standard but Neves is a Champions League player.” Top scorer Diogo Jota had taken advantage of some poor Derby defending to give his side a sixth-minute lead with his 15th Championship goal. The victory, Wolves’ 28th of the season, stretches their lead over second-placed Fulham to 11 points and gives them a 12-point advantage over Cardiff. Should Fulham drop points at Brentford on Saturday, their return to the Premier League after a six-year absence will be confirmed regardless of their result on Sunday, while a win would see them crowned champions as well with three matches to spare if Cardiff drop points at Norwich on Saturday. Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is not a man prone to excessiveness in his praise for his players – in contrast to some of his celebrations – but even he had to applaud Neves. “He has great talent and we are very fortunate to have him,” he said. “It was a very good goal, a beautiful goal and I am very pleased. “But it is all about the squad. You have to be humble and work hard and the rewards will come and now we focus on Sunday, the next game. It is no different.” Derby remain fifth but are far from certain of finishing in the play-off positions with only three points covering fifth to ninth place. Match details Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 82), Afobe (Costa 66), Jota (Bonatini 74). Substitutes not used: Norris (g), N’Diaye, Batth, Hause. Derby County (4-4-1-1): Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Weimann, Huddlestone, Ledley (Palmer 73), Lawrence; Vydra (Hanson 85); Nugent (Jerome 81). Substitutes not used: Roos (g), Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Bookings: Wolves: Bennett. Attendance: 28,503.
Wolves can clinch Premier League promotion this weekend after easing past Derby County
Derby manager Gary Rowett hailed Ruben Neves as “a Champions League player” after the stunning strike that took Wolves to the brink of a return to the Premier League. The Molineux club’s £15.8 million record signing hit the goal of the Championship season early in the second half to put Molineux in party mood ahead of a Sunday lunchtime clash with Birmingham City that will confirm promotion and perhaps the title if they win. Positioned almost 30 yards from goal as Derby’s Chris Baird headed away a corner, the former Porto player flicked the ball up, slightly behind him with the outside of his right boot, before delivering an angled, dipping volley high into the farthest corner of the Derby goal, giving Scott Carson no chance. “It’s the first time as a manager I’ve almost applauded the opposition’s goal,” Rowett said. “I genuinely thought, what do you do about that? It was so good. He is 35 yards out, his touch is actually not brilliant because it takes the ball away from him, and the last thing our goalkeeper and back four think is he’s going to shoot. “To hit it with that precision, power, dip, accuracy, is Champions League stuff, not Championship stuff. “They have three or four players who are Premier League standard but Neves is a Champions League player.” Top scorer Diogo Jota had taken advantage of some poor Derby defending to give his side a sixth-minute lead with his 15th Championship goal. The victory, Wolves’ 28th of the season, stretches their lead over second-placed Fulham to 11 points and gives them a 12-point advantage over Cardiff. Should Fulham drop points at Brentford on Saturday, their return to the Premier League after a six-year absence will be confirmed regardless of their result on Sunday, while a win would see them crowned champions as well with three matches to spare if Cardiff drop points at Norwich on Saturday. Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is not a man prone to excessiveness in his praise for his players – in contrast to some of his celebrations – but even he had to applaud Neves. “He has great talent and we are very fortunate to have him,” he said. “It was a very good goal, a beautiful goal and I am very pleased. “But it is all about the squad. You have to be humble and work hard and the rewards will come and now we focus on Sunday, the next game. It is no different.” Derby remain fifth but are far from certain of finishing in the play-off positions with only three points covering fifth to ninth place. Match details Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-4-3): Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White 82), Afobe (Costa 66), Jota (Bonatini 74). Substitutes not used: Norris (g), N’Diaye, Batth, Hause. Derby County (4-4-1-1): Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Weimann, Huddlestone, Ledley (Palmer 73), Lawrence; Vydra (Hanson 85); Nugent (Jerome 81). Substitutes not used: Roos (g), Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas. Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex) Bookings: Wolves: Bennett. Attendance: 28,503.
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Birmingham City vs Ipswich Town - St Andrew's, Birmingham, Britain - March 31, 2018 Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy Action Images/Alan Walter
Championship - Birmingham City vs Ipswich Town
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Birmingham City vs Ipswich Town - St Andrew's, Birmingham, Britain - March 31, 2018 Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy Action Images/Alan Walter
Garry Monk rued his Birmingham side’s profligacy in front of goal as they stayed in danger of Championship relegation following defeat to play-off hopefuls Bristol City. The Blues survived dropping into League One at Ashton Gate on the final day of last season under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, but this result leaves them three points above the bottom three 11 months on. Birmingham had 18 shots, but missed a hatful of glorious chances and Bristol showed them how to be clinical in front of goal to score through Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid and Matty Taylor. Lukas Jutkiewicz netted his third goal in as many games and if Birmingham can find the ruthlessness in front of goal which they lacked here, they will surely stay in the division based on this display. Monk said: “The difference in the game was that Bristol were clinical and we weren’t. We look at that game as a missed opportunity. “Coming into this match we had not created many chances. We’ve addressed that, but you need to take the opportunities given to you at any point in the season and especially this stage. “We could have created more distance between ourselves and the bottom three with a result so we are disappointed with that.” An entertaining first half saw a confident Birmingham defy their lowly league position to have 11 shots yet still turn around 2-1 down. Pack smashed home a stunning free-kick from 25 yards to open the scoring following a foul on Reid and 15 minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to the excellent Reid’s 20th goal of the season. Joe Bryan’s long ball was headed down by Famara Diedhiou and Reid – who has been linked with a Premier League move following his fine form this season – did the rest. Jutkiewicz narrowed Birmingham’s deficit before the break, cutting inside to unleash a left-footed finish which beat Bristol stopper Frank Fielding at his near post. Still, it should have been much better for Birmingham as Monk saw Jutkiewicz and Jeremie Boga fail to find the target while Jacques Maghoma somehow missed from close range. Both sides launched into battle when the game resumed. It was the blood and thunder of the Championship at its best, the challenges flying in and Reid – somehow – heading against the bar from a little over a yard out. Birmingham had their moments too, but Jutkiewicz summed up their day when he failed to convert a glorious headed chance when it looked easier to score. Bristol promptly went up the other end and showed them how to take the opportunities on offer at crucial moments when substitute Taylor converted Reid’s low cross late on. “It was a big win and we had to be bold,” said Bristol boss Lee Johnson. “In the last two games we have let everybody down with our attitude and it has been powder-puff stuff from us. “We needed to change the dynamic and we gave the fans a good game to watch.” Match details Bristol City (4-4-2) Fielding; Bryan, Flint, Baker, Kelly; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Reid (O’Neil 89); Diedhiou (Taylor 80), Djuric (O’Dowda 69). Subs Steele (g), Pisano, Eliasson, Paterson, O’Neil. Birmingham City (4-4-2) Stockdale; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin (N’Doye 80); Jota, Davis, Kieftenbeld (Lowe 85), Maghoma; Boga (Lubula 69), Jutkiewicz. Subs Kuszczak (g), Grounds, Roberts, Dacres-Cogley. Booked Dean. Referee Geoff Eltringham (Durham).
Bristol City maintain play-off pressure as profligate Birmingham squander their chances
Garry Monk rued his Birmingham side’s profligacy in front of goal as they stayed in danger of Championship relegation following defeat to play-off hopefuls Bristol City. The Blues survived dropping into League One at Ashton Gate on the final day of last season under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, but this result leaves them three points above the bottom three 11 months on. Birmingham had 18 shots, but missed a hatful of glorious chances and Bristol showed them how to be clinical in front of goal to score through Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid and Matty Taylor. Lukas Jutkiewicz netted his third goal in as many games and if Birmingham can find the ruthlessness in front of goal which they lacked here, they will surely stay in the division based on this display. Monk said: “The difference in the game was that Bristol were clinical and we weren’t. We look at that game as a missed opportunity. “Coming into this match we had not created many chances. We’ve addressed that, but you need to take the opportunities given to you at any point in the season and especially this stage. “We could have created more distance between ourselves and the bottom three with a result so we are disappointed with that.” An entertaining first half saw a confident Birmingham defy their lowly league position to have 11 shots yet still turn around 2-1 down. Pack smashed home a stunning free-kick from 25 yards to open the scoring following a foul on Reid and 15 minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to the excellent Reid’s 20th goal of the season. Joe Bryan’s long ball was headed down by Famara Diedhiou and Reid – who has been linked with a Premier League move following his fine form this season – did the rest. Jutkiewicz narrowed Birmingham’s deficit before the break, cutting inside to unleash a left-footed finish which beat Bristol stopper Frank Fielding at his near post. Still, it should have been much better for Birmingham as Monk saw Jutkiewicz and Jeremie Boga fail to find the target while Jacques Maghoma somehow missed from close range. Both sides launched into battle when the game resumed. It was the blood and thunder of the Championship at its best, the challenges flying in and Reid – somehow – heading against the bar from a little over a yard out. Birmingham had their moments too, but Jutkiewicz summed up their day when he failed to convert a glorious headed chance when it looked easier to score. Bristol promptly went up the other end and showed them how to take the opportunities on offer at crucial moments when substitute Taylor converted Reid’s low cross late on. “It was a big win and we had to be bold,” said Bristol boss Lee Johnson. “In the last two games we have let everybody down with our attitude and it has been powder-puff stuff from us. “We needed to change the dynamic and we gave the fans a good game to watch.” Match details Bristol City (4-4-2) Fielding; Bryan, Flint, Baker, Kelly; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Reid (O’Neil 89); Diedhiou (Taylor 80), Djuric (O’Dowda 69). Subs Steele (g), Pisano, Eliasson, Paterson, O’Neil. Birmingham City (4-4-2) Stockdale; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin (N’Doye 80); Jota, Davis, Kieftenbeld (Lowe 85), Maghoma; Boga (Lubula 69), Jutkiewicz. Subs Kuszczak (g), Grounds, Roberts, Dacres-Cogley. Booked Dean. Referee Geoff Eltringham (Durham).
There were contrasting emotions for rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the Championship on Saturday.
Championship Review: Birmingham move out of the drop zone
There were contrasting emotions for rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the Championship on Saturday.
Clockwise from top left: Adama Traoré of Middlesbrough; Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon; Birmingham City’s Jota; and the Barnsley manager José Morais.
Can Boro stun Wolves? Will Derby wake? Key Championship questions
Clockwise from top left: Adama Traoré of Middlesbrough; Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon; Birmingham City’s Jota; and the Barnsley manager José Morais.
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Exclusive Garry Monk interview: 'It’s all about the belief' – Birmingham City manager confident they can stay up
Garry Monk is considering the question of why he wants to be a manager – and in particular at Birmingham City, or 'crisis club Birmingham City' as they have become known. The answer, when it comes, is emphatic. “Because I am ambitious,” Monk says. “I want to be in the Premier League. I want to manage at the best level. It’s driven in me. As a player I started at the bottom, went to the top, didn’t make the grade and went all the way back down and it’s a question of: ‘do you trust yourself or not?’ And I ended up finishing back at the top. "Each time I made that step up there was that question: ‘can you do it?’ And it was about proving people wrong. That mentality has always been there and I guess I’ve taken that into management.” But why, after stints managing Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, did he choose Birmingham? He is the fifth man in 15 months to take the post at St Andrews, with the club facing a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, and where – to put it mildly – mistakes have been made by the owners, Trillion Trophy Asia. “It doesn’t bother me,” Monk says. “If it’s the right one (job) and I feel I can do well and improve it then I take it. I already feel I am 100 times a better manager than when I first started at Swansea. It’s the truth. And knowing that means I believe it will get me to where I want to be and I want to take the players, my staff, this club with me.” That mirroring of Monk’s playing career is instructive. The 39-year-old – who took the Birmingham job earlier this month, after being sacked by Middlesbrough in December – was a YTS trainee at Torquay United, got his big Premier League move to Southampton, made winning appearances against Manchester United and Arsenal, but then dropped down the divisions before joining Swansea in League Two in 2004. Monk believes he Birmingham City can avoid relegation to League One Credit: Andrew Fox The rest, for the Swans, and for Monk, is glorious history, given the extraordinary upward journey they went on together and which ended, ironically, after a League Cup defeat to Birmingham in 2013. “We lost 3-1, it’s quite a coincidence,” Monk says ruefully, just a few months after he had lifted the trophy, the first in Swansea’s history, at Wembley. “Not that I was expecting it to be my last game. I think it was my testimonial year. If I completed that year, I got a testimonial. And after that I had a year left on my contract. The plan was to do the testimonial and then go and play somewhere for two or three years, probably move from Swansea. Obviously, that all changed. In at the deep end.” Later that season, with just 13 games left and sucked into the relegation battle, Michael Laudrup was sacked and Monk took over. Sound familiar? Monk arrived with Birmingham in the bottom three with just 11 games left. “It’s all about the belief,” Monk says. “You have to have everything else – desire, commitment, everything else, the right training, the right plan. "But you have to have that belief and you can either fear it or you can meet it head on. And my mentality has always been to meet it head on and part of the work we have been doing, is bringing that mentality into the club. To lift it to a different place. We have to change the mentality that has been here for the last couple of seasons. Time is against us. But just because of that what are we going to do? Are we going to go into our shell or are we going to fight?” Monk joined Birmingham City at the start of the month Credit: Andrew Fox There are more parallels for Monk – not least with his experience at Leeds. “This is a huge club and it’s got the history with it and having spoken to the owners there’s the capability of doing something good,” Monk says. “It’s the same thought process I had when I went to Leeds. A huge club, it’s had a difficult recent history. The last couple of years here have been about the threat of relegation. The same at Leeds. Not relegation-threatened but in the doldrums. In terms of where the club has been at – high turnover of managers, uncertain times – it is similar. “Can you get that on a better path? I look at it as – how can you turn down a huge club? And this is a huge club. Yeah, there’s the risk but my experience tells me what job do you get without risk? That kind of thing has never worried me.” So Monk got to work. He immersed himself in Birmingham’s season, watching three games a night, and set up a “short-term plan” for survival. “We are literally working on hours,” he explains. “You take foundations. Two or three points defensively, two or three offensively and concentrate on those. Set the standard. There are little things like we have a points system on training – at the end of this international break period there will be a reward for the top three players. We went go-karting and it had a few points on it and you saw that desire to win and you just have to keep building on that.” After losing his first two games – ironically against Middlesbrough and then to Cardiff City – Birmingham earned a precious 3-0 win over Hull City, just before the international break, and will face Ipswich Town this weekend. “The ultimate-confidence booster is results,” Monk says. “It’s great that we got that win but we need a lot more. We all know the capabilities of the squad and should not be in this situation. I’ve told them that and we’re under no illusions. I haven’t got a magic wand but there is a short-term plan and we have that clarity and everyone is reminded of it every day.” Monk made a name for himself after cutting his managerial teeth at Swansea City Credit: GETTY IMAGES Already being into his fourth managerial does not faze Monk but he adds: “I’m not a robot. I’m human. You have a staff to look after as well, and families, so there is emotion attached to it. But I am getting better at separating what’s important from what’s not important and making sure the emotions don’t over-ride.” It already seems a long way from Swansea where he was prematurely lauded as a future England manager. “I have never really paid attention to any of it,” Monk says. “It’s great when people speak good of you but it’s not the driving force. It’s understanding you are going to go on a journey and it’s understanding that, if anything, management is going to be even more critical, even more harsh than a playing career. But I am just enjoying it.”
Britain's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, Britain, March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Britain's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks at Birmingham City University in Birmingham
Britain's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, Britain, March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
Police release old photographs of criminals
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
Police release old photographs of criminals
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
Police release old photographs of criminals
West Midlands Police has released historic images of crime suspects arrested more than 160 years ago. The series of police custody images believed to be among the oldest of their kind still in existence anywhere in the world. The black and white photographs of Isaac Ellery and Catherine Legge were taken by the then Birmingham City Police back in the 1850s and are accompanied with handwritten notes of suspected offenders.
May challenged on UK fishing rights during transition Farage: Our fishermen are being sold down the river No update on Salisbury poisoning Jeremy Hunt to confirm pay rise for NHS workers after PMQs Theresa May has attacked Jeremy Corbyn over the purge of centre-left councillors by members of the campaign group Momentum, telling MPs that anyone looking to build more, tax less and combat anti-Semitism has “no place” in the Labour Party. In an exchange dominated by the issue of local council funding, Mrs May slapped down suggestions of financial mishandling, as she turned the spotlight on Labour’s own internal warring. It came after Mr Corbyn sought to exploit the recent controversy embroiling Tory-run Northamptonshire council to attack Mrs May’s record on local government, suggesting that the financial collapse of the authority was down to “incompetence” at either a local or national level. It comes after the local authority revealed it was close to effective bankruptcy and was unable to meet its financial obligations, with a Government report last week recommending that it should be partitioned into two new unitary councils. But in a withering response, Mrs May claimed that Labour’s own record was far from perfect, pointing to the recent toppling of long-standing Labour council leaders as evidence that the party was in disarray. Theresa May responds to Mr Corbyn's questions during Prime Minister's Questions "It would be helpful if he [Mr Corbyn] accurately reflected the independent statutory inspection...that Northamptonshire's failure is not a case of underfunding,” Mrs May told MPs. “He says his shadow local government secretary is supporting councils? I wonder if he's supporting...Haringey, where the Labour leader was forced out, Brighton, where the Labour leader was forced out, Cornwall, where the Labour group leader was forced out. “What had these people done? They had supported building more homes, providing good local services and tackling anti-semitism in the Labour party. “So the message is clear - if you believe in good local services, if you want to see more homes built and if you want to tackle anti-semitism, there is no place for you in the Labour party." Mrs May added that, contrary to Mr Corbyn’s claims, voters recognised that Conservative-run councils “cost you less”. Unconvinced, Mr Corbyn pointed to other Tory authorities which have allegedly entered into increasingly large contracts with private consultants at the same time as cutting back on in-house staff. They include Barnet Borough Council, where one firm, Capita, holds contracts with an estimated value of £500m. He added that, based on the current rates of central funding allocated, there would be a £5.8bn funding gap for councils by 2020. Returning fire, Mrs May returned to the issue of value for money, pointing out that the average council tax for a band D property is £100 less in Tory councils than it is under Labour. Jeremy Corbyn used his six questions to challenge Mrs May's record on local government In a tit-for-tat rebuttal, she also raised the track record of Labour-run Birmingham City Council, where industrial action by binmen last year saw “thousands of tonnes of waste on the streets”. “[Mr Corbyn] talks about tax,” she continued. “The top one percent of taxpayers are paying a higher burden than they ever paid under Labour. “He's supported a plan to stop local taxpayers having the right to stop tax hikes. He's supporting a plan to introduce a Land Value Tax...and he wants to introduce a Hotel Tax!" At the end of the exchange the Prime Minister took one final dig at Mr Corbyn for failing to mention the latest unemployment figures, released today, which show joint record high levels of employment. "Who do I think benefits from a strong jobs market? Labour staffers, Labour council leaders and moderate Labour Members of Parliament," she said. 12:50PM Order! That's it. Stay tuned for a summary of today's PMQs. 12:45PM Fishermen need a safety net Anne-Marie Trevelyan asks that Defra set up a financial mitigation scheme to protect UK fishermen in the event of quotas being changed during the transition period. Fresh from spectating on the Thames, Ms Trevelyan said there is "real concern" that the UK has lost its voice in the Common Fisheries Policy. It comes after the Government ceded to Brussel's demands earlier this week over the transition deal, meaning the UK will be bound by EU quotas until 31 December 2020. Mrs May says that the Government has secured assurances that the UK catch will not be changed, adding that Defra is following the issue closely. Earlier, the SNP's Drew Hendry appeared outraged by the CFP climbdown. However, Mrs May reminded him that if the SNP had received its wish the UK would have remained part of the EU, and by extension the CFP. Whoops. 12:37PM Will England fans be safe in Russia? Labour MP David Crausby asks what protection and security arrangements are in place for those fans travelling to this summer's Fifa World Cup in Russia. Mrs May says the Foreign Office will be monitoring the situation, with advice published before the tournament. Crausby (Lab): What is being done to support football fans in Russia for the World Cup? What is the advice? Will cooperation between our police and theirs help protect peoople? #PMQs— Simple Politics (@easypoliticsUK) March 21, 2018 12:34PM University VCs under fire Michelle Donelan, a member of the Commons education committee, says she was shocked by a panel of vice chancellors who gave evidence recently, who failed to see that their pay was out of sync with public opinion. She asks if VC pay will be part of the higher education review. Mrs May says pay is an issue for universities, which still exercise a large degree of autonomy. However, she says the new regulator the Office for Students will be looking into the matter as part of the review. 12:26PM Tory links to Cambridge Analytica The SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford regurgitates today's coverage on the data company making all the wrong headlines, listing a number of associations between Conservative donors and former MPs and SLC, Cambridge's parent company. Mrs May says the Government has no contracts with Cambridge Analytica, but adds that the reports have been "very concerning". .@theresa_may says allegations relating to #CambridgeAnalytica are "clearly very concerning... It's absolutely right that they should be properly investigated." #PMQs— Andrew Woodcock (@AndyWoodcock) March 21, 2018 12:20PM Mrs May turns fire on the Momentum purge The Prime Minister points to Brighton, Haringey and Cornwall as evidence that centrist Labour-run councils are facing a purge by far-left individuals belonging to Momentum. She says that if you are committed to house building, driving down taxes and tackling anti-Semitism, you wouldn't join Labour. Mr Corbyn goes onto the claim the Tories are not building enough houses, while hikes in council tax are destroying high streets. May says the Conservatives have built more homes than Blair, adding that two Labour councillors from Ashfield defected to the Tories yesterday. She adds: "The average council tax for a band D property is £100 less under Conservative councils than it is under Labour. he says his shadow local government secretary is supporting councils? I wonder if he's supporting...Haringey, where the Labour leader was forced out, Brighton, where the Labour leader was forced out, Cornwall, where the Labour group leader was forced out. What had these people done? They had supported building more homes, providing good local services and tackling anti-semitism in the Labour party. So the message is clear - if you believe in good local services, if you want to see more homes built and if you want to tackle anti-semitism, there is no place for you in the Labour party." 12:13PM Corbyn seizes on Northamptonshire council crisis Is there a local election coming up by any chance? The Labour leader asks Mrs May whether "Conservative incompetence" at local level or national level is responsible for the council's financial woes. The Prime Minister fires back that voters know they pay less under Tory councils. She adds that the failure of Northamptonshire is not due to a lack of funding. "The attack that he is making, that this is about the money Government is providing, is not correct." Mr Corbyn disputes this, adding that Tory councils are relying on expensive consultants whilst cutting staff. Mrs May returns fire, stating that in Labour-run Birmingham streets were piled with rubbish due to mass industrial action by binmen. She then lists a number of Labour policies which, she says, would see taxes hiked. 12:06PM May grilled on rise in crime George Howarth raises issue of crime going up while spending on police and number of officers has gone down. Mrs May says that crime has actually fallen by 9 percent since 2010 in his constituency. She adds that police spending has been protected and will rise for the duration of this Parliament. 11:58AM No plaice for disagreement While Theresa May spends most of her time before PMQs prepping for questions from Jeremy Corbyn, today she will have devoted a few minutes to those likely to come from her own MPs. The Prime Minister's backbenchers are not happy about the decision to cave on fishing rights in this week's transition deal with Brussels. Some are so frustrated they've taken to the River Thames this morning (or rather the embankment) to cheer on fishermen flinging haddock in protest over the climbdown. Asked about the concession, Ms Truss said she could understand why MPs were angered. However she repeated the Government line - that things will change by 31 December 2021. She adds that the fishing industry has a champion in Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary. Tell that to fisherman Aaron, onboard the HMS Brexit this morning, who told reporters that Mr Gove had been "trying to put lipstick on a pig". Read more here. .@fishingforleave says fish having to be discarded because of ‘inept’ EU quota rules. The discard ban means fisherman have to stop fishing when lowest quota for one type of fish hit. New rules start in 2019 & “will cull the UK fleet” pic.twitter.com/B7PnJyJXHk— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) March 21, 2018 11:51AM Today's questions: A line-up Q1 Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 21 March. Q2 Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South) Q3 Gareth Johnson (Dartford) Q4 Tom Pursglove (Corby) Q5 Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) Q6 Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) Q7 Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) Q8 Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne) Q9 Michelle Donelan (Chippenham) Q10 Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) Q11 Mohammad Yasin (Bedford) Q12 Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge) Q13 Victoria Prentis (Banbury) Q14 Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) 11:47AM No plans for 1p on National Insurance One suggestion last week was that the Government would look at an additional 1p on National Insurance contributions as a means to increase funding for the health service. But Liz Truss says that is not in the pipeline. 11:42AM Shaking the magic money tree Liz Truss says that there is no money magic tree when asked about the 6 percent pay rise for NHS staff. She claims that the Chancellor Philip Hammond had laid the plans out in the Spring statement last week. But Andrew Neil is struggling to find detail, or how the Government intends to pay for it. The money, she says, is coming from a £4bn boost in productivity. Ms Truss says there were always plans to raise pay, providing the Government were able to secure a deal on driving down the number of sick days taken by NHS staff. However, plans to take a day's holiday off workers has now been scrapped. So what happens if productivity doesn't rise? The pay rises will happen regardless, she says. 11:39AM When you've got friends like these... Ahead of today's PMQs, Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, is taking questions from Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics. Asked about President Trump's decision to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election victory whilst failing to raise Salisbury, Ms Truss says earlier statements from Britain's allies had laid blame at Russia's door. However, she struggles to get around the issue - that the President failed to heed explicit warnings from his security advisers not to congratulate Mr Putin, and to condemn the attack. She adds that Mr Putin's policies are "disgraceful". Meanwhile, Labour MP Anneliese Dodds is struggling to explain Mr Corbyn's position on the poisoning, which, among other suggestions, includes sending a sample of the Novichok agent used on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
PMQs: Theresa May says there is 'no place' left for Labour moderates in clash over local councils
May challenged on UK fishing rights during transition Farage: Our fishermen are being sold down the river No update on Salisbury poisoning Jeremy Hunt to confirm pay rise for NHS workers after PMQs Theresa May has attacked Jeremy Corbyn over the purge of centre-left councillors by members of the campaign group Momentum, telling MPs that anyone looking to build more, tax less and combat anti-Semitism has “no place” in the Labour Party. In an exchange dominated by the issue of local council funding, Mrs May slapped down suggestions of financial mishandling, as she turned the spotlight on Labour’s own internal warring. It came after Mr Corbyn sought to exploit the recent controversy embroiling Tory-run Northamptonshire council to attack Mrs May’s record on local government, suggesting that the financial collapse of the authority was down to “incompetence” at either a local or national level. It comes after the local authority revealed it was close to effective bankruptcy and was unable to meet its financial obligations, with a Government report last week recommending that it should be partitioned into two new unitary councils. But in a withering response, Mrs May claimed that Labour’s own record was far from perfect, pointing to the recent toppling of long-standing Labour council leaders as evidence that the party was in disarray. Theresa May responds to Mr Corbyn's questions during Prime Minister's Questions "It would be helpful if he [Mr Corbyn] accurately reflected the independent statutory inspection...that Northamptonshire's failure is not a case of underfunding,” Mrs May told MPs. “He says his shadow local government secretary is supporting councils? I wonder if he's supporting...Haringey, where the Labour leader was forced out, Brighton, where the Labour leader was forced out, Cornwall, where the Labour group leader was forced out. “What had these people done? They had supported building more homes, providing good local services and tackling anti-semitism in the Labour party. “So the message is clear - if you believe in good local services, if you want to see more homes built and if you want to tackle anti-semitism, there is no place for you in the Labour party." Mrs May added that, contrary to Mr Corbyn’s claims, voters recognised that Conservative-run councils “cost you less”. Unconvinced, Mr Corbyn pointed to other Tory authorities which have allegedly entered into increasingly large contracts with private consultants at the same time as cutting back on in-house staff. They include Barnet Borough Council, where one firm, Capita, holds contracts with an estimated value of £500m. He added that, based on the current rates of central funding allocated, there would be a £5.8bn funding gap for councils by 2020. Returning fire, Mrs May returned to the issue of value for money, pointing out that the average council tax for a band D property is £100 less in Tory councils than it is under Labour. Jeremy Corbyn used his six questions to challenge Mrs May's record on local government In a tit-for-tat rebuttal, she also raised the track record of Labour-run Birmingham City Council, where industrial action by binmen last year saw “thousands of tonnes of waste on the streets”. “[Mr Corbyn] talks about tax,” she continued. “The top one percent of taxpayers are paying a higher burden than they ever paid under Labour. “He's supported a plan to stop local taxpayers having the right to stop tax hikes. He's supporting a plan to introduce a Land Value Tax...and he wants to introduce a Hotel Tax!" At the end of the exchange the Prime Minister took one final dig at Mr Corbyn for failing to mention the latest unemployment figures, released today, which show joint record high levels of employment. "Who do I think benefits from a strong jobs market? Labour staffers, Labour council leaders and moderate Labour Members of Parliament," she said. 12:50PM Order! That's it. Stay tuned for a summary of today's PMQs. 12:45PM Fishermen need a safety net Anne-Marie Trevelyan asks that Defra set up a financial mitigation scheme to protect UK fishermen in the event of quotas being changed during the transition period. Fresh from spectating on the Thames, Ms Trevelyan said there is "real concern" that the UK has lost its voice in the Common Fisheries Policy. It comes after the Government ceded to Brussel's demands earlier this week over the transition deal, meaning the UK will be bound by EU quotas until 31 December 2020. Mrs May says that the Government has secured assurances that the UK catch will not be changed, adding that Defra is following the issue closely. Earlier, the SNP's Drew Hendry appeared outraged by the CFP climbdown. However, Mrs May reminded him that if the SNP had received its wish the UK would have remained part of the EU, and by extension the CFP. Whoops. 12:37PM Will England fans be safe in Russia? Labour MP David Crausby asks what protection and security arrangements are in place for those fans travelling to this summer's Fifa World Cup in Russia. Mrs May says the Foreign Office will be monitoring the situation, with advice published before the tournament. Crausby (Lab): What is being done to support football fans in Russia for the World Cup? What is the advice? Will cooperation between our police and theirs help protect peoople? #PMQs— Simple Politics (@easypoliticsUK) March 21, 2018 12:34PM University VCs under fire Michelle Donelan, a member of the Commons education committee, says she was shocked by a panel of vice chancellors who gave evidence recently, who failed to see that their pay was out of sync with public opinion. She asks if VC pay will be part of the higher education review. Mrs May says pay is an issue for universities, which still exercise a large degree of autonomy. However, she says the new regulator the Office for Students will be looking into the matter as part of the review. 12:26PM Tory links to Cambridge Analytica The SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford regurgitates today's coverage on the data company making all the wrong headlines, listing a number of associations between Conservative donors and former MPs and SLC, Cambridge's parent company. Mrs May says the Government has no contracts with Cambridge Analytica, but adds that the reports have been "very concerning". .@theresa_may says allegations relating to #CambridgeAnalytica are "clearly very concerning... It's absolutely right that they should be properly investigated." #PMQs— Andrew Woodcock (@AndyWoodcock) March 21, 2018 12:20PM Mrs May turns fire on the Momentum purge The Prime Minister points to Brighton, Haringey and Cornwall as evidence that centrist Labour-run councils are facing a purge by far-left individuals belonging to Momentum. She says that if you are committed to house building, driving down taxes and tackling anti-Semitism, you wouldn't join Labour. Mr Corbyn goes onto the claim the Tories are not building enough houses, while hikes in council tax are destroying high streets. May says the Conservatives have built more homes than Blair, adding that two Labour councillors from Ashfield defected to the Tories yesterday. She adds: "The average council tax for a band D property is £100 less under Conservative councils than it is under Labour. he says his shadow local government secretary is supporting councils? I wonder if he's supporting...Haringey, where the Labour leader was forced out, Brighton, where the Labour leader was forced out, Cornwall, where the Labour group leader was forced out. What had these people done? They had supported building more homes, providing good local services and tackling anti-semitism in the Labour party. So the message is clear - if you believe in good local services, if you want to see more homes built and if you want to tackle anti-semitism, there is no place for you in the Labour party." 12:13PM Corbyn seizes on Northamptonshire council crisis Is there a local election coming up by any chance? The Labour leader asks Mrs May whether "Conservative incompetence" at local level or national level is responsible for the council's financial woes. The Prime Minister fires back that voters know they pay less under Tory councils. She adds that the failure of Northamptonshire is not due to a lack of funding. "The attack that he is making, that this is about the money Government is providing, is not correct." Mr Corbyn disputes this, adding that Tory councils are relying on expensive consultants whilst cutting staff. Mrs May returns fire, stating that in Labour-run Birmingham streets were piled with rubbish due to mass industrial action by binmen. She then lists a number of Labour policies which, she says, would see taxes hiked. 12:06PM May grilled on rise in crime George Howarth raises issue of crime going up while spending on police and number of officers has gone down. Mrs May says that crime has actually fallen by 9 percent since 2010 in his constituency. She adds that police spending has been protected and will rise for the duration of this Parliament. 11:58AM No plaice for disagreement While Theresa May spends most of her time before PMQs prepping for questions from Jeremy Corbyn, today she will have devoted a few minutes to those likely to come from her own MPs. The Prime Minister's backbenchers are not happy about the decision to cave on fishing rights in this week's transition deal with Brussels. Some are so frustrated they've taken to the River Thames this morning (or rather the embankment) to cheer on fishermen flinging haddock in protest over the climbdown. Asked about the concession, Ms Truss said she could understand why MPs were angered. However she repeated the Government line - that things will change by 31 December 2021. She adds that the fishing industry has a champion in Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary. Tell that to fisherman Aaron, onboard the HMS Brexit this morning, who told reporters that Mr Gove had been "trying to put lipstick on a pig". Read more here. .@fishingforleave says fish having to be discarded because of ‘inept’ EU quota rules. The discard ban means fisherman have to stop fishing when lowest quota for one type of fish hit. New rules start in 2019 & “will cull the UK fleet” pic.twitter.com/B7PnJyJXHk— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) March 21, 2018 11:51AM Today's questions: A line-up Q1 Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 21 March. Q2 Stephen Morgan (Portsmouth South) Q3 Gareth Johnson (Dartford) Q4 Tom Pursglove (Corby) Q5 Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) Q6 Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) Q7 Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) Q8 Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne) Q9 Michelle Donelan (Chippenham) Q10 Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) Q11 Mohammad Yasin (Bedford) Q12 Ellie Reeves (Lewisham West and Penge) Q13 Victoria Prentis (Banbury) Q14 Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) 11:47AM No plans for 1p on National Insurance One suggestion last week was that the Government would look at an additional 1p on National Insurance contributions as a means to increase funding for the health service. But Liz Truss says that is not in the pipeline. 11:42AM Shaking the magic money tree Liz Truss says that there is no money magic tree when asked about the 6 percent pay rise for NHS staff. She claims that the Chancellor Philip Hammond had laid the plans out in the Spring statement last week. But Andrew Neil is struggling to find detail, or how the Government intends to pay for it. The money, she says, is coming from a £4bn boost in productivity. Ms Truss says there were always plans to raise pay, providing the Government were able to secure a deal on driving down the number of sick days taken by NHS staff. However, plans to take a day's holiday off workers has now been scrapped. So what happens if productivity doesn't rise? The pay rises will happen regardless, she says. 11:39AM When you've got friends like these... Ahead of today's PMQs, Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, is taking questions from Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics. Asked about President Trump's decision to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election victory whilst failing to raise Salisbury, Ms Truss says earlier statements from Britain's allies had laid blame at Russia's door. However, she struggles to get around the issue - that the President failed to heed explicit warnings from his security advisers not to congratulate Mr Putin, and to condemn the attack. She adds that Mr Putin's policies are "disgraceful". Meanwhile, Labour MP Anneliese Dodds is struggling to explain Mr Corbyn's position on the poisoning, which, among other suggestions, includes sending a sample of the Novichok agent used on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”
David Bentley exclusive interview: Smuggling McDonald's, Fabio Capello's nickname and throwing water over Harry Redknapp
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”
David Bentley exclusive interview: Smuggling McDonald's, Fabio Capello's nickname and throwing water over Harry Redknapp
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”
David Bentley exclusive interview: Smuggling McDonald's, Fabio Capello's nickname and throwing water over Harry Redknapp
David Bentley still counts the night he pulled his hood up and sat on the train out of Finsbury Park station listening to excited Arsenal fans talking about the chipped goal they had just witnessed as one of the best moments of a career that was lived fast and finished early. Then aged 19, Bentley appeared to have the world at his feet after lofting the ball over Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area, but 10 years later he retired – fed up with a game that was no longer allowing him to smile. These days he splits his time between working for a football agency, managing restaurants and opening a new bespoke flooring business, GFF Bentley and Howell, in Stansted. It is almost a decade since Tottenham Hotspur paid Blackburn Rovers £15 million for Bentley, but the 33 year-old has not kicked a ball since the night in Cardiff when he decided it was all over and chief among the disappointments was his England experience. Such was the rigid nature of the England set-up, Bentley took to making his own fun by smuggling McDonald’s into the team hotel, taking advantage of manager Fabio Capello’s lack of English by calling the confused Italian Postman Pat and getting up to no good with his partner in crime Jimmy Bullard. He was meant to be the on-pitch heir to David Beckham’s England throne, but, in terms of breaking the rules, this was very much bend them like Bentley. “Capello didn’t want us to have ketchup,” said Bentley, who won seven full England caps. “I know that’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised what an effect that can have and you weren’t allowed to eat your dinner until the captain came in. It just didn’t work with us. “Everything that is beautiful about English people, our sense of humour, not taking ourselves too seriously, was knocked out of us. Or at least they tried.” Gareth Southgate has had sweet treats taken off the shelves of the Starbucks inside St George’s Park, but Bentley has revealed how footballers will find a way of eating what they want. “You had to be in your bed at 10pm, it was bizarre,” said Bentley. “It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You had to go to your room and there was nothing to do, so I needed something to keep me occupied. David Bentley (right) was at one time considered the heir to David Beckham (left) Credit: AFP “Jimmy (Bullard) knocked on my door one of the nights we were staying in the team hotel, the Grove, and said he was hungry, so we decided to try to get a McDonald’s. “I had a friend who worked with me, so I called him up and told him to get a McDonald’s in. The security guards used to hang by the back door and then they used to go for a walk. So when they were having a walk, my mate got the McDonald’s past them in a Lucozade bottle bag – he just brought it in. I don’t think anyone ever found out.” Asked whether Bullard’s account of Bentley calling Capello Postman Pat to his face is true, the former midfielder said: “Yeah. I wasn’t going out to disrespect him, it was just to try to raise a smile. I hate silence, I prefer to see people enjoy themselves and not take it too serious. “He did look like Postman Pat. The thing is he didn’t understand a word of English, so he had no idea what I was going on about. I would go ‘alright Postman Pat’ and he wouldn’t have a clue, or I’d say ‘yes Postman Pat’ and he’d just carry on. All the boys would be laughing. “If you are tense and overthink it, you play rigid and that’s our problem, that’s England’s problem. The players play within themselves, they are not expressing themselves, they are just doing a job. Watch a foreign team and you can see the difference.” If Harry Kane misses out... In Bentley’s opinion, a stray muffin is the last thing Southgate needs to worry about at St George’s Park. “Everyone I speak to tells me St George’s Park is terrible, lacking character, lacking anything to do, no soul,” he said. “It sounds like a nightmare.” Bentley played all through the England age groups and became the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley, when he netted for the Under-21s against Italy in March 2007. But later that year he was accused of turning his back on his country, when Stuart Pearce claimed he pulled out of the Under-21 European Championships because of fatigue. “I had played 62 games that season and I got told by Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, I’m not playing for the Under-21s and I took the flak,” he said. “Did I tell anyone I was tired or fatigued? No, but that was the spin. “I rung up Stuart Pearce and fronted him up, whereas I know at least one player who was meant to be in the squad who just switched his phone off. I said, ‘look I’ve had a 62 game season and I’ve got the Intertoto that starts on June 25, and the tournament ends on June 28’. “Mark Hughes said ‘you’re not going’ and that I could do without the Under-21s. I followed his advice, even though I’d have quite liked to have gone, and I went on to have a great season, so it was the right decision.” David Bentley in action for England U21s against Italy Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Wembley crowd held the decision against Bentley, though, and booed him when he eventually made his senior debut as a substitute against Israel in September 2007. Asked if he felt hung out to dry by Pearce, he replied: “Yeah of course, that’s what they do isn’t it? They look for a scapegoat. Then I got booed on my debut and that wasn’t nice, and then there was always that stigma with me and England. “When you get crucified, how are you going to go home and enjoy what you do? How are you going to go out on the pitch and express yourself? You’re not. You just think, ‘I don’t need this’. I hate that mentality, but you almost can’t help it and I saw it when I was with England. “If we were allowed to express ourselves, we would probably win a World Cup or a Euros, but we never will with the mentality that’s there. They won’t win it this time, we haven’t got a chance.” Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England Despite being the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley and the first player to net a hat-trick against Manchester United in the Premier League while playing for Blackburn, Bentley accepts he will be remembered for his stunts as much as his achievements. “There are three things that people talk to me about when I meet them,” said Bentley “The goal for Tottenham against Arsenal, chucking water over Harry Redknapp and kicking a ball into a skip from the top of the Red Bull offices.” Bentley won the £15,000 watch off the wrist of his agent as part of a bet for finding the skip first time, and asked about pouring a bucket of water over Redknapp live on television after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League, he said: “The lads tried to get the chairman in the changing room and someone said ‘get the manager’ and it turned out he was being interviewed, so I went and did it. It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. “He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him. He wanted to be like Sir Alex Ferguson. I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me.” As his Spurs contract ran down, Bentley went on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham United, Rostov in Russia and finally Blackburn before deciding football was no longer for him. “I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play’,” said Bentley, who spent three years in Spain immediately after retiring before returning to England last year. “My dad was in the stands and I told him ‘I’m done’. He said ‘you’ll be alright’ but I said ‘no I’m done’. “People are always wondering if I was depressed or something, but I just wanted to do something else. I’m fine. I had a great time. I did it the way I wanted. I went for it, got to the top and didn’t stay there for that long. I like that.”

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