Chesterfield

Chesterfield slideshow

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

FA Cup first round draw: Hyde United (eighth tier) host MK Dons

  7:28PM And that's the draw The excitement is over! No more balls will be drawn! Morecambe vs Hartlepool is pretty good, Doncaster will visit either East Thurrock or Ebsfleet. Hyde vs MK Dons is a brilliant tie for the minnows. I was really hoping for a Slough vs Swindon draw, purely for Office quotes.  7:25PM Eighth tier Hyde will play MK Dons! The crowd goes wild in the BBC studio as the draw is announced. That's the big club the players wanted. 7:24PM Lads, can we please have some music Or something. This draw is not one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on television. That Liverpool vs Man Utd game on Saturday was more entertaining. 7:21PM AFC Wimbledon vs Lincoln City AFC Wimbledon are one of the clubs to have benefited immensely from TV money brought by the FA Cup and they are drawn against Lincoln City.  7:19PM Some more fixtures for you Peterborough Utd v Tranmere Cambridge Utd v Sutton Utd Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town AFC Fylde v Kidderminster Harriers Luton v Portsmouth Shrewsbury v Aldershot Hereford v AFC Telford Utd Guiseley v Accrington Stanley Blackburn Rovers v Barnet 7:16PM No huge match ups so far Bradford City v Chesterfield Port Vale v Oxford Utd Newport County v Walsall Morecambe v Hartlepool Utd 7:14PM And it's set of balls number eight And Lancelot is the FA Cup draw machine for tonight. What a hilarious National Lottery joke. And the first fixture is Stevenage vs Nantwich or Kettering. IT'S ALL KICKING OFF NOW, CLIVE. 7:12PM Your Davids, your Goliaths Hyde, Heybridge Swifts and Ossett Town are the lowest ranked teams in the competition, with all three occupying the eighth tier of English football.  7:10PM David Sharpe The Wigan chairman, grandson of Dave Whelan, fancies Wigan's chances this season. And now it's time for the draw!   7:05PM Who do the small teams want to get in the draw? According to a couple of Hyde football staff (manager and player), the management want to play against a team they can probably beat whereas the players want to draw Blackburn or Charlton - one of the 'big' clubs. Hyde actually own the record for biggest defeat in the FA Cup. A 26-0 hiding (see what I did) by Preston North End. 7:00PM The live coverage begins! Here we go. The draw is being held at Hyde United's ground. Look how cool their sun was earlier: Red sun today. FA Cup draw at Hyde United. Is that an omen. #EmiratesFACuppic.twitter.com/LoZ27mZjKW— Hyde United FC (@hydeunited) October 16, 2017   6:47PM The difference the FA Cup actually makes I wrote this in January about just how much an FA Cup run is worth to a small club. It turns out the answer is everything. The FA awards a prize of £1.8million to the winners of the competition, the kind of short-change a Champions League club might use as a sweetener for a promising youth prospect’s signing-on fee. For non-league side Curzon Ashton just qualifying for the second round of the competition will, and has, had an enormous impact.   Image     Landscape Portrait Square Original/Custom   Edit Selected Crop... Caption:   Description: curzon ashton Agency: GETTY IMAGES Artist:       Edit...   Delete     “It means so much to us a club,” says their CEO Natalie Atkinson. “The FA Cup is enabling us, through prize money, funds gained and TV money to work with the FA and football foundations to replace our 3G pitch next to the stadium.” Curzon Ashton, currently 15th in the National League North, lost 4-3 to AFC Wimbledon in December, conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. The prize for qualifying for the second round was £27,000, in addition to £18,000 earned from the first round. Those sucker-punch goals prevented a windfall of £67,500 for making it to third round. However, thanks to the wonder of television money, the club received more for their defeat to Wimbledon than they would have if they’d won a non-televised second round match. There's more on the article, if you fancy clicking on it. 6:30PM The magic of the cup This most holy of trophies always produces magical moments and even if a guilty few/most don't pay attention to the competition until their team is involved, those matches between minnows of the lower leagues and giants of... in this case, League One, are always thoroughly enjoyable.  Sutton are looking to make a lot more money from another (pie free) run at the cup this year, Accrington Stanley's involvement will be upping the YouTube view count on this milk advert, and today is the first time I have ever heard of Gainsborough Trinity. Perhaps they will become my new favourite non-league - maybe they'll be yours! It all depends who has to play who - and which of those games the people in charge at BBC decide to broadcast... 6:15PM Good evening! Hello there sports fans. Welcome to our live coverage of what is sure to be a riveting FA Cup first round draw. The action will kick-off at 7:10pm and we'll keep you up to date with the draw as it happens. For right now, that wait should give you time to look at all the nice photographs of that weird looking sun from earlier today. It was like being in Blade Runner. 6:09PM Preview What is it? It's the draw for the first round proper of the FA Cup: the oldest competition in world football.  The first round sees the 48 teams from League One and League Two joined by 32 non-league sides. When is it? Monday October 16. What time is it? The draw itself will begin at 7:10pm on Monday evening. The first round of the FA Cup will take place on Saturday November 4  Credit: AP  What TV channel is it on? The draw will be broadcast live on both BBC Two and BT Sport. Mark Chapman will present the BBC's coverage of the draw in half-hour long episode from 7pm, while BT Sport 3's show will also begin at 7pm.  When will the matches take place?  The first round will take place over the weekend of Friday November 3 to Monday 6 November 2017 Who's in the hat? Sutton United made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season  Credit: Getty Images  Three teams from the eighth tier of English football are among the non-league teams in the hat for the first round. Hyde United, who play in the Northern Premier League, beat Scarborough Athletic on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the competition.  Hampton and Richmond, who are coached by Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler, failed in their bid to reach the FA Cup proper after losing to  National League South rivals Truro City. Truro's 2-0 victory over their league rivals means they become the first Cornwal team to reach the FA Cup first round since 1969.  Billericay Town, whose current players include Jamie O'Hara, Paul Konchesky and Jermaine Pennant, will also take their place in the draw.  FA Cup first round numbers 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 AFC WIMBLEDON 3 BARNET 4 BLACKBURN ROVERS 5 BLACKPOOL 6 BRADFORD CITY 7 BRISTOL ROVERS 8 BURY 9 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 10 CARLISLE UNITED 11 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 12 CHELTENHAM TOWN 13 CHESTERFIELD 14 COLCHESTER UNITED 15 COVENTRY CITY 16 CRAWLEY TOWN 17 CREWE ALEXANDRA 18 DONCASTER ROVERS 19 EXETER CITY 20 FLEETWOOD TOWN 21 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 22 GILLINGHAM 23 GRIMSBY TOWN 24 LINCOLN CITY 25 LUTON TOWN 26 MANSFIELD TOWN 27 MILTON KEYNES DONS 28 MORECAMBE 29 NEWPORT COUNTY 30 NORTHAMPTON TOWN 31 NOTTS COUNTY 32 OLDHAM ATHLETIC 33 OXFORD UNITED 34 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 35 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 36 PORT VALE 37 PORTSMOUTH 38 ROCHDALE 39 ROTHERHAM UNITED 40 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 41 SHREWSBURY TOWN 42 SOUTHEND UNITED 43 STEVENAGE 44 SWINDON TOWN 45 WALSALL 46 WIGAN ATHLETIC 47 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 48 YEOVIL TOWN 49 TRANMERE ROVERS 50 SOLIHULL MOORS OR OSSETT TOWN 51 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 52 SHAW LANE ASSOCIATION 53 CHORLEY OR BOSTON UNITED 54 AFC TELFORD UNITED 55 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 56 NANTWICH TOWN OR KETTERING TOWN 57 GATESHEAD 58 GUISELEY 59 AFC FYLDE 60 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 61 HYDE UNITED 62 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 63 BRACKLEY TOWN OR BILLERICAY TOWN 64 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE OR LEYTON ORIENT 65 HEREFORD 66 ALDERSHOT TOWN  67 BATH CITY OR CHELMSFORD CITY 68 OXFORD CITY 69 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 70 HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 71 WOKING OR CONCORD RANGERS 72 TRURO CITY 73 DOVER ATHLETIC OR BROMLEY 74 SLOUGH TOWN 75 DARTFORD 76 BOREHAM WOOD 77 MAIDSTONE UNITED OR ENFIELD TOWN 78 LEATHERHEAD 79 SUTTON UNITED 80 EAST THURROCK UNITED OR EBBSFLEET UNITED

England U16 v Northern Ireland U16 Sky Sports Victory Shield

FILE PHOTO - Football - England U16 v Northern Ireland U16 Sky Sports Victory Shield - B2net Stadium, Chesterfield - 12/10/11 - England Coach Ray Clemence Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Burrows

Exclusive interview: Alastair Campbell on playing with Maradona being conned by Lance Armstrong and his passion for Burnley

After a lifetime spent either asking or answering questions, it takes something fairly novel to make Alastair Campbell pause for even just a few moments before delivering an emphatic response. But it came this week in an email interview. “If you lost your memory and your doctor brought your family in to jog your memory about who you were, what would they say?” He duly consulted his partner Fiona and, while he reckons that bagpipes and Blair might also be worth a try, they both settle on one definite answer. “Burnley”. It is also largely sporting rather than political themes when Campbell recalls those instances when he found his heart suddenly palpitate or could feel the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Every audience with Nelson Mandela but, otherwise, meeting Muhammad Ali, Maradona and various moments from 50 years following Burnley. “Liverpool in the 2005 FA Cup,” he says. “I didn’t realise the cameras were on me. Live on Sky. I was absolutely frenetic. ‘Blow the ****ing whistle ref!’ We won. I left. Hundreds of messages, including from Fergie, who said that Neville and Giggs were watching and called him. ‘You’ve got to see this - your mate Campbell is going completely insane’. I do get like that with Burnley. Scotland as well.” Anyone doubting the authenticity of this anecdote need only watch footage of Burnley FC’s ‘Comms Cam’ on the opening day of the season against Chelsea when, having left his holiday to be at the game, Campbell took a turn in the press box alongside Phil Bird. Analysis at key moments might be limited to shouts of ‘get in’ and ‘c’mon’ but his passion is certainly beyond reproach. His home is also like a museum of sport and politics – and you are as likely to be faced with a picture of Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup winners or an iconic Tour de France mountain as Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. It all began growing up in Yorkshire and watching matches around the area with his Scottish father, who was a Partick Thistle fan. Campbell would never take his Burnley scarf off even during lessons – “the teachers tried but I wouldn’t” – and he spent much of his teen years in “petrol stations, hitching to games”. Personal anecdotes genuinely do encompass a ‘Who’s Who’ of sport. While busking in Cannes in 1978, he winged his way into a film reception attended by Ali. He recently interviewed Usain Bolt “who sang happy birthday down the phone to my daughter” and played football in the same team as Diego Maradona at Soccer Aid in 2006. He could not sleep before the game. Neither could Maradona and so they left the hotel for an impromptu early-morning training session. Alastair Campbell with Maradona Two things are striking. First, how Maradona – then 45 – was taking the game so seriously. He ran around the empty stadium visualising what it would be like to score. When the others players chanted songs about him on the team bus, “he had a tear in his eye and was thumping his chest”. When Campbell played his bagpipes in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off, he was “dancing with Zola on the treatment table”. The other extraordinary element was how Maradona was treated with as much wide-eyed reverence by the other players, several of whom had also won the World Cup. “These top, top, top, top players felt he was in a different game, on his own.” Campbell is naturally a Maradona rather than Pele man although, interestingly, he says that Sir Alex Ferguson once told him that Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player. Campbell’s relationship with sport would stretch beyond simply fandom and, more than ever, that is documented in the sixth volume of his diaries – From Blair to Brown – which were published this week. The first 100 pages largely deal with the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and a 3-0 series defeat that became largely seen through the prism of Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to appoint him as part of his backroom team. “Like hiring the board of BP to perform an oil change on your car,” was how it was described in these pages by Paul Hayward. Alastair Campbell with Sir Clive Woodward on the 2005 Lions tour Credit: AFP It was an episode that certainly reinforced one overarching truism of sports PR: almost everything is shaped by results. Campbell says that the experience persuaded him that he “probably had too big a profile” for a communications job but he made friends and has no regrets. He clearly loved working with people like Jonny Wilkinson close up. “He was so intense but in an amazing way. He had an incredible modesty. He told me his brother was as talented as he was. I was like, ‘C’mon Jonny, you love your brother, but that’s not true’. He hated being special but even Brian O’Driscoll said to me, ‘Listen, in rugby, there is Jonny and there is everyone else’.” That inner force, believes Campbell, is a thread of sporting greats, albeit with very different manifestations. He once met Roy Keane over a cup of tea at half-time of a football match. “He was raging about the full-backs with an intensity that was ferocious. ‘Those guys should be ****ing ashamed to call themselves footballers. They are on £30,000-a-week’. I said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘It offends me’. “I interviewed Antonio Conte. I said, ‘Do you dream about football?’ He said, ‘No, no. I don’t really sleep. But I think about football before I go to sleep and I think about football when I wake up’. Alastair Campbell with his favourite possession - a signed Burnley shirt Credit: PAUL GROVER “I met Wenger at the French Embassy. He can hold his own about politics and the economy. He was talking about whether one day robots could be managers. I think he thinks about stuff like that.” One thing that struck Campbell about sport was the teamship. A bonding exercise with the Lions involved asking all the players to contribute to a painting. “Sport really latches onto it in a way that politics doesn’t,” he says. “After that painting, I said to Tony, ‘What do you think with the cabinet?’ He looked at me like I was completely insane but actually, ‘Why not?’. Why should politics be so different? Why not think, ‘How can we get these people to cohere better than they are?’ Look at the mess they are in at the moment – Theresa May and her merry bunch of w******".” One leader that does deeply impress is Burnley’s current manager Sean Dyche. Campbell says that he “could definitely see” Dyche as an England manager and believes that he is seriously underrated. Why? “Because of the voice, because of the way he looks and how he was a rough, tough Chesterfield centre-half. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for how clever he is. He’s got something special. He is a very good reader of human beings. He’s very funny. He just takes the piss out of me – has a running joke that I’ve got a butler.” Sean Dyche pretends to read Alastair Campbell's book At a personal level, cycling and running are the sports which now largely consume Campbell. He got to know Lance Armstrong and, as is documented in the book, believed in him following several interviews. “My daughter Grace watched the interview we did the other day. She said, ‘God, he just lied to you. That’s amazing’. He gave me one of the most amazing quotes I have ever heard. I had said, ‘OK, Lance you were dying from cancer. Was that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘You are about to take on Jan Ullrich in the Tour and you might lose. Is that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘OK, which of those feels worse? You might lose or you might die?’ He said, ‘Losing and dying? It’s the same thing’. I thought, ‘Wow, I love this guy’. “Of course, if I’d been a proper journalist I’d have thought, ‘Oh right, so you really would cheat. You’d cheat to stay alive so I’m surmising that you’d cheat to win’.” My five sporting memories | by Alastair Campbell I ask if it was an experience that made him cynical about sport and he relays a recent conversation with Dan Roan, the BBC’s sports editor, about how the next wave of scandals after governance and drugs might relate to player welfare. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong has made me more cynical,” he says. “When I see Chris Froome and people say, ‘They are all on it’, I say, ‘No’. I’ll defend him. Sport is about human endeavour and great stories of which there always seems to be renewal”. Before we go, Campbell seeks out what is clearly his most treasured of all Burnley shirts. “There you go - how many people in the world can have a shirt with Pele AND Maradona’s signature on it?” he asks, proudly holding up his memorabilia from the SoccerAid match. “And look at that. There’s Bradley Walsh as well. Pele, Maradona AND Bradley Walsh,” he says, before bursting out laughing. Volume 6 of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, ‘From Blair to Brown’, was published this week 

Exclusive interview: Alastair Campbell on playing with Maradona being conned by Lance Armstrong and his passion for Burnley

After a lifetime spent either asking or answering questions, it takes something fairly novel to make Alastair Campbell pause for even just a few moments before delivering an emphatic response. But it came this week in an email interview. “If you lost your memory and your doctor brought your family in to jog your memory about who you were, what would they say?” He duly consulted his partner Fiona and, while he reckons that bagpipes and Blair might also be worth a try, they both settle on one definite answer. “Burnley”. It is also largely sporting rather than political themes when Campbell recalls those instances when he found his heart suddenly palpitate or could feel the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Every audience with Nelson Mandela but, otherwise, meeting Muhammad Ali, Maradona and various moments from 50 years following Burnley. “Liverpool in the 2005 FA Cup,” he says. “I didn’t realise the cameras were on me. Live on Sky. I was absolutely frenetic. ‘Blow the ****ing whistle ref!’ We won. I left. Hundreds of messages, including from Fergie, who said that Neville and Giggs were watching and called him. ‘You’ve got to see this - your mate Campbell is going completely insane’. I do get like that with Burnley. Scotland as well.” Anyone doubting the authenticity of this anecdote need only watch footage of Burnley FC’s ‘Comms Cam’ on the opening day of the season against Chelsea when, having left his holiday to be at the game, Campbell took a turn in the press box alongside Phil Bird. Analysis at key moments might be limited to shouts of ‘get in’ and ‘c’mon’ but his passion is certainly beyond reproach. His home is also like a museum of sport and politics – and you are as likely to be faced with a picture of Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup winners or an iconic Tour de France mountain as Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. It all began growing up in Yorkshire and watching matches around the area with his Scottish father, who was a Partick Thistle fan. Campbell would never take his Burnley scarf off even during lessons – “the teachers tried but I wouldn’t” – and he spent much of his teen years in “petrol stations, hitching to games”. Personal anecdotes genuinely do encompass a ‘Who’s Who’ of sport. While busking in Cannes in 1978, he winged his way into a film reception attended by Ali. He recently interviewed Usain Bolt “who sang happy birthday down the phone to my daughter” and played football in the same team as Diego Maradona at Soccer Aid in 2006. He could not sleep before the game. Neither could Maradona and so they left the hotel for an impromptu early-morning training session. Alastair Campbell with Maradona Two things are striking. First, how Maradona – then 45 – was taking the game so seriously. He ran around the empty stadium visualising what it would be like to score. When the others players chanted songs about him on the team bus, “he had a tear in his eye and was thumping his chest”. When Campbell played his bagpipes in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off, he was “dancing with Zola on the treatment table”. The other extraordinary element was how Maradona was treated with as much wide-eyed reverence by the other players, several of whom had also won the World Cup. “These top, top, top, top players felt he was in a different game, on his own.” Campbell is naturally a Maradona rather than Pele man although, interestingly, he says that Sir Alex Ferguson once told him that Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player. Campbell’s relationship with sport would stretch beyond simply fandom and, more than ever, that is documented in the sixth volume of his diaries – From Blair to Brown – which were published this week. The first 100 pages largely deal with the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and a 3-0 series defeat that became largely seen through the prism of Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to appoint him as part of his backroom team. “Like hiring the board of BP to perform an oil change on your car,” was how it was described in these pages by Paul Hayward. Alastair Campbell with Sir Clive Woodward on the 2005 Lions tour Credit: AFP It was an episode that certainly reinforced one overarching truism of sports PR: almost everything is shaped by results. Campbell says that the experience persuaded him that he “probably had too big a profile” for a communications job but he made friends and has no regrets. He clearly loved working with people like Jonny Wilkinson close up. “He was so intense but in an amazing way. He had an incredible modesty. He told me his brother was as talented as he was. I was like, ‘C’mon Jonny, you love your brother, but that’s not true’. He hated being special but even Brian O’Driscoll said to me, ‘Listen, in rugby, there is Jonny and there is everyone else’.” That inner force, believes Campbell, is a thread of sporting greats, albeit with very different manifestations. He once met Roy Keane over a cup of tea at half-time of a football match. “He was raging about the full-backs with an intensity that was ferocious. ‘Those guys should be ****ing ashamed to call themselves footballers. They are on £30,000-a-week’. I said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘It offends me’. “I interviewed Antonio Conte. I said, ‘Do you dream about football?’ He said, ‘No, no. I don’t really sleep. But I think about football before I go to sleep and I think about football when I wake up’. Alastair Campbell with his favourite possession - a signed Burnley shirt Credit: PAUL GROVER “I met Wenger at the French Embassy. He can hold his own about politics and the economy. He was talking about whether one day robots could be managers. I think he thinks about stuff like that.” One thing that struck Campbell about sport was the teamship. A bonding exercise with the Lions involved asking all the players to contribute to a painting. “Sport really latches onto it in a way that politics doesn’t,” he says. “After that painting, I said to Tony, ‘What do you think with the cabinet?’ He looked at me like I was completely insane but actually, ‘Why not?’. Why should politics be so different? Why not think, ‘How can we get these people to cohere better than they are?’ Look at the mess they are in at the moment – Theresa May and her merry bunch of w******".” One leader that does deeply impress is Burnley’s current manager Sean Dyche. Campbell says that he “could definitely see” Dyche as an England manager and believes that he is seriously underrated. Why? “Because of the voice, because of the way he looks and how he was a rough, tough Chesterfield centre-half. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for how clever he is. He’s got something special. He is a very good reader of human beings. He’s very funny. He just takes the piss out of me – has a running joke that I’ve got a butler.” Sean Dyche pretends to read Alastair Campbell's book At a personal level, cycling and running are the sports which now largely consume Campbell. He got to know Lance Armstrong and, as is documented in the book, believed in him following several interviews. “My daughter Grace watched the interview we did the other day. She said, ‘God, he just lied to you. That’s amazing’. He gave me one of the most amazing quotes I have ever heard. I had said, ‘OK, Lance you were dying from cancer. Was that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘You are about to take on Jan Ullrich in the Tour and you might lose. Is that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘OK, which of those feels worse? You might lose or you might die?’ He said, ‘Losing and dying? It’s the same thing’. I thought, ‘Wow, I love this guy’. “Of course, if I’d been a proper journalist I’d have thought, ‘Oh right, so you really would cheat. You’d cheat to stay alive so I’m surmising that you’d cheat to win’.” My five sporting memories | by Alastair Campbell I ask if it was an experience that made him cynical about sport and he relays a recent conversation with Dan Roan, the BBC’s sports editor, about how the next wave of scandals after governance and drugs might relate to player welfare. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong has made me more cynical,” he says. “When I see Chris Froome and people say, ‘They are all on it’, I say, ‘No’. I’ll defend him. Sport is about human endeavour and great stories of which there always seems to be renewal”. Before we go, Campbell seeks out what is clearly his most treasured of all Burnley shirts. “There you go - how many people in the world can have a shirt with Pele AND Maradona’s signature on it?” he asks, proudly holding up his memorabilia from the SoccerAid match. “And look at that. There’s Bradley Walsh as well. Pele, Maradona AND Bradley Walsh,” he says, before bursting out laughing. Volume 6 of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, ‘From Blair to Brown’, was published this week 

Exclusive interview: Alastair Campbell on playing with Maradona being conned by Lance Armstrong and his passion for Burnley

After a lifetime spent either asking or answering questions, it takes something fairly novel to make Alastair Campbell pause for even just a few moments before delivering an emphatic response. But it came this week in an email interview. “If you lost your memory and your doctor brought your family in to jog your memory about who you were, what would they say?” He duly consulted his partner Fiona and, while he reckons that bagpipes and Blair might also be worth a try, they both settle on one definite answer. “Burnley”. It is also largely sporting rather than political themes when Campbell recalls those instances when he found his heart suddenly palpitate or could feel the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Every audience with Nelson Mandela but, otherwise, meeting Muhammad Ali, Maradona and various moments from 50 years following Burnley. “Liverpool in the 2005 FA Cup,” he says. “I didn’t realise the cameras were on me. Live on Sky. I was absolutely frenetic. ‘Blow the ****ing whistle ref!’ We won. I left. Hundreds of messages, including from Fergie, who said that Neville and Giggs were watching and called him. ‘You’ve got to see this - your mate Campbell is going completely insane’. I do get like that with Burnley. Scotland as well.” Anyone doubting the authenticity of this anecdote need only watch footage of Burnley FC’s ‘Comms Cam’ on the opening day of the season against Chelsea when, having left his holiday to be at the game, Campbell took a turn in the press box alongside Phil Bird. Analysis at key moments might be limited to shouts of ‘get in’ and ‘c’mon’ but his passion is certainly beyond reproach. His home is also like a museum of sport and politics – and you are as likely to be faced with a picture of Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup winners or an iconic Tour de France mountain as Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. It all began growing up in Yorkshire and watching matches around the area with his Scottish father, who was a Partick Thistle fan. Campbell would never take his Burnley scarf off even during lessons – “the teachers tried but I wouldn’t” – and he spent much of his teen years in “petrol stations, hitching to games”. Personal anecdotes genuinely do encompass a ‘Who’s Who’ of sport. While busking in Cannes in 1978, he winged his way into a film reception attended by Ali. He recently interviewed Usain Bolt “who sang happy birthday down the phone to my daughter” and played football in the same team as Diego Maradona at Soccer Aid in 2006. He could not sleep before the game. Neither could Maradona and so they left the hotel for an impromptu early-morning training session. Alastair Campbell with Maradona Two things are striking. First, how Maradona – then 45 – was taking the game so seriously. He ran around the empty stadium visualising what it would be like to score. When the others players chanted songs about him on the team bus, “he had a tear in his eye and was thumping his chest”. When Campbell played his bagpipes in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off, he was “dancing with Zola on the treatment table”. The other extraordinary element was how Maradona was treated with as much wide-eyed reverence by the other players, several of whom had also won the World Cup. “These top, top, top, top players felt he was in a different game, on his own.” Campbell is naturally a Maradona rather than Pele man although, interestingly, he says that Sir Alex Ferguson once told him that Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player. Campbell’s relationship with sport would stretch beyond simply fandom and, more than ever, that is documented in the sixth volume of his diaries – From Blair to Brown – which were published this week. The first 100 pages largely deal with the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and a 3-0 series defeat that became largely seen through the prism of Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to appoint him as part of his backroom team. “Like hiring the board of BP to perform an oil change on your car,” was how it was described in these pages by Paul Hayward. Alastair Campbell with Sir Clive Woodward on the 2005 Lions tour Credit: AFP It was an episode that certainly reinforced one overarching truism of sports PR: almost everything is shaped by results. Campbell says that the experience persuaded him that he “probably had too big a profile” for a communications job but he made friends and has no regrets. He clearly loved working with people like Jonny Wilkinson close up. “He was so intense but in an amazing way. He had an incredible modesty. He told me his brother was as talented as he was. I was like, ‘C’mon Jonny, you love your brother, but that’s not true’. He hated being special but even Brian O’Driscoll said to me, ‘Listen, in rugby, there is Jonny and there is everyone else’.” That inner force, believes Campbell, is a thread of sporting greats, albeit with very different manifestations. He once met Roy Keane over a cup of tea at half-time of a football match. “He was raging about the full-backs with an intensity that was ferocious. ‘Those guys should be ****ing ashamed to call themselves footballers. They are on £30,000-a-week’. I said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘It offends me’. “I interviewed Antonio Conte. I said, ‘Do you dream about football?’ He said, ‘No, no. I don’t really sleep. But I think about football before I go to sleep and I think about football when I wake up’. Alastair Campbell with his favourite possession - a signed Burnley shirt Credit: PAUL GROVER “I met Wenger at the French Embassy. He can hold his own about politics and the economy. He was talking about whether one day robots could be managers. I think he thinks about stuff like that.” One thing that struck Campbell about sport was the teamship. A bonding exercise with the Lions involved asking all the players to contribute to a painting. “Sport really latches onto it in a way that politics doesn’t,” he says. “After that painting, I said to Tony, ‘What do you think with the cabinet?’ He looked at me like I was completely insane but actually, ‘Why not?’. Why should politics be so different? Why not think, ‘How can we get these people to cohere better than they are?’ Look at the mess they are in at the moment – Theresa May and her merry bunch of w******".” One leader that does deeply impress is Burnley’s current manager Sean Dyche. Campbell says that he “could definitely see” Dyche as an England manager and believes that he is seriously underrated. Why? “Because of the voice, because of the way he looks and how he was a rough, tough Chesterfield centre-half. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for how clever he is. He’s got something special. He is a very good reader of human beings. He’s very funny. He just takes the piss out of me – has a running joke that I’ve got a butler.” Sean Dyche pretends to read Alastair Campbell's book At a personal level, cycling and running are the sports which now largely consume Campbell. He got to know Lance Armstrong and, as is documented in the book, believed in him following several interviews. “My daughter Grace watched the interview we did the other day. She said, ‘God, he just lied to you. That’s amazing’. He gave me one of the most amazing quotes I have ever heard. I had said, ‘OK, Lance you were dying from cancer. Was that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘You are about to take on Jan Ullrich in the Tour and you might lose. Is that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘OK, which of those feels worse? You might lose or you might die?’ He said, ‘Losing and dying? It’s the same thing’. I thought, ‘Wow, I love this guy’. “Of course, if I’d been a proper journalist I’d have thought, ‘Oh right, so you really would cheat. You’d cheat to stay alive so I’m surmising that you’d cheat to win’.” My five sporting memories | by Alastair Campbell I ask if it was an experience that made him cynical about sport and he relays a recent conversation with Dan Roan, the BBC’s sports editor, about how the next wave of scandals after governance and drugs might relate to player welfare. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong has made me more cynical,” he says. “When I see Chris Froome and people say, ‘They are all on it’, I say, ‘No’. I’ll defend him. Sport is about human endeavour and great stories of which there always seems to be renewal”. Before we go, Campbell seeks out what is clearly his most treasured of all Burnley shirts. “There you go - how many people in the world can have a shirt with Pele AND Maradona’s signature on it?” he asks, proudly holding up his memorabilia from the SoccerAid match. “And look at that. There’s Bradley Walsh as well. Pele, Maradona AND Bradley Walsh,” he says, before bursting out laughing. Volume 6 of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, ‘From Blair to Brown’, was published this week 

Exclusive interview: Alastair Campbell on playing with Maradona being conned by Lance Armstrong and his passion for Burnley

After a lifetime spent either asking or answering questions, it takes something fairly novel to make Alastair Campbell pause for even just a few moments before delivering an emphatic response. But it came this week in an email interview. “If you lost your memory and your doctor brought your family in to jog your memory about who you were, what would they say?” He duly consulted his partner Fiona and, while he reckons that bagpipes and Blair might also be worth a try, they both settle on one definite answer. “Burnley”. It is also largely sporting rather than political themes when Campbell recalls those instances when he found his heart suddenly palpitate or could feel the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Every audience with Nelson Mandela but, otherwise, meeting Muhammad Ali, Maradona and various moments from 50 years following Burnley. “Liverpool in the 2005 FA Cup,” he says. “I didn’t realise the cameras were on me. Live on Sky. I was absolutely frenetic. ‘Blow the ****ing whistle ref!’ We won. I left. Hundreds of messages, including from Fergie, who said that Neville and Giggs were watching and called him. ‘You’ve got to see this - your mate Campbell is going completely insane’. I do get like that with Burnley. Scotland as well.” Anyone doubting the authenticity of this anecdote need only watch footage of Burnley FC’s ‘Comms Cam’ on the opening day of the season against Chelsea when, having left his holiday to be at the game, Campbell took a turn in the press box alongside Phil Bird. Analysis at key moments might be limited to shouts of ‘get in’ and ‘c’mon’ but his passion is certainly beyond reproach. His home is also like a museum of sport and politics – and you are as likely to be faced with a picture of Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup winners or an iconic Tour de France mountain as Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. It all began growing up in Yorkshire and watching matches around the area with his Scottish father, who was a Partick Thistle fan. Campbell would never take his Burnley scarf off even during lessons – “the teachers tried but I wouldn’t” – and he spent much of his teen years in “petrol stations, hitching to games”. Personal anecdotes genuinely do encompass a ‘Who’s Who’ of sport. While busking in Cannes in 1978, he winged his way into a film reception attended by Ali. He recently interviewed Usain Bolt “who sang happy birthday down the phone to my daughter” and played football in the same team as Diego Maradona at Soccer Aid in 2006. He could not sleep before the game. Neither could Maradona and so they left the hotel for an impromptu early-morning training session. Alastair Campbell with Maradona Two things are striking. First, how Maradona – then 45 – was taking the game so seriously. He ran around the empty stadium visualising what it would be like to score. When the others players chanted songs about him on the team bus, “he had a tear in his eye and was thumping his chest”. When Campbell played his bagpipes in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off, he was “dancing with Zola on the treatment table”. The other extraordinary element was how Maradona was treated with as much wide-eyed reverence by the other players, several of whom had also won the World Cup. “These top, top, top, top players felt he was in a different game, on his own.” Campbell is naturally a Maradona rather than Pele man although, interestingly, he says that Sir Alex Ferguson once told him that Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player. Campbell’s relationship with sport would stretch beyond simply fandom and, more than ever, that is documented in the sixth volume of his diaries – From Blair to Brown – which were published this week. The first 100 pages largely deal with the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and a 3-0 series defeat that became largely seen through the prism of Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to appoint him as part of his backroom team. “Like hiring the board of BP to perform an oil change on your car,” was how it was described in these pages by Paul Hayward. Alastair Campbell with Sir Clive Woodward on the 2005 Lions tour Credit: AFP It was an episode that certainly reinforced one overarching truism of sports PR: almost everything is shaped by results. Campbell says that the experience persuaded him that he “probably had too big a profile” for a communications job but he made friends and has no regrets. He clearly loved working with people like Jonny Wilkinson close up. “He was so intense but in an amazing way. He had an incredible modesty. He told me his brother was as talented as he was. I was like, ‘C’mon Jonny, you love your brother, but that’s not true’. He hated being special but even Brian O’Driscoll said to me, ‘Listen, in rugby, there is Jonny and there is everyone else’.” That inner force, believes Campbell, is a thread of sporting greats, albeit with very different manifestations. He once met Roy Keane over a cup of tea at half-time of a football match. “He was raging about the full-backs with an intensity that was ferocious. ‘Those guys should be ****ing ashamed to call themselves footballers. They are on £30,000-a-week’. I said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘It offends me’. “I interviewed Antonio Conte. I said, ‘Do you dream about football?’ He said, ‘No, no. I don’t really sleep. But I think about football before I go to sleep and I think about football when I wake up’. Alastair Campbell with his favourite possession - a signed Burnley shirt Credit: PAUL GROVER “I met Wenger at the French Embassy. He can hold his own about politics and the economy. He was talking about whether one day robots could be managers. I think he thinks about stuff like that.” One thing that struck Campbell about sport was the teamship. A bonding exercise with the Lions involved asking all the players to contribute to a painting. “Sport really latches onto it in a way that politics doesn’t,” he says. “After that painting, I said to Tony, ‘What do you think with the cabinet?’ He looked at me like I was completely insane but actually, ‘Why not?’. Why should politics be so different? Why not think, ‘How can we get these people to cohere better than they are?’ Look at the mess they are in at the moment – Theresa May and her merry bunch of w******".” One leader that does deeply impress is Burnley’s current manager Sean Dyche. Campbell says that he “could definitely see” Dyche as an England manager and believes that he is seriously underrated. Why? “Because of the voice, because of the way he looks and how he was a rough, tough Chesterfield centre-half. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for how clever he is. He’s got something special. He is a very good reader of human beings. He’s very funny. He just takes the piss out of me – has a running joke that I’ve got a butler.” Sean Dyche pretends to read Alastair Campbell's book At a personal level, cycling and running are the sports which now largely consume Campbell. He got to know Lance Armstrong and, as is documented in the book, believed in him following several interviews. “My daughter Grace watched the interview we did the other day. She said, ‘God, he just lied to you. That’s amazing’. He gave me one of the most amazing quotes I have ever heard. I had said, ‘OK, Lance you were dying from cancer. Was that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘You are about to take on Jan Ullrich in the Tour and you might lose. Is that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘OK, which of those feels worse? You might lose or you might die?’ He said, ‘Losing and dying? It’s the same thing’. I thought, ‘Wow, I love this guy’. “Of course, if I’d been a proper journalist I’d have thought, ‘Oh right, so you really would cheat. You’d cheat to stay alive so I’m surmising that you’d cheat to win’.” My five sporting memories | by Alastair Campbell I ask if it was an experience that made him cynical about sport and he relays a recent conversation with Dan Roan, the BBC’s sports editor, about how the next wave of scandals after governance and drugs might relate to player welfare. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong has made me more cynical,” he says. “When I see Chris Froome and people say, ‘They are all on it’, I say, ‘No’. I’ll defend him. Sport is about human endeavour and great stories of which there always seems to be renewal”. Before we go, Campbell seeks out what is clearly his most treasured of all Burnley shirts. “There you go - how many people in the world can have a shirt with Pele AND Maradona’s signature on it?” he asks, proudly holding up his memorabilia from the SoccerAid match. “And look at that. There’s Bradley Walsh as well. Pele, Maradona AND Bradley Walsh,” he says, before bursting out laughing. Volume 6 of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, ‘From Blair to Brown’, was published this week 

Exclusive interview: Alastair Campbell on playing with Maradona being conned by Lance Armstrong and his passion for Burnley

After a lifetime spent either asking or answering questions, it takes something fairly novel to make Alastair Campbell pause for even just a few moments before delivering an emphatic response. But it came this week in an email interview. “If you lost your memory and your doctor brought your family in to jog your memory about who you were, what would they say?” He duly consulted his partner Fiona and, while he reckons that bagpipes and Blair might also be worth a try, they both settle on one definite answer. “Burnley”. It is also largely sporting rather than political themes when Campbell recalls those instances when he found his heart suddenly palpitate or could feel the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Every audience with Nelson Mandela but, otherwise, meeting Muhammad Ali, Maradona and various moments from 50 years following Burnley. “Liverpool in the 2005 FA Cup,” he says. “I didn’t realise the cameras were on me. Live on Sky. I was absolutely frenetic. ‘Blow the ****ing whistle ref!’ We won. I left. Hundreds of messages, including from Fergie, who said that Neville and Giggs were watching and called him. ‘You’ve got to see this - your mate Campbell is going completely insane’. I do get like that with Burnley. Scotland as well.” Anyone doubting the authenticity of this anecdote need only watch footage of Burnley FC’s ‘Comms Cam’ on the opening day of the season against Chelsea when, having left his holiday to be at the game, Campbell took a turn in the press box alongside Phil Bird. Analysis at key moments might be limited to shouts of ‘get in’ and ‘c’mon’ but his passion is certainly beyond reproach. His home is also like a museum of sport and politics – and you are as likely to be faced with a picture of Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup winners or an iconic Tour de France mountain as Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. It all began growing up in Yorkshire and watching matches around the area with his Scottish father, who was a Partick Thistle fan. Campbell would never take his Burnley scarf off even during lessons – “the teachers tried but I wouldn’t” – and he spent much of his teen years in “petrol stations, hitching to games”. Personal anecdotes genuinely do encompass a ‘Who’s Who’ of sport. While busking in Cannes in 1978, he winged his way into a film reception attended by Ali. He recently interviewed Usain Bolt “who sang happy birthday down the phone to my daughter” and played football in the same team as Diego Maradona at Soccer Aid in 2006. He could not sleep before the game. Neither could Maradona and so they left the hotel for an impromptu early-morning training session. Alastair Campbell with Maradona Two things are striking. First, how Maradona – then 45 – was taking the game so seriously. He ran around the empty stadium visualising what it would be like to score. When the others players chanted songs about him on the team bus, “he had a tear in his eye and was thumping his chest”. When Campbell played his bagpipes in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off, he was “dancing with Zola on the treatment table”. The other extraordinary element was how Maradona was treated with as much wide-eyed reverence by the other players, several of whom had also won the World Cup. “These top, top, top, top players felt he was in a different game, on his own.” Campbell is naturally a Maradona rather than Pele man although, interestingly, he says that Sir Alex Ferguson once told him that Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player. Campbell’s relationship with sport would stretch beyond simply fandom and, more than ever, that is documented in the sixth volume of his diaries – From Blair to Brown – which were published this week. The first 100 pages largely deal with the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and a 3-0 series defeat that became largely seen through the prism of Sir Clive Woodward’s decision to appoint him as part of his backroom team. “Like hiring the board of BP to perform an oil change on your car,” was how it was described in these pages by Paul Hayward. Alastair Campbell with Sir Clive Woodward on the 2005 Lions tour Credit: AFP It was an episode that certainly reinforced one overarching truism of sports PR: almost everything is shaped by results. Campbell says that the experience persuaded him that he “probably had too big a profile” for a communications job but he made friends and has no regrets. He clearly loved working with people like Jonny Wilkinson close up. “He was so intense but in an amazing way. He had an incredible modesty. He told me his brother was as talented as he was. I was like, ‘C’mon Jonny, you love your brother, but that’s not true’. He hated being special but even Brian O’Driscoll said to me, ‘Listen, in rugby, there is Jonny and there is everyone else’.” That inner force, believes Campbell, is a thread of sporting greats, albeit with very different manifestations. He once met Roy Keane over a cup of tea at half-time of a football match. “He was raging about the full-backs with an intensity that was ferocious. ‘Those guys should be ****ing ashamed to call themselves footballers. They are on £30,000-a-week’. I said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ He said, ‘It offends me’. “I interviewed Antonio Conte. I said, ‘Do you dream about football?’ He said, ‘No, no. I don’t really sleep. But I think about football before I go to sleep and I think about football when I wake up’. Alastair Campbell with his favourite possession - a signed Burnley shirt Credit: PAUL GROVER “I met Wenger at the French Embassy. He can hold his own about politics and the economy. He was talking about whether one day robots could be managers. I think he thinks about stuff like that.” One thing that struck Campbell about sport was the teamship. A bonding exercise with the Lions involved asking all the players to contribute to a painting. “Sport really latches onto it in a way that politics doesn’t,” he says. “After that painting, I said to Tony, ‘What do you think with the cabinet?’ He looked at me like I was completely insane but actually, ‘Why not?’. Why should politics be so different? Why not think, ‘How can we get these people to cohere better than they are?’ Look at the mess they are in at the moment – Theresa May and her merry bunch of w******".” One leader that does deeply impress is Burnley’s current manager Sean Dyche. Campbell says that he “could definitely see” Dyche as an England manager and believes that he is seriously underrated. Why? “Because of the voice, because of the way he looks and how he was a rough, tough Chesterfield centre-half. I don’t think he gets nearly enough credit for how clever he is. He’s got something special. He is a very good reader of human beings. He’s very funny. He just takes the piss out of me – has a running joke that I’ve got a butler.” Sean Dyche pretends to read Alastair Campbell's book At a personal level, cycling and running are the sports which now largely consume Campbell. He got to know Lance Armstrong and, as is documented in the book, believed in him following several interviews. “My daughter Grace watched the interview we did the other day. She said, ‘God, he just lied to you. That’s amazing’. He gave me one of the most amazing quotes I have ever heard. I had said, ‘OK, Lance you were dying from cancer. Was that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘You are about to take on Jan Ullrich in the Tour and you might lose. Is that scary?’ Yes, that’s scary. ‘OK, which of those feels worse? You might lose or you might die?’ He said, ‘Losing and dying? It’s the same thing’. I thought, ‘Wow, I love this guy’. “Of course, if I’d been a proper journalist I’d have thought, ‘Oh right, so you really would cheat. You’d cheat to stay alive so I’m surmising that you’d cheat to win’.” My five sporting memories | by Alastair Campbell I ask if it was an experience that made him cynical about sport and he relays a recent conversation with Dan Roan, the BBC’s sports editor, about how the next wave of scandals after governance and drugs might relate to player welfare. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong has made me more cynical,” he says. “When I see Chris Froome and people say, ‘They are all on it’, I say, ‘No’. I’ll defend him. Sport is about human endeavour and great stories of which there always seems to be renewal”. Before we go, Campbell seeks out what is clearly his most treasured of all Burnley shirts. “There you go - how many people in the world can have a shirt with Pele AND Maradona’s signature on it?” he asks, proudly holding up his memorabilia from the SoccerAid match. “And look at that. There’s Bradley Walsh as well. Pele, Maradona AND Bradley Walsh,” he says, before bursting out laughing. Volume 6 of Alastair Campbell’s Diaries, ‘From Blair to Brown’, was published this week 

Sheffield United fans outside the stadium before the match

Britain Football Soccer - Sheffield United v Chesterfield - Sky Bet League One - Bramall Lane - 30/4/17 Sheffield United fans outside the stadium before the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough Livepic

General view outside the stadium before the match

Britain Football Soccer - Sheffield United v Chesterfield - Sky Bet League One - Bramall Lane - 30/4/17 General view outside the stadium before the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough Livepic

Exclusive: Watford fined £4m for submitting forged banking letter in Gino Pozzo's takeover of club

Watford have been fined almost £4 million after admitting supplying falsified financial information to the football authorities. The Premier League club have been punished for submitting a forged banking letter – the existence of which was exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sportin October – when Gino Pozzo became their sole owner. The faked filing, provided as proof Pozzo had enough funds to bankroll Watford, allowed the Italian to take full control of the Hertfordshire club. Fabricated to appear as though it was written by HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, the letter was submitted to the Football League (now EFL) shortly before the club’s 2014-15 promotion-winning campaign. A copy of the document was obtained by the Telegraph, which it passed on both to HSBC and the police after alerting the EFL, sparking an internal investigation by Watford and a 10-month inquiry by the governing body. The club pleaded guilty to filing the letter and have been fined £3.95m - the largest ever EFL financial penalty - by a disciplinary commission and ordered to pay an additional £350,000 in costs. The fine would have been even larger - £5.75m - but it was cut by £1.8m in mitigation after Watford were deemed to have fully cooperated with an independent investigation and had met their financial commitments in full. Raffaele Riva, who resigned as the club’s executive chairman a week after the Telegraph revealed he had secured the faked letter, was on Thursday night facing separate disciplinary action from the EFL over the affair. The inquiry found no evidence Pozzo himself had any knowledge a forgery had been obtained or submitted on his behalf, despite it allowing him to succeed his father, Giampaolo, as the club’s ultimate beneficial owner in the summer of 2014. The fabricated document stated that the holding company which owns Watford, Hornets Investment Limited, had sufficient financial resources with the bank for it to issue “a cash-backed unsecured bank guarantee up to the amount of £7 million” during the 2014-15 season. The letter was headed HSBC ‘Premier’, an arm of the bank that did not even deal with corporate customers, while a source told the Telegraph Hornets Investment had never been a customer of HSBC. The Pozzo family at Vicarage Road Credit: GETTY IMAGES The faked document was one of two obtained by the Telegraph dated a week apart and worded almost identically. Riva secured the letters from an associate, who, according to information received by the Telegraph, denied any intention for them to be used in any formal filing. A week before resigning, Riva issued a statement in which he said he said he had no knowledge he had been provided with a forgery until informed by the Telegraph. Saying he had not worked with the associate since the end of 2015, he added: “For two years, I had no reason to believe the letter was anything but genuine. “Indeed, since the letter was submitted to the EFL, Hornets Investment Limited have put into the club over three times the amount specified in the proof of funds letter. “It has come as a huge shock to be notified there are doubts over the veracity of the letter.” Watford would not comment in October on precisely who else at the club saw the document before it was submitted, and accepted by the Football League, amid serious questions about exactly what checks took place to validate it. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign Before the fake HSBC letter was filed, Watford submitted a two-year-old document from Credit Suisse – with which Hornets Investment did bank – that was rejected by the league as proof of funds because it was out of date. Gino Pozzo was aware of the knockback, as was the club’s chief executive Scott Duxbury - who succeeded Riva as chairman - although the inquiry found no evidence he or anyone else at the club had any knowledge of the forgery. The inquiry also found no evidence Pozzo did not have sufficient funds to satisfy the league over the change of ownership, with Watford deemed to have obtained no competitive advantage by submitting a falsified document. No evidence was found of other irregularities in Watford’s submissions to the EFL. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign There is no known precedent in professional English football for the filing of forged documents, although Chesterfield were docked nine points in 2001 for financial irregularities, including falsifying gate receipts and giving a player two contracts.

Exclusive: Watford fined £4m for submitting forged banking letter in Gino Pozzo's takeover of club

Watford have been fined almost £4 million after admitting supplying falsified financial information to the football authorities. The Premier League club have been punished for submitting a forged banking letter – the existence of which was exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sportin October – when Gino Pozzo became their sole owner. The faked filing, provided as proof Pozzo had enough funds to bankroll Watford, allowed the Italian to take full control of the Hertfordshire club. Fabricated to appear as though it was written by HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, the letter was submitted to the Football League (now EFL) shortly before the club’s 2014-15 promotion-winning campaign. A copy of the document was obtained by the Telegraph, which it passed on both to HSBC and the police after alerting the EFL, sparking an internal investigation by Watford and a 10-month inquiry by the governing body. The club pleaded guilty to filing the letter and have been fined £3.95m - the largest ever EFL financial penalty - by a disciplinary commission and ordered to pay an additional £350,000 in costs. The fine would have been even larger - £5.75m - but it was cut by £1.8m in mitigation after Watford were deemed to have fully cooperated with an independent investigation and had met their financial commitments in full. Raffaele Riva, who resigned as the club’s executive chairman a week after the Telegraph revealed he had secured the faked letter, was on Thursday night facing separate disciplinary action from the EFL over the affair. The inquiry found no evidence Pozzo himself had any knowledge a forgery had been obtained or submitted on his behalf, despite it allowing him to succeed his father, Giampaolo, as the club’s ultimate beneficial owner in the summer of 2014. The fabricated document stated that the holding company which owns Watford, Hornets Investment Limited, had sufficient financial resources with the bank for it to issue “a cash-backed unsecured bank guarantee up to the amount of £7 million” during the 2014-15 season. The letter was headed HSBC ‘Premier’, an arm of the bank that did not even deal with corporate customers, while a source told the Telegraph Hornets Investment had never been a customer of HSBC. The Pozzo family at Vicarage Road Credit: GETTY IMAGES The faked document was one of two obtained by the Telegraph dated a week apart and worded almost identically. Riva secured the letters from an associate, who, according to information received by the Telegraph, denied any intention for them to be used in any formal filing. A week before resigning, Riva issued a statement in which he said he said he had no knowledge he had been provided with a forgery until informed by the Telegraph. Saying he had not worked with the associate since the end of 2015, he added: “For two years, I had no reason to believe the letter was anything but genuine. “Indeed, since the letter was submitted to the EFL, Hornets Investment Limited have put into the club over three times the amount specified in the proof of funds letter. “It has come as a huge shock to be notified there are doubts over the veracity of the letter.” Watford would not comment in October on precisely who else at the club saw the document before it was submitted, and accepted by the Football League, amid serious questions about exactly what checks took place to validate it. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign Before the fake HSBC letter was filed, Watford submitted a two-year-old document from Credit Suisse – with which Hornets Investment did bank – that was rejected by the league as proof of funds because it was out of date. Gino Pozzo was aware of the knockback, as was the club’s chief executive Scott Duxbury - who succeeded Riva as chairman - although the inquiry found no evidence he or anyone else at the club had any knowledge of the forgery. The inquiry also found no evidence Pozzo did not have sufficient funds to satisfy the league over the change of ownership, with Watford deemed to have obtained no competitive advantage by submitting a falsified document. No evidence was found of other irregularities in Watford’s submissions to the EFL. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign There is no known precedent in professional English football for the filing of forged documents, although Chesterfield were docked nine points in 2001 for financial irregularities, including falsifying gate receipts and giving a player two contracts.

Exclusive: Watford fined £4m for submitting forged banking letter in Gino Pozzo's takeover of club

Watford have been fined almost £4 million after admitting supplying falsified financial information to the football authorities. The Premier League club have been punished for submitting a forged banking letter – the existence of which was exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sportin October – when Gino Pozzo became their sole owner. The faked filing, provided as proof Pozzo had enough funds to bankroll Watford, allowed the Italian to take full control of the Hertfordshire club. Fabricated to appear as though it was written by HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, the letter was submitted to the Football League (now EFL) shortly before the club’s 2014-15 promotion-winning campaign. A copy of the document was obtained by the Telegraph, which it passed on both to HSBC and the police after alerting the EFL, sparking an internal investigation by Watford and a 10-month inquiry by the governing body. The club pleaded guilty to filing the letter and have been fined £3.95m - the largest ever EFL financial penalty - by a disciplinary commission and ordered to pay an additional £350,000 in costs. The fine would have been even larger - £5.75m - but it was cut by £1.8m in mitigation after Watford were deemed to have fully cooperated with an independent investigation and had met their financial commitments in full. Raffaele Riva, who resigned as the club’s executive chairman a week after the Telegraph revealed he had secured the faked letter, was on Thursday night facing separate disciplinary action from the EFL over the affair. The inquiry found no evidence Pozzo himself had any knowledge a forgery had been obtained or submitted on his behalf, despite it allowing him to succeed his father, Giampaolo, as the club’s ultimate beneficial owner in the summer of 2014. The fabricated document stated that the holding company which owns Watford, Hornets Investment Limited, had sufficient financial resources with the bank for it to issue “a cash-backed unsecured bank guarantee up to the amount of £7 million” during the 2014-15 season. The letter was headed HSBC ‘Premier’, an arm of the bank that did not even deal with corporate customers, while a source told the Telegraph Hornets Investment had never been a customer of HSBC. The Pozzo family at Vicarage Road Credit: GETTY IMAGES The faked document was one of two obtained by the Telegraph dated a week apart and worded almost identically. Riva secured the letters from an associate, who, according to information received by the Telegraph, denied any intention for them to be used in any formal filing. A week before resigning, Riva issued a statement in which he said he said he had no knowledge he had been provided with a forgery until informed by the Telegraph. Saying he had not worked with the associate since the end of 2015, he added: “For two years, I had no reason to believe the letter was anything but genuine. “Indeed, since the letter was submitted to the EFL, Hornets Investment Limited have put into the club over three times the amount specified in the proof of funds letter. “It has come as a huge shock to be notified there are doubts over the veracity of the letter.” Watford would not comment in October on precisely who else at the club saw the document before it was submitted, and accepted by the Football League, amid serious questions about exactly what checks took place to validate it. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign Before the fake HSBC letter was filed, Watford submitted a two-year-old document from Credit Suisse – with which Hornets Investment did bank – that was rejected by the league as proof of funds because it was out of date. Gino Pozzo was aware of the knockback, as was the club’s chief executive Scott Duxbury - who succeeded Riva as chairman - although the inquiry found no evidence he or anyone else at the club had any knowledge of the forgery. The inquiry also found no evidence Pozzo did not have sufficient funds to satisfy the league over the change of ownership, with Watford deemed to have obtained no competitive advantage by submitting a falsified document. No evidence was found of other irregularities in Watford’s submissions to the EFL. 19 EFL players Premier League clubs could sign There is no known precedent in professional English football for the filing of forged documents, although Chesterfield were docked nine points in 2001 for financial irregularities, including falsifying gate receipts and giving a player two contracts.

Millie Bright names her grandfather and John Terry as the biggest influences on her career

Mille Bright may have styled her game on watching John Terry play for Chelsea, but it is advice from a grandfather that inspires her every time she steps on to the pitch. Bright is not a woman to be messed with, strong and aggressive, she admits she wants to physically dominate strikers, something she has always been encouraged to do by her grandad. The Chelsea centre back, who grew up in Derbyshire, is the only player to have started all four of England’s European Championship games and has been superb in her first international tournament. The 23-year-old has been one of the main reasons behind England’s excellent defensive record -  with just one goal conceded - and revealed that she saw Terry as the perfect centre back to learn from. “I’d say I’m a front foot defender,” said Bright, a Chesterfield supporter, who gave up on a promising equestrian career to concentrate on football when she was a teenager. “I want to get in there and win my battles and I never hesitate to go in for a challenge. Bright says she modeled her game on former Chelsea defender John Terry Credit: PA “In terms of watching how centre backs play, I’ve always looked up to John Terry. I’ve always watched the Chelsea men’s team and Terry has been a massive defender for me and a rock. “He is really good at doing his one v one defending and reading the game. I have probably watched a lot of his clips. In the women’s game, I have been playing alongside Steph (Houghton) and just watching her. It is also good to watch my own performance back and just making sure that I keep on top of that. “The thing with Terry is that it is his position which decides whether he can step in to make a tackle. The positioning is the base and the rest falls into place. I try not to over think things. If you give yourself too much to think about, that is when the mistakes come in. “Keep it basic and that is what I have been doing well at this tournament– winning my headers, and making sure I win my 1-1 battles.” Although Bright may have picked up some tricks of the centre-back trade by watching Terry, her attitude, her desire and her combative streak are down to her grandfather Arthur. Meet the Lionesses “You have to make the strikers fear you,” she added. “Make it difficult for them to get on the ball and go into different areas. That makes my job easier. You have to get one above your opponent, being on the front foot allows you to do that. It allows you to dominate them. “What makes me so strong in the tackle? My grandad has always said if you’re going in for a ball you go 100% and you never go in half-hearted. If it’s a 50-50, he always used to say, ‘Millie, you’re coming out with it.’ Every game I’ve had that mindset, I just make sure I go in and win it. “If there is ever a tackle when I’ve gone in half-hearted, he’ll always say ‘Millie you’ll get injured’ and ‘you’ve lost your battle'. He’s really competitive, just as much as me. “He wants me to succeed, but more than that he wants the team to succeed too, and he’s definitely the one who is responsible for that. His name is Arthur Bramall. “He used to work in the mines, he’s retired now, but he’s been a big part of my career. When a lot of people doubted me, he’s always been the one to pick me up and he’s the guy to I go to for the football talk. My grandad gives me an honest opinion on the games and my performance. I really respect him for that. He’s really helped me develop as a person and a player, and he’s always been honest with me, whether I’ve had a good or bad game, where I need to improve.” England are yet to concede a goal in the European Championships Credit: AFP England’s defeat of France in the quarter-final means they are the highest ranked team left in the tournament, although they will have to beat the host nation in Thursday’s semi-final in Enschede, home of FC Twente. Bright, though, has no fear of facing a hostile home crowd and England are confident of progressing to Sunday’s final, given they knocked hosts Canada out of the World Cup two years ago. It would be their first European final since they were thrashed 6-2 by Germany back in 2009, but Bright knows they will have to be at their best to beat Holland. “We’re confident we can beat anyone,” she added. “We kept France out and if you can do it against the top team in the competition, you can do it against the hosts.” £250,000 up for grabs: pick your Telegraph Fantasy Football team today >>

Millie Bright names her grandfather and John Terry as the biggest influences on her career

Mille Bright may have styled her game on watching John Terry play for Chelsea, but it is advice from a grandfather that inspires her every time she steps on to the pitch. Bright is not a woman to be messed with, strong and aggressive, she admits she wants to physically dominate strikers, something she has always been encouraged to do by her grandad. The Chelsea centre back, who grew up in Derbyshire, is the only player to have started all four of England’s European Championship games and has been superb in her first international tournament. The 23-year-old has been one of the main reasons behind England’s excellent defensive record -  with just one goal conceded - and revealed that she saw Terry as the perfect centre back to learn from. “I’d say I’m a front foot defender,” said Bright, a Chesterfield supporter, who gave up on a promising equestrian career to concentrate on football when she was a teenager. “I want to get in there and win my battles and I never hesitate to go in for a challenge. Bright says she modeled her game on former Chelsea defender John Terry Credit: PA “In terms of watching how centre backs play, I’ve always looked up to John Terry. I’ve always watched the Chelsea men’s team and Terry has been a massive defender for me and a rock. “He is really good at doing his one v one defending and reading the game. I have probably watched a lot of his clips. In the women’s game, I have been playing alongside Steph (Houghton) and just watching her. It is also good to watch my own performance back and just making sure that I keep on top of that. “The thing with Terry is that it is his position which decides whether he can step in to make a tackle. The positioning is the base and the rest falls into place. I try not to over think things. If you give yourself too much to think about, that is when the mistakes come in. “Keep it basic and that is what I have been doing well at this tournament– winning my headers, and making sure I win my 1-1 battles.” Although Bright may have picked up some tricks of the centre-back trade by watching Terry, her attitude, her desire and her combative streak are down to her grandfather Arthur. Meet the Lionesses “You have to make the strikers fear you,” she added. “Make it difficult for them to get on the ball and go into different areas. That makes my job easier. You have to get one above your opponent, being on the front foot allows you to do that. It allows you to dominate them. “What makes me so strong in the tackle? My grandad has always said if you’re going in for a ball you go 100% and you never go in half-hearted. If it’s a 50-50, he always used to say, ‘Millie, you’re coming out with it.’ Every game I’ve had that mindset, I just make sure I go in and win it. “If there is ever a tackle when I’ve gone in half-hearted, he’ll always say ‘Millie you’ll get injured’ and ‘you’ve lost your battle'. He’s really competitive, just as much as me. “He wants me to succeed, but more than that he wants the team to succeed too, and he’s definitely the one who is responsible for that. His name is Arthur Bramall. “He used to work in the mines, he’s retired now, but he’s been a big part of my career. When a lot of people doubted me, he’s always been the one to pick me up and he’s the guy to I go to for the football talk. My grandad gives me an honest opinion on the games and my performance. I really respect him for that. He’s really helped me develop as a person and a player, and he’s always been honest with me, whether I’ve had a good or bad game, where I need to improve.” England are yet to concede a goal in the European Championships Credit: AFP England’s defeat of France in the quarter-final means they are the highest ranked team left in the tournament, although they will have to beat the host nation in Thursday’s semi-final in Enschede, home of FC Twente. Bright, though, has no fear of facing a hostile home crowd and England are confident of progressing to Sunday’s final, given they knocked hosts Canada out of the World Cup two years ago. It would be their first European final since they were thrashed 6-2 by Germany back in 2009, but Bright knows they will have to be at their best to beat Holland. “We’re confident we can beat anyone,” she added. “We kept France out and if you can do it against the top team in the competition, you can do it against the hosts.” £250,000 up for grabs: pick your Telegraph Fantasy Football team today >>

Predictor Breakdown: Football Season Predictor

Here are your Telegraph Predictor tips for the 2017/18 Football Season Predictor, to play along in the Telegraph Predictor, click here >> Q1 -  Which team will win the Premier League? Choices: Manchester City Chelsea Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Liverpool Everton Any other teams Recommendation: Manchester City Trying to pick a winner of the Premier League this early in the season looks a challenging task with the quality of the multiple top teams and the amount of investment that has occurred in the transfer market. While it could go anyway as the Premier League is so evenly matched, Manchester City looks a force to be reckoned with this season. With investment in areas of their defence including the signings of goalkeeper Ederson and two fullbacks in Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker. City has also cleared through the ranks, releasing and selling ageing players to allow more room for fresh younger talent to be welcomed into the side. As Guardiola is acknowledging his squad's weak points and fixing them with the addition of quality players, hopefully, this will provide a balance to Manchester City they haven't had since their 2013/14 title victory. This Premier League season looks like it will be a close one with multiple sides vying for the trophy, however, if early betting markets are anything to go by, City are favourites to lift the trophy come the end of the season. Q2 - Which team will win the Championship? Choices: Aston Villa  Middlesbrough Fulham Norwich City  Sheffield Wednesday  Wolverhampton Wanderers  Derby County  Leeds United  Sunderland  Hull City  Reading  Any other team Recommendation: Wolverhampton Wanderers While most will be looking at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough to battle it out for this seasons EFL Championship, one side that is flying under the radar is Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Midlands club is looking to be the dark horse of the competition, as their new manager, Nuno looks to establish his contingent of players. Already Wolverhampton has announced some impressive signings with the club signing a variety of different Portuguese players he has worked with during his time in Spain and Portugal. With the likes of Helder Costa, Ivan Cavaleiro and Diogo Jota the stability and quality within the ranks of Nuno's side is astonishing. If they can pull all the pieces of the puzzle together, they should be able to comfortably put themselves in a position to win the title at the end of the season. Q3 - Who will win League One? Choices: Blackburn Rovers Wigan Athletic Portsmouth Bradford MK Dons Charlton Athletic Oxford United Scunthorpe United Peterborough United Any other team Recommendation: Blackburn Rovers Falling from grace is always a hard thing for a team to swallow, especially such a historic club like Blackburn Rovers.  However, one would assume that the side would back and return to the Championship after a strong showing in League One.  With Owen Coyle's sacking, Blackburn will start a new under Tony Mowbray as they enter League One. While they have lost a few members of their squad from last year, the club has invested in the market to bring in some new faces for the new season. The League One title will be hotly contested as there is an array of excellent teams vying for the opportunity to lift the title, however, if the market is anything to go by, Blackburn is the outright favourites to lift the title once the season is over. Q4 - Which team will win League Two? Choices: Mansfield Town Luton Town Coventry City Lincoln City Swindon Town Cambridge United Carlisle Chesterfield Exeter Notts County Any other team Recommendation: Luton Town A fourth place finish and a narrow defeat in the playoffs left Luton with a disappointing end to what was a terrific season. So many would expect Luton to pick up where they left off and dominate the competition. While they have had a few faces depart the club so far in the transfer market, they have added to the side and done so quite cleverly utilising many free agents and loan moves. Nathan Jones' team are looking in a good position to take the league title, although they could suffer competition from relegated League One sides. The market is reflecting that they are second favourites to claim the title with Mansfield leading the market as favourites.   Sign up & play >> Q5 - Which team will win the FA Cup? Choices: Chelsea Manchester City Manchester United Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur Liverpool Everton Southampton Leicester City Any other team Recommended: Everton If a team that has invested heavily in the transfer market doesn't win any silverware in the upcoming season, questions will be asked. So the pressure is on Ronald Koeman to perform with his new acquisitions, so the FA Cup looks like a tournament the Toffees should set their sights on. While they will want to finish as high in the league as possible, FA Cup silverware would be a fantastic achievement for a team that hasn't been amongst the trophy picture for a while. With their new look eleven and aspirations of putting themselves in the same conversation as their top flight rivals, Everton is expected to have a big season. Q6 - Which team will win the Champions League? Choices: Barcelona Bayern Munich Real Madrid Juventus Manchester City Chelsea Paris Saint-Germain Atletico Madrid Manchester United Recommended: Barcelona  While Barcelona did win the Copa Del Rey last season, they would have been left with a bitter end to the finishing seeing as their main rivals Real Madrid won not only La Liga but also the Champions League. Although some of their big names are rumoured to move away from the club, it's hard at this time to find any validity in these claims. While this is happening, however, Barcelona are investing in adding more talent to their side with moves for fullbacks and most covered Liverpool's Phillipe Coutinho. The quality of their frontmen Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi is just too big to ignore, and with the right draw, we could easily see Barcelona lift Europe's biggest prize. Q7 - Which team will win the Europa League? Choices: Arsenal AC Milan Villarreal Everton Lazio Athletic Bilbao Lyon Real Sociedad Marseille Any other team Recommended: Any other team With the structure and rules of the Europa League allowing a team that doesn't qualify yet, finished third in their group drops down to compete in the Europa League means that the competition is wide open and many other teams could enter the competition at this stage. So with the outcome of the group stages in the Champions League having a huge effect on Europa League fixtures, it makes sense to chose the option of any other team. Q8 - Which team will win La Liga? Choices: Barcelona Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Sevilla Villarreal Athletic Bilbao Real Sociedad Valencia Celta Vigo Any other team Recommended: Real Madrid While La Liga is always a competition between Barcelona and Real Madrid with Sevilla and Atletico offering some issues, it's always a struggle to tell which way it could go. Again if the rumours are true that Messi and Neymar could be departing the Catalonian club, it could have a huge effect on the standings of La Liga. Noting this Real Madrid have been relatively calm in the transfer window so far, but Zidane is expecting to make some new big name additions to the squad before the window closes. After last seasons amazing run, Zidane will be demandant on his players to keep their success ongoing as they look to add to their tally of 33 league titles. Q9 - Which team will win the Serie A Choices Juventus Napoli AC Milan Roma Inter Milan Lazio Fiorentina Atalanta Torino Any other team Recommendation: AC Milan After a quelled spell in their history due to financial issues, AC Milan is back, and if their recent signings are anything to go by, they mean business. While they will have to battle out with Juventus, Napoli, Roma and Inter, AC Milan has done smart business in the market to give themselves the best chance at the Serie A title.  Vincenzo Montella was given the budget to make AC Milan great again, so he will need to ensure that his side is on form throughout the season while focusing on Europa League and Coppa Italia. Q10 - Which team will win the Bundesliga? Choices: Bayern Munich Borussia Dortmund RB Leipzig Bayer Leverkusen Schalke Hoffenheim Borussia Muchengladbach Werder Bremen FC Koln Any other team  Recommendation: Bayern Munich It's been six years since a side dethroned the 26th time German champions. With Dortmund being disappointing last season and RB Leipzig dropping points in the latter part of the season, Carlo Ancelotti's men reigned strong. While anything can happen in football, it would be truly shocking if someone knocked the German champions off their perch. Sign up & play >>

George Stanhope, 7th Earl of Chesterfield: Only MP to play First-Class cricket for Nottinghamshire

When he had turned out for Nottinghamshire, again against Surrey at Trent Bridge, he had become the only sitting Member of Parliament to represent his county team, Nottinghamshire.

George Stanhope, 7th Earl of Chesterfield: Only MP to play First-Class cricket for Nottinghamshire

When he had turned out for Nottinghamshire, again against Surrey at Trent Bridge, he had become the only sitting Member of Parliament to represent his county team, Nottinghamshire.

India U-19 squad announced for England tour

The Indian colts will start their tour with a two-day warm-up game on July 19-20 before playing the first four-day game from July 23-26 at Chesterfield.

India U-19 squad announced for England tour

The Indian colts will start their tour with a two-day warm-up game on July 19-20 before playing the first four-day game from July 23-26 at Chesterfield.

Ched Evans returns to Sheffield United

The League One champions have confirmed the transfer of the club's controversial former striker, who rejoins from Chesterfield

Ched Evans returns to Sheffield United

The League One champions have confirmed the transfer of the club's controversial former striker, who rejoins from Chesterfield

Evans returns to Sheffield United

League One champions Sheffield United have confirmed the transfer of the club's former striker Ched Evans, who rejoins from Chesterfield.

Ched Evans re-joins Sheffield United from Chesterfield

Ched Evans re-joins Sheffield United from Chesterfield

Ched Evans re-joins Sheffield United from Chesterfield

Sheffield United re-sign Ched Evans from Chesterfield on a three-year deal

Sheffield United re-sign Ched Evans from Chesterfield on a three-year deal

Ched Evans ‘delighted’ to seal Sheffield United return from Chesterfield

Ched Evans ‘delighted’ to seal Sheffield United return from Chesterfield

Sheffield United complete signing of Ched Evans from Chesterfield

Sheffield United complete signing of Ched Evans from Chesterfield

Ched Evans set to re-sign for Sheffield United from Chesterfield

Ched Evans set to re-sign for Sheffield United from Chesterfield

Sheffield United Reach Controversial Deal to Re-Sign Former Striker Ched Evans

​Sheffield United appear set to re-sign striker Ched Evans from Chesterfield following the Blades' confirmed promotion to the Championship and the latter's relegation to League Two. According to BBC Radio Sheffield, a fee of £500k has been agreed between the two clubs. Breaking: I understand Sheffield United are trying to re-sign Chesterfield striker Ched Evans. Deal could be done soon. #SUFC — Rob Staton (@robstaton) April 24, 2017 Having been released from prison in 2014 after serving half...

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