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Charlton Athletic

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Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
West Brom 1 Southampton 2: Taxi for Alan Pardew as defeat leaves his future hanging in the balance
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
West Brom 1 Southampton 2: Taxi for Alan Pardew as defeat leaves his future hanging in the balance
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
West Brom 1 Southampton 2: Taxi for Alan Pardew as defeat leaves his future hanging in the balance
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
West Brom 1 Southampton 2: Taxi for Alan Pardew as defeat leaves his future hanging in the balance
Head coach Alan Pardew’s future at West Bromwich Albion is hanging by an ever-thinning thread after a regrettable week for the club ended with a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup. Pardew was keen to avoid more questions about last week’s disastrous training trip to Barcelona but admitted he needed to “make a little bit of a statement” by stripping Jonny Evans of the captaincy. Evans, under investigation by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi in the Catalan capital in the early hours of Thursday, is likely to face more disciplinary action, along with co-accused Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, after the club promised a “full and rigorous” investigation into what happened. This will include questioning Pardew over whether he has lost control of discipline in his squad at a time when results have put him under intense pressure anyway. Albion have won only one match of their last 25 in the Premier League, one in 13 since Pardew succeeded Tony Pulis in November, and are seven points adrift of safety in the table. But Pardew defended the team’s record in that respect, insisting that “one crazy evening” should not detract from the reputation of his players. “Since I have been here, the guys’ professionalism, timekeeping and everything has been spot on,” he said. “All over the Christmas period I cancelled everything. We hadn’t done anything really socially. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work we do and the professionalism as a staff and players. That’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.” Pardew turns away after a missed chance Credit: Reuters Evans and Barry kept their places in Saturday's line-up, with Myhill taking his usual place on the substitutes’ bench as backup goalkeeper. Livermore was absent only due to injury. The FA Cup, in which they won at Liverpool in one of the shocks of the fourth round, has been one glimmer of light in Albion’s dismal season and Pardew admitted that it was in the hope of keeping the run going that he chose to field his strongest team, in which Barry and Evans are key elements. Taking the captaincy from Evans appeared, in the circumstances, to be a compromise. “There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “I decided to do that. But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events. I was far from happy over them and decided to make Gareth (McAuley) captain today.” Asked if this was permanent, Pardew said: “I’ll have to have a look at that this week and see how we go.” Pardew was clearly braced for a backlash from the Hawthorns crowd but the fallout from Taxigate was much less hostile than expected, with supporters for the most part solidly behind their team. That was not lost on the head coach. “I thought our fans were terrific, the way they stayed with us and I want to thank them publicly for doing that,” he said. “We’ve got 11 cup finals to come in the Premier League and if they are as good to us when we play Huddersfield next week we will be fortunate.” Tadic scores Southampton's second Credit: Getty images Even before Barcelona, Pardew’s position was coming under scrutiny. Last week, Albion’s Chinese owners removed both the chairman, John Williams, and chief executive Martin Goodman from their positions, which is seen as a reflection on their decision to appoint the manager. Asked if he considered himself still the man for that job, he said: “I hope so because I’m an experienced manager. I’ve experienced this situation several times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before, at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. And I want to get out of this one as well. I’m determined to get out of it.” And despite another defeat, brought about by an early goal from Wesley Hoedt and a second in the 56th minute, from Dusan Tadic, to which only Salomon Rondon could reply, he said there was evidence from the performance that proved his players were still behind him. “Yeah, I think absolutely they’re behind me,” he said. “I think the second half proved that because it was difficult to go 2-0 down in the circumstances we’re under. We were so unlucky to concede the second goal when we did because we had real momentum at that stage. Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.” Indeed, it was plain to see there was no lack of commitment from Pardew’s players – but they made it hard for themselves by conceding a goal after 11 minutes and were always chasing the game thereafter. It was a poor goal to concede, too, and one that would have had Pulis, pulling his hair out. A corner from James Ward-Prowse was missed by two defenders and eventually found Hoedt unmarked to volley in from close range. Rondon volleyed in a stunning goal to pull one back for West Brom Credit: Reuters The Saints could have been safely into the sixth round before half-time, creating the better first-half chances. Ben Foster just managed to keep out a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg header and only a last-gasp block by Evans denied Tadic after Nathan Redmond had got the better of McAuley. A long-range James McClean shot that went narrowly wide raised hope for the home side, who had their best spell early in the second half, when Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made three saves in quick succession to thwart Jay Rodriguez, Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak, the last of them a remarkable effort after a shot that took a heavy deflection. But just as it seemed Albion had momentum behind them, Saints scored a second goal, Tadic taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce to chip the ball over Foster and into the net, the Albion keeper caught out of position. Albion’s response came from Rondon, who displayed magnificent technique to volley home as a Krychowiak cross dropped over his shoulder. But though Ahmed Hegazi hit the bar and Rondon saw another effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand, there was to be no equaliser for the home side and it is difficult to escape the feeling that “Taxi for Mr Pardew” is a headline that may be written in the not too distant future.
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
Karl Robinson rejects Barnsley interest as he targets Championship promotion with Charlton
A general view of Charlton’s ground The Valley. The club were stranded in League One when Tony Jimenez took over their operations in 2010.
Khakshouri v Jimenez and Cash – a court case that shone a light on modern football
A general view of Charlton’s ground The Valley. The club were stranded in League One when Tony Jimenez took over their operations in 2010.
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Roland Duchatelet close to agreeing Charlton sale
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Charlton FC duo face £3m payout for lies to lender
Manchester United went on to win the European Cup in 1968, with Charlton starring for Busby's rebuilt team
Manchester United went on to win the European Cup in 1968, with Charlton starring for Busby's rebuilt team
Manchester United went on to win the European Cup in 1968, with Charlton starring for Busby's rebuilt team
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
What does Myanmar's new airport mean for travellers?
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
What does Myanmar's new airport mean for travellers?
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
What does Myanmar's new airport mean for travellers?
A new international airport in Myanmar, the south-east Asian nation facing condemnation over the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority group, is to open by 2020, with construction plans to be finalised by next month, the country’s department of civil aviation has said. Hanthawaddy International, located in the Bago region around 50 miles outside Yangon, will become the country's fourth international hub, and will have an initial capacity of 12 million passengers a year, a number that is eventually projected to rise to 30 million. The £1.1billion project has been undertaken by new developers since 2014, including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, the group behind Singapore’s main aviation hub (named the world’s best for five consecutive years in the latest World Airport Awards) and Japan’s JGC Corporation. Is this airport big news for travellers? Officials hope the new airport will become a new major international gateway for Myanmar, with all international airlines reportedly to be based there instead of Yangon International Airport upon its completion. “Yangon’s existing airport will probably move further from the city eventually, though as it’s on a site beside the new commuter circle railway line, which is being modernised, I suspect the airport site will be slated for other uses, such as residential, when this is completed,” predicts Gill Charlton, Telegraph Travel’s Myanmar expert. The country is also reportedly looking to build a bridge from downtown Yangon to the new airport and hopes to draw more tourists given Bago’s location on the planned Asian Highway, a United Nations (UN) transport initiative featuring a network of more than 141,000 kilometres of roads crossing 32 countries in Europe and Asia. Bagan Nyaung U Airport, one of the three current international airports in Myanmar Credit: AP Will it ever be finished? Work on the airport first started back in 2001 but was put on hold for several years before it was resurrected in 2012, backed by several international joint venture partners including the Incheon International Airport Corporation and other South Korean firms, who have since pulled out of it. “It’s one of those projects that has been stop-start for years as there really isn’t the demand because economic development in Myanmar is still very slow,” notes Charlton. In numbers | Myanmar's new airport – Hanthawaddy International What is there to see and do in Bago? Bago is an administrative region of the country, bordered by the Mandalay region in the north, the Yangon region in the south, the Gulf of Martaban in the east and the Rakhine State (which has been the centre of the current conflict, and where visitors are being advised against all but essential travel) in the west. Notable points of interest to tourists are limited to a handful of historic pagodas and temples including the Kyaikpun Buddha, Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Shwethalyaung Buddha and Kanbawzathadi Palace. “Currently visitors can fly into Mandalay as well as Yangon, and Bago isn’t really convenient for any of the main tourist areas,” said Charlton. “But tourism in the country appears to have plateaued now the first rush to see the country has abated. Most tourists seem to go just the once and see the main sights, still preferring to do their beach and trekking in neighbouring Thailand,” she adds. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago Credit: AP Is the country safe? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several parts of the country, including Rakhine State, the Paletwa township in the southern Chin State, due to active armed conflict, and the Kachin State, due to the continued risk of armed conflict. “Political tension and unrest could happen at short notice. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings,” the FCO warns. “The situation in ethnic states where armed groups operate is volatile. Take particular care in the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China,” it adds. However, holidays do continue to the country. At a glance | Myanmar’s Rohingya people Should travellers be boycotting the country? The violence in Myanmar has forced some 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country. The ongoing persecution - which the UN has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” - poses questions of both safety and ethics for travellers. One of the most pressing concerns of anyone travelling to Myanmar during the current refugee crisis is whether their money is in any way funding the military operations. “I think tourists should continue to travel to the country. It’s important to keep the fledgling tourist industry alive as so many small poor communities rely on it. Staying away isn’t going to change the government’s treatment of the Rohingya community as tourism from Britain and other Western countries is a very small part of their revenue,” said Charlton. The big debate | Should politics influence your choice of holiday destination?
Everton added another defender on deadline day, but manager Sam Allardyce was left baffled by the decisions of two of his fringe players involved in his last minute deals. Youngster Ademola Lookman joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig against the wishes of his coach, and provoked a stern response. Davy Klaassen, meanwhile, failed to join Napoli despite agreement between the clubs and the player’s apparent willingness to join. Allardyce said it was the contract between the player and his representatives that scuppered the move. Lookman’s move was a surprise, the 20-year-old England youth international seen as a player of potential. But Allardyce said it was the player – who moved to Everton from Charlton a year ago – who insisted on going to Germany. Everton felt a loan spell at championship side Derby would be more beneficial. Everton wanted Lookman to head to Derby on loan Credit: Getty Images “It is one of the most unusual situations I've been in where we have got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany,” said Allardyce. “We tried to persuade him not to because I think it is a big challenge for his development. His stubbornness meant he got his own way. “I hope he proves us all wrong.” Klaassen’s failure to leave was more curious, the ex-Ajax midfielder having been informed he will not feature for the rest of the season. A record-breaking post-Neymar transfer window and a widening gap between the 'big six' and the rest... “I got the weirdest situation. A contract he has with a sporting company is one of the reasons why it failed,” said the Everton manager. “We are disappointed but he should be far more disappointed than us that he is not playing for Napoli in the Italian league. “I don't know why they couldn't get over the hurdles.” Allardyce said the issues he faced ahead of Everton’s 2-1 win over Leicester were another reminder why fixtures should not be held on deadline day. Everton did complete a loan deal for Eliaquim Mangala with Manchester City. “I am fresh and fit and very motivated – and I am very excited about showing my qualities here,” said Mangala.
Sam Allardyce left confused by decisions of two Everton fringe players on transfer deadline day
Everton added another defender on deadline day, but manager Sam Allardyce was left baffled by the decisions of two of his fringe players involved in his last minute deals. Youngster Ademola Lookman joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig against the wishes of his coach, and provoked a stern response. Davy Klaassen, meanwhile, failed to join Napoli despite agreement between the clubs and the player’s apparent willingness to join. Allardyce said it was the contract between the player and his representatives that scuppered the move. Lookman’s move was a surprise, the 20-year-old England youth international seen as a player of potential. But Allardyce said it was the player – who moved to Everton from Charlton a year ago – who insisted on going to Germany. Everton felt a loan spell at championship side Derby would be more beneficial. Everton wanted Lookman to head to Derby on loan Credit: Getty Images “It is one of the most unusual situations I've been in where we have got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany,” said Allardyce. “We tried to persuade him not to because I think it is a big challenge for his development. His stubbornness meant he got his own way. “I hope he proves us all wrong.” Klaassen’s failure to leave was more curious, the ex-Ajax midfielder having been informed he will not feature for the rest of the season. A record-breaking post-Neymar transfer window and a widening gap between the 'big six' and the rest... “I got the weirdest situation. A contract he has with a sporting company is one of the reasons why it failed,” said the Everton manager. “We are disappointed but he should be far more disappointed than us that he is not playing for Napoli in the Italian league. “I don't know why they couldn't get over the hurdles.” Allardyce said the issues he faced ahead of Everton’s 2-1 win over Leicester were another reminder why fixtures should not be held on deadline day. Everton did complete a loan deal for Eliaquim Mangala with Manchester City. “I am fresh and fit and very motivated – and I am very excited about showing my qualities here,” said Mangala.
Everton added another defender on deadline day, but manager Sam Allardyce was left baffled by the decisions of two of his fringe players involved in his last minute deals. Youngster Ademola Lookman joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig against the wishes of his coach, and provoked a stern response. Davy Klaassen, meanwhile, failed to join Napoli despite agreement between the clubs and the player’s apparent willingness to join. Allardyce said it was the contract between the player and his representatives that scuppered the move. Lookman’s move was a surprise, the 20-year-old England youth international seen as a player of potential. But Allardyce said it was the player – who moved to Everton from Charlton a year ago – who insisted on going to Germany. Everton felt a loan spell at championship side Derby would be more beneficial. Everton wanted Lookman to head to Derby on loan Credit: Getty Images “It is one of the most unusual situations I've been in where we have got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany,” said Allardyce. “We tried to persuade him not to because I think it is a big challenge for his development. His stubbornness meant he got his own way. “I hope he proves us all wrong.” Klaassen’s failure to leave was more curious, the ex-Ajax midfielder having been informed he will not feature for the rest of the season. A record-breaking post-Neymar transfer window and a widening gap between the 'big six' and the rest... “I got the weirdest situation. A contract he has with a sporting company is one of the reasons why it failed,” said the Everton manager. “We are disappointed but he should be far more disappointed than us that he is not playing for Napoli in the Italian league. “I don't know why they couldn't get over the hurdles.” Allardyce said the issues he faced ahead of Everton’s 2-1 win over Leicester were another reminder why fixtures should not be held on deadline day. Everton did complete a loan deal for Eliaquim Mangala with Manchester City. “I am fresh and fit and very motivated – and I am very excited about showing my qualities here,” said Mangala.
Sam Allardyce left confused by decisions of two Everton fringe players on transfer deadline day
Everton added another defender on deadline day, but manager Sam Allardyce was left baffled by the decisions of two of his fringe players involved in his last minute deals. Youngster Ademola Lookman joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig against the wishes of his coach, and provoked a stern response. Davy Klaassen, meanwhile, failed to join Napoli despite agreement between the clubs and the player’s apparent willingness to join. Allardyce said it was the contract between the player and his representatives that scuppered the move. Lookman’s move was a surprise, the 20-year-old England youth international seen as a player of potential. But Allardyce said it was the player – who moved to Everton from Charlton a year ago – who insisted on going to Germany. Everton felt a loan spell at championship side Derby would be more beneficial. Everton wanted Lookman to head to Derby on loan Credit: Getty Images “It is one of the most unusual situations I've been in where we have got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany,” said Allardyce. “We tried to persuade him not to because I think it is a big challenge for his development. His stubbornness meant he got his own way. “I hope he proves us all wrong.” Klaassen’s failure to leave was more curious, the ex-Ajax midfielder having been informed he will not feature for the rest of the season. A record-breaking post-Neymar transfer window and a widening gap between the 'big six' and the rest... “I got the weirdest situation. A contract he has with a sporting company is one of the reasons why it failed,” said the Everton manager. “We are disappointed but he should be far more disappointed than us that he is not playing for Napoli in the Italian league. “I don't know why they couldn't get over the hurdles.” Allardyce said the issues he faced ahead of Everton’s 2-1 win over Leicester were another reminder why fixtures should not be held on deadline day. Everton did complete a loan deal for Eliaquim Mangala with Manchester City. “I am fresh and fit and very motivated – and I am very excited about showing my qualities here,” said Mangala.
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton have received no transfer bids for Liverpool target Ezri Konsa
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans scrap protest after club director agrees to meet supporters’ trust
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton fans demand answers from Richard Murray as takeover talks derail Addicks' January plans
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
Charlton midfielder Ricky Holmes to complete £400,000 Sheffield United switch
<p>A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.</p><p>The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎</p>
CCTV Shows Courier Roughly Tossing Package Containing Camera

A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.

The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎

<p>A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.</p><p>The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎</p>
CCTV Shows Courier Roughly Tossing Package Containing Camera

A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.

The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎

<p>A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.</p><p>The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎</p>
CCTV Shows Courier Roughly Tossing Package Containing Camera

A homeowner’s security camera captured a courier roughly tossing a package into a doorway rather than walking up a set of stairs. The delivery attempt was filmed on January 12 from the homeowner’s Cranebook, New South Wales, residence.

The woman who uploaded the footage, ‎Charlton Camilleri‎, said the package contained another camera for her security system and it was broken when she opened the package. She told Storyful she complained to the courier company, CouriersPlease, “but their customer service is appalling.” Credit: Facebook/‎Charlton Camilleri via Storyful‎

Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Safer, fairer, better: 10 ways travel needs to change in 2018
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Safer, fairer, better: 10 ways travel needs to change in 2018
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Safer, fairer, better: 10 ways travel needs to change in 2018
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Safer, fairer, better: 10 ways travel needs to change in 2018
Wherever possible, travel should, of course, be about positives. Even when things go wrong, we want to have a good time and make the most of our hard-earned holidays. So when we can, we generally make the best of any hiccups along the way. But sometimes things get serious. After all, travellers have always been sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs and confidence tricks. And there isn’t always much we can do about our vulnerability. Before we even leave home, we have already made a huge investment up front – probably our biggest extravagance of the year – and put our trust in the tour operator, cruise or villa company, relying on them to meet our expectations and deliver on their promise. Then, when we arrive at our destination, we are hardly in any stronger position. Relaxed, excited, trusting, we are once again sitting targets – dealing with unfamiliar customs, costs and currencies, prey to the unscrupulous, the unexpected and sometimes the downright dangerous. We are sitting targets, vulnerable to rip-offs Most often, of course, our expectations are met. We are welcomed, charmed and delighted by what we find. But not always. And when things go wrong, they tend to get expensive, and the stress of trying to sort them out can be enough to ruin an entire holiday. We know this because so many of you report back to Telegraph Travel on your frustrations, problems and disputes. Where we can, we try to help, and in our regular advice columns suggest ways of avoiding the issues that we know are causing you the most problems. We also put pressure on industry and government to make changes – as a result of our campaigns, significant progress has been made in improving the misleading way that car hire is sold – though, as we point out here, more still needs to be done. And, late last year, the Government finally commissioned a review into the lack of financial protection for passengers on scheduled airlines – an issue we have campaigning on for many years. In 2018 Telegraph Travel is taking a new approach. At the end of last year, we reviewed all your key concerns and identified 10 areas where we think the travel industry – and in some cases, the Government – needs to make important changes to protect and improve the experiences of all travellers and holidaymakers. Here, we summarise them – from the confusing and often downright misleading pricing and sales techniques rife in the industry, to the unfair imposition of single supplements and rip-off charges for amending tiny spelling mistakes on airline tickets. As the year progresses, we will be investigating each of these issues more fully, setting the agenda for a better deal for British travellers. Sally Peck’s report on child safety on page 8 represents the first of these investigations. She exposes a major concern about the general lack of information on accidents and injuries to British children abroad, sets out what needs to be done to address this, and, critically, she advises on what individuals can best do to minimise the risks to their own children. It’s a sobering issue, and a vital one, and it will form a key part of Telegraph Travel’s agenda in 2018. Our mission is to inspire you to discover new destinations, excellent value, the best places to stay and the best companies to book with. But we want also to make travel safer, fairer, and better – and our campaign starts here. 1. An end to the car hire scandal Despite attempts by both the EU – and the industry itself – to improve the way that holiday hire cars are sold, this is still one of the areas that Telegraph Travel readers complain about most. Some improvements have been made as a result of our interventions, but fundamental changes are still needed. The key issue is the way cars are priced. To attract bookings, many cars are offered at unsustainably low rates. To cover their costs, local franchises (most of the biggest names in car hire use a franchise system) depend on applying high insurance excesses and selling expensive premiums to waive them. Buying such a waiver can more than double the cost the customer was expecting to pay. And if they don’t buy the policy, they may be liable for up to £2,000 for any damage. Some franchises are very aggressive both in the way that these policies are sold when the car is collected, and in the way they look – and charge – for even the smallest amounts of damage when you return the car. You then have no control over the charge made for this. There are other issues too – see our detailed guide to avoiding problems. Too many holidays are bookended by stressful car hire experiences Credit: THOMAS BARWICK 2. Better financial protection for air passengers The collapse of Monarch last October – which threatened to leave more than 100,000 passengers stranded overseas – thrust this issue back into the news. Only because the Government stepped in to extend Atol protection was a more serious crisis averted. The Atol scheme normally only covers flights bought as part of a tour operator’s package, but in this case those who had booked independently were also brought home without charge. In a more straightforward scheduled airline failure, they could have expected to be stranded and forced to buy their own return flight. Instead the Monarch rescue was subsidised with £60 million from the Atol fund. We’ve been campaigning for more systematic protection for air passengers for years and finally a Government review is under way. Whether it will recommend new bankruptcy arrangements allowing airlines to continue flying temporarily rather than collapse overnight, or an extension of the Atol scheme, remains to be seen. We would prefer the latter. The final report isn’t expected until the end of next year. We will apply pressure where we can. The biggest airline failures of all time – where does Monarch rank? 3. The air tax rip-off Travellers have always been sitting ducks for the taxman, and we get hit every time we fly. The worst is Air Passenger Duty [APD]. The cheapest economy-class rates of £13 for a short-haul flight and £75 (rising to £78 in April) for long-haul (more than 2,000 miles) are higher than in any other European country and among the highest in the world. If you fly in a higher class of cabin, you pay double these rates. Meanwhile, Scottish government plans to radically cut APD in 2018 – which might have put downward pressure on the rate of tax in England – have been put on hold as devolution of the tax has been delayed. We will continue to campaign for a meaningful reduction. And we will also continue to report on other areas where a captive market of passengers is being forced to pay through the nose at airports – such as drop-off and parking charges, high rail fares, the high cost of buying foreign currency and airport development fees. At a glance | How Air Passenger Duty has soared 4. No more price confusion One of the most wearing aspects of booking a holiday or travel arrangements is filtering out all the claims of offers, deals and discounts and trying to work out the real cost of your trip and whether it represents good value. The problem is made worse by so-called flexible pricing – adjusting rates and fares according to demand – which is now used across the industry, from airlines and hotels, to cruise lines and tour operators. But the real issue is the way that elements that used to be considered an expected part of a package now very often attract disproportionately high additional charges. It’s not unusual, for example, to have to pay more for your suitcase to go into the hold than you paid for your own air fare. The extra charge for breakfast in a hotel can add 25 per cent to the rate. And now, when you fly Ryanair, there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve specific seats, you won’t end up sitting next to your travelling companion on the flight. Play things right and you can, of course, find some excellent deals, but too often overpriced “extras” are being used to make fares seem attractive, when the real cost nearly always ends up much higher than it first seemed. When you fly Ryanair there is a real risk that if you don’t pay an extra fee to reserve a seat, you’ll be split up from your travelling companion Credit: GETTY 5. Better access in hotels Access is not only an issue that affects wheelchair users. Anyone who occasionally walks with a stick, struggles with a long flight of stairs or faces other difficulties with mobility, sight or hearing knows how challenging travel can sometimes be. Hotels are a particular problem. Even when they ostensibly offer “accessible” rooms, these are often over-medicalised and joyless, with inferior views or none at all. Many don’t have step-free access all the way from street level, and there can be basic problems with simple things such as lighting, affecting those with poor sight. And as well as physical design problems, there are issues with staff training – evidenced by a lack of understanding and sympathy for guests with special needs. So this year we will again be reporting on these issues, and, as a major plank of our campaign for improvements, we will be supporting the Bespoke Access Awards – an international competition founded by hotel owner Robin Sheppard to improve the design of buildings and the education and attitude of staff (access.bespokehotels.com, entries close Feb 27). Contact us | Fairness in travel – your experiences 6. No more unfair single supplements As the number of solo travellers increases exponentially year on year, why does the mainstream travel industry continue to base its business model on people who travel in twos? A hotelier may not be happy to hand out double rooms for single occupancy in high season, but tour operators should be pushing for a lot more no-supplement deals at quieter times of the year. Even more insidious is the practice of charging a single supplement for what turns out to be a single bed in a box room and a shower in a cupboard. This happens regularly on coach touring holidays that attract a high proportion of single customers, especially in places such as the Italian lakes. This should be outlawed and companies fined for non-compliance. Cruising has a similarly poor reputation for overcharging customers travelling alone. It’s good to see single cabins on newer ships but there should be more on older ones. It is also encouraging to find tour operators increasingly offering single occupancy deals on some departures, notably on river cruises. But there are still too many ships asking solo cruisers for more than double that paid by a couple, as happened to a Telegraph reader trying to book a Tui cruise package to the Canary Islands last autumn. We don’t buy the argument that there’s a revenue loss in the bar and on excursions. A solo traveller is more likely to be sociable, so don’t penalise them before they even step on board. Solo holidays are on the rise – so why are we still punished for travelling alone? Credit: ©rh2010 - stock.adobe.com 7. Free correction of mistakes Most airline bookings are now keyed into systems online by customers themselves and one of the most frequent problems we hear about from readers is the cost of correcting minor errors – a spelling mistake in a name is the most common. The way the system should work is that if the mistake is small – usually involving fewer than three characters – airlines will usually agree to add what’s called a “check-in remark” for no extra charge so that the discrepancy with the passport does not cause a problem at boarding. But some agents continue to argue, wrongly, that this can’t be done and make passengers pay for an entirely new ticket (without refunding the original) simply to correct what is clearly a genuine typing error. For more serious mistakes – where a customer has used an abbreviated first name or forgotten that a child has a different surname to their own on their passport – most airlines will also insist that a new ticket is purchased. Airlines and their agents claim this stance is to do with security. It’s not. It’s about making money. Aviation bodies such as IATA and the CAA should take a firm stand on this and insist that airlines and their agents find a way to correct or accept all genuine mistakes in passenger names – even if they insist on charging an administration fee for the service. The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 8. Improved customer service for online bookings The internet is a great labour-saving device for travel companies and can mean lower prices for customers but, when things go wrong, their understaffed customer service departments can fail miserably. For example, just before Christmas, snow at Heathrow affected my return flight from Rome. At Rome airport, the rebooking of my British Airways flight was handled with efficiency and courtesy by BA staff and a voucher issued for an overnight stay at the Sheraton. But when the replacement flight was also cancelled, things fell apart. A BA message told me to book another flight online but, when I tried, the online booking manager wouldn’t let me. A message asked me to contact a call centre. When I tried this, my call could not be taken and a message told me to rebook online. To be sure that I could fly that day, I had to buy a new flight – which BA is now refunding me for. If airlines and online travel companies are going to operate with skeleton staff as a cost-saving measure, they should at least have computer systems that can cope with straightforward flight schedule changes – the most common post-sales issue. Meanwhile, one of the biggest bugbears raised by Telegraph readers is the inability of call centre staff to make electronic notes under the customer’s booking reference so that if a follow-up call is necessary you don’t have to explain the problem all over again. Expedia is one offender often mentioned. We want to see online travel companies start working towards better post-sales service. 9. Less plastic in hotels The last thing we want is to feel guilty on holiday, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact we, as travellers, can have on the environment. A good example is the way that waste plastics are affecting the health of marine life – a problem that is becoming more and more understood and which is in urgent need of a solution. We probably use more plastic products when on holiday than in everyday life, especially in hotels – those little bottles of shower gel, the cold drinks you buy when you’re out, the mineral water left by your bed. It all adds up to a huge amount of waste, and that’s not taking into account what’s used behind the scenes – in kitchens, for example, where produce often comes in single-use plastic containers. So it’s heartening to see that some travel brands are beginning to tackle this and other environmental issues. Six Senses, a luxury hotel and spa brand, pledged this month to be plastic-free by 2020, and Alila’s Bali hotels say they are well on the way to being plastic-free and re-using or recycling 100 per cent of their waste. The 1 Hotel group has eliminated plastic bottles by installing filtered-water taps in every bedroom. In the UK, the Pig hotels grow their own fruit and vegetables (so no packaging needed). This year, we shall investigate what these steps mean, what effect they have and what more practical steps can be made to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. Six Senses has pledged to be plastic-free by 2020 10. Safer holidays for children We start the year with Sally Peck’s special investigation. One last thing... | Other travel niggles that need ironing out Additional reporting by Gill Charlton and Francisca Kellett
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
Charlton manager Karl Robinson vows not to quit club amid takeover talk
So beguiling, perhaps, is the reputation of Rafael Benitez, that it plays tricks on the minds of the young and ambitious. Nathan Jones, 44, the articulate manager of high-flying, high-scoring League Two Luton Town, played in Spain in the mid-nineties, and is convinced he came up against the Newcastle manager, against whom he pits his wits in the FA Cup third round tomorrow. He is one of the most talked about managers in the lower leagues which is why, on the eve of this encounter, Luton have got out the news he has just signed a new four-year deal. He is also unashamedly ambitious, wanting to measure himself against the best – and a meeting with Benitez, given his coaching achievements, is something for him to savour. “It’s where you want to be, as a manager, you want to be pitting yourselves some of the best in the business, Rafa has got a wonderful track record,” Jones says. “I have come up against him actually once in my career, when he was the manager of (Spanish club) Extremadura and I was (a player) at Badajoz, and they got promoted (to La Liga) instead of us by one goal. He won’t remember me; I will guarantee that.” The mind plays tricks. Jones was, indeed, at Badajoz in 1995-96, a remarkable move for a young Welsh left-back who left Luton for Spain, but Benitez was not at Extremadura then. He joined later, in 1997-98, after they had been relegated back to the second division, but again gaining promotion and launching his own stellar managerial career. ✍️SIGNING ON! Nathan Jones puts pen to paper on a new four-year contract to secure his future as Luton Town manager ahead of his second anniversary in charge ➡️ https://t.co/hkYJIOMD6v#COYHpic.twitter.com/56mvx8ToIO— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) January 4, 2018 Memories may be blurred but Spain made a big impression on Jones, who admitted to being homesick in Bedfordshire, as he struggled in Luton – after being signed by manager David Pleat – but was willing to give it a go overseas under the influence of Colin Addison, the former Atletico Madrid coach and something of a mentor. “He went back out there with Badajoz, and I got a call asking if I would be interested in going out, and I was not initially. But when I went out there I saw it was a good move, and as it turns out it was a very good footballing move but in terms of lifestyle and learning the language. It has helped me in my second career,” Jones says. “It is amazing - when you consider I was homesick in Luton - to then swap it for going out there. “I have made no secret of the fact that I am a born-again Christian, and I trust God’s will in lots of things. It just felt right when I went out there and it was a great two seasons, and I taught myself Spanish so I was fluent when I came back. That stood me in good stead in my career and obviously going back to Brighton as Oscar Garcia’s assistant, so it all worked out. Luton are scoring freely in League Two Credit: Getty images “I learned a lot about lifestyle, and like sleeping in the afternoon, which may seem a bit of a joke, but that probably helped me prolong my career because I was able to play until I was 39,” he says. “Sleeping in the afternoon is a massive thing. I still do it – I have got a couch in the office. When you go out there with an open mind, which is what I did, you are always going to learn something.” The priority for Luton is promotion. Jones has worked his way up after starting his coaching career at Yeovil Town, then at Charlton Athletic’s academy under Paul Hart (now his assistant) before Brighton and taking over at Luton in Jan 2016, guiding them to safety. “It’s going to be brilliant,” he says of facing Newcastle and Benitez. “I didn’t actually remember him until I looked back years later,” he adds. The mind, though, does play tricks even if Jones has been shaped by his time in Spain and the path Benitez has taken. “The club is in a real good place, we want that feel-good factor,” Jones says. “This is just a bonus but we are focused.”
Luton manager Nathan Jones hoping his Spanish experience will help see off Rafael Benitez's Newcastle
So beguiling, perhaps, is the reputation of Rafael Benitez, that it plays tricks on the minds of the young and ambitious. Nathan Jones, 44, the articulate manager of high-flying, high-scoring League Two Luton Town, played in Spain in the mid-nineties, and is convinced he came up against the Newcastle manager, against whom he pits his wits in the FA Cup third round tomorrow. He is one of the most talked about managers in the lower leagues which is why, on the eve of this encounter, Luton have got out the news he has just signed a new four-year deal. He is also unashamedly ambitious, wanting to measure himself against the best – and a meeting with Benitez, given his coaching achievements, is something for him to savour. “It’s where you want to be, as a manager, you want to be pitting yourselves some of the best in the business, Rafa has got a wonderful track record,” Jones says. “I have come up against him actually once in my career, when he was the manager of (Spanish club) Extremadura and I was (a player) at Badajoz, and they got promoted (to La Liga) instead of us by one goal. He won’t remember me; I will guarantee that.” The mind plays tricks. Jones was, indeed, at Badajoz in 1995-96, a remarkable move for a young Welsh left-back who left Luton for Spain, but Benitez was not at Extremadura then. He joined later, in 1997-98, after they had been relegated back to the second division, but again gaining promotion and launching his own stellar managerial career. ✍️SIGNING ON! Nathan Jones puts pen to paper on a new four-year contract to secure his future as Luton Town manager ahead of his second anniversary in charge ➡️ https://t.co/hkYJIOMD6v#COYHpic.twitter.com/56mvx8ToIO— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) January 4, 2018 Memories may be blurred but Spain made a big impression on Jones, who admitted to being homesick in Bedfordshire, as he struggled in Luton – after being signed by manager David Pleat – but was willing to give it a go overseas under the influence of Colin Addison, the former Atletico Madrid coach and something of a mentor. “He went back out there with Badajoz, and I got a call asking if I would be interested in going out, and I was not initially. But when I went out there I saw it was a good move, and as it turns out it was a very good footballing move but in terms of lifestyle and learning the language. It has helped me in my second career,” Jones says. “It is amazing - when you consider I was homesick in Luton - to then swap it for going out there. “I have made no secret of the fact that I am a born-again Christian, and I trust God’s will in lots of things. It just felt right when I went out there and it was a great two seasons, and I taught myself Spanish so I was fluent when I came back. That stood me in good stead in my career and obviously going back to Brighton as Oscar Garcia’s assistant, so it all worked out. Luton are scoring freely in League Two Credit: Getty images “I learned a lot about lifestyle, and like sleeping in the afternoon, which may seem a bit of a joke, but that probably helped me prolong my career because I was able to play until I was 39,” he says. “Sleeping in the afternoon is a massive thing. I still do it – I have got a couch in the office. When you go out there with an open mind, which is what I did, you are always going to learn something.” The priority for Luton is promotion. Jones has worked his way up after starting his coaching career at Yeovil Town, then at Charlton Athletic’s academy under Paul Hart (now his assistant) before Brighton and taking over at Luton in Jan 2016, guiding them to safety. “It’s going to be brilliant,” he says of facing Newcastle and Benitez. “I didn’t actually remember him until I looked back years later,” he adds. The mind, though, does play tricks even if Jones has been shaped by his time in Spain and the path Benitez has taken. “The club is in a real good place, we want that feel-good factor,” Jones says. “This is just a bonus but we are focused.”
So beguiling, perhaps, is the reputation of Rafael Benitez, that it plays tricks on the minds of the young and ambitious. Nathan Jones, 44, the articulate manager of high-flying, high-scoring League Two Luton Town, played in Spain in the mid-nineties, and is convinced he came up against the Newcastle manager, against whom he pits his wits in the FA Cup third round tomorrow. He is one of the most talked about managers in the lower leagues which is why, on the eve of this encounter, Luton have got out the news he has just signed a new four-year deal. He is also unashamedly ambitious, wanting to measure himself against the best – and a meeting with Benitez, given his coaching achievements, is something for him to savour. “It’s where you want to be, as a manager, you want to be pitting yourselves some of the best in the business, Rafa has got a wonderful track record,” Jones says. “I have come up against him actually once in my career, when he was the manager of (Spanish club) Extremadura and I was (a player) at Badajoz, and they got promoted (to La Liga) instead of us by one goal. He won’t remember me; I will guarantee that.” The mind plays tricks. Jones was, indeed, at Badajoz in 1995-96, a remarkable move for a young Welsh left-back who left Luton for Spain, but Benitez was not at Extremadura then. He joined later, in 1997-98, after they had been relegated back to the second division, but again gaining promotion and launching his own stellar managerial career. ✍️SIGNING ON! Nathan Jones puts pen to paper on a new four-year contract to secure his future as Luton Town manager ahead of his second anniversary in charge ➡️ https://t.co/hkYJIOMD6v#COYHpic.twitter.com/56mvx8ToIO— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) January 4, 2018 Memories may be blurred but Spain made a big impression on Jones, who admitted to being homesick in Bedfordshire, as he struggled in Luton – after being signed by manager David Pleat – but was willing to give it a go overseas under the influence of Colin Addison, the former Atletico Madrid coach and something of a mentor. “He went back out there with Badajoz, and I got a call asking if I would be interested in going out, and I was not initially. But when I went out there I saw it was a good move, and as it turns out it was a very good footballing move but in terms of lifestyle and learning the language. It has helped me in my second career,” Jones says. “It is amazing - when you consider I was homesick in Luton - to then swap it for going out there. “I have made no secret of the fact that I am a born-again Christian, and I trust God’s will in lots of things. It just felt right when I went out there and it was a great two seasons, and I taught myself Spanish so I was fluent when I came back. That stood me in good stead in my career and obviously going back to Brighton as Oscar Garcia’s assistant, so it all worked out. Luton are scoring freely in League Two Credit: Getty images “I learned a lot about lifestyle, and like sleeping in the afternoon, which may seem a bit of a joke, but that probably helped me prolong my career because I was able to play until I was 39,” he says. “Sleeping in the afternoon is a massive thing. I still do it – I have got a couch in the office. When you go out there with an open mind, which is what I did, you are always going to learn something.” The priority for Luton is promotion. Jones has worked his way up after starting his coaching career at Yeovil Town, then at Charlton Athletic’s academy under Paul Hart (now his assistant) before Brighton and taking over at Luton in Jan 2016, guiding them to safety. “It’s going to be brilliant,” he says of facing Newcastle and Benitez. “I didn’t actually remember him until I looked back years later,” he adds. The mind, though, does play tricks even if Jones has been shaped by his time in Spain and the path Benitez has taken. “The club is in a real good place, we want that feel-good factor,” Jones says. “This is just a bonus but we are focused.”
Luton manager Nathan Jones hoping his Spanish experience will help see off Rafael Benitez's Newcastle
So beguiling, perhaps, is the reputation of Rafael Benitez, that it plays tricks on the minds of the young and ambitious. Nathan Jones, 44, the articulate manager of high-flying, high-scoring League Two Luton Town, played in Spain in the mid-nineties, and is convinced he came up against the Newcastle manager, against whom he pits his wits in the FA Cup third round tomorrow. He is one of the most talked about managers in the lower leagues which is why, on the eve of this encounter, Luton have got out the news he has just signed a new four-year deal. He is also unashamedly ambitious, wanting to measure himself against the best – and a meeting with Benitez, given his coaching achievements, is something for him to savour. “It’s where you want to be, as a manager, you want to be pitting yourselves some of the best in the business, Rafa has got a wonderful track record,” Jones says. “I have come up against him actually once in my career, when he was the manager of (Spanish club) Extremadura and I was (a player) at Badajoz, and they got promoted (to La Liga) instead of us by one goal. He won’t remember me; I will guarantee that.” The mind plays tricks. Jones was, indeed, at Badajoz in 1995-96, a remarkable move for a young Welsh left-back who left Luton for Spain, but Benitez was not at Extremadura then. He joined later, in 1997-98, after they had been relegated back to the second division, but again gaining promotion and launching his own stellar managerial career. ✍️SIGNING ON! Nathan Jones puts pen to paper on a new four-year contract to secure his future as Luton Town manager ahead of his second anniversary in charge ➡️ https://t.co/hkYJIOMD6v#COYHpic.twitter.com/56mvx8ToIO— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) January 4, 2018 Memories may be blurred but Spain made a big impression on Jones, who admitted to being homesick in Bedfordshire, as he struggled in Luton – after being signed by manager David Pleat – but was willing to give it a go overseas under the influence of Colin Addison, the former Atletico Madrid coach and something of a mentor. “He went back out there with Badajoz, and I got a call asking if I would be interested in going out, and I was not initially. But when I went out there I saw it was a good move, and as it turns out it was a very good footballing move but in terms of lifestyle and learning the language. It has helped me in my second career,” Jones says. “It is amazing - when you consider I was homesick in Luton - to then swap it for going out there. “I have made no secret of the fact that I am a born-again Christian, and I trust God’s will in lots of things. It just felt right when I went out there and it was a great two seasons, and I taught myself Spanish so I was fluent when I came back. That stood me in good stead in my career and obviously going back to Brighton as Oscar Garcia’s assistant, so it all worked out. Luton are scoring freely in League Two Credit: Getty images “I learned a lot about lifestyle, and like sleeping in the afternoon, which may seem a bit of a joke, but that probably helped me prolong my career because I was able to play until I was 39,” he says. “Sleeping in the afternoon is a massive thing. I still do it – I have got a couch in the office. When you go out there with an open mind, which is what I did, you are always going to learn something.” The priority for Luton is promotion. Jones has worked his way up after starting his coaching career at Yeovil Town, then at Charlton Athletic’s academy under Paul Hart (now his assistant) before Brighton and taking over at Luton in Jan 2016, guiding them to safety. “It’s going to be brilliant,” he says of facing Newcastle and Benitez. “I didn’t actually remember him until I looked back years later,” he adds. The mind, though, does play tricks even if Jones has been shaped by his time in Spain and the path Benitez has taken. “The club is in a real good place, we want that feel-good factor,” Jones says. “This is just a bonus but we are focused.”
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
Rob Lee: 'It's a dream come true for my boys to play Newcastle'
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
Rob Lee: 'It's a dream come true for my boys to play Newcastle'
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
Rob Lee: 'It's a dream come true for my boys to play Newcastle'
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.
Rob Lee: 'It's a dream come true for my boys to play Newcastle'
At 7am on Saturday 40 members of the Lee family will pile onto a bus outside Rob Lee’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, and make the near 300-mile trek north to St James’s Park to watch Luton Town take on Newcastle United in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It will be an emotional, and joyous, journey for them all. For years, the evocative stadium was a second home, Rob having spent a decade at Newcastle – he still calls them “us” – and a key midfield performer for the “Entertainers” who came so close to winning the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1996. But, this time, they will be rooting for Luton and Lee’s two sons – Olly and Elliot – who are now important performers for the team who have been out-scored only by Manchester City in English football this season. Luton are, in fact, the Entertainers of League Two, which they lead. “It will be crazy,” says Durham-born Elliot, a striker and, at 23, the younger of the brothers by three years. “A busload are going up… I do remember going to St James’ Park watching him [Rob], although we were usually in the box causing carnage. We all have fond memories of there.” Lee shared an executive box with Alan Shearer, still one of his best friends, and has called in as many favours as he can to get enough tickets for this tie. “It’s a dream come true for the boys to go back there,” he says, sitting next to his sons at Luton’s training ground. “It’s the next best thing to pulling on a black-and-white shirt.” Rob Lee spent a decade at Newcastle Credit: Action images Also on the bus will be Lee’s wife, Anna, her father Colin, and his own father, Reg, and the Lee brothers grin as the involvement of the former businessman – who was also a turnstile operator at Rob’s first club, Charlton Athletic – is discussed. “He [Rob] is not much of a shouter,” Olly says of his father’s style when watching his sons play together. “He leaves that to my granddad. When I play at Kenilworth Road, I can hear him shouting in the crowd. Dad’s quieter, takes everything in, has a word after the game.” “My dad couldn’t play football,” Rob says, laughing. “But he’s got an opinion on it! They are the worst people! He’s old-school. He will say exactly what he thinks, whether it’s right or wrong, he just comes out and says it. He swears a lot. But he supported me. When I was a kid, we had no manager, so he took over. He was president of a shipping company, so he knows how to handle people.” For Rob, the tie is an opportunity to reminisce and the memories of the England international’s playing days at Newcastle, whom he joined from Charlton in 1992, with Keegan having convinced him it was nearer to London than Middlesbrough – who also wanted him – come thick and fast. “People ask ‘do you regret not winning the league?’ and I genuinely say to them the five years I had with Keegan I would not trade for a league winner’s medal,” he states. “He played the kind of football I dreamed of as a kid. I played for Charlton under Lennie Lawrence and Alan Curbishley and it was all very structured. Keegan said to me once ‘I just buy good players and let them play’. I just wish he had won the league, then no one could question him, and maybe the whole structure of coaching would have changed. “He didn’t really like buying defenders. He wanted to buy players who wanted to entertain. At one time, we had Ginola, Asprilla, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Shearer all playing. I had to play holding midfield. He called me and Dave Batty his dogs. I used to score goals. There I had to sit in. “I remember when I went, I asked ‘who is taking free-kicks’? He just said ‘if you are playing well take one’. But there was such a long queue to take one. So, I never took one. I was there 10 years. Even when we were injured, we went to watch. We always scored goals. I was asked the other day how many 0-0s we had. I can remember one. Keegan went home at half-time. He did not like that at all. Everybody wanted to watch us play. I think we have lost a little bit of that. Maybe it’s the money in the Premier League, teams are scared of falling out of it. But people want to be entertained.” Elliot Lee celebrates scoring for Luton Credit: Rex Features It is something that Lee feels passionately about, not least with the opportunities – or lack of them – given to his two sons, who were both products of the academy at West Ham United before being let go and dropping through the divisions. “I’m proud of them and, if I’m being honest, I think both of them are suited to a higher league,” Rob says. “I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been in the game for a long time and I know when people can play football. I’m looking forward to Luton getting promotion and seeing how they get on in a higher division.” Those skills started back in Newcastle. “They were playing against my mates who were all professional players – Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Warren Barton, Shay Given,” Lee says. “They used to come round during the season and we had five-a-sides with all the kids. I don’t know if it was allowed. I don’t think the physio was very happy about it. But he used to join in as well.” Olly Lee in action against Blackpool Credit: Getty images Elliot joined Olly, an attacking midfielder, last summer after being released by Barnsley. “When the opportunity came up for Elliot, we had to weigh it up: When one of them is playing and the other isn’t, sometimes it’s difficult. But it’s much easier to see them play when they are both in the same place!” Rob says. It has worked, with Olly adding: “I don’t know if it’s telepathy but we just enjoy playing with each other. Obviously, we used to play in the garden with our mates together and it’s always been the case that in training we tend to try and pass the ball to each other. Playing with your brother, you have to make the most of it because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.” That includes relishing such a prestigious FA Cup tie. “We’re a confident bunch, we’ve got the players to take the game to anyone, so what better stage to do it than in front of 50,000 people at St James’ Park? It’s what the Cup is all about,” Olly says. The Lees will all be there.

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